Give thanks to God with us for Mark and Esther, who are the newest members of the RBC-supported missionary family. They minister in their native country of Zambia.
Mark was born in a religious and church-going family, but they did not know the Lord as their Savior. He indulged in sinful habits and was tormented by evil spirits. He was taken to witch doctors for treatment, but it was all futile. His mother eventually accepted Jesus as Lord, and through the influence of her changed life, Mark accepted the Lord in 1980 and was freed from the torment of the evil spirits. Since that time, he has become a strong witness for Christ.
Mark joined AFCI (Ambassadors for Christ International) in 1986 as a team evangelist. After receiving further studies at a Bible Institute and developing the ministry, he has since become the Country Director. Mark and Esther are involved in organizing and conducting evangelistic gospel crusades, Christian leadership seminars and revival meetings in both rural and urban areas of Zambia.
People in Zambia are very open to the Gospel. Zambia is a very poor country with 86% of the population living below the poverty level. About 40% of the people do not have access to clean water and 50% of the children are malnourished. The AIDS crisis overwhelms the health services and the economy. Most of the children who are orphaned due to AIDS. Almost 75% of Zambian households care for a relative orphaned by AIDS. Illiteracy in rural areas is close to 90%. Christianity is widely accepted even in the public institutions, and freedom of all religions is practiced. Zambia is landlocked country and is relatively stable and peaceful but is surrounded by countries rocked by war and strife.
One out of every four children in Zambia in an orphan. Abandoned by his father at an early age and growing up in a broken home, Mark developed a great compassion for the vulnerable children in Zambia. Part of his ministry today involves helping orphans, especially in helping meet their educational needs. Mark has also formed and developed a group of 26 leaders a cross the country that meets periodically for mutual encouragement and growth.
Mark and Esther also have an ongoing pre-marital counseling program and conduct regular Family Life Enhancement Seminars for married couples. They seek to train others who can offer the same type of training and counseling as solid families are the real key to the future of Zambia.
Please pray for Mark and Esther and their three children (ages 15,13 and 11) as they boldly proclaim the gospel of Jesus in Zambia.
In early October, a team of five from the RBC went to Brazil to partner with Mike Meyers, RBC Children’s Ministry Associate and founder of Open Arms, in an event called Voz e Vida. Voz e Vida, Juntos Pelas Crianças (Voice & Life, Together for the Children) is an annual benefit concert held in Assis, Sao Paulo, the base city for Open Arms in Brazil. This gospel music event seeks to cross over denominational lines and bring together Christians to reach every child with the gospel of Jesus Christ through the work of Open Arms. The event also has gospel proclamation component both within the concert itself as well as throughout the promotion phase leading up the concert during radio, television and newspaper interviews. From Mike & Patricia Meyers:
Whenever we engage in short term missions, the question arises about what kind of impact was made and whether or not it was worthwhile. Let me answer that question here. In the space of two weeks, we were able to share with the city of Assis, Brazil about the work that Open Arms has done and is doing among the children of this city and throughout the region in the name of Jesus, via radio (nearly a dozen interviews, four of them with the guys from the band), television (2 stations), newspapers (3 papers published 6 quarter page stories), the schools (2 grade schools, 1 technical school and one university) and all culminating in a concert before a very enthusiastic crowd.
This massive exposure was in large part due to the participation of five very humble servants of Christ from Reston Bible Church. Erik & Elisa Palmer, Jesse Trask, Brian St. Andre and Carter Keeton took Assis by storm and left here with a city full of new friends, and fans. Besides their busy promotion schedule during their week in Assis, they came prepared to work with our kids at their schools and in a Children’s Day party which was to be held on October 12th. The party got rained out but the team still was able to minister to 600+ children in two of the public schools we are partnered with.
The gospel was preached in word by our team and in deed by the RBC Five. Their example of joyful, sacrificial service, not to mention the music which was an immediate hit, has opened doors for the ministry more than we could have imagined. Since they left, our staff and I have been running non-stop responding to new donors, volunteers and business leaders who want to get involved in what God is doing among the children here.
On behalf of the staff, volunteers and children of Open Arms in Brazil, we have only thanks to give. Thanks to God for bringing this event together, thanks to Reston Bible Church for standing by this ministry and sending your very best to us, and thanks to the team for encouraging our staff here with their music, their laughs, and their example.
Mike & Patricia Meyers
From Chelsea, our missionary in Venezuela:
“We are not made for the mountains, for sunrises, or for the other beautiful attractions in life—those are simply intended to be moments of inspiration. We are made for the valley and the ordinary things of life, and that is where we have to prove our stamina and strength.” – Oswald Chambers
Now that the exciting adventure of living in a foreign land has worn off, and this is my day-to-day life, I wonder how much longer I am going to be in Venezuela. It is nice that I can commit one year at a time as the Lord graciously leads, but every year seems to have its own challenges. This year, I think the challenge will be persevering in the valley. It seems to be a dry season for me as far as God’s work goes, and I don’t seem to have much zeal for ministry. I am sharing the Gospel and discipling others out of sheer obedience rather than passion or holy delight. I am thankful for Oswald Chambers and his writings, for God often uses him to speak to me right where I am. Recently, Chambers has helped me see that the valley is not necessarily a trying circumstance, but the “ordinary things of life.” The above quote was extremely eye-opening for me and comforting at the same time. I am not sure if what I am experiencing is missionary burn-out or not, but I am beginning to see that it doesn’t really matter. I must believe that if I am abiding in Christ (which I am), my obedience through this dry season has a purpose and can glorify my Father just as much as when I am on top of the mountain.
Would you take a moment now to pray for Chelsea? Pray also for her ministry and for Venezuela as the Gospel continues to go forth in that country.
From an RBC missionary at work in Slavonski Brod, Croatia:
One bright spot from this past summer has been the surprising response of Slavonski Brod youth to the gospel. As short-term teams came and went throughout the summer, we held a number of outreaches and Bible studies for Croatian teens. A few teens have stuck around and shown great interest in spiritual things. Until the end of the summer, a group of 6 youth formed a core group that came together regularly for both social outings and for times of Bible study. One of these 6 placed her faith in Christ in July. Three others have shown that they are close to making a similar decision to become followers of Jesus.
Please pray for these teens. The start of school has presented challenges to the momentum that was going during the summer. Other commitments are causing some to scale back their involvement with the group, and we see each other less frequently. Pray that they would continue to be interested in spiritual things despite the busy, demanding schedules of high school students.
Would you take a few minutes right now to pray for our missionary, these teens, and other gospel seeds planted in Croatia this past summer?
Our missionaries in Africa, the H’s, have spent years learning the language and culture of a particular tribal people group in the Mozambique area. Recently, they were able to begin teaching the Bible chronologically from creation to Christ. Last year, several tribal people trusted Christ as their Savior for the first time in history.
The H’s missions agency recently sent this report from a tribal man there who accepted Christ as his Savior:
“I believe there is only one God. He is the Creator of heaven and earth. I believe that He send His only Son, Jesus, to pay the price for my sin. He saved me! He is the Redeemer. He is my Redeemer.
“Now, I am not afraid of death anymore. Sure, I am afraid of the pain and sickness and what that can do to this body of mine, but this is only temporary. Now I know where I am going when I die. I know the footpath to God. I know I will be with Him one day I am going to Heaven!
“There are only two footpaths in this life: one goes to God, and one goes to the eternal fire. I have found the right path, the one that leads to God! I am saved!
“Thank you so much for coming to tell us this. I did not know the right way. Now I know! I am saved!”
Please continue to pray for the H’s, for this tribe, for the new followers of Christ there, and for many more to come to know Jesus and make Him known.
Six years ago, Eduardo de Mello Ribeiro was released after serving 18 months in a juvenile detention facility in Brazil. He was saved by Jesus from a life of violence and crime. Shortly after his release, he began volunteering with Open Arms in his town. Open Arms Worldwide is an RBC-supported organization that mobilizes, prepares, equips and aids Christian leaders and volunteers in implementing transformational, faith-based, children and youth outreach projects among the world’s poor.
Today, Eduardo is a full-time missionary with Open Arms in Brazil. He has started three outreach projects, has led countless young people to faith in Christ and also works as a counselor with men struggling with chemical dependency. In 2011 Eduardo, after years of stubborn perseverance, succeeded in opening a door for Open Arms back into the facility where he served his time. He put together an “A-Team” of Open Arms volunteers and began ministering to the boys (between 12 and 18 years old) in that facility.
It is my great joy to have walked with Eduardo over the years and I anxiously look forward to his reports. Last month was a special joy. Let me share with you some details from a recent correspondence with Open Arms:
“In early July, twenty-nine (29) new inmates arrived at the facility. On Saturday, July 15, during a visit from the Open Arms team, Eduardo was blessed to lead twenty (20) of those young boys to faith in Jesus Christ! He and his team are now actively discipling them in the Word. This is what we all are laboring for, friends. This is what our prayers and gifts each month mean in the lives of real children. God is using you to change the future of these young people. Praise God! I give thanks to Him for each of you and your faithfulness. May we all never tire of doing good!”