Adults on Mission

Missionary Spotlight Update: Ken and Lygia Lovelace

Ken and Lygia Lovelace

The struggles Ken and Lygia Lovelace face on a daily basis have not ceased, and others have been added. Their adopted twin daughters complained for months about unusual feelings in their chests. Then seizures began. Through extensive testing, they learned both girls had sudden arrhythmic death syndrome. They are trying now to accept the fact that their girls’ hearts could stop any time. The twins are 12 years old.

Fourteen-year-old Elijah continues to struggle with heart problems of his own related to the diseases that he has. He has more bedridden days than up-and-at’em days. His family remains thankful for the good days he does have.

On the church front, the Lovelaces continue to serve the Lord and began a new Sunday morning Bible study in May. Ask God to use the study to serve the people well and grow them up in Him.

The Lovelaces appreciate your prayers. Given the multiple illnesses of their children, prayer is the greatest resource they have. Pray they would have the physical, emotional, mental, and spiritual strength they need to forge ahead in the face of nearly insurmountable health problems in their family.

Using Hospitality to Reach International Students in New Orleans

international students

When it’s time to cook Christmas dinner, Kimberly Myers always prepares extra for guests—some of the 600 students to whom she ministers at the University of New Orleans. As North American Mission Board collegiate missionary to international students, she uses every possible opportunity to share Jesus with them. She said, “Hospitality is a big part of our ministry.”

It takes planning to reach people from more than 75 countries as diverse as Iran, China, Guatemala, and Germany.

On Sunday afternoons, Kimberly meets the Ladies’ English Club in the married housing complex on campus. Volunteers from a nearby church supervise the children on the playground while the wives of the students spend time together.

The International Center is a bustling place on campus where students come weekly for a cup of coffee and conversation. While they are there, Kimberly invites them to study the Bible. She has been amazed to see God at work when Hindus, Muslims, and Buddhists have responded positively.

Talk to Strangers: Find Out How to Help New Immigrants

group of friends giving a hand

Close your eyes and imagine a scene unfolding in front of you—a scene in which you play the starring role. You and your family have left your home country with high hopes of building a better life. Hunger, scarcity of all kinds, poor living conditions, and perhaps even persecution were part of daily life.

But a miracle happened and you were permitted to immigrate to the United States. You find yourself in the middle of an environment totally unlike your home country. You have been helped to find a small apartment and given an allowance for a limited time. You don’t know English. How will you find a job, and will your allowance end too soon? Sending your children to school is another worry; you picture them alone and afraid.

Having left your extended family and all your friends, you gather your small family around you and attempt to encourage yourself and them with the hope that life will be better in this new country.

Now, open your eyes and thank God for the freedoms, the provisions, and even the luxuries that you enjoy every day. This imagined scenario is a reality for some people in your community. How can you and your missions group help?

God’s Word Tells Us How to Respond to Refugees

Bible with journal

Who is a refugee? Merriam-Webster Dictionary defines refugee as “one that flees for safety; especially one who flees to a foreign country or power to escape danger or persecution.” Therefore, refugees are immigrants who seek asylum either for ethnic or religious reasons or are driven away from their home by natural disasters. Nonetheless, they have become foreigners in a new place.

Sharing Life: Develop a Heart for the World

people at a dinner table

Anyone who knows Charity Powell knows her heart for the world. Those who don’t know her soon learn. A world map in her office pinpoints past mission trips. Strings crisscross to photos with special meaning for each trip. As she points, Charity describes people and needs in each location—11 countries she visited in 11 months during a World Race to share Jesus and encourage believers. Tears fill her eyes as she recalls the man from Thailand who prayed 30 years for a church. She tells of Asian friends in New York City’s Jackson Heights. A bottle filled with an olive branch, rocks, a piece of a raft, and an orange heart-shaped piece of a life jacket from Greece’s Lesvos beach stands on the table underneath her map.

For a long time, refugees were not on Charity’s map. “I knew if I paid attention, I’d end up in Lesvos.” However, after helping with a refugee fund-raiser, she acknowledged, “The Lord gave me feet to go.”

History Opens Doors for the Gospel in Slovenia

distribution of New Testaments at Christmas market

The number of Christians in Slovenia is small. The response to the gospel of Jesus Christ is slow, and theological training is lacking, thus impeding efforts to equip nationals to become spiritual leaders.

Kim Kelley and her husband, Joe, have encountered these hurdles daily during the 15 years they have served in Slovenia. The Kelleys are field representatives in church planting in Radovljica, which is in the Gorenjska region.

Slovenia was part of the former Yugoslavia until gaining its independence in 1991. Nearly 60% of Slovenia’s 2 million people are Catholic.

Many times through the years, the Kelleys and their children have undertaken various outreach efforts to tell Slovenes about Jesus Christ. This past year, the Kelleys tried a different approach that used a little bit of history to get Bibles into the hands of Slovenes. That approach has created opportunities to encounter new people and to share about Jesus.       

Missionary Spotlight Update: Jason and Cheryl Dietz

Dietz family at a park

Jason and Cheryl Dietz and their children have just begun a yearlong stateside assignment. Every 5 years, missionaries across Europe must leave their country of service for a long period of time because of agreements between those countries and the United States. The Dietz family must be out for a full year.

Stateside assignment is often a bittersweet time for missionary families. They are eager to reconnect with family, friends, and favorite foods in America, but their thoughts are never far from their home across the pond and the important work that goes on there in their absence. The Dietzes are no different.

“We have 2 new [missionary] families—and 1 likely on the way—while we are gone,” Jason shared. “Pray for our national partners while we are gone . . . and for our team spread out over our 5 cities.”

Perhaps most heavy on Jason’s and Cheryl’s hearts is the fact that 2 of their children will be heading to university while on this stateside assignment and won’t be returning to Germany with the family next year. “That is a huge adjustment,” Jason admitted. The Dietz family appreciates your prayers during this time of adjustment.

Go and Do Right Where You Are

women and men volunteering

Dusting off your passport, getting on a plane, and taking the gospel to another country is always a good way to get out of your comfort zone.

But consider the ways you can stretch yourself right where you are and see God do new things in your neighborhood and city. Why not plan a week this year to do a “staycation” with your family or missions group? Or why not try a “near me mission trip” 1 afternoon a month? You might be surprised what God might show you right where you are.

Where to Start

Before you start, pray for God to give you fresh eyes. When we embark on mission trips to other places, everything is new—it’s as if our brains and our hearts are on high alert for new people and new opportunities. Ask God to give you new eyes to see the people around you as you go to familiar places and do familiar things.

Here are some ideas for things you could try:

Deliver VBS to Senior Adults and Shut-ins

man on road with Bible and bag

Reflecting on the summers of my childhood, I always looked forward to Vacation Bible School (VBS). Complete with fruit punch and cookies, VBS was much less about “school” and much more about growing in my relationship with Christ. The weeklong event typically took place within the walls of our local church with familiar faces and dedicated volunteers.

In today’s world, VBS has happily taken on a revised schedule, with many churches choosing to offer an abbreviated VBS at night or on a weekend. But what about stepping beyond the church walls to personally deliver the gospel to an often-overlooked sector of our society? What if we rolled up our sleeves, packed up our resources, and took VBS on the road to a local nursing home or senior center? We just might discover an untapped dimension to fulfilling the Great Commission while experiencing a whole lot of joy in the process!

Spiritual Change Can Start at Home

city lights of Salt Lake City

Seven years ago, Adam and Paige Madden moved to the Salt Lake City metro after growing up and serving churches in the Midwest. It was a definite change in scenery. While the mountains of Utah are beautiful, the dismal spiritual landscape is where these North American Mission Board church planters are hoping to see change.

Much of the area is steeped in Mormonism, and less than 3% of the population of northern Utah claims to believe the gospel. The Maddens are part of a church-planting effort called Christ Fellowship, and as the executive director of the Golden Spike Baptist Network, Adam is seeking to see more churches planted.

In church planting, changes don’t happen quickly, but the same isn’t true of the Maddens’ family life.

“A couple years ago, our family experienced a pretty significant transition. We went from a family of 7 to 11 in 1 year,” Paige said.

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