Pastor Steve Aguzzi

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August 12, 2018


Carolyn Poteet


"Light in Action"


Psalm 86:9-12
1 John 2:7-14

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August 9, 2018

~   Psalm 27:1-8  ~ 

The Lord is my light and my salvation -
whom shall I fear? 
The Lord is the stronghold of my life -
of whom shall I be afraid?  

When the wicked advance against me to devour me, it is my enemies and my foes who will stumble and fall.  Though an army besiege me, my heart will not fear; though war break out against me, even then I will be confident.  One thing I ask from the Lord, this only do I seek: that I may dwell in the house of the Lord all the days of my life, to gaze on the beauty of the Lord and to seek him in his temple.  For in the day of trouble he will keep me safe in his dwelling; he will hide me in the shelter of his sacred tent and set me high upon a rock.  Then my head will be exalted above the enemies who surround me; at his sacred tent I will sacrifice with shouts of joy; I will sing and make music to the Lord.  Hear my voice when I call, Lord; be merciful to me and answer me.  My heart says of you, "Seek his face!" Your face, Lord, I will seek. 

Dear MLEPC Members and Friends,

By this Sunday, our MLEPC Kenya Mission Team will have arrived back home in Pittsburgh, PA, praise the Lord! As someone who has experienced the same traveling to, and ministry with, the people of East Kano, Kenya (2013), I can say two things with confidence: 1. The trip is exhausting, and 2. The trip is one of the single ministry highlights of one's life. God the Father, Jesus Christ, and the Holy Spirit are at work there.


It is difficult to explain going from the United States to East Kano. I had been on mission trips to various parts of the world before, but there is something about Africa that is different. In so many ways, it is surreal, and beautiful, and completely refreshing. Most of the people I met had joy to overflowing, and a faith that was fire-tested and approved by the Lord. The zeal there for the gospel of Jesus Christ and for worship was like none I had ever experienced, and the pastors and leaders there were committed to the work of the gospel, to prayer, and to unbridled, surrendered praise. You all experienced this when Pastors Hudson and Job visited the States. On the other hand, East Kano is a place of great physical need and even spiritual suffering. Indigenous religious sensibilities and dangerous superstitions are still present, and poverty, political unrest, and the threats of religious conflict are ever looming, if not directly present. Clean drinking water is scarce, and the people of East Kano particularly are at the mercies of the land for sustenance-a land which must be rained upon but not too much, and dry, but not too dry.


 This year's team of Pastor Carolyn Poteet, James Ombiri, Phelgona Ombiri, Bruce Tenenbaum, Jim Fondelier, Kristen Waugh, Caden Smith, Emmett Meinzer and Danielle Wise responded faithfully to the call of God to return to the Ombiri's home town and minister. One of the most interesting things that has occurred there in East Kano is the primary shift in focus on how ministry is done. Humanitarian advances and assistance is still important (ask Elder Jim Fondelier about that!), but there has also been an emphasis on relationship building, training of ministry leaders, worship, and the proclamation of the gospel of Christ. Beyond this, there has been an extreme emphasis on ministry to the next generation, through youth conferencing. Does this sound familiar? It sounds an awful lot like the changes that are taking place at MLEPC. Though these ministry foci took place at the same time, they were not 'planned' or 'arranged' or 'strategized.' Except perhaps by God. You see, what God is doing in East Kano and what God is doing at MLEPC, thousands of miles away, seem pretty darn similar to me. And that's not an accident. Years ago, through the immense sacrifices and prayerful obedience of the Ombiri family, our church was gifted with the honor and the privilege of building a bridge to this African town. And all of us are better for it. This year, the Ombiri family has been through so much pain and loss, and yet they still led this team as the family on the ground in East Kano, and for that we are grateful. My prayer: may their love of the people in their home town be rewarded with a healing and peace that transcends the loss and the pain.


Please continue to pray these things as the team arrives home: 1.) For safety and protection for the team during re-entry. This is both for physical mercies as well as spiritual protection. When we seek to shed the light of Christ, the darkness follows not too far behind. Pray for spiritual purity and that the team members are not ridiculed or brought to points of suffering by the enemy (as an aside, even when missionaries pay a price for their obedience, God is faithful and ever present. He will redeem any loss experienced, as mentioned in I Peter 5:10: "And after you have suffered a little while, the God of all grace, who has called you to his eternal glory in Christ, will himself restore, confirm, strengthen, and establish you." Or in the words of the Canadian rock band Rush, from their 1991 song entitled Bravado: "We will pay the price, but we will not count the cost.") 
2.) That the ministry done there, especially the youth conferences, the pastoral training, the preaching, the worship, the evangelistic meetings, the revivals, and the gospel gatherings would all produce fruit that is glorifying to God and a blessing to the people there. May God seal the new Christians there with the Holy Spirit and protect them from the temptations of the enemy. 
3.) For all the ministry that was done for the alleviation of suffering and the betterment of the community in East Kano: LifeStraws, Eyeglasses, Medical Clinic, Goat and Chicken projects, School Grounds, School Computers, and for God's financial provision for the mission this year and beyond. 
4.) That seeds were planted that will sprout forth with the fruits of the gospel of Jesus Christ. 
5.) That pastors and leaders in East Kano would be equipped with every spiritual gift, fruit, and skill, to evangelize, lead, and preach with power and effectiveness.


One last thing I'd like to mention before ending this already long letter. I wanted to point out something I noticed about the team our church sent to Kenya this year. Call me crazy, but this bunch of people is special in that they were willing to simply be used by God. They had no preconceived ideas in mind. They did not put conditions on their willingness to be used and did not demand that the ministry in Kenya conform to their ideas. One of our missionaries wrote in their bio that he "...will be assisting with All Things and Any Things." Even the prospects of extreme illness, at home demands, and the experience of pain, suffering, and loss did not stop them from being obedient to God's call. What can we learn from this group, if not the reality that real ministry comes through surrender, and sacrifice, and putting one's own opinions and preferences on the back burner long enough to listen and see and take note of what God is doing in our very midst? I know that this is a very valuable lesson to me personally-one for which I am grateful. May our entire church become sold out to this idea: 'Lord Jesus, surrender me to Your will, so that I may be an instrument through which You change the world, and establish Your kingdom.'


Yours in Christ,

Pastor Steve 


A Special Message from 

Pastor Carolyn and the Kenya Mission Team:  

Greetings from Nakuru, Kenya!


We are in our final stretch before we leave Nairobi on Thursday evening. We can't wait to tell you some of our incredible God stories on Sunday. In the last week, more than 300 people have given their lives to Christ!! I still can't believe it! The first 220 heard the gospel through door-to-door evangelism and open-air crusades. Then another 100+ gave their lives to Christ at the youth conference - that's 30% of the students who came! God is so much stronger than we weak humans can imagine. Pastor Job and his team were fantastic to work with, and we all learned so much from them. We have lots of other stories to share about wells and goats and sheep and a whole flock of students chasing Caden Smith. And a hen named Pastor Chicken. We hope to see you Sunday - we may be jet lagged, but we will be there! 


In the meantime, please pray for safe travels, freedom from illness, and the powerful presence of Jesus with us every step of the journey.



Pastor Carolyn 

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