He Couldn't See

Travis Akins - Friday, January 02, 2015

He couldn't see. He desperately wanted to see and to experience everything that was going on in the middle of that crowd. But he couldn't.

He tried. He even got on the tippy tops of his toes. Too short. He asked others to move over so he could peak through. No one even bothered replying. He even tried to push his way through the loud and boisterous group that had formed. No one was letting him in.

He had a choice. He could give up or he could make it happen. He could get creative and find a way to see. So, he chose to find a way. He knew this path. He knew that only a hundred yards or so down the way was a lone tree. A high enough perch to get up on and finally see. So he ran. He ran fast ahead of the crowd to make his claim on the tree. He beat them all and when he got there he was 12 all over again. He didn't care he was a dignified man. A man of stature and wealth and great respect. He wanted to be up there, and without thinking he climbed. He was there. Higher than everyone else and ready to see. To see him.

He could hear the crowd sounds growing closer and louder. He could see the group slowly making it's way toward him. He perked up and began to look intently on the happenings, eyeing the middle of this group. The mutter became a roar and then it happened. He saw him.

He'd heard so much. He had over heard story after story. People claiming to have met him, hear him teach. People who said their lives were changed by him. He claimed to be the way and the truth. Honestly he was just curious. This man had caused such a stir, he wanted to see what it was all about. He had no idea what he would get, but curiosity took over. And then he saw him.

From his high place above the crowds, who wouldn't let him in, he saw. And more than that, HE saw him. He came over to him and wanted to talk with him. He knew the crowd was talking, but he was excited, nervous and renewed. His curiosity put him in a place he never knew existed. His eyes saw from the tree and the eyes of his heart were opened up for the first time. This man, in a moment changed everything. Life was not about the money, the stature, the power, the respect. Life was something more. Here couldn't quite articulate what it was, but he knew it was different and not his own.

"Look, Lord! Here and now I give half of my possessions to the poor, and if I have cheated anybody out of anything, I will pay back four times the amount."

Now he could see.

Click here to read Luke 19:1-10
Visit Travis' website for more readings and info

Greetings From Brazil!

Todd Williams - Friday, November 21, 2014

Welcome to Brazil

     A big hello from sunny Recife, Brazil! It’s just getting into summer here, nice and warm with plenty of sunshine. The picture above reads “Welcome, Mindi”, and from day 1 I praise God that this is how I have felt.

This picture was taken on the first Saturday after the Wednesday I arrived. The teenage girls’ group I’m helping with (called the M&M’s) meets on Saturdays at 9am. My first Saturday they had a party to welcome me. We had a devotional about what it means to be sent out and who is sent out by God to share His good news (the answer is everyone, by the way!). One of the girls said “I can’t wait to serve God with you!”. I’m blessed to be here to minister to and serve alongside these girls!


     Last year when I spent 6 weeks here at the congregation in the neighborhood of Boa Viagem there were 16 baptisms. So far, this October we have had 5! God is doing amazing things in the hearts of the people of Recife through this congregation and I’m so excited to be a part of it. Two of the people baptized are teenage girls, and I hope to begin studying the Bible with them in the next few weeks.  The young man pictured below was formerly a pastor at a Pentecostal church here in Recife that practiced and taught many things contrary to and outside of the Bible. He and many young men who were leaders in that congregation have been baptized as a result of a course our congregation offers called “Let the Bible Speak for Itself”. They have publicly declared the errors of their old congregation and, teaching any willing member about following what the Bible says, they have begun a new congregation together in their neighborhood. Several of our elders and their families visit this congregation, teaching and preaching to help them grow spiritually. Last Sunday evening I visited the new congregation as well. They have about 19 members and are focused on teaching the Bible and evangelizing the people in their neighborhood. I plan to visit this new congregation as much as possible to encourage and serve in any way I can.

A Month of Learning!

     This first month has been a month of learning. I have begun taking Portuguese lessons to ensure that I can effectively communicate with the people here. I have also spent the last month learning even the most basic things, like how to buy things in a store, where to go for the best fresh fruits, how to navigate the public transportation system (I still haven’t quite figured that one out!) Of course, I’m also learning hundreds of things a day about Brazilians and their beautiful culture as I live, work, and study with the people here. It’s been a blast so far. The people are laid back, patient, and they love to laugh. They’re a joy to live with and it’s so good to serve God alongside them. I look forward to growing in the language and understanding of this city so that I can get involved in all of the ministry God has planned for me here. May God richly bless each and every one of you this month. 

- Mindi Powell (Recife, Brazil)

Good News From Campinas, Brazil

Todd Williams - Friday, November 14, 2014

We got this inspiring report from Allen & Robin Dutton, our missionaries in Campinas, Brazil.

Dear friends and family,

I trust all of you are doing fine.  We are all fine here and enjoying some much needed rain.  Pray that we receive more as we are in the middle of a severe drought.  Our family is doing fine.  Robin is enjoying good health and keeping busy.  She is teaching English using Skype to some friends here in Campinas.  She enjoys doing this.  Laura is very active in writing and enjoys reading.  It is hard to believe she is finishing her sophomore year in high school (our school year ends at the end of November).  Tyler enjoys sports and of course his Play Station games.  He is 6’1” tall.  I believe he still has a year or two to grow.  He is only 17.  He graduates this December 19th from high school and has decided he wants to go to Oklahoma Christian to college.  He will begin, Lord willing, in the fall of 2015.  He will start his first job December 8th working at a copy shop.  Wow!!

Many things have happened and are happening here in Campinas.  God continues to add to His church.  Our theology classes have gone extremely well this semester.  I taught a theology class at Guanabara on Monday nights from 7-10pm and Alisson taught a theology class at Campo Grande on Tuesday nights from 7-10pm.  The class at Guanabara had an average attendance of 75 people for the whole 12 weeks and the class at Campo Grande had an average attendance of 45 for the whole 12 weeks.  During the classes we had 6 baptisms at Campo Grande and 8 baptisms at Guanabara.   What a blessing it was to see 14 new souls being added to the Lord’s church through the teaching of the Gospel!  The theology courses continue to be one the most effective ways God is allowing us to use to spread the Gospel and to teach and save the lost.  Please continue to pray that these new Christians remain faithful.          

Let me share with you some stories of recent conversions...

Luan and Amanda are both in their mid twenties and were engaged to be married October 25th.  They came to a worship service on October 19th for the very first time.  Right after services were over, Luan came to me and said he needed to be baptized.  They could not study on Sunday afternoon, so I asked them to come back Monday at 4pm so that we could study about his decision.  We met on Monday and studied for about three hours.  Luan was convinced from the very beginning that he needed to be baptized.  Amanda was listening and not saying much.  At the very end of our study Amanda said she also needed to be "baptized for the forgiveness of her sins and to receive the Holy Spirit."  These were her words not mine.  "I do not want to wait any longer to be baptized.  I want to do it now.”  Double wow!!  What an example.  What a wonderful attitude.  They were both immersed into Christ a few minutes after, and were married Saturday October 25th. 

Maria José (Mary Jo) is 63 years old.  She has been coming to a week night Bible study we have in Hortolandia (one of the greater Campinas cities) about 20 miles from Campinas.  and also went through the theology class this semester.  During the theology classes she came to me and said “I am studying about baptism.”  She told me that one of the members who lives close to her house was helping her.  I was very happy that she was studying and also that someone else was helping her study.  Another member who lives in Hortolandia brought her every Monday night to the theology class in his car.  This reminded me of what the apostle Paul said in 1 Corinthians 3. 5-9.  One planted, one watered, and God made it grow.  How right this is!  After our classes were over, we met at the building and studied just a little more about what it meant to be baptized.   That very same night at 10pm, Mary Jo gave her life to Jesus.  We had just finished a study in the book of Revelation I am giving to about 100 students.  They were all witnesses of her baptism.  What a testimony it was to all who were there.

Our building construction is going along just fine.  It does not seem possible that less than 4 months ago we still had not received the go ahead from the city hall.  We are making great progress.  The builders are promising us that by the middle of January we will have our building completed.  The members here at Guanabara decided also that we needed extra classroom space.  So, with their help (financial and labor) we are also adding three new classrooms and two suites (bedroom and bathroom) for preachers and teachers that come our way to have a place to stay.  It is a lot of work especially now that we need to plan the finishing details.  There are so many things to think about.   Please keep Alisson and me I your prayers as we make important decisions for our new building.  We are needing this extra space.  We had 173 present at worship service this past Sunday.

The congregation at Campo Grande is also growing numerically and maturing in the Lord.  We had 89 present in worship service at Campo Grande this past Sunday.  We ask that you keep us in your prayers as we help this congregation to mature so that they can soon be on their own and we can help the Guanabara congregation plant another church. 

So far the Lord has added 45 souls to His church both at the Guanabara (30) and Campo Grande (15) congregations this year.  How blessed we are.  What a great God we serve!  We love you and pray for you every day.


Allen and Robin Dutton

Awesome Things Happening in Brazil

Andy Lashley - Tuesday, August 05, 2014

From our missionaries Allen & Robin Dutton:

Dear friends and family,

Let me update you on the many things that have happened in Campinas.

Since the beginning of the year the Lord has blessed us with numerical and spiritual growth both at the Guanabara and Campo Grande congregations.  We have had 24 baptisms since the beginning of the year.  Fourteen at Guanabara and 10 at Campo Grande.  From these 24 baptisms, 17 happened in June and July.  Many of these again are the result of the theology classes that ended at the end of May.  Once again the theology classes have proven to be a great tool for evangelism.  Last Sunday we had 5 baptisms at Campo Grande from the same family.

I want to tell you about Mr. Deoclides and his wife Alice and their daughter Matilde.  He is 70 years old and his wife is 66 years old.  Matilde, their daughter is 44 years old.  She is married and has one child.  They began attending our worship services at the beginning of 2014.  They were first invited to a home Bible study at the house of one of our members.  I remember Mr. Deoclides saying, “I have been to so many different churches, I do not want to be a part of any other.  I will go to your Bible study because you invited me.  But do not expect me or my family to go to church.”  It did not take long for him to change his mind.  He wanted to see in a larger scale what he was learning in that small home Bible study.  I invited them to go through the theology course that began in March.  All three did.  After the course ended, Matilde told me she wanted to study more about baptism because she was in doubt her previous one was valid.  I then asked her parents to accompany her in this Bible study because I wanted Mr. Deoclides and his wife Alice to study along with their daughter.  They thought I wanted them in the study to give support to their daughter.  My intentions were for them to hear what I was going to study with their daughter and help them with their decision as well.  God blessed our study and the seed that was planted at the beginning of the year produced fruit.  All three of them realized they needed to be baptized for the right reasons now.  They were immersed into Jesus on June 1st.  Their other daughter Erenides began studying the Bible as well and she was also baptized into Jesus on July 24th.  What a great family to have united in Jesus.

 Above: Allen with the Deoclides family

We graduated 100 students in our theology classes.  At the Guanabara congregation we had 60 students finishing the course at the end of May and receiving their certificates.  These classes met on Monday nights from 7-10pm for 12 weeks.  At the Campo Grande congregation we had 40 students finishing the course and receiving their certificates.  These classes met on Tuesday nights from 7-10pm for 12 weeks.  Both classes had great Bible students and I believe they were one the best groups we have had since these classes began in 2002.  Many continue studying now in a personal Bible study both with Alisson and myself.  Please continue to pray for more conversions. 

We had a wonderful visit from the Arbuckle family.  Bill, Amy, Will, Justin and Jemma came from Edmond, OK and spent three weeks with us here in Campinas.  What a great time we had.  I want to commend Bill and Amy and their children for having such great caring and serving spirits.  They came to encourage our family and the church as well as to work a lot.  Many of the members became close  friends with the Arbuckles even taking them around the city.  What great representatives of love they were everyday.  


Above: Arbuckles and Duttons

After almost one year to the date of waiting patiently (and sometimes not so very patiently) we received wonderful news on the 24th of July.  The city hall gave us our permits to tear down the house next door to our building and to begin the addition to our auditorium.  What a wonderful day that was.  On the 25th  the bulldozers were already working and by the 26th the lot was completely empty.  It took us one year to get the permits and one day to tear down the house.  We have met with the engineers and architects and construction will actually begin August 11th.  They have promised us it will be built in four months ( I know better than to believe themJ).  I am just happy we will now be able to enlarge our auditorium.  We surely need it.  We are averaging 160 in worship service now in a building that seats 130.  Last Sunday we had 171 in worship service.  Please take a moment to thank our God for hearing our prayers and for giving us this wonderful blessing. 

Above: Demolition in progress!

Finally, we just began another group of theology classes at the Guanabara congregation.  We had 98 present for our first class.  Praise God!

We love you and pray for you every day,

Allen and Robin Dutton       

Blessings From Baxter

Jenny Jones - Tuesday, July 15, 2014

We’ve been blessed to have an enormously fruitful relationship with the Baxter Institute in Tegucigalpa, Honduras.  Baxter trains and equips men and women to be preachers, teachers, and leaders.  After graduating with a top-flight Bible education, they return to their homes to lead in their local church and community.  It’s a wonderful organization and we’ve recently taken on added responsibilities in the oversight of Baxter’s operation, strengthening an already-substantial partnership.

One of the most exciting things we’ve been afforded the opportunity to do at Baxter is to help provide scholarships for students from Cuba to attend the Institute.  The relationships formed with these men and women are so meaningful to us and it’s thrilling to see them graduate and take their training back to their homeland to share Christ there.

Recently, two of those Cuban students, a married couple named Sergio and Aylen, gave birth to a beautiful daughter, Alejandra, after a difficult delivery.  Afterwards, he shared a warm and gracious note expressing his feelings and thoughts upon becoming a first-time father.  It’s a nice read.  He also passed along, at our request, his notes from an excellent devotional talk that he gave to our spring break campaign group earlier this year.  Take a look at these documents.  They are such encouraging sentiments and insights from a family who will be on the front lines of what God is doing in Cuba.  We’re so happy for Sergio and Aylen and proud to be associated with them and the Baxter Institute!

A Visit To Scotland

Todd Williams - Wednesday, April 09, 2014


Thought I would give you a brief report on our visit to Aberdeen, Scotland. We arrived in Warsaw last night without my luggage, but it arrived today. THANK YOU LORD!

When we arrived in Scotland on Friday evening April 4th, faithful Janusz, as always, greeted us at the airport and helped us get to the Skene Hotel – quite a hotel. On Saturday we spent most of the day with Adam, former student of the Bible Institute in Warsaw, now "Handyman" in Aberdeen. In the evening he invited us to his apartment, where his Ukrainian wife Sweta fixed supper for us.

Janusz was the one who invited Adam to the "Bible Institute" to improve his English years ago in Warsaw, but he never became a member of the church. Due to the fact that he couldn't find work, he moved to Aberdeen. He kept his apartment, and several of us, including Nicole and Lukasz, stayed in that apartment when visiting Warsaw. The story of his conversion is quite interesting. When in Aberdeen, he made contact with the church and came to know the Gaunts. Rachel, was a former HIM worker in Ireland, and later married Russell Gaunt. They have three children. While driving somewhere, with Adam sitting in the back seat, they asked him if he was a Christian, to which he remarked that he couldn't be a Christian because he was a recovering alcoholic. They wondered what that had to do with anything, and he said, “Well they serve alcohol during communion in Warsaw,” to which Russell said, “We use grape juice.” Adam then said, “I guess I can become a Christian,” and so he did. Since then Adam has been faithful and participates in a lot of activities. He is quite a musician and plays and sings with a Barber Shop group. It was a joy to meet with them during this brief period. 

On Sunday, Royce taught the Bible class and I preached. Ian Storrs, the minister, was kind enough to drive us to St. Andrews on Monday. I think we saw the sun maybe 15 minutes during our time in Aberdeen, so plenty of rain. 

A side note . . . of the 200,000 plus people in Aberdeen, 20,000 plus are Polish. The church is working on expanding their work with this group.

At this point we have a lot of people to see in Warsaw, and that is exciting. Please note the picture. We were at the Gaunt's home, with Rachel to the left, Adam Dyda, Royce, Gerd, Lucky, and Russell.

Update from Will & Holly Kooi

Todd Williams - Monday, February 03, 2014

The Koois are missionaries in Vienna, Austria - a beautiful city in a beautiful country filled with coffee, pastries and sausage, which happens to be a few of their favorite things.That “Sound of Music” reference was not intentional.



January was (very) cold, with snow finally visiting us a couple weeks too late for Christmas. We were both happy to actually celebrate our birthdays in Vienna this year. A great start to the year!


The first English Kids Club of the semester can be a bit of a gamble. Sometimes all of our kids return, and sometimes we’re down by sev- eral. Whichever scenario we end up with, we adjust quickly and press forward, and the beginning of this semester was, for us, a welcome change to the norm.

On our first day back, we had a record-breaking 17 kids! We were
in no way expecting kids to pour in like they did, but they arrived and were ready to play.The original lesson plan went out the win- dow in order to adjust to the numbers and try our best to suit the new reading levels. We were slightly worried that our materials and

German word of the month: “Schnee” - snow

snacks weren’t going to stretch enough to meet the new numbers, but actually all the plans turned into a 5 loaves of bread/2 fish situ- ation.The snack somehow fed everyone, there were enough word searches to go around, and the games were neither too hard nor too easy for all 17. It was an amazing, surprising, non-stress-inducing event. Since then, our numbers have evened out to what we con- sider “normal” which, speaking honestly, is a relief! But we’re ready and glad to make some alterations whenever necessary. One of the absolute most important lessons we’ve learned here on the mission field is to be flexible with our ministry and welcoming to every single individual. If God wants our plans altered, switched, or thrown out completely in order to make room for His own, we will strive do so. While feeding the 500 with just 5 pieces of bread and a couple of

fish is something only Jesus can achieve, we’re so thankful to have the opportunity to feed, teach, and have fun with those who walk through our doors. Everyone has a place and the chance to belong, no matter where they’ve come from.

We’re continuing our study of ecosystems while adding in a few les- son plans that include several of the books you all helped to provide us with last year.This week is a winter break of sorts for the kids so we won’t have EKC this week, but we will start up again with a Valen- tine’s Day addition of EKC next week!


The last couple of months have been especially important to us as the number of contacts we’ve made has skyrocketed, and all of these new contacts are within our age group. We are thrilled to have met so many new friends, most of whom just sort of abruptly appeared in our life and have stayed.

We now have what we call “Coffee Group” almost every Sunday

Austria is slightly smaller than Maine. And a lot more interest- ing.

with a diverse group of friends whom we met throughThomas. Our Coffee Group is currently in the midst of a coffeehouse and cafe tour of Vienna, so if you ever need to know where the best coffee in town is, we’ll certainly be able to help once our tour is complete - though it will probably take us the next 3 years to visit every coffeehouse and cafe in the city! We have also been invited to be part of entirely separate group of friends who love to get together for game nights. Delicious coffee and games aren’t the only things that have procured from our meetings - from these we have been able to participate in deep and interesting conversations, some of which have even led to discussions about Jesus and a Bible giveaway.

If you would, please keep our Coffee Group and Game Group friends in your prayers. Many of them are in phases of search and discovery, and we want more than anything for God to be part of their discover- ies.


  • Prayers for our spring semester of programs

  • That we are able to further minister and become better friends

    with our language partners and other new friends we have met

    these last few months

  • For our decision on what to do after the end of our HIM program

    this year

  • Continued prayers for our 20-something Bible study that includes

    some new or struggling Christians

  • Thanksgiving that our friend with marital problems seems to be

    doing better, but further prayers are needed

  • Church member Hermine, as she has many struggles and prob-

    lems with her daughters at home, and her daughter Karen is still

    in the hospital

  • For a new friend who is searching and wanting to discover God,

    and has asked lots of questions but is currently unsure

  • For a safe trip for Will as he goes skiing for the first time!

Twice as many people are buried at the Zentralfriedhof (Central Cem- etery) than actually live within the city limits of Vienna.




@willkooi @hollykooi

Will and Holly Kooi Molkereistrasse 4/3 1020 Vienna, Vienna Austria


Milestone Reached in Niteroi, Brazil

Andy Lashley - Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Ben Knowles, our country coordinator for Brazil missions, reports on exciting news from the work in Niteroi:

We want to celebrate with our Mission team in Niteroi, Brazil on purchasing some property for a church building!  This is a big milestone that MRCC has helped with through the Missions Sunday special contributions for the last several years.  Niteroi is a major metropolitan area (part of greater Rio de Janeiro) and finding a building to rent or buy presents its own unique challenges.  The fact that our brothers and sisters have been able to purchase a property is truly a blessing from God and will open doors for this congregation to continue to grow.  You can find more information about this exciting news in the team's latest report at  Also, feel free to drop the team a note of encouragement via Brent and Jill Nichols at

Food Drive

Todd Williams - Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives; he who seeks finds; and to him who knocks, the door will be opened. - Matt 7:7,8

Here at MRCC we are able to open the door when someone comes seeking and asking because of your generosity. In addition to meeting their physical needs, we strive to meet their spiritual needs as well. We want them to experience the loving generous nature of our Father at a time when they need Him “the most.”

Just this past year we had a family who lost their home in a fire.  They came knocking and seeking help to their physical need.  Upon the door being opened, not only did they receive generous help physically, they came to know God in a new way.  Not being a part of any congregation when they came seeking help, they now worship our Lord on a weekly basis with their new Christian family at a sister congregation in the area.

The food collected will fill the pantries of MRCC, Luther and Capitol Hill.  Our pantry is restocked throughout the year by smaller collections/donations that come in. The pantry is always open and help is always available.  If you need assistance or know of someone, please see someone in the church office or contact Karen Harmon.

Devastation doesn’t make an appointment.  The time to prepare is now.  Our pantry is empty and ready to be filled.          

 - Tonya Patton 

Items Needed: 

peanut butter
canned Meat
canned fruit
canned vegetables
mac & cheese
canned soup
flour pasta noodles and sauce
dish soap
hand soap

Vienna Update

Todd Williams - Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Pat & Carla Jones and their family recently visited our mission team in Vienna, Austria, spending time with Jake & Amanda Haskew, Will & Holly Kooi, and another family close to our hearts and vital to the work there: Bart & Tamika Rybinski.  Here is what Pat & Carla had to say.

Over fall break, Carla, Natalie, Ryan and I visited the church in Vienna, and we would like to report that the experience was beyond expectations. 

On Sunday morning, we were greeted at the home of Jake & Amanda Haskew with the smell of coffee and traditional Viennese breakfast.  In the room was a brother who had been isolated in his walk and sought the church finding a home; a young brother who is on fire in his spirit and talked eagerly about his faith; a young father who had recently been baptized and spoke with passion about work he is involved in helping others;  a sister who now knows that others care deeply about her – and want her in fellowship; a brother and sister who drive from another area of Austria to be with the other Christians because they enjoy their fellowship; spouses of Christians who attend but have not yet committed their lives to Christ.  All of these different paths converge for a day that begins at 10 a.m. and ends at 4:30 p.m.  During the time, God’s word is studied and shared along with lots of coffee, food, and laughter.

During the week, there was so much more.  Active Bible studies focusing on discipleship occur with most of the members.  One afternoon the office filled with energetic and excited children, who came to learn English words and participate in crafts.  Later in the week the office was full of sports kids who took the full energy out of Will, several OC students, and me.  All of these lives, touch points in ministry.

Please pray for Vienna.  Pray that the church in Vienna will be a light for so many who need to see the spirit of Christ modeled in Christian lives.  Pray that each brother and sister will be firm in their faith.  Pray for the spouses who have not yet given themselves to Christ.  Pray that the work of the Haskew, Kooi, and Rybinski families will continue to be God-breathed and rewarded.

- Patrick Jones