Musalaha - August 2019 Update

Musalaha’s summer camp in Bethlehem: Is it about serving 85 children with 20 volunteers and 7 interns in 6 days? Is it having fun, playing games, making new friends, and enjoying summer? Sure. But what makes a difference in the lives of the participants that lasts more than a few days?

That’s Musalaha’s intention: Planting seeds of RECONCILIATION between the participating children – half of them Muslim, half of them Christian – and teaching them the golden rule “…do to others what you would have them do to you” (Matthew 7:12). Seeds of bearing “…love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control” (Galatians 5:22:23). These two themes were the topics we planned this year’s camp activities around – that was the well-prepared plan for the group of kids with diverse backgrounds, coming from different areas around Bethlehem.

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John McCall - Update

Faith in Adversity

Dear friends,

A number of years ago I was teaching at the Aboriginal Seminary on Taiwan's East Coast and a staff member told me that an incoming student had the same Mandarin name as me. When I came to Taiwan, I was given a Mandarin name (Ma Yueh-Han). Almost no one in Taiwan uses or even knows my English name. I am always referred to by my Mandarin name. Up to that point, I had never heard anyone else with my name. So, I called this incoming student, who is from the Bunun tribe. He didn't happen to be at home, but I met him on the first day of class. I told him that since we had the same name if I was ever sick, he could preach for me. He replied, "No if I am ever sick, you can take the test for me."

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Bob and Kristi Rice - Update

Embracing Hope: The Gift of Presence

Dear friends,

I looked over at the faces of the choir members, rigid with intensity and dripping with sweat as they sang and danced down the road. The drums beat loud, but the people sang even louder, lifting their hands in the air. I was humbled by their enthusiasm and energy. This was something of a “welcome parade” to greet the moderator and the team that accompanied him on a visit to Bentiu. We were walking (or dancing and marching, with the choir) through the large camp for Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs), ending with a celebration at the church. Being met by such an enthusiastic crowd was humbling, and then we were welcomed in traditional Nuer fashion by having our feet washed. I was overwhelmed by the welcome and realized how significant it was for this remote congregation to be visited by their leaders and feel connected to the church in other places.

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Home of Hope - Update

Christ is Our Light!!

“the people living in darkness have seen a great light; on those living in the land of the shadow of death, a light has dawned.” Matthew 4:16 NIV

Dear friends,

No matter where we are or who we are, no matter if we live in darkness no matter how great it is…when Christ comes darkness flees. Much darkness is here in our land but all we can say is that God the Light of the world is amazing, his mercies and love know no bounds. No matter how many sins we committed or how we failed him, he calls on us to remind us that we are created in his image and therefore he loves us, and through his great love and mercy we can turn to him as he sent his One and Only Son Jesus to die for our sins. Whosoever believeth in him will have eternal life. That eternal life is a great light. It’s Heaven living inside us when Christ lives in us. Amazing. We rest in Jesus only for our salvation.

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José Carlos Pezini - Update

Greetings in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ. Since Odete and I returned from the U.S.A. at the end of April, we have been traveling to fulfill an intense agenda with commitments in various denominations all over Brazil. The Brazilian church faces many dilemmas these days. God has given me the privilege of being able to help pastors, lay leaders, and congregations in different areas including mentoring pastors, lay leadership training, church revitalization, and discipleship.

In all these places, I feel encouraged by God to motivate Christians to engage in discipleship by sharing their faith with non-believers as well as helping new converts grow in their intimacy with God through prayer and meditation in the Scriptures. I have also led the church to rethink its missionary action in the context where it is located and to rethink the reason for its existence.

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Scholarships for Presbyterian Students at the Protestant Institute of Arts and Social Sciences (PIASS) and Kay Day - July 2019 Update

Dear family and friends,

Greetings from Rwanda. We are still rejoicing about the Protestant Institute of Arts and Social Sciences (PIASS) graduation held last month. Since we utilize a 12-month calendar for studies, graduation is usually held in late September or early October, but this year it was postponed until June so that we could hold it on the new campus of PIASS in Karongi, in the western province. The delay was so the new building could be finished and inaugurated. Although the building was not quite complete, the graduation was still held there. It was a major undertaking. Since most of our classes are held on the main campus in Huye, where I live, almost everyone and everything had to be transported to Karongi. Several of the staff went ahead of time to set up the venue. On graduation day, June 19, the rest of us followed in an elaborate caravan.

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Evangelical Theological Seminary in Cairo - July 2019 Update

ETSC Celebrates 148th Graduation

Among the portfolio of tasks I am called upon to perform as president of the Evangelical Theological Seminary in Cairo, none give me greater personal pleasure than presenting diplomas to our graduates. It was with great joy that I was privileged to hand diplomas and certificates to 29 graduates on May 31st at the 148th graduation ceremony held at Heliopolis Evangelical Church in Cairo. The graduation ceremony recognized 9 graduates who received Master of Divinity degrees and 14 who received Master of Arts in Theology (8 from Cairo and 6 from ETSC's online center in Minya). Taking advantage of our new online platform to complete their work, 2 graduates earned their degrees from abroad and 1 graduate earned a Master in Leadership and Management. 3 received certificates in Christian Ministry. ETSC is especially pleased to see the growth of the online studies program as it makes theological education accessible to students across Egypt, the Middle East, and Arabic speaking communities across the world.

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San Pablo Presbyterian Theological Seminary - July 2019 Update

Dear friends and companions in the ministry,

Warm greetings from Mérida, Yucatán. What follows is a brief overview of the recent activities and new initiatives that San Pablo Presbyterian Theological Seminary is undertaking. With your help, the witness of the church in Mexico and other Latin American countries is being strengthened.

Conferences
From June 2 to 4 we held our Continuing Education conference for pastors and leaders. There were 122 pastors and leaders of 10 different Presbyteries of the states of Yucatán, Campeche, Quintana Roo, Chiapas, Oaxaca and Mexico City in attendance. The theme was "The Theology of the Covenant" by Dr. Jonathan Gerstner, president of Yucatán International Academy.

Graduation
On Friday, June 7 we celebrated our graduation service and the end of the academic cycle that started in August 2018. We had thirty-six graduates:

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Near East School of Theology - Update

From the President to the Graduates
(excerpt from Near East School of Theology (NEST) President Dr. George Sabra’s commencement speech)

A report conducted and published annually by the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania ranks countries as part of an analysis project called the “Best Countries Report.” Thousands of people from over 80 countries responded to questions on the basis of 65 country attributes, e.g. economic influence and quality of life, to determine each country’s success as a modern nation. In 2018, for the second year in a row, Switzerland ranked as the world’s best country. Nowhere on the list can any country from the Middle East be found. There is also a section on the best country to raise children – Denmark ranks first. Again, no Middle Eastern country on the list. If you check the report about the safest countries in the world, Iceland ranks first but no Middle Eastern country is anywhere on the list.

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Iraq Appeal - June 2019 Update

For many years, the Presbyterian Church in Kirkuk has ministered to women in the local prison. Led by Mayada (who has written the letter, below), the wife of Pastor Haitham Jazrawi, the church has found favor with prison officials. Mayada and her team bring Light and Hope to women who are usually permanently shunned by their families and society. If they have children, those little ones are incarcerated with their mothers as there are few other options. At a most fundamental level, this is the work Christ enjoined to his followers when he said, “I was in prison, and you visited me….”

Marilyn Borst, Associate Director for Partnership Development

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ,

I'm writing to you today to share some updates from our most recent visit to the Kirkuk Women's Jail. On Tuesday, May 28, I visited the jail along with two sisters in ministry, Susan and Balsam.

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Philemon Project Preschool - June 2019 Update

Dear friends and supporters,

Leading in 2019!What has God called you to in 2019? As I look back, I can see how God has called and equipped me to lead the Philemon Project into its next phase of growth.

Our team of 17 sees their work missionally, and we are committed to providing excellent Christian early childhood development (ECD) and adult mentoring (AM) ministry throughout Lebanon. In the last 12 months, our primary focus has been on strategic growth and organization development. It was an honor to witness God’s hand at work through the project, and we look forward to what’s in store for us. Thank you for standing with us. It’s your faithful partnership that allows us to provide the best Christian early childhood development and adult mentoring possible.

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Bethlehem Bible College - June 2019 Update

Greetings on behalf of Bethlehem Bible College, dear friends!

Summer is upon us, and another academic year is nearly finished at Bethlehem Bible College (BBC). We give thanks for BBC’s 40 years of service to Bethlehem, Palestine and around the world.

Ongoing Journey of Faithfulness: Overcoming the Challenges!
Was it easy to start a Bible college from scratch, and build it to be one of the most important Christian educational institutions in the region? What kind of challenges have we faced? How did we manage to overcome them? We endured two Intifadas, several wars on Gaza, lack of money, increasing emigration, and much more. How did we survive? “He was faithful,” answered Dr. Bishara Awad, founder of Bethlehem Bible College.

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Holistic Evangelism in Tete Province - June 2019 Update

Dear friends and supporters of Tete Province,

Our trip to Tete Province, sponsored by The Outreach Foundation was great. Our thirteen-member team included fellow Trustee Tom McDow and his daughter Anne and granddaughter Julie, Outreach Foundation Associate Director Marilyn Borst, seven members of North Lake Presbyterian Church, and my wife Elizabeth and me. We gathered in NYC on Monday June 3 and departed for Africa the next day. After flying most of Tuesday and Wednesday, we met Sebber in Blantyre, Malawi. We enjoyed a delightful lunch at her home and unpacked the medical supplies donated by our home congregations.

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Palestinian Bible Society - June 2019 Update

The Palestinian Bible Society (PBS) is a national office of the UBS (United Bible Societies) with its office in Jerusalem. The work was started in the Holy Land in 1816 and is still going on to this date. The work among the Palestinians was established in 1993. It is an inter-confessional Christian society committed to making the Word of God available to the Palestinians and has a strong vision for inviting Muslims to trust in and follow Jesus. We recently received news from PBS:

Trauma Healing Workshop
The Palestinian Bible Society staff led a trauma healing workshop in Ramallah at the end of May. The sixteen participants are now in small groups to implement what they learned.

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Daniel and Elizabeth Turk - June 2019 Update

Dear friends,

The Ivato seminary campus is especially beautiful as the rains have turned the campus into a green haven. The four-story seminary building, pictured above, was constructed last year to commemorate the Church of Jesus Christ in Madagascar (FJKM’s) 50th year anniversary and the 200th year anniversary of the first missionaries’ arrival in Madagascar. It is an impressive reminder of FJKM’s commitment in preparing pastors to serve the growing church. The FJKM is the largest protestant denomination in Madagascar with over 6,000 churches but fewer than 2,000 pastors.

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PCEA Tumaini Children's Ministry - June 2019 Update

Dear friends of Tumaini children,

On behalf of Tumaini/Huruma children, we want to bring you this update concerning the current situation of the homes. The Outreach Foundation is very grateful for your generosity that allowed the PCEA Riamukurwe parish to start and operate Tumaini and Huruma homes. As we write, the Ministry is struggling to maintain high-quality care for the children who are served by the homes. As we work with other close partners to help the parish in Nyeri to carry on its witness for Christ by serving the needy in their midst, we have been actively engaging the local board, encouraging them to find solutions to several issues and challenges facing the homes.

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Syria Appeal - June 2019

In February I took another Outreach team to Syria, thanks to an invitation from our partner, the National Evangelical Synod of Syria and Lebanon, and their General Secretary, the Rev. Joseph Kassab, who was with us in Syria for much of the time. At the end of this update, you will find a timely word from him: a reminder that support for the families that make up these faithful congregations still requires our help until the economy of Syria recovers. In this trip update two of our travelers, Julie and Steve Burgess, share their reflection on our time in Homs, which suffered much through the war, including substantial damage to the Presbyterian Church.
Marilyn Borst, Associate Director for Partnership Development

Come and See, Go and Tell
Once again we found ourselves saying good-bye, this time to friends at Yazdia Presbyterian Church. We try to turn our “goodbye” into “until-we-meet-again,” but it is always bittersweet to look behind the car and see these places get smaller. Dark clouds, heavy rain and thunder kind of added to the bitter part along with our tears, and yet we made our way down the road and through the checkpoints.

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Venezuela Appeal - May 2019 Update

Power shortages, global powers, and God’s transforming power

On May 23rd, The Outreach Foundation team had the privilege of receiving the Moderator of the Presbyterian Church of Venezuela (IPV), Rev. Zulema Garcia de Rojas and her husband Douglas Rojas. During our time together, we discussed efforts for providing meals and food bags in 23 locations throughout the country. In addition, we discussed various ways in which Outreach is helping connect local vegetable growers to their two presbyteries to supplement the produce that they are currently able to find. Thanks to the generosity of our donors, Outreach has been able to provide funding to other trusted church-based efforts that are engaged in agriculture and emergency relief. We are thankful for the generous response from individuals and congregations to Outreach’s appeal.

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