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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org or visit www.mtw.org/go.
Lost Son and the Jesus Clan
“I ’m going home,” Sherry Harvey thought to herself within 48 hours of arriving in Omaha, Neb. As part of a short-term team ministering to the residents of a Native American reservation where she knew no one, she thought, “God doesn’t need or want me here.”
Kiev In Flames
Ukraine protesters square off against riot police in a night of escalating violence in the city center
Please pray with us for peace and justice to prevail in Ukraine. Our missionaries closest to the violence have returned the States. All of our remaining missionaries are outside of the area of violence. We continue to monitor the situation and ensure the safety of our remaining missionaries. We appreciate your prayers for their continued protection.
Following is an article republished from www.worldmag.org which includes interviews with missionaries in Ukraine.
By Jill Nelson, World Magazine
UPDATE (Wed., Feb. 19, 9:00 a.m.): After several hours of relative calm, the confrontation between protesters and riot police erupted again Wednesday afternoon in Kiev's Independence Square, also known as the Maidan. At least 25 people are dead with hundreds injured.
OUR EARLIER REPORT: As Ukrainian riot police stormed Kiev's massive gathering of anti-government protesters on Tuesday, a new wave of violence underscored the country's growing divide.
A live feed from an independent Ukrainian news station, Espreso TV, shows Kiev in flames, with smoke billowing from the heart of protester camps that have taken over the city's Independence Square, known locally as the "Maidan," for the past three months. Ukrainians watched in horror as tanks moved in, flames grew larger, and at least 13 people, including two policemen, died from gunshot wounds or smoke inhalation in some of the worst violence since the largely peaceful protests began in November. "I'm in complete shock," said Jonathan Eide, a church planter with Mission to the World in Kiev. "The center is burning. All day long I could see the smoke from my house and now Maidan is being forcefully cleared."
Clay Quarterman, president of the Evangelical Reformed Seminary of Ukraine, lives three blocks from the city center and said tensions were high over the weekend. "A group of pro-government protesters gathered outside our apartment at noon today and went to the barricades only to come running back by our windows a half-hour later, chased by protesters with sticks and bats," he wrote on Facebook. "A smoke bomb and flares were set off, and a few people were beaten and taken off by ambulances. Pray for peace in Ukraine!"
Read the rest of this article at World Magazine
The Loudest Atheist in Madrid
For his first three years serving in Spain, MTW missionary Bob Tanzie met weekly with Bogomil, a self-proclaimed atheist and communist. Bogomil enjoyed the meetings, largely because he took pleasure in making sport of the sins of the church and the failings of Christians.
Upon returning to the field after his HMA in the U.S., Bob quickly learned that something had happened to Bogomil. He was a changed man. While Bob was away, Bogomil had surrendered his life to Christ. In his own words, "God touched me six months ago and now the loudest atheist in Madrid will be the loudest Christian."
Conversions like this are not common in Western Europe, but as you can see, God's grace still draws men to Himself. Please pray for the steady trickle of new believers God is raising up in Spain and throughout Europe. Thank you for your commitment to MTW and for your faithful giving. God is using people like you to transform individuals and communities for His glory.
Consider an internship to Spain this summer! Click here for more information.
Philippines Update January 9, 2014
The initial Global Disaster Response team returned to the U.S. shortly before Christmas. The roof of Bogo Presbyterian Church is now stronger structurally and ready to have a local crew come and install the sheeting that is already waiting on site. Another medical clinic was held in a Bogo church on the last day just around the corner from where the team stayed.
Over the course of 10 days, the team helped not only with church reconstruction, but also with reconstruction in the community where many homes were decimated. The medical contingent conducted clinics, providing both physical and psychological care to victims, who were grateful for the opportunity to finally talk about their experiences.
» More on the disaster in the Philippines
In Cebu and surrounding areas, reconstruction needs are endless. Devastation was at a colossal level, but not equally or evenly distributed. Many structures no longer exist and others need significant repair, while others need limited supplies and materials to return to a pre-typhoon state.
MTW's work is not done. Hundreds of generous donors have given more than $420,000 to MTW relief efforts in the Philippines, and as a result MTWâ€™s response can continue for months to come. MTW plans to partner with Filipino pastor Zuriel Bernandino, who is planting a Reformed church in a strategic area of Manila as a part of Redeemerâ€™s City to City ministry and is reaching out to Tacloban, the area hardest hit by the typhoon. Four students in the church have families in Tacloban, enabling the church to minister to and through these families.
New team leaves for Tacloban on Sunday
A secondary assessment team of four men leaves the U.S. on Sunday for Tacloban. They are joining a Japanese medical and construction team (from a church that partners with Pastor Zuriel). The aim is to figure out more specifically how MTW can best partner with Zuriel, e.g. teams, money, etc. Please be in prayer for this team and for wisdom as decisions are made.
I Had Nowhere to Go
My name is Marlon and I am 14 years old. I used to roam the streets because I had nowhere to go. My stepmother always hurt me. One day a police came and apprehended my stepmother because of the way she treated me and an attorney took me to the MTW Children’s Home in Manila.
This is a place where: I experience real life. I have a chance to go to school. I find hope. I learn to fear God. And that’s why I am in a very good condition.
I can go to school because of the help of the donors and supporters like you. I am thankful for your help and for changing my life and the chance to have a better life. Thank you for your kind heart and willingness to help me. May God bless you and guide you and protect you everyday.
Marlon has a sponsor who loves him and prays for him and provides for him to have a completely different life. Want to make a difference in a child’s life? Sponsor a child today through MTW’s ONEChild sponsorship program.
Casa Hogar Film Wins Emmy for Best Director
"Mi Casa Hogar," a short film, about a children's home in Acapulco that MTW partners with, recently won an Emmy for "Best Director." The film, produced and directed by award-winning director Nick Nanton, was also nominated for "Best Topical Documentary." Here's a summary excerpt from imdb.com.
"Acapulco is known as a playground for the rich and famous. But for many children who live there, there are few fun and games - just a daily battle for survival. Enter Casa Hogar del Niño de Acapulco, a former luxury hotel transformed into an orphanage whose mission is to help those children to a brighter tomorrow. … Mi Casa Hogar demonstrates what a difference a loving 'home' really can make - especially to those who never thought they'd have one." Written by Celebrity Films
Watch the 28-minute film »
Philippines Update: December 11, 2013
The Lord continues to guide the team’s efforts and give them strength each day to work and love those within their reach.
Destroyed home rebuilt for family of six
Shane, the local pastor in Bogo, told the team about a particular family of six in the area whose home was completely destroyed. They had been approached by the pastor previously and seemed cold to the gospel and later to the pastor. Since the typhoon and more follow up by the church, they were at Sunday's worship service. The team went to visit and helped them rebuild their dwelling. Every member of the family assisted the team in rebuilding. The kept thanking the team for their assistance. Their dwelling should be completed by tomorrow. This opportunity to directly serve this family has energized the work crew and everyone is enthusiastic despite being tired.
Site work and progress
A decision was made to strengthen and add steel to the church's sanctuary roof trusses. The end goal is to leave the site with the roof structure ready to have the sheeting installed to the damaged areas by the church. The team also hopes to expand the steel structure of the pastor's quarters on the second level that will create the roof line.
A Sonogram Brings Confirmation and Wonder
One highlight of the medical clinic was when several young women came and had their pregnancies confirmed and their progress revealed before them on the portable sonogram that the team doctor brought with him. The host pastor, Shane, has acted as the main interpreter for the clinic. This has been a good point of connection with the members of the community that have been coming for medical care.
Giving Thanks in the Inner City
I spent the day with 14 kindergartners, sweating profusely in 103 degree heat as we guided them (and 80 other kids) through the maze of streets and subway cars. We took a 40 minute ride to the Statue of Liberty, which entertained my kindergartners for all of about 10 minutes. Over the next several hours, we ate, played tag, chased pigeons, braided hair, and cooled off at a water park. When we took a ferry—meaning I got to sit for the first time in hours—two little ones immediately crowded my lap, politely asking for a snack.
I divided fruit gummies between the girls, who patiently waited until I gently encouraged them to eat.
“We gotta pray.”
“Right.” I smiled as they each grabbed one of my hands, and we enthusiastically thanked Jesus for the gift of fruit snacks. Minutes later, we were back on the subway, where they promptly fell asleep, sticky fingers still firmly clinging to me.
When we arrived back at Exodus, I had to start on dinner for the team. I gave both girls hugs and told them how much I loved being with them. The hopeful look on the tiny girl’s face made my heart break. “You can’t come back tomorrow, too?”
If I could go back tomorrow, I would. How I long to return to those smiling faces, sticky fingers, and sweet reminders to pray and be thankful for small things (even fruit gummies). eXplore Operation Exodus This Summer
Guided by the belief and transforming power of Jesus Christ, Operation Exodus (OE) enables students to grow academically and spiritually. With three locations in New York, OE serves 500 students through after-school and summer programs of tutoring, arts and crafts, sports, and daily worship. OE strives to bring students and their families closer to the Lord, and works to free them from the challenges keeping them from reaching their God-given potential.
Want to witness God working in this city? MTW works with OE by providing volunteers for these programs. Your group will develop leadership skills, cultivate their gifts, and come away with a new perspective on serving, praying, and furthering the Kingdom.
Are you ready to eXplore? Click here
to learn more about serving with MTW and Operation Exodus this summer.
“And They Call Him Alleluia”
When Fernando came to the orphanage, he didn’t talk. Didn’t look at anyone. And certainly didn’t want any physical contact. He had been found tied to a tree in Acapulco, abused and neglected, a tortured young soul. At Casa Hogar he experienced a new life—he was fed and clothed and just plain loved as he heard about Jesus. After many years of care, Fernando now even gives hugs and is happiest when singing praises to his Savior and King. And when choosing a family name, what did they call him? They call him Alleluia. Sponsor a child »
PCA Mercy Conference
March 20-22, 2014
College Park, MD
Workshops by MTW’s Cheryl Crocker and Opal Hardgrove
Medical Team Trip to Tacloban
March 28, - April 5, 2014
Global Disaster Response Training
April 29-May 4, 2014 in Pittsburgh, PA Details »
Effective Health Teaching Course
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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