Jim Mason, Formerly in Ghana. Pray for officers who are stepping in on behalf of the prison chaplain to reach out to inmates and their families. Pray for energy and enthusiasm for bookstore staff as they stock their shops in the peak season.
Hi from Montreal, where the Lord continues to keep me safe and sound, and enjoying translating and being in touch with people on behalf of our Provincial Mobiliser, Mrs. Dita Poenaru. I am also having opportunities to share Gospel truths with people God is putting on my way, such as the Lebanese hairdresser I had today for the first time, a Jehovah’s Witness. (Please see below for the link to today’s International Day of Prayer for AIM!)
♫ Notes for Praise
♪ With retirement from Africa Inland Mission (AIM) fast approaching, I have innumerable blessings for which to thank God - safety, a lovely little home and genial neighbours, generally good health, recuperation from a recent root canal operation, opportunities to share God’s Word with people here and there, enjoyable work, aided by a dear friend of many years, Lois Tessier, with whom I spend significant blocks of time polishing up French texts for the mission.
♪ I am also especially grateful for the loving prayers and financial support of family, friends and three churches some of whom have been on my support team through my entire 44 years with AIM! Some of you have made possible my ministry in Comoro Islands, Kenya, Reunion Island, Quebec, Ontario, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Chad, South Korea and Tanzania. May any good seed sown here and there continue to bear much fruit for eternity. God bless you, every one!
♫ Notes for Prayer
♪ For dear Korean friends and missionary candidates, John and Yoek Yung Kim, who will, DV, finish their English classes and missionary training at WEC International’s headquarters in Hamilton a day or two before Christmas. They are praying about what to do during the holidays and in the first three weeks of January before returning to South Korea. The pandemic has imposed strict social and ministry restrictions on them for most of their year in Hamilton, but the Lord. Has been their refuge and strength. May His grace and peace continue to sustain them, and may He lead as to how to spend their last few weeks in our fair land.
♪ For a place for me to stay in Toronto for a few days during the Christmas holidays. I’d like, God willing, to spend some time with my eldest brother David, living in Shepherd Village, and to put in my last ten days as a full-term missionary working at the AIM headquarters. I also hope to spend some time with the Kims, should the Lord open that door. I may be the closest to family they have in Canada.
♪ For those from a variety of national and religious backgrounds with whom I’ve had an opportunity to share my faith recently. May God give some of them spiritual hunger and thirst to pursue the truth, and especially to read the Good Book so that they may find Him whom to know is life eternal and be satisfied.
Friends, if any of you r churches or small groups would like to invite Dita, our Quebec Provincial Mobiliser for Africa Inland Mission (AIM Canada) and/or me share our testimony as missionaries, just let me know. Dita is a nurse with a Master’s degree in infection control, and her husband (a pediatric surgeon) have been missionaries in Kenya and Ethiopia. She could also update you on AIM’s thriving and expanding Ministry to Africans in Canada (MAC) and the mission’s on-going leadership training and outreach to unevangelised people groups in Africa. COVID has presented many challenges, but praise the Lord! Some new innovative forms of ministry have also been found in response to the restrictions that have been imposed!
I attach two prayer letters: David Vanderbroek is a young Canadian AIM missionary on an outreach team in South Sudan to a tribe of cattle herders. It hasn’t been easy for Dave to adapt to living in a remote area of the world and learn a new language, but Dave has stuck it out and is now beginning to be able to speak the language better and enjoy life more. If you’d like to learn more about his experience, just click on the attached link to his latest letter and pictures. The other letter you may have seen before; it is from one of our teachers at Nassa Theological College, Sadiki Kulwa. Sadiki would love to be able to purchase a certain home at a good price from a Christian friend. Please note that any gifts for Sadiki’s project would need to go directly to Tanzania, and would , therefore, not be receipted by AIM Canada.
Below are the invitation and the link to AIM international’s First Ever Virtual 24-Hour Day of Prayer – coming to us from mobilising and receiving offices in New Zealand, Australia, Kenya, South Africa, the USA, Canada, Europe, Brazil, etc. Just click on the live-stream link below any time today to hear and see what God is doing these days through AIM and to pray with us. Some of AIM Canada’s missionaries and ministries will be featured from 8 to 10 p. m. (with some French thrown in from time to time). This should be a fantastic first event of its kind for Africa Inland Mission! International! It is being held the very day that AIM Canada would normally be having its Christmas Celebration. Welcome!
We appreciate your prayers for Hil's operation this morning. Finally, Hil came to the recovery room.
It was a complicated operation,
It took around 4 hours for the surgery, seven hours in total.
Her heart stopped working in the middle of the operation. She is out of danger. Need a good recovery. Continue to pray for her.
According to the doctor he had to change the plan during the operation. The situation was very complicated. They had to remove part of the intestine to remove the myomas. So, her routine surgery became quite complex.
The roof is almost fixed. The ceiling boards installed and the outside painted. The glass windows need a bit of correction....
I am doing well. I came down to Mbale yesterday because I heard that my work permit is ready for pickup. It's an answer to many prayers that I now have my new license, which will be useful for two years. I'm very grateful that I could go to the immigration satellite office in Mbale instead of having to travel all the way to Kampala. What a relief to be finished with this process that has kept me occupied for ten months. I will return to Karamoja tomorrow on dry roads as the rains in our immediate area have mostly stopped.
“And in that day I will answer, declares the Lord, I will answer the heavens, and they shall answer the earth, and the earth shall answer the grain, the wine, and the oil, and they shall answer Jezreel, and I will sow her for myself in the land. And I will have mercy on No Mercy, and I will say to Not My People, ‘You are my people’; and he shall say, ‘You are my God.’” Hosea 2:21-23 ESV
This pandemic seems to be a time for lots of questions. Aren’t you glad our God answers with mercy and belonging?
Rhythms of Work and Rest, including:
👀 Searching for an office space for the team. His team still meets from home now, but they want to be prepared for when that changes
🧳 Giving a consultation with the one of the largest sending agencies from Brazil
🚀 Launching a new project to develop curriculum which are more focused for younger demographics
🥩 Rare occasions of meeting a worker/friend for BBQ and encouragement, while maintaining as much distance as is possible
📚 Pursuing some days of much needed rest!
Thanks to the generous support of Knox Church, we’re very near our minimum goal! Canada has recently announced a new provision for long distance couples to be reunited, so please pray for us as we pursue that avenue. As some things have shifted during the pandemic, we’ve realized that we need to aim for the higher support level, so please keep praying for more monthly supporters to be added to our team.
Thank you for praying for us!
Rejoice evermore. Pray without ceasing. In every thing give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you. - 1 Thessalonians 5:16
Progress! Two water tanks are in place as well as the gutters and pipes. All metal gas vents are painted brown like our roof. Glass panes are being installed. The outside walls are being skimmed and then another treatment will follow before putting an olive green weather-guard paint on. God is good!
Today we commemorate Reformation Day--and look toward the American presidential election on Tuesday--what a necessary reminder of changes needed in the past, and hope for the changes to come in our time today!
Three waves of good changes have come upon me: ordered finances, ordered personal space, and a re-ordering of my work--each demanding its own additional attention, resulting in three delays to keep you informed generally, as well as to stay in touch with each of you personally. I'm so sorry about that! It's high time to allow you to rejoice and pray with me further regarding what I see the Lord doing in Munich.
Below a few glimpses to picture my corner of the world in Munich:
- Covid19 has brought some changes--the FeG held a church service on the day of what should have been the opening of the 2020 Oktoberfest! No one could predict that!
- GCM winters downtown for more space to hold services--and what a lovely setting!
- Orange and green was exchanged for red and brown in my new apartment! (The picture collage is yet to be completed...)
- I got to the Biergarten for a Spritzer this summer!
- Munich street art for 2020!
A brief personal note--last week we celebrated both my mother's and her partner's 84th birthdays. We're so happy about Mom's new ankle replacement, trusting for a new lease on life in her walk with God, After months of respite through chemo-therapy, Frank's lung cancer encroaches on his life, still without the comfort of knowing the love of Christ for his eternal soul. Joy and trials overlap again, with me and as I know they do with you also. May the Lord graciously provide for each of us in all our challenges.
For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. Jeremiah, the
“weeping prophet”, is reassured that God has His plans in place. Ezra and Nehemiah found this out, as we recently read.
This summer was perhaps unplanned. One doesn’t consciously plan an episode like a heart attack and a tour of four Ontario Hospitals. But obviously, God had that planned, and it produced multiple opportunities to share His authority and love and goodness with multiple medical staff and the neighbors with whom I shared my experience.
Is the program completed? No, Saturday, Oct. 31 will mean returning to Toronto to the care of my primary physician on the advice of the cardiologist who did my angiogram. How long that will be, and how it will play out for my hoped for return to Dallas, December 20 will be seen as it happens.
Meanwhile, Happy Thanksgiving, and safe landing for our country through the impending election.
With David, we agree: Surely your goodness and love will follow me
all the days of my life,
and I will dwell in the house of the Lord
I wonder how each of you is faring as the end of a challenging year approaches. The adjustment to Fall temperatures and sunset at 6 pm is usually no small matter after the long, lovely evenings of summer, but so far blue skies, fresh, crisp air and leaves changing colour have been pleasant distractions for us. And after a relatively dry summer, the odd day of rain is very welcome, too. Dave and I make a point of getting out for a walk whenever possible to soak up the natural Vitamin D that’s so good for us. It’s always a bonus if we meet someone we know for a bit of a chat.
I have enjoyed gardening immensely this year. The last flowers in our front garden are of great interest to our local hummingbird. Thanks to a new plant identification app on my iPad I have learned that the plant those flowers are on is a Candle Larkspur. I take my iPad with me on walks, take pictures of plants and trees I want to identify, and let the app tell me their names when I return home. It’s fun and informative!
Here's the Larkspur that our hummingbird enjoys so much.
CanIL is well into Fall term now with an enrollment of 122 students. All courses continue to be offered online. Some faculty teach from home, while others teach from the empty classrooms at CanIL. Every member of faculty that I’ve talked to says the transition from in-class to online teaching is a difficult one. They are working hard to improve ‘connection’ with--and among--their students. To be fair, though, there are benefits to the current situation in that students can study without all the stress and expense of a major relocation. And for some, online delivery means being able to combine work and/or ministry with study.
My day to work at CanIL is Thursday. I leave home at 9:30 am when the first respite worker of the day arrives. Our daughter drops in at noon to help her Dad with lunch, returning to work when a second caregiver arrives at 1 pm to give him a bed bath and remain with him till 3:45 pm. I must leave work by 3:15 pm to be home by the time this afternoon shift comes to an end. My travel times are ideal for keeping me out of rush hour traffic on the highway and I’m happy to report that I am now comfortable with my commute. However, for the next few weeks I will be going to CanIL only if there’s something I need to do there that can’t be done from home. My journals project is behind me now and my current work (cataloguing a sizable book donation and reviewing the online resources in the library database) is already at home and doable from there. CanIL has arranged for a volunteer library assistant to keep tabs on the circulation side of the library which further frees me up to work from home.
When we wrote to you back in March we introduced CanIL’s new degree program, the M.A. in Translation of Scripture (MATS). The greatest need for speeding up Bible translation in remote communities around the world is training local people from those communities to become translation consultants. While western missionaries will still be very involved in Bible translation and consulting, there’s a huge pool of capable Africans and Asians that can be trained in their home countries as translation consultants. Hopefully the MATS program will be part of the answer.
The MATS program has been accredited by Northwest Seminary and a curriculum has been drafted for those who have reasonable fluency in English. Next steps will be translating the curriculum into other languages, as needed. As well, digital security protocols need to be put in place to help translators stay safe while they are involved with ongoing Bible translation through the program.
Dave is no longer able to walk or stand, but he still has enough strength in his legs to brace them so that he can continue to use his sit-to-stand lift. He is on a BiPap machine almost 24/7, as he now needs help breathing while eating and while on excursions outdoors. We have been loaned a third machine for use outdoors. Two of our three machines can be battery operated and have about three hours of charge each. Two power cuts in the last month have reminded us how important battery power is!
Over two hundred hard copies of Dave’s book, While we pray for miracles, God gives us grace, have sold, and digital copies continue to be purchased as well. More recently Dave has put together four beautiful photo books of family adventures and memories (see photo below). His current project is another book, this time of some of his sermons and chapel talks, plus creative pieces for skit nights and poetry nights overseas. We’ll let you know when it becomes available.
Our kids enjoying the photobooks.
We are back at church these days and it feels good to be there, but also rather strange with only 50 people allowed at a service. We feel okay attending because of the excellent physical distancing during the service, but more vulnerable as people stop to chat after the service. I mask up then and Dave, of course, is always wearing a mask. The Bible study group that meets at our place on Monday nights continues to mean a lot to us, too. One of the couples recently moved to Edmonton, so we are just three couples now. We would like more members, but will probably wait on that because of the need to physically distance in our rather small living room.
Our kids are well and putting in full work weeks. Robby works out of home four days a week, spending Thursdays at the office. Bitsy is back teaching kindergarten at her school five days a week. Jonathan lives where he works and is super busy as it’s spawning season, the most demanding time of the year on a fish farm. Leanne has arranged her counselling schedule to work with a client online on Wednesdays, but she’s at her office meeting with clients face-to-face the rest of the week.
Matters for prayer
• Pray for solutions to technological challenges in offering online courses and that faculty and staff will continue to flex with the new teaching and administrative environment.
• Pray for next steps for the new MATS program. Pray for students to enrol in the program and for mentors both within and outside the country to walk alongside them. As well, training materials will need to be translated into the local language of the students. Finances and online security are also items for prayer.
• Continued protection from Covid-19 for CanIL’s staff and students and for Dave and I personally. Cases are spiking here in B.C., just as in the rest of Canada. How can we change our response to the pandemic so that we keep our risk of infection low while reclaiming lost ground in other foundational areas of well-being?
• Pray that God will keep showing Dave how he can minister meaningfully six years (as of Oct. 28th) into ALS. The ALS Society of B.C. is featuring his testimony and our photo as it kicks off its Giving Tuesday fundraiser.
I was able to record the film, Jesus, in Kayapó, on the memory card of Brother Bàydjà, who was in COVID isolation with his son who is receiving treatment.
Mr. Earl Trapp will send me Psalms and Proverbs in Kayapo, which were the books that Ruth had plans to make corrections with the Indians here, but God had another plan for her.
The video (click below) is of some Kayapó patients who were cured of COVID singing praises and thanking the Lord as they left the hospital.
Here are the names of some of the Kayapó leaders who died of COVID recently:
Baytum (children's ministry leader)
Tubar, brother in Christ
Bepkraxpo, Church leader
Bepmor, Beptok, Bepnhingri - three brothers and active church members
Begra, Christian Chief
Paulinho Pajaka, Christian Chief
Zeyte, Christian Chief
Bekah, church member