Children’s Home Progress in Tarija

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The following is directly from Heather, serving in Tarija, Bolivia:

“This past weekend was just incredible. We’ve been praying for a long time for a Home for the street kids and on Fri. afternoon we went to check out a place owned by a man from Belgium. All I can say is – God you are awesome! I won’t give you all the details, but it is very much what we were looking for.

“In talking with the owner, who actually left for Belgium with his family yesterday to live there again, we realized that he is very in favour of what we are doing. He’s not a Christian but has a huge heart. So, he is renting the house and the land that we can use to grow vegetables for $60 US a month. That’s a total gift from God. We have to pay the expenses of building more bathrooms and a few other things, but it is way more than we ever expected God to do. That’s just like God, eh? We signed the contract on Sat., and on Sun., went back to talk over a few details.

“We will keep up with the home we have already in the city (it’s open during the day) because we need to keep up with all of our kids, but this home will be for the ones who are extremely abused or neglected in their homes and so often sleep in the street. We need wisdom in so many areas. Right now we are looking for a truck as the house is 7 kms from the city and we need a sturdy vehicle as the road isn’t very good – especially when it starts to rain. (We’re in contact with people who know about trucks, cuz what do I know?) We are also praying hard for the right people to live out there – our goal is to have a married couple, but that might not happen too soon. We’ve talked with a single guy who is helping us some and he’s praying about it. We will start small. Maybe 3 boys and the worker – yet, it would be even better to have another man working with them.

“This morning, before the kids came, we worked on a brochure talking about the ministry with a part they can detach to commit themselves to praying for us, or giving food, [furnishings] or money. I’ll present our DVD that talks about our ministry and this brochure in one of the churches I know on Sun. night. We plan to get into as many churches as possible here to share our vision and seek their support too. It’s all very exciting.”

International EFC in Alberta

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The International Free Church in Red Deer is getting ready to celebrate the installation of Pastor Iran, who has come from Cuba (above pic is from his appearance at last year’s Conference). This has been a longer, more complicated journey than was anticipated at the outset. Iran’s wife and young son are still in Cuba, waiting for permission for the child to leave. It must be challenging to begin ministry without having your whole family together. Join us in praying for resolution there, so that they will be able to reunite soon.

The International Free Church will be in English and Spanish to reach out to the growing Spanish population in this central Alberta city.

If you live within driving distance, you are invited to be a part of a great celebration evening. Please plan to join us on Sunday, September 27 at 6:00pm. The church meets in a rented facility:
Church Of The Nazarene.

Setback in Rwanda

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I just received a note from Eddie and Bonita. They were the recent victims of a robbery. While the thieves got their laptop, TV and a wallet complete with credit and ID cards, they mention that it could have been much worse. Of course, the most significant impact is emotional. In this case the authorities suspect the guards, a suspicion not shared by the family.

They have been given hope that some of these things may be recovered, and the authorities seem to be acting on their behalf. While that is somewhat reassuring, there are no reports of any of their things showing up yet.

In the same time, another missionary in the area was beaten up by the church leaders he was mentoring. In a country trying to heal from mass brutality a decade and a half ago, it’s disheartening to see that violence is still so close to the surface.

Please pray for provision, protection, healing, for peace and for persistent hope on behalf of Eddie, Bonita and their family.

Summer Institute Wrap-up

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If you haven’t heard about our annual Summer Institutes, it’s about time you did! The EFCCM runs them annually in Ukraine and Russia. They are teaching exercises, usually in English as a Second Language, though often they also encompass specialised areas like teacher-training and business education. The constant is that they always come from a Christian perspective. While we make them available and useful to as wide an audience as possible, our team members use the Bible to simultaneously share lessons and their faith, and try to promote faith-focused discussion in and especially out of the classroom.

The following snippet is directly from Daryl and Molly, who were a part of this year’s Summer Institute in Ukraine:

“Jenya (above) was obviously wrestling with the gospel message he’d heard throughout Summer English Institute. He had some talks with Marina and Daryl. But it wasn’t until after Institute was over that he made the big step to place his faith in Jesus Christ. Wow, lots of rejoicing and excitement for the teaching team over that! And then another student, Anya (below, far left), also trusted in God and repented!”

I’d just like to personally interject that the term “repented” is far more normal in Ukraine than “born again”, or “saved”. I think it’s a valuable emphasis, which shakes up our “Christianese”. If you were to use a term for your spiritual decision, which would you choose?

Devastation Now Tinged with Hope

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Within the Bolivian Mennonite colonies there has been an ongoing investigation into a massive rape case. Eight men are accused of drugging and raping at least 60 women over the last ten years. They drugged the women first so there have been no witnesses — not even memory of the events — and this has caused endless amounts of fear, confusion and suffering.

In desperation, colonies are asking for help from outsiders. Counsellors are being requested to help women and families process what has happened, and the resultant consequences including pregnancies and children.

Our missionaries serving amongst Bolivian Mennonites have seen the abundant problems and pain firsthand, but a solution hasn’t been apparent. Mennonites have done their best to shroud their issues in secrecy everything secret, and refuse to talk about these matters even when they’re starkly obvious. With the deep implications of this case, we are hoping that the doors have truly opened. It is a good sign that they are turning to those outside of the colony to help, and with the existing relationships, our missionaries’ presence is highly valued. May God use them to offer the Mennonites what they need.

Please pray with us that God would give wisdom and orchestrate volunteers working amongst Mennonites. This is a very sensitive time, and the actions and impression made here will last a lifetime. We long to see God move mightily to heal this wounded people.