Friday, October 29, 2010

Please Pray For The Needs In Senegal

October is always a difficult month in this part of the country. People have labored long and hard through the rainy season and not had enough nutrition. Malaria carrying mosquitos are still rampant, though we are pleased that about everyone uses mosquito nets for sleeping. Older folks suffer in the heat and humidity. In the past three weeks there have been six deaths and at least one more is imminent. Two elderly, two infants, one child of ten, and a father of four who was about 40.

Yamde Jaata 70s
Jéere Saajo’s baby boy 1 year
Samba Saajo 70s
Landing Mansaal 10
Méeru Jaata’s baby boy 1 month
Jutala Maani 40

That last one was tough because I took him out (unconscious) to the local clinic for an exam, but because of his dire condition the brothers were advised to take him home as it would not be wise to spend money (also scarce at this time of year) by going on to the hospital because he was going to die anyway. Sure enough by midnight he was gone. I say it was tough because when we drove back into his compound the wailing began even though he was still alive at the moment.

We pray God will use these circumstances to wake people up to the truth of his Word. I had an opportunity to share frankly with the religious leader who did the funeral of this last fellow mentioned. We also try to implore the families to not be dwelling on their traditional belief system that says the unexpected deaths were acts of sorcery. We get the facts of the illnesses and suggest practical, physical means that can be taken for healing and prevention. Mostly it falls on deaf ears.

Thanks for praying. Dave and Tippy McKee

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Pat Silvis: News From Mexico City

Dearest Friends and Family,

It’s hard to believe, but I’ve already been in Mexico City for over one month! October literally flew by, with classes, ministry experiences, my 24th birthday, and lots of time with family and new Mexican friends. God is doing a lot here and I want to share as much of His story as possible!

Every week we have ministry training with our Spearhead team (culture/history/ministry), an inductive Bible study, and Spanish classes. We’ve discussed Holistic Ministry (ministering to the whole person, not just evangelizing) and Incarnational Ministry (submitting oneself to the culture in order to understand how to effectively communicate the Gospel), which have really challenged me to think differently about ministry in Mexico. Two big take-aways have been that effective ministry is complicated, and takes time—Jesus took 30 years to live and learn His culture before starting His ministry.

We also talked about how part of Mexico’s history/culture has been to wear metaphorical “masks,” which effectively keep you “safe,” but prevent you from truly being yourself. In Spanish classes we have learned about love/dating and growing up in Mexico, but one of the most powerful classes we had was when we read through multiple newspapers to see what is currently happening in Mexico. There are many troubling situations here that we prayed for, such as the violence/deaths between the government and the drug lords (narco traficantes), government corruption, and the rise of sexual-social issues (abortion, teen pregnancy, legalization of prostitution, sex-trafficking). Please continue to pray for the Mexican government, the Christian church in Mexico, and the many people who are suffering here.

Please Continue to Pray for:
--Mexico and the many spiritual/physical needs here
--Wisdom for managing my time/energy/relationships
--Mentorship/Discipleship opportunities at church
--Alliances with businesses/ministries for the A.C.
--The Honduras mission trip (wisdom in forming the teams)
--My church here, Iglesia Cristiana Evangelica Generación de Fe y Poder
--Patience/discernment in dealing with cultural differences (Mexican, American, and the culture of God’s Kingdom)

Thank you again so much for your prayers and support. I would love to hear from you and be able to pray for you—please don’t hesitate to let me know how you’re doing!


Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Helpful Ways To Pray For Our Missionaries: Part Two

Pray For Courage
"Pray also for me, that whenever I open my mouth, words may be given me so that I will fearlessly make known the mystery of the gospel, for which I am an ambassador in chains. Pray that I may declare it fearlessly, as I should" Ephesians 6:19-20 (NIV). Why do we have to pray for courage for our missionaries?
They need courage to:
- Minister effectively in other cultures and languages
- Defeat discouragement and unique challenges
- Conquer fear of failure and shame.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Bill & Kathy Martin Serving in Senegal with Converge

Bill & Kathy serve in Dakar Senegal working with Converge in their church planting efforts. Here's some recent impressions of the difference between the US and Senegal based on a a trip home.
Some people have asked me what my impressions are of the United States, after having been gone for two years. Here are my Top Ten…
10. The grass is so, so green, and there is so much of it.

9. We have amazing restaurants in the States. I was treated to meals at several and each one seemed more delicious than the last. And free drink refills – what luxury!

8. Driving on country roads covered with shadows was very distracting for the first few days – the constant light/dark was like a strobe light to my eyes. I’d forgotten about shadows! For the most part, there are no trees along the roads here, and shade is a commodity. When you are driving in Dakar, you have to be on the lookout for sheep, soccer balls flying into the road, potholes, and pedestrians, but shadows are pretty much non-existent.

7. I was struck by the fact that everything seemed to have dual labeling – English and Spanish. We got used to that up in Canada, where everything is labeled in English and French, but I don’t remember there being much Spanish on labels before we left.

6. No one uses paper maps anymore. Without a GPS, we had to keep making use of Google maps in order to find our way around, and even Google maps seemed outdated. I wonder how long it will be before kids are unable to read paper maps!

5. In Senegal, houses have walls around them, and most people have guards. You wouldn’t think of leaving a door unlocked. As we drove around our home town, I kept thinking of what our Senegalese friends would think if they saw our homes… “You mean someone can just walk right up to your door?”

4. American cars are so comfortable. (Thanks Wendi and Pat!) American roads are so, so wonderful.

3. Three of the sweetest words I know… 1. Central 2. Air 3. Conditioning.

2. I can guarantee you that two years ago when we left, not one person in my sphere of influence had ever used the term “apps.” Now, I even heard the word coming out of my 70-something-year-old mom’s mouth! I was introduced to “apps” on my drive away from Logan, when my sister complained that the reason we couldn’t figure out the location of the nearest FedEx office was because of the lousy “apps” on her iPhone. (Or iPad, or iTouch or whatever it was.) I didn’t want to admit that I didn’t understand what she meant, since she had already been amused by my confusion over the fact that her phone didn’t appear to have a key pad… how do you dial a number when there are no numbers? After that, I’m telling you, I heard that term every day, multiple times a day. “What apps does it have?” “True, but the apps are amazing.” Even my young nieces and nephews flung the word around casually. It really struck me how, even in these days of internet and Skype, when you leave the country for two years, you can totally miss something. We don’t see commercials, receive catalogs, or have access to western-style shopping here. Technology continues to fly along at top speed, but for the most part we’re really “out of it.” Does this mean that we have to buy something with “killer apps” when we come back to the States next year? We’re going to need a consultant to get us back up to speed.

1. Seeing friends and family again was unbelievably precious. And it struck me that even though I hadn’t seen people for a full two years, some people in more than three, the moment I saw them again it was absolutely like no time had passed. I was so glad to get back to Bill, Caleb and Anna in Dakar at the end of my short trip, and am excited to begin our last year of our first term here. But having just a taste of reunion with people in the States leaves me looking forward to next year, when we will have more time to savor the visits!

Follow the Martins on their blog.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Helpful Ways To Pray For Our Missionaries: Part One

Pray God Would Open Opportunties To Engage
"Continue steadfastly in prayer, watching therein with thanksgiving; withal praying for us also, that God may open unto us a door for the word, to speak the mystery of Christ, for which I am also in bonds..." Colossians 4:2,3.

We cannot take for granted that there are open doors everywhere. Many missionaries work in countries with restricted access or in areas that are resistant to the Gospel, where, even though there are open doors, there are closed hearts.

- Pray that God will guide the missionaries as they navigate cultural barriers
- Pray that God opens doors for ministry, partnership and friendship.
- Pray that those serving would be guided by the Holy Spirit.

Todd Nelson Serving With Wycliffe

Todd Nelson
Vice President for Prayer Ministries

Todd Nelson says, “My wife, Gail, and I joined Wycliffe as newlyweds in the mid 1980s. At that time, we were both computer programmers, and had been looking to see how God might use us in missions. We attended the Urbana ’84 missions conference where we learned more about Wycliffe. The work of Wycliffe just made sense to us—evangelism, church planting, discipleship, etc., all spring from and are enhanced by people having God’s Word in a language they can understand. This was something we wanted to be a part of. We also felt drawn to Wycliffe by the fact that we could have an impact on Bible translation using the skills we already had.”

Todd has served in a variety of positions with Wycliffe and with SIL, Wycliffe’s primary partner organization. After several years as a database programmer with Wycliffe, he worked as a linguist/translator in Benin, West Africa. From there, he transitioned into several leadership roles, including field director in Togo and Benin, and Francophone Prayer Mobilizer for Africa. Returning to the U.S., Todd became Vice President of Prayer Ministries in March 2009.

Todd holds a bachelor of arts in mathematics from Bethel University and a master of arts in linguistics from the University of Texas at Arlington.

Todd and his wife, Gail, were married in 1985. They have four teenage children: Christopher, Kylie, Julia and Benjamin.

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Grace Church Operation Christmas Child Packing Party 2010

A Challenge to Expand Your World View

A few members of our missions team here at Grace encouraged me to read A Hole In The Gospel by Richard Stearns. This is far more than a book to read, it's a direct challenge to your heart to expand your passion and reach for lost and hurting people. This is a story of how a CEO faced his own struggle to obey God, whatever the cost, and his passionate call for Christians to change the world by actively living out their faith. Believing that the “good news” is more than a private transaction between God and us, Stearns challenges readers with this question: What does God expect of us? Two thousand years ago, twelve people changed the world. Stearns believes it can happen again. You can order a copy at the Grace book store after any of the weekend services.

-pastor mike

Bill Hybels
Willow Creek Community Church

“Richard Stearns is quite simply one of the finest leaders I have ever known. I first met him when he was a high-flying CEO of a major U.S. corporation. Despite the rarified air he was accustomed to operating in, I was struck with his humility and Kingdom-centered worldview. When he became president of World Vision, I had a front-row seat to witness the way God used his mind and heart to inspire thousands of staff and donors to do their absolute best in alleviating poverty and eradicating the effects of AIDS from the planet. His new book, 'The Hole In Our Gospel,' will call you to a higher level of discipleship. I am rooting that you will allow God to take you to a new place of compassion and activism. Now is the time...Richard Stearns has the strategy...your move!”

Luci Swindoll
Author and speaker, Women of Faith
"Brace yourself...this is one powerhouse book! In a knowledgeable, loving way, Richard Stearns carefully explains why there's a hole in our Christian belief system. He redefines words like neighbor, wealth, possible, awareness....then, with challenging directives, shows us tangible ways this hole can be repaired — even eradicated — when each of us pours hope and compassion into it. He expands our thinking, gives us courage, believes change can happen, and when you've finished reading, you'll believe it, too."

John Ortberg
Author and pastor of Menlo Park Presbyterian Church
This is the World Vision legacy at its best. 'The Hole in Our Gospel' is a trumpet call to action as thoughtful as it is urgent. It is a prophetic and hope-filled word for our day. If enough people read and do it, the world will change."

Jonathan T.M. Reckford
CEO Habitat For Humanity
Rich Stearns makes a compelling case that Jesus' good news needs to be good news for everyone in the world. The whole gospel requires us to not just care about the poor but to do something about it. This book should also be required reading for marketplace leaders to see a wonderful example of how God can use business skills and a willing heart to build things of eternal value."

Friday, October 15, 2010

Dr. Joseph & Rebecca Harvey--Serving in the Republic of Congo

We are Dr. Joseph and Rebecca Harvey, medical missionaries with Global Outreach Mission in the Republic of Congo. We are serving our Lord Jesus Christ here in this central African nation with the goal of bringing God’s hope and healing to the people of Congo.

Our primary work is in establishing the Pioneer Christian Hospital (a.k.a. “H.E.L.P.,” the acronym for its local French name, “Hôpital Evangélique ‘Le Pionnier’”) as a Christ-centered refuge in the northern city of Impfondo, offering health in this life and hope for eternal life to a region full of people who otherwise have little or no opportunity of receiving either. After five years of planning and hard work, the hospital opened on January 16, 2006! During the two extraordinary weeks following opening, the hospital was full of “firsts:” its first normal baby delivery, its first Aka Pygmy patient, its first 30 surgical cases, its first death (a 6 month old baby), and its first 1,000 outpatients. “I waited patiently for the LORD; and he inclined unto me, and heard my cry.” Psalm 40:1

We invite you to join with us in this ministry, as God leads you through prayer, financial support, and volunteer service with us.

Patrick Silvis--Serving in Mexico City

Serving the Mexican Church and impoverished communities in Mexico City for one year (2010-2011). Patrick is working with Nueva Generacion, a church in northern Mexico City, and their non-profit, Sembrando ("Planting"). Sembrando is dedicated to ministering to the needs of the neglected and impoverished, through strategic partnerships with businesses, churches, and other ministries.