Thursday, July 27, 2017

Strong National Believers

So the churches were strengthened in the faith and grew daily in numbers. Acts 16:5

Team of the Day: Mountain Harvesters
Country of the Day: Philippines

Pray for the strengthening of national believers in the areas where team members are ministering.

Whether Short or Long

This past week seemed to be packed full of important moments, and sped by as we just tried to keep up. We said goodby to our "Senegalese mom" as she headed out of the city, had long conversations with the students where we shared the Gospel, held  the last of our summer classes, and stayed up late one night to go listen to a student play jazz at a restaurant in town. Every day that goes by just seems to show us more and more how precious these people have become to us, and as our time to leave comes closer we are desperate to use every moment of every day. 

When talking to one student, he told me that he believed the Bible to be truth. He said that the Bible held the answers to how you should live your life, and I stood waiting for him to tell me that he had made a decision to follow Christ. That moment didn't come, though, and it seems to me that he and others here are stuck between understanding the importance of the Gospel but being unwilling to give up everything they would lose if they chose to follow Christ. 

The missionaries in this area have been ministering long and hard, waiting for there to be a response. Even in the short time we have been here our team has come to realize that as Paul says in Acts, "whether short or long" we only hope that the people we have come to care about will make that decision to surrender their lives to Christ. Whether it takes twenty days or twenty years, we pray that God would move in the hearts of these people. 

Prayer Requests:

  • Please pray for the missionaries here, that they would continue to minister even when there seems to be little response.
  • Please pray for the student mentioned above (M), that he would make the decision to give his life to Christ. 
-English in Africa

The Great Commission is even for home!

Man, this summer has been a blessing. God has been answering lots of prayers and has been working in people here on the island. We just want to take a moment to give praise God for being with us in our adventure here on this island. 

When we reflect on what God has done, we’ve come to realize how little faith I had in him back home. Because of what He has done for us, I am motivated to continue His work and take it seriously when we get back home. Sometimes, we fall into our responsibilities that we have in our lives by doing these things if we are certain that we are getting that. In reality, God has a plan, and our plan is way different than His. We need to come to terms that planning things is an ok thing to do, but God has a greater purpose for all of us to do and those things do not matter at all. 

What matters is going out to the nations and making disciples. However, you don’t need to go on a short-term mission trip and travel halfway around the world to fulfill the Great Commission. We are called to share the Gospel anywhere we are. Everything that we have learned on this trip will not be forgotten and we will bring it back home to share with our friends and families. Even though I miss my home, I rather sacrifice my own comfort and take action to do what God has called us. I ask that you pray for our team as we spend these last days here on the island and that God will continue to use us till the end.

-Johann M.

Share the Blessings

This past Sunday, we had an outreach to one of the house parent's communities after being so blessed by the Lord we were able to give back to. We spent Sunday morning preparing for it by packing 8 giant batches of pancit noodles into 300 to-go boxes and taping straws to Zest-Os  (orange drink).

At 2pm, we headed to the community where some of us played games and sang songs with the kids while the others were ministering to the parents and sharing their stories with them. We handed each kid a goody bag filled with school supplies, toys, and Koko Krunch, and each parent got a goody bag filled with toiletries. 

I got to speak and play with some really cool kids, then one of the boys from our children's home who has grown deep in my heart, came over and wanted to see what I was doing and I realized he doesn't really know what to do when you are the foreign one and you are there to serve. I told him just to introduce himself, at first, he was a little shy, but then I pretended that I was the one talking and said "Hi! I'm *his name* and I'm 11 and I'm super cool and fun, what's your name?" and I think he thought I was being silly so he fixed the conversation and was a complete natural after that. It was so cool seeing him starting conversations and being aware that he's here to not just give the kids gifts and food but to also be a light in their lives. 

Praise the Lord for the community outreach going well and for the youth from the children's home who came along being so obedient and willing to serve even though they were exhausted and hot! 

PRAYER REQUEST: This is our last week here in the Philippines and the children's home, so please pray for us, as a team, to stay present and available to the children and staff here.


Wednesday, July 26, 2017

Airplanes and Faith

Our team lives near the airport. So the sound of airplanes landing and taking off is a constant one in our tiny apartment. It seems though, that as our time to leave Thailand draws nearer, the sound of each airplane gets louder and louder. It’s a daily reminder that I will soon be leaving behind the city I have called home for 2 months.

With this constant reminder, my team and I were discussing how we feel about going home. All I was able to come up with was a “I don’t know.” Don’t get me wrong, I am excited to see my family and friends. But I am equally, if not more so, burdened over this city and the amount of work that still needs to be done.  It seems that everywhere we turn there is darkness: the girl in the bar, finding her worth by earthly standards. The young child, learning from his parents how to properly bow to the golden image set before him. The face of the man riding his motorcycle, empty and as hopeless as they come. The harvest certainly is plentiful, and leaving it behind has been a hard reality for me to grasp.

In 7 days, I will board an airplane that will carry me back home. I cannot avoid this. But I also cannot ignore the darkness I have seen here. Nor do I want to. And so, with the reality of going home so close, my team is praying boldly, full of faith and expectation. We are praying for more opportunities. Praying that our friends we have come to love so dearly will choose to follow Jesus, forsaking all the idols and good works they have known for the majority of their lives. We are praying, all the while clinging to the promise that the Word of God will not return void (Isaiah 55:11). We believe and know that even though our time in Thailand may be coming to an end, Jesus is far from finished with His work here.

In our last week of ministry, here are some ways you can be praying:
  • Opportunities to share with our new friend Aae.
  • The English classes we have started and the Bible study we are able to have with the women.
  • For our team to have faith and peace in the work Jesus will continue here in Thailand as we prepare to come back home.

Farming in Africa

Through being in Zimbabwe, God has confirmed the plans He has for me for at least the next few years; I am going to school to be an Agronomist. Not only is there a need for Agronomist in the states but also in Zimbabwe. The soil here is very sandy, not the most suitable for growing crops.The irrigation of water here is not as widely used as it should be, one of the main reasons being the cost and not having the ability to get money and resources. Also people here need to learn to how utilize their biggest energy source, the sun. I have seen seen several small farms using some sort of solar power but there are still many areas that would benefit from the use of solar power.

In saying all that, I feel as though my purpose is to become an Agronomist so I can come back to Zim and teach the people how to help themselves, meaning, teach them better, more economical farming methods. I'm proud of my American roots because without them, God wouldn't have shown me this awesome opportunity and career path. I'm thankful that I can use my passion for farming to help the people at home and across the world.

Please pray that other people with farming backgrounds and mindsets would realize the needs in area like this and that they would use their skills to help the people help themselves. Also, pray that God would open up opportunities for me to come back to Zim as well as opening the doors to other placs so that I can help the people help themselves.


Believers Encouraging Believers

This past week our team has been evangelizing on the campus of RUPP in Cambodia. Every day we have spent 5-6 hours just going up to students asking if we can sit and talk with them. Eventually we share the Gospel and talk about their religious background. 99% of the people we talk to are Buddhist and always have been. Honestly, it can be pretty exhausting... and leave you feeling defeated. 

One morning, Jadyn and I were feeling the lack of sleep and were really praying for a good conversation. The day before we had talked to a lot of people, but we were hoping for quality over quantity. Our second conversation was two girls (M & L) who seemed excited to talk with us. We quickly found out M was actually a believer and L was Buddhist. 

The next two hours we spent eating ice cream, laughing, and sharing all that the Lord has done in our lives. M is 19 and is studying English at RUPP. She has been a believer for 2 years and has since led her two younger siblings and cousin to Christ. Her parents are Buddhist but are indifferent towards her believing. She said at first they were not happy, but now they see the difference in her.

Before she became a Christian, she applied to leave Cambodia. She failed the interview so was not allowed the future she had once hoped for. As a follower of Christ now, she knows that it was the Lord's will that kept her from being accepted. If she had left, she may have never came to a saving faith in Jesus and her family members would definitely not be believers. She feels called to be a missionary here in Cambodia. She serves in her church on the worship band and helps with children. Her heart is so evident and the time we spent with her was a huge encouragement to us as we hope to her too. And about L, she simply said, "I'm just not ready yet". 

I pray that the Lord would do an inner work in her life, so that she may have the same hope we share. The hope that crosses all cultural differences and language barriers. 
Pray specifically for M to continue to be bold in her faith. If L spends much time with her, I can't help but pray that L will want what the hope that M has. When I say M's joy is contagious, I'm talking like real contagious!! That's the joy of the Lord down in her soul! 

We were able to have some more evangelistic conversations later that day, but the Lord knew what our hearts needed to be refilled. Going home is always easier when you know that there are native believers pouring out their hearts and fighting for the Gospel. 

-Multinational Advance