Wednesday, December 30, 2015

Because you GIVE to International Missions we are able to GO

This past year God has stretched us and allowed us to see His hands at work in our little corner of Africa. We appreciate so much everyone who prays for us and the work that we do.  We could not do all that we do if it were not for you holding the ropes for us in prayer.   Here is a video about why we go and what we do.  Please feel free to share with your church.   

Click here to see our video: https://www.facebook.com/suzie.mannrodgers/videos/1019743074736237/

Tuesday, December 29, 2015

Why I go...

 Today I went with my friend Rose to visit a patient named Joyce.

 Joyce is 40 years old and is HIV positive.  She doesn't want to eat or drink anything because she says she has lost her appetite and it hurts her throat.  She has diarrhea and some vomiting probably because of the medicine she is taking.  She was so excited to receive the BGR bucket.  She kept rubbing one of the face cloths to her face and touching the sheets.  
Joyce has never been a church goer.  Today as I shared the gospel and a bit of my testimony she said that nothing like that had ever happened to her.  She had never repented of her sins but that she wanted to today.  In her hoarse voice she prayed and repented of her sins.  I'm sure it was music to HIS ears!

 She has 6 children and this is her youngest with her baby doll.
 
When she saw that there were nail clippers in the bucket she said she needed hers cut because they were so long.  Her friend cut them for her.  
I'm praying she will sleep well tonight on her new sheets after she gets all cleaned up and that she will eat her food.  Will you join me in praying for Joyce?

Saturday, December 26, 2015

Tuesday, December 15, 2015

Baptism



North of Lusaka, Kabangwe Baptist Church meets each Sunday with about 150 church members.  Many of these are kids who all sit together in church with an usher assigned to that area to try to keep them quiet.  Men sit on the left and women sit on the right each week.  The church is small and has  a tin roof which makes it very hot with that many people in it.  Then add singing, dancing, choirs, and a microphone it can be quite loud as well.  This past Sunday we were invited to go to Kabangwe Baptist Church.  When we got to the church we then walked 2 ½ kms to the river so Kevin could help baptize the 18 people who had prayed to receive Christ this past year.  Zambians are generally scared of the water because most of them do not know how to swim.  As they timidly walk out to meet Kevin in the water the church stands on the bank and sings choruses.  One by one, Kevin baptizes these new believers.  




video


We then walked back to the church in the hot sun.  As soon as we get back to the church we go into the church and begin worship.  Kevin preaches the main message on the Lord’s Supper and then we partake of it as well.  They ran out of communion cups so I gave Kevin mine so he could proceed.  After those who had had the cups drank they collected them quickly and then filled them right back up.  Then passed them back out to those who didn’t get it the first time.  As we exited the church we shook hands with everyone there and they continued on until a big circle was made.  We then joined hands and sang the Baptist anthem.  It was a long day but so very worth it to be able to rejoice with these believers as they were obedient to follow Christ in baptism.

Saturday, December 12, 2015

Retirement


 


French artist, Bruno Catalano, has created sculptures that he says represent world citizens.  He says that every time a person lives in a place and then leaves, he leaves bits of himself behind, bits he can never retrieve. As many missionaries are retiring and leaving their home of 20, 30, and even 35 years I'm reminded of this picture.  As they are leaving Africa they are leaving chunks behind.  Another way to look at it is that as these servants leave Africa they are also taking with them bits or chunks of Africa with them.  As a  missionary, I know that once you come and stay in Africa for even a short time it kind of gets in your bones.  The more I live here the more I know this is true.  As these missionaries leave I know that they leave something of themselves in Africa, but I'm glad they also take a bit of Africa with them back to the US.  
In our cluster, we had 7 units take the VRI (Voluntary Retirement Incentive) and then one couple who had already planned their retirement for this time.  Unfortunately, I don't have pictures of all who left but I did want to share a little from those I did have.


 Betty and Dwayne Mitchell leaving after 30+ years.  They served in Malawi and Zambia.  
As they left we formed a small pathway and cheered them on as they walked through to the airport.  We also gave them high fives!  I hope they will remember they were loved and appreciated as they served here among us.

 We prayed for them before they boarded the plane.

 They left Thanksgiving Day so there were lots of missionaries in Lusaka already so several of us were able to go to the airport to see them off.

 I will really miss Betty!  She has been a friend and prayer partner for many years.

 
Van and Mary Thompson also lived in Malawi and Zambia for 35 years all together! They had already planned their retirement before the VRI came out. 

 At this last graduation at the seminary they were recognized for their years of service and given a beautiful copper clock. 

 
 Those who were in Lusaka were able to go and see off the Thompsons as well.
They will be missed as well.

 Kevin and I traveled to Malawi to say bye to the Polglases and Browns who are both taking the VRI.  I just love these two godly women!  They will greatly be missed!

 Several of us missionaries took them out to an Indian Restaurant and then had this wonderful cake.  We shared different stories or memories we had of these two couples.  

 
  Jeff and Mary Polglase are on the left and Claudia and John Brown are on the right.
They all served as journeyman many years ago and have served in several countries in their many years of service with the imb.  They will all greatly be missed!


Tuesday, December 8, 2015

Celebrating 15 years of life

 Started the day off with breakfast in bed.
choc. chip pancakes

 This afternoon a few friends came over for cake.
I made a red velvet ice cream cake.





 Julie

 Emma and Sarah came too

 Sweet 15!

 Hannah and Sadie

 Misty can't be left out!





 Kevin gave her some flowers!





 We went to the Horse Shoe Restaurant for dinner.

 



It was  a good day!  Happy Birthday Hannah!  Hope this next year will be special for you!

Sunday, December 6, 2015

Week of Prayer Day 8

Because of Who He is

 God deserves the worship of all people, and that is why we send to the nations.
Redeemed and made new in Christ, we have a missionary identity which compels us to do all we can to see God exalted. Christ commanded us as a church to reach the nations. In a beautiful partnership, IMB helps your church send ordinary Christians, empowered by God’s extraordinary presence, to proclaim His Word.  

This gospel is the only hope for the billions of people who haven’t yet heard His name. Most of them live in hard places — like cities, jungles, deserts and war zones — with no access to the gospel.

We each have a part in fulfilling God’s commission to reach these people if we are faithful to live out our missionary identity, if we are faithful to pray, give, go and send to plant churches around the world for the glory of God. How do you fit into God’s creative global plan? How does your church fit in?

“Declare His glory among the nations, His wonderful works among all peoples” (Psalm 96:3, HCSB).


PRAYER POINTS

» For the Lord’s guidance in what He would have you give to the Lottie Moon Christmas Offering.

» For guidance on how you fit into God’s creative global plan and how your church fits in.




Click here to see other links and pics.

Saturday, December 5, 2015

Day of Prayer Day 7

Training the next generation in the Philippines

 

When someone shouted, “Your uncle is coming,” everyone in the Philippine village knew it was the secret code that really meant “run and hide.” Neighbors disappeared into small concrete homes until IMB missionaries Dave and Ivette Daggett had come and gone.
A few, including curious children and teenagers, stuck around to hear what the foreigners had to say.
The Daggetts led Bible studies, and some youth came against their parents’ wishes.
Now, 11 years later, a church meets here, led by some of the same children and youth who met with the Daggetts years ago. They have even seen God use them to help start several Deaf churches.
“It’s the younger ones who have stepped up in leadership,” Dave said. “They share the gospel and are going with us to evangelize in other areas.”
Through weekly training sessions and Bible studies, Dave and Ivette continue discipling youth in the Philippines to go out and train others to lead. They give them opportunities to lead and to share their faith through events such as medical and dental clinics, anti-smoking and dental hygiene seminars, and True Love Waits seminars.
“The more fruit we see, the more joy we have,” Dave said. “We don’t want to slow down or hold back.”

PRAYER POINTS

» Pray young leaders will grow in their faith and disciple more youth who are ready to become leaders.
» Pray the Daggetts will see more churches, including Deaf churches, started in the Philippines.


Click here for pics and links.

Friday, December 4, 2015

Week of Prayer Day 6

Called as a church family in Mexico

“Wherever you go, we go.”
First Baptist Church in Oxford, Mississippi, made this commitment to Jeff and Liesa Holeman long before they began serving as IMB missionaries in 2008.
Investing in young lives has come full circle. The Holemans now mentor dozens of students and young adults from across the United States each year, many who return to the missions field for extended terms of service.
“That’s who first invested in me — my church,” Liesa says. “We want other churches to do the same. … God called the church to do this. And we as missionaries have a responsibility to help our churches touch, feel and understand our stories … to help them understand the importance of going to the nations.”
In the three years since the Holemans began serving as cluster strategy leaders in Oaxaca, Mexico, the Oxford church has adopted the Tlacolula Valley Zapotec.
“We have a huge support group behind us … they don’t let go of us,” Jeff says. “That’s a two-way street. We value our relationship with one another. Just because we’re out of sight, we’re not out of mind. We know this because of the way they love us.”

PRAYER POINTS

» Pray for the Holemans as they reach people groups in Mexico, some who have no access to the gospel.
» Pray for more churches to send missionaries to the nations, and thank God for the Holemans’ partnership with the Oxford church.


Click here for pics and links

Thursday, December 3, 2015

Week of Prayer Day 5

Church takes gospel to unreached in Southeast Asia

Old Town Baptist Church had no idea their prayers to take the gospel to an unreached people group would lead them from North Carolina to remote Southeast Asia villages.
The church already participated in international missions by going on missions trips and supporting missionaries by giving to the Lottie Moon Christmas Offering.
But knowing billions without hope in Christ is intolerable, they wanted to do more.
“We have an ongoing commitment to supporting the missions offering,” said Mark Harrison, Old Town missions pastor. “We also have a deep commitment to come alongside our IMB partners and work with them on the ground.”
As the church prayed, God led them to the “T” people. Most are Buddhist and have never heard about Jesus.
Missionaries helped Harrison learn about the T people and Southeast Asian culture. Since then, Harrison and Old Town members have made multiple trips a year to help take the gospel to the T people.
“The T people have been very isolated for a long time and it’s difficult to get where they are,” said Harrison. “But they have welcomed us and are in the process, many of them, of beginning to understand what it means to follow Jesus.”

PRAYER POINTS

» Pray for the T people who are coming to faith in Jesus to stand firm in the face of opposition and persecution.
» Pray for more churches to partner with missionaries in reaching people groups who have yet to hear the gospel.

Click here  to see pics and other links

Wednesday, December 2, 2015

Week of Prayer Day 4

Syria’s hope

It’s hard to imagine anything but a continued descending darkness closing in on Syrian and Iraqi refugees, victims of a rebellion being fought against the Syrian regime and brutality caused by ISIS and other Islamic extremists.
While images and reports of beheadings, cruelty, and pure evil continue to shadow refugees — numbering in the millions — from any light of hope, there is hope in the good news of Jesus Christ.
Only a loving God Who cares deeply for all who are fleeing violence can push back that darkness. Christian worker Peter Matheson* works tirelessly to bring refugees God’s shining hope. But his work comes at great cost to the many he serves and to him, personally, as he ministers in the midst of tremendous suffering.
“The hardest thing in this ministry is just sitting down and listening to their hurts,” Matheson says. “They come, they arrive with little children just with the clothes on their back, because back in Syria their homes are destroyed, their businesses are destroyed … women have been raped … real torture goes on among men and young men in Syria.”
Through the support of Southern Baptists, Matheson is able to work along the Syrian border, distributing boxes of food and other critical necessities.
As more Syrians flee the violence, Matheson hopes he can provide a way out of their current condition and give hope through Christ — a message they have never heard.
*Name changed

PRAYER POINTS

» Pray for open hearts among hurting Syrian refugees as Matheson tells them of God’s love.
» Pray for strength, boldness, and wisdom for Matheson to minister in the midst of overwhelming needs.

 

For other info., pics, and links click here.

 

Tuesday, December 1, 2015

Week of Prayer Day 3


Trading karma for compassion in South Asia


Karma. Its meaning goes beyond “what comes around, goes around.” For Hindus, karma means undergoing a cycle of actions and consequences. To them, being saved from it would rob them of paying the price for their deeds and hoping for a better future through reincarnation.
That’s why the neighbors of a wounded man crying out in pain also cried out — not for help but in complaint that he was too loud and unaccepting of his fate, especially since he had lit himself on fire in a fit of drunkenness and dissatisfaction over his dirt-poor life.
It would be easy to call those neighbors crass, but many of them don’t recognize any other way to believe. And yet God desires and deserves the worship of all people.
Donald and Helen McKinney* have reached out to the downtrodden in South Asia. Helen has used Lottie Moon Christmas Offering funds to distribute food and school supplies to women and children.
Through Helen’s outreach to these families, the wounded man’s wife believes in Christ. A local pastor whom Donald helped train in discipleship led the wounded man in a prayer to Jesus before he died. But there are so many more who need to hear that Jesus is the way, the truth, and the life.
*Names changed

PRAYER POINTS

» Pray the McKinneys will not be overwhelmed by the sheer number of needs and people who need the Lord there.
» Pray for Hindus to hear that Jesus is the way, the truth, and the life — and the only hope of a better future.


Click here to see pics and other links. 

Monday, November 30, 2015

Week of Prayer Day 2

In the mountains and valleys of a Muslim Central Asian country, Christian aid worker Gary Warrior* and a team of Christian aid workers and national believers help meet people’s physical and spiritual needs.
In a desire to do their part to fulfill the Great Commission, the West Virginia Convention of Southern Baptists and the Mountain State Association sent Warrior, 51, and his family to exalt Christ through meeting human needs.
In 2009, Warrior’s team began digging wells to provide clean drinking water for Central Asian villages. It is satisfying to “have the opportunity to make the connection between clean drinking water and the Water of Life,” Warrior says.
In this area, it often takes a long time for someone to come to know Jesus, and those who do face persecution from their family and community. But slowly, Warrior is seeing Muslim people come to Christ and become excited to share the gospel.
He is grateful for the faithful givers to the Lottie Moon Christmas Offering who have “stuck with him” for his 17 years overseas. Warrior and his team have planted five house churches that still meet today.
“God has done that because we’ve been faithful, and the people in the pews back in America have been faithful to keep giving and to keep sending … and the result is there’s a church here and there wasn’t when I came,” Warrior says.
*Name changed

PRAYER POINTS

» Pray for more opportunities to share the gospel and for the country’s key leaders to accept its truth.
» Pray for protection for the Warrior’s team and for the Warrior’s family members separated by distance — their four children live in four different countries.

 Click here for pictures and other links

Sunday, November 29, 2015

Week of Prayer

November 29th-December 6th is the week of prayer for international missions.
You can see this link for pictures and other links or just read the story below.

Day 1:

When Jim and Teresa Flora think about their life and ministry in the mountains of Lesotho, two needs come to mind: the support of their children and support from Southern Baptists.
They rely on the prayers and encouragement of their three grown sons and their families in the United States, but daughters Gracie, Anna and Rebekah are a part of each day’s work in Africa. Whether they are preparing meals for volunteer teams, playing with children or telling Bible stories, the girls consider themselves fully committed to the task of sharing the gospel with unreached Basotho people. They know every believer has a part in God’s mission.
The Floras’ work is an extension of Southern Baptists’ dedication to reach the nations. They are grateful for long-term partnering churches such as First Baptist Church, Perryton, Texas; First Baptist Church, Clarendon, Texas; and River Oak Church, Chesapeake, Virginia. They thank God for faithful giving to the Lottie Moon Christmas Offering and the continued prayers of hundreds of churches.
“It’s going to take a joint effort, all Southern Baptists joining together to make sure the gospel is accessible to all the people in these mountains,” Jim says.
He explains that more than mountains trap the Basotho. They are captives of extreme poverty, epidemic HIV and AIDS rates, and a long tradition of ancestor worship.

PRAYER POINTS

» Pray for more churches to commit to joining the Floras by sending teams of workers.
» Pray the Flora family will be protected and God’s glory will be revealed in Lesotho.

Saturday, November 28, 2015

Thanksgiving



Enter His gates with thanksgiving and His courts with praise; give thanks to Him and praise His name. For the Lord is good and His love endures forever; His faithfulness continues through all generations. — Psalm 100:4-5


 Betty and Dwayne who are retiring

 I am going to miss her!

All the missionaries in Zambia come in to Lusaka for Thanksgiving.  It is a time we look forward to all year long!  Of course we miss our family in the US but it is such a blessing to have mission family that we can get together with each year!

Tuesday, November 17, 2015

VRI answers

Recently, I told you about the Voluntary Retirement Incentive and the reasons for the necessary cuts in personnel. We have been dealing with all of the fallout from that here in the Zambezi cluster, and trying to pick up the pieces in so many places. In some countries we will no longer have personnel and in others we will only have a handful. In two of our countries, though, we still have many passionate and vibrant missionaries who are ready to do whatever it takes yet still left wondering what the future will hold. For them they are mourning the loss of their mentors, but they are also wondering what God might be up to in all of this.
I have been wondering the same thing. As their leader I have been praying and thinking about where we should go from here, and like all grieving processes I am reaching a stage where I can see the positives (and not just the negatives), and I am beginning to consider what it will look like once the dust settles. For us, I believe this is a time to get back to basics. We have gotten spread pretty thin of late, and we were trying to do too much with too few personnel. I am coming to the realization that we can’t do it all, and so the question is “What can we do and what is the Lord directing us to do?” For me, 2016 will be a time of refocusing, retooling and retraining our personnel to get us back on a laser focus. In short, this traumatic occurrence has caused me to take a fresh look at our work and that is always a very good thing.
What do these changes mean for you, our prayer partners and advocates? First, I think it means that you are about to get 600-800 retired missionaries who are coming your way, and they will be coming with a passion and love for the nations. I would encourage you to minister to them and to let them minister to you. It is my prayer that the sending of our best and most experienced back to the U.S. will have the effect of revitalizing the church in America. The church needs to remember why it exists and how it should be about winning, discipling and empowering the lost. Second, it means we need our denomination back home, the SBC, to take this as a wakeup call and get back to basics and supporting the IMB. So many churches have expressed disbelief at our financial woes and have said they never knew. That has been surprising to us (as an organization) because we have been shouting this for years now. It is my prayer that SBC churches will renew their commitment to giving to the cooperative program and to the Lottie Moon Christmas Offering for International Missions. Please don’t think “Okay, they sent home 800 missionaries so now they are financially okay and we don’t need to step up our commitment.” To the contrary… WE SENT HOME 800 MISSIONARIES… we need you to step up your commitment so we don’t have to send more home, and so that we can someday replace what we have lost. This was a step backwards and we need to realize that, renew, recommit and move forward again.
With that said, let me remind you that this is the Christmas Season, and this is the time for giving to the Lottie Moon Christmas offering through your church or directly to the IMB. My prayer is that the traumatic events of the last two months will shake Southern Baptists to the core and that we will see a revival in giving and praying for International Missions. Unfortunately, we have replaced WMU with Baptist Women, we have replaced RAs and GAs with AWANAS; in short we used to be a denomination defined by working together to reach the world… now we are often defined by developing programs to meet our own needs and maybe attract more new members. As I review who we are, why we exist and what our task is here in the Zambezi cluster, my prayer is that you and your church will do the same as you consider who you are, why you exist and what your task is in the world. Thank you for partnering with us, and remember you do that when you give to Lottie Moon, when you pray for us and when you come and join us in the harvest fields.
We love you all,
Kevin