Ministry/Vacation Trip

P1030775We have been wanting to get up to Vermont since we returned to the States in 2012, but timing just was not coming together with beginning new ministries, moving, small baby, etc. So – finally – this past week, we made a quick trip up to visit my sister, her husband, and the church I grew up in, which is also one of our first supporting churches. We stayed a week and had an awesome time. It felt like a mini-vacation with two speaking engagements thrown in. I think we all needed it.

Wednesday evening, the church organized a fellowship time with us and then a time for us to share. Tanya (my sister) kept saying, “You may have 20 people – you may have 120 – I really don’t know!” We were incredibly excited to see about 100 people come to hear us share in the evening! What’s really ironic is that not only has UBCย (click to check out their website) supported us for seven years, but they have supported MRF for… Oh, I don’t even know how long! At least as long as my parents have been there, which was since the mid ’80’s. Years ago, the church ladies sent quilts down for the beds… some of which are still floating around! But, no one has been able to go up there and give a ministry update in quite some time, so with a whole new generation of families at UBC, many didn’t even know what MRF is or what all we do here. As well, the church is very well aware of BCM, but really only in regards to the work ย in Peru, so we were able to broaden it a bit and share about the work BCM does internationally. The response from the evening was VERY good. The best part for us was at the end when they spontaneously came around us and spent time in prayer for us.

Sunday morning, we shared again, focusing mainly on MRF. It was very well received again and we had a lot of feedback afterwards, which was super encouraging to us.

What struck me most this time around was the fact that this is how the church should function. I grew up there – in that school, youth group, and church body. They were really the ones who taught me and helped me grow during my formative years. To be able to stand there, with my husband, and share about our ministry and how they support us just feels like coming full-circle. A church should be raising up their young people and sending them out to do missions, then supporting them as they do so! They should be involved, not just in prayer and finances, but with contact and missions trips and practical help. UBC does all of that for us and we are very grateful to them.

The last time we were in Vermont, Elena was just a peanut, about 4 months old, and it was the dead of winter, so we didn’t do much.

Elena, last time we visited VT - Feb. of 2011!

Elena, last time we visited VT – Feb. of 2011!

This time, the kids were bigger and the weather was gorgeous, so we did a bit of sightseeing when we could. It was a blast taking them into Franconia Notch, NH, and doing some family hiking.

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My sister and I did some yard saling and Brian helped with a few projects around their house. My sister has a giant dog that the kids absolutely LOVED, Joseph especially. She also has chickens, which Elena would talk to and feed to her heart’s content.

We got home Monday evening and jumped back into ministry here. We finished our Wed. evening program for the school year a couple weeks ago. Parents were invited to join us for the evening and we had an amazing turnout!

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We gave out some prizes, played games, sang songs, and ate (way too much) ice cream. It was an awesome way to close out the year and makes us look forward with anticipation to the fall.

I have worked for almost two months on setting up the summer schedules for the children’s ministries and it still doesn’t seem to be completed! I’m also preparing a VBS for July, but that’s slow-going, too. You can be in prayer for these two areas over the next few weeks.

Here at MRF, the homes are full, but minor repairs are still constant. Pray with us and the board about the possibility of expansion; it’s so hard to hear of people needing housing and having nothing open to offer!

The next edition of BCM World is coming out, Lord-willing, next week or the week after (it’s all up to Brian now and his design expertise!). I have two articles in there – hope you enjoy them! I’ll post the link when it’s published.

Brian leaves in just a few short weeks for his 10-day trip to Ireland: June 19-30. If you would like to help finance his trip, you can send funds in, marked “Brian Biegert Ireland Trip” to BCM Int’l – that would be greatly appreciated! Pray with our family as this will be a stretch, not having daddy for 10 days is a LONG time when you’re little! Pray for me as I will have lots to accomplish while he’s gone, but being mom & dad will be first priority. Pray for Matt, the guy from our church going with him, that this trip will impact his life as well and open his eyes to missions.

Brian’s last trip of the year will in October, back down to Lima, Peru. This trip is still open, but filling up quickly – which is awesome! Contact us if you’re interested in joining him!

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In Short:

Woa. I have become quite the slacker when it comes to this blog! Here’s what’s been going on since Easter:

  • Immediately after Easter, I held my first ever “Training & Recognition Day” for my children’s ministry volunteers. I have a total of 40+ volunteers in the children’s ministry and 26 of them showed up for the day. It was not the number I was hoping for, to be honest, but I’ll still take it! We began the morning with some recognition time, specifically thanking certain individuals, and then I talked about the upcoming changes to programs. We enjoyed a catered brunch and then did three hours of training using BCM’s In Step with the Master Teacher program. I taught two hours; my director in teacher training, Stan, taught three (we taught two of those hours simultaneously). It was a successful, blessed day and I look forward to the 2nd Annual Training & Recognition Day in spring 2015!
  • Yesterday, Wednesday the 14th, was our last Pioneer Clubs for the 2014 school year. Parents were invited to come out and we had a FULL house! I was ecstatic with the number of kids with their parents who made it! We played games with the parents, passed out prizes, and enjoyed ice cream with all the toppings you could possibly imagine. And then watched the kids literally run in circles while they waited on parents. ๐Ÿ™‚
  • This Sunday, we end the school year children’s church program. We’ll begin a different summer program beginning June 1.
  • Also this Sunday I have my first planning meeting for something I have participated heavily in before, but never directed: Vacation Bible School! So excited – and completely terrified! Just praying for a good turnout of volunteers!
  • We will be in Vermont next week in order to visit my sister and her husband and represent BCM and MRF at the church I grew up in – Union Baptist Church. We haven’t been there since E was 4mos old! Looking forward to reconnecting with old friends and sharing about our ministries with a church body who has faithfully supported us this entire time.
  • Brian has been doing almost constant web design work. I don’t get it, but he keeps telling me it’s “relaxing.” To each his own, I guess! ๐Ÿ™‚
  • We had quick turn-overs of guests here at MRF which meant quick updates, fast cleaning, and hasty repairs before the new residents moved in. We are enjoying getting to know a couple of the families who have been here for awhile. One of the young teen girls adores our kids and babysits whenever she’s able, which is a HUGE blessing. We have a family who was here last summer who has returned for a couple of months, so we’re looking forward to reconnecting with them as soon as they’ve settled back in.
  • With spring in full-swing, that means more work outside for Brian. “Improvement” seems to be his constant motto.
  • Brian heads to Ireland June 19! Can we all just say, “Ahhhhh!!!!” with me for a moment? Ten days with no daddy in the house just sounds…. not even remotely fun right now. Pray for me.
  • We battled a flu-bug a week ago. That was not fun and laid us up for much longer than we anticipated. Thankfully, Baby J was spared.
  • The kids are loving – LOVING – the warmer weather and could literally live outside 24/7. Getting them to come inside is difficult, which is a good thing… or so I’m told.

And that’s about it! We’re kept plenty busy, but we wouldn’t want it any other way. Pray for us. The flu really knocked us out for about a week, which makes us both feel very behind in the work we absolutely must get done. Pray for safety and a good trip next week and that the kids would handle the week well.

Thanks for standing behind us. It’s through your prayers and support that we are able to do what we do every day.

Day of Prayer

Today is another day of prayer and fasting for BCM International. I wanted to take a few minutes to share with you some specific requests from around the world that you could be praying for, today and whenever else.

  • BCM is currently revising and translating three curriculums: Tiny Steps of Faith, Footsteps of Faith, and In Step With the Master Teacher. Pray for the completion of each of these and the continued opportunities for them to be translated into more and more languages around the globe.
  • Pray for the ministry of BCM Ireland: the running of Castledaly Manor as they wait on the couple who will be running it to arrive next year (they are currently raising support). Pray as well for the team as they do teacher training around the country – that they would be able to do more sessions as well as expand their teaching team.
  • Pray for Northern Ireland – they will be doing a special program called “A Hometown Christmas” that will reach the 3 villages surrounding their camp with the Christmas story (Dec. 18-19).
  • Pray for Tommy and Kelly Gambrill – BCM appointees raising support in order to go to Haiti. Their goal is to arrive in January.
  • Pray for Faithe Heuser – BCM short-termer trying to raise support to go to Ireland. She is planning to go to Ireland for three months and then return later for two years. She needs to have her support for the three month trip before January.
  • Pray for the pastors and associates of BCM work in Cuba – they have all lost everything due to Hurricane Sandy. They are in need of housing, food, and medicine especially.
  • Here in Peru, pray for the provision of funds for a pool as well as for a van for the work in Tarapoto.
  • For ourselves: please pray that God would make it very clear to us where He would have us serve next, be it with BCM Ireland or elsewhere.

We feel very blessed to be a part of Bible Centered Ministries International. These requests are just a few of the many from around the globe. There are over 750 missionaries serving in over 50 countries – that equals a lot of requests. God is doing great things around the world through BCM! Thank you for supporting us and allowing us to be a part of this ministry.ย 

Ireland Summary

BCM Ireland’s camp: Castledaly Manor, Castledaly, Ireland

Brian is safely home from Ireland! He got home around 5am Wednesday the 15th. We are very, very glad to have him home, though we’re also very, very glad he went and saw BCM Ireland in person. The picture up top is where he spent the majority of his time and where we are considering working. It’s a beautiful camp that is in a converted Manor. The Manor was originally just that – a manor – then converted into a large hotel, and is now BCM’s camp/retreat center.

We talked basically non-stop for the first three days he was home, so to sum everything up is going to take some effort! There was a lot of information gained in a very short amount of time. Let me see if I can give you some interesting bullet points:

  • Ireland has a very small Christian population (“Christian” as in, Gospel believing, not Catholic). Gospel-preaching churches are very small (like 50 people is normal) and there can be entire cities with no church at all.
  • In the area surrounding Castledaly, there are about three churches. No churches in Castledaly itself nor in the closest city, Moate. As far as we know, only three Gospel-preaching churches in the city of Athlone, which is quite large.
  • BCM missionaries do not live near Castledaly Manor, therefore there are no Bible clubs or BCM influence there except when camps are running. But, the opportunities are there. Just no one to run them.
  • BCM Ireland is working extensively with local churches (many in Dublin) to have volunteers to help with the work. BCM Int’l actually says, “We have 800 missionaries and average 10 volunteers per missionary.” In Ireland, this is definitely the case. Camps themselves are mostly run by volunteers. As well, BCM will help churches set up Bible clubs, then they train church members to take them over and BCM bows out to do other work. It’s really neat to see how many volunteers there are over there! The idea is not necessarily to raise up hundreds of missionaries, but to train the local church to do ministry themselves and equip them to carry it out.
  • The camp itself is in need of some TLC. It’s in great condition for its age and the amount of use it gets, but most every room has its own full (on-suite) bathroom (there are over 20 rooms) and every room has furniture and some have fireplaces. Plus, there are the meeting rooms, the kitchen, dining room, and the grounds. Currently, no one is living at the Manor to take care of it, so the director is making frequent trips there to do work and mow the lawn.
  • Sometime around May, another couple from the States will be arriving to take over the administrative/hospitality side of the Manor. But, they still need someone who could focus solely on maintenance.

So, where does this leave us?ย 

In prayer!ย 

We do not want to rush things, nor do we want to miss out if God is calling us there. Pray with us as we talk to leadership, pray as a family, and look at every angle of this opportunity.ย 

We are so very glad that Brian was able to go in person and see all of this, meet Richard (the director), and spend time with the board. This has been a huge help in the decision-making.

In closing, I’ll leave you with just a few pictures:

An old monastery Brian visited, up in the mountains.

View from a hike Brian went on with our friends, John and Annette.

Moate – the closest city to Castledaly Manor.

One of the many rooms at the Manor; they all have this basic layout, with an on-suite bathroom. Some have bunkbeds or daybeds as well.

Old cow stables, now converted into beautiful rooms.

The backside of the Manor. There are lots of beautiful grounds and fields there along with their own little pond for boating during camps.

Part of Athlone, the bigger city near the Manor. It sits by the Shannon River.

Ruins of another monastery.

Camp! Brian got to speak that night about Peru.

Please email us if you’d like more info or if you have questions. If you’d like to read more about BCM Ireland, including the history of how they acquired the Manor (it’s fascinating!), please visit their website: www.bcmireland.ieย 

Thank You

I just wanted to say thank you for all the prayers for my health. I honestly don’t remember the week I got the shingles hardly at all. I think my mind just blocked out those days with all the pain. This past week was much better. Things have obviously healed. I wouldn’t say they’re gone; I still have pain in some areas. But, by far, the worst of it is over and it’s now liveable and manageable. We saw our doctor last Wednesday and she wanted me to stay on bed rest and in isolation for a few more days just so I could finish healing. But, the ultrasound she did also put me at over 39wks, so she is convinced the baby is on its way. She’d like the baby to be born within the next few days, so we’ll see how that goes. We go to the clinic tomorrow evening (if I’m not in labor before then) and we’ll see what she says. At any rate, the baby will be here this week, we just don’t know when. For now, I think my body is recuperating from all the illness and sleepless nights as well as preparing for labor. All I want to do is sleep! ๐Ÿ™‚

Thanks again for being so caring and lifting me up in prayer. It really meant a lot and I’m convinced God did a miracle because normally shingles take a little longer to heal than this.

Pray for us this week and for the safe arrival of our little girl!

Lisa’s Health

I won’t pretend this is Brian writing. ๐Ÿ™‚ I thought I’d give an update on how I’m doing since there’s so many of you out there praying for me.

For those of you that somehow haven’t heard – about a week ago, I came down with shingles. I’m just about 38wks pregnant, so this is a little scary. Definitely not something I had planned. Our doctor that we’ve been seeing wouldn’t see me Monday because she “doesn’t work Mondays” so we went to see a friend’s doctor. This new doctor turned out to be a God-send. She spoke and understood enough English that I didn’t have to think through the pain to explain it to her in Spanish. She knew immediately what it was – didn’t even have to think about it. She even has an ultrasound machine IN her office, so she checked the baby right then and there just to be sure everything is okay. We haven’t seen our baby since like April or May (I can’t even remember!) and she was so tiny then – it was awesome to see how big (and complete!) she is. She was sucking on four of her fingers and looked so content and peaceful… it was such a blessing to know she’s really okay, even after the dog jumping on me and now this. Oh yeah – I had an 80lb dog jump on me at the end of August, too. This has not been a good month.

Anyway – I got side-tracked. The consensus was that I need to be on bedrest as much as possible for at least 10 days so I won’t provoke labor. The baby was not quite in position, but the doctor felt she could go into position and come at any moment, so I need to be quiet and prevent that from happening until I’m all better. The odds of the baby getting shingles if she’s born while I still have them are apparently pretty high. I’m also not to be around children or other people since it can be contagious, so I’m quarantined in the house, in my bed. Granted, there is really no place else I’ve wanted to be all week and I have barely been in the mood to talk to Brian, much less visitors, so this hasn’t been that hard.

Today, Saturday, I’m finally in less pain. I can think straight and I think I slept more than just a couple hours last night. I know things are healing, but I have a ways to go. The blisters seem to heal and then come back, so it’s almost a two steps forward, one step back deal at this point. But I will say this is the first morning in a week that I’ve woken up and been able to move right away. So, we’re getting somewhere at least.

Please continue to pray for me and the baby. Shingles can last for weeks so the 10 days of bed rest might turn out not being enough. We see this new doctor (we switched doctors… for good reason) on Wednesday to find out how things are going. We will keep you posted as much as possible (our internet hasn’t been good this week, either). Just keep praying; the pain is indescribable. I’d really like to have it all better before the baby gets here!

P.S. – Thanks for all the encouraging emails and notes; it really helps lift my spirits.

Prayer Request

We got word this week of a pretty serious situation that we’d like to ask your prayers for.

Last year when we arrived, Brian’s right-hand man was a man named Fernando. His wife, Lenny, worked in the kitchen. Their daughter Jocabed was a first year Bible school student and their other daughter, Sarai, was 7 years old. We absolutely loved this family. Fernando was an amazing helper to Brian, working overtime, making sure Brian had all the help he needed. If Brian was gone, he was someone I knew I could ask for help if I needed it. He watched our house the two weeks Brian was gone in Iquitos, making sure everything was okay while I was home alone. Sarai followed Brian around incessantly. Jocabed was probably the sweetest girl we’ve ever met. We loved this family.

Unfortunately, due to some family issues back in their hometown of Tarapoto, they needed to leave in December. We ached to see them go and still talk about them at least once a week – we miss them greatly!

Jocabed was to return in April for classes, but she never showed up. We heard conflicting reports as to why and honestly, I’m not sure why she wasn’t able to come back. But then, we heard this week that she really is gravely ill, although this is something that just came on.

We’re not 100% clear on the timeline, but sometime within the last week or two, she woke up one day not remembering anything. She doesn’t know who she is, who her family is, where she is – she can’t remember anything about her past. She’s incredibly confused. The doctors don’t know what’s causing this and want to send her to a different city for head scans and more treatment.

Please pray for Jocabed and the entire family! She’s young and everything we can think of that would be causing this does not sound good. This family is so close to our hearts; we hurt knowing they’re going through this.

We will keep you updated as we hear things. Thanks for your prayers!