Delivering Bibles Vocational training Families find a future www.mwbuk.org
Looking back, forward, and to the future...
A day in the life
This Newsletter looks back at MWB’s roots. A single torn-out Bible page was all a pastor in the USSR had to preach from for seventeen years. When he showed this to MWB’s founders, they took up his challenge to ‘put Bibles into Eastern European’s empty hands to reach our own people’. MWB then smuggled Bibles until the collapse of the Iron Curtain. We’re still giving away Bibles. Will you help? Looking forward, Mothering Sunday is 18 March 2012. Why not give an alternative gift of a Mother-care parcel to a mother, or in memory of a mother you know? This spring we launch our new Seeds of Hope appeal. Could you ask your church, local school or community group to get involved to help families plant their way to a better future? We need you to use the free resources and fundraise like never before! For thinking longer-term, why not join our next Supporters Tour? Read about supporters visiting Moldova last autumn to inspire you. And to help us plan ahead, do, please complete our questionnaire. Your comments on your MWB Newsletter are invaluable for planning future editions. Above all, for your past, present and future involvement with MWB: THANK YOU!
Mission Without Borders
brings hope to impoverished people and communities in Eastern Europe, through spiritual, educational, emotional and material support. We are a Christian organisation. We support the elderly, families and children to move out of poverty towards becoming self-sufficient.
‘I am changed by my experience and inspired to be more than I am by people who have nothing other than their hopes, their hospitality, their hard work and their dignity.’ It was spending time with the Girlas that changed Chris. He had travelled to Moldova last October with MWB’s Supporter Tour specifically to meet the family he supported. As a keen bee-keeper, Chris wanted to promote bee-keeping in Moldova while at the same time help a family to become self-sufficient. The Girlas, a small family of a widow with her two children, were benefitting from Chris’ passion. Mrs Girla’s son Sandu is a willowy lad of 16 years and few words. With his mother and sister he met Chris outside the Girla home in the warm October sunshine. Sandu responded to Chris’ questions about his new bee-keeping vocation.
Dreaming of bees Bees were a family dream. They had always wanted to eat their own honey and sell some to make an income. But when Mrs Girla’s husband died, the dream went with him. She carried on as a teacher and raised her two children alone. Until her doctor diagnosed she had lung cancer with only four weeks left to live. But that was five years ago.
of...a supporter on tour Sandu among his bee hives
Give a young person vocational training; give them a future Last year MWB supported 629 young people through vocational training in n bee-keeping n catering n computing n tailoring. For just £40 to £65, you can give a youngster hope for the future. Sandu with supporter Chris
Buy on-line from Present for the Future at www.mwbuk.org, or phone 020 7940 1370. hand-spun extractor and pours the golden liquid into glass jars. He hopes to sell it at local and regional markets next year.
The Girla family
Today, with Mrs Girla’s good health, the family is determined to move forward. Chris’ support came at just the right time: Sandu had finished school but, like many others, could not find work. MWB’s co-ordinator thought Sandu was perfect for mentoring in a farming activity. That was the very day that Chris offered his donation for bee hives. Funds, bees and the Girlas all buzzed into place, and Sandu is learning new skills quickly. In only a few months, Sandu has established eight colonies of bees. He keeps them on his uncle’s farm nearby. For collecting their honey Sandu uses a
Wanting to see the bees, Chris followed Sandu down a dirt track and through a farmyard. Past crumbling mud huts, scrabbling dogs, and a herd of sheep and goats running before their shepherd, they came to the apiary in a copse of saplings. Chris dutifully put on his bee suit to defend himself against stings. But to his amazement, Sandu casually strolled between his hives unprotected. Sandu explained that he never wore much protection for he had got used to being stung and by now the bees knew him. What a network: Half a million furry flying friends! On leaving the Girlas, Chris realised how honoured he was to be able to give into their lives. It had been more than just a visit. For Chris there was a bigger impact: ‘I was given life by those who struggled to live – I am humbled. God is good.’ Deuteronomy 26
Giving Bibles n Thank you for partnering with us to hand out over 700,000 Bibles so far. n Number of people still waiting for a bible 290,000. n Support us to reach more people with the word of God.
Rooted in giving Bibles A history of smuggling Bibles behind the Iron Curtain is the root of MWB’s present passion for sharing God’s Word. While today Phil Shrimpton is a MWB trustee, his past is wrapped up with those secret trips to the Soviet Union.
‘Have you any guns, drugs, pornography or Bibles?’ the armed guards
asked at each border crossing to Ukraine, Poland, Hungary, Czechoslovakia and Romania. Responding with ‘take a look’ and a silent prayer for God’s protection, Phil and other MWB couriers waited during the search of their lorries. Relying on God, and the carpenters’ skill at building hidden compartments, the couriers waited to hear those wonderful words ‘drive on’. Smuggling Bibles was risky business. They committed each journey to God.
‘Looking back, one can see how often God intervened to bring his plans to fruition.’ When Phil joined MWB during the Cold War, it was called Underground Evangelism and ministered to pastors living under the atheism and persecution of Lenin’s ‘down with God’. After being commended for its support at the Armenian earthquake (1988), MWB made a formal request to transport Bibles and relief goods behind the Iron Curtain. ‘What presumption!’ recalls Phil, ‘but our God is able and permission was given to journey to Kiev, capital of Ukraine.’ Phil remembers that journey:
‘Churches have become more spiritual, united and enthusiastic.’ MWB co-ordinator, Romania ‘My entire life changed when I started reading the Bible.’ Alla, 50, Ukraine ‘This gift is my life manual.’ Martin, 15, Bulgaria Phil and the main courier travelled from MWB’s ‘secret supply base’, in Germany, in one of two lorries carrying 20 tonnes of Bibles and relief goods. Guards expressed surprise, sometimes anger, that MWB had permission to transport such literature across their borders. One even phoned HQ to check if the permit really was genuine. On confirmation, he returned it with a scowl and the team continued their journey praising God.
‘Shut up. Mind your own business and get on with the job!’ The courier’s
sharp words kept Phil focused while flashing lights from a Soviet police car broke the surrounding gloom and pouring rain. Phil and two others were in the middle of lifting Bibles off their lorry to a nearby car to deliver to Christians hungry for the Word of God. But the police kept their steamed-up window closed against the rain and drove off, allowing the Bible couriers to finish their unloading.
‘My word that goes out from my mouth...will not return to me empty.’ Isaiah 55:11 n People and churches are changing because of Mission Without Borders’ free Bible distribution. n God’s word in Eastern Europe is bearing fruit – yet there are so many more people wanting to receive Bibles. Help us to give more Bibles to ‘achieve the purpose for which God sent His Word.’
Arriving in Kiev, the couriers had no map to find their contacts’ location. So Phil gave the address to a taxi driver, who led the lorries of Bibles through Kiev’s narrow streets. The unusual convoy eventually reached a group of people huddled against the cold, wrapped up in fur coats and hats. This band of Christians had been waiting a week for the Bibles. Some had travelled for days from Siberia. These dear brothers and sisters gave the couriers a tremendous welcome. But it was only after a long wait, for the customs official’s examination, that unloading was permitted. The group jumped to action: Flinging open the lorry doors, everyone carried their load of Bibles to a little window nearby and then down to a basement. Inside was a hive of activity with people labelling up all the Bibles and boxes with names of towns and villages. Once named, others started taking them outside again. As soon as Bibles were given a location, a ‘carrier’ had to pick them up and go. It was too dangerous to leave the Bibles where they were. One man told Phil he had been in prison twice for possessing a Bible and worshipping God. Each time the sentence was five years. All those involved with Underground Evangelism took big risks for God.
Delivering Bibles, USSR, 1990
Today, Phil’s prayer for MWB is ‘that we will continue to look to the Lord for guidance, and His strength to undertake the task he’s given us to do.’ Will you join this calling to give away Bibles? Support us as we continue to distribute one million Bibles in Eastern Europe.
Donate now to ‘achieve the purpose for which God sent His Word’.
£20 will provide a family-pack of five Bibles £60 will give a church group 15 Bibles 1. Complete and return the response form on your accompanying letter. 2. Telephone 020 7940 1370 to donate using a credit/debit card. 3. Give securely on-line with googlecheckout or Virgin money giving at: www.mwbuk.org 4. Join MWB’s Bible Club to commit to spreading the Word regularly. Simply phone 020 7940 1370.
How you have helped: Thank you! Lavished with love by Operation Christmas Love ‘Our day is so full when we have guests as we are always alone. It was a real surprise and a blessing to have you here! We have never received such nice blankets before and we are so grateful for them. God bless and reward the people who thought of us and offered us this food parcel and these nice blankets!’Ana (84) and Bucur (87), Romania
‘We have very little, so it is unthinkable for us to celebrate. We keep praying to God to provide us with our daily bread. This Christmas Love parcel came as a gift from God.’ Dhurata, Albania
‘Receiving this food lifted the heavy burden from my heart. I was so glad we were able to have a peaceful Christmas with a meal on the table. We were all so happy. Thank you to everyone who made sacrifices so that we could have joy in our home.’ Iliana (37), Bulgaria
‘My school-mates sometimes have chocolate at school, but I have never had a whole chocolate bar for myself. It is delicious. I wish I had it every day!’ Daiana (8), Romania
‘It is the best and most wonderful Christmas surprise we have ever had. It is the first time in our lives that we were really happy at Christmas.’ Iurii and Veronica, Moldova
A huge thank you
to everyone who donated to Operation Christmas Love. Because of your generosity we really were able to lavish love – and essential food basics – on thousands.
Seeds of Hope March–April 2012 We need your help! Order free spring appeal resources now.
Spring 2012 Prayer Guide As the deer pants for streams of water, so my soul pants for you, O God. (Psalm 42:1)
General prayers for each week Sunday
Ongoing tensions exist within this country. Pray for the future of the country, and that democracy will prevail.
Pray for the Christian politicians in parliament, that they will be able to improve the living conditions and employment prospects of the people most in need.
The country often witnesses public clashes caused by extreme poverty and political corruption. Pray for peace and an end to both.
Pray that the rotating tripartite presidency role will continue to operate harmoniously. Remember those in government and pray that they will seek to end mistrust, alleviate poverty and ease tension.
Remember the newly elected president, Rosen Plevneliev, as he begins his time in office. Pray he will bring wisdom to the role, and that the country will continue to recover from the recession.
Pray that the economic problems in Europe begin to improve. It is the poor who are usually hardest hit. Pray that Europeâ€™s leaders can and will work together to improve the situation.
Pray for Jimmy Macavei and his staff in Sibiu, Romania. Pray for health, their families, protection when driving, and meetings with children and families.
O God, you are my God, earnestly I seek you;
26 Feb–3 March Bible Correspondence Courses Praise God for the vital work of those who run the Bible Correspondence Courses. Many children are participating, and are coming to know Jesus through them.
4–10 March Ukraine Please pray for the mothers and babies supported through our Mother Care project. Remember the co–ordinators who show so much love and care to the families.
11–17 March Albania Thank God for those who have successfully completed the recent computer course in Albania. Pray for their future, particularly for their employment prospects.
18–24 March Seeds of Hope Pray that the Seeds of Hope boxes will bring hope and dignity to many families struggling to survive. Ask for God’s blessing as they plant the seeds, and for abundant crops.
my soul thirsts for you. (Psalm 63:1a) 25–31 March
Christian media Christian radio programmes are heard by millions each year, and the Christian newspaper Si Jeni is distributed in Albania and in some neighbouring countries. Give thanks for the encouraging feedback received.
Bulgaria Pray for our field workers and volunteers who run clubs for the handicapped, showing love and care to many who are lonely and marginalised. Ask that God’s love will shine from them.
Easter Pray for MWB’s staff, beneficiaries and supporters that we will all turn our hearts and minds towards God. Let us renew our determination to spread the powerful and joyful message of Christ's resurrection.
Child sponsorship Praise God for the material and emotional support provided by sponsors. Ask that sponsors be encouraged and see the impact of their care.
29 April–5 May
A million Bibles Thank God for the many opportunities to hand out Bibles that He has provided. Pray that those who received Bibles will read them and will open their hearts to Him.
Bosnia–Herzegovina Remember those who are still suffering the effects of war. Many are displaced, homeless and unemployed. Pray for peace and reconciliation to fill this country in 2012.
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Spring 2012 6–12 May
Romania Pray for the country and the Church. Ask that God will give strength to all the churches to stay firm and rely on the Word of God, and that they will see His vision for reaching out to society and individuals.
Life Skills Remember the children leaving the institutions where they grew up. Pray that they will learn skills for life and that upon graduation they will be supported by good friends and the church.
20–26 May Summer Camp Praise God for the children going to Summer Camp this year. Ask God to open their hearts and minds to Him and for safety as they enjoy the activities. Pray for His provision for this work.
27 May–2 June
Moldova Thank God for the wonderful expansion of the Family-to-Family programme in Moldova. Praise Him that through the practical support offered many hear the gospel.
MWB staff Pray for wisdom and discernment in administering funds and gifts in kind. Ask God for more openings in the UK for others to support MWB’s crucial work in Eastern Europe.
Emotional Support Remember those who experience abandonment and neglect. MWB’s staff seek to provide them with emotional support. Pray that they are filled with compassion and love.
17–23 June Self-sufficiency Praise God that some families are becoming independent of MWB’s support, and that many have found faith. Pray that this faith will continue even when they no longer need the support of MWB.
Coming soon… “Before, I struggled to feed the family. But now I have enough food for all my children.” Nadiya’s family is just one of hundreds planting Seeds of Hope – and experiencing remarkable change. For Nadiya, the difference the seeds have made is life-changing: instead of being constantly hungry, all her children are now well-fed. They are eating the fruits of Nadiya’s hard work. Mission Without Borders gave Nadiya a box of Seeds of Hope stuffed full of locally purchased vegetable seeds.
Download or order free resources for Seeds of Hope Online: www.mwbuk.org
Costing just £15 to pack and distribute, Mission Without Borders aims to deliver 1,817 Seeds of Hope boxes to families across Albania, BosniaHerzegovina, Bulgaria, Moldova, Romania and Ukraine.
Will you rise to the challenge and help us plant Seeds of Hope this spring? Simply tell your church or group about Seeds of Hope and how they can support families to plant their way out of poverty – by praying and by raising funds. Could your church join our Seeds of Hope appeal? Please ask your church leaders to include Seeds of Hope for a special spring focus. Free Seeds of Hope resources are available: n Seeds of Hope church magazine article to introduce Seeds of Hope to your church n Seeds of Hope presentation to tell the story of families experiencing life-saving changes that you are helping to plant. n Seeds of Hope service to give you ideas for a sermon with hymns and prayers. n Seeds of Hope assembly and lesson plan for primary children to learn about food. n Seeds of Hope fundraising ideas to set up your own fundraising event.
Phone: 0207 940 1370 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Without her Mother-care parcel, Najada exclaims, she could not have managed for baby Anxhela: “Becoming pregnant did not bring me joy. I was stressed and worried about how to pay for everything. Then Mission Without Borders offered a Mother-care parcel – everything Anxhela needs to help her grow normally. Thank you.” Mother-care parcels are vital for mothers giving birth in the countries where we work. While hospital services are free, the drugs and equipment are not. So when mothers leave hospital with their new babies, they also leave with a huge bill – on top of their concerns about meeting their new baby’s needs. Mission Without Borders provides pre- and post-natal care parcels containing clamp, medicines, syringes, glucose, nappies, powder and milk. Save lives by giving a mother-care parcel for just £16.
Buy on-line at www.mwbuk.org Or call 020 7940 1370 (quote ref: A022) IMPORTANT: Mothering Sunday is on 18 March 2012. Order now to avoid disappointment! Our Mother-care parcels are alternative gifts, so when you order a Mother-care parcel we will: • give one to an expectant mum • send you a card and a fridge-magnet gift illustrating your present. Give this card and gift to your own mother to tell her how her mother’s day present is helping another mum.
An alternative present to flowers or chocolates for your mum: Give a Mother-care parcel to support a new mother and baby through the biggest event of their lives.
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For Mothers' day, give a mother and baby a gift that could save their lives
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Moldova tour reflections “I really liked seeing the way MWB uses its donations to get right to the people.” “The family greeted us like old friends. We saw that our sponsorship over two years had enabled them to emerge from the poverty trap.”
“I am humbled to see the dedication, care and commitment of the MWB workers.” “I could feel the love of Christ throughout this organisation – a worthy cause to support.” “The love and care the MWB co-ordinators invest in the children is impressive.”
6-13 October 2012
Join the next MWB supporters’ tour. See for yourself the difference you have made through your commitment to MWB.
A team What really delighted us was to see how much both families had achieved. Family-to-Family sponsorship really is team-work. While we sponsored special projects to enable the families to move forward, it was the families who got on with the hard work of putting these projects into place. For the Gudimas this was a greenhouse to start a little market gardening business; for the Morozans, an extractor supported their honey production. Seeing how much they were making the most of these initiatives encourages us to help further.
Personal relations Why we sponsor families ‘We can’t wait to visit again!’ say Tony and Sheila Pethen after travelling to Moldova last autumn. They had just returned from their second trip in two years to meet their sponsored families. Sheila now tells us why she believes it is crucial to support families through MWB’s Family-to-Family sponsorship scheme. ‘When we first visited our sponsored families, in 2009, it was a great adventure and such a blessing to actually meet all those we sponsor. This made each family member come alive in a way that reading about them in reports never did. On this second trip, we were eager to renew contact, as well as see how things had changed over two years. It was wonderful to meet them again. Whereas before we were all a little reserved – strangers whose language we did not know – this time, despite the language problem, it was like meeting old friends! We gave each other big hugs and were all much more at ease.
You’ll minister to those living in very different circumstances; be an encouragement; bring hope and in the process you too will be changed. To find out more: Phone: 020 7940 1370 Email: email@example.com
Knowing whom we were meeting made it more personal for us in our relationship with them. It also helped us in our preparations. We had a better idea of each family’s needs and children’s sizes. I was especially moved when Mrs Gudima exclaimed with delight as her boys tried on the padded jackets we had bought. She had been worrying how to get them coats for the winter! The Lord knows what people need and leads us into the privilege of providing! As Eastern European countries shrink their orphanage provision (to satisfy EU requirements), it is even more important to us to sponsor families. With even a tiny bit of support families are more likely to stay together and children will grow up within the security of a home. We’re more committed than ever now!’
Could you sponsor a family? Through Family-to-Family sponsorship you will: n Help the family to stay together. n Offer real hope and the confidence to step out of poverty. n Bring long-term change as the family moves into self-sufficiency. The love and support of a sponsor will build up a family, encouraging them to take steps to becoming self-reliant. “Therefore, encourage one another and build each other up.” 1 Thessalonians 5:11
How you can help 18 April 2012 in West Yorkshire
Generous helpings! What better way to support Mission Without Borders than by doing something you enjoy – have friends round for dinner! We’ve signed up with Dinner4Good, which enables you to do just that. To see how it works just go to www.dinner4good.com/MWB From Dinner4Good you send personalised email invitations: Your guests then accept and donate to MWB online. So you’re saved from any awkward asking for money and the bother of collecting cash. You can see who’s coming and how much you are raising – in a click. Dinner4Good takes care of everything, including claiming the Gift Aid, which reduces admin costs for us. All you have to do is hold the dinner, eat, drink and enjoy yourselves! Sign on now at www.dinner4good.com/MWB
MWB is now registered with MissionFish the eBay for charities. Go to http://donations.ebay.co.uk/charity and as an eBay seller you can donate to MWB.
follow MWB on facebook
Keep up to date with the difference you are making for people in Eastern Europe through MWB. Join with us in our prayers and enjoy our growing on-line community: You can share the page and help spread the word to family and friends about MWB’s crucial work. View the page (even without signing onto Facebook!) at: www.facebook.com/ MissionWithoutBorders
Please phone 020 7940 1370 for more details.
Want to clear out all your old clutter? Sell your unwanted items on eBay and raise funds for Mission Without Borders.
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Join with others from the West Yorkshire area interested in MWB; find out the latest about how people’s lives are changing through your support; pray; be encouraged in your commitment to ‘reaching people for Christ’ with MWB.
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Mission Without Border UK's Newsletter for Spring 2012