“While I live I will praise the Lord;I will sing praises to my God while I have my being.” Ps. 146:2
At this time of the year I am usually welcoming the young people back to New Zealand from their summer adventures with Teen Missions Australia, and then getting on to producing the kiwi brochure, which will list the new teams for the coming year. Instead, I am having a prolonged stay in Florida with its delightful winter weather, which will be followed by a few weeks down in Ecuador, where we will be running a Boot Camp for kids who live on the coast, whose vacation time is different from those who live in the mountain provinces. The request to do this came from Mr. Bland our director, as I was about to fly back to Australia for the debriefing of the six teams we have had out around the world over the past month. Praise God for His protection and provision for those teams; all have done well with their projects and I am hearing that the team in Kenya has seen hundreds of people coming to the Lord. I will miss hearing about their experiences and helping them get ready to go home.
Teen Missions Australia is celebrating its 25th birthday this year, so one of the teams for this coming year we are hoping to send back to where it all began. Peter and Bev Salisbury took some Aussies to Zimbabwe in 1987 to run a Boot Camp in conjunction with the Zimbabwe Boot Camp, so that they could learn how to do it! It worked, because they came back and we now have a great property and program on the Sunshine Coast of Queensland, all to the glory of God. As we start into another year please be praying for placing and pricing of teams, and for young people, as well as prospective leaders, as they receive and read the brochure and the process of decision-making and support-raising begins. Pray for the Salisburys too, as they are still vitally interested in the ministry and participating whenever possible.
Down in Ecuador we are going to be welcoming a new missionary couple from Honduras. Ben and Anna Calderon, with their little daughter Ana Kadisha, have accepted the call to go down and run that base up in the Andes. Ben is Nicaraguan and Anna is from Honduras, where they have been on staff . As I write, we are waiting to hear that they have been able to get their visas, and I hope to welcome them and help them get settled at the Robin Little Memorial Bible School. Some of you reading this letter know the work in Ecuador, and although you are not acquainted with the Calderons, I challenge you to invest in what God is doing in that country by helping to support this young couple. Moving away from ‘home’ with a baby and settling in to a new environment, new church, new responsibilities – they are going to need much prayer, support and encouragement. If you can help financially, please get in touch with the Teen Missions Florida office and they will direct any gifts directly to this fine young couple.
Bible School students and staff in Ecuador have really been challenged to reach out into the community over these past few months. Every time I visit there I have felt burdened for those mountain villages; it seems all of them have Catholic churches, but not one on our side of the huge rift valley, has an evangelical witness. In October the base organized a get-together for locals and had over 100 people attend! I think it was quite a surprise. Please be praying that they will know how to proceed from here with something permanent. Children’s clubs, Bible classes and other ministries have been tried in the past and nothing has stuck; is this God’s time to advance? And how do we do that? The Valldeperas family has done a great job in reaching out to the people and needs round about them and we do not want to lose that momentum. Please join with me in asking the Lord for at least three new students for the Bible School from this February Boot Camp.
This letter cannot be closed without reference to family. Christmas with two great-grandsons was exciting to say the least! We had trains and cars everywhere! During this prolonged stay in Florida, I have transferred my evening TV Jeopardy watching to SPROUT, and even Ethan last night recognized that Grand-Nana is learning fast. “That’s right; that’s the Pajanimals Grand-Nana!” Up in Panama City, Autumn is fast developing into the little girl stage and taking charge of her world. In New Zealand I have extended family members who are facing challenges in their lives – a brother with prostate cancer, my youngest sister who has had MS for years and whose breathing is now affected, and my mother who is ready for Glory and who wonders why God hasn’t taken her yet. Life comes to all of us in seasons and as we trust Him, the Lord takes us through them, refining us as we go. May we always endeavor to bring praise and glory to Him through the tough times as well as the good.
God bless you!
Elizabeth Little 128 Spencer Road RD 5, ROTORUA 3076, New Zealand