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Thursday, April 26, 2018

Malawi Mission's Trip - April 1-13, 2018 Written by Dr. Eric Langerman

We left Los Angeles at just before midnight on Easter; what an auspicious beginning to my first real international mission trip. Thirty hours later we landed in Lilongwe, the capital of Malawi. We were greeted warmly by the Reaching the Hungry team led by Wonderful Chibisa. 


We wasted no time; stopping only for a quick team picture, before setting out to get supplies for our stay.  Water, peanut butter, and bread. Unfortunately, we had to go to a second store because the first had run out of the single variety of bread they offer. 

After successfully getting our lunch ingredients for the next few days we went to Mosaic house where a local congressman allowed us to stay because he is very excited about the work that RtH does in Malawi, preaching the Good news of Jesus Christ and installing water wells in poor, rural villages. 

We unpacked and everyone quickly went to bed despite it being about 1pm pacific time because we were so tired from the long day-plus of travel. 

Early the next morning we piled into a van piloted by our driver extraordinaire Knocks. We drove over a series of large potholes interspersed with narrow strips of dirt road made of red clay for 45 minutes. 


When we arrived at the villages the women would greet us with song and dance, jubilant for what we were about to do. Children without shoes would swarm us as we exited the van, many never having seen a white person before, or a van for that matter. 

Most of us would set to work straight away on constructing the well. Tabitha or Kate, two of Reaching the Hungry’s Malawian national Missionaries, would split off and entertain the children and women of the village with Bible stories and praise songs. Their singing was melodious background noise as we measured, cut, shoveled and cemented pieces in place. 

The first day seeing the well come together was nothing short of a miracle, and for the people, it truly was a blessing from God, clean water to drink, something we often take for granted. 


Once the well was finished we would break to eat local food with the people, and if there was time we would play soccer or Neti-ball with the children while waiting for nightfall.
With the sun low on the horizon, we would move to a nearby field where the denizens of three or more nearby villages would congregate waiting for us to show the Jesus film. Once it was dark we would turn on the projector and they would watch the first, and possibly last movie in their lives. 

Following the life of Jesus as recorded in the Gospel of John, we see the birth, life, death and resurrection of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, all narrated in the local language Chichewa.  It was like a symphony rising to its crescendo. The labor of the day.  The new relationships we had quickly formed.  The word we had preached. All culminating in this moment, the moment of choice. 
  


With Jesus still being nailed to the cross, the video would pause. One of us would rise, if we had been able to calm our nerves and remain seated, then join Wonderful in the center of a semicircle of Lost Sheep. All eyes fixed on us, we had five minutes to lay out the Gospel and what knowing Jesus had meant for our lives. When we finished Wonderful or John, another Malawian missionary team member, would ask the crowd if any there felt Him tugging on their heart. If any there had seen and heard about this Christ and now wanted to invite Him into their hearts forever.  Dozens if not hundreds of hands would rise into the darkness. Those who made a decision were led in group prayer.  The sound of their voices in unison pledging themselves to Jesus Christ was hauntingly beautiful. 

By the second or third day, the well construction process had become less magical to us, but had not lost any of its power for the people.  We put in six wells in those three days and for hundreds of people provided not only drinking water but pointed them towards the one who can quench their thirst forever. 

Wonderful, John, Tabitha, Kate, Memory, Knocks, Grace, Zac, Carlos, Eric. Ten people over two weeks were able to change the lives of hundreds of villagers. Malawi has 16 million people, and we touched the lives of only a fraction.  There are many more who need our support.  Who need Jesus Christ.

Thursday, March 29, 2018

"How to Really Pray for a Missions Trip" by Alison Sales

"How to Really Pray for a Missions Trip"
by Alison Sales
When friends of mine leave for missions trips they often ask me to pray for their safety and pray that hearts will be softened and receptive to their message. I know that God will protect them, I know that God will not let his word return void and that God will use their missions trip for his glory. So how can I really pray, and get deeper into prayer, for my loved ones heading across the globe to share the Gospel?

1) Don't pray for safety.  Instead, pray for boldness!

I have been on missions trips with team members that have anxiety attacks, debilitating depression, diabetes, fibromyalgia, arthritis, and numerous other ailments. And for every single trip, those dear friends who should be asking for more "safe travels" prayers and asking for more comfort are the team members who jump right into the germ-filled crowds and reach out to touch the broken villagers. God can pamper these teams with window seats on the planes and lavish them with hot showers, but no matter how safe and accommodating the trip is it is always the bold moments which have eternal implications.

Every team member would agree they want safety, but they would agree even more strongly that they do not want to miss an opportunity to share eternal safety with someone who needs it.

2) Pray for clear eyes to see and recognize divine appointments rather than for hearts softened to the Gospel. I think sometimes when we pray that hearts will be softened to our message it is because we are secretly scared of rejection. We think that God should just help us out a little more and remove all the risk in sharing the Gospel. If we had a 100% success rate guaranteed wouldn't that be great?!  But if God can do the work of taking a group of Americans out of their daily grind and move them to speak to his beloved children on foreign soil, then don't you think He has done all the preparation work we could possibly need? 

When I went on my first trip to Africa I noticed that my Dad stopped to talk to everyone. He talked to people at the gas station, peddlers by the side of the road, and the motel staff. Literally everyone!  After a day or two of this, I realized that my Dad had "divine appointments" with every single one of those people.  As a team member on the trip, I thought we were on a mission to share the gospel with the villagers, but my Dad was on a mission to share the gospel with every single person we saw until we got out to the village. He was on a completely different trip and had an entirely bigger vision for what God wanted to accomplish. Wouldn't it be awesome if every person who went on a trip with RTH had that vision? So please pray that team members would have fresh eyes to see all of the divine appointments God has planned for them. Pray that they will recognize and already softened heart when they see one.

It has often been said that prayer is not about getting God to do what we want, but it is about God changing our perspective so we want what he wants. As you pray for the Reaching the Hungry trips going to remote villages and tiny impoverished towns this year, may it change your worldview and may it bless you with God's vision for your life. 

Please keep in mind our upcoming trips to...
  • March 31 – Mexico Orphanage Trip REG HERE
  • April 1-13 - Malawi Mission Trip (Jesus Film, Water Wells, Orphanage, Safari)
  • April 28 – Mexico Outreach  REG HERE
  • May 19 – Mexico Orphanage Trip  REG HERE
  • June 23 - July 3 - Guatemala Mission Trip  APPLY HERE
  • July 8-20 - Malawi Mission Trip (Jesus Film, Water Wells, Orphanage, Safari)
  • August 5-14 – Philippines Mission Trip
  • Aug 24 – Sept 6 -Malawi Mission Trip (Jesus Film, Water Wells, Orphanage, Safari)
  • Sept – Costa Rica  Mission Trip
  • Sept 29 – Mexico Orphanage Trip
  • Oct 21-Nov 2 - Malawi Mission Trip (Jesus Film, Water Wells, Orphanage, Safari)
  • Dec 8 - Mexico Christmas Outreach 

Saturday, March 24, 2018

Taking Root by Grace Sales


To be honest, since I have been home I have felt nervous about being a part of births, medical missions, or even missions in general. I have not felt the same desire and excitement I felt before and so I have procrastinated and said no to some of the opportunities that have come up in the last couple months. This season of returning to the U.S., has been a season of allowing roots to reach, grow, and search deeper for water. A season of abiding in Jesus and beginning to recognize the fruit of my ministry and learning to celebrate the fruit that I will not get to see until I get to heaven. 

The last couple months, I began to start feeling unexplained sadness constantly nagging at me. I kept meditating on Jeremiah 17:8 “For he will be like a tree planted by the water, That extends its roots by a stream And will not fear when the heat comes; But its leaves will be green, And it will not be anxious in a year of drought Nor cease to yield fruit.” This verse reminded me to not be afraid of my roots that I let grow in the Philippines or to be afraid of allowing roots to grow again in the US. 

In February, about 8 months after returning from the Philippines, I went to a debrief retreat. The ability to express what I was feeling or to talk about my memories from overseas became harder and I started feeling a need to escape from everyone who didn’t understand. My parents encouraged me that this retreat would help me transition well and find the courage to say yes to God again. 

The theme for my debrief was ABIDE. John 15:4 says “Abide in Me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself unless it abides in the vine, so neither can you unless you abide in Me.” This was exactly what I needed. The ABIDE retreat helped me begin to face and work through grief, losses, and I begin feeling renewed and excited for what God has planned for me. Since processing my time in ministry over the past couple years, I have recognized the need to honor my grief and have begun to feel renewed, one baby-step at a time. 

The Lord is leading me through renewal and I feel called to let you know about my next step. 9 years ago I went with my dad to Malawi, Africa for a trip that would change my life forever. At the end of that trip, I made a commitment to God and myself that I would dedicate my life to missions and begin preparing for a longer commitment overseas until God told me otherwise. The plan, for now, is “just keep saying yes.” Many of you have been on this journey with me and prayed with me, and over me, through all the different experiences and training He has given me along the way. I cannot thank you enough for that support. And now here I am, writing to share with you about this season of renewal God has me in and I believe that He wants to renew the passion He has given me for His people. So I am very excited to share with you that after 9 years I will be traveling full circle and joining the team on April 1st making the long trek back to Malawi, Africa. Please thank God with me as I grow these new roots!


Please partner with Gracie by prayerfully and financially supporting her to go back to Malawi, Africa! 
                                         
RtH Donation / Support Options
  1. Write check to Reaching the Hungry; mail to 1018 Ranger Road; Fallbrook, CA 92028.
  2. Use Venmo, click venmo.com/RtHDonation
  3. Use PayPal, click HERE (PayPal takes a 3% fee).
You will receive a tax-deductible receipt. 

If you are interested in joining us on a future trip, please see a list of our 2018 Mission Trips at www.ReachingtheHungry.org.  You can email Info@ReachingtheHungry.org, or call our office at (760) 523-0777, or click HERE for additional info. 

Wednesday, March 21, 2018

GUATEMALA HOPE OF LIFE VISION TRIP - MARCH 2018


What is Hope of Life?

Hope of Life, a non-profit, Christian organization, based out of Chiquimula, Guatemala, is all about transformation. Whether it is providing medical aid to a remote village or rescuing a malnourished baby in the mountains, this ministry has been transforming the lives of the people of Guatemala ever since it’s establishment 30 years ago. In 1987, Carlos Vargas, the founder of Hope of Life, made a business deal with God while on his deathbed, declaring that if God healed him, he would serve the sick and poor people of Guatemala the rest of his life. 30 years later, with 6,721 homes built, 611 church planters trained, $307,000,000 worth of medical aid distributed, 28,871 children rescued, 496 clean water projects completed, 7,217 child and elderly sponsorships established, 310 schools built,  and 570 church and community centers built, Carlos’s commitment to His deal with God holds true to this day. The Hope of Life campus serves as a missions hub, where the ministry staff run and track logistical operations, teams are housed, sent out from, and rest after long days serving in the villages, and Guatemalans are cared for. The campus includes 3,000 acres of land, 4 large warehouses, multiple buildings for housing up to 400 people at a time, a hospital, a business lodge, homes for orphans, dining facility, pool, and office building. The ministry strategically involves churches and other ministries in serving the people of Guatemala by going along for child rescues, raising orphans, building homes and buildings in villages, conducting medical aid and distribution, and more. Guatemala is being transformed through this ministry.


Checking out Hope of Life

Our mission in visiting Hope of Life was to see what this ministry is all about and if there is potential for partnership in the future. We had a small team, Pastor Carlos, Javier, and myself (Zac). Our first day we received a tour of the Hope of Life campus. We were told the story of how Carlos began this ministry and how it has expanded. We were taken to the buildings where the elderly people who cannot life on their own, the mentally ill, and children are all housed and cared for. We personally talked with them, and had the privilege of hearing one man play the accordion and sing, and another woman showed us her personal paintings of which we had the option to purchase. This was hard for me. Seeing these children who without choice of their own,  have to battle mental disabilities without assistance from parents. Thankfully Hope of Life rescued them. The next day we were taken to what is known as “The Dump”.





Quite accurately named, The Dump is a location where all trash in the area is dumped. It is also the home of many families, adults and children alike.  In talking to one of the men who love there, we discovered that around 2 weeks of trash collection will allow him to make $4-$6 worth. You see, to survive, these people collect trash and sell it. Their homes are also constructed out of garbage. Smoke blanketed the mounds of filth as we walked around. I glanced over and spotted a small boy, with no parents in sight, holding a piece of garbage, walking through the smoke. The reality of my wealth as an American, who not only has everything I need but also Eternal life as a Christ Follower, hit me drastically and a sinking feeling of humility came over me. We then served food to those living in that area, what a privilege this was. The following day involved us linking up with a medical team, Parkside Pediatrics to conduct a medical clinic in their sponsor village.






I helped with vitals and triage documentation. What a joy it was to serve these people! There is nothing like offering medical aid and then true life through Jesus. You see that is one of the basic principles of Hope of Life, never meeting a physical need without addressing the spiritual need. Needless to say, We were all impressed with the strategy, service opportunities, and impact of this ministry and are eager to partner with them in advancing God’s Kingdom. Reaching the Hungry will be joining Hope of Life in Guatemala in June 2018 to do just that. We would love to have you join us in this great opportunity.

Guatemala Mission Trip - March 2018



Interested in next Guatemala Mission's Trip... Carlos@ReachingtheHungry.org 

Tuesday, March 20, 2018

How to be a Sender By Alison Sales

Every time someone goes on a trip with RTH there are dozens and even hundreds of people supporting them and praying for them. 

Jesus only had 12 followers that he called apostles, which means "sent ones". But Jesus had dozens of followers that he called disciples who encouraged, supported, shared with, and prayed for those "sent ones". 

No mission's trip is ever possible without senders! 

As a disciple of Christ we may not all be able to pack up and be his apostles in Africa, Central American or South America. But as his beloved children we are all called to be "senders" in some capacity. You might be able to host a dinner where a trip member can share their stories. Or maybe you can send the last $10 they needed to raise for a water well that will save lives. You could even be the encouraging friend that takes them to Target before their flight for last-minute bug spray and a journal. Be creative.

You are invited to have your fingerprints all over this mission. You are invited to share in the blessing of transferring hope to the physically and spiritually starving people of the world! You are invited. 

How can you be a sender? Many missionary senders traditionally get asked for prayer support and financial support. Yet having a successful team takes much more than prayer and money. Often team members are scared, insecure, lack enough connections to get funding, and need frequent reminders that God will provide peace, safety, health, etc. How can you join a team and share your energy and strength with them?

Nothing is too small for God to use--a letter, a verse, fasting, a coffee date, a five dollar bill, a text message-- and none of it is out of His ability to multiply.