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Summer 2016 saw Zach Fowler, Ashley Davis, Montana Wood, Kirsten Chadwick and Joel Ziola travel to Macedonia to serve in the Syrian Refugee Crisis. They came alongside ministry partners in a Glasnost church as they visited a refugee camp daily to connect with refugees from Syria, Afghanistan, Iran and Iraq. The relationships that were formed allowed for the sharing of the Gospel and powerful conversation about Jesus.

The world doesn’t have a clear plan or solution to this crisis. There are many families who have been separated and torn apart because of the war. The prayer going forward is that families would be safe and reconciled to each other in their journey and that Jesus would continue to pursue them. Please pray for the Middle East and Europe as this crisis unfolds. If you wish to help financially, contact Zach Fowler at zjf3@txstate.edu and he can connect you to the ministry partners in Macedonia. CCC missionaries to Macedonia are Bobby and Dorothy Arnold.

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July 18-25, 2016 we spent a week in Santiago, Nuevo Leon, Mexico with the Palabra de Vida church family.  Pastor David Grimaldo invited us to come and serve alongside them as they hosted an “escuelita” (Vacation Bible School) at their church for the kids in their community. Our team led the game portion of the “escuelita” which featured around 80 kids.

We also built relationships with some of the teenagers and young adults in their community.

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Besides losing to them in soccer we also went out on the streets to share the love of Jesus with the people of Santiago. Many new and long lasting relationships were established during our time there between our team and the people of Santiago! God is faithful. The door is open for a team from Cypress Creek Church to go and continue the Lord's work in Santiago, Nuevo Leon!

2016 Team: Jose Abaroa, Joel Hernandez, Taylor Abaroa, Mallori Hernandez, Paulina De La Fuente, Amanda Douglass, Adriel Chavez and Edgar Valladares.

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June 19 – July 3, 2016 Mission Team members included: Mitchell McLeod, Kathy Holly, Rachel Alder, Anna Young, Mike Allbritton, Louise Curtis, Deborah Hartman, Richard Hartman, Dina Verhaalen, Sue Ellen Stavrand, Shannon Tyson, Donnie Tyson, Eric Dietrich and Tawny Jones.

Team 1 – Completed training at 2 locations in Thailand — to train and connect with people in Thailand to train local leaders to implement Bridges to Life (A Christ Centered Prison Ministry) to Thailand.

Team 2 – Work projects needed for approval of a brand new medical clinic in a remote village in Burma.  We built a medical waste incinerator as our big project and the clinic opened the last day we were there and had seen 543 patients by August, 2016.

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We also served the Thailand Home for the Handicapped, participated in Thai Traditional Drama adapted for evangelism and, of course, rode elephants. The funds earned from the rides went to help girls from Burma stay out of prostitution.

Future needs: There are always needs and they are constantly changing. There are over 25 different projects going on with more than three different ministries that Cypress Creek Church is connected to in Thailand and Burma.

Here is a link to a video about the project done in Burma.

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The children in I Choose You are growing and thriving! June 2016 Paulina DeLaFuente, Cody Kitchen, Bailey Robertson, Hunter Sundbeck, Andrew Nguyen, Madison Nguyen and Becky Ball spent two weeks with the children. It was a very special and very unusual trip for us. The children are always in school so we have to schedule our days around the different times through out the day to be able to spend time with them. This summer we spent the day, playing on a playground and swimming at a hotel with the “littles”, ages 3 to 7. Then the following day we took the “middles”, ages 8-12, on a trip to Sippi Falls, in the mountains, where we climbed up to the falls. After that we went on the opposite mountain, had a picnic, the children sang and danced then we divided them into two groups for Bible teachings. We had two wonderful days where we could spend quality time with the children.

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We then spent the next six days working in The I Choose You office, going into Namatala for a small wounds clinic that Bailey put on, checking on the families and helping with lunch at school, talking to teachers and the kids and their friends. On Friday, we were able to go to the secondary schools track meet where our student, Ambrose competed in three running events….he did very well!! Then on Saturday we had our Family Day at the church where we handed out new backpacks and t-shirts. We took new pictures and the children had prepared singing and dancing performances for us. We ended our trip by taking the “bigs” to the western part of the country (2 day journey) to a safari. You would think that because they live there that they have been before but this was the first time for them. It was wonderful, quality time spent with them….from having Bible study with them each night to teaching them to two-step to just hanging with them and listening to them. They are all wonderful young men and women, really growing in the Lord and so appreciative for all that their sponsors provide for them. God is doing amazing things in Mbale/Namatala, Uganda and we are blessed to be a part of it.

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Lulwanda Children’s Home

In 2015 we brought science camp to Lulwanda.  Now, fast forward to 2016 and we found ourselves once again teaching science but this time to the teachers.  The teaching tools would be modeled and teachers themselves would take the lead role in teaching the P4 and P5 classes. Their joy came spilling out in dance and praise.

We asked two teachers from each group to model teach in the classrooms.  We sat on the sidelines and just enjoyed the way these teachers absorbed the learning.  What unfolded before our eyes demonstrated what we hoped would happen; students talking, working cooperatively, asking questions of their group, taking charge of their own learning and being proficient in that learning. They asked for more and we knew that science had truly come to Lulwanda.

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Sunrise Primary School

Each year we ask God for a blessing to know His plan for Books Are The Beginning.  This year God planted the seedling of a new work in a little village outside Mbale.  The school is “Sunrise Primary School” where over 450 students attend.  We were contacted about their need for a library.  So we arrived with our trunks and boxes loaded on the vans.  We pulled out thousands of supplies: pencils, erasers, pens, bookmarks, notebooks, pencil sharpeners, and bags to house all these items.  But we brought with us the most important supply they will ever receive, 450 copies of the Word of God, one for each student and faculty member went into those bags. These students many of whom had never owned a book of any kind now held in their hands the Word which will go home to family members. Every one of us, as we handed them one of these gifts, received a nod, a soft word or a bow of thanks.  We told them how God’s people had given the funds to bless them with these items and a Bible.  The real blessing was for us and for those of you who gave ahead to this project.  Pray that God allows each of us to continue the contributions for this project and for us to follow the light down a path toward Sunrise.

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Written by Adam Watson

Our journey to Mozambique was much more than we could have bargained for. We had several team members contract malaria, we ate mice, we made deep friendships and we partnered with an excellent organization called Children’s Relief International. As a team, we were blessed to have favor with the believers in the city of Dondo, Mozambique. Dondo has estimated population of 90,000 people and roughly 80% of those individuals live in humble homes made of mud and sticks. Mozambique as a nation has an HIV rate of 62% and those with AIDS is around 30%. The country is also dealing with corruption and a food shortage coming out of a nearly 30-year civil war. The desperate need is more than one can bear. Yet, there is hope, a relentless joy and hope in Jesus Christ.

I want to tell you about a young man named Ercylio Dos Santos. He is a man with a vision from God to see his community grow and depend on Jesus Christ. His passion is contagious to any with whom he comes in contact. Ercylio was once the best national handball player in the whole country. Not yet a believer, this local handball phenom fell in love with the pastor’s daughter, Ana. As the story goes, she would only date him if he came to her dad’s church. Well, the Lord worked in some not so mysterious ways and Ercylio became a passionate follower of Jesus Christ. He began to understand that God had given him a unique platform on which to share the gospel.

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As his playing career began to wind down he felt called to ministry. He decided to use the talents that God had given him and began coaching young men who played handball. Within a few months he started a team with the desire to train, coach and tutor the young men. They competed nationally and were number two in the entire country. The original team has now multiplied four times. They have over 65 young men being discipled in Christ, coached in handball and tutored in school. This discipleship network of young men is fittingly called Spark of Hope. One of my greatest joys in Mozambique was to coach Ercylio and his leaders to lead all 65 young men through an Encounter retreat. Freedom and Hope in Christ were so evident. The spark in their eyes is a spark of hope for future generations to come in Mozambique.

Colossians 1:27 “…Christ in you is the Hope of glory…”

If you’d like more info on Spark of Hope or Children’s Relief International and learn how to pray for them, follow the link below. http://www.childrensrelief.org/spark-of-hope