Thursday, February 27, 2014

Amanda Bellefy arrives in Ecuador

Greetings from Ecuador,
It's crazy to think that I have already been here a week.  I have already learned so much.  Thank you so much for your prayers.  There was some confusion at the airline in New York on my way to Panama City and I had to quickly purchase a $1000 return ticket, but thankfully they were wrong and I get a full refund today.  Praise God!  I am living at the Bible school and on Monday I was put in charge of the five students, mainly in the areas of cooking and cleaning.  Thankfully I have been healthy and have been able to get right to work.  I have felt God's presence strongly, especially in being in a new place and meeting new people.  God has been my comfort and my strength.
Amanda is serving as a Short Term Assistant
Please continue to pray:
1. That I would continue to learn the language
2. That I would be a light and a witness
3. For the spiritual growth of the 5 students here: Taty (Tatiana), Raquel (Rachel), Joanna, Kevin, and Pocho (Christian)
Thank you for your prayers. 
In Christ,

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Prayer points from the Schierkolks

"I waited patiently for the LORD; he inclined to me and heard my cry."     -Psalm 40:1
-Praising the Lord for a wonderful Christmas outreach!  The youth did a wonderful job with their puppet skits and the kids were great in their presentation of the Christmas story.
-For the many who received quilts and the kids who received Christmas gifts/children's Bibles.
-Grateful for your continued prayers for
our family spread out in the U.S. and Mexico.

We enjoyed reading your Christmas cards! Thanks for the encouragement of your prayers and support!

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Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Enabling Change in Brazil

Grandpa with Thomas - Born January 23rd
“Truly I tell you, unless you change and become like little children, 
you will never enter the kingdom of heaven." Matthew 18:3 

Jesus calls us to take a look at our attitudes and actions and priorities and be willing to change whatever it is that takes us away from being seated in Christ. We are to become as little children who delight in being in Jesus' presence. Evidently Jesus thought change was necessary in the lives of his hearers, even in the lives of his disciples. What needs to change in your life? There is a song in Portuguese that has the following phrase - "If we don't change, everything stays the same." In other words, "Nothing changes if nothing changes." As missionaries we see ourselves as people who enable change in people's lives. As we daily rub shoulders with people we seek to help others find their resting place in Jesus. It's fun to witness the blessing of changed lives. 
Children's Camp - Lives Changed 
January is always camp time at the ARCA. This year I developed the curriculum around the theme of the 10 Commandments and the 2 great Commandments of Jesus, emphasizing the grace of Jesus to cover all our sins and all our attempts to fulfill the law. The 10 Commandments are guidelines for happy living, living God's way. We also used the Wordless book using the 5 colors to explain the way of salvation. We had a fantastic week and the children did a wonderful presentation for their parents on the last day. I was happily exhausted at the end of it all. It was great to have Mafú and 3 nieces and 3 nephews working as counselors. It's fun to have our 8-yr. old granddaughter Deborah camping, too! As I write this letter we are preparing for youth camp which will be the first week in March. Pray for transformed lives. 

A Look Back 
We had a fun night of nostalgia at our church in Curitba. Many people came back that had been a part of our church throughout the years. We sang songs from 20 and 30 years ago and had fun remembering. For us it was a bittersweet moment as we wish that all the people who have heard the Gospel in this church would be walking with Jesus today. Yet, we praise God for His faithful work in the lives of people and continue topray for Him to complete the good work He began in their lives. 

A Look Forward 
We look forward to many things in the coming months. Please pray for us: 
* Youth Camp in Campo Mourão 
* Visit from Charles and Joyce Knapp 
* Annual Women's Conference in March 
* Preparations for Passion Play in April 
* Interactions with people every day 
* Two couples we are trying to impact -  John and Maria/Levir and Rose

A Big Thank You 
Thank you so much for your continued support of what we do in Brazil. Your prayers and gifts sustain us month by month. May you be strengthened in your resolve to live for Jesus and participate in the great calling of being agents of change in a hurting world. If something needs changing in your own personal life, take it to the Lord in prayer and make the adjustments that are necessary to live for the glory of God. Remember - nothing changes if nothing changes! 

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Mafu Abel in Panama

    I have now been in Panama for 16 days and am quite adjusted to the weather (comfortable dry heat with wind), the language (Spanish), and the school schedule. It has been a great two weeks! As usual, time seems to last longer as we undergo big changes, and I feel like I have been here for much longer than 2 weeks. When I came here I was apprehensive because I didn't know the leaders of the base, their personalities, principles, testimony or theology. I now can say confidently that I am blessed to be under good Biblical teaching from godly, Spirit-filled individuals. Though I am mostly learning what I have studied and evaluated before, I am confident that this is the right step for me at this time.
     Here at Jucum Chiriqui we have an hour of personal devotions followed by either an hour of intersession or worship music every morning. These times have been and will continue to be important to me as I seek to receive from God the vision he has for the my future in building the kingdom of God. My class consists of 15 students. The nations represented are Holland, Canada, Nicaragua, Honduras, Colombia, Brazil/USA, and Panamá including Latinos, and native Nobe, and Emberá. The subject of the first week of lectures was "Hearing the voice of God and Intercession" and there was a focus on the spiritual needs of the Family. Last week we studied how God's plan of redemption goes beyond individuals, families, generations, Israel, beyond nations, actually extending blessing to all creation. We studied community development and how to use that for the propagation of the Gospel!  
     I was asked to do the translating from Spanish to English for the leadership school in the afternoons (a different course from the DTS that I am involved in). It is a blessing because I get to benefit from another school, yet my mind gets tired from 6 hours-a-day of full attention. I have had a couple of breaks and I will periodically be released from translating duties when there is another translator available. When that happens I get to help with the grounds work. I appreciate your involvement and ask that you would continue to pray for me.

• Pray for continued language learning. (I am currently reading two books + Bible in Spanish)
• Pray for my DTS team; our unity, growth, local ministry and future 2 month outreach.
• Pray for my girlfriend Ednay and her DTS --There is extreme flooding where she is and 568,000 people have had to leave their homes.
• Pray for our Father God to continually guide me in the center of His will.

Saturday, February 08, 2014

Pray for Ukraine conflict

landscape banner

“Commit your way to the LORD; trust in him, and he will act.” Psalm 37:5
Dear Friends in Christ,
Even though we recently sent out a prayer update, we wanted to specifically ask for prayer regarding three important areas.
Many of you have been following from afar what is taking place in Ukraine. For the past two months, there have been protests against President Viktor Yanukovych and his government. These protests, once limited to the capital city of Kiev, have spread throughout the country as people are tired of the political and economic situation. To understand the depth of this situation, it’s important to understand the historical, economic, and geopolitical foundations, or lack thereof, that make up this country. The opposition will not stop until the present “government” is overthrown. The question then is, what will the future leaders do? Will they actually answer the root issues that have caused the problems, which would require enormous constitutional and economic changes, or will they simply repackage the corruption of the past 20 years. Needless to say, Ukraine needs our prayers. Pray for non-violent resolution to this conflict. Pray that leadership on all sides would not seek their own glory and power, but actually deal with the real issues that have led to the situation in Ukraine. Pray also, that the churches around the country would see this as a golden opportunity to share the Gospel of Jesus Christ. People want hope and peace, but only in Christ will this be realized. Pray that God’s will be done here in Ukraine. Below are a few links to articles that give a brief summary of the complex situation in Ukraine.
Bishop-elect Serge Maschewski
National Church Body (DELKU)
This is a very important and historic week for our church body in Ukraine. For the first time in 20 years, a Bishop will be installed (February 15) that was elected from an actual election process by the people here of Ukraine. Please pray for true spiritual unity among this church. Pray that DELKU would be focused on Christ and His mission. Pray for the spirit of Christ to richly dwell in all people throughout these next few weeks of change. Pray for newly elected Bishop Maschewski. Pray for God to give him a humble servant heart as he seeks to serve DELKU. Pray for wisdom and guidance as he seeks to navigate through difficult issues presently and in the future. Pray also for our former Bishop Uland Spahlinger as he moves on to a new ministry in Germany. Uland has been very supportive and involved in the process of our school for which we are grateful. Pray for strength for him and his wife as they make this ministry transition.
Bible School
Among all the celebrations that are taking place next week in regards to our new Bishop, there will be important meetings regarding the Bible School. Our school board will have strategic planning meetings (February 16-17) with DELKU leadership regarding the proposal of an additional year of study. These discussions will not simply approve the idea, but also set the basic purposes and goals of the direction of our Bible School. On a side note, DELKU has formed a national education commission that is to strategize, think, and propose the general and specific direction of education within our church body. I am one of the three members on this council. I am very excited about this simply because people are now beginning to speak about these crucial issues for the future of the church. Please pray for our school board and church leadership as the meet together. Pray for unity of spirit and purpose. Pray for guidance and wisdom from the Holy Spirit as they make decisions.
These are interesting times here in Ukraine. Our trust is in the Lord, who holds us in his hands. Thank you for joining us in prayer regarding these issues.
Coyle blog
In His Grace, 
Andy, Monica, Moriah, Isaiah and Josiah

Friday, February 07, 2014

The Wagners - Pleasures of Life

Makeni sure feels more like "home" now.

We recently spent four weeks (instead of the expected three/four days) in the capital, Freetown, to get our vehicle out of customs. Josh spent several days of those days working on computers, cellphones, etc. for our literacy and translation partners. We were overjoyed to get our car, drive home, and pull into our driveway! Even Elijah exclaimed "Home, home, home!"

Since we returned a week ago, we've had the pleasures of...
  • "Running stomachs" for a few days. 
  • Driving the three minutes to the local hospital to check on July baby. 
  • Caring for a new puppy/watchdog and new bush kitty (both given to us unexpectedly). 
  • Practicing Themne in the neighborhood and meeting more neighbors. 
  • Worshipping at our village church in Romankeneh (15-minute drive and only Lutheran church in the Northern Province). 
  • Printing and distributing copies of Krio liturgy to the church in Romankeneh (not translated into Themne... yet!). 
  • Helping draft 2014 goals for Themne translation team. 
  • Finishing up end-of-the-year reports... Thank you for your generosity! 
  • Hearing the Muslim call to prayer nice and loud, several times a day... reminding us of the very few Christians in our neighborhood and a reason why we are here. 
  • Taking on the rough roads with our new vehicle

Tuesday, February 04, 2014

Update from the Miriam Children’s Home

You know that 2013 was a busy year here in the Miriam Home. We had a record number of children pass through our doors, and it seemed like the children came in waves—little boys, teen age girls, tiny little babies—there always seemed to be a dominating factor in the house. Well as I write you we have the unusual state
of balance!

During the last three years many people have asked if it is possible to sponsor children in the Miriam Home, and the answer has always been no. The reason is...

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Monday, February 03, 2014

January Update from Jonathan and Tamba

New Church Property
While friends/family in the US are experiencing a cold winter, we are in the prime of summer, needing fans and a/c, with lots of summer showers. January has already started with a big bang for this 2014. For Tamba's birthday, she enjoyed having a Ladies' Tea (though only cold juices were served due to a 90 * F day), with a special message about the power of words. Since it is still summer vacation time, we've enjoyed different visitors stopping by. Jonathan has been busy helping the new Bible Camp caretakers (young couple who the wife is granddaughter of the previous caretakers) settle in. They remind us so much of our late Sr. Antonio and wife Vita.
New Caretakers for the Bible Camp
Jonathan has also been preparing for the seminary classes he will be teaching starting next month. Our church finally sold their church property and purchased a more practical one to build on. We just contacted the architect with plans and will submit them to the city for approval. Hopefully we can start the construction in a couple of months! Needless-to-say, we are all excited! "Give thanks to the Lord, for He is good!" (Psalm 118:29a)