Introductions in Tarija

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We just received an e-mail from Heather who serves in Tarija, Bolivia. One of her primary areas of ministry is among street kids who come to Candelero Kids, and she wanted to highlight some of their personalities and specific needs. This shows the relationship that she has with these children, and the emotional front-lines work that she’s involved in. The following is in Heather’s words:

Soraya – When I moved to Tarija in 1998, I met a woman who was very lost in immorality, alcoholism, depression. From time to time, I would get together with Soraya, or would see her on the street and would try to point her to Jesus. About 4 years ago, she gave her life to the Lord, and I began to see her change. But, this year the Lord has helped her to mature spiritually at a greater level. She’s been, and is, a huge blessing to my life, and to the Candelero Kid’s ministry, not only through her prayers but also with professionally as she’s a lawyer. Her transformed life is a testimony of God’s might at work.

Jose Luis – When I left for Canada in September 2009, I honestly didn’t see much hope for 15 year old, Jose Luis from Candelero Kids. God chose to use Cecilia Huezo to influence his life spiritually and emotionally. Now, listening to him pray, laugh and tease, and forming a friendship with him through ping pong games and talks have really shown me that God is mighty to save. Jose Luis is learning to give his struggles to the Lord and it’s great to see his faith grow.

Kids Living in Santa Cruz – In July, three of the kids whom we’d sent to live in Homes for street kids a few years ago, came to visit us. It was so exciting to see these transformed lives. Luis Enrique, the brother of one of these kids, went with us to our outing to the waterfalls and obviously saw the huge changes in Lidia and wanted them for himself. God worked out the details for him to be accepted in the YWAM home for boys in Santa Cruz, and he’s changing too.

Support Centre – We knew in May that we would have to move out of the “Candelero Kid’s House”, and prayed much for God’s provision. We signed a contract for a place in June, but that didn’t work out. Other places didn’t seem right for us, but then God led us to the apartment you can see in the above picture. Even though it’s smaller, it has proved to be the right place for us for now, and we are encouraged with God’s provision. It’s about 7 blocks from our previous house.

Marieta – Some of Marieta’s family has gone to my church for the last 5 years. Whenever they talked about Marieta, who lived elsewhere, she seemed like a very hard woman. She moved here this year and I talked with her in the hospital when she broke her ankle a few months ago. Well, through the witness of different people from our church, she has come to the Lord. It’s always encouraging to see the faith of a new Christian, in spite of the problems they face in life.

Thinking about the praises mentioned above, gives me hope to believe that God will continue to prove that He is mighty to save.

Jacquelline – I’ve known Jackie, who is 17, for almost seven years. Her addictions to robbery and the street have landed her in jail, recently, where her problems with alcohol have augmented to drug abuse. Fanny, her Mom, is so tired of dealing with her rebellious daughter. Today, I was trying to encourage Fanny to keep trusting the Lord and not give up hope. We are praying for God to do a miracle in Jackie’s life.

Julio – Since arriving back in Tarija in April, I’ve seen the “rollercoaster ride of life” that Julio has been on. If you could meet him, it probably wouldn’t be obvious to you right away that the enemy has a tight grip on him, but his addiction to returning to the street and its vices is very strong, and he is on the street again now. We keep praying and believing that God has other plans for this 13 year old whom we care about.

Jesus, Blanca & Sara Nieves – In previous prayer letters, I’ve mentioned these siblings who suffer from abandonment from their alcoholic parents. Their situation has not improved. Once again, we are looking to the authorities in Tarija to intervene so that these kids won’t suffer the dangers around them on the street. We long for the Lord to allow them to live in a secure home.

Home in San Blas – Jesus Nieves is one of the boys who we believe would benefit greatly from the home we still have yet to open in San Blas. Many times this year our staff has clung to the promise that God’s timing is perfect. It hasn’t been easy to wait. A few couples had interest in helping us with the home, but, it was clear to all of us that God said, no. So, we are presently praying for a single Christian man to work with 3 – 5 kids at the home. The Support Centre would act as the base for these kids during the day, and the worker would look after their needs at night.

Two different Christian homes for street kids in La Paz and Santa Cruz run their homes in this way and have seen God at work in the lives of the kids. Our goal is to have the home in San Blas running by Jan. or Feb. 2011. I ask you to pray for God’s will to be clear to us. We have heard of a dedicated Bolivian Christian man named David, who could possibly join our team and work at the home. We will find out more about him in the next few weeks, as we’ll be able to have more contact with him. We believe that God will use this home in incredible ways to help kids, and we are waiting for His provision of staff.

Thanks so much for your prayers, financial support and encouragement throughout this year. Merry Christmas to each of you!

Isn’t it Sweet to be Salty?

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I received this recently from a missionary in a Creative Access Country (CAC). It reminded me of how much of what Christ does for us and between us that we often simply take for granted:

Once every couple of months we meet with a local family, who are believers, to have a small worship time together and meet in prayer. They are very musically gifted, so one day we brought the bass guitar and music. Keyboards, microphones, everything was set up. However, they had unexpected visitors! A family of another faith had showed up at the same time. We explained our purpose for getting together and asked if they would like to be involved or at least listen to the music. They enthusiastically agreed.

We brought out the chorus books, played some upbeat Christian music and sang in a mixture of languages and melodies. It was not long before the visiting family was also clapping, smiling and singing along. At the end of the evening they thanked us all for our time spent with them. On the way out to the car we overhead, “Can you imagine, they are enjoying life, each other and having a great time — without even drinking!”

Pray for them as we continue to share and (hopefully) sing together again!

PulseTV Episode 7

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In this edition of PulseTV, Rich and Bill were able to share a few meaningful moments with Cal Hanson. Cal was the first president of Trinity Western University, and is the author of Hardship to Harvest, the first history of the EFCC.

Unfortunately to cram in this entire conversation, we had to stretch it a touch over our (self-imposed) limit of 4 minutes. Hopefully you’ll agree that the conversation is worth it — especially as we’ve changed the format and the set of the show.

If you’d like to download your own copy of this video, you can select your version below (right-click, and select ‘save as…’):
PulseTV Episode 7 (for Windows) — ~30MB
PulseTV Episdoe 7 (for Mac) — ~49MB

A New Campground in Alberta

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At Home Office, and on this website, we’ve become quite accustomed to seeing substantial projects develop in our international ministries. Here is one from our home and native land. We’ve just been alerted to a new Christian campground developing in Alberta. Six congregations, three of them EFCC, are joining forces to put a whole new camp into operation!

The current site has been operational for 63 years. That is a legacy in itself. But the facilities have aged considerably, and the shore of Red Deer Lake (where the camp was initially built) has receded to the point where there is no water access at the site any more. The camp and the churches supporting it have decided that it’s time to start fresh. They already own undeveloped land at a more suitable area at the lake’s deep end.

They are in a rather extensive fund-raising campaign, and with the way it’s going, they’re hoping to be operational for Summer 2012. In particular, they have a matching donation from some individuals up to $350,000 that applies to any money collected between now and January 1, 2011. If you’d like to participate in that, donations can be sent to:

Living Springs Bible Camp
c/o Lisa Gatzke R.R. #1
Millet, AB,
T0C-1Z0
or call: 780.387.5613

Not only money, but time and energy are being donated liberally. The road to the new camp has already been built through volunteer labour and machinery, enough lumber for most of the buildings has been donated and they are planning on working through the winter if covered by sufficient funds.

May God use this to build a strong harmony between the churches and the individuals involved as this goes together, and may He the camp to His glory when it’s completed.

A Field Within A Field

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The larger cities of Japan are cosmopolitan — to an extent that is perhaps surprising. Among their large populations (we’re talking multiple millions of people!), they have people groups from many places around the world, and Nagoya is no exception. One of the largest subcultures that we work with is Filipino, who migrate to Japan as a land of opportunity. One of the opportunities that they embrace is training, and programs typically last 3 years. At this time of year there is a natural transition point. Those who have accomplished their training are set to return to the Philippines, and a new group gets ready to begin. Several of them were part of a recent all-nighter hosted by the local English school. In this case, that school is headed up by Kurt and Akane, serving with us in Japan.

In the course of the evening, Kurt shared his testimony with the group of young adults, and Pastor Nino Solito shared from God’s Word. But here’s the big news: that night, six of the young adults gave their hearts to Christ!

Each was given study Bibles for them to begin to read Scripture on their own, and they attended church the next day. They were also introduced to communion. Please pray that these new believers would find important relationships in the church, and that their curiosity would lead to faith-strengthening knowledge.

The one request that Kurt wanted to make specifically about this, is for Bibles. Finding an inexpensive supplier for English study Bibles in Japan seems to be impossible, so he has needed to resort to importing them. By the time the Bibles are paid for and shipped to Japan they cost nearly $30 each. If you would like to help share the Gospel to one of the most non-Christian countries in the world, you can give to code 2-2900 (just fill that in at the comment bar under the donation heading).