Monday, September 18, 2006

Samuel George Mena is Born!
















This morning (Sept. 18) at 6:12am the Lord blessed us with another baby boy. He was born at home with his family after 5 short hours of labor. He was 9lbs 14oz and 22 1/4 inches long! What a big boy! His name is Samuel George. Of course, Samuel is after the Old Testament prophet who was dedicated to the Lord by Hannah, his mother, before he was ever born (1 Sam. 1-2). His second name is George after Steven's dad.

Psalm 127:3-5 says, "Behold, children are a gift of the LORD. The fruit of the womb is a reward. Like arrows in the hand of a warrior, So are the children of one's youth. How blessed is the man whose quiver is full of them; They will not be ashamed when they speak with their enemies in the gate." We welcome this new little one as a precious gift from the Lord. We pray that he would be an arrow molded and sharpened by God's grace through the years and shot out into this world along with our other children as ambassadors for Christ.

Thank you to all of you for your thoughts and prayers. We dearly appreciate them.

Truly Blessed by Jesus,

The Menas

Monday, August 28, 2006

August 2006


Highlights
















Can you believe that its already August? Time sure flies when you’re busy. These past months since our May newsletter have been full, but good.

In June we had our first Ethiopia BBQ to share with friends at our church about our future ministry in

Ethiopia. We were blessed to have over 40 people (including children) present! Many of these have already begun to partner with us prayerfully and financially. Thank you Lord!











On July 8 we got to meet Eunice Erickson, another member of our BGC Ethiopia team, at a get-together of retired missionaries to Ethiopia, MK’s to Ethiopia and some Ethiopians. What a dear lady she is and we look forward to our children having another grandmother in Ethiopia away from home. The next day we dedicated Ben to the Lord at our home church (see back page for more on this). We spent the 2nd weekend in July with some dear friends (the Harris’) who are also missionaries to Ethiopia. They have been a great help to us in preparing us for what to expect when we finally go. On July 23 we were invited to come to an ice cream social at First Baptist of Yucaipa to hear some missionaries share. We look forward to sharing with FBC’s missions committee in September.

Up to this point in August we have been contacting several churches all around California and Arizona. We hope to connect with these churches in the Fall months. In fact, there are around 50 churches we will be trying to contact in hopes to share with them about Ethiopia in the Fall months. Please pray for us as this is a big task amidst everything else we are involved in (new baby coming, new home-school year, teaching Sunday School, teaching a series in Sept. on Wed. nights at church, work, etc.).

Support Update
Many have asked us, “So, when are you guys leaving for Ethiopia?” Good question. Our goal and desire is to be moving to Ethiopia by the end of next Spring 2007 conditioned on receiving 100% of our need monthly support. This would enable us to begin language training in August. Thank you so much for all of you who have already partnered with us through prayer and financial giving. We currently have close to 20% of our needed support!



Fall Events to Pray About
:

August-October—Contacting Churches
September-Oct.—BABY # 4. 2nd Ethiopia BBQ. Visit So. Cal. Churches.
Oct. & Nov.—Visit N. Cal. & Arizona Churches


Ethiopia
in the News

There are a couple of things going on in Ethiopia that we would like you to pray about. Some of these things you may have heard about in the news.

TENSIONS BETWEEN ETHIOPIA AND SOMALIA

First, please pray about ongoing tensions between Ethiopia and border country Somalia. Presently there is a weak transitional government that was established with the help of the U.N. in the 90’s. They have no real power, however, and in the absence of a strong central government a militant group known as the Islamic Militia of the Supreme Islamic Courts has gained strength. Their agenda is to firmly establish an Islamic state governed by Sharia (Islamic) law. There have been concerns lately that this group may seek to overthrow the transitional government. Reports have come in that troops from Ethiopia have entered Somalia to help protect the transitional government. Ethiopia denies these reports, but says that they will support Somalia’s weak government against a possible Islamist take over. Please pray that there would be peace between these countries and that this militant Islamic group would not take further root in Somalia. Pray also for the evangelistic works by Ethiopians among Somalia refugees in Ethiopia and that the Gospel of peace would take root amongst these people in their homeland as well.


FLOODING KILLS 600+

Another item to pray about is the flooding due to heavy rains that has been taking place in Eastern Ethiopia for the past couple of months. So far there have been 600+ people killed and some 200,000 people affected. Please pray that God would stop the flooding and spare lives. Also, pray that God would give Christians great opportunities to minister to people who have lost love ones, homes, who still have missing family members, etc. Pray that diseases such as malaria would not further break out due this flooding. For regular news on Ethiopia visit www.menafamily.org and click on the link for Voice of America News on Ethiopia.


BIG Mena Moment

“Do you now dedicate your children to the Lord who gave them to you all, surrendering all worldly claims upon their lives in the hope that they will belong wholly to God?” What sobering vows these are that we had the privilege of entering into on July 9, 2006. That is the day that we dedicated Benjamin (“Son of my right hand” in Hebrew) to the Lord. It is one thing to say these words and quite another to do them. Yet what safer and more secure place could there be for our dear and beloved children than in the strong and faithful hands of our wise and good heavenly Father? There truly is none, but sadly we often trust ourselves more than God and this makes it difficult for us to give them over to Him. What if He should call them to be missionaries or something crazy like that? Can we trust Him to take care of them though we are not with them? The answer is yes, but oh Lord how we need to increase in our faith. By Your grace oh Lord, only by Your grace.


Jenny’s Corner

Have you ever considered how tender and deep God’s love is for you? Recently I read a scripture that described God’s love in a way that really hit home and in a way that was overwhelming to me. Isaiah 49:15, “Can a woman forget her nursing child, and not have compassion on the son of her womb? Surely they may forget, yet I will not forget you.” Wow! Having nursed 3 boys and looking forward to nursing my new baby, I can really identify with this verse! There is such a strong, indescribable love and connection between a mother and her nursing baby. When the baby cries, a mother feels a physical response in her body which responds to her babies needs. Did you know that God even gave us hormones that are released during breastfeeding that make us feel more bonded to our baby? And the compassion that we feel when our baby needs us!! It’s overwhelming! This kind of love is indescribable. I would do anything for my baby! Yet God says a mother still may forget her nursing baby, but His love is beyond this! He will NEVER forget us! It comforts me so much to think of God’s love & compassion for me in this way. How desperately people need to know our great God! Even His own children need these reminders so often. The following verse says, “Behold, I have inscribed you on the palms of my hands.” You are always on His mind. Humbling isn’t it? And glorious! What amazing grace towards sinners!


Please Pray for Us

1. Jenny has less than 3 weeks to go until baby #4 is born. Pray that she stays healthy and that our baby is born healthy.

2. That the Lord would guide us as we seek to set up several appointments to share with churches in the Fall.


3.
That the Lord would continue to provide work for Steven during our time of raising support. We thank him for his continualprovisions!

Friday, May 26, 2006

May 2006

Highlights
The last few months have been a time of activity & transition for the Mena family. Most of you know that in January we were thrilled to find out that we are going to have baby number four in September!

Then, beginning in February Steven decided to cut back his finish carpentry work to part-time to be able to focus more on raising support.

March was a busy yet enjoyable month as we had many encouraging interactions with brothers and sisters in Christ. First, we were invited to share with the mission’s committee of
First Baptist Church in Lakewood, CA. This is a great group of missions-minded folks that welcomed us very warmly. We were blessed when they informed us of their desire to partner with us prayerfully and financially. On March 18th we got to spend a Sunday afternoon in Yucaipa visiting with Ethiopians and former missionaries to Ethiopia. What a great group of people they were and we were really spurred on by them. At the end of March we flew to the Baptist General Conference offices in Arlington Heights, Illinois (Ben was the only one of our boys that joined us). We spent a week there producing a video, brochure, and table top display to help us more effectively communicate our future ministry in Ethiopia. Finally, on April 5th we shared with over 100 children in our church’s AWANA program about Ethiopia.

We can’t tell you what a joy it is to be able to meet and share with so many different people and see their interest and excitement about what God is doing to build His kingdom in the world. It is a lot of work, but such a delight!

Upcoming Schedule
Please keep these appointments in prayer:

May 14 — Sharing at our Home Church

May-June — Following up with 16 So. Cal. Churches who received our informational packet

May 18-19 — Connecting with Pastors and Church Leaders at Southwest Baptist Conference

May 25 — Appointment with Missions Pastor at Whittier Area Baptist Church

June 3 — Ethiopia BBQ


Jenny’s Corner


I’ve been hearing a lot about the busyness of life lately. It seems everyone is being pulled in a million directions, trying to stay afloat with all their responsibilities and commitments. With three little boys (one of which is now crawling and getting into everything) and being pregnant with baby #4, I can relate! Between the laundry (which is ever increasing!), house cleaning, taking care of my husband & my children, preparing meals, etc…. where do I find a moments peace? The Lord has shown me some wonderful insights from His word that have given me great encouragement and motivation in my calling as wife, mother and homemaker. Romans 6:13 & 19 tells us to present the members of our bodies as instruments of righteousness unto God, resulting in sanctification. The “members” of our body are our hands, feet, minds, etc. That means that as I use my hands to change a diaper, sweep the kitchen floor or wipe a snotty nose, I am being an instrument of righteousness unto God! How wonderful! And as I walk in righteousness, fulfilling the duties God has called me to, I am being made more and more into the image of Christ (I am being sanctified). Further, Isaiah 32:17 says, “The fruit of righteousness will be peace; the effect of righteousness will be quietness and confidence forever.” So, where do I find peace in the busyness of my responsibilities? It’s in the midst of every task I do in which I am walking in obedience to Christ, serving my family and honoring my God. There is true happiness...true peace! Isn’t God wonderful?

Little Mena Moments










As you can imagine, with three little boys, our
home is filled with wonderful little ‘moments’ that we want to remember forever. One of these such moments was during our Easter celebration. It was evident that Jake was taking everything to heart and really understanding what Christ has done for us when he said, “Jesus didn’t want us to be punished for our sins so He said, ‘Don’t punish them, punish me instead.’” We are so excited to see what God is doing in his heart.

There are also the more “embarrassing moments,” such as the one that happened recently at our favorite restaurant when Jake and Zack were excitedly standing up and pointing at an elderly lady who had a black patch over one of her eyes saying, “Look! A pirate!”




What’s So Bad (and Good) about the Cross?

Throughout our recent celebration of the death and resurrection of Christ, we heard a lot about the intense physical sufferings that Christ endured on the cross . It is always amazing to think about what he went through for sinners like us. Yet in all of our emphasis on the bodily afflictions of Jesus, I often wonder if we miss a more terrible part of what He went through on the cross. If the physical agony was not the worst thing He faced on the cross then what was?

Jesus’ words in Matthew 27:46 give us some insight into answering this question. There we read, “My God, My God, why have you forsaken me?” At this moment our Lord experienced something that none of us can really understand. The One who was one with the Father (Jn 10:30; 17:21-22) was separated from His Father in a way that He had never experienced before. Not only did Jesus experience the abandonment of His Father, but he also experienced the wrath of God being poured out on Him for sinners. We can’t fathom what that must have been like, but we know that when he uttered these words he was experiencing the same kind of thing that the lost will experience on the day of judgment. In other words, Jesus endured the eternal torments of hell on the cross for us! This is something that no one could have seen simply by looking at his body, for this suffering went to the hidden depths of his soul. He was made to “be sin on our behalf, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him” (2 Cor. 5:21).

And that’s what is so good about the cross for us. As one of my professors has said, “The Son of Love became the object of God’s wrath so that we who were objects of His wrath might become the Sons of His love.” Thank you Jesus.








(This blog is adapted from our quarterly prayer newsletter, The Ethiopian Herald)

Tuesday, February 21, 2006

Blessed Again in 2006



Well, 2006 is off to a great start! We began our year with the
discovery that we will be welcoming another member into our family!!! Yep, Jenny is pregnant with baby #4.

We are all thrilled and so thankful that God would choose to bless us with another child. We aren’t exactly sure at this point how far along Jenny is, but we’ll update you about that after she gets an ultrasound. We think the baby will be due around Sept. or Oct. Which will make this baby and Ben a little over 1 year apart (Ben was born last Aug). Speaking of Ben, he is growing so fast. He is now 6 months old and already rocking on his hands and knees like he’s going to crawl. He loves his older brothers and just lights up when they come talk to him and play with him. And Jake and Zack just love Ben to pieces and are very protective and responsible older brothers. They always watch him carefully while he’s playing on the floor, making sure he doesn’t find anything “unsafe.” What a special bunch of boys.




Katrina Relief Project

We thank those of you who prayed for Steven as he had the opportunity to help with a Katrina Relief Project in Bay St. Louis, Mississippi for eight days in January. The trip went very well and the team was able to minister to three different families. It was overwhelming to see so much devastation, but such a blessing to be able to really help those families. Pray that God would work in their hearts as they each heard and saw the gospel through our words and deeds.


Thank You New Ministry Partners

We are very thankful for those who have joined us as prayer and financial partners. It has been encouraging as we have sensed a great interest from many of you about our ministry in Ethiopia. We look forward to sharing more in detail with those who have expressed interest in partnering with us. We are also connecting with various churches in the area to share our vision with them as well. It is a great blessing to see God’s hand at work in raising up those whom he has chosen to be a part of this vital work in Ethiopia. We can’t wait to see all that God is going to do!


Questions & Answers

We have received a variety of questions about our ministry and our support raising. So, we thought we’d answer a few of them for any others who have also been wondering:

Q: What will your life and ministry be like in Ethiopia?
A: We would love to share more in detail with you! If you are interested in knowing more, please contact us by email (menafam@hotmail.com) or by phone (909)988-2914. We’d enjoy having you over to our house or coming over to yours if it’s more convienent. In a nutshell, we will be living in the capitol city of Addis Ababa. We will rent a house somewhere in the city and have many of the basic things we are blessed with here (email, phone, refrigerator, bathroom, kitchen, electricity, running water, etc). As far as our ministry is concerned, our main focus will be on training pastors and missionaries to serve in the local churches and reach the unreached peoples of Ethiopia and beyond. This will take place primarily through teaching at the Berhane Wongel ("Light of the Gospel") Theological College. We will also seek to minister to people in the local church in various ways. One specific area that God has given us a great burden for is godly marriages and families. We will minister in this area and others as God gives opportunity.

Q: When should I start my monthly financial support? Now or when you leave for Ethiopia?
A: In order to get to Ethiopia we need to raise funds for ongoing monthly expenses while we're living there (e.g. living and ministry expenses) as well as for initial start-up costs (e.g. airfare, moving, housing set-up, language training, vehicle, etc.). When monthly support is started now it begins to build up into a general fund that may be used for start-up costs. This means that our start-up costs can potentially be taken care of by the time we have 100% of our monthly support required. In a nutshell, beginning your support now helps us to get to Ethiopia sooner rather than later.

Q: Now that you are having another baby, will you have to leave later than you had planned?
A: At this point, our plans have not changed. We are still hoping to leave in the beginning of 2007, which will make the baby around 5 or 6 months old. We will pray that everything goes well and we will be able to leave as planned.

Q: We are interested in supporting your ministry. How do we begin?
A; At the top left side of our webpage you will see a link that says “Click Here to Partner With Us.” When you click on this, you will be able to print out a response card, which you can fill out and send in to the Baptist General Conference, indicating your desire to partner with us in prayer/financial support. You can also contact us to receive a card in the mail or in person. See our contact information above.