Feb 19-13, 2015
Middle East Team
It is a bittersweet time for our team, as we now have finished our time of ministry in the refugee camps. We are so grateful for all of the people God led us to that have impacted our lives, including our translators and the local church who are now like family to us. We are convinced of God’s strong love and faithfulness to all He promised (Romans 8:28). We know we will never be the same.
We are excited to share that our last weeks were full of miracles and answered prayers! We followed Jesus to six new refugee camps that were completely unreached. Meaning none of the people had heard the Gospel before. In each camp, we were eagerly received by crowds of children and invited into the homes of families. It was amazing to see crowds of people gather into single homes as we ministered. In these new camps, God broke our hearts as we listened to their stories of the trauma and reality of fleeing war-torn areas and living in refugee camps. Almost every family has lost loved ones, some only can afford three to four meals a week, and others live in physically hard conditions in addition to the spiritual darkness and emotional trauma. But in their brokenness, God is bringing His comfort, hope and peace. He is revealing Himself in dreams and in power as we and others share the Gospel. We were overjoyed as we saw the awe and wonder in the eyes of those who heard and encountered Jesus for the first time. One woman exclaimed as we prayed for her, that the heaviness she always lived with lifted and she felt security for the first time. Others tried to describe the healing, joy and peace they felt when we prayed. God is so eager to embrace every hungry heart here. In fact, during the week, people would come looking for us, asking for audio bibles and for us to come pray for the sick in their camps. We were stoked to see Jesus’ fame and healing made known. There are so many testimonies of how the Gospel is going forth as light in this darkness. We now understand why John wrote “There are also many other things which Jesus did, which if they were written in detail, I suppose that even the world itself would not contain the books that would be written” (John 21:25). Likewise, this update cannot contain all that God has done and is doing here in the middle east! To hear some amazing testimonies, keep reading below:
The Camp Leader is Saved!
We were so excited to see the refugee camp leader of an unreached camp give his life to Jesus! He eagerly welcomed us into the camp to share with the few families that were gathered there. This camp was isolated and had never received visitors before, let alone the Gospel! We know that his salvation will open the door for many to know Christ!
Jesus’ embrace truly heals! Everywhere we go, people of all ages are hungry for love and eager to receive hugs (and sometimes they don’t let go). We were amazed to see Jesus heal one woman from her head pain through a hug! Susanna felt led to hug her for a long time, and afterwards, the pain had melted away!
Explorer’s Team in Northern Africa
Hello family and friends! Last Monday morning we did evangelism in a village and in the evening we did evangelism in the city and gave out 8 Bibles. We talked to a few Muslims and told them the Gospel and they were interested enough to receive Bibles.
We left for the city early on Wednesday morning. We caught a bus and traveled eleven hours. That night we connected with one of our contacts who is a pastor at the Assembly of God church there. Thursday we met with the head pastor at the church who tried to help us get into the refugee camps and invited us to speak daily at the various programs they have during the week. That afternoon we also met with a Christian family. The husband has a vision to start a church that is in the local language and in the language of the refugee camps because his wife is from the same country. They have a lot of connections to Muslim refugees and it was an incredible privilege to be able to encourage them and give them thirty Bibles in the refugees’ language for them to distribute in the refugee camps.
Friday we returned to the families house and found out that we would not be able to go to the refugee camps during this trip because we needed special permission from the office in the capital. We also found out that we were the first team that ever tried to go into the refugee camps to share the Gospel. So now the contacts we have know the process so our time in the city served to open a lot of doors. Friday afternoon we also did evangelism, splitting into two groups. We shared the Gospel and got words from God for twelve people on the streets (which the leaders of the church had told us was impossible to do), and we received a lot of positive feedback.
Saturday evening we met with the family again and they brought in three of the fourteen Christian refugees from the underground church. We prayed with them, gave them scripture and encouraged them to continue to share the Gospel with the people around them. They also gave us their addresses so that we can send training materials on how to do ministry to Muslims to the man with the vision to start a church, as well as to one of the pastors.
Sunday we went to church in the morning, and Alyssa B and Alyssa P led worship. In the afternoon we visited two families that had been struggling with a lack of faith, sickness, and had been having problems sleeping during the night. So we prayed for them. After that we went to speak at a “youth” event (people eighteen and older). We all spoke a piece of a message on fear of the Lord, and the Great Commission. The message ended in a call to give up any rights that people had been holding on to. There were many deliverances and the night concluded with the most genuine worship we had seen yet in that church.
On our travel back to the capital, we stopped in a city along the way that was 100% Muslim. We went into the city to do our last day of evangelism and there were 2 people that gave their lives to Jesus! We have one more day in the capital and then we are going back to California.
Central Asia Team
We have seen the Lord do some absolutely incredible things this past week in the Eastern part!!
We spent half of this past week bringing the Gospel to unreached villages, and we were able to communicate the Gospel, give out 15-20+ bibles to people who really wanted them (overall we have given out 100 bibles here!), and deep seeds were planted in many hearts!!
About a week ago, when we arrived in a new city in the East, Patrick and I (Samantha) prayed about where in the city to go. We felt like the Lord had spoken to go to a place just northwest of our city, and that it began with an “A”, so we looked at a map and sure enough there was a village in that exact location that started with an A! When we traveled there, we prayed as a team and asked the Lord what He had for us. We felt like He said that we were going to meet a shepherd, pass out Bibles, meet a specific woman, and be taken to a school to play soccer! That very moment, an Imam (false shepherd!) walked around the corner and started a conversation with us! We gave him a Bible and began sharing the Gospel with him, and then he asked if we would want to meet other people as well. Right then, a woman came out of her home, gave us gifts, and asked us if we would like to go to the nearby school! So, we went there, drank tea with the teachers and principal, gave them Bibles, shared the Gospel, prayed for the Imam, and went outside right when the kids were playing soccer during their recess! Isn’t that incredible? We did this almost every day in the East! We would ask the Lord where to go, and then when we would get there, we would ask Him to simply lead us to the harvest. Every time, it resulted in sharing the Gospel in creative and effective manners, giving Bibles, and leading folks to Jesus!
We spent two days reading the Bible, ministering, exploring, visiting, and eating lots of incredible food with the only Christian family in a city here in the East! We were able to keep them company, play with their kids, and share the Gospel with the dad’s atheist cousin (which was amazing!). He took us to visit a refugee family one evening, and we had the opportunity to hear their story as well as pray for them, prophesy over them, and give them Bibles. They fled ISIS a few months ago and need to come into relationship with Jesus! Please keep them in your prayers. They are not Muslim, but they are in another religion and they don’t know Jesus. And now to quickly share a few things from our last two days here in our last city in the East. Yesterday we took a taxi to a specific street that we felt like the Lord spoke to go to, and we literally stayed on that same street for hours! We gave a Gospel tract to one man standing outside of a shop, and that led to us going into his shop, drinking Coca-Cola with him, and typing the Gospel into his translator on his laptop! He heard the full Gospel and he now knows that he has a choice to make, to be in relationship with Jesus or not! After that encounter, we walked just a little bit and were invited into another little market, where we were given tea and snacks. There we got to give out Bibles and share the Gospel! After being there for a while, we started walking along the road again and were almost immediately invited into another market! There we were given free fruit (lots of free gifts this day!) and we shared the Gospel with the owner of the market. Then, a woman walked in and Ruth and I gave her a Gospel tract that reads “you are special.” It’s all about how she is lovely, made in God’s image, and that He has a wonderful plan for her. She lit up with joy, so we gave her a movie about Jesus (in her language), and then when we gave her a Bible. She gave Ruth and I hugs and kisses! She was EXTREMELY thankful and excited to be able to learn all about Jesus!! It was so powerful to meet someone who truly wants to know Jesus. I wish I could share about our other day there but for the sake of such a long update already, just know that God was glorified and people came so close to salvation!!!