Author Archives: klhuntsman

Joy Jensen

When I was 9 or 10 years old I wrote a paragraph for a school assignment, in which I described what I thought my life would be like in 20 years.  I wrote that I wanted to marry a missionary and have 3 or 4 children. Fast forward a few years, when I married my best friend, George Jensen. During our wedding ceremony this passage was read “…whither thou goest, I will go; and where thou lodgest, I will lodge…” (Ruth 1:16).  I knew I would follow him, but where, I knew not. A few months later, George decided to attend the East Tennessee School of Preaching and Missions. While there, we were blessed to be influenced by several veteran missionaries.  After graduation, we spent the next 19 years focusing on stateside mission efforts, including California and Iowa.

Our family has participated in various mission efforts over the years.  As our children were growing up, George frequently brought one of them with him in order to give them exposure to mission work abroad.  In 2005, we had the great privilege of traveling together as a family to India, where we worked for one month.  We began contemplating the idea of doing foreign mission work full-time.  In May of 2006, our whole family spent a month working in Malawi, Africa. After this trip and after much prayerful consideration, we made the commitment to move to Tanzania.

Our family arrived in Tanzania April 17, 2007. We lived in Moshi for two years and then in April 2009, we relocated to the Arusha area, where George served as Dean of Academics at the Andrew Connally School of Preaching.  In January 2011 our family, along with Carey and Bonnie Samford and their children moved to Iringa, located in central Tanzania.

The work in Iringa has been very rewarding.  We initially worked on becoming acquainted with the local Christians and encouraged them to invite their friends and neighbors to study the Bible. It has been exciting to watch the local Christians become more confident in telling others about Christ.  It is safe to say that all of the members have a very rudimentary level of Bible knowledge. Several months ago George began a Bible drill time before our Sunday worship. It has been directed toward the children, but the whole congregation has been learning the books of the Bible and other basic Bible facts. Some of the adults have been just as eager as the children to recite what they have memorized so far!

Another effort in which we are involved is weekly Saturday Bible classes, held in two different locations.  These serve a dual purpose: to offer an opportunity for church members to increase their Bible knowledge and also as a mode of evangelistic outreach. George teaches the morning class and Carey teaches the afternoon class.  At the conclusion of each series, those who have had perfect attendance receive a free booklet, which contains all of the class notes in Swahili. They have taught Old Testament Survey, New Testament Survey, and are currently teaching God’s Plan for Mankind.

Before this most recent class began, an announcement was placed on the radio and many fliers were distributed.  A man traveled from his village about 25 km away, with some degree of difficulty, to try and attend the afternoon c lass.  A third class is now being taught in this man’s village by Carey each Monday.  Consideration is being given to beginning a fourth class near Iringa’s town center, if a suitable location can be obtained.

Our family has begun to worship once a month with the small congregation in Ilula, which is an hour away. They also desire to have a weekly Bible class, such as we are doing here in Iringa.  They are awaiting a decision by the local council for permission to use a public building as a meeting place.  We expect to begin in the next few weeks.

Every Wednesday afternoon George and Carey teach a “2 Timothy 2:2” class, in which they teach and encourage Christian men to be more effective students in the Word and more effective leaders in the church.

When we moved to Tanzania, our children were ages 14, 16, 18 and 19. Most missionaries move back home when their children reach these ages!  Concern was expressed for their future.  What about their schooling? We already homeschooled our children, so that was a nonissue. Online college has also been a great blessing!  How would they find a mate?  We believed that God was more than capable to work that out.  Our children are old enough to be involved in the work on an adult level, which has proven to be a great example to local Christians. Our children have had opportunities to grow in their own faith in a way that will impact them for the rest of their lives.

I’ve come a long way since I was 10. Here I sit in Iringa, Tanzania, East Africa, married to a man who has given his life to sharing the gospel, and blessed with four precious children who are really no longer children (make that five – I have a wonderful son-in-law as an added blessing).  Sometimes I feel so inadequate for the role I play, but with God’s help, I do the best I can; after all, apparently He thought I was up to the task.

Joy Jensen

If you’d like to read more about our work, visit::

http://jensenmissions.com/

www.mytb.org/George-and-Joy

It only costs $0.98 to send a letter all the way to Tanzania!  Be sure to send Joy some encouraging mail!!!

Joy Jensen
P.O. Box 594
Iringa, Tanzania
East Africa

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Missionary of the Month-CFYC Espresso!

The latest CFYC Espresso! podcast is up…

CFYC Espresso! is an audio caffeine shot for your spirit! Get your thoughts brewing, and your heart pumping for God with your host Kristy Huntsman and special guest Kim Bracken.

This week on the podcast, October’s Missionary of the Month, Kim Bracken.

Load the podcast on your MP3 player for a boost on the go. Stream it from your computer for an at-home lift. Listen at work for a much-needed pick-me-up.

Subscribe on iTunes (search for CFYC Espresso!)
Subscribe with Google, Yahoo!, AOL, etc. 
RSS Feed
Other options available on our TalkShoe site

Click here to listen now!

Announcements:

Missionary of the Month! Kim Bracken is our featured missionary this month.  She and her husband are working in Nicaragua.  Be sure to keep them in your prayers!

Join us!  We’ll be recording the next episode on November 4 at 9:00AM Central Time. Join us in the chat room!

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“Somebody Help Me Please!?” CFYC Espresso!

The latest CFYC Espresso! podcast is up…

CFYC Espresso! is an audio caffeine shot for your spirit! Get your thoughts brewing, and your heart pumping for God with your hosts Erynn Sprouse and Kristy Huntsman

This week on the podcast… “Somebody Help Me Please?!”

  • What should we do when we find ourselves fostering anger in our hearts?
  • What should we be wearing to church?

Load the podcast on your MP3 player for a boost on the go. Stream it from your computer for an at-home lift. Listen at work for a much-needed pick-me-up.

Subscribe on iTunes (search for CFYC Espresso!)
Subscribe with Google, Yahoo!, AOL, etc. 
RSS Feed
Other options available on our TalkShoe site

Click here to listen now!

Pertinent Links:

Cindy Colley’s article “Questions and Answers: What About Attire For Worship?”

Wayne Jackson’s article “Understanding Forgiveness”

Anonymous E-mail– send us your questions and situations anonymously.

Announcements:

Missionary of the Month! Kim Bracken is our featured missionary this month.  She and her husband are working in Nicaragua.  Be sure to keep them in your prayers!

Join us! We had a GREAT group in the chat room for this episode! We’ll be recording the next episode on November 4 at 9:00AM Central Time. Join us in the chat room!

Next week is Missionary of the Month

Kristy will be interviewing

Kim Bracken

 

 

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Kim Braken

We have been discussing mission work for the last 15 years. We discussed it as a worthy retirement pursuit or something to do when the kids run off to college. We were in a race, caught in the middle of a crowd, a mass of people all moving together towards something. An undefined goal, an object constantly moving and illusive. Financial success defines it as well as any other term and every few years it was redefined, like a carrot on the end of a stick. We were both busy pursuing our definition of financial success, when we heard the call. It wasn’t a slap in the face or a voice, but a subtle urging within to do something. That this worldly pursuit was never going to satisfy. That filling the bank account is not going to fill the soul. There was a purpose God had made us, there is a reason God had brought us together for and it was not to accumulate stuff to stick in the attic or to make a little extra so that we can a can keep Outback Steakhouse in business. No, we both knew that God had a greater purpose for our lives, and we had yet to live it. We both felt a growing restlessness, and in March 2009 we both decided that we would slowly move towards

mission work. We setup a great five year plan, with a year by year progression. I must say we were very proud of our thoughtful strategic plan. However, God was not impressed and He did not buy in to our masterpiece. We had finally submitted ourselves to Him and apparently the fields are ready for harvest and He needs workers in the fields now! Within one year of that discussion we were presented with the opportunity in Nicaragua. It was clearly God calling and the only response to God when he calls is “here am I, send me”.  (taken from our blog, written by James Bracken)

So, in January of this year, we moved to Leon Nicaragua. Nicaragua is second only to Haiti as the poorest country in the Western Hemisphere.  Most people in Nicaragua make less than $2 a day. We are working with a school in an impoverished community that provides not only an education but more importantly, knowledge of God’s love.  Currently, the school has 205 students ranging from preschool to 4thgrade.  Lord willing, a grade will be added each year until we can offer preschool through high school.  Students are sponsored by individuals from the states who donate $30 a month, which covers teachers salaries, school supplies and a meal.  For many of our students, the meal they receive at school may be the only meal they have that day.  The school has a psychologist that is on campus once a week to work with the students and their families and there is also minister who leads Bible classes for the students and conducts worship services at the

school.  My husband and the school minister have begun a soccer ministry with the 3rd and 4th grade boys.  The boys practice twice a week and each practice begins with a devotional and concludes with a prayer.  Our hope is that through this ministry, these boys will learn to be team players and learn to love the Lord.  Many of our students’ parents have expressed what a blessing Nicaragua Christian School has been for them, their families and this community.  I, too, feel blessed to be part of this school and community.  Here are a couple of videos about the school.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xS1ewdQfYVQ

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jrL9xp-gLKc&NR=1

I feel blessed to have these children and their families in my life.  They have so little but give so much.  We have received mangos, corn, tamales, tortillas, and bananas but more than that, the people of Nicaragua have opened up their homes and hearts to us.  Here are some of the sweet faces I look forward to seeing everyday.

 

“Whoever welcomes one of these little children in my name welcomes me”.  Mark 9:37

-Kim Braken

To learn more visit:

www.nicaraguachristianschool.org

www.jamesandkimbracken.blogspot.com

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Hazel Mayfield

Dan and Hazel Mayfield

For if I preach the gospel, I have nothing to boast of, for I am under compulsion; for woe is to me if I do not preach the gospel. 1Cor.9:16

I cannot begin to tell my tale of ending up in Minnesota without mentioning my husband Dan Mayfield. The above verse is descriptive of his passion and drive. I am his help meet.
Neither of us were raised in the church of Christ. We searched for the truth and obeyed the gospel at the Mt. Vernon Church of Christ in Texas in 1981.
We owned a home and began a family there. Dan was a bread salesman and I worked in child care.  While visiting with the minister at the time, Floyd Kaiser, Dan came home and said Floyd told him he should preach. After considering this for some time we sold our home and much of its contents and moved to a tiny apartment in Denver Colorado to attend Bear Valley School of Biblical Studies. We were there for three years during which Dan decided he wanted to do mission work rather than work at an already established congregation. He asked another student, Randy Martin, to join him in a new work. Together they looked around and decided on Minnesota since it was and is the #1 state in need of churches of Christ.
We moved here in the summer of 1990. Ron Maynard an evangelist who had been working in Mankato joined us. There were two families who lived in the area but had been traveling for worship. Our first time to worship as a congregation of the Owatonna Church of Christ there were five families present.
To establish a congregation where none is present requires much prayer and work. Sometimes it feels like you take two steps forward and one back.
Ron Maynard moved on to other works after a few years. Randy Martin moved to another congregation after 6 years. Dan has been the only evangelist for the last 15 years. Many good things and people have come out of the work here. The church has been blessed with many baptisms and had several men leave from here to attend preaching school. We have also had many families move away which is where the “one step back” comes in.
We rent the Senior Center on Wed. nights for Bible class and on Sundays for worship and Bible classes. After many years we installed 2 elders and 1 deacon. They are Godly men who work hard with the church here. We are approximately sixty in number at this time with very diversified age ranges. The work here is not easy. People here are very family oriented which is and can be a great thing. The problem comes when they have been raised in a denomination. It is difficult for them to turn from that when it is a tie with their family. It has taken a year or more of teaching for some to see error in denominations.
I have taught a children’s class all of the years we have been here. I also teach a young mothers class once a month. My passion is young mothers and doing what I can to impress upon them the power they have to direct their children.
Dan is involved in many things including teaching in the local jail. This has resulted in many opportunities to teach the gospel and a few baptisms. His eyes are always looking for a searching soul.
Owatonna is a beautiful little city of 22,000. There are many parks here that are well maintained by the city. It has been a good place to raise a family. We have raised five children here. We have four daughters and one son. We home schooled them until they reached high school. They have all become Christians and gone on to Oklahoma Christian University. Our daughters are all married to Christian men who we love as much as our own. Our son is single and graduates in December.
When you think of Minnesota I bet even your thoughts are cold. Well it is quite cold here for many months a year. I say winter starts in October and ends in May. I sometimes look at Dan as we are walking through this frozen land we call home and say, “tell me why we live here again”. I say that, partly, in jest. We are here because Jesus said, “Go into all the world and preach the gospel to all creation” Mark 16:15.

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Missionary of the Month-Episode 44-CFYC Espresso!

The latest CFYC Espresso! podcast is up…

CFYC Espresso! is an audio caffeine shot for your spirit! Get your thoughts brewing, and your heart pumping for God with your host Kristy Huntsman as she interviews our missionaries of the month!

Load the podcast on your MP3 player for a boost on the go. Stream it from your computer for an at-home lift. Listen at work for a much-needed pick-me-up.

Subscribe on iTunes (search for CFYC Espresso!)
Subscribe with Google, Yahoo!, AOL, etc. 
RSS Feed
Other options available on our TalkShoe site

Click here to listen now!

Anonymous E-mail– send us your questions and situations anonymously.

Announcements:

Missionary of the Month! Mary Green, Stacia Gibert and Michelle Thomas are our missionaries of the month. This team of three couples is serving in a domestic mission in PA. It’s just $0.44 to send a postcard or letter and the encouragement does more good than we can know!

Join us! We had a GREAT group in the chat room for this episode! We’ll be recording the next episode on September 2 at 9:00AM Central Time. Join us in the chat room!

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Missionary Of The Month-Mary Green, Stacia Gibert, and Michelle Thomas

A glance at a very different mission field, domestic USA…Kulpmont, PA

1 Thessalonians 1:8.. For from you the word of the Lord has sounded forth, not only in Macedonia and Achaia, but also in every place.

When people think of the Christian Mission Fields they almost think automatically about foreign mission work; the great commission being spread through countries like India, Japan, China, Russia, Europe, etc… Will you take a quick minute to go along with me to tell you about a small work going on right here in the great USA, in a little coal town in Pennsylvania called Kulpmont?

I am sure we are not the only domestic work going on, and praise God for all the workers out in the fields no matter where they are, but out here in the coal regions of PA it is a very different experience. There are few congregations that are out-reached focused in this area that have the ability to take on the financial burdens of any mission work. Unlike the south, the Northeastern and Northwestern areas of this country have struggled to reach people with the truth for many reasons. For example, distances between people living in bigger cities, financial resources, and a lock on traditional faiths in the area. You see we are in central PA in the almost forgotten coal regions that made this area flourish years ago, but now cannot support its City’s due to lack of Industry. The people that stay in these areas have local roots that go back through the generations where this will always be home to them. You will find much friendship, love, hard workers, and strong community bonds with the people in the coal region but they have been strapped with a lack of good paying jobs in this area for the regular laymen. To give you an idea of the Industry outlook, the Geisinger Hospital Group throughout the Central PA area is one of the biggest employers. It is pretty sad when nobody is manufacturing much these days.

Our mission team consist of 3 core families; the Thomas’s (James, Michelle, Jacob, and Evan), the Gilbert’s (Bruce, Stacia, Jake, and Darby), the Green’s (Jeff and Mary), and the Susquehanna Valley Church of Christ in Selinsgrove (with several brothers and sisters that have been helping to grow the work). We have a good mix of workers with the Thomas’s as our native experts to the area, the Gilbert’s, originally from Washington D.C, now local business owners (Stacia is a local Veterinarian), and the Green’s who are originally from everywhere J living in California, Kansas, Texas, NJ, and now PA (spent a little time at Sunset International Bible in Lubbock).

Our husbands had great vision and a strong commitment to take on this mission to spread the gospel in this way, and have pushed themselves to reach outside their comfort zones to succeed for God. Normally if you go out into the mission field to work, that is your only focus. In this case our husbands also continue to spread themselves between their work responsibilities (making a living) and their commitment to our home congregation. As their wives we try to support them in as many ways as possible; organizing items for the community events, communication projects, door knocking efforts, etc…

When the core group started planning we actually discussed several different ways to approach the work. At our first meeting we thought we had an action plan, second meeting it changed into an entirely different plan, third meeting everything changed again… you get the picture…he-he. Even when we started looking for a place to rent to work out of, we were looking in one city and God led us in a different direction. Kulpmont sits in between the cities of Shamokin (which was our original city we were targeting) and Mt Carmel. God wanted us to be in Kulpmont. We had a new brother in Christ in Kulpmont and we found a one room rental that was perfect to headquarter the mission work. It is located right in a neighborhood with about 1300 homes in the immediate area.

We started in April so we are now four months into the work. We have had several door knocking campaigns to reach the lost and to reach out for prayer needs, study needs, and benevolent needs. In May we held a “Meet and Greet Luncheon” and invited the community. We had several visitors and we had 2 families come and visit with us for the next couple of weeks. We hold services out there every Sunday at 3:00 to see if we can get some interest midday. We have also tried to start a Women’s Bible class but didn’t have any response on that. We have scheduled a “Community Kid’s Clothing Giveaway” for August hoping to get to know more people in the neighborhood. If we have children visit we will have a reading of bible stories for them before worship begins. We hope to continue to reach out to the lost in ways that they need us to, which takes on many forms.

1 Corinthians 10:32.33…just as I also please all men in all things, not seeking my own profit, but the profit of many, that they may be saved.

 

Our group has experienced so many different trials just as missionaries do in foreign countries. We have shared in excitement, laughs, disappointments, communication problems, and strains of keeping everyone focused and on the same page. I asked Michelle and Stacia to answer a couple of questions now that we have some time into this work which were, “Why did I want to be a part of this work” and “What have I learned?” Here are their responses:

Michelle –

Even though this may seem like we are working in our own backyards, it is a vitally needed work. In this part of the Northeast, congregations are few and far between. It is very hard to reach out to those on the outskirts of our immediate area, let alone those in neighboring communities. We wanted to travel just far enough away that it might be too far for someone to come find the church. Instead, we are going to find them.
I knew going into this work that things would probably not go exactly as I thought they would. I was very surprised that early on we had a handful of visitors. After the initial positive response, it made it almost harder to deal with the disappointment that comes when you feel like no new progress is being made. I try to remind myself that we are laying down roots and need to wait patiently to see results.

Stacia –

I really wanted to take my faith a step farther by reaching out to the community around us in a personal way. I wanted to live the Great Commission and give everyone a chance to feel the peace that I feel through Christ’s love. I also wanted to show my children that what we learn on Sundays is real. God made sure I found some like minded Christians with the same goal. Now I know he will grant us patience to keep sowing seeds and trust the harvest to him. It is amazing how much I have felt my own faith grow as I prepare to share it.

Galatians 2:20

I have been crucified with Christ; it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me.
What has been re-affirmed for me through this experience is that, “God uses the most unlikely people to do his work”. We need to reach out past our comfort zones and tend to our Father’s business. That being said, no matter if we reach “our goals”, the Lord said that his words would not return void. I don’t know how long we can continue in Kulpmont due to many factors from financial too, “Are we reaching anyone”? “Do we need to try in a different location where the fields are ripe”? We will continue in prayer, ask for prayer partners, and most importantly, allow God to use us as he wishes. .

Isaiah 6:8.. Also I heard the voice of the Lord, saying: “Whom shall I send, and who will go for Us?” Then I said, “Here am I! Send me.”

Don’t forget to send the Kulpmont ladies some encouragement, it only costs $0.44!

Mary Green
2630 Hallowing Run Rd
Sunbury, PA 17801
570-495-4111

Article written by Mary Green

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Missionary of the Month – Episode 41 – CFYC Espresso!

The latest CFYC Espresso! podcast is up…

CFYC Espresso! is an audio caffeine shot for your spirit! Get your thoughts brewing, and your heart pumping for God as Kristy Huntsman interviews our Missionary of the Month Olivia Nelson.

David and Oliva Nelson with son Caleb

Load the podcast on your MP3 player for a boost on the go. Stream it from your computer for an at-home lift. Listen at work for a much-needed pick-me-up.

Subscribe on iTunes (search for CFYC Espresso!)
Subscribe with Google, Yahoo!, AOL, etc. 
RSS Feed
Other options available on our TalkShoe site

Click here to listen now!

Announcements:

Missionary of the Month! Olivia Nelson is our missionary of the month. She and her husband David are serving with a team in Kharkov, Ukraine. It’s just $0.98 to send her a postcard or letter and the encouragement does more good than we can know!

Join us!  We have had great discussion going in the CFYC Espresso! chatroom.  We’ll be recording the next episode on August 5th at 9:00AM Central Time. Join us in the chat room!

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Mighty Women of Valor

Throughout the Old Testament we have the pleasure of encountering many amazing men often described as “mighty men of valor.”  Among those who share that title are Gideon (Judges 6:12), Jephthah (Judges 11:1), David (1Samuel 16:18) and Jeroboam (1 Kings 11:28).  Interestingly, this Hebrew word is used to describe only two women throughout scripture.  This term is often translated “woman of excellence” and is used in Ruth 3:12 and Proverbs 31:10.  Personally, I like the translation “mighty women of valor” much better; what a powerful descriptive term!  These two ladies wield just as much power as their male counterparts, but in a different way.  Instead of carrying their sword into battle they utilize their wisdom and faithfulness.  What an honor for them to be identified in this way!

Let’s take a look at exactly what it takes to gain this title.  The first woman we see in scripture who dons this distinctive title is Ruth.  The book of Ruth is not a very long one; however, in it we get a glimpse of a truly amazing woman of character.  In the face of tremendous loss she is loyal to her mother-in-law, vowing to follow her wherever she goes (Ruth 1:16) and providing for her once they arrive (Ruth 2:2).  In chapter 3, we see that Ruth is also extremely obedient, following the precise direction of her mother-in-law.  If Ruth were to have lacked in any of these areas, she would not have received her faithful and loving husband, Boaz.  She exhibited great faithfulness, loyalty, compassion, and obedience and became a “mighty woman of valor.”

The only other woman described in this way in scripture is the woman of Proverbs 31.  This is the ideal woman that King Lemuel’s mother is telling him to keep an eye out for.  Read through Proverbs 31:10-31.  I don’t know about you, but this passage makes me utterly exhausted simply by reading it!  This woman does it all: she works with her hands (Proverbs 31:13), she gets up while it is still dark to serve her family (Proverbs 31:15), she is an investor (Proverbs 31:16), she is physically fit (Proverbs 31:17), she helps the poor and needy (Proverbs 31:20), she clothes herself and her household well (Proverbs 31:21) and on top of all of that she speaks words of wisdom (Proverbs 31:26).  I don’t know about you ladies, but I don’t know of anything that takes more valor and commitment than running a household and raising a godly family.  This woman has it down to an art.  Not only does she do all of this, but she does it with delight (Proverbs 31:13).  This woman is thoughtful, wise, hard-working, diligent, and benevolent.  Because of these things, her husband and children praise her and say: “Many daughters have done nobly, but you excel them all (Proverbs 31:29).”

All of these characteristics displayed by these two “mighty women of valor” can be learned.  In the words of Aristotle: “We are what we repeatedly do.  Excellence then, is not an act, but a habit.”  These women did not just wake up one day and say “I think I will be excellent today!”  All of these behaviors are learned.  If you want to be wise, read your Bible and pray for wisdom.  If you want to be benevolent, serve others even when unprompted.  If you want to be hard-working, write out a schedule so you use every hour of your day purposefully and stick to it.  Becoming a “mighty woman of valor” is not an easy task (this is evident by the small number of women described in this way); however, with fervent prayer and a little determination we all can achieve this exclusive title!

By Kristy Huntsman
Kristy is CFYC’s Missionary of the Month Editor. She and her husband, Lance serve with the Southwest church of Christ in Ada, OK where Lance is the youth minister. Kristy is a stay-at-home-mom to their daughter Taylor, and a co-host of our podcast CFYC Espresso!

 

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Olivia Nelson

David and I have been here in Kharkov, Ukraine since October of 2008, about 2 ½ years.  We are working here with 3 other couples (Rob and Denyce Hindman, Mike and Lucy McDougle, and Brandon and Katie Price).  Our goal is to share the Good News here in Kharkov and encourage Christian leadership so hopefully after 3 ½ more years we will have worked ourselves out of a job.

I grew up in a Christian home in Lubbock, Texas and attended the Sunset Church of Christ for the majority of my life, so I was very familiar with missions.  After I graduated high school, I went through the Adventures in Missions (AIM) program in Lubbock, Texas.  One of the main reasons I went through the AIM program was to see what mission work would be like and to find out if that was something I wanted to pursue.  After 8 months of intensive Bible training, I headed to Tauranga, New Zealand on a team with one other girl and two guys to work as apprentice missionaries for 18 months at the Otumoetai Church of Christ.  I fell in love with so many Kiwis (people from New Zealand) as well as the fact that I could work full-time for the Church.  I left that internship more prepared for life and more determined that whatever career or direction God led me, I would make that my mission field.  While I was in NZ, I also met my husband David.  He was one of the main leaders for the young adult group at Church and his enthusiasm, leadership, and genuine heart for God was very attractive to me.  He moved to the States–from beautiful New Zealand to flat, dry Lubbock, TX–to pursue a relationship with me, and after another year and a half we were married.  We’ve been married for 5 years now, and I am so thankful God brought David into my life!  While we were in Lubbock, I went to Lubbock Christian University, and David went to Sunset International Bible Institute.  Both of us were active in the college ministry at Church and loved being able to encourage the Christians around us.  We weren’t sure if full-time mission work was what we wanted to do, but after we were invited to join the Moscow, Russia team, it seemed like a good fit for us.   As we were all raising support to go, visa laws changed and we were forced to look for another place to go.  We were all devastated, but recognized the closed door and began looking intoother Eastern European countries. After a lot of research and prayer, we decided Kharkov, Ukraine was where we needed to go.  After spending 3 months with our sponsoring congregation, we headed to the field.

Our first year here in Kharkov was spent mainly focusing on learning the language and culture.  The Russian language is not easy, but we are determined to learn it because we know we need to be able to communicate directly in order to be most successful in reaching out.  At this point, I can get around fine on my own and keep up with a fairly simple conversation, but I still have a long way to go.  Russian is complicated, and the more I learn, the more I realize I don’t know – it is very humbling.  The language has certainly been one of my biggest challenges here on the field, but David and I have also learned some valuable lessons from this weakness.  We often do not have the words, but God’s Word does.

After that first year, we began to purposefully engage in ministry.  Right now we have one established house Church, and a little over a month ago our family and the Price family began a new church plant.  We have a Seeker’s Study every Sunday for those are interested in knowing more about the Bible and hope some of those contacts will be a part of this new Church plant.  Every Saturday evening we host an advanced English group in our home where we read and discuss the Bible with a group of about 7-10.  Throughout the week we work hard to build relationships with the Ukrainians here, non-Christians as well as Christians.  Every day is different: we have people into our homes, we study the Bible one-on-one with those who want to learn more, we go on walks in the park together, we meet them for coffee, we study Russian for our Bible studies, we meet and plan with our team, etc.

Last year God blessed David and me with a son, Caleb. I gave birth to Caleb here in Kharkov (which was quite the experience!).  He’s now 9 ½ months old and I’m pretty certain he’s the cutest baby in the world!  I absolutely love being a mother.  Being a mom has turned my world upside down.  Before Caleb, I was very active reaching out and was busy every day.  Now that Caleb is here, my role has changed, and to be honest, I’m still figuring it all out.  There are so many opportunities–good opportunities–that we can be a part of here.  But spreading myself too thin, neglecting my home, or just dragging my son around with me too much is not what I want or what God has planned for me.  Someone gave me a quote from Rick Warren once that said, “You have just enough time to do God’s will.  If you can’t get it all done, it means you’re trying to do more than God intended for you to do.”  I continually pray and work to be the mom God has called me to be.  I’m new at it all, but I’m learning!

God is doing incredible things through His Body here in Kharkov.  We are blessed to be able to work for Him here, full-time.  But we are not alone, and we are only some of the workers in His harvest fields.  God continually provides for our needs – spiritual and physical – through many people back home, especially through our sponsoring congregation.  They, the Legacy Church of Christ in North Richland Hills, TX, keep our cups filled and spur us on regularly.  We also have prayer partners who pray for the work here on a weekly basis.  Being away from comforts, conveniences, and family can be difficult, but God has blessed us richly and it is a blessing to be a part of His kingdom here in Ukraine!

Blog: http://thenelsons.posterous.com/

Team Blog: http://www.kharkovmissions.com/

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9a Aptekarskiy Lane, Apt. 58
Kharkov 61001
Ukraine

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