WAGNER URGENT UPDATE: Ebola & Evacuation

WAGNERS update 7-29-14ACTION: With great sadness we inform you that we have to leave Sierra Leone for a short time until the Ebola epidemic in West Africa is controlled.

WHY: The Ebola virus has begun infecting people in our city and civil unrest is a growing concern. Up until this week, we’d been planning to stay and were taking appropriate safety precautions. Unfortunately the outbreak has reached a point where our work and family activities are significantly restricted. It appears that things are likely to get worse before they improve.

WHERE & HOW LONG: We are initially going to LBT’s home office in Aurora, IL for debriefing and discussion of plans while we wait to return to Sierra Leone. We are evacuating with essentials and valuables and saving everything else in Sierra Leone for our return.

HOW WE FEEL: Heartbroken. We write this with tears and deep disappointment. We were seeing the light at the end of the tunnel of cultural stress and adjustment, a difficult pregnancy, and much sickness. We were seeing a way forward. Now we have to leave. While we know God’s ways are greater than ours, our emotions are raw. It’s especially difficult to leave our local partners, the work, our neighbors and friends. Most people don’t believe that Ebola is real or that it’s as bad as it is. We feel burdened to plead to God for their physical lives but also their spiritual lives. We plan to return. We plan to see the Word going forth and touching lives… in Themne.

FINANCIAL SITUATION: As evacuation plans continue to develop, we don’t know what our situation will be for the next several months. We know we have unexpected travel costs and living expenses as we keep our home in Sierra Leone and live in the USA for a short time.

URGENT PRAYER REQUESTS: Please pray…
– we can obtain an emergency passport for Isaiah (2.5 weeks old).
– we would be able to get tickets to travel with family visiting—Ruthie’s mom and Josh’s sister and brother-in-law. (Praise God they’re here to help us!!!)
– for the epidemic to be controlled and that people would believe!
– for encouragement, strength, and protection for the Themne translation team.

Thanks, Team, for standing with us,
Josh, Ruthie, Elijah (2yo), & Isaiah (2.5wks)

Missionaries with LBT to Sierra Leone

http://www.lbt.org/missionaries/jrwagner.php

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PRAYER AND PRAISE

By Lori Willard

If a family member answered the phone and they discovered the person on the other end of the line was Billy Graham, and he was calling for you, would you drop everything to speak with him?  Well…The Lord of the Universe – The King of Kings – is calling for you to exchange words with you.  Will you answer His call?

31 Days of Prayer and 31 Days of Praise by Ruth and Warren Myers have influenced my times of prayer and praise over the past few months.  The prayers and praises are broken down into daily times with God based on the scriptures that guide you.  In the books, they record Bible passages so you can rewrite the prayers if you choose to do so.  A few thoughts from their books have given me new insights or have reinforced ideas already known.  I have modified some of those thoughts to share from my perspective.

The Word and prayer keeps us connected to God – then links our lives with God’s purposes and power.  The Word and prayer bring us into a loving relationship with God.  We also realize through this relationship, how much we need Him so we prayerfully choose to depend on Him.

Praying for others – intercession – moves us from “give me” prayers to partnering with God on others’ behalf.  Philippians 4:6 says that He desires to hear our needs, but wants us to move beyond those prayers.  The Lord’s Prayer has 7 petitions – 6 of them focus on God’s purposes and our spiritual needs – 1 focuses on our practical needs.  God wants us to grow in prayer as we continue to commune with Him.

There are all kinds of prayer, for example:  praise, thanksgiving, confessing our sins, quiet communion, our needs, loved ones and others.  However, God desires us to partner with Him in our prayers.  What does God want me to pray about?  Jesus prays for us in John 17 and Hebrews 7:25.  The Holy Spirit helps us in prayer according to Romans 8:26.  How awesome to join His inner circle of prayer with Him!

Praise and Thanksgiving helps us rise above our self-centeredness to a God-centeredness.  It focuses our hearts and minds on the Lord and makes us more dependent on Him.  God gives us joy, spiritual vigor and an overcoming attitude as we focus on Him.

Praises allows the Lord to turn grief, distresses, and struggles into peace.  Praise during times of blessings and during times of trials enables us to “rise above” because we know that the Lord has promised never to leave us or forsake us – Hebrews 13:5; so we can say, along with David, “I will bless the Lord at all times; His praise shall continually be in my mouth.” NKJV

God chooses to use prayer, praise, reading His Word, Bible study, and fellowship with true believers, etc. all to bring us closer to Him.  May we not neglect the most important details of our relationship with Him but instead – PRESS ON, PRAY ON!

Philippians 3:13-16 “Brethren, I do not count myself to have apprehended; but one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind and reaching forward to those things which are ahead,  I press toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.  Therefore let us, as many as are mature, have this mind; and if in anything you think otherwise, God will reveal even this to you.  Nevertheless, to the degree that we have already attained, let us walk by the same rule, let us be of the same mind.” NKJV

The Little Things

by Jonni Sliver

It is exciting to see God’s hand in our lives! I have a friend here in Brazil who has undergone surgery to remove a cancerous kidney. There was an army of intercessors holding her up and expecting to see God move on her behalf. The peace we have, in facing huge challenges, is an amazing gift, something only a child of the Father can know. But somehow, there is a special sweetness in seeing God’s hand in the little details of our lives that reminds me that He isn’t just my champion in time of trial, but the Lover of my soul every day. The problem isn’t that God isn’t moving every day or every moment, but that I just don’t always pay attention!

About two months ago a project that the Miriam Home had presented to the city council was approved, to replace a very old computer tower and to buy a laptop. The laptop wasn’t an extreme necessity, but it was helpful for Pastor Silvio to be able to do the administrative work of the Miriam Home, Bible School and the retreat center. I was glad for the grant, especially because I knew how much Tibby (my Toshiba laptop) means to me, and that it would make ministry easier for Pastor Silvio.

Around that same time Tibby started showing signs of age. Little things like freezing when I would start her, so I would have to shut down and restart. A few times, when I left the desk for a while, without turning her off, I would come back to find her, not in sleep mode but with a blue screen, scolding me just a bit. Yes, there were signs, but I didn’t expect the end to come so quickly. Last Saturday I went to turn Tibby on and there was no response. Well, actually you could hear the motor running, but the screen didn’t even flicker. A crashed computer is always frustrating, but for me it was even more – maybe 75% of all I do is on my laptop, but I had hope! A young man from church is a truly gifted geek (I call him my techno-medic), and he took my computer Sunday morning – I was pretty confident that I would have it back on Monday! I was wrong. But with the help of my trusty (almost recent) backup and the borrowed desk top (with the new CPU) I was able to redo my class plans for the Bible School before my classes were to begin. In the meantime Mateus was trying everything he could to get Tibby up and running, but the system still didn’t work. By the end of the week it was clear that my computer was not coming back.

It just so happens that most of last week Pastor Silvio was in a series of meetings. For that reason I was able to use the new laptop we had just acquired. On Friday Pastor Silvio left for a week long ministry trip to a neighboring state giving me a few more days to work. And Mateus, my faithful techno-medic, has ordered my new computer, which will be here before Pastor Silvio returns and wants his laptop back.

I know something as small as a crashed computer doesn’t rate as a “trial”, but it has been sweet to see how the Father is concerned about my little things. Seeing His care over the details increases my faith for the big challenges that come up, and they always do!