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The New “Window”   –  Team Expansion Update by Elisha Ortiz, Feb. 2017

Now that I’ve been working the PACE program for the last year, I wanted to give you an overview of where we’re at and the exciting things we have coming for the new year!

Currently, we have a total of 40 PACE projects: three “Legacy/Victory” projects where the nationals are leading their own churches; 18 projects that are active and still working to spread the gospel and raise up national disciples; 10 projects that are in the beginning stages and working toward launching; and nine projects that have hit obstacles that prevented them from moving forward.

Over the last year, as I have been speaking with the Project Coordinators at the lead churches, I have identified some trends, challenges and areas where we can enhance our program to be even more effective in expanding God’s kingdom! Many projects begin like a flash in the pan, full of excitement and then over time, some of these challenges present themselves: decline or lack of prayer efforts in the church; incomplete teams or worker attrition; losing the PACE vision, often due to change in leadership or too many other church programs; or churches not seeing the value in keeping us involved.

We developed this great new version of PACE that we call PACE 2.0. While our main passion is reaching unreached people groups, this version of PACE is going to also equip and grow the lead church here in the U.S! My position will now have a dual focus in training and equipping the lead church in strategic, cross-cultural, intercessory prayer and disciple-making movements among their own congregation and community.

We’re also developing instructor-led workshops and a web-based “mission university” that will allow the churches to complete courses online!

For example, I am working on a prayer course that will equip them in areas like:

  • Cultivating the church heart for prayer and the Biblical basis for prayer
  • Building their prayer team
  • How to be intercessors for a cross-cultural disciple making movement
  • How to start small groups in prayer
  • Keeping the church engaged in prayer
  • Social media for prayer
  • Spiritual warfare and prayer
  • Holding prayer events
  • Growing their prayer force
  • Prayer tools

It has been a very stressful and emotional two years, both personally and professionally. I apologize that I haven’t been able to reach out more often than my newsletters, but please know that you are so very important to me and this work. I offer the most gracious thank you to each of you that have taken a step of faith to make this possible. Through your loyal financial support and prayers, you are every bit a part of this awesome kingdom advancement as I am! Please stay the course with me!

 

Who’s Who?

Getting to Know the Staff at Books & More

A book could be written about those who serve at BOOKS & MORE… Awatef Najjar Haddad, Bassam Abbassi, Momi Buren, Nancy Shafer Bacus, and Harvey Bacus. However, we interviewed each of the five and have a brief paragraph about her or him.

     Awatef Najjar Haddad Librarian was born in Yabrood, Syria, and came to Jordan as an infant. Her parent’s names were Yousef and Maryam (Joseph and Mary) and they  had one son and six daughters. Awatef is married to retired General Musa (Moses) Haddad and they have three sons and five granddaughters. In her career she has worked as a Teacher, Assistant Headmistress and Headmistress (Principal), Head Librarian, Head of Arabic Libraries Department responsible for cultural activities and Head of Libraries at a private school. The thing she has liked best laboring at BOOKS & MORE these six and a half years is serving with Nancy and Harvey. Awatef has dreamed that we received three million Jordanian dinars for the new building.

     Bassam Abbassi Business Manager was born in Ajloon, Jordan, and has four brothers and three sisters. After graduation from college he has had a variety of jobs. As a young man he was employed in Saudi Arabia as a Catering Supervisor, Cashier, Administrator Office Manager, and Translator. In Jordan he’s been a Teacher, Dean’s Assistant at Queen Alia College, Administrative Assistant to the Principal at Bishop’s School, and Administrative and Financial Manager at the Baptist School. He is married to Faten and they have three sons and a daughter. What he’s enjoyed most during his six and a half year tenure at the Library is the staff is like family; it is a team and he says the title of the team is “Love of Jesus”.

Momi Buren is the youngest member of the staff and is the Director of children’s activities. She has served at BOOKS & MORE for a year and first came to visit Jordan with her parents and others to celebrate the Library’s Fourth Anniversary May 17, 2014. Her parents, sister, brother-in-law and niece live in California. Momi was born in Honolulu Hawaii and was given her beautiful Hawaiian name which means “Pearl”. Her jobs have included literacy work in Kenya, Foster Care and (non-profit) Adoption Services in California and Oregon and she has been a Nanny.  She feels the best thing about being at the Library is “Having a front row seat to see its impact on people’s lives”.

Nancy Shafer Bacus was born on a wheat farm nine miles east of Holyoke CO which her Grandfather Shafer homesteaded. Her brother, now deceased, was a minister, university professor, counselor and psychologist.  After graduation from Phillips County High School, she and several other students from that small town drove to Joplin MO to study at Ozark Bible College. The summer of ’61 she served an internship in Jamaica where she met Harvey. May 12, 1962 they were married in Holyoke and returned to Jamaica and labored the next ten years.

Following this she lived in Joplin MO where she raised her daughter and son, faithfully served in the local church and worked at Ozark as a part-time teacher and full-time secretary in the Music Department.  After retirement she now resides in Amman Jordan as Co-Founder and Co-Director of BOOKS & MORE Library. What impresses her most about BOOKS & MORE are the people we meet coming through the doors, and the interaction we have with them whether from Jordan or the 35 nations of the world who are members.

     Harvey Bacus was born in Alton IL, a town on the banks of the Mississippi River. He has two brothers (deceased) and two sisters. After graduating from Ozark Bible College he spent two years in Southern California as a Youth minister before going to the Caribbean to serve in both the Cayman Islands and Jamaica. After twelve years in the islands Ozark invited him to teach for one semester. That one semester stretched out for 33 years until retirement when he and Nancy came to Jordan. He is the father of a daughter and a son. During his lifetime he has delivered newspapers door to door, worked in a Kroger Supermarket carrying out customer’s groceries, washed dishes by hand in a restaurant, and taught all ages from elementary to college.

 

The Heart Check-Up
By Elisha Ortiz

Search me, God, and know my heart; test me and know my concerns. (Psalm 139:23)
Test me, Lord, and try me; examine my heart and mind. (Psalm 26:2)

Stepping out into the unknown without even your experience to depend on can leave you feeling so vulnerable and inadequate. Yet that is exactly where the Lord gets to be the greatest for me and helps me appreciate & depend on Him that much more.

Those that know me, know I’m very transparent and tell it the way it is. I’ve been in the “storming phase” of trying to learn my role and discover exactly what it’s supposed to look like, how I can add value and be a good steward of the opportunity the Lord has blessed me with. The “storming phase” is never pleasant and paired with the spiritual attacks on me and my family, I confess that I have wanted to quit or look for something easier.

But then I remember the day I was sitting in my very first recruit training here at Team Expansion. I remember when the instructor spoke his first words to begin class, tears began streaming down my face and my stomach was full of joyful butterflies with the realization that at that very moment, though I was undeserving and unqualified, my dream to be a missionary was coming true. My cup ran over with thankfulness and humility.

I thought about everything the Lord has done and provided to get me right where I am. He brought me to Team Expansion, to the PACE program and to Louisville, KY. He promises to finish what He has started until the day of Jesus. I am the daughter of the King and will not allow Satan, my flesh or the world to cause me to abandon what the Lord has graciously allowed me to do and lovingly commanded me to do.

I don’t have experience in this field but I do trust in my experience in the Lord and His loving faithfulness. I praise Him for this amazing time of spiritual growth and for being faithful even when I am not. I am fully convinced, He will never give up on me and that just makes me want to love Him and share Him all the more.

Now…because of this heart check, the Lord cleared away the fogginess of my role and gave me a new vision! I am no longer looking through a keyhole but now have a whole window of what He is calling me to do to take this program to the next level for the sake of the unreached nations and to grow the Church!!! So exciting!  It is still just a window and being a planner, I’m not a fan of not knowing the entire picture but I thank Him that He only lights the next step and not the staircase so I can continue to depend on Him. I also thank Him for the blinding keyhole that made me appreciate the window. 🙂

He has given me a new song to sing, a hymn of praise to our God. Many will see what He has done and be amazed. They will put their trust in the LORD. (Psalm 40:3)

 

Update from Jeff and Indra Palmer, New Zealand:

Thank you for being a partner with us at THE VINE! Our church’s name was shown to us based on John 15:5 (and the area is full of wine vineyards). 

WHY WE ARE HERE
By Jeff Palmer

As God confirmed His purpose for us to serve abroad in New Zealand, we were at least relieved that we would not be required to learn a new language. Kiwi English exhibits some nuances to our American English, but by in large we can all understand one another when we speak. Survival is fairly simple. So imagine our revelation as we discovered that there is a dialect within our native tongue that we quickly needed to address if we were going to be fruitful in our new culture. We no longer could speak Christianese. For each of us of the Faith, our language and vocabulary has been uniquely formed to one that is most readily understood by other Christians or even those somewhat familiar with the Faith. Now envision 95% of your daily conversations are with people who have never had any exposure to anything Christian. All of a sudden, conversations require more creativity, more thought, and can even seem like work at times! It is like learning a new language.

One morning I was blessed with time and availability to spend talking to non-Christian woman, “Natalie” (name changed for discretion). Indra and I first met her through Avani’s school and conversations surrounding Aston’s eczema have kept our communication regular. She has been friendly enough but obviously standoffish and cautious when speaking to us especially upon learning that I was a pastor. However, one simple inquiry about her family led to her opening up for the next half hour about the struggles of her life and religion. She viewed all Christians as judgmental and hated all religion due to the numerous atrocities historically committed in the name of God. I explained that people have all too often followed false teachers who interpret Scripture to fit their selfish motives.  Additionally, there has been a failure of individuals to discern truths in scripture for themselves. She said, “I think we just need a new religion – one of peace, serving others, and merely based on love.” I just smiled and said, “Well, you’re in luck. My faith is exactly that.”

I would love to say that we ran down to the harbour and baptized her on the spot, but the truth is I was merely able to leave her with a couple of open-ended questions to ponder. We merely plant the seeds but the Spirit completes the work. We are praying for many more barriers to fall and for future conversations with her. Indra continues to have opportunities to spend time with her over tea or through play dates between her daughter and Avani. Without question, we praise God for each of you who have made it possible for us to be here for her. Without you, she may have never entertained a conversation about the love of Jesus Christ. She’s why we are here. One day, we hope that she will praise God for you as well.

Books and More Update

Books and More had four camps into the June-July as well as some special activities of jewellery making  and chess in the “off” weeks from camp.  Great turn-out for all camps.  The Bacus were in the US during June , they enjoyed the two camps  in July, had help from the PSU students.  We also squeezed in a Kid’s Day (about 30 kids) Wed. Aug. 10 before PSU left that night; “Cars” was the theme and Zach (PSU) who graduated with an engineering degree this spring designed a card-board race track at a slant….the hit of the day.  James had brought over a large bag of Hot Wheels a couple years ago so we had a  “Cars” theme…even the girls loved it.  And each got to take home a car.  One mom wrote a thank you note saying her boys came home “beaming”, they had such a good time and received their very own car.

Last Monday there were 92 people in and out of the library; had special activities for kids of drawing/art classes led by Levi from PSU at 10:30 and 2:00; chess matches led by Momi from 12:30 to 1:30 (the kids love chess here and show up in good numbers for the challenges!) Moms and siblings came and stayed in the library all day, moms talking to each other, kids playing and reading.

A Brit came in yesterday here because of refugee work.  Her friend works with the UN and is stationed in eastern JO where the second large Syrian camp is situated.  He has previously came to us about a “library” in the village under pad-lock as they had no books.  We sent two large bags of books about two months ago and just recently they were able to get “over the berm” and into the camp with not only large pallets of food and humanitarian needs (they could get water into the people but that was all) but also the books.  Chandra said yesterday the books were a hit and everyone so excited to get them, reading and passing them on to others.  The camp has at least 60,000 people in it and if those books get handled that much,they will be down to tatters.  According to reports, though, people read even little broken pieces of paper they can get their hands on.  So, Books and More has had a wonderful part in getting reading material into this camp to bring a little joy and happiness to many people, young and old.  Hopefully, we might be able to do more!

Please continue to pray for the Bacus, for their work in Jordan and the ministry of Books and More.

 

“No” is a valid answer as well
Palmer Family Update from New Zealand

“No.”  Why is it that word so difficult to accept?  For some unknown reason it is never the answer we want or expect to hear when we ask for something, especially from God.  “No” equals rejection… or so we have been trained to think.  When David wanted to build the temple in Jerusalem, God said, “no.”  When Jesus asked for “this cup to be taken from Me,” thankfully for us, God again said, “no.”  Maybe we should re-evaluate the bad connotation of “no” and consider that it could merely be God saying, “Just chill out, I’ve got a better idea for you.”

We have undoubtedly received our share of “no’s” in answers to prayers on our journey.  In fact, we’ve grown quite accepting of the response since the outcomes have always proven favorable in time.  In the past month, God has undoubtedly told us “no” in regards to the location and community we had initially thought we would plant in.  In the same month we have witnessed God shaping our church plant team alternatively to what may have seemed logical.  However, our faith in God to plant His church on His terms has not been wavered!  We know that He will provide the proper resources in time.  As our conviction has proven, we continue to move forward, slowly but surely, praying about every decision and opportunity, and allowing space for the Holy Spirit to direct our path (as well as the paths of others).  But yet again, in the midst of the “no’s” God has still been revealing amazing opportunities!

Click here to view a copy of their latest newsletter with more details about the work God is doing through them.

Team Expansion
By Elisha Ortiz

My primary role is to support our PACE Program, through which we connect mostly local churches with an opportunity to reach an unreached people group by starting their own disciple making movement and church plant from beginning to end! As the Project Fulfillment Specialist, I work closely with the project coordinators in keeping their project moving forward through prayer and each of our critical next steps. I currently have 40 different projects at different stages and have a goal to add 10 more new projects this year. I recently traveled to California to meet with a couple of my coordinators in person. It was very encouraging and productive.

As Project Fulfillment Specialist, I also assist with other projects within Team Expansion as needed by serving on the President’s Task Force or PTF. This team is made up of President Doug Lucas, Church Relations Specialist, Tina McCormick and myself. I recently assisted with our Connect Gathering in Italy to give our field workers an opportunity to fellowship, train and worship with their Team Expansion family. Many of these workers are in dangerous and remote places that do not allow them the chance to worship or fellowship openly or with a large group. The event was a huge success and the workers were so grateful and returned to their fields with a new fire.

I can’t tell you how grateful I am for your prayers, support and encouragement. It’s a very challenging time trying to learn to do what the Lord has called me to do. I’m going through my own culture shock in a way, but I trust in the Lord and what He is doing as only He can do it.

 

2016 Jordan Mission Trip
By Terri Kuhn

Missionaries Harvey and Nancy Bacus have been spreading the gospel of Jesus Christ in Jordan, a predominantly Muslim country, for the past nine years through the Books and More Library. Last month, a group of us from Crossroads visited Jordan. We spent time with the Bacuses and the library staff, dusted shelves and cleaned over 22,000 books. We helped with general maintenance such as changing light bulbs, repairing shutters, planting flowers and pulling weeds. We had the privilege of attending two different Christian church services (one translated from Arabic and the other in English) and we sampled a variety of wonderfully delicious Middle Eastern foods.

The landscape in Jordan, albeit very beige, was dotted with brightly colored domed mosques and spiraling minarets. The people were friendly and were wearing everything from western attire to burkas. Muslim women are required to cover their heads in public, so most women wore some form of a hijab or scarf covering their hair and ears. We also saw Muslims on prayer rugs at different times throughout the day and heard the Islamic call to worship.

We visited several Biblical sites in Jordan: the Jordan River (where Brad baptized three team members), the Dead Sea, Mount Nebo, and the Citadel in downtown Amman. We also explored the ancient ruins at Petra and Jerash, and visited Madaba, a city known for its mosaics.

The trip was topped off with a Winnie the Pooh Kid’s Day event at the library. We had 35 to 40 kids ages 5-12 and their families who attended. We led the kids in games, crafts, puzzles, story time and other fun activities. The event was a huge success and the team was blessed to have been a part of it.

It was a whirlwind trip and each of us was impacted by the incredible experience. Jordan is a beautiful country and the opportunity to serve alongside Harvey and Nancy was a joy and a privilege. They are an incredible inspiration and it was an honor to experience their passion for spreading the gospel and fanning the flames of Christ in a place where the darkness of Islam is all too prevalent. Big thanks to the Missions Ministry Team at Crossroads for making this experience possible.

 

A Momentous Day – Harvey and Nancy Bacus Update
There has been no other day like it in the nearly six-year history of BOOKS & MORE. We anticipated this event happening two weeks earlier, but things beyond our control prevented it. This important event, we were assured insha’allah (God willing), would now take place.

As though his standing outside would make her car arrive any faster, library Business Manager Bassam stood on the sidewalk, waiting in self-assigned anticipation. Librarian Awatef, who had made the arrangements and been in communication with her, was calmly waiting for the phone call that she had left her office and was heading for the library. Nancy, as usual, was taking care of the details to see that everything was in order. Momi had a bouquet of colorful spring flowers to present to her as she entered the building, and Harvey had been running errands all morning to insure all was prepared.

At last the moment came. The official limousine pulled up beside BOOKS & MORE and out stepped the smiling Minister of Culture, Her Excellency Dr. Lana Mamkegh. In Jordan, libraries are in the Ministry of Culture portfolio. Nancy, Harvey, and their son James, along with Awatef had spoken with the minister at her office in December, seeking her advice about establishing a second library in Jordan. Since she had not been to BOOKS & MORE but had heard many good reports about it, she promised to make a visit with some of her staff. Now was the time. She spent about an hour and three-quarters out of her very busy schedule with us on Tuesday, March 8, 2016.

Going from room to room, the Minister saw the Library in operation on an ordinary day:

  • In one place a young man was studying, so the minister refused to enter saying, “Reading is like prayer; it should not be interrupted.”
  • She absolutely loved the children’s room and even “threw kisses” at the little kids.
  • At the reception desk she observed a family of five sign up for a membership.
  • In the adult section she commented, “This is not an ordinary library; it is like family, a home.”
  • Upstairs she marveled at the professional looking conference room, the guest rooms, and the well-equipped kitchen. The auditorium was set up for a “finger-food” luncheon.

Dr. Lana Mamkegh is quite a gracious and well-educated woman with a PhD in literature. As she was departing, we presented her with an elegant small wooden box. Inside was her year’s membership card for BOOKS & MORE. She wrote a note to us in Arabic which Awatef translated into English.

I enjoyed very much my visit to a unique library in its arrangement, content and performance. Thousands of thanks from my deep heart to Mr. Harvey and Mrs. Nancy for their noble initiative toward the spread of knowledge and culture in Jordan society. ~ Minister of Culture, Lana Mamkegh

The Apostle Paul lived at a time similar to ours when the world was in turmoil. He instructed the church in Rome on the believer’s correct relationship to government and its officials, writing in Romans 13:6: The authorities are God’s servants who give full time to governing. We reckon that’s the way we ought to view Minister of Culture Dr. Lana Mamkegh.

 

Harvey and Nancy Bacus Update
Harvey and Nancy returned to Jordan in December. Their son James went back to Jordan with them for a visit. They found a new apartment that is within walking distance to the Library and have been working on moving items over to their new place. Three visitors, Scott, Karla and Kyle Handley, friends from Ozark Christian College, came to visit in January. Here are their observations while in Jordan:

  • Though one can find all of the modern comforts and conveniences one desires in the city, outside of town just a few miles, are shepherds living about the hills with their sheep—seemingly no differently than they have for years and years as in Biblical times.
  • The hospitality of Jordan is true and not overly exaggerated. Seen countless times…a shop owner leaving us completely unattended in his shop to run across the street to obtain tea for us to enjoy together or the shops that may toss another item in your sack after your purchase to make sure you feel fairly treated and will come again. They realize the roots of friendship begin with love and trust, regardless of skin color, language, prosperity, politics, or even religious opinion.
  • Being able to witness the excitement of seeing a lending library for the very first time–the happiness of a family returning in just two days to obtain more books and bringing dad along this time–the excitement of a child chattering with delight at the overwhelming amount of books, all available to him.
  • The blessing Books & More is to a community representing many nations and languages, all coming together at the library for one single purpose.
  • I have seen firsthand that this is truly a sanctuary of cultures, skin colors, languages and faiths. The books are intriguing, but the kindness and hospitality are what invite people to return, and they do with new visitors! All ages are happy here and feel at home. What they experience at Books & More are servant hearts and acceptance.

Please keep the Bacus and the Books and More Library in your prayers, that every person who enters the Library will see God’s Word living in their work.

 

Missions Update
The Missions Team recently held a Drive for Operation Christmas Child shoeboxes. We collected 139 shoeboxes. The GROW group assisted with loading and delivering the boxes to an Operation Christmas Child collection site in Lenexa. They got to hear about OCC and how the boxes get to their destination and to see some pictures of boxes being delivered all over the world.

We also had 15 volunteers serve as personal shoppers at Cross-Lines Christmas Store on Dec. 11 & 12. They assisted Cross-Lines clients as they shopped for the families to receive clothes, coats, toys, food and other household items. The Women’s Team prepared and served lunch for about 60 volunteers on Dec. 11. Cross-Lines assisted 475 families, including 3,000 individuals this Christmas season.

 

Harvey and Nancy Bacus Update
Harvey and Nancy have returned to Jordan after their visit back to the States. Thanks to everyone at Crossroads for welcoming them back and visiting with them while they were here. Their time in the U.S. was spent visiting various churches that sponsor them, including visits to CA and Shawnee, attending the International Conference on Missions in Richmond, VA and having time at home in Joplin. Rick and Suzanne York covered for them at the Books and More Library while they were in the States. Please keep the Harvey and Nancy in your prayers and their service to the library and the people of Jordan.

 

Our Trip to Moore OK
By Tim Larberg

On October 21 – 24, 2015, I led a mission trip to Moore, OK along with Russ Koca, Jim Pilkinton and Daniel Wilt. We went there to work with Serve Moore in providing continued help to the victims of two tornados in the spring of 2013 and 2015. Many homes were destroyed and others were severely damaged. When we arrived at Serve Moore on Thursday morning, Michael Bewley (the director of Serve Moore) lined up the work for us to do and set the priorities. He gave us tools, a pickup truck and a clip board with the work orders for the jobs we were to accomplish during days we were there.

Our jobs were securing a tarp to the roof of a house where the previous tarp had blown off the leaking roof, moving a large pile of debris from a driveway to the curb so that the owner of the house would not be fined by the city, replacing a chandelier, laying ceramic tile, replacing a front screen door and installing a new garage door.

This was a trip very well worth taking. The work that was accomplished was great but more than that the blessing to the people we worked for was very evident! We could feel the presence of the Holy Spirit as we prayed with the families—it was amazing! I know that I was blessed by these people as I can see the perseverance they have and thankfulness for the help! Getting to know Daniel, Russ, and Jim better was great. There is so much more work to be done in Moore but not enough people to help and not enough funds for supplies. We pray that God will continue to provide workers and supplies for this great effort.

 

Books and More Update – October 2015
Harvey and Nancy Bacus are preparing to leave Jordan the first week of October to return to the States for 2 months. They will be spending time at their home in Joplin, here in Shawnee at Crossroads, and attending the International Conference on Missions October 30th-November 1st. Harvey and Nancy will be speaking at PrimeTime on Wednesday, November 4th and updating on the Books and More Library in Jordan. Let’s give them a warm welcome back to Crossroads and a huge thanks for their work and dedication to the people of Jordan. Please pray for their safe travels and maintaining their health.

 

Books and More Update – September 2015
Harvey and Nancy Bacus had a busy summer with visits from their son James and 9 Pitt State students, a summer intern, summer camps at the library and Ramadan. The library will continue “Let’s Start Talking” sessions this month. These are English speaking lessons taught by 3 visiting teachers. Harvey and Nancy will return to the US in early October through the end of November, visiting Crossroads during the first week of November.

 

Books and More Update – July 2015
During the month of June, the Library hosted 9 Pittsburgh State students, led by Harvey and Nancy Bacus’ son James. They assembled new shelves, rearranged books and shelves, assisted with summer camp at the Library and held a Vacation Bible school in Mahata. The Library also has a student intern this summer from Ozark Christian College, who will be planning the two week Summer Camp for kids that will include crafts, book reading and fun activities. They are running out of space in the Youth room at the Library and teens keep requesting more books.

They would like to have one room for high school and another room across the hall for Junior High books. A big project this summer will be  creating more space and obtaining more books. What a blessing to have more books in demand and that these rooms/books are being utilized by the Jordanian youth. Please pray for the Library in this turbulent corner of the world; wisdom for Harvey and Nancy as they interact with the community; understanding and appreciation for Jordan’s history and culture; and that Books and More may be pleasing to God.

 

Books and More Update – June 2015
The Books and More Library has been very busy with lots of Spring activities and visitors. In the past 3 months, they have had a total of 476 school children plus teachers come to the Library.  At the insistence and encouragement of the local school superintendent and principals, each grade, from Preschool to Grade 7, has been included in a Library visit and activity at the Library. The guest rooms (bed and breakfast) have also been used regularly with 33 people for March, April and May, staying in them. We had 4 people from Crossroads, Annette Phillips, Toni Anderson and Rex and Sue Wolfe spend a week at the Library in April. They assisted in the Library with tasks including cleaning and organizing shelves and planting flowers. They were a great support for the Bacus. The Library also has an auditorium and conference rooms which are used by local groups to have meetings and conferences at the facility. They will have a summer intern, Heather Kidwell, from Ozark Christian College, assisting in the Library this summer. She will assist the business manager with a daytime summer camp at the Library, utilizing the upstairs auditorium. They offered a similar daytime camp this winter that was highly attended and requested to have more of these. Please continue to pray for the Library and for the Bacus’ continued good health and safety.

 

Books and More Update – April 2015
Harvey and Nancy Bacus are back in Jordan after their visit to Joplin and convention at Ozark Christian College in February. Spring is a busy time at Books and More. They have had classes from grades Kindergarten through 7th, visiting the Library each week. The children do a craft and listen to stories while there. They have also received several new memberships from the families of children that have visited. Harvey had hernia surgery a few weeks ago and has recovered well. They had a couple of friends from Ozark Christian College visit recently and Harvey took them on the Bible tour in Jordan which included the Jordan River, Mt. Nebo, and the Dead Sea. We have a group of 4 from Crossroads that will be traveling to Jordan on April 17th-24th. They will be assisting Harvey and Nancy at Books and More. Please keep them in your prayers for a safe and fruitful trip!

 

Reaching the Unreached
By Elisha Ortiz

Until a few years ago, my life was broken. It was filled with things like addiction and obsession but I am blessed to say that Jesus delivered me from all of that and I have been completely sold out for Him! For years, I always felt God was tapping me on my shoulder to go into the mission field, but Satan would plant seeds of doubt. Then the Lord showed me that, no matter what my past was, He could use me and I began praying for an opportunity. In November 2012, I attended the International Conference on Missions where my eyes were opened to the people around the world suffering from abuse, anguish and poverty, but most importantly, those that do not know who Jesus is. The following summer, both my children and I were able to go on a mission trip to Togo, Africa to serve with the Togo Christian Mission and share our testimonies through various branches of ministry. The Lord showed me I was made to serve Him and be loved by Him, and He has answered my prayer for an opportunity to serve! I will be joining Team Expansion as a missionary helping to plant churches in nations that have less than 2% known Christian believers. In preparing for this new ministry, there have been many obstacles along the way but God has conquered them all! I will share more of my testimony on how God has changed my life through faith and a promise during the April PrimeTime.

 

Books and More Update – March 2015
After spending 10 weeks in the States, the Bacus’s have settled back in to Jordan and Books and More. Their library patrons were so happy to have them back. 435 people used the library in December. Soon after getting back, they met with their team of Jordanian advisors for the Library. This consists of two women and three men. They give advice on how to be effective in Jordan and how to meet the vision and goals of the Library. The Library is closed between Christmas and New Years, so the Bacus’s and their son James took a trip over to Egypt and visited the pyramids, took a boat trip on the Nile and saw many other historical sites. Activities at the Library in January included: story time for tots, Kinderjam and a Book Club. Harvey turned 78 on January 16th and celebrated by going to Oasis church and dinner afterwards. Please keep the Bacus’s and Books and More in your prayers for effective ministry in Jordan.

 

Mission Trip Experience
Gary and Audrey Roberts were part of the Crossroads team that went to Moore, OK in October 2014. They went on this mission trip with expectations of helping others and fellowship, and they were fulfilled! They worked with Serve Moore to rebuild an area that was damaged by the 2013 tornadoes. During that trip, they learned how to build a fence and got to know some of their Crossroads family members a little better by working alongside them. Gary and Audrey were inspired by how hard people in their group worked and how much they cared about the local people. They could see God working during this trip through His provision of shelter and a better life for people who had lost so much.

A lot of mission trips involve traveling to a third world country where there is often a potential lack of availability of antibiotics and hospitals. Like many people, this is something Audrey considered when making the decision to go on a mission trip. However, Audrey realized once again that God is able to protect and provide no matter where you are. Who knows, maybe in 2015 they’ll venture to the other side of the world to help those in need!

 

Books and More Update
Harvey and Nancy Bacus arrived safely back in Jordan on December 11Their son James traveled with them and will stay for a couple of weeks to assist in the Library. While the Bacus’ were away, the 2 full time staff (Awatef and Bassam) took care of the Library as well as an American couple, Rick and Suzanne York, retired Missionaries.  Thanks to all of you for welcoming them back to Crossroads during their time back in the States.  Please continue to pray for their health, safety and endurance as they head back into the Mission field.

 

Bacus Update
Harvey and Nancy enjoyed their recent visit at Crossroads. They spoke at Primetime, Sunday services and enjoyed catching up with individuals at church. Thanks to all for giving them a warm welcome back to Crossroads. The Bacus have traveled to Ohio to speak to a church there about Books and More and then attended ICOM ( International Conference on Missions) in Columbus, OH. They had a booth there and got to visit with other missionaries and supporters about their work in Jordan as well as visiting with friends. They will now spend some time with family at home in Joplin, MO before they head back to Jordan on December 11th. While they have been in the States, Rick and Suzanne York, retired missionaries from the Dominican Republic are working at the Library. The Yorks are looking for their next place to serve and are considering Jordan. The Library continues to thrive with 16 new memberships in the month of October.

 

Books and More October Update
The Books and More Library in Jordan, run by our Living Link missionaries Harvey and Nancy Bacus, is busy with many activities and visitors since the recent expansion. They recently had 7th and 8th graders come for a craft activity and to visit the Library. One teacher commented that at school, they sit at their desks all day and do not have the opportunity to be creative. The Library visit gave them creativity as well as access to the Library and books.  They also have an Intern from Pitt State University, Anna Davies working with them this year. The Bacus will be back in the States from Sept. 30 – Dec. 5. They will be in Shawnee from Nov. 1-5 and will be speaking at PrimeTime on November 5. Keep them in your prayers for safe travels!

 

Books and More September Update 
Harvey and Nancy Bacus have been very busy this summer with continuing to update and utilize the expansion of the Books and More Library. Earlier this year, they had the opportunity to expand the Library from 1/4 of the building to the entire building. Much effort was put into moving the Library items, shelves, furniture, etc. to get it up and going. The new space includes a conference room, guest suite with kitchen, adult/reading area and children’s room. They are finding a variety of local groups that are able to utilize this extra space, including adults and children. Nine students from Pittsburgh State University were there this summer and held a Kids Day with 80 children participating. Mark Palmer will be heading to Jordan this month to assist with the Library and we will have an update from him at the September PrimeTime.

 

2014 Russia Mission Trip Report
By Kimberly Wing

On June 6, 2014 our private spy jet took us on an important mission to the suburbs of Russia. When we landed it was pouring rain, but in our super deluxe spy van we practiced our accents for the proper introduction, “Bond, James Bond.” Well, we DID go to Russia and it was raining when we landed, but it was not like any James Bond film that you might have seen.

Five of us: Rex and Sue Wolfe, our Russian experts and guides; Brad and Pam Fogo; and myself, Kimberly Wing, traveled to the suburbs of Russia. Instead of secret spy missions, our trip was focused on experiencing, assisting and encouraging a local church. We were welcomed into the home of the pastor Constantine Nazoarov, his wife Irina and their three children. Constantine and Irina are a dynamic couple that speak English and were our translators when we did activities.

Everything happened at the Nazoarav home: we met there for Sunday church, VBS, and a retreat. Some of the church folks we meet have suffered for their decision to live for Christ (not from government, but from close family members or spouses). They welcomed us and opened up their lives for us to experience. We ate with them, had tea with them, studied with them and worshiped with them. It was such a blessing. We all are grateful for the opportunity to go. And we are grateful to have arrived back home safely on June 16. You will hear more about our Mission Trip at the September PrimeTime!