Saturday, July 16, 2016

1 more team to go!

We are back at the missionary's house for a few days before we head to team 5! The last team was incredible! Our supervisor has been praying for 10 years to start a church among the Maasai tribe, and 2 were initiated this past week! There have been 5 similar starts through our medical teams.

We have a few days to rest here, but we will be needing prayer as we head into this next week. As we mentioned in the last update, this team is anticipating a lot of spiritual warfare. We will be ministering in an area that is dominated by a local cult. This cult believes that there are "rainbows of colors of Jesus." In their faith, there is a brown Jesus, a white Jesus, a black Jesus, etc. This cult worships the black Jesus who they have now been waiting to raise from the dead for almost 20 years! Three days we will be traveling to islands to plant churches where there are none except for this cults churches. The rest of the days we will be targeting the area near the headquarters of this cult. We have heard that just being near this areas instills a sense of spiritual heaviness, so we imagine sharing the Gospel in this area will present its own challenges.

Prayer requests:
  • For the teams safety as they travel
  • For the meds to arrive in country successfully and not be questioned by customs
  • The people that we will be seeing who may have never heard the Gospel
  • For us as we are working: usually we have a break day in our work weeks. This week we will work 6 straight days, seeing anywhere from 500-600 patients a day. Please pray for strength to do so.
-Hope & Healing Team

God Works Through Pokemon Go... SEA style!

It seems impossible to get on the Internet without seeing something about the new smartphone game Pokemon Go. When I see such posts, I usually smile, shake my head, and think, "Such silly things are going on in America." However, little did I know that God had a plan for us, and it would involve Pokemon Go.

Coty and I went to a popular park one night to meet people and prayer walk. Before we were there ten minutes, we encountered a group of at least ten guys, and they were all playing Pokemon Go. We tried to talk with them, but they were either to "caught" up in their game or they couldn't speak English. But one guy did decide to talk with us. His name is Agung. Turns out, Agung didn't really know any of those guys. They were all strangers who just happened to be hunting Pokemon at this park. So Agung had no problem leaving them.

Over the next hour, Coty and I were able to share the entire gospel with him. He was very intrigued, but didn't want to make a decision at that moment. He did want to ask questions and keep talking though. After we finished talking, we hung out with him a bit more and taught him how to play frisbee. Then, after I got his number, we parted ways.

Agung is honestly one of the most receptive people we have shared with since being here. Please pray that God would not give him peace until he accepts the truth of the gospel. Also, please pray that  the mindset of our team would be similar to that of a Pokemon trainer: To catch them all is my real test / To train them is my cause.

-Matt (lyrics to Pokemon theme provided by Coty)

Spiritual Growth

O God, You are my God, earnestly I seek You; my soul thirsts for You, my body longs for You, in a dry and weary land where there is no water.  Psalm 63:1

Pray God would give team members an overwhelming desire for Him alone. Pray they would recognize their need and seek to fill this need with God alone. Pray for spiritual growth in their lives.

Team of the Day
Northern Thai Challenge

Country of the Day
Thailand

If He Did it Before, He'll Do it Again

As we draw nearer to the end of our time here in Louisville, it has felt great to realize that, amidst the chaos that is our everyday routine and the times of frustration from lack of seeing God working, we are having to find replacements for us when we leave. And, honestly, I didn't trust that the Lord would provide anyone to replace us since we're near the end now. But in spite of my faithlessness I never stopped praying for someone to come after me, specifically, to love the Somali woman I have grown to love. 

Not only has He provided someone that can teach her English (much better than I because she's an actual ESL teacher) but she is also, we believe, a follower of Christ. Words cannot describe how elated I have felt since that moment I found out about her. I pray that she is able to show Christ's love as I have (prayerfully) showed this family that I will hold in my heart. Not only that, but He has also provided a couple willing to work with a family we just recently got connected with. 

The Lord is so faithful and I'm so ashamed to say that I often forget about it. But in His word He proves His faithfulness over and over again. And He will continue to prove it until the end of times.

-P52 Louisville

Caves and Waterfalls

Have you ever been attacked by monkeys?  I couldn't say that before this trip, but those things are vicious! Okay yes I'm being dramatic and no we did not actually get attacked, but those feisty little things will do anything to get your food and water bottles.  We had monkeys trying to steal our bags while we were in the waterfalls.  Let's just say selfie sticks are good for more than just taking pictures, they can be used as weapons too! Maybe that's actually the reason why they get banned from everywhere. Other than crazy monkeys the waterfalls were awesome and so beautiful and we got more than a workout walking up thousands of stairs to get to them.

We also got to go to a Hindu temple.  That was very interesting.  We walked through a cave that displayed many interesting creatures, objects and humans that the Hindu worship.  It was really sad to see all of the idols that they pray to.  Hindus are a very hard people group to reach.  They believe that there are gods for everything and sometimes they will even accept Jesus as just another god to add to their collection.
I feel like a lot of times in America (at least for me) I get stuck in a bubble.  I do not see a lot of true idol worship and I do not realize the true lostness of people.  Yes I see my friends searching for other means of comfort and love and idols through things that they do, but I don't see as much of people truly and confidently worshipping another god.  They fully believe that their way is the true way to get to eternity.

For Muslims, they don't even know if they are going to Heaven, they only hope that on the day they die, God will let them in for their goodness here on Earth.  I mean I live in FULL ASSURANCE that I'm going to Heaven and these people only hope that they will.  They devote their whole lives to no certainty what so ever.  How incredibly sad and unfortunately worthless is that?

How can you help from home?  PRAY.  God works through us and God works through prayer.  He CHOOSES to fully orchestrate this world through our prayers.  How cool is that to have so much ability to use His work on our Earth?!  
Please be praying for open doors and for the Holy Spirit to win the darkness back.  Jesus is the one and only true light and these people HAVE to hear and know that.

-Lauryl

Nearing the end...

It is shocking to realize that I have only 11 days left in the camp. Time has certainly flown by. Our team's desire is that we finish strong and talk with as many individuals as possible before we return home. Please be interceding for us; that we would be bold yet wise with our words. These are the last days.   -James, Refugee Highway (Greece)

Well we are in our final stretch, when I felt tired God kept me going, now I'm not sure i want to leave.  -James, Riverboat (Philippines)

There is no place in the world like the Philippines! The weeks are flying by fast but our time here will never be forgotten. God gives us such an appreciation for every single day here. I could be home nerding out on some Pokemon Go, but every day is a gift from God. A blessing so you can be a blessing to others. Don't waste your life. You were made to live each day for so much more. "If Jesus Christ be God and died for me, no sacrifice is too big for me to make for Him." (-CT Studd)  God is so good. I could never give too much. He is worth all of my days... nothing less.  -Caleb, Impact Cebu (Philippines)

We are down to just two weeks left in this beautiful country. Everyone on the team is doing well (no sickness- PTL). Please continue to pray for energy, strength, and joy as we finish out our summer with two last villages.  -Kara, Riverboat (Philippines)

Friday, July 15, 2016

Learning more

Today, Charley, Des Allison, and I followed up with our friends K1 & K2. Last time we met them, Charley talked with K1 for two hours about good news! She was so interested that she asked us to meet her again soon so that she could learn even more. While Allison and Charley were talking with her, Des and I spent some time talking with K2 and telling her about the grace of Jesus Christ. 

Please be lifting them up as we have future interactions with them.

-Tip of the Spear teams

Times of Disillusionment

"There were times of disillusionment. God had to break through the glamour surrounding the name missionary and make me real. He had to show me myself as I really was, not as I pretended to be. I had to learn to accept myself as He accepted me, and therefore to accept my colleagues as He accepted them, but in the process there were some dark months. There came a time when enthusiasm waned, and I came to realize that enthusiasm alone, apart from faith, was insufficient to complete the job. There came the time when the very vision dimmed, and God had to show me that even vision alone, apart from faith, was insufficient to keep me going. There came the time when the highest aspirations seemed illusory, when companions and colleagues all seemed willing to settle for something less than the highest of which we had dreamed, that we had glimpsed, and that fired us to throw away all else for its realization. It was as though cold water was poured all over the 'flame of sacred love on the mean altar of my heart.'" (Dr. Helen Roseveare, Living Faith)

-Jessica
Urban Rescuers Team, Bangkok

Prayer Warriors

When we realize that the random wonderful acts of God that we see in our lives are not random, but answers to the prayer of the saints, our faith in God will increase, and we will better understand the need for and power of prayer. We recently saw a young man from Congo surrender his life to Christ, and while we rejoiced in what seemed to be a random act of God, we were unaware of the pleads for his soul coming from other believers. Two days after we saw this young man saved, we learned from some local friends that the night prior to his salvation they were in prayer to God for his soul. Often times we do not see an answer to our prayers, but that is because it is not for us but rather for the kingdom of God. So let us preemptively praise God for the answers to our prayers that we do not see, and let us doubly rejoice when do see a great working of God because we know that it is not only a mighty act of the King but also a gracious answer to the cry of a saint.

-Noah

Glory to God

With this in mind, we constantly pray for you, that our God may count you worthy of His calling, and that by His power He may fulfill every good purpose of yours and every act prompted by your faith. We pray this so that the name of our Lord Jesus may be glorified in you, and you in Him, according to the grace of our God and Lord Jesus Christ.  2 Thessalonians 1:11-12

Pray for team members to seek God's good purpose for their lives so that He might be glorified.

Team of the Day
Seed Sowers

Country of the Day
Southeast Asia

Hari Raya Adventures

In our area of SE Asia, the end-of-Ramadan festival, known as Hari Raya, is quite a big deal, to understate its cultural importance. For Americans, the closest comparison I have heard is that Hari Raya is the “Christmas” of holidays here, but even that doesn’t come close to the magnitude of the festivities here; Hari Raya is at a minimum three days, but the actual holiday is full month. It’s a time of celebration after fasting from sun up to sun down for an entire month, which seems to be a bittersweet trial or celebratory religious experience, depending on who you ask. Nevertheless, nearly all of the Muslims in our ~7.2 million population city skip town and return to their home villages and towns for Hari Raya to celebrate with extended family and friends.
Byan and James got to visit this beautiful beach on their Hari Raya adventure!

Naturally, all of the NTers here have had a much-prayed-for goal all summer: get invited! Ramadan provides such an easy, natural opportunity to share the Good News, and Hari Raya would not only facilitate increased friendship with people we have met through the bonding experience of travel, but it would also allow for constant discussion, maybe even with family members of our friends! (Also, it would give us a chance to dress in formal SE Asian clothing, which is always a plus). The girls get to wear long-sleeved pretty shirts and long skirts, while the guys get to wear long sleeves and long pants with a saneing that goes over it.  Yes we all died a little inside going to houses with no air conditioning wearing long sleeved clothing, but while we're here we might as well get the full on Southeast Asian experience.  We all got to experience Hari Raya with different friends.  The girls stayed in our city with friends that we met and the guys got to travel a little outside of our city.  

All in all our experiences were full of lots and lots of food, full bellies, and lots of fun experiences with our friends.  Some of us got to share with our friends and even with their families.  Even if we have not seen changed lives, God's word is being sown into lots of people's hearts and lives and these people are hearing.  Our fun experiences and even not so fun experiences are leading to changed lives one way or another and we just pray that the Lord allows for many of the seeds to change lives in the near future!

-Global City Outreach Team

Eagerness & Interest

The highlight of my week was meeting with a man, I have mentioned before, named A. This past week, he had lost his father from a bomb explosion in Syria. In addition to studying the Word with him, I played chess with his sons, M & M, while drinking a hot cup of Chai. Every visit with A is such a joy because of his eagerness to learn from the Bible. 
Please be lifting him up; that he would remember what he learns and that the Holy Spirit would be speaking to him. Please be interceding as well for his family

Also continue to lift up the family from Syria who live downstairs. The father, T, has expressed interest in receiving a copy of the Bible. Please be lifting him and his family up; that they would receive a copy and be convicted from what they read.

-James, Refugee Highway

Ripe for the Harvest

Many of us are familiar with this illustration: if it takes ten times of hearing the Truth before a person believes, it is necessary that nine people are seemingly unsuccessful before person number ten is able to see the harvest of that soul. This week, Autumn and I had the privilege of sharing the news with some of our friends who had never heard our news at all. It was amazing to see the father working in our situations, even though some friends were not as receptive as others. Our concern now is that we must leave this city, and our girls, in two weeks. Last night on the way home, Autumn observed, "It was 20-25 years before these girls heard the name we've rejoiced in for nearly our whole life. Who's to say it won't be 25 more before they here it again?" We are learning to trust in the sovereignty of our Creator to send persons 3 and 4 and even 10, until the hearts of these people are softened.

Please join us in the prayer of Luke 10:2. 
Please pray for an increase in laborers to surround with love the friends we've met this summer. 
Also, please pray the same for the 5 million other people in this city who have lived their entire lives without our hope.

---Julie and Autumn

Thursday, July 14, 2016

Yardwork

The Before...
During our stay in Davao, we are living in a house close to the clinic with 4 other midwife students. It is amazing how this place called Palm Village has quickly become like home to us, and it is probably because of the welcoming personalities of the students who live here. The girls have really taken us in and showed us everything from shopping at the market to working with our temperamental washing machine. We have tried to return the favor and serve them in some small ways. One project some of us have taken on is fixing up their front lawn. The students have to devote time to their studies and working in the clinic, so they don't have much time to spare for yardwork. Most people living in the city have barely more than a patch of grass and a few plants for their "yards" but they take great pride in keeping them neat and clean.



I don't know if we actually made any improvement in the aesthetics of the yard, but hey at least we tried right? We are so blessed to get to live with these girls during our time here.

Pray for the 4 girls we live with, that they will feel strengthened and encouraged.

...and After!!

Learning is Fun

There a few things this summer has taught me so far. 
1) With God you can do anything He calls you to. 
2) Comfort zones are not all that great after all. 
3) You never know where or when God will use you. So always be on the look out and be ready.

There have been many times this past six weeks where I have felt unprepared, unsure and completely out of my depth. But throughout these challenges I have come to learn an even deeper trust in and reliance on God. I can honestly say that it is not me who is working, but it is Him using me to reach the people He loves. 

I have experienced so much from teaching refugee children English when I have zero teaching experience, and really no idea how to handle pre-schoolers, to walking up to a complete stranger and starting a conversation without even knowing if they speak the same language. I have been blessed to be pushed out of my comfort zone and in doing so having the chance to share with the people here about Jesus and his amazing love for us.

From parks to coffee shops. From the busy streets and malls to the quiet bookstores and little cafes. There are chances everywhere to share the Gospel. One thing about staying in another country is that you really realize how many people there are in the world that need to hear. But just as important, it makes you think of all the people in your country, city, town, and neighborhood that need to hear as well. Sharing the gospel should be part of who we are everyday, not just for a week or a summer!

So if I could pass encouragement on to you all I would say to throw your comfort zones out the window and look for God to lead you to everyday opportunities to share the truth with someone, anyone, across an ocean or on your street. Trust Him enough to know that even when you are not sure what to do or say that He can and will use you, and your own unique abilities. He is the one who saves, we are just blessed enough to be His messengers.

-Andy

Confidence in God alone

What, then, shall we say in response to this? If God is for us, who can be against us? He who did not spare His own Son, but gave Him up for us all - how will He not also, along with Him, graciously give us all things?  Romans 8:31-32

Pray for team members to be grounded in Christ, to find their identity in Christ alone. Pray that they would seek to find their all - physical, spiritual, and emotional needs - in Christ.

Team of the Day
Mountain Harvesters

Country of the Day
Philippines

A Family of Peace

What are expectations? 

To our team, after this summer, they are meaningless. No longer will we know what to expect when it comes to the workings of our Father. This past week is the reason why. 

This past Friday three of our team members were planning on meeting with one of our friends to study the Bible at a local mall. They sat at a coffee shop waiting (local perception of time is flexible; very flexible) when their friend arrived with the news that his whole family had tagged along and were waiting for them at the KFC. Dinner time in SEA at a KFC is CRAZY. Not only that... but their friend's family is a family of nine! They trudged towards KFC with the expectation of getting ZERO sharing or studying done. They were quite mistaken. 

Our Father showed His dominance over any situation that night and reminded us with a powerful display of His sovereignty that He is the planner of all things and that He does not always need us to do all of His Kingdom's work. 

Please pray for *Ahmad* (front left in the group photo) that God will send help to this family of peace, that they may gain their sight and have the courage to leave behind false teachings. 

Please pray that our team will continue to grow in unity, that opportunities will continue to be provided to get the Good News out to those who need to hear it, and that our friends will be connected to other friends within the city so that churches will soon be planted.

With love from SEA,
The Seed Sowers

Fun with new friends

These past two days have been an absolute blast! Yesterday Charley and I went with some local friends to a zoo. We saw crocodiles, otters, tigers, bears, and exotic birds. The most fun part though was undoubtedly the elephant and ostrich rides! Charley was the brave one and rode the ostrich, while I played it safe and rode the elephant. 

The lovely lady on my left, Mrs. Jamie,is here in the country with her husband (Mr. Tim) for the summer, doing the same thing that we are doing. It's been great getting to know them and being encouraged by all their stories from previous trips they've taken.


That night, we met up with a new friend of ours, J. We met him last night at an English club, where he confessed to being an atheist. That didn't scare me and Mr. Tim though. We shared our stories and the greatest news of all with him, and by the end of the night he was so moved that proudly said, "I think I'm going to start seeking God now." Tonight, we talked about what he had read in the first three chapters of John. Since he didn't know how to pray...  I wrote out some thing he could say to Him, of which he was very grateful. 

Please be praying for J in the coming days. 

-Tip of the Spear team

Wednesday, July 13, 2016

Food and Friends on Idul Fitri

Ramadan has finally ended. Now that the month of fasting is over, people join their families to feast during a celebration called Idul Fitri. We got invited to visit several homes, and over the course of a single day we had three Thanksgiving-sized meals! All of the families we met were incredibly friendly, and they never ceased to offer us more food.

While it was a fun day, Idul Fitri ultimately serves as a reminder to the lostness of the people here. As they celebrate, they apologize to their friends and family for any way they may have wronged them in the past year. They believe that this apology makes them look better in the eyes of God. The people here fail to recognize the severity of their sin and how it separates them from God.

Please pray that the people here would see their need for a Savior. 
Also, with less than two weeks left, ask that God would give our team opportunities to share and strength to finish well. 

-Urban Trekker Team

Love love love.

Can I just say how much I love it here?  I don't think I have ever loved a place as much as I do here. The city life, the luxurious malls, and the H&M's on every corner are enough for me to want to move here, but my love for this city goes so much more than just the city life experience.  This city has people from all over the world doing life here.  Each person I've met has absolutely amazing hospitality.  They will sit and smile while listening to me share the Gospel with them, even though it goes against everything they believe in.  They will always ask to take pictures with us, they never cease to smile, and they love to laugh.  This city has stolen my heart!

The first week we got here I got the opportunity to lead a girl to Christ and baptize her the next day. It was definitely the most surreal moment of my life! Since then, nearly every day we have gotten opportunities to share the Gospel multiple times a day!  It's kind of funny, actually, because you know how your parents would always tell you, "don't talk to random strangers on the street?"  Well, that's exactly what we have been doing!  We will walk up to people, ask for "directions," ask why they are not eating (during Ramadan), or find some random way of complimenting them just to get a Gospel conversation started.  No salvations have come out of that yet, but we are praying that God will send us persons of peace to hear and receive the Good News.

Pray with us that people will receive visions, dreams, and confusion that will completely corrupt their life.  Pray that we will find them and the Holy Spirit will work through us for them to find the way, the truth, and the life.

-Alex

Hard Soil

This week was rather short for our team in the camp. Since our midsummer break lasted up until Tuesday, we did not return back to work until Wednesday. On the first day, one of my teammates and I went to visit a good friend named K. I knew that he was not open to the message, but I felt the need to go visit him. After drinking a cup of nice, cold coffee, my teammate and I shifted the conversation to a topic of greater importance. Sadly, K told me to not talk anymore about the Way because it makes people angry and it is hard on the mind. Although my friend heard truth that day, he and his friends refused to let Christ into their lives. 

Please be lifting all of them up, that the seeds of truth that have been sown will take root.

-James

Seekers of Truth

This week we spent the first few days traveling to the beach for our vacation. We spent some time relaxing on the shore and climbing a nearby mountain to stand on Jo's shoulder! We also took some time to lift up the remaining summer to dad as we began planning how we were going to meet with all of our friends. Please keep us in your prayers as we continue to ask for His wisdom and seek Him as we continue the rest of the summer.


Upon our return to home base we faced some trials as we were unable to return to our previous hotel. For a few nights we had to relocate and had a short sense of homelessness. The rest of the week, however, we dove right into new English clubs, sharing our stories and His, and starting new relationships. The most rewarding moment was to see one of our friends finally begin to ask questions and as Charlie began to answer the whole table leaned in to hear his answer. God is really working! Please keep our friends in mind as they seek for truth and that we may be obedient to the Father. 

-Allison, Tip of the Spear

Resist Not

It does not, therefore, depend on man's desire or effort, but on God's mercy. For the Scripture says to Pharaoh: "I raised you up for this very purpose, that I might display My power in you and that My name might be proclaimed in all the earth." Therefore God has mercy on whom He wants to have mercy, and He hardens whom He wants to harden.  Romans 9:16-18

Pray for no resistance to the work of the Holy Spirit in the lives of team members as well as the unsaved.

Team of the Day
Refugee Highway

Sharing with Gentleness and Respect!

This past weekend some students took us to see the Royal Palace. They taught us about their culture and about the history of the palace and their country. It was helpful to hear from them about the struggles and changes their country has faced over the past few centuries. One of the students is studying to be an architect and was especially able to explain the qualities, differences, and history of the buildings we saw at the Royal Palace. He expressed feeling pain about how his people and their architecture have been treated by some other cultures and people groups.

It is so important to understand people within the context of their cultures and worldviews. At our Bible study this week, we met with several of the same students who took us to the Royal Palace, and studied 1 Peter 3:8-22. In many ways, becoming a Christian comes at a higher price for some than others. Most Westerners do not have to include their family in the cost of following Christ, but many of those in Asia do. This is because of their collectivist culture that supports unity in family, nation, and religion. As one of our contacts put it, “to be Khmer is to be Buddhist.” We must remember that while this is different, it is not “bad.” Western culture is by no means the standard of perfection.


Our team has been taking to heart the scriptures found in 1 Peter. One that stood out to many of us during our bible study with the students was 1 Peter 3:15, “But make sure in your hearts that Christ is Lord. Always be ready to give an answer to anyone who asks you about the hope you have. Be ready to give the reason for it. But do it gently and with respect.” First, we need to be sure that Christ is truly Lord and Ruler over our hearts and every decision we make. Second, as we are obeying His call to go out into the world and share His good news, we must do so with gentleness and respect. This requires us to be aware of the cultural differences between us and those with whom we are sharing. We must not assume their cost of following is so similar to the one we had to pay.


We were able to discuss the concept of suffering for doing good and believing in Christ with the students in this week’s bible study (1 Peter 3:17). We encouraged them to know that though choosing Christ may cause some challenges in their biological family, they are also adopted into Christ’s family of believers, designed to “love one another like members of the same family” (1 Peter 3:8).

Please continue praying for our team over these last few weeks we have with these students. 
Pray that we would make the most of every moment and that persons of peace would be willing to count the cost and pay the price for the greatest gift of all time: Jesus. 
Pray that our communication with the students would be clear and that we would share the gospel with boldness, gentleness, and respect. 
Pray for our team’s unity and love, so that we may show an example of the body of Christ God designs and that others would recognize us as disciples of Jesus merely by our love for one another.
Thank you all for your prayers and support.

-Ashleigh

From Closed to Open

It's really hard to sum up this past week of ministry. It was hard, but it was also full of joy at the same time. This past village was different from other villages in that there were many, many walls that needed to be broken down. The first few days we saw little response to house visits and Bible studies. We prayed that God would help us and connect us with the right people- and He did just that and more.
By the end of the week the Lord provided us with about five responsive Bible studies, and yesterday we had the privilege to baptize six individuals. What started out as a village that seemed to be unreachable turned into a village that was open to God's word. We are so thankful to have been a part of God's work in this village. We are leaving the village in confidence knowing that God will continue His work in lives of His people. 
Please be in prayer for the believers we leave behind- pray that their personal relationship with Christ will continue to grow and that they will continue to meet for Bible study and read God's word together. Also pray that they will stand strong in the midst of persecution that may come their way.
We are down to just two weeks left in this beautiful country. Everyone on the team is doing well (no sickness- PTL). Please continue to pray for energy, strength, and joy as we finish out our summer with two last villages.
Thank you all for your prayers and support. Without them this trip would not be the same!
-Kara, Riverboat Team

Our God is Mighty to Save

One of my favorite moments thus far has been seeing the light, hope, and excitement in the eyes of a new believer. Gerome, one of our tenth grade students, came to faith and is eager to learn more. To see the Lord changing lives has been a big encouragement. I stand amazed at who our God is.

On the first day of classes, Gerome stuck out because he was disruptive, distracting, and wanted a lot of attention. Since then, he has joined us for house church, Bible study, and was welcoming for us to do a Bible study at his boarding house. Gerome was eager to learn more about Jesus, came to faith, and followed the Lord in believer's baptism. Praise Him!

Please pray for Gerome and the other new believers here in Tingloy. Also pray as we go with Gerome's boarding house to meet their families in Pisa. 
Pray for Gospel conversations and boldness.

-Emily

Wise Thoughts

May the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be pleasing in your sight, O Lord, my Rock and my Redeemer.  Psalm 19:14

Pray for team members to have minds and hearts focused on Christ as they continue to minister to the lost.

Team of the Day
Island Hoops and Healing

Country of the Day
Philippines

Tuesday, July 12, 2016

On to a New Village


God provided a lot of good work for us in the village we were working. We finished the fourth toilet in the village. It is sad to know that this past week was the last time we will be working in that particular Lahu village. We will miss all of the friends we have made, and the work that we have done.

God should His faithfulness by having two ladies come to the church for the first time this past Sunday. They heard the gospel for the first time. They came because we built toilets for them. God is good and uses the work of his servants.

We will be working in the Nan province this next week. We will be working with at least the Tong and Liang people groups. We will be focusing more on ministering to the people instead of just doing hard labor.

Please be praying for:
- safe travel this next week
- the softening of hearts to the gospel
- God to use His servants

All praise, honor, and glory be to God!
A bond-servant of Christ,
Joshua

The Great I AM

"It has always been my ambition to preach the gospel where Christ was not yet known." -Rom. 15:20

Before any of  us were ever born, the enemy has been at work in the Philippines. The country has been reached, but with a distorted truth of the Gospel. Many are deceived into believing that they know Christ. But here in the Philippines, many see Christ as still being on the cross. He has not paid for sins once for all. The people have also been enslaved into a religious idolatry with nothing to lift their burdens. Before anything came to be, however, God had a plan to set the captives free and those who trust in the living Christ will have their burdens lifted.

Right now, we are coming alongside one of our national partners to share the true Gospel and to do battle with the powers t be. We have visited house to house in our village and have never been turned away. Everyone we've engaged has sat down and listened to us tell the good news of Christ and what He has done to reconcile sinners to Himself. For many it is their first time hearing this story. I spoke with one man who told me about how he felt far away from God. He has made many mistakes in his past that have made him feel this way. I began to tell him all about what a relationship with Christ looks like, how no sin is too big to keep us from the love of Christ, and why this all has to do with the message of the Gospel. He is now teaching me proper tennis techniques while I am teaching him how to study God's Word. He reads the Bible to his friends when he is hanging out with them at night. He does not care if others see him reading the Bible and think that he is crazy. He also is a great man of influence in this village and among his friend group. Before any of us had ever thought of venturing into the Philippines, God has laid out our paths. I clearly clearly got to see and experience that when I met my new friend A.

What God has purposed, God will accomplish. He has known the end from the beginning. He will save the multitudes that no one can number from every tribe, tongue, and nation. Being in this village, I think about what the Lord said to Paul in a vision in Acts 18:9-10: "Do not be afraid, but go on speaking and do not be silent, for I am with you... for I have many in this city who are my people." We haven't stopped speaking and God has shown us that He really does have many here.

Before anything was ever anything, there has always been and always will be the Great I AM. He is on His throne: unchanging, unmovable, and the sustainer of all things. Before we loved Him, He first loved us. Before I was born, He sent His Son to die for me. Before me and my team had taken our first steps as babies, He has laid out good works for us to walk in. If the Great I AM is for us, who could ever stand against us?

-Caleb

We must keeping looking for them...

There are people in this camp who are wanting to believe. We just have to keep looking for them

These were the words from my teammate as he spoke to me about his experience. Although some have chosen to reject Christ, others have believed and are hungry for truth.
Still, I have heard that the brothers and sisters in the camp are scared to go out and share. Indeed, it is frightening to know that following the Way may lead to such negative consequences. Please intercede for the new brothers and sisters, that they will see the importance of sharing and that they would be filled with boldness.
-James

God's Vision

Praise God for this week! We were invited to lead a youth fellowship. It was a great opportunity to cast the vision and help them catch God's vision for the world. There were 130 young people who attended the fellowship. We taught on the gospel hand, how to lead a Bible Study, and how to share your testimony with others.

I was reminded this week that we have two mission fields here, 1) to witness and 2) to help other Christians catch the vision. We have to live by the compass!
"EXPECT GREAT THINGS FROM GOD AND ATTEMPT GREAT THINGS FOR GOD."

-April, national partner
Island Hoops & Healing

New Adventures

The past few days we've had numerous adventures starting off with watching Finding Dory in another language, getting a flat tire, attempting to fish in our friend's backyard, and visiting a fellowship in our community for the first time. On Saturday we received a special treat in spending a day with one of our friend's family. This allowed for a deeper relationship and we were able to exchange some of our stories. 

Please keep this family in mind as they continue to ask questions and that He will open their eyes.

-Tip of the Spear

Monday, July 11, 2016

A Burdened Heart

The past week has been full of both busy and slow days. With the end of Ramadan many of our friends have returned home to celebrate with their families, leaving our urban context and returning to rural areas. Because of this we have had seemingly discouraging and slow days. Ultimately we trust God's will and we have been using these slow moments to lift up the people we have been able to meet and share with.

On the other hand, because of the holiday people are very open to talking about religion. The people who are left in the city are those who are native to this area. We have been able to partner several times with the national believers to travel out into the community and share. It is so encouraging to see the believers here have the same heart and urgency that we have for the people of this region.

Several days ago we traveled deep into the heart of this region, driving through several hours of villages to visit a friend and his family.  As we drove we were constantly reminded of the presence and depth of Islam in this region. Our hearts are burdened because there is no one out in these areas who know Christ. There is no one living in these areas sharing the gospel. We question how these people will ever hear the Truth.

Please pray for laborers in this region who are willing to go out to the rural settings and share Christ. 
Pray for the connections already made in these regions and for the hearts of those who have already heard the gospel.  
Pray that Christ will raise up spiritual leaders and persons of peace in these communities to lead their people to Christ.

-Abbie


July 4th... Southeast Asian style

As much as we miss celebrating back home, we're even more excited be celebrating with our new friends here SE Asia. With the help of our new friend Peter, who spent 6 years studying in California, we were still able to have an amazing Independence Day! He took Des, Allison, Charley, and I to a BBQ restaurant (Asian BBQ that is) where we were greeted by 15 other friends of ours!


After passing out 4th of July stickers, taking pictures, and munching on some delicious meatballs, we heard the Star Spangled Banner come on over the restaurant's loudspeakers! Naturally, we Americans sang along with immense patriotism and belted out "O’er the land of the free and the home of the brave!" Even though we aren't great singers, everyone in the restaurant erupted in applause. We were so grateful that our friends were willing to help us celebrate our nation's independence.

After dinner, we went out for ice cream and played games in the upstairs lounge. While some of us were playing games, Des and Allison were able to get insight on the beliefs of our friends there. They also were able to share a little bit of the hope that we have. One guy, Anthony, particularly stands out to me. Some of the conversation made him upset enough to leave the room for a brief time, but he continues to still want to hang out with us. Please pray for him, because I do think the Father is stirring in his heart.


Also be praying for Peter. While in America, he hung out a lot with American believers. One of them even gave him a Matt Chandler book before he returned to his home country, so that he could learn more about the love of the Father. In America, a seed was planted and I believe that the Father is using us 4 to water that seed.

Salvation is Here

One of our Filipino partners has been able to meet for a daily Bible study with a handful of students while the rest of our team go to school to teach English. Through that, 8 have come to know the Lord! Praise and Glory to Him.

Last Wednesday, we were able to go with these students to the beach because they had no school. We were told were going with us and it ended up being 10-wow! Then we got to the beach and shared about baptism (we knew 2 were going to) then we opened it to any of them who wanted to after we double and tripled checked that they understood faith is what saves and not good works so we baptized 3. WOW!

The ocean may have been very littered but they have all been washed by the blood of the Lamb. To Him be the Glory forever and ever!

This week continue to pray for the believer, Melody, on the island. Her son is sick and needs further medical care. Please pray that the Great Physician heals him.

-Tropical Island Disciplemakers

When the Lord Moves You out of the Way

We usually do home visits on Saturdays for moms who are patients at Mercy. This Saturday, we went to a neighborhood to visit a couple of patients who had recently delivered at Mercy. The second woman we visited had just had her seventh baby, and she lived in an area where there were many other children as well. When we got to her house she asked us to wait outside for a few minutes while she prepared a place for us to sit. 

While outside we saw some girls working on some kind of craft project, and we went up and introduced ourselves and asked what they were up to. They said they were all in eighth grade and they were working on a project for school. We talked for a few more minutes and ended up inviting them to join our home visit/bible study. They agreed to come, and when we sat down with the woman we came to see, we had attracted quite a group of kids! She was nice enough to let them gather at the door of her home and listen as we told they story of Jesus feeding the 5,000. We explained how the Lord will take the small gifts we have to offer and multiply them, like in the story, if only we will surrender our lives to Him.  

At the end we asked if anyone had questions or comments, and one girl named Princess (who was about 15 years old) said she would like to say something. We thought to ourselves, "Oh, she will probably make a short comment and we can be on our way". Well, obviously God had a different plan, because this 15 year old girl got up, borrowed Jesse Anne's bible, and brought the WORD! 

She talked through Romans 6:23, how we all deserve death and hell, but through Christ we can be saved. She said that a couple of years ago she was smoking and cussing a lot but since she became a Christian her life has changed for the good. She explained to all the other kids who were there how they needed to accept Jesus and lead a prayer for them. We all just looked around at each other after she sat down and thought, "Thank you Jesus for giving Princess this opportunity to speak!" I think this experience taught us that sometimes we just need to start the conversation, and then step out of the way and let God do the rest.

-Carmen

Please pray for Princess and the other girls we met during our home visit, that they will continue to seek after Christ, and that they would find older women to disciple them.


The Mercy girls with Princess

We have a choice

Bible studies in our village have been pretty consistent but without change. In other words, they were very monotonous. However this past week God worked to remind me of the importance of choosing Jesus, choosing to share, and the peace of assurance in salvation.

In one Bible study, we went over the parable of Lazarus and the rich man. After reading the passage, I asked what she thought was the most important part. Knowing that she was poor I expected that she would say something like, “the poor can be saved,” but she had a shorter response. My translator told me simply that she said we get to choose. 

Something clicks in my mind; the amazement at God’s power and mercy. We’re offered the knowledge of salvation and while we are on Earth we have the chance to accept it. We can have the ability to be sure of our eternity. The woman we were sharing with was not sure of where she would go if she died. She said she wasn’t perfect so how could she know. This just opened the door to great conversation over God’s mercy on sinners and assurance of salvation. One of the verses we went over was Romans 8:39 which says “No power in the sky above or in the earth below—indeed, nothing in all creation will ever be able to separate us from the love of God that is revealed in Christ Jesus our Lord.” She is now armed with the knowledge of her choice and the fact that once made, nothing can take it away. This is a victory and I’m praying she will make the decision to follow.

Please pray for this lady, and many others like her, who know the truth and have the choice to accept it.

-Stephanie

Flee Temptation

But you, man of God, flee from all this, and pursue righteousness, godliness, faith, love, endurance, and gentleness.  1 Timothy 6:11

No temptation has seized you except what is common to man. And God is faithful; He will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, He will also provide a way out so that you can stand up under it.  1 Corinthians 10:13

Pray for team members to flee evil and to pursue God. Pray that they would stand up under temptation through the power of the Holy Spirit.

Team of the Day
Urban Trekker

Country of the Day
Southeast Asia

Characters in a Great Story

"I know. It’s all wrong. By rights we shouldn’t even be here. But we are. It’s like in the great stories, Mr. Frodo. The ones that really mattered. Full of darkness and danger, they were. And sometimes you didn’t want to know the end. Because how could the end be happy? How could the world go back to the way it was when so much bad had happened? But in the end, it’s only a passing thing, this shadow. Even darkness must pass. A new day will come. And when the sun shines it will shine out the clearer." 

-Sam, Lord of the Rings: Two Towers

Sunday, July 10, 2016

Dual Benefit

Josh & Joseph have been here for one month & they still have one more month of ministry before they head back to the US. We have really enjoyed having these two guys here with us and their ministry in the secondary schools has been a success. Relationships are beuing built, young people are accepting Christ as their Savior, and the guys are getting the experience of a lifetime. We'd love to have more teams like them come serve with us in the future. Not only do the people of Zambia benefit from a team's coming, but the team members also benefit in that they get to be a part of bringing the Gospel to the nations.

-Nicholas, Zambia Sports Team supervisor
Nicolas, Joseph & Josh