Be An Example

2015-10-13 Artur Kostia Igor

Don’t let anyone think less of you because you are young. Be an example to all believers in what you say, in the way you live, in your love, your faith, and your purity. ~1 Timothy 4:12 (NLV)

A ServeNow team served in Western Ukraine this summer, where about 70 young adults and 15 team members attended English camp, worshiped together, and sought God’s direction for their lives in a country torn apart by an undeclared war.

Three young men need your prayers, and in this case have open access to the internet, so they have the opportunity to read your encouraging comments.

Artur, Kostia, and Igor grew up in an orphanage in Crimea. ServeNow staff members met them for the first time when they were about 12 years old, at a summer camp for orphans. Through the years, the boys have stayed in touch. Thankfully, they all finished high school and were making plans for their adult lives when the conflict started in their hometown of Kerch.

Burdened with the knowledge that they would soon be conscripted into the Russian army to fight against their countrymen, they young men courageously escaped to Kiev, Ukraine. Within weeks of their arrival, our financial partners made it possible for them to attend the English camp. While the English they learned will help them attain a better job, the discipleship they received and the friendships they formed at camp have encouraged them as they face their studies and a future in a new environment.

Please Pray:

  • For Artur, Igor, and Kostia to be encouraged by their faith in Christ as they face new challenges.
  • For the people of Ukraine, each of whom are impacted by the conflict on the eastern border of their country.
  • For God’s peace to settle over Ukraine, and for the government to make wise decisions as they navigate these difficult times.

Please leave your specific prayers for Artur, Igor and Kostia below.

Glad to Go

Church outside

I was glad when they said to me, “Let us go to the house of the LORD.”
Psalm 122:1 (NLT)

“I knew the burden of sin as my life was a mess. I am indebted to my friend who introduced me to Christ.” ~“Joyata”

Part of the mission of ServeNow is to help develop and support the local churches in the countries which we serve. Recently,Church speaking the national director of ServeNow India, Supratim, was asked to preach as a guest speaker at “Joyata’s” church. Supratim’s message inspired and challenged the congregation, and afterwards several people came to talk to him. One of those people was “Joyata” who thanked him and said,

“I want to help save as many as possible. Please pray for me.”

As the two men talked, “Joyata” explained that he walks 12 miles every Sunday to come to this church because there is no church in his village. “Joyata” is exactly the type of person for whom the Basic Series booklets, a resource provided by ServeNow, were developed. These booklets are transforming his passion into purpose and are equiping him to share his faith.

Please Pray:

  • In thanksgiving for the passion of “Joyata” who walks a great distance to go to church, and for those whom he shares the Gospel with to openly receive it.
  • For “Joyata’s” church to flourish and to be a blessing to its community.
  • For the Basic Series booklets to continue discipling and edifying new believers.

Please leave your prayers in the form of a comment below for “Joyata” and his church.

Shelter for the Oppressed

Zinc Sheet Distribution

The LORD is a shelter for the oppressed, a refuge in times of trouble.
Psalm 9:9 (NLT)

Recently, ServeNow Nepal gave over 1,500 corrugated zinc roofing sheets to people in need of shelter. The people were very grateful to receive this means of protection from the early monsoon rains.

One eighty-year-old woman, “Riea,” lost all of her family members to the earthquake, including her husband. Her poverty is so great that she is unable to afford sandals and is forced to walk barefoot. When provided with a metal sheet to protect her from the rain, “Riea” was overwhelmed with joy and expressed her gratitude with tears in her eyes.  zinc sheet construction

In the words of our national director of Nepal, “God is using ServeNow to provide hope to the hopeless people, help to the helpless people and encouragement to the discouraged people.”

Please Pray:

  • For “Riea” to find comfort and support from the Lord.
  • In thanksgiving for God’s faithful provision of hope, help, and encouragement to the people who ServeNow has been able to help.
  • For future distributions of food supplies, tarps, and zinc roofing sheets.

Please leave your prayers in the comments below for “Riea” and all who live with devastating loss due to the earthquake.

Receive like a Child

SOJ 2

“I tell you the truth, anyone who doesn’t receive the Kingdom of God like a child will never enter it.”
Matthew 10:15 (NLT)

SOJ 1At the end of last school year, ServeNow distributed The Story of Jesus to more than 2,000 children in 4 schools in Hyderabad, India. The Story of Jesus is a professionally illustrated graphic novel which tells the story of the gospel in a highly appealing format designed for children. The presentation concludes with a step-by-step description of how to put faith in Christ, and as such is a very effective evangelism tool.

The principal at one of the schools told us, “I am really thankful to God for bringing ServeNow to conduct this program in my school. I know it is a very risky step, conducting a religious program in a Government-aided school, but every kid should know about Jesus and about his love. I know that if we do his work, he will take care of every situation. With that hope I am moving on.”

Please Pray:

  • In thanksgiving for the courage and faith of the principal and others like her.
  • For the children who have received The Story of Jesus to accept Jesus into their hearts.
  • For future distributions of The Story of Jesus.

Please leave your prayers as a comment in the box below for the school principal and the children who received The Story of Jesus.

Training Expert Hands

2015-07-21 Painting

All those who were skilled among the workers made the tabernacle with ten curtains of finely twisted linen and blue, purple and scarlet yarn, with cherubim woven into them by expert hands.
Exodus 36:8 (NIV)

Tahasif, a 17 year old girl who attends an art program at the ServeNow Kolkata Lighthouse Center, painted the above artwork. The art program is one of several after school activities hosted by the Lighthouse Center. These activities provide a safe alternative to being on the streets where there is the ever present threat of human trafficking.

Through the art program, Tahasif has learned about artistic principles and techniques, resulting in her beautiful work. In addition, she has experienced a form of art therapy through her artistic expression.

Please Pray:

  • For Tahasif to excel in her studies at school and to encounter the love of God as she attends programs at the Kolkata Lighthouse Center.
  • For the Kolkata Lighthouse Center’s Staff and Programs to continue to shine the light of truth and hope in a dark region.
  • For all of the students in the area as they start a new school year this week.
  • For an art auction which features the artwork of the students from the Kolkata Lighthouse Center and will raise money to support the after school program. The auction will be held in Colorado Springs on August 21st and includes donated pieces from local and international artists.

Please leave your prayers for Tahasif and her fellow students at the Kolkata Lighthouse Center as a comment below.

Speak Up

IMG_3223

Speak up for those who cannot speak for themselves;
ensure justice for those being crushed.
Yes, speak up for the poor and helpless,
and see that they get justice.
Proverbs 31:8-9 (NLT)

Did you know that you can sponsor children through ServeNow? We have a number of children in Uganda and India who live in extreme poverty. Their best chance to receive an education and regular meals is to be sponsored by a loving and generous person like you.

Meet Joshua, 13, who lives in Uganda. Joshua’s parents are poor farmers who provide for their six children by selling their seasonal crops. Joshua has great potential, but as the third child, will not be able to pursue his dream of having an education without outside assistance. When we ask children what they “want to be when they grow up,” we often hear of professions like doctor, teacher, and nurse. We received an unexpected response from Joshua, whose favorite and best school subject is math, he aspires to become an IT Specialist.

Please Pray:

  • That Joshua will soon have a long-term sponsor and that he senses God’s encouragement to reach for his dreams.
  • For Joshua’s family. That their crops grow in abundance, the sales go well this year, and they know that their fruitfulness comes from the Lord.
  • For the many other children in Uganda and India who are waiting to be matched with a sponsor.

Please leave your prayers for Joshua in the comment field below and we will be certain to relay your kind words to him.

I’ll Never Abandon You

2015-07-07 Delhi VBS crop

For God has said,
“I will never fail you. I will never abandon you.”
Hebrews 13:5b (NLT)

School is out. Summer is in full force, and with it we see banners for Vacation Bible School (VBS) programs outside local churches. What we may not realize is that there are simultaneous VBS programs in progress all around the world.

2015-07-07 Delhi VBS childrenThe ServeNow Lighthouse Center in Delhi, India is one such location. This summer, they expect to reach 1,000 children with the Gospel through the VBS program, including children from a leper colony, and those from a church in a large slum. In addition to fun songs, crafts, and engaging lessons, many children make the life changing decision to ask Jesus to be their Savior.

The “Sarin”* family, pictured above, is headed by their mother, who is a new believer. Abandoned by their father, one of the children implored,
“Why do I have no father? Can God give us our father back?”

Moved by the hurt and uncertainty, a ServeNow staff member explained that they have a Heavenly Father who loves them and will never leave them!

All four of the children came to Christ during the VBS session and the family has been fully embraced by the church.

Please Pray:

  • That the love and hope found though Jesus Christ enters the hearts of the children who participate in the Delhi VBS programs.
  • For the “Sarin” family. For the mother to grow in her faith and to be confident in her ability to successfully raise her family. And for each of the children to know that they are loved by their mother, and by their father in heaven who will never leave them or abandon them.
  • For the staff and volunteers at the Delhi Lighthouse Center as they face both the joy of watching the Spirit move through the teaching of the Gospel, and the attempts of the evil one to thwart that teaching.

Please leave your prayers as a comment below to encourage the “Sarin” family in their faith, and for the Delhi VBS sessions that will continue through the summer.

*The family surname has been changed for safety purposes

Help Those Without Hope

Anita with ServeNow Director Ukraine, Tanya Shpygunova

Anita with ServeNow Director Ukraine, Tanya Shpygunova

For I assisted the poor in their need and the orphans who required help.
I helped those without hope, and they blessed me.
Job 29:12-13a (NLT)

“I lived in constant fear of being raped. My defense was to pretend that I was a guy. I dressed like a boy, walked like a boy, I even used a boy’s name. Most of my friends were either behind bars or involved in prostitution. I asked myself, ‘What is my future?’”        ~Anita

Since the fall of communism 25 years ago, Ukraine has seen a drastic increase in human trafficking, experiencing the second highest rate in Europe. When orphans like Anita age out of the system at 16 years old, there are no other programs in place to assist them and they end up on the streets, susceptible to prostitution and human trafficking.

To combat this problem, ServeNow will open a baking and pastry school this year with an attached operating bakery. The five month training program will give disadvantaged young women like Anita a trade, therefore preventing the need to sell themselves or be vulnerable to traffickers.

Local churches have already agreed to buy the bakery’s bread for communion, therefore providing an economic and spiritual partnership with the bakery and its students.

Anita inspired the ServeNow bakery, and until its opening, she is living with a local church family. She has learned that God loves her and looks forward to the day that she can use her baking skills to support herself. She is proud to be a daughter of the King saying,

“Now that I know God, I thank him that I am not a prostitute or that I ended up in jail.”

Please Pray:

  • For the bakery and its training school to be fully operational by the opening date of September 1.
  • For Anita and the selection process of the first group of bakery students.
  • For God to protect the orphans in Ukraine from the lies and promises of traffickers.

Leave your prayers as a comment below for Anita and the bakery staff as they make arrangements to establish the bakery.

IMG_2975Would you like to help a bakery student? Our knead bread campaign sponsors students at $30 per week. Let us know if you would like a jar to collect change to provide these women with a future and a hope.

Show Others

2015-06-23 Children SOJ Water June 2015

Let no one show little respect for you because you are young. Show other Christians how to live by your life. They should be able to follow you in the way you talk and in what you do. Show them how to live in faith and in love and in holy living.
1 Timothy 4:12 (NLT)

2015-06-23 SOJ IndiaTwelve year old Srinu received his own The Story of Jesus graphic novel at the church where he attends Sunday school in India. He was fascinated by the vivid colors and he loved the pictures. He eagerly read the book over and over again.

By reading the book, Srinu realized that Jesus is his Savior and he started sharing Jesus with his friends. He says

“I just love the pictures and the story in the book. I want my friends also to know about Jesus and know that he loves them too and that’s why I give them this comic to read.”

Please Pray:

  • That Srinu’s faith grows deeper as he learns more about God’s fathomless love for him.
  • In thanksgiving for Srinu’s characteristic of generosity as she shares his beloved possession rather than hoard it.
  • That Srinu and his Sunday school friends continue to share TheStory of Jesus with those in their schools and neighborhoods to spread the word of love, forgiveness, joy, and hope.

Will you encourage Srinu, his friends at Sunday school, or his Sunday school teachers with a prayer? Just write something to them in the comment box below to let them know how they influenced you.

A Light on My Path

2015-06-16 Nepal distribution

Your word is a lamp for my feet, a light on my path.
Psalm 119:105

Efforts persist in Nepal to meet the needs of the hurting people through supplies and prayer. There are fewer aftershocks as each day passes, but because of all of the structural damage to buildings, thousands of people continue to live under tarps and many remain traumatized.

A pastor from one village told our volunteers,

“The situation was horrifying. ServeNow Nepal provided immediate help at the perfect time. Badly affected people were provided tarps, food, water purifiers, mattresses and blankets. Thank you for being there to help us while we were in great need.”

And now we have a wonderful opportunity to share with you. Publisher David C Cook has offered a $50,000 matching grant in the month of June to print and distribute 700,000 copies of The Story of Jesus comic book for children. Since each child will share that with at least 4 additional kids, the Gospel could reach 3.5 million Nepali children with the message of God’s love and hope! Thus far, $25,000 has been raised and we ask for your prayers to bring in the additional $25,000.

Please Pray:

  • For God to comfort those traumatized by the earthquakes.
  • For people of Nepal to openly receive both the supplies which help their physical needs, and the prayers to help their spiritual and eternal needs.
  • That the remaining $25,000 needed to meet the matching grant challenge comes in before the June 30th deadline, and that with the receipt of those funds, we freely give the glory back to the Lord for his faithfulness.

Leave your prayers as a comment in the box below for Pastor Arjun and his volunteers as they daily meet the needs of the traumatized people of Nepal.

India Heatwave Update

Some areas of India continue to suffer under an historic heatwave. Two weeks ago, four of our students from the ServeNow Kolkata Lighthouse Center were hospitalized and last week seven more became ill. Since hospitals in India do not provide food or other basic supplies, family members are expected to pick up the responsibility. Rev. Chowdhuri asks us, “The staff from Kolkata Lighthouse Center visited them in the hospital with fruit and Oral Rehydration Solution. Please pray for health and safety for the children during this time.”