Dear Friends and Partners:
Happy New Year to you and your family from The Bridge team and our partners around the world!
For those who contributed to The Bridge in 2015, this report with additional IRS information and the enclosed itemized annual Donor Statement have been sent by postal mail to each giver’s mailing address. Upon request, we will send you The Bridge’s 2015 Finance Report prepared by the CPA firm Cherry Bekaert LLP in Miami, Florida.
On a Personal Note
Last year posed a great challenge in Steve and my life. At age six, by accident, Steve by fell out of a car in full speed, and has, since then, lived with chronic pain. Twelve years ago, he had a successful surgery on his spine, which proved it had been broken for a number of years. This alleviated much of his back pain, but he continued to struggle with neuropathy pain. When his pain level again began to drastically rise, again, we assumed it came from his spine. A medical checkup, however, showed he needed a new hip. On August 25, Steve underwent hip replacement surgery at a nearby hospital, renowned for its state-of-the-art medical advances. We were told this was a routine procedure with promise of full recovery and restoration back to normal life in six weeks.
But—alas, Steve developed a serious internal infection! During a four months period, he amassed almost 50 pounds of body fluid, had re-surgery with exchange of his prosthetics, three more hospitalizations, a three week rehab stay, home care with six weeks massive intravenous antibiotics. Being close to death, he was ready to depart and meet the Lord. But — miraculously, Steve came through! A week ago, he got a clean bill of health from his surgeon! Now, he is ready to work on bringing his battered body back into shape through rehab and resuming his activities at the gym!
As his wife, I knew God had called me to be right by Steve’s side, so I pulled back on other activities and devoted myself fully to his care. We are so thankful for the medical care available to us! But above all, we are amazed at God’s healing power, and deeply blessed by His people, both locally, and around the world, who prayed for us, and demonstrated their love in so many practical ways! Thanks, again to all of you who stood with us!
Through this battle, we never lost sight of believing we were safely tucked under the protective wings of our Heavenly Father (Psalm 91:3-4) so that nothing would come our way that He had not already seen and allowed! Psalm 27:3 kept echoing in my soul and feeding my faith, “I would have despaired had I not believed I would see the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living.“
This experience has given Steve and me a fresh appreciation of God’s incredible blessings on us and our fellow Christians living in the West! We enjoy all sufficiency in all things — we may perhaps not have everything we want, but certainly everything we need! On the contrary, practically everyone of our partners live and serve the Lord in nations hostile to the Christian faith. They lack many of the things we take for granted. They are often physically poor; when sick, they often lack proper medical care; some face persecution by their governments and are often ridiculed by their own extended families. Yet, they are undeterred in their commitment to fulfilling God’s call in their lives; they are risk-takers while being steadfast and enduring in the midst of the pressures of life. They seek to live according to the Word of God, and have a passion to share the Good News with others regardless of the cost of discipleship!
2015 in Review
Due to Steve’s health crisis last year, I did not travel overseas. However, we were able to continue to engage with the people in the field and help resourcing them, thanks to new advances in technology, like social media and communication via Skype where we can speak face to face.
We are so blessed by The Bridge Intercessory Prayer Team, consisting of a small group of individuals from various states in the U.S. who feel called to prayer and have offered to carry the burden of intercession for our ministry and the mission field. They come together on Skype several times a week and intercede for Steve and me, The Bridge’s outreaches, and the indigenous leaders and their ministries we serve overseas. We all meet every other week when we share our blessings, burdens and needs, news updates, and answers to prayer! More than once, we have seen God’s miraculous answers to needs too complex for man to solve! Through prayer, we have become friends and equal partners in serving one another and the nations with the Gospel!
A good example of serving one another, are Robert and Sandrina who live in Sarajevo, Bosnia where they have established a beautiful new church in the Muslim section of town. See:
Last Fall, they traveled to Turkey where Robert was the speaker at Sargon’s conference for Iranian Christian leaders living in Turkey! It was a great blessing to both parties and the participants!
Sargon keeps ministering to his people in Turkey and beyond. This has resulted in the planting of seven new fellowships within Iran, and three in Turkey, one for whom we have helped finance a regular meeting place.
Varughese Mathew from the Andaman Islands visited our home in Florida in May. We have been partners with him and his ministry for a number of years. See:
Varughese told us that he and his ministry’s two orphanages, their many indigenous missionaries and mission stations throughout the archipelago could become fully financially self sufficient if they could obtain 160 goats at each $120.00. They already have 10 goats on a piece of land Steve had financially helped him to obtain in the North part of the island, next to a vast national forest. He returned home with finances for 10 goats, with 15 more to come, as well as help toward school supplies for the orphans. In 2016, we will continue to keep the Goat Project open!
In Central Asia, we continue to help finance two ministries in Kazakhstan, one in Kyrgyzstan, and occasional help toward Afghans who have come to faith in Jesus Christ and are refugees in other Central Asian countries. We help support a businessman who is engaged in building local communities within Afghanistan, which are quite successful, in spite of the everyday challenges and dangers they face.
We are grateful for the partners in faith who labor for the Gospel in the Middle East. I believe it is beyond the ability for us who live securely away from the turmoil and dangers they continually face, to comprehend the suffering and hardship individual Christians and groups of believers have to endure, especially in Syria and Iraq, where ISIS has established their Islamic State. Our courageous Arab partner and his team continue to bring his ministry’s and our funds to that area, which finances the relief aid distributed among the traumatized, suffering refugees. In addition, the local believers receive leadership training, which has resulted in the planting of new fellowships of believers who receive care and love. See:
We have a heart for both Jews and Arabs, thus serve partners who minister in Israel as well as among other nations in the Middle East. Due to security reasons, however, I am not at liberty to disclose any specifics.
Sarang, our Kalmykian partner continued to minister to his people in China, Mongolia, and Russia.
We have several longstanding friends and partners who live and serve in South Sudan—from Nimule in the South,to Tonj towards the North, as well as a courageous American family of five who recently moved from Idaho to serve the Lord in South Sudan.
Last year, we continued our support of the South Sudanese minister, Matthew Dengut, as he keeps on sharing the Gospel with his people in the capital city of Juba. Matthew has survived much hardship, including twice being sick with Malaria; the dangers of living in the middle of civil war; lawlessness in the city streets whereby he and many of his friends have been robbed of their belongings; catastrophic crop failure which now is causing major starvation; widespread unemployment; and a lack of basic infrastructure. In the midst of these challenges, Matthew and his leadership team have planted three churches, two of them with attendance of 150-200 people each, and have a strong Bible–teaching program for the training of new leaders. The Bridge sent $1,200 to the church for Gospel outreaches for Christmas – 800 people attended and more than 100 came to faith. A page from my 2013 visit to South Sudan provides you with visual images from the streets of Juba:
Thank you, again, for walking shoulder to shoulder with us in furthering the Kingdom of God in the nations! I close with Matthew’s words which apply to every nation in today’s world, “So many people live in such darkness and despair. They need HOPE! We have the LIGHT — JESUS IS THE LIGHT OF THE WORLD! The time is short! Please help us preach the Gospel and show God’s love to everybody!”