So this is Christmas .....

06 Dec 2011

In France, Christmas is relatively low key. Because we live in a so-called secular country, there is not the same religious build up. Lovely decorations go up and town councils have swapped to economic light bulbs; shops have beautiful windows; some houses are now decorated and lit up at night. But where is Jesus ??

The 3 main churches in Lamastre (Catholic, Protestant and Evangelical, but note that we are talking about an average of 40 people at each church service in a town of 2600!!) have got together to organise a joint Christian book stall in an empty shop right in the centre of town. Perfect! Our ladies got together to decorate the store fronts and now there are angels, and shepherds, wise men, manger scenes and bibles everywhere! People have been very admiring. Books seem to be getting sold also.

Pray that this will make the average non-church goer think about God for a bit and get curious.

Our Christmas celebration will be Sunday 11th December. Our teens have a big role to play this year with a half-hour comedy play on "who is the central figure in the Nativity play?", a couple of dances, organizing our Primary-age kids into a dance. We have formed a choir with 2 songs: one modern French praise song and one traditional Christmas carol (Good Christian Men Rejoice! translated into French last century!)

The French don't have many of their own religious Christmas songs and you hear all sorts of versions of our Anglo-Saxon ones in shopping centres.

Can you believe that the only reason our church has a service on Christmas Day this year is because the 25th falls on a Sunday!

Most French follow the Catholic tradition of celebrating Christmas on Christmas Eve. Heard of midnight mass?

Please pray that at this time people will respond to our invitations to our celebration and to Christ's invitation to enter into their lives.

Primeira semana no Brasil

03 Dec 2011

Nossa primeira semana no Brasil foi cheia de atividades com o ministério jovem da igreja.

O Pastor da Rede Teen nos levou para ver algumas das atividades para adolescentes na igreja e fora da igreja. Além das aulas de jiu-jitsu no Projeto IDE, ele também aulas de jiu-jitsu na igreja. Essa é uma grande oportunidade de alcançar pessoas para Jesus pois muitos começam apenas frequentando as aulas e com o passar do tempo acabam entrando em uma célula para estudo da Bíblia, vão ao culto e aceitam a Jesus como senhor e salvador.

O U-Don foi participar de uma das aulas para ver como é.

As aulas são divididas por idade e níveis. Alguns dos meninos até competem em campeonatos locais contra outras academias. Eles aprendem disciplina, respeito pelos outros, controle e até mesmo descobrem o quanto são valiosos como pessoas. Eles aprendem as técnicas do jiu-jitsu e como usar a força para a prática do esporte na luta e não para brigar. O Rafael ensina o valor da amizade e companheirismo assim como as técnicas para a luta. Os alunos são estimulados a construir um relacionamento amigo entre eles e inclusive entre os competidores.

E até mesmo quando eles participam de competições contra outras academias o time deles faz a diferença pois eles oram juntos no início da competição e mostram o amor e respeito pelos oponentes enquanto competem.

No final de cada aula eles oram em grupo para agradecer a Jesus pela oportunidade de estarem juntos ali aprendendo o esporte. Eles pedem para que tenham a oportunidade de mostrar o amor de Jesus para o mundo, sendo usados por Deus onde quer que eles vão.

Nossa oração é para que esse ministério continue a alcançar muitas crianças e adultos que não conhecem a Jesus ainda. uma grande oportunidade para fazer amizades e ajudar uns aos outros na caminhada de com Deus. Nós pedimos a Deus para abençoar o Rafael, Aurinho e outros professores para que eles sejam usados por Deus para abençoar a outros.

Mas a diversão não acabou !

Outra parte do ministério que participamos foi o culto para adolescentes que acontece toda quinta de noite. O culto é muito animado, tem dança, música, testemunhos, batismos, a palavra de Deus e muita oração.

O Rafael nos convidou para dar nosso testemunho durante o culto. Nós falamos um pouco a respeito de como era nossa vida antes de conhecer a Jesus, como nós entregamos nossa vida para Jesus e o que mudou de prá . Nós contamos a história de como nos conhecemos e o que Deus tem feito em nossas vidas.

 

Deus abençoou a igreja com a vinda do Rafael e o amor dele para que os adolescentes conheçam a Jesus. Nossa oração é para que esse ministério cresca ainda mais para alcançar muitos que ainda não conhecem a Jesus.

Foi uma noite abençoada e nós gostamos muito de participar de um culto tão legal.

E nós também tivemos o privilégio de participar da formatura do curso de capelania da minha irmã e cunhado. Os dois estudaram e se prepararam por 4 meses para atuar como voluntários na capelania hospitalar. Nós ficamos muito felizes de vê-los recebendo os certificados e de celebrar o final do curso e o começo de uma vida de serviço à Deus. Eles irão visitar pacientes em hospitais para levar uma palavra de Deus, uma oração, uma música, alguém para conversar, ou seja o que for que Deus pedir que eles façam.

Nossa oração é para que os alunos que receberam o certificado nessa formatura sejam instrumentos nas mãos de Deus para levar esperança e amor às pessoas que eles encontrarão nos hospitais. Para a Marina e o Gustavo oramos para que eles sirvam a Deus com todo o coração e que eles possam mostrar o amor de Jesus para muitos e serem transformados com essa experiência de serviço ao necessitado.

No final da semana nós fomos no casamento da Marina e Gustavo e foi uma bênção para todos nós. Muitos convidados não são cristãos e a palavra dada pelo Pastor com certeza tocou o coração de muitos. Nós adoramos o casamento e oramos para que os dois tenham uma vida abençoada juntos e que o relacioinamento deles seja um testemunho do amor de Deus na vida de outros.

Essa semana nós estamos de férias na Bahia com a família toda e mais fotos e aventuras serão incluídas nesse blog logo logo!

First week in Brazil

03 Dec 2011

Our first week in Brazil was full of commitments with the youth ministry of the church.

The Youth Pastor Rafael Fogaça brought us to see part of his ministry with the youth in the church and outside the church. Besides the jiu-jitsu classes to the disadvantaged kids in the suburbs, he also teaches jiu-jitsu in the church as a way to connect non-christians to the church. Many people join the classes because of the sport and then end up joining a Bible study group, start attending the youth service and accepting Jesus as their Lord and Saviour.

U-Don went to one of their classes to check it out.

 

The classes are divided by age and levels. Some of the guys even compete in the local competition against other gyms. They learn discipline, respect for others, self-control and discover how valuable there are in Jesus’ eyes. They learn proper jiu-jitsu techniques and how to apply their strength in a sporting context and not in a street fight. Rafael emphasises on the relationship building and bonding between the students.

And even when they participate in local competitions against other jiu-jitsu practicioners, their team is different because they pray at the start as a group and show love and respect for their competitors as they compete.

At the end of each class they pray as a group to thank Jesus for the opportunity to be together at that place and to learn the sport. They ask that they might use this opportunity to show Jesus’ love to the world and to be used by God wherever they go.

Our prayer is that this ministry will continue to reach out to so many kids and adults who do not know Jesus yet. There is a great opportunity to build relationships and encourage each other in their walk with God. We ask God to bless Rafael, Aurinho and other teachers so they will be used by Him to bless others.

But the fun was not finished yet!

The other ministry that we participated in was the youth service that happens every Thursday night. Their service is very exciting, there is dance, music, testimonies, baptisms, the word of God and a lot of prayer.

Rafael invited us to share our testimonies during the service. We spoke a little bit about who we were before knowing Jesus, how we gave our lives to Jesus and then what changed since. We told them about how U-Don and I met and what God has been doing in our lives.

God blessed the church with Rafael and his heart for the youth to know Jesus. We pray that this ministry will grow even more to reach out to many who still do not know Jesus.

It was a blessed night and we enjoyed being part of such a great service.

We also had the privilege of participating in my sister and my brother-in-law’s graduation from a chaplaincy course in the church. They both studied and prepared themselves for 4 months to be able to volunteer in hospital chaplaincy. We were happy to be there to see them receive their certificates and celebrate the end of the course but the beginning of a life of service to our Lord. They are looking forward to visiting patients in hospitals to bring them a Word from God, a prayer, some music, someone to talk to, or whatever else God asks them to do.

We pray for all students who just graduated from this course, that they will be used by God to bring hope and love to the sick that they will be in contact with at the hospitals. For Marina and Gustavo we pray that they will serve the Lord with all their heart and that they will be able to show Jesus’ love to many and be transformed by this experience of wholehearted service to the needy.

At the end of the week we had Marina and Gustavo’s wedding and it was a blessing to all of us. Many guests were non-christians and the word spoken by the pastor touched many hearts. We had a great time together and we pray that they will have a blessed life together and that their marriage will be a testimony of the love of God to others.

This week we are having holidays in Bahia with the whole family and more photos and adventures will be posted in this blog soon!

Students taking the Initiative

01 Dec 2011

It was a huge privilege to be part of a Student Conference for AGEUP (evangelical university student movement in Peru). Students leaders from around southern Peru came together for four days in Cusco.


Students from Arequipa

My Spanish skills are at the point where it's easy to get around and do things and to have simple conversations. Phone calls are still a challenge. I wasn't surprised that even though I thought I had spelt my name carefully on the phone, my name on my bus ticket was "David Yiewayacf".

I met the group of students heading to the conference at the bus terminal. They were a welcoming group and I felt at home immediately. These student knew how to find a good bargain. It was about a 12-hour overnight bus trip to Cusco & they got a ticket for 30 soles (11AUD). It's easy to spent triple that amount on the same trip. The bus was quite comfortable. Several non-essential items didn't work like the reading light and the air vents but the only issue was that our leader ended up getting wet when it rained as the bus leaked a bit.

Arequipa Bus Terminal

I chatted a lot with a student named Erick who is studying Engineering and had a whole stack of English questions. What's the difference between "see" and "look"? What's the difference between "talk" and "speak"? Since coming I've realized what a huge task it is to learn a language. Several students had spent many years learning English but without people to practice with, no matter how many hours you spend with a book, it's very difficult to speak. Teaching English is a real opening to connect with students at University. If you're considering doing a short-term mission in Peru, without knowing Spanish, I would highly recommend teaching English. When teaching English is connected with a local church it is a powerful outreach.

At the conference, concentrating in the morning talks was sometimes hard. I had a few things working against me - lack of sleep, lack of coffee, the altitude (3400m) and what many of us would consider long talks (1.5+hrs) and in Spanish. No one told me that coffee is not a drink common with students in Peru. Fortunately we had some highly engaging speakers like Alex Chan who spoke about Sexuality and God's plan. He had the audience in hysterics. It was also good to hear talks about Christianity and Politics. In South America it can be dangerous for Christians to get involved in politics but often it is much more dangerous not to be involved. The political climate seems prone to extremes and Christians need to be a light in this arena.

It's exciting to see a group of students who are passionate about serving Jesus and meeting together. The students also take the initiative in running the ministry. This is important here because there are so few full time staff. Currently they have just one staff worker who looks after all of southern Peru - an area spanning hundreds of kilometers and several major cities including Arequipa.

Please pray:

  • thank God for the staff workers that do an amazing job with limited resources
  • thank God for the students who are passionate about serving God
  • that I can make a valuable contribution as this becomes the focus of my ministry next year

Reach the Unreached

01 Dec 2011

I heard about reaching the unreached people in my last mission's training.

While I was involved in the "Wheels for the World 2011" as a general coordinator I saw a lot people in bed for long periods of time - stuck inside their home. They had never heard about Jesus and the message of the eternal life and especially about our new bodies in the future. I met children that in last 10 years spent most of their time in bed. 

Stranger at my door!

30 Nov 2011

What would you do if a stranger knocked on your door and insisted on coming in? Read the story of someone from a terrorist group, desperate to be made right with God.

Story from Peru... It was just another ordinary day in the small Andean town where I worked. It was mid-day and someone was knocking at the door impatiently. 

When I opened it there was a middle aged man very happy to find someone at home. He was desperate to talk to someone and I was the  third missionary he had tried to find that day. Normally with a stranger I would talk with them at the door but, he insisted that he come in and kept looking over his shoulder.  Finally I gave in, only because I felt God telling me to and because my roommate was home.

He said his name was Daniel and that he was with a leftist political group (considered by most as a terrorist organisation) and that he had come to confess. That information immediately put me on edge and I thought, “oh no what have I done letting this dangerous man into my house.” I tried to push back the fears and scary thoughts that were crowding into my brain and remember that I was here to serve the Lord and that He was with me.

He said he was tired of doing bad things and that he wanted to confess to God and receive salvation from all his sins. “WOW”, I thought, “most of the work is done.” He then proceeded to share all that he had been involved in and done. It  all just came pouring out of him with great sobs and regret. His stories were chilling and very hard to hear. At times I wanted to run crying from the room but instead, I sat there and listened in silence.

The whole ordeal took close to three hours as he had a lot to download and we spent a very long time in prayer afterwards. I remember him saying, “I know God can forgive me of these horrible sins.” “Do you believe God has forgiven me?” I spend a long time reassuring him of what his new reality would be like and what his tasks were from now on.

I remember him finally standing up and saying he had peace to start his new life with God now. He gave me a big hug and that was the last I ever saw of him. He was running away to another country that night to start afresh.Never have I witnessed someone so desperately seeking restoration with God and wanting a true relationship with Him. It was an incredible insight into how big God’s grace and mercy really is. Daniel’s salvation was a true miracle.

Afterwards, I felt very privileged to have been God’s instrument that day. I am forever changed. Even now, years later, whenever the door bell rings my first thought is “is it another person in need of God?

Please pray for Daniel and the rest of the people who have been involved in this horrible group. Pray that they too may find new life and come to know the God of grace and mercy.

(Names have been changed to protect anonymity. Image from of sixninepixels /FreeDigitalPhotos.net )

GOSPEL INTO AFRICA - Ministry Startup

30 Nov 2011

It is truly such an enormous privilege to be part of God's Kingdom as a result of the Amazing Grace - Jesus Christ. What a huge task we Christians have to take this wonderful message of Hope, salvation, redemption, restoration to the ends of the world! Without Jesus, none of this would have been possible and life would have been totally meaningless.

We have established the administrative basis for this new ministry and now comes the task of making it happen. Jesus gave the vision, and this is where FAITH kicks in big time :) - knowing what God's plan is through His Word, understanding and believing that it is within His Will. His command to all believers is to GO and make disciples, baptize and teach them... to plant churches (Matt 28:18 - 20).

We believe that God will not only build this house, but also bless it with His protection and favor! Therefore we will move forward in anticipation of the direction and guidance of the Holy Spirit.

We are now contacting Christian  organizations, believers, churches and businesses all over the world to partner with us so that this vision can be made possible. We place all our trust and belief in the Holy Spirit for God to supernaturally raise this ministry into being!

The following partnerships are important to us:

-          Prayer warriors

-          Managing and guiding the ministry

-          Funding or financing

-          Participating in the mission program

-          Technical / building support

-          Training and sound equipment

Many other partnering opportunities not mentioned above will develop over time.

For more information visit our web site, especially our "Partner" page. Otherwise feel free to E-mail us with any questions, thoughts, suggestions you would like to raise.

December's Update

29 Nov 2011

Hi everyone,

If you didn't get a copy of our quarterly newsletter, just drop us an email and we'll get a copy for you - it's got some interesting bits and pieces in it.

Here are some prayer points for the next month or so - not sure how much you'll hear from us til the end of January as we're looking forward to a holiday.

1.  Praise the Lord for a successful Missionary for a Weekend in November, the weekend ran smoothly and the participants were challenged about their role in cross cultural mission.  One of the participants will join one of our Asian fields for 12 months next year.


2. Jan's trip to Perth went well, she was able to meet with each of our mobilisers there and reflect on their last year of ministry and look to next year and what they hope to achieve.

3.  Pray for Jan as she leads her last playgroup on December 1st, that she will finish well and have a good chance to share with the ladies.

4. Pray for Sean as he runs another Missionary for a Weekend 2nd-4th December, this is for a group from Dubbo, pray that they will really be challenged about coming out of their comfort zone and be able to talk and share with people of other cultures.

5.  Jan will be involved with the WEC board meetings from 7th-9th December, pray that we will have wisdom and clarity from the Lord to move forward in the decisions we need to make.

6. Pray for safe travel to Adelaide for Christmas 22nd-23rd December as we will be driving over.

7. Pray for a good break over January as we take time out as a family, please pray for physical and spiritual refreshing for the year to come.

Projeto IDE

26 Nov 2011

Como vocês já sabem eu e o U-Don estamos no Brasil.

Fora estarmos aproveitando a família, nós já começamos a participar de alguns programas locais.

O primeiro ministério que participamos é chamado projeto IDE. Esse é um projeto na periferia de Campo Grande (MS).

O fundador do projeto é cristão evangélico que tinha um sonho de construir um espaço onde as crianças da periferia pudessem ir quando não estão na escola para brincar e aprender em vez de ficarem nas ruas.

Esta é a entrada do centro

As famílias matriculam as crianças no projeto e a idéia é que somente se a criança vai à escola ela pode participar dos programas e atividades do centro.

Eles oferecem muitas oficinas: música (aprendendo a tocar vários instrumentos), aulas de teatro, computação, treinamento de líderes, reforço escolar, recreação e esportes.

Biblioteca


Crianças do programa da manhã esperando em fila para ir para as oficinas


Laboratório de Computação

Sala de reforço escolar

Estúdio de música – aulas de bateria, guitarra, violão, flauta, saxofone, etc

Olha só que lugar gostoso para aprender!

Eles tem um programa para as crianças aprenderem a ser líderes por um sistema de se tornar monitores no próprio projeto. As crianças aprendem disciplina, respeito, como pesquisar e melhorar conhecimento, como ensinar aos outros, eles participam de oficinas que os preparam para o mercado de trabalho e se tornam exemplos de sucesso para as outras crianças do projeto.

A camiseta de monitor que mostra os passos do programa de monitores para adolescentes de 14 a 17 anos

A atividade que nós estávamos indo participar era a aula de jiu-jitsu. Mas quando chegamos lá o professor pediu ao U-Don para ensinar o que ele sabe em defesa pessoal para as crianças. E ele acabou dando mais de 5 aulas durante o dia todo. Foi muito legal ver como as crianças adoraram as aulas.

U-Don dando aulas de defesa pessoal e a garotada toda interessada em aprender!

Até as meninas foram aprender!

No final de cada aula nós tivemos tempo de sentar com as crianças para bater papo e orar juntos. O U-Don contou para eles como Jesus é importante na vida dele e o quanto Jesus nos proteje mais do que qualquer defesa pessoal que possamos aprender.

As crianças fizeram perguntas e estavam muito felizes de ver que um estrangeiro quis ir até lá passar o dia com eles e para ensiná-los a se defender.

Momento para perguntas, testemunho e oração

Nós realmente adoramos a experiência.

Nós conversamos com o fundador do projeto sobre a idéia de comprar a área e expandir o centro que até agora não foi possível fazer por causa da falta de recursos. Existe uma lista de espera de quase 100 crianças que querem se inscrever no projeto mas eles não tem estrutura para receber mais crianças no momento.

Nós também ficamos sabendo das histórias de algumas crianças na região que sofreram abuso, violência, miséria, famílias com muitos problemas. Nós ficamos felizes em pensar o quanto pode ser feito para ajudar essas crianças mas ficamos tristes de saber que não há recursos financeiros para fazer ainda mais, há necessidade de mais voluntários e há necessidade de uma solução da doação ou venda da terra que não pertence a eles no momento.

Uma experiência dessas transforma a gente. Nós não deixamos de lembrar como Deus é poderoso e como ele pode usar um espaço tão pequeno, sem muitas condições, com poucos voluntários mas que ainda assim o poder de Deus transforma a vida dessas crianças, oferecendo esperança para o futuro e para a eternidade.

Agradecimento a Deus:

  • Pelo sonho do fundador que tem se realizado pelas bênçãos de Deus,
  • Pelo projeto e os resultados alcançados,
  • Pelas crianças que participam do projeto,
  • Por tantas crianças que já aceitaram a Jesus como senhor e salvador,
  • Pelos empregados e voluntários que ajudam com tempo e carinho,

Favor orar:

  • Para que o projeto continue mesmo nesse momento de dificuldade financeira,
  • Para que Deus levante pessoas para colaborar com a obra e para trabalhar no projeto,
  • Para que o plano de expansão aconteça para que mais crianças possam ser inluídas no programa,
  • Para que as crianças que estão participando do programa tenham suas vidas transformadas por Jesus.

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