English Camp – Thanks for your prayers!

This year more than any, we were aware how much we were being sustained through prayer during camp. So we wanted to update you guys right away as we have just returned from our trip a couple of days ago. It was another fantastic camp, and we saw God working in new and powerful ways.

The actual camp ended this past Sunday. We had a wonderful, amazingly fruitful week. At the end of the week, Mary and I were beyond exhausted. In addition to our leadership and teaching responsibilities, Mary and I did about 5+ hours of counseling per day. Nearly every moment of every day was either working or an attempt to get a few hours of sleep. Our day started at about 6am and went to 12:30 or 1am. All of your prayers certainly sustained us when our energy and bandwidth for ministry ran out.

The results of the camp were amazing, though. 21 adults and teens that we know of indicated that they made decisions for Christ. Another 12-15 said they were processing this decision but we’re not ready yet. Mary and I personally saw two individuals commit to following Jesus in the counseling sessions. In a camp with approximately 50-60 teen and adult unbelievers, this is an incredibly high percentage for 7 days of relationship building. There is no explanation accept God’s Spirit showing up and answering your prayers.

Mary worked with the kids each day. The feedback on the kids program was so positive. So many parent were coming up and telling us how much their kids were talking about the activities and even the Bible lessons. Parents were so open to allowing their young children to be taught–not only English–but also the lessons from the scriptures. What a rare opportunity to introduce Jesus to the kids of unbelievers.

Thanks in great part to your prayers, God gave me (Mike) a boldness to preach the gospel directly and plainly this year. We were so busy that many of the teachings were prepared in the minutes before I needed to share them with the entire camp. Our theme was “Lose to Win.” Our message was: following Jesus is a life of blessing achieved by giving up all that we hold dear over to Jesus’ control. Not a very good sales pitch, but apparently God’s Spirit was present. Because many responded to the teachings that were presented throughout the week. Though not all accepted Christ, I am pretty sure God Spirit reached every heart. Some hard, closed hearts left the camp more open to learning more about the gospel. Many closed and open hearts surrendered to follow Jesus. Believers were challenged and chose to surrender more of their lives to Christ. Many American and Polish team members were stretched and experienced how they could be used by God to truly change lives through ministry.

What a blessing to be a part of this camp. Be confident that your prayers were moving God’s Spirit and the hearts of the Poles. You guys who stood with us in prayer have every right to rejoice with us as fellow workers. Though our hearts were extremely heavy not having Mark and Doreen with us, it was really encouraging to have their kids Michael and KD serving with us.

We so appreciate you prayers. Thank you for your faithful support of our ministry.

Mike and Mary

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Poland English Camp 2016

It is with mixed emotions that we set out for our Poland English Camp today. As many of you know, Mark is being treated for Esophageal Cancer. He is undergoing chemotherapy treatments this week. (See Mark’s Caring Bridge for more information). As a result Mark and Doreen recently had to make the difficult decision to stay home from this trip. Though it is sad to be working with only half of our team, we continue to trust God that he has a plan for us this week. The entire Snuffer family–Mike, Mary, Katherine, Zachary, Adrian, and Josiah–will be traveling today. In addition, Michael and KD Henderson will be traveling and working with us in Poland.

The spiritual warfare has been especially intense this year. Though the past few months have been difficult, we believe these sacrifices are an indication of the way God is going to use this ministry to change lives. We are definitely invading enemy territory as we walk into these camps. In a typical camp, 40-60% of the campers would describe themselves as unbelievers. In the earliest camps we attended, it was extremely exciting when 1 or 2 campers would dedicate their lives to Christ. In the past five years, God has really flipped the tables. It is now not unusual to hear the 15, 20 or even more have chosen to follow Christ.

This year we have been hearing from our partners in Poland that some unbelieving student are signing up and saying, “We aren’t really coming for the English. We want to learn about Jesus.”

It has been a privilege to be partners with this little church in Glogów, Poland for 15+ years. While it is exciting to be able to come back to the US with large numbers of individuals who have marked a “yes” on a survey–it is so much more rewarding to watch these same people transformed over time. Many who accepted Christ in past years are now active in the local church and are also partnering with us in this camp ministry as coordinators, worship leaders, translators, etc.

Thank you for joining with us in prayer as we work at the camp this week. We have seen year after year how God responds to your prayers. We have already been aware of your prayers in the past few days as God has been at work. Please keep the following list in your prayers throughout the week:

  • Pray that the team members from MN, IA, and Poland will practice love towards one another. (Jn. 13:35)
  • The Snuffer family and Henderson kids are somewhat emotionally depleted coming into this camp. Please pray that God will provide us with exactly what we need in order to be able to invest into the lives of others.
  • Pray that God will protect us by blocking the spiritual attacks we have been experiencing in these past few months.
  • Pray that God will change lives. This includes unbelievers, believers, and even us as team members.
  • Please pray for Michael and KD Henderson, who will be traveling without their parents.
  • Please pray that God would encourage and bless Doreen, who is home giving care to Mark.
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Romania and Turkey Trip Report

In the weeks that have passed since we returned from this trip, it has been fun to see how God has used this ministry to produce fruit. We have seen a lasting impact with couples and individuals who continue to meet and work with the tools we shared during our few days in Romania. It has been encouraging to hear how this has impacted ministries and opened doors into the lives of men and women who these missionaries are ministering to.
Our time in Turkey had a different focus, but was also a great time. We were visiting some good friends in Instanbul, and were able to see first-hand the work they are doing both in this city and throughout the country. It was clear to us that this family is fulfilling a purpose in the community, and we are excited about the outcomes which can already be seen and the future potential of their work.

As you may know, modern-day Turkey was the center of the church for centuries. Antioch, Ephesus, Galatia, and many of the churches mentioned in the New Testament are located in modern-day Turkey. Our friends’ vision is not only for a church to be re-established, but for this country to once again become a center that is impacting the world. It seems like an impossible goal, but one that is worthy of God’s attention and blessing. Please join us in praying for God to work powerfully and miraculously to bring this about.

Mark’s Health

Thank you for your prayers for Mark’s recovery and for his endurance on this trip. After six weeks of radiation and chemotherapy, as Mark sat down on the plane, the realization hit that he was flying away from all the experts and caregivers who had been keeping him alive. The thought, “What in the world am I doing.” Seemed quite reasonable. But even as we left Minneapolis on that first flight, it was clear to all of us that God wanted Mark to make the trip.

The cancer certainly slowed Mark down a little during the trip, but he was a vital member of the team and participated in the teaching and the ministry throughout the week. God even used his sickness to help build relationship with the missionaries who felt even more loved because he had traveled to Romania in the middle of his cancer treatments.

Mark’s radiologist, who is a believer, was instrumental in helping to ensure that Mark was ready and able to make the trip. Though it was scary for him to get on that airplane, he didn’t realize how much of a miracle it was until he returned to the States and began to meet with his doctors.
“You traveled to Europe? Are you serious?”
“I can’t believe you were healthy enough.”
“You received the most extensive radiation we ever give. Most people end up in the hospital for weeks after this kind of treatment—not traveling overseas.”

But God was faithful. Not only did Mark survive, but he was able to encourage and minister to many.

This past week, after three more rounds of intense chemo, Mark’s cancer has been declared, “In remission.” Six months after a diagnosis of stage 4 esophageal cancer and a prognosis of 3 months left to live, we are rejoicing and thanking God for his miraculous healing. We look forward to the work that God has for Mark and for our team in the future.

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Cleared for Travel

As promised, we just wanted to post a quick update and let you know Mark has been cleared for travel. Mark and Doreen will both be traveling with us to Romania and Turkey as we get on the airplane this evening.

Thanks so much for your prayers. Looking back 45 days, we didn’t really expect Mark to be healthy enough to travel at this point. But even the doctors have been surprised by Mark’s strength after 6 weeks of intense treatment. What a testimony to God’s provision and His healing power. Please continue to pray for Mark as his strength continues to return.

We are so grateful, excited, and praising God because both Doreen and Mark will be traveling and working with us this next week!

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Bucharest, Romania and Istanbul, Turkey

Dear Friends and Prayer Partners:

We are days away from traveling to Romania and Istanbul. Though we are looking forward to the going and doing the work, it has been an intense few months leading up to our trip. As you know, Mark Henderson has been in treatment for Esophageal Cancer for the past five weeks. The treatments have been difficult, but Mark’s strength through the process has surprised even the medical staff. Thank you all so much for your prayers and support through this process. We are certain Mark’s surprising endurance through the treatment is a result of God answering prayers.

Though Mark is doing surprisingly well, there are still some tests that need to be completed before he is cleared to go. Please be in prayer with us that God would give the ‘OK’ and the strength to make the trip. We are trusting God, though, whether or not Mark and Doreen are able to travel with us.  Mike and Mary are still going to be traveling and doing the work in Romania and Istanbul. God knew about the cancer before this trip was scheduled, and will accomplish whatever work he has planned for the team members who make the trip.

We leaving this Friday, October 23, traveling first to Bucharest, Romania and meeting with a group of missionaries and ministers. Our friends, Tom and Jill Clark, are missionaries in Bucharest and will be hosting us and have been coordinating the training.  We look forward to partnering with the Clarks and sharing some counseling principles and tools with these missionaries in Bucharest.

After 5 days in Bucharest, we will be taking a short flight to Istanbul, Turkey, to spend a couple of days with our friends. We are looking forward to spending a couple of days with them and hope to be an encouragement to them.

Some of our supporters have requested that we create a calendar so you know how to be praying for us each day of our trip. We so appreciate your prayers as we travel and do this work!

Date Activities Please Pray…
Fri 10/23 – Sat 10/24 Flying to Bucharest …for Mark’s health and strength as he travels.*

…for our travel to be without issues.

Sun 10/25 Spending the day recovering from jet lag and with the Clarks. …that we will sleep well and at night. Jet lag is a challenge!

…that preparations for our training will go smoothly.

Mon 10/26 – Wed 10/28 Counseling training and workshops

One-on-one training with individuals and couples

…that God’s Spirit will guide the training sessions and workshops.

…that missionaries will be further equipped to meet the needs of the Romanian people.

…for strength for our team as we will still be experiencing jet lag.

Thu 10/29 6am – Flying to Istanbul
Thu 10/29 – Fri 10/30 Spending time with our friends in Istanbul. …that we would be an encouragement to the family we are visiting.
Sat 10/31 Flying back to the US.

*We will send a follow-up post to let you know if Mark and Doreen are going to be able to travel with us.

Please pray for the following throughout the week:

  • Pray that Mark Henderson will have the strength to make the trip.
  • Pray that God’s spirit transcends language and cultural differences as we teach.
  • Pray that the missionaries will be equipped with new counseling tools and principles in order to better meet the needs of the people of Romania.
  • Pray for our children who will be back here in the states.
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English Camp Report

Just wanted to send our support team a quick note as to how we saw God work on our trip to Poland in July. Of course, it is always our intent to quickly send off a report to all of you when we get back, but jet lag and the busyness of Minnesota summers has delayed this communication for a few weeks.

As many of you have already heard in person, this camp was another amazing trip in which we really saw God’s hand at work. The feedback we often hear from our Polish friends is that they love the camps because of the amazing relationships that are developed. It is a place where God’s love is not just talked about, but eIMG_3561xperience in a community.

We faced some unique challenges with a diverse team from across the country and even across the world. We had native English Speakers from California, Iowa, Minnesota, Indiana, Poland, Scotland, and Australia. Our Polish campers came from Ireland, Italy, Australia, the US, and of course Poland. But God even used these diverse personalities to demonstrate His love to the Poles. It is never easy to work with a group of people whom you are still getting to know. And it did provide, I think, many of us as team members with some unique interpersonal challenges. And, of course, these interpersonal interchanges and quirks do not escape the notice of the Poles. But God is good, and used even these challenges to glorify Himself. It is such a testimony when we face the awkwardness and discomfort of these situations with God’s grace and are able to respond in love.

It is also fun how God uses each of our gifts to minister in this environment. All four of us at Equip2Counsel (Mike and Mary, Mark and Doreen Henderson) attended the camp. Though it is a camp which is focused on teaching English, between the four of us, we probably did close to a dozen counseling sessions this week. God used these meetings to strengthen marriages and free men and women from some of their own personal struggles. During one session, Jesus met a young woman in a special way and she decided right there to give her life to God. What a blessing!

At the end of the camp, it seems none of us left unchanged. Whether teacher or translator or camper, it was a week that–I think–stretched each of us in our faith. The numbers do not tell the whole story, but the feedback we received from the camp evaluations is a testimony to how God worked. Of about 120 campers, 17 Poles indicated they made a decision to accept Christ. Another 6 Poles indicated the week had impacted them, but they are still deciding. Most put on their evaluations they are open to spiritual conversations in the future or to attend a Bible study.

Thank you for your prayers and financial support. This letter is a report to give you a first-hand account that the money you have invested has made an impact. Your prayers have been heard and answered in amazing ways. Men and women will spend eternity in heaven because of God’s working through your prayers. And this is just the start. Many of these Poles who have given their lives to Christ are reaching out and leading others to Jesus. Thank you for partnering with us in this ministry.

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English Camp, Here We Come…

Dear Prayer Team:

English Camp, Here We Come...We are off to Poland. As we leave, we are excited and apprehensive. Excited to see what God is going to do, and yet wondering what it is that God will ask of us to do. Excited to see old friends in Poland and meet new ones, but sad about leaving some of our older kids back here in the States. There is no place we would rather be this next two weeks, but we definitely rely on your ongoing prayer for us and for the team.

We will be out of the country until Wednesday, July 15, and will be leading a camp that has the facility at capacity with nearly 250 people.

Please pray for us…

  • As we minister to and care for our team members from Minnesota, Iowa, Indiana, Duluth, and the Twin Cities area.
  • Please continue to pray for God to bring unity to this diverse team under the banner of supernatural love.  (By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another. John 13:35)
  • Please pray for uneventful travel.
  • Please pray for the family members that we leave behind, that God will keep them under his protection.
  • Please pray that the Holy Spirit will penetrate the hearts of those who attend, and many lives will be changed from the inside out.

Thanks so much for your prayer!

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International Messengers Staff Conference

When we first started writing these blogs, it was fun to talk about the amazing things that God was doing. Now, about 18 months in to this ministry, it is getting more difficult. Not because we are no longer seeing God at work. In fact, our experience is just the opposite. We are seeing God’s hand in our ministry in more and more amazing ways. But writing these blogs is becoming more difficult because we are concerned that the “amazing reports” may seem less believable.

As you know, we just returned from 9-day trip to Poland. We spent a few days with some missionaries in Warsaw, and then attended the International Messengers Staff Conference for 4 days. We didn’t know exactly what to expect, but were confident that God had called us on this trip. God unfolded a very clear plan for us, though. He brought the people who needed our ministry to us. We had the opportunity to invest in these men and women with training, counseling, and encouragement.

Here are some of the outcomes of this trip:

  • After a full year of extensive equipping and training, a missionary in Warsaw is using a broad Equip2Counsel tool-set to powerfully impact and bring healing to men and women in their church community.
  • Many missionaries are using simple Equip2Counsel tools to build a foundation of trust and relationship—which they tell us is having a huge impact in their ministries.
  • We taught an elective class. We brought a lot of “extra” materials and were prepared if as many as 50 attended.  We were surprised to have nearly 80 missionaries attend. This provided a foundation for many of the discussions and ministry opportunities that followed.
  • We spent many hours “diving deep” with individuals and couples, meeting through meals and into the wee hours of the morning. As a result, God helped and healed marriages, helped some find hope and healing, and gave helpful life tools to others.

The frustrating part for us is that we want to tell you some of the stories of exactly how we saw God transform lives and relationships. But of course the stories should not be told due to confidentiality.  You can be confident, though, that your prayers are being answered and God is using your financial support to make a ministry possible that is equipping missionaries to be even more effective in the place where God has called them.  We are thankful to be a part of this ministry.  We are thankful and humbled to have partners like you who make it possible.

Please continue to be in prayer for these upcoming events:

  • Equip2Counsel will be teaching in Cornerstone Church for the next 4 weeks.
  • Pray for the Poland Team as we begin training and preparing for the summer English camp.
  • Please pray for wisdom and guidance as we have been invited to both Romania and Peru in the fall.
  • We have already been invited/requested by International Messengers leadership to attend the staff conference in Hungary in spring, 2016
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En Route to Warsaw, Poland!

Tomorrow, March 21, at 1:20 pm, Mike, Mary, and Mark will be boarding a plane headed for Poland. We are looking forward to seeing what God has planned for us as we spend some time with our missionary friends in-country. This trip, we will be spending a few days in Warsaw with some of the missionaries who we have been training. This time together will give us an opportunity to encourage these friends. In addition, this follow-up training and continued mentoring will allow the missionaries to continue to develop and hone these ministry skills.

We are sad that, due to work conflicts, Doreen is not able to join us on this trip. It is tough to leave one of the team members behind—and it is difficult for Doreen to stay behind.  But we have seen God’s clear hand of direction that this has been the right decision for this one trip.

Here is a brief itinerary of our trip, with some prayer requests.

Sat 3/21: Leaving Minnesota

Prayer Requests:

  • Safe and On-time Travel.
  • Please be in prayer for Doreen and our kids back home throughout the week!

Sun 3/22: Arriving in Warsaw, Poland.

Prayer Requests:

  • Rest and quick recovery from jet lag.

Mon 3/23 – Wed 3/25: Spending time with several missionaries in Warsaw.

Prayer Requests:

  • Pray that God will use us to further equip missionaries with tools to care for and minister to Poles and their local congregations.
  • Pray that we will be an encouragement and bring joy to the missionaries as we visit with them.
  • Pray that God will clearly guide us to complete the work that He has for us and the people who he wants us to invest time with in Warsaw.

Thu 3/26: Driving approx. 6 hours to a mountain village near Zakopane, Poland.

Thu 3/26 – Sun 3/29: International Messengers Staff Conference

Prayer Requests:

  • We will be seeing Pastor Z and Edyta from Glogow, Poland, and doing some planning for the summer Family English Camp.
  • We are scheduled to do an optional training with the missionaries on Saturday. Pray that God will use this time to equip the missionaries with relationship tools.
  • Ask God to lead us as we spend a few days with these 200 missionaries. Pray that this will be a time of refreshment and encouragement for the missionaries.

Sun 3/29: Drive back to Warsaw, Poland.

Mon 3/30: Fly back to Minnesota

Thank you for your prayers and partnership on this trip!

The Equip2Counsel Team

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2014 Equip2Counsel Team Celebration

A week ago, on Sunday night, we had our first ever support team meeting. Thanks to those of you who were able to attend. We are so appreciative of all of our supporters, and it was fun for us to be able to share with the group how God has been using us to impact the lives and ministries of missionaries that God has brought across our path.
The four of us first started discussing the possibility of starting a ministry serving and training missionaries about 18 months ago. And we have felt like we have been front-row spectators watching as God has established the Equip2Counsel ministry. In fact, we have been amazed to see how God has caused this ministry grow faster and broader than any plans or strategies we put together.

As we sat down together with our supporters a week ago, we wanted to share many of the stories from the past year. But we highly value the trust of confidentiality that is placed in us as we work with individuals and couples. Though there are many missionaries who have shared with us how transformational our training has been, we feel that it is only their decision when and how these stories are communicated to others.

That is why we were excited to have a missionary couple be willing to meet with our support team and share their Equip2Counsel story. We are not going to mention their names in this blog, but we want to thank them for their willingness and transparency as they shared. It was so encouraging to hear how the tools that we taught have transformed their lives and enhanced their ministry. Not only did they share how the training impacted them personally. But as they have begun to practice these tools in their ministry, it was fun to hear how God is using them to impact others.

After the meeting we were able to talk with several of our support team members. We heard from several of you that this meeting was very helpful in clarifying what the Equip2Counsel ministry is all about. One person even asked, “How do we multiply this so that even more missionaries and ministries can be impacted?” That was so encouraging to us!

We are thankful to have a team that is faithfully partnering with us to bring these tools to missionaries around the world. We know that we are incapable of changing anyone’s lives. But are having so much fun following God, participating in His plan to carry out this impossible mission, and watching it unfold before our eyes. Thanks for being a part of this journey with us!

If you are not already a partner in this ministry and would like to be, let us know at equip2counsel@gmail.com. We are currently praying about attending a missionary staff conference in Poland this coming spring. This will give us an opportunity to meet and spend time with many of the missionaries with International Messengers. Please pray with us as we consider whether God is calling us to attend this conference.

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