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Wondrously show your steadfast love

By Ministry, Uncategorized

”Wondrously show your steadfast love,” Psalm 17:7a
At a time when things look rough in in this world, let our hope and praise ring out to this world. 

It is too easy to read the headlines and want to run. From bombings in far off places to shootings on city streets, the news is not encouraging. And yet, God’s Word is our encouragement, our nourishment, and, at the very same time a challenge for us to live beyond this place. 

My prayer this morning comes from Psalm 17

”Wondrously show your steadfast love,” Psalm 17:7a

Today is Martin Luther King Jr. Day in the United States and race relations seem to be boiling over in many parts of this country. There is much division and seemingly little progress. Too often we fill our thoughts and time with people who are just like us while griping about things not getting better. We, as Believers, have to be a part of things getting better for race relations. 

This morning we read of another attack, more death, and again involving children. As Believers, our first reaction cannot be formed by FOX News, but by God in His Word. Fighting all my feelings I want to respond in prayer. 

”Wondrously show your steadfast love,” Psalm 17:7a
Of course we want the Lord to return soon and set all things right. We, as Believers, know God will come. David prayed to the Lord in difficult days saying, 

“Hear a just cause, O LORD; attend to my cry!

Give ear to my prayer from lips free of deceit!

From your presence let my vindication come!

Let your eyes behold the right! (Psalm 17:1-2

But It is a huge temptation to beg for Christ’s return out of selfish motives. My motives are rarely about the Lord being glorified, but something else, something lesser.  This morning my prayer is simply this, “Lord, Wondrously show your steadfast love,” Psalm 17:7a
Today, I will work to set my heart to the same beat as that of David, who closed this chapter with these words, 

”As for me, I shall behold your face in righteousness;

when I awake, I shall be satisfied with your likeness.”

One Girls Reflections

By Community, Ministries, Missions

My name is Caroline Dickey and I am currently building a career in photography as a free-lancer. On the side, I nanny three little girls & love it! In the future, I want photography to my be my full time job & then of course to be a wife & mom, that’s my dream job.

You are reading this because last year the Maisha Choir came to Okc and I ended up getting to know many of the kids through that time. I also knew some of the host families so I spent a lot of extra time with some of the kids that came.

An opportunity came up for several of us to go to Africa with the Maisha Project & I was thrilled. One, because it meant I got to see the friends I had made & meet more! Two, because it meant I got to travel across the world and love on people who have so much less than me.

I didn’t go with any expectations but was completely open to what The Lord would do in & through me by going.

What you can’t miss when you arrive is the poverty: so much trash and filth. At the same time it was so beautiful… Everything was colorful & even though their homes were made of mud, trash, scraps, basically anything they could find, it was beautiful and I didn’t look at it as gross or dirty. There were people everywhere as well as livestock just roaming the streets.

I was surprised by the people and how they reacted to seeing me, a white person. They would yell, “mzungu” while chasing the car we were riding in. They wanted to touch my face, hands, & my hair, they’d stare at the veins in my arm and ask why my skin was blue. Haha It was strange being the minority, not in a bad way though.

My purpose was to be used by God in whatever way. The main reason for going was to help the ladies in the feeding program prepare food, help tutor kids, minister to the people in the slums, and help the ladies in the sewing room. And, of course, to love on the kids at Maisha!

The trip has given me a new perspective on life and what truly matters. In America, we get so distracted by all the stuff we have. I often think I am self-sufficient and forget how much I am in need of a savior. On this I don’t think I am alone. These people in Kenya have next to nothing yet find so much joy and fulfillment in life because they rely on the Lord for their peace, comfort, joy, and strength. Some don’t even know when their next meal will be, yet they know God will provide. And He does! Time and time again! I learned what it should look like to be in community with one another. Again, these people don’t have a lot, they rely on each other for encouragement and truly love one other. The amount of encouragement and love I got from these people was enough to last a lifetime. I’m not saying everyone in America is horrible and doesn’t know what it means to love their neighbor. I just think it’s a lot easier to forget what really matters when we are so distracted by the things of this world and what we want now!

We are all in need of a savior! And the things of this world that give us temporary comfort and joy will soon pass away!

The world is passing away, and also its lusts; but the one who does the will of God lives forever.

1 John 2:17

Find community with other believers and walk life with them! Know our peace and comfort, joy and strength comes from The Lord, not our circumstances or the things we have.

Thanks! 🙂

– Caroline Dickey


Seeing the Fruit

By Uncategorized

by Eddie Cox, editor

The phone rang and her voice was faint on the other end of the line. She told me that she was very sick. I prepared my heart and mind to visit her the next day. “C” is a precious friend who has battled so many personal and physical trials but never appears weak for the sake of her position in the community.

I went to see her in the market at her store. I went at the hottest time of the day because I knew that customers would not be present then. My friend “Z” and I sat on the bales of clothing, bare feet on cool concrete, sweat dripping from our foreheads, and began to ask her what was going on. “C” explained her lack of appetite and headaches. She had feared to go to the hospital because she is sure that she knows what is really going on. She is more than likely going to be one of the millions that are plagued with the virus that has no cure and is killing hundreds of thousands young and old. The day before, “Z” had spent a great amount of time with “C” encouraging her to go to the hospital. So we asked the question, “Did you go to the hospital?” The silence hung for a second and then she reached over to the plywood counter and grasped a flimsy brown notebook that held her medical records from the hospital and she answered, “Yes.” She then explained that they wanted to test for HIV, malaria, and other things. The appointment for more tests was that afternoon.

Thirty minutes later, we climbed into the truck and drove “C” to the hospital. She walked in with hesitation, unlike her normal demeanor. My heart was broken for my precious friend as her life may begin to be drastically different now living with this disease. I was thankful for the opportunity to minister to patients in the villages to better understand the disease and the side effects of the medicines. “Z” and I left “C” at the hospital and drove away. The conversation that occurred on the drive back home was a blessing from the Lord.

“Z” said, “‘C’ knows that she is sick and she wants to run but she can’t run from herself. She has to accept what is happening to her and learn to live with this disease. You have taught me how to encourage and love patients. When we went to the villages I saw how you sat and talked with them about life and asked them if they were taking their medicines and then shared Scripture with them. That is what I need to do for ‘C.’ I know that she thinks that her life is coming to an end, but it’s not. I have seen all of those patients in the villages that are living a good life although they are sick. She can, too. I just have to stay close with her to encourage her. I am going to go to her house once a week to sit with her to laugh with her and encourage her. I have learned what to do now.”

I looked at her and nodded and said, “You are so right. You have learned so much and you can always take that with you because you have learned how to share God’s love and minister to those outside of the church. That is what it means to be a child of God – always being prepared and ready to love those in need and to encourage them!”

We arrived at her home and we said our goodbyes. I drove home. My heart was full, overflowing. How good is our God that He has allowed me to continue to minister and love my sister and neighbor right up until the last week we were here in Africa? The magnitude of the blessing of seeing the fruit of our labor is an added blessing! All along, I thought that I was taking “Z” to the village to help me, but in reality, she was learning and grasping how to apply God’s Word to life. Praise the Lord…GREAT things HE has done!

“Little children, let us not love with word or with tongue, but in deed and truth. We will know by this that we are of the truth, and will assure our hearts before Him in whatever our heart condemns us; for God is greater than our heart and knows all things.” 1 John 3:18-20

Editor’s Note: Praise God for the fruit evident in Z’s life as she uses what she learned from this missionary to be a blessing to others. Praise God that his work continues in our absence!

Iranian Pastor Shares Joy Despite Imprisonment in Letter to Christians

By Uncategorized

Are you aware of the Iranians among us? Did you know there is an ABF class specifically for Iranians, led by Iranians? You may not have known these things or ever thought about why you should care about what Believers are going through in this part of the world. For this very reason (and others) we are posting this article. It is worth your time and something that should stir your heart to prayer.

Pastor Behnam Irani smiling in this undated photo.

Jailed Iranian pastor Behnam Irani, who was last month denied hospitalization despite his critical condition, wrote a letter from his prison cell days before Christmas, ministering to Christians in his country and thanking God for letting him share “very little of” Jesus‘ sufferingon the cross.

“Despite the pressure and difficulties in prison, I am pleased to share, what is like a fountain, my Christian joy with you in the new Christmas days to come,” wrote Irani, who is currently serving a six-year sentence, according to the letter translated by Minnesota-based Present Truth Ministries, which has missionaries and pastors working in various Middle Eastern countries.

“My brothers and sisters, I love you all. Christ has given you to me on Calvary. Even if I were sentenced to many years behind bars for the salvation of one of you, there would never be any complaint,” said the pastor in his 40s in the letter, seemingly written to the people he has ministered to and Christian workers in Iran.

Before his arrest in 2011 for “acting against the interests of national security. Irani was leading the Church of Iran in the city of Karaj in Alborz Province. He has been tortured in prison and was denied hospitalization for a bleeding ulcer. He had been found several times unconscious in his prison cell when visited, raising fears for his well-being.

But Irani is still thinking of the well-being of his people. “You are so precious that God himself braved the death on the cross. Do I or other servants not have to bear imprisonment for you?” Irani added. “I wish you can love each other as much as I love you, at least. Sooner or later our earthly settlement will end, and we will leave the world with all its attractions. Please do not let any earthly attraction prevent you from sweet Christian relations.”

Irani also sought to warn and encourage Christian workers, asking them to fix their eyes on spiritual things and not on worldly problems and temptations. “There were times when I was being tempted and paying more attention to my future during my ministry as a servant of Christ,” he wrote, adding that verses from the Bible serving as “a red light stopped me, even though I was sometimes fined for passing this red light.”

Many a times, he added, Christians, especially servants, act like the Samaritan woman (John 4). The water jar she was carrying represented her worldly needs and desires, but she left it after she realized who Jesus is and what He can offer. Irani said Christian workers should not be concerned too much about financial support and other difficulties.

“In these days which are truly evil, I encourage you to be alert. Do not fear for the recent economic crisis covering the larger part of the world and especially Iran,” he wrote in the wake of reports that many Christians from Iran are fleeing persecution and famine. “You servants will find new excuses for reducing the quality and hours of your ministry; and drowning more deeply in worldly affairs you will come to a point when it is too late.”

To his “brothers and sisters, and servants who are scattered all over the church of Iran,” he stated, “Tears are shed for you. I wipe them not to be noticed. They originate from the pain of my love to you. How well I now understand when Paul the Apostle said to the church, ‘I raised you with tears.'”

The issue of some fleeing or migrating to other countries must not cause division in the church, Irani warned. “Perhaps one day we who are currently residing in Iran will immigrate away and they [those who have fled or migrated] return to Iran instead. What is expected is that we don’t forsake God’s kingdom wherever we are in this planet. Believers ought to cooperate fully with servants and aid them in pressure and difficulties. Bear their possible mistakes with the Christian love and don’t express them verbally. Respect the anointing God has given them, and know that any disrespect to their ministry and anointing is regarded as disrespect to the Holy Spirit.”

Irani became a Christian in 1992, and became a pastor 10 years later. His wife and two children have said they are afraid that unless the beatings stop and he is offered proper medical care, he might die in the prison soon.

But suffering has not robbed Irani of the joy Jesus gives. “Once again, I congratulate all the saints at Christmas and the coming new year,” he said, concluding the letter.


Keeping Christ in Christmas

By Uncategorized

By John and Eleanor Mahon

As Christmas approaches my heart turns more and more to the Incarnation of Christ and the great gift of Salvation which that afforded.  Philippians  2:6-7 gives us a true picture of the sacrifice made by God’s only Son when He came to earth over 2,000 years ago,  “who, although He existed in the form of God, did not regard equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied Himself, taking the form of a bond-servant, and being made in the likeness of men.”

It is important though to always keep before us that the incarnation of Christ cannot and should not be separated from the message of salvation.  Verse eight goes on to say, “And being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross.”

The message of Christmas, the stand of the Christian, the high ground so to speak of the message of Christmas, is and must always be the gospel of Christ, the message of salvation.  His coming and the sharing of the gospel of Christ are inseparable.  As God the Holy Spirit puts it so well in John 1:11-13 “He came to His own, and those who were His own did not receive Him. But as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, even to those who believe in His name, who were born not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God.”

Eleanor and I were talking about this as we shopped.  I like many Christians have been concerned about the policy of many merchants to not allow their workers to say “Merry Christmas” but rather the ubiquitous, “Happy Holidays”.  As we discussed this, Eleanor made a good comment, “The way to keep Christ in Christmas is not to boycott merchants but instead lead them to Christ.” This really struck a chord with me and greatly ministered to my heart.

I have often exhorted others that it is not the duty of the non-Christian world to guard and preserve the doctrines of our faith but rather the church and more specifically the individual Christians who comprise the Church.  Equally true it is not the duty of non-Christian merchants to keep Christ as the centrality of Christmas but rather it is our responsibility to do this.  What then is the key to keeping Christ the centrality of Christmas?  Nothing less than for Christians to give a clear and ever present witness of the gospel of salvation to those around them, including asking for a decision.  Eliminating materialism from Christmas will not do this.  Forcing all stores to decorate for Christmas and say “Merry Christmas” will not do this.  Requiring all public schools to put “Merry Christmas” on their marquees will not do this.  What will do this is when you and I share the message of salvation openly, aggressively and frequently with the merchants, teachers and neighbors, around whom we live and move.  This is the key to keeping Christ the center of Christmas – our verbal witness of the message of salvation.

The issue is not whether non-Christian merchants, politicians and educators will keep the message of Christmas alive but rather will Christians continue to ask, “Would you like to pray with me now to receive Christ as your personal Lord and Savior?”  For to do this Christians must first present a clear presentation of the gospel, one which requires a response by the listener.

Having said this I would like to share with you some of the things we have done to keep Christ the centrality of Christmas…

The Word of God

–         We are including in this dispatch a number of helps for your personal edification, your family or your Sunday school class or small group Bible study. These can also be found on our website by following the link to HYPERLINK “” \t “_blank”

Now is an excellent time to begin the habit of a personal time alone with God in the Word and prayer each day. Now is the perfect time to begin the habit of a family devotional time at the evening meal. It is our hope and prayer that the attached tools will help you and your family begin a lifelong discipline of daily time spent in the Word and in prayer.

World Vision: 

–         Christmas is about Christ who came into the world to save sinners. How can we celebrate Christmas without including a vision for the world and world missions in our celebration. This coming week Eleanor and I will send out care packages to missionaries and national pastors throughout the world.


–         Candy Canes: Each year we give out over 50 candy canes with the gospel attached through the “Legend of the Candy Cane” We keep these by the front door and anyone which the Lord brings our way, for whatever the reason, is sure to hear a short word of testimony and receive one of these candy canes with the gospel attached. It is not uncommon for us to see the Postal Carrier, UPS,  FedEx driver, meter reader, utility reader or delivery man,  sitting in his cab, nibbling on his candy cane and reading the message of the gospel before continuing his rounds. With it always comes an opportunity for a verbal witness of Christ, sometimes short, sometimes long but a witness never-the-less.

–         Church Banquet:  Each year our church puts on a Christmas banquet and a part of this is always a clear presentation of the gospel of Christ with an opportunity to trust Christ as your personal savior. Our neighbors Armando and Laura come each year to this event. In fact it is the only Christian event they attend that I know of. Each year we pray that this will be the Christmas they come to Christ. Each year we have them over for coffee to discuss the message of salvation. Each year it opens future doors for future discussions with them, their children and their extended family.

–         Recruiting Station:  In the same shopping center as the Starbucks where Rob Stephens and I meet for fellowship and time over the Word is a military recruiting station. The Air force, Army, Navy and Marine Corpse all have offices there. This week Eleanor and I will take over a “Christmas Office Party/Coffee Break” to each of these branches of service.  With this came the message of salvation through the “Legend of the Candy Cane”. We do this every year and last time a  number inquired as to our church. I feel a real door is open now to a Bible study. As we ministered I could not decide if the tears and choked words of thanks were from our bringing Christ to their office or because of El’s tears as she expressed her thanks and prayers for them and their fellow servicemen. Whatever the case it was a great opportunity to put Christ as the centrality of Christmas.

–         Deployed Marines: This coming week I send boxes of supplies, including Bibles and books to Marines deployed in Afganistan and Iraq. For me this ministry is not about politics but rather about young men, far from home, doing their duty before God and country.

–         Merchants: It is my habit each year on the 23rd of December to wrap New Testaments in Christmas paper and then deliver them to the merchants we frequent. Then a week later, right before the first of the year I return and encourage them as their “New Years Resolution” to read the New Testament. Last but not least I ask the question, “Has anyone ever shown you the illustration that is the key to understanding the Bible?” If their answer is “No” then I have the opportunity to draw the Bridge To Life gospel illustration on the inside cover of their gift New Testament and then give them an opportunity to trust Christ.

–         Christmas Eve: We have our big family dinner on Christmas Eve. The first year we were married we had our big dinner Christmas day and El spent the whole morning and afternoon in the kitchen. I thought to myself, “That is the last time El will work on Christmas Day!” So we now have our meal on Christmas Eve and El gets the day off with the rest of us. A tradition which we began while in the University Ministry which we have continued is to invite non-Christians, especially internationals, who are away from home, to share Christmas Eve dinner with us. Here they experience the true love of Christ, the true meaning of Christmas and hear the gospel of Christ. If you do not know any internationals then call the local recruiting station, ask to speak to the Master Sergeant, then ask him if there are any enlisted men alone for the holidays and have one or two over.

I share these few illustrations with you simply to stimulate your thinking. It is true that in our culture today a real understanding of the meaning of Christmas – the message of salvation through the death, burial and resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ is indeed lacking. It is equally true that what satan would have us do in response to this is to be angry and strike out at non-Christians. What God would have us do is to love them and openly and clearly give them the opportunity to receive Christ through a clear and verbal presentation of the gospel of Christ. A presentation which always includes the opportunity to pray. As God the Holy Spirit so clearly teaches us

II Timothy 2:24-26

“And the Lord’s bond-servant must not be quarrelsome, but be kind to all, able to teach, patient when wronged, with gentleness correcting those who are in opposition, if perhaps God may grant them repentance leading to the knowledge of the truth, and they may come to their senses and escape from the snare of the devil, having been held captive by him to do his will.”


This Christmas pray for Eleanor and I that Christ might be kept the centrality of Christmas by the frequent and fervent asking of this simple question, “Would you like to pray now to receive Christ as your personal Lord and Savior?”


Come and Rest – It Is Finished

By Uncategorized

This is a photo of Shiite Muslims in New Delhi, India flagellating themselves in honor of the grandson of Mohammad. As I study this image, I experience a mixture of feelings and convictions.

Resonance — I understand deep in my bones the essence of this impulse. The inclination to self-abasement as justification is embedded in each one of us. These men have the courage to indulge it, to take it seriously enough to harm themselves as some form of propitiation. They know a gap between themselves and holiness must be bridged.

Fear — Because of the resonance, I am fearful. For them and of myself. It is not really humility that drives self-justification but pride, and pride is not something to be indulged, even if on the surface it appears to be assaulted.

Pity — I feel sorry for them for not knowing the gospel, or for having rejected it. I pity them for believing the bridge can be built by their own blood. I pity them for thinking they must beat themselves up to be righteous.

Gratitude — I am so very thankful for Christ and his gospel. Christ is my righteousness because he — the sinless Man — took the stripes I deserve. Which means I don’t have to take them any more. I don’t have to beat myself up to honor him. By self-flagellation, literal or metaphorical, will no man be justified. I am thankful that Christ bore my sins to kill them and leave them dead, and therefore the burden he holds out is easy, the yoke he fits to my neck is light. He bids me come and rest because the bloody work of justification is finished.

This was originally posted on the Gospel Coalition, here.

10 Ways to Encourage a Missionary

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In an effort to learn how we can best encourage missionaries, I emailed some and asked how they would most like to be served and encouraged. This list is drawn from their responses, including many direct quotes.

1. Pray for them and let them know that you are doing so frequently.

“One of the most encouraging/inspiring things we receive from people is a quick note via email to say that they are ‘thinking’ of us.”

2. Send “real mail.”

“Send a small care package. Some little fun food items that we can’t get where we serve is a good idea.”

“One idea is to send a special package before an American holiday (like Thanksgiving) filled with things that we can use to decorate for that holiday.”

“Send us a birthday card. This doesn’t have to be some long handwritten note, just a little card – maybe even printed at home.”

“Real mail is always special. Really, the thing with real mail is more than just getting some nice stuff from home (which is nice), but it seems a more tangible reminder that the people I love and miss love and miss me too and are thinking of me.”

3. Pray for the people the missionaries serve and not only for the missionaries and their families.

4. Recruit others to pray for the missionary’s area of service (city, people group, etc.) or for the missionaries themselves.

“This can be an amazing thing to have a person or group of people actively supporting the work that we are doing overseas – becoming an advocate for our city/work. It really encourages us to know that there are people going to bat for us and raising more prayer support for the work.”

“Become an arm of our work in the United States. Some ideas include handling our newsletter distribution, website hosting (i.e., hosting a virtual website for the city), logistical arrangements, or short term team orientation.”

5. Go visit them with the purpose of serving and encouraging them in their work.

“Have a group of your people come to minister to us as we are seeking to pour out our lives to others. This could be hosting a small retreat in country for our team or something similar, or coming to prayer walk the city we live in.”

6. Send them updates and pictures of you and your family (by mail or email).

“It would especially be nice to receive end of the year updates or Christmas card pics. We want to stay connected to you! We love hearing from friends and family and enjoy keeping up to date on what’s happening in your life!”

“If you have a friend overseas, stay in touch with them. Don’t let cautions about being careful with spiritual language keep you from talking about the day to day “un-spiritual” things you would talk about if you met up for lunch one day. Sometimes the least spiritual emails are the most helpful, because somehow I feel less distant when friends talk to me like they always did before I left. Share updates on family, school, work, life, sports—whatever it is that you used to talk about with them.”

7. Ask questions about their work.

“Ask not only how we are doing, but ask about our work and try to learn all you can about the people or city where we are serving.”

“I know that this has been said, but truly CARING about the work is the best way to encourage us.”

8. Continue to be a Christian friend and continue to minister to them.

“Don’t stop being the church to us when we leave. Whenever security allows, spiritual conversations are good for our hearts. Missionaries struggle with the same sinful attitudes that plague Christians everywhere. Leaving home to live among unreached peoples, may be a step of faith in the process of sanctification, but it is not a step that roots out all sin. It is likely to lead to and expose all kinds of previously unnoticed and unexpected sin. Having friends that know me, are patient with me, and expect me to be the same struggling sinner I was when I left helps me stay humble when tempted toward arrogance, and hopeful when tempted toward despair.”

“Even for us with strong member care, it is helpful to receive pastoral care from the stateside church’s pastor who many times will know the missionary personally and have the history with them to be able to invest and mentor them and their family and marriage.”

“Ask us those hard questions. Do a little pastoral counseling with us.”

“Please don’t elevate us onto some false pedestal. We are normal people too who have been forgiven much and for some reason God called to live and minister overseas.”

9. Support them financially.

“Finding out if we have any specific needs and meeting those needs is great.”

10. Seek to encourage them when they are on stateside assignment.

“Let us talk to you and your congregations, and small groups. We want to share what God has been doing and would love the opportunity to talk about it, raise awareness and hopefully gain more prayer support.”

“Invite us out to lunch or dinner. Nothing fancy is needed. Remember we’ve just been in places where we may not have been able to even enjoy a little Mexican food.”

No missionary mentioned this to me in emails, but I know it is a blessing when someone shares their summer home or cabin for a missionary family to get away and relax for a few days.

“Let us know about any good books that are must reads. Tell us about any good resources that may benefit our personal growth or ministry work: things like conferences, training for ministry/leadership, and so forth.”

This article was written by Mark Rogers. He is on staff at CrossWay Community Church in Kenosha, Wisconsin, where he helps oversee the CrossWay Pastoral Training Course. Mark recently finished his PhD in historical theology at Trinity Evangelical Divinity School, and is the editor of ‘Glimpses of Christian History.’ You can find the article in it’s entirety here.

Update From The K Family

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We are officially in our new city!  We’ve spent the last two months settling into our new place and it’s starting to feel like home.
So how is it?  We love it!  This new city is a family-friendly town. There is no awful air pollution like in our old city. Most importantly, the church has welcomed us and we are thrilled to be a part of a fellowship that is healthy.  Now we are able to both be fed and serve in partnership with the local church.  As Tiff noted the other day, “Sometimes you don’t realize how hungry you are until there is a feast before you.”  In other words, we are TRULY GRATEFUL to be here.  Moving was definitely the right choice to keep our family healthy spiritually, emotionally, and physically and to be able to continue in ministry.

If you were to peek into our lives recently, you would find:

Sladjo-Transfering all our paperwork from one city to another-bank accounts, driver’s license, ID card, medical records, insurance, etc. It was quite a process.  Bureaucracy is the same the world over–slow! He’s been participating in church meetings to discover how he can best serve here.  Attending church on Sunday and being able to soak up the singing and message (instead of leading it himself) has been refreshing.  He’s also working hard to get to know church members and serve believers in practical ways–for example building a chicken coop and re-roofing a house.  Now he’s teaching English once a week, leading a men’s discovery Bible study, and recently joined the worship team.  Basically, Sladjo is making himself available to serve in whatever ways possible, while building trust with the church leadership.
Tiffany-Unpacking, organizing, cooking and serving meals on our balcony when possible (love this), nursing Lukas, and potty training Evan.  She is very busy at home these days with the kiddos, but has also enjoyed having a few folks from church over, grabbing an occasional coffee out, and attending the women’s Bible study at church.
Evan-Growing, talking like crazy, singing, asking every 15 minutes to watch VeggieTales, and feeding the fish in the pond near our apartment.
Lukas-Growing, smiling, giggling, cooing, blowing bubbles, and sleeping.
In other news….we are coming to the States!  That’s right, it’s time for furlough!  We’ll be in the OKC area December 3-January 28.  Tiff hasn’t been “home” for Christmas in 7 years, so she’s super excited.  Also, it’s been almost 3 years since we’ve seen ya’ll and we need to introduce Lukas to family and friends.

There are a couple of ways that you can help us with furlough:

1. Do you know of individuals, churches, or small groups looking for missionaries to support? Please put us in contact with them. We will be support raising while in America.
2. We need some practical items for our kids while in OKC (this will help cut down on luggage for us).
We need car seats for Evan (2.5 years old weighing about 25 pounds) and Lukas (will be 5-7 months old in the States and weighs about 15 pounds).
Lukas needs a pack-n-play to sleep in and Evan could use a toddler bed or just a toddler mattress and sheets.
Please let us know by email if you could loan us these items for December and January.  We would really appreciate it!

Would you please join with us in praising God for these things:

-Getting settled here safely
-Family town, family-friendly neighborhood
-We’ve been welcomed by the church
-Zoran and Maja and Imela (Sladjo’s brother’s family) moved to Capljina too!
-Clean air
-Our encouraged hearts
-A good church team to partner with in ministry
-3 young married couples in the church for us to hang out with

Join us in asking God for:

-Continued adjustment and wisdom to our new “normal”–new town, slightly different culture, different schedule, different ministry opportunities
-Wisdom and grace in parenting two kids instead of one–this has been a challenge!
-Healing for Lukas who has  severe eczema.  With treatment it comes and goes, but we’d like to find out what is causing it!
-Contacts and relationships with the people of Capljina–may we be able to share the hope that we have in Christ!
-It’s visa season for Tiff-pray for no complications in the process
Folks, we’re blessed to have you on our support team.  Also, we’re grateful to be in a better place for our family and ministry.  We look forward to seeing many of you while in America. Thanks for partnering with us!
Blessings, Sladjan, Tiffany, Evan, and Lukas

A Missionary’s Prayer

By Uncategorized

Missionaries are not a breed apart, nor a breed above. We are ordinary people, trying our best to do what God tells us to do. We sometimes live in places that seem extraordinary or odd. And we struggle to find joy in difficult times, just like you.

Yes, this is one of those times and one of those days for me. Family is far away and I cannot reach them. I cannot help them, cannot hug them. Cannot laugh and weep with them. And so I pray for them. And cry for them. And wonder if I should share this with anyone.

Dear God,

My family is celebrating today and I cannot be with them. Please give them joy and delight. Let them be merry as they hug and laugh with one another. May their excitement be full and overflowing as they thank you for this time of joy.  Help them understand that I am rejoicing with them.

Dear God,

My family is hurting today and I cannot be with them. Please comfort them. Help them find a way through the pain. Walk with them, carry them, be their strength. Teach them how to lean on you, how to cry out to you and to lay their burdens upon you. Bring them words of comfort from your heart. Help them understand that their sorrow is my sorrow.

Dear God,

My family is facing illness and I cannot be with them. They need your healing. They need a miracle. I need to know you will be with them every step of the way. I’m calling on you to bring to them what is most important, that is, your Son. Please save the souls of my loved ones. Send someone to them to speak your truth and bring encouragement.

Dear God,

My family is facing challenges today. They are confused and unsure which way to turn. Please give them wisdom and discernment. Lead them into your truth and all knowledge of you. Teach them to praise you and to not be anxious; to lay all of their cares upon you and to receive the peace that passes all understanding. Guard their hearts and their minds through your Son, Jesus Christ. Help me to minister to them from thousands of miles away. Help them to understand that even though we are far apart, we are in this, and all things, together.


Editor’s Note:  Please koin in this prayer for all the far-away families of our missionaries. Pray also for our mssionaries as they experience many “family events” long-distance.

(names, locations and blog links omitted due to security issue; stock photo)

Original story can be found here.

Operation World

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The Definitive Prayer Guide to Every Nation is now available for a SUPER price. Pick it up now and pray.

This exciting new update is now available!

Operation World is the definitive global prayer guide that will help focus your heart and life towards God’s passion for His glory among all nations. With well over 1 million copies of past versions being sold, this all new 7th edition has been completely updated and revised by Jason Mandryk and his team and covers the entire populated world. Whether you are an intercessor praying behind the scenes for world change, a missionary reaping the benefits of intercession or simply curious about the world, Operation World will give you the information necessary to be a vital part in fulfilling God’s plans for all nations. Included in the updated and revised 7th edition:

* All the countries of the world featured
* Maps of each country
* Geographic information
* People groups within each country
* Economic information
* Political information
* Religious make-up of each country
* Daily Prayer Calendar
* Answers to prayer
* Challenges for prayer
* Persecution index

You can order it here. 

Well, How Was Your Trip?

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We have been back nearly two weeks, so we have had a little time to sift through our thoughts and impressions of the trip and how it affected us. Probably the best way to describe what happened is to share how the Lord answered the prayer requests we asked for your help on.

We asked:
-For the Lord to enable us to share about Him as we have the opportunity
Wow, we and the team had at least five separate opportunities to share in group settings with students, both one on one and in groups of three or more. Some deep theological discussions, testimonies, sharing of the gospel, and a variety of other topics were covered. We were able to spend time with several students at meals, on tourist outings, and going to and from events. In many cases their help with translation and transportation was invaluable, especially when Peggy and I left the team for a few days to travel to Xining by train and bus.
-For us to bless and encourage the believers and workers there

 This happened in all four cities that Peggy and I visited. We were able to participate in three different worship groups on two Sundays. All of the M’s working there (a large number were from Oklahoma) expressed gratitude for us coming and for some of the gifts we shared with them. We were greatly blessed and encouraged ourselves by the way they shared their lives and ministries with us. Seeing some of the living situations they are willing to embrace to bring the love of our Lord to students and other people groups was challenging. Our team has received emails of appreciation since we returned also for the impact we had on their ministries.

-For our hearts to be prepared for the trip and also wisdom to know about our future ministry in

The Father did prepare us and gave us some direction about returning to China. We have two schools we can teach at in Xining, and some amazing opportunities were shared with us in Xi’an that came about through a network of fellow followers that we did not have any idea about before the trip. At the present only two scenarios would keep us from returning next year – an unexpected decline in our health, or US and China relations really going sour where no visas would be granted. Lord willing we are going back.
-That we will delight in God and declare His glory as we serve those at the schools and also our fellow travelers
The other six members of our team from the Boston area were just delightful. We had participated in a number of skype training sessions with them before we left, but the first time we met them in person was in the Chicago airport on the way to China. Each of them only wanted to glorify the Lord in all that we did in China. We really appreciated our co-leaders, John and Bob, veteran travelers to China with a real heart for students.
-The total cost for our trip is $6,500. Please pray with us that the funds to cover our trip expenses will be provided.Wow again, your generosity overwhelmed us. The quick response time of your giving enabled us to buy our plane tickets early and save some expense there, and then the balance of costs were covered in a timely fashion.

Thank you so much for your prayer and/or financial support. Your intercession with the Father on our behalf resulted in wonderful answers to our requests.

Some verses that really impressed us during this time are:

For Peggy – Psalm 57:2 – I will cry unto God most high; unto God that performeth all things for me.

For Gary – Psalm 37:4 – Delight yourself in the LORD and He will give you the desires of your heart.


Gary & Peggy

Peace Child

By Uncategorized

The life changing story of a family looking to be faithful. Watch and be challenged.

The Sawi were headhunters and cannibals when a young couple named Don and Carol Richardson arrived in their village carrying their seven-month-old boy Steve—and a message that would change the tribe forever. The year was 1962, and Steve—and later, three more children—spent their youth among the Sawi, learning the language and embracing the culture in ways that would shape the rest of their lives. Their story was immortalized in the best-selling book Peace Child and a feature film of the same name, inspiring a new generation to take the gospel to the remaining isolated tribes of the earth.

Fifty years later, Steve joins his father, Don, and two brothers, Shannon and Paul, to visit the Sawi village where they grew up. What is the state of the church they planted among the Sawi? Are the friends they played with still alive? Will anyone remember the mark their family left on the tribe? Journey with Steve as he travels to the swamps of Papua, Indonesia, to introduce you to the Sawi, and explore the impact of the gospel among a previously unreached people group.

– For more information on Pioneers, visit
– Check out “Never the Same” on Facebook at
– To order “Never the Same” on DVD or Blu-ray Disc, visit

Music Credits:
“A Beautiful Tale” and “Revival” by Ryan Taubert © 2012 SHOUT! Music Publishing Courtesy of SHOUT! Music Australia
“O My Soul”, “The Introductions” and “Moving Frames” by Adam Taylor, used with permission
“The Father’s Heart” by Tony Anderson, used with permission
“The Ladder” by Drake Margolnick, used with permission

How SHOULD we be praying

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20121023-151346.jpgHeritage is a place with a lot of “going”. At any given moment there is likely to be someone going somewhere to tell others about Christ. This may be across the street or often around the world. So how should we be praying? I want to give an outline of a God-centered approach to praying for those “goings”.

1) Pray for God to DO what only He can… Let this be our starting point. “God, we are asking You to work in hearts in ways we will never be able.” Let’s ask God to go before us. We believe He will. And what’s more, He has told us to ask.

2) Pray for God to give OPPORTUNITIES… We are asking for God to be working in hearts and now we are asking Him to lead us to these people. “Lord, lead us to those You are working on and give us eyes to see Your hand at work.”

3) Pray for God to give us BOLDNESS and CLARITY… It can be scary sharing in a place opposed to the Gospel. It can be scary sharing in the Bible Belt. Let us plead with God for courage and boldness to speak up and share the truth of what He has done. With this message we need to be clear. A confusing message is rarely helpful. Let us be praying for clear presentations of the Gospel. “Oh lord we ask you to give those going courage and clarity. Let them recognize the opportunities given them and boldly proclaim this wonderful message in ways that can be understood by all who hear.”

And finally, after those things have been lifted up, we pray for those going.

4) Pray God will be GLORIFIED by those going… Notice the focus is not on their safety, their health, or their comfort. The emphasis is on God’s glory. By all means pray for all of those things, but our top priority is God being glorified. “Father, we pray you will work in the lives of those going that they may bring You the most glory. Because we love them we ask for You to keep them safe. Because they are dear to us we ask You to bring them back in one piece. Because we care we ask You to keep them from sickness and help them through all difficulties. And because You are worth everything we pray for Your Name to be glorified above all. Help us to entrust them to You.”

It is my sincere belief this is how we can and should be praying for those going to share with their neighbors or even the nations. Are you faithfully praying? Are you faithfully going?


The Biblical Basis For Missions

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For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him” (v. 17).

– John 3:16–17

Even Christians who attend churches that are faithful to the teaching of Scripture have an unfortunate tendency to see a tension between God the Father and God the Son. Without necessarily being conscious of it, many think of the Father as harsh and vindictive, seeking only to punish mankind. At the same time, His Son Jesus Christ is viewed as the compassionate and merciful one who must persuade His Father to spare some of His people from wrath. However, this is a gross distortion of the biblical teaching.

As today’s passage indicates, it is the Father Himself who, out of love for creation, has sent His Son to save transgressors (John 3:16–17). In fact, when we look at the wide scope of redemptive history, we find that the Almighty has always been the one who sends out emissaries for the purposes of salvation. God sent Moses to Pharaoh to liberate the children of Israel from bondage (Ex. 3:1–10). Likewise, He sent the prophets to call the people to repent of their sins in order that they might be rescued from destruction (2 Kings 17:13).

The concept of God sending His servants into the world to save them from judgment is so important that the church recognizes her call in the very word used to describe worldwide outreach — missions. This word comes from the Latin verb missio, which means “to send.” When the church sends evangelists and missionaries to preach the Gospel, she is imitating the Creator Himself.

Furthermore, the church sends proclaimers of the Word to the ends of the earth in order to fulfill the Savior’s direct command. First, the Father sent Jesus to save sinners, and now, Christ sends His people to bring the word of salvation to those who have never heard of Him (John 17:16–18). Loving our Redeemer requires us to obey His commandments (14:15), one of which is the call to world missions. We need not fear any opposition that may arise when we go forth, because as we follow Jesus we can be assured that He has asked the Father to send the Holy Spirit to go out with us (vv. 16–17). His presence assures us that the task of missions is not impossible; our preaching will surely be used to bring salvation to the ends of the earth when we are sent into the world.

Coram Deo

Not all of us are called to be full-time missionaries, but all of us are called to be involved in missions — if not as goers, then as senders. Have you fully grasped the importance of world missions to the plans of God? Consider today the budget you have established for giving to worldwide outreach. Try to increase what you give to the sending of workers — if not permanently, then in a one-time gift to a missionary who needs support to fulfill his call.

Passages for Further Study


Isaiah 6:8
Jeremiah 1:4–19
Matthew 28:18–20
Acts 13:1

From Ligonier Ministries, the teaching fellowship of R.C. Sproul. All rights reserved. Website: | Phone: 1-800-435-4343

Are Short-Term Mission Trips Worth Doing?

By Uncategorized

They can be.

At the time of this recording, this coming weekend our church will do another seminar with an expert in short-term missions. He will seek to train leaders to make them what they ought to be.

A huge thing is that you should only go where you’re wanted.

You don’t foist yourself on a missionary. I have had missionaries say, “Frankly, short-term teams are more trouble than they’re worth.” So you don’t do that! Don’t make yourself more trouble than you’re worth. If somebody doesn’t want you to come and they don’t have a plan for how it advances their mission, then, good grief, don’t take a vacation, grab your eighteen teenagers, and go make some missionary’s life miserable.

Rather, talk to the missionaries. Work out a plan. And if they want you to come, then come.

That way it should work out both ways. If older people, or young people, or multi-generational teams are really serving, pouring themselves out according to the needs of the missionary, then it’s the best of both worlds.

For one, though it may not feel like the fun and games some were hoping for, it will be deeply satisfying, because it is more blessed to give than to receive. And, secondly, it will be helpful to the missionary, because he is able to get some projects done that he hoped to get done.

So the answer is not an easy one, it’s not a simple one. Yes, short-term trips can be a mess. But yes, they can be worth the work and energy and finances.

One of the payoffs is that there is scarcely today an under-fifty missionary on the field who didn’t do a short-term mission before they went out. The testimonies are widespread that tastes of what mission life might be like were gotten on short-term trips.

So I’m for them. And Brad Nelson, who oversees them now at Bethlehem, knows the issues really well. And he’s not going to force any of our teams on anybody that doesn’t want them. And he’ll see to it that they are fruitful.


Is it worth it?

By Uncategorized

During the past 16 years serving overseas, many people have asked if it’s worth it to live so far away from home.  There have been days when we have asked ourselves the same question.

“Is it worth it?”

Is it worth it to live 10,000 miles away from your college-age daughter?

Is it worth it for your son to miss out on seeing grandparents, aunts, uncles, and cousins on a regular basis?

Is it worth it to miss important family gatherings, such as weddings and holidays?

Is it worth it to miss out on the fellowship of your church family every Sunday?

Is it worth it to leave behind almost all of your earthly belongings and have to start from scratch to turn a house into a home?

Is it worth it to give up your house near the beach to live in an apartment building in a congested city of 8 million people?

Is it worth it to give up your dog who is too old to move overseas?

Is it worth it to live in a foreign country where your light hair, fair skin, and blue eyes make you stand out like a sore thumb?

Is it worth it to spend months studying a foreign language and still only be able to speak on the level of a 3-year-old?

Is it worth it to be illiterate– unable to read signs, letters, books, menus, and even your remote controls?

Is it worth it to deal with the transportation hassles of having no car?

Is it worth it to have to run errands, go to class, and everywhere else on a bike in the hot sun, pouring rain, and bitter cold?

Is it worth it to give up all the conveniences ofAmerica?

Is it worth it to live in a country that denies the existence of God?

The answer is YES!  If even one person hears of Jesus Christ from our lips, sees Him through our actions, and learns of the miracle of Immanuel, God With Us, then every minute we spend so far from home is most definitely worth it!   Thank you for generously giving  to fund our work.  We couldn’t be here without your support.  Thank you also for your prayers which sustain us on a daily basis.  May God bless each of you in 2011.

Editor’s note:  Whisper a prayer of thanksgiving for God’s call on our missionaries’ lives and their faithfulness in ministry.

(names, locations and original blog links omitted due to security issues)

IMB Prayer, Missionary Blog Digest, 2011

Pray for Turkey

By Ministry

P4T: English (HD) from PRAY4TURKEY on Vimeo.


From the body of Christ in Turkey, to our holy and faithful brothers and sisters in Christ around the world, grace and peace to you from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.

We are writing to you from Turkey – from the land of Noah, of Abraham, of Paul, of Mt. Ararat and Harran, of Antioch, Ephesus, Galatia and the Seven Churches of Revelation……

Yet today in our land of 72 million, which is 99.8% Muslim, the size of Christ’s flock is only a handful. We are writing to ask, indeed to plead for your prayers.

As Turkish Christians we love our country very much. Pray for God’s will to be done, and for His Kingdom to come!

Pray that the Lord’s hand will be with us and a great number of people will believe and turn to the Lord.

We, the church in Turkey, have invited the worldwide church to pray for the land and the church of Turkey this day, April 18. We ask you at your church to pray for us, joining the prayers of millions around the globe. April 18 is when back in 2007 three of brothers were murdered brutally for their faith, the first martyrs of the modern Turkish church.

We are praying for you, and asking God to fill you with the knowledge of His will through all spiritual wisdom and understanding and we beg you brothers .

Pray for us! The God of peace be with you all. Amen.

 “You also must help us by prayer, so that many will give thanks on our behalf for the blessing granted us through the prayers of many…” 2 Corinthians 1: 11

These are a few points to help direct your prayers for Turkey. Please feel free to pray for any other points you feel led to pray for.

1- Please pray for the blessing and peace of Turkey in general, as the Lord desires us to bless and be a blessing to all.

By the blessing of the upright the city is exalted.…” Proverbs 11:11

2- Pray the Lord will display His love and mercy to the people of Turkey by pouring out His Holy Spirit upon our land, revealing His glory through healings, signs and wonders.

3- Pray the Lord breaks down the lies and the endless disinformation about Christ, the Bible and Christians that has blinded and hardened hearts in our land. Pray that God redeems the negative memories of history.

Of course, we are living in the flesh, but we do not fight in a fleshly way. For the weapons of our warfare are not those of the flesh. Instead, they have the power of God to demolish fortresses. We tear down arguments and every proud obstacle that is raised against the knowledge of God, taking every thought captive in order to obey Christ.” 2 Co. 10:3-5

4- Pray that hearts and eyes are opened to see Jesus as the way, the truth and the life.

5- Pray for the Turkish believers who are always on the frontline to walk close to the Lord. Pray for refreshing, emboldening, strengthening, protection and encouragement.

6- Pray for more servant hearted leaders. For good role models. For faithful laborers.

7- Pray for the ongoing unity amongst the churches and for its increase and deepening.

May the God of endurance and encouragement grant you to live in such harmony with one another, in accordance with Christ Jesus that together you may, with one voice, glorify the God and Father of our Lord JesusChrist.Romans 15:5,6

Thank you for your prayers. May the Lord’s hand be upon you always.

On behalf of the Body of Christ in Turkey
Alliance of Protestant Churches (Turkey)

The following is the trailer for the Malatya Film. Follow the link for more information and how to get our copy.

Malatya Trailer from Nolan Dean on Vimeo.

In His Steps

By Ministry

The Purpose

With all the talk of “from the neighborhoods to the nations” we might find ourselves asking “What does this look  like?” How do we have a heart for people around the corner from us when we are overwhelmed with all the things right in from to of our faces? Every single day we come in contact with souls facing eternity; souls in need of lasting hope and peace and joy that only Christ can give. How do we see past the surface and give them Jesus?
We will talk about life-on-life successes and failures; about out-of-the-box ideas to share truth in the workplace and neighborhood; about intentionally leaving a legacy of discipleship in our families. There will be time to ask questions and find out from others what are the obstacles and insights others have gained in their areas.
We will look at how God has called and gifted each of us uniquely, to be His minister to people in our sphere of life. Do we even see the people God has brought into our path?  And if we do see them, what next? In His Steps, will equip men, women, and even children to take their place in the Great Commission, leading others to know Jesus as their personal Lord and Savior.

The Schedule

10:30 am Message 1: God’s Calling on Your Life (Worship Center)
12:00 noon Lunch by RSVP/Ticket (Education Building)
12:40 pm Message 2: Walking Through Open Doors (Education Building)
1:25 pm Coffee-Break
1:35 pm Equipping Sessions with 4 Options:
Personal Evangelism… How Do I Start?– Mike McGee
Bible Storying… Telling the Stories of Jesus as You Go – Melissa Hawley
I’ll Go! What Now? (Preparing for Short-Term Missions)?– Chad Puckett
How Can my Gifts Meet a Need in Ministry at HBC? – David Southerland
2:15 pm Coffee-Break
2:35 pm Getting Started!
3:10 pm Message 3: Starting Where You Are! Following the last message, 
(Kent will be giving books and equipping materials to those who have remained for the day.)

Free Books! Are You Kidding Me?

You read that right. Our speaker will be giving away resources to people for coming.  You can go to the book store and buy them or you can come to the conference, get equipped, eat a good lunch, meet some quality people, and get stuff for free. Your call…

The Speaker

Kent Humphreys grew up working in the family business, “Jack’s Merchandising and Distribution”, a general merchandise distributor to retailers. After marrying Davidene, and graduating from the University of Oklahoma (BA), he spent four years in the U.S. Army. He returned home in 1972 to buy the business with two brothers, which he operated for twenty-five years. In 2000, Kent started American Health Diagnostics.

Kent has been a business leader for forty years. While owning and operating a nationwide general merchandise distribution business for twenty-five years, he worked with the nation’s largest retailers. After selling the family business, Kent continued to be involved in commercial real estate and the medical distribution businesses. From 2002 through 2007, he was president of Fellowship of Companies for Christ International, an organization that equips and encourages Christian business owners who desire to use their companies as a platform for ministry. Kent now serves them as a worldwide ambassador for FCCI (Christ@Work).

    For many years, Kent has spent much of his time ministering to business leaders, pastors, and students across the country through speaking, writing, and mentoring. He has spoken in seminaries across the United States and at numerous international conferences. He traveled extensively overseas for many years. Kent and his wife Davidene have written a number of books including: Show and then Tell (Moody Press, 2000), Shepherding Horses, 2006, Christ@Work Opening DoorsImpacting Your Workplace for Jesus Christ  and  Christ@Work in Your Transition, from the Campus to the Workplace, 2010, and Letters to Workplace Leaders and other titles of the My Heart to Yours series, 2011. Kent and Davidene have three children and eight grandchildren, and make their home in Oklahoma City. You can find his books here.

Bible Storying

The following is a glimpse at one of the Equipping Sessions.  Melissa Hawley will be talking about storying the Bible.