Going With a Purpose

Chris and Sandy Romero along with their three kids, Joshua (6) Jeremy (4) and Moriah (1) are no strangers to moving. Within the past year and a half they have made two big moves and are preparing now for their third. The Romero family has been undertaking these relocations with one purpose in mind: preparing themselves to “become equipped for His service with that ultimate goal of seeing the expansion of His kingdom amongst unreached people groups.” - Chris & Sandy.

The first transition for Chris and Sandy was moving their family of four from their hometown of Invercargill to Hastings. This was in order for Chris and Sandy to attend a year at Shepherd’s Bible College.

In January 2016 the Romero family left Invercargill with just themselves and what they could fit in their truck. They stepped out in faith, trusting that God would provide a house and furnishings.

After arriving in Hastings, it looked like it would be a difficult process to find and rent a house. However, within one day a local church community was able to find them a home to rent. Not long after that, the furnishings began to be dropped off at their new house. They were blessed and encouraged by how God worked through the local believers in an area unfamiliar to them.

While there, the Romero family also transitioned from a family of four to five, with the arrival of their daughter Moriah.

During this time they were also blessed with God’s provision of friends and time spent immersed in the word of God. July 2016 July 2016

Through the Bible College they were also able to find various ministries to assist with; from youth programs, to leading Bible studies to mention just a few.

Throughout their time of study, God continued to provide for Chris and Sandy to complete their studies. The couple found out towards the end of 2016 that Shepherd’s Bible College would be closing their doors at the end of the year. Although this could have interrupted Sandy’s plan to complete her studies, she was able to fulfill the courses online and worked diligently to finish.

Upon completion of their studies, the Romero family, once again, found themselves ready to take the next step of their journey. In January of this year Chris and Sandy and the children began the long trek back to Invercargill. With a trip north to Auckland first, visiting friends and family along the way they traveled around 2400 kilometers before reaching home.

While back in Invercargill Chris and Sandy aimed to re-solidify relationships and begin their visa applications. Earlier in 2016, as a result of many hours dedicated to paperwork and their studies, the Romero’s application to the ETHNOS Canada Missionary Training Centre, in Durham, was accepted.

The next seven or so months for the Romero family saw them attaining their much needed student visas to travel to Canada, and also the Lord’s provision and protection. There was a bit of a shock as their youngest, Moriah, had a small cold that quickly developed into pneumonia. Although her recovery was slow, she is now very close to normal health. Provision for work was also a blessing as Chris, a qualified builder, was able to work on the construction of a house in the months before the move to Canada.

Now, Chris, Sandy, Joshua, Jeremy and Moriah are in the midst of a bittersweet third transition to the other side of the world. As they say goodbye to beloved family and friends, they look forward to all that God will be accomplishing throughout their sixteen months in Canada. The Romero family are willing to go where God is leading them and are open to His plans for their ministry.

Please pray for this amazing family as they step out in faith once again. They will be departing New Zealand on the 20th of August and their official course dates begin August 28th.

 

See the Mwinika Bible Translation Through to Completion

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BEYOND THANKFUL

Sherife was more than just a Mwinika man to Bible translator Phil Henderson. He was a fellow believer, one of the first Mwinika Bible teachers, and a Bible translation helper. He was also a friend. And now Phil sat by Sherife as he lay on his deathbed.

TEARS OF JOY AND SORROW

Phil remembered another time when Sherife lay critically ill in bed. Before he was saved. Before teaching even began in the Mwinika village.

But this time it was different. Sherife was a believer. Still, it was hard to watch as tears filled Sherife’s eyes, spilling down his cheeks.

“Let me translate my tears,” Sherife said to Phil. “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 Saviour.

A PASSION FOR GOD AND HIS WORD

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 Phil to see this translation come to fruition.

But as of his death, the project was not yet done. Please pray for Phil Henderson and the other Mwinika men as they continue translating, looking to the day when the Mwinika Bible translation is complete. Would you also pray for the funds needed to make the translation a reality? Your prayers can have an impact!

God Does The Connecting

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Trevor and Judy Clarke, NZ ETHNOS representatives, first met Stephanie during a class where they shared about the work of ETHNOS at Shepherds Bible College.  She had taken the whole of the 2015 year off from school teaching so that she could do a full year at Bible College, with every intention of resuming teaching in 2016.  The Lord had other plans for her though.

A few months later, we were there for the Impact conference, with more than 1000 people in attendance, and I (Judy) was with Stephanie at the breakfast table one morning and just happened to say to her that we have a huge need for teachers in many locations, actually 87 teachers needed at that time.  A week after the conference Trev and I were on our way to PNG to help out in the Interface program.

Almost immediately after arriving there, we were presented with an enormous load of needs of personnel, especially for our Wewak Center.  Families there were struggling with not enough workers on the base to fulfill the needs of the whole Sepik Region and added to this, were the demands of schooling their kids.  There were even considerations that the Center of Operations may have to close, and the straw that was breaking-the-camels-back, was lack of a teacher.  This weighed pretty heavily on Trev and my hearts, so we sent an email off to Stephanie, thinking that she could just be the one!

Yes, Stephanie prayed about it, asked a lot of good questions and saw that this was exactly what God had for her.  It coincided with some previous thoughts that she would like to teach somewhere where teachers didn’t normally go (or possibly not want to go).

All the pieces began slotting together, right down to how she couldn’t go to PNG before finishing her Bible college year which would mean she wouldn’t arrive in PNG till early/mid-January.  Little did she know that was no problem because all the necessary paper work, visas, work and entry permits would take up that time anyway!

This is a HUGE relief and a massive encouragement to the families working on the Wewak Center.  It is huge for Stephanie, and just one of those privileges that keeps Trev and I excited about our job.  We just have to keep going places sharing about Missions and God nudges His people to GO.


Ever wonder how God 'Calls' someone into Missions?  Does He use others to 'help' in the process?  Is it obvious that He's the 'One' behind it all?  Read on and find out...

God Does The Connecting

Trevor and Judy Clarke, NZ New Tribes Mission representatives, first met Stephanie during a class where they shared about the work of NTM at Shepherds Bible College.  She had taken the whole of the 2015 year off from school teaching so that she could do a full year at Bible College, with every intention of resuming teaching in 2016.  The Lord had other plans for her though. A few months later, we were there for the Impact conference, with more than 1000 people in attendance, and I (Judy) was with Stephanie at the breakfast table one morning and just happened to say to her that we have a huge need for teachers in many locations, actually 87 teachers needed at that time.  A week after the conference Trev and I were on our way to PNG to help out in the Interface program.

Almost immediately after arriving there, we were presented with an enormous load of needs of personnel, especially for our Wewak Center.  Families there were struggling with not enough workers on the base to fulfill the needs of the whole Sepik Region and added to this, were the demands of schooling their kids.  There were even considerations that the Center of Operations may have to close, and the straw that was breaking-the-camels-back, was lack of a teacher.  This weighed pretty heavily on Trev and my hearts, so we sent an email off to Stephanie, thinking that she could just be the one!

Yes, Stephanie prayed about it, asked a lot of good questions and saw that this was exactly what God had for her.  It coincided with some previous thoughts that she would like to teach somewhere where teachers didn’t normally go (or possibly not want to go).

All the pieces began slotting together, right down to how she couldn’t go to PNG before finishing her Bible college year which would mean she wouldn’t arrive in PNG till early/mid-January.  Little did she know that was no problem because all the necessary paper work, visas, work and entry permits would take up that time anyway!

This is a HUGE relief and a massive encouragement to the families working on the Wewak Center.  It is huge for Stephanie, and just one of those privileges that keeps Trev and I excited about our job.  We just have to keep going places sharing about Missions and God nudges His people to GO.

See the Mwinika Bible Translation Through to Completion

Beyond Thankful

Sherife was more than just a Mwinika man to Bible translator Phil Henderson. He was a fellow believer, one of the first Mwinika Bible teachers, and a Bible translation helper. He was also a friend. And now Phil sat by Sherife as he lay on his deathbed.

Tears of Joy and Sorrow

Phil remembered another time when Sherife lay critically ill in bed. Before he was saved. Before teaching even began in the Mwinika village.

"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."

But this time it was different. Sherife was a believer. Still, it was hard to watch as tears filled Sherife’s eyes, spilling down his cheeks.

“Let me translate my tears,” Sherife said to Phil. “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 Saviour.

A Passion for God and His Word

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 Phil to see this translation come to fruition.

But as of his death, the project was not yet done. Please pray for Phil Henderson and the other Mwinika men as they continue translating, looking to the day when the Mwinika Bible translation is complete. Would you also pray for the funds needed to make the translation a reality? Your prayers can have an impact!

Prevent Hewa Women from Being Murdered

An Outbreak of Measles

After an outbreak of measles in Papua New Guinea brought death to the Hewa village, a witch hunt began. Blame had to be assigned. Someone had to be held responsible. And in Hewa culture that someone would be a woman or child accused of being possessed by evil spirits.

Accusations

Accusations were brought against four woman, along with 13 of their family members. These accusations didn’t need to be substantiated. Their innocence didn’t matter. They stood accused of witchcraft and that meant a death sentence.

The police came in and gave warnings. But ultimately, fear of the spirits would overrule fear of the authorities.

“Four months from when the police, missionaries and government officials went into our neighbouring village to warn people that witch killing was illegal and would carry severe consequences — four months to the day — a woman named Mifila [who was accused of witchcraft] was brutally murdered,” wrote missionaries John and Jessi George. “Her brother claimed that he could and would protect her if anyone tried to kill her. But when a large group of armed men come in with guns … so they can chop your sister with axes and machetes there really is nothing you or anybody else can do about it.”

A Mass Exodus

And the danger has not passed. There are others in the village marked as witches. And if nothing is done, they too will meet the same fate as Mifila.

“A mass exodus [is] planned for many women and children who are currently marked as witches,” the Georges’ wrote. “Plenty of times before … they have come to us asking about leaving, then decide the threats against them are not real… Now, Mifila’s death has them all scared, so many who were not ready before to take the giant step of leaving their homes, families, gardens and even language to go somewhere new where they will be safe are now begging to go.”

But this “exodus” is being threatened. Some are saying to “hurry up and kill them before they can escape,” Jessi recently wrote. Your prayers can make a difference. Pray for a protective hedge around these falsely accused women and children as they await flights. Pray for their transition to a new village with a new language and a new culture. And do not forget to pray for God’s truths to reach into the hearts and minds of those making the accusations and carrying out the brutal attacks. Only then will lasting change come.

Church Planting Requires the Church

How Many People Did You Say?

6,823. According to PeopleGroups.org, that’s the number of unreached people groups around the world. That’s more than 4.1 billion people! People among whom “there is no indigenous community of believing Christians able to engage this people group with church planting.” People groups who are less than 2 percent evangelical Christian.

 

Serving the Church...

95b67bbb-83c9-451c-a26b-5997952f1867How can such a comparatively small number impact so many? And what role can NTM play?

Part of the answer lies in not only training expatriate missionaries, but also equipping and working alongside national missionaries.

Jonathan and Ruth Hukkeri were sent to NTM’s training by their assembly, and are now returning to ministry in their home country. One thing they studied was worldview. The gospel message does not change. But people’s worldview, the way they interpret all of life, influences their understanding of the gospel.

 

...By Training Believers in Specific Areas

4adf56ea-5efa-4d69-980c-30185ce45ec8Studying worldview in NTM’s training will make a big difference as they return to their ministry to the unreached. “We were carrying our bag of ideas … trying to preach the gospel that way,” but making huge assumptions in what was understood.

“I wish others [in ministry] also got an opportunity to understand worldview … before they just went out and started preaching….” “This worldview class, if they could take it, definitely would make a difference.”

Pray for NTM as we continue to train missionaries to reach, in the words of NTM’s founder Paul Fleming, “where no witness of the gospel has yet reached.”

From Troublemaker to Disciple-maker

Off to a Bad Start

“At a young age, I became a problem for my family, my friends and school,” admits Ramon Murillo. After being expelled from school, he joined other young delinquents on the street — and it got worse from there. After more than a decade of drug addiction and life on the very rough and violent streets of Tijuana, Mexico, Ramon hit rock bottom. Shortly after, he found himself walking through the doors of a Christian drug rehabilitation centre in the same city.

Saved and Challenged

It was there at rehab that Ramon sat under chronological Bible teaching and, for the first time, heard the words of John the Baptist: “Behold! The Lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world.” He finally understood and believed
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" COULD IT BE THAT GOD IS CALLING ME TO BE A MISSIONARY, TO TAKE THIS SAME MESSAGE THAT BROUGHT ME ETERNAL LIFE TO OTHERS WHO HAVE NEVER HAD AN OPPORTUNITY TO HEAR AND UNDERSTAND IT? "
 

Not many months later, Ramon was challenged while reading a book about a missionary. He asked himself, “Could it be that God is calling me to be a missionary, to take this same message that brought me eternal life to others who have never had an opportunity to hear and understand it?”

And God was. When his desire became known, Ramon was encouraged to take NTM’s missionary training in Chihuahua, Mexico. It was there he met Vanessa, who would become his wife and join him in working with the Mixteco tribal people of Mexico.

Looking to the Day

Though many of the Mixteco people speak varying levels of Spanish, their comprehension falters at clearly understanding spiritual truths. This leads to much confusion about the God of the Bible.

That’s where NTM’s missionary training came in. Ramon and Vanessa were taught, not only spiritual truths and how to make those truths clear across cultural differences, but practical steps in learning language and culture where no lessons exist.

Pray for Ramon and Vanessa as they continue to learn the Mixteco language and culture, looking to the day when they can teach the Mixteco people chronologically through God’s Word, opening their eyes to the truths from God’s Word — just like Ramon’s were.

But the Mixteco aren’t the only people group to be reached. More labourers are needed. Yet NTM’s Mexico City Bible Institute, which is the first step in NTM’s missionary training, is so small that it can only train 25 students at a time. A property has been found that would allow the school to expand. This is an exciting possibility. Could you pray for the funds needed to purchase it and renovate the buildings?

Ameilia's dad wasn't there

A Familiar Story

The story he was reading was remarkable. It was about a young girl whose life, by all accounts, shouldn’t have amounted to much --- but for God.

Raised by her mother in a poverty-stricken neighbourhood in Mexico, the young girl saw firsthand how the drug trade destroyed lives and tore families apart. She knew the pain of an absentee father whose criminal activities landed him in prison time and time again. She watched her mother juggle multiple jobs as sole provider for the family. And then her mother died.

It started to sound all too familiar.

Pride and Pain

He looked across the room at his daughter, Amelia. Though her name was not on the book, he knew it was about her. And him.

She was the young girl who said yes to God and missions. He was the absentee father who spent much of her childhood behind bars.

The story ended with his daughter serving God as a missionary --- and him back in prison.

“It’s such a sad story,” he told Amelia. “It doesn’t tell the rest of the story. … Please, have them tell the rest of the story.”
 

“IT’S SUCH A SAD STORY. … PLEASE, HAVE THEM TELL THE REST OF THE STORY.”

The Rest of the Story

As we sat in Amelia’s living room in a neighbourhood near the Triqui people, she told me the rest of the story.

Some time after her father was out of prison again, Amelia’s little sister, Gabi, joined him in Tijuana for six months.

“She always had the heart of an evangelist,” Amelia said. “And during that stay, she shared the chronological Bible lessons with our dad and he got saved.” A big smile crossed Amelia’s face. “From that time on he has been a faithful follower of Christ. His friends cannot believe how much he’s changed.”

And at times, neither can Amelia’s dad. He knows that this story could have ended much differently --- but for God.

Amelia said yes to God and today is translating Scripture into the language of the Triqui people of Mexico. Could you pray for Amelia today?

A Form of Religion Without the Relationship

Exposure

Miguel Peña didn’t start out to be a missionary. As a chemical engineer, he worked for 15 years for a private company. During those years, he was exposed time and time again to missions through his church. Little did he know that God was preparing him to be a missionary in his home country of Mexico.

Mixed Beliefs

But God was. He was preparing Miguel to work among the Triqui people of San Quintín, Baja California, Mexico.  After moving in among the Triqui people, gaining fluency in their language, and developing relationships with the people, it became clear that syncretism was a huge problem among the Triqui.

“They’ve mixed their animistic beliefs with ... Christianity,” Miguel said.

He explained how they worship the sun and make sacrifices to the rain god so that it will rain. And when someone dies, they put clothing, money and other items in the coffin to be used on their long journey. They never say where that journey will take them because they really don’t know. They have no security of what eternity holds.

On the other hand, some believe they are Christians simply because they go to church, while many are baptized for the material gain of new clothing, food and other gifts that are offered by “churches” competing for their membership. Others attend services, praying and applauding with no real understanding.

They have a form of religion with no real relationship with their Creator.
 

"THEY’VE MIXED THEIR ANIMISTIC BELIEFS WITH ... CHRISTIANITY. ... SEEING THIS REALITY MOTIVATES ME AS I TRANSLATE ... SO THAT THEY CAN HEAR THE GOSPEL IN A WAY THAT’S UNDERSTANDABLE TO THEM."

 

Motivation

“Seeing this reality motivates me as I translate and prepare chronological Bible lessons so that they can hear the gospel in a way that’s understandable to them in their own language and culture,” Miguel says. “It’s hard work, but God helps me.”

The first 30 lessons are ready to be checked and then revised. Miguel, along with the his co-workers Amelia Orrostieta and Gricelda Villalba, is looking to the day when teaching will begin and the Triqui people will have their eyes opened to the truths of God’s Word.

The Church is not the Steeple

The Church Is not the Steeple

What does a tribal church look like? Does it have a steeple? A cross hanging at the front of the church? A fancy pulpit? Most likely not. It may have a palm roof, dirt floors and benches made from rough-hewn lumber. But does that make it any less a church? Not at all. And the truth of it is, the church isn’t the building, but the people.

"WHAT A DAY IT IS WHEN A CHURCH PLANTER MOVES FROM HAND-FEEDING SPIRITUAL BABES TO SITTING UNDER THE TEACHING OF MATURE BELIEVERS WHO ARE SHEPHERDING THE TRIBAL CHURCH."


Infancy to Maturity

And it is that precious group of new believers that church planters wrap their spiritual arms around. They feed them from the Word, nurture them, and equip them to lead the church.

What a day it is when a church planter moves from hand-feeding spiritual babes to sitting under the teaching of mature believers who are shepherding the tribal church.

Mark and Joyce Cain know that feeling.

And it only gets better.

Multiplication

In 2013, Mark and Joyce rejoiced when Guahibo believers baptized 17 new believers. And in 2105, they are rejoicing again.

“This morning we got word that through [the Guahibo church’s] ministry of evangelization in another village … they baptized 30 new believers,” Mark and Joyce wrote. “Wow! God is using them for His glory.”

That is the end-result of equipping leaders to lead. Pray for the Guahibo church to continue reaching out to the unreached.