Cuba Trip Journal

The Outreach Foundation’s Marilyn Borst and a team of travelers enjoyed a rich time with Presbyterian partners in Cuba in September. Camille Josey, Small Church Mission Catalyst for Outreach, coordinated a trip journal written by team members with interesting details about the week as well as a brief history of the Presbyterian Church in Cuba.

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The Outreach Foundation
Pakistan Update

In September I was privileged to travel to Pakistan with Rev. Richard Paddon, a retired pastor and member of my presbytery. Our host was the Rev. Dr. Majid Abel, Moderator of the Presbyterian Church of Pakistan and pastor of the Naukala Church whose guest quarters we occupied.

I remember, years ago, watching with amazement a 16mm film that told the story of how Dr. Norval Christy, a Presbyterian medical missionary at the historic Taxila Christian Hospital, pioneered a new surgical procedure for removing cataracts. Imagine being a missionary, or a pastor, or simply a follower of Jesus in a country of 212 million people where 2% are Christian.

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Women's Ministries in Africa - October 2018 Update

First Tumekutana Prayer Letter After 2018 Gathering

Tumekutana, which means “we have come together,” is a conference of Presbyterian women leaders in Africa who gather to support each other and to unite with the global church. The Outreach Foundation supported Tumkekutana in Ghana in 2015 and did so again in Johannesburg, South Africa, September 15-21, 2018. We recently received this note from the Tumekutana President, Rev. Dr. Bridget Ben-Naimah:

Please join us in thanking God for traveling mercies to and from Johannesburg for all participants. By God’s grace, each participant arrived home safely.

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ECO Egypt Initiative - October 2018

In late 2015 11 ECO churches in the East Central Presbytery came together to create a new mission project called the ECO Egypt Initiative. In conjunction with the Evangelical (Presbyterian) Church of Egypt, the focus of the project was new church development (NCD) and church revitalization in Egypt.

Imagine a denomination of slightly more than 400 churches (the Synod of the Nile) and 106 or 26% of the churches being new church developments! In a country that is only 10% Christian, it is amazing to think the church is growing. “But with God, all things are possible” (Matthew 19:26). In addition to NCDs, there are many old, small country churches that need help. Some of these churches were started in the late 1800s by Presbyterian missionaries and they have continued their service for more than 100 years. But with populations shifting from the country to the major cities, the churches have suffered and need revitalization.

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The Outreach Foundation
Refugee/Internally Displaced Persons Appeal - October 2018

And winter is coming …

They are Iraqi Christians who fled ISIS and Syrian Muslims were driven out by war. They found safety in Lebanon and Jordan but not much else, as they quickly overwhelmed the capabilities of the governments who opened their borders to receive them. International aid agencies came to their assistance but so much more was needed, especially considering that more than 60% of them are school-age children. The numbers are hard to grasp: 1.3 million Syrians came to Lebanon – in a country of only four million people. In both Jordan and Lebanon, many want to go home but their countries are not yet stable. Others are in the long queue to immigrate to the West. Most just do not know what the future holds for them and their families. Some have made a temporary life in tents. Others crowd together in small rooms. Despair is found in abundance. Hope is a rare commodity.

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Matanzas Evangelical Theological Seminary - October 2018 Update

I just came back from my 15th trip to Cuba leading another team from The Outreach Foundation. I am usually asked a simple question by those who are surprised to hear that there is a Presbyterian presence there: “Oh, really…how did you find the Church there (i.e. what is going on with it)?” My simple answer: “I find that it is persevering…”

Often you meet a person on these Cuban journeys who seems to embody this like Mercedes Cardenas, an 89-year old elder in the village church of Sabanilla. Rail thin, with thick glasses and an effervescent personality, this Afro-Cuban retired school teacher models an inspiring life of faithfulness – of perseverance. She remembers the first Presbyterian evangelist who came to town in the 1930s when she was a small child.

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Nancy Collins - October 2018 Update

A Model of Faith, Love, and Action

Dear family and friends,

In 1988, Victor Chilenje graduated from Zomba Theological College, Zomba, Malawi, with a licentiate in theology and prepared to return from Malawi to eastern Zambia with his wife and two young children to begin pastoring a congregation of the Church of Central Africa Presbyterian Synod of Zambia (CCAP Zambia). Because the synod had not provided the Chilenjes with any travel funds, the family went by bus to Nkamenya near the Zambian border. From there, Chilenje walked three kilometers to a village where he was able to hire an ox cart to take his family across the border to the first village in Zambia. At the border, the family waited while Chilenje used a borrowed bicycle to ride three hours to his home village in rural eastern Zambia.

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The Outreach Foundation
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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CANIP, National Presbyterian Camp - October 2018 Update

Dear friends,

It was just over a year ago that Hurricane Irma slammed the northern coast of Cuba. Flooding in the capital of Havana was captured in iconic images like this one to the right. But further to the east the impact was even greater, and squarely in the center of the worst of the destructive wind and rain was the camp and conference center (CANIP, for short) of the Presbyterian-Reformed Church in Cuba.

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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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Outreach Announces Mark Mueller as next Director of Development

The Outreach Foundation is pleased to announce that the Rev. Dr. Mark Mueller has been called to serve as Outreach’s next Director of Development.

Mark brings to his new post a wealth of leadership experience, a deep understanding of biblical stewardship and a passion for God’s mission in the world. After working for ten years as a teacher and school administrator, Mark heard God’s call to pastoral ministry, and he has served congregations for twenty-three years.

Having traveled numerous times with Outreach to visit with church partners, Mark has been serving as an Outreach trustee.

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The Outreach Foundation
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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Baryé Fè High School - September 2018 Update

Dear friends,

In a time in Haiti where only 5% of the children who start school will be able to earn their high school diplomas, we are pleased to announce a 99% passing rate for this past school year with 100% of our 9th graders passing the National Exam.

For the 2018-2019 school year, we will be adding 180 Pre-K students to our primary roster and welcoming 80 students who graduated from the 6th grade at Cite Soleil and Terre Noire to the 7th grade at Baryé Fè. A total of 228 students are expected to attend Baryé Fè this year. The projected completion of the second secondary building will allow for the accommodation of 10th grade students.

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Dustin and Sherri Ellington - September 2018 Update

Dear friends and supporters,

Sherri and I have served eight years in Zambia, a country that is officially over 95% Christian yet where 100 years ago there were hardly any Christians at all. Most of this growth has happened in the last 50 or so years.

The church here is dealing with second and third generation issues. On one hand, there’s been amazing numerical success, there are churches and Christian institutions everywhere, and even the constitution declares Zambia to be a Christian nation. But on the other hand, when everyone is supposed to be Christian and righteous and when prestige and power belong to those who control Christian institutions, there’s a challenge to stay supple before God and one another for the sake of ongoing deeper conversion.

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Bill and Bette Bryant Crisis Nursery - September 2018 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.

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The Outreach Foundation
Syria Appeal - September 2018

Bringing a child forward for baptism is always a sacred moment-holy ground-both for the parents and the congregation who, in our Reformed tradition, pledge to assist the family in raising that child to know Christ and to serve him. And there is little Christian Khatouf, pictured above with his two older brothers barely visible behind his mom, awaiting the water, old enough to know what is happening and seemingly “at home” in front of a “full house” in his home church in Nabek, Syria about 50 miles north of Damascus. As Christian looks up at the camera, he is also seeing a “wall of clergy” standing in the chancel, for his baptism had been delayed for just this moment in time – the rededication of his Presbyterian Church home that had been badly damaged by terrorists during the war.

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José Carlos Pezini - September 2018 Update

Dear brothers and sisters of The Outreach Foundation, 

May God bless you indeed. Greetings in the name of Jesus Christ our Lord. I would like to express my gratitude to you all. It is a great privilege for me to work with people like you who demonstrate humbleness to serve the Lord in motivating the church of Jesus Christ around the world.  

Since I concluded my sabbatical in July, I have been very busy traveling all over, teaching, training, mentoring pastors, and leading pastors’ retreats. God continues to open many doors for our ministry here in Brazil and also in other countries. Pastors are still calling us for help.

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The Outreach Foundation
Tumekutana Call to Prayer

We received the following prayer requests for the Tumekutana gathering of Presbyterian women leaders, which is being held in Africa this week:

Beloved friends,

Tumekutana is coming up this week, and the pressure is on for all the final details to come together. We ask humbly for you to fast and pray with us this Wednesday as each woman makes travel arrangements. There are issues arising with visas, airfare, and personal emergencies that are coming up in the last moments and we need desperate and consistent prayer against the spiritual warfare that is taking place this week attempting to hinder each of these outstanding women from attending. As you are praying, here are some specific requests we ask you to take before the Lord:

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