Go therefore and make disciples of all nations

Matthew 28:19

Ismael & Amy Cortez

Guayaquil, Ecuador
March 2023
Dear Friends and Family,

Well.......I ignored the signs as long as I could, trying to deceive myself with the delusion that if I just looked the other way, the problem would disappear on its own.  But now I have come to a point where I cannot continue to avoid it.  I must acknowledge and own the truth--that the problem is not going to go away.  It’s not something I can escape or brush off.  And I’m sort of tired of pretending that things are the way they’ve always been.  So, here it is:  if I hold something too close to my face, the letters are blurry, but if I hold it far enough away that the letters are clear, then they are sometimes too small to read at all.  I have to squint.  I have to hold what I’m trying to read down, away from my face, while scrunching up my eyebrows and looking down, over the tip of my nose, adjusting the angle of my neck and the distance from my eyes to the object in my hand.  Frankly, I never thought it would come to this.  But here we are...I wear glasses now.  I’m thankful for my dear friend, Noemi, who helped me figure out where to go and went with me for my vision evaluation, and for Ismael and Eleonor who helped me pick out some frames.

We had a lovely end-of-the-year last year, with a visit in the fall from some wonderful friends from Bakersfield, and a visit in the winter from my mom and dad. Both groups of visitors were able to go with our church into Downtown Guayaquil to give food to the hungry, which was a neat experience.  Even Eleonor got to go with us in December, and help give Christmas presents to the children living on the streets.  We celebrated Ivy’s first birthday, we shared a Thanksgiving dinner with family and friends, and the girls loved “Early Christmas” with my parents (we all did).  Eleonor participated in her first gymnastics competition (she’s been taking classes since August, and loves it).  And our church shared in a joyful Christmas celebration together.
We are excited for the new opportunities we have had to make friends and we’re hopeful for how those friendships will grow.  Eleonor made friends with Leia and Isadora in her gymnastics class, and invited them to her birthday party at the beginning of January.  She wanted a “Mira, the Royal Detective” party, and we organized a follow-the-clues sort of treasure hunt for all the kids.  It was fun to plan, and fun to do.  What most surprised me was how involved all the parents were in the treasure hunt at the party.  We had a nice area out on the patio for parents to hang out and eat snacks and talk while their kids did kid things at the kid party.  But all the parents were following the kids all around the house on this treasure hunt, taking pictures and video, and seeming to enjoy themselves as much as the kids were.  Leia’s dad, Luis, who we’ve been getting to know over the last few months, told Ismael later that he was so pleased with how the party was really focused on the kids.  He made it sound like their experience with kids’ birthday parties here has been that they are just an excuse for the adults to get together and drink and dance, sort of leaving the kids to fend for themselves.  He said he liked it so much that he called his wife at home to tell her about it while they were still here at the party. He even messaged Ismael a few days later to ask for some tips on planning a birthday party for Leia.  I just love that something as simple as the way we approach a child’s birthday party can spread joy and peace, and be an example of the love of God, and the way he values people.  Last Sunday, we got to enjoy Leia’s fifth birthday party, and it was a treat to see how they focused it entirely on the kids’ enjoyment!

Our church continues to meet together every Sunday, and we’ve been reading and talking about the life and ministry of Jesus.  We’ve had some really good discussions and heard some great insights into how to apply what we’re reading to our own lives.  We’ve been meeting earlier in the afternoons because we’re in the middle of the rainy season now, and transportation at night is often a challenge and sometimes a real risk.  When the rain gets going, the streets flood all throughout the city, and it can be dangerous to try and get around with the water levels up that high.

We’re grateful for you and your prayers for us.  Please join us in praying for:
  • Continued growth of our church community
  • Wisdom for Ismael and me as we lead, and encouragement—we have been feeling somewhat discouraged lately
  • Provision-both for our family and for some of the families in our church who are struggling financially
  • And for guidance, initiative, and momentum for a new business project we are working on with some friends
Thank you for being part of our ministry, for supporting what we are doing here in Ecuador, and for your love and encouragement!  We know we could not be here, doing what we do, without the financial, emotional, and spiritual support we receive from you!
We love and miss you!  Please enjoy some (lots of) pictures below of the last several months here in Ecuador.

With much love,
Amy, Ismael, Eleonor, and Ivy

If you would like to make a secure, online donation to Ismael & Amy's ministry, click the blue button below.

Missionaries Joni & Nangsar Morse

Chiang Mai, Thailand
November 1, 2023
Dear Friends and Loved Ones,
Establishing A New Ministry Hub
A huge water project that we successfully carried out in 2022 has become a major game changer for furthering God’s work in Thailand’s
Mae Hong Son Province.
The 27 kilometer long water project, which brought clean mountain spring water to two large Lisu villages (these communities suffered for 54 years without clean water), has resulted in generating much good will, and has also paved the way for a new church plant.

As God would have it, an unused rocky knoll in the middle of Kuet Samsip village, became available for a community church site. God also gave us a new strategy for establishing a church that the whole village can embrace.

After two months of hard work, the rocky knoll that was filled with boulders, has finally been cleared and leveled! This is an achievement that speaks volumes about the effort that has been put into this collective work.

Villagers who until recently referred to themselves as being “demon people,” are now comfortable to identify themselves as being “God’s people!”

We can clearly see that God is at work calling together a people to Himself. Already, a number of additional villages living on this same mountain range are asking us to come help them meet their own water needs as well. God is so good. And again — Thank you for partnering with us in God’s great work!

Joni & Nangsar

“Paul proclaimed the kingdom of God and taught about the Lord Jesus Christ — with all boldness and without hindrance!” Acts 28:31
The rocky hill behind the playground is the church site
Stoking and tending the fires

Initial Survey of the church site

The villagers told us the rocky hill was always known to them as the dwelling place of an unknown "Sovereign King"
The villagers hauled in 50 truckloads of firewood to start bonfires around the large boulders

Headmen from six villages came to observe the work

After 3 days of hard work, we finally realized we had to come up with a better plan

Clearing away the chipped rocks from the boulder field.  A lot of rocks needed to be removed!  We used a backhoe to drill through the boulders and began clearing a leveling for the new church site.

Larry & Ginny Niemeyer

Harvest 21 Ministries: Nairobi, Kenya
February 2023

Here's what God's grace is unfolding before our eyes for 2023:
With Harvest Community Discipleship Trust registered in Kenya, it will manage the Harvest21 Endowment Fund (a task previously done in the USA).  Jeff and Anne Kimari have joined with us to be Founding Trustees continuing indefinitely and Michael Ndungu is the current Trust Chairman.
It's Vision: to see Christ's gospel transforming the lifestyles of people, families, and churches in Kenyan communities and beyond.
It's Objective: to make disciples and contribute to discipleship mobilization that leads to community services by individuals, families, churches and ministries committed to the gospel of Jesus Christ.
Harvest Heralds, Inc. serves HCDT by administering the Endowment Fund.  Together, we will...
  • continue what we all began as Harvest Heralds in 1967 (Zimbabwe), 1972 (Zambia) and again in 1982 (Kenya) - distribute 3,000 books this year, seek 630 new disciples, 395 disciple-makers and 63 teams.
  • keep the dream for discipleship mobilization alive from 2000 onward - a 21st century built on a 20th century foundation.
  • manage the Harvest21 Endowment Fund we started in 1996 when Larry's dad died and what the families and loved ones of 135 other people have honored.
  • utilize the Fund's annual interest accumulations (about $35,000), ensuring it is invested in the lives and ministries of people engaged in Christ-centered discipleship mobilization.
  • invest in 1) the publication of discipleship tools, 2) the mobilizing and training of born-again disciple-makers, and 3) the combining of discipleship with community service and compassion beyond church walls.