12/31/2016: Strength For A School Teacher

Strength For A School Teacher

Thailand

 

Excitement and anxiety swirled inside me as I looked ahead to the new school year at the mission school where my family and I volunteer. Although I had been preparing my English lesson plans for weeks, I didn’t feel ready to start teaching again.

Sharon Streck.
Sharon Streck.

I loved teaching. More than teaching, I loved my students and could hardly wait to be with them again. But the stress of putting together class materials loomed like a mountain before me. We badly needed better English books—but since we couldn’t procure them, I had set about to reinvent my curriculum for grades 7 and 8. Now, with classes about to begin, I felt incapable of accomplishing the work in time. Little did I know that this school year would become my most challenging, faith-building year yet!

School began the first week of June—the rainy season in northwest Thailand. Last year’s students returned to Sunshine Orchard Learning Center full of smiles, and new additions also joined the big family. I prayed continually as I pored over my lesson plans and taught my classes. As I laid my challenges before the Lord, He proved unceasingly that He has a solution for every difficulty. No work is too hard for my Commissioner! “Faithful is He that calleth you, who also will do it.” 1 Thessalonians 5:24.

Grade Five.
Grade Five.

In addition to teaching English to grades 5, 7 and 8, I also headed up an afternoon work group. I loved working with the students—especially when we got wet and muddy together. Unfortunately, about three weeks into the school year I suddenly became sick. Through two weeks of illness, I managed to drag myself through my morning classes and afternoon work; but as the days went by, I slowly got weaker. I went to the hospital, but the doctor couldn’t diagnose my illness, and the medicine didn’t help. Before long, I couldn’t work in the afternoons. While

Grade Seven.
Grade Seven.

another teacher took charge of my group, I spent hours lying on my mat, propping myself up when I could to plan my lessons or do something else useful. Finally, I had to drop my classes, too.

Satan tried day in and day out to discourage me, but God was constantly there to help me. The teachers and staff proved a wonderful support. Also, at times some of my dear students would stop in to visit or at least chat a little as they passed by my house. Like vibrant rainbows, those moments brought joy to dreary days.

Grade Eight.
Grade Eight.

Two books helped me walk through the fire: The Great Controversy and Living the Life of Enoch. Communing with God through quiet hours gave me something to do besides stare out my window, listening to the ceaseless rain; and God’s presence made the solitude less lonely and discouraging. I knew that my faith would either flounder or grow stronger through the trial. So, although I could not see the path ahead, I chose to place my trembling hand in the hand of my Master. Trusting was often difficult. Every day brought a new test, but when my faith wavered, my Father’s faithful, loving hand would not let me go!

While my spirit took courage, my body continued to weaken until I could hardly move myself around on my mat. For a few days, my family had to feed me and walk me to the toilet. Those days of weakness dragged on extra long. Then, at the end of my third week of illness, strength began to return.

Songs of joy and gratitude filled my heart when at last I had just enough strength to return to school. Although symptoms of my illness lingered on—I ran a fever for most of the rest of the school year—I only missed a few days of classes after that. The Lord gave me just the strength needed to get through each day. Instead of returning to my outdoor work group, I was assigned to lighter afternoon duty: teaching one of the vocational computer classes.

That year of weakness brought me challenges with teaching that I hadn’t encountered before. Yet, countless blessings also came my way. Although fevers became an everyday reality, my Father’s strength was just as real. As I went on teaching anyway, I found that His strength has no limit. “I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me.” Philippians 4:13.

Working in the garden.
Working in the garden.

My illness slowed down my ability to write lesson plans and create a new program for my two upper classes— and that presented another challenge. Too often, I had to teach my classes with unfinished lesson plans! At first, it stressed me out to enter the classroom unprepared for the day’s lesson. I felt like my teaching was falling apart. Yet in such times, God would speak to my heart and remind me that He is completely capable of helping me.
When I had to start class little knowing what I would be teaching, I would ask God for help
and claim His promises. Once I had the chalk in hand, ready to write, God would clearly flash into my mind what to do. I realized that as long as I do my best, God can do the rest.
He’s got lesson plans already made up. I just need to ask for help and trust Him to communicate through me to my class!

I am very thankful for the lessons God taught me and for the opportunities He gave me to grow—even when those opportunities felt like sand paper scraping on the rough spots in
my character. Through all the trials of missionary life, I’m learning to live a life of constant gratitude and praise to my Commissioner who has sent me. As I give thanks in every situation, He fills me with peace that upholds me through all the challenges of life in this foreign mission field.

By Sharon Steck of Sunshine Orchard Learning Center in Mae Song, Thailand.
See www.missions.thesteckfamily.com. For more information on Sunshine Orchard, see www.sunshineorchard.org. To donate to the Steck family’s ministry, make your check payable to Northport SDA Church, PO Box 560, Northport, WA 99157, with “Sunshine Orchard Mission Project” as the memo.


12/24/2016: Change of Plans

Change of Plans

Bolivia

It was 12:52 am when my phone chimed. “Hello Mirta. You might say to Ruben to send the money with Herman? Also the anesthetics and needles that you gathered for the project. We are going to be here in Familia Feliz a week, and there is no anesthesia in town. I am in the middle of nowhere. I came looking for signal to send you this message.”

The mission plane that Mission Send Me uses to take dentists, physicians, and other healthcare professionals to minister to the people in undervdevelped areas in Bolivia.
The mission plane that Mission Send Me
uses to take dentists, physicians, and other
healthcare professionals to minister to the
people in under develped areas in Bolivia.

It did not surprise me to receive a text message from Gabriela Garcia late at night. For three months we had been messaging in the evenings after she got home from her dental office, planning a medical outreach project to northern Bolivia. Gabriela had already scheduled a mission trip to Familia Feliz (Happy Family), a Christian boarding school in Rurrenabaque, Bolivia, and she had a group of 20 people coming from an Adventist hospital to help. We decided it would be a great time for a few of us to add on a trip to Puerto Ustarez on the Guaporé River, the border between Bolivia and Brazil. I had been told on a previous mission trip that the people of Puerto Ustarez were especially needy, and I was excited to be able to minister in this remote location.

professionals provide dental and medical care.
professionals provide dental and medical care.

Plans had changed when an emergency arose in our family. My husband and I had traveled from our mission home on the campus of an Adventist television station in Santa Cruz, Bolivia, to be with my family in Entre Ríos, Argentina. To make things more difficult, I was now in bed with gastroenteritis. Days before, I had given up hope of being able to make the trip to Puerto Ustarez—a decision that cost me a lot of pain and tears. Since informing Gabriela of my plight, I had not heard back from her and hardly knew what would become of this trip I had spent so much time organizing. How glad I was to receive her messages at any hour! It appeared that God had extra work for Gabriela to do in Rurrenabaque, and she needed the supplies I had put together for Puerto Ustarez. I didn’t mind. If God opened the way for us to go to Puerto Ustarez in the future, He would surely provide more supplies!

Right away, I began messaging friends back home in Santa Cruz. They were sleeping, of course, but sometimes when God reveals His plans we have to act fast! I explained to Ruben and Romina where to find the supplies Gabriela needed: a suitcase of medications, a box of Christian literature, another box full of Bibles, and a cash donation to help reimburse travel expenses for one of the dentists. Everything had to be at the hangar before 6:30 am so that Herman, our mission pilot, could take it to Rurrenabaque. Thanks to God, Romina and Ruben acted quickly and delivered all the supplies on time. It was beautiful to see the hand of God guiding despite seeming failure!

Soldiers lined up for dental care.
Soldiers lined up for dental care.

Planning medical missionary trips to the jungles in the interior of Bolivia is the work God has given me. The people of this nation, especially in the northeast, greatly need medical help. Bolivia is thought to be the least developed country in South America, with 45% of the population living below the international poverty line of $2 a day. A majority of the people live in primitive conditions and hold indigenous beliefs. Thousands upon thousands of the nation’s children lack access to healthcare and education. According to the Ministry of Health, at least 95% of Bolivians have cavities. In addition, many villagers lack basic knowledge of health and hygiene, especially in the preparation of food. As such, the risk of contracting infectious diseases is high.

Mission Send Me is the organization my husband and I began in order to orchestrate medical missionary trips to remote, needy areas of Bolivia. We take dentists, dental assistants, health educators, eye doctors and a physical therapist (myself) to do all we can to help the poor with their physical needs and in this way show them God’s love. We always find much work to do both in helping people with immediate health needs and in educating them in the prevention of diseases, including how to obtain pure drinking water, keep food uncontaminated and practice sanitation in their homes. Thankfully, these poor communities are eager for medical attention. They appreciate our help.

While caring for people’s medical needs, we distribute outreach literature as well—books about family, education, moral values and health. We are confident that God continues His work through these books long after we leave the community!

Although the trip to Puerto Ustarez with Gabriela fell through, God knew what He was doing. As a boarding school that provides assistance to orphaned, abandoned, abused or very poor children, Familia Feliz was just as worthy of help as any poor village we could have selected. The 617-acre campus, home to 60 students ages 5 to 17, is about eight miles south of Rurrenabaque, Bolivia. Six small homes host groups of 8–12 students assembled by age, gender and emotional/psychosocial development. The houses are built of concrete and brick, some with thatched roofs and others with metal roofs. The school classrooms, built from the same materials, are small, dark and poorly ventilated, making for difficult school days in the hot climate.

Bright smiles cared for by volunteer dentists.
Bright smiles cared for by volunteer dentists.

Professionals and assistants from Peru, Argentina, Bolivia and Romania came together to help this school and its community with medical care and building maintenance. The project was richly blessed with six dentists who provided free dental care for students of Familia Feliz, soldiers stationed nearby, other army staff and people of the community.

The Argentinean crew, 20 members strong, worked on remodeling and rebuilding the dingy classrooms. They replaced thatched roofs and did other maintenance work with donated supplies. In addition to their hard work on the facilities, they put on a week of prayer for the children. One of the brethren even held a workshop on prayer for the soldiers!

Although we had to be absent from the scene of their labors, we give thanks to God for having been able to aid this medical missionary project by helping to gather medical supplies, Bibles and religious literature. We give thanks that so many people were blessed by the volunteer efforts!

By the way, the trip to Puerto Ustarez has been rescheduled. I trust that God still has a great work for us to do there. I would like to encourage anyone reading this who may want to give a week or two or even several months to work in God’s missions: There is much to do! “The harvest truly is great, but the labourers are few: pray ye therefore the Lord of the harvest, that He would send forth labourers into His harvest.” Luke 10:2. Please join us in the harvest field!

By Mirta Farias, missionary to Bolivia with her husband Miguel and their daughters. chemiclin@hotmail.com. For more information on Mission Send Me and to learn how to donate, visit www.missionsendme.wordpress.com.


12/17/2016: Little Lyza

Little Lyza

Philippines

Many feel that it would be a great privilege to visit the scenes of Christ’s life on earth, to walk where He trod. . . . But we need not to go to Nazareth, to Capernaum, or to Bethany, in order to walk in the steps of Jesus. We shall find His footprints beside the sickbed, in the hovels of poverty, in the crowded alleys of the great city, and in every place where there are human hearts in need of consolation. In doing as Jesus did when on earth, we shall walk in His steps.” Desire of Ages, 640.

While going forth in the villages of southern Mindanao to find souls who will accept the message of truth, my wife and I met Jomer and Maricel Carlos and their young family, who belong to the Lumad group (a term for the indigenous people here). For some reason, we both felt that we should stay and talk awhile after the Bible study. We ended up staying for an hour just visiting.

Little Lyza
Little Lyza

As my wife talked with Maricel, she learned of the affliction of the couple’s 4-year-old daughter. Calling me over, she pointed to the tiny child inside the bedroom, saying, “Look, there’s a baby girl who has been suffering for a year already.”

Looking at the young girl, I felt real pity for her. Instead of being an energetic toddler, she was thin, malnourished and unable to walk. “How did this happen to your child?” I asked.

The parents sighed. “When Lyza was three years old, she was fell off our bed and hurt her back,” Jomer explained. “We tried to massage it and make her feel better. For three months she walked normally and played with the other kids. After that, we noticed that the baby started coughing all the time, and was often short of breath.”

“We thought it was normal,” Maricel added. “We thought it was because of the change in the climate between the dry and rainy seasons.” It turned out the baby’s cough and poor health were not normal. As the months passed, Lyza’s condition worsened until she could not walk anymore. She could crawl around on her hands, but she couldn’t seem to operate her legs and her body properly.

Lyza’s deformed back.
Lyza’s deformed back.

“Lyza used to be a very happy, friendly child,” her mother told us. “But now that it has been a year since her injury, she just lies on our bed and waits for us to bring her food, it is sad for us to see her, we are still trying to get a compensation of her injury with help from the car accident attorney.”

My wife and I felt so sorry for this pathetic little girl. Her body looked like nothing but bones, and we knew the hard bed must be uncomfortable and tiresome to her injured back. “Why haven’t you sent her to the hospital to have an x-ray and find out what is wrong?” my wife asked.

“We wanted to do that, sister.” The mother’s eyes looked sad. “But we cannot because my husband’s income is only enough to buy food for us and our four children every day.”

Before we left, we offered a special prayer for little Lyza. Then I told the family, “Don’t be discouraged because of what happened to your daughter. God is merciful.”

Tears filled Maricel’s eyes as she thanked us for the prayer and encouragement. We could see how much she and her husband both wanted to see their baby recover and play normally with the other kids. As a parent myself, I felt their burden!

Jomer, Maricel, and Lyza
Jomer, Maricel, and Lyza

Although it was sad to see little Lyza suffering, we rejoiced at this family’s openness to hear the truth. Attendees of a Pentecostal church, they nevertheless gladly accepted our offer to study the Bible with them. As the studies progressed and they learned of the true Sabbath, they expressed gratitude to God for giving them light. They were just as willing to accept His truth about speaking in tongues. Even though they had thought that the Spirit was using them every Sunday when they spoke in an unknown tongue, they realized that it could not be the true gift of the Spirit because they themselves could not understand what they were saying.

As the Carlos family has accepted the light of truth, they have become allies to help us reach more in their village. Because of their interest in our message, they have introduced us to their neighbors and helped make us welcome in many more homes!

“The Scripture says that ‘men ought always to pray, and not to faint’ (Luke 18:1); and if ever there is a time when they feel their need of prayer, it is when strength fails and life itself seems slipping from their grasp. Often those who are in health forget the wonderful mercies continued to them day by day, year after year, and they render no tribute of praise to God for His benefits. But when sickness comes, God is remembered. When human strength fails, men feel their need of divine help. And never does our merciful God turn from the soul that in sincerity seeks Him for help. . . . The Saviour would have us encourage the sick, the hopeless, the afflicted, to take hold upon His strength.” Ministry of Healing, 225, 226.

To all my brothers and sisters in Christ, I ask you to remember little Lyza in your prayers. Pray not only for the Lord’s healing touch on her body, but for grace for her and her family to endure this hard trial and keep their faith in the Lord!

By Temtem Piedraverde. temtempiedraverde@yahoo.com. Support for Pastor Temtem’s work in the Philippines may be sent to Mission Projects International, PO Box 59656, Renton, WA 98058, or online at www.missionspro.org, marked “Philippine workers.”


12/10/2016: Surprises

Surprises

in Senegal

This summer, as in years past, about 95% of our neighbors observed the holy month of Ramadan—because 95% of Senegal’s population is Muslim. During Ramadan, believers abstain from food and beverages, including water, from sunup to sundown. Since the religious calendar follows the moon cycles, the month of fasting comes eleven days earlier each year, and these last few years it has come during summertime. The heat makes going without water even more difficult for adherents.

Although Ramadan is one of the pillars of Islam, many people don’t look forward to it. Physical difficulties aside, the religious holiday has become highly commercialized, much like Western holidays. Extravagance is expected at the evening feasts, so people actually spend more money on food than usual. Fasting all day also makes drivers jittery, and traffic accidents increase. Depending on the destination, I often prefer to take a taxi rather than fight with the traffic. Narrow roads combined with speed and poor judgment make for hazardous road conditions, especially at night. Still, God is on the throne. We put our lives in His hand daily!

Table for vacation Bible school activities.
Table for vacation Bible school activities.

During early summer, we worked at the outpost to construct a covered courtyard with easily accessible restroom facilities for outdoor ministry activities, including our August Vacation Bible School for the village children. The Children’s Ministry department of the West Sahel Union provided materials for 30–50 kids. Please pray for the village children as we continue to reach out to them!

At our rental house in town, I have set up the garage with used and donated furniture so we can comfortably host classes and Bible studies. I also plan to display a few natural remedies for sale there in a tall cabinet I was able to obtain. Already I am having wonderful experiences in the ministry garage studying with two ladies.

Claudine is Congolese and loves to talk about the Bible. I gave her a Bible a few months ago and we have looked at several subjects together. One Thursday she stayed at my house for over four hours studying about the spirit, soul and the state of the dead. The next week, we started talking about unclean meats. She resisted some, so I didn’t force the issue. I just told her to read Leviticus 11.

Esther is a Jehovah’s Witness who visited me while doing her own door-to-door evangelism. I invited her and her daughter in and we had a productive, friendly study about the divinity of Jesus. During the study, she saw that Revelation 1:11 was different in her Bible than in mine. I told her to look at other Bible versions to see what the verse said, and she promised to do so. When she came a second time with her niece, we talked about the soon coming of Christ. Recently she called hoping for another visit, which I was happy to arrange. Please pray for Claudine and Esther. I can see that they love the Lord and want to know Him better.

Challenges abound, but God is so good. We had firsthand evidence of His protection this summer. My son Malcolm had gone to the school to do some tutoring. Meeting his older sister there, he polished off her leftover lunch from a Chinese restaurant. Then, after tutoring for an hour, he went out for a game of basketball. During the game, his body started itching, but he ignored it until he realized it was getting worse and his face was swelling.

Garage where classes and Bible studies are held.
Garage where classes and Bible studies are held.

His sisters had been working at the school’s summer camp that morning. Niassa, his older sister, had left after the activities ended. Then, after walking a few blocks, she decided to return to the school. His younger sister Janie usually did some tutoring after summer camp, but had decided to skip that afternoon. Now the girls were relaxing together in a classroom.

When Malcolm started itching and swelling, he ran to find his sisters. By the time they saw him, his face appeared to have doubled in size and his eyes were almost swollen shut. Niassa had done some medical missionary training at academy and recognized this as a medical emergency. As they rushed out of the building to hail a taxi, a lady sitting on a bench near the entrance saw Malcolm’s face and offered to drive them herself to a doctor near the school. 

On the way, my daughters called to tell me what was going on. Immediately, I began praying for Malcolm. Having just finished a tutoring job myself, I took a taxi to be with my kids.

When Malcolm arrived at the doctor’s office, his tongue had swollen up and he was having trouble breathing. He said he felt like he was passing out. The doctor rushed him inside and gave him two shots. When I arrived about 10 minutes later, the swelling was subsiding, although Malcolm was still itchy and agitated. We put a wet towel on his back to calm him, and the doctor observed him for a couple of hours. Then he sent us home with contact information for an allergist who could help us find out what Malcolm is allergic to.

This experience shook us all. Malcolm had had an allergic reaction about 18 years before when we ate in a Chinese restaurant while visiting Maryland. I had ordered vegetarian food and specifically asked them not to use any fish sauce, but the next day Malcolm broke out in hives and later his tongue started swelling. We took him to Shady Grove Adventist Hospital where a kind doctor gave him some Benadryl and told us to get some from the drugstore. I felt quite ignorant to learn that all we needed was Benadryl, but it helped me understand the Bible verse that says, “My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge.” Hosea 4:6.

I was a very new Adventist then, but that experience began my journey of becoming a medical missionary. I had been reading the Spirit of Prophecy and I felt the truth pulling at my heart. From then on I vowed to learn more about health.

Now, 18 years later, living in a foreign country, the situation reoccurred in a much more serious manner. It was a surprise to everybody but God. When I think about the series of providences that happened that day, I feel awestruck and profoundly grateful to our God who sees and knows everything. Both my daughters “just happened” to still be at the school, but of course we know that God arranged it. God also stationed a lady who owned a car in my children’s path so she could be ready to take Malcolm to a doctor she knew with an office close by—closer than the doctor’s office my daughters would have taken him to in a taxi. God is so good!

Every morning I entrust all my loved ones into God’s care, and He has never failed me—not even during the hectic season of Ramadan. We can trust our Heavenly Father. He is our only confidence! “God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble.” Psalm 46:1.

   

By Deborah Ndione. senegalhealthproject@live.com. Contributions to this project may be made through Mission Projects International, PO Box 59656, Renton, WA 98058, or online at www.missionspro.org, marked “Senegal.”


12/03/2016: Cure of the Clay

Cure of the Clay

Honduras

In this world of advanced technology, increased health research and heroic medical treatments, you might think that we would no longer need the simple remedies that God has given us in the natural world. Yet I can testify that this is

Mixing up clay.
Mixing up clay.

not so! Day after day, in our work in Honduras, we see the need for the balm of Gilead to soothe a suffering world. We are told, “It is God’s purpose that His gospel shall go to all nations, kindreds, tongues, and peoples. And medical missionary work is the right, helping hand of the gospel, to open doors for the proclamation of the message. . . .

“Women should be educated in medical missionary lines, that as they go forth to heathen countries they may help those of their sisters who need help. In His service the Lord will open doors whereby His word can find entrance. . . .

Elsa Willis explains treatment.
Elsa Willis explains treatment.

“In reading the Word of God, we see that Christ brought medical missionary work into His ministry. Cannot our eyes be opened to discern Christ’s methods? Cannot we understand the commission He gave to His disciples and to all His followers? . . . As the medical missionary works upon the body, God works upon the heart.” Manuscript Releases, vol. 14, 270, 271.

Quotes such as this inspired us to come to Honduras over 15 years ago and continue to inspire us to do all we can to alleviate the needs of the people around us. Many poor and needy families occupy the nearby villages, and when there is a need, they often ask us for help.

Applying clay to Don Quintin’s legs.
Applying clay to Don
Quintin’s legs.

Recently, I had the privilege to be of service to an elderly couple in El Cerro del Toro who live alone and try to support themselves. Word got to me that Don Quintin’s legs had swollen up, causing him so much pain that he could not get around to do the little bit of work he does to survive. The day after I heard it, I went with one of the church members to visit Don Quintin. I could see the pain on his face. He told me that someone had taken him to the hospital but all they did for him there was give him a bag of ibuprofen. He said he had taken the pills for a week, but saw no improvement. In fact, his legs were getting worse.

As I examined him and asked him questions, I prayed for wisdom on how to treat the swelling. The next day I returned with a bag of green clay for his legs and some fresh fruit and vegetables, which I knew the couple couldn’t often afford. As I applied the wet clay to the swollen limbs, I explained its benefits and told of the instances in the Bible when Jesus used clay. I also shared one of my favorite stories to tell when doing treatments: the story of Naaman the leper and the muddy Jordan River. I emphasized the importance of obedience to God’s Word, telling my patient, “If God says seven, He means seven!” Mr. Quintin really enjoyed that story.

Don Quintin told me he felt almost instant relief when I covered his legs with the clay. In three days his legs had returned to normal size, and the pain was relieved. Thank God for natural remedies!

Mrs. Quitin receiving her new shoes.
Mrs. Quitin receiving
her new shoes.

While ministering to Don Quintin, I could not ignore his wife’s needs. On my first visit I noticed her wearing worn-out sandals, so on my next trip I brought her a new pair of shoes. When she put them on, she acted as excited as a little girl!

“The Christian is to be an agent for God, dispensing his blessings to others, and thus laying up for themselves treasure in heaven. His treasure will thus never be lost. . . . In blessing others, they are made glad with the thought that God has not forgotten them, and gratitude springs up in the hearts of those who have been suffering and oppressed.” Signs of the Times, September 12, 1895.

Please pray for us as we continue to minister to the needs of others using God’s natural methods of healing!

By Elsa Willis of Maranatha Medical Ministries. Support for this ministry may be sent to PO Box 390, Keysville, VA 23947.


11/26/2016: Step by Step

Step by Step

Thailand

I still recall the moment, around age eight or nine, when I picked up a mission story my mom had left out on the table. A voracious reader, I read the article all the way through, and my heart connected with the story. When I finished, I knelt down to tell God that I wanted to commit my life to Him. Although I never told anyone, in my heart it was a sacred moment—the beginning of an amazing journey God has been leading me on step by step.

For a while, life continued as before. I honestly wanted to give myself to the Lord, but I don’t think I understood what true surrender and following Jesus really meant. My early to mid teen years turned out to be a real a roller coaster as I sought to gain acceptance, fit in with my friends and live up to the ideals I’d set for myself. Although I did have some sort of relationship with God, my life was a selfish mess.

Through this stormy time of life, God showed me how empty worldly ideals are, and I began to see that only He could fulfill me. Providentially, I stumbled across yet another magazine article that would change the course of my life. This article, which focused on prayer, challenged me to make communion with God a daily habit. I sent the article to a friend and asked if she would be my accountability partner. She agreed, and we took on the challenge together. At 6 am, my alarm would ring and I would get down on my knees to talk to my Maker. As I learned to pour my heart out to God and give Him my frustrations, God slowly changed my attitude and my perspective. My focus shifted from myself to God, and I encountered a peace and joy I’d never had before. God started shaping me as I submitted to Him.

When I was 16, God led me to join Youth Rush, a summer literature evangelism program. During those 10 weeks of going door to door, I was pushed out of my comfort zone, stretched and challenged. Many mornings I fought huge internal battles, vacillating between my desire to serve God and my dread of rejection. In the months that followed, I had to step back and reevaluate my beliefs—to make sure my faith was my own and not just my family’s. I thank the Lord that He faithfully brought me through that season of questioning and built my assurance in Him.

The summer I turned 17, I jumped at a chance to do three weeks of mission work in Alaska. God used that trip to give me a passion for working for the salvation of others. He also used it to plant the seeds of future service!

Friends with Sabrina (right center) in Thailand.
Friends with Sabrina (right center) in Thailand.

On the trip, I met a girl named Heidi who had taught at Sunshine Orchard, a mission school in Thailand, for 7 months. She clearly had a passion for the place! In the course of the conversation, she told me that she and her sister were planning on returning in November. Then she added, “Why don’t you come with us?”

Although I’d heard about Sunshine Orchard, I had never considered going to Thailand. Yet somehow, I took Heidi’s suggestion very seriously. I spent the next few months praying, communicating with the staff at the school, fundraising for expenses and praying more. God worked miracles on my behalf, and I felt certain He was leading.

The day our travel plans would have been confirmed, we received an urgent email from Sunshine Orchard saying that the school was facing a crisis and urgently needed funds to remain open. Plans were set aside as we prayed for the school and sent money to help. By God’s grace, Sunshine Orchard remained open. Although Heidi and Haley had donated all their funds to the school, I had reserved enough for a ticket. It looked like I would be going alone!

About a month later, I boarded a plane to Thailand. It felt so unreal! Despite obstacles, all the planning and praying had come to fruition.

Those months in Thailand changed my life. Sometimes, when I felt overwhelmed with my teaching duties, I knelt down on the bamboo floor of my hut and poured out my heart to God. Rising from my knees, I felt energized, enabled to face the day of classes before me. I’m so thankful that in my weakness, Jesus was able to shine through!

Sabrina in Thailand.
Sabrina in Thailand.

As time went on, I discovered that simply coming to the mission field hadn’t erased my poor traits of character and made me giving and loving. Instead, I began to see my selfishness and the areas in my life that still needed to be surrendered to God. Even though it was difficult, I am thankful for what the Lord taught me!

While in Thailand, I saw some of the pain the Karen students live with every day. Their lives have been marred by seeing the genocide of their people in the struggle between the Karen and the Burmese in Myanmar. One student shared with me the grief and bitterness he was battling with because of having witnessed the murder of his father by the Burmese. Although he had experienced some healing through coming to know God, he still struggled with a desire for revenge. The bitterness was eating him up inside; I could see the unhappiness in his eyes.

Through my conversations with this young man, God placed a deep burden on my heart for him and for all those suffering with similar pain. So many students had been scarred by past experiences. They needed to experience the freedom that comes only from Jesus! Seeing their pain taught me to value people more. As my burden for souls grew stronger, I started to meet with a fellow teacher to pray specifically for our bitter friend and others like him.

The new habit of intercessory prayer revolutionized my spiritual life. While I have been learning to focus my prayers upon others, God has helped me to think less of myself. Though my heart breaks for the burdens some people still choose to carry, I take joy in seeing others turning their lives over to God—including the young man I prayed for!

Because of my time in Thailand, I know I will never be the same individual. God has given me a taste of the sweetness of working for Him, and I wouldn’t choose any other life. God has put a desire in my heart to return and work among the Karen people someday so that I can help them heal physically and spiritually. Experience has taught me that living for Jesus is the most fulfilling life possible, and I wouldn’t have it any other way.

Paw Ner Moo and Sabrina, Karen Sisters.
Paw Ner Moo and Sabrina, Karen Sisters.

Right now, I am at Hartland College majoring in Bible Instruction, with a minor in health. How I got here is a story in itself involving an instantaneous friendship with Paw Ner (Jasmine) Moo, a Karen student at Hartland. After much research into the academic program and plenty of prayers, I know God led me here to go to school. I don’t know what ministry God may give me once I finish my education, but I do dream of returning to Thailand with Paw Ner Moo as a medical missionary team. God’s plans may take me on unexpected turns, but that’s OK. I choose to trust the loving guidance of my Heavenly Father, whose surprises far surpass my dreams!

By Sabrina Petersen, age 20, a second-year student of Hartland College in Rapidan, Virginia. livelovenlaugh62@gmail.com.


11/12/2016: A Missionary Kid

A Missionary Kid

Brazil

A little girl, five years old, stepped outside the airport terminal, clinging to her mother’s hand. The hot sun and humid air enveloped her as she looked around at the strange new surroundings. Suddenly a vivacious lady ran up and hugged the girl’s mom and dad, talking rapidly in a strange language. Mother bent down and whispered, “Julianna, that’s your Auntie Vânia.” Auntie Vânia said something to the little girl, then picked her up and twirled her around. The girl laughed as she spun around in the Amazonian breeze.

Julianna De Senna
Julianna De Senna

As a child moving from California to Brazil, my father’s homeland, I little comprehended how much my life had just changed. Looking back, I now understand what a great mission God gave my family, and what an honor it is! Being a missionary kid isn’t always easy, but it is always exciting. In the past ten years of serving God in Brazil, I have learned a lot!

For a while after we first moved, we went to church in an indigenous community. With my mom, I would help teach songs to the kids in my Sabbath School, and in turn they would teach us songs in their own tribal tongue. They always loved it when Mom told Bible stories with felts, so on Friday night I would compile the felts for next day’s lesson. I soon learned the ways and customs of the natives. Unfortunately, we did have inconveniences, such as the absence of bathrooms and the presence of fleas!

In addition to sharing with the natives, we would go around to different Seventh-day Adventist churches where my dad would preach about prophecy and Jesus’ soon return. My dad held regular Bible studies and prophecy meetings, and we enjoyed his stories about people’s lives being changed. Once we held an evangelistic series in our town of Rio Preto da Eva, and Cody Francis came as the guest speaker. After he made an appeal to the hundreds gathered in the town square, I sang “Não Esqueci de Ti” (“I Haven’t Forgotten You”). I was only nine, but singing in front of that large audience gave me a desire to continue sharing God’s love through music.

When we are on furlough in the United States, our family goes to different churches sharing about our ministry. My siblings and I usually do special music and sometimes tell the children’s story. I have been singing in churches in English and Portuguese since I was seven, both in Brazil and in the United States. Music has given me a closer relationship with God and a way to minister. I am so thankful that He gave me a voice that I can use to glorify Him and reach out to others!

Eight years ago, my mom and Aunt Vânia started Noah’s Ark Christian School. Although we began small, we now have over a hundred students! From the start, you could always find me in the kindergarten and preschool classrooms, helping however I could, even if it just meant playing with the kids, tying their shoelaces or filling their water bottles. As I got older, my responsibilities increased, until in 2015 I became a teacher’s aide for the preschool class, a coordinator for special events and a part-time religion teacher to grades one and four. Being around the kids makes me happy. I am so thankful for opportunities I’ve had to learn and serve.

Many people ask me if I experienced culture shock upon moving to Brazil. I have to say no, because I’ve practically grown up in this culture. I do love visiting California on furlough, seeing my family and friends and indulging in extra luxuries, such as throwing wet clothes in the dryer, going to the library and having a wide array of vegan options available. It’s also nice to be able to talk in English, not just Portuguese. Don’t get me wrong, though. I consider myself both Brazilian and American and I never regret my family becoming missionaries. I think God brought us here to teach us patience, perseverance and total dependence on Him.

Countless times, my family and I have had to let God take over. We trust Him to take care of us financially, and He has proved faithful time and time again. He takes care of us in other ways, too, like the time our car broke down at night, and a mechanic stopped and helped us right after we prayed. When my brother was sick with terrible stomach pains that even the specialists couldn’t diagnose, God healed him completely. Many times, He’s protected us from snakes that sneaked into our house. Whenever we have needed His help, God has responded in ways that seemed impossible!

For seven years, I’ve had a dream for my high school years: to go to British Columbia, Canada, and attend Fountainview Academy, a small Seventh-day Adventist boarding school. Along with a strong academic basis, Fountainview focuses on God and music and seeks to prepares teens for Christ’s second coming. Shortly after we moved to Brazil, a friend gave us one of Fountainview’s music DVDs. I watched it over and over, impressed with the music, the joy of the students and the emphasis on evangelism. I wanted to experience that.

As we have collected more Fountainview DVDs, my dream of attending has continued to grow. Yet it seemed impossible with my family’s missionary wages! Still, we prayed that if it was God’s will, He would open the way for me to attend. In 2015, when we were on furlough, God provided a way for us to visit Fountainview. Everything I experienced there solidified my conviction that this was the place God wanted me.

While there, I learned of Fountainview’s Scripture Singer smartphone app that helps people memorize Scripture through song. From the time I was born, my parents have stressed the importance of learning Scripture songs, and I have memorized many verses and chapters this way. Now my dream has grown: I want to work with Fountainview to create Scripture songs in Portuguese. I’ve already started! After furlough, the Lord helped me write many songs to send to the team. Their positive response really encouraged me. I saw that even while away at school, I can serve my Brazilian brothers and sisters in Christ!

After I applied for school, Fountainview offered me financial aid plus an opportunity to earn part of my tuition by working during summer breaks. This was definitely an answer to prayer! When several friends offered to partially defray the remaining costs, we stepped out in faith that the Lord will provide the rest. I have enough for the initial fees and my first semester, but I do still need more donors! I trust the Lord to provide. I have seen throughout my life that when He leads me, He will not leave me.

The little girl who stepped off the plane ten years ago is not the same as she used to be. Mission service has transformed my life! As I start a new chapter, may God give me courage, strength and determination to follow Him in whatever tasks He gives.

By Julianna De Senna, age 15, of Noah’s Ark Christian School in Brazil. If God touches your heart to donate toward her education, contact Sandy De Senna at desennaint@gmail.com.


11/05/2016: Daybreak on Guie Island

Daybreak on Guie Island

Papua New Guinea

The cry of souls in darkness had reached our hearts, and my partner in ministry and I knew we must take another journey around New Britain Island, the long island directly east of New Guinea. Although we had no money for travel, both Manjo and I felt we must go forward in faith.

Setting out for the town of Kimbe, we hoped to catch a dinghy bound for our destination. God inspired some of the church sisters in Kimbe to provide our fare, but now we faced another problem: All the dinghies were owned by Catholics who seemed intent on stopping our evangelistic work by refusing to give us passage. Still, Satan’s efforts couldn’t stop God. Although we had to take separate dinghies and indirect routes, Manjo and I both made it to Rhangi, where we conducted evangelistic meetings. The Lord blessed!

After the meetings, we decided to visit a small island where Brother Paul, one of the laymen, had been working. Guie Island is a stronghold of the Catholic Church with no other churches on the island. At first it was very hard working there because the chief would not allow people of other denominations to hold religious programs. Yet God has His ways of breaking down barriers. Brother Paul knew how to do medical missionary work, visiting the sick and sharing the health principles that would help them recover. The chief himself went to Brother Paul for treatment for a kidney stone, so he was happy to permit Brother Paul to keep up his medical work. In time, God used this inroad to bring daybreak to Guie Island in the conversion of two families—including the chief’s own brother Justin, with his wife and children. Once they took their stand, they helped open the way for us to proclaim the everlasting gospel in that village.

To get to Guie Island, we had to carry our cargo down to the river and load it into a moan (canoe). We then paddled down to the sea and all the way out to the island. More than 5,000 people live on this small island, and there is no more space to build houses on land. Instead, the newly married families must build their houses on stilts over the sea.

At Guie, we stayed in Justin’s house for two nights. Each evening the people gathered underneath Justin’s stilted house to hear a short gospel message followed by a health presentation. Little children, young men and women and the elderly crowded in to hear the message. As hungry souls they grasped at the spiritual food, yet could not be satisfied in two short days. They implored us to come back and stay longer—which we hope to do!

While in Guie, we heard the conversion story of Brother Justin and his wife. Justin is a native to Guie Island, but while working as a builder on New Guinea Island, he met Monica, a Morobean girl. Justin, of course, had been brought up Catholic, but Monica came from a Lutheran background. After they got married, both tried to convert the other, but it never worked. Justin sometimes attended the Lutheran Church to observe, but Monica never went to the Catholic Church because she didn’t want to worship an idol. This went on for many years.

In 2011, Justin and Monica moved back to Guie Island, and in 2014 Brother Paul began distributing the newsprint booklet Planet in Rebellion. Justin and Monica’s firstborn son, now age 23, got one of the booklets and started to read. In so doing he found the truth about the Sabbath.

When Justin’s son shared this new light with his parents, they opposed him; but when he gave them proof from the Bible, Justin decided to read the texts for himself. In the Bible, he discovered that his son had been right. He told his wife, “Monica, we must keep the Sabbath.”

One day Brother Paul went to Guie to give treatments to someone who was sick. Afterwards, he stopped by Justin’s house and began to talk to him about healthful living. Seeing Justin’s interest, Paul told him, “If you want to hear more about health, I invite you to come to my church on Sabbath. We will worship together and you will hear more health messages.”

“Praise God!” Justin jumped to his feet. “Paul, we recently discovered the true day of worship, the Sabbath. Now we will make our stand with you.” He beamed. “Thank God for bringing you here to harvest us into the Kingdom of God!”

Rachael, another resident of Guie, is an educated woman who, because of her desire for Bible truth and revival, left the Catholic Church and joined the Assembly of God Church. For years she faithfully worshipped with the Assembly of God Church on another island until she came down with chronic asthma and could no longer venture off the island so often. 

In 2015 Rachael heard about Paul’s medical missionary work and asked him to come and help her. When she told him her problem, Paul said, “I will help you if you will agree to follow whatever instructions I give you.” Rachael agreed, and Paul put her on a 3-day treatment plan. Thank God, she received complete healing! Next Paul told her, “Come and worship with us on Sabbath, and you will hear more about the health message.”

One Sabbath Rachael took Paul up on his offer. When Paul saw Rachael coming to church, he changed his Bible study topic to the moral and ceremonial laws and the difference between the seventh-day Sabbath and the ceremonial sabbaths. Rachael wrote down every Bible text, and for three weeks afterward she searched the Bible to confirm the truth of Paul’s words. When she was convinced, she took her stand for the Sabbath.

Rachael’s husband Benson, a staunch Catholic, was harder to win. When Rachael and their three sons began attending church on Sabbath, Benson stayed home. Still, the Holy Spirit was working. When I spoke on Guie Island underneath Justin’s house, Benson came to the meetings. The truth pricked his heart and he took his stand to keep the Sabbath with his family.

Now that they and their families have accepted the truth, both Justin and Rachael have become gospel workers. Justin, though still in baptismal classes himself, has started to do street preaching and medical missionary work. He also does his best to share seeds of truth with his relatives, including the chief. Rachael wants to become a medical missionary, and has begun by helping her extended family learn how to live healthfully. Pray that these two families will become bright witnesses for truth on Guie Island!

Finally, please join us in prayer that God will provide us traveling funds for our work and if possible our own dinghy to travel from island to island reaching lost souls. “If we had our own boat, we could move quickly to warn the unsaved before night comes to our world!”

By Michael Loko. New Guinea Islands Lay Members Association, PO Box 173, Bialla, West New Britain, Papua New Guinea; lokomichael9@gmail.com. To donate, contact John A. Wolff at johnw@tsn.cc.


10/29/2016: A Mother’s Prayer

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Before surgery

A Mother’s Prayer

Philippines

Lord, when saw we Thee an hungred, and fed Thee? or thirsty, and gave Thee drink? When saw we Thee a stranger, and took Thee in? or naked, and clothed Thee? Or when saw we Thee sick, or in prison, and came unto Thee? And the King shall answer and say unto them, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these My brethren, ye have done it unto Me.” Matthew 25:37–40.

I am Elena Atwat, a young woman 28 years old, and I live in Banga, South Cotabato on Mindanao Island in the Philippines. Before my family and I were converted to Seventh-day Adventism, our religion was Balik Islam. In fact, my father was an imam for many years.

In the hospital
In the hospital

My husband, Jing, had a Seventh-day Adventist cousin who often visited our house. One day the cousin came to our house with a man named Temtem. They told me that they wanted to talk to my father, and they asked for permission to have a Bible study in our home. My father willingly accepted their offer to study because he wanted to compare the Bible with the Qur’an.

Years went by, but still Pastor Temtem and Jing’s cousin kept coming to study with my father until finally he understood that the Sabbath day is the true worship day. With my father’s encouragement, my mother, my brothers, my sisters and I all became very interested in Seventh-day Adventism, and we all began to observe the Sabbath. Later, Pastor Temtem held a 2-week evangelistic crusade in our town, making the rest of the Seventh-day Adventist doctrines very clear in our minds. When Pastor Mike Bauler came and visited our place in November 2014, my family, including my parents, brothers and sisters, decided to receive baptism.

Beginning to heal
Beginning to heal

A year later, Pastor Mike Bauler came back and visited our place again. This time, something very special happened: God used Pastor Mike to answer my prayers. I had been asking God for someone to help my little daughter, who had a cleft lip. To my joy, Pastor Mike noticed her situation! It was such a relief to meet someone who cared and could offer to help.

My poor daughter’s plight had often made me cry. Even though she was less than 3 years old, she still knew that she looked different from other children. Every morning, after taking a bath and getting her hair combed, she would look in the mirror, put one finger to her mouth, and say, “I have no hole in my mouth. I’m not cleft lip anymore. Look Mama, I am pretty, right?” As this went on morning after morning, it nearly broke my heart.

When children asked my daughter, “Why do you have that in your mouth?” she would answer, “My father cut it. That is why there is a tear in my mouth.” Then the other children would laugh. I felt so much pity and pain for my daughter because even at her very young age, the other children bullied her and made fun of her.

No more cleft lip!
No more cleft lip!

God is really good! When Pastor Mike saw my daughter, he told me there was hope for her if she could have surgery, and that he might be able to raise funds to pay for it. He also held out hope for my nephew, who likewise had a congenital defect and needed surgery.

I thank God for Pastor Mike’s church in the United States who raised the money for my daughter’s surgery, and I thank Him for the ministry of Mission Project International which has such a sincere interest in helping the poor who feel that there is no hope for them. Most of all, I am thankful that my family heard the truth that can save us. I thank God that I can look forward to His gift of eternal life in a land where no children suffer!

Elena with her daughter
Elena with her daughter

“My brethren and sisters, give yourselves to the Lord for service. Allow no opportunity to pass unimproved. Visit the sick and suffering, and show a kindly interest in them. If possible, do something to make them more comfortable. Through this means you can reach their hearts and speak a word for Christ. Eternity alone will reveal how far-reaching such a line of labor can be.” Testimonies, vol. 9, 36.

By Elena Atwat. Submitted by Pastor Temtem Piedraverde. temtempiedraverde@yahoo.com. Support for Pastor Temtem’s work in the Philippines may be sent to Mission Projects International, PO Box 59656, Renton, WA 98058, or online at www.missionspro.org, marked “Philippines.” Contributions to help poor families and fund Dorcas work may be marked “Poor fund.”


10/22/2016: Never Give Up

Never Give Up

Australia

When Highwood Health Retreat hired me in March 2013 as their first ever full-time Bible worker, I was sure God had led me here. There was so much work to be done! Many guests had gone through the wonderful NEWSTART® health program over the years, and seeds had been sown. My heart’s desire was to connect with people who might be willing to learn more about the Healer they had glimpsed at Highwood!

As yet nobody had signed up for me to give them Bible studies, so the work started small. I would have to tread carefully since most guests come to Highwood for help with their health, not for Bible instruction. My work would be twofold: I would spend time getting to know the current guests, taking them for walks, eating with them and sharing a devotional each morning and evening for anyone interested; and I would follow up with former health guests to find any who might be open to studying.

To reach out to previous guests, I called them and asked how they had liked their stay at Highwood. I surveyed them about the food, the therapy and those sorts of things first, and would end by asking them to evaluate the spiritual aspects of Highwood. Their answers helped me decide where to go next. Could I offer them the health-related Bible studies I had developed? Would they be open for a personal visit?

Stine (third from right) with Highwood health guests and staff.
Stine (third from right) with Highwood health guests and staff.

Little by little a circle of special Highwood friends developed. Some were happy for me to visit their homes; others would meet me in a nearby park or restaurant. Our conversations often turned to spiritual topics. Sometimes I would bring my guitar and sing gospel songs. It was slow work, but I knew from the Spirit of Prophecy that “the Saviour mingled with men as one who desired their good. He showed His sympathy for them, ministered to their needs, and won their confidence. Then He bade them, ‘Follow Me.’” The Ministry of Healing, 143.

As I look back, I can only praise the Lord. I now have many Bible studies going, most of them with former Highwood guests! With some it took months or even years of friendship before they were ready for Bible studies. That’s why we can’t give up!

Nikki, 30 years old, is a special friend I study with over the phone. She came to Highwood in 2012, a business-oriented woman with a lucrative job. Her stay at Highwood really impressed her—there was something different about this lifestyle. Going home, she started a spiritual quest. I kept in touch with her over the phone, and we met occasionally. Unfortunately, she seemed to gravitate toward the New Age movement. Still, I kept talking with her and praying for her—and the Lord heard my prayers. Recently, when I visited Nikki, I found her ready! “I was looking forward to you coming, as I wanted to hear more about Jesus,” she said. Then she told me about a client of their business. She had given the old gentleman excellent service, and to show his thankfulness he requested to give her a little book. She took the book home and started to read. “When I came to the passage about forgiveness, I asked God to help me experience it, and I just had the most amazing feeling of something happening within me!” she shared. “The man who gave me the book was a Seventh-day Adventist,” she added.

When I suggested we study a Bible course together, she willingly accepted. “I have never experienced more peace in anything else but this God thing,” she expressed, “so I will give it a go!” In addition to studying with me on the phone, Nikki is reading The Ministry of Healing. Would you keep Nikki in your prayers?

Another former Highwood guest is Anna. When she came in 2015, we made an almost instant connection. Although not Christian, Anna was very open, and very impressed with what she experienced at Highwood. Through text messaging, she sometimes shared with me her struggles with bad habits and depression, and told me how she envied my faith. Still, she didn’t seem ready to make it her own.

I kept trying to encourage Anna and kept offering to visit, but various things kept coming in the way. Finally, last April I got the message I had hoped for: “I would love to catch up with you.” We met up, and what a change! She had started to make steps to overcome her alcoholism by visiting Alcoholics Anonymous. She was keen to show me the flyer they had given her, and I could quickly see that it was very spiritual. Alcoholics Anonymous admits that you cannot win the battle against alcohol in your own power—that you need a Power from outside to help you. The sad thing, though, is that they say you can relate to God however you see Him—in other words, you can create your own idol. Nevertheless, Anna was motivated to overcome, and God gave me an idea: Why not offer to tailor Bible studies for her connected to what she was learning in Alcoholics Anonymous—studies that show how to get to know the true source of power?

I offered, and for the first time she said “yes” to Bible studies! We began by studying our own hopelessness as sinners, our overwhelming problem of addiction to sin. When I told her why Jesus, our only way out, had to die on the cross, I could see she was touched. “This is so special,” she said. “I have never thought of it this way before!” She has now started to read The Desire of Ages, and we are continuing our weekly Bible studies. I request your prayers for Anna!

Maria came to Highwood last January open-hearted and eager to learn. I was out of the country most of the time she was here and barely got to know her before she left. Still, when her boyfriend came to pick her up, I hurried over to say “goodbye.” Their car was already rolling, but they stopped so Maria could get out and give me a hug. “Maria,” her boyfriend asked, “have you asked Stine about giving you Bible studies?” Right then she asked me to come and study with her!

Maria went through 30 Bible studies in record time, not only studying when I was there, but also doing lots of homework herself. At times she struggled, wondering if it would be right to convert from a nominal Catholic to a Seventh-day Adventist. Then one day not long ago she called me. “Stine, could you come and visit us tomorrow? We have some very special news!” When I told her I was not planning to go out that day, she said, “Then I want to tell you the news over the phone. I have made up my mind; I want to get baptized!” Praise God! Maria is soon to move far away. I know the devil will place obstacles before her, so would you please pray for Maria too?

Rarely do we find people as eager for Bible studies as Maria, but often we meet people like Nikki and Anna. It takes patience to wait for the seeds we sow to sprout. Yet what a wonderful promise God has given:

“And let us not be weary in well doing: for in due season we shall reap, if we faint not.” Galatians 6:9.

By Stine G. Struksnaes. stine@highwoodhealth.org. For more on Highwood Health Retreat visit www.highwoodhealth.org or www.facebook.com/A-place-of-my-heart-150082708486064.