John & Deborah Bowen. In retirement, John and Deborah continue to teach, write, and mentor (and enjoy their four grandchildren!). Please pray as they help teach and train the next generation of leaders.
Thank you for praying for us as we moved the
freight container load of lumber from the top of the Staff House driveway across the ravine into the old, out-of-commission dining room.
Followed by Lunch in the Chapel
With snow last week, we here in the northern tier, were beginning to wonder whether Spring would ever come. But for two days now, the ravine has been beautiful for walking and watching the robins frantically building nests with the days getting longer.
Waiting is difficult. We wait and hope for the response to Jesus in the hearts we have been sent to serve. Sometimes it seems as though God is slow at His business.
But wait! Think what He has done, and the perfection of His rescues in our lives. Lost relationships, lost money, lost security, missed opportunity, all things work together for good for His children. And that
is what we are!
In Toronto, living with my muslim friends and sharing shopping and child care with them, the stress of the Covid19 lockdown (in Canada it is truly a lockdown, no ifs, ands, or buts) the economic stress is palpable, They are amazed at the happiness of the believing community that serves them. It is a visible contrast to their trepidation and distress.
We know Whom we have believed and are certain that He is able to keep what we have committed to Him against that day. Come quickly Lord Jesus.
Meanwhile, airports around the world (I’d be still stuck in Beirut, but for the US Government arranged flight) are still closed. Somehow, I managed to catch the one seat Dallas/Toronto one way on April 23, much against the insistent advice of family, accomplished the mandated quarantine in total seclusion and then reconnected with my muslim community here.
Pray for their hearts as they pray and accomplish the fast of Ramadan.
They need the Peace that passes understanding so much.
Thank you for your prayers and support.
Pray for our KWM workers who serve in areas where they must maintain their love for shaing Jesus a secret.
James 4: 14b – 15: “You do not even know what will happen tomorrow! What is your life? You are a mist that appears for a little while and then vanishes. Instead, you ought to say, “If the Lord is willing, we will live and do this or that.”
Dear Family and friends,
Warm greetings in the name of our dear Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ!
How true are these words from the New Testament! I had all these plans to see family and many friends. Travel through Canada all the way out west to visit fellow missionaries and friends, with the plans of taking the train back from Vancouver to Toronto! I was to go to Peterborough and Ottawa…. Well, we all know these things did not happen.
It was mid January that I had taken my kids to school so I could leave for my furlough the following day. We had a bit of a tearful farewell as I was to be away for about 4 months. I had hugged my kids and told Faraja that when I would see him again that his voice most likely would have changed. “Oh no!” he said “I won’t change!” The kids were to come home for a week during Easter and friends of us would pick them up from school and return them home…. Covid reached Tanzania at the beginning of March and by the second week all the schools closed. My faithful friend and house worker has been holding the fort.
( Photo: Jacky, Baraka, Margret, Kiri, Mahona, Faraja, Mfaume.)
I did visit my family in Holland and took a train to Chemnitz to visit my good friend Dr. Kathrin for a weekend. On my way there I was in a busy train with several people coughing around me. By the time I reached Chemnitz I also started to cough and by the time I reached Holland I had to see a doctor who told me that I had some viral infection. Thank God it was not Covid! Two days later I arrived in Toronto where I was met by my good friends Don and Norine who took me to a restaurant and we caught up on many things. My cough continued for another 2 weeks and I was very tired so I had to take time to recover. The cough damaged my vocal chords. I still sing but sound more like a crow!
After these first two weeks I was able to visit many of my friends and supporters until these visits came to an abrupt end mid March when the lockdown began. I then received the message that all my kids had come home due to Covid. This was very worrisome as they also had to spend time at home and I know that the availability for having education on line is nil. Also, not knowing when I can return is causing them some anxiety and we miss each other very much. At least my kids live in a place where they have electricity for most days. The internet is not great but we manage to send messages and several times we can talk and pray together. We even were able to have a Bible study on line and pray together! God is so good!
Dealing with some of the problems that arose with the kids and their lack of self discipline was a bit of a challenge. At times, Naomi, my dear friend had a very rough time. However, she is a committed Christian and cares for my kids like their second mom. I was able to connect with some of my local friends who went over to have a good talk with the kids and were able to settle them down. I thank God for His provision and for having such wonderful friends!
Also, finances became a bit of a challenge as having all the kids home for who knows till when, the food supplies quickly diminished. Six teenagers can make food disappear within no time: 20 loaves of bread, 7 kilos of rice, maize flour, meat, eggs and vegetables, etc. disappear in about a week. I thank the Lord for some fellow missionaries who are our friends and were able to receive money for my household. They give a monthly allowance to Naomi and hand out the salaries for her and my guards.
I am so grateful for all your prayers as well as financial support for my kids and for me! Your prayers sustain me!
I have so much to be thankful for! I am staying with good friends in the Beaches in Toronto. My good friend, Don, has helped me so much with getting money transferred and letting me stay in his lovely home and having all my needs met. We stay at home most of the time but we will go for walks at times to get some exercise and some fresh air or do some shopping for food. We also joined some friends for a beautiful walk on a warmer day while keeping out 2-meter distance.
Do I find this a waste of my furlough? Well, it turned out quite different from what I had imagined. At first it all seemed so surreal. I never thought I would not get on the plane back to my kids in May and not knowing when I can get back. This thought did get me down for a day and I had to take a long walk by myself to pray and clear my head. Once the reality sank in, I did what most of us had to do: Surrender to God, adjust to this new reality, count my blessings and make the most out of all this “free” time. Now I do my visits on line and on the phone. I write and send cards and emails, call those who are lonely, join Zoom prayer meetings and Bible study and connect with my kids, my family and friends on What’s App. (Last week I spoke to a new bas voice at my home..…Yes Faraja’s voice is now much deeper…bye-bye childhood!)
My friend Beatrice and I are also helping Mahona by editing some papers he is writing which he wants to get published. As I also like cooking so I am somewhat in charge of the meals which seem to be appreciated as the fridge and freezer have to be refilled on a regular basis.
Many ask me:” When are you expecting to return to Tanzania?” If I was able, I would get on a plane tomorrow! However, all airports are closed in Europe and Tanzania. I received news which came from the US embassy: “The risk of contracting COVID-19 in Dar es Salaam is extremely high. Despite limited official reports, all evidence points to exponential growth of the epidemic in Dar and other locations in Tanzania. Many hospitals in Dar es Salaam have been overwhelmed in recent weeks.” I am very concerned about Tanzania and other developing countries where they have little or no protective gear, not enough medical staff, equipment and medicines to deal with this virus. Please continue to pray for these countries and pray that wealthier countries will help them out.
God knows when I will get back and trust that His timing is perfect.
Please pray for my kids and workers in Tanzania: for their safety and unity.
Pray for a cure to be found and for this virus to be completely eliminated.
We have joined with others in praying for many people who have medical problems: People with cancer, Corona, heart conditions etc., for the lonely, the poor countries, etc.
My prayer is that many may turn to Jesus and put their trust in Him so they also may have His peace in their hearts!
Jesus told us in John 16: 33: “I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.” So, before I put my head on my pillow, we pray for the many people who have the virus, for medical and service workers, for my kids and friends and workers, for my family in Holland and for the world in general. Then I leave these prayers in His capable hands and have a peaceful sleep. May the Lord bless you all and give you His peace in the midst of all this turmoil!
I trust that you are doing well during our semi-lock-down and finding new ways to enjoy life and serve the Lord and others. Thank you so much for your prayers and support, and the many encouraging messages sent recently by e-mail.
All is well at my end. I’ve settled back into translation work, aided by a faithful friend of many years, Lois. When some very delicate nuance comes up, Lois consults her husband, Gilles, a "Québécois pure laine" (pure wool Québecois) for the final word.
I’m enjoying living near Park Avenue and Mount Royal Avenue, and get out for a walk most days. To my delight, St-Viateur Bagel Bakery on St-Viateur Street, is not too far to walk to! Four other women and I live in different homes on the three floors of this house, built in 1920. I’m on the main floor, nicely tucked in behind the spiral wrought-iron stairway leading upstairs. As I work at the desk by the front window, I’m constantly seeing children and adults pass on bikes, joggers jog and others stroll by, often with a child, children or the dog or dogs. I love my next-door neighbour, who’s over 90 years of age. She, Leona, is delighted when I bring her some bagels with poppy seeds, still warm. God willing, I’ll be moving back to my own place in Ville St-Laurent in July, but I shall miss life on Hutchison Street.
My Cup of Cold WaterProject
Some of you will remember my Cup of Cold Water Project from the days I was in Bunia, DRC. This project has enabled friends to assist me in blessing and empowering Congolese in many ways, especially with medical expenses and school fees, and a few times with a small business. One young Congolese was given $200 to buy a computer which enabled him to make money typing papers for students, and a couple received a big bundle of children’s clothes to sell with the view to saving enough from their profits to be able to purchase another bale later. (I left the country a few days after the clothes were bought, so never knew how that project went.)
More recently, in Tanzania, I was able to help many people with work funds (a percentage of my personal support received), and some of my own funds. We have provided school fees for students in primary school, secondary school, Bible college, medical college and university. Five people had eye examinations, three received glasses, a baby brought to my door with a cold and two small boys with ringworm were sent to the local dispensary. Two people in agony were sent to the dentist in Mwanza, and chicken wire was purchased to protect a family’s chickens after 2 of them were stolen. We paid for a skin graft and hospital fees for a father, and bus fare for two of our students, one to visit her ailing mother, and the
The librarian & principle receiving books other to attend her father’s funeral.
and a new computer from Canada.
The largest two sums ever to pass through my work funds were given by a supporting church for the purchase of two homes right by Nassa Theological College! These homes will, DV, provide both much- needed student housing and rental income for the school; and the purchase of one of them blocked the construction of a large house of worship which would have been the source of constant calls to prayer and of general unease in our quiet village. All I can say is “Halleluia!” and thank God for His provision through His people. I’ve recently received a request from one of our NTC students who will, DV, soon be graduating. Rioba, who has helped me faithfully with our Sunday afternoon Bible class, would like to buy a farm of c. 1.5 acres (7350 square metres) in the region inhabited by the Nyambo (a largely unreached people group), where he has been assigned to plant an Africa Inland Church. This farm would help Rioba provide for his family and buy materials for ministry by cultivating bananas and coffee. The cost of the farm is $2,800 US.
Here are some notes for praise and prayer:
Blessings: Good health, a lovely home, nice neighbours & good food brought to the door by
Dita & my pastor, Joel Coppieters!
Work: Focus and good progress on my latest assignment. With the help of Lois Tessier, I’m working on translating for the new French web site of AIM.
Prayer:. May God help me to continue to support my students and the Africa Inland
Church from afar by e-mail and my Cup of Cold Water Project.
Thank you, dear friends, for your loving prayers, financial support and the many emails received during this time of readjustment to life in Canada. The Lord bless and sustain you all through another month of limited mobility, as He has already.
Please pray for the health and safety of the community health team as we continue to walk to villages to teach our neighbours how to protect themselves and their families from COVID-19. Face masks are now mandatory here while in public.
(Picture L-R: Akol, Leah, Nakut, Lodim, and Opie)
Pray for MAF in Papua. A plane crashed just after take-off from Sentani strip and went into Lake Sentani.Pilot Joyce Lin died and all the MAF and missionary community are grieving. The Bruce family (Ethnos, Saman) are rejoicing that the adoption of their son in Madagasgar has been completed and are now looking for a way to go to the USA for more paperwork before returning to Papua.
Thank you so much for praying for the unloading of the container. We had about 10 volunteers, both from OMF and from other missions (as well as one old Japanese pastor . . . the others are too old and frail). We were just enough people, and just enough of them with enough experience, that we were able to unload the entire shipping container without time penalties. There were a few close calls, but no accidents. The weather was menacing, and the lumber did get a little wet, but not soaked. Please continue to pray for me, Tavi, and one or two others as we now set about manually moving all of the unloaded lumber over to the out-of-commission old dining room. It is exhausting work, and it will take many days.
The shipping container will be arriving on Wednesday, 10am, Japan time. In the midst of many consecutive days of sunshine, tomorrow is the only day for which rain is forecast. Please pray that this rain will happen some other time as we will be unloading the lumber from the shipping container by hand and the last thing we want is for the lumber to get soaked upon arrival. Rainy conditions could also pose a higher risk of slipping and accidents. We have two free hours in which to unload the container after which we pay an hourly fee. Please do pray for speed and safety.
Ravi Zacharias' cancer has worsened, according to an update he posted Friday, May 8, and his doctors say no further treatment options are available. He and his family are returning home to be together for "whatever time the Lord gives us."
Mom no other woman is like you,
I am always to be a child to you,
Nobody ever loved me like you,
Mama I love you.
Mom your caring is special,
Mom your teachings are special,
Mom your love is special,
Mama I love you.
Mom every day I pray for you,
Mom every day I do the best for you,
Mom every day I respect you,
Mama I love you.
Mom I appreciate every thing you have done to me,
Mom I appreciate every advice you have given me,
Mom I appreciate every minute, hour,day, month,year you shared with me,
Mama I love you.
A New Reality
Before the world was ready, we were thrown into a new reality. This tiny virus has reinforced that we are truly not the ones in control of our lives, but we worship a God that is sovereign over all. I pray that you are healthy and socially distant!
It's a bit surreal to think that we were to have wrapped the Business as Mission congress in Bangkok, and flying back home from Thailand now. As you can imagine, plans have shifted enormously for the projects I'm working on these days.
I love this worship song, and hope you also find encouragement from the lyrics:
Love That Wilt Not Let Me Go
O Love that wilt not let me go,
I rest my weary soul in thee;
I give thee back the life I owe,
That in thine ocean depths its flow
May richer, fuller be.
O Joy that seekest me through pain,
I cannot close my heart to thee;
I trace the rainbow through the rain,
And feel the promise is not vain,
That morn shall tearless be.
BAM Congress: Postponed
On March 1, I wrote my last Ann-ecdotes immediately after 4 members of the core team travelled to Thailand to prep for the Business as Mission Congress that was to happen at the end of April. Since then due to the growing spread of Covid-19 in Asia and globally, we weighed our options. Two weeks later, when the advisory council prayerfully decided to postpone, my team was ready to pivot.
The Business as Mission Congress has officially shifted towards April 2021. Click here to read our postponement message .
** Three Miraculous (New) Projects
Jesus & Justice // The Relentless Pursuit of Justice
The week prior to leaving for Thailand, I met with International Justice Mission Canada staff in Toronto where an idea was planted. Two months later, we jumped into planning Jesus & Justice, an interactive, online event for mid-October. I'm their new Event Lead, and we're in the process of setting up foundational operational systems.
It's been 1.5 years since last working with IJM International, and I'm pleased to be back! I continue to be inspired by their work and passion for justice, in the name of Jesus. This organisation holistically combats human trafficking, and strategically tackles the issues of slavery and injustice uniquely faced in each country where they work.
ONE TEAM, ONE FIGHT
** #HACK 2020
God continues to provide such interesting projects to work on!
Before knowing we would postpone the BAM Congress I was approached by Indigitous, the digital ministry of Cru International to work on #HACK 2020, a hackathon that connects
people of faith in the tech industry in 45 cities around the world.
These collaborative tech labs happen simultaneously over two weekends in October.
A hackathon is what my friend calls, "a retreat for geeks" or innovation hubs to build digital solutions for issues that are faced around the world, while connecting and energising those who are passionate about changing our world for Christ.
If you or those you know are interested in hosting #HACK in your city, I know a gal who can hook you up!
** Redeemer University
Amazing news, one of my life-long dreams to teach came true! I was approached with the prospect of teaching a leadership course this Fall to 3rd-4th year business students at Redeemer University (https://www.redeemer.ca) , a Christian university 1.5 hours from Toronto. I've loved interacting with university students from my ministry with Inter-Varsity Canada and Urbana, so this is an exciting new learning curve for me!
The course description is to "develop the character, competencies, and skills required to effectively lead yourself and others." I'm thrilled to be able to walk with students over an entire semester, grappling with real leadership challenges and issues.
** Jehovah Jireh
Jehovah Jirah, the Lord will provide. God continues to open up opportunities to jump in with terrific organisations and people. These projects miraculously fit together like a puzzle: by the time Jesus & Justice and #HACK wrap up, we will begin to ramp the BAM Congress and the Philip Yancey book tour back up again.
For the last several months we have been putting off writing a Prayer Letter with the thought of waiting until we had more conclusive information to share. This is our "catching up" letter, so it is twice as many pages as normal . . . but mostly photos.
Please pray for the arrival of the first of four shipping containers which are arriving without the building team that would have overseen their unloading. We are now faced with the prospect of unloading them ourselves and finding a way to safely store the building materials until next spring.
Friends! Adelaide (Ryerson student) and I have been hanging out at Marknest this week, enjoying having the scripture come alive with staff, students and volunteers across BC and Quebec!
You can join in to see what Marknest is like LIVE! on Wednesday (tomorrow) if you want! The only part you won’t experience is a zoom room discussion of the scripture (we are all in separate zoom rooms) unless you all decide to gather together to discuss it, and connect to the livestream for instructions and content (: Invite whomever you would like if you choose to have a zoom room.
If you want to join:
Wed May 6
Morning: 1pm EST to 3pmEST
Scripture we will study: Mark 14:1-25
Wed May 6 (same day!)
Evening 8:30pm to 11:30pm
Scripture we will study: Mark 15:42-16.8
Click here to livestream
Well, what is is that there is a lot more time to consider what the assignment is for today!
Sitting poring over John’s writings, and some of what Paul wrote in
Thessalonians, my mind suddenly had a bright idea.
My warm friend, stuck in an apartment with her 11year old son, was
running out of basic food, and finding the corner convenience stores
very expensive (Prices are up here in Toronto, and supplies are iffy).
Well, I’m stuck in a quarantine ab&b and then it hit me ( at 8 A M) to call
a long time friend. Oops, too early? No, and could he get to Costco for me
and deliver some stuff? Sure, just produce a list.
From rice, flour, yeast, milk eggs, butter, homos, Cheerios, tomatoes, onions, avocados, anything I could think of.
Several hours later and after catching him and adding a few items while in Costco, he and another friend (missionary from Zimbabwe stuck in
Canada for the stretch) delivered bags and boxes to a surprised refugee
friend during Ramadan. She was amazed and said this was sent from Heaven. Absolutely correct!!
Wonderful that the Source was recognized instantly. That’s what we’re here for.
Must check on a few other folk and see what they’re doing in this amazing environment.
With no sheep in the pen, with no cattle in the stalls, with no leaves on the fig trees, yet will I trust Him says Habakkuk.
Thank you, Habakkuk.
45º F, no leaves on the trees, and people avert their eyes as they pass
six feet away, but God is busy and therefore, so are we. At least we are not facing the attack of a human enemy, but the Syrian refugees here still have that reality consciously in their minds.
We are so excessively blessed with peace and provision. “5000? Well what do you have?”
“Give it to Me”.
It is that time of year again when we gather students from across the country to wade in the Word....at Mark camps. Since we can't gather as we normally would in light of the pandemic, a version of Mark camps is being brought to students' homes from wherever they are! And this year we are gathering staff and students together from across British Columbia, Ontario and Quebec! We are calling it.....Marknest!
We will be studying the whole book of Mark together in a variety of platforms....livestream, zoom group discussions, podcasts and off-screen individual time.
I asked one staff in BC why he felt we should attempt this, and he shared about how He had been hearing from God in prayer that the Lord had something to say to these students during this pandemic. I resonated with that and felt I wanted to join in what the BC team was spearheading and join other staff and students from Ontario for Marknest.
I pulled a paragraph from the website that we will be using for Marknest to explain why studying Mark right now will resonate with all of us:
Mark was first shared within a community well acquainted with fear and isolation. In small upper rooms, they gathered to listen to the story of a scattered people encountering the promised Servant-King whose arrival they had been awaiting for centuries. Despite their isolation, God used Mark’s gospel to speak to them. Communities across the Roman Empire were encouraged as they listened to the stories of Jesus’ life, death, and resurrection, in locked upper rooms. This week we invite you to come and discover a Jesus who brings joy, healing, and true flourishing to people amidst confusion and uncertainty.
Would you pray for us starting today until May 6th?
Would you pray that we are open to what God wants to do, even if we can only connect through screens?
Would you ask Holy Spirit to meet the teachers and zoom hosts in deep ways as they lead students?
Would you pray for students...for energy, attentiveness, and openness to God's move in their lives this week?
Would you pray for good stability of internet connections and for the tech that we need to work for the duration?
Would you listen on our behalf and pray what the Lord has you pray?
Thank you for those of you who can partner in prayer this week. And from wherever you are, my prayers and listening are on your behalf as well, as we all navigate this shaking season together. May we hold onto the Lord and may He give us our daily bread.
Feel free to email prayers/what you are hearing. If you want updates from time to time during the week, let me know and I will add you to the list (:
Thank you enormously for your prayers. God is hedging me
in, mind and heart! Now finished with quarantine, my focus is
on sharing love and relationship with grand-young and my son
and his wife, my daughter and her husband, and the newly returned
Canadians, my son Eric, Midori and their three children from Tokyo.
It's a huge transition for them. English and Canadian schools in
Langley, BC. I hope to do my Canadian quarantine with them in BC.
There had been a Fandrich family reunion planned for June in BC
for which I had already arranged air flights before everything went
down the tubes and the reunion was canceled. Fortunately the
flights can be rebooked without penalty. Man plans his way, but
God directs his steps!! Pray that my family will rejoice with God's
care of me.
Norine Love shares some great memories of KWM Phase 2 heroes over the years. Click on the photo to play in YouTube.