Rwanda Church Construction - February 2017 Update

Dear friends and family,    

January 22, 2017 was a glorious day of celebration in a small village in the rolling hills of Rwanda – we dedicated Karwihura Church in the EPR Zinga Presbytery. The Karwihura congregation began in 1981 with only six families in a small mud church. Since then, the parish has grown to five congregations. In 2014 the Karwihura congregation started building this new church. The people in the village are very poor and have suffered through one drought after another. They are subsistence farmers, and you wonder how they can survive in this situation. They contributed labor, sand, stones, and stone fill to the construction project, and they also gave some money, really sacrificially. The women gathered sand and stones by hand daily. This was truly a labor of love and dedication especially considering that it is difficult for them to even find food for their families. 

Bob and Kristi Rice - February 2017 Update

Some will know that Kristi and I have been in a “holding pattern” for several weeks, waiting word regarding our future and whether we can return to our home and ministry in Congo. The day after Thanksgiving, we received a text message that changed the trajectory of our current life situation and altered the plans made and later confirmed when we left Congo in early 2016. A few days after receiving the fateful text message, a Skype call confirmed this reality. We are not returning to Congo this month as planned. In short, due to the continued political trials faced by the people of the Democratic Republic of Congo, coupled with an ongoing church conflict which has lasted four years and longer, our mission leaders have been advised by our partner church, the Congolese Presbyterian Community, that Kristi and I and another colleague should not return to Congo until a more favorable time. When that “favorable time” pokes its head from the clouds of the current political and ecclesiastical impasse remains anyone’s guess. 

Bill and Bette Bryant Crisis Nursery - February 2017 Update

Gifted with a New Name

Life began in a very difficult way for Gift. He was abandoned very shortly after birth and was brought to the House of Moses by the authorities in early 2016. After exhaustive investigations were carried out, none of Gift’s relatives were found and six months after his admittance to the House of Moses, he was cleared for adoption.

At the same time, Kevin and Mary Mabwe were dreaming of adding a son to their family. The devoted parents already had two daughters but longed to complete their family and had opened their hearts up to the idea of adoption. They were soon matched with Gift and began bonding with him at the House of Moses. Bonding progressed so well that Gift was permanently placed with the Mabwe family and was renamed Kevin Jr., after his new father. 

Inyambo Mission Center - February 2017 Update

Greetings in Jesus’ name from the Western Province of Zambia,

Praise be to God for his grace that is sufficient all the time. I would like to share my sincere gratitude to God Almighty for answering prayers concerning our general election, which went well despite some tension. In this report, I will focus on testimonies coming from the field where our trained evangelists are serving the Lord. I will also share with you some progress from our current Live School classes. 

The first report comes from Obby, an Inyambo graduate who shares a story about one of the current Live School students. Lemmy Simataa is confined to a wheelchair. He is an amazing evangelist. He pushes his wheelchair in the sandy soil of Mwandi reaching out to lost souls, praying for people in their homes, and serving as a volunteer at an orphanage in the village.

New Church Development in Egypt - February 2017 Update

God is at Work in Egypt!

When thinking of contemporary Egypt, several thoughts may come to mind: Arab Spring, Muslim Brotherhood, bombing of Christian churches. Although true, today they are moderated by words only God can make happen: new churches, evangelism, revitalization of old churches, sending out new pastors. That’s what the Evangelical (Presbyterian) Church of Egypt is focusing on through the efforts of the Synod of the Nile.

Currently, there are 392 Presbyterian churches within the Synod, including 95 church plants, or “fellowship groups” as the Synod labels them. In 2016, the Synod started 17 new churches in cities, villages or slums of Egypt. They are also focusing on church revitalizations of old churches in small towns and villages. It is amazing work when considering the vulnerability and marginalization of Christians in Egypt.

 

Home of Hope - January 2017 Update

Dear friends,

We greet you once again in the precious and mighty name of our Lord Jesus Christ. Our hearts overflow with gratitude and awe at how great the love of our heavenly Father has proven to be, and we give thanks for the gift of salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ when we do not deserve such unconditional love. We are also grateful that he has blessed us with the ability to handle and cope with whatever situations he allows to come across our paths, drawing us ever closer in fellowship with him.

We know that in many ways 2017 will be a year of new challenges, but we also know that our Heavenly Father is always there to provide a way and a means, because nothing is impossible with our God of the universe. These scriptures are so meaningful to us:
Proverbs 3:5-6   Trust in the Lord in all your ways and lean not on your own understanding… and he will direct your paths. 

Caring for Vulnerable Children in Uganda - January 2017 Update

Grateful for your passion in reaching the unreached and vulnerable children
in Kamwenge, Uganda

Dear friends,

I greet you in the name of our Lord Jesus. Our gratitude goes to all the people who have upheld this work from inception until now. Your prayers, labor and support are not in vain. We always have you in our prayers.

Graduations
Congratulations to Florence on her graduation from Uganda Christian University on October 21, 2016. With financial help from her sponsor, Florence began attending Kamwenge Secondary and Vocational School (KSVS) in 2007, the year the school opened for classes. She graduated with the first class of students. Her sponsor remained with her and offered her a scholarship to attend university.

EERN Church Outreach to New Areas: Rickshaw Taxis - January 2017 Update

Dear friends and partners,

As I was driving on the main road out of our city through the scrub-filled desert toward the Bible school where I would teach that morning, I was surprised to catch a glimpse of a small yellow three-wheeled taxi driving towards me on the open road in the distance. I tried to reach into my bag for my camera before our paths crossed but settled for a safer two-handed grip on the wheel as I glanced at the driver’s smiling face and the unique blue flowered cloth insulating his back window as I looked in my rear view mirror. It told me what I was hoping for; I was finally seeing the practical application of all the prayer, giving, planning, and footwork of the rickshaw taxi project I’d been involved with for the last year with our partners in the Evangelical Church in the Republic of Niger (EERN).  

Don and Martha Wehmeyer (Antioch Partners) - January 2017 Update

From Mérida, Martha and I wish you all a Happy New Year!

We want to thank each of you, our blessed supporters, for your faithfulness during the past year. Additionally we want to thank the staff of The Antioch Partners, our sending agency, who take care of our insurance, tax and budgeting needs so we can focus on our ministry, and the team of The Outreach Foundation which supports theological education and leadership development around the world. May your cup overflow with the grace of the Lord.

This year we are also especially grateful to have Guillen with us. There were some scary weeks while he was in the hospital, six weeks in neo-natal intensive care. 

Presbyterian Street Children's Ministry - January 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. Started in 1998, CPAJ has a vision of reducing the social-economic vulnerability of children and their families/guardians. CPAJ focuses mainly on improving the well-being and developing life skills of children and youth from the most disadvantaged groups in Rwanda through mainstream education and skills (vocational) training. 

The Current Situation of CPAJ
In 2016, 51 street children came through CPAJ – 46 have been reintegrated either with their families or with foster families. CPAJ now has 36 children in residence, 

University Student Ministry - January 2017 Update

The University Student Ministry of the Mekane Yesus Church (EECMY) ministers to students on many campuses by gathering them in small discipleship groups for training and growth. In collaboration with the EECMY congregation closest to each campus, USM facilitates leadership development and Christian growth conferences as well as Christian education activities. Seminars led by different experts are also held at each campus.  

A female student network established by the Mekele EECMY congregation brings female Christian students from Mekele University in to share experiences, opportunities and challenges. Training is given on topics 

Schools for Syrian Refugees - January 2017 Update

by Marilyn Borst

There are 1.1 million Syrian refugees in Lebanon, many of whom have been living in tents in dismal camps for years – and 60% of them are children. In a country of only four million, the Lebanese public schools are able to accommodate just a fraction of these Syrian refugee children. And so, in late 2015, the National Evangelical [Presbyterian] Synod of Syria and Lebanon came up with a vision: open a school for 200 of these children and offer them the Syrian curriculum so that they could both build upon their previous education and be prepared to return to their “normal schools” once the war was 

Iraq Update - December 2016

From Marilyn Borst, Associate Director for Partnership Development for The Outreach Foundation:     
There are three Presbyterian churches still open in Iraq. Please know that your gifts to Outreach have supported the mission and ministry of all three congregations, which has been especially critical in the aftermath of ISIS’ takeover of parts of the country in the past two years.

Kirkuk – Rev. Haitham Jazrawi writes:
...although the Iraqi Army has managed to liberate many Christian towns surrounding Nineveh [Mosul] and even though the Christian refugees have been given permission to visit their hometowns and see what remains of their property...
 

The Outreach Foundation
José Carlos Pezini (Outreach) - December 2016 Update

Dear brothers and sisters,

Greetings to you all in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ. This was a very busy and stressful year of my ministry here in Brazil. SARA Ministries is growing so fast that it is almost impossible to respond to all the demands. The number of pastors who are being mentored is growing day by day. This year I have trained more pastors to be mentors, bringing the total to thirty-eight. Each one of these new pastor-mentors serves an average of five pastors. 

Syria Appeal

The people walking in darkness have seen a great light; on those living in the land of deep darkness a light has dawned. Isaiah 9:2

In this city, which was once a heap of ruin following a three-year siege at the beginning of the war, the women of the Presbyterian Church in Homs could not ignore the needs outside the walls of their church. With so many people displaced from other cities and often with no family or resources, to be sick or wounded was a frightening prospect. And so Micheline Koudmani, wife of Homs’ pastor Rev. Mofid Karajili and president of the Evangelical Women’s Charitable Association of Homs, challenged her organization (which was founded in 1930 at the Presbyterian Church) to minister to those whose needs could not be met adequately by other agencies. With a grant from The Outreach Foundation they began to bring hope and the presence of Christ in lives unraveling...

Justo Mwale University - December 2016 Update

Dear friends,

From time to time we have conversations in ministry that help us to see afresh why we are here in Zambia, and also make us grateful for supporters who make our ministry possible. One of my students recently asked to talk with me in my office. I was a little surprised when he arrived and said he actually wanted to discuss what salvation means. He’s soon to graduate and be ordained, and my experience in America and in Egypt was that pastors and future pastors tend to know fairly well what they think about salvation. But this student was really wrestling with the topic, on account of what he had gone through in his various practical ministry experiences. 

City Evangelization, Busanza Vocational Training School - December 2016 Update

Brothers and sisters and partners in the work of the Kingdom,  

It is with great joy we greet you in the name of Jesus Christ our Lord! First of all we thank you from the bottom of our hearts for your friendship and Christian love shown over the years. Our partnership has deep roots, and the Gospel is bearing fruit in our country and our communities of EPR Kanombe including Ndera, Busanza and Kabeza. Our mission is to build a strong parish whose Christians are spiritually mature and able to testify to God’s Kingdom in the world. In our parish, evangelization is the main activity. 

Bethlehem Bible College - November 2016 Update

Dear friends of Bethlehem Bible College, 

We trust that the end of the year is wrapping up well for you! As the year 2016 comes to an end, we reflect on where we have come from but also plan for where we are headed. The past year has been full of amazing opportunities for BBC to reach out to our community through our students and staff, our faculty and those that partner with us from abroad or by coming and volunteering locally. Our hope and focus is that what is taught and modeled here at BBC will extend beyond the classroom, and that our students will be ambassadors to whatever workplace or ministry they work in on behalf of the kingdom of God.