Population: 44.35 million (2013)
Main Languages: Swahili and English (they also have a number of indigenous languages)
Major Religions: Christian and Muslim
DID YOU KNOW:
Two-time Olympic gold medalist, Kipchoge Keino of Kenya (1968, 1972) grew up running 16 miles every single day barefoot just to get to school – he started this routine at the age of 5 years old. At 12 years old, he escaped a cheetah by climbing up a tree and tying himself to it overnight!
Changing Times Ministry (CTM)
Partner since 2012
Change Times Ministry (CTM) consists of a team of pastors and evangelists that engage in church planting in Kenya, East Africa, Uganda, and Tanzania. CTM also operates community development programs inside the Kibera slum to bring about a healthy, empowered, and productive living community as God intended. Its work includes a clinic that provides basic health care, a clubfoot centre, HIV care and home visitation to the sick. CTM also runs a kindergarten, preschool, and a primary school inside Kibera. We at Partners International is working with CTM to complete a high school in Eastern Kenya that just opened this year to help the many children in the Kibera slums get a good education and stop the cycle of poverty that they are currently trapped in.
George Okoyo is the leader of Changing Times Ministry. He was born into a poor Kenyan Christian family with nine children. His father and two siblings passed away when he was a child. Then through sponsorship, George completed his high school education, became a teacher, joined the military and obtained an engineering degree in artillery. Success and achievement could not fill the emptiness in George’s heart and his desire for the truth. In an 1985 revival meeting, he surrendered his life totally to God. While still serving in the military, he started to prepare for ministry service through theological studies and received a theological degree in Urban Ministries. With a passion for the poor trapped in the poverty system within the city, he soon worked as an ordained pastor in urban ministry within Nairobi. In 2001, Changing Times Ministry was established in Kibera and George started leading this work to serve and provide hope for the poor in the largest slum in Kenya.
Please Pray for:
1. The completion of the high school building project
2. George and his family as they serve the people of Kenya
3. The Changing Times Ministry team
4. The children in the Kibera slum; for their health, a good education and freedom from generational poverty
5. A revival in Kibera
6. The ongoing projects and programs that Changing Times Ministry does and for the ongoing resources they need
Last month you helped our partners Brother and Sister A* in China.
Through supporting Brother and Sister A last month, families like Mr. H’s (story below) were provided with water! Hear the story from Brother A:
We wish all of you the best of health, physically and spiritually. We are thankful to all of you for remembering us in your prayers and support, for our Lord has been very kind to us, safeguarding us and keeping us well and healthy.
Mr. H* is from the Yao Minority and is about 40 years old. He lives in a small village with his wife and 2 young children. Both he and his wife are illiterate farmers who were not legally registered at birth and therefore do not have any legal residential status. Under such condition, their children are not allowed to go to school and are therefore kept at home doing domestic work at a very young age. They are even deprived of the little social benefits that the government gives to the residents. Mr. H’s wife is sick but is not entitled to any medical benefits. He currently works as a labourer transporting goods from one village to another. His wife works at home with their 2 children and plants some corn to feed the family.
Each day his wife spends the whole morning fetching water from underground sources for their daily needs and watering of the plants. It does not leave her much time for anything else.
The local church wanted to help them build a water reservoir but did not have sufficient funds to purchase the materials (cement, sand and reinforcement bars) and they requested help. Through Canadian support like yours, the water reservoir was built for the family!
We want to express our sincere thanks to all of you for your faithful partnership and kind support.
Our favourite verse:
“I thank my God every time I remember you. In all my prayers for all of you, I always pray with joy because of your partnership in the gospel from the first day until now, being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.” Philippians: 1:3-6 (NIV)
- Brother A
*Workers names and partner ministry are protected for security reasons
DID YOU KNOW
Ketchup is actually invented in China and the original meaning was “fish sauce”.
China Partner Ministry
Partner since 2002
Our China Ministry Partner serves the Yao People in Central Guangxi Province. The region is mountainous and full of rocks with only around 10% of the land with soil for agriculture. There are about 12 people groups that inhabit this area and have less than 3% Christians among them. The majority are animists and ancestral worshippers. The needs are many here with high Illiteracy rates and water an ongoing issue with not enough rain in the winter and too much rain in the summer.
Our partner uses a holistic approach as they assess the needs of those they serve and respond in accordance to their needs which includes:
In the 1990s, Brother A worked in China as an engineer while his wife explored gospel opportunities as she witnessed of God’s love to the people she met. Over time, many came to faith in Christ and Brother and Sister A became more convicted than ever about the spiritual needs of their Chinese neighbours. So they have focused on ministry: reaching the poor, specifically the rural minority tribes of China. Community development projects include building schools, medical clinics, student hostels, water reservoirs, and agricultural projects. A key aspect of their work is building up the local church. Pastors are trained, financially supported and equipped. Many small villages have been impacted by God’s love and have received the gospel as a result.
*Workers names and partner ministry are protected for security reasons
Please Pray For:
Last month you helped our partner Eduardo, president of MINAP, a ministry in Peru. Here are some words from him:
I thank you friends who accompany us with your PRAYERS, because you are the ones that sustain us and give us spiritual strength, in this great challenge that the Lord Jesus has given us. Many thanks for the spiritual and economic support to the Missionary Work!
One of our missionaries recently returned to a community after a few years. His memory of the village was of how filthy it was. It was full of alcoholics and drug addicts. The children were dirty and the houses in disrepair. This visit he was amazed. Everything was different. It was clean, there was no sign of drugs, houses were nicely painted and the children looked happy and clean. “What happened here?” he asked. His friend answered, “The people received the Gospel and it changed the community. The people are following the way of the missionary.” Our organization, MINAP is an agent of transformation.
I am both humbled and very happy to be President of MINAP. I have great trust in Partners International as a partner. And I am relying on God's wisdom and understanding to lead. The mission requires a lot of dedication. I need to live out the vision, mission, and values of MINAP every day. MINAP has an opportunity to do a wonderful work among the indigenous peoples. I look forward to seeing the dreams God has given us become a reality by His power.
DID YOU KNOW
Peru is home to the world’s highest lake, Lake Titicaca, which straddles the border between Peru and Bolivia. It sits at 3,812m above sea level.
Misión Integral Nativa Del Perú
Translated “the Holistic Tribal Mission of Peru”
Partner since 2006
MINAP is the country’s first missionary-sending agency led by Amazon Natives. They serve the needs of the most remote tribal people in the remote areas of the Amazon jungles. Missionaries that work for MINAP give months of their time to take trips up the Amazon River to meet with the remaining unreached people groups along the banks. They make these long and often dangerous trips to share God’s love, provide basic healthcare and education to the tribes. MINAP is also working hard to train leaders of the local churches and native communities, plant churches, and provide opportunities to establish income-generating activities that help support the tribes.
Eduardo has a passion for reaching the unreached and has been in the mission field for over 17 years. He has become the leader of MINAP as the ministry grows and strengthens.
“From my childhood, I did not know about God. I did not follow God’s path during my teenage years, as my parents did not know about God. I almost died when a tree fell on me, but God spared me. He had a purpose for my life. I started to learn about God through my pastor’s messages and from our missionary. Then a preacher came to our town for an evangelistic campaign and it was during this event that I surrendered my life to Christ. It was January 1991 and I was 17 years old. I started to help my local pastor and to participate in Bible studies. After some years, I met my wife and got married. We were both students at Bible College. God blessed us with our three children. The call to serve God involved my whole family. After two years as a pastor I started as a missionary and was assigned to make contact with unreached people groups. I had to learn the language and culture of the tribe in order to help and preach in their language. God is good with all His guidance to accomplish this task. I started as a missionary with very little experience, but I am learning more and more about this task. I have completed my studies and constantly receive advice from pastors and missionaries. Now it is my turn to help and support other groups. My heart is filled with love and ready to show it to others for them not to waste their lives. This is my desire since my own conversion.”
PLEASE PRAY FOR:
We have seen the mighty hand of God supporting the work of each missionary. There are many challenges, one of which is the size and remoteness of our mission field. The Brazilian Amazon is very big. Reaching distant communities far from civilization requires great effort. Missionaries travel alone by small boats [pictured right]. To cover these distances which may take weeks at a time is very costly. Fuel and food have to be brought from far away with high transportation costs.
Dozens of trips and visits were made to the communities that are close to local rivers its tributaries. The visits were to encourage the believers who already exist there and strengthen the leaders in each community. Many of them with no support for their ministry, serving the Lord with much interest and love for the work.
Five years ago, Shapu a young adult from the Matis ethnicity, came to the city with the purpose of studying. He had no knowledge of life in the city. His Portuguese was poor and he did not know the Gospel, making him vulnerable to the bad influences of the city. He was accepted to be supported by the CONPLEI support house and was given a place to stay, food, and advice regarding life in the city. After 5 years in the city, Shapu rejoiced that he overcame all the danger of the city. He is studying hard, he is proud to be from the Matis culture. He is now a follower of Christ. During his vacation, he decided to go back to his village to visit his parents and at the same time to tell his tribal people about the message and love of God. Shapu said that his extended family was impressed with the message of the Gospel and his good testimony of a healthy life. Now, he is very interested in continuing to listen to the word of God and sharing more with his community back home.
Cuba stands at a pivotal point in history. Our partner, the Baptist Convention of Cuba recognizes that local churches are being planted but not established. They have introduced the church-based training program of lay-leaders to ensure enough spiritual leadership is established to safeguard the future of the church by providing strong leaders who will shepherd these new believers with solid Biblical teaching. The missionary training program is the most strategic contribution that Canadians can make to the Church in Cuba at this time and you helped towards this last month!
“We thank God for the instruments He uses to bless His Work in these times. Partners International has been truly efficient in its cooperation for sustaining some of our pastors and missionaries who work sowing the Word of God in difficult places of our country. At present, we have 19 workers that are sustained and so 19 churches that have been served, although the number of communities benefiting from the hard work of these men and women surpasses this figure up to 259, including meeting houses and missions. We have had up to now 4 churches planted, 303 leaders trained, 2803 people evangelized, of which 97 have become Christians and 24 have been baptized.” - BCEC
Of the 19 workers, Ricardo is one that is sacrificially serving the people of Cuba and expanding God’s kingdom through sharing the love of God with those he meets. He shares,
“God goes on blessing our ministry. In the last years He has helped us to have 20 meeting houses or church houses, we continue praying for new homes to be open to the gospel preaching. In recent days I received a wonderful surprise: it is very encouraging what happened. A family of nonbelievers was ready to celebrate a worship service in their house, that day, about 20 believers and nonbelievers gathered, after the sermon, all the family members accepted the Lord, 4 adults and 3 children. Since then, the house has served as a meeting house for the Lord. Praise the Lord!”
A huge thank you for helping Cuba this month! Please continue to pray for the work here!
Population: 200.4 million (2013)
Main Language: Portuguese
Religions: 65% Catholic, 22% evangelical Christian, 2% Spiritist
DID YOU KNOW: Brazil was named after the brazilwood tree, and is the only country to be named after a tree.
CONPLEI (Consejo Nacional de Pastores y Lideres Evangelicos)
Translated “The National Board of Indigenous Pastors and Leaders of Brazil”
Partner since 2009
CONPLEI is groundbreaking in that is completely indigenous made up of hundreds of tribal missionaries who travel deep into the Amazonian river systems to share the gospel and develop ‘authentically indigenous churches’ among the remote and unreached tribes along the river.
Traveling by themselves with only a motorized canoe they set off for weeks at a time to show God's love to them. CONPLEI is involved in recruiting new missionaries, theological training, holistic care of individuals and communities, and increasing sustainability and capacity of the mission. They also exist to represent indigenous evangelical churches on relevant issues with civil society and public authorities, in addition to safeguarding, defending and claiming indigenous rights.
Brother Henrique is the current director of CONPLEI and one of the original founders of the ministry. A well respected and revolutionary leader in the field, he pushes the current boundaries of ministry in Brazil. Born and raised in the southern regions of Brazil, Brother Henrique came to know the Lord as a boy and felt called to share the word of God with others around him. He then started sharing the gospel with tribal people who had never even heard of Jesus. With a family of four and a large team of missionaries, Brother Henrique continues to change lives each day.
“I am from a town in the Southern region of Brazil. I came to know the Lord when I was 9 years old. A few years later, I felt God calling me to ministry and I went to the Biblical Institute to prepare myself. Upon completing my studies we worked as pastors of 2 churches. We came to understand that our ministry was to train and support indigenous leaders. I was married to my wife in 1986. We met at the seminary and have two beautiful children. We have been serving in ministry for 23 years. Throughout these years, we have clearly seen the power of God on so many levels.” - Henrique
PLEASE PRAY FOR:
Population: 11.2 million
Religions: Roman Catholic
DID YOU KNOW: Cuba has one of the highest literacy rates in the world at 99.8%
Baptist Convention of Eastern Cuba
Partner since 1995
Baptist Convention of Eastern Cuba (BCEC) works in a complex political and religious environment and the church is seeing many accept the rich promise of new life in Jesus. BCEC is working to develop the church, raise up and train missionaries and leaders, and provide holistic care and development of poor and vulnerable individuals and communities.
Ricardo is a national worker for BCEC and is passionate about planting churches and reaching the lost for Christ. He has been and continues to be involved in multiple church plants.
“I began visiting the church with my parents when I was 7 years old. The Lord was dealing with us as I remember that we grew in fear and respect for God. In 1977 I was sent into the military service and although I was not a Christian yet, I felt God’s support. In 1980, I went back home and began to feel the need of giving an account to God, and in June the same year, I accepted Christ in my heart. I was baptised in July 1981 and a few days later, I started to lead the youth department of my church and to participate in the different activities. I was the president of the youth for 3 years and later, as a district delegate for 5 years up to getting into the missionary life.
One day, I felt the need to help my pastor in missionary work. The Lord answered me and a sister from a neighbouring Church told me about their need of someone to work with them. I prayed to the Lord asking for strength to travel a great distance up the mountains. A cell group was established and after a few months, the First Baptist Church was planted and we came to be members of it.”
Thank you for your support and prayers last month! In the month of December, you helped Brother M as he works with families to get out of debt and live a more fulfilled and sustainable life. Brother M’s identity is hidden for his safety because he risks his life each day to share the love of Jesus with others in his community.
In Pakistan, a Hindu tribal community called the “Marwari” are extremely poor, landless and illiterate. As a result, Marwari families and communities are exploited, trapped in poverty and rarely have access to education.
Leena and her husband are members of the Marwari tribal community and have eight children. In the past, her husband borrowed money from their landlord to meet their family’s emergency needs. However, the interest from the loan compounded quickly and soon the family found themselves falling deeper and deeper into long-term debt that they could not get out of. Brother M helped Leena’s family through small loans to help them start a business while teaching them basic saving skills. Leena and her husband were able to generate income from this money and pay off their loan to the landlord and have some savings left over. Unfortunately, Leena’s husband has passed away, but she is so thankful to God for the help that her family has received from the workers like Brother M. She says, “We are thankful to God and we are now in a much better position financially”