It has now been nearly one week since 're-entry' into Canada. I have had a chance to catch up on sleep, visit family, and eat too much Ghanian chocolate. Now I hope to convey some of what happened during my visit to Accra. The week's post will focus on the 'who' and 'what' - who I worked for and with, and what did we work on? Next week I plan on answering the question 'where' and 'why' - giving you a closer look at Ghana through these eyes and some thoughts on what brought me and our team to this country.
Meet the Team
Each Engineering Ministries International (eMi) project is a partnership between a ministry and volunteer team. Our client for this trip was Dr. Edward Fynn, a Ghana raised radiologist who volunteers heavily with the Navigators of Africa. Edward's vision was to develop a 70-acre site North East of Accra into a training and retreat centre. One of the Navigators main ministry thrusts is discipleship, growing Christians through Bible discussion and training, specifically in smaller groups of 8-12. This seems to follow Christ's example closely as Jesus himself chose a select group of 12 to teach and impact specifically while ministering here on Earth.
Edward was our host extraordinaire...arranging for our accommodation and food while providing constant feedback during our efforts to design Abonse Farm Lodge.
There’s a good possibility that on very short notice it’s the Lord’s will that I should go to South Africa for 2.5 weeks next month—4th-22nd—to observe a phenomenal training course and visit the results... This may help a ministry here in Munich (so someone from here might accompany me), as well as advance my DMin work. Prayers to that end are also appreciated.
So grateful for your partnership in the work of the Lord!
Evangelist Billy Graham -- a confidant to presidents, a guiding light to generations of American evangelicals and a globe-trotting preacher who converted millions to Christianity -- died Wednesday at the age of 99, his spokesman confirmed to CNN.
Graham passed away at his home in Montreat, North Carolina, spokesman Jeremy Blume said.
The skinny preacher with the booming voice evangelized to nearly 215 million people over six decades and prayed with US presidents from Harry Truman to Barack Obama.
Several presidents, including Lyndon Johnson, George W. Bush and Bill Clinton, relied closely on his spiritual counsel.
I m so saddened to read that my our faithful friend Billy Graham passed away but I really believe that God has told Rev. Billy Graham,well done, my Child and faithful servant. Welcome home my child!
Billy Graham was a great and true faithful man of God, He has his footprint everywhere in the word . A true world's ambassador of Christ . He will be missed by many of us but his voice and written messages will be engraved in our heart.
As I think of his passing, I remember many words of wisdom that my mom always tell me when she is choosing a book on the shelf that is written by Billy Graham. I think many of videos by Billy Graham 's preaching that a friend from Knox church always send to me to listen.
I didn't even know if that day was the day of Billy Graham 's way to heaven to be with God, I was reading the book written by him PEACE WITH GOD that mom gave me to read. To be honest my faith has very much impacted by Billy Graham 's preaching and writing . I wish I would have known him in personal. May the Lord comfort all of us at this painful time of missing him.
He has just changed address as he stated on his word "Someday you will read or hear that Billy Graham is dead. Don't you believe a word of it . I shall be more alive than I am now. I will just have changed my address . I will have gone into the presence of God" Billy Graham.
Thank you for your prayers, I’m back safely and still processing all that we saw and learned in Uganda. So pleased to be part of the board for Food for the Hungry Canada.
We took an MAF plane to northern Uganda to visit the South Sudanese refugee settlements. It is such a dire situation, but we met a single mother with 8 children - 3 of her own and 5 children that didn’t have any other family to care for them. She had already grown enough beans to not rely on the UN handouts and saved a little cash from the savings group! Praise the Lord!
Here is video that Food for the Hungry made of their work there. Click below.
I’m always happy to chat more about our trip if you see me in person!
Perspectives on the World Christian Movement will be happening February 16-23. Last year, 35 students - a delightful mixture from the U of T and seasoned ministry workers - came together to study the Biblical, historical, cultural and strategic perspectives of the global Christian movement. The early bird deadline for registration is January 15, but there are even more opportunities for bursaries and scholarships before then.
*Kara, Alice, Tara, Michelle, Tom and Mark. Each of these students are at the level of curious or seeking who Jesus is. Pray for us as a community to be filled with love for them, so that we might make space and get to know them more. Some have some blocks/incidents in their lives that keep them from Jesus, please pray that Holy Spirit will lead and guide us this month as we seek to partner in what he is doing in their lives. (*names changed)
Please pray for us as we wrestle with distractions and responsibilities and tasks, that God will help us keep ourselves centered on Him.
Please pray for wisdom about any structural changes we need to make to serve those seeking and curious about Jesus. We plan to center the ministry around mission together.
Please pray for students to say yes to coming to study Mark for a week at Mark Central at the end of April. Pray for provision for those to be able to attend, especially those who are seeking Jesus amongst us.
Please pray for Dom as she helps lead the prayer team at Mark Central this April 30- May 6. Please pray that all the training and people will be provided to serve in this way (both intercessory and prayer ministry prayer) soon. May Holy Spirit lead us in prayer leading up to Mark Central.
I just received the good news that we now have not one but TWO confirmed medical doctors to lead our team of medical students and others in April! We praise God for your faithful prayers and for the willingness of the members of the team to invest in the good health of the communities we serve in Nicaragua.
Thank you so much for your prayers and for your faithful support. We pray now that all the approvals will be given in time so that the much needed medical care can be given to these wonderful Nicaraguan people.
Everywhere the Lord has taken us in our 30+ years of working with Wycliffe we have been surrounded by dedicated and talented co-workers. The international teams we’ve worked with have been a blend of local and expatriate believers, a little taste of heaven! Last week we at CanIL had the privilege of a short visit from Dr. Michel Kenmogne, Executive Director of SIL International (Wycliffe’s field-based partner organization). Dr. Kenmogne is a Cameroonian and served in Cameroon with both the Bible translation organization and SIL before becoming SIL’s ED in 2016.
Click here for the whole story
Greetings from Mbale, Uganda where it’s 6am and the roosters are encouraging us to join them in singing.
It’s only day 4 and my socks have been blown off a few times a day! It’s also just too hot, with temps in the 40s.
Day 1: We chartered a small Mission Aviation Fellowship plane to the northern border to visit South Sudanese refugee settlements. I got to knock off a bucket list item and also sat in the co-pilot seat!!! We are relocating staff to this area to begin the process of community transformation here as they’ll be here for an expected long time. We met a woman who is already growing enough staples and has seen the benefits of her savings group. Praise God!
Day 2: Meet local FH staff and Travel from Kampala to Mbale.
Day 3: Visit 3 communities, one graduated 8 years ago, one 2 years ago and one that will graduate in 2 years. It’s awesome to see that when we wrap things up with a community, they continue to grow, be confident about their future and share their knowledge with neighboring villages.
Leah met us in Mbale and we spent the day together yesterday, it’s been wonderful to see her beautiful face again and hear her perspective on Uganda. She came along with us as we visited Food for the Hungry communities. It’s perfect as she does similar work at her clinic and teaches on health.
Day 4: Visit future communities that we can move into.
Thanks for your prayers, please continue to do so as we travel on Day 5 for our board meetings in Jinja, the source of the Nile!
Thank you for praying for our safe and smooth arrival back at the Aomori Christian Center. Your prayers were answered, with a little help from our friends!
We were amazed our first day back when we went to greet Pastor Ashina's (chair of the ACC board) wife, Megumi, who had a stroke right before we went to Canada on home assignment and who was still without speech or movement when we last saw her. We had heard that, after a few months in that condition, she began to recover to an unexpected degree but we were still joyfully astonished to find her sitting up in a wheel chair and able to converse with us freely. We learned that she spends many hours each evening praying for others, including us.
PLEASE PRAY FOR:
February 24 (Sat) -- gathering of a young adults' group (led by Luke's cousin and administrative assistant to the OMF Japan Tohoku Sector Leader) that will use the ACC Staff House (a.k.a. our home) for a Hymn Sing Lunch. Please pray that we will be able to get the tube run up and running by then; for safety, fun, and joy in the Lord; and that, if it's the Lord's will, some of these Christian young adults--an extremely tiny demographic in Aomori!--might be inspired, ready and willing to serve at our summer Bible camps.
February 9 (Fri) -- for peace of heart and mind for Josiah and Johnny as they return to Makiba Daycare (8:30~5:00; Mon~Sat) and for Grace, Faith, and Judah as they visit their elementary school before returning to classes on Tue, Feb 13.
Please also pray that our much-too-small snowblower doesn't breakdown (Luke had a scare when it wouldn't start yesterday morning). Without it we will buried at the end of a 70m downhill driveway and will need to devote 100% of our time to "just surviving" rather than the roughly 20~80% of our time we normally devote to that end during the winter months.
Greetings from Guatemala Latin Link Conference! We are about 150 missionaries (expats and locals) working all over Latin America in various ministries. Latin America Mission partners with Latin Link in the placement and care of missionaries in Latin America. The conference has been going very well. We have been looking at new models of doing missions in and out of Latin America, considering the thousands and thousands of Latin American diaspora Christians. May the Spirit of God help us capitalize on this migration movement to further His kingdom in North America, Europe and elsewhere. Please pray with us.
Here’s a picture of the Colombian team.
Please pray for Jim Roberston, a long time member and elder of Knox Church and faithful KWM supporter, is in hospital in Oakville recouperating from a small stroke whihc has taken sight from his left eye and reduced his vision in his right eye.
Pray for the people of Southern Mexico. Political chaos is causing much hatred and death. Click below for more
Luke and Yuko Elliot February 3
These last few weeks of our home assignment in Canada have flown by, and we are now in the final stages of packing before flying out of Toronto on February 5.
Please do pray for our children as some of them are very unsettled in the face of this transition (one or two, on the other hand, are thriving on it).
Please do pray that our last bit of packing will go smoothly, and that we won't need to leave anything important behind.
Please also pray for our arrival in Aomori. We were hoping for a mild spell during our arrival, but the weather reports are indicating "Big Snow" in the "snowiest city on earth" (a.k.a. Aomori). We will arrive at night, so please pray for those who are helping to prepare for our arrival, and for smooth access to the Staff House. Please especially pray that our plumbing and water heater will be undamaged when we turn the water back on; also, for fire safety, as the Staff House uses wood heating.
Bill Fitch had succesful knee replacement surgery on Wednesday January 31st at the hospital in Parry Sound. He is recovering well at home and taking physio.
Within the last two weeks Samia lost about 90% of her ability to see. She will see a glaucoma specialist on February 16. Please pray that he will be able to treat her eyes problem.
Thank you for your prayers.
Wow, where did 2017 go? I have so many blessings to tell you about, where do I begin? I asked prayer for Dottie. She has recuperated wonderfully well and is walking normally – another answer to prayer!
My trip to the different villages was really great – again an answer to prayer. João Quadra (the Presbyterian minister who is taking on tribal work), Wakõkra (my Kayapó “son” who helped me so much in the translation of the Kayapó New Testament), myself and some others visited 17 villages with the Word. Some of these villages were the closed P------ tribe. With the exception of one village who told us never to come back and that they did not want God, all these villages were hungry for the Word and wanted us to stay longer. The closed P-------- tribe wants somebody to come and give them the Word in their own language. They are being evangelized through the Kayapó. Wakõkra has been very instrumental in this using his two-way radio as a tool of evangelism. But only some understand Kayapó. The P----- need their own translation. I pray for a team to enter this door while it is open so wide.
And now David my adopted African son has come to join me in the work. We will go to the villages together. That was an amazing answer to prayer that he got his Brazilian visa. When this runs out then he will go back to Kenya to await his Canadian student visa. Please pray that he will get it.
When both David and I finish dental work here in Brasília, we hope to go to the farthest Kayapó village, accessed only by plane. I hope Wakõkra will be able to join us.
Another of my goals is to set up a team of indigenous translators to do Old Testament translation, and also get an indigenous team going for the S______ translation. Whether I will be able to reach these goals within my time here is a moot question.
The orphanage in Kenya is struggling as usual, but going ahead with registration. I hope to set up a separate account where people can deposit directly into it and then the money be sent to Kenya.
Thanking you for your prayers and interest and your partnership in the spread of the Gospel,
We live in changing times, don’t we? Here some personal glimpses over Christmas...
First: the “clever” German postcard asking: “Who is Mary Krismes anyway?” Exaggerated, yes, but only by a little... Who’s asking? May we talk...? Then, while in a museum and standing at a scene depicting angels proclaiming the birth of our Savior to shepherds in a remote field, the guide in my group was asked about the “missing” baby and wise men... Another telling moment: at a Christmas market/”vanity fair” my friend and I found only one spot to sip mulled wine (Glühwein) at the busy square with lots of tourists—it sported a nativity scene (a rarity—the space is usually given over to merchants)... A rustic barn scene, centuries old—with a baby? What’s that got to do with life? Where were the worshippers...?
Recently, on the Yahoo website, the painting of a young girl walking along a country path (an excerpt from Ferdinand Georg Waldmüller’s 1860 The Expected One) raised questions as to what the young woman could possibly be holding in her hands—a cell phone would be anachronistic! Cell phones are certainly a sign of our changing times—exchanging prayer books and Bibles... Though, to be completely accurate, most of your phones—as mine—also have Bibles (in several versions and languages, with links to all kinds of references!) as well as worship music, libraries of classic works, etc., etc.! However, the cultures in which we find ourselves are very different spiritually from those of 150 years ago! Perhaps the pendulum is swinging back though? Beyond the modern age, even the post-modern, aren’t we into post-post-modern times?—post secular is the label some give it. While many have no idea about the life and times of Jesus Christ, questions are being raised regarding the spiritual (also moral) dimension of life! And we are called to give answers—regarding The Expected One who even today is working powerfully to prepare His beautiful bride! Last Saturday evening I attended a lecture—A Comparison between Islam and Christianity—hosted by the Munich chapter of the CBMC (administrated by a member of our church). With over 100 attending, it was the largest event the group has ever held and the speaker (Dr. Ingo Resch) so powerfully gave testimony to the wisdom and love of God!
I’ve been asking questions also—and finding some surprising and meaningful answers... You might remember I attended the Discipling Nations Global Forum Conference in AZ last March with over 100 participants from 24 countries. Many questions were raised there for me, as I realized that in this very powerful and humble and group of happy Christians, there was an excited understanding of God and His ways beyond mine... They were seeing something I was not—they were gripped with more of Christ than I had known... Although we were all speaking the same language, try as I might, I couldn’t see what I was missing, and they weren’t getting through to me... A classic case of a worldview clash... We were all looking at the same facts, but prioritizing and weighing them differently... The 10 books I left with have since then opened my mind to glorious new truths—with great impact on how to live. Finally, some paradigms shifted in my own mind to see how aspects of reason, particularly the elements of worldview, besides heart issues (crucial to biblical counselling), are essential to walk victoriously in Christ. Isn’t understanding the predominant worldview of our culture, and specifically how it contrasts to that of a biblical worldview, also critical to understanding these changing times of globalization, where we constantly rub shoulders with those holding other worldviews? These were the missing keys to the Doctorate of Ministry studies which I’ve been working on, in fits and starts, for a number of years. Last summer, by God’s grace, my counselling load reduced by half, and from September through mid-November I was able to keep it to a minimum, enabling a (sadly premature...) submission of my Project for the DMin—November 15th. Further testing to make adjustments and major additions are necessary for me to complete and resubmit the work to Westminster Theological Seminary (PA). It’s hard to know from where to carve out the time necessary for it, but it seems it is the Lord’s will. New avenues are opening for me to present the concepts to bring about deeper worldview understandings and changes, within the church and beyond. It’s a great privilege and huge blessing to grow in understanding! Will you help me in prayer to develop and bring to completion this work, to strengthen Kingdom building?
After the intense focus on academic work, my practical work immediately dramatically increased—I’ve never been so busy counselling and teaching! I continue to be struck at how the Lord is working deeply in the lives of many leaders/potential leaders in the church as they work through significant issues in their lives. Dealing with their own hearts, they are more passionately involved in their ministry of counseling—to sanctify and equip saints further. The end of October, through the Munich International Community Church, I held two workshops for a group of English-speaking pastors working in Europe—where the need for change at the worldview level was also appreciated. I’m also downtown at the FeG, Freie evangelische Gemeinde München-Mitte/the Free Evangelical Church, Munich-Center, where I serve counselling, training the pastor’s group of six mentees from the Martin Bucer Seminary, and supervising and teaching a group of lay counsellors (with two more groups starting up—they’re now also reading the CCEF counselling literature!). This month I also taught the first of three workshops to home Bible study group leaders and their members (approx. 90 participants!)—to help them to look for the deeper heart and mind issues to live more fully and victoriously “in Christ.” (During the presentation I briefly worked through Jack Miller’s “Cross Chart,” with which they were already familiar from a German book(!), but then discovered that one of the student pastors has been sent here by Rosemarie Miller’s team in London! This is God’s world!) I do look forward to advancing an understanding of counselling to the FeG Bible study groups in February and March! This month I lectured at the Martin Bucer Seminary in Linz again on aspects of renewing the mind at the worldview level—in addition to heart changes—to follow our Lord and work out our deliverance by loving Him with all our heart, mind and soul (Mt. 22: 35). Opportunities such as these are so exciting—and it is the greatest privilege and joy to equip God’s saints to love God more!
The nature of counselling is to address problems of sanctification—which I love! However, ONLY because we know the WONDERFUL Counsellor, and it’s so clearly His work that He is accomplishing for His purposes! Very precious moments occur in sensing His Spirit in both myself and the counsellee to cut terrible spiritual Gordian knots—made much more complicated by the effects of the post-modern culture of the 60s. Are we not reaping the effects of the sexual revolution, so that there is almost no soul where the heart’s licentious desires have not be facilitated by a rebellion of the mind and will against God’s redeeming law? Has this particular evil not permeated, distorted and damaged cultures globally, so that both the utter lack of restraint (uncovering nearly everything), or the excessive control (covering nearly everything), give evidence that the biblical norms which deliver from sin and slavery have been ignored? Have we not reversed the content of the public and private spheres—perhaps religion, and the morals derived from it, is not entirely a private matter? How precious to have the Word of God with discernment through the Spirit to guide our hearts, minds and wills to live out and give publically what is needed there, and to give privately that which is appropriate for worship in the home. Is the destruction not far-reaching, extending deep within and throughout generations, among the non-Christians—but also among Christians? The joy in breakthroughs is matched by grief at significant setbacks. Last year two couples in our small church, Gospel Church München, filed for divorce and another couple is very close to it... Nine children are involved... For two husbands, this is their second marriage that is ending... One of the couples, with four children, helped found our church... I “happened” to be present when the divorce papers were given/received on Boxing Day (December 26th)... Furthermore, the worship leader, who began last Spring, together with his family (a very gifted quintet) have also left the church... As you can imagine, this impacts us all deeply, and me in specific ways, and I’m seeking the Lord to work out His redemption... May the Lord still rescue these marriages and families! Your prayers are much appreciated, as we continue to work together to minister to all concerned, reassess counselling needs and efforts in the church, sift through the problems and discern ways forward to strengthen this body of Christ.
Politically: Continue to pray for the German government. After elections last September, which did not result in a majority rule, Merkel’s strongest party, the CDU (Christian Democratic Union) has not yet established a base for governing. Talks broke off with two smaller parties in November, and talks with the former coalition partner, the SPD (Social Democratic Party), initially adamantly against another CDU coalition, will hopefully be productive to establish a basis to govern. There is talk of a deep secular/conservative division in our society—reflected in politics. Moral issues divide—especially disagreements regarding a policy for the complex refugee problem. Without a resolution, Merkel could risk ruling with a minority—or Germany will have to return to the polls. (Today, the anniversary of Ghandi’s assignation, India is also split regarding the direction their country is taking—more secularism, or to return to the simple, non-materialistic values Ghandi advocated?)
Personally: Over the Christmas season it was wonderful to have a missionary friend working in South Sudan visit me on the third Advent for a nice long weekend break—exploring Christmas markets and enjoying long conversations over coffee, tea and a bit of whiskey...! Christmas Eve I celebrated with another single woman from church and enjoyed the Christmas goose (a German tradition) with a family from church—I contributed a whiskey dessert. Between Christmas and the New Year I visited my non-believing relatives north of Bremen and we had the most amazing spiritual and political discussions—over a delicious whiskey dessert...! I brought in the New Year with another close friend (of almost 40 years) with, you guessed it, my celebrated whiskey dessert...! (There’s still enough in the bottle for next Christmas! See the attachment for the recipe!) Less fun have been the computer/IT problems which have beset me for months, which I’m still trying to sort out—this has also compromised my correspondence with you. Prayer is greatly appreciated! Regarding my health, I’m slowly adjusting to the “new normal” as a result of chronic weaknesses, in an earthly tent completing another decade... Financially, I also have to raise an issue: over the last three years the dollar has continued to fall against the euro, so that I’ve increasingly had my monthly support decrease, now about 10% less than when I first came to south Munich—Germany’s most expensive patch. While waiting for the pendulum to swing again, things have become a little tight... Thank you for any and all help in this!
Your cards and notes sharing what the Lord is doing in your lives, taking part in my life, and assurances of prayer for me, as well as your continued financial support, sustained me wonderfully over the last year—years (!), and I thank you with all my heart! Thank you also for not failing to let me know of your joys and challenges—it is a huge blessing to continue our bond in Christ in spite of distance and time. May the Lord continue His mercy and grace to us all for our joy and the advance of the Gospel for His Kingdom and Glory!
We want to wish you a belated Happy New Year! We kept thinking at if we wait a little longer we will be clearer about our future plans but it is now the end of January and we are still waiting for clarity!
A highlight for us in December was a visit from Mark, Lindsey, Ben & Emelia. We enjoyed introducing Lindsey and the grandchildren to Pakistan and friends were glad to see Mark again and meet his family. The visit was punctuated with lots of chai and chicken curry! We have attached a picture taken of or us after church on Christmas Day.
We are planning to return to Canada by the end of May to settle in St.
John’s for a while at least. Bill’s Mom who is 90 years old needs more supervision, his sister continues to be unwell and with 6 grandchildren we feel that the time has come to leave Pakistan.
Bill hopes to get a full time family practice job and Sheila plans to continue to serve with Interserve.
In the meantime we continue on with Sheila planning 2 – 3 SYIS (Sharpening Your Inter-Personal Skills) workshops in the coming months and a Sunday School Teacher Training Workshop on the weekend. She will hand over her Team Leader responsibilities in March and have a couple of months to mentor the new team leader. Sheila will also visit partners in Murree, Islamabad and Lahore before she leaves.
Bill is still seeing patients and helping SaCHA. He has also been the acting director of a local Christian NGO since December and will continue until March. This NGO is going through some challenging times with financial issues and donor challenges. Bill needs much wisdom in how to strengthen internal administrative procedures and the quality of serve to the communities they serve. He also needs to hand over his national and international medical responsibilities with Interserve to successors.
/Foggy but the sun will come out! Preparation for living in Newfoundland!/
While we are still unclear of our departure date and uncertain about future ministries, we trust in one who holds the future in His hands and we wait on His timing! We are confident the Son will indeed bring clarity!
I hope you have all survived the severe winter weather we’ve been experiencing this month! Attached please find my winter prayer letter (finally), plus a helpful article I found this evening on the Renewal Fellowship website, written by Andy Cornell, the new Executive Director of the Renewal Fellowship.