Todd and Maria Luke - January 2019 Update

Gary is from Memphis and was scheduled to have both knees replaced on December 19. Last summer, he and a coworker (Greg) joined a cistern-building mission team that consisted mostly of folks from another church. Neither Gary nor Greg had been to Xpujil before, nor had anyone else from their church.

A couple months later, Gary sent me an email. He touted an affordable, easy to use, long-lasting water filter that attaches easily to a bucket. The Sawyer PointONE filter pores are so small (0.1 micron absolute) that no bacteria, protozoa, or cysts like E.Coli, Cholera, and Typhoid can get through. It has been used for years throughout the world in places with living conditions similar to the Xpujil region. To hammer home the filter’s effectiveness, Gary sent me a video. In it, he poured pond water into a bucket equipped with the filter, and then drank the water that flowed from it.

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Michael and Rachel Weller - January 2019 Update

Dear friends and supporters,

Yes, it’s been too long! We've been to the States and back, maybe a couple times since we wrote last. We were there briefly a year ago for the wedding of our son, Thomas, and to meet our newest grandson (Brian's third). And then we were there in the summer for about three months for Interpretation Assignment.

Politically, a lot has happened in Ethiopia in the past two years. The good news is that a new Prime Minister was appointed in March. Dr. Abiy Ahmed is a committed Christian, having learned the faith through the witness of his mother, a member of our partner church, EECMY. His father is a Muslim. Dr. Abiy is the first Oromo Prime Minister, though the Oromo are the largest single ethnic group in Ethiopia. Most importantly, Dr. Abiy is a man of peace and unity. He spent his first months visiting each region and pointing out how each ethnic group in the country is a part of Ethiopia. He asked people to forgive each other and to work towards building peace.

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CCAP Community Schools/CCAP Church Construction in Zambia - January 2019 Update

The Outreach Foundation recently received the following message from CCAP Moderator Rev C. Chundas:

Dear friends,

The CCAP Synod of Zambia is so thankful to the Lord for his love and mercy towards his people in our Synod. I want to thank all of the CCAP members for their support and contributions – spiritual, physical and financial. I also want to thank our overseas partners who have contributed by sending us mission co-workers together with prayers and financial support. The Synod really appreciates this support. Partners have supported us in developing the church in many areas; they have also facilitated the funding of many projects. The CCAP Synod of Zambia has various projects which are ongoing, such as construction of the Synod offices and construction of the Chasefu Theological College classroom block.

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Namumu Orphanage Center - January 2019 Update

Dear Outreach friends,

Greetings and Happy New Year! In September 2018, an Outreach team spent three days visiting the children at Namumu Orphanage Center (NOC) near the district town of Siavonga along the shores of Lake Kariba. People in the district rely mainly on fishing and tourism for economic support. Unemployment is very high, and the times are challenging for them.

The Outreach Foundation has been partnering with Namumu Orphanage Center since the early 2000s to support vulnerable and orphaned children with residential care and education. There are currently 22 children in residence (12 girls and 10 boys) ranging in age from grade five through secondary school. We have been working with the NOC board to strengthen this ministry.

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Bob and Kristi Rice - Update

“The playground is transformed,” said Honorable Rebecca Joshua, government Minister of Roads and Bridges, “adorned with flowers and the presence of many dignitaries.”

It was true – the outdoor basketball stadium in Juba did not look like the same place where we had watched basketball practice the night before. The bold colors of the women’s dresses reflected in the bright sun highlighted an atmosphere of celebration. Families of the graduates brought buckets of home-made sweets from home that they passed out to everyone around them. Government ministers arrived with their security detail, and television cameras were poised to broadcast the event. But it was clear throughout the program that the ‘stars’ of the show were the 15 graduates of Nile Theological College (NTC) proudly receiving their diplomas.

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Sureste Presbyterian Theological Seminary - December Update

Sureste Theological Seminary in Villahermosa, Tabasco is a place of strategic involvement for ministry in and from Mexico. Its youthful student body reflects the enthusiasm present in the National Presbyterian Church of Mexico as both the largest Protestant denomination in the country and the largest Reformed body in the Americas.

During 2018, with the help of congregations and individuals in the United States, The Outreach Foundation provided up to half of the tuition as well as room and board for fifteen promising students. Hear from some of them in their own words:

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News on Holistic Evangelism in Tete Province

Update from Outreach Trustee Berry Long

Thank you for the many expressions of sympathy that were sent after Nedson Zulu's death. The outpouring of support was a great source of comfort to Nedson's family. Thank you also for all of the gifts sent to The Outreach Foundation earmarked for the Nedson Zulu Family Fund which have been used to defray funeral expenses and will be utilized to address other family needs. These non-deductible gifts are still welcome.

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Daniel and Elizabeth Turk - December 2018 Update

Being a Witness for Christ in the Fight Against AIDS

How would you celebrate your 50th anniversary? One of the ways the Church of Jesus Christ in Madagascar (FJKM) celebrated its 50th anniversary this year was by promoting free HIV testing at all of its commemorative events. FJKM President Irako Andriamahazosoa Ammi was tested publicly during the weeklong celebration in Toamasina in August, see photo above. This year’s theme was “Do not be ashamed to be a witness for Christ.”

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José Carlos Pezini - December 2018 Update

Dear brothers and sisters,

Greetings in Christ Jesus, the Lord of the Church. Another year is ending and as we look back, we can see how God was gracious to us and blessed us greatly. I know this happened because of the faithfulness of the beloved brothers and sisters who have been praying for us. We want to thank you all for your loyalty. Odete and I are so grateful for you and the care that you have demonstrated towards us.

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Church Construction in Jimma - December 2018 Update

During a recent trip to Africa, I was thankful for the opportunity to visit Jimma, Ethiopia, to get caught up on progress with the Ginjo Guduru Bethel Mekane Yesus Church, or, as it is often called, the Jimma University Church.

Work on the physical structure has proceeded gradually, moving forward when the congregation has had funds for construction, see photo at top of page. They have continued to prioritize their outreach efforts or “prayer houses,” and funds that they might otherwise have used on their own building they have used to help newly formed congregations purchase land. I love their passion for reaching out.

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NEDSON ZULU ENTERS CHURCH TRIUMPHANT

A service of witness to the resurrection celebrating the life and faith of the Reverend Nedson Zulu will be held this Saturday, December 1, at 10:30 a.m. in the sanctuary of the Westminster Presbyterian Church, 3900 West End Avenue, Nashville, TN 37205. Refreshments and a time of visitation in Goodpasture Hall will follow the service.

For those unable to attend the service, it will be live-streamed on Westminster's website at http://www.nashvillewpc.org at 10:30 a.m. Central time. In the days following, a video recording of the service will be available on The Outreach Foundation's website.

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New Church Development in Egypt - December Update

Note: In November I led another team to Egypt with a key focus of our journey being visits to some of the new church developments and church revitalization initiatives of the Synod of the Nile. Of the 400 congregations which comprise the Presbyterian Church in Egypt, 100 have been planted or revitalized in the past 10 years! “Revitalized” churches are historic congregations – some more than 100 years old – which had dwindled in size usually because members moved to larger cities for jobs. In danger of disappearing completely, they could no longer support a full-time pastor or basic ministries. Often their building was deteriorating. The Synod, with help from partners like The Outreach Foundation, has supplied full-time pastors and other resources to “restart” these congregations, and many are thriving again. Below are excerpts from my journal which give glimpses into these Spirit-infused efforts which are strengthening the witness of Jesus Christ in Egypt. Marilyn Borst, Associate Director for Partnership Development

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Philip and Bacilia Beisswenger Update

Greetings Guatemala mission partners and friends!

“We have come from a far country,” said the Gibeonites to the Israelites. “Now therefore, make a covenant with us.” (Joshua 9:6) Thus we note the enduring biblical interest in making international connections. The practice continues today in “far countries” like Guatemala, with covenant partners witnessing personally to one another, enabling Christ’s mission to grow deeper and wider.

Presbyterian Complex: Five amazing groups traveled to Cobán, getting involved personally in all areas of ministry.

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Bob and Kristi Rice Update

Celebrating Peace in South Sudan

Wednesday, October 31 was a big celebration in Juba of the recent peace agreement in South Sudan. Several African presidents came, along with leaders of opposition parties in South Sudan. As the city of Juba was busy preparing for the celebration by painting curbs, picking up trash, and sending truckloads of soldiers to beef up security, we were not sure what to expect. Leaders who had been at war were going to be in the same location. We were advised to stay home and lay low rather than join the crowds at Freedom Field.

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City Evangelization, Busanza Vocational Training Center - November 2018 Update

The Vocational Training Center in Busanza has almost reached the end of its second academic year. The training lasts from January to December. After the first 10 months, the students are required to do an internship in a different area of Kigali city.

The current students started their two-month internship on November 1. Like last year’s group of graduates, we are sure that this group of students will perform well in the skills they acquire from our school. Their success demonstrates the importance of the school and the impact it has on changing the lives of our community and nation in general.

This year’s class has 44 students. There are 21 students in sewing and 23 in hairdressing. Our first class had 34 students who all graduated at the end of 2017 (17 in sewing and 17 in hairdressing).

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Hope for Syrian Students - November 2018 Update

They were expecting forty-five refugee children this year at the school in Tripoli. When they reached one hundred and twenty-five, they had to stop enrollment as their resources were at capacity….

In 2015 with more than 1.2 million Syrian refugees in Lebanon (60% of those were of school age) the National Evangelical Synod [Presbyterian] Synod of Syria and Lebanon came up with a vision: open a school for 200 of these refugee 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 over. The Synod was not a novice in the field of education, as they have operated schools in Lebanon for over 150 years. Two refugee schools were opened in the Beqaa Valley where vast tent cities of refugees had been formed. Another one would evolve north of Beirut in Minyara, and a fourth was needed south of the capital in Tyre.

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Keith Vandegrift and Lana Bell - November 2018 Update

Greetings friends,

On October 15th our home assignment came to an end. We are in Antigua, Guatemala for two months of language learning and study. Following that, our plan is to go directly to Cuba when we have a visa in place.

In August I made contact with some friends in Cuba and said in so many words, “It’s now or never.” To our surprise, a pastor friend got back to us quickly with a plan. That’s right: a real, logical, doable plan to obtain a visa to live and work in Cuba. We’ll believe it when we see it, of course, but this is the best shot we’ve had so far of getting permission and a visa, so we are encouraged.

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Iraq Appeal - November Update

“How good and pleasant it is when brothers and sisters dwell together in unity.” Psalm 133:1 Those words kept running through my mind our first night in Kirkuk. As their children laughed and played, we sat in the church yard with members of three families including Nashwan, whose brother had been killed in Mosul by ISIS, and Zena and their two children, who still live here at the National Evangelical Presbyterian Church of Kirkuk. We listened as they told us about what had happened four years ago when ISIS attacked the Nineveh Plain, home to a number of historically Christian villages including Qaraqosh, where these families had lived. We heard them speak about leaving their homes with only a few moment’s notice and fleeing, first to Erbil and then to Kirkuk. We cried as they told us about knocking on the doors of the Presbyterian Church, hoping to find a place of safety and refuge.

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