Summer Newsletter by Manna Missionary, Barbara Yandell
“Because you had become so dear to us”
Paul’s personal exhortation to the Thessalonians beat in my heart this past season of ministry. It was an exhausting schedule of wonderful shared ministry with dear colleagues and friends. We were filled with thanksgiving at our years of plowing and planting and now seeing a rich harvest of seeing a harvestof new believers in the Muslim world.
Celebrating the 500 years since the Protestant Reformation with the Church in Cuba.
Domestic airlines now fly to Cuba making short trips easier and more feasible. As a long time mission partner of ICR de Cuba we were invited to a unique celebration of God’s faithfulness. We were thrilled and honored even though it was just three days. I debated the time, and expense of so short a trip but knew that it was important. We were also invited to teach at the gathering. I was very happy to teach on the role of students in causing the gospel to spread dramatically over the past 300 years. We were to speak to about 100 young adults ages 15-30. I had given my translator lecture notes and the scripture Romans 6:1-6. As I started speaking and quoted the text line by line waiting for her to translate, she refused to translate and just said “ “NO”…nothing else just no. There was nothing to be done but to sit down in front of the expectant crowd. As I pondered this spiritual warfare, it seemed that our trip was a bust. We did nothing, gave nothing and had no planning meetings. I went down in flames in front of my audience.
On the way back from the celebration, the president of the ICR, Lazaro Felix asked me why I came for just three days. The Lord brought this to mind: 1 Thess 2:8 We loved you so much that we were delighted to share with you not only the gospel of God but our lives as well, because you had become so dear to us.
I said “Lazaro, I came because I could come for three days, because I love you and am dedicated to you and desire to honor you in this celebration. You could tell he was somewhat surprised and was pondering this. The next day at his church service he introduced me to his congregation as one of the most important people to him, to his church and to the denomination in Cuba. I blew him a kiss from the congregation and he blew one back. For Lazaro Felix, that is great affection! This was a big moment for us. It reminds us that there is something more important than what you do for people or what you give financially. Our presence of showing up in the lives of our partners and friends was a sacrament that imparted grace upon grace. We were all graced because we had come… just to be with them. We convey honor to people when we “just show up “.
That is how I feel about you. You being in my life graces me profoundly. I plan on “just showing up” in your life on every occasion possible.
Graced by Winter-Spring Perspectives classes
I love the Midwest. One of my greatest joys is teaching the Perspectives classes all over Michigan, Ohio andIndiana. The many perspectives coordinators and speakers that I have worked with for twenty years have become so dear to me. One of my dearest friends Kelly Wheeler was the Perspectives coordinator of the Northwest Indiana Perspectives classes. Two years ago, I lost a new leather special edition pre 2011 NIV study Bible( if you know what pre 2011 means, you realize how important this Bible was to me.) When the post office lost my shipped box of books containing it, I lamented. Kelly knew how much I loved this Bible . Kelly died last year and his son was now leading the Indiana Perspectives class. His son told me he had a special gift to me when I arrived to teach his Dad’s class this February. He presented me with the new leather, pre 20111 NIV study Bible that his dad bought for me a few days before he died. I sobbed. He had become so dear to me. Store up treasures in heaven where moth, thief and rust cannot destroy. Our relationships are part of that treasure.
MENA Refugee Center andSweida Syria church plant:
One of the Sweida Syria church plant leaders just wrote this report. I have changed names and towns for security.
About three years ago, the Lord called me to go to Syria to serve there where he has sheep whom he desires to include in his flock. After prayers and encouragement I came and started a small home group of three people, and the lord was with us and he enlarged our borders until we became more than ten brothers. By his divine will we rented an old evangelical church in” City X” and started a weekly worship meeting, and then the lord helped us when we met the Horizons ministry that encouraged and supported us through P. Brother Achmed the Pastor of “ Z church” in Lebanon. The Lord blessed this ministry in Church Z so much that the number of believers became between thirty and forty people committed to the faith and consistently attending the church meetings, in addition to around forty to fifty children in Sunday school.The church meetings are the following:
1) Tuesday worship meeting, and Sunday school
2) Friday: bible study and prayer meeting
3) Thursday evening spiritual meeting in houses in rotation
God has honored us by allowing us to rent a second church in City Y, where about 5 months ago we started the Sunday school ministry for kids. There are around fifty kids attending, and sometimes more would attend the church on Saturday. We recently started discipleship classes for youth where we are establishing and preparing the core of a new church in the near future, Lord-willing. We are now in the process of renovating and performing some essential repairs to the building.
In the city and the surrounding villages, we carry out consistent follow-up and home visits, for prayer, encouragement, and evangelism The vision the Lord gave us is to preach the gospel to every house that is in the shadow of a big spiritual need in these areas because we are from a non-Christian background and the great majority of the people have never heard the gospel.This is a brief account of the work of the Lord in his church in Sweida. As in 1 Samuel 7:12, we lay the stone of help and say “thus far the Lord has helped us”.
The Muslim refugee crisis has left millions living in poverty and without medical care. To meet this urgent need Horizons is providing medical clinics at their Beirut center on a regular basis. Teams of medical, dental, and eye doctors come to serve refugees who desperately need their help. They come from all over for an opportunity to receive free medical care. Most cannot even purchase medicine to help reduce their children’s fevers. Horizons is constantly serving the needs of these families in Lebanon. Please pray that each of those who visit our clinics; that they open their hearts to the Gospel. Pray that many more teams will come and serve this enormous need in Lebanon.
Also at MENA refugee center in Beirut, the work of evangelism and discipleship among women and children is of harvest proportions in my opnion.Take joy that while many opine, criticize and wring their hands about the crisis of Islam and the displaced millions, you are effecting positive change, comfort and salvation.
Remember that the annual October missions auction benefits the Cuban pastors and the work of our MENA ministry in Beirut and Syria and beyond. Mark your calendar now for Friday October 20 at “ A Cut Above Conference Center” between Holland and Saugatuck Michigan.
Training trainers and making disciples
In my year- end support letter I shared that the next ten years was to focus on training new indigenous leaders and reproducing the good deposit of teaching that my colleagues in Muslim ministry possess. I have seen progress to that goal even this winter. April Legacy Conference in Edmonton Canada and was lead by a Muslim background believer Joseph. My job at Edmonton Legacy Conference was to make Joseph confident and successful and to mentor him in coordinating a major conference. Engage Course and Legacy Conference are in good hands in Canada.
Horizons and George Houssney made a decision to maximize Georges teaching through writing, creating resources and training trainers. This is my vision and calling. So we are making plans for when and how we do that. Our training materials are being translated into French, Chinese and Arabic. The large influx of new beliers is motivating many Christians to gain skill to disciple and mentor them as new leaders of new churches in Syria, Iraq, Egypt, Tunisia, and elsewhere. As Jesus spoke in John 4: 35-36 “ Do not say four months more then the harvest. I tell you, open your eyes and look at the field! They are ripe for harvest. Even now the reaper draws his wages, even now he harvest the crop of eternal life, so that the sower and reaper may be glad together.”
My friend and dear colleague Nabeel Qureshi is fighting to prolong his life on earth. We rejoice at God’s grace and sustenance and mourn at the human prognosis of his cancer. Many of you heard him at last year Legacy Conference. If you have not followed him on you tube, you should. Check out his best seller Seeking Allah Finding Jesus. Pray for his family to come to faith and for his witness among Muslims who are watching how he is handling terminal cancer.
I have had necessary but staggering home repairs. As I write, I am in shock at all the worthless promise of homeowners insurance and warranties that cover nothing except the Zombie Apocalypse. Basically my house has all the plagues of the Exodus story.
I am vacationing for five days in Yellowstone in June before two weeks teaching and planning in Boulder CO.at Horizon’s Engaging Islam intensive. I think I’ll need it.
Upcoming opportunities for training.
· Engaging Islam intensive at Horizons International Boulder CO June 19-30…register at www.horizonsinternational.org June 18-30
· Engage Course at Calvary Church in Grand Rapids MI, Sunday afternoons 4-6 pm September 17-November 19 register through at Calvary church or www.Horizonsinternational.org or contact me.