Mozambique Outreach: Making Disciples in Macalawane

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Several years ago, a group of mission-minded Chapel members with a love for Mozambique gathered before God to discern His vision for the church’s outreach to that African nation. After prayerful discussion, the vision became very clear: build the Church. Today, The Chapel celebrates, as God’s imparted vision has become a reality with the establishment of the Church in Macalawane. In partnership with Free Evangelical Assembly of Mozambique, and under the local leadership of Pastor Benedito and his wife, Lucia, The Chapel has acquired the land, paid for the building of a church structure, and served on outreaches to the surrounding community. Why is this effort so important?

“Healing, restoration and wholeness come through the Church as we gather together in the fellowship of believers,” says Pastor Todd Schreiner, pastor of outreach at The Chapel. “God’s call on all of us is to fulfill His Great Commandment and Great Commission. The Church in Macalawane is fulfilling those commands.”

The Great Commandment tells us to love the Lord our God with all of our heart, soul, and mind, and to love our neighbor as ourselves. ( Matthew 22:37-39) Pastor Benedito and his wife are living out this commandment by serving God wholeheartedly in their outreach to Macalawane. Their love of God has become contagious as they come alongside fellow villagers in Macalawane, sharing the truth and love of Jesus Christ. People like young mom, Ida.

Ida recently shared her story of struggle as she sought the truth about God, but found only confusion in the churches she attended. Then, she met Pastor Benedito. He visited her home and shared the gospel, and the truth of God and His word became clear. She now attends the new church in Macalawane and says her life has changed dramatically! Click (here) to watch Ida tell her testimony.

And Ida is not the only villager whose life God is reshaping. Even the tribal chief of Macalawane is being moved by God through the provision of clean water. On a mission in 2011, The Chapel heard of a village that had been dealing with a devastating outbreak of cholera. Their only water source was a bright yellow pond (most likely contamination), and their only means of filtration was the dirt that surrounded the pond. The short-term missionaries brought back the news of this great need, and members of The Chapel, as well as friends of WOW – Women for Oppressed Women, responded to the call. A well and water purification station were established in the village, providing a pure water source to the entire population. That humanitarian effort opened the village chief’s mind and heart to the establishment of the Church in Macalawane. Now, villagers not only are receiving clean water for their bodies, but also the Living Water of Jesus Christ, which hydrates the soul eternally!

Since its founding in 2011, WOW’s goal has been to provide life and livelihood to the poor and oppressed in Africa, Asia, Greater Akron and around the globe. The projects we have presented to you, our friends, have met the humanitarian needs of the people we serve; thus, opening their hearts to the message of life eternal through Jesus Christ. The support you have shown through your generous donations to WOW not only has helped to provide clean water to the Macalawane villagers, but also has opened the door (literally) to the Church of Jesus Christ!

And opportunities continue. The Chapel devotes itself to uphold Pastor Benedito and his family as they finish the planting of the Macalawane Church. Additionally, new humanitarian projects are being discussed and prepared, which will provide self-sustaining livelihood to more villagers. Meanwhile, a new water project is being established on the other side of the globe in the Yucatan Peninsula of Mexico. The Yucatan is another missional outreach region that The Chapel is supporting, and your generosity of WOW’s projects over the past year are helping to bring this pure water project to fruition.

WOW will be celebrating the work in the Yucatan and peering through the looking glass at The Chapel’s other global outreaches, at The Very Special Purse Party V: Windows on the World. The 5th presentation of our signature gala event will be held on Thursday, October 4, 2018, at Guy’s Party Center. Doors open at 5 p.m., and tickets are $25 each. As always, guests will be treated to a party prelude, a delicious dinner and the opportunity to support the Yucatan and some other surprise endeavors as you browse and buy from our four purse boutiques and bid on our silent auction satchels and themed items.

For information on the Very Special Purse Party V: Windows on the World, check our Facebook page often. Tickets go on sale August 1.

-- Linda Maynard © July 2018

Happy Independence Day!

It is a beautiful, sunny Saturday. Today, the air finally feels like summer; the birds fill the breeze with their songs as they float from tree to tree. The bright, blue sky is draped with drifting clouds. The house across the street is clad in its patriotic attire -- a vibrant, American flag hangs from a pole on the front porch. The gentle wind flicks it from one side to another.

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Each of the 50 white starts intricately woven into the rich, navy fabric symbolizes one of the 50 states that compose our country. The 13 stripes represent the original 13 colonies that gained independence from Great Britain. I cannot help but feel thankful when I reflect upon the beauty of the American flag. Americans declared independence from Great Britain because of the great oppression the British inflicted upon the colonists. The American colonists had come to America in search of a new lifestyle.

Liberty was born in July of 1776. Because America was no longer a slave to Great Britain’s dominion, they could grow and flourish. Eventually, this newfound freedom led to the beginning of a new chapter for our country.

Do you ever feel as if you are crushed under the oppression and dominion of our sinful nature? I know I do. There are times that I feel I don’t have any other choice but to give into my flawed human nature. These selfish desires and sin patterns are HEAVY. They sit on us-- like a weight on our shoulders, disabling us to move any further for the kingdom of God.

John 8:36 says, “So if the Son sets you FREE, you will be FREE indeed.”

As children of God, we are no longer slaves to our sin. We are no longer slaves to our earthly desires. We are no longer slaves to our pain. The Spirit of the living God has rescued us from this old lifestyle and has given us the power to turn away from our sin. We can shed that skin with confidence in knowing that our God is with us and for us and will lead us to the best that life has for us.

The independence we gain from the release of sin’s tyranny in our lives gives us peace. It engulfs us in confidence and strength. He has already paid the price for the sin in our lives.

Now, I don’t know about you, but I’m still human. Very, very human, in fact. I still sin (a lot). I still wander. I still act against the guidance of the Spirit in my life. But I rest in the fact that my sin has no power over me! I have a choice. Every day I can choose to say no to myself, and to say yes to my God.

This Independence Day, amidst the fireworks, cornhole, and barbequing, I encourage you to spend some time thinking and rejoicing over the freedom we have been given in Christ. God has truly fought the good fight to rescue us from our ultimate oppressor.

Happy Independence Day!

Streams of Living Water

“If anyone is thirsty, let him come to me and drink. Whoever believes in me, from his innermost being shall flow rivers of living water.” John 7:37-38

During a recent missions trip to Ichmul, Mexico, one of the most interesting women I met was Bartola.  We connected instantly because she was a wife and mother of three daughters similar in age to my own.  Once we made that connection, she began to tell me her story.  Bartola was only able to attend school through the second grade because her grandfather needed her help at home to raise her siblings. Her father passed away when she was one year old, and her mother abandoned them shortly thereafter.  Her grandfather was very knowledgeable of the medicinal properties of plants and herbs, and shared his knowledge with her. 

Bartola was proud to tell me that her girls have never needed to go to a doctor for illness; she helps them with what we would call naturopathic medicine when they are ill.  However, about a year ago Bartola began to have chronic stomachaches herself.  These went on for several months, and nothing she did seemed to help ease the pain.  Thus, she began the medical journey.  However, this came at quite a financial cost.  The family had to make an unimaginable choice: seeking to find out what was wrong with Bartola physically, or keeping their palapa (home).  Unfortunately, they could not afford to do both. 

The family decided to put their home up for sale and move in with Bartola’s in-laws.  After seeing many doctors in Peto, Tejelope, and Cancun, Bartola’s stomach pain improved. But, as a mother, she still hopes to provide a home of their own for her family someday.  Bartola expressed deep gratitude toward the women of WOW for being given the opportunity to provide additional income through the making and selling of hammocks. Hammock sales put her one step closer to helping her family achieve their dream.  She also is very excited to be a part of the water station micro-enterprise that WOW has worked to provide through the Mission House for the Ichmul community. 

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I pray for Bartola, and the other women that I had the opportunity to share with throughout my week in Ichmul.  A well from which water is drawn is such a beautiful picture of Christ’s work in our lives.  While on the trip, a geologist in our group shared that when you dig down in the earth for water, the drill must penetrate deep enough to be able to receive the flow of the water back up and out.  We can choose the site, we can drill down deep in the earth, but we are completely dependent on the water to flow back up through the earth.  The same is true of us: I can choose the women I share Christ’s love with, I can go deep with them on the struggles of life and God’s words of truth, and I can pray that it sinks deeply in their hearts and minds. Yet, I am completely dependent on the Holy Spirit to enable them to receive and accept it, and for Christ’s  living water to flow through them.  Just as He allows each one of us to accept that truth, and then living water to well up and flow out of our lives.

Lord, let these precious women of Ichmul choose you, and may your streams of life-sustaining water begin to flow through them. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

For True Freedom, Christ

It is for freedom that Christ has set you free!  Galatians 5:1

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On this Flag Day, we are in the midst of a national debate regarding the meaning and significance of our great American flag.  Does it truly stand for freedom?  For equality?  Justice for all? 

I recently read Having Our Say, The Delaney Sisters’ First 100 Years, an amazing autobiography of Bessie and Sadie Delaney, two African American sisters who lived to be 104 and 109 years old, respectively.  Their father was born into slavery and freed by the Emancipation Proclamation at seven years of age.  He and his wife married and raised 10 children through extremely difficult years of newfound freedom and the ugliness of Jim Crow laws and segregation.  Bessie and Sadie share many personal stories of the shameful oppression they faced, despite living in a nation that proclaimed freedom and unalienable rights endowed by our Creator.

Nonetheless, the Delaney family’s identity was rooted in Christ Jesus.  They understood their God-given worth and value that no man could take from them.  Bessie and Sadie’s father became the administrator of St. Augustine’s College and nation’s first elected black Episcopal bishop.  Bessie obtained a dentistry degree from Columbia University and became the second black woman licensed to practice dentistry in New York.  Sadie obtained a Master’s Degree from Columbia and became the first black woman to teach home economics in a New York City high school.  Other siblings similarly overcame huge obstacles to become a doctor, dentist, and U.S. district attorney.    

Despite achieving unheard of success for an African-American family during a dark era of our nation’s history, the Delaney sisters still struggled under the weight of discrimination and inequality.  At one point, Bessie writes:

All I ever wanted in my life was to be treated as an individual.  I have succeeded, to some extent.  At least I’m sure that in the Lord’s eyes, I am an individual.  I am not a “colored” person, or a “Negro” person, in God’s eyes.  I am just me!  The Lord won’t hold it against me that I’m colored because He made me that way!  He thinks I am beautiful!  And so do I, even with all my wrinkles!  I am beautiful!  (Having Our Say, p. 186)

Still today, many people around the world live under the weight of slavery, discrimination and oppression.  But in Galatians, Paul tells us that in Christ Jesus, we are all children of God through faith.  There is no Jew nor Gentile, neither slave nor free, nor is there male and female.  We are all one in Christ Jesus. (Galatians 3:58)

While we celebrate the freedoms we are afforded in the United States, and how far we have come from a time of slavery and segregation, there always will be challenges to overcome in changing the hearts and minds of sinful man.  But praise God our freedom is not given to us by man!  God is the only one who can offer us true freedom.  The Bible proclaims:  It is for freedom that Christ has set us free.  Stand firm, then, and do not let yourselves be burdened again by a yoke of slavery! (Galatians 5:1)  Christ Jesus has set us free.  Free from our sin, free from our past, free from our circumstances, free from the weight of judgment of others.  We are free in Christ Jesus indeed.

The sisterhood of WOW longs to make this freedom in Christ Jesus known to the poor and oppressed everywhere—both here locally and throughout the world.  As Paul writes to his Christian brothers and sisters:  You, my brothers and sisters, were called to be free.  But do not use your freedom to indulge in the flesh, rather, serve one another humbly in love.  (Galatians 5:13)  Thank you for partnering with WOW to proclaim freedom and humbly serve others in love.  We treasure every prayer, journal purchase, purse donation, “like” on Facebook, attendance at an event, and many other ways of support and encouragement.  May it all be for God’s glory!

Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up.  (Galatians 6:9)

-- Ashley Manfull, © June 2018

One Mustard Seed Idea, God’s Global Reach

“For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.” -- Ephesians 2:10

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In October 2015, Gini Thompson brought her willingness and a small request before God to make and sell 15 journals.  Her desire was to meet a challenge the WOW sisters gave one another to determine a way that each woman could raise money for a new church plant in Macalawane, Mozambique. God has multiplied Gini’s desire in unbelievable ways not only for the church in Mozambique but for women in the Greater Akron area and beyond!

It’s been over a year and no one had any idea what was in store from this simple but mighty work of God.  At that time hundreds of dollars had been raised to help the poor and oppressed.  The WOW sisters were thrilled!  The idea grew into “Journal Jam & Java” (JJ & J) gatherings, which have raised thousands of dollars to support Lydia’s Home of Broken Chains Ministries. Lydia’s Home helps women re-enter society after transitioning from prison and breaking free of opiate addiction. God’s monumental results could not have been imagined.

Designing, sewing, organizing, hosting and a willing spirit were combined by many to make and sell journals for His glory.  We are his workmanship--which he has used for good works.  He amazes us at every turn and WOW has been able to help women in numerous ways that God had prepared beforehand--as His word says.

While WOW has sold and continues to sell journals locally, we hear testimonies of how God is using them and blessing the hearts of women and men as they implement them in a variety of ways.  This summer and fall journals are being sent around the world to the very people WOW is endeavoring to help.  As funds are raised here, journals are being donated as gifts to the poor and oppressed globally.

WOW will send journals to orphans in Cambodia who have been rescued from sexual and economic exploitation through Asia’s Hope.  Thirty journals will travel to Vietnam as a way for the pastors there to write as they study God’s Word. A team traveling in the fall will provide WOW with a way to bless women in India.  As WOW funds clean water stations in the Yucatan, the women involved in micro-enterprise will receive a gift basket of food along with a journal inscribed with John 7:37-38 in Spanish.

“Como la agua limpia nos quita la sed, Jesús, la agua viva, nos llena nuestra alma.

“As clean water takes away our thirst, Jesus, the living water, fills our souls.” 

“Jesus said, ‘Let anyone who is thirsty come to me. Anyone who

 believes in me can come and drink, because the Scriptures declare: 

“rivers of living water will flow from your heart.’” John 7: 37

 

We are humbled and grateful for all that the Lord does and continues to do through WOW Journals!  One simple act by Gini to sew journals as a fundraiser for a church in Mozambique, Africa has grown into Journal parties that draw countless people into a deeper intimacy with Him while funding mercy projects around the globe.  We can only imagine what God is preparing next!

 

·      Would you like to know more information about WOW Journals? Click here.

·      Would you like to know more about hosting a Journal Jam & Java event? Click here.

 

 

 

Let Our Freedom Ring!

Memorial Day is a time for us to remember and honor all the men and women who have sacrificed their lives in the fight for our freedom. 

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In a country where freedom reigns, we can all probably identify someone that we know has served in the United States Military. It takes a special kind of individual to join the armed forces; we associate attributes such as bravery and strength to those who have served.

My grandfather was a marine for several years, and he wears the title of military veteran very well. He is so tough, so courageous--yet so humble, and so gentle. Even in his old age, I consider him my greatest protector. My papa does not like to talk about his time in the service. He carries many wounds--internal wounds, emotional wounds--that were inflicted to win freedom. Freedom for me, freedom for you, and freedom for our beautiful country.

Freedom is bought at a price. The bible tells us that Jesus has bought our freedom through his undeserving death on a cross. Romans 8:1-2 says, "Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus. For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus has set you FREE from the law of sin and death." This is something to rejoice over! Jesus, the perfect and spotless savior of the world, came to save us and serve us freedom. He willingly fought and conquered death for those he loved. He paid the price once and for all. As my grandfather and many other veterans have sacrificed so much to bring us freedom, so has our heavenly savior, Jesus.

So what does it mean to sacrifice? Dictionary.com defines sacrifice as "the surrender or destruction of something prized or desirable for the sake of something considered as having a higher or more pressing claim". What a beautiful way to show love and compassion. We have been designed in the image of a creator that has sacrificed his most valuable possession--his only, spotless, and blameless son--to give us eternal life.

This makes me think about how God can use my sacrifices to bring others freedom. John 15:13 says, "Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one's life for one's friends." God gives us the tools we need to sacrifice for others. He has called us to display that bravery and strength we see in our veterans. Jesus has a heart for the poor and oppressed--and we are designed in his image. We are called to fight and sacrifice for our sisters and brothers in Christ.

Thank you, veterans, for your service and sacrifice for our country. Memorial day is as much a day of contemplation as it is a day of celebration. As you take time to reflect today, do not forget the one who served as the ultimate sacrifice for our eternal freedom--Jesus.

— Ashley Martinez (c) May 2018

 

 

Half the Sky: A Book Review

One of my favorite words in the Hebrew language is Shalom.  I love this word because it means so much more than peace.  It encompasses an entire ideal: universal flourishing, the way things ought to be.  When you hear the term universal flourishing, what do you think of?  For me, I think of someone who is thriving in every aspect of life - mentally, physically, spiritually, and emotionally. 

In the New Testament, when Jesus healed, it always brought shalom to the person being healed.  If someone was blind, he gave them physical healing, but their eyes were also opened to who he is, the Son of God.  Jesus met them in the peak of their brokenness, and his physical and or emotional healing brought forgiveness and freedom, which in turn led to spiritual transformation, and thus, universal flourishing. 

As an organization, the goal of Women for Oppressed Women is to help oppressed women flourish in every aspect of their lives.  Often times, provision of their most obvious physical need brings them shalom, as they recognize their need for spiritual restoration in Christ.  When we seek to help women in oppression, our goal ought to be one of shalom, giving them a hand up to flourish in every aspect of life.  Many organizations focus on helping women improve their lives in a specific aspect, such as spiritually, educationally, physically (health-care), or economically (microenterprise).  Many are making a significant impact, yet sometimes it is overwhelming to know where to begin or how to help, especially when we hear of such widespread abuse or injustices.  That is where the book Half the Sky can help. 

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Since beginning my journey of gaining awareness and becoming active in the plight of oppressed women around the world, I have read many books on the subject. By far, the most comprehensive book on the topic has been Half the Sky: Turning Oppression into Opportunity, by Nicholas Kristoff and Sheryl WuDunn.   This book, written in 2009, was birthed out of Sheryl’s own personal story as a Chinese American who went on a mission to discover more about her father’s heritage and family lineage in China.  What she discovered nearly unraveled everything she knew in her life to be true.  Her father left a wife and two daughters in China to move to America, and he then married and birthed two more daughters here.  Sheryl was one of the American daughters, and her father had never mentioned that he had abandoned a wife and two daughters in China. 

When she discovered this truth (and met her two half-sisters), she set out on a journey that led her around the globe, researching and reporting on women and girls in widespread forms of oppression.  She and Kristoff compiled the stories of the women Sheryl met, into Half the Sky. The best-selling book later was made into a documentary featuring interviews with many of the women whose stories she shared.

Half the Sky is a very difficult read, and many of the stories will make you sick to your stomach knowing they are true and occurring every day.  However, awareness is certainly the first step in making a difference.  Authors WuDunn and Kristoff do an amazing job gently documenting the sometimes brutal, violent, and devastating realities of these women’s lives.   They unpack the worldwide spread of sex trafficking and highlight several organizations who have experienced varying degrees of success in rescuing and rehabilitating girls from this slavery.  The authors also expose honor killings, rapes and mass rapes as weapons of war. These horrific practices frequently lead to fistulas (holes in women’s genitalia that cause feces to leak out continuously), maternal mortality (99 percent of those deaths occur in poor countries), and inequality of education in many parts of the world.   

The book doesn’t stop at just the bad news. Half the Sky gives many examples of organizations making strides to “turn oppression into opportunity.” Lastly, they offer readers four steps they can do in the next ten minutes to make a difference.  While one single person may not be able to solve the problem of global oppression, certainly awareness, advocacy, and action in small steps by many people will help. Then, we can begin the process of lifting one woman at a time toward healing and the opportunity to flourish. 

-- Heather Weisel © September 2017

 

The Compassion of Christ

Then in haste every man of them took his garment and put it under him on the bare steps, and they blew the trumpet and proclaimed, “Jehu is king.” 2 Kings 9:13 (ESV)
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The first day of Holy Week, Palm Sunday, is one that conjurs up the images of palm branches and cloaks that lined the street as Jesus rode into Jerusalem on a donkey. Many of us have childhood memories of Palm Sundays past when we would receive a handful of palm leaves. We would wave them and then weave them into configurations that looked like a cross. In our youth and simplicity of heart we enjoyed the excitement of welcoming the King of Kings as they did long ago. It was hard for us to comprehend that this same crowd waving palm branches in the Bible story would call for his death just a few short days later.  

The people were excited and cheering and praising God.  The Gospel of Luke says that they were shouting  "Blessed is the King who comes in the name of the Lord!” (Luke 19:38)  The crowds were lining up in the streets to welcome this blessed one -- but this upset the Pharisees! They knew this phrase referred to the long-awaited Messiah of God, as declared in Psalm 118:26 – “Blessed is he who comes in the name of the LORD!”.

The Pharisees actually told Jesus to stop the people. "Some of the Pharisees in the crowd said to Jesus, ‘Teacher, rebuke your disciples!’  ‘I tell you,’ he replied, ‘If they keep quiet, the stones will cry out.’” (Luke 19:39-40) Of course, Jesus was, is and always will be the Messiah, and this was a problem for most of the crowd that day in many ways.

The people wanted a Messiah, but they wanted the Messiah on their terms -- to come against Rome and demand freedom, even if by force. They wanted their salvation and the Romans gone by any means.  What they got, however, was something far different than anyone could imagine.
The sounds of the cheering crowd would later be betrayed by the sounds of their stony hearts. “Blessed is he!” would soon become “crucify him!” We may look back now and say we would never have felt the same way as the Israelites of Jesus’ day. But, do we really understand our sinful hearts with complete certainty? Yet, despite all that Jesus saw in man – indeed, because of it! -- he was moved to sacrifice himself to ridicule, pain, suffering and death on a cross for our needs.  

Do we recognize how Jesus had compassion and moved toward us in our need:  lost, sinful, broken bodies with the misery of eternal separation from our Father God? Do we look at the pain and suffering around us and in the world as Christ did? Regardless of man's sin, foolishness, and self-centeredness, are we compelled to compassion?  May we ask God to help us move tenderly toward that pain. As we know, Christ came not to save the righteous, but sinners -- sinners like us.  
-- Lorraine Pruitt, © March 2018

 

WOW - Women for Oppressed Women Celebrates seven years of God's goodness to the poor and oppressed!

Seven years ago this month, several women from The Chapel in Akron and Green who had been involved in mission to Mozambique united their hearts for the women of that country. Several women quickly became many women, all with a desire to serve the Mozambican women more powerfully. The group of like-minded ladies quickly took on a name: WOW - Women for Oppressed Women.

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God had pierced the hearts of WOW with the plight of the people of Mozambique. Centuries of oppression by foreign governments and decades of civil war had destroyed Mozambique's infrastructure, leaving few viable job opportunities for Mozambicans close to home. Burdened by the needs and emboldened by the opportunities for women in that African country, WOW began dreaming and planning for its first ever Very Special Purse Party.

The goal was daunting: raise $60,000 in five months! Mindful of our African friends' sufferings, however, WOW prayed, dreamt, planned and worked, and by the grace of God, held its first purse party on October 15, 2011, raising $60,000!

God gave life and livelihood to the people of Mozambique! But there were more unmet needs around the globe. The women of WOW, along with our families and friends, continued to seek God with hands open to receive whatever assignments He had for us. And throughout the last six years, each time WOW has accepted an assignment, God has provided the means.

Since our founding, God has:

  • Superintended over three more Very Special Purse Parties.
  • Sowed a sewing microenterprise in Chaimite, Mozambique.
  • Provided clean water for the Mozambican village of Macalawane.
  • Planted a second agriculture field in the Mozambican village of Chegwe.
  • Secured the final $50,000 needed to open a safe house in Northeast Ohio for adult cvictims of human trafficking.
  • Established a new church in Macalwane.
  • Built a home and provided Christian parents and siblings for 25 orphans in Cambodia.
  • Provided $25,000 to Broken Chains Ministry in order to open Lydia's Home, a haven of life skill and vocational training for women coming out of prison or addiction.

Wow responded to these needs, but we konw that God was the Provider. As we prepare for hte Very Special Purse Party V in the fall of 2018 we will continue to do all things in His Name and for His glory.

"Because we loved you so much, we were delighted to share with you not only the gospel of God but our lives, as well." 1 Thessalonians 2:8

 

The Master Weaver Uses Baseball to Open Ministry Doors in San Marcos

The Chapel team that was recently in the Yucatan Peninsula (YP) came back with exciting news about the doors that God opened while they were in the village of San Marcos (about a 20-minute drive from Ichmul, Mission House’s base in the jungle of the YP).

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One of the things the team did not have planned was what God used to open a new door to the Mayan men in that jungle village.  While the team was doing facilities work and ministry in the classrooms at the school.  Donny, one of the team members who was very unsure of how God planned to use him, was out in a field playing baseball with some boys.  He was acting sort of goofy with them using exaggerated “big league moves” to pitch the ball.

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An aspect of the ministry that is difficult in the YP is that it is very hard to connect with the Mayan men.  Traditionally during home visits Mayan men will make themselves scarce and they are generally harder to reach.  As a whole, the Mayan men can be absent in the homes both because they physically leave the villages to find work and also emotionally because there is a very high rate of alcoholism among the men.  

On this day some older teens and Mayan men were watching Donny play baseball with the boys and soon they came over and asked him about playing baseball.  The Mission House staff were able to take that opportunity to invite the men to come back and play a game of baseball for adults at a later time.  The mission team went back to Ichmul to gather more players and eventually the whole village of San Marcos came out to watch the exciting game!  In the end, the San Marcos team soundly defeated the mission team, but many positive connections were made and those fluent in Spanish and Mayan engaged in great conversations with the men.
 

At the San Marcos School Room, the mission team had been greeted eagerly by a male teacher who told them how badly the young middle school boys (ages 11-14 yrs. old) in his class needed God.  Those boys got a chance to interact with the team and further experienced God’s love as they watched the mission team play the men of their village in baseball.  Hopefully this will open future doors for the Gospel!

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Later in the week at a church service in the yard of a palapa in San Marcos, Marsha, one of the Chapel team members, was asked to speak because she has much professional and personal family experience with alcoholism.  Many of the Mayan men of the village did not directly join the service, but because of the prior connections made through the baseball game, they stood with interest in earshot of the microphone and were able to hear Marsha’s testimony and the message of the Gospel.

WOW’s goal this year is to raise funds for Water Purification Systems for as many of the villages, such as San Marcos, where Mission House is ministering in the YP as possible.   Clean water is uncommon in the YP and much soda and other unhealthy beverages are consumed leading to serious health problems.  We hope that the physical health that the clean water brings will be surpassed only by the spiritual health that the water given in the name of Christ will give.