Brazil- April Easter Update

He is not here; he has risen, just as he said. Matthew 28:6 What beautiful words those are! To know that death does not have a hold over our Lord and Savior! Today was such a beautiful day to worship and thank our heavenly Father for His Son, His sacrifice, and His love! This has been … Continue reading “Brazil- April Easter Update”

He is not here; he has risen, just as he said. Matthew 28:6

What beautiful words those are! To know that death does not have a hold over our Lord and Savior! Today was such a beautiful day to worship and thank our heavenly Father for His Son, His sacrifice, and His love!

This has been a whirlwind weekend starting on Good Friday bringing loads of kids from the poor communities where we minister: Varzea, Campinas, Sao Paulo, and Jarinu. Lots of fun, sun, games, activities, swimming and other crafts were had. Most of those returned to their homes in the evening but approximately twenty children and teens stayed behind and spent the entire weekend with us. We had these little munchkins (below) around our table last night while the bigger kids enjoyed their meal outside with a bonfire afterwards.

Precious little ones that spend a lot of time here at the AMO property with us.

Tio Pedro (aka Pete) helping the kiddos out in the pool

It has been a wonderful, blessed Easter! Thank you God!

Pete and Jodi


Bahamas Student Mission Trip – Day 6

As this middle school mission trip comes to its conclusion, Evan and I reflect on our final day filled with a hope, encouragement and excitement that is truly unexplainable. We began our final morning incredibly early, just as the sun rose, to participate in a local church service which began on the street to honor … Continue reading “Bahamas Student Mission Trip – Day 6”

As this middle school mission trip comes to its conclusion, Evan and I reflect on our final day filled with a hope, encouragement and excitement that is truly unexplainable. We began our final morning incredibly early, just as the sun rose, to participate in a local church service which began on the street to honor our Lord and His love for us as He walked to Calvary to accomplish what we could not. This was our third church service for the week. However, with our team’s joy, there was also a bit of sadness in each of us today as we knew that we would be leaving those little hearts that touched ours throughout the week.  We also reflected on the difference we are absolutely certain that we made throughout this week. To show a community, and its children, God’s love and provision is to be the hands and feet of Jesus. To proclaim and glorify the name of our risen Savior, and our Father in heaven, is what we are commanded to do, and we did. It was our absolute pleasure to lead and serve our students this week, alongside of our amazing Middle School Director Andrew Ling. This team truly functioned as the “body of Christ” and we were pleased to be a small part of it. God bless you all.
~ Christine Zahralban

 


Brazil- March Update

So many things have happened since our last update …. A really big blessing is that the girl for whom we requested prayer in our last update trusted in Jesus as her Lord! She came to our four day sleepover Camp and was impacted by what she learned during that time. She tearfully gave her … Continue reading “Brazil- March Update”

So many things have happened since our last update ….

A really big blessing is that the girl for whom we requested prayer in our last update trusted in Jesus as her Lord! She came to our four day sleepover Camp and was impacted by what she learned during that time. She tearfully gave her life to Him! Now she is participating in classes with two others in preparation for Baptism.  She participates twice weekly in culinary classes in our ministry center in Favela Cachoerinha (photo below) This is a fun time where the young girls and women gather to learn new ideas and make yummy stuff to eat! At the same time we hold children’s classes and a Chronological Bible Study for teens/adults.

With sleepover camp, visiting mission teams, construction work, spontaneous lunches/dinners for those that we minister to, and our everyday ministry obligations our team is kept in constant motion! We are grateful for our full-time volunteers and missionaries, and for others who take of their personal time, who do such a wonderful job and are so dedicated in the work.

left: dinner in Gleba B, right: lunch at Jarinu church

left: pouring foundation for new water tower, right: a few happy campers at Camp 2017
left: Camp games, right: creative Camp costumes!!

And last, but certainly not least! Our oldest daughter, Jessica, is getting married! Next month she will be tying the knot with Nate who is one of our full-time missionaries in the work. We are very happy for the two of them and we covet your prayers for their wedding and future together!

Jessica and Nathan at their engagement party. *not shown: all the yummy churrasco (meat) that we ate!

We are extremely thankful for your prayers!!

Much love,

Pete and Jodi


April Cru Easter note – Larry and Betty Barr

Standing before Pilate, Jesus clearly and simply stated His purpose.  “. . . for this reason I was born, and for this I came into the world, to testify to the truth.”  (John: 18:37) “What is truth?” Pilate asked.  But he refused to search deeper to discover the answer to His own question. Our country … Continue reading “April Cru Easter note – Larry and Betty Barr”

Standing before Pilate, Jesus clearly and simply stated His purpose.  “. . . for this reason I was born, and for this I came into the world, to testify to the truth.”  (John: 18:37)

“What is truth?” Pilate asked.  But he refused to search deeper to discover the answer to His own question.

Our country and our world reel in turmoil because so few people know or believe Truth:

About God – His love and mercy but also His righteous wrath against sin.

About Man – Created in God’s image, but sinful and unacceptable to Holy God.

 About Jesus – Holy Son of God, the ONLY one who can rescue repentant sinners.

On Easter Sunday we will solemnly remember Jesus’ death and burial, and we will joyfully celebrate His triumphant resurrection.

Until He returns or calls us home, we will continue to invest ourselves in making His TRUTH widely known, so that others will hear, believe, and be rescued.  Thank you for your partnership with us and our ministry (Cru – New Life Resources) through your prayers and/or finances in helping to fulfill the Great Commission.

       


Ecuador Mission Trip – Day 5

Assuming that you’re reading when you wake up, good morning! It is currently 1 am here in Ecuador and we are still up writing each others encouragement letters, and needless to say, we are all very tired. Our day began with chocolate covered fruit kabobs and blue skies. As we all pilled on to the … Continue reading “Ecuador Mission Trip – Day 5”

Assuming that you’re reading when you wake up, good morning! It is currently 1 am here in Ecuador and we are still up writing each others encouragement letters, and needless to say, we are all very tired. Our day began with chocolate covered fruit kabobs and blue skies. As we all pilled on to the bus we had bittersweet feelings about the day ahead. We arrived to the school and did our daily worship session with the kids, and let the kids color to their hearts desires with sidewalk chalk. Our hearts were filled with love when some of us received heartwarming letters that expressed the children’s love and gratitude for our team. . Today was the final day of us teaching math to the kids that we had connected with for the past week. Today’s math class consisted of parties, Easter egg hunts, and lots of tears. Tomorrow we will be only seeing a handful of the kids, so today was the time to say our final goodbyes to most of them. Not only did the children express their love, but the teachers at Amor y Esperanza also shared their immense appreciation for us being there. These kids were nothing less than extraordinary and we cherished every moment we spent with them. After the emotional goodbye’s we traveled over to the construction site where we completed one room and once again…moved cinderblocks. We then came back to the compound, showered and left for a bomb freaking dinner at Sole y Luna, the restaurant that the Burgos family owns. We ate amazing pasta and the best tiramisu any of us ever tasted. After dinner, we came back home and got ready for devo, where we humbled ourselves and washed each other’s feet. We speak to you now, very tired, from a room filled with laughter and delusion. Now this is Ryan, Isa Co, and Jessica riding out, peace.


Bahamas Student Mission Trip – Day 5

Today, we woke up to an amazing breakfast that consisted of pancakes & eggs. Later, at about 3:00, we drove over to the youth center to start VBS. In VBS, we talked about seashells and how they represented the empty tomb that Jesus rose from. Today was the last day of VBS and it was … Continue reading “Bahamas Student Mission Trip – Day 5”

Today, we woke up to an amazing breakfast that consisted of pancakes & eggs. Later, at about 3:00, we drove over to the youth center to start VBS. In VBS, we talked about seashells and how they represented the empty tomb that Jesus rose from. Today was the last day of VBS and it was so sad to see all of the kids leave, especially since we all became such good friends. We were blessed to be a blessing to each child who attended VBS by leaving them with a brand new backpack FULL of supplies, along with Bibles, prayer books, and journals. Finally, we all had a conch and lobster dinner that was delicious. I speak for all of us when I say that we had a great day on our Bahamas mission trip.
~ Caden Gackle

Today was awesome but also very sad. The church is finally finished! It was sad because it was our last day of being with the kids at VBS. Today was awesome because we got to see all the kids happy faces and we got to see them having fun and grateful for the backpacks that were donated. Michelle, James and I shared our testimonies. Today we learned about the meaning of the empty tomb and we know Jesus Christ is alive and how we could put our hearts in Him as He did to us.
~ Jorge De La Nuez

Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud.

– 1 Corinthians 13:4

 


Bahamas Student Mission Trip – Day 4

Today started off with some of the kids trying to keep up with our marathon runner Evan. They ran about two miles on the beach which really made it difficult!  After that we went to the church to put on VBS and Christine taught the kids that they should “always share Jesus with others!” I … Continue reading “Bahamas Student Mission Trip – Day 4”

Today started off with some of the kids trying to keep up with our marathon runner Evan. They ran about two miles on the beach which really made it difficult!  After that we went to the church to put on VBS and Christine taught the kids that they should “always share Jesus with others!” I really think the kids learned something today and they can use this in their daily lives. After VBS we went to another church for an evening service. The service was incredible because they talked about one of the most important topics in the Bible, what Jesus said on the cross before he was crucified! The pastor really hit some key points like when Jesus said “I thirst”. It wasn’t just a regular thirst but a spiritual one. He thirsted for the love of His Father. I learned all this in the service and I will never forget what it taught me.
~ James Alicea

 


Ecuador Student Mission Trip – Day 4

Happy day to all of our family and friends! It’s Marlee, Tori, and Ryan speaking, and we would like to apologize for how late this post is going to be. Tonight’s devotional with Pancho and Pity was overwhelmingly beautiful and we’re still recovering from the intense amount of tears shed because of the breakthrough experienced … Continue reading “Ecuador Student Mission Trip – Day 4”

Happy day to all of our family and friends! It’s Marlee, Tori, and Ryan speaking, and we would like to apologize for how late this post is going to be. Tonight’s devotional with Pancho and Pity was overwhelmingly beautiful and we’re still recovering from the intense amount of tears shed because of the breakthrough experienced through God’s relentless love. But anyways, to recap on today’s adventure, we woke up to our third day of spending time with the children at Amor y Esperanza. Every time we walk onto the black top, a sea of such pure, little hearts greet us with so much love and appreciation. These amazing hearts come from the younger kids, and the interactions between them and us are indescribable. We went on to hang out with the older kids as well, and today’s game kept them energized for our math lessons that followed. We all have been amazed at how intelligent the children are in every math class at every grade level. Their joyful and radiant hearts contribute to their eager willingness to learn; they never fail to amaze and inspire us. After our time at the school, we drove down to the construction site again, where we continued building walls for the new school that was mentioned in a previous blog. Our experiences at the construction site always end with muggy gloves, dirty boots, and freezing cold hands, but that never stops us from giving it our all. In regards to tonight’s devotional, Pancho and Pity lead an emotional night. The Holy Spirit exudes out of the hearts and mouths of our missionary partners and we are extremely blessed to learn from them. As they specifically prayed over many members of our team, the presence of God filled the room. To end the night, Pancho instructed us to go around and hug six members of the team, reminding them how loved they are. Needless to say, we went around hugging the entire team as love consumed our hearts. Love is the single word that we would use to describe our 4th day in Ecuador. God is love and we have been diving deeper into what that really means for our lives. We are royalty in God’s kingdom, and we are sealed when we let Jesus into our hearts. Tonight many walls were knocked down, many lives were changed, and many people were able to forgive and be forgiven. Ecuador is unlike any other place, so God really knew what He was doing when He planned to send us here. We love those who are reading this, but the truth is that we don’t want to come back to Miami. The stories we have for you all waiting back at home are endless, and we are eager to elaborate on how God has blessed every moment of this trip. The party has just migrated to our room, so we have to get going. Talk to you tomorrow. Xoxo.

P.S. Happy Birthday to Colin’s sister, Anna! We love you!


Nicaragua Student Mission Trip – Day 4

Crowded streets and traffic were replaced by winding roads and horses, as we made our way to Ruby Ranch. It was almost impossible not to stare in awe at the scenery that surrounded us. We arrived at Ruby Ranch and received a disclaimer from Krista Farrington who warned us that, “It’s the dry season, so … Continue reading “Nicaragua Student Mission Trip – Day 4”

Crowded streets and traffic were replaced by winding roads and horses, as we made our way to Ruby Ranch. It was almost impossible not to stare in awe at the scenery that surrounded us.

We arrived at Ruby Ranch and received a disclaimer from Krista Farrington who warned us that, “It’s the dry season, so even if it’s hot and all the trees are dry, pretend that it’s beautiful and like you are having fun.” We definitely did not have to pretend. Maybe it’s the fact that in Miami all we see is towering green palm trees, but there was something so  striking about the dried leaves on the ground and the barren field. And as for the heat, it made us enjoy the water slide that much more.

The kids arrived, and immediately we were greeted by big smiles and eager faces. After a quick rules session, in order to prevent children from riding bikes down the sides of mountains and getting kicked by horses (yes there were horses!) it was time to start the day. Whether it was jumping on/breaking trampolines (oops), swinging on the swings, playing fútbol, riding horses, or going down the zip line, there wasn’t a dull moment. After lunch, we spent the rest of the afternoon going down the water slide… get ready for the endless GoPro footage of kids trying to hold the camera while sliding down, all while trying not to get water up their nose.

They say time flies when you’re having fun; never has that statement held more truth. Our hearts dropped when we heard Chris Farrington say, “It’s almost time for the kids to go so say your final goodbyes.” And so we gave hugs, hugs, and more hugs. We all huddled up trying to squeeze in as many last minute pictures as we could. Encouragement and goodbyes were given in broken Spanish and the exaggerated use of hand gestures. The dreaded moment came, and the children boarded the bus to return to Club Esperanza. They crowded the bus windows as we ran up to hold their hands one last time. The bus started down the road and we followed, this is when the water works began. Tears flooded our faces as the thought of possibly never seeing these children again resonated inside us. We circled in prayer not only to pray for these children, but also to thank God for the opportunity we had to impact these children and be impacted by them as well.

We recollected ourselves and began on the trek toward the cross on the mountain. Despite steep inclines and loose dirt, nothing, not even a broken foot (with the help of Freddy because he’s a baller – Katia) would stop us from getting to the chapel. Finally, we reached the top where our breath was taken away by the remarkable beauty around us. No matter where we looked, there were mountains and the wind rustled the leaves in  the trees. In the midst of all the emotions we had just experienced, there was an overwhelming sensation of peace.

At one point in the day I looked down on the dry ground and saw a single bright yellow flower. Through out the course of the day, I didn’t see any more.  After the children left, as we climbed the mountain I looked at the ground again and saw small yellow petals along the way. This stood as a reminder that no matter the circumstances here in Nicaragua, God’s presence is here and will never leave. Like a flower on dry ground, God is a light in this nation.

Besitos y Abrazos,

Kaylee and Katia


Nicaragua Student Mission – Day 3

When waking up to a beautiful sunrise and birds chirping, our day was already set up for success. After making some of the best peanut butter and jelly sandwiches to ever be created, our team enjoyed breakfast and hopped on to the bus to head to day 2 of our VBS at Club Esperanza. Our … Continue reading “Nicaragua Student Mission – Day 3”

When waking up to a beautiful sunrise and birds chirping, our day was already set up for success. After making some of the best peanut butter and jelly sandwiches to ever be created, our team enjoyed breakfast and hopped on to the bus to head to day 2 of our VBS at Club Esperanza. Our task for today was one word: JOY! We had been praying to impact the children of the club by providing them with a day for fun and music and bible stories and leave them feeling like they could do anything with God. The bible team inspired, the art team created, the drama team imagined, the music team belted, and the sports team GOOAAALLed. As we were on the music team, we got even the shyest kids up on their feet dancing and singing. We decided to use the kid’s love of music and making noise to tell the story of marching around the walls of Jericho. We ran (sometimes interrupting the other groups…whoops) all around the club singing and yelling and drumming as loud as we could. The kids loved it and we were grateful to tie in a very important bible story despite all of the panting and sweating. Along with all of our dancing and singing, we were joined by two incredibly talented boys named Miguel and Yosmal. Miguel saw the ukulele as soon as we walked in and ran home to get his neighbor’s guitar and bring it back to play. While this was happening, Yosmal grabbed the ukulele and started playing beautiful arrangements with the ukulele upside down! They both had an insane amount of talent which brought some of us (Emma) to tears and motivated us to sing even louder shouting  our praises to God.

After saying “Hasta mañana” to los niños y niñas (and eating the best peanut butter and jelly sandwiches to ever be created), we got to the back breaking part of our day. Ladies and gentlemen, if you have not mixed concrete, say a thankful prayer to God right now. Even with all 23 of us, it took all of our strength and energy. But the pay off was worth it when we saw the smooth, complete sidewalk.* We were even able to leave our mark in the wet cement thanks to Taylor’s lovely handwriting.

Once home after a bus ride jam packed with singing and rap battling, we cooled off in the pool and had delicious spaghetti for dinner. We had the privilege of then going into the wonderful home of the Farrington’s for worship and devo on their 3rd floor/roof where we were greeted by the Nicaragua winds, a full moon, and a full stomach from the brownies little Juliet had made us. Our devo was inspirational and left us all spiritually excited for the rest of the week ahead. We are looking forward for the new connections and memories to come tomorrow!

lots of amor,

Bailey and Emma

*to be honest I’m pretty sure the cement workers did a lot of the work and we were grateful for the help, but our blisters say we worked as hard as we could!

     

“How beautiful on the mountains are the feet of the messenger who brings good news, the good news of peace and salvation, the news that the God of Israel reigns!” Isaiah 52:7


Ecuador Student Mission Trip – Day 3

While it rained, our second day at Amor y Esperanza was a beautiful success. Learning from trial and error from the first day, as we gathered for lunch for some fantastic burritos, the team was expressing how great today was and how much the kids enjoyed the math lessons. After building relationships with the kids … Continue reading “Ecuador Student Mission Trip – Day 3”

While it rained, our second day at Amor y Esperanza was a beautiful success. Learning from trial and error from the first day, as we gathered for lunch for some fantastic burritos, the team was expressing how great today was and how much the kids enjoyed the math lessons. After building relationships with the kids and getting to know more and more about them we quickly became comfortable with our legendary Spanish/Math skills. Before the 2 hour math class Mr. David Gray Sir prepared a game for the kids and not only were the kids loving every second but they had these radiant smiles that you don’t see often. Luckily for us, we got to participate in the game along with the kids’ teachers. After sadly departing from the kids, we drove a whopping 3 minutes to the construction site where the new Amor y Esperanza will be. We then split up into three groups. The first group went upstairs and took care of beam work, on top of scaffolds. The second group got to take care of the “yard” work by pulling out weeds. Then the third group was in charge of building the new classrooms by putting wet cement and placing the cinder blocks on top, row by row. Upon arriving at the compound, the boys (plus Alyssa) were challenged to an intense soccer game against the “Ecuadorians” (Danny, Joshua, Jesus, Mateo, and Pancho himself). The USA/Cuban International Elite Soccer Team put up a good fight, but after losing 23 to 8, we met in the center of the field and did something quite astonishing. Led by Pancho, we all held hands in a circle and prayed, which is something rare to see in a game of any sport. Finally, to conclude our unforgettable day we finished with Devo, which was nothing less than breathtaking. The vulnerability and willingness that everyone was able to show not only moved us but changed us. Being able to relieve the amount of pressure and burden we choose to ignore in our day to day life, finally surfaced and brought comfort in the idea that God has everything under control, and loves us immensely. This trip never ceases to amaze us, there truly is no low to each day. We love and miss all of you.

Love,

Amanda, Jessica, & Ryan


Bahamas Student Mission Trip – Day 3

Today was even more than expected. We had amazing French toast and fruit. Once we got to the church, we painted the entire thing. During VBS, the kids learned that even on our crabby days we can still turn to God. Christine asked me to share the Bible story of “Jonah and the Whale” with … Continue reading “Bahamas Student Mission Trip – Day 3”

Today was even more than expected. We had amazing French toast and fruit. Once we got to the church, we painted the entire thing. During VBS, the kids learned that even on our crabby days we can still turn to God. Christine asked me to share the Bible story of “Jonah and the Whale” with the kids. Jonah was crabby and had to give his crabbiness to the Lord in order to be forgiven and to be spit out from the whale. After the lesson, the kids got to do sports or do a craft. Everyone had a great time today and everyone was smiling.
~ Michelle Poole
**********************************************************
Today started off by painting the ENTIRE church. Everyone worked really hard and as a team, we were able to finish painting the entire church in one day! After painting the church we decided to take a little break and come back to the bungalows. After our quick beach break, we went back and had an incredible day at VBS. The kids are sooo cute and great! We are now ending the day with an incredible bonfire and s’mores!
~ Katie Gray


Nicaragua Student Mission Trip – Day 2

Today was a great day of JOY!  We visited Club Esperanza for a full day of fun and hard work.  From the red light green light to the armor of God, the children spread immense joy and happiness. The side walk is half finished and the bones of many are sore but we still hold the … Continue reading “Nicaragua Student Mission Trip – Day 2”

Today was a great day of JOY!  We visited Club Esperanza for a full day of fun and hard work.  From the red light green light to the armor of God, the children spread immense joy and happiness. The side walk is half finished and the bones of many are sore but we still hold the joy in our hearts today.  It all started when we got to the Club  and we walked to the dining room. The looks on the children’s faces were priceless. We couldn’t even get to them before they got up and ran to us. Most of our team does not speak Spanish, luckily for me I was in the sports team so I just yelled “pasa’ and screamed “GOOOAL” every time a kid scored. It was a very joyous experience to have the blessing to meet these kids, but it was a little sad when we had to say goodbye…at least until tomorrow. After a full morning of VBS stations, including arts and crafts, bible, drama, music and recreation, we ate some PB&J while others had Nicaraguan ham sandwiches.  With filled bellies, we got to the hard part of mixing and pouring cement. Now you would think easy goers like us from Miami would be mad or sad to do this labor but we knew we were doing it for something bigger than us. I was on the bible team early in the morning  and I happen to not understand or speak close to any form of Spanish, yet I was able to show some children the importance of the protection the God gives us.  While working mixing the cement, I remembered the pure joy that they had.  No matter what they are facing they all had smiles and really wanted to know more about God. When we ended the concrete making and mixing, the joy became more evident in all of us on the trip.  We can’t wait for tomorrow. In a place less that is less than perfect, the joy and life of the lord thrives inside the children and that rubbed off on us all!

– Junior Cardona & Devon Lane

           


Ecuador Student Mission Trip – Day 2

Click here to watch the morning with the kids. We back, part 2. It’s just us boys this time. Reed, Niko, Trevor, Colin, and Ryan. Today we woke up to a surprising beautiful view; excited to meet our students for the first time. We loaded up the bus and headed out to Amor y Esperanza … Continue reading “Ecuador Student Mission Trip – Day 2”

Click here to watch the morning with the kids.

We back, part 2. It’s just us boys this time. Reed, Niko, Trevor, Colin, and Ryan. Today we woke up to a surprising beautiful view; excited to meet our students for the first time. We loaded up the bus and headed out to Amor y Esperanza (the school). We were greeted by all the children and a big sign dedicated to us. We sang songs and played games. After this thrill of excitement we finally got the opportunity we had been looking for: to teach math in Spanish. Though the language barrier provided a large challenge to many of us, we were able to truly form connections with the students, and are extremely excited to continue to impact their lives in this way. In other words, it was a success! Afterwards, we ate lunch and went straight for the construction sight, where we helped to progress constructions for the future school for over 700 new students. We moved cinderblocks for 3 hours, in an assembly line, singing songs like Bohemian Rhapsody and the Hi Ho song from Snow White. About halfway through God opened up the clouds and then it started to pour. But that didn’t stop us! We continued and were able to even start building a part of the wall that we will finish tomorrow. Exhausted, we returned to the compound where we all took mixed temperature showers and relaxed after a long day and ate. Later on we experienced God’s presence in a way that most of the team had been longing for for a very long time. We then went to bed, excited to do this all over again the next day.


Bahamas Student Mission Trip – Day 2

Today was even better than yesterday. Some of the guys woke up at 6:00am so they could work on the church. Today we just primed the church and dug up all the weeds with butter knives. Once we finished working we started to prepare for Vacation Bible School. We set out snacks for all the … Continue reading “Bahamas Student Mission Trip – Day 2”

Today was even better than yesterday. Some of the guys woke up at 6:00am so they could work on the church. Today we just primed the church and dug up all the weeds with butter knives.

Once we finished working we started to prepare for Vacation Bible School. We set out snacks for all the kids that showed up (30 kids). Once everyone got there we started to play with bubbles to show how big GOD is.

After that we read a story on the Red Sea and how Moses just lifted his arms out and the water just spread out like a wall. Once we finished all of the holy things we started to do arts and crafts and play sports.

For arts and crafts we created whales and our memory verse because our theme is about Finding Jesus (like “Finding Nemo”). And if you wanted to play outside we had a big football game and everyone dominated.
P.S.  We found our younger selves…

~ Jorge Cascudo

**********************************************************

Today was the day the day we really started working.  Four of the guys woke up real early so they could go start to work on Pastor Pinder’s church. The rest of us arrived about 2 hours later and began priming the building. We also scraped the weeds out of the cracks with steak knives and screwdrivers. After priming the entire church, we went across the street to the East End Youth Center where we hosted the Vacation Bible School (VBS). At least 30 kids turned up and stayed from 4:006:15pm. In that time we taught them about how huge God’s love for us is using the blue whales as the example.

~ Sarah McWhirter

“Neither height nor depth nor anything else in all creation will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.” -Romans 8:39

 

 


Nicaragua Student Mission Trip – Day 1

Waking up at the crack of dawn, we felt exhilarated at the thought of what was to come, while at the same time a nervousness that was driven by us both being first time Mission-Trip-goers. The church experience in itself was so different than anything that we had ever been to. Whether it was the … Continue reading “Nicaragua Student Mission Trip – Day 1”

Waking up at the crack of dawn, we felt exhilarated at the thought of what was to come, while at the same time a nervousness that was driven by us both being first time Mission-Trip-goers. The church experience in itself was so different than anything that we had ever been to. Whether it was the ribbon dancers or the bearded man consistently blowing the horn every five minutes, the environment was unlike anything I had ever seen. The humbling effect of the sheer joy that was pouring out of the mouths and hearts of everyone around us made worship so moving for us, regardless of the language barrier.

Next came meeting the children, and spending a day filled with an active volcano and ice cream with them. For me (Thomas), I struggled to spew out my forced, broken Spanish in the first half hour with the children, often being responded to with hostile stares and looks of confusion. That’s when it all began to fall into place. The bond I created with the four boys I was accompanied by- Denis, “Neymar Jr”, Angel, and Andrew”- was something so pure, and it transcended seemingly large problems like the clash of cultures and languages. This answered all my prayers, and really portrayed the power of God to me, aiding and assisting me in my conversation with the children. I’m not sure if the always present laughter was due to the actual things I was saying, or my lack of ability to get across what I wanted to say, it was still such a memorable, amazing experience.

My (Douglas) experience with the children was a bit different from Thomas. I wasn’t able to have a 1 on 1 conversation with the kids at first, which was very disappointing, but that disappointment quickly turned into a feeling of peace and humility. Seeing all my friends talking with the kids and seeing them laugh and smile made the whole experience very special to me. I was also very pleased to eventually be able to talk to 1 of the boys whose name was “Neymar Jr” even though it was for a short time. As a whole, my experience with the kids was very peaceful and joyful and it’s something I will never forget.

-Thomas Harley & Douglas Ponce

 

 


Ecuador Student Mission Trip – Day 1

Hello from Ecuador, it’s Amanda, Brianne, and Lindsey here. We’re going to take this blog all the way back to the beginning of our day. We woke up to the lovely knocks of Mr. David Gray at the door at 7am… sharp and headed UP the many…MANY stairs to eat the amazing empanadas and blackberry … Continue reading “Ecuador Student Mission Trip – Day 1”

Hello from Ecuador, it’s Amanda, Brianne, and Lindsey here. We’re going to take this blog all the way back to the beginning of our day. We woke up to the lovely knocks of Mr. David Gray at the door at 7am… sharp and headed UP the many…MANY stairs to eat the amazing empanadas and blackberry juice all made by hand by the missionary family. After that, we hit the Ecuadorian streets and got to see the city in daylight for the first time. Since today was our “touristy” day, our first stop was the Equators (yes, there’s two) and after the driver passed it four times, on the fifth try, we were finally there. You would think that the Equator is just a line on the floor, but it’s not. It’s a whole museum. When we got to the actual Equator, there were many activities that blew our minds. We balanced eggs on a nail, walked on the Equator, stood in both the northern and southern hemisphere at the same time, and finally our personal favorite: watch the water turn clockwise, and counterclockwise in the different hemispheres.

Then, we headed to equator number two and at that point we were already tired of looking at a line until we found a playground, the most amazing playground we’ve ever found. There was this amazing swing-carousel that we all went on and those little moments were truly the highlight of our day. After that we ate until our hearts content at a crepe and waffle place where we all ate everything from ice cream, to waffles, to pita, to crepes. Although we were exhausted, we went to the market and picked up a few things and danced and played instruments. The most amazing part of today was the nighttime. Pancho and Pity delivered an amazing sermon and we enjoyed singing loudly for God. We got to pray for our leaders and the leaders prayed over us. With many teary eyes and happy hearts, we finished the night by getting ready for our big day tomorrow with the kids. We are ready for what God is preparing for our mission! We want to cast all our anxieties on Him because He knows the bigger picture. Speaking for the rest of our team we are ready for tomorrow and we are ready for what God has in store for the rest of the week.


Bahamas Student Mission Trip – Day 1

Today started up nice and early. We woke up at 7:00 to go to the Palm Sunday service at New Emmanuel Baptist Church. The service was incredible and the worship was even better. After church we came back to our bungalows and ate gourmet PB&J’s which where delicious. After we finished eating we drove over … Continue reading “Bahamas Student Mission Trip – Day 1”

Today started up nice and early. We woke up at 7:00 to go to the Palm Sunday service at New Emmanuel Baptist Church. The service was incredible and the worship was even better.

After church we came back to our bungalows and ate gourmet PB&J’s which where delicious. After we finished eating we drove over to the famous Blue Hole. It was truly breathtaking to see what God has placed on this Earth for us to enjoy! When we went scuba diving we were confronted by beautiful corals and amazing fish that took our breath away.

When we got back from the beach we went over our devotion and Andrew really showed us the true meaning of unconditional love and how we can show it on a daily basis.

Today was much better than I ever could’ve imagined and I can’t wait to wake up tomorrow and show the Bahamian kids God’s unconditional love for them. ~ Jacob Camacho


Touching Miami with Love Supporting Families

Family time is important in order to strengthen bonds, and sharing in special events together creates memories that make being a part of a family feel special. But what if you don’t have transportation or you can’t afford the entry price for the popular events in your city?  Without a car, it is hard to … Continue reading “Touching Miami with Love Supporting Families”

Family time is important in order to strengthen bonds, and sharing in special events together creates memories that make being a part of a family feel special. But what if you don’t have transportation or you can’t afford the entry price for the popular events in your city?  Without a car, it is hard to experience new things and in an expensive city like Miami, it can be next to impossible for low-income families to enjoy new experiences.

As Touching Miami with Love seeks to create strong communities, we create opportunities for Family Field Trips each year to provide families in Overtown and West Homestead the opportunity to enjoy our beautiful city.  Over the past few years, we have taken our families to the Miami Symphony, Zoo Miami, Universoul Circus, and more.  Through the support of partners, we have taken families from both sites for several years in a row to the Fun and Fit as a Family Event at Jungle Island.

Hosted by the Food Network, our parents and their children strolled through Jungle Island’s interactive zoological park, watched chefs’ presentations and learned healthy-lifestyle tips for kids. TML’s children explored the food garden, ate free food, and played interactive fitness games, as well as enjoying everything else Parrot Jungle has to offer.  Our families enjoyed the time with spent with each other, and who doesn’t enjoy an opportunity to see their favorite celebrity chefs too like Guy Fieri, Rachael Ray, and Robert Irvine!


MARCH • GONZALEZ NEWSLETTER • ATHLETES IN ACTION

As she was leaving Oklahoma to come to play soccer for UM, Ainsley Wolfinbarger prayed, “God give me a sister in Christ.” And, God answered Ainsley’s prayer freshman year by introducing her to Shannon McCarthy, who we wrote about in our Nov. 2016 letter. Ainsley is a midfielder for the women’s soccer team. While she … Continue reading “MARCH • GONZALEZ NEWSLETTER • ATHLETES IN ACTION”

As she was leaving Oklahoma to come to play soccer for UM, Ainsley Wolfinbarger prayed, “God give me a sister in Christ.” And, God answered Ainsley’s prayer freshman year by introducing her to Shannon McCarthy, who we wrote about in our Nov. 2016 letter. Ainsley is a midfielder for the women’s soccer team. While she is only a sophomore, she has been through significant life-change in Christ and she’s telling others about it!

Continue reading “MARCH • GONZALEZ NEWSLETTER • ATHLETES IN ACTION”


March Cru newsletter – Larry and Betty Barr

We designed our display to be self-explanatory.  Someone passing by our table at the missions conference could easily grasp who we are, what we do, and why. 65 . . . 25 . . . 400 . . . HIKE!  Well . . . no, we weren’t talking football.  Panel #1 of our display simply … Continue reading “March Cru newsletter – Larry and Betty Barr”

We designed our display to be self-explanatory.  Someone passing by our table at the missions conference could easily grasp who we are, what we do, and why.

65 . . . 25 . . . 400 . . . HIKE!  Well . . . no, we weren’t talking football.  Panel #1 of our display simply explained that for 65 years Campus Crusade for Christ (Cru) has been a caring community passionate about connecting people to Jesus Christ . . . and that . . .

We currently minister in the U.S. through 25 or more different umbrellas of targeted outreach (for example, campus, military, inner city, global aid, Christian embassies, FamilyLife, Josh McDowell, JESUS Film, Athletes in Action, etc., etc., etc) . . . and that . . .

These ministries have developed over 400 evangelism and discipleship ministry tools, in support of the WIN – BUILD – TRAIN – SEND goal: turning lost people into Christ-centered co-laborers.

But, a bright red square at the bottom of panel #1 asked a critical question:

“WHO gets these tools into the hands of Cru Staff Members and other Ministering Christians?”

A colorful paper clip chain led to the bold answer found at the top of Panel #2:

New Life Resources

A Publishing and Materials Distribution Ministry of Cru

A picture showing a handsome line-up of most of our New Life Resources Team, plus a close-up of us, and a listing of four broad categories of our ministry materials completed that panel.

A paper clip chain led to another important question at the top of panel #3:

                          “Who Uses Our Ministry Resources?”

There simply was not enough room to list them all, but see how many you can make out in this close-up view.  Keep in mind that for every category listed there are scores, hundreds, or even more individuals who use the materials we manage and distribute.

We surely are sorry if you were not able to drop by to chat with us during the missionary conference at our church here in Peachtree City, GA last month.  What a thrill it would have been to see you and to thank you personally for the part you play in our ministry.  Our ministry partners have grown to be like family as we have served together over many years.  We love you and thank you for being part of that family!

 


Update- Brazil

Happy 2017 to everyone from all of us here at Apascentai Minhas Ovelhas (Feed My Sheep) Brazil! We are overjoyed at the abundant blessings that the Lord has poured on this ministry. He continually provides for our needs and opens doors which seem impossible, to the human eye, to open. If you have not read … Continue reading “Update- Brazil”

Happy 2017 to everyone from all of us here at Apascentai Minhas Ovelhas (Feed My Sheep) Brazil!

We are overjoyed at the abundant blessings that the Lord has poured on this ministry. He continually provides for our needs and opens doors which seem impossible, to the human eye, to open.

If you have not read our 2016 year-end newsletter yet I strongly encourage you to do so! To see the beautiful pictures and read what “Feeding His Sheep” is all about to us click here:

http://www.amoministries.org/category/our-blog/

We want to thank Texas Baptist Men and Christ Journey Church for implementing AMO’s agriculture ministry years ago. It has been an ongoing ministry throughout the years since its conception. It has influenced favela children in agriculture, provided fresh produce for AMO Campus needs and provided for four other poor communities. By delivering fresh produce into these communities we are provided with opportunities to take the message of Christ’s life and His plan of salvation to the people. We plant the seed of Good News, splash His love and presence by being temples of the His Holy Spirit, teach His word and pray over them in their homes. We do this with the hope that one day Eternal Life will spring up in their lives.

"How many lives could a field of corn impact for the glory of God? A couple of months ago, I had the opportunity to plant a field of corn with the help of 4 young boys who have lost almost everything. While we planted, we talked about how great the Father is who cares for us and sends rain to make plants grow, providing food for us.

Jumping ahead to harvest, I found myself surrounded by teenage guys from one of our slum community churches who have dedicated their vacation time to serving the Lord as volunteers with AMO. During harvest, we talked about the need for missionaries to go out around the world, into the fields of harvest where Jesus has sent us. Some of these young men feel a call to carry the gospel to Africa, and others to Asia, but they all see the need for the Gospel now in their home communities here in Brazil and want to be used by God to proclaim the message of Christ.

In this first week of harvest, we gave out nearly 1,000 ears of corn in three communities, including 480 freshly cooked corn on the cob that were distributed in our Cachoeirinha ministry center and in its surrounding pathways to people ranging from teenage mothers to drug traffickers.
 
 During our children’s Bible class in that same favela, we talked about how a seed must be broken to sprout new life and how Jesus was broken for us, that we might have eternal life. With just a little corn, we have seen God open so many doors for the Gospel to be proclaimed and the purposes of God to be cultivated in the hearts of young people. And what is most exciting for us is that this was the first week of harvest and there is so much more to come, both for the corn and for the Kingdom!

Thank you, for your continued prayer and support for AMO Ministries and our various mission projects. To God be the glory  
             
-Nathan Becker- AMO Agriculture"
Preparing food for the neighborhood in our Cachoerinha Ministry Center
Two of our team members delivering fresh, hot corn in the favela

We are right in the middle of the summer school break and that means that we have lots of kids at our house for almost two months! This week, in addition to some teenagers, we have very young kids from four different cities spending time with our team. These kids come from the favelas (slums) and suffer in ways which most of us can’t even comprehend.

Please pray specifically for Cinthia (14 years old) and her little sister, Vitoria (6 years). Theirs is an extreme case of hardship and they live under constant threat of being taken away by social services.

This is Cinthia’s first time coming out to our place and seeing her interact with our twelve-year-old is eye opening. She does not act like a typical fourteen-year-old but more like a wary, cautious adult. Although she’s quiet and reserved she’s doing well with everyone around her and was especially thrilled when our team member Daniela brought out nail polishes. Today she went to the big mall for the very first time in her life with our team. She came home exhausted and happy.

Sitting by the pool painting her nails

Sitting by the pool painting her nails

Thank you to all of you who pray for us and for the ministry work here in Brazil. There is SO, SO, SO much work to do and the laborers are few! We covet your prayers and look forward to the day when we can see you again and boast about what the Lord has done.

Blessings,

Pete & Jodi- Brazil

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


January & February • Gonzalez Newsletter • Athletes in Action

“Come meet the team Wednesday at 5pm,” said Head Baseball Coach, Jim Morris, as he invited Steve DeBardelaben and I (Anthony) to share our ministry with the UM Baseball players. During the team meeting, Steve, Jason Burris, and I shared our testimonies and made ourselves available for follow up. Amazingly, 21 out of the 31 players indicated a desire to…

“Come meet the team Wednesday at 5pm,” said Head Baseball Coach, Jim Morris, as he invited Steve DeBardelaben and I (Anthony) to share our ministry with the UM Baseball players. During the team meeting, Steve, Jason Burris, and I shared our testimonies and made ourselves available for follow up. Amazingly, 21 out of the 31 players indicated a desire to… Continue reading “January & February • Gonzalez Newsletter • Athletes in Action”


Year end blessings- Brazil

What a joyful Christmas Eve celebration of Jesus’s birth in the slums that are overridden by drugs, crime, prostitution, drunkenness, hunger and abandoned children and infants who die young. God the Father, God the Son and God the Holy Spirit was the unseen God attending and providing a banquet in honor of His Son’s birthday … Continue reading “Year end blessings- Brazil”

What a joyful Christmas Eve celebration of Jesus’s birth in the slums that are overridden by drugs, crime, prostitution, drunkenness, hunger and abandoned children and infants who die young.

God the Father, God the Son and God the Holy Spirit was the unseen God attending and providing a banquet in honor of His Son’s birthday through His servants who truly love Him.   What an exciting time we had going up the mountainside hut by hut delivering fresh, cold sweet watermelons on trays, announcing the celebration of our Saviors birth Jesus Christ!  Drug runners and drug users looked perplex but accepted the many slices of melon to quench their thirst on that hot day. As we reached the top of the mountain a woman said, “I’ve never had fresh, cool watermelon- already sliced- delivered to my hut!” Two little children, left alone by themselves in their hut, told Marcela while receiving their watermelon, tell the tios and tias (uncles and aunts-AMO’s volunteers) “we love them.”

Our ministry center filled up with children, parents, and some of our local drunks and drug users joined our banquet in honor of Jesus and His love. 700 skewers of meat, huge pots of rice and beans, enormous salad, 23 cut melons, 6 cakes and 24 sweet panettone breads. On-the-go meals were provided for those who came later as we began to wrap things up.

To all our partners THANK YOU for providing, not only for this very special celebration, but for allowing us to celebrate Jesus every day the entire year of 2016 in various cities.  These people so desperately need to hear from Jesus, they need to see Jesus in action, they need to touch Him and to be touched by Him. They need to feel and sense His presence and HIS divine love. They need to know how much He cares about their physical, emotional, and spiritual needs. I believe our bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit where Jesus and God the Father resides.

ALL Glory to God through your generous giving!

To see the beautiful pictures and read what “Feeding His Sheep” is all about to us click here to see our latest newsletter:

http://www.amoministries.org/category/our-blog/

Blessings, Pete & Jodi

 

 

 


January Cru newsletter – Larry and Betty Barr

Jane’s regular job as a flight attendant gave her a flexible work schedule, and she wanted to invest some of her free time in Christian ministry.  A friend suggested that she contact Cru (known then as Campus Crusade for Christ).  Sure enough, John, the Southeast Area Director for the campus ministry needed a part-time, volunteer … Continue reading “January Cru newsletter – Larry and Betty Barr”

Jane’s regular job as a flight attendant gave her a flexible work schedule, and she wanted to invest some of her free time in Christian ministry.  A friend suggested that she contact Cru (known then as Campus Crusade for Christ).  Sure enough, John, the Southeast Area Director for the campus ministry needed a part-time, volunteer secretary.

“I don’t think I was a very good secretary,” Jane confesses, “but it was during that time (late 60’s) that I became aware of Cru’s Ten Basic Steps Toward Christian Maturity Bible study series.”

In a couple of years John and his wife accepted a new Cru ministry assignment in Germany.  Jane and her husband continued serving them by printing and mailing the couple’s newsletters to their stateside ministry partners (prayer and financial support team members).

Soon another unexpected opportunity arose when the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association contacted Jane.   They trained her and ten or twelve other women to facilitate basic New Believers Bible Study groups following the Billy Graham Crusade in their city in 1973.  She used the provided materials but also began incorporating the Cru materials into her Bible study groups.

Jane benefitted from those studies herself. When she went back to finish college, the other students in one class rushed to claim the most popular topics for the big writing project.  Jane didn’t have to vie with anyone for the one topic she really wanted: “Discuss the Parallels Between (this course material) and the Bible.”  Later her professor was amazed by her paper.  “You really know your topic,” he complimented her.

When her last child headed to kindergarten, Jane headed to the classroom again, this time as a teacher in the public school system.  For years she was able to incorporate appropriate portions of the Bible into her classroom experience as she taught World Literature to 10th graders.  Although she retired from the formal classroom setting two years ago, Jane is still teaching.  In fact, she is still leading home Bible study groups using the updated versions of the timeless Cru ministry materials she first discovered forty years ago.

Speaking of her current study group, Jane says, “The ladies have finished the introductory lessons and they are so excited about getting into the next book.  They are sweet Christian ladies, but the questions they ask are about basic things.  They just don’t know this stuff!  Our church likes to study books.  I keep telling them that we need to study THE Book (the Bible)!”

One of the features Jane values most in the Cru Ten Basic Steps Toward Christian Maturity Bible studies is the Life Application Section of each lesson.  “When answering a question,” Jane admonishes the ladies, “don’t just copy the words of the Bible verse.  Really ponder, ‘What does it mean in my life?’”

Jane called our office to order 25 copies each of the next two books in the series:   The Christian Adventure (Beginning the Exciting Journey of Faith) and The Christian and the Abundant Life (Focusing on New Priorities).

She really prayed over who would serve with her, someone to take the lead if Jane has to miss a class.  Thankfully, the Lord provided that lady just in time, for Jane suffered a broken right femur during the first week of January.

Based on the energy and drive she has exuded through the years, Jane won’t let this setback keep her down for long.  She will keep on stepping into the opportunities to teach, nurture, disciple, and train women to grow into mature Believers and followers of Jesus Christ.

Our Cru-New Life Resources office is thrilled to partner with her in this ministry.  Many thanks for YOUR partnership as well!


Athletes in Action • Gonzalez Newsletter

Shannon McCarthy has been a frequent story that we’ve shared. She has recently completed her final soccer season with UM as the team captain, and here’s what she wrote as her “Captain’s Corner” entry on the Hurricane Sports webpage. “Recently, I have been asked what the best part of my college career was. Academically and athletically, … Continue reading “Athletes in Action • Gonzalez Newsletter”

Shannon McCarthy has been a frequent story that we’ve shared. She has recently completed her final soccer season with UM as the team captain, and here’s what she wrote as her “Captain’s Corner” entry on the Hurricane Sports webpage.


screen-shot-2016-11-27-at-4-16-33-pm


“Recently, I have been asked what the best part of my college career was. Academically and athletically, the University of Miami has exceeded every single expectation I had. I never expected to double major and get my master’s degree in school, and I never saw myself

becoming the athlete I am today. There are many different people in my academic and athletic support systems I am thankful for helping make such achievements possible. However, the absolute best part of my experience at the University of Miami thus far is the Athletes in Action Christian ministry (AIA).


shannon_mccarthy_captains_corner


“I can confidently say AIA helped change the trajectory of my life for the best. The ministers here are magnificent people who have helped me reach my full potential in my sport through my faith. The principles I have learned through AIA give me the tools to approach my sport as a way of worship, using God’s gifts and blessings to the best of my ability with a fiercely intense competitive spirit. The impact AIA has made on my life inspires me to join the AIA staff after my playing days are over. I hope I can help make an impact on a college athlete’s life through AIA similar to how the ministry made an everlasting impact on my life.”

We are inspired by Shannon’s public declaration of her faith on the soccer field, in the classroom, and online!


Prayer Updates

  • Pray for Christian athletes like Shannon who are in leadership positions, that others would be drawn to Christ in how they live.
  • Pray also for Shannon’s transition from being a student-athlete at UM to what the Lord has prepared.
  • Praise God! We have reached 90% of our support goal. Pray we reach our full support before Christmas  so that we may report to campus for the Spring semester.

Thank you for all of your prayers and support!

Love,

Anthony, Brittany, Micah, & Kyla (Due January 2017) Gonzalez


screen-shot-2016-11-30-at-10-41-36-pmscreen-shot-2016-11-30-at-10-53-14-pm



New Missions Blog

We have launched a new website for Christ Journey! We give thanks to God for the skills, dedication and provision in making this possible. Many more improvements are still on the way. We hope this new online experience will be of much benefit to you. Stay tuned for updates from our local and global partners!

We have launched a new website for Christ Journey! We give thanks to God for the skills, dedication and provision in making this possible. Many more improvements are still on the way. We hope this new online experience will be of much benefit to you.

Stay tuned for updates from our local and global partners!