From Syd Sparks at Camp Musana, Uganda
Dear Pastor David,
We are writing to you to send our deep, heart-felt thanks for the extra help that the church has sent these past months to help Musana through its financial crisis. That has been an amazing blessing, and we are incredibly grateful that the Lord put that on your hearts for these months. COVID-19 obviously changed things all the more (for us and the rest of the world!). Our hearts are saddened by the decisions that had to be made at Musana, but we are trusting the Lord that this is His perfect plan. We know that He is working all things for good and for His glory! We are grateful for the different ways that He has already provided through this difficult time. Please pass on our thanks to the Global Partnership Board and church for your part in that! And thank you for your ongoing prayer and financial support for our family personally!
(The church has given support directly for the ministry of Camp Musana for the last 5 months to help them get though some very difficult financial situations having nothing to do virus.)
From our global partner Syd Sparks, director at Camp Musana, Uganda
(NOTE: In January, we were able to direct $500 a month for the overall operational needs at Camp Musana. Here is an update from Syd .)
“The funding from Calvary is helping us tremendously during this time. Without it we would be hurting even more than we are. I know you remember our conversation regarding camp finances, which lead to Calvary helping us out through July. What we never could have foreseen at that time was the COVID-19 pandemic and ensuing economic impact. It has forced us to close camp and has cut off all of our in-country income, which is the overwhelming majority of our income. As a result, we have been forced to lay off 17 of our staff members. This has really hurt. The emergency fund that NHUM has raised up, when put together with the support from Calvary and 3 other churches, has enabled us to keep 14 of our staff. Were it not for this we probably would have been forced to close camp completely.”
The annual RAMADAN fast for the Muslim world begins April 24 and ends May 23rd. The daily routine for them is to finish each day with a special iftar meal with their extended family and friends, followed by Mosque prayers. They can do neither this year.
As we pray together during the month of Ramadan, may the Holy Spirit draw many to our Lord Jesus Christ. During those days of elevated physical activity, may they sense the futility of seeking approval from their impersonal god - Allah. May Christians speak wisely and boldly to those seeking to satisfy the deep spiritual hunger within themselves. Pray that they come to Jesus in a personal relationship, the springs of living water! See 30DaysPrayer.com for a prayer guide or, if you prefer a hard copy, contact: firstname.lastname@example.org
Garth and Rachael Erickson, with Cale and Sophie, can’t leave Indonesia, as Rachael is sick. Her symptoms would keep her from getting any international flights out of Jakarta, Indonesia. They are quarantined for the next two weeks and have no dates for flying out. This also means that Wyatt and Emma can’t join them for Sophie’s high school graduation and the planned closure of their ten years of life in Papua, Indonesia, at the Hillcrest School. Please pray for Rachael's and the family’s health, and pray for them as they adjust to the changes and losses in their plans to celebrate these major events.
Update from Dan Hovestol in northern MN.
“The 53 days that I've been grounded by our stay-at-home order will end up being at least 6 weeks if this ends on May 4.
There is definitely concern about this spreading on the reservations. Red Lake Nation (north of us by 45 minutes) has enacted Marshall Law on their reserve, which they can do because they are a sovereign nation. They have police barricading roads and only allow on the reservation people who have appropriate ID. My son is a nurse up there, so each day he has to show his badge before being allowed to enter the Red Lake reservation. The three reservations in our area are so interconnected, I have no problems with Red Lake doing this. It probably protects spreading to the other two reservations. We have a total of 16 cases in our county and the 7 counties around us and there have been no fatalities.”
Update from Jon and Helen Hovestol. They are in Honduras and the country is on lockdown, which includes no flights out. Here is their current testimony:
“We are doing great—feeling totally at peace where God has called us. We know that peace comes only from Him! We continue to work each day in the clinic, even though our numbers are down and our legal safety procedures are in place."
“As far as our supplies, we are incredibly blessed! We currently have enough medicine to last well into next year—we wondered why God supplied so much when HE did! He knew! Praise God!”
May Jesus and the Holy Spirit show their presence to His church around the world this weekend; especially in the hard places like Italy, India, Israel, and Iran. (I pick a letter and then name some countries to pray for - all but X and Q, I think. It helps them come to mind easier.)
Pastor David at email@example.com.
From Ananias House, our church global partner serving the people and the church in Lebanon and Syria:
One of the pastors we serve in Lebanon sent us this update
virus has drastically affected the lives of people in Lebanon and Syria.
Economically, the local currency dropped to half of its value and almost all
food items have increased to double their worth. A large percentage of families
are going hungry and the government is unable to offer much assistance.
However, we are seeing people seeking the Truth. They are asking more questions. Our prayer is that people would repent and turn to the Truth of the Gospel.
If the Lord directs your heart to help provide food for the
churches in Lebanon for the refugees, please let me know and I will send you the
full letter from Ananias House. Pastor David: firstname.lastname@example.org
An update with a note from Pastor David: I have taught that the major occupational hazard for missionaries is chronic transition. This is beyond the need to be flexible; it is a reality of missions today. Here is a current illustration of this reality:
Dated April 3, 2020, from Jordan Nanda
I wanted to let you both know that I was asked a couple days ago to get a flight home as soon as possible, and I will have to end my internship earlier than expected. Things are getting worse in Mexico and the SIL center here is continuing to downsize and avoid having any non-essential people in the apartments or working in the offices. The US embassy is also now recommending that anyone on tourist visas return to the US as soon as possible. Andrea [Jordan's fiancée] was also recommended to return, so she will move to Wisconsin to be near me, and continue to work for Wycliffe remotely on her projects that she has been doing. We have flights to leave tomorrow and arrive Sunday. Pray for safe travels and for us to be able to get settled in/find Andrea an apartment to rent in Walworth County, amidst all the quarantining and social distancing.
An Update from Jordan Nanda , dated March 28. He is doing a short-term internship with Wycliffe Bible Translators in Oaxaca, Mexico.
The Coronavirus still hasn't hit Mexico as bad as I hear it is in the United States, but it has caused a lot of changes for my internship. All of the events that happen on the center here have been canceled – workshops, weekly groups/meetings, and other one-time events. Most of the missionaries who were staying in apartments on center have gone back to the United States, and many of the families who live nearby in town are trying to avoid contact. There's only one family still here and one other single besides Andrea and me, so it's almost like a ghost town.
Most of the things that we had planned for the rest of my time here are cancelled to avoid unnecessary travel, but thankfully I still have work I'm able to do on the computer that is meaningful to Ricky's translation work and from which I am constantly learning things that will be helpful for me down the road. It is a little difficult to be doing only tasks on the computer all week, where before it was broken up by meals with missionaries, prayer groups and Bible studies, observing workshops, and excursions into nearby towns.
pray for me that I will still be able to be productive and get a lot out of my
last few weeks. And pray that I will still be able to return on my flight back
to WI on April 22nd and continue with the next steps this summer.
An Important request:
This is a current request for help from our global partners Luke and Sarah Schrieber. They have been on furlough in Jacksonville, FL, which is his home town. Now they need to relocate into our area before flying back to Mexico City. The items they need to take back to Mexico City are located in Elkhorn and their flight to Mexico City is from Chicago.
They would prefer to move directly back into Sarah’s parent’s house (Jim and Barb Grunseth), but in order to protect them from any possible virus contact Luke and Sarah and the children need a quarantine house for a couple of weeks in WI. Do you know of somewhere they may be able to stay? A second home of someone that is not being used? It would be a huge help.
Please contact them directly: Luke Schrieber at (904) 601-6960
We have had partners return to the US early because of the virus:
- Hannah Thomas left Uganda before travel was suspended. She is home for the summer, returning to teach at a Christian school in Uganda in the fall.
- John and Jen Keller wrote:
Jennifer and I, along with three other team members, evacuated Mongolia and returned to the U.S. two weeks ago, at the direction of our sending agency, The Navigators. It was difficult to leave our friends in Mongolia as they braced for the coronavirus. Please continue to pray with us for their protection and that God will use this crisis to significantly advance the Good News of Jesus.
We are in good health and continue working remotely from Madison, Wisconsin, until such time that we can return to Mongolia. Our work includes ongoing contact for discipleship with our brothers and sisters in Mongolia and encouraging them to reach their friends, family and co-workers with the love of Jesus.
The threat and reality of the COVI-19 virus is forcing hard decisions by our overseas partners. Do we stay? Do we leave now? Is it safe to stay? Here are two amazing decisions:
- Alea Haywood, in Uganda for her gap year, is working at a baby orphanage. She has decided to stay in place and complete her commitment, even as travel from Uganda to the U.S. is closed for now. This is a very mature and impressive decision for a 19-year-old young lady.
- Ben and Kristin Choitz in Zambia wrote: “First, none of us are making any decisions based on fear. Second, we are called to stay put in all of our locations around the world for many reasons... one being that the mission is still on! This is our calling, in easy and tough times.” They are staying in place until they leave in late May for their planned furlough, if planes are flying.