October 19, 2014 Prayer Note

October 19th, 2014

Dear Family & Friends,

“There are six things that the Lord hates, even seven things that are an abomination to him: haughty eyes, a lying tongue, and hands that shed innocent blood, a heart that devises wicked plans, feet that are swift to run to evil, a false witness who pours out lies, and a person who spreads discord among family members.”  Prov. 6:16-19 NET

It is interesting how cultures create emphasis with language.  The Hebrew expression of, “six things …, even seven things…,” tells us this is important.  God hates pride, lies, murder, evil intent, and discord.  God knows that these things destroy lives and relationships.  God wants us instead to learn to be humble, truthful, caring, kind, and peacemakers.  As much as God hates these seven things, He loves these others even more.  Let us desire to have these qualities that God loves in our lives in order that we might honor God.

Thank you for praying for Mr. Wang.  He is presently at home, but he will be continuing to take more radiation therapy.  Shu Jen is worried about caring for him properly at home.  She is also worried that the his pain will not be controlled properly while at home.  Please continue to pray for the Wang family.

We appreciate your prayers for our ministry and our family.  This week certainly had a couple of highlights.  One, Chris Sanford has connected with a congregation that needs help with a jr. & sr. high English outreach.  We as a team are planning to use video materials that the Taichung team has developed just for this purpose.  Praise the Lord!  John was given an opportunity to begin another discipleship group in a downtown business.  The English group will begin this Wednesday.  The new discipleship group will begin soon, possibly this week.

We ask that you continue to pray for Ellinor’s adoption.  We have had no word yet about her case.  It has now been three months since her last court date.

Thank you again for praying.  Please pray daily at 10:o2!

God Bless,

John & Cheryl

1.  Pray that we all honor God with our lives daily.

2.  Please continue to pray for the health of Mr. Wang and for his family.

3.  Please pray for the new ministry opportunities God has given us.

4.  Please pray Ellinor’s adoption to be finalized soon.

October 12, 2014

October 11th, 2014

Dear Family & Friends,

“Praise the Lord, O my soul!  With all that is within me, praise his holy name!  Praise the Lord, O my soul!  Do not forget all his kind deeds!”  Psalm 103:1-3

This psalm by David is a wonderful piece of scripture.  It really gives us an outline for life.  He tells us to begin and end with praise of our God that provides all that we need and does all that is necessary.  He reminds us to live selflessly, to forgive, to be faithful, and more through His own example.  David also reminds us that we alone are so small and transient, but God cares for us  and loves us anyway.  David also reminds us that we are not here alone.  God has sent His angels to do His mighty works.  Read this psalm again and again to remind you of what God has done and to encourage you to live a life of praise to Him.

We thank you for praying for Ellinor’s case and the ministries of Taiwan Xi En and The Home of God’s Love.  We really need you to make Ellinor’s adoption a priority in your prayer time.  She is growing so fast and learning so many things.  All of this she needs to be experiencing with her forever family.  Please pray that her the home study on the birth mother will be completed and filed with the court as soon as possible so that her case can be completed.

We continue to ask that you pray for Shu Jen’s husband, Mr. Wang.  He is taking morphine to control the pain.  He also has a feeding tube since he is unable to eat by mouth.  The doctor wants him to return home on Tuesday, but Shu Jen is afraid that she will not be able to care for him well enough.  Pray for God’s wisdom, comfort, and strength to come to their family at this time.

Since returning to Taiwan in August we have been busy, but so has Satan.  We see how he has been trying to discourage us and some of those with and to whom we minister.  We ask that you pray for us to have discernment to recognize satan’s devices so as to be able to defend properly against his attacks.  We also ask that you pray for God to send encouragement to those in our small groups and other ministries as well as to us.

We are grateful for your prayers.

God Bless,

John & Cheryl

1.  Praise God for all that He has done for us!

2.  Please pray that Ellinor’s case will be completed soon.

3.  Please pray for Shu Jen’s husband, Mr. Wang, as he continues to battle cancer.

4.  Please pray for our family and ministry as satan tries his best to disrupt and discourage.

October 5, 2014 Prayer Note

October 5th, 2014

Dear Family & Friends,

“Fearing the Lord is the beginning of moral knowledge, but fools despise wisdom and instruction.”  “…then you will understand how to fear the Lord, and you will discover knowledge about God.”  Proverbs 1:7 & 2:5 NET   The fear of the Lord is something that as a Christian we grow up with as part of our vocabulary and understanding.  For those that have not grown-up in the Church this concept can be hard at times to understand.  We have had two long discussions on this idea in the Friday noon discipleship group.  The prevailing thought is that the more you know and understand someone or something the less fear you have.  This is basically true in most cases, so why should we fear God?  We fear God because of who He is, what He has done, and what He will do.  Moses told the people of Israel that God appeared on the mountain in such an awesome manner in order that they would not sin.  Because God is so awesome we are both drawn to Him as a creator and redeemer, and we are driven back from him in dread when we realize our sinfulness and His righteousness.  These are concepts and feelings that cannot be just taught, but must be experienced as we come to know God.  Let us desire to know God better that we might worship His awesomeness that both inspires and humbles us.   Thank you for praying for Ted Skiles.  His doctor is very pleased with the result of the first surgery.  Ted is to return to see the doctor again in a month.  A second surgery will be set-up at that time.   We continue to ask that you pray for Ellinor’s adoption to be completed soon.  We need God to work on the hearts of people that can make a difference in the case.  We can only guess at this point why the report on the home study for the mom has not been completed and filed.  We do know that this is what the judge is waiting on before making a ruling.  Please keep praying!   Pray with our team that we are able to begin new simple churches in the communities where we live.  The Sanfords have had people agree to come, but then do not show up.  We are still praying for God to send us a person of peace.  John has asked a few people, but without any positive response at this time.   Thank you praying as Cheryl traveled to Japan and back.  Her trip there with the school board was very beneficial and all went well.  This week we will travel to the south end of the island for a few days of rest with our teammates Chris & Samantha Sanford.   Thank you for praying for our ministry.   God Bless,   John & Cheryl     1.  Please pray that we continue to fear the Lord and worship Him as He deserves. 2.  Please pray for Ted Skiles as he recuperates and waits for his next surgery. 3.  Please pray for Ellinor’s adoption to finish soon so she can be with her forever family. 4.  Please pray that our team can begin new simple churches near where we live. 5.  Thank you for praying for our safety.

September 28, 2014 Prayer Note

September 28th, 2014

Dear Family & Friends,

 

Trustin the Lord with all your heart,and do not relyon your own understanding.  Acknowledgehim in all your ways,and he will make your paths straight.Do not be wise in your own estimation;fear the Lord and turn away from evil.This will bring healing to your body,and refreshment to your inner self.  Proverbs 3:5-8

 

For most of us the first two verses are very familiar, but the second two are not nearly as familiar.  They all four really go together.  If we are going to truly trust in the Lord and not rely on our own wisdom, then we must not be impressed by our own wisdom.  We must learn to allow God to shape our thoughts and direct our decisions.  Then we will know what is evil and what is righteous; therefore, bringing a blessing to our whole being.  Join us in praying that God will show us when we think too highly of ourselves especially in the areas of understanding and knowledge.

 

We ask that you keep Ted Skiles and his family in your prayers.  Ted had neck surgery this past Friday to correct problems with some vertebrae.  He will have another surgery soon to continue the work that needs to be done.  The last report we received said that he was doing well after surgery.  He has already returned home to recuperate for the second surgery.

 

We thank you for praying for Ellinor’s adoption.  Nothing has changed as far as we know.  The court is still waiting on the social worker’s report on the birth mother’s home study.  We ask that you pray that God would work on the hearts of everyone involved with this case so that each person will do their part to complete her case as soon as possible.

 

Shu Jen’s husband has been fighting cancer of the tongue since the end of May.  His treatments were helping, but he decided to stop taking them at the beginning of August.  Since then the swelling has returned in his tongue.  The hospital put in a feeding tube and a IV port for medicine.  He has gained strength, but the swelling has remained.  Pray that his life be spared and that through this difficulty many people will be saved.

 

Cheryl will be traveling this week to Japan with school board.  Please pray for Cheryl as she travels and the rest of us at home as we try to make do without her.

 

Thanks for being a prayer warrior.

 

God Bless,

 

John & Cheryl

 

 

1.  Please pray that we learn to seek God’s wisdom and not to think too highly of ourselves.

2.  Please pray for Ted Skiles and his family as he is being treated for problems with vertebrae in his neck.

3.  Please keep praying for Ellinor’s paperwork to all be finished soon.

4.  Please continue to pray for Shu Jen’s husband as he fights tongue cancer.

5.  Please pray for Cheryl and our family as she travels this week.

 

 

September 14, 2014 Prayer Note

September 14th, 2014

Dear Family & Friends,

 

“The king uttered these words: ‘Is this not the great Babylon that I have built for a royal residence by my own mighty strength and for my majestic honor?’  ‘Now I, Nebuchadnezzar, praise and exalt and glorify the King of heaven, for all his deeds are right and his ways are just. He is able to bring down those who live in pride.’”  NET Daniel 4:30, 37

 

Nebuchadnezzar ruled a great kingdom.  He had many opportunities to learn of the true God Jehovah and choose to worship him, but he did not.  He was even warned by God in a dream that his kingdom would be taken away from him if he did not humble himself before God.  Nebuchadnezzar chose to live pridefully and did not recognize that God had given him this great kingdom and his position in the world.  Later Nebuchadnezzar gets a second chance and then declares God’s greatness and how he brings down the prideful.

 

We don’t have to have great kingdoms to be prideful.  It can be something very small, but it can become an object of pride in our lives.  Join us declaring God’s greatness daily and pointing others to Him in order to combat pride in our lives.

 

We ask that you pray for the ministry of Taiwan Xi En to have the needed funding to continue ministering to women in crisis pregnancies and their children.  Taiwan Xi En needs to have churches and individuals and congregations that will commit to supporting the ministry regularly.  We hope that much of that regular support will come from Taiwan.  This may or may not be God’s plan.  He knows where the money.  Please pray, believing he will send it.

 

We are still waiting for Ellinor’s case to be completed.  The court says that they are still waiting on the social workers report concerning the birth mom’s home study.  Once this report is received that judge will be able to make a ruling concerning the adoption.  We ask that you pray that God will work in the hearts of everyone involved to get this completed as soon as possible.  Ellinor is growing so fast and needs to be with her forever family.

 

Chris & Samantha Sanford and their girls have been back in Taiwan a week after being in the US for four months.  Please pray for them as they work through jet lag and so much more.  They are anxious to get back into ministry.  They are also trying to buy a vehicle, but there has been a problem with the wire transfer from the states.  Pray that it all gets worked out soon.

 

We are so grateful for your prayers.

 

God Bless,

 

John & Cheryl

 

 

1.  Please pray that we will not become prideful in our lives, but instead will always give God glory for what he does through us.

2.  Please pray for God to raise up regular supporters for the ministry of Taiwan Xi En.

3.  Please pray for Ellinor’s birth mom’s home study report to be completed soon so her case can be completed.

4.  Please pray for the Sanford family as they adjust back to life & ministry in Taiwan.

 

 

September 7, 2014 Prayer Note

September 8th, 2014

Dear Family & Friends,

 

The intentions of the heart belong to a man, but the answer of the tongue comes from the Lord. All a person’s ways seem right in his own opinion, but the Lord evaluates the motives. Commit your works to the Lord, and your plans will be established.  Proverbs 16:1-3  NET

 

These words so true!  The same actions can be done by different people, but are received so differently.  People can often see why we are choosing to help them.  They can feel true compassion and empathy.  They can also hear and see a condescending attitude and a prideful heart.  We must learn to ask God to mold our heart to be like His if we are to truly serve in His name.  “Lord, help us to have a heart that has pure motives?”

 

This week we are rejoicing with The Home of God’s Love as their adoption license was renewed.  They also have received the occupancy license for the new building, that will house the older children.  They will be moving in very soon.  Praise the Lord!

 

John has been speaking with the leaders of the present discipleship groups trying to decide how to best proceed.  He does not want to take over these groups that have been functioning well on their own.  He has the possibility of one new group at this time.  We are also praying for someone to partner with us to begin a discipleship group in our building complex.

 

Cheryl has met with several birth families over the past few weeks.  She has also spoken with a couple of women or families that are facing the decision of adoption or abortion.  Please pray for Cheryl and other ladies at Taiwan Xi En as they speak the truth in love to these families.

 

Andrew’s MRI did not show a tear in any of the cartilage in his knee.  The doctor did indicate there are signs of trauma to the knee.  He believes that rest from intense physical activity will allow it to heal properly.  This will be a time of trial and testing for Andrew as he waits for his knee to heal fully before playing soccer again.

 

Thank you for your prayers.

 

God Bless,

 

John & Cheryl

 

1.  Please pray with us that our hearts are pure and we give our plans to God.

2.  Praise the Lord that The Home of God’s Love’s adoption license was renewed & the occupancy license was received.

3.  Please pray for the ministry of Taiwan Xi En as they counsel and meet with birth families and counsel young girls in crisis pregnancy situations.

4.  Pray for Andrew’s knee to heal properly and quickly.

 

 

August 24, 2014 Prayer Note

September 8th, 2014

Dear Family & Friends,

 

“‘Indeed, a time is coming,’ says the Lord, ‘when I will make a new covenant  with the people of Israel and Judah. It will not be like the old covenant that I made with their ancestors when I delivered them from Egypt. For they violated that covenant, even though I was like a faithful husband to them,’ says the Lord. ‘But I will make a new covenant with the whole nation of Israel after I plant them back in the land,’ says the Lord. ‘I will  put my law within them and write it on their hearts and minds. I will be their God and they will be my people.’”  Jeremiah 31:31-33

 

When you read these words of the Lord, are you able to sense the great desire that He has to be in a whole relationship with His people?  He is willing to go beyond being faithful.  He is willing to start anew with a new covenant that will make them truly His.  We live in under this new covenant!  We receive the blessings of the new covenant.  Which according to Jeremiah 31:34f includes, “For I will forgive their sin and will no longer call to mind the wrong they have done.”  Does the way we live reflect the depth and righteousness of this covenant?  Are we living so that people see the righteousness, grace, and mercy of our God in us?  Let’s pray for each other to live like we are His people.

 

 

We ask that you call on God to give us wisdom as we begin getting back into ministry activities.  We want to train people to be disciples that can and will make disciples.  We don’t want them all to be continually relying on us.  John will be meeting with the leaders of different discipleship groups this week to make plans for how they will each continue.  He has also already had a contact about starting a new discipleship group.

 

The Home of God’s Love continues to wait to hear about their adoption license.  We are praying that they will be allowed to continue to do new adoption cases.  We are also praying for a land issue dealing with the road that leads back to their property.  It is possible that it will be closed causing everyone to use an unpaved road that leads to the back of the property.  Please pray for God to intervene in these situations.  Also pray that the court cases that have already been started both with the Home of God’s Love and Xi En can successfully be completed, including Ellinor’s, as we are still waiting on court decrees to come through.

 

We thank you for continually praying for our family.  Bethany, Philip, and their girls are happy in Canada working and serving there.  Nathanael is now in Knoxville where he will be living and working this next year while he decides where he will be going to graduate school.  Andrew & Moriah have had a good start to a new school year.  Andrew has hit a bump in the road though.  He hurt his knee again in soccer practice last week.  We decided that it needed to be checked out.  His initial exam indicated that he may have a torn meniscus.  We are waiting for a date for an MRI to determine if he will need surgery or not.  Please pray that it will be clear what needs to be done for his knee to heal well.

 

Thank you for praying.

 

God Bless,

 

John & Cheryl

 

 

1.  Please pray that we will receive wisdom as to how to lead the discipleship groups and for new ones to begin.

2.  Please pray for The Home of God’s Love as they wait to hear about their adoption license and the road issue.

3.  Please continue to pray for Ellinor’s court case.  Praise the Lord that she is feeling better.

4.  Thank you for praying for our family as we go through transitions and changes and for Andrew’s knee.

 

 

August 17, 2014 Prayer Note

September 8th, 2014

Dear Family & Friends,

 

“When the army came back to the camp, the elders of Israel said, ‘Why did the Lord let us be defeated today by the Philistines? Let’s take with us the ark of the covenant of the Lord from Shiloh. When it is with us, it will save us  from the hand of our enemies.’ … So the Philistines fought. Israel was defeated; they all ran home.   The slaughter was very great; thirty thousand foot soldiers fell in battle. The ark of God was taken, and the two sons of Eli, Hophni and Phineas, were killed.”  I Sam. 4:3, 10-11

 

The people of Israel thought that as long as they carried the ark of the covenant with them that they would win in battle, but they were defeated instead.  They mistook the ark as having power itself, instead of the presence of God.  They also forgot that the covenant they had made with God required their sincere faith in Him and their desire to obey his commands.  Their faith in God was not much different than that of the Philistines in their gods.  Israel’s leaders, including Eli’s family, had not taught the people well nor kept the covenant very well either.

 

We all need to be careful that we do not treat God as someone we can summon to work for us when we need Him.  We also need to be careful to cultivate a desire to be obedient to God, so that we will be pleasing to Him.

 

The Eternal Light congregation hosted a two day VBS this weekend.  Each day was a full day.  Please pray for the outreach to the families that will follow.

 

We received a note asking to for prayer for the nation of Liberia.  The government has declared a state of emergency due to the Ebola crisis.  People are dying daily from common ailments because there are no medicines or they cannot be treated due to the hospitals being closed.  Pray for God to intercede in this crisis.

 

It has been almost a month since Ellinor’s court date.  We are hoping that her paperwork will arrive soon saying that the court has approved the adoption. Ellinor came back to our home last Sunday evening and has fit right back in although she has had a pretty high fever these last two days. Please pray for Ellinor to feel better.

 

We ask that you pray for a member of the Team Expansion family, Deshay Linn.  She is being treated for Typhoid.  She grew up on the mission field in Venezuela.

 

Thank you for your prayers.

 

God Bless,

 

John & Cheryl

 

1.  Please pray for us as we work to develop a desire in our own lives to be obedient in all things to God.

2.  Please pray for the VBS follow-up.

3.  Please pray for the Ebola & medical crisis in Liberia and other places in Africa.

4.  Please pray for Ellinor’s paperwork to come from the court soon, and for her to feel better.

5.  Please pray for Deshay Linn as she is being treated for typhoid.

 

 

 

August 10, 2014 Prayer Note

August 10th, 2014

Dear Family & Friends,

 

“Though I have many other things to write to you, I do not want to do so with paper and ink, but I hope to come visit you and speak face to face,  so that our joy may be complete.”  I John 2:15

 

It is always good to visit face to face with people.  While we are here in Taiwan we look forward to visiting with family & friends that are Stateside and in Canada.  When we are there with you, we look forward to getting back to Taiwan so that we can again see those we know and love here.  That is life for us.  We are so grateful for the fellowship and love that you all shared with us this summer.  You certainly brought joy to our summer.  We look forward to the day when we can rejoice together with all of you and all of our Taiwanese brothers & sisters in heaven seeing our Savior face to face.

 

We appreciate your prayers for the people of Kaohsiung.  We are relieved to know that most of the homes in the area of the explosions were not damaged structurally.  They are affected greatly due to the lack of utility services to their homes as well as the difficulty with travel.  We will be investigating how we and our churches might be of aid to those who live in that area.

 

We are grateful for your prayers for our family as we traveled.  Our trip back to Taiwan went well.  We are all doing well as we try to adjust to the humidity and the time difference.  Nathanael arrived safely in Indianapolis, but without his luggage.

 

We ask that you pray for Andrew & Moriah as they begin school on Monday.  It is pretty quick after just arriving here very late on Friday.  Pray for our family and Ellinor as we all get used to each other again.  She will be coming back to our home tonight.  We also ask that you pray for us as we move back into ministry and life here in Taiwan.  We need wisdom to find a good balance and as to certain specifics about ministry involvement.

 

Thank you for a wonderful summer.

 

God Bless,

 

John & Cheryl

 

 

1.  Praise that Lord for the blessing of visiting face to face and the hope of living for eternity in heaven together.

2.  Please pray for the those affected greatly by the explosions in Kaohsiung.

3.  Thank you for praying for our safety while traveling.  Pray for Nathanael’s bags to arrive soon.

4.  Please pray for our family as we get back into life and ministry in Taiwan.

 

August 3, 2014 Prayer Note

August 3rd, 2014

Dear Family & Friends,

 

“God is our strong refuge; he is truly our helper in times of trouble. For this reason we do not fear when the earth shakes,and the mountains tumble into the depths of the sea, when its waves crash  and foam, and the mountains shake  before the surging sea.”  Psalm 46:1-3

 

We all know that the circumstances of our life can change instantly.  It is this uncertainty that causes us to desire to find something that is unchangeable, that is certain. We as people need something that is secure in our lives that brings us hope.  That is our God.  So whether the earth shakes, the storms rage, or there are explosions from bombs, or gas leaks God is still here.  He is able to help us no matter our situation.  And as the father of one of the missionaries that contracted Ebola said, “No matter what he will be alright.”  We too who have placed our faith in the Lord God Almighty will be alright!

 

Many of you have heard the news of the gas leak explosions in Kaohsiung.  We thank you for your prayers and concerns for the people of Kaohsiung and specifically for our brothers and sisters in Christ.  As far as we know none of the people that attend our congregations were injured.  The area affected was not near to our home or to the homes of most of those we work with.  We ask that you continue to pray for those who have lost homes, loved ones, and employment due to the explosions.  Pray as well for hearts to be open to the gospel of Jesus Christ during this time.

 

Please pray for Nathanael as he travels today to meet up with us here at Philip and Bethany’s.  He is coming back to the states to work and eventually to go to school for his master’s degree.  Taiwan has been a huge part of his life, and it is difficult to leave a country and people you love when so many still don’t know our Lord and Savior.  It is a bittersweet time for him, but we are so grateful for the few days that we will all be together.  We will be flying back to Taiwan on Thursday.  Nathanael will fly on to Indianapolis on Friday.  We ask that you keep all of us in your prayers as we travel.

 

We have greatly enjoyed our time visiting with many of you this summer.  Thank you again for your financial and prayer support.

 

God Bless,

 

John & Cheryl

 

 

1.  Please pray that we all learn to look to God in times of trouble and not to despair.

2.  Please pray for the people of Kaohsiung as they recover from the gas explosions.  Pray as well for God to use this to bring people to Christ.

3.  Please pray for Nathanael as he travels as us as well.