Sunday, February 01, 2009

Wednesday, October 01, 2008

We Are Currently Home On Furlough

Currently we are back in Ohio on our first furlough. We will be home for at least a year. Furlough is when Missionaries return to their home country and revisit their supporting churches in order to thank them for their support and prayer and to let them know how things are going on the field. It is also a time when we renew our strength and evaluate our previous term’s activities.

In lieu of our being home, we would like to say “Thank you” to all who have supported us these past few years. Although our work on the field was pretty much what we expected, events in our personal lives, i.e., the birth of Mia, the loss of Beatriz’s parents, other health related issues, really took their toll. Without your support this past term would’ve been quite lonesome. Thank you for your prayers and kindness to us.

FYI, we do plan on returning to Nicaragua to continue teaching at the university and Bible schools. We feel strongly in our calling and will still need your support and partnership.

We would like to come visit you
We would also like to visit your church and personally thank all of those who have given to our ministry both in prayer and financial support. Our desire is to visit as many churches as possible this next year so the name of the Lord would be glorified in His work overseas.

We have contacted many churches already about our coming for a service. We have tried to contact others but have not gotten through or have been unable to make the right connections. If you would like us to visit your church and have not heard from us for whatever reason, we’d be very happy to make a time and place for you. WE ARE SERIOUS ABOUT THIS; WE WOULD LIKE TO COME VISIT YOU!

We are open to all types of services or sharing venues: Sunday AM or PM Worship Services, Wednesday or midweek Services, Home cell groups, Men’s or WM’s ministries, Youth or Speed-the-Light opportunities, Royal Rangers or Missionettes, Sunday school classes, Missions Conventions, Board Meetings, Office visits with the Pastor or Missions Boards, etc. We are open and available to meet with you.

Contact information:

Saturday, March 08, 2008

North Central U. Returns To Nicaragua

For the second year in a row we had the privilege of hosting an evangelism team from North Central University during Spring break. Ninedays.08, a team of 11 college students, ministered to hundreds of children, youth and adults throughout Nicaragua. They are called “Ninedays” because for literally nine days they come and share of their calling and love in Christ to those overseas. This year’s team was led by Elissa Fortner and Peter Johnson.

A great group of young people, Ninedays traveled to different Latin America Child Care schools (LACC) in the mornings and afternoons, then visited local churches for worship services and preaching in the evenings.

LACC schools are Assemblies of God sponsored primary and secondary schools in Latin America and the Caribbean. The children of these schools are supported by U.S. sponsors on a monthly basis. Nicaragua has 22 fully supported LACC schools where children are given a scholastic education, instruction in personal hygiene, snacks and meals, and school uniforms. The most important aspect, however, is the spiritual instruction the children are offered on a daily basis. Not only do students learn about the Lord in chapel and regular church attendance, but they have Christ consistently shared with them in all of their studies by their Christian teachers.

This year’s Ninedays team came alongside LACC and assisted them in spiritual development and the evangelization of their children. And they did a wonderful job. Through Bible stories, dramas, singing and testimonies, Ninedays gave their all to these children. We were so proud of this group. They honored not only North Central and the U.S. church, but they honored the Lord Jesus Christ by their purity and example. Children from Managua, Diriamba, Corinto and León were blessed by the group’s presence. The children of the Granada school, though a small and relatively insignificant primary school bordering Lake Nicaragua, were especially blessed by Ninedays, the first visit by any American group in their school’s history.

Thank you, again, NCU for giving us your best!

Monday, March 03, 2008

A Scholarship For Jairo

When Daniel first began teaching at the university, there was a young man in his Saturday class named Jairo Lopez (pronounced Hi-row). Jairo was barely 17 yrs. old when he began taking classes at UML, just a skinny little kid with a great big smile. Jairo was beginning to work on his high school degree at the time, majoring in Theology. He was a bright student then, one of the smartest in the class, and he loved the competition of getting the best grade in the class because that meant he would get a prize book from Daniel. But after the second semester Jairo suddenly disappeared from school.

It was sometime later that Daniel learned Jairo wasn’t attending classes because he could no longer afford the cost of tuition. This was because Jairo’s father was tragically killed in a car accident one evening near his home; a neighbor had struck his father while he was walking home in the dark. The neighbor had been drinking, and, as is typical in Managua after the felony, he fled from the crime scene (and the police). The man was never arrested, never brought to justice, but Jairo’s family was left with trying to pick up the pieces of their broken lives.

Daniel bumped into Jairo one day while attending the Nicaraguan Assemblies of God annual Conference (the equivalent to one of our District Councils). He discussed with Jairo the possibility of returning to school and finishing his studies. But Jairo said his mother didn’t have the money to help him with tuition. Daniel then, believing the Lord was speaking to him, asked Jairo if he sensed the call of the Lord on his life. Jairo answered affirmatively. Daniel then encouraged Jairo by telling him that he had a gift most didn’t have. He told Jairo that he was intellectually capable of going far in his studies, perhaps even to the university level. Daniel then said to Jairo that if he wanted to study that he (Daniel) would give him a full-scholarship. He only asked that Jairo go home and pray about it for a week, and then come back with his answer.

Well, Jairo returned the next week with his answer. Daniel wasn’t sure he’d ever see Jairo again, he was hopeful, but he wasn’t sure. Jairo told Daniel that he had prayed and the Lord told him “yes” to continuing his studies. What a blessing.
Today Jairo continues to study at the university. He is working on his high school degree, but once he finishes he’ll begin the university level.

What else is neat, is that Jairo has been chosen to assist one of the professors of the university to work with him at his church. The work is a revitalization effort that is near the school. So Jairo takes classes and studies in the mornings and afternoons, then goes to church in the evenings. What a wonderful opportunity. Thank the Lord also for the pastor, Brother Juan Sanchez, who has taken time with Jairo, putting him under his wing to prepare him for the work of ministry. “We know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose” Romans 8:28.

Monday, December 31, 2007

With Great Joy...Comes Great Sorrow

With great joy we announce the birth of our first child, Mia Gabriela Klaehn, into the world on July 31, 2007. Mia was born by C-section in Managua at 2:15 PM. She weighed 6 lbs. 13 ounces and was 19 inches. We waited on the Lord for 10 years for this blessing, many of you remember our prayer requests when visiting your churches, so we are very happy with this wonderful gift from His hand.

It is with great sorrow, however, we share with you the news of a terrible automobile accident involving both of Beatriz’s parents on Wednesday August 29, 2007 in El Salvador. Beatriz’s Mom, María Cruz Rodríguez, died instantly at the scene of the crash. Her Dad, José Artemio Rodríguez, was in critical condition until late that Saturday evening.

As you can imagine our world was torn apart with this news. As we reflect upon this time it seems like a blur. We just remember rushing around trying to get airline tickets to San Salvador while hoping to secure a passport for Mia. Mia wasn't even a month old at the time and the only document we had was her Nicaraguan birth certificate. We had to get her a Nicaraguan passport so she could travel.

We arrived in San Salvador late the following (Thursday) afternoon. We were greeted by family and friends at the church, but it was a somber moment. Yet Beatriz’s Mom seemed to know everybody; she was a very kind and precious soul. The church and gravesite services were just filled with friends and mourners. It was a difficult time saying goodbye; she was buried that Friday.

We were told Beatriz's father was in terrible condition after the accident. He had internal bleeding from hitting the steering wheel and had to have surgery that day. Daniel saw Artemio Saturday afternoon when he was on a ventilator, he had tubes everywhere on his body, but he looked stable. Daniel prayed for Artemio, read some Scripture to him that Beatriz wanted read, held his hand, but there was very little reaction. The only change that occurred (there were other family members in the hospital room with Dan), was that his blood pressure, which was low, began to rise a bit. We were told this was a good sign. The doctors were keeping him medicated so his body could recover, but Beatriz didn't want to see him until after Daniel confirmed to her how bad (or good) he looked. Daniel believed he was getting better. In fact, we had both planned on seeing him that Sunday afternoon, but, sadly, we were informed of his death at 9:00PM Saturday evening. The doctors said he had had three heart attacks, the first two were mild, the last took his life.

José Artemio's funeral was on Monday. He was placed next to Beatriz's mother on a beautiful hill in a cemetery over-looking their neighborhood in San Salvador. It is one the most beautiful cemeteries in El Salvador.

Through all of this you can imagine how we feel. Our world is broken. We are doing as well as can be expected under the circumstances, but it has only been three months since the accident. Beatriz was able to spend time with her sisters (Ana, Juanita and Marina) to mourn her loss, but time has not yet healed all of the pain. It will take longer.

But as we look back over these past few months we would like to give a short testimony of the Lord’s goodness in the midst of this event. First, we realize through God’s word that we are not like those who have no hope. Indeed, both of Beatriz’s parents were Christians and loved the Lord and served Him faithfully (1 Thess 4:13). But we’ve also seen the Lord’s love to us through small, sovereign events that occurred during this time. For instance, we thank the Lord for the opportunity of seeing Beatriz’s parents one last time, the time with Mia, just two weeks before their deaths. Our last memories are of them holding and loving their new granddaughter. In fact, it was Beatriz's Mom who had prayed daily for us for 10 years for the ability to conceive. How fitting for the Lord to reward her with the pleasure of seeing our daughter. And what great comfort she has brought to us since the accident.

But another memory comes to mind from Beatriz’s Dad during their last visit. We remember seeing José Artemio sitting at the dinner table, reflecting on the name of our baby, Mia Gabriela. Now Mia doesn’t mean much in Spanish, it simply means “mine.” But Gabriela is a biblical name, it was the name of the angelic messenger in Daniel and the one who informed Zechariah of the birth of John the Baptist and Mary and Joseph of the birth of Jesus). Gabriela means “God’s valiant one.” But for José Artemio it meant a bit more. You see, Artemio’s father’s name was Gabriel. So there he sat, just thinking, when finally he said “I just never thought someone would name their child after my father.” This was obviously a great blessing and honor for him. Now we hadn’t thought of using the name Gabriela because of the family connection; we simply liked the name. But when we saw Artemio’s pleasure in this, we knew it was from the Lord. We believe the Lord had planned this name for our baby a long time ago. This, along with similar things, has served to comfort us these past few months.

In closing, we would like to ask that you continue to pray for us as we heal from this tragedy. Although things are getting easier the loss is still very fresh. We know the Lord is in control, we believe this, but this knowledge doesn’t take away our loneliness. Please pray that God’s grace would continue to strengthen us. For all those who have known of this and have prayed on our behalf we would like to say “Thank you.” We really sensed the closeness of God’s family during this time. What’s more, we really saw our need for God’s family more than ever before. Thank you. We wouldn’t have been able to get through this without your love and support. May the Lord bless you for your faithfulness.

Friday, June 01, 2007

And He Gave Some As Teachers

We have been in Nicaragua a year now and, to be honest, are finding a few things difficult getting used to. One is the consistent 95˚F heat. It doesn’t sound bad considering winters in Ohio, but after a while it begins to wear on you. It also hasn’t been easy getting used to the aggressive driving and the poor customer service. But despite these negatives, and they are mild, it has been easy getting used to the Martin Luther University where we teach. UML, the central AG school in Managua, is both a university and Bible Institute. It is where the church prepares her new leaders.

God called us to Nicaragua to help train and equip these leaders, e.g. pastors, missionaries and Christian workers, for the work of the ministry. We are here to build-up the body of Christ in faith and knowledge so that it matures and grows into a viable witness for the Lord Jesus Christ (Eph. 4:11ff).

Meeting the students has been the most rewarding aspect of life here thus far. They come to the school hungry for the Word of God. Most are from poor families in Managua, some from outside the capital. Seeing these students’ desire to learn, and the light in their eyes when they do learn, makes all the cultural discomforts worth while. Here’s an example. Daniel was teaching one day on Luke 10:1 from the Spanish New International Version. This is where Jesus is appointing 72 disciples to go into the cities ahead of him, two by two. But the students noticed that in the Spanish Reina-Valera Version (RVR), the number of disciples recorded is not 72 but 70. (Note the King James Version). So they asked why the difference?

For Latin American evangelicals, the Reina-Valera is the default version of the Bible. It’s the most popular Bible version and is considered without defect. The Spanish NIV, on the other hand, is not taken seriously.

The problem, however, is that with the Reina-Valera the Greek manuscripts used to translate it into Spanish were younger and less reliable than the ones used to translate the NIV. This means that the NIV (both Spanish and English versions) used older and better manuscripts, those closer to the original writings of the New Testament, than those used back in 1602 when the Reina-Valera first appeared (1611 for the KJV). Why is this important? For a couple of reasons. First, it helps the students to see that the Bible, like Christ, is both divine and human. It was inspired by God but written by man. Therefore it is not without its human challenges. We do not possess any of the original manuscripts of the NT today; we have only copies of the originals. Some of those copies differ in places one from another. These differences are called Variants. Luke 10:1 has a variant reading of 72 and 70 for the number of disciples chosen by Jesus. Most scholars today believe the actual number was 72. This means both the RVR and KJV possibly err here. What then, do we throw out these versions? No. We respect them. But we also note that in some places (e.g. Luke 10:1) there are older and better manuscripts (copies of the originals) that the RVR (KJV) did not use because they were not available to them. This type of study was eye opening for many in Daniel’s class because they never considered the Spanish NIV credible. But now they’re seeing there’s a lot more to Bible study than first thought.

The second reason this is important is that the number 72 in Jewish tradition happens to represent the number of Gentile nations of the world. This number is based on a list of 72 names found in Genesis 10. In his gospel, Luke shows how he anticipated that, although Jesus chose 12 disciples for Israel (Luke 9:1), he also chose 72 others to send to the rest of the world (the Gentiles). This is truly amazing. Many today question the authority of the Christian to evangelize the world. But the early church saw that Jesus chose 72 to take the gospel to the world he loved.

What’s more, the biblical message didn’t end with the NT church. The message they understood applies to us today as well. This includes sending missionaries to countries like Nicaragua. But the message is also a call to Central American believers, Nicaraguans and others, that they are a part of the 72 called to the nations. God’s work is not finished and the responsibility does not pass over the Nicaraguans, it includes them in this great work of God. And that is why we are here.

We love teaching God’s word; it calls men and women, and imparts life. As we said, things are not easy here, but teaching the Lord’s word to the next generation of pastors and missionaries makes the difficulties seem secondary. Nicaragua is our calling. And that calling, which is really the students, keeps us here.

Friday, April 21, 2006

Goodbye CINCEL and Costa Rica

An important character-istic of a missionary is having a heart that delights in the Lord, especially in where the Lord leads, knowing that the He will be one’s rest during the journey.

The journey to Nicaragua has been a long one (3+ years). But the Lord has been our rest and He has carried us through this time. Discouragement is probably the most difficult challenge a missionary faces. Beatriz and I faced this at CINCEL (language school), but the Lord helped us. And yes, we both did graduate. Here's proof of us speaking at graduation.

So, at the end of all this language and culture learning, how will Nicaragua find us?

After a year of stress, nights of studying Spanish workbooks, memorizing vocabulary, preparing and presenting a Research project on the Bible School in San José, preaching in Spanish, mornings full of homework, hours of phonetics, repeating phrases and always being corrected...well, Nicaragua will find that we are ready to arrive. Beatriz and I are stronger now that we've graduated. The Lord met us here and He gave us the strength we needed to complete this mission.

So now, at the beginning of June, we are packing (once again) and moving to our field of Managua, Nicaragua. We are grateful for our time at CINCEL and we pray that the tools we were given will help us present the Gospel clearly and effectively, and that this new time of transition will be blessed in the Lord for His glory.