International Ministries

Bethell - International Ministries The latest from Lauran Bethell https://internationalministries.org/teams/109-bethell.rss Tulips and Trafficking.... <table border="0" cellpadding="0" cellspacing="0" width="100%" class="templateContainer" style="border-collapse: collapse; max-width: 600px !important; border: 0px; width: 600px !important;"><tbody><tr><td valign="top" id="templateHeader" style="background-color: rgb(255, 255, 255); border-top-width: 0px; border-bottom-width: 0px; padding-top: 9px; padding-bottom: 0px;"><table class="mcnTextBlock" width="100%" border="0" cellpadding="0" cellspacing="0" style="border-collapse: collapse; min-width: 100%;"><tbody class="mcnTextBlockOuter"><tr><td class="mcnTextBlockInner" valign="top" style="padding-top: 9px;"><table class="mcnTextContentContainer" width="100%" align="left" border="0" cellpadding="0" cellspacing="0" style="border-collapse: collapse; max-width: 100%; min-width: 100%;"><tbody><tr><td class="mcnTextContent" valign="top" style="word-break: break-word; color: rgb(32, 32, 32); font-family: Helvetica; font-size: 16px; line-height: 24px; padding: 0px 18px 9px;"><div style="text-align: center;"><span style="font-size: 24px;"><strong><em>Happy Spring to All!</em></strong></span></div></td></tr></tbody></table></td></tr></tbody></table></td></tr><tr><td valign="top" id="templateBody" style="background-color: rgb(255, 255, 255); border-top-width: 0px; border-bottom-width: 2px; border-bottom-style: solid; border-bottom-color: rgb(234, 234, 234); padding-top: 0px; padding-bottom: 9px;"><table class="mcnTextBlock" width="100%" border="0" cellpadding="0" cellspacing="0" style="border-collapse: collapse; min-width: 100%;"><tbody class="mcnTextBlockOuter"><tr><td class="mcnTextBlockInner" valign="top" style="padding-top: 9px;"><table class="mcnTextContentContainer" width="100%" align="left" border="0" cellpadding="0" cellspacing="0" style="border-collapse: collapse; max-width: 100%; min-width: 100%;"><tbody><tr><td class="mcnTextContent" valign="top" style="word-break: break-word; color: rgb(32, 32, 32); font-family: Helvetica; font-size: 16px; line-height: 24px; padding: 0px 18px 9px;"><span style="font-size: 14px;"><strong><em>You know that it’s my favorite time of year in The Netherlands—because the tulips are in bloom!&nbsp; I love taking my walks for exercise in the Keukenhof gardens—and hosting numerous folks who come to visit.&nbsp;</em></strong></span><br>&nbsp;<div><span style="font-size: 14px;"><strong><em><img src="https://gallery.mailchimp.com/65d4d76a82135cc818c52c419/images/c24af937-6358-4389-99eb-74205a6cae3c.jpg" height="200" width="200" align="none" style="border: 0px; outline: none; width: 200px; margin: 0px; float: left; height: auto !important;">I call this time of year “trafficking and tulips” because people come to my home from all over the world to learn about human trafficking in all its ugliness—and then are able to re-group, visit the flowers, and realize that God created such incredible beauty—provided for our Delight.&nbsp; My home&nbsp;</em></strong><strong><em>provides a comfortable base from which guests can learn from those working in stellar anti-trafficking projects here.&nbsp; And then we head to the gardens to balance our souls and hearts.&nbsp;</em></strong></span></div><span style="font-size: 14px;"></span></td></tr></tbody></table></td></tr></tbody></table></td></tr><tr><td valign="top" id="templateFooter" style="background-color: rgb(250, 250, 250); border-top-width: 0px; border-bottom-width: 0px; padding-top: 9px; padding-bottom: 9px;"><table class="mcnTextBlock" width="100%" border="0" cellpadding="0" cellspacing="0" style="border-collapse: collapse; min-width: 100%;"><tbody class="mcnTextBlockOuter"><tr><td class="mcnTextBlockInner" valign="top" style="padding-top: 9px;"><table class="mcnTextContentContainer" width="100%" align="left" border="0" cellpadding="0" cellspacing="0" style="border-collapse: collapse; max-width: 100%; min-width: 100%;"><tbody><tr><td class="mcnTextContent" valign="top" style="word-break: break-word; color: rgb(101, 101, 101); font-family: Helvetica; font-size: 12px; line-height: 18px; text-align: center; padding: 0px 18px 9px;"><div><strong><em><u><span style="font-size: 18px;">Our plans change — but God’s plans are perfect!</span></u></em></strong><br>&nbsp;</div><div style="text-align: left;"><span style="font-size: 14px;"><span style="color: rgb(0, 0, 0);"><strong>For nearly a year, my calendar said that I was supposed to go to India to attend the board meeting of an important anti-trafficking organization. During the year, I discovered (on good ‘ol Facebook!) that a friend of mine, Monica McDowell, who I’ve known since high school. was now living in Bangalore, where the board was meeting—and she invited me to lead an international&nbsp;</strong><strong><em>women’s retreat over a week-end after the board meeting.&nbsp; And then, to my dismay, after all the plans were made, at the lastminute, the board meeting site was moved to London!&nbsp; Ordinarily, I wouldn’t have accepted an invitation to go to India to lead a women’s retreat that didn’t have much to do with anti- was trafficking work—but they were counting on me, the plane reservations had been made—and so off I went after the London board meeting.&nbsp; And what a fabulous, God-ordained time it!&nbsp;&nbsp;</em></strong></span></span></div></td></tr></tbody></table></td></tr></tbody></table><table class="mcnTextBlock" width="100%" border="0" cellpadding="0" cellspacing="0" style="border-collapse: collapse; min-width: 100%;"><tbody class="mcnTextBlockOuter"><tr><td class="mcnTextBlockInner" valign="top" style="padding-top: 9px;"><table class="mcnTextContentContainer" width="100%" align="left" border="0" cellpadding="0" cellspacing="0" style="border-collapse: collapse; max-width: 100%; min-width: 100%;"><tbody><tr><td class="mcnTextContent" valign="top" style="word-break: break-word; color: rgb(101, 101, 101); font-family: Helvetica; font-size: 12px; line-height: 18px; text-align: center; padding: 0px 18px 9px;"><img src="https://gallery.mailchimp.com/65d4d76a82135cc818c52c419/images/55038d17-4fcc-4060-aea2-d596a7091aa2.jpg" height="176" width="473" align="none" style="border: 0px; outline: none; width: 473px; margin: 0px; height: auto !important;"><div style="text-align: left;"><span style="color: rgb(0, 0, 0);"><strong><span style="font-family: arial, 'helvetica neue', helvetica, sans-serif;"><span style="font-size: 14px;"><em>The women were from India—and all over the world.&nbsp; As I shared my own journey through my life, being led by God’s Love, I was honored to hear theirs—some of them heart-breaking.&nbsp; There were opportunities for prayer and counsel.&nbsp; And I was blessed beyond measure by their kindness and encouragement.</em></span></span></strong></span></div></td></tr></tbody></table></td></tr></tbody></table><table class="mcnTextBlock" width="100%" border="0" cellpadding="0" cellspacing="0" style="border-collapse: collapse; min-width: 100%;"><tbody class="mcnTextBlockOuter"><tr><td class="mcnTextBlockInner" valign="top" style="padding-top: 9px;"><table class="mcnTextContentContainer" width="100%" align="left" border="0" cellpadding="0" cellspacing="0" style="border-collapse: collapse; max-width: 100%; min-width: 100%;"><tbody><tr><td class="mcnTextContent" valign="top" style="word-break: break-word; color: rgb(101, 101, 101); font-family: Helvetica; font-size: 14px; line-height: 21px; text-align: center; padding: 0px 18px 9px;"><div style="text-align: left;"><span style="color: rgb(0, 0, 0);"><strong><em><span style="font-family: arial, 'helvetica neue', helvetica, sans-serif;">I was<img src="https://gallery.mailchimp.com/65d4d76a82135cc818c52c419/images/0c1e4f8e-68b1-4c28-863a-2de166c8d751.jpg" height="214" width="266" align="none" style="border: 0px; outline: none; width: 266px; float: left; margin: 0px; height: auto !important;">&nbsp;given the opportunity to preach on morning in the Sunday worship service for the wider church community.&nbsp; I shared about Jesus’ mandate to welcome the stranger, and what meaning that has for us in Europe with relation to the recent influx of desperate refugees.&nbsp; I’ve rarely experienced such rich and insightful feedback from a sermon from so many of their personal experiences—some, as refugees themselves….&nbsp;</span>&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;</em></strong></span></div></td></tr></tbody></table></td></tr></tbody></table><table class="mcnBoxedTextBlock" width="100%" border="0" cellpadding="0" cellspacing="0" style="border-collapse: collapse; min-width: 100%;"><tbody class="mcnBoxedTextBlockOuter"><tr><td class="mcnBoxedTextBlockInner" valign="top"><table class="mcnBoxedTextContentContainer" width="100%" align="left" border="0" cellpadding="0" cellspacing="0" style="border-collapse: collapse; min-width: 100%;"><tbody><tr><td style="padding: 9px 18px;"><table class="mcnTextContentContainer" width="100%" border="0" cellpadding="18" cellspacing="0" style="border-collapse: collapse; background-color: rgb(64, 64, 64); min-width: 100% !important;"><tbody><tr><td class="mcnTextContent" valign="top" style="word-break: break-word; color: rgb(234, 81, 81); font-family: Helvetica; font-size: 14px; line-height: 21px; text-align: center;"><div><em><a name="_GoBack" style="color: rgb(101, 101, 101); text-decoration: underline;"><span style="color: rgb(255, 255, 0);"><strong><u><span style="font-size: 18px;">MATCHING GIFT OPPORTUNITY</span></u></strong></span></a><br><strong>If you have considered contributing to my support for the&nbsp;<u>first time</u>—or giving an&nbsp;<u>over and above gift</u>,</strong></em></div><div><span style="color: rgb(64, 224, 208);"><strong><u>From April 15-June 15</u></strong><br><strong>(<u>or</u>&nbsp;whenever the funds run out!)</strong><br><strong>YOUR GIFT CAN BE MATCHED!</strong></span></div><div><em><strong>Just make sure that you notate&nbsp;</strong><br><strong>“Matching funds towards Lauran Bethell Support” on your check (written to IM) or in your on-line gift.&nbsp;&nbsp; Go to: &lt;www.internationalministries.org&gt; for more information.&nbsp;<u>Thank you!</u></strong></em></div></td></tr></tbody></table></td></tr></tbody></table></td></tr></tbody></table><table class="mcnTextBlock" width="100%" border="0" cellpadding="0" cellspacing="0" style="border-collapse: collapse; min-width: 100%;"><tbody class="mcnTextBlockOuter"><tr><td class="mcnTextBlockInner" valign="top" style="padding-top: 9px;"><table class="mcnTextContentContainer" width="100%" align="left" border="0" cellpadding="0" cellspacing="0" style="border-collapse: collapse; max-width: 100%; min-width: 100%;"><tbody><tr><td class="mcnTextContent" valign="top" style="word-break: break-word; color: rgb(101, 101, 101); font-family: Helvetica; font-size: 16px; line-height: 24px; text-align: center; padding: 0px 18px 9px; font-style: italic;"><div><span style="color: rgb(0, 0, 0);"><strong><span style="font-size: 18px;"><em><u>And a serendipity….in Kolkata!</u></em></span></strong></span><br>&nbsp;</div><div style="text-align: left;"><span style="font-family: arial, 'helvetica neue', helvetica, sans-serif;"><span style="font-size: 14px;"><span style="color: rgb(0, 0, 0);"><strong><em>Just before I left for India, I received a message from a young woman who is working with “Freeset”—the pioneering organization which is transforming Kolkata’s red-light district “economically and spiritually from the inside out”.&nbsp;</em></strong></span></span></span><br><br><span style="font-family: arial, 'helvetica neue', helvetica, sans-serif;"><span style="font-size: 14px;"><span style="color: rgb(0, 0, 0);"><strong><em><img src="https://gallery.mailchimp.com/65d4d76a82135cc818c52c419/images/ff0b8e75-a1e1-4729-b408-28443307c834.jpg" height="164" width="159" align="none" style="border: 0px; outline: none; width: 159px; margin: 0px; float: left; height: auto !important;">Pip Rea has devoted her life as a nurse in service to the women who have come out prostitution and are working in the Freeset factory. She wanted some advice from me about other aspects of after-care, so I decided, since I’m in India anyway, why not just fly up to Kolkata and meet with her face-to-face?!&nbsp; Her new ministry, “Tamar”, working in partnership with Freeset, is offering much needed physical and emotional care for the women.&nbsp; I “kidnapped” Monica and we flew up and spent a fully packed day, consulting and listening.&nbsp;</em></strong></span></span></span></div></td></tr></tbody></table></td></tr></tbody></table><table class="mcnTextBlock" width="100%" border="0" cellpadding="0" cellspacing="0" style="border-collapse: collapse; min-width: 100%;"><tbody class="mcnTextBlockOuter"><tr><td class="mcnTextBlockInner" valign="top" style="padding-top: 9px;"><table class="mcnTextContentContainer" width="100%" align="left" border="0" cellpadding="0" cellspacing="0" style="border-collapse: collapse; max-width: 100%; min-width: 100%;"><tbody><tr><td class="mcnTextContent" valign="top" style="word-break: break-word; color: rgb(101, 101, 101); font-family: Helvetica; font-size: 12px; line-height: 24px; text-align: center; padding: 0px 18px 9px;"><div style="text-align: left;"><span style="color: rgb(0, 0, 0);"><strong><span style="font-family: arial, 'helvetica neue', helvetica, sans-serif;"><span style="font-size: 14px;"><em><img src="https://gallery.mailchimp.com/65d4d76a82135cc818c52c419/images/393b501f-4168-4193-92b2-576afb159211.jpg" height="169" width="223" align="none" style="border: 0px; outline: none; width: 223px; margin: 0px; float: left; height: auto !important;">The day was rich with learning and sharing.&nbsp; I LOVED catching up with the founders of Freeset, Kerry and Annie Hilton, seeing their fabulous new building and hearing about the “new things” God is leading them into.</em>&nbsp;<em><u>What a week rich with God’s Surprising Blessings and Opportunities!&nbsp;</u></em></span></span></strong></span></div></td></tr></tbody></table></td></tr></tbody></table><table class="mcnTextBlock" width="100%" border="0" cellpadding="0" cellspacing="0" style="border-collapse: collapse; min-width: 100%;"><tbody class="mcnTextBlockOuter"><tr><td class="mcnTextBlockInner" valign="top" style="padding-top: 9px;"><table class="mcnTextContentContainer" width="100%" align="left" border="0" cellpadding="0" cellspacing="0" style="border-collapse: collapse; max-width: 100%; min-width: 100%;"><tbody><tr><td class="mcnTextContent" valign="top" style="word-break: break-word; color: rgb(101, 101, 101); font-family: Helvetica; font-size: 12px; line-height: 18px; text-align: center; padding: 0px 18px 9px;"><div><span style="color: rgb(0, 0, 0);"><u><strong><em><span style="font-size: 18px;">THANK YOU for your prayers:</span></em></strong></u></span></div><div style="text-align: left;"><span style="color: rgb(0, 0, 0);"><strong><span style="font-family: arial, 'helvetica neue', helvetica, sans-serif;"><span style="font-size: 14px;"><em>&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;<br>&nbsp; --for wisdom when I’m consulting with those who are seeking to begin new ministries or expand already existing ones</em><br><em>&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; --for safety during my upcoming travels</em><br><em>&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; --for wisdom in choosing the best options with regard to the renewal of my Dutch visa (which expires early next year)</em><br><em>&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; --for guidance as we plan the next “International Christian Alliance on Prostitution” (ICAP) Global Conference—offering training, encouragement, networking for hundreds of people involved direct service ministries with victims of trafficking/prostitution</em><br><em>&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; --for inspiration from God for the words to say in sermon preparation for preaching</em><br><em>&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; --that I can keep up with all the requests I get for advice, consultations, information….for God’s wisdom to know what to say “yes” to, and what to decline&nbsp;</em></span></span></strong></span></div><div style="text-align: left;"><strong style="color: rgb(0, 0, 0);"><em><span style="font-family: arial, 'helvetica neue', helvetica, sans-serif;"><span style="font-size: 14px;">&nbsp; &nbsp;--that I continue to have good health so that I can take&nbsp;</span></span>care of the wonderful people&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; who will be staying with me in the next several weeks…</em></strong><span style="color: rgb(0, 0, 0);"><strong><span style="font-family: arial, 'helvetica neue', helvetica, sans-serif;"><span style="font-size: 14px;"><i><br></i>&nbsp;<br><em>With great gratitude for:<br>&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; --Providential meetings&nbsp;</em><br><em>&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; --Financial provision:&nbsp; The good news is that 96% of my support is committed!&nbsp;&nbsp;</em><br><em>&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; --The exponentially increasing numbers of people who are involved with anti-human trafficking endeavors</em><br><em>&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; --YOU, who care and pray and support me in so many ways!</em><br>&nbsp;<br><em>With Love,</em><br><em>Lauran</em><br>&nbsp;</span></span></strong></span></div><div><span style="color: rgb(0, 0, 0);"><u><strong><span style="font-size: 18px;"><em>Schedule for the coming weeks:</em></span></strong></u></span></div><div style="text-align: left;"><br><span style="color: rgb(0, 0, 0);"><strong><span style="font-family: arial, 'helvetica neue', helvetica, sans-serif;"><span style="font-size: 14px;"><em>April 13-27:&nbsp; At home in The Netherlands, with a calendar wonderfully full of guests!</em><br><em>April 24:&nbsp; Preach at International Christian Unity Church (ICU) Gouda</em><br><em>April 28-May 2:&nbsp; ABC of Nebraska Annual Meeting</em><br><em>May 10-16:&nbsp; Global Consultants Consultation, Valley Forge, PA</em><br><em>May 21-28:&nbsp; International Christian Alliance on Prostitution (ICAP) Leadership Team planning meeting in my home (coming from all over the world!)</em><br><em>June 9-14:&nbsp; North Carolina—Board meeting of Make Way Partners</em><br>&nbsp;<br><em>FOLLOW MY TRAVELS IN “REAL TIME” ON FACEBOOK!&nbsp; “FRIEND” ME!</em>&nbsp;</span></span></strong></span><br><br><br></div></td></tr></tbody></table></td></tr></tbody></table></td></tr></tbody></table> Thu, 28 Apr 2016 20:00:00 -0400 https://internationalministries.org/read/61919-tulips-and-trafficking- https://internationalministries.org/read/61919-tulips-and-trafficking- Where in the World is Lauran? <!--[if gte mso 9]><xml> <o:DocumentProperties> <o:Revision>0</o:Revision> <o:TotalTime>0</o:TotalTime> <o:Pages>1</o:Pages> <o:Words>469</o:Words> <o:Characters>2678</o:Characters> <o:Company>American Baptist Churches/USA</o:Company> <o:Lines>22</o:Lines> <o:Paragraphs>6</o:Paragraphs> <o:CharactersWithSpaces>3141</o:CharactersWithSpaces> <o:Version>14.0</o:Version> </o:DocumentProperties> <o:OfficeDocumentSettings> <o:AllowPNG/> </o:OfficeDocumentSettings> </xml><![endif]--> <!--[if gte mso 9]><xml> <w:WordDocument> <w:View>Normal</w:View> 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mso-ansi-language:EN-US; mso-fareast-language:JA;} </style> <![endif]--> <!--StartFragment--> <table class="MsoNormalTable" border="1" cellspacing="0" cellpadding="0" style="border-collapse:collapse;mso-table-layout-alt:fixed;border:none; mso-padding-alt:0in 5.4pt 0in 5.4pt"> <tbody><tr style="mso-yfti-irow:0;mso-yfti-firstrow:yes;mso-yfti-lastrow:yes"> <td width="564" valign="top" style="width:564.0pt;border:none;padding:0in 5.4pt 0in 5.4pt"> <p class="MsoNormal" align="right" style="text-align: left;"><span style="font-family: 'Lucida Bright';">As I write this, I'm home, in The Netherlands, having stayed here for one of the longest periods of time since becoming a Global Consultant! &nbsp;For seven weeks, I haven't gotten on an airplane, or crossed a border into another country. &nbsp;I traveled about 150,000 miles last year, and really needed to stay grounded for a while. &nbsp;It's been a wonderful time of "re-organizing my life": of catching up with mounds of long overdue administrative tasks, cleaning my home, making plans and developing itineraries and priorities for the coming year.</span></p> <p class="MsoNormal" style="mso-pagination:none;mso-layout-grid-align:none; text-autospace:none"><span lang="EN-US" style="font-family:&quot;Lucida Bright&quot;; mso-bidi-font-family:&quot;Comic Sans MS&quot;">I've also enjoyed hosting dozens of meals and coffee/tea times in my home--reconnecting with local friends and greeting colleagues who have come through The Netherlands on stop-overs and longer stays. &nbsp;I love living in a place that is such an international crossroads! &nbsp;Consultations by Skype have been frequent and fruitful. &nbsp;I'm so thankful for great technology that&nbsp;enables face-to-face conversation from home to all over the world--and&nbsp;is also free!<o:p></o:p></span></p> <p class="MsoNormal" style="mso-pagination:none;mso-layout-grid-align:none; text-autospace:none"><u><span lang="EN-US" style="font-family:&quot;Lucida Bright&quot;;mso-bidi-font-family:&quot;Comic Sans MS&quot;">On The Road Again....</span></u></p> <p class="MsoNormal" style="mso-pagination:none;mso-layout-grid-align:none; text-autospace:none"><span lang="EN-US" style="font-family:&quot;Lucida Bright&quot;; mso-bidi-font-family:&quot;Comic Sans MS&quot;">My extended time at home ends in a couple of days. My first trip of the year will be to London to attend a board meeting of an organization I serve, which is doing amazing, holistic work, combatting human trafficking in South Asia. &nbsp;Next week, I'm off to India for a week, to lead a women's retreat and visit a project.<o:p></o:p></span></p> <p class="MsoNormal" style="mso-pagination:none;mso-layout-grid-align:none; text-autospace:none"><u><span lang="EN-US" style="font-family:&quot;Lucida Bright&quot;;mso-bidi-font-family:&quot;Comic Sans MS&quot;">Hosting Retreats...</span></u></p> <p class="MsoNormal" style="mso-pagination:none;mso-layout-grid-align:none; text-autospace:none"><span lang="EN-US" style="font-family:&quot;Lucida Bright&quot;; mso-bidi-font-family:&quot;Comic Sans MS&quot;">When I return from India, I'll be leading a retreat for a team which is ministering to women in prostitution in Rotterdam. &nbsp;They'll stay in my home over the week-end, and we'll visit projects in Amsterdam and do some "visioning" for their ministry into the future. &nbsp;I love connecting groups together so that they can learn from one another and see God's greater Vision in the world.<o:p></o:p></span></p> <p class="MsoNormal" style="mso-pagination:none;mso-layout-grid-align:none; text-autospace:none"><u style="text-underline:#0000C2"><span lang="EN-US" style="font-family:&quot;Lucida Bright&quot;;mso-bidi-font-family:&quot;Comic Sans MS&quot;">Thanks For Your Prayers...&nbsp;</span></u><span lang="EN-US" style="font-family:&quot;Lucida Bright&quot;; mso-bidi-font-family:&quot;Comic Sans MS&quot;"><o:p></o:p></span></p> <p class="MsoNormal" style="margin-left:.5in;text-indent:-.5in;mso-pagination: none;mso-list:l0 level1 lfo1;tab-stops:11.0pt .5in;mso-layout-grid-align: none;text-autospace:none"><!--[if !supportLists]--><span lang="EN-US" style="font-family:&quot;Lucida Bright&quot;;mso-fareast-font-family:&quot;Lucida Bright&quot;; mso-bidi-font-family:&quot;Lucida Bright&quot;"><span style="mso-list:Ignore">•<span style="font:7.0pt &quot;Times New Roman&quot;">&nbsp; </span></span></span><!--[endif]--><span lang="EN-US" style="font-family:&quot;Lucida Bright&quot;;mso-bidi-font-family:&quot;Comic Sans MS&quot;">For safety on the journeys<o:p></o:p></span></p> <p class="MsoNormal" style="margin-left:.5in;text-indent:-.5in;mso-pagination: none;mso-list:l0 level1 lfo1;tab-stops:11.0pt .5in;mso-layout-grid-align: none;text-autospace:none"><!--[if !supportLists]--><span lang="EN-US" style="font-family:&quot;Lucida Bright&quot;;mso-fareast-font-family:&quot;Lucida Bright&quot;; mso-bidi-font-family:&quot;Lucida Bright&quot;"><span style="mso-list:Ignore">•<span style="font:7.0pt &quot;Times New Roman&quot;">&nbsp; </span></span></span><!--[endif]--><span lang="EN-US" style="font-family:&quot;Lucida Bright&quot;;mso-bidi-font-family:&quot;Comic Sans MS&quot;">For wisdom as I speak and advise<o:p></o:p></span></p> <p class="MsoNormal" style="margin-left:.5in;text-indent:-.5in;mso-pagination: none;mso-list:l0 level1 lfo1;tab-stops:11.0pt .5in;mso-layout-grid-align: none;text-autospace:none"><!--[if !supportLists]--><span lang="EN-US" style="font-family:&quot;Lucida Bright&quot;;mso-fareast-font-family:&quot;Lucida Bright&quot;; mso-bidi-font-family:&quot;Lucida Bright&quot;"><span style="mso-list:Ignore">•<span style="font:7.0pt &quot;Times New Roman&quot;">&nbsp; </span></span></span><!--[endif]--><span lang="EN-US" style="font-family:&quot;Lucida Bright&quot;;mso-bidi-font-family:&quot;Comic Sans MS&quot;">For God's Loving Presence to be known in my "showing up" for the appointments<o:p></o:p></span></p> <p class="MsoNormal" style="margin-left:.5in;text-indent:-.5in;mso-pagination: none;mso-list:l0 level1 lfo1;tab-stops:11.0pt .5in;mso-layout-grid-align: none;text-autospace:none"><!--[if !supportLists]--><span lang="EN-US" style="font-family:&quot;Lucida Bright&quot;;mso-fareast-font-family:&quot;Lucida Bright&quot;; mso-bidi-font-family:&quot;Lucida Bright&quot;"><span style="mso-list:Ignore">•<span style="font:7.0pt &quot;Times New Roman&quot;">&nbsp; </span></span></span><!--[endif]--><span lang="EN-US" style="font-family:&quot;Lucida Bright&quot;;mso-bidi-font-family:&quot;Comic Sans MS&quot;">For health and rest<o:p></o:p></span></p> <p class="MsoNormal" style="margin-left:.5in;text-indent:-.5in;mso-pagination: none;mso-list:l0 level1 lfo1;tab-stops:11.0pt .5in;mso-layout-grid-align: none;text-autospace:none"><!--[if !supportLists]--><span lang="EN-US" style="font-family:&quot;Lucida Bright&quot;;mso-fareast-font-family:&quot;Lucida Bright&quot;; mso-bidi-font-family:&quot;Lucida Bright&quot;"><span style="mso-list:Ignore">•<span style="font:7.0pt &quot;Times New Roman&quot;">&nbsp; </span></span></span><!--[endif]--><span lang="EN-US" style="font-family:&quot;Lucida Bright&quot;;mso-bidi-font-family:&quot;Comic Sans MS&quot;">For the women I will be serving in India--that truly, God's love, forgiveness and restoration&nbsp;will be made known to them<o:p></o:p></span></p> <p class="MsoNormal" style="mso-pagination:none;mso-layout-grid-align:none; text-autospace:none"><u style="text-underline:#0000C2"><span lang="EN-US" style="font-family:&quot;Lucida Bright&quot;;mso-bidi-font-family:&quot;Comic Sans MS&quot;">Stay in Touch!</span></u><span lang="EN-US" style="font-family:&quot;Lucida Bright&quot;; mso-bidi-font-family:&quot;Comic Sans MS&quot;"><o:p></o:p></span></p> <p class="MsoNormal" style="mso-pagination:none;mso-layout-grid-align:none; text-autospace:none"><span lang="EN-US" style="font-family:&quot;Lucida Bright&quot;; mso-bidi-font-family:&quot;Comic Sans MS&quot;">The BEST way to stay in touch with me is through FaceBook. &nbsp;I regularly post my activities there, with lots of pictures. &nbsp;If you're not already my "friend", please do "friend" me!<o:p></o:p></span></p> <p class="MsoNormal" style="mso-pagination:none;mso-layout-grid-align:none; text-autospace:none"><u style="text-underline:#0000C2"><span lang="EN-US" style="font-family:&quot;Lucida Bright&quot;;mso-bidi-font-family:&quot;Comic Sans MS&quot;">Expression of Gratitude....</span></u><span lang="EN-US" style="font-family:&quot;Lucida Bright&quot;; mso-bidi-font-family:&quot;Comic Sans MS&quot;"><o:p></o:p></span></p> <p class="MsoNormal" style="mso-pagination:none;mso-layout-grid-align:none; text-autospace:none"><span lang="EN-US" style="font-family:&quot;Lucida Bright&quot;; mso-bidi-font-family:&quot;Comic Sans MS&quot;">THANK YOU for your caring and your prayers! &nbsp;Many of you support me financially, and I'm humbled and so very grateful for your generosity. &nbsp;Last year my target goals were met, and at the moment, 92% of my support is committed! &nbsp;Yea!&nbsp; If you're not committed to support other causes and would like to join my support team, just send me a message, and I'll let you know how to do that.<o:p></o:p></span></p> <p class="MsoNormal" style="mso-pagination:none;mso-layout-grid-align:none; text-autospace:none"><u style="text-underline:#0000C2"><span lang="EN-US" style="font-family:&quot;Lucida Bright&quot;;mso-bidi-font-family:&quot;Comic Sans MS&quot;">Hopefully We'll Meet This Year!&nbsp;</span></u><span lang="EN-US" style="font-family: &quot;Lucida Bright&quot;;mso-bidi-font-family:&quot;Comic Sans MS&quot;"><o:p></o:p></span></p> <p class="MsoNormal" style="mso-pagination:none;mso-layout-grid-align:none; text-autospace:none"><span lang="EN-US" style="font-family:&quot;Lucida Bright&quot;; mso-bidi-font-family:&quot;Comic Sans MS&quot;">Another of my resolutions is to visit as many of my donor churches and individuals as I possibly can during this year. &nbsp;In March, I'll be in Colorado, Wyoming and California. &nbsp;I'll let you know about other plans as they become more definite. &nbsp;If I haven't already contacted you, please let me know if you'd like a visit! &nbsp;<o:p></o:p></span></p> <p class="MsoNormal" style="mso-pagination:none;mso-layout-grid-align:none; text-autospace:none"><span style="font-family: 'Lucida Bright';">May You Know God's Abundant Blessings!</span></p> <p class="MsoNormal" style="mso-pagination:none;mso-layout-grid-align:none; text-autospace:none"><span lang="EN-US" style="font-family:&quot;Lucida Bright&quot;; mso-bidi-font-family:&quot;Comic Sans MS&quot;">With Love and Gratitude,<o:p></o:p></span></p> <p class="MsoNormal" style="mso-pagination:none;mso-layout-grid-align:none; text-autospace:none"><span lang="EN-US" style="font-family:&quot;Lucida Bright&quot;; mso-bidi-font-family:&quot;Comic Sans MS&quot;">Lauran &nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;<o:p></o:p></span></p> </td> </tr> </tbody></table><p class="MsoNormal" align="center" style="text-align: left;"> <!--[if gte mso 9]><xml> <o:DocumentProperties> <o:Revision>0</o:Revision> <o:TotalTime>0</o:TotalTime> <o:Pages>1</o:Pages> <o:Words>461</o:Words> <o:Characters>2634</o:Characters> <o:Company>American Baptist 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mso-style-priority:99; mso-style-parent:""; mso-padding-alt:0in 5.4pt 0in 5.4pt; mso-para-margin:0in; mso-para-margin-bottom:.0001pt; mso-pagination:widow-orphan; font-size:12.0pt; font-family:Cambria; mso-ascii-font-family:Cambria; mso-ascii-theme-font:minor-latin; mso-hansi-font-family:Cambria; mso-hansi-theme-font:minor-latin; mso-ansi-language:EN-US; mso-fareast-language:JA;} </style> <![endif]--> <!--StartFragment--> <!--EndFragment--></p><p class="MsoNormal"><span lang="EN-US" style="font-family:&quot;Lucida Bright&quot;"><o:p>&nbsp;</o:p></span></p> Tue, 02 Feb 2016 19:00:00 -0500 https://internationalministries.org/read/61154-where-in-the-world-is-lauran- https://internationalministries.org/read/61154-where-in-the-world-is-lauran- Rising (out of bed!) To The Challenge! <p class="MsoNormal">What a fabulous “birthday celebration” International Ministries had this summer! Celebrating 200 years as an organization—the longest-running Christian mission agency in the USA—was a giant moment in history!<span style="mso-spacerun: yes">&nbsp; </span>1300 people were gathered at our “heart place”—the Green Lake Conference Center:<span style="mso-spacerun: yes">&nbsp; </span>our dear supporters, encouragers and pray-ers; church leaders/partners from more than 50 countries!; ALL the IM missionaries!<span style="mso-spacerun: yes">&nbsp; </span>It was exciting!<span style="mso-spacerun: yes">&nbsp; </span>It was fun!<span style="mso-spacerun: yes">&nbsp; </span><span style="mso-spacerun: yes">&nbsp;</span>And I missed a big part of it….<span style="mso-spacerun: yes">&nbsp; </span>Read on…<span style="mso-spacerun: yes">&nbsp; </span></p><p class="MsoNormal"><o:p>&nbsp;</o:p>The first week of celebrations was an “all-staff-gathering” of IM missionaries and home staff as together we enjoyed renewing deep friendships, worshiping, and visioning for the next decade—century!—of our life as IM.&nbsp; The second week began with the traditional flag-procession of all the countries of the world that we have touched.&nbsp; My tears of joy and thanksgiving were not the only ones in the big “tent” set up specially for the event, and I just felt to honored to be a part of the parade.&nbsp; The next day, I conducted two workshops on human trafficking—and by that evening, I was exhausted and dizzy, and so went to bed early.&nbsp; In the morning I woke up and turned over—and had to kick my roommate out of the bathroom so I could throw-up.&nbsp; One Grace of this time was that, indeed, all the missionaries were there—including all of our doctors!&nbsp; Dr. Bill Clemmer came to my bedside and diagnosed an “inner-ear virus”, and let me know that, yes, I would survive!&nbsp; Dr. Steve and Nancy James also reassured me, and all prayed healing prayers.&nbsp; I got The Best medical care possible!</p><p class="MsoNormal">That first day in bed, I felt miserable, but the next day was better—but I was still confined to bed.&nbsp; I couldn’t believe that I was stuck in bed while all of the hundreds of people who have supported and cared and prayed were only feet away.&nbsp; Oh, how could it be?&nbsp; You can imagine my frustration and sadness….</p><p class="MsoNormal">On the last morning of the Grand Celebration, I was feeling weak, but not nauseous.&nbsp; It took me 4 hours to shower….wash my hair….get dressed…put on my make-up….with a bed break in between each activity…&nbsp; But by 4:00 pm, I was ready to wobble down the hallway and appear at the rehearsal for the evening program.&nbsp; I had been given 5 minutes in the program to paint the history of IM’s very important involvement in the anti-trafficking movement in this world—and I was determined that this word would be shared!&nbsp; I practiced walking in a straight line across the stage, and was glad that I could grasp the strong podium to keep my balance while speaking!&nbsp; God had helped me to “Rise to the Challenge”!</p><p class="MsoNormal"><o:p>&nbsp;</o:p>I made it through!&nbsp; After the program, I got to see folks I’d missed talking with during the week, and some even stayed over for a day or 2, so I got a “second chance”.&nbsp; I’d been ordered grounded by the doctors—I couldn’t fly for 10 days (Inner ear issues and flying…no, no, no), and so had to sadly cancel a trip to Costa Rica for an ICAP/Latin America conference.&nbsp; But I was at Green Lake…a more “healing place” I don’t think I know.&nbsp; Brad Berglund’s “Rhythms of the Spirit” conference fed my soul during my grounding.&nbsp; God knew I needed this time of rest and spiritual nourishment.&nbsp; And it turned into a serendipitous, refreshment of body, mind and soul.</p><p class="MsoNormal"><o:p>&nbsp;</o:p>Below, I’ve posted the words I brought that last evening:&nbsp; I pray that they will inspire you to “Rise to the Challenge” and let you know how important YOUR part through IM has been in the global anti-human trafficking movement.&nbsp; During this time when we are taking the World Mission Offering, I pray that if you are not already, you will contribute your 1) prayers and 2) finances towards the support of God’s work through us!</p><p class="MsoNormal">With Great Gratitude,</p><p class="MsoNormal">Lauran</p><p class="MsoNormal" align="center" style="text-align:center"><b style="mso-bidi-font-weight: normal"><i style="mso-bidi-font-style:normal"><u>Presentation:<span style="mso-spacerun: yes">&nbsp; </span>World Mission Conference 200<sup>th</sup> Anniversary Celebration<o:p></o:p></u></i></b></p><p class="MsoNormal" align="center" style="text-align:center"><b style="mso-bidi-font-weight: normal"><i style="mso-bidi-font-style:normal">July 25<sup>th</sup>, 2014<o:p></o:p></i></b></p><p class="MsoNormal">DO YOU KNOW???</p><p class="MsoNormal">Do you know that YOU have been a part of a huge movement of God’s Spirit?</p><p class="MsoNormal">Do you KNOW that YOU have participated in one of the most significant movements against evil in this world?<span style="mso-spacerun: yes">&nbsp; </span></p><p class="MsoNormal">Do you KNOW that YOUR energy, your prayers, your funds, your lives have saved thousands of children, thousands of young women and men?<span style="mso-spacerun: yes">&nbsp; </span></p><p class="MsoNormal">International Ministries was THERE at the beginning of the modern-day movement against slavery, human trafficking and forced prostitution.</p><p class="MsoNormal">In 1986, I doubt that any of you had even HEARD the term “Human Trafficking”.<span style="mso-spacerun: yes">&nbsp; </span>I know that I hadn’t.<span style="mso-spacerun: yes">&nbsp; </span>But IM missionaries Paul and Elaine Lewis KNEW that girls were disappearing from the hills of northern Thailand and ending up in sexual slavery--deceived into thinking that they were taking jobs to support their families.<span style="mso-spacerun: yes">&nbsp; </span>They knew that the girls needed an education and vocational training.<span style="mso-spacerun: yes">&nbsp; </span>God gave them a vision—to begin a ministry they called “The New Life Center”—offering an education, vocational training and Christian education to young tribal women—to make sure that they DIDN’T have to go into prostitution to support their families.<span style="mso-spacerun: yes">&nbsp; </span></p><p class="MsoNormal"><o:p>&nbsp;</o:p>In 1987, when I joined the movement as the first Director of the New Life Center, I knew of no other project of its kind.&nbsp; At that time, in 1987, we just didn’t talk about human trafficking and prostitution in “nice” church places.</p><p class="MsoNormal"><o:p>&nbsp;</o:p>But God had BIG PLANS.&nbsp; God’s Holy Spirit was moving,—and using good American Baptist folks to pray and volunteer and give their resources and pray some more.&nbsp; By 1992 God called Thelma Nambu into ministry with women in the bars and on the streets of Manila, Philippines and she began Samaritana.&nbsp; Jonathan Nambu fell in love with the beautiful Thelma and joined the ministry in 1993. &nbsp;Kim Brown began “The House of Love” for HIV+ mothers and their children—most of them infected in brothels.</p><p class="MsoNormal"><o:p>&nbsp;</o:p>In 1993, you may have been one to see the New Life Center choir when it came to the USA—it was an historic moment of awareness raising.&nbsp; People were hearing and responding to God’s Call.&nbsp; The number of people who were beginning new ministries with women and children at risk and victims of human trafficking was growing. In 1991, God called Philip Smith and later Corenne into ministry in some of the most dangerous ghettos of the world--rescuing and restoring street children’s lives in Brazil through “Hope Unlimited For Children”.&nbsp;</p><p class="MsoNormal"><o:p>&nbsp;</o:p>As I watched the movement gain rapid momentum in many corners, I realized that the new projects needed resources, encouragement and networks.&nbsp; When God called Karen Smith into missionary service, we realized that she had the special gifts to direct the New Life Center, and I could then become a “Global Consultant”, traveling the world, raising awareness and encouraging new ministries.&nbsp; In 2002, Kit Ripley joined the movement to also use her artistic gifts at the New Life Center.&nbsp;</p><p class="MsoNormal"><o:p>&nbsp;</o:p>In the early part of this new millennium the movement was gaining great momentum as Annie Dieselberg founded NightLight in offering spiritual and economic alternatives to women in prostitution in Bangkok, and her husband Jeff joined the staff as Chaplain soon after.</p><p class="MsoNormal">Jill Lowery began working with the women in Congo through Mitendi Project.&nbsp;</p><p class="MsoNormal">And Mylinda Baits began doing awareness raising and prevention work in Costa Rica.&nbsp; &nbsp;</p><p class="MsoNormal">Debbie Kelsey had ministries with women in prostitution in Belgium and then Italy. &nbsp;</p><p class="MsoNormal">In Eastern Europe, Terry Myers helped to start “Daughters of Bulgaria”, visiting women on the streets there.<span style="mso-spacerun: yes">&nbsp; </span></p><p class="MsoNormal">Lori and Matt Mann felt called to minister to street children in Laos—offering shelter and education for them.&nbsp; The movement continues to gain momentum…</p><p class="MsoNormal">Deb Mulneix has joined Jonathan and Thelma in The Philippines, now,</p><p class="MsoNormal">Trish Hoefl works with the Chiang Rai branch of the New Life Center….</p><p class="MsoNormal">And Jeni Pedzinski is preparing to join the New Life Center staff soon….</p><p class="MsoNormal">It’s an exponential growth of people all over the world who are Rising to the Challenge to share the Light of God’s Love in the darkest corners of the world!!!&nbsp;</p><p class="MsoNormal">But there is still so much more to be done.<span style="mso-spacerun: yes">&nbsp; </span>Through the giving of your time, your finances, your talents, gifts and skills your very lives—I know that many of you will be Called to Rise to this Challenge!<span style="mso-spacerun: yes">&nbsp; </span>The world is waiting to KNOW the Good News of Jesus Christ, that rescues and heals and saves from the evil of destruction.<span style="mso-spacerun: yes">&nbsp; </span>I have confidence that we WILL Rise to the Challenge and participate in the history yet to be made!</p><p class="MsoNormal"> <!--[if gte mso 9]><xml> <o:DocumentProperties> <o:Template>Normal.dotm</o:Template> <o:Revision>0</o:Revision> <o:TotalTime>0</o:TotalTime> <o:Pages>1</o:Pages> <o:Words>117</o:Words> <o:Characters>669</o:Characters> <o:Company>American Baptist Churches/USA</o:Company> <o:Lines>5</o:Lines> <o:Paragraphs>1</o:Paragraphs> <o:CharactersWithSpaces>821</o:CharactersWithSpaces> <o:Version>12.0</o:Version> </o:DocumentProperties> <o:OfficeDocumentSettings> <o:AllowPNG/> </o:OfficeDocumentSettings> </xml><![endif]--><!--[if gte mso 9]><xml> <w:WordDocument> <w:Zoom>0</w:Zoom> <w:TrackMoves>false</w:TrackMoves> <w:TrackFormatting/> <w:PunctuationKerning/> <w:DrawingGridHorizontalSpacing>18 pt</w:DrawingGridHorizontalSpacing> <w:DrawingGridVerticalSpacing>18 pt</w:DrawingGridVerticalSpacing> <w:DisplayHorizontalDrawingGridEvery>0</w:DisplayHorizontalDrawingGridEvery> <w:DisplayVerticalDrawingGridEvery>0</w:DisplayVerticalDrawingGridEvery> <w:ValidateAgainstSchemas/> <w:SaveIfXMLInvalid>false</w:SaveIfXMLInvalid> <w:IgnoreMixedContent>false</w:IgnoreMixedContent> <w:AlwaysShowPlaceholderText>false</w:AlwaysShowPlaceholderText> <w:Compatibility> <w:BreakWrappedTables/> <w:DontGrowAutofit/> <w:DontAutofitConstrainedTables/> <w:DontVertAlignInTxbx/> </w:Compatibility> </w:WordDocument> </xml><![endif]--><!--[if gte mso 9]><xml> <w:LatentStyles DefLockedState="false" LatentStyleCount="276"> </w:LatentStyles> </xml><![endif]--> <!--[if gte mso 10]> <style> /* Style Definitions */ table.MsoNormalTable {mso-style-name:"Table Normal"; mso-tstyle-rowband-size:0; mso-tstyle-colband-size:0; mso-style-noshow:yes; mso-style-parent:""; mso-padding-alt:0in 5.4pt 0in 5.4pt; mso-para-margin:0in; mso-para-margin-bottom:.0001pt; mso-pagination:widow-orphan; font-size:12.0pt; font-family:"Times New Roman"; mso-ascii-font-family:Cambria; mso-ascii-theme-font:minor-latin; mso-fareast-font-family:"Times New Roman"; mso-fareast-theme-font:minor-fareast; mso-hansi-font-family:Cambria; mso-hansi-theme-font:minor-latin;} </style> <![endif]--> <!--StartFragment--> <!--EndFragment--></p><p class="MsoNormal"><span style="mso-spacerun: yes">&nbsp; &nbsp;&nbsp;</span></p><p class="MsoNormal"><br></p> Sun, 28 Sep 2014 20:00:00 -0400 https://internationalministries.org/read/55714-rising-out-of-bed-to-the-challenge- https://internationalministries.org/read/55714-rising-out-of-bed-to-the-challenge- Delight-Full !!! <p class="MsoNormal"><i style="mso-bidi-font-style:normal">Delight-full!<span style="mso-spacerun: yes">&nbsp;&nbsp;</span></i>Are those words you would use as the theme for a gathering of people working on issues of human trafficking and prostitution? As the Coordinator and a Founder of ICAP, I had spent hours and days and months—over a period of a couple of years—working on the <i>International Christian Alliance on Prostitution (ICAP) Global Conference.&nbsp; </i>There were:</p><p class="MsoNormal">--dozens of plane tickets to arrange</p><p class="MsoNormal">--60+ visa letters to write, (and double and triple checked), copy and send</p><p class="MsoNormal">--70 workshop applications to narrow down to the best 50 </p><p class="MsoNormal">--1200 e-mail conversations to carry on</p><p class="MsoNormal">--gazillion other details to sort out…</p><p class="MsoNormal">Working alone at my desk in The Netherlands to get my part all done, I just couldn’t imagine what it would really be like when it Really Happened… (thank you, dear Marion Kobow of GLCC for YOUR great part in coordinating everything else…registrations, inquiries, coordinating with conference center, etc., etc., etc., !)</p><p class="MsoNormal">And then it Happened…WOW!&nbsp; People started arriving--it was like a giant homecoming!&nbsp; Hugs abounded!&nbsp; Laughter rang!&nbsp; We were ready to Celebrate ICAP’s 10<sup>th</sup> year at our 5<sup>th</sup> conference!&nbsp; So many of us have gotten to know each other well over this time—and we were also eager to welcome the new ones to join The Movement!&nbsp; What a Movement of God’s Holy Spirit we witnessed!&nbsp; What <i>delight</i>!</p><p class="MsoNormal">These are no ordinary folks who gathered:&nbsp; these are people who have been powerfully called by God to walk in the darkest, most evil places of the world where God’s precious daughters and sons are bought and sold.&nbsp; They are offering God’s unconditional love and care for them—on the streets, in brothels, in shelters, in prisons—wherever victims or those at risk are found.&nbsp; And we, with ICAP, have felt Called to care for the care-givers.</p><p class="MsoNormal">Held at the Green Lake Conference Center (GLCC), more than 300 people from 50+ countries showed up to be inspired, to worship God and to learn from each other. For those 4½ days in May, we lived our theme verse from Zephaniah 3:17: &nbsp;<i>He will take delight in you with gladness.&nbsp;&nbsp; With his love, he will calm all your fears.&nbsp; He will rejoice over you with joyful songs.<a name="_GoBack"></a>&nbsp; </i>We lived into God’s <i>Delight</i> for us—and for those we serve!&nbsp;</p><p class="MsoNormal">The program brought together The Best:&nbsp;</p><p class="MsoNormal">--Some need to heal from the trauma they witness and personal issues they face so that they can continue in ministry—and great, professional, multi-lingual counselors were available for individual sessions (thank you Rita Berglund for coordinating the counselors!).&nbsp; &nbsp;&nbsp;</p><p class="MsoNormal">--Others spent quality time in the spacious and thoughtfully prepared prayer room, pouring out their hearts and listening to hear God’s voice and guidance. (thank you Peggy Giacoletto and your team for your hard work organizing it!)<span style="mso-spacerun: yes">&nbsp; </span></p><p class="MsoNormal">--The workshops were all offered by practitioners—well experienced in their fields on topics relevant to our group that will enhance their ministries.<span style="mso-spacerun: yes">&nbsp; </span></p><p class="MsoNormal">--Our worship was sensitively led by Brad and Rita Berglund.<span style="mso-spacerun: yes">&nbsp;&nbsp; </span>The musicians were the greatest--some even took time off from Broadway to share their incredible gifts with us!<span style="mso-spacerun: yes">&nbsp; </span>Oh, we <i style="mso-bidi-font-style:normal">Delighted</i> in the music, and the movement, and The Word!</p><p class="MsoNormal">--Representatives from every region of the world inspired us with stories of God’s work through their ministries—and <i style="mso-bidi-font-style: normal">delighted </i>us with songs and dances from their cultures.<span style="mso-spacerun: yes">&nbsp; </span>What fun we had dancing together around the room!<span style="mso-spacerun: yes">&nbsp; </span><i style="mso-bidi-font-style: normal">Delight-full!</i> <span style="mso-spacerun: yes">&nbsp;&nbsp;</span></p><p class="MsoNormal">--And the plenary speakers…. Well, you can’t get much better than Dan Allender, Tony Campolo and our own ICAP Leadership Team members, Cherry Friedmeyer (Ethiopia) and Mariliana Morales (Costa Rica) <i style="mso-bidi-font-style:normal">delighting </i>us with great depth of wisdom and insight.</p><p class="MsoNormal">And when it was over, I heard participants say that it was&nbsp; “<i><span style="mso-bidi-font-family:Helvetica;color:#10131A">A landmark experience...” &nbsp;</span></i><span style="color: rgb(16, 19, 26);">And that it was “</span><i style="color: rgb(16, 19, 26);">Life-changing…”&nbsp;</i></p><p class="MsoNormal"><span style="color: rgb(16, 19, 26);">God worked powerfully—way beyond my expectations!</span><span style="color: rgb(16, 19, 26);">&nbsp; </span><span style="color: rgb(16, 19, 26);">I was filled with such gratitude—and </span><i style="color: rgb(16, 19, 26);">delight</i><span style="color: rgb(16, 19, 26);">—that I had the privilege to participate in God’s ministering to these Heroes who showed up in Wisconsin from all over the world.</span></p><p class="MsoNormal"><span style="color: rgb(16, 19, 26);">Thank YOU for participating in this work of the Holy Spirit work through your caring, your prayers and your financial support of God’s ministry through me.&nbsp; If you are not already doing so, and feel so led, I will appreciate any gifts that will help me to end the fiscal year (Sept. 30) with a positive balance.&nbsp; At the moment, I am falling short, but am trusting God for provision.&nbsp; Thank you for being a part of The Movement of God’s Light being shown in the darkest of places!&nbsp; &nbsp;&nbsp;</span>&nbsp;&nbsp;</p> Tue, 19 Aug 2014 20:00:00 -0400 https://internationalministries.org/read/55057-delight-full- https://internationalministries.org/read/55057-delight-full- Passion and Prayer <p class="MsoNormal"><i style="mso-bidi-font-style:normal"><span style="mso-bidi-font-size:16.0pt;font-family:Times;mso-bidi-font-family:Verdana">“Soon a large crowd of people had <u><span style="mso-bidi-font-weight:bold">gathered</span></u> to listen and be healed of their ailments. As often as possible <span style="mso-bidi-font-weight:bold">Jesus</span> <u>withdrew</u> to out-of-the-way places for <u>prayer</u>.” Luke 5:16</span></i><i style="mso-bidi-font-style:normal"><span style="font-family:Times"><o:p></o:p></span></i></p><p class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-family:Times"><o:p>&nbsp;</o:p></span>Those of you who have known me over the years know that a passion of mine is gathering people together—for lots of different reasons!&nbsp; For birthday parties, book groups, knitting,&nbsp; “prayer-walking” the streets…&nbsp; And for meals—often of the taco variety!--to discuss topics ranging from prostitution to church planting.&nbsp; Prayer is most often in the middle of the moment, thanking God for the Holy Spirit’s Presence in the midst of our fun, food and fellowship, asking for guidance and wisdom for the journey ahead.&nbsp;</p><p class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-family:Times"><o:p>&nbsp;</o:p></span>Much of my energy in the last several months has been directed towards a major gathering—not in my home—but at the Green Lake Conference Center (GLCC), Wisconsin—gathering together people from all over this earth, who are walking the streets, meeting victims of human trafficking and prostitution and offering Hope and Help and Healing in Jesus Name.&nbsp; May 18<sup>th</sup>, the 5<sup>th</sup> “International Christian Alliance on Prostitution” (ICAP) Global Conference will begin!&nbsp; Those who show up at the conference will be from more than 40 countries in the world!&nbsp; They will be able to participate in 50+ workshops—offered by those who are actually <i>Doing</i> creative ministries—not just talking about theory or statistics.&nbsp; They will be able to learn from each other—in presentations, and informally, around the tables, over delicious food.&nbsp; They will worship and praise God—central to all we do.&nbsp; They will pray—in our beautiful and thoughtfully prepared prayer room, or through the labyrinth, or at the lakeside, or in the peaceful meadows.&nbsp; They will breathe fresh air.&nbsp; They will experience healing—physically, emotionally and spiritually.</p><p class="MsoNormal">It’s a tough life, living and working in places of such spiritual darkness—where people buy and sell each other.&nbsp; Those who are so profoundly Called to these ministries have a great need to withdraw to an out-of-the-way place to gather perspective and realize that they are supported, cared for and understood.&nbsp;&nbsp; Ten years ago, the staff and Board of the Green Lake Conference Center invited a group of these ministries to meet on their premises—and from that first gathering, ICAP was born.&nbsp; In recent years, I’ve been serving as its Coordinator.&nbsp; Our Leadership Team is from 7 regions of the world, and together, we plan the conference.&nbsp; Marion Kobow, Assistant to the President of the GLCC is “loaned” to us as our Administrator for the conference, and Marion and I work closely together—by e-mail and skype—to do the detail work.&nbsp; Already, I have handled more than 1000 e-mails regarding the conference—and Marion many times more than that!&nbsp;</p><p class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-family:Times"><o:p>&nbsp;</o:p></span>Why am I so passionate about this gathering?&nbsp; I’ve seen lives and ministries revitalized by this “coming away”.&nbsp; We’ve seen new projects inspired into existence after the conference.&nbsp; Lives are changed.&nbsp; Ministries enhanced…</p><p class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-family:Times"><o:p>&nbsp;</o:p></span>At this point in the process, though, I’m tired.&nbsp; I know it’s going to be an amazing event with fabulous speakers and gifted participants.&nbsp; But I’m tired.&nbsp;&nbsp; I’d appreciate your prayers:</p><p class="MsoListParagraphCxSpFirst" style="text-indent:-.25in;mso-list:l0 level1 lfo1"><!--[if !supportLists]--><span style="font-family:Times;mso-fareast-font-family:Times;mso-bidi-font-family: Times"><span style="mso-list:Ignore">1)<span style="font:7.0pt &quot;Times New Roman&quot;">&nbsp; &nbsp; **</span></span></span><span style="font-family:Times">For continued health and energy for me during these last moments before the conference <o:p></o:p></span></p><p class="MsoListParagraphCxSpMiddle" style="text-indent:-.25in;mso-list:l0 level1 lfo1"><!--[if !supportLists]--><span style="font-family:Times;mso-fareast-font-family:Times;mso-bidi-font-family: Times"><span style="mso-list:Ignore">2)<span style="font:7.0pt &quot;Times New Roman&quot;">&nbsp; &nbsp; **</span></span></span><span style="font-family:Times">For the last minute visas to be granted, the best plane tickets to be purchased<o:p></o:p></span></p><p class="MsoListParagraphCxSpMiddle" style="text-indent:-.25in;mso-list:l0 level1 lfo1"><!--[if !supportLists]--><span style="font-family:Times;mso-fareast-font-family:Times;mso-bidi-font-family: Times"><span style="mso-list:Ignore">3)<span style="font:7.0pt &quot;Times New Roman&quot;">&nbsp; &nbsp; **</span></span></span><!--[endif]--><span style="font-family:Times">For safe travel for the participants<o:p></o:p></span></p><p class="MsoListParagraphCxSpMiddle" style="text-indent:-.25in;mso-list:l0 level1 lfo1"><!--[if !supportLists]--><span style="font-family:Times;mso-fareast-font-family:Times;mso-bidi-font-family: Times"><span style="mso-list:Ignore">4)<span style="font:7.0pt &quot;Times New Roman&quot;">&nbsp; &nbsp; **</span></span></span><!--[endif]--><span style="font-family:Times">For the speakers and workshop leaders to be inspired by the Holy Spirit as they prepare messages with great purpose and vision<o:p></o:p></span></p><p class="MsoListParagraphCxSpMiddle" style="text-indent:-.25in;mso-list:l0 level1 lfo1"><!--[if !supportLists]--><span style="font-family:Times;mso-fareast-font-family:Times;mso-bidi-font-family: Times"><span style="mso-list:Ignore">5)<span style="font:7.0pt &quot;Times New Roman&quot;">&nbsp; &nbsp; **</span></span></span><span style="font-family:Times">For necessary funding for all those still in need.<o:p></o:p></span></p><p class="MsoListParagraphCxSpLast" style="text-indent:-.25in;mso-list:l0 level1 lfo1"><!--[if !supportLists]--><span style="font-family:Times;mso-fareast-font-family:Times;mso-bidi-font-family: Times"><span style="mso-list:Ignore">6)<span style="font:7.0pt &quot;Times New Roman&quot;">&nbsp; &nbsp; **</span></span></span><!--[endif]--><span style="font-family:Times">For your IM missionaries who will also attend—their smooth preparations and safe travels:<span style="mso-spacerun: yes">&nbsp; </span>Annie Dieselberg, Kit Ripley, Rhonda Reed, Mylinda Baits, Jonathan and Thelma Nambu.</span></p><p class="MsoListParagraphCxSpLast" style="text-indent:-.25in;mso-list:l0 level1 lfo1"><span style="text-indent: -0.25in;">&nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; There’s still time for you to attend if you feel so led!</span><span style="text-indent: -0.25in;">&nbsp; </span><span style="text-indent: -0.25in;">Check out the web-site:</span><span style="text-indent: -0.25in;">&nbsp; </span><a href="http://www.icapglobal.org" style="text-indent: -0.25in;">www.icapglobal.org</a><span style="text-indent: -0.25in;">&nbsp; Click on events for the brochure, and then call or e-mail Marion Kobow.</span></p><p class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-family:Times"><o:p>&nbsp;</o:p></span><i>If you can assist with funding for a participant, please be in touch with me from this web-site.&nbsp;</i></p><p class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-family:Times"><o:p>&nbsp;</o:p></span>And finally:&nbsp; thank you, thank you, for your support for me personally, your prayers, your caring!&nbsp; I am not yet at 100% funding, and if you feel led to assist with any amount towards my support, I would be deeply appreciative.</p><p class="MsoNormal">May you all know God’s Blessings!</p><p> <!--[if gte mso 9]><xml> <o:DocumentProperties> <o:Template>Normal.dotm</o:Template> <o:Revision>0</o:Revision> <o:TotalTime>0</o:TotalTime> <o:Pages>1</o:Pages> <o:Words>626</o:Words> <o:Characters>3569</o:Characters> <o:Company>American Baptist Churches/USA</o:Company> <o:Lines>29</o:Lines> <o:Paragraphs>7</o:Paragraphs> <o:CharactersWithSpaces>4382</o:CharactersWithSpaces> <o:Version>12.0</o:Version> </o:DocumentProperties> <o:OfficeDocumentSettings> <o:AllowPNG/> </o:OfficeDocumentSettings> </xml><![endif]--><!--[if gte mso 9]><xml> <w:WordDocument> <w:Zoom>0</w:Zoom> <w:TrackMoves>false</w:TrackMoves> <w:TrackFormatting/> <w:PunctuationKerning/> <w:DrawingGridHorizontalSpacing>18 pt</w:DrawingGridHorizontalSpacing> <w:DrawingGridVerticalSpacing>18 pt</w:DrawingGridVerticalSpacing> <w:DisplayHorizontalDrawingGridEvery>0</w:DisplayHorizontalDrawingGridEvery> <w:DisplayVerticalDrawingGridEvery>0</w:DisplayVerticalDrawingGridEvery> <w:ValidateAgainstSchemas/> <w:SaveIfXMLInvalid>false</w:SaveIfXMLInvalid> <w:IgnoreMixedContent>false</w:IgnoreMixedContent> <w:AlwaysShowPlaceholderText>false</w:AlwaysShowPlaceholderText> <w:Compatibility> <w:BreakWrappedTables/> <w:DontGrowAutofit/> <w:DontAutofitConstrainedTables/> <w:DontVertAlignInTxbx/> </w:Compatibility> </w:WordDocument> </xml><![endif]--><!--[if gte mso 9]><xml> <w:LatentStyles DefLockedState="false" LatentStyleCount="276"> </w:LatentStyles> </xml><![endif]--> <!--[if gte mso 10]> <style> /* Style Definitions */ table.MsoNormalTable {mso-style-name:"Table Normal"; mso-tstyle-rowband-size:0; mso-tstyle-colband-size:0; mso-style-noshow:yes; mso-style-parent:""; mso-padding-alt:0in 5.4pt 0in 5.4pt; mso-para-margin:0in; mso-para-margin-bottom:.0001pt; mso-pagination:widow-orphan; font-size:10.0pt; font-family:"Times New Roman"; mso-ascii-font-family:Cambria; mso-ascii-theme-font:minor-latin; mso-hansi-font-family:Cambria; mso-hansi-theme-font:minor-latin;} </style> <![endif]--> <!--StartFragment--> <!--EndFragment--></p><p class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-family:Times">Lauran<span style="mso-spacerun: yes">&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; </span><span style="mso-spacerun: yes">&nbsp;&nbsp;</span><span style="mso-spacerun: yes">&nbsp;</span><span style="mso-spacerun: yes">&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;</span><span style="mso-spacerun: yes">&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;</span><o:p></o:p></span></p> Thu, 01 May 2014 20:00:00 -0400 https://internationalministries.org/read/53805-passion-and-prayer https://internationalministries.org/read/53805-passion-and-prayer From Heartbroken to Heroine! <!--[if gte mso 9]><xml> <o:DocumentProperties> <o:Template>Normal.dotm</o:Template> <o:Revision>0</o:Revision> <o:TotalTime>0</o:TotalTime> <o:Pages>1</o:Pages> <o:Words>633</o:Words> <o:Characters>3610</o:Characters> <o:Company>American Baptist Churches/USA</o:Company> <o:Lines>30</o:Lines> <o:Paragraphs>7</o:Paragraphs> <o:CharactersWithSpaces>4433</o:CharactersWithSpaces> <o:Version>12.0</o:Version> </o:DocumentProperties> <o:OfficeDocumentSettings> <o:AllowPNG/> </o:OfficeDocumentSettings> </xml><![endif]--><!--[if gte mso 9]><xml> <w:WordDocument> <w:Zoom>0</w:Zoom> <w:TrackMoves>false</w:TrackMoves> <w:TrackFormatting/> <w:PunctuationKerning/> <w:DrawingGridHorizontalSpacing>18 pt</w:DrawingGridHorizontalSpacing> <w:DrawingGridVerticalSpacing>18 pt</w:DrawingGridVerticalSpacing> <w:DisplayHorizontalDrawingGridEvery>0</w:DisplayHorizontalDrawingGridEvery> <w:DisplayVerticalDrawingGridEvery>0</w:DisplayVerticalDrawingGridEvery> <w:ValidateAgainstSchemas/> <w:SaveIfXMLInvalid>false</w:SaveIfXMLInvalid> <w:IgnoreMixedContent>false</w:IgnoreMixedContent> <w:AlwaysShowPlaceholderText>false</w:AlwaysShowPlaceholderText> <w:Compatibility> <w:BreakWrappedTables/> <w:DontGrowAutofit/> <w:DontAutofitConstrainedTables/> <w:DontVertAlignInTxbx/> </w:Compatibility> </w:WordDocument> </xml><![endif]--><!--[if gte mso 9]><xml> <w:LatentStyles DefLockedState="false" LatentStyleCount="276"> </w:LatentStyles> </xml><![endif]--> <!--[if gte mso 10]> <style> /* Style Definitions */ table.MsoNormalTable {mso-style-name:"Table Normal"; mso-tstyle-rowband-size:0; mso-tstyle-colband-size:0; mso-style-noshow:yes; mso-style-parent:""; mso-padding-alt:0in 5.4pt 0in 5.4pt; mso-para-margin:0in; mso-para-margin-bottom:.0001pt; mso-pagination:widow-orphan; font-size:12.0pt; font-family:"Times New Roman"; mso-ascii-font-family:Cambria; mso-ascii-theme-font:minor-latin; mso-fareast-font-family:"Times New Roman"; mso-fareast-theme-font:minor-fareast; mso-hansi-font-family:Cambria; mso-hansi-theme-font:minor-latin;} </style> <![endif]--> <!--StartFragment--> <p class="MsoNormal">She was too young to watch her husband die of cancer.&nbsp; Just a teen-ager, she had only been married for 6 months, and suddenly, she was a widow.&nbsp; Her parents did everything to cheer her up, but she was bereft.&nbsp; In the past, widows in India would throw themselves on their husband’s funeral pyre and die with him because they had no future.&nbsp; She felt she had no hope.&nbsp; </p> <p class="MsoNormal"><o:p>&nbsp;</o:p></p> <p class="MsoNormal">She made the acquaintance of a man who promised her a “good job” in a near-by city, and she went with him.&nbsp; “At least I won’t be a burden to my family anymore—and maybe I can help them,” she thought.&nbsp; But she was taken far away and locked up in a brothel, forced to work in prostitution and brutally treated.&nbsp; There seemed no way of escape.&nbsp; </p> <p class="MsoNormal"><o:p>&nbsp;</o:p></p> <p class="MsoNormal">Her family was desperate to find her.&nbsp; She was a much-loved daughter and sister.&nbsp; Her father sold their most valuable possessions—their cows—to raise money to try to find her.&nbsp; They filed a missing person’s report with the police, but it seemed impossible.</p> <p class="MsoNormal"><o:p>&nbsp;</o:p></p> <p class="MsoNormal">An amazing organization called “Justice and Care” heard about the story and started a “needle in a haystack” search, which finally rescued “Mara” from a brothel in a far-away city.&nbsp; Her parents wept tears of joy when they heard her voice on the phone.</p> <p class="MsoNormal"><o:p>&nbsp;</o:p></p> <p class="MsoNormal"><b>But rescue is only the beginning</b>.&nbsp; Starting a new life after experiencing so much trauma at such a young age is extremely challenging.&nbsp; How can a young, widowed, prostituted woman find peace and contentment—and a means to support herself—in a society which rejects everything that has happened to her?&nbsp; </p> <p class="MsoNormal"><o:p>&nbsp;</o:p></p> <p class="MsoNormal">I agreed to serve as a consultant with “Justice and Care” because they put equal weight on “Justice” <i>AND</i> “Care”.&nbsp; Not only do they rescue people from slavery in India, but when they rescue them, they accept a <b>life-time commitment</b> for the victims/survivors, to make sure that they are able to find a good, healthy place back in society.&nbsp; In “Mara’s” case, her family fully surrounded her with love and care and a commitment to do whatever it would take to make sure she healed and was happy.&nbsp; That isn’t always the case….&nbsp; </p> <p class="MsoNormal"><o:p>&nbsp;</o:p></p> <p class="MsoNormal">The “Justice and Care” social workers helped her to find a part-time job.&nbsp; Employment is one of THE most important factors in the healing process.&nbsp; But they also knew that “Mara” had other gifts:&nbsp; she sewed beautifully. &nbsp;She could make lovely blankets out of old, discarded sari fabrics.&nbsp; Not only that:&nbsp; she was an entrepreneur.&nbsp; She began teaching other needy women in her village to also make the blankets.&nbsp; She began a “cooperative” of blanket-makers.&nbsp; With a small infusion of funding, she built a lean-to against her home, where 4 or 5 women sit together on the ground and do hand-sewing.&nbsp; “Mara” makes sure that their work is of good quality.&nbsp; She works with those who are marketing her blankets to choose new designs and good colors of thread.&nbsp; She hopes to start more small groups like this one, so that women can have source of income in their villages—where they can keep an eye on their children and have funds to support them and send them to school.&nbsp; </p> <p class="MsoNormal"><o:p>&nbsp;</o:p></p> <p class="MsoNormal">A few weeks ago, I had the privilege of spending time with “Mara”, her family, and those working in the “cooperative”.&nbsp; The “Justice and Care” social worker asked her if she had chosen a name for her business—and immediately one of the women said it should be called, “Mara”!!!&nbsp; She’s a hero to them!&nbsp; She’s a hero to me, too!&nbsp; </p> <p class="MsoNormal"><o:p>&nbsp;</o:p></p> <p class="MsoNormal">I had gone to India at the invitation of “Justice and Care” to spend time with their staff at their annual retreat.&nbsp; What an inspiration to be in the midst of these bright, enthusiastic and creative Indian young people who are so committed to fight human trafficking!&nbsp; We laughed, cried, sang and worshiped Jesus together!&nbsp; I shared from my own experiences and learning, and some of them poured out their hearts to me of their own calls to be here, their joys, their hurts, their challenges.&nbsp; My overwhelming feeling during this trip was one of gratitude:</p> <p class="MsoNormal"><ul><li>I was grateful for the many ways I see God working through people committed to ending human trafficking, including those in “Justice and Care”<br></li><li>I was grateful for the opportunity to minister in Jesus’ name in India, through speaking, counseling, and “presence”<br></li><li>I was grateful to YOU for your financial support, your prayer support and your love and care for me, giving me the opportunity to serve Christ in this way!<br></li></ul></p> <p class="MsoNormal"><o:p>&nbsp;</o:p></p> <p class="MsoNormal">Thank you…for being with me on the journey!</p> Thu, 13 Mar 2014 20:00:00 -0400 https://internationalministries.org/read/53048-from-heartbroken-to-heroine- https://internationalministries.org/read/53048-from-heartbroken-to-heroine- New Easter Clothes... <p> <!--[if gte mso 9]><xml> <o:DocumentProperties> <o:Template>Normal.dotm</o:Template> <o:Revision>0</o:Revision> <o:TotalTime>0</o:TotalTime> <o:Pages>1</o:Pages> <o:Words>519</o:Words> <o:Characters>2963</o:Characters> <o:Company>American Baptist Churches/USA</o:Company> <o:Lines>24</o:Lines> <o:Paragraphs>5</o:Paragraphs> <o:CharactersWithSpaces>3638</o:CharactersWithSpaces> <o:Version>12.0</o:Version> </o:DocumentProperties> <o:OfficeDocumentSettings> <o:AllowPNG/> </o:OfficeDocumentSettings> </xml><![endif]--><!--[if gte mso 9]><xml> <w:WordDocument> <w:Zoom>0</w:Zoom> <w:TrackMoves>false</w:TrackMoves> <w:TrackFormatting/> <w:PunctuationKerning/> <w:DrawingGridHorizontalSpacing>18 pt</w:DrawingGridHorizontalSpacing> <w:DrawingGridVerticalSpacing>18 pt</w:DrawingGridVerticalSpacing> <w:DisplayHorizontalDrawingGridEvery>0</w:DisplayHorizontalDrawingGridEvery> <w:DisplayVerticalDrawingGridEvery>0</w:DisplayVerticalDrawingGridEvery> <w:ValidateAgainstSchemas/> <w:SaveIfXMLInvalid>false</w:SaveIfXMLInvalid> <w:IgnoreMixedContent>false</w:IgnoreMixedContent> <w:AlwaysShowPlaceholderText>false</w:AlwaysShowPlaceholderText> <w:Compatibility> <w:BreakWrappedTables/> <w:DontGrowAutofit/> <w:DontAutofitConstrainedTables/> <w:DontVertAlignInTxbx/> </w:Compatibility> </w:WordDocument> </xml><![endif]--><!--[if gte mso 9]><xml> <w:LatentStyles DefLockedState="false" LatentStyleCount="276"> </w:LatentStyles> </xml><![endif]--> <!--[if gte mso 10]> <style> /* Style Definitions */ table.MsoNormalTable {mso-style-name:"Table Normal"; mso-tstyle-rowband-size:0; mso-tstyle-colband-size:0; mso-style-noshow:yes; mso-style-parent:""; mso-padding-alt:0in 5.4pt 0in 5.4pt; mso-para-margin:0in; mso-para-margin-bottom:.0001pt; mso-pagination:widow-orphan; font-size:12.0pt; font-family:"Times New Roman"; mso-ascii-font-family:Cambria; mso-ascii-theme-font:minor-latin; mso-fareast-font-family:"Times New Roman"; mso-fareast-theme-font:minor-fareast; mso-hansi-font-family:Cambria; mso-hansi-theme-font:minor-latin;} </style> <![endif]--> <!--StartFragment--> </p><p class="MsoNormal"> <!--[if gte mso 9]><xml> <o:DocumentProperties> <o:Template>Normal.dotm</o:Template> <o:Revision>0</o:Revision> <o:TotalTime>0</o:TotalTime> <o:Pages>1</o:Pages> <o:Words>708</o:Words> <o:Characters>4037</o:Characters> <o:Company>American Baptist Churches/USA</o:Company> <o:Lines>33</o:Lines> <o:Paragraphs>8</o:Paragraphs> <o:CharactersWithSpaces>4957</o:CharactersWithSpaces> <o:Version>12.0</o:Version> </o:DocumentProperties> <o:OfficeDocumentSettings> <o:AllowPNG/> </o:OfficeDocumentSettings> </xml><![endif]--><!--[if gte mso 9]><xml> <w:WordDocument> <w:Zoom>0</w:Zoom> <w:TrackMoves>false</w:TrackMoves> <w:TrackFormatting/> <w:PunctuationKerning/> <w:DrawingGridHorizontalSpacing>18 pt</w:DrawingGridHorizontalSpacing> <w:DrawingGridVerticalSpacing>18 pt</w:DrawingGridVerticalSpacing> <w:DisplayHorizontalDrawingGridEvery>0</w:DisplayHorizontalDrawingGridEvery> <w:DisplayVerticalDrawingGridEvery>0</w:DisplayVerticalDrawingGridEvery> <w:ValidateAgainstSchemas/> <w:SaveIfXMLInvalid>false</w:SaveIfXMLInvalid> <w:IgnoreMixedContent>false</w:IgnoreMixedContent> <w:AlwaysShowPlaceholderText>false</w:AlwaysShowPlaceholderText> <w:Compatibility> <w:BreakWrappedTables/> <w:DontGrowAutofit/> <w:DontAutofitConstrainedTables/> <w:DontVertAlignInTxbx/> </w:Compatibility> </w:WordDocument> </xml><![endif]--><!--[if gte mso 9]><xml> <w:LatentStyles DefLockedState="false" LatentStyleCount="276"> </w:LatentStyles> </xml><![endif]--> <!--[if gte mso 10]> <style> /* Style Definitions */ table.MsoNormalTable {mso-style-name:"Table Normal"; mso-tstyle-rowband-size:0; mso-tstyle-colband-size:0; mso-style-noshow:yes; mso-style-parent:""; mso-padding-alt:0in 5.4pt 0in 5.4pt; mso-para-margin:0in; mso-para-margin-bottom:.0001pt; mso-pagination:widow-orphan; font-size:12.0pt; font-family:"Times New Roman"; mso-ascii-font-family:Cambria; mso-ascii-theme-font:minor-latin; mso-fareast-font-family:"Times New Roman"; mso-fareast-theme-font:minor-fareast; mso-hansi-font-family:Cambria; mso-hansi-theme-font:minor-latin;} </style> <![endif]--> <!--StartFragment--> </p><p class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-family:Calibri;mso-ascii-theme-font:major-latin; mso-hansi-theme-font:major-latin">New Easter Clothes...</span></p><p class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-family: Calibri; ">I haven’t had a “new Easter outfit” for decades.</span><span style="font-family: Calibri; ">&nbsp; </span><span style="font-family: Calibri; ">The last one I remember was in my 20’s—and I sewed it—a navy blue dress and jacket.</span><span style="font-family: Calibri; ">&nbsp; </span><span style="font-family: Calibri; ">I hadn’t even thought about anything new for this year’s Easter…and then some friends came to stay with me for the week-end.</span><span style="font-family: Calibri; ">&nbsp; </span><span style="font-family: Calibri; ">They flew in from Uganda, where they’re involved in significant ministries with the most vulnerable populations of Africa.</span><span style="font-family: Calibri; ">&nbsp; </span><span style="font-family: Calibri; ">They live and work in difficult situations, and I was thankful that I could provide them with comfortable and lovely accommodation (see previous journal about the “new home” that God gave me.)</span><span style="font-family: Calibri; ">&nbsp; </span><span style="font-family: Calibri; ">My friends needed good R &amp; R—and their first priority was shopping!</span><span style="font-family: Calibri; ">&nbsp; </span><span style="font-family: Calibri; ">We headed into Amsterdam on Saturday and I left them off on a shopping street while I had a meeting about an upcoming conference where I’ll be speaking.</span><span style="font-family: Calibri; ">&nbsp; </span><span style="font-family: Calibri; ">I finished my meeting early, and was wandering around a department store, waiting for them, when I found a lovely matching aqua sweater and shirt—on sale!</span><span style="font-family: Calibri; ">&nbsp; </span><span style="font-family: Calibri; ">I decided I really did need a new spring outfit, and bought it.</span><span style="font-family: Calibri; ">&nbsp; </span><span style="font-family: Calibri; ">After the 3 of us met up, we headed downstairs, and walking through the accessories department I found the perfect scarf for the new sweater set…but decided it was too expensive, and that I had a necklace at home which would work just fine. (Hang in there with me, men...there is a point to this!)</span><span style="font-family: Calibri; ">&nbsp;</span></p> <p class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-family:Calibri;mso-ascii-theme-font:major-latin; mso-hansi-theme-font:major-latin"><o:p>&nbsp;</o:p></span><span style="font-family: Calibri; ">On Easter Sunday morning, as the 3 of us were getting ready for church, I was thinking that the scarf would have made the outfit perfect, and was regretting my decision to not get it.</span><span style="font-family: Calibri; ">&nbsp; </span><span style="font-family: Calibri; ">Just at that moment, my friends came into my room, handed me a bag, and said, “Happy Easter!”</span><span style="font-family: Calibri; ">&nbsp; </span><span style="font-family: Calibri; ">At some point during our shopping, they had diverted my attention, and had bought the scarf!</span><span style="font-family: Calibri; ">&nbsp; </span><span style="font-family: Calibri; ">Tears came to my eyes at their kindness and generosity, the wonderful surprise! </span><span style="font-family: Calibri; ">&nbsp;</span><span style="font-family: Calibri; ">I thanked God for friends such as these!</span><span style="font-family: Calibri; ">&nbsp; </span><span style="font-family: Calibri; ">The scarf, originally given up, will now not just be a piece of clothing, but a memory of friendship and caring.</span><span style="font-family: Calibri; ">&nbsp;</span></p> <p class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-family:Calibri;mso-ascii-theme-font:major-latin; mso-hansi-theme-font:major-latin"><o:p>&nbsp;</o:p></span><span style="font-family: Calibri; ">And so we all went to Easter Sunday services in new spring clothes.</span><span style="font-family: Calibri; ">&nbsp; </span><span style="font-family: Calibri; ">For the first time in weeks, it was gloriously sunny here in Holland—and as we walked into the church while the brass quintet played triumphantly, my joy was overwhelming.</span><span style="font-family: Calibri; ">&nbsp; </span><span style="font-family: Calibri; ">The cross in front of the church, which had been shrouded in black, was now covered in flowers.</span><span style="font-family: Calibri; ">&nbsp; </span><span style="font-family: Calibri; ">It, too, was wearing “new clothes”!</span><span style="font-family: Calibri; ">&nbsp; </span><span style="font-family: Calibri; ">The pipe organ played a lively introduction to “Christ the Lord Is Risen Today”, and I so desperately wanted to sing those words, but all I could do was cry.</span><span style="font-family: Calibri; ">&nbsp; </span><span style="font-family: Calibri; ">Jesus has risen!</span><span style="font-family: Calibri; ">&nbsp; </span><span style="font-family: Calibri; ">Hopelessness has been overcome!</span><span style="font-family: Calibri; ">&nbsp; </span><span style="font-family: Calibri; ">We celebrate life’s greatest surprise!</span></p> <p class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-family:Calibri;mso-ascii-theme-font:major-latin; mso-hansi-theme-font:major-latin"><o:p>&nbsp;</o:p></span><span style="font-family: Calibri; ">And then the pastor started to preach his sermon.</span><span style="font-family: Calibri; ">&nbsp; </span><span style="font-family: Calibri; ">It was focused on the cross, and helped us to understand that not only does the cross represent a New Life, but also a Resurrected Life.</span><span style="font-family: Calibri; ">&nbsp; </span><span style="font-family: Calibri; ">Because of the cross, we can look squarely at ugliness and pain and disappointment—not deny them, or turn away from them—but straight at them, and know that there can be Hope, there can be Resurrection—a New and Surprising outcome that only God can bring about .</span><span style="font-family: Calibri; ">&nbsp;</span></p> <p class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-family:Calibri;mso-ascii-theme-font:major-latin; mso-hansi-theme-font:major-latin"><o:p>&nbsp;</o:p></span><span style="font-family: Calibri; ">As I sat there in the pew, I thought about 3 days before:</span><span style="font-family: Calibri; ">&nbsp; </span><span style="font-family: Calibri; ">I was in a Thai sex club, giving out beautiful little Easter gifts, with messages of Jesus’ Hope.</span><span style="font-family: Calibri; ">&nbsp; </span><span style="font-family: Calibri; ">Sitting in front of me was an 11-year-old child, the daughter of one of the women.</span><span style="font-family: Calibri; ">&nbsp; </span><span style="font-family: Calibri; ">Her mother works here in Holland and the daughter lives with her grandmother in Thailand, but had come during the Thai summer holidays to visit.</span><span style="font-family: Calibri; ">&nbsp; </span><span style="font-family: Calibri; ">She sat in the waiting room, with all the women, bored, playing a game on an iPad, while her mother waited for customers.</span><span style="font-family: Calibri; ">&nbsp; </span><span style="font-family: Calibri; ">I am dismayed thinking about what this vulnerable child sees and hears.</span><span style="font-family: Calibri; ">&nbsp; </span><span style="font-family: Calibri; ">I’m terrified that prostitution in this family will continue through the generations.</span><span style="font-family: Calibri; ">&nbsp; </span><span style="font-family: Calibri; ">I feel helpless, and hopeless.</span><span style="font-family: Calibri; ">&nbsp;</span></p> <p class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-family:Calibri;mso-ascii-theme-font:major-latin; mso-hansi-theme-font:major-latin"><o:p>&nbsp;</o:p></span><span style="font-family: Calibri; ">Helplessness and hopelessness are human conditions that give us 2 choices:</span><span style="font-family: Calibri; ">&nbsp; </span><span style="font-family: Calibri; ">ignore the suffering around us that bring them on; or face the suffering and pain, trusting that Jesus is with us.</span><span style="font-family: Calibri; ">&nbsp; </span><span style="font-family: Calibri; ">We are not alone.</span><span style="font-family: Calibri; ">&nbsp;</span></p> <p class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-family:Calibri;mso-ascii-theme-font:major-latin; mso-hansi-theme-font:major-latin"><o:p>&nbsp;</o:p></span><span style="font-family: Calibri; ">Jesus sent me to be with that mother and daughter that day, to keep them in my prayers and endeavor to stay in contact with them.</span><span style="font-family: Calibri; ">&nbsp;&nbsp;</span><span style="font-family: Calibri; ">Jesus continues to send many people into places of darkness, like that Thai brothel, not with promises of glorious outcome, but with confidence that he goes with us.</span><span style="font-family: Calibri; ">&nbsp; </span><span style="font-family: Calibri; ">And the experience of the cross teaches me that ultimately, Jesus wins!</span><span style="font-family: Calibri; ">&nbsp;</span></p> <p class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-family:Calibri;mso-ascii-theme-font:major-latin; mso-hansi-theme-font:major-latin"><o:p>&nbsp;</o:p></span><span style="font-family: Calibri; ">The desolation of death and then the victory of resurrection:</span><span style="font-family: Calibri; ">&nbsp; </span><span style="font-family: Calibri; ">both were necessary.</span><span style="font-family: Calibri; ">&nbsp; </span><span style="font-family: Calibri; ">My friends and I continued to celebrate on Easter Sunday—a sumptuous brunch in a lovely restaurant and Henri Nouwen videos at home.</span><span style="font-family: Calibri; ">&nbsp; </span><span style="font-family: Calibri; ">We enjoyed each other’s company, and then on Monday, returned to our work with vulnerable and desperate people.</span><span style="font-family: Calibri; ">&nbsp; </span><span style="font-family: Calibri; ">This Easter, I not only have new clothes—but ever so much better—I celebrate a </span><i style="font-family: Calibri; ">re-newed cloak of strength </i><span style="font-family: Calibri; ">to continue looking sadness in the face with more confidence than ever of Jesus’ resurrection presence and activity.</span></p> <p class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-family: Calibri; ">Thank you for your support and encouragement to me as we continue the journey together!</span><span style="font-family: Calibri; ">&nbsp;</span></p> <p class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-family:Calibri;mso-ascii-theme-font:major-latin; mso-hansi-theme-font:major-latin"><o:p>&nbsp;</o:p></span></p> <p class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-family:Calibri;mso-ascii-theme-font:major-latin; mso-hansi-theme-font:major-latin"><o:p>&nbsp;</o:p></span></p> <p class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-family:Calibri;mso-ascii-theme-font:major-latin; mso-hansi-theme-font:major-latin"><o:p>&nbsp;</o:p></span></p> <p class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-family:Calibri;mso-ascii-theme-font:major-latin; mso-hansi-theme-font:major-latin">&nbsp; <o:p></o:p></span></p> <p class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-family:Calibri;mso-ascii-theme-font:major-latin; mso-hansi-theme-font:major-latin"><o:p>&nbsp;</o:p></span></p> <p class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-family:Calibri;mso-ascii-theme-font:major-latin; mso-hansi-theme-font:major-latin"><o:p>&nbsp;</o:p></span></p> <p class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-family:Calibri;mso-ascii-theme-font:major-latin; mso-hansi-theme-font:major-latin"><o:p>&nbsp;</o:p></span></p> <p class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-family:Calibri;mso-ascii-theme-font:major-latin; mso-hansi-theme-font:major-latin">&nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp;&nbsp;<o:p></o:p></span></p> <!--EndFragment--><p></p> <p class="MsoNormal"><o:p>&nbsp;</o:p></p> <p class="MsoNormal">&nbsp;<br></p> <!--EndFragment--><p></p> Mon, 01 Apr 2013 20:00:00 -0400 https://internationalministries.org/read/47612-new-easter-clothes- https://internationalministries.org/read/47612-new-easter-clothes- IM Headline News: Feb. 13 - March 1, 2013 <p class="MsoNormal" style="text-align:center" align="center"><b style="mso-bidi-font-weight: normal"><span style="mso-bidi-font-size:14.0pt;font-family:Calibri;mso-ascii-theme-font: minor-latin;mso-hansi-theme-font:minor-latin;mso-bidi-font-family:Arial">International Ministries Headline News</span></b></p> <p class="MsoNormal" style="text-align:center" align="center"><b style="mso-bidi-font-weight: normal"><span style="mso-bidi-font-size:14.0pt;font-family:Calibri;mso-ascii-theme-font: minor-latin;mso-hansi-theme-font:minor-latin;mso-bidi-font-family:Arial">February 13 – March 1</span></b></p> <p class="MsoNormal"><b><span style="mso-bidi-font-size:16.0pt;font-family:Calibri; mso-bidi-font-family:Calibri">Do you want to know which missionaries will be in the U.S. in 2013?</span></b><span style="mso-bidi-font-size:16.0pt;font-family: Calibri;mso-bidi-font-family:Calibri">&nbsp; The best way to find out about a particular missionary's schedule is to contact him or her directly through their profile page on the IM website: </span><a href="http://www.internationalministries.org/"><span style="mso-bidi-font-size: 16.0pt;font-family:Calibri;mso-bidi-font-family:Calibri;color:#0029ED; text-decoration:none;text-underline:none">www.internationalministries.org</span></a><span style="mso-bidi-font-size:16.0pt;font-family:Calibri;mso-bidi-font-family:Calibri">.&nbsp; For a list of missionaries who are scheduled to be in the U.S. in 2013, contact Ruthie Stevenson, </span><a href="mailto:ruthanne.stevenson@abc-usa.org"><span style="mso-bidi-font-size:16.0pt;font-family:Calibri;mso-bidi-font-family:Calibri; color:#0029ED;text-decoration:none;text-underline:none">ruthann.stevenson@abc-usa.org</span></a><span style="mso-bidi-font-size:16.0pt;font-family:Calibri;mso-bidi-font-family:Calibri">. Since missionaries' plans change frequently, the list is subject to change at any time.&nbsp;For general questions, contact Catherine <span class="SpellE">Nold</span>: </span><a href="mailto:catherine.nold@abc-usa.org"><span style="mso-bidi-font-size: 16.0pt;font-family:Calibri;mso-bidi-font-family:Calibri;color:#001DF6">catherine.nold@abc-usa.org</span></a><span style="mso-bidi-font-size:16.0pt;font-family:Calibri;mso-bidi-font-family:Calibri">.</span><span style="mso-bidi-font-size:15.0pt;font-family:Calibri;mso-bidi-font-family:Calibri; color:#24497A">&nbsp;</span><span style="mso-bidi-font-size:15.0pt;font-family: Calibri;mso-bidi-font-family:Calibri;color:black"></span></p> <p class="MsoNormal" style="text-align:center" align="center"><b style="mso-bidi-font-weight: normal"><span style="mso-bidi-font-size:42.0pt;font-family:Calibri;mso-ascii-theme-font: minor-latin;mso-hansi-theme-font:minor-latin;mso-bidi-font-family:Arial; color:#00CCFF">HEADLINE NEWS:</span></b><b style="mso-bidi-font-weight: normal"><span style="mso-bidi-font-size:42.0pt;font-family:Calibri;mso-ascii-theme-font: minor-latin;mso-hansi-theme-font:minor-latin;mso-bidi-font-family:Arial; color:#00CCFF">&nbsp;</span></b> </p><p class="MsoNormal"><span style="mso-bidi-font-size:18.0pt;font-family:Calibri; mso-ascii-theme-font:minor-latin;mso-hansi-theme-font:minor-latin;mso-bidi-font-family: Arial;color:#001BE6"><a href="http://www.internationalministries.org/read/47003-prayer-requests-from-im-missionaries-for-world-day-of-prayer-on-march-1st"><span style="mso-bidi-font-family:Arial;color:#001BE6">Prayer Requests from IM Missionaries for "World Day of Prayer" on March 1st&nbsp; </span></a></span><span style="mso-bidi-font-size:18.0pt;font-family:Calibri;mso-ascii-theme-font:minor-latin; mso-hansi-theme-font:minor-latin;mso-bidi-font-family:Arial"></span><i><span style="mso-bidi-font-size:11.0pt;font-family:Calibri;mso-ascii-theme-font:minor-latin; mso-hansi-theme-font:minor-latin;mso-bidi-font-family:Times;color:#333333">Released on February 25, 2013</span></i><b style="mso-bidi-font-weight:normal"><span style="mso-bidi-font-size:42.0pt;font-family:Calibri;mso-ascii-theme-font:minor-latin; mso-hansi-theme-font:minor-latin;mso-bidi-font-family:Arial;color:#00CCFF"></span></b></p> <p class="MsoNormal"><span style="mso-bidi-font-size:18.0pt;font-family:Calibri; mso-ascii-theme-font:minor-latin;mso-hansi-theme-font:minor-latin;mso-bidi-font-family: Arial;color:#001BE6"><a href="http://www.internationalministries.org/read/46964-urgent-prayer-request-from-baptist-partners-in-bulgaria-"><span style="mso-bidi-font-family:Arial;color:#001BE6">Urgent Prayer Request from Baptist Partners in Bulgaria </span></a></span><b><i><span style="mso-bidi-font-size: 11.0pt;font-family:Calibri;mso-ascii-theme-font:minor-latin;mso-hansi-theme-font: minor-latin;mso-bidi-font-family:Times"><span style="mso-spacerun: yes">&nbsp;</span></span></i></b><i><span style="mso-bidi-font-size:11.0pt; font-family:Calibri;mso-ascii-theme-font:minor-latin;mso-hansi-theme-font:minor-latin; mso-bidi-font-family:Times;color:#333333">Released on February 21, 2013</span></i><b style="mso-bidi-font-weight:normal"><span style="mso-bidi-font-size:42.0pt; font-family:Calibri;mso-ascii-theme-font:minor-latin;mso-hansi-theme-font:minor-latin; mso-bidi-font-family:Arial;color:#00CCFF"></span></b></p><b style="mso-bidi-font-weight:normal"><span style="mso-bidi-font-size:42.0pt;font-family:Calibri;mso-ascii-theme-font:minor-latin; mso-hansi-theme-font:minor-latin;mso-bidi-font-family:Arial;color:#00CCFF"> </span></b> <p class="MsoNormal"><span style="mso-bidi-font-size:18.0pt;font-family:Calibri; mso-ascii-theme-font:minor-latin;mso-hansi-theme-font:minor-latin;mso-bidi-font-family: Arial;color:#001BE6"><a href="http://www.internationalministries.org/read/46892-im-missionary-ed-noyes-begins-health-care-project-with-ima-world-health"><span style="mso-bidi-font-family:Arial;color:#001BE6">IM Missionary, Ed Noyes, Begins Health Care Project with IMA World Health</span></a> </span><b><i><span style="mso-bidi-font-size:11.0pt;font-family:Calibri;mso-ascii-theme-font:minor-latin; mso-hansi-theme-font:minor-latin;mso-bidi-font-family:Times"></span></i></b><i><span style="mso-bidi-font-size:11.0pt;font-family:Calibri;mso-ascii-theme-font:minor-latin; mso-hansi-theme-font:minor-latin;mso-bidi-font-family:Times;color:#333333">Released on February 19, 2013</span></i></p> <p class="MsoNormal"><span style="mso-bidi-font-size:18.0pt;font-family:Calibri; mso-ascii-theme-font:minor-latin;mso-hansi-theme-font:minor-latin;mso-bidi-font-family: Arial;color:#001BE6"><a href="http://www.internationalministries.org/read/44506-ignite-2013-to-republic-of-georgia"><span style="mso-bidi-font-family:Arial;color:#001BE6">IGNITE 2013 to Republic of Georgia</span></a></span><span style="mso-bidi-font-size:18.0pt;font-family: Calibri;mso-ascii-theme-font:minor-latin;mso-hansi-theme-font:minor-latin; mso-bidi-font-family:Arial"> </span><i><span style="mso-bidi-font-size: 11.0pt;font-family:Calibri;mso-ascii-theme-font:minor-latin;mso-hansi-theme-font: minor-latin;mso-bidi-font-family:Times;color:#333333">Released on February 17, 2013</span></i></p> <p class="MsoNormal"><span style="mso-bidi-font-size:18.0pt;font-family:Calibri; mso-ascii-theme-font:minor-latin;mso-hansi-theme-font:minor-latin;mso-bidi-font-family: Arial;color:#001BE6"><a href="http://www.internationalministries.org/read/46921-ab-women-s-ministries-announces-virtual-mission-encounters"><span style="mso-bidi-font-family:Arial;color:#001BE6">AB Women's Ministries Announces Virtual Mission Encounters</span></a></span><span style="mso-bidi-font-size: 18.0pt;font-family:Calibri;mso-ascii-theme-font:minor-latin;mso-hansi-theme-font: minor-latin;mso-bidi-font-family:Arial"> </span><i><span style="mso-bidi-font-size:11.0pt;font-family:Calibri;mso-ascii-theme-font:minor-latin; mso-hansi-theme-font:minor-latin;mso-bidi-font-family:Times;color:#333333">Released on February 17, 2013</span></i><b style="mso-bidi-font-weight:normal"><span style="mso-bidi-font-size:42.0pt;font-family:Calibri;mso-ascii-theme-font:minor-latin; mso-hansi-theme-font:minor-latin;mso-bidi-font-family:Arial;color:#00CCFF"></span></b></p> <p class="MsoNormal" style="text-align:center" align="center"><b style="mso-bidi-font-weight: normal"><span style="mso-bidi-font-size:13.0pt;font-family:Calibri;mso-ascii-theme-font: minor-latin;mso-hansi-theme-font:minor-latin;mso-bidi-font-family:&quot;Lucida Grande&quot;; color:#00CCFF">RECENT MISSIONARY JOURNALS:</span></b><b style="mso-bidi-font-weight: normal"><span style="mso-bidi-font-size:13.0pt;font-family:Calibri;mso-ascii-theme-font: minor-latin;mso-hansi-theme-font:minor-latin;mso-bidi-font-family:&quot;Lucida Grande&quot;; color:#00CCFF">&nbsp;</span></b> </p><p class="MsoNormal"><span style="mso-bidi-font-size:18.0pt;font-family:Calibri; mso-ascii-theme-font:minor-latin;mso-hansi-theme-font:minor-latin;mso-bidi-font-family: Arial;color:#001BE6"><a href="http://www.internationalministries.org/read/47039-a-estudiar-en-el-stb-study-time-at-stb-"><span style="mso-bidi-font-family:Arial;color:#001BE6">A <span class="SpellE">estudiar</span> en el STB... / Study time at STB...</span></a></span><span style="mso-bidi-font-size: 18.0pt;font-family:Calibri;mso-ascii-theme-font:minor-latin;mso-hansi-theme-font: minor-latin;mso-bidi-font-family:Arial"></span><b><i><span style="mso-bidi-font-size:11.0pt;font-family:Calibri;mso-ascii-theme-font:minor-latin; mso-hansi-theme-font:minor-latin;mso-bidi-font-family:Times"> by <a href="http://www.internationalministries.org/people/140"><span style="mso-bidi-font-family:Times;color:#001BE6">Mayra <span class="SpellE">Giovanetti</span></span></a>, <a href="http://www.internationalministries.org/people/139"><span style="mso-bidi-font-family:Times;color:#001BE6">Carlos <span class="SpellE">Bonilla</span></span></a><span class="SpellE"><span style="color:#333333;font-weight:normal"> Released</span></span></span></i></b><i><span style="mso-bidi-font-size:11.0pt;font-family:Calibri;mso-ascii-theme-font:minor-latin; mso-hansi-theme-font:minor-latin;mso-bidi-font-family:Times;color:#333333"> on March 1, 2013</span></i><b style="mso-bidi-font-weight:normal"><span style="mso-bidi-font-size:13.0pt;font-family:Calibri;mso-ascii-theme-font:minor-latin; mso-hansi-theme-font:minor-latin;mso-bidi-font-family:&quot;Lucida Grande&quot;; color:#00CCFF"></span></b></p> <p class="MsoNormal"><span style="mso-bidi-font-size:18.0pt;font-family:Calibri; mso-ascii-theme-font:minor-latin;mso-hansi-theme-font:minor-latin;mso-bidi-font-family: Arial;color:#001BE6"><a href="http://www.internationalministries.org/read/47081-kim-1-5-headed-to-cuba-today"><span style="mso-bidi-font-family:Arial;color:#001BE6">Kim+1.5 headed to Cuba <span class="SpellE">today </span></span></a></span><span class="SpellE"><span style="mso-bidi-font-size:18.0pt;font-family:Calibri;mso-ascii-theme-font:minor-latin; mso-hansi-theme-font:minor-latin;mso-bidi-font-family:Arial"></span><b><i><span style="mso-bidi-font-size:11.0pt;font-family:Calibri;mso-ascii-theme-font:minor-latin; mso-hansi-theme-font:minor-latin;mso-bidi-font-family:Times">by</span></i></b></span><b><i><span style="mso-bidi-font-size:11.0pt;font-family:Calibri;mso-ascii-theme-font:minor-latin; mso-hansi-theme-font:minor-latin;mso-bidi-font-family:Times"> <a href="http://www.internationalministries.org/people/1476"><span style="mso-bidi-font-family:Times;color:#001BE6">Kim Kushner <span class="SpellE">Dominguez</span></span></a><span class="SpellE"><span style="color:#333333;font-weight:normal"> Released</span></span></span></i></b><i><span style="mso-bidi-font-size:11.0pt;font-family:Calibri;mso-ascii-theme-font:minor-latin; mso-hansi-theme-font:minor-latin;mso-bidi-font-family:Times;color:#333333"> on February 28, 2013</span></i></p> <p class="MsoNormal"><span style="mso-bidi-font-size:18.0pt;font-family:Calibri; mso-ascii-theme-font:minor-latin;mso-hansi-theme-font:minor-latin;mso-bidi-font-family: Arial;color:#001BE6"><a href="http://www.internationalministries.org/read/47073-a-beauty-of-a-day"><span style="mso-bidi-font-family:Arial;color:#001BE6">A Beauty of a <span class="SpellE">Day</span></span></a></span><span class="SpellE"><span style="mso-bidi-font-size:18.0pt;font-family:Calibri;mso-ascii-theme-font:minor-latin; mso-hansi-theme-font:minor-latin;mso-bidi-font-family:Arial"></span><b><i><span style="mso-bidi-font-size:11.0pt;font-family:Calibri;mso-ascii-theme-font:minor-latin; mso-hansi-theme-font:minor-latin;mso-bidi-font-family:Times"> by</span></i></b></span><b><i><span style="mso-bidi-font-size:11.0pt;font-family:Calibri;mso-ascii-theme-font:minor-latin; mso-hansi-theme-font:minor-latin;mso-bidi-font-family:Times"> <a href="http://www.internationalministries.org/people/773"><span style="mso-bidi-font-family:Times;color:#001BE6">Tim <span class="SpellE">Long</span></span></a><span class="SpellE"><span style="color:#333333;font-weight:normal"> Released</span></span></span></i></b><i><span style="mso-bidi-font-size:11.0pt;font-family:Calibri;mso-ascii-theme-font:minor-latin; mso-hansi-theme-font:minor-latin;mso-bidi-font-family:Times;color:#333333"> on February 27, 2013</span></i><b style="mso-bidi-font-weight:normal"><span style="mso-bidi-font-size:13.0pt;font-family:Calibri;mso-ascii-theme-font:minor-latin; mso-hansi-theme-font:minor-latin;mso-bidi-font-family:&quot;Lucida Grande&quot;; color:#00CCFF"></span></b></p> <p class="MsoNormal"><span style="mso-bidi-font-size:18.0pt;font-family:Calibri; mso-ascii-theme-font:minor-latin;mso-hansi-theme-font:minor-latin;mso-bidi-font-family: Arial;color:#001BE6"><a href="http://www.internationalministries.org/read/47030-painted-nails-tears-and-love"><span style="mso-bidi-font-family:Arial;color:#001BE6">Painted Nails, Tears, and <span class="SpellE">Love</span></span></a></span><span class="SpellE"><span style="mso-bidi-font-size:18.0pt;font-family:Calibri;mso-ascii-theme-font:minor-latin; mso-hansi-theme-font:minor-latin;mso-bidi-font-family:Arial"></span><b><i><span style="mso-bidi-font-size:11.0pt;font-family:Calibri;mso-ascii-theme-font:minor-latin; mso-hansi-theme-font:minor-latin;mso-bidi-font-family:Times"> by</span></i></b></span><b><i><span style="mso-bidi-font-size:11.0pt;font-family:Calibri;mso-ascii-theme-font:minor-latin; mso-hansi-theme-font:minor-latin;mso-bidi-font-family:Times"> <a href="http://www.internationalministries.org/people/357"><span style="mso-bidi-font-family:Times;color:#001BE6">Annie <span class="SpellE">Dieselberg</span></span></a><span class="SpellE"><span style="color:#333333;font-weight:normal"> Released</span></span></span></i></b><i><span style="mso-bidi-font-size:11.0pt;font-family:Calibri;mso-ascii-theme-font:minor-latin; mso-hansi-theme-font:minor-latin;mso-bidi-font-family:Times;color:#333333"> on February 25, 2013</span></i><b style="mso-bidi-font-weight:normal"><span style="mso-bidi-font-size:13.0pt;font-family:Calibri;mso-ascii-theme-font:minor-latin; mso-hansi-theme-font:minor-latin;mso-bidi-font-family:&quot;Lucida Grande&quot;; color:#00CCFF"></span></b></p> <p class="MsoNormal"><span style="mso-bidi-font-size:18.0pt;font-family:Calibri; mso-ascii-theme-font:minor-latin;mso-hansi-theme-font:minor-latin;mso-bidi-font-family: Arial;color:#001BE6"><a href="http://www.internationalministries.org/read/46979-first-responder"><span style="mso-bidi-font-family:Arial;color:#001BE6">First <span class="SpellE">Responder</span></span></a></span><span class="SpellE"><span style="mso-bidi-font-size:18.0pt;font-family:Calibri; mso-ascii-theme-font:minor-latin;mso-hansi-theme-font:minor-latin;mso-bidi-font-family: Arial"></span><b><i><span style="mso-bidi-font-size:11.0pt;font-family: Calibri;mso-ascii-theme-font:minor-latin;mso-hansi-theme-font:minor-latin; mso-bidi-font-family:Times"> by</span></i></b></span><b><i><span style="mso-bidi-font-size:11.0pt;font-family:Calibri;mso-ascii-theme-font:minor-latin; mso-hansi-theme-font:minor-latin;mso-bidi-font-family:Times"> <a href="http://www.internationalministries.org/people/20463"><span style="mso-bidi-font-family:Times;color:#001BE6">Roberta <span class="SpellE">Stephens </span></span></a><span class="SpellE"><span style="color:#333333;font-weight:normal">Released</span></span></span></i></b><i><span style="mso-bidi-font-size:11.0pt;font-family:Calibri;mso-ascii-theme-font:minor-latin; mso-hansi-theme-font:minor-latin;mso-bidi-font-family:Times;color:#333333"> on February 22, 2013</span></i><b style="mso-bidi-font-weight:normal"><span style="mso-bidi-font-size:13.0pt;font-family:Calibri;mso-ascii-theme-font:minor-latin; mso-hansi-theme-font:minor-latin;mso-bidi-font-family:&quot;Lucida Grande&quot;; color:#00CCFF"></span></b></p> <p class="MsoNormal"><span style="mso-bidi-font-size:18.0pt;font-family:Calibri; mso-ascii-theme-font:minor-latin;mso-hansi-theme-font:minor-latin;mso-bidi-font-family: Arial;color:#001BE6"><a href="http://www.internationalministries.org/read/46970-peace-warrior-released-"><span style="mso-bidi-font-family:Arial;color:#001BE6">"Peace Warrior" <span class="SpellE">released! </span></span></a></span><span class="SpellE"><span style="mso-bidi-font-size:18.0pt;font-family:Calibri;mso-ascii-theme-font:minor-latin; mso-hansi-theme-font:minor-latin;mso-bidi-font-family:Arial"></span><span class="GramE"><b><i><span style="mso-bidi-font-size:11.0pt;font-family:Calibri; mso-ascii-theme-font:minor-latin;mso-hansi-theme-font:minor-latin;mso-bidi-font-family: Times">by</span></i></b></span></span><b><i><span style="mso-bidi-font-size: 11.0pt;font-family:Calibri;mso-ascii-theme-font:minor-latin;mso-hansi-theme-font: minor-latin;mso-bidi-font-family:Times"> <a href="http://www.internationalministries.org/people/196"><span style="mso-bidi-font-family:Times;color:#001BE6">Dan <span class="SpellE">Buttry </span></span></a><span class="SpellE"><span style="color:#333333;font-weight:normal">Released</span></span></span></i></b><i><span style="mso-bidi-font-size:11.0pt;font-family:Calibri;mso-ascii-theme-font:minor-latin; mso-hansi-theme-font:minor-latin;mso-bidi-font-family:Times;color:#333333"> on February 22, 2013</span></i><b style="mso-bidi-font-weight:normal"><span style="mso-bidi-font-size:13.0pt;font-family:Calibri;mso-ascii-theme-font:minor-latin; mso-hansi-theme-font:minor-latin;mso-bidi-font-family:&quot;Lucida Grande&quot;; color:#00CCFF"></span></b></p> <p class="MsoNormal"><span style="mso-bidi-font-size:18.0pt;font-family:Calibri; mso-ascii-theme-font:minor-latin;mso-hansi-theme-font:minor-latin;mso-bidi-font-family: Arial;color:#001BE6"><a href="http://www.internationalministries.org/read/46988-love-on-valentine-s-day-or-not-"><span style="mso-bidi-font-family:Arial;color:#001BE6">Love on Valentine's Day--or <span class="SpellE">Not?</span></span></a></span><span class="SpellE"><span style="mso-bidi-font-size:18.0pt;font-family:Calibri;mso-ascii-theme-font:minor-latin; mso-hansi-theme-font:minor-latin;mso-bidi-font-family:Arial"></span><span class="GramE"><b><i><span style="mso-bidi-font-size:11.0pt;font-family:Calibri; mso-ascii-theme-font:minor-latin;mso-hansi-theme-font:minor-latin;mso-bidi-font-family: Times"> by</span></i></b></span></span><b><i><span style="mso-bidi-font-size: 11.0pt;font-family:Calibri;mso-ascii-theme-font:minor-latin;mso-hansi-theme-font: minor-latin;mso-bidi-font-family:Times"> <a href="http://www.internationalministries.org/people/117"><span style="mso-bidi-font-family:Times;color:#001BE6">Lauran <span class="SpellE">Bethell</span></span></a><span class="SpellE"><span style="color:#333333;font-weight:normal"> Released</span></span></span></i></b><i><span style="mso-bidi-font-size:11.0pt;font-family:Calibri;mso-ascii-theme-font:minor-latin; mso-hansi-theme-font:minor-latin;mso-bidi-font-family:Times;color:#333333"> on February 22, 2013</span></i></p> <p class="MsoNormal"><span style="mso-bidi-font-size:18.0pt;font-family:Calibri; mso-ascii-theme-font:minor-latin;mso-hansi-theme-font:minor-latin;mso-bidi-font-family: Arial;color:#001BE6"><a href="http://www.internationalministries.org/read/46972-march-10-global-day-of-prayer-for-burma"><span style="mso-bidi-font-family:Arial;color:#001BE6">March 10 - Global Day of Prayer for <span class="SpellE">Burma</span></span></a></span><span class="SpellE"><span style="mso-bidi-font-size:18.0pt;font-family:Calibri;mso-ascii-theme-font:minor-latin; mso-hansi-theme-font:minor-latin;mso-bidi-font-family:Arial"></span><b><i><span style="mso-bidi-font-size:11.0pt;font-family:Calibri;mso-ascii-theme-font:minor-latin; mso-hansi-theme-font:minor-latin;mso-bidi-font-family:Times"> by</span></i></b></span><b><i><span style="mso-bidi-font-size:11.0pt;font-family:Calibri;mso-ascii-theme-font:minor-latin; mso-hansi-theme-font:minor-latin;mso-bidi-font-family:Times"> <a href="http://www.internationalministries.org/people/119"><span style="mso-bidi-font-family:Times;color:#001BE6">Duane <span class="SpellE">Binkley</span></span></a><span class="SpellE"><span style="color:#333333;font-weight:normal"> Released</span></span></span></i></b><i><span style="mso-bidi-font-size:11.0pt;font-family:Calibri;mso-ascii-theme-font:minor-latin; mso-hansi-theme-font:minor-latin;mso-bidi-font-family:Times;color:#333333"> on February 21, 2013</span></i><b style="mso-bidi-font-weight:normal"><span style="mso-bidi-font-size:13.0pt;font-family:Calibri;mso-ascii-theme-font:minor-latin; mso-hansi-theme-font:minor-latin;mso-bidi-font-family:&quot;Lucida Grande&quot;; color:#00CCFF"></span></b></p> <p class="MsoNormal"><span style="mso-bidi-font-size:18.0pt;font-family:Calibri; mso-ascii-theme-font:minor-latin;mso-hansi-theme-font:minor-latin;mso-bidi-font-family: Arial;color:#001BE6"><a href="http://www.internationalministries.org/read/46957-mr-deliniox-life-is-saved-at-eye-clinic"><span class="SpellE"><span style="mso-bidi-font-family:Arial;color:#001BE6">Mr</span></span><span style="mso-bidi-font-family:Arial;color:#001BE6"> <span class="SpellE">Deliniox</span> Life is Saved at Eye <span class="SpellE">Clinic</span></span></a></span><span class="SpellE"><span style="mso-bidi-font-size:18.0pt;font-family:Calibri; mso-ascii-theme-font:minor-latin;mso-hansi-theme-font:minor-latin;mso-bidi-font-family: Arial"></span><b><i><span style="mso-bidi-font-size:11.0pt;font-family: Calibri;mso-ascii-theme-font:minor-latin;mso-hansi-theme-font:minor-latin; mso-bidi-font-family:Times"> by</span></i></b></span><b><i><span style="mso-bidi-font-size:11.0pt;font-family:Calibri;mso-ascii-theme-font:minor-latin; mso-hansi-theme-font:minor-latin;mso-bidi-font-family:Times"> <a href="http://www.internationalministries.org/people/956"><span class="SpellE"><span style="mso-bidi-font-family:Times;color:#001BE6">Nzunga</span></span><span style="mso-bidi-font-family:Times;color:#001BE6"> <span class="SpellE">Mabudiga </span></span></a><span class="SpellE"><span style="color:#333333;font-weight:normal">Released</span></span></span></i></b><i><span style="mso-bidi-font-size:11.0pt;font-family:Calibri;mso-ascii-theme-font:minor-latin; mso-hansi-theme-font:minor-latin;mso-bidi-font-family:Times;color:#333333"> on February 20, 2013</span></i><b style="mso-bidi-font-weight:normal"><span style="mso-bidi-font-size:13.0pt;font-family:Calibri;mso-ascii-theme-font:minor-latin; mso-hansi-theme-font:minor-latin;mso-bidi-font-family:&quot;Lucida Grande&quot;; color:#00CCFF"></span></b></p> <p class="MsoNormal"><span style="mso-bidi-font-size:18.0pt;font-family:Calibri; mso-ascii-theme-font:minor-latin;mso-hansi-theme-font:minor-latin;mso-bidi-font-family: Arial;color:#001BE6"><a href="http://www.internationalministries.org/read/46950-saying-goodbye"><span style="mso-bidi-font-family:Arial;color:#001BE6">Saying <span class="SpellE">Goodbye</span></span></a></span><span class="SpellE"><span style="mso-bidi-font-size:18.0pt;font-family:Calibri; mso-ascii-theme-font:minor-latin;mso-hansi-theme-font:minor-latin;mso-bidi-font-family: Arial"></span><b><i><span style="mso-bidi-font-size:11.0pt;font-family: Calibri;mso-ascii-theme-font:minor-latin;mso-hansi-theme-font:minor-latin; mso-bidi-font-family:Times"> by</span></i></b></span><b><i><span style="mso-bidi-font-size:11.0pt;font-family:Calibri;mso-ascii-theme-font:minor-latin; mso-hansi-theme-font:minor-latin;mso-bidi-font-family:Times"> <a href="http://www.internationalministries.org/people/1345"><span style="mso-bidi-font-family:Times;color:#001BE6">Sarah <span class="SpellE">West </span></span></a><span class="SpellE"><span style="color:#333333;font-weight:normal">Released</span></span></span></i></b><i><span style="mso-bidi-font-size:11.0pt;font-family:Calibri;mso-ascii-theme-font:minor-latin; mso-hansi-theme-font:minor-latin;mso-bidi-font-family:Times;color:#333333"> on February 20, 2013</span></i><b style="mso-bidi-font-weight:normal"><span style="mso-bidi-font-size:13.0pt;font-family:Calibri;mso-ascii-theme-font:minor-latin; mso-hansi-theme-font:minor-latin;mso-bidi-font-family:&quot;Lucida Grande&quot;; color:#00CCFF"></span></b></p> <p class="MsoNormal"><span style="mso-bidi-font-size:18.0pt;font-family:Calibri; mso-ascii-theme-font:minor-latin;mso-hansi-theme-font:minor-latin;mso-bidi-font-family: Arial;color:#001BE6"><a href="http://www.internationalministries.org/read/46952-boundaries"><span class="SpellE"><span style="mso-bidi-font-family:Arial;color:#001BE6">Boundaries </span></span></a></span><span class="SpellE"><span style="mso-bidi-font-size:18.0pt;font-family:Calibri; mso-ascii-theme-font:minor-latin;mso-hansi-theme-font:minor-latin;mso-bidi-font-family: Arial"></span><b><i><span style="mso-bidi-font-size:11.0pt;font-family: Calibri;mso-ascii-theme-font:minor-latin;mso-hansi-theme-font:minor-latin; mso-bidi-font-family:Times">by</span></i></b></span><b><i><span style="mso-bidi-font-size:11.0pt;font-family:Calibri;mso-ascii-theme-font:minor-latin; mso-hansi-theme-font:minor-latin;mso-bidi-font-family:Times"> <a href="http://www.internationalministries.org/people/1292"><span style="mso-bidi-font-family:Times;color:#001BE6">David <span class="SpellE">Turley </span></span></a><span class="SpellE"><span style="color:#333333;font-weight:normal">Released</span></span></span></i></b><i><span style="mso-bidi-font-size:11.0pt;font-family:Calibri;mso-ascii-theme-font:minor-latin; mso-hansi-theme-font:minor-latin;mso-bidi-font-family:Times;color:#333333"> on February 20, 2013</span></i><b style="mso-bidi-font-weight:normal"><span style="mso-bidi-font-size:13.0pt;font-family:Calibri;mso-ascii-theme-font:minor-latin; mso-hansi-theme-font:minor-latin;mso-bidi-font-family:&quot;Lucida Grande&quot;; color:#00CCFF"></span></b></p> <p class="MsoNormal"><span style="mso-bidi-font-size:18.0pt;font-family:Calibri; mso-ascii-theme-font:minor-latin;mso-hansi-theme-font:minor-latin;mso-bidi-font-family: Arial;color:#001BE6"><a href="http://www.internationalministries.org/read/46952-boundaries"><span class="SpellE"><span style="mso-bidi-font-family:Arial;color:#001BE6">Original Goodness</span></span></a></span><span class="SpellE"><span style="mso-bidi-font-size:18.0pt;font-family:Calibri; mso-ascii-theme-font:minor-latin;mso-hansi-theme-font:minor-latin;mso-bidi-font-family: Arial"></span><b><i><span style="mso-bidi-font-size:11.0pt;font-family: Calibri;mso-ascii-theme-font:minor-latin;mso-hansi-theme-font:minor-latin; mso-bidi-font-family:Times"> by</span></i></b></span><b><i><span style="mso-bidi-font-size:11.0pt;font-family:Calibri;mso-ascii-theme-font:minor-latin; mso-hansi-theme-font:minor-latin;mso-bidi-font-family:Times"> <a href="http://www.internationalministries.org/people/687"><span style="mso-bidi-font-family:Times;color:#001BE6">Debbie <span class="SpellE">Kelsey</span></span></a><span class="SpellE"><span style="color:#333333;font-weight:normal"> Released</span></span></span></i></b><i><span style="mso-bidi-font-size:11.0pt;font-family:Calibri;mso-ascii-theme-font:minor-latin; mso-hansi-theme-font:minor-latin;mso-bidi-font-family:Times;color:#333333"> on February 19, 2013</span></i><b style="mso-bidi-font-weight:normal"><span style="mso-bidi-font-size:13.0pt;font-family:Calibri;mso-ascii-theme-font:minor-latin; mso-hansi-theme-font:minor-latin;mso-bidi-font-family:&quot;Lucida Grande&quot;; color:#00CCFF"></span></b></p> <p class="MsoNormal"><span style="mso-bidi-font-size:18.0pt;font-family:Calibri; mso-ascii-theme-font:minor-latin;mso-hansi-theme-font:minor-latin;mso-bidi-font-family: Arial;color:#001BE6"><a href="http://www.internationalministries.org/read/46919-innocence-at-risk"><span style="mso-bidi-font-family:Arial;color:#001BE6">Innocence at <span class="SpellE">Risk </span></span></a></span><span class="SpellE"><span style="mso-bidi-font-size:18.0pt;font-family:Calibri;mso-ascii-theme-font:minor-latin; mso-hansi-theme-font:minor-latin;mso-bidi-font-family:Arial"></span><b><i><span style="mso-bidi-font-size:11.0pt;font-family:Calibri;mso-ascii-theme-font:minor-latin; mso-hansi-theme-font:minor-latin;mso-bidi-font-family:Times">by</span></i></b></span><b><i><span style="mso-bidi-font-size:11.0pt;font-family:Calibri;mso-ascii-theme-font:minor-latin; mso-hansi-theme-font:minor-latin;mso-bidi-font-family:Times"> <a href="http://www.internationalministries.org/people/357"><span style="mso-bidi-font-family:Times;color:#001BE6">Annie <span class="SpellE">Dieselberg </span></span></a><span class="SpellE"><span style="color:#333333;font-weight:normal">Released</span></span></span></i></b><i><span style="mso-bidi-font-size:11.0pt;font-family:Calibri;mso-ascii-theme-font:minor-latin; mso-hansi-theme-font:minor-latin;mso-bidi-font-family:Times;color:#333333"> on February 17, 2013</span></i><b style="mso-bidi-font-weight:normal"><span style="mso-bidi-font-size:13.0pt;font-family:Calibri;mso-ascii-theme-font:minor-latin; mso-hansi-theme-font:minor-latin;mso-bidi-font-family:&quot;Lucida Grande&quot;; color:#00CCFF"></span></b></p> <p class="MsoNormal"><span style="mso-bidi-font-size:18.0pt;font-family:Calibri; mso-ascii-theme-font:minor-latin;mso-hansi-theme-font:minor-latin;mso-bidi-font-family: Arial;color:#001BE6"><a href="http://www.internationalministries.org/read/46911-i-ve-been-to-cuba-have-you-"><span style="mso-bidi-font-family:Arial;color:#001BE6">I've been to Cuba, have <span class="SpellE">YOU?</span></span></a></span><span class="SpellE"><span style="mso-bidi-font-size:18.0pt;font-family:Calibri;mso-ascii-theme-font:minor-latin; mso-hansi-theme-font:minor-latin;mso-bidi-font-family:Arial"></span><span class="GramE"><b><i><span style="mso-bidi-font-size:11.0pt;font-family:Calibri; mso-ascii-theme-font:minor-latin;mso-hansi-theme-font:minor-latin;mso-bidi-font-family: Times"> by</span></i></b></span></span><b><i><span style="mso-bidi-font-size: 11.0pt;font-family:Calibri;mso-ascii-theme-font:minor-latin;mso-hansi-theme-font: minor-latin;mso-bidi-font-family:Times"> <a href="http://www.internationalministries.org/people/1476"><span style="mso-bidi-font-family:Times;color:#001BE6">Kim Kushner <span class="SpellE">Dominguez</span></span></a><span class="SpellE"><span style="color:#333333;font-weight:normal"> Released</span></span></span></i></b><i><span style="mso-bidi-font-size:11.0pt;font-family:Calibri;mso-ascii-theme-font:minor-latin; mso-hansi-theme-font:minor-latin;mso-bidi-font-family:Times;color:#333333"> on February 15, 2013</span></i><b style="mso-bidi-font-weight:normal"><span style="mso-bidi-font-size:13.0pt;font-family:Calibri;mso-ascii-theme-font:minor-latin; mso-hansi-theme-font:minor-latin;mso-bidi-font-family:&quot;Lucida Grande&quot;; color:#00CCFF"></span></b></p> <p class="MsoNormal"><span style="mso-bidi-font-size:18.0pt;font-family:Calibri; mso-ascii-theme-font:minor-latin;mso-hansi-theme-font:minor-latin;mso-bidi-font-family: Arial;color:#001BE6"><a href="http://www.internationalministries.org/read/46883-love-beyond-comprehension"><span style="mso-bidi-font-family:Arial;color:#001BE6">Love Beyond <span class="SpellE">Comprehension</span></span></a></span><span class="SpellE"><span style="mso-bidi-font-size:18.0pt;font-family:Calibri;mso-ascii-theme-font:minor-latin; mso-hansi-theme-font:minor-latin;mso-bidi-font-family:Arial"></span><b><i><span style="mso-bidi-font-size:11.0pt;font-family:Calibri;mso-ascii-theme-font:minor-latin; mso-hansi-theme-font:minor-latin;mso-bidi-font-family:Times"> by</span></i></b></span><b><i><span style="mso-bidi-font-size:11.0pt;font-family:Calibri;mso-ascii-theme-font:minor-latin; mso-hansi-theme-font:minor-latin;mso-bidi-font-family:Times"> <a href="http://www.internationalministries.org/people/1040"><span style="mso-bidi-font-family:Times;color:#001BE6">Joyce <span class="SpellE">Reed</span></span></a><span class="SpellE"><span style="color:#333333;font-weight:normal"> Released</span></span></span></i></b><i><span style="mso-bidi-font-size:11.0pt;font-family:Calibri;mso-ascii-theme-font:minor-latin; mso-hansi-theme-font:minor-latin;mso-bidi-font-family:Times;color:#333333"> on February 14, 2013</span></i><b style="mso-bidi-font-weight:normal"><span style="mso-bidi-font-size:13.0pt;font-family:Calibri;mso-ascii-theme-font:minor-latin; mso-hansi-theme-font:minor-latin;mso-bidi-font-family:&quot;Lucida Grande&quot;; color:#00CCFF"></span></b></p> <p class="MsoNormal"><span style="mso-bidi-font-size:18.0pt;font-family:Calibri; mso-ascii-theme-font:minor-latin;mso-hansi-theme-font:minor-latin;mso-bidi-font-family: Arial;color:#001BE6"><a href="http://www.internationalministries.org/read/46857-are-you-ready-to-serve-anywhere-"><span style="mso-bidi-font-family:Arial;color:#001BE6">Are you ready to serve <span class="SpellE">anywhere?</span></span></a></span><span class="SpellE"><span style="mso-bidi-font-size:18.0pt;font-family:Calibri;mso-ascii-theme-font:minor-latin; mso-hansi-theme-font:minor-latin;mso-bidi-font-family:Arial"></span><span class="GramE"><b><i><span style="mso-bidi-font-size:11.0pt;font-family:Calibri; mso-ascii-theme-font:minor-latin;mso-hansi-theme-font:minor-latin;mso-bidi-font-family: Times"> by</span></i></b></span></span><b><i><span style="mso-bidi-font-size: 11.0pt;font-family:Calibri;mso-ascii-theme-font:minor-latin;mso-hansi-theme-font: minor-latin;mso-bidi-font-family:Times"> <a href="http://www.internationalministries.org/people/956"><span class="SpellE"><span style="mso-bidi-font-family:Times;color:#001BE6">Nzunga</span></span><span style="mso-bidi-font-family:Times;color:#001BE6"> <span class="SpellE">Mabudiga</span></span></a>, <a href="http://www.internationalministries.org/people/957"><span class="SpellE"><span style="mso-bidi-font-family:Times;color:#001BE6">Kihomi</span></span><span style="mso-bidi-font-family:Times;color:#001BE6"> <span class="SpellE">Ngwemi</span></span></a><span class="SpellE"><span style="color:#333333;font-weight:normal"> Released</span></span></span></i></b><i><span style="mso-bidi-font-size:11.0pt;font-family:Calibri;mso-ascii-theme-font:minor-latin; mso-hansi-theme-font:minor-latin;mso-bidi-font-family:Times;color:#333333"> on February 13, 2013</span></i><b style="mso-bidi-font-weight:normal"><span style="mso-bidi-font-size:13.0pt;font-family:Calibri;mso-ascii-theme-font:minor-latin; mso-hansi-theme-font:minor-latin;mso-bidi-font-family:&quot;Lucida Grande&quot;; color:#00CCFF"></span></b></p> <p class="MsoNormal" style="text-align:center" align="center"><b style="mso-bidi-font-weight: normal"><span style="mso-bidi-font-size:13.0pt;font-family:Calibri;mso-ascii-theme-font: minor-latin;mso-hansi-theme-font:minor-latin;mso-bidi-font-family:&quot;Lucida Grande&quot;; color:#00CCFF">&nbsp; <br></span></b></p> <p class="MsoNormal" style="text-align:center" align="center"><b style="mso-bidi-font-weight: normal"><span style="mso-bidi-font-size:13.0pt;font-family:Calibri;mso-ascii-theme-font: minor-latin;mso-hansi-theme-font:minor-latin;mso-bidi-font-family:&quot;Lucida Grande&quot;; color:#00CCFF">SIGN UP TO RECEIVE MISSIONARY JOURNALS OR IM NEWS BY EMAIL:</span></b></p> <p class="MsoNormal"><b style="mso-bidi-font-weight:normal"><span style="font-family:Calibri;mso-ascii-theme-font:minor-latin;mso-hansi-theme-font: minor-latin">&nbsp;</span></b></p> <div align="center"><b style="mso-bidi-font-weight: normal"><span style="font-family:Calibri;mso-ascii-theme-font:minor-latin; mso-hansi-theme-font:minor-latin">http://www.internationalministries.org/<br><br>Find us on Facebook:&nbsp; International Ministries - American Baptist<br></span></b></div> Thu, 28 Feb 2013 19:00:00 -0500 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mso-style-priority:99; mso-style-parent:""; mso-padding-alt:0in 5.4pt 0in 5.4pt; mso-para-margin:0in; mso-para-margin-bottom:.0001pt; mso-pagination:widow-orphan; font-size:10.0pt; font-family:"Times New Roman","serif";} </style> <![endif]--> </p><p class="MsoNormal" style="mso-margin-top-alt:auto;mso-margin-bottom-alt:auto"><span style="font-size:12.0pt;font-family:&quot;Times New Roman&quot;,&quot;serif&quot;">Friday, March 1st&nbsp; is World Day of Prayer 2013.&nbsp; Services begin at sunrise in the Pacific and follow the sun around the globe. Women, men and children in more than 170 countries and regions will participate in this ecumenical movement of believers from many traditions who come together to observe a common day of prayer.&nbsp; It is founded on the idea that informed prayer and prayerful action are inseparable in the service of God’s kingdom. &nbsp;</span></p> <p class="MsoNormal" style="mso-margin-top-alt:auto;mso-margin-bottom-alt:auto"><span style="font-size:12.0pt;font-family:&quot;Times New Roman&quot;,&quot;serif&quot;">American Baptist International Ministries (IM) asked some of the missionaries for prayer requests from their fields of service.&nbsp; <br></span></p><b>Dan Buttry</b> – <b>Global Consultant for Peace, Justice and Conflict Transformation</b><br><p class="MsoNormal" style="mso-margin-top-alt:auto;mso-margin-bottom-alt:auto"><span style="font-size:12.0pt;font-family:&quot;Times New Roman&quot;,&quot;serif&quot;"><b> </b>1)&nbsp;&nbsp; &nbsp;Pray for Kenya to have a peaceful election on March 4 and in the weeks before and after.&nbsp; I’ve been working with Central Baptist Theological Seminary’s Wilson Gathungu and others for the last two years in conflict transformation training.&nbsp; In April we will do follow-up trainings and strategy sessions to continue the work for peace.<br> <br> 2)&nbsp;&nbsp; &nbsp;Pray for all of Africa, me and Wilson Gathungu of Central Baptist Theological Seminary, as we put together a 10-day Training of Conflict Transformation Trainers in September that will shape key Christian leaders in Bible-based peacemaking skills.&nbsp; Registrants so far are from Zimbabwe, Angola, Sierra Leone, Liberia, Nigeria, Uganda, and Kenya.<b><br> <br> 3</b>)&nbsp;&nbsp; &nbsp;Pray for the members of the IGNITE team who will be in the Republic of Georgia in May and June, exposing emerging Christian leaders from the U.S. and Georgia to the challenges and opportunities of mission.<b><br> <br> Lauran Bethell – Global Consultant for Anti-Human Trafficking<br> </b>1)&nbsp;&nbsp; &nbsp;Pray for those who are walking the streets of Europe, meeting victims of human trafficking/prostitution as they meet together in April in Waterloo, Belgium.&nbsp; Pray that they learn information that strengthens their ministries.&nbsp; Pray for me as I help plan the meeting and also speaks in one of the plenary sessions, that the Holy Spirit will speak words of truth and power through me. <br> <br> 2)&nbsp;&nbsp; &nbsp;Pray for the European Baptist Federation’s Anti-Trafficking Network, as they meet together near Barcelona, Spain in April.&nbsp; Pray that the Holy Spirit will guide them to know more effective ways of ministering to victims of trafficking from Africa and Eastern Europe.<br> <b><br> Ingrid Roldán-Román missionary in Panama &amp; Costa Rica:<br> </b>1)&nbsp;&nbsp; &nbsp;Pray for students of the School Tutoring Program in Changuinola, Bocas del Toro, Panama so they can continue to acquire skills that will help them in their learning process and that through me they will know God. <br> <br> 2)&nbsp;&nbsp; &nbsp;Pray for the membership of the Baptist Church in Sixaola, Costa Rica that can remain faithful to God and sharing the gospel with others.<br> <br> 3)&nbsp;&nbsp; &nbsp;Pray for my return to the mission field after my time at home for Puerto Rico &amp; US visitations.<b><br> <br> Dan and Sarah Chetti missionaries in Lebanon:<br> </b>1)&nbsp;&nbsp; &nbsp;After 7 years of ministry among imprisoned maids in Lebanon, I (Sarah) am launching INSAAF – an Integrated Center for the Ministry among the Maids.&nbsp; Please pray that the harassed, discriminated, suffering maids from several Asian and African countries will find a safe haven where someone listens to their stories and ministers to their needs.&nbsp; Please pray for people to help me, to convert the building creating counseling and work stations, and for money for the renovation work.<br> <br> 2)&nbsp;&nbsp; &nbsp;Lebanon right now is over whelmed by more than 200,000 refugees due to conflicts in neighboring Syria and Iraq. Families are living in difficult situations including unfinished buildings open to the elements in this cold winter season.&nbsp; Many refugees are Christian minorities, and the students of the Arab Baptist Theological Seminary (where we work) identify with the refugees and are deeply disturbed by these changes in society.&nbsp; Join us and our students in praying that Lebanese churches will reach out to the refugees and minister among them, and for churches &amp; donors in the US who would like to participate in this ministry. &nbsp;<br> <b><br> Kit Ripley missionary in Thailand:<br> 1</b>)&nbsp;&nbsp; &nbsp;Please pray for the ministry of the New Life Center Foundation.&nbsp; We work with tribal girls who have experienced labor exploitation, domestic violence, sexual abuse or human trafficking, and girls who are "at risk".&nbsp; We are in a period of structural change and staff transitions, and are seeking God's guidance as we consider how we can be best equipped to meet the changing needs of tribal girls in the upcoming years.<br> 2)&nbsp;&nbsp; &nbsp;Insufficient access to citizenship continues to be a challenge for minority people groups in Thailand.&nbsp; Please pray for the government to open up channels so that minority people can access legal Thai citizenship.&nbsp;</span></p> <p class="MsoNormal" style="mso-margin-top-alt:auto;mso-margin-bottom-alt:auto"><b><span style="font-size:12.0pt;font-family:&quot;Times New Roman&quot;,&quot;serif&quot;">Wendy Bernhard missionary in the Democratic Republic of Congo:<br> </span></b><span style="font-size:12.0pt;font-family:&quot;Times New Roman&quot;,&quot;serif&quot;">1)&nbsp;&nbsp; &nbsp;Pray for our seminaries and Bible institutes as they prepare pastors for ministry in today's turbulent world.<br> 2)&nbsp;&nbsp; &nbsp;Pray for the young people of Congo, that they would learn and follow Christ's way in their lives.</span></p> <p class="MsoNormal" style="mso-margin-top-alt:auto;mso-margin-bottom-alt:auto"><b><span style="font-size:12.0pt;font-family:&quot;Times New Roman&quot;,&quot;serif&quot;">Deb Mulneix – development worker in India and Nepal:<br> </span></b><span style="font-size:12.0pt;font-family:&quot;Times New Roman&quot;,&quot;serif&quot;">1)&nbsp;&nbsp; &nbsp;Making strangers into friends is the goal of all of all of our Partners in Ministry in India and Nepal.&nbsp; This week, I received news about the weddings of two new friends.&nbsp; Not long ago, these women were selling alcohol, drugs, and sometimes themselves.&nbsp; Then they were introduced to Christ.&nbsp; Today, they understand the difference between loving someone and using them.&nbsp; Their new husbands show them respect that they have never experienced before.&nbsp; Now that's a Welcome to a Stranger!&nbsp; Please keep these new families in your prayers, as well as the shelter and the women and staff who work there.<br> <br> 2)&nbsp;&nbsp; &nbsp;Education in India is a very high priority.&nbsp; Our early missionaries were aware of the need and established many schools around the country.&nbsp; Today, Christian schools are well respected, and many non-Christian children are enrolled in them.&nbsp; The residents of a small, remote village approached their Christian neighbors to open a school. Even though they had no funds, no teachers, and no buildings, these believers began a school.&nbsp; The first year there were 75 students, and today, three years later, they number around 350, with less than 10 of these students from Christian homes.&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; Like this one, many of our schools are in remote areas, and funding is not easily available.&nbsp; Please keep the students, faculty, staff, and parents of our Christian schools in your prayers.<b><br> <br> Mike Mann – Global Consultant for Rural Development:<br> </b>1)&nbsp;&nbsp; &nbsp;Many villagers in China, Burma and Thailand live in extreme poverty and do not have access to clean water, proper sanitation and micro-loans. Pray for the mission projects that will address these challenges giving villagers hope for a healthier life and stronger economic future. &nbsp;</span></p> <p class="MsoNormal" style="mso-margin-top-alt:auto;mso-margin-bottom-alt:auto"><b><span style="font-size:12.0pt;font-family:&quot;Times New Roman&quot;,&quot;serif&quot;">Madeline Flores-López missionary in the Dominican Republic:<br> </span></b><span style="font-size:12.0pt;font-family:&quot;Times New Roman&quot;,&quot;serif&quot;">1)&nbsp;&nbsp; &nbsp;Pray for our economy which is directly affecting many families in the DR – a basket of basic supplies has gone up from 16% to 26%. Food and basic needs are now more prohibited and unaffordable for poor families. <br> <br> 2)&nbsp;&nbsp; &nbsp;Pray for our college students who are the future in the DR.&nbsp; They face expensive transportation, no school supplies, and limited opportunities making an education nearly impossible. Please pray for more opportunities and scholarships for college students.<br> <br> To read journals by the missionaries, global consultants and development workers, click on their name under PEOPLE at the top of the IM website.&nbsp;</span></p> <p class="MsoNormal" style="mso-margin-top-alt:auto;mso-margin-bottom-alt:auto"><span style="font-size:12.0pt;font-family:&quot;Times New Roman&quot;,&quot;serif&quot;">To see mission projects that support their ministries, click on ALL PROJECTS under PROJECTS at the top of the IM website.&nbsp; You can filter the list of projects by country.&nbsp; Or go to a missionary’s profile page, and click on PROJECTS to see just those projects submitted by that missionary. <br></span></p><p class="MsoNormal" style="mso-margin-top-alt:auto;mso-margin-bottom-alt:auto"><span style="font-size:12.0pt;font-family:&quot;Times New Roman&quot;,&quot;serif&quot;"><i>For more information contact Catherine Nold: catherine.nold@abc-usa.org</i><br> </span></p> <p></p> Mon, 25 Feb 2013 03:55:42 -0500 https://internationalministries.org/read/47003-prayer-requests-from-im-missionaries-for-world-day-of-prayer-on-march-1st https://internationalministries.org/read/47003-prayer-requests-from-im-missionaries-for-world-day-of-prayer-on-march-1st Love on Valentine's Day--or Not? <p> <!--[if gte mso 9]><xml> <o:DocumentProperties> <o:Template>Normal.dotm</o:Template> <o:Revision>0</o:Revision> <o:TotalTime>0</o:TotalTime> <o:Pages>1</o:Pages> <o:Words>578</o:Words> <o:Characters>3296</o:Characters> <o:Company>American Baptist Churches/USA</o:Company> <o:Lines>27</o:Lines> <o:Paragraphs>6</o:Paragraphs> <o:CharactersWithSpaces>4047</o:CharactersWithSpaces> <o:Version>12.0</o:Version> </o:DocumentProperties> <o:OfficeDocumentSettings> <o:AllowPNG/> </o:OfficeDocumentSettings> </xml><![endif]--><!--[if gte mso 9]><xml> <w:WordDocument> <w:Zoom>0</w:Zoom> <w:TrackMoves>false</w:TrackMoves> <w:TrackFormatting/> <w:PunctuationKerning/> <w:DrawingGridHorizontalSpacing>18 pt</w:DrawingGridHorizontalSpacing> <w:DrawingGridVerticalSpacing>18 pt</w:DrawingGridVerticalSpacing> <w:DisplayHorizontalDrawingGridEvery>0</w:DisplayHorizontalDrawingGridEvery> <w:DisplayVerticalDrawingGridEvery>0</w:DisplayVerticalDrawingGridEvery> <w:ValidateAgainstSchemas/> <w:SaveIfXMLInvalid>false</w:SaveIfXMLInvalid> <w:IgnoreMixedContent>false</w:IgnoreMixedContent> <w:AlwaysShowPlaceholderText>false</w:AlwaysShowPlaceholderText> <w:Compatibility> <w:BreakWrappedTables/> <w:DontGrowAutofit/> <w:DontAutofitConstrainedTables/> <w:DontVertAlignInTxbx/> </w:Compatibility> </w:WordDocument> </xml><![endif]--><!--[if gte mso 9]><xml> <w:LatentStyles DefLockedState="false" LatentStyleCount="276"> </w:LatentStyles> </xml><![endif]--> <!--[if gte mso 10]> <style> /* Style Definitions */ table.MsoNormalTable {mso-style-name:"Table Normal"; mso-tstyle-rowband-size:0; mso-tstyle-colband-size:0; mso-style-noshow:yes; mso-style-parent:""; mso-padding-alt:0in 5.4pt 0in 5.4pt; mso-para-margin:0in; mso-para-margin-bottom:.0001pt; mso-pagination:widow-orphan; font-size:12.0pt; font-family:"Times New Roman"; mso-ascii-font-family:Cambria; mso-ascii-theme-font:minor-latin; mso-fareast-font-family:"Times New Roman"; mso-fareast-theme-font:minor-fareast; mso-hansi-font-family:Cambria; mso-hansi-theme-font:minor-latin;} </style> <![endif]--> <!--StartFragment--> </p><p class="MsoNormal">Valentine’s Day either reminds you how much you’re loved—or not.&nbsp; It’s an important day for us to visit the women working in prostitution because it’s one of their quietest days of the year.&nbsp; The men who usually visit them are with their wives or girlfriends, and the women often want to talk about their lonely feelings.<br></p> <p class="MsoNormal">Once again, I went to visit Thai women working in sex clubs here in Holland.&nbsp; Most came to live here as the girlfriends or wives of Dutch men.&nbsp; Most met their partners while they were working in prostitution in Thailand, and thought they were fulfilling their “Cinderella Story”.&nbsp; The dream of so many of the women working in Thailand is that a western man will fall in love with them and take them to his country, where they will live a good life.&nbsp; Of course he will have money because in their minds, all westerners are rich.&nbsp; And most importantly to them, <i>they are sure that he will be happy to give them money to send home to their families in Thailand</i>.&nbsp;</p> <p class="MsoNormal"><o:p>&nbsp;</o:p>The man, on the hand, may know how important her family is to her, but assumes that once she’s far away in his country, she’ll be content to just take care of him, and the family back in Thailand will fade into the background.&nbsp; You can imagine the culture clash that ensues—over many issues.&nbsp; Most of the women I have met here are divorced and are working in prostitution to support their families in Thailand.&nbsp; They are strong, smart women, but their low levels of education and insufficient Dutch language skills make it difficult for them to get jobs other than in prostitution.&nbsp; There are exceptions, of course, including those who are in partnerships with their husbands in the ownership and running of these “exotic massage” parlors, as they’re called.&nbsp;</p> <p class="MsoNormal"><o:p>&nbsp;</o:p>Each year on this day, the organization I volunteer with carefully prepares lovely gifts, with messages written in as many of the women’s languages as possible.&nbsp; I sent the message to Thailand to be translated there into “good Thai”.&nbsp; This year’s message was about “God’s burning heart of love, simply longing for us to know how much he loves us”!&nbsp;</p> <p class="MsoNormal"><o:p>&nbsp;</o:p>I had a wonderful day with the women.&nbsp; They are always so delighted when I come in speaking Thai!&nbsp; In one club, we were served a fabulous Thai meal, so spicy I had tears running down my face—loving every bite!&nbsp; We all laughed together at my dripping mascara.&nbsp; The women were so touched by the gifts, and over lunch we had some good conversations.&nbsp; In another club, I gave the owner a new CD of Thai Christian music that I had brought back from my last trip to Thailand.&nbsp; I knew that she really enjoyed it when I brought CD’s to her.&nbsp; She had told me previously that <i>she used to attend church when she lived in Thailand</i>, and that she would play the CD as she was falling asleep at night.&nbsp; “It brings me so much peace,” she said.&nbsp; She often says that she wants to get out of this business, but needs to continue making money for 5 more years.&nbsp; She also said that she copies the CD’s I bring and gives them to 2 of the women working in the club—<i>who also were raised in Christian homes.&nbsp; </i>She told me about a Thai Bible study group in her city, and we got excited about going to visit it together.&nbsp; I often pray for her—God has had a place in her heart, and I pray that she will recognize how much He loves her and desires for her to trust Him for all her needs.&nbsp; &nbsp;&nbsp;</p> <p class="MsoNormal">Would you pray with me that these precious women would recognize God’s voice in their hearts?&nbsp;</p><p class="MsoNormal">Thank you for your love and caring for me through the years!&nbsp; God knew that I would need a giant community of pray-ers, holding me up, in order to fulfill the Call He had for me. And for those of you who support me financially, thank you.&nbsp; Because of you, I’m almost at my target support level.&nbsp; If there are any of you who would like to help me reach the 100% that I need to continue my ministry, you can contribute through this web-site, with an on-going or one-time gift.&nbsp;</p><p class="MsoNormal">Love and Blessings to all!</p> <p class="MsoNormal">Lauran &nbsp; &nbsp;&nbsp;</p> <!--EndFragment--><p></p> Thu, 21 Feb 2013 19:00:00 -0500 https://internationalministries.org/read/46988-love-on-valentine-s-day-or-not- https://internationalministries.org/read/46988-love-on-valentine-s-day-or-not- Prayer Requests from IM Missionaries for World Day of Prayer on March 1st <!--[endif]---->Friday, March 1st is World Day of Prayer 2013.&nbsp; Services begin at sunrise in the Pacific and follow the sun across the globe.&nbsp; Women, men and children in more than 170 countries and regions will participate in this ecumenical movement of believers from many traditions who come together to observe a common day of prayer.&nbsp; It is founded on the idea that informed prayer and prayerful action are inseparable in the service of God’s kingdom. &nbsp;<p></p><p class="MsoNormal">International Ministries asked some of the missionaries for prayer requests from their fields of service.&nbsp; We invite you to share them with your friends and family, and in your communities of faith as you join with believers around the world on March 1st.&nbsp; Or choose another date that works for your community.&nbsp;&nbsp;</p><p class="MsoNormal">The host country for 2013 is France, on the topic, “I Was a Stranger and You Welcomed Me” encouraging welcome for migrant people worldwide.&nbsp; It strives for a Christian response to struggles concerning immigration and for ways to welcome “the stranger” and to identify with “the least of these” in Matthew 25.&nbsp; The focus this year draws on customs of hospitality found in Leviticus to paint a picture of welcoming the stranger, and to help us put ourselves in the shoes of “the stranger”.&nbsp; We will remember our own feeling of being on the outside, and the joy of the blessings of being welcomed. &nbsp;<b><br><br>Dan Buttry – Global Consultant for Peace, Justice and Conflict Transformation<br></b>1)&nbsp;&nbsp; &nbsp;Pray for Kenya to have a peaceful election on March 4 and in the weeks before and after.&nbsp; I’ve been working with Central Baptist Theological Seminary’s Wilson Gathungu and others for the last two years in conflict transformation training.&nbsp; In April we will do follow-up trainings and strategy sessions to continue the work for peace.<br><br>2)&nbsp;&nbsp; &nbsp;Pray for all of Africa, me and Wilson Gathungu of Central Baptist Theological Seminary, as we put together a 10-day Training of Conflict Transformation Trainers in September that will shape key Christian leaders in Bible-based peacemaking skills.&nbsp; Registrants so far are from Zimbabwe, Angola, Sierra Leone, Liberia, Nigeria, Uganda, and Kenya.</p><p class="MsoNormal"><b><br></b>3)&nbsp;&nbsp; &nbsp;Pray&nbsp; for the members of the IGNITE team who will be in the Republic of Georgia in May and June, exposing emerging Christian leaders from the U.S. and Georgia to the challenges and opportunities of mission.<b><br><br>Lauran Bethell – Global Consultant for Anti-Human Trafficking<br></b>1)&nbsp;&nbsp; &nbsp;Pray for those who are walking the streets of Europe, meeting victims of human trafficking/prostitution as they meet together in April in Waterloo, Belgium.&nbsp; Pray that they learn information that strengthens their ministries.&nbsp; Pray for me as I help plan the meeting and also speaks in one of the plenary sessions, that the Holy Spirit will speak words of truth and power through me. <br><br>2)&nbsp;&nbsp; &nbsp;Pray for the European Baptist Federation’s Anti-Trafficking Network, as they meet together near Barcelona, Spain in April.&nbsp; Pray that the Holy Spirit will guide them to know more effective ways of ministering to victims of trafficking from Africa and Eastern Europe.<br><b><br>Ingrid Roldán-Román missionary in Panama &amp; Costa Rica:<br></b>1)&nbsp;&nbsp; &nbsp;Pray for students of the School Tutoring Program in Changuinola, Bocas del Toro, Panama so they can continue to acquire skills that will help them in their learning process and that through me they will know God. <br><br>2)&nbsp;&nbsp; &nbsp;Pray for the membership of the Baptist Church in Sixaola, Costa Rica that can remain faithful to God and sharing the gospel with others.<br><br>3)&nbsp;&nbsp; &nbsp;Pray for my return to the mission field after my time at home for Puerto Rico &amp; US visitations.<b><br><br>Dan and Sarah Chetti missionaries in Lebanon:<br></b>1)&nbsp;&nbsp; &nbsp;After 7 years of ministry among imprisoned maids in Lebanon, I (Sarah) am launching INSAAF – an Integrated Center for the Ministry among the Maids.&nbsp; Please pray that the harassed, discriminated, suffering maids from several Asian and African countries will find a safe haven where someone listens to their stories and ministers to their needs.&nbsp; Please pray for people to help me, to convert the building creating counseling and work stations, and for money for the renovation work.<br><br>2)&nbsp;&nbsp; &nbsp;Lebanon right now is over whelmed by more than 200,000 refugees due to conflicts in neighboring Syria and Iraq. Families are living in difficult situations including unfinished buildings open to the elements in this cold winter season.&nbsp; Many refugees are Christian minorities, and the students of the Arab Baptist Theological Seminary (where we work) identify with the refugees and are deeply disturbed by these changes in society.&nbsp; Join us and our students in praying that Lebanese churches will reach out to the refugees and minister among them, and for churches &amp; donors in the US who would like to participate in this ministry. &nbsp;</p><p class="MsoNormal"><br><b>Kit Ripley missionary in Thailand:<br></b>1)&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; Please pray for the ministry of the New Life Center Foundation.&nbsp; We work with tribal girls who have experienced labor exploitation, domestic violence, sexual abuse or human trafficking, and girls who are "at risk".&nbsp; We are in a period of structural change and staff transitions, and are seeking God's guidance as we consider how we can be best equipped to meet the changing needs of tribal girls in the upcoming years.<br></p><p class="MsoNormal">2)&nbsp;&nbsp; &nbsp;Insufficient access to citizenship continues to be a challenge for minority people groups in Thailand.&nbsp; Please pray for the government to open up channels so that minority people can access legal Thai citizenship.&nbsp;</p><p class="MsoNormal"><b>Wendy Bernhard missionary in the Democratic Republic of Congo:<br></b>1)&nbsp;&nbsp; &nbsp;Pray for our seminaries and Bible institutes as they prepare pastors for ministry in today's turbulent world.<br></p><p class="MsoNormal">2)&nbsp;&nbsp; &nbsp;Pray for the young people of Congo, that they would learn and follow Christ's way in their lives.</p><p class="MsoNormal"><b>Deb Mulneix – development worker in India and Nepal:<br></b>1)&nbsp;&nbsp; &nbsp;Making strangers into friends is the goal of all of all of our Partners in Ministry in India and Nepal.&nbsp; This week, I received news about the weddings of two new friends.&nbsp; Not long ago, these women were selling alcohol, drugs, and sometimes themselves.&nbsp; Then they were introduced to Christ.&nbsp; Today, they understand the difference between loving someone and using them.&nbsp; Their new husbands show them respect that they have never experienced before.&nbsp; Now that's a Welcome to a Stranger!&nbsp; Please keep these new families in your prayers, as well as the shelter and the women and staff who work there.<br></p><p class="MsoNormal">2)&nbsp;&nbsp; &nbsp;Education in India is a very high priority.&nbsp; Our early missionaries were aware of the need and established many schools around the country.&nbsp; Today, Christian schools are well respected, and many non-Christian children are enrolled in them.&nbsp; The residents of a small, remote village approached their Christian neighbors to open a school. Even though they had no funds, no teachers, and no buildings, these believers began a school.&nbsp; The first year there were 75 students, and today, three years later, they number around 350, with less than 10 of these students from Christian homes.&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; Like this one, many of our schools are in remote areas, and funding is not easily available.&nbsp; Please keep the students, faculty, staff, and parents of our Christian schools in your prayers.<b><br><br>Mike Mann – Global Consultant for Rural Development:<br></b>1)&nbsp;&nbsp; &nbsp;Many villagers in China, Burma and Thailand live in extreme poverty and do not have access to clean water, proper sanitation and micro-loans. Pray for the mission projects that will address these challenges giving villagers hope for a healthier life and stronger economic future. &nbsp;</p><p class="MsoNormal"><b>Madeline Flores-López missionary in the Dominican Republic:<br></b>1)&nbsp;&nbsp; &nbsp;Pray for our economy which is directly affecting many families in the DR – a basket of basic supplies has gone up from 16% to 26%. Food and basic needs are now more prohibited and unaffordable for poor families. <br><br>2)&nbsp;&nbsp; &nbsp;Pray for our college students who are the future in the DR.&nbsp; They face expensive transportation, no school supplies, and limited opportunities making an education nearly impossible. Please pray for more opportunities and scholarships for college students.</p><p class="MsoNormal"><b>Chuck and Ruth Fox missionaries in Thailand:<br></b>1)&nbsp;&nbsp; &nbsp;Pray for children all over the world who are in need of education, and particularly for the children who receive Student Tuition Expense Program (STEP) funds through IM.&nbsp; We have many Akha children who are receiving educational support because of the generosity of individuals and churches; we pray that others in need will receive help, and that those in STEP will see and understand the help they receive as God's provision in their lives.</p><p class="MsoNormal">2)&nbsp;&nbsp; Pray for the Chiang Rai International Christian School (CRICS), a school created to "serve the servant" families who come to minister in many capacities to the people of northern Thailand.&nbsp; Please pray for the development of the school as it grows, particularly for 5 full-time volunteer teachers who have a heart to serve here.<span style="mso-spacerun:yes">&nbsp; </span>Many non-Christian Thai children are also coming to the school now, and we are excited to see them come to an understanding of Jesus and his love for them</p>3)&nbsp;&nbsp; Pray for the Akha people, that they might come to all know the saving power of Jesus Christ, but also discover what His love and the power of the Holy Spirit can mean in practical ways to achieve peace and unity...in their families, in their communities, in the church and in relationship to other Christian groups, as well.<br><br>4) Pray for the projects that are helping to provide self-sufficiency for the Akha people, namely the Akha Craft program, coffee production and drug rehabilitation efforts.&nbsp; May these programs be strengthened and may the people involved develop the leadership skills they need to carry these programs forward.<br><br><b>Stan Slade - Global Consultant for Theological Education</b>&nbsp; <span style="mso-fareast-font-family:&quot;Times New Roman&quot;;color:black; mso-themecolor:text1"></span> <br><!--[if gte mso 9]><xml> <o:OfficeDocumentSettings> <o:AllowPNG></o:AllowPNG> </o:OfficeDocumentSettings> </xml><![endif]--> <!--[if gte mso 9]><xml> <o:OfficeDocumentSettings> <o:AllowPNG></o:AllowPNG> </o:OfficeDocumentSettings> </xml><![endif]--> <p class="MsoNormal" style="margin-bottom:0in;margin-bottom:.0001pt;line-height: normal"><i><span style="font-size:11.0pt;font-family:&quot;Times New Roman&quot;,&quot;serif&quot;; mso-fareast-font-family:&quot;Times New Roman&quot;;color:black">"Whenever we have an opportunity, let us work for the good of all, and especially for those of the family of faith"</span></i><span style="font-size:11.0pt;font-family:&quot;Times New Roman&quot;,&quot;serif&quot;; mso-fareast-font-family:&quot;Times New Roman&quot;;color:black"> (Galatians 6:8).</span><span style="font-size:11.0pt;font-family:&quot;Times New Roman&quot;,&quot;serif&quot;;mso-fareast-font-family: &quot;Times New Roman&quot;"></span></p> <p class="MsoNormal" style="margin-bottom:0in;margin-bottom:.0001pt;line-height: normal"><span style="font-size:11.0pt;font-family:&quot;Times New Roman&quot;,&quot;serif&quot;; mso-fareast-font-family:&quot;Times New Roman&quot;;color:black">We have something like 100,000 family members in desperate straits in the northern part of Burma (Myanmar). &nbsp;After a 17-year ceasefire in the conflict between the Kachin people and the central government, the Burmese army launched an offensive against northern Kachin State in June of 2011. &nbsp;The civilian and military authorities do not appear to be on the same page, as fighting has continued even after the government announced a new ceasefire. &nbsp;Roughly 100,000 Kachin people are now living as war refugees in their own country, displaced by 20 months of armed conflict. &nbsp;Most of them are Baptists. &nbsp;</span><span style="font-size:11.0pt;font-family:&quot;Times New Roman&quot;,&quot;serif&quot;;mso-fareast-font-family: &quot;Times New Roman&quot;"></span></p> <p class="MsoNormal" style="margin-bottom:0in;margin-bottom:.0001pt;line-height: normal"><span style="font-size:11.0pt;font-family:&quot;Times New Roman&quot;,&quot;serif&quot;; mso-fareast-font-family:&quot;Times New Roman&quot;;color:black">I was in Burma in December, and worshiped with a congregation of Kachin Baptists in Yangon (Rangoon), down in the southern part of the country. &nbsp;I was moved by the stories I heard and the photos I saw. &nbsp;The Kachin in Yangon are out of the line of fire, but their hearts are heavy with sorrow, as they are in constant contact with their friends and family in the north. &nbsp;They pray continually, and put feet on their prayers with a wide variety of efforts to provide emergency relief and encouragement to the displaced victims of the fighting.</span><span style="font-size:11.0pt;font-family:&quot;Times New Roman&quot;,&quot;serif&quot;;mso-fareast-font-family: &quot;Times New Roman&quot;"></span></p><span style="font-size:11.0pt;font-family:&quot;Times New Roman&quot;,&quot;serif&quot;; mso-fareast-font-family:&quot;Times New Roman&quot;;color:black"> </span><span style="font-size:11.0pt;font-family:&quot;Times New Roman&quot;,&quot;serif&quot;;mso-fareast-font-family: &quot;Times New Roman&quot;"></span> <p class="MsoNormal" style="margin-bottom:0in;margin-bottom:.0001pt;line-height: normal"><span style="font-size:11.0pt;font-family:&quot;Times New Roman&quot;,&quot;serif&quot;; mso-fareast-font-family:&quot;Times New Roman&quot;;color:black">Pray for peace. &nbsp;Pray that God will touch the hearts of the Burmese military and civilian leaders, as well as the Kachin resistance. &nbsp;May the Lord raise up courageous leaders on all sides of the conflict, so that a just solution to the deep and difficult issues may be found through peaceful means.</span><span style="font-size:11.0pt;font-family:&quot;Times New Roman&quot;,&quot;serif&quot;;mso-fareast-font-family: &quot;Times New Roman&quot;"></span></p><span style="font-size:11.0pt;font-family:&quot;Times New Roman&quot;,&quot;serif&quot;; mso-fareast-font-family:&quot;Times New Roman&quot;;color:black"> </span><span style="font-size:11.0pt;font-family:&quot;Times New Roman&quot;,&quot;serif&quot;;mso-fareast-font-family: &quot;Times New Roman&quot;"></span> <p class="MsoNormal" style="margin-bottom:0in;margin-bottom:.0001pt;line-height: normal"><span style="font-size:11.0pt;font-family:&quot;Times New Roman&quot;,&quot;serif&quot;; mso-fareast-font-family:&quot;Times New Roman&quot;;color:black">The conflict with the Kachin people is just one of several such conflicts in Burma. &nbsp;They are all desperately in need of radical, grace-filled transformation. &nbsp;But this is the hottest of the conflicts at the moment. &nbsp;For the sake of our Kachin Baptist brothers and sisters, and all the peoples of Burma, pray that God's will might indeed be done on earth—and especially, in that little part of earth known as northern Kachin State--as it is in heaven.</span></p><p class="MsoNormal" style="margin-bottom:0in;margin-bottom:.0001pt;line-height: normal"><br></p><p class="MsoNormal" style="margin-bottom:0in;margin-bottom:.0001pt;line-height: normal"><!--[if gte mso 9]><xml> <o:OfficeDocumentSettings> <o:AllowPNG/> </o:OfficeDocumentSettings> </xml><![endif]--></p><p class="MsoNormal" style="margin-bottom:0in;margin-bottom:.0001pt;line-height: normal"><!--[if gte mso 9]><xml> <w:WordDocument> <w:View>Normal</w:View> <w:Zoom>0</w:Zoom> <w:TrackMoves/> <w:TrackFormatting/> <w:PunctuationKerning/> <w:ValidateAgainstSchemas/> <w:SaveIfXMLInvalid>false</w:SaveIfXMLInvalid> <w:IgnoreMixedContent>false</w:IgnoreMixedContent> <w:AlwaysShowPlaceholderText>false</w:AlwaysShowPlaceholderText> <w:DoNotPromoteQF/> <w:LidThemeOther>EN-US</w:LidThemeOther> 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QFormat="true" Name="TOC Heading"/> </w:LatentStyles> </xml><![endif]--><!--[if gte mso 10]> <style> /* Style Definitions */ table.MsoNormalTable {mso-style-name:"Table Normal"; mso-tstyle-rowband-size:0; mso-tstyle-colband-size:0; mso-style-noshow:yes; mso-style-priority:99; mso-style-parent:""; mso-padding-alt:0in 5.4pt 0in 5.4pt; mso-para-margin-top:0in; mso-para-margin-right:0in; mso-para-margin-bottom:10.0pt; mso-para-margin-left:0in; line-height:115%; mso-pagination:widow-orphan; font-size:10.0pt; font-family:"Verdana","sans-serif";} </style> <![endif]--> <p class="MsoNormal"><span style="mso-fareast-font-family:&quot;Times New Roman&quot;; color:black;mso-themecolor:text1">To read journals by the missionaries, global consultants and development workers, click on their name under PEOPLE at the top of the IM website. </span></p> <p class="MsoNormal"><span style="mso-fareast-font-family:&quot;Times New Roman&quot;; color:black;mso-themecolor:text1">To see mission projects that support their ministries, click on ALL PROJECTS under PROJECTS at the top of the IM website.<span style="mso-spacerun:yes">&nbsp; </span>You can filter the list of projects by country.<span style="mso-spacerun:yes">&nbsp; </span>Or go to a missionary’s profile page, and click on PROJECTS to see just those projects submitted by that missionary. </span><span style="mso-bidi-font-family:Arial;color:black"></span></p> </p> Tue, 12 Feb 2013 19:00:00 -0500 https://internationalministries.org/read/46861-prayer-requests-from-im-missionaries-for-world-day-of-prayer-on-march-1st https://internationalministries.org/read/46861-prayer-requests-from-im-missionaries-for-world-day-of-prayer-on-march-1st Encouragement on a Gray Day... <p></p><p class="MsoNormal">Winters in the Netherlands are dark and then gray.&nbsp; Long nights, short days—short, <i>gray</i> days.&nbsp; This year we haven’t even had much snow to make life fun.&nbsp; After years in California, and then the tropics of Asia, I thought that I’d enjoy lighting candles, sipping hot drinks, wearing sweaters.&nbsp; It all sounded so cozy.&nbsp; And for a few weeks it’s great.&nbsp; I used to tell my local friends who bemoaned the darkness how much I enjoy the change from my former life.&nbsp; They would look darts at me, and tell me that it wasn’t fair for me to say that:&nbsp; “YOU only stay home for a few days or weeks, and then travel again—usually to sunnier climes.”&nbsp;</p><p class="MsoNormal">This year I decided to stay home.&nbsp;&nbsp; For 2 whole months.&nbsp; Through the grayest winter I’ve ever experienced.&nbsp;&nbsp; I have lots to do here—a new home to settle into, lots of visitors, school and administrative responsibilities.&nbsp; Conferences to plan.&nbsp; And boy, is it gray.&nbsp; It’s hard to get up at any reasonably early time in the morning when the sun doesn’t start to show until after 9:00 am.&nbsp; And then only see gray.&nbsp;</p><p class="MsoNormal"><o:p></o:p></p> <p class="MsoNormal">Ok.&nbsp; I know.&nbsp; There’s probably a whole lot of you out there thinking “so what’s her point?&nbsp; Most of us live like this in the winter!”&nbsp; I’ll tell you….I started getting downright depressed.&nbsp;</p><p class="MsoNormal"><o:p></o:p></p> <p class="MsoNormal">I was invited to preach last week in one of the little churches here in Holland that was started for immigrants, mostly from Africa and Southeast Asia.&nbsp; They gave me a choice of scriptures and so I chose a passage that I thought had relevance to the situations of those in the congregation and began preparation.&nbsp; What a slow slog.&nbsp; I just couldn’t get inspired.&nbsp; Not only was I gray-day-depressed, my sermon was just not coming together.</p><p class="MsoNormal"><o:p></o:p></p> <p class="MsoNormal">A few days out from the Sunday, I decided I couldn’t prepare a sermon for them—I HAD to prepare a sermon for me.&nbsp;&nbsp; I needed to preach to myself, and so turned to one of my favorite encouragement passages:&nbsp;</p><p class="MsoNormal"><o:p></o:p></p> <p class="MsoNormal"><o:p>&nbsp;</o:p>“But those who wait for the Lord shall renew their strength. They shall mount up with wings like eagles.&nbsp; They shall run and not be weary.&nbsp; They shall walk and not faint.” (Isaiah 40:31)</p><p class="MsoNormal"><o:p></o:p></p> <p class="MsoNormal"><o:p>&nbsp;</o:p>I found out that the root word of “waiting” here is actually “waiting with <i>expectation</i>”.&nbsp; I learned that the root word for “renewing” is used for “changing, as in changing clothing”.&nbsp; So we’re literally “putting on God’s strength”, like putting on a perfect suit!&nbsp; Expectantly putting on God’s strength!&nbsp; &nbsp;&nbsp;</p><p class="MsoNormal"><o:p></o:p></p> <p class="MsoNormal"><o:p>&nbsp;</o:p>I talked about flying like eagles as being the miracles we see in life, and how they joyfully let us experience God’s work.&nbsp; And then there are times when we see God’s work through natural processes:&nbsp; the healing art of doctors, lots of good hard work of our hands and feet, running and enjoying it without tiring out.&nbsp; And then there are the times when we can barely stand up and walk without fainting—but we know that God is there—even in our sadness, our loneliness, our loss, our depression.&nbsp; During those times, we “expectantly wait” and know that God’s strength will enfold us.&nbsp;&nbsp;</p><p class="MsoNormal"><o:p></o:p></p> <p class="MsoNormal">In this church, after the sermon we break up into language groups and discuss questions that the preacher has prepared.&nbsp; There’s a group for French speakers, Dutch speakers, and I sat in the English-language group, with some wonderful friends from Africa, Asia and Europe.&nbsp; One of the questions I had written was about our experiences of God’s presence when it seems so dark.&nbsp; They didn’t talk about the gray weather.&nbsp; They talked about keeping their children alive through a cruel civil war.&nbsp; They talked about nearly starving to death on their way to refugee camps.&nbsp; We cried together.&nbsp; We prayed together.&nbsp; We rejoiced in God’s presence with us—then….and now.&nbsp;</p><p class="MsoNormal"><o:p></o:p></p> <p class="MsoNormal">They let me know in words and hugs that the “sermon for me” was their sermon, too.&nbsp; Sometimes our best ministry is done when it is most personal.&nbsp; What I needed was what they needed.&nbsp; Oh, God is Good!</p><p class="MsoNormal"><o:p></o:p></p> <p class="MsoNormal"><o:p>&nbsp;</o:p>My last power-power slide that morning was of spectacularly beautiful multi-colored tulips! &nbsp;Spring is on the way!!!</p><p class="MsoNormal">Thank you for your part in allowing God to use me to bring words of hope in dark places! &nbsp;Thank you for your prayers.&nbsp; Thank you for contributing financially towards my support.&nbsp; May you know God’s Strength and Hope in these times! &nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp;</p><p class="MsoNormal"><o:p></o:p></p> <!--EndFragment--><p></p> Wed, 30 Jan 2013 19:00:00 -0500 https://internationalministries.org/read/46651-encouragement-on-a-gray-day- https://internationalministries.org/read/46651-encouragement-on-a-gray-day- Want to Combat Human Trafficking??? <p>In honor of human trafficking awareness day--here's an Anti-Trafficking Hero!&nbsp;&nbsp;</p><p>Toos came to visit me last evening—(That’s TOOS-pronounced like “toast” without the ending “t”…) I’ve known her since 1997 when she made a pilgrimage to Thailand, trying to decide whether to become a missionary or marry her boyfriend.&nbsp; She did both!&nbsp; She married handsome Willem (I call them “Barbie and Ken”!) and she continued being a missionary—in her home country, in the red-light district of Amsterdam, Netherlands.&nbsp; She shared with me last night that after she felt God calling her to “do something!” about meeting women in prostitution with God’s Love, she didn’t know “what to do”.&nbsp; (Oh, how often I hear that!)&nbsp; She wasn’t sure she had anything to offer, really.&nbsp; But one thing she knew:&nbsp; she was good at talking to people!&nbsp; And so she just started: knocking on the store-front windows where the women work, and being her friendly self.&nbsp; The young women “behind the windows” responded to her smile and her openness—and she found that many of them wanted to talk and share their sadness, pain, betrayal.&nbsp; She was invited to join the staff of the Christian organization “Scarlet Cord” as their volunteer coordinator and eventually did an advanced degree in social work.&nbsp; But in those beginnings, it was just her willingness to be vulnerable, to surrender to Christ’s service with her simple gift of friendliness that led to the freedom of so many women who felt trapped behind those windows.&nbsp; Over these years, I’ve walked those streets with her many times—and I never grow tired of seeing the sad eyes of the women light up when they see her.&nbsp; She truly is Jesus’ “light-bringer” in the midst of that darkness!&nbsp;</p> <!--[if gte mso 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mso-hansi-font-family:Cambria; mso-hansi-theme-font:minor-latin;} </style> <![endif]--> <!--StartFragment--> <p class="MsoNormal"><o:p>&nbsp;</o:p>She’s faithfully met the women where they are for most of these past 2 decades.&nbsp; And though she never, ever aspired to be famous, she has become highly regarded by the government and media as one who truly knows the real stories and the situations.&nbsp; She’s often <b>invited</b> into circles of power to advise about government policy and direction.&nbsp; She still is amazed at the places she finds herself—how government officials listen carefully to her suggestions and are excited about her ideas.&nbsp; You have to know that Christians are not always taken seriously in this secular society.&nbsp; Recently, she was even asked by a non-Christian government employee at a safe-shelter to recommend <i>churches for victims of trafficking</i> to attend!&nbsp; In our world, this is highly unusual!&nbsp; And as we were talking about it, we felt amazed, once again, at how privileged we feel to be witness to <i>God’s activity</i> in this world of human trafficking…going before….opening the doors.&nbsp;</p> <p class="MsoNormal">Toos’ life and powerful ministry in this world of human trafficking is testimony to some simple principles: 1) We don’t have to have it all figured out before we begin and 2) there’s nothing like being faithful to “show up” in the places of darkness using <i>whatever gifts</i> God has given us in God’s service.&nbsp; Last week I wrote about God’s gifts of visa and housing <i>coming to me</i>.&nbsp; Similarly, God is opening surprising doors for Toos to walk through—on behalf of some of the most exploited and abused in our world.&nbsp; And many things are changing here, for the better.&nbsp; Not because she and her colleagues have carried banners or signs or protested or screamed or pounded on the doors of parliament.&nbsp; But simply because they’ve shown the most exploited and abused victims of our world the unconditional love of Jesus.&nbsp; Toos has continued to learn and grow and study and educate herself.&nbsp; About 2 years ago, now, she began working as the Director of the Netherlands base of the international organization “Not for Sale”, innovating and visioning ways that for-profit and non-profit organizations, together, can best combat human trafficking and bring hope and healing to victims.&nbsp; It’s an important job that <i>came to her</i> at a time when she was praying about more challenging and effective ways for God to use her knowledge and gifts.&nbsp; The most important thing:&nbsp; Toos has listened to the voice of the One who Called her those years ago and she has stayed close his heart.&nbsp; She realizes that, after all, combating evil is ultimately God’s work.&nbsp; And God is multiplying the offering of her life many, many times over—way beyond anything she could have ever imagined.</p> <p class="MsoNormal"><o:p>&nbsp;</o:p>Want to combat human trafficking?&nbsp; Then DO it!&nbsp; Offer your gifts (spiritual, emotional, personality, material, financial….) to God and follow His lead in sharing His unconditional Love.&nbsp; Faithfully.&nbsp;&nbsp; Confident—that God will work through you and go before you.</p> <p class="MsoNormal"><o:p>&nbsp;</o:p>I KNOW that if more Christians did just that, we WOULD combat human trafficking!</p> <p class="MsoNormal"><o:p>&nbsp;</o:p></p> <!--EndFragment--> Fri, 11 Jan 2013 16:23:50 -0500 https://internationalministries.org/read/46328-want-to-combat-human-trafficking- https://internationalministries.org/read/46328-want-to-combat-human-trafficking- January 11 - Human Trafficking Awareness Day <p><!--[if gte mso 9]><xml> <o:OfficeDocumentSettings> <o:AllowPNG/> </o:OfficeDocumentSettings> </xml><![endif]--></p><p><!--[if gte mso 9]><xml> <w:WordDocument> <w:View>Normal</w:View> <w:Zoom>0</w:Zoom> <w:TrackMoves/> <w:TrackFormatting/> <w:PunctuationKerning/> <w:ValidateAgainstSchemas/> 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<w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="33" SemiHidden="false" UnhideWhenUsed="false" QFormat="true" Name="Book Title"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="37" Name="Bibliography"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="39" QFormat="true" Name="TOC Heading"/> </w:LatentStyles> </xml><![endif]--><!--[if gte mso 10]> <style> /* Style Definitions */ table.MsoNormalTable {mso-style-name:"Table Normal"; mso-tstyle-rowband-size:0; mso-tstyle-colband-size:0; mso-style-noshow:yes; mso-style-priority:99; mso-style-parent:""; mso-padding-alt:0in 5.4pt 0in 5.4pt; mso-para-margin-top:0in; mso-para-margin-right:0in; mso-para-margin-bottom:10.0pt; mso-para-margin-left:0in; line-height:115%; mso-pagination:widow-orphan; font-size:10.0pt; font-family:"Verdana","sans-serif";} </style> <![endif]--> </p><h1 style="margin-top:0in;margin-right:0in;margin-bottom:6.0pt;margin-left: 0in;background:white"><span style="font-size:11.0pt;font-family:&quot;Verdana&quot;,&quot;sans-serif&quot;; mso-fareast-font-family:&quot;Times New Roman&quot;;mso-bidi-font-family:Arial; color:black">Friday, January 11, is Human Trafficking Awareness Day</span></h1><span style="font-size:10.0pt;font-family:&quot;Verdana&quot;,&quot;sans-serif&quot;;mso-fareast-font-family: &quot;Times New Roman&quot;;mso-bidi-font-family:Arial;color:black;font-weight:normal; mso-bidi-font-weight:bold"><br><b>Human trafficking</b> involves recruiting, transporting, transferring, harboring or receiving individuals for the purpose of exploiting them.&nbsp; This is done through the use of force, coercion or duplicity such as a false promise of a better life in another country. <br><br>The United Nations crime-fighting office announced that 2.4 million people across the globe are victims of human trafficking at any one time.&nbsp; While some become domestic laborers, 8o% of trafficked persons are exploited as sexual slaves.&nbsp; They are trapped in lives of misery and cruelty; as those who follow the Prince of Peace, we dare not ignore this horrendous abuse of God's precious children. <br><br>Many of your American Baptist missionaries are working to end human trafficking by proclaiming release to the captives and helping the oppressed go free.&nbsp; <br><a href="http://www.internationalministries.org/teams/109-bethell">Lauran Bethell</a> – global consultant on Human Trafficking<br><a href="http://www.internationalministries.org/teams/96-smith-karen">Karen Smith</a> – Thailand<br><a href="http://www.internationalministries.org/teams/71-kelsey">Debbie Kelsey </a>– Italy<br><a href="http://www.internationalministries.org/teams/92-ripley">Kit Ripley</a> – Thailand<br><a href="http://www.internationalministries.org/teams/62-dieselberg">Annie &amp; Jeff Dieselberg</a> – Thailand<br><a href="http://www.internationalministries.org/teams/82-myers-terry-and-tom">Terry Myers</a> – Bulgaria<br><a href="http://www.internationalministries.org/teams/45-baits">Mylinda Baits</a> – regional missionary for Iberoamerica &amp; Central America<br><a href="http://www.internationalministries.org/teams/107-mann-lori-matt">Lori &amp; Matt Mann</a> – development workers in Laos<br><a href="http://www.internationalministries.org/teams/566-nambu">Jonathan &amp; Thelma Nambu</a> – Philippines<br><br>The Nambus are brand new, having joined International Ministries in December 2012 to work in the Philippines sharing the Gospel among women caught in prostitution.&nbsp; They will work in partnership with others to create&nbsp; prostitution-free societies around the world. <br><br>Please pray for all the missionaries and volunteers.&nbsp; Their ministries can be dangerous as they work to help trafficked women and children, and oppose those who exploit them.&nbsp; Learn more about their ministries by reading their journals posted here on the IM website.&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; <br><b><br>Mission Projects to Fight Human Trafficking</b><br>International Ministries has seven mission projects that help those caught up in human trafficking.&nbsp; There are projects to provide care packages to imprisoned maids in Lebanon, to create an outreach center in the heart of the red light district in Thailand, and to help women in Mexico learn sewing skills so they have an alternative way to support themselves and their families.&nbsp; To see the full list of mission projects related to human trafficking <a href="http://www.internationalministries.org/ministry_focus_areas/human_trafficking">click here</a>, then scroll down and you’ll see them on the right side.<br><br><b>Podcast Series on Human Trafficking</b><br>The American Baptist Women's Ministries of our own denomination also has an excellent online resource called “In Their Shoes: Women Walking with Women Worldwide.”&nbsp; This podcast series highlights through interviews the work of women engaged in addressing the exploitation of women and girls around the world in positive, life-affirming ways.&nbsp; We encourage you to visit <a href="http://www.intheirshoespodcast.org/">www.intheirshoespodcast.org</a> for some of these informative and inspirational stories.<br><br><b>Additional Information</b><br>The Faith Trust institute, dedicated to ending sexual and domestic violence, recommends a number of online sites to learn more about human trafficking and how you can make a difference, including: <a href="http://www.notforsalecampaign.org/news/2011/01/11/jan-11-national-human-trafficking-awareness-day/">The Not For Sale Campaign</a>, <a href="http://humantrafficking.org/">Humantrafficking.org</a>, and <a href="http://www.fbi.gov/about-us/investigate/civilrights/human_trafficking/human_trafficking">the FBI site on Human Trafficking</a>. <br><br><br><i>“Every faith community can take action as well, by educating their congregations, by joining in coalitions that are bound by a love of God and a concern for the oppressed.&nbsp; And like that Good Samaritan on the road to Jericho, we can’t just pass by, indifferent.&nbsp; We’ve got to be moved by compassion.&nbsp; We’ve got to bind up the wounds.&nbsp; Let’s come together around a simple truth -- that we are our brother’s keepers and we are our sister’s keepers.” </i><br>&nbsp;President Obama in a 2012 speech on ending human trafficking.</span><span style="font-size:10.0pt;font-family:&quot;Verdana&quot;,&quot;sans-serif&quot;; mso-fareast-font-family:&quot;Times New Roman&quot;;color:black;font-weight:normal; mso-bidi-font-weight:bold"></span> <p></p> Tue, 08 Jan 2013 19:00:00 -0500 https://internationalministries.org/read/46295-january-11-human-trafficking-awareness-day https://internationalministries.org/read/46295-january-11-human-trafficking-awareness-day That's Enough, Huh??? <p> <!--[if gte mso 9]><xml> <o:DocumentProperties> <o:Template>Normal.dotm</o:Template> <o:Revision>0</o:Revision> <o:TotalTime>0</o:TotalTime> <o:Pages>1</o:Pages> <o:Words>684</o:Words> <o:Characters>3901</o:Characters> <o:Company>American Baptist Churches/USA</o:Company> <o:Lines>32</o:Lines> <o:Paragraphs>7</o:Paragraphs> <o:CharactersWithSpaces>4790</o:CharactersWithSpaces> <o:Version>12.0</o:Version> </o:DocumentProperties> <o:OfficeDocumentSettings> <o:AllowPNG/> </o:OfficeDocumentSettings> </xml><![endif]--><!--[if gte mso 9]><xml> <w:WordDocument> <w:Zoom>0</w:Zoom> <w:TrackMoves>false</w:TrackMoves> <w:TrackFormatting/> <w:PunctuationKerning/> <w:DrawingGridHorizontalSpacing>18 pt</w:DrawingGridHorizontalSpacing> <w:DrawingGridVerticalSpacing>18 pt</w:DrawingGridVerticalSpacing> <w:DisplayHorizontalDrawingGridEvery>0</w:DisplayHorizontalDrawingGridEvery> <w:DisplayVerticalDrawingGridEvery>0</w:DisplayVerticalDrawingGridEvery> <w:ValidateAgainstSchemas/> <w:SaveIfXMLInvalid>false</w:SaveIfXMLInvalid> <w:IgnoreMixedContent>false</w:IgnoreMixedContent> <w:AlwaysShowPlaceholderText>false</w:AlwaysShowPlaceholderText> <w:Compatibility> <w:BreakWrappedTables/> <w:DontGrowAutofit/> <w:DontAutofitConstrainedTables/> <w:DontVertAlignInTxbx/> </w:Compatibility> </w:WordDocument> </xml><![endif]--><!--[if gte mso 9]><xml> <w:LatentStyles DefLockedState="false" LatentStyleCount="276"> </w:LatentStyles> </xml><![endif]--> <!--[if gte mso 10]> <style> /* Style Definitions */ table.MsoNormalTable {mso-style-name:"Table Normal"; mso-tstyle-rowband-size:0; mso-tstyle-colband-size:0; mso-style-noshow:yes; mso-style-parent:""; mso-padding-alt:0in 5.4pt 0in 5.4pt; mso-para-margin:0in; mso-para-margin-bottom:.0001pt; mso-pagination:widow-orphan; font-size:12.0pt; font-family:"Times New Roman"; mso-ascii-font-family:Cambria; mso-ascii-theme-font:minor-latin; mso-fareast-font-family:"Times New Roman"; mso-fareast-theme-font:minor-fareast; mso-hansi-font-family:Cambria; mso-hansi-theme-font:minor-latin;} </style> <![endif]--> <!--StartFragment--> <p class="MsoNormal">“What we’ve learned is this: God does not respond to what <i>we</i> do; we respond to what <i>God</i> does. We’ve finally figured it out. Our lives get in step with God and all others by letting him set the pace, not by proudly or anxiously trying to run the parade.”<o:p></o:p></p> <p class="MsoNormal">Romans 3:27-28 (The Message)<o:p></o:p></p> <p class="MsoNormal"><o:p>&nbsp;</o:p>I needed that reminder this morning.&nbsp; I was besieged by that most horrible (dare I say <i>evil) </i>of thoughts:&nbsp; “you’re not doing enough”….&nbsp; Not doing enough to combat human trafficking.&nbsp; Not saving enough lives.&nbsp; Not caring enough.&nbsp; Not.&nbsp; Not.&nbsp; Not…&nbsp; When these thoughts attack me, I have two responses—either to go into manic warp-speed type activity, and end up exhausted.&nbsp; Or feel that my feet are in concrete, unable to move or make a decision.&nbsp; I’ve found that the only way to the center, and to Peace is that simplest of cures:&nbsp; prayer and reading the scriptures.&nbsp; So I hauled myself out of bed, shook the concrete buckets off my feet, fixed a good cup of coffee, allowed the cat to curl up in my lap and purr himself to sleep, and opened the Bible to my reading for today.&nbsp; And there it was.&nbsp; That reminder once again that, after all, it’s not about what I do.&nbsp; It’s God’s work after all—I simply need to let God set the pace and fall into step.&nbsp;</p><p class="MsoNormal"><o:p></o:p></p> <p class="MsoNormal"><o:p>&nbsp;</o:p>Thinking about this passage led me to thankfulness for the ways that I have seen God going before me—setting that pace—in this last year—and paving the way into a future that I know will be fruitful—even if I can’t clearly see how.&nbsp; What is so amazing about 2 of the major events of the year is that they completely came to me:&nbsp; I neither initiated them, nor had any vision for them.&nbsp; They literally walked into my life in ways that only God could orchestrate.&nbsp;</p><p class="MsoNormal"><o:p></o:p></p> <p class="MsoNormal"><o:p>&nbsp;</o:p>Event #1: Visa.&nbsp; I was issued a 5-year residence permit by the Dutch immigration department.&nbsp; Those of you who have ever dealt with visas know how huge this is.&nbsp; I had been praying about my continuing future in Europe, in part because of visa issues.&nbsp; And then one day some Dutch friends came to dinner and let me know that they had figured out how I could have a visa through a very reputable Christian college.&nbsp; And it happened.&nbsp; I spent neither time nor money getting the visa. &nbsp;&nbsp;It was a huge confirmation that I was, indeed, to stay here. <i>(A miracle, you might say?)</i>&nbsp;&nbsp;And it opened doors to expanded ministry in The Netherlands with students and professors….but that will be for another journal.&nbsp; I promise.&nbsp;</p><p class="MsoNormal"><o:p></o:p></p> <p class="MsoNormal"><o:p>&nbsp;</o:p>Event #2:&nbsp; Housing.&nbsp; I had lived in a lovely apartment here for 4 years and would have been happy continuing to living there.&nbsp; The 2 bedrooms were small, but the living room was spacious, and with blow-up beds there was always room for however many guests might show up.&nbsp; I love having guests—and see it as a major part of my ministry—people from all over the world coming to learn from the excellent examples of anti-trafficking projects here.&nbsp; But in June the rent went up, and the landlord made it clear that it would continue to increase each year.&nbsp; And so I started looking on the internet for alternative housing.&nbsp; Finding nothing that would work for me that was less expensive, I just said, “God, you’re going to have to deal with this…I have neither the time nor energy to spend.”&nbsp;</p><p class="MsoNormal"><o:p></o:p></p> <p class="MsoNormal"><o:p>&nbsp;</o:p>Two months later, I received an e-mail from out of the proverbial blue from friends in Singapore that I had not had contact with in several years.&nbsp; They wanted me to send them my phone number because their apartment <i>just around the corner from mine</i> was becoming vacant.&nbsp; I had been in their <i>pent-house</i> apartment once—about 8 years ago.&nbsp; And so my response was thus:&nbsp; “Thank you so much for thinking about me with regard to your apartment.&nbsp; But there’s no way I can afford it.”&nbsp;</p><p class="MsoNormal"><o:p></o:p></p> <p class="MsoNormal"><o:p>&nbsp;</o:p>They insisted on calling me—and in the conversation let me know that as they were praying about what to do with the apartment, <i>my name came to their minds</i> and they were compelled to offer it to me for whatever rent I could pay.&nbsp; Their only criteria was that the apartment <i>be used for God’s purposes</i>.&nbsp; “There’s one caveat, though,” they said.&nbsp; “It has a grand piano in it.”&nbsp; At that point, I began to cry.&nbsp; Those of you who know me, know that in times past, I’ve played the piano.&nbsp; I haven’t had one for years due to lack of space and time.&nbsp; But I love playing.&nbsp; And in one moment, I knew that God had gone before and met the quiet desire of my heart for more music in my life—and more space for ministry.&nbsp;</p><p class="MsoNormal"><o:p></o:p></p> <p class="MsoNormal"><o:p>&nbsp;</o:p>Three days after moving in, I hosted 5 women from Bulgaria who are working in anti-trafficking endeavors.&nbsp; They were all able to sleep in real beds in the spacious guest-room.&nbsp; That story, I’ll save for my next journal entry.&nbsp; I promise.</p><p class="MsoNormal"><o:p></o:p></p> <p class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-size: 12pt; ">So today (and hopefully tomorrow and the next day)…..&nbsp; I’ll let God set the pace.&nbsp; And whatever happens….that’s enough, huh?</span>&nbsp;</p><p class="MsoNormal">P.S. "Friend" me on Facebook for a day-to-day account of my life... &nbsp;&nbsp;</p></p> Sat, 05 Jan 2013 08:03:33 -0500 https://internationalministries.org/read/46252-that-s-enough-huh- https://internationalministries.org/read/46252-that-s-enough-huh- Tribute to Dad <p> <style> <!-- /* Font Definitions */ @font-face {font-family:Cambria; panose-1:2 4 5 3 5 4 6 3 2 4; mso-font-charset:0; mso-generic-font-family:auto; mso-font-pitch:variable; mso-font-signature:3 0 0 0 1 0;} @font-face {font-family:"Lucida Grande"; panose-1:2 0 8 0 0 0 0 0 0 0; mso-font-charset:0; mso-generic-font-family:auto; mso-font-pitch:variable; mso-font-signature:3 0 0 0 1 0;} /* Style Definitions */ p.MsoNormal, li.MsoNormal, div.MsoNormal {mso-style-parent:""; margin:0in; margin-bottom:.0001pt; mso-pagination:widow-orphan; font-size:12.0pt; font-family:"Times New Roman"; mso-ascii-font-family:Cambria; mso-ascii-theme-font:minor-latin; mso-fareast-font-family:Cambria; mso-fareast-theme-font:minor-latin; mso-hansi-font-family:Cambria; mso-hansi-theme-font:minor-latin; mso-bidi-font-family:"Times New Roman"; mso-bidi-theme-font:minor-bidi;} p.MsoAcetate, li.MsoAcetate, div.MsoAcetate {mso-style-noshow:yes; mso-style-link:"Balloon Text Char"; margin:0in; margin-bottom:.0001pt; mso-pagination:widow-orphan; font-size:9.0pt; font-family:"Times New Roman"; mso-ascii-font-family:"Lucida Grande"; mso-fareast-font-family:Cambria; mso-fareast-theme-font:minor-latin; mso-hansi-font-family:"Lucida Grande"; mso-bidi-font-family:"Times New Roman"; mso-bidi-theme-font:minor-bidi;} span.BalloonTextChar {mso-style-name:"Balloon Text Char"; mso-style-noshow:yes; mso-style-locked:yes; mso-style-link:"Balloon Text"; mso-ansi-font-size:9.0pt; mso-bidi-font-size:9.0pt; font-family:"Lucida Grande"; mso-ascii-font-family:"Lucida Grande"; mso-hansi-font-family:"Lucida Grande";} @page Section1 {size:8.5in 11.0in; margin:1.0in 1.25in 1.0in 1.25in; mso-header-margin:.5in; mso-footer-margin:.5in; mso-paper-source:0;} div.Section1 {page:Section1;} --> </style> </p><p class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-family:&quot;Times New Roman&quot;">This past November, my dear father died.<span style="mso-spacerun: yes">&nbsp; </span>He was 88 years old and had been telling me for the last year that he was ready to go to heaven.<span style="mso-spacerun: yes">&nbsp; </span>He was in pain and his memory was fading.<span style="mso-spacerun: yes">&nbsp; </span>I was fortunate to be in California when we realized that he didn’t have long to live.<span style="mso-spacerun: yes">&nbsp; </span>When he died, I knew that he was now free of pain and enjoying being with Jesus.<span style="mso-spacerun: yes">&nbsp; </span>But I miss him.<span style="mso-spacerun: yes">&nbsp; </span>I miss the delight in his voice whenever I called.<span style="mso-spacerun: yes">&nbsp; </span>I miss his words of encouragement and support.<span style="mso-spacerun: yes">&nbsp; </span>I miss his easy laughter and enjoyment of life.<span style="mso-spacerun: yes">&nbsp; </span>I miss his profound and heart-felt prayers, always in King James English.<span style="mso-spacerun: yes">&nbsp; </span></span></p> <p class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-family:&quot;Times New Roman&quot;">&nbsp;</span></p> <p class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-family:&quot;Times New Roman&quot;">My father was a soldier in World War II, stationed in Europe.<span style="mso-spacerun: yes">&nbsp; </span>His military career ended when he had to parachute out of an airplane which had engine malfunction.<span style="mso-spacerun: yes">&nbsp; </span>He escaped with a broken ankle—but most of the other crew in that plane were killed.<span style="mso-spacerun: yes">&nbsp; </span>Dad knew that God had saved his life for a special purpose, and at that point he committed his life to Jesus, to do whatever God wanted him to do.<span style="mso-spacerun: yes">&nbsp; </span>His life dream was to be a pilot.<span style="mso-spacerun: yes">&nbsp; </span>But he followed God’s voice into full-time Christian service and became a pastor—and later, a “pastor to pastors” as an Area Minister for the American Baptist Churches of the West.<span style="mso-spacerun: yes">&nbsp; </span>He exemplified servant leadership—always ready to help, never needing to take credit for deeds accomplished.<span style="mso-spacerun: yes">&nbsp; </span></span></p> <p class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-family:&quot;Times New Roman&quot;">&nbsp;</span></p> <p class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-family:&quot;Times New Roman&quot;">Our home was always an extension of the church.<span style="mso-spacerun: yes">&nbsp; </span>My mother never knew how many people would be at the supper table—or sleeping on the floor!<span style="mso-spacerun: yes">&nbsp; </span>My father was the president of the local chapter of the Red Cross, and was always the one to be called whenever there was a disaster—flood or earthquake (this is California, remember!).<span style="mso-spacerun: yes">&nbsp; </span>He was also the chaplain of the fire department, and found shelter for those who lost their homes, and provided comfort for those who lost family members. </span></p> <p class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-family:&quot;Times New Roman&quot;">&nbsp;</span></p> <p class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-family:&quot;Times New Roman&quot;">And when teachers from the public schools shared with him their anger and frustration about a school administrator who was behaving prejudicially towards poor and minority children, he felt compelled to enter the election for the school board.<span style="mso-spacerun: yes">&nbsp; </span>It was not a popular thing to do.<span style="mso-spacerun: yes">&nbsp; </span>Some of the members of our church left because they didn’t think that entering into politics was “appropriate for a pastor”.<span style="mso-spacerun: yes">&nbsp; </span>But after spending much time in prayer and reflection, he knew that he could do no other.<span style="mso-spacerun: yes">&nbsp; </span>He often talked about Jesus—and how He did things that the religious people of His time thought were bad.<span style="mso-spacerun: yes">&nbsp; </span>Jesus never hesitated to heal the sick (even on the Sabbath!), feed the poor (with no money!) or minister to the outcast (even his disciples were shocked!)—Dad preached it and he lived it.<span style="mso-spacerun: yes">&nbsp; </span>He won that school board election.<span style="mso-spacerun: yes">&nbsp; </span>And the next one—and his voice of Truth and Justice for all transformed the lives of many children and their teachers.</span></p> <p class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-family:&quot;Times New Roman&quot;">&nbsp;</span></p> <p class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-family:&quot;Times New Roman&quot;">When my father found out that I was hanging out with women in prostitution in a red-light district in Bangkok in my early years of missionary service, he didn’t scold me, or warn me of dangers or worry about my reputation, or advise me to do something else.<span style="mso-spacerun: yes">&nbsp; </span>He trusted that I was listening to God’s voice, and trying to follow Jesus’ example.<span style="mso-spacerun: yes">&nbsp; </span>And though I was clueless about what I could “do” to help the women, knowing that my dad was in the background, 13,000 km away, cheering me on, helped me to have courage to take each “baby-step” into those dark places, as I felt God leading.<span style="mso-spacerun: yes">&nbsp; </span></span></p> <p class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-family:&quot;Times New Roman&quot;">On the cover of my father’s memorial service folder we wrote:<span style="mso-spacerun: yes">&nbsp; </span>“In Thanksgiving for a Life Lived in Service of God and Others”.<span style="mso-spacerun: yes">&nbsp; </span>As we worshipped and gave thanks to God for dad’s life, well-lived, I was overcome with gratitude for such a father.<span style="mso-spacerun: yes">&nbsp; </span>No, he was not perfect by any means.<span style="mso-spacerun: yes">&nbsp; </span>But he was kind, and he cared, and he loved us, and most of all, he loved Jesus.<span style="mso-spacerun: yes">&nbsp; </span></span></p> <p class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-family:&quot;Times New Roman&quot;">&nbsp;</span></p> <p class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-family:&quot;Times New Roman&quot;">After he died, I found a list of those elements he wanted in his funeral service.<span style="mso-spacerun: yes">&nbsp; </span>A scripture verse he requested was Micah 6:8:<span style="mso-spacerun: yes">&nbsp; </span>“He has showed you what is good and what the Lord requires of you, but to <i style="mso-bidi-font-style: normal">do justice</i>, and to <i style="mso-bidi-font-style:normal">love kindness</i>, and to <i style="mso-bidi-font-style:normal">walk humbly</i> with your God.”<span style="mso-spacerun: yes">&nbsp; </span>He must have had that emblazoned in his heart.<span style="mso-spacerun: yes">&nbsp; </span>He lived that verse every day of his life.<span style="mso-spacerun: yes">&nbsp; </span></span></p> <p class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-family:&quot;Times New Roman&quot;">&nbsp;</span></p> <p class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-family:&quot;Times New Roman&quot;">When we are faced with victims of human trafficking and prostitution <b style="mso-bidi-font-weight: normal">or </b>their victimizers, I pray that we will remember those key words:<span style="mso-spacerun: yes">&nbsp; </span><i style="mso-bidi-font-style: normal">justice, kindness, humility</i>.<span style="mso-spacerun: yes">&nbsp; </span>May we then be unafraid to DO what is good and what the Lord has showed us.<span style="mso-spacerun: yes">&nbsp; </span>I’ll be eternally grateful for the example that God provided for me through my father.</span></p> <p class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-family:&quot;Times New Roman&quot;">&nbsp;</span></p> <p class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-family:&quot;Times New Roman&quot;">With Gratitude For Your Prayers and Support,</span></p> <p class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-family:&quot;Times New Roman&quot;">Lauran<span style="mso-spacerun: yes">&nbsp; </span></span></p> Tue, 28 Feb 2012 19:00:00 -0500 https://internationalministries.org/read/41835-tribute-to-dad https://internationalministries.org/read/41835-tribute-to-dad Valentine's Day Visitor <p> <style> <!-- /* Font Definitions */ @font-face {font-family:Cambria; panose-1:2 4 5 3 5 4 6 3 2 4; mso-font-charset:0; mso-generic-font-family:auto; mso-font-pitch:variable; mso-font-signature:3 0 0 0 1 0;} /* Style Definitions */ p.MsoNormal, li.MsoNormal, div.MsoNormal {mso-style-parent:""; margin:0in; margin-bottom:.0001pt; mso-pagination:widow-orphan; font-size:12.0pt; font-family:"Times New Roman"; mso-ascii-font-family:Cambria; mso-ascii-theme-font:minor-latin; mso-fareast-font-family:Cambria; mso-fareast-theme-font:minor-latin; mso-hansi-font-family:Cambria; mso-hansi-theme-font:minor-latin; mso-bidi-font-family:"Times New Roman"; mso-bidi-theme-font:minor-bidi;} @page Section1 {size:8.5in 11.0in; margin:1.0in 1.25in 1.0in 1.25in; mso-header-margin:.5in; mso-footer-margin:.5in; mso-paper-source:0;} div.Section1 {page:Section1;} --> </style> </p><p class="MsoNormal">“I hope you’re having a nice Valentine’s Day!” I said to her as I handed her a gift of a lovely heart candle.<span style="mso-spacerun: yes">&nbsp; </span>She looked at me seriously and asked, “What really IS the meaning of Valentine’s Day?”<span style="mso-spacerun: yes">&nbsp; </span>I knew that this tradition did not have its origins in her culture.<span style="mso-spacerun: yes">&nbsp; </span>I was speaking in the Thai language to a woman working in Thai brothel in The Netherlands.<span style="mso-spacerun: yes">&nbsp; </span>Here in Holland, there isn’t nearly the hype about this day as in the USA, but people do give valentine cards and flowers to people they care about.<span style="mso-spacerun: yes">&nbsp; </span>It’s a day that is given notice here.<span style="mso-spacerun: yes">&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; </span></p> <p class="MsoNormal">&nbsp;</p> <p class="MsoNormal">“To be honest, I don’t know its REAL beginnings,” I said.<span style="mso-spacerun: yes">&nbsp; </span>“Something about a person named Valentine.<span style="mso-spacerun: yes">&nbsp; </span>What I do know is that this can be a difficult day for people who don’t feel loved.”<span style="mso-spacerun: yes">&nbsp; </span>She looked at me more intently than ever.<span style="mso-spacerun: yes">&nbsp; </span>And thus began a conversation about disappointment and heartbreak.<span style="mso-spacerun: yes">&nbsp; </span>And then about the origins of Real Love, and how we can know God’s Love, no matter what our life circumstances. <span style="mso-spacerun: yes">&nbsp;</span>I gave her a brochure I had brought, that was written in Thai, letting the women know that they are so very precious and loved, and that God just wants them to look to him.<span style="mso-spacerun: yes">&nbsp; </span>First, she was surprised and delighted that it was in her language.<span style="mso-spacerun: yes">&nbsp; </span>And then I sat quietly as she read it all the way through.<span style="mso-spacerun: yes">&nbsp; </span>The message ended with information about where the women can find further information plus help and counsel.<span style="mso-spacerun: yes">&nbsp; </span>At that moment, other women came into the room with various needs, and she left me to take care of them.<span style="mso-spacerun: yes">&nbsp; </span>We gave each of them a gift and the message, and started to leave.<span style="mso-spacerun: yes">&nbsp; </span>Before I walked out the door, she gave me a big hug, and I promised to come back.<span style="mso-spacerun: yes">&nbsp; </span>“Please do”, she said.<span style="mso-spacerun: yes">&nbsp; </span>And I will.</p> <p class="MsoNormal">&nbsp;</p> <p class="MsoNormal">My teammate and I visited 6 Thai “clubs” on Valentine’s Day, and the women were thrilled to receive the gifts and our message about Real Love.<span style="mso-spacerun: yes">&nbsp; </span>They loved hearing this foreigner speak Thai—and I was thrilled to be able to use my rusty Thai!<span style="mso-spacerun: yes">&nbsp; </span>They plied us with spicy Thai food and desserts (YUM!).<span style="mso-spacerun: yes">&nbsp; </span>And we heard stories of desperation and heartache and hopelessness.<span style="mso-spacerun: yes">&nbsp; </span>And though I felt sad listening to them, my sadness was surrounded with thankfulness—because I knew that God Loves them and cares deeply for them.<span style="mso-spacerun: yes">&nbsp; </span>I felt thankfulness that God has called local groups into existence, which have great Christian counselors who can minister to their spiritual as well as social needs.<span style="mso-spacerun: yes">&nbsp; </span>I felt thankfulness that I have the privilege of going into those dark places with the Light of God’s Love.<span style="mso-spacerun: yes">&nbsp; </span>And I know that “showing up” as God’s servant in these places will serve God’s purposes.<span style="mso-spacerun: yes">&nbsp; </span></p> <p class="MsoNormal">&nbsp;</p> <p class="MsoNormal">Thank you for being there with me.<span style="mso-spacerun: yes">&nbsp; </span>And thank you for supporting this “God Journey” that God has given to me….</p> <p class="MsoNormal">&nbsp;</p> <p class="MsoNormal">With Love,</p> <span style="font-size:12.0pt;font-family:Cambria;mso-ascii-theme-font:minor-latin; mso-fareast-font-family:Cambria;mso-fareast-theme-font:minor-latin;mso-hansi-theme-font: minor-latin;mso-bidi-font-family:&quot;Times New Roman&quot;;mso-bidi-theme-font:minor-bidi; mso-ansi-language:EN-US;mso-fareast-language:EN-US">Lauran <span style="mso-spacerun: yes">&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;</span><span style="mso-spacerun: yes">&nbsp;&nbsp;</span><span style="mso-spacerun: yes">&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;</span><span style="mso-spacerun: yes">&nbsp;&nbsp;</span><span style="mso-spacerun: yes">&nbsp;&nbsp;</span></span> Wed, 15 Feb 2012 14:03:52 -0500 https://internationalministries.org/read/41688-valentine-s-day-visitor https://internationalministries.org/read/41688-valentine-s-day-visitor Remarkable Reunion! <p><span>July, 2011<br></span></p> <p><span>The last time I had seen NaBo was on her wedding day in Chiang Mai, Thailand more than 10 years ago.<span>&nbsp; </span>At that time, I was none too pleased that she had decided to marry a man she didn’t know well, who lived in Malaysia.<span>&nbsp; </span>I did everything to try to convince her to reconsider her decision.<span>&nbsp; </span>But in her culture, unmarried women have little value.<span>&nbsp; </span>Her husband-to-be had a job and owned his own home.&nbsp; <span></span>She had no parents and no real ties to Thailand, having come over from Burma 12 years before. <span>&nbsp;&nbsp;</span></span></p> <p><span>Orphaned and desperately ill with malaria and all manner of intestinal parasites, when I saw NaBo in those very first days after opening the New Life Center in 1987, I thought she was twice her age.<span>&nbsp; </span>She desperately needed us and the medical care and education we were able to give her.<span>&nbsp; </span>She graduated and became one of our valuable staff members.<span>&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; </span></span></p> <p><span>NaBo had developed a deep love for Jesus, and had prayed fervently about her decision to marry.<span>&nbsp; </span>Who was I to question what she felt that God was leading her to do?<span>&nbsp; </span>She wanted me to walk her down the aisle, as the “mother of the bride”.<span>&nbsp; </span>And she wanted me to speak and bless her marriage.<span>&nbsp; </span>Feeling the way I did, what could I say?</span></p> <p><span>God was faithful to give me the words.<span>&nbsp; </span>To me, the wedding became not only the joining together of NaBo and her husband, but the Commissioning of a missionary to Malaysia!<span>&nbsp; </span>I was able to bless NaBo’s union—and commission her to be God’s shining light of love to those in her new community and country!<span>&nbsp; </span></span></p> <p><span>Earlier this month, I had the opportunity to go to Malaysia for the Baptist World Alliance Annual Gathering—and was able to have a wonderful reunion with NaBo.<span>&nbsp; </span>YES, she IS a Shining Light of God’s Love in her community!<span>&nbsp; </span>Right after she arrived in her new country, she found a wonderful church, which warmly embraced her.<span>&nbsp; </span>She started inviting her neighbors to join her in worship and Bible studies—and some have accepted Jesus and been baptized!<span>&nbsp; </span>Truly, hearing NaBo’s testimony of faith and witness was the highlight of my Malaysian journey! </span></p> <p><span>While in Kuala Lumpur, I also presented a well-received paper on “Human Trafficking and Prostitution:<span>&nbsp; </span>Is There Hope?”<span>&nbsp; </span>If you’d like a copy of the paper, just ask me for it!</span></p> <p><span>Through NaBo, I was reminded how much we need each other:<span>&nbsp; </span>she needed us at the New Life Center during those critical years of her life; I needed her inspirational and encouraging words in Kuala Lumpur.<span>&nbsp; </span>Very much.<span>&nbsp; </span>And I also need your prayers and financial support. Thank you for your participation in Christ’s ministry through me!<span>&nbsp; </span></span></p> Tue, 26 Jul 2011 20:00:00 -0400 https://internationalministries.org/read/37774-remarkable-reunion- https://internationalministries.org/read/37774-remarkable-reunion- A Taste of Heaven! <b><u><span style="font-family: Palatino;"><span style="text-decoration: none;"></span></span></u><span style="font-family: Palatino;">I wish you’d all been there</span></b><span style="font-family: Palatino;">:<span>&nbsp; </span>people from more than 40 countries, all committed to Christ’s call to ministry in the darkest places in this world, worshiping and praising God in many languages and forms, learning from each other, sharing joy—and sadness, victory—and frustration.<span>&nbsp; </span>It was the <b><i>International Christian Alliance on Prostitution (ICAP)/Global Conference!<br></i></b><span></span><br>This was our 4th conference at the Green Lake Conference Center and I think it was THE BEST!<span>&nbsp; </span>Our theme was <b>“<i><u>JOY</u>”</i> </b>and if you’d come to the conference center during the week, you would have <b>seen </b>and <b>felt</b> it! </span> <p><span style="font-family: Palatino;">&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span style="font-family: Palatino;">When you think about prostitution and human trafficking, and you imagine people who have been victims and who have been in ministry with victims, I doubt that the word <b><i>“<u>jo</u>y”</i></b> would come to your mind.<span>&nbsp; </span>But that’s what separates those of us who are following Christ’s Call to service from all who are following other voices:<span>&nbsp; </span>we<i> know</i> that even in the most dark and violent situations, there can be restoration and healing.<span>&nbsp; </span>And Christ’s <b><i>Joy</i></b> <i>will</i> come!</span></p> <p><span style="font-family: Palatino;">&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span style="font-family: Palatino;">The ICAP/Global Conference was the dream of many “practitioners”—those who walk the streets and into the brothels of this world, and meet people in prostitution with the unconditional love of Jesus Christ.<span>&nbsp; </span>They wanted a place to <b><i>BE</i></b> together, to worship and share and learn.<span>&nbsp; </span>God called me to direct the conference, starting with the first one in 2004.<span>&nbsp; </span>And what a<u> <b><i>Joy</i></b></u> it’s been!</span></p> <p><span style="font-family: Palatino;">&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span style="font-family: Palatino;">And what a LOT of (Joyful!) work!<span>&nbsp; </span>The Green Lake Conference Center has so generously provided us a home for the conference—and I work closely with Marion Kobow (Assistant to the President) to work out the details.<span>&nbsp; </span>Over the last several months, we have sent out more than 1000 e-mails, written more than 50 letters requesting visas, spent hours and days on skype and on the phone.<span>&nbsp; </span>What is so gratifying is that those who participate are SO thankful for the opportunity to be together.<span>&nbsp; </span>We all see it as a giant gift from God!</span></p> <p><span style="font-family: Palatino;">&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span style="font-family: Palatino;">One outcome of the conferences is the formation of the organization ICAP—“International Christian Alliance on Prostitution”.<span>&nbsp; </span>Our mission:<span>&nbsp; </span>“ICAP seeks to unite, equip and empower practitioners who compassionately challenge injustice and offer freedom to those being sexually exploited through prostitution including human trafficking.”<span>&nbsp; </span></span></p> <p><span style="font-family: Palatino;">&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span style="font-family: Palatino;">The Leadership Team consists of representatives from every region of the world—all practitioners, most local founders of important projects which are meeting people in prostitution with the Hope of Jesus.<span>&nbsp; </span><b>A major highlight for me at the conference was the work that the Leadership Team did in seeking God’s heart for a creative future.<span>&nbsp; </span>We spent time in preparation for that future and with much prayer.<span>&nbsp; </span></b>We rejoiced at the news that we’ve recently been granted a 501(c)3 (non-profit) status as an organization!<b><span>&nbsp; </span></b>During the process, the team invited me to be their Coordinator, and I enthusiastically accepted.<span>&nbsp; </span>The development of the organization has been a long, circuitous journey for all of us and we were all thankful to know God’s <b>Spirit of Unity</b> that we had longed for!</span></p> <p><span style="font-family: Palatino;">&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span style="font-family: Palatino;">It would have been GREAT if you had been with us.<span>&nbsp; </span>Actually, in spirit, you WERE!<span>&nbsp; </span>Your support and prayers were—and continue to be SO important!<span>&nbsp; </span>Your financial contributions towards my ministry enabled me to do my part in preparation for the conference—and my on-going ministry of support for the practitioners.<span>&nbsp; </span>Your contributions to International Ministries provided scholarships for some of the participants.<span>&nbsp;&nbsp; </span>Thank you!<span>&nbsp; </span>Thank you!<span>&nbsp; </span>I pray that you will know also know the JOY that we experience following our Call! </span></p> Sat, 11 Jun 2011 20:00:00 -0400 https://internationalministries.org/read/36574-a-taste-of-heaven- https://internationalministries.org/read/36574-a-taste-of-heaven- The Most Difficult Journey... <p>There are some trips that I make that I can’t write too much about on-line.<span>&nbsp; </span>One such recent trip was to a small country somewhere between The Netherlands and China.<span>&nbsp; </span>I went as part of a team representing the International Christian Alliance on Prostitution (ICAP), invited by local Christian women to raise awareness about human trafficking and strategize ways that Christians can address the issues in their (very difficult) context. </p> <p>Our team has done trips like this before.<span>&nbsp; </span>This one was the hardest.<span>&nbsp; </span></p> <p>The country is poor and violence against women is endemic.<span>&nbsp; </span>Girls and women in large numbers are being trafficked out of the country to Asia and the middle east into labor and sexual exploitation.</p> <p>We know that the value of women and girls in a culture underlies the issue of human trafficking.<span>&nbsp; </span>Before we could even begin to talk anti-trafficking strategy, we had to start by talking about our value and worth in God’s eyes.<span>&nbsp;&nbsp; </span>And we could barely get past that topic.<span>&nbsp; </span>The stories poured forth:<span>&nbsp; </span>women forced to marry at young ages because the only value they have as women is their value as a wife and mother; husbands often viewing their wives as possessions; live-in mothers-in-law treating their daughters-in-law cruelly—just as they were treated….<span>&nbsp; </span></p> <p>In the midst of the sadness, a humorous moment (which also illustrates some of the situation):<span>&nbsp; </span>On our first day in the country, we were honored to be invited to a “bride party”.<span>&nbsp; </span>In the family home of a new bride, our group sat on the floor with about 20 local women around a large square of beautiful embossed satin.<span>&nbsp; </span>We were plied with soft drinks and tea, delicious snacks, soups and meat.<span>&nbsp; </span>The new bride came and went from the room, slowly bowing each time, and wearing a succession of the 40 new formal dresses and hats required in her trousseau. Not being able to speak their language, we sat, smiling across the fabric floor-table at each other.<span>&nbsp; </span>Finally, one of the particularly extroverted local women told another bilingual woman that she wanted to know who we were—and she wanted us to know about them.<span>&nbsp; </span>The bilingual woman began translating for us all, and we were delighted to take turns sharing about ourselves.<span>&nbsp; </span>They identified themselves by their name, age, number of children.<span>&nbsp; </span>We identified ourselves by name, home country and profession.<span>&nbsp; </span>When it came my time, and having lived in a culture similar to theirs with regard to attitudes about marital status, I decided that I would provide a “shocking” moment.<span>&nbsp; </span>“My name is Lauran and I’m 60 years old and never been married”, I confidently declared.<span>&nbsp; </span>Without missing a beat, the lovely extroverted woman who had gotten us talking to each other countered “My father is 60 and you can be his 2nd wife!”<span>&nbsp; </span>We all dissolved into laughter!<span>&nbsp; </span>But the reality of her immediate response to my declaration wasn’t lost on us:<span>&nbsp; </span>women have value only in relationship to a husband.<span>&nbsp; </span></p> <p>Today I received this desperate e-mail:</p> <p><i><span style="font-size: 11.5pt; font-family: Calibri;">AJ is in danger right now. Her husband follows her all the time and forces her to come back. &nbsp;She stayed in our parents’ house but he came there every day and harassed her so we decided for her to move to a guesthouse.<span>&nbsp; </span>But he came even there and beat her.<span>&nbsp;&nbsp; </span>After that we went to the police. Policemen called him but he says “I am not afraid. If you will not come back I will kill you.”<span>&nbsp; </span>He and his friend (who is mafia) always meet her outside and&nbsp;threaten and they say “&nbsp;we will never let you live your life.” AJ is lost and scared now and wants to run away from here. Otherwise he can do something to her or she says that she needs to go back. We do not want her to go back just because she is afraid of him,&nbsp;because when she will go, her life will be worse. Please pray for her and give us advice what to do?</span></i></p> <p>I wish we knew what to do.<span>&nbsp; </span>We are praying.<span>&nbsp; </span>We’re seeking advice.<span>&nbsp; </span>I can only find one point of grace in this situation: <span>&nbsp;</span>because we were in her country, AJ knows that people care and are supporting her.<span>&nbsp; </span>She is not alone in this dark time.<span>&nbsp; </span>Many people are praying.<span>&nbsp; </span></p> <p>There are no good alternatives.<span>&nbsp; </span>Courts are corrupted and judges can be paid off to render verdicts punishing the innocent victims.<span>&nbsp; </span>Police insist that they cannot intervene until medical evidence is shown that violence has been inflicted.<span>&nbsp; </span>Bad decisions are going to have to be made from available bad choices.<span>&nbsp; </span></p> <p>Please, please pray….that in the midst of everything, God would show His face…. that the innocents would be protected from harm, that fear would be overcome with Love, that evil will be forced to surrender…. May the Guidance of the Holy Spirit be evident….</p><p><br></p><p>Thank you for your caring, your support, your love.<br></p> Wed, 19 Jan 2011 19:00:00 -0500 https://internationalministries.org/read/31984-the-most-difficult-journey- https://internationalministries.org/read/31984-the-most-difficult-journey- Pilgrimage:Hong Kong-The Journey’s Beginning <p>Pilgrimage:<span>&nbsp; </span>Hong Kong--The Journey's Beginning</p> <p>Please indulge me:<span>&nbsp; </span>I didn’t finish the “Pilgrimage” stories—and have one more I’d like to share before moving on.<span>&nbsp; </span>This week, you’ll be receiving a journal entry each day for 4 days—offering you some highlights of “God at work” during the last 4 months of 2010.<span>&nbsp;&nbsp; </span></p> <p>Having lived in Asia for nearly 20 years, I knew that my 60th birthday had to be celebrated well.<span>&nbsp; </span>For Asians, the 60th birthday is “The Biggie”—the completion of the 5th cycle of 12 years.<span>&nbsp;&nbsp; </span>You may know that I began my “international life” in Hong Kong in 1978 where I taught at the International School there.<span>&nbsp; Three</span> of my closest friends were also celebrating 60th birthdays during this year—all of whom had “Hong Kong lives” with me—and I used air miles to help get us all there to celebrate our friendship and our 60 years of God-blessed lives.<span>&nbsp; </span>One of them is struggling with a life-threatening disease, so it felt imperative to “seize the moment” and celebrate the years that we’ve had.<span>&nbsp; </span>It was amazing that everyone could clear their schedules to be together!</p> <p>It couldn’t have been a better week!<span>&nbsp; </span>Each of us had a “designated day” of celebration, designed especially for the designee.<span>&nbsp; </span>Other friends who still live in Hong Kong joined in the joy.<span>&nbsp; </span>We thanked God and wonderfully celebrated the special gifts with which each had been created, and for our long-lasting friendships.</p> <p>You can imagine how many memories were shared!<span>&nbsp; </span>Hong Kong was my first experience living overseas—and the whole time I was there, I felt like I was Cinderella at the ball.<span>&nbsp; </span>It is an amazing, dynamic city, and I had a great job and wonderful friends.<span>&nbsp; </span>And every school holiday (and there were many) we were all off to visit a new country for a new travel adventure.</p> <p>At the end of 4 years, in 1982, I had to renew my contract at the school and consider seriously what I should do.<span>&nbsp; </span>Would I continue living my exciting, adventurous—and financially secure life?<span>&nbsp; </span>Or???<span>&nbsp; </span>I felt that I could not continue growing professionally if I stayed at the school, so made the decision to resign—and find another international school in Asia which would offer me new cultural and professional challenges—but the same financial security and close proximity to my friends and the city I loved.<span>&nbsp; </span></p> <p>I was offered the perfect, new job—helping to begin a new school just over the border from Hong Kong, in Guangzhou, China.<span>&nbsp; </span>It would offer new opportunities for growth, was close to Hong Kong and my friends—and offered financial security.<span>&nbsp; </span>What more could I ask for?<span>&nbsp; </span>Surely, this is where God wanted me to be!</p> <p>On the short flight home to Hong Kong, I prayed about the decision—even though it seemed like a “no-brainer”.<span>&nbsp; </span>And the more I prayed, the more depressed I felt.<span>&nbsp; </span>“Where is this depression coming from, God?<span>&nbsp; </span>I should only feel excited about the possibilities?”<span>&nbsp; </span>And then the stunning thought crossed my mind “You have to say ‘no’ to this job”…and on its heels, I was flooded by the most amazing sense of peace.<span>&nbsp; </span>I had prayed for peace to guide my decision.<span>&nbsp; </span>I had my answer.</p> <p>I was 3 weeks away from leaving the city and friends I loved—and I still had no job and nowhere to send my shipment.<span>&nbsp; </span>One Thursday evening, I attended a lecture given by a missionary friend, and also in attendance were Loren and Ruth Noren--long-time, legendary IM missionaries to China and Hong Kong.<span>&nbsp; </span>I had the highest admiration for Loren and Ruth—and was honored to know them as friends.<span>&nbsp; </span>Loren commented to me that he heard I was leaving Hong Kong—and then his next words stunned me “Have you ever thought about coming back and joining us as a missionary?”<span>&nbsp; </span></p> <p>No way, I thought to myself.<span>&nbsp; </span>There’s no way that <i>I</i> could be a missionary.<span>&nbsp; </span>I don’t speak other languages, and I just don’t have the gifts or skills that being a missionary require.<span>&nbsp; </span>No way.</p> <p>But Loren’s words just kept going through my mind over that week-end “Have you ever thought about coming back as a missionary”…..over and over and over.</p> <p>The following Sunday, I was leading worship in my church, and we were singing that great hymn <i>When I Survey the Wondrous Cross.</i><span>&nbsp; </span>We got to the last verse “…..love so amazing, so divine, demands my soul, my life, my all”.<span>&nbsp; </span>And in front of my Hong Kong church family and friends, I started to sob, and continued through the service.<span>&nbsp; </span>God was gently telling me that if I loved Him, then I would follow Him….wherever….<span>&nbsp; </span>And in following Him, whatever gifts and skills I felt I lacked, He would provide—just at the moment when I needed them for the next step of the journey.<span>&nbsp; </span>Isn’t that what the “Gifts of the Spirit” are all about--gifting us with what we need for the next step of the Call?</p> <p>God’s Call first led to seminary, and then back to Asia… as an IM missionary. <span>&nbsp;&nbsp;</span></p> <p>My heart is filled to overflowing with gratitude and love for God’s leading and provision during these 60 incredible years.<span>&nbsp; </span>THANK YOU for the way God has used <b><i>You</i></b> to encourage, pray for and support me!<span>&nbsp; </span>And the journey continues….<span>&nbsp; </span><span>&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;</span><span>&nbsp;&nbsp;</span><span>&nbsp;&nbsp;</span><span>&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;</span><span>&nbsp;</span></p> Tue, 18 Jan 2011 19:00:00 -0500 https://internationalministries.org/read/31840-pilgrimage-hong-kong-the-journey-s-beginning https://internationalministries.org/read/31840-pilgrimage-hong-kong-the-journey-s-beginning Way More Than I Could Envision! <p>Way More Than I Could Envision!</p> <p>There is a flood of young women from Eastern Europe who are coming to work in prostitution in Western Europe.<span>&nbsp; </span>They are desperate to support their families and themselves in countries where jobs are hard to find.<span>&nbsp; </span>They often know that they will work in prostitution—but they have no idea how violent it will be—or how it will exploit them.<span>&nbsp; </span>Usually, the largest percentage of money they make goes to pimps and brothel owners.<span>&nbsp; </span>But what they are able to keep is still much more than they could have made in their home countries.<span>&nbsp; </span></p> <p>It seems like an impossible situation—but God doesn’t see it that way!<span>&nbsp; </span>The Good News is that God is calling groups and individuals to reach into the impossible situations and is giving them loving and creative ideas for helping lives filled with hopeless to find Hope.<span>&nbsp; </span></p> <p>I don’t have a lot of answers to the depressing situation.<span>&nbsp; </span>It’s discouraging and often lonely work. But I do know that God speaks through the Community of Faith—and the best we can do is share together.<span>&nbsp; </span>And so, I was privileged to represent the <i>International Christian Alliance on Prostitution</i> (ICAP) and join with Toos Heemskerk from the <i>Scarlet Cord</i> in Amsterdam along with Vladimir Ubeivolc from <i>Beginning of Life</i> in Chisinau, Moldova to plan <b>“Escape 2010-- Pan-European Conference on Prostitution, Human Trafficking and Sexual Exploitation”</b> which we held in Chisinau in October.<span>&nbsp; </span>Toos, Vladimir and I planned the basics of the conference in Skype conversations over the months beforehand.<span>&nbsp; </span>Originally, I thought that we could call the conference a success if 40 committed individuals showed up.</p> <p>I had no idea what God had in mind for this conference.<span>&nbsp; </span>I should have guessed, though, when we entered into a time of spiritual warfare which threatened to discourage and undo our good planning.<span>&nbsp; </span>Venues were inexplicably canceled, cars were wrecked, people got sick, flights were missed.<span>&nbsp; </span>But we went into major prayer mode and all the adversities were overcome—and we could see the irritations for what they were.<span>&nbsp; </span>The enemy wanted to destroy--because God was doing a major work here.</p> <p>When our numbers climbed to over 100, we started to have to readjust our program and include more workshops.<span>&nbsp; </span><b><i>When the conference began, there were 160 people there—4x more than I had anticipated!</i></b> <span>&nbsp;&nbsp;</span>They were from 25 different countries. <span>&nbsp;</span>I was stunned at all the detail work that the staff of “Beginning of Life” had done to make the participants feel welcomed, comfortable and involved.<span>&nbsp; </span>And as the conference progressed, it dawned on me even more profoundly that there was a movement of God’s Spirit in Eastern and Western Europe working to prevent and offer alternatives to prostitution and human trafficking. </p> <p>I’d like to share a testimony from one of the participants:</p> <p class="Default"><i><span>“Perhaps the greatest encouragement of the weekend was simply to be in the company of so many brothers and sisters in Christ on an international level. There is something that touched my heart very deeply as I looked around the conference hall at the 160 people in attendance, knowing that God was using each of these willing vessels to make a difference in the 25 countries that were represented at the gathering. During one of our worship sessions, Lauran invited all of us to sing “Amazing Grace” in our native languages; tears streamed down my face as I knew I had tasted a little bit of Heaven. </span></i></p> <p class="Default"><i><span>As far as the content of the weekend and what it all means in my work with the children and teens of the orphanages… well, I am still sorting it out. <span>Prevention</span>, I believe, will be the most logical starting point. With a clearer picture of the prey and the predator, it is imperative to educate our girls about their vulnerability…. I am convinced that the words of truth and love that are spoken into these girls’ lives will resound most clearly and will have the greatest impact as they are carried out in consistent relationship. “Assure the girls of their worth, their beauty, their identity in Christ…” advised the key speaker, Toos, when I spoke with her personally. Knowing that this is already one of our team’s aims gave me a boost of confidence; being reminded of the importance will drive me to press on with more intention and purpose”. </span></i></p> <p class="Default"><i><span>&nbsp;</span></i></p> <p class="Default"><span>THANK YOU for supporting and caring for me through your prayers and gifts—and giving me the privilege of witnessing the movement of God’s Spirit in this world!</span></p> Mon, 17 Jan 2011 19:00:00 -0500 https://internationalministries.org/read/31897-way-more-than-i-could-envision- https://internationalministries.org/read/31897-way-more-than-i-could-envision- Pilgrimage: "Home" to Chiang Mai! <p>PILGRIMAGE:<span>&nbsp; </span>“Home” to Chiang Mai</p> <p>I was crazy to have planned to be in northern Thailand for only 5 days.<span>&nbsp; </span>I don’t know why I forgot that I have numerous, deep relationships there that would have enjoyed significantly more time.<span>&nbsp; </span>But plans couldn’t be changed, and so I sacrificed sleep and raced from one great reunion (and delicious Thai meal!) to another.<span>&nbsp; </span>Some of the time had been planned in advance—the great (and hilarious!) early birthday party that the “Book Group” had for me, for instance—but much of the time was spontaneous.<span>&nbsp; </span>A major highlight of the time was the gathering of New Life Center “alumni”—word got around town that I was there, and 20 former residents from the early years got together one afternoon!<span>&nbsp; </span>They are beautiful, impressive, great moms, involved in church, loving Jesus.<span>&nbsp; </span>I had each one tell me just a little about her life, and delighted in knowing about their families, their work, their international travel!<span>&nbsp; </span>They shared before-and-after testimonies—and were clear about letting me know that living at the New Life Center was life-changing.<span>&nbsp;&nbsp; </span>They reminisced about learning to read and write and about the life-long friends they made.<span>&nbsp; </span>They agreed that it scared them to think about what their life might have been had the Center not been there for them. <span>&nbsp;&nbsp;</span>Truly, God brought the Center into being—and God continues to work in the lives of all who have passed through!</p> <p>Another highlight for me was spending time with Karen Smith, my successor as the Director of the Center.<span>&nbsp; </span>God chose her very specially for this ministry, and she’s led the Center into new, needed directions with skills and gifts that I don’t possess.<span>&nbsp; </span>One memorable evening, we went to a quiet restaurant and spent hours talking about the “new things” in the life of NLCF.<span>&nbsp; </span>It was so important for me to know about changes in the education system in Thailand (<i>good change:</i> <i>more schools in villages meaning that more girls receive an education from younger ages—reducing risks for exploitation).<span>&nbsp; </span></i>It’s important for me to know that there are increasing numbers of young women coming to the Center needing higher levels of education <i>(good change: more young women are able to attend higher levels of vocational schooling—and even college!<span>&nbsp; </span>Difficulty:<span>&nbsp; </span>increased cost of education per resident—meaning more responsibility for fund-raising.)<span>&nbsp; </span></i>It was important for me to know about the need for an independent-living house for the older residents who have finished high school and are going on to higher education.<span>&nbsp; </span>This was proposed during the years that I was with the Center—and the need has increased.<span>&nbsp; </span><i>(The good news:<span>&nbsp; </span>there is a possibility of a donor here in Europe who is willing to provide the funding—and we found a location that would meet the need!) </i><span>&nbsp;&nbsp;</span>I am enjoying helping further the mission of the Center in this small way—and we will pray that God will lead in the next steps!</p> <p>It was important for me to know that even though progress has been made in fighting human trafficking in Thailand, there is still much work to be done.<span>&nbsp; </span>Every month, new girls and young women who have been victims of exploitation are being sent to the Center.<span>&nbsp; </span>Their emotional and physical wounds are serious.<span>&nbsp; </span>But ministry in Jesus’ name is bringing healing and hope!<span>&nbsp;&nbsp; </span></p> <p>It was important for me to experience the ways that God is working in the lives of young women through the ministry of the New Life Center Foundation.<span>&nbsp; </span>God brought it into existence those 23+ years ago—God continues to guide and lead and direct through Karen and the fantastic staff.<span>&nbsp; </span>My heart is filled with gratitude for those of you who have prayed fervently and generously supported the ministry—including Karen and myself.<span>&nbsp; </span>And THANK YOU for supporting us through the World Mission Offering!<span>&nbsp;&nbsp; </span><i><span>&nbsp;</span></i></p> Sat, 25 Sep 2010 20:00:00 -0400 https://internationalministries.org/read/26242-pilgrimage-home-to-chiang-mai- https://internationalministries.org/read/26242-pilgrimage-home-to-chiang-mai- Pilgrimage: Joyous Bangkok Reunions! <p>Pilgrimage:<span>&nbsp; </span>Joyous Bangkok Reunions!!!</p> <p>#1</p> <p>She calls me “Mom”—“Sue” hardly remembers her own family.<span>&nbsp; </span>She was trafficked into Thailand from Burma when she was 11 years old.<span>&nbsp; </span>Fortunately, she was rescued by the police and sent to live with us.<span>&nbsp; </span>She finished 12th grade at the New Life Center where she was a star worship leader.<span>&nbsp; </span>Early on in her stay in with us, she told me that she wanted to go to Bible School—so that she could most effectively share Jesus love with others.<span>&nbsp; </span>I’m so proud of her!<span>&nbsp; </span>She’s now living in Bangkok with her pastor husband and 2 smart sons—and is teaching Bible classes at a local school.<span>&nbsp;&nbsp; </span>You can imagine what a joyous reunion we had last night!</p> <p>#2</p> <p>While I was in Thailand, God provided friends in places of influence—and Dr. Saisuree was one of the most special.<span>&nbsp; </span>As a member of the Prime Minister’s cabinet for women’s and children’s issues, she was well-known and highly respected—and one of the few Christians in Thai politics. <span>&nbsp;</span>If I ever had a problem with the police or other government officials, I could simply say, “I have Dr. Saisuree’s phone number—shall we call her?” and the problem would mystically be resolved.<span>&nbsp; </span>I had to use her “trump card” often, especially because 70% of our residents at that time had no citizenship in Thailand—even though some had lived here for generations.<span>&nbsp; </span>Having no documents meant high risk for exploitation in the sex industry, where brothel owners paid off the police to allow undocumented persons to work.<span>&nbsp; </span>We got the young women into school so that they’d be able to have an education while at the same time we’d be working on documentation. <span>&nbsp;</span>Among many, many other things, Dr. Saisuree wrote a major piece of legislation which permitted non-registered children and youth to attend school, no matter their legal status.<span>&nbsp; </span>I carried that law in my purse, with the significant phrases highlighted in yellow—and pulled it out for school officials to read when they were ready to refuse school registration to our residents.<span>&nbsp; </span>Now retired, she still serves as a senior advisor to the Prime Minister and also as the Thai<span>&nbsp; </span>representative to the <em><span style="font-family: Cambria;">Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women </span></em><em><span style="font-family: Cambria; font-style: normal;">(CEDAW) at the United Nations.<span>&nbsp; </span>We will both attend the CEDAW meetings at the UN in March, 2011.<span>&nbsp; </span>She will lead the Thai delegation and be working on high level plans of action.<span>&nbsp; </span>I will spend my time with the grass-roots organizations—and we will keep each other informed about goings on at the top—and bubbling up from the below.<span>&nbsp; </span>It’s fun to watch God at work in the midst!</span></em></p> <p><em><span style="font-family: Cambria; font-style: normal;">&nbsp;</span></em></p> <p><em><span style="font-family: Cambria; font-style: normal;">#3</span></em></p> <p><em><span style="font-family: Cambria; font-style: normal;">What a great time I had with IM missionary Annie Dieselberg this afternoon—catching up with the goings on at NightLight, and hearing about her visions for the future.<span>&nbsp; </span>Annie is the founder and CEO of NightLight’s amazing ministry with women in the Nana red-light district in Bangkok.<span>&nbsp; </span>It serves the women through offering economic alternatives as a business, employing them in the NightLight Jewelry factory.<span>&nbsp; </span>And the staff and volunteers also spend several nights a week visiting in the bars, showing God’s unconditional love, praying with and for the women, offering prayers of deliverance from the evils they have encountered.<span>&nbsp; </span>God is working powerfully through NIghtLight—recently, they were able to buy a building in the middle of the Nana bar district.<span>&nbsp; </span>Annie’s vision:<span>&nbsp; </span>to transform this area spiritually and economically from the very center.<span>&nbsp; </span>THANK YOU for your part in making Jesus known in dark places through your generosity of prayers and giving through the World Mission Offering!</span></em></p><p><br></p><p>And the journey continues...<br><em><span style="font-family: Cambria; font-style: normal;"></span></em></p> Wed, 08 Sep 2010 20:00:00 -0400 https://internationalministries.org/read/25561-pilgrimage-joyous-bangkok-reunions- https://internationalministries.org/read/25561-pilgrimage-joyous-bangkok-reunions- Pilgrimage: Bangkok <p>Bangkok, September, 2010</p> <p>The smells are the same—but not. In March, 1986 when I arrived in Thailand to begin language school and my missionary career here, I remember the smells being repugnant.<span>&nbsp; </span>Actually, everything was repugnant.<span>&nbsp; </span>I didn’t want to be here.<span>&nbsp; </span>IM had sent me to China—and that’s where I wanted to be for the rest of my life.<span>&nbsp; </span>I was in China a month, and a serious back problem forced me out of China and back to the US for surgery.<span>&nbsp; </span>Someone else took my teaching job in Nanjing, and I was left with the option of going to Thailand.<span>&nbsp; </span>I was grieving over the dashed dreams and hopes I had—and nothing about this city was appealing.<span>&nbsp; </span>Every day I had to walk down Patpong Avenue—at the time, the most famous red-light district in Southeast Asia.<span>&nbsp; </span>And every day on my journey to that blasted language class, I railed at God about my sadness and disappointment—and inwardly screamed at the plight of the women working in the bars and nightclubs.<span>&nbsp; </span>“God, where are the Christians in the midst of this?<span>&nbsp; </span>Why isn’t anyone offering these women economic and spiritual alternatives to their situations?<span>&nbsp; </span>God, why don’t you DO something about this?”<span>&nbsp; </span>Dangerous thing to say to God….</p> <p>Many of you know this story—and its outcome:<span>&nbsp; </span>how God, dramatically and mystically called me to offer economic and spiritual alternatives to girls and young women through the ministry of the New Life Center in the north of Thailand.<span>&nbsp; </span>What you may not know is that within a 3 year span of time, there were 5 new ministries started in Thailand which addressed these very issues from different angles.<span>&nbsp; </span>God’s Holy Spirit was being poured out in Thailand—and around the world at this time--shedding the Light of Grace, Forgiveness and Truth into very, very dark places.<span>&nbsp; </span>One of these creative ministries was founded by my good friend Patricia Green.<span>&nbsp; </span>She opened up a beauty salon in the middle of Patpong and while “working women” were having facials and shampoos, Christians beauticians were praying for them and ministering in Jesus name.<span>&nbsp; </span>I visited “Rahab Ministries” today, and was inspired by the continued commitment of the staff to share the Good News in Jesus name on Patpong.<span>&nbsp; </span>Oh, so many women have come to know Christ at Rahab and left prostitution.</p> <p>Patricia felt a calling similar to mine, <span>&nbsp;</span>now lives in Europe, and does consulting all over the world.<span>&nbsp; </span>Last week, she stayed overnight in my apartment in The Netherlands—and we met with leaders of ministries to people in prostitution in Amsterdam for 2 days.<span>&nbsp; </span>Our purpose was to figure out a way to offer training programs and resources for those being called to new ministries with people in prostitution in Europe.<span>&nbsp; </span>The ground-work was laid for some new “new things”!<span>&nbsp; </span></p> <p>The smells in Bangkok are still the same—the frying food of the street vendors… the gassy vehicles....<span>&nbsp; </span>The difference is that I am not the same.<span>&nbsp; </span>Nearly a quarter-century later, I have had the privilege of seeing a tiny bit of God’s perspective and desire that his Love be made known in the darkest of places.<span>&nbsp; </span>Thank you making the journey possible.<span>&nbsp; </span>I hope you’re celebrating with me!<span>&nbsp; </span></p> <p>The pilgrimage continues….<span>&nbsp; </span></p> Tue, 07 Sep 2010 20:00:00 -0400 https://internationalministries.org/read/25475-pilgrimage-bangkok https://internationalministries.org/read/25475-pilgrimage-bangkok Pilgrimage <p>Pilgrimage…</p> <p>Dear Friends,</p> <p>In a few hours I’m getting on (yet another) plane from Amsterdam on my way to Thailand!<span>&nbsp; </span>You can imagine my excitement to be visiting a place which is so dear to my heart!<span>&nbsp; </span>It’s a pilgrimage of a kind… in a couple of weeks I turn 60 years old, and in many Asian cultures 60 is THE most significant birthday.<span>&nbsp; </span>I needed to get to Thailand anyway—to visit some people and projects—and so I decided that I’d turn the trip into a time of remembering my personal missionary “roots” and be with those who God has put in my life to point me to his purposes for me. </p> <p>Journaling is hard for me….I don’t enjoy the process of writing.<span>&nbsp; </span>It’s one of the deficits of my professional life. And I apologize.<span>&nbsp; </span>I’d much rather spend my time with people face to face.<span>&nbsp; </span>But I feel compelled to include you in this journey—because so many of you have journeyed with me through all these 25 years of ministry.<span>&nbsp; </span>Oh—and it’s been such an adventure, hasn’t it?!<span>&nbsp; </span>I know that one way of honoring your part in this journey through these years is to invite you to celebrate with me as I reminisce—and share the Hope for the future that is so “bright with the Promises of God”!<span>&nbsp; </span></p> <p>So—off we go to Thailand—but before I head to the airport, I’ll attach some pictures that were taken the end of August in Stockholm, Sweden.<span>&nbsp; </span>I was a keynote speaker at the “International Prison Chaplains Association” (IPCA) conference, which is held every 5 years.<span>&nbsp; </span>There were amazing people from 70 countries at the conference—and it was wonderful to help them understand more deeply the situations of human trafficking and prostitution in their contexts.<span>&nbsp; </span>Though we work in somewhat different realms, nevertheless, we have many overlapping issues.<span>&nbsp; </span>I also learned so much about justice (and injustice!) systems in many places of the world. </p> <p>On the last day, I had the opportunity to visit a Swedish women’s prison—and asked one of the staff members how many of the women in prison had been involved in prostitution.<span>&nbsp; </span>“Nearly all of them”, she said.<span>&nbsp; </span>I understand that it’s similar in many countries of the world.<span>&nbsp; </span>As we passed by a room where about 20 of them were sitting, I recognized the kind of sadness in their eyes that I regularly see on the streets and in the windows (where women are on display in red light districts).<span>&nbsp; </span>I prayed that those who have felt called to minister inside the prisons would have a special anointing of God’s Holy Spirit on them—that through their unconditional care in Jesus’ name, the prisoners would come to know that they are The Beloved of God.</p> <p>With Gratitude for making my journey possible,</p> <p>Lauran</p> <p><span>&nbsp;</span><span>&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; </span></p> Sun, 05 Sep 2010 20:00:00 -0400 https://internationalministries.org/read/25343-pilgrimage https://internationalministries.org/read/25343-pilgrimage Lauran Bethell’s Thoughts on Homeless Children and Trafficking in Haiti Dear Friends,<br><br>My heart has been broken watching the scenes of devastation in this country that has already suffered so much.&nbsp; Because of my heightened awareness of issues of human trafficking, I immediately prayed for the children who would be vulnerable.&nbsp; I continue to hope that they will be Divinely protected from those who would intentionally seek to lure them off the streets and from tent cities into slave labor and the sex industry.&nbsp; <br><br>But I also have prayed that wisdom would prevail, and that those who have been in the process of adopting children who were orphaned before the earthquake, whose applications and home studies had already been approved, would have their paper-work expedited.&nbsp; It seems that this has been the case.&nbsp; <br><br>While watching news reports, I have to confess to having thoughts of wanting to scoop up the lost and lonely children and bring them home.&nbsp; I know, however, that is not the answer.&nbsp; However well-intentioned, any group of people who try to intervene to move children from their community are creating infinitely more problems than they are solving.&nbsp; Not only are they breaking national and international laws, they are also creating issues for law enforcement, for embassy staff, for media—which should be spending their time focused on short-term relief and long-term development.&nbsp; And in many cases, given time and in some instances, supplementary resources, extended family members and other people in the community will step up and care for the children as their own.&nbsp; This is usually the best option. <br><br>I have closely followed American Baptist International Ministries’ reports about our immediate response to the disaster:&nbsp; IM missionaries, volunteers, our Haitian and Dominican partners, the Rescue24 team from Hungarian Baptist Aid—all are working with the greatest of technical and cultural expertise, offering rescue and care in Christ’s name.&nbsp; Everyone should be proud of these amazing teams and their ministries.&nbsp; And YOU have played your part, by generously contributing to their efforts.&nbsp; You have wisely chosen to give to an endeavor which will touch and heal the most possible lives.&nbsp; <br><br>From my own experiences over the past 20+ years of working with some of the most powerful governmental and non-profit organizations, what I know for sure is that funds given through church-based, grass-roots organizations will be the most likely to reach the people affected by disaster and poverty.&nbsp; IM ranks among the best of these.&nbsp; Our relationships with the Haitian people and churches are deep and long-standing.&nbsp; If you haven’t contributed yet, <a href="http://ww.internationalministries.org/items/80%20%20">please consider doing so</a>.&nbsp; The potential for truly “new things” coming out of catastrophe in Haiti is huge.&nbsp; Our Haitian friends and partners are counting on our help.&nbsp; Let’s join with them in building a new future.&nbsp; For the children…. <br><br>Lauran Bethell<br>IM Global Consultant<br>Abolishing Human Trafficking<br>Currently living in the Netherlands Sat, 06 Feb 2010 19:00:00 -0500 https://internationalministries.org/read/18299-lauran-bethell-s-thoughts-on-homeless-children-and-trafficking-in-haiti- https://internationalministries.org/read/18299-lauran-bethell-s-thoughts-on-homeless-children-and-trafficking-in-haiti- "Showing Up"... Because??? We didn’t know who or how many would come to the meeting.&nbsp; We had the barest outline of a program.&nbsp; We had no way of predicting what would happen.&nbsp; Communications with our local organizing committee were difficult, sometimes impossible.&nbsp; All we knew was that God called us to be there, to sponsor a conference and so we “showed up”.&nbsp; And what we experienced at the International Christian Alliance on Prostitution (ICAP)/Central Asia regional conference was truly God’s Work.&nbsp; I can’t tell you the name of the country we were in because of security concerns.&nbsp; Just know that it was a 12 hour travel jaunt for me from The Netherlands.&nbsp; And it was worth every minute of lost sleep to spend time with some of the boldest, bravest, most creative and beautiful Christian women I’ve ever met. &nbsp;<br><br>Thirty-five of them “showed up” for 3 days to the conference, which came out of a vision that our ICAP/Central Asia leader, Ann Marie Isenring, had last year.&nbsp; Thousands and thousands of Central Asian women are victims of human trafficking each year, ending up in sex-tourism destinations and wealthier countries all over the world.&nbsp; They are vulnerable because of poverty, deceit and abuse.&nbsp; The Good News is that despite obstacles which would discourage most people, there are women who are entering into the darkness, offering Hope and Healing to victims and those at risk.&nbsp; We had the opportunity to meet some of them, hear their stories, see their ministries—and be inspired by their courage and trust in God’s Call and provision for all they do. &nbsp;<br><br>We felt led one day to spend a significant period of time talking and praying about the obstacles which impede grass-roots ministries in this part of the world.&nbsp; I would have guessed that finances would be at the top of their list, based on my experiences in other places in the world.&nbsp; But I was astounded that I was wrong.&nbsp; Yes, finances were mentioned—but it was way down on the list.&nbsp; Higher on the list were such issues as corruption and organized crime, lack of governmental support, difficulties with communications.&nbsp; Near the top of the list, and the topics which elicited the most discussion and concern were those which involve the local church:&nbsp; church members who don’t want to have anything to do with these “dirty women and children”; pastors who offer no support to ministries; Christians who cannot show the kind of love and acceptance that Jesus Christ showed to the outcast of his own society.&nbsp; It was painful to hear—but unfortunately, I’ve heard the same on every continent.&nbsp; We wept together, and we prayed—that we would receive wisdom and courage to challenge the obstacles—through God’s great Love and Mercy.<br><br>Thank you….for your support of God’s work through me, which gives me the great honor of witnessing God at Work in distant lands.&nbsp; &nbsp;<br><br> Sun, 06 Dec 2009 19:00:00 -0500 https://internationalministries.org/read/16057-showing-up-because- https://internationalministries.org/read/16057-showing-up-because- God at Work: Keeping me from despair Note:&nbsp; On Sept. 1, I committed myself to write a journal entry every day until Sept. 18th.&nbsp; After that date, I will try to write 1-2 per month.&nbsp; If you do not want to receive the journals, please let me know, and I will remove your name from the list (and still love you!)&nbsp; <br><br>Several years ago, while I was on a speaking tour in an Asian country, a national TV production crew there was filming my presentations and interviews as part of a documentary they were producing about human trafficking and child prostitution.&nbsp; I could tell that the young producer was becoming increasingly frustrated with my interviews.&nbsp; Finally, she handed me a prepared script that I was supposed to memorize and then dramatize, which, she claimed, <span style="font-style: italic;">had</span> to be the REAL situation.&nbsp; The essence of the script was that the stories I heard from girls and women who had been abused and exploited kept me awake at night and caused me to cry uncontrollably during the day.&nbsp; It went on with descriptions of my despair and desperation.&nbsp; She wanted much more drama than I was giving.&nbsp; My stories of Hope and Restoration weren’t good TV.<br><br>As politely as I could I let her know that I could only speak the truth.&nbsp; Yes, there have been times when I have stayed awake at night.&nbsp; And my greatest nightmare, and self-accusation has been the voices saying to me “You can’t do enough”.&nbsp; And yes, I have cried tears of&nbsp; sadness and despair--tears that cried out “Why can’t you do more?”&nbsp; But ultimately, the&nbsp; tears of heart-break on behalf of broken lives and the dark fears of inadequacy have given way to the gentle voice of the One who has let me know, over and over again, that the ministry with which I have been entrusted, is not mine.&nbsp; It is His.&nbsp; And God will give me--and those with whom I work--the energy and strength and wisdom and resources needed to do what He intends for us to do.&nbsp; But in every minute of every day, the precious, broken lives that we touch, need to be surrendered into His care.&nbsp;&nbsp; &nbsp;<br><br>And therein lies great, great Hope.&nbsp;&nbsp; Because, after all, it is God’s work of Redemption and Healing.&nbsp; Endless tears and lack of sleep only drains the energy that can be used to touch lives and share the Hope and Love that we know through Jesus.&nbsp; The truth of our Hope lies in the circle of embrace and surrender.&nbsp; Touching and letting go. &nbsp;&nbsp; <br><br>That particular TV production didn’t turn out well.&nbsp; Oh well… <br>Tune into tomorrow to hear about a production that IS going well—a great encouragement to many!&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; &nbsp;<br><br> Mon, 14 Sep 2009 20:00:00 -0400 https://internationalministries.org/read/14079-god-at-work-keeping-me-from-despair https://internationalministries.org/read/14079-god-at-work-keeping-me-from-despair Maggi’s Musings Note:&nbsp; Maggi Susman, from Denver, CO, is volunteering for me here in The Netherlands for 3 weeks--helping me with administrative tasks.&nbsp; She also volunteered to write the journal tonight from HER perspective!<br><br>"I had a glimpse last night of one of the facets of Lauran's ministry.&nbsp; We were in an "upper room" in the offices of a Christian project working with women in prostitution in Amsterdam.&nbsp; This room was reached by a narrow, winding staircase, with a hand-rail wound around with a red rope (see the story of Rahab in Joshua 2 and 6!)&nbsp; By the end of the evening several women and one man had gathered--all concerned at that moment with ministry to Hungarian women who are working in prostitution in Amsterdam.&nbsp; One of the social workers at the organization hosted us, and one of the women was from Hungary.&nbsp; She is here to learn about ministry to women here because she wants to work with those returning from prostitution in her home country--and even prevent others from being exploited.&nbsp; Everyone around the table got acquainted over apple pie and tea.<br><br>There was much sharing of contacts and networks:&nbsp; people who are in well-established ministries in many places in Europe, who have great information and resources.&nbsp; Then came the "how-tos".&nbsp; Lauran and others emphasized that everything begins by listening to the women working in prostitution answer the question, "What is your greatest immediate need?"&nbsp; And then meeting the needs one at a time!&nbsp; There was much discussion about why the women end up working in prostitution (for the money, to help family members, because they are tricked into, or groomed for it) why women from Hungary come here (contacts among those who entice them)--and then the alternatives that can be offered them.&nbsp; It was also reiterated that no program is totally transferable--each country, each city, each culture, each woman is different, and only by listening carefully, and being very patient, can meaningful help be offered.<br><br>I was gratified to be able to see in action the ministry that my endless hours of data entry enables!&nbsp; These were not new ideas--I had seen these things in action in Thailand, too, and know that even in the local church, the behind-the-scenes "stuff" makes ministry possible.&nbsp; But here we were, in the red-light district of Amsterdam, and people from Hungary, the U.S., Holland--were all praying for people we hadn't yet met (and who some of us won't meet), praying that they would know the wholeness that comes with knowing that God loves them.&nbsp; Everyone in that room had put away their own concerns for a moment: thoughts of husband and children, immigration issues, what non-Christian family members think about their ministry.&nbsp; Everyone focused on calling on God to help them know how to reach those in prostitution who need them.<br>And then we went forth:&nbsp; some in groups of 2, to meet those working in prostitution with God's love, and Lauran and I to return home, praying through the district as we walked along."<br><br>&nbsp;&nbsp; <br> Thu, 10 Sep 2009 20:00:00 -0400 https://internationalministries.org/read/14014-maggi-s-musings https://internationalministries.org/read/14014-maggi-s-musings God at Work: In Serendipitous Gatherings Tonight I had a meeting in the red-light district with a journalist from Eastern Europe.&nbsp; He wanted one question answered from me:&nbsp; Why are there so many women from his country working in prostitution here in Holland?&nbsp; In one area, 60% of the women are from his country.&nbsp; The answer to his question isn’t a simple one.&nbsp; The most obvious answer is that the women are from an economically deprived area with a very high rate of unemployment.&nbsp; They simply don’t feel that they have any other way of supporting their families.&nbsp; Some of the young women are also coming from orphanages, where they are “groomed” and deceived by unscrupulous people to enter into prostitution as soon as they leave the institution.&nbsp; The pimps and traffickers are taking advantage of these vulnerable populations of young women, and have worked out accommodations and provide the networks for them to come and work in the sex industry.&nbsp; And his corollary question:&nbsp; what to do? &nbsp;<br><br>The journalist and I were talking in the meeting room of a Christian organization in the red-light district.&nbsp; The purpose of this organization is to offer holistic care and ministry, including counseling and job placement for the women.&nbsp; As we were sitting there, others started to join us and enter into the conversation.&nbsp; Most of them were social workers and volunteers who were going out on the streets later in the evening to meet the women working “behind the windows” in prostitution, offering them Christ’s unconditional love and the opportunity to explore alternatives for their lives.&nbsp; One was a woman who is working with a safe house in Eastern Europe—and she has a mandate to expand its reach.&nbsp; All of the 8 people who eventually joined in the discussion around that table were Called by God to use their gifts in different ways in ministry with people in prostitution.&nbsp; We talked about offering economic alternatives and what those might look like in the Eastern European context.&nbsp; We talked about Christians who have begun “businesses as mission” in order to employ women coming out of prostitution—and to prevent others from entering the sex industry.&nbsp; We talked about our networks of organizations that have been successful in these ventures and how to get European Union funding for start-ups.&nbsp; The conversation was wide-ranging—and exciting.&nbsp; This is part of the Movement of God that I wrote about a few nights ago:&nbsp; beginnings of “new things” start when God’s people meet together and share a vision and great passion.&nbsp; And then we surrounded it all by prayer, laying at God’s feet our ideas and desires that God’s precious daughters and sons be freed from lives of exploitation and abuse.<br><br>Afterwards, the teams went out on the streets to meet the women in prostitution and offer them life-alternatives.&nbsp; Maggi and I headed home, and as I walked through the district, I prayed for the women as I passed them…. I’m confident that God is fighting the battle for their souls in ways we can neither imagine nor see.&nbsp; Yes, He will use our hands and feet and prayers—and then proceed to multiply our efforts way beyond our wildest imaginations.&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; &nbsp;<br><br> Wed, 09 Sep 2009 20:00:00 -0400 https://internationalministries.org/read/14001-god-at-work-in-serendipitous-gatherings https://internationalministries.org/read/14001-god-at-work-in-serendipitous-gatherings God at Work: In ways I can’t talk about here... I wish that you could come join me in my apartment for a meal--or many!--so that we could talk face to face.&nbsp; Then you could experience my home as a temporary "safe-house".&nbsp; And you could participate in conversations with people who come through the Netherlands looking for advice about starting new projects ministering with people in prostitution.&nbsp; You could also listen in on discussions with long-time practitioners about how to share the resources they've developed.&nbsp; You could hear their stories of "God at work" in their successes--and their heart-breaks.&nbsp; <br><br>I'd love to share so much more about the consultations that I spend much of my time hosting in my home.&nbsp; But as you can imagine, much of the information must not be on the internet--or even in writing.&nbsp; There are issues of confidentiality and BIG issues surrounding security.&nbsp; If my writing sometimes seems vague, and I don't talk about locations or ethnicities, know that there are reasons.&nbsp; <br><br>But what I CAN talk about today, is the wonderful volunteer that God sent my way who is working with me for 3 weeks!&nbsp; Maggi Susman, from Colorado is here helping me to organize my life!&nbsp; My address lists and data base had gotten way out of date and needed a lot of repair work.&nbsp; One major list of hundreds of names needed to be added to this journal mailing list, and Maggi is working away at consolidating and updating. Her work will go a long way towards helping me communicate more effectively.&nbsp; Her encouragement and support has been part of motivating me to write this daily missive. I write today with a heart full of gratitude for Maggi.&nbsp; And for YOU, who support and encourage me, and enable God's work to be done! &nbsp;&nbsp; &nbsp; <br> Tue, 08 Sep 2009 20:00:00 -0400 https://internationalministries.org/read/13976-god-at-work-in-ways-i-can-t-talk-about-here- https://internationalministries.org/read/13976-god-at-work-in-ways-i-can-t-talk-about-here- God at Work: In "Massage Parlors" Today I spent the afternoon visiting Thai “massage parlors” in a city near-by my home.&nbsp; It’s obvious that massage is only part of the treatment the women offer in these establishments.&nbsp; I went there for the first time a couple of months ago at the invitation of a Christian organization which helps women in prostitution to know of options for their lives.&nbsp; I was thrilled to be able to use my Thai.&nbsp; They were happy to have someone who spoke Thai!&nbsp; After going the first time, I realized that I needed some “gifts” to be able to give the women when I visited them.&nbsp; I immediately called one of my former staff members at The New Life Center in Chiang Mai and asked them to send me a supply of Thai Christian music CD’s and some good tracts in Thai which speak of God’s love, forgiveness, healing.&nbsp; So today I went into the clubs with gifts in my arms.&nbsp; I prayed that God would speak into their hearts through the gifts. <br><br>My “Sawadii Kha” (“hello” in Thai) brought smiles to the faces of the women who greeted my colleague and I at the doors of the clubs.&nbsp; And they laughed with delight when they realized that I could say much more than just the traditional Thai greeting!&nbsp; I was thrilled that I could easily use my very rusty Thai (it’s been nearly 9 years since I left Thailand!)&nbsp; In each place we were offered cokes and fruit.&nbsp; We found out about the families they are supporting and the homes they have dreams of building.&nbsp; Some shared a bit about the pain of divorce and loneliness.&nbsp; In the few moments we had with them (in between their phone calls and visits by clients) we gave them the CD’s and tracts and let them know that they could call the organization if they wanted help with problems in their lives.&nbsp; We let them know that God loves them. &nbsp;<br><br>As we were leaving one of the clubs, I went to say good-bye to the owner, who had been busy with visitors while we were talking with the women in another room.&nbsp; I handed her a CD and she took my hand and said, “you mean you’re leaving before we have a chance to talk about God?”&nbsp; I offered to call her to arrange to meet at another time, and she immediately gave me her business card—and then in a very un-Thai way, she hugged me.&nbsp; We will meet again soon.&nbsp;&nbsp; &nbsp;<br><br>Thank you for praying for this dear woman—and all the women who are longing to find peace and security.<br><br>Thank you… for your prayers and support, and for giving me the privilege of serving in Christ’s name in the global community.&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; &nbsp;<br><br> Mon, 07 Sep 2009 20:00:00 -0400 https://internationalministries.org/read/13945-god-at-work-in-massage-parlors- https://internationalministries.org/read/13945-god-at-work-in-massage-parlors- God at Work: In Government God at Work:&nbsp; In Governments<br><br>Day 6 of 18 journal entries in a row!<br><br>I’m often surprised where I find myself.&nbsp; Though I’d be happy if God had confined my ministry to working directly with victims of trafficking and people in prostitution, such is not the case.&nbsp; And so recently, I was handed a very official looking security pass with my name spelled correctly and was escorted through the halls of the European Union Parliament in Brussels, Belgium.&nbsp; I had been invited by a major Christian social service agency in The Netherlands to help them lobby their case for the EU to grant them funding for anti-trafficking endeavors.&nbsp; Generally, I would not spend my time in this way—but what appealed to me was that the funding was targeted to small, grass-roots organizations which&nbsp; are doing exemplary work—and which need the money.&nbsp; After praying about this invitation, I felt I should go. <br><br>I made my case on the panel of “experts”, trying to convince Parliament members that governments need the small (read: inexpensive), grass-roots (including Christian) organizations which are responsible for dramatic changes in the lives of victims.&nbsp; I cited examples and did my best.&nbsp; I prayed that God would use my words in whatever way he chose. There were others on the panel who also spoke from their experience and their hearts.&nbsp; The funding proposal is still in “in process”—and looks as if it will be approved and the funds granted.&nbsp; These things take time.&nbsp;&nbsp; &nbsp;<br><br>Afterwards, those who had organized the event went out to lunch together, and over a great Italian meal, I had the opportunity to talk with some of them about their work in the Parliament.&nbsp; One very impressive young woman told me that she—and others—had specifically come to Brussels to get jobs with Parliament leaders because they felt led by God to be Christ’s presence in their midst.&nbsp; Their Call was to pray for and to serve European leaders in Jesus name.&nbsp; They enabled our group to make our presentations.&nbsp; And from within this place of power, they continue to advocate on behalf of people whose voices have been silenced by abuse and exploitation.&nbsp; I knew I was witnessing God at work. &nbsp;<br><br>Thank you for being Christ’s presence in the surprising places where you have been Called.<br><br> Sat, 05 Sep 2009 20:00:00 -0400 https://internationalministries.org/read/13906-god-at-work-in-government https://internationalministries.org/read/13906-god-at-work-in-government God at Work: The Movement Preface:&nbsp; If you read my journal on September 1, you found out that I am sending one entry a day for the first 18 days of the month.&nbsp; Hopefully, this will help to update people about my small part in <span style="font-weight: bold;">God’s Movement</span>:&nbsp; Calling folks from all parts of this world to minister in many ways with people in prostitution and victims of human trafficking.&nbsp; If, for any reason, you prefer not to receive these daily journals—but would like to receive the more occasional journals in the future, please contact me through the IM web-site and I’ll put a hold on your e-mail address until after the 18th of September!<br><br>I’m invited to do a lot of speaking to groups of many sizes, in many places, for many purposes.&nbsp; After a time of praying about each invitation, I make a decision about whether or not to accept based on how I feel God is leading me through a sense of peace.&nbsp; And often God leads through an excitement about the potential that the meeting might have for the future of what many of us sense as a <span style="font-weight: bold;">Movement of God’s Holy Spirit</span>.&nbsp; When I first began working with the New Life Center in Thailand in 1987, I daresay that any of you had ever heard the term “trafficking in persons”.&nbsp; I knew nothing about the issues—until the women started coming to the Center, telling their stories.&nbsp; Then the media started to report that women, children and men were being trafficked—like drugs and weapons—as commodities to be used and abused.&nbsp; That spurred governments to pass legislation and intervene.&nbsp; At the same time, individuals and small groups were feeling powerfully Called to minister to and start projects with the most abused and exploited people on this earth.&nbsp; And that <span style="font-weight: bold;">movement</span> has continued to grow and grow and grow.<br><br>God called me away from the New Life Center in 2000 because I was needed to be a part of that <span style="font-weight: bold;">movement</span>.&nbsp; Some of us who were witnesses to what was happening in those early days and were a part of the beginnings of ministries have been given new tasks by God.&nbsp; We have been commissioned to be spokespersons about the issues—to raise awareness about the plight of women and children trapped in situations of prostitution and trafficking.&nbsp; At the same time, we are asking the question, “Are You being called in some way to minister in Christ’s name to these precious women and children?” &nbsp;<br><br>I always pray that my words would be used as a part of <span style="font-weight: bold;">God’s Movement</span> to encourage Christians to pray their way into finding their place in the <span style="font-weight: bold;">Movement</span>! &nbsp;<br><br>Most recently, I was with the Scandinavian Baptist Women’s conference in Denmark.&nbsp; It was a Blessed time of fellowship and friendship.&nbsp; And I pray that the words I was led to share are used so that God’s Love and Compassion would be known to those who are longing for His touch.&nbsp; Please pray with us!&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; &nbsp;<br><br> Fri, 04 Sep 2009 20:00:00 -0400 https://internationalministries.org/read/13893-god-at-work-the-movement https://internationalministries.org/read/13893-god-at-work-the-movement God at Work: Baptist World Alliance (BWA) Immediately after the European Baptist’s Amsterdam400 celebration in late July, the Baptist World Alliance held their Annual Gathering in The Netherlands to conduct their yearly meetings—and to join in the commemoration of Baptist beginnings.&nbsp; I have been regularly participating in the annual BWA conferences for the past 10+ years as a member of the Freedom and Justice Commission and the Baptist World Aid Executive Committee.&nbsp; What a privilege it has been to get to know such dedicated Christian leaders from all over the world!&nbsp; And serving with them has given me the opportunity share my passion for ministry with people in prostitution and victims of trafficking.&nbsp; It’s been a great forum for raising awareness about trafficking/prostitution issues and encouraging the church to get involved.&nbsp; We know that the traffickers are well networked—we, the Church also need to be networked!&nbsp; And the BWA is a great world-wide network that is increasingly responding to God’s Call to “set the captives free”. &nbsp;<br><br>Following the week of BWA meetings, the BWA Women’s Department Executive Committee stayed in the Netherlands for several more days for their planning meeting.&nbsp; I was excited when they asked if I would spend a day with them, which would include a tour through Amsterdam’s red-light district.&nbsp; They wanted me to help them to understand how we can be Christ’s presence in places like this.&nbsp; These are women of great influence:&nbsp; Presidents of the Baptist Unions of the continents of the world---Africa, Latin America, Asia, North America, Europe, Australia/New Zealand/Pacific, Caribbean.&nbsp; For some, it was their first time in a red-light district.&nbsp; I was eager that together we could envision global ministries for people trapped in prostitution! &nbsp;<br><br>As we entered the red-light district, I gave a few simple instructions:<br>1)&nbsp;&nbsp; &nbsp;We would see each person as someone created in God’s image, precious in God’s sight—no matter what their demeanor or circumstance<br>2)&nbsp;&nbsp; &nbsp;We would smile at them and look in their eyes. &nbsp;<br>3)&nbsp;&nbsp; &nbsp;We would pray that the Holy Spirit would work in each one of their lives and that our presence would reflect the light of God’s love---far beyond any words that we might say.<br>Basically, the instructions I gave were “Step 1” in ministry in most red-light districts!&nbsp; We also had the opportunity to visit “The Scarlet Cord”, and learned about many, many more steps along Christ’s healing path.&nbsp; We began—and ended—with a time of prayer.&nbsp; I have no doubt that God will use this day for His purposes and towards the redemption of precious lives….<br><br> Thu, 03 Sep 2009 20:00:00 -0400 https://internationalministries.org/read/13878-god-at-work-baptist-world-alliance-bwa- https://internationalministries.org/read/13878-god-at-work-baptist-world-alliance-bwa- Let’s Celebrate Let’s Celebrate!<br><br>We’re celebrating our 400th birthday!&nbsp; Yes!&nbsp; A group of dedicated Believers in Christ decided that they were Baptists 400 years ago, in 1609—in a bake shop in Amsterdam!&nbsp; And so this summer the Baptists have celebrated our beginnings by coming to The Netherlands and learning about our history.&nbsp; But in addition to the merry-making and looking at the past, we have used the international attention to propel us into a future “bright with the promises of God”!&nbsp; We want the future to reflect our past:&nbsp; our beginnings were rooted in complete and unconditional devotion to the teachings and leading of Jesus Christ: no matter what.&nbsp; No matter where.&nbsp; There were those who died because they surrendered their lives completely to Jesus and refused to submit to any other authority. &nbsp;<br><br>No one died over the last week-end of July, 2009, when more than thousand members of the European Baptist Federation (EBF) and guests from all over the world came together for “Amsterdam400” to celebrate our beginnings.&nbsp; Rather, I believe that “new life” and the promise of “new things” was infused into our “mature” Baptist family.&nbsp; For me, the celebrations began with a “pre-conference” event sponsored by the EBF’s “Anti-Trafficking Working Group”.&nbsp; The Working Group decided to take advantage of the gathering of European Baptists to also offer events in Amsterdam that would educate people about prostitution and trafficking.&nbsp; And so we sponsored an over-night event in the middle of Amsterdam’s red-light district.&nbsp; We stayed in a youth hostel in the district, prayer-walked streets, learned from those currently in ministry and from one who has left prostitution.&nbsp; People from 14 countries came to worship and pray together and to seek God’s heart for the “new things” that God wants to be done.&nbsp; As the one local member of the Working Group, I assumed responsibility for the arrangements for the conference, with great help from Dutch Baptist women.&nbsp; One highlight of the event was the distribution of the Working Group’s THIRD anti-trafficking book!&nbsp; This one is focused on the DEMAND side of prostitution and trafficking—and how that relates to Christians and the church.&nbsp; Hopefully, it will soon be available in pdf format on the EBF web-site and can be used for discussion groups and forums.&nbsp; Our goal is to get these books into the hands of as many church leaders as possible.<br><br>God’s presence was shining in the Amsterdam’s red-light district!&nbsp; God has great and challenging plans for Baptists as we move into another new century!&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; &nbsp;<br><br> Tue, 01 Sep 2009 20:00:00 -0400 https://internationalministries.org/read/13828-let-s-celebrate https://internationalministries.org/read/13828-let-s-celebrate God at Work God at Work<br>A confession:&nbsp; I get overwhelmed with life.&nbsp; These last numbers of months (years!) I’ve had the incredible privilege of seeing God at work in so many parts of the world—calling young and old, women and men into ministry with people in prostitution and victims of trafficking.&nbsp; I thank God that I have been given the gift of encouragement.&nbsp; I love to spend time counseling and advising those who have new visions for ministry, helping them to get into the networks and find resources.&nbsp; I love focusing on the people and events that are in front of my face.&nbsp;&nbsp; Each opportunity for a high profile speaking engagement puts me in contact with a whole new group of individuals seeking God’s call in their lives.&nbsp;&nbsp; <br><br>At the moment, though, things have gotten out of balance, and my relational side has consumed my time and energy at the expense of the “administrative side”—and of letting the world know how Lauran sees God at Work.&nbsp; So I’m making the commitment that in these next 18 days before my birthday, I WILL post a journal entry each day.&nbsp; It will be a “patchwork” of glimpses of God at Work.<br><br>Today I share a simple story:&nbsp; a follow-up to my last journal entry about visiting the women in prostitution who work on boats.&nbsp; A few weeks ago, we gave the women a little card that had a pearl inside and the message “You are a precious pearl created by God”—written in their first languages.&nbsp; I handed one in Hungarian to “Marta” and as she read it, in the language of her heart, it was as if an electric shock went through her body.&nbsp; She was stunned by the words.&nbsp; She held the little card to her heart, tears in her eyes, desperately wanting to believe its truth.&nbsp; My team-mate and I prayed for her in that moment, that this message from God would take root in her being.&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; <br><br>Please pray for “Marta” and the many, many Marta’s who God is pursuing with His message of love, forgiveness and healing.&nbsp; God will do His work through the prayers His faithful.<br><br>Tomorrow….Celebration!&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; <br><br> Mon, 31 Aug 2009 20:00:00 -0400 https://internationalministries.org/read/13817-god-at-work https://internationalministries.org/read/13817-god-at-work Reflections on "Showing Up" When I'm home in Holland, I volunteer with a Dutch Christian organization which is meeting women in prostitution in the legalized red-light districts in various cities.&nbsp; Yesterday, we visited women who work behind store-front windows which are on boats in a canal!&nbsp; We wave to them, indicating that we'd like to talk, then walk down gang-planks to their doors.&nbsp; Ninety percent open their doors to us.&nbsp; They smile, are kind, enjoy the conversation, accept the flowers and tracts and books we have for them.&nbsp; We let them know in as many ways as we can how precious they are in God's sight, how much they are loved.&nbsp; We give them cards that let them know they can contact our sponsoring organization if they want counseling or help finding another job.&nbsp; Some invite us in and close their curtains so that we can talk without customers interrupting us or looking at us through the windows.&nbsp; We are honored when they do that, because we know that "time is money".&nbsp; In these cases, they often talk about wanting to leave this job.... "but...."&nbsp; We always end our conversations asking them how we can pray for them, and sometimes they indicate they'd like us to pray for them right then.&nbsp; <br><br>And in those moments, the insides of rooms of prostitution become Holy Ground. &nbsp;&nbsp; <br><br>I'll be really, really honest with you:&nbsp; I feel compelled to visit these women.&nbsp; I feel reluctant to visit them.&nbsp; I feel insecure about going:&nbsp; even after meeting women in prostitution for 20+ years.&nbsp; But God has called me to just <span style="font-weight: bold;">"show up"</span> in those places.&nbsp; And to have no expectations other than know that <span style="font-weight: bold;">It's God's Work.</span>&nbsp; If I begin to think about my insecurities and my needs to see outcomes and "successes", then I'll lose sight of the fact--and it is a fact--that <span style="font-weight: bold;">God is at work</span>.&nbsp; <span style="font-weight: bold;">I just need to "show up".&nbsp; God will do the work of redemption and healing.&nbsp; </span><br><br>I left the red-light district with the faces of several of the young women in my thoughts and prayers.&nbsp; I so very much want them to know Jesus, and know how much they are loved by God, created in His image.&nbsp; My doubts that this will ever happen plagued me. <br><br>And then God <span style="font-weight: bold;">showed up for me</span>:&nbsp; after leaving the red-light district, I went to dinner with a woman who had spent 3 years in prostitution.&nbsp; And then came the day that she cried out for help and God spoke directly into her heart, and brought Hope and showed her His Love.&nbsp; Her testimony of God's healing and faithfulness over these last 2 decades was what I needed to hear in this moment.&nbsp; God <span style="font-weight: bold;">showed up</span> for me.&nbsp; I will continue to show up.&nbsp; And <span style="font-style: italic;">Thank You</span> for showing up here and for the many ways you show up in my life, through your support and prayers.<br> Wed, 10 Jun 2009 20:00:00 -0400 https://internationalministries.org/read/11912-reflections-on-showing-up- https://internationalministries.org/read/11912-reflections-on-showing-up- The Experiment... Ok.... I think I can do it... not being a 20- or 30-something year old who has computer and software technology in her DNA, I have made several attempts to upload my own journal--without success, and have given up in despair (we do them ourselves now…)&nbsp; And then I've continued my travels, and the amazing stories of God's light shining into the dark corners of this world have piled up.&nbsp; You need to hear them.&nbsp; I want you to know.&nbsp; So, today, this journal marks a new beginning.&nbsp; I'm forcing myself to sit still, to not be put off by my fears or false starts, and to learn this new skill.&nbsp; And so, you are reading an experiment--and hopefully, it will turn into a routine of simply writing and uploading pictures and letting you more fully share in my the life that your prayers and support make possible.... the life that God has called me to, the life that has the privilege of seeing God at work.&nbsp; I want you to experience it too, and be encouraged. <br><br>Since January I've traveled more than 65,000 miles.&nbsp; So this journal will be a little photo overview of a few of the places where I have seen God at work.&nbsp; Among other things, I’ve done lots of lots of speaking in front of lots and lots of people—and what is gratifying is having people tell me after a presentation that God has spoken to them about ministry with broken people, or confessing to me about sexual addictions.&nbsp; I love praying with people about the new directions where God is leading them, and pointing them towards resources.&nbsp; <br><br>Ok....I'm going to try to do an upload...if you're reading this, then I've succeeded--and the next journals should be easier—and come soon!&nbsp; Thanks for your patience with me.&nbsp; And for your love and care, and especially your prayers.<br><br> Mon, 08 Jun 2009 20:00:00 -0400 https://internationalministries.org/read/11851-the-experiment- https://internationalministries.org/read/11851-the-experiment-