Donna Dong. Pray for Holy Spirit insight as Donna supports & coaches C., an M.D. student from U of Toronto. C. is preparing biblical teaching on March 3rd on God’s goodness & the nature of sin as distrust of God. Pray that her small group, comprised of other black students and young professionals, would be enlivened and deepened in their relationship with Him.
Thanks to you who joined us in praying for Débora’s healing these past few weeks. We learned today that she has passed into glory.
The Perspectives Family writes this:
Débora Rodrigues, daughter, wife, mother, friend, professor, coordinator and mobilizer...A great, big sister! She left us with a great legacy in her life and witness!
One day, we will see the big picture be fulfilled, we will be together, we will stand before Him.
Now the longing that invades us blends with the hope of this meeting.
We love her, and will forever be grateful for the blessing of having served the Lord by her side!
“Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or danger, or sword? ...No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.”
Romans 8:35, 37-39 ESV
We keep praying for her husband and children who are grieving so deeply now.
For over ten years I have been leading teams of Canadian pastors and
Christian leaders to conduct conferences at the Skylark Centre to train,
encourage and equip local pastors and to provide a time of refreshment and
encouragement to them and their spouses. This has been a wonderful blessing
to me and my teams over the years but even more so to those Christian leaders in
Nicaragua who attend. Every year they continued to give high marks and testify
how their lives were enriched and their ministries benefited from the conferences.
Last year and for the foreseeable future teams like mine did not and cannot go
due to COVID travel restrictions. But this challenge has opened up a new door
and brought new talent to the forefront. In February we began to offer Saturday
Seminars for local pastors and Christian leaders to come to Skylark for a morning
of learning and deepening their skills. The seminars happen every other Saturday
until July for this first segment focussed on sound Biblical Interpretation. There is
currently a full class of 18 in attendance with over 60 expressing interest.
Mauricio Manzanarez, our Director of Operations for Threefold Nicaragua is the
teacher, with support from Pastor Deane in PEI and myself.
We are so excited that God has raised up Mauricio, and through his online
seminary studies, equipped him to teach when we cannot be there. This will give
more consistent and more extensive training and equipping than our teams could
do in a 10 day visit.
By God’s grace and with the support of Canadian donors we plan to offer more
seminars and hopefully build on this pilot project to be able to reach those who
are already waiting in line for this much needed training. To learn more visit
www.threefold-ministries.org and check out Christian Leadership Training.
COVID has presented us many challenges but praise God it has also presented us
with this opportunity to continue and to extend the vital training of Christian
Nearly 2 weeks ago, we wrote to you urgently about Deborah, wife, mother and volunteer for the Perspectives movement who is in a Manaus hospital right now in an intense battle with COVID.
Until now, she remains in critical condition, and doctors are now concerned for her brain function. Please keep praying for a miracle. Please also keep praying for her family. Deborah’s husband just lost his father to COVID.
Thank you for continuing to hold Deborah and her family up with us!
We feel so blessed by the prayers that have been offered on our behalf, thanks so much. Please pray for Ian as he begins chemotherapy this Thursday morning. He will have 4 treatments about two weeks apart. Pray for their effectiveness, and also for his response to the side effects. We feel so supported by our church family, and know that the peace we have is because of your prayers.
Here is a short update on the situation with Jacky.
After finding out that Jacky was pregnant she was somewhat in a shock. She really believed that it couldn’t be true. During the first couple of days, she seemed down and didn’t talk much. Finally, she told me the name of the boy. His name is Goodluck. She gave me his phone number and he agreed to talk with me. He was polite but very tense. He told me that he is in Dar and had an accident. He did not know when he would come to Tabora but he agreed that the baby is his. The call was short and I could sense that he was very uncomfortable talking with this “Mzungu” (White person).
A few days later Jacky opened up and told me how scared she was that I would send her away. She also had contemplated having an abortion but decided that that was wrong. Naomi and I had talked with her about this issue. Here, abortions are done by local witch doctors and the results are horrible.
This weekend Goodluck agreed to talk with me again. Last night, Monday night, we talked for quite some time. He seemed more at ease and told me he loves Jacky. He then explained to me that he had gone to Dar es Salaam in the hope to do some business there and make some money to pay for his further schooling.. He had gone with his motorcycle. In Dar, he hit another motorcycle and broke his leg. Both motor bikes were destroyed. The other person charged Goodluck and he ended up in court. He was charged to pay TZ sh. 300.000/- (About $175/- Can.). He was able to pay TZ sh. 100.000/- but is hoping for some support from his family to pay the rest. He has no work and would like to take some course to help him better his life. His parents have died and he was raised by his aunt. The younger sister of his mother. Goodluck is about 20 years old.
After talking for a while, I asked him if and when he would come to Tabora. He needs to pay the fine and then he needs money to get on the bus. I do think he is sincere about him loving Jacky and his willingness to come to go with Jacky to the clinic. I let him know that if his family will help him with the fine I will send him the bus fare to come to Tabora. He is to call me when he is ready. I also advised him to talk with his aunt about Jacky.
Jacky was quite encouraged by this conversation and today she was almost like her old self. It was so good to hear her sing and laugh again.
I thank the Lord for His goodness and for giving all of us hope for these young people to somehow work through this situation together. May both of these young people come to walk closely with the Lord and may He show them the path they should follow!
So many of you have prayed for us and so many are now asking how the retreat went. so we want to send you a one page answer with pictures and a heartful of gratitude and praise.
Since it was our first experience to lead a retreat on Zoom, here’s an introduction to part of those who participated, including Pastor Nick in the upper left hand corner, who helped us put it all together! (Thanks, Nick!)
I will start my return trip to Uganda on Tuesday, fly into Entebbe on Thursday morning, spend a couple days in Mbale for some meetings, then arrive back in Karamoja on Saturday.
I have attached a picture of Agnes, my research advisor. We will meet in Mbale before I return to Karamoja to touch base about the next steps for my research. I've been teaching myself a new statistics programme (STATA) that we will use in the data analysis process. Please pray for stamina throughout the project in the coming months.
First of all, I want to thank you all again for your loving support in prayers and finances! I don’t take these for granted, and God knows all our needs!
I know that many of you have been praying for Jacqueline and her ongoing health problems. Thank you so much! God has heard and answered your prayers regarding these issues.
However, about three weeks ago, Jacky started vomiting, complaining of pains in her stomach, and losing a lot of weight. The first thing I asked her was if she was pregnant. She told me that she could not be as she had her period not too long ago. I was very concerned that she had ulcers again as she told me there was also blood in her vomit. I took her to her specialist and had another endoscopy done. She has no ulcers, just an excess of bile, which made her sick. They asked if she was pregnant. I had believed Jacky, so when she said:” No,” I supported her.
We went back to Tabora, and after another week of her being sick and not being able to have any stool for a week, I took her to our new hospital in town. The first question the doctor asked if she was pregnant. Again, Jacky said: No, and explained that she had had her period not too long ago. By that time, I started to have my doubts. Coming home, I told Jacky that we had been asked at each hospital if she was pregnant. However, we have not checked, so we don’t have any proof. She agreed to get tested. The test came back positive. Jacky was shocked and exclaimed that that could not be right. I bought another test to check it at home. This one also showed that she is positive. Jacky denied it and my worker said that these tests were most likely wrong. I explained that these tests are 99% accurate and that two positives show that Jack is pregnant. The next day I took her back to the hospital for an ultrasound. The fetus was already about two months, and we could hear its heartbeat. I am sad that this happened, but we will continue to love Jacky and this little one.
Of course, I needed some time to process this and Jacky and my faithful worker Naomi. We have to accept this situation and help Jacqueline to work this through.
I have already been asked some questions like: “Don’t they know about contraceptives?” “Did you not teach your kids?”
Oh yes, I did teach them, but once they are teens, they often feel they know better, and we as parents don’t understand them…. (I remember going through that stage)
The culture here is quite different from the Western world, where most people talk openly about sex and contraceptives are readily available to anyone. In TZ, one can get condoms for free, but no young person will feel free to go into a store to get them. Contraceptives like” the pill” is not talked about for unmarried girls. The kids are getting sex education at school, but it is minimal. In TZ, people do it but don’t talk about it.
In TZ, this is a real problem as so many leave schools early due to pregnancies. The Government is trying hard to improve this situation by building dormitories for the girls to keep them from walking to and from school.
Another issue is that boys are never held accountable, and girls are left with a baby. Girls also have to deal with the cultural pressure of not belonging to the mama’s unless they have a child. Often, they are excluded from being part of the women’s groups and despised if they cannot have children. (Very much like Sarah and Hannah in the Bible)
I think of the way Jesus treated the woman who was caught in adultery. “He who is without sin, cast the first stone” John 8:7. I am a sinner as well, and who am I to judge her and put her down!
I am holding Jacky responsible for her decision to have sexual relationships and being pregnant. I will love her and support her. For now, I am preparing her for her new tasks as a mom, but we still hope and pray she can continue her studies after she has had the baby. She has indicated that she would like to do this.
For now, I hope that you will continue to pray for her health. Not just physically but also for her emotional and spiritual health. Having to let her friends know is a hard thing for her to do. She is afraid of the reactions and condemnation. She will have to go through this and shed some tears. I will be there to hold her and give her comfort and reassurance. Naomi is also very supportive. She had to go through this with her daughter, bringing back quite feelings in her. Pray for her!
Ngassa is still having difficulties at school. As I promised him, I would help him finish his education up to Form 6. I have had to go to the school several times due to him being AWOL. He has only three months left to finish.
Mfaume is enjoying his studies very much, and I hope he will finish successfully in about one and a half years.
Baraka, Faraja and Kiri are in their high schools. Faraja seems to enjoy his new school very much. Baraka has improved and has become more serious. Kiri is uncompromising and uncooperative. I need God’s wisdom regarding her.
Mahona and Margreth are enjoying the work with the orphans very much, and I hardly see them. Even their off time they spend there! A good sign!
The Bible school continues, and we have two classes with just a few students. We hope to make some improvements as to sleeping arrangements, food and bathrooms/ toilets. This should make it more attractive to the students who have to pay for their travel and bring food to the school. It is so encouraging to see students come from villages who want to get the Good News to their villages. Some of our previous students have already started some new churches in their areas. Praise God!
Our new home is a blessing!! It is so clean, no fungus! We have adequate electricity and pay half the cost as we use LED lights. We have warm showers! The water pressure is excellent, and we get water out of all our taps! We have beautiful tiles that don’t make you slide when they are wet! The garden is slowly coming along. I hope to get the small two-bedroom house finished sometime this year.
For now, the last news is that I hope to retire from AIM by the end of August and stay in TZ with a retirement Visa. Please pray that this will work out!
Martha is a long time Knox supporter and support for KWM workers. Her husband, Helmut went home to be with Christ while during Tuesday night. Please pray for Martha in the coming days, as she experiences those first pangs of grief. Pray also that she would find comfort in Jesus, who holds Helmut secure even now and offers hope, peace, and the promise of resurrection to all who are in him.
And Jesus says to her [Martha]: “I am the resurrection and the life. The one who believes in me will live, even though they die..."
Over this past year, the Lord has called us to a journey of faith involving two very distinct but compelling issues: the first focuses on Jack's increasing battle with sciatica and this coming Tuesday morning, he will receive a major treatment option.
The second leg of the journey, involves Knox, our beloved home church, in downtown Toronto. On February 20th, the two of us have been asked to lead the Pastors, staff, elders, and ministry leaders in a day of retreat (on zoom) in which we will seek the Lord's face together and pray for God's renewal and blessing of the whole congregation after a challenging year of COVID restrictions and significant transitions.
Would you consider journeying with us in prayer and faith? We are so aware of our utter dependence on God. Only He can heal Jack's back and only He can soften hearts, bring us to genuine repentance and renew our first love for Himself and one another. If the Lord leads you to do so, would you join your faith-filled prayers with ours from now until the retreat (Some of you might even feel called to join us in a day of fasting.)
My second book, ‘Teach me to Number my Days,’ is a collection of sermons, chapel talks, and other writings that span the last 24 years of my life. The title is based on Psalm 90:12 (NIV), “Teach us to number our days, that we may gain a heart of wisdom.”
‘Teach us to number our days’ is a literal translation of a Hebrew idiom that essentially means ‘teach us how short life is.’ I hope that, just as God blessed people through these talks when they were originally presented, they will be a blessing to each and every person who reads them in the future.