Volume 14, Issue 12
During the Christmas Season (Advent), we Christians like to read and re-read the birth stories in both Matthew and Luke’s gospels. One of my favorite elements in Luke’s birth stories is the three canticles – the “Magnificat” (1:46-55), the “Benedictus” (1:68-79), and the “Nunc Dimittis” (2:29-32). All three get their names from the first word or words of the Vulgate, the Latin translation of the Bible.
The Benedictus is Zechariah’s song. Because he questioned the truth of the Angel Gabriel’s prophecy about his wife’s pregnancy and the birth of his son, Zechariah had been rendered mute. However, Zechariah’s voice returned to his son’s circumcision ceremony when he confirmed in writing that his son’s name was to be John. Then Zechariah was filled with the Holy Spirit, and he began to prophesy, saying:
68“Praise be to the Lord, the God of Israel, because he has come to his people and redeemed them. 69He has raised up a horn of salvation for us in the house of his servant David 70(as he said through his holy prophets of long ago), 71salvation from our enemies and from the hand of all who hate us – 72to show mercy to our ancestors and to remember his holy covenant, 73the oath he swore to our father Abraham: 74to rescue us from the hand of our enemies, and to enable us to serve him without fear 75in holiness and righteousness before him all our days. (Luke 1:68-75)
In these words – the first half of the canticle – Zechariah gave praise to the Lord for the fulfillment of the nation of Israel’s messianic hope, which was about to occur in Christ Jesus. In the past, the Lord had physically redeemed the nation from slavery in Egypt. Now, in Christ Jesus, he was coming to redeem them spiritually (although many were looking for another physical redemption, this time from the Romans).
In the past, under the leadership of King David, the nation of Israel was able to go to battle against and defeat its enemies. This was not the case during the Roman occupation. At that time, the nation was being governed by its religious leaders, but it had no military leader. So the nation hoped that the Lord would raise up a “horn” – the symbol of power, a strong king – to enable it to go to battle.
This idea is echoed in Psalm 132:
13For the Lord has chosen Zion, he has desired it for his dwelling, saying, 14“This is my resting place for ever and ever; here I will sit enthroned, for I have desired it. … 17“Here I will make a horn grow for David and set up a lamp for my anointed one. 18I will clothe his enemies with shame,
but his head will be adorned with a radiant crown.” (Psalm 132:13-14 and 17-18)
Zechariah, however, knew that messiah would not be a military leader because he called him a “horn of salvation,” and said he would provide the nation with “salvation from its enemies.” The Greek word translated as “salvation” is “soteria,” and refers to a messianic salvation, a salvation of the soul. Zechariah saw this messianic salvation as the fulfillment of the Abrahamic covenant. And the purpose of this fulfillment was so that the nation could worship God “without fear in holiness and righteousness.” What a wonderful way to summarize the meaning of Christmas!
Pastor Visitation: If you would like a visit from Pastor Tony, please call 620-951-4438 ©
Halstead Bible Fellowship: email address: email@example.com.
Please join us in worship at 112 West 3rd Street, Halstead, KS, – Sundays at 9:45am.
In Our Family
Pray for: The family (wife, two daughters and one unborn child) and friends of Endashew on his passing in Ethiopia. Also for John Haspels as he makes a special trip for the funeral; Troy Smith as he completes treatment in Dallas, TX and returns home; Steve Randall’s mother, Pat;
For those who see others involved with family and friends and feel left out, frustrated, unloved and alone; The USA and the turmoil over immigration and border security
Give Praise for: Our time of Advent – preparation for the Christ child; The opportunity to share the Good News of Jesus with others; Keegan Simmons last surgery to repair his hand; David Page healing of his back problem and renewing his faith in Jesus as the Great Physician
December Birthdays Happy birthday to You!
6th John Haspels, Sr
18th Sianna Haspels
10th Wilmer Quispe
John & Gwen Haspels, firstname.lastname@example.org
Dear Prayer Warriors,
“Precious in the eyes of the Lord is the death of His saints!” We were saddened this morning to receive word that our good friend and colleague in Suri land, Endashew, was shot and killed on his way back from Kibish to Tulegit on his cycle. No other news is available at this time. Ulrike left the Literacy Project in his hands when she had to return to Germany. He was doing a great job. He had just received a large load of literacy books to be used in the village schools.
Endashew was a special man who always took time to write us emails and let us know how things were in Tulegit. He was a mainstay to the young church there. His wife is pregnant with their third child and will need a lot of emotional support. Please pray for her and the children (especially the unborn one) and for those who will help her cope.
Please pray for the Suri as this brings down on their heads more hatred and dislike. Please pray that this act will be redeemed by the Lord to bring many more Suri into his kingdom.
Thank you for praying comfort for us too. In Christ, Gwen and John
John & Joy Haspels, AIM, Nairobi, Kenya: email@example.com
Online giving page: https://usgiving.aimint.org/missionary/1032600
First, thank you for your prayers for the Hs and Js as mentioned in my last update. Both families have been cleared to come to Kenya and join our North Kenya team. Hs will arrive from the US on the 28th of this month, take a refresher course in Swahili, and move to Dukana in January to help with the church planting going on with Gabra people. Js will arrive from England in December, take a couple months of Swahili, and move to Marsabit in March to help the Northern Bible Training Center take root and develop. Please continue to pray for the Bs. They are from Canada raising support to come join our unit. They are scheduled to come in January, but are only half way through their support raising. Continue to pray for these couples, even as they leave family and come to do what God has asked them to do. Just as a side note, God is building a diverse team in North Kenya. We have North Americans (US and Canada), British, German, Korean and Brazilian cultures teaming up with the local churches to share Christ among six unreached tribes of Northern Kenya. This is part of what makes our “job” exciting!
This month has again seen a lot of driving back and forth from Northern Kenya. One morning we left at 4 in the morning and got back home at 11pm. We were delivering tractor parts and looking at a small house renovation in Korr for our new couple living there. Most of that route is on paved roads, with only about 5 hours of rough dirt track. The second trip was to Karabara to deliver the correct tractor parts and spend some time with our missionaries there. That trip is two full days of driving to cover 850 miles, more than half of it on rough roads. I have attached a photo of Kenya and some of the places mentioned. Thank you all so much for your prayers for safety while we travel.
Please continue to pray for our South Asian friends. Pray for Rajesh and Karan who are Hindu background believers. Rajesh is businessman in the city, while Karan is a mechanic. There are constant struggles with family and culture that they both face. Pray for them to stand strong and to be a powerful witness to their individual families. Pray for my longtime friend Sandeep. Pray the Lord will soften his heart to hear what we say, to allow us to pray for him in a more direct way.
In December we bring the kids home from school for the month. It has been a long term and they are ready for a break. Acacia played basketball for the varsity team and Charles play goalie for the JV team. They both had a good season and enjoyed the competition. Acacia is one-third of her way through her Senior year! She is still figuring out where she wants to go next. She has applied to several places and has yet to decide. Thank you for all your prayers for her!
Just a thought: This month will be a quote from Jonathan Edward’s sermon “The Justice of God in the Damnation of Sinners:” “…any sin is more or less heinous depending on the honor and majesty of the one whom we have offended. Since God is of infinite honor, infinite majesty, and infinite holiness, the slightest sin is of infinite consequence. Such seemingly trivial sins are nothing less than cosmic treason when viewed in the light of the great King against whom we have sinned. We are debtors who cannot pay, yet we have been released from the threat of debtor’s prison. It is an insult to God for us to withhold forgiveness and grace from those who ask us, while claiming to be forgiven and saved by grace ourselves.
Thank you for all your prayers, for us and our missionaries. You are each greatly appreciated.
In Christ, John and Joy, Acacia, Charlie, Sianna, Tierra Haspels
Habtom, Heather, Faith, Hope & Josiah Kebede, Box 1111 (c/o John Haspels), Addis Ababa, Ethiopia: firstname.lastname@example.org * theantiochpartners.org
Dear Friends and Family,
May God’s eternal hope and great love be your comfort and peace each day Camp The afterschool program is going well at the camp. Habtom has been teaching the younger grades while Philp the staff member assigned to the program is teaching the older children. Habtom is often amazed how little knowledge even the fifth graders have. Philp and Habtom need so much wisdom and grace to help these children learn English and math that will improve their overall education. At the end of this month a group from the local nursing did health assessments for all the children. Based on the number of malnourished children we can receive a nutrition packed peanut butter for the children to use on the bread at meal times. This gives a full days’ worth of nutrients in one meal. Knowing how they are doing will also help improve their quality of life by taking care of some health needs. At the end of one of the Saturday meetings, a little boy called Micky came up to Habtom and began to weep. Habtom took him aside and asked him what was wrong. Come to find out that his mother was out of food. She only gets 100 birr/ $3.75 a month from his dad who is in the capital, Addis. Micky has a younger sister at home and his mom does odd jobs trying to get enough for food. Habtom took Micky and they bought teff (a high nutrient grain that Ethiopia use to make their flat bread called injera.) He then took him home. They were overwhelmed. Your heart breaks for more than just Micky. Many of the kids face the same or worse livelihoods. Who do you help, whose need do you meet? We can’t meet every need. We pray God give us wisdom on how to empower families because that is part of the vision of the afterschool program. We need wisdom on how to empower families so kids like Micky don’t have to worry if they are going to get a meal or have a warm place sleep. Also, this month a little girl was bitten by a dog outside the compound. Habtom and Philp took the little girl to the clinic along with the dog’s owner. Then Habotm drove her home. Habtom was amazed at the house it looked like it could collapse at any minute as it leaned to the side. They were renting it, yet on top of the roof was a satellite dish. Sometimes the priorities of people will amaze you. Praise God the little girl is ok. We will be doing home assessments in the next few months. When we do we will find many similar situations. We need wisdom and means to empower these families so the children can also be empowered and their lives can change. Family We hope each of you enjoyed a Happy Thanksgiving. We were thankful for friends (more like family) who gathered with us. We had one can of pumpkin, thanks to Heather’s parents, so we got our pumpkin pie. So good. Habtom and I are so blessed to celebrate eight years of marriage. WE are so thankful for the ways God has used each other to help us grow into the knowledge and love of God more. We are also so thankful for our special kiddos and all the friends and family we have. God is so good. We are excited to be moving to a new house soon. It will just make life so much easier for us. It will cut our car time in a day from 3-4 hours to just 30 minutes. The camp is also so much closer. We are looking forward to a new season in our own compound. That said Hanna, our house help can not come across town. So, we will need to find a new person to help out. We need Gods leading on this and for Hanna as she decides what to do now. Thank you for praying.
Praises – Girls have two more weeks of school then Christmas break – We got the key to the House. We need to clean it and then we will move. – God provided a special partner to cover after school food program. Wow God!!!! – Safety as we travel back and forth to camp + around the city – Habtom and Heather Celebrated 8 years of marriage – We had a great Thanksgiving with our friends here – Each of you who supports us in pray and through finance. Thank You!!! Request – Wisdom on how to help the after-school program children the most – Salvation for family members – Habtom’s Mother left for Eritrea to help her dad only to find he passed away the very day she left – As we begin to pack and move – We were extremely saddened at the death of a good friend, Endashew, who has been loving and serving the Suri for many years. He was shot. Please pray for His wife, two daughters and unborn baby – Dad coming for two weeks to go to funeral of Endashew – Unrest in certain areas of country – For protection for our PM and peace in the country
Thank you for all your prayers and support. We are blessed by your faithful partnership.
Habtom, Heather, Faith, Hope and Josiah
Anne Adrian, ISI, Lakeland, Florida email@example.com
May 2019 TRUE Leadership Retreat to Be Held in Central Florida!!!
This is BIG news for us in Florida!! TRUE Leadership Retreat is going to be held this Spring at Southwind Camp in Fruitland Park, Florida, about two hours north of us here in Lakeland!! For us in Florida it was always difficult to get students to commit the time & money to go so far away to this wonderful annual Leadership conference, so we’ve only had two Lakeland ISI students go: Charlie, who made a commitment to Christ on our way home from TRUE 2014, & Mirka, from the Czech Republic who was very impacted by the talk on forgiveness. She said she was so grateful to have gone!! Mirka went in 2016. That same year our ministry colleagues from Friends of Internationals at USF in Tampa, also took 8 students & three adult volunteers, including their Director, Mark Schaeffer. All of their students were greatly impacted & proceeded to use those skills in leadership right away in their group at USF.
So we are very excited about this!
I’ve been asked & agreed to be the Prayer Coordinator for TRUE. This means that I am to recruit a team of people who will commit to praying regularly from this December until the event (May 15-19) & for the month afterwards. Everyone on the Prayer Team would receive regular updates & would be invited to participate in a monthly prayer call for the various requests that come up. The last month before the retreat, we will have those prayer calls once a week; the week before, I will lead a “Jericho Week” during which we pray together every day. I will also be recruiting a small team of people to actually go to the Retreat to pray on-site with me throughout the time at camp (Being there to see all that happens is a wonderful experience!!) We will pray for every aspect – the planning process, the students coming & the student coaches to be recruited, the speakers, the team building activities, the interaction among everyone & of course, the impact on the students’ lives. If you are interested in being one of the Prayer Team & are willing to make a commitment to it, please contact me by email or phone so we can discuss it further.
I’d like ask you all, as my partners in ministry, to beginning praying now for TRUE! Here are some bullet points:
- Pray for all of us on the CORE Team as there is much to do to get ready, especially for our directors, Bob & Audrey Welch & Rebekah Lassiter!! Pray for wisdom, guidance, creativity, endurance & perseverance, protection from the enemy.
- Pray that God will select the two best international speakers (highly qualified in their business or educational field) who will be able to communicate & connect well with this group of students.
- Pray for the right staff or volunteer people to fill each position of responsibility – Team Building/Games Coordinator, Camp Administrator, Technical Director, Master of Ceremonies,& more
- Pray now for the 18-20 student coaches that will be needed. These will be Christian international students who have shown integrity & potential for leadership; they will lead the small group teams of students at the retreat.
- Pray that God would hand-pick each student He wants to go, especially for those in our ministries here in Florida; we typically have 70-80 students
- Pray that God will use this event to move students forward in their journey to Himself! For some it will be the first window opened, for others it will be another step along the way, and we pray that for others, it will be the last step in their search for their true home in Christ!
- Pray for the finances needed for the event as well as scholarships for the students who will want to go.
Thank you for praying with us for this special opportunity for personal growth in students’ lives!!
Thank you for partnering with me in prayer & support!! For the nations in our backyard, Anne