The following excerpts were collected and edited from a variety of recent worker newsletters. Names omitted or changed for security.
Eugene & Katrina, Workers in the Mediterranean
Family and community are such a big part of this culture. This has become even more apparent to me as I (Eugene) have spent time with my friend Sy. I have been meeting with Sy for around four months now, and we are just getting into the life of Jesus. It’s exciting to see him process and ask questions.
Walking along Sy has been a learning experience for me. My heart broke for him as he shared the consequences of his choice to not follow Islam. He also shared that he does not want others to know of this choice, as they may treat him differently. Life here is so much about community and family, and it takes a lot of courage and a family-like community to take that step. My prayer is that this friend will find the courage to reach out to other local followers who can be a family for him, and that the local body will unite as a family and learn how to support each other as brothers and sisters.
A bright moment this month happened yesterday as I (Katrina) sat next to a local sister in the home of a Chinese sister as we prayed together, each in our own mother tongue. This local sister has been a blessing to me this spring. Together we are studying the Word, praying, and singing each week.
Thanks again to each of you for standing behind us. We feel God’s blessing through your support and in the glimpses we get of God at work. He is truly alive!
58:12 United Team, Asia
We recently had the grand opening and prayer night for 58:12 United at our community center. Lots of our friends from other ministries, foundations, and churches came to support us in this milestone. We’ve had some great opportunities to meet others who are interested in partnering with us through the community center to help build strong, healthy families and reach more people with the Gospel.
Jacob continues to stay busy running the foundation—doing everything from prayer meetings to the rice program, to building relationships and future partnerships, to financial paperwork. I (Karly) have taken on more responsibility in the 58:12 United Children’s Home since Angie (58:12 United teammate and home manager) is stateside for two months. The home is growing and going through lots of transition. Over a week ago, we received two more children, aged two-and-a-half and nine months old. We were also able to raise money for a playground; God amazed us with his blessing once again by providing the funds needed.
Our rice program has been going well. Firman (58:12 United teammate) goes out once a week to pray for people, and returns the next week to hand out food. He is doing an amazing job of building relationships and sharing the Gospel. Two other teammates, Megan and Sam, distribute rice as well, focusing on those who are disabled. Megan plays the guitar and is sometimes able to worship with those receiving rice. Movement is happening and hearts are opening—praise God!
We also praise God for his faithfulness as our family and the staff and children in the 58:12 United Children’s Home contracted COVID-19. While quarantining at the local international hospital, we faced many challenges. We were divided up, so making decisions for the children’s home was difficult. We faced communication and cultural challenges as well. Through this quarantine, we learned that we need God to be in control—not just for those fourteen days, but each and every day. What felt like an impossible experience turned into an encounter with God we could have never imagined, and we are forever grateful for that.
Partners in Asia
Our team recently took a three-day trip to visit believers in a different district. We found a number of new believers who had come to faith because of healings. They are excited about sharing their faith, but have not had any training. Our team was able to spend time with them, and are making plans to go back later this year for more leadership training. It’s exciting to see what God is doing in these villages. There are many open doors for the team to give advice and direction.
Judah & Reyna, Workers in the Mediterranean
Since we last wrote, there have been a lot of transitions in our lives. First, the most exciting news—on April 18, 2021, we welcomed our third child into the world. The older siblings love their little brother dearly and are learning how to interact with him.
With the departure of some friends last month, there have been many transitions in the fellowship. We are facing challenges and the last weeks have felt like crisis on top of crisis. We need wisdom from the Father to know what to do and how to bring resolution.
When I read 1 John 1 with a group of ladies this week, I was reminded of how our Father knows everything. We may feel in the dark, but the Father sees and knows all. He is light and there is no darkness for him. He can show us what part he wants us to take to help bring peace and unity again. I am trying to remember this promise.
In the midst of the topsy-turviness of the last few months, we are grateful for the constancy of the Father. Even though it may seem like everything else is changing, he never does. We can rest in him despite how much the world may be changing around us.
Esta, Worker in the Mediterranean
I recently wrote ten interview questions for a project called Aklında Ne Var (What’s On Your Mind). In the first episode, young believers were asked, “How has God been working in your life in the past year, and what have you learned that you would not have otherwise?” The first episode out of ten has been posted.
The last video on our parable series is finally finished. We’ve made six of these videos in the last year, and more than a hundred people from 124 churches participated.
I have some local friends who created a Turkish language audio book app. They asked if I would like to make an audio podcast of our plays by recording them with professional actors. They created a sample performance of one of the plays, and it was really well done. This is a project I wasn’t expecting but am very excited about!
Devin, Worker in Africa
Since arriving in the country, I have been staying at my team leader’s house. He and his wife live on a small Bible school campus for local pastors. I will be living here for the next several months, and plan to improve my French by participating in several of the classes for the pastoral students. This also provides an opportunity for me to build relationships with the local church leaders. Meanwhile, we are making plans for the next phase of my work—discussing possible locations where I could live immersed in the local language.
I am trying to find my place as a student of a different sort among the Bible school curriculum. I am expecting that my classes will expose my weakness in French and my flesh will want to pull back in fear; the temptation is to feel weakness as an attack on my self-worth.
I recently traveled with a crew of local carpenters to help put a roof on a new church building. We built the trusses in the church courtyard and carried them with an abundance of willing hands and feet. It was a tiring four days, but the scorching sun and difficulties melted away after the last piece of tin was in place, and we joined together in celebration. As the ladies of the church sang and danced in the center of the church, half dragging the pastor to the center of the celebration, I imagined Miriam and the women of Israel singing and dancing after crossing the Red Sea. I wouldn’t be surprised if Moses and Aaron had also been pulled into the joyous frenzy. Not even a ruptured trailer tire on the way home was enough to flatten our spirits.