Around the Table

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One of the great ironies of living in Tokyo is that so many feel lonely, while at the same time being surrounded by people in the largest metropolitan area on the planet.

When we chose to attend The Naganuma School for Japanese language studies, we knew that for a few years we would be committing nearly every day to language acquisition efforts for long-term work with churches in Japan. We have tried our best to be present and connect with those who God brings into our lives. Over the last year and a half, we have enjoyed getting to know our classmates who come from nations around the world.

We’ve had lunches and dinners with individual classmates, but the vision of hosting the whole class in our home finally became a reality. While classmates brought along desserts and drinks, we provided a burrito bar for the main course. We enjoyed sharing our American version of burritos with our classmates, some of whom were eating burritos for the first time and requested burrito rolling instruction.

Over our meal, we sat around the living room and in a strange mix of Japanese and English (common among internationals in Japan), we shared stories from our time studying together, spoke of our future goals in Japan or in our home countries, and celebrated recent successes with one another.

With all of our differences in nationality, backgrounds, and life experiences, we came together in our commonality of studying Japanese and living life as internationals in Japan, and it felt like beloved community. We've been so thankful for our classmates who have become friends and have been the presence of Christ to us, and we are grateful for the opportunity to open our home and be the hands and feet of Christ to them.

- Carson and Laura Foushee, CBF field personnel in Japan

Abundant Grace

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In the year 2011, I started a women's meeting at a refugee woman's apartment. We began with 16 women and have grown to a group of more than 500. We praise the Lord for His abundant grace!

At one particular Tuesday meeting, Amina asked me to pray for her father during the time when I ask the women to share their prayer requests openly. Amina urged us to pray for he father because he had disappeared, and the last time this happened he was kidnapped for more than 5 months.

More than 150 women prayed together, and God is awesome. Two days later, her father was released and went back home.

We praise God for the amazing work we see among this community of women!
- Maha Boulos, field personnel serving in Beirut, Lebanon

Evidence of God's powerful work

These are 13 shelter graduates who are a part of a leadership cohort, a follow-up program of the shelter, which offers further mentoring and development opportunities. These women have emerged as leaders in their families and communities.

Grace is one of the members of this cohort. When she was 18 years old, she and her 7-year-old sister were homeless and without a place to go. Though they tried for many months to survive, they continued to struggle and came to the verge of suicide. Her sister asked her if they could try going to an organization one more time. This organization referred her to us and she and her sister immediately entered our shelter.

Today, Grace is now 22 years old and is working full time, which allows her to provide for herself and young sister. She has also just completed her first year of university in Business Administration.

Grace, like many graduates, has developed a passion for sharing what God has done in her life with her community. She is now a translator and leader in her church choir. She has also developed an outreach program through her church to minister among other vulnerable and homeless refugee women. Her life is one of many powerful testimonies of God's powerful work through our shelter program.

- Missy Ward-Angalla, CBF field personnel in Kampala, Uganda

What church is really about

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"We recently had an opportunity to visit an international church that meets just a few subway stops away from our neighborhood. We thought it would be good to sing songs and hear a sermon in English.

While it was nice to meet other Westerners, and our daughter Juniper definitely enjoyed English Sunday school, we really missed our Chinese brothers and sisters that we normally meet with each Sunday.

Even though our Chinese fellowship is in another language (which is certainly a challenge), we really feel that we can worship and grow in our faith with our Chinese church family.

Church is about more than singing and hearing sermons. It is about the beloved community of believers coming together to share the love and transformation of God in our lives and the world. We are thankful to have the opportunity to witness God's love through our Chinese fellowship.

We are so glad that after a year of being here, we have such close bonds with our Chinese church. We are amazed at how it feels like returning home to be back with our Chinese brothers and sisters each Sunday."

- Brittney and Casey Ramirez, field personnel serving in Chengdu, China

Cuba Team Meeting

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News from the Cuba team: We are continuing to make plans for a spring trip to Cuba in March. We will be meeting this Sunday after church briefly in the Gathering Room to discuss expenses and trying to consolidate our group. It is very important for anyone interested to secure their passport. We will need to start working on Visa application soon.

Little things can make all the difference

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As Rev. Lorenzo Ortiz, pastor of Iglesia Bautista Emmanuel in Laredo, tries to coordinate assistance to the daily 200 deportees from the U.S. to Nuevo Laredo just across the border, he came upon a need he wasn’t thinking of.

While being held in detention centers, the people have to relinquish their belts and shoelaces. After being bused to the border crossing and then walked to the Mexican processing office, they sit waiting to either be released in the city or be bused to another area of Mexico.

Have you ever tried to walk with shoes and no laces? They usually flop around and make it difficult even to walk.

As we were sharing some bags of snacks with them, they began to ask about shoelaces. Pastor Ortiz decided to go pick some up at one of the local churches he has been partnering with.

When he returned with the shoelaces, everyone flocked to him and requested some. They immediately began lacing their shoes. Now at least one worry was checked off their mental lists.

Please continue to pray for the immigration and border situation. Pray for those like Pastor Ortiz who are trying to show the love of Christ to so many people who are searching for hope.

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

Cuba Team Update

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The Cuba team has been meeting and we are excited about a possibility for some of our church members to go to Cuba this spring from March 9 through March 16. It is an excellent opportunity to build a relationship with other Christians in their home community and to support each other as we all journey on the path of discipleship. If you are interested please come to a brief meeting this coming Sunday Nov 18 after worship. We will be meeting in the gathering room. Also feel free to contact a team member if you have other questions.

Judy Seago 507-7489, Kelly Brown, Renee Coward, Debbie Higdon, Jerry Parker

News from the Cuba Team

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We have communicated with Ernesto and are hoping to have a group from FBC go to Cuba March 11-15. This is a relationship building mission and wonderful opportunity to experience Christian Koin.

Group transportation in Cuba limits us to 6 participants from our church. There will be an informational meeting this Sunday, Nov. 11th in the Gathering Room after church. Anyone interested is encouraged to attend.

Gracias,
Judy Seago