26 February 2007

March Prayer Letter - How to Pray for Missionaries

by David Wang
(excerpts taken from Mission Today, May 1994)

The missionary must have intercessors who stand alongside them, praying on a regular and systematic basis.
  • Plead the protection of Jesus’ blood over the body of the missionary. Hostile climate, diseases, language barriers, strange customs, oppression of the enemy, and difficult circumstances can take their toll on the missionary.
  • Pray that the missionary may know God’s rest and peace.
  • Pray that the missionary may resist Satan, take authority over him, and refuse to accept his lies and accusations.
  • Missionaries usually travel extensively in their work. Pray for their safety as they travel.
    They often live in abnormal, difficult, and sometimes dangerous situations. The natural love of the human heart will fail many times. Without the love of Christ filling them, adversity can induce hardness of the heart, impatience, sharpness of speech, anger, and prejudice. Pray that the love of God will fill the heart of the missionary.
  • How easy it is to labor in the arm of the flesh, depending on one’s own strength, wisdom, and ability - but how futile. Satan only mocks us for he recognizes no power, but the power of God. Pray for the anointing of God to rest on the missionary.
  • Pray that the missionary may be continually filled with the Holy Spirit.
  • Pray that disciples will be made in every national church and for national pastors and their families.
    Inform yourself of the specific prayer targets of the mission field through their prayer letters and other forms of communication.
  • Pray knowledgeably.
  • Be specific, systematic, and steadfast in praying for real and defined needs. Pray consistently.
  • Pray believing.
  • Pray using Scripture (ex: Ephesians 1:15-19) and/or with fasting.
  • Praise God for the answers. Give God the praise due Him for answered prayer. As you pray, praise Him for the answers before they are manifested. Prayer is mighty, but prayer with praise is mightier.

I need faithful prayer warriors for my ministry to be effective! Please let me know if you'll commit to this invaluable ministry!

Please take just a moment to leave me a comment here on my blog site! It's very simple. I'd appreciate it!

Another Beautiful Nebraska Snow Storm

A tree in my Mom's yard

My brother, Greg, and his trusty Jeep snow plow

All around us - a winter wonderland - God's majesty revealed in nature!

Even the thin wires of a small fence catch the falling snow flakes

01 February 2007

February 2007 Prayer Letter

"How to Build an
Encouraging Relationship with A Missionary"

[For my prayer letter this month, allow me to use the following excerpts
from the 1991 Great Commission Handbook]

God does not rate people with passports as being more spiritual than others.

On the contrary, He has an exciting partnership in mind for those who are called to be senders.

We call missionaries “servants”, “saints”, and “spiritual giants”. They may be any and all of these. But they are also people like us - just in a different setting. They need encouragement - both because they are human and because they are separated from accustomed support systems.

How Can You Provide Such Encouragement?

Consider the missionaries you know. Aren’t they just people whom the family of God has sent to a new situation? They need moral support in the same way you need your family’s support when you move to a new situation.
Missionaries, like other people separated from familiar surroundings, appreciate such things as:
  • emails
  • small packages
  • phone calls
  • respond to their latest prayer letter with specific comments, expressing your interest and involvement in their work
  • the cost of a phone call is surprisingly low to many areas of the world. Do keep in mind the time difference.
  • consider vacationing in your missionaries’ country of ministry; seeing their life firsthand is a sure way to encourage them

NOTE: Never mail packages without first contacting the missionaries. High duties are often imposed, forcing them to pay several times the value of the package.

Not on a Pedestal!

However you choose to encourage missionaries, refrain from placing them on a pedestal. Encourage them because they are your friend, not because you think they are superhuman. Pedestals are unfair to all concerned, putting undue pressure on the missionaries to live up to your expectations and making you insensitive to their needs.

Remember that missionaries, though often in extraordinary situations, are still ordinary humans.

Although, missionaries need human support and encouragement, they also need divine support.

More next month on "How to Pray for Missionaries"

[Please take a moment to leave me a comment!]

Snow Pictures - Especially for My Kenyan Friends

Omaha has been getting a fair amount of snow since I got here.
Currently the temperatures are also well below freezing!

This was a six-inch snow fall. It makes everything so pretty!

This is part of my Mom's driveway. I even enjoy shoveling it!

The wonders of God's creation!

Some Posts from Kenya - Jamhuri Day

Jamhuri Day, a national holiday in Kenya, is celebrated on December 12th each year. "Jamhuri" is the Swahili word for "republic" and the holiday marks the date of Kenya's establishment as a republic in 1964. It is generally regarded as Kenya's most important holiday, marked by numerous cultural festivities which celebrate the country's cultural heritage. Jamhuri Day is often associated with Dedan Kimathi, the executed leader of the famous Mau Mau, regarded by many Kenyans as the hero who lifted the nation on his shoulders toward independence.

I attended last year's Jamhuri Day celebration in Nairobi, with Jim and Collins. It was the first time for all three of us to be at Nyayo Stadium. They were thrilled - as was I - to watch all the marching bands in formation.

The place was packed, even though the conditions weren't exactly comfortable. We sat on concrete risers in the HOT sun! The multitude of police seemed to frown on any movement by the spectators. So, we mostly stayed put.

I believe, in spite of the lethargic mood displayed by most, that all the thousands in attendance were enthralled by the pomp and circumstance! They saved their biggest demonstration of enthusiasm when President Kibaki entered the stadium. Most, along with we three, also laughed at some of the hilarious antics and yelling of the drill sargeant. It was so comical! A group of eight uniformed men brought out (and later returned) a platform for the president to stand on while he viewed the military standing at attention. The way they rapidly shuffled their feet was likewise quite comical!

One highlight was the dramatic displays the military jets put on for the crowd. They were rather impressive!

The biggest highlight, was when President Kibaki made his appearance. He rode around the stadium with his security motorcade. If you look closely, you can see him waving in this photo above. He's standing up in the fancy black vehicle.

He later gave a somewhat boring speech. We, along with hundreds of others, tried to opt out of staying and listening. However, much to our disappointment, when we reached the gate... we found it locked! In fact, all of them were locked! We were forced to stay put until the speech had been delivered.

Talk about a "captive audience"!

NOTE - I got this photo below of President Kibaki, from the internet.

Jim - A Wiseman

During December, my two friends - Collins and Jim - spent some time with me at my place in Nairobi. One Sunday, just before Christmas, Jim was unexpectedly asked to portray a wiseman in the children's pageant during the service at Karen Vineyard Church. (He's the one in the orange.) I suspect it's an experience he won't soon forget!

Upper Room Pentecostal Church - Kwa Njenga

These are some photos from last November.
Since I've never posted them on my blog, I thought all of you might like to see them.

They're from Karo and Jeremiah's church - Upper Room Pentecostal Church.
It's located in a slum area of Nairobi called Kwa Njenga.

Sharon is cooking lunch in a room next to where the church service is being held.
Sometimes when they have a special event, everyone gets lunch afterwards.
Sharon does a great job!

Worship time for the kids...

... and for the adults!

They've been renting a small school building for their services.
But beginning February 11th, they'll move to a different location.
They're excited about this new move!

This is their congregation. They really love the Lord!
Karo and Jeremiah are in the center of the front row.

A Gorgeous Rainbow!

I find myself drawn to visit my rural place in Matunda roughly ten days out of every eight weeks or so. I always enjoy my time there!

During a recent stay (last November), I marveled at the beauty of the brightly flowering bougainvillea. I also took much pleasure in watching the antics of the various birds that flutter to and fro amongst my maturing trees. There’s the African Pied Wagtails, different types of Kingfishers, the fairly diminutive Red-Cheeked Cordon Bleu, appropriately named Superb Starlings, small blue Canaries, various beautiful Sunbirds, and the ever-present Weavers. They all sing for joy when a new day dawns.

The secondary school students had extended periods of free time in between their final exams of the year. During the afternoons, they engaged in lively games of soccer with some of the youth in the neighborhood. On one such day, loud cheers rang out just as the bell sounded for dinner. As they all eagerly headed to the small mud “kitchen”, one of them announced, “We scored two goals!”

After eating my own dinner, I spent about an hour doing the Sudoku, Codeword, and easy crossword puzzles in the newspaper. My small kerosene lantern (handcrafted from a recycled tin can) gave me just enough light to see. I kept a mosquito coil burning nearby, in order to ward off the annoying buzzing in my ears.

When I grew tired and the compound grew equally quiet, I stepped outside my mud hut to brush my teeth. As I did so, I watched a lightening display of God’s creative glory in the dark sky. The sky was cloudy; not too many stars were visible. One or two bats darted around my head, hopefully consuming mosquitoes.

As I lay in bed, waiting for sleep to come, I heard some young circumcision revelers off in the distance – chanting and singing, whistling and hollering. Occasionally I could hear a low bass noise as one of the young men would blow through a piece of plastic pipe. I knew, from prior times when I’ve watched them, that they were carrying branches and marching along the dirt roads in tight clusters. I also knew that neighbor children were joining in as the boisterous group passed by. Such behavior, unfortunately a very noisy disturbance, is all too common. Most of the young Bukusu men “practice” in December, in preparation for the actual circumcision ceremonies that are performed during August (in even-numbered years). At long last, the crowd moved out of my hearing range.

The rhythmic song of crickets and an occasional bray of a donkey were the only other sounds keeping sleep at bay.

It rained through the night; I slept well.

At 5:00 am, I awoke to the cacophony of roosters. I could hear them – from all across the valley – announcing the new day. And… to my dismay, I detected the disturbing noise of another rat in my house!

Additionally, a neighbor woman’s cries ripped through the quiet morning. I couldn’t help but share in her pain, even though I had no idea what had caused it. Her loud screams continued for some time. Eventually, she quieted down and I heard a man’s voice offering up a loud prayer.

The students began to awaken; the compound grew increasingly noisier. I climbed out from under my mosquito net and opened the curtains. The first pink and orange light of the eastern sky began to gradually chase away the darkness of night.

While my omelet cooked by the light of my tin lamp, I put out rat poison. I bought it in Nigeria, ironically from a walking street vendor in the parking lot of a fast food restaurant.

As I made the short walk to fetch a bucket of water from the well, I greeted Mwalimu, the school’s principal. “Mwalimu” is the seemingly universal name for teachers or headmasters.

The tree branches all dripped with heavy raindrops; even my grass thatch roof dripped steadily with rain runoff.

The fundi’s I hired to work on my new outdoor toilet hadn’t yet arrived. They were thirty minutes late. Such behavior is typical in Kenya even though, in this case, they only have a 10-minute walk to my place.

Their lateness gave me some time to enjoy the unfolding morning. I stood in my doorway, sipping a cup of chai and watching the birds frolic.

Suddenly, I spotted an incredibly gorgeous full-arc rainbow in the western sky!

I walked over to where I could get a better look. Amazingly, the end of it was so close that I could see right through the radiant, colorful rays.

It was stunning! What a resplendent and magnificent sight to behold!

“What a wildly wonderful world, God!

You made it all, with Wisdom at your side,

made earth overflow with your wonderful creations.”

Psalm 104:24 (The Message)

I'd love to hear your thoughts on this story! Please take a moment to leave me a comment.