Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Scattering Seeds in 2011

As Tony and I look forward to the start of a new year, we realize the Lord will continue to be faithful in our journey of faith. The year 2011 will mark the year in which we’ll move to a new state (Idaho) to receive the hands on training we’ll need to prepare for our eventual cross cultural move to San Jose, Costa Rica.
The first quarter of 2011, we will be attending three mission conferences in Southern California. The Calvary Chapel Mission Conference in Murrieta will take place January 3-6 and this year’s theme is: Let the Nations be Glad from Psalm 67:4. Later in the month of March, we will be participating in two Orange County church mission conferences. We are glad to report that Brea Baptist Church & Knott Ave Christian Church have invited us to be part of their annual conferences. With so many opportunities to share our ministry with remote and isolated church leaders in Latin America, the seeds will be scattered and only the Lord will provide the fruit that follows the labor.
 Along with presenting to churches and other ministries, comes the privilege and delight to share with friends and bible study groups the work Tony and I will be a part of as MAF-Learning Technologies partners with existing indigenous churches in the developing world who lack biblical and theological training.
So where do we hope to be by summer of 2011? Lord willing, we hope to reach 100% of our funding and Idaho bound! With seven months left to achieve the goal set by MAF, we hope to be on our way with a U-Haul truck packed and moving northward to join the MAF-LT team that awaits us. In the meantime, we will be busy sharing our ministry and looking to Jesus to multiply our efforts with success.-Laura

Thursday, December 16, 2010

MAF Headquarters - Nampa, Idaho

Many of you have asked about MAF Headquarters in Idaho. So after some time searching through You Tube, Laura and I managed to find a home video someone did during their summer visit to MAF. Your tour guide is Ron Hilbrands. For those of you who have heard our ministry presentation, Ron was the first face of MAF for Laura and I. We first  met Ron at a missions conference at Downey Baptist church on Saturday afternoon back in 2008 . Early on, he was our "go to" guy at MAF. Any questions we had about applications, bible coursework, references, etc... he was the one who would patiently answer them.

In the video, you will see the actual plane that the five MAF missionaries who were martyred in Ecuador flew. The plane was dug up years later and brought to headquarters. You will also see the main office and the airplane hanger where all MAF planes at one time or another go to for maintenance and repair. Ron will also share a  couple of stories on how we transport our airplanes to different program bases around the world and a second story of how he used to transport live pigs in his airplane when he served as a pilot overseas.

We hope you enjoy the video!

Tony and Laura

Friday, December 3, 2010

Working Together Part 1

One of the questions that comes up often when we share our work as missionaries with MAF is how does it feel working together 24/7?
It’s a natural question if you didn’t happen to already know that for the last 15 years, Tony and I  had been working at the same elementary school. Even though we taught different grades, the challenges of working in the same professional environment were always there.
During this season of deputation, our ability to work side by side has been enhanced. Sure, we disagree at times and even argue at times, but we also extend grace to one another during difficult times. Grace is an attribute in marriage that is undeniably necessary. When I feel frustrated or disappointed over a missed appointment, Tony reminds me it will all work out. He gives me added grace by not lecturing or down playing the situation. Tony simply listens and affirms my feelings, whether they are rational or even irrational.
At times I have wondered what it will look like for us as out on the mission field. Will we thrive as a couple? Will we bicker over unfamiliar surroundings and strange foods? I am tempted at times to speculate and predict what it will look like. However, if the past is any indication of what lies ahead, I am inclined to think we will serve as husband and wife in the same fashion as we’ve always had…with Extra Grade Required.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Thanking Him for His Goodness

I will praise you, O Lord, with all my heart;
I will tell of all your wonders
Psalm 9:1
             Thanksgiving happens to be one of my favorite holidays. It is a time to reflect and give thanks to the Lord for the many blessings he has bestowed upon us. However, a wonderful surprise occurred today that made my heart soar with praises and thanksgiving. For weeks, we had been praying that God would grant us our first supporting church. “Lord, please bring us a church that will partner with us. Let one of the many churches we’ve contacted and presented, come alongside us,” was my heart cry during my morning prayers.
             How my heart swelled this afternoon when I received news that the very first church we ever presented our ministry to back in September was the one the Lord had chosen to be our first partnering church.
             It is not by chance that our partnership came to be. The Lord has been clearly working ahead of our present circumstances. Whittier Hills Baptist Church supported the ministry of the Good News Club at Sierra Vista Elementary since its inception in 2008. Although I was a trained Child Evangelism Fellowship (CEF) teacher and appreciated the support of WHBC, the Lord was orchestrating our partnership way ahead of anything I could have ever hoped or imagined. Little did I know that the church who had prayed and supported the ministry of sharing Bible stories with public school children at my former school, would in turn be the church who would share our vision to share the gospel with remote and isolated people.
             The amazing lessons that Tony and I are learning concerning God’ provisions and timing can only come about because of His great love and mercy. As we continue to process God’s marvelous deeds, let us give praise to the Lord for His goodness and faithfulness in every season of our lives.

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Matthew 25:14 - The Least of These

This is a short film shot by our Learning Technologies teammate, Brendan, in Costa Rica. Pastor Francisco is just one of many remote pastors that  MAF Learning Technologies partners with throughout Latin America. Laura and I thought it would be a good idea to share the story of one pastor, where he lives, and the types of responsibilities that he has beyond leading a local congregation. Through our partnership with pastors like Francisco (and your partnership with us), isolated church leaders have opportunities to access resources and training that will enable them to growth and lead strong healthy churches. 


Monday, November 1, 2010

Mobile Missions

As Laura and I move ahead in our presentations,  people have asked us about the impact that cellular/mobile phone technology can have in missions. Currently, there is a mobile phone revolution taking place in the developing world (The part of the world where we will be serving.) Statistics show that 4 - 4.5 billion people have a mobile phone. By 2013, there will be cellular phones in the hands of 5 billion people. That is nearly 75% of the entire world. Most of that growth will be in the developing world where access to pastoral training and biblical resources is needed.  According to research, the reason mobile phones are growing so quickly, is because a mobile phone is an electronic device that has multiple functions, and it is easy to transport. At MAF - Learning Technologies, we are exploring effective methods for providing access to training and resources to pastors in the developing world through the use of mobile phone technology. One way that this is happening is through the use of an open source program called "Poodle". Poodle can be used to deliver distance learning courses offline. One way to deliver these courses can be through the use of the mobile phone. The phone delivers God's Word to remote locations and it can overcome many of the barriers that remote pastors face: geography, cost, and security. How great is that!  Looking forward to seeing more and more of you as the Lord leads us. Thank you for your prayers, support, and encouragement. It means the world to us.

Tony and Laura

Monday, October 25, 2010

Missionary Talks Interview

This past Friday, October 22, Laura and I had the unique opportunity to be interviewed on a podcast called "Missionary Talks with David Peach". David is a missionary to the deaf in Argentina and he is also a podcasting enthusiast. When Laura and I had returned from our one month stay in North Africa during the summer of 2008, Laura heard an interview with an MAF missionary involved in learning technologies (the ministry that we are now a part of!) After listening to that podcast interview, we sensed that learning technologies might be the ministry that was a perfect fit for the gifting and talents that the Lord had given us. Well, the rest as they say is history. Without giving too much away, here is the complete 20 minute interview with David Peach.


Hope you enjoy!

Tony and Laura

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Psalm 115:1

Psalm 115:1
Not to us, O Lord, not to us
But to your name be the glory
Because of your love and faithfulness

I was listening to Chris Tomlin sing this chapter and verse on my iPod playlist during my devotional time with the Lord this week. As the words replayed in my head, I sang it back to God as a form of worship recognizing that He alone is worthy to receive all glory and honor.
It has been a remarkable week for Tony and me. We have reached 25% of our monthly ministry support and 10 % of our outgoing support. We are incredibly grateful to the Lord for His provision & He deserves all the praise for allowing us to reach this important milestone. In addition, I am humbled by the prayers and generous hearts of so many kind people. The encouragement that we have received by those we have met and presented has been astounding. Tony and I have been blown away by the eagerness of those we meet to be part of our ministry team through prayer and finances. Our hearts are full and we are extremely grateful.
While things couldn’t be better in the area of financial support, we are also experiencing a new wave of spiritual attacks since reaching our quarter mark. Since the devil cannot be pleased with our progress, he has gently whispered in our ears that our obedience won’t make a dent in eternity since we are not church planters, evangelists, Bible translators, etc. You are just teachers…. that’s all. Teachers don’t preach, teachers don’t make altar calls, teachers just TEACH!
It is the word of God that comes to my rescue when Satan comes and plants a seed of discouragement in my thought life. Romans 12:7 reminded me that we are members of one body and each member has different gifts, “if a man’s gift is to teach, let him teach.”
So although those thoughts may not linger for long because his Spirit abides in my heart and mind, once again I find myself quietly singing: Not to us, O Lord, but to your name be the glory.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Making Christ Glorious Among the Nations

  These are great and exciting days to be alive. In less than a week, 4,000 participants from 190 nations will arrive to Cape Town, South Africa, to strategize about how to reach the world for Jesus Christ. The Third Lausanne Congress on world evangelization is just days away and I am excited that MAF’s CEO and President, John Boyd has been invited to attend.
            The Evangelism Conference will draw leaders together in prayer, repentance, dialogue and action. The aim of this year’s gathering is to discern where the Body of Christ should spend its efforts and energies to respond to the call Christ made to take the gospel into the world and make disciples of all nations (Matthew 28:19.)
            Although I won’t be able to attend this fascinating event, my prayers are with the thousands of participants that will descend upon Cape Town this weekend. I must admit I would love to be one of those participants, but I know that much can be accomplished in my own backyard.
            While the world’s leaders gather and seek the heart of God in our broken world, I can play a part by interceding in prayer and confessing my sins before a holy God.
            May the Lord teach me & teach us how to make our Heavenly Father glorious among those around us.
            For more information about the Lausanne Conference, please visit: http://www.lausanne.org/cape-town-2010.
 - Laura 

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Why MAF Sunday?

   MAF Sunday, October 10, 2010, is about bringing awareness to the difficulties of sharing the Gospel to remote areas and the barriers that must be overcome to do so. Through aviation and technologies, Mission Aviation Fellowship is overcoming these barriers.

Every day, MAF deploys a range of communication, distance education services, and aviation to support and advance the Gospel and ministry efforts throughout Africa, Asia, Eurasia, and Latin America.

Some 3 billion people representing 7,093 people groups live in the countries where we serve. Of these, 3.891 groups have been identified by the Joshua Project (joshuaproject.net) as among the “least reached” in the world.

To nurture the growing number of indigenous churches, national pastors and church leaders, MAF-Learning Technologies provides the needed delivery systems and tools that strengthen churches and maximizes the ministry of missionaries and indigenous evangelists.

This coming Sunday, Tony and I will have the privilege to speak on behalf of millions who live behind physical and spiritual barriers without hope of hearing the Gospel. We will be sharing our ministry with a Sunday school class and a women’s bible study group in Fullerton, CA.

Not every one is called to go to the ends of the earth, but God does call each of us to care for the poor and the needy, and He calls us to make disciples of all nations.

“Speak up for those who cannot speak for themselves, for the rights of all who are destitute.” Proverbs 31:8


Thursday, September 30, 2010

An Eternal Impact...

As Laura and I enter the end of our 7th week of deputation (sharing our ministry with friends, family, bible groups, churches, etc.) we have been humbled by the amount of love and support that we have received from so many people. Thank you!! We have also had the privilege to pray and minister to dear friends and to forge relationships that go beyond simple sound bites. Though life has been busy, Laura and I (and the girls) have sensed that life has also been a bit slower and less hectic. We our in a season of our lives where we can invest in deeper relationships with people. What an amazing time. Not being driven by the clock has taken a while to get used to, but we are getting better at it as every new day comes. Friday's are a special day of the week for us. We call it Harvest Time. It is a time that MAF wants its missionaries to relax for a few hours and not think about all the tasks that need to be completed. Laura and I have discovered that going to a local greasy food diner that is just around the corner from our home is the place to begin Harvest Time. We order breakfast for two for less than ten dollars, enjoy each others company, and relish the simplicity of a cheap breakfast followed by a one hour walk at a local park. The simple things that we often overlooked and took for granted before are now the things that we really appreciate. Thank you Lord for helping us see that. A pastor friend of mine once said, "God doesn't make life busy, we do." I can see that now. (We can see that now.)

As Laura and I have shared our ministry with Mission Aviation Fellowship - Learning Technologies, many have asked us how they will be making an impact by coming alongside us as prayer and financial partners. I want to share with you the words of those who we at MAF partner and minister to in some of the most remote and isolated places of the world, so you can see for yourselves how you are making an impact for our King, our Lord Jesus Christ.

"I am very thankful, very happy, that MAF comes into my village because without the MAF plane I would not have been able to get the medical help that I needed. To the people in America who support Mission Aviation Fellowship, I say Thank You." Village Woman, Kalimantan, Indonesia.

"MAF supports my ministry and the ministry of scores of indigenous evangelists. MAF is our lifeline. Without MAF I couldn't even be here. I've worked with 10 different tribes during the last 30 years, and have seen a vibrant church planted and coming to maturity among seven of them. I know God will complete the work He has begun. I am truly grateful." - Lois Belsey, missionary, Papua New Guinea.

Through the words of these individuals, the impact that you make in partnership with us is eternal. It is greater than ourselves and it will last long after we pass away. 2Corinthians 4:19 says, "So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen. For what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal." This is the impact that you, our partners, are making as we co-labor together for our King and His Kingdom.

Because you prayed... Because you gave.... Because you care...

I encourage you to watch the video below.

Until Next Time.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Be Strong and Courageous - Joshua Chapter 1

           These commands appear 5 times in the first chapter of the book of Joshua.   Joshua, a member of one of the largest tribes of Israel is to take over the leadership of the Children of Israel, after the death of Moses. When God is at the forefront of our challenges, we can be reminded that the words that the Lord used to encourage Joshua, are also the words that can strengthen our own walk of faith.
             In this season of life, where Tony and I find ourselves, we often look at our own walls of Jericho and wonder how the Lord will tear them down or how He will lead us to cross the Jordan River. It is, however, during these times, that we are comforted as followers of Christ to obey what the God of Israel also told Joshua in verse 8, “Do not let this Book of the Law depart from your mouth; meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do everything written in it. THEN you will be prosperous and successful.”
               We, like Joshua, can feel overwhelmed by the magnitude of what we have to do, and wonder in the process, how we can ever do it. It is reassuring that God’s command to be “strong and very courageous,” applies to all believers no matter what situation is in their midst.  We can take refuge that the God of Moses and Joshua is also the God that we serve.

Be Strong and courageous, knowing God is with you and will not forsake you.
Be Strong and courageous, and focus on His Word, don’t be afraid.
Be Strong and Courageous and live his Word, God is with you.
Be Strong and Courageous.


Monday, September 13, 2010

Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will never pass away. Matthew 24:35

           The majority of Christian mission work has used literate means to reach oral communicators living in remote and isolated places of the world. Since a large portion of unreached people groups are oral learners it is critical that we use oral strategies to reach as many with Biblical truths that we in the West can take for granted.
             An effective way to reach oral cultures is by telling the stories of the Bible. Oral cultures love to hear stories over and over again, memorizing them and retelling them to their friends and neighbors. Since story telling is highly relational, Bible stories such as the parting of the Red Sea and David and Goliath, can spread rapidly within a people group without the aid of visuals or written materials.
             As I think how God has prepared me into full-time ministry, I am full of joy as I realize I will be able to share the Bible with men and women who long to hear the stories that have been existed for centuries. When I recall all the stories I have learned since I was a child in Sunday school, I can’t bear to think that many have never heard of the Good Samaritan or the Lord’s Prayer. This is why I long to be able to share the one single book that has made the biggest difference in my life. While I understand the need for more followers of Jesus Christ to enter into missionary service, I have to admit that there’s no other way I’d like to live out the rest of my life but to devote it to sharing the life transforming stories that have pierced my heart.

Monday, September 6, 2010

Throw your net on the right side of the boat....

The title for this first post is from John 21. Christ spoke these exact words to His disciples from the shore after He asked them if they had yet caught any fish from the left side of their fishing boat. When they answered, "No", they listened to Christ and cast their fishing net on the right side of the boat and their net became so full; they were unable to lift it out of the water.  For Laura and I as we complete our third week as new missionaries with Mission Aviation Fellowship, we feel that for the past 5-6 years, the Lord had been preparing not only us, but our entire family to cast our net on the right side of the boat and what a blessing it has been. Just as the disciples had a full net, we too have a net that has, so far, yielded great results. We have been able to share the vision of God's Call on our lives and invest time with people in a way that was never possible before due to the busyness of life. Though our lives are still busy, we have had a chance to invest in the lives of friends and family through ministry. We have been able to listen to family and friends share their lives with us  and we have been able to have time to listen closely and encourage and pray with them. What a joy it has been for Laura and I. Such amazing blessings as we cast our net on the right side of the boat. People have also been a blessing to us as they have prayed over us and have caught onto the vision of our ministry with MAF. Many are encouraged and have partnered alongside us to reach the most remote and isolated people in the world with the love of Jesus Christ. We are humbled by the kind words and love family and friends have demonstrated through our first three weeks of missionary service.  We look forward to the days and weeks ahead  knowing that the Lord who is faithful will guide our path and lead us toward more and more dependence upon Him so that He and He alone gets the glory. 
In His Service,
Tony and Laura