Saturday, June 22, 2013

Mindanao Healthcare Teams: Their First Circumcision

The healthcare teams had quite an experience- performing circumcisions. The oldest boy was 12, and there were 20 in all. Team members were excited, nervous and everything else you can imagine, but they performed wonderfully.

The procedure takes anywhere from 15-30 minutes, and is done as a rite of passage to manhood for a Filipino male (hence the man taking a video in the second picture). It also helps prevent infection, and the teams perform the procedure for free as a community outreach tool. It usually costs a pretty peso in the city clinic, which is not always affordable or accessible to the villagers.

It was a daunting task for college students, even ones who are mostly pre-med and nursing majors. But through prayer and steady hand, they performed well. Needless to say, it was an experience unlike any other the team had before.

Here are a few pictures (no video, and nothing graphic) from the day, and the thoughts of some of the healthcare members.

Brian & the healthcare teams

Zimbabwe: Hakuna Wakaita

   As we've began to immerse ourselves into the heart of Zimbabwean culture, we've realized that it's truly impossible to become honorary Africans without being able to worship like an African.
The serious, solemn, occasional hand raise worship we've been accustomed to is no more, and the dance around, clap, jump up and down and the occasional high pitch voice vibrato worship has begun.

One of our favorite Ndeble/Shona worship songs (that we quickly made a point to memorize) is Hakuna Wakaita, or, There's No One Like Jesus:

Hakuna wakaita sa Yesu,                            There's no one, there's no one like Jesus
hakuna wakaita sa Yee.                               There's no one, there's no one like Him
Hakuna wakaita sa Yesu,                            There's no one, there's no one like Jesus
Hakuu hakuuna                                           There's no one, there's no one like Him

Nda manya manya, kwese, kwese,               I've walked and walked, all over, over
Nda tembereva, kwese, kwese,                     I've looked and looked around
Nda tsvaga tsvaga, kwese, kwese,                I've searched and searched all over, over
Hakuu hakuuna                                            There's no one, there's no one like Him!

   And yes, the song is complete with motions, and a more than catchy, upbeat rhythm.  As the people (and ourselves) sing this song, I pray that we really realize what it means.  There's NO ONE like Him.  No one, as in there's only ONE author of life, only ONE creator of the universe, the Heavens and Earth, only ONE God who made Himself man for an unworthy people, and only ONE resurrected Son to pay for our sins.  There's no one, there's no one like Him. 

We ask that you pray for our team, that we're biblically bold.
Pray for our driver, Request, to whom God has opened doors to minister to.
Pray that in our ministry with children, God drives us exactly as He wills.
On a note about worship, pray that God moves in our worship, and that of the people in this joyous place full of creation experience it as spiritual, not emotional.  

Sports Camp Recap: Mexico Trailblazers

Check out the recap of our sports camps with the children this week. (Click on the image! )

We had more than 100 children show up with many parents accompanying them -- they got to learn new sports, make friends and hear some great Bible stories.

The president of the village even came out one night and said how thankful he was for what we were doing. A few of the parents asked if we were going to do a camp for adults! God is moving here and your prayers are appreciated. 

Pray that God would move in the people who came out to the camps and that he would use relationships that we established to continue our work. 

Kingdom Rock

  Vacation Bible School has been great this past week. As I write this, tonight will be the final night of Kingdom Rock. Over forty children have attended along with twenty to thirty adults. We have been able to connect with many of the local children. 
   God has answered prayers this week. Wednesday night was a rough night at VBS. The children were very rowdy, and no one was for sure how to handle the situation. 
   Thursday, we bathed the situation in prayer and gave it all to God. Sure enough, Thursday night, the same group of children behaved and participated. It was a total turn around! Thank you for all the prayers concerning Vacation Bible School. 
   We have one more night, and God is not finished yet!
Please pray for us as we wrap up VBS, and as we continue preparations for Children's Camp next week.

Friday, June 21, 2013

Hungry people & prayer requests

Greetings from the Dolores team. We have just returned from our first village. The people were so hungry for the Word of God and we were able to see Him move in many peoples lives. We would love for you to join in praying for the people on the Dolores River.

  • Pray for the believers that are earnestly working for the name of God. Pray that they will continue to be encouraged and will stay strong. Pray for their families to understand the Word of God.
  • Pray  for the ones who have begun to believe in Christ as their Savior. Pray for their continued growth and for them to share what they have learned with others around them.
  • Pray  for the two groups who have decided to meet weekly and have Bible studies. Pray they will encourage each other and that others will join them in studying the word.

Colossians 1:9-10. For this reason also, since the day we heard this, we haven't stopped praying for you. We are asking that you may be filled with the knowledge of His will in all wisdom and spiritual understanding, so that you may walk worthy of the Lord, fully pleasing to Him, bearing fruit in every good work and growing in the knowledge of God.

Thursday, June 20, 2013

Hello from the UPG Awesome Adventure Team!

Since arriving in our city, Jamie and I have been able to explore and get to know our surroundings and the UPGs we will come in contact with. We love the city and the people and have quickly made friends with some nationals. We love going to the malls and local craft markets to shop around and make new friends and visit with those we have already made. Father has blessed us with safety along the way and has provided many opportunities for us to be Truthful in our speech with those we meet. Here are some ways you can be talking with Father for us!

1. Endurance- The heat is making us lethargic and quickly drains our energy
2. Open doors!
3. Continued safety and good health

With love,
Lauren and Jamie

Taylor & the tract

Taylor with her supervising teacher
It was the morning of my first day of teaching, and I was lost. I had set off from where I live with every intention of finding my school with no problem, but after a while of riding my bike through unfamiliar streets I realized I may have been a little overzealous. Just as I decided I had ridden too far, my bike chain fell off. I had no idea how to put it back on, so I decided just to turn around and go home. So much for the first day...

As I was passing a Buddhist temple, the supervising teacher from my school drove past on her motorcycle. She saw me, stopped, and noticed that my bike was broken. She said something about having to make copies and told me not to move from that spot - she would only be a second. Off she went again. I thought I should take her advice, but I had a Thai tract with me and I figured I had enough time to pay a visit to the temple. 

I went inside, said 'hello' in the appropriate manner, and showed the monks the tract. Women are not allowed to actually hand monks anything because of status, so I just laid it on a table saying, "Khap koon, ka" (thank you) then I left.

I met the teacher outside, she handed my bike over to some people who said they would fix it, and she gave me a ride to school.It turns out that she NEVER takes that way to work, but that morning God had told her to go the other way because someone needed her help. Thank God she listened to the prompting of the spirit!


Please pray that a seed was planted in the lives of the monks, and that they will take to heart what the tract said.

Valleys and mountains

This whole experience so far has kept my emotions all over the place. I am overjoyed by the loveliness of the people here. They are the most precious, kind and gracious group of individuals. They smile all the time and they are so patient with me as I basically butcher their language. 

I live in the valley right now. The mountains sit peacefully on the edge of my view and I am reminded of the God who sustains us as we walk through valleys, and who we praise when we reach summits. Even though being so far from home and in such a new environment is testing at times, my God is the God of faithfulness, in valleys and peaks.

I’m also learning so much about being needy for Jesus. I cannot live in this country. I cannot handle the bugs swarming my bed or the lizards jumping in the shower with me. I cannot do this. That is, I cannot do this without Jesus. When He is sustaining me and when He is holding me up, not only can I handle these trials, I can enjoy them. I can be thankful for the way that they’re molding me. 

I feel my God holding me up, and I feel the fact that He is the only reason I am still standing. Its not head knowledge anymore. Its my life.

- Allison

Greetings from South Korea!

We have been here for less than two weeks and God is already doing amazing things! The first week we arrived we got the opportunity to travel with Heavenly Dream School on a field trip to Busan. It was a great time of building relationships with the students away from the pressures of studying and school. We just talked to students about their lives, what they wanted us to pray for them, and even got an opportunity to share the gospel. I got the opportunity to catch up with a couple of students from last summer and see all God has done in their lives over this past year. What a blessing to see prayer requests answered!

Our main tasks at the school are to teach English, assist with English classes, and tutor any students that need extra help. It gives us a great opportunity to get to know the students with the hope of being able to share with them (even if it is in broken English). Along with this we have begun preparation for the annual English Unification Camp. We are thrilled to see how God will work through this camp and are praying that it will touch the lives of many students.

A Bible study was started this week in the boys dorm which is very exciting! One of the students left asking "When will we meet again?" And when Andrew told him, "Next week," he was wanting to meet even sooner! So we hopefully will be able to meet more often. 

Many of the students the 2012 team spent time praying for last summer are now leaders in the school and are helping lead worship during the schools chapel service. God is doing great things through the teachers here and we are thankful to come along side them in this ministry. 

Pray for:

-the opportunity for more Bible studies to be created and continued

-close relationships with the students so that we might show them the love of Christ

-daily strength for the teachers as they work each day to maintain this school and ministry


Greetings from Cam Sur!

Only a week has passed and we have already felt the Lord working in and through the people here.

The LORD has orchestrated everything perfectly. It's funny how we try to plan our days but HE directs our steps. He puts beautiful and unexpected moments in each day.

We along with our wonderful translator, Annie, have had the opportunity to teach some Bible stories this week.

Our first full day in the village, the woman that we are living with lead us to a girl recovering from pneumonia. Her home was the first home that we visited upon our arrival and we decided that we would prepare to have a bible study just in case. Once we were in their home, we asked if they would like to study with us while we were there. They said, "Sure, how about now?"... Of course, we were quite pleased with that answer! :)

The next study, one of the family members asked why our bible stories are not longer and if we wouldn't mind having longer ones! Needless to say we had two that afternoon and prepared for three the next day!

The beauty of the whole situation is not only did God bring us to this family, who is eager to learn and ask questions about who God truly is, but we were brought to this home solely through God’s leading. During our time here, our team has two central sites to focus on ministry, which consists of 300 families, and this very house does not reside in either of those sites. There is no doubt in our minds that it was clearly through Gods leading that we ended up in this family’s home. We praise God for allowing us to be used in the hearts of those He is already beginning to touch.

Thank God for unexpected precious moments.

The Filipino people that we have met with have not heard the gospel presented in this way before! Their faith is works-based and they learn by passed on traditions from their ancestors. Please pray that they will continue to have questions and that the Holy Spirit will break down decades of religious barriers.

We serve a BIG and MIGHTY God. He is able.

Ephesians 3:20-21

"Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, forever and ever! Amen."

Allyson and Kristy