April 2017 Prayer Letter

 

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April 2017

Tara Orley, a nurse from Anchorage, and I recently returned from a trip to Liberia.  It was a fruitful trip, and I was happy to have a buddy along.  We covered a lot of territory, mostly on foot.  We visited 9 of the 16 Kuwaa villages over a period of about 2 weeks.  There will be info on the website and facebook, with lots of photos.  I can’t cover it all here.

We did another Children’s Bible School this year, since it has been so popular in the past.  There were 158 children in attendance for 2 afternoons as lessons were taught about David and Goliath and about Jesus’ love for children.  They memorized Bible verses, sang songs, had snacks, and received school supplies.  The popcorn snack and crayons were a new experience for most of them; they had never seen them before.  We also brought pencils and the essential sharpeners, so that they will quit using razor blades to sharpen pencils.

Tara did workshops at the Fassama and Kondesu Clinics, and several general sanitation workshops.  She brought much needed supplies to the clinics.  We are so thankful to Providence Hospital of Anchorage for the donations!  The Kuwaa people are overjoyed about the new clinic at Kondesu.  They are fully staffed and helping 30 to 40 patients per week.  Although the Liberia Ministry of Health has taken over general operation of the clinic, the Kuwaa Mission helps with additional supplies and transportation.  We really appreciate the sacrifice that the nurse, head midwife, and other clinic staff are making to serve in such a remote area.  Many of their families live elsewhere.

New water wells are being dug, and one was completed in Kalata while we were there.  Kalata is a village of more than 1000 people, and they previously only had one well to serve everyone.  Of course, that is not enough, so they are now blessed to have 2 wells.  The water from these wells is clean enough to drink.  The people are also trained in how to maintain the wells and pumps at a hands-on workshop.

In Monrovia, we were invited to a lunch that Bishop Jensen and the church leaders gave for several volunteers from various organizations around the world.  They expressed their thanks to us for coming, and we talked about the various projects we were doing.  The Bishop said that we don’t really have to do much more than show up.  We don’t have to work hard.  Just the fact that we are willing to travel the long distance and live in the uncomfortable conditions that are a daily reality for Liberians, shows that we love them.  We suffer from the heat and lack of electricity, and deal with the many frustrations and challenges that are all too common to Liberians.  The Liberian people know that we come because we love them.  We are all God’s children, and our presence is an indication of the love we have for them.

The Liberian people also return that love to us in many ways.  They are so welcoming.  When Tara and I arrived, people came from across town to welcome us.  One good friend brought gifts of watermelon, cucumbers, oranges, a papaya, and pineapple.  That’s a special treat when you come from the cold winter weather of Alaska and Montana.  They all made sure we were fed and well cared for, with things like water for the bath, rice and soup, and a place to sleep.  They do all that they can to keep us healthy and safe.

I am thankful that I was able to make another trip to the welcoming and loving Kuwaa People.  Our projects are going well, and the Mission is doing great things, thanks to all of you for your prayers and financial support.  I also want to thank all of you for your prayers for those of us that travel to Liberia.  They mean a lot to us.

Please join me in prayer:

Loving and gracious God,

We thank you for the rich and welcoming spirit of the Liberian people.  We know that you are with them through the trials of their daily lives.  Keep them close to our hearts, oh Lord, and help us to learn from their deep and sustaining faith.  We ask for safety and good health for the workers digging wells and doing the other projects of the Kuwaa Mission.  We ask for peace in the country, as they have national elections this year.  Guide and protect us all, and help us remember that we are all brothers and sisters in You.                        

Amen.

Cindy Bye

 Your contributions to The Kuwaa Mission are tax-deductible.  We are a 501c3 non-profit organization.  Our Tax ID number is 27-5458111

Donations can be given in two ways:

1.   Make out check to: The Kuwaa Mission  (send to Bethany Lutheran Church (see below))

2.   Go to the Kuwaa Mission Website at www.kuwaamission.orguse PayPal to make a one time or automatic monthly donation

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The Kuwaa Missionc/o Bethany Lutheran Church,  1340 8th Street,  Slidell, LA 70458 www.bethanyslidell.org

 

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In Memory of Chris Kowula

Chris Kowula – Bringing God’s Word to His People

I met Chris in 1975 at the Vacation Institute for Training in Applied Linguistics held at the University of Liberia by The Institute for Liberian Languages. God pricked his heart about Linguistics. He fell in love with it and wanted to bring God’s Word to his people. In 1976 he began working with the Kuwaa Translation Team. He was a quick study and by 1980 the first draft of the Kuwaa Bible translation was completed.

From 1980 on for some time, Chris was persecuted for his faith and thrown in jail. During that time he taught Bible studies to his fellow inmates. When he was freed he began studying for the ministry. He didn’t want to become a pastor, he wanted the knowledge to help him finish the editing of the Kuwaa Bible with Rev. Dale Federwitz. He had a rough life during the 14 year Civil War, being in and out of prison because he stood up for his faith.

In 2007 The Kuwaa Mission was established by Rev. Dr. Jensen Seyenkulo and Rev. Dr. Richard Thompson. It was a mission to help the Kuwaao get back on their feet after the rebel forces destroyed the Kuwaa Chiefdom. In 2008 Jenson and I asked Chris to work with the Mission. He served as Field Director for two years. Shortly thereafter he met 3 of the Kuwaa Mission’s volunteers – Stan Olsen who now leads the Mission, Cindy Bye and her daughter, Becky.

Shortly thereafter he became Translation and Literacy Director for the Lutheran Church in Liberia. He was back working with his first love, Translation and Literacy, until he went to gather leaves with Jesus where he will suffer no more.

He and his faithful and loving wife, Jàngá were married in the 70s.  She stayed by his side through the years of turmoil. One of their children, Ester, studied to become a licensed mid-wife. She is now serving in a Kuwaa Mission built hospital a Kuwaa town, Kondesu.

Chris also served the Christians in the Kuwaa Chiefdom as a part time pastor. Whenever he was upcountry he would hold worship services and distribute Holy Communion.

Thanks be to God for the wonderful gift he gave to us. Chris was truly a great blessing to the Kuwaa Translation Mission and the Kuwaa Lutheran Mission. He was a tremendous blessing to his family, and a wonderful blessing to me.

We’ve come this far by faith, leaning on the lord; trusting in his holy word, he has never failed us. Oh, we can’t turn back, we’ve come this far by faith. We’ve come this far by faith. Just remember the good things god has done, things that seemed impossible; oh, praise him for the victory he has won. (“We’ve Come this Far by Faith” by Albert A. Goodson, 1965)

Please join us in prayer for Chris’ family and for his brothers and sisters in the LCL.

In Christ’s love, your brother & Co-Founder of the Kuwaa Mission,

Rev. Dr. Richard Thompson

 Your contributions to The Kuwaa Mission are tax-deductible.  We are a 501c3 non-profit organization.  Our Tax ID number is 27-5458111

Donations can be given in two ways:

1.   Make out check to: The Kuwaa Mission  (send to Bethany Lutheran Church (see below))

2.   Go to the Kuwaa Mission Website at www.kuwaamission.orguse PayPal to make a one time or automatic monthly donation

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The Kuwaa Missionc/o Bethany Lutheran Church,  1340 8th Street,  Slidell, LA 70458 www.bethanyslidell.org

 

Villagers Appreciation

The Kuwaa Mission received this letter, relayed via email, from the Kuwaa Villagers expressing their appreciation for our work for their people.  It is sent as received without the corrections that we would normally use.  As you can see, our work is possible only with your financial and prayer support.  It is making a very positive difference in their lives.  I thank you for your continued support.

Stan Olsen, CEO

 

Dear Mr. Olsen

your message  to the citizen of Gbarpolu Belle District#3 was received with great respect and honor.

The citizens have agreed in words to continue to work along with us in rehabilitating their bridges, constrcting their wells, attending sanitation and Nursing workshop that will be coming soon. They have received written and radio message. Murphe Zado; one of our mission brother just returned with the message response from the people yesterday.

I believe we will all work together. I am also suggesting that we put up a billboard at the junction to Kondesu in Fassa for the 32 bridges rehabilitation and Clinic project in Kondesu. If the mission will agree with this idea, please write back and give me the wordings that will be carried on this billboard. I will send you information about the cost and transportation.

Please be aware that (politicians) will want to interfere with our work as we have experienced from the past. The Kondesu Clinic is making impact on the lives of citizens coming from far and near to be specific Lofa County. According to information gathered from Murphe, people are also leaving from Fassama to Kondesu for treatment.

Now I see that your ideas and humanitarian works are helping hundreds of families in a thousand. As I witness, see and hear this news, I feel very great and proud to always be a part of such a great Humanitarian family mission.

I feel blessed a lot, Stan.

thanks in advance

January 2017 Prayer Letter

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January 2017

Happy New Year! As we look forward to 2017 we ask for your continued support and prayers as our work continues in Liberia.

Romans 12:4-5

“For as in one body we have many members, and all the members do not have the same function, so we, who are many, are one body in Christ, and individually we are members one of another.”

We have our most ambitious work program yet planned for this year.  We will be installing 6 new wells and doing repairs on 3 other wells.  We are installing 3 wells in Fassama, the largest city in the area, as a result of a grant we received from Water Hope.  We will also install one well in each of the villages of Kalata, Sasasu and Kpaulazu.

In addition to installing and repairing these wells we will be holding a week long workshop to teach youth, men and women, in the village how to maintain their new well.  It’s a simple process but one that they need training in, and that the village elders need to buy into to actually allow these trainees to perform the simple maintenance on the wells.

We are also very excited to be holding a Children’s Bible School (CBS): It will be held in Kalata and we are expecting around 200 children to attend.  The lessons will be from the Old Testament probably David & Goliath, or Daniel.  This program is very popular with children and adults alike.

Based on the UNICEF program “Community Led Total Sanitation” we will be conducting several one day sanitation workshops led by our Liberian facilitator in several of the villages. The goal is to visit the positive as well as negative sanitation practices in the village.  Ultimately we hope the women, who are the main movers and shakers for getting things done, will realize why they should not have feces, both human and animal, spread widely around the village.  Secondly, to get them to realize that the people in the village can take steps on their own to control this problem, mainly by building outhouses.  We provide them with a pick and shovel.  A couple months later our facilitator will return to check on their progress.  Hopefully as more villages participate the lessons will be transferred by women from one village to another without our assistance.

Finally, in an attempt to keep the news of our mission in front of our supporters we are developing a congregational representative contact program. Please consider becoming the representative for your congregation. Please contact Karen Voris at kvoris@kuwaamission.org for more information.

 As we embrace 2017 we give thanks for your involvement in our mission.

 Your sister in Christ,

 Karen Voris

 Your contributions to The Kuwaa Mission are tax-deductible.  We are a 501c3 non-profit organization.  Our Tax ID number is 27-5458111

Donations can be given in two ways:

1.   Make out check to: The Kuwaa Mission  (send to Bethany Lutheran Church (see below))

2.   Go to the Kuwaa Mission Website at www.kuwaamission.orguse PayPal to make a one time or automatic monthly donation

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The Kuwaa Missionc/o Bethany Lutheran Church,  1340 8th Street,  Slidell, LA 70458 www.bethanyslidell.org

 

October 2016 Prayer Letter

October 2016 Prayer Letter

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September/October 2016

            The Kuwaa Mission would like to thank our many supporters – individuals, couples, families and congregations for your prayers and financial contributions.  We would like to take this opportunity to suggest other ways you can assist the Kuwaa Mission and the Kuwaa people.

            We are so grateful for the efforts of those who represent the Kuwaa Mission to their congregations.  Congregational representatives tell the story of the Kuwaa Mission to their fellow members and encourage special offerings and events to raise money for specific projects such as a well or children’s bible school.  If you would like to help us with this, please contact our board member Karen Voris at Karen.Voris@kuwaamission.org   As a congregational representative, you could inform your members of these other ways to help:

            If you have insurance through Thrivent, you can help the Kuwaa people by choosing the Kuwaa Mission for their Thrivent Choice dollars program.  Thrivent has provided over 300 million dollars to charities since 2010.  Go to this website: https://www.thrivent.com/making-a-difference/living-generously/thrivent-choice/ and choose the “Kuwaa Mission” to help us receive these funds through Thrivent.

           Another opportunity to assist the Kuwaa Mission is every time you do your online shopping with Amazon.   For eligible purchases, the Kuwaa Mission receives .05% of your payment.  You order through smile.amazon.com – same products and prices  – but we get a small portion as a donation from Amazon.  For more information, and to register the Kuwaa Mission as your charity, please go to this website: https://smile.amazon.com/gp/aw/ch/about

Our “Kondesu Clinic” that we constructed two years ago is fully functional and supported by the Liberian Ministry of Health.  Due to funding problems from the national ministry, as is typical of all Liberian Ministries from the national government, the clinic does not receive supplies and medicines as frequently as needed.  Please help us buy supplies and medicines in Liberia to take to the clinic please mark your gift “Clinic Supplies”.  Our website: www.kuwaamission.org has all the information as to where to send your support.   Thank you!

          We covet your prayers!  Please pray for the Kuwaa Mission  – that our work with the Kuwaa people continues in Liberia with safe travel and sufficient travel funding.  Please pray for healing for Rev. Richard Thompson, a founding member of the Kuwaa Mission.  Please pray for the Kuwaa people and all the citizens of Liberia that they continue to be free of Ebola and that they receive increased resources for clean water and medical care.  Please pray that the Living Water, Jesus Christ, is accepted into their lives and hearts.

            We thank God for you – for your heartfelt prayers and generous support.

            Jenny Cosgrove for the Kuwaa Mission

 Your contributions to The Kuwaa Mission are tax-deductible.  We are a 501c3 non-profit organization.  Our Tax ID number is 27-5458111

Donations can be given in two ways:

1.   Make out check to: The Kuwaa Mission  (send to Bethany Lutheran Church (see below))

2.   Go to the Kuwaa Mission Website at www.kuwaamission.orguse PayPal to make a one time or automatic monthly donation

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The Kuwaa Missionc/o Bethany Lutheran Church,  1340 8th Street,  Slidell, LA 70458 www.bethanyslidell.org

 

How much do you like your coffee?

While I really enjoy my cup of coffee in the morning I can honestly say I have never bought a cup at one of the many drive thru coffee shops.  They seem to sprout like rabbits, especially here in Anchorage, AK.  Therefore I can also say that I don’t really know how much one costs.  I am willing to bet that many people buy more than one per day.

Assuming that one costs $2.00 (and I bet it’s more than that) buying one cup a day for just the normal work week the cost is $10.  Projecting that over a 50 week year (I’ll give you a break for vacation) you’ve spent $500 just for coffee!!  We have well over 100 individual donors and if everyone spent that much for coffee the cost would be $50,000!! Just think how many people could have life saving clean water for $50,000.

Historically over the past 7 years a typical well for us to install in remote tropical Liberia is in the vicinity of $9000 depending on transportation which is our single largest expense.  The population of most of the villages we are working in is in the 500-700 range.  $50,000 would then give life giving water via nearly 6 wells to an average of 600 people per town or a total of 3,600 people.  For just one year this is 1,314,000 servings of clean potable, and palatable, water.  Or just over $0.03 per serving.  WHAT IS YOUR WATER BILL??

I’m not asking you give up your coffee but I do ask you to consider how far your donation to providing clean water goes.  We have NO overhead, all our income goes directly to supporting our programs in Liberia.  Please prayerfully consider making a donation to help us provide this life saving water.

Thank you,

Stan Olsen

CEO Kuwaa Mission

Thank You to WaterHope!

The Kuwaa Mission just received word that we have been approved by Water Hope to receive a grant to install three wells this year.  This is great news and the first grant that we have been approved for.  Water Hope is an organization that not only funds work done by other NGO’s but also does their own work internationally providing safe drinking water.

We are very proud and thankful for this grant and hope to partner with Water Hope in years to come.  Please check out their website at www.waterhope.org.

Greetings From Liberia!

On Saturday, October 8, there is an opportunity for the world-wide Lutheran church.  The Mission EinWelt (Mission One World) of the German church is sponsoring a virtual church gathering featuring Lutheran leaders from all over the world.

The Lutheran Church in Liberia is one of two churches from the continent of Africa who are presenting at this event. The event runs all day and can be accessed on the internet.

From the Lutheran Church in Liberia,  participants will be Rev. D. Jensen Seyenkulo,  Bishop of the LCL;  Rev. Xaster Yarkpazuo,  Pastor of St. Andrew’s Lutheran Church, Monrovia (where I serve as Associate Pastor),  and Rev. Oretha Miller Davis, Senior Pastor of the St. Matthew’s Lutheran Parish,  Monrovia.

I invite you to get a group together and participate in this event—-or participate in it yourself.  It promises to be a great worship experience and a chance to learn and engage with Lutherans from other contexts.

Here is the website.  It will tell you what time the events of the virtual church festival are happening in your area of the world.

www.churchfestival.org

Blessings on your work–and on your weekend!

Rev. Linda Johnson Seyenkulo
ELCA Missionary
Curriculum Developer/Trainer
Louis T. Bowers Lay Leaders and Ministers Training Center
Associate Pastor, St. Andrew’s Lutheran Church
Totota,Liberia and Monrovia, Liberia

August 2016 Prayer Letter

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August 2016

As the summer draws to a close we at the Kuwaa Mission hope that you had an enjoyable summer and were able to spend some quality family time and enjoy God’s great outdoors.

The Board of the Kuwaa Mission greatly appreciates all the support that we have received over the past year.  July marked the beginning of a new fiscal year for us and as a result of matching funds from employers we start this year on a very sound fiscal footing.  As you consider your financial gifts to the Kuwaa Mission please check with your employer to see if they have matching funds program.  We are a 501c3 organization with the IRS and can provide you, or your employer, with any information required.  This program makes a huge difference in the amount of work we are able to do to serve the Kuwaa people.

I also ask each of you to consider being a “Mission Member” in your congregation.  As a “Mission Member” we ask you to carry the Kuwaa Mission program directly and frequently to your congregation by speaking about the work we have accomplished, our financial needs, and the programming we have planned for upcoming seasons.  We will provide you with brochures, videos, fundraising ideas and all the prayer support one could ask for.  We do receive good congregational support from congregations across the US but we need to increase this support base.  While we realize that much of our individual support comes through the local congregation we also have a line item in our budget for “congregational support” and we are looking to increase our financial support here as well.  As a “Mission Member” we also ask you to visit other congregations in your geographical area and spread the word about the Kuwaa Mission.  There are many congregations that have a mission program, or would like to start one, and just need a bit of direction.  Every new congregation that supports our work is a valuable member of our team.  Please contact our congregational coordinator: Karen Voris at kvoris@kuwaamission.org and we will work with you to serve the Kuwaa people.

Many, if not most, of you receiving this newsletter use “Facebook”.  Please consider passing on the work of the Kuwaa Mission to your “friends”.  The Kuwaa Mission website receives many “hits” and the more “hits” we receive the more support we will receive, both financial and prayer support.

This coming work season in Liberia I will be travelling into the Kuwaa area with the Bishop of the Lutheran Church in Liberia, Rev. Dr. Daniel Jensen Seyenkulo, and meeting with the Kuwaa tribal leaders and the local commissioner to thank them for the support we have been given and to work with them to increase the support base with the people.  Rev. Seyenkulo is one of the founders of the Kuwaa Mission and it is through our excellent relationship with the Lutheran Church in Liberia (LCL) that we have been able to reach out to so many Liberians.  Bishop Seyenkulo thanked me today for all the support we have been able to provide to the Kuwaa people working with and through the LCL. It is because of people like you that we have accomplished so much.

 Thank you again for your support and please contact Karen Voris for additional information on how you can become a “Mission Member”.

Stan Olsen, CEO Kuwaa Mission

 Your contributions to The Kuwaa Mission are tax-deductible.  We are a 501c3 non-profit organization.  Our Tax ID number is 27-5458111

Donations can be given in two ways:

1.   Make out check to: The Kuwaa Mission  (send to Bethany Lutheran Church (see below))

2.   Go to the Kuwaa Mission Website at www.kuwaamission.orguse PayPal to make a one time or automatic monthly donation

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The Kuwaa Missionc/o Bethany Lutheran Church,  1340 8th Street,  Slidell, LA 70458 www.bethanyslidell.org

 

July 2016 Prayer Letter

July 2016 Prayer Letter

 

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July 2016

THE KUWAA MISSION – KIDS4KUWAA PROJECT

Fall will soon be upon us and many Sunday Schools and Christian Schools will be selecting some of the missions that they will pray for and support this coming school year. If you are looking for a children’s mission project, Kids4Kuwaa in Liberia would be an excellent choice to consider and pray about. They need our prayers and support.

Consider that half the children in Liberia die before they reach the age of 10. Many die due to childhood and tropical diseases along with malnutrition. Children must pay to go to school and they must have uniforms or they cannot attend. They need school supplies. Their desks are often just wooden planks. Kuwaa children live in remote villages. Only a very few are on the motor road so there is limited schooling and even more limited medical facilities and help.

These factors are currently being addressed by the Kuwaa Mission. We and our supporters have built a clinic in Kondesu which is staffed by a nurse that attended nursing school with our scholarship help. We currently have helped to build and repair bridges that allow for easier transportation by motor bike or by foot to the farthest villages. We are currently seeking information from the Dept of Education in Liberia so that we can assist the teachers to get better training with workshops we can provide.

Kids4Kuwaa was the idea of a young Lutheran girl in Alaska who had a heart for these very children. She collected “noisy” offerings in her church services in little tin pails. Since then the Kuwaa Mission has promoted Kids4Kuwaa within Sunday Schools and Christian Schools.The Liberian children deserve to live longer, be healthy, and a quality education. They are the future leaders of the Lutheran church and Liberia.

To assist you with this project, we have a children’s Liberian Coloring book for you to photocopy and colorful bookmarks for the children.  Please contact us if you would like to have any or both of these items for your mission project this coming school year.

Diane Stelling

dstelling@kuwaamission.org

Kuwaa Mission Board Member

 Your contributions to The Kuwaa Mission are tax-deductible.  We are a 501c3 non-profit organization.  Our Tax ID number is 27-5458111

Donations can be given in two ways:

1.   Make out check to: The Kuwaa Mission  (send to Bethany Lutheran Church (see below))

2.   Go to the Kuwaa Mission Website at www.kuwaamission.orguse PayPal to make a one time or automatic monthly donation

PDF Versions

MS Word Versions

Unsubscribe – Edit your subscription

The Kuwaa Missionc/o Bethany Lutheran Church,  1340 8th Street,  Slidell, LA 70458 www.bethanyslidell.org