#TakeHeart Blog

WEEK 1 UPDATES FROM THE FIELD

Team With Kids1

BELIZE

Summary:
Sunday – Arrived in Belize at 2:15 and went through customs very smoothly! It lasted under 30 minutes and Andrew was waiting for us right outside. He is so great! We all asked questions about the country and culture during the hour drive to the base. He was very gracious and we all had a great time. Upon arriving at Oasis, we ate dinner together and then had a special mothers' day service at their church (which is on the base). It was absolutely beautiful. We had an opportunity to get to know some of the youth and pray with a few of them. We are very excited to spend more time with the youth at the service on Wednesday night and youth group on Saturday. We then debriefed with Andrew and he talked to us about what the week would look like.

Monday – We got up early and had devotions together, followed by breakfast at the base. We then went off-site to a recently built house and painted it all morning! It looks great! We finished around noon and headed back for lunch. Following lunch, Andrew took us to a river to go for a dip. It was wonderful. Some of the kids who live here came with us and we had a great time! We now just finished going over our school production that we will be showing at about six schools this and next week. The family here had great pointers for us!

Highlight Testimonies: During the service last night, we had the opportunity of praying with a sixteen year old girl who has a horrible family situation and who recently had her life put in danger due to someone attacking her with a knife. She is covered in scars but has a beautiful attitude. Please pray that we are able to spend more time with her, because she said that it is very difficult being at school with everyone making fun of her. Today in the river, a Hispanic guy came and was showing us his puppy. Tiffany made excellent use of her Spanish and invited him to church on Wednesday! We are hopeful that he will come!

Prayer Requests: Please pray that the children at the schools will be ministered to through our dramas and teachings. Lastly, please pray that we can help Pastor Ron and his ministry in a way that he feels extremely blessed.

-Joy and the rest of Team Belize

 

BRAZIL AMAZON

Everything is going really good :) we finally arrived in Santarem this morning and have had a tour of the city. The contacts are amazing and the team is doing great.

Monday, May 21st. The team arrived safely to Parintins!

 

 

BRAZIL BASKETBALL

Spoke to a school of kids yesterday and was able to share the Gospel with them. Our team also got to experience a Brazilian church service last night! We are on our way to another school where we will be speaking and then our team will be doing an entire church service tonight. Please pray that the ministry would be effective! :) We are having a chill day today :) we went to a school earlier and later on tonight we are going to be having a prayer meeting with our amazing contacts! Tomorrow, our guys will take on the Brazilian pro team! #Leggo!!

Assistant Team Leader Sarah Robinson

Go to ORU's Facebook PageGo to ORU's Twitter PageBURKINA FASO

Day three of our time in Burkina Faso, West Africa is complete! We have already done so much- planted over 100 trees, painted a women's center, helped with operation Christmas child, and been able to play with Muslim child refugees from Mali. Continue to pray that we will be mere vessels for the Lord to work through, and that everyone we touch will know of His love.  (Assistant Team Leader Katie Roso)

"ORU team is awesome. Hard workers. Servants. Anointed. What more can you ask. So far they were able to minister to a thousand kids. Helped paint a women's center, planted 131 trees, ministered to young people. Excited on how God will use them in Week 2. But tomorrow its rest day, so swimming pool, ice cream and burgers are part of the plan." Pastor Danny

EMAIL 2

hello America,

SUMMARY

1) Day one we had orientation and traveled around Burkina. Meeting the locals and practicing French in the Market

2) Day two we did 3 children's outreaches (puppets and skits) at schools. Outreach to Tuareg refugees (played soccer and ministered to the kids)

The Culture is great and the place where we are staying is completely safe. Danny and Joel have been such a blessing and they have been very appreciative. They have great hearts, that is for sure.

HIGHLIGHTS

The Tuareg people were such a blessing to be with. They have been displaced from northern Mali and they only have not been unreached they have been unreachable until now. About 1500 people have traveled to Ouaga for safety and now we have to opportunity to minister to them.

We had the privilege to handout out Operation Christmas child gifts to a school and it was sooo much fun! It was great to see the actual handing out process and it was so great to see the smiles on all the faces of the kids.

PRAYER REQ's

Pray for a super boost in health and energy. It is very hot. We certainly do not want heat exhaustion or any other heat related illness. Also, pray that God will open more doors to minister to the Burkinabi (esp the Tuareg). Also please pray for team synergy and that the power of God will show up and break spiritual bondages and heal the broken, both in the physical and spiritual sense.

Thanks guys!!!!

Until next time. Au voir

 

CAMEROON

We made it to Cameroon safely. We did the first three clinics in Dibombari and we had about 660 people show up for them total.  Some challenges I think the team is facing is being homesick and missing America.  They are doing really well with getting involved with the people and interacting with them.  No one is sick.  Everyone is healthy, praise the Lord.  The three days that we had the clinics in the night we had crusades and there were about 150 people show up each night.  There have been incredible healings.  We go to see a demon cast out.  God is doing some incredible things.  Prayer requests are continued protection, being homesick, some more team unity, grace, and God would continue doing amazing things here through us. 

Deb

Go to ORU's Facebook Page

CHINA

The team has landed safely in Beijing and are working in the foster home, school, and business arm of New Day. Everyone is doing great.

GERMANY

Email 1:

Our team has done great so far we went to the main ministry where we will be doing the majority of our work at in the KIC church but there is a whole lot that Miri and I worked on, so it's looking pretty good. The language has been somewhat of a challenge and will really push us to be more action oriented with the kids since the staff from the YWAM base will be attending a conference for the next four days.

Some prayer requests is praying for our team as we prepare to serve with the KIC church outreaches for the next two weeks and as we go to the Red Light District. Pray that Lord prepares our hearts and protects us from any harm and pitfalls. Our team has really been encouraged by the contacts to continue to be a witness wherever we go in Germany, so we are looking forward to every opportunity.

Blessings and Thanks for your hard work,

Josiah Pinto

TL-Germany

Blog (May 17th)

Hello everyone! Our team has now been in Germany for four days! Some of us are still having a hard time believing that we are really in Germany. The road to get here was very long, but it has already been well worth it!

We have been working with a ministry called KIC for most of our time here so far. KIC is a place in the middle of a small shopping mall where kids can come and hang out for a few hours, three days a week. The parents even come and relax sometimes. We have loved our time with them, and have already begun to develop friendly relationships with some of the staff and children there. It has been a blessing to help out and encourage them.

Tomorrow we are having an event at KIC specifically geared towards 8-12 year olds. The boys and girls will also be separated for part of the time so that we can minister to each group in an individualized and personal way. We also have a big group going to minister in the Red Light District tomorrow. This is going to be a very big day for our team, as will this whole weekend, so we would greatly appreciate your prayers tomorrow and throughout the weekend.

I will keep you all updated as often as possible! I know the team is so excited for what the Lord is doing here and will continue to do the rest of our time here. Thank you again for your thoughts and prayers. Have a great day. Auf Wiedersehen fur jetzt!

BLOG (MAY 20TH) Well, we have now been here for seven days! I can't believe it. We have grown so much as individuals, and as a team. We have had many great opportunities for ministry in our time here already. We are so excited for the rest of our time here!

So, Friday night, we had a group of people from our team go the Red Light District with a few of our contacts. It was very eye opening and powerful. They each had very individual experiences and were grateful for the opportunity to go.

Saturday was an extremely busy day for our team! In the morning we had breakfast for the kids at KIC. It was so fun, and such a rewarding experience. The kids seemed to have so much fun and really enjoy themselves. In the afternoon we did a photo booth on the street to help advertise for a big barbeque we are having next Thursday. Photo booths don't seem quite as popular in Germany as they are in the U.S., but it was still an enjoyable experience. We were also able to hand out all of our flyers for the barbeque, which was the important part. Finally, we had a youth service to attend at night. This part of the day was so fun and rewarding. It was incredibly refreshing to be with a group of teenagers and young adults who have chosen to follow Christ, even though it may not be the "cool thing" to do. We were given the opportunity to do a short skit, share two testimonies from our team, and hang out with the youth after the service. It was a great way to end the day!

This afternoon, Sunday to be exact, we got to do a children's service at an international church in the city. It was so much fun! We did a skit, played games, sang some fun songs, and taught them a memory verse. The kids were so engaged and seemed to have a great time. We also got the opportunity to eat and talk with some of the church members after the service! It was such a fun way to spend our afternoon.

We are all looking forward to the rest of our time here in Hamburg. We only have four more days of ministry, since tomorrow is our free day, and we intend to make the most of them! I hope that you will keep us in your thoughts and prayers! We would greatly appreciate it! Until next time, Tschuss!

 

GHANA

TIA, yah? Week #1 has been great. Team Ghana is happy and healthy. — at Radach Lodge and Conference Center. The team is working on their solar energy project as well as ministering to the Ghanaians.

 

GUATEMALA

Hola! It has been a great week in Guatemala!

Summary: This week we worked with Gerber to build water filters in a small community. It was an interesting process and very fun to learn. We sifted lots of sand and made a bunch of concrete. All together we built and installed 15 biosand water filters. It was great to meet and work with people in the community and be able to see their families as we brought the filters to their homes. I know we've all learned alot from the people here. Today is our free day in Antigua and we just had a tour of a coffee farm. Next week we will be working with Margarito to build stoves.

Challenges: It hasn't been too challenging. The biggest struggle for some would be trying to communicate with the language barrier. It was sometimes hard to get or give instructions while building the filters. We did fine though. Our home, food, contacts, and team have all been great.

Highlight testimonies: The highlight for the week was just seeing the people satisfied with the water filters that they helped to build. It was so great to be a part of that process with them. Through these filters they will live healthier, more effective lives. I have been proud of the team because our contacts told us how great we are to work with. They never hear us complain. It's also fun to watch them learn more Spanish as the week goes on.

 

Prayer requests: Pray for the continued health of our team. We need to be strong so we can work during the day. Also pray for our ministry preparation as we will be putting together a discipleship retreat in two weeks.

Really, we're doing very well. There is not much to report other than good things about the work we're doing and the fun we're having. Next weekend we will be going on some kind of trip. I don't know what kind of internet access I will have but I will do my best to update you again.

Thanks for your prayers!

Carolyn Udall

BLOG (MAY 2OTH) Hola! Estamos en Guatemala!
We have just completed our first week here, and it has been quite an experience. Aguatemala is certainly living up to its name. Our team worked with members of Mission Impact and members of the community of Corrales to build and install 15 bio-sand water filters. It has been a lot of work but a lot of fun, and an incredible learning experience.

Let me explain how all of this works. These filters are just concrete blocks filled with a few centimeters of large gravel, a few centimeters of smaller gravel, and a lot of fine sand. I do not totally understand how it all works so I won’t try to sound smart. Essentially, though, an ecosystem is created where the sand traps bacteria in the water that then eats the smaller bacteria. It can filter 5 gallons of water in an hour, and in the end it is 90-95% pure water.
A major issue that Guatemalans face is a lack of clean water. Impure water leads to sickness, which leads to less time spent working and a lesser quality of life. The solution is obviously to provide clean water. However, we have been learning from our contacts, Michelle and Gerber, that it is not good just to give the people what they need and be their hero. Instead, the communities are challenged to take initiative. If a community wants to improve their health with clean water, ten to twelve representatives from different families have to come together in agreement and write a letter requesting water filters. They agree to learn about, help build, and maintain these water filters. This way, the people are using their own assets and abilities to solve problems rather than waiting for someone to do it for them. They are empowered, not enabled.

It has been so much fun for us to get to know some of the people that live in the pueblo. Every day we met someone new who helped us sift sand, make concrete, and mold filters. It was so rewarding to actually deliver and install the filters in these people’s homes. Gerber told us that he sees this as an example of the Gospel in action. We work together, eat together, and share our lives. Every day, we ate pan dulce and drank Pepsi, played futbol with kids, and shared parts of our stories with each other. The relationship is just for a time, but the impact that we have on each other is indelible. We’ve all learned something this week. I know many of us have altered perspectives and reevaluated how we go about our lives. We are all better off because of our interactions with the people in this community.
Guatemala is a beautiful country and we are thoroughly enjoying our stay here. The mountains are breath taking and the city of Antigua has so much character. Our host home is actually at the base of a volcano. The view is…wow! Dora and Oscar are wonderful people, and Dora spoils us with her amazing cooking on a daily basis. Pretty much everything we eat is organic, and much of it comes from Dora’s garden – even the coffee (it’s fantastic)! It has only been a week and there is so much more to do! Next week we will be working in another community to build fuel efficient stoves. Stay tuned!

Thanks for your prayers!
Carolyn, Dami, Chrystal, ELena, Gage, Tony

 

HAITI

We are doing absolutely great! We are getting a super good tan and building super buff muscles while ministering to a whole lot of people. Our biceps are a little sore, but I think we can push through the pain.

Okay, on a serious note, our team is great. We have spent the past 2 days traveling to different orphanages/schools. We have ministered at 4 different sites per day. We have worked together with Haiti North at every site, doing skits and sharing the gospel as a team. Jake Jones has his daughters and some friends here as well, so it has been great getting them involved with us. We have had a phenomenal response from the kids. Team members have been connecting with the kids super well. These sites have never seen any type of mission team or kids club, so the kids have been super excited. We have prayed with many to receive Jesus into their hearts.

One challenge for our team has been dealing with the level of poverty and devastation around us. Pray that the Lord would teach each team member something that will be imprinted in their hearts forever. Another challenge has been dealing with sickness. Pray for healing over each one of us!

One change to our itinerary has included a cancellation of our mountain ministry trip. There was just a cholera outbreak up in the mountains, so it is not safe for us to travel up there. We will be staying on base for the rest of the trip as far as I know.

Please be in prayer for the health of our team, for unity within our team and also with the other teams on base, and for our contacts. The contacts here, specifically Chris Baker and Cassandra, are in the middle of an extremely tough time. It has been hard being here ministering alone without any teams. They are also in the middle of a transition stage as they are moving to a new base here in Haiti. Pray that our team would be able to be an encouragement to them and that we would be able to give them a fresh breath and passion for the work they are doing here!

We love you guys so much, and are so thankful for your prayers. We just debriefed as a team tonight. The team morale and unity is better than I could have ever expected. We will update you again within the week!

Love,
Haiti South!

HONDURAS

Summary:
We have been over in Honduras now for almost a week, and have been able to serve in amazing ways for God's kingdom! As soon as we got here the team from Agape Christian Academy welcome us with open arms and grateful hearts. They are becoming a credited school through ORUEF in December and have much to do! They have put us to work helping with everything from classroom english assignments, chapel services, and painting some of the buildings.
The past two days we went out and evangelized at a couple of schools in El Negrito. We were able to minister to over 600 people and had 223 salvations in yesterday's outreach! God is so amazing, and we are all so excited to watch as he changed the lives of the people of Honduras.

Health Update:
The team is healthy. Heat exhaustion is a big challenge. Andrew and I have to keep our eyes open, but we were able to purchase gatorade a couple of days ago to have on hand. Also, the Lord has graced us with some rain and cloud coverage for the next couple of days.

Highlight Testimonies:
On Wednesday Nathan preached two messages. God met him and the message was exactly what the people needed to hear. I believe at that moment Nathan stepped into a new level in his faith. It was an amazing transformation to witness.

Andrew was able to pray for one of the Agape high school soccer players. His father had been murdered 5yrs ago, and it was really difficult for him and his family. He was getting ready to graduate, and now was feeling immense pressure to find a well paying job in order to support his family. His greatest fear was that he would fail them and somehow let them down if he didn't find a good career. Andrew was able to encourage him and pray for him for a long time. At the end of their time together, you could see that his burden had been made easy and his yolk lightened.

Prayer:
It seems that these people struggle with a great deal of fear. Please pray that as we minister to the people here God will give us wisdom on how to show them that God is greater than anything they may face in this world.
Also, we have come across several domestic violence cases. Every form of abuse is very prevalent in this country, but here is no safe place for these children to go.

We know that all of you are praying for us, and greatly appreciate it! We have a little over a week left, and there is still so much we can do to advance His kingdom!

In His Name,

-Lauren Brittany Kelly
Team Honduras TL
 

 

INDIA

 

Hey Bobby, Here is an update for the past week. Team Health; Some have been feeling a little sick but nothing too serious. Please pray for those who are feeling under the weather; Jessica, Molly, Austyn, and Sarah.

Dynamics; Team has been bonding well. Friendships are forming and everyone is getting more and more comfortable with each other as the days pass. 

Projects; So far we have been able to spend two days at Pastor Sarjin's orphanage and two days at the other compassion project nearby. We have been able to perform skits, sing songs, and teach various Bible lessons to over 600 children. They love the bracelets that you sent with us! The team has fallen in love with them all and we are all trying our best to learn all the names!

This past Sunday we conducted the church service at Pastor Sarjin's project. Everyone on the team shared their testimony and we sang 2 songs for the congregation. Hannah and I also had the opportunity to preach! The night service consisted of prayer for any needs that the people had. 

Two of our team members, Lilly and Nydia had the opportunity on Sunday night to pray for a woman with a Hindu background. She is now a Christian but her husband is still a practicing Hindu. They were really touched as was she. 

Hannah and I have been asking the team to be vulnerable with the children and to not be afraid to let them know what they have gone through in their lives. During the service Jessica Shorman opened up to the congregation and shared everything she has gone through. She began to cry as she shared but she continued on and her testimony not only blessed the congregation but our team as well. 

The hospitality has been phenomenal! We could not have asked for better contacts! Pastor Sarjin and his staff have been great. Our team has been brainstorming ways that we could return the favor and bless them. 

Prayer Requests; John Chacko has not been feeling too well. Just a couple months ago he had a heart attack and has been undergoing treatment, so please keep him in your prayers. The girls orphanage is in need of finances because they want to purchase backpacks and complete building projects. The language barrier has been hard for the team because they want to communicate their love to the children as best as possible. Please also be praying for the second part of the trip.  We are still not certain what the conference will look like.  Pray that we can be effective and flexible.

We will be in touch with you once we reach Hyderabad.  

Grace and Peace,

Michael, Hannah, and Team India!

JAPAN

Konnichiwa, minna-san!

We arrived in Tokyo at 7:00am Tuesday morning, and it has been absolutely wonderful ever since. As a team, we have been able to see, experience, and learn so many different things! It has been such a journey already!! Here is a small update for all you folks at home – we hope that you can experience the journey along with us through these blog posts :-)

We arrived bright and early Tuesday morning and took a bus and train to the church where we will be working for two weeks. We were able to meet three of our contacts at the train station and instantly hit it off! We love the people we are working with and have already become close friends :-)I am so excited to continue working with all of the Fuse volunteers and be a part of their ministry even for a short while. Their heart for the Japanese and the way they reach out is so very beautiful.

So far, we have been able to join the Fuse as they visit various places (including college campuses) in order to reach out to Japanese youth. Tonight, we are having an International Dinner Party where we hope to keep building more relationships with the youth. Through these relationships, we hope to speak life, worth, and love into their hearts. Japan is such a beautiful country; the Japanese people are so humble, welcoming, and kind to us. We love being able to meet them and get to know them. However, one thing that seems to be lacking in this country is love – specifically God's love that passes all understanding. Although Japan is a very affluent country, they are one of the largest people groups unreached by the Gospel. Through building relationships, we hope to show them the love that God has for them. They deserve to know that they are beautiful and that they are loved and it is our goal to serve them and help them realize that.

Thank you all so much for all of your prayer and support! We need and appreciate it so much :-)More updates to follow!

Your friend,

Jessica

 

PANAMA

Email 1: Team Panama arrived in Panama City on Monday afternoon on the 14th of May.

The team was greeted by our contact Jennifer and her husband Alex. Jennifer, Alex, The driver and all 8 members packed all of our luggage and bodies into a small van. We enjoyed a wonderful ride through the country side of Panama and past many farms on the way to our first destination. We arrived in Margarita de Chepo after the one hour van ride. We were greeted by many smiling children waiting for our arrival. We were briefly briefed by our contact. She introduced us to the Pastor and other families that we would be working with for the next week. We have played soccer with the kids, helped clean up the streets around the church, the boys on our team built a new fence funded by ORU missions, the girls on our team have helped clean and cook. Most importantly, we have been able to spread the gospel and give encouragement to the local people. Our first children´s service 20 kids prayed the salvation prayer. During our first day of ministry two sick babies that the team prayed for were proclaimed healed by their mothers. God is moving in Panama!!! Continue to pray for our team´s health and for more doors to continue to open in Panama!

 

Email 2: Hey Bobby we are in the town of Margarita De Chepo. So far our time has been smooth with no problems. We have done several childrens services with the local wounaan tribe. We also have had 2 evening services with the adults. Rachel Smith from our team is our best translator and she has been doing great. My Spanish is coming back sloooowly LOL. Team spirits are high though everyone is loving the time here so far. a blog update is coming soon once we get to a place with quicker internet.

 

PHILIPPINES

 

We truly hit the ground running. After getting stuck in Japan on the way over we finally made it a day late and were eager to get started. We are based in Antipolo and make frequent trips to Manila and Tondo. Manila is our most common place of ministry and is the main city about an hour away. One of our first days was spent in Tondo which is three hours away and is the 3rd poorest place in the entire world. There is such an intense contrast between the wealthy side of Manila and the slums of Tondo. Although it was difficult to be amongst such extreme poverty, we spent the day praying over multiple families and it was incredible for our team.

 

 

After that we spent two days with Blessed Hope (a local church in Manila). We did a few children services, shared our testimonies, and played in a basketball tournament. Carl, Jorden and Jalil played basketball nearly all day and truly built relationships with the people of Blessed Hope. We had such a great time getting to bond with the kids over the past two days and they really gave us a glimpse of Filipino hospitality.

 

Testimonies: During our trip to Tondo, we went to Smokey Mountain which is where coal is made. The air is filled with smoke and most families live in piles of garbage. One of the highlights of Smokey Mountain was seeing our team pray over an 83 year old woman who hadn’t been able to walk in four weeks due to hip problems. After praying she was able to stand on her own and just started dancing. It was incredible to see her praise God for this miraculous healing even though she literally was dancing on garbage.

Prayer Requests: Please pray for healing within our team. We have stocked up on vitamin C so we are just praying for quick recovery and a boost of energy for the whole team.

Thank you so much for your constant support and prayers!

Paalam!! Goodbye!!

SOUTH AFRICA

What an incredible first week here in Cape Town, South Africa! Our contacts from All Nations are plugging us right in to the work they have been doing consistently in their community- daily soccer training and discipleship for vulnerable kids to give them an alternative to gangs, drugs, and violence; prayer walks through local townships, and playing pick-up games with kids and getting to know young gangsters from Masi. We have an incredible team, and it has been so exciting seeing everyone interact with the kids! Tomorrow we are playing a pickup soccer game with teenagers in our neighborhood and training a local team in the afternoon. Please keep us in prayer! (Assistant Team Leader Brooke Williams)

 

BLOG (MAY 20TH)

Hey Guys,

So these past two days have been pretty crazy, but so exciting as well! Yesterday, we got to sleep in a little and then headed over to a great soccer field in Noerdhok for a couple soccer games. This pitch was unlike the other ones we have played on, and was actually flat and covered in grass. Most pitches that we have normally been on have been covered in rocks, dirt, and very uneven. When you would think of Africa and how it would normally be, that is how most of the pitches normally are. However, this one was perfect for a game. The only thing was that on our way over, it began to rain. We quickly prayed, and the rain stopped! Thank God, because it was a great day for soccer!

So we warmed up, and the game began. Our team played one of our contact's teams that he coaches. The game ended with a 3-1 win for the ORU team. There were some stellar goals from Griff, Aaron Quinn, and JD. This team was mostly compromised of 18-22 year olds. Most of them are being encouraged to pursue a relationship with the Lord by their coach, Cedric. Cedric happens to be our driver, and very important to us in South Africa. He is very helpful, and knows so much about the culture and people of South Africa. After, another team came in to play. We ended up winning 4-1. Goals were by Aaron, Rachel, John Chau, and Jd. Another great team performance, and everyone played. Playing soccer games with the guys is a great tool as it opens the door to tell them our testimonies and about Jesus.

After the games, we sat down with the guys on Cedric's team and got to individually talk to them about their lives. We encouraged them to go after their dreams, and shared some of our testimonies. One thing that I really wanted to leave with them is that no matter what the need is, there will always be God, our Father in heaven, who will be there to meet it. Also, it does not matter how much we have done (some of the guys regularly do crystal meth, which is called tick and other drugs, violence, aids, and many of the other problems they face), there will always be a God will love them and forgive them.

After the soccer games, we went back to Africa House for a great dinner and then headed over to a restaurant to watch the Champions League Final. The match was between Chelsea and Bayern Munich. The game ended with Chelsea winning in penalty kicks. It was a great game to watch, and all of the team enjoyed it! Plus the atmosphere in the restaurant was really fun!

On Sunday, we woke up early and went to a nearby coffee shop. It was a great way to start the morning, and some of the team members really love their coffee. We started our day off with some great team time in the Word. We did an inductive Bible study, and really sought God for the ministry and people we will be working with these next three weeks. We don’t only want this to be time to teach kids about soccer and play soccer, but to have divine appointments and opportunities to tell kids about the Gospel message and the love of God.

An interesting thing about South Africa is that many of their churches are house churches, and have very small congregations. A great amount of the staff at All Nations has their own church, and they really work on discipleship and mentoring the small group of people they have.

In the afternoon, we headed over to Masi, to play soccer with the kids. Its amazing that we have only been there for less than a week, but people are already beginning to recognize us and form relationships. Many of the kids grabbed our hands as we were walking and began to follow us as we walked to the field. Shortly after, there was about a group of 20 kids who followed us. It was awesome getting to connect with them, and just deepen relationships. As our guide led us, he soon took us to a restaurant. This is the best in Masi, a meat place. We began to see a tour bus, and some men with some sweet looking jackets. We soon found out that a team of 16 guys from 16 of the teams in the Premier league were on a tour of South Africa. They were from teams like Chelsea, Manchester United and City, Bolton, Derby County Wolves, and Everton. These kids were all within the age of 17-19 and all in the academy of their club. Most of them are all about to sign professional contracts as soon as they return to Europe. They were there to learn about life after futbol, and teach the importance of education.

We teamed up with the Pros from the Premier league and played a game with many of the kids from Masi. It was a great experience, and meeting the players was awesome as well. However, nothing could top playing with the kids from Masi. Forming new relationships with these kids and teaching them little phrases such as "Jesus loves you," and "Jesus gave His life for you" stuck with the kids. We kept repeating the phrases and soon made a little song out of it. There is nothing like getting a chance to play with these kids and then share bits of the Gospel message with them. We are believing that they will be the difference in the next generation in their towns and communities.

After that, we had dessert with a friend's house named Christine. She graduated from ORU, and invited us over so we could connect. She works with an organization called, "Not for Sale," which works with sex trafficing. It was awesome getting to hear her story and how God is using her in Capetown to reach these women.

Overall, this first week has been amazing! We can't wait for the rest of this month and everything God is going to do. Keep us in your prayers, and we are so thankful for all of you who have supported us!

Danny

BLOG (MAY 18TH) We had another great night of bonding last night, and Bree suddenly saw another mouse, so we spent a long time trying to catch it (via different fun methods, like using a soccer ball, flipflops, a giant tupperware container, table placemats, books, a toy car, and lots of noise). We ended up catching it, but it got out of the tupperware container and ran off. So tonight we'll prolly catch him and toss him outside or eat him. Still deciding on that.

Keep praying for safety for our team! God's been great protecting us so far :)

This morning, we ate breakfast (Milo cereal is the best!!), had some good devos and prayer, and then painted the office in the compound. At like 3:45 pm, we headed off to Masi to go play soccer with the Vulnerable Children (VC) [http://vulnerablechildrensa.com/] and had a great game on their wet, sand pitch with Chapman's Peak and the other mountains looking on in the distance. It was awesome. We used a nice green soccer ball that Adidas kindly donated to us and gave them it to keep after we left today, but we'll be back on Sunday to play against the gangsters of Masi, and we'll keep giving away more and more balls (we have like a 100 from US Soccer's Passback Program too that we need to hand out). Today we mostly just got a good feel for the pitch, plus we were able to talk to the children about who Jesus is (some knew, some didn't), and we gave out oranges after the game with them. Lauren took a bunch of awesome photos, but we probably won't be able to upload them anytime soon unless we go to an internet cafe. The All Nations house in Masi, where we gave out the oranges and the kids come to meet up, is right by a Rastafarian's house and as we gave out the oranges, the air was pungently scented with an overwhelming odor of marijuana.

Anyways, we drove back, had an amazing meal of beef tortillas with guacamole (Mexican food in South Africa?), which were super yummy..plus Cedric's wife (our cook) also made amazing cupcakes. They were sooo good! Now we're just chilling and checking our emails and stuff. Tomorrow we will be playing a soccer game at 11am against a team that has been practicing like every day near our compound..hopefully it'll be dry outside! Please keep praying for us! For some specific things to pray about, pray for our health (still like 80% of us are recovering from sickness so yeeah…), protection, and that God will work in the hearts of the people here!

BLOG (MAY 17TH)

Sooo last night several of us were having some great discussions about life matters, and suddenly Bri saw a mouse. So we proceeded to turn our attention toward the mouse, which turned out to be two mice and we made them run out of the room. It was a great bonding time. Anyways, this morning, we woke up, had breakfast and devos, and then drove to Ocean View to a house called Yellow House that is like a house that helps women, abused children, and basically any victims of abuse. We got there and then went on a prayer walk around the city of Ocean View. After walking around and praying, we grouped back up at the house and met with several of the people there who explained to us what they do. Then we played with the local children that came out to hang out with us and both they and us had a blast!

[Side note: We've taken tons of photos, but the internet here at the compound is rather poor and they don't want us uploading much, but I'll try my best and get some photos up].

We then drove back to Africa House and ate sandwiches for lunch. After eating, some of us walked over to the bigger mall near the compound and checked out their supermarket and several of the coffee shops. The prices of food here varies, but the cheapest are local foods and imported American or other brands are more pricey (as expected). At 3pm, we drove to Masiphumelele (Masi) and split into 3 groups of 4 to do another prayer walk and get to know the layout of the city. My group encountered some chicken feet being cooked, which we bought 2 for 1 Rand ($0.12) and JD and I tried them. Not too bad…tasted like chicken. I bought some fish and chips for 25 Rand ($2.99), and it was massive… two huge things of fish, and then an interesting type of chips. It fed our group of four (plus the guy leading us around, so five) and then a group of children on the street. In all, it fed like 12 people…for about $3.. pretty awesome. We played a little bit of soccer with some little kids and later with some older guys.

On Sunday, we'll be back there and be playing with the gangsters of Masi. So please be praying for us! After we got back to Africa House, some of us went on a run and the view was epic. We ran toward Chapman's Peak and the clouds were moving past and around it, and it was just awesome. This place is beautiful!!

Both Masi and Ocean View have a huge problem with drug addicts. 70% of Ocean View is addicted to "tik" (crystal meth that has even more stuff added to it) which is extremely cheap (7 Rand/$1 for a hit) and there is a large number of Rastafarians who give out free marijuana and have "open air sessions" where tons of people gather outside one of their leader's homes and smoke and chant. Ocean View is a bit nicer than Masi, and nearly everyone goes to church and "talks the talk"…but doesn't "walk the walk" (as seen by the huge amount of tik addicts). There's also a lot of Muslims (40% in Ocean View). So the main religions are Christianity, Islam, and Rastafarianism (90% of them are pretty chill hippies, but 10% are extremely violent and not-so-chill). In Masi, we smelled pot everywhere and saw several drugged out people (probably on tik).

The people here are incredibly nice and friendly, and most speak English (except in Masi, where most speak Xhosa). The food has been amazing as well, with dinner tonight being curried chicken, rice, banana yoghurt, and salsa. Food last night was taco soup with salad and crushed up Doritos. The food on Tuesday night was chutney chicken, couscous, and cream of mushroom sauce. Our cook is phenomenal! Tomorrow we'll paint a house and play soccer in the afternoon. Keep us in your prayers! Thanks!

BLOG (MAY 16TH)

Wow so Cape Town is totally awesome!!! On Tuesday we tried to relax and acclimate to the time difference (which wasn't too bad since our flight from Amsterdam landed at 9pm Monday and we could just go to sleep). We woke up to an awesome view of the mountains surrounding our compound (Africa House) and had a nice breakfast of granola and yoghurt. Then some of us went to the All Nations Bible Study at the compound. After we had all woken up and eaten breakfast, we moved the 400 lbs or so of soccer gear to hand out into one of the sheds to store till we could pass it out, and then drove to Fishhoek and changed our USD to South African Rand. Then our driver, Cedric, took us on a short tour of the southern Cape and we checked out Ocean View, Redhill, Masi, Misty Cliffs, and a bunch of others places. We saw some baboons too…they were pretty neat. Then we came back to Africa House and played soccer with Cedric and then ate dinner ad went to bed. Today we woke up, ate breakfast, and went to Ubuntu Soccer Academy where we were briefed on the people of Ocean View. Then after a lunch at KFC, we went the training turf of Ubuntu and played with the U8s, U10s, and U12s (for the next three weeks we will be conducting their training sessions). Then we went and played against the team that Cedric coaches (tied 1:1 and played on an awful pitch with broken glass and boulders). Afterward we drove back to Africa House from Ocean View (only about fifteen minutes away) and had an amazing dinner that Cedric's wife cooked (the food is incredible here plus the tap water is safe to drink)
Please keep praying for us! Some day that we're here, we are going to play in a prison…so yeah definitely need your prayers (and some of us are sick..so prayers for health are needed too). :)

TANZANIA

The Team arrived safely in Dar es Salaam and traveled to the bush with Tori the contact. They do not have the best cell phone service in the area, but will send an update soon. They have already started handing out many of the 75,000 Bibles to the Tanzanians in remote villages, many who have never heard the Gospel before.

Text Message: 5/21/12— Bobby we have arrived in next village after 14 hour drive. Team is still healthy aside from a few colds. Ministry is going amazing. 5 salvations, 1 healing, and over 1,500 Bible handed out. – John Patterson (Man Team Team Leader)

THAILAND ED

The team is doing great by the grace of God! Your leadership, staff and Ropes definitely prepared us to be adaptable and flexible to the Thai culture. We are in good hands! We will be going to our first service tonight; Jeremiah and Nicole will be singing and playing music during offering. Pray we will continue to serve God wholeheartedly, obey to the Holy Spirit and be able to rely on each other for support in the time of feeling lonely, confused or frustrated.

God Bless,
Bradley (Team Leader)

 

TOGO

We have arrived safely in Togo and have been resting for the past two days. Tomorrow morning we leave for the bush around 4AM. In the bush we will be planting a few churches in villages that have been unreached. The spiritual atmosphere here is very intense. But we know that our God is greater than any other power. So tomorrow we head of into the battlefield well equipped with the greatest weapon to ever be wielded……the Gospel. Please pray that the people of Togo come to know Jesus Christ and the power of the one true God.

PHONE CALL 5/22/12: Team is healthy. Please pray for next 3 nights of revival services. Jordan mentioned that the team will be singing songs in the services (learning them in French), they are praying for a blind woman (formerly a muslim who recently accepted Christ) is now seeing shadows, the team is getting along like a family, sleeping in tents on a roof.

 

Text Update:

Although Jordan was feeling sick, the first night he preached in the village 6 people accepted Christ for the first time. Arnold was going to preach the next night. Please pray that the Lord would use the team in mighty ways as they proclaim the message of the Gospel.

UGANDA

Hope all is well in Tulsa. Uganda is going great! …we split into groups and evangelized door to door and in the evening everyone came back together and we had a crusade. Everyone is officially healthy! We love our contacts, they have been so incredible and they absolutely crack me up all the time. The phrase "African Style" is used religiously by Pastor Benjamin. This basically entails just go with the flow, because plans will change up to 10 times in 1 minute.  Uganda is beautiful in the country, green is everywhere! Everyone has such an open spirit, no matter the circumstances. 

So far what we have been doing is in the morning/early afternoon going to Pastor Gerald's Orphanage and evangelizing door to door in surrounding neighborhoods. Then eating lunch at around 2 and having a crusade at 5. The crusade entails African Style worship and someone sharing a testimony with a message, followed by an alter call. These have been going great- God is seriously showing Himself everywhere and is working in incredible ways. 

Testimony Time. One important thing that happened last night at a crusade was that 3 little girls with AIDS came up to Josh Cabrera and asked to be prayed for and Josh really felt the Lord move when he prayed for them.

Another testimony from last night is from Karla Herrera. During commissioning at ropes she had a vision of faces of African children. Last night at the alter call, she saw that exact vision in real life. She got to pray for them, and found out that they all had AIDS. It broke her, and made her realize how important God's love is to these people that have nothing to look forward to in life. If they do not have His love, there is truly no hope.

For me.. I feel like I have a testimony from every day I have been here. The Holy Spirit is at work and it is incredible to watch as well as take part in. Something that happened today is that we went door to door and I prayed the Salvation Prayer with a Muslim, but he wasn't very responsive and I was a little discouraged. Later tonight I gave my testimony and a message, and I noticed him in the crowd watching the entire time. He stepped forward and asked to commit his life to Christ. You have to understand that NO ONE willingly comes up- I hadn't even started the alter call. God is so good! He's changing lives here in Uganda and I absolutely love watching it. 

Rachel Scroggs (Assistant Team Leader)
 

UKRAINE

BLOG 1 (MAY 19TH)

Привет! ("Hi!" in Russian)

If you could hear us say that in person, we would hope that our Russian accents are at least somewhat passable! As language is such a vital part of our ministry (as you'll see later in this post), we're doing our best to cram as much Русский ("Russian") into our American brains as quickly as possible. When it comes to repeating phrases, we've become fairly pretty good at phonetically imitating the locals – as for actually retaining what we hear, that is a different story! Even with our Google Translate apps nearly constantly open, we're always very grateful to have our very own Kristina providing seamless translation when necessary. Hopefully as the trip progresses we will be able to converse less awkwardly! :)

So! After a 55-hour journey from ORU through Detroit, Amsterdam, and Куів ("Kiev"), we have made it to our final destination, Симферополь ("Simferopol"), Ukraine! Our journeys included an 8 hour layover in Amsterdam, that afforded us enough time to stroll along the bicycle filled sidewalks beside the canals and eat dinner at a small Italian restaurant. We flew from there into Kiev, where we actually spent two nights and a day, totaling 30 hours. We arrived at a small seminary dormitory at 2am and, after a short night of sleep, spent a day touring the capital city with our contacts' daughter who attends school in Kiev. (The flight to Simferopol only occurs every other day, hence our detainment).

At 9am Ukrainian time, we finally made it to Simferopol, capitol of Crimea which is an autonomous republic in the country of Ukraine. Governmentally it could be compared to Puerto Rico within the United States. Crimea is the peninsula that extends into the Black Sea and connects with Russia on its eastern border. Hopefully the links we have included will provide some helpful geographic and historical information!

I (Liz) am writing this post while sitting in our contacts' home, as they have been very generous to house us for this month. Within hours of landing, we were on the beach. What a heavenly way to begin a missions trip!!

Perhaps the most important thing to tell you about where we are geographically, is that we are in an area heavily influenced by the Tatar culture. Now the term Tatar is most likely as foreign to you as it was to me until a month ago or so. The Wikipedia page can provide a generally accurate history, but the most important thing in our brief explanation to know is that they are essential an unreached people group in terms of evangelism. They are originally of Turkish descent, and although now integrated with Ukrainians, Russians, and Uzbekis, they were displaced all over Eastern Europe during the communistic rule and have just in recent years began to return together to Crimea. Although only a few of the original tribes of Tatars are of Islamic background, those few have been very influential in making the association that to be Tatar is to be Muslim. As such, many of those who do not necessarily associate with actual Islamic morals or traditions tend to be opposed to any non-Muslim religious jargon or practice Thus, we must make a very strong effort to contextualize our faith without compromising the truth of the Gospel.

I really want to stress to you what a ground-breaking experience this trip is, as our contacts are among the very first missionaries in HISTORY to work with these unreached Tatar people. There has previously been a very negative connotation with Christians due to the experiences with the Orthodox church, and so presenting the gospel within the right contexts of their culture and not using language associated with the Orthodox church is a strategy that has been on the drawing board for several years and just recently has recently begun to be carried out. The very first Christian Tatar church EVER has been birthed and one of the first tactics for building relationships with the Tatars is actually what we are here for.

In approximately a week, we will begin the first of two 10-day English-language emphasis camps for 50+ village children, ages 10 to 15. Until then, we will be here in Simferopol preparing a complete schedule and curriculum for those camps. Just to put this into perspective, the few Christians here have given us the responsibility of carrying out their primary means of opening doors for beginning to share the gospel with these people. What the children take away from the camps will determine how their parents view and relate to the Ukrainians we are working with. As such, we must be seeking the Holy Spirit constantly for discernment as we don't want to close the doors that some have spent literally decades in prayer to open.

As you can hopefully discern, we are in dire need of your prayers! Not only do we need creative ideas for crafts, ESL games and activities, skits, and messages, but we need the empowerment of the Holy Spirit to have a positive impact on these kids and the council of the Holy Spirit to say exactly the right things to them. There are opportunities to begin to share the gospel, but it is going to take strategy. For example, the Tatar people are the basically the only Muslims in the world that refer to Allah as Father, as the rest of Islam generally minimizes that reference. Interestingly, they do not consider themselves to be in a father/child relationships with Allah, or really understand why they pray in that manner. What a perfect opportunity for us to explain our sonship and heir-like relationship with our Abba Father and what such a relationship with the Creator of the World entails!

Yes, I have written a lot so far, and am SO thankful if you are still reading. :)My posts from now on will not be so long, I promise!

 

ZAMBIA

Email 1: Travel was smooth. Everyone was great to work with and traveling was fun.

Butch and Janet are great. We are starting small work projects tomorrow and we are all excited. This is going to be a great trip. Thank you for your prayers.

Will (Team Leader)

Email 2: Today, our contact Butch was kicked by a zebra… but he is okay.

Man, it has been a great/crazy 6 days already here in Livingstone, Zambia.

We have hit it hard right off the back.

Last week Wed/Thur/Fri,

In the day, we worked in a field raking leaves, chopping down trees, and burning them in huge piles. We did this in order to prepare the land for a ropes training weekend we are going to have here in the next couple weeks with village orphan kids, where we will teach them leadership skills and the word of God.

At night, we attended a church conference called "The Elijah Challenge". "The Elijah Challenge" is a teaching on the authority we have been given by God. Butch taught this every night to a local church that they have just begun a relationship with. The focus was on taking authority over healing and demonic oppression. Each night, we witnessed people getting healed through the demonstration of the power of authority and demonic people being delivered as other demonic forces were just making a distraction by disrupting with their usual convulsions and screams. This was eye opening for most of the team, because they had never experienced a demonic outburst before. This really strengthened the faith of the team.

In the afternoon on Friday, we did a devotion/message for orphans who live in community homes in a big pavilion .There was a total of 180 children. Janet and I (Will) met with the director of the facility and he is a believer and he was very open to our team and grateful for our team coming and sharing. We will be continuing to do this every Friday afternoon.

Saturday, we interceded for the people of the church that Butch had been teaching "The Elijah Challenge" to, because the church went out door to door witnessing and sharing the gospel. Later that night, we had a crusade where Butch spoke for a little and started praying for people. We as a team went in the back where Butch sent people who needed prayer. At one point there were three demonic manifestations happening at the same time and the team was standing strong and praying hardcore for each and every one of them. We have seen several possessed people and the evident bondage this country is in is completely sad. We saw about 1/3 of those people delivered that night and it's because most of the people did not want to let go of the evil spirits attached to them. We did see several people healed that night of back pains, headaches, stomach pains, and chest pains.

Today we attended church and later in the evening we went to a small park where we saw zebras and giraffes. This is where Butch was kicked. Quite funny actually.

It has been an amazing trip so far. Aunt Janet said a great quote about our team and it was "Today the team hit a wall of reality and what did they do? They laid their hands on it". That was completely true. No one was expecting what has already happened on this trip, but the team has been staying strong and really staying focused. They have grown into a boldness that no one saw coming. The team's theology has been being challenged through the speaking of tongues and the realization of their authority through Christ, but it is a challenge that is not holding them back but only pushing them to give more.

Here is what you can pray for:

The demonic forces to cease around us and for the team to continue to hold onto their authority by walking in it, walking not in fear but walking with power of authority given by Christ.

The people in the local church here to understand their authority in Christ and to apply it to their lives by being bold as they grow in becoming witnesses for Christ within their community.

No confusion. There are a lot of believers here who are confused because there are a lot of churches here who have a mix of biblical and satanic theology. Therefore, this is why so many people have spirits oppressing or possessing them.

The team to be healthy and strong. The team have all had stuffy noses and every once in a while feel weak.

Butch and Janet are incredible contacts. They are warming, fun, sarcastic and help keep a nice balance of an American and African culture. They treat us like nieces and nephews. We wake up every morning with devotions and prayer time with them.

It has been a truly great trip and I am so excited to see what else happens on this adventure.

Thank you for your prayers,

-Will

  1. Connie CatesConnie Cates05-21-2012

    It's good to hear an update on Team Togo since they went to the bush! We'll strengthen our prayers, especially for Jordan!