It's All About the Kids

In Psalm 71, verse 18, David prays, “Even when I am old and gray, do not forsake me, my God, til I declare your power to the next generation, your mighty acts to all who are to come.”

The message of God’s great love through Jesus Christ must be shared and nurtured among each new generation for our faith to be passed on in the earth. Jim and I feel this personally as we embrace our four grandchildren with our arms and with our prayers. It’s not enough that Papa and Mimi follow Jesus. These little ones must have their own encounters with Jesus as they learn of His love for them from their parents and grandparents and others.  

Firefall Challenge Cup #5

As we continue our work in Myanmar and Vietnam this spring, the youth are our focus. Pastor Dennis Owens of Pine Bluff will partner with Firefall as we anticipate a harvest of souls during the Firefall Challenge Cup #5 in late March. Eight teams from all over the nation will gather for four days of matches, fellowship, laughter, singing and hearing about the love of God demonstrated by Jesus Christ for them.

See photos from past Challenge Cups:

Evangelistic Bibles will be offered, meals will be served and regional Christian coaches will be strengthened in their faith by their mentor, Pastor David. Many of these coaches shine the light of God’s love through sport in villages where there are only a handful of believers, if any. Pastor David senses many are ready this year to make the bold and costly commitment to fully surrender their lives to Jesus Christ.

After the football challenge, we fly to Vietnam to train children’s workers in a conference. They will come from many provinces in the nation. Minh and Blessing have extended a gracious and humbling invitation. After the equipping conference, these young leaders will spend May through September traveling in teams throughout the land, taking the good news to children who have never known about God’s love for them. What a privilege to share with these passionate and gifted young leaders! They are asking God for thousands of children to receive Christ during this time.

We are excited about the upcoming opportunities. Tickets have been purchased, itineraries have been planned.

Firefall partner, would you join us in prayer and sponsorship?

The expenses of this trip will be met with 140 sponsorships of $65. Please prayerfully consider funding 1,2,5 or even 10 football players or attendees of the children’s conference. Every gift helps and 100% goes to support this special event.

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Help us reach our goal!

We’ll keep you updated on our progress.

Doors are open for the gospel to transform lives. We are blessed with trusted partners in these nations. Your prayers and giving are needed ingredients for this vision to become reality, for the youth of Myanmar and Vietnam to take the torch of faith to their villages and on to the next generation who will believe. Thank you for praying and for obeying.   

2,000 Hear Christmas Message in Myanmar

Christmas, the festival of the Christians, is a perfectly acceptable time to engage a Buddhist, Hindu or animist about your beliefs and customs of celebrating. There is a measure of curiosity and openness during a festival that is a window of interest to share about the love of Jesus Christ and His coming to earth as a baby. Pastor David leads his congregation wisely to invest in outreach at this most opportune time for evangelism. It is our joy to partner with them!

Children from the reading room sing and dance at a Christmas Celebration

Children from the reading room sing and dance at a Christmas Celebration

This year, House of Glory held eight outreaches during the month of December in various villages, the reading room, at Sister May's farm and on the property where the church will be built in the year to come. One thousand Evangelistic Bibles in Burmese were made available for those interested. Many chose to pick up a Bible after hearing the story of Jesus and listening to the songs. Delicious food was served and small presents were given to each attendee.

Honoring students and parents at the Reading Room

Honoring students and parents at the Reading Room

Pastor David shares:

"I could share about Jesus and His birthday by explaining why He came to the earth as a human at this Christmas time. I could explain His divinity as well. Other gods in the world were illuminated from man to god, but Jesus became man from God to save us sinners. I could give them examples of religions which could not save, as compared to Jesus alone through His resurrection power, so they might compare. Their sincere interest in the good news made my message go 90 minutes long!"

Delicious meals were served to hundreds in eight locations last month

Delicious meals were served to hundreds in eight locations last month

Thanks to your prayer and giving, 2,000 people heard about Jesus this December in Myanmar. God's Word will continue to speak to hearts as they read and remember the message shared with love and passion. Cell leaders and church planters will return to these neighborhoods to continue to build relationships, have Bible studies and bless the communities. Phone numbers were given out in case of questions.

New believers gather for preaching, prayer and fellowship

New believers gather for preaching, prayer and fellowship

Jim and I are humbled and amazed at the servanthood, the sacrifices of the church body and the spiritual hunger displayed by a large percentage of those in attendance.

Hunger for God's Word is beautiful in any culture

Hunger for God's Word is beautiful in any culture

"Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will never pass away." Matthew 24:35

Let us pray for a mighty harvest of souls from the seeds sown in these outreaches. What a privilege for Jim and me to labor with you in lifting Jesus up as He draws sons and daughters to Himself.

With love and thanks,

Nancy

New Beginnings for 2019

January, for most of us, is a time of new beginnings.

Maybe for you it’s a time of reflection and reorientation. It can be a time to take stock of our journey and make some course corrections. It’s a good time to drop extra baggage, embrace new hopes, and set a new direction.

In consecrating myself anew to God’s guidance and provision, every year I go back to a prayer of the great revivalist, John Wesley, who was used by God to change the course of human history. Even this great man of God began each year by giving everything back to God.

I pray that you are blessed, renewed and released into the purpose of God as you pray this prayer.


John Wesley’s Prayer of Consecration

circa 1780

Let me be Your servant, under Your command. I will no longer be my own. I will give up myself to Your will in all things.

Lord, make me what You will. I put myself fully into Your hands; put me to doing, put me to suffering, let me be employed for You or laid aside for You, let me be full, let me be empty, let me have all things, let me have nothing.

I freely and with a willing heart give it all to Your pleasure and disposal. I do here covenant with You, O Christ, to make my lot with You as it may fall. Through Your grace I promise that neither life nor death will part me from You.

I make this covenant with You, O God, without guile or reservation. If any falsehood should be in it, guide me and help me to set it right. Mighty God, let this covenant I have made on earth be ratified in heaven, in the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. Amen

Stewarding God's Family: October Trip Update

This article originally appeared in our November 2018 newsletter.

Pastor David had made the arrangements for the “Stewarding God’s Family” Conference and sent invitations across the nation to key couples in ministry. Then, the conference hotel where reservations had been made called David to inform him that the agreed upon rate for rooms and food had tripled! David emailed us with the news and we all prayed — with urgency!

Another conference center with more basic accommodations just “happened” to have a cancellation so the facility would be available on just the right days and the cost would be less. 

This meant that even though the venue was not as nice, more couples could attend. Instead of 15 couples in ministry, there were 35!

Partnership

A goal of Firefall International is “transforming nations through compassionate partnership.” This conference was an example of that.

Nancy and I (Jim) shared the teaching load with Pastor David and his wife, Diim Te, and also the associate pastor, Daniel and his wife, Diim. In addition, worship and morning devotions were led by nationals. We wish we could express to you the joy of seeing our spiritual sons and daughters ministering in the wisdom and power of the Holy Spirit.


When God Stepped In

There is a moment in the conference that stands out to me. I was teaching from Romans 16 where Paul is thanking those who worked with him in the gospel. His list is about equally divided between men and women. Paul was not teaching doctrine or defining ecclesiastical positions, he was just thanking those who did the work. My purpose was to show that, in Paul’s view, women were equally acknowledged and appreciated for their service in the Lord.

As I was talking about Paul thanking those faithful workers, I started to thank those in front of me for their work. As I did, it was if I stopped speaking and God was speaking through me right to their hearts. I felt the compassion and gratitude of the Holy Spirit for these unrecognized giants of faith. I thanked them for boldly going into demonic strongholds, for sowing seeds of the gospel with tears and faith into hard ground, and for persevering in the midst of all kinds of persecution and resistance. I felt these words of gratitude go into their hearts like water into thirsty ground.

Later Nancy and I interviewed one of our Firefall associates who is planting a church in one of the hardest regions of this dark nation. He said that it was the first time someone had said “Thank you” for the sacrifices he and his family were making.

In some ways this conference was like Ezekiel’s vision where he spoke life into dry bones and they became an army. I’m convinced that spiritual victories will be won and the kingdom extended because of your prayer and sponsorship of these couples. Thank you!

Testimonials from Conference Attendees

I had never attended this kind of seminar, emphasis on balance in family and ministry, though I had served in the ministry for twenty years. I learned the importance of family in the ministry. That changed my opinion and lifestyle in the ministry for the future. I firmly believe that my family life and my ministry would be more fruitful and blessed as I would implement what I learned from this seminar. Thanks a lot and may our Lord bless everyone those who participate to conduct this kind of seminar in our nation!
My perspectives on woman role in the ministry was totally changed by attending this seminar. I just considered and assumed woman as a second class or just supported instrument in the ministry because of our Burmese culture and tradition. When I listened about the teachings on Roman 16 and serving husband and wife together in ministry, the Lord changed my perspective and now I submit my life to prioritize the role of women in our ministry and church in the coming days.

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