The Invisible Team Members: A Story of God’s Faithfulness

Okay, people. Yahweh is most assuredly watching over us! I didn’t doubt that He was, but there is nothing quite so precious as when He makes it known! Check out how He showed us today…

After fighting a migraine Tuesday night and all day yesterday, I went to bed early hoping it would go away as I slept. In my hurting, I forgot to set an alarm…

In the bed next to me I found Hannah and Emily slept through their alarms and were still fast asleep…

Woops.

Sleeping through all of the alarms left us very little time to get ready, eat breakfast, and catch the bus with the team, so Jordan suggested that we take our time and catch the 9:15 bus (instead of the 8:50 that the team takes). We gladly accepted his offer and the rest of the team headed to the bus stop.

Now, we bought 7-day bus passes last Friday and the bus driver gave us the resident discount (instead of the tourist price which is twice as much). We were very thankful, but were warned by Brielle (American missionary kid in Malta who has been living and serving with us… a precious new friend!) that it could cause us trouble if we encountered a ticket checker.

“Ticket checkers” are basically angry, mean men that work for Arriva, the bus company. They get on the buses randomly and check everyone’s ticket and grill the bus driver about who knows what. We haven’t been too concerned about them seeing as we’ve been riding the buses for over two weeks and we’ve never seen one.

Well, all that changed this morning.

We caught our first bus which takes us to the Marsa Park & Ride. This is where basically every bus in Malta connects. While Hannah, Emily and I were waiting at the Park & Ride for our second bus we saw angry, mean men in suits getting on and off every bus that stopped. Now would be a good time to imagine low, doomful music.

What’s worse than our resident priced tickets is what happened when Emily and Hannah taped their paper tickets to prevent tearing. Almost every bit of ink faded under the tape and you could only faintly see the valid date. We have had no issue for the last 4 days getting on and off buses several times a day. We knew that the ticket checkers, however, would not be so gracious. When our bus (which is a Mercedes Bens, by the way, but that’s not important…) pulled up we silently prayed that he just wouldn’t notice us or our problematic tickets.

The two angry, mean, ticket checker men got on the bus when it arrived. The first angry man went straight to the back of the bus to start checking tickets, while the other started checking the drivers credentials and what not.

The bus driver must have assumed that the angry, mean man would check our tickets because we walked right onto the bus. We walked to the back where there were 3 seats together (just beyond the angry, mean man). He stopped and looked at us with his angry, mean eyes, stepped aside, an motioned with his arms for us to walk past him.

That is, WITHOUT checking our tickets.

We sat down and looked at each other with wide eyes. “Holy cow, the team is not going to believe this!!” We were SO thankful.

We got to the camp and headed to the back room where the team was, as no students had yet arrived.

“We saw ticket checkers… Y’all aren’t gonna believe what happened.”

They all went silent and asked us to tell the story, which we recounted with a strong sense of victory in our voices.

They immediately smiled, looked at each other with confidence, and began to tell us their own experience with the angry, mean, ticket checking men.

Lauren had the same faded ticket problem from the tape, and the angry, mean man was NOT gracious at all. Apparently, he yelled, refused to believe it had a valid date, and gave her no option but to pay a fine and purchase a new ticket. He was so worked up about Lauren’s ticket that he ignored the resident priced tickets of the others. He charged them a fee of €10 and made her by a new 7-day pass (€12.50). The two of these charges together is roughly $45. All because of an angry, mean man… not because they did anything wrong!

They continued to tell us that they prayed for the angry, mean man to find joy. Knowing that Han and Em both had faded tickets, they knew that if we were also “caught” it would total charges of well over $100 (not the kinda cash we’ve got laying around by ANY means). So, they prayed also that we would simply be invisible to the angry, mean man.

Which is EXACTLY what God did!! The man motioned us to walk RIGHT passed him! Ah. So lovely.

I hope you’re encouraged by this teeny tiny story of God’s faithfulness. You need to know that God is good and His plan cannot be thwarted. You are absolutely incapable of messing up what He wants to do. Your willingness to be used for His kingdom (in ANY capacity) puts you in the perfect position for Him to accomplish wonderful things through you. Yes- fearful, broken you, with scars and painful memories and a thousand regrets. You are not too far from grace. You can be used.

Be willing. Be open. Be flexible. And know with absolute confidence that He has it worked out before you even discover there is a problem. Trust Him with your needs and watch Him do immeasurably more.

It’s truly the most wonderful thing.

I’m thankful still for your time and commitment. Please keep praying! Tomorrow is going to be a tough one as we say goodbye to our friends in the camp. Please pray for opportunities to verbalize the gospel and for boldness to take them.

I love you much,
Gwennie

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Monday in Malta… Henna Tattoos!

Well, hey there!

I’m so thankful to again bring a joyful report! We started back in the camps this morning. Ruhia had an appointment and couldn’t come today, so I got to spend some extra time journaling and in the word. I (finally) finished Job on my journey through the OT (I’m way behind…), so I was awfully excited! I love the last couple chapters when Yahweh silences Job and declares His glory over the intricate world that He created. It’s so humbling to consider the servanthood of Job and the faithfulness of Yahweh to not only preserve him, but to teach him along the way. I love it. The end of Job also meant I got to start again in Psalms. Psalm 2 was particularly appropriate for me now.

Verse 8 reads, “Ask of me, and I will make the nation your inheritance, the ends of the earth your possession.” Yes, the cry of my heart is that the island of Malta would see the glory and the goodness of the risen Lord. I pray that they will turn from their idol of religion and fall on their faces before the only true God. I would be so delighted if you would pause for a moment and petition the Lord for the salvation of the Maltese people.

Khadija was there this afternoon and we continued to practice writing and spelling her name. For some reason she has an incredibly  difficult time writing the letter on the lines of the paper. Instead, she scribbles the letters anywhere and everywhere on the page. It’s slow progress these days :)

We went for a little walk and I tried again to engage her in conversation about Jesus, but she simply could not understand. I’m praying for grace and trusting the Lord will accomplish His work. I am just a servant, and I know with certainty that my feeble efforts cannot thwart what He intends to do. I’m thankful that I get to be a part, however small, of His story in her life.

Our friend at the second camp, Faiza (a refugee from Ethiopia), invited us into her little room for a late lunch. She literally loaded our plates with a mix of: spaghetti (with a little bit of ground beef), salad (lettuce, onions, vegetable oil, olives), and french fries (potato slices cooked in oil (not as good as Daddy’s though!!!)). It was so sweet. We sat on the floor and shared a meal with this precious woman and her son. They are all so generous, despite having so little. It’s so humbling. She also gave me a scarf to try on and taught me how to wrap it around my head. She then exclaimed, “You’re a Muslim!” Haha, it was sweet.

After we ate Faiza gave us Henna tattoos on our feet! It was so fun to laugh and talk as our bodies became the canvas of her exceptional creativity.

We finished the day with a latte machiatto in Valletta, and rode the bus home. It was truly a lovely day :)

In other news, I’m learning to play guitar! I have a very gracious & patient teacher and we are having LOTS of fun :)

I’m praying God’s blessing on you precious people today. I can’t say enough how much your thoughts and prayers mean to me!

Love love,
Jennifer

“You are Muslim!!”
Truly the sweetest woman!!!

Latte Machiatto makes for a very happy Gwendo!

Me and the guitar are becoming fast friends…
Jaybo would be so proud of me! :)

Overdue Update!

I’m sorry for such a great delay in my updates! The week got away from us quickly! It’s amazing how fast time goes when you’re away… it seems as though we just arrived, but our time is truly almost over.

Before slumber wins the present battle, I want to update you and ask for your time!!

Last week ended beautifully as Ruhia correctly identified every letter of the alphabet!!!! Ya’ll! This is MAJOR progress. My prayer is that she retained it over the weekend. I’m looking forward to our time together this week. Please keep her, and our time together, in your prayers.

I still have mixed emotions about my time with Khadija (funny story: she was saying AND spelling her own name incorrectly… one of the women corrected her. Haha. Her name is Khadija [ka-dee-ja] ad we spent lots of time practicing how to say and write it!). Last Friday we were having our English lesson in her room. Towards the end of our time she decided she was done learning for the day, and she closed her notebook. We were sitting quietly for a moment when she noticed my tattoo and touched it. I read it aloud for her, “Life is Christ”, and found this as the perfect moment to begin a conversation about Jesus. I was using the most basic English possible as I presented the gospel, and she was nodding in understanding for much of it. She responded some and told me about her Muslim faith, but when I tried to dialogue and identify differences, she shook her head saying she couldn’t understand the English.

I know that Jesus is in control, and I know that he knows exactly what he’s doing. But it was so hard. I was so frustrated and went into the bathroom and just cried. I want so very badly to tell my sweet friend about the hope and peace that I have in Jesus Christ, and I couldn’t do that. I’m praying desperately for more opportunities, a deeper understanding of one another, and God’s grace to reign supreme. I would be so glad if you came alongside me in those petitions.

The weekend was great and included much needed rest. This morning we got to spend some more time with Mr. Doug Gresham (son of C.S. Lewis!) and enjoyed wonderful conversation (such a wise man) (so many stories)!

Tonight we had the privilege of serving a local youth group in their weekly service. We led worship as a team (a beautiful experience in itself), and then I had the deep honor of teaching God’s word. It has truly captured my heart and I was more than delighted to serve them. God really blessed me with that opportunity and I am so thankful. It was such a neat experience with a
translator! The Spirit was surely with us!

I should be asleep by now…

Again, I treasure your prayers and I am so indebted to you! You can see more neat pictures on the team blog at: http://www.pbamaltateam.wordpress.com

Goodnight! :)

H, Coffee, and Motorcycle Rides in Malta: The Perfect Day

Friends,

We serve mighty and glorious God who loves us personally and intimately. Today I was amazed again by His precious love and the way that He speaks to me so sweetly. Refusing to allow me to stay in the place I am, He urges me ever onward until He is all I desire. Today was a manifestation of the divine at work and I am more than humbled to be a part of it.

Yes, I’m learning to find the beauty of the gospel wrapped in the package of the alphabet.

My morning in the first camp was lovely. Ruhia was there on time and ready to learn. I anxiously wrote the letters A through J, as we practiced yesterday, and hoped with every ounce of my being that H was retained in the night. A through G was perfect, and when I pointed to H she said, “X. No, H!”

HORRAYYY!!!!!!!!!

Let’s be honest, this sweet woman says X for everything (which is unfortunate because it’s probably the least used letter in the English alphabet!). But she remembered!!! Before I even had a chance to respond she was correcting herself. I’m so proud of her.

This precious heart might not hear an articulate gospel presentation from me, but I am confident that she will know the alphabet by the end of the week, and I’m beginning to see the gospel in that.

While riding the bus today I was reading Shaney’s book through email on my phone, while listening to Jay’s music. I can’t help but brag about how proud I am of my precious siblings. Kelly just got a wonderful job in the city of all of our dreams (and Jason’s reality..). They are each are so amazing and I’m incredibly proud to be their sister.

The day only got better from there. Yesterday I met Kradga (pronounced Kra-dee-ja) in the afternoon camp. She is very smart and learns so quickly. She also had one of the most beautiful smiles I’ve ever seen. We had such a fun time yesterday giggling and learning the alphabet.

Armed with her pen and journal, she arrived right on time and was so excited to learn. After successfully identifying letters, their sounds, and numbers, I decided to take her outside on a walk to learn things like sky, trees, leaves, etc. She grabbed my hand and held it as we walked. I picked her a pink flower to help identify plants and colors (and because I wanted her to know she was so loved).

There was a man in the camp and Kradga started talking to him. I came to learn that he is a good friend to many in the camp. He is from Algeria and he came to Malta to play football, sought refugee status and was accepted; he speaks English very well and was very kind to talk to. Kradga was talking to him in Maltese and pointing at me. He stopped and said, “She loves you very much!” (Oh, my heart!) She kept talking. He told me that she wanted to make us coffee in her home upstairs.

We went upstairs to her sweet little home. It is smaller than my living room in Towers, and the bedroom that she shares with two other women is separated from the “kitchen” by a sheet hanging from the dresser. It was both humble and humbling. She made three cups of coffee and we sat and talked.

Muhammad is Muslim, but told me that he has been attending church for many years to learn the difference between Christianity and Islam. He asked why I was in Malta and I told him that while I wanted to teach English, I more so want them to know the love and joy that I have found in Jesus Christ and how it had changed my life. He translated that for Kradga and she smiled and nodded her head. This was right about the time that she had to attend another lesson in the camp and we all left. What a great start to conversation about Christ!

Now, my favorite thing in the world is to make a pot of coffee and enjoy conversation with old (or new) friends. How absolutely lovely was it that I not only got to share my purpose for being there, but with a cup of coffee, in my new friend’s little home, by means of a personal (Muslim!) translator.

God is good. And He is sweet. And He knows our hearts so intimately. He knows what we need and how we need it and how we can be the means of simultaneously giving others what they need. It is too beautiful. Please let Him do that in your heart and life. He will show Himself holy to you. He will meet your needs and exceed your wildest dreams.

We met up for dinner in Valletta with the rest of the team (who goes to a different camp in the afternoon). Then we went to the prayer house for a weekly meeting. The Maltese church members prayed over our team and it was powerful and moving. My heart was rid of selfish desires and prideful tendencies. Forgiveness. Restoration. Love. Grace. Mercy. So underserved. My cup overflows.

As if this day wasn’t wonderful enough, Eve (our missionary) said that one team member would have to ride home with Ben (her husband)… on his motorcycle. Naturally, I volunteered for the adventure! I now understand why folks are so set on driving those ever so dangerous forms of transportation… it was SO dang fun!!!!

Ah. The perfect day.

I lay my head to rest with a full heart, anxiously awaiting the rest of our time. And I thank you profusely for keeping up with me. It means more than words in a blog could ever express.

God bless you precious people,
Jenn

The Letter H

In the weather report of my heart,  yesterday was dark and stormy with a high tornado warning and unstable shelter. Today, on the other hand, was sunny and warm with cotton candy clouds and a light breeze. Yesterday I went into the camps anticipating great conversations and gospel presentations. I was disappointed and discouraged when Ruhia couldn’t remember anything after the letter D.

As I was talking to Jesus last night He sweetly reminded me that this journey of faith is not short for a reason. I’m learning to be still and to be patient because He is preparing me for a future that only He knows. These lessons are precious and valuable and I don’t want to wish them away. I was refreshed and restored by my time with Him.

This morning, right before the students arrived for English lessons in the first camp, I read two emails (one from Mom and one from Dad) that were such a gift. Here’s a piece of what Daddy said:

“Jenn, I would give anything to go with you today and share the good news of our Redeemer to those in the camp. However I am once again finding that my position as a ransomed member of the house of God is to cheer you on. So sweet lady, today go strong, go bold, go totally abandoned to our Jesus. He alone will fill you with his PEACE and me with the JOY of knowing you serve our King with all your might.”

Saying I have the best parents on the planet is a gross understatement. For me to read this right before I entered a battle in which my adversary is seeking to steal, kill, and destroy every ounce of my joy and peace was a profound blessing.

I went into my work today ready to conquer the enemy and stand tall with hope. Wanting not to teach Ruhia the entire English language, but seeking only for progress. If I left today and she knew the letter E, I would be so satisfied. She arrived right on time and we began again with the alphabet. We learned all the way to J!!! Praise God!

Actually. That’s kind of a lie. We learned to J, not counting H. For a reason I simply cannot understand, this sweet Somalian woman can’t remember H to save her life. Having just gone through the process of learning Greek, I felt like I could understand the process of learning a little bit better (how neat for God to orchestrate that!). I was focusing on repetition, so I would write a letter on the little white board and have her say it. I started to do H every other letter because she knew the others so well. Y’all, H might as well have been Hebrew. She would look at it, (mind you: just moments after correctly identifying it) and with a blank stare say, “Um, X? No, M. No, S?” I almost giggled every time because it was so random! But rather than being frustrated (like yesterday…), I was hopeful and anxious for her to understand. Every time she correctly said “H” I would do cartwheels in my mind. I’m so proud of her progress and confident that she will know the alphabet before I return home!

Before I get hasty, tonight I am simply praying for the letter H. I might cry from excitement if I arrive tomorrow and she knows it. But even if she does not, I am thrilled for the opportunity to teach her the other letters.

That is just a snippet of what we experienced today. The stories we hear of their travel to Malta are mostly heartbreaking. So much turmoil and so much pain. Be in prayer for healing and restoration as they share these things with us.

So, dear friends, this is my mantra: I will go strong. I will go bold. And I will go totally abandoned to my sweet Jesus.

Thank you for committing to bring us before the throne. We truly need your prayers to carry us. I love y’all something fierce, and I’m so glad to be your sister and co-laborer!

Much, much love,
in Christ alone,
Jenn

p.s. here’s a picture of me and Ruhia learning our ABC’s! :) She’s lovely. There are more photos where you can see her sweet face, but right now I do not have access to them. They will come soon :)

Learning to Trust.

Hello sweet friends,

Today was our first official day of work in the camps. We were up pretty late last night preparing for our time over the next two weeks. Our main work is teaching English to refugees in various camps across Malta.

We were all in the same camp this morning teaching English one-on-one. The boys were in one room and the girls in another, while a couple of the girls babysat the sweet little children of our students.

I was anticipating that the students would have at least a basic understanding of English, and we would just teach them new vocabulary, American slang, and some conversational phrases perhaps. All with the hope that through our conversation we would have the opportunity to share the gospel with them. Some of the students were at that level and neat relationships began, but others unfortunately were not.

I was super discouraged today by the lack of understanding that my student had. It truly would not have been much different if I had walked into a village in Somalia and tried to communicate with a woman there. The only English she knew was “A, B, C, D.” She guessed pretty much every other letter to be E or X. She could repeat anything I said, but she didn’t know what any of it meant. I would say, “You are Ruhia.” She would repeat, “You are Ruhia.” “No, I am Yenni (foreigners always default Jennifer to Yenni, not matter how many times I sound out “Jennifer”.. I figured I’d save the struggle), you are Ruhia.” “I am Yenni, you are Ruhia.” was her retort. See what I mean? It was just frustrating because she genuinely doesn’t know anything and she can’t do anything about it.

Ruhia is from Somali and has been in Malta for about 5 months. She has a six month old son who was born on the boat on her way here.

When refugees arrive they are placed in a closed camp (detention center) while they defend their reason for being here. You are allowed to seek refuge in another country from a war torn country or if you are suffering from religious persecution. Aka: you can’t leave just because you “want a better life.” When they arrive here they have to prove that they have a valid reason for being in Malta. They are also fingerprinted upon arrival. If they end up somewhere else they are sent back to Malta (or wherever they were fingerprinted).

It is so difficult to attempt to teach someone with no common foundation of language at all. I wish so badly I that could learn Somali overnight. I wish I was a better communicator.

I desperately want the opportunity to tell her about Jesus and the beautiful hope that I have in Him. I want her to understand Him and experience His love and right now none of that is possible. One of my teammates was sweet to remind me that she IS seeing Jesus through my patience and love. That will have to be enough for now.

I humbly ask that you would pray against the spirit of discouragement that fights to overpower my joy. Please pray that I will be content loving on these women by teaching them the alphabet and how to say their names. Please pray that I would have patience and trust. (I am quite certain that the Lord is preparing me for a time in life where I will need to display a mighty amount of trust and faith in Him. Just about every lesson in my life right now is focused on learning to trust Him without answers. I’m anxious to see what He is preparing me for.)

I wish I could express in words how deeply grateful and thankful I am for you prayers. They mean SO much to me.

Much love and only in the power of my precious Savior,

Yenni

Cliff Jumping, The 3rd Bravest Man & Rooftop Sunset

Hi hi!

Both yesterday and today were laid back and lovely. Yesterday morning we went for a walk and discovered the most amazing field of wildflowers my little eyes have ever seen!!! Yellow, red, and white sprinkled in a field of green. It was glorious.

We are building relationships with the camps that we are serving in, so Hannah, Jordan, and Nathan went in with Eve today to meet with one of the women. They had a great meeting and it made us very excited for the days we will be serving them (Monday-Friday for the next two weeks!).

While they were at their meeting, we decided to explore the city on foot. We walked through the winding streets of this beautiful town and eventually found our way back.

We had some time in the afternoon to read and journal before leaving for our evening activity: CLIFF JUMPING.

That’s right, sweet folks! We went to the most amazing water hole and jumped off a cliff into the crystal clear, frigid water. We watched the sunset (my all-time favorite activity) from the top of the cliff. I’ve never seen a prettier golden hour!!!

Then we ordered pizza (a fiasco to say the least, but they finally arrived!). We enjoyed dinner by the water with the perfect breeze, we played on a teeter totter and on the swings.

At the urging of Elijah, Ben & Eve’s 5-year-old son, Jordan caught a jelly fish in a cup. After accomplishing this great feat, Elijah declared that Jordan was the 3rd bravest man he knew (next to God and Jesus, of course!). It was too cute :)

Today we got to go into the refugee camps where we will be serving next week to sign papers and see a tour of the campus. It stirred our hearts for what God is going to allow us to do. The people are more than broken, and already skeptical of a short term team, so PLEASE pray that Yahweh would soften hearts and allow us to build meaningful relationships. We are confident that He will do so, and we are anxious to begin serving them!

After visiting the camps, we took a bus into Valletta, the capital city. Y’all, it was stunning. We’re on a very small island and so we see the Sea everywhereee we go. It was just amazing to overlook the city, surrounded by water. We ordered chocolate filled donuts and latte macchiatos and enjoyed one another’s company for the perfect amount of time. We love seeing different parts of the city before our true ministry begins on Monday, and there is absolutely nothing sweeter to me than growing in love for one another as we talk about the passions that Jesus has given us.

After coffee we wandered the historic streets when we found an easily accessible roof top. Naturally, we climbed up and we found the most amazing view of Valletta. We also found the Valletta F.C. “football” (hint: we’re in Europe) team practicing for the championship game tomorrow (that we might be able to go see!!). We found a shop for dinner and, after eating, we took dessert back to the rooftop where we watched the sunset below the beautiful lights of a city coming alive.

We have been absolutely spoiled this far, but we know the real challenge will soon begin as we seek desperately to show the love of Jesus to the displaced Africans leaving in this land.

I love you and I thank you endlessly for covering me and my precious team with your prayers.

in Christ alone,
Jenn

p.s. Don’t forget you can follow our team blog at: PBA Malta Team

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Showing Us to Show Them

Greetings from the Mediterranean!

Our travel time was lovely. We slept on and off, laughed a lot, and took silly pictures as we traveled from PBA to Miami to Madrid to Rome (where we almost went into the city for part of our 5 hour layover, but opted out for the sake of saving money) and finally: to Malta. It’s a little bit chilly and absolutely beautiful here. The sunset from the plane was arguably one of the most beautiful I’ve seen. The entire sky was lit up in an electric combination of pink, orange, and purple. Glorious.

When we arrived in Rome we had to collect our luggage and go through the whole process again on Air Malta. The problem was that some of our bags were over weight with supplies and were hoping that wouldn’t need to pay an extra fee again when we checked them for our final flight. Hannah’s bag wasn’t charged extra, which was such a blessing. But when Nathan (PBA professor traveling with us) tried to recheck the soccer goals that we brought, they said it would cost almost $300.

Yikes. Not expecting that.

While Nathan was trying to reason with the attendant that weight is dispersed between our other bags, he asked us to pray. Pray for favor. For grace. For anything. And so we did.

As someone else was praying aloud, I was quietly battling with God. “Lord, we are going to serve YOU! We are going to show Your glory to the refugees in Malta. I know that You can do anything- including waiving these fees. Won’t You please do it so they can see You??”

The moment two of our team members finished praying, Nathan walked up and announced that she waived the fee. Absolutely no cost. Beautiful, huh?

I was processing as we proceeded on through security and to our gate. I was reminded that very often WE need to see His glory afresh before we go and tell about it. I know with every fiber of my being that He is good and glorious, but I don’t see glorious things every day. Maybe it’s because I don’t look for it enough, but it was certainly sweet to see Him display His might as He sends us forth to proclaim that might to the nations.

There are already more stories to tell, but we’re exhausted from 24 hours of travel…

I love y’all, and I covet your prayers ever still.

in Christ alone,
Jenn

p.s. Here is a picture of the lovely sunset…

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The Island Was Called Malta

Well, friends, I’m a graduate of Palm Beach Atlantic University! I can hardly believe how quickly the last four years have gone by. I am blessed beyond measure as I reflect on my time at PBA and the way that Jesus allowed me to serve Him as I studied and learned.

My heart has always had a pull to go overseas and serve Jesus in a culture different from my own. I’m thankful for the ministry I have in this country, and I am certain that it is in this place that God has called me to work tirelessly for the proclamation of His glory and His goodness. Yet still, I am burdened to go as often as I can for as long as I can.

I am thankful, humbled, and grateful that this is one of those times. Tomorrow morning I embark on a journey to the Mediterranean Sea. Lately, my favorite verse has been Acts 28:1-2, which reads, “Once safely on shore, we found out that the island was called Malta. The islanders showed us unusual kindness. They built a fire and welcomed us all because it was raining and cold.”

Paul visited this island on his third missionary journey and I am simply tickled, and honestly a little bit giddy, that it was recorded in Scripture!

My team of ten is traveling to serve in a camp of African refugees. Thousands of people are trying to escape the turmoil in Africa, and Malta often becomes the (unwanted) pit stop for many on their trek to Europe.

We will be staying in a 24 hour prayer house and traveling into the refugee camp each day to teach English and love on people who are displaced and without hope. There is much work to be done and I earnestly ask for you to come along side this mission with your prayers and petitions.

Here are some specific requests:

1. This morning we received word that the Maltese Police Department is requiring a background check for each person on my team. This is a minor set back, and shouldn’t prove to be a problem, but please pray that these checks will go through without any issue so that we can smoothly enter the country tomorrow evening.

2. Language barrier – We will have some translators going with us into the camps, but we desperately need the Lord to intervene in this way. We want so badly so share the love of Jesus with these people, but unless we are able to communicate with them it can’t happen. I believe with every ounce of my being that Jesus can [and will] break down those walls. Would you ask Him with me?

3. The vast majority of the people we will serve are Muslim. It is necessary for us to embody
1 Peter 3:15
and declare the hope that we have with “gentleness and respect.” I feel like there is often a great pressure for short-term missionaries to return home with numbers of converts: “So, how many people got saved?” If we go with this mentality we will certainly do more harm than good. Please pray that God will give us the grace to speak winsomely as we share His goodness.

4. Team unity – Please, please pray that our team will continue in the blessed friendships that we have been able to form. God has been so gracious to allow us that closeness, but I know the attacks will start the moment we leave for the airport.

5. Boldness – Pray that we will share at every opportunity we are given. Conduct yourselves with wisdom toward outsiders, making the most of the opportunity. Let your speech always be with grace, as though seasoned with salt, so that you will know how you should respond to each person. ((Colossians 4:5-6)) Please pray this over my team.

6. Leadership & missionary contacts – Jordan and Hannah are our student team leaders. Please pray that God would give them a humble confidence in the fact that He has called them to lead our team. Pray that He would give them wisdom and guidance at every moment. Pray also for Ben and Eve, the missionaries that we are traveling to serve alongside.

7. Safety – Knowing without a doubt that Jesus has called me to this trip, I am certain that I will be safer in Malta for the next three weeks than I would be roaming around on “summer vacation” anywhere in America. Where He has called me is where I want to be. With that being said, my desire for “safety” is more so a desire that we would remain in His will the entire time, for I am confident that there is no safer place.

8. Last, but certainly not least, I beg you to petition the Lord for the hearts of the Maltese people. Our trip is pointless if the gospel of Jesus Christ is not proclaimed. I rest in the confidence of Isaiah 55:8-11 –

“’For my thoughts are not your thoughts,
neither are your ways my ways,’ declares the Lord. “As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways
and my thoughts than your thoughts. As the rain and the snow
come down from heaven,
and do not return to it
without watering the earth
and making it bud and flourish, so that it yields seed for the sower and bread for the eater, so is my word that goes out from my mouth: It will not return to me empty, 
but will accomplish what I desire
and achieve the purpose for which I sent it.

His purposes will prevail; I have no doubt. Please join me in asking Jesus to move in them and to draw them to His name. I care nothing if we see the fruit of this trip on this earth as long as I know that His word has gone forth.

I am hoping that I will have the opportunity to update you from Malta. If that is so, I will be asking you to petition consistently.

I love you deeply, and I treasure you for praying me through this journey. May His name be glorified above ALL else.

In Christ alone,
Jennifer