Ministry Report August 2017 – National Emergency Declared in Sierra Leone
But if anyone has the world’s goods and sees his brother in need, yet closes his heart against him, how does God’s love abide in him? (1 John 3:1)
Volunteers searching for victims in the flood’s aftermath
Dear Friends of FZS,
A national emergency has been declared in Sierra Leone as President Koroma has appealed for urgent help to support the thousands of people affected by a devastating mudslide on the outskirts of the country’s capital, Freetown.
More than 4 hundred people have died in the floods and hundreds more are still missing in this already extremely poor and poverty stricken nation. Sierra Leone was just beginning to recover from the civil war, then the Ebola crisis struck and now this. The morgues are overflowing with bodies stacked outside in the streets.
“Why Sierra Leone again? Why us? Haven’t we suffered enough”? people are asking.
Samba Thorley lost his wife and 5 children in the flood
Makeshift graves being dug for the deceased.
For Zion’s Sake Ministries is teaming up with our friends at International Aid Trust UK who now have enough food, clothing and emergency medical supplies to fill 2 – 40ft. containers. We are asking for a special appeal to raise $12,000 in order to ship the containers immediately to Freetown from the UK. Fortunately, we already have staff on the ground (Alphajor Bah and Pastor Michael Fofanah) in Freetown who can organize distribution logistics as well as visit family members of victims either dead or missing with Yeshua’s love.
Listen to a local newscaster describe the scene.
Please help us send these 2 aid containers to victims of the flood disaster
Click here to donate directly:
God is not unjust; He will not forget your work and the love you have shown Him as you have helped His people and continue to help them. (Hebrews 6:10)
Thank you very much!
Rev Bernard Cocker/ Bradley Antolovich
We also received word from Alphajor Bah in Sierra Leone that the Ebola Children’s School and Orphanage’s foundational stone has been laid, and now we are trusting the Lord for finances to begin phase 1 of the project. We are also very thankful to Roger Oakland of Understand the Times, UTT, for partnering together with us!
We have had record heat waves this summer with temperatures being broken for the hottest months in July and parts of August. Most Israelis try to stay inside during the hot days in order to escape the extreme heat so our distribution center’s activity is quieter than usual. We are thankful for the rest the Lord gives us during the summer. while most of our staff were able to take their holidays during this time to be with family!
Although the heat is on both physically and spiritually, thank God we can do all things through the Messiah who strengthens us! Nevertheless, many Olim still keep coming to our distribution center for assistance and encouragement…
Galina and Noiah
Galina came to Israel 3 months ago to be with her children (daughter in the picture). For her, Hebrew is the most important, as she believes, that knowing the language will help her find a good job. Galina finds it difficult to live without job, she use to work a lot in Russia.
Masha, has been in the Land 4 years now and came here by the Bait Ulpan program. One month ago she became an Israeli citizen. Masha would like to be a cosmetic assistant. She was very thankful for the clothes she received at our distribution center. She loves to read the Tanach, celebrates Shabbat, goes to the synagogue and prays 3 times a day. Masha even talks to other younger girls at school about the Torah. She said she’s looking forward to Yom Kippur to fast and do Teshuva. Hopefully, she will come to realize that being a good and religious person is not enough to enter the Kingdom of Heaven.
Svetlana came from Uzbekistan on a certain program and she found no difficulties living in Israel. For some time she kept herself busy with some economic project. At the moment she is not involved in any religious duties, not even reading the Tanach. Svetlana cannot yet make up her mind about God’s existence, but we pray she may come to know that God not only exists but also saves and Yeshua is His gift.
Naomi immigrated to Israel 2 months ago and loves the Land very much. Expecting hard times, she is ready to face any difficulty. She is on a special program, studying Hebrew and English and eventually wants to go to university. Naomi is interested in Judaism but only for ‘kashrut’ and lighting the candles on Shabbat, though she is looking forward to the Feasts of the Lord. She respects the religions of others but claims that Jesus has nothing to do with Judaism. She says she is also waiting for the Messiah to come.
Lea from Georgia has been living in Israel for 2 years already. Her qualifications are business administration and she is currently looking for a job at a bank. She wants peace in Israel and loves the Land very much. She said: “This is good Land and this is my Land.” Lea is practicing Judaism by going to the synagogue, reading the Tanach, keeping kosher and Shabbat. She waits for the Messiah to come. When He comes He will bring peace to Israel, the third Temple will be built and He will lead His people.
Stephan came from St. Petersburg 1 1/2 months ago and he loves Israel and the climate of the Land. He is studying Hebrew at the Ulpan but finds it difficult to memorize the words. Stephan’s view of God is as the higher power who watches us. He is not religious and likes to know things or have them explained. Stephan does not attend any religious meetings, as he doesn’t understand religions and what goes on during those meetings.
Tania came from Russia 2 months ago and is already studying Hebrew at the Ulpan. She loves the Lord very much and wants to love Him more and more every day. She realized that she loves the Lord because He first loved her.
Alexander and Natasha moved to Israel 9 months ago to be with their children. They love the Land very much.
We have already begun planning our next shipment and Pastor John Higgins of Calvary Chapel of Tri City, Arizona has felt called to organize our next 40ft. container to be sent to us to bless the poor and needy in Israel.
You or your congregation can also participate with them in blessing Israel. If you have any connections to good quality used clothing or better yet, new clothing, please consider sending them to this address in banana boxes for shipping.
Calvary Chapel of Tri City
Pastor John Higgins
2334 E Southern Ave, Tempe, AZ 85282, USA
Phone: +1 480-345-6200
These items would also be useful:
-Diapers and wipes
-Shoes – new only
-School backpacks, school supplies (like pencil bags) – new, spiral notebooks, drawing pads, pencils, pens, sharpeners, erasers, etc.
-Stoneware or glass (or Corelle) dishes
-New toys (cannot bring in used toys)
Occasionally we receive urgent prayer requests from special people who love, support and pray for our ministry. Joy and Roger Payton are 2 of those VERY SPECIAL people, who have stood with us for many years now in blessing Israel. Joy wrote and asked for prayer for her adopted granddaughter Anna. Here is her story…
Anne needs our prayers!
Miss Anna, the apple of our eye is also an adopted meth baby. My daughter has had her since she was 3 months old. She has mild cerebral palsy, developmental delays and childhood apraxia of speech. She is one of the happiest people on the planet and blesses all our lives with her smile and sunny disposition in spite of trials. She’s amazing!
Her cancer and continued trials are an incredible testament to hundreds of people from all over the world who pray for her. She is home schooled, but can’t process simple numbers like 2 plus 2 or read more than three-letter words. She is able to speak now, but becomes difficult to understand if she is excited, scared or feels pressure. She signs and a few of us sign enough to keep up, but English is her primary communication. Her receptive skills are more than adequate to understand anything that’s said except academia and her expressive skills are over the moon. She loves Jesus and got so excited that you went to the wall and prayed for her (not sure she really understood but she knows what the temple is and the tie to Jesus).
Oh, and now Miss Anna’s story. She has always walked with a lot of knee pain. She started complaining that one knee hurt more all of a sudden. She was taken to Shriner’s Hospital in Sacramento and they didn’t find anything wrong on x-rays in July of 2015. When she continued to complain in December, her mother took her to a pediatrician and asked for an MRI…he said x-ray would be the first choice and she’d just had them in July.
In February, she started to limp and refused to put weight on the leg. Heather had kittens and the pediatrician did order an x-ray. The x-ray showed Anna’s femur was swiss cheese with cancer.
I’m a nurse and Roger is a Chiropractor and Heather is very medical…we all saw the x-ray and figured she was terminal as it was the worst we’d ever seen. God, in His grace, didn’t allow the leg to break (an automatic amputation). She was a patient at Sutter Hospital in Sacramento already, so we put her in the car and drove there. They took one look at her and sent her by ambulance to Benioff Children’s Hospital at UCSF in Mission Bay San Francisco.
Boy, it’s hard to even describe what happened next.
1. She got a world-famous surgeon who fought to keep her leg (with an internal prosthesis instead of an amputation). He’s the head orthopedic surgeon for the entire UCSF system.
2. Heather and I and my sister, Sophia, who is also a nurse took up a 24 hr. vigil for the next 10 months at her bedside as we promised she’d never be alone (the Lord graciously allowed us to keep that promise). Anna can’t communicate well enough to be left alone.
3. She underwent the most horrific bouts of chemotherapy from Feb to June, when the diseased bone was removed and the prosthesis inserted. She got mysterious infections, pneumonia, etc. She was always praying to Jesus to help her through it and she became a hospital favorite with tons of people who came and played with her and prayed with her.
4. In June, after her leg surgery, there was a decision to leave her on the oncology floor (big mistake…should have been in NICU). She had on a leg brace for four days (surgeon was on vacation so we had an associate).
After four days when the brace was removed, Anna’s leg had developed grievous “wounds” over the knee and on her achilles tendon. They were both about 4″ across and the ankle wound was down through all the layers to the exposed tendon.
5. She was unable to get out of bed and start using the leg as would normally occur. She had a surgery to put on a skin graft on the ankle and a surgery to “stretch” the skin and recover the top of her knee across the incision. Every type of brace they applied immediately excoriated the skin and caused another wound somewhere else if she had a pressure point. The knee wound eventually healed, but the Achilles tendon wound is still closing. It’s down to half the size of a dime more than a year later. The graft failed and they decided to let it close on its own.
6. Anna had a 1/4″ cancer on a lung…..which required two lung surgeries so the cardiac surgeon could “handle” each lung. Apparently, lung mets are on the exterior of the lung and feel like sand. He removed the one spot and didn’t find any others. This was brutal as she was so sick from the chemo, unable to move her leg, chest tubes, pneumonia, etc.
In the middle of all that, we had miracle after miracle.
In 10 months in the hospital, none of Anna’s wounds became infected (still haven’t over a year later). The necropsy on the bone after it was removed was a “greater than 99% kill rate”. None of them had EVER seen a kill rate like that….meaning the chemo totally killed the cancer…they hope for 80% most of the time.
The necropsy on the bone after it was removed was a “greater than 99% kill rate”. None of them had EVER seen a kill rate like that….meaning the chemo totally killed the cancer…they hope for 80% most of the time.
She frequently tried to die and the Lord saved her over and over and she revived to keep fighting. She’s still fighting as there’s still a long hill ahead. It’s extremely unlikely the osteosarcoma will reoccur…if it does, they don’t even treat it as it’s terminal.
Financially, the Lord provided for every need through the church, our patients, local organizations and donations from hundreds of people we didn’t know and never met. The “extra” costs of something like this is unimaginable…..gasoline, food at $7 a meal for seven months for everyone but Anna. Meanwhile, life at home went on. Eventually, it was decided I was needed more at home and Sophia went back to work, so Heather and Anna trooped on alone.
Anna came home permanently (except for dozens of doctor’s appts in SF of course) last December. She is wheelchair bound and can walk a ways with a walker (actually hopping, not walking). She’s healthy, has amazing upper body strength and does very well.
Her parents took out a loan and bought a very expensive piece of equipment for the house that insurance would not pay for…it’s called a NuStep and it’s helping with the severe contracture of the leg. She has regained the feeling and movement in some of her foot and has an ankle range-of-motion. The prayer request is that she has not regained the feeling in the knee or the ability to “throw” the leg forward. If the nerves don’t regenerate by December, it’s unlikely they ever will (not excluding the Lord’s help, of course). This would mean she would ONLY be able to walk with a brace with a strike plate to kick the leg forward.
Anna is going back to UCSF on 7/19 to have botox injections and for the surgeon to “break” the contractures. She will be put into a cast (which makes us all nervous because of the skin wounds). The insurance is only willing to pay for three days in the hospital, so the cast will be removed and she’ll be sent home. The leg should be in the cast for three weeks in the hospital and there’s a current battle going with Medi-cal and CSS to get the full three weeks paid for….but nobody knows if that will happen.
If this last-ditch effort to straighten the leg doesn’t work, the surgeon wants to replace the internal prosthesis (it is now too long because of Anna’s contractures). The surgeon had never done this surgery on someone with CP….the wounds were caused because Anna’s natural leg position is kinda frog-leg instead of straight and she constantly pushed to frog leg position, wearing holes because of the high pain meds she was on were eliminating a “warning” that she was hurting herself…..so they learned a brace must be removed every shift to see how the skin’s doing if the kid has CP. In NICU, the brace would have been removed every shift to check the skin.
Anna could develop an infection which would cause an amputation. Whatever happens, we now know that Anna can do it with the Lord’s help, but we’re all praying that doesn’t happen.
Whew! Bet that was more than you wanted. It’s an exciting story and filled with the Lord’s love and grace for Anna and all of us…..but pretty hard to ‘sum up’.
I also have pink prayer bracelets that say “Anna’s Smile” that we give as thank you’s… I could send them if you send me an email… [email protected]
I wish you could meet Anna, she’s amazing! We kinda think her mom is, too. Thank you so much for praying and having others pray for her.
Joy and gang
Dear beloved in Him,
Greetings in His matchless name!
I would just like to write about the ministry update of the 1st and 2nd quarter of Bryce Home 5 in Myanmar. We praise God for allowing us to enjoy His blessings according to our needs. Bryce Home 5 has now been running for seven years with the sponsorship of various people under the ministry of UTT.
I had the chance to go to my native village where I was blessed to preach four times and encouraged some widows with the Word of God. I have been helping them since 2007, in memory of my mom who had nurtured me with challenging words during her life.
By the end of March we moved to the new house and our children attended the Salvation Camp during April 12-17, as it was a time the Myanmar Government conducted the Water Festival. Our children enjoyed listening the Word of God and singing praises to God in the church where we had the Salvation Camp. We invited some Burmese people who never heard of the Gospel.
On May 21st, my birthday, God gave me a girl named Eli Mang Tin Par (Weight: 5.4 pounds), very skinny but still active. Please uphold us in your prayers for this new born baby and her mother Biak (my wife). By the month of June we have been busy for children’s school admission and purchasing uniforms.
Thus we enjoyed God’s goodness in that all of our children have passed their school exams of the 2016-2017 academic year. This year 1 of our children will be starting grade ten, 1 grade eight, 5 grade seven, 2 grade six, 1 grade five, 1 grade four, 1 grade three, 1 grade one and 1 KG class.
We also would like to express our heartfelt thanks to all who take part in the ministry of the Bryce Homes program.
We pray for you all. God bless all for His glory.
Yours in Him,
Bryce Home Five
Outreach in Beslan, Russia:
In the morning, Taimuraz and Raiya picked me up, and we headed from Beslan to the big city – Vladikavkaz. (Taimuraz and Raiya are the parents who lost four of their five children in the terrorist attack.) We picked up Bradley and Yael, and later stopped at the Baptist fellowship’s building where Taimuraz pastors. This was my first time seeing the remodeled building since my return to Russia, and praise The Lord, they did a very nice job. We know of course that the church is not the building itself. But it was still nice to see a brighter and remodeled place where the church gathers. Madina – their only surviving child – was also there, along with her little boy, and it was such a blessing to see her again and also meet her son, Kostik! Nothing short of miraculous that both she – and now he – are alive.
I believe Taimuraz or Raiya asked Yael to play something on the piano, and she played, “Here I Am To Worship.” It was very moving to hear that beautiful song being sung, and in the presence of Taimuraz and Raiya and Madina, saints who have suffered so very much. Yael sang in English as she played, and I could see Madina’s lips moving – I presume, singing along in Russian. Boy, I had tears in my eyes. But it is utterly impossible to try and describe or capture or explain those few moments for you in words. But it was, for sure, one of those rare ‘exceedingly beautiful moments’ in life. The Lord is so Kind and Good.
Afterwards, Taimuraz and Raiya graciously treated us to a very nice lunch in a local restaurant Madina’s husband – Alan – was able to join us, and that was also my first time meeting him; they just got married a few years ago, and the last time I had been in Beslan was in 2007… Madina was only 16 or so then.
Thank you so much for your faithful prayers and support to FZS Ministries that make all of these outreaches possible!
Bradley Antolovich, International Director