Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Christmas ya bwino (Merry Christmas) 2013!

Dear Friends and Family,    

27 years ago, God opened my eyes to see my sin as forgiven ‘in Christ’. Over the years God has graciously given me life, health, my wife, three daughters, a ministry and hope for the future. Today I am far more convinced of the sufficiency of God’s grace, but I am just as dependent upon that grace as when these lyrics first made sense to me at Christmas 1986!
Merry Christmas from the 'Stoms Family'.
“...Christ, our Saviour was born on Christmas day
To save us all from Satan's power when we were gone astray
O tidings of comfort and joy, Comfort and joy”

Romans 7:24–25a What a wretched man I am! Who will rescue me from this body of death?  Thanks be to God—through Jesus Christ our Lord!

Romans 8:1 ...there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus,

We really appreciate your prayerful support over the past year. To a large extent our lives run on the prayers of our supporting friends, family and churches. It has been great to visit our home churches here in the Pacific Northwest and we hope to be able to visit more as we finish out our year furlough. It has also been good to meet stateside with some of our friends that we normally see in Malawi such as the Mortons, Martins, Robbins, Willsons and Braseltons. Being able to spend time with grandparents is also a big treat.
For the most part we have been busy preaching and making missions presentations where possible. It is nice to take a break from the stress of missions and reflect on things, though life in America is really not that restful. But we have been able to see some beautiful Northwest sights such as the Oregon and Washington coasts, Leavenworth, Snoqualmie Falls and the Olympic peninsula. This past Friday, the girls got to make a snow man and that was a dream come true for them. Also, we’ve been enjoying our ‘cozy’ accommodations in Woodinville and are thankful for our gracious ‘landlords’, Lan and Pat Petrick.

Clara and Katherine were so excited to see snow!
As we look to the future we are optimistic and are looking forward to seeing how the Lord will guide us. We feel like things are changing for us so we are asking that the Lord give us his vision for our ministry. In the meantime we will be homeschooling our daughters, spending time with old friends and partnering churches. We’ve made some new friends and we’ve been getting some good counsel from the Thomsons from Bellewood Church and from the Reeds with Action International.

As we move into the New Year, we will continue to speak at churches and small groups when possible. We welcome your invitations to speak at various churches and small groups. Please join us in prayer as we make the following requests known to God!

1)    That God will give us peace as a family and clarify our vision for ministry.
2)    That our children will excel in their homeschooling environment.
3)    For opportunities to speak at various churches and small groups.
4)    That we can build our team of ministry partners.
5)    That we can communicate with our ministry partners better (updates, blog, website).
6)    That God will provide for all our financial needs as a family.
7)    To produce the ‘Chichewa Story Bible’ and for the ‘Storyrunners’ training’ in Orlando.  

Christmas ya bwino (Merry Christmas),
Jay, Laura, Clara, Katherine and Lauren Stoms
Go ahead and befriend us on facebook.

Direct Contact: jaystoms@hotmail.com;

To make a tax-deductible donation see the above links or mail your check in care of Jay and Laura Stoms to:

African Bible College

P.O. Box 103

Clinton, MS 39060




Thursday, November 28, 2013

Greetings Friends and Family from Woodinville, WA.,    

Levi Dannayo teaching scripture songs.
We are thankful for your partnership with us in the gospel in Africa. We are grateful for the 600 African students that we’ve been privileged to teach Bible classes to over the past 12 years. Many of these graduates are Pastors while others teach Bible knowledge at schools and in ministries throughout Malawi. We are also thankful for all our students who have ministered to the spiritual and physical needs of inmates at Maula Prison for over a decade. In addition, we are thankful that the ‘Songs for Saplings’ music is being taught throughout Malawi by our dear friend, Levi Dannayo and there are now two CDs of Catechism and scripture songs in Chichewa.
New Focus for Ministry:
Doing Pastoral Training @ Nkhoma
We are thankful how the Lord has been teaching us that Africans learn their history, identity and values from stories and songs and that God has given us a book that is 80% stories and songs. In the Western church we extracted various ‘creeds and confessions’ from the Bible’s story that, in recent decades, have been reduced to ‘short tracks’ of what to believe to go to heaven when you die.  While Christianity has been widely accepted in Africa, it is usually propagated in ‘bits and pieces’ apart from ‘God’s Story’.  Moreover, this ‘reductionist gospel’ has failed to transform African culture and people remain largely defined by their own cultural stories, rather than the ‘gospel’.  

If Africans are to have their identities, history and values defined by the gospel then the gospel will have to be rediscovered in the context of the Bible story. To this end, we are focusing on teaching Christ-centered Biblical theology in the African context through Bible stories (God’s story thru God’s stories). To do this more effectively we believe the Lord is directing us in the following ways.
1)       ‘Storyrunners’ and their ‘School of Storying’ (http://www.storyrunners.com/).

We plan to bring a Malawian team to the ‘School of Storying’ in Orlando (March 2014), hosted by ‘StoryRunners’, the Bible Storying ministry of Campus Crusade.  Our team will learn ‘Bible Storying’ which is a natural, contextual telling and discussion of Bible stories that can lead to evangelism, discipleship, and church planting. Telling Bible stories is the best way to help those in ‘oral cultures’ to hear the gospel.
The ‘School of Storying’ is a 5 day introduction to what a 3 person team will do overseas. Our Malawian team aims to take 42 Bible stories to the various people groups in Malawi. These stories—from ‘Creation to New Creation’—comprise the ‘story set’ used in the ‘School of Storying’. Our Malawian team will be trained to coach Malawian Christians through the ‘Bible Storying’ process. Then our team will do the 5 week training in Malawi in their own language for their own people. 

2)      ‘Chichewa Story Bible’.
To further help Malawians understand the Bible we are developing the ‘Chichewa Story Bible’. The book will contain 30+ Biblical stories selected to tell the story of God’s Kingdom that finds it's fulfillment in Jesus Christ, the ascended Lord of all. Each story will have a couple pages of helps to aid the storyteller (background, context, themes, key verses, fulfilment in Christ).  This book is to be an aid to a ‘storyteller’ and the stories come directly from the Bible and were chosen because of their importance to the overall message of the Bible. We have a Malawian team committed to this project that consists of a publisher, a writer, and several Pastors.  

We are grateful for God graciously guiding and providing for us over the last 12 years and we very much appreciate your prayerful support of this ministry.
Zikomo Kwambiri (thanks very much)!

Jay, Laura, Clara, Katherine and Lauren Stoms 

Also please pray for our upcoming speaking engagements:

December 1st Redeemer Presbyterian Church in Redmond, WA (Sunday AM).
December 15th Crossroads Church in Lake Stevens, WA (Sunday AM).

December 29th Bellwood Presbyterian Church in Bellevue, WA (Sunday AM).
January 5th Green Lake Presbyterian Church in Seattle, WA (Sunday AM).





Thursday, September 26, 2013

Greetings from the ‘land of plenty of consumer choices’,   

We have received a warm reception from a number of friends and churches. Our housing in Woodinville, WA are great and we've been given a very nice car to use. We’ve also enjoyed the tail end of the warm summer weather which appears to be long gone now. 
At the Washington Coast.

Between a two-week visit from Laura’s parents and preaching 8 times since leaving Malawi we’ve found it difficult to reconnect with our ministry partners and partnering churches. This is something we are committed to doing over the coming months.

It’s a
Clara, Katherine and Laura in Seattle.
bit hectic and adjusting to life in the States has been challenging. 
Things have changed here and so have we. There are now 5+ story buildings in Ballard. The skyline and the streets downtown Seattle have changed. We got stuck in downtown traffic and it turned out it was due to the 'HEMPFEST'. Even visiting Grandma has been emotional especially now that my 87 year old Father has early Alzheimer's. He's not doing too badly though he looks and acts much older (I am sure we do too).

At Grandma Stoms' with Laura's parents
Fortunately, we're getting some counselling regarding 're-entering a culture'. We also hope to go to the Missionary Training Institute in Colorado next year. We ask that you pray about God’s vision for our family, our children’s education, our family re-entering American culture and reconnecting with friends and family.

Zikomo Kwambiri (thanks very much)!
Jay, Laura, Clara, Katherine and Lauren Stoms

Also please pray regarding the following speaking engagements:
September 29 Bellwood Presbyterian Church in Bellevue, WA (Missions’ Sunday).
October 4-6 Evergreen Presbyterian Church in Beaverton, OR (Missions’ conference).
October 9 Faith Presbyterian Church in Tacoma, WA (Missions’ presentation). 
October 13 Exile Presbyterian Church in Woodinville, WA (Preaching Sunday AM).
October 20 Hillcrest Presbyterian Church in West Seattle, WA (Preaching Sunday AM).
December 1 Redeemer Presbyterian Church in Redmond, WA (Preaching Sunday AM).



Friday, June 28, 2013

Dear Friends and Family (June 2013)

Happy 2013 ABC graduates Timothy and Andrew Mwase.
Hope this finds you well. I recently had the privilege of leading both the baccalaureate service and the graduation ceremony for the African Bible College (Malawi) class of 2013. This year’s class of 70 ABC graduates was our largest class since I came here in 2002. We want to personally thank you for all your prayers and loving support over the past 12 years.
After almost three weeks of grading papers and exams, we are now packing for our upcoming furlough in the states. Now we are trying to discern what to pack, what to store, what to sell and what to give away.

2013 ABC Baccalaureate Service Reception.
Since graduation, I’ve graded 150 x 5 page book reports (Making Disciples of Oral Learners, A. Willis; Christ of the Covenants, OPR), 150 x 3 page exams (Systematic Theology, Old Testament Biblical Theology), and 30 x 6 page papers on the ‘Baptism of the Holy Spirit’. I also listened to 4 x 67 recorded stories from Mark’s gospel with 2 pages of answers to questions on each story. But, I can’t complain because I assigned the work. It has been a great learning experience particularly reading the Malawians response to the ‘Making Disciples of Oral Learners’. Learning how those from an ‘oral culture’ learn through stories, songs, proverbs, drama and ceremonies has changed my approach to ministry. Ironically, God gave us a book that is 90% stories, songs and proverbs.
Please pray for us as we travel from Malawi to South Africa and then on to the Seattle area. I’ll be preaching the next two Sundays (June 30th, July 7th) at Presbyterian Churches (CCAP) here in Malawi and then two sermons at an Evangelical Anglican Church in South Africa (July 14th). We also ask that you consider ‘a special gift’ because our plane tickets are very expensive. Normally we have these funds budgeted but our support has dropped nearly 20% over the past two years and inflation in Malawi is over 100% for the same time period. We are also in need of the use of a vehicle for one year while we are in the Seattle/Portland area (July 22nd). As you prayerfully consider our requests the following links should help those willing to help.

Direct Contact: jaystoms@hotmail.com;

We are really looking forward reconnecting with our friends and family while in the states. Hope to see you soon!
Zikomo Kwambiri (thanks very much)
Jay, Laura, Clara, Katherine,  and Lauren Stoms.

African Bible College/Malawi
Fund: Reverend Jay and Laura Stoms
P.O. Box 103
Clinton, MS 39060