KINDESS OPENS DOORS: Missions Romania

Robert Schmidt, missionary to Romania, knows full well that one act of kindness opens doors for other ministry to occur.

Upon visiting the village of Rupa where they went to give food and clothing, Bob asked if he could come back and dedicate a baby to the Lord. Not only did he get to dedicate the baby, but he was able to preach a message the Lord laid on his heart about the love God has for people, regardless of who they are or where they live. Anyone can trust the Lord, even when things look difficult. As a result, Bob was invited to return and to preach in revival meetings. Rupa is a small village with about 10 to 12 families, half are not Christians, but every person matters to the Lord.

Having watched people asking for food during the winter, the Schmidts began a year ago feeding as many people as possible.

Initially, those at the center pitched in to get started. Since then, several churches are assisting and the ministry has grown to feeding about 200 people a week in three villages—Gepiu, Tinaud, and Ineu.

In Gepiu, there are two separate gypsy communities. They intended on feeding just children, but the old people said, “What about us … we have nothing,” so they are fed, as well. In Tinaud, an extremely poor family without parents lives in a two-room shack, with one mattress on the floor. This is the same village where earlier parents slept in shifts because they had to watch for rats trying to eat their children’s feet. Mattresses are desperately needed. In Ineu, when the van pulls up to the place where the children are fed, they clap and shout. Rightfully so, the children are excited to eat warm food, learn songs, and hear more Bible stories.

Robert and Caroline Schmidt are living and preaching the gospel, but are only able to do ministry because of your financial partnership.

To give online, please use Project Number 731-1169.

Ministry on the Battle Frontier

Educational directors in Eastern Ukraine, Eberhard (Ebi) and Natasha Dudszuses, used their recent visit to the States for the General Assembly to visit various churches. They had opportunity to visit and minister in new churches—Russian-speaking and American.

NEW CONNECTION

A new friendship was established with the missions pastor of a large church in South Carolina. Mark Hill and Ebi talked for several hours about Eastern Ukraine and reaching people with the gospel. Mark will be going to Slavyansk later this year to participate in a missions conference, and will provide them with special technical equipment for the work they are doing close to the frontline.

MISSIONS SCHOOL IN STRATEGIC LOCATION

The missions school has a good mixture of theology/teaching and practical subjects like children’s ministry, counseling, first-aid, defusing mines, and how to evacuate people out of the danger zone in case of shelling and shooting. Yes, these missionaries and individuals are actually on the frontline of battle in the natural sense. A great thing is that they work with other evangelical denominations in order to make the ministry more effective. Twenty-six mission stations are functioning along the frontline.

GRADUATION

Slavyansk was the site for the graduation of the seventh group of students and the Great Missions Conference. About 700 attended the conference, and when the new graduates came forward, it was a somber moment … these young people will go to the danger zone in order to share Jesus Christ.

Water baptism took place for about 100 people—most of whom live in the frontline area where their teams care for the people in need every day. As paradoxical as it may sound—our Lord uses the war situation to save people.

More Conflict in Eastern Ukraine

As recently as June 2016, World Missions was made aware of the continuing conflict in war-torn Eastern Ukraine. Tom Rosson, regional superintendent/president CIS/ETS-Moscow, reported shelling continued to take place in towns and villages along the front. Mironovskly was littered with destroyed homes and apartment buildings, and the team had to go through multiple checkpoints and defense lines to even get on site. Deadly firefights consistently happened throughout the region.

The conflict escalates. To date, the fighting has taken on a new intensity and six villages/towns are under siege by the pro-Russian separatists. In Avdeyevka, our mission team was pulled out and evacuations of women and children began. The town is without electricity, water and heat, and the outside temperatures are in the single digits. Unfortunately, civilian casualties are a part of this awful situation.

In times of war, people of God show the love of God. If you can assist in the financial cost of evacuations, please use project number 131-8079 (“Home for the Homeless”).

Thank God, growth comes despite the military conflict, as nine new churches have been established!

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EUROPEAN THEOLOGICAL SEMINARY TEACHER RETIRES

European Theological Seminary teachers Dr. Carl Simpson and his wife Jackie were recently in Dublin, Ireland, to celebrate the graduation of ETS’s students who participated in the extension program. Upon arriving back in Germany, a farewell celebration was held for Simpson’s wife.

After 12 years of faithful work at ETS, Jackie Simpson retired.

Her time at ETS was marked by perseverance, patience, and a positive influence upon the lives of many of the students. It was noted her smile and kindness were extended each and every day without fail.

ETS is grateful for her wholehearted service and devotion, and their prayers go with her for good health, peace, joy, and fulfillment alongside her loved ones.

AN OPEN COUNTRY

Because of restrictions in some regions to share the gospel, we often mistakenly believe nothing of any significance is happening. Nothing can be further from the truth.

World Missions recently learned the UAE is an open country.

The United Arab Emirates is the only country in the world where the government has given FREE land for 13 international churches at Sharjah, two of which are for Church of God churches. At Dubai, the government gave land for seven international churches; in Abu Dabhi, they gave place for 10 international churches; Ras AL Khaima, 10 international churches—one for the Church of God, and likewise at Al Ain. Not only does the government grant free land, but it provides free electricity and water. Additionally, the government has given Priest visas for more than 100 priests, which also includes one of our ministers.

The Bible seminary in this area has spread over the entire seven states of the UAE … the only biblical seminary in the Middle East accredited by Asia Theological Associations (ATA) and by the Church of God Grade Level IV. By the grace of God, the seminary has been in operation for 15 years and seven graduations have been completed. At the 2015 graduation, three Sheikhs from the ruling family attended.

Make no mistake—God is on the move, and He is establishing His church in areas of the world some think impossible, making available the message of salvation to all who will believe!

WE’RE GOING ON A TRIP!

Joe and Christina Byrum serve Church of God World Missions as parachurch missionaries to England, where they will be ministering to the Chinese who have immigrated into the United Kingdom.

The Byrums have had a bit of a rough start in getting to the mission field as first their home took especially long to sell, and then before the holidays, Christina had a car accident that prevented them from making the trip home for Thanksgiving, but they managed to get there for Christmas. On the way back home, God also protected them from two separate car wrecks, even the car malfunctioning! But now, England is definitely on the horizon and they will leave in February for a three-week vision-casting journey. Part of the Byrums’ initiation will be immersing themselves in the culture of the UK, and learning the ins and outs of daily life there.

The trip is a great opportunity and affords them the blessing of being involved in the ministry firsthand with their teammates.

As with any missions effort, funds are a vital part of preparation. While praying for guidance from the Lord, the Byrums are also praying for monthly partners to help them follow the course to which God has called them. Pray that God will continue to open doors for them to speak with churches in the area.

To partner in ministry with the Byrums, click here.

 

EUROPEAN THEOLOGICAL SEMINARY ACTIVITIES

As with most college campuses, activity is usually rampant and that is no less the case with our European Theological Seminary in Germany.

Youth Experience Overwhelming Presence of God

Finding themselves in a remote village on top of a mountain, the ETS community was full of life and action during a special youth emphasis day. One event the students prepared for recently was the Holy Spirit Night. Coordinated with the Crossroads International Church in Freudenstadt Germany, the group of young people and staff experienced the overwhelming presence of the Lord like never before and were grateful to God they were enabled to do so.

Extending ETS in Rwanda

ETS teachers Kenneth and Valerie Hamilton had an opportunity to teach an intensive course in Rwanda, Africa. The group of 50 pastors and leaders who attended came from Rwanda, Congo, Uganda, Kenya, Tanzania, and Zanzibar—many of whom traveled a day or more by bus to be there. The students’ eagerness to learn was matched only by their willingness to sleep on the floor for two weeks or putting up with the frequent water and power outages. Many of these students came from war-torn countries where they live in daily fear of violence and the lack of basic resources. Because of the lack of educational resources, the students were excited about the information covered in class and were anxious to return with it to their own congregations.

“… Keep them close …”

Experiencing God’s joy and blessing upon the last semester, ETS asks that you keep them close to your heart, as they share their joys, achievements, and needs.

Click the number to give online #710-0058. Be sure to include the number in the gift description.

ISRAEL INITIATIVE: A FINISH COMMITMENT

Not only did World Missions focus on finishing the Great Commission where it started … with the Israel Initiative … but World Missions continues to strengthen the Church of God there.

Five key areas of emphasis have been Children, Care, Construction, Communication, and Connections—all of which are vital elements for completing the Great Commission. Partnering has also taken place with YWEA, Ministry to Israel, and a Middle Eastern Christian television network, as well as numerous donors.

Recently, Senior Representative of Church of God’s Israel Initiative Bishop Shawn Baker visited the Jerusalem School of Bethlehem to tour the property, meet the faculty, staff, and students. Founder and principal is Grace Abu Muhor.

The students and staff members send their thanks and appreciation to all who supported the Israel Initiative by helping the Jerusalem School of Bethlehem purchase their much-needed curriculum. Their hearts are full of joy at knowing the Church of God is participating in history in the making through advancing the gospel via education.

This next generation of leaders in Jerusalem is the hope of the Middle East!

To Give Online: Project Number 102-9427

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A NEW VISION IN PRAGUE

Just as autumn ushers in a new season, so it is with Missionary Sabrina Evans … a new semester, a new English class, new counseling clients, a change of location for the church, and a new vision to accompany the changes. Transition is never easy, even in the best of circumstances. The challenge is to lean further into eternal things, which do not change—God’s steady and unfailing love.

The Czech Evangelical Alliance hosted a gathering of representatives from different missions agencies presently active in the Czech Republic, and Sabrina was honored to represent her team. Discussion was how to better cooperate on points of common vision and further strategize cooperation and Kingdom work.

Sabrina was invited to attend a special retreat of American missionaries serving in Europe which was held in Leysin, Switzerland. Describing it as a mountain-top experience, Sabrina stated the purpose was to provide a place of spiritual renewal and encouragement.

In a recent national conference’s workshops, Sabrina and teammate, Michelle, both participated in a children’s program in the morning, and also co-led a workshop in the afternoon for adults with the pastor’s wife on walking with others through crisis. Sabrina also meets twice a month with an English-speaking prayer group for prayer and spiritual support.

While many changes are taking place, for Sabrina God’s Word is her foundation: “But I trust in your unfailing love; my heart rejoices in your salvation” (Psalm 13:5).

Project number 065-0463

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SEND THE LIGHT TO PRAGUE, Czech Republic

Prague, Czech Republic, has been added to World Missions’ emphasis on “Send the Light to the Cities.” Your Christ’s Birthday Offering will in part go toward a ministry center there.cbo-border-graphic-2016

Prague, the capital and largest city in the Czech Republic, is situated on the Vltava River, and has a population of 1.26 million, while its larger urban zone is estimated to have a population of nearly 2 million people. The name “Prague” is a derivative of an old Slavic word and means “ford” or “rapid,” undoubtedly referring to the city’s origin at the river’s crossing point. Others names for her are the Golden City; the Mother of Cities; and the Heart of Europe. Prague has been a political, cultural, and economic center of Central Europe during its 1,100-year existence.  According to Globalization and World Cities (GaWC) studies, she is classified as an “Alpha”-global city.

Spiritually, Prague has one of the least religious populations in the world; the country with the third most atheistic population by percentage is indifferent towards religion. Only 16 percent of the citizens respond that they believe there is a God. Catholics are the largest Christian group in the Czech Republic, yet a significant falling away and fading of religious influence in Czech society is taking place. However, small congregations, house churches, and cell groups all fare better than top-heavy structures.

Prague is a harvest field ripe for harvest!

Project number 020-0803/Christ’s Birthday Offering

Moscow, Russia, is originally on the list of 10 cities, but due to recent laws effected by Russia’s president against Christianity, Moscow will now be a focus for extensive prayer. Resistance is great toward any spiritual advances by evangelicals.