January 2019

The Gospel Around The World

A Missions Travel Update from Jeff

I recently traveled to countries such as Vietnam and northern Iraq (Kurdistan). A like-minded organization invited me to see their work in these very difficult regions of the world. As you read this update however, there are 80 young people taking part in our annual winter camp in Ukraine due to your generosity. Thank you so much for providing the funds for this camp. We are grateful to the Lord, and to you our partners, who pray and support the work of Mercy Projects.

3 Danilchenko kids (not posing, just naturally sitting close to their mother)

One thing that strikes me very clearly from my recent travels is that the message of Christ’s love, the Gospel, is vibrant and growing around the world. I stopped in the UK for 24 hours to visit with Peter Wooding, our MP Director in the UK, and to speak in a small church. The chapel was hundreds of years old, but the local believers there were active and involved. Incredibly, I sat next to a family from southern California. That evening I hopped on a late night flight to Kyiv.

The Danilchenko Family in Ukraine

In Ukraine we visited the Danilchenko family to encourage them and deliver support for their new house. Our goal was to get them into the new building before winter. The weather cooperated and they moved in just around the first winter snowfall. Local believers brought lots of food including chicken, mashed potatoes, and salads for a big celebration feast.

I felt led by the Lord to promise additional money to this family in faith beyond what had been given. (Vera borrowed money to finish the house) I just couldn’t say no to the extra funds they needed. Workers donated their time. Dry wall and bricks were sold at a discount. It is exciting to see the body of Christ bless this needy family with a new home and stability for the future.

Christmas Project Success!

Pastor Urim grades English papers in Kosovo.

The Hearts of Love Center at Konotop received funding for the winter heating of their classrooms. Additionally, hundreds of kids in Ukraine continue to get their dental checkups and extra dental care. The impact of your giving this Christmas is amazing!

Bible school graduates face uncertain future and certain hardship. Their faith is amazing.

Firewood Delivery and Kosovo English Classes

From Ukraine I flew to Kosovo and visited several widow families for whom MP has built or renovated homes. I also visited pastor Urim during his English classes. He teaches English as an outreach to young people from Muslim families in the community. His small church is growing despite the hardship of living their Christian faith in Kosovo. We also made sure the firewood was delivered to poor families in the MP Christmas project. Please keep pastor Urim and his team in your prayers as they serve this difficult region of the world. I said good-bye and headed to Saigon, 14 flight hours away.

Vietnam Church Growth despite Persecution

This was my first visit to Vietnam. Vietnam is still a communist nation but they have opened their economy to allow more free enterprise. I will write more in the future, but a highlight was to take part in a graduation of “unofficial” bible college students. Hundreds of churches are being planted by these believers with little outside support. The missionaries and pastors graduating know that hardship awaits them as they follow the Lord.

There are many “unreached” ethnic groups in the mountains of Vietnam near the border with China and Laos. We in the Western world get to partner with our fellow believers in Asia to share the gospel with the people of these remote regions who have not heard about Jesus yet. As I headed home, I marveled at their courage and determination.

Kurdish Believers Share Their Faith in Jesus

Last month I visited Kurdistan. The Kurds are one of the world’s largest people groups without their own state. Approximately 30 million Kurds reside in portions of Turkey, Syria, Iraq, and Iran. It was the Kurdish army, the Peshmerga, who withstood the brutal onslaught of ISIS. They were (and are) the “boots on the ground” in the battle against ISIS.

Peshmerga widows receive parcels from followers of Jesus.

Since 1991 the Kurds basically rule an autonomous northern region inside Iraq. They are culturally Muslim but socially tolerant, allowing different religions to coexist. Pictured are the widows of Peshmerga soldiers queuing up to receive their food parcels. Local followers of Jesus feed these widows and their families and share their new faith in Jesus. One mother, who lost her husband, is now serving over 1000 orphans and widows from Baghdad to the whole country of Iraq. She actively travels to dangerous areas sharing her faith and starting new house groups.

Pray with me that Mercy Projects can support this move of God among the Muslims in the Middle East and restricted nations. Thank you!

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