Hello Valley Christian Church,
I hope that you have enjoyed a great memorial day weekend and got some extra time with your family, friends and community!
This week is an exciting week for the GoCorps staff team because it's GoWeek1! Yesterday, 19 Goers and 1 new GoCorps staff arrived into Minneapolis. They are coming from 14 different universities and are headed to 11 different tracks in 14 countries! All this week, we’ll be learning about fundraising, praying and playing, learning and prepping for the next two years. Please pray for a great week together!
On-Site Goer Visits in Africa and Middle East - See pics below
I recently had a chance to visit 10 of our Goers on the field - 3 of them in East Africa and 7 in the Middle East. They’re all recent grads, on the front lines of the global refugee crisis, interacting daily with people displaced from Yemen, Syria, Iraq and many other places. They’re teaching English, doing advocacy work and sharing the good news! It was an encouraging trip for me as I heard the reports of what they’re learning, how they’re growing and changing, and how they’ve seen God at work in the lives of those that they are building relationships with and ministering to. Some highlights:
A key reflection as I consider the Goers I got to visit: These Goers are not extraordinary people. They’re very ordinary in their backgrounds and abilities. But they are among the finest young men and women in their generation. They’ve chosen to get uncomfortable, to take a leap of faith and to work hard to love others. They’ve chosen to go beyond ordinary expectations and career path options. They’ve chosen a path less traveled, and they’re being stretched, and they’re experiencing some the best and some of the hardest that life in Christ promises us.
I hope you’re encouraged as you read this update! Together, we’re helping students in this generation find their place in God’s global work.
All majors to all nations,
Paul Van Der Werf
Dear Friends, three years ago an earthquake shook the country where we work.
It changed many peoples’ lives, including our family and our project here. I would like to focus this newsletter on our Trauma Healing Storying work, which we began because of that massive earthquake that traumatized so many people.
Prophet and Loss – A number of prophets and people in the Bible complain to God: David, Job, Moses - Jeremiah wrote a whole book of lamentations. One of the things we learn in our Trauma Healing lessons is: crying out to God when we suffer is ok!
We tell the story of Job – a man who lost everything. His friends tried to help, by insisting that he confess whatever great sin he had committed to bring this grief on himself. They were wrong, and Job called them “miserable comforters” (Job 16:2)! This still happens today. When Elina’s sister Lydia was dying of cancer, many Christians around her were saying the same thing – “Confess your sin, and God will heal you!” – it just added pain, it didn’t help. The story of Job teaches us that sometimes we don’t know why we suffer (tragedy ≠ punishment), but God is still good and in control.
Trauma Healing and Bible Translation – Until now, all of our Trauma Healing Bible training has been done in the national language. In early May, our whole team got trained to 1) Train others to lead these workshops, and 2) Help groups to translate our materials into their own languages, for even deeper impact! Not only will our efforts begin to reach far beyond us, but people will have a new way to see the value of God’s Word in their own language.
First Aid for the Heart – Our team has discovered that, for many people (even Christian leaders and pastors), our trauma healing training is revolutionary. We teach people about why God allows suffering, how to express grief, how to listen well, that it’s okay to lament to God, to bring our pain to Jesus, to forgive those who hurt us, etc.. While we don’t pretend to be professional counselors, our goal is to help people take the first basic steps toward emotional health.
Update on our regular Bible Storying – over the last 1 ½ years, we’ve been working with 7 languages. Two of them finished all their work in March – 35 Bible stories each. The remaining 5 languages each drafted 37 Bible stories, and we’ll have one more workshop in June to do final recordings. Some of our participants will go on to become mother-tongue Bible translators in their languages. We will encourage all of them to continue sharing Bible stories among their own people. 255 Bible stories were finished in the 7 different languages – God is good!
Visa Surprise! – In March, we went to apply for a 6-month student visa so that we could stay in the country. We walked out with a 5-YEAR visa! A new rule for US citizens came into effect just days before we applied, so we were among the first to get this amazing new visa. Please pray that we fulfill the visa requirements – it’s so new that nobody is quite sure what the requirements are. It shouldn’t affect us for these next 5 years, but if we need to get visas after that, we want to make sure we can. Meanwhile, praise the LORD with us – we are still gasping in awe of His bounty!
Model/Madal Students – Linus has just finished 5th grade, and Jane turned 8 in April and is getting close to finishing 3rd grade. Elina is a student at the music school again for our (5-year!) visa, and she’s learning to play a 2-ended drum, called a “madal” (pronounced just like “model” – clever, eh?). Livy and I are students of life – Livy is as curious as a kid can be, and recently I have been learning how to keep better account of our project expenses (yay). Please pray that we all learn the right lessons, and bring glory to God!
Thank you for taking time to read about our Wycliffe ministry and us, and thank you for your prayers, gifts and notes. We are grateful for your friendship and partnership!
The T Family
The strength of our community is remarkable. In the face of significant financial restraints and a tough restructuring entering 2018, our volunteers, staff, and supporters have rallied to help us fill the gaps and find a way to serve even more people. While we are not entirely out of the woods financially, the response from our supporters and partners has been encouraging and affirming. I have no doubt that together, with your help, we will continue to be the innovative leader in providing fresh and healthy food.
The stories you’ll read inside highlight the resilience of The Open Door and the determination of our volunteers and staff to continue to find ways to make healthy food more accessible to those in our community who need it most. With summer quickly approaching, we are ready for some of TOD’s most innovative programs, including Garden To Table, Mobile Lunch Box, and a second season of Pop-Up Produce Stands.
If you are looking for an opportunity to engage, learn more, or just get your hands dirty, we have multiple opportunities for you to help us assist the people who look to us for support each month. Thank you for taking the time to read about our work, and thank you for making all of it possible.
Jason Viana, Executive Director
Dear Friends of HopeKids,
Recently, we united strong men and women with stronger children during the 5th annual Relentless Powerlifting kick-off event. This event is a highlight for many HopeKids and their families including Ryan - an imaginative, 5-year-old leukemia warrior who loves Legos and dinosaurs.
"Ryan had SO much fun at the Relentless kickoff event! The whole way home he kept saying, 'I'm a strong man too!' Everyone was so amazing with him and made him feel special. He's been telling everyone at the clinic that he played tug of war against Superman and Aquaman and he WON! Each one of these events helps our family create memories that we otherwise wouldn't be able to experience." – Kelly, Ryan's mom
Thank you for restoring hope to Minnesota families, like Ryan's. If you are interested in attending the 2018 Relentless Powerlifting competition presented by TSR Injury Law in July, please visit www.relentlesspowerlifting.com.
MOMENTS OF GRACE
Mid sixties, single parent, mechanic and the most important part of Jerry's life, he believes in Jesus Christ. Now a baptized believer he witnesses to his family, friends and just about anyone he can find. Recently at church he told me "I have such a bad past, I don't deserve to be forgiven." I told him, let me see what we can do to help you understand about forgiveness and grace. So that's where "Grace for the Moment" came into play. It is a daily devotional from Max Lucado. Each morning I share with Jerry via Whatsapp from this devotional book. Last week he wrote that he was so overwhelmed with joy that his adult daughter has accepted Christ and wants to be baptized.
At first Jerry's daughter said “I'll go to church with you dad, but only at an English speaking church”. No English speaking church on either side of the border here, but I said "No problem, we will just have to start an English service somewhere”. Problem solved! Daughter saved! I encouraged a local church in Eagle Pass to begin an English service in the evening and now their first believer is Jerry’s daughter.
None of us are worthy of the gift of salvation. We are all sinners, plain and simple; saved by grace. Ephesians 2:8 "For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith-and this is not from yourselves, it is a gift of God." "Grace" by Max Lucado, another book specifically written for us to understand the magnitutde of God's love for us. Max writes, "More than we Deserve - Greater than we Imagine." Another sentence from Max Lucado, "Grace is the voice that calls us to change and then gives us the power to pull it off."
Jerry works for a mechanic shop on the Kickapoo Indian Reservation near Eagle Pass, Texas. He is a powerful witness to these native people and especially his family. He loves to come to the college and share his story about God's powerful love and grace to the students. Each Sunday, Jerry crosses over the Rio Grande and comes ready to worship at a Spanish church in Piedras Negras where we attend. Plain and simple, Jerry loves Jesus and each day he is learning more and more about the love and forgiveness of God both in Spanish and now English.
Daily encounters with God, prayer, reading the Word, finding a friend to encourage, inspirational thoughts to help with the burdens of life, most importantly meditating on the overwhelming thought of Grace. “Grace for the Moment" That moment is not a fleeting passing of time each day, but an eternal life with the Father.
Emanuel - "God With Us" Mexico Mission allows us to share Jesus with a number of people not just college students. From a small inner city church some 10 hours away in the heart of Mexico, to an Indian Reservation in Texas. I've been invited to the reservation, now just to take time to do it. God is working through us each day to meet the spiritual needs of so many people like Jerry.
May 11, is graduation day for the students. That means summer travel will begin for us soon. Trips to San Luis Potosi and the United States, takes money. Jose will be joining us by taking over the ministry in San Luis Potosi which also will require more funds. Any extra or new support will be greatly appreciated. If you want us to visit your family, Sunday School Class or Church, we will be in Indiana and the Cincinnati area May 23 - June 18. Then comes more travels to camps in Mexico, church work and so much more.
Thank you for praying, giving and allowing us to simply help people experience "Moments of Grace".
David and Sheri DeBolt
Emanuel Mexico Mission
Hello from your missionary friends in Mexico.
Just wanted to update you on José and his graduation plans. Today is his last day of classes and exams. Friday, May 11, at 7:00 p.m., is the graduation for Colegio Biblico. He did it! Thanks to our Valley family and the World Outreach team, José has been able to cover all of his graduation costs. Valley truly made an impact in his life last summer and all the other visits the boys made to Minnesota; as well as the many visits Valley made to Mexico.
José has a busy summer ahead of him as he will be relocating to San Luis Potosi and begin his ministry with the Ontañon Church of Christ. He has the month of July busy with one week of camp and a trip to Indianapolis, Indiana for the National Hispanic Convention.
In November, we plan on sending José to the International Conference on Missions in Cincinnati, Ohio. He has attended several times with me & this will be his first time alone representing our mission and ministry in Mexico. The ICOM is Nov. 15 - 18.
Everyone at Valley really touched this young man's heart for Christian service. Camp is just around the corner and things are all in place to receive FMSC and Michael Nelson. Love seeing how Valley continues to grow and reach out to the world with the love of Christ.
Emanuel Mexico Mission
Dear Christian Friends,
In 2004, Jorge Martinez moved his family to the mountains of Puebla and began services in the village of Chilapa. The area surrounding Chilapa was largely unchurched and there was often strong opposition to the gospel and threats against Jorge and his family.
Since then, the work has expanded to 3 different villages. And, God’s Word has begun to change hearts and minds in these villages where Jorge is ministering. A few years ago we opened a work in the village of La Libertad and now there are approximately 30-40 people who attend services every week.
The church was meeting in a space on the property of Jorge. Recently the church was able to buy its own piece of property and thanks to the generosity and hard work of the people from the congregations in the mountains and some of our STM groups, they were able to complete their own church building.
A special thanks to Sheldon Church of Christ, Sheldon, WI and Compass Christian Church, Colleyville, TX for their groups who worked so hard to help build this new facility. A special thank you to Tomoka Christian Church for a special offering that helped us complete the facility and to Doris Hinch who has faithfully supported this ministry throughout the years.
Below are a couple of photos of the new facility. May God continue to transform hearts and lives through the sharing of His Word in this place!
Executive Director, Niños de Mexico