Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Word from Uganda: "Cultural Moments"

Missionary teacher Natalie Rolfe writes, "'When He calls me, I will answer ... I'll be somewhere working for my Lord.' My call was Mbale, Uganda and that is where I have returned to serve for another year. Specifically, I am teaching phonics at Lulwanda Children's Home, an orphanage and school for 90 kids." Natalie also keeps an online journal of her service at the weblog, When He calls me, I will answer ...

Cultural Moments

"There are still moments, despite the 3 years I have spent in Africa, that I am still caught off guard by the sheer difference in culture or reality (in comparison to how I have grown up knowing life),” Natalie writes. "For those who have been here awhile and “ culture shock” has ideally warn off, we call these times of realization, cultural moments. Really, I think they are one in the same. And if I am honest with myself, I pray that I will never grow immune to these cultural moments. I don’t want things to be too normal or unmoving because then I am less likely to be seeing the hand of God.”
CLICK HERE to read the rest of Natalie's post

If you are interested in supporting LCH by sponsoring one of the 90 children, go to www.ugandaorphans.org If you are interested in financially supporting Natalie in her mission, you can send checks (with "Natalie Rolfe" in memo) to: Midland Bible Church, 2800 North A Street, Midland, TX 79705

In the News ... "Uniting the men of the church"

Uniting the men of the church
Lyxan Toldanes
Staff Writer
Odessa American

ODESSA, TEXAS - Shooting clays and going golfing, fishing and hiking aren’t normally activities associated with religion, but that’s what some churches in town are turning in an effort to increase participation in their men’s ministries.

CLICK HERE to read the rest of the OA story.

Monday, September 27, 2010

Midland Group Suggests 5 Ways to Help the Persecuted Church in China - #4, GIVE

The China Aid Association is a non-profit Christian organization - based in Midland, Texas - with a mission to uncover and reveal the truth about religious persecution in China, focusing especially on the unofficial church. They do this, they explain in their website, by exposing the abuses, encouraging the abused and equipping the saints to advance the kingdom of God throughout China.

Midland Group Suggests 5 Ways to Help the Persecuted Church in China - #4, GIVE

Released by ChinaAid ...

"Because of their willingness to stand for religious freedom, every day we receive reports from Christian families across China who are harassed, arrested, beaten and tortured for their faith. ChinaAid exists to provide support for these families by exposing the abuses, encouraging the abused and equipping leaders on behalf of the persecuted church."

"Your donations to ChinaAid ensure we can continue to respond quickly to emergency situations and care for the persecuted with legal aid, medical aid and support for families of prisoners. Beyond the physical help, your gift is a sign of encouragement to them that they do not walk alone."

"Thank you for your prayerful participation with these brothers and sisters in China 'in the fellowship of His suffering.'"

"Please use this form to submit your secure online contribution. Your online contribution to ChinaAid will be processed by our secure servers. Monthly contributions may be cancelled at anytime."

"ChinaAid is a 501-C3 charitable organization, and your gifts are tax deductible as allowable by law."

Saturday, September 25, 2010

Traveling Mission

A TassaTag is a 4” x 6” bright, heavy, hand-woven cotton luggage tag that helps you spot your luggage more easily while reclaiming children's lives. It is practical, environmentally sensitive, fair trade, and with it you can make a difference.

With a TassaTag you support
ECPAT-USA. This is a non-profit children's rights organization whose mission is to protect all children from commercial sexual exploitation, and is the US Chapter of Thailand-based ECPAT (End Child Prostitution and Trafficking) International, working at the community, national and international levels.

With a TassaTag you support The Regina Center in Nong Khai, Thailand, which provides education and income generating skills and opportunities for women. All proceeds from sales are returned to the producers. The project enables women to stay in their villages and keep their children in school, which are two major strategies in reducing sex trafficking.

CLICK HERE to learn more about this project
CLICK HERE to learn more about sex slavery and trafficking
CLICK HERE to order TassaTags

With a TassaTag you will be part of the ECPAT project by increasing the recognition of the TassaTag logo as a symbol against the sexual slavery and trafficking of children, raising greater awareness of this major illegal trade around the world, and being a voice positively addressing a serious children's rights issue.

Friday, September 24, 2010

Word from Thailand: "Another Life"

Brett and Shelly Faucett are mission co-workers living in Chiang Mai, Thailand, where we had a chance to meet with them during our mission to that country in 2008. They are HIV/AIDS regional consultants. Brett is a nurse and amateur photographer. Shelly, a former literacy specialist and ESL teacher. They have their two daughters, Acacia and Annapurna, with them.

"Amother Life"

"I spent the better part of the day with an amazing woman named Dodo, who showed me what true compassion and selflessness looks like," Brett writes in this post at their Welcome to the Jungle blog. "Dodo is Burmese and lives on the border of Thailand and Burma in a town called Sangkhlaburi. Dodo is a medical worker that has started an HIV/AIDS project in this small border town and has been here since 2003."

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Word from Uganda: "St. Kizito's baby home"

Missionary teacher Natalie Rolfe writes, "'When He calls me, I will answer ... I'll be somewhere working for my Lord.' My call was Mbale, Uganda and that is where I have returned to serve for another year. Specifically, I am teaching phonics at Lulwanda Children's Home, an orphanage and school for 90 kids." Natalie also keeps an online journal of her service at the weblog, When He calls me, I will answer ...

St. Kizito's baby home

"First off, how can you resist a face like this,” Natalie asks. "Simple answer... you can't. Everyone loves a baby- from child to grandparent, there is just something about babies that take us all captive. I recently had the opportunity to escort a team and some of our LCH kids to St. Kizito's Baby Home. I have written about it before, but as a recap.”
CLICK HERE to read the rest of Natalie's post
If you are interested in supporting LCH by sponsoring one of the 90 children, go to www.ugandaorphans.org If you are interested in financially supporting Natalie in her mission, you can send checks (with "Natalie Rolfe" in memo) to: Midland Bible Church, 2800 North A Street, Midland, TX 79705

In the News ... "First Christian gets new direction"

First Christian gets new direction
Lyxan Toldanes
Staff Writer
Odessa American

ODESSA, TEXAS - Just one month into the job, Regina Erwin is already settling into her position as the new director of education, children and youth at First Christian Church.

“It’s been warm and welcoming,” Erwin said. “They’ve been very supportive of new ideas and new initiatives.”

The director of education position had been vacant since January. In fact, the Rev. Steve Digby said the church had a difficult time finding the right person for the job until Erwin came along.

CLICK HERE to read the rest of the OA story.

Monday, September 20, 2010

Midland Group Suggests 5 Ways to Help the Persecuted Church in China - #3, ADVOCATE

The China Aid Association is a non-profit Christian organization - based in Midland, Texas - with a mission to uncover and reveal the truth about religious persecution in China, focusing especially on the unofficial church. They do this, they explain in their website, by exposing the abuses, encouraging the abused and equipping the saints to advance the kingdom of God throughout China.

Midland Group Suggests 5 Ways to Help the Persecuted Church in China - #3, ADVOCATE

Released by ChinaAid ...

"Your voice is a powerful weapon for the freedom of the persecuted in China. While the Chinese Communist Party attempts to silence the voices of millions of house church Christians, they cannot silence your voice on behalf of your brothers and sisters. Through letter writing, phone calls, fax and e-mails, you can be an advocate to Chinese authorities and U.S. government officials."

"In the minds of government officials worldwide, one letter or phone call from someone who invests time and thought counts as many from those who agree, but did not take the time to write. We have seen many prisoners released and actions taken as the direct result of prayer and advocacy."

"When you are speaking out on behalf of the persecuted, it is important to remember to reflect the Spirit of Christ. The following are tips to help you advocate effectively:
1. Begin with prayer.
2. Be polite.
3. Demonstrate respect.
4. Avoid politics. If you are requesting a prisoner’s release or humane treatment, stick with legal and/or moral reasons.
5. Agree when you can. For example, we all agree that ideas are powerful. But the government need not fear Christian ideas. Rather, it should be glad to have a growing Christian population, because Christians are taught to pray for those in authority and to honor them.
6. Request, rather than demand.
7. Point out benefits the official may not have considered. For example, if China granted its Christian population complete religious freedom, its overall productivity would increase, because Christians are taught to work as though they are serving the Lord."

In the News ... "Students to gather in prayer for schools, each other, country at flagpoles across Midland"

Students to gather in prayer for schools, each other, country at flagpoles across Midland
By Kay Crites
Reporter
Midland Reporter-Telegram

MIDLAND, TEXAS - Hundreds of Midland students will gather around their school flagpoles Wednesday for the 20th anniversary of the See You at the Pole prayer celebration. This year's theme is "Reveal," based on Matthew 6:9-13, which reads:

"This, then, is how you should pray: 'Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name, your kingdom come, your will be done on earth as it is in heaven. Give us today our daily bread. Forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil.'"

CLICK HERE to read the rest of the MRT story
CLICK HERE to visit the See You At The Pole (SYATP) website

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Got Prayer? ... Got Bear?

(there's no charge ... just look for one of the baskets inside any of the main doors of the church, which is located on the northwest corner of Texas and A streets, at the west edge of downtown Midland)

Dear Friend,
I'm Just a teddy bear, it's true,
but I have a message to bring to you;
I've been to church, and sat in a pew,
and I've been hugged by quite a few;
I've bowed my head when they said a prayer;
I've been charged with love by those who care.
And now I've come to live with you -
to bring you joy when you are blue,
to let you know that others care
and want all your days and nights to share.
So keep me close and squeeze me tight,
and know God's love makes all things right.

With our prayers for you,
In Touch Ministry, First Presbyterian Church

When you've had your time with me,
maybe you can set me free
to someone else who needs a prayer,
to show that God is always there.

Friday, September 17, 2010

Word from Thailand: "What dreams are made of"

Brett and Shelly Faucett are mission co-workers living in Chiang Mai, Thailand, where we had a chance to meet with them during our mission to that country in 2008. They are HIV/AIDS regional consultants. Brett is a nurse and amateur photographer. Shelly, a former literacy specialist and ESL teacher. They have their two daughters, Acacia and Annapurna, with them.

"What dreams are made of"

"My dream started when I woke up in a small tent it was bigger inside than outside," Acacia writes in this post at their Welcome to the Jungle blog. "I was going to a special camp in heaven."

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

FBR Report: "An Answer to Prayer - Part 2"

The Free Burma Rangers (FBR) is a multi-ethnic humanitarian service movement. They bring help, hope and love to people in the war zones of Burma. Ethnic pro-democracy groups send teams to be trained, supplied and sent into the areas under attack to provide emergency assistance and human rights documentation. Together with other groups, the teams work to serve people in need.

"An Answer to Prayer - Part 2"

"From [the Wa] village we walked to a mostly Shan village. It was in a beautiful valley with terraced rice fields, fruit trees, gardens and plenty of water. The villagers lined the trail as we entered the Buddhist monastery, part of the village and a group of men and woman were busy cooking a big meal for us. We were invited into the monastery and fed a huge feast. As they served us food the villages thanked us for coming and told us of their needs. We slung our hammocks under the monastery and that night met with local leaders.

This village had many bad experiences of abuse by the Burma Army and the worst case we heard about was the abduction in 1999 of a five year old Shan girl by Burma Army troops. We had reported this on an earlier mission but now we were in the village where it happened and we heard the story again. Below is the story told by her mother to us on the earlier mission:

'We are very poor. One day, we left our home to carry some rice and left two of our children at home. We were at the nearby village of Mai Lan when we were told that one of our children was lost. When we were coming back home, the head of the village asked fifty villagers to search for our daughter along the river just in case she drowned. But, they could not find her. The search for our little girl kept on going for seven days but they did not find her. Then the headman said that if I want to have a funeral ceremony for my daughter since they are not found. I was then told that our child might not be drowned. We were told that the SPDC troops of the Burma Army, who used to come to the temple and our home, did not come here anymore. This was because they had kidnapped our daughter. Since then, I could not eat and drink any more for nine days. Some villagers came to me and encouraged me that I had to live. At that time in 1999, some SSA soldiers arrived in our village and one of the officers found out about my situation and advised me to go and stay in a safe IDP place. We are here with the help of the SSA who are looking after us. I have mental problems because of my lost child. In the year of 2000, while we were already here I was questioned about my mental state- I cried all the time. People thought I was mad. Some people in the village answered those who questioned my sanity and told them that I had lost my child.'

'My situation is getting better here. The SSA is helping me and gives medical care. In 2000 I was shocked when a woman form Ho Mong village asked me about my lost child. That woman also asked me what the color of the dress was that my daughter was wearing when she disappeared. That woman showed me a picture, asking me, "Is that your child?" I was shocked when I saw the picture because it was a picture of my daughter. I asked the women where she got that picture. The woman answered that she saw my lost child in the weaving center in Ho Mong. The woman went on to say at that time the Burma Army was kidnapping children in order to sacrifice them alive in the foundation of a new Pagoda they were building. This was something that happened in other areas of Shan State.'

The woman said that she saw my child being carried by a Burma Army soldier in a backpack. At that time my child was half awake and was sobbing. According to the woman, my child was given an injection of some kind by the soldiers. She thought it was anesthesia. The woman kept saying that she saw some SPDC soldiers gave my child more injections. The woman said that she ran away when the child began screaming. She went to tell the villagers and the villagers came to see that child. Some recognized her and said, "Oh! Is that the child of Nang Khi of Nam Khat village? " She said that the SPDC soldiers injected one more anesthesia to my child and then put her in a bag pack and carried her to some unknown place.

The woman said that one night at midnight she had once found three children who were thrown into a big hole under the foundation on which the new pagoda was to be built. The woman said that my child was one of the three children who were buried killed alive there. They woman told me that she could not remember the date of the death of the children. I told the woman that if she could bring my child back to me, I would give her as much money as much as she asked for. She said she could do nothing but in a strange way she tried to encourage me by saying, 'Don't be depressed, your child is lucky since she has a chance now to live in the pagoda forever'."

We prayed with this mother and on this mission some of the team had an opportunity to talk with her again. The next morning we walked to the village at the head of the valley, where Lahu families were living along side Wa families. This was a very poor village with newly arrived families from further north at a Wa military area. Most of the people here were newly relocated Lahu but there were some Wa families too. As we walked into the village a Wa lady smiled at us and we went over to say hello. She told us she was a Christian and asked if we were also Christians. When I told her yes, she said, 'Here we have some Christians but we have no pastor. Can you please try to find a Wa pastor for us?'

I told her we would do our best and prayed with her. Then using my satellite phone to call a Wa Christian leader based in Thailand. He is one of the Wa pastors we support who makes regular trips into Wa controlled areas to support local churches, baptize new believers and provide humanitarian relief. We talked and then I gave the phone to the Wa lady and she talked to him explaining where she was and that she and her people needed a pastor. He told her he would try to send a pastor and to visit her village the next time he was in that part of Burma.
We then went into the center of the village where men; women and children were gathered to greet us. When we got ready to start we realized we had no common language as the villagers only spoke Lahu. We all said the one word we knew - 'Abu-a-Ja' = 'hello' and used the univeral language of smiles, songs and acting like clowns to make them laugh and connect with them. Very quickly people were laughing and we all had a wonderful time together. There were no serious illnesses in this village but they were extremely poor and needed more clothes and blankets.

That night Wa solider came to see us and sing for us. One Christian sang hymns for us as well as Wa folk songs. We finished the night by singing' Joy to the Word' with them, some of us in Wa, some in Karen and some in English.
The next morning we were told that the local UWSA Wa military leaders wanted to meet us. We walked to the other side of the village to meet and were greeted by a group of Wa officers and their security force. We told them of our mission and that we were grateful to be able to come into their area. They told us we were welcome and that they needed our help. We talked together of how they had attacked us in years past and of their attacks against the Shan people. We all agreed that it was better to be together as friends. Karen told me later that it was an amazing answer to prayer for her that these men who had been trying to kill each other were now looking eye to eye. We offered to train Wa relief teams and medics. Later that day the senior Wa leader who was a four days walk away sent one of his local representatives to talk to us. He said he would consider our offer of training Wa teams and he would also would have to confer with his higher leaders.

After this meeting our FBR HQ team and the Shan FBR relief teams met to review the mission and share lessons learned and how we could improve. The Shan teams were very gracious and it was moving to see how the teams were so loving to the Wa people that had taken over part of their land. I told the teams that I was proud of them for their open minds and hearts. After walking back to the first village to giving a final medical and dental treatment we started the walk back to the Shan controlled area. 120 patients were treated on this mission and new friends were made. We thanked God for the new open door and even though it was a short mission we hoped it was the beginning of a new friendship and understanding.
Thank you, may God bless you and please pray that the door to the Wa remains open."

Faces of Children: Prayer Requests

Faces of Children is an ecumenical prayer ministry under the auspices of First Presbyterian Church of Midland, Texas. Our mission is to initiate ministries of prayer for children in churches, communities, and neighborhoods. In doing so, we seek to provide an opportunity for people of God to join together, learn about children and their needs throughout the world, and celebrate Christ's love (especially as it relates to children).

Prayer Concerns for the week of 09/02/10

Kenya
Please keep the girls, boys, and women who have been viciously attacked in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) held close in prayer. During the last two months, at least 500 have been raped (many were gang raped) in North Kivu and South Kivu provinces.
A report from Reuters/alertnet.org
Pray for the physical, emotional, spiritual, and mental healing of those who have been brutalized by rebel militias as well as by government troops. Pray for the victims of attacks by Rwandan Hutu and local Mai Mai militias in the mineral-rich eastern part of the DRC. Pray for those who have been violated and abused by rebels of the Ugandan Lord's Resistance Army in the northern part of the country.
A report from the New York Times
Pray for peace in the Democratic Republic of Congo and justice for those who have been so violently harmed.

United States/Afghanistan
Pray for 4-month-old Madelyn and her parents and grandparents during this stressful time. Madelyn's father, a U.S. Marine, was injured in an attack on his outpost in Afghanistan. Give thanks to God that his injuries were not life threatening. Pray for his complete healing and safety.

United States
Pray for 4-month-old Tessa and her family as they learn more about the Cytomegalovirus (CMV) infection with which she was born. The Centers for Disease Control website states that Congenital CMV infection causes more long-term problems than Down syndrome, fetal alcohol syndrome, and neural tube defects. Please keep this baby, her parents, and family held close in prayer as they work with medical professionals to assess the extent of Tessa's brain damage caused by the CMV
infection.
A report from the Center for Disease Control
Pray for 10-year-old Elizabeth, a special needs child who will have heart surgery later this month. Please pray for the physicians and hospital staff who will treat her. Pray for a successful procedure and for her full recovery from the surgery. Pray that Elizabeth will be able to communicate her wants, needs, and discomforts and that her parents and other caregivers will be able to discern those clearly and address them fully. Pray that God will fill Elizabeth and her parents and family with peace during this difficult time.
Please keep the children and teenagers at Boston College Campus
School held close in prayer. Many of the students at this school for severely disabled students are unable to walk, eat, talk, or perform other basic functions.
A report from Boston College
Pray for the teachers and staff at Boston College Campus School...that God will guide them in working with these students. Pray for the caregivers of these children and youth...that God will sustain and encourage them also.
Pray for those with multiple disabilities and complex health problems. Pray that they will be cared for properly while at school and when they are at home. Pray that the students at this special education day school will make progress in their educational and therapeutic paths.
Pray for 4-year-old Abram as he undergoes a heart procedure soon. Pray that the surgery goes well and that it corrects the heart defect he has. Pray for a complete healing and that Abram and his family will be filled with the peace of Christ that surpasses all understanding.
Pray that God will heal 16-year-old Paul * after he was accidentally shot in the abdomen by a friend. Please pray that God will comfort Paul and his family during this stressful time of surgeries and hospitalization. Pray also for Thomas * the 16-year-old friend who shot Paul and who is now in a juvenile detention facility. Please pray that God will also bring peace into this troubled young man's life and that of his family.
Please continue to pray for 3-year-old Andrea * who has multiple health problems. Andrea had been with her foster family since she was a baby but was court ordered to be placed with a distant relative. The great aunt who was going to adopt Andrea decided the foster parents would be better parents for her. Please keep these foster parents in prayer as they await a final court decision on whether they may adopt her. Pray that God will encourage them in this time of uncertainty and anxiety.
*Name changed for confidentiality and/or protection

Faces of Children
Please continue to pray that more churches and individuals will join with the ministry of Faces of Children in spreading awareness about children in crisis and inviting more people to pray for children at risk.

In the News ... "Reality Show Contestant Speaks at Local Church"

Reality Show Contestant Speaks at Local Church
Jay Hendricks
Anchor/Reporter
KOSA-TV


ODESSA, TEXAS - He is a youth pastor, husband and father of three. And today, he calls himself one of America’s biggest losers.

Sean Algaier spoke to members of Crossroads Fellowship in Odessa about his struggles and his experience with losing all of the weight.
CLICK HERE to read/view the rest of the KOSA story.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Word from Uganda: "August in Uganda"

Missionary teacher Natalie Rolfe writes, "'When He calls me, I will answer ... I'll be somewhere working for my Lord.' My call was Mbale, Uganda and that is where I have returned to serve for another year. Specifically, I am teaching phonics at Lulwanda Children's Home, an orphanage and school for 90 kids." Natalie also keeps an online journal of her service at the weblog, When He calls me, I will answer ...

August in Uganda

"The month has flown by already. Wow,” Natalie exclaims. "When I first arrived, two of my dear college friends were already at LCH with a team. Stephanie and Connie (along with our clinical officer) conducted hearing screenings for all of our children and staff. They also were able to move out of the hotel and into my house for the remainder of their trip. It was SO wonderful to have them with me.”
CLICK HERE to read the rest of Natalie's post


If you are interested in supporting LCH by sponsoring one of the 90 children, go to www.ugandaorphans.org If you are interested in financially supporting Natalie in her mission, you can send checks (with "Natalie Rolfe" in memo) to: Midland Bible Church, 2800 North A Street, Midland, TX 79705

In the News ... "Midland High physics instructor combines ministry experience with teaching"

Midland High physics instructor combines ministry experience with teaching
By Ruth Campbell
Reporter
Midland Reporter-Telegram

MIDLAND, TEXAS - Although steeped in the culture of teaching by his family, the profession never held much appeal for Cory Callaway. He was planning to become a minister.

A graduate of Oklahoma Baptist University in Shawnee, Okla., he has a bachelor's degree in religion with a Bible emphasis. The 35-year-old earned a master's degrees in counseling and education from Southwestern Seminary in Fort Worth and went through the alternative certification program at Region 18 Education Services Center.

CLICK HERE to read the rest of the MRT story

Monday, September 13, 2010

Midland Group Suggests 5 Ways to Help the Persecuted Church in China - #2, LEARN MORE

The China Aid Association is a non-profit Christian organization - based in Midland, Texas - with a mission to uncover and reveal the truth about religious persecution in China, focusing especially on the unofficial church. They do this, they explain in their website, by exposing the abuses, encouraging the abused and equipping the saints to advance the kingdom of God throughout China.

Midland Group Suggests 5 Ways to Help the Persecuted Church in China - #2, LEARN MORE

Released by ChinaAid ...

"China has the largest and fastest growing evangelical Christian community on earth. Though China’s Constitution guarantees religious freedom, house church Christians are harassed, beaten, arrested, humiliated, tortured and even killed for their faith. Yet, this information rarely makes the nightly news or local newspaper. Many Christians have no idea of what is happening to their Chinese brothers and sisters."

"Learn more about religious persecution in China by signing up for E-mail Updates. Also, visit the Reports and Perspective section of our website to read history, reports, publications and expert commentary about the persecuted in China. As you find out more, you will become more equipped to share with others and to pray effectively and with fervency."

Invitation to Prayer

Faces of Children is an ecumenical prayer ministry under the auspices of First Presbyterian Church of Midland, Texas. Our mission is to initiate ministries of prayer for children in churches, communities, and neighborhoods. In doing so, we seek to provide an opportunity for people of God to join together, learn about children and their needs throughout the world, and celebrate Christ's love (especially as it relates to children).

"1 Corinthians 15:57-58 to you!"

"It was sin that made death so frightening and law-code guilt that gave sin its leverage, its destructive power. But now in a single victorious stroke of Life, all three-sin, guilt, death-are gone, the gift of our Master, Jesus Christ. Thank God!

With all this going for us, my dear, dear friends, stand your ground. And don't hold back. Throw yourselves into the work of the Master, confident that nothing you do for him is a waste of time or effort."
1 Corinthians 15:56-58

The Message Remix: The Bible in Contemporary Language by Eugene H. Peterson

A message from Chris Laufer, Coordinator, Faces of Children

Greetings, Faces of Children Prayer Partner,

A friend signed off on an email to me recently with this message, "1 Corinthians 15:57-58 to you!" Since I haven't memorized Paul's first letter to the church at Corinth yet, I was curious to find out what words of wisdom she'd left me with.

After looking this passage up on BibleGateway.com, I grinned broadly at her words of encouragement to me. "... stand your ground ... don't hold back ... throw yourselves into the work of the Master ..." Yes, these words were appropriate coming from a woman who works hard to stop the trafficking and commercial sexual abuse of girls and women. She is a present day abolitionist of the highest calling and one whom I admire so very much.

I smiled again as I realized that my friend's message was one I wanted to pass on to you, too. Paul's words are an encouragement to each of us in this work of prayer for children at risk. It can be difficult, emotionally demanding work, praying for those who are suffering so terribly. And when we are drained beyond reason, Paul's words of encouragement and support to this church several thousand years ago still ring true today.

So my dear, dear friends, stand your ground, don't hold back, throw yourselves into the work of our Master because nothing we do for Jesus Christ is a waste of time or effort! Thanks be to God!

We will meet on Wednesday, September 15, 2010 at 11:30 a.m. in the Bride's room at
First Presbyterian Church, Midland to throw ourselves into the work of praying for the children of our world. I hope you will be able to join us for this time of prayer and afterwards for lunch ($5) and fellowship.

If you have prayer concerns or celebrations about children at risk, those who care for them, have authority over them, or, yes, even those who harm them, please send them to me at at
claufer@facesofchildren.net, or give me a call. Thank you for praying for the children of our global and local communities!

Still smiling,
Chris

In the News ... "A Unique Ministry"

A Unique Ministry
Lyxan Toldanes
Staff Writer
Odessa American

ODESSA, TEXAS - Marriage is one of the most important rites of passage two people can experience in many religions, and when that marriage ends in divorce or loss of a spouse, the consequences are less than ideal, especially when raising a child as a single parent.

In some cases, being a single parent can carry a stigma within a church environment, but a class at First Baptist Church is breaking down the preconceptions of single parenthood.

CLICK HERE to read the rest of the OA story.
CLICK HERE for a slideshow accompanying the OA story

Friday, September 10, 2010

Word from West Texas: "Loved Enough"

In August, 2008, John P. Van Dusen and his wife moved from Fort Collins, Colorado, to West Texas, to help build The Bridge,a contemporary worship service in a new space in a traditional Protestant church.

Sidda: Daddy, did you get loved enough?
Shep: What's enough? My question is, did you?

John writes, "I caught this dialog in the middle of Divine Secrets of the Ya-Ya Sisterhood and it has stuck with me, worked at me, and shaped me poco a poco. I hardly noticed how much this simple question troubles us all until I sat down and tried to answer it. The easy answer is, “Sure, I think so” but it’s that “I think so” lingering at the end that causes me to pause."
CLICK HERE to read the rest of John's post at Into the West Texas Sun

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

FBR Report: "An Answer to Prayer - Part 1"

The Free Burma Rangers (FBR) is a multi-ethnic humanitarian service movement. They bring help, hope and love to people in the war zones of Burma. Ethnic pro-democracy groups send teams to be trained, supplied and sent into the areas under attack to provide emergency assistance and human rights documentation. Together with other groups, the teams work to serve people in need.

"An Answer to Prayer - Part 1"

"Dear friends, Thank you for all your support and help. We thank God for how He helped us (with the help of Partners) complete a training of Shan relief teams and then for an unexpected open door to the Wa people. We saw the power of God through prayer. The Wa, have been at war with the Shan people for over 10 years. The Wa military and political organization, the United Wa State Army (UWSA), have continued to expand their control into southern Shan State and once attacked our relief team while we were on a relief mission in Shan territory they had invaded. The Wa have had a ceasefire with the Burma Army since 1989 and have fought the Shan as proxies for the Burma Army and to gain territory and business concessions.

It was the Wa people themselves that first invited Karen and me to come to Burma in 1993 and it was to the Wa State in northern Burma, that we first went. We still support Wa teachers and evangelist and through Wa pastors, conduct relief missions to Wa who have been forced by the their own government (UWSA) to move into areas captured from the Shan. As we also work with the Shan people, we are then subject to attack by the Wa if we operate in areas of Shan State where the Wa has established control.

The military and political organization of the Wa , the UWSA, have their own agenda and this includes taking as much Shan territory as they can. Last month we had just completed the training of Shan FBR relief teams and our original plan was to go on a month long IDP relief mission to Shan villagers. We were initially told there was no way we could go on a mission to the area planned as the Burma Army was blocking the route and we would need an extra month that we did not have to go around them. We were also told that the areas that the Burma Army did not control were occupied by the Wa (UWSA). Close to us there were four villages that had been taken over by Wa forces of the United Wa State Army (UWDSA).

We were told that anyone who passed thru the WA territory would be attacked. (As noted above, a few years ago our relief team was attacked by the Wa in this same area and five people died.)

We prayed for an open door and to our surprise were told by the Shan commander that they had low level contact with the local Wa leaders and a relief team was welcome to their area as they needed medical help for the people there. We thanked God for this opening and prayed that we would be part of reconciliation between the Shan and the Wa. We were told that the mission would be very short and limited to the four nearby Wa controlled villages as this needed to be kept secret from higher leaders who were against any kind of reconciliation.

Our group consisted of a multi-ethnic FBR leadership and training team (Karen, Karenni and Kachin), four Shan relief teams and no security forces. Part of the condition of our visit to this Wa area was that no Shan soldiers could accompany us. We did have one guide who left us once the link up with the Wa was complete.

Once we walked into the Wa controlled area, the villagers were very excited to see us and told us that they needed medical help and also that they needed a school for their children. The four villages in this valley consisted of Shan, Wa and Lahu peoples. The Shan were the original inhabitants and now live under Wa control while the Wa and Lahu were forcibly moved from northern Wa areas to resettle this Shan area. Some of the Shan people here had lived under a succession of rulers- Chinese Nationalist in the 1950 to 1970s, Shan resistance groups such as the MTA from 1970 to 1996, Burma Army troops from 1996 to 2001 and Wa of the UWSA from 2001 to present.

The first Wa people we met were Wa villagers forced by their leaders to move into this area in 2003. They smiled at us and thanked us for coming, saying we could sleep in their homes and that they were grateful we had brought medicine. They told us that life under the rule of the Wa was much better than under the SPDC/Burma Army as the Wa did not make them do forced labor and did not steal their livestock or belongings like the Burma Army did. After introductions and prayer, we started treating patients early in the morning starting with a Wa lady that needed minor surgery. The Shan medics treated patients for malaria, dysentery, skin diseases.
As the medics were treating patients the Good Life Club (GLC), counselors on each team began the GLC program for women and children, this included instruction in anatomy, health, hygiene, Bible stories and games. One Shan lady stood up and began to do a traditional Shan dance and sang a Shan song as she danced. One of the medics followed suite and sang an old Shan song which made all the people laugh. After all the medical treatment was finished the teams handed out blankets and clothes (donated by students from CMIS) to every family, GLC shorts (from Partners) to every child as well as Legos donated by the Lego company

After the programs were completed we prayed together and then walked to the next village. This was a settlement of newly arrived Wa people. These were families of the WA soldiers stationed in the area. Here we started with prayer and the Good Life Club program and then gave medical treatment.
After we finished the Good Life Club program, The Wa villagers told us that many of them were Christians (less than 2% of the Wa are Christian, most are animist and due to the animist beliefs they were headhunters until 1979). We were surprised that there were Christians here and listened as they sang hymns in beautiful harmony. We prayed together and told them we hoped to be able to return to them."

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Teichert Prayer Letter

Karl and Jenny Teichert are serving the Lord as missionaries with OC Africa, in South Africa. They moved to Johannesburg in November, 1997 with their four children; Ann, Scott, Stephen and John. Karl serves as the Southern Africa Director of the Southern Africa Regional Team. Their vision is to see a healthy, Bible-based church established in every un-reached village and community in South Africa, Swaziland, Zimbabwe, Zambia and beyond. Their strategy is to partner with key African church leaders to research, train, and mobilize the body of Christ to complete the Great Commission. They are striving to equip local leaders in Southern Africa to reach their nations for Christ and send missionaries into other countries as well. Karl’s ministry focuses on research, church planting, and leadership development training. In addition to caring for their four children, Jenny enjoys ministering through hospitality and equipping Sunday school teachers

August Prayer Letter ...

“If my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then will I hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and will heal their land.”
2 Chronicles 7:14

Dear Family and Friends,

From Scott: This winter break from June 14-16, I had the opportunity to help lead a Holiday Club (VBS) at our church. About 120 kids from grades 1 to 6 came and had fun while playing games, praising God, and learning more about him. The theme for the week was “A Techno Story,” which was about how we as the children of God are a part of God’s story and his plan for our lives.

I was in charge of the “Game Zone” where the kids would play different games each day. As leaders, we were able to reach out and set an example to these kids by expressing God’s love for them through our leadership. The kids were also given a chance to commit their lives to God and pray with the leaders. The thing I enjoyed the most during the week was just hanging out with the kids and setting a good example for them while being with them.

From Stephen: Holiday Club is a time during the school holidays when the kids come to the church from 8:00 – 13:00 during the day to learn more about God, learn memory verses, praise God, play games, and have fun. All three of us boys were leaders at the holiday club where we tell these kids about Jesus and reach out to them. Most of the kids that went to holiday club were either connected through the church or through the school and already had a Christian background, but we still got lots of kids who accepted Jesus into their lives and many who recommitted.
I enjoyed every minute of holiday club, even though our energy levels were running very low near the end. God also showed me during the week that we need to rely on him in our daily lives and that he has a plan and a purpose for every one of us.

From John: Last week I was a leader at holiday club. My two brothers and\ I were leaders there. It is a lot of fun and got to do fun stuff with the kids there. The leaders stayed at the club and they ate there which is cool because we got to know the other leaders better. I met a lot of new leaders there that I didn’t know very well. On holiday club, God told me to think of others more than myself and to help others.

I also really liked the last day because we made two huge banana splits and the kids on the two teams had to try to finish their team’s first. It was a lot of fun and a good way to end the club.

Thank you for prayers and support!
The Teicherts

OC Africa is an interdenominational ministry committed to developing, equipping, and mobilizing church leaders to multiply healthy, Bible-based churches in every community in Southern Africa and the world. OC is a faith-based mission who depends on the Lord to provide committed, financial supporters and partners. The contributions from these individuals help generate ministry opportunities around the world, impact missionaries and their global work, and provide a means for the International Mobilization Center to function. CLICK HERE to learn how YOU can be a part of mobilizing church leaders around the world by donating to OC.

Monday, September 6, 2010

Midland Group Suggests 5 Ways to Help the Persecuted Church in China - #1, PRAY

The China Aid Association is a non-profit Christian organization - based in Midland, Texas - with a mission to uncover and reveal the truth about religious persecution in China, focusing especially on the unofficial church. They do this, they explain in their website, by exposing the abuses, encouraging the abused and equipping the saints to advance the kingdom of God throughout China.

Midland Group Suggests 5 Ways to Help the Persecuted Church in China - #1, PRAY

Released by ChinaAid ...

"The most important way to support persecuted Christians in China is through prayer. The following are just some of the ways you can pray."

"Please pray for:
Prisoners of faith, that God will enable them to stand firm for Christ.
Prisoners to share Christ with their fellow prisoners.
Prisoners to overcome evil with good, in every situation.
Christians to have wisdom to answer questions from authorities with love and forgiveness.
Prison interrogators and guards, that the Holy Spirit will open their hearts to know Christ through the witness of imprisoned Christians.
Family members of those imprisoned for their faith, that God will protect them and provide for their needs.
Children of imprisoned pastors, that they will not be dismissed from school because of their parents’ faith in Christ.
Congregations of the imprisoned pastors, that their faith will be emboldened because of the suffering their shepherds endure.
Unity in the Body of Christ in China, that they will “love each other deeply and from the heart” and that minor theological differences will not separate believers.
Courage and authentic faith among TSPM church members that they will share the Gospel boldly, despite government-imposed restrictions."

"To find out more ways to pray, sign up for our E-mail Updates!"

In the News ... "Two churches to share one building"

Two churches to share one building
By Megan Lea Buck
Assistant Lifestyle Editor
Midland Reporter-Telegram

MIDLAND, TEXAS - Memorial Christian Church was founded in January 1954 after growth at First Christian Church prompted the need for another Disciples of Christ church in Midland. Fifty-one years later, Church on the Journey — also affiliated with Disciples of Christ — organized and began meeting in the building of another Midland church.

For the past five years, the two Christian churches have participated in many of the same ministries and events.

CLICK HERE to read the rest of the MRT story

Saturday, September 4, 2010

Midland Group Offers "Prayer Band That Started a Revolution"

The China Aid Association is a non-profit Christian organization - based in Midland, Texas - with a mission to uncover and reveal the truth about religious persecution in China, focusing especially on the unofficial church. They do this, they explain in their website, by exposing the abuses, encouraging the abused and equipping the saints to advance the kingdom of God throughout China.


Issued by ChinaAid ...

This prayer band has been declared illegal in China.

Chinese police have stopped people on the streets and taken the bands off their wrists. Some have been interrogated and arrested; at least three families were evicted from their homes—for the government, the prayer band is a symbol of revolution.

We thank everyone across the U.S. and around the world who answered the call to wear a "Pray for China" prayer band and pray during the Olympics. Your willingness to stand with Chinese house church Christians encouraged them as they also wore prayer bands and prayed for their country. Their commitment came with a cost. Read more.

Yet, house church Christians refuse to be intimidated. They say that prayer for China is even more critical now that the world is no longer watching. Persecution has increased. Will you join in this revolution of prayer for China?

"They can arrest me or put me in prison, but I'm not going to stop praying for China. Although the prayer band is banned in China, prayer can never be banned. I am asking every Christian to support believers in China by wearing a prayer band." - a prominent house church leader

At this crucial time, will you partner in prayer? And, will you please forward this information to others who will want to pray for the persecuted in China.

» Click here to order a China Prayer Band

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Faces of Children: Prayer Requests

Faces of Children is an ecumenical prayer ministry under the auspices of First Presbyterian Church of Midland, Texas. Our mission is to initiate ministries of prayer for children in churches, communities, and neighborhoods. In doing so, we seek to provide an opportunity for people of God to join together, learn about children and their needs throughout the world, and celebrate Christ's love (especially as it relates to children).

Prayer Concerns for the week of 09/02/10

Kenya
Please pray that God will continue to provide the resources needed to complete the construction of Naomi’s Village in Maai Mahiu, Kenya. Pray for those involved in the building of this facility that will eventually house 110 orphaned or abandoned children under the age of 10. Please pray for the children who will live at Naomi’s Village. Pray for those who will care for and teach them.
Thanks be to God for the foresight of the founders in making Naomi’s Village a predominately self-sustaining children’s home with a vegetable garden, fruit trees, chicken coop, milking station, 30,000 liter water tank, and playground. Give God thanks for the creative ways the building designers are utilizing all available water to sustain the property’s crops and trees in this semi-arid climate.
Pray for the children and families living in the internally displaced person’s (IDP) camp across the highway from Naomi’s Village. Thank God for Naomi’s Village staff and volunteers as they reach out to and help the IDPs in this community with employment, Bibles, church services in the camp, reading glasses, and a chicken coop.
Pray for the two million Kenyan children under the age of 15 who are orphans. One child is orphaned every two minutes in Kenya — 700 children a day.
Website for Mendonsa Family Mission/Naomi's Village

Sweden
Pray for Helena and Robb who are expecting their first child. Pray that God will comfort and sustain them during the next difficult weeks — Helena has been hospitalized until the baby is born. Pray for a safe delivery and the health of this baby.

United States
Please keep Ginger’s sons held close in prayer as they grieve the loss of their mother. Ginger died August 20 after fighting breast cancer. Pray that God will comfort 17-year-old Tyler (who is trying to plan his mother’s funeral), 12-year-old Trevor, and 7-year-old TJ during this sad time. Pray the boys will be placed in the best possible situation for them at this time in their lives. Pray for a community of support to surround these hurting children.
Pray for the foster family that has been caring for the boys. The foster mother had to leave when her father died and placed the boys in a respite foster program.
Give God thanks that Ginger’s husband has been sober, employed, and that he was able to visit her these last few weeks of her life.
Give God praise for answering prayers about 14-year-old Madison who had run away with a 17-year-old boy. Madison was found safely after running away with this boy who was allegedly involved in gang and drug violence. Pray for peace and healing in her life. Pray for vulnerable young people who are coerced into dangerous lifestyles by gang members.
"Bring Madison Home" website
Please continue to pray for 11-year-old Dallas, his older brother Andrew, and their mother as they face more challenges. Pray that Dallas’ mother, a recovering alcoholic who enters relationships with unreliable men, will be able to sort out arrangements for Dallas’ back-to-school routine and her work schedule. She recently retrieved her boyfriend after he was released from jail and brought him back to live with them. Pray that this mother will make wise choices for herself and her sons and not neglect them now that the boyfriend is back in the picture.
Keep 19-year-old Andrew held close in prayer as he begins serving a two-year sentence in the state penitentiary for stabbing a man. Andrew is developmentally delayed, was abused in foster care, suffers from Fetal Alcohol Syndrome (FAS), and is bi-polar. Pray that he might be able to serve his time in the Alternative Justice program in which the mentally ill and developmentally disabled are sentenced to group homes where they can receive treatment during their incarceration.
Give God thanks for 10-year-old Emily’s recovery from her latest surgery to correct an extreme form of scoliosis and from the infections she contracted in the hospital.
Please pray for the young girls being prostituted in the neighborhoods of south central Los Angeles. Pray that God will raise up people and organizations to assist these young women… to be channels of Jesus Christ’s healing love and grace. Pray for the children headed to school every morning who witness these young girls working the streets. Pray that God will protect the vulnerable ones and keep them safe from pimps, gangs, and predators.

Faces of Children
Give thanks to God for the new intercessors that have recently joined with Faces of Children prayer ministry.
Please continue to pray that more churches and individuals will join with the ministry of Faces of Children in spreading awareness about children in crisis and inviting more people to pray for children at risk.

In the News ... "West Texans Remember Hurricane Katrina: 5 Years Later"

West Texans Remember Hurricane Katrina: 5 Years Later
Jennifer Samp
Reporter
KOSA-TV


WEST TEXAS - Joe Stephans is part of the Texas Baptist Men of the Permian Basin; the organization helps the Red Cross and prepares meals for the disaster victims.

When hurricane Katrina hit, Stephans and a group of volunteers drove to New Orleans, and stayed there for nearly two months.
CLICK HERE to read/view the rest of the KOSA story.

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

FBR Report: Photo Essay - "What can we do, they are dead but at least they are free"

The Free Burma Rangers (FBR) is a multi-ethnic humanitarian service movement. They bring help, hope and love to people in the war zones of Burma. Ethnic pro-democracy groups send teams to be trained, supplied and sent into the areas under attack to provide emergency assistance and human rights documentation. Together with other groups, the teams work to serve people in need.

Photo Essay - "What can we do, they are dead but at least they are free"

"This photo essay follows the one we sent out last week as we have been with the Karen families whose homes were burned in Ler Doh township, Nyaunglebin District, Western Karen State, Burma ... Here is not only suffering and pain but also a determination to rebuild and not be pushed out of their land. Even in the ruins of their homes people rebuild, a widow has her rice mill back up and running and schools are trying to start again. When we talked with the survivors of the attacks they all mourned the loss of their loved ones but expressed a feeling that at least those killed were now free and at peace. They believed that one day they would see them again in what the Karen call the 'undiscovered land.'"
CLICK HERE to view the rest of the photos from the Free Burma Rangers

Rolling Through West Texas

From First Presbyterian Church-Midland ... "A generous church member has offered to match donations to Free Wheelchair Mission, up to a grand total of $10,000. Each chair costs $59.20, so $10,000 will buy almost 170 wheelchairs, and a new life for people who are home bound, unable to get to school or work ... or sometimes, even get off the ground. Your donation of $59.20 will give someone the precious gift of mobility." To find out more, contact First Prez-Midland at (432) 684-7821, or see the information below the video.


Founded in 2001, Free Wheelchair Mission is an international nonprofit organization dedicated to providing wheelchairs for the impoverished disabled in developing nations. Headquartered in Irvine, California, FWM works around the world in partnership with a vast network of humanitarian, faith-based and government organizations, sending wheelchairs to hundreds of thousands of disabled people, providing not only the gift of mobility, but of dignity, independence, and hope.

"Our mission is to transform lives through the gift of mobility to
the physically disabled poor in developing countries
as motivated by Jesus Christ.
Our vision is to provide 20 million wheelchairs."


Want to take one for a test drive? During normal business hours, visit the lobby at the Texas Street entrance of First Presbyterian Church-Midland, at the northwest corner of Texas and A streets, on the west side of downtown Midland. For $51.29, you can give the gift of mobility. You can donate by mailing FWC, calling them, or visiting their website.

Free Wheelchair Mission
9341 Irvine Boulevard
Irvine, CA 92618

(800) 733-0858

www.freewheelchairmission.org/

In the News ... "FOCUS on HABITAT: Churches are needed to serve as apostle builders"

FOCUS on HABITAT: Churches are needed to serve as apostle builders
By Alynda Best
Executive Director, Midland Habitat for Humanity


MIDLAND, TEXAS - The need for affordable housing in Midland County is a "mission in our own backyard." With construction costs continuing to rise, many low-income families are left out in the cold. This October, Midland Habitat will host the first ever Apostles Build. Just as 12 apostles joined together to spread the message of Jesus, 12 churches of various denominations will join together to sponsor and build a home with a low-income family in our community.
CLICK HERE to read the rest of the MRT story