Thursday, November 22, 2007

Booklets with a Story!

It almost seemed as though these booklets were destined to not make it to their destination—but who knows where God intended them to go!
One of this year’s children’s offering project at the Albright Church in Winnipeg was to raise money to supply our summer youth mission team with copies of The Story of Jesus in Spanish. The children brought their offerings, tithes and gifts, and a hundred booklets were received from LifeLight Ministries. They would be on their way to Mexico in just a few weeks to be distributed to kids through VBS programs that the mission team would run in Mexico…. (At least that’s what we thought would happen!)
On the way to the airport it was discovered that the box of booklets had been left behind! A quick trip back to the church, and the booklets were on their way—across the border to Minneapolis, a flight to Los Angeles, into the bus, and off to Tijuana—soon to be handed out to boys and girls!
As the luggage and supplies were unloaded from the bus transporting the youth from the YWAM (Youth with a Mission) base in Los Angeles to the YWAM base in Mexico, one little box was missing; it seemed to have followed another route. Someone “helped himself” to this box, which happened to be the one with the hundred copies of The Story of Jesus—and away it went! Where did it end up? Only God knows for sure, but we are confident that “Our good news didn’t come to you only in words. It came with power. It came with the Holy Spirit’s help” (1 Thessalonians 1:5). We trust that God delivered these booklets to those who needed to receive them (with the help of someone we don’t even know!).
Cheryl Goings

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Circuit-Riding Preacher

Allen Hilgendorf is an itinerant preacher evangelist with SAC International (formerly Shantymen) in the North Hastings and Madawaska Highlands in Ontario. He visits house to house, by vehicle, bicycle, canoe and horseback… Along the way he distributes Christian literature and lends a willing ear to people who need someone to talk to, building relationships as he travels. He regularly requests Scriptures from LifeLight Ministries to distribute.
In the summer the ministry includes setting up at fairs, festivals and rodeos. He dresses up as an old-time circuit riding preacher and participates in every parade that is available to him. Usually several volunteers flank him as he rides, passing out appropriate Christian literature to hundreds of people.
Creativity is one of Allen’s great strengths. He dresses up for rodeos and fairs and creates venues in which to draw a crowd. By advertising and conducting the meetings in a pioneer setting—inviting folks to come by horse and antique auto…even dressed up in period clothing—he creatively provides a fun atmosphere for a serious message.
Allen had the opportunity in July to speak at the Palmer Rapids Music Festival, which takes place annually on the banks of the beautiful Madawaska River. He writes: “For the third year I was asked to preach at the Festival during the Sunday Gospel Hour. This year I took my horse, dressed in my circuit-reading preacher outfit, rode around to the hundreds of trailer sites and handed out The Way for Cowboys New Testaments, along with other literature. After riding to the different camps, I spoke on Paul’s words to the Corinthians, ‘I beg you…be reconciled to God.’ After I spoke, several people came forward to receive either the Heart of the Outdoors Bible or the NT for cowboys. Praise the Lord!
“In August we had a camp-out and Ride Your Horse to Church Sunday at an old heritage church. Again I dressed the part, preached an old-time gospel message, and left The Way for Cowboys for people to pick up on their way out.
“During hunting season I visit hunt camps and hand out Heart of the Outdoors Bibles at each camp, sometimes deep in the woods.

One Bible Makes a Difference

My husband and I took a stack of Spanish Scriptures along last summer on a vacation to the Dominican Republic. We gave most of them to a poor pastor we got to know a few years ago. Their church is very evangelistic, and they have new Christians regularly. Poor Dominican Christian families often have only one old, very worn Bible for the whole family.We also gave a Bible to another poor pastor, Pastor Garcia, who felt led to start a church a few years ago in a very poor community, where alcoholism and illiteracy are rampant. He also started a school (Kindergarten and Grade 1) and pays the teacher out of his own pocket. He himself is poor and supports an extended family. The offering at the church is about seventy cents a week, which probably buys a handful of rice or some bananas.
Pastor Garcia had led a woman to the Lord just the night before, and she had asked for a Bible. He didn’t have one for her, so he was very happy for the one we gave him. We went to visit a family in Santiago (a grandma and four orphaned grandchildren) whom we support. They live in terrible poverty in a miserable shack, without running water or a bathroom.I had two New Testaments left, so I gave one, Mi Ciudad, Mi Dios (My City, My God), to 12-year-old Michele, the oldest of the orphans. She immediately started reading and was immersed in it throughout most of our visit. The other one, How to Find God (in Spanish), went to a young woman who is part of the extended family. She also started reading it right away, from the beginning. The grandma is illiterate, and I didn’t see any reading material in the home.
Carol & Walter Warkentin

Rags, Water, Sunflower Seeds and the Gospel

Show and Shine, an event where people bring their Harleys and hot rods to show off, attracts thousands of people every year from all over Manitoba and surrounding areas. It is held in conjunction with the Corn and Apple Festival in Morden, Manitoba, at the end of August. What better place to reach bikers with the gospel of Jesus Christ!
This year we tried something different: I picked up tracts, with the plan of salvation, from LifeLight Ministries, and we wrapped each one in a polishing cloth. As we greeted the bikers when they rode in, we handed them the cloth—a rag to clean their bikes and God’s Word to clean their lives!
The southern Manitoba chapter of the Christian Motorcyclists Association (CMA) set up a hospitality area in a cool, shaded area, where we handed out bottled water, bags of sunflower seeds and Hope for the Highway New Testaments from LifeLight Ministries.
Every once in a while bikers who have received a New Testament will come back to us the next year with questions about verses they have read.
Bob Wahl
CMA is an inter-denominational association of Christian motorcyclists whose mission is to share the gospel of Jesus Christ with bikers and anyone else who wishes to hear the gospel message.

Backpacks Filled with Love

Dixie kept her smile until the last of the 155 backpacks had been handed out—then she wept!
Along with the Thanksgiving turkey and pumpkin pie, Dixie and some of her friends found the time on Thanksgiving Sunday to make sure that others in Winnipeg also had something to be thankful for. They gave away backpacks stuffed with essential items such as socks, towels, toothpaste and soap—and yes, there were also turkey sandwiches and water bottles.
The greatest gift in each backpack was a copy of a New Testament, How to Find God, from LifeLight Ministries. Each bag was filled with the love of Jesus and a prayer that the recipients would be touched by His love and receive Christ as their Saviour.
Donations poured in from many people and various places. Dixie said, “It’s something the Lord led us to do. We are very thankful we have these means… But for all the good that’s being done, there is still an enormous need for more help.”
The people who received these gifts were thrilled with the group’s generosity. “This is such a neat idea,” said Jackson. “They’re great people. Most of us are hurting, and we don’t have much going for us.” John said, “I stay on the streets, and sometimes I sleep outside. There’s nowhere to go on Sunday except Siloam, where they have dinner.” Ronald has been on the streets for three years and has turned to drugs. He has been barred from several places where he could sleep inside. “I was a bad boy, “ he laughed. I carry a blanket and sleep outside.”
The blessings of this day may or may not be seen by those who gave donations, but each one will be rewarded in some way. Pray that those who were touched by God’s love and received a copy of How to Find God will read this New Testament, understand the Gospel message, find God and begin a personal relationship with Him.

The Word in their Language

In February, a team of nine people from the Church of the Rock in Winnipeg drove down to Aldama, Mexico. Aldama is a small village located in the mountains five hours south of Brownsville, Texas.
We took day trips to small communities and shared the gospel through song, drama and preaching. We gave Spanish New Testaments and Bibles to those who came forward to accept Christ as their Saviour and those who asked for prayer. One woman commented that it had been “seven years since someone from Canada visited our village.”
We spent an afternoon visiting people in the hospital in Matamoros. People were open to receive prayer for healing, and we were also able to encourage them through the spoken, as well as the written, Word. We were excited about the opportunity to give many of them a copy of the Scriptures in their own language.
Nancy Braun

Building Houses, Building Hope

In March the grade 11 and 12 students of Calvin Christian Collegiate (Winnipeg) boarded two buses and travelled to Mexico. Their ten-day trip had a goal—to build six homes for six families in the border town of Ciudad Juarez.
“Building Houses, Building Hope” is at the heart of Amor Ministries. Being in contact with Amor has been life changing for us at Calvin Christian. We have the privilege of raising money to buy all the materials for a house and then travelling down to Juarez and building that house for a family chosen by Mexican pastors who work and pastor in that area.
This year the number of students going made up six teams, which meant that we could build six houses. Our days are filled with building (only hand tools, no electricity or generators), playing with children and meeting the families. In the course of four to five days, a simple but sturdy house is standing.
Following is an experience of one of the teams:
“All of us in our group went into the house and lined up against the walls. Since there were only interior studs and not actual interior walls, we could see the entire space from any point. The Mexican family was ushered into the house and stood in the middle of the structure. Even though they had watched the construction process, it was moving for them to finally stand in and imagine themselves living in the structure. There were quiet tears and watery eyes as they stood there.
“Belinda, one of our students, spoke to them and welcomed them, in Spanish. We read some Spanish Scripture, had a prayer for them and left them with a Spanish Bible. The family responded with some comments, with Belinda translating. We concluded the ceremony with the song Praise God from whom all blessings flow, as we held hands. We presented the family with their house keys, a clear example to them of ownership.
“After hugs and handshakes, our group left, turning back to see the family standing in the doorway of the house we built. I felt that we had been hands and feet for our Lord, and we were blessed indeed.”
Our students have been impacted by the graciousness, joyfulness and thankfulness of the Mexican families. We have been blessed to share in the building of God’s kingdom in Mexico. The families gratefully accept the Bibles given to them, along with the key to their new home! We give the rest of the Bibles to the pastors who work there. They continue to distribute them where there is a need.
Gwen Neufeld

Pastors Share Bible

Sometime ago we received a request from Pedro, a pastor in Cuba: Praise God for the NIV Study Bible that one of my friends received! I’m wondering how I can get one as well. I have written to several places but have not received an answer. I’m a pastor in Cuba and also teach in two seminaries. Please “come over to Macedonia and help us.”
A short time later John van der Ahe wrote: Through an e-mail we received from Pedro we became aware of your existence. We haven’t heard about this ministry; please tell us about it.
For the past seventeen years my wife and I have been going to Cuba to encourage the pastors of all denominations. We bring them Bibles, musical instruments, communion cups, medial supplies, shoes and clothing. The pastors are hungry for fellowship with Christians from abroad, which is more important to them than gifts.
Pedro is a Baptist pastor in Floro Perez. He is asking for a Spanish NIV Study Bible for the pastors of Floro Perez, meaning that this Bible will be shared with other pastors in this small town. Less than half of the Christians in Cuba own a Bible
Just a few days ago, Pedro sent us this e-mail:
Dear friends in Christ:
I have no words to say THANKS A LOT! It is an amazing miracle to have my NIV Study Bible and the Planner. Thanks again.
Serving Jesus,
Rev. Pedro A. Obregon Sanchez

Tools for the Job

Another farmer and I travelled to the Sudan to do a farm project under Cal Bombay Ministries. When we arrived in Kampala, Uganda, we stayed at the African Inland Mission (AIM) guesthouse. The AIM compound has a distribution centre for AIM pastors in Uganda. I left three How to Find God NTs with them and also gave a Bible to a security guard who, I assume, was not a Christian.
Then I left for Sudan to work with the farm operation. Later, when I got back to the AIM office in Kampala, the security guard told me that the Bible I had given him was the first one he had ever had that he could understand. Of course, I was delighted to hear that!
When I returned home I had an e-mail from Kwagala Sande, who works under AIM. He wrote: “I lead a project called Tools for the Job, which provides African pastors with suitable study books. Some of the pastors open churches without any training or any Bible knowledge, so our vision is to provide them with the materials they need. Some of them request Bibles because they can’t afford to buy them. I have done a lot of travelling in Uganda and get the same request wherever I go.
“It was a blessing to meet a missionary from Canada. He told me about LifeLight Ministries and gave me a copy of a New Testament, How to Find God. I’m sure many people are blessed by your ministry of taking the good news of Jesus Christ to many parts of the world. God bless you all.”
Henry Dyck

Tuesday, November 06, 2007

Open Air Outreach

For the fourth year Forest Baptist Church led services at the Pinery Provincial Park near Grand Bend, Ontario. This provincial park is open year around for camping and is one of the highest traffic parks in the system, with one thousand camping spaces.
We held sixteen services, with the final service on the Thanksgiving weekend. All the messages were from the Gospel of John. Those who were interested received a copy of the Gospel of John when they arrived and were also offered other Scriptures, including New Testaments which we received from LifeLight Ministries. Each week, following the service, a number of people came by the picnic table, spread with a variety Scriptures, and helped themselves.
One father, with a few children, came by the table following the service, and the little boy (seven or eight years old) picked up one of the New Testaments. I showed them the features and helps in it, and the boy asked his dad if he could please have one. His father said, “If you take it, you must read it!” The boy took it!
Up to 155 people attended the services in the middle of the summer, with about twenty people from the church serving as greeters, leading the worship team, reading Scripture, praying, preaching and helping with the setting up and taking down. During July and August we also had a children’s program behind the stage during the message. (Victoria Day weekend was snowy, and only six people showed up!)
Thanks to a grant from LifeLight Ministries, we were able to put more than fifty New Testaments in the hands of people from Michigan to the far reaches of Ontario, and only the Lord knows how they will be used and what the results will be in changed lives.
We have already confirmed that we will be having these services again next summer—a great outreach into this primary vacation spot near our church!
Pastor Laurie Morris