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Mandy Schmidt

Update #4 – South Asia

By | South Asia

Hi friends and family!!

It’s Kayla today! Saturday, we started the day with a large group meeting with all of the volunteers and long term field workers in our tiny little flat. It was amazing to be able to worship, pray and celebrate the things the Lord is doing with a group so devoted to serving this city. We praised God for so many opportunities to share the Gospel and the fruit that is coming from those opportunities already.

The second half of the day was spent around different parts of the city sharing with the people that we found. My group today (Hugo & Ashli) found several people to talk to in a shopping and park area of town. I talked to a few different Muslim women and was able to share with them and have conversations about the differences between Christianity and Islam. Pray that Jesus would continue to work in their hearts and bring them to Him since they had never heard the full story of Jesus before that day.
That night, we experienced South Asian monsoon in full! My group was in a rickshaw when the rains began and once we got out we walked for awhile before we decided to just get an uber back to our hotel. We were all completely soaked by the time the uber got there! Other groups experienced an entire beach running away from the waters before the rain started as their warning!
Today, Sunday, we started our day with going to church with a pastor that Mandy, Ryan & I were able to meet last year in our trip. Garrett and Mandy shared their testimonies with the church and Devon led us in a song of worship as well. (They all did great!!) After church we gathered for lunch and then split up for more sharing. Mandy & I were able to go to a woman’s house who Mandy had met a couple days prior. She was so sweet and hospitable, she made us food and chai and was constantly trying to serve us. She was from a Muslim home but she is a follower of Jesus. Her husband will not let her be a follower of Jesus though and has put her through so much physical & emotional hardship because of it so she has to hide her faith from him, including her Bible and the fact that we were even in her home today. She was so strong in her faith even through her trials, but prayers for her and that her husband and family would come to know the Lord is all that she wanted. We are planning on meeting with her again this week so please continue to be praying for these meetings!
We only have about a week left here in this city! Please pray for health, strength and boldness to share the gospel with people throughout this city! Love you all!
-Kayla and the team

Update #3 – South Asia

By | South Asia

Hello friends and family!

Ashli here! Welp, yesterday was our last day of orientation. We continued to learn about different religions here in the city and completed our worldview site visits. My group (me, Mandy, and Garrett) went to a dargah yesterday to learn about the Islam culture. It has been very helpful and interesting to learn about all the different religions that contribute so much to the culture here in the city. It is a very religious culture and many people, regardless of their religion, will visit any of these worldview sits (dargahs, temples, churches) to pray. I think these visits have definitely helped us learn more of how to share our faith with people as we meet them out and about!

While we are at the dargah, Mandy and I met a girl that we shared the Gospel with. She had never heard of Jesus before, but was very excited to learn about his story and wanted to share with her family!! She told us that many people at the religious sites she has visited do not really know what they believe, so to hear a story of how our God has truly impacted our lives was very compelling to her. She lives about a 12 hour train ride from the city, so we will likely not see her again, but we are trying to still communicate with her through an app. Please continue to pray for her and her family that God moves in their household.

As for today, we went on a scavenger hunt to explore the full city and to learn how to navigate on our own. We were given a bunch of different tasks of things to do and places to see! Ryan, Devon, and I were on a team (we lost) and traveled to see the some of the most memorable sites here. We went on a train with open doors (very nice air flow in this heat)! As we went, we were also able to share with many people we met. Not all were responsive, but we know we are planting seeds! Overall, today was super fun!

I think one of my favorite parts of the culture here is to ride in the rickshaws! It is so nice to be able to catch transportation so easily – plus they zip around the city so quickly! Although, I do think the Uber we road today was the craziest driving we experienced. That can be a story for another time 🙂 I have really been enjoying my experience – I love the heat! Wish I could stay down here forever!!!

Please continue to pray for team unity, for energy, and for confidence as we share with those we meet. Love you fam and friends! Excited to tell you all of our stories when we get home!

-Ashli and the team



Update #2 – South Asia

By | South Asia

Hey everybody,

We are all doing well here and getting to experience the culture in full. Jet lag is holding on just a bit still, but we should be recovered soon. The past two days have been great as we’ve gotten to meet and coordinate with the team we are working with here! Yesterday was a full day of seeing the city, getting to know the other team, and visiting the malls and sharing the good news with the locals. Those we have been able to communicate with seem interested and receptive in what we have to say and are very open to hearing the Word and ask many questions.

Today we spent some time learning about the different worldviews found here in the city. We broke up into groups of three and each group went to go visit a different worldview site. We visited a Catholic church, a Hindu temple, and a Muslim dargah.  At each we would explore the sites, pray over them, and do some more outreach talking with people we found there. When you walk into the temples you can definitely feel the spiritual heaviness there. It’s hard see so many people worshiping these idols in hopes they will be blessed. We know Jesus can only fulfill what they are seeking for, so we want to make sure as many others can know that as well and be fully satisfied. Be sure to lift them up in your prayers as well and ask God to grow the seeds that have been sown!

Some other experiences for today, we found out how hard it can be to navigate the city when we wander around quite a while before we found the delivery-only restaurant we were looking for. We didn’t know it was delivery-only until we arrived… so we found somewhere else to eat! It was also wonderful to see the diversity of the city as we walked to a place that served burgers and pizzas. It’s comforting to know that if we ever begin to tire of the local food, we do have something a little more familiar so close by.

We thank you all for your continuing support for us through prayer! You can continue to pray for the following things: 1) Pray for the people we have reached and that the seed planted will grow to produce more fruit. 2) Ask God to open the hearts of those we encounter in the next week and and a half. 3) Ask for continued boldness. 4) Pray for rest, health, and safety.

We are having a great time and really enjoying the city! We love you all so much and cannot wait to share more stories with you when we return.

-Devon and the team

Update # 1 – South Asia

By | South Asia

Hello all!

We have made it to South Asia – bags and all! After almost 19 hours on airplanes, we are SO happy to finally be in country.

Other than seeing another traveler lose their shoe to an escalator (!!!), our travel was mainly uneventful. Our flights were packed with lots of naps, movies, and way too much airplane food. Everyone did great on the flights and I am very thankful for their upbeat spirits and positive attitudes!

For now, we are going to settle in to our hotel, hopefully catch a few more z’s, and get in a quick shower before orientation with our fieldworkers. We all are so very thankful for your love and support as we have prepared for this trip. We are finally here and cannot wait to see how God will use us!

We have 3 specific prayer requests for you all to keep praying for through our time here: 1) for boldness, wisdom, and tact as we share the gospel with those we meet, 2) for God to already be at work in the hearts and minds of those He places in our path, and 3) that many would come to accept the good news of Jesus Christ with gladness!

We love you! We will update you again very soon! 🙂

Love,

Mandy and the team

 

Update #3 – Tanzania

By | Tanzania, Uncategorized

We were blessed to receive individual updates from all of the team members! Read them below and find all photos at the bottom of this post.


Hujambo!

This week has been jam packed with fun, trials, joy, and grace! We made it safely to Kigoma and have been enjoying our time here in the village. So far, we have eaten amazing food, played with cute kids in the streets, and seen God move and work in the hearts of our team and the nationals we encounter.

My favorite part so far was when we were invited to the Hope of the Nations youth group Thursday night. Worship was fun and upbeat and full of dancing and singing. It’s amazing to see the emotion in their dancing and the way they worship Jesus. A close second would be the time after our busy days are done when the team gets to eat dinner together and relax. We play card games and laugh until the wee hours of the night.

I am excited to see what God does next week at camp with a bunch of kiddos!

Until next time!
Qwa herini!
Sabrina


This trip had been such an awesome and eye opening experience so far! The first few days we have been trying to immerse ourselves in Tanzanian culture. The first day we worked basically all day doing things like shoveling sand and rock and making cement so that we could help build a wall for the Hope of the Nations facility. We have been working really hard to serve the people here along with adapting to the culture, trying to learn Swahili, and connecting with the people.

The Tanzanian people are so hard working and never have any complaints about their life. Everybody I have met has been so friendly and I can see the love of God working through the people here.

The Hope of the Nations facility where we are staying is in the middle of the village, so as soon as we outside children will swarm around us. Last night I was wrestling and having fun with the children for over an hour – it was such an awesome experience. By the time we go to bed at night we are all extremely exhausted, but I wouldn’t trade any of the experiences that we have gone through!

Justin


This trip has been an amazing trip so far. We have been learning so much about the culture. It is so amazing to see everyone here works together and truly knows everyone. It has been such a great experience to see what it is like to live the life of a Tanzanian.

One thing that I have learned so far from this trip is to not take anything for granted. Even though these kids here may not have everything we have in America, they are the happiest kids you will ever see. I have yet to see a kid who is sad. It’s a blessing to be on this trip and to be a part of this team to help others.

George


Hujambo!

I have absolutely loved my time here in Tanzania! God has been showing me how much I should appreciate everything I have at home.

Everyone that I have met is so friendly and kind. One person that I have grown to admire here is Moma Miracle. As we are doing our work projects, she is always constantly cooking for us. When I was helping paint the house with the team, she called me over and explained to me that she wanted me to enjoy my time being able to work independently. She said that many women in Tanzania do not have this option because they have to take care of the children, cook, and clean pretty much all day. It makes me realize that the things I think are simple can mean so much to someone else.

Whenever we have the chance to go out into the village, the kids are my favorite part. They love to hug us and will literally fight to sit on your lap. Since they know where we are staying they will all come in the morning to wait for us to come out and play. It is so sweet!

This week has been a wonderful experience and I am so happy that I got the chance to come here and serve the people of Tanzania. I can’t wait for the next week to help with the Kids’ Camp!

Daija


Oh my cobbler hujambo,

Coming all the way from Kigoma, Tanzania , it’s Bri! I have been painting, cleaning, killing chickens, concreting, and so much more. Man, I love it here so much!

My highlights so far have been: Hugging and playing with so many chicken nuggets (children). Eating a wonderful fish meal that was fantastic. Going to youth group and seeing so many people dance like my Hispanic people (my family).

I send love. I am doing great. I was experiencing some spiritual warfare but God has seen me through. Love you mom, Abel, and Haley. Thank you to anyone and everyone who is reading this. I appreciate you. I am alive and well.

Bria


I am having the best of times out here in Africa. I learned how to catch and cook my very own chicken!!!! Who would have ever thought lol.

Diamond


Hi, everyone!

Thank you for your prayers as we continue to serve here! It has been a great trip so far, and we wish each of you could be here to see the amazing work the ministry is doing! Next week we will be out visiting villages where they have no access to the Gospel, which also means they have no access to the Internet. 🙂 Because of this we won’t be able to send another update for several days, but rest assured that we will be safe and cared for! Harold, one of the founders of the ministry here, will be with us the entire time, along with several of our new Tanzanian friends. Harold will also have access to an emergency phone, so just know that no news is good news for the next couple of days. 🙂 For now, enjoy these photos from our first week here and we look forward to updating you again sometime near the end of next week!

Love you all!

Spencer & Meghan


Update #6 – Southeast Asia

By | Uncategorized

Hello everyone!

Kylie here bringing you the last update for team Southeast Asia! First of all, on behalf of the team, I would like to say “thank you! thank you! thank you!” for all of your support and prayers throughout our journey! We have loved to see how many of you are following along with us on the blog! We are so grateful for each of you, as you have played a huge part in making our work in this country possible!

The last couple days we have been finishing our painting project in the EFC (emergency family care) center, which actually used to be a brothel. It has since been taken over by AIM and transformed into a shelter for young girls to prevent them from being trafficked. It was so powerful to work in a place that was once used for such evil, helping to renew it into a space that will continue to help so many precious little girls. Once we finished painting all the walls pink, we started painting some with artwork and inspiring words. Walking into the room, one is able to see where the walls built to separate brothel rooms once were. After those walls were broken down, there were rectangular prints left on the current walls. Monique, Emma, Sierra, Kayla and AJ decided to paint a cross over one of those prints. It was so beautiful to watch them do so, as it was symbolic of something broken being renewed. Revelation 21:5 came to mind, which we decided to put on the wall as well: “ He who was seated on the throne said, “I am making everything new!”Then he said, “Write this down, for these words are trustworthy and true.””

I worked on another painting project, in which I wrote “Daughters of the most high King.” I was so honored to have the opportunity to remind those lovely little ladies that no matter what they have been through in life, they are loved and valued and cherished by the One who shaped them with his own mighty hands. They are princesses because they are daughters of the King.

The EFC staff members hosted a little gathering for us on the last day of the project. They were so generous and gave us a beautiful handmade thank you card along with traditional Khmer scarves (called Kramas) and a rose for each girl on our team! We took pictures and talked about all of the artwork we had added to the walls. They were so pleased with the room and said that it felt like a new place to them. It was so moving to see the joy on their faces. We are all so excited for the little girls who live there to explore the new space!

As a side note, I need to mention how much we have loved visiting the sweetest lady next door to EFC. She has such a kind spirit, not to mention she makes the BEST coffee ever! It is so delicious! We have enjoyed sipping on that while we work!

We have loved getting to pour our hearts into this special project. We cannot wait to see this place continue to be used for God’s glory. Throughout our time here, we have been so amazed by the powerful transformation that has occurred in this little village through AIM. What used to be the red light district, a horror filled place made up of streets lined with brothels, has now become a place of safety and comfort. There is still lots of progress to be made in this country, but God is surely at work! We are so humbled by the opportunity to serve this community.

With this, we are sadly approaching the end of our time here. We have become so close with the staff, disciples, and children here in the community and it will be extremely difficult to leave. We will soon have to say such painful goodbyes, but we are comforted by the fact that we know we will see these brothers and sisters in Christ again, whether that be here through another visit, or someday in Heaven. I’m sure many of us would love to return, as we have fallen in love with the work that God is doing within so many lives. For me personally, I have fallen in love all over again, just as I did last year. I know now more than ever that a huge part of my heart is here and I already cannot wait to come back.

The team is so excited to return home to all of you – we have missed you so dearly! We are so thankful to God for blessing us with this opportunity to serve him and show his love to his children in this part of the world. Thank you again for all of your support and prayers! We will see you all soon!

~Kylie and the team

Update #1 – Eastern Europe A

By | Uncategorized

Hello friends and family!

We are excited to tell you all that after three long flights (yes, THREE!), we have made it to Eastern Europe! Our flights went smoothly and everyone made it here safely – including all of our luggage. We are fighting off some serious jet-lag, but other than that everything has gone perfectly! We are all very ready and excited to dive into the ministry here and the work that God has been preparing for us.

For now, please pray for plenty of energy, pockets of time for rest to fight off the jet-lag, and for unity as we begin our ministry work together. We cannot wait to see how God is going to move during our time here!

We will send another update shortly, so keep an eye open for that. We love you all and are so thankful for all of your support!

-Myrna & the team

Update #4 – Czech Republic

By | Uncategorized

What’s up guys, it’s Paul!

So if you’ve been checking in with the blog you might have noticed that it’s been a few days since we posted an update, so ya’ll bout to be in for a roller coaster of an update! Starting with this last Friday, I finally got to sleep in for the first time this week, PRAISE! I’ve been hanging out with Jeff at the different Czech schools all week, which has been an amazing experience, but nobody told me I’d have to get up two hours before anyone else the whole week! Haha, I’m just joking…It truly has been a unique opportunity getting to hang out with different students and different team members at the schools and see how each of them interact and connect with each other. But aside from that, I was pretty pumped to get to sleep in the few extra hours, and even more so because that was the day that we had decided to do our prayer walk.

The prayer walk basically consisted of our group, along with Jim and Laurie, walking around to different locations in Prague and praying for them. We got the opportunity to pray for the different organizations helping the homeless populations, the church fighting the red light district, the people and youth of the Czech Republic, and even the new location for the library! It was such a humbling experience getting to walk around and actually see the places and people that we were praying for and imagine all that God is going to be doing there. It was also super cool getting to see the new location for the library and hear how excited Jim and Laurie were/are for the future of the library and how many people they will be able to reach when they move.

Other than the actual praying, the best part of the prayer walk had to be when we were walking back to the metro. We passed these people in the park that had a few puppies and Lana literally lost it! She was so excited and when the people offered to let her pet the puppy, she straight up took it out of the lady’s hand. She was even trying to barter with the woman to keep the puppy. It was almost the funniest thing that Lana did that day but it was nowhere near as great as when we were riding the metro back home and she was trying to follow Jim off the metro, except Jim was only switching cars and not actually getting off. So, what we got to see was Lana walk off the car and then coming running back only to see the doors close. It was hands down the funniest part of the day! Luckily for Lana she only got off one stop early, so we just waited for her since she caught the next metro about five minutes later.

The next few hours were pretty chill since we were just waiting to leave for the train to go to this retreat through the International Church of Prague. While there, we were volunteering to watch the kids/run a children’s program while their parents were in the actual sessions of the retreat. The retreat was in Tabor, which was about an hour away by train, and when we got there, we were able to settle in a little bit before heading out to meet the kids. That night we didn’t really have much planned in terms of programing, so we had all the kids introduce themselves and we played a few games and sang a song before their parents came to get them. Prior to even getting to the Czech Republic we had all divvied-out jobs and responsibilities for the retreat weekend, but when the time for the retreat actually came, we ended up improvising.

When Saturday came, I led a few games like tag and steal the bacon, in hopes that the kids would get all their energy out. Then we went inside where we had the kids color while Andrei taught the kids about David, which many of the kids knew a lot about! Then Becky taught the kids how to make lanyards and we split into groups and hung out with them until the session was over. Not gonna lie, we weren’t sure how the children’s program was going to go, but happily it turned out to be a huge success!

After we finished hanging out with the kids, some of the team decided to chill and relax, and a few of us (being Jon, Lana, Krista, and I) opted to go into the actual town of Tabor and explore a bit. The first thing we saw when we got there was a cat café. Now I just want everyone to know right off the bat that I am NOT a cat person. For anyone that is a cat person, more power to you, but they are just not for me. So anyway, we go in this cat café, and I’m already super suspicious about these cats running around, but I’m going with the flow because Jon and Krista are living for the cats. Lana and I decide to get some coffee while we wait in the café, and then this cat jumps on the table, and that right there tells you that this cat was up to something. So Jon’s playing with cats and Krista and Lana are talking and I notice that the coffee has ice cream in it, so I go to show the two of them, and this cat THAT’S STILL ON THE TABLE, swipes at my coffee spilling a bunch of it! Needless to say I was shook… That was more or less the extent of our trip to Tabor. We did get to see a really beautiful view of the river, so that made up a little for the coffee-attacking cat. When we got back to the retreat center, we learned that Andrei had signed up to participate in a talent show that night! It was really funny because his act was pretty much just sitting on stage with a guitar talking about a song that he never ended up singing. It was awesome!

Sunday morning was very similar to Saturday with the addition of some sad goodbyes. We were only with the kids for a few hours the last two days, but we already felt a connection to them. I was especially torn when one of the older boys, who had been somewhat hard to handle, came up to me and said that he was going to miss us, that he had SOO much fun this weekend and then asked if we were coming back the following year. Talk about a heart wrenching goodbye! So we headed back to Prague and unpacked from the weekend, took some naps, and then went for a walk around a nearby, wait for it….. cemetery. Apparently it was the biggest one in the country and a lot of people enjoy going to it. I mean I don’t get the appeal of walking around a cemetery for fun, but hey when in Czech! After that we got the best meal we’d had in a long time (pizza, of course) and rounded the night off with some board games and card games! Click here to watch an epic showdown between Becky & Paul in one of these card games.

Monday was our day off, so by unanimous vote we decided to sleep in for the majority of the day. Later that morning, we got the best strudel in Europe (apparently it is the best strudel in Europe according to some travel food bloggers) and it was delicious! After finishing the strudel, Meredith had created a scavenger hunt around Prague for us to do. She split us into two teams where we had to use a clue to figure out the location and then map out the fastest route there. We got to see a lot of really cool sights including the Prague Castle, John Lennon Wall, Charles Bridge, Jan Hus’ head, the astronomical clock, and lots of other places. The competition was intense, but after a long day of smack talking and walking literally all over Prague, my team, consisting of Krista, Becky and I, took the win! I still don’t know what we won, but nevertheless the day was amazing.

So now after reading what must have felt like an essay, you are officially caught up with the shenanigans of our team. God has really been moving here, and it’s incredible to see all the ways He has in just the last week. I can’t believe that we’re almost done with our trip and that by this time next week we’ll be home. If we are sure of anything, it is that God is doing great things here! It is only thanks to His power and your support that all of us were able to come and serve Him in this amazing city. Thank you so SO much for your continued support. I know that every single one of us can’t wait to tell you every last detail that wasn’t able to fit in these blogs! Until next time!

Ya boy,

Paul Singh

P.S. – Sorry I wrote so much #SorryNotSorry

Update #5 – Brazil

By | Brazil

Bom dia family and friends!

It’s our last day in Brazil. We have spent the last two days at Guaraja beach relaxing, shopping for gifts for family and supporters back home and debriefing the trip.

Debrief is so important to help process our experience and talk about how it might effect us when we come home. It can be difficult returning home and trying to express to others the work we’ve done in the favelas, the people we’ve encountered and the way we have seen God move throughout this trip. We want to make sure we integrate our new experiences from Brazil with our “normal” life back home and not just forget the lessons we’ve learned here. We have been changed!

Please pray as we begin our journey back home. We will be dropped off at the airport at 11:00 tonight on our way back from debrief for a 5:00am flight! We are looking forward to coming home to our loved ones but we will never forget our time in Brazil! And now I need to go catch a few waves…

Love,

Fritz and the team

Update #4 – Philippines

By | Philippines

Hi y’all! Team Phil here with a mid week update.

Thus far it has been a busy week walking around and sharing elements of the gospel with friends and family of our partner church’s members. Every morning we all climb into the van and drive to the church for a morning debrief and pep talk. Then we split into our different mini teams to go on our way to our locations. We are each partnered with two or three Filipinos (each with varying knowledge/understanding of English). Our different teams then proceed to their town and share the gospel. This week we are working in three different areas – similar to being in Sacramento, Roseville, and Rocklin – only we’re in the Filipino jungle and riverside (which is very beautiful by the way).

Something that is prominent in this culture is nicknames. That being the case, we all have been gifted with Filipino nicknames! We also have been learning many words and phrases in Ilonggo (Jacob and Grace both have vocab lists that our new friends helped make). Quite often you’ll find me repeating “ido” every time I see a dog.

Overall our trip so far has been good! We’ve had safe travels to get here and safe travel between cities. We have interacted with around 300 people (woohoo!). We have also gained several different groups of children who follow us around town comparing their skin color to our own – never have I ever felt so white…

Please continue to pray for the people over here, and that we can maintain our energy levels (along with getting enough sleep each night), and the ministry we are doing here.

This is Robin signing off for Team Phil for the night.