February Messenger

News from Rachel in Pakistan

Dear friends,

I arrived back from my visit in the UK to a very hot Lahore, schools had just started and a new bishop had been appointed. Bishop Azad is now busy sorting everything out and seeing what is going on.

This term I have been doing a lot of demonstration lessons in schools and discussing maths concepts with some of the mathematically minded teachers. I hope they will help me with a maths workshop as most teachers have very little maths knowledge. We have been drawing pictures, solving real life problems, folding paper and making fraction sticks etc.

Please pray for my office to be repaired, all my books are on the floor as the cupboards are falling down, the light doesn’t work and we have no computers, which mean I have to handwrite reports or use the British Council (BC) if I need to send emails.

Muslims celebrate Eid (Eid al Adha, also called the “Sacrifice Feast”. It honours the willingness of Ibrahim (Abraham) to sacrifice his son, as an act of obedience to God’s command, when God provided a male goat to sacrifice instead.

All Muslims buy a goat, cow or camel a few weeks beforehand and care for it and then decorate it. On the actual day of Eid, butchers come and sacrifice the animals and people pray. The skins are then sold for charity. One has to be careful where one steps after the sacrifices – I just stepped out of my door and a cow’s head was right there before me. I thank God that Jesus is our sacrifice, and that he died for our sins on the cross, before rising again.

The Junior Girl Guides are enjoying their programmes. They have been to their headquarters for an Independence Day event (celebrating 70 years of Independence), and for the International Day of the Girl. They have done a “save electricity” project, a “clean school” campaign and made rubbish bins. When it is cooler they enjoy energetic running and ball games, all quite unusual for girls in Pakistan. They are now putting on some dramas about girls in Pakistan on themes such as early marriage and a lack of access to health care and education.

In the Miracle School a training session was held on Bible maps. The teachers were very interested. We had a map of the ancient world in the time of the exile, and they were amazed to see where Babylon, Nineveh and Assyria were, and to hear that modern day places such as Iraq are now in these places. We also looked at a timeline of the Old Testament and each teacher had the name of a patriarch or king to put on the time line. There followed a discussion about when the world started, after a while I said that no one really knows so let’s get on with the business of following Jesus! Many people here pick up bits of fake Bible knowledge and so we always have to look for the truth. Please pray that the Christians here are not led astray by “internet beliefs”. I was very sad when I visited a church recently and people there offered me money to pray for them. I told them that prayer was free and that God wants us to talk with him directly. 

The children are all benefiting from the Montessori activities. We now have language and maths activities for the older children who love to work in pairs or alone solving problems and writing stories.

At the Raiwind City School we are planning a kitchen garden. Beds have been dug and seeds bought including a chocolate tomato and multi-coloured carrots. There are plans for irrigation and tools will be bought with a small grant. The teachers still have not been paid for five months but we are working together to keep up spirits. Next month some Christians are coming to the school to give sports’ training.

I paid a four day visit to Abbottabad School, it was nice to be in the cool and talk with the head teacher and her sister. I then went on to the Murree Christian School for the board meeting. The school is just about keeping going and there is a friendly atmosphere.

I attended the CMS people in mission conference in Cambodia and it was good to meet other mission partners and attend workshops that were useful to our work. I had an interesting conversation with a lad in the Genocide Museum about his vision for the country (it is only about 40 years since the Khmer Rouge forced everyone into the fields to work and tortured thousands to death). We had some frog soup and squid but my stomach survived.




Please pray

That the teachers will be paid their salaries.

For the school Bible curriculum that I have been asked to organise.

That I can prioritise my work so that training is effective and encouraging.

For my visa, that it will be granted with the minimum of trouble.

For the new bishop, that he will be guided by God and be given wisdom in all his decisions.



News from Equipo Impacto

As we look back to 2017, we are greatly thankful to our God and to every one of you. Last year was a fruitful year for the ministry of Equipo Impacto. With this letter we want to review all that God, by His grace, allowed us to do during 2017.

Preaching Workshops: We hosted a total of eight workshops in Cuba last year, reaching 200 pastors across the Island. It is encouraging to see how, through the years, pastors are making progress on how to handle the Bible, and to see how their commitment to preaching the Scriptures with faithfulness has grown. We also are seeing the word spreading out and new pastors are coming to preaching workshops or even asking for workshops in their area. As a result, we are planning to add three new locations next year. Havana Plan: Our local training course, based at Nueva Baptist Church in Nuevo Vedado, La Habana, has continued growing since it was founded in 2015. We began with four students, grew to 17 in 2016-2017, and this year we have 27 interns and church leaders. We have three pastors from other local churches, four young guys who are taking the internship programme from our local church, 11 women that are improving their skills in handling the Bible to teach it to children and other women, and also eight men from two local churches that are involved in teaching and preaching ministry. It has been encouraging for us to see how Havana Plan, bit by bit, is influencing children, youth, and churches as these interns are changing the way they teach and preach.

Prayer Requests:

For God to use the speakers at COBIME to equip pastors in Cuba.

For the second class at Santiago de Cuba Baptist Seminary to take place in February.

For Havana Plan, as the interns continue working in the Gospel of John this year.

For a preaching workshop on the Minor Prophets that will take place just after COBIME.

For our first Women's Workshop on Titus, also just after COBIME

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