Scroll down for the beginning of the trip, as these posts are in the opposite order.
Posted June 30, 2001
This is the e-mail we have been wanting to send to you. This is what you have been praying for. This week has been the most incredible blessing. Many of the churches still have their doors closed to us, but God has opened so many other doors for us.
We have been in many villages sharing Christ with many children on the streets, under any shade tree that we could find. In one village the children were so poor many of them did not have enough clothing. They were suffering from skin infections, lice, scabies, and many health problems. Most of the people in the village were Moslem. We began to tell them about the hope they could find in Jesus Christ. They were really listening and suddenly, a person dressed in a large furry suit and a demonic rubber mask with fangs came walking down the street. Remember, it is 110 degrees in the shade. Suddenly the children were not able to concentrate as the thing tried to scare them. One of the mothers grabbed the thing’s hand and led him away. Please know that your prayers make a difference.
At another show a Moslem man came up to us and invited us to do a show in his village. He was desperate for us to come and even offered to pay us. We told him we would not take his money, but we would come and do the show. He said, “My children see the sun and the moon and they do not know who made them. Will you tell them?” We shared with over 100 people in a Moslem village. They even arranged for us to use the school for the program. We were allowed to present the Gospel and to know Christ as Savior.
The young men at the prison listened faithfully to the Gospel. We have seen children pray out loud to recieve Christ as Savior at an orphanage. God has put us in contact with Church leaders here who are excited about sharing with children. We feel this is a direct answer to prayer from the first e-mail. There is much more to tell but you will have to wait until we are home.
Around 2:00PM Sunday, your time, we will begin our trip home. Please pray for a safe passage through customs. One of our friends recently had a great deal of difficulty.
Mike Summer for:
Linda, Sam, Ian, Will, April, Aaron
Posted June 29, 2001
After returning from Kazakhstan, I returned to work. The team, after taking a few days to rest and sort their equipment, again began traveling. For the past 2 weeks, they have spent most of their time in the inner-city of Atlanta, working with our friend Ben Wilkinson. The heat often seemed unbearable, not as hot as Kazakhstan, but more humid. The children just didn’t seem to notice. They always came, no matter how hot or dirty or smelly it was in the area where they set up the puppet stage. At one place, the ground was covered with dirty diapers, trash and broken beer bottles. Flies swarmed over a small depression in the ground, where Linda was told, someone had buried a dog. As she commented out loud to the team, “I just don’t think that the children will come to such a dirty place, to sit and watch the puppets”, a young mother came by and explained that this was the children’s playground and that they always played there. She was right, many children did come and many found hope in Christ.
There were many amazing things that the team saw God do in the inner-city. They watched in amazement as Muslims came to attend the puppet shows and listened to the Gospel presentation. At another show, the team set up across the street from three houses of prostitution where drugs are sold. When the puppet show began, many adults, as well as children, came to sit or stand in the heat and watch the show. At end, Linda had closed the presentation with the Salvation story using a “Gospel Bracelet”. As the team was packing up the equipment, one woman, a prostitute, came up to Linda and asked, “Please, would you tell me that story again.”
If these stories have touched you and you have any interest in helping with inner-city, please contact us. There is a wonderful ministry team working with Ben Wilkerson and Rock of Ages Church in Atlanta that would love you help. I promise that you will never be the same after you get involved in helping in the inner-city.
As you read these words, we are in North Carolina attending PEF’s “Family Evangelism Conference”. Please pray for the team, as they will be sharing with the children through puppet shows and for Linda, as she is teaching two ladies seminars each day on “Living with Hope”. The topic for the seminar is how a grateful spirit to God for all that comes our way alters our daily attitude.
Because of my work schedule, I will only be with them this weekend. Please pray for them as they are at the conference and I am at work. Ask the Lord to make this a time of rest and spiritual refreshment for each one of them. The team will leave for two weeks in Baltimore directly from the conference in North Carolina and I will fly to Baltimore next Saturday to join them.
1. continued preparation for the Baltimore trip and for Linda, as she drives to Baltimore from North Carolina on Friday.
2. mechanical condition of the van, as the team travel to Baltimore without me.
Please hold us in your prayers,
Mike & Linda Summer
Posted June 23, 2001
We are beginning our last week of ministry here in Kazakhstan. It had been a great blessing and a great challenge. The children and the older people are very responsive. One older lady, grabbed Linda’s dirty hands and kissed them. She told her that the program gave her great joy. The children, Kazak and Russian, laugh and thoroughly enjoy the program. Some of them have prayed out loud to confess Christ as Savior.
The challenge is in the churches. Puppets are not considered approiate for inside the church, so we are not allowed to present any programs inside a church building. Several pastors have allowed us to share outside in the church yard or in a nearby field.
More, Christians have little understanding of evangelism. Some are working with children and doing evangelism, but the fear of the past and present attitudes of the authorities is very real and many are afraid to listen to us. One pastor allowed us to come to his church, only to cancel the show after we had gathered the children. In a different church, we were told that we could not do a show, but many children had already gathered and we gave a successful presentation rather than turn the children away. In another church, a church leader called a village pastor and told him not to have a show. He had us present a show anyway.
Please pray for these village pastors who will have problems because of allowing the Gospel to be presented. Sometimes, the other Christians rebuke them and sometimes, the authorities come to question the men that we work with. At one show, the police were called and afterwards the pastor was questioned because he was the one who had set up he program. Still, more than 100 people heard the Good News of the Gospel at that apartment complex. They even stood on the balconies and listened!!! Praise God!! Some of the women brought us tea and rolls. They told us that no one had come to share Jesus at that apartment complex in 10 years.
Still, God always sends a bright spot in the darkness. We had a show for one village where the pastor welcomed us. We were set up outside the church and he had assembled all the children and had them waiting on us. He runs a Sunday School with all kinds of children attending and each Sunday, he feeds them after the service. This man understands that it is possible to grow a church from children’s ministry.
Please hold us in your prayers as today we share at a youth prison. This week, we will have programs in many orphanages. Stay on your knees.
In His Service, Mike, Linda, Aaron, April, Will, Sam and Ian
PS. We are having opportunities to help many people. We are particularly interested in the work of a village pastor who works with children. He is planning a summer camp for children in his village. If the Lord impreses you to help with this summer camp, please send an email to email@example.com by Thursday June 28 so we can leave the help with the pastor. I will only be able to check my email on Friday ( Thursday night for you) and any help promised after that date will not be given to the local pastor. Please pray for us to be very wise.
Posted June 18, 2001
Praise God (Slava Bogu)! This is one of the few Russian phrases that we managed to master and it is a phrase that we have reason to use often.
Constantly, we see God doing things that show us His power. Doors open that we believed were closed. Sometimes, as we were disappointed that we were not allowed to share with the children, we went somewhere else and saw our Father do more than we could have imagined. Once, as we were told that there would be no show, God sent us so many children that people were forced to change their minds. It was the right thing thing to do, but the opportunity to share with the children will be costly to our friends. Please pray for the believers who face harassment from the local authorities and often rebuke from their Christian brothers and sisters. In one village the believers were too frightened of the local authorities to allow us to do the show. They sent us away. This was heartbreaking as we saw many children as we driving away.
Many people here do not believe children can make life changing commitment’s to Christ. The legacy of communism reveals itself in the belief that many think you must be around the age of 18 to accept Christ. People were not allowed to join the church during the years of communism until they were this age. Even as our culture corrupts the correct Biblical viewpoint in America, our brothers and sisters around the world struggle with beliefs that are not found in scripture. Many are very opposed to working with children and asked Pavel why we would come so far for this purpose.
We need you to pray, asking God to open doors for others, and us to share with children. Life is very hard for many children here and we constantly see enormous needs. There is not much that we can do to address the hunger and poverty, but we know that if we can tell them about Jesus, they can have real hope.
We spent the weekend driving 1200 km to towns and villages I cannot pronounce. Saturday, it was so hot as we drove through the desert, 125.7 Degrees F. When the temperature dropped to 117 Degrees F, we all cheered. The people in the villages received us so warmly. In one place we had a Church service and puppet show in a field covered by Russian thistles, but no one noticed. Many non-believers came and listened to the preaching and the Bible stories told to the children. They especially enjoyed the songs sung by the puppets and the drama. One man drove up in his dump truck and sat and listened. There was a little girl there whose mother was dead and father was an alcoholic. Linda spoke with her after the service and was able to tell her about the peace and forgiveness that we have in Jesus.
The balloons are a great blessing to the children. We can walk out on the street, pump a few balloons, and God will send us a crowd. Some of our team even used the balloons to barter for use of a farmer’s outhouse. We made balloon flowers for the directors of a school who allowed us to do a program. As we walked away we heard them excitedly discussing the balloons in the school office.
Ian Thomson arrived safely last night and was allowed through customs with no problems.
The incredible scenery that we are privileged to enjoy constantly makes us thank God for His creation. We have driven high in the mountains and enjoyed having a snowball fight in June and been were refreshed by playing in a mountain river. Then the very next day, we were scorched by the heat of the desert.
Please remember to pray for us.
Love in Christ,
Posted June 18, 2001
We arrived safely in Kazakhstan and have now enjoyed three days in ministry. The evidence of your answered prayer have been apparent to us from the moment we first landed. As some of you know, we are 11 hours ahead of you, so this is actually the night of June 13 for all of you. Our Northern Ireland puppet director, Sam Shaw, met us in London with no problem as we continued the on to Kazakhstan.
British airways graciously allowed us six extra bags at no charge, so you can imagine the pile of luggage was enormous. All 16 large bags weighing 70lb each, plus our carry on luggage, arrived safely, with no damage. Pavel had arranged for us to be met at customs. The lady arrived and she walked us through without a single bag being opened. Praise God!!
Many things are different here. It seems that the food we are being served at breakfast is more like our lunch food. There are some many new and wonderful things to try. Sam and Linda enjoyed eating Shishlick (Shishkaobo) from a vendor in an open air market and my favorite is Ploff, a rice dish with bits of meat, several vegetables and GARLIC (always garlic!!) . Will, Aaron and April are especially fond of the bread, potato dumplings and the homemade strawberry preserves. Nadia, Pavel’s mother, is a great cook.
Our first show was on the street in front of Pavel’s home. We had a mixed audience on Christians, Moslems and those that are undecided. On the hill beside the road where we were having the show, is a large Moslem cemetery. I was a constant reminded to us of the enormous need that they have for the Gospel in this country.
We brought almost 10,000 balloons with us and we are beginning to wonder if we brought enough. You can walk out on the street and always have a large group of children that we can talk to about Jesus Christ.
God opened a door for us to share at a school for the children of wealthy parents in the capitol city. We told them that true happiness was not found in things, but in Jesus Christ as Savior. In contrast, we went to a government housing village for blind adults. They live there with their entire families, so there were many sighted adults and children as well. The village leader asked to speak with the microphone and he thanked us at length for coming and sharing with his village. His wife is a believer, but he is not. Pray for his Salvation…. He is the key person in the village.
In a village populated mostly with Kazak and Turkish people. The children were so excited that they pressed right up to the front curtain of the stage. Finally, Pavel took a piece of green chalk and drew a make on the street. He told the children to stay behind he line to give us room to work. I could not believe that it really worked.
In another Moslem village, we were turned away and denied the opportunity to share with the puppets. We need your prayers. Please ask God to open doors into these dark places.
For Linda, Will, Aaron and April
Posted June 9, 2001
Today we leave for Kazakhstan! We should depart Atlanta around 6:30 PM today. We will arrive at midnight 1:00 AM on Monday morning, which is (think quick, 11 hrs ahead) 12:noon on Monday, EDT.
For 6 years, we have been praying for this opportunity and now that it is so close, we stand in awe of our Father. So many times this year, we have stood amazed at what He did. Since January, we have shared Jesus with children in Mayan villages in the Yucatan, kids in inner city Atlanta, ministered in the squatter camps of South Africa, and been blessed by what the Lord is doing in Northern Ireland. We have trained 3 USA puppet teams and shared in many churches. Praise God!
All of these places are so far apart and so different, and yet they have so much in common. In each place , we have seen an enormous hunger for the Gospel. In each country, God raised up people who wanted to share Jesus with puppets. In many languages, we have heard children, adults, and teenagers confess Christ as Savior. All of this is what we are asking God to do in Kazakhstan. Please stand in prayer with us.
Specifically, as we travel over the next 2 days, pray for our safety , strength, and the safe arrival of our equipment. We are very concerned about customs and would ask that you specially pray for that time.
In His love,
Mike and Linda Summer
for Aaron Stewart, April Counts, and Will Jackson
Posted May 20, 2001
Finally, after almost 6 years of praying, we are going to Kazakhstan to work with our dear friend, Pavel Chiva. We will leave June 9TH and plan to stay 3 weeks, equipping 2 full puppet teams.
This is a Moslem country which is considering making all religious activity illegal except Islam and Russian orthodox. Pavel spoke to us recently and told us that it was only through the prayers of the believers that this law was tabled. Please continue to pray! We believe that this may be our only opportunity to work with our brothers and sisters , many of whom have parents who were sent to Khazakstan because the communist regime was punishing them for their faith. It is a great privilege to work with these who have distinguished themselves for loving the Gospel.
We need your help with 3 things.
First, we beg you to pray over every detail of this trip. We will only be able to stand because you kneel!
Second, please rejoice with us that all of the necessary funds for the tickets, visas, basic food and traveling expenses, and 2 full sets of puppet equipment have been provided. Please pray for the remaining amount of money that we need. Only God knows what this amount is. It has been our experience in the past that it is hard to totally predict the needs of an overseas trip, particularly one to a former Communist country. There are always needs that we encounter which we desire to help with that we do not know at this time. Small amounts can make huge differences. Once in Ukraine, I bought a new village church a piano, wood for benches and light fixtures for 150 dollars. We rented a building in another village for 7 dollars and shared with 1200 children and adults. Please pray!
Third – There are many gifts that we desire to take with us to use in the orphanages , as presents for the believers, and to give Pavel to use for his summer camp program. Please send any of the following items to our home so that we can pack them by the 1st of June. These small gifts have in the past been used to illustrate the big gift that we are offered in Jesus. Please call or e-mail me if you are sending supplies.
- Small metal cars (Wal-Mart has them 2 for a dollar) I need hundreds more.
- Beanie baby type toys (Used are fine, if they appear new) I need 100 more.
- Vice grip pliers (5 pairs to be used as gifts for pastors and Christian workers)
- Juicy fruit gum
- Swiss army pocket knives, especially the small classic ($10 at Wal-Mart) Please name brand knives only, no junk copies.
- Leatherman or similar style tools. Again, brand names only.
- Good Basketballs (4)
- Fruit roll ups, Goo Goo clusters, Life Saver Creme Savers
- Bottles of Ibuprofen
- Face painting Crayons
Thank you for all of your help!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Mike and Linda