Firefall Missionaries Counting the Cost

A highlight of the trip this fall for Jim and me was time spent with two evangelists Firefall supports monthly in Myanmar. These men attended our leader conference and brought other hungry disciples with them. They are serving in areas resistant to the gospel. This resistance means anything from ridicule to the destruction of property and endangerment of their lives.  

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They are young men with families who have obeyed the call to build a bridge for the good news by establishing their homes and serving in the most basic of ways. One of the men shared that he visits the hospitals, serving and praying for those who have no one to care for them. He does this out of love for Jesus in his desire to demonstrate the love of God. His young family has faced rejection and persecution, yet the call to see souls come to know the love of Jesus Christ compels him. We rejoice that they are seeing fruit for their labors in faith.

Pastor David oversees these men on behalf of Firefall. Jim and I were honored to have time in prayer with these two. Their pure zeal to extend God’s kingdom, whatever the cost, touched us deeply. Knowing that we and other partners of Firefall care for them personally made a huge impact on them.

Please pray for these two men and their families as they are daily sowing seed into hard ground out of love for Jesus Christ.

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Speaking of sowing seed, there will be eight outreaches in Myanmar in the month of December. Please pray for favor with attendees and an openness to the story of Christmas among those who have never heard. Pray that the evangelistic Burmese Bibles will fall into hands of those ready to receive the good news of Jesus Christ.

One thousand people will attend these outreaches. If you would like to provide Bibles for those attending, the cost is $1 each. (Use the button below and note “Bibles” in PayPal.)

Thank you for investing in prayer as we join our faith with those serving in these eight events with food preparation, drama, child care, the preaching of the good news and Bible distribution. May there be a mighty harvest of souls and may Jesus receive the reward of His suffering.

Joy to the world, the Lord is come! Let earth receive her King! Let every heart prepare Him room. Amen and amen.





Firefall Media Launches Finding My Father Book

An Excerpt from finding my father by jim pennington:

I watched in disbelief as my father’s casket was lowered into the grave. My mind struggled with the thoughts. I was forced to conclude, “This is not a bad dream. This is real. My father is gone. I don’t have a Dad anymore.” I tried to reason my way through the confusion. “It’s O.K. I’m seventeen years old. I’m old enough to make it. I’ll be fine.” But I wasn’t fine. A dark emptiness settled into my soul fueled by grief, remorse, the sickness of unfulfilled hopes, and the shame of unmet expectations. Dad was gone and nothing I could do would change that.

Two weeks earlier, after returning from Scout camp I had helped Dad spread gravel on the steep driveway to the lake house. We had two houses, one in town and one on the lake. It was only a four-mile drive between the two, but they seemed to be worlds apart. Every summer our family would move to the lake house where my days were filled with swimming, skiing, sailing or putting around the lake to see friends in my small motorboat. I wore a swimsuit or cut off jean shorts. No shoes, no shirt required. I did get a thrill once when my bare foot stepped on a hidden green snake. I don’t know which one of us moved faster. My skin was tanned and my curly hair bleached blond by the sun. The road leading to the lake house was a steep one descending sharply, and often rutted by rain. A couple of times a year we had to fill in the ruts with gravel to slow the erosion and keep the road drivable. So, Dad and I spent a hot June Sunday afternoon filling the ruts and spreading the gravel on the road. It was hard work, but we were both used to hard work. It was a virtue in my family. Maybe the highest virtue of all.

Monday morning came, and Dad did something that I had never known him to do before. He went to see the doctor. I thought my Dad was indestructible. Sure, he smoked like a chimney and drank like a fish. He took a break from work most days for donuts and coffee in the morning or pie and coffee in the afternoon next door to the clothing store at the Blue Bell Café, but I never saw it coming. Not in a million years. Dad was going to the doctor. The doctor told him, “Penny, you’ve had a heart attack,” and put him into the hospital. Two weeks later he had a second heart attack and in a matter of hours, he was gone. So, who was my Dad? Where did he come from? What were the dynamics that shaped his life that were passed down to me?


Hope deferred makes the heart sick, but a longing fulfilled is a tree of life. Proverbs 13:12

It’s wonderful when a longing is fulfilled or when a dream becomes reality. It’s also rewarding to make that happen for someone else.

My (Jim’s) dream, decades in the making, is about to be fulfilled.

A book I wrote, Finding My Father, tells my story about experiencing God’s love as a loving Father after 30 years in ministry. I’ve seen this powerful message change lives from America to Europe to Asia. My prayer is that the book will impact many more.

But we need your help to boost the success of the book launch

Amazon.com takes a guess about how popular a new book will be, and how many copies they need to stock based on book pre-orders (orders placed in a 28-day period before the book is actually available). The pre-order response is critical to a good launch!

Books that have pre-order traffic will later be listed as “In stock, ships today” and become recommended books. If they don’t make the cut (not enough pre-order traffic), they get listed as “Ships in 7-11 days. It also won’t appear in “books you might like” recommendations.

Here’s How to Pre-Order

Use this link or the button below to pre-order your Kindle or paperback copy of Finding My Father. You’ll be able to read it on Kindle immediately, and paperback copies will ship out on December 21.

Finding My Father
By Jim Pennington

Want to help even more?

If you would like to be a part of JP’s Book Group and be alerted of other opportunities to share this book with your family and friends, fill out the form below and we will reach out with ways you can help!

Most of all please pray with me that the Father will transform lives through His healing love!

In the Father’s love,

Jim

5 Special Opportunities for Giving Tuesday

The day is here!

It’s Giving Tuesday 2018, and we’re excited about the opportunity it gives us to share a bit more about a variety of needs we have and how you can help.

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In this season of giving, it’s quite refreshing using your finances to bless someone in the church family, impact a child’s life and support a ministry where 100% of your gift will go to the need indicated!

Here are a few Giving Day opportunities for you

Pick out one or give whatever amount works best for you to support impactful ministries across the world!

  • Evangelistic Bibles in Myanmar- $2 each (you choose the quantity)

  • Books for the Reading Room in Myanmar- $5, $10, $15, $20

  • Soccer cleats (shoes) for boys in outreach program- $20

  • Materials for English lesson outreach to children in Vietnam- $5, $10, $15, $20

  • Sponsor a church planter in Myanmar for 1 month- $100

Pick a need and easily give online

Maybe you’re excited about giving to books in the Reading Room, or maybe you want to buy a few pairs of soccer cleats. Whatever touches your heart, consider giving to one of these needs this Giving Tuesday, or even donate in someone’s name and we can send you a certificate for them (just indicate this in the notes section)!

Just note the specific need you’re giving to in the PayPal Notes section.

Cuppa with Nancy: Through the Valley of the Shadow

“Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil; for You are with me.” Psalm 23:4

Today’s cuppa is an organic black tea from Yunnan Province in SW China. It tastes like fall, rich and satisfying, with hints of smoke and dried peaches. Both the tea and the quiet hour are restorative. Rays of sunshine highlight the green, gold and garnet leaves of our dogwood trees. It’s ironic...the same frost that blighted some of our landscape plants has coaxed the deeper, more glorious hues of the dogwoods. Thank you, Lord, for giving us seasons in nature and in life. Thank you that your mercies are new for me this day and everyday.

 Elizabeth and Ko Kyi at a church celebration meal

Elizabeth and Ko Kyi at a church celebration meal

Elizabeth and her husband Ko Kyi have led Firefall International/s Reading Room outreach for a few years in Myanmar. Their son is in grade school, a very outstanding and sensitive little boy.

About three months ago, they were blessed to welcome baby Rachel into their family. She was delivered by cesarean birth in total health. However, the next three days for Elizabeth were a journey through the valley of the shadow of death.

Her heart rate began racing, her oxygen rate fell to less than 70 and her blood pressure soared to 175/140. She was terrified. The doctors took her baby from her. Most frightening to Elizabeth was the stream of estranged relatives (on account of her conversion to faith in Jesus) who lined up to visit her at the hospital. She knew they were coming to pay their respects before her death. She cried out from her heart, “Lord, save me, save me!” She heard nothing in response, but knew her husband and others were praying. She waited in the shadow.

Meanwhile, the doctor asked Ko Kyi to prepare his heart that Elizabeth might not make it, saying they had done all they could. At first, he was overcome with sorrow at the thought of losing her and raising their two children alone. As he waited in prayer, a peace settled on his heart and he began to thank God for her salvation and the realization that if she did die, they would be reunited in heaven. “I had an assurance and a hope”, he said. “I also realized my mother put her life at risk in giving birth to me. I determined to share my thanks to her.”

On a Saturday evening in my home, Pastor David sent a photo of Elizabeth with Rachel shortly after the birth. The baby looked lovely, but as I studied Elizabeth’s swollen face, I knew in my spirit that her life was in grave danger. I began to pray fervently and with tears over the next two days. The local church in Myanmar prayed without ceasing.

Gradually Elizabeth’s vitals began to stabilize. She was restored to full health! A recent scan of her heart confirmed this.

 Holding precious little Rachel (her Burmese name means Snow Emerald)

Holding precious little Rachel (her Burmese name means Snow Emerald)

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Three weeks ago, I had the joy of holding their chunky, beautiful daughter and hearing them recount the story of their miracle.

When asked what was different in her life since these events, she shared two things:

  1. A new gratitude for life. “When my eyes open each morning, I thank God for this, that I am still alive today, because of His protection and grace.”

  2. A resolve to live for Jesus with all her strength. “I realize the time is short in this life. Every day is a gift.”

May this story of Elizabeth’s miracle touch your heart with conviction and encouragement today.

Gratefully,

Nancy




When a Plan Comes Together

I love it when a plan comes together. I love it even more when I see God bring together his plan to transform lives through the gospel!

Aung was a Buddhist monk, daily wearing orange robes and living in a monastery. He was famous for his skill in writing Buddhist poetry and music, until he came to a gospel outreach led by Pastor David. Was he there as a spy to report David to the authorities?

With typical boldness, David preached the gospel. Surprising everyone, Aung responded to the call for salvation. He said he “saw the gates of heaven and the gates of hell.” He was converted and baptized and quickly removed from the area before he could be killed for his conversion.

Aung has spent the last few years studying the Bible, growing in faith and serving the Lord through the local church. Now he’s stepping out to evangelize and plant a church in a village where there is no church.

But there’s more to this story.

Ephesians 2:10 says, “For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.” While God was preparing Aung for good works, he was preparing the good works at the same time.

God at work:

  1. This is the home village for Daniel, David’s associate pastor. Daniel has traveled here for years planting seeds of the gospel and praying.

  2. Firefall friends provided for a fresh water well in this village to meet a desperate need and open the hearts of the villagers.

  3. Some of the soccer players from the national championship Glory Football Club formed a team with some of the young men of the village and won regional matches. The whole village was excited to win — and open to the gospel.

  4. Now Aung has been sent out and supported by House of Glory Church to continue building relationships, sharing the good news of Jesus and joining those who follow Jesus into a vibrant, new church

  Aung and his motorbike  

Aung and his motorbike  

Because of your faithful and generous giving to Firefall, a used motorbike was purchased to aid in Aung’s work in ministry.

He is also using his redeemed gifts in poetry and music to glorify God.

God’s plan is coming together and you are a part of his plan! 

Please pray for Aung as he follows Jesus in this new adventure of faith.

  Prayer for dedication of the motorbike for village ministry

Prayer for dedication of the motorbike for village ministry

Family Life Conferences in October

For nearly 40 years, Jim and I have been involved in ministry in one form or another. We've known its joys and sorrows. There are mountaintop experiences of seeing God impact lives in amazing ways, along with valleys of misunderstanding and fear about the future.

When a couple chooses a life in ministry, their children automatically come along for the ride, like it or not. The stresses of ministry life on spouses and children don't need an explanation to those of us "in the club." Still, it is a privilege to serve God and His people, one we would never change.

As we prayerfully considered offering leadership conferences in both Vietnam and Myanmar this fall, Jim and I were inspired to develop three-day conferences focusing on Family Life and Balance in Ministry. We will call them "God's Family/My Family."

Minh and Pastor David will gather 35 leaders from each nation. We will spend time looking at God's heart for family, plus healthy boundaries and life stewardship within the demands of ministry. Local leaders will share, both men and women. Group size is small to foster authenticity and accountability.

In both Vietnam and Myanmar, the church is young. These are new concepts. Families get fractured and marriages become frayed. We see it here in the west and also in Asia. We pray our lives and influence will make a difference.

Minh and Pastor David share what these conferences will mean in these short videos:

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The dates for the Vietnam Conference are October 16-18 and for the Myanmar Conference, October 24-27.

How you can help

  • Prayer: We humbly ask you to pray for these conferences.

  • Support: We also ask you to consider investing in one of these 70 leaders with a sponsorship of $70 to cover their expenses for travel, food, lodging and study materials. Some can sponsor one, others can send 5 or even 10 to the conference. 100% of your gift will be used for this purpose. (Just use the button below to give via PayPal.)

*UPDATE: We have all 70 sponsorships filled!

Our goal: 70 sponsorships of $70. Goal met!

Minh and David are inviting key leaders who will take these truths and multiply them in their spheres of influence throughout both nations.

Thank you for praying and for giving so these families in ministry may be strengthened to go the distance and serve the Lord with joy, security and unity. We'll keep you updated on our progress with this campaign in the coming weeks.

With our love and gratitude,
Nancy & Jim

A "House" for House of Glory Church

A new building project for a church is always a challenge. A new building for a church in a Buddhist country opposed to Christianity is almost impossible – almost!

Most of you have prayed for and supported Firefall’s partnership with House of Glory (HoG), a church in Myanmar where David is the lead pastor. Since the beginning of our partnership years ago, we’ve watched HoG rent buildings and be kicked out, sign long-term contracts and had them broken, all because they are Christians and because they are seeing new followers of Jesus every week. They’re not just meeting together, they’re transforming their community.

For years while extending the kingdom of God, they have dreamed of having their own building that can’t be taken from them. They still cannot build a church building. While they have been building bridges with the community and goodwill with the leaders there is now favor to help them serve the community in other ways.

They CAN build offices for their wildly successful (as in national champions) soccer team, Glory Football Club. They CAN also host administrative offices for the Glory Reading Room which is an educational asset to the community.

See the building progress above.

The church members have funded the lion’s share of the property purchase and are now taking the construction step by step.

Jim gives an update of the backstory of how Firefall partnered with House of Glory to purchase land for their facility.

So far, the walls, gates, septic system and toilets are done. You’ve probably figured out that the physical construction is not the greatest challenge. Government permission is the real obstacle. Here’s David’s report about how it’s going on that front.

“Now, we are asking official permission with legal documents from the government to build our main building. The chief of our community is helping us to receive it. He recommended our activities through Glory Football Club and Glory Reading Room. The main key is receiving official permission from the government soon.”

Please continue to pray for the government permission to be granted and the project to be completed. Even more than that, pray for the continued growth of the kingdom through new believers and the multiplication of church plants for the glory of God.

Back to School Blessings at the Reading Room

The people brought children to Jesus, hoping he might touch them. The disciples shooed them off. But Jesus was irate and let them know it: "Don't push these children away. Don't ever get between them and me. These children are at the very center of life in the kingdom. Mark this: Unless you accept God's kingdom in the simplicity of a child, you'll never get in." Then, gathering the children up in his arms, he laid his hands of blessing on them. Mark 10:13-16 (The Message)

The school schedule in Myanmar is different than ours. School begins the first of June and runs through February.

Last month, thanks to your giving, we welcomed 25 students to the school we are holding in the Reading Room. Some of the students are walking up to 4 kilometers (2.5 miles) each way to pursue their education.

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Pastor David and our two teachers went shopping for a year's worth of supplies for these poor Buddhist children's education. They were each supplied with raincoats, food carriers, a basket, books, pens and pencils, erasers, rulers, stationery boxes and curriculum books. The teachers were grateful to add markers, whiteboards, registration books and teacher support materials to the classroom space.

These items were furnished from your giving to Firefall International. THANK YOU!

Pastor David wrote:

"The joy the children experienced could not be expressed in words. Most of the students have never had such supplies in their lives. I was able to share about the love of Jesus for a few minutes and pray for them. We hope this will impact their family members and parents too. Thank you for helping us share the love of Jesus with these Buddhist families."
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Your prayers and giving sustain this project and so much more. Use the button below if you would like to contribute to this project.

We are grateful for you, Firefall partners. Our family in heaven will be large and varied and joyful to meet! Eternity will reveal the "ripple effect" of our investment in the lives of these students. Let us pray their hearts will open to the love of Jesus for them.

Make a Difference Every Month with Firefall

It is a beautiful thing to receive a gift. Whether it's something you really want or something that just shows they know you and think of you, gifts are rare and special.

It is also beautiful for us at Firefall to use your support and gifts to make a difference in lives across the world, whether it's through equipping leaders to spread good news, playing sport to strengthen a community or teaching English to children to equip them for a successful life. (See below for a larger list of projects.)

And we so value each and every gift.

Our biggest need now is monthly giving to help us support the many projects and needs that Firefall is so passionate about. Any amount that we can depend on each month can help us cover our current projects and even do more in the future.

Here's why some of our monthly supporters choose to give to Firefall:

Excellent stewardship with my gifts and life changing results.
We believe in the work Jim and Nancy are doing and trust them; we want to be a part of what God is doing around the world.

Because I want to support the work they are doing. I can’t go but they can.

We love being a part of something we know is furthering the Kingdom of God.
They have a clear and effective mission. I know that the money donated will be efficiently managed and applied to the mission.
I love Jesus and want to share his good news with un-reached people groups.

I (Grace) made a personal goal this year to start giving monthly to a few different nonprofits and creators that I love and am inspired by. And I was amazed by how easy it is to set up a recurring monthly payment and then just get a monthly receipt to remind me of the good my dollars are doing in many ways and places. And it saves me from having to remember to donate each month.

Watch this video to see how easy monthly giving is!

All you have to do is click the button below, then add in the amount you would like to give and click the Make this a monthly donation box. This means you will automatically give that same amount each month, without any work on your end.

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Here are some of the needs that monthly support to Firefall helps:

House of Glory Church
Pastor David and his family
Bible distribution

Church Planting
Church planter in Myanmar’s “most Buddhist” city
Evangelist in Myanmar

Reading Room
Reading room student materials
Reading room staff
Facility rental

Football Ministry
Firefall Challenge Cup
Eagles boys soccer program
Sports ministry leader training

Work in Vietnam
English lessons with outreach
Microloans
Bible distribution

Community Aid & Disaster Relief
Wells for clean water
Response (food, water, clothing) to natural disasters
Help for refugees

Pastor & Leader Training
Equipping conferences

Will you join us in this wonderful mission by supporting us monthly?

*If you would like to support a specific project monthly, please just write it in the notes section on PayPal.

Reading Room Update

A Morning to Treasure

Our schedule was overbooked with preparations for the upcoming football outreaches and Eagles Team practices. Pastor David and I agreed on a quick drop-in at the Reading Room before a lunch meeting.

The Spanish Team accompanied us. As the van approached the Reading Room, we heard the sounds of laughter and pleasant conversation. In a recently constructed "lean to" addition, Reading Room Host Ko Gyi was teaching English phrases to 20 high school students in a very animated way. These neighborhood students are on summer break now. His kindness and enthusiasm set the stage for a great learning atmosphere. We lingered a few minutes, then moved inside the Reading Room proper.

 Reading Room hostess Elizabeth teaching

Reading Room hostess Elizabeth teaching

 Host Ko Gyi is an engaging teacher of mathematics and English

Host Ko Gyi is an engaging teacher of mathematics and English

To my great joy, I saw four tables full of little boys and girls also learning English! Hostess Elizabeth had brilliantly transformed the space from a library to a pleasant classroom. The children were attentive and focused on their important work. Due to poverty, these neighborhood children have no way to attend regular school. The government schools are overcrowded and understaffed with one teacher to 50 or 60 students. There is a shortage of textbooks. For these 34 students and their parents, this makeshift classroom is a literal lifeline for their future. The fact they are learning not only Burmese grammar but also English gives them a great advantage.

Elizabeth has a quiet grace and authority about her, coupled with a mother's heart for the children. She and her husband are investing in the future of each of these children while demonstrating the love of Jesus Christ by their character and work ethic. They are born teachers and lovely disciples of Jesus.

 Pastor David gives a new textbook to one of our 34 students

Pastor David gives a new textbook to one of our 34 students

I experienced many rewarding moments while on this recent trip, but I will never forget the beauty of the students learning in an atmosphere of Christian love. Every dollar invested in this creative outreach is reaping maximum goodwill in the neighborhood while lifting children and teens through loving, quality instruction.

Host couple shares their favorite aspects of serving in the Reading Room in Myanmar.

Please pray:

1. For Ko Gyi and Elizabeth as they tirelessly serve the community by hosting the Reading Room and teaching

2. Open hearts to the demonstrated love of Jesus, both students and their families.

"Let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven." -Matthew 5:16