Advance Magazine
Winter 2023

Reaching New Heights

A Homegrown Pastor

Mozambique missionaries Joel and Joanie Troester met Hélio when he was 14 years old. Speech problems and an absentee, polygamist father were two of the burdens Hélio carried, but when he received the Lord a year later, his life took off in a new trajectory. During VBS, he accepted a challenge to teach the daily verse, and from then on, Hélio’s gifts of teaching and leadership blossomed and grew.

The Troesters, their new coworkers Junior and Abby Taylor, and their church have been seeking a pastor to take over the church that Joel and Joanie planted in the neighborhood of Liberdade. Hélio was already heading up the Troesters’ and Taylors’ new church plant when God moved him to ask if he could candidate for the position. The church unanimously voted him as pastor on April 16, and he will divide his time between the two churches. They could not have asked for a better man for the job.

In June, on the Troesters’ final Sunday in Mozambique before transitioning to retirement, Pastor Hélio planned a going-away service with testimonies from people who worked with Joel and Joanie through the years. After the service, many thanked them for investing in their lives and also for their supporters who prayed for and financially gave so the Troesters could bring the gospel to them. Hélio and his wife, Laura, are also fruit of that investment, a homegrown pastor and wife eager to pass on the seed of the gospel that others planted in them. Those who support missions make an investment that keeps on growing!

Meeting Messiah in NYC

Where would you go to reach Jewish people for Christ? If you live in the US, the best place is New York City, home to the nation’s largest Jewish population. And that’s exactly where David and Kathy Paskal settled last year to begin their multifaceted ministry. From their base on Long Island, the Paskals developed Psalm 122 Ministries. It’s a simple ministry with a profound goal: develop contacts and friendships that God can use to plant Olive Branch Baptist Church and Community Center.

Among NYC’s most concentrated groups of Jewish people are the oceanside city of Long Beach and the Five Towns area. This summer, the Paskals set their ministry in motion by distributing cold bottles of water, gospel literature, and Bible study invitations to area beachgoers. These efforts, combined with door-to-door visitation and open-air evangelism, have drawn as many as 22 Jewish people and Gentiles to their Thursday night Bible study. David and Kathy have already seen about 30 people make decisions for Christ.

Jewish ministry requires creativity, and the Paskals are seeking creative avenues for the ministry’s future. David is developing an apologetics podcast that teaches about the Messiah in biblical prophecy. In the privacy of their own earbuds, Jewish people can explore this topic without pressure from family and friends resistant to the gospel. Learn more about the Paskals’ ministry at

“That's My Language!”

In early 2023, it did not look hopeful for wrapping up recording on the Gospel of John in Quechua, a native language of Peru. The last men to record were struggling to get to the studio due to Peru’s strikes and rioting in December 2022 and early January. But finally they made it and Bibles International missionary Jim Carlton forwarded the audio files for updating the “Kawsay Qoq T’anta” (Cusco Quechua New Testament) on Bibles International’s Google Play app. The app contains 50 translations so far, and Bibles International continues to add more to make translations as accessible as possible.

After hearing about a Quechua speaker in a BMM colleague’s church, Jim and his wife, Becky, invited her to their apartment. When Jim opened the app so she could listen, she became so excited she shouted, “That’s my language! That’s my language! I understand it perfectly! That’s how we talk!” The app includes the written text, with phrases highlighted as they’re read, making it easier for those who don’t read Quechua very well.

It’s the prayer of our Bibles International missionaries that more Quechua speakers will be able to read physical copies of the Quechua New Testament and grow further in their walk with the Lord. A radio station in Peru’s mountains contacted Jim about using the recording of John in their Quechua programming, giving even more exposure for the Scriptures.

Basketball Connections

A big hurdle for Japan missionaries is how to get men into churches. Japanese men focus a great deal of their time and energy on work. An excellent way to reach them for Christ is through the hobbies they pursue in their free time. For years, English classes have successfully reached many men, but this method is effective only for those interested in English. Recently, the Lord gave first-term Japan missionary Aaron Thompson a creative outlet to expand into a hard-to-reach demographic among men: those in their 20s and 30s.
At 6'4", Aaron often gets mistaken for a basketball player. He discovered that the sport helped build his relationship with a language school classmate. This summer, Aaron was playing at a nearby park when he met a local basketball group leader. Because the leader’s wife is American, he and Aaron had a natural connection, and he invited Aaron to join his team.

Although there’s not much time to talk during the games, Aaron invites team members to coffee or for meals to talk further. One teammate lives in Aaron’s town, so they ride the train together to basketball practice. Because this man is single and lives far from home, he loves it when Aaron and his wife, Emily, invite him for meals. It gives him a chance to practice his English, but it also opens opportunities for Aaron and Emily to talk about beliefs. Evangelism is a slow process in Japan, but through a simple tool like basketball, the Thompsons are reaching a group that might never hear the gospel otherwise.

Win23 RNH Basketball PB
Many Japanese men love basketball, giving Aaron (back row) greater opportunities to build relationships.

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