Prayer & Praise
Ministry Prayer Requests –
Rwanda - Gary & Laurie Scheer : Keep remembering the 32 children who have recently come to Christ through our New Creation Ministries VBS program. Also pray for churches to have a burden for the spiritual life of kids.
Ministry Praise Items
Cote d'Ivoire - Phil Bjorklund : The Pastor's library conference was a total success. All the pastors (we had 150 here on campus) said they really enjoyed themselves and were spiritually blessed. Getting the library of books was the highlight. They had smiles that went ear to ear.
Ministry Prayer Requests –
Ukraine - John & Stella White : The Good Shepherd Orphanage, the only Christian orphanage in the area, was put under investigation by the government (they’re accused of doing something illegal, but we’re not sure what). The orphanage has been saving children off the street for 15 years, and it is now under threat to be closed, which might mean that many children will be cast out on the street since they do not meet the requirements of other state orphanages. Please pray for God’s mercy on the children and the Christian workers who serve there.
Ministry Praise Items
Taiwan - Peter & Debbie Dodd : The December 22 hospital outreach was incredible. We had by faith rented a room that holds 200, thinking we'd be thankful if we filled it. Two hundred and seventy people ended up coming to the dinner that night. They then stayed to hear a group of four blind men sing and give testimony to Jesus and then a famous TV personality share about how Jesus has changed his life. At the end, 12 people came forward to receive Jesus as their Savior. Several have already begun a discipleship follow up and others are planning to start soon.
New Zealand - Malcolm & Mary Elliot-Hogg : A Missionary Story (From a missionary family who served in another country):
One evening this past September, the leader of a militant group stirred up a whole village against a missionary family living among them. Realizing that things could turn violent, the family had earlier told their Christian visitors to leave the house and the village. The situation grew very tense as over 100 people surrounded the house chanting “God is great” and the like. Several of them rushed into the garage, piled flammable materials against the wall of the house and attempted to set fire to it.
Fortunately for the family, news of the disturbance reached local government officials who quickly sent mediators. With difficulty they were able to negotiate the family’s safe escort from the house on condition that they leave the village immediately and for good.
Reflecting back on the events of the evening, this family saw very clearly God’s protecting hand on them all. In a month when little if any rain usually falls, a light rain fell continuously throughout the night, putting out the fires the mob had tried to start.
Early that evening, sensing that they were in grave danger and that their house would likely be searched for compromising Christian material, the husband placed all sensitive documents and books in a locked drawer at the bottom of a bookcase in his office and locked the door.
Not long afterwards, the main stirrer demanded to enter and search the house. Coming to the locked office, the husband was forced to open it and searchers went through everything, every book, every document. Above the locked drawer at the bottom of the bookcase was a shelf with photo albums that included family photos taken in a country in which they had previously served. Fascinated by the photos, the intruders’ attention was distracted and they completely overlooked the locked drawer just below.
The story was told us by the family concerned, on a visit to New Zealand to see firsthand the ministry here to international students. Forced out in haste from the country in which they were working, they are nevertheless determined to return and work in a different area.
New Zealand hosts students from many countries. Currently there are over 300 graduate students from the country this family worked in and that number is on the increase. We see in a clearer way the effectiveness of reaching these students for Christ in a place where people can practice their faith and discuss it without fear of reprisal or attack.
Cote d'Ivoire - Glenn & Linnea Boese : On Christmas morning, sixteen people were baptized, among them some of the children of the first believers in Tiepogovogo. Please pray for them as there is often more intense testing after such a public profession of faith.
Philippines - Sandy Eckelberry : A Story of Transformation:
A Filipino couple are in the fifth year of a BAM (Business As Mission) project in an underdeveloped community resistant to the Gospel among one of the Philippines “least-reached people groups. As business people making Virgin Coconut Oil and related products, they have opportunities as they work side-by-side daily to speak into the lives of their resistant co-workers about Kingdom values for work, money, family life and planning for the future. They were able to show the Jesus Film in the native language of the community. Please pray that the Gospel seeds and Kingdom values will take root. This year, they began a new BAM project of renting coconut trees from local tree owners who are steeped in debt. "Renting” trees out by the owners is being done regularly, but owners should repay the original amount of rent to redeem the trees from the renter. Owners become "one-day millionaires," but the funds usually go to pay off their last debt to a middle man. Using "fair trade" practices in giving tree owners some additional income per piece of coconut and the means to "redeem" their trees is the unique side of this proposal. Renting trees will not only reduce the price per coconut to help the business, it also will give the worker a chance to speak biblical principles into the lives of the owners about business, savings, planning for the future and family needs.