Jesus gave us the great commission when He said, “Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, Son and the Holy Ghost, teaching them to observe whatsoever things I have commanded you…” And that is what we are endeavoring to do in missions.
The missions work at Calvary Chapel Petaluma (CCP) began with the idea set forth in Proverbs 24:27, “Prepare thy work without, and make it fit for thyself in the field; and afterwards build thine house.”
This Scripture has constantly challenged us to look outward, to not become too focused upon our local circumstances.
How can you become involved? Pray for the body at CCP, that the Lord will guide and direct our path as it relates to missions. Pray that we will hear and obey His voice and His heart as it relates to our giving. Pray that we will bless and glorify Him—that we will give and serve others because we love Him. Pray that we will always remember, “To whom much is given, much is required.”
Pastor Solomon Rioba Charwi established the church he pastors in Kehancha, Kenya, East Africa in 1994. We met Pastor Solomon in 1998 during his first visit to the United States. He requested that a visit be made to Kenya for the purpose of instructing pastors in the teaching of the Bible; that was the beginning of CCP missions. Pastor Solomon oversees the Pastor’s Library, stocked with commentaries and Pastor Chuck Smith’s Bible study tapes, which was built in 1999 as an extension of our ministry to pastors. The use of the library is free to any pastor who wishes to borrow Bible commentaries or Bible study tapes, and can also accommodate a pastor who wants to come and spend a couple of days just studying. Pastor Solomon has also undertaken a project translating Pastor Chuck Smith’s “Through the Bible” studies into Swahili, the national language of Kenya. He has done it in such a way that you hear both English and Swahili on the tapes.
In 2004, Pastor Solomon started the affiliation process to become a Calvary Chapel and recently final approval was given. Calvary Chapel Petaluma is the covering church for Pastor Solomon within the Calvary Chapel fellowship of churches.
Pastor Felix Orebo established Ramba Community Church in 1992; the church is located on Mfangano Island in the Kenyan area of Lake Victoria. Pastor Felix has also been ministering to and caring for AIDS orphans on the island. AIDS has had a devastating affect on the island’s families. Over the years Pastor Felix and his wife Rose have taken in eight orphans and raised them along with their own six children. The church members care for an additional twenty seven orphans, although this number is a small percentage of the estimated 1,000 AIDS orphans on the island, it stretches them and the few resources they have.
Pastor Felix opened Shalom Christian Centre Primary School in 2009, beginning with grades one through three. CCP developed a sponsorship program through which students who are orphaned, totally or partially, or from families who are unable to provide for their schooling. Since its inception the school consistently ranks among the top schools in the district. In 2014 the first group of eighth graders graduated from Shalom. Two students did so well on their exit examination that they have been given full sponsorships through high school by a national bank in Kenya.
Beginning in 2015 Pastor Felix has started Shalom High School. Currently six of the eighth grade graduates are attending Shalom High School. This has given their sponsors the opportunity to continue supporting them.
In 2015 the Rogers received the necessary documents to begin a business. They were able to secure a facility with enough room to house both a bakery and a wrestling school. Presently locals are being trained in the bakery enabling the Roger’s to have a tremendous impact on their community. The enrollment at the wrestling school is growing by leaps and bounds.
They continue to minister to the ex-patriot community as well as make inroads with the local community for the gospel.
Pastor Candelario Quinones pastors a church, Iglesia Roca de Salvacion, in a poor neighborhood on the outskirts of Ensenada. Pastor Candelario, his wife Angelica and their three sons, Eliseo, Josue and Caleb, lovingly minister to their community. We have been blessed to be able to encourage him in the ministry and in the systematic teaching of the word of God.
Additionally Pastor Candelario loves to go and encourage other pastors within his community and far beyond. He has had opportunities to go to the Yucatan, Nicaragua, Cuba and Peru.
In 2014 Mark and Laura moved from the Katavi region to Dar es Salaam. Mark was put in charge of supervising three translation projects comprising around twenty language communities. Furthermore, Mark became a U.S. citizen, so now both Mark and Laura have dual U.S. and U.K. citizenship. This will greatly facilitate their travel to and from the countries where their families are located.
In 2016 more changes have come in that now Mark has been asked to be the Director of Language Programs for the Uganda – Tanzania branch. Now in addition to the projects he has been overseeing, he will be supervising a large multi-language project in the Mara region of Tanzania. The number of projects now will comprise around thirty language communities. Laura continues in her role of helping families transition into the culture and with their Swahili language instruction.
A number of the translation projects are going to be ready for publication in the next few years, beginning with the Burunge New Testament having been sent to the printer recently. There will be a dedication ceremony by the end of 2016.
Some very exciting events are on the horizon for the Woodward’s.
Caitlyn is an EthnoArts Specialist serving in Guatemala. In her own words; ”My present focus is to come along side local artists, helping them use their art forms in a way that encourages the Kaqchikel community to engage with God’s Word in their own heart language of Kaqchilel.”
Caitlyn is also partnering with Vina Association, by raising prayer support for them. Vina produces Deditos, finger puppet videos for kids that can be dubbed into languages around the world so that children can hear Bible stories in their mother tongue.
CCP has lent Caitlyn support on specific occasions and we are very excited to share with you some of the work she is involved in.
This is my story and what I want others to know. I wish everyone could know how mightily God can move if we are willing to take just one little step of faith at a time.
This trip is an answer to my prayers. Ever since I was 16 I knew that one day I was going to be involved somewhere in Africa. In 2014 it led me to Uganda. For those of you who don’t know my full story, that first trip to Uganda could have been my last. Not only did I travel to a faraway place by myself, never having met anyone I would be spending the next two weeks with; but, on the third day there I got so sick I believed 100% that I was going to die. I laid in bed in complete surrender to God knowing that His plans far outreached my own. After a few days recovering I was back on my feet again. Albeit a little weak and shaky I managed to make it back home. My life was forever changed. Changed because I learned what it meant to trust God with every ounce of my heart. I realized what it meant to not be promised tomorrow and God showed me that He can truly do amazing things in the lives of those who are willing to be uncomfortable for Him.
Upon my return, stateside my sickness followed. I spent the next eight months in and out of emergency rooms and then eventually a three day stay in a hospital landed me in a spot I had always feared. I was told I probably had cancer. I went to doctors and the oncologist only to find out I didn’t. Then they thought something was wrong with my brain. I saw neurologists and specialists only to find out I was ok. I spent every other week driving to UCSF to get blood drawn and tests done to figure out why my body was shutting down. The doctors never had an answer. Yet during this time if you asked me where I wanted to be, I would answer simply, “back to where my feet were stained red in the country my heart broke wide open”, my health kept me from returning the next year and I was devastated. I cried and cried and just when I thought I didn’t have any tears left I cried some more. Then something crazy happened. I realized God had plans for me here; I started school and a new job and while I did it with a heavy heart and dragging my feet I soon realized that I needed to be present in the present. I worked on myself and faced some of my biggest, scariest and darkest fears and I grew in ways that terrified me; but, I embraced it. I stopped trying to kick down doors that weren’t open and I knew I was meant to go back to the country that started this new journey for me, then it would happen. Three years later, three years of pain, tears, anger hurt and growth and now this opportunity has been thrown into my lap, no strings attached.
I know that the last three years have been preparing me for this trip. It’s like all the puzzle pieces are finally starting to reveal the bigger picture. This is where I am meant to be in life right now. I’m leaving June 14th to embark on a journey that I believe is only going to be a new beginning in this beautiful country that my heart has been called to.
This has so been God opening the doors for this trip. He has been preparing my heart for it since the first time I stepped off the plane in Uganda. The story is so big it’s hard to share every little detail and piece that God has so obviously had His hand in. I am just really excited for what He has planned for me in Uganda.