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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Family English Camp 2018

This evening (literally sitting on the plane as I post this) our Equip2Counsel team will be headed to Poland for our annual Family English Camp. We are excited that the entire team will be traveling (Doreen, Mary, and Mike) and participating all together in this ministry. In addition, our kids, KD Henderson and Josiah Snuffer, will be with us working as leaders and teachers.

Many of you have been faithful partners in this ministry with us for many years. It is wonderful to see how God continues to bless and touch lives through this work. In May, a team came and visited Minneapolis from our sister church in Glogow, Poland. We had the privilege of hearing a solo sung by a young woman from the church in Glogow. Both Ania (the soloist) and Gosia (the pianist) are college student who came to know Jesus at an English Camp. Each weekend they travel 120+ kilometers home from college so that they can lead worship with church family in Glogow. As these young women “performed,” the congregation was so moved not only by their musical skills, but it was clear that Ania and Gosha personally knew the Savior Jesus they were singing about.

Ania and Gosha are great examples of the “why” we keep going back to Poland. We are so thankful to be part of a ministry that is working with the Holy Spirit to move people forward in their relationship with God. Some move from atheism to a hope that God just might exist and He just might be good. Some decide to visit and begin attending Pastor Z’s Church or a Bible Study in Glogow. Others make a decision to entrust their lives to Jesus. Some, like Ania and Gosia, move into active Kingdom service and even positions of spiritual leadership.

We have a wide range of responsibilities at this camp. Mike and Mary are the American camp directors, partnering with Edyta and Pastor Z to lead the camp.  Our Equip2Counsel team will also be asked to be available for campers who request personal or marriage counseling. Doreen will be helping as our American worship leader. Josiah and KD will also be leading English classes, Bible Study small groups, team activities, working in Children’s ministries, and building relationships with teens and young adults. Our teens participate as full-fledged team members who carry a heavy load of responsibilities. It is fun to serve with them in ways that stretch our faith together.

Thanks so much for joining us in prayer. The trip dates are Thu, June 28 – Wed, July 11.

Please pray with us for this trip:

  • Pray for team unity amongst Americans and our Polish partners.  (John 13:35)
  • Pray for God’s protection over our family we are leaving here (Katherine S, Zachary S, Adrian S, and Michael H).
  • Please pray that God will work in the hearts of campers and move each one forward in his or her journey with Jesus.
  • We use indoor and outdoor class spaces. Please pray for dry class and activity times.

Mike, Mary, and Doreen
KD and Josiah

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European Missions Conference – Post Trip Update

Thank you all for your prayers for us while we were in Poland earlier this month. Just wanted to post a short note to let all of our prayer and support partners know how God worked through our ministry on this trip.

For the first two days (Wednesday and Thursday), Mary and I facilitated a seminar on the topic of forgiveness. Forgiveness is a simple topic to learn and has a huge impact on individuals who give up unforgiveness to Jesus. Since the seminar, attendees have already shared how they have used the tools in their own ministries at least a half-dozen times. We taught a couple of 1½-hour seminars on how the brain works and how to process emotions in healthy ways. Both seminars were well-attended. We introduced a lot of concepts which were new paradigms to the attendees and received very positive feedback from those who joined us during these sessions.

In addition, Mary and I met with several individuals and even a small group, giving training and helping some work through personal issues. God used these times to minister to these men and women.

On the whole, the week was wonderful. We came back jet lagged, exhausted, and both with colds. But it was wonderful to spend time with the International Messengers family. This week was also a clear validation for us that we are still doing ministry that is within God’s will and plan. We did see God’s hand at work throughout this week. About a half-dozen missionaries have asked us for additional training in counseling tools which we will be providing in the next 12 months.

We also wanted to let you know how God answered your prayers. God protected our kids while we were gone. Thank you for praying for them. My (Mike’s) trigeminal neuralgia did bother me during the trip, but I am thankful it did not keep me from teaching or from any of our responsibilities. Teaching with Jennifer Nagy was a great experience. She is a gifted woman and leader, and her wisdom and input really made the seminars a much richer experience for those in attendance.

Prayer Requests:

  • During the course of the week, we spoke with the President of International Messengers (Darwin Anderson) and the Director of Middle Eastern Ministries (Ben Oehler). We have been invited to travel to Beirut this fall to conduct training with some Christian Arabs, including some who live in the war-torn country of Syria. Please pray with us that God will give us clear direction in this matter.
  • Please pray with us as we begin to plan for this summer Family English Camp in Poland. We are excited that the entire Equip2Counsel team will be traveling together: Doreen, Mary, and Mike!

We cannot thank you enough for continuing to join the Equip2Counsel ministry in prayer and financial support. God is the one who guides us, sustains us, and uses our ministry to bring fruit. We are convinced that any fruit that we see is a result of God answering prayers.

Mike and Mary

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European Missions Conference

This next Monday, April 2, Mary and I will be traveling to Poland to attend the International Messengers European Missions Conference. This is an annual conference for IM (International Messengers) missionaries, providing fellowship, Biblical teaching, and staff care for the men, women, and families serving God overseas. It is such a treasured time for the missionaries. This year about 250+ are expected to attend.

Mary and I will not only be attending the conference, but also have several responsibilities hosting some elective classes and seminars for conference attendees. On Thursday and Friday we will be facilitating a two-day course about forgiveness. This course discusses Biblical forgiveness in depth, and give the attendees a way how to practice forgiveness. This is a powerful tool not only for those who attend, but also is designed to be shared with those the missionaries minister to.

We will also be co-teaching / facilitating two 1-hour seminars during the conference. These seminars are designed to help believers understand how our brains process information and how we can be in control of our thoughts and emotions.

We are grateful to be co-teaching with Jennifer Nagy.  Jennifer is an IM missionary working on-staff at an international church in Warsaw. She is an extremely gifted counselor who has been trained in the Equip2Counsel tools and using these for several years. It is exciting to see these tools being used by someone we have trained, and to work with her passing these tools on to another group of ministers.

Thank you for praying for us, our ministry, and all who are at the conference. Mary and I will have an extremely packed weekend. Here is an overview of our schedule:

Monday (April 2): Flying out from MSP airport.
Tuesday: Arriving in Krakow, Poland. We will spend a night in Krakow which will give us an opportunity to rest and begin to adjust to the time zone changes.
Wednesday: Driving to conference. Begin teaching two-day class on forgiveness.
Thursday: Day 2 of two-day class on forgiveness.
Friday: Full conference officially begins. We will be teaching a 1-hour seminar on taking thoughts captive. We will also likely meet with individuals throughout the day.
Saturday: Fellowship and meeting with individuals throughout the day.
Sunday: Last day of conference. Teaching a 1-hour seminar about being in charge of our emotions.
Monday: Drive back to Krakow, then fly home.

Here are a few additional prayer requests:

  • Pray for safety for our kids at home who will not be traveling with us.
  • Ask God to make us effective teachers, bringing freedom to our students and tools which can be used by the missionaries in their own ministry.
  • We will be teaching new material with Jennifer this week. Pray that God will bring synergy to our teaching and we will be an effective team.
  • I have trigeminal neuralgia, which can cause excruciating pain when I speak. Please pray that God takes this away and/or give me grace to communicate effectively.

Thanks so much for continuing to join the Equip2Counsel ministry in prayer and financial support. We are so grateful to have a prayer team partnering with us as we take these trips.

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God’s Heart for the Middle East

Back from a wonderful trip to Lebanon, and wanted to share with you some of the outcomes. Jennifer Nagy and I spent 5 days training 8 young men and women about the power of Forgiveness and the dangers of a shame-based culture. These believers were so open to hearing these ideas and putting them into practice. It was so encouraging to make this investment and then watch as God worked in the hearts and minds of these students.

I use the word “students” only to describe the roles of these believers in this school. Among them were pastors and music ministers and missionaries to the Arab world. These young men and women are fearless in their ministry and stand ready to serve God regardless of the cost. One young man said to me, “We have seen so much blood shed in this country for all the wrong reasons. We are ready to shed our blood for Jesus if this is what God asks us to do.” It is so humbling to be among such followers of Jesus and learn with them.

Thank you for your prayers.  God answered in the following ways:

  • The Arabic language was not a major barrier. It was beautiful to see not only understanding, but how God changed hearts as the Spirit healed some really horrendous experiences requiring forgiveness. The students stand ready to use these forgiveness tools as they minister in their own communities.
  • God did use us to minister into the lives and hurts of several of the students. They were so open to our help, and we saw some miraculous healing in the hearts and minds of several students. Jennifer and I even had opportunities to counsel some in the local church communities of these students.
  • God blessed Jennifer and I as we worked together as teachers. The students thought we had been working together for years and couldn’t even tell which of us was “in charge.” Praise God!
  • My trigeminal neuralgia declined slightly and hardly interfered with the teaching.
  • God protected me in my travels, though I have never traveled to a country where I felt more safe walking the streets. Perhaps the biggest danger I faced was walking roads with Lebanese drivers and limited sidewalk space.

20171110_145156.jpgThese men and women are leaders in a struggling little church community, but have a vision to reach Arabs in Lebanon and throughout the Middle East. One of the pastors in this group recently traveled to war-torn Syria, visiting Muslims house to house and praying with each family. He told me that right now in Syria there is an unprecedented openness to hear about Jesus’ love.

It is hard for me to describe the joy Jesus gave me serving these people. I am glad to be back home with my family, but I feel like I have left part of my heart in this country. As God puts it on your heart, please be in prayer that God will raise up workers to bring the Gospel to the vast number of lost in the Middle Eastern countries.

Thanks so much for continuing to join the Equip2Counsel ministry in prayer and financial support.

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Middle Eastern Training Facility

It has been a crazy and difficult year, starting with Mark’s cancer and his passing in March. Mark was such a dear friend and a true brother. My kids called him “second dad,” and we all still miss him dearly. Our Equip2Counsel family are all still coming to grips with what life and ministry looks like without Mark. But it certainly was Mark’s desire that this ministry continue after he went home to be with Jesus.

Early this summer, we as a team (Doreen, Mike, and Mary) were invited to Beirut, Lebanon, to do some training. After much prayer, we agreed that Mike should take this trip, and God was calling Mary and Doreen to stay home and support in other ways.

It is exciting and intimidating to be sharing some tools with Christian Arab men and women. These believers are active in ministry in countries like Lebanon, Syria, and Egypt. They are always under threat. Some have faced severe persecution. It is both humbling and a great honor to be sharing my life with them for a week. I will be meeting up with Jennifer Nagy, who ministers in an international church in Warsaw, Poland. Jennifer has been trained in Equip2Counsel tools, and is extremely gifted. She also has experience ministering in Arab countries and is able to provide direction for our team. The training focus for the week will primarily be two subjects: (1) Shame and (2) Forgiveness. I will be leaving this Thursday, Nov 2 and returning the following Saturday, Nov 11.

Thank you for your faithful prayers and for standing with us financially through these turbulent times. We are so thankful for the prayer as life continues to take a lot of unexpected turns, uncertainties, and setbacks. But God is good continues to be faithful, answering prayers in unexpected ways. And the financial support makes it possible to continue to take these trips and impact the kingdom around the world. It our desire at Equip2Counsel to go where God is leading and do the work he sets before us. We expect nothing less than the impossible as we lean on Him for miracles that heal and change lives.

Please pray specifically for this trip:

  • All teaching will be in Arabic through a translator. Please pray that two-way communication will be clear in spite of this obstacle.
  • We do not know what needs these students have, but please pray that we will effectively minister to each of them, as God leads.
  • Jennifer is a gifted minister and good friend. I look forward to teaching with her for the first time. Please pray that we will have grace and patience with one another as we learn to work together.
  • I have trigeminal neuralgia, which can cause excruciating pain when I speak. Please pray that God takes this away and/or give me grace to communicate effectively.
  • Please pray for safety as I am traveling to an area that many would consider more dangerous.

Thank you for standing with us in prayer and financial support!

Mike

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Accustomed to Surprise: English Camp

Another fantastic trip.

We are so thankful for your prayers as we arrive back here in Minnesota and continue to assess what God has accomplished. This year there were many first-time campers. Most of these campers would not consider themselves to be believers or followers of Jesus. We were so thankful for the opportunity to pour our time and God’s love into these lives for a week. God worked in so many ways. As leaders, Mary and I observe how God is working through so many different activities, relationships, and through the biblical teaching.

Every camp is different, and every camp is the same. We have become accustomed to God working in surprising ways. When we arrive, we don’t know who God is going to bring, or how they are going to be touched. We just dig in and get to work, expecting God to do miracles.

I think this is how we develop our faith. We listen to the Holy Spirit and then choose to take the risk God asks us to, trusting that God is going to do something amazing. One of the passages the campers studied was Acts 3:1-13. It is about Peter and John healing the lame man outside the temple gate. I suspect that the Holy Spirit prompted Peter to say, “Get up and walk.” Can you imagine how scary it must have been for Peter to say these words to a lame man? I am sure it was intense, but Peter had spent enough time with Jesus to expect something amazing. He expected this lame man to get up and walk.

I think these are the same faith muscles we all develop during each camp. When we go, we have come to expect God to do the surprising. I suspect many of our partners reading this—when you give financially and pray with us—are also expecting God to do some amazing stuff. Together as a huge team, we all do our part by faith, and expect God to do the surprising at these camps.

I wish I could tell detailed stories about how God works through our counseling ministry at the camps. In addition to teaching and leading the team, Mary and I individually met 13 times with campers. God worked in these meetings through forgiveness, breaking down strongholds (2 Corinthians 10:5), and even freeing one from an addiction. It was so fulfilling to be a part of this ministry as God set some men, women, and teens free this week through our counseling ministry.

Thanks again for standing with us through prayer and your financial support!

Follow-up/answers to prayer requests:

  • Team unity was amazing. Team members from 4 countries, at least 10 cities, and more than 12 churches. Many met for the first time at camp. God is good: We saw our team practicing the many biblical “love one another” principles.
  • God protected our family (Katherine, Zachary, Adrian), allowing us to focus on our work in Poland.
  • God moved in the hearts of campers. Agnostics became seekers. Highly religious began to question the value of their religiosity. Seekers gave their hearts and lives to Jesus and entered his Kingdom. So awesome to be a part of!
  • Weather forecast for the camp was rainy all week. Mostly sunny skies and beautiful weather all week. We did have rain, but this interrupted our scheduled activities only twice all week. Thanking God for the great weather!

Please continue to pray with us:

  • Still not refunded: Delta’s web-site double-sold us tickets. Delta has been giving us the run-around for 3½ months now, and they still have not refunded the extra tickets. It is an $8,500 bill. Please pray with us that God will work this out and the tickets will be refunded!
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