Thursday, June 02, 2005

Back in the USA

Titusville, Florida- The trip has ended and what a trip it has been! When thinking over all of the people met, and the things seen- I stand in amazement.

The Church of God donated three Vortex Voyagers TM to the churches in Sri Lanka. After training the operators, the units were delivered in areas where there was literally no access to clean water. The people had been drinking water from polluted wells and streams. Once these units were delivered the leaders were able to immediately start providing pure water for the communities and churches around them. I must admit that it was an occasion for tears while witnessing the first people drink the pure water. It is moments like this that make life worthwhile- to be able to share the message of Christ's love and His desire for life!

From the city of Jafna in northern Sri Lanka we traveled to a small town situated right in the middle of the country named Vavunya. The population is about 10,000. The Church of God was holding a three day crusade there. The crusade prompted many salvations and it was so beautiful to have the opportunity to see the Sri Lankian church in action. It is incredible to see the believers there spreading Christ's love through preaching, sweet prayers, and songs of devotion.

Sri Lanka is a country where 70% of the population is Buddhist, 15% is Hindu, 8% are Christian, and the remaining 7% are of mixed religions. As stated in other updates, this creates an issue for evangelism. The local Christians face financial difficulty, war, and persecution. This has not dampened their spirits at all! In fact, in many ways it has created a fervent prayer life and a passion for sharing the love of Christ with their neighbors. It was truly an honor to be among people who take Christ's commission seriously.

During the crusades the leaders asked if I liked children. I replied affirmatively and instantly created an opportunity to share with two hundred kids. We acted out bible stories and played games until late into the evening all three nights. It was marvelous adding these children to our list of new friends and blessing them with clean water and a few other gifts like pencils, toys, and candy.

We headed back to Colombo and I just barely caught the flight out. While boarding the plane, I looked out the window to see many of my new friends standing at the gate waving goodbye. Overall, the entire trip a success. There was much to be learned at the convention at Bangkok and even more to be learned from the sweetness and passion of the church in Sri Lanka.

Being home is indeed a happy occasion and it causes great joy to know that one day we will all be joined together in Heaven! God Bless you and thanks for your prayers and support.

Sunday, May 22, 2005

Jafna, Sri Lanka

Jafna, Sri Lanka - Sunday May 22, 2005 Report Submitted by Cherie Hurston

I am in Sri Lanka in a northern city named Jafna. This has been a huge stronghold during the civil unrest. All around me is the evidence of the ongoing destruction. Buildings have been burned and are riddled with bulletholes. There are signs everywhere warning of land mines. But the people are amazing and friendly. Especially considering most of them have not seen a foreigner for some time.

There are many old colonial style buildings here which have been both victims of war and now time. Large trees grow through the elegant roofs and the walls are covered in mold. It is strangely beautiful in its own way. The most amazing part of this trip so far though has been the growing church. There is such a move of God here! I have been privileged to attend several services here and the people are so passionate, determined and full of God's love. It is inspiring. Tomorrow we leave and drive south. Apparently the landscape only shows more evidence of conflict as we travel south. There are military checkpoints everywhere. I was surprised to find this slow phone-line connection here but I am sure I will not have access to the Internet again for a couple of days. Thanks for your prayer and support. God Bless!


Saturday, May 21, 2005

A Father's Heart

May 21, 2005 - Saturday - Titusville, Florida - Report Submitted by Joe Hurston

I wanted to share a few thoughts with you from the U.S. Air Mobile office while Cherie is out in the jungles of Sri Lanka. As Cherie shared in her last communication, she would likely be out of touch for the next few days. It wouldn't surprise me to get a note from her while she's out there. One thing that has absolutely amazed me in my travels is that internet "connections" pop up in the strangest places. I know that if Cherie runs across a "connection", she'll likely shoot us an update.

I came to the office on this Saturday afternoon to prepare for a full day of preaching tomorrow. The Orlando Vineyard has invited Cindy and I to take the three morning services. I had to spend some quiet time to do that. While praying for the message, my mind and heart certainly focused on Cherie in Sri Lanka.

Cherie was invited on this mission journey by Allen Reesor. Allen and I go way back to Haiti. We met in 1980 and have been dear friends since. Allen has known Cherie since she was a baby

Friday, May 20, 2005

Sri Lankan Beauty

Colombo, Sri Lanka- We landed in Sri Lanka early this morning and spent the day meeting with the local church. This country has laws in place to prevent Christians aid workers from moving freely. For those living here it has made things very difficult.

Tomorrow we take an airplane up to the northern part of the country. This is a area that has been in a political/religious war for years. We will be going there to check on the developments of a local mission whose goal is to provide the basic necessities to the refugees of that war. I am looking forward to seeing this work and seeing what AMM can do to help!

The country of Sri Lanka is beautiful. The place we are staying is right next to the beach. The people are amazingly friendly, helpful, and the live life in a kaleidoscope of color. It is devastating to see the damage that has come to these beautiful people due to years of political unrest, poverty, and now the tsunami. I believe that there will be a change for the better soon.

The area where I am going has no internet and likely no electricity. I will not be able to update this site for about a week. Please pray for me and every other worker in the world for the harvest time is here! God Bless

Wednesday, May 18, 2005

The Second Day.....

Bangkok, Thailand- The conference is going exceptionally well. The focus of the conference is to create a paradigm shift in the strategies of the present-day missionary. According to statistics from the International Mission Board of the Southern Baptist, the developed countries of the world are spending 98% of their funds on "reached" peoples. Reached peoples can be defined as people who have had sufficient exposure to the gospel to be able to make an informed decision about Christ. This doesn't not mean we are not to support and disciple these groups. Instead the focus of the meeting is to reach out to the others in the world who have never been reached in addition to supporting the original groups. This is something that the Vortex can do! It is a worthy cause and one that I am proud to support.

I did another group demo today. I used the garbage-filled trashcan again but this time I threw a cup of dirt in. The Vortex immediately turned on and turned the rubbish strewn dirt water into clear and pure water. The people were very impressed and I had one person pledge to get one right then. I had several others plead with me to visit their countries and spread the word through future demonstrations. I am very encouraged.

The entire group was treated to an authentic Thai lunch today. It was a great time for fellowship. I spoke with a pastor who has built hundreds of churches in Malaysia. There is such a need there for clean water. I also ate with the Head of Affairs for Bangladesh and the Philippines. Again, the situation is the same. They all desperately need clean water. It looks like AMM will be able to help them!

Overall it was a very productive, long and hot day. I have one more day of conferences and then tomorrow evening I am leaving for Sri Lanka. I am looking forward to this time. I will be visiting the churches in the sites affected by the tsunami and then heading to the northern part of the island to see the church in action there. It is a predominantly Buddhist country and there has been a good deal of resistance to the Word being preached. I spoke with a pastor today who said that he had been a Buddhist monk and had a supernatural experience with Jesus while doing his daily prayers. He immediately got saved and his family and community disowned him. His father threatened to kill him and then tried to kill himself. But he was persistent and his prayers brought his entire family to know the love of Christ. It was beautiful for me to hear what God is doing in this country. I am eagerly looking forward to seeing his church. He is the administrator now over an additional 236 churches. It will definitely be a good trip. Until tomorrow, God Bless!


Tuesday, May 17, 2005

News from the conference

Bangkok, Thailand - April 17, 2005 - 10:37pm - Report Submitted by: Cherie Hurston

The city is hot, bustling and full of excitement. The humidity is over 80% and I sweat as I walk down the packed streets full of vendors selling everything from fake designer bags to hand carved figurines. There is some weird fruit that is nicknamed stink fruit that mixed in to the chaos that tastes just like it smells.

Today was the first day of the Church of God conference. It is amazing for me to be surrounded by so many powerful men and women of God. There is an air of anticipation as the crowd goes through the introductions. There is the head of all Asian affairs is here as well as the leader for all of Southeast Asia. Also in attendance is the head of affairs for India and Sri Lanka. It really was quite the crowd.

I was formally introduced and completed a demostration of the Vortex Voyager where I pumped water from a trashcan from the bathroom with discarded trash still floating in the water. Than, I drank it! It was very impressive and received a great response. I believe these units save lives and I believe the contacts I am making here will help that process! I am very excited. The meeting lasted from 8am till 10pm. Please pray for me to be clear and directed tomorrow.

God Bless!