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The Holmquists’ Farewell

Jan. 12, 2015

Dear Friends,

In Philippians 1:3,5 the apostle Paul said, “I thank my God . . . For your fellowship in the gospel from the first day until now.” Our hearts overflow with thankfulness when we think of your vital partnership with us in the gospel in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil through your gifts, prayers, and words of encouragement. Your prayers have sustained us in the trials and glorified God in the victories.

We are writing to inform you that we have made a prayerful decision regarding our future.  In April 2013, we said goodbye to the church family at the new church plant in the Bento Ribeiro neighborhood of Rio and left it in the care of our missionary colleagues the Patefields and Joy Hunt. Upon leaving that work, our vision was to help plant another church in Rio. While we were praying about options of where to go, we received documents for property on the west side of the city of Rio. We prayed with our missionary colleagues and Brazilian pastors in the city about the possibility of planting a church there with a team of Brazilians who were part of an established church. After over a year of diligent attempts to establish the new work, it became obvious to everybody involved (through providential circumstances, document problems, team dynamics, and a personal health crisis) that the Lord was closing the door on that property for the time being. It is our earnest hope that somebody will resume the attempt to plant a church there in the future if God permits, but we knew that the Lord was moving our family.

We then began to explore other options for ministry within our mission in several regions of Brazil, but we concluded that God was not leading us to any of those options.  We resolved that we could not remain in Brazil if God did not give us the same certainty and conviction of calling that we had when we first went to Rio. We believe in our hearts that the Lord called us to Rio to serve for the time that we were there. After much consideration, prayer, and counsel we equally affirm that after ten years of service with our wonderful mission family of Baptist Mid-Missions, the time has come for us to resign. Our resignation will be effective January 31.

We will look back on this chapter of our lives with gratitude to God for the people who made it possible. We truly believe that eternity will bear the fruit of your partnership of the gospel in Rio. And as we send this final letter to you, our beloved family of intercessors, we ask for one last request. We believe that God will guide our future as He has our past, but we need faith to step into the fog of the future. Pray that He will give us wisdom to walk in His will and show us what steps we should take. And pray that we would be obedient and courageous to take the steps that He has planned for us.

With Gratitude and Love,
Brendan, Melissa, Myla, Elaina, Daniel and Flavia Holmquist

holmquist1@gmail.com
(517) 599-6979
6772 E. Price Road
St. Johns, MI 48879

 

Holmquists: Nov. 2014

November 2014

Dear Friends,

First, this Thanksgiving season we want to thank God for His goodness. We have a God “whose heart is kind beyond all measure.” He doesn’t give us stones when we ask for bread.  As Martin Luther said, “Prayer is not overcoming God’s reluctance. Prayer is laying hold of God’s willingness.”

Also, we want to give thanks to God for you, for standing with us in prayer during this last decade of ministry. God has definitely answered the prayers you offered on our behalf and on behalf of the people of Brazil. Most of the time the “bread” God gives in answer to prayer is sweet and delicious. But other times the “bread” has appeared to be stone hard. However, in the end we have always found it to be just the “bread” we needed. Yes, it may be hard to chew at first, but, in the end, it is wholesome and good for spiritual health and growth.

• We recently asked you to pray for safety and good meetings in churches as we traveled through Minnesota and Michigan reporting on this last term of service in Brazil. God granted good meetings and unbelievably beautiful fall weather to travel in.

• We’ve been receiving good reports from Brazil about the state of the churches in Rio and also the training of Ticuna pastors and teachers in the Amazon region of Brazil. Since our return to the US, we have not received any word as to the land situation in Sepetiba, Rio.  Please pray that God would continue to strengthen and build His church in Rio and also along the river banks of the Amazon, sending more trained laborers into these harvest fields.

• The time is approaching for us to make our decision regarding our future ministry. Our mission would like us to have our decision made by Christmas. We have prayed, waited, and sought godly counsel. Now, we are trusting the Lord to give us discernment and clear guidance and asking you to continue with us in prayer.

A wonderful Thanksgiving and Christmas to you and yours!

Love in Christ,
Brendan, Melissa, Myla, Elaina, Daniel and Flavia Holmquist

 

Our mailing address is:

Baptist Mid-Mission
6772 E. Price Road
St. Johns, MI 48879

Muindis’ Latest Highlights

October 2014

Dear Ministry Partners,

It’s true that God sets apart certain people for formal teaching ministry in the church. There are also myriads of everyday-life ministry opportunities that God will give every one of his children. We have been called to a daily life of gospel transparency, being ready, willing, and sharing our gratitude for the grace of God with someone who needs it. Colossians 3:16-17 truly captures the importance of everyday-life teaching ministry of believers, both in words and deeds.

Beloved, preparation and readiness for any building project demands time, people, and resources. It is only God’s help that makes such projects commence and progress to completion. The commencement of our building project took place on 21st July 2014. The laying of the foundation has been completed and the slab has been poured. Our hope is to begin the second phase soon after the heavy rains in August and September 2014. The third phase will be the roofing, and the final stage, of course, will be the finishing touches. Please be in prayer for the progress and as God provides, send your gift toward this Building project through Baptist Mid-Missions.

Our new home is precious and we thank God for the place, space, and opportunity to serve visitors here. Although we were faced with many challenges at the beginning with water supply, internet services, etc., we are thankful that we have a home and we have been able to solve some of the challenges. We have been challenged also with health issues with our parents. Particularly, for the last one month, Stephen’s dad has been sick. He went in for prostate removal surgery, had complication with blood clot and high blood pressure, readmitted again for a second surgery, and now stable and recuperating. Other parents have their hiccups too. This has laid financial constraint heavily on us. Pray for God’s grace and ministry opportunities with family to bear much fruit as we reach out to them at such a time of need.

Our children are well and back to school for their new school year. Ian and Regina just turned 14 on 28th September 2014, and Rena will be 10 on 28th of this month. Pray for their spiritual maturity along their physical growth and that their future would always be of the Lord. Edna and I have the desire to take some time off but ministry demands and challenges with family needs seem to flow on our way one after another. Pray for us to have finances and a time slot open for a family off for some rest.

The ministries at Elgon View Baptist continue to be the joy of our lives. We just had four adults baptized in September and added to the church, we continue to see new visits to the church weekly, and childrens’ programs are overwhelmed with facility space. Our youth ministry is growing greatly under David Ouma’s leadership, a young man who desires to undergo Bible College training for ministry. Any scholarship available or help toward training this man is worth our commitment and our recommendation. We have Bible training with four of our men on weekly basis and allowing them to serve in the church and reach out to the community. Our monthly fellowship continues to be a means of outreach and we praise God for such an informal time to invite friends and neighbors and expose them to the gospel. The radio program has been an opportunity to reach out to the city of Eldoret and the environs even the whole western region of Kenya. Pray for another opportunity given to me to have a brief (5 minutes) early morning devotion on TV for a week. This would expose our ministries to those watching in Eldoret and the region.

As you pray for financial support for our ministry, physical and spiritual growth of the church, the Muindi family’s spiritual growth and needs to be met, and the Church Building project and needs, please pray about the legal processes for re-application for minister and church licenses. Due to the operationalization of The Marriage Act 2014, the government has recalled all licenses for renewal and this will include vetting of ministers to ascertain their qualifications and church ministry’s registration. This comes as a challenge associated with work permit for missionaries and non-government groups limited to 2 years with renewal done once for the professionals. We hope that all these will not become hindrance to the ministry here and with potential missionaries and mission work.

“And let us not be weary in well doing: for in due season we shall reap, if we faint not.” (Gal 6:9)

Arise, my soul, Arise!

Stephen & Edna Muindi
Ian, Regina, Rena
Psalm 51:13-15