Saturday, July 31, 2010

Update on Ethan's Trip to Ukraine

Ethan is feeling really great now. Thank you for praying for his healing! The antibiotics began to work very quickly, and God has restored him. Praise the Lord!

Priluki has changed quite a bit from our days there four years ago, Ethan says. There is much that has remained the same, too, but it has been interesting for him to walk around and see the changes. God brought different people on his path while he walked through town a few times. In Ukraine, people walk a lot, and much of the shopping is done on the streets or walking from shop to shop. It is SO easy to see people you know and visit with them. God brought one man to him who is right now not going to church and not walking with the Lord. Though it has been really tough for Ethan to remember the Russian language, he was still able to communicate a bit, and also he prayed for him there on the street (in English). The next day he saw him again, but this time Pastor Vlad was with him and was able to translate. They were blessed with a real time of ministry with this man, and Ethan was able to challenge him on some issues. God is faithful to seek out his lost sheep. Ethan was also able to see and visit with some friends from the church who came to Vlad's home where Ethan was staying. I am sure it must have been amazing to see these young couples who now have children!

On Thursday and Friday evening, Ethan taught at the church a short course in Early Church History. Pastor Vlad had asked him to teach on this subject. I have not heard from Ethan yet how things went, but I know he was praying for an opportunity to visit and minister to people after the class. That is very difficult with the language, so I prayed that God gave him a translator to help with that time. I will let you know how things went as soon as I hear.

Sunday Ethan will be preaching in Priluki, and then later in the day, he will travel to Chernigov to visit with friends there and participate in the ministry there. God has really opened a door for the pastor in Chernigov to do publishing work in the Russian language. They have translated and printed several excellent and challenging Christian books from the English language related to theology and spiritual growth. They also host a Russian language website for John Piper's preaching and to advertise some books. The most recent need they have is to fund the printing of Randy Alcorn's Heaven and Wayne Grudem's Systematic Theology. I would really like to get the word out so that anyone who might feel led to pray for them or support them financially could do so. Here is some further information:
Jake Knott's website (the pastor/missionary in Chernigov) has all the links and information for In Lumine, their publishing company. The In Lumine website is also in English, so you may click on the "Eng" on the top to view it that way. Jake's website also gives information on supporting their work. You can designate funds if you wish them to go toward the book publishing specifically.

Thank you for your continued prayers. May God continue to give Ethan open doors and boldness to share with people the wonderful Gospel of Jesus Christ and the truth of God to all who hear.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Answered Prayer

Ethan arrived in Ukraine today, and he is feeling better. He was able to sleep in the airplane and in the Istanbul airport. He took some antibiotics and another medication, and they both helped. Both the body aches and the diarrhea are much improved. He is now in Kyiv, Ukraine with the pastor and his wife from Priluki. They will go back to Priluki, and Ethan will be teaching three times this week. He is so happy to be there. Praise the Lord. Thank you for your support in prayer!

Monday, July 26, 2010

God's Work

A View of a street in the Korogocho slum
I just got to talk to Ethan on the phone! He called to ask for prayer because he is very sick right now with a gastro-intestinal illness and body aches. He told me some amazing stories of how God is working in Kenya right now, and it is obvious that they are experiencing spiritual warfare. He said they experience much spiritual oppression and darkness in that land. Their team has been so great, and he has been blessed by them. Please also pray for one of the other team members who is also sick.

The first interesting fact I learned was that Ethan and his teammate, Josh, were teaching in Korogocho (not Kibera) last Friday and Saturday. This is remarkable because this slum is about 2 steps poorer than the huge Kibera Slum. The pastors there were so hungry to learn, and they asked for them to come back and teach them again.

Here is a story about a supernatural thing God did while they were there. Four of the African pastors along with Ethan and Josh were walking through an alley in the slum. The alley was only about a meter and a half wide with an open sewer running through the middle of the way. It was a dangerous area where people cannot walk alone, especially foreigners. As they were walking, Ethan saw a beautiful young woman walk by who had white skin, shiny blond hair, and piercing blue eyes. She was alone and walked by them in this narrow alleyway. Ethan had thought about turning around and asking what she was doing there, but he did not. When he asked the other men if they had seen her, they said "no." He believes it might have been an angel. God is there amongst the poorest of the poor, and he is sending his ministering angels there. After telling my mother-in-law this story, she told me that this angel may have been sent to protect the group of men that were walking. God knows! Praise His name! Psalm 91:11 says: "For He shall give His angels charge over you,
To keep you in all your ways."

On Sunday morning they went to Kibera for a service. You can read a few comments about that on TLI's facebook. Ethan conveyed to me that it was beyond description at that moment, and that he would have to tell me about it again when he gets home. All in all, we praise God for all He is doing in His kingdom around the world. There are believers in many nations, our brothers and sisters in Christ. May God's fame spread throughout the entire world.

Saturday, July 24, 2010

Kibera Slum

I learned from a wikipedia article on the Kibera slum in Kenya that this slum is the second largest slum in Africa with over 1 million inhabitants. The pastors Ethan and the team are teaching live and minister in this informal settlement. Here are some photos I found from other websites on the internet giving you an idea of the geography of this area:

The team leader posted a quick note on how the teaching is going today on the TLI facebook page:
"Teaching how to study the Bible by studying Philemon in the slums of Nairobi brings A LOT of interesting questions from the pastors."
Please pray that these pastors might be refreshed by God's word and be encouraged by the love of God.

Another note came from the team leader yesterday saying that Ethan and Darren are both healed from their illnesses. Thank you for all who prayed and continue to pray for their health and safety.

Friday, July 23, 2010

Please Keep Praying...

Ethan wrote and said he is starting to feel better, and he thinks the fever might be gone. Praise God! There are two other team members suffering from diarrhea. They are experiencing spiritual warfare, so they believe that God has something really special in the next days planned in the slums where they will be ministering. Please pray for them!

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Prayer Requests and Report from Ethan

Ethan with his group of Lay Leaders in Nairobi
We finished up our training with the lay leaders of the Nairobi Anglican diocese. They have a good knowledge of the Bible but are weak in relating and expressing those individual truths in a systematic way. It was exciting to come alongside them and take what they know and strengthen them and build on that foundation. These lay leaders do the majority of pastoral ministry within their parishes. They have a tough job. We created a Facebook page for Training Leaders International where you can see some pictures of our training time and maybe even some video of the amazing music.
Teaching time

Last night I came down with a fever and have been pretty wiped out all day—lots of body aches and zero energy. This morning I attended a training time for our ministry in the slum churches that is supposed to start tomorrow, but had to stay at the school this afternoon. I slept about five hours. So, please pray for me and for our team leader, Darren Carlson, who is also starting to feel sick.

We are going to start our training with the church leaders and pastors in the slums tomorrow. One of my teammates and I are going to one of the roughest slums in Nairobi. Please pray for healing and energy for me, for safety for us, and especially for the filling and empowering of the Holy Spirit to serve these brothers who serve Jesus in the midst of numbing poverty. They have asked us to help them understand the history of the time of Jesus and the spread of the early church in Acts and then to do some teaching on Bible studying and applying the Bible. We will also be teaching on a Biblical view on suffering, and on money. This is desperately needed in Africa where the cancer of prosperity teaching is exploding. This "gospel" is the most shameful fruit of the American church and is devastating the African church. You may read more about this at the Gospel Coalition’s website: or watch a video on this at:
Please pray for us as we teach and confront this heresy with the truth of God's word.

Thank you for your prayers.

Grace Mercy and Peace,
Ethan Larson

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

A Great Day at the Fair

I can't show any photos because Ethan took the camera with him on the mission trip, but I can tell you we had a lovely afternoon and evening today at the county fair. We were there almost six hours looking at animals, riding some of the rides (I bought discounted tickets in advance at Service Foods), and enjoying some of the exhibits and shows. Today was the first day so there were only a few people there, parking was free, and we had great weather. We also saw two of my sisters there with their families. That made it extra special. The kids were so good, and I made sure to compliment them for that, because as a parent some days I spend more time scolding them than encouraging them. I need to find as many opportunities to encourage them as I can! Today was one of those days. (Yesterday was the opposite, I am sorry to say.) Thank you so much to all who prayed for me regarding the kids and me. To God be the glory.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Pray For the Last Day...

Ethan's last day of teaching the lay leaders in Nairobi will be Wednesday, then they will spend time with and teach pastors from the informal settlements (slums) of Nairobi. Here is a quick update from Ethan:

I am having a good time in Africa. I am teaching all day and then usually spending the evenings studying. tomorrow is my last day of teaching this group and I still have lots to get through so pray for me. the group of people i am teaching is really wonderful. very nice people. three men and four ladies. they are lay leaders in the churches.

The weather is cool here. i didn't bring enough cold weather stuff. Thursday to sunday we are working with some pastors and lay leaders in the slum churches.

Ok It is late i need to get to sleep.

And here is a quick update from me:
"Be still and know that I am God." Psalm 46:10 Being still and trusting is often exactly the opposite of what we feel like doing, but it is exactly what we need to do. Please pray for me as reality has set was a difficult day with the kids. Lots of good moments, too, but lots of difficulties as well. I need the power of the Spirit and the armor of God more than ever. Thank God, His grace is sufficient through everything, and we are kept by the power of God. I have life because of what Jesus Christ has done for us on the cross, I am sealed by the Holy Spirit because I believe, and I am in the excellent care of my Heavenly Father. My kids are His lambs, and He will carry them. Hallelujah.

Monday, July 19, 2010

An Update from Kenya

Ethan sent a personal email to the kids and me, but I would like to share a few excerpts. Please pray for him as he continues to teach all day the next two days. They are teaching 11 classes in three days on theological foundations and God-centered living. They will need much wisdom and power from the Spirit. Here is the email:
Hi everyone! Jombo!
I got my laptop working with the college internet system this afternoon and am finally able to write.
my flights all went well and i didn't have any neck or back trouble. thank you everyone for praying! ...
...I just finished my first day of teaching and it went well. I am very tired. saturday and sunday night I slept well because I was tired from the flight, but last night I did not sleep well, only about 3-4 hours. Taught from 9am to 5 pm today very long but good students and good communication i think.
yesterday we went to a great church. anglican, i loved the liturgy, the worship; good hymns (with some african style) plus worship songs in english and swahili, and great communion time.
my team is really great, and the school here is nice. Nairobi is a big city both very poor and very rich together.
I miss you all so much!! thanks for all of your prayers.

Saturday, July 17, 2010

Preaching in Kenya

Dear Praying Friends:
Ethan's team with Training Leaders International was scheduled to arrive in Kenya this morning (our time). After a night of sleep (hopefully), they will spend Sunday morning in prayer and then splitting up to preach at various churches in the slums of Nairobi. Please pray for Ethan as he preaches tomorrow morning. May God's name be lifted high, His truth proclaimed causing many to find freedom, and Jesus Christ to be glorified.

The kids and I are doing really great, by God's grace. I can tell that people are praying for us. Please continue to pray for us. The thunderstorms/tornado watches are causing some anxiety and fear in the kids. Also, some different loved ones are having health problems which causes some anxiety. Grumpy times suddenly come upon us just before meals and at bedtime. This is normal, of course, but I pray that God will deliver us from evil and from the enemy of our souls who would like to make things miserable for us. I have found SUCH comfort in God's word and the promise that "The LORD is my shepherd." We are His sheep, and He is carrying the little lambs in His arms (my kids :). We have enjoyed some fun times together the last few days, praise the Lord.

Thanks for the support! Love, Elysia

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

A Letter From Ethan

I am currently in Minneapolis, and I will be meeting with my team tomorrow and Friday to finalize our preparations. We all climb into the sardine tube on Friday night to fly out to Amsterdam then Nairobi.

I fly to Ukraine on the 27th (2:30 AM departure! Pray!), and I will spend Wednesday to Sunday (July 28-Aug. 1) in Priluki meeting with and encouraging our friends there. I am teaching Thursday and Friday and again on Sunday. From Monday to Thursday (Aug. 2-5) I will be in Chernigov visiting the church there and some of my old missionary team-mates. Pray for good conversations during this time and vision for ministry in Ukraine.

I will try and send some updates but am unsure how much web access I will have in Kenya. Check in on Elysia's blog ( and Elysia's Facebook, and thank you for your prayers.

Specific Prayer Requests:

Pray for my family as they adjust to Daddy being gone from home.

Praise God for his abundant provision for my trip. Looks like everything will be covered!

Pray for the truth of the word and power of the Spirit as I preach and teach. Love, grace, wisdom, and effectiveness in communication as I teach and preach.

Pray for my final preparation. I am feeling overwhelmed by the amount of material I have been given. I know we will not teach it all but it is intimidating nonetheless as it is a lot to prepare for.

Pray for safe travel and healthy body: I have heard weird stories about anti-malaria drugs…strange dreams, etc. That could be interesting.
My back has been feeling sore… and I have a long appointment with an airline seat.
I would rather not pick up any parasitical/viral 'friends'

Grace in remembering Russian so that I can visit with friends there.

All for now,
Ethan Larson

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

God is Faithful!

Ethan is leaving tomorrow for Minneapolis, and then heads out for Kenya on Friday. God has provided for all the expenses including clothing needs (Ethan's wardrobe was pretty small and he did not have enough of the business casual attire needed....God provided all of that this week), books/gifts for ministers in Ukraine, travel and lodging expenses, and teaching expenses. Praise God he was able to find a ride down to the Cities and also someone to stay with Weds. night in Minneapolis before his meetings on Thursday.

Please pray for a few more needs:
Ethan needs to buy a used blazer in case a suit is required at one of his preaching engagements in Kenya.
Cross-cultural communication and teaching.
Ethan's preparations for teaching and preaching.
Health and Safety.

Pray for the people who will be ministered to in Kenya and Ukraine. Pray that many hearts would receive all that God has for them in the knowledge of Him.

Hallelujah! Amen.

Garden Update

onions, peppers, tomatoes, sunflowers
tons of raspberries this year!

Ethan's parents asked for more pictures of the garden. Peter John took all these photos for me. We are picking about two zucchini per day. I can't believe they grow that fast! We also just harvested a huge piles of green and yellow snap beans. I blanched and froze six bags. There will be more to come in a day or two! I am looking forward to eating them this winter. Thank you, Lord!

Saturday, July 3, 2010

A Passion to Preach Christ

Dear Friends:
We are gearing up for Ethan's big trip to Kenya and Ukraine July 16th. Recently Ethan had the opportunity to fill in for our pastor who was on a mission trip. Being able to preach again brought a spark to Ethan's eye and renewed his desire to preach and teach. Though he has done this for many years, the past couple of years have been a time of transition, study, and waiting. Then, last week, I read these words from Oswald Chambers in My Utmost for His Highest:

"If that I may apprehend that for which also I am apprehended." Philippians 3:12

Never choose to be a worker; but when once God has put His call on you, woe be to you if you turn to the right hand or to the left. We are not here to work for God because we have chosen to do so, but because God has apprehended us.

This is the kind of passion that Ethan has to preach Christ. He cannot let it go, though God has seen it fit for us to wait for a time. Studying again has been very hard work, but I believe in the end will produce something good.

Good news! Ethan will be able to receive credit towards his Master's degree for the work he will be doing preparing to teach overseas this summer as well as for the time he will spend teaching in Nairobi and Priluki. How exciting that he will receive a benefit towards his degree. He also was able to obtain some transfer credits for a "Leadership" class from his studies at Calvary Chapel School of Ministry as well as for his many years of work as a Bible teacher in the area of "Field Experience." These benefits will save Ethan some money and time. Thank you, Lord! He plans to return to studies this August full-time, and Lord willing, will receive a Master's in Theological Studies next Spring.

We are very excited about the curriculum Ethan and the other men will be teaching in Nairobi. They will be ministering to a large group of lay leaders from churches in Nairobi as well as doing a separate seminar for the Pastors. The material they will be covering will be Biblical Theology, Spiritual Growth, Church History, and How to Study the Bible. These will be wonderful opportunities to minister to these men who have devoted their lives to serving Jesus Christ. In Priluki, Ukraine, Ethan will be teaching some Church History material to the church there. We must PRAY for these times.

Prayer Requests:

  • For the preparations for teaching in July and August
  • For the Men who are serving Jesus Christ in Kenya and Ukraine
  • For financial provision for this trip. We are still waiting on the Lord for some funds needed.
  • Good health and safety
Thank you for praying!!!!