For much of 2019, Haiti has been experiencing significant political instability and economic hardships.
This has resulted in RBC cancelling several family missions trips to one of our partner churches in Pignon, Haiti. However, from June 27 to July 2, four men from RBC were able to go down and visit Pastor Francois, Pastor Aldean, the 62 children they care for, and the Philadelphia Baptist Church of Pignon. The video below shares a few highlights from our trip.
While we can’t solve all of Haiti’s problems and struggle to even relate to issues like 30%+ inflation, we can make a difference in the lives of one community in Haiti. Besides our usual goals of loving on children, encouraging the church, and maintaining and repairing equipment, our primary goal for this trip was helping set future educational and life goals for four of Pastor’s oldest children. In a society filled with hopelessness about the future, helping map out next steps for them, gives so much life.
Through your generosity, these kids will have the opportunity to go to university or trade schools to learn a profession. We pray for their futures that children who were orphaned, may one day be loving husbands, wives, fathers, mothers, church leaders, etc. and break the cycles of bondage through the Lord. It is a long term investment, but one where we trust God is transforming lives.
It is our great desire to celebrate the generosity of the Lord here at RBC. Over this past Spring Break, Family Life Pastor Mike Meyers led a team of eighteen RBCers – parents and children – to serve in an indigenous region of Brazil. Our U.S. team partnered with a team of Brazilians that included several RBC-supported missionaries working with Open Arms Worldwide. The teams partnered with a tribal church in the village of Limão Verde in order to serve families and reach children with the gospel of Jesus. Many of you gave and prayed in support of their efforts, and we just want you to know how thankful we are for your generosity. Here’s a quick look at their trip.
Cambodia is one of the world’s poorest countries and heavily dependent on foreign aid. Years of war and genocide followed by a corrupt government has hindered the development of this country and kept most of the population poor. Thirty-eight percent of the population lives below the poverty line.
After the Vietnam War, the Marxist Khmer Rouge was in command (1975), and Cambodia endured one of the most savage slaughters in the 20th century. Almost all former military personnel, civil servants, doctors, educated people and wealthy people and their families were killed, and the nation was turned into a vast labor camp. The Vietnamese army ousted the Khmer Rouge in 1979.
Buddhism is the national religion. The Khmer Rouge sought to eradicate all religions and 90% of Buddhist monks and most all Christians perished. Since 1979 there have been periods of tolerance and since 1990 Christians have been allowed to worship openly but some limitations on mission activity has been legislated.
The great sufferings of the people in the past cause them to now be open and responsive to the gospel. From only a few thousand Christians surviving into the 90’s, believers now make up 3.5% of the population. This growth is almost entirely through church planting and multiplication done by indigenous church planters and evangelists.
Barnabas is one of these church planters and evangelists. As a native of Cambodia, Barnabas is one of only 200 Christians to survive the Killing Fields of Pol Pot. He joined Ambassadors for Christ International (AFCI) in 2001 to develop the ministry in Cambodia.
Barnabas joined the Communist party as a teenager and was converted to Christ while spying on a Christian evangelistic meeting in the early 1970’s. He was later arrested and sent to the Killing Fields where he spent four years in captivity. After his release, Barnabas was forced to flee the country where he spent another eight years in a refugee camp in Thailand. After returning to Cambodia, Barnabas helped rebuild the church in his native land, and 500 churches have been planted since 1998. Barnabas’ faithfulness to the gospel is an amazing story of that Moody Publishers has published in the book Church Behind the Wire.
Barnabas will be at RBC on Sunday, March 26, 2017 to share his story and encourage us in the area of missions. His book will be available for donation by cash or check only in the lobby after each service. All proceeds of the book sales will directly to Barnabas’s ministry in Cambodia.
It’s a great way to start the year, indeed! We praise the Lord the privilege of sending our very own, Louisa Schlener, to the mission field.
As the early church sent Paul and Barnabas on their first missionary journey through prayer and the laying on of hands (Acts 13), so RBC has commissioned Louisa to take the Gospel to Portugal.
Dear Lord – we continue to lift Louisa up to You. May You use her mightily in the Word of Life camps as she shares Your love to the many campers. As she reconnects with her childhood church, use her to impact and bring many women and girls into a deeper walk with You. Bless her and bless Your name as she cares for the other female Word of Life staffers arriving in Portugal. Protect her, give her much wisdom and continue to draw her closer and closer to You! Thank You for calling Louisa and allowing us the blessing of sending her. In the name of our Precious Savior, Amen!
Louisa – just has you have impacted many here in NOVA, we are confidant that the Lord will use you mightily in Portugal. Keep walking by faith! Know that you are loved deeply! (Love, Your RBC Family)
Open Arms Worldwide (OAW) is a Christian organization dedicated to the spiritual, moral, emotional, physical and social enrichment of children and youth who live in under-served or forgotten communities around the world – communities where families and children are at higher risk of becoming victims of poverty, crime, violence, addiction, abuse, and social marginalization. Christian hope is the distinctive of Open Arms and the catalyst that sets life transformation into motion. The Christian faith instills a hope that is not dependent on physical circumstances. This hope results in resiliency, perseverance, healthy socialization, a sense of history, community and belonging, and strong moral and civic character. These are exactly the attributes that these children require if they are to overcome the obstacles before them and fulfill their God-given potential. RBC currently provides support to two OAW missionary families, including Eduardo & Claudia Ribeiro, who shared at our worship services last weekend.
This year, OAW celebrates its tenth year as a ministry organization. For a decade, Open Arms has been bringing hope to children who live in under-served and forgotten communities in Brazil and here in the U.S. What began in one small community in the interior of Brazil has been replicated in 12 communities across 3 states in Brazil, and serves more than 1,000 children weekly. Since 2013, OAW has also worked with local stateside churches and schools from their U.S. headquarters in Sterling, Virginia.
Please pray for OAW, their “agents of hope” and the children they reach with the hope of the gospel. Here are some stories from the field of how lives have been changed as OAW seeks to know Christ and to make Him known in Brazil and beyond.
We don’t often use the term “lame” much anymore, except in the vernacular to describe someone who is not “cool.” As we celebrated communion this week we looked at a character from the Old Testament who was physically lame. In 2 Samuel 9 we read of Mephibosheth, who was Saul’s grandson. Saul had been the first king of Israel and had, on more than one occasion, tried to kill David, who was anointed by the Lord to be Saul’s successor. David and Jonathan, Saul’s son, had a deep friendship and were as close as brothers. In chapter 9, Saul and Jonathan are now dead, David is king; and, for Jonathan’s sake, he wants to show kindness to living members of the house of Saul. Ziba, a servant from the house of Saul was found and he identified Mephibosheth as a son of Jonathan. Mephibosheth was crippled from the age of five because he was dropped when his nurse was fleeing with him after the death of Jonathan and Saul at the battle of Mount Gilboa. David brings Mephibosheth to his household to live with him and says he will eat at the King’s table like one of the King’s family. Mephibosheth’s name means “dispeller of shame.”
Though we may not have physical disabilities that cause us to be lame, we are all spiritually lame, unable to bring ourselves to salvation. But God, in the greatest act of grace, reached out to us and provided salvation through the death of His son Jesus. There is nothing we can do to earn this salvation. God, the great bearer of our shame through the crucifixion of His son Jesus, carries us to His table and invites us to dine with Him. This is the gospel.
Many of our missionaries are so wounded that they may feel emotionally lame. Mark and Donna McDonnel have served in Kiev, Ukraine, with WorldVenture for 18 years, 13 of which with RBC as a supporting church. The McDonnels have been through some hard trials lately, but they have endured. Mark’s primary ministry is as a seminary professor at Kiev Theological Seminary, but they also felt the Lord drawing them to become involved with a ministry of their local church to the physically and mentally disabled. There is far less government assistance there than in the U.S., making any ministry to these families especially meaningful.
Each year the church hosts a camp for these special people. Because of your faithful giving RBC has been able to provide financial help toward this camp. The McDonnels have shared a short video from this year’s camp. During the video, Pastor Sasha is asking the candidates if they believe in Jesus Christ as their Savior and that they are saved by faith in Him alone. Each responds, “I believe.” Then he asks if they will commit their lives to serving Him, and they respond, “Yes.” Then Sasha says, “I baptize you in the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit.” The last one to be baptized, Andrei, is carried into the pool.
We recently received a couple letters from the ministry we support in Pignon, Haiti, and wanted to share them with you. National pastor Francois Romelus runs a church of approximately 250 people in addition to the local elementary school and an orphanage where he cares for around 55 children. Over the past several years we have sent multiple teams to work with the ministry there and develop many deep relationships. On Sunday May 1st, Pastor Francois’ son Aldinn, who runs much of the ministry, shared briefly in our Sunday services. He also brought several letters that we wanted to share with you.
Please continue to pray for the ministry in Haiti as they face many challenges but rejoice in the hope of the Gospel.
LETTER FROM PASTOR FRANCOIS
LETTER FROM THE 3 ELDEST BOYS AT THE ORPHANAGE
MUSIC & SCRIPTURE
Forever Reign (Lamentations 5:19) – A Beautiful Exchange by Hillsong Worship
Cornerstone (Psalm 18:2) – Cornerstone by Hillsong Worship
You’re Beautiful (Revelation 21:4) – Cannons by Phil Wickham
Revelation Song (Revelation 5:12) – Passion 2013 by Kari Jobe
TEACHING: From the Field – Missions Emphasis Sunday
In most cases, we do not post the messages from Missions Emphasis weekends. This is to protect those currently working in sensitive areas, or who may at some point move into countries that are closed to the gospel. If you are interested in learning more about how you can be involved in missions at RBC, fill out this online interest form.
DISCUSSION QUESTIONS FOR SHEPHERD GROUPS
- What was one thing you found particularly interesting, insightful, helpful or difficult to understand from this Sunday?
- Read and discuss the Great Commission text from Matthew 28. What do you note about Jesus? What commands, encouragements or warnings are there for us to heed?
- How is missions related to worship? What Scriptures can you find that demonstrate this?
- What does it mean that God is a “sending God”? What Scriptures can you find that demonstrate this?
- How is a missionary mindset inherent in the gospel of Jesus?
- What are different ways one can be involved in the work of gospel missions? How would you rate your involvement in missions?
- How might you grow in your involvement in missions? Spend some time in prayer for this.
MUSIC & SCRIPTURE
Unstoppable God (Matthew 17:20) – Wake Up the Wonder by Elevation Worship
With Us (Psalm 46:10-11a) – God Is Able by Hillsong Worship
Be Thou My Vision (2 Corinthians 3:17-18) – Cathedral by Heartsong
How Deep The Father’s Love For Us (Galatians 6:14) – Love Displayed by Liberty Campus Band
TEACHING: From the Field – Love, Passion and Missions
The last days of Jesus point us to His priority for missions.
DISCUSSION QUESTIONS FOR SHEPHERD GROUPS
- What was something in this message that was new or surprising to you?
- What is something you are passionate about? Why? How are passion and love related?
- Read and discuss the account of Jesus’ last days in Luke 24. What do you note about Jesus from this account? How does what He says here point us to missions?
- Thinking through Luke 24, what are some priorities of Jesus you can identify? What other scriptures show us Jesus’ priorities?
- How can you respond to the priorities of Jesus with passion and love?
- “Jesus does not relate to us according to what we deserve, but according to what we need.” How does this statement relate to missions?
- How does the gospel compel and propel us to a missionary mindset? How do you need to grow in this area?
- Pray for opportunities to engage personally in missions through giving, praying and/or going. If your Shepherd Group hasn’t already, consider adopting an RBC missionary.
During Sunday worship services, we want to spend less time making announcements and more time worshiping. To help facilitate that, we’ll show a brief video announcement segment 4-5 minutes before each service begins. Grab an early seat just before your service begins so you can take advantage of these pre-service announcements. We’ll also post them here on the Sunday Rewind each week.
MUSIC & SCRIPTURE
God Is Able (Ephesians 3:20-21) – God is Able by Hillsong Worship
Whom Shall I Fear (God of Angel Armies) (Psalm 27:1) – Let The Future Begin by Chris Tomlin (Passion)
How Deep The Father’s Love For Us (Galatians 6:14) – Love Displayed by Liberty Campus Band
Take My Life (2 Corinthians 5:14-15) – Hymns Ancient & Modern by Chris Tomlin (Passion)
TEACHING: From the Field – How’s My Vision?
We live in a world that knows the price of everything but the value of nothing. Do you see Christ as precious? God is a God of love, but He does not sit idly by and allow His love to take second place in our lives.
DISCUSSION QUESTIONS FOR SHEPHERD GROUPS
- What was one thing you found particularly interesting, insightful, helpful or difficult to understand from this sermon?
- Read and discuss Haggai 1:2-11 and 1 Corinthians 16:19-20. What do these verses tell us about us? What do they tell us about God? What warnings or commands are there for us to heed and obey?
- Have you ever felt stagnate in your walk with the Lord? What was the cause? What can we do to avoid spiritual stagnation?
- What does it mean to have “spiritual vision”? How can we develop spiritual vision?
- How much of your time, talent and treasure does God have? How can you grow in the grace of giving in each of these areas?
- How much of your life is driven by impatience, distraction, or discomfort? Considering that eternity is only a heartbeat away, what areas of your life do you need to “rebuild the temple”?
- How do you think God wants to use you to make a difference in the world around you? How does the gospel of Jesus enable and propel us to do this?
- Discuss how your small group can help you “rebuild” and spend some time in prayer for this. Give thanks to God for the grace that covers our sin and drives us to impact the world around us for His glory. Pray that He would help you see the eternal value of Jesus and be driven by Him instead of by impatience, distraction or discomfort.
We recently received this update from New Tribes Mission regarding one of our supported missionaries working as a Bible translator in Zimbabwe.
Sherife was more than just a Mwinika tribesman to Bible translator & RBC-supported missionary, P. He was a fellow believer, one of the first Mwinika Bible teachers, and a Bible translation helper. He was also a friend. And now P. sat by Sherife as he lay on his deathbed. P. remembered another time when Sherife lay critically ill in bed – before he was saved, before Bible teaching even began in the Mwinika village. But this time it was different. Sherife was a believer in Jesus. Still, it was hard to watch as tears filled Sherife’s eyes, spilling down his cheeks.
“Let me translate my tears,” Sherife said to P. “I am crying because of my unsaved family members… I know where I am going, but I am worried about them. I didn’t know God until you came and told me about Him. Now I know Him. Now I am going to be with Him. Thank you for coming. Thank you beyond thanking. Thank you.” About a week later, Sherife was ushered into the presence of his Savior.
Of greater importance to Sherife than “translating his tears” was translating God’s Word into the Mwinika language. He was one of several Bible translation helpers that worked tirelessly alongside P. to see this translation come to fruition. But as of his death, the project was not yet done.
Please pray for our missionary P. and the other Mwinika men as they continue translating, looking to the day when the Mwinika Bible translation is complete.
Over Spring Break, a team of 21 parents and Jr. High students flew to Pignon, Haiti to serve with RBC-supported national pastor, Francois Romelus (featured here in a previous From the Field). While adults from RBC had visited before, it was the first trip that included students, and it was amazing to see the way the Lord used them.
Pastor Francois runs an orphanage of 50+ children, and it was such a blessing to see the ways that our students could play and interact with them, despite the language barrier. Our students were really able to open up the children there and practically show the love of Christ. On top of playing games of soccer, teaching them to skateboard, braiding hair, and hanging out, we also had several special opportunities with them.
We set up Easter Egg hunt with them and talked with them about the resurrection of Christ. We treated them to s’mores cooked over an open fire, after which everyone licked clean their sticky fingers. We had English classes as they taught us some Creole. And we took the oldest ~20 students to a beach a few hours away. Most of them had never been to the ocean and didn’t know how to swim. It was a treat for them, and a blessing to have fun with them.
We also had the blessing of helping the local church run a VBS-style children’s program. While it was a bit chaotic at times with almost 400 children who couldn’t speak English, it was an amazing blessing to serve the community. Our theme for the week was “Mwen Se Trésor Bondye” or “I am a Treasure of God’s”.
We had a great opportunity to play and do crafts with the children and act out Bible stories, as the national pastors taught God’s Word. At the end of each day, each the church provided a meal of rice, beans, and a little chicken for the children, and it was humbling to see how so little meant so much to them. Please pray for the children to understand that they are God’s Treasure.
Finally, we were blessed with many opportunities to connect with and encourage the local church. Eric Smith, the chairman of RBC’s elders, taught a marriage class. We were able to hear the testimonies of and pray for all of the national pastors and elders of the church in Pignon. Please continue to pray for them as they face many hardships and persecution to lead the church.
Thank you to the many who prayed for this team. We definitely saw the answers to many of your prayers. Please continue to pray for Pastor Francois’ children and their futures, as there are very few career opportunities for them.
**Thanks to all who attended the team review on Wednesday, 4/29 in the Jr. High Room. Please continue to pray for Pastor Francois and the ministry there.
Pastor Francois Romelus and his wife, Madou, have humbly and faithfully led a church in Pignon, Haiti, since 1982. They have a church of over 200 people, run the local elementary school, and care for a large number of widows and about 50 orphans. They were in northern Virginia the weekend of February 22nd, when services were cancelled due to inclement weather. He recorded the following message to Reston Bible Church:
A team of 21 parents and Jr. High students are going to work with their ministry over Spring Break (March 26-April 3). The team will be running a VBS style camp for several hundred neighborhood children, trying to show God’s love for the orphans, and caring for the local church. God is doing much through the ministry there, and we want to be an encouragement to them.
Please pray for:
- The church in Pignon, that their faith in and dependence on the Lord would continue to deepen in the midst of many challenging circumstances.
- Pastor Francois and his wife Madou, that they would be encouraged in the Lord.
- The RBC team, that we would be a blessing and encouragement to the church in Pignon. Specifically, that we would be able to communicate to the children how much God treasures and values them.
Many people have asked about ways to help care for the orphans in Haiti. You can check out an Amazon.com wish list for them by clicking here. There you will find items that will be a blessing to them. You can purchase them off Amazon.com or elsewhere, and drop them off at Aaron Osborne’s office at RBC by Wednesday, March 18th, and we will deliver them. If you have any questions, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
The update below is from Paul & Faith, RBC-supported missionaries serving with New Tribes Missions. Paul serves at NTM’s Training Center and helps oversee their U.S.-based ministries. One of his primary responsibilities is developing a leadership team to cast a vision for mobilizing believers for the task of tribal evangelism and church planting.
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A “new” happening in Bolivia brings an urgent prayer request! On Tuesday, January 27th through Thursday the 29th a group of around 30 Ayoré church leaders and their wives will be meeting together in Bolivia. They come from 10 Ayoré communities where Ayoré Churches exist. Paul’s brother and his wife will be meeting at the Missionary Training Center of Etnos, where they live and minister, for an Ayoré Leaders Conference of Spiritual Refreshment and Teaching. The facilities are available because the students are gone for “summer break” these days. Please pray for them as they will be doing the teaching for the 15 hours of meetings and deeply feel the need for Spirit-breathed inspiration, sensitivity and discernment for both the meeting time together and the hours fellowshipping together those three days. Please pray as well for good weather as it is rainy season and for open receptive hearts for all God has for all of us.
About 72 years ago, five young missionary men gave their lives in the effort of contacting this very primitive, nomadic indigenous people group — NOW, here they are — all these years later gathering together in the name of Christ! Was it worth it all? We LOVED the ten years God allowed us to invest in this work together with YOU who prayed for and supported this work. Our prayer is that YOUR hearts will be as encouraged as our hearts are as we pray for the continuing work of the Holy Spirit in these precious lives. God is at work! Check out this really neat video (below) – It’s an interview with some of our current students here at the Missionary Training Center. You are now investing in the training of these young people who will be scattering around the world to spread the gospel!
Thank you so VERY much for your financial support and for your faithful, faithful prayers for us! We are so very humbled by God’s amazing grace and faithfulness in our lives! We pray God’s ABUNDANT grace and blessings for you in this “new” year and that you will enjoy sweet fellowship with Him!
– Paul & Faith, New Tribes Mission
RBC-supported missionary Brian Shortmeier, who works with New Tribes Mission, shared the video below with our church at our 2014 Missions Conference. Dimapatai is one of many primitive Moi tribal people in Papua, who came to know Christ as his savior through NTM missionaries. In this video, Dimapatai shares his unscripted thoughts on Jesus.
Here is a brief update on Dimapatai from the Lambs, New Tribes Mission staffers in Ontario:
Sadly just a few weeks ago we heard that he had passed away. In a culture that typically mourns without hope for days when someone dies, the family couldn’t help but rejoice in their new-found hope because of Jesus. These were Dimapatai’s final words before he went to be with his Saviour. He said, “I am not about to go anywhere but Heaven. To go anywhere else is not possible. I’m going to Heaven.Don’t think that I’m going somewhere else. Don’t be nervous or afraid for me. There are not two paths for me. I am going to be with Jesus.” Praise the Lord that we will one day rejoice together in glory with Dimapatai and some from every tongue and tribe and nation! “O death, where is your victory, Oh grave, where is your sting!”
Please take a moment now to pray for the ongoing work of tribal evangelism and church planting in Papua New Guinea and across the unreached people groups of the world.