Resources for Lay Leaders in China - September 2017 Update

The backbone of the rapidly growing Church in China is its lay leaders. They want continual training in how to bring the millions of new believers into mature Christian faith. Your gifts will enhance their efforts by supplying discipleship training materials and other publications for lay leaders. This year, we have collaborated in the distribution of close to 4,000 sets of materials and many other digital books. The following stories convey the impact that the work of our partners is having with 42 schools and training centers located in 29 of China’s 34 administrative units. 

Qian serves in an established church located in an urban area of China. The expectations that the senior pastor has for her are high as she was trained in one of the nation’s top seminaries. Qian was tasked with providing a leadership role in the church and building up the next generation. She feels that the leadership and discipleship resource materials will be key as she works to instruct servant-leaders. Please keep Qian in your prayers that God may lead her to face those immense pastoral challenges.

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Church Construction in Kenya - September 2017 Update

Dear friends,

This is a story about a congregation in Kenya and how brothers and sisters there are reaching out to the community. In 2013, we partnered with Kinamba Church to help build their place of worship. The building was dedicated on November 10, 2013. 

At the dedication ceremony, I challenged the congregation to start a school in their old church –  and they did. By the end of 2014, they had forty children in their school, Green View Academy. In late 2016, they came to Outreach to see if we could partner with them to build two classrooms as their student population was getting close to 100. We helped build two classrooms in late 2016 and two more in August 2017.

Green View Academy is expecting approximately 200 kids in January 2018, and they are well on their way to providing classes for kindergarten through eighth grade. Besides providing a quality Christian education, they also feed these children. For many it may be the only meal they get all day. The church has also started feeding children on Sunday – they provide meals for about 200 children every Sunday.

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Jeff and Christi Boyd - September 2017 Update

Dear friends,

Aisifuye mvua imemnyea.
One who praises rain has been rained upon.

In much of Africa, where a large portion of the population depends on agriculture for survival, rain is strongly felt as a blessing. Therefore, the Swahili proverb above means that those who count their blessings are able to do so because they have experienced blessings.

We have been rained upon. We are blessed, and this letter is meant to express our thanks to all who in various ways engage in God’s mission with us.

Every three or four years, we leave our area of service to spend half a year visiting congregations in the U.S. to give witness to how God has been at work through the global church. That is what we have been doing for the last couple of months, and we will continue to do so until November. While in the U.S., we are sharing about the work of the Church in Africa. We share about how ministries with vulnerable children help them heal from the trauma of armed conflict. We tell of families finding one another again after abandonment. We describe how education reaches about 220,000 children each year through the nearly 1,000 Presbyterian schools in the Congo. And we explain the instability congregations in the Greater Kasai region encounter because of intensive militia activity in their area.

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Refugee/Internally Displaced Persons (IDP) Appeal - September 2017

The Outreach Foundation celebrates your continuing generosity to our Refugee/IDP (Internally Displaced Persons) Appeal. Your gifts have allowed us to undergird the ministry of our partners in the Middle East as they work to renew hope and healing in Christ’s name. The following story was written by Julie Burgess, a member of West Hills Presbyterian Church in Omaha, who has traveled often with The Outreach Foundation to the Middle East.

The Gift of Grace

“Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.” (I Corinthians 1:3)

We know that grace is a gift of God and it comes through Jesus, as Paul so aptly reminds us when he begins his letters. 

Grace to you

There is a ministry in Beirut, Lebanon, where those words are not only lived out, but they are lived out literally by a woman named Grace, who is a gift of God to the thousands of refugees who have found their way from the war zones of Iraq and Syria to Our Lady Dispensary. Our Lady Dispensary is housed in a nondescript building supplied by the Syrian Orthodox Church whose bishop is in the church across the street. It is one of those places where the phrase, “you can’t judge a book by its cover” comes to mind. 

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John McCall - August 2017 Update

Dear friends,

Occasionally in life, we are able to experience a slice of heaven here on earth. I recently saw God’s Kingdom in technicolor.

For the seventh time, we took a group of 28 Taiwanese male and female university students, seminary students, and young pastors to a Christian community called Taize in the rolling hills of rural France. Many of you know Taize from singing Taize prayer songs. But Taize is so much more than a style of singing.

Last week, there were 2,300 young people from all over the world who came to Taize by bus, by train, and by bicycle. As we waited to join the orientation on that first Sunday, we met a large group of Indonesian youth who had traveled farther than us to get to Taize. Our group sang a song to them in Mandarin that says, “In Jesus Christ we are one family.” The Indonesians then borrowed a guitar from one of our students and sang the same song in Indonesian. During the week, we enjoyed learning some Indonesian from our new friends and also heard from them something of what it is to be Christian in that largely Muslim land.

That first night, I also met a very tall young man from Lithuania who plays on the national basketball team for his country. He told me that he loves music. I mentioned to him that we have a young Taiwanese man whose voice sounds like an angel.

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Compassion Ministries - August 2017 Update

Dear friends,

Traveling in the name of the Kinsler Foundation, I brought Rev. Ed Kang, Rev. Dayoung Kimn, Elder Kenneth Park and his wife, Rev. Julie Park, to North Korea in May. The purpose of this visit was to introduce Rev. Dayoung Kimn, who will be working with me in the future. Rev. Kang and the Parks traveled to visit the handicapped work and to meet relatives. 

Arrangements were made during my March visit for the purchase of a 15-passenger-van. The vehicle had enough room for the group and our luggage as we traveled to the Haebangsan Hotel. On the way, our guide gave details of our travel schedule including information about family reunions and a visit to the Wonsan Deaf School. 

Pyongyang’s streets and buildings looked cleaner and more orderly than previously. We saw green trees and flowers. There were more cars and taxis and it seemed as though there might even be traffic jams now! The group had a three-day visit scheduled to see the Chosen Jangae Hweibokwon (school for physically and mentally disabled young children), the Korea Federation for the Protection of the Disabled (KFPD) Cultural Center, the Dongdaewon Disabled Persons Fitness Center building, and the KFPD sponsored nationwide table tennis competition for the disabled at Kim Il Sung University.

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Gordon and Dorothy Gartrell - August 2017 Update

Dear friends at The Outreach Foundation,

The grace and peace of the Lord be with each one of you. Dorothy and I are doing well. In July, we attended the General Assembly of the United Presbyterian Church of Brazil (IPU) which was held in São Paulo. Our Regional Liaison, Dennis Smith, and Valdir França, PC(USA) Mission Coordinator for the Caribbean and Latin America, were present as well. The IPU invited us back for another term beginning in January 2018. This will be the first time in over 23 years of ministry in Brazil that we have been invited back to the same location (Mangabeira) in which we have been serving. We are comfortable with that decision. We have served in seven different locations during our time in Brazil as a couple.

During our first two years here in Mangabeira, the adult group at our church lay dormant. This year they decided to come alive and participate in the life of the church. They plan special events and commemorations and are in charge of making things happen. They were instrumental in helping one of the ladies of the church, Dona Maria, celebrate her 80th birthday with a devotional and cake. She was most appreciative. For Mother's Day, the ladies in the adult group made aprons to put clothespins in to make it easier to hang clothes to dry since folks where we live do not have dryers. 

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Philip and Bacilia Beisswenger - August 2017 Update

Greetings to you from Cobán in Jesus’ precious name! 

Psalm 133 declares, “How good and pleasant it is when God’s people live together in harmony!” Such harmony, explains the psalm, is like the dew of Mt. Hermon falling on Mt. Zion. As it turns out, snow-capped Mt. Hermon stands at Israel’s northern limits, whereas Mt. Zion is down south, near the desert. The message seems clear. Harmonious living isn’t just a local affair. Its blessings extend from north to south and vice versa. 

A lot of “dew” has fallen upon Cobán in recent months. In April, a mission team from Toronto, Canada helped break ground for the theological training center at the Presbyterian Complex. Since then, one Presbyterian partner after another has descended, coming from Nashville, TN; Fairhope, AL; Charleston, SC; and Cincinnati, OH. They each brought a harmonious spirit, injecting enthusiasm and energy, reaching out to the needy, to children and the community as a whole. Now the training center’s first level is nearly finished. We’re boldly praying it can be dedicated by year’s end.  

Other fantastic teams came from churches in middle TN; Williamsburg, VA; and Dothan, AL. They all enjoyed serving in partnership with churches in remote places like Sayaxché, Petén; Chajul, Quiché; and Limón Sur, Alta Verapaz. 

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Frank Dimmock - August 2017 Update

Dear friends,

It is a joy to write you in my new role as an Outreach Foundation mission staff member. As you might know, Outreach’s part in Kingdom work has involved ministry with vulnerable children and families. After decades of Public Health work in Africa with HIV, AIDS, and Ebola affected groups, I have developed a passion for trauma healing. With the assistance of The Outreach Foundation, I have been trained as a Children’s Trauma Healing Master Facilitator and will now help prepare African partners to work with traumatized children. As part of an Outreach team, I recently visited with South Sudanese refugees from four camps in western Ethiopia. The number of refugees was astounding; their stories were shocking. They had ongoing traumatic stress. Many of the refugees were members of the Presbyterian Church of South Sudan. The UN reported recently that more than 10,000 unaccompanied minors were among the 380,000 South Sudanese refugees and asylum seekers in the camps in western Ethiopia. Thousands more are fleeing to neighboring countries each month from an ongoing civil war and famine. Based on the current trajectory of displacement, conflict and man-made famine, roughly half of South Sudan’s population will be at risk of starvation or will have fled the country by the end of 2017 – that is more than three million human beings severely traumatized! 

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Bob and Kristi Rice - August 2017 Update

Dear friends,

I exchanged friendly greetings in Arabic with Ms. Niemat, who sells bread and vegetables in one of our favorite little shops in Juba. I then looked at her wares as she asked in Arabic, “what are you looking for?” The only word I recognized was “what,” but I understood, and attempted the word for bread. She corrected my pronunciation, and then asked how many I wanted. “Four,” I responded. “No,” she corrected in Arabic, “you say, ‘I want four pieces of bread.’” I knew all the words, but I just hadn’t been quick or confident enough to put it all together without her prompting. So, I dutifully repeated the phrase and knew that it would come easier next time.

Here we are again, folks. Back to feeling like little children as we learn to hear and form the sounds of a new language and probably sound rather like children as we slowly put together a phrase and get corrected for our pronunciation. As we put ourselves in this humble position of learning the basics of a new language, we are grateful for the great patience and encouragement that many people are giving to us – much needed on the long road of learning a language. 

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Bill and Bette Bryant Crisis Nursery - August 2017 Update

An Outreach Legacy Story
In Lusaka, Zambia an abandoned three-week-old baby boy was brought to the House of Moses where the caregivers named him Jacob and called him Jake. He spent his first two years living and thriving in this amazing rescue home. Although the social workers worked tirelessly to try and find relatives to care for him, they were not successful. 

When Jake turned two, he transitioned to the Bill and Bette Bryant Crisis Nursery where he continued to develop as a healthy toddler. He enjoyed the Learning Center of Joy and interacting with the other children. Last September, Jake was cleared by government authorities and placed into the Foster-to-Adopt program where, after a thorough matching process, he was placed with the Libuku family. The threesome began the bonding process. Jake has settled easily into his new family and is curious about everything in his new world. Best of all, he knows he has a mommy and daddy of his very own.

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Church Construction in Kenya - July 2017 Update

Dear friends,

Stu Ross, The Outreach Foundation’s mission staff in Kenya, has been busy this summer with visiting volunteer church teams and church dedications. In this update, Stu shares stories about three of the PCEA churches in Kenya that were recently completed and dedicated – Nagum, Olosirkon, and Suswa.

Stu writes about the dedication of Nagum Church: “This beautiful church was dedicated today, July 16. One of the remarkable things about this church is that it is in a very remote location with no water, no stores, and no roads. But people are there, and the church was crowded. The people were so happy with their new church. 

The group from First Presbyterian Church in Thomasville, GA that built Nagum Church did a great job, traveling almost three hours each way to the site. This is the sixth church we have built in this growing area. The people there are asking for another church even further afield. The hospitality from this church was unbelievable; they were very welcoming.”

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Dan and Elizabeth Turk - July 2017 Update

Dear friends,

The year is only half over, but 2017 has probably held more monumental change for us than any year thus far. As you may know, Dan’s father passed away in March. This June, we celebrated a wonderful milestone – Frances’ high school graduation. It was even more special having our son, Robert, and Elizabeth’s father, Bill Warlick, in Madagascar with us to celebrate the moment. Robert enjoyed being back. It was great to be together again as a family in Madagascar. We are currently in the United States to get Frances settled into college. She will be near Orlando. We will be based out of Mission Haven in Decatur, GA through October as we visit churches and speak.

Ministry with PC(USA)’s partner church in Madagascar, the FJKM (the Church of Jesus Christ in Madagascar), continues with exciting results. Here are a few highlights of new collaborations and results from older partnerships. We hope these examples will encourage you as they have encouraged us.

Fruits Changing Lives
What difference do a few trees make? In 2010, the FJKM Development Department helped over 70 households at Antanetibe Ankazobe plant tangerine trees – about 20 trees per family on average. 

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Presbyterian Street Children's Ministry in Kigali, Rwanda - July 2017 Update

The “Centre Presbytérien d’Amour des Jeunes” (CPAJ) is a faith based non-profit organization working under the authority of the Presbyterian Church in Rwanda. CPAJ is responsible for the rehabilitation, re-education and reintegration of street children into their families. This requires effective training and an appropriate plan for the children and their families. This is one of the reasons it was important to have a building where the CPAJ children could gather with their parents and CPAJ staff. Due to our good partnership with The Outreach Foundation, we received funding that helped us build such a facility, the multipurpose hall. This hall is being used to accomplish this goal as well as for many other needs of the children and the community in general.

The main objective of the new multipurpose hall is to improve our rehabilitation capacity by promoting recreational and educational activities for the children and providing knowledge to the parents through conferences and other educational tools. The hall is equipped to facilitate coaching activities. We would like for CPAJ to be a center for recreational and educational activities for vulnerable young people. We also rent out the hall to people in the community for meetings and events to generate income to help the children.

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Iraq Appeal Update Kirkuk Church Update - July 2017

...we rejoice in our suffering, because suffering produces perseverance; and perseverance, character; and character, hope; and hope does not disappoint us….  Romans 5: 3-5

I first met them in May of 2015. They had been living at the Presbyterian Church in Kirkuk for almost a year by then. Philip, the youngest member of this family who had fled the Christian village of Qaraqosh, had an impish smile and bright gray-green eyes. He was, in Southern parlance, “cute as a button.” 

His father had been a guard at one of the churches when they fled the onslaught of ISIS with only the clothes on their back. Along with his four siblings and parents, “home” was now a small Sunday School classroom at the Kirkuk Church – and they were so very grateful to Rev. Haitham Jazrawi and the congregation for it. Recently, I asked Rev. Haitham for an update on this family and the general state of those for whom the congregation was caring for at the church. This is what he shared: Philip is now entering the 4th grade! He graduated third grade as the #1 student in his class. Similarly, his sister, Vatican, is now entering 7th grade, which is the start of high school in Iraq (as opposed to 9th grade in the U.S.). She also finished 6th grade as the #1 student for her class! 

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Evangelical Theological Seminary in Cairo - July 2017 Update

At the recent synod meeting, Dr. Atef Gendy was elected Moderator of the Synod of the Nile for the Evangelical Presbyterian Church in Egypt. It is a great honor and shows the high regard in which he is held within the church.   Dr. Gendy expressed his gratitude towards his colleagues for putting their trust in him and hopes to serve the church in the best possible way. This is a one-year appointment, and he will be able to combine it with his role as president of ETSC. At the same meeting Rev. Yousef Samir, the senior pastor of Heliopolis Presbyterian Church, was elected to serve as chairperson of ETSC’s board for the next four years.

It is always good to work in strong partnership with friends and donors both overseas and within Egypt. The results of this partnership could be seen during the graduation of 52 of our students just a few weeks ago. The graduation took place at Heliopolis Presbyterian Church. It was a wonderful event, and the church was absolutely packed as family and friends came to witness the special ceremony.

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Holistic Evangelism in Tete Province - June 2017 Trip Report

Dear friends and supporters of Tete Province,

This was the eleventh time I traveled to Tete Province, and it may very well be the most memorable! The nine person team, sponsored by The Outreach Foundation, included my wife Elizabeth and fellow Trustee Tom McDow. We arrived at the Tete Province border on Thursday, June 8 with Rev. Nedson Zulu and Sebber Banda and project assistant Rev. Carlos Faquionne. Over the next four busy days, we visited with pastors and church leaders at wells, churches, and schools and witnessed a drama performance on preventing malaria and cholera. These events alone would have made a very successful mission trip. But we also experienced the dedication of the long- awaited Leadership Training Center (LTC).

We arrived at the LTC in the village of Tchessa, near Zobue, on Saturday afternoon and helped Nedson, Sebber, and Carlos attend to some last minute details for the dedication and worship on Sunday. Choirs from all over Tete Province started arriving about 5 p.m. on Saturday. They had come early to sing and praise God for the dedication of the LTC.

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Pakistan Update - July 2017

In May Rob Weingartner, Executive Director, and Harris Cummings, a member at Western Hills Presbyterian Church in Raleigh, traveled to visit with partners in Pakistan. We left encouraged by their faithful service in Christ’s name in a very challenging and complex context.

At the Pakistan Christian Recording Ministries and Pakistan Bible Correspondence School in Faisalabad, we were warmly greeted by PCRM director Zahoor-Ul-Haq, PBCS executive secretary Rufan Rawar William, and their staffs. 

Each of these ministries’ main focus is on reaching the majority Muslim population, but as they do their work they are also strengthening the faith and discipleship of many who are Christians. Pakistan is the third largest Muslim country in the world after Indonesia and Bangladesh. Its total population is about 180 million of whom 96% are Muslims, 2% are Christians and 2% are other minority groups.

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