Missions Update Blog

Update from Alton Cothron – February 2018

                                                                                                                       February 6,2018

Dear Friends at EBC:

              How many times have you heard pleas similar to this, “Send us more workers in order that we may be able to open new works?” Or perhaps some already existing work is closed due to a lack of missionary personnel. Church planting and Bible translation in a jungle context are tough jobs even in the best of conditions but when there are insufficient laborers progress slows down or stops entirely.

              About six years ago the church planting project and Bible translation efforts among the Kanamari people located in the western part of the Amazon basin ceased due to a lack of man power. It gives me great joy to say that a new team has been formed and is in the process of moving in, getting settled and will soon resume activities, much to the joy of the folk in the several villages of this ethnic group. Put this on your prayer list.

              Ronaldo Lidório, a Brazilian pastor and missiologist, recently stated in an article he wrote, “Before the Protestant Reformation the Bible was available in less than ten languages. Today the Bible has been translated and distributed, partially or entirely in more than 2500 languages around the world, including ethnic groups in Brazil.” Worldwide many more people groups still await for God’s Word to be translated. Make this need a priority on your prayer list.

              On January 29th I went with a small group of men from our church to the Wild’s Christian Camp near Brevard, NC. The purpose of the trip was to help in the remodeling of a dormitory. I helped in taking out trash, in preparation and sanding new drywall. There was a lot of going up and down stairs because our job was on the second and third floor of the building. My aching knees and back pain reminded me that I am 89 years old and not 29! We had a Bible study each evening after supper.

              A recent routine eye exam revealed some progression of glaucoma in my right eye even though I have been faithful in putting drops in my eyes for several years. The doctor added a second medication to stop this progression and a checkup today showed that the pressure has come down. I would appreciate your prayers about this situation.

              I am so thankful for God´s faithfulness and for your prayers and financial help each month. For January I received $50.00.

                                                                        By His Grace,

                                                                        Alton Cothron

                   

             


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Newsletter from Brandon and Melinda Dockum – January 2018

DOCKUM DISPATCH

JANUARY 2018

SPANISH OR SPANGLISH

Feeling confident in my language skills, I, Brandon, walked into a ferreteria (hardware store) and realized that I only understood about half of the signs. Wishing that were unique, I enter a libreria (book store with printing and school supplies) and realize that I have no idea how to say foamboard (for mounting pictures of all our partners =) ) in Spanish, nor do I have words to even describe it well. Listening to the Sunday morning sermon, everything’s clear until

After the first hour, the pastor starts looking away from his notes and ‘hitting home’ the message by telling a story or using a locally favorite type of humor, which involves taking on the voice of another persona and speaking with their generalized kind of accent, intonations, and slang.
 
I, Melinda, have been challenged to really get a grip on things like indirect object pronouns, reflexive verbs, and, of course, various conjugations. For example,
“Me sorprendi”
“Me sorprendio”
are saying two very different things. The first phrase means, “I was surprised.” The second phrase means, “You surprised or caught me.”
 
For all these reasons and more, we have been challenged to not shortcut our investment in culture and language acquisition. Rather, before we get overly busy and committed, work hard to actualize our full potential instead of contenting ourselves to limp along at 60%. We were challenged by the following statement by Graham Roberts:
You do not have the right to speak about deeper spiritual issues until you have proven yourself to be interested enough to learn their language [the way they do].
 
Here you can see a mindmap that we created to help organize the vast learning process.

AT CHURCH

Friday I was invited to the church’s leadership meeting to talk about the strategy for 2018. Expecting a round table dialogue with 8-14 others, I was pretty surprised to find the sanctuary 2/3 full with 140 leaders (out of a congregation of 700+). For 50 minutes the pastor described (via powerpoint monologue) the overall vision and mission of the church, followed by how this year’s focus on being salt and light fits into a 10 year plan for helping disciple people who become more like Jesus. He then spent the next 45 minutes pointing out the leaders of the various ministries and their team members, explaining any changes that might be taking place. Towards the end he invites me forward. Taken by surprise I make it to the front awaiting his question or at least his idea of what I am supposed to explain. He hands me the mic and looks expectantly at me and the audience. So I cover the mic and lean over and quietly ask, “what am I supposed to say?”
“Whatever you want, brother” or some similarly useless piece of guidance was his reply. So after a poor joke about how strange Costa Ricans are and how we are both enjoying their warm acceptance while also in a large process of learning their culture and some other suitable words about partnering with them in the upcoming discipleship experience, I was able to find my way back my seat. 
 
It wasn’t until a week later that our veteran missionary “counselors” helped us to recognize that much of what happened was an instinctive and generous act by the pastor to publically honor each member of the army of volunteer leaders of the church. And so it was an “honor” for me to be singled out to go up front. It is this kind of perspective – one initially invisible to a new comer – that is crucial to working for the long haul with and among these beautiful but different cultures.  

TEAMING UP POWERFULLY IN PRAYER

Thank you for partnering with us in prayer!

Praise: Nicole’s rash from hand-foot-mouth disease is much improved.

Praise: We have another regular monthly partner – and a couple more have increased their giving! Thank you!
 
Pray that settling into a new normal would also be a healthy one, physically, spiritually, mentally, emotionally, and relationally.   

Pray for strong progress in Language and Culture

Pray for health – little colds, teething, viruses, allergies, diaper rashes, bladder infections, and food poisoning are the little things that can sometimes make big differences 

-We are still asking God to provide regular partners for the last $100/month. 

Become a Discipleship Partner
Evelynn is making some new “amigitas”. Pray for her to learn Spanish, and make good friends!

THANKS FOR READING!!

Don’t be a stranger!

 

We’d love to connect via email or Facebook.
You can also explore more on our website.

Our phone numbers have changed! To call or text, use WhatsApp.

Brandon: +506.8680.6431
Melinda: +506.8680.6459 

melinda.dockum@crmleaders.org
brandon.dockum@crmleaders.org
Connect via Facebook
Explore Discipleship Reimagined Website
 
 
With much love,
Brandon, Melinda & the Little Ones

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Newsletter from Anna Foster – January 2018

 
Update on 1/24:
 
The saga continues. Even as we were praying on Sunday, the president announced he is going to abrogate the new laws. However, he DOES NOT have the authority to do that. It requires that the same folks who passed the penal code in question enact a law to rescind the law with another law. The opposition to the code was massive and universal, including most professionals in the country and certainly the Evangelical church along with the Roman Catholic Church. When that abrogation actually happens, and the smoke clears, then we will celebrate. In the meantime this government has made a twelve year history out of smoke screens to get their political objectives accomplished so don’t stop praying!!!
 
The nation-wide strike for January 23rd was canceled due to the president’s announcement on Sunday.
 
And, in further news, the doctors who were on strike for nearly 2 months have resumed working but this morning we woke up to the news that the other health professionals, who were striking along with the doctors, have gone on strike because they did not get paid during the first strike, whereas the doctors did.
 
Thank you for your continued prayers for Bolivia.  

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Update from Alton Cothron – January 2018

                                                                                                                                          January 02, 2018

Dear Friends at EBC:

“Unless the church is brought face to face with the fact that it is missionary through and through, that it is missionary by its very nature and that the missionary task belongs to the entire body, missionary work can very quickly become the activity of specialists carried on in unknown places of no great interest to the main body.”   (by Dr. Addison Soltau)

   What a profound statement and challenge to begin the New Year with. Looking back on the year 2017, I would say that worldwide much has been  accomplished in evangelism, language and Scripture translation as well as church planting. I encourage you, as we begin a new year, to increase all efforts in order that we, as a church and body of Christ, can finish the task of reaching all peoples with the good news of salvation in Christ. The opportunities are abundant!

   Each year in the month of January two week long annual Field Conferences for New Tribes of Brazil are held in Brazil. The East Brazil Conference takes place in early January in the town of Vianopolis where the language/linguistic missionary training institute is located. Missionary colleagues from the eastern half of Brazil attend this conference. The following week the West Brazil Field holds its conference at the site of our mission school near the city of Manaus on the Amazon River. Missionary colleagues from the huge Amazon Basin attend this conference. Coming to and returning from these conferences means many miles of sometimes dangerous travel. A variety of subjects devotional, technical and administrative make up the agenda for the week. I explain all the above so that you may pray much for these conferences, for all those traveling and for those directing the activities.  After having spent many months in a demanding tribal context, it is a blessing for workers to gather together for a week and recharge ones batteries spiritually, emotionally and physically. Pray!

   The year 2017 was difficult because of Ebba’s complicated health issues which finally culminated in her death on June 27th.  She is truly missed and I am still adjusting to the reality of life without Ebba. God has been so good to me in a myriad of ways through it all and I am still seeking God´s will in several areas. I am grateful for the prayers, cards and emails that have been sent to encourage me.

   As I look back on the year 2017, I am so grateful to God for His faithfulness in supplying my needs and He has used you in part of this. Thanks for the $80.00 I received in December via Ethnos360(NTM).

                                                                       Gratefully,

                                                                       Alton Cothron   


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Christmas Letter from the Dockums – December 2017

DOCKUM DISPATCH

DECEMBER 2017

We got to spend Christmas with Pastor Esau and his family. We were so warmly received – they treated us as their own. We are so grateful for them!  

THANK YOU FOR PARTNERING WITH US IN PRAYER

-You all are a big encouragement to us! Thank you for all the encouraging emails, powerful prayers, and generous giving. We have all your pictures up to remind us of our big family : )
-We have internet – praise God! And it’s been reliable.
-Our visa paperwork is submitted! And now we wait.
-We got a vehicle, a 2002 Toyota from missionaries who were moving to Panama. And even though it’s already been to the shop for major brake work, we’re grateful for the provision and hope that it serves us well for many years.
-After three years of perseverance, Melinda finished her Master’s Degree in Pastoral Counseling with a Life Coaching cognate!

IN OUR NEIGHBORHOOD

It’s been coldish, very windy, cloudy, with frequent light drizzles known locally as “pelo de gato” or “cat fur” for its softness. As the pictures demonstrate, in the midst of this weather, our neighborhood celebrated “Las Posadas,” a nine day Advent celebration (ours was condensed into 3 days) reenacting Mary and Joseph’s repeated rejection as they sought lodging, forcing them to seek shelter and give birth to the King of the Universe in a stable.
The celebration culminates with fireworks and refreshments for all the cold/hungry “travelers.”

WINDEX IS NO REPLACEMENT FOR ACETONE

Nicole is really enjoying dropping things and watching them fall. On the 2nd night of Las Posadas, Nicole somehow got a hold of some nail polish, released it onto the unrelenting tile, and got to see glass and sparkly deep purple scatter all over. Two hours of clean up for 2 seconds of fun, those are the same ratios that our enemy uses to steal, kill and destroy human hearts. 

LANGUAGE/CULTURE CORNER

Costa Rica seems to celebrate with great eagerness (perhaps impatience?). For instance, on Christmas Eve most families get together with other families, kids included of course, to eat a big meal at midnight and then open gifts on the 25th around 1 or 2 am. And then they have the same sort of eating schedule a week later on New Year’s.
 
Buying a liter of milk costs 790 colones. The exchange rate is about 570 colones per dollar. Gas costs 605 colones per liter. Figuring out if something is a good deal takes some getting used to: Doing the math to change to dollars is one step, figuring out if it’s better or worse deal than other places, and finally deciding which parts of your diet to change as a result of the availability or scarcity of certain ingredients.
 
Costa Rican culture is obsessed with washing their vehicles. Even in drought conditions, car washing happens once or twice a week. Apparently there’s a saying that how your car looks, reflects the condition of the person. It seems like they feel similarly about shoes.
We got to make “Ayacas”, with some Venezuelan friends of ours. We are so thankful to have others include us as family!

TEAMING UP POWERFULLY IN PRAYER

-Now that Melinda finished her degree (Dec. 22nd), pray for us as we transition to fuller focus on learning the local language-culture, in order to provide a more robust foundation for unhindered effictiveness in the long haul in Spanish-speaking and cross cultural contexts. 

-Pray for us to develop healthy new rhythms as a family.
Nicole is getting over hand-foot and mouth disease (high fevers and blisters (painful mostly in the mouth) and getting molars on all sides at once…

-We are still asking God to provide regular partners for the last $150/month. 

Become a Discipleship Partner

THANKS FOR READING!!

Don’t be a stranger!

 

We’d love to connect via email or Facebook.
You can also explore more on our website.

Our phone numbers have changed! To call or text, use WhatsApp.

Brandon: +506.8680.6431
Melinda: +506.8680.6459 

 

melinda.dockum@crmleaders.org
brandon.dockum@crmleaders.org
Connect via Facebook
Explore Discipleship Reimagined Website
 
 
With much love,
Brandon, Melinda & the Little Ones

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Christmas Letter from Maxine Morarie – December 2017

God bless us, everyone, this Christmas and in 2018!

A little hymn book, with only lyrics, was given to me a few years ago that I treasure very much! Some hymns are as early at the 8th Century! None were later than the mid-1800’s! The language has changed since they were written, but the passing years have done nothing to change the truths of God’s Word; like Himself, they are the same yesterday, today, and forever. In 1658 J. Sheffler wrote these words,

O Love, who ere life’s earliest morn

    On me thy choice hast gently laid,

O Love, who here as man wast born,

    And wholly like to us wast made;

O Love, I give myself to Thee,

Thine ever, only Thine to be.

(Can you find in this little verse, the poetic restatement of Ephesians 1:4, “Before the world was created, God had Christ choose us…”? Or John 1:14, The Word became a human being and lived here with us…”?)

It’s unbelievable that, as I ponder each hymn, I can look into the hearts and minds of people who lived that long ago. I’m sure, as these poems were penned, their authors never dreamed they would find a new audience in 2017!

Though not exactly the same, the online project I’ve worked on for a number of years contain sermons and testimonies of some of the very first believers in the Ayoré nation; these authors will find a new audience in 2018, something they never dreamed of since the 50’s, 60’s, and 70’s when they were delivering them in person to their own people in small villages scattered throughout the jungles of Eastern Bolivia.

Soon Ayores in Bolivia and Paraguay will be able to read or listen to the sermons and testimonies of men and women who had only just discovered the message of Christmas – that Dupade (their term for God) had a SON who loved them! And because these sermons and testimonies have been translated into English and Spanish, their new audience will be all the broader once AYORE.ORG is launched, hopefully, in 2018. Please pray for this: a web designer, and for me as I tie up the loose ends!

Merry Christmas! Your friendship and encouragement is such a gift! You’re my audience – someone I can share with – and I treasure you.

Let us thank God for the Lord Jesus, his priceless gift to us! 

 

 

                                                   Maxine Morarie


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