Construction Team 2019

Russ & Mary Ann

Upon arrival at BLF in Marpent, France, we were given 3 literature projects and 6 construction projects they hoped our team could accomplish. The major construction project was to finish building the brick wall on the street side of the warehouse. Our team had started it last year, a team from Lille had built another section, and we hoped to complete it this year.

            However, May is the month that construction workers in the U.S. are tackling their major projects, so it is difficult for them to take a 10-day break at that point. Russ was the only man on this year’s team. We asked two friends from Belgium if they could come and work with Russ and they accepted, but they both came only the last two days of the work week. Because of the bus stop shelter and the telephone box for Marpent, both of which were built just a few inches from the wall, much of the brick-laying on this part of the wall had to be done from the inside. Russ realized that a steel beam was necessary to give that part of the wall stability. His first accomplishments were to clean the area on the inside, buy a steel beam and weld it in place.

Building the brick wall

            One morning two men came from Belgium to help Russ.  They first had to take down the wooden slats that were the wall, then make mortar. Neither had laid bricks before, so Russ taught them how to follow the string and lay them in a straight line. One layer was 15 ft. long. By the end of the day, they had laid 5 layers. The following day they were able to lay more so that in all, they completed about half of the area that still needed to be completed. At least now the wall provides security from thieves. It is possible that BLF will hire someone to finish the job before winter. Two local men who volunteer at BLF also helped on the last day.

            New lights have been purchased to be installed in the “old offices” which have now been refurbished. However, we didn’t have an electrician nor the time to tackle that job. There are 4 other small projects that still need to be done.

Making book sets

            The women began immediately to work on the literature projects.  The buyer for the Catholics had ordered 1500 sets of the Manga books for this year. BLF had only 1300 boxes left to be filled with a copy of each of the 5 Manga books. The book of Revelation should be available soon so there will be 6 Manga books in a set. BLF is designing a new box for the set, but the 1300 boxes needed to be filled. We were to insert a bookmark advertising Pilgrim’s Progress in Manga art in each of the books. The women worked constantly, inserting the bookmarks and making up the sets. Gavin’s wife Nicola came one day and helped. By the end of the week, they had completed the 1300 sets which filled 8 pallets. Claire Miller, the intern, was shrink-wrapping them and packing them in cartons ready to be shipped. By the end of the week, at least one pallet had been shipped, 3 more were ready to go, and all the others were ready for shrink-wrapping.

            A woman from Colmar, Alsace, had written a book that BLF published and was due to arrive from the printer the week after we left. She will be speaking in 25 churches in Alsace this summer. BLF was to send each church a package of 40 posters and 200 flyers announcing her meeting in that church. This project was to be done asap after the team arrived. Accomplished!

We sincerely thank all that have made possible the printing of the BLF Sunday School Materials. These materials have changed the lives of many children, their parents and entire families for Jesus Christ!

            The final literature project was to put together 25 sets of Sunday School material to send to Pastor Jonas, a Congolese pastor from the area where Kroekers ministered. Also the BLFUSA office doesn’t have a complete set of the materials. Mary Ann put together 3 more sets and brought them back in our luggage for the office. Now there is another order for 10 sets, again for Congo, but we didn’t have time to prepare it for shipping.

            We are grateful for the help of Nathan and Annie Phillips. Nathan was available to help Russ when needed and Annie shopped for groceries and cooked the main dish for the team’s dinner meal each day. We appreciated their help and encouragement.

            The last Saturday we took the day and drove up to Ypres/Flanders Field. We learned a great deal about WW I and enjoyed the beautiful day and the Flanders Field Museum.

            We praise God for His help and would like to thank all who supported us both in prayer and in financial gifts. Projects like these require both for them to occur. Thank you once again from each of the team members for your part in making possible these construction and literature projects.     

            Sincerely, Russ & Mary Ann Miller

Pray for Muslims of the Francophone World

Since 2016, BLF USA has produced a Ramadan prayer calendar to coincide with the 30 Days of Prayer for the Muslim World initiative, now in its 26th year (see (https://www.30daysprayer.com). As you join millions of Christians in prayer, you use this calendar each day to help you pray for Francophone Muslims as well. Of course, you can print out the calendar, but the PDF has some interactive features you may wish to explore. Clicking on the photos takes  you directly to the Joshua Project website for more information on that group. And clicking on the name of the country will take you to the PrayerCast site where you can watch a short prayer video for that country.


To open and download the interactive calendar, click here.

How are your investments?

By Rory Clark, Global Ministries Director

  

Have you ever attended an investment seminar? I have. High end hotel, motivational speaker, promises of rapid wealth, high pressure tactics. Of course, not all investments are scams. Had you lived in, say, first century Ephesus, you could have gotten some excellent investment advice from a certain Paul (a highly qualified expert in “stocks and bonds”). Thankfully, his “investment strategy” has been preserved for us in his second letter to Timothy (2:2):

  

And the things you have heard me say in the presence of many witnesses entrust to reliable people who will also be qualified to teach others.

  

Here the Apostle Paul mentions several generations of “investors”: himself, Timothy, reliable people and others. Timothy received something from Paul, which he was to entrust to reliable people, who would then be qualified to teach others. And on and on.If we follow the chain of “reliable people” and “others” down through history, we eventually begin to see the faces of people we know, those who have invested in us. Hopefully others see our faces as well.But there’s another category of “reliable people” and “others”: those we can come alongside through the ministry of BLF, most of whom we’ll never know. These people often speak several languages in addition to French. Taken together, I once figured out that we potentially have “investment opportunities” in at least 1200 languages. Talk about “diversifying” one’s portfolio!

  

Meet Alain and Ghislain

One of BLF USA’s long-term partners is French evangelist (and BLF Éditions board president) Alain Stamp. Every year Alain travels the Francophone world, participating in special forums for evangelists, encouraging and equipping them to mentor others.

  

In 2015, I accompanied Alain to an “investment seminar” in Togo. It was powerful. There I met Ghislain, a younger leader from neighboring Benin. Ghislain had attended an earlier forum, so I interviewed him to try to discern the impact of these events and the BLF books participants receive.

  

“It [the earlier Francophone Evangelists’ forum] was a great moment for my life and my ministry because it is at that great meeting that I discovered the purpose of God for my calling,” Ghislain explained. “From that day I started to get involved in the ministry of church planting and youth mentoring. The key point is the day I started reading Multiplier les leaders (Multiplying leaders by Mar- tin Sanders and Alain Stamp). We started studying this book with Papa Alain and inside the book I discovered so many, many, many things that have already radically changed my life and my ministry.”

  

Notice that what Ghislain received from Alain first-hand (and second-hand through Martin Sanders and the book on multiplying leaders) was intentionally reinvested in others as he began to plant a church and mentor young people.

  

We could easily give many other examples of multiplication and yield from Alain’s ministry. It’s one reason we’re thankful for our ongoing partnership with him. Of course, Alain is sim- ply being obedient and faithful. We all have our role to play. But ultimately Someone else’s role is even more important. As our first-century investment guru reminds us,

  

I planted, Apollos watered, but God gave the increase. So neither he who plants is anything, nor he who waters, but God who gives the increase. (1 Corinthians 3:6-7)

BLF Updates

During this Thanksgiving holiday, I couldn’t help praising God and giving Him thanks for each one of you. During this transition year, you have remained faithful as we have followed God’s leading in reshaping the direction and structure of BLF. I am also thankful for the many people who have given countless hours in making the changes needed to our ministry.

   

New website to launch

   

I am excited about the launch of our new website in December (www.BLFMinistries.org), along with the deepening of relationships in Africa and Haiti as we seek to further God’s Kingdom through Christian literature in the French language. We believe God is strategically putting BLF in a place where He will be glorified and His Church in Francophone areas of the world will grow and mature. I would encourage you to take a few minutes to visit our website. There you’ll discover how God is working through us to help connect our French-speaking brothers and sisters around the world – often influential leaders – with printed resources that can strengthen what God is doing in and through their lives and ministries.

   

Thank you for investing your time, talents and resources to help us spread the Good News to others in this world. All of us here at BLF want to wish you and your loved ones a very blessed and joyful Christmas holiday season.