Templo

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In a humble tin structure that serves as the templo (sanctuary) in Carmen Grande, Manuel and his older brother begin to sing in beautiful harmony, accompanied by their guitars.

In the far south of Mexico, in the rural state of Chiapas, the future is bleak for young men and boys. Land is essential for survival, and poor, indigenous families own little land. Subsistence farming is the norm; families grow beans and corn and raise chickens and hogs. Between growing seasons, many men head to El Norte (the north) to work in northern Mexico or the United States.

Pastor Manuel’s family has suffered much. They’re a family of all sons where the oldest son inherits land from his father – and there simply isn’t enough land to divide among them. One brother committed suicide; two others are working in the U.S.

“It’s hard,” said Manuel. “There’s a lack of hope here. My younger brothers send money back so we can rent land to farm.” Leaving home is a necessity. There’s no work in the community to generate income.

Pray for the indigenous peoples of Mexico who live in communities with little hope and see migration as necessity for survival.

- Sue Smith, field personnel serving Latino immigrants in Fredericksburg, Va.

MISSIONS NIGHT -- APRIL 10TH

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Come to the Wednesday night supper and stay for a special evening that addresses the Mercy Challenge of ministering to the poorly clothed.  Our GAs kick off the evening with an international fashion show.  Although they will not be poorly clothed, they will remind us of the importance of culture and clothing.  We'll hear a report from Charlie and Diane White about the clothing ministry they have been spearheading with poverty stricken counties in West Virginia.  The evening will conclude with a hands-on missions project that will help bring warmth to the children receiving Christmas shoeboxes.

One more opportunity to minister:  bring an item of clean, in good repair, clothing (or several items) for the Sylva Linings Resale Store.  There will be a box for these items as you enter the MFC.

Thanks in advance for helping make our first quarterly Missions Night fun and informative!

Sylva FBC WMU

Secondary Benefits

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It takes two soccer balls, two goal posts, 25 jerseys and an empty sand lot. Open the doors and 60 neighborhood kids show up for Sunday afternoon soccer club. A start up cost of about 100 dollars and it is set to go for 6 months.

Mike Hutchinson, CBF field personnel in Lomé helps 4 young Christian men form the soccer club. They learn how to plan, organize, work within a budget and then evaluate the program as it goes along.

Forming leaders who can share their new skills in developing their community is the goal of the program, the kids having a great time playing soccer is a secondary benefit.

We begin with a Bible verse and end in a circle with a prayer. Join our prayers with us!

- Mike and Lynn Hutchinson, CBF field personnel serving in Togo, West Africa

CHILDREN'S MISSIONS DAY: SATURDAY, MARCH 23RD

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WMU invites all children in grades 1-6 to participate in this special day aimed at getting kids excited about missions as they engage in a hands-on activity to serve in our community.

Here's the plan -- Meet at church at church at 9:30 a.m. We'll have doughnuts and milk and then pack goody bags* for our shut-ins.
Next we'll load up in vans and visit our church's shut-ins and deliver the goody bags.
Finally, we'll come back to church and enjoy some pizza!
Please register to participate by calling the Church Office at 586-2095 by March 21st. Parents and other adults are invited to attend also. Mission Friends are invited to join us, but they must be accompanied by a parent or other adult.

*Bring some items for the goody bags. Some ideas are snack crackers, mints, hand sanitizers, chapstick, etc. Bring several of each item.

GO SERVE!

Between the Fruit Trees

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Recently we took a group from the Bosnian community on a trip to nearby Eckert Farms.

We were a little concerned how the trip would go when one of our friends, Lane, decided to join us. Lane has dementia and when he can’t recognize friends or where he is, he often gets panic attacks.

When Lane saw all the fields full of fruit trees, sunflowers, and vegetables, a big smile appeared on his face.

Lane started telling us stories about his hometown and his huge family farm. But then Lane’s smile faded and he said, “We lost everything. All we worked for, it’s gone, it was destroyed in the war. Here we have nothing except the four walls of our apartment. Can you please leave me here between these fruit trees?”

His wife told him to be happy that they had a roof over their heads. But even with dementia, the bad memories come back to Lane on both good days and bad days.

We are so blessed to be able to spend time with people like Lane. Even if we’ve heard the same stories several times before, it fills our hearts with love when we hear that we are like family to them.

- Mira and Sasha Zivanov, field personnel in St. Louis

Making a difference across the border

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Our work on the border is all about collaboration and partnership! Students at the BSM at University of Houston put these food packets together for us. We delivered to Cynthia Aulds with our partner the Coalition to Combat Human Trafficking in Texas. She included information about human trafficking in each bag and delivered them to Laredo. Our friends at Pastor Lorenzo’s church will deliver to displaced peoples on the other side of the border.

Later, Cynthia wrote us to tell us how the food packets were making a difference!

She received a text from one of Pastor Lorenzo's helpers: "We took some snack bags to the children and families on the bridge of Nuevo Laredo, Tamaulipas. There are families from Uzbekistan, Cuba, Venezuela and Nicaragua. Thank you and everyone for these snack bags. The children were so hungry. Thank you again. We truly appreciate these bags."

Displaced people are vulnerable to human traffickers. Each food packet has a list of questions that recipients can read and perhaps self identify as a victim. Later this month, we will be meeting with first responders in San Antonio to talk about tools that can help them identify victims. We also are working on a video that can be played on a loop in areas where displaced people may be, such as homeless shelters, care facilities and detention centers. And all of this is in partnership with others.

Butch and Nell Green, CBF field personnel in Houston, Texas

True Life

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Sonat had been a 13 year old boy when CBF field personnel came to his village to learn his language. Later, a Korean CBF partner church provided scholarship funds for Sonat and some of his friends to become some of the first college graduates from the “B" people group.

While in college, Sonat and those friends helped with the Bible translation, although he did not fully trust Christ until after the New Testament was printed in 2015. The New Testament, pictured above, is titled "True Life," since there are no words for "Bible" or "New Testament" in the B language.

More recently, the tiny B church decided to dub the Jesus Film into their language. Sonat was very excited. In a recent text to CBF field personnel, he wrote:

“Over the past few days I’ve helped with the Jesus Film recording. I’ve been amazed, feeling the power of God at work during the recording. God has helped us to read our lines with emotion, like real actors. That’s hard for us, since none of us have done anything like this before. But God has been with us all the way.”

Please pray for Sonat and the other B people, both Christians and pre-Christians, as they finish the Jesus Film recording.

- Field personnel serving in Southeast Asia

Beloved community in an unexpected place

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Mentoring inmates through art-making is one of the ways I live out the presence of Christ in community. I assist programs in both the men's and women’s prisons. The women are inspirational and a delight to work with. Simply delivering new art supplies for them to use is met with delight and gratefulness.

Even though life is not easy, they try to make the best of their time and are so thankful. I truly love mentoring them. As Jesus said, "When I was in prison you visited me...when you did it to the least of these you did it to me."

We create beloved community in many ways. For me this is the heart of what it means to be the presence of Christ: presence, time, and energy given out of love. A beloved community in an unexpected place.

At the request of the warden I initiated a beautification effort in the prison through creating large wall murals. The first was completed in early October. Four of the Narwastu Art Community students who are from Serbia joined in and taught the women how to properly create a large-scale mural. Currently the women are painting murals in the visit area.

- Tina Bailey, field personnel in Bali, Indonesia

Opening Doors

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God has been nudging my heart with statements and questions that I have heard from refugees over the years of ministry to internationals. Statements such as: “I have been in the United States for 17 years and this is the first time I have been in an American home,” and questions like “Can you find me one American friend?”

I have been calling on my network of friends and asking them to host new immigrants in their homes. The degree of hosting varies: for tea, for dinner, overnight. I personally have been hosting and been hosted by Iranians, Afghan and Tajik for many years.

The blessings are many and the relationships are enriching. I am opening the door as wide as possible to help others experience this blessing. God is calling us to this work. The Bible says, “I was a stranger and you invited me in….” Matthew 25:35b. Pray for Christians who will open their doors!

- CBF field personnel ministering to Persian speakers worldwide (Afghan, Iranian and Tajik)