Seeking Positive Role Models in Ukraine
A young woman named Vasilisa has become a regular guest at the dinner table of MTW missionaries to Ukraine, Bob and Andrea Burnham. Coming from a broken home and an abusive father, Vasilisa is terrified she’ll fall into the same situation with whomever she marries and repeat the pattern with her own family.
“I’ve never been a part of a healthy family, and I really want children someday,” she confessed. “So, can I just come over here and be with you? I love watching how you all interact—it’s completely different from my own home.” Bob and Andrea were taken aback by her request, but very thankful that she’s seriously seeking a positive example, particularly in a culture where young people are offered few positive role models and virtually no practical counsel for navigating the pitfalls in life. Vasilisa has an open invitation to dinner and comes as often as she’s able. After the kids go to bed, she talks openly about her fears and hopes, and the couple is able to share how they’ve experienced many of the same things. Praise God, who has equipped this family with His Word and Spirit to minister to this young woman. Thank you for partnering with our missionaries to make an impact for the kingdom.
Training Entrepreneurs in South Asia: An Update
Through a new Business Development Center (BDC) in South Asia, we’re helping train local entrepreneurs to develop and grow their own businesses. Three cohorts have completed the training so far. The tangible results from the center’s first year have been promising. Here’s a sampling of new businesses that have developed and what some of the BDC graduates are up to now.
A Chicken Farm
The winner of the cohort two business plan contest is starting a chicken farm in a village outside of the city. She is low caste and so is her husband. Never have any low caste people in this village had their own business. The low caste have always been oppressed and served the high caste. The first success for the woman was the purchase of land from high caste land owners. No low caste villagers had ever done that, either. After purchasing the land, she then began building her chicken farm. The town started talking and as a result the woman and her husband have been able to share about their faith and how they hope that this farm will impact the village significantly. We are in talks with one of our partner denominations to try and get a church-planting work in the area to come alongside the business and minister to the many people in this village.
A Goat Farm
Meanwhile, the contest winner from the first cohort is successfully implementing her goat-farming business in another village north of the city. Though she hasn't sold any goats yet, she is building an incredible infrastructure. The village has also been shocked that she has done everything—from obtaining permits to registration to hiring labor—without the typical method of paying bribes. This is a powerful testimony.
A Coconut Oil Company
A graduate of cohort two, has launched his coconut oil company. The company manufactures and bottles coconut oil in a factory in another city, and he is selling it throughout South Asia. A month or two ago he got his first major order from a distributor of about $15,000. Since then he has made a lot more deals. He hired a fellow BDC graduate to work for him (who wasn't ready to start her business yet).
A woman from cohort two, launched her school this year with 30 students. She is getting ready to add 11 more. Her school is targeting the poor and she relies on donations and small fees to keep the school running. She has a wonderful vision and is eager to use this to impact the poor communities of the city for Christ.
A local entrepreneur from cohort one continues to grow his window washing business. He cleans the windows of five-star hotels around the city. He now has around 12 employees and is slowly adding more. Most of his employees are evangelists in the villages. The job not only enables them to support their families, but also to do ministry in the villages. The business owner is able to support his family and his ministry as well.
Out of cohort three came a man from another part of the country who is incredibly gifted in leather making. He is starting a business that will employ underprivileged women, train them to create leather goods, and sell to Western audiences. His business is still in the pipeline, but we can expect big things.
We’re always looking for businessmen and women willing to use their business skills on the field by serving as mentors for local entrepreneurs. For more information on MTW’s Business as Mission ministry visit www.mtw.org/BAM.
"It’s a Home Run Strategy!”
The following is an email recently sent to the new Genesis International College (GIC) team in Osaka, Japan, from a pastor who served several years as a missionary in Japan. It was a great encouragement to the team and to all of us at MTW.
Dear Genesis Team,
When I recently saw that Joseph Kim was launching out into Osaka to found Genesis International College, which would also have a church-planting aspect, I cannot tell you how much I rejoiced and felt an instant connection to that work in my heart.
First, the fact that Michael Oh [of Christ Bible Institute in Nagoya] and Joseph Kim are Koreans serving in Japan is an amazing, beautiful picture of the gospel in light of the history between these two people. Second, both these men are Ivy League graduates who could easily make a nice living in the U.S. if they chose, and yet they are support-raising missionaries in Japan! I'm floored by that!
Third, the strategy of Genesis is what made me so excited. I'm already fully on board with it! As a former missionary who labored among the Japanese, I know this is an innovative, effective approach to reaching Japan with the gospel.
When I served in Indonesia, we took homemade water-filtration systems into villages to teach the people how to clean their water. This was the platform used to gain a hearing and access to the people. Japan is not Africa—it doesn't need a well. But teaching English as the platform to get relational, consistent, relevant contact with the Japanese—it’s a home-run strategy!
My wife and I spent the last week praying about what we could give monthly. As a single income family on an associate pastor salary, it won't be much. However, starting next week we'll be giving joyfully, monthly, and sacrificially to your work, for at least the duration of the five-year “Genesis 100 Campaign.” We are also binding ourselves to you and this project as our hearts are already for Japan and the Japanese people. So we promise to pray for you regularly, faithfully, and to recruit as many others as we know to give and pray.
Please know that God is doing things like birthing desires and passions to pray for and stand with you, even in strangers' hearts. I'm so excited about the vision God has given you for reaching Japanese in Osaka for the glory of God.
HIS and yours,
For more information on Genesis International College, visit MTW’s Osaka, Japan page or the Genesis International College website . To make an online contribution to the Genesis College Osaka team, go to donations.mtw.org/donate, and enter project # 92888.
Honduras Medical Clinic Update: Two Months
We opened the “Tree of Life” medical clinic in La Ceiba, Hondruas on the 21st of February—so it's been over two months since we've been open, and it seemed like a good time to let everyone know what's been happening: I KNOW I KNOW I KNOW it's NOT all about numbers, but the stats of what we are seeing truly are interesting! I actually am trying to already look ahead at my master’s program to see how I can start incorporating this information and begin to determine what I'm going to do for my program—so here's where we stand:
540 medical consults (340 in April alone)
Average of 17.9 patients each day we are open 12 pregnant women we are following (monthly prenatals, blood pressure, weight, etc.)
35 less than the age of 1
137 less than 5 years old
71 geriatric patients; of these, we treated 63 for high blood pressure, and 30 for Type II Diabetes (so obviously treated some for both)
So there’re some interesting things, and mixed in the middle of that we've had a few emergent cases: diagnosed appendicitis and sent to the hospital, lacerations requiring stitches, toenail removal (my favorite), broken bones, etc. So we are keeping busy, and definitely being utilized. When we began to open on Sundays, I was sure this would drop our weekly patient numbers, but that has NOT been the case. People are finding out we are open on the weekend, and that allows for workers who would not normally be able to come for fear of missing work, to actually be able to come. We still have days where we are turning people away, simply because we don't have enough time in a day. But we do have to keep to our hours—or we would be open WAY past dark.
Erin Pettengill is an MTW missionary, mother, wife, and nurse serving in Honduras. You can keep up with Erin’s blog at pettengillmissionaries.blogspot.com
Why We Need Your Prayers
|Paul Henry, Thailand|
Many times we just list off prayer requests without much thought; but prayer is such a vital part in missions that I want to spend some time reflecting on how prayer encourages us and how you all can continue praying for us. I’d like to start by sharing a story about how prayer worked when we were in Thailand.
Part of our ministry is doing theological training and teaching in northern Thailand—a very rugged, mountainous area, with almost no electricity, dirt roads, and no medical facilities. We work with the Karen people there, and with a wonderful national named Boonchu, who is over several churches and spends most of his time mobilizing pastors and helping to fight false teaching. In 2009 I had the opportunity to go up there for several days to teach and preach. A frightening drive to the hospital
It was about 9:00 p.m. on a Sunday night and I had just finished preaching when the pastor’s 2-year- old son was carried into the church unconscious. The boy had been very sick for two days now with diarrhea. He was at death’s door.
Boonchu had the only vehicle (a four-door truck) in the whole village. He turned to me and said that he had to get this boy to the hospital and quick. The nearest real hospital was in Chiangmai about five hours away, but there was a much smaller hospital/clinic about an hour and a half away. We picked the boy up and immediately started driving for the clinic. The boy’s mother was also in the truck with us, as well as some others who were riding in the back.
About 9:30 p.m. I heard the boy’s mother calling out the boy’s name and I thought for sure this boy had just died. I remember thinking to myself, “I wish I could pick up my cell phone and call our prayer warriors in the States and tell them to pray,” but I didn’t have any phone service. I probably have never been as scared in all my life as I was on that day.
Boonchu was flying on the dirt roads, and with every turn we took, the truck fishtailed around the curve. We were only feet from falling off the road into the many gorges along the way. At one point I told Boonchu that we would not be helping the boy if we all plummeted to our deaths from driving too fast. We made it to the clinic and by God’s grace the boy was still alive. They were able to put an IV in him and revive him. Thankfully, it looked like everything was going to be fine. The crisis was over.
They’d been praying for us
About a week later I was talking to my mom about the whole thing. She got very excited and told me that the very Sunday we were driving through the mountains with this boy, and at the very same time, a good friend at our home church was praying for us during the pastoral prayer. He was praying for our ministry and safety. How amazing it was that the Lord had him praying for us at the moment when I was wishing that I could tell people to pray!
The Lord answered my prayer in so many ways. We believe that the Lord works mightily through our prayers because He knows exactly who we are and what we need. He is glorified by the prayers of the saints. Romans 8:26-27 says, “And in the same way the Spirit also helps our weakness; for we do not know how to pray as we should, but the Spirit Himself intercedes for us with groanings too deep for words; and He who searches the hearts knows what the mind of the Spirit is, because He intercedes for the saints according to the will of God.”
Your prayers are vital
There are so many things that we as missionaries deal with, and having you all pray for us is so vital to the work in Thailand. We deal with spiritual oppression. We deal with depression and weakness. We deal with not knowing the best ways to apply the gospel in very sticky situations. We deal with homesickness and real sickness. We deal with keeping peace in our household and mirroring the love of Christ. We deal with laziness and an overwhelming sense that Thai people’s hearts will never be changed. These are all very real things that we deal with regularly on the field and even while we prepare to go to the field. Please keep praying for us!
Paul & Crystal Henry are MTW missionaries to Thailand. For more on the Henrys’ ministry to Thailand visit their blog: www.henrysinthailand.blogspot.com
Japan: Lifting the Weight of Societal Pressure
The number of Japanese teachers taking time off from work for "mental reasons" has increased significantly in the last few years. An MTW missionary couple recently learned that a Japanese woman who had been in their English class was a part of that statistic.
"Ms. A.," a high school teacher who'd also been involved in many after-school club activities, had not been working due to mental stress, and for over two months had been refusing to leave home or answer her phone. Since the missionary wife had gone to the theater with Ms. A. during the summer, she thought she would at least try to contact her and invite her to a movie. By God's grace, Ms. A. accepted. It was an encouraging night with many opportunities to share gospel truths. Ms. A. was amazingly open and said it was the first time she could so easily talk about what was really occurring in her life.
Please pray that Ms. A. would come to know Christ as the ultimate source of comfort and healing. Pray also that the gospel would reach all those in Japan who are crumbling under the weight of societal pressures.
To learn more about our work in Nagoya, Japan, please visit: http://cartersan.com/
A Vision of Southeast Asia
How Visiting Three Countries in 11 Days Redefined Our Church’s Strategic Approach to Missions
My wife and I met on a missions trip in 1992 and we have been blessed to serve together on short-term teams in South America, Central Asia, and South Asia. She serves as missions coordinator at our local church near Philadelphia. While our involvement in missions has been rewarding and encouraging, we have often observed that the interface between the local church and missionaries on the field does not reach its potential, leading to a sense of disconnectedness instead of shared mission. Read more...
One at a Time in Cambodia
by Kay Burklin and Opal Hardgrove
Maly lives in a small, remote farming village in Cambodia. Because of her critical nature and angry spirit, over the years Maly has alienated everyone in her family and in the village. Now alone, elderly, and infirm she must depend on others for help, but few are willing to help her.
MTW missionaries, Luke and Sokha, moved into the village sometime back. Sokha felt compassion for this woman, and she began taking care of her by bringing food daily and also helping her to bathe.
Recently, we were visiting Luke and Sokha, and when Sokha went to take food to Maly, we went with her. After visiting for a while, we were starting to leave when Sokha translated for us that Maly wanted to know how to find Jesus. Maly told us that she had gone to the temple, but we explained that Jesus was not in that kind of temple. He comes to live in our hearts. And we began to share the gospel with her.
We talked to her further about prayer. When Maly said she did not know how to pray, we explained that it was like talking to a close friend. She said she had never had a friend before. That slowed us down a bit, but we were able to continue sharing the good news with her. Before we left for the day, Maly did pray to Jesus. Now we are hoping that it will be real in her life. Oh how she needs to know a friend like Jesus!
As we were leaving, Sokha told us that we were very good evangelists, but the truth is that Sokha was the main evangelist here. Because she showed love to Maly every day by selflessly reaching out and caring for her, Maly’s heart was opened to the love of Jesus.
The work of God’s kingdom is happening in remote farming villages in Cambodia, but as in all places, it is happening one person at a time. “What do you think? If any man has a hundred sheep, and one of them has gone astray, does he not leave the ninety-nine on the mountains and go and search for the one that is straying? If it turns out that he finds it, truly I say to you, he rejoices over it more than over the ninety-nine which have not gone astray. So it is not the will [z]of your Father who is in heaven that one of these little ones perish.
– Matthew 17:12-14 NASB
If you’re considering the role God has called you to play in expanding His kingdom globally, we’d like to talk to you. Please email us at: email@example.com
and an MTW recruiter will contact you to talk further.
Behind Closed Doors
Sunday evenings are always a scramble for our family. We stuff toys, shoes, and drying clothes into closets and drawers to make room for the church we host in our home. One Sunday as members trickled in, there was a knock on the door. Two police officers greeted me and said, “We want you to come upstairs to answer a few questions for us.” My heart stopped.
“I’ve Never Prayed.”
Kris Lundgaard, MTW missionary, reflects on an experience he had during a summer English camp conducted in the Czech Republic.
Do you know the game "I've Never?" It's a get-to-know-you game in which people are seated in a circle of chairs with one fewer chair than the number of people playing. There's one person standing in the middle, who must make a true statement starting with the words "I've never." Then everyone who HAS done what the person in the middle has NOT done must get up and find a new seat; and the person in the middle scrambles to get a seat too. Whoever is left standing starts the next "I've never" statement.
Last summer, we played this game with our students in the English camp, which was held in the Czech Republic. Most of the statements were mundane ("I've never been to America"). Some resulted in funny or awkward situations, such as when I said, "I've never worn a skirt" and a boy got up. One, however, staggered me: a friendly and bright 16-year-old girl declared, "I've never prayed." And she said it without shame or irony, as if she'd just told us that she'd never eaten with chopsticks.
Most of the class jumped up to snatch new seats. I did too, of course, and I played it cool so that no one could see that my mind was spinning as I contemplated my student's prayerless life. Her simple statement was another reminder that the Czech Republic is one of the most atheistic nations in the world (second to Estonia in Europe). But it wasn't just that she didn't believe that rocked me-it was how naturally, how matter-of-factly she could say that she'd never once even lifted her eyes to say a word or two to a god who might be there, who might possibly want to know her.
But I know that you pray. And so I ask you to pray for my prayerless student, and for all 65 or so of our students, very few of whom know our Lord Jesus. Ask God to open their eyes, to make Himself known to them. And for the believers there, ask God to anchor their faith on the deepest and strongest Rock, so they will continue to shine like stars. And pray that He would let them see the fruit of new life in those around them.
Sinking In Japan
Healing Mercies for Ethiopia
It's Humbling to Be So Needy
Missionaries Jeremy and Gina Sink recently went from itinerating in the U.S. to living full-time in Japan.
Jeremy gives us a glimpse into the challenge many missionaries face when they first arrive on the field.
It had been almost 25 years since I saw a child with severe malnutrition. In fact, it was during the Ethiopia famine in the mid ‘80s. These kids have orange hair, stick-thin arms and legs, and swollen bellies. They often don’t survive without careful management. You can’t just hand them a cup of milk and porridge. Read more...
“People are hurting and they don’t know where to turn.”
In this video, summer interns in Nagoya, Japan, share surprising testimonies about why they came and what God did as they reached out to college students with the gospel and love of Christ. (Interns were from Veritas College Ministry in Columbia, MO, partnering with MTW missionaries at the Nisshin Christ Center). vimeo.com
Human Trafficking Ministry Training
Dr. Kooistra speaking at Potomac Hills PCA in Leesburg, VA, June 2, 2013
Mercy Ministry Pre-Conference with Phillip Langford. Nov. 7-8, 2013.
41st General Assembly, Greenville, South Carolina, June 18 – 21, 2013.
Global Missions Conference
Nov. 8 - 10, 2013.
Register Now »
Christians often put evangelism and discipleship into separate categories. The common understanding is that evangelism consists of preaching the gospel to non-Christians and discipleship consists of helping a Christian mature in faith.
An article »
What I Want For Every Support Raising Missionary
Two years is a long time to ask for money. That’s how long my wife and I have been raising support.
As we prepare to leave for the field, and I survey the past two years, I believe that I have some insight into how to best care for your friends, family members, and fellow believers as they embark on the support-raising voyage. An article »
Addressing the Problem
One of the hot topics for quite some time now in missions has been the issue of dependency. It is most often viewed from one particular angle: foreign money is the source of the dependency and the solution is a change in how the West invests in the rest of the world.
An article »
Missionaries Should Communicate and Churches Should Demand It
On our last missionary furlough I spoke with dozens of pastors and church leaders about their church’s support for missionaries. In difficult economic times most churches were reducing their budgets and that included missions.
An article »
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