A NEW REALITY

Long-time Career Missionary Sam Stallings (ELIC since 1996) had a mild heart attack. Flown to Rapid City, and returned to Bowman, South Dakota, he is recovering and processing his new normal with coronary artery disease.

At the time of his attack, Sam was mowing the yard and felt tight pain in the middle of his chest, along with difficulty breathing. He went inside the house, and Patty suggested going to the emergency room. Since he felt somewhat better, he returned outside to finish the yard mowing.

Before long, Sam was back inside with the pain more intense. He and Patty proceeded to the ER. Sam was cheerful with the ER staff, and wasn’t too alarmed, because he didn’t fit the standard heart attack risk factors. But, his blood work changed all that … the doctor wanted him to remain in the hospital while they monitored the levels.

From “let’s keep a close watch” to “you are being airlifted to Rapid City” with nitroglycerin under his tongue, heparin, morphine in his veins, and oxygen in his nose, it all happened in one swift movement. After a barrage of tests, the angiogram showed small narrowed arteries, but too small in diameter to stent. The medical profession had found the problem, but they could not fix it.

With mountains of information, instructions, and five prescriptions, Sam was sent back to Bowman. He will continually carry a vial of nitroglycerin in his pocket. Reality has set in, and Sam affirms: “Although I have some unknowns to wade through, this is what I do know … no matter what, God is good and His love endures forever.”

To give online, please click here: 065-0041

EMERGE CAMPUS UPDATE

Chuck and Sherry Quinley, missionary founders of EMERGE, are finally seeing progress in the construction of their new building in Asia. EMERGE reaches Asian youth by producing Gospel media at their training center called “MediaLight.”

Earlier this month, the foundation was laid. Now, they will push through the intense summer (100-plus degree heat) in a race to be under a roof before the worst of the rainy season hits in July and August.

The most important impact for the harvest is to train and mentor as many young leaders as thoroughly as possible so they will have the heart and skills to reach their generation. To accomplish this goal, they must have a facility adequate for the vision—MediaLight Creativity Center—one of the few places in the world to train media missionaries.

First, 25-ft.-long concrete pilings were driven into the ground beneath all the stress points of the building, strengthening the structure against earthquakes. Then, a 3-ft. pit was dug around each piling. Cement was dumped into each pit, providing a wide footing under each section of the building. Beams were added to connect the individual footings for even more strength. Extra cement was used to create a 600-meter road to the property to make access easier. They can’t let anything slow them down as they race the rains expected.

The point of this is the fact that if a person is going to accept Christ, they will do so by age 25. In reality, 80 percent of all conversions takes place by age 15.

Asia is the least evangelized continent in the world.

Click here to give to the ministry of the Quinley’s: Project Number 060-0031

GLOBAL FIRE ADVANCE: REPORT

A small team recently traveled to Bangladesh, India, kicking off what would be a whirlwind week in Asia.

In Kolkutta, India

47 New Believers in Only an Hour

The first training location was Dhaka, the capital city of Bangladesh. This was the first Global Fire Advance training to be launched in this country, which has a population of approximately 170 million. The 50 men and women who attended were clearly passionate to see a change in their neighborhoods, their city, and their nation—which is one of the most densely populated in the world. Over the two days of training, participants learned about and practiced with the Heart of Man chart, as well as the hub church-planting model. Although the country is 99 percent Muslim or Hindu, these church planters shared the Gospel with 100 people in only an hour and welcomed 47 new believers into the family of God!

Next Stop Kolkata

After a swift and exciting two days in Dhaka, the team flew to Kolkata, the fifth largest city in India. An astounding 250 men and women were in attendance to launch the fifth Global Fire Advance training site in the country. Although India is 94 percent Hindu and Muslim, and many states have “anti-conversion laws,” the energy and passion were intense through the two-day training. Many of those in training have existing ministries; some work in the slums. Stories were shared of experiences with the anti-conversion laws in their states and how the church is growing even more in the midst of this incredibly tumultuous time for Indian Christians.

No doubt! God is on the move in India. Those in training are excited to be part of His plan for their country.

**Global Fire Advance is an extension of the Firewall Project AFRICA

Jack and Mary-Margaret Morris Ministry “Down Under”

Jack and Mary-Margaret Morris have been involved in ministry overseas since 1970. Initially, they served with the Church of God Ministry to the Military before their appointments to Kenya, Botswana, and culminating with Australia, where they have ministered since 2001. Jack and Mary-Margaret are the founding pastor of Macarthur Worship Centre in Campbelltown/Narellan area in the southwest part of Sydney. Jack also ministers and teaches in Papua New Guinea, as well as in other areas in the Oceania Region.

The Morrises hail from a great ministry heritage … Jack’s father was a Pentecostal Holiness minister, and Mary-Margaret’s father was a Church of God minister. Her maternal grandfather, John O. Yates, was a pioneer minister for the Church of God in Illinois.

At this season in their lives, the Morrises will be returning to the States—a big adjustment for them. The believers in Narellan will faithfully continue the work.

The Morrises’ are aware their donors have sustained them in prayer and support, and they are a vital part of meeting the many needs in spreading the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

The Morrises will minister overseas as opportunities arise. God’s call on their lives is never-ending. Future ministry plans for this dedicated couple are to spend a month later this year in Africa.

An all-time message prevails in Jack and Mary-Margaret’s lives … “For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ, for it is the power of God to salvation for everyone who believes” (Romans 1:16 NKJV).

Click here to partner with Jack and Mary-Margaret Morris: Project # 060-0025

Salmon’s: Sidewalk Scholars

Ben and Jess Salmon are short-term missionaries-at-large in Asia engaged in Children’s Ministry. Short-term missionaries are not paid employees of Church of God World Missions. They are volunteers who wish to use their talents for the Lord, and the Church of God simply provides an opportunity and place for their involvement. The Salmons are ministering with the EMERGE Children’s Ministry.

Sidewalk Scholars

An electrical fire recently broke out in one of the squatters areas. Because these families live in gripping poverty, their homes are made of the kind of materials that are perfect for fueling fires. The fire spread so quickly it consumed the neighborhood. Over 200 families lost all their homes and possessions; fortunately, only one person perished. Five of EMERGE’s scholars lived in this neighborhood. Since these families have no money and nowhere else to go, they are all living in the local elementary school.

The children of EMERGE who are from neighborhoods just like this one are called “Sidewalk Scholars.” These children do not let their poverty limit them from serving. Even though they come from families with so little, they gathered up supplies, food, clothing, toiletries, and so forth, and delivered them to the affected families. The Sidewalk Scholars are young men and women who are being raised to be leaders—to think differently … they are living examples of servant leadership!

Click here to give online support to the Salmons: Project #065-0939

Chosen to be a “City of Light”

In Acts 19, we read of a supernatural move of God that began in the city of Ephesus in Asia Minor, the present-day country of Turkey. Ephesus was a major hub of false religion, commerce, and culture. Governmentally and geographically, it was of major importance. Paul visited Ephesus as recorded in Acts 19:1. Only a few believers were there, but because of the Apostle Paul’s discernment and ability to be led by the Holy Spirit, Ephesus was chosen to be a “City of Light,” if you will, for all Asia. As you read the rest of the chapter, several things emerge:

  1. The need for the infilling of the Holy Spirit.
  2. A commitment of time.
  3. Intentional strategic training and education.

As a result, after only a few years, all Asia heard the Gospel. Historians tell us Ephesus became a lighthouse for that part of the world. Timothy became the pastor there and John the Apostle followed at a later date. Mary, the Mother of Jesus, was also a member there. Wow! It all started because someone saw the potential of a pagan city becoming a “City of Light.”

General Director of World Missions for the Church of God and the leader of our missions movement, Dr. David Griffis, has seen the potential of Bangkok, Thailand, to be the Ephesus of our generation. Bangkok is a hub culturally and an economic center for the whole region. It is also, as Ephesus was, a geographic hub for all Southeast Asia. All the surrounding countries look to Bangkok as the natural connecting point for the whole region. What happens in Bangkok affects many, many countries and people groups. One of Bangkok’s claim to fame is that there are more prostitutes than Christians. Buddhism and other false religions are firmly entrenched. Poverty and unreached people are the norm.

What potential! What a precedent we have in Acts 19 for a push into a dark area of Asia.

When we as Christians see God’s heart for hurting people and realize where sin abounds, grace much more abounds, and the light shines brightest in the darkest places. This becomes a mandate to send the LIGHT. Bangkok has the potential of becoming a hub of transformation for all Southeast Asia. When men and women of God, missionaries, donors, preachers, evangelists, pastors, and partners begin to focus their time, talent, and treasure on one geographic location where the need is the greatest, we will again see the phenomena that we saw in Acts 19 at Ephesus.

Lord, please let Bangkok become the Ephesus of the 21 st century!

—Ron Hepperly RIO Missions and Superintendent of Southeast Asia

Click here to support Send Light to the Cities (Bangkok) online.

 

AREA-SENSITIVE REPORT

An Asian closed country recently reported providing food and commodities for orphans.

The program known as Feed the Hunger delivered 650 kg of rice (which translates into 1400 lbs.), 200 kg of instant noodles (440 lbs.), 200 kg. of meat (440 lbs.), and 100 kg of sugar (220 lbs.). Along with the food items, other products were distributed.

An additional three children were brought to the orphanage, making the total of children needing provisions to 78.

The director and the orphanage are deeply grateful for the prayers and food for the orphans. They are anticipating building new housing for the children, as well.

Your labor in the Lord for them is not in vain.

Project number 731-1136-119

The names and location of these activities and workers are withheld due to certain security risks. Please pray and provide as the Lord directs.

A “Low Profile” Ministry

Career Missionaries serving in a closed country of the 10/40 Window face the fact on a daily basis they are illegal and that their ministry must be “low profile.” It is even more dangerous for those Muslims who convert to Christianity. The revised 10/40 Window now includes 65 of the least-reached countries of the world.

In spite of the circumstances they confront, the missionaries are planting churches and reaching Muslims. The effort primarily involves cultivating indigenous leadership. Education, scouting locations, and renovation of buildings are all part of church planting. Additionally, chairs, guitars, amplifiers, and microphones need to be purchased.

The missionary says: “Worship is the fuel and goal in missions, because in missions we simply aim to bring the nations into the white-hot enjoyment of God’s glory—the gladness of the people in the greatness of God!”

As with most missionary endeavors, finances are a continuing concern. They need the funds to fight the battles and establish churches in this hostile area of the world. Your prayers sustain and keep them safe.

Project Number 065-0058

I Struggle At Easter

Easter. I am always mindful and very aware of this time of year.

Easter in my childhood was different than the Easter I have come to know as an adult missionary in Asia. Holy week is the most significant holiday for many here. But, what there is that is holy always leaves me stunned with so many questions.

I remember the chocolate bunny from my grandmother that was childhood Easter.

And the turkey dinner with family that had come from afar.

And the Easter Sunday morning joyous celebrations of Jesus is Risen!

Aside from feeling sad that Jesus had been crucified, there was nothing that felt dark. Easter was safe and warm.

Now, all grown up, with 140 children in my care, I struggle at Easter. There are no chocolate eggs to hide, nor are there roast turkey dinners with families. This is a place where there is no innocence. The darkness of Maudy Thursday and Black Friday is known to even the children—there is darkness and fear.

Men are already preparing. During Easter week, they will walk for hours in the hot streets, beating themselves in a tranquilizing rhythm. Vivid re-enactments of the crucifixion will touch almost every community. They have missed seeing the saving power of the Cross and they hang themselves on makeshift crosses … begging for mercy because of murder, drugs, violence, and hatred. Others beat themselves beyond recognition, begging God to bless them and to please, please, please … forgive them.

The darkness is not only seen. It is felt.

Recently, a little boy stood awkwardly before me, clutching a dirty blue bag of smelly “hand-me-down” clothes. His paperwork said … Foundling. Unwanted. Name unknown. Age unknown. His speech was garbled. His body full of scars. But, it was the terror in his fleeting eyes that struck me. I knelt down. Who did this to you, I asked? I could not help but touch the startling scar, the disfigured leg, and his little cheek. His eyes locked in on mine. I didn’t move.

My heart is heavy. Do we have room, Lord? Can I love another one, Lord? Our home is so full. And some of us are weary … Weary of the fight. Weary of doing good.

Is there any hope?

Suddenly, I see Him. He is there, in the room, His arms outstretched.

Just as His arms were stretched out on that horrible Cross of Calvary.

I hear His voice. I am hope for you. You.

My tears fall like rain.

I AM your Easter, my child.

—Charity and Evan Graff are directors of Gentle Hands in Manila, Philippines, a child and youth welfare agency meant to be on the frontlines of rescue and rehabilitation of the medical, social, and educational needs of at-risk children and youth, working towards improving human community life through the love of Jesus and family-centered care. Gentle Hands is licensed and registered with the Department of Social Welfare and Development.

 

To give online to missionaries Charity and Evan Graff , click here. Project Number 065-0225

To give online to Gentle Hands Ministries, click here. Project Number 740-0166

Relationship. Connectedness. Community.

When I am with a group of human beings committed to hanging in there through both the agony and the joy of community, I have a dim sense that I am participating in a phenomenon for which there is only one word … “glory.” —M. Scott Peck

Wrestling Alone

Failures and fears can drive us into seclusion. When we have problems, we are tempted to wrestle with them alone—where no one else can see the frailty of our humanity. We become fearful that someone will identify our flaws and name our weaknesses, and we hide.

The Power of Community

Today, I was reminded once again of the power of community. It is through community that Christ dispenses courage and hope. It is through community that we voice our fears and failings, yet still know we are a member of the fellowship of believers. It is in community that we develop character. It is in community we find acceptance and identity. It is in community that doubt dissipates.

Truth is relational. People are more apt to hear and receive truth from someone with whom they are in relationship than from a complete stranger. This is the power of community. In community, we experience truth—truth that holds us accountable to one another.

God With Us

One of my favorite names for Jesus is Emmanuel—God with us. It is the “with us” part that I love. Jesus models for us by His very name what it is to be in community. It is to be with one another—in relationship with one another. When it is messy or painful or glorious or even when it is just plain average everyday living—no great high and no deep low—we are called to be with one another.

A Community of Transformation

I currently live and serve in Cambodia. What I love about what I do is that I work within a community to improve people’s lives, speak truth, and live out Christ’s commands in community. My work is about people and transforming lives, but through it my life is also changed. When we are in community, lives are not transformed in isolation, but our transformation touches other lives and can bring change to others. It creates a reverse domino effect. Instead of knocking each other down in succession, we lift each other up!

Relationships. Connectedness. Community

It is the power of community that creates life sustainability on the field. Life can be ridiculously tough on the field. It is sometimes chaotic and filled with many challenges that can suck the life out of you. The only solution to combatting the life drain is a solid relationship with Christ, and being a part of a solid Christian community/family. Clarity and right perspective comes when we live the call of Christ together in community. It is what keeps the world right side up and spinning on its axis.

Relationships. Connectedness. Community. We need all three. As Ecclesiastes 4:9 reminds us: “Two are better than one.”

To enter into a missionary relationship of support and community with Julie, click here. Project Number 065-0223.

Julie Martinez is a Church of God Missionary Coordinator who has been serving in Cambodia since 2007.