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Blog, Faith, prayer, Spiritual Gifts, Travel

Africa: Just believe


“Up in this high land you breathed easily, drawing in a vital assurance and lightness of heart. In the morning you woke up in the highlands and thought: Here I am, where I ought to be.” ~ Out of Africa, Isak Dineson

 Out of Africa, starring Meryl Streep and Robert Redford, is one of my favorite movies. While I detest the adultery in it, what I do love about it is how it captures the essence and the beauty of Africa, a place I have been praying about traveling to for years. I hear the drums of Africa in my soul and its land with the beautiful sunsets, wild animals, and unique people groups beckon to me each day.

This year I had the privilege of meeting and interviewing African missionary Alma Jones, who was here in the states until December 2010. She is now back “home” in Africa, in Entebbe, Uganda.¬†

This week I received her email update. I wanted to share part of it with you so you can pray for her and the people there, especially for financial provision for her¬†and for the people’s hearts to be open to the gospel of Christ.¬†

Some people I know at a church group¬†in Kansas City are planning a short-term¬†missions trip to work with Alma there in May or June 2011, so I am contacting them to find out more information. My husband Ray, our oldest daughter Heather, and I have been praying for years to go. We will go in God’s perfect timing.¬† ūüôā ¬†

Where do YOU want to travel to and are praying to go to? God can give you the desires of your heart, as Alma’s life attests. She went to Africa in her 70’s, and has been there seven years!

Alma’s letter:

¬†“I’ve been sick quite a lot since I have been back. Missed my usual Thursday night Fellowship that I have taught most of the time I’ve been here. That made the people get serious and pray hard for me, so Friday I felt fine and dandy. Doctors can never find anything wrong with me so I know it is a spiritual attack by the enemy. Praise God, my God is Jehovah Rapha so I always have a doctor on call. Sorry about that, Ray.¬†[Beth’s note:¬† My husband Ray is a paramedic.]

I got a call last night from a pastor on the western side of Uganda. We went there last spring and had a terrific class. The pastor called to ask when we were coming back, but also he called to say his son got saved and has come out of the house. For quite some time he wouldn’t leave the house. Praise God. News like that encourages us to continue.¬†

As for teaching, right now I am concentrating on two young men. One of the hardest parts of being a missionary is getting the locals to assume some responsibility. 

One of the young men was supposed to be here today, but he has been having some physical problems and today he had severe chest pains so went to the doctor. Haven’t heard yet so be in prayer.

No, I’ve not been on a safari yet, but hope to some day. They do cost a lot of money. Shall I get a figure for you so you can come prepared? In the meantime we can go a couple blocks from my house and see the monkeys at Botanical Gardens.¬†[Beth’s note: One of the things I really want to do when I go to Africa is go on a safari and see the beautiful Victoria waterfalls. I know it’s not a vacation and that safaris cost thousands of dollars, but those are just two things I really want to do and I shared this with Alma. I have faith God will provide!]

I must close now. I do have one class scheduled in Myuge on the lake side in February and must prepare. Thanks for the good letter and keep dreaming and praying about the most beautiful country in the world — the Pearl of Africa.”

The Pearl of Africa. What a beautiful, descriptive picture.¬† I can’t wait to go! Alma challenged me to stop hoping and praying this is the year¬†that Ray, Heather, and I go, and just believe.¬†

I leave that with you today – just believe.

**************If you feel led by God to help and to make a donation to Alma, learn more here and here.

Blog, Faith, prayer, Spiritual Gifts, Travel

A beautiful teacup quilt from Russia

Don’t you love how God so beautifully orchestrates the details of our lives? He is even able to connect people in friendship who are all across the world from each other!¬† Today I received a beautiful gift from my friend Nika Aksutin in Russia!

About a year ago, Nika emailed to tell me that she enjoyed reading my blog. Surprised to hear from someone so far away, I replied to her encouraging email, admired the crafts on her blog, and since then we have been friends and pray for each other.

Nika’s husband Zhenya and Nika minister to Jews in Russia, and have Bible clubs for teens and children. Nika and her women friends also make creative crafts. Below are videos of the beautiful, hand-made teacup quilt that Nika sent me as a gift all the way from Russia. I am so blessed by her generous, kind spirit, and it looks great in our kitchen. Nika, thank you so much!¬† I love you and am praying for you!

You can visit Nika’s husband Zhenya’s website at and Nika’s website at

As believers in Christ, we are to pray for missionaries, evangelists, pastors, and other leaders in ministry. Please keep Nika, Zhenya, their children Polina and Lily, and their ministry in prayer, as they minister to the Jews, have Bible club for teens and children, and share the gospel of Jesus Christ in Russia.

Christians in Russia don’t enjoy the same religious freedoms that we have here in the U.S., although Christianity is growing there, nor do they have the financial blessings that God has so liberally given our nation.¬† Many people who live in Russia¬†are poor.¬†

The World Socialist Website says that, ¬†“According to figures published by the World Bank at the end of last year, 20 percent of the Russian population lives below the poverty line, which is defined as a monthly income of 1,000 roubles (less than 30 euros, or $38). The great majority of Russian families are teetering on the edge of poverty.”¬†

Please pray for God’s abundant financial blessings on Zhenya and Nika, God’s protection¬†on them and other believers from persecution, God’s boldness to proclaim the gospel of Jesus Christ, and His open doors for ministry.

May God¬†¬†give them boldness, revelation of His word,¬†and power.¬† May He quickly and mightily open doors for them, using their spiritual gifts for God’s glory. May God lavishly bless them and protect them, leading them and guiding them by the power of His Holy Spiriit. May God do miracles, signs, and wonders through their ministry, that will be a testimony for the glory of Jesus Christ. Amen!

Here are some scriptures we can pray for Nika and her family:

“And pray for me, too. Ask God to give me the right words so I can boldly explain God‚Äôs mysterious plan that the Good News is for Jews and Gentiles alike.” ¬†(Ephesians 6:19-20, NLT)

”¬†Finally, dear brothers and sisters, we ask you to pray for us. Pray that the Lord‚Äôs message will spread rapidly and be honored wherever it goes, just as when it came to you.¬† Pray, too, that we will be rescued from wicked and evil people, for not everyone is a believer.”¬† (2 Thessalonians 3:1-2, NLT)

“Dear brothers and sisters, I urge you in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ to join in my struggle by praying to God for me. Do this because of your love for me, given to you by the Holy Spirit.”¬† (Romans 15:30, NLT)

Video of Nika’s teacup quilt:

Video of quilt hanging in our kitchen: