Newsletters from Greg and Wendy Mann
2020 May 4th Update
The Bible tells us that, “...there is joy in the presence of the angels of God over one sinner that repenteth.” (Luke 15:10) I write this letter with my heart filled with joy over the power of the gospel reaching one soul at a time. Yesterday Wendy and I started our day just after 7 am connecting with Pastor Norbert in his home. I shared a short message and prayed over his family. From there we repeated this several times over the next several hours. Norbert would reach a home, call meover WhatsApp, and I would give a message to the people and pray over them. We wrapped up our day just before 1 pm, but not before we got a report of a young lady giving her life to Christ. As Norbert was moving about, he came across a young lady who said, “I have never had someone ask me to give my life to Jesus, but I want to do that today!” Right there, in a remote location, beyond the reach of the internet, Norbert had the great joy and privilege to led her to Christ. What a wonderful reminder of the power of the gospel, reaching areas that have yet to be touched by modern technology and the internet. You can be sure that heaven was rejoicing over this precious soul turning to God.
2020 2nd Quarter Update
Greetings from a far off country
Proverbs 25:25 says, “As cold waters to a thirsty soul, so is good news from a far country.” This morning (just minutes ago), using WhatsApp on my phone, I was able to preach to people in Blackwater. Now, if you don’t know where Blackwater is, don’t bother looking on a map, it isn’t there! Blackwater, according to my calculations, is about 2,031 miles from where I am in St. Pete Beach, Florida. Pastor Norbert gathered a group of people together, held up his phone, and gave me the privilege of delivering the word of God to a “far country.” After preaching I gave an invitation for people to trust Christ. Two young men raised their hands to indicate that they were interested. Still using the phone and WhatsApp I led these young men to Christ! Following the invitation Norbert carried the phone around and which allowed me to pray over those who had special needs and requests. It was such a joy to pray with people and see the smiles on their faces and their hands wiping away tears of gratitude. I didn’t want to get off the phone – the people smiled and waved. Norbert said, “They don’t want you to go.” My heart is just so full right now – I don’t know a better way to share how I feel. If God wills, I am content spending the rest of my life being a “water boy for Jesus,” bringing the cold and refreshing waters of the gospel to thirsty souls in a far country.
To the left (I know the image is not so clear) you can see a “screen shot” of me preaching this morning to the people in Blackwater. The young man in the white shirt standing is one of the young men who gave their heart to Jesus!
On several occasions over the past few weeks I have been able to go on “virtual visitation.” Norbert carries his phone with him as he visits homes in the villages. He will call me and allow me to give a word of encouragement to the people and pray God’s blessings over their home and family. As an example, yesterday I prayed with Kenneth as he struggles with two teenage sons who have turned their back on God. I prayed with Salomi, as she is recently widowed. She is young, on her own, struggling to raise three sons on her own. Not long ago I prayed with Ohmo as he is returning to the Lord after some years wandering from God. These virtual visits have been deeply impactful. I can hear it in their voices and see it in their faces. I cannot tell you of a people I love any more in all the world than the Amerindian people God has given us in Guyana.
2020 1st Quarter Update
We have learned over the years in Guyana to be thankful for movement in the right direction, even if it takes time. Patience is a great virtue for our part of the world. We have been reporting on the progress on our ministry property for more than a year now. I am happy to say that we now have the property officially in our name – the only thing remaining is for me to come and put our official corporate seal on the paperwork! The land had been vacant for more than a decade, but once we showed interest several “owners” showed up to claim their piece. The rightful owner and I had copies of the original surveyors map dating back from the 1950’s, and other paperwork to back up our claim. However, we had to let things play out. We paid the extra to have the land resurveyed and, in the end, we have about 7.2 acres, which is more than we originally had anticipated. We praise God for this victory and thank our ministry partners for praying!
Pastor Paul and his wife Gladys are with the Warau (War-oh) people to share Christ. The village has built this shelter so they can have church. I have an open invite to this village, you may recall, from last summer when God healed a little girl. Now the village is open and ready for the gospel!
THE BIG MOVE:
Obviously we are all dealing with uncertainty. With that in mind, we can only set a target date for our move to Guyana, which we expect to be around the 27th of May. We know we will go with a skeleton budget and in need of a stronger support base, but the immediate future does not look to be a profitable time to develop those partnerships. We have a full summer schedule of ministry activities, including our annual youth camp. We can only hope that the fall may open up a few opportunities to strengthen our support base.
PRAISES, PRAYERS, AND CHALLENGES....
Several new ministry partners came on board this quarter.
Good meetings for potential partnerships in Ohio, New Jersey, North Carolina, and all over Florida.
Ministry in Guyana poised to grow with open doors in 3 new villages.
Forced cancellation of building teams coming creating some uncertainties and large additional expenses to get our building projects underway.
Unrest in Guyana due to a contested Presidential election that was held on March 2nd.
Uncertainty about a path forward to raise additional project funding and monthly support – need God’s wisdom and blessing on how to proceed.
Josh and Josiah making positive steps forward in their personal/spiritual journey. John is deployed in a “challenging” location. We see God working in all three of our young men!
2019 Year in Review
As I look back upon 2019 it gives me great encouragement going into 2020. One of the most profound reminders we take from the previous year is the value of healthy partnerships. I can only stand back in awe and thank God for his goodness when I think of the many ministry partners who gave abundantly and sacrificially to help us move forward with some important projects. We have the funding now to complete the prep work on the ministry property. We have the funding now to build our house and one staff house. We have the funding now to build our first TTI discipleship training center. Acquiring the funding for these projects looked daunting just one year ago. I am humbled at the blessings of God and the degree in which our ministry partners believe in what we are doing. For those who have given $5 to $50,000, we are thankful for your partnership and vision. We trust that the return on your investment will be measured in the spread of the gospel, disciples made who make disciples who make disciples.
A FRUITFUL YEAR
I never want to take for granted the incredible privilege to travel across North America every week to challenge God’s people to expand their global vision. We regularly see tangible fruit to this aspect of our ministry from lost people who trust Christ to believers who grow in their vision for the global mission of God. Any missionary will tell you that the 10’s of thousands of miles we travel can be wearisome but keeping an eye on God’s blessings along the way is very energizing. In Guyana, after a number of trips last year, we wrap up 2019 with more than 123 souls that have given their life to Christ through our various evangelistic crusades and the youth camp! I think this a testimony to the faithful sowing of the seed week after week. When I come in to preach these evangelistic meetings, I am preaching to hearts that have been cultivated by our Guyanese ministry leaders.
LOOKING AHEAD – 2020 VISION:
We will start 2020 much as we did the previous year – traveling and sharing the amazing work of God in Guyana. We are praying and working hard to get the necessary funding to get busy in Guyana full time. Several churches have made “verbal commitments” for support to begin in January. We should have a much better picture of where we are by the end of this month. I will be going to Guyana in March-April to build our house and a home for one of our ministry staff. Two churches will be helping in this endeavor over a period of 4 very busy weeks. Our summer months will be focused primarily upon strengthening existing churches, conducting four large VBS outreaches, and of course our big Linked Youth Camp 2020. In each effort mentioned above, we are blessed to have supporting churches coming to serve along-side of us to make all of this work!
PRAY WITH US ABOUT THE FOLLOWING:
1. Pray for our boys – increasing desire for God, spiritual growth, and physical safety.
2. Monthly support and project funding. Monthly support is lagging more than we would like. Please ask God to open doors for us to share – I believe we have a ministry that people can buy into, but they must be able to hear about it first.
3. Ongoing work in Guyana. Many details must come together in preparation for the first of our building teams coming in March.
4. Thanking God for the sale of our home in Jacksonville!
2019 Special August Update
ANSWER TO PRAYER!
If I have learned anything in nearly 30 years of pulpit ministry, it is that without prayer you can accomplish nothing of value. I certainly don’t take for granted the importance of putting the right partnerships together for our ministry – partnerships that go well beyond a financial commitment – but partnerships that support us with prayer. One month ago I asked for prayer regarding our evangelistic crusades and our annual youth camp. God answered in a big way! In all services combined, we saw 44 people give their life to Christ and 11 of those were baptized on our last Sunday of evangelistic focus!
With the influx of Venezuelan refugees still flowing into Guyana, we are seeing many Warau Indians coming across the border as well. In Guyana the Warau people speak English, and most do not speak their native language. However, those coming from Venezuela are Warau speakers, which creates a challenge to our ministry to effectively engage them. One of the Warau families came to me in early July with a very sick little girl to ask for prayer. As is so common these dear people come with no money for medicine or modern health care, but they do come with a faith that prayer can change things. In this case I prayed over the little girl burning hot with fever and obvious infection. We then carried her to a nearby clinic – with very limited care available. In less than 24 hours the fever was gone and the little girl was on her feet! Her father reached Pastor Paul and told him that he was going to move his family near to our church to where he could learn more about God. Paul showed him the TTI training we have available and he is excited about becoming a disciple of Jesus – a God who hears and answers prayer! As a Warau speaker he could be the key to opening the door to the entire Warau people in Northwestern Guyana. Near the Venezuelan border later in the month a Warau family came to me – not able to speak a word of English – asking me to pray over their very sick child. Pastor Norbert and I prayed and God moved in a big way. The following day the boy was up, with a smile on his face, coming to see us to say thank you. After that the entire family came to every service – still not able to understand English – but happy to worship a God who hears and answers prayer! Please, take some time today, and pray for the gospel doors to open for the Warau people.
YOUTH CAMP TAKEAWAY
I could easily write an entire letter just to tell you about the amazing things God did through our Linked Youth Camp. He supplied the resources, put together the team, and pulled together the many logistical challenges necessary to make things happen. So many beautiful stories of life change. One boy who had just recently threatened his family with a chainsaw (yes, a chainsaw), was convinced to come to camp at the very last minute. He gave his heart to Jesus on the 2nd day, and then had the courage to stand in front of a crowd of his local villagers, to share how Christ had saved him and changed him! The takeaway from camp is this – we have a huge open door to reach youth. I am more inspired and energized than before about what God can do through the youth in Guyana! If we change the youth with the power of the gospel, we change the trajectory of the future of the nation.
1. Our home and rental home in Jacksonville have not yet sold.
2. Two former students are praying about a possible future in serving in Guyana on our team.
3. We need churches to come on board to support us in Guyana.
4. We need funding for our ministry campus in Guyana (work has begun). Great things in store!
5. Two sons in the Army and our oldest who lives and works in South Carolina.
2019 3rd Quarter Update
FRUIT THAT REMAINS
Looking back over the past three months my life has been impacted in a big way through the youth camp in July. As you recall we had over 44 people receive Christ in July and many of those through the youth camp. Our pastors are still seeing the fruit of those efforts. Moving forward I am energized now more than ever to pour time and energy into our work with the youth in Guyana. Above left you can see some of the young men who were baptized as a result of our efforts, and the picture to the right shows one of our evening services during camp week.
Wendy and I have been through a whirlwind of changes over these past few months. We started by saying goodbye to our life and ministry in Jacksonville back in June. We also said goodbye to our youngest, John, as he left for Army basic training. We officially became “empty nesters.” In August we counted our blessings to celebrate 25 wonderful years of marriage! In August and September, we saw John graduate from Army basic training and then Infantry school. Just this week John was awarded his wings after finishing Army Airborne school. During this same period Josiah, who is stationed in Hawaii, was selected as the “Hero of the Brigade” and he completed Air Assault school where he earned his wings. Josh is doing great as he just started a new adventure working on a small ranch in South Carolina. He loves working with horses and now he is doing what he loves to do. We miss our boys so much, more than we can express. But we are so proud of all three young men as they are moving forward in their lives and doing something they love.
Over the past few months, we are grateful for the safe traveling mercies God has given to us. I have preached from Washington to New York and here in Florida. We rejoice to report souls have been saved and hearts have been stirred to God’s global mission. We have many miles yet to travel, but we expect to be moving to Guyana in March 2020!
1. Our rental house has sold; we still need to sell our primary residence.
2. We need more financial partners to come on board and new opportunities to share with churches.
3. We need a Spanish speaking team member to join us to reach Venezuelan refugees.
4. Pray for those seeking God’s direction about joining our team in Guyana.
5. Pray for our boys that they will be the young men God desires them to be.
2019 2nd Quarter Update
Over the past 25 years, I have read about as many missionary letters as anyone. The operative word I often see is the word busy. Yes, missionaries are busy people. For Wendy and me, we are busy, but our word is change. This past quarter has been the story of change in our lives. We wrapped up our teaching responsibilities at Trinity. We saw our youngest son, John, graduate from high school and go off to the Army. We moved out of our home and Jacksonville to prepare for pre-field ministry and departure for Guyana, (anticipating early 2020)!
In the midst of everything going on, I was able to make a quick trip to Guyana in May. I had anticipated finalizing the paperwork on our new ministry property, but the Lord clearly had other plans. The property didn’t close, but the doors to ministry swung wide open. Over a quick 4-day whirlwind trip through some of our village churches, we saw 31 people openly acknowledge that they had received Christ as Savior and they were not ashamed to say so! Part of this was made possible when the owner of a local bar in White Creek invited us to minister in his business on Mother’s Day, after the morning church service. When we arrived, he had cleaned the place up, prepared benches, and the crowd began to arrive. More than 100 people crowded inside and out to hear the song service and preaching. God did the work that only he could do, and a number of people gave their heart to Christ on this Mother’s Day afternoon!
MAKING MINISTRY PARTNERSHIPS
One of the great rewards of missionary work is the wonderful partnerships we build with supporting churches. The pastor and people of Good News Baptist Church in St. Maarten have become very special to us. For the third year in a row I have been privileged to preach at this great church. Not only do we enjoy sweet fellowship with the folks at Good News, but pastors from all over the Caribbean come for this special missions conference. It was a joy to preach in the missions conference, Wednesday-Sunday, and find some time for rest during the day on this beautiful island in the Caribbean. Pastor Webster is doing a remarkable job in this ministry and he has become a very dear friend to Wendy and me.
God continues to reaffirm to Wendy and me that we have made the right move at the right time. Evidence of this is in the growing list of ministry partners that are coming on board. Our monthly support level is now over 50% and we have seen $80,000 given or promised toward our ministry campus projects (property, home, boat shed, church/training center, youth center, etc). If you are interested in seeing our site plan, please let me know and I will be happy to send you a copy – we want you to be as excited as we are!
1. We need to sell our home and our rental home in Jacksonville.
2. July 3-31 ministry trip to Guyana – evangelistic crusades, college team, and our annual youth camp.
3. Churches to come on board – we want to continue to build healthy partnerships.
4. Funding for our ministry campus in Guyana.
5. Prayer for our family – 2 boys in the Army and another working in South Carolina. Wendy and I are adjusting to the empty nest!
2019 1st Quarter Updates
In my last update (January 2019) I mentioned how God has blessed us with a beautiful piece of property in the center of our current ministry outreach. Our churches are spread over about 120 miles and this location will put us within easy reach of each of them, as well as primed to launch into new areas. I also mentioned the work that will need to take place to get the property ready for development for our ministry training center and hub of operations. Our support level has increased enough so that I can put a part-time crew on the property each week to get the work moving forward. I hope to be in a position with land improvements and funding to begin building this fall.
Since September of last year I have spoken in churches from Oregon to New Jersey, Alabama to North Carolina and many other places along the way. Currently our funding is looking healthier all the time. As funding increases, we are able to make progress in Guyana. I mentioned the work on the land that is now underway. We are also having a ministry boat made that will carry more than 30 people at one time, funding two new outreaches that are showing progress, and putting back some resources for equipment and building needs coming up this fall. Thank you to all the faithful individuals and churches that have joined our team.
Our focus in making disciples who make disciples. I am eager to get to the field to launch our TTI training center and realize growth as we have never seen before. In the mean time our faithful leaders are working hard each week to gather new people in. One pastor I spoke to this past week said that he is being asked almost daily now to come to homes to share the word. Since January he has had two baptism services, baptizing 15 new believers at each – 30 new converts baptized since January 1! Recently a bar owner closed down his bar on a Sunday night and invited one of our pastors to preach the word at his place! Many unchurched were present, among those attending was the Regional Chairman (local governor), to hear the Word preached by a faithful man of God.
I am preparing myself now for a trip to Guyana in May. On this trip, I will be devoting several days to pastoral training during the day and conducting 2 separate evangelistic crusades at night. Additionally, I am working with my team to prepare for a major push in Guyana during the month of July. More on that later, but for now I will be working with Trinity college students to be sure they can lead people to Christ, guide a small group, and mentor local people their own age. This trip will be life-changing for these young adults from the U.S. On a final note, would you pray with me now that we can get to the field by early 2020?
2018 Year in Review
PROGRESS ON LAND
We have several acres now to work with as a new home for Grace Ministries just outside of the Region One Seat. As funds have been available, through our support raising efforts, we have put crews on the land to begin the process of “reclaiming” the land. The land has sat vacant for many years and the result there is a great deal of drainage and preparation that needs to take place before we can begin building our home and ministry facilities. Soon we will announce a major fundraising effort in order to move this effort forward toward completion. I would like to be positioned to begin construction projects no later than the fall of 2019. If your church would like to invest in a project with great potential this would be one you would want to consider.
HELPING OUR PASTORS
It is very important to the long-term viability of our ministry to equip our pastors with the resources to fund their own support for their families and ministry. The goal of discipleship multiplication cannot occur when there is an ongoing dependency. Currently, we are working with a couple of our pastors to help them open small businesses. In one case we want to help a pastor to open a bakery. This would involve building a large oven to handle the demand for baking “commercially.” We also need to help him with a small building to conduct business away from his home. In another case, we are working with a pastor to get him started with a small gold claim. These are not your “typical” challenges found in a ministry update, but these things are very real when doing ministry in a third world environment.
TRAVEL TO TOGO
In November I spent about 8 days in Togo, West Africa with some amazing missionaries that have come out of our home church. We literally traveled the entire length of Togo from north to south and spent a good part of a day in neighboring Benin. The significance of this trip to see a ministry with many similarities to ours in Guyana. A few years ago these missionaries began the transition to a Timothy Initiative model in much of what they are doing. It was extremely helpful to see first hand a “hybrid” of house churches and “brick and mortar” churches. I am convinced more than ever that the Timothy Initiative model will work well in Guyana.
Through this past year, I personally had the privilege in Guyana to lead more than 30 precious souls to Christ and baptize more than a dozen. Our pastors in Guyana continue to report regularly of souls saved and baptized. The Timothy Initiative philosophy is beginning to take root and we are seeing a more concerted effort to disciple new converts. Our goal is to reach the field in early 2020 and launch our first training center. Multiplying Disciples and Churches is on the horizon!
2018 3rd Quarter Update
YOUTH CAMP SUCCESS! This summer we hosted our first every region-wide youth camp in White Water Village under the ministry leadership of Pastor Norbert. The logistics of transporting, housing, and feeding, young people from 6 villages was a daunting task several months in the works. In addition to these details there was the task of “recruiting” the right team to serve as counselors, workers, and leaders in the camp. In the end we had a team of 12 come from Trinity Baptist College/Church to serve dozens of youth from around the North West region in Guyana. More than 26 people gave their heart to Christ with 9 following the Lord in believer’s baptism throughout the week. The impact is still being felt in the lives of the youth who participated this summer and there is a real eagerness to come together again in the summer of 2020 for our next youth camp.
MINISTRY LAND DONATED There are so many pieces coming together confirming the wisdom and timing of our return to Guyana. One major confirmation came in the form of a donation of 5-7 acres of land – not just any land, but a property that God first put on my heart more than 12 years ago! With this land we will be strategically located in the heart of our existing church plants and in close proximity to a number of key areas targeted for future church plants. In order to secure the land as ours we must immediately “work the land” to show that we intend to use it. We have a crew that has done some work already in brushing the property, but we must also dig drainage ditches, a pond, a culvert, a bridge, and some other work to prepare the land for our use. As our monthly support begins to come in we will hire the work and get us closer to getting re-established in Guyana!
TIMOTHY INITIATIVE PARTNERSHIP I am grateful for the influence TTI has had in my life. I knew our efforts in Guyana were making progress, but I felt as if something was missing. God led me to study church planting movements, and it was during that time that I made my first visit to TTI ministries in India. What I saw in India, and later in a subsequent trip to Nepal and Sri Lanka, convinced me that we must become much more intentional with our disciple-making and church planting. With TTI there is no need to reinvent the wheel. We are happy to integrate the material, teaching model, and philosophy of TTI into our ministry in Guyana. Our first ministry building will be a TTI training center that will be a place to make disciples who make disciples. Multiplying biblical disciples will be the core of our church planting strategy.
RAISING PARTNERS/SUPPORT This Fall has been a whirlwind of activity as I focus on responsibilities in my home church, international travel, and a full schedule of travel to present the ministry. During this past quarter I have spoken in Oregon, Florida, New Jersey, and North Carolina. In the midst of this I have made two very successful trips to Guyana.
PRAYER REQUESTS (1) The health, spiritual well-being, and faithfulness of our pastors and church leaders serving the existing churches in Guyana. (2) Spiritual wisdom in making the seamless transition with our leaders to the TTI model. (3) Developing healthy church and individual partnerships for the ministry. (4) Material support – monthly and for land/building projects.
Yours in Christ,
Greg and Wendy Mann