Volume 15, Issue 4
Sunday, April 21, 2019, is Easter, the Feast of the Resurrection. A good way to prepare for the holiday is to meditate on Psalm 116, in which the psalmist gave thanks to God for delivering him from imminent death. While the psalm is one of individual thanksgiving, it is also messianic.
Verse 3 states: “The cords of death entangled me, the anguish of the grave came over me; I was overcome by distress and sorrow.” Here, the psalmist depicted death as reaching out to him with cords and almost trapping him, as a hunter snares an animal. Imagine how our Lord must have felt as he sang these words during his last Passover in the Upper Room, knowing he was facing his own death.
Verses 7-9 state: “7Return to your rest, my soul, for the Lord has been good to you. 8For you, Lord, have delivered me from death, my eyes from tears, my feet from stumbling, 9that I may walk before the Lord in the land of the living.” Here, the psalmist attempts to calm his soul after having experienced his close call with death by meditating on the Lord’s act of deliverance. However, verses 8 and 9 can be read from the viewpoint of our Lord in the Upper Room. He knew not only that he was facing death but also that he would live again.
Verses 13-14 state: “13I will lift up the cup of salvation and call on the name of the Lord. 14I will fulfill my vows to the Lord in the presence of all his people.” In his time of despair, the psalmist – like many of us – made promises or “vows” to God. Now, having been delivered, he lifted up a “cup of salvation” as a votive offering. The Israelites offered votive offerings when God answered their prayers regarding a vow they made. They were public peace offerings that reminded other worshipers of God’s goodness.
Jews traditionally sang Psalm 116 after the Passover meal. During that meal, they drank four cups of wine. The third cup was known as the “cup of salvation.” We can imagine our Lord singing psalm 116 during his final Passover meal, and lifting his cup of salvation. However, he would have known that the cup would truly become a cup of salvation if, and only if, he fulfilled his vow to his Father to go to the cross.
Verse 15 states: “Precious in the sight of the Lord is the death of his faithful servants.” This means that God does not view the death of his people as trivial. Their deaths are significant to him. Theologian H.C. Leupold suggests this means one of two things:
One is that He is manifestly watching over what takes place even when His saints are not rescued but seemingly perish. The other is that He frequently intervenes and will not allow them to perish. His saints can have assurance either way.
Over the years, this verse has brought comfort to believers who have lost loved ones. It also must have provided comfort to our Lord as he celebrated his last Passover meal.
In the Septuagint – the Greek version of the OT – verse 10 states: “I believed, wherefore I have spoken: but I was greatly afflicted.” The Apostle Paul quoted this verse in 2 Corinthians 4:
13We having the same spirit of faith, according as it is written, I believed, and therefore have I spoken; we also believe, and therefore speak; 14Knowing that he which raised up the Lord Jesus shall raise up us also by Jesus, and shall present us with you. 15For all things are for your sakes, that the abundant grace might through the thanksgiving of many redound to the glory of God. (2 Cor. 4:13-15, KJV)
With the author of psalm 116, Paul believed that an inner conviction of the truth must result in an outward confession of the truth. So what did Paul believe that he had to confess? He believed that physical death was not the end of existence, but that the power of God, presently at work in him, would continue working in him after death. When the apostle could serve God no longer because of his death, God’s power would raise him from the dead. The resurrection of Jesus guarantees the resurrection of believers in Jesus.
Blessings, Pastor Tony
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: Carol Kubic – her mother, Rachel, passed away and is now with the Lord; Jane Bodecker Johnson’s mother passed away; the persecuted Christians in Nigeria; Evan, a recovering drug addict; Our president and our country; The Foundation of Life Ministries who lost their building in a fire.
Give Praise for: The bibles Halstead Bible Fellowship was able to give to Foundation of Life Ministries; The communion set sent with John Haspels to Ethiopia; The dedication of
“The Protector” sculpture at the Depot & Museum – 2:00 Sunday, April 7th.
April Birthdays Happy birthday to You!
22 Jason Grossardt 26 Alice Considine
John & Gwen Haspels, firstname.lastname@example.org
Dear friends, Chapter One
On March 2nd, I returned from a very intense yet very rewarding five weeks in Ethiopia. During the first week I was helping to host five YWAM students from Switzerland who represented five different countries. They joined with the Suri Baale translation team for Bible Study, worship and evangelism
Two Churches Burned: The Bukoi church burned my first Sunday back in Ethiopia leaving just a pile of ashes. Fortunately, the TRC (Termite Resistant Church) in Bukoi was about finished and was fire proof as well (FRC). The following Sunday the Bukoi Church moved into its new building and were able to host the YWAM and Baale translation teams. The scripture reading was from the book of Mark recently translated into the Suri Baale language.
A burning weaver nest carried by the wind, landed on the roof of the church in the village of the man who shot us, burning the grass covered church to the ground.
Two Churches Eaten Down: The Churches in Tisangoro and in Balemere have both been eaten to the ground by termites this last year. With the buildings and leadership gone, it is hard to keep the congregation together.
Toposa In Need of Urgent Help
Report to World Vision, Ethiopia: On Feb. 22, I traveled with a Surma Woreda team to Mardul to see about a large influx of Taposa from South Sudan. They arrived with women and children. Drought, hunger, and warfare in South Sudan drove them into Ethiopia looking for water and grazing for their cattle. Numbers are not known because they are spread out over a large area. (Mardul is the mission station where Don and Ginny McClure served the Surma up until 1977 when they were expelled from Ethiopia by the Marxist government.)
Immediate Needs: Together with basic needs for food and water, they are in urgent need of shelter. With the rainy season beginning soon, shelter for women and children is critical.
Toposa & Suri Reconcilation
Sins of the Fathers Confessed: I joined a delegation of Suri representing the government and the church. Our mission was not just to assess the needs of the Toposa but also to bring reconciliation between the Suri and their bitter enemies, the Toposa.
After introducing ourselves, the violent history between the two groups and any other violence related to Mardul were recounted. Since Don McClure Jr.’s father was killed by Somali rebels in 1977, and the Marxist government killed several of the Suri chiefs in Mardul, they too were included in the confession of sins and the granting of forgiveness.
Father Forgive Us: On a red cross written in Suri, Toposa, and English were the words, “Father forgive us.” This cross was carried by a Toposa woman and a Suri woman and planted in the ground. We read from Genesis 4:1-15. We talked about when innocent blood is shed, it cries out to God. When innocent blood is shed a curse comes on the land and people suffer from drought and hunger. Prayer: “Father God, forgive our sins & our fathers’ sins.”
The blood of Jesus, however, cries out a better word than the blood of Abel. I then asked those gathered around the cross, “What does the blood of Jesus cry out?” Pointing at the cross, Matthew the Toposa spokesman cried out, “Father God, Forgive Us!”
The Curse Broken: After prayer by both a Suri and a Toposa, we washed our hand over the cross declaring, “Father forgive us!!” I told those who were gathered around the cross, “God is faithful and just and will forgive us.” Then I said, “The curse has been broken & the land has been cleansed. God will now bless with rain.” Before we got back to Tulegit several hours later, a heavy rain preceded us. The road was covered in puddles. The ditches were running full of water. Praise God!! He heard our cry for mercy. Pray that Suri and Toposa will live “safely in the land.” Pray that their urgent needs of food water and shelter will be met.
Together in His Service, The Haspels
PS: Late word is that WV Ethiopia is already over extended elsewhere and unable to help
John & Joy Haspels, AIM, Nairobi, Kenya: email@example.com
Online giving page: https://usgiving.aimint.org/missionary/1032600
Another month and another trip to Northern Kenya. Part of this trip was to help a new missionary couple move to their assignment at the Northern Bible Training Center (NBTC) in Marsabit town. After arriving the end of December, the Js have completed 3 weeks of orientation and an intensive course in Swahili and are finally moving to their ministry location. They will be joining the Ks in running the school and in teaching. Pray for the Js as they set up their home, learn the town, and begin teaching this Monday after 1 week on location. Their house was not in the best of shape when they moved in, despite the Landlord doing some work on it in preparation. Please keep them in prayer! Despite this, though, they are excited to finally be on location. It has been a long journey for them with support raising taking longer than expected. Pray also for the NBTC as it continues to work at training the next generation of church leaders. They have also developed plans to start an evening Bible training for some of the professionals in the town. So far they have 15 men and women committed to an after work Bible school. While this is a huge need, it will stretch the NBTC staff. Pray for protection on them in their health and relationships with each other.
The other part of this trip was to take our other new couple to see their ministry location. The Bs arrived in Kenya early in January for three weeks of orientation. They then have also had an intensive Swahili language course. They will be moving permanently to their location in mid-April. They will be joining some older missionaries as part of the team reaching the Gabra people. They will live in a remote place called Karabara with another couple, the Ss. They will be involved in support and technical training while also assisting the local clinic in mobile clinics and primary health care. They are a young couple and are eager to begin the task the Lord has put before them. Karabara is very remote and difficult to get to. Rain is the only source of water and it is an uncertain source. Please keep them in your prayers, now as they have an idea of what they need to prepare for.
In one week we get to have our whole family together for the month of April. Excitement continues to build in anticipation of having the house overfull again. Acacia still has not heard from the college of her choice. One of her friends has been accepted there, one other friend was rejected by the same college, so she is a little bit on edge. At least as much as she gets on edge. Right now she is on a school trip learning photography in an mission setting. Charlie and Sianna are both doing very well at school, but are ready for a break. Exams are next week, please keep them in prayer. Tiarra is excited about having her siblings home, but is also not ready to give up her only child status. This is a struggle she goes through every 3 months. In early April we plan to do another trip with the family to Karabara to work on a house there. A good time together as family and another chance for the kids to get an idea of what part of my job entails.
Just a reminder that we are coming back to the US from July to January 2019. We will be able to share Gods work in Northern Kenya starting in September through the beginning of December.
Thank you all for your prayers and support.
John and Joy
Just a thought: Imagine a king of old, one who is was mighty in word and deed. A king who was loved by all but ruled with tight control. Who, in their right mind, would approach such an king at 3am to ask for a glass of water. The answer, of course, is his children (maybe). But we, as followers of Christ, find ourselves in this very situation. Our Heavenly Father is THE God! The God who created the vastness of space and placed the stars, and crafted the complexity of the human DNA. This omniscient, all mighty, King of all, is the King we can come to at any time and ask for our glass of water. This King, ruler of all, always has time for us who come before Him. Our God, is also our Abba. Romans 8:15
John, 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 great kindness and wonderful mercies surround each of you.
Camp: This month I, Heather, have had the privilege of participating in teaching some of the current classes taking place. Habtom stayed home with Josiah and I got to really focus on and interact with the kids. I think one of my fondest memories of this month is when I got to play basketball with some of the young men. They really get into the game and you can see how excited the kids get when you give them a high five. I enjoyed talking to them as they ate their meals. I am just so thankful that God has these kids here at the camp. They kids have been learning Amharic (the national language) and Oromiffa (a tribal language). The kids are so far behind in these areas and this is what they are taught in. So, there has been a huge focus on helping the kids grasp some of the basic concepts and alphabet. English and Ethics are being implemented as we speak. We pray with us that these kids would be able to grasp all the concepts they need and that there would be improvement in school and in their confidence. One of the weekends this month a team came from the States and gave all the children physicals. This was great so we know what level they are and what area’s we need to focus on. They received vitamins and Also, the soccer field was able to be used in a church youth conference. In the conference they had youth soccer competition. We pray that these partnerships and work with the local churches and community will increase. We really want to see more interaction with the community.
Family: This month we were so blessed to celebrate Faith’s 7th birthday party! Where did seven years go? She had a great time with friends and family here to celebrate. It was a fun exhausting day. The girls have been enjoying school. They both are doing so well. We are so thankful. Faith even had a chance to go on a field trip to the national museum. She loved that. Hope’s good friend, Anna, celebrated her birthday in class and Hope was so excited that Anna chose her to sit next to here. I praise God every day that both my children have good friends in school. I, Heather, have been blessed to start to get to one of Faith’s classmates’ mothers who is originally from India. I know she is quite lonely, so am hoping to ask her to give me some curry lessons and just be a friend. May God use it for his glory. Habtom made a fast trip to Tuliget with my Father. It renewed our love to traveling around Ethiopia and sharing the love of Jesus. I am thankful that in all the travel Habtom and my father did his hand of safety was with them. Thank you so much for all your prayers and support. You are truly a blessing to us.
God bless you, Habtom, Heather, Faith, Hope and Josiah
Anne Adrian, ISI, Lakeland, Florida email@example.com
Last Sunday was a special day for the Adrians: the installation service of Kent to the role of Pastor at Christ Presbyterian Church in Bradenton!! Although Kent never anticipated going back to the pastorate, after a year of preaching for CPC, then serving as their interim pastor for a few months, it seemed clear that this was God’s doing! The congregation voted unanimously to call him. The backstory of this event is an amazing tale of God’s sovereign providence; we are so grateful to God for giving Kent this opportunity to serve this warm, missions-oriented fellowship! Bradenton is an hour south of our home in Lakeland which means that although commuting is possible, we will have to ultimately relocate to that community. We plan to put our house on the market by the end of 2019.
“What about Anne’s work with ISI?!” That piece of the puzzle has always been part of our deliberations on this decision. Both of us are committed to both of our ministries! I’m thrilled to see Kent flourishing in his God-given role as a pastor & Kent is passionate about affirming & supporting me in my role as a “bridge-builder” to internationals. So as long as God makes it possible, I will still be doing International Student ministry no matter where we live, no matter what form it takes. I have yet to discover where the international students are in Bradenton/Sarasota but I know they are there! I’m also confident that God will put me together with new M*lim women to continue building those bridges of friendship for His Kingdom.
“What about the work in Lakeland?” I am committed to the work in Lakeland!! One of the faculty at Florida Polytechnic encouraged me recently by saying that we had done a great job of reaching out to international students & faculty there! He wanted to see that continued. That’s what we want too!! Over the years God has brought together some wonderful volunteer partners & formed a small team that is deeply committed to this work. We have prayed diligently for God to add to our numbers as we have shared the vision individually & whenever possible, in local churches, but we haven’t seen a large enough response to meet even our current needs for Friendship Partners or for other aspects of our ministry.
None of the universities in Lakeland are particularly large so there will probably never be a huge number of International Students here but there will always be some. That means that there will always be opportunity to reach the nations in our backyard, students as well as faculty & their wives. Even when we move, I intend to commute into Lakeland 2-3 times a week to do all that I can to make sure that the ministry here thrives. Our prayer as an ISI Team has always been for God to establish in the Christian community of Lakeland, a passion for & commitment to be always looking out for & reaching out to the internationals He has brought here. Scripture is clear that no matter where we live, we ae to reach out to ALL: “For God so loved the WORLD…” Now our prayer has a particular urgency to it!!
Please pray with us for this transition to go smoothly & especially for these items:
- A local church (or two) that will catch this vision of reaching the nations in our backyard & be willing to take the key role in mobilizing Lakeland Christians to get involved with ISI
- New volunteer partners who will be willing to step into leadership roles
- An ISI staff person or couple for Lakeland to do the necessary day-day work to keep in touch with students and build the work
- A woman or team of women who will feel called to come alongside me in reaching out to the International Women here, particularly the M*lim women & in time, taking on leadership. Also someone who is willing to open their home as the place to meet, since our home will no longer be available.
Exciting things are happening in answer to your prayers –
- Two student coaches for the TRUE Retreat have agreed to apply, Gabby & Stacie!
- Funding for 5 local scholarships for TRUE has been offered – two of those will go to these young women, please pray that at least 3 or more will sign up!
Thank you for your faithful prayers for this ministry that seeks to bring the Light of Hope to the nations in our backyard!!
Your fellow Ambassador for Christ,
For those of you who prefer to give online: http://www.isionline.org/DonateAnneAdrian.aspx