LIFE at Wheaton Bible Church

Home of Wheaton Bible Church's Quarterly Magazine

Notes and News from Our Missionaries

WBC is a sending church! Over the past 8 decades, 480 individuals from our church have become global missionaries. We currently support 94 couples and singles in 40 nations; literally, the sun never sets on WBC’s involvement in reaching the world! Take a moment to be informed—and inspired—by the significant things your partners in mission are doing.

—Bill Oberlin, WBC Pastor of Global Outreach

Mark and Tammy Ruch, Serving with Wycliffe Bible Translators in the Philippines

Tammy works as a Language Program Coordinator for the Ayta Cluster, a group of related languages into which the Scriptures are being translated by mother-tongue speakers of those languages. The Ayta are a marginalized people of the Philippines, many of whom are not yet literate, yet they are the ones learning how to translate the Scriptures—no easy task!

Recently the Ayta Abellen team received a consultant evaluation calling their translation “one of the best in the Philippines.” Roger, the translation coordinator, attributes this to God’s special anointing on one of the team members. Here’s his story:

“Back in November 2010, the Ayta Abellen team was introduced to the concept of oral retelling, in which the team reads a portion of their draft to someone, who then “retells” it. Then the team compares what was retold with the original draft. Often the “retold” version is more natural than the primary version, and so the team adjusts their draft.”

Carmelita and Rodante

Gifted “reteller” Carmelita and her brother, Rodante, also a member of the Ayta Abellen translation team.

“Carmelita is a unique member of the translation team (having previously been delivered from a life as a spirit medium and now puts her faith in Christ). The oral retelling process has brought forth skills we never knew she had. When she is the one retelling, it sometimes takes peoples’ breath away as they listen to her speaking God’s words. There is a creativity and an explosive naturalness that astounds the listeners. Carmelita’s oral retelling has become vital to our translation process.”“I was intrigued to learn that Carmelita is not known as a storyteller. Two other members of the team have natural gifts for storytelling. They start telling stories, and people will gather around to listen. But that is not the case with Carmelita. It seems that she becomes a great communicator only when she is retelling Scripture.”

“So if Carmelita’s amazing retelling comes not from natural storytelling ability and not from advanced education (she only finished second grade), then where does it come from? We’re now beginning to realize that she has a special anointing to retell the translation in a flowing, living way. Thus, when the translation receives praise, it is not a reflection on myself or even on Carmelita, but rather on our Lord, who empowers her to speak His words with such clarity and authority. To Him be all the praise and honor!”

Lance and Julie Clemens in Europe with GEM

This last year we witnessed explosive growth in the number of disciples and churches in Bulgaria. Results of the past six months:

  • 90 new believers springing from discipleship groups (T4T groups) all over Bulgaria
  • 40 baptisms since July (including some former Muslims)
  • national partners vision-casting to church leaders and other organizations like the Gideons and the Bible League to advance boldly
  • disciple-making groups multiplying as the Lord raises up more workers for the harvest
  • new groups producing other new groups as attention is given to prayer, practice, and accountability
  • disciples stepping forward to go as missionaries to Eurasia and Turkey

Tom and Margaret Petty

Tom and Margaret Petty

Tom and Margaret Petty

After 38 (Tom) and 35 (Margaret) years with Greater Europe Mission, we take a major step in our personal journey, changing from being full-time staff with GEM to associate staff. Although we will no longer receive salary and benefits, we will maintain a ministry account with GEM from which we can draw for specific ministry expenses. We already envision several immediate projects, including a return to France in February/March for teaching at the seminary in Aix-en-Provence.

There are not sufficient words to express our deep gratitude to the friends, prayer warriors, and supporters of WBC throughout these years, a truly wonderful and faithful team of co-laborers with us in making Christ known for His glory. Thank you. We are humbled and amazed by the privilege God has given us.

Unnamed Missionary—in an undisclosed Asian Country

Editor’s note: We include this information even though we cannot identify either the missionary or the specific country because of ongoing security concerns.

Our region has suffered recently from church splits, with some (who claim to be Christians) even turning to violence to grasp influence and power. Yet in the midst of all this, God is at work, and people are seeing the Truth and standing for it, some enduring great persecution. In one area, numerous church buildings have been burned to the ground by a splinter group. One of these worship centers has been burned seven times, but its members still meet together and choose to forgive. What a testimony to God’s character and His work in their lives!

We have seen Bible translations completed in many new languages, and our warehouse is now full of boxes of Bibles that we fly in to the villages. God is at work! We partner with local evangelists by transporting them into remote areas and supplying their needs for the work. God is reaching people in isolated places! We are also helping the sick get to better medical care. So much goes on each day, and we are grateful for the safety in operations and for the privilege of living here. Pray we will be sensitive to God’s leading so that we can be an encouragement and light in this place.

Update from Kent and Yuko Muhling in Japan

Kent and another missionary recently delivered a donated car and “radiation free” vegetables and potting soil to a church in Iwaki City, Fukushima Prefecture (30 miles from the reactor disaster incited by the March 2011 tsunami). The pastor had been praying for a car for six months to help with distributing relief goods in his city, and God worked through us to answer his prayer.

The Iwaki pastor said there are 1,000 temporary houses built within ten minutes of the church for people evacuated from the 20-mile radius around the nuclear reactor. The government plan is for them to live in these temporary homes for a year or two, but it could be longer. The radiation issue (especially regarding food) troubles everyone in Japan, but especially the people living in Fukushima.

Radiation-free vegetables

Radiation-free vegetables

Food portions for over 100 families were supplied by the vegetables Kent brought. When delivering them to people in the temporary housing, the pastor and his wife were able to listen to their stories and pray with them. This opens the door for God’s people to share why we care and want to help. This is love in action, enabling the recipients to see Christianity as relevant to their lives!

NOTE: Because of the dramatic ongoing needs and receptivity of survivors, Kent and Yuko Muhling and their family plan to move north this spring to the region hit hardest by the tsunami near Sendai. Pray with us that the Lord will lead them to the right church and/ or pastor, with whom they can best partner to serve the cause of Christ in this region.

George Janvier in Nigeria

George Janvier Burned Church

Only the front wall remains of this burned-out church in the Nigerian village where George Janvier serves.

George Janvier

George Janvier

This has been a rocky year with some terrorist activity right in my own town. We thank God for keeping us safe and fruitful. I continue to work at the seminary and find myself involved in several key ministries. Teaching keeps me creative and learning about African culture and how it connects with what God is saying to us in the Bible. I have been teaching Church Planting (BA level,) Research (MA level) and Educational Issues (PhD level). All are challenging and very interactive. Other activities include working with my discipleship-prayer group, as well as guiding three bold and creative evangelism teams utilizing film, drama, and music.

We thank God for keeping us safe and fruitful.

David and Ruby Stecca, serving with Deaf Video Communications

The DVC Christian Television Network——is all about “preaching the Gospel and making disciples.” We are excited! This has been a year of new beginnings for us.

DaveRuby Stecca

Dave and Ruby Stecca

  • The DVC Christian Television Network ( welcomes several thousand video viewers a month. People in every nation are able to study God’s Word in ASL (American Sign Language).
  • The newly released video “You Good Person, You?” is proclaiming the Gospel on the Internet and DVD .
  • An important advance this year has been the introduction of live streaming—the ability of viewers to immediately view our materials without waiting for lengthy downloads.

We have been able to travel the country introducing live streaming at the Northeast Deaf Camp in New Jersey, a deaf church in Mason, Ohio, and revival meetings at a deaf church in Oak Brook, Illinois. Pastors, evangelists, and missionaries everywhere are excited about the potential of live streaming over the DVC Christian Television Network. Praise the Lord for this new technology and for providing the funds for DVC to utilize it. Modeled after Christian radio for the hearing, is providing a stream of Christian programming with on-demand Bible studies, sermons, and children’s programs.

  • Pray that the hearts of the deaf community will be made ready to receive and understand God’s message of salvation.
  • Pray that many deaf persons will become disciples of Jesus Christ and be anchored in His Word.
  • Pray that the God of the harvest will send the much-needed laborers to serve the deaf community.

Another Unnamed Missionary—a trained counselor who travels to serve international workers living in the most difficult places

My month with missionaries in Indonesia had been preceded by two crisis situations, followed by a third shortly after I arrived. These calamities encompassed the death of a missionary pilot, a moral lapse in the lives of MKs (missionary kids) at the International School, and a meltdown of relationships among students living in the high school dorm.

The feelings of raw pain—anguish, sadness, loss, disappointment, anger, betrayal, distrust, and anxiety—were palpable. The impact transcended generations and gender and affected the whole mission community. Hours and hours of one-on-one consultations were spent with the widow, the MKs, their parents, and mission leaders. Special sessions were held for the wives of pilots, high school girls, high school boys, and school and mission leadership. It was one of the most compacted, intense times I have experienced in ministry! In the midst of it, I found myself thanking God that He is their heavenly Father who will faithfully pursue each individual with His love.

I have no doubt that there is an ongoing war raging between light and darkness in the larger community where I visited. It was felt in the political realm with the shooting of a believing Dani tribesman there working for the government. It was felt in the religious realm with churches being burned and believers harassed by a breakaway religious group. And it was deeply felt within the mission community I was there to serve.

How then are we as believers to live amidst such crisis? While there, I was reading in the Gospel of John how Jesus stooped to wash the feet of His own disciples at the Last Supper. The opening verse of chapter 13 states, “Having loved His own who were in the world, He now showed them the full extent of His love.” . . . A love that cleanses us and forgives all sin. Afterward, He left them with this command: “Now that I, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet . . . you should do as I have done for you. . . . you will be blessed if you do so” (John 13:14–17).

Later, before Jesus left for heaven, He asked one of His disciples, “Do you love Me?” As I contemplate Jesus’ question in conjunction with His command, I wonder, Has my life been lived so that those around me perceive that I love Him and that He loves them—unconditionally?

As we enter 2012, may we grow in trusting, depending upon, and believing in His love to meet all our needs—then others can see Who He really is.

Greg and Debbie Nichols in Prague

Nichols Family Photo

The Nichols Family

I sure wish that you could have been there tonight. We feel in a way, you were. Your prayers carried us through the whole Advent outreach event.

The chapel was cold after our final practice tonight. At 5:00 pm, Greg looked out the door and there was yet one more family coming up the road. Once they were seated, Greg cued the choir to come out of the small waiting room next to the main room. They sang the Ukrainian Bell Carol so beautifully. The acoustics were incredible.

The Gospel message was presented throughout the short evening as we had one of our Czech-speaking students read text that Greg had prepared about the prophecy, the humility, and the joy of Christ. Though the room was very cold, the candles made it seem warmer, and the number of people who came seemed to make it warmer as well. The evening concluded in our courtyard with some warm drinks and cookies for everyone. People milled around and did not seem to want to go home. We had good conversations with several of our guests. Praise God with us tonight! May the hope of His salvation come to our neighbors! Thank you again for your prayers, your love, and the important role of support you have in our lives here.

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