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Five Loaves & Two Fish
Most children in Costa de Pajaros, Costa Rica, go to school hungry. The community has been oppressed by hopelessness. The Church has seemed irrelevant. But that’s all beginning to change.   Read more...

In the Name of Jesus
By: Tracie Perrin

This is Francesca. The first time I saw her-while serving on a MTW medical team in the Philippines-she was moving quickly toward me with an escort on each side. They brought her in a plastic lawn chair, the white kind used for family reunions, and sat her down. With a smile on her face and a twinkle in her eye, I knew we were in for a treat, and she did not disappoint.

Read more...

Francesca sat crookedly and slightly bent over in the chair with her middle-school-aged granddaughter behind her. She is only in her 40s, but the two strokes she had about a year ago have aged her quite a bit. With slurred speech she explained her medical history and handed a piece of paper to Cornelia, the occupational therapist. I was Cornelia's helper on that day of clinic.

In the Name of Jesus, Rise Up and Walk!
I sat eager to hear Francesca's story and learn. We found out that the first stroke was mild, but since the second stroke about a year ago, Francesca has not walked or even stood up. Cornelia evaluated her, then stretched her leg muscles and prepared her for standing. It caught me off guard. I thought it was too late for all that, but Cornelia knew. Holding Francesca around the waist and bracing her knees with her own, Cornelia gently lifted her to a standing position. Francesca giggled softly and her smile widened even more than before. I braced one of her feet so we huddled together, slightly hugging, our faces aglow with this small miracle.

Francesca tires quickly and was eased back into her chair. A few more stretches and we tried again. She was a little stronger, the balance a tad better this time. I noticed the difference. She stood a little longer and sat. Again, Cornelia stretched and pressed Francesca's legs to awaken the nerves. This time Francesca took on more of her weight and pushed hard. Somewhere between a whisper and a song I heard Francesca sweetly say, "In the name of Jesus, walk!" Cornelia repeated it a little louder. "In the name of Jesus, walk!"

From Lameness to Delight
Tears filled our eyes like a flash flood as the significance of those unexpected words hit us. Cornelia and I had a flashback to our first night in the Philippines. We spent it worshipping with our brothers and sisters at Lighthouse Presbyterian. Pastor Marlon announced the theme for the medical clinic, "In the Name of Jesus, Rise Up and Walk!" I remember being slightly startled when he said it so exuberantly, and now here I was standing with the lame woman who was laughing out the same verse as she was making her first attempts to overcome her lameness. Her laugh was maybe a bit like Sarai's, "How can it be Lord?" Or maybe it was just from the pure delight of standing-a posture we repeat a hundred times a day (sometimes begrudgingly) that if taken from us would be sorely missed.

Cornelia gave instructions for the granddaughter to help with Francesca's exercises and standing. It is unlikely that Francesca will walk normally again, though who's to say what Jesus might do. But standing to transfer and weight bearing will add to the quality of her life as well as keep her bones stronger. This small step toward independence was a huge encouragement to her, and she to us with her tenacity and overflowing joy. I didn't want her to leave, but the chairs were filled with patients waiting. They whisked her away as quickly as she had come. Me, calling after them to be careful.

At Risk for Another Stroke
I wish this story ended here, but it doesn't. During the exam, Cornelia asked Francesca if her blood pressure was under control. She explained how important it was to keep it down with two strokes under her belt-not a lot of margin left. Francesca nodded in agreement. Cornelia referred her to a doctor for further evaluation. Just to make sure. The news was hard to hear. A few minutes later, he mouthed the numbers, "190 over..."

I averted my eyes to distract myself with a new patient. Francesca waited in the pharmacy line still full of hope. Her blood pressure medicine being counted out by loving hands. A month's worth if she takes it correctly, a couple if she spreads it out. I gave her one more hug and made my way back to the therapy station. "In the name of Jesus," sinking deeper and constraining me because what I really want to do is to keep walking. I want to find someone to make it right, because I don't want Francesca to suffer or struggle anymore. Enough!

But the person I want is already there. He is with her and for her and knows her every need better than I ever could. I feel like Dorothy repeating, "There's no place like home, there's no place like home!" Because this is not our home!

Food or Medicine? The Hard Reality
I try to make sense out of her choices. Where she lives, survival means eating, not getting the newest gadget that we might long for even die for in the U.S. And as high blood pressure is silently destroying her body over time, the hunger pangs in her stomach clearly draw attention to the right now. Which would you pick-food or medicine? She is forced to choose between the hard and still harder, while we can be overwhelmed choosing between better and best. What is the purpose for this apparent imbalance? The effects of the Fall-oppression, disease, and despair-are not equally paired with beauty, abundance, and freedom in this world. However, God's kingdom and His redemptive work leaves no stone unturned! "As far as the curse is found" still rings true to my ears.

The Holy Spirit gives comfort with these words:

"For God, who said, "Let light shine out of darkness," has shone in our hearts to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ. But we have this treasure in jars of clay, to show that the surpassing power belongs to God and not to us. We are afflicted in every way, but not crushed; perplexed, but not forsaken; struck down, but not destroyed; always being given over to death for Jesus' sea, so that the life of Jesus also may be manifested in our mortal flesh. So death is at work in us, but life in you." 2 Corinthians 4:6-12

 
 Churchfreo
{Grace In The Margins}

When Phil Graham became a leader at churchfreo, a small church plant in Fremantle, Australia, he never imagined that his role would include cleaning up human waste from the floor, breaking up fights, or putting out fires. Actual fires. But those are just some of the quirks that make churchfreo both an endearing community of diverse people, and a challenge for leaders and members alike.    Read more...

 
Remembering Sketch: Beloved Australian "Streetie"

So many of you have prayed for and mourned/rejoiced with us at hearing the news that Sketch, aka: Ricky Boekelmann, has passed from this life to the next. This is the closest thing I can do as a memorial:

I know he grew up in the state of Tasmania until he was 17. That's when Sketch hit the streets. He got involved with drugs and criminals. Along that path he managed to kill a man and serve prison time for his crime. Jimmie Lynn & I met him about the second week that churchfreo, our church plant, began to meet at 408 South Terrace, a building located at South Beach in Fremantle.

Read more...

Would you help me get off the streets?
Sketch was 34 years old when we met. He came among us and after about a month of worshipping in churchfreo he asked me and Del if we wanted to see his "squat," the place he lived. We accompanied him to an abandoned industrial area where he had a lodgepole between two trees with a tarp stretched over it. This hovel was carpeted with blankets, sleeping bags, and garbage. When he asked "Would you help me get off the streets?" we were stuck with Jesus' command, "Give to the one who asks you ...." By God's grace we were compelled to say "Yes!" and we did. We agreed to give him a season of two weeks of "haven" off the streets. After that it would be up to him.

We moved him into the cheapest accommodation in Freo, a hostel across the street from the building where our church meets. By God's grace, he got a job as a dishwasher in the restaurant on the other side of our building. The first time Sketch took Communion, I asked him about it, wondering if he was indeed, saved. He gave a testimony that humbled me in its simplicity and desperation. Soon, he asked for help getting a pair of quality shoes. He was working and therefore on his feet all day. By God's grace we were able to provide. Before long he worked himself out of the sinks and into the kitchen. During this time we had an arson attempt at our church building. By God's grace, Sketch put out the fire.

A hospital scare and a birthday surprise
About this time he had his first heart attack. A streetie gave me the news that he was in Fremantle hospital. He recovered but, with a less than promising future. He did "art lessons" for the Linkston children and took them fishing and crabbing with other streeties he knew and trusted. He embarrassed our kids to death at bus stops and the train station saying "This is 'me pastor's kid(s)'!" Sketch was HUGE in Jimmie Lynn's planning and execution of my surprise 50th birthday party! It wasn't long after that party that I received a call from Kaleeya Hospital regarding Ricky Boekelmann naming me as his "next of kin". I said "Who?" I knew the "Ricky" part but "Boekelmann" was news to me! In churchfreo we don't fret over last names. After he was released from the hospital, Sketch asked Jimmie Lynn and I for help to get false teeth because he felt he couldn't get a better job because he had no front teeth. Again, by God's grace, churchfreo was able to provide.

Becoming a chef and "courting" the mayor
Sketch applied to work as a chef in a more upscale Fremantle establishment and, he got the job. This is when he began helping churchfreo more significantly in our mercy ministries. He showed up one night with about 40 lbs of chicken for us to use in our evening meals. Sketch moved very subtly out of more marginal circles into more subtly mainstream ones. He had an apartment, a girlfriend, a life. Before long he was managing the Mad Hatters Street Market in Fremantle and "massaging" the mayor for help with churchfreo's Orphans' Christmas Lunch. He secured donations from other merchants for BBQs and meals that churchfreo provided. He soon had his own market stall selling fruit and vegetables at the market that is held just outside the doors to City Hall. The last time I visited him at his stall, before I left Australia for the USA, he gave me a case of tangerines for the church and mentioned that the doctors were "on him" about his "ticker" (heart).

A messy life that blessed us all
His "ticker" and everything else are good now! I thank God for blending Sketch's messy life and our messy lives and the messy life of Christ's church. I know we are blessed and I think Sketch was blessed. I also am convinced that God was glorified in maybe less than stellar ways as He worked and moved and affected all of our lives.

Thank God with us that we hear that Sketch passed from this life to the next, in his sleep. Thank you for the roles YOU have played in our lives, Ricky's (Sketch's) life and the life of churchfreo. Thank God with us for His goodness and grace.

For more on churchfreo's ministry to the marginalized, check out the Network article, "Churchfreo: Grace in the Margins ."
 
The Daniel 3 Song

The Local Music Scene
Our family has had the opportunity to spend time with some local musicians for a few months now, learning the Sakalava language and culture and discovering their musical talent. Ladis, the lead singer, is the oldest son of our home-stay father, Papa Armand. Matis plays lead guitar, Edme plays backup with a traditional Malagasy guitar, and Fabio and Lino play percussion. Since Rebe began learning to play the guitar last October, our new friends have encouraged her along the way. She admits that their African rhythms are brilliant, and that there's a sharp learning curve between Sakalava music and, "It is Well, With My Soul".

Read more...

As a family we have chosen to encourage and empower their musical makings. Most Saturdays they visit our house, relax on our deck, play music, and share a meal with us. It's been a blessing to build these friendships and they have been generous in sharing their knowledge of the local culture (especially the culture of the younger generation) with us. They often play music at local ceremonial rituals, and many of their songs deal with traditional culture and values, including the honoring and veneration of their ancestors. We have had several occasions to learn about their understanding of God and spirituality and share the truth of the gospel. They have many points of connection, like their belief in a Supreme Creator, which we have been able to build on. Please pray for these guys as they are eager to understand who they are in light of who God is.

Setting Daniel 3 to Music
Recently, we gave them a Sakalava version of Daniel 3: 28-29 which our team leader, Rosina, translated. In English it says, "(they) yielded up their bodies rather than serve and worship any god except their own God ... for there is no other god who is able to rescue in this way."

This is the first attempt at giving Groupe Tsinfitaka (their band name) some Sakalava scripture or worship lyrics and having them put it to local rhythms. Remember, there is little Sakalava Christian culture; no songs, no scripture, no hymns, poems, or songs. When we gave them the words, there were many other Sakalava kids (and teens) on our deck, and we were able to share with them the context in which the words were written. The words are about Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego refusing to obey Nebuchadnezzar's commands to worship false gods. They then spent the rest of the afternoon creating the song, every single person on our deck singing the words over and over, imprinting them on their hearts and minds.

This was two weeks ago, and just today I heard one of the kids (Tegha-14) singing the song as he was helping us clean our yard. Friends, this is exciting! We are looking forward to the day when we have enough songs to make the first Sakalava Christian album and looking ahead to the day when we will sing these Sakalava worship songs with our brothers and sisters before the throne of God above! Here is audio of the first one: the Daniel 3 song. To see the guys in action, watch a video that we recorded at the beach just down the road from our house.

Bryan & Rebe McReynolds are MTW missionaries in Nosy Be, Madagascar, in cooperation with TIMO. You can follow The McReynolds Tribe on their blog at mcreynoldstribe.com.

 

Why Are the Japanese So Resistant to the Gospel?

One of the most common questions I'm asked is "Why are the Japanese people so resistant to the gospel?" It's a good question. We hear of the explosive growth of the church in China, India, Africa, and even in the Arab world. Why not Japan? There are many complex issues all interwoven through each other, but here are a few of the key issues.

Read more...


Conformity: There is a strong expectation to always look, act, and be like everyone else. This can be seen in the uniforms worn by most school children and the amazing order in which they sit in nice, neat rows. It's also seen in the sea of monochrome colors among working adults with their typically nondescript ties. Conformity is deeply ingrained in the Japanese culture, where each person is responsible for the actions of their family, friends, and colleagues. In 1597, following the expulsion of Portuguese missionaries and the crucifixions of 26 Japanese Christians, the authorities instituted a system in which five families were grouped together for public accountability. If a member of this group turned in a Christian, the Christian was killed. If someone outside the group reported a Christian, everyone in the five families was killed. Although Japanese people are now free to worship as they like, this sense of group responsibility remains today. To be Japanese means one is Buddhist and Shintoist; it's an inseparable part of the culture. One Japanese man, upon converting to Christianity, was asked, "You are no longer Japanese?" In a nation where only 0.2% of the people are Christians, sharing the gospel with a Japanese friend is seen as asking them to no longer be Japanese.

Perfection: While visiting with students at Briarwood Christian School in Birmingham recently, after I described the level of perfectionism expected in Japan, two different students asked me, "Is Japan a nation of OCD people?" Well, no, it is not. But there is incredible pressure to do everything to the absolute highest of standards. It's no accident that Japan is known for high quality cars and electronics. And where else could someone pay $150 for a perfect melon? The pressure to be perfect in every way is crippling. More than a million young people have isolated themselves in their parents' homes, and nearly 30,000 people commit suicide every year. In a culture that offers no grace for the imperfect, the concept of "sin" is as foreign as shrimp and grits. In this context, sharing the gospel means telling a Japanese friend that they are not perfect -- that they need help from Someone better than them. Even if your friend is able to admit to being a sinner, he is not accustomed to receiving grace from others, so receiving grace from Jesus is often a lifelong struggle.

Japanese Superiority: Most nations have been on the losing side of war. A culture as old as Japan has typically been humiliated many times over the millennia. Japan has done more than its share of humiliating its neighbors, but has only ever lost one war. And although World War II was certainly humiliating, the conqueror helped Japan to quickly rebuild itself and salvage its honor. Japan does see itself as superior to other peoples. As such, it does not take quickly to ideas from these other cultures, including Christianity.

Ultimately, however, we know that God is not limited by these cultural issues. Jesus said, "All that the Father gives Me will come to Me, and whoever comes to Me I will never cast out" (John 6:37). God's sovereign election of His people is always effective. As the will of God dictates, Japanese people will respond to the gospel. Isaiah 55:11 says, "So shall My word be that goes out from My mouth; it shall not return to Me empty, but it shall accomplish that which I purpose, and shall succeed in the thing for which I sent it." As the bearers of God's word, we can rest in the comfort that God is ultimately sovereign over the response of all men to the call of the gospel. Japan, too, will one day kneel at the name of Jesus. Please pray that God will soon draw the hearts of Japan to Himself. And please back up those prayers with action, by either going to proclaim the good news of the gospel or by partnering with me or others who have committed to bring the hope of the gospel to this people with so little hope.

Brent Kooi is an MTW missionary itinerating to go to Osaka, Japan, where he'll help establish Genesis International College, an English language Christian college that hopes to impact Japanese students with the gospel of Christ. Want to help Brent get to the field? Visit donations.mtw.org or email info@mtw.org.

 

In the Name of Jesus

By Tracie Perrin

This is Francesca. The first time I saw her-while serving on a MTW medical team in the Philippines-she was moving quickly toward me with an escort on each side. They brought her in a plastic lawn chair, the white kind used for family reunions, and sat her down. With a smile on her face and a twinkle in her eye, I knew we were in for a treat, and she did not disappoint.

Read more...

Francesca sat crookedly and slightly bent over in the chair with her middle-school-aged granddaughter behind her. She is only in her 40s, but the two strokes she had about a year ago have aged her quite a bit. With slurred speech she explained her medical history and handed a piece of paper to Cornelia, the occupational therapist. I was Cornelia's helper on that day of clinic.


In the Name of Jesus, Rise Up and Walk!
I sat eager to hear Francesca's story and learn. We found out that the first stroke was mild, but since the second stroke about a year ago, Francesca has not walked or even stood up. Cornelia evaluated her, then stretched her leg muscles and prepared her for standing. It caught me off guard. I thought it was too late for all that, but Cornelia knew. Holding Francesca around the waist and bracing her knees with her own, Cornelia gently lifted her to a standing position. Francesca giggled softly and her smile widened even more than before. I braced one of her feet so we huddled together, slightly hugging, our faces aglow with this small miracle.

Francesca tires quickly and was eased back into her chair. A few more stretches and we tried again. She was a little stronger, the balance a tad better this time. I noticed the difference. She stood a little longer and sat. Again, Cornelia stretched and pressed Francesca's legs to awaken the nerves. This time Francesca took on more of her weight and pushed hard. Somewhere between a whisper and a song I heard Francesca sweetly say, "In the name of Jesus, walk!" Cornelia repeated it a little louder. "In the name of Jesus, walk!"

From Lameness to Delight
Tears filled our eyes like a flash flood as the significance of those unexpected words hit us. Cornelia and I had a flashback to our first night in the Philippines. We spent it worshipping with our brothers and sisters at Lighthouse Presbyterian. Pastor Marlon announced the theme for the medical clinic, "In the Name of Jesus, Rise Up and Walk!" I remember being slightly startled when he said it so exuberantly, and now here I was standing with the lame woman who was laughing out the same verse as she was making her first attempts to overcome her lameness. Her laugh was maybe a bit like Sarai's, "How can it be Lord?" Or maybe it was just from the pure delight of standing-a posture we repeat a hundred times a day (sometimes begrudgingly) that if taken from us would be sorely missed.

Cornelia gave instructions for the granddaughter to help with Francesca's exercises and standing. It is unlikely that Francesca will walk normally again, though who's to say what Jesus might do. But standing to transfer and weight bearing will add to the quality of her life as well as keep her bones stronger. This small step toward independence was a huge encouragement to her, and she to us with her tenacity and overflowing joy. I didn't want her to leave, but the chairs were filled with patients waiting. They whisked her away as quickly as she had come. Me, calling after them to be careful.

At Risk for Another Stroke
I wish this story ended here, but it doesn't. During the exam, Cornelia asked Francesca if her blood pressure was under control. She explained how important it was to keep it down with two strokes under her belt-not a lot of margin left. Francesca nodded in agreement. Cornelia referred her to a doctor for further evaluation. Just to make sure. The news was hard to hear. A few minutes later, he mouthed the numbers, "190 over..."

I averted my eyes to distract myself with a new patient. Francesca waited in the pharmacy line still full of hope. Her blood pressure medicine being counted out by loving hands. A month's worth if she takes it correctly, a couple if she spreads it out. I gave her one more hug and made my way back to the therapy station. "In the name of Jesus," sinking deeper and constraining me because what I really want to do is to keep walking. I want to find someone to make it right, because I don't want Francesca to suffer or struggle anymore. Enough!

But the person I want is already there. He is with her and for her and knows her every need better than I ever could. I feel like Dorothy repeating, "There's no place like home, there's no place like home!" Because this is not our home!

Food or Medicine? The Hard Reality
I try to make sense out of her choices. Where she lives, survival means eating, not getting the newest gadget that we might long for even die for in the U.S. And as high blood pressure is silently destroying her body over time, the hunger pangs in her stomach clearly draw attention to the right now. Which would you pick-food or medicine? She is forced to choose between the hard and still harder, while we can be overwhelmed choosing between better and best. What is the purpose for this apparent imbalance? The effects of the Fall-oppression, disease, and despair-are not equally paired with beauty, abundance, and freedom in this world. However, God's kingdom and His redemptive work leaves no stone unturned! "As far as the curse is found" still rings true to my ears.

The Holy Spirit gives comfort with these words:

"For God, who said, "Let light shine out of darkness," has shone in our hearts to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ. But we have this treasure in jars of clay, to show that the surpassing power belongs to God and not to us. We are afflicted in every way, but not crushed; perplexed, but not forsaken; struck down, but not destroyed; always being given over to death for Jesus' sea, so that the life of Jesus also may be manifested in our mortal flesh. So death is at work in us, but life in you." 2 Corinthians 4:6-12

 
The Church on the Move

In a corner of bustling XuZhou, China, a strange occurrence plays out Sunday after Sunday. Residents make their way to their cars on the street and voluntarily vacate their assigned parking spaces to make room for others yet to come.

Read more...




The residents move with purpose … and gratitude. Touched by acts of kindness by members of an MTW partner church in the area, the residents are giving back. It started with small gestures by local church members wanting to share Christ—sweeping dingy sidewalks and paying for electricity to illuminate dark community hallways in the apartment complex they share. Neighbors noticed and reciprocated—joining clean-up efforts, painting lines for parking spaces, and moving their cars so that church members had space to park on Sunday mornings. One woman stopped when she saw a church member sweeping the sidewalk and simply said, “Praise Jesus.”
 Read more...

 
 "Mom, there's something I need to tell you."

I realized it when I was talking to my Japanese friend "K" the other day. He had been a Christian for about a year, but he hadn't told his parents yet, and he was struggling with questions like: "why go to church anyway?" and "why do Christians always have to sing?"

Read more...


But by the end of last year, things had started to change. K started going to church regularly. He invited me to play Christian (!) music with him at open mic night. He decided to stop studying for a special certification so that he could spend more time learning English to use for ministry. He began to pray about who he could invite to join our Bible study. And over Christmas break, he finally decided to tell his mom that he had become a Christian.

At first, he wasn't sure how she'd respond. Would she be skeptical of this foreign religion? Would she even understand what he wanted to communicate? Maybe she'd be angry that he had turned his back on his Japanese heritage-or worse?

In the end, her response was somewhat indifferent. "OK," was all she managed to say. No fireworks, no fist fights, just "OK." But two weeks later, something big happened. During a lull in one of their conversations, she said, "You know what, K? Something's changed. You've become a better student lately and a better son. And you've made me want to be a better mother." K told me later that though she couldn't understand it, "the change she noticed was the Holy Spirit."

God is working out his resurrection life in people like K all across Japan, and others are starting to notice. And that's the way it is supposed to be. "After all, it was Christians that first attracted me to Christ," K told me. "Who knows what may happen with my mother."

Written by Brooks Cain. Brooks and his wife, Riva, are missionaries serving with MTW's Global Youth and Family Ministries in Nagoya, Japan. You can follow the Cains on their blog, thecains.wordpress.com 

 

When Loneliness Hits
by Robin Price

How can God use me when I'm weak?
It was a tough month for me—the hardest I've had since I arrived in Ukraine. They say that all missionaries "hit a wall" somewhere between four to six months on the field, and I seem to be no exception.

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Though I've made progress in speaking Russian, the inability to communicate thoroughly and deeply leaves me feeling isolated from the community. Of course, my singleness also plays into that feeling, though I've always known that loneliness isn't unique to singleness. I long to connect, to relate, and to be known by the Ukrainians here (as I was by friends back at home). How to do this without talking, especially for a loquacious girl like me? It began to seem impossible, unobtainable.

I have to admit, I let it frustrate me. I allowed the loneliness to turn my gaze inward and focus on what I DON'T have. I allowed it to feed my desire for comfort and even for a spouse, for a mere man rather than for God Himself. And I floundered for awhile, my joy dwindling away. Where was the goodness of God-that rich provision that I had experienced throughout my journey to get here? And I began to turn to temporary "fixes" (e.g. movies, food).

Redirecting my gaze

I knew that I needed help to battle this melancholy and to turn my gaze back to God. I reached out to some close friends in the States for accountability and encouragement (so thankful for Skype). God also provided a small prayer group with American women here in Odessa. And He put Scripture squarely in front of my face that unmistakably called me to repent and to trust Him. I struggled through some hard prayer times-you know, when you cry but in a good way, in confession and in realization that it is not God who strayed, but you. And there is the blessing of loneliness: it brings you to your knees and causes you to see once again His steadfast love and faithfulness.

The light became brighter, and I recognized the true object of my longing: Jesus Christ Himself. As C.S. Lewis said, "If we find ourselves with a desire that nothing in this world can satisfy, the most probable explanation is that we were made for another world."

I may not yet be able to put into (Russian) words all that I want to communicate to my Ukrainian friends, but I must believe that even my presence is a testimony to them, as the Spirit works through me even in my weakness (see the 1 Corinthians verse above). My hope is that they can see my love for them in my smile, in my eyes, and in my hugs. Now God, in His mercy, is reassuring me of this bond. Just a few days ago, my friend Snezhana said, "The [church members] feel the same way. They love you, too. You are not outside our community ... you are a part of us." To God be the glory.

Robin Price is an MTW missionary serving in Odessa, Ukraine. This was excerpted from Robin’s October 2013 newsletter.

 
Crossing Borders: Missions Reaches Across Country Lines

More and more we are seeing that missions is not "the West to the rest," but everywhere to everywhere. An MTW missionary in Cambodia experienced this reality in a personal way during a recent trip to Myanmar (formerly Burma). The Korean-background MTW missionary frequently travels from Cambodia to Myanmar to teach theology. During a recent trip the missionary reconnected with a Burmese man who'd been one of his theology students several years ago in Korea.

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The man was now teaching at a seminary in Myanmar. As the two visited, the former student turned seminary professor pulled out a well-worn copy of some notes on the Pauline Epistles. To his amazement, the missionary recognized these as notes that he'd handed out to his seminary students in Korea years before. This Burmese man told his former professor that he was now teaching hundreds of Burmese Christians from those same notes.

Your prayers and gifts are resulting in greater fruit than any of us may realize. Thank you for your commitment to global missions.

Find out more about serving with MTW at www.mtw.org/go.

 

After Haiyan, Hope Returns
In a nation of islands, there is nowhere to flee when a storm is coming. For Filipinos in Bogo, a city of about 70,000 people on the north end of the island province of Cebu, the only thing to do on November 8, 2013 was hunker down and wait as Typhoon Haiyan approached.

Even as typhoons go, Haiyan (known locally as Yolanda) was exceptional: it made landfall in Guiuan, a little more than 100 miles east of Bogo, as one of the most intense tropical cyclones ever recorded.

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Less than a month before, the community around Bogo City Presbyterian Church had felt the tremors of a major earthquake that killed hundreds of people and leveled thousands of buildings on the neighboring island of Bohol. Now the church pastor and his family, church members, and villagers huddled, hoping and praying to ride out the storm safely. When the winds began to tear their small homes apart, several families sought shelter in the church building. But soon sections of the roof began flying off, forcing the terrified people to scramble into another building across the street.

 Read more...

 
The Remarkable Influence of Believers in Ukraine

By David Pervis, MTW Ukraine

February 27th, 2014
With much thanksgiving, I write to confirm that God is answering prayers for Ukraine in marvelous ways.

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After last Friday, the Ukrainian president, Victor Yanukovich, fled to Russia and is now being sought with an arrest warrant. Many members of his cabinet, whose decisions led to deaths and injuries of protesters, are being sought by the police, and their European assets have been frozen. Their opulent mansions have been opened to the public, since their wealth is widely understood to have come illegally from government funds supplied by taxpayers.

Parliament reinstated the 2004 constitution with its more balanced arrangement of government powers. They also appointed an interim government headed by an experienced parliament member, Alexander Turchynov, who is a Baptist lay-pastor. Elections are set for May 25, and candidates have begun campaigning. Roads are open and transportation is flowing freely except for those on the wanted list. The riot police force has been completely disbanded.

Worship and Prayer from Independence Square
The influence of believers at Maidan (Independence Square in Kiev) has been remarkable throughout these months. The Orthodox and Catholic priests and Protestant pastors have led services and prayers regularly from the Maidan stage. In addition to being open day and night for individual prayer and for serving food and hot drinks, the prayer tent hosted a large prayer meeting each night at 8 pm, and there are many stories of Ukrainians coming to faith in Christ through those serving at the tent. As a self-imposed rule by leaders of the protest, alcohol was banned from use on Maidan Square from the beginning.


The peace that has come to Kyiv and much of Ukraine is not yet permanent. Protesters remain on Maidan Square as they await the results of changes directed by the new government. The Ukrainian economy is in need of radical reform as well as immediate intervention from loaning nations and organizations. Though committed to Ukraine remaining one nation, the leaders in the Russian-speaking eastern region are skeptical that their rights and needs will be considered in the government's decisions. The autonomous region of Crimea (with a majority ethnic Russian population) is in a volatile state of unrest at the moment.

We Appreciate Your Prayers!
Thank you for your faithful prayers for us and for Ukraine. Thank you as well for the written encouragements that many of you have sent our way. We have felt God's generous and merciful hand on us at every step of the way. As with Abraham, we know that we (and you) are blessed to be a blessing. Please pray just that for us-to be channels of His love and truth daily in Ukraine.

David & Erin Pervis serve with MTW in Kiev, Ukraine.

 
Street Kids: Where Are They Now?

What happens to street kids after they leave a program and move on in life? What do they become? How is their life changed? We don't always get to know "the rest of the story," but sometimes the Lord makes it possible for us to observe the results.

Read more...


One such time was at the 10 year reunion of those who lived and worked with Ang Bahay Parola (ABP), the Lighthouse Project, in the Philippines. It was a great time for staff, former staff and young people to get together and celebrate.

One of the residents, Robin, was the Master of Ceremonies. He is continuing his studies at the Presbyterian Theological Seminary and is planning to be a pastor one day.

Marlita was part of the first group of girls to come to the ABP and live in one of the homes. She had been abandoned and, as you can imagine, in desperate need of both a home and guidance. Because of ABP, she was able to get back in school and fulfill her dream of being a teacher. She now teaches in a private school and helps with Christian education in her local church.

Ariel and his brother were living a rough life on the streets when they were found. They were among a group of boys who came to live in one of the other homes in 2002. Ariel has a great sense of humor and is also a hard worker. He is now studying to be a seaman. He is very serious about his walk with the Lord and desires to serve Him through his career.

We don't know all the stories of all the children that pass through our programs like the Lighthouse Project, but it is encouraging to know that lives are being touched and changed as a result of this ministry.

Mission to the World has a whole host of word and deed ministries in 80 different countries around the world. Sharing the light of the gospel with street kids is one of these ministries in several locations. If you would like more information on how you can be a part of giving or going, contact us today at go@mtw.org or visit www.mtw.org/go.

 
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Effective Health Teaching Course
June 15-21, 2014, Cherokee, NC      Details »


Good Reads

Short-Term Missions: Blessing or Bother?

In 2002, my wife Carol and I wrote an article about the blessings and challenges of short-term missionaries working with us here in Japan. I just reread the article with 11 more years experience here in Japan...

Justifications for Avoiding Missions

It is well documented that pastors and missionaries are super-Christians handpicked by God to administer His will and make other Christians feel guilty about their service to the kingdom. In my experience the casual utterance of the phrase “I am a missionary” has cosmic properties....

Book Review – Dangerous Calling

“There are times when you do your ministry work with the attitude of a king rather than as one called to represent the King. You do not always love God above all else. You do not always love your neighbor as yourself. You are not always kind and compassionate. You are not always patient and forgiving...."

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