Thursday, May 31, 2012

A very LONG road to Missions-by Jesika

So, we had a request from someone that is working on the field in Africa that we tell the story of our callings...each from our own perspective...this is a long, deep, trench that my feet have been dragging through for many years...
I am a Nazarene. My blood actually bleeds in tones of John Wesley red and Southern Nazarene Crimson Storm....since the first church that I have memories of attending I was sitting in Sunday school with Janice VanFleet and reading mission books for kids provided by Beth Barker. God was growing in me a passion even while I was young. When I was 8, a missionary was home on "furlough" and they spoke of a wonderful culture of people in Abidjan, Ivory Coast, Africa. My heart was stolen that day to the African people. Keeping in mind that I was 8 and the whole continent of Africa in my mind consisted of one type of people who spoke French. I told my Mom I was leaving to Africa to be a missionary when I grew up. She never doubted God called me that day.
Throughout my teen years I participated in the district Impact Team and we traveled and sang. As we met different people in different churches I thought WOW, now I know why we are called the Impact Team. Each person we met was our mission and we could make an impact in their lives. Again, this group being lead by Teri and Kandra Dilts, more strong Nazarene women who were molding my life.
Each year I participated in the NMI convention and as a child I packed boxes, made care kits, and heard the wonderful stories from missionaries invited to speak at our convention. In high school, this grew to a service project each year that varied from soup kitchens to cleaning out closed/re-opening churches. Each project made my heart yearn for service opportunities.
In my senior year of high school I had a friend Stephanie Jankowski who was serving as a volunteer in Jamaica. With my parents blessings I saved enough money from my paychecks to purchase a flight and go volunteer at the School for the Deaf in White Sands, Montego Bay, Jamaica. It was a feeling of awe as Dawn and the other volunteers at the school taught me about water preservation (short showers and turning off the water while you brush your teeth and how valuable rainfall was to fill the tanks we used at the school). The children were full of wonder for this red-headed American high school student who had vigor and love for each of them. When I left, part of my heart stayed on that mission field.
Off I went to college, Southern Nazarene University! The one and only! (yes, I am proud to have been blessed with my opportunity to attend here) I met such wonderful Christian people in college- Dr. Howard Culbertson, Pastor Mark Brown, Dr. Finkenbender, Dr. Nancy Halliday, and our then dean of spiritual ministry, Dee Kelley. The cohort God brought into my life was equally matched by the missionary kids who I went to college with- Jeff Myers, LeCrecia Mosher, Arianne Udd, to name a few...and guess what they had in common-AFRICA!
In 1997, I served with A Christian Ministry in the National Park, out of Maine for five months. I worked in Yellowstone and preached alternating Sundays to park visitors in Grant Village. I hiked, sought God, learned more about me and more about what I was and what I wasn't. God did a work in me and I took a friend with me, Leslie Hart, and God grew us both.
In 1999, back at SNU I was working towards a degree in the field of Nursing and I went to Mexico. That year we went to Tampico. Oh it was a great experience for my life. Again, a growing stop in my growing into a missions minded person, and again directing me at the fact that all of life is our mission field.
I graduated from SNU (finally) and married Anthony. We were instantly aware of the calling on our life together. We attended Victory Christian Center in Oklahoma and had many opportunities to work there, including directing the Wednesday evening children's ministry program, a mission outreach and a lot of fun!
We didn't commit to foreign travel for missions for many years, rather focusing our mission on family needs (extended family) and completion of my degree as a Family Nurse Practitioner. The year before I graduated with this degree, we took our then 5 year old daughter and went to Mexico with Dr. Culbertson and the Southern Nazarene University campus. This trip provided me the opportunity to see patients in a "clinic" setting for five days and to witness and minister to them. Gloria a Dios! It was marvelous!
The following year I took at position in rural South Dakota. People, I mean rural, three hours drive through the reservation to the nearest WalMart. My dependence was in the Lord. It was cold. I hit a deer. I walked the 2 mile road in to the church at the bottom of the hill in Wounded Knee on the reservation many Sundays. We cooked for the church people every Sunday. We sang specials. We fund raised at our "home" church when we returned to Normal, Illinois to see friends. We held outreaches. We visited people. We learned what it was like to live without a hope. We learned that a cold winter was even colder when the Pastor didn't have any propane to heat her house or church, but the overflow from her heart kept us all warm each Sunday. It was a long year in South Dakota. But the Lord was working, he was conditioning us. He was teaching our daughter that all of the United States didn't look like Chicago.
Finally, we completed my contract to work for the government in South Dakota serving 25,000 patients between just two providers and it was a day mixed with sadness and hope. Hopeful we left part of our hearts there and that the people would be closer to Christ because of our hearts.
The next winter, we went back to Mexico (can ya tell I like it warm?). This time, I challenged my parents who were former Nazarene Pastors to go with us. My Mom is now a Nurse Practitioner and my Dad a hospice nurse, I thought what better fun could a family have than to go on a vacation together in MISSIONS WORK! My family thinks my sense of vacation may still be a little distorted from the America themed Disney vacations (though I did take my daughter there once). This trip, oh this trip, WOW! God linked me again with new missions friends as we worked with Gavin Fothergill (second time around)(border ministry/Mission Corp/YouthInMission) and Stephen Heap (life missionary to Brazil). Stephen speaks Portuguese in his home country, but God gave him the gift of crossing barriers to speak as my translator in the clinic. Through him I learned patience and a new sense of gratitude for my gift as a Nurse Practitioner. His purpose of being there was that he was one of the few that gathered for the initial Commission Unto Mexico trip some 40 years prior as a student lead initiative. What a great time we had together...all showing me God was at work!
We returned from Mexico with BURNING desire, so we booked a flight to Africa. I would finally get to go. Our friends who work in the Creative Access had willingly opened their home to us (and let me tell you- I realized that day how AMERICAN I was-traversing the airport in Senegal)...God blessed us on this trip and it was powerful. Again, I learned of food shortages, slavery, modern slavery, trafficking, water shortages, power shortages, immunizations and daily pills, and family life as missions workers...how amazing...it wasn't for a missions trip...it was more a "Work Experience Evaluation" of the life of missionaries.
As I returned home, my heart was changed. This time I only brought back a little bit of my heart and the rest remained in Africa...where it waits for me in sweet surrender. Confirmation came through the missionaries Jon and Margaret Scott faithful servants and excited recruiters.
I forgot one piece of the African puzzle, my Aunt sent me an article about running an orphanage in Malawi some time before I married Anthony. That article has silently continued to replay itself in my mind for many years.
In August, I will leave my family practice and go to Malawi. I pray that I stop and listen for the still small voice that gives us direction, peace, and hope in our times of discerning prayer with God.


A praise report for the day:
Our first gifts were received on the convio website that Anthony posted about last night and I am happy to announce that we love those who gave. I also added two new facebook friends after they read and followed our blog...stoked! Keep it coming God cuz this is the joy of my soul and the passion of the fire in my heart...I love you Lord! Thanks friends for hearing my story...or rather the Story of God at work in my life...

To give: http://web.nazarene.org/site/TR/Events/MissionCorps?pxfid=4660&fr_id=1090&pg=fund
To send us a shout out or a prayer request: jesika@love-coffee.com

Take care and blessings!

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Looking Back and Moving Forward

I have been asked a few times now how it is that I was called to missions, so I want to take this time to give my own personal missions history here.

I did not grow up in the USA like my wife, instead, I was born and raised in England. Those of you who are reading this from England, you will have to forgive my use of American English. After living here for 11 years, my spelling, pronunciation, and phrasing has become American, although my accent is still (somewhat) English.

I was attending college at The University of Manchester in Manchester, England. After coasting through my first (freshman) year, I was in my second (sophomore) year and things were starting to become a challenge. I was living the typical UK university partying lifestyle, and I was neither finding fulfillment in this nor winning many friends through it. What I found was the friends that were left were Christians, and while I'd made it a game to ridicule and chastise them for their beliefs, the one who was truly getting challenged was me.

After many months of this, I finally felt God speaking directly to me, saying "Anthony, why do you keep rejecting me?" I knew instantly that it was God speaking and that I needed to follow Him. That date was April 19th, 1999. On returning to college a few short days later, I met up with a friend of mine, a Christian and told him about what I'd heard, and that I was now a believer. He was ecstatic! He invited me over that evening for his accountability group, so they could pray with me and welcome me into "The Faith".

Fall of 2000, now in my Senior (4th!) Year The University of Manchester Christian Union (formerly MUUCU), hosted a Missions Fair where they invited representatives from several missions organizations to set up booths and talk about their work around the world. I was curiously intrigued by one particular organization who had information about a small African country they were working in called Malawi. This vision lays dormant for many years

Fast forward many years, it's 2008, we are married, with children, and I'm working for State Farm, Jesika is a Nurse Practitioner Student at Illinois State. We went on our first "Commission Unto Mexico" trip. This enabled me to experience missions first hand. God used this trip to reignite that spark he put in my heart 8 years previous and get me to the point of thinking seriously about missions again.

2010 came by God called us to missions again by way of Jesika's first Nurse Practitioner job working at a Federally Qualified Health Center, working with the Lakota people of Pine Ridge Indian Reservation in South Dakota. While we were there, Jesika became reacquainted with a friend from college who was serving as a missionary with her family in Africa through the wonders of Facebook! When they were home on deputation assignment, they stayed with us and spoke at our Church on the reservation. As they left, they invited us to visit them in Africa. In February 2011, after moving back to Illinois, we took them up on the offer, and flew as a family to Senegal.

Senegal was monumental for me as it proved to me that it was indeed possible for me to survive outside of the western civilization. That I could indeed survive without consistent power, air conditioning, or even liquid milk! (yes, it was powdered milk over there)

April 2011 rolled on and we were invited to go as delegates to the Northwestern Illinois District NMI convention, where Jon and Margaret Scott were the missionary speakers... We had no idea at the time we agreed to go to the convention, but they were working at NTCCA in Lilongwe, Malawi. I looked over at Jesika as they were sharing where they were working, and we both knew that God had spoken to us through the Scott's. This was where we were supposed to go.

"Coincidence" after "coincidence" has occurred as we have been walking this journey. Finally now everything is in place and we are ready to go to Malawi this fall for our first stint as Mission Corps missionaries.

As Jesika posted yesterday we have a large amount of money we need to raise in a short space of time.  Please be in prayer for us as we look to raise this money and as we put into place the rest of the plan - we need to book flights, get textbooks, and study the material we will present.

A big answer to prayer... Our Fundraising site is now live! Thanks especially go to David Cooper for reviewing our site preview, and Beth Bleadingheiser for getting it turned on so quickly!

Would you prayerfully consider whether you can help us raise the funds we need for this? Click here -> Moore's in Malawi for more information or to make a donation!

Many blessings to you all,
Anthony and Jesika

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Looking Ahead and Hoping in God!

Wow! We just are blessed, already we have begun the search for plane tickets. They are expected to cost about 6 thousand dollars. Then we got the good news this week of our housing and food costs in Malawi, they are expected to reach about 3 thousand dollars....not to eliminate all hope we also have the insurance cost of 2.75 per day per person which should reach 700 dollars....phewie! Planning is a bear to tackle to the ground...but when you get up you see that it is still the thing God is calling you to do.
Hard to imagine that the clock has begun to tick by in our minds as we begin planning...just under 90 days remains until we take flight.
As the course steadies and we tack down itineraries...please join us in prayer.
Will you send me an email and let us know you are praying for us? Money can buy a lot, but God's grace is far sufficient for all of our needs according to the Word (2 Corinthians 12:9).
When you send the email will you also send any prayer requests that you may have that we could lift up as a family? In our daily conversations with the Lord we love to have opportunity to bring your family to His feet and pray.
Many have asked what we will be doing in Africa. Well I know before in the blog that this has been answered, but we will be teaching. I am not doing a clinic there I am teaching similar courses that my preparation has enabled me to teach; Anthony will do the same.
What about Leyana? Yes, she is going to be with us. She is going to attend school while on the field at the Elementary school in Lilongwe.
What about our dog? As many of you know, our beloved Hershey has been a token dog for us for many years now. When God began to move in our lives with the warp speed button pressed, we searched for a home. God directed us to Pastor Jeff and Mary Coester who are in Sterling, Illinois. They had recently lost a beloved dog and it was a match. We hope this enables us to take longer and longer assignments. It was terrible to pull out of their driveway on that dreaded Sunday but we feel so free to go now...like a child almost.
Moore about Malawi:
This week as I studied information about Malawi I learned that only 1% of the population of Malawi ever attends any form of college or university. Isn't this a startling statistic? When the United States has 30% of the population over 18 with college degrees! WOW! This is a needed ministry. Even more dismal is the fact that the Constitution only protects five years of education (basically and elementary education) if you can fight for that right.
Malawi gained independence from the United Kingdom on July 6, 1964 (formerly called Nyasaland). So our country and Malawi celebrate similar Independence Days!
They have a lovely Lake...well probably moore than one lake...but the Lake Malawi is nearly the size of Lake Michigan. It is a retreat goers paradise.
The primary cause of death is HIV/AIDS, second only to causes related to living conditions (diarrhea, malaria, protozoan illnesses, accidents).
What I leave you with is joy though, I also read the Church of the Nazarene World Mission books this year and am happy to know that such wonderful figures in the COTN have lived in and worked with and for the school that we are going to be working at in Malawi. Praise God for brothers and sisters like the Chambo's, Rev. Enoch Litswele (huge huge in our campus), Brother Phiri (again registrar I believe, but sincerely awesome), and so many more...a big shout out to the Shute's from America..they seem to be part of everyone's story in Africa...amazing mentors.
God bless everyone..I look forward to your emails of support. We have available church dates: June 10th and June 24th. Send me an email if we could possibly speak at your church...thanks!
jesika@love-coffee.com
Grace, peace, and JOY,
Anthony and Jesika

Monday, May 21, 2012

God's presence is so amazing to me, as I sit and think back to the initial calling for Anthony and I to go to this mission in Malawi. Today at breakfast we were talking and I said that I didn't just want this missions thing to be about me.  He said that was good  because he knew the second that we met missionaries Jon and Margaret Scott God sealed his heart for the people of Malawi. It is am amazing feeling inside as we approach the date of departure and watch as the mission unfolds!
Jesika and Leyana need to purchase plane tickets as soon as possible. The cost is right around 2200 a piece. This seems so large, but in the scale of life we know all things are possible with God. Donations, yes, donations are going to be a large part of the fulfilling of the calling on our lives. If you are interested in donating towards our missions trip you can, isn't that great? What does that money go towards? Well it will pay for two well-educated professors to go and teach the undergraduates at Nazarene Theological College of Central Africa for a semester. I (jesika) am teaching Human Development and a second course of study Personal, Family, and Community Health with HIV/AIDS. As I have already received and printed the textbooks through Kinkos I think how the collision of our two countries is so similar. Reading about the choice not to use antibiotics for the common cold and then thinking of our current stance here in America to get away from always giving antibiotics. It is mind-boggling that I have been called by God to do this!
Recently I was with my little brother and he said but how will you earn money. I stood in awe, I guess that hasn't crossed our minds through this whole process, we just want to go and be used. It is exciting! Now, the reality of the cost has hit, we do not see it as a daunting task but as a privilege to ask fellow friends and believers to donate- time, prayer and financial blessing. We see the commercials on television that ask us to send money for water, famine, death, vaccines, we are going to provide education so that these people may bring up their own villages and family and put themselves into a better place in life, as we know by the grace of God they can be educated to do so...and to spread the Word and Love of Jesus to their areas.

Where are we in the process? Well we were fully certified this week for the itinerary. We will depart the last week of August (Leyana and I) and Anthony will meet up with us towards the end of September. He will continue to work here in the states to pay our mortgage, my student loans, life, and the needs of life, and then ultimately while joining us will use his vacation time to do so. When he returns back after his 5 weeks of teaching, he will continue the supporting of our family. 
We need prayer partners. We need ideas for fundraisers. What we need most is your faithfulness to the calling of God. Malawi doesn't just need the Moore Family. This college is in need of many different areas of educators. We are in search right now of those who would have a Master's Degree in Education to help in the courses that we are unqualified to teach. That is an immediate availability. Could you serve? Could you go for a four week intense course or possibly a semester? The weather is inviting, the mosquitos are revolting, but God is amazing and the blessings will be overflowing.
Wow...a long weekend for us. Watching the dust settle and the beauty of the journey get exciting...what questions do you have for us...email me at jesika@love-coffee.com
Donations:
http://missioncorps.nazarene.org/PDF/MC/Contribution_gdlns.pdf 
This is the full instructions on how to give (and yes, five dollars stretches a long way in Africa)~
Our names: Anthony and Jesika Moore
Our location: Malawi- NTCCA
Our position: Mission Corp Long Term Service

As we close this journal entry, I want to tell you all that God expects of us what we can offer and sometimes he expects what we weren't aware we would need to offer...either way...if we are faithful to this then He is faithful to complete the work he started in our lives. I can't wait to see this work.
Be blessed...

Jesika

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

An interesting turn of events

An interesting turn of events....

After many many many long frustrating months, God has given us answers. As we hoped His will prevailed (even though in our pea size used brain space we knew this would happen all along-it is good to see the fruit of the labor).
The final plan has been posted and accepted by our sending body, The Church of the Nazarene. Here it is:
In the end of August (hoping around the 29th), Jesika and Leyana will head off from Chicago to Lilongwe, Malawi. On Labor Day in America, the classes begin at both the NTCCA and Leyana's Elementary school. Jesika will be teaching the class throughout the whole semester. Then in late September as the steam really rises in the plains of Africa from the "summer" heat, Anthony will arrive. Yes folks, begin to pray for him, pray he spends many hours in the Sauna and the Turkish Bath this summer in order to prepare his body for that torture..heee hee...much to Jesika's delight, the weather will be yummy and warm. Back to the plan, Anthony will arrive in September around the 23rd and stay over until October 26th-ish teaching his Mathematics course. He will then return to the United States in time for the first snow fall. Jesika and Leyana will remain on completing the course work for the mission to which they are called.

Current housing plans: Well this weekend we were delighted to meet our hosts, and the lovely parents of our dear mission friends, David and Marquita Mosher. David is the school Principal. In America, this role seems downplayed, not so much there in Malawi. He is in charge of the elementary, the junior college, and then the larger dually accredited NTCCA. Marquita is the Dean of Women and also holds many smaller titles that lead up to a lot of work and time spent working for the people. I have been reassured that there is running water (for you that worry) and a fan for the hot nights. Also, the best scope of things is that there are mosquito nets...ahhhh peace of mind. 
Current flight plans: Well they are as we spoke above. We are looking at tickets totaling 8,000 american for all of us to get there. On the brighter side, living expenses will be lower there! Aha! Definitely not the all-inclusive Disney, but hey folks we have been blessed to have been there and done that.
For now, we begin to book churches to speak in and tell of the great blessing of the call. Our first church is Marseilles Church of the Nazarene on June 3, 2012 at 6pm. We are excited. We have many dates open between now and leave and would love to have the opportunity to share the vision at your church, in a private coffee date, or over a good meal...contact details can be given if you don't already have them. Contacting me is easy: jesika@love-coffee.com 
God is really helping us, for that we are in debt. Others who have proven so supportive are our fellow missionaries on different fields from all over the world and those who maintain the integrity of the missions within the Church of the Nazarene. See below our new missions family: David Mosher, Marquita Mosher, Jesika Moore, Anthony Moore
Let's go teach!
More to come.