Refugee/Internally Displaced Persons (IDP) Appeal - March 2019

Up the dingy stairway to a small and unremarkable second floor apartment we went, as we almost always do when we come to Beirut. Here in this crowded Christian suburb of Bouchrieh (Booch-REE-ah) is one of our precious partners in God’s mission – the Our Lady Dispensary. A few of our Outreach Foundation team, who would soon head into Syria, had come a day early: Julie and Steve Burgess, Rob Weingartner and myself. For our short time together with Grace Boustani, the social worker who oversees this mission of the Middle East Council of Churches, and with Rola Al Kattar, a volunteer who conducts the trauma healing program with children, we lived into the promise put forth on the plaque which adorns the pale green wall of the narrow entry hallway: You Will Be Blessed …

Indeed, we were blessed, both coming and going. Perhaps, more significantly, so are the thousands of refugees – many of them Christian – from Syria and Iraq who have come to this place of hope and healing and help over the years – and YOUR gifts have been a vehicle for those blessings, my friends.

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Daniel and Elizabeth Turk - March 2019 Update

Madagascar is one of the poorest nations in the world with over 90% of the population living in poverty. It has one of the highest rates of child stunting (impaired growth and development due to poor nutrition, etc.) in the world.

The FJKM (Church of Jesus Christ in Madagascar), the largest protestant church in Madagascar, feels strongly that the church’s ministry is to both share the Gospel and to help people meet their physical needs. Recognizing that fruit trees offer a way out of poverty, mission co-worker Dan Turk has been working for over 15 years with the FJKM, with help from The Outreach Foundation, to bring in some of the world’s best fruit tree varieties including over 60 varieties of mangos.

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Updated Information on Tropical Cyclone Idai in Mozambique

Our hearts go out to the people of Mozambique, Malawi and Zimbabwe as they recover from Tropical Cyclone Idai, which affected 1.5 million people. According to reports, 90% of the Mozambique city of Beira may have been destroyed by the cyclone, impacting more than 500,000 people.

We received the following note from Sebber Banda, Project Director for the Holistic Evangelism Project in Mozambique, this morning. She is headed to visit the churches tomorrow:

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The Outreach Foundation
Clean Drinking Water in Kenya - March 2019 Update

Dear friends,

Water is life!

Two years ago, in this same area of Kenya, we saw horrible pictures of dead cattle due to drought. Water is life!

Children cannot bathe when there is inadequate water. They get sick because they have drunk dirty, unsafe water. Water is life!

When there is a drought, the men take their cattle to where there is water and grass. They leave their families behind. The families left behind suffer because their source of food, milk and meat is gone. They sometimes starve. Water is life!

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The Outreach Foundation
Doug Tilton - March 2019 Update

Dear friends,

It is hard to believe that 2019 is already here, shouldering out what turned out to be a very full 2018. Thank you for your prayers, your notes of interest and encouragement, and your generous gifts that have enabled me to accompany the wonderful work being done by our partners and mission personnel in Southern Africa.

The past year has featured a significant amount of travel. It has been a joy to be able to spend time with colleagues at the Church of Jesus Christ in Madagascar (FJKM) on two occasions in 2018. In April I had the privilege of traveling part of the time with a group from Fifth Avenue Presbyterian Church in New York City. Fifth Ave PC has a number of people of Malagasy heritage in the congregation and it has long been involved in supporting the work of the FJKM.

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José Carlos Pezini - March 2019 Update

I believe that it is a good time to look back, consider, and evaluate our ministry. Let us see what God has done, using our lives as instruments in his hands, and reflect on what has been accomplished since we returned to Brazil seven years ago. We glorify God for his faithfulness and providence.

From the time that Odete and I arrived back in Brazil in May 2012, we sought to understand God's will and to discern the reason he was bringing us back to our country. We hoped that he would use us for the expansion of the Kingdom of God. God has done this, but in a different way from what we had expected.

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Iraq Appeal - Good Shepherd School and Nursery - March 2019 Update

The faithful Presbyterian families in Iraq always amaze me. And the extended family of Rev. Farouk Hammo, pastor of the Baghdad Church, is a prime example. Despite decades of hardships, terror, sanctions, and uncertainty, there is a deep commitment in this congregation to “be the Church” in Iraq and beyond. Their numbers may have diminished, but not their zeal to make Christ known. Along with Farouk’s sisters and their families and his niece and her husband, the ministries of the church – for women, youth and kids as well as outreach to those who do not yet “lift high the cross” – go on. But nowhere is the church’s vision to be “salt and light” more evident than in the Good Shepherd Nursery and newly-opened elementary school.

When our Outreach team was there in late 2017, an old house which stood in front of the nursery school was being renovated to become the elementary school. Rev. Farouk and the school’s principal, Ban, who is a member of the church, proudly shared the results of a university study done on the city’s 400 private preschools: the Good Shepherd Nursery School (which now has 108 students) ranked #2!

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Developing South-South Mission Partnerships - Update

Dear friends,

What follows is adapted from an article by Rev. Mario Gois, who is a minister of the Independent Presbyterian Church of Brazil (IPIB, by its initials in Portuguese). It appeared in the latest issue of “O Estandarte” (“The Beacon”) which is the official monthly publication of the denomination. The IPIB is the partner church of The Outreach Foundation in the country.

It was a true pleasure to lead the trip and to see how God’s people in both Brazil and Ghana continue to strengthen their relationships in mission. Because of the trip, the youth at one of the Brazilian congregations have raised support to help fund the education of Ghanaian lay leaders. Outreach’s South to South efforts are avenues through which new global initiatives and collaborations can be initiated and expanded. I hope you enjoy the article as much as I did!

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Bibles for New Christians - February 2019 Update

Dear friends,

During these last two months of “book fair season,” the Bible Society has supplied thousands of scriptures throughout the country. These items are now being used and shared by people who love Jesus and believe in his Word. These are your partners in the Gospel.

A recent Facebook post illustrates our vision to support and equip Egyptian Christians with affordable scriptures. On February 4 Mafdy came to Cairo to visit the book fair. He bought several items from the Bible Society booth to have on hand to share with others.

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Bob and Kristi Rice - February 2019 Update

Dear friends and supporters,

Theophan the Recluse, a well-known saint and mystic in the 19th century Russian Orthodox church, once said, “To pray is to descend with the mind into the heart, and there to stand before the face of the Lord, ever-present, all-seeing, within you.”

I recently began teaching Spiritual Formation to our fresh intake of students, our “junior” class (I will soon begin teaching the same class to our new diploma students as well). It has been encouraging and even inspiring to see my students’ hunger for learning, their humility, and their desire for growth in the Christian life. I shared how theological reflection helps us to open our minds to God’s truth and wisdom. In most of our classes at Nile Theological College, we reflect on the major themes of our faith and look back to the church of the past for guidance as we step out into the future.

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Frank Dimmock - February 2019 Update

Greetings in Christ Jesus, peace to you all. In reflecting over this past year with The Outreach Foundation, I am overwhelmed with gratitude for the privilege of working with such wonderful, committed colleagues and international church partners. It has been a year of challenges and victories, healing and encouragement. All praise is due to our wonderful Heavenly Father, from Whom all good things come.

I recently reflected on PEACE. What does it mean in the context where I serve? In and around South Sudan there is violence and conflict. Where can one find peace?

In John’s gospel when comforting his disciples (14:27), Jesus says, “... my peace I give you… Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.” And again, following his resurrection when Jesus appears to his disciples, he comforts them saying, “Peace be with you!” All refugees have been traumatized, and their hearts have been wounded by their experiences. In order that Peace can be restored in their souls, the heart wounds must be healed, and forgiveness given and accepted.

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The Antioch Partners - February 2019 Update

Dear ministry partners,

On behalf of the entire TAP community, it’s my privilege to thank you for your partnership in ministry during 2018. I praise God for all the ways you have partnered with TAP and the missionaries (we call them “Partners”) serving through TAP around the world. I praise God for your prayer and financial support, as well as for all the other ways you care for and encourage the TAP community. The almost seventy TAP Partners being used by God around the world are able to do what God has called them to do because people, and churches, like you are committed to serving as senders. So again, thank you!

2018 Impact
As always, it’s been a privilege to see God at work in and through the TAP community over this past year. As a result of God’s work through TAP Partners, people have met Jesus and their lives have been transformed, churches have been strengthened,

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Dustin and Sherri Ellington - February 2019 Update

Dear friends,

Do you live your life as though you will be here forever? We recently attended the funeral service of a dear colleague and friend who died at the age of 51. The homily, given by another dear colleague, Dr. D.T. Banda, reminded us and the many other Christians and pastors in attendance of a key message: We shouldn’t conduct ministry as though we have forever. Only God is forever. We are subject to time.

Our whole community has been reminded of this truth in a shocking way learning of the death of Rev. Gerald Phiri, pastor in the Church of Central Africa Presbyterian and assistant coordinator of the Booth Center, a program of Justo Mwale University devoted to training “evangelists” (volunteer lay ministers) for ministry and to training ministers, whether volunteer or full-time, in how to sustain their ministries through side work in agriculture, tailoring, electricity, and other fields.

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Gordon and Dorothy Gartrell - February 2019 Update

Dear friends,

Greetings from Brazil in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ. The church here had a difficult fall. Several members of the church have people in their families who are seriously ill. I thought I would be officiating funerals any day but am glad to report that I was wrong. One of the men has recuperated nicely. He has home care around the clock but is doing very well. Another gentleman has had a brain tumor for many years. This past year, he has been in the hospital numerous times. He also has home care 24 hours a day and continues to be in very fragile health. His 25-year-old nephew, Valter, is responsible for taking care of him. Valter does not receive much family support, so church folks are giving him extra tender loving care and encouragement.

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The Outreach Foundation
Girls' Education and Rescue Centers in Kenya - January 2019 Update

Dear friends,

We recently visited Grace Girls’ High School and brought a friend who is interested in bringing water to the school. We met with Winnifred, the head teacher. She told us that the school will need another dorm for next year and a large food storage building next to the kitchen.

Our first class graduated last year – 23 girls! We have 80 new students. We have almost completed the dorm for the new girls. This is our fourth dorm; each one holds around 50 girls. With the new arrivals, the student population is about 200.

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Refugee/Internally Displaced Persons (IDP) Appeal - January 2019

Generous friends,

Late last fall, we sent this word on behalf of the three Christian refugee ministries with which we partner in Lebanon and Jordan: “winter is coming.” Your response over the next month allowed us to make available $25,000 to be shared by Together for the Family and Our Lady Dispensary in Lebanon and the Orthodox Initiative of the Middle East Council of Churches in Jordan. Soon, food parcels, blankets and heaters plus medicines and assistance with rent were bringing Light and Hope to thousands of Syrians and Iraqis, both Muslim and Christian. In Lebanon’s Beqaa Valley, where Together for the Family serves many who live in tents, the context turned dire recently when intense winter storms brought bitter temperatures along with rain and snow. On January 16th I received an unsettling update on these vulnerable Syrian refugees from Mrs. Izdihar Kassis, founder and director for Together for the Family:

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Bill and Bette Bryant Crisis Nursery - January 2019 Update

Dear friends and partners,

The following stories of young lives being transformed in Zambia would not be possible without your partnership and support for our work of caring for vulnerable children.

Alex
Alex (name changed for privacy) was admitted to the House of Moses on September 25, 2018. Although his actual date of birth was unknown, the House of Moses staff believed that Alex was about two months old. The staff always attempts to find the child’s immediate relative or parent but were not able to do so with Alex. The police in the Eastern Province where he was brought were unable to find his mother, who had dumped him in an unfinished house close to St. Francis Hospital.

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Musalaha - January 2019 Update

As part of promoting reconciliation in the community, we conducted a joint Christmas training for our women's groups from Bethlehem and Aboud, emphasizing the value of giving. The weekend focused on sharing our love and message of reconciliation with children who have physical and psychological needs, many of whom would not be able to spend the holidays with their families. The women prepared gift baskets and gave them to neighbors in need as part of learning to celebrate Christmas through giving, love, and reconciliation.

University students are hard to pin down. For many, their energies are devoted to their studies. They are at the mercy of rigorous course and exam schedules and have too much to do with their limited time.

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