Author Archives: Ryan Seal

September 2018 Newsletter

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Laura and Lauren enjoying some eats before they went back home

Well, intern season is over and while Ryan might not have two heads mounted on the wall, TWR Women of Hope does have a new app.  Our interns, Laura and Lauren, worked hard and managed to build a working app in less than two months.  The app still needs to go though a few approval channels before being released to the public, but the major work is done.

Aryanna and Owen hanging out after churchLaura and Lauren both jumped into TWR with a huge learning curve before them.  They set out determined to build what they needed.  With a little help and mentoring, they both grew as developers and did an impressive amount of work.  Ryan enjoyed getting a rare opportunity to work with other software developers.  It was satisfying to mentor other young developers and pass what he has learned over the years.

Aryanna and Owen hanging out after church

We also enjoyed getting to know Laura and Lauren on a personal level, having them over for dinner.  Aryanna adored them both and called them “the one with the hat” and “the one with the hair”.  We’ll miss having them around and we hope they’ll be able to return one day.

Elyse finished writing scripts for “Hope for our Children” in August. It was a challenging work for her. She enjoyed the struggle and even was challenged by what she was teaching about money. The program is now being translated into Zulu and produced so it can begin airing by the end of the year.

Ary and Owen’s Corner

Aryanna on the swings with friends at her birthday party

Ary turned 3 in June. We had a birthday party with Ary’s three best friends at a local playground. The kids had lots of fun playing on the equipment and eating Ary’s special request: Toy Story ice cream cake.  Ary has started to develop into a little girl instead of a toddler. When Ary is awake, she is talking. She loves to play with her stuffed animals in the bath tub calling it Grandpa’s boat. She loves to read and will sometimes read to us. She can even pick out letters and numbers on pages and signs. Her favorite place to visit is the Botanical Gardens so she can feed ducks and play in the dirt and trees.

Owen is an energetic toddler. He can be entertained by cars whether big or small or in a book. He notices every airplane that comes near our home. Owen would rather be outside than anything else. He will throw or kick a ball with you for hours on end. He is still not talking but communicates very well with his hands.

Listener Story

I am a faithful listener of your programs. Your topics have given me spiritual growth in term of Bible reading and the courage to go through hardships. I am starting to see the difference between the person I was in 2017 and the person I am today. I believe that God is going through your programs to revolutionize my Christian life. Thank you so much.
-A listener in Cote d’Ivoire

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March 2018 Newsletter

Our first dinner in our new appartment.

We had an incredibly cold but wonderful Christmas with Ryan’s family. But at the beginning of January, we made the long journey back to South Africa. Now, after six months of being nomads, we are finally in our new home. We were very happy to move into our new apartment at the end of January. Our first day in our new home we had beds set up with clean sheets, that was it. All of our possessions were stored in a garage so every dish, blanket, curtain, and clothing had to be washed. Elyse had to wash down every surface of the apartment before we moved in. The first night in our apartment, the only clean space to eat in was our hallway. Slowly but surely the chaos died down. Things got put away and reorganized as we figured out where everything should go.  There are a lot of children in the complex and they love Ary and Owen. We go outside to play with them almost every day. Ryan struggled for weeks to get us an internet connection and a South African bank account.

Owen Enjoying himself at a braai

While this transition feels like it has been a lot of struggle getting back into life here, not everything has. We returned to our church. Ryan is playing drums and Elyse teaches Sunday School. Ary was excited to see all her friends again and Owen is beginning to make friends. We found a raspberry field where we enjoyed a fun filled morning of picking raspberries and eating them too.

Ryan jumped right back into work releasing a new versions of the Producer’s Tool and continuing work on the new web interface for uploading files to LinguaDMS. Elyse took some extra time to see the kids settle in more. We are currently looking for a nanny or a day care so Elyse can work part time writing part of a program, Hope for our Children. Most of Elyse’s episodes will center on how to use money wisely.

Pray for the Team in Swaziland

Our team in Swaziland needs your prayer. One of our fellow missionaries was robbed and then highjacked with her 1 year old son. They are both ok as their car broke down 1 km from their home. The robbers then ran away on foot. She was then able to get the car to a local butchery and call for help. Crime has been increasing near our Swaziland office. Please pray for our team’s safety.

Listener Story

“Thanks be to the Lord for the programme of Bible Bus. It’s not easy to explain what the reading of the word is doing in my life. The more I listen, the more I want to hear. I am really filled with joy and hope. May the Lord extend your territory and increase more languages to help our illiterate population of the world, especially [on South African farms]. I am really pleased and excited about TWR programmes. Be Blessed.”

– A listener in South Africa

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December 2017 Newsletter

We got to play at a pumpkin patch in October.

Where in the world is the Seal family? I feel like we need a map for all the places we have been in the last three months. I write to you from a chilly blustery day in Colorado. We traveled from North Carolina to New York and Pennsylvania where we spent time with Elyse’s family and friends. We were also able to visit with two of our supporting churches. Then, onward to Texas, where we had a family reunion with Ryan’s family and visited with other supporters. Elyse was able to go to a conference by an organization called Christian Women in Media Association. It was a great time networking and encouragement for her.

Finally to Colorado, where most of our supporters are. We visited as many people as we could contact and had many

Family Picture Time. DON’T SMILE.

fun reunions. We enjoyed speaking at three more of our supporting churches here in Colorado. We have also had good quality family bonding time between going to parks, carving pumpkins, watching football, trunk or treat, and having Thanksgiving together. Ryan went to a quick conference in North Carolina about cyber security at the end of October. Some special events that happened were a visit to Canada to visit some former TWR friends, going to a Broncos game for Ryan’s birthday, and a special Christmas light show at the botanical gardens.

We are headed to Nebraska in December to spend Christmas with Ryan’s family. Then, we head back to South Africa. It has been a long trip but we are enjoying the time we get to share with family and friends.

Still Some Work To Do

Ryan getting spoiled for his birthday at a Broncos game.

Ryan has continued to work on the project he started in North Carolina and a few minor bug fixes for the Producer’s Tool. Furlough has also been a good time for Ryan to improve his software development skills. The software industry moves quickly and being away from the pressures of work allowed him to catch up on some much needed research and development.

Listener Story

Hi there to all you wonderful people in Christ Jesus. I study with you every night [listening to “Thru the Bible” on 1170 Medium Wave]. There is some interference but I do manage. I learn a lot from your studies. You always comfort me as two of my children passed on. It hurts so much but God always sees me through each day. Thank you for this programme. God bless you.
~ A Listener in South Africa

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September 2017 Newsletter

Owen Enoch “discovering” his toes

Hello from the USA! We arrived in North Carolina on July 21st with quite a bump, literally and figuratively. While struggling with jetlag, Aryanna and Elyse became ill and both needed antibiotics. Owen struggled the most with the transition and still isn’t sleeping more that 3 or 4 hours at night. We spent a week at the TWR lodge while we had meetings with the HR department and prepared to come on furlough. Then we moved out and have been living with family.

Living overseas we rarely spend quality time with family. We enjoyed immensely the opportunity to stay with family during our time in North Carolina. Despite the travel challenges, furlough gives us opportunity for catching up on the last three years. We plan on making the most of our time with family and friends during this furlough.
Elyse has been helping the kids stay with their usual routines while they adjust to so many new things. Ryan has spent over an hour commuting to the Cary office each way leaving most of the burden of helping the kids adjust on her. On top of that, the details of furlough (contacting people, booking flights and rental cars, looking up VISA requirements) were handled by her. Where would we be without her!

Aryanna enjoying the slide at park near our “home” in North Carolina

Once we settled in, Ryan began working at the Cary office. One thing we need to refine in LinguaDMS (our media archive) is the process for uploading files. The Producer’s Tool Ryan wrote automates a few things that makes uploading and publishing files a little bit easier. Several partners in America, however, wanted a website to use instead of needing to install software on their machines. He spent August building a prototype for that website. Though not quite finished, there is still a lot of interest and it was good to build face-to-face connections with colleagues in the US. Ryan will continue part-time work on the project remotely during the rest of furlough.

 

Please Pray for Sierra Leone

They call it, ”the day the earth moved”. On August 14th, 2017 a devastating mudslide took the community in Freetown, Sierra Leone by surprise. Heavy rains and floods contributed to the disaster that took at least 500 lives. An additional 800 people are still missing as cleanup and searches continue. At least 3,000 people have been displaced and its estimated that around 9,000 people have been affected in some way by the mudslides. On top of all of this the standing pools of water and the bodies could encourage a cholera outbreak.


Sierra Leone went through a civil war from 1991 to 2002, then just 3 years ago the country fought the Ebola outbreak that ravaged many families. In light of the events that are troubling the country, Elyse and I would like to ask to you to lift up the people of Sierra Leone in your prayers. When you think to pray for us, also lift up Sierra Leone. Pray for the safety of the cleanup crews as they work in dangerous areas, and pray that a cholera outbreak would not happen. Pray for God’s hope to reach Sierra Leone and for Christians there to be beacons of hope for their communities.

Listener Story

“I want to express my thanks to you for your great efforts to feed your listeners with the word of God so many times. You give us the real food which has eternal value.”
~ A listener in Burundi

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March 2017 Newsletter

Daddy and Ary Swinging in the park

After much discussion and prayer we have decided to stay on another term with TWR here in South Africa. However, we will be heading to the USA in the last week of July for furlough. We will be heading to North Carolina first for some meetings. Then we will be travelling around to see as many of you as possible. The details are still in the making but we will be contacting you about when we are in your area.

Ryan has released version 2 of the Producer’s Tool and is working hard on the TWR Africa iOS app for you crazy MAC users. Elyse is on maternity leave because she doesn’t have the energy anymore to work and care for Ary. We don’t have a lot of news this month so we want to introduce Mike and Wendy Lambert to you.

The Lambert Family

One of the things TWR is always in need of is quality engineers. Mike Lambert has been looking to serve TWR in this capacity for a long time now. They started fund raising before we did and are still struggling to get full monthly support. We had a chance to meet the Lambert’s and their three boys recently as they travelled to Swaziland to see where their future assignment will be. They want to get out there and serve God. Both coming from non-Christian families has made fund-raising more difficult for them. Our heart went out to them. We remember how difficult it was to fund-raise even though we have our families, friends, and home church fully behind us. They are so close at 75% of their monthly support. Elyse and I want to take the time to ask you to pray for them but also consider supporting them. We are currently fully supported so if any of you were considering increasing your support to us or beginning to support us, we would ask you to consider pledging those funds to the Lambert’s instead. You can find out how to contact Mike and Wendy by going to http://www.twr.org/lambert

Seal Baby 2.0

Aryanna, ready to show Munchkin “how its done”

On March 15th, Owen Enoch Seal was born.  He came out a whopping 8 pounds 6 ounces.  Elyse had to have an emergency cesarean section as her uterus almost burst at the place of the scar from Aryanna’s birth.  We praise the Lord Elyse and Owen made it out healthy.  We will post pictures and more details later.

 

As always – There is an interesting listener story that you should take the time to read: https://twrafrica.org/index.php/see/listener-stories/579-kids-demand-bible-reading

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2016 December Newsletter

Happy Thanksgiving and Merry Christmas! We celebrated Thanksgiving a little early with our South African family. We had 19 people in our living room and everyone brought something. It was a wonderful time for us to give thanks for everything God has given us especially the special people here who support us and share their lives with us.

Thanksgiving in South Africa

Thanksgiving in South Africa

Many of you know but the most important news we have in this letter is another baby Seal! That’s right. Aryanna has been promoted to big sister. Baby Seal or Munchkin is due to arrive in March. We are very excited to welcome our second child into the world. Munchkin is doing very well and growing fast. This pregnancy has been more taxing on Elyse with morning sickness, mood swings, and fatigue. However, she has had no problems with fainting and low blood pressure.

Ryan has been working hard at reworking the Producer’s Tool. The lead developer for the Producer’s Tool left the Agroup and the technology it was built on is no longer supported. Therefore Ryan has been getting the software upgraded to a better base technology in order to make the app more stable. The new version is currently in testing phase and should be used for real work sometime early next year.

Side View of Munchkin at 20 weeks

Side View of Munchkin at 20 weeks

There have been some bumps and stalls in the pregnancy program in West Africa but Elyse was finally able to communicate with them in November and has continued writing. Instead of this program only being aired in Nigeria, it is now going to be played in more countries around West Africa like the Ivory Coast and Benin in French and English. With her second pregnancy being so different from the first, she has even more experience in what she is writing to these women.

 

 

Plans for the New Year

Our three years in South Africa are up in July 2017. We will be returning to the United States. Our visas expire on July 31st, however we are not sure if we will renew our visas or not. We’ve been thinking and praying this year about whether or not to stay on as missionaries with TWR. We do not take this decision lightly and we ask you to please pray with us as we consider the next step for our family. Whatever the choice we hope to honor God and to continue to serve Him where we are.

Thanks for Reading and for your support.  Please take time to read a listener letter from West Africa.

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Listener Letter From West Africa

I had been going to church for a long time, but always kept my fetish or talisman, because I was afraid of death. After listening to your show, I understood that the fetish is only a human invention and a lie, so I abandoned it; now I truly believe in Jesus Christ. Today I feel quite free. I know that Jesus protects me now and that nothing can happen to me if Jesus authorizes. Glory be to God!

~ A listener from West Africa

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September 2016 Newsletter

Four Generations of Elyse's Family

Four Generations of Elyse’s Family

A trip to the zoo with the family, swing dancing in a local coffee shop, and a big family reunion picnic to celebrate Ary’s birthday were just a few of the memories we made while we were in the USA. The month was a whirlwind. Ary traveled like a champ. She slept 10 of the 15 hours in the air – It takes a lot of energy to be spoiled by family!

We tried to see as many people as possible. In Colorado, we had a blast visiting with someone every night. While in Nebraska, we got to relax a little. Grandma and Grandpa watched Ary while we went to see the first 4th of July fireworks show we’d seen in two years. In New York, we had a day where both sides of Elyse’s family got together. Ary had three birthday parties and enjoyed a little bit of cake at each one. Even though our time was incredibly busy, family and old friends were a breath of fresh air.

We went from a New York summer to South African winter. Returning was a real shock to our systems. We got over jetlag slowly but now we are back to regular life. Elyse continues to write scripts for the pregnancy program during Ary’s nap times. She jumped right back into teaching JWAY on Friday nights. This term the grade 6 and 7 kids are talking about emotions – good one and challenging ones.

Now that is how to eat a birthday cake!

Now that is how to eat a birthday cake!

Ary no longer walks around, she runs which means she falls more too. Ary’s favorite things to do include playing in the dirt, throwing leaves at mama, and reading books. She loves animals and tries to make the sounds. She also tries to talk too. Her best phrases are, “all done” when she finishes a meal, “dada” and “hi kitty”.

Ryan’s work

The past month for Ryan has been more involved in helping our various partners. He’s been working with a colleague in the US to make sure a new version of the Producer’s Tool is read for our partners. We also had a long meeting with our “Area Ministry Directors” (I.e the leaders who are in charge of various areas in Africa) to see how we can help them improve their ministry from a technical perspective. It’s been good to take a step back from the big picture of LinguaDMS and managing our media files and focus more on the individuals that make the programs that run the ministry. Please pray our last year before furlough will be fruitful for Ryan’s attempt to help our ministry partners.

Thank you again for reading and praying for us. We hope you are encouraged by the listener story we posted here: http://www.splrk.net/twr-stories/listener-encouraged-by-abstinece-teachings/

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Listener Encouraged by Abstinence Teachings

“Thank you for your programme on abstinence. I am encouraged by the actions of your guests and the advice helped me to solve a problem with my sexual partner who did not want to listen to me. I told him simply to legalize our relationship so that we no longer talk about abstinence and he said he is not ready for a serious relationship. This is where our paths diverged. I am calm and happy today to live my life as I heard on your programme. I practice abstinence. Thanks to TWR.”

~from a listener in Cote d’Ivoire~

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Our Newest Team Member

Welcome to the world Aryanna Beth Seal. We have been waiting for a while for you. Ary is six weeks old. On June 20th at 1:30am, my water broke. I was a little concerned because the fluid was discolored. 10 minutes later, we were driving to the hospital. The nurse put me on a monitor. When we heard the heart beat , the nurse said, ” oh that’s a relief. I wasn’t sure we would hear a heart beat.” I thought, ” what do you mean?!” The doctor came in after an hour of monitoring and said that the baby was going into distress and so we would have to do a c-section. This was my worst nightmare. I had prepared myself for a lot of things but a c-section wasn’t one of them. However, an hour later Ryan was holding our little girl in front of my face. She came out happy and healthy. Our silly girl liked to do flips in the womb and got the umbilical cord wrapped around her neck.

IMG_2516IMG_2543

Life since June 20th has been wonderful and hard. Aryanna has dictated our schedule since then which is why the announcement is finally coming now. I actually have been writing this update for 2 weeks. My mum and sister came out to South Africa for 5 weeks. They were an absolute blessing to Ryan and myself especially when Ryan got bronchitis and I struggled with breast feeding all 5 weeks.

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Thank you so much to everyone who sent us money or gave us a gift or even sent an encouraging message. You have blessed us so much.

Aryanna mean gift from God and she definitely is that. She is 4.02kg or 8lbs 13 oz. At the moment, she has dark brown hair and hazel eyes. She is a very peaceful baby and smiles at us often. She loves to be cuddled. We have such a special little girlIMG_2665.

I get 3 months of maternity leave. I am still trying to decide whether I should stop working, work from home, or find someone to watch Aryanna during the day. Please pray that we would make the best decision for our family.

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