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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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!

No Planting, No Harvest

  By Esther Hylden

Jesus said, “Lift up your eyes, and look on the fields.  That they are white unto Harvest.”  John 4:35

Without planting, there is no harvest.  Things have been very busy, hectic and sometimes tense here on the Hylden Farm this Spring.   Rain has delayed planting, day after day, week after week.  In a normal year, planting is usually completed by  May 25th.   Today it is June 17th, and planting is still in progress.  Our family income depends on a good harvest… without planting there is no harvest.

That is how it is with Disciple Making isn’t it, no planting means no harvest?  Without faithful parents, Sunday School teachers, VBS workers, godly friends, godparents and Pastors who pass along the Good News of the Gospel…planting… to children, co-workers, friends and neighbors… there is no Harvest.  No joyful meeting again in Heaven, no help for the weary here on this earth.

Jesus said, “Go therefore and make disciples of all Nations.”  Matthew 28:19.  Today, let us go…to our children, to our neighbor, to our co-worker. Let’s do some planting… and then… let’s Harvest!

Planting Wheat near Park River ND

Planting Wheat near Park River ND

Heaven is for Real

By Velma Amundson

We recently watched the movie “Heaven is for Real”. I really enjoyed it. I have to say, I’m no expert on whether or not this little boy “went to heaven and back”. We know that God took Enoch and Elijah directly to heaven, and we know from Revelation that John was given a vision. I’m willing to leave it at that.

What struck me, though, was the title: “Heaven is for Real”. My first thought was “Duh”. I mean, after all, isn’t that what we hope for, what we look forward to? One of my husband’s favorite Bible passages comes from John 14:1-2, “Let not your hearts be troubled, believe in God. Believe also in me. In my Father’s house are many rooms. If it were not so would I have told you I go to prepare a place for you? (ESV). I think of all the songs we sing, “Beyond the Sunset”, “Mansion on a Hilltop”. The first verse of one of my favorite songs, and I have many, says, “This world is not my home, I’m just a passing through. My treasure is laid up somewhere beyond the blue. The angels beckon me from Heaven’s open door and I can’t feel a home in this world anymore.” There are so many songs which tell us of the hope that we have that God has provided a place for us to be with him for all eternity. What a glorious promise and hope to cling to.

I hope that this spate of summer movies featuring religious themes has given you hope and inspiration. I hope that if someone asks you about it you can say, “Yes, of course Heaven is for real, God promised so it must be”. I hope most of all that as we live our lives we remember that hope and cling to our Lord, Jesus Christ, who made it possible for us to hope.

 

His Eye is on the Sparrow

John, Cris and Family-Jonni Silver Web readyBy Jonni Sliver

I come from a long line of worriers. That isn`t one of the qualities I am most proud of, but I see it popping up now and then (with more “now” than I care for.  Those of you not genetically inclined to fretting are probably already saying to yourselves “what’s the point of worrying?” You are right of course, and we know it, with 90% of our brains, it is the 10% that trips us up. Praise the Lord, He loves his daughters, even when we fret, and His has lovely, precious means to remind us that we really don’t need to fret at all. Cris is a good example.

Cris has been living in a house on the Miriam Home/Bible school campus for six months now. She is a precious young mom, born in the Philippines, married to a mighty North Dakotan, John, who happens to be an engineer working on international oil rigs. Through his job he got to know the AFLC churches in Brazil, and he decided to bring Cris (7 months pregnant when they arrived) and their two year old daughter to get to know this lovely country. The only problem was that John is six weeks on the ship and six weeks off. He was here just a short time before he left for his on ship time, because he wanted to come back in time for the birth of his daughter. Cris is a pretty brave young lady, being in a new country, with a language she was just starting to learn and a very active little girl. She fit in wonderfully to our family, and her little Leota won everyone’s hearts.

During the six months John had to do two shifts on the ship, but they were planned so he would be back to take his little family home. The timing was important because not only did Cris and Leota’s visas run out the beginning of June, but Cris had to be back in the U.S. by June 6th or she would lose her green card.  But plans don’t always work the way we want them to. Problems came up on the ship and John’s return kept getting postponed. By the middle of last week it was clear that John wouldn’t be here to accompany Cris and the girls home, but Cris is spunky and wasn’t intimidate.

Then Tuesday came – just two days before Cris and the kiddos were to take off, I received a call from Pr. Silvio, on vacation in the north of Brazil. He remembered that Cris would need authorization to travel outside of Brazil without John. This document required a notarized statement from John, hard to get in the middle of the ocean, and would normally take at least a week to be approved. But, since Cris is living on the campus of the Miriam Home our administrator, Surai, was able to ask for the help of the juvenile court judge. Based on his respect for Surai, and the fact that Cris had copies of every birth certificate back to her great grandma, the document was ready by today, Thursday morning. Four hours later she was in the van, on the way to the airport, with everything she needed in her carry-on bag.

His eye is on the sparrow, on Cris and on me. Why worry?   

FROM OUR WMF PRESIDENT

Lynn 5-2014 SMALL web readyBy Lynn Wellumson

My wonderful, trustworthy, twelve year old maroon car that faithfully carried me for over 100,000 miles was totaled by a pickup truck.  It was a sad day!  I could turn on the radio, hit the windshield wipers, and turn on the lights without looking.  My coffee mug fit perfectly in the rack and I hadn’t changed the six CD’s in the console in over a year.

At the car dealership, we explained the make, model, year range, and price range of our desired “new” vehicle .  The salesman gently explained that it would be very rare to find one not only in Williston, but anywhere.  He was encouraging us to buy a new Pilot and we had to inform him we would not be comfortable driving anything that was the cost of our home twenty six years ago.  At that moment of impasse, he suddenly jumped up and said “Let me look into something”.  When he came back, he was all smiles!  A pilot matching our criteria had come in that morning.  We went out to test drive it and decided to make an offer.

On the second day of ownership of this blue beauty, we noticed part of the key fob was missing.  We retraced our steps, to no avail.  It didn’t keep anything from working, just kind of annoying and the battery could easily fall out.

Arriving at church the next day, one of our faithful ushers showed us he had found a piece of plastic and didn’t know what to do with it.  The lost was found.

Our family has been praying for six months for a job for our newest college graduate.  What a great reminder that God hasn’t abandoned us ( I will never leave you nor forsake you.   Joshua 1:5 b NIV) ; forgot about us (For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope.  ESV);  or brushed us off ( The Lord is not slow to fulfill His promise.   II Peter 3:9 a ESV) .  He has a plan and in His timing, He will open the right doors. 

In the middle of our being concerned about our son  finding a job, our experience of finding this vehicle reminds us God is in control of every aspect of our lives.  He is faithful!

Amanda Bellefy Update

Greetings from Ecuador,

As I’m writing this, I’m outside watching the biggest and prettiest hummingbird I’ve ever seen fly in front of me.  The school year is coming to an end here at the Bible school.  The students are taking finals this week and they graduate on June 14th.  Next week I will be going with them to Cuenca as they will have a week of practicals before they graduate.  After they graduate, I will be moving to Cuenca for the summer and house sitting the Pillman’s house as they are in the states until August.  I was in charge for most of May as the administrator was in the states, and praise God nothing too major happened and I think it went well.  I taught her literature class and a class on the book of Ruth during that time, which really helped my Spanish.  I got a 6 month tourist visa, so I have until November to get my missionary visa.  I have all the papers that I need except one-the church’s registration papers.  The place that has the registration papers is currently without a manager, and so I am waiting for them to get a manager so that they can sign the paper.  It sounds like such a simple thing, but I have been waiting for this paper for 2 months already, so please pray for this.  Yesterday we had a fun adventure chasing our chickens-I have decided I never want chickens (unless I can watch the entertainment from a distance).  I have been working on a play based on the book of Hosea and the book Redeeming Love.  I just finished it and it will be performed by the students in August, I am told.  This summer I will be working in Cuenca, and Rachel (the administrator) and I are organizing a Kids’ Camp for the month of July.  I will be working on making the Bible lessons for the teachers this coming week.  Thank you for all of your support and prayers.

Prayer Requests:
1. For the students as they graduate, that they would continue to grow in their faith after leaving Bible school (Pocho, Kevin, Taty, Johanna, & Raquel)
2. For future students in the fall
3. For my missionary visa
4. For the summer Kids’ Camp

In Christ,
Amanda Bellefy

 

Michigan District WMF Retreat

Held April 25-26, 2014

Michigan Retreat 0414--LW--web ready

 

The cold temps did not keep the Michigan women from coming to Lake Ellen Bible Camp near Crystal Falls, Michigan!  They were tucked into cozy rooms and comfy great areas to learn more of “Loving God’s Abundant Life” from John 10:10.

 

Carol Mackey--LW--web ready

 

 

Carol Mackey was the MC and had us giggling despite the recent loss of her mom.  Much reflection took place as we “examined ourselves”, allowed the Lord to do “heart surgery” on us, learned how to study the Bible on our own, shared how the Lord abundantly blesses us as we spend time with Him and learned how we can, in turn, share those blessings with others.

 

One of the participants wrote:
“Thanks so much for all you have shared with us here at Lake Ellen.  It was no accident that I came this weekend.  All you have shared from God’s word and what was on your heart has blessed me and was just what I needed to hear.  God is good!  I am so glad that you and your friends were willing to give of yourselves to encourage and bless me more than you know.  Your love for Jesus and a desire that others do too radiates from within you.  My life was so blessed in a mighty way today.  God bless you as you continue the work for the sake of the Kingdom.”

Another wrote:
“Thank you so much for coming all this way to spend today with us!  What a blessing to be among sisters in the Lord, and be encouraged and challenged.  We are in a rough season of life, and I often find my “tank” dry.  To be in God’s presence without the stressors, spending time drawing strength from His Word is absolutely essential, to be able to go back and face the battle head-on!  God IS good, and it will be HE that brings us through.  Thank you so much!”

And to that we say, “To God be the glory!”

If your ladies’ group desires for a National WMF Board Member or representative to encourage your women in the Word or would like to learn more about WMF, please contact:

Dawn Johnson
WMF Executive Secretary
2991 30TH Ave., Wilson, WI 54027
(715) 772-4454
ctk@wwt.net OR wmf.es@aflc.org

Michigan Retreat Waiting--LW--web ready