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    Featured Missionary - Entries written by Global Outreach

    ThuThursdayJanJanuary16th2014 Mark and Tammy Ruch
    byGlobal Outreach Tagged No tags 0 comments Add comment

    Serving with Wycliffe Bible Translators in the Philippines for nearly 15 years!

    Second-generation missionary Mark Ruch, who grew up in the Philippines, met Tammy at Wheaton College, where they both pursued a graduate degree in Clinical Psychology. In 1999, they returned to Manila to serve as family counselors at Faith Academy, the K-12 international Christian school that Mark had attended as a missionary kid himself. History repeated itself, as Mark and Tammy’s daughters Jaina and Kyra would attend there as well.

    Fifteen years later, Mark continues as an experienced and sought out family counselor at Faith Academy. But Tammy quickly transitioned into the Bible translation and literacy field with Wycliffe, initially beginning as the communications liaison and language coordinator assistant to a Wycliffe Filipino partner organization.

    In January 2014, she begins her new assignment as the Assistant Director.  In this role, Tammy will work with 30 Bible translation and literacy teams scattered throughout the Philippines, giving the administrative support they need to serve language communities effectively. As part of this leadership core, she will be engaged in strategic planning, monitoring progress, and finding resources. Tammy is excited about this opportunity to become more focused on the Bible translation task – the main reason she and Mark went to the Philippines initially.

    Mark’s Ministry at Faith Academy

    As a family counselor at Faith Academy, the largest MK school in the world, Mark provides a wide range of counseling services to students, staff, missionary families, and the wider missions community in the Philippines.  He supervises other family counselors working with him, provides consultation services for school and mission administrators, and helps with training seminars for missionaries on topics such as dealing with conflict biblically, child safety, and peer debriefing.

    A grateful client gave permission to share this statement about his counseling experience with Mark:

    “We are a second-generation missionary family. When we signed up for missions 30 years ago, we thought we had all it takes to be successful… experience and a calling. We were wrong. Over the years we have walked through some very dark days – sometimes because of who we are, other times because of the unique life we live as missionaries. We are grateful to God for giving Mark Ruch the same experience and calling [to missions], along with the added bonus of training in counseling, so that he could help us and others like us. It’s because of people like him that we have been able to continue working to expand God’s Kingdom for His glory around the world.”

    Tammy’s Expanding Role with Bible Translation—and a People Group Close to Her Heart

    Over the last few years, Tammy Ruch has had the privilege of coordinating a multi-cultural Bible translation and literacy team working with three Ayta language groups on the northern island of Luzon in the Philippines. Though the Ayta are often viewed by the larger society as simple, even "backwards," Tammy shares how God is going to great lengths to make sure they have a chance to discover how much He loves them.

    “Most of the Ayta people of the Philippines didn’t grow up with books, so reading isn’t part of their lives. As hunters and gatherers, they can do things that most of us know nothing about. They can start a fire with bamboo sticks; they can cook meat and rice inside bamboo. The Ayta learn by listening and watching, not by reading.”

    She explains how with the help of Wycliffe, people from three of the Ayta language groups have been gathering to translate the Bible into their own languages. The challenge they face is that many of their own people don’t find pleasure in reading.  So Wycliffe’s vernacular media department has creatively crafted methods of expressing the Word of God in ways that meet the needs of oral societies. Even while translation is underway, the Ayta people are making use of these wonderful tools.

    For example, the Ayta Bible translators are using Saber MP3 players. These are rugged, water-resistant, handheld audio players that can hold an entire Bible, study materials, and music. Simple to operate, they can be recharged by hand cranking (no expensive batteries required) and are designed to be used in groups. The Ayta translators began by using these MP3 players to familiarize themselves with the Tagalog passage they were translating.  But when they took them home, others in their families and communities gathered around to hear these amazing stories. Since then the translators have started dramatizing the stories and recording them, since everyone loves a good story. These are easily shared, from cell phone to cell phone.

    And last year, the Ayta Abellen people group dubbed the Jesus Film into their language, using the translated book of Luke. Just before Christmas, the film was shown in several mountain villages in the southern part of the Ayta Abellen language area. Some viewers were in tears as they understood for the first time the price Jesus paid for them. Along with the Jesus Film, the team distributed copies of the book of Luke, a song book, and audio files on an MP3 player. 

    Amazingly, the film itself was reduced to fit on cell phones. One of the translators was recently standing by the road with another Ayta Abellen and he started showing him parts of the Jesus Film on his cell phone. Expressing the impact of the film on him, the man watching said, "Ooh, it feels like my insides are being opened up."  

    Since then the Jesus Film has been shown in more remote villages in the northern part of the language area. One village expressed appreciation for the showing and asked if someone could please send them a pastor. These same villagers offered to help carry the generator to a neighboring village so the film could be shown there too.

    Tammy says it is a joy to see what God is doing among the Ayta people as they make the Word of God available in creative ways, and she invites our prayers for this project. She looks forward to sharing more of these kinds of stories of the impact of Scripture in the Ayta churches and communities.

    “As the rain and the snow
        come down from heaven,
    and do not return to it
        without watering the earth
    and making it bud and flourish,
        so that it yields seed for the sower and bread for the eater,
    so is my word that goes out from my mouth:
        It will not return to me empty,
    but will accomplish what I desire
        and achieve the purpose for which I sent it.”  Isaiah 55:10-11

    Pray for the Ruch Family:

    • Pray for wisdom for Tammy as she takes on an expanded and challenging role with Wycliffe as Assistant Director, working with many translation teams through the Philippines.
    • Mark’s 22 year-old nephew Michael is battling a rare and aggressive form of cancer. Please pray that God will bring the cancer into remission and spare his life.
    • Mark’s dad, Ed Ruch, also a Wycliffe missionary in the Philippines, was diagnosed with a tropical disease about a year ago. Pray for a full recovery and strength to return to the Philippines to wrap up projects with the Calamian Tagbanwa people.

    To view a 3-minute video of Mark and Tammy’s ministry, created by their daughter Jaina: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uzICngSYjpM&feature=youtu.be

    To read more about Mark & Tammy’s ministry: www.wycliffe.org/Partnership.aspx?mid=E6DAB2

    To find out more about the Ayta translation project: http://www.theseedcompany.org/project/ayta-nt-cluster-ayta-abellen-0

    To learn more about the Ayta Abellen people and their beautiful culture and lifestyle: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1akrbADrqi4&feature=share
    MonMondayAugAugust12th2013 Wally & Natasha Kulakoff
    byGlobal Outreach Tagged No tags 0 comments Add comment


    25 Years with WBC & Honorary Doctorate Received...
    Join us in celebrating two milestones in the work of WBC Missionaries Wally & Natasha Kulakoff!  Earlier this summer the Kulakoff’s travelled to Odessa, Ukraine where Wally received an honorary doctorate in Christian ministries from the Odessa Theological Seminary (OTS) for a life committed to missions and program development for the former Soviet Union.

    OTS was one of the first schools started back in 1989 when new freedoms allowed Bible Schools to open in various regions of the Soviet Union. Over the years it has grown into one of the leading Christian Schools in Ukraine, offering seven different academic programs, and attracting students from many Russian-speaking countries. The Seminary is part the Evangelical Baptist Union of Ukraine– the largest protestant denomination in the Ukraine.

    This special event was made even more memorable by the fact that Natasha’s father was born in Odessa. At the age of 18 he came to faith in Christ and was baptized in a local house church. In 1925 Natasha’s father and mother Anastasia were exiled to Kazakhstan because of their faith –five years later the family escaped Communism fleeing to China and then Hong Kong, and eventually immigrated to Australia where both Wally and Natasha grew up.

    Wally comments, “After preaching in an established church during our visit to Odessa, a lady approached me to share that her grandfather was probably the one who baptized Natasha’s dad all those years ago because their home was the house Church in those early years!”

    This November, Wally & Natasha will celebrate 25 years of faithful service as WBC Missionaries! We are humbled and thankful for their dedicated partnership and are thrilled that they will participate in MissionsFest, October 19-24, 2013.

    Kulakoff’s roles…

    As Vice President of Ministries and Church relations, Wally is responsible for developing ministries in the Russian Churches of the United States (US) and the FSU.  Wally oversees the operations and expansion of all Russian Ministry’s (RM) local offices in Central Asia, Moldova, Ukraine & Russia. He helps equip nationals through leadership development and is involved in both small and large group teaching sessions for School Without Walls. 

    Natasha helps RM with Social Media and also does translation for A Home for Every Orphan from Russian into English.  Another arm of RM, A Home for Every Orphan seeks to train national Christian families to be foster parents, and to advocate for, facilitate, and support in-country adoptions.

    About Russian Ministries...

    Russian Ministries focuses on three pillars of service:

    ·         Schools Without Walls

    ·         Scripture Publishing and Distribution

    ·         Religious Freedom Initiative

    School Without Walls (SWW) is the heart of Russian Ministries’ vision to train the Next Generation to lead and equip them to serve the evangelical church in the former Soviet Union/Eurasia.

    RM partners with 64 local thriving Churches across the FSU bringing School Without Walls (SWW) to young people and professionals. By placing classes in local churches and keeping class times flexible, they can greatly expand the number of young men and women who can be trained in Christian leadership.  Basing the ministry in local churches helps revitalize those churches while ensuring that both teaching and evangelism practices are culturally appropriate.

    In a region of the world where Bibles can be hard to come by RM is committed to putting a copy of God’s Word into the hands of everyone who wants it.

    Through Scripture Publishing and Distribution, they are able to provide the Gospel to children, spread God’s word in a variety of heart languages, create scripture versions for specific audiences and encourage the growth of national Christian expression.

    Harassment and persecution is a fact of life for Christians in many countries of the former Soviet Union/Eurasia, and it’s gaining even more momentum as repressive governments pass prejudicial new laws and Islamic extremism spreads.

    Through the Religious Freedom Initiative, RM is working to present a united voice to persecuting Governments, provide Bibles, training and other resources and give aid to Christians in danger.

    The Story of Marina…

    At 25, Marina was a true product of the materialistic Russian society—addicted to drugs, an outcast on the streets. Then one day, a student of School Without Walls spoke kindly to her for the first time in weeks.

    “No one talked to me so gently, softly, and patiently. A young lady told me that God changed her life, and He can change my life. It was Sunday. She invited me to Church and I went with her. At church I washed up, they gave me some clothes and I listened to something I never heard before: a new life in Christ, a new creation in God, a new beginning, and a new purpose in life.

    “I was given a New Testament. I went home and read the Book late into the evening. I learned so much about God, about Jesus Christ the Deliver. That week God’s love began to overwhelm me. I cried, I prayed, I read more and cried more and humbled myself before God. Then I opened my heart to God. I experienced forgiveness like the others in the Book. That week Jesus delivered me from alcohol, drugs and a foul mouth. Next Sunday I was a new person in Jesus Christ, forgiven, renewed with love and joy. Praise the Lord for newly established churches that give away the New Testament. May the Lord bless your mission and your good work! May you have more Scriptures for people who don’t know God.”

    Pray for Wally & Natasha...

    • For seeds to be planted from the ‘Story of Jesus’ used and distributed during recent summer camps, retreats and Bible Clubs–translated in all 15 languages of the Former Soviet Union!
    • For Wally as he organizes teams and prepares literature for street evangelism during the February 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia. The Russian/English New Testament will be the evangelistic tool for this event.
    • Pray for God to prepare the hearts of people attending this upcoming Global event.

    Contact Information:

    Russian Ministries: www.russian-ministries.org

    MonMondayJunJune24th2013 Becca Martin & Jessica Johnson
    byGlobal Outreach Tagged No tags 0 comments Add comment


    WBC mid-term missionaries Becca Martin and Jessica Johnson, in their mid 20s, are both teachers at the International Christian School of Vienna in Austria. ICSV is a K-12 school with over 200 students. The diverse student body comes from nearly 50 countries: Some are missionary kids, but the growing majority of the students are International from all different backgrounds and religions. It is an incredible opportunity for Becca and Jessica to share Jesus with students and their families from all over the world, many who hold positions of high influence in Austria and their native countries.

    But not only are Becca and Jess both teaching in the same international school, they are also roommates in Austria. Their friendship began as sixth graders, when they were students at Wheaton Christian Grammar School (WCGS).  Although they attended different high schools and colleges, they continued to stay in touch.

    The girls reunited after college through a women’s Bible Study when both were back in the Wheaton area teaching. One evening during the Bible study, Becca, who had already committed to teaching math at ICSV, jokingly shared that the school in Vienna originally had asked her to teach Spanish.  Jessica, who majored in Spanish Education with a focus in ESL, asked if they really did need a Spanish teacher.  Indeed, they did! Jessica shared Becca’s heart for missions and after preparing for cross-cultural service, the two departed for Vienna in July of 2011.

    In retrospect, it may be no coincidence that during the seventh grade, Becca and Jessica both participated in the musical production of The Sound of Music at WCGS. Now they teach in the setting where the original movie was filmed. Becca teaches calculus to high school students and Jessica teaches Spanish and English as a Foreign Language to middle and high school students.  In addition, Jess coaches volleyball. The girls have also had opportunities to lead student trips to Romania the past two years. This spring they took 29 high schoolers and 10 adults serving for 5 days at River of Life, a care home for women and their children in Cornesti, Romania. 

    Becca Martin shares an update about this year’s graduating class….

    The ICSV Senior class, who is about to graduate, is a unique and fun group, but they have experienced a year full of transition, rejection, and questions. Many of them are not yet believers and those who are continue to explore if this faith is their own or just of their parents or school. Yet, with only a few weeks left, when I in my human perspective have doubted the possibly of their hearts changing, I have seen God at work among them!

    Through a Bible study with many of the girls, I’ve seen how God is teaching them through His Word to love one another and to stand up for their faith. One of senior guys, who was an atheistic and would probably now call himself Agnostic, admitted that he had never been in a place where he saw such true love and grace in referring to ICSV. God is working in his heart!

    This past week one of the senior girls whose experienced a challenging year and was rejected by the University of her choice, prayed to receive Christ as her Lord with one of our staff members!! With less than a month left of school, I was so encouraged by the way the Lord is at work in the lives of our students, even when I doubt or can’t always see it on the surface! Praise Him for His work among students!

    Jessica Johnson shares a recent story from her classroom….

    This month, we have been reading the novel Hatchet in my Intermediate Middle School ELL class.  If you haven’t read Hatchet, it's about a 13-year-old boy who survives a plane crash in the wilderness of Canada.  He is forced to survive all by himself with only the clothes on his back and a hatchet that his mother gave him.  While my kids believe the book to be boring, I find it quite intriguing.

    The main character, Brian, continues to believe that he will be rescued, which in return, gives him hope to survive.  I then discussed the idea of "hope" in someone's life and how devastating the absence of hope in someone's life can be.  Without hope in each of our lives, what is our purpose?

    For a homework assignment I asked my students to answer the question, "What gives you hope?" Their responses were interesting and I thought I'd share a few with you.  Some of these students are greatly searching for truth and a constant hope in their lives.  Please be praying for them as we continue to discuss the idea of hope. These answers are all from the brains of middle school students at our school in Vienna.     

    ·         "God gives me Hope.  I know that God is with me and that I will be protected.  Even when I die, I would know where I will go.  I would spend my life with God and I wouldn't be depressed."

    ·         "I get hope from my friends.  This is because friends help me when I have a hard time.  They make me feel good when we chat.  They also make good memories because we played for a long time."

    ·         "My hope is found in my health.  This is because if your health is bad, you will die.  Being healthy saves you money.  Also, if you are healthy you can do more things."  

    ·         "My parents are my hope.  They help me with my homework.  They brought me to this school and I’m really happy about that.  Also, my friends give me hope so if I am down, they bring me up again."

    ·         "My dreams when I get older give me hope.  I don't know what will happen when I get older, but I think I will find new hopes.  I am alive to go to school, because I have hope that my future will be awesome if I study a lot.  I sometimes think that I don't have any hope for living.  However, I am greedy so I don't want to lose my life."

    ·         "My hope is the phone and my future.  My phone makes me do many things such as call, messenger, SNS, listen to music, internet and some kinds of connection.  Also, in my future, I hope to have a great job."

    Pray for Becca...

    • For the senior class to know the Lord and  make Him known as they leave ICSV and spread out all over the world.
    • Provision for the school and that their focus and ministry will remain all about Christ.
    • Rest in the Lord this summer-"Be still before the Lord and wait for Him patiently." Psalm 37:7

    Pray for Jessica...

    • For her middle school ELL students to receive salvation. Many come from Asian cultures where the Gospel is suppressed and science is encouraged.
    • Safe trip back to America June 26 and a restful time at home.
    • Financial provision ICSV and teachers for the upcoming 2013-2014 school year.

    Contact Information:

    Email: rlmartin15@gmail.com / jessica.johnson21@gmail.com
    Blogs: beccasblog15.blogspot.com / adventuresinviennaaustria.blogspot.co.at

    Resourcing Christian Education International
    (RCE) is the organization that Becca and Jessica serve with.  RCE serves international Christian schools and education ministries in their mission of providing exceptional educational opportunities with a biblical foundation and Christian worldview.   Find out more:  www.rce-international.org

    WedWednesdayMayMay1st2013 Steve and Janice Griswell
    byGlobal Outreach Tagged No tags 0 comments Add comment


    Steve and Jan Griswell have served for 25 years with OC International (now called One Challenge) and are currently based out of Cuernavaca, Mexico. They work with a broad spectrum of churches throughout Mexico, and occasionally in other parts of Latin America.

    Steve is a native of Atlanta, but Jan grew up in Guatemala. She was a Wycliffe Bible Translators “third culture kid” whose parents, Ray and Helen Elliot (also WBC missionaries), served in a remote tribal area. Steve and Jan have two grown children, Nathan (28) and Joel (25).

    Their Ministry

    Steve and Jan train Mexican and Latino nationals for missionary service to least reached parts of Asia, Africa and Europe. Using a variety of ministry platforms, they equip Latino Christian leaders in practical aspects of healthy church growth and leadership. They also provide pastoral care to help them be more effective and godly.

    While most of Steve and Jan’s ministry occurs in more urban areas of Mexico, that isn’t always the case. Here is a good example of a recent opportunity to minister to a least-reached ethnic group.

    In February, the Griswells led a retreat for a very under-reached group—pastors and wives of the Purepecha Indian group in the mountains10 hours from their home.

    Attendees came from small churches in seven villages; most had never met each other, partially because they are very “territorial.” Most of these pastors have little to no formal Bible or ministerial training and are bi-vocational agrarian workers—laboring in avocado, blackberry, or sugar cane fields. Yet, they work sacrificially and faithfully to serve their congregations and evangelize their communities. There is a very outdated version of the entire Bible in the Purepecha language, but most Purepechas consider it too difficult to understand. Thankfully, a more up-to-date, New Testament translation has recently been completed.

    During the retreat, Steve and Jan taught basic principles of leadership and a whole day on conflict resolution and reconciliation. The Purepechas were excited to understand how frequently and practically the Bible addresses interpersonal conflict, as many in their churches and community are involved in land and property disputes. Conflict is sometimes “resolved” with guns, machetes and fists.

    Another source of conflict is the pressure of being evangelical Christians in defensive, syncretistic Roman Catholic communities (syncretism means a hodge-podge of nominal Christian beliefs mixed with more traditional animistic beliefs). Just 5 to10 years ago, most Purepecha churches suffered strong ostracism and persecution for their faith. Many shared about churches burned, Christian family members killed, or otherwise mistreated for their evangelical faith. Thankfully, more tolerance is now shown, though it still is not easy.

    Jan says that most of the pastor’s wives from these Indian tribes have limited formal education, are relegated to the home, and do not view themselves as “leaders.” In public meetings, women normally do not speak, but sit outside the circle with eyes cast down, letting the men respond. Jan gently encouraged these pastor’s wives to recognize they have a vital spiritual role, gifts, and a unique voice within the congregation and community. The women appreciated having greater freedom to address their issues in break-out sessions with Jan. In that safer context, non-stop sharing, tears and laughter broke out easily.

    Good news coming out of the retreat!

    The pastors from the remote villages expressed a desire to form a regional Purepecha pastoral alliance. Another piece of good news! A Mexican family the Griswells are mentoring are moving this summer to live permanently among the Purepecha Indian tribe. WBC’s faithful financial support and prayers make this type of ministry possible!

    Pray for the Griswells:

    • For safely and productive time as Steve and Jan complete their home assignment in July in the U.S., visiting friends and supporters in 14 states and 25 cities. 
    • That the Lord would provide career opportunities for their sons—Nathan in the environmental science and natural resources development, and Joel who is breaking into the world of film and cinematography.
    • For the 12-15 new Latino students who will live and train for 10 months at the “El Monte” Cross-cultural Training Center for Latino missionaries.
    • For training the Griswells are receiving that focuses on helping people grow in their relational skills, emotional health, and spiritual maturity.

    Contact Information:
    Email: /
    More on the worldwide ministries of OC: www.onechallenge.org

    MonMondayAprApril1st2013 Ryan and Kelly Skinner
    byGlobal Outreach Tagged No tags 0 comments Add comment

    Serving in Panama — Meet Ryan and Kelly Skinner

    The Skinners (Anna, Jake, Ryan, Kelly, and Nora) are one of thirteen families serving as our ambassadors in Central and South America. Partnering with Operation Mobilization and WBC, Ryan and Kelly serve the growing evangelical church in Panama by mobilizing, equipping, and sending out Latin Americans as missionaries to the unreached world.

    The Skinners’ current role includes recruiting Latino missionary candidates, training, preaching, and helping coordinate OM Panama’s “International Intensive School of Missions.”  This three-month training program equips Latin Americans who are interested in serving as missionaries.

    A couple of months ago, our missionary  Ryan Skinner and eight students in OM Panama’s School of Missions attended a conference in Panama City designed to equip Latin American Christians to effectively reach out to their Muslim neighbors in that part of the world.  Their afternoons consisted of going out into the many ethnic neighborhoods of this bustling city to intentionally approach Muslims in conversation about spiritual things – a first- time experience for all of our OM students.  

    Here is Ryan’s account of one afternoon…

    The afternoon heat beat down on us as we walked through the humid streets of Panama City in search of people who would be willing to have a conversation with us about their spiritual beliefs.  Accompanied by Juan, a young Colombian from OM Panama’s School of Missions, we had intentionally gone into a business district which is home to many stores run by Asians and the Middle Easterners.

    At one of the first businesses we visited, we encountered an elderly blind man with a long white beard seated under the front awning.  We learned quickly that he was a Muslim and asked if we could ask him a few questions about his religion. Speaking with a thick Spanish accent, he communicated he was from India.  While we were rebuffed on every attempt to learn more about his faith, he suggested:  “If you want to find out about Islam you need to go to the mosque down the on the corner and ask there.”   We thanked him and trudged back out into the blinding mid-afternoon sunlight in search of someone of similar background who might be receptive to talking with us. 

    Soon we encountered a middle-aged man from India who owned a used car lot.  He was too busy to talk but at the car lot further down the street, we found the opportunity we were looking for.   In a small air-conditioned office was a thin young man with a scraggly beard and prayer cap.  Upon learning that we were looking to have a conversation with someone about their Muslim faith, he casually motioned for us to come into the office.  

    You’ve come to talk about Islam?” he asked.  If he was at all surprised to have two foreigners walk into his business on a weekday afternoon and ask about his religion, he didn’t show it.  “Come on in,” he said in perfect Spanish. “Please have a seat.

    Mohammed’s family is from the province of Gujarat, India, but he himself had actually been born in Panama 26 years earlier.   Seated in the office with him were two other Panamanians who worked at this same car lot. We explained that we were followers of Isa (Jesus), but that we were interested in conversing with Muslims in order to learn more about the distinctives between our faiths. No sooner had we begun than the older of the two Panamanians loudly interrupted.  “Look, there are only two things that separate their religion and ours. They don’t believe that Jesus died on the cross, and there’s also that disagreement over Isaac and Ishmael.  Other than that, the two religions are basically the same.

    Our purpose for seeking out these conversations was to begin to build relational bridges with local Muslims, so we didn’t jump to correct this Panamanian’s limited understanding of the two faiths. 

    Instead, it was Carlos, the younger of the two Panamanians who offhandedly commented:  “I used to be a Catholic, but I was never really a believer.  I married a Muslim girl and I then converted to become a Muslim.  My name used to be Carlos, but now it’s Abdullah (servant of Allah). It’s a beautiful religion” he added casually.

    As our conversation with these three men at the used car lot continued about some of the commonalities and differences between Islam and Christianity, I couldn’t help but be amazed at how God had brought about this unique encounter in Panama:   a Christian missionary from the US, a missionary in training from Colombia, a middle-aged Panamanian who was nominally Catholic, a Muslim of Indian descent, and a young Panamanian convert to Islam.

    Praise God for opportunities like these to interact with others about the gospel right here in Panama!  And thank you for your prayers, support, and encouragement to us as we seek to mobilize, equip, and send out Latin Americans as missionaries to the world yet to be reached with the good news of Jesus!

    An Update from Ryan & Kelly….

    While Ryan will continue to serve with OM Panama as their Missions Trainer & Mobilizer, he will also begin a new part-time position in August as Missions Pastor for Crossroads Bible Church in Panama City.  In this capacity he will work to strengthen the Panamanian church’s overall missions focus and capacity to send out and support more global missionaries.  In mid-May the Skinners will come to the U.S. (and Wheaton Bible Church) to spend two months reconnecting with family, friends, and supporters before returning to Panama to in August.

    Panama City — but not the one in Florida! Situated at the mouth of the Pacific terminus of the Panama Canal, PC is a booming cosmopolitan melting pot.

    Will you pray?

    • Pray for Juan and the other 7 students in OM Panama School of Missions, that the Lord would use the experiences they’re gaining in Latin America to stir up a long-term desire to minister among Muslims around the world.
    • Pray for Mohammed, Abdullah, and Adan, three Muslims in Panama we’ve met during our time in Panama City.  Please specifically pray for Adan, who was willing to accept a New Testament (in Spanish and Arabic) and that the Lord would stir his desire to read it.
    • Pray for God to increasingly mobilize His church throughout Panama and Latin America to reach out to the growing Muslim communities within this part of the world.
    • Ask the Lord to orchestrate all the details for the Skinner’s time in the U.S. from May to July and that they would use that time wisely.
    • Pray for wisdom for the Skinners as they transition to new roles with OM Panama this summer.
    Contact Information:
    Skype: ryankellyskinner
    SatSaturdayDecDecember1st2012 Randy and Nancy Capp
    byGlobal Outreach Tagged No tags 0 comments Add comment

    Serving in Egypt – Meet Randy and Nancy Capp

    In many ways Egypt is the center of the Middle East. It is the most populous Arab country and has the largest standing army. It is a center of Arabic publishing. The politics of Egypt deeply affects the entire Arab world. That’s why the current events taking place in Cairo will have a major impact on the Middle East for years to come.

    What started out as the “Arab Spring” looks increasingly like an “Islamic Winter.” At the end of November, the Islamist President Mohammad Morsy claimed sweeping powers over both legislative and judicial branches; powers that his predecessor Hosni Mubarak never had. Mass demonstrations are a regular occurrence. Tensions are high. It remains to be seen what will happen.

    The Capps are thankful for the opportunity to serve in this region. Randy serves in the Bible Society of Egypt and on the Global Team of the United Bible Societies, of which the Bible Society of Egypt is a member. Nancy teaches at a small Christian school.

    The United Bible Societies

    The United Bible Societies is a fellowship of 146 national Bible societies. Collectively, these societies are the largest producers and distributors of Bibles to the world. The UBS Fellowship is served by a Global Team, comprised of staff from over 30 nationalities. Randy serves as Design and Creativity Coordinator for the Global Bible Publishing unit. Over the years he has had the opportunity to give workshops and design Scripture literature all over the world. Recently a cover design he did for Indonesia was published again for a New Testament in Chad.

    One of his current tasks is to help organize and design the materials for a Publishers Convention for all the Bible societies that will take place in Amsterdam next May. The conference theme is From Local to Global: Innovation through Collaboration. When all Bible societies collaborate, the light that comes to the world is much greater than when working alone.

    The Bible Society of Egypt

    Randy works in the offices of the Bible Society of Egypt, where he also serves as Publishing Consultant. As with many Bible societies, the Bible Society of Egypt is the primary supplier of Bibles to the nation. One of his current projects is a special Arabic gift book containing the Sermon on the Mount.

    Christian School

    Nancy teaches at a Christian School, where seven bright-eyed, energetic second graders greet her each day. Their parents originally hail from six different nations. As the picture shows, the children are beautiful in their varied external appearances. Together with their god-honoring parents and a dedicated principal who just got her doctorate of education, Nancy seeks to make the Bible and the world God made meaningful to their daily lives.

     How You Can Pray

    • For grace and courage to lift up Jesus no matter what happens in this country. (Philippians 1:20)
    • For protection for Randy and Nancy, and staff members of the Bible Society and the Christian School where Nancy teaches. (Psalm 91:11)
    • For courage, creativity and the Lord’s guidance as the Bible Society of Egypt seeks to bring God’s word to the nation.

    How You Can Learn More

    If you would like to learn more about the Bible Society of Egypt, the global reach of the United Bible Societies fellowship, and examples of Randy’s work, click on the following links:

    FriFridayNovNovember2nd2012 Vic and Leslie Trautwein
    byGlobal Outreach Tagged No tags 0 comments Add comment

    Ten Years Helping Kids at Risk in the Dominican  

    Vic and Leslie Trautwein and family completed a decade of service this summer with Kids Alive in the Dominican Republic. As second-career missionaries living in the Wheaton area, they went to Latin America in 2002 to serve, teach, and change lives. “Ironically, says Vic, “many of the lessons we have learned are from the very children we came to serve.”

    • From Ricardo, a 17-year-old Haitian refugee who entered our lives for five difficult weeks, we learned that even tough, dangerous street kids have a soft side and respond to God’s love. 
    • From Rubelina, a rebellious teenager and now maturing wife and mom, we learned that nothing done in God’s name is in vain. 
    • From Walkiris, we learned that truly surrendering your life to the Lord makes any hardship bearable and every day full of joy. 
    • From Guesline, an impoverished seven-year-old Haitian girl who almost died of appendicitis, we learned the privilege it is to stand in the gap and fight injustice. 
    • From Valentine, we learned that oppression and senseless abuse are real, yet God’s love and sacrifice have the power to miraculously transform lives and cover sins of the past.   
    One Child’s Story … Meet Jovanny
    Jovanny grew up at the Ark orphanage in Jarabacoa (a program of Kids Alive), where he entered with two sisters after the tragic death of first his father and then his mother.   Twelve years later, he is an exemplary young man who never ceases to amaze me.   Sometimes he has learned things the hard way through poor decisions or neglecting responsibilities.  But under the guidance of house parents and teachers, and with the support of many child sponsors, I have watched Jovanny learn to work, excel in school, serve others, and love God.   Now as an 18-year-old, Jovanny lives once again in his family home with three older siblings and several nieces and nephews.   He goes to school and studies, cares for and works to support the household, and this summer he graduated from high school.   He also plays drums in the worship group and is a leader in our church youth group.   At a young age, life took many hard turns for Jovanny.  But God’s refining fire has forged a young man full of hope and with a future.
    A Surprise Relocation to Wheaton This Summer  
    God’s Plans are Different from Ours … In mid-July, the Trautwein’s lives took a sharp turn. Leslie was surprised to discover via a biopsy in a Dominican hospital that she had breast cancer.  Through God’s provision, they were quickly able to get an appointment at Mayo Clinic.  In August 2012, Leslie had a mastectomy and learned her life expectancy would greatly increase with intensive chemotherapy.  God opened doors for good housing, school, and transportation options in Wheaton and the six Trautweins relocated to a missionary furlough home in record time.     Says Vic: “We are planning to live in Wheaton for at least the 2012-13 school year while Leslie receives treatment.  We are enormously grateful to have so many lifting us up in prayer and providing help for our family.  And we are thankful for access to world-class medical help that so many in the world do not have.”  Check out their post updates at www.CaringBridge.org under “leslietrautwein”).   

    Kids Alive at a Glance
    In the Dominican where Vic oversees the ministry’s operations, Kids Alive has grown to serve over 1,400 children each day in two schools, four care centers, and three orphanages.   Highlights Vic and Leslie share from this year include these:  
    • We graduated more than 65 eighth grade graduates across the island and have a graduation rate that is several times the national average.    Sadly, the government in the DR recently published statistics declaring the crisis in public education, with only 40% graduating from eighth grade and 12% from high school.   
    • We are supporting the university education of a record 34 Kids Alive youth in a country where less than 2% of all youth graduate from college.   
    • In May, we sent teams from three Kids Alive projects to the National AWANA Bible Competition.  Over 700 children from our programs participate in AWANA, and the national headquarters is in one of our schools.   
    • Recently, seven of our youth were baptized after completing a spiritual formation class.  Each publically declared their faith to show their desire to follow Christ with their lives—a joyful and memorable day.   
    • We completed the remodeling and repairs to a home at the Ark Jarabacoa, hired house parents, and reopened this home to rescue and transform the lives of 8-10 more orphaned or abandoned children.   This is our 19th home.  
    • With the help of the German government, we installed solar panels and a diesel generator at the Ark with the hope of dramatically reducing our electric bill. This had freed up resources to help more children.    
    Thank You Wheaton Bible Church! 
    “It is a privilege to serve children in the Dominican Republic and consider ourselves hands and eyes for a larger church body.  Since our departure, Wheaton Bible has been the largest provider of the stipend, which supports our food, housing and general living expenses.   Moreover, more than 200 members have come to lend a hand as members of a work team, summer interns, or in a professional role (teacher, dentist, discipleship training).   We are grateful to have such a strong and dedicated church body supporting the rescue and transformation of at-risk, impoverished children.” 

    Praise and Prayer for the Trautweins:
    • Pray for doctor’s wisdom and Leslie’s healing as the family moves through this time of intense chemotherapy.
    • Pray for wisdom to navigate a sudden transition for their four children to life in the Chicago suburbs.
    • Pray that the Kids Alive ministries continue to thrive during this time, despite the physical absence of the Trautweins.
    • Pray for the physical and spiritual transformation for the continual influx of new children that enter the Kids Alive programs in the Dominican.
    • Praise God for successful surgery for Leslie in August and for provision for their rapid transition to Wheaton.
    • Praise for the privilege of participating in the rescue and transformation of many children’s lives over the last ten years.    
    To contact Vic and Leslie directly:


    Check out www.kidsalive.org to learn more about Kids Alive.
    FriFridaySepSeptember7th2012 Mike and Peggy Lowe
    byGlobal Outreach Tagged No tags 0 comments Add comment

    The Second Season

    The Lowes weren’t always missionaries. In fact, missions and the lives of missionaries were very foreign to them.  Serving as second career missionaries in Greece with Hellenic Ministries (HM) , Mike and Peggy reflect on how their service as missionaries began. 

    Peggy was a stay at home mom raising three children while Mike provided for the family running a construction company. It wasn’t until their early 30’s that they came to know the Lord.  But the Lord wasted no time as he began to prepare them for overseas service in the communities of Du Page County.

    Jumping in with both feet, the Lowes got involved in cross cultural and leadership opportunities both at WBC and in the community. They also began pursuing biblical education through Moody Bible Institute. Mike participated in many short-term missions’ trips throughout the years, which challenged him in his everyday walk.  They believe it was through these trips that God planted the seed that would eventually lead them to becoming full-time second career missionaries.

    They prayed about their desire to finish strong for the Lord. At the same time, WBC missions’ pastors encouraged and directed them as they grew in this journey towards a future in missions. By the end of 2005 all three children had married and left their home. So at the ages of 50 and 48, Mike and Peggy took their first missionary journey to Greece for a six-month “trial run” to make sure this was not some crazy whim! God confirmed His calling on their lives and they returned to the states, sold their home and business, raised prayer and financial support and began their first term as full time missionaries in Greece.

    “It has been an amazing journey”, Mike and Peggy comment, “filled with lots of joys and sorrows, but we wouldn't change a thing. We feel so privileged that God is willing to use us, as ill-equipped as we are, to be His messengers in a very spiritually dry land. We don't know what the future holds for Greece or for us, but we are certain that we can trust God to lead us every step of the way.”

    Peggy says she feels so blessed to have been called to missions with her best friend and husband! And although she is a mother who dearly loves her children and grandchildren, missing them desperately, she cannot deny the call of God–even if it means living several thousand miles away from her family.

    Our Jobs

    Mike and Peggy are both part of The Hope Center ministry team. This is a new ministry that aims to promote the sanctity of human life issues within Greece. Their goal is to educate and inform the biblical value of life in schools and churches, and also to walk alongside pregnant girls who will live in The Hope Center maternity home.

    In addition, Mike works with the local refugee ministry in Athens, facilitating showers, laundry, meals and summer camps. Peggy also assists the Hellenic Ministry team with international finances and administration.

    Mike Shares a Story

    No legal papers to record his birth. He was an isolated angry young man, of Syrian descent that had fled his county because of standing up to corrupt officials who were stealing from his family. Dirty, aggressive, and oh, so angry!

    I approached him to initiate a conversation as he sat at the back of the line waiting for a shower. Over the following weeks, I was able to speak to him about his anger and the love which supersedes hate. He worked beside me day by day as we constructed The Hope Center and slowly, slowly he began to understand the love of Christ–how it could free him from his perceived unpardonable sins and give him eternal life. He embraced this love and now calls me his father and says he would give his life for me. 

    Here on Home Assignment

    The Lowe’s are currently here in the states on home assignment until November 3, 2012.  Get to know them by inviting them over for a meal or visit them in the Wheaton Bible Church Global Outreach Center on Sunday, September 8 between all three services.

    Be sure to hear Peggy speak at the upcoming Brunch with a Missionary on Tuesday, October 16.

    Praise & Prayer from Mike & Peggy

    • Praise: Mike had his right hip replaced on August 17th and is recovering well. They are so grateful for the doctors and the hospital that enabled them to have this surgery.
    • Praise for the successful summer ministries: 7 summer camps and 126,000 New Testaments distributed in Northern Greece.
    • Pray for the Greens who are living in The Hope Center while the Lowe's are on furlough in the States until November 2012. For good relationships in the neighborhood and for wisdom in all their dealings with girls who would live there. 
    • Pray for Greece:  Economic solutions, perseverance to withstand the austerity measures, hope for better days. Please pray that many would find Christ as their Hope in the midst of the current chaos.
    • Pray for God to equip & enable the Mike and Peggy to raise awareness and partners for their personal and The Hope Center (THC) support.

    To contact the Mike and Peggy directly, email them at

    Read Mike and Peggy's blog to learn more about their ministries.

    Check out hellenicministries.org to learn more about Hellenic Ministries.   

    View a photo gallery with recent pictures from the Lowes and their work with Hellenic Ministries in Greece.

    WedWednesdayAugAugust1st2012 Carolyn Adolph
    byGlobal Outreach Tagged No tags 0 comments Add comment

    Returning to Ethiopia...

    Ever wonder what it’s like to be a missionary nurse?
    Just ask WBC missionary Carolyn Adolph, whose passion is providing medical care in remote parts of Africa—particularly in rural Ethiopia. 

    For over 20 years, Carolyn has served with SIM (Serving in Mission) in Africa … using her nursing skills and compassionate spirit.  A life-long learner with a heart for adventure, Carolyn completed her Masters of Science in Primary Care as a Family Nurse Practitioner this spring in the US.  In October, she returns to Ethiopia, a country and people dear to her heart.  She can’t wait!

    From the time she was a little girl, Carolyn always wanted to be a missionary nurse.  Her father Harold Adolph, a missionary surgeon from WBC, founded St. Luke’s Health Care Foundation and Ethiopia’s Soddo Christian Hospital (SCH) in 2005.  Carolyn is thrilled that her new assignment with SIM takes her to the very hospital where her father was chief surgeon. She feels privileged to be able to work at Soddo and be a part of her father's vision for southern Ethiopia.  

    At SCH, she will serve outpatients, help assess high risk pregnancies in surrounding communities, and conduct in-service training for hospital nurses.

    One of the things Carolyn is most excited about is the possibility of working with a team who travel by helicopter to unreached people groups in Ethiopia. Every three months, this team provides a combination of healthcare services and evangelism/discipleship to people who live hours away from any “official” governmental medical care. That means she can meet not only physical needs, but spiritual needs, too.

    Before going to the mission field, Carolyn did her R.N. training at what is now Indiana Wesleyan University, was a staff nurse at Central Dupage Hospital, and earned a Masters in Inter-cultural Studies at Wheaton Graduate School.  Now she adds F.N.P. (Family Nurse Practitioner) to her credentials – equipping her even more to minister in Ethiopia and train other health care staff there.  While working on her masters during her stateside stay, she served as a nurse at a retirement community in Florida associated with SIM. Most recently, she lived in Indianapolis where she finished her degree.

    Pray for Carolyn…

    • Pray for a speedy renewal of her medical license, business visa, and work permit for Ethiopia
    • Pray for opportunities to share with potential supporters before she returns to Ethiopia this fall and that God would provide her financial needs.
    • Pray as she prepares and takes the national certification examination.
    • Pray for opportunities to use her medical expertise in expected and unexpected life-saving ways when she returns to Africa. 

    Learn more...

    • To contact the Carolyn directly, email her at
    • Go to www.soddo.org to learn more about Soddo Christian Hospital.   SCH attended to 17,900 patients last year, of which 3,900 were surgical patients. 
    • Soddo Christian Hospital is also one of five surgical training centers in Africa, supervised and accredited by the Pan-African Academy of Christian Surgeons (PAACS).   For more information, go to www.paacs.net
    • In addition, check out www.sim.org
    MonMondayJulJuly9th2012 The Muhling Family
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    Yuko and Kent Muhling, along with Joshua, Caleb, and Sophie 

    Just over a year ago Kent Muhling was in Sendai City in Japan, heading out every day to deliver relief supplies to communities devastated by the tsunami of March 2011.

    Now, after much prayer and numerous trips into the area, Kent, his wife Yuko, and their three children are preparing to move to Sendai, a city of one million, to spearhead a new church planting effort there!   Coastal regions of Sendai suffered great devastation from the earthquake in 2011 that triggered the tsunami.  

    “Many mission agencies and Japanese churches recognize the urgent need to follow relief work with church planting,” writes Kent. “One such group is the Presbyterian Church in Japan, who we will serve alongside as missionaries with Asian Access. The PCJ is a denomination in Japan that has experienced remarkable growth over the last 20 years in the Tokyo area, but which has no churches in Tohoku region. At least not yet!” “As the leaders of the Presbyterian Church of Japan prayed about beginning a new church planting initiative in Tohoku, they concluded that Sendai MUST be a base city for church planting,” writes Kent.

    “The goal for that first church plant is to impact the largest city in the region, Sendai, and establish a launching ground for future church planting efforts throughout the region. This would be the ‘spearhead’ church plant for the initial ten-year church planting project that is planned for the region. “

    Kent and Yuko are excited about the church planter they will partner with.  His name is Rev. Daisuke Kimura. In God’s amazing providence, this is the same pastor Kent and Yuko worked with on their first summer mission trip to Japan as seminary students 12 years ago!

    Pray for the Muhlings

    1. That God will provide the right home for them in Sendai. There is a severe housing shortage  due to many displaced people coming in from the tsunami-devastated coastal regions, companies sending in workers to aid in reconstruction, and those like the Muhlings who want to minister to those in need.
    2. That the Muhling kids can get connected to new friends when they move.  Since Yuko home schools the children, they are not immersed in the Japanese school system.  Pray they have other opportunities, through sports and community activities, to develop good relationships with Japanese families. 
    3. That the church planting efforts will be successful. Pray that the Muhlings and the Japanese pastor they partner will make strong connections in the community, see people come to faith, and that a church plant will be born.
    4. That Kent and Yuko will  “BE” first and then “DO.”  The Lord continually reminds us that if our lives are not rooted in Him, then it doesn’t matter much where we live or what we do,” says Kent.  “We simply won’t be of much use to Him.” 
    Please pray with the Muhlings according to Ephesians 3:16-18 

    That He may strengthen us with power through his Spirit in our inner being, so that Christ may dwell in our hearts through faith.

    Learn More...

    To read encouraging stories of what is happening through the ministry of Asian Access,  the agency that the Muhlings are associated with, visit asianaccess.org.  For over 40 years, Asian Access has deployed short- and long-term missionaries to partner with over 600 local congregations and national leaders in Japan to start and strengthen Japanese churches.

    To contact the Muhlings directly, email them at

    MonMondayJunJune4th2012 The Shedd Family
    byGlobal Outreach Tagged No tags 0 comments Add comment

    Julianna, Katelyn, Dan, Sheryl, Jonathan, Andrew and Micah

    Dan and Sheryl Shedd knew they were called to be missionaries even before they were married. Four years later, in 1988, God led them to Quito, Ecuador to work with HCJB Global.HCJB is a worldwide broadcasting ministry, and even though the initials HCJB might sound strange as the name of their ministry, they are actually the call letters of a Christian radio station in Quito.

    The Shedds have been in Ecuador 20 years, starting when they were as a young married couple. Now they are a family of 10!

    Dan Shedd is Vice President and Executive Director of the Latin American Region of HCJB. In addition, he serves as the Board Treasurer for HCJB Global. Since most of Latin America is considered to be “reached” with the gospel, one of HCJB’s primary goals in the region Dan oversees is to help train Latin Americans through their “Corrientes” program to go out as missionaries to other parts of the world.

    Sheryl keeps busy homeschooling their four youngest children—Katelyn, 15; Jonathan,13; Andrew,11; and a little boy they adopted from Ecuador named Micah, who is now 7 years old. Their four oldest—Rachel, Steven, Christina, and Julianna—live in the United States.

    Excerpts from a recent update from Sheryl Shedd…

    “We arrived back in Ecuador in September, 2011.  It’s been a whirlwind nine months.  Dan’s multiple roles as Vice President of Finance, CFO, Board Treasurer and Executive Director for Latin America have been too much—even affecting his blood pressure.  But we are working with the mission to turn over some things to someone else.  In addition, moving back and setting up a house here again has been stressful (Where are you Craig’s List!!!?). You might be surprised to know that your missionaries struggle with the same things you do—finances, crazy schedules, health issues, and things like that, no matter where they live in the world!

    Another joy of returning to Ecuador has been being part of the church we started in 1999, La Iglesia de la Gracia.  All but one of the elders and deacons are Ecuadorian nationals.  People are being effectively discipled.  They have many of the same problems as people in the U.S.  but it’s wonderful to see the support they have for one another and their growth.

    Dan has been encouraged to see his Assistant Controller grow in his knowledge of the Lord. Since coming to work at HCJB three years ago, Jaime has made a profession of faith.  Now he, his wife and three grown sons attend church with us. Dan is spending time with Jaime in a weekly Bible study; he’s delighted to see God's Spirit working in Jaime’s life.

    Another joy!  Our church was able to pay off their mortgage for the house where they meet (which was renovated into a church).  Now they are building more educational space!  Plus the church was able to hire a pastor in August 2011 after six years of elders sharing the preaching responsibility.

    One of the ways our family is involved in our church is by offering weekly English classes to neighborhood and church kids as an outreach.  Our daughter Julianna prepares the lessons and organizes the helpers, and we (Dan and Sheryl) end each class with a Bible Story (in English, of course).  We are also delighted to host the church youth group twice a month, where we are studying the Truth Project by Focus on the Family.

    Pray for the Shedd Family:

    • For Julianna (18), as she transitions to the U.S. and starts college in the fall at John Brown University in Arkansas.
    • Dan’s dad, Hudson, who has an incurable blood disease.
    • For the Ecuadorian people and the Church in Ecuador because laws are being revised that affect how Christian groups can do ministry.
    • For HCJB to effectively use broadcasting to bring people to Jesus and help them grow.
    • For a possible opportunity to use HCJB’s education branch to assist Ecuadorian seminaries to regain legal recognition.
    • For more financial and prayer partners to join them in ministry.

    Learn More...

    To read encouraging stories of what is happening through the ministry of HCJB that Dan Shedd helps oversee in Latin America, visit www.hcjb.org.

    To contact them directly, email them at .

    "Keep your eyes fixed on Jesus."
    [In Spanish: “Con la mira puesto en Cristo.”]
    Hebrews 12:2
    MonMondayAprApril2nd2012 The Baird Family
    byGlobal Outreach Tagged No tags 0 comments Add comment
    Brandon (10), Beckie, Cristen (13), and Marcus Baird

    The Bairds have been missionaries with Good News Jail & Prison Ministry since 1995. Good News provides more chaplains to correctional facilities than any other organization in the world. Marcus serves as a chaplain (pastor) with the Colorado Department of Corrections, working in three prisons. He counsels prisoners, staff, and officers. He also helps lead and facilitate worship services, Bible studies, and classes to help inmates lead productive lives when they are released from prison. Beckie, a busy mom, works part-time doing demos with CROSSMARK at Wal-Mart, provides childcare at Woodmen Valley Chapel, and volunteers at Brandon’s school.

    Did you know:

    • People who have been arrested for a crime are held in temporary holding places called local jails. If sentenced for more than one year, they are transferred to the state or federal correctional system, known as prison.
    • At year-end 2010, there were 1.6 million people incarcerated in state and federal correctional systems in the U.S.
    • Ninety-six percent of those incarcerated (in jail or prison) today will one day return to our communities.
    • At year-end 2010, about 7.1 million people, or 1 in 33 adults were under supervision of U.S. correctional authorities. This includes people on parole or probation.
    • Chaplains who work in Colorado prisons must go through the same basic training as correctional officers, learning to protect themselves and others, and to be aware of security and safety concerns.
    • One of the goals of prison is to teach inmates to change the way they have previously lived their lives. For lasting life change, they desperately need Jesus—the same as all people who do not know Him.
    • Jesus Himself tells us to help those who are in prison:
    For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, . . . I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.’ Then the righteous will answer him, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you something to drink? When did we see you a stranger and invite you in, . . .? When did we see you sick or in prison and go to visit you?’ The King will reply, ‘I tell you the truth, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers of mine, you did for me.'  Matthew 25:35–40

    A Recent Story from Chaplain Marcus Baird

    For a long time we’ve had difficulty finding Spanish-speaking volunteers to provide Bible studies and worship services in the prisons. Not long ago I come across a dozen or so Experiencing God workbooks (Henry Blackaby’s modern Christian classic that has helped millions of people come to know God better and experience the depth of His love) in Spanish. After getting the go-ahead to adjust some schedules at the prison, I was able to arrange a Spanish study group that would use these workbooks. The guys were so appreciative!

    A bilingual man I’ve worked with is part of that group and regularly gives me updates on how the group is going and what they are learning. I'm excited to say that five of these offenders have come to Christ and are setting a prime example for other men and for their families, as they demonstrate what it means to experience God in their own lives. This group is growing by leaps and bounds and continues to be an active part of “the church behind bars.”

    We have also begun a Christian Movie Night each week for the Spanish-speaking population. Recently these groups of men completed the Jesus video and the Gospel of Matthew movie (from the Visual Bible series) and are now working through the Gospel of John movie.

    These resources have brought new impact to our ministry to Spanish-speaking men. Introducing them to quality Christian movies and entertainment has opened a whole new perspective for these men!

    Thank you, Wheaton Bible Church! Your support and prayers make these ministries possible!

    Pray for the Bairds…

    • Pray that correctional staff and prisoners will open their hearts to God’s direction and His plan for their lives.
    • Pray that inmates who come to know Christ will grow in their faith and not end up back in jail when they are released.
    • Pray that more people will financially support the Good News Jail & Prison Ministry so more inmates can learn about the transforming power of Christ.
    • Pray for the right medical treatment for Marcus, who has complications from diabetes, and that Beckie would find a full-time job.

    Good News Jail & Prison Ministry celebrates 50 years…

    In 1961, correctional chaplaincy was the exclusive province of the federal and state prison systems. A local jail might have a pastor or pastors volunteering to come in on Sunday, but an on-site chaplain was basically nonexistent.

    A young Bible college student in Washington, DC changed all that in 1961. Dr. William L. Simmer’s vision of placing evangelical, Christian chaplains in local jails to minister to inmates became reality with the founding of Good News Mission (now Good News Jail & Prison Ministry) and the placement of the ministry’s first chaplain in the Fairfax County, Virginia jail.

    In 1983, Dr. Simmer passed the mantle of leadership to Harry L. Greene, his "son in the faith." Harry had trusted Christ in 1964 in the Arlington County, Virginia…..Read more

    Contact the Bairds, , directly to receive regular prayer updates and/or to inquire about joining their support team.

    Also visit Good News on Facebook to learn more about the Baird’s ministry. 

    ThuThursdayMarMarch1st2012 The Aspegren Family
    byGlobal Outreach Tagged No tags 0 comments Add comment

    Phil, Jill, Skyler (17), Laramie (15), and Jadmin (12)

    The Aspegrens are missionaries in Costa Rica who direct the work of Casa Viva, an organization that engages local churches and local families to care for children who don’t have a safe place to sleep. Christian families open their homes to these children, and offer love and safety. Casa Viva’s staff supports the families and churches, works to restore the children to their biological families, and interacts with the government.

    Casa Viva Costa Rica is about to place their 100th child in care which is a significant milestone for them. They’re also hosting a Ten Tasks conference in March for several ministries from Guatemala. Their desire is to make an impact across the region for care based in local families and churches.

    A Story Worthy of Celebration -Welcome Home Mariana!
    A Casa Viva Story
    Written by Philip Aspegren

    It started like any other day for Mariana . . .
    She woke up, dressed for school, and headed out the door. But by 9:30am, social workers from Costa Rica’s child welfare department had arrived at Mariana’s school to remove her from her home. The neglect and abuse had been noticed; it could go on no more. The government intervened. They took Mariana from her classroom, and drove off in a van on a ride into the unknown.

    It’s 10:30am now, and 10 year old Mariana, timid and shy, sits trembling in the child welfare office. She hadn’t known she was leaving. She didn’t say goodbye to her family or friends. Her home, her clothes, everything she had known, was all gone. “Where am I going?” she asked.

    What happens to girls like Mariana around the world -children who for some reason or another become separated from their family? What happens to them? Where do they go? For most children, the story ends long term in an orphanage. But God had something different in store for Mariana.

    On the Other Side of Town . . .
    A different story is playing out. Four people huddle in a home fervently praying for a girl they have not yet met. A couple, their thirteen year old daughter, and a Casa Viva Holistic Care staff member passionately asked God to give them the love and the wisdom they will need to bless the life of the girl who would soon come into their home.

    The call had come in the night before, but the preparations had been going on for weeks. All three family members had attended the Casa Viva family training. They’d expanded a bedroom and painted the house to make sure that the girl God would send would feel welcome. They had a desire to open their hearts and their home for the child. They had been praying for weeks for the unknown girl.

    When the child welfare department called Casa Viva to inquire about a space for Mariana, Casa Viva responded, “Yes! We have a home.” The answer surprised the government worker. “Thank God for you all,” she said. “The girl is quiet and docile and shouldn’t be in an orphanage.”

    And now it is 11:50am. The van pulls up to the door. Mariana gets out and looks at this new family. How can she know they are there waiting to love her?

    The family had prepared a special meal of rice and beans and spaghetti – a classic Costa Rican meal. They prayed before the meal began: “Lord, thank you for the life of Mariana, and bless this food.”

    That prayer was enough to start Mariana talking. “I had a Bible, but it got left in my house.” The connection had begun. It would be all right. For now, Mariana was safe and loved in a new home.

    The family’s church, a Casa Viva church in Alajuela, mobilized to provide some needed items – a bed, sheets and blankets, clothes, and shoes. A doctor from the church offered a general check-up. Some of the volunteer coordinators from the church stopped by to introduce themselves to Mariana. Casa Viva was able to provide other needed items.

    Johana, Casa Viva’s Holistic Care staff member, wanted to give Mariana a special gift. “She needs a stuffed animal.” Searching, all she could find was a Rudolf the Red Nose Reindeer. “It will do.” When the Casa Viva mother saw it, she said, “Do you know Rudolf’s story? He was rejected by everyone but became a leader for others.”

    May Mariana’s story end that way.

    Pray for the Aspegren Family:

    • Pray that more churches and families would engage on behalf of children.
    • Pray for our Casa Viva Costa Rica staff as they work and minister at many different levels.
    • Pray that broken families in Costa Rica will be restored and reunited.
    • Pray for the educational needs of all three Aspegren boys, including their college searches.
    • Pray for patience as they navigate the various items that are currently in need of repair.

    “Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of God belongs to such as these.” –Mark 10:14

    To read more about the Aspegren family and Casa Viva, go to www.casaviva.org. Check out their blogs–Casa Viva Costa Rica and the Casa Viva Greenhouse and their new Casa Viva Monthly E-Newsletter.

    SunSundayJanJanuary1st2012 Brian and Margery Van Zante
    byGlobal Outreach Tagged No tags 0 comments Add comment

    Brian and Margery Van Zante are WBC missionaries who work with college students in Japan through The Navigators. One of the innovative ministries they lead is a group called the "BEST Club" at Shizuoka University.  BEST is an acronym for Bible, English, Sports, and Travel. They have three children–Robbie (12), Brianne (10), and Sarah (8).

    This has been an extraordinary year for the VanZante family. In addition to their regular ministry opportunities, they witnessed the aftermath of an 8.9 magnitude earthquake that hit Japan on March 11, 2011. The strongest quake ever recorded in Japan, it set off a devastating tsunami that sent walls of water washing over coastal cities in the north. Hundreds of lives were lost and thousands of homes were destroyed.

    The VanZantes live 250 miles from the epicenter of the earthquake. They felt it strongly, but there was no damage to their city. Since then, the VanZantes have made several trips to the region most damaged, helping victims in many ways –modeling the “hands and feet of Jesus.

    A recent update from Brian……

    November 14, 2011

    Here's an excellent short video describing what we'll be doing this weekend - and why…..

    Our family, along with 21 BEST Club college students and staff, travelled 350 miles to the cities of Sendai and Ishinomaki to help with tsunami relief work.  Connecting with staff in the affected areas, we took part in The Japan Navigators ongoing relief efforts since the March 11 tsunami, earthquake, and nuclear incident.  I was struck by how much progress has been made since I visited in May, and how much is left to be done! A good analogy of the spiritual condition of Japan: still much work left to be done in the hearts of our friends here.

    Our children were deeply impacted by what they saw.  Tall piles of garbage for as far as the eye could see. Many, many washed out houses, schools and buildings; boats and cars still piled on top of each other.  Robbie, Brianne and Sarah each commented on the situation: "Hey look - a mountain of trash!"… "Mom, I can't sleep. Do you think a tsunami will come to our house?"…"Dad, it smells bad around here - why?!"

     It was life-changing for them to serve the people of these suffering communities and hear their stories firsthand. They brought back pictures to their schools and reported to their classes about what they had seen. One afternoon, our group served an Imonikai (a sweet-potato stew event) at a local park in Ishinomaki. This is the same location devastated by the tsunami where we have been building relationships and serving since March. Many are still living in homes half swept away by the tsunami. It was very moving to hear their stories of survival and struggle. We also helped with clean-up and removing debris at parks and homes.  We are studying the Bible regularly with many of these students who came on the trip with us.

    Photos of the Van Zantes and their work in Japan:

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    Will you pray for……?

    • Please continue to pray for the people in these devastated communities, that they would come to see the hope of Christ. 
    • Pray for college students the Van Zantes work with, that they see a need for a Savior.
    • Their son, Robbie, is finishing 6th grade at a Japanese elementary school and will begin home-schooling. Pray for a good adjustment.  His sisters will stay in the Japanese school.
    • Pray for Marjorie Van Zante, who had major knee surgery and has many months of rehab to go.

    To learn more about the VanZante family and their ministry in Japan, check out their blog: Blessingsandpoplartrees.wordpress.com
    MonMondayDecDecember5th2011 Scott and Barb Harbert
    byGlobal Outreach Tagged No tags 0 comments Add comment

    Scott and Barb Harbert work with Africa Inland Mission (AIM) in Nakuru, Kenya. Scott serves as Prayer Coordinator and Trainer for the Africa Inland Church (AIC) of Kenya. Barb coordinates the HIV/AIDS partnership between our church and the AIC Nakuru Region, our Heart for AIDS Initiative. The Harberts are currently in the U.S. on Home Assignment through the end of February.

    In August they became empty nesters as they took their youngest son, Matthew, to Florida Southern College in Lakeland. Jeff, their middle son, is finishing his last year at Valparaiso University in Indiana, working on a degree in Sports Management and News Media. Josh, their oldest, and his wife, Sarah, who live in the Chicago land area, are expecting their first child in February. Scott and Barb are very excited to be able to meet their first grandchild before returning back to their mission field in Kenya!

    God is at work in Kenya – On October 31, the Harberts shared these updates on what’s been happening:

    Heart For AIDS Initiative

    Recently Kenya went to war with the Al Shabab terrorist group in Somalia. That has made Kenya more insecure, especially since terrorists do not fight fairly. In spite of this insecurity, the Gospel is going forward as our Kenyan partners catch a missionary vision from our Wheaton Bible Church GO Teams. Last week Josephine, a partner who oversees Hope For Life in Nakuru, made a difficult and dangerous trip into Turkana with three others. Fueled with compassion for the unreached people of Turkana, their mission was to assess how transformational development* might have an impact in Northern Kenya. Her team met many who were barely surviving the drought—their only source of sustenance was sorghum, a leading cereal grain produced in Africa.      

    Josephine wrote, “In this desert region, people walk holding a gun just like it is a shepherding stick. The place is very dry, people are naked, and many grieve the loss of family members. They do not care about life and they thirst for comfort and someone to tell them that God cares. All they know is that they are God’s rejects and that is why they live in such a place and life is meaningless to them. However, they told us that even if this God is uncaring, at least the enemies have not swept them.”

    The team taught and preached, and led over 100 people into a relationship with a loving God. While there, they visited many homes, discussed ideas for income generation, and advocated for schooling girls, who typically are married off at a very young age. Their visit made a big impact. “We have had visitors, but you people have shown us the promised love of that God who protects us. Your love is God’s love and it has touched us as a community. We thought we are God’s rejects but now your love has shown us that we are God’s best.”

    On December 16, Josephine and a small team of church leaders will be returning to Turkana for a follow-up visit.

    “In Your solemn presence, O God, I remember all my friends and neighbors, my fellow townsfolk, and especially the poor within our gates, asking that You would give me grace, so far as in me lies, to serve them in Your name.” John Baillee, Scottish theologian

    Prayer Renewal Area

    The Lord is also using the Prayer Renewal Area teams. In one meeting of 40 pastors from an area where there has been a lot of division over the last couple of years, they were challenged to stop quarreling and come back to the Lord and each other through prayer. During the time of prayer, many with tears of repentance confessed their sins and asked for forgiveness from the Lord and from each other.

    Other area teams are also beginning to meet and carry out their plans—with a commitment to starting at home. One participant, Caren, shared that her family’s devotions have been enriched by new ways of praying. Interestingly, she said she loves to kneel when she prays and had encouraged her children to do the same. She finally realized that in their culture, when children are disciplined, they are forced to kneel. Once she freed her children to worship in the style that suited them, they began to love these times of family worship. 

    Will you pray for the Harberts?

    1. Pray for the work in Nakuru, Kenya. Pray that God would continue to raise up and develop Kenyan leaders who are passionate about transforming their communities. That families affected by HIV would be healed and restored and come to know Christ.
    2. Pray for discernment on next steps in helping the Turkana people realize their potential as God’s image bearers.
    3. Pray for the Prayer Renewal Area teams as they implement their two year plans to mobilize and train the church regarding prayer.
    4. Pray for God’s protection over Kenya, and also for Barb’s brother, Scott Gration, who is US Ambassador to Kenya.
    5. Pray for daughter-in-law Sarah to have a safe delivery and for a healthy baby Harbert.

    What is Transformational Development?

    Barb Harbert comments below…

    "God created man in His image. He made us to be creative, to love, to have dignity, and to have choices. He also created man to be in four key relationships: with Himself, with others, with self, and with creation. With the fall into sin, however, these relationships became distorted. Our mission is helping restore these distorted relationships.

     We want people to understand that God has gifted them with creativity, relationships, natural resources, health, time, and many other resources. In addition, as God's image bearers they have a God-given mandate to be stewards – using their God-given resources to begin to solve their problems, rather than waiting for the next hand out – and in Christ becoming agents of reconciliation.

    For this to happen there needs to be a paradigm shift in worldview (or understanding who we are): created by God and redeemed through the blood of Christ. Transformational development is holistic, transforming communities through restored relationships.”

    Additional Resources:
    Walking with the Poor, Principles and Practices of Transformational Development
    Bryant L. Myers
    When Helping Hurts, How to Alleviate Poverty without Hurting the Poor and Yourself
    Steve Corbett & Brian Fikkert    
    TueTuesdayNovNovember1st2011 Greg and Faith Hurst

    In 1997 Greg, Faith and newborn Kayla embarked on a short-term mission experience in La Paz, Bolivia. On that trip, God put a vision in their hearts to someday start a church there. When Kayla was two and second daughter Hannah was only seven weeks old, the family moved to La Paz in response to God’s calling. Shortly thereafter, Mariah was born, and they have lived in Bolivia, serving with SIM (Serving in Mission), ever since.

    Through the years, the Hurst family mission has remained the same: To make disciples so that the Bolivian church will become a mature witness of Christ in their city of La Paz, throughout rural Bolivia, and to the ends of the earth (Acts 1:8). Their focus is discipleship through youth ministry and church planting, centered around a church plant known today The Mallasilla Bible Church. Along the way, they have also helped to establish an English‐speaking, Christian international school, started an economic development project, and served in SIM mission leadership.

    Early on they began working with a small group of youth in their church in La Paz, with the hope that they would become mature young adults who follow Jesus—some of whom would stay at the church and become leaders, others whom would be sent out in teams to start new churches. That group included Sergio and Paula, who recently reflected on the past ten years.

    Sergio & Paula
    Sergio remembers those youth group days: “It was then that God awoke the passion in our hearts to serve in ministry.” Paula adds, “It’s hard to believe all that has happened in just ten years, from those humble beginnings to our attending the Urbana Missions conference in the United States.” She also recalls the church plant, Sergio’s medical studies, and now their marriage!”

    “When working as a doctor at a local hospital in La Paz,” Sergio recalls, “Paula and I went to the jungle on a short-term trip.  God stirred a passion that had already been in us for years—to serve as missionaries to our own country. We can’t help sharing the good news of Christ with others because of how he has changed our lives!”

    Sergio and Paula left the city to serve in the Amazon Jungle of Bolivia with a mission agency called Samaritan’s Purse. They work on a boat equipped as a floating clinic, ministering to the physical needs of people far from help in the remotest areas of their country. In the process, they find doors opened to address deep spiritual needs, share the gospel, and make disciples.

    Faith Hurst recalls the poignant moment the elders and ministry team of the newly founded Mallasilla Bible Church prayed over Sergio and Paula to send them out as their own missionaries! Their dear friends Sergio and Paula had become trusted leaders in ministry!

    Greg comments, “It’s been amazing to watch God touch the lives of these young Bolivians to become mature servants of God. He is building His church using ‘living bricks’—people like Sergio and Paula!” But they are not the only living bricks that God has provided for The Mallasilla Bible Church (TMBC)…

    Pastor Edgar
    Pastor Edgar shepherds the family of God at TMBC, committed to raising up leaders who live and teach God’s word. He leads a two-year intensive discipleship group called “Equipping Servants” to prepare pastors, elders, and lay leaders for TMBC and future church plants.

    From Aymara and Quechua Indian families, both Edgar and his wife Becky graduated from college and worked for years as a lawyer and teacher. God has given Pastor Edgar a special gift for sharing Christ with Bolivians from all walks of life; he makes God’s Word come alive through stories that reach the hearts of ordinary people. As a result, The Mallasilla Bible Church reflects the diversity of its community—from bricklayers to bankers!

    The Mallasilla Bible Church
    The body of believers began in October 2007 in the home of a family living in Mallasilla. Outgrowing the house, the congregation moved into a nearby school. As the followers continued to multiply, they bought a lot and drew up an architectural design to build a church facility. They are raising funds and hope to begin construction at the end of the rainy season in March, 2012.

    Pastor Edgar explains, “The vision of this church centers on the awesome message of what God has done through Christ on the Cross. We glorify God by making disciples who express the power of the Gospel in their own lives. Only by God’s grace can we love him, grow together and reach our world.”

    God is building His church—person by person, brick by brick, stone by stone!

    The Hurst’s are currently living in Wheaton on Home Assignment (HMA) until January, 2012.
    You may contact Greg & Faith at and / phone 630.563.5379.

    See More Photos of what God is doing in La Paz:

    Would you pray with the Hursts?

    • Thank God for the opportunities that the Hurst Family has enjoyed over furlough to re-connect with relatives and friends and make new friends at Wheaton Bible Church. 
    • Pray for the Hursts as they transition back to Bolivia after Christmas, returning to La Paz to serve through their church plant, The Mallasilla Bible Church.
    • Pray for the many children in Mallasilla who come to church without their parents, asking that the Lord would bring whole families into a personal relationship with Christ.
    • Pray for wisdom as Pastor Edgar works to balance all his responsibilities as pastor, seminary professor, national leader, husband and father.
    • Pray that the Lord will raise up in 2011 the remaining support necessary to start construction on the new church facilities in 2012.
    • Pray that the believers of Mallasilla Bible Church would “pass it on”: that parents would study God’s Word with their children to make disciples among the next generation, and that the members of the church would in time launch new churches in other neighborhoods.    
    SatSaturdayOctOctober1st2011 Kevin and Rahela Conway

    After several years serving in Bosnia and Croatia, the Conway family will be moving to Budapest, Hungary when they return to Europe next summer. Kevin and Rahela are joining Cru (formerly Campus Crusade for Christ). Kevin will be the new Director for their Institute for Biblical and Theological Studies (IBTS), the training arm for Cru's 1,100 full-time staff (both nationals and ex-pats) in 18 countries throughout Eastern Europe and Russia. He will also provide biblical input into policies implemented by Cru’s other ministries. They will only be two hours away from their former home in Osijek, Croatia, so they expect to return often to continue their work there with churches and with Evangelical Theological Seminary (ETF). Kevin and Rahela have three children, Abi, Joseph, and Kara, and they are living in Wheaton on Home Ministry Assignment (HMA) until July 2012.

    Kevin and Rahela sent us this glimpse of their ministry back in March.

    Greetings from the Balkans!

    I (Kevin) had a short break planned in February but was then given the opportunity to teach pastors-in-training down in Sarajevo, Bosnia-Herzegovina that same week. We had a great time going through Acts and Paul’s letters together.

    I could not believe how long it had been since Rahela and I had spent any meaningful time in Sarajevo. I recall during the war that it was listed as the most dangerous place in the world to live. We lived in a town nearby and would often make trips to Sarajevo to help with whatever was needed at the time. It was so encouraging to catch up with some former students and fellow-workers. Bosnia is a very difficult place to minister. One of our friends told us how she felt a “teski duh” (heavy spirit) every time she entered Bosnia and she is from there! I was very encouraged by the faithfulness of these committed men and women of God in reaching out with the light of Christ in a very dark place.

    As soon as I arrived back via the train to our city of Osijek, Rahela headed off to the town of Crikvenica for a Vjeronauk (“Teaching of the Faith”) conference. The closest thing we have to this in the States would be “Sunday School.” However, in Croatia Vjeronauk is part of the public school curriculum and every child must be enrolled. Protestant kids are allowed to take the “classes” at their local churches on Sundays. Rahela and about 60 youth workers arrived in Crikvenica for a long weekend of meetings and talks. It was a great opportunity for Rahela to meet up with a lot of old friends (again many of them attended the school where we work) to learn more creative ways for training our children and youth about Christ. Rahela says that it was great to be reminded how important it is to invest only our best efforts in the training of the upcoming generation.

    Though Bosnia and Croatia are part of the former country called Yugoslavia, it is amazing how different they are. One thing they have in common, though, is a desperate need for the Good News that only Jesus Christ can offer. Thank you for investing a part of yourselves in us so that we can go and make disciples. Likewise, we have been blessed to see our investment in others also reaping fruit for the Kingdom! Isn’t God great?!

    Would you pray with the Conways?

    1. That people would answer God's call to become pastors in order to start and lead new churches in Croatia.
    2. For Evangelical Theological Seminary, that it would be faithful to God in training these leaders.
    3. That the family ministry begun in churches would grow.
    4. For the Youth Movement in Croatian churches—that it would flourish and that youth would continue to bring their peers to Christ.
    5. For Croatian church leaders—that they would exercise humility with each other. There is a lot of disunity right now.
    5 photos
    ThuThursdaySepSeptember1st2011 Chris and Mindy Beetham

    hris and Mindy Beetham work with Serving in Mission (SIM) in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. Chris serves as lecturer in Biblical studies at the Evangelical Theological College and as lecturer in New Testament at the Ethiopian Graduate School of Theology. Mindy serves as chair of the governing board of Bingham Academy, an international school in Addis, and also prays with women involved in discipleship. Chris and Mindy have five children, Sam, Kate, Erin, John, and Ben, and they are living in Wheaton on Home Ministry Assignment (HMA) until December 2011.

    Chris sent us this story in August.

    I liked Yoseph* immediately. I had just completed a lecture on the nature of kingship in the Old Testament books of 1–2 Samuel. After class, Yoseph—with humility I would discover is characteristic of him—asked thoughtful questions about the lecture. His queries reflected the combination of keen intellect and spiritual maturity that I had been searching for. As a professor deeply interested in training future trainers, Yoseph was a student in whom I could uniquely invest.

    Yoseph, it turned out, had come to Christ from a radically different faith background. I’m unsure exactly what happened to his father, but his mother raised him with little help. He grew up in the small and shabby hotel his mother ran to eke out an income. Since it was situated adjacent to the Merkato in Addis Ababa, the largest open-air market in Africa, Yoseph grew up experiencing the colorful sights and sounds of this melting pot of cultures and languages. The colors and feel of woven textiles, the tantalizing scents of wild spices, the earthy hues of grains and lentils, the dark and rich aromas of teas and coffees—these all mingled to form an intoxicating blend of sensory stimulation. One could unearth anything in the Merkato. Even camels and Soviet AK-47 assault rifles could be purchased for the right price. Pickpockets and thieves, however, roamed the Merkato, searching for easy targets. Yoseph therefore grew up streetwise and watched himself closely, to ensure he did not become their victim.

    I do not now recall how Yoseph stumbled upon Jesus Christ, but I know that the road was difficult because of his relatives. Yoseph nevertheless grew quickly in his newly-found faith, and by the time he was twenty-four he began to pastor an independent church in Addis Ababa. Somewhat to his own surprise, the church grew exponentially under his leadership and preaching. Young people especially found in him someone they could trust. It was in the midst of success that Yoseph began to yearn for formal biblical training. He joined the Evangelical Theological College and we met when he was in the middle of his second year in the degree program.  

    Yoseph soon found some of his theological assumptions challenged. He found numerous instructors demanding and stimulating, but he informs me that it was two missionary instructors in particular who forced him to rethink some of his assumptions through a biblical grid. Yoseph found that solid biblical training had become invaluable to his own thinking and consequently to his ministry. Soon Yoseph discovered that a new passion had birthed inside him. He loved studying the Scriptures in a rigorous way, and he desired to share his learning with other leaders of the Ethiopian evangelical movement.

    So upon completion of his studies at our college, Yoseph applied and was accepted to one of the finest evangelical seminaries in the United States. He resigned from his pastoral position, scrapped together the money to buy an airline ticket, and began his studies stateside in 2010. Yoseph’s vision is to complete his doctorate in New Testament and then return to Ethiopia, in order to invest in the Ethiopian church.  

    Mentoring is nothing new. Jesus did it with the twelve disciples, and they turned the world upside down. As Mindy and I continue to serve in Ethiopia, I do not see my ministry as merely to teach courses at an institution. My ultimate service is to work myself out of a job, training future trainers and mentoring future mentors, so that someday an Ethiopian can and will take over my role at the college. How did Pastor Rob Bugh put it in his sermon on August 21? “Be One, Make One.” I suppose it really is about as simple as that.  

    *The student’s real name is protected for security purposes.
    MonMondayAugAugust1st2011 Eric and Kathy Gundy
    byGlobal Outreach Tagged No tags 0 comments Add comment

    Eric and Kathy Gundy serve with International Teams (IT) in Ersieke, Albania. Eric is the program director and principal for Torchbearers – Albania, which includes camp, conference, and Bible school ministries. Kathy is the finance manager for the foundation. The Gundys are also involved in local church leadership, preaching, teaching, and discipleship ministries. Eric and Kathy are in the U.S. right now to help their daughter, Abigail, get started in college this fall. They have one child, Josiah, still at home.

    We received this email from them on May 14.

    Hello and Greetings from Erseka, Albania,

    Thank you for keeping us in your thoughts and prayers.  To our amazement God continues to use us and he continues to challenge and teach us. It seems that along with much of the western church our heavenly Father is teaching us about our responsibilities toward the poor and oppressed in the world around us.

    Along with you, we are struggling with what it means to be "wealthy" in a very poor world. I really do not like the feelings of guilt, defensiveness and helplessness that accompany this discussion and like many of you we do not feel comfortable with the tag of "wealthy".

    I don't feel rich. Most of the friends I went to school with and even my own family might like to put a few labels on me, but never "wealthy".

    However, when I honestly compare myself with the rest of the world, the shoe definitely does fit (and in my case it is "shoes" and even multiple pairs of shoes). Here in Erseka we have a close to 70% unemployment rate.

    The needs are so many and so varied that it is difficult to not feel overwhelmed and helpless to make a difference. What can we do that doesn't create dependency? How can we help in a way that is really helpful? How can we do more to help meet people’s physical needs and make sure that we are continuing to meet the spiritual needs? (I thought God had called us to Erseka to meet the spiritual needs - teach, preach, evangelize, disciple, etc.). So I guess we are late in discovering that these should not be so easily separated in how we reach out in Jesus’ name and love those around us. 

    We are learning. So please pray for us as we wrestle with and think about how God would like us to respond to the needs of some of our friends and neighbors who are going through hard times.

    When I visited Tirana* and Jehona* along with their Dad two weeks ago, I could stand in their hallway and look up through their ceiling, through their roof and see the great big blue sky (it was a good thing it wasn't raining, or I would have been wet). These two sisters are a part of our church’s high school group and are a real gift to our whole church family. How do we help them in a way that helps protect their dignity and also addresses their long term needs? Pray for wisdom and real, effective and God-honoring and solutions.

    Jules came with his wife and young son asking for a place to stay. They live in the village and through some unfortunate circumstances and some poor choices they fell out with his family and cannot live there anymore. This is a very difficult situation that needs much prayer and wisdom. Homelessness is not a frequent problem, but there are a number of situations in our community that make us ask ourselves how we can be salt and light.

    Children at risk
    This summer over 400 World Vision sponsored children will participate in our camps. Many of these children come from very poor families and few if any of them come from Christian backgrounds. For at least one week this summer they will be a part of a community of God's people. Pray that they will experience and know the love of God and the reality of his presence through his people at the camps. Pray for long-term fruit in their lives.

    We are so grateful for your prayers and support. Thank you for growing together with us and for being our partners in touching this precious corner of the world.

    Much Love in Christ, Eric, Kathy, Abigail and Josi

    *Names changed to protect privacy.

    FriFridayJulJuly1st2011 Joey and Suzanne Lincoln
    byGlobal Outreach Tagged No tags 0 comments Add comment

    Joey and Suzanne Lincoln are WBC missionaries serving in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) with Mission Aviation Fellowship (MAF). Joey is the East DRC Program Manager, as well as a pilot and mechanic. Suzanne home schools their children (Brooke, 4, Chad, 2, and Cole, 1). We received this update from them in June.
    “We have to fly on Saturday.” Six simple words send chills down my spine. There are only two general reasons we fly on Saturday. One, the Governor needs a special charter. No big deal. Two, the LRA.

    The LRA

    One simple acronym whispered in North East Congo and an entire village will flee in terror. Mentioning the LRA makes stomachs churn, blood run cold and silences a conversation.

    The Lord’s Resistance Army

    Once upon a time this rebel group from Northern Uganda had some sort of political agenda. But since they came to Congo their sole reason for existence seems to be to terrorize. They descend on a village and rape, loot, burn, steal, kidnap and kill. They maim and deface their victims, cutting off lips and ears. Without medical treatment, their victims wouldn’t even be able to eat. But the scars left on lives, hearts and souls are even more devastating.

    It’s Saturday

    I’m not sure what the significance of Saturday is, but these days it seems that every weekend we get that blood chilling phone call from Doctor’s Without Borders (MSF). “Please come to Dingila, Ngilima and Doruma. The LRA was here last night.” “The LRA is coming, please evacuate us from Aba and Faradje.”


    For the most part, they are a group of doctors, logisticians and administrators who give 3-6 months of their lives to serving in mobile bush clinics and hospitals in the worst corners of the earth. Here in Congo, they spend a lot of time repairing LRA victims. The LRA marches in, MSF has to evacuate. But as soon as the rebels are out, MSF calls and we come flying back in.

    It’s Saturday

    The volleyball game can wait; it’s not important anymore. Get the plane ready. Get your heart ready. Here we go...again.

    These flights are always hard. Charred villages. Eerie silence. It’s a much more solemn greeting at the airstrip. Those who help unload the relief supplies, or load the victim, seem to be wondering if it will be them or their family member next time. I can’t even imagine the terror these precious people live with every day.

    Sometimes the silence is broken by a simple “thank you,” or “God Bless you.” It seems out of place, or at the very least that I shouldn’t be the one receiving it. I may have given a Saturday to this, but I’m certainly not the one who has suffered. I hope that in some small way we are bringing God’s blessing, that even in the senseless terror, His name might be glorified anyway. It’s so easy to ask where God is in a situation like that. And humbling to think they might be seeing Him in a pilot. But I guess that’s how the body of Christ is supposed to work, isn’t it?

    Together for the King (especially on Saturdays),
    Joey and Suzanne
    Brooke, Chad and Cole

    Photos by Jon Cadd

    We want to challenge you, that as you go about your Saturday, remember and pray for:
    • Courage and love to pour out in and through our pilots: Chris, Dave, Joey L, Joey M, Jon, Lary, and Rodney
    • The members of the LRA to be convicted by the Holy Spirit and to stop the violence
    • For salvation, peace and healing for each precious person affected in this constant crisis
    • For our team as we look for more ways to help bring the Gospel to this area of Congo, particularly through the JESUS film ministry
    • For our great King’s name to be glorified in our every interaction

    Featured MissionaryMissionaries in Focusby Each month, we focus the spotlight on a different WBC missionary, sharing their story with our church family, and committing to praying for them throughout the month.
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