:: Recent Update from our missionaries ::

Affects of COIVID - 19 on our Missionaries

  • Rudi and Anni Weins (FEBC Radio)

    PRAYER REQUESTS:

    • Pray more people would be hearing the Gospel message
    • Pray FEBC can continue to be creative in presenting the Gospel message


    "My planed travels in March and April have been canceled, so that it gives me more time to work from home. Since my work is anyway quite international, with people in different countries and places, I am already used to meetings by SKYPE/ZOOM/WhatsApp/E-MAIL… The radio broadcast also has no bans due to viruses. Actually, every crisis gives us a good opportunity to talk about the eternal matters on our broadcasts. Not that we desire such challenges. I don’t think that God desires them either. However, He is Great in using such challenges to help people to refocus on eternal matters, rather than to overrate temporary stuff. People are much more open to hear the Gospel, especially since only in Jesus there is true eternal hope and also true encouragement even here in this life.

     

    Just talked to our people in Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan. Islam is the traditional religion of the Kyrgyz people. Many there are in panic, due to all the isolations regarding the COVID-19. Even the mountain pass that separates North and South of the country has been closed. There is not much of a message of hope in Islam, mainly “fate.” However, in Christ there is great hope and encouragement for life. So, one of our broadcasters there did a talk-show on the reality of “health antidote.” Health is also contagious. It ended up to be the most uplifting broadcast. It also gave a great opportunity to share the Gospel. The Gospel is the true “Salvation antidote” to any and all evils.

     

    Here are just a couple of responses from our listeners in Kyrgyzstan.

         Nazima: “The death of my father was very stressful to me. I gained much weight and lost confidence in myself. Basically, my life became a disaster. Recently I started to listen to your station. Somehow, you’ve managed to bring me back to life. Thank you. Now I have a better outlook on life, compared to the days before my father’s passing. I think that the major change comes from putting my trust in God, rather than myself. Thank you!”

        Ainagul: “I’ve been married for 20 years to an abusive husband. I constantly ask Allah why life is so unfair. In your broadcasts, you talk about a loving God. Actually, I always feel encouraged after listening to your program. Somehow, your words put hope in to my heart. Sometimes I really seem to believe that God does love me…”

  • Isaac and Tara Manogarom (India)

    PRAYER REQUESTS:

    • Pray for us that the Lord will continue to provide.

    • Pray that the peace of God will rest on us.

    • Pray the Lord will protect us and specially the 19 girls at our Steps home


    "Thanks for your love  care and concern and to know that we have not been forgotten. This virus has gone viral around the world. All our summer missions teams three of them have been cancelled. Our city and state has gone into partial lock down for two weeks. Schools have been closed."


    "It is always such a joy to connect with each one of you. This time around I write this letter with mixed and disturbed emotions. I turned 50 this past year and I have never seen anything like this in my entire life. You know exactly what I am talking about. A small virus that originated from Wuhan has brought the whole world to a standstill. Borders are on lock-down.  Flights have been cancelled, schools and institutions closed indefinitely and the strongest and mightiest of economies are crashing. 


    We have more questions than answers of what the future holds but there is a sense of calm and peace that God alone gives us that transcends all understanding. As we go through the season of lent it is a good time to reflect, repent and be restored to celebrate His triumphant resurrection.  

    First, I believe that God wants us to spend time with our families. We have been over-busy, obsessed with our own things and priorities.  God wants us to slow down and enjoy family time and that is exactly what our family has been doing this past week. I must confess, that at times, this unprecedented closeness might have felt a bit claustrophobic, but on the whole, it has been fun to spend time with the family.


    Second, God wants us to spend a little time to work on ourselves and I think this is so important.  Just to take time to reflect and see the goodness of God in our lives and to get caught up with the many things we usually did not make time for. 


    Third, the whole world is talking about "Social Distancing" but I somehow feel that the term we really mean is "Physical Distancing". We want to keep not only ourselves safe but others as well. I feel it is now time for "Social Connecting" not distancing. We need to stand together and push through this. I got this thought from my dear Uncle Ken, who has been a huge support and a source of encouragement for me.


    Fourth, this is the best of it all. God has given us time to come back to him, talk to him, spend time with him and commune with him. This is the need of the hour, considering all that is happening in the world and in our own country. God is sovereign and God is in control.


    Steps Update:

    Here is a quick update on what has been happening with the girls at Steps and how you can pray for them and get involved in their lives.  I like what the Founder of Amazon has written "It isn't business as usual and it is a time of great stress and uncertainty. It is also a moment in time when the work we're doing is at its most critical". That is exactly how I feel about Steps. We are uncertain. We don't know what the future holds. It has been a week since Schools have been closed. We really do not know when the schools will reopen again. The government has given the entire student population a free pass to the next grade. We just want you to be praying about getting involved and helping our girls get back to school for the forth-coming academic year. I find it very difficult to even share this need, as many of you will be walking through a door of uncertainty, yourselves, not knowing how things are going to unfold in the coming months with the Coronavirus issue. We are not sure when the schools will be reopening. But we are praying and counting on your kindness when the new academic year begins.  We just received an order from the District Child Protection Office, asking us to send the girls with guardians back home for their safety and protection from the virus.  Sadly only 3 of our girls have a home to go to.  The rest will be staying with us, as this is their only home. We need your prayers and financial support during this very uncertain time as bills still have to be paid, staff salaries to be met,  medical expenses and food expenses to be met.   On behalf of Steps, Tara and I are so grateful for your continued prayers and support."

  • Faustin & Salome Ntamushobora   (Rwanda)

    PRAYER REQUESTS:

    • Pray Lord may intervene in the current situation
    • Pray to continue turning our eyes to Him who has conquered
    • Pray for Governments in the world

    "Greetings from Musanze, Rwanda!

    When last month I came from Nairobi to Musanze (that is where we have offices for TLAfrica, Inc. in Rwanda), I was coming to stay for a month, then travel to the USA. For that reason, Salome, my wife, had decided to stay in Nairobi, mentoring a new staff under her supervision (the new staff is project manager for Kenya and deals with women empowerment, a department that Salome developed in the organization).


    Without getting into details, my trip was canceled due to the effects of Coronavirus that we are all aware of, and even the fundraising event that I was planning to attend in California!


    The following move was to see how Salome could join me in Rwanda. We got an air ticket, she was able to fly in but now she needs to self-isolate for 14 days. We are both working from home and I have advised all our staff in Africa to also work from home (it's actually mandatory for Rwanda to work from home for the next two weeks).

    This of course gives us time to pray and reflect.


    Friends, the Lord is still on His throne and He reigns. Governments, Corporations, Multi-national organizations, families, businesses, individuals ... had plans - but the Coronavirus has reminded us that everything on earth works under the will and blessing of the Creator - that the Lord governs in the affairs of man. 


    We therefore need to keep praying that the Lord may intervene in the current situation, for it's only Him who can turn trials into triumphs, for His glory and the maturing of his children (those who are are willing to learn from what He is doing in his creation).

    Let's continue turning our eyes to Him who has conquered; he will give us victory in his own way and at this own time. The process of waiting upon him may be difficult, but it's His best school to transform us into his image!

    Let's keep praying for Governments in the world as they guide humanity into measures to curb the spread of the virus, and let's pray for the Church that this would be a time to reflect on what that Lord is teaching us through this pandemic."

  • Charlotte Day (Malawi)

    Prayer Requests:

    • Pray for the political situation in Malawi
    • Pray Safety for Charlotte and the SAFE team
    • Pray for Direction as big decisions are made concerning ministry and whether to leave

    We wanted you to see this personal note from Charlotte Day who has some updates on the situation in Malawi right now.

     

    “Dear praying friends, 

    We as SAFE had prayer here at my house yesterday specifically for this plight of Malawi. Aaron of SAFE Haven led is in Psalm 34:1-10; Mary led into prayer. What a great team!  Pray for their safety as they have been so interactive with many who have to walk a mile for water and soap is a commodity.

    I was able to find a place in Blantyre last week that sold me gallon jugs of sanitizer!! Really  a ‘God thing’ as even the small bottles are rarely seen!  I bought 3 gallons and 30 little plastic bottles and filled for the staff. Then, Ben Khoswe, bought for SAFE one of the gallons. I am so blessed giving out small bottles to Bible study members and neighbors. Something I can do while I ‘self-isolate’. 

    I have given, Windeson, my cook of 28 years 2 weeks off—so now I am relearning how to cook and clean house. My wonderful Christian neighbors are checking on me; and I am entertaining 2-3 at a time outside on my big khondi.

    Pray for us—SAFE Management team as they come on Wednesday morning. We will decide the ‘way forward’. Everything is closing down—villages & towns.

    So thankful 4 of the team had the last 2 weeks up North so all our programs in the area have been covered. They found WHY WAIT? vibrant and testimonies of many changed lives.  Also all Gogo groups and preschools were visited and assessed. It was such a joy for them to see the good work going on with children in the newly built Tayamba CBCC in Luzi and the Muwowo CBCC in Chipayika.  All is going well. Even in Chipayika where a medical officer’s house is almost built for a clinic we began—the villagers put that together themselves—good example of the community development and partnerships that go on. 

    Thank you ALL for your love expressed in so many ways and your prayers. You are an encouragement to us!”

    Charlotte Day

     

    Additional update…

     

          In Malawi, there is no testing apparatus in place so they have no knowledge yet of Coronavirus infections. 

         The government schools have been closed including our 20 preschools

     

          Foreign embassies have evacuated nationals from Malawi.

          Many missionaries have left.

     

     During this time of fear we know God is growing faith from seeds of His love and Word planted in the hearts and minds

    of the gogos, children, Why Wait? and Bible Club students, SAFE Haven, kids, preschool caregivers and inmates in prisons!"

  • Stephen and Rosemary Mbogo (Kenya)

    Prayer Points


    • Pray that the Lord may keep us strong in faith and that we will play our part to protect ourselves and others from contracting the virus
    • Pray that God will provide for the guardians taking care of ByGrace kids, for wisdom and provision. Loss of jobs will soon lead to impoverishment
    • Pray for provision which is needed to offer support to ByGrace kids and their guardians so that they may be well fed, keep safe and strong to prevent and fight the virus
    • Pray that we will be firm in educating people about social distancing as most continue to ignore as they fear for survival


    "Thank you so much for you love and continued support. We are praying for all of you, our friends and partners and we know we are in this together. May the Lord heal the nations of the earth. May Lord manifest his power and knowledge in helping us find a solution. May the Lord use this season to bring many souls to Himself. May the Lord bless Granada."


    "Kenya has 25 confirmed cases of Covid-19 with over 18 cases reported in the last three days while the others slowly showed up earlier in the month. It seems like, similar to other nations, we are yet to get to the climax of the menace.  We are fervently praying for God’s intervention.


    Updates:

    1. Schools have been closed in the last two weeks and at least for another two. Hence, all our children of ByGrace Children’s Home are living with their guardians, usually relatives living in the slums and other poverty-stricken areas. Currently, those from Nairobi are travelling back to their villages where they think they will be free from the virus. Unfortunately, the government has confirmed that some cases are being exported into the rural areas from the urban areas, just like the first around 15 cases of those who tested positive imported the virus from abroad – US, UK and Italy, among others.
    1. Most people are working from home including Stephen and I. This is a sharp learning curve for most students and staff. Thankfully, I have been already teaching online and Stephen has already been having most of his international and African board meetings online. We however have been experiencing some frustrations due to some delayed processes and procedures emanating from those who do not want to transition and those who are facing various limitations. I continue to pray that we will make good progress and continue offering our students the much learning and services that they need from us. We also pray that we will be able to minister to each other even as we go through a very difficult season.
    1. The Mbogo family is still full house (20) as the semester continues through online learning. We have set tight rules with the children and as a family we are doing our best to keep adequate social distancing. We are taking the opportunity to learn new skills and pray for the nations of the world.
    1. Joy arrived home from Biola university three days ago and is on 14 days quarantine at a guest house within the university. One of the passengers she travelled with was confirmed positive and so we are monitoring her quite closely. We are also diligently praying for her wellbeing.
    1. While food and other supplies are accessible, their cost has escalated even as the Kenya shilling has drastically weakened.
  • Steve and Jan Gidel (Florida)

    Prayer Requests:

    • Pray for Steves compromised immunity and not great lungs
    • Pray for daughter Carisa to stay health while being a nurse
    • Pray for future planning in ministry and with family
    • Pray for spiritual growth and Trust in God


    Thank you also from Steve and I for asking. We are doing fine. And of course with Steve’s compromised immunity and not so great lungs we are staying at home. I have gone out walking for exercise and to the grocery store but I am really working from home. Our staff team with the JesusFilm has had meetings virtually to do some work together yesterday. 


    We were all encouraged to make the choices that are best for our own situations. 


    I am looking forward to collaborating more with some of the people I met at saddleback in October who are doing online ESL teaching. We have “hybridized” 10 of the 12 lessons to make them more user friendly as part of the path to make them available on the JESUS film website sometime in the future. 


    But back to our current reality, please pray for our daughter Carisa as she is a pediatric nurse practitioner with cancer kiddos. Her schedule of constantly changing and she needs to self isolate pretty much to prevent her from being exposed and bringing stuff back to the patients. Pray for stamina and peace for her and our dear son in law Kyle as he was the last one hired at the law firm. Less work for the firm... pray for peace for them. 


    Pray for continued wisdom for Matt and fiancé in Iowa as they plan their August 30 wedding! 


    We all cancelled our plans to bury my dad’s ashes outside of San Francisco April 6th. 


  • Steve and Marion Spencer (South Africa)

    Prayer Requests:

    • It would be GREAT to get the appointment with Home Affairs regarding our visa ASAP.

    • Our son, David and his wife, Katie and their daughter, Adelaide, are in Uganda. They are due back in the states in May, but the government of Uganda has closed all schools so they are also contemplating their next move.   It seems we have family strung out all over the world we each day we wake up to new rules made by various governments that affect so much of our family. 

    • Our daughter, Charlotte, is in the Missouri, staying with a nice family, but now that her school Is cancelled and friends are staying indoors she is hoping she can have her family back with her asap as well.

    • Marion’s mom is in Malawi.  Nell Chinchen (who is 93 years old)  has contemplated staying in Malawi though all this - but called us today wondering if she should go back to the US with us.  She’s concerned that if the virus hits Malawi hard then she could get stranded without anyone to help her with her day to day life. So please pray for wisdom for her. 


    Granada is the first church to reach out to us and see how we’re doing!  Thank you!

    We are doing well.  Everyone is healthy.  And we are still working on the Genesis project.  I had three meetings with church leaders in Johannesburg this morning.  It was a very fruitful and encouraging day as we met many new pastors and people who are excited about the Genesis project.


    But South Africa is cracking down and there is a general unknown factor.  Things are shutting down and the SA government is taking cues from the rest of the world. 

    We were due to leave SA March 29, but we are considering bumping the date up if we can.  We may have a meeting with the visa immigration folks next week.

  • Dan and Marrietta Morgan (Germany)

    Prayer Requests:

    • Pray for good communication, for good connections and that we would be able to make good progress on the sites in spite of working remotely.
    • Pray for spiritual growth and faithfulness and peace during this time
    • Pray continued safety for the whole family


    So far we and our children with their spouses (and our granddaughter!) are healthy - and we are all able to work from our homes. 


    As of today many shops in Germany remain closed, except grocery stores, pharmacies, banks. Church services don't take place, but some churches have online services. I (Dan) had to postpone my trip to Senegal that was planned for March 22. Thankfully, we both can do a lot of our work from home.   I will try to do the website teaching for the ndut team (and possibly two other teams)  in Senegal via Skype. Pray for good communication, for good connections and that we would be able to make good progress on the sites in spite of working remotely. We are hoping to get the website for the Ndut team up and running ahead of the NT+Genesis dedication planned for the end of October. The next planned workshop is in Congo brazzaville June 20 to July 4. Pray for wisdom and timing for either booking flights - or rescheduling.


    Our Director in Germany shared with us some thoughts in an email today on the subject of hope in this time of worldwide crisis - that we need it, and that it needs to come from outside of us. In this context she shared some verses on hope from Romans 5.1-5, and Rom 15.13  - think this last verse would be an appropriate one to use as you pray for us... I especially like the German New Geneva translation, which reads something like this (my translation from German) : 

    " So it is my prayer that God, the source of all hope, give you full joy and full peace in your faith, so that your hope would become ever more unshakeable through the power of the Holy Spirit " 


  • Lynn Landweer (Minnesota) 

    Prayer Requests:

    • Pray for Neighbors:   That I respond well to my neighbors.   My automatic response to friends and neighbors nearby is to bake them a batch of cookies to express kindness and the hope of returned normalcy … but I’m afraid my apron strings are tied now as there is so much fear of the virus being spread by folks who don’t even feel sick … Hmmm.  BUT I still want to minister to those nearby (my neighbors).  Please pray that I can determine what I can do that will truly minister to them – to point them to a God who does care and is the source of all comfort. 
    • Pray for Health:  That I make wise decisions in terms of my own health.   Because I am in that vulnerable category (due to age, and longstanding medical conditions) I also need wisdom to know how to respond in terms of people contact, and the grace to live well in solitude for the foreseeable future
    • Pray for Provision:  For my little community of Pine River … that God would provide in amazing ways so that those whose bank accounts will be impacted by the closure of schools, churches, and service industries will still have their needs met, and will be pointed to God so that He will be glorified.  I believe only the Lord can pull this off! 
    • Pray for Spiritual revival:   I have to say it.  That there will be repentance of our pride in our national “greatness”  and instead a humble recognition that only God is great – so that everyone will lean on Him for discerning responses, rather than relying on human ingenuity.  We may be intelligent, well educated, and with a plethora of resources … but only God is omniscient!  I say this with three fingers pointing at me as well as the one pointing outward to those in our national, state, regional, and local governments.

    "I am well.  I have not been personally affected other than to have deferred planned face-to-face meetings in the Spring, and am limiting my contact with other folks here at home (not difficult in a very small rural Minnesota town and statewide limitation that have been imposed).  I am able to continue consultancy work via the internet using Zoom or Skype – which is delightful.  I am concerned for this little town as so many of my neighbors live paycheck to paycheck.  With the closure of schools, churches, and service industries, many families will be hurting as that income will be cut off.  Personally, what I am finding I miss the most (already and in anticipation) is fellowship with other believers as we study God’s word together.   "

     

  • Josie Oldenburg (La Mirada)

    Prayer Requests:

    • Prayer for the family as school and work are all from home
    • Prayer for health precautions with three kids
    • Pray for continued faithfulness in ministry and home life


    I have the general changes common to all of us in SoCal, but many missionaries who are with SEND International are facing more changes. Our folks in the big country in East Asia have been evacuated; Spain is under total lockdown (they get fined for being out of the house unless they’re going to the grocery store, pharmacy, or hospital). Nearly everyone in well-developed areas has had at least the same kinds of closures we’ve had (if not more). I’ve not heard yet what’s going on in rural Russia or rural Thailand. So, in-person ministry is certainly rare these days, but our communities still need the hope of Christ — now more than ever. Our folks are trying to be creative, reaching out via social media, texting, FaceTime, etc. to their contacts. 

  • Scott Sward, Fede Hernandez, Elise Paty (Cambodia)

    Prayer Requests:

    • Pray for Health and safety for everyone
    • Pray for Some Ministry moving online
    • Pray for Spiritual Growth for everyone as online services are not an option


    From the EFCSW Board:

    Things in Cambodia is rapidly changing much like it is here in the US. However, there is a lack of infrastructure that is adequately preparing the people of Cambodia for what will happen and transparency as to the reality of what's going on in the country. 

    Our missionaries, for now, have decided to stay in the country. As things are updated and changing, their decision may change as well. I am in constant contact with them to make the best decision possible. 

    Please pray for their safety and the safety of our friends who are equally as important to us during this time. 


    From Scott Sward:


    First, we created an infographic about the virus that we'll be distributing to village churches in the next couple days. Information in the villages is scarce. So we're hoping village churches can help educate themselves and their neighbors about this virus. Some poor communities are without soap, so we'll also be providing small bars of soap with the leaflets.


    Second, we're talking with churches leaders about how to direct and care for their people during this time. Religious groups are prohibited from meeting together, and most village Christians don't have access to the internet. So online services aren't an option.


    Third, many of the recent in increase in cases of the virus in Cbo are related to Muslims who attended a religious event in Malaysia. Since Muslims are a minority here, they're being singled out, blamed and discriminated against. Since then I've had the chance to express to a local imam, who is also a friend, that Christians don't blame Muslims for this, and that we're praying for them. We also talked about arranging a meeting of Christian and Muslim leaders as an expression of solidarity, and offered to help with health education in their communities. Nothing has been firmly decided yet, but this is certainly something for which we'd appreciate prayer.