Saturday, July 5, 2014

Meet the Island Castaway Team!

Colby, Bryant, Hagen, Drew, Austin, & Supervisor Cecil
Austin served on a 2013 Nehemiah Team and wanted to come back for 2014. We asked if he would recruit his own team members and apply for a new team we had planned for summer 2014.  Austin (Wallace State) did just that... joined by fellow 2013 team member, Hagen (University of Mississippi)... and recruited Bryant (Athens State) and brothers Drew (Athens State) & Colby (recent high school graduate) Adams.

Pray for these "castaways" as they travel the Palawan Islands, searching for those that need to hear the Gospel.

Island Castaway Update

We just received this update from the supervisor of the Island Castaway team....

Continue to intercede for the team. In every way they see the Lord working in the islands and indeed the enemy is not happy.

They are meeting with 20 plus youth every evening to study God's Word and have regular opportunities to teach at the chapel and with fishermen in "Little Island." Praise the Lord for open doors!
 

Now they are in "Seaweed" island and people are very responsive. They even met co-laborers (same heart and faith and teaching) from Bicol and they agreed to follow up on those people that the team  has shared the Gospel with. Pray for these new friends as they follow up those who have heard the Gospel.

This week they hope to visit the "bigger seaweed island" for a day to survey, pray & see what the Lord could be opening there. By weekend they hope to be back on the "little island" to continue discipling and strengthening the new believers.



Continue to pray for good health & open doors.


-Cecil

Spiritual Triage

If two men come into the emergency room, one with a cold and one with a gunshot wound, which one should we help first? It is simply obvious that we should help the one in the most need. More then likely though, the one who is shot with a gun will require more attention then if you decide to help the one with a cold. The person with a cold can probably find some medicine elsewhere and can be easily treated... but the man who has a gunshot wound isn't as likely to be able to care for himself.


This is the same view that we should have toward the lost people in this world. When we look at the world and see an area that has less resources and less evangelism and less access to the gospel then another who does have access and does have resources, it should be obvious to us that we should pursue the one that has the greatest need. But if you choose to help the one with the greater need it will take more work and time and hardship to be able to complete the job as opposed to the one that doesn't have as great of a need.

God will be glorified by every people group on this planet. What part are you going to play in His symphony?

-Caleb

Mishel

Sharing with a friend
We sat in Mishel's living room as she told us with tear-filled eyes about the war in Iraq.  "Iraq, very bad.  War very bad," she said over and over again.  She told us that many of her family members are still in Iraq, including two of her sons. Suddenly, the endless conflicts in the Middle East were no longer distant events, but real wars that deeply affect the lives of our friends. We had shared many stories about Isa with Mishel in previous visits and we were able to see how the Lord was opening her eyes and heart to the truth of who Isa is.  Maria asked if we could pray for her.  Mishel smiled sweetly and said, "Yes, I want!" 

Anna, Maria, Mishel, and I lifted our hands, palms facing upward, as Anna began to pray to Allah in the name of Isa. Anna prayed for protection over Mishel's family and that Mishel would know the love of Isa.  I heard Mishel crying quietly and mumbling words in Arabic in response to Anna's prayer.  As believers, we know the Holy Spirit is always with us, guiding and encouraging us.  But in those sacred moments in the living room of our Iraqi friends, we felt the Holy Spirit as thick as a blanket, wrapping us in the love of the Lord.  After the prayer, Mishel repeatedly said, "Thank You, my God, thank You," with tears still rolling down her face.  We know Mishel is still trapped in the lie of her religion, but being able to be part of the process of witnessing her taking steps toward joining the Kingdom of Isa is the greatest blessing.

Please pray that:
  • Mishel would have dreams and visions of Isa that would further open her eyes to see Isa as Savior, not just another Prophet 
  • Mishel's husband would see the transforming work of Isa in Mishel's heart and would come to know Isa as his Savior

Summer is Halfway Gone. . . Already?

I can't believe it! It has already been a month here in the Philippines! Time flies when you're having fun!  June was filled with learning our daily routine, getting to know the kids and the staff, learning about the culture and dealing with the heat! And I have loved every minute of it!


These are some of our ladies from our nightly Bible studies with the Ruel staff.  Every night our team takes turn leading them in Bible study.  Not only are we teaching them the Bible, but we learn as we go along too!  It's has been such an amazing journey so far, especially growing in relationships with them.  We have been spending some time with them here at Ruel, as well as other places.  


The staff invited us to do a 5K with them here in Calapan City on June 28th. We had a blast! It was a great time to get to know them a little more, and to have fun!

We just returned from our mid-summer vacation in Puerto Galera! It was the most beautiful beach that I have ever seen!  It definitely was a much needed vacation for all 3 of us. It was a great time to relax and kinda unwind from stress.

One morning I woke up, and I couldn't help but look at the beautiful ocean and think of the song "Oceans" by Hillsong.   Spirit lead me where my trust is without borders. Let me walk upon the waters wherever You would call me. Take me deeper than my feet could ever wonder, so my faith would be made stronger, in the presence of my Savior.

Isn't that a beautiful message?  We should be willing to go where God wants us to go.  We should want to go wherever He wants us to go.

Now that June has passed, we have 3 full weeks left here in the Philippines. It's bittersweet.  I'm going to miss these kids, as well as getting excited to return home to friends and family. This past month truly has been a blessing. Keep praying for us! :)

-Ruel Nannies

-Tonya

Thursday, July 3, 2014

Intentionally Rockin' it



This has been a GREAT week for NT and it is only half over.



We got back in town on Saturday and had a day off with NT students on Sunday. We talked through some things, evaluated how things were going, and we made some challenges and suggestions.

They have really stepped it up this week and made some changes, gotten more intentional, and things are happening.


The guys shared Good News with 5 today and bits of truth with 3 others.  They were invited into 4 homes just today. By eating at the same place each day they got an invite to another village with a young man. 

The girls are rocking it!  They are getting lots of serious talk time with students, getting more invites to spend time with others, and going deeper with relationships already made. They had one cousin girl to translate and share good news with group of nurses from the local hospital.  They are a great encouragement to our local partners.



We are EXCITED about the next 3 weeks!

-Intentional Community Supervisor

Update from Southeast Asia Adventure Trek


Nasi Goreng Ayam
Since arriving in Southeast Asia... we've tackled the heat and mastered the bus system. This would not have been accomplished without the help of many new friends. The first week here, we attended a traditional cultural wedding where, to our surprise, we were the guests of honor! 

We have also experienced dinner at a water village where they taught us to make nasi goreng ayam (chicken fried rice). Recently, we've been meeting with friends and continuing to dive into the culture.  

We ask that you would lift up the people we have encountered and that we would continue to build relationships.
Example of a water village

Let us...

Let me take you to the hut. Allow me to take you on the jeepney to the city streets with the wet concrete. Everywhere the sound of mopeds laying on the horn in order to not run over the crowd that floods the streets. The smell of fish drying in the sun and the bakery loaded with goodies. Stares are from all the adults while the children cheerfully run and giggle at the new faces that stand out like a sore thumb.
Let us go to the boat now. The boat is a narrow and tight fit. Capsizing is a constant worry due to our unnatural size body. The glare of the water is blinding to the bare eye. Occasionally, homemade canoes pass by as they paddle to the city to sell produce. Children splash the flowing water on one another as the boat slides through the blue, glass slick water. Unloading always ends in a bruised back or forehead. The trek to the village on a two foot slab with occasional erosion makes the eye sharp.

Let us rest a while and converse about home and the Scriptures. Rice is sure to be on the menu as the main course. Men are heading out to harvest coconuts or the rice farms. We are heading out with the Holy Spirit in front of us. We rely on Him to prepare the hearts of the ones we are about to meet. The sun is high and the sweat makes a glaze over the skin.

Let us enter the hut. The bamboo floors make for a cool feel in the hot day. Conversation is simple and honest. Small animals roam from house to house in search of food and roosters are the major noise maker. No one is left out of the conversation and most everyone is happy to see the "Joes" from America.

Let us read the Word. Everyone holds the Bible at super high standards. All are willing to listen to what you have to say. The Gospel is presented and conversed about. What is understood and what isn't. Grace has been stripped out by tradition and prayers and righteousness might get you into heaven. But is this Biblical or are others corrupting Gods Word? But will they accept truth or will they stay to the old ways...

So now you have been to the hut. The place of flawed truth. This glimpse might have even inspired you. These people need Jesus so what do the believers need? A call from the wind or a light in the sky? Or maybe we have already been told to go and we are just disobedient. We have all that we will ever need so where should we be? Comfort isn't what our Savior calls us to but the hard and narrow road of suffering and pain. His life was one of struggle so why should ours be any different? We are not kings we are slaves to the Master who loves us so.

So what is your next step? Maybe the Spirit is leading you to the hut...

-Caleb

Worshipping together


Today, my national partner & I brought a guitar to school. We gathered some of the believers and worshipped God together. It was awesome!!

-Peng


Praying Boldly

This morning, my quiet time was about prayer. As believers, do we pray prayers that move mountains, or just rose petals? Which way do I pray? Do I pray with belief or with empty words? Do I actually believe that the Maker of the heavens and earth would care what a crazy college kid would have to say? Do I pray boldly? After thinking over these questions with mixed answers, I was ending my quiet time in prayer, as I usually do. I came to the "give us opportunities to share the Gospel today" part when I stopped in my tracks. That was not what I was to pray. I was to pray, "God, don't just give me the opportunity to share the Gospel, make me share the Gospel. I might miss an opportunity, but let the opportunity slap me in the face and know that it is from You."

The time alone with God ended, and I went on with the rest of the day. We do not work on Saturdays with the rest of the team, so we had plans of our own to go out with friends and eat. What better time to share the Gospel? Of course, the plans would get cancelled. Then, we were invited to a church event among Christians, so not much opportunity to share there either. Well, we had nothing better to do, so why not take a walk in an apartment complex behind where we live?

Off we go, just a normal evening walk. We met some kids and starting playing with them. Before too long, I found myself sitting on the ground with three of them when they asked to start "storying." What? I began with Noah. They told me half the story of Moses. Then, I moved on to Jesus. God answers prayers! I was not even looking to share by that point of the day; God made it happen. What an evidence of God's grace! He is faithful continually, and He is in the answering prayers business. Let's pray bold prayers and attempt great things for God! Continue to pray for us as we continue in His work throughout the summer.

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

... stay with us forever!

"Emily, Insha'Allah (God willing) you'll stay with us forever!" 

Praying that the truth of Jesus' love takes root in my little friends' hearts and they always remember how deeply He cares for them!

-Emily

Ex & Ev Update



All is well for us! We just got back from our first hike on one of the islands. Other than a little scrapes and bruises, we survived. The Father has really opened up some good opportunities for us and has always provided. We head back out on July 4th for another island for 2 weeks. Until then, we are staying with our supervisor.
 
The islands are a different world! They are beautiful in and of themselves, but so lost. We found a few good ones throughout the trip. Just be in prayer for all of the people that we have spoken with and with those in the future. Also, be praying for our health and stamina. 

Thanks for all your prayers and support!

In Him,
Britton

Seaweed Island Update

Update from the Island Castaway team:
We are doing good. We have many open doors. We had Bible study with a village official last night (Tuesday) and found out that he is a believer. He is trying to get permission for us to show the Jesus movie to the whole community on a big screen at the village basketball court. 

  • Pray that we'll get permission to show the Jesus film
  • Pray for hearts to be ready to receive the gift of Christ's love
 

A long wait

Last night, one of the moms from the church came over to the place where I was staying. She wanted me to translate a piece of paper for her. I asked, "How long did you have this for?" and she said, "Three years."
 

It turns out that the piece of paper was a prayer.  She waited three years for someone to translate it for her. Bless her heart.
 
-Peng

Camp... Korean style

This past weekend, our team, along with the teachers at our school, and many of the students went to a sleep away camp at a conference center outside of Seoul. Going to this conference center/camp was really cool for me since I used to work at a place really really similar. I felt like I was at Korean Shocco Springs and it was awesome! From my understanding this camp is an annual event put on by a local church in Seoul not too far from our school. It’s focus is prayer, education, and discussion on God’s will for unification of NK and SK. 
It was a long weekend with a lot of the things we Americans typically associate with summer camp such as: camp shirts, unhealthy snacks, bunk beds, random camp games, and staying up until 3 in the morning. It was a really fun experience hanging out with the students outside of the school setting and really getting to cut loose with them. 

After our first worship service on Friday night a lot of the students wanted to play some games outside. We played hide and seek and then a game where one or two people are blindfolded and try to catch and grab other people who are running around. Later, we played the Korean version of "Mafia" which was pretty awesome considering my long history of playing Mafia at any and all youth retreats, mission trips, and camp.

One of my favorite moments was when we went out onto the soccer field on Saturday night, laid down and the grass, and just looked at all of the stars. Seoul is so big and bright that you can’t see any stars there. A lot of the students and our team were really excited that we could see them out at the camp. You kind of forget how much you love something like that when you get to see it all the time at home but it was really special for us. We all laid down in the grass, resting our heads on one another's bellies and shoulders and played games and talked. Our American friend Hannah can actually speak a pretty good amount of Korean and the told us later that that the Koreans were saying how happy they were to be there and that it was such a sweet moment they never wanted to forget it. I love them so much. I won’t ever forget that night. 

-Karima

Halfway

God is here.
God is moving.


Yesterday, church was so full that we had to bring in chairs.
 

Spending time with the team on our knees in prayer and God is leading our hearts to the same thing-- Isaiah 44:3 "For I will pour water on the thirsty land, and streams on the dry ground..." God is pouring His Spirit out and all I can say is amen, come Lord Jesus and church, keep on praying!

We are at the halfway point of the summer and we are realizing more than ever that although missionary life is h.a.r.d., there is so much joy in serving the Lord and obeying His command to go and tell the nations.



We talk often about how words cannot express what God is doing and what we are learning... but one thing we can share is that there is a NEED in the world and a deep hunger for hope and the ONLY one that can fill that is Jesus Christ. I would so much rather be uncomfortable for the rest of my life, feet dirty and dusty from going and telling, than clean and comfortable and content in America. This is my heart and the wellspring of Life in you should motivate you also to want to go... because people need to know. But I won't get on my soapbox now because my internet time is limited... ;)

An excerpt from the story of the missionary Amy Carmichael:
"Dear, you are coming to a battlefield. You cannot spend too much time with him alone. You are soldiers and soldiers don't ask for ease or expect it. You are warriors and when did warriors ask for an easy time? Or no wound? Or no heart-breaks?"
 

As disciples of Christ, our lives are not our own. The road will be hard, but God has promised that His word does not return to Him empty and we are simply commanded to go and tell. I am getting the awesome privilege of seeing God move as I walk in obedience, in spite of the hard.
 

Keep praying for us and for the work God is doing here!
Thank you for all of your love and support. I couldn't be here without you.
God is faithful, and He is the Provider.
 

Much love!
-Amanda

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

Kingdom Builder Pics

Take a peek at some projects the Kingdom Builder team did while they were in Tacloban City. The missionary's home sustained a lot of damage from the typhoon this past fall. Various volunteer teams have come & done repairs, making it liveable once again. Kingdom Builder guys finished up some projects at the Miller's home before moving on to work in Ormoc City.
The Miller's with their newly built storage shed







Befriend Faithfulness

Trust in the Lord, and do good;
dwell in the land and befriend faithfulness.
Delight yourself in the Lord,
and he will give you the desires of your heart.
Psalm 37:3-4


My team and I have been challenged this week to live in our village as if we were going to be living there for the rest of our lives. For us "dwelling in the land" means learning the language better, remembering more names, and investing with our whole hearts into the children and teenagers that come see us every day. We befriend faithfulness as we grow closer as a team and seek the wisdom of national believers. When we delight ourselves in the Lord--the desires of our hearts become his desires. Our desires become to see more people glorify the wonderful name of Jesus Christ, and to see more people hold the Bible in their own language.

I am so grateful for your prayers, support and birthday wishes! My team had planned a surprise party for me, so turning 19 was very memorable!

Much love from Maguinda,
-Maddison

Worship among the Nations... just imagine!

Elizabeth, Katharine, and I have had the opportunity to worship and study God’s Word with people from Burma, Rwanda, Egypt, and a few other places every Thursday for the past few weeks! As we have started to build these relationships, I am seeing the many ways God works in our lives. I am constantly reminded of God’s love every time I get around these people. I am also encouraged by the love they have for God and their hunger to know him and His Word better. The lessons I have learned are far beyond what I had imagined I would learn.

At one of our Bible studies, I was given the chance to share my testimony for the first time since I have been in Nashville. As I began to look around, I saw many smiling faces encouraging me, giving me a sort of peace. At that moment, I realized that as much as I like to think that I am here to show them Christ or to help them, they are teaching me what that really means. I know, I know, that’s totally cliché! However, I meant it. This Bible study has made a huge impact on me and on my perspective of life. 

Worship songs have always brought joy to my heart, but as I hear songs from the different languages I can’t help but smile at how beautiful they are. My favorite Karen song translates to ‘we will praise His name…’  Singing this song with M.D. gives me chill bumps just thinking of how awesome it will be in Heaven when we truly worship our King with ALL the nations. The Word says, “All the nations you have made shall come and worship before you, O Lord, and shall glorify your name.” Psalms 86:9 

We have been worshiping with people from different countries and cultures who have faced many kinds of trials, but still we all find hope in the same Savior. The joy I have within my heart worshiping with them on Thursday nights is unexplainable.

-Ashley

Power of Prayer

With N, a sweet grandmother who I met at a school sports day here in southern Thailand. We enjoyed cheering together and learning some about each other's lives. 

Please be praying for our team - that we would be bold in sharing the gospel of Jesus. Prayer is powerful and effective. With God all things are possible, and I am awed that He would love me. 

We have enjoyed our various ministry activities and English teaching, and are looking forward to forming more relationships with people and to showing and talking about Christ's great love over the next month. Hope you are all doing well!

-Rachel

Monday, June 30, 2014

Update from South Thailand

For us, the week can look a bit crazy. We spend our weekdays on a local island near the border of Malaysia.  We teach English at the island school. This is our "job." In the afternoons/evenings, our opportunities for sharing the Message begin.  Many doors have been opened so far, and we pray that He will continue to break down the language barriers for our team.
Our transportation to the island
Arriving at the island dock
The view from our school
Islam is the primary religion on the island
On the weekends, we spend time back in the city with our supervisors involved in other ESL projects and rest time.  It also gives our team time to reconnect with the other Southern Thai team.
Islam, along with Buddhism is found in the city
Connecting with the local church in the city
Motorcycles are the common mode of transportation in the city
Please keep our friends on the island in your prayers this week, as we hope to share the JC Film with them. We pray that He will give open hearts that are hungry for the One True Father.

Personal notes from Impact Cebu

Hanging out in Cebu
Its now just past the halfway of my time here in Camotes, Cebu. I'm starting to feel more at home now after a while. Such a great time meeting the people and working with the students. So much fun. Keep praying for us as we continue our stay in the Philippines for another month.
-Caleb

God is doing amazing things in my life here in Cebu, Philippines. He has opened my eyes to so much and I'm excited to be part of his plan. Growing more and more in His word and as a follower of Christ. So great. Keep praying for my team and also the people we are sharing the word too. God is so great all the praise and glory to Him. He is our father and the great I AM. Seeds are being planted and the word is being shared. Halfway is point is now and happy to see what the second half is going to be like. Thanks everyone!
-Luke

It's been a great week. If the gospel is preached, hearts WILL be changed! Praise God, He has allowed us to share over 30 Bible stories and have had 2 house churches begin to take form. Now we are now talking to them about baptism, please pray that they will open their hearts to this outward profession of Faith and not be scared of persecution from their family or friends. God is good, keep praying kingdom sized prayers and that things will happen that only God can do.
 

Oh, and jungle snails and pig tongue aren't as bad as they sound. And!!!! My nephew believes Jesus Christ died on the cross for his sins, and that he wants him to live in him!! So, as you can tell, I'm super excited about that. Have a great week everyone, talk to ya next Monday.

-Jacob