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The Oakhurst Evangelical Free Church strives to reach beyond our local church in order to do our part in fulfilling the Great Commission. We praise God for the privilege of supporting missionaries, thereby assisting in proclaiming the Gospel of Christ throughout the world. Our goal is to assist in winning people to the Lord, equipping them in the faith, and assist in establishing churches in every tribe, tongue, people and nation (Acts 14:21-23, Rev. 5:9).
We prayerfully and financially participate in the worldwide program of missionary endeavor through sending and supporting missionaries involved in evangelism, church planting and biblical instruction.
We strive to keep our congregation current with our missionary families’ activities and needs. We love and pray for them and interact with them by sending encouraging letters and e-mail communications. Additionally, we meet real needs such as housing and transportation needs when they are on furlough. We count it a privilege to support them, pray for them, communicate with them, and assist them as they are about God’s work.
Please use the following pages to become familiar with our beloved missionaries and join us in praying for them and their vital ministries.
Meet Our Missionaries
Tom & Marti Chance
with Awana Clubs
We minister throughout Central California.
We met at Crossroads Church in Turlock, CA (back in the day Turlock Evangelical Free Church). Marti was teaching school at Turlock Christian and Tom was in his sophomore year of college, MJC and then transferred to Cal Poly San Luis Obispo. We were married in 1979 and Marti taught school for three more years and Tom was a Pest Control Advisor working for Stanislaus Farm Supply in Ceres, CA. Marti then “retired” and was able to stay home and raise our five daughters. Tom worked for Stanislaus Farm Supply for 14 years.
We served faithfully in the Awana Club at Crossroads Church. We were involved in many children’s ministry activities. In Awana we were leaders, directors and then commanders. Our girls enjoyed Awana and two of them trusted Jesus Christ as their Savior during Awana. We were challenged and asked to consider becoming Awana missionaries when our Awana missionary was going to go and work at Awana Headquarters in Streamwood, IL. We were thrilled to begin this new ministry in December of 1992!
Amy was 10, Karen 8, Melinda 6, and Renae 4 when we began ministry and included the girls in everything. They went with us when we did club visits, church visits, and events (Bible Quizzing, Awana Games and conferences). We were busy and travelled LOTS. Then our Hannah came along 2 years later. We have decided that God sent our Hannah to remind me (Marti) that my main ministry was raising our girls. She has been a great gift to us. Our ministry for many years was events, but Tom is now State Director over 10 missionary units covering California, Nevada, and Hawaii.
Amy and Justin (our son-in-law) have our two grandkids, Piper and Malachi. They live in San Anselmo. Karen is working at a local preschool as the assistant director and infant room teacher. Melinda is working at a local café and owns her own massage therapy studio. Renae is a high school social studies/history teacher in Newman, CA. Hannah is now a junior at Biola University.
Awana is an international, Bible-centered children’s and youth ministry providing local churches with weekly clubs, programs and training for students in preschool through high school. Our goal is to equip churches to reach kids, and their families, with the gospel of Christ and train them to serve Him. (Learn about the prayer, vision, mission and values of Awana.)
The acronym Awana comes from the first letters of Approved Workmen Are Not Ashamed as taken from 2 Timothy 2:15.
Awana began in 1950 as a youth program at the North Side Gospel Center in Chicago, Illinois. Lance Latham, the church pastor, worked with Art Rorheim to develop a program that would appeal to young people, reach them with the gospel and train them in the Lord’s work. Other churches heard about the success of the Awana program and asked if they could use it. By 1960, Awana had registered 900 churches to start Awana.
Today, more than 12,000 U.S. churches run Awana with programs in all 50 states. Awana can also be found in over 3,900 churches in 109 other countries and six continents. Jack Eggar is our President/CEO. Art Rorheim serves as our co-founder.
Regional missionaries and ministry teams will assist you in establishing Awana as a vital part of your local church’s outreach, discipleship and volunteer training. Find your area missionary and contact him today, or learn more about what we believe or register to start Awana online. If you’re interested in working for Awana, check out our current job openings. If you’re looking for an Awana program in your area, use our club finder to locate local churches with Awana. as a Bible-teaching ministry.
Scott & Barb Harbert
with Africa Inland Mission
About 80% of Kenya’s population would call themselves Christian. Although Christianity is very popular, as the saying goes, “it is a mile wide and an inch deep.” Discipleship and teaching are generally weak. And many members, even leaders, have lost their first love for God. Prayer, though historically a priority in the life of the church, is now all too often reserved for the Sunday morning prayer or to end business meetings. There is much need for renewal.
As the country is dying spiritually, so it is dying physically through the scourge of HIV/AIDS. In Kenya about 150,000 deaths last year were HIV/AIDS-related. The number of orphans and vulnerable children has increased to a staggering 1.6 million.
Early in his Christian walk Scott got a burden for prayer, especially when privileged to work alongside David Bryant. Then with InterVarsity, David spawned a movement of prayer for renewal and world evangelism called Concerts of Prayer. Several Urbana Student Missions Conventions and a mission trip to Kenya through InterVarsity then confirmed the call of God on Scott and Barb to serve as missionaries with AIM.
For many years Scott has worked in churches throughout Kenya, helping them grow in their prayer lives, as individuals and as a church. Key pastors and church leaders have teamed up to help give training, direction and encouragement. In particular, they are bringing prayer down into the areas in which they serve.
Scott also started a men’s ministry with a Kenyan friend. For the past several years a growing group of businessmen have met each week to study what it means to be a man of God, in every sense of that word.
Barb developed a ministry with women in Nakuru, giving leadership to a Women’s Bible Study. She also plans Soul Care Days for them. These are times of solitude where women spend time alone with God using a guided study. Over a shared meal they share how God met them during their time with Him.
Then the Missions Pastor of Wheaton Bible Church described how a Western Church could partner with the African Church, with a missionary as the link between, to more effectively address the AIDS crisis. She asked if we would help establish this kind of partnership in Kenya, particularly in Nakuru.
Initially what we brought to this partnership was relationships, relationships God had enabled us to build through many years of ministry in Kenya. We began to pull those people together and soon they had a solid team of both missionaries and Africans who were committed to addressing the AIDS crisis in a sustainable way. This has evolved into a far-reaching commitment to using transformational development as a means to address both poverty and AIDS. This has been Barb’s primary focus since that time.
Prayer Renewal ministry – now Scott has added 6 Area Coordinators with 20 Team Leaders who are training others in prayer across Kenya.
Prayer partnership with pastors – Scott currently prays regularly with three pastors.
Associate Pastor of AIC Shabab – Licensed by the Africa Inland Church, Scott serves on the leadership team of our local church. He preaches at least once a month and meets with the other three pastors for planning and prayer.
Discipling men – Scott teaches/leads the discussion every week through various studies whereby men grapple with what it means Biblically to be a man. How should this impact their families and businesses?
Transformational Development and AIDS Initiative – Barb meets regularly with Kenyan partners/training facilitators for prayer, counsel and encouragement. She provides overall leadership to this Initiative, including financial accountability.
- What is transformational development? As people discover the implications of being made in God’s image and their God-given role in reconciling distorted relationships (with God, each other, self and creation), they are filled with hope and dignity. They learn that God has made them stewards of his creation and has given them so many resources—time, land, sun, creativity, health, relationships, knowledge, personality, and a tongue to communicate, influence and motivate are just a few. They realize that THEY are a resource. Instead of waiting for hand-outs, they form development groups, contribute to microfinance savings plans and begin small businesses with available resources.
Such groups have transformed many communities around Nakuru and even beyond in Western and Northern Kenya. Josephine is our most active facilitator. Initially she started development through Hope for Life that supports orphans and the vulnerable in her community. Now she trains and mentors others in transformational development all across Kenya.
Women’s Bible Study – an interdenominational study that has been going on in Nakuru since the mid-1980s. Barb finds Bible Study materials and also leads them in Soul Care Days three times a year.
We came to Kenya with 2½ year old Joshua. Jeff was born during that term and Matthew was born on our next Home Assignment. Now all three boys have married and are pursuing careers they love. Joshua and Sarah’s family live in Chicago, as do Jeff and Allyson. Matthew and Mariah live in Denver.
What we miss most:
Family – We miss watching our grandchildren grow up and having more input in their lives. It is difficult to Grandparent from afar with only Skype to keep us connected. We also miss regular interaction with our sons and being there for important family milestones.
Africa Inland Mission
P.O. Box 178
Pearl River, NY 10965
Cyprian & Margaret Masembe
with Frontier Force Christian Ministries
Cyprian Masembe is founder and one of the pastors of FFCM. He and his wife, Margaret have 4 children.
Cyprian was originally an accountant for a large firm before God burdened his heart for the unreached people in the rural areas of Uganda. Once God opened his eyes to the needs in the rural areas, he started his own organization. He sold his life savings (7 cows) to come to America to seek support for his vision. Besides preaching in many villages and planting churches, he and Margaret also founded a school for native children whose families cannot afford to send them to a school. They raise all the support for the students, the teachers, and the school materials; as well as for their own needs.
Frontier Force Christian Ministries has a burden to reach the unreached with the message of salvation through Jesus Christ by establishing and strengthening churches in rural Uganda. To date this ministry has planted five churches and has oversight over four of them as well as a Christian kindergarten and primary school.
Together, Cyprian and Margaret work with the young, the impoverished, the elderly and the spiritually needy in ignored villages. They are also privileged to lead a team of dedicated believers who share the vision of reaching the spiritually lost.
“There is one body … one God and Father of all who is over all and through all and in all” Ephesians 4:4-6
Frontier Force Christian Ministries
Nal & Ayra Nhoemvan
Cambodia is a Southeast Asian country of about 14 million people, where less than 1% follow the One True God. It is known as a Buddhist country that is heavily influenced by animistic beliefs. The people live in fear of spirits and live to try to appease them. Corruption, poverty, illiteracy, prostitution and preventable illnesses are common here. They are a friendly, hospitable, hardy and fun people, but most of them feel there is little hope for their future and they just live to make it through the day.
Ayra gave her life to Jesus at a young age and through wonderful Sunday School teachers learned about the Great Commission and heard about lost people in the “uttermost parts of the earth” who needed to hear the Good News. Fast forward to 2004 and Ayra had majored in linguistics, joined PIONEERS and went to Cambodia where she spent the first year in language and cultural learning then moved to the province. There were no believers and they had to start from scratch, praying, building relationships, living in the community and praying for God to show them who He was preparing. Ayra spent most of her time with people and following up with those who showed spiritual interest. With time some outreach Bible studies started and she taught often. As some became believers the team started house churches and started training them and taking them out to other unreached villages. Ayra was in Chhlong for 3 years- the team was in Chhlong a total of 10 years.
During Ayra’s time in Chhlong, she met Soknal (“Nal”). Nal had helped in outreaches to rural villages in Cambodia during his late high-school years. He received a degree in Mathematics in University and volunteered with a church planting team to reach a new village outside of the city for part of that time. He also took Bible courses with two different Bible schools when he could. He was part of the church-plant in Chhlong, and went on many outreaches with our team.
In 2010 Nal and Ayra got engaged. After her home assignment, Ayra moved to Chhlong for 4 months to help the CP work there again before getting married in July 2011. In 2011 and 2012 Nal and Ayra lived in Phnom Penh as Nal continued his studies and they continued helping the Chhlong CP team (mostly with input and translation- and one monthly visit to Chhlong). Their team finished work in Chhlong in 2012 as there were a handful of house churches leading themselves.
Nal and Ayra have one daughter, Kolianne, born May 4, 2013 and are expecting another little girl in April 2015. Kolianne is enjoying life, her little friends in Chambok and speaking two languages.
The biggest cultural challenges for Ayra (with Cambodian culture) are a lack of privacy, the communal living where individual property is not very individual, the patron/client mentality and the expectations that come with it, the prevalence of rice Christianity, the lack of deep/ heart-level relationships in the culture and the extreme poverty all around when they have ‘enough’ or more than enough.
Nal and Ayra have a cross-cultural marriage and Nal works on a western team and visits the US. Consequently, the biggest and most challenging cultural adjustment for Nal (with US/western culture) is the extremeness of western individuality, excessive planning/needing to do special/extra things that aren’t necessary and using lots of money/time to do it, the lack of understanding of westerners towards shame/honor cultures and how they deal with it and the western leadership style.
In 2013 the Nhoemvan family moved to Chambok, another rural area. They have a 2 year commitment to teach English and to spread the gospel there, preparing the way for the Khmer church to come in after. They are focused on praying, developing relationships, teaching some English or tutoring other subjects and starting outreach Bible studies with any who show interest. They will be in Chambok until April, when they leave to have their baby in Thailand and then back to the US for a one year home assignment (God willing) from June 2015- June 2016.
10123 William Carey Dr.
Orlando, FL. 32832
with Evangelism Explosion International
Nickolay ministers throughout Eurasia – the 12 Commonwealth of Independent States which include the former Soviet Republics of Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Georgia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Moldovia, Russia, Tajistan, Turkmenistan, Ukraine, and Uzbekistan.
Dr. Nickolay Revtov came to a saving knowledge in 1994, when Buddy Gaines shared the gospel with him. Since that time, Dr. Revtov has become the Executive Director of “Heart to Heart” ministries, which has programs in all the CIS (formerly USSR) countries. Based in Kiev, Ukraine, Heart to Heart conducts over 150 clinics a year using over 8,000 teachers, and is instrumental in bringing over 25,000 people a year to Christ.
Our goal is to bring as many saved souls into the Kingdom of God as possible by means of personal outreach. Every believer is called to this task by the Lord Himself and our desire is that the members of the evangelical churches would become conscious of their calling. Our program is focused on teaching believers the principles of personal witness and practical outreach.
Here is a snippet from a recent newsletter:
There was a great need for our leaders in Central Asia (from Uzbekistan, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Turkmenistan and Tajikistan) to come together to discuss some very important things. The eighteen top leaders for adult, youth and kids EE came to the meeting. We had a great time together discussing how to be effective in personal evangelism in these Muslim countries where there is more and more Islamic pressure and where the government’s secret police watches carefully for Christian activity.
God blesses our ministry in Central Asia! Last year He blessed us with 41 leadership clinics (five-day schools of personal evangelism). We trained 406 church leaders. During these clinics 1,578 people heard the Gospel and 570 of them prayed to receive Jesus! For Muslim countries to have 36% in professions of faith is a real blessing!
During a clinic in Kazakhstan, four EE leaders went to a hospice. A hospice is a sad place for old and sick people. They silently die there without any hope. They are very lonely, without any purpose in their lives. However, this day many of them received a great hope and purpose for their lives!
A man name Paul said: “For two years nobody came to me here. I just must die because I do not see any hope…” An old lady with a great name, Faith, said almost the same thing. They listened to the Gospel very carefully and prayed, asking Jesus to become their Lord and Savior! For them the hospice became not a place of death, but a place for eternal life!
Evangelism Explosion International
P.O. Box 23820
Ft. Lauderdale, FL. 33307
Jesse & Sandy Smith
with Message of Life
I work for Message of Life in Ahwahnee, CA and print Christian educational materials for the Spanish speaking world.
In 1983, two years after becoming a Christian, the Holy Spirit started working in our hearts, giving us a strong sense that we weren’t going to be in Auburn much longer. I felt I was willing and ready to go where the Lord wanted, but Sandy said she had just gotten comfortable in our new home surroundings and church and wasn’t willing to move.
Six months later at a mission’s conference we were attending, one of the speakers spoke on Jeremiah 29:11 “For I know the plans that I have for you declares the Lord, plans for welfare and not for calamity to give you a future and a hope.” The Lord used this message to speak to Sandy’s heart. At the end of the message we went forward to dedicate our lives over to whatever the Lord wanted. At that point our church got excited for us, giving their prayers, support and encouragement to seek the Lord’s will.
A few months later I received an application from Intercristo (a Christian organization that helps match your talents in service for the Lord.) After submitting the application I received a list of Christian organizations looking for a printer. Among many organizations we contacted, Message of Life was the only door that was left open. A few months more passed and we were led by the Spirit to arrange a visit to Message of Life. Prior to our visit, our two primary concerns were deputation and housing. After spending the weekend with the directors, Joe and Virginia Sanders, all of our concerns for support and housing were answered, even to the extent that housing was available. So after touring Message of Life and the surrounding area, we were clearly convicted that this is where the Lord wanted us.
Three months later we returned to attend a Message of Life board meeting, where I was interviewed and accepted on staff at Message of Life. However, I couldn’t come on board to start working until all of our monthly support had been pledged. So, for the next several months we returned to life as usual until all our support could be pledged.
Hebrews 11:1 “Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen.”
God made this verse very real to us a month before we arrived at Message of Life on August 15, 1985. On July 1st we had only half of our support pledged, when the Lord strongly laid it on our hearts to leave for Message of Life. The “problem” was that being allowed to start working at Message of Life was contingent on having full support. I called Joe Sanders and informed him I I was giving my two weeks’ notice at work and would be there the first of August. He reminded me of the need to be fully supported prior to coming on board. After rethinking the situation we chose to move forward trusting the Lord to bring the balance of our support.
At our commissioning service Joe Sanders shared that they knew Jesse was the Lord’s answer for a printer and also shared that in the last two weeks the balance of our support was pledged. We later learned that Message of Life started praying for a printer at the same time the Holy Spirit started moving in our lives.
I operate, maintain and repair three printing presses, a die cutting press, and a paper cutter. While operating the printing presses, I must maintain registration and maintain an even color with a minimum of waste. In addition, I also operate a process camera and a plate maker and order paper and supplies.
Message of Life
58607 Road 601
Ahwahnee, CA 93601
Steve & Janie-sue Wertheim
with Jews For Jesus
Steve Wertheim is the Executive Assistant to Jews for Jesus director David Brickner. He was raised in a Conservative Jewish home in Queens, New York, and moved to California to find a teaching position in the social sciences. His Jewish Christian landlady introduced him to Jews for Jesus. Steve was wary about how his father, who had barely escaped the Holocaust, would feel, but he became a believer in March of 1975, and his father, brother and mother also came to faith within the year. Steve and his wife, Janie-sue, now live in San Francisco and have two children, Benjamin and Rebekah.
Janie-sue works in the Ministry at Large department of Jews for Jesus. “Sometimes I felt like weeping because I desperately wanted these folks to understand Y’shua’s love for them. But someone has to break up the fallow ground and plant seeds of faith. I believe that God used us to do just that. We are willing to go where we aren’t wanted to bring Y’shua to our people, and we can only do this because we have people like you praying for us.”
Our mission is to make the Messiahship of Jesus an unavoidable issue to our Jewish people world-wide. We call that evangelism, which is an active way to tell others the good news about God’s desire to reconcile people to Himself through the Jewish Messiah Jesus. We do evangelism through the things we write, the conversations we have, the music we play and the drama we enact. Pretty much all our programs are about evangelism because that is the whole reason Jews for Jesus exists. But when you look below, you’ll see different aspects of what we do . . . from our street evangelism, to various kinds of youth outreach/mentoring we offer in churches.
We are involved in:
- Behold Your God campaigns held in 65 cities outside of Israel with a Jewish population of more than 25,000
- Youth programs including:
- Camp Gilgal
- Project Joshua
- Liberated Wailing Wall
- Jews for Jesus Singers
Christ in the Passover
Christ in the Feast of Tabernacles
The Gospel in the Feasts of Israel
Jews For Jesus
60 Haight Street
San Francisco, CA. 94102
Mark & Lara
(Last Name withheld because of the geographic sensitivity of their ministry.)
With Bible Translation Ministry
Mark and Lara have worked in West Asia since 1999 translating the Bible for an unreached people group. Key portions have been printed and distributed very discretely among the handful of believers.
In 2009, Mark and Lara moved to Germany where Hannah, Phoebe, and Mischa are attending Black Forest Academy, a school for missionary kids. Mark and Lara continue to work long-distance on their translation project with the able help of dedicated mother tongue translators.
Now, Mark and Lara are also leading the work in two challenging countries of West Asia to see Bible translation and language development begin in every language that needs it by the year 2025.
Mary Alice Whalley
Alive Inside Ministries
Mary Alice is a gifted conference speaker who has a passion to reach people with the Gospel message of Jesus Christ. She has a zeal for God’s Word that makes her teaching both authoritative and life-changing.
In addition to speaking at women’s conferences, Mary Alice is actively involved in the Awana ministry. She serves on the Awana Missionary Advisory Board and as an Awana trainer for opening new clubs throughout North Central California.
Mary Alice and her husband, Jeff, founded Alive Inside Ministries, which is also the name of her first book, Alive Inside, which is being published soon. The book is being endorsed by Kay Arthur of Precept Ministries.
Mary Alice and her husband have six children (2 disabled adults living at home) and five grandchildren (3 boys and two little girls).
At the encouragement of her husband, Mary Alice developed a women’s prison ministry in the year 2000 and added the men’s prison ministry in 2012.
The message we bring to the inmates in central California is this, “But God, being rich in mercy, because of His great love with which He loved us, even when we were dead in our transgressions, made us alive together with Christ by grace you have been saved,” Ephesians 2:4-5
There is a “new life” available for all who put their trust in the Lord Jesus Christ, regardless of their past. Unfortunately, for an inmate, they face the past every day as they look at the bars on their cells. Such reminders can hold one captive “but God”… is the One who sets the captives free from the past and makes them “alive inside” to serve Him forevermore. Therefore, there is a lot to learn about our Lord, so I teach inductive Bible studies using Precept Ministries’ materials. It costs about $1.25 per inmate per lesson, since I divide the lessons in half.
- Currently there are 200 plus students attending classes and many on a waiting list.
- 9 inmates are trained to lead and have led these classes.
- 2 inmates are trained to lead Spanish studies.
- 3 more students are waiting for leader training (21 hours of video seminar).
- Paroled students have started ministries of their own leading these studies.
- The recidivism rate is less than one percent, which is remarkable.
My fellow servant/friend, Nancy Walker and I go into the men’s prison every Thursday. We leave at 10 am and get home at 10 pm. There are 3 classes: 12-2 pm Spanish; 2-4 pm and 6:30-8:30 pm. It takes us about an hour and fifteen minutes to get to either prison.
On Sundays, we go to the women’s prison. There is only one class time available there, so I teach from 6-8:15 pm.
Nancy and I are required to receive yearly training that takes a couple of days a year, TB testing, background checks and clearances.
We are honored to serve our Lord in such a way.
Greg & Hue Chon White
Grace Ministries International
Greg and Hue Chon White were sent out by Grace Community Church in 1992 with a team of 3 other families to start a training center for pastors and to minister to Ukrainians through their local churches. Greg graduated from The Master’s Seminary in 1992 with his M.Div and shortly thereafter left the States to serve in Ukraine where he now enjoys a fruitful ministry in the Irpin Seminary and his local church.
- To train Ukrainian men in the Irpin Biblical Seminary to be better prepared to teach and preach God’s Word.
- To train Ukrainian leaders to be teachers in local Bible colleges.
- To pastor in Grace Bible Church, Kiev, Ukraine and to train up future leaders for our church.
Professor of New Testament at Irpin Biblical Seminary. He teaches:
- New Testament Greek
- Hermenuetics (principles of Bible interpretation)
- 1 Corinthians, Ephesians
- History of Theology
- Dean of Graduate Studies at Irpin Biblical Seminary
- Pastor of Grace Bible Church in Kiev, Ukraine
Greg administrates and directs the seminary’s Master of Divinity program. This program is three years in length and has a twofold purpose: first, it is designed to better prepare men to preach and teach God’s Word; second, it is designed to prepare the men to be teachers of others.
Greg also pastors the small congregation of thirty-five members. His focus is to love the people and feed them God’s Word through weekly Friday night Bible studies and Sunday morning services.
- Discipling young ladies
Other organizations we are working with
Helping Hands Pregnancy and Parenting Center is a local non-profit Christ-centered ministry offering life-affirming alternatives to abortion with compassionate support and practical education. Helping Hands was founded in 1998 serving the Oakhurst community. In 2014 an additional center was opened in the neighboring community of Mariposa. Helping Hands fulfills its mission by offering: confidential pregnancy tests and options counseling, child-birth classes, “Earn While You Learn” parenting classes where parents earn “Baby Bucks” for attending class and doing homework. Baby Bucks are spent at the “Baby Boutique” to purchase diapers, clothing and other necessities for their children. Helping Hands also offers, “Sexual Risk Avoidance” education and post-abortion recovery support and Bible study. All of their services are free.
Helping Hands is a lifeline for women and men of all ages, helping them through difficult times and ministering to them in the name of Jesus.
Click on graphic above for Phone number, Address and link to Website.
24 Hour Hotline: (800) 359-4357