A Letter from Elmarie Parker, serving in Iraq, Lebanon, Syria and the Gulf States

Dear Partners in Ministry,

I have tried writing this letter multiple times. My heart is weighed down with grief and my spirit is weary as I read the daily reports of shellings, death and destruction or talk with beloved partners in the region and hear their concerns. It is a season of deep lament. With the Psalmist (13:1-6) I pray and cry out, “How long, Lord?” …..

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Update from Tito Paredes, First Pres member and founder of CEMAA, the Center for Evangelical Missiology in the Andes and Amazon, which is based in Lima, Peru.

Tito just participated in a Latin American continental gathering with 75 leaders of 16 different countries, The theme was “Missio Dei in new times”,  another way of expressing it, The Mission of God in Latin America in these new changing times.  It was great to see the convergence and dialogue between two strong movements among evangelicals:  those who emphasized primarily cross-cultural missions and those who emphasized holistic mission. This is especially refreshing as the church in Latin America is very polarized.  Our role was to see points of convergence and bridge building between these two important mission movements. Our mission center, CEMAA, supported this effort.

Back in Lima, we are excited that a new church has been initiated across the street of our CEMAA headquarters, we are inviting and contacting neighbors to attend Sunday night evangelistic conferences, please pray for a neighbor Tomas,a retired university professor, who is very interested and has been attending the meetings. Tito has befriended him!

We have begun our academic year at CEMAA offering courses on mission, theology and biblical languages.  We were practically closed for two years due to the COVID, we are learning the new technologies of the internet, virtual classes etc in this new stage of our ministry.  Please pray that we will be open to God’s guidance as the pandemic is subsiding and we are able to meet face to face again.

We have fixed our web page, which was not working for more than two years, we are learning how to use it and make changes in it.  The web page address is

Please continue to pray for Peru’s socio-political turmoil and polarization.  Unfortunately we are experiencing a civil-military type regime that has curtailed individual rights and democratic practices.  Please pray, if so lead,  that president Dina Boluarte will resign as  about 90 % of the people want her out of office, her resignation will, constitutionally, lead to the closing of congress(most unpopular, only 6% approval rate) and general elections for president and congress,  Thus avoiding more death and discontent. This is humanly speaking impossible but we continue to pray for that end.

The Commission of Human Rights of the Organization of American States (OEA) found that the response of State forces had not been uniform across the country and that there had been some serious instances involving an excessive use of force. The information gathered by the IACHR in Lima, Ica, Arequipa, and Cusco shows that the disproportionate, indiscriminate, and lethal use of force was a major element of the State response to the protests. This is supported by factors including the high numbers of people killed and injured with shots (including pellets) to the top half of their bodies and the fact that a significant number of victims were not even involved in the protests or simply happened near the areas where clashes erupted. Please pray that justice and truth will prevail.”

Please pray for thousands of families that have lost homes and have been affected by heavy rainfall and floods due to the unusual Yuka tornado and warm oceans.  About 60 people have also died as a result of this unusual phenomenon.

Thank you so much again for your partnership, prayer and support for our ministry in and from Peru.  We pray for you, We pray for God’s strength and special company in the days ahead!

Love the Child (Amor del Niño)

Love the Child (Amor del Niño) is a private Christian orphanage that provides comprehensive care and developmental support for abandoned, orphaned, abused, and special needs infants in Guatemala. The private home was founded after Shyrel Osborn, who had spent several years working private and government orphanages throughout Guatemala, witnessed that many orphanages were limited in their ability to care for the intense needs of newborns. Shyrel was inspired to create an orphanage that provided every child the family environment they need to flourish. Love the Child has created a unique, family–like atmosphere in which to care for these precious children. They currently care for around 50 children, from newborns to 5 years old. The majority of the children are under 3 years old. The home receives an average of one newborn per week. Their goal is to enable these children, through loving relationships with caring adults and with one another, to develop into healthy and complete image bearers of God who know Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior and who will have a positive effect on their culture and their world. Since Guatemala closed international adoptions in 2007, Love the Child has focused on advocating for national adoptions. Since 2013, more than 25 children have been adopted each year into loving Guatemalan families.

Fighting with Our Prayers – Update from Nita Hansen in Ukraine

Nita Hansen informs us that Ukraine’s people continue to starve and lack necessities, including food and water.  We must stand with our Christian brothers and sisters and be Jesus for them now.  We still need financial help sending our light tables and water purification kits to Ukraine.  Who will help?  Please read the latest news from Nite Hansen and hear the truth about what is happening there.


I know all of us are stunned and heartbroken over the recent attacks on Israel.  Now, two countries are fighting to keep their freedom, each a David fighting multiple Goliaths!  The horrors perpetrated by Hamas in Israel are very similar to what Russia is and has been doing in Ukraine – all of them aimed at innocent men, women, and children.  I personally believe that Iran and Russia helped in the planning of the attack on Israel.  There is an axis of evil whose principal members are Russia, China, Iran, and North Korea, and their goal is to take over the world.  With urgency, we must join in prayer, crying out to God as never before, and through our prayers, join the fight against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places.  This is where the true battle is!

So many of us in Ukraine are discouraged and disheartened at the threats of ending the support for the war in Ukraine.  My prayer is to open people’s eyes to the fact that the war in Ukraine is not just for Ukraine.  It is a battle for all of Europe.  Russia’s stated goal is to restore the former Soviet Union.  The following quote is from a recent interview with Russian General Andrew Mordivichev about the war in Ukraine:  “This war will last for a long time because we still need to liberate Eastern Europe.”

All our contacts in the Kherson and Mickolayiv Regions have called and told us not to send help right now because it is too dangerous.  Therefore, we are currently redirecting our help to other areas for the time being.  It is so frustrating knowing how much help is needed there, especially in the Kherson Region, and being unable to go because all the vans bringing in aid are being specifically targeted.

We are currently working on helping to restore three more clinics in the Kherson Region. Still, again, we have to suspend sending the medical equipment down there because no one will deliver them when it is this dangerous.  The Kherson Region is getting hammered every day with drones, bombs, and missiles.  Despite all of this, Chaplain Andre left for Kherson yesterday loaded with food, clothing, hygiene packages, medicines, phone chargers with high-intensity lights, which we had received from the Rotary Club, and even poison to kill mice and rats (since the flood, they are being overwhelmed by them).  I’m in awe at his courage while holding my breath until he returns safely.

We also sent two big generators to the clinic in the Sumy Region, which they desperately needed to keep running, often during intense shelling by the enemy.  We are buying more emergency blankets for some hospitals and military medics as we have had many urgent requests for them.  We have many requests for heaters as winter is closing in, especially from the Kherson Region.  Please pray for God to open a way for us to get the medical equipment to them and all the other things so urgently needed.  I know God can make a way when there is no way!

Thank you for your hearts for Ukraine and for making all our outreach possible!  Also, please pray for me as I begin my three-day journey back to Ukraine on October 29th!  I’m so looking forward to seeing everyone and being able to hug them in person.

Nita Hansen, God’s Hidden Treasures

What is Our Global Mission

First Presbyterian has a long and rich engagement in global mission. Church records from the 1920’s show she was supporting four overseas missionaries. Currently, she provides support for PCUSA missionaries Bob and Kristi Rice in South Sudan, Elmarie and Scott Parker in Lebanon, and a couple in an undisclosed area in the Middle East. First Pres supports Presbyterian Nita Hanson and her God’s Hidden Treasures ministry in Ukraine. And nearby in Romania she supports Dana and Brandi Bates with New Horizons/Young Life. She supports Ruben “Tito” Paredes and his graduate school of mission, CEMAA, in Peru. First Pres supports “Off” Wichaphon with OMF in Thailand. Off is a member of First Pres’ partner church, First Church Chiang Mai. The congregation supports Jim Witty and Care Corps, who travel the globe training pastors to care for those traumatized by war or disasters. In Guatemala First Pres supports Love the Child, a ministry to children who are in deep poverty. She also supports IMPACT, the short-term mission sending organization born of the Santa Barbara Presbytery. The congregation provides support to two venerable mission organizations founded by Presbyterians, Frontier Fellowship and The Outreach Foundation.

Under global mission mention must also be made of the sister-sister partnership with First Church Chiang Mai. Guided by Rev. Dr. Esther Wakeman, missionary to Chiang Mai, First Pres initiated a partnership with First Church with a short-term mission and exploration trip in the fall of 2013. Members of the two churches have traveled to each other several times, deepening the relationships.

Ways to Serve the World

  • Pray for our missionaries
  • Correspond with our missionaries (email, letters)
  • Contribute to their work (money)
  • Visit them (e.g., mission trips)
  • Help with publicity and information