Updates and Information
Updates from the Missionary Care Team
Gareth & Debbie Flanary – 3.8.2020
West Springfield, Massachusetts
Gareth & Debbie Flanary are hard at work for the Lord in West Springfield, Massachusetts. Their church mission is “Living a transformed life through Jesus and the Spirit”. They believe that we are all here to be God’s instruments to reconcile the world to himself through Jesus. They are worshipping in and slowly transforming an 1881 church building. Last year they were able to add new doors, new bathroom facilities and new air conditioning units. This year they are working on repainting the auditorium and replacing the interior lighting. The auditorium is 28 feet high and contains a lot of delicate trim around some beautiful stained glass windows. They hope to have many volunteers to help them with this project. They are working to provide “a sacred space for people to experience the wonder of God and the love of Jesus”.
They are currently involved in several ministries. The Friendspeak program and Let’s Start Talking both help their neighbors with mastering the English language as they study the Bible with them. They have between 15 – 20 readers each week. This year they will be the host church for the 40th birthday of the Let’s Start Talking Program. They also actively support Christina’s House, a transitional living home for single mothers and their children. This ministry will be expanding this year with a second home being purchased to house additional single mother families in transition. They are seeking to fill a house mom position for these homes.
Gareth will be traveling and speaking quite a bit in 2020. We hope he has some time to visit us here at Levy. Please pray for this hard working couple. Debbie had some surgery recently but is recovering well and back at work. Please pray for their physical health and spiritual strength as they minister to the souls in their area. May the Spirit open up hearts and minds for them as they seek to fill those around them with the love of Jesus.
Ilia and Daiva Amosov – 2.16.2020
Ilia has been in Lithuania all of his life. He was born in Vilnius and now lives in Klaipeda, where he is one of the evangelists with the Klaipeda church. He came to Christ in Vilnius in the late 90s and began serving as an intern at the church there. He has been in full-time ministry since 2005. His wife Daiva is an English teacher in the Klaipeda school system. They have one child, a son, Jacob, who is around 5 years old. Ilia is very active in the Baltic Family Camp Ministry as well as leading the church in Klaipeda. Ilia shares his church leadership responsibilities with Kestutis Puodziunas. Both share the blessing of preaching Sunday sermons and Wednesday evening Bible classes. They believe alternating their teaching with their different styles helps to reach everyone in the congregation.
The Klaipeda church is very proud of their “Bible Study Center” where they teach weekly Bible classes in groups and in a one on one setting. Recently they began implementing a program for attracting new people to the church and helping the community in a social way. They launched a support group for men who feel exhausted and burnt out in the family. Facebook posts are used to draw in men needing this Men’s Support Group. Ilia and Kestutis write “It is hard for men to admit their weaknesses and ask for help. They want to be strong and bold, this is the image they project although, inside, they may be broken and burnt out.” This group is growing very slowly for this reason. They are hopeful this group will grow within themselves and in numbers by each member encouraging others to join. They report that one of these men has also begun coming to their other church services.
Ilia and Kestutis write “We thank you for your faithful and continual support. Your generosity and love for Christ makes the Gospel available for people in Klaipeda.” Please pray for this great work in Lithuania. Pray for Ilia and his family and their co-workers to be blessed with good health and like-mindedness. May the Spirit open many hearts in their area!
Graham and Beth McDonald – 2.9.2020
Good morning Levy! Did you know that most of Scotland is very mountainous and uninhabited? The cities that do exist are very large. The McDonalds have purchased new land on a busy interstate for their church expansion, which is accessible from several areas and within close range to three and one-half MILLION people. Graham was with us last October and reported on his work and plans for their future. Graham and his family have been serving the Lord in Scotland for 25 years. They have two sons and two daughters in their late teens and early twenties.
Graham is seeing a thirst in Scotland’s younger generation for God. The country is predominantly Presbyterian when there is a chosen faith. Most of his church members are first generation Christians. He has seen some of his relationships with the lost take ten to twenty years before their hearts open the door for true faith and belief. Graham spoke of Mary who was baptized last year. She is 94 years old and had a long difficult journey before accepting the Lord.
Many of their mission efforts are aimed at the young. The have an area church wide Young Men of God Gospel Meeting that is aimed at young men 20 and under. They also have an Applied Preacher Training for those interested in growing their knowledge. This church broadcasts their worship services through YouTube. They also have Gospel teachings on an internet station. This allows them to reach people all over the world.
Shortly after Graham returned home from his state side visits his family learned that his mother had pancreatic cancer. His mother Edith died on December 5th. She was 93 years old. It was a very difficult December for Graham and his family dealing with the grief of this loss. His description of her was amazing! She was a very strong woman who had to endure many hardships and she was a wonderful mother.
Beth encountered some physical setbacks in December as she was rear ended in her car. She continues to have issues from this accident. Please pray for this good family! They need our prayers for their physical, emotional and spiritual health. May God’s peace be with them! Pray that the new church expansion goes smoothly and that many souls will be attracted to their new location.
Mark and Karen Abercrombie – 2.2.2020
Mark has supplied a recent update on their work in Germany. He reports “The congregation is doing well” and “As seems normal for us, we are a congregation that has people for a short while, love on them, teach them and then they move away.” Another brother, Gerald, recently married a woman from the western side of Germany and is moving to be with her and her family. He says “The one thing that is a constant encouragement to us is that even though these sweet brothers and sisters move on, they are staying true to our Father.” This is very uplifting to hear!
Aniko and Roby, long tome members, have just had their fourth little girl. This family is a joy to have in their midst. It gives them the opportunity to be in their lives more with all kinds of help and encouragement. Connie, another member, who has been coming only for a little while is also a great blessing to them. She has prayer meetings in her home and invites the congregation. She also gives a real contribution each month which is not normal for those in Germany. There the state takes a percentage of your wages and gives to either the Catholic or Protestant church, if you are affiliated with either of those two groups. Connie’s wanting to be part of not just services but also the work that is done there is very exciting and encouraging to them.
Mark and Karen’s roles over the last few years have changed a lot. When their early ministry partners, the Sullivans, moved on, Mark and Karen had to focus more on teaching and preaching and providing a place for believers to come and worship together. Over the last couple of years the Nash family and the Ryan family have been a welcoming addition their team.
Their lives and roles have been constantly changing. Now that their team is assimilated to life in Germany and they all have wonderful homes and a good knowledge of the language, they are able to accomplish more. The group is now providing Men’s and Women’s breakfasts once a month. Richard and Matt are helping with the preaching. Miranda and Connie are expanding the programs for children. The team focus in Leipzig is on the neighborhood where they all live and where their church is, Gohlis. The secondary focus is on the children. They feel the best long term focus and way to make the most impact in this neighborhood is to focus on the children. They provide game nights, movie nights and enjoy A Cappella singing each month and the children are encouraged to bring their friends. A Cappella sing is unique in Germany.
In closing Mark writes, “I do so appreciate your prayers and interest. May God continue to help us grow in Him and open the hearts of the people that each one of them comes in contact with each day.” May we all be praying for their strength and unity in this good work!
Aaron and Vanessa Knotts – 1.26.2020
Dunedin, New Zealand
Aaron and Vanessa report that 2019 was a year of growth and challenge for their family. Their daughter Gabrielle had her 18th birthday and soon will be seeking her next adventure for the Lord. She currently helps with many of the children’s and ladies ministries. Their son Liam turned 16 and has also begun taking on many responsibilities within the church. He has stepped up as a song leader and facilitates their Wednesday night class. This past summer Aaron spent 6 weeks in Waiouru, New Zealand taking a Special Officer Induction Course to train to be an army chaplain with the New Zealand Army Reserve for the Dunedin area. Aaron is filling this position that has been vacant for many years. This is opening up many doors for Aaron to minister in his area especially in the nearby hospital and retirement center.
Aaron and Vanessa ask for continued prayers for their family as they continue in their journey of grief and adjustments while they navigate the changes which aging parents and growing children bring. Please pray for their physical, mental and spiritual health as they minister to the Lord’s church in this area. Pray that the Spirit will use Aaron’s new position to reach many more souls with the “Good News of Jesus.”
Mike and Nancy Mullen – 1.19.2020
Fall River, Massachusetts
Nancy writes “Whenever I think of the New England churches and our struggle for Jesus to be respected and to prevail up here, I think of Levy with such gratitude. It is easy to get in the mindset of thinking we are isolated – a tiny island of faith among a culture of “me-only-and-me-first.” But Levy has been faithful to hold us up in prayer, in finances, and in encouraging cards (all attached to the wall in my hallway to remind me of your love). I know this is one of the reasons that the Fall River church has continued pretty healthy while a number of other congregations have closed their doors or gone astray.” There are still not a lot of congregations in the North East United States. Fall River Church is considered large to have around 100 members. They have members who have been there all 40 years and spent time keeping their focus on God’s will and words for those that worship Him there.
Mike and Nancy have been involved for many years in teaching one on one Bible studies several days a week. Some with those living in sinful relationships. She writes “So thankful some people still see Jesus as valuable enough to disrupt long-time sinful patterns!” They have had much success in reaching the hearts of many of those they are teaching.
Mike also does a group study at Bristol Community College through the sponsorship of the Christian Fellowship group. He wants to start something at the University of Massachusetts, Dartmouth since they have students there also. Currently one of their members, an engineer from the Navy base is teaching Dave Ramsey’s Financial Peace University to their young students. Finances definitely impact relationships, so the students agreed to come to that for a while.
Mike and Nancy recently completed their yearly men’s and women’s retreats. They travel in groups up to Maine and stay in cabins together. They spend much time and energy planning these and they are a welcomed event by those that attend.
Please continue to pray for Mike and Nancy. Pray for God to continue to bless them with good health and comfort as they adjust to life’s changes. Pray for the Holy Spirit to continue to add to their number, all those in their area whose hearts are open to God.
The Brazles – 1.12.2020
Reading together about Jesus
Luk and Holly get a chance to sit down with people every week from many different walks of life to read scripture. Many come from other countries and this makes it fascinating to watch them discover what Jesus has to say to them today. Thanks to the hard work of the Ghent Let’s Start Talking campaign crew that was here in May and June to read with 30 contacts. The results are that there are now weekly meetings with 17 of these contacts. Luk, Holly, and co-worker Sue share the work of following up with these readers. Please keep their hearts in your prayers as some show interest in faith and others are not very open.
This year some of the men from the Ghent church organized a soccer tournament in October inviting area Christians to play soccer against one another. Gideon got a team together of his school buddies so the Brazles rented a van to travel to the event. 7 teams competed with players from 7 churches of Christ. Luk has been brainstorming with another Ghent church leader for a few years about forming a Christmas choir. Several months ago they sent out the call, and last week Luk directed their first practice with 25 singers. This is a wonderful opportunity for fellowship, building bridges, and a chance to focus people’s eyes on Jesus during the concert on the 22nd of December.
Luk and Gideon attended the Bible camp evaluation meeting in September in Rotselaar. At this meeting the previous 4 summer camp weeks were evaluated and plans were made for the coming year. It was encouraging to hear about the lessons that had been given, and the young leaders that were stepping up to help. French speaking and Flemish speaking Christians gathered for a fellowship day at the camp, sang songs, and ate together in September. Fall camp in October was another fellowship moment that brought people together from the Netherlands and Belgium for a weekend at the Bible camp. Luk taught the classes for the teens while Holly cooked for the crew of 65 campers.
Please pray for Anneleen. She decided to put Christ on in baptism in September. Thank God for this choice, but also pray for her recovery after a serious operation. Luk has been trying to encourage Flemish churches to organize activities for the teens. The church in Ghent is blessed with 15 children and 4 teens. Pray for wisdom and leading in how to raise up these children as a church family to be disciples of Christ, and how we best equip members to be teachers as well.
Happy New Year! 01.05.2020
2020 Pen Pal Friend Requests
Good morning Levy! The Missionary Care Committee would like to add to our missionary encouragement by beginning more personal supports for those out in God’s fields. Would you like to be a Pen Pal? Can you take the time this year to personally get to know one of our missionaries and be a prayer partner with them? This can be done by contacting them (email, Facebook, writing) once or twice a month and on the special days (birthdays and anniversaries). This will help so much with their encouragement and we can fill you in on their stories and contact information.
Everyone can use a new friend!
If you already have someone on our missionary support list in mind just let us know. We can also recommend one from our list if you are not familiar with any of them. You can contact us through our email at firstname.lastname@example.org. If you have any questions, you can speak to Liz Young, Carolyn Josephson or Debbie Barker and we can help you select your Pen Pal.
Please help us continue to lift up these special people and pray that 2020 will be amazing for all those out spreading the love and gospel of our Lord!
2020 – 12.29.2019
Have you ever wondered what has happened to the many cards we began writing and sending this year? May your hearts be glad and strengthened by this answer! These are just a few:
“I just wanted to take a minute and thank you for your encouraging package that we received this week. The cards were great! The fact that you guys thought of us, took the time to encourage so many people to write a card to us, means so much to us. This has been a very difficult last year… to say the least. But we are so thankful to have a family that reaches out and continues to show us love and encouragement.” Abercrombies – Germany (April)
“What a wonderful surprise we received in our mailbox today with the big envelope filled with lots of smaller envelopes and cards – we all sat and read them as well as the accompanied newsletter. Words cannot express how encouraging it is to receive cards on our birthdays, anniversaries and other times, to know we are prayed for here in New Zealand. The ministry you are all a part of is such a blessing to your missionaries in the work no matter where they are and we very much appreciate what you each give to it. These past months the love and cards has been a huge blessing especially after the loss of Aaron’s Mum.” Knotts (August)
“Christine and I wanted to let you know that we received the encouraging cards from the Levy church. Thank you so much for being so faithful in your prayers and also in your encouraging words.” Africa (November)
Let’s keep up this good work as we head into 2020! Please pray for God’s continued blessings on all His people.
Merry Christmas to One and All – 12.22.2019
As we are busy preparing to remember and celebrate the birth of our Lord Jesus let us also remember those who have left family and friends to take His Gospel to those who the Spirit is calling near and far. The wise men looked for the light of the Star of Bethlehem to lead them to the babe and these who are searching now look for the light of those who are bringing them His gospel. My God bless them all!
This can be a difficult time for our missionaries. The family and traditions we celebrate are not within reach of many of them. Please pray for them to feel His love and Presence.
Because it is good to always be specific, can we take this special time to name each one?
Mark & Karen Abercrombie
Jerry & Ann Hogg
Daniel & Karly (Rebecca & Kristina) Napier
Adam & Melanie (Nicole) Barr
Larry & Connie Zinck
Nathan & Sara (Samuel & Elizabeth) Zinck
Graham & Beth (Megan & Bethany) McDonald
Chad & Amy (Maggie, Jane & Jack) Westerholm
Mike & Nancy Mullen
Coleman & Bethany Yoakum
Luk & Holly (Gideon & Isaak) Brazles
David & Lori (Kerin) French
John & Ann (Elija, Joseph, Elizabeth & Abigail) Zaiger
Byron & Snezana (Jose & Alex) Benites
Aaron & Vanessa (Liam & Gabrielle) Knotts
Nandor & Angela (Mark, Abigel, Krisztofer & Vivian) Cseti
Billy & Fenella (Amy & Beth) Strachan
Earnest & Cora Vilches
James & Andrea (Annalise) Telgren
Ilia & Davia (Jacob) Amosov
Russell and Allison Epperson
May God Bless us one and all!
Silas and Sarah Fitzsimmons – 12.15.2019
Spearfish, South Dakota
It was a pleasure to hear from Silas Fitzsimmons as he visited with the mission committees this week. Silas works with the Yellow Jackets for Christ campus ministry in Spearfish, South Dakota. This is one of the two Church of Christ campus ministries in a surrounding eight state region in the north central US. The whole state of South Dakota has less than 1,000 Church of Christ members. There is much work to be done here! This ministry is located in a small home right next to the campus of Black Hills State University. It is the only college within a 300 mile radius. It has an enrollment of around 4,000 students with most living on campus. Silas started working with this ministry in 2013 and Levy began helping him with support in 2015. He has been planting many seeds in the young people the Lord has sent to him.
We know that this time is these young adult’s lives can be difficult. They are searching for who they are and what gives meaning to their lives. In our current culture many feel alone and confused despite the numerous social internet connections that often clutter their lives. Silas is doing a great job of reaching out to this age group. The ministry provides a place for them to search yet still feel accepted and encouraged. In the fall they offer weekly Bible studies getting grounded in the gospels and in the spring Silas lets his group choose their area of study. He has recently covered the parables, Romans and the life of the Apostles. Silas also takes the groups on camping and prayer retreats. He strives to show them kindness no matter what their current beliefs are.
Silas and his wife Sarah live in Spearfish with their three sons, Levi, Patrick and James. Please pray for this family’s strength and leadership concerning all things; for the Spirit to lead the students he has relationships with to draw closer to God and for the Spirit to lead many others to join this group. Our countries young people need our prayers, that they may find God’s peace and direction among life’s current confusion!
Alan Pogue Memorial – 12.1.2019
We extend our sympathy to Sherry and the Sutherlins in the passing of Alan Pogue on the morning of November 22 in LaFauche, France. There was a memorial service held here at Levy on December 1. We also have a recording of the event HERE.
Harvest Sunday Family Report – 12.8.2019
God loves a cheerful giver! God loves you! Way to go Levy for such a wonderful response to God’s call to give additional funds to so many of His missionaries throughout the world. To date we have raised $366,692. Cash contributions of $255,364 have been received and there is another $111,328 in pledged funds. Our goal for 2020 was $370,000 so we are well on our way of reaching this. In this season of Thanksgiving, the mission committees want to thank you for providing the opportunity to help so many working to spread the gospel! Please pray for God’s wisdom for the mission committee as they manage these funds so that His will can be accomplished. You also might want to give each one of them a hug for the many hours they spend with this work! (Jerry Oldridge, Margaret Bredlow, Philip Huff, Julie Watson, Chris Perry, Tim Diles and Jonathan Albright)
The Amos Family – 11.17.2019
Rwanda, East Africa
Levy has been a supporter of Heath since he was beginning his service to our Lord. His first efforts were in 1998 when he was working with Silver City Ministry. In 2009 Levy helped to fund his, Rebecca and Pete’s first flight to their new home in Rwanda. The initial group beginning in this area was made up mostly of missionaries from the states. In 2019 they have transferred most of this work to Rwandans who want to restore and rebuild their country into Kingdom communities. The Rwandan agency they minister through is called the African Transformation Network (ATN).
ATN has five different projects set up to reach those who need Jesus and help Rwandans both spiritually and physically. Peace House is a ministry that works with those in severe poverty and is made up mostly of broken families. They minister to them and teach them to make jewelry and clothing to sell. ATN has a Nursery Preschool that works with 3 year olds getting them planted in the Bible and ready for school. Their Community Development ministry teaches improved farming techniques to those with farmland. These landowners in turn help to feed the hungry with their larger crops and their Bible knowledge. The Xtra Mile ministry has worked with genocide survivors in the past but is now transformed into a welding and business school to give many who thought they would never have a trade a viable vocation. Over half of the welding school students have been baptized into Christ.
In 1994 Rwanda experienced a horrible genocide losing almost one million people. This has left deep scars on many that have survived. ATN has a counseling service that helps those still dealing with the lasting memories of lost loved ones. This too causes them to lack trust in others and makes it difficult to reach many. Some things only Jesus can heal… Most of the men on staff at ATN are genocide survivors.
The Amos’ and the staff of ATN are working hard to change young people’s attitudes and create personal faith in themselves and in God. Please pray for their efforts in transforming this area into Kingdom communities. Pray for Heath, Rebecca and their 3 children, Pete, Jude and Lily to be blessed with good health and God’s joy as they minister to the people of Rwanda.
Aimee Tustin – 11.10.2019
New Brighton, Pennsylvania
We have a new name for our Harvest month wall of missionaries! We welcome Aimee Tustin who has decided to lead more souls to Christ in the area she grew up in. Aimee will serve those in western Pennsylvania concentrating in New Brighton and the surrounding area. She graduated from the Sunset International Bible School in May. We are so grateful she has chosen the northeast United States. This is an area needing to rekindle the Light of Jesus in their lives.
Please pray for hearts to be open to His message of life in this area. May God continue to use her freshness and fire to reach the lost.
Billy and Fenella Strachan – 11.3.2019
Billy Strachan from the Peterhead community in Aberdeenshire, Scotland, recently stopped by for a visit with the Levy mission groups. Peterhead is a picturesque community located on the shore of the North Sea and boosts Europe’s largest fishing port. Billy and his wife have four daughters. Three are still in college and the fourth is an accomplished musician who works for a charity that provides musical instruments to children.
Fenella has had a busy summer preparing and putting on a yearly ladies retreat called the Field of Refuge. They also hosted members from the Lake Dallas church in Texas, who helped them with their summer campaign of encouragement for the congregation and community. The Harding Pied Pipers visited and were a huge hit with the kids in their community.
Billy enjoys going into primary schools in his area to teach in their assemblies as part of a chaplain team with 4 other preachers in the area. His work in the area high schools includes teaching in the assemblies, leading a Christian study group, and mentoring struggling students one on one. Billy is on the football (soccer) team for the high school teaching staff which has been an excellent opportunity for relationship building.
Billy and Fenella currently mentor souls at the neighborhood coffee shop in a one on one setting. This is a great location just behind the church building. It is neutral ground and less guarded and more open than if they are meeting at the church or in someone’s home. Billy spends so much time there he jokes it is his office.
Billy is seeking our prayers for ways to involve his congregation in outreach opportunities and growing God’s church, specifically with the younger generation in Peterhead. God has asked us all to not grow to comfortable and complacent while we worship and serve him. They need the Holy Spirit to fill their hearts with love, patience, acceptance and understanding for each present generation within their church. May He open the hearts of the young and add them to His number worshipping here. Please pray for the old and the young to be of one mind in this church and in ours!
Coleman & Bethany Yoakum – 10.27.2019
Micah 6 Community
We are blessed to have Coleman Yoakum with us from the Micah 6 Community! Coleman started this ministry 8 years ago, in what was then the poorest and worst place to live in the US, to be a source of God’s will for their community. We are in for a treat by hearing from him how God has used them over this time period to grow this place into God’s community. These young servants and believers need our prayers for strength, health, direction and protection. (Violence and drugs are very present in this community!) Please pray for them church.
The Pogues and Sutherlins – 10.13.2019
It is so good to have Graham, Heather, Grayson, and Evie Sutherlin back with us after 3 years in France. During Bible class Graham will speak about Restored and Renewed, a ministry for missionaries. They have been doing this work with Alan and Sherry Pogue. We have heard many wonderful things from our missionaries living in the field who have visited them. The Sutherlins and Pogues are doing some great work in France and we look forward to hearing more about it.
Mark and Karen Abercrombie – 10.6.2019
Time Flies! It has been 13 years since our Levy brother and sister in Christ answered God’s call to go out and share His words and peace. Mark has been reflecting on this call and how they wanted to be used by Him however He saw fit. Mark writes “We wanted to come to Germany and provide a place to meet for those people that God was working on their hearts. We knew how important is was for believers and seekers to have a place to come together for fellowship, for deeper study and for support. ” God has opened many doors for them to serve Him by serving others over the last 13 years. They have been able to provide a place for those desiring to grow in God’s grace and in knowledge to be able to come together and grow. Remodeling should now be complete on their new space giving them more room to grow and more public exposure for reaching those whom the Spirit is calling.
Please pray for Mark and Karen, the Nashes and the Ryans as they labor to reach the lost in Germany. Pray for the Spirit to continue to lead them and their health, safety and strength. Pray the Holy Spirit will move mightily in the hearts of those God is calling to His flock.
Mark’s words of closing “May you see God’s grace and mercy in your walk with Him today.”
Graham & Beth McDonald – 9.29.2019
In their most recent newsletter, Graham & Beth McDonald included a picture and thanks for the May care package they received from us. Your missionary cards and words of encouragement continue to touch hearts across the world!
In June their church was invited to participate in their community Cumbernauld Gala Day by providing hamburgers and hot dogs for the event. They met several new families at the event and even had some attend their services after. The money they raised was given to a community group that helps to provide assistance for those families experiencing a still birth child.
In early July, the Cumbernauld church hosted Camp Heatherbell, a children’s camp at the Auchengillan Outdoor Centre in Glasgow, UK. The theme of the camp was Exodus, the Israelites exit from Egypt. They called it He-Brexit relating todays political topic, Britain exiting the European Union to that of the Hebrews of old exiting Egypt. This was the best attended Camp they have had. They had groups from the Cumbernauld, Perth, Falkirk, Castlemilk, and Dennyloanhead congregations. They enjoyed many activities and competitions. There were Bible Bowl challenges, campfires, a carnival and lots of physical game challenges that the kids enjoyed during the week long camp.
In late July, they hosted their annual VBS which they call “Holiday Bible School”. The Mayfair church travelled from the states to help them with this event. They held it at the town mall which helps them to include many of the children and families from their community. Graham writes “These (events) afford us a great opportunity to meet people in the community, build on our youth work program, and proclaim the gospel.”
Graham reports their family is doing well. Beth has had some medical issues but is working through them and their children are busy working and the younger ones enjoying their break. Please continue to pray for their health and well-being! Pray for open hearts among those in their community. May God give them an increase for His church!
James & Andrea Telgren – 9.22.2019
The Telgren’s have settled into Tyler, Minnesota. They continue to answer God’s call to help the people of Tyler to see Jesus more clearly, to be saved by Him and to help lift them out of despair, dysfunction and apathy. Tyler is a small, rural agricultural town of 1,143 residents. It is the largest town within a 30 minute drive in all directions. James and Andrea are encouraged to know a handful of families that have been driving an hour and a half each way to worship in Sioux Falls, South Dakota. Many of these families grew up in Tyler and are excited to help plant a church in their own community. Although Tyler is a homey town, it has a good number of people that feel trapped and are caught up in all sorts of generational substance abuse.
James is looking forward to the official opening this fall when they begin inviting the public to attend. They hope to have a church community base of as many as 20 adults and a handful of kids as well. They have been meeting since mid-May in an American Legion building.
James has asked us for our prayer support for both his family and all those now involved in this ministry. He knows that none of his efforts matter unless God is in them! James, Andrea and Annelise would love letters and cards of encouragement. Financial help for this ministry is welcome as well. Their address is 111 West Oak Street, Tyler, MN 56178.
Please church pray for and support their mission to plant a gospel-sharing, disciple-making church in Tyler, Minnesota. They need God’s family in this small town!
Jerry & Ann Hogg – 9.15.2019
Benoni, South Africa
Jerry provided an update on their work in South Africa where they have been since June. June in South Africa is the middle of winter. They live in a small flat at the South African Bible College when they are there. Lately, they are experiencing spring-like weather and are enjoying seeing everything turn green again. Jerry says “Our life here at the Bible College is extremely heart-warming and very spiritually refreshing”. They spend their days teaching and encouraging the staff and students there. They were honored recently for their 50 years of being a part of SABC and instilling a positive approach to training that is still very much a part of the college program.
Jerry reported the students went on winter break mission trips to congregations in different communities. The students said in their reports, the mission trips exposed them to real life situations and gave them an idea of the challenges involved in church work. The teachers were very pleased with these students and the desire they exhibited to use what they had been taught at the Bible College to assist congregations “back home”. Note that they have had over 1500 graduates from the college over the last 50 plus years taking God’s message “back home”.
Ann and Jerry continue to pray for all their supporters of the “Hoggs of Africa”. They state “We thank God for people like you who so willingly give to make our work at the college possible.” They continue to remain active in the Lord’s work, even though their health and strength is not as strong as it used to be.
Please church, continue to pray for their work and that the Lord will bless the Hoggs with reasonably good health so that they can continue to make disciples for the Lord’s church in South Africa. Powerfully pray for all the students and graduates, that they will be blessed with God’s wisdom and protection!
Chad & Amy Westerholm – 9.8.2019
The Westerholms started working in Mozambique, Africa in 2003 with a team of 4 other couples reaching out to the Makua people. They started with 10 churches that met under mango trees. In 2004, their team was kicked out of Mozambique by the government under the suspicion of meddling in government affairs. They were allowed to return 13 months later. In 2006, they had roughly 350 people attending. By 2018 they had grown to 84 churches and 3,721 people with an average church size of 44 people.
The reason for the number of churches is largely due to infrastructure. Road conditions are poor and walking is the main method of transportation in Mozambique. More churches spread apart allows for more reasonable walking distances. In an effort to maintain unity and cohesiveness in the churches, representatives from each congregation meet every 2 months. Their team is actively involved in leadership training within the churches, teaching the churches how to work together and how to select more deacons. They have worked extensively with the deacons guiding them as they work together to make goals and visions for the church with the ultimate goal of seeing the churches select elders. They are also working directly with Bible translators in creating and revising a Makua New Testament which they hope to have ready in a year or two.
Bible Institute and Timothy Project
The Bible Institute was started in 2016 to provide more advanced training for churches in the area. It has a building with a cafeteria, classrooms, a dormitory, and they teach 14 classes there. After training at the Bible institute, students begin the “Timothy Project” which is a way to implement what they have learned, similar to a capstone project. Students go back to their home church and ask what ministry they should start, form a team, and come back to the Bible Institute to report back 3 times. Newer students get to listen to the reports about the work that is being done in home congregations by other students.
Improving the Lives of the Makua People
Literacy rates among the Makua are very low. It is estimated that the literacy rate among men to be around 10% while the literacy rate among women is less than 1%. Team Makua is training those who can read to teach others how to read. Improving literacy is also one way they are working towards empowering women along with teaching trades such as jewelry making and sewing. Efforts to improve farming methods include training in subsistence agriculture, improving yields and water use, crop rotation, mulching and composting. They are also working with the churches in providing relief work when needed. In times of famine and natural disaster the churches distribute aid, mostly rice, to their neighbors.
Amy Westerholm was recently diagnosed with breast cancer. It was caught early and the doctors believe only surgery will be needed, which is a huge blessing. Please keep Amy and the Westerholm family in your prayers.
Scott Tominey – 9/1/2019
Talloch Perth, Scotland
Scott recently sent us a newsletter regarding his works in Perth, Scotland. He has been very busy for the Lord! Scott became engaged this summer to Allana, his sweetheart from the Philippines. They have been planning their December 2020 wedding in the Philippines from Scotland. This has been challenging but Allana’s family has been great to help with it.
Scott writes this about his mission “Eleven years ago I was leaving high school and had only recently started to attend Bible class/worship services in Cumbernauld. Now, I live in a different city, attempting to plant the seed of a new congregation of the Lord’s church and work with kids who are just like I was. God has done wonderful things in my life and I pray that He continues to do so for my church family. Please pray for them, their health and that they may come to know God.”
He does extensive youth work in his area. Scott & Allana provide a Connection Youth Club that is continuing to grow by large numbers simply by those attending being excited to bring along their friends. This school year program is about to start back up and they request our prayers for another successful year reaching out to even more young souls. They provided a Youth Club Extra on Wednesdays during the summer to continue their growing relationships. The Perth church members helped to staff this summer work.
Every summer the youth from various congregations around Scotland gather at Camp Heatherbell. The Camp is now more than 50 years old and has been a huge blessing to countless. Scott’s writes “The week must be something of a surreal experience for the youth of Scotland as it is very rare they are surrounded by people of like faith, singing hymns about God, learning lessons around love and forgiveness. For them seeing the family of God together is eye opening and camp is often the thing that first catches their attention or demonstrates the expression of a seriously and sincerely held faith.”
The Perth church are in the process of moving their church services to a facility that is closer to the youth they serve and will also allow them to fellowship after services. They are striving to overcome their environment where very few people attend worship or believe in God. They are hoping this will also help their own members to build relationships within His church.
Scott asks for continued prayers for him and Allana, their church and the youth they are teaching God’s word. He especially asks us to pray for their two newest Christians, Cara and Enrika. Please church petition God’s blessings on their behalf and that His Spirit will be active in Perth!
Igor Egirev – 8/25/2019
St. Petersburg, Russia
Igor is the director of the Center for Theology and Christian Ministry in St. Petersburg, Russia. This ministry was formed in 2005 with a mission to provide assistance in growing small churches across Russia by teaching and training Russian church leaders. There are now around 55 young churches. Their motto is Russians training Russians in Russia.
Their Russian Bible School is used to reach out to those searching for Christ. Eastern European Missions (EEM) helps support this ministry with Bibles and study materials in Russian. World Christian Broadcasting also helps provide internet classes for both the new searchers of the Word and those wishing to grow in leadership positions. Their church members have help with the over 7000 study courses that have been completed since their beginning in 2005.
This Center provides resource materials aiding in evangelizing, singing and the study of God’s Word to aid in church growth. Their Institute of Theology helps with study courses that prepare those wanting to grow and be church leaders. It has teachers from around the world specializing in all aspects of Christian training.
Igor also had a personal blessing this year. He baptized his son Eliyah into Christ in April. He was thrilled with his son’s acceptance of Jesus Christ as his Lord! Please pray for this broad work in Russia. Pray for all those taking their study courses to be strengthened and always eager to learn more. Pray for all those who teach to have great wisdom. Pray for all their partners who help them reach the lost.
Thank you church for praying!
Missionary Care Committee
Earnest & Cora Vilches – 8/18/2019
City of Silang, Provence of Cavite, Philippines
The mission committee met with Earnest and Cora Vilches this week. Both have lived in Arkansas for several years in the past. Earnest has his Master’s degree from Harding in International Finance. Cora has dual citizenship in the U.S. and the Philippines where she was raised. She worked at Baptist Health in management and they have 3 grown children and one grandchild.
In 2015 Earnest and Cora began a church plant ministry in Silang. They responded to the Lord’s calling to reach the lost souls in the Philippines. Silang is a very poor region of this country, with 30% unemployment and over half the population earning less than $250 a month (poverty level). One of the growing job sectors in this country is “Call Centers” (Business marketing phone centers). This is because the Philippines is the third largest English speaking country in the world. These are very desirable jobs for those needing work. Earnest and Cora have developed a Call Center Training Program with a Christian base. They recruit students that are high school graduates and college students who are not able to find positions in their fields of study. They require no payment for this training. It does include a daily Bible study, hands on computer training, further studies in conversational English and interview training. They also require Sunday church attendance for the six weeks the students are in the program. Earnest and Cora have used this to build relationships with both the students and the employers in their community. They have had many baptisms and their church family is growing exponentially from this program. The students initially bring their families with them to church and then often choose to remain worshiping even after the course is completed.
The Vilches goal is to grow a self-sufficient, self-governed congregation of Filipino people. Their Call Center Training Program is helping them to help those in their community and reach people for the Lord. They are in need of several things as their church ministry grows. They would love to have a partnering congregation from the states. They are in need of a larger place to worship and work, several new computers (they only have 4 now), new song books, blue baptismal gowns and funds for their building rent and expenses.
Please pray for this good work in the Philippines! The Vilches have moved to the Lord’s calling and are using all their knowledge to reach and grow His number. Pray for God’s direction, enthusiasm and strength in all they do. Pray that they may be blessed with all the things they need to grow God’s church in the Philippines.
Levy Kids Encouraging Missionary Kids – 8/11/2019
Did you know our kids are also playing a part in encouraging our missionaries as a congregation? All our kids from 1st grade up pray and sign cards for our missionaries every week along with all of our adult classes. There is something extra sweet about seeing those 1st grade names written in crayon.
This year during VBS we had a booth devoted to missionary care. Our Levy kids made cards to send to missionary children. Some of our teens made paintings, our upper elementary students made expanding cards, and our nursery department children made sea creature crafts we used to create interactive cards for the youngest missionary children. 35 cards were sent to children in 14 countries and all 6 inhabited continents. During VBS we asked our kids to guess which continent their cards would NOT be going. I wish we had a picture of the looks of awe on their faces when they realized it was Antarctica. They were surprised to hear their work would be sent to children all over the globe and took their work very seriously with great results!
We were able to give 15 of the cards to missionary children during their furlough visits to Levy. Amy Westerholm sent us this picture of Jack and Maggie. Amy wrote, “Levy Care Team blessings at work, long drive today. Jack is really enjoying the ocean play set. Thank you guys so much!! Jack is feeling really loved right now.” Parents, please let your kids know their work is very appreciated. Great job, Levy kids!
Remember, we are looking for volunteers to be pen pals for our missionaries. Levy has a huge heart for missionaries and we have a LOT of them. If you are interested in getting to know a missionary and offer encouragement in their work, please sign up at the missionary counter or send an email to email@example.com.
Strachan Family – Billy, Fenella, Amy, Hannah & Holly 8/4/2019
Did you know our kids are also playing a part in encouraging our missionaries as a congregation? All our kids from 1st grade up pray and sign cards for our missionaries every week along with all of our adult classes. There is something extra sweet about seeing those 1st grade names written in crayon.
This year during VBS, we had a booth devoted to missionary care. Our Levy kids made cards to send to missionary children. Some of our teens made paintings, our upper elementary students made expanding cards, and our nursery department children made sea creature crafts we used to create interactive cards for the youngest missionary children. 35 cards were sent to children in 14 countries and all 6 inhabited continents. During VBS we asked our kids to guess which continent their cards would NOT be going. I wish we had a picture of the looks of awe on their faces when they realized it was Antarctica. They were surprised to hear their work would be sent to children all over the globe and took their work very seriously with great results!
We were able to give 15 of the cards to missionary children during their furlough visits to Levy. Amy Westerholm sent us this picture of Jack and Maggie. Amy wrote, “Levy Care Team blessings at work, long drive today. Jack is really enjoying the ocean play set. Thank you guys so much!! Jack is feeling really loved right now.” Parents, please let your kids know their work is very appreciated. Great job, Levy kids!
Remember, we are looking for volunteers to be pen pals for our missionaries. Levy has a huge heart for missionaries and we have a LOT of them. If you are interested in getting to know a missionary and offer encouragement in their work, please sign up at the missionary counter or send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Missionary Care Update – 7/28/2019
Levy family, we have had such a great response to the cards and notes you are writing each week. Several of our missionaries have said the cards are the first physical mail from the States they have received as an encouragement of their work, one said it was the first in 15 years. The cards have even brought some to tears.
The Roszel family in China sent us this picture of their cards in a heart shape surrounding a red card in the center that says, “Thank you! ~The Roszels.” Notes and encouragement from home can have a tremendous impact and that’s exactly what you are doing. Thank you for your support of this work. Please keep it up!
We are currently serving 28 missionaries at the request of the Missions Committee. Our primary goal is to encourage and build relationships with them. 28 families is a lot! We are looking for others to join us in this effort. It would be similar to having a pen pal or a backpack buddy. We have missionaries of all ages and life stages living on every habitable continent. If you happen to have a connection to a certain area of the world or would prefer someone in the same life stage as you, we can make that happen.
Please consider joining us in this work! There is a sign up sheet at the missionary counter, but you can also let one of our team members know or send us an email at email@example.com.
Zinck Family – 7/21/2019
Saying Goodbye to the Bakers – On May 22nd, we said goodbye to Chad and Micah Baker as they returned to the United States after 5 1/2 years of serving with the church in Niterói, Brazil. Chad and Micah arrived on the field in February of 2014 and hit the ground running! Chad worked with Small Groups and Marketing/Social Media, and Micah worked coordinating our Children’s Ministry. Our church said goodbye with one of traditional potluck lunches. However, for this lunch each person was asked to make their signature dish and bring the recipe for Chad and Micah to take with them to the the US. It was a great idea and it was so sweet to see the recipe box filling up throughout the morning. One woman went so far as to create a small recipe book for the Bakers! We pray for the Bakers during the transition and ask that you be in prayer for them as well.
School of the Bible – At the end of April, after our interns arrived, a new school of the Bible class was begun in part to help train these interns to teach the intro School of the Bible class. Since that class we have begun two more classes, with each intern is teaching his own class. On June 18 th we began another School of the Bible class. Currently, we have six School of the Bible classes happening and we are studying with thirty-one people. We are so blessed to have so many people that are seeking us out desiring to study God’s word.
1. For our family’s spiritual and physical health
2. For the development of leaders in the church
3. For our continued fundraising efforts
4. For continued growth of the church in Niterói
5. That our new apprentice program will be a blessing to the church and to the men and women who participate in it
6. That construction of the new building will progress smoothly and in a timely manner
7. That our School of the Bible classes will continue to draw in new people
Nathan, Sara, Samuel & Elizabeth Zinck
Email: firstname.lastname@example.org and email@example.com
Nandor and Angela Cseti – 7/14/2019
We were recently visited by Nandor and Angela Cseti and their children, Mark, Abigel, Krisztofer, and Vivien. We were fortunate to have them join us in our ice cream social and devo after meeting with the Missions Committee. It can be such an encouragement to missionaries living in the field to worship with us.
The Csetis live in Debrecen, Hungary where they teach English classes and are missionaries growing the local church in Debrecen. Nandor is from Hungary and they met when Angela went on a missions trip to Hungary while a student at Harding.
The Csetis teach two levels of Bible based English classes. These classes provide a great outreach opportunity because language credits are required to earn a degree in higher education in Hungary, the classes are free, and students are able to learn not only from a Hungarian who teaches English, but also from a native English speaker. The Csetis are also able to work in the surrounding countries with ease since Hungary was much larger before WW1 and those countries still speak Hungarian.
Hungary is an atheist nation and converting others to Christianity typically takes time. Please pray for the Csetis as they reach out to those with very little knowledge of God and who may have never even considered the possibility of a Creator before.
Aaron, Vanessa, Gabrielle, and Liam Knotts – 6/30/2019
Dunedin, New Zealand
Aaron is the preacher and minister at the Dunedin Church of Christ. As one of only a few congregations on the southern island of New Zealand (and only a few more on the northern island), Aaron and his family, along with ministry partners Leah Graefe and Madeline Roseke (with the HIM program), work to spread the message of Christ in the university city of Dunedin. Along with outreach programs to the internationally diverse University of Otago, they are heavily involved with programs through the local schools. In a culture where post-modern beliefs and challenges are prevalent, hope is found in Christ for many students who would not have the opportunity to hear the gospel in their home countries.
Aaron and Vanessa have both grown up in New Zealand; Aaron also serves as an Army Chaplain and Vanessa has home-schooled both Gabreille and Liam. Aaron and the rest of the congregation have found even more opportunities to speak God’s love in the aftermath of the Christchurch attacks, especially through his work as Army Chaplain, by showing that God’s message is one of love and not hate.
Although they have reasons for praise with Madeline’s visa finally being accepted and several new baptisms, Aaron’s mother Maureen passed away on May 29 and his father has been having health problems in the last few weeks. Many others in the congregation have lost family in the past few months, and the entire congregation would be encouraged by prayers. They send their encouragement and greetings to Levy and thanks for the encouragement and support through the years.
Byron and Snezana Benitez – 6/23/2019
Mission Guatemala is a summary of the mission efforts of Byron and Snezana Benitez and Hawatthia “Hi” Jones in Guatemala, Central America. Byron and Hi moved to Guatemala in March of 2000 with the purpose of working with established congregations of the churches of Christ. Their goal was to work with the local Christians to build up the local body and to establish new congregations, and not to do the work for the local Christians.
Since being in Guatemala, these men have had the privilege of working with Anibal Ramirez, a Guatemalan preacher who established a congregation in Linda Vista, Villa Nueva, just south of Guatemala City. Together, with the help of countless others, they have made great efforts to build up the local body, to establish new churches, to aid the needy, and to train men and women for ministry through a preaching school that they established called Instituto Teológico Latinoamericano (ITL for short, or Latin American Theological Institute in English).
In 2014, Snezana became an essential part of the team, after she and Byron married. Snezana brings with her many years of faithful service in the Lord’s church, her experience in missionary fields (i.e., Lithuania, China) and training in ministry. In 2018, Byron and Snezana adopted two children, Jose and Alex.
This team continues to accomplish the goal of bringing the CENTRAL MESSAGE to CENTRAL AMERICA!
Alan & Sherry Pogue – Lafauche, France – 6/16/2019
Restored and Renewed Ministry
As Alan and I prepare to leave for France, joining Heather and Graham Sutherlin, to continue our work with missionary care, we wanted to share a little with you before we go.
First, we could not have known 21 years ago how much we would love this Levy family! Nor could we have known that we would spend so long in one place! Alan and I have never lived in any one place as long as we have lived here! We will always consider Levy our “home”, even though France is to become our new home.
Second, the work we are doing, and will continue to do, is a direct result of our work and time at Levy. Because of Levy’s heart for missions, and missionaries, we have come to a greater appreciation of the needs of all missionaries out there wielding their Swords in the daily battle for the kingdom. We are so excited to be able to give those valiant warriors rest and care, so that they can go back out into the battle strong and renewed. We want to provide a place of peace, comfort and safety while they let us knock out the dents, repair and polish the armor they wear to fight the good fight. All of this will be at no cost to the missionaries. We do not want to place any additional burden on them financially.
Third, we covet your prayers and support in this work! We consider you, Levy, our partners and family! We can not do this without you! We hope to see work teams from Levy in the next year! So if you love travel and old places, put together a team and come serve the missionaries with your skills and talents!
We love you, family! We will miss you all and can’t wait to see you in France!
Victor and Sarmite Barviks 6/9/2019
Victor is a preacher, hosts Wednesday night Bible studies in his home, conducts conversational English lessons and teaches Bible correspondance courses along with his teammate, Guntis. They are gearing up for Hope 2019 which is an outreach to orphans.
Victor and Gunter also use resources from Eastern European Missions and the Story of Redemption as part of the outreach to the people of Latvia. Levy funds both of those programs with Harvest Funds. If you’re interested in learing more about the Story of Redemtion, Tom Kloske and Brad Watson are currently teaching a class on Sunday mornings in the Upper Room.
The following is an excerpt from Victor’s newsletter. The full newsletter can be found at the Missionary Counter by the coffee bar.
“As you know, I deliver EEM material and the tract “The Truth Concerning Your Salvation” to the chapel at the hospital that is by my condo. A man named Ronald Ulbiks evidently has been taking some of this material and distributing it “on the street.” Some months ago, he contacted me and we even had some conversational English lessons.
Ronald is a member of a Baptist congregation in Riga. They needed a preacher for Sunday afternoon, May 5, and Ronald suggested to them that I preach, which I did. Guntis accompanied me. We took with us written material for distribution. I preached a three-part topical sermon (I usually preach expository sermons):
A brief introduction into the Restoration Movement and how I came to Christ
The gist of Ken Ham’s book Why Won’t They Listen? (Evangelism in the Age of the Theory of Evolution)
The role of baptism in obeying the gospel.
I think things went well. I wasn’t yanked off stage. A couple of people even suggested that I come back to preach again. Good written material was made available to people.”
Please pray for Victor and Guntis as they reach out to the people of Latvia, for the upcoming Hope 2019, and for the people of Richard’s church. Victor also requests prayers for his wife, Sarmite, who has some cardio vascular issues and rhumatoid arthritis and asks for prayers that his family to become disciples of Jesus Christ.
Adam & Melanie & Nicole Barr 6/2/2019
Graham McDonald recently reported on Adam & Melanie Barr. Adam is a co-worker with Graham. He says “Adam is one of the best gospel preachers I know, and a conscientious and sincere student of the Word. He is tireless in his ministry, and God has made our working relationship bountiful to His glory.”
Graham has provided us with a little history of the Barr family. He writes; “Adam and Melanie have known each other since they were children, growing up together in the same school and in the Lord’s church. Adam studied at Lipscomb, graduating in 1987. He and Melanie married that same year. Melanie’s dad, Jack, was the preacher at East Kilbride where they grew up together. A few years later, Nicole arrived. Adam and Melanie have served the Lord faithfully in Cumbernauld since 1987 as part of the evangelistic teams that have been there over the years.
Nicole graduated from Harding University a few years ago. Currently, she works in retail while waiting to hear about doctoral courses she is considering. She is very active with the church, both as a teacher and as a youth worker. The younger girls respect and admire her and she is very giving and helpful to them.
Melanie organizes and maintains the Bible class curriculum. Other ladies have helped over the years, but Melanie has been its one constant since it began. She has served the church and her family tirelessly over the years, and always has an ear and a graceful answer to any who would seek her counsel.”
Graham is proud to know them and to serve by them. He asks us to please give thanks for this good family when we pray. Let’s do that church as we continue to pray for all those at the Cumbernauld Church of Christ.
Graham & Beth McDonald & Family 5/26/2019
Graham recently reported on the Cumbernauld Church of Christ Ladies’ Appreciation Day. He writes “Our ladies are busy all year. They prepare the Lord’s Supper, teach classes, lead prayer groups for other women, help with youth work, cater for fellowship events, clean the building, help with transport, and so very much more. In fact, I am not sure how the church would properly function without our ladies. So, by way of thanks, we organized a day out for them and gave them a special treat.
This year, they had the opportunity to go for a cruise along the River Forth and beneath its famous 3 bridges. They enjoyed a nice cup of tea and a cream scone while taking in the scenery. Even the local seals came by to say thank you. They enjoyed a lunch, a clay-craft session, a visit to the National Museum of Scotland in Edinburgh, and then dinner together. Adam and Paulo treated them well as they drove about the country together.
Often, our ladies go unnoticed and are seldom recognized for all that they do. Whether men or women, we have a God-given role to fulfil and our ladies serve God with courage and love at all times. The comfort and strength they give to their families is equally important to what they mean to each other. We are thankful for our ladies and we appreciate them.”
While the ladies were enjoying their day, Graham had the opportunity to work a display stand they had created to raise awareness of the church and the community work they do at the local community center. He found the Lord’s church is becoming well-known for their good works and the kindness of Jesus they try to show all people.
Pray for this dedicated group who are working so hard to imitate and reflect Jesus’s love and example in Cumbernauld, Scotland. Especially pray for Graham and Beth as they lead His church in this area.
Jason & Ann Zaiger – 5/19/2019
Red Line Church of Christ
This weeks report is on Jason and Ann Zaiger who are working hard to reach a very difficult part of our United States population in Iowa. These farm communities are spread out and the gospel is not as accepted there as it is in a lot of places in the south. Jason grew up in this area on a farm and loves this way of life. In 1997 after the birth of their first son, Jason became convicted to become a minister. In 2000, Jason graduated from Bear Valley Institute in Denver. He returned to southwest Iowa and began to serve area churches. In 2001 he began a weekly half hour radio broadcast in his area. His audience has grown such that he switched to a bigger station. The following is a text he received recently regarding one of his weekly broadcasts.
“Brother Jason just thought you’d like to know this. Todd W. and I were discussing not being able to go to church due to our work schedules for the last few weeks. It was then that he mentioned listening to your radio sermon this past Sunday. I asked him what he thought of it. He said it was good as always but he disagreed with you on one point. I asked him what that was and he said baptism as he felt it was grace that saves you. This lead to a good but short discussion on baptism and the necessity of it. Then a review of the examples of conversions in the Bible which all included baptism.
Your making people think and opening doorways to the truth in God’s word. Continue the good work of fighting the good fight because your battle cries are being heard!! Pray that Todd would continue to ask questions that will lead him to the truth and obedience, and that I can continue to be the feet that carry the good news to him!!”
Jason and Ann now have four children ranging in age from 16 – 22. Ann spent much of her earlier years working with the church and homeschooling her children. She loved teaching them to read and to care for animals…Lessons from their “Life on the Farm”. Ann still is very active in their church and also teaches 6th thru 12th grade Science and Agriculture at the nearby high school where her younger girls are now attending. Jason and Ann have enjoyed attending all the sports and choral activities of their children.
If you would like to join in on some of Brother Jason’s broadcasts, just sign on to their website, lightoftheworldradio.org. Please pray for this family working to spread the gospel in this part of our country. Pray for their strength, health, children and encouragement. As their numbers are small, you might even want to drop them a line of extra encouragement. (Jason and Ann Zaiger, Redline Church of Christ, 2148 1500th St, Kirkman, IA 51447)
Chad & Amy Westerholm 5/12/2019
An update on the mission of the Makua-Metto people. The Westerholm team’s main goal is to help facilitate a church planting movement among the Makua-Metto people. Since the majority of this people group are Muslim and less than 1% of the population would claim to be Protestant Christians, their main task was to plant churches alongside Mozambicans in this area. As the network of churches has grown, their work has shifted towards the training and equipping of leaders. As the church has matured, they continue mentoring leaders individually and in small groups to encourage and empower them. The Westerholms have worked extensively with these deacons – guiding them as they work together to make goals and visions for the church; ultimately, they hope to see these churches select elders.
According to census data, illiteracy is around 70% in this province; many church members have no access to the scriptures outside of hearing it from someone else. Chad & Amy are in the early stages of working to help local church leaders be able to teach people in their churches how to read the Bible and other literature in their own language. Thanks to Wycliffe Bible Translators’ efforts, they have a literacy book that they are using to teach people how to read. Very few women speak the national language of Portuguese, and illiteracy among women is near 100%, so their ministry with women is almost entirely in Makua and often involves an oral form of study that involves a lot of repetition. Women are the main singers in this culture. It is beautiful to see Makua women, surrounded by their children, singing new songs.
Most Makua-Metto people are subsistence farmers with no access to employment, so one of the projects they lead is a sustainable agriculture program where they teach about crop placement, timing and rotation, mulching, composting and planting at the right time. The ultimate objective of this project is to help Mozambican families implement these practices in their own personal farms. The have volunteers who work extensively with the women, teaching them how to make jewelry and sew products. The products are brought back to the states for sale. All of the proceeds go directly back to these women to help them support their families, becoming a reliable source of income and greatly blessing their families.
It has been exciting for them to see how hungry these people are to learn as they offer classes in Portuguese and Makua-Metto. Please pray that their efforts will continue to be a catalyst for further church growth. Please pray for God to continue to add to His numbers among them and that He will bless those He has added. As always, pray for the strength, wisdom and health of the hands and feet of those bringing them God’s good news.
Daniel and Karly Naiper 5/5/2019
Daniel and Karly and their two daughters, Rebeccah and Kristina, are missionaries in Thessaloniki, Greece. They have been living there since the end of October 2018.
Their focus is on developing missionaries from among the refugees who are converting to Christianity from Islam. The long term objective is to equip small groups through a one or two year process of personal mentoring, teaching, and modeling in ministry. They’ve helped the refugees start new congregations in their own communities. The Naiper family is doing well, but of course, there are first year adjustments that are challenging and they would appreciate your prayers as they continue to learn the language and culture.
David & Lorie French 4/28/2019
We have received recent newsletters from the Frenches regarding their work in Zambia. Some sad news came just this month regarding Lorie’s father, Richard Waggoner who passed away April 3rd. They have also been grieving for David’s father, Parker French, who passed away only six months ago. Richard made multiple trips to Zambia over the past 14 years to teach in their Bible College and to help start an orphan-care ministry. He will be sorely missed.
David and Lorie’s oldest daughter, has lived in Zambia since 2004. About twelve years ago, she began to take in orphans and vulnerable children who were sick or left destitute by death and family disorder. She kept taking in kids (adopting two of her own) and, before long, they started referring to them all as “Kerin’s Kids.” The name stuck, even though the ministry has expanded dramatically since those first few years. Kerin also now provides care for special needs children and formula for babies whose mothers are unable to nurse. There is a great lack of milk sources for these children. Kerin is now 32 years old, married and has four children of her own. Not only does Kerin care for a large number of orphaned and vulnerable children, but she is now overseeing a great deal of the daily operations at Daybreak Bible College. She is a vital part of this ministry.
The students at Daybreak Bible College receive a wide range of useful knowledge while in attendance. First and foremost is their Bible training and they also include instruction for running a village school for children’s education, how to minister to children with special needs and hands on training for growing crops and raising chickens. The latter helps them to be self-sufficient. David reports “Several of our graduates from last year have been hired to manage chicken farms for Zambian farmers. This is good news as it insures that our students will be self-supporting in their ministry efforts and will have job positions that have some honor and respect in these rural areas.”
Zulu Matthews is a first year student at Daybreak Bible College. He writes” I came to DBC in order that I can know more of God, gardening and raising chickens. After my training, my plan is to return to my rural community and teach my people on better ways to do farming. I want to work closely with the community in both spiritual and physical matters. Luckily, I have my own piece of land to do agriculture activities once I graduate from DBC. “
What an awesome work these faithful servants are doing for the Lord in Zambia! Please pray for the French’s comfort, strength and health during this time of family loss. Pray for their students and teachers. They also request prayers for the ministries finances which are used to cover so many facets of their works.
Luk & Holly Brazle 4/21/2019
We have received recent newsletters for the Brazles regarding their work in Belgium. The Ghent church in Belgium meets twice on Sunday. This is to provide services for both their Flemish and Twi speaking members. They ask for prayers on behalf of this effort to bond these members together in Christ despite the language barriers. They continue to try their best to teach and encourage them.
Luk and Holly report God has been active and healing their children. Their son Isaak has been having stomach issues but they report the stomach pains have subsided over the last few months. Their son Gideon has been newly diagnosed in the last year with childhood Diabetes. He has done a better job recently maintaining his sugar levels and the whole family will take a re-education class at his yearly checkup to help him with living with this cumbersome health issue. They ask us to pray for their continued energy, strength and health.
This summer they will be hosting a special “Let’s Start Talking’ team. Please pray for this effort that it will be fruitful for the Lord. They continue to use this method throughout the year and they have five new friends as of this writing they are working to influence and encourage.
The Brazles ask us to pray for the lost in their city. They say “There are so many who don’t see God as even a possibility to have faith in.” Please pray for the Holy Spirit to open the hearts and minds of the people of Ghent. They also ask for God’s guidance in their handling of one of their member families who have recently divorced and also some of their members who are struggling with depression. They ask us to “Pray for their wisdom in how to encourage people who are just babies in faith, encouraging them to trust God.”
They are working hard church! May we too work hard in our prayers for their success.
Corey Harrison 4/14/2019
UCA Campus Ministry
Corey stated the need for more churches in college towns to be faithful in supporting campus ministries. There are around 15,000 college students in Conway and a great lack of students participating in church associations and their ministries. These ministries are encouraged by the colleges because they help students plug-in. This helps with students staying in school.
His mission started with his learning the needs of this demographic group so that he could serve them. Last year he established the resident student organization, Pulse Campus Ministry on the campus of UCA. This has enabled the ministry to meet on campus and to utilize different campus events to reach more students interested in being active in this fellowship. They now have a good base of freshman and sophomores active in their group.
During this school year, they have held several events. They provide a weekly meeting on campus. A girls’ group also gets together at different times. He leads a couple of events at the beginning of each school year to let the incoming freshman find out more about the group. They also go on retreats and outings. During Spring Break this year they travelled to Nashville, Tennessee for four days to volunteer with the Nashville Food Project.
Corey stated the most effective way of reaching this group is through their friends and that discipleship happens in small groups. He is still learning the best ways to communicate with those students he is trying to reach. They have so many distractions it is difficult to gain their attention.
Corey is looking forward to his third year of growing this campus ministry. He needs our prayers for God to help with their events and to provide connections to give students the avenue they need to grow in Christ. So many of them lose their faith at this point in their lives. He has seen God paving the way for this ministry. Please pray for the Holy Spirit to open the hearts and minds of these students so they can stay faithful and secure in His arms. Pray for the current students that are part of this to be uplifted and to continue to bring more friends to their group.
As always, God is faithful!
Coleman & Bethany Yoakum 4/7/2019
Micah 6 Community
Coleman visited with the Levy Mission’s groups on Wednesday night and a great review of this mission and its accomplishments were provided. Coleman began his Micah 6 Community 7 years ago, straight out of Harding University. His plan was to go to the poorest and worst place to live in the US to be a source of God’s will for their community. He and a few of his best friends moved to Pontiac, Michigan. They have done a great job growing this church. Attendance has grown so much that they had to split services to accommodate all those who want to attend. Their community involvement is exemplary!
In March of 2016 the team purchased an old abandoned school building close to their location. There are several of these abandoned school buildings due to the population decrease from 120,000 to 59,000 in recent years, due to plant closings and racial unrest. They have great plans coming together for this building in which renovations will be starting soon and should be complete in around 24 months. Many grants and gifts have been acquired to make this possible. God is providing! Coleman has also secured many types of community services for this space. (Men’s mentoring program, personal trainer and workout space, art experience with pottery, woodshop, counseling services for children who lose their parents to violence and many more) Their church will be moving there and as will their Sprout Store to continue planting gardens to help provide food for the neighborhood.
In 2018 the team brought in their first 4 paid summer interns. This was a great boost for their programs. 2 of the interns have returned to be part of their team full time. One is starting their first full time summer children’s camp complete with two meals a day and field trips. She has worked hard to secure many grants and assistance to make this monetarily feasible for the ministry. They will also start a tutoring program for children in the Fall with the help of volunteers from a nearby town. Pontiac’s children have zero percent profiency on a national scale in all five major subjects! These children need direction and mentoring.
The Micah 6 Ministry has become more structured, stable and organized over the years. They are experiencing the pains that come with growth and structure. Coleman and his team need prayers for wisdom in how best to handle all these issues. Coleman and another from his team have recently married a little over a year ago. These young servants need our prayers for strength, health, direction and protection. (Violence and drugs are very present in this community!) Please pray for them church.
Mike & Nancy Mullen 3/31/2019
Fall River, Massachusetts
2019 is the 40th anniversary of the establishment of the Fall River Church. There are still not a lot of congregations in the North East United States. At least not many of any size. Fall River Church is considered large to have around 100 members. They have members who have been there all 40 years and spent time keeping their focus on God’s will and words for those that worship Him there. The grand majority of their members are converts from no religious background or denomination. They are planning a big celebration for their anniversary in October.
Mike grew up in the Fall River area and began his working career in the Air Force before becoming a preacher. Nancy grew up in Little Rock. She has an architecture degree and also worked as a missionary in Sao Paulo, Brazil for three years. She is now very active as a Bible class teacher and planning events for the church. She also homeschooled her three sons, Jonathan(33), Joshua(28), and Matthew(26). They are all on their own now living in different parts of the country.
Mike lost his father last May and they both feel a bit off from this loss. This has given them the opportunity to participate in a Grief Sharing group which has helped them and others in their church.
Please pray for Mike and Nancy. Pray for God to renew their strength and comfort them in their time of loss. Pray for the Holy Spirit to continue to add to their number, all those in their area whose hearts are open to God.
Mission Letter Archive
Belgian Breeze 3/25/2018
I would like to introduce you to a new brother. This young man has been attending church with the Ghent Flemish congregation since the beginning of last year. He name is Martino and he has lived in Uganda for most of his life.
A few months ago he expressed to me that he was interested in being baptised so we met a few times in our home and at a coffee shop to read scripture together with me and to discuss what this decision meant.
He picked one of the coldest days in February and with a crowd of Christians from the Ghent Flemish-speaking and Twi speaking congregation we heard Martino’s confession and watched him be washed in the frigid waters of our local lake. As he came up the words “I have decided to follow Jesus” were sung as our new family member was wrapped in blankets and with hugs.
Please pray for this young man as he starts this journey with Christ. The enemy has his eyes fixed on him and we know it will not be easy. But he is free and in good Company. Please thank God with us for his mother Mary who as a single mother has done a wonderful job teaching her son about Christ, and has provided a good faith foundation that will help her son in his daily walk.
Pulse Campus Ministry – UCA 3/18/2018
Throughout the semester we’ve continued to push deeper into scripture, prayer, and our relationships with one another.
We spent the first few Sunday mornings of the semester discussing prayer. Since mid-February we’ve been studying the Sermon on the Mount, and in April our students will be leading discussion groups in the middle school and high school classes.
In addition to our usual Sunday and Tuesday gatherings, here are some other activities we’ve engaged in:
- Feb. 6 – We helped serve the evening meal at Bethlehem House. Bethlehem House is a local nonprofit that provides housing and assistance for people transitioning out of homelessness. It’s a blessing to get to work alongside such an amazing ministry.
- Feb. 23-25 – We traveled to Russellville, AR for CHRISTeens, an annual conference for middle school and high school students. We set up a booth to promote Pulse, and met several students coming to UCA next fall.
In a few days we’ll leave for our Spring Break mission trip (March 16-20). We’re partnering with the CCSC at Arkansas Tech and travelling to Orange, TX to aid in the rebuilding effort in areas affected by Hurricane Harvey.
Pray that our efforts will make a positive impact in this community, and that this trip would be a blessing to our students.
Once Spring Break is over, there will only be 6 more weeks left in the 2017-2018 school year. Though it seems like the year just started, it’s almost over.
As summer approaches, I ask you to please pray for our ministry, that we would end the year well, and that the final weeks of our year would prepare us for success in the future.
Pray also that the Holy Spirit would continue to produce growth and maturity in our students in the coming weeks.
Things move slowly this time of year. It’s a quiet season. Yet so much of ministry happens in quiet moments: quick conversations on campus, lunches, going for coffee. Spring is the perfect time to focus on the impact that can come through individual relationships.
Look for one more Prayer Update this semester, coming late April or early May. Until then, have a blessed week, and thanks for praying!
Rio De Janeiro, Brazil 3/11/2018
For those of you who may not know, Carnaval (the Brazilian equivalent to Mardi Gras) is a VERY big deal in Brazil, especially in the state of Rio de Janeiro. Everyone gets 3 days of vacation, and basically the people go wild. In light of this, many people who don’t want to participate in Carnaval decide to travel and get away from the craziness. For the first time this year, our church decided to offer a church retreat during these vacation days. We found a small retreat site roughly an hour away from the church and we were able to spend time in worship and study together, and of course we spent a lot of time eating and playing together. This time spent together as a church family was really great for us, and we were so pleased to see relationships being strengthened during our time together.
Earlier in the month our Women’s Ministry celebrated starting a new year together with a special brunch. While the food was definitely the highlight of our time together, we also spent time discussing our goals for the coming year, which include a daily Bible reading plan and monthly devotionals together, as well our annual retreat. It was so encouraging to see these women eager to sign up to help with various aspects of the ministry and to hear them excitedly talking about their plans for the year. Please be in prayer for this ministry and that we can reach out to even more women in our community.
For our family’s spiritual and physical health
For the development of leaders in the church
For our continued fundraising efforts
For continued growth of the church in Niterói
That construction of the new building will progress smoothly and in a timely manner
The Zinck Family
Mission Ghent, Belgium 2/25/2018
In January the Ghent Church of Christ organized a youth weekend that focused on God’s Plan. The church hosted young people from 3 different churches hoping to encourage them in their faith. We had time to sing together, time to talk, play, do facials (there were a good number of girls) and go ice skating.
Church members joined the youth at the skating rink
The time that we read scripture together was very interesting. We talked about God’s plan and I asked them what they did not like about the plan. What they might not like. They responded with questions like: What is up with Adam and Eve, who did their kids marry? Why is heaven a place we might even want to go; It seems like it is going to be super boring. – When Jesus comes back, is it going to be scary? How will everyone see? Won’t it be sad that not everyone will go to heaven?
Discovering scripture together
It was clear that they had been thinking about these things so it was a good opportunity to talk about them. Please keep these teens in your prayers as their faith grows in a world that ridicules faith. Pray that they have the courage to look for the truth that God provides in a world that has trouble seeing things clearly.
Antwerp Youth Weekend Crew
Three weeks later the annual Console weekend was hosted by the Antwerp Church of Christ. This was the 13th year we had a weekend retreat where the teens bring their videogames to challenge each other in Fifa and Mario Cart. Time outs, and some outdoor activities gave us welcome breaks to the gaming. During the time outs we sat down to talk about how we can change our world. Jesus teaches us that there are a lot of ways that our lives can be changed but also shows how we can change the world we live in by being focused on him.
In video games you can be in control of a fictitious world. But when we read scripture we find these ways to change our world today. “Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things.” and “But now you must also rid yourselves of all such things as these: anger, rage, malice, slander, and filthy language from your lips.” We talked about how to do these things in our world today. It was a blessing to have a lot of the older kids there who the younger kids could look up to. How are you encouraging the young
people in your neighborhood?
Luk and Holly Brazle
Zambia Missions Newsletter 2/11/2018
There is much to report in this Newsletter. It also just feels like we are finally reaching our stride as certain key components now seem to be in place.
Daybreak Bible College: New Milestone
Due to the government ban on schools because of the cholera outbreak, the start of the new school year here at Daybreak Bible College was delayed two weeks. Our new class of students totals about 20 students. With this new class of students, Daybreak has finally passed a major milestone in our history. We are now (for the first time) a three-year training program. We now have 40 students plus their wives (who are part of the women’s program). This brings our total number of students to more than 70. Also, starting this coming December, we will begin graduating a class of students each year from our Bible College. This is a goal that I have had for more than 8 years (to have a three-year program for married students and their wives). So, it is with great delight that we celebrate this new accomplishment.
Daybreak Student in the News
One of our students (Martin Kazembe) is a well-known singer in Zambia and has recorded several records (he sings Acapella which is quite popular in Zambia). He recently sang at the Kombani Radio Music Awards (held at the New Government Complex). Not only did he sing several songs (after which he was given a standing ovation), but he was given an award (CNN Monze Best Gospel Song Award).An article about Martin and the award he received was featured in the national newspaper, along with a picture of him receiving his award. The article states that he is “always preaching about salvation” and that he has temporarily stopped recording songs so that he can focus on his studies at Daybreak. The article goes on to say that he “is currently pursuing a three-year degree in pastoral and agricultural studies at the prestigious Daybreak Bible College.” This is not the only time he has been featured in the national paper.
Kerin’s Kids (Children’s Ministry)
As we already announced on Facebook, Kerin is now expecting her second biological child. She is currently in her 25th week; but there have been some complications, and we are now trying to avoid any type of infection. Her pregnancy has basically become high risk and we are now working through a very critical phase. It is doubtful she will make it to full term, but we are hopeful she will make it to at least week 33 (which is the critical week). A premature delivery after week 33 has a much higher positive outcome. So, we would very much appreciate your prayers on behalf of Kerin during the next few weeks. We will post updates on Kerin’s Kids Facebook page www.facebook.com/kerinskids.
As previously reported, we have completed construction on three new classrooms. Now with the beginning of a new school year, we are increasing our enrollment. We expect to enroll more than 200 children for this next school year. Lorie has been quite busy reorganizing the school, hiring a new teacher (Bwale Miselo), and conducting some teacher training during the past few weeks. In fact, the delay in the beginning of the school year (due to cholera) has actually proven to be a blessing as Lorie has had more time to make these improvements.
David and Lorie French
South Africa 2/4/2018
Another year has come and gone. Our visit with churches, family and friends is making progress. Time is swiftly passing and we are beginning now to make plans to return to our beloved South Africa. Our hope and prayer is that life will not only be a blessing to you and your family but also will be a blessing to many others outside your own family.
I have often have said to our students at the Bible College in South Africa they should work andlive for the Lord in order to leave something behind after we are no longer here which will cause future generations to say, “he was here because I can see his/her footprints they have left behind.”
It was Solomon who said, “In addition to being a wise man, the preacher also taught the people knowledge, and he pondered, searched out and arranged many proverbs. The preacher also sought delightful words and to write words of truth correctly.” Then the wise man says to his son, “be warned; the making of many books are endless and weary to the body.” Living a faithful and a life-changing life is not an easy task. It takes effort and it is at times weary!
It is our prayer that we all can help the present generation to live a productive and encouraging life-style. Solomon concludes his remarks by saying, “words of wise men are like goads, well-driven nails….” All the hard work of teaching and being helpful to others has a way of maintaining stability and helping others to endure life as it comes. IT IS WORTH ALL THE EFFORT!
Life passes all too fast! And our heath is not like it was a few years ago. Ann is still struggling and I have developed problems that is causing me to fall from time to time. I fell in the Johannesburg airport as we were leaving to return to the States and, then, the grocery shop once we arrived here in the States. But we are taking the words of Solomon seriously and are continuing to study and teach, both verbally and through the written word.
May you continue to maintain your faith regardless of the cost. FUTURE generations will be better because of how we all live in the PRESENT.
Please give my regards to everyone.
Jerry & Ann
The Hoggs of Africa
Yellow Jackets for Christ – Spearfish, South Dakota 1/28/2018
As we get started on 2018, here is a quick look back on the last couple of campus ministry events of 2017. We had a great December! It is really only half a month with the students due to finals and Christmas Break and all that, but we still packed some good things in there. We had some Bible studies, counseling time, a Christmas Party, and a few other odds and ends.
The thing that keeps standing out about December for me is how much our students want to study the Bible. Millennials tend to get a bad rap in the media for being lazy, entitled, and uninterested in God, but I’m telling you, that stereotype is just a stereotype. Our students continue to surprise me with their thirst for the Good News. Let me give you a couple of examples.
First, as the semester wound down, I started polling our group to see what they would like to study for the Spring semester. Since we just wrapped up a study on the Gospel of Mark, I thought we could do some nice light topical stuff. I said, “I have a great class on relationships and a great class on media. What do you want to study?” They thought about it awhile and came back with, “Can we study Romans, arguably the most theologically-dense book in the Bible?”
On another occasion, I was teaching a class about the resurrection of Jesus and I showed a clip from Lee Strobel’s “The Case For Christ.” I told the students I didn’t have time in class to watch the whole 45 minute lesson, but I could play a 10 minute clip, so they decided to stay after our Bible study and watch the rest of it.
Once all the students left town, I put a lot of time and energy into planning our youth rally in February. We are going to be talking about Timothy Keller’s book, “The Reason For God: Belief In An Age Of Skepticism.” This is the most balanced, intelligent, and well-written case for the Christian faith that I have read in a long time and I’m looking forward to digging into it with our teens.
Todachine Family Letter 1/21/2018
As we look back at 2017, we are humbled by the ways in which He has blessed us. God continues to bless the Salt River church both numerically, and spiritually, which is extremely exciting to be a part of. We look forward to His plan for our family and this congregation in an effort to reach our people with the gospel. Thank you for your part in all of this. May God bring us closer together this coming year in His service. God bless.
Now for a quick RECAP of 2017:
• There were 17 souls baptized into Christ
• There were 22 Christians and their children who were added to the body at Salt River this year. (That means there were 39 new faces!)
• There were 9 people who moved.
• The average attendance on Sundays has been 50- 60, while Wednesday attendance has been 35-40.
• God has opened the door for us to be the only teachers of Bible at Journey to Recovery rehabilitation center.
• We had a Spring Sing Campaign with about 30 teens & adults from the Graymere church of Christ in March.
• We had 23 people from Salt River attend church camp on the Navajo Reservation.
• We had a VBS with about 14 teens and adults from the League City & Frisco churches of Christ in July.
• We had a Fall campaign to the college campuses with 8 Bear Valley students in October.
River City Ministry 1/14/2018
Happy New Year!
And thank you for your faithful support in partnering with our ministry at River City Ministry. Your support is invaluable in the spreading of God’s kingdom of love along the streets of Little Rock.
If you haven’t been following my blog, look up https://reclaiminggodsimage.wordpress.com/ to follow what you’re supporting. You can even subscribe to an email update whenever I post a new article. All of the articles are my reflections on my time as a minister here. Please share the news about the blog and our facebook page, https://www.facebook.com/RiverCityMinistry/, in your church bulletin, facebook page, website, or missions committee.
With God’s love,
Cumbernauld, Scotland 1/7/2018
At the beginning of November, a small group of Graham McDonald’s supporters were stopping in to see us for the weekend on their way to Lithuania. They expressed a desire to be used while they were here so we quickly organised a Missions Emphasis Day. Unfortunately there was a British Bible School study weekend on at the same time so we just kept our event “in-house” so that we didn’t take away from what they had already planned. It was, however, a great day.
I personally thoroughly enjoyed it with a variety of lessons and talks about different mission fields and different methods that may work in different parts of the world. We had several of our own members get up and talk about their experience in missions. All in all, it was actually quite inspiring and certainly, for me at least, served to re-focus our thoughts on what we are doing locally, nationally and internationally. A very encouraging weekend.
Last, but certainly not least, we had our fair share of fellowship opportunities as you would expect from us.
Firstly, some of the men traveled to Livingston for their Mens’ Day. It was great to see them resurrect this event.
Graham was one of the speakers and was, in my opinion, the speaker for the day. In December, Nicole and Amy organised their, now traditional, Crazy Christmas Jumper (sweater) night. It was a great laugh. They always do a good job of organising something different each year. Shortly after that, Graham’s two daughters, Megan and Bethany, organised our annual Secret Santa Party. Again, it was a lot of fun to see the “creativity” of some of the gifts.
Lastly, we ended the year with yet another great night together. What better way to see out the old year and usher in the new than with your brethren. Graham and I were assisted this year by Brian and Paulo for the activities. The women provided plenty of food and Paul Offin led us in devotion just before “the bells.” We ended up getting home around 3 a.m.
Well, it has been a great year. Not without its difficulties and struggles (some of them serious and discouraging) but God has opened the storehouses of Heaven and blessed beyond our imagination. We look forward forward to what He has in store for 2018. We are so glad His blessings transcend the miles between us. He has drawn us together through the cross and blessed us together through the church. Thank you again for staying with us. The best is yet to come.
All for Him,
Adam, Mel and Nicole Barr
2017 Haiti Magi Box Distribution
These gifts are a wonderful opportunity to share our blessings with others. We are still collecting for money donations. Information sheets are at Levy Central. Deadline for these donations is this Sunday, September 30. Please contact Danny or Karen Sullivan for details.
Letters from Belgium 9/25/2016
We recently heard from Luk and Holly Brazle, missionaries to Ghent, Belgium.
“The Ghent church has enjoyed an active summer. 22 of the group were able to go on a retreat together, taking some time away to pray and study together. Several events were organized by church members this summer where they had the opportunity to interact with our English class students. A barbecue in the park, a walk through the city, a build your own pizza night, and a game night all provided opportunities to get to know each other. Also, four members of the Ghent church met together to pray, discuss and plan on how to pay for a new meeting place. After visiting three possible meeting places it became clear that the church will have to do some fund raising. Please pray as the church continues to search for a suitable meeting place.
September is a month of planning, starting up weekly Bible studies, the men’s retreat, and even a camping trip for Luk to Scotland with some friends. Luk has been publicizing classes that invite people to practice their Flemish using scripture. This targets largely immigrant and refugee populations in Ghent. Please keep this in your prayers since nothing like this has been tried in Ghent. Pray for open hearts to the classes and to the message they will be hearing through scripture. The Brazles are able to do what they do because of the generous donations of people like you. Thank you for your continued prayers and financial gifts.”
Guatemala Future Preachers’ Camp 9/4/2016
On June 19-26, 41 campers representing 14 congregations from various parts of Guatemala came to be part of our third annual Future Preachers’ Camp (FPC). Many of them came from Guatemala City area, but we also had quite a few that traveled significant distances to be a part of the event. FPC 2016 was held again at Camp Caleb in San Lucas, just outside the capital city. This year we studiedthe books of 1 & 2 Timothy and Titus. This year nine young men expressed their desire to be baptized into Christ! We thank God that He has allowed the camp to play a part in the coversion of these souls to the glory of God, souls who also went home excited to serve in their local churches.
Please keep all the young men who have attended our camps in your prayers. Pray that they will mature, serve and develop into future preachers of the Gospel of Christ.
God bless you!
Hawatthia, Byron and Snezana
Encouraging Japan 8/21/2016
Every year, Jon Albright’s parents, Dwight and Josephine Albright, travel to Japan. Once full time missionaries in the Asian country, they now spend several months every year on an extensive tour of villages and cities in an effort to minister to and encourage the churches there. From Sunday sermons to private studies, this dynamic partnership will carry the word of God with them into homes and churches across Japan.
“We are excited to have the opportunity each year to go,” writes Dwight. “Each trip is a bit different and this one is no exception. Hebrews, Lord’s Supper, Job, following Christ’ example, problem of suffering, original sin, love are a few of the topics I will be covering. Josephine will begin her classes a week from today. She is going to be teaching out of John.”
Please join us as we pray for their journey. May the Lord give them safety, willing and eager students, open doors, and divine opportunities.
– Heather Sutherlin
School Starts Soon: Bringing Jesus to College 8/14/2016
Across the country students will soon be returning to our college campuses and when they arrive, the church of Christ campus ministries will be there to welcome them with open arms. We’ve been hearing from several of the ministries that we support through Harvest Sunday funds and they are all eager to share the hope of Christ with this year’s students. It starts with free dinners to welcome new students back to campus, followed by fun social events to help them make new friends, and leads into a year of Bible studies and fellowship with kids who are searching for answers in this difficult phase of life.
According to Campus For Christ, there are more than 20 million students enrolled in American colleges this year, an increase of nearly 5 million since 2000. This is an incredible mission opportunity, a chance to introduce students to Christ during the most transformative season of their lives. And yet, we only have 125 active campus ministries in the church of Christ. That means we’re only attempting to reach students on 125 campuses out of the nearly 5000 American colleges across the country.
Please pray for our campus ministers as they speak into the lives of our young people, that they may be gifted wisdom, patience, and a supernatural ability to speak the truth of God with a courage and boldness that both encourages and convicts the hearts of those who hear it. Pray for our students as they begin another year and join us in lifting up these ministries:
• Wolf Life – Arkansas State University
• CCSC – Arkansas Tech University
• Yellow Jackets for Christ – Black Hills State University, South Dakota
<align=”left”>Zambia Newsletter – July 2016 8/7/2016</align=”left”>
Our students have now successfully planted their gardens (digging raised beds and installing drip- irrigation systems) and they have now successfully raised two batches of chickens (200 chickens for every 5 students). Several of the students have responded with much joy and surprise as few of them thought they could ever learn to do such things. As one student recently commented, “I never thought I’d ever learn to raise chickens and earn a profit.”
Our agriculture teacher, Francis, is doing an awesome job teaching the students how to be self-supporting in ministry. I’ll try to explain in the next newsletter why this is so important for the growth of the church in Zambia. This month we will terminate the stipend we give the students for 3 months as they are now self-supporting.
A Prayerful Step 7/31/2016
Jhonny came to Manna Christian School by the grace of God and it has been amazing to see it unfold, bit by bit. From a freshmen in my Math class, I connected quickly to this kid who had a top notch smile, competitive attitude and desire to learn. Three years later he has made the decision to commit his life to the Lord and walk with Him daily. Jhonny and I have prayed, cried, laughed, and studied throughout our time. He has shared some of life’s hard times and I’ve shared the little wisdom that I have to offer. He was very interested in learning more about a Christian life, about God, and how to apply the Bible to life. He entered MCS not a fan of Christians because he had met many people who claimed to be Christians, but their lives didn’t match their mouth. He said because of hypocrisy, he didn’t really like to be around Christians (funny how he ended up around us at Manna???)
Through the next three years, our studies, prayers, talks, and experiences, he continued to take steps. A few months ago we studied the parable of the Good Shepherd. I asked him where he saw himself in the story and where he was a sheep. He replied, “I am at the gate. I know I don’t want to go back to where I was, but I still must enter through the door.” With much prayer and a decision that only he could make, Jhonny decided to enter into that door, taking his next step, and to commit his life to the Lord and live under the grace of the Father.
As a friend, teacher, discipler, and brother I couldn’t be prouder of the decision he has made. Please pray for Jhonny as he continues his daily journey to be a follower of Christ. Pray that he submit to the Spirit of God to guide his life. And please pray for me to help instruct him in the way of the Lord as a discipler. – Jeff Reese, Dominican Republic
Update: Russian Religious Law 7/17/2016
Last week I shared some prayer requests with you from the Russian church. One very serious concern was the pending decision about Russia’s religious freedom. Unfortunately, I have a sad update to report. This week, Russian president Vladimir Putin approved laws that usher in tighter restrictions on missionary activity and evangelism. Originally designed to fight terrorism and the spread of Islam in Russia, the laws will seriously inhibit the effective teaching of God’s word throughout the nation.
Christianity Today summarizes it well. “Despite prayers and protests from religious leaders and human rights advocates, the Kremlin announced Putin’s approval yesterday. The amendments, including laws against sharing faith in homes, online, or anywhere but recognized church buildings, go into effect July 20.”
Please pray for our brothers and sisters in Russia. Missionaries and ministers will be scrambling to find creative solutions to avoid penalties as the share the gospel locally. Join us in praying that this series of laws will be repealed to allow for more freedom and safety for the Lord’s church.
Prayer Requests from Russia 7/10/2016
Sergey Subbotin has been a Russian Bible School student by email correspondence since March 18, 2016. He is from Zlatoust. Because of his study, he decided to be baptized and was immersed into Christ in June. Please, pray for his further spiritual growth.
Anna Uporova is a student in the Institute of Theology and Christian Ministry. She moved from Moscow to St.Petersburg because she wanted to become part of the Neva church of Christ. She became actively involved in the Youth ministry of our congregation, but experiences problems of being adjusted in St.Petersburg. Please pray the Lord to help her to find a suitable job.
Sergey Zabrutskiy is a minister in Sevastopol’, Crimea. His congregation was officially recognized by the Ukrainian Government. After Crimea became part of Russia, the congregation lost its Ukrainian registration and now it’s in a process of getting official recognition with the Government of Russia. It’s a very long and difficult process. Please pray God to give brethren perseverance.
This month we also ask you to pray for the situation with religious freedom in Russia. On June 24 the Duma of Russian Federation rapidly and almost unanimously approved changes to anti-terrorism law. In some parts of it, it deals with evangelistic activity of religious organizations. Many Russian lawyers interpret this law as a step away from religious freedom. These changes have been already approved by the upper house, and in the Federation Council. The president of Russia will make decision either to sign the law or send it back to the Duma for additional polishing.
Please join us in lifting up our brothers and sisters in Russia, that the Lord may bless his people for the glory of his name.
Saving Mozambique 7/3/2016
The church is growing exponentially in Mozambique this year as the missionary teams there are seeing a harvest after 15 long years of diligent work. During a recent drought, the teams negotiated for food supplies to be delivered to their compound where they redistributed the food weekly to the poorest and those who were too elderly or ill to care for themselves. Not willing to lose an opportunity, they spoke the Word of God at the weekly distributions, turning them into a time of teaching and worship. Each week, the numbers arriving at the compound grew, until their weekly meetings held well over a hundred people at a time. But even after the food ran out and the danger had passed, the villagers came. Doors were opened in town after town, inviting the church to come in and teach. The church grew. One by one they came to the Lord, finding not only food for their bodies, but the bread of life. Earlier this month, in a moment reminiscent of the work of the apostles, an incredible 110 souls were saved as the ministers baptized entire families into Christ. Gathered on the banks of a muddy river in the middle of the African bush, Chad Westerholm, Jeremy Smith, and a team of other local ministers they’ve trained stood waist deep in the water and immersed villager after villager, raising them up to new life. Praise the Lord God of heaven who hears our prayers and leads the lost to salvation. Please join us in praying for the church in Mozambique, for growth in numbers, but also in maturity as our new brothers and sisters in Christ begin to live for Him.
Day of Prayer for the Muslim World 6/26/2016
July 5th marks the last day of Ramadan, a season of fasting and prayer for Muslims around the world. There are an estimated 1.5 billion Muslims in the world; nearly one-fourth of the world’s population today. Over fifty countries have Muslim-majority populations, while other groups of believers are clustered in minority communities on nearly every continent.
Since 1993, Christians have been gathering for thirty days, the entire span of Ramadan, to pray intently for our Muslim neighbors, that God would turn their hearts and open doors for the reconciliation of Christ. This year, we’ve been asked to join our brothers and sisters in prayer as we cry out with one voice to God on July 5th. The goal is for 100,000 christians to pray on that day for Muslims.
Please mark your calendars and set aside time to lift them up to the Lord. May His Name be glorified as we pray together for the power of Christ and His Holy Spirit to move among the Islamic people.
Harvest Funds Report 6/19/2016
The missions committee felt it would be a good time to report on how Harvest funds are being distributed. The follow numbers are an analysis of the November 2014 to October 2015 ‘Harvest Year’. The following graph shows the proportions of total funds sent to the different missions categories.
Levy has gained a good reputation among God’s workers as being generous towards missionary efforts. As such, we have seen a steady increase of requests. Particularly the number of short term trip requests have increased. In this current ‘Harvest Year’, as again the number of requests have increased, we have decreased the amount of funds that we give to each request. No long term missionary started without some exposure to the mission field. This initial exposure generally comes from going on a short term mission trip. We would love to continue to support each trip as we had in the past, but with increasing requests and limited funds we were forced to cut back our support per trip. The cuts are NOT reflected in the graph above, they came in the following year and will show up in next year’s report.
What Levy offers to our long term missionaries is much more than financial support. Most Wednesday nights the missions committee runs long because we are enthralled with the challenges and opportunities that our full time missionaries face on the front lines of the spiritual battle. We do our best to take care of their financial needs and wish that we could do more.
The dollar amount for Levy Mission Trips has increased in recent years. It is the missions committee’s objective that no Levy member will be deprived of going to the mission field due to lack of funds.
Missionary Institutions include Eastern European Missions, who send Bibles in the native languages, as well as Baxter Institute, Bear Valley, and 21st Century Global which are educating missionaries.
Campus Ministry and Inner City Ministries are the most effective domestic mission fields. There is a short time in life where humans leave their parents’ home and are ready to experience the world when they go off to college. Levy is proud to support the efforts of our campus ministries as they attempt to maximize on that time in life to reach the lost souls with the message of a loving savior.
We are blessed to be able to support so many solid inner city missions efforts in our area. River City and Silver City have been in place long enough now that they are affecting the next generation. The longevity of these efforts increases their effectiveness.
There is more to be said than can be captured here. If you would like further clarification, please feel free to talk with anyone on the missions committee or e-mail us at missions@LevyChurch.com.
Prayers for Missionaries 6/12/2016
This week we’ve had several heartbreaking requests for prayer from our missionaries across the world. Please remember Larry and Connie Zinck in your prayers as they mourn the sudden death of their son, Daniel on his 34th birthday. Also lift up our sister in Christ Ann Hogg as she faces some scary and unexpected health issues. The Hoggs had planned to return to South Africa this summer after a visit home, but have been forced to delay their return as they seek answers and healing for Ann.
Pray for Belgium 6/5/2016
The church in Ghent, Belgium has asked us to join them in prayer as they praise God for the progress He’s accomplished there and request His help in ministering to the people of Belgium.
– The Ghent church has had two church meetings where we have been able to discuss priorities, brainstorm, and pray together. It is great to have input from many. Pray that we can use these meetings wisely.
– The Ghent church plans to host connect events with church members and study contacts as social gatherings so relationships build between these two groups. We plan to have 6 events this summer organized by church members.
– English classes continue with Herman, Martine, Bo, Rambo, Guido, Theresa, and Yinghao.
– The group in Ghent shares the load preaching, teaching kids, and preparing food. This is a blessing.
– The Bible camp had a work camp for 4 days getting it ready for the summer. 29 volunteers came to help.
– Holly continues to build relationships while volunteering at Gideon and Isaak’s school.
– 30 teens have been invited to the Teen camp (12-14 year olds) this summer that Luk and Holly are working at. Please pray for a good turnout.
– Our relationships with a muslim family in our street has progressed. Holly has done some sewing for them, and they have baked some wonderful food for us. Pray as they start Ramadan soon that we can find opportunities to share Jesus with them.
– Pray for time. Balancing time with work, family, and home renovations is a chore. Pray for wisdom, and that we take sabbath seriously.
– Pray for couple at church that started coming last year from Greece. They are having trouble communicating with each other. Pray for wisdom and peace as we try to help.
– Pray as the church grows. We are evaluating our finances as a church to see how much we can spend on renting/buying a church.
– Pray as we prepare for Bible camps in July and August, and a lectureship in Lancaster England at the end of August.
– Pray for the young people in the churches in Belgium and The Netherlands as they grow in their faith.
FROM THE MISSIONS COMMITTEE: 5/29/2016
Would you join us in prayer as we cry out to God on behalf of the Muslim world? In the past 15 years, there have been 69 movements of Muslim peoples to Jesus – that represents thousands of Muslim people coming to Christ! God is doing something! Beginning June 6th, we are calling thousands of believers to pray for 30 days during the Muslim holy month of Ramadan. Concluding on July 5th, it is our hope that 100,000 people from all over the world will pray that day on behalf of the Muslim people who live around the Mediterranean rim. It will be a momentous day! If interested, please visit us at http://MRNet.org or email missions@MRNet.org.
Pray for the church in Dunedin 5/22/2016
Please join us in praying for our brothers and sisters in Dunedin, New Zealand. They have asked us to remember the folowing requests to our Lord:
– Work on the Building – thanks for the right people, for those advising us on work
– Praise and Thanks – for the opportunity to have our building used to help our local community. May we use this opportunity to show Christ’s love to our community.
– Sick and Unwell – Sonya & ongoing health struggles, Barry Raine, Aaron’s cousin Jan, Raymond, Maureen
– People we meet, interact with and influence in our community, at work, at school
– Nick, Marisa and Leah as they use CEC in our community to reach out, may this grow into ways for our congregation to reach out. May God protect this ministry.
– Friendspeak ministry, the blessing and the growth we have seen this year
– Upcoming Local Body elections in October
May we encourage the less involved to join in and be involved.
Instituto Teológico Latinoamericano 5/8/2016
Last month the ITL in Guatemala celebrated their 7th Annual ITL Lectureship. The theme this year was Practical Christian Living: A Study of the Book of James. The event turned out to be a wonderful time of study and edification. There were 12 speakers from countries throughout Latin America as well as the United States. The attendance on Saturday was very good. At least 15 churches were represented throughout the weekend. Some, not including the invited speakers, traveled as far as Chiapas, Mexico and from one of the borders of Guatemala, about eight hours away. There were also people there from other departments and from several congregations in the Guatemala City area. They averaged about 250 in attendance as people came and went throughout the day, but the total number of people easily surpassed 300. On Sunday they had a full house for the conclusion of the lectureship. At the end of worship, there were six responses to the message. There was one final Bible class before the event came to a close. Then, everyone enjoyed lunch together. In all, it was a memorable weekend and a testament to the hard work of the ITL team throughout the years as they work to spread the gospel in Latin America and unite the churches of Christ across national borders.
Please join us in praying for the team in Guatemala and for all those who are preaching and teaching throughout the region, that they may be emboldened to share the good news. May their efforts be blessed.
Praying for Boldness 4/24/2016
“Pray also for me, that whenever I speak, words may be given me so that I will fearlessly make known the mystery of the gospel…” Ephesians 6:19
Each week the missions committee at Levy begins their work with a prayer for those we serve. This week we prayed for ministers in nations that are not always safe or easy to reach for the gospel of Christ including China, Cuba, Russia, and Japan. For example, did you know the laws in China still make it illegal to openly teach about Jesus in most contexts? Missionaries there risk imprisonment and persecution to teach their neighbors, colleagues, and students about the love of Christ.
Please join us in praying for the missionaries, ministers, and church members who serve around the world, carrying the good news of hope into dark abandoned places. Pray that they may be empowered, emboldened, and protected as they carry Christ into neighborhoods for the salvation of the world.
A New Minister in Guatemala 4/17/2016
The church in Guatemala has been steadily growing over the last decade under the faithful care of missionaries who have committed to the work. In Linda Vista, the Bible Institute has grown to the point that it is consuming the full attention of the ministers working there. This led to a very exciting milestone last month as the church in Linda Vista decided to hire a full time minister from among their ITL graduates. Walter Dardon and his wife Nohelis have accepted the position of full time evangelist in Linda Vista, freeing up the previous minister, Anibal Ramirez to dedicate himself more fully to the work of ITL.
Please join us in praying for the Dardon family and the church in Linda Vista as they adjust to this transition, that the Lord may bless their growth for his glory. We’re excited to see the hope of Christ shared in Guatemala.
Reaching Dominican Youth for Christ 4/10/2016
We recently heard from Hope Mayberry, a high school teacher at the Manna Global Ministries Christian school in the Dominican Republic. She had a lot of good news to share with us! Three students were baptized, including one sophomore and two seniors. What an incredible blessing that is to see these young people come to know Christ. It is an encouragement to their classmates and teachers as well. Please join us in praying for these new believers, that they may be protected by God himself as they step out into new life and that they may be shining examples to the community around them, to their families and friends as they share the good news of God’s saving grace.
Hope has asked us to pray for a few other students she’s concerned about this week.
Yariza – that she can stay focused on the important things in life.
Jenifer – that she can remain a positive leader in her class
Wilmide – that she can find peace in God during difficult times at home.
Honestly, these are prayers we could pray for many of our own students here at Levy. Please lift up God’s children in prayer, and those who minister to their hearts and minds every day.
Daybreak in Zambia 4/3/2016
There is incredible work being done in Zambia through the Daybreak Bible School. What began as a two year ministry training school in Mapepe has grown since 2005 to include a three year degree program that is equipping local Zambians to carry the gospel back to their own people. The missionaries working there discovered that married students were more likely to be effective in the long-term work of ministry, but few married men could afford to be away from their families for two or three years to study. So, they reorganized the entire school to accommodate them, deciding to focus on providing a place to develop entire families into ministers rather than just men. This required a lot of work, but has already had ripple effects in the community.
To house married men who may have children required more housing than the dorm they had used before for a group of single men. So, they hired construction workers to build new housing. This employed local men who needed work. Then, they considered that families moving to the school would have children who needed education. So, a school was built and teachers hired and trained. Now there are 55 local students already attending the elementary school before the families even show up for classes this spring. With all the families coming for the Daybreak Bible School, they would need more food available for meals. So, they built a farm and decided to teach the ministry students not only how to teach the Bible, but how to be more effective farmers so that they can carry those skills back home as they go out into the communities. The students will farm their own food and the excess will be sold at market in Mapepe. Already a crop of soybeans and 500 chicks have been sold, granting funds for replanting and good resources for their neighbors. So, before the ministry students even arrive, the community has already been blessed by the work there. To learn more about the work being done at Daybreak, visit Zambiamissions.org and join us in praying for the work there, for the missionaries, the instructors, and the students who will arrive next week to begin the work of God’s ministry to Zambia.
Reaching a New Generation in Perth 3/27/2016
Scott Tominey began his work last year in the mission field as minister to a brand new church plant in Perth, Scotland. Perth is in Northern Scotland area where the church has been steadily declining since the 70s. His desire is to see many come to Christ who have not grown up knowing him, and for those who are older to return to the Lord. As a man in his twenties, he’s decided to begin by ministering to youth. So, with that in mind, he began an after school club near their church meeting place. Each afternoon, they start with Bible classes divided by age group and then end with an hour of games. This has been very effective with an average attendance between 25 and 30 students arriving every day. In the last few months, a few of those students have even begun attending church services on Sundays. What an encouragement that has been not only to Scott, but to the growing church there in Perth.
This church is looking for other Christian families to move into the area and join them in their work as they seek to reach the lost. Please join us in praying for Scott, for the church in Perth, and for the people of Scotland. Let us all ask the Lord to send out his workers into the field that the world may know HIM and his love.
Student Missions 2/28/2016
Each year Levy harvest funds contribute to the work of dozens of students who travel over spring or summer break to serve missionaries around the world. These trips, dubbed “short-term missions”, allow students to experience the life of full time mission work first hand while immersing them in a foreign culture. While spring break trips are typically a week long, most summer trips last between three and six weeks, offering extended opportunities to experience life overseas as a missionary. This year Levy is supporting a long list of students who are travelling to many countries where missionaries are already hard at work teaching the gospel. Please join us in praying for the work being done in these countries and many more:
• Cap-Haitian, Haiti
• Taipei, Taiwan
• Leipzig, Germany
• French speaking Europe
• Montepuez, Mozambique
• New Zealand
• Szolnok, Hungary
• Huambo, Angola
• Zurich, Switzerland
• Czech Republic
Zambian Creativity 2/7/2016
Missionaries in Zambia have been very creative in their pursuit of the best way to lead their country to Christ. Several years ago they realized they could reach many more for Christ if there were more teachers and ministers to share in the work. So, they began a Bible college. They soon realized that the students who were best equipped for the work were families who could reach entire villages, but it didn’t seem right to ask married men to leave their families without a protector or provider for the months it would take them to study.
So, they restructured their entire program. They built new housing that would accommodate entire families. Then, they realized that those families would need food and they are leaving behind their farms to study. So, they designed a farm where students could grow their own food. This made it possible for them to teach new farming methods that the families could carry back with them to their villages, improving the lives of thousands.
All of this was good and then they realized the families would have children and children need school. The closest school was six miles away. That’s a long walk for young children! So, they began building a school. Then, they decided to train the wives to be school teachers and teach the husbands how to start a school in their community. This is an automatic open door for ministry in each village and a way to improve the lives of families across the country.
As the ministry grows, so does the resourcefulness of the missionaries who are faithful in this great work. Please pray for Zambia, for the students of the Daybreak Bible College, and the French Family who have committed themselves to sharing the good news with Zambia, no matter the cost.
Campus Ministry is a Fertile Field 1/31/2016
There is exciting work being done on college campuses across America and a group of church of Christ campus ministers are leading the way. They’re convinced that the most fertile mission field in the world is right here on American college campuses. Here are a few reasons why:
• 95% of the people who follow Jesus begin before the age of 30.
• 21,000,000 college students live in the U.S.
• 886,052 international students attended school in the U.S. last year
• 1/4 of the world’s college students reside in North America
• Only 125 campus ministries exist connected to the church of Christ
Author Pete Greig wrote in his book, Red Moon Rising, that, “God uses young people again and again to help restore nations and shape their destiny. It’s not a hope statement or what Dietrich Bonhoeffer might have called ‘a wish dream’. It’s the inescapable reality of the witness of history. Young people stand at the heart of the salvation story.”
We’re proud to be partnering with campus ministers here in Arkansas and across the United States as they work to minister to the hearts and minds of today’s youth. The stories we here from them are beautiful and inspire us to do all we can to reach the young people the Lord has sent to us so that they may know Christ in all things. Please join us in praying for campus ministry and this growing mission field.
The Gospel at Work in Haiti 1/24/2016
We recently heard from the director of the preacher training school in Port au Prince, Haiti. He was eager to share their recap for 2015.
We serve a great God! The blessings which God bestows upon us is far more than we can comprehend. There are blessings that come every day, unexpected and undeserved. One of our greatest blessings is being able to work in the kingdom of God and to have you as a part of our work. Your kindness, love, thoughtfulness, prayers and financial support are what makes our work possible. Thank you!
We pray that 2015 was a great year for you and that 2016 will be even better. What was accomplished by our students…
Sermons Preached: 588
Bible Studies Taught: 615
Some of the students have started a prison ministry. They have distributed over 500 copies of a six lesson study through World Bible School in French.
We had three Elders/Preachers conferences and there are eleven congregations represented in the school.
Please pray for the school and the communities it reaches through ministry. May the Lord bless their every effort.
Russian Bible School 1/10/2016
Levy is proud to support the work of the Russian Bible School. Like World Bible School, RBS students study the Bible by correspondence; many invite friends into their homes to study the Bible together. We recently heard about a few distinct students who are sharing the Word of God in their own communities through Russian Bible School.
Tamara Pukhova – lives near Baykal Lake. She started a home Bible group. They began to use materials developed by RBS and books published by EEM.
Oleg Kuznetsov – a former prisoner, who through the study at RBS became a Christian and started 2 congregations in Sverdlovsk region, recently requested a set of RBS lessons. He also kindly asked permission to teach those lessons in prisons on behalf of RBS as a representative there.
Aleksey Valov – being encouraged by RBS studies, goes from village to village in Sverdlovsk region, preaching Christ. He is spreading RBS materials and promotional cards, recruiting new students.
Vladimir Ilyushin – a prisoner who studied the course on the basics of Christianity, has decided to put on Christ in baptism and even arranged that with the prison administration.
Please pray for each of these individuals and the bold work they are doing in Russia as they share the good news with their countrymen.
Training The Next Generation in Guatemala 1/2/2016
Last week we were thrilled to visit with Byron and Snezana Benitez, missionaries in Guatemala. They shared with us the incredible work being done to spread the good news of Jesus Christ throughout that country. Their work with the theological institute they’ve established is having a far-reaching effect already after just a few short years. The school is running at capacity, training new ministers of the gospel to send into Guatemala and out into the central American nations surrounding them. The fruits of their labor are being felt far and wide as new believers are baptized each year at the hands of their graduates, growing the church in cities and villages from southern Mexico into South America. This year they added a new camp for young men ages 12 to 21 interested in learning more about ministry. They were the largest camp of their kind in the region and next year hope to have 50 students attending. Six young men were baptized during the course of the week as they realized they had never fully obeyed the gospel and several were listed as distinguished speakers at the end of the week. Opportunities like this give us all great hope for the growing church in central America as we see the next generation taking up the work of our Lord among the people.
Please join us in praying for The Benitez family and Hiawatthia Jones, their teammate, that the Lord will bless their efforts in Guatemala and grant them success as they boldly preach the word, teaching the next generation of leaders among God’s people. If you are interested in learning more about the work being done in Guatemala, please visit ITLguatemala.org
Belgium Progress & Prayer Requests 12/13/2015
Luk & Holly Brazle, missionaries in Ghent, Belgium, wrote to share their recent work with us and to ask for our prayers as they move into the new year. Please join us in praying for this family and their work among the people there.
– Pray for peace! Attacks have come close to home with terrorists hiding in Brussels (1 hr. from our house) and attacks in Paris (3 hrs. from our house) we feel it can’t be real, and our hearts hurt with our Muslim neighbors as they are looked at differently due to the attacks perpetrated by extremists.
– Pray as Luk meets with 9 students this week to read from scripture and to discuss faith.
– Pray for the young adult and youth events that are being planned for this coming year. Letters will go out this week announcing youth events.
– Pray for the Ghent church as they long to reach out to the community and search for ways to be salt and light in their community.
– Pray for the new births in the Ghent Church. Two new babies, Rosely and Stefanos were born in the past three weeks. Pray for sleep for their parents.
– Pray as we meet new contacts through World Bible School. God is using different methods to put us in touch with people who are seeking.
– Pray for the conversations Holly has with new friends, teachers and mothers at school as she volunteers there.
You can learn more about The Brazle Family and the church in Ghent by visiting their blog at Belgianbreeze.blogspot.com
Fear and Hope in Albania 12/1/2015
Niri and Lindita Pellumbi, missionaries in Librazhd, Albania, wrote to ask us for prayers in light of all that has happened in Europe over the last few weeks. Here’s an excerpt from their letter:
The recent events that are happening in Europe, concerning the Muslim terrorists, have affected also Albania. There is a constant fear of what might happen next. Librazhd has a strong influence of the radical Muslims, and there is a sense of insecurity spread here among the people. We do not know what might happen next. What we know is that, we must take the Gospel to the people and to the families in this community. So, please pray for safety among this community, but especially pray that the Gospel will be sown in the people’s heart freely.
We are planning to have an overall spreading of God’s Word in the town and the villages, with the goal that all might have access to the word of God. We hope that through this process, God will lead us to the people that are open to the change that the Word of God will bring to them, and so will enable us to build Deliberate Redemptive Relationships in planting the seed of God’s Word in them. We think that this process will enable not just few persons but many to have the opportunity and access having the Scripture in their homes. This will be a relatively long process due to the number and the distance of the villages and their geography, but we are very enthusiasts about that.
Please join us in praying for the Pellumbi family and the church in Albania, that they may be bold in sharing the good news and find courage in Christ.
University Ministry in China 11/15/2015
Jon-Perry and Rebecca Mize are missionaries in the Chinese city of Jingzhou. They recently wrote to share a snapshot of their work with us. It is illegal to preach in China, so this family risks a lot to teach the students they meet. In their letter, you’ll notice how they are not even able to say the word Bible for fear that their email messages will be flagged by the government. Please pray for the work in China and the brave church who is growing under persecution. May the Lord be good and merciful to them, making them bold to share the good news among the lost.
This month Rebecca and I hosted a foreigner meeting in our home—something we try to hold every month on a rotational basis as a means of fellowshipping with our fellow American teachers and encouraging each other through the inevitable struggles of living and working in a foreign country. All in all, it was a very good and uplifting meeting, and I think everyone left more recharged then when they arrived, which was the goal. As for our meetings with students, things are going very steady. Our kids are really starting to take hold of the good book, and Rebecca and I frequently notice the student’s sharing comments and teachings with their friends and classmates. We are very proud of how far they’ve all come, and we look forward to the Father continuing to reveal himself to them.
Rebecca and I are also trying to branch out and meet new students who may have an interest to study the good book. Another one of our students named Lorraine just arrived back to school this month after doing a work-study program in America for three months. She is very enthusiastic and really wants to learn more about the good book. When we gave Lorraine her own book, she was so excited and amazed. We are really happy to have her.
Meanwhile, we’ve started attending an extracurricular activity called English Corner. It’s organized by the university and gives all the students on the campus a chance to gather together and speak English once a week. It’s also a great opportunity for Rebecca and me to meet and talk with students that we otherwise would not have the chance to get to know. It’s usually not too big, though. Most weeks only about 15-20 students show up, but that allows us to focus more on those who are there and build relationships week by week. We are hopeful that it will lead us to meeting more students who have a desire to study with us.
Please continue to remember and all our brothers and sisters in Jingzhou. We are all working hard (both American and Chinese) this year to help the family grow and become more stable and self-sufficient. As always, we are so thankful for all the love and support you’ve shown us, and we look forward to updating again next month.
Growth and Harvest in Italy 11/8/2015
Last year we were blessed to begin supporting the work of Eric and Jessica Smith in their work with Avanti Italia, a mission work based in Scandicci, Italy. They are now in their 2nd year as directors of the Bible School there. Currently, teachers at the Bible School are using the Bible to teach English to approx. 115 students with ages ranging anywhere from 7 yrs old to 78 yrs old. In January, they will be adding 4 new workers to aid in the growing number of students. Their Monday night Bible study has grown from 2 to 10 and at times up to 15 people (not including workers). All of this work is creating a beautiful harvest in Scandicci. Just 2 weeks ago, they baptized a new brother into Christ! Raffaele was baptized ina bathtub at the school. This is the 3rd baptism in the area, just in the last few months. Please join us in praying for the work in Italy and for all of the Avanti Italia workers like Eric and Jessica Smith. May the Lord bless their work and increase the harvest for his glory.
Want to learn more about their work and encourage the Smiths? Visit their website: receivingsight.blogspot.com
A Visit to the States 11/1/2015
We were thrilled to have Aaron and Vanessa Knotts visiting us from New Zealand last week for Harvest Sunday at Levy. Aaron is the only paid minister on the entire South Island of New Zealand. His work ranges from campus ministry at the local university to preaching at the Dunedin church of Christ which includes nightly Bible studies, event planning, hospital visits, and much, much more. All of that work takes a lot of resources that the struggling church in New Zealand just can’t provide on their own. Thanks to the support of Levy, the Knotts were able to visit us, encouraging us in our efforts to reach the world through missions. While they’re here, we also help connect them with other partner congregations across the country. During their short visit to the states they were able to visit with congregations in Alabama, Leesburg, VA, Nashville, TN, and congregations right here in Arkansas. This strengthens their ties to the brotherhood, allows them to raise necessary funds for their work, and provides recruiting opportunities for future partners in the work. A visit stateside for missionaries is often a series of extensive travel at a frantic pace filled with many new faces and visits with old friends. In short, it can be exhausting. But, without these opportunities, many great and valuable works lose the resources they need to continue. Please pray for Aaron and Vanessa as they head home and join us in praying for the church in New Zealand, that the Lord may provide the increase.
Harvest Sunday 10/25/2015
We are so grateful that you are here this morning. Harvest Sunday has been a long standing tradition at Levy, one that has earned us a reputation among the churches of Christ for being a mission-minded and generous congregation. Not only that, but we’ve been an inspiration to other congregations who are now following our lead and establishing their own versions of Harvest Sunday so that their members can also see and feel the deep connection we have with missionaries around the world. It’s all because of YOU.
Each week I share a new story or prayer request from a missionary in this space of your bulletin. Each and every one of those articles is about a missionary that YOU supported through your Harvest Sunday contribution. Each year the list of those we’ve supported with harvest funds in the last year grows a little longer. It’s an incredible list, spanning the globe. Each and every one of those ministries happened because you offered up a part of your life, a portion of your income, to help share the good news of Jesus Christ and the hope of salvation to those who hear it. God is good to us here at Levy and his goodness is shared among our brothers and sisters around the world because of your generosity. Thank you for making it all possible, for being the hands that give to the feet who carry the good news.
The Albrights Visit Japan 10/18/2015
Each year, Dwight and Josephine Albright, parents of our very own Jon Albright, visit Japan on an extended trip to encourage the growing church there visiting congregations they’ve served for over thirty years. This weekend they return to their home in Memphis after a journey that began back on August 4th this year. What an incredible time of work it has been for the Lord’s kingdom! Dwight wrote to tell us all about it.
“Many things have happened: 70th annual Ibaraki summer retreat, the death and funeral for Debbie Carrell, Ochanomizu Bible camp, Josephine’s English Bible classes with Tachikawa and Ochanomizu ladies, five premarital counseling sessions, three lectures for JSE at Tachikawa, worship with ten different congregations, chapel talk at ICU, home stays with two families, hosting our visiting Park Avenue couple, JSE lectureship. God has blessed us with health and the support of many who have checked lessons and offered advice over the past seventy days. May God continue to be glorified through his church here in Japan (Ephesians 3:20-21).”
Please pray for the church in Japan, that they may continue to grow in number, but more importantly, that they may grow nearer and nearer to our Lord, shining bright in their communities so that the name of God may be praised.
Celebrating in The Dominican Republic 10/4/2015
Hope Mayberry, a missionary with the Manna Global team in the DR, sent us some very exciting news this week. Jenifer, a young girl Hope has been working with, was baptized. She is the first girl to be baptized in their school and is a valuable leader among the others.
“What a great example that was,” Hope writes. “I truly believe that good things are coming out of it. Kids are asking questions and are seeking answers. Keep praying for those seekers. God is moving in the DR.”
Here are a few more requests for prayer from Hope:
• MCS Sponsors. About 1/2 of our kids are sponsored. Which means we need help! If you or someone you know who would like more information, please let me know.
• Jen who was recently baptized.
• Andrew Weaver, who is officially moving down and joining our team on MONDAY!!
• Our Santiago Ministry and the students. I went to visit a few weekends ago. They are doing so well, making friends, and bringing them to the house for devos and game nights! How cool is that?!?
• My fundraising
• I am praying hard about potentially picking up a new disciple named Elvia. Balancing time is hard… I have no clue how Jesus had 12. (Then again, He was Jesus.)
Please join us in praying for Hope and the rest of the team at Manna Global who are serving the beautiful people of the Dominican Republic. May the Lord bless their work.
Pray for Our Missionaries 9/27/2015
Please join us in praying for our missionaries around the world. These are a few of the long-term missionaries we support through Levy missions. Would you please pray for them, their work, and the hearts of those they minister to in their community? You can find out more about their work or send them notes of encouragement at the email addresses/websites listed below.
Brazil – Larry & Connie Zinck – firstname.lastname@example.org
Belgium – Luk & Holly Brazle – email@example.com
New Zealand – Aaron & Vanessa Knotts – firstname.lastname@example.org
Zambia – David & Lorie French – zambiamissions.org
Italy – Eric & Jessica Smith – receivingsight.blogspot.com
Germany – Mark & Karen Abercrombie – email@example.com
Scotland – Graham & Beth McDonald – firstname.lastname@example.org