Greetings from Kamketo, Kenya. This is Pastor Mike. Even though it’s the winter months here, it has been over 90 degrees everyday. It took us an extra 3 days to get out here to Kemketo from Kitale, but everything is going fine.
The ladies, Olivia, September, and my wife Jeanette, are learning the PoKot language and working on tile work in the Tierney’s house. They are also providing medical attention to the PoKot in nurse Kathy’s absence. She will be joining us in two more days. They have been distributing antibiotics and per
forming minor surgeries.
Michael VanDoren and myself are working hard on the house along with 20 PoKot people each day. I’ve never seen so many people stand in line to be able to work all day. The going rate is $2 per day. We are paying them $4 per day. They need the money badly to be able to buy corn, so we pay extra.
Our scorpion count is up to five and I have them all (alive) in a tupperware container. I don’t believe they are going to let us bring them home on the airplane. The PoKot people keep finding them and bringing me more for the container. The teacher here keeps picking them up. He says there is a special way to hold them. I’m not particularly interested in mastering his technique.
The new well that our church put in last month has been a huge success since the one in town is partially broken. There has been a constant line of people pumping water into large yellow 5-gallon jugs.
I preached Sunday with an interpreter. They seemed to like it. But I don’t think it was as good as when I was here in January because last time they gave me a chicken when I preached. Well, I still have two more Sundays…
We look forward to being back in two weeks and sharing some of the neat things that are going on!
The above quote is something my father in law often will tell those of us in my family when we need to be reminded how to handle things when they are not going as expected.
At the end of June a group from Harvest headed down south to Tecate, Mexico to work on building a house for a member of Pablo Martinez’s church (Pablo is one of the pastors we support on Harvest’s missions committee).
Ed Barker and Luke Scherler were the first to leave driving the van with the trailer of supplies and our team’s luggage. The majority of the rest of our team was to fly out the following morning where we would meet the guys in San Diego and together would cross the border to Mexico and head to Tecate. By late afternoon the van had over heated twice and Ed and Luke were stranded in Red Bluff, California, where the temperature was 115 degrees. Thankfully, Carol Barker was able to drive a truck from Portland to meet the guys in Red Bluff. She arrived around midnight and then they left the van and continued on in the truck. They drove all night to meet up with the rest of us in San Diego. Yeah! Unfortunately, the truck would not be able to transport all 12 of our team members so a rental van was needed. After 2 hours of phone calls we were able to find a van that was just the right size for our need and could be driven into Mexico. “Thank you, Lord!”
The start of the building of the house had a couple of issues ☹ When the foundation was built the plans were flipped so that the bathroom could be on the left side of the house instead of the right. That took some time for Ed (our master building planner, supervisor) to decide how we would start are project. After a few hiccups on the first day everything seemed to be coming together. Whew!
The weather while we were in Tecate was extremely hot for us Oregonians. Anywhere between 100-105 for the first 4 days of our trip. This made working very difficult. With no complaining (that was audible) the team was able to change our wake up times to 6 am to try and get as much work accomplished during the cooler time of the day. By the end of our week the majority of the house had been built. With just some interior items needing to be done (sheet-rock, insulation, etc.). Thankfully, with help from Mountainview Christian Church and members of Pablo’s church those things are getting taken care of.
Proverbs 16:9 says . . .
“In their hearts humans plan their course, but the Lord establishes their steps.”
Many of us on the team had moments of frustration or concerns about our abilities. But coming to the job site everyday and seeing Armando, Rebecca and their children helped everything come in to focus. We were there for them! But even beyond that we were there to serve to Lord!
To me that’s what mission trips are about. Sometimes things don’t go as planned, sometimes we’re uncomfortable, but God is always there walking us through, helping us through the different obstacles we encounter. I learn more about Him and my faith grows the more I serve others, especially others that are unlike me.
Ed and I are hoping to lead another mission trip to Tecate next year. Pray and ask the Lord if this would be a part of His plan for you?
Pictured Left to Right (Ann McFarlane, Ed Barker, Rebecca, Steve and Joel Katz, Seth Scherler, Luke Scherler, Senny Scherler, Isaac Martinez, Madison Christensen, Shanaya Nelson, Mirela Nelson, Teresa Scherler, Pablo Martinez, and Cliff Nelson)
Harvest team members in bold.
**As I write this I ask for you to be in prayer for Armando he is scheduled to have surgery Tuesday, August 15th to have the 3 tumors removed from his brain. His recovery time away from home will be at least a month and during that time Rebecca his wife will be staying with him and had to quit her job.
Please pray for Armando’s full recovery
Please pray for their children while Armando and Rebecca are away (Grandparents will be staying with the children)
Pray for a job for Rebecca once they return home. She is the main financial contributor to their family.
Pray for Armando, Rebecca and their children that their faith will be strengthen.
Guest Post by Theresa Scherler
(pictured with husband Luke)
Our team left Monday for Africa! Flights through Seattle, Dubai, and Nairobi. The 7 hour drive to Kitale was terrible last night. Torrential rain and potholes. It seemed like 10,000 guys on motorcycles, sheep, donkeys, oh, and one zebra, were all on the “freeway.”
They carry everything here by motorcycle. My two favorites that I saw weaving in and out of traffic was a motorcycle that had a full 6’ coffin on the back sideways, and the second was another motorcycle that had a full 6’ sofa on it sideways that had a lady sleeping on half of it…and had groceries on the other half! I will try and take some pictures of the things people put on the back of their motorcycles to send you.
We are in the very third world city of Kitale. Glad to be here. We spent the day shopping for building materials for the mission house and medicine for the PoKot people. Penicillin is very cheap here, it averages out to be about $1 per series of doses for one person.
Because of the elections here, it’s pretty unstable. A lot of the grocery stores don’t have basic supplies and people have not been at work. We are not sure why. Looks like we will be eating a lot of rice. Meat, eggs, and bread are very scarce. Don’t feel too bad, I still have a jumbo bag of candy bars from Dubai…
It’s not really that bad, we still have lots of food, just not the things we were planning on being able to purchase.
We are loading up a semi-truck full of supplies and we will be heading north 5 hours on the worst unpaved road you’ve seen into the bush where the Tierney Mission is located. Kathy Tierney will be joining us next Friday.
We will give you more news in the next couple of days.
Be sure to keep us in your prayers!
Mike & Jeanette Halstead, Michael VanDoren, September Price, Olivia Lowe
To learn more about Tierney Christian Mission, [Click Here].
Hello Church Family,
Rebecca and I just returned from about 7 weeks in Uganda where our oldest daughter Rachel, her husband Daniel and a pending adoptive grandchild are living and working as missionaries. Daniel is a veterinarian, a graduate of Oregon State, and he sets up small business enterprises where Ugandans in isolated communities can raise turkeys, goats and rabbits not only to augment their own diets but also to generate some income. There are several places in Uganda where he has ‘start-ups’ so there is a bit of travel for him to keep the process in motion. Each of these locations is connected to a local church work so Dr. Daniel’s work creates a bridge between destitute and marginalized widows and families and the message of Good News.
While we were there I was able to go directly to three of the sites where he has gotten things in motion. Each one of the
visits was moving and humbling. At one location the widow we visited was so grateful for our visit, words of encouragement and prayer that she gave me a Rooster. I can afford more roosters than she could imagine but the gift was graciously accepted. At another site (about 18 hours of driving away) we visited displaced forest pygmies who have been driven onto marginal lands, and without resources and support. Large portions of Africa are being depopulated and left as animal preserves because of international effort to create wildlife sanctuaries. National governments are financially rewarded for this but nothing trickles down to blunt the effects of displacement on those evicted without compensation, from lands that they lived on out of recorded history. The Pastor of the local Baptist church in this area which is just north of the Rwandan border and Daniel have partnered to identify open land (Pastor George’s task) and establish a protein and income source for these impoverished and neglected people (Dr. Daniel’s task). The tribe they work with are the Batwa and they are an unreached people group with animistic beliefs. They are now building interdependence with the local church.
I spoke to them in a breathtaking circumstance, part way up the side of a cone volcano, one of three in a line marching into northern Rwanda. Through an interpreter I used ideas from Acts chapter 17 to present God’s nature and made the case that special trees and rocks and mountains cannot help us with our needs because they are only created things, like us. God, who made all things, is our source of help. Pray for these people as Pastor George and Dr. Daniel continue their work with the Batwa.
About 15 kilometers from the town of Soroti, where Rachel and Daniel are based is a third work that has just started. Rebecca and I were present as two turkeys each were ‘loaned out’ by the church there to widows and impoverished families. Several weeks later students from the Bible School that Daniel teaches in came along for a follow-up with those who received turkeys. We (Dr. Daniel, Pastor Charles and I) visited a blind man and his wife who have many children. He went blind in 2010 and this has devastated his ability to provide for his family. This visit almost overwhelmed me because his needs are so complex; even to provide food for his children. They eat one meal a day which many poor families do in Uganda, and the children can augment this with mangoes which have two seasons, Spring, and Fall, and anything else they obtain in the bush. The family has a small plot of land and their daily meals are derived from this. We prayed for Michael and his family before we left and you can to. Other ‘helps’ are in the works for him but they cannot be associated with U.S. money because it distracts desperate people from looking to God for help and they look to humans (us) as their benefactors. This does not mean that we cannot help but our help should pass through the local church so it is rightly identified with God for His glory.
It is tempting to pull our pockets out and let the change fall liberally all over the place. Many of us have the wherewithal to answer today’s problems for some. We may want others to see us as good people and our heart is to help and do good things, but when we do this carelessly people begin to depend on us as though we are their answer to life’s problems. That is God’s role and not ours.
So Rebecca and I are home now but home seems a little strange. Some things have changed, maybe it is us. We have atoms from the dust of Africa in our bodies. We lived as visible minorities in a culture not quite like our own. As we look around us we must conclude that we are so blessed but we feel a vague burden with our blessing. New ideas are forming in our minds. Just like Abraham was blessed to be a blessing, so have we been blessed.
Guest Post by Harvest Board Member
Steve Long (pictured with wife Rebecca)
I’ve never been a girly-girl. I was raised by a single dad who had himself been raised as the only son sharing a house with five older sisters. I am sure by the time he was grown, he had had enough of all things feminine. As a consequence, there was not a lot of fru fru in my early life. I owned one pair of shoes…black and white boy’s high-top sneakers. I wore them with everything.
The Urban dictionary describes “fru fru” as “very decorated or girly in nature.” I have expanded that in my mind and use the term to describe any woman who manages to both maintain a nice haircut and put together outfits on a regular basis. I so admire those abilities! I feel that I could be fru fru, if only I didn’t hate clothes shopping, despise getting my hair cut, hate putting on make-up and have an aversion to wearing jewelry. Really, that’s all that is holding me back. My poor husband. I am such a mess. But think of all the money he saves!
Nevertheless, I have one girly-girl pleasure: Pedicures. When the weather turns warm and my feet come out of their long winter’s hibernation, white and crinkly, unready for the sun; I take one look at Thedermreport.com and say, “We need a professional.” And I get a pedicure.
What luxury! What indulgence! And so worth it. Because for at least two weeks out of every year, I have beautiful feet. And for those two weeks, I feel like a Fru Fru girl. Don’t look at my hair. Don’t look at my stained blue jeans. From the ankle down I am all womanly beautifulness.
Sadly, almost no one notices. What is wrong with you people? Do I need to throw myself down in the church foyer, take off my sandals and wiggle my toes in the air to get your attention? Obviously.
Feet don’t always get the attention they deserve. On that note:
Here at Harvest, we have a lot of beautiful feet: people who minister on a daily basis and share the good news of Christ to those around them.
“Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved. How, then, can they call on the one they have not believed in? And how can they believe in the one of whom they have not heard? And how can they hear without someone preaching to them? And how can they preach unless they are sent? As it is written, ‘how beautiful are the feet of those who bring good news!’” Romans 10: 1-15
We also send out and support missionaries to reach across cultures and geographical boundaries. Many of these people have made great sacrifices to follow the call of God on their lives and are seeing abundant fruit as a result.
Team Expansion: Led by Harry Douglass, Team Expansion works to plant churches among Latin people here in Oregon and in Cuba.
Key Communications: The ministry of Key Communications has many facets and a goal to reach Muslim populations all over the world. They produce audio and literature resources in Urdu (Pakistan’s national language) and broadcast Christian media to South East Asia through short-wave radio. They support recent converts from Islam in areas hostile to the gospel of Christ and educate Christians in how interact with Muslims in a positive way.
Jaffet Perez: Jaffet works to support churches in Central and South America. Since many Spanish speaking areas do not have Bible colleges, Jaffet helps to train-up church leaders wherever there is need, often traveling thousands of miles a year. (Currently, he is working with two churches and an orphanage in El Salvador.)
Ibero American Ministries (IAM): Doug and Shelly Kallestad: Doug and Shelly work with IAM ministries to plant churches and provide humanitarian services all over the world.
Pablo Martinez: Pablo pastors a church in Tecate, Mexico
Tierney Christian Mission: Jim and Kathy Tierney are spreading the word of the Lord across the Kamketo region of Kenya, Africa.
South Sudan African Mission: Paul Douglass works with his team to train native Sudanese men to serve Christ, planting churches and extending the Kingdom of God in South Sudan.
I look forward to sharing more details about each of these ministries and how we can support them. These are the hands and feet of Jesus, spreading the good news all over the world. And they are beautiful.
“It is too light a thing that you should be my servant to raise up the tribes of Jacob and to bring back the preserved of Israel; I will make you as a light for the nations, that my salvation may reach to the end of the earth.” Isaiah 49:6
I have a confession to make: I’m a loser. Not the kind of loser who through poor choices or bad luck never seems to make a success of things. No, I’m the kind of loser who, well…loses things. Lots of things. Repeatedly. Over and over. Jackets, keys, books, important papers. You name it; I’ve lost it. My theory is that there is some sort of invisible vortex into an alternate dimension that follows me everywhere I go, snatching up items whenever I set them down and spitting them out Heaven knows where a few hours or weeks later. At times, this can be inconvenient.
On the other hand, it has been great for my prayer life:
“Oh God, Great Heavenly Father, Beloved Master of the Universe, please, please, PLEASE let me find my keys!”
“Oh God, Lord of All Creation including black holes and alternate dimensions, please, please, PLEASE let me find my refund check!”
“Oh God, Patient and Kind Father who never grows sick or weary of hearing from me, please, please, Please, show me where I left the foot cream.”
It is possible God got a little sick of my panicked pleadings. I say this because he eventually provided me with a secret weapon against the vortex: my husband, David.
If I am a loser, David is a finder. He has this amazing ability to take in all the visual details in the world around him and draw important conclusions from them. “There is a tiny green corner of paper sticking out from beneath that pile of newspapers. Could that be your refund check?” It’s a miracle really. When he opens the refrigerator door and looks at the chaos of tinfoil-clad leftovers, wilting produce and crowded condiments, he can always find the mayonnaise. I love this man.
Not only is David skilled at finding things, but he is persistent. When he looks for something he will not give up until he finds it. If I have lost something, he will drop whatever he is doing, and comb through every corner of the house until he finds it for me. Now, here’s the thing. David does not enjoy searching for things. He has such a good visual memory that he almost never loses something himself. And yet, he is constantly giving up his free time to help me find stuff. Why? Because he loves me.
And here’s where Missions comes in. You were wondering when I was going to get to that, weren’t you? Have you ever seen the artist’s rendition of Jesus where he has a sheep thrown across his back and he is all happy and smiling and stuff? Why do you think he’s so happy? Have you ever seen a real sheep? They are not the cleanest creatures and they are dumb as posts. They are also quite heavy. If I had a sheep strapped across my back, I would not be smiling.
The picture comes from a story Jesus told in Luke 15:4 – 15:7 “Suppose one of you has a hundred sheep and loses one of them. Does he not leave the ninety-nine in the open country and go after the lost sheep until he finds it? And when he finds it, he joyfully puts it on his shoulders and goes home. Then he calls his friends and neighbors together and says, “Rejoice with me. I have found my lost sheep.” I tell you that in the same way there will be more rejoicing in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine righteous persons who do not need to repent.”
Jesus is smiling in the picture because he is happy. Something was lost, and Jesus found it. Jesus is the finder! Luke 19:10 “For the Son of Man came to seek and save the lost.” The Bible tells us that Jesus first came for the lost sheep of Israel. But when he rose from the dead he opened up that vision to include the whole world. He told his disciples to “Go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you.” Matthew 28:19.
Here’s another confession. That verse doesn’t move me. It doesn’t give me chills. I know it is “The Great Commission” and all, but it feels a thousand miles away from me. For forty years I have been trying to drum up feelings when I hear that verse, and it is just not happening. All I feel is a vague sense of guilt because, basically, I am one of those ninety-nine sheep who feels safe and warm and is perfectly content to stand around eating grass and making fun of that funny bleating noise the other sheep are making. I have zero desire to “Go and make disciples.”
Nevertheless, I am 100% committed to missions. Why? Three reasons:
First, It’s not about how I feel; It’s about how God feels. As a member of the body of Christ, I am God’s finder. I am the hands and feet of Jesus. I don’t need to feel an intense desire to save the lost. Just as my husband will get up and look for something because he loves me. I will get off my bottom and help Jesus reach people for God because I love God. And God loves everyone. He will miss every person that doesn’t make it into Heaven. 2 Peter 3:9 “The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise, as some understand slowness. Instead he is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance.”
Second, I remember what it feels like to be lost. I know what it is to be lost and alone, trapped in sin and shame. It is a bad place to be; and if I can have a part in saving people from it, I’m in.
Third, God is a Keeper. The people God saves get to be with Him for eternity. Most of the things I do each day probably don’t have a dramatic eternal impact. It would be nice if looking at pictures of kittens on the internet somehow advanced the Kingdom of Heaven, but I don’t have a lot of confidence there. However, the things I do to support missions, do have an eternal impact. I can’t think of a better use of my time and resources.
Harvest Christian Church is 100% committed to missions. We support missionaries all over the world. In future posts, I’ll share some of the great things happening in Africa, Mexico, the Middle East and Cuba because of the missionaries we support.
September Price, Missions Committee
Visit our MISSIONS info page here!
Just finished a missions meeting here at Church. We have some wonderful missionaries doing some incredible things. Cuba, Chile, Sudan, Pakistan, Central America, and Mexico. We are looking at the possibility adding the Po Kot people group in Kenya. Maybe in a year or two you might be able to join us on a two week trip there. At the beginning of Harvest, 20 years ago we pledged 21% of our future tithes to Missions. Our Little Church gives around $5000 dollars a month to cross-cultural missions. We just sent $3,000 today to Sudan African Mission for the main evangelist to get surgery for his hand. We support it with our funds, but I’m afraid the congregation still is not in touch with our commission from Jesus to “seek and save the lost” in all the world. We would love to have some new young folks on our Missions board! Interested? Talk to Rob Spitzengel our chairman.
In 1969, I was sitting in Church listening to our Preacher Mr. Burris (As kids we never called an adult by their first name). He was taking his Airplane and his family to Rhodesia Africa to become missionaries. They needed rifles, and other cool gear (actually all I can remember was the rifles) donated so they would have what they needed there. I was the only 9 year old I knew that would have stowed away in their suitcases if I could. They were there for a number of years before the rebels overthrew the country. It’s now on the map as Zimbabwe. On their way out they were even shot at and had bullet holes in the plane! Since then, I have always had a heart for the tribal people of Africa.
Have you a heart for anything? Anything significant? I’m sure you do. Now the big question: What will you do about it?
Have a great afternoon and hug the people you love.
A recent Gallup Poll shows Oregon tied with 4 other states as the worst in the nation for church attendance. They polled about 2,400 people and found that only 24% said that they attend a church. Of course, that could mean Christmas and Easter. 17% said they attend regularly. I believe that many of those were fudging the truth a little. I think it is only 10-15% at best.
Do you know what that means? We are missionaries living in a mission field! “Strangers and aliens” as it says in 1 Peter.
Plenty of pre-Christians to go around. No need to feel like we are one competing with other churches.
Watch the cars drive by. 8 out of 10 of the occupants will miss out on eternal life…
Of course it’s not too late…is it!?
Let’s be about the Lord’s work.