Posts in "Global Outreach"
Czech Republic Team Update #2
Update from Justin Schroeder for the Czech Team:

I honestly don't know how to even put this week into words. I'm absolutely overwhelmed at what God has done here. So I'll try to break it down a bit.

-Camp starts--always a bit of awkwardness, as is the usual, but I agree with Annie who said "it was the most un-awkward Awkward Day I've ever had." The team instantly began meshing with the students, making them feel at home, and getting to know each other real quick. It's always a puzzle as to how to divide students into class (you want a good balance--everyone being assigned to an appropriate level but also to a proper proportion of team member/students),  but after testing the English, the classes seemed to just divide themselves perfectly!

-Camp continues--English classes run smoothly, the Americans have come well-prepared and are KILLING IT with their lessons! Students are learning, and over the course of the week have become more open, comfortable, and downright crazy enough to participate in our American shenanigans, and each day I hear more and more laughter echoing through this campsite in the morning. Good stuff.

-Discussion groups-- They are never easy at first, but each class has had moments of students opening up, asking questions about Jesus, and realizing things they never knew before. The classes have become like families, and each has its own environment of trust and security, and this opens many doors for healthy discussions about Christ! This week we've talked about Peter-- his relationship with Jesus has been SO  interesting-- the way he wrestles with faith, disappointment, friendship, rejection, betrayal, forgiveness, restoration. It's so human. It has enabled a way to paint perfectly a picture of God's grace and how the Gospel has the power to change lives.

And it does.

I wrote a couple days ago saying that yesterday was Gospel day. I tell ya, it started as a frenzy... so much going on beginning right at 7am. Lots of things to set up, general camp-ness to run (including a sushi workshop, aw yeah!), meetings and practices and this, that, everything. But when we got to evening program, everything just ran so smoothly! The campers were engaged, the Gospel message was preached uninterrupted, and when we did the labyrinth- students spent longer in there than I've ever seen before! Many came out crying or wanting to talk to someone.. We had a tea room set up and team members (Czech and American) sat, talked, and prayed with many of the students. Lots had questions, many wanted to know more about this God and how they could have a relationship, and others who previously were unsure where they stood wanted to just sell all out for Christ.

We don't do altar calls here. I don't know if anyone was saved last night. To be honest, I think I've only been to two or three camps (of 8) where someone made the decision AT camp. But isn't that cool in a way? We don't go for that emotional, "camp high" vibe. We're talking to a culture that really contemplates things, that really takes spirituality seriously, and who want to truly choose for themselves if they want to follow Him--and this choice really is life or death for them. And to tell the truth, the results of such a mindset are so much more deep, more evident, and more meaningful than a lot of what we see in the States. I think we as Americans have something to learn from them.
 Much of the fruit will come after camp, maybe December, may March, maybe in 2017. But I tell you, it happens. Last night was an incredible start for so many, and amazing progress for others. I've yet to hear from many of the conversations that were had, but I already heard that several students prayed for the very first time, cried out to God asking Him to show Himself to them. (I was just informed several students committed to start reading the Bible, some describing a total life change, and much more) I am 100% confident that much Kingdom change for the Czech Republic is going to come from this week alone, praise God for that!!

So, long story short: Gospel night = huge success. So, much to be praising God for, and praying that the seeds that were planted will bear much fruit in the coming years!

And it doesn't stop here! We've yet one more night, one last discussion group with students, and then FOLLOW UP! We get to go back to their town, where we work to get everyone plugged into this local church and youth group, and the camp will continue all year long.

This hasn't all been one cake walk. We're tired. Very tired. Sam got sick for a bit but champed through it like a.. well like a champ! There are days where literally nothing goes the way we had planned it that morning, but  one of the first rule of missions: Be adaptable. If you get upset when things don't go the way YOU planned, well you're in the wrong business--God has His own plans and it's by this faith that we operate! And when the curve balls come our way, the team, and I mean the WHOLE team, has handled them with such grace and flexibility that the camp has been able to run so smoothly.


Speaking of camp running smoothly, I can't tell you all enough how thankful I am for the team we have. I honestly can say I've never seen a better crew of Americans out here. I'm dead serious about that. I'm not the only one either, the Czechs have been blown away, and a couple of our JV bosses came to visit yesterday and said the same. The way they're willing to do anything necessary, the way they reach out to students and build relationships even when they're so tired... the way they go with the flow and bring the energy and the fun that supercharges this camp, or just the boldness to share Christ in any circumstance... it's crazy! Exceeding expectations of all sorts. And the Czechs, oh the Czechs, the same can be said for them too! Such a solid group of young adults stepping up in faith to lead. Amongst the leaders, we've done many camps before, and we agree this one has been one of, if not the most, solid camps we ever saw.


Personal note: who would've thunk it; speaking at night has been so much fun!! I had no idea!! What was I so scared about?? So yeah, thank the Lord that actually turned out pretty well. It was seriously a blast, and most of that was because my translator Paja (pronounced Pie-uh.. umm.. yeah phonetics make that look silly..)  was so awesome. After the second night, we both were so surprised at how much joy speaking together gave us! Thank you all for your prayers for that!


Please be praying for the team as we move on to follow up- for the last-chance conversations, for those students who won't be at follow up, and for connections to be made between the Americans and their host families. Some will be going to the homes of students, others to the Czech team, and a few of us will stay with the leaders. Pray for a fruitful time as we minister to these guys from right where they live! It's gonna be awesoooommmme!!!!!

Please continue to pray for health and safety of the team. Camp may be over, but there is much craziness yet to come.


So, English Camp 2013: success. Beyond words.

Thank you all for taking part in this ministry through your prayers-- and keep them up, we're not done yet!

update: between the time I started this email (this morning), and the time I completed it (tonight), one student has decided to give her life to Christ. Whoa!

Pension pod Vlekem, our amazing camp location! Pray for the owner, Ivo. He's been so awesome to us, and has even been listening in on the talks at night
Craft time!

Tea time...


Prayer for "Gospel Night" and Czech Mission Team
Here is a prayer request/update from the Czech Republic Mission Team:

I plan to send a nice big update tomorrow, full of adventures and stories and general camp greatness, but due to time zones and schedules and who knows what else, I wanted to ask you all to start praying for tomorrow. I know you're all only digesting lunch, but at this very moment most groups are still in discussion, and then we're off to bed. 

Nay, we're off to hide in a dark forest, and then off to bed.

Anyways, tomorrow is a big day. This whole week we've been talking about Jesus and Peter, laying a foundation for presenting the Gospel, and tomorrow is what this all builds up to--Gospel night. The talk will be where the Gospel is presented in full, but instead of "alter call" type stuff, the students go through a "labyrinth", basically a station-by-station breakdown on the things learned this week, allowing for them to process and internalize on their own (this is a much better approach with the Czech culture). 

Anyways, start praying now, if you would. Many students are asking questions! Last night, I talked for a couple hours with the hotel owner who has been listening in on the night talks. Others are hearing these things for the very first time. All these students (or hotel staff) need prayer. Tomorrow is just a big day in general--lots going on (including the big setup of this labyrinth), so that's why I write to you all now. 

God has been SO good to us this week, and I'm so so excited to tell you more! For now, I must go hide in a forest. You know how camp goes.
Czech Mission Team Update #1
Getting over jet lag together...
 Hello Family and Friends!!!

In just a few hours, we'll be meeting our English Camp students! Ahhh!!! The past several days have been absolutely crazy and awesome, and as we are already nonstop hard at work, I'll need to keep this brief. The Lord has already demonstrated His power and love to us in so many ways, I could go on and on and on and on and on and on.   BUT if I make a habit of details, the camp updates will be novels, and ain't nobody got time for that. Just know that He has carried us so wonderfully, and continue to pray for His hand over us.

First of all, we're all safe! The journey was long and exhausting, but we didn't miss any connections (and the metal in Arthur's leg didn't land us in interrogation rooms--Huzzah!!) This bunch are natural world travelers I tell you!

With 11 people traveling across the world, it seems near impossible that the entire operation can go off without a hitch. WELL, you should all be pleased to hear that only one bag..... made it.

Don't you fret now, the other 10 of us were just fine surviving the 24+ hours without our bags. The team was prepared with necessary carry-on essentials, and it's not like deodorant is a staple in Europe anyways. Our bags all arrived safely to our facility the next night and there was hardly a complaint or panic the entire wait!

So we landed in Prague and met up with the rest of our team! Annie and Jessica from Pennsylvania, and Rachel from Peoria, IL. For the first time, the 14 of us were all together! I had no idea the team could look this massive. It rocks.

We also met our Czech leadership from the Prague church (in case you didn't hear, we're working directly with Prague, and in case you didn't know, that's awesome.) They are some of the nicest, most genuine, organized, and passionate people I've had the grace of working with. For all of us, this is our first times in these roles, so we're enjoying working and learning together.

We stayed in the castle on the far left!
American team training took place in this wonderful location called Brejlov. This was three days for all the Americans doing camps in Bohemia (that's Western Czech, folks. About 150 Americans just for this half of the country!) to have a concentrated time of preparation- spiritually, culturally, English-lesson-teaching-y, sharing the Gospel, our stories, and everything else in between--like getting over jet lag, growing as a team, and spending time in peace to connect with God and refocus our hearts after the chaos of travel.. and before more chaos of camp. It was also a time where we could hear from the Czechs--the mostly-young men and women who are the current and future spiritual leaders of this nation. To step out in leadership is not a common thing here, but it's happening more rapidly than ever, and JV seeks to invest in the lives of these individuals, realizing there's only so much the Americans can do (after all, how much is two weeks compared to an entire year?)


On a personal note, training was a such a precious time to reconnect with dear friends from all over the globe--JV missionaries, Czechs from past camps, former interns, the whole package. It brings such joy to my heart to see these people I love, to be back in a place I cherish so deeply.. and the best part is that for the first time like, ever, my friends came with me and I get to show all of it to them!! They haven't even seen the good stuff yet, and already God's movement in Eastern Europe is making itself so evident and penetrating the hearts of the Americans and Czechs alike. 


Preparing for camp with Czech leaders
Training was good stuff. Great stuff. A fantastic time to hang out and plan camp with our Czech leaders, to explore the magical forests (they filmed the Narnia forest scenes here, so that was no hyperbole), to climb castle ruins and old towers, and to be trained in all the little ins and outs that will ultimately make the sharing of the Gospel more effective in this culture.

We traveled by bus to our camp facility-- it is PRIME! Great location, great setup, and, wait for it-- the most friendly and helpful owners/hosts I've ever worked with. If you know anything about dealing with Czech hotel management and things like this, you know that even "somewhat nice" is just.. oh man.. just a huge blessing.

We've been setting the place up, preparing lessons, praying over every classroom, bedroom, outside room (use your imagination), everything and anything as we get ready. 

PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE keep praying for us! Camp is about to start--this is the reason we're here!

PRAYER REQUESTS
-Health and safety. Such a cliche thing to say, I know. Don't care. 
We need prayer on this. We're about to be stretched out thinner than ever, but require the strength not only to survive each day, but to thrive in ministry and relationships with these students. 

-Protection. This is a safe place (calm down mothers), but spiritually it is dark battleground. This is the time where attack will come relentlessly.

-Camp! It's about to start! Pray that we will connect fast with the students-- here we have a team who has prepared for a long time, but this still doesn't stop the nerves-- teaching English, discussion groups, sports.. all of it with a different culture makes this an entirely new experience. Pray everything runs smoothly, that this camp will be one of the best weeks of these students' lives and that God will use it to bring many to Him.

Everyone's having a blast. On the next update, I'll likely have some more personal requests from the individual members. For myself, this is the first year in this role (no intern help this time!) All logistic things are going well, but I'm still nervous as heck for evening program.. lots of moving parts to this, and hiccups tend to serve as big distractions. I've never done the talks before this year, and tonight will be the first go. They're all written out, so that's nice, but please pray that these talks will be communicated clearly and effectively, for my translator, Paja, that she will also communicate these truths and that the students will listen. For me, this is where I feel most anxious.


Rachel and Annie are our only English Camp veterans on the team. They, as well as some key JV people say (and I agree) how impressed they are with this team. Honestly, these guys are one of the most well-oiled American machines I've seen out here. All are working so hard, and you would think they've done a million of these camps before! It's incredible! So please pray that this would continue, because we know it's by His grace that this team has even made it this far!


We are pumped!

Justin for the Team

Prayer for Missions
Several months ago Agnes Spidal gave me an article from E.M. Bounds about the role of prayer in missions.  I remember reading it and being convicted.  Then the article sat on my desk under a pile until last week when I cleaned off my desk.  This simple article, convicted me again and I knew I needed to share it with others.  I brought it to our Global Outreach Committee meeting last week and it encouraged us to be in prayer that the Lord would send laborers into His harvest field from New Life Church.  If you would like to read some of Bounds' stuff on prayer you can click here.  The chapter on prayer in missions is chapter 13.  You can click on it on the left side of the page.

For now, I'll just give you a few quotes that really inspired me:

The Spirit of Jesus Christ is the spirit of missions. Our Lord Jesus Christ was Himself the first missionary. His promise and advent composed the first missionary movement. The missionary spirit is not simply a phase of the Gospel, not a mere feature of the plan of salvation, but is its very spirit and life. The missionary movement is the Church of Jesus Christ marching in militant array, with the design of possessing the whole world of mankind for Christ. Whoever is touched by the Spirit of God is fired by the missionary spirit.

The key of all missionary success is prayer. That key is in the hands of the home churches. The trophies won by our Lord in heathen lands will be won by praying missionaries, not by professional workers in foreign lands. More especially will this success be won by saintly praying in the churches at home. The home church on her knees fasting and praying, is the great base of spiritual supplies, the sinews of war, and the pledge of victory in this dire and final conflict. Financial resources are
not the real sinews of war in this fight. Machinery in itself carries no power to break down heathen walls, open effectual doors and win heathen hearts to Christ. Prayer alone can do the deed.


Is the harvest great? Are the labourers few? Then “pray ye the Lord of the harvest to send forth labourers into his harvest.” Oh, that a great wave of prayer would sweep over the Church asking God to send out a great army of labourers into the needy harvest fields of the earth!
Want to Serve Missionary Kids?

Tim and Wendy Tutty are hosting a Black Forest Academy (BFA) "Information Hour" on Monday, August 13 from 6:30 - 7:30 p.m. at 6131 Barclay Street in West Linn. If you are interested in missions, or if you are in a ministry pointing others toward missions, please come! Eric and Lynette Sturgis, missionaries to BFA, will discuss how anyone can serve there. Childcare is provided. If you plan to attend the shared meal, arrive at 5:30 p.m. and bring a potluck dish.

Eric & Lynette Sturgis: Serving at Black Forest Academy in Germany introduce themselves:

Our heart for missions began in our younger years while growing up, largely because of exposure to missionaries at church and in our homes. In 2003, God strategically laid Black Forest Academy on our hearts. One of our former youth leaders shared about the ministry of BFA and challenged us to "check it out." The seed was planted and over the next few years God continued to prompt us to pursue coming here to serve Him.

As of 2010, we have been serving missionary students and families at BFA - Eric as a guidance counselor and Lynette as a school nurse. Eric helps students transition in and out of BFA. The Guidance Office staff also monitors graduation requirements and guides students as they explore their next steps. The nurses care for the physical, emotional and spiritual needs of the students, as well as injuries and advising the dorm parents when needed. We are so grateful to be able to use the experience and skills that the Lord has given us to serve in this capacity.

Black Forest Academy is a wonderful place to use God given skills to serve missionary families and students. There is a need for elementary teachers, secondary teachers, support staff, guidance counselors, counselors, dorm parents, resident assistants, maintenance workers, business office staff and personnel staff. There is a place for everyone! You can check out details at teachbeyond.org or bfacademy.com. Come join us in this vital ministry, serving missionary kids and reaching the ends of the earth with the Gospel through education. Please feel free to contact us if you have questions at esturgis@teachbeyond.org.



Czech Republic Mission Trip Update
The following update came from Justin Schroeder who was on a mission trip with Karen Hellweg and several others from the Portland area. They were in the Czech Republic serving in an English Camp with Josiah Venture.

Camp was amazing! Such a great week, despite the illness. Zach and Caro were the only ones of our team to make it through the week without vomiting. Gracey and Sean, fortunately, got much better as quickly as they became sick, and were up and running within hours. I was #26 to come down with the vomiting/fever bug on the very last night of camp, which meant I spent the last night (which are always epic) laying in bed. I believe about 36 people total had the virus during camp.

The thing is, though, that none of that stopped the energy of camp, and it was probably meant to be. No one was sent home, and those who weren't sick were full of life and energy that made this one of the sweetest camps ever. We had a super fun and crazy time, and got to make some great friends with the students there. At the end of the week, many had intense spiritual conversations with the Czech youth group members, and one girl accepted Christ right there at camp!

After camp was follow-up. Half the team went to Trebic, and a few of us went to Jihlova (YEE-hlo-va), the other town involved with the camp. It was a great chance to hang out with the students in their element, to relax and adventure as peers and to get those who had formerly not seen the local youth group a really good intro/plug-in to their respective churches. I think most of our team found the follow-up to be the most precious time of the whole trip.

After we said goodbye, we went to Prague! The last couple days were spent in the chaos of this beautiful city. First was the debrief, where Nate and Rob (of JV) essentially commissioned us BACK to carry on the spreading of the gospel in the places we live, not just for a couple emotional weeks in a foreign country. After debrief, we walked, shopped, toured, got lost, hit up all the major must-see points, got lost, and had a great time bonding as a team one last time. It was a magical time but also I'm still sore from all the walking.

I am so so extremely proud of this team and everything they accomplished this past week. It was truly incredible to see the way God worked through each member in a unique and powerful way. Not only did many people in various leadership roles express how impressed they were, but the students took to these Americans in a rich and beautiful manner.

So Gracey and Karen made it home safely to Portland! I immediately began the whole process over with another team and am back in eastern Czech ready to start camp tomorrow. Well sort of ready. Mostly just exhausted. And Caro, Zach and Sean are on a plane back to America as we speak!

Side note: as I am here at this new training, I'm seeing SO many people I've met in the past and have been catching up right and left with all sorts of individuals from all different towns and places in the country I've worked with. It is incredible to hear stories of people I knew back in those towns who have become Christians or are growing in their faith, leadership, and lives from the catalyzing effect camp had on them. Often times our job here is only planting a seed, but four years in and I can personally testify that God is bearing TONS of fruit in this country.

Ok back to the not-side-note. The middle note, if you will. Or whatever:

So thank you for helping make this journey possible through your prayers and loving support of each member. Please pray that the Denver team makes it home safely. Also please pray for each of these Americans, that this experience will not be lost in their personal lives and walks and that their growth will be evident from this point forward. Finally, pray for all the students, Christian and non-Christian alike, that God will continue his powerful movement through this atheistic nation, and that His light will once again shine from the Czech Republic.

God bless.

Peace, Love, and Kouzelné Hroch,

-Justin

Travis AFB Mission Team Report and Dessert

Hello faithful prayer and financial supporters,

We are so thankful for all of your support in prayer and finances for the Travis Air Force Base Mission Team! Our team would like to share with you some of what God did on the trip. Would you join us at The Pylate’s home (2590 Oxford Street, West Linn) for Strawberry Shortcake and a time of sharing on Friday July 13th at 7:00 PM?

Please RSVP to let us know you are coming so we will make enough shortcake!

Thanks,

Pastor Nathan for the Travis AFB Mission Team

Travis Team in the Paper!
The Travis Air Force Base Mission Team from New Life Church came home last weekend, but not before their work and the work of the Travis Hospitality House made it into the newspaper. You can check out the article in the Fairfield, CA Daily Republic by clicking here.

The article gives a great testimony to the work of Sandy and Sue Nafziger and the ministry of the Hospitality House to airmen at Travis Air Force base. The two airmen whose stories are featured in the article became our good friends while we were there. It is so cool to see the work God is doing in changing lives through the gospel of Jesus Christ!
Utah Mission Trip Update
The Utah Team is back, but here is the update from the last few days of their trip:

"Introverts make the best of friends because the social people are all about themselves"--Andrew Madsen

No sooner had the words left my mouth than I realized that I was testifying about myself; part of my big problem is self-glorification. Though Milton Vincent hits the nail on the head in his book, A Gospel Primer, when he writes:

"Compared to greater endeavors, self-love is mundane and tiresome. Consequently, the more thoroughly I can be done with such tedium, the freer my soul will be to soar at its God-intended heights."

Oh how this breathes so much truth in my own life. Here am I, broken by my sins before you and before God, more joyful than I have ever been. Because the lights turned on and I realized everyone was crying, so I stopped pretending i wasn't. God exposed me of my sin and I looked around to see us all broken--how beautiful. Simply the fact that God knew my wicked ways when he formed me but did it anyways... agape.

So instead of trying to love myself all of the time--God has helped refocus my all on Him. Instead of trying to be perfect enough to share Him with the world--I stand before you lavished with grace only wishing to give to others what has been given to me. And instead of worrying about what has yet to come--I am so in Love with the Lord our God.

Yesterday was our final day of Sports Camp. God demonstrated to us all how mighty he is as some of the rowdiest kids at the camp on Monday were the same ones asking how they could make Jesus the king of their hearts. He had taken some of the most selfish children at the camp and conquered their hearts with his love. Among all of the joyous stories was one of Jordan. His dad is the campus pastor at Alpine Church: Layton and his head was already full of the Gospel story; so when he asked me to pray with him I thought, awesome! perhaps he wants to pray for his fellow huddle-members or is learning more. It had not occurred to me that he was asking me to pray with him for his salvation. I opened the prayer and thanked The Lord for him and how much of a blessing it was to have him in my group, then he prayed silently to himself. When he said amen he told me of how he had thanked God for his loving family, for the Sports Camp, and all of the fun he had been having. But even more so how he thanked God for being a Big God and that his own problem wasn't too much for God to handle. When I heard this I rejoiced that an 8 year old was learning more about his faith. Little did I know that he also asked God to forgive him and be his King... I thought that that had already occurred. It wasn't until we went to the Layton campus last night for a worship service, and the pastor told us all--with true joy glowing-- that his son had accepted the Lord that day at Sports Camp. He told the congregation that Jordan was soooo excited when he got home to tell his dad that he wanted King Jesus to be the Lord of his life. I was struck by this with even more joy than before knowing that Jordan had come to faith; I couldn't hold back my tears--it was beautiful. Seeing how God worked even in my ignorance, my assumption was destroyed and my heart was filled.

I could hardly call my lack of current self-love loss, but instead liberating, to simply know that I don't have to waste my time building myself up for I stand on the Solid Rock. Now freed from such a burden I can spend my time praising and worshiping and glorifying and sharing the love of God. I am eager to see all of you soon and hear of how God is working in your life also but until that day...

Listen for Him

-Andrew Madsen

Travis Air Force Base Mission Trip Report #2
The last few days have been a whirlwind of activity. On Tuesday we went over to San Francisco to visit Nate Hanson and see his ministry at San Francisco City Impact. You can check out his ministry to people in the city by clicking here. It was really neat to get to experience the work Nate does there in the adopt a building program.

We have been very busy with helping in VBS, serving food, painting at the Hospitality House, and spending time with airmen. Each night we have team devotions where we pray together and encourage each other from the scriptures. God has been faithful to answer our prayers.

Please be in prayer for our team today as this is the last day of VBS, our last day of painting, and the end of our time with the airmen. Pray for God to open doors for sharing the gospel. Pray for Mark Maricle as he speaks at the Hospitality House tonight. Pray for us to have servant hearts that loves kids, airmen, and each other.