Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Faith: believing

Belief is a core of faith.

Faith is impoverished when we fail to think about God and what we believe.

Failing to struggle and wrestle with theology gives us a weak faith.  A faith that we will give verbal ascent to but one that does not shape any part of our lives.

And most likely a faith that will crumble in the first sign of trouble.

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Update - Chris and Cheryl

Chris and Cheryl (and their family) are serving in the Dominican Republic for the summer.

Hello everyone, we have been here for almost 5 weeks now so we are about half way through our planned time here. The classes are still going well. We did manage to get one of the donated engines running in the class. It runs quite well. After hearing the engine run the ministry that donated it asked if we could possibly check over another cement mixer engine for them. This engine also was not running and had not run for some time. I got the guys in my class to take the engine off the mixer and take it into the class. After some short diagnoses using some of the skills we learned in the class they were able to determine what was wrong with the engine, repair the problems (with no parts) and get it running. Two engines running in one week with out having to buy any parts equals many excited students. These engines both looked like they were ready for the scrap pile but now could be put back onto the cement mixers and get back to work. Praise God, He is providing the learning tools and the encouragement as we need it.
On Monday we got to help a team that came out from Texas prepare and serve the first meal in the new community kitchen in Villa Paraiso. After an evening dedication service for the kitchen and praising God for providing the materials and man power for the kitchen. We served approximately 200 people a meal of soup and garlic bread. It was a little hectic but the people got fed and we all had a good time with it.
Cheryl and the girls did not spend as much time in the village this week because Jacolyn is still sick and has been now for nearly a week. She has been having a fever on and off and has been feeling dizzy once in a while. She was having a lot of pain in her one ear for a while but we got her some antibiotics and her ear is a lot better. Please pray for complete healing for her.
We were asked by one of our missionary friends to help paint a new church building in one of the other villages. This building was built over top of their old building and has been a long project. The final part of the roof and the floor were done now and it was time for paint. We went out there this morning (Saturday) and helped with patching some flaws in the cement smooth coat and prime the new concrete. On Wednesday they are planning on finishing the paint. They are currently working on getting donations to pay for the tiles for on the floor to complete this project. It has been a long process but it will be a good building that will be used a lot. Currently they are having a church service nearly every evening and there are several women in the community that come to the church every morning to pray.
Thanks again for your continued prayer support. God Bless.

Chris, Cheryl, Jacolyn and Jennifer Peters

Friday, July 26, 2013

Faith: rational

Faith is not blind or irrational.
Sometimes people say “you just have to have faith.”  Often this means stop thinking and just believe.


Certainly there are some things that will be mysterious.  Things we cannot explain or fully understand.

But to have faith does not mean that you park your brain and just believe.
In fact we are commanded to love God with all our “mind”.  This implies that we should engage our minds and think deeply about God.

Faith is rational.

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Sunday morning: concert or choir?

Is Sunday worship a concert or a massive choir?

In a concert everything is focused on stage.  Does the group sound good?  Are the instruments well blended?
In a choir everything is focused off the stage.  Can the people sing this song?  Is it in a good key for them to sing in?  Are they singing?

Concert and choir are two forms of worship.  Be clear on which one you are doing.  Don’t pretend to do one while doing the other.

On a Sunday morning you can do both.  A special feature – concert.  Congregational singing – choir.

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Update 3 - Chris and Cheryl

Chris and Cheryl (and their family) are serving in the Dominican Republic for the summer.

Hello again from the Dominican Republic.

Thank you all for your prayers for our safety during tropical storm Chantal. Chantal never did make it to hurricane status and went around to the south side of the island. We got quite a bit of rain, some thunder and lightning and some wind but it was very minor here. It was enough of a storm to cancel classes for one day and the weather did cool off to where it was actually quite comfortable for us. The people here thought it was cold but we were enjoying the cooler temperatures. On the south side of the island they did experience some flooding due to the heavy rains. Please pray for the people that were effected by the flooding.

I also want to thank you all for your prayers for God to provide a new translator for our class. Pastor James Tunnicliffe stepped in to translate on Monday and we had a new translator start on Tuesday. If he works out well he will be available to translate until we leave in September. I have had a number of people asking me if I would be teaching this class again after September. So far that is not on the schedule but we would appreciate your prayers in this matter as well. We do not know what Gods plans are for us after this so your prayers for clear direction are needed.

The classes are going very well and the attendance keeps increasing. I was told that usually after the first week some people tend to drop out and stop coming but so far that has not been the case.
God is providing everything that we have needed to do this course as we go along and the people here are really excited about it.

Jacolyn and Jennifer have been having some health issues here like ear infections and some minor stomach problems. Your continued prayer for physical, emotional and spiritual health are both needed and appreciated.

Jacolyn has been working in the village along side Pastor Jim's wife (Debra) with getting some long over due clean up done in the offices and helping her with some shopping for supplies.

Cheryl has been busy with tending to the health needs of Jennifer. This has been her priority for the past week again. She has been in the village giving the custodian in the schools some much needed guidance in proper work procedures and ethics. She has also been working with preparing food portions for the feeding programs.
Now she will also be helping with preparing the children's church and the supplies for a DVBS program.

Mostly we are doing well and are confident that God will give us the strength that we need to do the work that He has called us to do here.

  Thank you again for all your prayers and support.

  Chris, Cheryl, Jacolyn and Jennifer Peters

Thursday, July 11, 2013

Week 9 - Update from Travis

Travis Harms (a young adult from my church) is doing his internship in northern Manitoba this summer.  He is asking for people to pray for him.  Here is the week 9 update:
I am seeing the prevalence of the Word of Faith movement more in the North the more I am here. I met recently with a man from Cormorant and in a conversation about the Holy Spirit with him and I noticed several tenets of the Word of Faith movement in his theology. A problem with isolated communities is that when there is no solid Bible teaching church to go to, many people look to the television for their Bible teaching, often with disastrous results. They do it because there is no other option. Folks that cannot travel to a larger community for church are left with the feel good but malnourishing spiritual "food" on TV. The Word of Faith movement represents teachers such as Benny Hinn, Creflo Dollar, John Hagee and Joel Osteen.

 This week I learned that things that bring out the worst in me are not bad. They are good. If circumstances in my life did not challenge  me to strive for Christian living then I would not be growing as a believer. I am speaking about past events at school and not in the Pas, but I am learning more about how God has worked in my life and is working to sanctify me and it is very exciting!

This week a woman that has been struggling with liver failure went home to be with the Lord. Thankfully she went quietly and peacefully and now she is in glory. We can celebrate that she walked with God and with hope many more folks, including her husband, will come to know God through her life.

I am glad to report that I was able to talk deeper with a fellow from Cormorant and pray he will come to the Lord yet this summer. I have found that folks do not mind so much that I am a Christian and so I hope to shine brightly and present the gospel to them at the right time and to continue to speak about spiritual things with them as they ask. Pray for my connections in Cormorant that fruit would grow!!

-Travis Harms

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Success of a worship service?

Is it success if a worship team sounds great but the congregation does not sing?

Is it success if a worship team sounds terrible but the congregation sings?

Of course ideally we want both.
But if I have to choose I would choose the congregation singing.

Friday, July 05, 2013

Update 2 - Chris and Cheryl

Chris and Cheryl (and their family) are serving in the Dominican Republic for the summer.

Well I finished my first week of teaching in the college. I have about 15 students in the two classes combined, (it seems to change daily). They range in age from 15-40 years old with the average at about 25. It has been a challenge to explain things first to my translator and then have him explain it to the class. This week I have been teaching basic engine design and fundamentals as well as some carburettor and fuel injection principles. I have been encouraging the guys to ask lots of questions so I can get an idea where they are at. The intelligence level is quite high but the there is a large variation in their knowledge level. I had one of the students ask me "what is a magnet?" when I started to introduce some ignition system theory. With the help of my translator we were able to explain what a magnet is so that he and the rest of the class had a good understanding.
 We have been starting each class with prayer and I have had no problem getting other guys to take a turn at praying. One of my afternoon classes got of to a bit of a frenzied start with people coming in at various times and we forgot to open with prayer. When I dismissed the class for the day one of my students said that no one was allowed to leave until he prayed for the class as we did not open with prayer. I was very humbled and encouraged by this.
  We have been faced with another challenge at the end of this week in that due to personal reasons our translator quit and we need to find another one to start Monday morning. Your prayers for God to provide a new translator are much needed and appreciated.
 Cheryl has been off to a bit of a rough start. Jennifer had an ear infection in her right ear with a fever and a lot of pain. We think it was caused by getting water into her ear (swimmers ear). We just got over that then her left ear did the same thing. With the pain and the fever she was just not happy at all and said she wanted to go home several times. This has been hard for Cheryl as she is Mom and usually Mom is what the children want when they are ill. Along with Jennifer being sick there is the culture shock and the changes in how we need to do things here. Everything is different from the way we do laundry to the way we wash and prepare food to the way we get drinking water for the house etc.
  We have been very encourage by our many missionary friends here. With out their experience and knowledge to draw from it would be much more difficult.
  The public transportation system here is much different than at home but we did manage to figure it out. I found a GuaGua (van) that picks us up close to our house (a 10 minute walk) and drops us of right in front of the college where I am teaching. It also picks us up there and brings us back in the evening. It is about a 15 minute drive so it takes about 1/2 hr from when we leave the house until we are there (if the bus is on time). It only costs us 100 pesos ($2.50) each way for the four of us.
  Could you please pray for complete healing for Jennifer's ears, continued health for all of us and for contentment and wisdom for us as we deal with the cultural differences and serve here?
Thank you and God Bless
Chris and Cheryl Peters


I love to sing in church.  Not up front (my voice is not the best).  As part of the congregation I love to sing.

There is something significant, powerful about standing with others and singing praise to God.

On a normal Sunday in the congregation there are some people I know and some are strangers.  But we stand united, singing the same words.

New songs are fantastic.  Just not too many on a Sunday because I want to sing not just listen.

Week 8 - Update from Travis

Travis Harms (a young adult from my church) is doing his internship in northern Manitoba this summer.  He is asking for people to pray for him.  Here is the week 8 update:
My last visit to Cormorant was good in that it opened up opportunities for more visits. I got to know two new people in the community and I hope that I can especially connect with the one guy more in the coming weeks.

An issue in the town of Cormorant that I am seeing more and more is the sheer boredom. People there have next to nothing to do and kids are bored. There is vandalism and lots of break-ins there and the majority of them are because the youth in town are bored. I want to know what I can say or do for people that have nothing to do. Many people work outside of Cormorant in the mines or in the Pas. Boredom for lack of work is a lousy way to live.

Steeprock Bay Bible Camp is under way; the first week of camp started this week and staff training was this weekend. There is a long history there of ministry and because they have been going for 50 some years they are well known. The consistency of Steeprock has been a blessing to them. Keeping them in your prayers would be much appreciated.

While reading a book on Native issues, The Dispossessed, I am learning about some of the stories of people in the local area. I learned part of the Easterville story; about how developments such as hydro dams often ruin trap lines and hunting areas. This is important because one of my contacts from Cormorant is originally from Easterville. I have learned some of the history of the Pas as told from the Native perspective and this information helps me to understand why I see some of the things I do in the community.

Prayer for my visits in Cormorant for the connections I have made and for camp registration would be awesome!!

 -Travis Harms

Tuesday, July 02, 2013

Update - Chris and Cheryl

Chris and Cheryl (and their family) are serving in the Dominican Republic for the summer.

Hello from the Dominican Republic. We made it here safely without incident, all in all a good experience. When our friend from Toronto area picked us up to stay at her place for the night on Monday she took us to Montana's for supper where we were surprised by several people from the team that we worked with in the DR on our last mission trip in January. It was really nice to connect with them and have supper together. Supper was followed by what seamed to be one of the shortest nights ever. We got to bed at around
11:45 and got up at 4:30 to be at the airport by 6. Our flight took off around 9AM and we got to the DR around 1:30PM. We picked up a few groceries so we could make supper, unpacked a few things and had an early night. We are pretty well settled into our house now.
We were in the village a few times this week to get the small engines class set up and have some orientation.
It looks like I will be teaching 2 classes of 10 men. One in the morning 8:30-12:00 and one in the afternoon 1:30-5:00.
Cheryl has met some of the people that she will be working with and has been given a schedule of what she will be doing. (Out here schedules are often subject to change.) I think we have the public transportation figured out. We will find out on Monday morning as that is when we start using it. Up to this point we have been getting the pastor in the village to pick us up and drive us there. We have been able to work with his schedule up to this point but starting Monday I have to be in the village before 8:00AM for the classes.
Please pray for our health and for wisdom as we minister here.
Thank you and God Bless
Chris and Cheryl Peters

Week 7 - Update from Travis

Travis Harms (a young adult from my church) is doing his internship in northern Manitoba this summer.  He is asking for people to pray for him.  Here is the week 7 update:
During this week I made two visits to Cormorant and I am planning on making another soon. I have gotten to know a young man from Cormorant and I hope to get to know him better. He really likes fishing and I really like fishing so we are good that way. He is also super quiet and not all that open. But I hope that I can hear his story and be a good friend to him. Many in Cormorant are not walking the good path and I believe that he wants to walk the good path but doesn't have many friends into that.

I sometimes wish I was actually living in Cormorant because it would be easier to invite folks over if I actually had a house there. But this is good practice for the future. This maybe the only way to reach out to a village and so I hope to learn well from this experience. Its a frustrating issue but it forces me to be creative.

I was challenged yesterday by the genuine faith of a man Frank Ducharme. He suffers terribly with his back but he loves the Lord. Yesterday while praying he said, "I thank you Lord for who you are". He is just in awe of God. Faith is a simple thing, simply being in awe of God. Frank understands this. Things in life can distract us from God, but it is a beautiful thing to simply be in awe of God.

I have learned a good way to start conversations with random strangers, ask them about fishing or where someone lives. People are will courteously answer your questions.

I also preached last Sunday; I did not feel as though I was very dynamic. Dennis tells me the best way to learn to preach is to preach, so preach I did. He tells me a point I made about not labeling people stuck with him for the day. That is a good encouragement.

I have been doing a lot of work for speaking this summer at camp. Prayer for that would be greatly appreciated. Pray for staff training at Steeprock this weekend and for the summer weeks that are fast approaching!! Pray also for continued open doors in Cormorant to meet new people and connect over spiritual things and that kids from Cormorant would come to camp.

-Travis Harms