Projects and Missionaires in Europe/Middle East
Recent Stories from Europe/Middle East

GARY HULL— MANAGER OF STATE APPROVED CHRISTIAN RADIO STATION

The State of Israel, in an unprecedented decision, has allocated a radio broadcast frequency to an American Christian evangelical radio network that will broadcast messages of hope and peace to the people in Syria, Lebanon, Cyprus, and Jordan and expanded night-time coverage into Turkey and Egypt. This is the first time a Christian broadcast frequency has been granted in Israel and the first domestic radio station with international purpose (from a news release by Strategic Communications Group).

The new Christian Radio station “Voice of Hope for the Middle East” (AM 1287) was dedicated at the end of March in a live on-air broadcast featuring president and founders John and Heather Tayloe and General Manager Gary Hull, Church of God overseer—Israel/Palestinian Authority Area. Broadcasts are in Arabic and some English to the Arab population.

Israel’s Minister of Communication, Tzachi Hanegbi stated: “This radio station exemplifies the deep connection and unique bond that Israel has with the American people and between Jews and Christians. We are certain that the message of hope that will be brought by the station will be an uplifting tool and a benefit to our neighbors. The State of Israel supports any message of peace to the people in neighboring countries and this is why we decided to support the reestablishment of the Voice of Hope.”

The Voice of Hope is a gift of love from Christians in the United States and Canada.

PRAGUE: FILLED WITH INDIFFERENCE AND SKEPTICISM

When I first moved to Prague, Czech Republic, many stateside supporters had heard little about it; however, that did not last long. After hitting multiple top-10 lists for best places to visit in Europe or most beautiful cities in the world, Prague has become a major tourist destination. In less than three decades after the fall of the Iron Curtain, it has developed into an extremely modern, cosmopolitan, and increasingly affluent city.

This could deceptively lead one to assume that there are few challenges to life and ministry here. Even though its skyline is formed by cathedral spires and its streets filled with religious art and sculptures, Prague is regarded as the most atheistic city in Europe and one of the least-believing in the world.[1]

Czechs are among the most educated and well-read in Europe[2]. The average one you meet is likely to have some historical knowledge of Christianity, but unlikely to have had any significant encounter with a believing Christian.

While there is no longer state-sponsored persecution of religion, there persists a large degree of indifference or skepticism towards it.

Unfortunately, in centuries prior to communism, the soil of Prague was bloodied in religious feuds and holy wars. One student worded her view this way, “Organized religion is a man-made invention that has always been used to control others.” This heartbreaking view of the church is one I have heard echoed time and again here.

So, how does one effectively minister in this context? How do we operate as a lighthouse in such a spiritually dark environment? While it is a question we continually ask ourselves, and remain open to learning more, our team has experienced some ways that are more effective in allowing God’s love and light to shine through us here.

One very important way is partnering with the local church. The Church of God has existed in Czech Republic for nearly seven years. Our local congregation is pastored by national bishop, Jerry Lillard, and recently adopted the name “Life Church[3]” due to its mission to bring God’s life into the community. The mission statement is to “Love God, love people, and live a life that truly matters.” It operates a “Life Center,” or community center, directed by Ulli Lillard, which reaches out in culturally relevant ways, including summer English camps and weekly after-school clubs.

Our missions team consists of three full-time missionaries, all of whom have a Master’s degree in counseling, including one Licensed Professional Counselor, Kelly Myers, and one trained Art Therapist, Michelle Saint-Loth. We each counsel individuals weekly, from within and outside the church, but also have partnered with the Life Center to respond to felt needs in the community. These include offering workshops for teachers and children in local schools on topics like bullying, healthy emotions, self-esteem, and suicide prevention. We also hosted art therapy groups for mothers in a local shelter, helped lead “Celebrate Recovery[4]” groups, parenting seminars, and are working towards cancer support groups. These are opportunities to build bridges between the church and community and will, prayerfully, help redefine the church in the eyes of society as a redemptive force for good.

We seek to offer services that are truly life-giving and can only do so through operating in, and bearing witness to, the true Source of Life. The goal is that the light of God’s love for the people here will be evident and proclaimed in both word and deed. Please pray for us and for the city of Prague to be a lighthouse in this region!

Sabrina “Sunny” Evans is a long-time missionary to the city of Prague, one of the Lighthouse Cities. She will play an intregal part in training ministers and helping plant churches there.

[1] The Washington Post. “Map: These Are the World’s Least Religious Countries,” by Rick Noack. April 14, 2015.

[2] “Which Country Reads the Most?” by Jason English. Source: World Culture Score Index @Amazing Maps, 2014

[3] www.lifechurch.cz

[4] Celebrate Recovery is a Christ-Centered 12-Step recovery program, www.celebraterecovery.com

To give online, click here: cogwm.org/prague

 

FORMER OVERSEER OF SCOTLAND GOES TO HIS REWARD

Paul Melvyn Berry McLaughlan passed away on May 18, 2017, in Inverness, Scotland, following a massive stroke.

Paul and his wife, Sheila, were a powerful force for God’s Kingdom work in a country that needed a great witness. For many years, they worked with the homeless, addicted, and abandoned (mainly teenagers, many of whom they raised in their home, supporting a total of 19 children—including five of their own). The McLaughlans began a work among the bereaved, the prisoners, and eventually became active with Victim Support Scotland. They served the Church of God in Scotland/Ireland from 1984 until 1993.

Greatly involved in the community, Paul and Sheila worked tirelessly amidst hostility to Pentecost, and especially to a woman preacher. Together, they stood strong.

Paul’s father’s name was Gallagher, and he changed his name to his mother’s maiden name (McLaughlan) to protect him from Jesuit priests and his father after his conversion in 1954. His father did not speak to him for 31 years, but finally in 1986 communication was reestablished.

In his earlier years, Paul was a youth pastor for a small church in England, and in 1960 worked with the Assemblies of God as Sunday school teacher, music minister, and also conducted street and bar ministries. In 1974, he founded Spring Bank Youth Outreach, and had over 200 conversions in four years from schools and colleges. The McLaughlans came into the Church of God in 1980, because they were so impressed with the heart for missions of the denomination.

The life of this great warrior for Christ would fill volumes; in addition, he was full of life and full of the Holy Ghost. A delight to be around, he loved a good prank, and his laughter was contagious.

In a letter written by Paul in 1990, he states: “We appreciate our donors greatly and are conscious of their prayers. We need prayer support more than anything else. Even with all the money in the world, one cannot defeat the enemy … but with prayer and supplication our requests are met!”

Funeral arrangements are:

11 AM, Tuesday, May 30, 2017

William T. Fraser and Son Funeral Home

Culduthel Road, Inverness, Scotland IV2 6AB

For those desiring to honor Paul McLaughlan, a memorial church planting fund (Paul McLaughlan, Sr. Church Planting Memorial Fund, Project Number 132-9213) has been established.

Click here to give online to this fund: Project 132-9213.

 

 

CRUCIAL ASPECT OF MISSIONARY WORK

At a time in the Church of God when great emphasis is being placed on education and training disciples, Missionary Vance Massengill is stepping up his activities.

The Massengills have been in missions for 22 years. Although often unrealized, one of the most crucial aspects of missionary work is the training of national pastors, leaders, and missionaries. Recently, Vance spent time teaching some great men and women whom God is calling for His purposes. While they come from a variety of ethnic backgrounds, speak many different languages, and have diverse religious histories, they all have one thing in common … they know Jesus Christ and desire to make Him known.

Vance states: “The ministry God has given us in the Middle East involves many tasks. From sharing our ‘life’ with those in the region, to mobilizing the many immigrant churches in the area for the work of the Great Commission, to working with the local churches. Of the many things God has blessed us to do in this region, one of my favorite is the training and development of young ministers. In a region where born-again Christians in most countries make up less than 1 percent of the population and only 2 percent of where the global mission force works, future laborers for the harvest are essential!”

A couple of months ago, Vance had the joy of credentialing and commissioning three young men that he has been working with on a weekly basis. He has peace that the future work in the fields of the Middle East will continue long after they are gone because of these dedicated workers for the Kingdom.

To give online, click here.

THE MIRACLE WITHIN THE BOX

Bread of Life Orphanage and Feeding Centers in Romania reports on the outcome of Operation Shoebox. Their team went to the houses of the children who attend the feeding programs to personally hand them boxes and share Jesus with the entire family. Many more children in the poor communities of rural parts of Romania also received the shoeboxes and Bibles. It would be difficult to describe in words the excitement on the children’s faces as they received the gifts. Close to 2,500 shoeboxes were distributed to children throughout Romania. To these children, it is a miracle and clear sign someone loves them.

On the outskirts of Bucharest, at a huge abandoned concrete platform is an old guard booth. A family with seven children finds shelter there. BOL regularly gives them food, clothing, and blankets. Among the children in the family is Gheorge, a four-year-old who was born deaf and dumb. As the team was giving them the shoeboxes, the top of his box fell off, and he immediately began to smile the biggest smile! He was happy! The world stood still for a few moments at Gheorge’s spontaneous reaction.

But Jesus said, Suffer the little children, and forbid them not, to come unto me; for of such is the kingdom of heaven” (Matthew 19:14).

Click here to give online in partnership with Bread of Life Ministries in Romania: Project #102-4021

 

 

 

 

 

GRAVITTS … NEW MISSIONARIES

Michael and Mihaela Gravitt are now officially intern missionaries for Church of God World Missions. After interning for one year, they will achieve Career Missionary status. Having already served 10 years in Romania, the Gravitts were sponsored by City Life Church in Chattanooga, Tennessee.

Thankful for this recent development, the Gravitts have been anticipating coming under the covering of Church of God World Missions for a long time.

Michael also says: “When we first sold everything we owned to move to Sibiu, Romania, we had no idea of the many adventures on which God would lead us. Some of the roads weren’t very pretty, but the souls waiting at the other side made the journey well worth it. We are so grateful and humbled that God would choose us to do His kingdom work overseas. He has provided in amazing ways the entire journey … God never once left us suffering or in want. Even more, we have seen dozens of salvations and baptisms over the years, and have also managed to plant a church in Sibiu!”

God always works the details according to His timing.

Click here to partner online with the Gravitts: Project #065-0957