Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Peterson's Prayer Guide - November 2007

Come, let us worship and bow down. Let us kneel before the Lord our Maker, for He is our God. We are the people He watches over, the sheep under His care. Let us come before Him with thanksgiving. Psalm 95:6-7, 2

This month we have much to thank the Lord for. One of the biggest things on my list is Gary. This year his birthday falls on Thanksgiving Day! We hope you have plenty on your list to thank God for, too.

I am thankful for the opportunity to be with my mother during and after her surgery. When I left, she had made a lot of progress in her recovery, and I was very encouraged with all the support offered her from our church, relatives, neighbors and Wycliffe friends. Please continue to pray as she heals and adjusts to the changes in her body. As much as I enjoyed being with my Aussie family and friends, it’s great to be home with my family again! I missed them so much. We have a new appreciation for each other. I’d be grateful for your prayers as I try and catch up on all that I wasn’t able to do while away. There’s a lot of correspondence to tackle! Please be patient with us.

A letter from the Immigration Service requests me to appear for the Naturalization Oath Ceremony on November 15th. On that day I will officially become a US citizen. It will be quite exciting to be able to vote in the next election!

As you will see by looking at Gary’s schedule for the month, it’s going to be a busy one! He is already feeling like he needs a break, and we’ve been looking to see when we could take one. At present we’re thinking we could take 5 days as a family vacation from Nov. 21- 25th. Please pray that we can find a good place to go. If we just stay home, I know we won’t really get the kind of complete break we need. It will need to be somewhere not too far away, and not expensive.

If you’re wondering about our newsletter, it is still not done. We hope to edit and finalize it soon so we can get it in the mail.

This month we are looking forward to visits from 2 families from the Northwest who support our ministry. Pray that we’ll be a blessing to these special people who help make it possible for us to be involved in this work.

Here’s the schedule. As always we are so grateful for you prayers! Ask God with us for prepared hearts and eternal fruit from these great opportunities.

1st - 75 Home-schoolers will visit Wordspring.
2nd - Program for 53 students from a Christian school
6th - Special tour for leaders of the National Coalition of Men’s Ministries (Promise Keepers, Man in the Mirror, etc.)
7th - Teach a missions class at Reformed Theological Seminary in Orlando
8-9th - Man a booth at the Florida Christian Schools Convention
9th - International Day of Prayer event at the office (Robyn will attend)
10th - Program for an AWANA club visiting Wycliffe
10-11th - Esther is bringing 20 or so students from her Bible College to spend the night, then Gary will give them a special tour of Wycliffe/Wordspring on the 11th. We need to work out accommodations for everyone!
13th - Program for a Christian elementary school.
16th - Program for 30 students from a Home school co-op
17th - Tour for ladies from a Women’s Shelter (One of their staff used to work with Wycliffe).
19-20th - Man a booth at the Association of Christian Schools convention.
21–25th - Family vacation?
22nd - Gary’s birthday/Thanksgiving Day
27th - Program for high school students from a Christian school
29th - Program for 30 Home schooled students

Robyn for the Petersons

Thursday, October 25, 2007

Ray Albrektson's Email Prayer Letter

October 24, 2007
(Staff homes threatened in S. California wildfires)

Dear Friends:

The fire season is upon us here in the California Southland. The dawn today brought a red sky, oceans of smoke over the mountains, and the throaty drone of fire-bombers. Our patio furniture was covered with dust and ash. I haven't heard from my colleagues who live in the heart of the mountains: Running Springs, Blue Jay, and Crestline and—despite the ubiquity of the internet and cell-phones—I can't find out if their homes have been burned or spared.

This terrible week in California, when hundreds of thousands have had to flee to shelters not knowing if they will return to their homes or only ash, reminds me of the loss of our home in San Bernardino's Panorama Fire. We had just moved to California from campus ministry in Indiana. Josh was 2 and Laurie was 5. I was studying for my Hebrew final exam in a few weeks. In less than an hour what began as a beautiful (although fiercely windy) day had become a smoky inferno. The row of homes across the street had suddenly metamorphosed into gigantic torches. We grabbed the children* and drove blindly away before the fire-storm consumed our entire neighborhood—the North Park area—284 homes in all, including ours.

This picture gives you an idea of what we returned to a few days later—a forest of chimneys in a burnt-out neighborhood. We saw charred turkey carcasses in the street, as it was almost Thanksgiving and most of us had birds in the freezer. Our house was nothing but ash and twisted metal. Laurie's prized pretend-makeup set had evaporated; my handmade computer (a Heathkit H89) was a puddle of glass. Josh's "Rex the Wonder Horse" had been in the back yard, but had melted into a little heap of red plastic all the same.

As time passed we realized how gracious God had been. He had merely lightened our load to make the move to Southeast Asia easier. We met new friends who opened their hearts to replace many of the material things that had burned.

Dr. Bright used to say, "Wear the cloak of materialism loosely," and we often reflect on the lessons we learned as we passed through the fire.

Our prayer is that God would spare our friends, and that all affected by the fires would open their hearts to our merciful God, looking to Him to meet their needs in a terrible and trying time of their life.

I'm sorry to report that the November ISP trip to Omsk and Kurgan, in Russia, has been postponed until late Spring. It seems it was just about impossible to get our team from one city to another in order to do two convocations! The best option--taking the train--actually involved a detour through Kazakhstan, complete with visa ramifications. On the bright side, however, I'll be home for Thanksgiving and my birthday!

Ray & Kathy Albrektson
Considering donating to my ministry? [Click here]

* As we threw the kids into the car, I noticed my scuba gear in the garage. I quickly loaded a filled tank (with regulator already attached) into the car according to the theory that the driver should remain conscious to ensure the ultimate survival of the rest of the family. After all, isn't that what they say in airline safety briefings? "Take care of your own oxygen mask first, then help others." Of course, it didn't prove to be necessary, but I'll never live it down . . . .

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Nadolski Prayer letter

Pray for John Nadolski on his Living Water trip to Ghana, West Africa:

I ask for your prayers. Please remember to pray for me on the dates below (or others), and I will be praying for you, too.

Recent rains in Ghana has caused severe flooding and this flooding has contaminated many of the wells and damaged many of the hand pumps. Pastor David Donkor, LWI’s partner in central Ghana, has asked LWI to help repair these wells. John is going to Ghana to develop a plan of action to get the work completed.

Specific prayer needs:

- As always, pray for Marcia.

- We will be working in northern Ghana, an area dominated by Muslim and animistic people. John has been asked to preach. It’s a humbling and exciting opportunity to share the love of Jesus in word and deed.

- According to the report from David Donkor, there are over 100 wells that need repair. Please pray that God will provide the funds and people to repair these wells.

10/26 John leaves Houston and flies to Accra, Ghana
10/27 Arrive in Accra in the evening. The team will travel a couple of hours before settling in for the night.
10/28 Church, worship, rest and site seeing.
10/29 Make arrangement to travel to northern district.
10/30 Drive to northern Ghana, seven hour drive
10/31 – 11/3 Meet with minister and district chiefs to learn how to work with government teams to fix the wells and hand pumps.
11/4 Church, worship, rest, and site seeing.
11/5 – 11/9 Work with LWI crew to repair some of the wells/hand pumps.
11/10 Return to Accra, nine hour drive
11/11 Church, worshi and site seeing.
11/12 Arrive home in Houston

Wednesday, October 03, 2007


“ We are seeking to win the Congo and other neighboring countries for Christ. We are seeking to disciple the nation of Congo. We are seeking to raise up laborers for the harvest fields who will go where Christ has not yet been preached, both within this nation’s boundaries and beyond. We are seeking to train the growing ministries into the future.”

This is the heart cry of our African leadership in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (formerly Zaire and now referred to as Congo-Kinshasa). Despite incredible obstacles, they are believing God to bring spiritual restoration to this war-torn nation. God is raising up men and women who will be the foundation of future spiritual generations. This former Belgian colony, ripped by civil war, is a country ripe for discipleship and the equipping of spiritual leaders. This is the focus of The Navigators, and our African leader-ship have asked me to lend a hand. But I need your help to get there!

The Navigator work in Kinshasa began in 1983. Today, led by Congolese Claude Kalinga and his wife Vicky, The Navigators in Africa ministers to university students, churches where staff are effectively training pastors and key laypersons, business and professional people, and the community. But today’s ministry has not come without great cost. Since 1997, Congo-Kinshasa has been torn apart by ethnic strife and civil war. In 1999, the team’s ministry center was broken into and ransacked by soldiers. An American Navigator missionary and Congolese staff member Jacques Bula Bula were arrested and accused of spying for the U.S. government. They were imprisoned for two weeks, and Jacques was severely beaten. For the next two years, The Navigators had no place to meet, leaving the team without a secure and viable base for operations…so important in a city where transport is difficult and where a physical identity lends important credibility to the organization. Since that time, Africa Partners was able to assist the team in acquiring a new location. In need of much repair at the time, it has been vastly improved through the tireless efforts of the team. But more remains to be done.

Despite their suffering and hardship, our African leadership remain committed to reaching the nations. The Navigators in Congo-Kinshasa now have a ministry in the neighboring Republic of Congo (Brazzaville) which is led by Jacques Bula Bula. Unfortunately, the civil conflict in Congo-Kinshasa spilled over into Congo-Brazzaville. War, corruption and mismanage-ment have left both these countries in ruin.

This situation seems hopeless but, God is in the business of rebuilding and restoration. The book of Nehemiah recounts a time when the nation of Israel was in a similar situation. Jerusalem was in ruins. A band of men and women who had survived the exile returned to Jerusalem seeking spiritual restoration, only to find themselves facing a city in ruins, famine and an enemy who would rather see them dead than restored and the city rebuilt. They were in the midst of a spiritual battle; their circumstances were jeopardizing the spiritual future of the nation. The situation seemed hopeless. But the story does not end there! God provided the people and resources they needed to rebuild the city and in turn brought about the reforms needed for spiritual restoration.

Claude and Jacque face similar obstacles. They too are in the midst of a spiritual battle. The effects of years of war, corruption, and mismanagement jeopardize the spiritual future of these nations. It looks like a hope-less situation, but the story is not over. God is still in the business of spiritual restoration, and he is using men and women like Claude and Vicki and Jacques and Emérance to lay the spiritual foundations. But they need help.

As Claude and Jacques look to the future, they have asked me to help them set up an infrastructure for the ministry to position themselves for future expansion. Having mentored the Ivory Coast ministry through this process, I know how debilitating and demoralizing the lack of effective support systems are to leaders and staff. For example, how do you function when electricity is unreliable, malaria takes the place of the common cold, it takes four hours to cash a check at the bank, and you have to walk two miles to an internet cafe to check e-mail?

In addition to helping them wade through legal, administrative and technical issues, I will evaluate the renovations needed on the ministry center in Kinshasa. The center currently serves as a meeting place for conferences, retreats, and Bible studies and provides secure housing for staff in transition and guests. We will also look at the income generating potential of the facility.

Tammy and I are committed to helping our African leadership across the continent become better equipped to reach their countries for Christ in the midst of poverty, corruption, HIV/AIDS, and political and social instability. That means addressing the reality of life in Africa alongside the deep spiritual needs, but we cannot do this without your help.

I leave for Congo-Kinshasa and Congo-Brazzaville on Oct. 8 for 3 weeks. The countries are ripe for disciple-ship and the equipping of spiritual leaders. An effective infrastructure will enable these ministries to provide the spiritual training that is so desperately needed. I will help our leadership begin building support structures and teams to address that need. The trip will cost $3,554. Here is the breakdown:

Airfare $2,644
Visas 350
Food & lodging 500
Passport Photos & docs 60

In addition, we have been running behind in our support and need $3,000 to cover our ministry expenses for the year. This brings the total we need to raise to $6,554.

Will you prayerfully consider a special gift of the Lord’s leading to help me get to Congos and to help our ongoing ministry in Africa?

Tammy and I want to thank you for considering this and for your partnership with us. Thanks too for your friendship. We couldn’t be involved in this challenging ministry without your support and friendship.

Yours for building His kingdom in Africa,

Michael and Tammy

P.S. To give, make your check payable to The Navigators with the following note on the memo line: “Grainger’s #115543”. You can mail the check to the address below. Thank you for your prayerful consideration.

Michael and Tammy Grainger
8162 Cooper River Dr
Colorado Spring, CO 80920

Tuesday, October 02, 2007

Peterson's Prayer Guide - October 2007

"I am the One who answers your prayers and cares for you. I am like a tree that is always green; all your fruit comes from Me." Hosea 14:8

Many of you have inquired about Gary's headaches recently. The results of his blood tests were normal. He's had several chiropractic treatments, and the headaches have certainly lessened, though they're not gone yet. We've wondered if it may be sinus related, and may still have the MRI done in October after I return and our new health insurance year begins. We're very grateful for the improvement and for your prayers!

In the week prior to my mother's surgery, we realized that neither of my sisters was going to be able to be with her for the surgery. My sister, Jenny's new baby was very sick and was hospitalized, and several others in the family were also unwell. I felt it was important for one of us to be with her, so we changed my tickets and I left on the 18th, a week earlier than planned, for another month. I arrived in Melbourne the day before the surgery. All went as hoped, and my mother is now recovering in a ward of the hospital where I trained as a nurse many years ago. I am staying in Mum's apartment, and taking the train to the hospital each day to be with her. She is doing well, and may be home in a week or so. Though we don't enjoy being apart again, we know this is part of honouring and caring for Mum in this critical time in her life. I return on October 17th. We are grateful to Gary's mom, who flew out from California to be with him and Josiah during this time.

Our washing machine died just days before I was leaving. It was second hand when we got it 18 years ago, so I guess it was entitled to die some time. But we weren't looking for things to spend money on and were a little peeved at the timing of this event. After doing some research, and almost deciding on a new machine, we ran out of time before the store closed. The next day, as Gary was out for his morning run, he found a washing machine and drier on the side of the road in our neighbourhood. We found out they were working and free to the taker, so we lugged them home. After cleaning them up, we tried a load of laundry and they worked just fine. So praise the Lord with us for His timely and unique provision. He is indeed our Jehovah Jirah!

My US citizenship application was accepted after my interview last month. I will be able to go through the oath-taking ceremony and get my papers in January. Praise the Lord this didn't interfere with my ability to travel at this time. *Note, I will still retain my Australian citizenship.

September has been a busy month for Gary with the start of the new children's A-Z program at WordSpring and the launch of his Mission Encounter program for youth and young adults. He has also been a host at the Scripture Award Celebration with this year's recipient being Chuck and Cynthia Swindoll, and at the New Testament Celebration where 13 recently published New Testaments were dedicated. That means another 13 language groups will have the true Christmas story this year. Now that's worth celebrating!

October 6th Gary and his colleagues are running their first education programs on a Saturday. They're hoping that church youth groups that can't make it during the week will take advantage of this first Saturday of the month offering. They also have groups booked almost every Thursday and Friday through October. Gary also has some speaking engagements throughout the month. Pray that he gets the preparation time he needs.

One exciting opportunity took place this past week. Gary is often asked to do tours for special guests that come to visit, and loves to do it when he's available. Often he gets a day or even a week's notice. This day he got 25 minutes. Two key men from the house church movement in a major unnamed country were coming to visit. One was a key pastor and the other a theology professor in their training program. A local pastor and his wife from their country who live and minister here in Orlando accompanied them as interpreters. Gary was told they knew nothing of our work and little of the minority language groups in their country. Bible translation would be new to them. Time was limited, and everything would take longer because of interpretation, so he had to choose his words and illustrations carefully. As they visited different displays and talked about different issues, the interest seemed to grow. Several times the local pastor got so excited that he gave Gary a hug and said "Wow, this is so encouraging and amazing!" They were given a list of all of the languages in their country that need a translation. Gary challenged them to take up the work of Bible translation in their country so that their minority language groups won't have to wait so long to get the Scriptures in a language that speaks to their heart. Pray that God will use this encounter to help expand the work in this country where there are over 100 languages needing Scripture.

More encouraging encounters happened this past month. Gary was stopped by one of his department's long-term volunteers. She drives 160 Km/100 miles two days a week to work at Wycliffe. She said, "There is someone here who has been asking to see you." She proceeded to take him to the room where Wycliffe's new recruits were having lunch. Upon entering the room, a tall young man, sitting next to his wife, stood up and gave Gary a big hug. "Do you remember me from that "Total It Up" program (a 5 day mini linguistics course) that you helped lead in 2004? That made a huge impact on my life and led me and my wife into Wycliffe." The volunteer staffer who brought Gary to him, who also did that course said, "Yes, and he's one of the main reasons I'm here too." Wow! You prayed for him during that course in 2004, and standing before him were the answer to your prayers!

The next day Gary was stopped at the clinic desk where volunteer doctors come to serve Wycliffe members. The hostess welcomed Gary with a big smile and said. "You know my husband and I are here because of you." Before he could ask how that was, she said, "Do you remember giving our seniors group a tour earlier this year and talking to us personally about how Wycliffe needed volunteers? We sold our place, bought a trailer (caravan) and now live here in the trailer park. We have so enjoyed working here!"

Thank you so much for praying! As you can see with my mum and through the incredible contacts Gary has, God is answering your prayers and making a difference.