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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.

November 15, 2015 Prayer Note

Dear Family & Friends,

“I am up before dawn crying for help.  I find hope in your word.  My eyes anticipate the nighttime hours, so that I can meditate on your word.”  Ps. 119:147-148

Looking at our world around us, seeing so much that is disturbing & heart breaking are you driven to prayer & God’s Word?  The psalmist desired help from the Lord and sought it in prayer and meditation on God’s truth.  It is interesting that the psalmist was willing to at times spend the night time communicating with God or to get up early and call out to Him.  What about us are we willing to lose a little sleep in order to understand God’s truth better or to see circumstances in our world change?  It seems like God is available to all,  whether we be morning birds or night owls.  Join us in seeking God, both early and late, that our world might be changed for Him.

We are very grateful for your prayers while John was traveling.  He made all his connections and all his bags made it as well.  The International Conference on Missions was good and the Team Leaders Summit was excellent.  Pray that John will be able to communicate to the team much of what he received from the conference and the summit.

The Home of God’s Love has four months to hire a director for the adoption side of the ministry in order to continue processing adoptions.  They will only let Ted Skiles, who with his wife founded the home, be director of the actual children’s home side of the ministry.  He cannot fill both roles.  There are several other items to be addressed as well from the inspection, but this is of the highest priority.  We are praying for a Christian with a vision for adoption work who is licensed in Taiwan and can read and write the Chinese language and would fit well with the vision that is already being cast to come forward very soon.  We need God’s man or woman here!

A week ago Saturday there was a activity held at a local park for students from one of the high schools that we serve through the Discovery English program.  All but three of the club members showed up.  Our team families showed up in force as well to build relationships with them.  Everyone had a great time.  They were invited to a Christmas celebration at the Edwards’ home in December.  This will give the team an opportunity to invite them to be a part of discipleship groups where they can come to know God.  Another exciting note, on Friday John went with Chad Edwards to another Discovery English Club meeting.  At the end, Chad had the opportunity to give a personal testimony of how he learned to depend on God when he could not himself do anything for the health of his baby girl.  Afterward many more students than usual were drawn to talk to us, especially Chad.  Please pray that God will continue to use us to draw these students to Him.

Thank you so much for your prayers.

God Bless,

John & Cheryl

1. Please pray that we are willing to seek God in earnest prayer and study of His Word.

2. Please pray for John as he shares what he gained from the conference and the summit.

3. Please pray that the Home of God’s Love can hire the needed personnel to continue processing adoptions.

4. Please pray for continued connections with students from the schools we serve.

October 18, 2015 Prayer Note

Dear Family & Friends,

“…for all things in heaven and on earth were created by him – all things, whether visible or invisible, whether thrones or dominions, whether principalities or powers – all things were created through him and for him. He himself is before all things and all things are held together in him.”

Col. 1:16-17

Paul has been explaining and proving Christ’s position and involvement in the creation of all things.  He establishes that all things whether spiritual, or physical have their existence through Him and in Him.  This universe would fall into chaos without him.  Is it any wonder that our lives do the same when we try to live without recognizing Jesus as Lord.  We were created for His purpose.  When we choose to live for a different purpose such as living for ourselves problems develop and eventually there becomes a crisis.  There is only one way to deal with the crisis.  We must return to a right relationship with our creator.  Pray with us that we keep ourselves in a right relationship with our creator as we try to lead others in a right relationship with Him.

Thank you for praying for Jing Pen.  Her surgery was on Thursday.  Everything went well and she is recovering well.  She continues to praise God for His blessings in her life.  Pray that God will heal her completely and help her witness to her family.

The Dengue Fever Outbreak in Taiwan seems to be slowing down some, but everyday there are still a couple hundred more cases.  We are grateful for your consistent prayers.  We are also grateful that vast majority of patients are recovering from the disease without complications.

Next Sunday, Oct. 18th, our team will host another Sports & English Camp Reunion.  We are hoping that even more students will attend and bring friends.  We again will be working to move those who attend into discipleship groups.  Pray that each student who attends will be encouraged by the fellowship and challenged by the truth of God’s Word.

Thank you for praying for our family and ministry.

God Bless,

John & Cheryl

1.  Please pray for us to keep a right relationship with God as we lead others to Him.

2.  Please continue to pray for Jing Pen’s healing from surgery and for her to be bold as she witnesses to her family.

3.  Thank you for your continued prayers on behalf of Taiwan’s Dengue Fever outbreak.

4.  Please pray for our next S&E Camp Reunion on Oct. 18th and the ministry to the youth of Taiwan.

October 11, 2015 Prayer Note

Dear Family & Friends,

“…for all things in heaven and on earth were created by him – all things, whether visible or invisible, whether thrones or dominions, whether principalities or powers – all things were created through him and for him. He himself is before all things and all things are held together in him.”

Col. 1:16-17

Paul has been explaining and proving Christ’s position and involvement in the creation of all things.  He establishes that all things whether spiritual, or physical have their existence through Him and in Him.  This universe would fall into chaos without him.  Is it any wonder that our lives do the same when we try to live without recognizing Jesus as Lord.  We were created for His purpose.  When we choose to live for a different purpose such as living for ourselves problems develop and eventually there becomes a crisis.  There is only one way to deal with the crisis.  We must return to a right relationship with our creator.  Pray with us that we keep ourselves in a right relationship with our creator as we try to lead others in a right relationship with Him.

Thank you for praying for Jing Pen.  Her surgery was on Thursday.  Everything went well and she is recovering well.  She continues to praise God for His blessings in her life.  Pray that God will heal her completely and help her witness to her family.

The Dengue Fever Outbreak in Taiwan seems to be slowing down some, but everyday there are still a couple hundred more cases.  We are grateful for your consistent prayers.  We are also grateful that vast majority of patients are recovering from the disease without complications.

Next Sunday, Oct. 18th, our team will host another Sports & English Camp Reunion.  We are hoping that even more students will attend and bring friends.  We again will be working to move those who attend into discipleship groups.  Pray that each student who attends will be encouraged by the fellowship and challenged by the truth of God’s Word.

Thank you for praying for our family and ministry.

God Bless,

John & Cheryl

1.  Please pray for us to keep a right relationship with God as we lead others to Him.

2.  Please continue to pray for Jing Pen’s healing from surgery and for her to be bold as she witnesses to her family.

3.  Thank you for your continued prayers on behalf of Taiwan’s Dengue Fever outbreak.

4.  Please pray for our next S&E Camp Reunion on Oct. 18th and the ministry to the youth of Taiwan.

October 4, 2015 Prayer Note

Dear Family & Friends,

“Who is wise and understanding among you? By his good conduct he should show his works done in the gentleness that wisdom brings. … But the wisdom from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, open to reason, full of mercy and good fruits, impartial and sincere.”  James 3:13, 17 ESV

We are told in Proverbs over and over again to seek wisdom.  We are also told of the benefits of wisdom to ourselves, but how do I know that wisdom is working in my life or the lives of those around me?  According to James wisdom bears fruit in the lives of those who accept it.  Do the choices we make show gentleness and mercy to others or are they harsh and cruel?  Do we make choices that only benefit ourselves or do we consider the needs of others?  At the same time, a person exercising wisdom will not be taken by the fast talk of those who are selfish.  A wise person acts with integrity and is not swayed by public opinion or position.  A person with wisdom learns to choose what is best not just what is simple or easy.  How do your actions and decisions compare?  Most of us probably feel we are lacking in wisdom.  Don’t worry!  God is in the business of giving wisdom to those who seek it.  Join us in seeking God’s wisdom daily.

Today, Sunday, Dz Chiang and his oldest daughter are supposed to come to our house for worship.  We are still not certain whether Dz Chiang & Wan Ting have gotten a divorce yet or not.  We hope that today will provide an opportunity to understand the situation more as well as a time to speak Godly wisdom into to Dz Chiang’s life.  Pray with us to have wisdom as we speak with him today.

Please pray for Jing Pen as she enters the hospital tomorrow in order to have surgery for stomach cancer.  They found it early so everyone is hopeful that she will fully recover.  She is relying on God and using this as an opportunity for evangelism within her family.

We ask that you continue to pray for the Dengue fever outbreak in Taiwan.  The number of cases confirmed this year is nearing 19,000.  There is good news as the number of cases reported this past week in has decreased in the most hard hit areas.  There are still two months of prime season for this type of disease to spread so please keep praying.

Thank you for praying for Cheryl and Moriah as they travelled and learned.  Cheryl came back tired, but having learned much to help her as she leads the governance committee this school year.  Moriah also came home tired, but very excited about her trip too.  Pray that the lessons taught during the leadership retreat will be put to practice by the whole class.

Thank you for praying.

God Bless,

John & Cheryl

1.  Please pray that we will seek wisdom and then put it to practice.

2.  Please pray for Dz Chiang to desire to hear God’s direction and truth.

3.  Please pray for Jing Pen as she has cancer surgery.

4.  Please pray for the Dengue Fever outbreak to end in Taiwan.

5.  Praise God that Cheryl & Moriah came home safely and with new knowledge.

September 27, 2015 Prayer Note

Dear Family & Friends,

“‘Do you want to become well?’  The sick man answered him, ‘Sir, I have no one to put me into the pool when the water is stirred up. While I am trying to get into the water, someone else goes down there  before me.  Jesus said to him, ‘Stand up! Pick up your mat  and walk.’  Immediately the man was healed, and he picked up his mat and started walking.”  John 5:6c-9

Often when Jesus heals someone the discussion surrounding the healing has to do with desire or faith.  Jesus knew this man had been disabled to for a long time and therefore asked a question that got to the heart of the issue.  “Do you want to become well?”  His response showed that it was more from lack of opportunity than lack of desire that he had not been healed.  Jesus then heals the man by commanding him to get up and walk.  How many issues, problems,   and sicknesses whether physical or spiritual could be healed or taken care of if we only truly desired for Jesus to take it away?  Sometimes we are stuck in a situation because we are either satisfied with the status quo or fear change more than we desire a better situation.  Either way shows a weak faith and little discipleship.  Pray with us to have desire and faith for Christ to change us and those around us.

Our team continues to work on ways to move youth that we meet in the schools that we visit and S&E camp into discipleship groups.  Many times the students want to come, but their parents want them to study.  It is hard for the students to have a balanced lifestyle.  We are excited when students like Kevin, who meets with Derik, are able to meet most weeks for discipleship.  (This is the Kevin that was not allowed to be baptized at the end of camp.)  Join us in praying for God to move in the hearts of both the parents and the students.

The Taiwan Xi En board meeting went well.  Xi En is moving ahead with plans to increase their beds from 14 to 20.  It is to be hoped that everything can be arranged and approved by early in 2016.  Pray that those leading and working daily with the ministry will listen to the leading of the Holy Spirit.

We have not had any communication with the Shr family since last Sunday night.  We are afraid that they have filed for a divorce.  We are still praying that they will hear God speaking to them within their circumstances.

Cheryl left Sunday morning with the school board for a retreat with other Christian school board members.  She is the chairperson of the governance committee this year.  She will be in Malaysia until Friday.  Moriah leaves with her class Monday morning for a leadership retreat.  Moriah will return on Wednesday.  Please pray for both Cheryl and Moriah to learn from others this week and for them to be safe.

The Dengue Fever outbreak continues to grow in Southern Taiwan.  The peak months are October & November so it is likely to continue for some time.  There is a typhoon on the way.  We hope that the rain and wind might change the situation some for the better.  Please continue to pray.

Thank you again for always praying for Taiwan.

God Bless,

John

1.  Please pray that we have faith for God to work change in us and in the lives of those we touch.

2.  Please pray for God to work in the hearts of the parents and the students with which our team works.

3.  Please pray for the leaders and workers at Xi En to listen to the Holy Spirit’s leading.

4.  Please continue to pray for the Shr family.

5.  Please pray for Cheryl and Moriah as they travel.

6.  Please continue to pray for Taiwan as the Dengue Fever outbreak continues.