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Submerged in VBS 2016

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One of the most fascinating sounds this week has been to hear the words, “I am, I am, I am remarkably made,” as they were sung repetitiously from the mouths of our children.  Prayerfully this week, we have instilled this truth in these kiddos.  It may be that one day, as they are faced with troubles with a friend or even hard days at home, they will sing these words from Psalm 139 and remember their worth.  And in that remembrance, perhaps they will draw up the other truths that we have “submerged” deep into their hearts this week: “Jesus sees; Jesus knows; Jesus saves.”  God will most certainly speak to them to tell them that He sees their struggles and knows every pain they feel.  Most wonderfully, it is during those exact times that He saves daily with His amazing grace by giving a new perspective, irreplaceable joy, and unfathomable peace!

We’ll Go, To The Edge of The World

We have just finished our last team meeting here in Beijing. Once again we have over and over been blessed here in East Asia. With the Lord’s guidance we have conquered language barriers, experienced new foods, and learned to recognize and accept other’s culture. We know how difficult it is to understand the gospel when one has never heard God’s name before especially when already living in fear. We have walked the streets and seen the eyes of those with no hope. And I was reminded of how it took me eleven years to start to understand God’s promises while at the same time encouraged by the number of people of all ages who have become new believers.

We have used our given skills, talents, and knowledge to address medical needs, encourage each other on the team and those we have meet, prayed together and witnessed things we could not have imagined. We have watched as a young boy heard the story of Our Father and His son and quickly responded by running to find a friend and bringing him back to listen. We have prayed with a 17 year old mother and lead her to accept the truth. We have dried tears of a middle age woman who is a believer but miserable in her marriage to a man who is a Buddhist. We have held the hands of an elderly women who has washed dishes for very little money in a restaurant for years while her husband served as a missionary in another party of her country.

God has been so good to all of us by giving us the energy and resources needed to share the gospel. We are blessed by a church family that has been our daily prayer warriors. You are so appreciated for what you continue to do as we have pour out our our heart for others.

And so I am reminded of the words of a song our team has sung together and pray that you to accept them as a challenge.

All who call on the Lord will be saved
But how can they call when they don’t believe
And how will they believe if they haven’t heard
And how will they hear unless someone tells them
And how can they tell them if they are never sent?

So we’ll go, to the edge of the world
Bringing good news for the broken and the poor
There is hope for all who are thirsty
To come to the Well as you are and drink of his mercy

It’s all for your glory God!

May God continue to bless you as He has me.
Elizabeth Smith

Gospel Soaked

Hello church family from the mission field in East Asia! We just finished up our last day of health advice as I am typing this on the bus. First let me start off by giving praise to the Lord Jesus for the week we have had. The Holy Spirit has been before us and paved the way for salvation among many this week. Many new believers had never even heard the name of Jesus. I want to tell a quick story about a man that came to know Jesus Christ this week. I asked him what he believed in and said he said he was Buddhist because his parents were Buddhist but he didn’t practice Buddhism. In short, he claimed religion but knew nothing about it. I shared with him the Gospel of Jesus Christ and how Jesus wants to have a relationship with him and be his Lord. These people are very analytical and evaluate situations very seriously.  They do not make rash decisions. He soaked in the Gospel and made a profession of faith. When we finished praying, he immediately smiled and said he was going to tell his family and factory workers what he had been told. We have had a wonderful week. Thank you church for your prayers. The gospel of Jesus was proclaimed this week. I am so glad that God would allow me to be a part of his work. “For everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.” How then, can they call on the one they have not believed in? And how can they believe in the one they haven’t heard? And how can they hear without someone preaching to them? And how can they preach unless they are sent? As it is written, “How beautiful are the feet of those who bring good news!”

Caleb Westmoreland

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You Are The Reason

We had another great day today. We went back to the same factory we were at on Saturday. We saw about 34 workers that weren’t seen on Saturday. One of our “God moments” happened today when one factory worker came through spiritual counseling. He only started working at this factory two days ago. Corry, one of our locals said “you are the reason we came back today” and he accepted the Lord after being shared with. At the end of our time there, we had a group of 10 come back to start a small group Bible study and the female factory owner sat in on the study. After lunch, we went to a furniture factory and worked out of a room that they have church in. We were able to see and share with approximately 25 workers. God has been blessing in and through us this week as we show God’s love to these people and share the Gospel with them.
Karen

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This Little Light of Mine

This Little Light Of Mine

Hello from East Asia! In the city where we are working this week, there is a common theme among many of the factories. They produce lights. The workers who we see each day spend most of their days producing decorative and unique lights and light fixtures. They eat and sleep in their factories, so the lights are a part of everything they do. Once a new Christian has been saved, we immediately begin training them on how to share their faith with others and how to be disciples. Their workplace presents a beautiful picture for us to share with them. Psalm 119:105 says “Thy word is a lamp unto my feet and a light unto my path.” We can explain that just as light is important to see and not stumble in the darkness, God’s word is essential to not stumbling as much through our journey of life. While verses such as this can help the new believers understand how to begin taking firsts steps in the development of their own relationship, verses such as Matthew 5:13-16 that talk about being the salt and light of the earth demonstrate how they are to shine the light of Jesus in their dark, largely unreached workplace. Just as each light is crafted by them for a specific purpose, God crafted each Christian in that factory to shine the light of Jesus to their co-workers in the unique way He has provided them to do so. They are to not hide their lights out of fear of persecution, but let it shine.

This little light of mine,
I’m gonna let it shine,
This little light of mine,
I’m gonna let it shine,
Let it shine, let it shine, let it shine.
In Him,
Alicia Vickers

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Obedience Alone Is Success

We have had a successful three days of sharing so far and the Master has gone before us to prepare the fields. Of course, whether or not we have had decisions, we have been successful because we are here, and have been obedient to the command to “go and tell”. We also had the opportunity Sunday morning to visit a group of our friends to talk, sing songs, and spend time together. They prepared a large meal for us and it was a beautiful reminder of what the future has in store. Please continue to remember us as you spend time with the Father.

In Christ,

Bro. Kevin

Vamanos!

Touch.  One simple word, yet such a powerful expression of love.  In Guatemala this week, we have felt the awesome effect of human touch.  Many of the children that we have formed relationships with have poor hygiene due to living environment, have runny noses, and even may cough all over us. But when they reach their tiny, dirty, little hands out to grasp our hand, there is a universal feeling of love that cannot be expressed in words.

On Sunday, we were walking through the village to attend a clinic dedication.  As I was walking, I felt this little hand reach up and grab my hand.  He gave me the biggest smile and said, “Vamanos!”  Feeling thankful at the moment for our years of watching Dora the Explorer together when the kids were little, I remembered that it translated to “let’s go!”  He proceeded to drag me through the dirt streets and rough terrain to get to our location.  He then took me to meet his madre’ and his amigos.  He was such a spunky little boy!

As a family, we had many concerns about this trip.  And to be honest, there were times that we could have allowed obstacles, distractions, and anxiety to make us feel inadequate to serve on a foreign mission trip.  One of our greatest concerns was not being able to communicate the language with the people of Guatemala effectively.  But immediately, we learned that a smile and a hug were all that was required to show love.

In one of our morning worship sessions, Bro. Breck spoke of the lady who had the bleeding disorder (Mark 5).  Her faith was so strong that she believed that a simple touch of Jesus’ garment, would heal her.  When she made her way through the crowd and approached Jesus, she touched the hem of his garment and was healed.  In that moment, she went from nobody to somebody.

The people of Guatemala have always been “somebody” to God, but now they have become “somebody” to us. We have formed relationships with families that we hope and pray that we will one day see again, both in Guatemala and in eternity. Now when we pray, we will pray specifically for the people of Guatemala that have so touched and blessed our lives this week, including our friends, Santiago, Christian, Hannah, Diego, Wilson and their families.

In Christ,

Jason, Allison, Avery and Davis Pool

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Looking Forward

Holá from Guatemala! It is only the third day of interaction with the people of Guatemala and God has already shown and blessed my team and me in so many ways. Today, we divided into 3 teams. The first team went to the build sites that we started yesterday in an attempt to finish building the houses. Another team went to an orphanage and then to a local church for VBS. My team also went to an orphanage; however, this specific orphanage was especially for children with special needs. It was such a blessing to see these sweet children act so joyful even though they had a disability. They did not even realize anything was wrong with them and loved us completely. From the time I got there, one specific girl really attached to me. Her name was Rosemary. All she wanted to do was hug me, kiss my hand, and dance. The smile on her face from just doing those simple things was priceless. We did many other things with the other kids such as push them in the swing, sing songs with them, and just love on them (even though we were really the ones who got loved on).

After we left the orphanage and much confusion on where our VBS site was, we finally arrived at a local church pastored by Edgar. We had about 40 kids show up. I had the privilege, along with 2 other girls, to teach the bible study about Jesus’ life. It really blessed me how attentive they were and how they longed to hear what we had to say. After that, we had a craft. We made butterflies with coffee filters, clothes pins, and markers to go along with the verse 2 Corinthians 5:17 which says, “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come.” They spent so much time coloring and getting it just right. Finally, we had recreation. All of the guys on our team played soccer and Frisbee and all of the girls painted fingernails. I am pretty sure I am a professional now because of how many fingernails I have painted. It was so sweet because all of the girls faces just lit up as we painted them. Seeing that made me realize how much we take for granted.

When we got done with VBS, we headed back to the mission house. Shortly after we arrived, we found out that we had no water whatsoever. My human nature of course automatically went to me. I began to get really frustrated and think “why can’t they just fix it so I can shower and wash my hands?” Not long after those thoughts, I began to think about the children we have been working with the past 3 days. Most of them came to us dirty, not knowing when the next time they would be able to wash off would be, but they didn’t care. They had love and that’s all they needed to have joy. I just realized how often I get so caught up in me and my needs that I forget to look around and realize the desperate need of the lost and needy people all around me everyday. It also is a perfect representation of Christ. We think that we need to be clean and holy before we come to him, but quite the opposite is true. He wants us just the way we are, dirty hands and all. I’m so thankful for such an amazing opportunity to come to such a beautiful country and share God’s love to such beautiful people. I can’t wait to see what God has in store for the rest of the week!

 

God Bless,

Lindsey Stuart

 

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Flexibility Is Key

Over the last 48 hours I’ve heard my own words parroted back to me by some of greatest young people I know.  They were parroting them to me to mock me, but to encourage me.  To remind me that God is in control and that I am not.  Now, before you begin to panic, nothing is wrong.  In fact, everything is right.  God put knew opportunities in front of us for ministries.  As we headed back from a block party, we found one of our van tires was flat.  As we stopped to air that one the other went flat.  We had one spare and two flat tires.  We crept along from one tire shop to the next to only hear, “Can’t help you today.”  Then one last store.  Guess what?  They could help us.  What did those “missionaries” in the van do?  They did not lament their situation.  They looked at the unexpected incident as a possible opportunity God wanted them to use for His glory.  Their answer was found in a little girl whom they encountered.  Every moment was captured by that team in the life of that little girl.  That sat and played with her and left her one of the Doll Makers dolls. (Thank you!)  The little girl treasured it and held it tight.  God took a flat to bring the team right the place he intended for them for ministry.  Today, we also learned that the water pump at the house was not working.  Thus, after a long sweaty and even nasty day serving and building houses in the village we learned there would be no showers.  However, Brother Breck made a few quick calls and got us access into the seminary to use their showers.  Running water never felt so good removing the layers of caked on dirt.  While the shower was all the dirt and smells away, it could not touch the permanent memories that are there.  Missions has forever changed my life.

 

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A Blessed Day

Greetings from Guatemala,

The Fairview team had another great day being the hands and feet of Christ!  Today, we were able to complete the remaining 10 of the 14 homes we built this week.  After completing the homes, my team was asked to begin home dedications. We dedicated seven homes, with six of the seven families previously knowing Christ as Lord.  But I can now tell you that all seven of the families know Christ as I witnessed an entire family surrender their lives to Christ together this afternoon.   It was a very emotional experience for myself and the team to witness such an awesome display of God’s grace.  Cesar, our friend/interpreter, was also able to encourage the other six families to spread God’s love throughout the village and continue to grow in their own faith.  As great as this afternoon was for the team, I left today with a with a burden on my mind for a young man by the name of Anthony. Long story short, He was not willing to commit his life to Christ because he was afraid of what his mother would say.  As he walked away, we prayed for him and his family and have to trust that the seed had been planted and pray that he will surrender his life to Christ soon.  I would ask that you would pray for Anthony in hopes that he would make that leap of faith for Christ.

Your Brother in Christ,

Justin Carter

 

 

Greetings from Guatemala,

On Wednesday and Thursday a group of us went to feeding center.  A group of children are picked by local pastors to cine to come. They were 5 and 6 year old. Have never seen a group of well mannered young children.  We also had bible stories and crafts. Of course candy was a very welcome treat.  Andy did Bible story on Thursday.  He did a great job.  Today 12 of us went to orphanage  It was an awesome experience for all.  They had 50 children Ages arranging from 3 weeks to 1 year old.. We held babies, rocked and gave them bottles. Then during lunch time some helped feed the children. Then play time again. It was an experience we will not forget soon. Hopefully we can tell more of other experiences when get home. Going tomorrow to dedicate other homes built. God has been great during this week.

Your  Sister in Christ,

Martha C.

 

 

Hola from Guatemala,

I want to ask you to pray for a young man today that we met by the name of Anthony. Today Anthony just came to our work site out of nowhere. We had not seen him any this week except for today. While we were working my friend Cesar starting talking to him and presenting the Gospel to him. You could tell that while Cesar was talking to him you could see the spiritual battle that was taking place by the looks on his face. Needless to say he was ready to accept Christ as Lord of his life but right before we started to get ready to pray Anthony decided he wasn’t ready and he said he would do it tomorrow. Cesar asked him why he had come and he said he didn’t know why he had stopped at our worksite. Cesar began to tell him of the purpose of God, but still Anthony kept saying tomorrow I will. So tonight pray that Anthony comes back and if he doesn’t pray for the seed that has been planted will continue to be watered. Beautiful thing was after it was all over and Anthony left I was apart of 4 grown men weeping in prayer over Anthony. So pray tonight for Anthony and others that you know that have heard but have not accepted Him.

Your Brother in Christ,

Ray

 

 

Greetings from Guatemala,

This week has been a tremendous week for the Fairview family, with this being a completely new experience for me, it has been an emotional roller coaster and an eye opening experience.  I have spent every day in the village and although I know our team has been doing great works in other areas, there is no place I would rather be than in the village with the families that we are helping through Christ.   The families in the village are so appreciative of what we are doing for them, if they only knew the blessings that they have given me and our team.  Today I had the privilege to work with Cesar, Cesar’s love and passion for Christ is contagious; I feel the world would be a better place in it had more people like Cesar.  The family Justin mentioned that accepted Christ as their Lord and Savior will always hold a special place in my heart.  Thomas and his family is where my journey in Guatemala started and will be my first experience in regards to building relationships with the people of Guatemala.  Thomas’s family was my first experience in Guatemala, and I hope and pray that it will not be last.

Ben Upton

 

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