Dear Friends at East Immanuel Lutheran Church, Merry Christmas!!
Thank you for your support of mission outreach to the people of Turkey in 2017 through your support of our ministry. The church in Turkey is growing and you have a part of every soul reached.
This has been a year of change for us as we left Turkey after 12-1/2 years. We tried to make good use of our final months as we amped up the efforts to share the Gospel with our Turkish, Kurdish, and international friends. With much sadness, we left Turkey the end of June.
However, our time of service is far from over!! We are continuing our mission work with our agency, East European Missions Network, (EEMN). Our passion is to do as God commands, through His word, that “whoever calls on the name of the Lord shall be saved. How then shall they call on Him in whom they have not believed? And how shall they believe in Him of whom they have not heard? And how shall they hear without a preacher? And how shall they preach unless they are sent?” (Romans 10:13-15). We were the ‘goers’ spoken of in this passage, now we want to be the ‘recruiters, trainers, and senders’.
We will be serving through EEMN by recruiting short-term missionaries, training up churches in missions outreach through classes and seminars leading short-term missionaries, training up churches in missions outreach through classes and seminars, leading short-term teams, and supporting those we partner with in Eastern Europe. Therefore, we will still be needing support, in order to fulfill God’s calling on our lives, and we are asking our supporters to pray about continuing support.
We have settled into a home that we purchased in Waseca, Minnesota. During the week, I (Lea), am babysitting for our youngest grandchild. Paul has suffered, this past year, with kidney disease and is now doing dialysis three times a week and with the goal of having a kidney transplant by March of 2019. Please pray for a donor to come forward and for surgery to go well.
Thank you! If you need more information, feel free to contact us or the staff at EEMN.
Paul & Lea
Dear EILC Family,
Greetings from your missionaries in Thailand. Thank you so very much for supporting us financially and prayerfully these many years. It has been too long since we have visited East Emmanuel and we hope to do so at our next opportunity.
Our mission is to the most concentrated Buddhist area in the world. We live in Bangkok, Thailand where 94% of the population is Buddhist and Christianity is almost invisible at 0.7% despite nearly 200 years of missionary efforts. This is hard ground spiritually, and the work is slow and challenging.
Theravada Buddhism is focused on escaping the perceived perpetual cycle of birth, death and rebirth through one’s own efforts of merit-making. Entwined in this belief system is the strong presence of the spirit world that comes from traditional animistic religion. Everywhere one goes in this nation of 67 million people, you can see spirit houses at nearly every home and Buddhist temples every few blocks and dotted throughout the countryside.
The most effective way we have found to reach Thai people with the Gospel is to build personal relationships with them. Then, when life becomes difficult, we support them through love and pray for miracles on their behalf. Then, when they begin to open their heart to Jesus, the hard work of committed discipleship is necessary to sustain them and prepare them for a lifetime submitted to Jesus’ lordship and a strong commitment to the local church.
We need your prayers to see a spiritual breakthrough take place here. Our current assignment is overseeing the activities of some 85 family and single units in the five countries of Thailand, Vietnam, Cambodia, Laos and Myanmar. Please pray for spiritual anointing, wisdom in leadership, health, and especially for a spiritual breakthrough in this challenging part of the world.
Three years ago we launched a prayer initiative on behalf of the Buddhist world called, Change The Map. It includes a web site that educates about Buddhism and a monthly prayer guide that presents weekly prayer needs and calls for prayer and fasting on each Buddhist holy day. We believe that intercession is our most potent tool and it doesn’t matter where you live in the world to use it! We hope many of you will join us in prayer by subscribing to these prayer guides at www.ctm.world.
Please pray that God meets all our needs.
Mark & Janie Durene