Wednesday, October 28, 2009

The Recovery Begins -Equipping The Caregivers

As I left Manila 3 weeks ago, as is my normal practice, I started an outline of a ministry response plan. My heart was very heavy for the Pastors and leaders of the EFC of Philippines (EFCP), and I felt that Priority #1 was providing support and care for these men and their families, and equipping them to be caregivers to others.

The Lord started to answer prayers along those lines almost immediately, in the form of a ReachGlobal staff couple (Paul and Judy) who specializes in crisis counseling and caring for Pastors. Pictured above is part of a group of several dozen EFCP leaders and spouses who participated in a debriefing and triaining session this past weekend.
Paul wrote of the session, "We will not go into all the gory details, but to hear the stories of those who experienced the trauma would break your heart. There was very little mention of the great loss of material possessions. (Some lost everything.) In most cases the flood came without much warning and without the realization that it would become a major disaster. Some were separated from family members for several days and not able to communicate because all the phones, cell phones, and electricity were out".

"As we met with the local EFC pastors and their wives in a debriefing session on Friday evening, we again were reminded of the importance of allowing them to verbalize their stories. These are resilient and committed servants of God."
Saturday morning was given to training these EFCP Pastors to serve as crisis caregivers with their own families, church members, and neighbors.
It was a blessing to then see a packed out church of over 200 neighbors Sunday night and the pastors we had trained on Saturday debriefing those who went through the stress of the flood.

All agreed that expectations were exceeded. The victims were ready to unload and tell their individual stories.

On Monday, Paul and Judy spent the day with the team of German missionaries who work here in Manila. This team is with the Alliance Mission, the overseas ministry of the Evangelical Free Church of Germany. This team experienced the same stresses as the local Filipino people. Some of them had to swim though 10 feet deep waters to safety and lost all their possessions. Some have had to permanently leave the houses they were renting and are still living in temporary housing. Please pray that they will be able to find new accommodations.

One of the German missionaries who was hospitalized Monday afternoon. She picked up an ameba from having ingested some of the water in which she had to swim during the flood. Please pray for healing for Wiebke.
Priority #2 is communicating the needs of the people of Manila and the EFCP and raising up prayer and financial support for their recovery. You can give to EFCA Acct#3973 Philippines Relief on the link to the right.
Priority #3 is multiplying the EFCP and helping to restore the Church by deploying short terms to help in the recovery and outreach. Consider sending a team to serve in Manila next month or later next year. Contact for more information.

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Flooded Manila - Unbelievable!

This is life for almost 2 million people according to a CNN report today. PLEASE CLICK THE LINK AND READ THE ARTICLE!
We spent the day Tuesday visiting a number of the EF churches in neighborhood that look like this. Unbelievable! I observed many homes that have 2-4 feet of water inside, with still families living in them!

Pastor Ferti of the ACTS Christian Center (EFC) and his family pictured below have 2 feet of water in their home, but are fortunate to have the church building as an alternative refuge. His and 8 other families are living there now for at least another month, and possibly will be there until December, until the flood waters recede.

His wife Maria-Theresa told me that as the water came up, Pastor had gathered one armload of their belongings and hurried off to the higher ground of the church. by the time he came back a few minutes later, most of their posessions were under water, so the grabbed what else they could and the rest of the family and headed to the church.

They slept on chairs pushed together the first night, but then made more premanent sleeping quarters in the upstairs class rooms.

Their neighborhood is pictured below.

Monday, October 5, 2009

Indonesia 'Quake Report

Here is a report from our ministry partner in Indonesia (Please note abbreviations used for security purposes):
We just returned from a quick survey trip to Padang with some reps from other orgs. We spent Thurs night (01 Oct) through Sat morning (03 Oct) with a CP organization (DI) that has been in Padang for a couple of years doing repairs of homes from that last set of earthquakes more than 2 years ago. Some of the DI staff have received CP training from us in the past.

Today, they will host a coordination meeting with multiple CP orgs in Padang. DI has put a down-payment on a very large house that they hope to use as a multi-org coordination/command center. Please pray for this meeting - specifically for the “mind of” and a spirit of unity, humility, and respect amongst the different CP orgs.

The DI staff left their office after 5:00 pm on the day of the earthquake. At 5:15 the earthquake struck and their building partially collapsed. The office was on the 2nd floor and is no longer safe. As we left we were informed that there probably was a body somewhere on the first floor (rented by another business) because a woman that worked downstairs could not be accounted for. Nobody knows when the body will be removed, because of the high demand for both equipment and people that can safely excavate these condemned buildings.

Thursday, October 1, 2009

The Ketsana Aftermath Upclose

Below - The clean up begins.
Lower - Interior Remians of Missionary's Home

Initial Damage Report of EFC's and Missionary Homes
At Wiebke’s house everything is gone, including computer, teaching materials, books etc. All was submerged and as you can imagine, almost nothing of her things, and of the ones staying with her, is left or in anyway usable. She found her external hard drives and hopes they can recover the data in Germany.
At ProFil the flood was up to the third stair going to

the 2. Floor. We think, at the moment, that
the house will not be usable anymore. The flooring in the living room is very wavy and the wood at the ceiling got wet – all soaked in this really smelly mudwater. Everything stinks from the mud. We cleaned up the house as much as possible. Gladly the shorties and Ate Lea’s family saved a lot of the stuff into the 2.floor.

Taytay, Sta. Ana (Ptr. Vic. And Roselie Fernandez) the whole area is still over hips under water. It is not expected to go very much down for the next 2-3 months since there are no drainages.

Church house - garage is about 1 meter and parsonage are about 15 cm flooded.
People from more affected areas moved o the church.

San Miguel Church also became a evacuation centre. Up to now the hole area is still flooded (It is very close to Taytay) Organizing something for them is a little difficult because they do not have a Pastor at the moment. But Wolfgang is trying to bring some food and clothes into the area.


(Ptr. Jun-Jun and Christiane Jornales)
Parsonage of Ptr. was until tights in water, YP Room until under knees. About 25 families are affected and some of them (almost all leaders of the church) have lost everything they owned.

Member living on the floodway side were badly affected, as the river rose so high that it went over the borders. Thousands of people needed to evacuate to basketball courts or public schools. On the other side, close by a creek, the people also needed to evacuate as the water of the creek was also rising fast. The sister church FCF did with financial help of AM directly supply meals for the stranded ones in Kabisig church.

(Ptr. Ferdie)
They have 25 families who are affected.

(Ptr. David and Shirley Ahumada)
Parsonage was flooded up to t

he ceiling of the 1. Floor (closed to ProFil) Their niece was able to rescue most of the stuff inside the house. The car and motorbike though were totally inside the 3-4 meter high water.

Crossroad has also people who were affected (25 families?)

The house in Marietta Romea Village is most probably not usable anymore. We were trying to sell it for 300000,- thousand, but now, we can be glad to get the price of the land, which will not be very high at the moment.
Beamer, tools, Bankbooks, Motorbike of Wiebke, Car of Herrmann’s flooded almost up to roof, The 2. Revo had an accident because someone’s car’s brakes were did not function and crashed into the back of the car.

All the churches:
One of the main concern at the moment is drinking water and food. That’s what we are trying to bring to the people now. The next biggest need is clothes, basics like medicine, disinfectants, soap. Of course blankets, beddings ... if you lost everything you need everything.

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Ketsana Photos

Click on the link below for more images.

Ketsana Torments Manilla

Pray for our Brothers and Sisters in Manila. I have been on Skype conversing one of our mission staff in the Philippines, and the situation heart wrenching. We are working in conjunction with the EFC of the Philippines, and Allianz, the German Free Church Mission. I have attached a number of links below from news sources and other contacts who have forwarded home shot video of the flooding. BBC NEWS BBC NEWS

We have opened a funds for donations at , insert Acct#3973 Philippines Relief in the memo line.

Here is what our ReachGlobal mission staff reported:

Manila Flooding.
This is a preliminary report on the effect of the terrible flooding in Manila on our Evangelical Free Churches. We have 17 churches in the Metro Manila area, many of which are concentrated in the Cainta, Pasig area, where there was heavy flooding. We have been in touch with our church leaders and co-missionaries working in Manila. The flooding came up fast so people were stranded away from home and couldn’t get their things to second floors, if there was one. It rained 12 inches in 6 hours on Saturday.

Most of our churches are 2 stories with the sanctuary on the 2nd story and parsonage, Sunday school rooms, kindergarten classrooms on first floor. Two churches in Cainta had over 6 feet of water inside their churches. The parsonages have been destroyed. As well as Sunday school materials and things in the youth centers including computers. One of the pastors was out on visitation when the flooding came up. They were not able to save anything in their house. That family has 5 sons ranging in age from 13 to 24. The other church that was submerged has a family with 3 daughters ages 3 to 14.

One part of Pasig had 3 meters of water at one time. Our German co-workers lived in that area. Their houses are completely gone. One of them was swimming in the water to rescue the other workers. She was swimming above cars and even roofs.
Some of you may have seen the picture of people wading in chest deep water down Ortigas Ave. This area is called Rosario. It is between 2 rivers. We have a church in that area, about ½ kilometer off the main road. The church sustained major damage on the first floor. The parsonage and kindergarten school have been badly damaged.

Apart from church buildings many of our church members have sustained major damage to their homes. Many of the homes were submerged in 4 to 6 feet of water for more than 24 hours. In the Pasig area, many of our church members are poor and live in shanties made of wood and cardboard. These just collapsed, taking all their possessions with them. These people have no money to rebuild their homes or even replace clothes and things from their house.

This is Tuesday, the flooding started on Saturday. I just talked to one of our staff at ETCP, our Bible college. She has gone back to visit her home in Marakina, where there was also heavy flooding. She walked through knee deep mud to get to her house. They can’t get the door open, so they looked in the window. There is still more than a foot of water inside the house and everything is scattered. All her possessions are ruined. She was at the college when the flooding happened.

Other church members are in situations like this. In Vista Verde in Cainta, which is more of a middle-class subdivision, they had 6 feet of water inside their homes. And it didn’t go down for 24 hours. So everything inside the home is destroyed.

Many of these people have been without electricity for several days. They also don’t have any food because what food was in their homes washed away. The small stores close to their homes lost all their supplies. And many of the poor people don’t have money to buy more food.
There is a need for money so we can help people rebuild their lives. It costs too much to ship things here, so cash donations are appreciated.

We have opened a funds for donations at , insert Acct#3973 Philippines Relief in the memo line.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Mary Doing Well

All – The Lord is good! Mary called me a few minutes ago. She came through the procedure just fine, though it was very painful, but the Dr’s could not believe that there were no blockages. The EKG’s came back showing pretty normal heart function, so it appears there was no permanent damage. They are thinking now that it may have some sort of a spasm of the muscle as a possibility, and there are medication changes coming for mary, but this is a major answer to prayer.

Mary will be discharged later tonight and will rest the week back at her home. Thank your prayer network for interceding and thank the Lord too for His intervention in this way. ml

The Prayer of Faith

Hi all – I talked to Mary at midday yest and her headaches had lessened…prayer answered. The local efc had gotten over the connect with her and see what support she might need and was going to continue checking in. jim and ron had been able to get up to visit along with several alumni from crisis response staff…thanks guys! And her sister was on her way.

We we’re out last night and I missed her call, but her vm said she was expecting to be in for the catheterization this morning, so pray for healing as you read this. Thanks,. ml

James 5:13-20 The Prayer of Faith (scripturally encouragement from Becky S)
13Is any one of you in trouble? He should pray. Is anyone happy? Let him sing songs of praise. 14Is any one of you sick? He should call the elders of the church to pray over him and anoint him with oil in the name of the Lord. 15And the prayer offered in faith will make the sick20person well; the Lord will raise him up. If he has sinned, he will be forgiven. 16Therefore confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous man is powerful and effective. 17Elijah was a man just like us. He prayed earnestly that it would not rain, and it did not rain on the land for three and a half years. 18Again he prayed, and the heavens gave rain, and the earth produced its crops. 19My brothers, if one of you should wander from the truth and someone should bring him back, 20remember this: Whoever turns a sinner from the error of his way will save him from death and cover over a multitude of sins.

Monday, July 13, 2009

Please Pray for Mary Held

Please be in prayer for Mary Held.

She is in the hospital right now in Wisconsin and the doctors believe that she has had some level of a heart attack. Please lift her up and pray for comfort, peace, and for those to come alongside her that can encourage her to know that God is the ultimate healer. Pray for wisdom for the doctors and nurses and that Mary would shine brightly for the Lord while she is in the hospital.

Please pray for her family and pray that they would be comforted during this time. We definitely praise the Lord for Mary's heart...she has touched so many lives in New Orleans, Galveston, and all over the country. Please pray for strength and God's peace to rest on her!

Thank you all so much!
-Katie :)

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Harney Meets Christ

The following is a testimony of the experiences of just one team this week in New Orleans. It is a reminder of why we are here in Louisiana. Why we do what we do. Sometimes we spend so much time worrying about self. It's not about us at all! It's all about God's people and winning lives for his kingdom. Please pray for those mentioned in this blog...pray they will grow in their new relationships with Christ and God will continue to bless this new partnership with this school! I know that this is long but it's very worth it. If you would like to know more how you can come and serve or help Crisis Response please email Many blessings! (Kids' names are removed as the school may get in trouble for posting kids' names on the internet.)

On Tuesday morning (6/9/09) the girls from our team stopped down at Harney Elementary to see if we could volunteer. We were waiting on a few things at the worksite, so we thought we would use that time to see if we could help out somewhere else. The school was very eager for our help and indicated that they would love help each day from 11:30-2:00 while the kids had play time and recess. We hadn’t envisioned on helping after that morning, but felt it was a door that we should eagerly walk through.

Before we began our official work at the school, we went back to the worksite and spent time in discussion and prayer regarding how we could be a light within the school. Coincidentally, or by divine providence, John (from EFCA) happened to stop down right before we left for the school and encouraged us to pray that God’s spirit would work in us. We prayed that God would “give us the words” so that we might be prepared with an answer when the children inquired as to the source of our hope and love.

I am so thankful and blessed by the team I served alongside. Throughout the week and our time at the school, I watched them joyfully love and serve the children as they ran, hopped, skipped, and carried kiddos in the hot sun. I am most blessed by the reality of the truth my time never lost sight of…. they took every opportunity they could to share with the children the source of their love- whispering in little ears that they were loved by a gracious and loving God, laying out in child-like terms the story of Christ and what it means to make Jesus your “personal friend,” and lending a tender ear to the hurt and sadness plaguing their hearts. I really cannot tell you how many spiritual conversations took place at the school this past week because there were so many and, I am sure, even more that my team never shared with me.

As far as the children that made decisions to invite Jesus in to their life. Here is their story:

Josh and I had been working in Mrs. H’s first grade classroom all week. On Thursday (6/11/09), when our team arrived at the block party, we immediately spotted a student from our classroom. I approached her to say hello and she introduced me to her older sister, a 4th grader. I offered to help the girls get some food and they “pal-ed” around with me for a little awhile. After a little bit, they asked me to walk them home, which was just across the street, so I did.

I didn’t see them again until the end of the evening, when one returned and asked if she could have some drinks. I told her “sure” and retrieved the drinks. After doing so, I asked her if she knew why my group was “here” (at the block party) and why we had been visiting her school. She indicated that she didn’t know, so I told her we had come because we believed God loves her and, so, we love her, too. I asked her if she knew who Jesus was and she said she did. I asked her if she knew that Jesus wanted to be her friend and she said she did not know that. When I asked her if she wanted to know more about how to ask Jesus to be your friend she smiled from ear to ear and said she did.

Thus, her and I sat down and I explained to her, in very simple, child-like terms, the gospel. I explained that we were created and loved by God and that we all sin and need forgiveness. I explained that Jesus died to pay the price for our sins and he\wants us to have forgiveness.- the way we receive forgiveness is by inviting Jesus into our life to be our friend.

I asked her if she had ever asked Jesus to be her friend and she said “no, but that she wanted to.” She and I held hands and we prayed together. I prayed first and she repeated the words after me. I have to tell you, after we prayed, She was beaming!! I went on the explain, that now that Jesus was her friend, she could talk to him any time she wanted and he would always be there to love her and protect her…. Even though one day her body would die, she is protected because she will live forever in heaven with Jesus.

When I started to tell her that, as she prays, she should know that Jesus might not talk “out loud” back to her, she cut me off and said, “but I will feel him in my heart- like I she just felt Jesus in my heart.” I told her what a bible was and when she said she wanted one, was able to find a Mountview member, Sylvia, who so graciously gave up her own personal bible so that she could have one. So that is her story!

Since I spoke with you originally, there are a few updates to share….

The next day at school (Friday 6/12/09) when Josh and I returned to Ms. H’s first grade classroom, the girls immediately inquired about the bible her sister had received and asked if she could have one. I told her “yes” and I would explain what it meant during her lunch.

So, come lunch time, I sat with her and shared the gospel with her. She was very enthusiastic and said she wanted to invite Jesus to live into her heart to be her friend. She and I prayed together.

As she and I prayed another child wanted to know what we were talking about and asked if I would share with him. He wanted to invite Jesus in his heart, as well, and also wanted to know if I could tell him why he has “those nightmares” about Freddie and Jason (from the horror movies) killing him. We talked about it and we also prayed that God would take away his bad dreams and give him peaceful rest. Cordell also wanted a bible.

As he and I prayed, another boy wanted to know what was going on and called me over to his lunch table to talk with him. When I asked him if he knew who Jesus was he said that he did not. I offered to share with him and he was very eager to hear. As we discussed the gospel, his face looked stunned. When he found out that Jesus was willing to take on the punishment we deserved and suffer himself so that we didn’t have to, he looked astounded and exclaimed, “wow, God is nice. God is so nice!!!” He very much wanted to ask Jesus to be his friend and after we prayed, he shared that he looked forward to giving Jesus a big hug when his body dies one day and his soul goes to heaven.

There was another student that listened while the boys and I talked and prayed. I am not entirely sure whether or not he understood everything that was explained to him, but he kept butting into our conversation and insisted that he needed to pray, too. After he commented about hugging Jesus, he shared that he would give Jesus a kiss when he arrived in heaven. A little side note, he pinched another child shortly after our prayer and I reminded him that, even though God would forgive our sins and take on our punishment, he would still have to face the consequences for his bad choices on earth. He seemed to understand that. He is a cute, but feisty little rascal! He wants a bible, as well.

I cannot tell you what a blessing it was to be present for these moments in the lives of these children. I believe they understood the choice they were making and my prayer now is that God would complete the good work he is starting in them by bringing mentors in their lives who can teach them in more detail how they might grow in their faith and live out their relationship with God.

I am so encouraged and over-joyed, as it sounds like teams will be returning to the school in the coming weeks. I don’t know that I have ever had the blessing of being in such fertile harvesting grounds before. These children want to know who Jesus is!! Not only that, the staff knew that we were there for a much greater mission and we had their full support! I am an elementary school counselor for my job and have worked with several, both urban and suburban school districts- in my experience, it is not even close to acceptable in the eyes of school officials to share the gospel or bring up the topic of Jesus with students.Katie, Mountview and my team was blessed beyond measure by your staff, the people of New Orleans, and most importantly our Lord this past week. Please let us know if we might serve or support you in any way as you continue in your ministry.

*** these particular children may only be at the school until July 2nd, when this session of summer school ends.

I am sorry this email was so long, it was just such a blessing to witness God at work and I wanted to share as much as I could.

Thank you again, Katie! I am so thankful for the work you do.

God bless!

Sarah from Mountview Baptist, OH

Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Grass Roots Neighborhood Transformation

Nate and Cindy came to New Orleans with their home church, Hershey EFC, to show the love of Christ to those in need. Twice. The first time started a friendship. the second time they were engaged. They were impacted by the principles of Holistic Ministry they learned while serving with TouchGlobal Crisis Response, loving individuals unconditionally, focusing on relationships, not work, and demonstrating and proclaiming the Gospel.

And after getting married, they chose, as have other couples from Hershey Free, to move into a distressed part of the City of express the Great Commandment and the Great Commission. They have been intentionally seeking ways to connect with neighbors and transform both their part of the world, and the eternal destiny of those in that world. They have influence in the lives of their neighbors, families, community, city leaders and media.

Do not underestimate the Kingdom signifigance or the influence you have in the "where He has you or the what He has you doing' in your context.

Here's what they have been up to recently:

God is doing some amazing things in our lives here in Harrisburg.

Cindy and I are leading another neighborhood cleanup tomorrow (Saturday, March 21st at 10am-2pm). It has been encouraging that one of our neighbors, Charles, has been highly involved in this planning process. He has made phone calls etc for us. We have also established extensive contacts with Harrisburg City to have them help us. It is cool because the city understands that they cannot accomplish their goals without our help. We can’t do it without them either, so we are developing a partnership. I filled out the paperwork today to “adopt-a-block.” I wanted you to know that things are rolling and for you to pray for us.

Specific prayer requests in regards to developing relationships
1. I would take specific opportunities that God is providing to share Christ with our neighbors.

2. We would find other Christian couples on our street that love Jesus as much as we do.

See this video from the local news.


Iced Tea Evangelism

Thank you God for the 'Divine Appointments' you allow to 'interrupt' our plans and routine. Help me to see people as you have created them, in your image and as your children. help me value others as much as you do. Amen....

A team who recently served with us from Valley Church, Cupertino, CA wrote of their experience.

Robert, a tall man in his mid-fifties stopped on the sidewalk in front of the house we were gutting and accepted a bottle of iced tea from Bob, one of our team members. As Robert was about to leave, the Lord led me to go to the sidewalk and start a conversation with him. He told me that his car had overheated, and that he was on his way to get some water for the radiator. As I handed him a tract, I told him about how Jesus had changed my life.

Robert listened with understanding and a growing look of longing on his face, a clear sign to me that the Holy Spirit had touched his heart. This gave me the courage to ask him if he would like to ask Jesus to be his Savior. He immediately said, “Yes, I want to do that.”

I led him in a prayer thanking the Lord for forgiveness, eternal life, and acceptance into the family of God in the name of Jesus! His face was glowing as I told him that even if we didn’t see each other again in this world, we would meet again in the eternal kingdom. He smiled in affirmation at my parting comment: “Robert, now you know Who let your car motor heat up!”

The rest of the story as I understand it, is that when they walked back to the car, Robert tried to start it one last time, and it started up and seemed to be running fine. Thank you God for redemption.

Friday, March 13, 2009

Peru Blessings

Imagine this being your family's home...summer & winter!
We continue to show the love of Christ in the aftermath of the 8/07 Peru Earthquake. We have had TouchGlobal Crisis Response staff and US and Peruvian volunteer teams serving there for the past year. Here is the latest update from our staff, the Grover's:

Three houses are well under way, with double foundations poured, and the families making adobes, to be ready for teams to come in May and June to help build them. They are such different families and so needy, each in their own way.

The Lord in His providence knew just whom to put to work at Marta’s house – some of the women from the Lima, OH/Lima, Peru team. One of the women from the El Alfarero church in Lima, Peru, especially spent some extended time talking in the afternoons with Marta. Marta’s story breaks your heart. Before the earthquake she lived a normal life with a normal family in a nice house. Now she lives in what one of our ladies called a “basket house” – made of woven reeds, with a plastic roof, about as big as your living room (if it’s a small one!). She and her teenage daughter and little girl salvaged what they could of their belongings from under the rubble left from the earthquake.

Six months ago her husband left her. Marta almost had a breakdown; she’s at the end of her rope. She’d give up, too, but she has two girls, so she can’t. Instead she gets up before daylight and spends most of the day working in the grape vineyards, and then comes home to work on her adobes. She’s the most beautiful, petite little woman, with the saddest, most hopeless eyes you can ever imagine. She smiled one day when we working on digging her foundation. It was a day to put on the calendar. Please pray for Marta, that she will find a new hope and joy in Jesus.

To serve with us in Peru, go to , or