Hello Family! Merry Christmas Eve! Here it is, 2011 in review! Our Newsletters have a new home – right here on our blog! As you gather around your families and friends, we pray that each of you be blessed this year, and into the next. That the well of His love, wisdom and strength grows deeper as you explore the never ending depths of our gracious God. Love, Your All Nations Family
All Nations International/Sommer Haven Ranch International
Hello family! We pray this newsletter finds you all well and in His blessings. It has been a while since we have told you the news here at home!
January was a busy month. The Lord spoke to Teresa about the need for a Worship Symposium designed to draw God’s people together to worship and acknowledge Him as the Holy God who desires our Holy Worship – Wholly! Pastor’s, worship leaders and God’s precious people fasted and prayed for this weekend knowing that as we give Holy Worship unto the Lord God, He will come to us with a New Fire, Refreshing, Deliverance and Vision for our New Year.
So, a week after New Year’s, we had our “A Call to Worship” Symposium at Quartz Hill Foursquare Church, now known as Hope Chapel. Eleven churches offered their praise and worship leaders and Pastors to provide ministry and instruction, including Teresa Skinner, Thom Ackerman, Regina Armstrong, Chris Jenkins, Gordon Skinner, Felipe Prado, Sylvia Duyan, Linda Bowling Pastor Titus and the worship team from Oasis Christian Church and Matthew Derensbourg, worship leader at United Christian Church and his team.
What started out as an event, blossomed into friendships that we know will last a long time.
Also in January we had our second annual African Tea Party and Fashion show. We had a wonderful time with Sister Pauline Mmaduakor and our new friend, Mom CeCe Tor from Liberia, East Africa. Both ladies worked together to sew the clothing, creating beautiful works of art. Mom CeCe also helped us by making some delicious Liberian food that was a hit! Our dear Annella Whitehead could not be with us, as she was visiting family in South Africa, but her friend Jo made some delicious milk tarts and other treats. The tea party was a beautiful evening, as Sister Pauline shared her testimony and work with the women in attendance. The Lord provided the finances through God’s people and at the end of the month; Sister Pauline went back to Nigeria and was able to purchase the van she had been praying for! We were so happy and praised God for the miracle! Now, Sister Pauline is able to pick up many children at one time and bring them to her school.
February brimmed with activity. Teresa and Gordon went to India and visited Leslie and Ashley Joseph, Father Nathaniel, Pastor Yeswanth Kumar and Lilly Prakasam they shared the beautiful fruit of the Lord’s work through Agnes, showing pictures of Leslie and Ashley’s orphanage and the beautiful children there. Also that month, Annella Whitehead returned from South Africa and Jordan, Teresa and Gordon’s son, came to live with us along with Michelle and their son, Edgar. Sister Gertrude Kabatalemwa visited us for a bit, we were so happy to spend some time with her. During her visit, she along with Teresa, Gordon and Michelle went to the annual Long Beach Aquarium Craft Show. Lloyd Simrose, who was with us through the winter, went back home during this time.
March came in roaring with a full schedule of visitors coming and going. Karol Skinner came to visit us and along with Mom Jennene, blessed us with their help and was able to join us in a birthday celebration for Gordon. It was an evening filled with beautiful fellowship. Also in this month, the RV’rs came and did an incredible job on all the projects that needed to be done. They assembled the gazebo in the natural area, and did maintenance work in the kitchen as well as the bathrooms. The women helped unpack the rest of Agnes’ belongings, putting the finishing touches in the Founder’s Cabin, creating a warm, homey atmosphere. At the end of the month, Mom’s Karol and Jennene went back to their respective homes. Leon Vielle was with us for a season. He has been a great blessing, helping with projects such as fence work for the garden garden and animal areas. Stan Bodick was also here this month. He along with Leon achieved so much and we thank God for their hard work.
In April, Pastor Jude and his church held their annual Passover retreat here at our home. They spent several days and explained the entire Passover Seder, as well as had games and times of fellowship. It was a wonderful time of fellowship with each other and intimacy with the Lord, and we thank them for sharing that experience with our family. We also shared a Pesach Seder with Danny and June Bravin at their house. We had an incredible time, and as always, Danny was full of laughs. This month marked a new beginning for some members of our family. On Good Friday, Bernie (now Jordan Skinner), Michelle Palma and Ashley Flores were baptized, and little Edgar and Leslie Jimenez were dedicated. Our whole family traveled to Big Rock Creek and had a beautiful picnic after the baptism. For Easter, we headed up to Temecula and had Easter service with Pastor Alan Duro and his family at the Pala Indian Reservation. He shared a beautiful message, and afterwards we headed to the park for a barbecue and games. We were so blessed to share Easter with so many people.
May was the beginning of the F.A.I.T.H. Gardening classes, taught by Master Gardener Bob Yocum as well as the planting season. Gordon Skinner and Syliva Dawn out did themselves in the gardens! We had such a large harvest of all different kinds of food: several varieties of squash, melons, peppers and pumpkins, tomatoes, greens, eggplants and gorgeous flowers. We were able to give away about 1,000 pounds of food, not to mention what we stored for ourselves! It was a great demonstration of how a family could grow their own food, and still bless others. Also in May, Stan Bodick returned home only to come back a short 2 weeks later! We’ve been blessed by his help and are happy to see the Lord moving so mightily in his life.
In June a father and son, Ben Paul and Samuel, from San Jose come and spend some time learning about Sommer Haven and the vision of Isaiah 58 and seeing it at work. They worked alongside our family as we planted, and they were able to see the Isaiah 58 model at work by going to several food distributions, as well as going to LA and visiting the homeless. We were blessed to be able to see God working in them, and we know they went home different people. Later in the month, Teresa, Sylvia Dawn, Jordan Skinner, Michelle Palma and Ashley headed to Portland, Oregon for the All Nations Prayer Warrior’s Society gathering. It was an incredibly moving experience, and a joy to see Bernie Solwey, Marilyn Bread and her son Joey, as well as Pastor Dave Gomez and his family. A Spirit Meal was held in honor of warriors who have gone on to be with the Lord over the last few years. Our Agnes was among those honored. We prayed at several historical sites, claiming the areas for God’s purposes and plans. It was truly a powerful time and we anticipate the next one!
July saw the end of our F.A.I.T.H. Gardening classes. We held a barbecue for all the students and served fresh vegetables and fruit from our garden. Everyone had a great time and they were encouraged and inspired to start gardens of their own.
This month, we remembered the passing of our dear Agnes. It was incredible to think that it had been a year. Not a day goes by when a memory or a thought goes through our minds, making us smile. We held a one year memorial dinner, and we were so happy to see the many faces of those we know and love in attendance. We laughed, we cried, but the gathering was a joyous as we saw pictures and videos and shared our favorite memories of Agnes with each other. It did so much just to be able to sit and talk with one another. We would like to thank everyone who came and shared that evening with us.
In August, Gordon Skinner, Jordan Skinner and Sylvia Dawn headed up to Big Bear Mountain for training in crisis and disaster response. The training was with Crisis Response International (CRI), a non-profit organization aimed at training and mobilizing people to respond in times of crisis and disaster. Gordon, Jordan and Sylvia went through a week of “boot camp”, where they put in real live scenarios that helped them understand how to administer and assist victims during a crisis. The Lord opened a door for us and from this training, a beautiful friendship formed that would help us out later on down the road.
August also shocked us with the passing of our dearest Judi Zak. For the past 10 years, Judi had been deeply invested in the work of her dear friend Gertrude Kabatalemwa in Uganda. She had been diligently helping raise funds for Gertrude’s primary school in the village of Nyamabuga, which had 400 students at the time. Judi’s heart for the poor and less privileged was so apparent and she will truly be missed.
September was one of our quieter months. Our dear friend Dr. Yaneza came and spent some time with us. It was wonderful to see her and catch up with her. We also began preparations for the Casaq the Eagle play and the rehearsals that were to come in the following months
Teresa Skinner was invited to lead worship at the Quartz Hill Foursquare Church Woman’s Conference. Along with Teresa were Ashley Flores, Eleanor and Ivana Chenier from the Oasis Christian Church, Jacqueline Conedy from United Christian Fellowship, and Amelia Meeks from Livingstone Cathedral of Worship. The Lord moved powerfully, so many women were touched by His presence.
This month marked the beginning of rehearsals for the Casaq the Eagle play, which was scheduled to debut in February of 2012. Casaq the Eagle is a play written and directed by Teresa Skinner with a Native American theme. The story is about how an eagle is raised by a chicken. The eagle demonstrates his maturity at the end of the play by skillfully dancing the Kiowa Eagle Dance. Joey Bread, son of Marilyn Bread, came from Oklahoma to train two dancers, Jordan Skinner and Michael Poloai, for the Eagle Dance. We also began going to the Morongo and Soboba Reservations for rehearsals with the Native Dancers, as well as working on costumes.
Right off the bat this month was the “Preparing God’s People to Minister in Crisis” seminar at the Quartz Hill Foursquare Church. The Lord put this vision on Gordon Skinner’s heart to train leaders and churches of our community to prepare for any disaster. The seminar was held over a three day period and featured teaching from Mary Leonard. Mary Leonard was a part of the CRI training that Gordon Skinner had gone to back in August. Mary is a Senior Chaplain at CRI (Crisis Response International) and is affiliated with the International House of Prayer in Kansas City. From that trip to Big Bear Mountain, came a friendship with Mary. When she had heard what Gordon and others here in the Antelope Valley wanted to do, she wanted to help, since it is the same vision she and the people at CRI have. The seminar went well and we all knew it was something we wanted to do again!
Not long after the seminar, we flew to meet Gertrude Kabatalemwa in Nyamabuga, Uganda for a Dental Missions Trip! The team consisted of our team leader Teresa Skinner, Gordon Skinner, Annella Whitehead, Dr. Koren Borland, Dr. Robert Fritz, Lucille Delnevo, (our Sommer Haven nurse from New York J), Linda McQuarrie, a new friend and teacher and Ashley Joseph from India (wife of Leslie Joseph), also a dentist.
After only three and a half days more than 310 children and some adults were screened, treated and given dental hygiene education. As close as we could determine 80 teeth were pulled, more than 19 fillings were done (our portable dental machine luggage was lost for several days or we could have done more) several had their teeth cleaned and every child in the Nyamabuga school received detailed Dental Hygiene education. You can view the pictures from the trip here: http://neepugandanov2011.shutterfly.com/
As the days brought Christmas closer, it also brought to us some dear friends and family members! Moms Karol Skinner and Jennene Jeffrey came to spend the holidays with us, as did our old friend Pastor Dave Hall and one of his friends from New York. We were so glad they came when they did, because they were able to experience one of our Christmas traditions: Samoan Christmas Caroling! Pastor Titus Tuiasosopo and our friends at the Oasis Christian Church came to sing and dance for us. They even gave us a rendition of the 12 Days of Christmas – Samoan Style! We thank Pastor Titus and everyone at Oasis for faithfully coming and being a part of our family! They also went with us to the incredible gift giving event in Chino with Eddie of Isaiah’s Rock also a Christmas tradition for many years, where thousands receive gifts, ministry and the Love of God.
This is what Christmas is all about…