Blessings in Abundance!

By Jonni Sliver
Missionary in Brazil

I would just like to take a minute to thank God for working through young lives.

As I write you we (the Miriam Children’s Home team) are getting ready to say good-bye to two precious young women who have been working alongside of us for two months – Ruthie Grove and Cheyenne Hanson. The girls brought willing hearts, busy hands and overflowing joy and have blessed us (and I hope that they have been blessed too!).

At the same time, in Curitiba, five hours to the south-east as the car drives, 25 amazing young people are just getting over jet lag and are already ankle deep in the FLY missions outreach. Again, we have been looking forward to their arrival since last year! I can only imagine all that the Father has planned for each member of the team, but it is our joy to get to be a part of it all.

Quincy and Maisa

Quincy and Maisa

But sometimes God surprises us with an unexpected blessing. The end of June Paul and Becky Abel came to Campo Mourao to work on an ongoing document puzzle. They brought with them Quincy, a young man (18 years old) who is a member of an outreach team coming in August. Quincy wanted a longer ministry time in Brazil so he came early. While Paul and Becky were trying to unravel red tape, Quincy visited the Miriam Home, and it seemed like love at first sight. Though our kids love visitors, and can play for hours with anyone willing, they don’t easily trust. Somehow, though Quincy spoke almost no Portuguese, and certainly didn’t look like the big brother of the children in the house (he could easily be called Ole, even though he isn’t even from Minnesota), there was an almost immediate bond between him and the children.

Quincy talked with me on the second day of his visit and said he admired the team of “house moms” who worked so hard to take care of the children, but he could see how important it was that the children also had the presence of men – big brother and father figures. He saw how he could fit in to the ministry. Before the long week-end was over Quincy asked the Miriam Home leadership if, with Paul and Becky’s approval, he could return to help in the Home.

Everyone agreed and for three special weeks Quincy was the official big brother of the Miriam Home. We were blessed by his willingness to help with any practical need, and his ability to see when help was needed without some having to ask. But our biggest blessing was simply the impact he had on the children. One morning I entered the Miriam Home office, and I could hear that it was a bit turbulent in the living room, next door. I went to see if I could help and I saw that the commotion centered around Jorge, our almost three year old who is a little ball of energy and mischievousness. He was having a bad morning, and I offered to bring him into the office where he could calm down. Odette, the house mom, said I didn’t need to because Quincy would be there in just a minute, and Jorge always calmed down when he was with Quincy. What a blessing to see the fruit of the Spirit: peace, joy, patience; not only manifest in Quincy’s life but mirrored in the lives of our children!

Praise the Lord for the precious young people willing to give of their savings and holidays to serve the Lord. They leave behind a trail of amazing blessings!

Amanda Bellefy in Ecuador

“God is faithful, by whom you were called into the fellowship of his Son, Jesus Christ our Lord.”  I Corinthians 1:9

I read this passage this morning in my devotions, and it reminded me of how faithful God has been and will continue to be.  A lot has happened in the last month.  The students graduated from the Bible school in June.  It was a special day, especially since it was the completion of the first year of the Bible school in Ecuador.
Since then, the school has moved and we are looking for a new location before the beginning of the new school year in September.  We have 4 students enrolled so far, with more possibilities.  I will be teaching an English Bible class 4 days a week for the whole school year starting in September.  I’m excited for the opportunity, but a little nervous as well.  I have been working on preparing my lessons and curriculum.

This week was the first week of our summer kids club. We still have 2 weeks left.   We have around 50 kids and the students that graduated from the Bible school are teachers.  I helped prepare the lessons and crafts for the different classes.  I am also teaching English and piano.  I think I’m learning more Spanish than they are English in preparing for my classes-ha.

Right now I am living with the pastor and his family until we find a new location for the school.  Today we visited a place that has potential, but ultimately it’s in God’s hands.

I was sick for a little while, but am feeling much better now, praise the Lord.

Thank you all for your prayers, support, and encouraging notes.

Please pray:

  • For a new school location
  • For potential students
  • For my English class, preparing and teaching, that God would be glorified
  • For the Summer Kids’ Club

Thank you again.  In Christ,
Amanda Bellefy

Four on the Fourth

BARB STRANDwebBy Barbara Strand

As a nation, we recently celebrated the Fourth of July, and I was allowed the privilege of celebrating with four generations at the lake: from a wonderful lady who has seen many Fourth of July celebrations, to young ones who are just starting their journey through life. As we ventured out onto the lake for the fireworks display (a first for the oldest amongst us) we saw the beautiful man-made display of colors light up the sky in front of us, however when we looked back, we saw the beautiful display of fireworks over the same lake that only the God who created this world could provide.

 

Often when we see the fireworks that God displays, there may be a storm brewing and we are apprehensive of what may be coming our way. Life for some right now have “storms” brewing in their lives; the loss of a loved one, broken families, a harsh word that may have been spoken, unresolved addictive sins, and I looked at the words of the song, “You are the Peace in My Troubled Sea”. We all wrestle with fears and doubts, and have questions that don’t seem to have answers, but if we have Jesus in our hearts, we can be assured if we cry out to Him, He will answer our prayers. Psalm 34:15 NIV: “The eyes of the Lord are on the righteous, and his ears are attentive to their cry. “ The following verses in Psalm 34 (17-20) let us know that the Lord hears us, He is close to us, He saves us, He delivers us, and He protects us. Let Jesus be your peace in every situation.

 

I am thankful for a nation that grants me the freedom to celebrate freedom. Let us be reminded of the cost of that freedom and strive to preserve this land of the free and the brave. Let us learn to trust the One who created us and be thankful for Who He is in our lives and trust Him above all else.

 

Josh and Ruthie Wagner update

Catch at look at the latest  addition to the Wagner household!

www.facebook.com/groups/wagnerupdates

July 9th at 5:00 am, this precious bundle arrived. We are grateful to the Lord for a safe delivery in our home here in Sierra Leone. Ruthie’s Mom (Margaret Lee) arrived evening of July 6th, in time for Isaiah’s arrival–2 weeks early. Thank you for standing with us in prayer through this difficult pregnancy. Ruthie and Isaiah are doing very well!

For as the rain and the snow come down from heaven
and do not return there but water the earth,
making it bring forth and sprout, giving seed to the sower
and bread to the eater,
so shall my word be that goes out from my mouth;
it shall not return to me empty,
but it shall accomplish that which I purpose,
and shall succeed in the thing for which I sent it.
- Isaiah 55:10-11

Isaiah Robert Wagner birth announcement 5

It’s The Little Things

Vicki JohnsonBy Vicki Johnson

 

I used to find it tedious and time consuming, this little thing called chit-chat. My childish ears eaves-dropped on Mom’s conversation with a friend at church about insignificant life events, oblivious to what was being said. Like a bee gathering sustenance from flower to flower, she would advance to another friend and begin the process all over again. During the week, Mom would call a friend who had mentioned a pressing need or problem and offered a listening ear and the promise to keep her in prayer. Her friendships were built from the smallest interactions drawn together with love.

I didn’t catch on to this until much later. As a teenager I thought, “My conversations were going to be substantial and full of meaning. No wasted words. No silly talk about how to make this casserole low-fat or when does the department store have the best sale on children’s clothes.”  My desire to be profound inhibited my ability to see the treasure in mundane dialogues. If a bee passed up the insignificant flower to get to the really important blossom, we wouldn’t have any gardens or honey.

I am mindful of what Luke 12:6-7 says about the little things, “Are not five sparrows sold for two cents? {Yet} not one of them is forgotten before God. “Indeed, the very hairs of your head are all numbered. Do not fear; you are more valuable than many sparrows.” So, what does God think about? Sparrows, hair counts, our daily cares, as well as saving the world from sin. To God, all things have value; all things are worthy of His attention and interest.

I no longer pass off a request for a low-fat recipe as something not worthy of my concern, but rather, I see an opportunity to talk about cooking in general.  Or the mention of sales initiates an impromptu outing to the store and a visit over coffee.  Each little moment of conversation holds value. They are the building blocks of life in God’s World.

 

The Important Thing!

By Jonni Sliver

We celebrated Mother’s Day last month. Lovely images came to mind – a precious little girl bringing flowers to her mom, a little boy proudly presenting burnt toast to mom for breakfast, the acrid but delightful love offering! But I am long past a precious little girl and it is five years since my mother received her reward; I’ve never had children of my own so I guess Mother’s Day doesn’t have much to do with me. Right? Wrong!

I received a gift that not everyone gets. As an adult I got to live with my mother. For five years mom and I lived in a two bedroom apartment and did just about everything together, from cooking to cleaning to putting together massive jigsaw puzzles (credit where it’s due, mom probably did 70% of them) and telling really silly stories (we were both pretty  good at that!). I got to know my mom as my friend and five years after her passing I still am blessed every day because of what I learned from my mom.

I learned about priorities. Mom didn’t answer the phone or the door for the first hour or so after she woke up (that was o.k., the people who knew her knew not to call then anyways). That was because she had her quiet time, right in her bed, before her feet touched the floor. She had her Daily Bread, her study Bible and a Bible encyclopedia all on the table by her bed. She would begin her devotional but it would quickly become a study as she looked up a city she didn’t know, or a practice she wasn’t familiar with in the encyclopedia. She would separate the verses that touched her heart and look up all of the cross references and then she would share them with me at dinner that night. And then she would pray. She prayed for her children and grandchildren, she prayed for her church family, she prayed for what she saw on the news last night. She had seen God move, she had seen His faithfulness, and she held on the promises of the Father!

But that first hour or so wasn’t “God’s time” in her day. Mom found moments all through her day to meet with the Father. She was the leader of our church prayer chain, most of the prayer request went out by e-mail, but there was a good size group of ladies who weren’t online. Mom would call them to share the prayer requests, and they would talk. All of the phone chain were a little older (like mom), many were widows, several had hard times getting out of the house. The calls mom made remind each woman that she was still part of the family, she still had a ministry and that she was loved. It only took mom five minutes to send the e-mail prayer requests, it took, sometimes, hours to do the phone chain, but for mom it was time well spent.

When I get so busy with the “important” things that I have to do that I am irritated by drop in visits, I can just about hear my mom reminding me about what really is important. There really isn’t an age limit to learn from your mother!