Posts in Projects
San Pablo Presbyterian Theological Seminary - July 2019 Update

Dear friends and companions in the ministry,

Warm greetings from Mérida, Yucatán. What follows is a brief overview of the recent activities and new initiatives that San Pablo Presbyterian Theological Seminary is undertaking. With your help, the witness of the church in Mexico and other Latin American countries is being strengthened.

Conferences
From June 2 to 4 we held our Continuing Education conference for pastors and leaders. There were 122 pastors and leaders of 10 different Presbyteries of the states of Yucatán, Campeche, Quintana Roo, Chiapas, Oaxaca and Mexico City in attendance. The theme was "The Theology of the Covenant" by Dr. Jonathan Gerstner, president of Yucatán International Academy.

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Near East School of Theology - Update

From the President to the Graduates
(excerpt from Near East School of Theology (NEST) President Dr. George Sabra’s commencement speech)

A report conducted and published annually by the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania ranks countries as part of an analysis project called the “Best Countries Report.” Thousands of people from over 80 countries responded to questions on the basis of 65 country attributes, e.g. economic influence and quality of life, to determine each country’s success as a modern nation. In 2018, for the second year in a row, Switzerland ranked as the world’s best country. Nowhere on the list can any country from the Middle East be found. There is also a section on the best country to raise children – Denmark ranks first. Again, no Middle Eastern country on the list. If you check the report about the safest countries in the world, Iceland ranks first but no Middle Eastern country is anywhere on the list.

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Iraq Appeal - June 2019 Update

For many years, the Presbyterian Church in Kirkuk has ministered to women in the local prison. Led by Mayada (who has written the letter, below), the wife of Pastor Haitham Jazrawi, the church has found favor with prison officials. Mayada and her team bring Light and Hope to women who are usually permanently shunned by their families and society. If they have children, those little ones are incarcerated with their mothers as there are few other options. At a most fundamental level, this is the work Christ enjoined to his followers when he said, “I was in prison, and you visited me….”

Marilyn Borst, Associate Director for Partnership Development

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ,

I'm writing to you today to share some updates from our most recent visit to the Kirkuk Women's Jail. On Tuesday, May 28, I visited the jail along with two sisters in ministry, Susan and Balsam.

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Philemon Project Preschool - June 2019 Update

Dear friends and supporters,

Leading in 2019!What has God called you to in 2019? As I look back, I can see how God has called and equipped me to lead the Philemon Project into its next phase of growth.

Our team of 17 sees their work missionally, and we are committed to providing excellent Christian early childhood development (ECD) and adult mentoring (AM) ministry throughout Lebanon. In the last 12 months, our primary focus has been on strategic growth and organization development. It was an honor to witness God’s hand at work through the project, and we look forward to what’s in store for us. Thank you for standing with us. It’s your faithful partnership that allows us to provide the best Christian early childhood development and adult mentoring possible.

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Bethlehem Bible College - June 2019 Update

Greetings on behalf of Bethlehem Bible College, dear friends!

Summer is upon us, and another academic year is nearly finished at Bethlehem Bible College (BBC). We give thanks for BBC’s 40 years of service to Bethlehem, Palestine and around the world.

Ongoing Journey of Faithfulness: Overcoming the Challenges!
Was it easy to start a Bible college from scratch, and build it to be one of the most important Christian educational institutions in the region? What kind of challenges have we faced? How did we manage to overcome them? We endured two Intifadas, several wars on Gaza, lack of money, increasing emigration, and much more. How did we survive? “He was faithful,” answered Dr. Bishara Awad, founder of Bethlehem Bible College.

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Palestinian Bible Society - June 2019 Update

The Palestinian Bible Society (PBS) is a national office of the UBS (United Bible Societies) with its office in Jerusalem. The work was started in the Holy Land in 1816 and is still going on to this date. The work among the Palestinians was established in 1993. It is an inter-confessional Christian society committed to making the Word of God available to the Palestinians and has a strong vision for inviting Muslims to trust in and follow Jesus. We recently received news from PBS:

Trauma Healing Workshop
The Palestinian Bible Society staff led a trauma healing workshop in Ramallah at the end of May. The sixteen participants are now in small groups to implement what they learned.

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PCEA Tumaini Children's Ministry - June 2019 Update

Dear friends of Tumaini children,

On behalf of Tumaini/Huruma children, we want to bring you this update concerning the current situation of the homes. The Outreach Foundation is very grateful for your generosity that allowed the PCEA Riamukurwe parish to start and operate Tumaini and Huruma homes. As we write, the Ministry is struggling to maintain high-quality care for the children who are served by the homes. As we work with other close partners to help the parish in Nyeri to carry on its witness for Christ by serving the needy in their midst, we have been actively engaging the local board, encouraging them to find solutions to several issues and challenges facing the homes.

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Syria Appeal - June 2019

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 two of our travelers, Julie and Steve Burgess, share their reflection on our time in Homs, which suffered much through the war, including substantial damage to the Presbyterian Church.
Marilyn Borst, Associate Director for Partnership Development

Come and See, Go and Tell
Once again we found ourselves saying good-bye, this time to friends at Yazdia Presbyterian Church. We try to turn our “goodbye” into “until-we-meet-again,” but it is always bittersweet to look behind the car and see these places get smaller. Dark clouds, heavy rain and thunder kind of added to the bitter part along with our tears, and yet we made our way down the road and through the checkpoints.

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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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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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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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