St. Peter's has opportunities for parishioners to be long-term missionaries.  If you would like to learn more, contact Jill Ashoo jill@saint-peters.net.

St. Peter's shield - small Jerry Johnston

Jerry is working at Shukugawa Bible Church in Nishinomiya, Japan. Nishinomiya is a small city of about 500,000 between the major cities of Osaka and Kobe.  During the week, Jerry teaches english classes that include a "bible time" in which he can share God's word with people who might otherwise never hear it. Japanese people are eager to learn english, so this ministry is a great chance to share the word. Less than 1% of Japan is Christian of any sort, and even fewer protestant/evangelical. Japan desperately needs the Gospel, even though they don't realize it yet. God is doing great things in this country, and the enemy is keen to do what he can to stop it. Japan is a really unique mission field in that it's not a developing country, so most of the traditional ideas about "missions" don't apply so well there. Jerry is learning more and more as he is there, and hehopes that God can use him as His tool to spread his Gospel.

Jerry spends a lot of time studying Japanese, and he just started studying koine greek (with the hope that he can understand the new testament more fully and on a deeper level).

Please keep Jerry in your constant prayers. 

Updates from Jerry:

St. Peter's shield - small March 6, 2014

March 6, 2014

Dear Friends and Family,

February went by as an absolute blur.  I suppose that is the norm.  After all, it IS the shortest month.  Despite that, it was full of a lot of activities and experiences that I can share with you and be grateful to God for.

One praise that I have is that I was able to do a Bible study with a young college student.  He is currently searching for a job, and his experience on a homestay in an English-speaking country led him to question what he’s really doing in his life.  You see, his homestay family is Christian, and they often took this young man to church with them on Sunday.  Granted, this young man didn’t really understand a whole lot when he went to church there, but he could tell that his homestay family was different.  He saw the joy in their lives, and he felt drawn to them.  He felt he could trust them.  I was able to tell this young man, together with a Japanese friend, about God as the creator of the whole universe.  We told him of God’s design of man, and man’s need for a relationship with God.  After the Bible study, we weren’t sure of how much he would believe about it.  But we could see clearly that he is deeply considering whether or not he believes in a God who created the whole world.  If you have time, please pray for this young man.  He hasn’t yet made plans with us for the next Bible study, but pray that he would make it a priority.  Even if he doesn’t do another Bible study with us, pray that he would come to Sunday worship and hear the gospel preached in his own language.

We also had an evangelism outreach event in February.  However, it was probably poorly-timed, as it was in the middle of a four-day weekend.  Unfortunately, the number of people who came was far below our expectations.  But there was one man who came to the event, and I was very surprised that he game.  This man is a bit older, and he comes across as quite rough and very conservative to other Japanese people.  He spent a long portion of his life overseas, and to my surprise he came to this evangelism event.  He told me, “Jerry, you are very lucky.  You seem to be happy no matter what happens.  I don’t have any joy.”  He struck up a friendship recently with another older man who is a Christian and a member of this church.  Through this older Christian man and through me, the man confessed that he had a desire for the same kind of joy that we had.  Right now he is filling his life with lots of travel and other material things;  he is finding, though, that they don’t offer the same kind of joy that I and this other Christian man have.  This man still has a long way to go, but please pray for him!  Especially, pray that he would come humbly before the Lord, and that he would give his pride over to Christ.  Pray that God would use my relationship with him and the English class I am teaching to be effective tools in communicating the gospel of Christ to him.

Another blessing recently is that a woman was baptized recently, and accepted as a member of the church.  The news is a little bit bittersweet for me, however, because originally there were supposed to be two baptisms.  One of the women who was supposed to be baptized ended up falling away from the church.  I wish that this was an isolated incident.  However, there are many people in Japan who are initially interested in the gospel.  They do a lot of Bible studies, pray to accept Christ as Lord and Savior, and begin to prepare for baptism.  Some of them, as they are writing their testimonies, begin to doubt.  Some of them are afraid of the commitment that baptism includes.  It’s almost like people who get “cold feet” before a wedding.  In any case, one woman decided that she didn’t really believe in Christ, and that she couldn’t get baptized.  It broke my heart to hear the news, and I pray that she will return.

On the other hand, the woman who was baptized has an amazing story of her own.  Her husband is from a family that is quite well-known in this area.  She came to the church through one of our evangelism events, and came to believe in Christ as her Lord and Savior.  She invited her husband to come to church on the day that we had a Children’s Blessing Ceremony.  The father left in the middle of the pastor’s sermon, and after church called his wife to tell her to come home.  He said that the church was strange, with everyone singing songs and praying… it was all too foreign and unfamiliar for him.  The wife didn’t know what to do.  She told some of the women in the church, and they began praying for her immediately.  In the meantime, the husband talked to his brother and some of his family members, to ask them for advice on what to do with his wife.  His older brother asked him, “What church is she going to?”  He answered, “Shukugawa Bible Church.”  To his surprise, his older brother knew of that church.  “I used to take English classes at that church!  They are really good people.  In fact, I kind of want to go to that church also.”  His brother, his mother, and other members of his family remembered the time that they took English classes at the church, and they remembered the warm, genuine expression of Christ’s love.  The husband called his wife up, and as she says, apologized for the first time in their marriage.  The husband himself hasn’t come back to the church, but for the time being at least, he is not against her involvement in the church or becoming a Christian.  Pray that she would be a good witness to him, and that her children would grow up knowing Jesus Christ as Lord.  This story also gave me great encouragement, knowing that the work of the English language ministry is not in vain, and that it can affect people in years to come.  Pray that the seed we plant will be fruitful.

Personally, I was able to celebrate another milestone in February: my 31st birthday!  It’s hard to believe that I am so old (I started working as a missionary here when I was 25 years old).  At the same time, I was so blessed to receive a lot of birthday messages from you all on Facebook, and I was able to spend a great day with friends here in Japan.  Please pray for me, that I would dedicate the 31st year of my life to doing the Lord’s work.  Especially, pray for me now as I’m preparing for doing more college ministry at a local university.  Starting in April, I and another Japanese staff member at church are going to have a once-a-week Bible study in the university cafeteria.  Pray that the students whom God has planned to come will prepare their hearts and receive the good news of Jesus Christ.

Thank you for your continued prayers and support!  I am doing well and staying busy.  Pray that I would use my time wisely, and that I would continue to study both the Japanese language and the Bible well and with conviction.  May God especially be merciful to us all in this season of Lent, as we penitentially prepare for the death and resurrection of our Lord.

In Christ’s Mercy,

Jerry Johnston

January 31, 2014

December 31, 2013

April 2013

September 2012

May 2012 (PDF)

February 2012

St. Peter's shield - small Ken and Kay Mayo

Ken and Kay Mayo serve with Wycliffe in the European, Mediterranean and Central Asian regions. Originally Kay was trained as a literacy specialist and Ken as a translator. Since the Mayo's first assignment to Mexico in 1979, they have served in administrative and training roles while living and working in numerous countries in the Americas, Africa, Europe and Asia. Over the past ten years they have focused on helping with strategic planning and specific leadership and team management training needs for those working directly in translation projects. Their specialties include Leadership, Organizational and Personal Development, Basic Management Skills, Team Building, Strategic Planning, Career and Vocational Counseling, Critical Incident Stress Management, Debriefings and Interpersonal Skills.

The Mayos have two children and six grandchildren. They are based from their home in Tallahassee.  Look for them at the Veritas service. 

Please keep Ken and Kay in your prayers.

Find out more about Wycliffe at http://www.wycliffe.org

Latest Update:

"Husbands, love your wives"

Image description

Patricia Wilkendorf speaking to Mbam Cluster translators. To left is Crepin Sintsime (Nugunu); to right is Leonard Bolioki (Yambetta).

The mother tongue translators for the Mbam cluster* of languages in Cameroon, West Africa, had gathered to say farewell to their SIL translation consultant, Patricia Wilkendorf, who was leaving for an extended time in the U.S.

Patricia had given a lot of thought to how she might encourage the translators to keep translating clearly and accurately, using all the resources of their language, while she was gone. She decided to tell them the story about the Hdi people and how God helped them recognize their word for unconditional love (see “God so ‘dvu’-d the world…”).

When it was her turn to speak, she began to tell them the story in their common language, French. You’ll remember that God prompted translator Lee Bramlett to ponder the Hdi word for love. Lee realized that he’d heard the Hdi people use two forms of the word—‘dvi’ and ‘dva’—but he’d never heard ‘dvu,’ which language patterns suggested should be possible.

Patricia told her audience that Lee asked the Hdi translation committee, “Could you ‘dvi’ your wife?”  “Yes,” they said.  She explained that ‘dvi’ meant that the wife had been loved but the love was gone.

She sensed that her listeners were tracking with her. They didn’t have a grammar construction like that, but they knew what it meant to stop loving a wife.

She went on: Lee asked the Hdi men, “Could you ‘dva’ your wife?” “Yes,” the Hdi men said. ‘Dva’ love depended on the wife’s actions, Patricia explained. The wife would be loved as long as she remained faithful and cared for her husband well.

There were murmurs of agreement as Patricia’s friends acknowledged that, yes, they understood the meaning of ‘dva’. In their culture, too, wives were often treated like servants, receiving love as long as they were useful and faithful.

Then Patricia repeated Lee’s next question:  “Could you ‘dvu’ your wife?” To the Hdi men, she said, that would mean, “Could you love her even if she never got you water, never made you meals? Even if she committed adultery, could you love her then?”

The Mbam men’s response was immediate.  They laughed—exactly as the Hdi translators had done.  It was clear that, like the Hdi men, they were thinking, “Of course not. That would never happen!”

Quietly she quoted Lee’s next words: “Could God ‘dvu’ people?”

Silence. Total silence. And then, one by one, these men who were responsible for conveying God’s truths to their communities began to click their tongues, signaling their recognition of a surprising new truth.  God loved them unconditionally. The idea was as new to them as it had been to the Hdi translators. God loved them not because of what they did or how they loved Him, but because it was in His divine nature to love them. He would never stop, whether or not they loved Him, whether or not they served Him, whether or not they were faithful to Him.

When she thought they were ready to move on, Patricia quoted Ephesians 5:25: “Husbands, ‘dvu’ your wives, just as Christ ‘dvu’-d the church…”

Again silence reigned—silence longer and deeper than before. She could almost see the thoughts swirling around in their heads. Were they really to love their wives that way? Unconditionally? No matter what the wives did or didn’t do? Impossible. Unheard of. And yet, if the God of the Bible told them to…if He had set the example in Christ....

Patricia was caught a bit off guard. She’d meant to encourage her Mbam colleagues to seek out the very best ways to represent Scriptural truths in their mother tongues, and they had grasped her intention. But she hadn’t predicted the extent to which they’d begin to engage with the Scripture and catch a vision for a whole new way of relating to their wives.

These men had discovered one of the defining elements of Christianity:  God expects his followers to respect and honor women; men are to love their wives and to care for widows and orphans. That’s not a given in most societies, but it’s a distinguishing characteristic of communities that have been transformed by God’s Word.

Translated and understood, God’s Word has incredible power to change lives and communities. It transforms the way people relate to God and the way they relate to others—including women. It gives them a whole new worldview.

* Mbam is the name of a cluster of languages. The languages represented at the meeting were: Nomaande, Nuasue, Nugunu, Nulibie, Numaala, Tuki, Tunen and Yambetta. The list does not include all the languages in the cluster.

Adapted from a letter titled, Husbands, Love Your Wives, published to staff of Wycliffe USA on 17 January 2013.

Photo courtesy of Patricia Wilkendorf

Bob Creson is President and CEO of Wycliffe USA.


St. Peter's shield - small Cuba: Justine Finely-Simonds

This summer I spent the month of August in Cuba. For the first 10 days, I traveled with a large group of other missionaries from St. Peter's, and for the last 20 days I traveled alone. The day that the group left for Miami, my emotional connection to home left with them. With my faith as my only defense, I immersed myself into what life in the little town of Cuatro Esquinas really is. I earned my daily shower by working on several farms in the area and helping to maintain relationships with several churches in surrounding towns. What happened to me spiritually in that time is hard to put into words, but I can at least say that I have never been surrounded by so many beautiful people who are true to a life of discipleship. The heart I came with and the heart I left with are utterly and perfectly irreconcilable. Just like Peter calls everyone to a life of holy living, I do not want to be conformed to the desires that I formerly had in ignorance. I have been shown a better example of servanthood through our brothers and sisters in Cuba and by the influence of the Holy Spirit in their lives and mine.

I feel called to these people in Cuba because of the striking simplicity of their happiness and the relevance of their lives to the Gospel. They are the poor. They are the oppressed. Yet, they still find food on their table to feed me. They are exactly who Jesus was talking about. You are also called to serve, and I pray that everyone at St. Peters can find a way to involve themselves in missions here. Go outside of your house, and let the door close behind you. You will be led to another person who has also found life in Christ and an opportunity to share that precious life with others. What you do every day is crucial because it is another day that God has blessed you with to do something good for his Kingdom. What are you going to do today?

(1 Peter 1:14)

St. Peter's shield - small Uganda: Mimi Burbank

We are saddened to report that "Mamma Mimi" Burbank died on November 28, 2010, in Kasese, Uganda, where she has served the people for the past several years. Her son, Charles Dean Burbank, wrote, "She passed away doing what she loved to do, in a place that she called her home."  

Keep us, Lord, so awake in the duties of our callings
that we may sleep in your peace and wake in your glory.
 John Donne

St. Peter's shield - small Uganda: Heather Williams

Heather Williams was in Uganda for 6 months:

I worked with the Children’s Ministry of South Rwenzori Diocese.  My big thing was training the people who were working with children.  We would have workshops in the different archdeaconries which sometimes lasted a couple of hours and sometimes a couple of days.  There was one weekend that ended in a daylong local Sunday school competition, including football (soccer) games; that one was fun.  Workshop weekends also included me preaching about the importance of children’s ministry and teaching a sunday school class on Sunday.  On weekends when I didn’t have trainings, I would teach sunday school at the cathedral and go hang out at with the Compassion International kids at Kasese Child Development Center.  At KCDC we mostly played games, colored and, on one special occasion after I received a package from my parents, decorated Burger King crowns.  Spending time at KCDC was my favorite thing to do.  Sure we were probably just playing Simon Says but goofing around and loving on those kids usually made my week.  The other thing I did that was specifically "ministry" was speaking in schools during chapel.  I would give my testimony or some other short devotional type talk.  Besides that it was spending time with my Ugandan brothers and sisters, building relationships and strengthening the ties between the South Rwenzori Diocese and St Peter’s Church.

St. Peter's shield - small Uganda: Lindsey Thompson and Lisa Davis

Lindsey Thompson and Lisa Davis travelled to Uganda in May 2009 with Fr. John Wallace, Chris Risalvato, Angela Hobby, and Anna Masi.  After the team left,  they both stayed for 6 more weeks. Read their blogs!

St. Peter's shield - small Uganda: The Bowers and Evan Simington

John and Katherine Bowers
John and Katherine Bowers lived in Uganda for 7 months. Catch up on their adventures by reading their blog.

Evan Simington
Evan Simington was in Uganda for 3 months. Read his blog.

Evan Simington