Matthew Aftermath (Part 1): Cuba


Wind and storm surge wrecks Maisi.

Finally yesterday, we got to speak with our partner in Cuba, Los Pinos Nuevos (LPN). The initial response team that was deployed headed to Maisi, on the far eastern end of Cuba, and it took them three days to reach the area.  The road to the town was destroyed, so the team had to hike in to assess.

They found that 90% of the homes in the community were uninhabitable. They were the first help to reach the community, and people had run out of food and safe drinking water.   The team carried in food and water, and also basic supplies to make a few simple water filters.  The  local church members were helping one another and sharing what they had with the community.  LPN has asked us to help with desperately needed immediate relief supplies.

Access to safe drinking water is a big concern.  cuba-2aPeople are now having to draw water from nearby streams (note yellow water cans in the photo).  This week, we have a ReachGlobal staff person heading to Cuba with additional membrane water filters, each one able to serve several families.  We will also be doing some initial equipping on the basics of trauma care.

cubaIn Baracoa, another town with an LPN presence, the reports of damage are similar. ‘Ciber  Cuba’shared this video report of the impacts there.  Video Link 

In addition to helping these communities with urgently needed safe drinking water and food, with so many households destroyed, there will be an long term need for essentials like cooking pots and utensils, sheets and bedding, and other physical needs. But LPN also has a vision to reestablish a sense of community, help people deal with their emotional trauma, and invest in families and sustainable community development, all in the context of Gospel transformation. So together, we hope to be able to set up longer term community outreach ministry centers in as many of the affected towns as possible. Learn more about the response goals at


  •  A team is heading back to the affected area this week with more supplies. God, it is a long journey with many difficulties, please give them traveling mercies.  
  • There are so many people with so many needs. Lord, as you multiplied the loaves and fishes, please do a miracle to make the resources sent stretch to meet all the needs. 
  • The people in these affected areas have experienced loss and trauma. God of Peace, proved your comfort to those experiencing fear and the after effects of the storm. 
  • Lord, equip, empower and send Your Church to do Your Work in Cuba.  Prompt us in the US to pray for and give to support the work of our Brothers in Cuba.

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Mail a check:

EFCA, Attn: Donor Services, 901 E 78th St, Minneapolis, MN 55420.

In the memo line, write: Hurricane Matthew Response – 39693

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Posted by on October 11, 2016 in Uncategorized


H. Matthew – Positioned by Partership to Respond


H. Matthews hits Haiti and Cuba.

While we in the US enjoyed a relaxing weekend, our extensive network of ministry partners in Haiti and Cuba, and ReachGlobal staff in the region, spent it trying to prepare for the arrival of Hurricane Matthew. And today, they are in the brunt of it.

But ‘they’ are people that we know personally, and have had an ongoing ministry connection for years. In Haiti, places that have taken a direct hit include Cayes, the home of P. Alneve, a key denominational leader, and a part of our Haitian Movement Leader Network; and in Port Salut, P. Jean, who is part of one of our pastoral equipping networks.


The Category 4 storm, is the first major storm to hit Haiti in 50+ years, and into a context that has still not recovered from the 2010 earthquake. The initial reports include the washout of sections of the National Road connecting Port-au-Prince with the affected areas to the south. The good news is that our ReachGlobal staff in Haiti are thus far safely riding out the storm, and will be ready to respond once the skies clear.

In Cuba, the next target for Matthew, P. Yuri and his congregation in the city of Maisi and P. Silvio in Guantanamera have specifically asked for prayer.  The winds and rains have already started and they wrote, “It is a critical area. It looks like we will be heavily hit. We know that God has everything under control.”   

With the US Atlantic coast now also in the cross hairs, ReachGlobal Crisis Response has also begun the process of reaching out to EFCA Southeast and Eastern Districts to begin the early stages of response coordination. ReachGlobal Crisis Response, with our long term focus on the mission field that follows crisis, and network of partner relationships, invites you to join in the response for Hurricane Matthew.

Pray for: 

  • Safety for all those in the path of Hurricane Matthew.
  • The Cuban and Haitian Church as they process how to share Christ’s love to many hurting people following the storm.
  • The churches of the EFCA to have wisdom in how to respond if the storm hits in their areas.
  • ReachGlobal leadership as they assess the storm’s impacts ad determine next steps in this widespread response.

Give: Invest in the work of the kingdom that is accomplished through disciple-making, community development and compassion ministries with a generous gift.

Donate here on-line or Mail a check to:
EFCA, Attn: Donor Services, 901 E. 7th St, Minneapolis, MN 55420. In the memo line, write: Hurricane Matthew Response – 39693


…but I’m sure we lost everything.

la floodLouisiana is no stranger to heavy rains and storms. It’s a normal occurrence.  But this week was different. 1000 year rains and flooding like this has never happened before.

Gary, one flooded home owner we’ve met explained, “We’ve gone through the flood of ’78, ’83, Katrina, Rita, Issac and Gustav, and have never flooded before. We have about 6 ft of water in our house now, and haven’t been able to get to it. I’m not sure when we will, but I’m sure we’ve lost everything.”  Gary’s story is one of many, as the impact is staggering.

  • 90 % of the city of Denham Springs, LA is underwater.
  • 40,000 homes region wide are affected, the majority uninsured.
  • Previous record flood levels have bee exceeded by more than 6 feet.
  • 30,000 people had to rescued and 20,000 are in shelters.

P. Lance Bourgeois (Trinity EFC, Covington, LA) has been out working with our assessment and clean-up teams, as this flood has hit personally, close to home. His aunt and uncle, we’re two of those 30,000 rescued.  His uncle said, “The water just kept coming up and up and up. When we let the house, we walked out in water up to our waists.”  They ended up having five feet of water in their home, as did Gary.

And in Denham Springs, the brown, muddy water did not spare Grace Community Bible Church. Pastor Tim, with puddles still on the sopping wet carpet shared that 60% of his congregation have been affected, but that he wants to engage, ‘meeting people in their brokeness’. Our hope is that a steady flow of volunteers and donations will allow us to help this church recover and bring healing outreach to their neighbors.

Though the water is still too deep though to access many areas, it is clear that the worst natural disaster in the US since Super Storm Sandy, will result in a long road for recovery.  Consider partnering with EFCA ReachGlobal Crisis Response, EFCA’s Southeast District, Trinity and other local churches, as we seek to share Christ’s love with those in need.

Pray: for rains to stop, waters to recede, and The Church to be tangibly present to bring hope and restoration.

Give: Donate to the EFCA’s Louisiana Flood Response efforts and ongoing ReachGlobal Crisis Response outreach.

Send a Team:  Email  Volunteers are needed immediately and will be needed for the next several years.

Learn More


Chicken Missionary


Brother Darin* and a Nepali Church Planter visit a family

Sometimes an offhand comment really makes your head turn. Brother Darin* is one of our key partners in Nepal. A native of India, he’s been serving as a missionary in Nepal for 15 years, first as a church planter, and now as a church planter coach and catalyst. He started in a rural village with no Christ followers, striking up conversations, drinking tea, serving, and intentionally caring for people. It took almost 2 years, but then an informal small group of seekers developed. From that initial group, 9 churches were planted and now there are over 700 be!ievers in the valley.

Now, with three other denominational leaders, he’s giving guidance to the Nepal Church Planting Movement, a collaboration of Nepali and US churches, ReachGlobal, OC International. This network has been involved in planting dozens of churches since 2012.

During a pause in dinner conversation as he and I shared a meal recently, he said, “You know, I am a chicken missionary.” With curiosity, I replied, “Tell me more,” while thinking to myself, “I’ve been a chicken missionary too, when I’ve been too self-conscious about what others might think to share my faith, or when I’ve not wanted to deal with conflict or….”

“I was commissioned and sent by my church, but when I need support, people sell their chicken for me to have something.”  I so appreciate the humbling lessons I learn from the many national partners I get to serve alongside. A chicken missionary…Living in Dependency; Humility; Faith; Obedience.

Darin told me that as the first church got planted, the people had no money to tithe, so he simply asked them to give what they had. Time. Some skill they had.  The fruit from one of their banana trees. 3 stalks of their bamboo tree. Whatever.  It was a wonderful picture of dependency and people using whatever it was that God had given them to support Kingdom work.

God, help me to be a chicken missionary.

PRAY: Recent law changes in Nepal have made it illegal to attempt ‘convert a person of one religion to another religion, or disturb the religion of other’. In recent weeks, 8 ministry workers and a pastor have been jailed for distributing Christian literature under this new law.  Pray for God’s protection for these Brothers and the ongoing work of the Holy Spirit to flourish to in Nepal.

LEARN: more at

GIVE: Donate to Nepal Outreach

*Name changed for security purposes.


Righting Injustice

slave2Mary* (12) and Macy* (8), are part of an outreach of a Nepali church partner responding to last year’s earthquake.  These girls lost their mother several years ago to a miscarried pregnancy.  As is common in many poor Nepali families, prior to the pregnancy, their mother was working in Dubai and thereby supported the family.

Their father, Bob*, meanwhile worked and lived with their two daughters in a carpet-making factory.  Since his wife’s death, he has tried to provide for his family, but injustice in his work place has turned this BREAD-WINNER into a BONDED-SLAVE.  But HOW?

At the carpet factory, the orders to weave a new carpet come intermittently, so Bob may have work five to six months a year. The rest of the months, he must borrow money from the owner of the carpet factory to survive. If his wife were still alive, her earnings from abroad would compensate for all those months he goes without work.

Gradually, his borrowing money from the owner has left him in a “big-increasing” debt. The money he earned from the intermittent work was not sufficient to pay off his debt. So over time, his debt increased greatly and now he cannot leave the carpet factory as a result of the indebtedness.

Moreover, during the months that go by without work, he sits idle at home, not allowed to work anywhere else by the factory owner. So he is further compelled to borrow money from his owner. The debt he has with his owner is like a bond that enslaves him.  He neither can go outside to work nor can he pay off his debt.   Worse, if the father is not able to pay his debt off in his lifetime, the bond will be passed on to the next generation, and his daughters will be compelled to live the same enslaved life.

Though this story can be repeated many times over for other poor Nepali families, this local church is stepping in to make a tangible difference in the life this one family, and are trying to raise funds to ‘free’ this family and help these girls with a brighter future.  The ‘huge’ debt (from a Nepali perspective) actually totals $700.

We are partnering with the local church to secure a new place for them to live outside the factory and release from this bond.   Pray for this local Nepali church to be able to repeat this process over and over again for other families similarly stuck.

*Names changed for security reasons.


Serving Brings Blessings in Brazil

lucas paint

P. Lucas, left.

Pastor Lucas has a vision to see a movement Gospel centered churches in the 30 cities of S. Brazil’s High Valley region. A few months ago, this area was inundated by record floods, which barely made a blip on the US news, but affected thousands of people. With a his disciple-making heart and compassion for these impacted families, he now also had a mission to compassionately respond.

Leveraging the passion of local church members and their resources, the generous giving of a few partner EFC’s and individuals, as well as ‘start-up’ resources from ReachGlobal Crisis Response’s Partner Initiative, P. Lucas and his church members have been connecting with their community, as he shares below:

We met Marlene’s family while they were still in a flood shelter.  She lives in a humble, wood home with her husband, and attached to it live her son and daughter in law and their son and another daughter, three generations together and all displaced.

We were able to bless them with food, toys and a kit with Bible stories, games and coloring sheets.  Through our time with this family, we discovered that they were some of the last to make it to the shelter and that most of their furniture, including beds and mattresses, were ruined.

 Our visits with Marlene and her family in the shelter continued, and eventually as well in her home.  About one month after the flood waters had receded, on one of our visits, we asked Marlene about her home, furniture, beds, etc..  She said that she had put the mattresses outside for over 20 days – trying to dry them out.  At the same time, they were all sleeping on one mattress (the one they deemed driest) – covered in plastic, and thrown on the ground, as the bed had rotted.  

 In her home, and the smell of mold in the bedroom was horrible. So that day, we went to a local furniture store bought new mattresses for the family….of good quality (better than they’d had before!)


P. Lucas sharing with neighbors.

 Through this and other intentional, relational efforts, the family responded with gratitude and opened their home and yard for a neighborhood block party.  We brought a trampoline, chocolate, games, activities, clowns and Bible stories for the children.   At the end we prayed for Marlene and her family and all those in the neighborhood.

 The light of Christ shined there and the name of the Lord was glorified yet more.

…and the response team’s contact with Marlene has not ended.  In fact, as a result of the flood response and relational open doors like this, the church is now deploying two church planting interns to expand the flood recovery and community outreach.

Pray for:

  • Marlene and her family, that God would transform not just their present reality but also their eternal future.
  • This church’s passion for compassionate outreach to spread.
  • The Holy Spirit to go before P. Lucas into these 30 cities and prepare the way for a church planting movement in the High Valley Region.

Give: Help support the ongoing recovery efforts in Brazil.  Give Now

Learn:  The Crisis Response “Partner Initiative” is a proactive, crisis based disciple-making and church planting fund, which in this case allowed us to quickly get the needed resources into the hands of the local church to jump-start their response.   To find out how you can be a Crisis Response Partner to catalyze Gospel outreach in the wake of crisis, email .

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Posted by on February 26, 2016 in Uncategorized


Serving Kids in Nepal

kids minWe were recently in Nepal again to participate in the dedication of a new ministry center being launched through the earthquake response efforts, and to take part in church planter equipping. This is one of more than a dozen being developed as part of the long term earthquake response. The new ministry center near Kathmandu is focusing on reaching kids, and in the process connecting with parents, with the longer term vision of planting a church.  The kids ministry includes tutoring, English, crafts, Bible and games. The idea is to create a safe place for kids and families to gather, while experiencing Christ’s love.

And doors are opening with parents too, as a Women literacy program (2)Women’s Literacy group has also recently started.  One older lady shared, “We were poor. I had to look after my younger siblings, get them ready, send to them to school, and look after the home while my parents worked in the fields,” she replied. “I made a few escapes to go to a nearby school to see what was going on there but then I was rebuked by my mother for doing that.”  Some bring their daughters and grand-daughters to help them.  One such daughter couldn’t stop giggling as her mother repeatedly made mistakes as she helped her mother erase continuously.

Pray the outreach of the Sharing Ministry Center* and that enduring life transformation is a part of this communities earthquake recovery.  Creating Child Friendly Spaces to serve kids on an ongoing basis is a challenge, with hundreds of local churches having been damaged, destroyed, or simply lacking the physical space to be able to effectively serve the community. Help us build many more Community Center’s, which can serve as shelter for the monsoon,a school and children’s activity center, and as a church. Give to invest in ministry to kids and community outreach.

*Name changed for security purposes.

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Posted by on February 11, 2016 in Uncategorized

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