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HEATHER & JASON FADER
I have only four weeks left in my nine-month term at Kibuye. I’m very excited to be going back to family and friends in the land of Krispy Kreme and Chick-fil-A, but I can already feel my heart breaking as I prepare to leave this place. For the past eight months I’ve been helping to teach the children on our team. Before coming to Burundi, I had never travelled outside of North America. That didn’t stop me from deciding to come here for nine months. I do not speak French or Kirundi (the local language), I had never met anyone on the team, and I was coming all by myself. I also had no teaching experience. I had no idea what I was doing! A few weeks in, one of my teammates asked me what the bravest thing was I’ve ever done. Without hesitation, I said it was coming here. I knew so little about where I was going and what I was going to be doing. I have been blessed to see God’s grace carry me though. I was diagnosed with generalized anxiety disorder a couple years ago. My anxiety kicked into high gear about a month before leaving for Burundi. I felt like I was going to throw up almost every day. I normally love food, but not only was I not hungry, the thought of food was revolting. I was dreading saying goodbye to my loved ones for nine months. There were days when I thought that I was not going to be able to go through with this. I was terrified of the future and I had no idea what I had gotten myself into. Had I known what that was going to be like before signing up for this, I probably would not have agreed to come. I certainly don’t regret coming—the opposite is true. I’m so glad I stepped out of my comfort zone to see the incredible work going on here. I was only able to do that by God’s grace and because we do not have to take the future nine months at a time. He gave me the strength I needed and continued to provide throughout my time here. As I reflect on my experiences in Kibuye and look ahead to the next chapter in my life, I can feel the anxiety welling up inside me again. How can I manage another transition of this magnitude? Every single day I need to remind myself of God’s promises. I’m working on abiding by Matthew 6:34: “So do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will bring worries of its own. Today’s trouble is enough for today.” Instead of splitting my mind between today’s to-do list and tomorrow’s tasks, I need only focus on what’s happening now. There are so many things we could worry about: How will we cope with the loss of a loved one? What will we do if we lose our job? How will we possibly get through all of the hardships that will inevitably come? God will provide help at the right time. He has promised to never leave us or forsake us, and we serve a God who keeps His promises. Where he calls us, he will equip us.
ERIC & BRITTANY PEDERSEN
We have arrived at our first week at chapter Focus week! Students just arrived last night, and Eric led the first worship session. The first session went well but Eric is sick, and his voice isn't in the greatest shape so that's something you can be praying for.
JULIO & KATIE ISAZA
Praise God for the opportunity Julio had to travel to Bogota in April to train youth and youth leaders who are planning to host the national Covenant youth camp at the end of June. Praise God for the opportunity Katie had to visit Covenant children's ministry projects in Bogota, helping to lead a day-long English learning event to celebrate the day of the child in "Project Hope" and participating in an English workshop for leaders and teachers of this project and a local Covenant elementary school. Praise God for the "Be Peace, Make Peace," youth project that has begun and is equipping youth in El Bagre to be peace makers, so that they can work with children in their community promoting values of peace and reconciliation. Pray for the leaders and for Julio who will travel in May to visit the project and lead a workshop. Pray for Julio who will be teaching during a church planters workshop in Medellin on May 12th. Please pray for Katie who will be leading 2 workshops for children's ministry volunteers in a displaced community in Medellin. Also pray for the week-long English Immersion camp that will be held in June, with the help from a team from Roseville Covenant Church in Minnesota. Pray for the 20+ participants that it would be a fun time to work on their English and build friendships across cultures. - Blessings, Katie
A belated Feliz Navidad from the Clauson’s posted on Facebook after the Zion Messenger deadline. Their message: We give thanks to God for His amazing gift of Christ with us! We pray Christ's presence will be evident to all of you and will fill you with hope, peace, joy and love this Christmas. "For to us a child is born, to us a son is given, and the government will be on his shoulders. And he will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. Of the greatness of his government and peace there will be no end. He will reign on David’s throne and over his kingdom, establishing and upholding it with justice and righteousness from that time on and forever. The zeal of the Lord Almighty will accomplish this." Isaiah 9:6-7
Thank you for all your prayers as I transition to Madrid. It's been almost a month now, and I'm really enjoying living here. One of my main responsibilities here is teaching a Pilates and Fitness class for women in the community. It's a free service offered to the community through YWAM. Many of the women who come comment about how they feel so good when they leave, a peace and rest that they didn't have before. We hope and believe this is them sensing the presence of God while doing fitness with us. Another note, I'll be in Wisconsin this summer from June 14-August 15 to meet with partners in the ministry. If you would like to meet a specific day, please let me know! I'd love to hear how God has been working in your life, how I can be praying for you and also share how God has been working in Spain. I'll be working on setting up appointments now and throughout the summer, and I would love to meet with as many partners as possible! I hope to see this summer - Kelsey
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Sheboygan, WI 53081