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Dear Reader,

We hope you are doing well and are safe during this time.

Please note that some of these updates were written before COVID-19 advisories and restrictions were put into place regarding meeting in groups. Ethnos360 missionaries around the world are following those advisories in order to stop the spread of the virus.

The Editor

Friday, May 22:
The A Team

The teaching among the “A” people of Papua New Guinea was supposed to start on March 23 but has been postponed due to the COVID-19 virus. Pray for the team as they rearrange their plans to follow guidance about group meetings.

Thursday, May 21:
Pray for Missionaries, Part Two

Missionaries can feel this pandemic in very acute ways. Here are some more ways you can pray for and encourage overseas missionaries during these days:

  • Like all of us, missionaries can be prone to be overcome by fear and worry and need the encouragement of the body of Christ. Pray for their eyes to be on the Author and Finisher of our faith.
  • Write to your missionaries. They probably don’t need all the statistics and Facebook information of how this virus is affecting the country and the world – they likely already know that. Write to let them know you are praying for them and that they haven’t been forgotten.
  • With colleges closing their doors, many college-aged missionary kids (MKs) have found themselves scrambling for a place to live. Add to that the grief of sudden, unexpected goodbyes as they leave friends; this can be a devastating time for MKs and their families.

Wednesday, May 20:
Pray for Missionaries, Part One

Missionaries can feel this pandemic in very acute ways. Here are some ways you can pray for and encourage overseas missionaries during these days:

  • Pray for their health. Some missionaries serve in areas where inadequate health care, hygiene challenges, and even cultural conventions regarding “social distancing” put them at greater risk for transmission of a devastating virus.
  • Some might be physically safe and healthy but knowing that family, particularly parents and kids, back in their home country are potentially compromised is a cause for worry.
  • Some are now in situations where a return to the USA currently is even more difficult, even next to impossible. Even if they didn’t have plans to return to the USA, knowing that they can’t is frustrating and adds to a sense of isolation from their families.

Tuesday, May 19:
Finishing Housebuilding

Nathan and Abby Burris minister in the Asia-Pacific region. “In December, Nathan took a trip into a Wolani village to help our church planting coworkers there finish up some house-building projects. He was a huge help and was able to complete a lot of finishing touches on the missionaries’ homes.” Praise God for those who serve in behind-the-scenes roles.

Monday, May 18:
The International Day for the Unreached

The Alliance for the Unreached exists to bring the Church together to work towards reaching unengaged and unreached people groups. The Alliance for the Unreached desires to make available the compassionate presence of God’s Word to bring life, hope and joy to those who need it and have never heard it. Ethnos360 is part of the directing board. You can read more about the Alliance here: You can register here to join the International Day for the Unreached — a 90-minute online event. When: May 31, 2020, 5 p.m. eastern. Pray for the ministries that are reaching the unreached.

Friday, May 15:
In the Village

[Editor’s note: This was written before many of the coronavirus restrictions were put into place.]

David and Shari Ogg minister among the Simbari people of Papua New Guinea “Last time you heard from us, we had just completed the final translation check on the Simbari New Testament. Here is an update on the rest of our trip to PNG. After the final check of the translation, we headed out to the bush to spend some time with the Simbari church. We brought Raymond and Klibon along from the Simbari church in [town] to help with encouraging the church out in the [village]. As we have mentioned in previous letters, many people have left and gone out to live in the towns where there are more jobs and better schools. This has left the church out in the [village] with a lack of experienced leaders. Thankfully, the church is still managing, but please pray about this ongoing need. It was so good to get these leaders together from both town and [village] for some leadership meetings to encourage them from God’s Word and to talk through some of the challenges they are facing and give some much-needed guidance. Two of the men who hiked up from other villages to attend the leadership meetings have purchased Simbari lesson books and started foundational Bible teaching in their homes in those two villages. The teaching is primarily for their families but is open to their neighbors as well. Read More.

Thursday, May 14:
Mandatory Lock-Down

Mike and Cher Riepma minister as translator, Bible teacher and nurse among the Ese Ejja people of Bolivia. “The country of Bolivia has also installed a mandatory lock-down to deal with the coronavirus pandemic. Though their cases are few, the health care system could not handle an avalanche of patients. Our prayer has been for the Ese Ejja churches to be a fountain of hope and truth, as even in the remote jungles, their lives have been affected by this crisis. Pray [that] the spiritual leaders will be faithful to teach, encourage and live out their faith daily in the challenges of life. The five Ese Ejja families studying at the Swiss Mission leadership training course have not been able to have classes but are growing in their walk and learning to wait on God. Our prayer is [that] we can resume their preparation soon. Our co-workers, Jenny and Silvana, are back in Bolivia but were put in quarantine as a precaution. Every day we need a war-time mentality in this spiritual battle by praying earnestly for the lost, staying engaged, being compassionate, making sacrifices and being ready to share the hope that is within us.” Pray for the missionaries’ return to the village.

Wednesday, May 13:
The Rumbles of the Coronavirus

Andy and Chrissy Shaub minister among the Awa people in Ecuador. “A month ago, the rumbles of the Coronavirus were still a long way off. And then suddenly things started changing fast with the first diagnosed cases here in Ecuador early March. Travel bans were suddenly put in place, and Emma, our pastor’s daughter who was visiting Liana [the Shaubs’ daughter], suddenly had her flight canceled! The Lord worked it out for her to go out on the last Delta flight. Others that we know had many complications before they managed to depart from Ecuador. So, what is God doing in this time? The Awa are very aware of the situation and have talked of blocking the road into our area. They’ve heard dramatic tales of how people are dropping dead on the sidewalk. Our coworker, Kevin, is the tech support and came up with a way to put a little Raspberry Pi computer in the church with a wireless signal to share Sunday Bible teaching and other items of interest for our Awa friends. They have no easy access to phone signal or internet, so we think it might be a fun thing for the teens to fiddle with on their smartphones and hear God’s Word. Pray for [the Awa] people to be seriously considering our smallness before a tiny virus and to be using this time to re-evaluate the gift of knowing God..”

Tuesday, May 12:

Paul and Tina McDole minister in Asia Pacific among the Buru people. “When God is working, so is the devil. Opposition to the truth can come from many sources. Some are from outside and some from inside. Pray for the church as they face opposition from a cultural leader who now lives elsewhere. He has been threatening to stop construction of the church building. He is also bringing along a church leader from another denomination. Sounds like [the Apostle] Paul knew what he was talking about when he talked to the Ephesian elders in Acts 20. He says, ‘Be on guard for yourselves and for all the flock, among which the Holy Spirit has made you overseers, to shepherd the church of God which He purchased with His own blood. I know that after my departure savage wolves will come in among you, not sparing the flock; and from among your own selves men will arise, speaking perverse things, to draw away the disciples after them. (NASB)’”

Monday, May 11:
Crazy Growth!

Tobi Magill ministers as a nurse at the clinic in Papua New Guinea. “We've talked about Kaje and how the gospel was heard for the first time there in December 2019. Many people believed. But now so many are asking questions and trying to figure out what this new life looks like. The spirits that controlled every aspect of life previously cannot be believed or counted as part of the equation now, so how does that make life look? They are now learning to worship the Creator instead of the created, as one of the missionaries recently put it. One man determined to believe in Jesus even though he felt sure that he would have to become a vegetarian and never be able to hunt again since there are rituals for a good hunt that he would no longer be performing. But he decided to try to hunt anyway without the rituals. After he killed a pig, he became positive that the God who was big enough to make the pig had been big enough to provide the pig for his food, and he who previously worshiped what was not God now gave credit to the Creator! So many more stories like this are coming from the Kaje people and the missionaries. ‘Those who once sat in darkness have now seen a great Light!’”

Friday, May 08:
Translation Progress

Lance and Laura Ostman do curriculum development and translation of the Scriptures for the Higaunon people of the Philippines. “Since we arrived back in the village, we’ve finished the final comprehension checking of the books of Daniel, Esther and Ezra. It was a lot of fun watching our translation assistant’s reaction to stories he had never heard before. We started checking Isaiah and then, because it was ready, we took a break to check something a bit less taxing on the brain. Imagine NOT having the book of Isaiah, or any number of Old Testament books for that matter. What a blessing it will be to have these books completed and available for the Higaunon. Please continue to pray for a faithful translation that communicates God’s message to these people.” Read More.

Thursday, May 07:
South Coast Church Plant

Lourens and Marie Laureti are church planters among the Mengen people in Papua New Guinea. “[Last year] we surveyed villages among the South Coast Mengen dialect. The purpose was to assess whether we could allocate missionaries among them. We are excited about the possibility to, at last, see the Mengen church reaching out to the North Coast boundary of our people group. We recently completed a weeklong survey to the South Coast of the Mengen people group to survey a different Mengen dialect. We are very excited about the potential of sending a team to work within these communities.”

Wednesday, May 06:
Buru Scripture Translation

Paul and Tina McDole minister in Asia Pacific among the Buru people. “We are praising God that Julie, one of our coworkers, has begun translating God’s Word into the Buru language. For the last eight years, there has been no one able to translate new portions of the Word of God. Now, Julie is working on the book of Ruth. Sasch, another co-worker, should be ready to begin translating sometime next year. We should have a great team working together to produce the Buru Scriptures.” Pray for the translation to move forward.

Tuesday, May 05:
Solitude in South Texas

DJ and Jennifer Searcy minister on the Punan translation team in Asia Pacific. “Looking back on our decision a couple months ago to extend our home assignment to the end of July, we see even more clearly now that it was the right decision. We are hoping and praying that the situation with the need for travel restrictions and social distancing will have improved enough by then that we can still return to Asia Pacific by the end of July. If the situation does not change by then, we’ll need to re-evaluate our plans once more. We’d appreciate your prayers for wisdom. Please also be praying for our fellow missionaries. Many of them have had to uproot with very little advance notice and are in quarantine while transitioning back to their home countries, and many others are staying in difficult ministry locations while practicing social distancing. Know that we are praying for all of you too. We know many of you are facing very difficult situations with employment, care of family members, health, etc.” Read more.

Monday, May 04:
Life and Ministry Under "Enhanced Community Quarantine"

Josh and Candy Dalton minister in the Philippines where he assists the larger missionary team. “For some, quarantine and restrictions have cost [them] their jobs, and some are hungry and scared. For some, quarantine has meant lots of puzzles and games and Netflix, but for us so far it has meant extra work. While many of our indigenous church plants are impacted as we avoid any chance of exposing the people we work with, our personal ministry has continued with a few modifications. Language sessions and meetings have all moved to video sessions, but students are moving forward. Josh is able to continue many of his maintenance and administrative projects from home. … Our house helper is confined to her house as well, so we've all had step up to the plate with chores around the house. Candy has really only been able to handle her ministry roles and responsibilities in addition to homeschooling because we've had someone to help out around the house, so her workload has essentially doubled, and we're all pitching in to help. We're thankful during this time that we serve a good God who is growing and transforming us through challenging circumstances and giving us opportunities to show His love and compassion to those who need to know Him.” Pray as they work in confinement.

Friday, May 01:
Member Care
David and Kathy Lanham minister in the US Regional Member Care (RMC) Department of Ethnos 360. [They are] engaged with uprooted missionaries in giving critical debriefs, coming alongside to encourage and uplift these ‘displaced’ missionaries in these tumultuous times. One missionary that we connected with had hurriedly left her field to catch a flight home while she could. When we talked to her via Zoom call, she said, ‘So much has happened in such a short period of time, I need help to process all the change that has happened so quickly.’ For over an hour, we listened as she poured out her heart to us, describing her pressure-packed last days on the field, her long five-leg trip home, where her itinerary was changed, then arriving home and going immediately into quarantine and all the ramifications of that. So, the Member Care team could use prayer in this special debriefing mission, or operation Paraclete, as some RMC members refer to it. Pray that we would be vessels through which God’s love, care, and encouragement could be clearly communicated to these dear Ethnos360 missionaries having to transition under duress.
Thursday, Apr 30:
Confessions of Faith

Paul and Tina McDole minister in Asia Pacific among the Buru people. “God is at work, bringing more people to Himself here. [There were] several new confessions of faith, and three [new believers] were baptized. We hope to soon get a third team of two men teaching in people’s homes several times a week. Tina has several ladies helping her teach other ladies in their homes, too. Simon, a co-worker from our missionary training school, taught on elders from 1 Timothy 3. The men helped us teach the whole church that evening. Praise God for what He is doing.”