Elizabeth Matthias, Germany. The Lord provided a room with a lively little 77-year-young lady and storage space of her belongings. “Counselling and mentoring progress! Funding challenges persist… Temporary housing provided! Grace abounds!”
Beth Huddleston passed away last night at 8 pm, (Wednesday, February 12). Her faithful friend Helen and others were by her side in Meaford Long Term Care.
Beth was sent to Ecuador.as a missionary from Knox Church in 1958 under World Radio Missionary Fellowship along with her co-worker Eleanor Boyes. Beth served as a nurse in the Hospital Vozandes Quito for 12 years and then in the Hospital Vozandes Shell for 15 years. Her responsibilities included many aspects of the nursing profession, including being Director of Nursing in Quito and nurse anesthetist in Shell. During the years spent in Shell, a new hospital was built in which Beth was heavily involved. After serving 27 years in missionary service, Beth returned to Canada in 1986 at which time she and Eleanor assumed the roles of WRMF representatives across Canada for four years.
Beth and Eleanor also helped set up a hospital in Malawi with Glenn and Fern Byerly.
Beth's funeral will be in Meaford. Details will be posted when available.
How are all of you? Here is a picture of Nurse Tinah and I from when we went up to Nakapiripirit, the district headquarters, to visit the DHO (District Health Officer) yesterday. We had a good meeting where we were able to introduce our ideas for research and get his approval to continue pursuing data collection in our clinic's catchment area regarding the topics of hygiene and sanitation. Please pray for us as we formalize some ideas into a research proposal.
Our first training day of the year went well at the end of January. We focused on how to have open discussions about building latrines and making improvements to sanitation at home. Please pray for the community health ladies as they teach using different methods than they are used to or comfortable with. Tinah and I will try to accompany them more often into the villages to ease the transition. We will be focusing on latrines this month especially.
Wrapping up my event here in Chiang Mai, the venue is spectacular and looks like paradise with their gardens and exotic birds flitting about. I leave tomorrow for Laos and a bit of rest.
I just found out that our Bangladesh trip has been cancelled due to the coronavirus and people flying through HK on the way there. This means that I may be a bit stranded!
I booked my flight from Vientiane through Bangkok to Dhaka. I hope they’ll let me just fly from Vientiane to Bangkok and not take the second leg to Dhaka. Then I need to fly from Bangkok to Vancouver to work on the Philip Yancey book tour dates. I hope it’ll be covered by FH Canada as they had booked my flight from Dhaka to Vancouver.
Good things have happened while here this week, reconnecting with friends. Please pray that I figure out how to get home and that these potential projects materialise in the near future. :)
I’m suddenly very tired, so prayers for energy and strength to finish up here well and figure out the logistics of getting home are welcome.
Hi Don. Thankfully I'm doing quite well health-wise. I'd say the PMR pain is down to 10% or even less of what it was 3 months ago. So life is much more livable. I'm even beginning to play with the idea of a quick trip to Eldoret in April! We're having some tough leadership issues there, and I think my presence in the room would help in the negotiations. We'll see. But in the meantime, I'm smiling.
Thank you so much for all the many prayers and messages of encouragement. Miriam has come through the surgery successfully, and according to her dad, “All the pain medicine has presumably worn off and this baby is still more cheerful than I am on my best day.”
She is cheerful, and sleeping soundly now.
At times like these we are so clearly reminded of God’s loving hand, and the faithful prayers and support of so many around the globe.
I hope to send a New Year update shortly, but we would appreciate prayer for our latest granddaughter, Miriam. She has had a few unexpected growths in her mouth that developed when she was about two months old. The doctors have been monitoring this, and have decided to remove three of them on Wednesday (Feb 5) at 6:00 AM EST. They think they are some sort of blocked saliva gland, but they are not totally certain. The biggest concerns are Miriam’s age (6 months on Feb 6), and any risk of complications or bleeding.
Please pray for wisdom for the doctors, successful surgery, and comfort and strength for Anne, Coleman, and Miriam.
Poor Alice in Wonderland, stuck in a world that was irrational and made no sense.
As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are My ways and My thoughts higher than your ways and thoughts.
But wait a minute, if any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, Who gives generously without finding fault!
No dumb questions, no ‘I told you so’.
So daily and hourly, I can tap into God’s wisdom and direction. If that were not so, there’d be no going to Lebanon. That’s for sure.
Humanity, without the Lord Jesus, specializes in irrational nonsense.
BUT That which was from the beginning, which we have seen with our eyes, which we have looked at and our hands have handled, …we have seen it…and we proclaim to you the eternal life, which was with the Father….We proclaim to you what we have seen and heard , so that you also may have fellowship with us. And our fellowship is with the Father and with his Son, Jesus Christ.
Even quoting these words evokes the flat refusal by the Islamic cultures of the Middle East to acknowledge Who Jesus Christ is and so they wander in darkness. “Jesus said, I am the Light of the world, whoever follows me will not walk in darkness…….”
Pray that everything I say and do and am will share the “light of Life”.
It’s easy to wonder how to share, easy to stumble in unknown cultural perceptions.
Pray for easy travel and safe arrival the first week of February. Pray for receptive hearts to the Light of Life.
“Many are the plans in a man’s heart, but it is the Lord’s purpose that prevails” (Pr.19:21).
Happy New Year! May you all have begun 2020 strong in the everlasting love of the Lord and the power of His strength! Certainly I have been reminded even more vividly how little strength or control I have personally, and how utterly dependent I am on the Lord for His strength and provision. That’s definitely a good place to be—though the circumstances to provoke this have not been very comfortable! Buffeting continues and it is work to calm one’s soul with truth, to be still and know that the Lord Almighty is Lord, and that He is our fortress and He is God—even when it seems that the earth is giving way beneath (Ps. 46)!
Wonderful, perplexing, very challenging, creative and amazing providences!
Wonderful providence! I’m happy to report answered prayers: November my employment with the Freie evangelische Gemeinde in Munich-Mitte/Central (FeG-MM) was approved. All the necessary paperwork for the financial support from the USA through Mission to the World has also been completed. Donations from the States—almost half of my monthly expenses—are received. I’m very grateful to the Lord! The FeG has even made a desk available until June (when an additional pastor comes)—greatly facilitating my work there!
Perplexing providence... As I wrote in October, my landlady required that I move out of my apartment by December 31st. Unfortunately, in spite of intense searching and fervent prayers, early December I still did not have a new place to live... If the Lord is giving me work to do, and He is, why wouldn’t He provide a roof over my head...? Utterly perplexing...!
Challenging and creative providence: Early December I also learned that transferring Canadian donations to Germany is not as easy as it is for Americans through MTW. In spite of renewed prayers and an intense search for options, no immediate solutions could be found. Without the Canadian half of my financial support I could not afford an apartment and my search had to be suspended! So that’s why I couldn’t find an apartment?! Now what? I felt the Lord leading me to a lively “little old lady”, 77-years-young, from the FeG—she leads a senior’s counselling book group. Ruth often hosts missionaries temporarily and was immediately willing to take me in—in fact she felt the Lord calling her to do so! The roof over my head is provided! And that free of charge, so I would only need half of my monthly financial support! Creative providence! December 28th I moved from the suburbs into the city, and into Ruth’s spare room, taking with me my desk, some precious books, two large bookshelves, counselling files and a chair—a bed and closet are provided, along with some wonderful meals! Providentially, there’s quick and easy access to Gospel Church on Sundays, and the FeG and MICC are also close by.
More wonderful and amazing providence! With a schedule full of counselling, mentoring and administrative snags, one morning toward mid-December (!), I began scrambling to organize my move—and remembered that a former counsellee had offered her help. More to oblige her, I sent a text to the young woman... By that evening her parents were mobilized and the entire move taken out of my hands—the organization, execution, storage space for my belongings (their basement) and payment of the moving van—amazing! Further to that, I had daily help from different friends getting books and belongings packed (and Ruth cleaned my oven!)—I had far more help than I needed! At Christmas and New Year’s wonderful friends, former members of our church, had me over for very warm, meaningful and restful celebrations.
Perplexing and paradoxical providence to ponder... Although “umpteen” arrangements for the FeG to receive Canadian donations for my work have been considered, no solution has been found to date, not without paying at least a 10% administration fee. Prayers to that end are appreciated—along with my sincere apologies for not having updated all of the Canadians about the lack of arrangements until now! I could not conceive, that the Lord would not provide! This surprising and perplexing providence convinces me, more clearly than ever, that my plans do not prevail! For the foreseeable future, I’ll be living with Ruth. This begs questions: how long does the Lord want me to stay with Ruth? When and where is He leading me next? Temporarily without an apartment, how much more time do I sacrifice searching? (The housing market in Munich continues to be very challenging!) Should I really move again quickly? The hardest part of this move has been suspending the DMin studies—there was no time or peace for blocks of concentrated thought—putting me further behind schedule... Another move makes submitting the DMin by the November deadline impossible. Without housing expenses, I can live on a lower salary (and pay less taxes!), requiring less support... Perhaps my Canadian supporters can take a break in 2020? How is the Lord leading each of you? Paradoxically, contrary to my last letter, I’m offering a hold on wages—though just the Canadian portion please!—until further notice!
The more things change, the more they stay the same...!
Although my temporary living arrangements have changed dramatically, and my wages halved, my call and my work remain delightfully the same! Counsellees from four different churches come with their chaos, pain, burdens and questions, and together with mentees, we bring this all to God in the power of His Spirit, and the light of His Word, and we see Truth and Life in Person, and He brings sweet changes by drawing us closer to Himself, Who, in His wonderful love and grace, has a doable path through it all. In the counselling sessions we walk realistically through the dark muck of suffering, sin and rebellion, seeking the face of Christ, for the knowledge of God, to let His light shine in our hearts, so that even when we are hard pressed on every side, we are not crushed, perplexed, but not in despair, fixing our eyes ever more on Him—to live with, for and through Him (2 Cor. 4).
Continuing challenges church-planting at Gospel Church München (GCM)...
After sending out over 20,000 flyers in the Fall we continue to see new faces at GCM—people are hungry for the Lord and His Gospel! May the Lord deeply satisfy their souls! Unfortunately however, in November GCM also lost our new worship leader and another leading family who was a significant support to our pastor. This is again very difficult for us, and particularly for Steffen—he and his family took time off over Christmas and the New Year. Re-starting the church-plant is not without significant challenges! We are currently seeking an assistant pastor/worship leader to help carry the leadership load—please pray with us for the man of God’s own choosing, for His glory and the souls of south Munich!
Circumstances sometimes shake our hearts, “as the trees of the forest are shaken by the wind!” Faith looks to the Sovereign Lord, certain of His everlasting love, embracing His call: “Be careful, keep calm, and don’t be afraid. Do not lose heart because of [xyz]... If you do not stand firm in your faith, you will not stand at all” (Is.7). And we press on in the great privilege “to do the good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do” (Eph. 2:10). Your prayers, and all your wonderful support, are essential! I can’t thank you enough for sharing in the counselling, mentoring and teaching work to which the Lord has called me!
Mrs. Owen went to be with the Lord and her husband Dr. Owen on Saturday, January 25, peacefully with her family beside her. Pru's funeral was held today.
We just finished the 5 day LAM conference in Armenia, Colombia. There were about 70 of us. The Lord was very good to us and we had a wonderful, refreshing and challenging time together. In one of our sessions we raised awareness about the crisis in Venezuela. We had seven folks from Venezuela participating with us. As they were preparing to go back, the local church that hosted us prepared about 500 sandwiches to be distributed along the way as they travelled back to Venezuela. Hundreds of people are seen walking along the roads.
"Blessed are you because when I was hungry you gave me something to eat."
Hanneke arrived safely in Toronto this afternoon. She is recovering from bronchitis as her first order of business. She will be in Canada until May 18
It is always a blessing and so exciting for me to visit Skylark, particularly when there are other groups on site. This visit has been amazing as I have witnessed a group of 170+ youth and their leaders from Compassion International sponsored projects in Leon. For many of these youth this is the first time they have been away on a spiritual retreat. The joy is evident in their faces and in their squeals and screams, yes even at 5am!
They have been having wonderful times of worship and teaching on what it means for youth to lead and to follow Jesus. It is for these types of groups that the Skylark Centre was built and it causes such joy to well up in me when I see first hand the blessing that your gifts, your support, your prayers bring in the lives of the people of Nicaragua. Thank you for your faithful generosity. Now more than ever we need to continue this ministry serving the Christian community in Nicaragua and impacting the lives of the next generation with the good news of Jesus.
I’m finishing up the 2019 academic year this week, then I have a teaching break until the first week of April. I’m doing okay, I guess. Physiotherapy is really helping a lot. But I feel myself steadily losing strength day by day. But I’m able to keep going day by day too. God is good.
We have never experience so much snow! Bill was able to get to work yesterday and this am. I got to the grocery store for the first time since Thursday, what a rush! I had to stand in line to get into the store and then at the checkout!
Thanks KWM again for your support of $1000 towards my Revive conference expenses! From December 27the to the 31st, 3000 students from over 50 countries and 20 mission organizations in Europe gathered together to pray for revival. My role was on the prayer team, praying for speakers before and after they went on stage, and praying for students giving their testimonies, and for God to use the sessions to speak to students. The recognition is that an amazing program could be prepared, but if hearts are hard or students are distracted, the word will not be able to do its work in and through them. We sensed that God was gathering these students in and calling them — a generation of Christians who are a significant minority in post-Christian Europe — and using them to bring the gospel to their campuses and their countries. One night the session was framed around the theme of “God, Revive our Hearts.” I got to pray for students, and witness hundreds of students stepping out of their seats to receive prayer ministry, to ask God to redirect their focus away from idols of school, pleasing others, social media, shopping, the internet, and to set their hearts’ priority on the gospel. On the following nights, the session themes were “Revive our Campuses” and “Revive Europe.” It was really powerful to see students moved to tears and the whole room of 3000 prayed and interceded for the Holy Spirit to bring revival. One interesting story is that over the course of the week, many of the main speakers and worship leaders began to lose their voices. The main worship leader was so hoarse his voice kept cracking when he would lead songs. As a member of the prayer team, I was interceding for him and others in the same situation. We wondered if this might be a spiritual attack, but then sensed that maybe this was God doing something: why, at a conference about sharing boldly about Jesus, would mouths be closed? We sensed that God was inviting the leaders to lead in humility and dependence on God and to model this and make space for the students to use their voices. On a continent like Europe that is known for its rational, coherent and respectable arguments, what if the revival God wants to bring comes from the heart, from students and staff who are depending on God, not their own giftedness or ability to speak well? It was amazing to see the boldness of the students grow, and to hear their desire to live in dependence on God, and to share their faith no matter how small or incapable they feel. On the night when Becky Pippert spoke (the author of Out of the Saltshaker), she invited anyone who wanted to commit to living a lifestyle of evangelism to rise up and she would pray for them: almost every single student in the room stood! I have been to many missions conferences before, and have never seen this kind of bold and heartfelt response. In many of the worship sessions, too, I could hear the voices of the students over and above the worship leaders: the whole room was truly raising its voices in praise, even people who aren’t confident, trained vocalists. I think that this kind of true worship and this desire to live an evangelistic lifestyle in reliance on God is a powerful corrective to some worship and evangelism techniques that can be more about performance or perfect execution of arguments or techniques. I’m curious and excited to see how God works in the lives of the students who have by now returned to their home countries, and are in classes again… I hope that we will get to hear stories of how God is using them to share the love and redemption of Jesus in their campuses, neighbourhoods, cities, countries, and continents!
Jason came from the east end of Canada—Newfoundland, where he grew up. He has a bachelor's degree in Biblical studies from Tyndale and is currently completing his Master’s in theological studies at Queen’s College and Seminary.
Before coming to Knox, Jason was a pastor and church planter for LOCAL Church St. John's and also served as a campus chapel coordinator for Tyndale and church plant intern in Oakville.
How did you first get involved in ministry?
As a kid, church was the playground where my imagination was opened up to the beauty of God in everything; as a teenager, I rebelled against my entire church foundation; and as an adult, I’ve come to know church as the most special place in culture for all people to come together and discover life, and a very vibrant life! My life as a pastor took root when being invited to start a new church with a small team while I was in my undergrad. The wild ride of ‘church-planting’ captivated my imagination, with the new and creative work happening in neighbourhoods and cities through the church!
What excites you most about young adults ministry?
Culture is at a wild time! Our faces are sun-burnt from cell phone screens and marketing drowns all people, young adults included, in ‘second-hand living.' I think there’s an undercurrent of suspicion rising in regards to the chaos of culture and in turn, a hopefulness for something new, beautiful and real to emerge and better than anyone young adults can see that. I’m sincerely excited to explore alongside of them how to truly be human, to follow Jesus, in this unique time in history!
What's a Bible verse that greatly impacted your life? What does it mean to you?
“The Word became flesh and blood, and moved into the neighbourhood” - John 1:14 (MSG)
For a lot of my life there was an enchantment around Jesus, divinity without humanity. The image of Jesus moving into the neighbourhood—the markets, dinner-parties, couches, the sights, sounds, his own neighbours—keeps me grounded in the way of Jesus, loving God and loving people, grounded in neighbourhood life, the here and now.
How can we be praying for you as you move into this role?
Everything is brand new! There’s so much excitement. A couple of things off the top of my head: my wife Caitlin and I as we settle here, deep and meaningful connections with the staff, congregation and especially young adults, and for vision and clarity as I explore what God is already at work doing here in Knox, U of T, and the neighbourhood!
I leave in a week (end of Jan) for a month to Bangkok to prep for the Business as Mission congress for end of April to provide operational support for a church planting conference, Laos to visit friends doing great work in that country and Bangladesh with the board from Food for the Hungry to visit our communities and learn about life there. Hopefully too, a refugee settlement in that country.
Please pray for safety, I’m pretty sure I’ll be going through some solid culture shock. I’ll be hosted by FH Bangladesh staff when I’m in country, so that really helps alleviate my worries. :)
I think I have 2 people from Knox who are coming with me for sure to volunteer at the Business as Mission congress with me! Praise God! 1-3 more are considering coming too.
My colleague and I just finished leading a Karamojong language learning course for our new pastor and a few others on the mission. They were eager to put in the time and effort over the three weeks which was encouraging to us. The mission’s doctor just left today to return to the Netherlands. Please pray that the clinic will adjust well to his absence before we find a new doctor. I am nearly ready to buy tickets to come back to Ontario for a few weeks of vacation in July.
Remember? “All you need is love, love, love………All you need is love.”
They had it straight.
“I have this against you, that you have left your first love.” Oops
That’s Jesus talking to the church.
It’s so easy to get distracted. I love politics: Bernie this and Donald that…….Have a little Giuliani; a little Pelosi, anyone?
I’m not being facetious. It’s fascinating to follow.
I listened as a Canadian erupted in fury over the result of the recent Canadian election. Some of the anger is unrepeatable. But it’s a fairly common reaction.
What are we worried about? Try Lebanon.
We sit here basking in our comfort and wealth, all of us. We can’t even control our house being blown away as we sit in it.
“Cheer up, ye saints of God, there’s nothing to worry about…Nothing to make you feel afraid, nothing to make you doubt.
REMEMBER Jesus never fails, so why not praise Him and SHOUT……….”
It’s odd to be old enough to remember all of the above.
Lebanon is worse than a basket case. You can’t get your own money out of the bank, as the banks are in the control of a fraudulent government.
‘Checks and balances’, you’ve got to be kidding. The hotels are closing: no business. No jobs. Middle class is fleeing the private schools for the public schools: can’t afford tuition this year. They say the price of bread has doubled: “give us this day our daily bread”. The poor live mainly on bread. On the street a woman covered in the common black accosts me in front of a super market on high end Hamra Sreet. ‘Please would I buy her some milk, cheese, labny?’ She follows me into the store, and picks out a bag of powered milk, some common cheese and a box of labny.
At the check out, she changes her mind, and exchanges the common cheese for tahini. My debit card does the job. No one has cash (no money out of the bank). I remind her that this is from Jesus the Messiah.
“I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me”.
It’s exhilaratingly exciting. PRAY: for the Christian communities of Lebanon: Maronite, Orthodox, Catholic, Evangelical Protestant.
Pray that we all be renewed in our commitment to Jesus and to loving Him. Nothing else matters.