Be the Light

Houses, cars, pictures, keepsakes—all gone—destroyed in the wake of hurricanes Harvey and Irma. For so many, this is the case. There are so many in need of support. They need support not just to rebuild but to take care of immediate needs like clean drinking water, food, and clothes. WGM is partnering with World Hope International to provide hurricane relief.

dodlive_images7CW7QWJO

Here’s an update from World Hope International President John Lyon:

“World Hope is organizing an emergency water supply project in St Maarten right now. The Water and Sanitation Director is flying over and taking water filters, chlorination kit and desalination kits to support the effort.

“In Florida, we are monitoring, but we have many Wesleyan churches in Florida, so there will be no shortage of places to base camp from and send supplies too.

“We just posted a new video of the work in Texas.  See https://www.facebook.com/worldhopeorg/videos/10155149308572979/

WGM will be a staging area where local volunteers and partners can bring supplies that will then be distributed to the affected areas.

Pennsylvania Army National Guard Sends Helicopters, Crew To Texas

Supplies needed:

  • Diapers
  • Baby wipes
  • Water
  • Nonperishable food items (also crackers, cookies, and  granola bars)
  • New blankets
  • New towels
  • New undergarments for children (including socks)
  • Hand sanitizers
  • Hygiene products
  • Heavy-duty large trash bags
  • Duct tape

ACT: You can help by donating at wgm.org/hurricane-irma or by dropping off any of the needed supplies at World Gospel Mission on Friday, September 15, from 12:00 noon to 6:00 p.m. and on Saturday, September 16, from 9:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. Please feel free to pass this on.  We would like to fill a semitruck from Marion and the surrounding communities to help the victims in Texas.

Busy but Thankful!

Traveling hundreds of miles; preaching and speaking at different venues; visiting family, friends, and ministry partners; getting training; and building new relationships are just some of the many things missionaries tackle while on homeland ministry assignment (HMA). Andy and Stephanie Abrams, missionaries to Kenya, give an update on their ministry and share how God is working to do awesome things while they are in the USA.

“It seems that we have been caught up in a whirlwind since our last update; so much has happened in such a short amount of time.

“In May we had the privilege of hosting our first team of college students from Ohio Christian University for two weeks. We may be a bit biased, but this team was an amazing group of people! Each of them were so willing to try new things, give impromptu speeches, travel throughout Kenya, and lavish love on our children. To say our family was blessed would be an understatement. This team was a vision team, so we traveled throughout Kenya to different WGM ministries. They were a blessing everywhere they went! It was a true joy to watch them interact with each ministry and see God work through them.

 

146d906c-3fcc-46cf-bdb5-895f90c3139e

The vision team from Ohio with our GCM boys and staff. Photo credit: Andy and Stephanie Abrams

“As June came around, it was time to start packing up our home and saying some difficult goodbyes. Kenya has truly become home to our family, and although we were excited to be heading to the States for a time, it was hard to say goodbye to our friends and family in Kenya. We were given several very special farewells from the AGC Mission Centre, GCM, our local church, and the WGM Nakuru station. We mentioned in our last update that there were changes in store for our ministry in Kenya. Well the biggest one will be our location once we return. We won’t be going back to Nakuru (at least to live), so saying goodbye to a place that is home and where all of our closest friends live was difficult. But God in His ever faithfulness was so good in giving us special times with each place that is near to our hearts.

6359f6d3-b6b7-403e-9122-794323028027

Our farewell at the AGC Mission Staging Centre. Photo credit: Andy and Stephanie Abrams

“So where are we going when we return to Kenya? We plan to move to Olderkesi Development Project, our remote AGC mission station in the Maasai bush. Andy will still be working in agriculture and community development, finding ways to make Olderkesi more self-sustaining. I will most likely be taking over the running of the guesthouse that we have there, as well as continuing homeschooling our four children. Our entire family, especially our children, are looking forward to living out there. It is a place that feels like home and a perfect fit for our rural-inclined family. That is a brief glimpse of what we are feeling God is calling our family back to.”

To read the rest of the Abrams’ update, go to Abram Family Update. (http://mailchi.mp/07eb37d6834c/abrams-update)

ACT: Pray for the Abrams’ ministry and family, using these prayer points:

  • Pray for peace for Kenya during and after this election period.
  • Lift up our Kenyan colleagues who are spreading God’s love.
  • Pray for the current drought issues.
  • Ask that God will use our family to bring encouragement and be a light while in the U.S.

Community

In America, we have the luxury of personal space. Can you imagine living close to, worshiping with, and sharing life with those you work with inside and outside of work? Bob and Andrea Parker are missionary doctors serving at Tenwek Hospital in Kenya. In their latest blog post, they talk about this reality.

Turi 2016 edit

Our Kenya Field Missionary Colleagues
By Andrea Parker
Photo Credit: Dylan Nugent

People often ask us how reality differed from our expectations in moving to Kenya. In many ways, we didn’t know what to expect from life and work at Tenwek, and we tried to approach our new life without too many assumptions. But, there were some things that surprised us. For me, it was living in community.

I had not anticipated how living in such close proximity to those we serve with would affect me. Or how it would feel to live with the same people we work with and worship with and socialize with and do school with. This was a cost I had not counted.

It’s easy in that situation to begin to resent the community and those in it. I began to miss the compartmentalized and often virtual life that seemed so easy in the United States, where I could choose who I wanted to know and who I wanted to be known by. And I could so easily separate the various parts of my life – work, church, home, family. And in doing so, I could control appearances. But, at Tenwek, there is literally no facet of our lives that is not shared with others in our community.

About a year into our time in Kenya, a seasoned missionary shared with me a profound reflection on living in community – that if we let it be, community is one of the most refining processes we can ever experience. And why is it so refining? Because it forces us to acknowledge and respond to our own impurities.

human know

“Our residents (and Bob) work together to untangle themselves from a human knot.”
Photo Credit: Dylan Nugent

Community walks into my house uninvited and stays longer than I planned, and it knows my lack of kindness when my schedule or efficiency is disrupted. Community hears me yell at my child in anger through the very thin walls. Community sees me lose patience and snap at a trainee or staff member. Community sees the way I turn a needy person away without gentleness or compassion. Community knows way too many of the times I’m not living a life of love or reflecting Jesus. Community is invasive and frustrating and hard. And community is indeed refining. Much like a marriage, it is that reflective mirror held in front of my face that reveals all the blemishes I want to pretend are not there. But unlike a marriage, I didn’t really choose this community. And sometimes our personalities and beliefs and approaches to life are very different. In all likelihood, most of them wouldn’t choose to marry me, and I might not choose to marry them.

At first this all sounds rather unappealing. Who of us really wants to be refined? But when we let it, the difficulty of community gives way to a messy beauty. Sharing life, which means sharing the really bad and sharing the really good. Because for all the irritations and struggles, when people show up ready to know and love one another, it destroys the idea and appeal of self-reliance. I must rely on others because I cannot and will not make it on my own. Community lets me borrow food when I’m out of a necessary ingredient. Community watches my child when I’m up late at the hospital and makes sure she has dinner and companionship. Community remembers my birthday (even when I don’t necessarily want it remembered). Community knows when I’m ill and checks in. Community brings me a plate of the best chocolate chip cookies I have ever had on a day when I don’t think I can make it through.

To read the rest of the Parkers’ ministry blog, follow this link: Parker blog.

ACT: Christ encourages us to live in community. This week, think of someone who is either a neighbor or someone who you see often but don’t talk to and do something for them—bring them a plate of cookies or offer some type of help or service. Be a light in your community!

 

Textbook Perfect

Scared for their son, Ezra, but trusting in God, Nathan and Jade Metz were stuck between trusting in God and fearing the unknown. With nightmares waking and thoughts of what could be, the journey has not been without its challenges. What would their son be like after his brain surgery? The answer is in the title of this post, but it is also so much more. Read on to learn as Nathan tells how God performed a miracle in little Ezra’s life.

IMG_4349

Photo credit: Nathan and Jade Metz

“Among our children we’ve witnessed optimism and hope that builds such powerful encouragement and strength within us. Prior to the surgery they said things like, ‘Today is the day Ezra will be healed!’ and ‘Ezra just had the final seizure of his life.’ It does Jade and I a lot of good to hear such positive, faith-filled perspective from our children. Jade and I have handled the process in our own ways with ups and downs, highs and lows. This morning I testify.

“God’s promises are full and final. He does not struggle to remain faithful to us. His love is complete. Less than 48 hours after his surgery, Ezra has no bandage on his head, walks around his room with ease, plays games with us, speaks, eats and exceeds nearly every expectation we had for him at this stage. The doctors agree. And so in a few hours, we are going home. Is he fully healed? We won’t be able to make that kind of statement for quite a while. Following the surgery, the doctor said she has every reason to believe that this surgery has cured his epilepsy. Is God faithful? I testify today: God is faithful. God is good. I am a father full of joy and thankfulness. We are parents full of praise and relief. We are a family covered in love, hope, and peace.

“Medically speaking: Ezra’s left hippocampus was removed in a ‘textbook perfect’ surgery called a Left Temporal Lobectomy. He now has a circular scar above his left ear about the size of a baseball with a small line in front of his ear. The incision is not stitched. Instead, they use a special ‘super glue’ with antiseptic in it that will hold the skin in place and fall off on its own once the wound is healed. He will have about two weeks of ‘taking it easy’ at home before returning to school and moderate routine activities. It will be about a month before he is riding his bike or jumping on the trampoline. Three months from now, his brain will be fully healed.

“Jade and I have been so incredibly encouraged by our family, friends, and community. We spent the day of surgery with 15-20 who came to sit with us in the waiting room. As other families came and went we sat in waiting for one of the longest surgeries of the day. I can’t imagine going through such a scenario on our own. Community changes everything. As Ezra moved from his post-op bed to the ICU to his recovery room we enjoyed a steady stream of visiting friends with balloons, Legos, cards and meaningful time. Behind the scenes, there were hundreds and hundreds of you praying from all over the world. We are thankful for those who came, those who prayed and all who stood in support of Ezra and our family. Please join us today and praise our Father for what the doctors are calling a ‘textbook perfect surgery’, a ‘perfect CT scan’ and a ‘perfect recovery’. What an awesome, powerful experience this has been.”

Praise God! How wonderful He is to heal! Yesterday, as my nephew Ezra hugged me in my office for longer than expected, my heart rejoiced. It is so good to have him with us, and I am excited to see how Ezra will grow and change as he heals. I can’t imagine the joy Nathan and Jade must be feeling, but their journey, in some ways, has just begun.

ACT: Will you pray for Ezra’s recovery and for the rest of the Metz family as they work together to support him?