Missions to the Amish People
Joe and Ester Keim
There are certain dates that stand out in a person’s life. It may be a wedding, a birth, a death, or some other meaningful day. For me, Ashley Yoder, there are a couple dates that are very meaningful to me and which I would like to tell you about.
June 1, 2001. I was nine years old. It was the first day that I put on the dress and covering that I would be wearing at all times for the next thirteen-and-a-half years. It was the day when I was placed into an Amish home. I was happy, excited, and yet nervous. I was happy and excited because I was going to be with all of my siblings after having been separated for over a year! I was nervous because I had an awful lot of changes to make. I also had a lot of learning to do. I had never been to church on Sunday mornings, but I had been taught that there was a God. My birth mother had told me that God is over all people and takes care of them.
July 29, 2002. Adoption day. This was a happy day for me, and yet deep inside my heart was a hurting spot that would not heal. I was glad to have been adopted, but naturally, I longed to be loved and cared for by my own birth mother. Even though my name had been legally changed, I thought of my mom constantly and kept her in my heart.
I had many unanswered questions about life—not just about my own life, but about life in general. At that time, I did not really understand what the Bible said about salvation, but I had a deep desire to know God. Sadly, I did not eagerly pursue that desire until I was seventeen. God was patient with me, though. I was ready for the peace and love of God to fill my empty heart and heal all of my wounds, sores, and broken pieces. I was tired of living in sin and trying to do everything on my own.
Not surprising to those who know the love of God, God’s love changed me more than I could have ever imagined. I became calmer and more content than I ever was before. I even had respect for my adopted parents that I had not had before. I was willing to do what I knew God wanted me to do. It was easier to understand His word; and for the first time in my life, my heart did not hurt anymore. I had my ups and downs, but that is to be expected in this life. Praise God for his healing love and power! I daily thank Jesus for dying that awful death on the cross for me. He took my place upon Calvary’s tree!
August 26, 2014. Through Joe Keim’s contacts, I was introduced to Ashley Phelan. She gave me the email address of another kind woman named Bonnie Goodrell Redfern. On August 26, 2014, I began emailing some information to Bonnie—my birthdate, sibling’s names, and some other things. She soon emailed me some pictures and asked me if they looked familiar. In that first evening of communicating with her—the connection was made!
After being separated from my mother for almost fifteen years, we were re-united. That very night, my mother came to my house and we visited for several hours. My heart was filled with joy and love. I had finally found my mother! God sure did answer my prayers. He is an awesome God! Never ever doubt God’s power!
Missions to Peru
Caleb and Echo Stein
God is good... God is great... God is wonderful... are the expressions that come out of our lips in praise to our God and Lord. David's words are appropriate for this time: "Blessed be the Lord, who daily loadeth us with benefits, even the God of our salvation." His benefits have been wonderful in these last two months. Considering one of the governing principles of this Seminary, this year has been called "Year of the World Missions". Our goal is to sow a worldwide missionary vision in each of our students. We know from the Word of God that the mission of the church is to preach the gospel to every creature, in order to make disciples in all nations. We know that the task is geographically parallel, fulfilling the Great Commission in our city, our province, our nation and the whole world simultaneously. Therefore, we want to form workers whose vision is focused on glorifying God by obeying the Great Commission. Help us by praying to achieve this goal. Now, we share some news in order to give glory to God, and to keep praying for this ministry. God blessed us by sending us a new group of young men and women aspiring to be used by the Lord in His work. They are: Wilma Acero, Ruth Alva, Edward Arteaga, Marcelo Benites, Omar and his wife Noelle Goicochea, Antonio Imbaquingo, Joaquín Morales, Abner Peña, Erick Peña, Isaiah Peña, Hetler Ramos, Henry Ricopa, Lincoln Rivera, Daniel Soria Pablo Tamayo, Ronald Vargas, Elí Vega, Dimas Velásquez, Jorge Vergara. God sent us 19 men and 3 ladies for the first year class. The total number of students is 67 students. We rejoice in the response of God in sending students; however, every year the need for more workers in Peru continues to grow. Therefore, we encourage you to continue on your knees pleading for more workers. OPENING OF THE ACADEMIC YEAR We enjoyed a beautiful opening service, in which we worshiped God, welcomed the students, enjoyed fellowship, and, above all, were encouraged by the Word of God preached by the missionary Eduardo Boyde, an alumnus ministering in Puerto Ordaz, Venezuela. During the opening week we had the opportunity to fellowship between students and teachers, and to know better the work of God in Venezuela. We are thankful to God for all our friends, pastors and churches that pray and support this ministry. We pray that others would join the task of training workers and commit to supporting the Peru Baptist Bible College with prayer and offeringsThe blessings we have received from God came through the rain. Certainly the rain affected much of our nation, but as the Scriptures say, God sends rain sometimes to benefit His land, sometimes to punish, and often to show His mercy. He gave us the precious experience of knowing Him much more in the midst of adversities. The rains caused flooding, landslides, damaged roads and elevated costs of food; however, God's hand never left us. He was always there sustaining us and providing for us. All this has been a reason to thank God. We ask you to continue praying that God would continue to provide and sustain this ministry. Thank God for all our friends and churches who sent their offerings to help support our students. The time has come to prepare for our On-the-Job Training Week from 22 to 28 May. All the students will be traveling to churches to to serve in evangelization and edification. About 90% of us will be working in churches located in the north of our nation. We know that our brethren from churches in that area have faced severe difficulties because of the rains, yet the desire to have a group of students in their churches has not diminished. We pray that God will provide all the resources. Help us by praying that students will not be affected by diseases. We know the risks of this trip, because we are traveling to areas where there are mosquitoes which transmit dengue, chikungunya, malaria, stomach infections and typhoid fever; but we trust in the mighty protection of God. Jehovah is our shield, our healer. Help us by praying that our time in the churches will be of great blessing!
Missions to Quebec
Francois and Valerie Picard
Dear friends and partners,
Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in the heavenly realms with every spiritual blessing in Christ. (Ephesians 1:3)
We are celebratingThanksgiving this week-end in Canada. This year, I have many reasons to be thankful! My heart is full of gratitude towards God after the difficult period I just went through.
I thank God for the people who prayed for me. I realize how important it is to have a community of people praying for me when times are tough, cheerleaders who are not judging even though they don’t have all the information and are not getting enough news. They climb on the mountain to pray and they can see what is on the other side when I can’t. he concussion I suffered after a car accident left me with severe headaches and backaches, lack of concentration and energy. A team composed of a neuropsychologist, anoccupationaltherapist, and a physiatrist is presently following me. It gives me plenty of opportunities to announce the Gospel! I am returning to work on a progressive basis. I have to be wise on how I spend my energy.
I thank God because His Work through SEMBEQ kept growing during my absence. François Turcotte, executive director, had to work twice as hard to develop our new strategic plan and launch new programs. We now have our own magazine. Students have started Immersion, our new intensive program. New staff was hired to meet the needs.
I thank God for what Don Carson recently said concerning SEMBEQ: “SEMBEQ has throughout its existence sought to combine theological rigour with training and experience in the local Church. In recent years, both sides of this pair have been strengthened. In French Canada, there is no better place to prepare for pastoral ministry.”
I thank God because I was the speaker at a conference for single parents at camp des Bouleaux this summer and was blessed to lead 2 people to the knowledge of Christ. I was also able to follow disciples and counsel couples during my illness. We have had weekly prayer meetings at our house all year long.
I am especially thankful for my wife Valérie who supported me very patiently and graciously, and for my children, with whom I had more time to build strong connections, being more present at home. I am discovering the joys and challenges of living with 4 teenagers and a 6 year-old boy. My heart rejoices because Jérémie, who reached adulthood when he recently turned 18, has announced his wish to be baptized.
Please keep praying for SEMBEQ, for me and for my family. Thank you for your kind and faithful support.
I thank my God every time I remember you. (Phil 1:3)
François Picard, President
Missions to Brazil
Bill and Jean Wiederhoeft
Dear Family and Friends,
This indeed is a unique and special time of
the year for every one of us. We each have an
abundance of memories connected to Christmas
that flood our mind especially during this season.
Many years ago, the shepherds
experienced a very unique and special time in their
lives when the angels told them about Jesus’ birth
and where to find Him. God’s Word says that the
shepherds hurried and found Jesus, Mary and
Joseph in a stable, Jesus was lying in a manger.
After seeing and experiencing all of those amazing events, the shepherds went on their way
testifying to others publicly of what they had seen and heard. Just as the shepherds did, we also
should testify to others of the fact that Jesus came to the earth to be the Savior of the world and
tell about how He has transformed our lives!
The year 2015 has flashed by at a terrific rate of speed but at the same time, God has
packed each day full of countless blessings. We cannot thank God enough for each blessing; He
deserves all of the credit and glory.
Thank you for the privilege of being partners together with you in God’s work. You have
been such a blessing in our lives, we cannot thank you enough. Your prayers and words of
encouragement have been so important day by day.
As you have read in our letters throughout this year, we have traveled many miles to
spend time with various missionary teams. On
this particular visit in Oct., we were discussing
culture and language in the Ka’apor Tribe. It is a
huge challenge to clearly communicate God’s
Word in a different culture and language. These
challenges are motives to pray together for
God’s answers to the problems. Over and over
again, we realize that it’s only possible with
God’s wisdom and enabling. One of our main
objectives in spending time with these
missionaries is to take God’s encouragement and to lend them a helping
hand. Thank you for praying through this year and we ask that you continue
to pray for each missionary in their ministry and for us.
On a more personal note; thank you for praying for our family. Over
the Thanksgiving holiday, our kids and grandkids had a family get-together
in Florida. Also, Mark stood up in a friend’s wedding that took place the
following weekend. Marie traveled from NC, Mark & Jenny and their three kids, Ellie, Anton &
Talita traveled from MO. While there, they spent time with Jean’s parents (Melvin & Rosemary
Royer), with an uncle & aunt, several cousins and their kids. It was a very special time for all of
them. We are very thankful for that opportunity and for the safe traveling that God gave all of
This morning we found out that Jean’s Father fell last night (12th); hitting his head and
injuring his hip. We are still getting more details about his condition but he will need hip surgery.
Jean’s Mother has her own health concerns too; in fact, he has been taking care of her. Appreciate
your prayers especially for them both.
As we mentioned in our last letter, we’ve been praying about the possibility of a seven
month furlough next year, from May to Dec. 2016. Everything looks like God is directing in this
way, so we are planning in that direction. Consequently we ask for your prayers for resolving the
many details involved in furlough, both here and in the U.S. We will be looking for a car and for a
place to stay. Pray for the scheduling of this time, we really want to visit each one of you.
Thank you for your prayers and for the blessing of serving God together with you. Take
good care of yourself. Lord willing next year we’ll have the privilege of seeing you and enjoying
that good fellowship together. We pray that you’ll have a Special Christmas season and a Most
As I write this letter, I am attending a youth conference hosted my la ministère Flamme in Drummondville, Quebec. One of my favorite things about representing Cruciforme at conferences in the opportunities to recommend good books that will help people grow more and more into the image of Christ. This conference has been a huge encouragement for me, as many women have a desire to be more like Christ and depend on him to bring about that change.
The past months have been a time of growth and excitement for the ministry. Both SEMBEQ and Cruciforme have seen God work, and he gets all the Glory!
There are many things to be thankful for! God has been so good to our family. We have just put our house on the market. This marks the beginning of the process of moving to the Trois-rivière area. This move is strategic because it will locate us more centrally in Quebec, and will allow me to more present in our church and with our students. There is also a new church plant which we attend. I will have the opportunity to teach various courses in the Sunday school. Please pray for this project. We are praying for a quick sale, and the right house in Trois-rivière where we can also have an impact in the community.
Judith is continuing with the home-schooling. Isabella is enjoying this experience very much, and along with excelling in her studies, her desire to read the Bible drove her to learn to read in both English and French. Martin (who is almost 2) will start working through his program using a curriculum from France.
Recently, I had the opportunity to translate SEMBEQ 40th anniversary album into English. The album tells the story of 40 years of God’s faithfulness through SEMBEQ’s ministry in Quebec. After the work was done, I realized that the implementing of our strategic plan for the 10 years was the beginning of telling this story for the next 40 years.
As part of the strategic plan we have set the following goal:
Train 200 ministry workers and their families
Train 200 elders
Train 200 Women
Equip 20 churches to become Antioch Churches.
Please pray for God to support the leadership of SEMBEQ during the implementation of this plan. Also please pray for God to send workers. God has been answering this prayer. This past week I hosted a family from Aix-en-provence, France who is exploring God’s will for moving to Quebec to serve the church. It is so exciting to see God answer our prayers for His glory! I am currently in contact with a hand-full of couples who are considering serving the Lord in Quebec. Please continue to pray!
One of the big challenged in the French publishing market is the distance between Canada and France. This distance imposes major costs of import and exportings books. Ultimately, this means the French Christian books from France and very expensive in Quebec. To give you an example, Follow-ME by David Platt is 14.99$ in English and is 30.00$ in French. It is hard to use this resource for a small group study at that price!
One of my prayers since starting Cruciforme was to partner with publishers in France to publish their books in Quebec. God has answered that prayer through a partnership with BLF Editions. They are allowing us to publish and print their books in Canada with our logo and our own cover. They are also allowing us to set the price. This means that the 30.00$ book above will sell for 18.99$ and around 10.00$ with our church discount. We are thankful, because this partnership means more and more Gospel-centered resources to serve the church in Quebec.
We have some exciting titles coming in the next couple months. Please pray for these upcoming releases and those who will read them.
What is the Mission of the Church? (June 2015)
Sacred Influence // Gary Thomas (June 2015)
Sheparding a child’s heart // Tedd Tripp (June 2015)
Let the Nations be Glad! // John Piper (July 2015)
Big Picture Storybook Bible (September 2015)
Solas: La quintessence de la foi chretienne (Solas: the quinessence of the Christian Faith) (September 2015)
Dangerous Calling // Paul Tripp (October 2015)
Pollution and the Death of Man // Francis Schaeffer (September 2015)
Basic Christianity // John Stott (October 2015)
Church Planter (October 2015)
Marriage Matter // Winston Smith (November 2015)
Books for Missions // Packing Hope
If you church does ministry in Haiti, or any of the French speaking countries in Africa I would love to help. I want our publishing ministry to not only serve Quebec and French but also serve you as you serve other French speaking peoples. We are offering a 40% discount for churches who wish to purchase resources to bring to the mission field. Email me for more info.
An exciting Project.
I am working on a very exciting project which straddles both ministries I work with. I am writing a book that will tell the story of 4 significant works of God from within the Francophone church. But, unlike most history books, I will not focus on the Main character, but on the one who supported the main character in prayer and financial support. I will tell the story of John Calvin, Olivétan, Robert Haldane, and SEMBEQ by sharing the stories of those who supported these ministries in obedience to the great commision. I call these men Rope Holders.
Each one of these men were obedient to the great commision in equipping others to go. We can also call them senders. Often senders feel like they are less obedient that those who go, and they give financially out of this guilt. The goal of the book is to show that their are only three categories of people when it comes to the great commision: Obedient senders, obedient go-ers, and the disobedient.
Along with this encouragement, the book will give a vision of the fruit and impact of sending someone to accomplish the great commision. My hope and prayer is that this book would light a flame of generosity through the French-speaking world to the end that all the Francophonie might hear the Gospel and believe.
Please pray for my perseverance as I work on this project. I am currently in the research stage. I hope to start writing in September.
Thank you for all of your continued prayer and support of my ministry work in Quebec. It is overwhelming when I think about all of you who faithfully prayer for me and my family.
Training Shephard Worldwide through the Pastoral Enrichment Program
Scott and Victoria Williquette
The house we purchased in Kalamazoo, Michigan is coming along very well. Twenty churches have given toward the purchase of the needed materials and to date four church groups have provided skilled labor. A large group from First Baptist Church of Troy, Michigan spent a Saturday doing demolition work. These men took down old paneling, drywall and insulation, pulled up old flooring and before they left a ten yard dumpster was full. The next group, from Emmanuel Baptist Church of Windsor, Ontario spent three days installing new plumbing and framing walls for the upstairs bathroom and closet. This work established the layout of the entire upstairs. We needed the skill set of this group at that point in the project and the Lord gave us what we needed. A group from Grace Church of Mentor, Ohio also focused attention on the upstairs for three days the following week. These men ran new electrical, installed new insulation and hung the majority of the drywall. This group left Thursday, February 11th but not before passing on instructions to a team of men from First Baptist Church of Westbend, Wisconsin. This group hung additional drywall, gutted two bathrooms on the main floor (one down to the studs) and ran electrical in the kitchen and other areas. Each group has been a tremendous blessing to us. Thanks to all who are praying for us and these renovations. We are hoping to move in by mid-May.
While I was in Myanmar I developed a large ulcer on the ball of my left foot. When I finally saw a doctor here in Kalamazoo I was told rather sternly that if I didn’t stay off my foot I was going to end up in the hospital. So, I postponed my January and February meetings and elevated my foot as much as possible. I’m happy to say that my foot is healed and beginning this month I will be in churches almost every Sunday. Many have asked me about Victoria’s cancer. She will have tests soon that will inform us as to the status of her cancer. She feels fine. Lord willing she will once again be told “You are cancer free.” Back On the Road March 2016.