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at a glance
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Starting From Scratch... . . . . . . . . . . . . 2
Photo Shoot (Kristi Johnson) . . . . . . . . . . 4
Thumbnails . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 5
Through My Lens (Jacob Tuchyner) . . . . . . . 6
Lightbox . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 7
Snapshot . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 8
ON THE COVER: Eddy Simmons prepares to take
the gospel to the Samburu
Funded by FWB Foundation
Editor-in-chief: Clint Morgan
Managing editor : Deborah St. Lawrence
Associate editor: Emily Faison
Design by Melanie Poole
Starting From Scratch by Amy
After working for three years in the city of Svishtov
with Tim and Lydia, Jonathan and Amy, along
with their daughters Anna and Jonna, recently
moved to Pleven. About an hour away from
Svishtov, Pleven has many neighborhoods with
little to no access to the gospel. While the longterm
goal is to plant a church in Pleven, the couple
is currently focused on building relationships,
learning about their new community, and gaining
the trust of neighbors and friends.
Moving to Pleven without knowing many
people and without knowing much about the
city means we have had a lot of intentional
learning to do. Not only are we leaving behind
a ministry, community, and church family we
loved in Svishtov, but we also are starting from
scratch in our knowledge of the spiritual history
Anna & Jonna getting to know Pleven
of our new city, the perceptions of Protestantism
we face, and in our understanding of the
physical and spiritual needs of the people
around us. All of our energy these past few
months has been focused on learning and
getting to know people, instead of hurrying to
start formal meetings or ministries.
In addition to trying to learn all we can about
Pleven, we have also been building relationships
with as many people as we can in different parts
of the city. Pleven, a bigger city than Svishtov,
has a population of about 100,000. However, it
is made up of many neighborhoods and areas
which often function as their own communities
or towns within the larger city. Many of these
neighborhoods, population segments, and
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Starting From Scratch
Continued from Page 2
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surrounding villages have had little to no access
to the gospel.
Waiting on God’s timing is challenging, but we
know the wait is worth the time it will take to
develop relationships of trust with people and
gain opportunities to share our faith in this new
city. After taking our time learning the culture
unique to Pleven for the past seven months,
we have just recently been given a few exciting
weekly opportunities to be involved in making
disciples, including two Bible studies and two
informal English clubs.
One of the Bible studies is with a family, and
the other is with Christian teenagers from
surrounding villages who want to learn more
about how to share their faith. One of the
English clubs is with adults, and includes a
discussion about the Bible, while the other
English club is with children who are the same
ages as our kids. We hope that the English
clubs we host in our home will be a model for
believers who are a part of our church in the
future of how to use their abilities to reach
non-believers. One foundational truth we
want to build into our church from the very
beginning is everyone can find ways to use their
abilities—like our ability to teach English— to
share the gospel with others. We love having
opportunities to serve and love others, and we
hope these will lead to more opportunities to
share about our faith.
Read more about Jonathan and Amy’s
interactions with locals.
The family enjoying a Bulgarian snow day
How can supporters in American churches
pray for your family and ministry?
• For many opportunities to help people
become rooted in God’s Word
• For God to open doors for us to work
among neighborhoods, villages, and
groups of people here in Pleven who have
had little or no access to the gospel
• For God to use the English clubs and
Bible studies to lead people to Him
• That we would be bold in our faith, our
love, and our witness
The family visits Pleven’s landmark, St. George the
Conqueror Chapel Mausoleum
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See the Johnsons’ prayer card
Read about the Johnson family’s
adventures in Spain.
Which do you prefer?
Coffee or tea?
Mac or PC?
Cats or dogs?
Croissant or baguette? BOTH, please!
Spring or fall?
Museum or zoo?
Beach or mountains?
Chocolate or vanilla?
Kristi Johnson, Spain
• Kristi Johnson, missionary to
Spain for 18+ years
• Town of Alpedrete, near Madrid
• Wife to Tim, mom to Alejandro
(16) and Ana (13)
• What does Kristi miss from the
US? Click to find out!
Soda, pop or coke?
María and Estefanía, two ladies in the
church in Alpedrete. Learn more about
Read more about paella and Kristi’s other
favorite Spanish foods.
Village children in Senegal.
Read more on page 7.
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Vanya Trifonov met Prolet (center, with her twins),
a Bulgarian mother, through Operation Christmas
Child. Now, Prolet is reading the Bible and asking
Read more about Prolet’s story and other updates
Spain IM missionaries and THP workers hosted a dinner on Saturday, January 7, for some of the key leaders in
our area churches. Click to see more from this event.
Praise God for the eight people who
were recently baptized in Tiassalé, Côte
d’Ivoire. View more baptism photos here.
Eddy and Amanda Simmons have arrived in Kenya
and have been preparing for the move to Barsalinga,
where they minister to the Samburu people.
Read more about their preparations.
Through My Lens
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A Place is Just a Place, by Jacob Tuchyner
Deciding to apply for ETEAM a second time was hardly a question. The
best memories I have were formed while I was in Panama last year. This
year, I will be going to Brazil—waiting for June to arrive feels like an
Preparing for this year is both easier and harder than last year. In a way,
it is easier because now I know how life-changing ETEAM is. All of the
money I make to go towards ETEAM seems to come easier because I am
so determined to go again. Working towards ETEAM doesn’t feel like a
challenge, but a privilege. Though ETEAM is expensive, I believe it is the
most rewarding use of my money.
In another way, preparing for my second year of ETEAM is also hard. It’s
difficult to anticipate a completely new place, but one thing my team
taught me last year is that people have more value than places. Before
ETEAM last year, I was mostly excited to go to a new country and see a
new part of the world. But while on my trip, I found out that the place
wasn’t at all what I thought it would be.
Instead, it was the people that made the whole trip. My team and the
Panamanian people taught me how important human connection is. God
connected us with infinitely unique people, not places. So, as I prepare
for Brazil, I am looking forward to the people who will impact my life and
whose lives I hope to impact.
Jacob and the 2016 Panama ETEAM
Panama ETEAM with local church
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Neil and Jeff in Dakar, Senegal
Free Will Baptists are making an impact globally,
even beyond the reach of our own career
missionaries, THP projects, and short-term
student trips. Recently, Director of Member
Care Neil Gilliland and IM Board Member Jeff
Nichols traveled to Dakar, Senegal, to minister to
students at Dakar Academy, a boarding school for
Neil and Jeff were the speakers for the academy’s
annual Spiritual Emphasis Week, a campus
revival that includes both chapel services and
outreach events in surrounding bush villages.
While Jeff spoke to elementary students, Neil
spoke in services for middle and high school
students. “When I was in the room with those 80
elementary kids from many different countries,
I realized that kids are kids wherever you are in
the world,” Jeff shared. “Their matchless curiosity
combined with a tender heart is so open, and
they want to know more and more about God.”
For Neil, Dakar Academy is familiar. After
International Christian Academy in Bouaké, Côte
d’Ivoire, was evacuated in 2002, many of the
students and staff transferred to Dakar Academy.
Some of those are among Neil’s friends from his
time at International Christian Academy. “It was
refreshing for me to see several boys from our
dorm in Côte d’Ivoire who are now serving as
missionaries,” said Neil. The speakers’ purpose at
the Spiritual Emphasis Week is to encourage and
challenge students, and Jeff and Neil not only
spoke into Dakar Academy students’ lives, but
they also served alongside the students and staff
Around 100 high school students, with some staff,
faculty, and other American volunteers traveled
three hours from the campus to work on building
Children’s drama presentation during village outreach
projects, provide medical services, and perform
evangelistic drama in Diocoule, Senegal, and
other nearby villages. Outreach is an important
part of the Spiritual Emphasis Week, as “these
outreaches help students be actively involved in
reaching Senegal,” explained Neil.
Outreach in Senegal is no easy task, with
temperatures reaching over 100 degrees in the
shade. Yet these outreaches included digging and
pouring foundations for two churches, painting
the interior and exterior of a church, building
benches and pulpits, and pumping water for
outreach events. Other students formed medical
teams, drama teams, and even food prep teams.
As prayer teams worked alongside medical teams,
the teams “saw the power of God work through
healings,” Neil said. Over 175 people gave their
lives to Christ as a result of Dakar Academy’s
work. “To be just a small part of seeing over 100
people come to Christ during that short outreach
was something I will not soon forget,” Jeff said. “To
see the front lines of missionary evangelism and
service was a truly unique experience.”
Watch more from Jeff & Neil’s outreach with
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Korean Night at Koinonia, Hokkaido
For two weeks in January, the Koinonia Free
Will Baptist Church in Ebetsu, Hokkaido, served
as host to a SOON (Korean Campus Crusade
for Christ) evangelism group. Of the group
of 30 short-term missionaries, seven college
students and two staff members from Gwangju,
South Korea, stayed at the Koinonia church.
Pastor Hirabuki and his wife, along with Dale
and Sandra Bishop, supported the short-term
missionaries by hosting a Korean Night, driving
the teams to the airport and other locations,
and participating in meals and other activities at
The South Korean students eagerly jumped
into Koinonia FWB’s regular activities, like the
Wednesday Cafe children’s ministry and Sandra
Bishop’s English/Bible class, as the Koinonia
church members assisted the SOON students.
The students, along with a young couple
from Koinonia, spent time at one of the local
universities interacting with students during
lunch. Some of the university students came to
share meals at the church a couple of nights, as
well as attended the Korean Night at the church.
In addition to reaching out to students at the
local university, the SOON students canvassed
the neighborhood around the church and the
nearest train station, passing out brochures
and invitations to the different activities at the
Koinonia church. Church members also invited
friends and neighbors to these events and
helped host by participating in the set-up and
interacting with visitors.
The two biggest events were cooking classes
and Korean Night. The visiting students held
two three-hour cooking classes at the church.
About 10 visitors attended the first cooking
class, and 20 came to the second! Cooking
teachers taught how to make kimchi, among
other Korean dishes.
Korean Night was the second big event at the
church, with about 60 in attendance. The Korean
Night included a full Korean meal, piano music,
Kungfu exhibition, traditional Korean Fan Dance
with the ladies wearing hanbok (traditional
Korean dress) and a presentation of the gospel.
P. O. Box 5002 • Antioch, TN 37011
www.fwbgo.com • 877-767-7736
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