Tuesday, October 3, 2017

While I'm waiting...I will serve you

"Wait for the Lord; 
be strong and take heart and wait for the Lord." 
-Psalm 27:14   

Waiting. These last two months have been full of waiting. Strong. The Lord has given me strength so many times to just keep going. Take heart. Hope for the future, God has never failed me and He won't start now. 

Thank you for your prayers and your support. You are all a HUGE blessing. This last Friday I got the phone call and was told that I was again denied the visa and along with it I can't reapply for 6 months. WHY??? I don't understand what God is doing but I keep trusting and seeking Him in this period of waiting. 

Marcia and Guillermo (co-workers) and I are currently at FIM (fellowship international mission) in Pennsylvania until October 5. We are meeting the new general director and going over ministry plans and talking about the next few months. God is good and this time with our team at the home office has been a blessing. Lots of exciting things going to happen. 

For the rest of the year I will be in the Iowa area, mostly NW Iowa. Living in Paullina and helping in an ESL classroom (english as a second language) in Sioux Center. Also will get connected with a local Spanish ministry at a church.  Then after the first of the year we are praying over options to see where God leads. It is still my heart's desire to return to Venezuela at some point. 

Prayers and Praises: 

  • Praise for this time at FIM and a safe trip
  • Pray for Venezuela 
  • Praise for time to connect with family and friends
  • Pray for Guillermo's trip to Venezuela (October-November)
  • Praise for new friends in Sioux Center
  • Pray for God to open doors with the visa situation. 
  • Praise God for His goodness and unfailing love. 
  • Pray for wisdom for what is next. 
Thank you again for your support and prayers!! 
Blessings,
Alicia Whitmore 
awhitmore@fim.org

Fellowship International Mission 
555 S 24th St. 
Allentown, PA 18104

Sunday, July 9, 2017

Celebrate!!

"Let all that I am praise the Lord; may I never forget the good things He does for me."
Psalms 103:2

May and June have been filled with many celebrations. First in the middle of May we celebrated moms. Here is a picture of several of the mothers at church. We had a time of snacks and games with them after the regular Sunday evening church service. In Venezuela they celebrate Mother's day just like in the States. God is good and has blessed us with many wonderful women at church. 

On Thursday nights with the kids in La Ceiba we finished our project of "Who are we in Christ?" We ended this time with a game night, it was a series of games that each team had to complete, each activity was planned to reinforce what had been taught in each class through out the project. It was a fun time and the kids learned a lot. 

In June we celebrated all the Fathers at church. The kids read poems during the service and we shared fried rice and juice afterwards. We are also very blessed with these men in the church. God is a good father and we thank Him for all He does for us. 

On June 30th I finished Spanish classes with Ana and Luz. We planned a surprise grill out for them at my house. It was a fun afternoon, many stories of the last two years were told and I said thank you to all those who have put in countless hours of help and support in my language and culture learning. All the glory goes to God. 
  

Last week we celebrated Guillermo's birthday with lunch together. We are so thrilled to have him here right now and to be able to share this special day with him. 

These past two months I have been able to go to Paso Nuevo several times and spend time with the people of this church. The top pictures of the cactus are from Nuncia and Carlos' house. This cactus only opens its flowers at night, so beautiful. I also tried several different types of mangos at their house, Carlos is my "Professor of mangos" and takes his job very seriously. Please pray for Carlos as he is not a follower of Christ yet. Below is the family of Samuel and Diglis with their infant son Allan. They are young and hungry to learn more about God and his word. Pray for them as they grow in the Lord. 


Thank you for your continued prayers and support. Here are a few things for prayer and praise: 
  • Carlos (professor of mangos) salvation
  • Samuel and Diglis
  • Praise for two years of Spanish classes
  • Transition into practicing Spanish in ministry 
  • The kids during their time of vacation
  • The 3 Plan Vacacionals (VBS) that we have coming up 
Blessings,
Alicia 
awhitmore@fim.org 

Serving with: 
Fellowship International Mission (FIM) 
555 S 24th St 
Allentown, PA 18104



Saturday, May 6, 2017

Because He lives!!

"He is not here, he is risen, as he said."
Matthew 28:6a

The month of April was filled with celebrations of the resurrection of our Savior. The kids from church in La Ceiba spent a Saturday at the foundation making kites with Laideth and Sait. Unfortunately only one kite flew. It is very traditional for the kids to make and fly kites during Holy week, they also enjoy going to the river during their week off from school. Enjoy the pictures. 



Easter Sunday was a day full of celebration! The music ministry team practiced several hymns and choruses for the church services, we then sang them with someone playing piano. I read a poem about what Jesus did for us on the cross. Sunday morning at 6:30 we had a service in Puerto Ordaz followed by a breakfast together. Then we were off to La Ceiba to celebrate there with a service and fresh fruit. The pictures below are both in La Ceiba; Laideth reading the bible with Leo, the music team singing "He lives" acapella. 



 After Easter it was time for me to leave for my visa work again. Time sure does fly when you are having fun! This time God opened doors and I was able to visit two different missionary families in Ecuador. After 30 hours of travel (3 airplanes, a bus and a car) I arrived in Loja, Ecuador at the home of Murray and Sheryl Greenwood (missionaries with SIM). Murray is a pediatrician at a clinic and together the couple disciples and encourages the believers in their church. Two days I helped and observed at the clinic, seeing the kids was a highlight! I also got to see the drama team they disciple on Sunday nights, it was so fun!!  My time with them was very encouraging and refreshing. Loja is up in the mountains so it was much colder than I am use to in Venezuela. 



Next I was off on another bus to Santo Domingo, Ecuador to visit Andrea and Vlady's family. Andrea is sister-in-law to my friend Lizzie Gardiner in England, we met last October at the wedding I was in. Andrea is also a doctor and serves the kids in her community by helping them with school supplies (we handed these out while I was there) and other medical needs. Andrea is also homeschooling her sweet little girls, Tamara (8) and Emily (6). Most of my time we spent playing with them and doing homeschool. Emily saw to it that I did my "school work" too ;) They live on a farm and have a river on their land, we spent many evenings enjoying time swimming. Vlady is a flower farmer and is currently building a retreat center on their land. They are a lovely and busy family! 


Praising God for His continued protection and seeing His working hand in other parts of the world! 

Prayer requests: 

  • Safety/wisdom 
  • Health for Luz and Ana (my teachers)
  • Learning and continued improvement in giving classes
  • That all the kids from church will grow both physically and spiritually 
  • Ishmael - minor infection in his leg, healing, praise that we were able to find the medications he needed!! God is good. 
  • Venezuela - God is in control, that the people would be open to His call and trust fully in Him. 
Thank you so much for you love, encouragement, prayers and support!! 
Blessings,
Alicia 
awhitmore@fim.org 

Serving with: 
Fellowship International Mission (FIM) 
555 S 24th St
Allentown, PA 18104


Sunday, April 9, 2017

Sing praises to God, sing praises!

"Clap you hands, all peoples! Shout to God with loud songs of joy! For the Lord, the Most High, is to be feared, a great king over all the earth. Sing praises to God, sing praises! Sing praises to our King, sing praises!" Psalm 47:1-2,6
Sing praises to God, sing praises! One of the songs of praise to God from this month is that He has provided several more learning and growing opportunities. In the picture above I am singing with the praise team during a Sunday evening service. I have started practicing with them two times a week and singing in the service once a month. A few of us also started taking a class with a music professor once a week to learn some basics of singing. 

The most exciting song of praise to be sung is that I was able to give the class to the kids in La Ceiba on Thursday night!! This was a huge encouragement because I was able to see the future and was able to put into practice everything I have been working on for over a year and a half. There are still things to be worked on and improvements to be made but over all everyone is happy with the direction we are headed. 

Along the same idea, after studying with a class Friday nights how to put together a bible study, I was able to present a 15 minute bible study for my group last Friday night. I was much less nervous and did an over all good job sharing a message about Philippians 4:1-9. One lesson I learned is that practice helps me feel more confident in presenting but even then there are mistakes...like forgetting the conclusion!! hahaha 

One final song of praise to God is for the expanding of the land at the foundation in La Ceiba. This past month the church purchased the land next to the foundation, it included a building with two rooms, a free standing bathroom and a pig building. We are extremely blessed and looking forward to what God will do through this ministry. 

Prayer requests and praises for this month: 

  • Praise that God has given me the ability to learn Spanish and now share His word with others. 
  • Praise for the expansion of the foundation. 
  • Praise for the kids who are learning and growing everyday. 
  • Request that God will continue to work in the hearts and lives of those who come to the foundation. 
  • For open hearts of those we are visiting and sharing the gospel with on Thursdays in La Ceiba 
  • For safe travels to Ecuador April 17-May 2 for visa reasons and to observe two ministries there. 
Thank you so much for your continued support and prayers! God is good and answering prayers! 

Blessings,
Alicia 
awhitmore@fim.org 

Serving with: 
Fellowship International Mission
555 S 24th St
Allentown, PA 18104

Tuesday, February 28, 2017

Things that are praise worthy

"Brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things." -Philippians 4:8 

January and February have come and gone in the blink of an eye!! In that time God has given me many things to think about that are excellent and praise worthy. 

First, in January he gave me 30 years of life and several wonderful Venezuelan friends to celebrate with! 
Cake with church friends.
Cake with the kids in La Ceiba at the foundation.

At the end of January God blessed me with time to relax in Curacao, first alone and then with my family! It was great to see them and we shared many happy memories together. God's creation is beautiful and breath taking. 
Top of the highest point in Curacao.
Smoothies on the pier.

Once I got back to Venezuela in February I hit the ground running. Marcia and Guillermo were here from the States. In the two weeks that Marcia was with us we had several meetings and special gatherings planned. Said turned 60! So we celebrated that blessing from the Lord her in our yard with church friends and a few of his non-christian friends. One said, "I was not expecting to have that much fun with a group of Christians." What a testimony Said and Laideth are living for those around them. 
Later Marcia, Luz, Ana and I met to talk about my classes. This was a very encouraging morning for me. Everyone is very pleased with how I am progressing. I am at a 75% level of understanding and 60% for getting along in the culture. We have changed my weekly schedule around so that now I only have class 3 days a week and am involved in more church activities. I am now attending both the Sunday evening service in Villa Icabaru and the Tuesday night prayer service. Thursday morning I am meeting with Laideth and Ana to plan the class for the kids on Thursday nights (going to be giving the lesson next month). Then we have been evangelizing in La Ceiba on Thursday nights before the kids service there. One Friday evenings I am attending and participating in the class at church where a group of about 10 of us are learning to put together a lesson about the Bible. After class we (the worship team) practice the songs we will sing at church on Sunday. I am going to start singing with them once a month. Yes this has changed my life and routine so much and these first to weeks have been exhausting! However, I am so excited to be involved in more and moving forward with ministry. 
Another blessing of having Marcia here was being able to talk with her, she listens to me and gives advice and encouragement that I need. 

February has ended with a fun two day tournament at the foundation in La Ceiba. It is Carnaval (a festival where you throw water at each other) here so the kids didn't have school. Below are some of the pictures we took together enjoying some soccer, unfortunately I didn't get any pictures of the water fights we had because I would have damaged my camera! I was SOAKED!!  


The willing "littles" group. Joseph kicked the winning goal!! (he is Ana's nephew)
 Enjoying the tournament!

God is good and I am so thankful for all of the things He is doing here. 

Prayer requests: 
  • Salvation of those we are evangelizing to in La Ceiba on Thursdays. 
  • That the kids and youth will apply what they are learning at church and live for Christ. 
  • Daniela's family (very poor family in Paso Nuevo) would be healed from their sins and from bed sores they have. That Grandma would start taking responsibility for daily house hold chores. 
  • Continued language growth. 
  • That the church leaders (Ana, Said and Laideth) would be encouraged and take time to rest during the week. 
Thank you for all your support and prayers!!
Blessings,
Alicia 
awhitmore@fim.org 

Serving with:
Fellowship International Mission
555 S 24th St 
Allentown, PA 18104 


Sunday, January 15, 2017

Celebrations in December

Happy New Year!! Praise the Lord for another year of ministry. 

December was a very busy month! We started the month off in Paso Nuevo celebrating the birth of the Savior with a special supper with our church family. 
Alicia and her friends :) 
Church family enjoying time together after the supper.

Next we had our dinner at our church here in Puerto Ordaz. All the dinners were made by church members and everyone had a great time preparing and cutting veggies together. 
The group of ladies I sat with at dinner

Sunday after church we had the dinner in La Ceiba. During the service the kids shared bible verses and the books of the bible that they have been learning. Also a few of them shared a song they learned from an indian who was visiting a month ago. It was great to see them excited to share what they are learning. 
Manuel reciting the books of the Old Testament

Traditionally Christmas is celebrated on the 24th with a big dinner late at night with the entire family. For lunch we went to the foundation in La Ceiba for lunch. 
The Buloz family with Manuel and Leo (two of the brothers who live at the foundation)

In the evening the Silveira family invited me to share in their meal and celebrations. It was delicious and a good time was had by all. Thanks be to God for blessing me with two great teachers and a family to be with during the Holidays. 


On the 25th a group of us spent the day at the foundation. We had a soup lunch and played dominoes all afternoon. It was a great day. Surprisingly I picked up on the strategy quickly! 

Another day during break a few of us ladies from church got together and spent the day making "hallacas". The traditional Venezuelan Christmas dinner. The hallaca is similar to a "hot pocket", I posted a picture of this in my last blog too, in this picture you can see the outer part that hold it all together; a banana leaf (not to be eaten). It is a lot of work but was a great day with friends. 

December was filled with memories and enjoying the culture of Venezuela with great friends! Praying that you all had a happy New Year. Thank your your support and prayers this Holiday season. God bless each one of you this coming year! 

Blessings,
Alicia 
awhitmore@fim.org 

Friday, December 23, 2016

Ministry in November

"For to us a child is born, to us a son is given; and the government shall be upon his shoulder, and his name shall be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace." 
Isaiah 9:6

In November we met again as a church and had a half day of prayer and fasting. We sang songs, prayed for various things for each church and reflected over the Word of God. After the fast we shared a delicious soup together. 
Another evening in November we met as a church and discussed what is true worship. Worship is what we do daily in living for the Lord, not just the songs and time we spend at church on Sunday. This was a very encouraging evening. 

At the end of November we started our Christmas Tea outreach. This year we invited the family groups in our neighborhoods. It was good Spanish practice to invite these people to our service. At the tea we sang songs, played a few group games related to Christmas, put together a living Nativity (see photos below), shared refreshments and meditated on the true meaning of Christmas. The word for Christmas in Spanish means birth. All the teas really kicked off the Christmas season and prepared us for the celebration of the birth of the Savior. 







One other fun thing we did this month was went out to eat for a traditional Venezuelan Christmas meal. The four main things are meat (pork), hallaca (corn meal with meat, chicken, olives, raisins and capers inside), ham bread (ham, olives and raisins wrapped inside bread) and chicken salad.  

Merry Christmas!!
Thank you for your prayers this year!

Alicia
awhitmore@fim.org