What is your most favorite form of travel? Some people just love road trips in their car, windows down, music playing and wind blowing through their hair. Others think that a plane is the way to go. Get on, sit back and read or listen to your music, maybe watch a movie and suddenly – you’re at your destination. Some folks love the adventure of a train and the gentle rocking motion, the restful pace and getting to watch the countryside as it rolls past. But very few of us would choose a noisy, dirty, hot, crowded and uncomfortable bus to do most of our travel for work or pleasure.
Marta Perez is one of our missionaries who serve in the small country of Belize. Belize is a small country with roots going back to the colonial era of Britain and is now a commonwealth of Great Britain. The official language is English but there are many Spanish speakers and also a local language that is a kind of English based Creole. Marta and the rest of her team work with children and teens throughout the country in teaching Bible clubs, hosting youth events, doing special programs in schools and having summer camp. It is a valuable ministry and has far reaching impact.
When we read the Scriptures it is easy to see that God has a great sense of justice (after all, He is absolutely Just) and has a desire for His people to also have a true heart of justice. Often in our world exhibit justice includes caring for the needs of those who are in hard circumstances of life. Either they have experienced loss of some kind; they are displaced or maybe have great needs in regards to health and care for their families. In Deuteronomy 10:18-19 God says, “He defends the cause of the fatherless and the widow, and loves the foreigner residing among you, giving them food and clothing. And you are to love those who are foreigners, for you yourselves were foreigners in Egypt.” In Isaiah 58: 6-7; 10-11 He says “Is not this the kind of fasting I have chosen; to loose the chains of injustice and untie the cords of the yoke……. Is it not to share your food with the hungry and to provide the poor wanderers with shelter – when you see the naked to clothe him, and not to turn away from your own flesh and blood?... and if you spend yourselves on behalf of the hungry and satisfy the needs of the oppressed, then your light will rise in darkness, and your night will become like the noonday. The Lord will guide you always; he will satisfy your needs in a sun-scorched land and will strengthen your frame.”
We are all to have this sense of justice and care, I believe, but there are times that God puts this kind of heart and compassion on certain people to go and make a difference in certain places of the world that have great needs and who need to hear of the great love and compassion of God as well as to have their physical needs met.
Aubrey McQuade is one of these special servants of the Lord. Aubrey spent the first 13 years of her life here at FCC and then moved away with her family to the mid-west. While she was here she already felt like she had a strong calling from God to be involved in missions work and over the years the Lord has strengthened and confirmed that calling. She did her student reaching in Bangladesh at William Carey Academy and then taught missionary children at Memorial hospital in Bangladesh for a year. She returned home to finish her schooling and accreditation and is now ready to head to the next place God is calling her, the island of Lesvos Greece.
Moving hearts, changing lives
Nick and Anne Vanwingerden serve as missionaries in the country of France. They are involved in a vibrant student ministry in Grenoble and are seeking to begin a church on the east side of the city. There are permits and permissions and zoning issues to be resolved. The issue becomes even stickier because the mayor of the town is strongly communist and has actively opposed anything of a religious nature coming into town.
The group of believer’s who are starting the church found a property they could rent but needed to go before the mayor’s office with the proposal. Nick was worries about what might happen. You might remember this story from The Common Life Book, week 9, Five Faith Stories, Nov. 11-17.
The Continuing Story
People all over the world have been praying and God did some amazing things in the heart of the authorities there in Grenoble. Nick went with the president of their church association, Christian Lenne, to meet with the deputy mayor and the head of the urban planning service on October 9, 2018.
Here is what happened in Nick’s own words.
Harold Ebersole's Story
Harold Ebersole has worked for years in Bangladesh as one of our church's global partners. Much of his work there is as a Hospital Administrator, serving to meet the practical needs of the people while also pointing them towards the love and hope of Christ. Recently Harold returned home to NJ for a furlough, but was instead met with a surprise diagnosis. The video below tells his story of faith amidst suffering.
Below is a longer version of his story, with some additional things God has been teaching him through this time.