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. 

NEW TRANSPORTATION
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

Congratulations
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.

Graduation
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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Dustin and Sherri Ellington - July 2017 Update

Dear friends,

One of the parts of my work which I (Dustin) feel most strongly about is mentoring master’s students and fourth-year bachelor’s students as they carry out research and writing projects. The young African church has many serious matters to think through, and all of my students are sorting through challenges facing their churches as they do their academic work. Let me share a little about my current research students and the significance of their areas of focus.  

Rev. Bannet Muwowo is a Zambian Presbyterian pastor writing a master’s thesis that seeks to describe what the process of mature biblical interpretation should be like and what it should accomplish in Zambia today. Rev. Muwowo believes people’s poverty tends to take control of what they are able to see in the Bible; poverty drives interpretation. People may think, for instance, that whenever the Bible uses the word “blessing,” it is talking about material well-being. Rev. Muwowo suspects that 

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Near East School of Theology (NEST) - June 2017 Update

Future generations will no doubt look upon 2017 as a historic year for the churches and societies of the Middle East, especially for the Near East School of Theology. Two of NEST’s alumnae were ordained in the Presbyterian Church of Syria and Lebanon, known as the National Evangelical Synod of Syria and Lebanon. Rola Sleiman (‘97) was ordained in the Tripoli congregation on February 27, and Najla Kassab (’87) was ordained in the Rabiyeh congregation on March 24. 

NEST community members, faculty, and students were in attendance at both ordinations. We are proud of these alumnae who became pioneers of women’s full ministry in the Protestant churches of the Middle East. Along with a being proud of our graduates, we are also overwhelmed and gratified by their success.

For years, our seminary has been promoting women’s full ministry in the church, including ordination; for years, our faculty has taught and supported and argued for women’s ordination, and now it has become a reality. 

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Bob and Kristi Rice - June 2017 Update

Surrender
“Father…not my will, but yours, be done.”
Luke 22: 42

On the morning of Wednesday, June 14, 2017, Kristi went for a bird watching jaunt with the Nature Kenya group. I stayed at the guesthouse and took some time to rest and do some therapeutic, meditative coloring. While I was tempted to color in the page with the theme of “Healing,” I was drawn in my spirit to color in the dramatic “S” for “Surrender.”

Surrender feels like the greater, all-encompassing theme of our lives, while of course we are earnestly seeking and praying for healing. We came to Nairobi three weeks ago from Juba regarding a couple of health issues which were badgering me. First was a fish bone I swallowed in Kinshasa which left my throat perpetually disturbed. Second was an inexplicable tiredness and lethargy that still won’t let me go. Over the last three weeks we have been to see the doctor four times and had two multitudinous rounds of tests performed.

 

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Hope for Syrian Students - June 2017 Update

Who didn’t grow up singing “Jesus loves the little children, all the children of the world: red and yellow, black and white, they are precious in his sight. Jesus loves the little children of the world.”?

I am reminded of Jesus’ unswerving love for children every time I visit the Middle East. I am moved by the realities of life for Syrian children and young people, be they refugees now living in Lebanon or Syrian children and young people in our Presbyterian churches who remain in their own country, even in the midst of war. What they all have in common is a need – a thirst – for education.

Many of you, both churches and individuals, have given generously to support the five special refugee schools which serve close to 400 children. 

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Refugee/Internally Displaced Persons Appeal - June 2017

Doubles and Triples

I just finished reading an inspiring report written by one of The Outreach Foundation’s partners in Jordan, the Middle East Council of Churches (MECC). For the past few years, with your generous gifts, The Outreach Foundation has supplied funds for MECC’s ministry with some of the 2.7 million – million – Iraqi and Syrian refugees who have sought a haven in this country which, admirably and with great dignity, refers to them as “guests.” MECC’s “hands and feet” for this ministry has been the Greek Orthodox Church which has been faithfully ministering to these refugees and bringing them glimpses of Hope and Light. The following excerpts and photos are taken from that report on their Winter Appeal, which focused on the “Orthodox Initiative (OI).”

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