May 3: getting Emily back from Belhaven.
Emily just completed her sophomore year of college. She joined the ACS (American Chemical Society) and was nominated as secretary for the local chapter. She was also inducted into the Sigma Zeta honor society for STEM majors, made Belhaven’s President’s List, and was also awarded a paid summer internship at the University of North Texas (UNT) in nearby Denton. Her 20th birthday was May 3, and we drove to see her and move her out of her dorm.
May 8: our 26th Anniversary.
It was great to have everyone back together again for our 26th anniversary and for Mother’s Day . It hardly seems possible that our wedding day was so long ago! We celebrated our 10th anniversary during our New Staff Training in Daytona Beach, Florida and we treasure our marriage and our children.
May 25th: Luke graduates!
By March 21, we had four adults in the family as Luke turned 18, and he’ll graduate Memorial Day weekend. This will end Cindy’s homeschooling mom career. Luke will begin college at LeTourneau University in August. He’s already completed an online course, earning a scholarship while finishing up his senior year at N-TECH Homeschool Co-op and working Saturdays at the local Kwik Kar automotive service station.
We’re looking forward to “Cru19” at CSU campus in July.
National Staff Conference is required for all U.S.-Based staff members. There’s usually about 10 days of intense updates and teaching, with multiple tracks. It’ll be a great opportunity to reunite with staff friends we left behind in Orlando. With travel expenses, the conference tends to cost about $5,000-6,000. This year, we’ll be honored at a banquet with other staff members for 15 years of service.
Luke has been struggling with some skin infections for several months now. It’s been made more challenging by his eczema and the chemicals used at his job. After seeing several doctors and applying various medications, his healing remains very slow. Thanks for praying for him.
This year’s Cru conference will mark the first one Emily won’t be able to attend with us because of her internship. Please pray for her as she’ll have to live on-campus at UNT, doing chemistry research in the university laboratory.
Please pray for Emily and for Luke as they get ready for college next fall. They’ll need God’s provision for health and capacity as well as for regular college expenses.
Progress in reaching the unreached.
Missions organizations research people groups: family and tribal designations within nations, with some designated “reached” and others “unreached.” Online Ministry The Joshua Project tracks nations, languages and tribes this way.
Because of our worldwide outreach, it’s very difficult for Global Media Outreach to know how many of our seekers are within a specific people group. Details like name, language, email address and physical location can be collected, but we can’t ascertain much about their genetics.
However, there are a few nations in the world that are made up of virtually all unreached people. Last year’s April letter included a challenge to pray that God would ultimately open North Korea (#1 on Open Doors’ “World Watch List” of sensitive nations that are most hostile to Christianity) to ministries like ours. While we’re waiting for the answer to that prayer, I’d like to challenge you to pray for another one: Somalia (#3). Missiologists can only guess at the number of Christians within this country, and say it may be numbered in the hundreds. (Total population is over 15 million.)
Conditions in Somalia are horrible: they’ve been in a state of civil war for over 20 years. It’s considered a failed state: a nation of extreme poverty, human rights abuses, corruption, conflict and terrorism. Conversion from Islam is illegal, government leaders are constitutionally required to be Muslim, and any behavior deemed divisive or “un-Islamic” is prohibited.
In conditions like that, it’s almost impossible to know how many Christians live in Somalia. In that respect it’s much like North Korea. Unlike North Korea, there is Internet access, and so far this year, we’ve registered 34,564 gospel visits, leading to 589 new contacts from Somalia. It’s exciting to think that our ministry may be a major source of support for Christians living in this hostile environment. One missions organization tells the story of a Somali youth who found Christ through Christian radio broadcasts from Kenya and the Seychelles. It was six years before he met another Somali Christian!
In March, “Maxamed” let us know he’d prayed to receive Christ, adding “please help me” to his response to our gospel presentation. Over a series of messages, Online Missionary Mel has shared his faith and testimony with Maxamed and is waiting to hear back from him. “I am not English” was one of Maxamed’s messages in response, so the language barrier is a challenge. Would you pray that Maxamed would supernaturally receive the help he needs from the Lord, and that we’d be able to find Somali-speaking bilingual Christians who would be able to bring the gospel to seekers like Maxamed in their own language?
As always, we’re so grateful for all your prayers for the ministry and for us personally. Thank you for your vital support of our work. May God bless you for your generosity!
Love, in Christ,
One Day Closer!