Author Archives: PlainJoe

Egypt FA #3

Sunday morning, we had breakfast with two pastors from our partner church, one of whom had been an inspiring keynote speaker at the festival. We were so grateful to get to learn how God is moving in the Middle East and how many are accepting Jesus. In just one day at the festival, 1060 people prayed to accept Jesus!

After breakfast, we headed out to visit the village that Mariners Church has adopted. The local church partners with Healing Grace, a ministry started by Egyptians, to provide clean water for the village, health care, tutoring, Awana programs and parenting classes for the moms and dads. Healing Grace has 30 kids in the village who need sponsors, which, actually improves the lives of the entire village. Their hope is to grow that number to even more!

We arrived in the village and met with the pastor of the local church. We also met our Healing Grace partners who would be interpreting for us as we met the kids in their homes. When the pastor was asked what we could pray for, he asked for the children to be transformed spiritually.

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We split into 3 teams with interpreters to meet the kids and their families. The kids were so excited to see us and we were just as excited to meet them!

Sitting with each child in the front room of their home, we asked about their favorite Bible verse, what they want to be when they grow up, what they’re learning in school and more. The answers we got were amazing! Most of the kids want to grow up to be doctors, and because they are learning about Genesis in Awana, most kids said that the story of Creation is their favorite. Because all kids love bouncy balls, we brought some to give to each child we met.

As we moved through the village, word spread that we had arrived and the kids followed us from house to house! It was so much fun to watch the numbers grow as the kids gathered outside each home. One mom told us that her son had waited outside expectantly for us, not wanting to miss a minute of our visit.

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Last summer at VBS, Mariners Kids raised over $24,000 to adopt this village by holding bake sales and lemonade stands. We took lots of pictures and video in order to show kids in our Children’s Ministry back home. Kids changing the lives of other kids halfway around the world on Jesus’ name is not something you get to see every day.

Every hug, smile and conversation made it difficult to leave our new friends when it was time to go.

Right now, only 6 kids are sponsored. Please consider sponsoring a child for just $30 a month. Go to www.healinggrace.org/mariners// to choose a child to sponsor.

That evening, we were surprised with a sunset boat ride on the Nile. What an amazing, beautiful country with such loving, hospitable people.

Monday morning, we packed up and enjoyed breakfast at the hotel. We then drove back to the village again to visit the other half of the kids. Just like the day before, each family welcomed us with love and smiles. It was apparent that the kids had all dressed up to meet us and that the families had taken time to lovingly prepare for our visit.

Again, we got to know the kids and asked what they’d like to be when they grow up. Most wanted to be engineers and teachers. Hearing how Healing Grace has improved their situations was so encouraging! We prayed with each of them for health, for God to bless them and heal them and for protection over their house and family. What an honor to get to pray with them! Again, each kid got a bouncy ball, a hug and lots of smiles. It was difficult to leave for the last time but we’ll continue to pray for each of the kids and we’ll tell the kids back home how they’ve impacted the village with their hard work.

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 We ended our day at an amazing prayer meeting at our partner church. The worship was amazing and the passion of the people as they prayed for their country, their president and their people was incredibly moving. God is changing hearts in Egypt!

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Source: Mariners Faith Adventure

Egypt Fall FA #2

Day 3 Thursday 

 

Today we spent most of the day traveling to Minya. We had some time to reflect on what we had experienced thus far and how we hoped God would step in as we started the next phase of our journey. Our partners have been absolutely amazing. We are so blessed to have such wonderful people as part of our extended church family. 

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In the evening, we had the opportunity to participate in the first night of the Days of Harvest Festival. It was a surprisingly cold night but it did not stop thousands of people from coming out to witness the power of God and the Holy Spirit. The worship and the service were incredibly moving. Even though we could not understand the words, we were overwhelmed by the power of the Spirit. At the end, the senior pastor from our partner church asked people to accept Jesus in their lives. Hundreds of people stood up and went to the front and we all got to pray for them. It was amazing to see the love and hunger they had for Jesus. 

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Day 4 Friday

 

Today was the first full day of the Days of Harvest Festival. There were more than 5500 participants at the festival, and over 900 kids. An amazing turn out! We started off the day working with the children. We face painted, made balloon animals, and played games with the kids. They were all dressed up and absolutely adorable. We will never forget their beautiful smiles and their joyful spirits. 

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In the evening, we had the chance to worship with the local worship team and to hear the lead pastor and our partner church from Cairo speak. Hearing worship in Arabic was so powerful and reminded me that we are at the heart of the Christian world, the place where it all began. There was no doubt that the Spirit was present and had filled the hearts of everyone present. Over 1200 people accepted Jesus Christ into their lives tonight. 

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Source: Mariners Faith Adventure

Egypt Fall FA

We have arrived! Thank you to everyone who has been praying for us as we travel. You’re prayers have mattered greatly because we did experience a couple of problems along the way but all-in-all everyone is safe! After arriving in LAX, we had a couple of problems with our flights out, but we knew God was in control and surrendered it to Him. After a long day of traveling, the team arrived in Egypt safely and after catching some shut eye meet with our partners the next day.

In the morning the team had a great breakfast looking out at the Nile River while enjoying a delicious buffet. Once breakfast was finished, they traveled to see their church partners and have a tour of the church. A majority of the day consisted of meeting with the different ministries of our church partners, and also involved talking about ministry with a couple of the ministry. It was such an amazing experience to be able to talk about ministry with our partners and to be able take steps forward in furthering God’s Kingdom by uniting and coming together to tackle different issues both churches were facing and support each other by exchanging strategies.

There were some defining moments for the team as they talked and shared about what was on their hearts and different issues they were currently facing. Bridges were being built for the first time between two different cultures, and a support system was being put into place. We can’t wait to see what God is going to do in the different ministries, and what God has in store for our partners as they take steps of faith and try new and exciting things!

Please keep the team in your prayers as these next couple days we head into ministry, and be the hands and feet of Jesus to the Egyptian people!

-Jon


Source: Mariners Faith Adventure

Wednesday August 10

Today was pretty much a repeat of yesterday with a few interesting wrinkles. 
We spent the morning going door-to-door in Kamuda Village telling families about Jesus and inviting them to the evening crusade.  


Many (Lee comes to mind) are getting bolder in sharing their faith.  


The evening crusade was successful despite a persistent rainstorm that started about halfway through.


Sero, Aida, and Lee gave their testimonies and I gave the message and invitation to faith using the story of the healing of the man possessed by demons in Mark 4.  


Many had fled for shelter during the message because of the rain but returned later, and many came forward to either receive Christ or to be prayed for for healing. 


The leaders from Soroti Community Church were very happy with the evening and asked our team from Mariners to participate in the services tomorrow as well. 


God is so good. 

~Bill


Source: Mariners Faith Adventure

True life

What is the life that is truly life? We started our day with a devotion on 1 Timothy 6:17-19. After a wonderful discussion on sharing and what truly matters in life, we were spiritually re-fueled from observations and assumptions to go serve the Lord again.  


We visited Soroti Community Church and learned about their children’s sponsorship program. To our surprise, all the children were sponsored by individuals from our church since 2008, started with a mission team visiting Soroti just like us. 


Helping one child at a time, up to date, over 300 children were sponsored to be able to finish school. Pastor Julius and his staff showed much gratitude to the contribution from Mariners for all the support from building funds to car payment, yet, they also took pride in their facility and the work with children and their current ways of seeking to be self-sustainable.  


We visited the children who are in class. The physical conditions of the classroom is nowhere near the sophistication of a U.S. school – no computers, no projector, brickwalls without doors or windows to the classroom and don’t even think about heater or air conditioning…  


Yet, just like their pastor, the children greeted us with such gratitude and joy as this is the best place they can be at (which may be true for many of them). 


Life without much possession but with such gratitude and joy, they are sharing with us what true life is.

Our next mission is to invite the villagers to the crusade tonight. A new church will be planted in the village of Kamuda this coming Sunday! We are to accomplish this mission by Door-to-Door Evangelism!! Say what?!  

For those of us who has never done this before or have no idea how this should be done or only read this from biographies of missionaries, the struggle was REAL! After splitting into three teams, we went on our journey completely replying on the grace of God.


Unexpectedly, people welcomed us into their homes and allowed us to share our testimonies. They listened and asked questions and were willing to come to the crusade. My team had the opportunity to visit a Christian home and heard their stories.  


They prayed for rain for three months and for healing of their child’s sickness and the Lord answered both! I wondered how come it didn’t even occur to me to pray for the draught back home during the past two years. Are we trusting in God or our science or technology that may help resolve the situation?


Questions aside, the villagers all came to the crusade with two of our wonderful team members sharing their testimonies. 


 We sang, listened and danced-definitely the African way of crusading!  


At the end, many adults and children stood up and walked to the front to receive the Lord and we held each other’s hands, prayed and hugged. When our hands were joined together, regardless of the 15,000 km distance between LA and Uganda, regardless of our skin color or cultural differences, regardless of the fact that we are complete strangers, the love of Christ fell on us as we were one in Spirit.  


And this is heaven on earth… What is life that is truly life? To share the love Jesus showed us with others, to know the true joy is to abide in the Lord, and to have a new and abundant source in you… I can’t summarize it all, but maybe you can come to Uganda and see for yourself. 

~Lily


Source: Mariners Faith Adventure