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January 31, 2016 Prayer Note

Dear Family & Friends,

“Pay attention to do everything I have told you, and do not even mention the names of other gods – do not let them be heard on your lips. Three times in the year you must make a pilgrim feast to me. You are to observe the Feast of Unleavened Bread; seven days you must eat bread made without yeast, as I commanded you, at the appointed time of the month of Abib, for at that time you came out of Egypt. No one may appear before me empty-handed.”  Ex. 23:13-15 NET

God gave specific instructions to the Israelites on how to worship at different times of the year to celebrate what He had done for them in the past and what He would continue to do for them in the future.  All of these feasts had a very important element that was common, “God!”  He was the focus.  He told them not to even to mention the names of other gods.  He and He alone provided for them.  It is the same for us today.  We need to make sure that God is given the credit that is rightly, and fully, His.  Many Taiwanese are making a pilgrimage home to celebrate Chinese New Year.  Who & what will they celebrate?  Those that do not know Jesus will certainly thank other gods and their ancestors.  God will be robbed of the glory and worship that is His.

Next week is Chinese New Year.  Our family and the Pagel family have been invited to Samantha Sanford’s parents’ home for dinner on Chinese New Year’s Eve, which next Sunday evening.  The Lins came to our Christmas worship and meal.  We are hoping that they will allow us to include some worship of our God in the evening.  Pray with us that their interest in the Gospel in continuing to grow.

August (Augi) Cox made it to Taiwan safely on Tuesday night.  He has done very well getting over jet lag.  He has also been very willing to try foods and experience the culture.  He will be moving in with his host family today.  The mother and teenage son, Lucy & Jack, are both Christians, but the father is not yet.  Augi will have a great opportunity to encourage Lucy & Jack in their faith as well as to witness to Mr. Jeng.

We have been blessed this week by a visit from Eric and Chris B. of our home office.  They are traveling to a few fields to encourage and teach over the next few weeks.  They certainly were a blessing to our team.  They left for Thailand this morning on an early flight.  They will also visit some sensitive fields after Thailand.  Pray for God to bless them with safety and health as they travel.

We are so blessed to have our new granddaughter Amelia in our family.  She is eating well and mom is feeing pretty good too.  We are thankful that our son-in-law is such a big help with all four of the girls.  Please continue to pray for all six members of their family as they get used to having the newest member around.

Thank you for your prayers.

God Bless,

John & Cheryl

1.  Please pray for the opportunity to witness to the Lin family at Chinese New Year.

2.  Please pray for August as he adjusts to Taiwan and begins to get to know his host family.

3.  Please pray for Eric & Chris B. as they travel to other places to encourage and teach.

4.  Please continue to pray for Philip, Bethany, and their girls as they all adjust to being a family of six.

January 24, 2016 Prayer Note

Dear Family & Friends,

“Then an expert in the law came to him and said, ‘Teacher, I will follow you wherever you go.’  Jesus said to him, ‘Foxes have dens, and the birds in the sky have nests, but the Son of Man has no place to lay his head.’”  Matt. 8:19-20

Jesus could always see a person’s true intention.  He was able to get to the heart of the matter.  When the expert of the law made his declaration, Jesus knew the uncertainty of following from place to place would be difficult for this man.  Jesus wanted him to know what the cost would be for him to actually do what he claimed.  There are things in life that are difficult for each person that desires to be a disciple of Jesus.  What is it that you have trouble placing at the feet of Jesus in order to whole heartedly follow Him as an obedient disciple?  Pray for us as each day we desire to once again commit ourselves fully to following Jesus.

We are praising God that the Home of God’s Love was able to hire a head social worker.  We are still waiting from to hear for certain from the government that her credentials and experience do satisfy the requirements.  Hopefully, this will mean that the Home of God’s Love will be able to keep their adoption license.

Jon Ralls was not able to have a PET scan this past week.  He was able to have a CT scan on Jan. 22nd.  He is still waiting to hear the results.  Hopefully, there are no other places that show signs of cancer or some other problem and that the lymph nodes in his neck are decreasing in size.

This Sunday we will have guests at our house church.  May Wu and two others from her discipleship group will be visiting from Kaohsiung.  May’s sister and husband that live nearby us will be joining us for lunch.  May’s sister & brother-in-law are not Christians yet.  Pray that today will be just the beginning of our relationship with them.  We hope to point them to Jesus.

We also are rejoicing with Philip and Bethany as they now have their fourth daughter.  She was born on the 17th of January.  Her name is Amelia Jasmine White.  Thank you for praying for them as they adjust to life with four little ones.

Thank you for your prayers.

God Bless,

John & Cheryl

 

1.  Please pray that we will be faithful disciples.

2.  Praise God that a head social

3.  Please continue to pray for Jon Ralls’ health.

4.  Please pray for the opportunity to begin a relationship with May Wu’s sister and family.

5.  Praise God for Amelia Jasmine White our fourth granddaughter.

January 17, 2016 Prayer Note

Dear Family & Friends,

Children are a gift from the Lord; they are a reward from him.  Ps. 127:3 NLT

Our children whether sons or daughters are certainly God’s gifts and blessings to us.  They are also a trust.  God is giving to us the most precious gift, a life that is meant to bring honor and glory to God.  When our little children frustrate us or step on our toes, or newly polished shoes, it might help to remember how precious they are to God.  The same thing goes for the head strong teenager or pre-teen that is trying to figure out life and how to be respectful while making their own decisions.  Each and everyone is precious in the eyes of God.  Pray that we keep this in mind with our own children and the one God brings to us for periods of time to invest in as well.  Join us in praying that Alaina & Nikki’s parents will see that their children are gifts from God for them to care for and enjoy as they grow up.

Pray for Jon Ralls, our field coordinator.  He has swelling in his neck that appears to be in the lymph nodes.  He was supposed to have a PET scan this past week, but the insurance company was unwilling to pay for the scan.  The doctor is trying to persuade the insurance company to pay for the test.  Pray that the insurance company will allow payment for the test.  Pray as well that Jon be healed by the Lord and he not have cancer or something else.

Pray for August Cox, a young man coming to Taiwan to intern with our team.  He is ready to come except for his visa.  He has applied, but now is waiting to receive it.  Pray that his visa application will be processed quickly so that he can arrive soon.

Continue to pray for the Home of God’s Love to be able to keep their adoption license.  A head social worker still needs to be hired to fulfill the requirements of the government.  It is difficult to find someone that meets the criteria.  Pray the Lord will provide the right person.

Pray for Bethany and the little one she is carrying.  Her due date has past.  They will be inducing this weekend.  Pray that everything will go well whether she comes naturally or through being induced.

Thank you for your prayers.

God Bless,

John & Cheryl

1.  Please pray for us all to see the blessing for our children.  Pray especially for Alaina & Nikki’s parents to desire to raise their children themselves.

2.  Please pray for Jon Ralls to be able to have the needed to scan of his lymph nodes.

3.  Please pray for August Cox to receive his visa soon.

4.  Please pray for the Home of God’s Love to be able to hire a head social worker very soon.

5.  Please pray for Bethany & her baby as she prepares to be induced this weekend.

January 10, 2016 Prayer Note

Dear Family & Friends,

“He said to them, ‘Go and eat delicacies and drink sweet drinks and send portions to those for whom nothing is prepared. For this day is holy to our Lord.  Do not grieve, for the joy of the LORD is your strength.’”  Nehemiah 8:10

Ezra, Nehemiah, and other Levites had been explaining the Law of Moses as it was being read to the people.  The response of the people had been one of sadness and remorse as they realized how they and their ancestors had broken God’s law.  These same leaders encouraged the people not to be sad, but instead take strength from the joy of knowing God’s law.  God actually loved them enough to give them a law that would protect them and provide for them both spiritually and physically.  We need to remember the joy that comes with knowing Christ as our Savior and Lord everyday, so that we attract people to God with that unending joy.  Pray with us to find strength in the Lord to face everyday with joy as our expression.

We have just finished up teaching in the public schools for the first semester.  The students are now studying for their finals before Chinese New Year.  We are praying for God to use the lessons we teach to draw these students and teachers to Himself.  Chad and Derik were able to connect with several students from the Dong Shan High School outside of school time during Christmas & New Years.  Please pray that we will be able to have more opportunities to meet with these students outside of school and that these meetings will lead to discipleship groups.

Our team will be hosting an intern, August Cox, for about six months, and he hopes to arrive in Taiwan around the end of January.  He is presently acquiring his visa and finishing all his preparations to come.  August believes that God is calling him to mission work somewhere.  He also enjoys working with video production.  He should be a lot of help with the English video series we are producing to teach biblical character traits in the schools.  Pray for August as he prepares to come to Taiwan.

We asked you to pray for a little one that was burned a few weeks back.  Her name is Nora.  She is doing well.  We thank you for praying for her, but ask that you continue to pray as she heals.

Thank you for praying for our family as we foster Alaina & Nikki.  They both are doing better with their colds.  We keep talking about how to foster them and meet all of our other commitments.  Sometimes it is a real challenge to find the energy needed and the time to do everything well.  We ask that you pray with us that the parents will desire to care for the girls themselves and will be able to do so before we need to go to the US for the summer.

Thank you for your prayers.

God Bless,

John & Cheryl

1.  Please pray for us to live our lives in the strength & joy of the Lord.

2.  Please pray that our work in the schools will lead to establishing discipleship groups.

3.  Please pray for August Cox as he prepares to come to Taiwan for an internship.

4.  Please continue to pray for Nora as she heals from her burns.

5.  Thank you for praying for Alaina, Nikki, and our family.

January 3, 2016 Prayer Note

Dear Family & Friends,

“So then, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; what is old has passed away – look, what is new has come!  And all these things are from God who reconciled us to himself through Christ, and who has given us the ministry of reconciliation.”

As we all think about the new year and new beginnings, we should be reminded that all who are in Christ have been remade in Him.  We have a life to live that has been freed from sin and its power.  We have a life to live that is not weighed down in shame from sin.  We instead, can live life with joy and peace as we share the blessings of this new life with others.  Challenge yourself everyday to live as this new creation that is not held back by your old life of sin.  Don’t believe the lies satan tells you about how your past still controls you.  Believe in the one who has reconciled you to Himself through Christ!

Saturday morning our team had a planning meeting.  We were writing our Field Ministry Plan (FMP).  It went very well.  We have all felt like our team was kind of treading water in the ocean with lots of waves since the school year began.  We were just trying to keep doing what was being done before all the changes had taken place on the team.  Now we all feel a greater sense of purpose as a group.  We have more work to do on our Field Ministry Plan, but we are all excited to get it finished and to work toward meeting our goals.  Pray with us as we try to make plans that will stretch us and honor God.

We ask that you continue to pray for our relationship with the Lin family, Samantha Sanford’s parents.  We really want to be able to start a discipleship group with them.  Pray that God will direct us as to how to move forward.

Please continue to pray for us as we foster Alaina & Nikki.  They are precious little girls, but they do take lots of energy.  Lately, colds and flus have been going around the community and our family has not escaped them.  Please pray that we can all get well soon.

Thank you for praying.

God Bless,

John & Cheryl

1.  Praise God that we all are made new in Christ.

2.  Please pray with us as our team continues to work on our Field Ministry Plan.

3.  Please pray for our relationship with the Lin family to grow.

4.  Please pray for our family as we foster Alaina & Nikki.

December 29, 2015 Prayer Note

Dear Family & Friends,

“As they came into the house and saw the child with Mary his mother, they bowed down and worshiped him. They opened their treasure boxes and gave him gifts of gold, frankincense, and myrrh.”  

Matt. 2:11

The wisemen had searched for the new born king for a period of time.  Having found the baby Jesus, they immediately worshipped Him and gave Him gifts.  Why did these learned men who also had means desire to worship this baby king even though He was not found in a palace?  The answer is simple.  They believed Him worthy of worship.  Does your belief cause you to desire to worship Jesus and give Him the best that you have?

The Sunday evening worship and meal we hosted with the Pagel family went very well.  Everyone enjoyed the meal and fellowship.  Everyone participated in the worship time as well.  We read scriptures as a group in English and in Chinese.  Samantha’s mom read every word loudly and clearly.  When Cheryl was passing out goodbye hugs Samantha’s aunt acted like she did not want to let go.  We are hearing good reports back about the other Christmas outreaches as well. Pray with us that the Samantha’s family as well as the others families present at the outreach activities will desire to learn more about Jesus.

Our team is having a planning meeting on Saturday morning.  Pray that we come together in one mind and purpose to accomplish our task.

We hope you have a great New Year and seek to be a blessing to as many people as possible.

God Bless,

John & Cheryl

1.  Please pray that we worship Jesus with all our hearts and give Him our whole being.

2.  Please pray that those attending the outreach activities will know more about Jesus our Lord.

3.  Please pray that our team accomplish much at the planning meeting.

 

December 20, 2015 Prayer Note

Dear Family & Friends,

“So the angel said to her, ‘Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found favor with God! Listen: You will become pregnant and give birth to a son, and you will name him Jesus.’ Mary said to the angel, ‘How will this be, since I have not had sexual relations with a man?’ The angel replied, ‘The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you. Therefore the child to be born will be holy; he will be called the Son of God.’”  

Luke 1:30-31,34-35

We who have be blessed to grow up in the the Church hear these passages read and just accept them as truth.  We believe that God has done what the Bible says.  This past Friday our family helped with an outreach to the Chung Gang High School in the Taichung area.  The lesson taught that Jesus is the son of the most high God, Mary is Jesus’ mother, & Joseph is Mary’s husband.  Some of the students caught the fact that Joseph was not Jesus’ father.  This was a difficult thing for many of them to accept.  John told them that this was a miracle by means of God’s spirit.  This truth coupled with Jesus coming to restore our relationship with God was difficult for many students to accept.  We hope that all of the 700-800 students that heard the presentation will continue to consider if Jesus truly is the son of the most high God.

Our team has several other Christmas outreaches today and throughout the week.  There are four simple church services that will happen today each with non-Christians attending.  The Pagel family and our family will be hosting one of the simple church services.  Two of the non-Christians attending are Samantha Sanford’s parents.  Our co-workers, the Sanfords, now live on the east side of the island.  Later in the week there will be opportunities in schools where we teach English to share the Christmas story as well.  Please pray for all of these opportunities to share the Gospel.

Ted & Bev Skiles are in the US until early January.  They went back for Ted’s stepmother’s funeral.  They are looking forward to meeting her again in heaven.  Please pray for the whole Skiles family at this time.

We ask for your prayers as we now have Alaina’s little sister living with us as well.  Her Chinese name is Ya Ni.  Her English name is Nikki.  She is 10 months old.  Continue to pray for their parents to develop a stable lifestyle so that they can care for them again.

Thank you for your prayers.  Merry Christmas!

God Bless,

John & Cheryl

1.  Please pray for the students from the  Chung Gang High School to consider how much God loves them.

2.  Please pray for all the outreaches that our team is involved with during this Christmas season.

3.  Please pray for the Skiles family as they both grieve and rejoice.

4.  Please pray for Alaina & Nikki as we try to give them security and love.

December 13, 2015 Prayer Note

Dear Family & Friends,

“Remember what I told you, ‘A slave is not greater than his master.’  If they persecuted me, they will also persecute you. If they obeyed  my word, they will obey yours too.  But they will do all these things to you on account of my name, because they do not know the one who sent me.”   John 15:20-21

Persecution comes in many forms.  Christians throughout world are going through persecution.  People are losing jobs & homes because of their faith.  People are shunned by their families for choosing Christ.  Christians are hated for standing for the truth about sinful behavior.  Our Lord said that this is to be expected.  He was persecuted and at some point so will we.  We need to be prepared in our hearts and mind as to how we will respond to persecution when it comes to us.  Will we be harsh in return to those who slander or ridicule us?  Will we shy away from the calling Christ has given to us that brought the persecution?  Will we remain faithful and stand firm no matter the cost?  Remembering to count the cost of your discipleship helps to prepare us for times of persecution.  Have you counted the cost of following Christ?

This weekend we were asked by fellow Team Expansion workers in S.E. Asia to pray for a recent believer who is enthusiastic about his faith.  He has taken some discipleship training and is winning people to Christ.  This is bringing government persecution upon him and others in the Village.  Please lift them up as they are persecuted for the name of Christ.

On the 18th our family will have the opportunity to be a part of an outreach to English speaking students at a local university.  We are to present a lesson about Christmas to these students.  We have the freedom to share the birth of Christ in these lessons.  Please pray that each team of teachers is able to communicate clearly the hope that Jesus brought into the world.

The Home of God’s Love continues to work toward meeting all of the criteria of retaining their adoption license.  There is progress being made in many areas, but finding people to hire to fill the roles of director and head social worker is proving very difficult.  We need people to be dedicated to pray for these positions to be filled.  Please set time aside each day to pray for these people to be provided.  We know that God will provide in His time!

Angie Pagel’s mom had surgery this past Monday and is doing well.  She is still in pain, but there is hope that this pain will slowly decrease as the nerve heals in her back.

Thank you for your willingness to pray.

God Bless,

John & Cheryl

1.  Please pray for Christians everywhere to count the cost of following Christ.

2.  Please pray for those brothers and sisters in S.E. Asia who are being persecuted by their government.

3.  Please pray for our Christmas outreach opportunities.

4.  Please pray for the Home of God’s Love to find the needed people to hire.

5.  Please continue to pray for Angie Pagel’s mom.

December 6, 2015

Dear Family & Friends,

“Now to him who by the power that is working within us is able to do far beyond all that we ask or think, to him be the glory in the church and in Christ Jesus to all generations, forever and ever. Amen.”  Eph. 3:20-21  

Christmas being just around the corner as such means that family members are asking you, “What do you want for Christmas?”  It also means that children are telling you what they want for Christmas.  Some children will think about which person would be willing to give them a certain gift, because of cost or extravagance.  Reading this passage in Eph. made me consider that God wants to give us the most extravagant spiritual gifts.  He is able to do more than we think.  Why then when we pray to God do we not ask extravagantly?  Do we believe that He can do it?  If we believe then why not ask?  Why not ask for God to use this crisis in the middle east to change the hearts of millions of muslims to Christ?  Why not ask God to change the hearts of the thousands in your own town to Christ?  And while you are at it why not ask God to use you to take the Gospel to those you are praying to receive the Gospel?  I also believe if we pray like this God receives a gift too, glory!  Join us in praying and believing that God can do all that we ask of Him and more.

We are praising God as the 6 people that May Wu has been discipling were baptized this weekend.  We reported earlier of their plans to be baptized and now it has happened.  We received several notes from those who were baptized for our part in sharing the gospel with them.  PTL!

Our team members are making plans to invite people to their homes for special Christmas activities and to be a part of other special events.  John and Cheryl will be helping to teach at a university about the meaning of Christmas.  We are praying for God’s leading as whether this could be a start to a continued outreach at this university.

Continue to pray for the Home of God’s Love as the staff works to make changes in paper work and make other plans for how to provide more services to families on both sides of an adoption.  Pray as well for the Home to find the needed people to fill the positions of director of adoptions and head social worker.

Thank you for praying for the health of our team and protection for our children.  Andrew is not playing basketball at this time.  The doctor said that Andrew received a slight concussion and needs to rest for 3 three weeks after the injury.  He has another week of rest.  Angie Pagel’s mom is having back surgery this Monday morning in the US.  She has been in a lot of pain.  We also ask you to please pray as well for little Nora, who spilled hot coffee on herself and now has burns on about 10% of her body.  She is about 18 months old.  Her grandparents, Ken & Trena Campbell, served in Kaohsiung at Morrison Christian Academy and Taiwan Xi En for several years.  Her great-grandparents, Dudley and Mona Henderson, are still serving in Kaohsiung with a bi-lingual church.

We did enjoy our visit at the Home of God’s Love last week.  It was a great time of fellowship and service.  John & Cheryl led devotions at the home on Wed. night.  Cheryl headed up the meal for the children at the home and our mission family on Thursday evening.  John had a board meeting for the Home too.  John was also able to speak on Sunday morning to the kids and staff at the Home for worship.

Thank you for all your prayers.

1.  Please pray with us for God to use our team to start a church planting movement in Taiwan.

2.  Praise God with us for the six baptisms from May Wu’s discipleship work.

3.  Please pray for the special activities planned during the Christmas season.

4.  Please pray for the Home of God’s Love to be able to meet all the requirements to keep the adoption license.

5.  Thank you for praying for the heath of our team and friends.

6.  Praise the Lord for a great time at Thanksgiving.

November 22, 2015

Dear Family and Friends,

“Moses returned to the Lord, and said, ‘Lord, why have you caused trouble for this people?  Why did you ever send me?’ … Then the Lord said to Moses, ‘Now you will see what I will do to Pharaoh, for compelled by my strong hand he will release them, and by my strong hand he will drive them out of his land.’”  Ex. 5:22 & 6:1

Many times in the scriptures people cry out to God with questions that start with the word why.  People become overcome by the situation and question God’s intent and character.  God most often responds with patience and understanding.  Sometimes he begins to act immediately to show His purpose, and other times it necessary to still wait until the time is fulfilled.  In the case of Moses calling out to God having just begun to call for Pharaoh to release Israel He speaks to Moses about His purpose, but it is still a long time before the people are released or even feel better about their situation.  You may be in such a time where your prayers often start with, “Why.”  You may feel like you don’t understand why God has brought you here to this place.  You may feel as if you have been forgotten.  There is hope.  It still may be awhile before you see how God will use this situation, but for those who stay faithful there will always be a blessing.  Eventually, the Israelites were released from slavery.  They were able to go to the land promised to their ancestors.  Hang in there.  God is still with us all!

This week John went with Chad & Derik to present the same lesson as last week to three different high school English classes.  Again the response was very good.  After the lesson about how real friends are dependable we shared examples where we needed to depend on God, because no one else could help.  One student, Miss Chen, having been inspired by hearing Chad & Derik’s stories sought John out on Facebook stating that she hoped the next time she could hear his story as well.  God is working in the hearts of these students.  Pray with us for ways to connect with these students outside of school that will lead to the formation of discipleship groups.

Please continue to pray for the situation at the Home of God’s Love.  This week one the social workers resigned.  His mother is in failing health and he needs to be able to care for her.  This leaves another position to be filled.  Our mission will be having our annual Thanksgiving/Christmas gathering at the Home on Thursday & Friday.  We hope to be able to join together and encourage the Skiles and the rest of the staff at the home.

We ask that you lift up prayers for the safety of the children on our team.  This year there have been several injuries.  In just the past two weeks three of our children have had injuries.  Zach Pagel twisted his ankle badly in basketball practice.  Kylea Messimer broke her arm on the playground.  Just yesterday Andrew hit the floor hard in a basketball game and is having neck pain and some dizziness.  We are all grateful that no one has been hurt severely, but we also hope for everyone to heal well and to stay healthy.  These things steal energy and time from our lives and ministries.

Thank you for standing in the gap for us in prayer.

God Bless,

John & Cheryl

1.  Join us in praying for everyone to remain faithful even when we are asking, “Why?”

2.  Please pray that God will provide us with opportunities to develop discipleship groups among the students we are meeting.

3.  Please pray for the Home of God’s Love to be able to hire the needed personnel and make other necessary changes.

4.  Please pray for the safety of our team’s children.