teisamarie@yahoo.com

Top 10 reasons we LOVE Christmas in Africa!

10) Kids sleep in!

9)   It is hot. (some days this is a mixed blessing)

8) You don’t get sick of Christmas music…. your lucky to even hear a few songs!

7) Nobody cares what you wear to the Christmas party as long as it is clean.

6) Many kids have never heard the name ‘Santa’ (like mine- Glory!)

5) You always make new friends since 5-10 people you do not know come and celebrate with you.

4) You never have issues with left-over food.

3) Children are thrilled with ONE gift.

2) Since very little energy goes into decorations, shopping, ‘keeping up with the Jones-’ everything goes into loving Him and people (especially the poor).   One enjoys the abiding beauty of ‘it is better to give than to receive.’

1) This one is global- Because our amazing Heavenly Father gave us the perfect gift- JESUS- the way, the truth, and the life! We wish you His very best this Christmas and pray He showers His presence and presents on you (peace, love, salvation, glory- shabba, shabba!)

 

 

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A Christmas funny…

Twas the weeks before Christmas and a newsletter was due, so Teisa/Jean composed a silly rhyme for you.

We started the year with Johanna doing homeschool. Her sweet and spicy spirit excels at being cool.

We loved our America visit at the beginning of the year. Even with Ebola talks, we returned home with no fear.

Our South African family awaited with new challenges and blessings. Everyday is an adventure with the King!

We face cues of people with great needs unmet, until Jesus comes and then miracles abound in His silhouette.

With our little sweeties and MCVʼs ever growing way, we are so grateful for each new treasure in our fun family fray.

From the new 24/7 Prayer Center to the precious Dignity ministry- His glory abounds for all to see!

Jean turned the big 50 with much joy and fun; His jubilee year of freedom in the Son.

Looking back over this year we are so grateful for you- our family and friends who have given us so much anew!

 

May the joy that comes from knowing JESUS fill your hearts to overflowing this holiday season. And may His love and joy only increase this upcoming New Year! We are so thankful for all the people/ churches that faithfully pray, support, and lift our arms during the journey. We press on together for His glory being poured out in America/South Africa/nations in 2016!!! His best is yet to come!!!

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Overwhelmed…

Feeling overwhelmed? It’s the new normal for most of us. And although some might disagree, we believe an overwhelmed life is something pretty powerful and precious when fully surrendered to God…that last part being the key!

In our little corner of the world, funerals every week are normal. But so are healings. Unending projects, administration, logistics of 21-25 kids, shopping, vehicle repairs (to just name a few) can easily sweep one into a flood of discouragement and frustration. But when showered with His new mercies, divine wisdom, and unfailing love- each day is an exciting voyage. Not that we are perfect navigators. Shipwrecks are no fun, but they are good teachers. As the African proverb says, “Smooth seas do not make skillful sailors.”

Instead of wasting our energy on things we cannot control (the past, other people, messy life stuff, etc.), let us wholeheartedly encounter JESUS! No more wimpy gazes…it’s time for unwavering life fascination! In perfect JOY, He endured the greatest of life storms and arose victorious. Consider HIM. Let every obstacle/problem fade in the radiance of the answer.

Sadly, it is easier to turn to the latest book about Jesus, than turn to the life source Himself. Instead of asking why (which is another trap of enemy called distraction) simply break the cycle. Run into His presence. Let praise and thanksgiving open the portals of heaven. Freely receive…then freely give.

Our tips to an overwhelmed life? Jesus. More of His Word. More of His Love. More of His Righteousness. Peace. Joy. We love you friends. We are so grateful for the cloud of witnesses around us. May the Holy Spirit continue to blow on our sails as we love and live for Him!

Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a huge crowd of witnesses to the life of faith, let us strip off every weight that slows us down, especially the sin that so easily trips us up. And let us run with endurance the race God has set before us. We do this by keeping our eyes on Jesus, the champion who initiates and perfects our faith. Because of the joy awaiting him, he endured the cross, disregarding its shame. Now he is seated in the place of honor beside God’s throne. Think of all the hostility he endured from sinful people then you won’t become weary and give up. Hebrews 12:1-3 NLT

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Coming to America!

It has been almost two years since our last furlough, so we will be stateside in early March till mid-May!   The following is our tentative ministry schedule…it is getting pretty full, but we may be able to squeeze in few more mid-week opportunities (email us asap!)

March 7th-  The Merge at Glory Worship Center, Omaha, NE

March 8th- Glory Worship Center, Omaha NE

March 15th- New Beginnings Worship Center, Bellevue, NE

March 17th  Marsters Commission- Bellevue Christian Center, Bellevue NE

March 22nd-  Heartland AG, Ankeny, Iowa

March 29th- Real Life Church, Ankeny, Iowa

March 30th- The Hub, Omaha, NE

April 5th-  Easter

April 10th- School of Urban Missions Chapel, Oakland CA

April 19th- Ohio (still confirming churches)

April 26th- AM  Valleybrook Community Church, Granby, CT

PM  Opengate Church, Enfield, CT

May 3rd-  Christ Life Fellowship, South Hadley, MA

May 10th- Happy Mother’s Day!

May 12th-  MOW Meeting, Tolland, CT

May 17th-  Bridgeway Church, Greenville SC

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Obey!

IMG-20150208-00041Shalom Shalom!

Jean here.  Teisa normally does the blogs/newsletters, but I felt like it was my turn:)
In light of recent physical battles (5 hospitalizations and 3 major surgeries in 2 years) and other intense challenges, God called me to extended time of fasting and prayer.  While seeking the Lord, I keep hearing “OBEY!”  Seems simple enough. God speaks- we obey.

Last year God clearly gave me the assignment to visit all the Iris churches within 100 miles of our base.  It took me almost all year, but mission accomplished.  Visiting the churches became my favorite and most fruitful ministry.  Almost every week people were healed and 1-3 people gave their hearts to Jesus!  Some churches met in garages, shacks, half-built structures, and one was even under a tree.  One particular Sunday I was preaching my second service of the day in a small garage, when the manifest presence of God came upon the small crowd. During the alter call, I was directed to pray for a certain young man who smelled profusely of alcohol.  My eyes were closed and I found myself thinking how much this kid needed Jesus.  When I opened my eyes, tears were streaming down his face as he called out to God.  He was instantly sobered up and gloriously born again!

God gave me that assignment to help me refocus on my original calling to Africa almost ten years ago, “Be a father to the fatherless and go and make disciples (Matt 28:19-20).   Pioneering the children village was pretty all consuming for many years.  It pains me to admit it, but the great commission got a bit neglected.  But God!  It feels good to be back on track in walking in obedience to His full calling on my life.

Obedience releases God’s promise.  We know this from God’s command for children to obey their parents (a favorite scripture in our house right now:).  On Jan 7, 2015 I heard the Lord say, “If you obey my Word and my Spirit, I will release Shalom!”  God’s shalom is so much more than simple peace. Shalom speaks about completeness, wholeness, health, peace, welfare, safety, soundness, tranquility, prosperity, perfection, fullness, rest, harmony, and the absence of agitation/discord (Strong’s concordance).  We believe 2015 will be a year full of SHALOM as we obey Him!   What has the Lord spoken to you recently?  May we all be quick to obey.  And may His Shalom overtake our lives for His glory!

We are so excited about prayerfully seeing many of you soon on our short furlough (see our itinerary on top post).  Please try to connect with us if possible!  We would love the chance to hug and pray over you!

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How to pray for us….

 

What to pray?  More, more, more!
 
More of His Presence in our hearts and home!
More harvest during the Christmas Outreaches!  Feeding Program Kids (250+)  Dec 12th,  Treasure hunting home-visits Dec 19th,  and MCV on Christmas Day!
More of His Angelic Protection! During the holidays, people do crazy things in our area…pray for more divine protection around our home in the township and for MCV!
More of His wisdom, unity, love, and  leadership!  We are seeing some incredible breakthroughs with our long-term team!  May He take us from glory to glory!!!  Pray for new team members in 2015.
More of His divine provision for the Macadamia Tree project!  Trees are doing well.  Pray for the funds for another new well and tractor.
More sons and daughters at MCV!  We launched another forever family this year and we are believing for another house in 2015!  Pray for more kids to come home to the Father and the amazing family at MCV.
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Breaking the silence!

Peace and Joy from South Africa!

Many of you know we recently came thru a very challenging, but miraculous season.  While still running a very busy ministry base/MCV, we hosted the Iris Mission School for three weeks.  This included organizing outreaches and practical ministry for 220 people while doing the everyday stuff for MCV (like chasing down a Health Inspection certificate and finishing four major reports for Social Services with help from our team) and keeping up with an very active Preschooler and toddler:)

Sadly, we cannot share that we soared victoriously thru the season.  Instead, we got the balance wrong towards the end and experienced an epic crash and burn.  We were blessed with a vacation house on the beach for two weeks, but Jean still ended up hospitalized with tonsillitis and I struggled getting out of bed in the morning…

Some people might say we were crazy to even do it.  Maybe we have a ‘lack of boundaries’ or need to say “No” more often.  There is some truth to the above wisdom.  We confess to doing a few things wrong and desperately want to learn from this season.  In the future, we hope to delegate more and take better care of ourselves/family time.  However, we got something very right too.

The Bible is full of people who said ‘Yes’ to God in the midst of great personal sacrifice, persecution, and trails.  Paul even despaired of his very life at one point.  Talk about unhealthy ministry!   Tent-making, beatings, prison- God asked Paul to do some pretty hard and ‘unreasonable’ things.

But we have this treasure in earthen vessels, that the excellence of the power may be of God and not of us. We are hard-pressed on every side, yet not crushed; we are perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not forsaken; struck down, but not destroyed- always carrying about in the body the dying of the Lord Jesus, that the LIFE of Jesus may also be manifested in our body. 2 Cor 4:7-10

I can do all things thru Christ who strengthens me.  Phil 4:13

Please pray with us to keep our YES fully/holy unto God- not moving into self-preservation.  Most missionaries pack their bags at this point.  We have watched them do it over and over.   We may be a bit battered, but there is no other place we would rather be than in His will.  What about you dear one?  Does God have your wholehearted “Yes?”  Or do we offer Jesus a limited contract based on personal terms and conditions?   No matter what we face- Jesus is worth it!  As we go into the best time of the year- let us proclaim CHRIST-A-MUST this Christmas!

We love you so much! We are together in His many expressions of love transforming South Africa. One day, we will all stand before our Beloved Jesus and every act of love/sacrifice/obedience shall be richly rewarded. So until He thanks you, we do!

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BMW Bikers!

Few events at MCV render us speechless, but the recent visit
by the BMW Bikers certainly did! 
With lavish love, they rode in with baskets full of Christmas goodies
and needed household items.  To the
great delight of our children, proceeded to give personal rides to all who
desired.  From our toddlers to our
mamas- we experienced the amazing thrill as we rode with our new friends!
In addition to the beautiful gifts they brought, they also
presented two checks for the village! 
Thank you again Wymoth/BMW friends and Willem/Numbi Hotel for your kind
generosity in thinking of MCV this Christmas!  It was indeed an unforgettable day!  More pictures are posted on our MCV website- www.mcvafrica.com
And on a personal note- I (Teisa) even went for a ride!  This is a huge thing since I have been terrified of motor bikes my whole life….When my mother was young, she was in a horrible accident which severely scared her leg.  I would look at her scar and my heart always filled with fear…till last Sunday.  I faced my fears and went for a wild ride!  Yeah Jesus!!!

 

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Praying peace into the atmosphere…


Wow- it has been an intense few days! We have not really had time to sit and process it all, but an amazing new missionary Elizabeth Lawson did:) So here is her recent blog testimony!

 6 a.m. – We awaken to the sounds of helicopters and planes.  Brush fires in South Africa are frequent and sometimes started on purpose.  The fires this morning are increasing in number, and the reason for the intentional act is not a good one.  The very poor community of Backdoor is ON STRIKE today because the local government is not bringing them their WATER.  Without water, how do you live?  They are doing what is called a “toi-toi” – a strike.  Emotions are high and the situation is suddenly INTENSE.  Those in our IRIS family who live in Backdoor are not even leaving their houses.
WE PRAY for the government relations with the residents and that the Holy Spirit will bring PEACE to this storm.

Noon – Fires have blazed ALL morning in the not too far distance surrounding (MCV) Michael’s Children’s Village and roads leading out of Backdoor Community.  Helicopters dangling buckets on long cables fly overhead as they spray water across fields and forests.  One fire after another is started by angry people.  Here at Michael’s Children’s Village, our children are ordered into our homes to await evacuation if necessary.  The fires are that close to the base and to our macadamia farm.
WE PRAY for God to send angels to help us.

The winds begin to blow in our favor – the other direction – for rest of the afternoon!  Thankfully, we do not have to evacuate….  The police come to quell the riots in the streets with use of rubber bullets, and some of the people of Backdoor run to their homes to gather weapons to fight back.  Our IRIS Director, Teisa, and her daughters face an angry resident as they step outside of Village of Hope where we feed hundreds of children and adults each day.  Flashing his handgun at ‘Mama Teisa,’ the emotion-filled man is keen on showing how serious he is about fighting for what everyone needs – drinking water.  Unseen angels envelop Mama Teisa in peace as she hurriedly gets her girls to their house.

8 p.m. – Long after dark, I can still see a fire blazing through the trees just up the road.  There is the need to pray for everyone to really quiet down.  A “toi-toi” (South African term for ‘strike’) can go on for days and even weeks.  All of our loved ones from IRIS Partners in Harvest Church and from our IRIS team who live in Backdoor are still in lock-down as I write because of the rioting in the streets and the violence that goes along with that.  WE PRAY for the water issue to get straightened out and for the THOUSANDS of Backdoor residents and other surrounding poor communities to get their needed water!  Backdoor is a literal MOUNTAIN.  One of many.  People have to walk far up hill to bring water to their homes without the normal provision. Starting the fires was not a smart thing to do; it took a lot of water to put them out!  But you can imagine the frustration of so many people having to survive without this necessity.

WE WORSHIP the Redeemer who is able to turn things around!  We pray for a free-flow of water in Backdoor – natural and spiritual!

After another tense day of protests/riots, the government sent workers to drill new wells!  BREAKTHROUGH!  Please keep praying with us for PEACE and PERFECT LOVE in Backdoor!

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Ministering LIFE

For almost two months, we have been hiding something in our hearts not knowing if we should share openly or stay silent.  Ever have something happen so precious and amazing, you might share with a few close friends, but don’t exactly know if sharing broadly is the right thing to do?  Since the Holy Spirit is faithful to lead us in doing secret love offerings that lay up treasure in heaven…. Random acts of obedience and kindness that are meant only for our King Jesus.  But at other times, we feel His pleasure about testifying and letting His light shine through our lives for His glory (Matt 5:16).  Well, we finally have peace about sharing something very special…something we live for….something only Jesus can do!

In July, we got a phone call about a large team (36 people) being deported from Mozambique due to a recent visa crisis.  We were in preparations for hosting our annual youth conference in Backdoor.  We were overjoyed at the timing (two other ministry teams had cancelled).   Pastor Surprise had been trying for years to have Georgian Banov come visit our base.  BOOM.  It was happening!  The Holy Spirit detoured Georgian and his amazing team to our base for an unbelievably blessed week of ministry and miracles.  We experienced an incredible outpouring of heaven during the Youth Conference.  God’s manifest presence and fullness of joy marked each of the sessions.  Countless youth were overcome by His glory in various ways and testified to the life-changing encounters during this time…but that wasn’t even the best part….

It was a Monday night and our 7th anniversary (7-7-07).  We had arranged an evening outreach for the team at Pastor Mabila’s area in Tonga.  Normally, I (Teisa) would have had a bit of an attitude with my husband being on outreach on such an important evening.  However, there was very much a holy peace and ‘push’ regarding Jean going.  We both knew he HAD to go.

Jean drove Georgian and one other team member, Andrew, separately (the team followed in big taxi buses).  They left a bit early so Georgian could have time for a sound check with his amazing violin☺   No one knew the holy timing of that simple action.

Two hours into the trip, Jean saw an accident up ahead.  A seven year old girl had just been hit by a car.  Her tiny body was lying in a pool of blood on the side of the road.  She was not breathing (her tongue was hanging outside her mouth).  Jean, Georgian, and Andrew ran out of the truck to pray for her.  They prayed for 5-7 minutes without any signs of life…then suddenly she jolted!  The guys continued to pull heaven down and release resurrection life and healing.  The first car with an EMT finally arrived after about 20 minutes.  Another EMT arrived shortly after the first and they took over stabilizing her body and attached a machine verifying a steady pulse. The guys got the girls contact information so we could continue to pray and follow-up with the family before everyone rushed off.

The sweet girl remained in ICU for some time.  No visitors were allowed so we sent forth the healing word and stayed close to the family.  At one point doctors were recommending surgery for internal bleeding.  When we heard, we joined in prayer believing for supernatural intervention.  When scanned again, the bleeding had stopped and no surgery was needed!  She continued to improve but with some setbacks.  When Jean and Pastor Mabila visited her in hospital, she was doing better but only had limited movement of her left side.  Laying hands on her again, we called forth the finished work of Christ.

Just today we got the news that she will be discharged tomorrow from hospital!  However, she still only has limited movement of her left side.  So please pray with us for Wetu (we got permission from her mother to share her name so people can pray).  Lets contend together for Wetu’s complete healing!

There is no doubt in our hearts that everything led up to that kairos (καιρός) moment on July 7th.  36 sudden guests and all that it encompasses.  Georgian’s detour.  A missed anniversary celebration.  Leaving a little early.  Was it all for her?  Sweet Wetu in her moment of desperate need?  We think so.  And we are so overcome by His lavish love for the ‘one’ that our lives are truly wrecked for anything else.  Oh how He loves us!  How can we not offer everything to Him?  Life is not found in pursing a better lifestyle/more money/more things…Only in the pursuit of HIM and the laying down of our own lives, do we find LIFE, abundant and full of glory!

As you go, proclaim this message: ‘The Kingdom of heaven has come near.’ Heal the sick, raise the dead, cleanse those who have leprosy, drive out demons.  Freely you have received, freely give. Matt 10:8

The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.  John 10:10

Whoever wants to be disciples must deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me.  For whoever wants to save their life will lose it, but whoever loses their life for me will find it.  Matt 16:24-25

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