Tuesday, July 22, 2008

The teams start arriving in Dallas tomorrow night for a few days of debriefing. I’m looking forward to attending – actually, I can hardly wait! Not only do I get to see Brent again and my daughter Whitney, who now lives in the Dallas area, but I get to hear all the wonderful God stories! As I read the Awe Star trip updates this morning, I am amazed and thankful and I’m rejoicing! in all the amazing things God did through the teams. Through many students’ obedience came abundant blessings and many additions to the kingdom, and in some cases, it was no small task. Sunday, our minister to children spoke so eloquently on the principal of blessing follows obedience. We don’t need to pray for blessing, we need to pray to be obedient. So true.

I’m including excerpts from the Awe Star website of the other teams today. Actually, the Chile update is written by Ken Bowie, our missionary contact there. He even makes a list of all the places Awe Star presented the drama. Barbara Ann and Kenny led this team.

Chile: God used the 2006 Awe Star team to crack open many doors that we who have the privilege of working and living in Chile have been walking through ever since.

God has used the 2008 Awe Star team to blow those doors wide open this year and helped us to enter in to many other areas that it might have taken us years to enter without their help!

As you can see by the list below, [see website] over 17,000 people have heard the Good News of the Freedom that our Lord offers us through His son, Jesus Christ. We now have the oportunity to minister to students, parents, teachers, school administrators, community leaders and a host of people throughout those same communites. I do not have the totals regarding all of the decisión cards to date. Many of those cards are in the hands of pastors and church leaders. But I estímate that nearly 80 people have accepted Christ as Lord and Savior as a result of Awe Star’s ministry in Chile this year. I know that might not sound like impressive numbers considering that the message was presented to over 17,000 individuals in just less than 30 days. But 17,000 + seeds have been sown and nearly 80 have already sprouted and are begining to grow. That is 17,000 + more people who have heard the message that alone our churches would not have reached this year with our best efforts and that is nearly 80 people who now know Jesus in a personal way that may have never know Him but for the special presentation of the drama in schools, universities, parks, plazas, municipal auditóriums and prisons.

Phil and Emily led the N. Africa team and they had some unusual hardships. Many times they had to find their own ministry and it sounds like they did indeed. Remember the N. Africa and S. Asia teams have to be creative with the language they use, since they are in closed countries.

N Africa: Today, the team went hunting again at the mall (meeting up with some of the aforementioned friends) and had some great conversations with people from the city. They have developed positive relationships with many people here and have been blessed to see the boss work. It has been a joy to see some of them break out of their shells and ask questions like, “Where can I find a good cup of coffee?” to begin conversations with people. The work that they do with each other has blown me away. I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again: This team has risen to the occasion. They are the best team I have ever been a part of, and have endured so long for the sake of the boss. I am thankful for and proud of each and every one of them.

While the team was at the mall with the TDs, [Team Directors] Emily and I took a little trip to an island in the river. Here, we met with a shepherd who works with Sudanese refugees. He has asked us to join him in his work on Monday! They provide relief for the oppressed who seek refuge here and teach them to become self reliant by teaching them skills and trades as well as literacy. We will get to teach English courses and serve in a medical clinic while working with them. I cannot wait for this opportunity and to see all that the boss does through it. It is a very significant task, one that I am humbled to be a part of.

Katie and David lead the S. Asia team. Their own plans got thrown out the window many times and they were redirected again and again to what God had for them.

S. Asia: Wow! So many great things have been happening here as of late. The plans that we have never seem to be the ones that He has for us. Coming here with the expectation of doing our camps, we have been more than excited about His intervention in shutting down our goals in order that His great plans would become a realization. We have moved from tutoring in the two-hour afternoon remedial classes and forming small relationships with students to full days assistant teaching in the school and strong bonds with both students and the teaching staff at Hamad school. Consistently, we have been in awe of the obvious and powerful ways He has answered our sreyarp for His glory to be shown and His will to be done.

As our favor on this island has increased, so have the stories and interactions. The last few days have been an incredible whirlwind. The more we have had opportunity to help in the classrooms at Hamad school, the closer we have drawn to the teachers. Our student friends find it “weird” that we spend so much time with their teachers, but we have continued to learn how to balance it. In the last four days, we have had two different scheduled soccer games (Americans vs. Hamad teachers), numerous small setting tea dates, three different meals with a large majority of the school class, and yesterday, an all-day beach picnic with thirty teachers! The soccer games were incredibly challenging as a few of them were pretty good at the sport, but in the end, it was these games that really opened the door to deeper relationships with the teachers. We have discovered that some of the foreign teachers are actually in the Family. Here, the teachers must be at the school by 6:45 am and often don’t leave until the late evening hours. They are not respected in the classrooms and in their own words, often do not have the time to “enjoy themselves and play.” The sarcastic ribbing, good-natured competition, and laughing during the games were exactly what He called us to do to show Him to them. After the games, the teachers taught us to play a game similar to American dodge ball. That was…well…quite funny to watch. It was yet another opportunity to show our joy in Him. Afterwards, one teacher pulled Colin aside and asked him, “Why do you always seem so joyful.” Colin was able to tell him why.

I’m so proud of our leaders. They did an incredible job of leading and updating and taking pictures and dealing with the challenges and many tasks that were asked of them. It was a joy to pray for them and see our prayers make such a difference. Prayer is the backbone of any ministry, it is the backbone of any individual’s walk, so thank you for joining us in praying!

May their stories encourage you today to go out and make a difference wherever you are!



At 7:39 PM, Blogger Marti Pieper said...

I love the stories, too. Someone should make them into a book someday!

And I'm proud of you for holding down the home (and blog) fort with such a great attitude. You know our prayers are joining yours as you welcome home the picture king and all the members of all the teams. I know He must be SHOUTING, "Well done, my good and faithful servants, well done!"

with tender love
and prayers in pink,


At 11:58 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

i read the book it was very well writen and it enspirded me thans :D


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