Blessed or Burdened?

Scott and Meg Rambo, missionaries serving in Uganda, Africa, train and disciple leaders. Meg shared, on their ministry blog, an important lesson she learned from their recent Disciple Nations Alliance training sessions. Read on to learn what we may be missing in our walks with Christ and the blessings He puts in our paths.

Scott and Meg Rambo

Scott and Meg Rambo

“When I first heard this question at the DNA training, I looked around to see how others would respond. Our group was a mix of American missionaries, Kenyans and Ugandans in full-time ministry, local pastors and a few lay members of the church. The answers given were a range of answers, and showed us glimpses of each other.

“After sharing this the facilitator looked at us and said, ‘WHY?! Africa has so much potential, and yet struggles.’ This led to an interesting conversation. Some of our pastors shared that the struggles were too big and too hard. That they had no way to get out of them. Another American said it was because sin has come into the world. Things are no longer operating the way God intended and people are also now sinful. One African leader said that the people don’t trust God. We certainly didn’t have the answers that many scholars have tried to find over the years, but it was a great conversation.

“Our facilitator ended our time with the following story:

‘The crested crane is the national bird of Uganda. It is protected. You may not kill it, and they are worth a lot. Their picture is everywhere, on the flag, on the money, on official documents. If the crane went to the government, it could ask for anything. It could say, “I want you to give me food and shelter and a life of luxury.” It has a very high value. And yet we find it digging in the dirt for worms. It doesn’t know its value. It doesn’t know where to look for resources.’

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“She told us that Africa is very similar. They are used to doing what they have always done. (If we are honest, there are many things us Americans do because it is the way it is done too.) Our African friends don’t see the potential all around them. But the truth is that Africa has been so blessed by God.

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Photo Credit: Meg Rambo

“What about us? Where has God blessed us that we are missing? What do we see as ‘normal’ or maybe even a burden, that God designed as a blessing? For me I knew right away. My boys. Some days feel more like a burden, or at best just normal. But the TRUTH is that each life is a blessing from God. Daily I have the same choice as my African friends. Am I going to take this blessing and nourish it and use it to bless others, or am I going to ignore the blessing. So I ask again, where are you blessed? Where is the potential that you are missing? And how can you take the blessings God has given you to further His kingdom?”

Click here to read the Rambos’ entire blog post.

Missions at Home

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Philip and Debbie Renfroe serve through support ministries in North America. In their latest prayer letter, the Renfroes update us on the nations being reached for God’s glory. Continue reading to find out how God is working and bringing ministries right to their front door!

“With the help of friends, I recently completed two memorial windows for our visitors to see a glimpse of God’s faithfulness to our family. In these days of so much confusion in the world, it is important that we remember what God has done, is doing, and will do if we obey Him. God is our provider, our healer, and our protector!

“Many of our visitors are young Indiana Wesleyan University students whom we welcome to our home each Sunday evening throughout the school year. We hosted students from Korea, China, Nigeria, Saudi Arabia, India, and many other parts of the world. Yes, the world is indeed coming to us!

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Photo Credit: Philip and Debbie Renfroe

“These Sunday evening events are times for food, fellowship, and discussion about an important Biblical theme. Using materials from Disciple Nations Alliance, we had lively conversations as we discussed God’s intentions for the church and community.

“Philip is also excited about the people groups represented in his online Public Health classes. Philip has students representing Africa, Asia, and North America. The hours for class preparation, teaching, and grading are long, but God is producing fruit from these efforts. Recently Philip received a thrilling card from one of his former students who now works in China.

“God is opening other doors of ministry. After watching the movie War Room, I discovered a Bible study about prayer that was written by Stephen and Alex Kendrick, the directors of War Room. Last January, thirteen ladies came to our home for this eight-week study.

“It was apparent that these ladies wanted to learn how to pray. From January until the end of March, we studied The Battle Plan for Prayer. During this time, I found out from our pastor that our county has the worst child poverty rates in the state of Indiana. Philip came home from another meeting and informed me that Grant County also has the most meth (methamphetamine) drug labs in the state of Indiana, and Indiana has the most meth labs of any place in the United States. Our home county is the meth lab capital of the United States! As one of our Bible study members stated, ‘No person’s mind, no matter how many intelligent minds we have, can solve this problem…only God can!’

“In response, I asked the Bible study members, ‘Wouldn’t it be great if we saturated Grant County with prayer and saw God transform this place?’ Since then, someone gave us ten leader’s study kits for the Battle Plan for Prayer. We are asking God for forty groups of praying people to saturate our county with prayer. We now have approximately twenty groups who have either finished this Bible study, now doing it, or are planning to start the Bible study in the next few months. Please join us in praying for twenty more prayer groups. We are praying for a miracle in Grant County, Indiana!”

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Photo Credit: Philip and Debbie Renfroe

“Prayer means hope. Prayer means help. Prayer means relief.” (S. Kendrick & A. Kendrick, 2015, p. 19) “Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God; and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.” (Philippians 4:6-7 NKJV)

 

Connexions

The latest blog post, “Connexions,” by Joy Phillips, WGM’s Wholistic Transformation coordinator, highlights some of the ministries going on around the world. As the Wholistic Transformation coordinator, Joy connects missionaries to other people and resources. Read more to learn how Joy is helping missionaries make valuable connections.

“Social media can be put to good use.  WGM has a new Facebook page (WGMCompassion) and a blog called Life Between the Trees to connect people with stories and resources about reaching out and sharing Jesus’ love with others.  I’m encouraging folks to sign up and I encourage you to join if you’re interested in learning, being challenged and inspired.

“In April I was able to visit Nathan and Cydil Waggoner and their two children.  They live in Albania.  I had to do a lot of studying about Albania before this trip as I knew almost nothing about it.  What a charming country.  The Waggoners were incredible hosts.  It was great to see how God is at work in their neighborhood.  I loved the chance to share some resources and tools that might be helpful as they reach out to Albanians.

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Joy Phillips and Nathan Waggoner (Photo Credit: Joy Phillips)

“I’m very excited to return to Albania in November along with Bonnie and Peder Anderson.  Bonnie was one of my Clinical Instructors in Nursing School way back when at Marion College, now Indiana Wesleyan University.  More recently Bonnie volunteered with Mango Ministries in South Sudan.

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Bonnie Anderson with patients (Photo Credit: Joy Phillips)

“In November she and her husband Peder and I will share about several transformational development tools.  Will you pray for wisdom as we prepare and teach and that the team in Albania will know how best to use what they learn?”

Check out Joy’s blog for the rest of her post and for more stories about how missionaries are being equipped and prepared to make important connections for God’s kingdom work.

Journey with Joy blog

What is Happening in Honduras?

Larry and Angie Overholt are missionaries in Honduras focusing on the Community Development Housing ProjectCholuteca Vocational School, and Lizzy Scholarship. In their latest posts from their blog and Facebook, they highlight needs and transformation happening in Honduras. Will you take part in praying for and fulfilling a need in their community?

“Honduras is a lower-middle income country in Central America. Throughout the country, there is great inequality of wealth and income. Nearly 60% of the population lives in poverty. Approximately two-fifths of the population lives in conditions of extreme poverty. The problem is even greater in rural areas among agricultural laborers (USAID, 2011). Interest rates are high and very few people are able to invest in good housing. Many people live in substandard housing.

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A new house being built in front of the old one. Photo credit and caption: Larry and Angie Overholt

“The climate conditions in Honduras compound the poor living conditions. Older adobe homes have been damaged by recent seasonal heavy rains, flooding, and occasional earthquake tremors. Roofs are built out of whatever material is available and are leaky and hot. Many homes do not have concrete floors, allowing water to run into the sunken interior rooms.

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Skyping with OSU engineering students Photo credit and caption: Larry and Angie Overholt

“Poor housing contributes to chronic health problems. While adobe brick construction is a relatively cheap method of construction, the earthen bricks allow potentially disease-carrying insects to live in the crevices. Cooking stoves are commonly built inside of homes with no chimney for the smoke to escape. Asthma cases are common. The dampness inside the homes encourages the growth of mold and causes respiratory problems.

“As missionaries working with World Gospel Mission, we moved to southern Honduras immediately after Hurricane Mitch. Hundreds of families had lost their homes during the hurricane. Southern Honduras was especially hard-hit. The new church that was being established immediately began to respond to the need for helping provide housing in the community. They took on the goal of building a house each year for a needy family.”

To read the rest of this story, visit Larry and Angie’s ministry blog.

Larry and Angie Overholt

SPECIAL NEEDS

Larry mentioned this special request for support on Facebook: “For our entire career, we have heard it said that you can support missions by ‘going,’ ‘sending,’ ‘praying.’ We are asking that God would give someone the vision for helping in a bit of a different way. We need someone who would help us develop promotional materials for the Choluteca ministries. This includes web design, writing for the internet, video editing, grant writing, etc.

“You can help make a difference. Possible action steps:

  • Consider joining one of our construction teams.
  • Make a contribution to our rotating fund or to help finish building the Amigos Church parsonage. (account: 25498, Lizzy housing)
  • Pray that our local church will continue to learn how to best help needy families.”

Visit Larry and Angie’s blog to learn more.