Poland English Camp Update

On Friday night, I (Mike) stood before a group of about 170 Polish adults, teens, and children with this message: “God is asking you to give up your hopes and your dreams and even your identity. He asks us to die to these things and come follow Him.”

What an absurd marketing pitch! Who would sign on to follow a God who asks us to give up everything we value? The theme verse for this year was Romans 5:8: “God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners Christ died for us.” God gives back so much Logomore than we could ever possibly give up following Him. As a team, we brought this message through Bible reading, devotionals, worship and singing, personal testimonies, many hours of personal interaction, and by demonstrating God’s love by the way we loved our fellow team members. It was a powerful, unstoppable message.

Each year as the camp draws to a close, our team meets together and reads through the survey results written by the students. There were many surprises, praises, and joyful tears as we learned how God had impacted the students. It was clear to us as we read the feedback that God penetrated the hearts of every student and translator at the camp. Here are some of the results / praises:

  • Approximately 35 adults and high school students indicated that they decided to trust Jesus as their Savior during the camp.
  • 9-10 pre-teens (ages 10-13) indicated that they made a similar decision during the camp.
  • Many students indicated that they really enjoyed the Bible Reading time.
  • Several students indicated that they will start to read their Bibles after the camp.
  • Many who did not accept Christ indicated that they are going home considering this weighty decision as they leave the camp.

Becky Miller, who has taught at 20+ English camps, shared this with me this morning, “I have never seen this happen at a camp before—every unbeliever in our group accepted Christ this week! It is so wonderful!”

Every single Bible reading group included people who indicated that they accepted Christ this week. What a blessing, and what a confirmation of the countless investments of time, effort, finances, and prayer that went into this week.

We were proud of Josiah who worked hard, built relationships with Polish kids and teens, invested in the other team members and served God faithfully throughout the week. The entire team was an absolute blessing to lead. Our members served faithfully, were transparent, allowed others to help with difficulties or discouragement and loved one another with the love of Christ. This testimony shone so brightly to the campers.

Mary and I walked into the week quite discouraged and exhausted. Many team members shared similar stories of discouragement as we started the camp on Sunday. In a way that only God could do, He used this incredibly busy and exhausting jet-lagged week to encourage, strengthen, reinvigorate, and bring joy to us and to these team members.

For more information, check out the pictures and videos at: FamilyEnglishCamp.PL

As this trip draws to a close, we are looking forward to the next ministry steps. Here are a few things you can continue to pray with us:

  • God has not made it clear whether Mary and I will be traveling overseas for ministry this fall. Please pray with us that God will give us a clear answer.
  • We will be hosting at least 2 missionaries in our home and providing training in counseling tools this summer / fall. Please pray that God will expand the reach of these tools to more hurting individuals through this training.
  • God has moved things forward on the Forgiveness book providing a marketing expert who will help us package the book and design a cover. Please pray with us that this process will continue to move forward.

Thank you again for your financial and prayer partnership!

Mike, Mary, and Josiah

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Poland English Camp #17

17 years. That is how many consecutive years we have been able to serve in Poland Family English Camps. As we look back, we realize that God has made this unlikely journey possible. Sixteen years ago, we signed up for one camp.  One. We decided to try bringing our kids, and honestly weren’t even even sure this was a great idea. But looking back at all the things God has done, we are so thankful that God has sent us back each year. We see God work in the lives of Poles each year, and nothing has shaped us or our kids more than these missions trips.

Today as we board our flight toward Poland, we are not looking back—but forward to the next two weeks of ministry. Once again, God has been faithful and provided a team of 32 Americans from across the Midwest and from Europe.  Family English Camp starts on Sunday, so the team’s travels will converge Friday evening in Kudowa Zdrój (pronounced Coo-dō-va Zdroo-ey). We will have a couple of days to begin to adjust to jet lag, to finalize planning for the week, and to gel as a team. Anyone who studies team dynamics will know intuitively that 24 hours is not enough time to develop team dynamics, but ironically these relationships are the foundation for our week of ministry. Jesus taught that if we are going to be a light to the lost, we must start by loving one another. The call is not to “tolerate,” or even to “get along.” Jesus said, “They will know you are my disciples by how you love one another.” Christlike love for one another is not only God’s command, but the fuel that ignites the fire in the hearts of the lost.

On Sunday, about 160 Polish campers will show up at the camp. This will include campers of all ages, but we expect a larger number of youth and teens this year. In a typical camp, about 60-70% of the campers would identify themselves as unbelievers. For many, this camp will be the first time they have ever personally opened and read the Bible for themselves. It will be the first opportunity they have to experience a Christ-centered community lead by God’s Spirit. This is why we all do our part by investing our time, our prayer, and our money. These trips give us this rare opportunity to live in this fishbowl environment for a week and introduce Jesus to these wonderful, lost people.

Our trip starts today, and continues through Wednesday, July 10. Thank you for praying with us for the following:

  • The enemy seems to be attacking our family through discouragement this year. Pray that we would persevere and experience God’s encouragement as we lead and serve this week.
  • That the team would love one another with God’s love as we work together in a challenging and fast-paced environment.
  • That many would experience God this week and would want to know more.
  • That the enemy would not be able to disrupt our plans by impacting our families, jobs, etc. back home.
  • We will be inviting campers to start Bible studies on their own after the camp with their families or friends or coworkers. Please pray with us that some campers would catch this vision and begin Bible studies within their own communities.

Thank you again for partnering with us in prayer!

Mike, Mary, and Josiah

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May Prayer Update

Dear Prayer Partners:

God is doing a lot in our hearts and through our ministry. We are thankful to be a part of this ministry and continue to work with the hope and vision that God will use Equip2Counsel tools to bring spiritual and emotional healing to people around the world. We continue to see God do this as missionaries and local lay ministers tell us stories about how these tools are being used to set men, women, and kids free. The Word of God and Jesus himself promise over and over that God will answer our prayers—especially when these prayers are in agreement with God’s heart and will. We are so thankful for faithful prayer partners who do this work with us through your prayers.

We want to let you know what is happening in our ministry this next couple of months so you can be in prayer with us:

  • We work with the Wayzata Free Church counseling ministries. We counsel individuals from the church and community and also occasionally do some training in counseling tools.
  • We will be training a missionary couple who is home on furlough. They want to use these Equip2Counsel tools to minister to married couples when they return this fall in Poland.
  • We will be training an individual who is from the Twin Cities. This person is already involved in ministry among the homeless and wants to learn these tools to bring healing to those who need it.
  • We are preparing with our team for the summer Poland English Camp.
  • We have a few missionaries around the world that we continue to mentor, encourage, debrief, and work with. It is so encouraging to see how God is multiplying the impact of our ministry through the work of these gifted missionaries.

Sometimes, when I take a step back, we are amazed at all the things God is doing. Most of you are aware that Mary and I both work full-time as small business owners. If you have ever owned a small business, you know that this is typically an all-consuming effort. I truly enjoy my “day job” and we are so thankful that God uses this to provide for our family. But the most fulfilling part of our lives is this ministry work that God has put before us. We are so thankful that God continues to open doors and lead this ministry.

Here are some specific prayer requests:

  • Book: Before Mark Henderson died, we wrote a book together. It is a book that teaches how to practice forgiveness in a way that helps our brains understand that we have truly “let go” of these hurts and experience real, lasting freedom. I believe it is now time to publish this book. Please pray that God would pave the way for this book to be published this year and reach those who need it. Our next step is to design book-cover graphics.
  • Poland English Camp: We are praying this year that campers would catch a vision to start Bible Studies in their own families and local communities after the camp. This seems like an impossible prayer to me, but certainly in line with God’s heart for Poland!
  • We continue to pray for God’s will regarding a ministry opportunity this fall. Please pray with us that God will make it clear if we should travel and where we should travel on a ministry trip this fall.
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Update: 2019 International Messengers Staff Conference

Dear Prayer Partners:

Thank you so much for your prayers this past week. It was a huge blessing to see the ways God answered all our prayers in this short trip. Mary and I do see the hand of God at work through our ongoing ministry here in the states, but often there is something special that happens when we travel overseas. We come back feeling like God has packed 6 months of ministry impact into a 7-day stretch. Why? I believe it is our Heavenly Father sending his Spirit to work in the hearts of the people around us as a result of your prayer petitions.

We had a wonderful time with Pastor Zbyszek and Edyta. After 18 years of ministry together, they have become dear friends and we cherish our times together. It was fun to see how God is blessing their work, and we were able to do some important coordination for this summer’s English camp.

We attended the International Messengers staff conference Wednesday – Sunday. The 3 seminars we taught on forgiveness, anxiety, and mourning were very well received and impactful. Many good questions arose in these forums, and it was rewarding to see how the attendees processed and absorbed these often-misunderstood concepts. Here are some comments we received:

The anxiety session was an answer to my prayers for many months. My adult son suffers from anxieties that seem completely irrational to me. Thank you for showing a way to help him!

I was mistreated and deeply hurt by a former employer. Church friends keep telling me I need to go back and reconcile, but I know from experience this only results in more hurt. Thank you for showing me how the Bible differentiates between forgiveness and reconciliation.

I am writing a book with the stories of women who have lost a baby. Thank you for sharing the Biblical teaching about mourning. I will highlight the mourning process in these stories to help readers find a way to healing.

I prayed to give my shame to Jesus, but still—every time I remembered my sin I felt shame. Now when I remember my sin, there is no shame. I am forgiven. Thank you for showing me a way to give my shame to Jesus and truly leave it with Him.

These are just a few of the stories that Jen Nagy (our teaching partner), Mary, and I got to be a part of. It was a wonderful week of ministry, and we learned some important spiritual truths ourselves. Thanks again for your prayer partnership. It baffles me that the Omnipotent God of the Universe has chosen to partner with us frail, broken humans. But the scriptures are clear: God acts when we ask. Thank you for “asking” with us so that we all can see this beautiful fruit play out in real lives.

Please pray with us as we look to the future…

  • Praise, praise, praise for a wonderful, impactful trip!
  • We have been invited to teach for a week at a discipleship training center in Alexandria, Egypt this fall. Please pray with us that God will show us if this is his plan and timing.
  • Pray as missionaries use the tools we taught at the conference. Pray that God will direct them, and people will be healed
  • Pray for our preparations as we now are starting to plan for the summer Family English Camp. Pray for unity within the team as we look forward to serving God together.

Thank you!

 

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2019 International Messengers Staff Conference

Dear Prayer Partners:

I first of all want to thank everyone who prayed for us in response to our last letter. We made this special request for prayer because Mary and I and our ministry partners were feeling a tremendous amount of pressure almost to the point of hopelessness. God answered your prayers and the darkness has lightened. Of course, we still experience spiritual warfare, but the intensity level is much lighter. Thank you for standing with us through this time.

Mary and I (Mike) are looking forward to traveling overseas to attend the International Messengers mission’s European Staff Conference this next week. We are leaving this afternoon (Saturday, March 30) for a 10-day trip, returning on Monday, April 8. We are looking forward to connecting with and ministering together with our missionary friends from across Europe.

Prior to the conference, we will be spending 2 days with our friends Pastor Zbyszek and Edyta from Glogów, Poland. This time will give us an opportunity to connect with some of our camp ministry partners in the Glogów church and community. We will also be planning for the camp this summer. We want to bring some fresh ideas to this family English camp ministry and will meet with Edyta and Pastor Z so we can implement these in a way that will be fruitful in the Polish culture.

We will be driving from Glogów to Hucisko, Poland, a small town in the hills about 1 ½ hours north of Kraków. This will be our 5th time attending an International Messengers staff conference, and we have come to love the atmosphere and the people at these conferences. It is truly a family atmosphere.

We have been asked to present 3 training sessions during the conference, each giving specific counseling tools to missionaries. These men and women are on the front line, and often minister to those who are stuck in the hardest life situations. We are able to share some simple, powerful Biblically based tools that God can use to bring healing to hurting people. We also make ourselves available to meet one-on-one with missionaries or couples, and typically have a pretty packed schedule over the 3 days of the conference.

Thanks for standing with us in prayer as we make this trip. Please pray with us…

  • for Josiah (our teenage son) and our adult kids that God will care for, protect, and bless them while we are overseas.
  • traveling details and safety. It feels cliché to write this, but very small incidents could potentially derail our trip and ministry.
  • that God will give us wisdom as we make plans for the summer camp.
  • that God will connect us with the individuals who need our help and ministry.
  • that God will bless and multiply our training efforts so that these tools will be used to help many hurting families, couples, and individuals around the world.

Once again, we are so thankful for partners who stand with us—not only financially—but also in prayer. Thank you!

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Equip2Counsel 2019

Dear Prayer Partners:

2019 has brought us many significant opportunities. We continue to counsel several new individuals and couples. It is a gift to be able to see God’s hand so clearly bringing healing to these lives. We also have been invited to share and speak in several venues. For example, the youth pastors and leadership at Wayzata Free Church have recognized that there is a significant issue with anxiety among teens. We have been invited to meet with the high school and middle school youth groups to discuss anxiety, and to give some tools and teaching around how to address anxiety.

We have also been invited to travel to Poland to do give a couple of seminars with International Messengers. We are praying and strongly considering taking this trip in early April. These are just a few of the upcoming opportunities that God has put before us. We are excited to be a part of this ministry as God continues to open doors and grow the reach of this ministry.

We also write this letter, though, to humbly ask for your prayers. It seems that as doors continue to open, we have noticed an increase in spiritual attack. Circumstantially, things are going quite well in many ways—and we are so thankful for these blessings! But we have been noticing that the enemy has been attacking us on a more personal level. Revelation 12:10 says that the Devil is “the accuser of our brothers and sisters.” In the past few weeks, this is how Satan has been attacking us most effectively. Pointing out our weaknesses, and then sprinkling in some believable lies that make us feel small and inadequate. It feels like we are spending a lot of emotional energy fighting against these character attacks.

We would be so grateful if you would join us in prayer against these attacks. We know that Satan is so much smarter than we are. If our enemy is left unchecked, it will certainly have a negative impact on our team and our ministry. Please pray with us that God would intervene, embolden, and empower us to do his work. We want to humbly where God leads, but we pray that God would allow us to move forward with power for his Kingdom work.

Here are some prayer requests:

  • God will make it clear whether we are to travel to Poland this April.
  • God will give us confidence to do his work.
  • God will nullify the attacks of the enemy. There are so many ways the enemy could sideline our work. Please pray with us for protection and a clear path forward.
  • Pray that God would multiply the reach of our work through the trainings and seminars we give to others working in care and counseling.

Once again, we are so thankful for partners who stand with us not only financially, but also in prayer. Thank you!

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Snuffer Update from Lebanon

Mary and I just returned from a lovely nighttime stroll through the neighborhood here in Beirut. As we recounted a few stories from the week, it is clear to us that God had a plan for our time here in Syria. Mark Henderson had a vision of these counseling tools going out into the world and bringing healing to the nations.  It is so humbling for us to have this opportunity to bring these much-needed Biblical principles and tools to this tiny church in the ancient Syrian city of Damascus.

These Syrian church leaders came ready to learn. The material was new and some even challenging for them to process. We had wonderful, lively discussions as we unpacked God’s truths together. We wrapped up the 4-days of teaching and practicing forgiveness this evening, and we asked each student to share something important they had learned this week. Here are a few of the comments the Syrian believers shared.

“I forgave a friend who betrayed me, but still felt stuck and couldn’t get past the hurt. I learned I trust that I truly did forgive. But God showed me another part of the situation I still needed to forgive. Now I am truly free.”

“I was shocked to learn about ‘false forgiveness.’ It helped me understand how to help some people in my church who have never practiced true forgiveness.”

“God already showed me how to practice many of these principles in my own life, but you helped solidify these concepts in my mind and showed me a way how I can teach them to other hurting people.”

These church leaders are excited to go back to their own city, review the materials, and share them with their church, their community, and other Syrian churches. Mark’s vision is coming true. It is shocking to us that God has passed these tools directly into a desperately needy country as inaccessible as Syria.

We are so thankful for the time we have already spent here. For the next two days, we will be teaching about helping individuals who are suffering from trauma. The Syrian people have truly been traumatized by 7 years of war. The war is over, but many scars remain—both physical and emotional. The concepts we teach around trauma are complex and are built upon many principles that are totally new to people. We do not really know what we can accomplish in the few hours we have to talk about it.

Please pray with us:

  • God will guide us as we lead these discussions on trauma. We need wisdom to give information that the Syrian believers and aid workers can use as helpful tools.
  • God will bring healing as we meet with several people in the next couple of days in one-on-one sessions.
  • Thank God with us for the work he has already done.

We write this to you so that you can celebrate with us how your prayers and dollars are building the kingdom of Christ around the world. Thank you for standing with us in this important work.

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Flying to Lebanon Today

We are packing the luggage and printing our training materials as we fly out this afternoon. Just wanted to make you aware of a few things as you pray for us.

Here is our general schedule for the week.

Tue 9th Flight
Wed 10th Evening arrival, time with local church leaders and IM staff
Thu-Tue 11-16th Teaching with Syrian church leaders on forgiveness
Wed 17th Training Lebanese refugee workers on helping trauma victims
Thu 18th Flying back to Minnesota

We will be traveling Tues, Oct 9 – Thu, Oct 18. Please pray for God to do the following:

  • Keep Mary and I healthy and able to do the work during our travels. Mike’s facial pain has been flaring up a bit in the past month. Pray that Mike will be able to teach!
  • Protection for the Syrian believers during their travels through a volatile country and border
  • In the past couple of weeks, geopolitical tensions have risen slightly with Israel, the neighbor to the south. It does not appear that anything substantial has changed at this point, but please pray with us that God will go before us and give us smooth passageways.
  • Ability to train these practical tools effectively in a few short days, so leaders can use the tools to bring God’s healing to others
  • Special wisdom for relating to our Arab brothers and sisters living in a very different culture
  • PRAISE: God has provided the exact amount we needed to purchase the laptop for our young Egyptian IM missionary friend. He is thrilled to be getting a laptop, and as a bonus it appears that he may be able to join us in Lebanon and complete the training with us. God is good. Please pray that the Lebanese authorities grant him a vacation VISA when he arrives in Lebanon!

As you know, traveling to Lebanon is a bit more of an adventure than our typical trip to Europe. But with this comes some really amazing opportunities to build the Kingdom of Christ in a spiritually needy and hungry region of the world. Thank you for joining us in prayer. The miracle we are praying for is that a group of Syrian believers will become equipped to return to their own people with a working understanding of how to help others practice Biblical forgiveness within some of the hardest life situations.

We are amazed at the opportunities that God has given a computer programmer and office manager from Minnesota. Thank you for praying with us as we take this trip.

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Lebanon Trip, 2018

About this time last year, Mike had the opportunity to travel to Lebanon to train a group of Arab-Lebanese church leaders for a week. International Messengers regularly organizes a 12-week training course to develop young Christian leaders in the Arab middle-east. The men and women have given their lives to God’s work, often in predominately Muslim communities.

During the trip last year, Mike fell in love with this country and its people. We are excited to be able to return to Beirut, Lebanon as a couple and work in these communities again. We will be the first teachers in this 12-week intensive training, working with believers and church leaders from Syria. The church leaders will travel to Lebanon by bus from their war-torn communities. Though Lebanon itself is fairly safe, travel from this tumultuous region does have real risks. Please pray that God will protect these 6 men and women as they travel each weekend.

For the first 5 days, we will be working with 6 or 7 Syrian believers. Most of these men and women are well-educated professionals including a software developer, teachers, and trained musicians. This group includes a young man who was captured and tortured ISIS for several weeks before he was able to escape. We plan to spend this time focusing primarily on bringing healing to hurting people through the Biblical practice of forgiveness. We have been told that very few Syrian families have remained untouched by death or other traumas in this ongoing war. We are praying that these church leaders can bring God’s powerful hand of healing to their country and their people by teaching them how to lead others through a Biblical process of forgiveness.

Lebanon is a very small country (smaller than the state of Connecticut) and has a population of about 6 million people. During the Syrian war and refugee crisis, an additional 2 million Syrians have migrated to Lebanon and mostly live in large refugee camps. This huge influx of nearly 1/3 of its population has created some huge humanitarian needs in this country. After the training, Mary and I will spend a couple of days meeting and working with the Lebanese believers. Many of these believers work daily with refugees and face many needs each day. We will have some opportunity to present to these local believers and are praying that we can both be an encouragement and provide some simple tools to help in this refugee ministry.

We will be traveling Tues, Oct 9 – Thu, Oct 18. Please pray for God to do the following:

  • Keep Mary and I healthy and able to do the work during our travels
  • Protection for the Syrian believers during their travels
  • Ability to train these practical tools effectively in a few short days, so leaders can use the tools to bring God’s healing to others
  • Special wisdom for relating to our Arab brothers and sisters living of a very different culture

Once again, thank you for partnering with us in this ministry. We are so grateful to work alongside all of you in this ministry.

Mike and Mary Snuffer

Special Opportunity: Mike has been mentoring a young Egyptian International Messengers missionary who just finished his university studies. This young man is quite gifted as a leader in sports ministries. He was responsible for leading 25 Christian youth camps in Egypt this summer. He is hoping to serve in full time ministry and is starting to raise support but has no computer. He is currently trying to write support letters and organize his entire ministry with a cell phone. We would love to bring this young man a laptop when we travel to Lebanon to help him with his ministry and support raising activities.

Please pray with us that God will provide a laptop. As God leads, please let us know if…
…you have a laptop in good, working condition that you would like to donate to Mina (preferably 1-2 years old)
— OR —
…would like to donate money towards the purchase of a laptop

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Family English Camp Updates

The camp is going great. Thanks for your prayers this week! Just wanted to let you all know that there is a blog available if you would like daily updates for the camp, pictures, etc. You can find this blog at the following URL:

FamilyEnglishCamp.BlogSpot.com

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