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Final Update

Dear Faithful Friends,

May God bless you all to the fullest measure of His grace. May those of you who are tired find rest, those who are sad find happiness and those who are weak find strength.

Last week I heard a sermon about restoration. The main point was that God is not looking to just restore us into good or righteous people but that He wants to restore our JOY. He wants to give us an abundant life! Though that may be difficult to believe at times it is no less true and I believe my family and I will one day soon be more joyful and living life fuller that we ever have before.

On our recent trips up and down the east coast we were blessed to get to spend time with so many of you. We had so many amazingly rich times of fellowship. Thank you for opening your homes and lives to us. I truly wish we had been able to sit down with every one of you and maybe we will be able to in the future.

Things are changing and decisions are being made. God has been at work all along and we are following to the best of our ability. We will not be returning to Brazil to work further with Project AmaZon. This decision has been born out of many factors and is supported by KCM leadership, PAZ leadership and our own understanding of God’s leading.

So where are we going from here? We are settling in Florida close to Fritha’s parents. It will be wonderful to have Grandparents just a few minutes away.

Though this marks the end of our regular updates to our mission in Brazil I hope to keep in touch with you all. Feel free to email jeffbturner@gmail.com or frithaturner@gmail.com, or send us a message on Facebook.

Thank you all again for being our support these past 2 years. Please keep in touch.

In His Peace,

Jeff Turner

May 2012

Rejoicing, gratitude, relief, peace, rest, refreshment
What a sweet relief it is to be home! In the end of March, we arrived in Tampa, FL and have been making a home here at a guest-house owned by Quail Hollow Chapel. We are deeply grateful to be in such a peaceful place. We find ourselves with a fenced-in yard for the kids to play in, a mere 45 minutes away from Dani and Petra’s happy grandparents, and surrounded by peaceful Florida woods. We have made it our job to rest and recover. Thank you so much for enabling us to take this time and heal.
I (Fritha) feel a bit like a science-project plant. You know, the one you put in a box to see what happened when the plant didn’t have sunlight. After a while you took it out and found it shriveled to a brittle, brown shadow of its former self. Well, if I am that plant, then now I feel like I’ve just been taken out of the box. I have sunlight and water and I know I have what I need to grow green and strong again. I no longer fear imminent death. It may take a while to recover, but we have what we need to do it. Praise God!
God’s timing is perfect. Shortly after coming home, my Grammie discovered she has a mass in her abdomen. We are in the process of having it diagnosed now. Being an RN equips me just right to help advocate for her during this time. I have repeatedly felt that I AM RIGHT WHERE I AM SUPPOSED TO BE RIGHT NOW. This sensing offers me such a profound sense of peace in a time where we don’t know where we’ll be come July. I’m learning to live moment by moment and enjoy each one in all of its glory.
I’ve taken many walks. Talked to God many hours. Listened to a profound sermon series titled “The New Normal” from Seacoast Church in Charleston, SC via podcast (http://itunes.apple.com/us/podcast/seacoast-church-audio-weekly/id78249893). Talked to my life-coach. Worked through so much of my “stuff.” Answered questions honestly, been humbled, begged forgiveness, been cleansed, found new vision, discovered God more fully than ever before, rejoiced.
This week we experience a shift in our life. We are heading out on a road-trip that will last about 1 month. From May 14-28, Project AmaZon is sending us to Heartstream Resources (heartstreamresources.org) for a two-week Intensive Care time for missionaries like ourselves who are struggling due to burnout, depression, traumatic experiences on the field, etc. We are blessed with family in NH who offered to care for our girls while we attend this time. Since the Intensive Care time is in PA and Jeff’s Grand Ma Ma is celebrating her 90th birthday in GA, we will be travelling all over the east coast and hope to visit with some of you along the way.
Here’s our itinerary:
May 3: Travel to GA (with a fun family stop along the way, to stretch little legs)
May 4-6: McDonough, Ga
Saturday: Grand Ma Ma’s birthday party
Sunday: Church at Open Door Chapel, then leave for KY
May 7: Visit dear friends (Jeff hasn’t seen in 10 years! And all 3 girls have never met!) in KY
May 8: Travel to PA
May 9-13: Visit friends in PA (girls ride to NH with Jeff’s sister)
May 14-28: Attend Intensive Care time in PA
May 28: Travel to NH (where we see our kids after a LOOOOONG absence)
May 29-31?: Visit friends in NH
?June 1: Travel partway to FL
?June 2: Travel the rest of the way home
Prayer Requests:
Many miles to travel safely and sanely (if that’s remotely possible)
Energy to go! Wisdom to know when we need to stop and rest.
Health. I find it not uncommon to get sick during adventures such as these.
Peace and Security for our girls as they go away for 2 weeks without Muma and Daddy
God’s touch on our Intensive Care time: that we will learn all we can about our journey and sense his leading into His plans for our future

Love,
The Turner Family

Urgent Need

Dear Friends,

I (fritha) just returned from taking Jeff to the airport. He is flying to be with his family. His Dad has been doing poorly physically for the past month or more and is back in the ICU in Atlanta. He is in stable but critical condition. Jeff and I both prayed and both felt peaceful about Jeff going to support his family. So yesterday we bought a ticket and by 12:30 am he will be in Atlanta. His return ticket is for Dec 31st. So we will be Christmas-ing apart this year.

We had the cash available to purchase the ticket, but it was money designated to pay our tax bill this year. So we are trusting God to provide the $2,000 we need to cover this deficit. Please pray with us for this need. And if you would like to give you may do so by clicking DONATE on the right side of the screen.

Please pray that Jeff will be a strong support to his family. That his dad will make a rapid recovery. That the girls and I will have a special covering from the Holy Spirit while our Daddy is gone.

We are so thankful for Don & Betty Best who are working with us in the guest house which enables Jeff to leave and still have responsibilities covered.

Thank you for your prayers,

Fritha, for Jeff, Dani & Petra

Difficult Year, Faithful Father

We’re THANKFUL for God’s faithful provision for us throughout this year!
We’re BLESSED to have friends such as YOU praying for us, believing with us
and giving through us. We’re in AWE of God’s faithfulness through our difficult year.
Praise God from whom all blessings flow! Praise him ALL creatures here below!
Praise him above, ye heavenly host! Praise Father, Son & Holy Ghost!

Recently, a friend gave us an article from a Brazilian magazine Veja which compared
the cost of living in Brazil to the United States. Here are some surprising statistics:

Honda Civic 40″ LED TV Cellphones/min Big Mac
USA: $18,000 $700 $0.10 $3.69
Brazil: $42,000 $1250 $0.38 $6.21

Internet iPad2 16GB Electric Rates Chest Freezer
USA: $25 $499 $0.12 $350
Brazil: $75 $1030 $0.28 $900

To our mind this brings great glory to God for his faithful ability to
provide all of our needs. To provide a car. A refrigerator. A washing
machine. Couches. Tables. Chairs. Beds. Hammocks. Food. Internet. Cell
Phones. Air Conditioners. A home. God can even provide in a place where
costs are some of the highest in the world. Isn’t He GOOD!

All thanks to God and to YOU for being used by God to help meet all of
our needs this past year. We are grateful~a bit overwhelmed~and
humbled. Thank you, Father. Thank you, Friends.

Fried Bananas from Heaven

Two Women, Two Stories, One God

My Story:

At a recent conference, I was sitting looking at my iPhone and not paying close attention to what was being said. Suddenly, the Holy Spirit whispered to me this is for you. I began listening. The speaker had just shared stories of miraculous healing and the dead raising in his church in Indonesia, which is the largest Christian church in a Muslim nation. Now he said, “Let’s practice!” He called for anyone who had a headache or pain in their head to stand up. I have an intermittent issue with tension headaches and the Holy Spirit had just told me this was for me, but I did NOT want to stand up. I waffled. Others stood around me. I waffled until the last moment. I stood up. You just don’t not obey the Holy Spirit. That’s not cool.

When I stood up, I was uncomfortable. My mind whirred with 1,000 thoughts: what will others think? What’s going on here? Is this legitimate, in line with scripture? Who’s in charge? What will people think? In an attempt to quiet this storm, I decided to focus on Jesus alone. I pictured Him across the stadium and gave all my attention to Him. Then He asked me why do you picture me so far away? I’m right here with you.

So by now people are laying their hands on me to pray and I can feel Jesus with them, laying His hands on me also. He was right there with us, among us, one of us. As I bask in His presence suddenly, yet subtly something shifts. Their hands become His hands. We are the body of Christ. He is our head. My dear brothers and sisters were the physical hands of Jesus touching my head, touching my shoulders, touching my back. I could feel Him physically because they were His hands touching me.

I am changed. I’ll never be the same. The headaches are still here. But I know Jesus is with me like I never knew it before. He’s in those who surround me. And He’s in me. I’m glad I stood up.

Her Story:

The pastor from Indonesia shared this true story of a blind woman in his church. There was a woman who was blind before she ever met Jesus. So she had never seen a Bible. Had never read the Word herself. One day she approached a pastor and told him she could see a vision of the Bible. He asked what book she was seeing, she answered Joel 2:12-14. He opened his Bible and asked her to read what she saw in her vision. She read:
12 But there’s also this, it’s not too late—
God’s personal Message!—
“Come back to me and really mean it!
Come fasting and weeping, sorry for your sins!”
13-14Change your life, not just your clothes. 
   Come back to God, your God.
And here’s why: God is kind and merciful. 
   He takes a deep breath, puts up with a lot,
This most patient God, extravagant in love, 
   always ready to cancel catastrophe.
Who knows? Maybe he’ll do it now, 
   maybe he’ll turn around and show pity.
Maybe, when all’s said and done, 
   there’ll be blessings full and robust for your God!
As she read, he read and the texts were identical. Then he turned to her, stunned and said, “This is the passage I am preaching from today. The Lord is on you, you are preaching today.” She preached. The presence of the Lord came down and many people repented and were changed for life.

It just gets better.

This blind woman’s father was a Hindu priest. When she refused to deny Christ, he kicked her out of the home. She suddenly found herself blind and homeless and afraid. So she asked God for help. Their conversation went like this:

Her: God, how can I eat?
Him: My Daughter, don’t be afraid. You will eat, but you must work.
Her: How can I work? I am blind.
Him: You will sell fried bananas.
Her: How will I sell fried bananas? I don’t know the recipe.
Him: I will give you the recipe for fried bananas from heaven.
(She then saw a vision of the recipe)
Her: But how will I know when they are done frying?
Him: My Daughter, don’t worry. I will show you when they are done.

So she gathered the supplies she needed and began to fry bananas. When the first batch was done, she felt a hand take her hand and guide her. Every time the bananas were done, God took her hand and helped her scoop the bananas out of the hot oil. She sold so many fried bananas from heaven that she made the equivalent of 1,500 dollars per month. This is 10 times more than the normal wage in her village.

Two women, two stories, one God. God our Father, God His Son and God His Holy Spirit. Touching hearts. Changing lives. Caring for His own. Do you know this God? He loves you, knows you, cares for you. He longs for you to know him closely. Longs for you to share your life with him. You don’t have to be physically blind for him to talk to you personally. Take me for example. I wasn’t physically blind, but I was blind to the truth. This most patient God, extravagant in love… Experience this love yourself. It’s available, just start the conversation.

Praises:
Fritha is feeling better than she has ever felt in her life! Glory to God!
Our every immediate physical need has been taken care of!
Team Season starts again mid-November on through the summer!

Prayers:
For Jeff to be restored to full strength (he’s a bit under the weather, but he deserves a turn, don’t you think :)
For God to increase our committed financial support to meet our goal of 100% funding.
Team Season starts again mid-November on through the summer!

Info:
As of today we have 70% of our recommended monthly budget. Please, believe with us that God will make this number 100%. If you would like to give you can do so by clicking the DONATE button on the left (tax-deductible) or at http://www.projectamazon.org/footer/donate/?recipient=Jeff%20and%20Fritha%20Turner%20%E2%80%94%20Personal%20Gift (for non-tax-deductible personal gifts.

Spiritual Eyesight

Dear Friends,

I was invited to attend a conference this past weekend in the community of Piriciatuba. People came from far and near to spend the weekend together worshiping God and encourage each other in the faith. While there I suddenly felt God open my spiritual eyes and I saw a glimpse of what he saw for these people. I have attempted to recreate what I saw. I hope it encourages you to look beyond the surface and see with His eyes.

Spiritual Eyesight

I wish I could show you the beauty I see here. It is all around. You might miss it if you look too hard or if you don’t look enough. If you just glance, all you will see are the shacks they have for houses, the mangy dogs, the bare floors and crude benches. If you look to hard you will see that they don’t have electricity or running water and many look years older than they are because of the hard work and harsh sun. There is not a Wal-Mart within a 1000 miles and even the nearest city is 6 hours away by boat. But if you are willing to let God take over your eyes you just might be surprised. You may begin to see things from His perspective.

Children playing soccer in hard packed dirt. An old flat ball is the best they have. They laugh and enjoy the competition. The dust cloud rises all around them like Pig-Pen from a Peanuts cartoon. The beauty is in their contentment.

A group of women gathering in the shade of a home. They are outside because with the heat rising it’s cooler outside where you can catch a breeze than under the roof. They are out of hearing but laughter floats on the breeze and smiles are on their faces. The beauty is in relationships and community. In the shared vision of Christ.

A small boy is running to catch up with his friends. The wind stirs in the mango trees overhead, bringing relief from the heat and ruffling his hair. His friends shout for him to hurry. You get the idea they have important plans like swimming that just can’t wait. The beauty is in their laughter and the joy of being together.

Across the way you can just make out two stools under the banana trees. The men sitting on them have Bibles open on their laps. The heart of hearts in this ministry is discipleship and these man are making time to spend time together before God. The beauty is in the intensity of their postures as they lean close to talk of the things of God.

So looking again I see the dirt yards swept clean. I see gardens free of weeds. A group of young people coming up from the river after bathing off the back of a boat. They take care of themselves and are wearing their best clothes for the evening service. I also see the smiles and the friends reuniting after time apart. The hard work that goes into hosting a conference. And the joy of living lives committed to Christ.

Later, after the sun has set we will all gather under the stars and sing praises to the King of kings and Lord of lords. To rejoice in the God of our salvation. We will also hear a sermon about the importance of confessing our sins and be encouraged to be honest with those who disciple us. And when I open my spiritual eyes I know Christ is present in this place. He has a plan for these people, His people.

Thank you for your prayers as we continue to serve God here in the Amazon.

Jeff Turner and Family

July 2011

 

July – summer time, vacation month, congresso and becoming a family again.

Family Time

This month has been all about us as a family. The work with the guest house was lighter than normal and so we were able to focus on what it is to be a family. When Fritha returned from the states we had to jump right into the ministry. It left very little time for us to reconnect after two months apart. This month we have had many opportunities to spend time together. Fritha and I have been getting up early to start the day together and I have had time to play with the girls. This is also vacation month in Brazil and so we have taken advantage of the neighborhood kids being out of school to build relationships with them. We are fitting in and establishing routines. All good things as we continue adapting to life in Brazil.

Congresso da PAZ

The first weekend in July is always a busy time for the PAZ church in Santarém. Every year the Church hosts an evangelistic crusade in the local soccer stadium. Months in advance the drama and dance teams begin practicing and the set crews begin designing. Hundreds of people form prayer teams and hold vigils in the weeks leading up to the big event. Then for three nights the stadium is packed to overflowing with 10 to 12 thousand people anxious to hear the Gospel.

Looking Ahead

The months ahead are shaping up to be either feast or famine. August promises to be a busy month with two teams back to back. Then we have no confirmed team until December. We are communicating with a few churches about trips and are trusting God to bring things together. This could be a big blessing as it would give us more time to work on the language and fit into the Brazilian way of life. Then next year starts with a bang! Five teams already confirmed and most of those in the first few months.

Unwavering Faith

The world wide economic crisis is all around us. All of us know someone who is suffering. Someone who is out of a job or is having to work harder than ever before to just scrape by. We know some of those people and for reasons God knows have become one of those families. We are in a new era of watchfulness to see that we are doing all we can with the resources God provides.

With the uncertainty in Washington the dollar is falling rapidly all over the world. Here in Brazil not only is the dollar falling but the Brazilian economy is thriving. Prices are rising on everything from electricity and housing to food and clothing. How good to know in times like these that our hope is not in man or the dollar but in God.

In that vein we are calling on God to help us. We are not content to remain where we are but are seeking God for a renewal in our finances. We would like to have more money to use in ministry, to save for furlough and our children’s education, to be able to occasionally turn on an air conditioner and escape the heat of the Amazon. Will you join with us in prayer for these things? Will you also ask God if you are to be part of our financial team? Our current monthly donations are at 68% of our goal. There is no longterm commitment needed just a willingness to seek God and follow Him wherever He leads for as long as He directs.

Praises:

  • Time spent with family
  • Thousands coming to God at the Congresso
  • 60,000 people in Santarém attending cell groups (home churches)

Prayer Requests:

  • The two teams in August.
  • Strength and ability to help immerse them in the God’s work here.
  • God to provide teams to come between September and November
  • Creative ways to continue language training
  • Improved financial position

Thank you all for your constant love and support.

Jeff Turner

Three Teams in a Row

Life here in the Amazon has changed drastically over the past few months. Gone are the days of consistent schedules based on language lessons and our few responsibilities. Gone too are the days of feeling useless because we are still so new that we can’t really be useful to the work here. We have jumped in with both feet and are experiencing the joy and stretching involved with hosting teams.

We have been blessed to have three teams since the beginning of May. Every one different and every one teaching us new things. I have learned to be more flexible than ever before. I have also learned the importance of a good support group. Once, due to a scheduling mishap, we had two teams in town at once. I’m sure I had a little crazed look in my eye as I ran back and forth from our house (where one team was staying) to the guest house (to check on the other team) and back again several times an hour. During that time I was reminded of a conversation I had with one of the veteran missionaries. He encouraged me to remember in the times of hardship that this is what I had worked for, dreamed of, prayed for, raised support for, studied for, and sacrificed for. In other words “no whining.” I took that to heart and glorify God that even when I was at my lowest energy level I was still excited to be doing His work. I wanted to spend every moment I could with the teams. I have enjoyed the chance to show them the Amazon and talk about what God is doing here. Plus, I receive encouragement from hearing their stories and experiences with God.

We are getting a beak from guest house work this next month and plan to spend more time in language studies and ministry here in the city. It will be nice to spend some time with the family and recover from the busyness of the past two months.

Praises:
Three great teams in a row
A feeling of being involved with the ministry
Fritha becoming more comfortable here

Prayer requests:
Continued language studies
Financial support to be increased
God’s blessing on the next teams and our preparation for them
That God will be preparing the hearts of the communities we minister to

Thank you everyone for the blessing you are to us,

Jeff Turner

Another Church Added!

March 24-April 2 – McDonough, GA
~March 27 – Sharing at Open Door Chapel

April 3- Sharing at Fall Creek Baptist Church in Salem, South Carolina

~Sharing at Charity Baptist Church at 6pm

April 7-9 – Southern NH
~April 7 – Sharing at Chestnut Hill Chapel at 6pm

April 11-17 – Lancaster, PA

~April 17 – Sharing at New Providence Church of God (both morning services)

April 18-20 – Charleston, SC

April 21 – Jacksonville, FL & Lake Wales, FL

April 22-May 1 Tampa, FL

Update on Travel Plans

God blessed our journey from Brazil to Florida. We made it safely without one episode of uncontrollable crying (from either the girls, their mother or Jane). Many kind souls helped us along the way, including one gentleman on the long flight who gave up his row of 3 seats so that Petra could nap with me next to her.

Our stay in Florida was a rich time filled with soul-satisfying visits. The Holy Spirit helped tremendously as I shared at Quail Hollow Chapel and Ruskin United Methodist Church. Praises be to the Father! Gloria a Deus!

March 24-April 2 – McDonough, GA
~March 27 – Sharing at Open Door Chapel

April 3- Sharing at Fall Creek Baptist Church in Salem, South Carolina

April 7-9 – Southern NH
~April 7 – Sharing at Chestnut Hill Chapel st 6pm

April 11-17 – Lancaster, PA

~April 17 – Sharing at New Providence Church of God (both morning services)

April 18-20 – Charleston, SC

April 21 – Jacksonville, FL & Lake Wales, FL

April 22-May 1 Tampa, FL

Thank you for your prayers! God has been filling up a vast emptiness inside me and he has been using all of you! I still feel thirsty and am excited I have 5 weeks to go. I’m like unto a dry sponge dropped into a pool of water. Thanks for being so wet all you dear friends.

(Thanks to Jeff!)

 

 

April 18-30 – Tampa, FL