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Missions Blog

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  • Nicaragua Missions - How You Can Help

    In a few weeks, January 7-14, 2017, we will be taking a group of 9 men and women on our next mission trip to Nicaragua. We will be working primarily in El Platanal on this trip, but we will likely spend one day with the church in San Francisco. Our trip will include these objectives:

    • Work with the pastors and church members of El Platanal to share the Gospel
    • Provide more water through a gutter system on the church to catch rain water in storage tanks
    • Build an irrigation/drainage system in the agricultural area
    • Provide school supplies to the teachers in El Platanal
    • Reach the men of El Plantanal through specific events:
      • Worship service
      • Conversations
      • Providing work gloves, hats, and shirts
      • Working alongside them on the irrigation and gutter systems

     Even though you may not be able to go on this trip, you can still be a part of the mission.  Here are some ways you can make a positive contribution:

    Pray for us as we go:

    • For God to make us a clean and holy vessel filling us with the Holy Spirit, making us effective agents as we spread the Gospel.
    • To take advantage of every opportunity that God gives us to share the gospel
    • For the people we encounter in Nicaragua (and along the entire trip) to be receptive to hearing the Gospel.
    • Flexibility to adapt to changes in plans.
    • The wisdom to recognize and follow God’s will.

    Pray for the pastors and church members in Nicaragua:

    • For God to provide healing and comfort for Pastor Enrique and his family (San Francisco).
    • For Pastor Diomedes and Reynaldo as they search for a permanent pastor in El Platanal.
    • For the members of both churches to grow in their faith and spread the Gospel throughout their communities and beyond,

    Make a donation (these items will be used as gifts for outreach to the men of El Platanal): 

    • Durable work gloves with leather/synthetic leather palms and breathable material on the back to keep cool in hot weather.
    • Work hats, baseball style or other to provide protection from the sun.
    • Money to buy gloves and hats.
    • Consider including an inspirational message for the men of El Platanal (in English, we will translate to Spanish).

     Collection boxes will be located by the Information Kiosk in the lobby for you to place your donations.

     Thank you for your prayers and support!

  • Muy Caliente!

       

    Caliente is Spanish for hot and that accurately sums up much of today.  

    It was 92 with a heat index of 102 and no wind today in El Platanal. As we wrapped up our time in Somitillo, San Fransisco del Norte, and El Platanal today we are coming away with many lessons and memories from our friends and co-laborers in Christ.  It has been a joy and a privilege to serve alongside the pastors, deacons, and church member as we have sought to serve their communities.  While we were able to bring specific gifts like medical treatment and training for their pastors.  They provided us life lesson in contentment and joy in all situation.

    We spent the day today in El Platanal and I am coming away from day humbled by the way the people in that community love, serve, and are genuinely care for each other. I had countless interactions with people and they are genuinely content and joyful in in a way many in the United States should be.

    I had the privilege to sit down this morning with 15 pastors and teach them about God the Father and God the Son.  These pastors love their churches and are hungry to learn so that they can teach their people.  We had great conversations and they were helping to teach each other as they asked questions.  We encouraged them to continue to meet together and discuss the materials so that they can continue to grow and be encouraged by one another.  This afternoon Jay and myself spent 2.5 hours running around in the heat and humidity of the day playing soccer with about 20 kids and 2 of our translators.  It was unbelievable hot and humid but the kids loved playing and I don't recall many drinking any water.  I had to drink 2 bottles of water and 2 Powerades just to try and keep up with them.  They were still running circles around me.

    I had the privilege of preaching tonight at church.  We talked about how you can know for sure that you are saved from 1 John 2:3-6.  It was a joy to get to teach and encourage them from the scriptures.  Edgar who helped us by giving eye exams and acting as van driver lead us in worship for the first time this trip and is an excellent singer.

    To recap our last 4 days of ministry here is difficult as their have been so many blessing it is impossible to list them but a few highlights that I want to share are:

    • 84 people came to Christ this week through the ministry of the clinic and pastors who shared the gospel with many hundreds of people after going to the clinic.
    • 722 patients were seen in 4 days.  210 today alone. 
    • 220 pairs of glasses were provided to people this week.  The wife of one of the pastors cried tears of joy when she realized she could read her Bible for the first time in a long time.
    • Through a series of events this week Pastor Diomedes has had the opportunity to build a better relationship with government officials in this area especially one of the major political leaders. Our prayer is that through our interaction this week and the pastors continued interaction when we leave that this relationship will continue to grow and that they would come to know Christ.

    Gloria a Dios, (Glory to God!)

    John Erdman


  • Be Bold For Christ

    Have you been in a store and there was a person that was trying to get help and no one could understand anything that person was saying?  Now flip the situation and you are in a different country and no one in the store speaks English. These are the challenges we would have had in Nicaragua if it wasn't for our translators Miguel, Luddy, Domingo, Jimmy, Alex, Eric, and Junior.  This is the first time I have been with our church to Nicaragua but for the half of our mission team that has been here multiple times I could immediately tell on Sunday the excitement and respect they had for these young men and lady. After getting to know them for the last 3 days, they are not just translators to us but young people who have a heart for the Lord!

    Today our team had an exciting day. We made our early morning one hour fifteen minute drive to San Francisco to continue our second day of medical missions and pastor training for that community.  When we got there we were met at the church by a long line of people but our team was ready and excited because I believe God has been present here in Nicaragua every step of the way.

    At noon everyone loaded up and we drove to a river near the church for a baptism. Pastor Jeff had the pleasure to baptize 3 people in the river in front of our mission team and Pastor Enrique and members of Iglesia Baptista de San Francisco. Being on a riverbank in Nicaragua for a baptism was an unbelievable experience!

    Tonight we stayed for a worship service at the church in San Francisco. Before Pastor Jeff preached he asked Pastor Enrique and the Deacons to come forward for the members, our mission team, and the rest of the congregation to lay hands on them and pray as a dedication for their new church building.

    In our morning devotions Pastor Jeff has been reading from Philippians 1. He talked about instead of praying for safety for ourselves, family, or friends we should be praying for boldness for Christ. In this chapter Paul was in prison but it didn't hinder him from spreading the gospel. It created new opportunities because of his boldness. What can we do to be bold for Christ?

    Shawn Rich

  • Monday - Settling In

    Settling In

    Monday’s are always a little hectic. Getting everything ready. Getting everyone in place. Getting the routine down. Finding a rhythm.

    It started off a little difficult. But, everyone adapted and within a few hours everyone was settled into their new assignments and roles. Our doctors and nurses saw so many people. We were able to help those with diabetes, stomach problems, skin problems, fevers, and much more. We gave away glasses. There were a number of 80+ year old women who had not been able to see for 60+ years who walked away being able to see.

    Our Health Education Team taught the importance of cleanliness, how to trap flies, wash their hands properly all to help improve their entire families health. As a part of this Education the Gospel was presented through the sharing of testimonies from our group.

    Playing with children is always a great way to minister to the women and children in the communities. We play kickball, soccer, hand games, make glasses out of pipe cleaner, color and share Bible Stories out of the Jesus Storybook Bible.

    After everyone has seen a doctor and been given their prescriptions, a pastor meets with them to share the Gospel and give them an opportunity to accept Jesus. Many prayed with Pastor Hidalio.

    Our Water Purification Team was able to install one of the systems on Monday at Sunnyside where we stay. We will test the Sunnyside system out today and begin installing the second system at the Clinic in Somotillo. Hopefully by the end of the day there will be purified water at both locations.

    Meeting peoples individual needs is important. Jesus met many peoples needs. The blind, lame, sick, lepers, all were healed. But, was that His main purpose, to heal the physical needs? No, Jesus came to heal their spiritual needs. He knew that meeting a persons physical needs would lead to their being open to discussing their spiritual needs. This is the model we should take. Not stopping at meeting the physical or emotional needs. Go further and share Jesus. He will meet everyones most important need, spiritual healing.

    This is true in Nicaragua and also in Kentucky, Cambodia, Russia, China, Brazil and all the parts of the world. Take time today and pray for us to not just focus on the physical or emotional needs, but also to share how Jesus can help meet ALL their needs.

    While your praying for us, take a moment and pray that God will use YOU today to help lead someone to Jesus.

    Jeff Wilson


  • Nicaragua Mission Trip Report

     

    This past October a team of 16 people from Severns Valley went to minister alongside the believers of the churches in El Platanal and San Francisco in Nicaragua. We are excited to announce that this team will be sharing about their trip on Wednesday, December 3rd at 6pm.

    Come and hear how God worked in and through the lives of these Severns Valley missionaries. You will hear about baptisms, church services, ministering to children and students, and how pastors and leaders of the churches were trained.

    You will also learn information about upcoming trips to Nicaragua in 2015. Come and hear how God is using Severns Valley to share the Gospel: 

    Here | Near | Far

     

  • Going to Cacao

     

    As we near the end of our mission trip, there are so many different memories to reflect on. We started out the week baptizing three new believers from San Francisco in the Rio de Negro. We followed up the next day with a trip to La Palma. We had to travel on narrow, steep and rocky roads in four-wheel drive to reach the town. Once there, split into three groups in order to teach the children, teens, and adults. We had a blast playing futbol with the children and teens. Our experience was a great prelude for what was to come next.

    On Tuesday, our group traveled to El Platanal, prepared to teach the children, teens and adults once again. In Platanal we found the children much more responsive and eager to play baseball and futbol. It was amazing to watch Mr. Johnson and Taylor interact with the youngest of the children while we played baseball and futbol with around 100 children. Immediately following our time in El Platanal, some of us went to the church here in Somotillo to meet with the youth group. We played a few games and taught them how to read the Bible one-on-one. It was awesome to study and pray with students our age in a youth group setting.

    Wednesday was by far my favorite day. I started it by sharing my testimony on the radio with Josh. Our group then traveled back to San Francisco to teach and play with the teens. School was in session so we met with only a few teens and children. We used the salvation bracelets and evangi-cubes to show them how to share their faith with their friends. Halfway through the lesson, the school's marching band began to practice so Langdon, Mr. Johnson, Luddy and I went to watch them practice. The band was made up of all drums and one xylophone and it sounded cooler than any American marching band that I have seen. After lunch, half of our group went to the town square to play soccer while all of the others went house to house inviting people to the worship service. We ended up playing multiple 6v6 sudden death matches with many of the children and a few teens. Around 4:00 we traveled to Pastor Enrique's house for the worship service. We set up the sound system and chairs for the service and then relocated them when it started to rain. During this lull, we continued to play with the children, and I personally sword fought about a half dozen of them. We had a blast. Finally it was time to start the service. Lander played guitar with the band and Josh taught on Mark 2. The service ended with a suprise for the church of San Francisco. The church had been praying for a sound system, so we suprised them by giving them the one that was used that night, brand new, fresh out of the box. 

    Which brings us to today. Today we were given an option. For those of us that were exhausted or feeling poorly, we could tour the different ministries of Pastor Diomedes, the medical clinic, the agricultural area, the radio station, and Prayer Mountain. For those of us who were up to it, a hike to Cacao was on the agenda. I chose the latter. Pastor Santos was in the hospital recently with pneumonia and our mission was to make the 90 minute hike up the mountain to visit and pray with him. Pastor Wilson, Mr. Johnson, Langdon, Zach, Jacob, Miguel, Domingo, Luddy and I set out for the hike and soon found that the trail was much different than what many of us had expected. We had a blast though and made it to the top by 10:30, stopping at Pastor Santos' parents house on the way. We had as short worship while we were there and Pastor Wilson taught on James 5. We went expecting to be blessed and instead were blessed even more when Pastor Santos and his family made us chicken soup for lunch. We had an enjoyable trip down the mountain and made it safely back to Somotillo without any sprained or broken bones. Now we are headed out to El Platanal to have a worship service. Zach is teaching tonight and we are excited for the things to come in our last two days on the road. 

    Many thanks to Pastor Diomedes' wife for all of the amazing food. This stuff is manna from heaven. Also thanks to the interpreters, Luddy, Domingo, Alex and Junior, who gave up their week to help us. They have been so very fun to work with and I am glad to call them my friends. Thanks for all of the prayers over the course of the past few days. We are loving every second of our time here. 

    Glora a Dios!

    John Costello

     

  • Highlights from San Francisco

     

    Yesterday we spent the day in San Francisco. Two years ago there were 12 people meeting and studying the Bible. This past Sunday there were 82 people that came together to sing, give testimonies, give offerings and hear the Word of God proclaimed. Gloria a Dios! (Glory to God!)

    We spent the day training the teenagers how to share their faith using evanglism bracelets. The teenagers were very attentive and at the end were able to share the Gospel message to all. Let's pray that they will have the boldness to declare their faith as Paul prayed for in Philippians 1:20.

    We also trained the pastors and leaders in the morning. We had a great time of Bible study and discussion about how the church is to be organized. The leaders were very eager to learn and asked many questions. I am convinced that we need to spend a significant amount of time every trip we make to Nicaragua training the pastors and leaders. This could make a huge difference in the growth and stability in the church.

    In the afternoon we went out into the community inviting them to come to the worship service. It was great seeing our teenagers and adults going door to door inviting people they have never met to come and hear the Gospel presented. They did a wonderful job without any hesitation. After that we went to the town center and played Futbol with many children and teenagers. There were so many who wanted to play we had to break into four different teams. When it was time to go we invited them all to come to the worship service.

    We went back into the area of the community and set up the sound system for the service. Many of those we met while going door to door came. Many that we played Futbol with came. Lander Ryan played with the worship band and Josh Ehlers preached from Mark 2:1-12 about the paralytic man who was lowered through the roof by his friends to be healed by Jesus. Josh did a great job sharing Christ to all present. Let's pray that the message they heard will bring forth fruit in the days to come.

    It was a great day! Thank you for continuing to pray for us and for those we are sharing Christ. Please pray for the service we will be having in El Platanal tonight.

    Jeff Wilson


  • Praying for Those Going to Nicaragua

    There are many ways that you can prepare for a mission trip. Making flight arrangements. Securing lodging. What will we do for food? How will we travel within the country? Is everyone's passport up to date? Do we have travel/health insurance? What immunizations do we need? How many translators are needed? Obviously there are a lot of details that must be taken care of just to leave the country.

    But, the most important preparation we can make is to prepare ourselves spiritually. In the Westminister Catechism it asks the question, "What is the chief end of man?" It then answers, "To glorify God and enjoy Him forever." This begs another question, "How do we glorify God?" To put it simply, we are to live our lives as He desires. I believe everyone, yes everyone, should at one time or another go on a mission trip. There are many reasons why I say this. But, one of the best reasons is the preparation for the trip. 

    For the last 4 months we have been preparing to go to "Glorify God" while we are in Nicaragua. Yes, we've been working on the travel details. But, we have also been working on the personal spiritual details as well. All who are going have written and re-written their testimonies. They have done this to make sure they can share their testimony clearly presenting the Gospel message. They have been memorizing scripture to be able to weave into their testimonies and also share with others as God leads. They have been studying how to lead One to One Bible studies with teens, children and adults. They have also personally committed to staying in God's word and to confess sin so that we can do as 2 Timothy 2:20-21 (NIV) says,

    20 In a large house there are articles not only of gold and silver, but also of wood and clay; some are for noble purposes and some for ignoble. 21 If a man cleanses himself from the latter, he will be an instrument for noble purposes, made holy, useful to the Master and prepared to do any good work.

    Would you pray for those going on the upcoming trip to Nicaragua in these specific ways?

    • That we would confess any sin areas of our lives.
    • That we would stay in the scripture daily, depending on Him and His words for daily living.
    • That God would help take care of all the details for the trip.
    • That God would use us in ways that we would never imagine.
    • That many children, teenagers and adults would come to know Christ.
    • That we would strengthen and encourage Pastor Diomedes, Pastor Juan and Pastor Enrique.
    • That we would strengthen and encourage the churches in San Francisco and El Platanal.
    • That we would not come back the same, but come back focused on sharing God's Good News here, near and far and living our lives to "Glorify God and enjoy Him forever."