A Blessed & Happy New Year to you all!
Though I didn’t do much travel abroad this quarter, my days were plenty full! Many coffee connections and I’ve enjoyed helping prepare and debriefing our short term missionaries upon their returns back from service. I love this time of year, because it means I get to attend our ACCI Annual Board Meetings, which was held this year in Ottawa, Canada. This always marks my official anniversary with ACCI. I’m entering my 7th year on this wonderful team. Here are just a few highlights from 2016, 4th Quarter.
Our board meetings were a special blessing this year because along with having to meet our official non-profit requirements as an organization, we also had some fruitful discussions about our ministry growth, admin support needs, member care specifics and participate in prayer together for our ministry and missionaries as a whole. We also did a couple of new things by inviting 3 of our missionaries from three different locations, to Skype in and share with our board members about their lives and visions. We added a Sat. dinner which included 23 of our ACCI team members that happened to be in Canada at this time. It’s always a joy to get in the room face to face, and learn more about one another.
I attended the Chapel Ridge Church service and re connected with precious Belize team members from this past summer. I also attend an amazing outreach with Mark Peterkins (our ACCI Board Chairman) on Friday morning at the Ottawa Civic Prayer Breakfast. God is at work in this city!
Engaging Missions – Bryan Entzminger offers great mission resources on his website, you may want to take a look. As you may know, I was invited to do some short podcast interviews over the holidays with Bryan, along with our ACCI founder, Tony Hedrick. If you missed giving them a listen, you can do so at engagingmissions.com.
Our National Project Fund – We’re continuing to pray for creative ways to help the longevity of our national missionaries who are serving in their own home countries but are greatly limited in resources and in the number of fellow Christ-followers. If you have a desire to financially support an effective on-going international work, I invite you to take a moment and read through our “National Project Fund” vision HERE . This is an opportunity to help bring tangible resources to these national missionaries. A little goes a long ways. Please let me know if you have any questions and I’d be glad to connect you with our staff team members.
Plymouth Covenant Church Youth – I had a rare invitation to join with short term mission leaders at my home church by spending time with our Middle School Youth ministry talking about our Church’s partnership in Belize, Central America with Pastor Herdie Castillo. In my small group, they made a card of encouragement for the Hopkins Village youth students, and we mailed it to them. I love doing this kind of thing!
Our Adventive Team Updates
We welcome our newest ACCI Extended Missionary to our team, Sharon Greenhalgh. After 7 years of experience, Sharon will be continuing on in Thailand, caring for children 0-18 years old at a children’s home in the city of Pattaya. Welcome to the ACCI team, Sharon!
Welcome Back Our 2017, Fall Short-Term Team Members:
And Karen and her son (not pictured) who served in a closed country the month of Dec.
Please pray for our staff team as we are in the middle of prayerfully considering 6 new applicants for long-term missions.
Our staff team is in the midst of planning Member Care visits for 2017 with our ACCI team members. I’ve been learning from them about culture, spiritual discernment, relationships, how to apply Biblical truths to daily life, strategies, meeting needs, and so much more. I always look forward to listening long and praying together as we meet. Please pray for us as a staff, as we prayerfully discern how to best implement these visits either in their country of service or on furlough.
Belize, January 19-27, 2017 – This trip has come up quickly. My dear friend, Cindy Pohlkamp served in Hopkins, Belize years ago and taught the first 3 women’s conferences at Pastor Herdie’s church. She and her husband David, were very involved and connected to the ministry there. David tragically passed away 8 years ago from cancer. Cindy said at the time, that when it was time for her to return to Belize to reconnect, she’d like for myself and 3 other women to join her. Well, now is the time. I’ve been invited to join Cindy, Barb Overholser, and Cheryl Skelly for one week. We’ll be focusing on prayer and 1:1 visits with women. Cindy attends a Messianic Church here in Minnesota and she’ll be doing a few evenings for the women talking about the Jewish Feasts in Scripture, the Jewish Calendar and we’ll be celebrating a couple of the feasts together as well. We’ll be preparing the food together with the women from Church and sharing in the meaningful and powerful traditions that Jesus lived in his lifetime. I’m really looking forward to learning from Cindy and from one another.
- May 9-13 (14, day of rest): Travel days and serving on the island of Lampedusa with 3 other women through prayer and encouragement with the local church members, learning about the Refugee situation on the island, discovering together the needs and possible ways to come alongside the church members, as they serve in Lampedusa
- May 15-19 (May 20-21, day of rest): Ill welcome Emma and Sara Sosa (my home church’s Children’s Pastor) arriving in Rome. I’ll be learning more about the IAFR Refugee outreach in Rome by participating in their work there. We’re hoping to meet with the AWANA director from the south that is translating the AWANA program to Italian.
- May 22-24 – I’ll have meetings in Florence with a local Pastor and others I need to connect with in the area.
- May 25-28 (29th, day of rest) – We’ll be joining Francesco Abortivi in Parma in their Youth ministry and Pastor Sara will be teaching at their Projetto Archippo Conference and speaking in the Parma Gruppo Christian Church on Sunday morning. Wendy Mills will join us, from Minneapolis. Then, I’ll say my sad goodbyes to Sara and Emma as they travel back to the USA.
- May 30-June 5 (6th, day off) – Will be our ACCI Gathering Retreat for our ACCI missionaries and ministry partners. We’ll have a staff day before and after the actual retreat time to meet as a staff team. I’ve been enjoying helping prepare the details, reservations, ministry preparations, etc. with ACCI missionary, Dawn Mann, along with our staff team. It’s going to be a time of connecting, sharing our vision with one another, rest, and spiritual renewal.
- June 7 – Travel day home from Venice
In case you didn’t get a chance to read more about the specifics of my service opportunities while in Italy, I’ve decided to repeat the next 2 paragraphs and leave in what I wrote last time. So feel free to skip this portion if you’ve already read it.
(Repeated) Lampedusa – As you may recall from my last video update, I shared about a burden the Lord has laid on my heart for this tiny island far west of Italy. Prior to our Gathering Retreat, I have been invited to spend a few days in Lampedusa with others in intercession and prayer, seeking the Lord together of what he may desire for this area. We may also visit the Refugee placement camp there and also meet other church members who are struggling. My prayer is that we may be an encouragement in some way, and that the Lord reveals the first steps of direction for how He may use us in the future together with resources and our ministry partners in Italy. But FIRST, we begin with prayer and listening! Lampedusa is the first place that immigrants land, excited, full of hope, not really knowing the long journey that is ahead of them. With this truth comes great opportunity to bring the hope of Christ, but we first need to connect with the local church, listen, learn, come alongside and encourage on another. That’s all I know at this point. One step of obedience at a time is what I continue to learn.
(Repeated) Projetto Archippo – Also, I will be traveling with the Children’s Pastor Sara Sosa and her daughter Emma from my home church part of my time in Italy. Sara will be teaching a weekend of Projetto Archippo on the church and family/leadership, which our leadership training in Parma. I can’t wait, I know God is going to use her to bring great encouragement, resources and wisdom to those who attend. Learn more about this wonderful ministry HERE.
I’ll bet you’ve been wondering why in the world I put a picture of Marie Sharp hot-sauces at the top of my newsletter?! God teaches me so much when I look through my camera. I have many “ah-ha” moments of worship when I take photos. While last in Belize, I was in a village store and noticed this isle of sauces and jams. When I looked through the camera, I saw this long row of unending forms and flavors of hot-sauces, yet, they were all still Marie Sharps in brand. One brand, many kinds. It struck me how often I put others from different cultures from my own, into the “people” brand lumping them all together, and yet there are so many races, cultures, languages, ways of life, spiritual journeys in each person’s life–thus making it impossible then to toss everyone on the same shelf. I indeed realized again, “I have so much to learn and it’ll take my life time.” But, how exciting it is to force myself to listen, go slowly and learn, learn, learn from others.
I’ve been reading the book, The Culture Map, by Erin Meyer. Though her approach to her teaching is toward business management that work cross-culturally, her insights and facts are incredibly helpful to those of us who serve in missions, cross-culturally as well. I’m realizing how true it is that Jesus is bringing me the nations at my very own doorstep in the USA. I don’t even have to go abroad to share his love. What a privilege it is to share the love of Christ in action. Erin’s findings coincide nicely with the book Foreign to Familiar (which you know I’m very fond of). I invite you to take 8 minutes and give a listen to some of her insights HERE, and you may want to read her book! She has many great tid-bits on youtube. And, she’s from Minnesota!
Mission Resources – If you are passionate about any aspect of missions, be sure to take a look at my list of resources HERE that I keep regularly updated. It covers everything from short-term team resources, mission leadership, personal study, cross-cultural study, member care, caring for families and more.
Consider purchasing my photocards from CardsBeyond for yourself or as a gift. Check out the new ITALY DOORS set of cards! You can now build your own card set and select the cards you’d prefer as a Christmas package for friends and loved ones! See the instructions on my ordering page HERE. Any profit from card sales will go toward my mission trips. I could really use your help and support in this fundraising endeavor; you’re an important part of the ACCI team!
ACCI ASK Newsletter. This is a prayer newsletter that I send out to all of you the 2nd Tuesday of every month that gives specific prayer needs you can join in prayer with us, and celebrate what God is doing as well as he answers prayer so faithfully. Thank you so to many of you that regularly join with us interceding for our ACCI team members. I am amazed by your obedience through prayer, by uniting with me in caring for our missionaries in this vital way.
Our ACCI Website. Feel free to take a moment to browse our new ACCI website ! Your giving system will not change, but everything else sure has. Enjoy! Please let me know if you have any questions.
- For protection over our health, good rest and physical strength to serve well
- For all the preparation of my travels ahead: to be led by the Holy Spirit, for god-appointments, discernment and financial multiplication
- To be a prayerful, discerning listener as I serve our ACCI team members in multiple ways
- For the Lord to raise up additional monthly prayer and financial partners to stand with me
- For my Italian language studies to continue productively and for retention as I work with my tutor, Lorenzo
- For continued protection around Luke and I as a family, our marriage, balance of work/home life, esp. when I’m traveling
- Wisdom as a staff team as we prayerfully as we consider new missionary applications and manage our responsibilities behind the scenes that support ACCI’s vision and needs
I’d be glad to add you to my prayer email list. Once in a while I send out a need for prayer covering. Just bump me an email and I’ll add you on my list by clicking HERE.
Financial Update – Answer to Prayer before it was prayed! I was blessed to receive a confidential donated plane ticket to Belize for this January, along with an end of the year donation that paid for my ground expenses. Praise God! Thank you for being an answer to prayer, for your sacrificial giving and for care as the “body of Christ”. I am humbled and grateful.
Italy Mission – If you’d like to give a one-time donation toward my Italy mission coming up in May, I would greatly appreciate it. I have about $1600 left to raise for this mission. I have already funds saved for my plane ticket and part of my ground expenses. I’m looking forward to sharing with you via video updates while I’m in Italy about what God is doing during my time there.
For accountability, I want you to know on my days off, I’ll carefully and faithfully separate out my personal spending from mission expenses for each mission. Your donation will go toward the mission focus. Thank you.
Would you consider becoming a monthly giving partner for one year? And by the way, no amount is too small. If you do feel led to do so, just go online to our ACCI website HERE, choose Donate US$, then choose if you’d prefer to give monthly or a one-time gift, then find my name under United States, and you’re done! Or I can email you a giving slip if you’d prefer to donate by regular mail.