Evangelical Theological Seminary in Cairo - May 2019 Update

The President’s Word

The middle of May finds ETSC stirring with excitement and anticipation as students and faculty scramble to finish the semester. One group of students is especially task oriented. Our prospective graduates are laser-focused on completing the last few days of their seminary experience. They will soon assume positions as pastors and teachers. They have accomplished the goal they set when they entered the seminary. It was a daunting challenge for them to leave homes and jobs and come to Cairo. Another group of our students faced an equally difficult challenge. Our MAT (Master of Arts in Theology) students remained in their jobs and their church positions while taking classes. They juggled multiple responsibilities while completing their course work. Now, they have run the race and finished the course. I congratulate them, even as I give thanks to God for making their achievements possible.

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Dustin and Sherri Ellington - May 2019 Update

Dear friends,

I’d like to share a conversation with a student from Mozambique, José Bazima. Ever since meeting him, I had been encouraged by José’s thoughtful comments in class and in the Bible study group I facilitate, but I knew I wanted to ask him more questions when he shared a simple song in chapel that really touched my faith. My experience with African Christians has been rich, and their powerful motivation to be of one heart and mind in service to their communities really challenges me. But it seems that only now and then have I heard personal expressions about Jesus, such as loving and serving him who, in the apostle Paul’s words, “loved me and gave himself for me” (Galatians 2:20). That’s something I want for my students as they prepare to be pastors, so their relationship with Jesus Christ inspires and sustains their life of service. Let me share with you some of my conversation with José.

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New Church Development in Egypt - May 2019 Update

DRY BONES?

Then he said to me [Ezekiel], "Prophesy to these bones and say to them, `Dry bones, hear the word of the LORD! This is what the Sovereign LORD says to these bones: I will make breath enter you, and you will come to life.’”

A ninety minute drive south of Luxor, along muddy canals and through sleepy villages, brings you to Adaima, a place that, like much of rural Egypt, seems a bewildering mix of past and present: a languid donkey “parked” alongside a dusty Toyota in front of a farm stand selling Pepsi and plump pomegranates, batteries, and bananas…

We pull up to a colorless, three-story mud-brick façade, where the only obvious clue that we have arrived at the Presbyterian Church is the equally colorless cross over the well-worn courtyard door. The door swings open and out bursts Rev. Shenouda Girgis to greet our Outreach Foundation team – we have arrived at our family-by-faith!

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Girls' Education and Rescue Centers - May 2019 Update

Dear friends,

This verse describes Rev. Charles Maina, a servant of God who puts his life on the front line defending and rescuing girls by providing a place to increase knowledge and understanding and educating society to recognize the plight of the girl child. Rev. Maina is a pastor and missionary to PCEA Loodokilani, Kajiado Presbytery where Mother Esther’s School and Rescue Center is located.

A group from Outreach recently traveled to Kajiado, Kenya and visited Mother Esther’s. Our group included Ebralie Mwizerwa, Outreach Projects Coordinator, Dr. Jennifer L. Ellis, First Presbyterian Church Clarksville, TN, and Frank Dimmock, Outreach Africa Specialist. We were accompanied by Stu Ross, East Africa Mission Consultant for Outreach, and Rev. Lauren Scharstein, Antioch Partner (TAP) missionary who works with the Presbyterian Church of East Africa (PCEA).

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Namumu Orphanage Center - May 2019 Update

Dear friends and supporters of Namumu,

Greetings in the name of Christ our Lord. As we shared in our previous update, a team from Outreach traveled to Siavonga, Zambia where Namumu Orphanage is located in September 2018. The purpose of the trip was to visit the children and meet with the Namumu leadership. This picture shows the Outreach team and Namumu board members after a very productive meeting to map out strategies for care for the children.

We are pleased to share this message we recently received from the Namumu Orphanage coordinator, Mr. Siakwale:

“On behalf of the Namumu Orphanage Center management, board, and children, I would like to take this opportunity to thank The Outreach Foundation and local partners for continued support.

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Hola Church in Kenya - Building Churches in Hard Places

We recently received the following information from Stu and Annie Ross, please pray for Hola Church:

The transporters and workers met at our workshop early in the morning to load the ten ton lorry and transport all the materials needed to build Hola Church. They loaded mabati (corrugated steel sheets), J-bolts to attach the roof to the steel, paint, a welding machine and other supplies and were packed and ready to go by noon.

The trip to Hola was long and treacherous. They drove eight hours until they reached a town called Garissa. T

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Don and Martha Wehmeyer - April 2019 Update

Dear friends,

This beautiful little girl with her pet was sitting on a doorstep in Lijiang, China. Martha and I traveled there for a two-week sixty-fifth birthday present. The trip was wonderful and in Shangri-La, Tibet we had a day of snow! Many of you see snow every year but for us, it was a cool novelty. This trip was mostly sightseeing. We did meet a few brothers and sisters but they had very limited English so we were not able to learn a great deal except that they had about twenty people in their home Bible study (without a pastor) on Mondays because Sunday is a workday. We are praying for a pastor to Lijiang as the population is Buddhist and atheist.

Our daughter Kristen is stronger now after the horrible accident in December. Thank you for your many notes of condolence. She is planning on going to Curitiba, Brazil to volunteer six weeks in a home the Independent Presbyterian Church has established for children of domestic abuse. She will be there from May 16 to June 26 so we ask for your prayers for her travel and being able to get along in Portuguese.

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Church Construction in Kenya - April 2019 Update

We recently received this joyful report from Stu and Annie Ross, The Outreach Foundation’s East Africa Mission Consultants:

PCEA Neema-Gilgil Church
On November 25, 2018, we dedicated a beautiful church, PCEA Neema-Gilgil. This church is located in Central Province about three hours north of Kikuyu and has an interesting history. The church was started in 2002 with just seven members. They came to us for help in 2005 and asked us to assist them in building a small mabati church. At the time, they had 25 members and were growing. In 2013 they started digging the foundation for their new, much larger church which will hold about 400 members. They will have to do some fishing to add to their current 75 members, and they will! This church now has the capacity to do outreach in the larger community in which they serve. They are also considering adding a nursery and primary school.

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Bethlehem Bible College - April 2019 Update

This year marks the 40th anniversary of Bethlehem Bible College (BBC). They recently shared the following stories about their ministry and involvement in the local community in God’s mission in the world.

After the resurrection, Jesus met his disciples in Galilee where he gave them the Great Commission “Go therefore and make disciples of all nations ...” Matthew 28:16-20

The classic cross, pictured here, is seen throughout the Holy Land and is known as the Jerusalem cross. It is made from locally sourced olive wood and crafted by artisans in the Bethlehem area.

The shape of the cross has a deep historical and spiritual significance. The large cross represents Jesus. The four smaller ones represent the four gospels of Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John – going out to the four corners of the world.

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The Presbyterian Church of Rwanda - April 2019 Update

Casting the Nets into Deep Waters: Story of the Fishermen

A group from First Presbyterian Church Nashville, TN led by Outreach Program and Project Coordinator Ebralie Mwizerwa, traveled to Rwanda in early March to visit the Presbyterian Church of Rwanda (EPR). Luke 5:1-11 was the theme of the trip. Other team members were Sara DeVries, Parish DeVries, Erika Shapiro, Ada Shapiro, Kendall Posey, Tinsley Sheppard, and Dr. Jennifer Ellis from FPC Clarksville, TN.

Sara DeVries described her first moments in Rwanda: “We stepped out of the airplane into the fresh, thick Rwandan air, the night sky was clear, and the lights twinkled in the distance. We were greeted by EPR Vice-President Rev. Julie Kandema, Kigali Presbytery Vice-President Rev. Julius Ngendahayo, Kanombe congregation pastor Rev. Denys Niyonsenga, and many youths…

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Venezuela Appeal - April 2019 Update

Land of Grace

Tradition has it that upon making landfall on his third voyage, Christopher Columbus pronounced the words, "Land of Grace." Taken by such an exuberant landscape, he had no alternative but to let himself be overcome by the need to contemplate the beauty that opened before his eyes. Columbus and his sailors had arrived in Venezuela.

Grace has surely been present in these lands tucked between the Caribbean Sea, the northern tip of the Andes mountains and the Amazon rainforest. Long before Columbus arrived, God’s grace was present. Despite the severe economic crisis the country is experiencing now, the Presbyterian Church of Venezuela (IPV) has been demonstrating grace by inviting neighbors to enjoy warm meals and thoughtful conversations.

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John McCall - April 2019 Update

Dear friends,

I recently went to the Second Crematorium south of Taipei to participate in the funeral of a wonderful friend and mentor. I met Dr. Samuel Jang, an elder at the East Gate Presbyterian Church in Taipei, twenty-three years ago when we worked together leading an English Bible Study for that congregation. I was studying Mandarin at the time, so it was a gift to me to be able to lead a Bible Study in English.

Dr. Jang was a man who had a contagious joy. He became a Christian in China when he was very young. He went through a lot when China and Japan were at war and then managed to come to Taiwan where he continued his medical studies. He became a dentist. He married a Taiwanese and they had four children who all continue to walk in Christ's way. Dr. Jang always shared his faith with his patients.

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Philip and Bacilia Beisswenger - April 2019 Update

Dear Guatemala mission partners,

The parable about the good Samaritan (Luke 10:25-37) gives an excellent description of mission partnership. The Samaritan, moved by the plight of an assault victim along the road, ignores social barriers and renders first aid. Then, instead of resuming his trek to Jericho, he carries his fellow traveler to a shelter where his wounds can heal. Next, he provides resources for his new friend’s care. Incredibly, the Samaritan even promises to return to check on him and make sure the recovery is complete.

The spirit of the good Samaritan is so evident in our mission partners. Moved by the dire conditions in Guatemala, the response hasn’t been minimal or fleeting. Instead, through your partnership, we have been able to overcome barriers and walk alongside people who find themselves in a ditch along life’s pathway.

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Hope for Syrian Students - March 2019 Update

At the Al Hanan kindergarten, the 75 little ones probably do not understand the profound significance of the name of their school. “Hanan” in Arabic means “compassion” carrying with it the broader nuances of “kindness,” “love,” “care.” For this all-Christian village in Syria of about 23,000 souls, 85 miles south of Aleppo, the Al-Hanan kindergarten and preschool has provided a haven of stability and normalcy – a sanctuary of love and care and compassion – in a place where the war still threatens, even while most of Syria is experiencing some peace.

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Relief Efforts in Southern Africa - Cyclone Idai Update

Cyclone Idai has destroyed homes and devastated crops, infrastructure and livelihoods throughout southern Africa. This storm exacerbated the humanitarian needs caused by flooding throughout Malawi, Mozambique and Zimbabwe that has affected families since the beginning of March. Having lost homes and possessions, many families are sleeping on the ground with no protection from the elements. Many farmers have lost their crops.

Thankfully, our partners in Tete Province, Mozambique, are not reporting severe effects from the storm in their area, but we continue to seek more information about their situation.

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Syria Appeal - March 2019 Update

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 one of our travelers, Mike Kuhn, shares his reflection on the ministry of education offered by two of the Presbyterian Churches in the far northeast corner of Syria: Hasakeh and Qamishli.
Marilyn Borst, Associate Director for Partnership Development

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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 …

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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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