Category - Ministry Updates

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Missionary Challenges: From Ready to Quit, to No Regrets
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Silent Night: A Guatemalan Christmas Story
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What God Can Do with 12 Books in the Wrong Language
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A Daughter’s Rebellious Prayer
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130 Years is a Long Time … Or Maybe Not!
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Clean Water for Today – and Tomorrow
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Keeping Kids from Drugs — through Basketball and Jesus
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Freed from Addiction — Through Recycling
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The Ranch Where Heaven Meets Earth
10
‘Nobody Believes in God Here’

Missionary Challenges: From Ready to Quit, to No Regrets

Annie Wilson smiling despite missionary challenges she faced
Annie took the missionary assignment of a lifetime in Chad. Then everything went sideways.

I don’t want to be a missionary anymore, Annie Wilson thought. She’d followed God’s leading and left her P.E. teaching and coaching job to serve Him overseas. So why did it feel like a dead end? Exploring Missions Annie began exploring missions in 2014 when she was asked a question: “What would you be willing to give up for God?” As Annie wrestled with her answer, she discovered TEAM and saw opportunities for sports ministry. TEAM connected her with a missions coach, Tasha Eckenhoff, who worked with her to find a role that would be a good fit. One option…

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Silent Night: A Guatemalan Christmas Story

The familiar story of Christ’s birth isn’t so familiar in Guatemala — even for those raised in church.
TEAM missionary Joe Dorris learned that the familiar story of Christ’s birth isn’t so familiar in Guatemala — even for those raised in church.

It was a cozy December night in 2017. Outside the apartment window, a resounding chorus of stray dogs and feral cats raised their voices in inharmonious unity. Inside, the cheerful sounds of laughter and hearty conversation combined with the warm smell of Guatemalan tamales and sweet ponche drink to bring about the cozy feeling that is known as Christmastime. “Ok everyone,” I announced. “To the living room. Study time.” The roughly ten guys rose sloth-like from the dinner table and migrated their full stomachs towards living room, where the sofa and chairs hungrily awaited, ready to swallow them whole. I…

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What God Can Do with 12 Books in the Wrong Language

Box of books
What do you do when your Bible study books arrive in the wrong language? You could send them back — or you could see how God planned to use them.

Heidi’s plan was simple: Teach her favorite Kay Arthur Bible study at church. Watch women grow in Christ. She ordered a dozen copies of the book in English, a common language in the Middle Eastern country where she served. But when the shipment arrived, something was horribly wrong. “There they were, 12 beautiful books, but … they were all in the Russian language!” Heidi says. Heidi’s co-worker said to send the books back. But Heidi realized God must have a plan. “OK, God, … You have brought these books in,” Heidi prayed, “and so we will keep them and give…

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A Daughter’s Rebellious Prayer

Imelda prays at TEAM church plant
When Imelda’s mom forbade her from going to church, Imelda rebelled. She got baptized — and prayed for her mother’s salvation.

“Are you crazy? What’s wrong with you?” Ten-year-old Imelda had just come home from an evening church service. She’d been growing to love and follow Jesus, and now she was ready to be baptized. But her mom, Vicenta, would have none of it. Their family was supposed to be Catholic, and Imelda’s involvement with a Protestant group raised all kinds of red flags for Vicenta. “She was a minor,” Vicenta says, suspicious that someone was manipulating her daughter. So when Imelda told her mom she wanted to be baptized, that was the deal breaker. Vicenta not only forbade the baptism,…

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130 Years is a Long Time … Or Maybe Not!

There seems to be an inverse relationship between advancing years and a birthday celebrant’s desire to see his or her birthday cake adorned with candles. At some point, the number of candles required to mark the corresponding years of life places the dessert’s quality in jeopardy.A handful of candles at a child’s birthday party is joyous. However, 130 candles on a cake celebrating TEAM’s founding in 1890 is another matter. It can make us feel old, beyond our prime, slipping into irrelevance and a host of other not so desirable emotions. However, in the history of the Kingdom of God,…

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Clean Water for Today – and Tomorrow

Water Well in Zimbabwe
With a well built to last at least 30 years, the Kanyemba village in Zimbabwe will be able to make long-term investments to grow their community.

Under a bright blue sky, in the dry shrubland of northern Zimbabwe, a small group gathered around a concrete platform and an odd-shaped contraption with two handles. It was a brand new well. The members of Kanyemba village took turns, two at a time, to crank the well, pulling the water up from its underground reservoir. The new handles were stiff at first, but the more they were used, the easier the job became. Children, women and men all stepped up and took their turn. Anyone who wanted to help was welcome. As everyone waited and watched for the first…

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Keeping Kids from Drugs — through Basketball and Jesus

Kids play basketball at sports ministry Transformados
Drugs are a big lure for kids in La Paz, Mexico — but a sports ministry is getting kids off the streets and teaching them the saving truth of Jesus!

“[If] my brother wouldn’t have invited me to Transformados, then I wouldn’t have known anything about God. … I would probably be on drugs, alcohol and sex,” Chuy says. Chuy’s alternate life isn’t hard to guess at because many of his friends are already living it. In the sprawling city of La Paz, Mexico, drugs are widely available. Some kids start using them as early as 13 years old. But in recent years, more and more children have found an alternative through a program called Transformados. Five days a week, they gather on a basketball court, eager to learn new…

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Freed from Addiction — Through Recycling

Men sort bottle caps as part of recycling project
Zhenya had lost everything to his addiction. But a surprise job at a recycling plant — and an unlikely friendship — led Zhenya to redemption.

Kurt drove away from the rehab center — and from his friend Zhenya. As the miles went by, he felt a growing relief. For the first time in months, the heavy burden of responsibility that came with helping Zhenya was lifting. Caring for Creation and Their Community Kurt and Rochelle zurBurg have served as TEAM missionaries in Odessa, Ukraine, for more than 12 years. Their ministry has included a variety of activities — from apartment building repairs to backpacking to teaching science classes. It is always, “at its core,” Kurt says, “about serving people and sharing Jesus with them in…

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The Ranch Where Heaven Meets Earth

Two teen girls ride horses during equine program. This is one way Rancho el Camino does missions in Mexico
Equine classes at Rancho el Camino are a chance to learn discipline, patience and what it means to follow God.

You don’t find Rancho el Camino without a bit of determination. Driving away from the beautiful beaches of La Paz, Mexico, you take the highway to the outskirts of town and turn sharply onto a dusty, bumpy, gravel road. But as you draw closer, you may just sense what has attracted so many people before you. People say they feel something different at the ranch. Some are moved to tears. Others demand to know what causes the strange sensation. Over the years, TEAM missionaries Pete and Emily Johnson have come to see the ranch as a “thin space.” It’s a…

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‘Nobody Believes in God Here’

Anne reads her Bible
Becoming a Christian was life-changing for Anne, but her partner hated it. Was following Jesus going to cost Anne her closest relationship?

Despite its post-Christian culture, Germany loves a good Easter celebration. They take four days to celebrate, from Good Friday through Monday. They hold Easter markets and share amazing food. They shut down offices. Few people actually believe in the miracle of the holiday, but they know the story. So when a German celebrates Easter as a believer for the first time, it’s a day like no other. For the first time, this wonderful holiday has meaning beyond what they could ever have imagined. But on Easter of 2017, Anne wasn’t feeling all the joy she was supposed to. It had…

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