Saturday, July 7, 2018

Beautiful Feet

We've finished our first few weeks of ministry and are absolutely in love with this people & these people. Our aim is to focus on house to house evangelism & Bible studies... with the goal of seeing every household turn to Christ, training them to be reproducible disciple, passionate for the Lord and for growing His church.

We have already entered & shared the Gospel with every home, held multiple Bible studies and have seen 3 people give their lives to Christ. We will continue to disciple them & help them grow in the grace & knowledge of Christ. The bondage here is great, but the power of God is greater still. We will stop at nothing as we proclaim His name.

We consider every challenge a blessing & every obstacle an opportunity to grow. Some challenges are funny... for 3 days straight it had been raining relentlessly. We would have to hike up the mountain, shin-deep in mud to get to the area where we were visiting homes. And on the return trip... we would end up sliding back down the hill. We don't even recognize our own feet at this point... they are so constantly caked in mud.

Through it all we press on with job, knowing that these people's eternities are at stake... and the salvation of their souls is worth it.

Until all have heard,
Tropical Harvesters,

As the team will be transferring to a new location, pray for the those who will be following up in the original location. Pray for the growth of those who have already made decisions to follow Christ... pray for a harvest in the lives of those who have heard the Good News and have yet to respond to Christ's free gift.

Continue to Pray

Hello from Southeast Asia! We are having an amazing time. We have spoken at two house churches, one church service, and have prayer walked all over the city. It is such an eerie thing to hear the Islamic call to prayer as we are worshiping the One True King, but it reminds us to pray for those who do not yet know Him. 

One Sunday, we drove to a remote village and walked around, praying for the people there. One girl asked to share a story, but our local partner told her they are not yet ready to hear it. So we continue to pray. Recently, we went to different houses, praying for the sick and for those not yet Following, and continue to pray for these people. Also, we had the opportunity to share our stories on the local radio, and are excited to see how He moves through that!

-Jessica, Embrace the Beyond
Southeast Asia

Please pray that the people hearts and eyes would be opened, that they will Follow. Also, pray for the sick to be healed, as many come to believe through healing.

Team of the Day: Mercy Midwives

Location: Philippines
Team size: 4

Job description: Partner with a local charity birthing center. You will be integrated into one of the clinical teams, immediately involved with every aspect of the clinic. It is expected that team members have basic medical knowledge & a love for serving expectant mothers & babies. As time passes, you will be allowed to conduct your own prenatal exams & assist and/or handle birth under the supervision of a qualified supervisor. Evangelism opportunities & healthcare training will be part of your schedule. You will work 5 shirts a week rotating between the birth room & prenatal activities. An average of 25-35 babies are born each week.

Friday, July 6, 2018

Let the Little Children Come... without bugs

Our team is spending the summer on Dinagat Island in the southern Philippines. Currently, our home is an unused pregnancy clinic... I say "currently" because there are several pregnant women here that look like they won't be pregnant for much longer!

This past Sunday we went to a small Baptist church. My team mate Christian spoke about how we should let the little children come as Jesus did. Later that night, a gang of little children ran into our rooms, trying to scare us with a huge beetle they had found. Christian told our national team mate/translator, "Rafael... tell them to get out! Tell them they better not let that thing loose!"

Rafael responded, "Didn't you just say, 'Let the little children come?'"  We've been joking about that ever since.

Island Ministry, Philippines

As we move to a new location for the next several weeks, pray for the seeds that have been planted in our first location. Pray for those who will be doing follow up in this area.

Team of the Day: CrossFit Language

Location: North Africa & Middle East
Team size: 4

Job description: The Circassian people came to Jordan about 150 yours ago after being driven from their homeland in Southern Russia. They have prospered in Jordan & earned a reputation for honesty & integrity. They love art, dance & sports. Many will speak English. It's our desire that you will have opportunity to learn Circassian dance. You will receive invitations to play soccer, attend wrestling matches, go hiking, etc. Be prepared to accept frequent invitation to drink coffee or tea. Be prepared to share the Gospel anytime, anywhere with anyone. Athletic ability or experience playing sports aren't as important as a willingness to talk with people.

Thursday, July 5, 2018

Hot English!!

Teaching English is fun; even if it is 115 degrees in the building we are teaching in!

-City Talk English Team, Thailand

Pray for the City Talk English Team as they teach multiple English classes each week. 
Pray for the relationships they are developing with the students in the classes.

Tune my Heart

The concert is beginning in 15 minutes. The director stands in front of the band and prepares them for what is to come...the big performance. But first, he takes a moment to have each player tune their instrument. A push here, a pull, a twist there, and the instrument is ready to make beautiful music. Without that proper alignment beforehand, the concert would be a little flat and a little less beautiful.

Two weeks ago, I sat down in the floor for a time of worship with 20 new faces. As we were about to begin, the worship leader got up and moved to a separate room, urging us to spend a moment in prayer while he tuned his guitar. I asked God, "Lord what does it mean to be tuned?"

I think it is absolutely amazing how God prepares us before hand for the things we will experience. Much like the band director, he meets us face to face and refines our hearts and renews our spirits. This tuning isn't always comfortable. Sometimes it requires a push, a pull, a twist. Sometimes we have to let go of things, or be thrown into situations that we do not understand. But in the end, as we take a deep breath and breathe into the instruments God has given us, all the refining comes out in a beautiful song. A song that magnifies and glorifies the Lord. A song that makes His name known among the nations.

I saw the way the Lord tuned my heart a week ago to prepare me for the days to come. As I was walking to a local school in a village I was visiting, I was greeted by a sweet 6th grade girl named Belinda. We walked and talked for hours. It started with all the small talk imaginable. From favorite colors, to siblings, to hobbies, and everything in between. When Belinda told me she loved to read, I asked her if she had a Bible to read. (She attended a Christian school, so I was assuming that she at least had one.) When I asked her this, she smiled and said, "Yes, I read it every day and every night." She shared with me her favorite Bible verse in both Swahili and English. Philippians 4:4 says, "Rejoice in the Lord always, I will say it again: Rejoice!" For a girl that had so little, she knew exactly where her joy came from. This was so humbling to me, as it is so easy sometimes to fall into self pity and begin to lose sight of the joy I have in Jesus. Yet someone who seemingly has so much less than me still finds reasons to rejoice in the Lord in every single situation.

Belinda's thoughts on Philippians 4:4 continued to convict me and burden my heart. A few days later in worship, one of my leaders shared a passage of scripture. It came from none other passage than Philippians 4. Paul writes in verses 11-13, "I am not saying this because I am in need, for I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances. I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. I can do all this through him who gives me strength." This passage is so much more than a passage to be tattooed on our arms, or quoted as we strive to pass a big exam. This is about being in deep physical need. We can conquer these things because we have Christ on our side and in our hearts.

Reading and meditating on Philippians 4 tuned my heart and prepared me for the next stop on our village ministry journey. We arrived in a village called Sirwa. Sirwa is a village in the mountains and is absolutely gorgeous. When we arrived at the home we were staying at, I was so convicted seeing the way in which these people live, yet still have so much joy. Their bathroom was nothing but a hole in the ground, their beds a simple mattress pad on the floor, and their meals humble. My heart ached for them, and for the rest of the people in the village seeing how little they had. We spent the next few days living life the way they did. I was not always comfortable, sometimes my tummy felt a little hungry, and my legs ached after walking hours just to get to destinations. But through it all, I gained a better understanding of what Paul was saying, as he faced times of plenty and times of need, learning to be content and joyful through it all. I am aware that my situation was nothing compared to Paul's, but I am so thankful for the way the Lord used Philippians 4 to prepare me and the way he used Sirwa to give me a better understanding of scripture.

When we let the Lord tune us, He draws us closer to Him and reveals more of Himself to us. By letting God pull, twist, and push on my heart, my eyes and heart have been opened to the things He is calling me to. It was not an easy tuning and sometimes it hurt, but now as I get ready for the "performance" ahead, the performance of sharing the gospel with those who have never heard, I am fully confident that it will be all the more beautiful because of the way I allowed the Director to spend time tuning me.

In this time of learning to be tuned by God and in tune with His spirit, I have found a new creed for my life. Here is how it goes:

I am part of the fellowship of the unashamed. I have Holy Spirit power. The die has been cast. I have stepped over the line. The decision has been made. I am a disciple of His. I will not look back, let up, slow down, back away, or be still. 

My past is redeemed, my present makes sense, my future is secure. I am finished and done with low living, sight-walking, small planning, smooth knees, colorless dreams, tamed visions, mundane talking, cheap living and dwarfed goals.

I no longer need pre-eminence, prosperity, position, promotion, plaudits, or popularity. I don't have to be right, first, tops, recognized, praised, regarded, or rewarded. I now live by faith, lean on His presence, walk by patience, lift by prayer, and labor by power.

My face is set, my gait is fast, my goal is heaven, my road is narrow, my way rough, my companions few, my guide reliable, my mission clear. I cannot be bought, compromised, detoured, lured away, turned back, deluded, or delayed. I will not flinch in the face or sacrifice, hesitate in the face of adversary, negotiate at the table of the enemy, ponder in the pool of popularity, or meander in the maze of mediocrity.

I won't give up, shut up, or let up, until I have stayed up, stored up, prayed up, paid up, preached up for the cause of Christ. I am a disciple of Jesus. I must go until He comes, give till I drop, preach till all know, and work till He stops me. And when He comes for His own, He will have no problem recognizing me. My banner will be clear.

Lord, thank you for discomfort. Thank you for showing me that I have been blessed with so much, so that I may pour out to others. Humble me and help me to constantly rejoice and be content in all circumstances. Help me to never resist the fine-tuning of my heart, so that I may be in tune with you, and share you in a more beautiful way. Thank you for being the Director of my life, that always knows where I need a push, pull, or tug.  Amen.

Camp & Community, Kenya

Team of the Day: Intentional & Relational in Community

Location: Southeast Asia
Team size: 3

Job description: Welcome to the "Island of the gods!" The Balinese are Hindu-Animists who live in fear of spirits. They are keenly aware of the spiritual realm but most have never heard the name of Jesus. Do you like to meet new people? The Balinese are very friendly and have a strong sense of community. The farming, land, spirits, & rituals in worship are all tied into community & affect the community. Live in a small town/village & focus daily activity around intentionally reaching that community. Seek to become a part of their community through serving them, praying for them, sharing testimonies, Truth stories & the good News.

Wednesday, July 4, 2018

Why are they lost?

When you think of someone who is lost, how would you describe that person? I would describe the lost person as a sinner, someone who is rebellious and making wrong choices, and either doesn’t know about God or doesn’t want to know anything about God. 

In Luke 15 there are three parables- the lost sheep, the lost coin, and the prodigal son. I was challenged on my idea of what being lost means by this chapter. What do these three stories have in common? A coin or a sheep can’t make bad choices and choose to be rebellious. The prodigal son was rebellious, and he did knowingly make bad choices, so what does the son have in common with the coin and sheep? 

Possibly, the reason these three stories of lostness are told together is to show us that our choices are not the measure for what makes us lost. The common thread that makes the coin, sheep, and son lost is because someone is missing them. The shepherd, the woman, and the son’s father are desperately missing them- THAT is what makes them lost. Our world is filled with lost people- and what makes them lost is not their ignorance or rebellion. What makes them lost is that our Father in heaven has a PLACE for them, and because they are not there, He is desperately missing them, and wants them in their rightful place. 

This challenged me this week, and I pray it challenges you also to not only see lost people as Christ does, but to then also do something about it with the people who are lost in your community and workplace and neighborhood. God has a place for them. 


Toronto Summer 

Checking in with Island Ministry team

Had a great time with the Island Ministry team. They have to take two boats to get to their area! They are working really hard at sharing the Good News... and got to try some new foods this week!

Me with part of team & their national partners
Pray for continued favor as they visit new homes, looking for those who are interested in studying the Bible.

Journeyman, Philippines
Trying "balut"... a local delicacy

Team of the Day: Basketball & Jesus

Location: Philippines
Team size: 3

Job description: Be a part of the next wave of Nehemiah Teams obeying the Great Commission. Go from village to village, playing basketball, sharing Christ with hundreds and discipling new believers. You will live out of your duffle bag, wash your clothes by hand, and sleep where ever a door is opened. Become a part of Filipino culture, make friends through sports, and make disciples in this very hard place.

Tuesday, July 3, 2018

God's Heart

"If God's heart is for the world, that is a big enough reason to make it our heart."   -Claude Hickman

Please continue to pray for the Basketball & Jesus team as we are in our last week on Camotes Island, Cebu.

All to Him. No more unreached!

-RR (national partner)
Basketball & Jesus, Philippines

Team of the Day: Team Romania

Location: Romania
Team size: 8

Job description: Use your musical skills to teach young people to play guitar, keyboard, flute, drums & percussion. Help local believers develop music teams for worship. Local young people have little to no access in musical training. Offer tutoring for children in the community allowing the local ministry to develop relationships with the families. The team will be working directly with a national pastor. If you can speak English, you can help share the Gospel & plant churches. By teaching very simple English words & phrases to children & youth you are helping with their education while opening doors to engage their families with the Gospel. 
Guys, use your soccer skills to open doors with kids, teens & young adults. Girls, use your love of playing badminton & volleyball to open doors with the female population. You don't have to be a pro, just have fun & be willing to take initiative in building friendships so that you can share about Christ. 

Monday, July 2, 2018

Rules for Southeast Asia living

1.  If you hit a chicken, you buy it. 
2.  When crossing the street don't look both ways... look every way!
3.  If the nationals want to take your team to a beach, never say no!

Constantly being reminded how great our God is.

SEA Tourist

The Great Physician

Part of our team with national partners
We saw 210 patients over the 2 days over free medical clinics. That's with only 1 doctor!
170 indicated a desire to join Bible study after hearing the chronological Bible storying presentation. We also used the large "Bridge" tract to share the Good News. Our local supervisor will be in charge of the follow-up of those who were interested in additional Bible study. To God be all the glory!

We pray for physical healing for those receiving treatment by Doctor Donna.

Pray as our national partners follow up on these who have indicated they are interested in additional Bible study. Pray for lasting fruit!

-Teach, Hoops & Healing
Bicol, Philippines

Team of the Day: Urban Rescuers

Location: Thailand
Team size: 2

Job description: Outreach is done in the red light districts & slum communities. Bar/red light district ministry involves visiting/following up on sex workers we already know and creating friendships with new workers. Slum outreach is mainly to current students and their families,
consisting of helping build/rebuild/clean houses, spend time with families, after school activities, prodiving a safe environment & support in familiar surroundings. When an individual decides to join our program, they come to our ministry building for different classes and sessions: counseling, art therapy, worship, Bible study, baking classes, etc.

Sunday, July 1, 2018

NT Goal #2: Personal Spiritual Growth

Goals of Nehemiah Teams

  1. To lead students to help open doors and plant churches among the unreached and hard to reach.
  2. To help students grow in their walk with the Lord.
  3. To help students become World Christians.
  4. To help students deal with a mission calling and find their place in finishing the Great Commission.

Camp & Community team (Kenya) doing their daily team time
As an organization, it is one of our goals to help students grow in their personal walk with the Lord. One intentional way of doing this is through specific materials that all teams study over the course of the summer: daily Quiet Time guide (through the book of Acts), memorizing 26 verses, and reading other materials related to evangelism & missions. As these are done in the community of their team, it's our prayer that they are encouraging & challenging each other daily.

Please pray for students as they study through these materials over the summer. Pray that the Lord will use this daily study to strengthen their personal walk with the Lord. 

Effective Survey

We have so enjoyed meeting the missionaries and church members who are already hard at work in Toronto. I’ve heard so many amazing stories of how God is working in men’s hearts, and we’ve only been here a short time.

This summer, we’re working at two university/college campuses in the city, praying for people, surveying needs and telling students about the love of Jesus. We’re also going door-to-door in the suburbs, flyering for outreach camps and trying to build relationships. We even get to be a part of two healthy, growing church plants! The work is needed. Toronto is beautiful on the outside, but in their personal lives, people are hurting desperately for community with others and their Savior.

Toronto Summer

Please pray as we do community outreach every Thursday evening. We go into different neighborhoods in our church’s area, doing door-to-door surveying & inviting people to church with the goal of showing our desire to care for the needs of our community. Pray with us for fruitful conversations.

Team of the Day: Explorer and Evangelist

Location: Indonesia
Team size: 8

Job description: These islands have had little or no Christian witness. You'll meet lots of friendly people. Beautiful waterfalls, beaches, & jungles to explore as well as the chance to share the Gospel with those that have never heard. Teams will be tourists exploring the land.