Sunday, August 21, 2016

Video of Palau

Here is the video we weren't able to play tonight at our Missions Night.
It gives some lovely views of our other home.  President Remengesau, who does the narration, stopped in a youth meeting Kathy and I were attending, when we were in Palau last winter.
Enjoy.
https://www.facebook.com/natgeoexplorers/videos/920125158041306/

Monday, August 8, 2016

Prayer update from the Merrells

Dear, Howard

(This has been idling in my mailchimp outbox for a couple of weeks.  I'm sorry to keep you waiting.  The delay has given me an opportunity to update a couple of things.  In order to help you keep the time-flow straight I'll put the updates in italics.)

Kathy and I wanted to give you an update on how the Stateside part of our ministry is going.  (If you remember our plan is to be in Micronesia, working with Pacific Islands University, for four months of the year, and here in Covington, working with Liebenzell Mission for the other eight months.)  As you probably know, we arrived here in Virginia, by way of Louisiana and Texas, in the middle of May.  We have been busy ever since.  For one thing we have been catching up on household chores.  I'm a little over half done (about 3/4 done, now) painting the garage.  That's a warm-up for doing some patching and then painting the house.  I got our garden in late, but it has done pretty well (even better with recent rain).  We'll be sitting down to a supper that includes some fresh veggies. Since I no longer have a week-to-week position at Covington Bible Church, I found myself without an official workplace.  Kathy offered to help me set up a place in our house, but I seem to work best--not to mention allowing Kathy to work best by getting out of her way--when I can go to work.  So I built a study that is so small that in order to get the desk out, one will have to tear the room down.  It takes up 40 sq. ft. in the corner of ourgarage.  Kathy has been busy as well, catching up on her household stuff, teaching piano, and getting ready for fall ministry.  We were blessed to have Chris, Nancy, Silas, and Kira here for two weeks back in June.
We have been active in ministry related to our missionary job.  We just came back from a trip to LMUSA headquarters where we met with some other personnel.  We were working on plans for recruiting and missionary care.  Last Sunday we were privileged to give a report on our work to our homechurch.  I have done some traveling on behalf of the mission and will be doing some more.   On our trip to Schooley's Mountan, LMUSA HQ, we were able to say hi to Addie, Namelo Addss.  She and Scott Refilong are Pacific Islands University students spending time at at LMUSA, gaining valuable ministry and cultural experience.  We here excellent reports from them and Bill Schuit at LMUSA.  We hope that this internship can become an annual event. They are representative of the kind of young adults we are investing in.
This fall I'll be teaching a hybrid class, part online and part classroom, Marriage and Family.  I've been reading a lot, working on my syllabus, and trying to get everything ready.
We have been busy.  (That prep. is intensifying.)
In the midst of this busy summer we want to take time to Praise the Lord:






 
  • We are well.
  • The class preparation is going pretty well.
  • All of our contacts with our partners have been a great joy--what a privilege.
  • Our support base has been solid.
  • Howard was able to participate in the dedication service for Eli Ojodomo Abraham.  Mom, Alexis, and Dad, Moses, are missionaries with LMUSA.  Five generations are in the picture above.
We would appreciate your prayers:
  • Preparation for classes.
  • Pray that the Lord will send us the students He wants us to work with.
  • Continued safety in travel.  Kathy and Howard will be taking a car trip this weekend.  Part of it will be celebration of our 44th Anniversary.  Part of it will be to encourage some LMUSA personnel   
  • In October Howard will be traveling to Germany for some strategy meetings and to Palau to teach the classroom part of the Marriage & Family class.
  • Pray for our missionary colleagues in Palau, Steve and Anne.  They are getting toward the last phase of training the first foreign missionaries from the Palauan Evangelical Church.
  • BTW, those trainees are running a camp this week.  (Now past.  It was successful.  Pray for the kids who attended.) Click on the photo to see a quick video.
  • Pray that the Lord will bless our efforts at recruiting worker for the harvest and encouraging those already in the work.
  • Our plan is to return to Palau for the Spring semester of PIU-Palau.  A lot needs to take place between now and then.
  • As we mentioned above, we are very thankful to have you as a partner with us in this venture.  I just talked with David Owen, president of PIU.  The end of summer is always a difficult time financially.  This summer is no exception.  Unless there are some unexpected donations to PIU, this week, we will not be able to meet our payroll this Friday.  (Some of us who serve at PIU serve as missionaries.  Our support comes through partners like you.  Others serve as employees of the school.  These are the folk who are on my heart.
    Please join us in praying for the PIU staff, administration, and that God will move in key hearts.
    Should the Lord so move in your heart, you can use our online donation link.

As we get to know more about the church in Micronesia, and indeed God's work all around the world, we see more and more evidence that qualified leadership is key.  We are investing ourselves in efforts that will lead to a new generation of women and men who will lead the church into the beyond.
I'm not sure how bold we are, but we are going where we haven't gone before.  Thanks for partnering with us.


Howard for both K & H
(or as one of our young partners calls us, "Koward and Hathy")

We will continue to post information about our mission venture at 
http://micronesianadventure.blogspot.com/.  
 
Our Prayer card is copied at the top of this email.  If you don't have one, and would like to have one, let us know. 

Monday, July 4, 2016

Sharing life with some world-changers:

Part of my post "retirement" career is working with a tiny mission, Liebenzell USA.  Yeah, I know it's an odd name.  Explore our website a bit, and you'll find out how we got it.  Our motto, "Live Ready," based on Ephesians 6:15 is more user-friendly.  Part of what I do in this new role is to continue doing what I have done all my life.  Reach out to people and care for them.
Yesterday, I had the privilege of sharing in a wonderful event with one of our missionary couples.  Moses is from Nigeria, Alexis is from the USA, and Eli is from them.  Yesterday, at their church in Gaylord Michigan I was privileged to participate in the Abrahams' dedication of their son to the Lord.  One of the greatest impacts we have on our world is to raise our children in the "discipline and instruction of the Lord."  Alexis and Moses are starting out well with Eli.


It's not a particularly good picture, but it was a great day.  Congratulations to all concerned.

Five generations,


Monday, June 20, 2016

June Prayer Letter

Since we arrived home, Covington, in mid May we have been intending to, and sporadically working on getting a printed Newsletter ready to send.  We finally got it printed today.  We'll be sending it tomorrow.  You can read it below, if you like.

A couple of other things:

  • I just got off the phone with one our partners in ministry.  My friend's family just had a major answer to prayer.
  • I'll be leaving the first of next week to represent Liebenzell USA & Pacific Islands University at the IFCA International convention.  I am also hoping to contact some LMUSA personnel and friends while on the trip.  The convention is in Springfield IL.
  • I'm about ready to send out a news release about the hybrid class--part online, part classroom--that we are planning to offer this fall.  CFOR 303, Marriage and Family, will be offered through our Distance Ed. department.  The classroom portion will be taught in Palau.  Please pray that it will come to pass and be truly useful.
Find out more below:



HOWARD & KATHY MERRELL
Serving with Liebenzell Mission, USA & Pacific Islands University
hmerrell@piu.edu, 540 691 6539, 2106 S. Carpenter Drive.

Dear Partner in Ministry,

Story boards are the most uniquely Palauan of Palau’s souvenirs.  This one is special to Kathy and me because it is a gift from one of our friends in Palau.  Each story board is hand carved.  Carving is an ancient craft in Palau; it was used in the construction of the village Bai--a ceremonial community building--in making canoes, and to form household items.  Typically story boards are carved from the wood of the breadfruit tree--a tree that provided part of the traditional Palauan diet as well as wood for their canoes.  Today’s art of making story boards began during the Japanese occupation of Palau, so the story board reminds one of the recent, as well as ancient,  history of Palau.  Most of the college students Kathy and I work with were born in the time of Palau’s independence (The Republic of Palau is the fourth smallest nation in the world).  Their parents were born during the time when the United States was in charge of their islands.  Their grandparents were born in the time of Japanese occupation, and their great, or great-great grandparents were born in the time when Germany was in charge.  They took over from the Spanish.  One of our students gave this charitable summary of recent Palauan history: “The Germans brought us the Gospel, the Japanese taught us discipline, and the Americans modeled freedom for us.”
Story boards tell a story.  This one portrays a Palauan legend.  An old woman, like most Palauans, loved fish. Her son, and neighbors, didn’t provide any for her.  She would see people pass her house with the fish they had caught, but they didn’t share with her.  One day her son cut a limb off of a breadfruit tree growing at the ocean’s edge.   Where the branch had been, water immediately surged from the tree, each time a wave crashed on the beach.  With each gush, fish jumped out of the tree.  The neighbors soon became jealous of the woman’s good fortune.  Finally, an envious man chopped the tree down.  The water now poured out of the stump in a torrent and soon the whole Island was flooded.  Legend has it that one can still see the site of the Island off the shore of Ngiwal (“knee-wall”).  Interestingly, the Palauan Evangelical Church marks Ngiwal as the place where the Bread of Life, the Good News about Jesus Christ, first came to Palau, less than ninety years ago. 
The story models some characteristics that are held in high esteem in Palauan culture--sharing, caring for family, and the bounty of the sea.
The Lord continues to carve His story into our lives.  The first half of 2016 has been significant in Introduction to Christian Doctrine, and New Testament Survey, to three student, with one other non-academic student participating in many of our classes.  In addition we partnered with the Palauan Evangelical Church in various ways, took opportunities to promote PIU’s program, and were privileged to serve along-side and encourage fellow LMUSA missionaries Steve and Anne Stinnette.  The Stinnette’s are currently preparing the P.E.C.’s first missionary couple for service in Indonesia.
that ­regard.  January 1 we began our new role as missionaries with Liebenzell USA.  In that capacity we took on two new roles.  Howard became the director/instructor of Pacific Island University’s teaching facility in Palau.  This extension of PIU had essentially ceased to operate.  During the Spring semester we were privileged to teach two classes,
Now that we are back in Covington we are in the phase of our work that involves serving with the Marriage and the Family.  Howard will teach the classroom portion of the class at our teaching facility.  We’ll be returning to Palau for the Spring 2017 semester.
Director of Global Ministries at LMUSA.  Over the rest of 2016 we’ll be reaching out to potential world-changers and encouraging those who are already in the frontlines of service.  Perhaps we could share about the opportunities for ministry available through our mission.  We are glad to do so in most any context, from a conversation over a cup of coffee to a presentation in a missions conference.  At the end of June Howard will be representing LMUSA/PIU at the IFCA International convention in Springfield IL.  While he is on the trip he’ll make contact with some Liebenzell missionaries on furlough.  As far as long-distance travel, the plan is for just Howard to make a short trip to Palau this fall.  PIU is offering a Distance Education class,
Thank you, so much for partnering with us in this venture.

We praise the Lord for:      
  • The opportunities we have had in the first half of 2016  (We have been privileged to work with some fine folk who have great potential.)
  • Safety and good health
  • A web of relationships that is being built
  • Time we have been able to spend with family

We ask you to pray for:
  •      More students to enroll in PIU courses
  •      Salvation of some friends we made in Palau
  •      Ability to further the cause of Christ through our efforts of recruitment and encouragement
  •      Continued safety and health
  •      Sumer is a low time for income at PIU.  Pray for increased giving.

 
In His service and care,

H&K

LMUSA / PO Box 66 / Schooley’s Mountain NJ 07870-0066 // 908 852 3044, http://liebenzellmission.org/