A post from Sarah Gordon, intern at CTR while serving in Thailand, summer of 2013


August 2013

Dearest Friends and Family,

I write to share with you my joy and privilege to have spent this summer season serving in Thailand with Remember Nhu.  I wish to express my thankfulness to you, for your partnership in the gospel work, from the first day of my arrival until now (Phil 1). I have much to share about the goodness of our great God and the good work He is continuing throughout the Far East.  One of the many highlights of this opportunity as an intern with RNhu is a greater understanding in seeing and experiencing how Christ’s kingdom is furthered here on earth.



Another highlight was being used in a small way to help prevent the evils of human trafficking in young lives.  As God’s Word states in the book of Isaiah: “Is this not the fast that I have chosen: To loose the bonds of wickedness, to undo the heavy burdens, to let the oppressed go free, and that you break every yoke? (Is.58:6)....’Then your light shall break forth speedily, and your righteousness shall go before you; the glory of the LORD shall be your rear guard’(Is 58:8). Indeed, Christ was present because God was being glorified through the obedience of His children in this effort to loose the bonds of wickedness through sex trafficking prevention.

I lived in Chiang Mai for two months at RNhu’s newest home with fifty-two Thai girls whose ages ranged from four to twenty-two.  Part of my responsibilities as an intern was to get to really know the girls and love them.  Christ overwhelmed me with His love through these relationships which transcended language and cultural barriers.  I was given daily opportunities to depend on Jesus Christ to supply His power and perspective so that my labor would not be in vain.  Because of our commonness in Him, deep relationships began to take root with some of the girls and other interns in ways I had not expected.


The Lord used the circumstances to reveal to me more of His character and how He works for His children.  He didn’t need me to go to Thailand, He chose for me to go, having planted the desire in my heart.  My time at RNhu confirmed my desire to serve overseas in ministry for a season of my life, whenever and wherever that may be.  My relationship with those precious girls has touched my heart in such a way to anticipate a return to Thailand for a period of time in the future. In the meantime I am starting back to my senior year at Moody Bible Institute.  In due season, I believe God will lead me back.

Thank you for your willingness to share this experience in helping to send me to Southeast Asia.  God had begun His work in Thailand long before I showed up and has been using the ministry of RNhu to share the gospel of Jesus Christ with hundreds of girls and boys in that region. Through your abundant provision of prayers and financial support, I was 100% supported to go this summer. In this I am confident, that God was glorified in this venture!  

In Christ, His bondservant,
Sarah Gordon

What's my job again?


What is my job? A good question. I’m a Youth Director at Christ the Redeemer, right? But what is my job here in Uganda? This morning we sat down as a team, with Darrie’s prompting, and read the first chapter of Colossians. We came across these words:

"Him we proclaim, warning everyone and teaching everyone with all wisdom, that we may present everyone mature in Christ. For this I toil, struggling with all his energy that he powerfully works within me." Colossians 1:28-29

Here then is my job. Like the apostle Paul, I’ve been called to encourage, exhort and equip others with the gospel of Jesus Christ. Whether I’m with a group of high schoolers on a Wednesday night in Spokane studying through Ecclesiastes, or with a group of pastors in Uganda thinking through Biblical counseling within a struggling marriage, or even sitting at home with family reading through the gospel of Matthew, my job is to help men and women come to fully realize the powerful effects of King Jesus’ good news in light of eternity, and for today.

What truth! What a job! What a Savior!

Please be praying for our team that we would be able to magnify King Jesus as we share vital medical information for pregnant women, and as we share the power of the gospel to transform lives to the glory of God.

Stumbling toward Christ and His glory,
Loren

P.S. Here’s a few pictures of the market we visited today. Just a microscopic snapshot of what Kampala looks like.  

Uganda 2013! We made it!

Our team made it! We arrived in Uganda last night or maybe it was this morning which may have been afternoon in Spokane...I am really not sure because the 30 hours of flying and traversing across multiple time zones makes me feel like I have been through a bit of a time warp. However, we made it here safely and without major event. Our gate was only changed about four times in Amsterdam which was nothing more than a point of joking after the events of last year. When we arrived at Ebb, we even received our bags after only a 5 minute wait. Praise God! For those of you who may not have heard the events from last years travels, the ease with which we arrived this time was truly a miracle. We all slept pretty well last night and woke up this morning to a delicious breakfast of pancakes with pineapple syrup and fresh fruit. What a miracle to leave one morning from Spokane, Washington and to wake up the next morning in Kampala, Uganda. And whats even more miraculous is that as we ate breakfast this  morning, we had the opportunity to fellowship with people who have such huge hearts for God. After breakfast as we read Colossians I was struck by how amazing it is to see how God works. So we pray that God will work through us and that we will shine Christ's love every where we go. We are all very excited to be here and are currently adjusting as we spend a day in Kampala before traveling out to Kasese, where we will be doing our seminars. Darrie is currently talking to us about orphanages in Africa and as I am interested to hear about it, I think I will say goodbye for now. Please be praying for our travels in the next days as it is a five or six hour drive out to Kasese. I know I would also love for you to be praying that God would use me to advance His kingdom...in whatever way that might be. We are so thankful for all your prayers and support from back home.
In Christ love,
Joselle

Uganda Prayer Requests 6/17/12

I was able to Skype with Loren for a few minutes tonight and he asked me to post and ask for prayer in a few more areas.  They are:

  • Prayer for safety as they travel 6 hours to the Bible college, near the border with Congo
  • Prayer for protection from illness for the team, especially as they are run down from the long trip
  • Prayer for the girls' time with a local nurse in Kasese
  • Prayer for the guys' time with the professors at the college in Psalms
  • Finally, prayer that their luggage would eventually arrive safely.  All of their checked bags are missing and are due to arrive in Entebbe on Tuesday.  Unfortunately, they will already be gone, so they will not be able to get them until they return next weekend.  So, prayer for the practicalities of this for the team (I guess the girls already purchased some local skirts).
As I pray for our team, I'm reminded of the lyrics we sang in church this morning...

"Your glorious cause, O God, engages our hearts
May Jesus Christ be known wherever we are
We ask not for ourselves, but for Your renown
The cross has saved us so we pray
Your kingdom come"

May Your glorious cause engage our hearts, O God, both in Spokane and in Uganda, for Your renown.

Istanbul

Istanbul. What would Paul have thought if he could have flown over Asia Minor as he prayerfully considering where to plant churches? Turkey today is cosmopolitan. Home of a large population struggling between two world views: Islam, legacy of the Ottoman Empire and Western secularism, legacy of Kemal Ataturk. How would he have shared the gospel in this context today? Turkey: is it European or Asian? Would he start with the Torah or would he start with a conversation between Islam and Christianity? Or would he just attack the idolatry of this culturally rich people? Turkey. Straddling the Orient and the Occident. Two worlds. Reminds me of being a follower of Jesus. Stuck between the now and not yet. Living by the Spirit but struggling to walk in that same Spirit. Fighting my own idolatry. Home of ancient empires. Home of a grand civilizational battle. Welcome to Turkey. Loren.

Uganda Team Update

Megan here...Loren asked me to post and let you know that their day didn't exactly go according to plan.  The team will have to fill you in on the specifics later, but what I could piece together is that their flight from Spokane to Seattle was delayed, causing them to miss their flight to Chicago by a few minutes.  That, in turn, made them miss their connection from Chicago to Brussels.  So, after a tense period where it looked like they may just have to fly back to Spokane and scrap the trip, they were able to get a flight to Entebbe via Istanbul.  It will put them in Entebbe at about 2:30 am Sunday morning. So, please pray for the team, who I think are weary but thankful that God covered the details and they are still going.  My prayer tonight is that God uses this for His glory, that the team would be thanking Him for every piece of this journey and not take for granted that simply because we are Americans we can fly anywhere in the world.  And, of course, that God would grant them rest on the long plane ride over the Atlantic and they would arrive in Entebbe peaceful, refreshed, and excited to fellowship with our fellow believers in Uganda.  To God be the glory for calling, equipping, AND delivering this team to what He has called them to.

Uganda

"I have become all things to all men, so that I may by all means save some."
1 Corinthians 9:22 (NASB)

Loren here...

This day before our team leaves for Uganda (here's a link to Joshua Project information about Uganda) I am struck by the above words from the apostle Paul.  You see in a sense, we aren't really going where the gospel isn't.  We are headed to a place that has been Christianized, like Spokane. There are local churches there.  There are even different denominations (some more gospel-centered then others). But like Spokane, there are expectations of what a Christian is, even if those expectations are different in this particular culture, that have nothing to do with King Jesus and His gospel. There are idols and worldview issues that pay lip service to serving Jesus but aren't necessarily motivated by right actions. Just like Spokane.

Our brothers and sisters there struggle with similar issues: materialism, idol worship, selfishness, anger, bitterness, gossip, shady business dealings, and marital and family problems.  And the gospel speaks in Uganda just as powerfully and gloriously as it does in North America.

I have been reminded in my reading, praying, and conversations with Brian, Joselle, and Amanda that we are going to Uganda, fundamentally, as learners. Our Christianity here in the States is no better or more intrinsically worthy of God then our brothers' and sisters' is in central Africa.  We simply want to be faithful gospel partners.  One group of beggars saying to another, "Be imitators of us, just as I also am of Christ." Together we run to the foot of the cross as we become more fully devoted disciples of King Jesus.

Please be praying that we would 'get out of the way' and let God work through us to His glory as we travel to Uganda over the next few weeks.

Below are some maps about where we will be.  May God bless us as we endeavor to serve Jesus in Africa.  And may God bless you as you endeavor to serve Jesus in Spokane.

Where in the world is Uganda?
Uganda is in the African Great Lakes region of central Africa and borders Lake Victoria.

Can you find Kasese and Kampala?
The Kasese District is in the southwest of Uganda between Lake Albert & Lake Edward.  This is where the Bible college is located.  Kampala, north of Lake Victoria, is where Hope Alive! headquarters is situated.  

As way of reminder here is what we will be focusing on as we travel to Uganda.

  
Prayer Points

  1. Travel - connections would be smooth in Seattle, Chicago, and Brussels on the way over.
  2. Relationships - gospel connections would grow with the leaders and teachers of the Western Uganda Baptist Theological College (WUBTC), with our contacts at Hope Alive!, and with Darrie & Debbie Turner, the WorldVenture missionaries who will graciously be facilitating our trip.
  3. Wisdom and discernment about how best we can help the local Kasese church, and what future teams might provide in gospel partnership.
  4. That our family's would trust in God's sovereignty and goodness during this time.
Soli Deo Gloria!



Northumberland Coast

"A National Treasure." This describes Lindisfarne quite accurately. A beautiful castle built to help withstand Viking raids on the Northumberland coast, this tiny little castle really is beautiful. We enjoyed a day of hiking around it and wondering at some priory ruins almost 800 years old. This is only accessible once a day or so due to the tides swallowing up the lone road out to it.


Group Picture
(Bob & Sue Mole, our wonderful and gracious drivers and guides, on the far left).

On the approach to the castle.

Lily, I'm king of the world!!!

Group pic from inside the kiln.
Olivia Dupree enjoying the garden.
Olivia Wall...having been stung by a nettle...

Another group pic inside the ruins.

A picture of the old priory destroyed by Henry VIII.

Lunch

Bamburgh (pronounced bam-bruh). This was truly amazing. I wish my pictures could do it justice.

We are just a few hours away from being loaded onto a plane for Seattle. God has shown Himself amazingly gracious this last week. This morning we were thrilled to see several kids, and their family, attend Sunday morning service. Leo gave a sermon on Luke 18:9-14. We were reminded that our righteousness before God is not based on comparing ourselves with others but on relying on Jesus Christ as our substitute who's taken our "red card" (soccer term) for us.

Last night we spent some time together as a team debriefing on our experiences. From cultural differences, to gospel questions, to applications we'll take home with us back to the States. What I saw in my young brothers and sisters this week was a willingness to dig into the gospel and be challenged with the Lordship of Jesus Christ.

What we were confronted with this week, along with many other things, was the therapeutic culture of our faith. Our English brothers and sisters, have a incredibly powerful witness about them because of their deep and abiding understanding of Jesus' kingship. This is something we tend to shy away from in Spokane; at least it seems to me we do. We like warm, fuzzy thoughts about Jesus as our friend.

But as we were reminded this week. Jesus is not just our friend, He is our Lord and King. He commands us and has saved us from hell with His righteousness. Therefore we have no fear of the judgment to come.

The other thing that stuck out to our team was the earnestness and length of prayer that surrounded the sport camp this week. Oh saints in Washington! If only we would be convinced of the necessity of prayer in our ministry. Your sons and daughters, your brothers and sisters in the Lord, will be coming back to challenge you on this point.

Dare we rush into ministry without prayer? The apostle Paul would say something about this.

For this reason I too, having heard of the faith in the Lord Jesus which exists among you and your love for all the saints, do not cease giving thanks for you, while making mention of you in my prayers; that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give to you a spirit of wisdom and of revelation in the knowledge of Him. I pray that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened, so that you will know what is the hope of His calling, what are the riches of the glory of His inheritance in the saints, and what is the surpassing greatness of His power toward us who believe.

Ephesians 1:15-19


May we be a people who learn to pray as our brothers and sisters in Durham do.


Prayerfully yours,

Loren

Camp Update...

It's nearly midnight here, and we've had a long day finishing camp, having a picnic with the families of the kids, cleaning up the buildings and taking everything down, and then a barbecue for all the leaders. I will try to write more tomorrow, but I couldn't sleep without posting...yesterday, Daniel, a boy from another group, professed faith, and today William and Oscar from our group did the same!!!

I pray you are celebrating with us, half a world away, at these new brothers in faith!

Rejoicing,
Megan

Thursday Recap and Prayer Requests (From Megan)

England has been amazing on so many levels. Of course, there is the fact that everything is so OLD! The house we are staying in was built around the time America was founded! It has three levels, three spare bedrooms, a beautiful terrace out front and a lush garden in back. The townhouse next door is a posh bed and breakfast. We feel like we are staying in one, as well! Our hosts are a couple named Bob and Susan. Bob is a retired human resources director, which has spurred many good conversations and warmed my heart, missing my own dad who had the same profession. The similar struggles we've shared has made them feel like a long lost aunt and uncle rather than complete strangers halfway around the world! We are very, very blessed!

Camp has been amazing. We were told of how little the gospel is preached here, but I think I still came with the expectation that the English are Americans with cool accents. How wrong I was! In the midst of the beauty of castles and cathedrals, there are very few churches here that are preaching Christ. One of the boys in our group at Sports Camp told us that this week was the first time he had ever heard that God created the world. He has been very open to talking about the gospel and asking questions. So far this week, we've talked about Creation, Sin, The Cross, and tomorrow is The Choice. Only two of the ten kids in our group are from a church, so please pray, as we intentionally try to gauge where each child is at tomorrow, that we would be bold in proclaiming the gospel and that kids' hearts would be changed. Like Izzy said, we are having a lunch tomorrow for the kids and the parents, and on Sunday there will be a special church service (and "medal ceremony"!) that the families are invited to as well. And, of course, pray for the leaders here, that they would be intentional in following up with the families.

Hearing the little boy say that he'd never heard about a creator God was so moving to me today. What an amazing, sobering privilege, that we could very well be the first people to ever pray for this boy. In the midst of all the beauty around us, camp has been a constant reminder of the reason we are here in England, and I think has spurred us all on to go back to the States and continue reaching out beyond our comfort zone.

Finally, a few specifics on the team:

*We have been privileged to have Burke as our leader, yesterday in Basketball and today in Hockey. I was amazed to hear that it was his first time teaching younger children like this. He's a natural, and it was so fun to watch such a gifted young man use that gift for God's glory. He has volunteered to play the bass guitar on Sunday, stating, "It can't be that hard." :)

*Jonathan also has done a great job coaching baseball, and has had loads of patience for young kids who do not grasp the sport. There has been a lot of running off the field at third base, which is how you play Rounders. The sports are so similar, it's been hilarious to watch countless rules be broken. Jonathan has done a great job being flexible and yet still giving instruction. And I'm sure he felt no small amount of satisfaction today, striking out a college student! :)

*Olivia Wall has been asked, daily, to do more and more art projects for camp. In addition, she's the "Sports Reporter," hamming it up on stage each day. It's been amazing to see her servant heart and great sense of humor. Without fail, at the end of another exhausting day, she comes up with a smile and a hug and reminds me why we are here.

*Olivia Dupree has been so great with the little kids, taking in stride toddlers' "accidents" and cupcake crumbs everywhere and very few attempts at actually playing the games. She certainly has a gift for small children. We are already making plans to coerce her into babysitting when we return. Olivia has also volunteered to help with music on Sunday, and I'm anxious to hear this talented girl!

*Leah has such a servant's heart! All of the things that we take for granted, happening behind the scenes, she is a part of. From hot coffee and tea to setting up the parents' area, she's cheerfully taken on any task that needs doing. I'm humbled by her willingness to serve, doing the things she's gifted with, such as art, as well as the less glamorous jobs.

*Izzy has had so much joy, being here. Every time I see her, whether it's painting signs, interacting with kids, or at the end of a long day, she has a dazzling smile on her face. I'm not so sure she's going to get on the plane with the rest of us! I was privileged to hear her and Lily tell stories about their sister Caroline today, and even in that, there was a peace and joy that radiates from her. When you look at Izzy, you see Jesus.

*Lily has been such a trooper! Even feverish and ill, she never complains! I've had so much fun with her, watching her gymnastics videos and seeing her engage anyone she talks to. I love that whether she's talking to a small child, a peer, or an adult, she is confident and gracious. In the time that she spent with our host family while she was sick, they came to love her as much as we do.

Please be praying today for our last day of camp, which will take place from 1:45-5:00 am Spokane time, and for families to attend the special service on Sunday.

We look forward to returning to Spokane and sharing more of what God has been doing on our hearts!

Megan

Izzy again...

Hello everyone,
Today is day 6 in Durham... and I am just as excited to be here as last Saturday.
Last night I moved in with my new host family. Their names are Duncan and Laura Woods and they have two little boys named Elliot and Theo... and they are so sweet and absolutely adorbale! We've just celebrated Theo's birthday.
Alive and Kicking It, holiday club is also going really well. It has been awesome to build relationships with the people of the church as well as the kids who have been involved in the camp. Most of the children seem to be showing interest and understanding. One of the boys even said that he wanted to "be on Jesus' team" but he didn't know how so he got to pray with one of the team members. Praise God for that! Tomorrow is our last day of the holiday club and we will be having a lunch afterwards with the kids and their parents so please be praying that we would have conversations that would bring glory to God and that the parents would have a thirst to hear more and come to the all-aged service on sunday!

So excited to see what else God has planned for this week!

In Christ,
Izzy

Newcastle and the Beach


Yesterday we took a short northeast to the coast around Newcastle. We had authentic fish & chips and some of us...I'll let you see who...dared to swim in the North Sea.







It was a lovely day and our British brothers and sisters have been a source of daily encouragement to the troop from America.



Unfortunately, we are not allowed to take pictures of the kids at camp so it is a little difficult to get some good photos from there. But I'm gonna try tomorrow. Watching a bunch of English kids bounce basketballs or try and figure our running around a baseball diamond is a hoot (check out a game called "rounders" if you want to see the British equivalent of baseball then you'll understand the difficulty).









Please continue to prayer for wisdom for the entire Holiday Club as we continue to tell little sinners of their desperate need for Christ Jesus. We are daily encouraged by the obvious love of the Lord's Word here in Durham.

Are you reading it yourself?

"O how I love Your law!

It is my meditation all the day."

Psalm 119:97

Day Three Durham - VBS Prep

Another day down. Another 50 miles walked! Oh yes...Durham is full of hills. And walking. Ask the team when we get back. We'll all have stylish calves. And Megan ran for the first time in six months during our picture treasure hunt. There ARE miracles. :-)

Below are some pictures from our camp prep time and then our scavenger hunt. I'll try and have captions for them all.

The camp is being held at a local girl's high school.


Team America, as we are affectionately called, somehow got put in charge of the art. I hope you enjoy the work they've put in. From the NBA finals to the Ashes (that's Cricket), they were at work for a couple of hours in the morning.




























Burke and Jon are leading basketball and baseball respectively. They are going to do an awesome job. Also, the Brits apparently don't believe in dribbling a basketball or a backboard so they play a game called "Netball." We've also been tenderly told baseball is not a real skill game. You should have seen Jon's face when I told him THAT. :-) We'll throw some fastballs tomorrow and see how they do with them and their...cricket wicket.

After lunch we had a game of rugby; thank you Burke and Jonathan for not making me the only
American running around looking out of place. We also had a excellent time of Bible teaching led by Leo, associate pastor of Christchurch, and then a time of prayer.




The next set of pics are of our teams for the picture scavenger hunt. There is also a video of Olivia Wall looking like a "lost tourist" in Durham. She played the part well.











Our prayers for today would be continued willingness to die to ourselves as we serve the body of Christchurch (Philippians 2). We would also ask you to pray for Lily Hoch as she is not feeling well and stayed in for some extra sleep this evening. And lastly, please beseech God to prepare us for camp tomorrow. Almost 60 kids were signed up today and we hoping more show up!

We love you all and can't wait to see you again to share our time in Durham.

In Christ,
Loren



Tea and Crumpets

Hello All,
Izzy here.
Today was our first full day in England. My host family is a lovely couple named Robbie and Lizzie Bellis. This morning we went to Christchurch and heard a great message on Luke 22:46. It was on the importance of prayer. Afterwards we had a BBQ at Leo and Vicky Davison's, Olivia Dupree's host family, and that was lovely. The Davison's have three children that are all very sweet and they seem to absolutely adore Olivia! We went on a nice walk and afterwards I came back to Robbie and Lizzie's house and had some down time before going to the evening service. It was just as nice as the morning service. The message was on 1 Samuel 10-11. It was about rejecting, choosing, and needing a saviour (spell check is telling me I need to spell it this way) and God's sovereignty in providing a saviour. I have officially drank more cups of tea in the past day and a half than I have in the last year of my life... and i'm loving it. It is a habit I plan on taking home with me. I feel so blessed to be in Durham and involved with such a loving and Gospel centred (again...spell check) church and I am so excited to start working and preparing for the Sports Camp, tomorrow! Please pray that the team is energized and willing to serve in any way possible!

Izzy

Clotted Cream


We made it! The whole team passed through security, some of us more than once unfortunately. :-)

Right now we are sitting in Robbie and Lizzie's living room and have just had some biscuits, raspberries, and clotted cream. We've all decided clotted cream is a MUST. We may be bringing some back for you all to enjoy.

God has answered our prayers for a safe voyage and fellowship with our British brothers and sisters.
Today we took a walking tour of Durham proper, cathedral, university, downtown. It is beautiful!


We finished our day with a time of prayer and the Word by the river. We've now been up about 28 hours and are getting ready for bed.

Our prayer this week is that we would be built up in the gospel as we share the gospel with the wonderful kids of Durham and Christchurch.

Tomorrow there should be some pictures and a short video plus some blogs by the rest of the team.

Please pray for good sleep and for jet lag to be at a minimum. And the verses below are our prayer for the kids who come to sports camp this week...that they might see the Words of Christ and be changed by His gospel.

"When your words came, I ate them;
they were my joy and my heart's delight,
for I bear your name,
O LORD God Almighty."
Jeremiah 15:16

God is good!!!

- In Christ,
Loren

England...Tally-ho!!!

In just 48 hours 9 of us from Spokane, WA will be enroute to Durham, England for a week of Holiday Club with our gospel-partner Christchurch Durham. We'll be ministering to the brothers and sisters in Durham and the surrounding area to share the good news of Jesus Christ.

"I thank my God in all my remembrance of you, always in every prayer of mine for you all making my prayer with joy, because of your partnership in the gospel from the first day until now." Philippians 1:3-5

Our team includes:
Loren & Megan Baker (chaperones)
Leah Slater
Izzy & Lily Hoch
Burke & Olivia Dupree
Olivia Wall
Jonathan Rooney

The team met last night for a time of prayer and to go over final details for the trip. We have the following requests we'd like the church to pray over while we are away:

1. Safety in travel, good connections (flights and people)
2. Good gospel witness
3. Prepare the hearts of the children at Holiday Day Club
4. Prepare our (the team's) hearts
5. Give the team servant hearts
6. Bonding and fellowship amongst teammates and British brothers and sisters
7. Stay awake on the Saturday we arrive and get adjusted into the new time zone

We are excited and ready to go! Be checking back over the next 12 days as we'll be updating this blog with entries from the team.

In Christ,
Loren