Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Nepal Miracle

Pasted below is an email written by Janelle Breznik, a member of the DIRT team to Nepal last February.  Immediately afterwards is a blog entry from Carl Bottorf of Arise Medical, one of our supported missionaries and the missionary that we went to work with.  It really is amazing to see how the Lord worked.


On our trip to Nepal in February 2008, several of us went to a brick camp to help with a medical clinic. It was overwhelming to see the lack of care these people endured making bricks with bare hands day in and day out. We saw hundreds that day. They came with wounds, respiratory problems and so many with back and neck pain from carrying the bricks. Near the end of the day a father walked up carrying a young girl on his back. She was extremely thin and though silent, her face spoke volumes about her incredible pain. It took some work to figure out what and where her pain was but after examination, we felt it was in her right hip and quite serious. Concerned it may be a severe case of bone TB, Carl, convinced the father to allow us to take her to a hospital for x-rays and tests. X-rays later proved what Carl suspected - TB had eaten away the top of her right femur and was no doubt throughout her body. Not a good prognosis. Before he dropped the team off to continue on to the hospital with Bibi, he offered for a couple of the women to come and care for her that night at the hospital. He said he’d be back to pick us up. 

This was the last night for our team in Nepal and there was a sense that we just wanted to stay together as a team. But, the Lord kept tugging at my heart. I went to ask my team leader about it. After some discussion, I told him that before we had left for Nepal, I felt the Lord speaking to my heart that He wanted to do a miracle. (I had kept that to myself till that moment). 

Funny thing, my team leader told me the same thing! We both agreed I should 
go and minister to this young lady. What a blessing to go! I was able to wash her hair and get the mats and tangles out. She smiled as she smelled the fresh scent of the shampoo. I gave her a bath the best I could with her legs already in traction. I felt so humbled to be there. As I washed her, the verse from 2 Corinthians flowed through my mind…”We are to God the fragrance of Christ to those who are being saved and among those who are perishing.” Before leaving I was able to lay hands on her and pray she would be one of those being saved. I prayed for healing and for her to know God’s tremendous love. I left that hospital not sure if God had done His miracle, but I knew that I was forever changed by my time with Bibi and God’s presence in that room. 

Carl writes in his blog: 
We are still keeping up with the happenings at the Open Hands Children’s Home. I must confess that I simply felt compassion for this 50 pound fifteen year old crippled girl when I met her and really expected her to die. No doubt that the Lord had Bibi firmly in the palm of his hand and was simply using us as his tool. Bibi did not die in the hospital, which was a dirty and nasty place, so when Gina took her home, placed her in a bed in the dining room with her feet tied to the burgular bars of the window I felt that she would never recover and still at great risk of dying. William and Getenet carried her to the bathroom, Gina made her sit in a chair out in the sunshine, and my job was to threaten her and motivate her to eat enough food. 

A few days short of our departure from Open Hands, Bibi had accepted the Lord. She was now attending school for the first time, nearly doubled her weight and could hobble with crutches. Now, we have been told that follow-up x-rays indicate that her femur (legbone) and hip bones have re-generated and grown back; she is now not walking but can pretty much run totally without any assistive devices. Eva and Isaac are caring for her and report that she may even be going to her village to visit her family over the next school break. Janelle wrote the entry below to try to describe her thoughts about the first days in Bibi’s care. I take a good many photos while doing medical camps and have gone through all of my photos from that day at the brick factory looking for a photo of Bibi, as I remember the agony of her pain in her face. The Lord takes care of so many mysterious things sometimes. There are no “before” photos know to me of Bibi and for some reason, that is the way God wanted it. Janelle did have this picture of our initial contact that Saturday afternoon. I can still most vividly recall the agony on her face each time the leg moved. It was terrible. Now, it is but a memory with a strong lesson demonstrating the power of the Lord in even the most desperate of conditions. 



Thursday, December 18, 2008

Pray for the Persecuted church

Through the general gifts, we recently had the opportunity to send money to GFA for the relief of the persecuted Christians in India.  I thought I would let you know what is going on.    Did you know that there is a $250 bounty on Christian Pastors in Orissa?  Extremist groups have offered what is a king’s ransom in India for the murder of our fellow brothers and pastors in India. That is almost unbelievable.  I am reminded of the ease in which I serve. I thank God for it but I do know that it is the trials in life that drive me to my knees.  Please pray for these godly men.  Since August, nearly 500 Christians have been murdered and 50,000 people are living in the forests, refugee camps etc because they had to flee for their lives.  149 churches have been burned to the ground and the Hindu extremists promised to escalate the violence on Christmas day. 


As well, Muslim extremist violence against Christians has been escalating, impacting the churches that we worked with in Egypt.  Please pray for our brothers, especially Brother E. and Pastor H.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008


I am very excited about an opportunity that we have here at CC St. Pete to participate in the Perspectives on the World Christian Movement class started by the  U.S. Center for World Mission - a non-denominational ministry that works with churches, mission agencies, and campus ministries around the world.  The class begins with understanding the biblical mandate for missions and outreach by looking through scripture and identifying a common theme throughout the entire Book, moves on to the spread of Christianity, transitions to the early church movements, and the modern missionary movement.  It climaxes in the modern missionary movement and finishes with a fantastic challenge on how to finish the task of world evangelism.  This course will energize you, will move your heart and will impact your life for eternity.  Check out some of the videos on this link:

The class starts January 18th, stop by the booth in the lobby for more details. 

The 16 core ideas of Perspectives are:

1. God initiates and advances work in history to accomplish His purpose.

2. God calls His people to join Him in fulfilling His purpose.

3. God's purpose is to bless all peoples so that Christ will be served and glorified among all peoples.

4. God accomplishes His purpose by triumphing over evil in order to rescue and bless people and to establish His kingdom rule throughout the earth.

5. The Bible is a unified story of God's purpose.

6. God's work in history has continuity and will come to an ultimate culmination.

7. The Christian movement has brought about positive social transformation.

8. The mission task can and will be completed.

9. The world's population can be viewed in terms of people groups.

10. The progress of world evangelization can be assessed in terms of church-planting movements within people groups.

11. Completing the mission task requires the initiation and growth of church-planting movements that follow social avenues of influence.

12. Completing the task requires effective cross-cultural evangelism that follows communication patterns within cultures.

13. Completing the task requires strategic wholism in which community development is integrated with church planting.

14. Completing the task requires collaborative efforts of churches and mission agencies from diverse cultures and traditions.

15. God calls His people to embrace strategic sacrifice and suffering with Christ in order to accomplish His global purpose.

16. By participating in the world Christian movement, every believer can find a way to live with vital, strategic significance in God's global purpose.


Monday, December 15, 2008

Church Planting


Pray for Ron and Uli Hostetler in Germany as they officially started Calvary Chapel church services in the YMCA building instead of in their living room this past weekend.  Pray that the Lord would bless Ron’s message and that the many people they’ve invited would come and attend this service.  If you have time too, send them an email through our missions website just to encourage them and let them know you are interceding for them. 


Also, pick up the latest edition of the Missions Newsletter in the Main Lobby.  (if you want to submit an article for next quarter, please contact us)


Friday, December 5, 2008

Loving our world!

Mission Maker Magazine recently come out with their latest magazine (and best one to date)!  You can find them on the web at ; it has a fascinating section on stats and figures.  Did you know that 9 of the top ten least evangelized cities in the world are located in one country?  That country is Afghanistan.  The only one outside of this country is located in Sahara in northwest Africa.   Wow, it makes it pretty obvious that there is a need to support cross cultural workers in central Asia!


It seems that after the Wednesday prayer service that some people didn’t quite understand how to pray for the various areas we brought up.  So I just wanted to take some time to explain.  The world is split into reached and unreached.  Meaning that a certain percentage of the globe has been touched by the gospel message (52%) and also has ready access to the gospel.  The unreached portion does not have a ready access to the good news (or none whatsoever).  Of the unreached areas, there are several large groupings of people.  The largest is of course the Muslim bloc where 20% of the world’s population can be grouped.  The Middle East, North Africa and Indonesia are primarily where we find this bloc.  The second largest with 15% of the world’s population (1,054,000 people) are considered Hindu.  India and Pakistan is where these groups are mostly located.  The Buddhist bloc is obviously located in Asia as is the Folk Chinese bloc.  The Tribal people (native groups of people with independently derived religions, usually animist, or worshiping the perceived creation around them –i.e., sun, moon, stars, water, spirits, etc) are only 3% of the world’s population but still command 230,700,000 people who haven’t embraced God’s word. 


In the Muslim world, there are 306,238 people per missionary compared to 798 in the Christian bloc.  That is a huge difference.   Again, how can they hear without someone preaching to them?  And how can they preach unless they are sent.  (Romans 10:14b-15).  My cry is that each one of us would be involved in missions by Going and serving, if not by Going, then by PRAYING, and lastly, by Sending.  Helping a missionary financially or with your time makes all the difference to our small army of missionaries.  But most of us haven’t considered our role in this battle.  Will you pray about how you can respond?  Are you available to whatever God would desire from you whether it is Going, Praying or Sending?   Maybe he won’t send you to Afghanistan, maybe he wants you in St. Pete, but are you available and willing and poured out to do whatever he might ask of you?


Pray about it.

Monday, November 24, 2008

Guatemala Church Plant

Once again, congratulations to the Rio Dulce church plant. It is exciting to see how God is moving.  Just a quick update, last weekend service again had over 70 kids and over 40 adults attend.  The church needs Bibles, a podium, some minor equipment but most of all, prayer!  Please pray for Pastor Francisco and the Elder teams that travel to Rio Dulce and pray for Mike and Karen. 

Monday, November 17, 2008

God is the Issue

I recently read a book by Brad Bright, the son of Bill Bright (founder of Campus Crusade for Christ) and it really impacted and reinforced my way of thinking and especially as it relates to missions.  Let me explain.  One thing that Pastor Danny makes very clear and as a result, has implanted into my Calvary DNA is his heart for the word of God and his love for seeing churches planted.  This book indirectly pushes me further in that direction. Brad Bright is obviously a thinking man, gifted in debating his faith but he also has a very clear vision that he passionately pursues singlemindedly.  "The basic premise is that we spend too much time emphasizing the battles and might end up losing the war because we are focused on the wrong issues.  "The question we must ask ourselves is whether or not we are content to merely suppress cultural symptoms such as abortion, with varying degreees of succes, or whether we really wish to cure the underlying disease. How we answer this question has major implications implications for how we expend our time, energies and resources".  In other words, when we fight against cultural moral issues such as abortion, homosexuality, AIDS, divorce, racism, crime, etc, we might win some of the battles but ultimately, we are not going to win the war.  The only way to win the war is to make God the issue and by extension of that thinking, establishing the word of God as our benchmark for life. 

How does that apply to missions? Thank God for the committed people working in Christian humanitarian work, fighting against the tragedy of abortion, and other injustices in this world. I am thankful for their calling, however, unless we make God the central issue, we may win one battle, only to lose in another area.  That is why it is absolutely imperative that we take every opportunity to put God into every issue and into every forum and into every home and one of the most effective ways of doing that is through YOU! With the objective of planting churches.  God is the answer to every dysfunction that we face as individuals and if there is one string on our guitars, it needs to be passion for application of the word of God in our lives to direct our choices, our morality and our view of God and only then are we going to change society. It will happen one person at a time but this is how we will regain America for God! And that is the prime objective of missions!  

Friday, November 7, 2008

Statistics on Water borne illnes/death

Did you know that each year more than five million people die from water-related disease? 30 percent of water-related deaths are due to diarrhea. 84 percent of water-related deaths are in children ages 0 – 14. 98 percent of water-related deaths occur in the developing world. Less than 1% of the world's fresh water (or about 0.007% of all water on earth) is readily accessible for direct human use. A person can live weeks without food, but only days without water. A person needs 4 to 5 gallons of water per day to survive. The average American individual uses 100 to 176 gallons of water at home each day. The average African family uses about 5 gallons of water each day.

Yesterday I had the opportunity to meet with some guys from Sawyer products who have recently introduced a very innovative biological water filter based on kidney dialysis filters. The system was to say the least, very efficient and inexpensive. I really has the potential of radically impacting water borne disease and death. Just think! What a great opportunity to give people the gift of water and at the same time, introduce them to the Living Water! Check out this filter on the link following. We are sending our first few down to the church in Cuba in December.

Here is some more food for thought - In the time it took for you to read this, 2 children have died from a water related disease. 1.8 million children die each year from diarrhea – 4,900 deaths each day.

We are currently praying about how we can use this technology to not only further the kingdom of God but also to love on our brothers. If you want to give towards this project, please contact me at the church office.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008


Ron and Debbie Stafford are in town!  Come celebrate with us (and eat!) as we hear more about Ron and Debbie's mentoring and church planting activities in Colombia.  Burgers and BBQ provided.  Dinner starts around 6pm o n November 1st.  Contact Amy in the Missions department to get directions and to confirm if you are going to be there!

Friday, October 24, 2008


I had the incredible opportunity of speaking with a Chinese house church leader on Wednesday.  Wow, what an interesting testimony.  Just like the brothers in the Middle East who have suffered all kinds of indignities for their faith (and persecution too), so our brothers in China have had the opportunity to suffer for His Name's sake.  My memory verse last week was Hebrews 5:8 "Although he was a son, he learned obedience from what he suffered".  1 Peter makes it clear that we all will suffer if we are believers, and gives us all kinds of reasons why it is good for us. 

Part of this man's testimony was that he has been arrested several times and was recently kidnapped for "escaping" years before (the door 'miraculously' opened and he simply walked out of the prison).  If you've never read the book, "The Heavenly Man", the story of Brother Yun. I highly recommend it, as it was the best book I read in 2006.  Fantastic true story that will help you understand the gracious freedom we have in the USA (for now).  The passage that spoke the most to me is when Brother Yun was in a nasty prison, was treated horribly, had his face stuffed into a prison outhouse receptacle because he wouldn't deny his faith (and more). One of the prison guards commented that Yun, out of all the people there, was the only free man in the prison (including the staff).  Thank God for our freedoms.  Now pray that God would preserve them through the repentance of his people (2 Chron. 7:14)

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Pride and Envy

Recently, as I prepared the Wednesday message on Elijah and Elisha, I came across a fantastic quote and I felt compelled to share it. 

We should beware of defining success in Christian ministry by comparing ourselves to other workers. Those who gauge their success (including spiritual success) by how they compare to other people inevitably fall prey to the twin vices of pride and envy. Read Galatians 5:26; 6:4-5.

Pride grows when I conclude that I am more successful than others in any area. It is not only corrupting, but blind because the issue is not how much I have accomplished compared to others, but how well I am fulfilling the potential God gave me to serve him. This is the perspective that keeps me humble and motivated to press on.

Envy grows when I come up short compared to others in any area of talent or results that is important to me. I know from personal experience how ugly this is. Instead of being thankful for their contribution, I resent their ability and accomplishments because I feel like a failure. Why? Because I am evaluating my success as a person by arbitrarily comparing myself to another person instead of simply doing my best to be a faithful steward for God. When I recover this perspective, I can focus on simply being where God wants me to be, doing what God wants me to doand I then experience God's peace and empowering and fruit and satisfaction.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008


Our missions discipleship class for future missionaries was fantastic last night.  The Knauber's, a missionary family from Papua New Guinea, were our guest speakers last night and they spoke on Cross Cultural conflict.  Being German, working with a multi cultural ministry (Wycliffe) in Papua, they had a million hilarious stories to illustrate the point of the class.  Several highlights for the class for me were: 1. Our culture isn't always right (or wrong) 2. Everything needs to be seasoned with grace and DO NOT jump to conclusions and lastly, 3. Do not insist on your rights.  As believers, we have no rights, just responsibilities and just like Paul, we become all things to all people! They will be speaking next month to our class on Spiritual Warfare (being products of a missions environment that worshipped their ancestors).  On the 28th, pastor Larry Gray will be speaking on "the Things I learned in 25 years of cross cultural ministry!". 

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Serving as Senders Seminar

We have the privilege of hosting the director of Emmaus Road International, Neal Pirolo, for a 6 hour missions seminar on Saturday, November 22nd, 2008. Neal is the author of several books on missionary care and brings to the seminar a wealth of knowledge on how to care for your missionaries while they are preparing to go on the field, while they are actively serving and when they return. We believe that this is a neglected area in missions and contributes greatly to missionary attrition. Most times it is because the sending church was unaware on how to effectively equip, send or welcome home their missionary. Since we already have Neal speaking, we thought we would open the Saturday session to any church that would be interested in sending any of their missions leaders or potential missionaries who are curious about starting a missionary care team. Feel free to send as many people as you want. We are opening the seminar up to any future missionary, missionary supporter or life group member within our body. The only thing that we request is that you send a confirmation in advance of how many people you would like to attend the free seminar. In addition, we will be ordering a bag lunch from Chik-Fil-A, and to indicate whether you would like one ordered for yourself ($5 to be paid at pickup) for our short break.

Neal Pirolo is best known for his seminars, Bible School classes and books such as "Serving As Senders", "I Think God Wants Me To Be A Missionary" and "The Reentry Team". Serving as Senders has more than 300,000 copies printed in 14 different language and is recommended by countless missions leaders such as George Verwer of O.M.; Ralph Winters of the US Center for World Missions. Neal and his wife have 40+ years of cross cultural ministry in 60 countries and currently live in California.

Contact us at for more information or to sign up for the seminar.

Friday, October 10, 2008

Middle East Part 2

One of the things I had the privilege to do was to visit with many incredible men and women of God who are serving and pouring out their lives as a drink offering in the Middle East.  For me it was incredible to see the sacrifice and the commitment that they were making in order to further the Gospel of Jesus Christ.  We had the opportunity to attend some missions training classes at a base in Amman Jordan.  Where young people were being raised up with a passion for reaching Muslims.  It was exciting to hear from their perspective what God was doing in this part of the world.  Each one of them had a sense of expectation that God was doing something and was moving in the midst of some very hard soil.  We also had the opportunity to meet up with some fellow believers returning from a conference in northern Iraq.  It was amazing to hear what God was doing in the Christian church throughout Iraq. It could only be described as nothing short of revival.  God is definitely on the move in that country.  Please pray for Iraq and

From there we traveled to Egypt to continue meeting with the brothers in that ancient land.  Even though our time was very short we were able to establish significant relationships within the Christian church in Egypt. I will never forget one dear old saint, playing the accordion with the biggest smile on his face, his toothless grin spilling out the joy of the Lord as the "I love Jesus" sticker on the accordion baffles expanded and contracted in time with the music.  The praise and worship in that extremely poor church was unbelievable.  I could definitely sense the Holy Spirit move in that church even though the music was completely different and the words were beyond my comprehension.  It truly was praise and worship.

Middle East Experience

I recently got back from a trip to Jordan and Egypt.  We had 3 objectives.  1. To explore what God was doing in the Middle East, 2. Meet up with a CC St. Pete sponsored missionary working in the Middle East (name withheld because of the nature of working in this part of the world) and get more familiar with their work and lastly expose a member of our church with a calling to the Middle East to what is going on (and to participate in ministry opportunities while we were there). 

Many people are asking how things went and what I learned.  So, we'll start at the beginning, some of the stuff discussed is sensitive, so some specifics will be "veiled".  Shockingly, around the time we got to Jordan, a woman was stoned to death with her children because she converted to Christianity.  I have several thoughts on this.  One, obviously this is a horrible event that almost seems surreal.  It is almost unimaginable that this stuff still happens in the 21st century! And it is sobering to know what people without Jesus are capable of.  I don't think we fully comprehend in the west the threat of orthodox Islam.  This is normal behavior in most of the Middle Eastern world.  The second thought is that of LAW.  A person who converts is to be considered anathema. It is the duty of the family to kill the person who leaves Islam.  Additionally, you didn't have to go very far to see the effects of law in Islam.  The women in the full birka with just a simple slit exposing the eyes, the mandatory prayer times, etc. all speak of impersonal ties to an unknowable, uninterested God.  Rules really sum up the Muslim relationship with Allah. 

A friend recently commented that the reason Islam is growing is two fold: 1. Muslim birth rate is way higher than in the west so for example, every year, Egypt's population of 77 million grows by 1 million because of birth rate increase.  2. Because people want structure/parameters/rules in their life.  They want to know how to make sense out of living in this crazy world and even strange or deceptive rules provide this.  Our human tendency is to embrace rules/legalism because it makes us feel like we are "doing" something to reach heaven.  People don't want grace, they want rules, the law. But… as we know, it is impossible to live by the law because we can never live a perfect life (Rom. 3:23).  One thing that was ironic to me was to walk the streets of Amman, Jordan, and see the woman in their "penguin" like birkas (the full covering with tiny eye slits) that could make any womanly figure look like a square block or a linebacker, and the more contemporary Muslim girls in their veils and very tight fitting, fashionable attire (also fully clothed but also not very modest).  Both were conforming to the letter of the law in terms of being covered up, however, both miss the spirit behind the law and that is a heart matter.  Doing something out of obligation versus something out of love.  The problem is that "When a man works, his wages are not credited to him as a gift, but as an obligation" Romans 4:4 But rather, lets have the same heart as Enoch- Hebrews 11:5 For before he was taken, he was commended as one who pleased God.  Is that our heart? To please God, by faith? To love God and seek to please him? Or is it out of duty or law? More to come tomorrow…. 

Saturday, September 27, 2008

New Mission Van!

Thanks to the generosity of the board, we now have a new mission van for the use of our missionaries back in town! Really a great way how we got it. The Parsley's offered to go to the auction to pick one up for us, and after getting the low down, they began to watch. Much to our chagrin, the only vans being offered within our parameters were 2,000 dollars higher than my budget. Except for one van that we picked out the night before. Nothing different about it, just less miles! And during lunch, only one bid went down and we got it for a whole lot less than anything else! God was helping us out on that one! Thanks Tom and Ed!

I am also blessed to say that we have since donated the old 1999 Plymouth Voyager to the Haven of Rest mission. Just turned out that they had a need for a van! Lori Ogle is in town on furlough and as a result, is the first to take advantage of the use of the van. Oh, something to keep in mind, The Pudovs will be in town mid October and at the end of October, the Staffords from Colombia are going to be around for a short break!