Friday, October 19, 2007

Bolivian Missionaries in Bolivia

Thanks to everyone who gave so our good friends in Bolivia could go on their mission trip to Riberalta, in the north of Bolivia. 20 Bolivians made the trip, as you can see from Enzo’s report below. It always gives us great joy to see the passion they have in Bolivia for reaching their country! Praise God with us as you watch this short online slide show—

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From: Enzo G. Saavedra
To: Mike Jorgensen
Subject: Trip to Rberalta

Good afternoon Mike,

This are som information from the trip to Riberalata, I will be sending pictures later. if you need some specific information just call us.

7 Mother Churches
7 New points
20 Nacional volunteers
108 Local workers
59 Cubes distributed
1,602 Gospel presentations
1,146 Professions of Faith
793 Discipleships

There were 14 persons that went form Santa Cruz and 6 from Trinidad.

God was good on this mission trip taking care of everyone and giving good fruits.

Enzo

Tuesday, October 02, 2007

Ethiopia's 9/11

What would you do if fanatics in your town killed some of your Christian friends and burned your church down?

About a year ago while we were commemorating 9/11, Muslims went on a rampage in the region of Jimma, Ethiopia. Many evangelical believers were killed, as well as members of the Orthodox church. Churches were burned. Other churches were turned into mosques.

But our friends in Ethiopia did not shrink back, they moved forward.

"TA" shared with me during our visit in Ethiopia that God brought great glory to Himself out of that persecution. The persecution was followed by a wave of miracles confirming the gospel. People were physically healed as evangelists preached. Some of the Muslims who killed Christians had visions of Jesus as they worshipped at their mosques. Several accepted Christ as their Savior, and then testified to others about the visions they had had.

Evangelicals banded together and shared clothes and encouragement with evangelicals and Orthodox alike. Because of that, evangelicals have been invited into Orthodox churches to preach the gospel.

There are now 520 Kale Heywet (Word of Faith) churches in this region. Their goal is to plant 300 new churches in the next 5 years. Please pray for them as they work to train enough new leaders to pastor these new churches.

Hear TA's testimony by clicking on the link below.

60 Churches Plant 60 More

Merdekiyos Meja attended our Ethiopia Leadership Conference in early 2005. As the leader of a district that then had 60 churches, he went home “infected” with a vision. He shared that vision for multiplying those existing churches with his district pastors. Today those 60 have planted 60 more! They doubled in less than 3 years! All this took place in a region of Ethiopia that has experienced great persecution from Muslims (see entry above).

As one of their national leaders put it, this is historic in their denomination—an entire district doubling so quickly.

32 of the churches now have buildings, which they paid for with local tithes and offerings. The other 28 meet under trees, in homes and other places.

Please pray that this “infection” will spread throughout Ethiopia.

Hear this testimony--click on link below.

Thursday, September 27, 2007

Dancing with the President (Burundi)

Burundi has the same “Country Threat Security Warning Level” as Iraq! The most dangerous level of 5.

But God is at work here. When we arrived last Sunday our hosts casually said “we’ll be by at 6 to take you to dinner at the President’s house.” The first thought this ole Iowa farm boy had was “Huh? I’ve not even taken a tour of our US White House, and we’re going to DINNER at the Burundi Prez’s house?”

His Excellency, President Pierre Nkurunziza of Burundi (middle of pic on left), accepted Christ as his Savior about two years ago. Now each Sunday evening he has a worship time (this week’s was 3 hours!), followed by dinner. Sometimes he invites local pastors, sometimes international ministry guests visiting Burundi. This week there was a couple from Sweden, 3 other pastors from Texas doing leadership training, our team, plus the nationals hosting each of us.


I’ve never been hugged by a President before. I’ve never danced to praise music with a President before. I’ve never worshipped with a President before. God holds the hearts of kings in His hands. He certainly has a good grip on the President here. Please pray that God will honor his obedience by changing Burundi and bringing peace after more than a decade of civil war.

The President also has his own soccer team that plays around Africa. Its name: “Allelujah FC”!

One more highlight of the night. Two years ago a Burundi pastor named Jérémie attended our leadership conference in Rwanda. I can still remember standing in the lobby of the hotel on my way to the airport. As we shook hands goodbye, Jérémie said “please, please, please come to Burundi.” I gave my standard answer of “we’ll pray, and if God opens the door, we’ll come.”

As I was ushered to my seat at the Burundi “White House,” I was seated right next to Jérémie! God confirmed in those surprising moments that He indeed wanted us there. He gave me good news—his church now has planted 9 churches in Burundi and Zambia, and are planning one in Tanzania soon.

Africa Trip Score: Uganda done / Rwanda done / Burundi completing / off to Ethiopia for last stop.

Blessings.
Mike Jorgensen

Monday, September 24, 2007

Rwanda Stop on Africa Tour

My heart continues to break here in Africa, this time in Rwanda. Once again, people were touched deeply by Joselian’s testimony of living as HIV+. She shared that she doesn’t know which of these 3 ways she was infected—

· Her first husband who died
· Her second husband who left her
· Being hacked by machetes with blood on them during the genocide.

She survived one holocaust only to be infected by another horror. But now she spends her time ministering to the needs of others. God is using her to bring His hope and love to fellow Rwandans. Now she’s trained to share simple truths about HIV/AIDS.

The AIDS Cube training was part of our normal church planting leadership conference. We look upon our training as—

Lecture + Laboratory

Ground School + Flight School

Vision + Action

We always try to build practice time into our leadership conferences. We don’t want people to go home and put yet another notebook on their shelf.

Practice on Day One was prayer walking. Day Two was evangelism for about an hour. 222 people prayed to receive Christ! Hallelujah! The people were so happy, that two of the pastors decided to stay in that area for a few weeks to start 2 new churches in the big area where the people accepted Christ. They also took up an offering to get two new baby churches off the ground!



Plus, about 10 nursing students prayed to receive Christ as their Savior during the HIV/AIDS Cube practice time! Another example of this new tool opening the door to present the love of Christ.

Here's picture of them practicing to use the HIV/AIDS Cube.




Here they hear the gospel from a Rwanda e3 trainer.








Please continue to pray for our Burundi conference going on now (Sept 24-26), plus our last stop in Ethiopia this Friday and Saturday (Sept 28-29).

Blessings.

Mike Jorgensen

Friday, September 21, 2007

Africa Tour / Stop 1 / Uganda

God gave us a divine appointment our first day in Uganda. A lady was at the hotel selling handmade necklaces. She had a sign that she was with TASO [The AIDS Support Organization]. Jeff Sheets struck up a conversation with her, and learned she is HIV+. She makes the bracelets, baskets, etc. to sell to support herself and her 3 kids.

Her husband died of AIDS several years ago. He was a truck driver for the UN, running back and forth between Uganda and Kenya. He knew he was infected, but didn’t tell her until his HIV developed into AIDS. At the funeral, or thereabouts, she found out he had 2 other wives with kids in other cities.

Janet (at left) now is a born again believer. She sells stuff to make a living, but her passion is HIV/AIDS awareness training and encouragement. She said she no longer is sad she has it, because God has used her situation to change many people’s lives.

We invited her to share at the HIV/AIDS Cube training. She gave her testimony and everyone was riveted. Then we went to a clinic and shared with ladies waiting for treatment. She knew everyone at the hospital, and presented to all the ladies. The HIV/AIDS “practice” presentation was followed by the gospel. Several prayed to receive Christ.

A huge problem here is stigma. People often are ostracized because others are afraid they’ll be infected if they shake hands or even get close to HIV+ people. Often people just want to die because they’re so lonely. Or they get bitter and want to infect others—“if I die, I want to take others with me” as one person put it. So they don’t tell anyone, and end up spreading it even more. So learning the truth hopefully will reduce the fear, and thereby the stigma. Plus, and this is The Major Plus, this whole thing opens the door for discussions about real hope and love of God through Jesus Christ.

One thing we have heard over and over from many leaders—government, AIDS organizations, business leaders, as well as church leaders: it is only life change through a relationship with Christ that makes a difference.

This fits in with our prayer, that the Lord would use this tool to bring many into His kingdom and plant many new churches.

Please continue to pray for us as we head next to Rwanda for church planting training Sept 20-23, which also will include AIDS Cube training.
After that to Burundi and Ethiopia.

Blessings.
Mike Jorgensen

Uganda: True Hope Through Christ


Praying to receive Christ after 1) HIV/AIDS Cube presentation followed by 2) presentation of gospel using EvangeCube.
Hallelujah!

Uganda HIV/AIDS Cube "Practice"



Janet (on left) and Josephine (but now everyone calls her "Miracle") share the truths about HIV/AIDS with the new HIV/AIDS Cube.



















Thursday, September 13, 2007

Africa: 4 Countries in 15 Days

Four African countries in 15 days.

Sometimes I wonder “what in the world were you thinking when you set that up, Mike?” But then I think all the people who might be spared untold agony and grief because of a pilot project we are doing. Not only spared for eternity, but also spared in this life.

25 million people in Sub-Saharan Africa are infected with HIV, according to UN estimates. Almost 3 million new infections each year. Some estimate there are 12 million kids orphaned in that region because of AIDS.

Tremendous hurt. Tremendous need. Tremendous open door for the love of Christ to be extended by planting new churches.

So we’ve developed a new Cube. A new Cube that hopefully will open many, many doors for sharing the gospel with the EvangeCube. This new tool is called the HIV/AIDS Cube. Through pictures people can easily learn what HIV/AIDS is, how you get it, how you don’t get it, symptoms, precautions to take, and how to care for those already infected.

This trip is to do a pilot project testing in Uganda, Rwanda, Burundi and Ethiopia. We want to see what people think of it. The EvangeCube makes sharing the gospel easy. Will this HIV/AIDS Cube do the same? How can we use it to also introduce people to the Great Physician? How can we teach churches to reach out to people with the love of Christ using this tool?

--Pray for wisdom as we learn from our African brothers and sisters, who have lived with this pandemic in ways we don’t understand.

--Pray for God to use this tool to expand His kingdom for His glory.

--Pray for our team (Dr. Zege Tsige, Jeff Sheets, Casey See and me) as we travel Sept 14 to Oct 1.

Thanks for praying.

Mike Jorgensen

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

BIG Meetings in Bolivia

We’ve all been there. Fork in the road. Key decision. Something BIG happening that may change things for a long, long time.

This is one of those weeks for our Bolivia ministry. This afternoon I leave for Bolivia to meet with the leaders of Campus Crusade for Christ. Jason Ferrell, the associate pastor at Potomac Heights Baptist Church in Maryland, is going, too.

Tito Ramos, national director for CCC—Bolivia, has asked us to partner with them to plant hundreds of new churches in 9 cities over the next 4 years. These meetings are to figure out the who / what /when / where / how of it all.

As I have prayed about these strategic meetings, these verses in Phil. 2:1-4 have come to mind—

Therefore if there is any consolation in Christ, if any comfort of love, if any fellowship of the Spirit, if any affection and mercy, fulfill my joy by being like-minded, having the same love, being of one accord, of one mind. Let nothing be done through selfish ambition or conceit, but in lowliness of mind let each esteem others better than himself. Let each of you look out not only for his own interests, but also for the interests of others.
Please pray that the Holy Spirit will enable Jason, me and everyone involved in these meetings to live out these verses.

Please also pray for our travel. As an organization, we’ve had more travel disruptions with our teams over the past couple months than ever before. Since our time in Bolivia will be very short, we don’t want to a bunch of delays disrupting things.

Blessings.
Mike Jorgensen

Monday, July 16, 2007

Bolivia Summary / Boy Scout Trip

Thanks for praying for our Bolivia trip last week. In spite of all the travel complications (the rest of the team got home about 24 hours late after spending a night in the Santa Cruz airport), God blessed us richly—

· 5 new churches planted
· 91 local believers worked with us and saw first hand a simple, effective church planting model
· 675 professions of faith
· 690 follow-up discipleship contacts (102%)
· Approximately 200 received eye glasses as a result of Philip’s Eagle Scout project, and most of the said “Si” to Jesus when our team shared the Gospel with them after they had received their glasses

You prayed us through a “ends of the earth” ministry. Now we need your prayers for our “Jerusalem” ministry.

Philip and I are involved in a Boy Scout troop. In fact, Philip now is the Senior Patrol Leader (sorta like the president of the Troop). Philip and Trevor (who went on the Bolivia trip with us) and the rest of the Troop left Saturday morning, about 14 hours after we got home. Both are a bit under the weather from the exhaustion of the Bolivia trip. I am flying to Albuquerque this morning to meet them.

This is a high adventure trip through New Mexico, Colorado and Oklahoma. They visited Carlsbad Caverns, and we’ll be fly fishing, rock climbing, white water rafting, canoeing, etc. on this trip.

Please pray for us—

· Healing for Philip and Trevor in the midst of this challenging, but fun, trip
· Safety
· For us to be lighthouses of God’s grace and love
· For open doors for us to share the love of Christ

Here’s a short online slide show of their launch last Saturday, plus where they’re headed.

Troop 751 High Adventure Tour

Thanks for praying.

Mike Jorgensen

Monday, July 09, 2007

All of Tokyo Comes to Christ

Yesterday Kyle went to a new village named Tokyo. After the first house, a terrible sand storm blew in—so bad they couldn’t see the next house.

“Do you want to leave?” Kyle asked the translator. “No,” she replied, “they haven’t heard here yet.” So they ducked behind a wall to break the wind and prayed the storm would stop. It did, less than a minute later.

After a few more homes, they could see a thunderstorm coming across the mountain ridge. They prayed again and continued. Later they could see a horseshoe of rain surrounding them, but none in the village.

They met Javier (in picture next to Kyle), who told them to go see the mayor of the village, a necessary protocol here. As they shared the Gospel with him, he interrupted and said “my whole village needs to hear this. Can you come back tomorrow? I’ll ring the bell . . . everyone will come.” They agreed and headed back to their team’s evening meeting in another village.

As they arrived in the main village the next day, a man on a bicycle was waiting. “The village is waiting for you.” Kyle was surprised because it was hours before the scheduled meeting, but he and some of the team hurried on.

As he entered Tokyo, they rang the bell to call the village to meeting (click on picture below to see an example). 40 to 60 assembled at this traditional call to come together. Kyle began sharing, but midway through the presentation his translator stopped translating and started passionately preaching about the pain, sacrifice and love of Christ for them. Kyle was stunned, but not by her taking over. He sat speechless as he understood every word she was saying in Spanish, which he could not do before or after those sweet few minutes in the presence of God!

When they asked who would like to receive Christ as their Savior, the entire village assembled on that mountainside raised their hand and prayed to receive Christ!

As Kyle tearfully shared this with our group, he told us “I came out of obedience to a call for my daughter and me to come, but I never expected to be blessed like this.”

God is answering Your prayers powerfully! Please keep praying!

Seeing the Light / Eye Clinic

Our son, Philip, collected and processed donated eye glasses for Bolivia. Today we were blessed by distributing many to the residents of Villa Alegria, a Quechua village overlooking the airport of Sucre.

Click below to see a short slide show of the happy recipients in the midst of other pictures of our trip here.

Sunday, July 08, 2007

Wow in Sucre

Wow! God answered your prayers powerfully over the past 24 hours.

Many Quechua have made professions of faith. Yesterday LS, Lindsay, Leah, Kyle, and Matt did some relationship building on the soccer field. As they started to play, some young ladies asked if our group wanted to play them. Well, let’s say that the little Quechua ladies in skirts beat the pants off the e3 team! But many responded to the Gospel after the game, and 35+ came to the evening meeting, where another 10 professed faith in Christ.
Leanne´s grandmother has stabilized and may be improving. Thanks for praying for her and their family.
See some more praises in the posts below.



Prepared People

Many people trusted Christ in the Judicial District. Yesterday Enzo and I went to find the team working there. We looked and looked and looked, but we couldn´t find the team, so we decided to go to another area. Before we could catch a taxi, a lady hurried up to us. "Are you the people wanting to rent the apartment?"

"No, but we'd love to talk to you about why we're here."

Nora was the first of many to pray to receive Christ in that upper class neighborhood! God prepared her heart before we arrived. We thank the Lord we couldn't find a taxi quickly! And as she prayed to receive Christ, we saw the team rounding the corner on the street down the hill.

3 Generations in Sucre


Today I went to visit the area in which James, Mike H, Amanda and Glenda. 15 year old Amanda has a spiritual grandchild here! This morning she trained (first picture) 13 year old William and several other kids to share the Gospel. Then William went out and shared Christ with 13 year old Victor, who received Christ (second picture). Amanda to William to Victor--3 generations!




Friday, July 06, 2007

Team Sucre NEEDS Your Prayers

Team Sucre has had more than the normal challenges. Big delay getting here because of weather in Miami. Several churches did not show up that had committed to work with us. Our local coordinator is out of commission because of surgery. Translators from Sucre did not show up (so we especially praise the Lord for the ones who came from Santa Cruz to help us!). The grandmother of Leanne (one of our e3 leaders) had a stroke and is partially paralyzed.

In other words, there are many, many opportunities for God to display His glory here as He answers prayer! So please pray for us!

Below are pix of the pastors and translators working with our team! We are working in 5 areas with 4 mother churches.

Jason, Joyce, Tracy, Sarah, Abi, Troy and Elaine met a 12 year old girl yesterday when they visited their area to prayer walk. She asked “are you the ones who sent the boxes?” God already had prepared her through the Samaritan Purse Christmas boxes! Pray that God will direct all our teams to the people He already has prepared to believe in the Good News.

Sucre is the home of the Bolivia Supreme Court. Also, the commission writing the new constitution meets here. Sam, Leanne, Philip, Trevor, Hal and Woodlyn have a unique opportunity. They are working in the “Judicial District” where many lawyers and judges live. It is one of the highest class areas any teams of mine have ever worked. It will be difficult getting to the key leaders that live in the magnificent homes in that area. Pray for God to open doors to the hearts and minds of this strategic group of people.

The team of Joe, Taylor, Chandler, and Mike R were prayer walking last night in their area. They stopped to talk to a Quechua lady. She invited them to come back today to speak to about 15 ladies who are attending a cooking class. Pray for God to introduce us to many “persons of peace” through whom we can reach groups of people.

James, Mike H, Amanda and Glenda are working in an area that overlooks the huge soccer stadium here. Pray that God will so change lives here that people will be more passionate and enthusiastic about the Lord than they are about the national focus of soccer.

Tuesday, July 03, 2007

The Tickets

I get a lump in my throat every time I look at a new short video our son Philip and his buddy Nathan made. Click here to take a look at it.

Sunday, June 24, 2007

Tears in Church

This morning in church was very emotional for me. We were singing a Mercy Me song many of you know--

The love of God is greater far
Than tongue or pen can ever tell
It goes beyond the highest star
And reaches to the lowest hell
The guilty pair, bowed down with care
God gave His Son to win
His erring child He reconciled
And pardoned from his sin

Tears came to my eyes as we sang, for two competing ideas were bumping into each other in my mind.

First, gratitude welled up in my heart and teared out my eyes, for I am that “erring child He reconciled and pardoned from his sin.” Jesus died for me, and I have been set free from the bondage of that sin.

Second, my thoughts flew ahead to Sucre, Bolivia, where we’ll be going in a couple weeks. Many people there live in fear, not in gratitude. They worship Pachamama (Mother Earth), who they believe rewards or punishes people based on their rituals, festivals and sacrifices. They also fear other spirits, as described in the Area Handbook for Bolivia by Thomas Weil and others—

“The [Indian] world is densely populated with spirits that are constantly influencing everyday events. They are related to and explain his economic state (in griculture), his health, his personal relations with other members of his community, and the fearful unknown. Most commonly, spirits are place spirits, living in the air, in or around a natural phenomenon, or wandering with no fixed dwelling. . . .

“Other supernaturals include ghosts, demons, the souls of the dead, and Roman Catholic saints. These spirits are considered ambivalent, if not malevolent, in their attitude toward the Indian, concerned with his affairs but not necessarily with his welfare. For this reason the individual must attempt to remain on good terms with them through
propitiation and the use of magicians and diviners who can speak with or interpret the actions of the supernaturals for him. . . .

“God and Christ, as the Indian envisions them, are white men who are not interested in his affairs and who are potentially threatening.”

I yearn for many to put their complete trust in Christ, and be freed from these fears. Would you join me in praying and fasting for them over the next few weeks?

Blessings.

Mike Jorgensen

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

God’s Math in Bolivia

Can you really plant a church in a week? No . . . but God can!

Last week God started 7 new baby churches in Bolivia! “How in the world did He do that,” you may ask. By the end of this week-long mission trip, some of the new baby churches had over 100 in attendance! Here’s how God’s “math” worked out for this team.

· 29 US team members working with . . .
· 149 local Bolivian believers from . . .
· 6 local churches working in . . .
· 7 barrios (neighborhoods) to start new churches saw . . .
· 783 people pray to receive Christ as their Savior and there were . . .
· 78% follow-up discipleship contacts made during the week.

During the week, our US team worked side-by-side with Bolivian Christians and translators sharing the Gospel using the EvangeCube. As people said “Si” to Jesus, they made follow-up appointments to visit them the next day to begin the discipleship process. They also invited the new believers to evening meetings in the homes where the new groups will begin to meet.

As 9 year old Ben Parsons said the second day of the trip, “I thought I’d be nervous, but I’m not. This is FUN!”

Behind each of these stats is a real person. Click on the link to the left that says "Bolivia Family Camp" to see a short online slide show where you can catch a glimpse of God’s glory in Bolivia.

Mike Jorgensen

Saturday, June 16, 2007

Bolivia Prayer


Our Father in heaven, hallowed be Your name.

You are the Lord of the Harvest, Father. You raised up the 29 US members of our team, plus the 149 Bolivian believers with whom we worked. You are Jehovah Nissi, the Lord our Banner, under whom this army marched last week in Santa Cruz, Bolivia.

May Your kingdom come, Your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven.

You promised that You would build Your church, Lord Jesus, for You are Head of the Church. You expanded Your kingdom in those 7 areas where new baby churches now are growing.

Father, You are the One who draws people to Yourself. You are the One who gave faith to the 783 people who prayed to receive Christ as their Savior. May Your will now be done as the local believers go back to follow-up all these new believers to obey Your command to make disciples.

Give us this day our daily bread.

Lord, You promised—

But those who wait on the Lord
Shall renew their strength;
They shall mount up with wings like eagles,
They shall run and not be weary,
They shall walk and not faint.
Isaiah 40:31


Lord, enable each of us on Team Bolivia to wait on You now at home. May we not return in our own strength, but trust in You this week for all our needs. Renew our strength. Physically. Emotionally. Spiritually. In all ways, and especially in all relationships. May we mount up with wings of eagles. May we run and not grow weary. May we walk and not faint. Give each of us wisdom as we continue to seek Your kingdom purposes in the midst of “life as normal” back home.

Forgive my sins as I forgive others.

Lord, forgive us for any thoughts that this is any way attributable to our team, our methods or our materials. Without You, we can do nothing. Everything that happened last week was Your hand at work.

Lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from the evil one.

I am the Lord, that is My name;
And My glory I will not give to another . . . .
Isaiah 42:8a


Deliver us from the temptation of stealing any of Your glory, Lord. This is all You.

Deliver the new believers and the new churches from the evil one, the father of lies. Bring a strong disciple maker to each of the new believers.

For Yours is the kingdom and the power and the glory forever and ever. Amen!

Thank You for allowing us to see Your glory this past week, Lord. Continue to make Your name more famous in Bolivia and around the world.

Amen.

Mike Jorgensen

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

Bolivia Wed Report

Santa Cruz, Bolivia

Today’s our last day of work in the field. There’s gonna be lots of tears tonight as our teams say goodbye to their new friends here. The church members with whom they have walked these dusty streets. The translators who have been by their side house and after house after house. The ladies who have cooked banquets for them each day. And the new believers on whose dusty cheeks they have seen tears roll down. Whose smiles they have witnessed as they came to understand the glory of Christ’s love and sacrifice for them. Whose enthusiasm during the discipleship visits and meetings they have seen grow. Already one of the youth with us has told me “I wanna stay here.”

God has given our teams the privilege of seeing over 700 people pray to receive Christ in the 7 new church areas in which we are working. So please continue to pray for the follow-up discipleship. It is the key to the ongoing health and growth of these new baby churches.

Interesting impact story I heard from two different people. Before my first campaign here four years ago, my host put me up in a 5 star hotel when I came early to do leadership training. He didn’t realize that our budgets do not cover that kind of expense. So during my stay I asked to go look at other hotels for the team coming a few weeks later. His response was “why not here?” So I explained our more frugal standards and budget. To which he replied, “what’s your budget? Let’s go talk to the manager.” Much to my shock, the manager was a Christian and agreed to allow us to stay in this condominium suite hotel for our normal budget! To give you an idea of what it’s like, the 5 person family that’s with me told me they have a spare bedroom in their suite that they aren’t even using!

But I was also concerned about what impression this hotel would give to the nationals with whom we work. As I’ve asked this question multiple times of multiple leaders here, each time the answer has been the same: “God has provided this blessing, so enjoy it.”

The assistant manager told Enzo this week that they love to have us here because the hotel always fills up around the time when we come because God blesses them. Another employee told me that when our team arrives, the peace of God falls on the whole hotel. It gave me great joy that both these staff members were giving God the glory, and not attributing this to our team. Hallelujah!

The online slide show has been updated with some more pix. Click on link below. Please keep praying for us.

Blessings.

Mike Jorgensen for Team Bolivia

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

Bolivia Family Camp II

Santa Cruz, Bolivia

Tuesday morning / 6.12.2007

Last year Samantha came with her dad. This year she brought back her mom, Sophia, to “Bolivia Family Camp.”

Sophia is the children’s leader at Austin Chinese Church, and she and Samantha have had the joy of serving the Lord together her. During the day they do evangelism and discipleship. God is using the kids on the team as “kid magnets,” and through the kids more adults are being reached, too. Already God has given Samantha the joy of helping lead 19 people to Christ! Then Sophia and Samantha together minister to dozens of kids during the evening discipleship meetings.

Check out the updated online slide show with more action from Bolivia!

We’ve begun returning to those who have made professions of faith to start discipling them. Continue to pray that everyone we’re working with here will catch a vision for making disciples, and not just making converts.





Already the power of the gospel is changing people. A couple days ago one team witnessed to an alcoholic. He was living in total squalor. Yesterday when the team returned to start the discipleship follow-up, they saw that he had worked hard to clean things up. Step by step Jesus is changing lives.

Another answered prayer involves the “dog incident” with Winston. One of the big questions is whether the dog is healthy. Yesterday the local church members introduced him to the owners. First, it was a blessing knowing the dog was a pet, and not just a wild street dog. Second . . . he had led the owners to Christ about 30 minutes before the dog nipped him! So they can watch the dog for the next few days to make sure it is healthy. Plus Winston is modeling Christian love to these new believers in spite of their pesky pet. “All things work together for good for those who love the Lord and are called according to His purpose.”

Continue to pray for all the churches to wholeheartedly commit to following up all the new believers.

Thanks for standing in the gap for our Bolivia Team.

Mike Jorgensen

Monday, June 11, 2007

Bolivia Family Camp

Santa Cruz, Bolivia

Monday morning / 6.11.2007

Over the years Woodlyn and I have savored the times we were able to get away as a family on a trip. When the kids were little, it was a time to “make memories.” As they got older, our times away also got the kids off the phone and internet and more connected with us. Many of you do the same with family vacations and family camps. Wonderful times developing family relationships in new surroundings, doing fun stuff.

This week we have a bit of a family camp here. Dave and Jenny are here with their 3 boys—Kyle (16), Luke (13) and Ben (9). Mike and his daughter, Kaitlyn (13), made the trip, along with Jeff and his daughter, Carla (12).

Saturday I had the privilege of going out with Dave and Jenny and their boys. When I asked Jenny why they had decided to do this as a family, she said “we talk to the boys about serving the Lord, but it is even better just to show them.” They had a hum dinger of a day! All 5 had translators, so they formed 5 teams. Each of them had the privilege of many several people say “Si” to Jesus, from 9 year old Ben on up. Among them they saw 63 people make a profession of faith! They now are working with the local church members to follow-up with as many of those people as possible to start the discipling them. Don’t you agree that they making some hallelujah hum dinger memories!

Sunday morning I joined Kaitlyn, Carla, Mike and Jeff as they worshipped at their mother church. While the two dads preached and taught, their daughters were working with the kids. They, too, are having a hallelujah hum dinger week.

Take a look at this short slide show and rejoice with us at what God is doing through these families, and our whole team, here in Bolivia.





Many, many people are coming to Christ. Please pray for God to raise up Mark 4:8 disciples from these new believers—those who multiply themselves 30, 60 and 100 times.

Please also pray for Winston, who was nipped by a dog while he was sharing Christ with someone. Our enemy will do anything to disrupt the work. This has not caused any problems for Winston, but we want to take the appropriate steps to prevent this from developing into a problem.

Thanks for standing in the gap for our Bolivia Team.

Mike Jorgensen

Saturday, June 09, 2007

Bolivia: God's Rearranging

Santa Cruz, Bolivia / Saturday Morning 6/9/07

I used to get pretty frustrated when things didn’t go according to my plan on a campaign. Perhaps a pastor or two didn’t show up to greet their team. Or a pastor showed up who wasn’t on our list. Sometimes they showed up at the welcome meeting for our team. Or maybe they even showed up on day two . . . or three. Used to drive me crazy.

But usually by the end of the campaign it became apparent that “my” plans had not been God’s plan, so He rearranged things for His glory! So now it is exciting to see “surprises” happen as we deploy the teams. I trust that each change in “my” Team/Area Chart is God blessing us with His answer to our prayers of “Thy kingdom come, Thy will be done, on earth as it is in heaven.”

So I was not surprised, or frustrated, yesterday when one of the pastors who had committed to work with us did not show up for the initial meeting. When Pastor Enzo, our Bolivia coordinator, called that pastor, he said he couldn’t come to the meeting because he was working on a problem and was busy with some legal papers. Then when we called him back a few minutes later to see if we could at least take the US team out to the area to prayer walk, he said “I guess I’m not going to be able to host the team because of these legal problems.” Thank You, Lord, for reallocating the team away from someone who was preoccupied with something else!

Yesterday the teams met their host churches and then prayer walked the neighborhoods where they are working this week. Today the evangelism begins. Please pray for these teams as they share the love of Christ with people today (click on names to see pix of teams)—

Bob / Sue / Mary Team

Kaitlyn / Carla / Mike / Jeff Team

Parsons Family Team

Alex / Teresa / Winston / Pedro Team (Pedro reassigned to team after picture taken)

Greg / Jocelyn / Mike / Kip Team (Kip reassigned to team after picture taken)

Steve / Simon / Faye / Emily Team (Emily reassigned to team after picture taken)

Samantha / Sophia / Gaylord / Steve Team

We especially are praying today--

· For the veil to be removed from the hearts and minds of those we meet today (2 Cor 4:3-4)

· For our teams to meet a person of peace in each neighborhood (Luke 10:5-7)

Friday, May 18, 2007

Bolivia: Blessed My Socks Off

Remember the old saying—“that blessed my socks off”?

The Biblical equivalent is in Ephesians 3—

20Now to Him who is able to do exceedingly abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that works in us, 21to Him be glory in the church by Christ Jesus to all generations, forever and ever. Amen.

We saw those verses come to life last weekend in Bolivia as God blessed our socks off.

First was our Leadership Conference in Sucre. Sucre is high up in the Andes at about 9200 ft. It is a beautiful place, and one of the least westernized places I’ve been to. One of the missionaries said there was only one “supermarket” in town, and it was only the size of a 7-Eleven. Everything else is sold in small shops and outdoor markets. It was fun watching the colorfully clad little Quechua ladies walking down the beautiful streets lined with beautiful Spanish colonial buildings.

We expected 30 to 40 people to show up, which is the norm the first time we go into a new small city. When we arrived, I was shocked that 130 already had pre-registered. Then 170 ended up attending. All very enthusiastic. Over half were college aged “jovenes,” for Sucre is home to several universities. Definitely “exceedingly abundantly above what I asked or thought.”

Second was a meeting called by Tito Ramos, the Bolivia national director for Campus Crusade. We have become good friends over the past several years as we have gone to him for advice and counsel about how best to do ministry in Bolivia.

Let me give you some background to that meeting. Our goal in each e3 country is to work with nationals who have a vision and plan to cover their country with churches. We prefer to partner with them in their plan, not to come up with a plan of our own, for they know their country and culture better than we ever will. But when we entered Bolivia 4 years ago, it was like many other countries in which we work—initially we could not find anyone who had a national vision for church planting.

So it blessed our socks off when Tito Ramos asked us to partner with Campus Crusade and others to plant 1600 churches over the next 4 years! Their plan essentially is the e3 method of church planting, to which they have added Jesus film evangelism and ongoing leadership development. We are looking forward to hearing more about his plan and asking the Lord how He wants us to be involved.

Praise the Head of the Church for giving this vision for building His church in Bolivia. Pray for God's will to be done in this plan as His will is done in heaven. Pray for wisdom for us as we discuss how to work together for God's glory.

Friday, April 13, 2007

Bolivia Flood Aid

Thanks so very, very much for those of you who contributed to help the Bolivia flood victims. We sent on to Pastor Enzo 100% of what you sent us for the flood victims. Below is Pastor Enzo’s report.

Here is a link to pictures he took as he distributed the blessings you helped make possible.

View this montage created at One True Media
Bolivia Flood Aid

There still is great need in Bolivia because of this flood. If you would like to help now, you can give online at https://www.gmf.org/donation/donate.asp.

Because this is a special project, check “I’d like to give to a staff member” and then in the place for the name say your gift is for “Bolivia Flooding.” We have a team going to this area in a couple weeks. Please email me to let me know that you contributed so we can immediately send it to Bolivia with that team.

Blessings.

Mike Jorgensen


From: Enzo G. Saavedra
Sent: Tuesday, April 10, 2007 10:34 AM
To: Mike Jorgensen
Subject: Beni Trip


I am sending this email to thank you all for your contribution to help the damaged people in the natural disaster that affected the department of Beni. Until now there is a los of 600,000 heads of cattle and an estimate said that this number can reach the millon or millon and a half of heads of cattle lost. This flood has affected more than 22.313 families that are aproximatedly 130.527 persons. The comunity that has been more affected is San Francisco de Moxos, they use to have 115 houses, now 59 houses has been completed destroyed for the waters and the rest of the houses of that village needs at less 50% of repairs.

I am sure thar God will bless you for your generosity, because “for God loveth a cheerful giver”. 2 Cor. 9:7.

For God’s mercy we gather 10.110 kilos of provisions that were distributed in the following way:

To San Francisco de Moxos, to the major’s representing Matilde Yuco and the sheriffsheriffsherisssssss Agustina Mobo, 2.150 Kilos.

To San Lorenzo de Moxos, al to the major’s representing Adalberto Masapaija, 922 kilos.

To San Ignacito de Moxos, to the sheriff Maximo Orihuela, 552 kilos.

To different communities and neighborhoods in Trinidad as Puerto Barador, Puerto Ballivián, Puerto Jeralda, Villa Monasterio y Barrio Pantanal, 6.486 Kilos.

The distribution of this help was realized with the help of pastors of Trinidad city, Pr. Eval Soliz, Pr. Alex Llanos and others, etc.

The next April we have a team of volunteers from US going to Trinidad to work in church planting, with translators an anothers people volunteer from Bolivia. We hope to be able to take some more provisions for the people in trinidad.

God bless you all

Enzo Saavedra



Friday, March 30, 2007

Will a house get me to heaven?

Arrived in Kigali, Rwanda about noon Friday (around 5 am Dallas time) after an overnight stop in Ethiopia. Long but smooth trip. On 15+ hour flight from Washington DC to Ethiopia I sat next to Fitsum, who’s in his late 20s. The youngest of 7 children, he was returning to Ethiopia after 5 ½ years away. He now lives in San Diego, where he works at 7/11 and a Ramada Inn. Through those jobs he saved enough money to buy his mom a house back in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. So not only was he going to see his mom for the first time in a long time, but also the house he bought for her.

He chose this time to return so he could spend Easter with her. In fact, the huge Ethiopian Airlines plane was full of families returning home. Lots and lots of kids with their moms and dads. In fact, it was the only time in all my years of flying that I was the only white face on the whole plane. It was fun watching all the families and friends interacting with each other in that “community for a day.”

Fitsum grew up as an Ethiopian Orthodox, so Easter is a big deal, even though he admitted he’s not much involved. When I asked what he believed was needed to go to heaven, he listed many good works he was relying on. I’m sure the house for his mom was motivated primarily by his love for her, but if it also helps in getting to heaven, then so much the better.

So I shared with him how Jesus had died for his sins and mine. How God the Father had raised Him from the dead, conquering sin and death on our behalf. How he was going to celebrate that resurrection as he returned home to share Easter with his mom in her new home. How eternal life, a ticket to heaven, was a free gift from God as we place our faith only in Christ for salvation. That it was not of good works, so that no one can boast. But that he needed to receive that gift, and not just know about it.

Just as he did not want his mom to pay for the house he had saved for, we cannot pay for our salvation, because the price is too great. He just wants us to live a life of “thank you” as we do the good works He has prepared for us to do.

For years Fitsum played soccer in the US in a league of Ethiopia teams in about 20 cities. He agreed that no matter how good he was, he would not be able to kick a soccer ball from San Diego to Dallas, for the distance is too great. The same is true of our sinfulness and God’s holiness—there is too big a gap for us to cross on our own.

As he heard these truths watching the EvangeCube unfold, his smile got bigger and bigger. He said he needed to think about this some more because it was the first time he had heard it. But he said he felt something inside that he could not describe because he did not know the English word for it.

Please pray for God to complete in Fitsum what He has begun. And pray for his whole family as he takes the Cube I gave him home, with the Gospel explanation in the instruction sheet, for he said he wanted to tell them all he had heard. Wouldn’t it be great if Easter came alive to that whole family as they all came to understand the real “reason for the season”?

Most of the trips I make are for the “ministry” of our ministry. But today (Saturday) here in Kigali Robert Mutijima (Rwanda e3 national leader), Mike Wagner (our US based Rwanda Strategy Coordinator) and I will be focused on the “business” of our ministry. God has blessed us with great growth here, so we are looking at office space, interviewing accountant candidates, and talking to a lawyer about registering as an NGO (non-governmental organization—the international equivalent of a non-profit org back in the States). So today I get to do the 30 minutes of lawyering a year that I still do (which is enough to suit my tastes now!).

Please continue to pray that God’s will be done in all this as it is in heaven.

Monday, March 19, 2007

Elephant gods and Sourdough

Hindus have millions of gods. One of the most widely worshipped one is Ganesha, which looks like a mutant elephant. George Robinson, Philip and I saw lots of altars to this god last week on our leadership training trip to India. One restaurant we went into had a worship shrine to Ganesha at the front door. A handicrafts store had a big shrine prominently positioned by the checkout counter.

How do we as followers of the Living God, the Lord Jesus, help those enslaved to such a god?

Remember the answer to the famous question: how do you eat an elephant? “One bite at a time.”

Let’s rephrase that question: how do you defeat an elephant god? “One life at a time!”

That was our focus last week in India. Training 35 people how to train others to do evangelism and discipleship that results in planting new churches. Expanding the kingdom of God one soul at a time, then gathering them together in new churches to be discipled.

You may be thinking “that’s just a drop in the bucket . . . there are a billion people in India!”

If that is what you are thinking . . . you’re right. Just a drop in the bucket.

Maybe a better analogy is sourdough. How do you make sourdough bread? Each time you make a batch you hold back a small ball of dough. It has the sourdough yeast in it, which is needed to make the dough rise.

When you put that small ball of dough in a new batch, the yeast multiplies and the bread rises. Then you put it in the oven, but first you hold back a small ball of dough. The yeast for the next batch is always in the current batch.

There are lots of effective churches and ministries working in India. Many people are coming to Christ. We’ve had teams going to India for 10 years. Now we thank the Lord that He is allowing us to expand our ministry there through training church planting coaches.

Each of these coaches will be like sourdough yeast going back to their areas of ministry. Here’s why.

Dani Abraham, our India coordinator, did a great job gathering together 36 leaders from 10 states of India. Among them they spoke 5 or 6 languages. In our training we covered Vision for Church Planting, plus a very basic church planting process: Pray, Evangelize, Make Disciples, Gather Together, Develop Leaders and Multiply.

Then each day we went with the leaders we were teaching out to Banjara gypsy villages to "practice."

There is severe discrimination in India, the result of the Hindu "theology" of the caste system. The Banjara are treated very badly. They work hard at menial jobs, such as breaking up rocks to make gravel. The homes we saw were made of sticks covered with discarded plastic. Cooking was done on a small mud "fireplace" in front of each hut (at bottom of picture).

Often towns refuse to put in water lines to their neighborhoods, forcing the women and girls to spend many backbreaking hours carrying water.
Pray. The first day we taught a session on Vision for Church Planting and another on prayer. Then we went to the Banjara villages to prayer walk. We prayed for the area, and also for some of the people's needs there.

Evangelize: The second day we returned to share the Good News about Christ with people in 4 different villages. 36 people prayed to receive Christ in the 2 hours we spent in the villages. Hallelujah!


Make Disciples and Gather Together. The third day we returned to the villages to follow-up with the new believers and gather them together into new house churches. 50 people showed up at one of those meetings! The new believers in one areas got permission to meet in the front room of a house in the midst of their recycled plastic huts (see picture at left). That day many of these illiterate Banjara gypsies began to learn the 7 basic commands of what it means to be a follower of Jesus. Plus 6 more people trusted Christ at the follow-up meetings.

Develop Leaders. 24 of the leaders we trained indicated that they want to be e3 church planting coaches back in their regions. Most traveled at least 24 hours on trains to return home, with some taking 3 days to get back. Dani Abraham will be coaching each of them as they now conduct First Steps church planting training and EvangeCube training.

Multiply. They go with a fresh vision for mobilizing churches to mobilize churches. Each committed to try to train at least one church and 50 believers each month. They have been "infected" with the "yeast" of God's vision for expanding His kingdom. As they go and make disciples, they will multiply more "sourdough" leaders. And one by one, life by life, soul by soul people will be rescued from the destructive paths of worshipping elephant gods.

Before we left Dani already had plans to train 100 leaders next week in a ministry in another state that wants to plant churches among other tribal peoples in India. Also, 3 trainings in Nepal in 3 weeks were set up.

Bottom line for the 3 day conference? 4 new house churches planted. 40 professions of faith. Over 100 attended inaguaral meetings of new house churches. 36 leaders trained, of which 24 were certified to be e3 Church Planting Coaches in 10 Indian states.

Jesus promised that He would build His church, and the gates of hell would not prevail against it. We thank Him for allowing us to see that promise come to life last week in Kazipet, India.

Wednesday, March 07, 2007

Headed to India

Mar 9th our son, Philip, and I head into uncharted territory . . . for us. We’re headed to Kazipet, India (near Hyderabad) for a Leadership Conference. George Robinson, one of our staff from Atlanta, will join us along the way.

We are working with a wonderful Indian pastor and leader—Dani Abraham. He is gathering pastors and leaders who are interested in working with e3. We’ll train them how to train others to do evangelism using the EvangeCube, and how to plant new churches using our First Steps curriculum.

Each day George and I will punctuate our “lectures” with “laboratory.” The first day we will go prayer walking after our session on prayer. The second day we will go out into the neighborhoods to do evangelism after the session on evangelism. The third day we will go back out to visit the new believers to begin the discipleship process after our session on making disciples. So the participants will immediately put into practice what we teach. They immediately will “walk the talk” as we model how they can train and mobilize churches to do evangelism and discipleship that results in new churches.

Our prayer is that God will raise up from this group key church planting “coaches” we can work with in the future. We’ll supply them with EvangeCubes, First Steps manuals and other church planting materials so they can multiply the ministry by training many other churches.

If you’d like to see pictures of the Banjara, one of the people groups that lives around the conference site, click here.

That’s the plan anyway. I can’t wait to see what God does!

Your prayers are needed—

• Pray for God to bring His choice of leaders to the conference
• Pray for wisdom for Dani as he completes the planning for the conference
• Pray for George and me to walk in the Spirit in all things
• Pray for God to continue to grow my relationship with Philip
• Pray for God to continue to prepare Philip for the life work He has for him
• Pray for God to use this conference as one of His matches to light the fires of church planting movements in India

Thanks!