Since God’s love won’t stay cooped up in individual hearts, nor remain hemmed in by city limits, then we must follow where it leads, and that means out into the whole world.
International Mission: Chimbote’, Peru
A growing group of PPC members and friends head to Chimbote, Peru each year to work in the impoverished community of the parish, Nuestra Senora Del Perpetuo Socorro. They build houses, take the handicapped and disadvantaged on a beach outing, including lunch, and prepare a fish stew for 200-300 community members. They also take the generous cash donations of PPC members to prayerfully use in the care of patients of the hospital for the poor, La Caleta. These funds pay for operations, blood transfusions, prescriptions, patient transfers to larger city hospitals, patient family assistance and many other worthy causes not covered by the government medical program. These donations are also now being used for care of select patients of the Hospicio Santiago Apostal (St. James the Apostle Hospice). In 2016 they were also able to financially support the parish medical clinic as well as provide a pediatrician during our mission wwek from our group. Working with many of the same folks each year allows relationships to be built up over time. The mission becomes less about doing something for “them” and more about working together with friends. This mission takes place in late January or February. Call the church office and we’ll put you in touch with the right folks to learn more.
Each Summer, and sometimes at Spring break, our youth head out on mission trips. The High School youth mission location is scheduled on a four-year cycle. One year is a foreign mission trip, another year is out to the western US, another is an urban mission experience, and another is to a rural community. Recently, the youth have served in Haiti, Washington D.C., West Virginia, and New Mexico. Our Middle School group also travels to various locations for mission work, including Asheville, NC where they worked in a variety of community relief efforts. This past year and in 2016, our Middle School Mission trip was to CROSS which is a local mission through Myers Park Presbyterian Church. Our 2016 High School Mission trip is to the Dominican Republic.
During the school year, our youth raise money and walk in the CROP Walk; shop for, buy and deliver Thanksgiving dinners to families unable to do so; promote the Souper Bowl of Caring offering; help with the Loaves and Fishes Canned Food Drive; and pack meals for Stop Hunger Now.
We host packing sessions for STOP HUNGER NOW, an international organization seeking to do exactly what its name implies. Providence has packed well over 100,000 meals that have gone to places such as Haiti, Dominican Republic, and several areas of Africa.
At Christmas our congregation makes honorary and memorial gifts which help support a variety of organizations such as Presbyterian Disaster Response, Heifer International, Habitat for Humanity and other international aid organizations. Our youth and numerous adults have packed shoeboxes for and volunteered at Samaritan’s Purse.
Leah Preston on 2017
What is next for Leah in 2017?
In the next few months I will become Grandma to Josh and Steph’s fourth child and Jim and Becky’s second. God is good and I am truly blessed. As I travel to visit these new gifts from God I will be reconnected with people from my past.
This summer I will be at the NWMC and hope to see many of you there and hear just how God is working in and through you.
Here is some of the partners that I am looking at helping in the future.
- Providence Presbyterian Church, Charlotte, NC and Evanjafrica. My goal is to take a group from the church to visit this ministry in Mozambique. Click here for more information.
- I am looking for partners to help both at the Jack Jordan Bible School and other groups working in Gambella, Ethiopia.
- I am looking at ways to help the children at In Step in Kenya to prepare for their futures. Click here for more information.
- The Church of Central Africa Presbyterian, Synod of Harare, in Zimbabwe, needs help building a training center.
I would love to hear from you if you would like to partner with me on any of these projects.
A special thanks to all of you who pray and give and make it possible for me to serve others.
Let me know if you need more information about any of the above projects or if you have ideas on how God could use me in the future.
Serving in Love, Leah Preston
Ray and Ann Kapteyn
A newsletter from Ann Kapteyn, serving Bible translators in
Central African Republic
January in Bangui
After my unsuccessful attempt to travel to Bangui in December, I finally made it there in January 1-18 to work with the Mpyemo Bible translators. While I was there, four different teams were having special workshops, and we ate lunch together every day. Two of the teams were working on Bible translation, and two were working on analyzing languages that haven’t been written down before. One group was examining 2,000 words in their language to discover how many vowels sounds there are, how many consonants, and how the tone system works. It is exciting to be part of the Bible translation process, from the early stages of determining how to write a language, to the middle stages of translating one biblical book after another, to the final stages of spell checks, key terms checks, and the final editing.
During my two weeks of work, we checked the book of James and began checking Ephesians. Translating Ephesians is strenuous work; if you take a look at the first half of the first chapter, you’ll see what I’m talking about! Pictured with me here is Benoit Nezoufei, a Bible translator from a different language group who is learning to be a Bible translation consultant. I was thankful for his presence and input into our challenging work.
One Saturday we went on an outing down the Oubangui river and were able to see some of the amazing beauty of the countryside near Bangui. That’s DRC (Democratic Republic of Congo) across the river.
Even though my time in Bangui went well, the trip there and the trip home were not smooth sailing! Both times I arrived at my destination a day late. On the way to CAR, we sat in our plane on the tarmac in Atlanta for 4.5 hours while they fixed one mechanical problem after another. If I were to condense all of the captain’s announcements into one, it would go something like this: “I’m so profoundly sorry to tell you that after the door wouldn’t shut properly and the flaps wouldn’t descend fully, and after we could not find a ground crew to help us leave the gate, and after it took a whole hour to locate a tow bar, now that tow bar has broken and has temporarily damaged the electrical system of the plane. Even though you have been waiting patiently for 3 hours, we ask you to keep waiting patiently as we find a fourth mechanical crew to fix this new problem”. We were all relieved when they finally gave up on that plane altogether and found us a new one. So this delay caused me to arrive in CAR one day late.
Then on the way home there was a snow and ice storm in Atlanta that caused most flights to be cancelled. I spent the night in this cozy part of the airport pictured above where they had plastic “leaves” hanging from the ceiling and the sounds of bird calls piped in.
As I was lying on the floor feeling sorry for myself, I thought about the Mpyemo translator Constantin. During our two weeks working together, he spent every night sleeping on the floor of his father’s hospital room, a room with about a dozen sick people and about a dozen caretakers. Constantin’s father had broken his hip, and he had to lie there in traction for 45 days before they did the surgery. My heart went out to the father, who was constantly in a great deal of pain, and to Constantin, who was valiantly trying to gather enough money to pay the hospital fees and trying to continue the translation work during the day. So for me to spend one night on the floor of the airport did not seem like such a big deal after all.
If you would like to join with the Mpyemo community in prayer, here are some ways to pray:
Please pray for the Mpyemo Bible translators as they continue the translation process step by step.
Pray that funds will be released to them so they can carry out certain important tasks, such as literacy workshops and trips to the area where their language is spoken.
Please continue to pray for peace in Central African Republic, where a tenuous calm is felt in the capital Bangui, while many other parts of the country experience eruptions of violence.
Pray for healing for Constantin’s father and protection over all of the Bible translators and staff of ACATBA, the Bible translation organization in CAR with which I work.
I plan to return to Bangui on Feb. 15 so we can finish Ephesians and so I can attend meetings with our SIL team.
Our mailing address is:
Ray and Ann Kapteyn
1824 Observatory Ave SE
Grand Rapids, MI 49546
For financial gifts:
(in the US) Wycliffe Bible Translators
PO Box 628200
Orlando, FL 32862
(in Canada) Wycliffe Bible Translators
4316 10 St NE
Calgary, AB T2E 6K3