Water Miracle in Liberia
Missionaries in Liberia began working with a Dutch drilling company to find desperately needed water for the Assemblies of God Bible School in Owensgrove.
They set to work eagerly, but their feelings of excitement soon evaporated.
On their first attempt, they drilled through 175 feet of rocky soil. They were unable to reach water, and part of the equipment broke off and fell inside the hole. On their second try, they drilled down 100 feet and broke a drill bit worth $10,000. The man leading the drilling project told the missionaries there was likely no water on the campus. All drilling halted for many months. A third attempt also proved unsuccessful.
Missionaries asked believers around the world to pray for a miracle. When they told the foreman of the drilling company that thousands of people were praying, he said, "Surely with so many people praying we will find water!"
On the fourth attempt, they indeed struck water! Water continued to flow, even after two hours of pumping. Both the school and community now have safe, clean drinking water, and everyone involved in the project was reminded that prayer still works!
The Young Man at the Well
One Friday evening, Panango came to see a water pump being installed in his village in Togo. The pump was supplied by Africa Oasis Project, a ministry that drills water wells in drought-stricken areas of Africa.
Soon Panango volunteered to help with the work. While he was there he listened to the godly talk and good-natured banter of the men from the village church as they worked with our colleague, Laté, to install the pump.
The following morning, Panango returned to the work site to see how the pump was operating and to talk to Laté about Jesus. Soon, Laté had the joy of leading this young man to Christ. The local pastor is now discipling Panango. God is touching lives at the well!
—Mark and Vickie Alexander, Togo
From Drug Pusher to Church Planter
Daniel Antonio is a pastor in Angola. During his life he has seen more suffering than any would care to see.
His father died soon after he was born. His mother couldn’t care for all her children so she sent Daniel to live with an uncle. As he grew, he was treated as a slave and never had a chance for an education. At age 15, he left his uncle and moved to the city. Soon he fell into a crowd that introduced him to the seedier side of life. Eventually he became a drug pusher.
One day Daniel saw a friend reading a Bible. When Daniel asked what he was doing, the friend said he was feeding his spirit. He encouraged Daniel to do the same. Daniel responded by receiving Christ as his Savior.
Hungry for more, Daniel sought out people who would teach him God’s Word. Eventually he found an Assemblies of God church pastored by a Portuguese missionary. Under the pastor’s discipleship, Daniel grew in the Lord. Soon he was leading a church and winning people to Christ. Most of the AG churches in eastern Angola today are the direct result of his ministry.
Pastor Daniel is a self-confessed miracle of God, proof that God can take an illiterate young man, work a miracle in him, and place him in a position of influence to further the work of God.
—Harold and Elizabeth Osland, Portugal and Portuguese-speaking Africa
On a Saturday night in May 2012, extremists attacked an Assemblies of God church in East Africa and set it on fire. The blaze destroyed much of the church and its furnishings.
“As members came to church the following day, they were astonished,” the pastor recalled. “Some of them were crying. I was crying too. I asked God, ‘What will I say to these people?’”
As the pastor prayed, he sensed God’s answer to his question: Preach on what believers should do when the gospel is opposed.
In obedience, the pastor told the people, “When we are opposed, we should be filled again with the power of the Holy Spirit.”
The people listened to the pastor’s exhortation and began to worship God.
“We sang ‘Holy Spirit Come Again,’ and it was as if the wind began blowing,” the pastor said. “The power came down, and almost everyone was praying in tongues. Demons fled. The fire fell, but this time the fire was from heaven! The Holy Spirit came and gave us comfort and boldness to keep going.”
—Denny and Sandy Miller, Africa Harvest Ministries
The Valley of Death
A few days ago I walked through the valley of the shadow of death.
The place was a cemetery in Davao City, Philippines. Thousands of graves, some stacked up to 4 feet high, filled the area. A nearby pit held the bones of bodies that were exhumed if a family could not pay the required $112 burial payment after the funeral.
This was my first time to view such a sight. The place was not frightening, but I felt strangely eerie.
A young girl playing among the tombs suddenly came running toward me, calling, “Uncle Darrell!” Thousands of children call me by that name at Family Circus, the church and children’s ministry my wife, Sandy, and I lead. Without hesitation, she took my hand and gave me a tour of her home. She was not afraid, and the only time she drew back was when we went near the discarded bones.
As my guided tour ended, a man cried out “Uncle Darrell!” Somberly he told me he had attended Family Circus as a child but later walked away from God. Now he lived with his wife and two children at the cemetery. Several families paid him $2.50 for washing and caring for a handful of tombs. The amount was just enough to keep him in food and booze.
While we stood in the midst of the cemetery, I reached over and began to pray that the man would once again find Jesus. The man shed tears of thankfulness—and Life walked into the valley of death.
As I prepared to leave, I asked the young girl who was with me what her name was.
“Angel,” she said.
Surrounded by death, this young angel had led me to the right place to bring the message of life to someone in need.
—Darrell Blatchley, Philippines
A Next-Door Mission Field
Samuel came to Cambodia from China several years ago and received Christ at International Christian Assembly (ICA) in Phnom Penh. A few months ago, he shared with me about his vision to have a Chinese service at ICA. He told me that 25,000 Chinese worked at garment factories within a mile of ICA.
Soon afterward, Samuel and his wife, Hazel, took me to the garment factory area, and I was amazed by what I saw. As I looked at the rows of factories filled with workers from the Philippines, Cambodia and China, the Lord put a burden on my heart. I felt I had left Cambodia, but I was only a mile away from our church.
“I never thought when I came to Jesus at ICA so many years ago that my church would be so near my mission field,” said Samuel. “Ann, other people are reaching out to the wealthy. I want to reach these poor Chinese people.”
With some volunteers from ICA, Samuel and Hazel began two small groups for Chinese garment workers. Within a year, many of them had accepted Christ. A third discipleship group has started, and a fourth group is based on a study of the Holy Spirit. Now we are praying about starting a Chinese congregation and a Bible school.
Jesus’ love makes a powerful difference!
—Ann Greve, Cambodia
A young man who did not know Jesus started attending an English class led by a Christian couple from Sri Lanka. After a few months, I asked him how his class was going.
“I am learning English really well,” he replied, “and I am also learning about a God named Jesus. I have never heard about a God like Him. Our gods do very strange things, and I can’t understand much about them. But Jesus is like a real man who healed and fed and loved people. I would really like a God like Jesus!”
—Ann Greve, Cambodia
A Family Decision
Every Tuesday morning my wife, Kami, and I teach English at a village school outside Battambang, Cambodia. We work alongside Sovatha, a 35-year-old teacher.
In the afternoons I meet with a group of teachers at the school and lead them in a Bible study. For about six months Sovatha attended. Though he was not yet a believer, his hunger for the Lord was apparent.
One day he specifically asked me to teach him how to accept Christ. Soon afterward, he learned that the church in Battambang was planning a baptismal service. Sovatha was intrigued and asked me to teach him what baptism meant.
As we talked, Sovatha said he wasn’t sure how his family would react to his recent decision to follow Jesus, and he didn’t know if he would be baptized. He would talk to his wife, and they would decide. In the following days, Kami and I prayed that Sovatha would stand strong in his newfound faith and that his wife would be open to the truth and love of Christ.
On the day of the baptismal service, more than 40 people came to participate. We were thrilled to see that Sovatha as well as his wife and two children were among them.
The scene reminded me of instances in the Book of Acts where entire households came to Christ. God delights in bringing salvation to the whole family.
—Ben Heilman, Cambodia
Miracle in Mr. Lun
I had prayed for Mr. Lun ever since I came to his country and began working with his sister. My coworker and her family were believers, but Mr. Lun drifted in an out of numerous violent, alcohol-filled escapades.
Shortly before I left the country for a month, Mr. Lun was hospitalized. Doctors told him he would die soon if he did not change his ways. In response, he entered into a treatment facility.
Concerned about his situation, another colleague asked if I would consider helping with Mr. Lun’s food and housing. The family had hit their limit and had no more to offer.
After prayer I felt led to pay the weekly $25 charge at the facility for one month. The family accepted the gift with joy and tears. I also gave Mr. Lun a New Testament and asked the he read one chapter of John each day. I left the country, feeling I had done a very small thing to help.
When I returned one month later, I asked about Mr. Lun. In response, his sister burst into tears. When she could finally speak, she told me Mr. Lun had received Christ as his Savior. He had stopped drinking and was enrolled in Bible school.
What a miracle God did in only one month’s time!
Setting the Prisoner Free
While I was on itineration in 2008, God opened doors for me to minister to some Pacific Islanders who were in jail in the United States. At the time, I was serving as a missionary to Kiribati, an island nation in the South Pacific, so I understood the island culture.
Over the next few months I kept contact with the prisoners and encouraged them in the faith. One of the prisoners, Kafi, was from Tuvalu. I sent him a Samoan Bible because the Samoan language is quite similar to Tuvaluan.
Many months later while visiting Tuvalu, I inquired about Kafi and found out that he was released from jail much sooner than he expected and had returned to Tuvalu. The best news was that he was a changed man. While in prison he had opened his heart to Christ, and his life was headed in the right direction.
We never know all the ways God is working. By His grace we plant the seeds and, though sometimes unknown to us, He brings the increase. How blessed I am to see the fruit!
—Diane Laws, Kosrae
The Man in the Painting
Just outside a small village in Ukraine, Tamara* lay dying due to complications at childbirth. The doctor told her husband to go home and collect money from neighbors to help pay for a funeral.
That night a doctor awakened Tamara. He told she could get up and go home.
Tamara’s husband arrived at the hospital the next morning to pick up his wife’s body, but he nearly fell over in shock at what he found. Tamara was sitting on the side of the bed with her bag packed and ready to go home.
She told her husband about the doctor with long hair who came to her during the night and told her she was well. But there was no doctor anyone knew who fit that description.
As Tamara walked out of the hospital, she noticed an orthodox painting of Jesus on the wall.
“That man in the painting,” Tamara cried. “He is the doctor who came and talked to me.” She realized then that the Man who healed her was Jesus.
Tamara began to tell everybody what had happened. Soon her whole family came to Christ. A home church meeting was formed, and every week several people come to Christ.
In this village, Jesus has become much more than a figure in a painting. He is the one who changes lives.
*Name has been changed.
Feeling God’s Presence
Nazgul* desperately wanted to feel God’s presence. For years she had faithfully lived by all the requirements of her religion, but she never felt His nearness.
Finally she decided that the only way she would feel God was if she left this world. She decided to kill herself, hoping to find herself in His presence.
Going to her balcony, she crept toward the edge, turning her back so she would not be tempted to break her fall. Just before she toppled backward to her death, her cell phone rang.
Nazgul is not sure why she had her phone with her, but she pulled it out of her pocket. She remembers noticing that the battery power was very low.
An unfamiliar male voice responded to her answer. He seemed to know everything about Nazgul—her search for relationship with God and her plans for suicide to accomplish it. Seven hours passed while they spoke, but Nazgul’s phone never ran out of power.
At the end of the conversation, Nazgul went back inside to find her house phone ringing. It was her sister in America, a believer. At that moment, she had felt a strong need to speak with Nazgul. She listened in amazement as Nazgul repeated many of the wonders the man had spoken to her on the balcony.
Days later Nazgul was walking down the street when a young man handed her a Bible in Farsi.
"God told me to give you this," he said.
Nazgul opened the book, and immediately saw the words: "I am the way and the truth and the life. No man comes to the Father except through me."
Today Nazgul is a minister of the gospel. She feels Jesus every day.
*Name has been changed.
Dare to Believe
I’ve never been one to shirk from a challenge, but I would be nervous about the challenge Pastor Stefan faced. The mayor called him and asked him to pray for rain.
When Stefan received that call a few years ago, the church was new with only a handful of members. Everyone in the village was against them. Even the other churches were fighting against them. People wanted the church to fail.
The sudden request for prayer from the mayor made Stefan suspicious. He pressed the issue, and the mayor admitted the local religious leader had made the suggestion. There had been no rain for three months. Without rain, there would be no harvest. In Moldova that means no food for the winter. If the mayor could force the Pentecostal church to pray and nothing happened, it would be enough reason to run them out of town as heretics.
As Stefan sat with the mayor, he felt God say to him, “Tell him it will rain Friday.”
Stefan quickly pushed the thought aside. He didn’t want to stick his neck out like that.
Again the thought returned: “Tell him it will rain Friday.” Again Stefan tried to dismiss it.
Suddenly Stefan realized his mouth was moving, saying the words he kept trying to swallow! It was too late to take them back.
Stefan called the believers together that Wednesday evening, asking them to fast and pray for rain. They fasted and prayed, trusting God for a miracle.
Friday night it rained.
—Andy Raatz, area director for Russia and Belarus
Just in Time
Not long ago, I was questioned by the secret police about an accusation they received. The good news that day was that I was sitting with a local mayor when they found me. Obviously, they could see the report was false.
A few days later, while my wife and I were in another area, the same complaints resurfaced. While drinking tea with some friends, I was surprised as 20 policemen, many with machine guns, came into the room. As an officer yelled at me and accused me of wrongdoing, I was arrested with no explanation.
For five hours my accusers yelled and brought false accusations. There appeared to be no hope of defending the charges against me.
At 1 a.m., the policemen took me outside and made me take everything out of our van. Just when they were about to find our Bibles, a friend called. This friend had been trying to help me in my situation, and he learned that he was a childhood friend of one of the officers — the very officer who was about to find the Bibles.
“What are you doing?” my friend asked the official. “Release him!”
Shortly afterward, I was released! God’s timing is perfect!
About two months ago I received a note from a prisoner, asking me to visit him. When I met him, he told me that he had come to Belgium from another country. He was from a different religion, but his wife and her family were Christians. He said he often made fun of his wife and mocked her faith in Jesus.
Then he told me why he had asked me to visit him. One night in a dream, he saw a large cross that looked like the one his wife always wore around her neck. The cross was moving away from him, but he was determined to follow it. When he caught up to it, he fell on his knees.
“What could my dream possibly mean?” he asked.
I knew his dream was sent from God to open his heart. I explained the gospel to him and asked if he would like to accept Christ. He said he would, so we prayed together. Since then, Raman has faithfully attended the weekly church services at the prison.
—Ken Barickman, Belgium
Searching for Thomas
The longer I sat in my car, the more I wondered if I’d lost my mind. I was parked by a busy bus stop in Dresden, Germany, waiting for Thomas. I wasn’t sure I was at the right place, but I knew I needed to talk to him.
For the past few months, Thomas had been coming off and on to services at one of the churches we work with in the area. He was dating a woman from the church, but aside from her he didn’t seem to have much interest in anything else that took place. One Sunday, Thomas and the woman broke off their relationship—at church. Thomas was furious.
Two days passed. I didn’t have Thomas’ phone number or address, but I felt compelled to find him—even if it meant waiting at a bus stop. I was told he normally worked until 3 p.m. I waited an hour beyond that. No Thomas.
A 12-year-old girl from the church told me she thought he lived near Pirnascher Platz. So, with a map in hand, I continued my search.
I found Pirnascher Platz, a neighborhood of at least 10 huge apartment complexes. Praying for direction, I chose a building at random and headed for the door.
The building had 11 floors with 12 apartments per floor. I zeroed in on the nameplates by the main door. Thomas’ name was the first one I saw. I knew God was with me.
I rang the bell and Thomas let me in. I shared a lot of things, but I didn’t know how much he understood. I left unsure of how much good my visit did.
During the next month, Thomas drifted back to church again, but this time he seemed more interested. Soon he was coming every week.
Now Thomas tells me he’s decided to follow Jesus. My search for Thomas helped Thomas end his search for God.
—Michael Tyler, Germany
How God builds puzzles
Kathi grew up in Berlin under very sad circumstances. Her parents were alcoholics. Eventually life became so bad that when Kathi was 14, she went to live in a children‘s home on her own initiative.
Years passed. Kathi, now an adult, lived with her three children and her partner in Dresden. Life continued to be a struggle because of her partner’s drug use. Still, Kathi clung to the dream that her children would have a better childhood than she did.
In early fall, members of our children’s evangelism team were inviting neighborhood boys and girls to a Kidsclub outreach. When they talked to Kathi’s daughter Josi, they were surprised when she replied, “I want to be baptized. Can I do that in your church?“
A week earlier, while in Berlin to attend a wedding, the family had stayed in a hotel. While there, Josi found Gideon Bible, started reading it – and couldn‘t stop! She took it home and had been devouring its words ever since.
Kathi and two of her daughters visited our church and said they had never experienced such a wonderful service. Josi began coming every week, even as life at home got worse.
In late October, we invited Kathi and her daughters to a family camp. The last night of camp, Kathi and Josi came for prayer. When my wife, Christina, asked what their need was, Josi cried and said she wanted God to accept her. Soon both Josi and Kathi gave their hearts to the Lord.
We are now working on getting Kathi and her daughters help with their family situation. Kathi is grateful for the support she has found among her new brothers and sisters in God‘s family, and a mentor is helping her grow spiritually.
Many people are helping to put the puzzle of Kathi’s life together. We can‘t wait to see what God has in store for Kathi and her daughters!
—Steve Walent, Germany
Moving Forward in God's Strength
My journey in life has been a little different than that of most people. I was born two-and-a-half months premature and was diagnosed with cerebral palsy. Doctors told my parents I would never walk and would be lucky to live a normal life — if I lived at all.
In my younger years, it was obvious that I was different. I never asked “Why me?” but I did question why I was not healed. I received Christ at an Assemblies of God church and had seen miraculous healings. Sometimes in the quietness of the night, awakened by the uncomfortable night braces that keep my legs from tightening with spasticity, I wondered why others were healed but I wasn’t. These questions became part of the ongoing growth of my relationship with God and my trust in Him.
After God called me at age 12 to be a missionary to the Netherlands, I remember wondering how a disabled kid, unable to walk on his own, could possibly fulfill this type of ministry.
But God is made strong in our weaknesses.
Years later, after my wife and I had arrived in the Netherlands, I was riding my three-wheeled Speed the Light bike to language class. When I got to class, I sat next to Torsten, a student from Germany who was almost completely blind. On the first day of class he asked me how I knew for sure that I am a Christian. For some reason, because of my human weakness, he saw Jesus more clearly in me.
After class my professor looked at me with astonishment when I got on my bike to ride home. In almost every class, she asked me a question about my faith in Christ. She even asked me to explain to a classmate what sin is.
I wonder what kind of world we would live in if we began to glory in the God who makes us strong in our weaknesses. Divine appointments happen all the time, not because of me but because of Christ in me.
—Steve Kramer, missionary to the Netherlands
Latin America Caribbean
Power to Forgive
“I’m going to kill you!” Ariel’s father screamed as he pointed a loaded gun at his son.
Fifteen-year-old Ariel stood frozen, too young to be a man but too much of a man to run away.
Suddenly the boy’s anguished mother stepped between her husband and her son.
“Before you can kill him,” she said, “you will have to kill me.”
The enraged man pulled the trigger and killed his wife. He then turned at shot at Ariel, but the bullet failed to hit him. He tried again, but the gun failed to discharge. He then went outside… and committed suicide.
For 20 years Ariel could not forgive his father for what he had done. However, during a 36-hour Encounter weekend at our church, he had a power encounter with God while prayer at the altar. The Heavenly Father gave him the grace to forgive and replaced his bitterness with the overwhelming sense of peace and joy of one who has laid down an awful burden carried far too long.
Ariel is but one of more than 50 new believers who participated in the weekend Encounter. Through their testimonies of transformation, family members, neighbors and co-workers have received Christ. And the stories continue.
—Don Exley, Argentina
Javier is a kind, gentle man of God whose life was transformed at Teen Challenge Bolivia. But for more than 25 years, he lived on the streets of Santa Cruz. Most of that time was spent in the sewer canals.
Javier, a man known for violence and dominance, controlled a section of the canal. When the Lord found him, he was “the general” of an area where many people lived — and died.
Javier came to Teen Challenge bound by drugs and alcohol. The "hard drive" inside his brain was practically spent from years of substance abuse, and his liver was greatly enlarged. But through the power of the Holy Spirit, Javier was set free.
Within three months at Teen Challenge, Javier was scoring in the mid-70s on exams. During a medical checkup, doctors did an organ scan, which showed that his enlarged liver had returned to normal size and function!
God’s Word says the Lord will restore what the locusts have eaten. Javier is proof of God’s restoring power.
—Roger and Sharon Holland, Bolivia
Maria Made a Difference
Forty years ago, Maria Neculpan, a Mapuche woman from the Andes Mountains of southern Chile, visited a church in the city of Temuco. After she heard the gospel and received Jesus as her Savior, she eagerly invited the 23-year-old pastor, Juan Mella, to come to the Quinenahuin valley and preach in her village. At the time, the Mapuche were considered an unreached people group.
When Pastor Juan arrived, he learned that Maria had invited all of her family and friends to come hear him preach. Everyone heard the gospel, but no one accepted the message.
A month passed. Again Maria came to Temuco and asked Pastor Juan to come and preach in her village. This time she told him to be prepared to baptize several new believers. When Pastor Juan arrived, he found 22 people ready to be baptized.
During the preceding month, Maria had been teaching her family about Jesus, even though she could neither read nor write. On her visits to Temuco, she had focused all of her energy on learning everything she could about Jesus. With the Scripture verses, hymns and choruses she had memorized, she shared the gospel with her family.
Now, 40 years later, there are three Assemblies of God churches and an ordained Mapuche minister in this once-unreached area. An LACC high school will soon be open to train and educate Mapuche youth.
Deep in the Andes Mountains, Maria’s persistence and passion for God made a difference.
—Mike and Dodey Files, Chile
Miracle in a Garbage Dump
Years ago, I was part of an AIM evangelism team ministering in El Salvador. As I heard of miracles God had done at other outreaches, I prayed that I too would experience the supernatural power of God.
One afternoon our team went to minister at a garbage dump where people made their homes and scavenged for food. The images I saw were burned into my mind.
As we prayed before the outreach, our leader sensed we were to give a 1-liter box of milk to every person who attended. Since I was in charge of supplies, I checked every square inch of the bus several times and I knew we didn’t have enough for the crowd that had gathered.
In my spirit I sensed the Lord asking me the same question He asked Moses in Numbers 11:23: “Is the Lord’s arm too short?” I decided to trust the Lord and begin the distribution.
About halfway through it, we ran out of milk. I signaled that the supply was gone, but the leader asked me to look in the bus again.
Walked to the back of the bus, I lifted an old gray tarp. There before me was a new supply of milk — enough for everyone to have some. I saw with my own eyes and experienced for myself the incredible power of the Master of the universe.
Today I am a missionary to Nicaragua. When I face seemingly impossible situations, I remember the miracle in the garbage dump. I remind myself that we serve a great and mighty God, and nothing is impossible for Him.
—Steve Sobey, Nicaragua
A Day of Happenings
Just a few days ago, we were in a restaurant where we happened to meet a 17-year-old waitress who had become a believer because of some material she had read. She just happened to be working her last shift at the restaurant, and we just happened to get her as a server. Earlier that day we just happened to have connected with someone who was able to direct this young woman to a home group.
Coincidences? We think not. We are praying that our days will continue to be marked by divine appointments.
They Believed the Story
One Sunday morning, we attended church in a small mountain town. At the end of the sermon, the pastor asked an elderly man to come to the front to give the benediction. People around me whispered Brother Yang’s* name as he was helped to the pulpit. His prayer was short and simple.
As Brother Yang walked back down the aisle, everyone showed him deference and respect. We later found out why.
Nearly 70 years earlier, Brother Yang was a young carpenter on a construction crew that was building a house for a pastor. The job paid well, but there was one condition: the carpenters had to listen to a Bible story before work every day. Soon Brother Yang believed in the God of the Bible stories he heard.
At about the same time, 200 miles away in another small town, a girl, Miss Tan*, heard that a woman was telling stories after school to anyone who would listen. A large group of children and teenagers gathered to listen to the Bible stories. As Miss Tan heard the stories, she too believed.
Years later, Brother Yang and Miss Tan met, married and moved to the mountain town. There they helped plant a church. Through many discouragements and difficulties, their faith in the Story remained unshakeable.
Today the church is filled with young people. The couple’s faith, commitment, simple lifestyle and good humor set a standard for the congregation to follow. The young believers hold this couple in high esteem for remaining true to God for more than 60 years and keeping the flame of faith alive in their town. Because of these two faithful people, many others have heard the Story.
*Names have been changed.
Teaching All Ages
Each Saturday morning, parents from around our Northern Asian city bring their children to our classes to gain an early exposure to English. We sing “Three Little Monkeys,” play Candy Land, color pictures and do the Hokey Pokey. It’s a fun time for us as well as for the kids.
What we’re especially happy to see, though, is the amount of use our literature rack is getting. Nearly all of the parents wait in the classroom during the 90-minute session, so we’ve taken the opportunity to set out books related to marriage, parenting and life in general. This collection of books is likely to be these parents’ first exposure to Bible-based materials. We’re so thankful that we have the opportunity to offer them.
One of our greatest joys is serving people and seeing Christ formed in their lives. A friend and former student of ours is now serving Christ in Southeast Asia. In a recent letter, she shared with us a brief testimony of what God is doing through His children in our area of the world.
“We traveled to three villages to share God’s love,” she wrote. “When our motorbike broke down, we walked to the next village. That day 25 adults and about 50 children prayed to receive Christ. In addition to preaching in two churches on Sunday, we helped 50 children by washing their hair with lice medicine and trimming their fingernails.
“One evening a pastor asked me to preach in the adult and youth services the following morning. I was not prepared at all, but God spoke to my heart: ‘As My servant, wouldn’t you be ready to preach and teach My Word at any time?’
“I told the pastor I would preach two services the next day. After I ate dinner, I went to prepare my sermons. I had worked that day since 5:30 a.m., and I was very tired. But the next day after the services, people came to thank me for bringing the Word, and they asked me to pray for them. I know I did not do anything in my strength; it was my God who did great things. As I witnessed 130 people follow Christ in baptism, I cried tears of joy.
“The hardest challenges for me here are having to take a shower in a public place where others are walking around and finding opportunities for privacy. The long distances we walk in the hot sun, sleeping on wood floors, and the biting ants—they are no problem.”
You Look Like Him!
In 2011, just a year after a devastating earthquake struck Haiti, a HealthCare Ministries team traveled there to conduct a medical clinic. The clinic site was a small, cement-walled church in a rural mountain village. Patients came for treatment for a variety of medical, dental and optical needs.
A few hours into the outreach, a truck rolled up to the site. In the truck bed was a frail 12-year-old boy lying on a mattress. He was in hypovolemic shock, a condition that occurs when a person loses a large amount of blood or fluid. The boy had little hope of surviving another hour.
Team members rushed to find various supplies to treat him. They fashioned an IV pole out of a stick and started administering fluids to him while he was still in the back of the truck. The doctor on the team concluded that the boy had cholera, a disease stemming from unsanitary water.
A nurse cared for the boy most of the day, but toward evening the missionary asked Sally Puleo, another HCM nurse, if she would take over. Sally agreed and began to care for the boy. He soon became “her boy” as she kept him clean and hydrated.
During this time, a man nearby cried out to Sally: "Madame, madame! You look like Him!"
Tears came to Sally’s eyes as she realized the man meant that her actions reminded him of Jesus.
The boy miraculously improved. After receiving instructions on how to keep him healthy, his family took him home. His life was spared, and all the people nearby saw the compassionate touch that represented Jesus Christ at that outreach.
Finding Freedom in Prison
Today I went to prison for the first time.
I had often wondered what prison ministry would be like. Accompanying three chaplains to La Urbana Prison in Venezuela was sure to satisfy my curiosity.
About 1,200 prisoners filled an area meant for 600. The scene reminded me of refugee camps in the evening news. Inmates lived in tents made of trash bags, sheets or whatever scraps could be found in the cell yard.
But even in this seemingly hopeless environment, there were diamonds in the rough. The chaplains introduced me to a group of eight inmates who are serving as pastors while serving their sentences. Together we worshipped and prayed.
As we chatted together, these men did not ask me for money or favors or legal help. They simply asked if I could help with theological training because they had none.
Immediately I had the response. As director for Global University for Venezuela, I had study books at my disposal. When I told the men of these resources, they joyfully told me how they had been asking God to send a missionary into the prison to help them.
At lunchtime, plates of food were brought to us. As shifted the cooked maggots around the rice in front of me and listened to the testimonies of the men, I realized that the Holy Spirit was doing a true indigenous work inside the prison. I was simply a conduit to strengthen his servants inside the 20-foot-high walls.
These eight leaders and 17 deacons are now studying Global University materials during their weekly training classes. Even in the darkest circumstances, His love is shining.
—Chris Nelson, Venezuela
ROYAL RANGERS INTERNATIONAL
A New Way of Living
Royal Rangers in Siberia started following a strategic meeting in St. Petersburg, Russia, in December 2004. Faithful workers planted the ministry in churches across the frozen Far East, leaders were trained, and curriculum was translated.
Since then boys and girls have a new way of living through Royal Rangers. A Royal Rangers commander in Achinsk told me a couple of their stories.
“When we started the Royal Rangers ministry, Slava immediately wanted to be a part of it,” the commander said. “But to become a member, he needed to attend regularly and obey—two things he struggled with doing. After four months, however, he rarely missed outpost meetings, his behavior with other children had improved, and he had a desire to read the Bible.
“Another child, Dasha, was reluctant in getting involved in church activities. However, when the Royal Rangers chose to participate in the church worship team during Sunday services, Dasha joined too. Within two weeks she asked to be in the children’s choir and is now actively involved. Praise the Lord for Royal Rangers encouraging children to use their talents.”
—Doug Marsh, Royal Rangers International
GLOBAL TEEN CHALLENGE
A Life Transformed
Shortly after Ah Chek was born, his father’s animal husbandry business began to fail. In frustration, the father blamed his problem on his newborn son. As Ah Check grew, his father abused and humiliated him at every opportunity.
When Ah Chek was 12 years old, he reached a breaking point after his father burned his mouth with a cigarette. After retaliating by hitting his father with a chair, Ah Chek left home and joined a gang. He fought, robbed and committed arson with the gang while taking drugs to numb the fear of getting caught.
Soon Ah Chek was an addict bouncing in an out of prisons and rehab centers. During this time he met a missionary who told him about Teen Challenge.
At Teen Challenge, Ah Chek met people who cared for him in a way no one ever had. Their loving attitude showed him they genuinely wanted to ease his pain. When they told Ah Chek to cry out to Jesus, he did.
As Ah Chek grew in the Lord, he sensed the Holy Spirit dealing with his heart. How can I ask my Heavenly Father for forgiveness if I don’t forgive my father on earth? he wondered.
For the first time since his childhood, he returned to his home. During that visit he reconciled with his father.
Today, Ah Chek directs a Teen Challenge center in Asia. His calling is to model Christ to people in desperate need in the same loving way Teen Challenge staff did for him.
—Global Teen Challenge