Monthly Archives: December 2016

Merry Christmas!

Merry Christmas!!!                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                       December 22, 2016

We are enjoying the month of December.  We are in our rainy season and if it were as cold here as it is in Ohio we would be buried in snow.  We have already gotten more rain this year than we had all season last year.  We are very grateful!

We continue to do the Radical Experiment which involves reading through the Bible in a year and praying around the world in a year.  We mentioned the book,  Radical in our last letter.  In chapter 9, David Platt shares this Radical Experiment for those of you who want to take the challenge.   It also involves following Christ in another context (doing something different that you may not have done before, i.e. working in a soup kitchen, helping with donations for the destitute, volunteering , all kinds of things come to mind.  (What better season to try this one?) It means stepping out of your comfort zone perhaps and blessing someone else less fortunate than yourself.) The fourth part of the challenge is sacrificial giving.  Giving from the heart, until it hurts.  Not just giving out of your surplus.  The widows mite comes to mind (See Luke 21:1-4).  The United States was on the prayer schedule for almost a week and Zimbabwe is on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day.  Both countries are desperate to be held before the Throne.  We believe God is going to do mighty things here and there.  Isaiah prophesied that Israel should not dwell on the past and that God was doing a new thing.  He said, “Don’t you perceive it?  I will make springs of water come out of the desert.”  We are praying for springs of living water to flow out of our hearts and to get everyone around you and us very wet.  God is going to change Zimbabwe and the United States.  He is not done with us yet!!!

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And now, a word from our sponsor.  It is nearing the end of 2016 and you might be thinking you would like to make one more generous donation to a charitable organization before the year end to get a nice deduction on your 2016 tax return.  Well, do we have a deal for you!   That’s right, you can help support our ministry work in Zimbabwe, Africa.  It’s easy and painless.  Make your check out to “Partners Worldwide” in any amount you’d like.  Please put “PACC, ZIM” on the memo line of your check.  Our names should not appear on the check itself.  Put your generous check into an envelope and address it to :

Partners Worldwide

6139 Tahoe Dr. SE.

Grand Rapids, MI 49546

Put a first class stamp on the envelope and put it in the mail. It needs to be post marked by Dec 31.  Easy peasy.  Simple as can be.  Now, sit back and enjoy the rest of this letter.

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Another book we’ve been reading together as a devotional is “Don’t Waste Your Life” by John Piper.  It is challenging and asks the question: Is Jesus worth giving everything up for?  We would all say, “Yes”!  But I have to ask myself, does my life show that I really believe it?  We want to reflect the Glory of our loving God and the blazing center of His Glory is the cross of Jesus Christ.  We are most satisfied and full of Joy when we do this.

We are very grateful for your prayers.  We are not without attacks from the evil one but we are learning that God will take the effort that Satan would use to ruin us, or our witness, and turn them into growing times if we recognize them for what they are and then respond in obedience to our Heavenly Father.  Pray that we will continually be made into the image of Christ.

The guys have been busy in the next dorm to be repaired.  They have been cleaning, painting and repairing ceilings in some of the rooms.  We were finally able to secure funds to buy paint and flooring tiles.

Without going into a lot of detail, the cash flow in Zimbabwe is struggling.  We’ve had funds in the bank, but it has been difficult to access it.  We are now able to do a transfer from the bank to a business for such supplies as needed without having to actually have cash dollars on hand.  It’s a slower process and takes a few days between picking out what we need, and actually being able to collect it. But at least we are back in business after a couple weeks of very little activity in the dorm.

Thank you for praying for our friend Mondreck.  He is improving but still in the hospital.  Today marks three weeks since he was admitted.  Hopefully he will be released before Christmas, but so far, we’ve not heard that.

There were about 30 high school aged students and their adult leaders on campus for about 5 days having a retreat of sorts, since they are on break from school until mid-January.  They wanted to hear about Rebecca’s work with the sewing group that has been formed on campus.  Three of the women were invited to come to one of their gatherings to share how they got started, what it means for them and how it has impacted their families.  It was nice to be able to encourage the young people and to spur them to think of ways they might become successful in business.

We have been invited to spend Christmas day lunch with our next door neighbors.  They take such good care of us, inviting us for dinner, sharing in birthdays and other celebrations, etc.  Actually, they pretty much spoil us, and I have to admit, we love it!!  They cook and bake such wonderful meals and treats, it is hard to resist! But then, why would we want to?

We hope and pray that everyone reading this letter will experience one of the best Christmases you can remember.  On Friday, in our morning devotions with the guys, Rebecca will be reading the Christmas story from Luke, chapter 2.  May each of you take a few minutes to read it also, to yourself or sitting in front of your Christmas tree to the whole gathering of family and friends, and reflect what this season represents.  May your day be filled with blessings and friends and food and fun!

We love you all and miss you like crazy!!

Merry Christmas!!

Rebecca and Jeff

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December newsletter, 12/12/2016

It has been an interesting couple of weeks since we last communicated.  As most of you know one of the men that Jeff works with has been dealing with swollen prostate glands and infected kidneys.  We have spent a lot of time at the hospital with him.  We praise God that he is looking and feeling a lot better but we haven’t heard from the Dr. yet and today or tomorrow they will do a needle biopsy to make sure it isn’t cancer.  Hopefully he will be released by the weekend.

Rebecca has been working quite a bit in the library on campus. A Bible school in the States donated 2500 books to our library.  She has learned the program for entering the new books into the system and works on it for a 3-4 hours nearly every day.  Labels have to be attached to the outside of the books, and in most cases new pockets and circulation cards are added. There are a few hundred books already shelved.

Earlier this week we had another close call when another one of our men was trying to pull some weeds that were tangled around the front wheel of the lawn mower and got his fingers too close to the blade and cut the ends of two fingers.  It was very close and while it was a pretty bad cut it could have been a lot worse.  This makes me shudder every time I think about it.  We praise God that it wasn’t worse.  Our Heavenly Father is taking care of us in a very wonderful and real way.

Our brother, Mundreck, is still in the hospital but seems to be doing better.  It seems that his system is responding to the antibiotics and medication.  We appreciate your continued prayers.  It is such an encouragement to us and to him when I tell him that people on the other side of the world are praying for him.

The children at Archbold Evangelical Church raised funds this past summer at Vacation Bible School to purchase flannel graph sets for the children of Africa.  We brought 5 kits of them with us.  Rebecca has been instrumental at getting them ready to distribute.  Two of the kits have been cut apart, sorted and put into a filing system of ZipLoc bags.  (There are close to 500 pieces for each kit to cut out and sort.) Two of the recipient churches provided lots of help to cut and sort all the felt figures. Jeff made display boards that can stand on a table, covered with flannel, to place the felt pieces on, to teach the children 182 Bible stories.  The remaining 3 kits will be distributed to rural churches throughout the country.  Already there was one kit that the team brought last January that is being shared by 5 different churches.  I imagine these 3 kits will be similarly distributed. The 3rd of 5 kits is almost ready to go.

We ask for prayers concerning the financial situation here in Zimbabwe.  They have changed over to their own currency and the banks don’t have very much in US dollars left.  They have only put out one and two dollar notes so far so it is hard to get cash to do business.  The banks are severely limiting how much cash you can withdraw each day.  Sometimes only $30 can be taken out.  And the lines at the banks are horrendously long.  We’ve heard of people standing in line for 3 hours or longer, only to be able to get such a small amount.  And then it’s not uncommon to get it all in coins.  Needless to say the business community is suffering a lot. If you have a card to swipe at the stores, it works like a debit card that we would have at home.  We have been trying to get one of those swipe cards since we got back here.  At first, the bank was out of them, then they said once they got some more, they didn’t work.  For the last couple weeks we’ve not heard anything about it.

The rains continue to fall and the ground soaks it up quickly.  Temperatures have been cooler than usual which is welcome relief.  One drawback is that we have no way to control temperatures/humidity in the house except to open and close doors and windows as needed, and put on warmer clothes when the temperature dips.  The humidity has been high with the rains that we’ve been having.  Some nights when we go to bed, everything feels damp and cool.  It reminds me of those camping trips when you crawl into bed and it just feels wettish. (I’m sure that’s a word, because I used it in a complete sentence.) So, it’s been somewhat uncomfortable on several nights, but at least we aren’t having to shovel snow like our friends at home.

A new thing we have started to do recently is to pray for the world, one country at a time.  The idea came out of our reading of Radical by David Platt.  If you Google “Operation World”, it will bring up a calendar of sorts, with the country of the day.  The page will give a map to show where the country is along with many statistics, suggestions of what to pray for the people, etc.  It’s interesting to see how God’s sense of humor shines through in the little things.  I missed this part of the Radical book the first time we read it a few years ago, probably because I didn’t want to take The Radical Experiment (See chapter 9). Anyway, it talks about the book, Operation World.  Two weeks ago it didn’t make a lick of sense to me, I wouldn’t have known the book if it jumped out in front of me.  BUT since I have been working in the library, I saw it on a stack of books and recognized it right away!  That is God’s sense of humor, don’t you think?  He puts me in the exact position to notice something that I otherwise wouldn’t have bothered with, and it’s exactly what was laid on our hearts to be doing. God is so Awesome!!!! For your information, Dec 24 and 25 are days to pray for the country of Zimbabwe.  We just finished 5 days of prayer for the United States.

The evil one would love to discourage us and all of Zimbabwe but we are renewed daily by the power of His Spirit and our joy is increased beyond measure as we reflect His Glory which is seen best in the cross of Jesus Christ.  Time is short and we feel a real sense of urgency to reflect God’s Glory to a lost and dying world.  We want to run hard toward the finish line so as to finish strong.

With that, we are signing off, and wishing you all a great week as you ready yourselves for Christmas day.  Remember that Jesus is the reason for the season!

Love and blessings,

Jeff and Rebecca

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Prayer Warriors needed!!!!

Hello, my dear prayer warriors!

One of the maintenance men that Jeff has been working with since the first day we’ve been here needs serious prayer right now!  He has been battling with multiple issues for several months now and he is in a crisis now.  Jeff took him to the hospital yesterday and they ran all kinds of blood and urine tests to see what is going on.  Today, they went back to get results.  Jeff just texted that they are admitting him for observation. He has a 50/50 chance that his kidneys will recover.  He has been in this place before and it looks like we are seeing a relapse of kidney failure, prostate problems, etc..

Please pray for the doctors to know what to do for Mondrek.  Pray that God will touch Mondrek’s body and heal him.  Pray for his body to respond to treatments, and to restore the strength of his body.  Also, pray for Jeff.  He’s struggling with the thought of losing this very dear friend of ours. Mondrek is 63 years old.

Thank you all for your prayers!!!

rebecca

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