Sunday, November 11, 2012

Blessed Teaching Trip to Madagascar

HANDING OVER THE BLESSING OF OUR PROJECTOR TO BE A GREATER BLESSING TO THE WORK OF MISSIONS IN MADAGASCAR! Hi all, Greetings from hot and humid Mahajanga, NW Madagascar! It truly is such a privilege to be apart of what God is doing through YWAM Mauritius as they walk by faith in response to His direction. I was overwhelmed by the place right near the beach that God has provided to run the school in--in only two weeks! What a confirmation it was for the staff team, with even more beds than were needed already provided. I, as the week's speaker, have my own little self-enclosed penthouse and have felt so welcomed by both the staff and students (most from other parts of Madagascar). Today was the first day of class and it was great to jump right into missions and see where the students were at in their experiences and understanding of God's eternal purposes among all the nations. Definitely looking forward to the rest of the week I have to spend with them...though I do miss my two girls terribly:( Just tonight I had some prayer time with the staff team and God reminded me that this school of islanders would bring a prophetic release for the whole region as the Mauritian school leader shared about how they were feeling led to go to East Asia, though none of YWAM Madagascar or Mauritius past teams have been able to go there. I also felt that my part was not only to come and teach for the week, but was deeply impressed by how I am able to take part in something much greater as God reveals His purposes through the lives of these students and staff among the nations, and uses them to release a fresh expression of His glory among another people group. [Pic: Cutting *koba *(Malagasy rice pudding) for the students] I arrived back Sunday and getting back into local ministry while taking part in Strategic Missions school downtown with a couple visiting from Palestine. I arrived midnight, so it felt like Christmas Eve because I could not wait to see Busi in the morning and her reaction to the gifts I brought her. I still need to update others on Madagascar, and where I am at now. Haven;t even told my family yet, but my health seems to have taken another turn for the worse and seeking doctor's advice once again. have been having diarrhea for two weeks now, so very little energy. Thankfully, Thandi is going strong and we are booking in a final scan appt. this week.

Saturday, October 20, 2012

UNITE IN PRAYER FOR SUDAN / SOUTH SUDAN OCTOBER 19th-21st... This is a prayer event in connection with the South African-based Organization SSNet, though centered on a Prayer hub in Khartoum, Sudan. Take some time during these three days to unite in prayer for Sudan / South Sudan.... Here are the Prayer Points given [but feel free to pray as the Spirit leads]: * God's glory in and over Sudan and South Sudan. * His plans for the two nations coming into fulfilment. * Sudan and South Sudan becoming good neighbors to one another - pray for a healthy interdependence between the two nations and that their cooperation with one another would become a blessing to the region. * Pray for the completion of outstanding matters between the two nations related to the independence of South Sudan, like border issues and contested areas. * Pray for laborers for the harvest and that God's word will go out and accomplish what He sends it out for. These were taken from a previous outreach to Upper Nile Province of what is now the Republic of South Sudan [bordering a part of the Sudan where the government has renewed bombing efforts to subjugate the local populations]:
Also, I picked these dire statistics recently from the blog of a missionary with IRIS Ministries in Yei, South Sudan, and thought would give more insight into praying for this new nation: "Friends, we have been hearing some recent stats and facts on local radio or from various articles/studies we’d like to share: At $90 USD GDP per capita we are now the poorest nation on the planet We are also simultaneously one of the most expensive in the world: an apple can go for $2 or a mud hut for $1500USD/month to rent in some parts. We have 90% unemployment 90% of the population makes under $1/day We have 15 of the 16 of the world’s most deadly diseases There is approximately 1 doctor/500,000 people conservatively here We have the highest maternal mortality rate in the world, 1 in 6 women die in childbirth or due to related complications Anywhere from 1 in 2 to 1 in 4 children don’t live to see their 5th birthdays Regional drought and supply route interruptions has caused some food prices to more than double, if they are available at all. We top the worst of the worst in illiteracy, girl child education and well access to basic education in general. There are well over 1 million orphans here alone. Some estimate less than 3% of the population have a personal relationship with Jesus. But these numbers are just the beginning of the story. They tell the need, not the incredible opportunity to step into the unseen realm of God’s promises and see His unfailing love change the world around us. The story of God’s miraculous provision, holy transformation, healing and freeing of a nation is just getting started. The story of the supernatural realm of heaven coming once again to the last, the least and the lost, to those that know their need. We think there is no better place to call home… a place where faith and trust in His goodness is not an option. Please join us as we pray and trust for all of heaven to be manifest in our midst. We love you and cherish your prayers!" [Excerpted from http://irissouthsudan.org/]

Saturday, May 5, 2012

April Update: We are moving!...

It is just over a month since we returned from our pioneering ventureinto Uganda and the new Republic of South Sudan, and we are only now gettingadapted into our new schedule back in Cape Town. And now winter seems to be in full swing as the cold wind and rain kicks up and lasts longer. It has been a long recovery, mainly for Bryanas he has been suffering from a stubborn infection with open sores around hisbody, which (along with a return of intestinal issues) has lowered his energyall around. What a blessing it has been, however, to be welcomed back into thecommunity of Overcome Heights as if we were never gone! We are now even reconnecting with families wehad been visiting and holding small Bible study groups with two years back, and it is so encouraging to see them understanding more of the vision to walk in obedience to God's Word and not just gain more knowledge of it (what we do in Simple house churches). The second picture shows Mom having the chance to join us on ministry during her 3-week visit with us, bonding with Mama Gloria. We also got to go on the Table Mountain Cableway for the first time on Thandi's birthday--it was a perfectly glorious day (see Pic 3). Bryan is busy getting all the requirements together for his permanentresidence application (so there will be no more need for Visas in SouthAfrica), though has been setback with the additional requirement of anotherpolice clearance from the US, since the last one was submitted at a differentHome Affairs location. We appreciateyour prayers that this application will be received soon and smoothly, including the fingerprints being sent back to the States. The biggest news for us right now is our move to a home with ayard! [Will be sending some pics with our next update, which will also give a full report of the Issore Outreach]. We have felt a while now that the time was right to move out of ourself-enclosed flat, but were just waiting on God for the right place to openup. The rent will only be about $100 more a month, though the challenge andscramble has been buying a lot of furniture since this place comes withabsolutely nothing (except toilets and running water;). We have so far bought a stove, two beds (onefor guest room), dining table, washing machine, and working on a fridge. We have been blessed to find great deals, a lot from friends who are moving out as well,so we really thank God for making it far easier than what it could be. It has also been nice to not have to changerealtors, but to continue paying rent to the same office a few blocks away. The hardest part in this move has been the reality of acquiring andinvesting in a lot of new material things without the exact knowledge of whenwe will be making the move up to Uganda/South Sudan. We have been praying for a couple years now,though have not arrived at an exact time or even a first location to beginministering from. That is a major reasonwhy Bryan is planning to make a scouting trip up to the newly pioneered base inWau town, Bahr al-Ghazal, South Sudan by the end of this year or beginning ofnext. The timing will depend on when the next Church Planting and Leadership school will be run from our Frontiers Department. We had planned to bump the school a quarter earlier to July, but, due toa lack of students applying up to now, it looks like we will be holding it from Sept. again, which would mean Bryan's Pastoral visit to the team in South Sudan would be in Jan/Feb 2013. We are excited to be having a Ugandan lady we worked with a bit on our last trip passionate about church planting and applying to do our school. Stand with us in prayer for the right students to be coming to our base at the right time, that more laborers would be sent forth equipped for the great harvest among the unreached in the frontiers... In addition to our Tues/Thurs. ministry in Overcome with some DTS students, we have been making more prayer walks and treasure hunts downtown with peoples from all over Africa and the Middle East. We have sensed God leading us as a department to be more intentional in building relationships with Muslims and other unreached peoples that all over here in Cape Town. It has been exciting to hand out JESUS film DVDs to Wolof speakers of Senegal, and see their joy at receiving a message in their native tongue! I have been going by train with Pastor Jack, a very humble Congolese brother now on his DTS outreach alone, and he is very anointed in leading people to recognize their need for Christ. Just last Friday he had the privilege of leading 6 souls to the Lord in a nearby township, 2 Malawians and 4 Zimbabweans, speaking prophetically into their lives and seeing them come broken before their Maker and Lover of their souls. We are together trusting God for increasing fruit among the Muslims in downtown Cape Town markets, and know God is busy making Himself known. Lastly, we were so blessed as a family to be invited to a church last Sunday in a predominantly Muslim part of Cape Town called Athlone by a pastor friend along with our colleague Simon from the UK. We didn't know what to expect, but just knew we have been praying to impact more communities that are not receiving the gospel here in Cape Town, and Athlone is the historical Muslim heart of the city (along with Bo Kaap neighborhood). The pastor was gracious enough to allow both Simon and I to share our hearts, about the department and about our focus in South Sudan as well. The congregation also wanted to hear from Thandi and she testified once again to God's faithfulness to us in protecting Busi everyday in unpredictable South Sudan (she also got to share in our home church in Overcome township, along with Mom:). It was amazing to see the women drawing so much courage from her, and more importantly, faith in the Almighty. The pastor has seen a decrease in his congregation as he has been obeying Jesus to preach about church as a discipling community, and not just a building to gather in. He was very excited as we talked more about Simple Church and its goal of obedience and growth for every member. We were also blown away when they treated us to lunch afterwards, gave an offering for my petrol, and spoke candidly about their desire to support missionaries in the field (meaning us in South Sudan)!!! Praise God, what a joy it is to draw together in His presence. Thank you all for your faithful support and care shown to us as a family...may we continue to pray the Kingdom come in all we are privileged to take part in. The Whitlocks Psalm 46:10 NOT SURE WHY THIS BLOG IS CLUMPING TOGETHER ALL MY NICELY-FORMED PARAGRAPHS, BUT WORKING ON IT...SORRY NOW IF IT IS DIFFICULT TO READ (PLEASE LET ME KNOW YOUR EMAIL ADDRESS IF YOU WANT TO RECEIVE EMAIL UPDATES THAT ARE TIDIER:)

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Update from Among the Least Reached of South Sudan

Apfoyo ri ni... (literally "I appreciate you and that your day is going well")! That is the beautiful local language of Acholi, spoken in both Uganda and South Sudan. Plz refer to my Facebook album to be able to view photos from where we are living... First of all, we are alive and well here in the beautiful new nation of South Sudan, in the lush (even in dry season) Acholi Mountains...we are facing many challenges that are to be expected with pioneering in a virgin land, though one of the major ones has been working alongside with the more prominent Catholic Church. Even now, our only communication to the outside world is through the JRS (Jesuit Refugee Service) compound next door to our fledgling compound, which has been seeking to start a church just in the village below where we are living and their catechist is now claiming we are "seducing" Catholics (nearly all nominal) to join us in fellowship instead of going to their chapel. So, please first pray for understanding to come on both sides and the spirit of Christ to enable His Church to go forward into the Unreached of Issore, and particularly the village of Singili, where we are now living and reaching out to (after having spent several days digging a pit latrine, with local help, slashing and burning the land and then clearing it out to be able to pitch our tents on--it is a big land not too far from a nearby stream and we are even starting construction on two local huts for long-termers to stay there). Secondly, Busi has proved just how mighty of a missionary she is, with one old lady nearby always greeting her with "Abuba!" (meaning 'very old woman'), whereby Busi replies very clearly, "Abuba!" She usually begins each morning coming out of the tent (after she puts her boots on) saying "Hi!" whereby a group of children sing back in perfect unison "Hi!" She has had a very healthy appetite and even has begun greeting her food and drink: "Hi posho!" (local maize meal) and "Hi tea!" She takes and eats nearly everything the local children give her (roasted maize, pomnegranate, mango, papaya,etc), so we are really praying! The rest of the team really loves her and has taken to watching out for her. We have seen God's hand of protection so heavy on her (even since our first two nights in Kampala when her mosquito bites got infected badly and the wounds are only drying and healing now), and we are getting used to cleaning nappies all the time;) It was quite a rush getting into our first site back on the 12th, as we had wanted to take advantage of the YWAM Arua base vehicle being available to take us with foodstuffs and other items, because we knew from then on out we would be making the 4-5 hour hike down on foot. Even as we came down yesterday as a team for the first time, the bush took its toll on us and we are doing our best to rest up before heading back up. We really thank God for moving Uncle Bud and Aunt Darlene to give us their baby-backpack for Busi, as that has enabled us to do a lot of travelling with relative 'ease' (I use that term loosely). We have been blessed to be moving with two Acholi-speaking YWAMers, Bosco and William, though they each have families of 7 children and so have been coming and going to see they are situated back in school. Our team of 5 (including Busi) is also joined by a Rwandese brother named Higiro Eric, who truly exudes the joy of the Lord, and is among these people for his 2-year Frontier Missions outreach. It has been great to work together, and share what God is doing in our lives and speak out His truth and purposes over this place of Issore, a long-neglected people ( Jeremiah 24:5-7). Our first time going into the heaart of the spread-out village of Singili (where we are now living) brought us firsthand into contact with a ritual sacrifice of a goat, and they had promptly asked us to leave as only the elders could take part in carrying out the age-old ritual. The next day, we got word that that very night they were dancing for the spirits to accept the sacrifice and cleanse the wrongdoing committed, a healthy baby died in his sleep. It is so tragic and heartbreaking to hear, but also not surprising when the leaders of the people invoke the spirit of death into their presence. After hearing this, I shared in our first fellowship a week ago out of 1 Corinthians 1:25 about "God's foolishness is wiser than man's wisdom", emphasizing that God is greater than any cultural traditions we try to form to understand our world, and God calls us to seek out His great wisdom and incorporate into our local cultures, which is glory to the risen Christ! We know it will take time for the Word to seek into the hearts of the people, but trusting we are here at the right time, in obedience to His call and He will do it......... PRAYER POINTS: - Wisdom (esp. with one influential, but controversial, leader in the community who is open to Gospel) - The building of compound to go on smoothly in Singili--that it be a place of peace and the presence of the Lord going out into every home in the area - Strong in the Word (Spiritual Battle) and Prayer (Speaking out Truth) - Learning the Language (only a few know Juba Arabic, which I am picking back up, but I prefer learning their heart language anyway) - Love for the People (continue to receive from the Lord) - Kingdom Partnership with JRS and Catholic church (understanding of who YWAM is) - Football ministry (Bosco will bringing a new ball, as the one we brought got a pancha) - Strategies in overcoming Illiteracy...we have Acholi Bibles, but also looking at teaching alphabet not only to children (we have one brother named Manya learding to read Acholi with us through the Bible; he was baptized last week and we are now discipling him) - Continued health and grace with food/water - Growth in teaching local brethren to read God's Word in their own language, and they would in turn teach others (now beginning Discovery Bible Study groups together, modeled from Floyd McClung) - People will understand they are called to gather others and minister the Word, not only a foreigner, as they grow in the truth of who God is for them...would not be expecting a Church Building, but we would leave behind a movement of church planters among them - We are deeply conscious of the need to raise up Spirit-empowered DISCIPLES who can make godly decisions on their own in all circumstances, and not mere CONVERTS to our 'YWAM-brand' of the faith... Pray this can become a reality in spite of confusion from Catholic adherents, and the people having been neglected by the Church for so long....... Lastly, please be aware communication is a major challenge here (with phone networks not getting any coverage) and so it may be another month before you hear from us again! Thansk for all the prayers! APOYO MATEK! Pakha Lubanga (Praise God)