Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Simos Family-May Update 2012

Simos Family ministry update from the Dominican Republic.
Equipping people to engage culture according to their design!
Bible lessons & English classes:  Since January, I have had the joy of teaching in the bateys every Tuesday & Thursday!  Our first stop is Lima where I teach English to a small group of students, then I teach a bible class over the life of Christ to a large group of kids.  Next, we travel to Piñones, where I teach the same bible class two times; first to a group of young teens, then to a group of little ones.  After this, we head to Cabeza de Toro where I finish up with an English class with only one dear student, Manuela.  I truly love the opportunities that the Lord is placing before me to teach, share, love, & learn.  These kids truly mean so much to me now, and it is wonderful to watch their lives being changed.  I’m often reminded of how much our love can impact others.  Kids that might not normally receive a lot of attention, unless it’s punishment, our seeing our team love on them, and at times, discipline them in a loving way such that they want to be our friends.  We praise God for the relationships that He is building & strengthening.  May it all result in the glory and praise of our  God. -Toni
  Toni & Jesi   Toni & Friends
Elle and Yudeika
From Elle:  When we started going to Batey Pinones in June, Yudeika was one year old. She was always with her uncle and was so shy. One time her uncle wanted to play ball with us so he left Yudeika beside a bench. So I went over and started holding her and playing with her. She was still shy for a few more weeks but I kept on playing with her every time we went to Pinones. In about one month Yudeika was always ready to play with me as soon as I got out the car. During this time she was still learning how to talk. Before my family went on furlough last December, Yudeika turned two and I got to go to her birthday party in the Batey. After furlough, Yudeika could say my name and her mom said when I wasn’t there Yudeika would ask where I was. Her mom said she would cry if I wasn’t coming to the bateys. She also has a nickname called YuYu (JuJu). I play with her every time we go to Pinones and we have so much fun together. Yudeika has changed a lot since June and she is my best friend.  -Elle
  Elle & Friends Elle & yaeli

Freedom Information

Freedom Land!
We currently have a $21,308 matching gift on the table.  With your help, the match can raise over $40,000 towards our goal! Click here for more info.
Child Sponsorship!
As you know, we've had a pre-school up and running this past year, and we're making plans to add another class next year.  Click here for more info.
New Men's Ministry:  We've started a new Young Men's Ministry of batey Lima in hopes of discipling guys10 years old and older.  We're off to a great start with almost 40 guys in attendance so far. My Spanish is far from perfect, but they tell me they can understand it.  The plan is to have four meetings with lessons and team-building activities.  Then the fifth meeting will allow the group to put into action what they have been taught by serving (loving and respecting) others in the batey.  It's great to see so many wanting to be involved, most of whom are not believers.  Please pray that I'm able to communicate God's word clearly and that many would come to have a genuine relationship with the Lord Jesus Christ. -Josh
From Kinsey:  These cute little girls are some of my best friends in the villages!  Fernancia to the left and Fabiola to the right, are three years old now and will be in our pre-school this fall.  Biki in the middle is two but she’s as big as the other two!  They are so funny in the way they talk and act with each other.  I love hearing them say my name!  Us four will sit down in the grass and they will ‘show’ me how to do a doll’s hair.  While this is going on, they will start their own little conversation!  It’s so cute to sit there and watch them go back and forth, carrying on about how Biki has dirt on her shirt, how Fabiola has clothes on, and how Fernancia has beads in her hair.   It always makes me laugh when we pull into Pinones and these cuties come running!   When we leave, there always standing just a few feet away from the car waving bye. -Kinsey
From Gabe:  One of my friends in the villages is Weson. He is a little kid I like to hang out with. Weson usually doesn’t have clothes on. Weson lives in a village named Piñones. Whenever I get out of the car at Piñones he comes running up to play with me. Me and Weson like to throw and kick balls to each other. Once we leave Piñones, Weson starts to cry because he doesn’t want us to leave. -Gabe
 Gabe & a little one  Gabe & Wilson
Copyright © 2012 Josh & Toni Simos, All rights reserved.
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Thursday, May 17, 2012

Happy Ascension Day!

Rev'd. Dr. Todd Stepp

Today is the fortieth day of the Great Fifty Days of the Resurrection (i.e., Easter) Season.  It is the day that Christians refer to as Ascension Day.  Many Churches will celebrate this day on this coming Sunday, Ascension Sunday.

As the name indicates, it is the celebration of the risen Christ's ascension into heaven where He is seated at the right hand of God the Father Almighty.

In celebration of Ascension Day, I offer the following Scriptures, hymn and prayer:

Christ's Ascension

After Jesus' suffering, he showed himself to the disciples and gave many convincing proofs that he was alive.  He appeared to them over a period of forty days and spoke about the kingdom of God.  On one occasion, while he was eating with them, he gave them this command: "Do not leave Jerusalem, but wait for the gift my Father promised, which you have heard me speak about.  For John baptized with water, but in a few days you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit."

So when they met together, they asked him, "Lord are you at this time going to restore the kingdom to Israel?

He said to them: "It is not for you to know the times or dates the Father has set by his own authority.  But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth."

After he said this, he was taken up before their very eyes, and a cloud hid him from their sight.

They were looking intently up into the sky as he was going, when suddenly two men dressed in white stood beside them.  "Men of Galilee," they said, "why do you stand here looking into the sky?   This same Jesus, who has been taken from you into heaven, will come back in the same way you have seen him go into heaven."

Remember Jesus' words:  "Surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age."
(Acts 1:3-11; Matthew 28:20b, from "Sing to the Lord")

Crown Him with Many Crowns

1. Crown Him with many crowns,
The Lamb upon His throne.
Hark! how the heav'nly anthem drowns
All music but its own!
Awake, my soul, and sing
Of Him who died for thee,
And hail Him as thy matchless King
Thro' all eternity.

2. Crown Him the Lord of Love!
Behold His hands and side
Rich wounds, yet visible above,
In beauty glorified.
No angel in the sky
Can fully bear that sight,
But down-ward bends his wond'ring eyes
At mysteries so bright.

3. Crown Him the Lord of Life!
Who triumphed o'er the grave;
Who rose victorious to the strife
For those He came to save.
His glories now we sing
Who died and rose on high,
Who died eternal life to bring,
And lives that death may die.

4. Crown Him the Lord of Heav'n!
One with the Father known,
One with the Spirit thro' Him giv'n
From yonder glorious throne.
To Thee be endless praise,
For Thou for us hast died.
Be Thou,O Lord, thro' endless days
Adored and magnified!

(Stanzas 1,2,4, Matthew Bridges, 1854; stanza 3, Godfrey Thring, 1874)

Grant, we pray, Almighty God, that as we believe your only-begotten Son our Lord Jesus Christ to have ascended into heaven, so we may also in heart and mind there ascend, and with him continually dwell; who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen
Posted by Todd Stepp at 10:51 AM

Friday, May 4, 2012

Bits & Bytes for Bagley Backers-May 2012

God is at Work in the Africa Area
The past month and a half since the last edition of Bits & Bytes have been especially busy and especially marked by God's blessing. Here are a few highlights of what God has been doing across the Africa Area in recent days:

    Bob spent a week and a half in Ghana where he met for two days with the District Board and guided them through a process of strategic planning.  He also visited the work in the north of the country as well as participated in Easter celebrations at Sakumono Wesleyan Church near Accra.  (To view a slideshow of photos taken during the trip, click the following link: Ghana visit.)Issah Osman and Joe Ocran
    The Wesleyan Church of Ghana has just launched mission work in Burkina Faso.  They are sending Pastor Issah Osman as their missionary (pictured here with Joe Ocran, Ghana District Superintendent).  Issah has been serving as a church planter in north east Ghana among the Wa people for the past two years, having planted three churches in that time.

    Jerry Manwaring visited the work in the Congo (DRC) over Easter and reports that the new classrooms at the primary school have been completed (thanks to World Vision) and we now have 523 students enrolled; Faculte Wesleyene de Theologie (FAWETH) uses the classrooms at night with 15 students enrolled; another 4 ministerial students are studying at the Campus Crusade Bible College; plans are progressing well for the launch of a Jesus Film team next month; Easter revival services at Source de Lumiere Church resulted in a number of conversions, culminating in a baptism service with 10 candidates; in an effort to help the church become self-sustaining, the church has begun a banana plantation having planted one hectare in what will ultimately be a ten hectare plantation.
    Rev. Graça Nhathelo, Mozambique National Superintendent, recently visited a new congregation planted in Tete Province. This means that the Wesleyan church has congregations in all 10 provinces of the country, a goal set by the church about 15 years ago.
    Doug Dennis, Brian Matherlee, Phil HarringtonWe hosted Pastors Doug Dennis (Asheboro, NC), Brian Matherlee (McAdenville, NC),  and Phil Harrington (Dallas, NC) as they led a seminar at Wesleyan Evangelical Seminary for around 40 Wesleyan pastors in the Johannesburg area.  Following the seminar and speaking in Sunday services in local churches, we traveled with them to the annual Africa Area Missionary retreat.  Along the way we spent a day in Kruger National Park where we almost got trampled by elephants. We like our guests to have an unforgettable experience!
    Missionary Randal Cheney spent a week traveling with Rev. Doctor Galela (Southern Africa Regional Superintendent) visiting Zimbabwe on a scouting trip in preparation for their ultimate deployment. Valuable connections were made to ease their transition into Zimbabwe in the near future. Meanwhile, Randal and Candice continue working on raising the support they need before they will be cleared to go.
    The annual Africa Area Missionary Retreat met in White River, South Africa, for a time of reflection and renewal.  The NC pastors (above) ministered effectively around the theme of "Maintaining your Spiritual Passion in the Midst of Ministry."  (To view a slideshow of photos taken during the trip, click the following link: Missionary Retreat.)

Retreat 2012

Support Report
We've got a combination of good news and bad news on the support front. The good news is that we've added several new faith promise supporters in the past month. The other good news is that so far for the financial year, donations for our support has kept pace with our budgeted need.  . . .  The bad news is that we still lack $20,000 ($1,671 monthly) in faith promise support (monthly commitments).  It does keep us dependent on God and grateful to those who stand behind us making up the gap.

Thank you so much for your faithful, sacrificial, and generous support!

Online donations or monthly commitments can be made online by clicking here. 

Bagley Backers on FaceBook

For the most up-to-date news and prayer requests visit the Bagley Backers group on Facebook.

Praise Points
1. Praise the Lord that Brenda finally received her permit to reside in South Africa. (It was actually approved 3 months ago, but officials gave contrary information.)
2. Praise God for His help and protection as we and the rest of the GP-Africa missionary family have travelled extensively in recent weeks.

3. Praise God that GoNet missionary Lisa Karr has been approved to become a long-term GP missionary continuing to serve in Ethiopia.

4. Thank God for new souls added to the Kingdom over the Easter period through evangelistic emphases across the Africa Area.

Prayer Requests
1. Ask for God's blessing on the new works being established in Tete Province, Mozambique and the country of Burkina Faso.

2. Pray that God will lead in the selection of a new leader for Global Partners at the General Conference in early June.

3. Pray for God's help as we return to North American at the end of May for General Conference and other meetings.

4. Ask God to provide the remaining support needed for Lisa Karr and Randal & Candice Cheney so they can be deployed to their respective ministry fields without delay.

5. Pray that the Lord of the harvest will call workers to fill needed positions within the missionary team in Africa. (medical, theological education, church development)

Africa Area Prayer Calendar

A prayer calendar with requests for every day for April - June, 2012 is now available by clicking the following link: Africa Area Prayer Calendar  Feel free to share it with others who are interested in praying for God's work in Africa.

Lauren Gross, GoNet missionary to Zambia, recently put together prayer maps with photos of African leaders and GP missionaries to use as you pray.  You can access them by clicking on the following links: Missionary Prayer Map, and African Leaders Prayer Map.
BagleysPrintable Version

An easy to print version can be accessed by clicking the following link: PRINT VERSION  Thank you for sharing a print version with those who cannot receive the email.

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You can help us by forwarding "Bits & Bytes" to friends who will be interested in the work of Global Partners in Africa. Just click on the link below.  Friends who receive the email will also be given an opportunity to sign up to receive it in the future.

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Bob & Brenda Bagley    |    RBagley112@gmail.com