A Week of Prayer for International Missions!

Screen Shot 2016-12-04 at 1.27.36 PM.pngToday kicks off the IMB’s Week of Prayer for International Missions. The IMB is asking all of our partnered SBC churches to join together to lift up the personnel we have on the ground.

The Week of Prayer begins today, Sunday, December 4 and continues until next Sunday, December 11. I’ve included a link below that will allow you to join other believers from around the world who will be lifting up our IMB missionaries.

I would encourage you to make this a part of your devotional time this week. If you have a family, consider doing this along with your spouse and children.

Let’s make it our hearts cry that God would use the prayers of his people to open doors to the Gospel like never before!

https://www.imb.org/lottie-moon-christmas-offering-week-prayer/

Screen Shot 2016-12-04 at 1.20.54 PM.png

 

India Team: Finally Able to Post!

Hi Church Family,

We’re sorry we’ve been unable to post much. Our days have been long (but sweet!) and we’ve had little internet access over the past couple days. Below some of our team members have included some of the stories along our journey!

IMG_1730.jpgIMG_1731.jpg

 

From Amanda:

I met the most endearing Christian woman believer here this week, her name is Alice. She was born into a Christian family in northwestern India and is a dedicated believer and student in the Timothy Initiative. Please pray for her. Alice’s husband is in the Indian Army and is currently stationed on the India/Pakistan border in Kashmir.

This is a very dangerous posting, as there is great tension currently between Pakistan and India, to the extent that lives are lost almost daily. She trusts the Lord to keep him safe during his tour of duty. She only see’s him for approximately 2 months each year.

The similarities in our lives surprised me. My husband Matt is an AFRES C-17 pilot and commercial cargo pilot, both Alice and I have to manage our complete households whilst our husbands are away while still remaining submissive wives in the biblical context. It was such a joy to meet her and see how quickly we connected at a woman to woman level.

Proverbs 3:2-3

“Let love and faithfulness never leave you; bind them around your neck, write them on the tablet of your heart. Then you will win favor and a good name in the sight of God and man.”

(Alice is in the front row in red!)

IMG_1826.jpg  Alice.JPG

 

From Heidi:

I love how the Lord uses these trips to show us ourselves. Many of the students going through CPTI are quite young and are first generation believers in a culture that is very tough to teach the gospel. Yet they are so passionate and uninhibited in their zeal for the Kingdom. They want nothing more than to grow and learn and mature in the faith. They also feel the urgency in spreading the gospel and they are not waiting around to begin doing it! It caused me to reflect. I read my bible, I seek out opportunities to minister to those around me, and I am aware of certain gifts I have been given to use for His glory… but am I doing these to the best of my ability? Am I content with where I am, or am I continually seeking to be more mature in these areas? Am I making the most I can of these areas? 2 Timothy 1:6-7 says, “For this reason I remind you to fan into flame the gift of God, which is in you through the laying on of my hands, for God gave us a spirit not of fear but of power and love and self-control.” All believers have a call to ministry (in some form or other) and we all have divinely given gifts to help us along the way. Though these gifts are given to us by the Holy Spirit, it is up to us to fan them into flame; to practice them and grow in them, thus making ourselves more effective for the Kingdom as we mature in our gifts.   But spreading our wings in our gifts can be a very intimidating thing! Nobody wants to fail; especially when it comes to ministry. After Paul reminds Timothy to grow in his gifts, he also reminds him that he does not need to be fearful. In 1 John, Paul reminds us that perfect love casts out all fear. Our gifts are given to us from God and in that perfect love we can let go of all fear and jump into this crazy world with abandon for the Kingdom. Now, as we prepare to return to the U.S., this is what I am searching in myself: what gifts have I been given, what am I doing to fan them into flame, and am I acting with zeal and urgency in spreading the gospel?

IMG_1704.jpg  Heidi 3.JPG

 

From Matt:

Our time in India has been sweet… the people, the places and the work are more than words can say. The last few days have been very busy, we finished up training and are now debriefing in Delhi before heading home tonight. With a few minutes of down time today it was nice to reflect on all that we have experienced in this wonderful country.

Working alongside the brothers and sisters here is such a privilege. I wanted to share just one story but there are too many great moments running through my mind. I think the greatest encouragement was seeing the humility of the students involved in the training. Many of them are first generation believers and are in need of guidance, care and intentional discipleship. However, they don’t allow their lack of information stop them from living lives that imitate Christ. Their hospitality and dedication were inspirational and I can’t wait to see what God has in store for this part of the world.

I would encourage everyone to pray about how they could be used to serve on one of our teams in the future. These believers are dedicated to the cause, these churches are growing and these cities are ripe for the harvest…what a privilege it is to be one of the workers who is sent into the harvest.

IMG_1915.jpg  IMG_1720.jpg

Northern India, October 29th, 30th & 31st

Firstly wish y’all could be here, it’s amazing. The people of Northern India are some of the most hospitable and kind people I have had the honor to meet in the world.

The past few days have been the Hindu and Sikh Festival of Divali, the festival of light, this is a huge national holiday.

Right now we are in City A, and have completed two training sessions out in the villages. There have been about forty people at each of the sites: men, women and lots of children. I picture these gatherings as representative of how church would have looked back in the 1st century. People gathering together to eat, learn and fellowship.

This area of Northern India is very fertile so we drive through miles of rice and beet fields to reach the churches in which the training is conducted. The roads are frightening, as the only one traffic rule is that there are no rules. You see people driving the wrong way down roads and total mayhem with horns blasting at every junction.

Crazy stuff: we’ve seen two elephants on the road a few herds of water buffalo been driven down the roads but up until now, no monkeys.

Internet is a bit slow to post pictures but we’ll try again soon!

Amanda

 

 

 

Hello from the Middle East!

Debby Hulett, Dick Gafford and Jo Gafford are part of a team of 31 from Charleston and Alabama who have traveled to the Middle East to work with / serve Syrian Refugees. For security reasons we cannot say where we are, but we are in a very safe environment. This land is breathtaking and the people are so welcoming and hospitable!

After almost 24 hours of travel we arrived exhausted, but so excited to begin our work = vision screening, eye glass distribution, food and hygeine packet distribution and visiting with the people. Most importantly, letting these displaced people who have lost homes, family, business and everything, know that they are not forgotten. There is an almighty God who loves them and is not blind to their suffering. While we can do scant little to ease their physical suffering, we can offer them the one thing that will ease all their pains for eternity, Christ!

Please pray for these beautiful people, for open hearts and minds, and for God’s purpose and perfect plan!

Be His feet! Jo

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Our Fall 2016 India Team

Missions Spotlight- Fall 2016 India Team.png (Matt, Dave, Amanda, Liz, & Heidi)

Our team of 5 will be serving alongside our brothers and sisters in India from October 27- November 6.

Our partners in India are leading 150+ students through a training called The Timothy Initiative. This Church Planting Training Initiative (CPTI) is a 3-year program intended to help equip believers to make disciples and plant churches. In fact, one of the requirements of this training is that each student plant at least one healthy church in order to graduate. That means they must be very intentional to share the gospel, make disciples, and gather them together, regularly meeting for the preaching of God’s Word and carrying out the ordinances of baptism and the Lord’s Supper.

Our partners have been leading these students through this program for almost 2 years now. By January 2018, we will graduate our first students! If all of our current students fulfill the requirements for graduation, we could see 150+ new churches in Northern India!

Our church’s role is simply to come alongside our brothers leading the CPTI to encourage the students as they pursue Jesus and His mission. Our team will be visiting 6 centers. Our hope is to offer a retreat-like atmosphere for them so they can be encouraged, challenged, and refreshed. Just to give you an idea of what we’ll be doing… here is what we’ll be including in our time with them:

I. The Importance of Establishing a Devotional Habit

  1. Hearing & Obeying God’s voice
  2. Waiting on the Lord

II. The Importance of the Family

  1. Singleness
  2. Godly Husbands & Godly Wives
  3. Parents
  4. The Family on Mission

Please pray for us as we teach. Pray our brothers and sisters would be encouraged. Pray they’d feel deeply cherished and take heart that there is a part of God’s family on the other side of the world faithfully praying for them. Pray for mutual edification. Pray we’d have an abundance of opportunities to share the gospel (specifically that the Lord would orchestrate divine moments to clearly articulate the gospel with peoples he’s prepared.) Pray we’d have boldness! And ultimately, pray that Jesus would be made much of, for His glory and our good!

For the team,

Liz

Marlin

Since yesterday was our last day of ministry, we traveled back to Guatemala city today. We were very fortunate that those who were sick this week did not get sick on the car ride. Today has been a well needed day of rest for our team.

Once we arrived at the Arkansas House, we had a time where we debriefed the week. Because we did not have any ministry from today to tell y’all about, I wanted to tell you about our friend Marlin. We went to La Libertad on Wednesday and visited a school our team had never been to before.

Among the wonderful children we encountered, Marlin was the one who really connected with our high school girls. She is a 12 year old student with a tender and beautiful heart. She was constantly talking to our students, and never gave up on communicating. With the language barrier, most of the children would not talk to us unless we asked them one of the few questions we knew in Spanish. Marlin would speak to our students as if they were her very best friends. Because of Marlin’s kindness and perseverance to communicate to them, many of our high school girls left the school encouraged with full hearts.

Tomorrow we will start our journey back to South Carolina!  A couple of our team members are still feeling a bit sick so please pray for their health during our plane rides back. Thank you for your continuous prayer for our team this week. To end this post, I will leave you with a picture of Marlin two of our high school girls.

 

-Ashton

 

photo-16