Prayer Needs for Mission Partners

1/29/2023: Please pray for Wayne and Barbara Brink. Wayne and Barbara serve with CRU and supervise a team of staff working on the JESUS Film Project (JFP). Wayne's team is spread out around the country - from Seattle to Orlando, Philly to L.A. - and they each represent the Jesus Film Project in their region. Their job as reps is to strategically connect believers and their finances to the critical needs the Jesus Film has around the world. Wayne's team spends quite a bit of time interacting with these ministry partners to make sure they feel connected and are engaged directly with what God is doing around the world. With more people alive on earth today than ever before, more people than ever are open to the things of God because of fear and uncertainty. And with more people using the internet than ever before, the means now exist to touch the lives of most people on earth. There are many exciting opportunities happening around the world through JFP. Their current prayer requests include:

  • They are currently in Melbourne, Florida providing training for 80 of their staff.
  • They are discussing their vision for 2023 and providing training to accomplish their objectives.
  • Two weeks ago they rushed to Rockford, Illinois, where Barbara was able to talk and pray with her sister. Several hours after they talked and prayed with her, Barb’s sister passed away. Many of their family do not know the Lord so they were able to give them hope and direction about forgiveness in Jesus.
  • They have a dozen new staff they will be training later this week.
  • More people will pray to receive Christ this year because of national TV showings and amazing church planting efforts.

1/22/2023: Please pray for Carlos and Suzanne Tejada. Suzanne (Westover) attended CrossLife for many years growing up and then attended our Spanish speaking congregation with husband Carlos. They have been living and serving in Cartago, Costa Rica with ReachGlobal. Carlos is involved in building relationships with pastors across the city & in other regions of Costa Rica to form collaborative partnerships among pastors and churches and provide theological and Biblical training. He is working alongside indigenous pastors that are planting churches among their people group. Around 80% of pastors do not have formal theological or biblical training. Equipping pastors helps them better prepare their teaching and preaching of the word of God more effectively. Suzanne's primary ministry is working with a Christian foster agency, Casa Viva connecting them with local churches. Prayer Requests include:

  • a good transition back to Costa Rica after a several months stay in the US,
  • a fruitful time of study with the 20 pastors Carlos will be working with this March,
  • safety in traveling to villages of indigenous people Carlos works with,
  • for 8 young churches whose mission is to serve the community, and
  • the work Suzanne is doing with Casa Viva and the need for qualified families to provide foster care.

1/15/2023: Please pray for Ben and Jeanne Beckner, who serve with a nonprofit organization based in Iowa, and relocated in September of 2018 from Lyon to Perpignan, France. Ben is professor of intercultural studies at a private theological training college located in Geneva, Switzerland. He is also founder and director of a French cultural nonprofit which uses French language teaching as a training tool for cross-cultural outreach and communication. Ben and Jeanne are active members of a local French Baptist church in Perpignan. They are currently on home assignment, reconnecting with supporting churches and family. Their prayer requests include:

  • Please pray for a good week of teaching for Ben (third year students) at the Geneva Bible Institute January 16-20. On Saturday, January 21, he will be going to Grenoble for a board meeting of Français sans Frontières to plan the new year of French camps / retreats (a FSF snow retreat coming up in March when Ben will be back in France for a month, for students of French and Ukrainians presently living there). The board is continuing to figure out how to practically help the many requests for aid coming from the Ukrainian refugees in our network. Pray for wisdom in the midst of having to make many decisions and for effective and compassionate administration of the gifts that have been made by many French (and American) churches and individuals for the needs of these Ukrainian families. We praise the Lord for the generosity of His people in the face of these great needs.
  • Ben will also be spending a few days back in Perpignan to see various people from our church, including the family we housed for four months who are now in their own place. Pray for good and renewed contacts with all these people, and that he might be an encouragement to our pastor and the work of the church there. He will be returning to Colorado January 29, Lord willing.
  • Pray for us as we will be in California visiting supporting churches and individuals from Feb 1-27. Pray for safety as we travel, good health (we both have picked up a number of “bugs” these past months, probably because we are living with little kids again), and really good connections with people we have known and partnered with since we left for Europe in 1984.
  • Pray for us as we try to make new friends here in Colorado and seek to feel “at home” after living so many years outside the United States. We will be returning to France for several months in the summer and fall, as Ben continues to teach at the Bible Institute and oversee and organize the work of FSF.

1/8/2023: Please pray for Keith and Judy Anderson who serve with EFCA ReachGlobal through ProMETA. Keith works with the ProMETA team, an online seminary that offers Master's level education for Spanish speaking leaders. Prayer requests and praises:

  • Praise God Keith was able to teach the book of Nehemiah (virtually) to master’s students in Mexico, Costa Rica, and Venezuela. Their final projects were amazing as they developed programs for youth, Sunday Schools, and teaching conferences on how to develop “Nehemiahs” in the local church! Among the students were an architect who has a ministry in a poor neighborhood, an academic program director of a bible institute, a ministry leader for a children’s ministry, and a church planter. What a variety of ministries!
  • Praise God for a parallel certificate course on Nehemiah taught in Spanish by Fred Garcia, one of Keith’s former Nehemiah students. A group of 13 students in a Free Church in Minnesota just completed the course, the final course in their certificate program. Fred will graduate with his master’s in Bible and Theology and has proven to be an amazing instructor. By the way, he teaches from a city in Venezuela on the edge of the Amazon jungle! The church has asked ProMETA to develop a second program to which we have agreed. It begins on Jan.16th.
  • We praise God for the 43 diplomas given out at ProMETA’s graduation on Dec. 10th. Keith was able to attend and be blessed by the overwhelming sense of God’s amazing work throughout the region. The graduation was held in Costa Rica. Of the 43 students, only about 1/4th were from Costa Rica  and all the rest participated virtually from their many countries!
  • Praise God the eight theological educators who minister in ProMETA, an online seminary launched by Reachglobal over 20 years ago, will begin their doctorates in February. They represent the next generation of leaders for the Spanish-speaking Church.
  • Pray for Dr. Javier Sepúlveda, ProMETA´s director who replaced Keith in 2021. Pray for recent conversations they had with EFCA Hispanic leaders in California regarding training opportunities for Spanish-speaking pastors and ministry leaders in the US. The needs are overwhelming.
  • Pray for the 8 ProMETA leaders (dept. heads, mentors, and a board member who is a recent graduate of ProMETA) who are bravely launching into doctoral programs in February. These leaders represent ProMETA’s next generation of qualified and equipped leaders for ProMETA’s next stage of ministry. It will not be easy for them, but they have each made a firm commitment to press onward!

12/18/2022: Please keep all our missionary partners in your prayers during the next few weeks. Please fill each with the knowledge of your will in all wisdom and spiritual understanding. Stir their hearts to hunger and thirst after you. And Father, bless them physically, spiritually, emotionally, and financially. Bless their families and homes and bestow upon them traveling mercies.

12/11/2022: Please pray for Lonnie and Debbie Smith. The Smiths serve with EFCA Reach Global in Marseille, France and are involved in church planting and relational evangelism. Please pray for the ministries they are involved with in Marseille including the Merlan Church and the university students who had been involved in the FEU this past year. The FEU (which is the French word for fire - but also stands for Foyer Evangélique Universitaire) is the university student ministry of the Merlan Church. Praise & prayer requests the Smiths have shared include:

  • Mid-November Debbie traveled to Florida for the bittersweet task of packing up her Mom’s former room, as she is now living in long-term care in the Health Care Center. They are thankful to still have their mom, and for the opportunity to have been all together for a short time. They are thankful for the prayers.
  • Thanksgiving dinner for the university students sponsored by the FEU was a success again this year.
  • Debbie was recruited to play for the annual Christmas Carol Service hosted by the International Christian Community of Provence in Aix-En-Provence December 4 and repeated again in Manosque December 10, hosted there by a new church plant. Lonnie had also been recruited to sing with the chorale, as they lacked male voices! This was a new involvement for them - thank you for praying and God will be glorified and his name known through these events.
  • The Merlan Christmas Service will be held on December 18. There has been more contact with the neighbors of the church recently - pray the name of Jesus will be glorified.
  • Lonnie will preach the message on Christmas Day. Pray many will gather to bless the Lord this day despite it being a holiday!
  • Our daughter, Olivia, will be moving to the U.S. at the end of January. Thank you for praying for her transition to life in Traverse City, Michigan where her three sisters live, for getting her driver’s license, finding a job, and for peace in her heart as she turns the page and steps out on her own.

12/4/2022: Please pray for Mike and Ann Wheeler, who are with Serving in Mission (SIM) in Cochabamba, Bolivia. Mike is involved in training seminary students in central South America and assists in accreditation of regional seminaries. Anne is involved in several ministries teaching and assisting administratively. In the next few months, they will be transitioning back to the United States as their home base. Tentatively their departure date is May 12. Their current prayer requests include:

  • Mike manages three SIM projects related to ministry in the Seminary. Pray everyone will have wisdom as decisions are made for the future management of these projects.
  • They have to sell their car, furniture and other items. Please pray all will be sold at a fair price.
  • While it is hard to leave behind many material things, it is harder still leaving their ministries and Bolivian friends here. Please pray the Lord will help them end well.
  • Pray for wisdom as Ann and Apoyo work out how she can continue to help them from the US.
  • As they stated before, they are not retiring or leaving the mission field, so they will continue depending on prayer and financial support from prayer partners and donors. Since they are convinced this is the Lord’s timing, they are waiting on him to give more clarification concerning their future ministries. As was stated, a number of the aspects of Mike’s future ministry are clear, but they are waiting on the Lord to see what else he might have for him and also what Ann will do. 

11/20/2022: Please pray for Leon and Mandy Poplawski. They are on staff with Cru City and work with individuals and churches in Lake County helping local churches equip “Mon-Fri Workers” for ministry through their callings. This includes leading "Work and Faith" groups and workshops in Lake County. Leon continues to be involved with the Lake County Jail ministry and Mandy works with our local MOP's group. Leon and Mandy also coach a group of staff nationally who are innovators in their cities. A note from Leon and Mandy describes some current ministry updates:

  • "We recently hosted our Cru City Neighbors National team here, in our area, and our Executive Director was overjoyed by the progress we made and the tangible actions we are initiating. God has been affirming to us this place of leadership on this team is exactly how He wants to use us. We have been serving on staff with Cru for a lot of years, but these last couple months God has been assuring us our experience is valued and our perspectives are insightful for the Cru City staff. It’s been surprising sometimes and we know there are no explanations, other than the Spirit is at work and God has placed us here for a purpose.
  • "I was cleaning out my garage and came across a calendar I received as a gift years ago. It had the artwork of Thomas Blackshear for each month. I took it to the jail and by the visual expression with the verses attached, some inmates seemed much more engaged and able to internalize the truth about Jesus. I was stunned by how effective it was. Inmates who showed little ability to personalize verses were now asking great questions and applying truths to their life. Wow! I love to see God’s message speak so clearly to their heart, even with different methods. Once again, God’s powerful Spirit is at work.
  • "A few nights ago, Mandy hosted her small group of moms in our house. I wish you could have heard the excitement in their voices. These women are from Europe, South America, and Chicagoland. Through bible study and personal faith stories, these women are gaining fresh understanding of Jesus and His love."

Current prayer requests for the Poplawskis:

  • A trip to Cuba for Leon in January - pray for preparation and gospel openness
  • Better access at the jail to interact with the spiritually curious - due to COVID there are still restrictive protocols in place (Currently, it is all through glass.)
  • Finances - we have received two short paychecks and expenses for the Cuba trip will be $1500
  • Good health
  • Continued wisdom and opportunities to lead well locally and nationally
  • Vibrant walks with Jesus
  • Workshop in December for pastors in Elijah’s network
  • Growing relationships with Mandy’s group of moms

11/13/2022: Please pray for Tim and Nancy Navratil. Tim serves as Area Leader and member of the senior leadership group of the Latin American/Caribbean Division of EFCA ReachGlobal. Tim and Nancy are based here in the Chicago area but Tim travels on average once or twice each month to visit various locations throughout Latin America/Caribbean.They have officially retired but Tim will continue to serve with ReachGlobal in a reduced capacity and without pay or benefits. He will continue to supervise their team leaders and facilitate their annual planning retreats which will require him to travel to each of their city team locations at least once a year. We will continue to support them till the end of the year. They shared these current prayer requests:

  • The Cuba crisis response is ongoing. Pray for the short-term teams going into Cuba for Hurricane Ian response.
  • Tim is leading a team from their church in Appleton to help with Hurricane Ian response in Fort Myers, Florida for a week during January.
  • This is the time of year that Tim travels the most as he facilitates the annual planning processes for city teams in Latin America and the Caribbean
  • Pray for God’s clear guidance in goal setting and for safe and uneventful travel. Tim will be going to the Dominican Republic, Mexico City, Panama City and Brazil during the next 4 months.
  • Also continued wisdom and sensitivity to God as Tim continues to be a part of the Latin America/Caribbean division leadership team.
  • Praise to God for ongoing financial support to pay for Tim's travel and lodging expenses.

10/30/2022: Please pray for Francesco and Manuela Grassi. Francesco and Manuela are missionaries with the United World Mission serving at the Italian Evangelical Bible Institute in Rome. Francesco is involved in the ministry of theological education, both residentially as well as in the various decentralized schools around Italy. Together with Manuela, they also serve as mentors, providing counseling and hospitality to students living away from home. Here is an update and prayer requests from the Grassis: We are doing well. We’ve recently become members of a church near the Bible Institute (where we have been attending since we came back), which is opening opportunities of ministry for both Manuela and me. Our girls are finally making deeper friendships within the youth group and seem to be settling well.

  • Please pray Sofia and Naomi confirm their personal faith in Jesus. They are doing very well in school, but our deepest desire as parents is to see them grow in their faith.
  • As for Rebecca and Rachel, they are thriving and enjoying school. Meeting their friends’ parents at birthdays, or just for a few minutes outside the school, is giving us an opportunity to connect and share the gospel with them. The fact we speak English and have lived so many years abroad is particularly attractive to people who live in this area and value English as a second language (not common for Italy!). There is a keen interest in having conversation in English, so we are counting on this as an opportunity to make deeper connections that might open doors to witness. Please pray we live as light and salt in our behavior, but also for boldness and ample opportunity to talk about our Lord’s salvation.
  • Apart from the usual classes, Francesco has started teaching A Survey on the Gospels, and will start traveling in Italy to teach in the non-residential schools, next is Milan in just a few weeks. He must visit those centers twice a month until the students finish classes with him. He is particularly stressed lately and would very much appreciate your prayers. Please, pray also he recovers from a very bad epicondylitis in both arms which sometimes makes even the most common movement painful. He has seen a doctor just yesterday, but other than rest (which, of course, is difficult to entertain as an idea…), there is nothing he can do.
  • As you know, Manuela was already involved in the children’s ministry and the mentoring program at the Institute. This semester she is also part of the staff supervising some aspects of the student’s life. A few months ago, the revision she made to the translation of the book Preaching by Haddon Robinson, a resource we require our students to use, has finally seen the light.
  • Lastly, God willing, in the next month or so we might finally move into our new house, which has been in renovation since last April. What this means is we will finally live within walking distance from all the schools and save “just” 3hours/day driving back and forth. We can’t wait!

10/23/2022: Please pray for Ben and Jeanne Beckner. Ben and Jeanne serve with International Messengers in Perpignan, France. Ben has been a professor of Missiology at the Geneva Bible Institute and many of the students he has taught are now serving in ministry all over the world. They also have planned and led several "French Without Borders" language camps where they are able to build bridges with people who want to learn to speak French in a number of nearby countries and share the hope they have in Jesus. Over the weekend at CrossLife, Ben and Jeanne also shared about the many opportunities they, and their church, have had to offer help and hope to Ukrainian refugees. With many ministry opportunities taking place in Ukraine before the war, they now have relationships and connections to provide aid and offer hope. Please pray for the Beckners and these ministry endeavors. Also, please pray for them while they are on home assignment over the next year.  

10/16/2022: Please pray for MOPS. Mothers of Pre-Schoolers (MOPS) meets at Crosslife every first and third Friday of the month throughout the school year.  MOPS allows mothers to gather to celebrate motherhood and encourage each other through its challenges. The 2022-23 MOPS International Theme is We Go Together and will focus on being uniters instead of dividers, going all in on friendship, and expecting to see remarkable things because God is at work. During MOPS meetings, caregivers invest in the children’s lives by introducing Biblical truths through the MOPPETS program. Although this year has started off with low membership, MOPS leadership is starting to see some growth and are determined to sustain the program. 

10/2/2022: Please pray for Cheque and Hope Garcia who have spent the past nine years working in Monterrey Mexico with Back2Back Ministries. Back2Back Ministries is an international Christian non-profit organization dedicated to being a voice for orphans. Cheque and Hope are beginning the work of establishing a Back2Back Ministry in the Dominican Republic. They are currently in Cincinnati, Ohio. They’ve been there for a couple of weeks in order for their son, Mateo, to get treatment for a bowel issue at Cincinnati Children's Hospital. He is doing better and they are adjusting to a daily treatment plan for him. They will remain in Cincinnati until the beginning of November. During that time Mateo will have ongoing physical therapy and psychology appointments. Cheque and Hope will attend the annual B2B director meetings and B2B’s 25th anniversary Night of Hope. Their staff member, Leah, remains in the DR holding down the fort and continuing ministry with their partners. By God's grace their town of Santiago did not have many adverse effects from Hurricane Fiona. There was lots of rain and flooding but things are now back to normal. They are grateful!

  • Please pray for continued healing for Mateo.
  • Pray for grace for their family as they adjust to daily treatments for Mateo for the next 4-6 months.
  • Pray for good connection with supporters, friends, and family while in the States.
  • Pray for Leah in the DR as she holds down the fort.

9/11/2022: Please pray for Youssouf and Awa Dembele. The Dembeles are contributing to the work of the church in Mali, Africa and throughout the world through leadership in the local church, seminary, evangelical associations, and bible translation projects. Youssouf shares the following: 

Praises and thanksgiving:

  • We praise and thank the Lord for his faithfulness and care. The church is going fine by his grace. We have many reasons to praise and thank the Lord. 
  • On Saturday September 10, 2022, my assistant Pastor Rubain Kone had been ordained. 
  • On September 5-9th, I spent 3 days with the children and teenagers of the church (6-17 years) in a little town for a Bible Camp. We had 204 kids. The topic was “salvation”. 62 of the kids made the decision to follow Christ. Some of them went with non-Christian friends. It was a great time for all of us. Each of them received a Bible in French. 
  • On August 31st to September 2nd, I had a two-day seminar with 150 Pastors and church leaders (men and women, young and old) on the topic of “Sound and False Doctrines”. 
  • On August 7-12th, I had the opportunity to travel to Burundi as the guest speaker of Francophone Pan African Meeting of IFES (International Fellowship of Evangelical Students). Some 300 young people from 19 countries gathered there. The main topic was: “The Everlasting Christ in the Present Days.” 

Prayer requests:

  • My assistant, Pastor Etienne Diarra is still unable to walk after he went through surgery in October 2018. Please pray for healing. 
  • Pray for my second assistant, Pastor Rubain Kone and his family.
  • Continue to pray for our kids that they may walk with the Lord and be His witnesses.

9/4/2022: Please pray for Gerry Buchholz, who has been serving with Cru (Campus Crusade for Christ) for over 30 years. She is currently the coordinator for ministry partner development with The Jesus Film Project (JFP) as well as coaching senior or transfer staff in their personal funding efforts. Gerry has recently moved to Austin, Texas to be closer to family. Gerry has shared these prayer requests:

  •  "I met with the ESL director at Great Hills Baptist Church last week and shared how God has used the JESUS film so powerfully since 1979 and continues to do so - taking people to the level of understanding who Jesus is, what He did, and who He claimed to be in just 2 hours. This is all because people tend to believe what they see, understand deeply and best in their heart language, and lastly, God promises that His Word will not return to Him void. Of course the film is only and purely God's Word-nothing else is added. I had an appt. August 18th from 1:30-2:30 with the teachers of the ESL program to present the ESL JESUS Film curriculum. Pray God will give the curriculum favor and they will start using it with their students and definitely have the students watch the film at home in their heart language. Those who come to the Bible ESL part are definitely ok with, and even interested in the Bible or they wouldn't be there. Pray the students (all adults) will seek to receive Christ and grow in Him. They wanted me to be one of the Bible teachers, but for now God is calling me to network and spread the word by equipping and energizing others to use JFP in the heart language to build the kingdom. I'm meeting with the Navigator ministry soon to help their team learn how to use the JFP and the resources that go with it to reach the 'Nations Within' - the name of their ministry to internationals here in the US. They are ministering to the Afghan refugees."
  • "Please continue to pray for the couple and single young woman I'm coaching weekly while they are raising their funding to work with JESUS Film. The woman, Kristine, caught covid and is almost completely well. Pray for strength and perfect healing. She drove to Dallas today and will stay until Monday or Tuesday. Pray God will give her at least 5 solid appointments and favor with everyone she meets with."
  • "The husband (Larry) of the couple I'm coaching is going to meet the president of a foundation and will be giving a presentation of what God is doing through JESUS Film and the ministry 'I Am Second' which makes films of famous people giving their testimonies. He will be working with that ministry for about a year and helping us partner with them. He has over $3,000/month to raise to meet the needs of a 6 member family. Pray God will bring in $500 in monthly contributions this coming week."
  • "Please pray God will give me wisdom and insight as I coach both Larry and his wife Amanda, and Kristine."
  • "God has given me friendships and favor with 2 Jewish women. They let me pray with them and for them and I sometimes get to tell my miracle stories within our conversations. Please pray for miracles - their salvation. Pray Jesus might appear to them or speak to them. Or do whatever He knows will bring them to faith in Him."
  • "Good news! Yesterday I spoke with the woman who is part of the team reaching refugees crossing the border at Reynosa/McAllen, TX. They sit on a city block in the middle of Reynosa (400-4,000 people at any time), waiting to be processed by the officials along the border. They are bored with nothing to do. I spoke with our JFP representative (a couple I had coached several years ago) and he had 2 JFP trainers go to the area with 4 IPads and 4 NewLifeBoxes (small boxes that provide wi-fi and are loaded with JFP in the languages of those present and more). Our only requirement for the training and equipment is a commitment to share with us what God does each month as a result. About 12 people were trained."
  • "More good news!! I asked the woman if she knew more teams along the border who needed equipment and training. Yes, she is giving me the contact info for 3 more teams - Brownsville, TX, Laredo, TX and San Diego, CA. I will talk with our representative soon to see when he can make those connections for more training. God is on the move!!"