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!


Thursday, November 3, 2016

Prayer and fasting

"Through your offspring all nations on earth will be blessed, because you have obeyed me." 
Genesis 22:18

September was a growing month with many firsts. I attended my first all church meeting and understood the majority of what was going on. This is a great accomplishment as large group things can be challenging to follow. At the meeting it was decided that we would have an all church prayer and fasting weekend. So, one Friday night we all met and prayed for several hours. Prayers for the churches, prayers for each other and prayers that God would move in the hearts and lives of those in the churches. Then on Saturday morning we had a fast together. We again met at the church to pray, sing and study God’s word together. This was also a time for listening to God’s voice. Everyone came away encouraged and feeling God’s presence. 

Another first this month for me was my presentation for Ana. We have started studying God’s word in my classes. She taught me how to put together a class based on a passage and also a class on a topic in the Bible. So at the end of our month of study she had me present to her a ten to fifteen minute class for a child on the faith of Abraham. I was very nervous for this but after studying and practice with Laideth it went very well! God is good!! I am so happy and can’t wait to present a class to a child in the future. Also that week I had a test with Luz and came away with a good grade and a plan for what things I still need to work on. 
The newly repainted house at the foundation.

October was a fun month. I needed to leave for visa reasons so God gave me the opportunity to celebrate the wedding of a good Moody friend from England. The parents of the bride invited me to come and attend this wonderful life event with them and their family. They all were great hosts and it was such a blessing to see them and share my ministry with them and at the local cafe for a group of international students. It was also a great time to rest and recharge before the busy Holiday season in the Venezuela churches. 

Praise that language keeps getting better and moving forward. 
Praise that travel has all gone smoothly. 
Praise for the lives that the gospel is touching. 
Pray for the political situation in Venezuela.
Pray for safety. 
Pray for the out reaches the churches will do over the Holidays. 

Thank you for your support and prayers! 

Thursday, September 8, 2016

Plan Vacacional - August

Plan Vacacional = Vacation Bible School.

The last month has been full of preparations for Plan and then the 3 days of Plan Vacacional and then preparing for the next one. Each church, La Ceiba, Villa Icabaru and Paso Nuevo has their own 3 days of the same Plan Vacacional. This years theme was The Gospel of God. Simple but so important. We has around 50 kids at each church and close to 10 adults and youth who put the days together. We start each morning with singing and group games. 

Then we have a time for the lesson all together and then we split up for the craft by age. This year was full of firsts for me. I am able to explain the craft and help the kids in my group with the craft. I was with 11-12 year olds in La Ceiba, 7-8 year olds in Villa Icabaru and the youth 12+ in Paso Nuevo. 

This was challenging but so good. Even a few kids who remember me from last year said, she can talk now! In Paso Nuevo I was even able to lead the morning song and game time! This was scary at first but the kids were so excited and loved all the things we did. It is encouraging to see how far God has brought me in the last year and to feel more a part of the group. 

Joseph and I explained the craft at the closing

In Paso Nuevo we had the time to evangelize in the afternoons. This was a great time to visit a few of the homes of the kids who came to Plan Vacacional. Laideth gave us each a verse to read and explain. I was able to read my verse, explain it and be understood by those we visited. I even got to pray in a few homes. Praise the LORD!! Thank you for your prayers and support. 

During the week in Paso Nuevo one young boy gave his life to the Lord!! Laideth said that he had been seeking and understanding the lessons they do on Saturday mornings there. He is the only believer in his family, please pray for him! God is good. 

While we were in Paso Nuevo we came across a need for prayer. Maria and her three young daughters (Daniela, Carolina and Victoria) are in desperate need of food both physically and spiritually. Please pray for them. They live with grandma, grandpa and a couple of uncles. No one has work currently in the family. Daniela is a sweet little thing and my new little buddy ;)

  • Plan Vacacional was great!!
  • Young boy who was saved!
  • Ana has been able to find enough medicine for the month of September. God provides!! 

    Ana and Luz, health and medication. Ana is doing better!
    Said and Laideths cars, the Explorer is not running well and the car has a bad tire. These are the two car most church ministries run on.
    Pray for the hearts of those who we visited, may God bring them to salvation in Him.
    Maria and her precious family.
    Language and culture study as they get more advanced.
    Protection. Wisdom.



Tuesday, July 19, 2016

Home vist and visa work

Rejoice in the Lord always, again I say rejoice!! Philippians 4:4 

Wow what a month! The past month was a bit of a whirlwind from Consulate offices, to church visits, travel between 4 states and much more. Through all the sharing and visiting I was both encouraged and blessed by God to keep serving here in Venezuela. 

Thank you so much for your prayers while I traveled. Everything went smoothly and on time. I prayed for months leading up to this trip that “God would go before me and prepare the way.” That is exactly what He did. I could not have asked for better travel or a smoother transition back to the states. 

The visa work in the Consulate office went smoothly as well. The things that I was missing were easily put together and turned in before noon! Praise the Lord. I receive the new visa faster than ever. God is good!! I now have another tourist visa that allows me to be here for another year, still having to leave the country every 3 months. God will provide!! 

Reconnecting with family and friends was wonderful and so encouraging. I shared with many of you in person what God has been doing the past year. Spoke during 3 church services, one open house, one kids group, one coffee time, one senior citizens' bible study, and many supper tables. Thank you so much for having me, listening, asking questions and praying for me. 

I even got to spend extra family time with my dad’s side of the family due to the passing of my grandma (July 2). The first Wednesday I was back we were able to have a great visit, she was feeling well that day and I shared pictures and stories of Venezuela with her. Shortly after that she started to decline rapidly. I continued to visit with friends and churches until her passing. Then came home to celebrate her life with the family. She was loved and will be missed greatly. Grandma's bible study at her assisted living prayed for me my first year so I visited them and they promised to keep praying for me this year too! It was bittersweet that God planned this to happen while I was there. His plan is perfect. Thank you for your prayers, flowers and support during this time as well. 

July 14th I returned to Venezuela. Another great day of travel, smooth and uneventful; 2 suitcases, one carry-on and a back pack all made it back with me. Everyone is every happy for my return. The kids were thrilled to see me Monday in La Ceiba. It has been a great transition back for me, it feels like coming home! 

Thank you so much for your prayers and continued support. 

Prayer requests and praises: 
  • Praise for the great trip and time to reconnect with so many.
  • Praise for the smooth transition and feeling of being home.
  • Pray for the upcoming Vacation Bible Schools:
    • La Ceiba August 4-6
    • Villa Icabaru August 11-13
    • Paso Nuevo August 17-20
  • The health of my teachers, Ana and Luz. Due to the limitation of medicine here they are struggling with daily tasks. Ana has rheumatoid arthritis and Luz has high blood pressure. 
  • Language learning, wisdom for what that will look like as I advance. 


Sunday, June 12, 2016

11 months!

This past Friday was the eleven month mark of me being in Venezuela!! Wow! Where has the time gone? I would like to thank God for these first 11 months here. Thanks for His protection every day. Thanks for the ability to learn and study Spanish and the knowledge for my teachers to teach me. I would also I like to give thanks for the churches here where I have been able to learn and observe the various ministries of each one.  Thanks to God for blessing me with the members of theses churches and how they have received me and helped me is many ways. Thanks to God for the kids in La Ceiba that I see every Thursday, their hugs, love and joy! I have learned so much Spanish and grown in His grace. I have a ways to go in learning but these first eleven months are the foundation to the future. Excited to see what God will continue to do in and through the ministry here in Venezuela. Glory to God!! 

Tomorrow, June 13th I am heading back to the States!! Please be in prayer as I travel tomorrow and then visit the Venezuela visa office in Chicago on Tuesday at 9AM. God is good and His plan is perfect. Trusting in Him. 

Then I will be in the Iowa/Nebraska/South Dakota areas until the middle of July. Here is a schedule. Also the churches I will be at each Sunday if you would like to hear me present and show pictures more about my ministry. 

June15-16: Ankeny, IA 
June 17-22: Sioux Falls, SD
June 22-25: Stanton, NE 
June 26th: Oakdale E Free, Meriden, IA- I will be sharing a brief summary during morning worship (10:30AM) 
June 26-July 1: Cherokee/Marcus, IA 
June 29: Open House at Valley View (Oakdale) 6PM- Update and powerpoint 
July 1-13: Des Moines/Ankeny area. 
July 3: Bethany Reformed church moments for missions during morning worship (10:30AM)

*Safe and uneventful travel June 13
*Visa work to be processed without problems
*Good visit in the States 
*Rest for me and my teachers during our month off from class 
*The ministries here in Venezuela 
*Wisdom for the future 

Thank you for your continued prayers and support!! See you soon!!! 

Monday, May 9, 2016

The Lord is my protector

Psalms 121 
“I lift my eyes to the hills. From where does my help come? My help comes from the Lord, who made heaven and earth. He will not let your foot be moved; he who keeps you will not slumber. Behold, he who keeps Israel will neither slumber or sleep. The Lord is your keeper; the Lord is your shade on your right hand. The sun shall not strike you by day, nor the moon by night. The Lord will keep you from all evil; he will keep your life. The Lord will keep your going out and your coming in from this time forth and forevermore.”

God had protected me and cared for me tremendously the last month as several things have complicated the daily level of comfort here. I have had to learn to live without certain things making my daily routine more challenging. 

Internet: Our house has been without internet for more than a month and a half. My phone does have some data on it that lets me use the internet. However, I went crazy last month and ran out of data. Lucky there is a communication center down the street that I can use for internet. 

Electricity: Due to dry season the rivers and lakes are low and the electric plant that creates most of Venezuela’s electricity uses the water from the lakes and rivers to produce the electricity. In order to conserve electricity the lights are being rationed. For example my house was without electricity for 2 hours everyday the last two weeks. Now they have upped that time to 4 hours everyday. Good news is that my teacher’s house, my house and the church don’t all lose electricity at the same time, we don’t have to study without air-conditioning, I have found it hard to study in the heat. I am also learning that taking showers to cool off helps. Good news: rainy season has begun!!! 

Water: It is rumored that the water will be rationed at some point in the near future. A few different families at church have already experienced periods of time with no water. I have a trashcan of water in my bathroom now which I will be able to use, just in case. 

Food: There are certain food items that are difficult to find, nothing impossible. This just means I eat lots of fruit and veggies. (smile) 

Thanks be to God I have never been unloved, uncovered by God’s protection and grace, hungry, thirsty, friendless, or harmed in any way. God is good. People ask me all the time why I want to live here when the country is the way that it is and my answer is because God called me to serve His kingdom here, that is not some thing I want to say no to or miss out on. 

Other news, In my last blog I mentioned that my coworkers and I were going to the office here to do visa work. We did Marcia was blessed with the renewing of her visa and a cedula (Venezuela identification card). Praise the Lord!! My visa was a little more complicated and the people at the office have suggested that I go back to Chicago and do my paperwork through that office. This means I will be headed to Chicago June 13th. Please pray for this process and that I would be granted another visa. This also means that I will be back in Iowa while the visa is processed. I will post more information about visiting in my next blog. 

This past Saturday we had a day of fellowship in La Ceiba with the church family of Puerto Ordaz. 

Thank you all so much for your prayers. Here is a list of new things to pray for. 
*The people of Venezuela, that they would not be discouraged and that they would have open hearts to the Gospel. 
*That the kids of La Ceiba would apply the word of God to their lives and be changed. That God would raise up a strong generation of disciples in these kids. 
*That Ishmael’s leg would be healed and a heart seeking Biblical truth. 
*For the visa work I will be doing in June. 

Alicia Whitmore 

Saturday, March 5, 2016

Fruitful February

Answers to prayer requests and a few things to continue to pray for: 

That things would continue to take shape at the foundation. 
There are 6 kids that are learning to read and write with Laideth. Alirio, the man who is living at the foundation and taking care of the land, has started a garden with fruit and veggies to be enjoyed. 

Continuing to build friendships with those around me. The leadership for the foundation invited me to take a weekend trip with them to Caripe (a town in the mountains). It was a great weekend of fellowship, cooler weather, coffee, strawberries with cream and planing the future of the foundation. 

These two little girls are so sweet and my shadows whenever I am in La Ceiba. 

Language is going great. Understanding more each day. We are now going to focus more on reading and developing my communication with vocabulary and complex sentences.

Visa work is still in the process. Marcia and Guillermo (co-workers) are coming back at the end of the month and we will all travel together to Caracas in order to visit the visa office there. Please pray this goes smoothly and God will go before me and provide the visa that I need. 

Ismael: One of the boys that the foundation is taking care of, (he still lives with mom) is learning to read and eats lunch at the foundation, injured his leg in September but is doing much better. Please pray for full healing and no more infection.  

Above Sait, Manuel(older brother to Ismael) and Ismael are trying to get a kite (made out of a grocery bag and sticks) to fly. 
And the other is a picture of the boys from church playing soccer on the foundation's land. 

Thank you for all of you prayer and support. Pray for the country of Venezuela and those that live here. God is good! 


Saturday, February 6, 2016

Praise Him from whom all blessings flow!

December and January were filled with several activities to celebrate the birth of the Savior, I was amazed by the blessings I found along the way. 

We started off December celebrating the house in La Ceiba that God blessed the church with for the foundation to bless the kids of this town.  

The music class presented songs at the Villa Icabaru church party. 

The kids of Paso Nuevo put together a Nativity play. 

The kids of La Ceiba presented songs and dances they learned about the armor of God. 

With a few friends I spent the evening listening to Christmas music at the church of the music professor. 

On December 24th (the traditional day to celebrate Christmas) I was invited to Christmas at my teachers’ house. It was delicious! 

Rang in the new year with my teachers’ family again and watched the night sky light up with fireworks!! 

The day before my birthday we celebrated with friends. We played games and ate hamburgers and cake!! 

On my birthday I traveled to see mom and dad in Curacao. We had a great week taking in the warm sun and enjoyed smoothies on the beach and one of us even rode an ostrich(if you would like to see this a video is on my Facebook page). It was a blessings to see them and receive things from home, including encouraging notes from supporters. 

It was a huge blessing and answer to prayer to be surrounded by new friends over the first holidays in my new home. God is good and faithful. 

The new year is off to a great start. I have been blessed with the ability to learn Spanish. Classes are going great. I got 9/10 on my last test. My teachers are very happy with how good my Spanish is. I have even started taking notes during church to see how much I am understanding, I am understanding basic message of the sermon. This is another huge answer to prayer. 

Prayers and Praises for the New Year: 
-Continued language learning advancement. 
-Ismael and his brothers (Manuel and Leo), the church has purchased a house for them to live in, pray that things fall into place for this foundation and the ministry it will provided for La Ceiba. 
-Building friendships. 
-Visa work, getting the papers together in order to get the process started. 

Thank you so much for continuing to pray for me and support what God is doing here in Venezuela 
Blessings to each and everyone of you in the New Year!!