Posts in Missionaries
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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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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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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John McCall - January 2019 Update

Dear friends,

Several months ago, a friend who is one of the program secretaries at the Presbyterian Church in Taiwan national office asked me if I would be willing to visit his daughter's elementary school before Christmas to share the Christmas story with the students there. Even though only four percent of Taiwanese are Christian, it is a very tolerant culture here toward all religions. So, I was not surprised that the school was willing to have me come.

This pastor and his wife, who is also a pastor, have four children, which is double the norm for families in Taiwan. Their eldest is a first grader at this school and the youngest is just a year old.

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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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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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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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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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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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Daniel and Elizabeth Turk - October 2018 Update

Dear friends,

We arrived safely in Madagascar on August 14. It is good to be back in our home, even though we miss family! Dan spent the next day at the national quarantine greenhouse with his colleagues potting up the over 500 trees we brought in our luggage. We then drove 10 hours to Toamasina on the east coast to participate in the celebration of FJKM’s 50th anniversary and the 200th anniversary of the first missionaries’ arrival in Madagascar.

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Todd and Maria Luke

“If you are willing to give up your life to God, he’ll give it back. Not the way you expect it, but as something greater.” Below please find one tiny snapshot of what happens when a bunch of regular folks like you and me take a step of faith that looks to be so foolish.

Fifty-one Cisterns Built in Six Villages in 2018
Fifty-one cisterns were way beyond our expectations this year, but the Lord graciously worked through those mentioned above. Several supporters play important roles in this clean water story without stepping foot in Mexico, while other contributors never leave there.

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John McCall - September 2018 Update

Dear friends,

I got off the train after a four-hour ride along the Pacific Ocean and was met by a pastor from the Bunun Presbytery, an aboriginal presbytery on Taiwan’s east coast. I was on my way to lead the fourth pastors’ retreat in three weeks. We arranged these retreats a year ago, and it has been my joy, since returning to Taiwan, to meet so many of my former students and other pastors who are serving churches throughout Taiwan.

The Bunun tribal pastor (Bunun means “person” and is the name of one of the sixteen tribes among Taiwan’s indigenous people) greeted me and drove to a nearby restaurant where we met four other pastors for lunch. We then left the small town of Yu Li and went up steep mountain roads to the farming hut of one of the church elders.

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