Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Ambassador Inquiry Fall 2014


How would you describe missions?
We have missions in several countries, so it can be a location. People go on mission trips, so it describes something that we do. There are a growing number of missionaries, so it describes people and their occupation.
Recently, I have been reminded that mission is a description of surrender and a position of dependence. The missionary surrenders goals, dreams or desires to follow the Lord and His plan for their life. Missionaries seem like strong people, yet they are dependent on the Lord to work in lives of people.
In Psalm 62:7-8, David describes his dependence:  My salvation and my honor depend on God; He is my mighty rock, my refuge. Trust in Him at all times, O people; pour out your hearts to Him, for God is our refuge.
This newsletter is not available online yet, but you can click here next week.  (Click here to see the Inquiry Newsletter)


One hundred people attended a disciple-making convention in Chirala, India in August. The goal of that training was to create disciples who plant churches, the Ambassador Institute teaches pastors and leaders within churches so they understand God’s Word fully; both are needed to build God’s kingdom.
Pastor Del and Karen Palmer, John and Heidi Nelson, Glenn and Marge Espe and Pastor Kent Sperry have been in India recently. One facet of their trip was to prepare for the Ambassador Institute work this fall.
There are some aspects of ministry that do not happen in short 1-2 week mission trips. A lasting deep impact requires time. The next three months, Pastor Kevin and Pam will be dependent on the Lord during their time in India. Pastor Kevin will be teaching the teachers, setting up a structure for the Ambassador Institute, adding classes and working along side of those in India to apply God’s Word to the biblical role of pastors.
Pam will be working with the Bible Women, sharing her testimony with them, and helping with St. Paul’s School as a teaching assistant.
They will also depend on the Lord to use them and on others for translation and transportation.

Pastors Anil, Puneeth and Devasahayam
Pastors Devasahayam Dunna, Puneeth Kumar, Santhi Babu, Katti Anil Kumar and T Emmanuel continue to teach at Chirala, Karlapalem and Chituroo. These men are now completing the two-year curriculum with these three classes who hope to be finished by November. Some of the classes have fallen behind and there is a need to ensure that the classes meet regularly.
Devasahayam has been leading the training from the beginning. Anil recently joined the AFLC India. He comes with Bible School training and is strong in his English. Puneeth graduated at the top of the first class to be taught in India. Emmanuel is a short animated young man that has a heart for evangelism and speaks English well, and Santi Babu is a quite man whose father is also an AFLC pastor.

The work in Uganda continues to expand with new classes starting as other classes finish. Three classes of the third generation have completed their two-year study. The students depend on the Lord to keep up with the rigorous memorization and the passing of the tests. The Ambassador Institute is dependent on faithful students who in turn are willing to train future classes.
One of the new classes started near Kenya because of a student that returned to his home area and invited his community to learn the Word of God. There were 40 students at the first meeting! Pray that the Lord will continue to give these students strength as they invest in the Word of God.
With the expanding work, we are dependent on the ministry team to work with the teachers and to keep the classes learning together. The ministry team needs faithful teachers who will disciple the classes they have been given.
Micah Berger and Katelyn Gudim are both dependent on receiving support so that they can return to Uganda and continue developing the training. They are missed because all the short-term assistants have returned to the U.S.
Nate and Rhoda are also dependent on prayer for their work permits to be approved. The ministry in Uganda is difficult enough without these extra disturbances.

Pray for the ongoing work with the third year Romans curriculum. The seven students that are taking this class are about half way through the book and have memorized seven chapters. After the first fourteen lessons, we gave tests to these students who are also teachers for other oral classes. Two of them did quite well, but five of them struggled.
In the past, these seven were all at the top of their class, so that means that we need to consider how this training is being done or if changes need to be made to the process. There is not another oral study on the book of Romans, so this is new territory for those preparing the lessons as well as those taking the classes.

Musasizi Wilson and his wife have been living in a mud and stick house. He is a humble man and has often traveled to teach classes when his help may have been needed at home as well.

This past spring, the leadership team decided that they wanted to see him move into a cement block home. A church in the U.S. donated $2000 to purchase the supplies and the team worked together to construct the building for his family.
This was a large statement to the community. Sometimes the spiritual work needs to have a tangible aspect associated with it. Praise the Lord with them for this new home.


Prayer starts with God. It is made possible because God sent His Son to atone for our sin. The sin-obstacle has been removed. Hebrews 4:16 says, “Let us therefore come boldly before the throne of grace.”
He has also given us His Holy Spirit who enables us to pray. We are helpless in terms of spiritual strength and we are ignorant in terms of spiritual insight. We desperately need the Holy Spirit’s help as we pray.
Prayer centers in God. More than merely seeking things from God, true prayer seeks God Himself, for when we have Him we have all that we need. Prayer at its best reveals a soul made thirsty for God, just God alone. We need a realization of God’s glory and then of God’s grace.
Prayer asks of God. Our Lord used the word ask when encouraging His disciples to pray. “Whatever you ask in My name, that will I do, so that the Father may be glorified in the son. Do you and I really ask God for things when we pray? Too many of us are perhaps only window shopping when we pray. May God enable us to ask in prayer.
Prayer is work for God.  Perhaps we are prone to consider prayer somewhat incidental in our Christian life. We know that we should pray but we have not come to value prayer as a highly effective means of advancing Christ’s kingdom. The interest and attention so often is placed upon those “up front” who are really doing something.
May God help us to see that without Him we can do nothing. But with Him, abiding in Him in prayerful dependence, He promises to bring forth fruit, even much fruit.
This excerpt was taken from Dr. Monseth’s writing on prayer for the Lutheran Ambassador.

The ministry of the Ambassador Institute is a dependent ministry. It is dependent on the Father to open doors, for Jesus to transform lives and the Holy Spirit to teach people God’s Word. It is dependent on your prayers, your support, and international partners who join us in this same vision.
Being dependent on the Lord is good, it is the best place to be, but it can be uncomfortable. It means surrendering control and trusting in God. That is how we feel as Pam and I go to India. He gets to determine when things move and what defines success. It is easy to trust God for the things that we understand, however, growing in trust happens when the only possible solution is in the Lord.  
Within this state of dependence, we have seen the Lord open the door for the AI curriculum in seven languages in 7 years. He has provided translators and leaders in each country that we have worked in. He has multiplied the number of classes and the number of students. We have also seen doors for countries close, thriving classes drop in attendance and teachers that needed to be removed from leadership.  
This ministry, in a position of dependence, has not always gone forward in a way that makes sense from a human perspective, but looking back it is obvious that the Lord is the One that has made it possible.
We cannot control what the Lord will do, but we can have confidence that He is in control and that He has good things in store for those that wait and depend on Him.

Serving Our Savior,                    kevino@aflc.org
Pastor Kevin Olson                     www.ambassadorinstitute.org

The Prayer Requests and Inquiry Newsletter should be online next week. The website is under some changes.


Inquiry Newsletter, facebook: Info, Photos, Videos, Classes

3110 E. Medicine Lake Blvd.

Minneapolis, MN 55441
Ambassador Institute Department Head  763-412-2029

September 2014 Prayer Update from Paul and Becky


Volumes could be written about the last four months.  Lots of people, lots of activity, lots of ministry, lots of fun.  I suppose I could write a chapter a day (at least) but I know most people have difficulty in even getting through a newsletter.  Besides I really don't have the time and energy to put into it. (Aren't you glad?)  I have decided to highlight a few of the great things that have happened and let the photos give you a peek into our lives.

Short term missionaries came to have a missionary experience with us.  Quincy Koll from Nebraska spent June through mid-August.  His highlight was spending time at the Miriam Infant Home in Campo Mourão (pictured below).  Sarah Larson is still with us on a 3-month internship experience until mid-October.  Besides helping us she has been a great help at Lighthouse (Joanna's school) and has made a great friendship with a Brazilian family (pictured below at the annual Festival of Nations that the school puts on.


July and August were great months.  It was wonderful to have the AFLC Student Missions team with us for 16 days.  The 23 young people and their fearless leader Jon Nelson were a tremendous blessing!  It's fun to see young people who love the Lord and are willing to serve Him with a whole heart.  These kids did a great job at making friends with the Brazilians. We had Bible Camp the first weekend they were here and then we got busy on work projects.  Mafu and Paul kept busy organizing jobs for everyone.  We did lots of interesting things, including travels to Campo Mourão and Iguaçu Falls. They formed a beautiful choir and blessed us with their voices and testimonies.

     Two days after they left a group of 40 from Concordia University in Irvine, CA, joined us for another two weeks of non-stop action.  Adam Lee, son of Bob and Gloria Lee, is one of the teachers leading this group as they visit 10 countries around the world until Christmas time. Brazil was their first stop.  We kept them busy interacting with Brazilians and doing work projects.  They were a success at Language House (our daughter Christina's school).  We even had an English camp at the ARCA while the group was with us.

With groups that visit us we have a motto: "Work hard! Pray hard! Play hard!" We did all three and made lots of special memories. Try to imagine keeping clothes washed and tummies fed for upwards of 40 people for 30 days and you can imagine that we were pretty exhausted by the time it was over.  To add to the excitement, we had an unfortunate accident with our faithful bus.  Thankfully no one was hurt badly, and we are looking into the possibility of fixing the bus.  Also, Matthew's car was stolen one  night so we had a few losses, but many more blessings!

One of those blessings is the engagement of our son Matthew to Ednay!  So many miracles happened since July!  In mid-July we mentioned the idea of Ednay going to AFLBS to help her learn English and get to know some of Matthew's American reality.  God provided for everything in the midst of our crazy schedule and she was accepted at AFLBS, applied for a visa and was granted one, found a ticket with frequent flyer miles, and now is an official student at AFLBS.  Matthew also decided to return to the U.S. to work and consider the possibility of being an AFLC missionary.  To add to all the excitement he decided to cut his long locks after so many years of enjoying long hair!

Whew!  After all the commotion in July and August we decided to TAKE A BREAK!  Our sons and son-in-laws surprised Paul with a special trip to Alaska in September to celebrate his 60th birthday (October 18). These busy guys had a fantasic time enjoying the wonders of God's creation and the unforgettable privilege of spending time together.  My cousin, Dr. Tom Elton, and his wife Molli welcomed them graciously and helped them make the most of their 10 days in this gorgeous part of the world!  Since they were going to be gone I also planned a trip to visit my parents and take our oldest granddaughter Deborah on a trip to visit her great grandparents.  We had a special two weeks.  I helped Ednay get settled at AFLBS and was also able to have special moments with 13 nieces and nephews, plus time with my sister and sister-in-law.  God was so gracious in giving us this special time away.

Now we are back to work in Brazil.  As soon as we arrived we jumped back into ministry roles.  Our seminarians are with us again for ten days.  We have a wedding in Iguaçu Falls this weekend and a quick trip to Campo Mourão planned.  In October we look forward to a visit from Connely Dyrud and Brandon and Ashley Marschner.

Life goes on. Eternity in heaven approaches.  How are we investing in lives to prepare them for life with Jesus?  "Love the Lord, all his faithful people!  The Lord preserves those who are true to him, but the proud he pays back in full. Be strong and take heart, all you who hope in the Lord." Psalm 31:23-24

A big thanks to all of you who take time to pray for us and who faithfully support us financially so that we can work in Brazil. May the Lord bless you and renew your hope in the Lord today!

All the way from Brazil to you, Paul and Becky

Support for our work designated for Paul and Becky Abel can be sent to:

AFLC World Missions 3110 E. Medicine Lake Blvd. Minneapolis, MN 55441

Tuesday, September 09, 2014

Miriam Children’s Home - September 2014

jpegKeeping  Up

A lot of time I write you introducing new children in the  Miriam Home or letting you know that some of our        precious little ones have gone back to their families, but in between those two big events is the day to day of the   Miriam Home children. We know that, though the social service staff and juvenile judge have other ideas, each child comes to here because God wants to begin a new thing in their lives.

We have some precious young people who have been with us longer than most - Lucas, Helen and Rosa arrived in January and it is likely that they will be here until the end of the year. They arrived, to begin with, because their mother had abandoned the family, their father had to work and so the children were being left alone all day long (together with Mariana, their two year old sister). Shortly after the children joined the Miriam Home their mother came back. Finding her children gone, she finally realized her drinking was costing her everything. She asked to go in to a long term, very structured recuperation program and she is doing wonderfully! After a month Mariana joined her in the recuperation house and the   other three were allowed to visit here two week-ends a month. I has been lovely to see the children coming home week after week, so proud of the mother’s growth. She will be done with the program in November, and we are praying that the healing of their family will continue.

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Monday, September 08, 2014

Advent Conspiracy–World Relief

World Relief is the aid and relief organization with which AFLC World Missions partners.   Advent Conspiracy is their event to raise awareness, prayer and gifts for the needed around the world during the holiday season.  Can your church be involved in Advent Conspiracy?


Welcome to the Advent Conspiracy.

'Tis the season to share. To love. To give ourselves to something bigger than any of us. 'Tis the season to turn our heads, tune our hearts and worship a savior whose birth turned this world upside-down.

We all want our Christmas to be a lot of things: Full of joy. Memories. Happiness. Above all, we want Christmas to be about Jesus. What we don't want is stress. Or debt. Or feeling like we "missed the moment". Advent Conspiracy is a movement designed to help us all slow down and experience a Christmas worth remembering. But doing this means doing things a little differently. A little creatively.

Your church is invited to join World Relief and Advent Conspiracy this Christmas. Together we can stand for the vulnerable as we Worship Fully, Spend Less, Give More, and Love All this Christmas.

World Relief and Advent Conspiracy have created resources—including photos, kids resources, bulletin insert, and more — to help your church grow the conspiracy and experience Christmas like never before. Visit worldrelief.org/advent to access these resources, and for more information!

Interested in joining the conspiracy with World Relief this Christmas? Contact us at advent@wr.org to begin discussing your church’s participation!


WORLD RELIEF 7 East Baltimore Street, Baltimore, MD 21201 | 800.535.5433 | worldrelief@wr.org

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Friday, September 05, 2014

Missions Devotional

!cid_image004_jpg@01CFC824The stave churches of Norway were built in the 12th and 13th centuries, not long after Christianity was first introduced in the country. Some of the churches and their amazing architecture and beautiful woodwork still remain.

On the exterior of the churches crosses can be found. Often a dragon’s head can be found as well. These heads were also found on Viking ships and were part of Norse mythology. The dragon’s heads seem to suggest the builders of the churches weren’t completely sure this Christianity they had recently converted to was the only way. They thought it would be good to put a symbol from mythology up on the church, along with a cross, just in case. They were trying to keep all the “gods” happy.

Those 12th century Norwegian carpenters would have fit in well in the American spiritual landscape of today. Many, when it comes to what they believe, are keeping all their options open. They’ll practice some Buddhist meditation, talk about Hindu karma and admire the Mormons’ family values. They believe 1.6 billion Muslims can’t be all wrong. They’ll baptize their babies and take Communion in a Christian church and think it can all fit together and all these religions basically teach the same thing.

Spiritual beliefs that resemble a religious smorgasbord are not a new thing. The Romans believed in many “gods.” They would not have been so bothered by the early Christians if Jesus had been presented as just another option people could consider. What upset them was when the Christians declared, “Salvation is found in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given to men by which we must be saved” (Acts 4:12).

The early Christians held on to the cross of Christ alone. They presented Jesus to the world not as something that might work for some people, but as the one hope of salvation for all people. In Acts 17 we read of Paul speaking in Athens to people who had many objects of worship. He told them of the one true Creator God, who was over all other objects of worship and had raised Jesus from the dead.

The builders in Norway who included the dragons on the churches were probably fearful and uncertain that they could trust Jesus as the only hope of salvation. They needed to, and we need to, remember that Jesus is our certain hope of salvation. We can trust Him fully. We don’t need a backup plan. He is our one hope, and He is our solid and sure hope. He will never fail us. We can cast aside other things we used to trust in. Without fear we can go all in, trusting in Christ alone.

~ By Craig Johnson

Rev. Samuel Flores Dies

Rev. Samuel Flores of the Central Mexican Lutheran Church died September 3, 2014, at the age of 93. 


Pastor Flores requested fellowship with the Association of Free Lutheran Congregations in 1977.  The AFLC Annual Conference approved this fellowship as a new mission work in 1978.  The Central Mexican Lutheran Church (CMLC) was formed in 1980. 




The outreach in Mexico began in the city of Leon and was soon extended to Celaya in 1982 and Irapuato in 1983.  The CMLC has been a big part of the work of AFLC World Missions in Mexico.


Rev. Flores pastored the church in Leon, and lead the CMLC, until his death.



Pastor Flores in the Sanctuary

of the Church in Leon.

Thursday, September 04, 2014

Pillman Family in Ecuador

imageDear family and friends,
It feels like we have been “on our feet” a lot these past
few months with travel to, from, and throughout the
US. It was such a blessing to see many of you and to
be able to share about the work the Lord is doing here
in Ecuador. We are so thankful for children who are
good travelers and for the many people who graciously
opened their hearts and homes to us while we were on
the road.
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