Missionary Monday - Zambia

Mwatandaleni (You are visiting),

And I thought the public bus in Zambia was an experience…wait until you hear about the public boat! Constant shouting, hard benches, the smell of petrol and dried fish, not to mention that the ride took 10 hours. This experience felt like the real Zambia, the real Lake T. I was traveling to the very remote Nsumbu Village to fetch a little boy who lives with one of the missionaries on base. He was visiting home while this missionary was travelling for meetings. I hadn’t been to Nsumbu before, so I thought, “Why not hop on a boat and go?” The visit was great, and I’ve decided that Nsumbu is now my favorite lakeshore village out of the four I’ve visited. OM has a base there, so I was able to stay with missionary friends during my visit, and visit the families of several students from school who stay with relatives in Mpulungu during the school term. Everywhere we went in Nsumbu people greeted us, “Mwatandaleni.” If you go to a village and don’t visit people or greet them, they will remember and hold it against you. Needless to say, we made many visits and exchanged countless greetings.

Aside from visiting families, the most fascinating part of this journey happened on the boat. The “big” public boat doesn’t actually dock at the villages along the route. Small canoes and ring-net boats paddle out from the village shore to bring people to and from the public boat. The fascinating part is that the people paddling out are young boys. Some of them only 10 years old! I asked my traveling buddy (a Zambian from Nsumbu Village) how old the boys are when they begin learning how to fish. He said that boys can be brought along on the fishing boats at 5 years old, and start going out to fish in the small boats on their own by the time they’re 10. This wasn’t surprising to me, but startling, because I’ve heard about what happens on the fishing boats. Many of the men drink, smoke, and throw insults. Most of the boats are covered in witchcraft rituals. And you may not know, the fisherman along Lake T are considered an unreached people group. Please pray for these men and young boys to know the protection, hope, and freedom that they can have in Jesus. 

Since my last email about the tough stuff happening, I have seen rays of sunshine here at the lake. I have no doubt that this light and warmth has come from surrendering to God and from your prayers. There has still been some heavy stuff to deal with, but God’s grace has outweighed it. There was a day when things just felt too heavy and I was tired. I went home early from school on this particular Monday because I had been travelling most of the weekend with an outreach. I sat in my room and prayed…and cried, releasing my burdened heart to the Lord. As I was praying and crying I heard a knock and, “Teacha Selah!” There was about 10 students at my door. I tried to ignore them, but they started opening the door to come into my house! Now, I’m not telling you this so that you can be sad that I cried, because it was a freeing kind of cry. I’m mostly telling it to you because I now find the intrusion funny, and because I’m human and I think it’s important that we be open about our brokenness…and the strength we find in Jesus. 

I created a note on my phone that lists some of these sunshine rays because I want to remember each glimmer of light. Here are a few…My boys meeting me at the boat harbor because they were so excited that I was coming back from Nsumbu (as they were waiting apparently one of them called me auntie and one called me mom), getting a message from one of my students saying that he missed me and asking me to come back to Mpulungu, 3 fellow missionaries being amazingly supportive friends during the tough stuff, receiving a compliment from one of the government teachers who I thought was not a fan of mine, taking a few of my boys to the lookout point and hearing them say that I was their real coach when they were jokingly being persuaded otherwise, gaining Godly wisdom and advice from mentors to work through difficult situations, seeing God care about the little details of bringing people together, Team Cooperation victories, visiting the guardians of my boys, and so many more.

Team Cooperation is my football (soccer) team. Since that first time I went to watch the boys play and got stuck in the mud with them, I’ve been to many more games and had many more adventures. I usually walk an hour through town and Muzabwela village to get to the plot where they play, because the minibus is not working and the rains have made the roads quite bad. This has earned me the title of “Coach” which is the running joke of everyone on base because I know nothing about football. But I show up, and I care. That’s really what it’s all about. The boys don’t care that I know nothing about football because they know that I care about them and am willing to give up weekends to support them. I was feeling hesitant about the boys being the ones that I was spending so much time with, but now I’m embracing it. These are the ones that God has brought into my life…and there’s a reason, and I’m so thankful for each one of them. Pray with me for these boys; I don’t want to miss any opportunity that the Holy Spirit gives me to tell them about and show them Jesus.

One of my boys has had a really tough time at home. He’s almost 18 and is in grade 6. His mother is extremely ill and he has a 14 and 1-year-old sister. He’s been trying to provide for his family while going to school as the older sister stays home to take care of the mother and baby (although some days she runs away). He asks for small jobs to earn money for food and rent, but has had trouble making ends meet. Two other teachers and I sat down to think of how we can best support his family. I was able to give money (from you!) to him to buy items that his mother can re-sell in smaller packs to others in the village while he’s at school. One of the other teachers (a missionary in charge of Self-Help Groups) went shopping with him and will follow-up with the family to make sure that they are earning enough to provide for their basic needs, buy more product, and save. We’re hoping that this will be a sustainable way to empower them as a family to take care of themselves. Please pray for the mother’s health, and for this little family’s welfare. I actually went to visit this boy and his mother at their home several times before we provided the capital. His mother gave me a big hug and held my hand for the first several minutes of my visit. And just like she held my hand, God has them in His.

At school we’ve been learning about character traits in devotions, and teach them using Bible stories and verses. The first was cooperation, then integrity, and now we’re moving on to compassion. This character program has been the highlight for many of the teachers this term (this means I did something right, wow haha). The kids have had some lively and honest discussions about the applications of these words and stories to their own lives, and have even enjoyed creating skits. The teachers have even been studying the traits in their devotions, so it’s been just as convicting for us as it has been to some of the students. Pray that God would continue to use these traits and His word to transform each student and teacher.

Eesh…and I thought I wouldn’t have anything to say when I started typing this update! Thank you SO much for your prayers since my last email; they have been felt as little rays of sunshine coming through the clouds…which are often the most beautiful. I hope that each of you have been experiencing your own rays :)

In Christ, 

Teacha (Coach) Selah

Missionary Monday - Thailand

Medical Mission Ministry Report 

On February 7th-9th, 2018 was our KCC team meeting, where 20 of our key leaders attended. It was a very good time to fellowship together, have Bible study, and held worship service in the evening. We heard great reports from various provincial leaders, how the Lord is moving in their region, and many discussions and plans for 2018. From January to February 2018, 5-6 new house churches have been established. We held our meeting at a K* church. In the evening all of the membership came and joined us for good meals, and worship the Lord together. There is no other joy than to meet my team, as I love them with all my heart. They are so precious to me! 

On February 9th in the afternoon, we went to Chiang Sean district to meet our medical team from the States led by Dr. Helen, the Circle of Love Foundation. On February 10th, we started our first clinic, and there were some OMF Missionaries that came to help us translate in the dental department, for the doctors, and help count pills. From the Feb. 10th -12th these were the people group that we saw: LaoLue, ThaiDam, Iumien, Hakha and Khmu. 

In Chiang Sean, we held our clinic at a Buddhist temple. We were invited by the head of the village. 2 police officers came and checked on our clinic on the 11th. By the grace of God everything was well, and no problem occurred. The police asked me who are those checking the people. I answered “they are American medical doctors.” He also asked me again, “Are they real doctors?” I replied, “Yes, they are real doctors. They even brought their medical certificates with them.” I told them that they can also get a free medical check-up if they want too also. The police told me that those doctors look retired, and doing a good deed to help unfortunate people. I answered him, “They come every year. All the medicine, glasses, dental equipment are paid by the doctors. They also treat both Thai and Laotian that are in need of medical help.” I offered to them if they needed any reading glasses or sun glasses. One of the officers took up the offer and took one reading glasses. They then saluted us and took their leave. Praise the Lord! 

On February 13th-15th, we moved our clinic at Huay Jor at another K* church. The 14th was the hardest day as more than 400 people came from Laos. There were many widows and women that came. The reason is because they cannot come to the leader’s seminar when we have it at this church. So when the opportunity comes, especially to come see me, they come as soon as they can. They are faithful listeners to the FEBC K* program. Many came to talk to me personally, and asked for radios/batteries. I met their needs and they were so excited for the radios! 

On the last day of the clinic, the 15th, I met one man who was interested in wanting to know about Jesus. I took him to the back of the church building and started talk to him about Jesus. My voice was so loud that it reached to those who were waiting to see the doctors. Then more than 30 people came to listen. They were excited, as well as I. I thought this is a great opportunity to lead 30 people to Jesus from talking to this man. I began evangelizing and using the Heart Diagram. After I finished my messages on the Heart Diagram pictures, I asked if there was anyone that wanted to accept Christ, please raise their hand. No one raised their hand. I was surprised at first but then they all replied that they are all Christians. They were so excited to just listen to me share about the Bible because always hear me on the air, but not in real life. I spent one hour with all my energy to share the basic Christian faith hoping to lead them to Jesus, but at the end all of them were are already Christians! This brought some humor to me. 

At opportunity came, during the same day, as many people were standing in the door of the church trying to get inside the church. Yet, one man blocked the people to let anyone go into the church until their names were called to see the doctors. I thought that this was a good opportunity to share the Gospel to them. I stood at the door and spoke to them about Jesus for 3 minutes. Thank the Lord 6 people accepted Christ! 

I want to express our appreciation, and gratitude to the medical team from the U.S. led by Doctor Helen Laib, her husband doctor Dave, Dr. John, and their daughter, Dr. Amy. Also Dr. John, his wife, and their son also, Dr. Jonathan. I want to thank the dental department, and the 2 pharmacists, and other team members that have come faithfully every year. Everyone was working hard, taking the sacrifice out of their time to come to treat people who need help physically and spiritually. They are not looked down upon but instead being touched, prayed for, and talk to the patients with gentle and loving hands. We have been doing this for 20 years. Is this not wonderful?! (Matthew 25:34-46) Throughout the 6 days, 1426 patients were seen, and 171 people accepted Christ. 

The Circle of Love has not only been doing the medical missions with KCC for 20 years, but also having a wonderful project of helping 374 widows, and more than 27 university students have been receiving education scholarships, and micro-loans for pastors. Thank you for this wonderful partnership and the prayers!

Generosity Story - Jamie Eberra’s Story

The sermon on living in YOUR budget really rocked me. Our budget is not the one we (my husband and I) WANT to live in or realistically have been living in, but it’s the budget that we are blessed with and the budget that very tightly lets me work at home until our youngest is school aged and I can go back to work.

As I think about things I have bought that we could have gone without, releasing it was actually very freeing and has brought a lot of peace. Saying “not this time” to my friends' Mary Kay and Pampered Chef parties that I enjoy actually felt like a burden being lifted knowing I don’t have to try to find money for that out of the sky. It has not been an easy challenge thus far and we have not had any extra, but my husband told me a story of his work day that consisted of many times hearing God say and show us “I’ve got this.”

On a very financially tight day, just before the next payday, God showed my husband to trust in Him and He provided just what my husband needed to get through his work day and even just enough for a small treat that my husband recognized as a blessing. We have grown and learned so much in this challenge and know that this is a season that our Lord will bring us through with our faithfulness. Lord willing, our situation will change, our littles will get big and I will go back to work when my Father says it is time, but through it all the Word stays the same, therefore , we are now a tithing family, living in our budget.

-Jamie Eberra

Missionary Monday - Thailand

Mr. O* was arrested by the authorities on February 2nd because of his faith. He accepted Christ through his son. In the beginning, his son accepted Christ and was excited to share his faith with his parents. Unfortunately his father hated that he accepted Christ, and kicked him out of the house. O* threw away the Bibles, radios, USB sticks with message, and MP4 speaker radios that his son brought back home to witness to his parents. S* left the house and went back to his home church, 5-6 hours away in another province. S* went to stay with his grandma and his uncle. During the trip back to his home church, S* father, O*, called the police to arrest his son. Thank the Lord that S* was visiting his friend on the way, and the police could not find him! The Lord sure protected S*.  

S* felt that God called him to study God’s word in Chiang Mai. May 2017 was when he went to study in Chiang Mai. The Bible school was only able to accommodate him (and 2 other students) for 1 term because of visa issues that were encountered. Yet, I took him and the 2 other students to stay in our compound and decided to teach them daily. I challenge them to love God, love God’ Word, pray, love the K* people and other people’s group. On November 3rd, 2017 they went back to Laos to minister to their own home churches.  S* asked me for permission to visit his parents again even though they did not like S* religion. S* parents dislike Christianity because they see that it is a foreign religion and the government of Laos detests it. 

S* and his uncle went to visit them. This time was different as S* parents were open to listen to the messages on the MP4 speakers, the K* program on the radio, and interacting with their son and pastor. S* and pastor T* led S* parents to Christ along with other families. A total of 10 people accepted Christ! O* was on fire for the Lord and started to witness in the village. He then led 5 more families to Christ, which brought to a total of 50 people in the village that accepted Christ! This made the head of the village fear for his position from the Communist party. On January 17th, 2018 O* called me, and said he led 8 families to Jesus. He asked for more messages on the USB sticks, more MP4 speaker radios, and other ministry materials. He said that many people are wanting to accept Christ after listening to the messages. 

On February 2nd, 2018 O* was arrested and put in prison until today (as I am writing this on February 20th) 2018. From persecuting and wanting his son to be arrested, O* was now put in prison for his faith! From his hate to now being in prison for the God he accepts in his heart. This situation has never occurred yet among the K* Christian, since I have been serving God for 40 years, which started in 1977.

At this moment O* is waiting for the court to have a verdict on his case. The head of the village is currently forcing O* wife to renounce her faith. They want them to give up their fish pond to the village, and then her husband will be released. S*, their son, told his mother to not renounce their faith under any circumstances, and not sign any papers to renounce their faith. Recently, the court asked Mr. O* to prepare at least 3,000,000 Kip (380 USD) as a “fine” regarding the situation. Please pray for those 8 Christian families who are facing tremendous pressure to renounce their faith, as they just recently accepted Christ. They depend on the radio, USB messages, and MP4 speakers to grow in their faith. Please pray that they will not renounce their faith, be strong in the Lord, and stand firm. This will be a great test for them as we believe that if they can withstand this, many more will come to Christ!

-Recent update as of Feb. 23rd - Mr. O* cannot be released from prison no matter what he pays until he officially signs a paper to renounce his faith. 

*Name and location have been changed for their protection.

Generosity Story - Dave and Rachael Brother’s Story

 

I remember filling out the 90 day tithe challenge to continue giving. (My silent prayer that day was that God would move my husband's heart to do more.) My story of what God is doing has been a story loooong in the making. Back in my single mama days, I remember knowing that if He couldn't trust me with a little, then He couldn't trust me with a lot, so I made a vow to start giving. I am so thrilled to have persevered in my deep desire to give generously. After David and I married, I started praying that God would move his heart to match my desires. Or really, God's desires in generosity. (I may or may not have told him about that prayer.) 

Moving on.... David and I started with a commitment to tithing, yes, the true word of tithe, a couple of years ago. Fast forward to this holiday season and SOMETHING happened (God happened) BEYOND my wildest imagined prayer. But that is totally how you know it is HIM!!! I just love our God.

Here is the story...The community I live in has a team of about 25 of us who have banded together because of sports. This community has become (what is a picture of) the church to each other. When one is need, we all chip in. Just a couple months ago, sadly, we found out one of our families is going through a divorce. The mother of 4 was left in a bit of a financial disaster, was struggling to make ends meet, and would not be having Christmas for her family. Another family owns a business that builds homes and they offered us the opportunity to do construction clean up versus hiring a company to come in and the money earned would be given to our family friend in need. We have done that twice and the family in need helped in the work. 

When the email went out, IT happened.....the Lord moved Davids heart to go beyond our tithing. Then David heard your message about supporting outside the church. It makes my eyes tear up to think about it. David told me he wanted to contribute and we both agreed to pray on it. Every time he brought it up, I would say we would pray about it. Not sure if I was in shock or not obeying immediately (yes, a bit of both), but it was not until Matt's sermon about God confirming the birth of Jesus to both Mary and Joseph that my light switch flipped and the Lord had already given us both the same amount. There was nothing left to pray about. We gave the family a cash donation. I'm not sure the amount really matters, but I will say it mattered to the mama who was so humbled. Then hearing Cathleen's story, my heart strings were pulled again. David agreed with me to help her through this hump. So I was able to meet her for coffee, hear her story, and then tuck some cash in her sealed Christmas card. Let me say, I have thoroughly been so humbled and blessed with so much joy to be the messenger for our King. 

I know it is not always about the gift of money and that sometimes it is the gift of time, or resources, or a meal, or listening. However, these 2 occasions did call for money and obedience is the key answer to what He is teaching both David and I right now in my answered prayer.

I hope this story touches you as deeply as it has me.

-Dave and Rachael Brother’s

Missionary Monday - Zambia

Prayer Fam,

I’ll just be honest; this month has been hard. God has taught me a lot in a short amount of time, and usually His lessons come out of some sort of struggle. Last school year I was able to observe a lot about the school in my periphery as I taught my classes and small groups. There were things I knew needed to change eventually, but for the most part I was able to just do my part and enjoy being around the kids. This year, several issues with the school have come into full view.

I began the term excited to step into my leadership role by planning and facilitating all the teacher meetings at the start of the year. There were a lot of really good and convicting conversations about the school vision and how we can intentionally share The Gospel with the students. Everything was well thought out, and I was certain that with the expectations being clear and having a united focus, that some of the problems I noticed from last year would be taken care of. In my head I was thinking “capwa,” which means “finished”. However, after those first few teacher meetings I realized that change is going to come VERY slowly, and will not be finished for a while.

Teaching in Zambia is done the same way at every school. Everything is done by writting on the blackboard, and there isn’t a lot of motivation to do anything differently. There are no critical-thinking or problem-solving skills taught, and social skills are completely ignored. There’s not much consideration of student engagement, learning styles, or relationship.

It’s hard to look at a ministry like the orphan school that has such potential for serious Kingdom impact, and see government teachers who lack integrity, ambition, and compassion. It’s even harder when one of your students explains that he’s being insulted by one of them, and then to hear from someone else that a different teacher is insulting the majority of her class. This is the main reason that life has felt a little heavy recently. I can’t stand the thought of these kids not receiving God’s love at this school. I’ve felt burdened for this school, and God is slowly helping me to give that to Him, and trust that He has a plan. It’s made me more desperate for daily guidance.

I’ve had to examine my own expectations and part to play here. I can do everything in my power to make this school better than it was. I’ve asked myself the question, “What if I leave Zambia and don’t make a difference?” Now, some of you might say, “But Sarah, you are making a difference!” And that’s nice of you, but not the point. The point is that God hasn’t called me to feel successful. He hasn’t called me to gain personal glory, or to feel like I’ve made a difference or accomplish something great. And He hasn’t called me to save anyone. He has simply asked me to be obedient.

The great thing is that He lets me be a part of His work for His glory. Even though it feels hard sometimes it is a privilege, and I can find peace in Jesus and the fact that He loves me. Instead of feeling frustrated at the teachers who aren’t united in Christ with us I’ve felt God speaking to my heart; so instead of always asking, “How can I make these teachers fit the mold we want?” I’ve heard God prompt me saying, “How can you serve these teachers, and through that be a light?” My prayers have mostly been focused on asking God to guide me as I lead the school, that He would help me to be a light to the students and teachers, and that He would help me to be bold in sharing The Gospel with these kids. I realized that I often use the excuse “actions speak louder than words” to not actually speak the words of the Gospel as often as I should. There is power in saying the words of The Gospel that will change hearts, and I hope that the Lord will speak to the hearts of the teachers and students.

And don’t you worry…There have been a lot of great things happening in the midst of the struggle. Let me tell you about a few…Seeing the OM missionary teachers love the kids, seeing one of the “tougher” kids become the most improved in my class this past week, finding encouragement through wise and prayerful teammates, Holly (missionary at the lake for 10 years) coming back from America for a visit, experiencing God’s grace in new ways, praise and worship with the kids, some of the girls opening up at Pure Girls, my weekly nshima lunch date with the grade 5 girls, and the crowd of kids that gather around my office at break time to play games.

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One of my favorite experiences in Zambia so far though just happened the other day. I got to be the “soccer mom” for the boys. I mean that almost literally…I drove them to the game, cheered them on, held onto their stuff as they played, made sure to pack water for them, and drove them home. It started when a group of boys met at my house. We walked to the base so that I could drive them in the minibus through the bush to our field leader’s plot to play his team. I was the only non-Zambian in the village and felt totally comfortable. The game started late of course, and my boys played well, but lost the game. We all jumped back into the minibus so that I could drive them home (or close to home since I couldn’t drop off all 15-20 of them on the bush roads). They were all so excited to be crammed in the bus that they started singing; it didn’t matter that the lost. Then, as a huge truck passed us going the opposite direction we got stuck in the mud on the side of the bush road. Normally this type of situation would have been embarrassing or frustrating to most people, but I knew I was safe with boys. The kids all jumped out and immediately started pushing the bus. Some of the kids were telling me to reverse, some were telling me to go forward, and nothing was working. After a while I was about to give up and called someone for help. The kids wanted me to try one more time. I hear them all shout, “Everyone work together, it’s cooperation!” My heart filled with joy…Cooperation is our character trait of the month! I prayed that God would show them the value of working together. And He did! I drove out of the mud with the kids all screaming and shouting in victory. They piled back into the bus just as help arrived…We gave our would-be rescuer a thumbs up to let him know that we were ok, and drove off through the village and then town, singing even more elatedly because we saw God show up.

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I cannot express to you how experiencing this “real life” moment, and small victory with these kids refreshed my weary soul. That’s what I want more of. Time with kids that isn’t focused around class and programs…just life.

Please pray…

-that God would provide the right teachers for the school, and work in the hearts of the ones that are here now.

-that I would hear and feel God’s guidance each day…and obey!

-that God would help the teachers and myself to share The Gospel clearly with the children through our actions AND words.

- for provision of more staff here at the lake…finance, field leader, teachers, etc.

-that the hearts of the kids would be open to receive The Gospel. There are so many cultural, spiritual, and traditional strongholds that keep them from experiencing Jesus. Pray that the Lord’s love would sink deep into their hearts.

Thank you so much for praying with me through all of this. God is at work here at the lake, and I’m so grateful to be a small part of it. He has a beautiful plan for the people of Mpulungu, and through the challenges and His redeeming grace I get to see it unfold. 

In Christ,

Sarah 

P.S. The boys are saving for their own soccer ball, and somehow I became their treasurer. So now I have boys running up to me to give me one or two Kwacha at a time. It’s been really cool to see them all working together to save up for something that they care about.

 

 

 

Generosity Story- Alyssa Leckliter's Story

When the 90 day tithe challenge was first presented, I was not interested at all. We had not been tithing to the church, but had been giving different amounts to a local food pantry where I volunteer. I always assumed the number added up to 10%. While we are not in any financial trouble, these past two years we have not been as comfortable as we once were and it had been weighing on me. The stress and anxiety would cause me to lose sleep at night worrying about "what if" and trying to pay off car loans, etc. I was not interested in giving more of "my" money to a church, even one we had chosen as our home for the past 3 years. We have experienced many church heartaches and betrayals in our young lives, so I was giving outside to an organization I fully know. Summary:, I was anxious and still didn't fully trust New City with "my" money.

The Sunday before Thanksgiving, Matt shared what New City was able to accomplish this year because of God's blessings and I was amazed. Each ministry pulled on my heart strings. When I heard that New City had helped start New Life Church in Belton, I was so excited. Our good friends had been very active in that church plant. Story after story pulled at my heart and it was the next week that I heard God say "it's time to let go". I was terrified, but obeyed. 

First thing I noticed was that I was sleeping better (as much as a pregnant woman can). Next, were awesome financial blessings. Cameron has been working as a contractor for his company for almost 5 years. Long story short, after considering another company, Cameron's current company decided they wanted to keep him and offered a $5 an hour raise. Praise the Lord! 

The same current company used to give Christmas bonuses, but had not the previous year and I assumed that they would not this year (especially after that amazing raise), but they ended up giving us half of his monthly paycheck as a bonus. Praise the Lord! At the company Christmas party,  they blessed each guest with a $50 target gift card (even our daughter Adelaide). Praise the Lord!

While these things were all amazing blessings, I think the one that topped it all off was my attitude towards it all. Each blessing we received made me excited to find new ways to give away more to families or missionaries in need.

I am so grateful that I listened to God's call, stepped out in obedience, let go of fear, and truly trusted God with His money.

God Bless,

Alyssa Leckliter

Missionary Monday - Thailand

Dear prayer friends,

We want to update about the 6 people in prison. Thank the Lord that they have been released on Jan. 31st. All were fined for a total of 3,000 USD. All 6 of them have now been reunited with their families. Thank you for your prayers!

We will have a key leader meeting from Feb. 7th-9th to plan for 2018. Close to 20 leaders will come to discuss many issues. Then we will have our yearly medical mission near the border. We need your prayers for our medical doctors, evangelist to share to Christ who are coming, and for the people to cross. Last year we had close to 1,100 people within a week and now we think 300 people might come in one day. Please pray for this as it can get stressful. Last year was very overwhelming, and stressful. We do not have to have this happen again.

Blessings,

S*

*Name and location have been changed for their protection.

Generosity Story - Michael Eberra

On December 20th, I experienced a true “appearance of God”. I’ve always believed in a God, but never knew what it meant to know God. I’ve been walking with a discipleship group of a few guys for some months now and am becoming more knowledgeable of who God is and isn’t. Before this day, I still had my struggles in attaching Jesus to God. 

While I was working, almost done for the day, I got a call from my wife with a confused/excited tone in her voice. She explained to me that the parents of one of the kids she babysits gave her a Christmas card when they picked up their child. Not thinking much of it, she thanked them, and got back to the other kids she cares for. A few moments later, she decided to open the card and read it and saw there was money in the card. She said she figured it was an early payment for looking after their son. After counting it, she then realized they had made a mistake, because they had left way more than what was due for the week, $500 more! So she called the parents to let them know about the mistake or to find out if maybe they were pre-paying for a few extra weeks. To her surprise, they told her there was no mistake and that the extra money was her Christmas bonus for taking great care of their son everyday! She told me how this was a huge blessing and she was very appreciative that they would do this. 

For a few hours, I pondered why anyone would do such a generous thing. Especially with Christmas just a few days away. Surely they could use it for their family... right? Once I finally got home around 6:30pm, I went to my bedroom to I guess try to figure this all out. Confused and not getting anywhere, I began speaking to God. I asked him if this was Him blessing us and revealing Himself to me. 

Rushing to my own conclusions, I brushed it off and said no, no, no. It’s all because my wife is so helpful and has such a huge heart for helping others. It was all because of her, and nothing I do would ever contribute to someone seeing in us a reason to do such a nice thing. JUST AS I SAID THIS TO HIM, there was a knock at the door. I went to see who could be at the door at this time. It was a neighbor from a few houses down in the neighborhood who we know. She was holding a frozen turkey in one hand and a frozen chicken in the other. She handed both to me and said "Merry Christmas" and walked away. I was stunned. We had no dinner plans that night so it was perfect timing. 

Just then, I felt a strong feeling, as if God was right there looking at me saying, “Wake up, this is all me!” It couldn’t have been more clear. At that moment I realized, what more am I looking for as proof that Jesus is real and that He’s taking care of not just us, but taking care of and providing for me? 

-Michael Eberra

Generosity Story - Mann

I’ve never struggled with tithing, I don’t share that to brag, but it’s an important part of our story. I started tithing with my first job in high school. No matter how tight our budget was, I knew we couldn’t out-give God. Matt struggled with this though, and so we weren’t giving regularly and when we did give, it usually was less than 10%. I don’t share that as a knock on him; again, it’s an important part of our story.

Our story actually starts about 4 ½ years ago. Our budget was beyond tight. Monthly bills put us in the hole each month. That included only necessities, and did not include expenses that weren’t monthly like oil changes, clothing, haircuts, etc. We began asking God for a specific yearly salary. Compared to what we were making, it was a huge ask. Since we were asking for something big, we decided to show God that He could trust us with the little we had and thus became regular tithers.

We continued praying for this specific amount and continued to show God that He could give it to us by being trustworthy with the little we had. Over the next year, God always provided. We didn’t get the amount we were asking for, but we never went hungry, never missed a rent payment, and always had clothes to wear. I remember looking at the budget month after month and saying, “I don’t know how this is working. We shouldn’t be able to pay these bills.” Yet we were. Fishes and loaves. Thank you, Jesus!

It was both exciting and stressful to see how God was going to provide each month. I thought that my willingness to tithe was evidence that I trusted God. I knew I had other areas to work on, but I really, really thought trust wasn’t an issue for me. 

It was about a year after we had started praying for this specific number that we were asked to move out of the house we were renting. The timing was absolutely terrible- we got the notice on the same day we left the hospital with a newborn. We did as much packing as we could but it seemed to never end. Moving day came, and we had several friends and family members over to help. It felt like we were never going to finish boxing up all of our possessions. We filled the biggest moving truck you could rent 1.5 times, plus had several pick-up truck and minivan loads.

At the end of moving day, I was tired and worn out, but mostly embarrassed. Embarrassed that we had so much stuff. Embarrassed that friends and family saw it. It was our last night at the old house, and I was sleeping on a pallet on the bedroom floor. I began to pray and self-reflect.

Why do I have so much stuff? Why am I holding on to it all? What if I get rid of something and then we end up needing it; we don’t have the income to buy it again. I’m holding on to everything because we are poor. If we just made a little more, I could get rid of so much.

God, it’s been a year. Are you going to answer our prayer? We need a bigger income. Haven’t we shown you that you can trust us?

“But do you trust me?”

Whoa! There was no mistaking that voice. It was so clear. I didn’t hear it with my ears, but there was no denying it wasn’t my own voice or my own thoughts. It was direct and firm, but at the same time gentle and loving. And true. Oh, so very true. I thought I trusted God. But now I realized that I didn’t. I didn’t trust Him to provide my every need.

We got into the new house, and I started going through all my belongings. I organized things into keep, trash, or sell. The rich young ruler in the Bible was told to sell his possessions, right? And if we sold it, we could use that money to supplement our income. We were still barely skimping by, and now we had another mouth to feed. But that mouth was also a newborn, and newborns are pretty time consuming. I really didn’t have time to sell anything. 

Eventually, other things got in the way of my sorting and the only things I ended up actually getting rid of was obvious trash. I kept creating excuses, some of them were legitimate, like being on bedrest with a new pregnancy and suffering from post-partum depression. But mostly, they were just excuses.

3 years passed. Three years. God still provided every single, stinking month without fail. We were always able to make our rent payment. We always had clothes to wear. We never had to beg for food. There were new jobs and small pay raises, but there were also 2 new mouths to feed. Money was still tight. We still couldn’t budget in oil changes or new clothes for growing children and definitely nothing extra. I still look back and am amazed at how God provided for another 3 years when the math still wasn’t supposed to work. 

There were consequences to my disobedience, though. It’s hard to describe why or how, but having so much stuff made me feel like I was prisoner in my own home. Our house was filled with clutter. Piles of papers on the kitchen table, a mountain of fabric and craft supplies in the “crafting corner.” Homeschool books and endless school supplies in our home classroom. It was impossible to find what we needed when we needed it because we had so much stuff. It’s hard to take care of your belongings when you have a lot of belongings to take care of, so things were constantly getting broken or ruined.

Getting 4 young kids ready to go and out of the house was such a chore amongst all the clutter, so we mostly stayed at home. When we did get out of the house, I felt guilty, like I should be at home organizing, but I rarely did organize when we were at home. Inviting people into our home was most definitely not going to happen. Our marriage relationship went through its roughest period too. I was suffering from post-partum depression after Bryant was born, and I know sometimes that just happens after you have a baby, but I also know feeling like a prisoner to my things made my depression a thousand times worse. 

Matt and I had countless “discussions” on how we could tame the clutter and what the best method was to get rid of all of our junk. Finding time and getting the children out of the way were our biggest obstacles. He suggested over and over that we just rent a dumpster for a day and throw stuff in without even looking. That sounded ridiculous to me. There were things we obviously did need and that didn’t seem to be good stewardship.

I was getting desperate, though. I wanted out of my prison. I was driving in my car alone, and I know exactly where I was on Shawnee Mission Parkway when I asked God, “What if we did get rid of literally everything? Would we be bad stewards of what we have? Would you really provide for us?”

“But do you trust me?”

Just like before. It was the same exact voice. Still direct and firm. Still gentle and loving. The thought was interjected into my own thoughts in such a way that it’s just not possible the voice was my own. 

I lost it and the tears started flowing. For 3 years, God had been waiting for me. Waiting for me to answer his question, “Do you trust me?” He is so patient and full of grace. At any point he could have given up on me, but he didn’t.

God and I spent some time hashing out what he wanted from me and how I could show him that I do trust him. While I know I could get rid of literally everything and God would provide my needs, there are a few items that we use regularly that we’ve decided to keep. As I boxed things up, if I got stuck on whether to keep an item or get rid of it, I immediately asked God for wisdom and asked myself if I was trusting God. There have been some really hard things that I have given up, but I trust God.

So, with the 90-day challenge, we were ready and willing to listen to God and do what He said. Matt and I increased our giving; in obedience, we went from tithing on the net to tithing on the gross. We looked at our budget and made changes to give us freedom to give more. Also, because there is a good life insurance plan through his employer, we cancelled one we had carried for a long time and committed to give that total to the Lord for 3 months as well.  We had started packing our stuff to trust to God, but had not actually gotten anything out of the house. So during the challenge we took the back seats out of our minivan and donated at least 4 loads to various ministries and we are still working on getting rid of more.

God has honored our obedience and our trust; On February 5th, Matt will start a new job, working for the city of Shawnee’s Parks and Recreation department and help bring kingdom to our city…. The salary is not what we had been praying for over the past 5 years, it’s more! Thank you Jesus!

Mann Family

Missionary Monday - Central Europe

Hello friends!

We are now a few weeks into the new year and reflecting on last year as we set goals for this one. We arrived in Hungary on April 1st (no joke, we really did!) and have had a wonderful year here. We have spent approximately 6 solid months in language study. We have had an opportunity to visit and minister in a couple of villages, through translation primarily but our Hungarian is getting better and better, and this last time I (Taylor) held a few conversations on my own. We rented a house and bought a car (thank you all so much for your prayer and giving in that). 

A few weeks ago, on a Sunday after church, a young Roma man came to our door. As soon as I opened the door he spilled out a great long string of words about as fast as an auctioneer at horse market. I thought "Well, here is a language test for you!" After asking him to slow down, he explained he was asking for money for bread to feed his little brother (he had to explain that fast before people just shut the door on him). I gave him some money and my blessings. As a kid, growing up in Croatia, this was an almost daily occurrence but we were a little surprised to meet someone begging door-to-door where we live in Hungary. 

He came again on the following Sunday and has every Sunday since then, about 4 or 5 times. He's a nice guy, a few years younger than me, named Mózes (Moses). Not married, but takes care of his mother and brother. He asked me if I had some shoes he could have, because his were no good. I laughed and said no, knowing full well this tiny guy isn't going to fit into my size 13 shoes. You can't even buy that size here, you have to go to a specialty shop in the capital! He asked again and again for my shoes and when I gave him one to try, his eyes got really wide and he said "maybe something smaller?".  I'm going to try to get some shoes for him for the next time he comes, and hopefully continue to build this friendship! Please pray for this guy. Each time we have a small conversation and I'm really enjoying finally being able to use Hungarian on my own a bit, and Mózes is patient enough in talking. Pray for his heart as I love him as Christ loves him. He lives nearby, and this may open more doors for us to minister to the local Roma community.

I want to write on our finances entering the new year, as we do need prayer here as well. I'll quickly give you the numbers so you can get a picture of our needs going forward. We raised about 80% of our needed monthly income before we left. Since then several of our supporters, whether through personal crisis or job losses, have had to stop supporting us. In addition we saw the exchange rate value of the dollar plummet over the summer, meaning some months (including this one) we are seeing as much as a 14% loss in our monthly income. 

Our target for support is 4,000/month. Currently our support level is about 2,800 per month. So please pray for us as we continue to raise funds from here. Whether it is through supporters increasing their giving, or by finding new supporters to join us to raise that additional 40%, we do need to see the funds come in. We wanted to ask you to personally to pray if God would enable you to start giving, increase your giving or share our work with others who may join us! Feel free to write to me, I can answer any questions!

As we celebrated Advent and rang in the New Year (ok full disclosure, we fell asleep on the couch at 11:00PM) there was a definite realization- 2018 will be our first full calendar year away from the USA. We look back fondly and remember all of you, our friends who sent us off with your blessings and prayers. We miss you all and miss the States, but it is with a real sense of adventure and excitement as we look forward to God will bring us this year. May this be a year of great growth in the Lord for all of us, and may our work here bring sweet, sweet fruit for the Kingdom of our Lord Jesus Christ.

Also, if you somehow missed it, click here for the quarterly magazine put out by our organization, RBU!

The Lord bless and keep you,
-Taylor

Here are some more pictures from our UNA Clubs and other outreaches: 

 

Missionary Monday- Africa

Mwashibukeni bonse (Good morning everyone),

Ready or not, students will be here on Monday!! This morning is the first day of teacher meetings for this term. We were pleasantly surprised to find out on Sunday that schools will be able to open earlier than expected, on January 22nd. Apparently the number of cholera cases has been static, so the government deemed it ok to open schools. So, here begins my first official job as School Coordinator...leading the teacher meetings. Please pray for us as we begin this school year, and begin to slowly change things at the school. We need God's constant guidance to do HIS work.  

Thank you for praying,

Sarah

Missionary Monday - Thailand

Hello prayer friends,

We want to update you about our 6 brothers in prison for their faith since the 20th of Dec. 2017, until today. At first I was told 5, but now it is 6 in total.

Our leader, S-L*, is one of the six in prison. Our team went to visit his wife recently. S-L's* wife was asked by the police to give 16,000 baht (500 USD) per person in order for all 6 to be released from prison. For S-L*, himself,  the police charged him of distributing 15 radios to the people to listen to the FEBC Khmu program. The police asked S-L's* wife to go and collect those 15 radios back and bring to the police. S-L* did admit that he did distribute to various churches. I told them to take radios that we left at our house church in Vientiane to give to the police. I told the team to not take it from those who got it from S-L*. We do not want the people who got the radios to be discouraged by the police taking away the radios. 

On Jan. 22, 4 of our key leaders went to meet all the wives, fathers, brother, and sisters of those 6 in prison. They encouraged them, showed love, and care. They had a good meal together and brought some gifts to encourage them. Our team reported back that it was a good time, and they were encouraged and saw that our team cares for them, and the 6 in prison.

Please continue to pray for this situation. Will pass along any updates as I get them.

Blessings,

S*

*Name and location have been changed for their protection.

Missionary Monday- Thailand

Dear prayer friends in the Lord,

                We hope you have a wonderful New Year in 2018! 

Please hold up 5 brothers in Christ, who have been arrested on December 30th. They are currently in prison. They were holding a Christmas celebration party. The village just had believers who accept Christ in June, 2017. They were led to Christ by one of our key leaders. These new Christians belong to the H* people group, but oversee by the K* leader. 

The recent update we got (Jan. 3rd, 2018) follows these points below:

1. The authorities charged them that they did not get official permission from the village authority to hold a Christmas celebration.

2. One of the H* man showed a Jesus Film on a projector to the whole village, and started to evangelize and witness to the people in public. He also asked people to accept Jesus publicly which is something that is not permissible. 

3. Our leader was invited to speak at this Christmas party, and the authorities decided to arrest him also. His wife also attended but she did not get arrested also. It was not our leaders' plan to have  Christmas celebration in this village, but he does help oversee the believers in this village.

Right now, we do not clearly know what is going on for sure, and no one was able to meet those 5 people in prison. The thing we know for sure is that the police charged them 2,500,000 kip (10,000 baht) for 4 trucks that those 4 H* leaders brought  to the village without permission. Now their wives have to get food for their husbands. Please pray for this situation and will update along the way.

S*

*Name and location have been changed for their protection.

Missionary Monday- Africa

Happy New Year, everyone!

This is a greeting that I still hear quite often, and is usually mixed with the classic Zambian follow-up of, “What did you bring me?” To which I reply, “A smile.” If someone hasn’t seen you since New Year it’s still appropriate, and even required, to greet them by saying Happy New Year. I’ve found that Zambians keep track of who they’ve greeted each day, and with what greeting (there are like 20) so that they can move to the next one when they see you again. Needless to say, greetings are very important. If you don’t greet someone here it’s like a slap in face. 

My holiday month was filled with traveling and visiting, but also provided ample time to relax. I was able to spend some quiet time at my flat, host a few student visitors, help facilitate a Christmas program for orphans in Saikolo Village in Kasama, take a day trip to Cishimba Falls, visit a South African missionary family living in Mbala for Christmas, visit a friend from discipleship in Kabwe for New Years before she heads back to Germany, take a ride on my friend’s speedboat, and clean out my new school office. I’m very thankful that my time here has allowed me to make friends that I can visit and spend free time with.

 Christmas program.

Christmas program.

On New Year’s Eve, after my friend and I decided to jump in the pool at 1:00am, we stayed up for a while talking about the year we’ve had in Zambia. We both agreed that we were immensely blessed to have experienced all that we have, and to have felt God’s call in such a clear way. She then challenged me to think of a word to hold onto for 2018. The word “hope” came to my mind right away. I know that this year God wants ALL of my hope to be in Him. Not in what I may be able to accomplish or what I may think will happen in the future. There are some things that God is asking me to let go of so that He can replace them with the simple, yet triumphant hope that I have in Jesus. “And now, O Lord, for what do wait? My hope is in you” Psalms 39:7. My future and what it brings is whatever God wills, and all I have to do is look to Him and follow. I don’t have to wait for anything, I already have Jesus.

And now, I will have much more time than anticipated to meditate on this truth, because schools have been required to stay closed until after January 30th due to an outbreak of cholera in Lusaka. The outbreak has been quite serious. The police and military have been cleaning major cities, even using teargas to clear out some outdoor markets so that they can be torn down. Just yesterday there was a mandatory cleaning day in Mpulungu where all business were closed and required to clean. All the teachers came in to clean, so our school now has the comforting scent of bleach at every turn. There have been reported cases of cholera in some cities close to Lusaka, but it hasn’t reached the lake…Please pray that the outbreak will be contained!

Even though schools are closed, my work as a school leader has begun. I was tasked with organizing the school cleaning day as well as informing the teachers of what grades they will teach this year. I’ve also had to help with the hiring and letting-go of some teachers…Something I never thought would be my job. Through this I’ve already noticed that communication is a big issue at the school. Even though we have roles and responsibilities there are still a lot of things that require a person to just notice that it needs to get done (or that it isn’t right), and to take initiative in doing the job. When I reflect on my experiences as U.S. school I think, “Man, they are so far ahead and function like well-oiled machines.” There’s a lot of work to do here, not only academically but also in ensuing that our school really is a Christ-centered school. The other teachers and I desperately need God’s grace to do the work He has given us.

Please also pray…

-for our school kids. They now have to spend more time in the villages where they don’t always receive proper care or consistent meals.

-for a new fielder. 

-that we would have more people called to serve at the lake. Two of our missionaries from Trinidad are leaving after this year, and we are already in need of people as it is.

-for me as I transition into a leader at the school. School hasn’t even started and I’ve already experienced how much can fall through the cracks, and how difficult communication can be amongst the team. I need Godly wisdom.

-for the leaders and teachers of the school during this extended holiday, that we would make the best use of time and continue to glorify God through whatever we do.

In five days it will have been a year since I left home. Feels like a dream to think back to life before Zambia. Thank you SO much for your support through all the ups and downs during this first year of ministry at the lake. I’m so grateful to have supporters and prayer warriors like you!

In Christ,

Sarah

Missionary Monday- Thailand

Dear Friends, 

Since we started the Khmu ministry in 1987, both the radio broadcast and ground work, the Khmu have encountered series of heavy persecution until today. Thank God that He is faithful, powerful, He never forgets and fails His children throughout the 30 years in the Khmu ministry. The total Khmu Christian in Laos were about 6,000 when the Communist regime took over. Many churches were destroyed and Christians imprisoned. Now there are more than 60,000 Khmu Christian in Laos, and more than 300 house churches/churches in 12 provinces! This indicates that God is at work, and may He get all the glory!

From January to December 2017: 

1. We have received 2,013 letters from our listeners. 

2. There have been about 2,093 people, who have professed their faith in Jesus Christ through the ministry of pastors, evangelists, messages in the USB sticks, FEBC Khmu program, and MP4 speaker’s radios with storage, Inside Seminars, Medical missions, and the work of our team inside Laos. These include other tribal groups that the Khmu are reaching out. 

3. There are about 692 people that have been baptized. 

4. There have been 22 new house churches being established, including other people groups. 

5. We have set up 5 border seminars, a total of 587 people that attended and one more on December 26, 2017. About 90 people will attend. A Total of 677 people. 

6. We have distributed about 270 MP4 speaker radios. They are very much in demand. 

7. We have distributed 1,560 radios, and 4,430 batteries to pastors, and evangelists at the border seminar to give to their churches/house churches members. 

8. We have distributed 493 Laos Bible and 112 Thai Bible to our young people at the youth camp. 

9. We have distributed more than 16,000 Bible lessons, and circulated letters written by S* with 7 titles. We give to the leaders at the seminars. They take them back to their home churches to distribute to their church members, and various churches/house churches. 

10. We have set up 96 inside seminars in 11 provinces with 8,529 people that have attended. This includes other people groups that have attended: Laotian, Lao Lue, Iumien, Prai, Hmong, Hakha,Bru, most of them are Khmu. We have 73 people in our team, who have graduated from Bible school both in Thailand and inside Laos, who are doing this kind of work for us. 

Prayer Points: 

1. Please pray for the 7 families who will be planning to move to a new village. Pray that all things will go smoothly without any problems with the authorities. 

2. Pray for the health of K* and me. I plan to see doctor for surgery in January, 2018. 

3. We will plan to have 6 students come to study the Bible with me in the beginning of 2018. We plan for them to stay for 1 month, and then study a couple months in Laos with our leaders. We pray this will work out. 

4. Pray for our medical mission’s trip that will start on February 9th-15th of 2018. 

5. Please pray for our team, especially during December to early January, 2018. They are as busy as they are preaching at many Christmas celebrations all over the country. Pray for safe travels, wisdom, and power from the Holy Spirit. 

6. Pray for urban outreach, especially in the city of Vientiane at Thongpong house church. This year they invited 326 people from various business factories in the city to attend the church. 79 people accepted Jesus Christ, and 21 people baptized. 

7. Pray for the ongoing persecution cases. Pray that all will stand firm in their faith. 

8. Pray for our ongoing financial support. For those who intend to support FEBC International’s Khmu radio ministry, please send your contributions to the FEBCanada office in Richmond, British Columbia. 

In the love of Jesus Christ our Lord, 

S* & K*

*Name and location have been changed for their protection.

Missionary Monday - The Roma of Central Europe

Hello friends!
I hope this letter finds you full of joy and expectation in the middle of the wonderful advent season. Our daughter, Margot, is finally old enough to really enjoy and understand all of the traditions and events in Christmas. We celebrated St. Nicholas Day (or Szent Mikulas here in Hungary), light our Advent Wreath, and sing songs together. For us this has been a very special season for so, so many reasons. 

These past two months I feel like I must have accidentally signed up for some kind of upgrade. God has poured physical blessings out on some of our needs here. We really needed a bigger home, so we were praying next year we would find one. One whirlwind October later, we are in a new home. We needed a bigger car- preferably a van for both family and ministry. One incredible fundraiser later, we have purchased a van. All thanks to the unprecedented kind generosity of the members of our supporting churches in St. Louis.

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Our hearts are full this Advent season. Not only with the joy of decorating our new home in Hungary, but also with the blessed joy of seeing your work in ministry begin to bear fruit in two ways:

1. Our weeks are still full of language study. When we're not studying I'm either creating the children's Bible material or helping teammates with various jobs. As you remember from our last prayer letter, our teammates took my material down to Southern Serbia to host the first major children's outreach in the city of Bor. The outreach was a really great success! There was lots of interest, many children attended the Bible groups and it has sprouted a lot of interest in that region. We have now monthly Bible studies set up there.

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The stories that came back from the time really moved us. There was a boy who was about 12-13. Definitely older than our usual kids that come to the Bible Clubs. He was given my coloring book and later that night they found him sitting under a street light, sounding out the words in the Lords prayer. Even as old as he was, the Roma in the area are so impoverished they often do not even learn to read. Another young boy came to the events and so enjoyed himself. The morning after the festivities had ended, this boy came to one of our local teammates there and asked for help getting a bus pass so he could attend school. His parents were so surprised because previously he had insisted on not going to school and his parents did not care to send him. Already the material I am making here is changing hearts, reaching children, getting them interested in a God who loves them and planting a desire in them to learn and grow. Seeing all this happen has really blessed us. It is with thanksgiving I praise God for using us in such a real and life-changing way.

2. Back in Pécs our outreach is still in the early stages. Every Friday, I have begun day-long village visits with one teammate, giving me about 6-7 hours total Hungarian language immersion. As you can imagine my brain is fried at the end of these linguistic marathons. I learn a lot and I'm pleased to be able to communicate some, but I can tell it's going to be a lifetime of learning. These visits have been a really good experience for me. Just getting out and experiencing village life again, interacting, making friends and praying for the people. Now that we have our own van, we are going to be visiting this village very regularly as a family!

There is so much to pray about, both for us and with us. Pray that the children's work would continue to grow and bear fruit.

Pray that our language study would continue to go well as it goes up and down in discouraging "hills". The grammar is a monster.

Pray that the local outreach grows and continues to formulate into something that can really bear fruit. So far we have been met with interest and acceptance and I hope it is the beginnings of a pleasing work here for the Lord.

The Lord bless and keep you,
-Taylor & Helen Moineau

Missionary Monday- Africa

Hello Prayer Fam,

It has very suddenly become rainy season -a.k.a. frizzy hair/flooded veranda season- here in Zambia. This means that it’s not only very hot, but also very humid (at least 75% most days).

It feels weird to say that the school year has officially come to a close…didn’t It just start?! We ended the year with a program for the students and their guardians where each class presented a song and dance. We also had a nativity play, academic and character prizes, a parents vs. teachers netball game, and lots of delicious food. It was a sweet celebration to end the year on, and makes me excited for the year to come.

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Now that the work has slowed down, I love getting to look back on this year and remember how God has equipped and provided for the Lake T team, the school, and me. I began the school year trailed by self-doubt. Why would God call me here? How can I teach these kids when they don’t understand me? I have no idea what I’m doing. And even though I still kind of feel like I have no idea what I’m doing, God has proven over and over again that He knows exactly what He’s doing. And there is seriously great comfort in knowing that. He brought me up from a place of surrendering my own inadequacies to being confident in His promise to work through me. He even placed me in a leadership role, can you believe that?!

This year has also taught me a lot about culture. It’s so much more than food, language, and a dress code. There are many cultural intricacies engrained into the mindset of people (especially up at the lake where life is much more traditional than in bigger cities) that affect every day interactions and decisions. There are positives and negatives to every culture, and I’m learning to appreciate all the good things in the midst of new challenges. For example, when people say that relational and task-oriented cultures function differently, they aren’t kidding. When I was preparing for missions I always heard, “the culture is different there so it’ll take time to get used to things.” This is very true, but takes on a whole different light when you’re actually living daily life in a foreign culture. It makes me very grateful that the Gospel is always relevant, and can break down barriers that I wouldn’t be able to touch on my own.

Over the holiday month I’ll have more time to process everything I’ve learned as well as thank God for everything He’s done in me and around me this year. I encourage you also to think about what God has done in your life this past year, and rejoice in His love and provision. 

I expect that some of my students will be visiting me over the holiday month as well. Some of the boys like to come over to play games and football, all while listening to Christmas music. But, I want the times that they visit me to be more than just fun and games; I want them to know Jesus. Pray with me that when they’re coming to my house they will really be coming closer to the Kingdom of God, and that they will have a genuine desire to know Jesus. Also pray that God would prompt the ones who need to come to me to actually come. The kids here aren’t used to just going and visiting their teachers unannounced (especially over holiday), so ask God to lead them to my door.

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Please also pray…

-that God would give wisdom as I transition into becoming a school leader. There are a lot of cultural differences that will make it difficult, so pray that God would go before me and continue to prepare the way.

-that our team would have a new field leader soon. One that has a heart for Lake T and a pure motivation for taking on the role.

-that God would renew our team over the break and draw us closer to Himself.

-and again, that God would bless my time with students over the holiday month. Pray that God would truly be glorified.

Thanks so much for being a part of this year with me. I can’t believe it’s almost over, and I’m so blessed to have your support and prayers. Sometimes I pause and think, “I couldn’t even be here if it wasn’t for the generosity of God’s people.” Know that He is using you in mighty ways here in Zambia and in my own heart.

Have a truly blessed Christmas,

Sarah

P.S. If you speak Bemba in front of a crowd of students and guardians they will still laugh at you even if you say everything correctly.