CHOOSE TO BE A PART OF PREPARING FOR THE INEVITABLE

April 16, 2016, Ecuador suffered a devastating 7.8 magnitude earthquake that claimed 672 lives, caused 6,300 injuries, and displaced over 30,000 people. In just a few seconds, buildings were leveled and roads completely destroyed in the widespread devastation. As one would imagine, a natural disaster like this created immediate chaos and desperation. People were digging through the rubble with their bare hands in an attempt to rescue their loved ones. Communities were completely cut off from any resources or help. A sense of hopelessness and confusion engulfed the region in moments.

Within hours, Church of God World Missions was at ground zero to help those who were suffering. Even though the roads to ground zero were treacherous and the threat of the shipments being hijacked in transit was very high, the World Missions family rallied together to receive, organize, transport, and distribute emergency food, water, and supplies to those in need. Also near the epicenter, water filtration and purification systems were installed in area churches and became sources of hope and life in a time of great despair and darkness, as they provided safe, clean drinking water to their communities.

As the infrastructure improved and government agencies provided the basic needs of the victims, World Missions shifted its focus towards the enormous task of rebuilding what was lost and giving long-term care to the survivors. Dozens of churches and parsonages were either partially or completely destroyed. Equally, if not more, devastating was the psychological and emotional trauma endured by the survivors. While trying to grieve the loss of family members, friends, and neighbors, over 26,000 people were relocated to shelters, and still experiencing hundreds of powerful aftershocks. The mental and emotional well-being of the people was as shaky as the land they tried to stand upon.

God laid a special burden on Missionaries Bobby and Tamitha Lynch to lead a special initiative—Project M:25 GIVE Care (World Missions Project #102-9249-55)—to focus on helping the children who experienced this great trauma. They heard heartbreaking story-after-story of young boys and girls who had their lost homes, parents, and siblings during the earthquake. Many children were unable to sleep due to nightmares and were terrified at the slightest breeze of wind. Tamitha Lynch reached out to Dr. Heather Quagliana, Assistant Professor of Psychology at Lee University, for some advice on how she could help the Ecuadorian children deal with, and heal from, the distress. Immediately, God sparked a passion in Dr. Quagliana to put the entire efforts of her department behind this task. She and her husband, Dr. David Quagliana, who is also a professor of psychology at Lee University, assembled a team to quickly write a manual on how to address this issue. Just four weeks after the earthquake, a team from Lee University arrived in Ecuador to work with the Lynches and their team of seminary students from SEMISUD (the Church of God World Missions seminary located in Ecuador). Within hours, a combined World Missions team of 25 people from seven countries were trained and deployed to ground zero of the earthquake’s devastation.

The team arrived to find an overwhelming scene of devastation. Rubble was piled everywhere and people were living in deplorable conditions. The stench from the bodies buried beneath the debris was an ever-present reminder of the horrific upheaval that had occurred. Immediately, the team went to work and conducted training sessions with hundreds of pastors, teachers, and other community leaders. They were equipped to help the children process their emotions and trauma. The team also worked directly with the children offering a light-hearted Gospel-centered program designed to help the boys and girls process their feelings in a healthy manner. Trauma care packages, specifically designed with psychological and emotional healing in mind, were distributed to thousands of children.

In the midst of this great tragedy and overwhelming despair, God used Church of God World Missions to offer hope and healing. Victims of this devastating earthquake received emergency food, water, and supplies. Churches and parsonages are being rebuilt. Also, the Project M:25 GIVE Care initiative helped calm children’s fears and boys and girls to cope with their losses and shock. Through World Mission’s immediate and long-term responses, the light of God’s love shined brightly and He was glorified.

We hope you would choose to be a part of preparing for inevitable disaster. We can choose now to save some, sustain others, and provide hope and love for all God sends our way.

—Bobby Lynch

F.A.C.E.S. ANNUAL SPIRITUAL EMPHASIS WEEK

FACES, a ministry to street children in Ecuador, is headed by Career Missionaries Dan and Teresa Susong.

Each year a time is set aside for a special spiritual emphasis week when a guest speaker comes and shares a message of Jesus’ mission to seek and to save those who perhaps least deserve it. Many new students hear the message and respond to salvation.

As part of the anti-drug message, dramas and testimonies are given by the youth who were rescued from drug addiction and other problems.

The following Sunday of the spiritual emphasis week, eight new converts were baptized in water. FACES is thankful that kids who have been a part of their program for so long had finally decided to seal their commitment to Jesus in water baptism.

Your support both prayerfully and financially help these precious lives. (Project Number 102-4038)

In addition, the Ministry Center remodeling is almost complete! The remodeling of the school/ministry center property is in full swing. The goal is to make it an inspiring place for the working kids to call their home-away-from-home. Classrooms have a new roof and wiring; new metal framed windows, replacing the old, dilapidated wooden ones; and classrooms received new paint jobs, inside and out! (Project number 7900171-118)

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MISSION MEXICO: Randon Acts of Kindness

Lloyd and Joyce Heiney are short-term missionaries serving in Mexico. Like many missionaries, they have sentimental experiences that help reinforce their love for those to whom they minister and that leave an indelible mark upon their hearts.

In 2011, Sam Sparks, the owner of the international bridge into Nuevo Progreso, Mexico, passed away. Each time the Heineys cross the bridge now, they fondly remember Sam. Often, he would sit and chat with the tourists, and if he knew you, sometimes he would wave you across the bridge for free.

Each year, Sam gave the Heineys and other missionaries with credentials a free pass to use every time they crossed into Mexico. Not only did the free pass save them $3 a trip, it served as a warm reminder of the generous man who did so much for the people on both sides of the Rio Grande River. Sam’s favorite saying was: “Practice random acts of kindness,” and he set the standard.

Lloyd relates: “We can all practice random acts of kindness in many ways. Acts that are done without expecting something in return; acts that are sometimes done without recognition … some people call this “paying it forward,” but that phrase sounds as if one is expecting a reward for one’s deed. The pattern Mr. Sparks left is simple—once in a while, do something kind for someone without having any reason at all.”

And that’s a good rule for us all to follow!

*When the Heineys stopped at the Nuevo Progreso bridge office to obtain their bridge pass for 2017, they had the opportunity to visit with the next generation of the Sparks family—Bobby. Bobby says there are now four generations to carry the Sparks family values into the future.

Click here to partner with Lloyd and Joyce in their Mission to Mexico.

 

BENSON AND CATHY VAUGHAN UPDATE

Symbolic Soup

Cultural food on the mission field is another experience missionaries must adapt. The Vaughans who are serving as missionary educators at SEMISUD in South America, feasted on a meal called “Fanesca,” which is only served during Holy Week. The rich soup contains 12 special grains with a pumpkin (zapallo) base, and includes chochos (lupines), habas (fava beans), lentils, peas, corn, and others, along with bacalao (salted cod) cooked in milk. The meal is garnished with hardboiled eggs, fried plantains, herbs, parsley, and empanadas. The twelve beans used in the meal represent the 12 apostles of Jesus, and the bacalao is symbolic of Jesus.

Called Into Ministry

In Benson’s final Pentecostalism class, five women and men responded to a first-time “call into ministry,” and the five women and men were baptized in the Holy Spirit! PTL! When the class started at the beginning of the semester, the Vaughans felt compelled to begin praying for a special visitation of the Holy Spirit, and were elated when His presence was made known. These are precious life-changing events.

The Johns Minister at SEMISUD

Dr. Jackie Johns and his wife, Cheryl, were recently on campus for a week at SEMISUD where Dr. Jackie taught in the Doctor of Ministry program. Cheryl spoke in a chapel service celebrating the women of SEMISUD.

Click here to partner in ministry with the Vaughans: Project #065-0138

 

MEDICAL & PSYCHOLOGICAL ASSISTANCE IN LATIN AMERICA

The Barreras are associate medical and psychological missionaries serving in Latin America for Church of God World Missions. Often, the Church of God constituency is not aware that missionaries rarely can serve in a foreign country just as a “missionary;” countries now require that missionaries provide services and education for their people. The Barreras are rendering medical and psychological assistance throughout Latin America, as well as preaching Christ wherever they go.

In Altos de Dolores, Uruguay, the Barreras saw first-hand the devastation of a recent F3 tornado that was responsible for many losing everything. Over 500 houses needed to be rebuilt; 6 perished; and more than 200 were injured. As is often the case, many suffer with “post-traumatic stress.” Thankfully, there were those who accepted Christ as their personal Savior due to the tragedy.

Guillermo participated as a lecturer in a Youth Congress in Montevideo, and many young people were renewed in the Holy Spirit. Several renewed their commitment to God, leaving drugs, and were filled with the Holy Spirit.

The Barreras traveled to Puerto Rico, preaching and ministering in the town of Aguas Buenas at the Rivers of Living Waters Church of God. Silvina also taught a class at the Caribbean Theological College of the Assemblies of God in Bayamón. More than 85 pastors from the entire island attended. Other trips to minister included Antofagasta, Chile, and Bolivia.

Guillermo and Silvina affirm they will continue to preach Jesus Christ in the integration of medical, psychological, social assistance, theological education, leadership training, ministerial care, evangelism, providing God’s love to needy people, and to support pastors on the missionary field.

Click here to partner with the Barreras in ministry: Project # 0635-0502

 

FILLING IN THE RUTS

Mission Mexico, headed by Lloyd and Joyce Heiney, goes into places where there are no roads and MM has many friends among the people of Mexico.

Local pastor, Pastor Gerardo, ministers in Nuevo Progreso. Recently, six truckloads of caliche (Mexican gravel), were delivered to the church yard. Four loads were spread by the Pastor and his son over the driveway where the rains made deep ruts and mud. More loads of caliche are on their way to build up the ground and prevent future flooding from rainfall.

Pastor Gerardo and Miriam, his wife, want to be a “lighthouse in the darkness”—constant and steady—always leading people in the right way. A situation happened not long ago that one would not think could happen, and many local churches and pastors were involved. A popular evangelist from the US who claimed to be a prophet gave a prophecy. Much of his utterance was that certain people would soon die and one of those was Pastor Gerardo. It was a ministry of fear! But, the Holy Spirit alerted Pastor Gerardo that much of what was being preached and proclaimed by the “prophet” did not agree with the Bible. Plus, alarmingly, a large emphasis was placed on money in the services. Pastor Gerardo quietly made it known he disagreed with that which was presented as prophetic.

“I will praise you, Lord, with all my heart and tell about the wonders you have worked” (Psalm 9:1 CEV)

Click here to give online support to Mission Mexico: Project #065-0167

 

 

CODE RED: PRAYER NEEDED IN MEXICO!

Word has reached World Missions from our missionaries in Mexico, Lloyd and Joyce Heiney of Mission Mexico ministry:

“Gun battles are nearby, some roads, are blocked, and vehicles set on fire by drug cartel gangs.

“The center of the battle is about 25 miles from our church. The Mexican military is patrolling and helicopters are flying, especially along the Rio Grande river near our church. The city of Reynosa is under siege; schools and businesses are closed.

“One of Pastor Gerardo’s sons attends the university in Reynosa and they make frequent trips to that city. It’s a very dangerous time for everyone.”

Please pray for the situation. For more information, read the reports on the Heineys’ blog:

http://missionmexico1.blogspot.com

Click here to partner with Lloyd and Joyce for Mexico.

 

RESTORATION MINISTRIES: David & Vickie Byrd

Restoration Ministries reaches out to families, children, and students, by providing them with the resources for a better life.

Recently, a team of six from the U.S. went for a week to serve the people of Guatemala. While there, they installed two water tank systems, fed children in the villages of Guayabo and Pinulito, and also fed those living in the garbage dump. The team distributed flip-flops and goodie bags, as well, and an evangelistic service was held at the dump. The last act of the team was to install concrete steps at the church in Guayabo. In the village of Pinulito, the pastor was overjoyed to receive a new pulpit.

The feeding center at Guayabo provides lunch every Friday for the children that consists of a hot bowl of soup or Chow Mein—an absolute delight for the children’s stomachs. Fifty families in the village were blessed to receive four pounds of black beans.

Water tank systems were placed in the village of Pinulito, a village that has little water. The water tank systems collect rain water run-off into a 289 gallon tank!

Evangelism takes many forms, and these are just some of the ways the unfortunate can be ministered to through a relatively short time. The impact is lasting!

Give online to Restoration Ministries: Project 065-0910

Peru Receives Relief From World Missions

In recent days, Peru suffered cataclysmic devastation when, after a period of severe drought, wildfires developed that destroyed nearly 30,000 acres of land. With those conditions prevalent, when intense rains came causing flooding, 67 people were killed and thousands forced to evacuate the 115,000 homes that were damaged. Complicating the situation was the fact 100 bridges were also destroyed, making it difficult to send relief to those caught in the wake. Even in the capital city of Lima, the heavy downpour flooded outlying neighborhoods.

A woman is pulled high over flood waters in a zip line harness in Lima, Peru, Friday, March 17, 2017. Intense rains and mudslides over the past three days have wrought havoc around the Andean nation and caught residents in Lima, a desert city of 10 million where it almost never rains, by surprise. (AP Photo/Martin Mejia)

Ever faithful to the call to provide disaster relief as much as possible, World Missions immediately sent funds and assistance to show the love of Christ.

Local pastor Evaristo Murga related that deliveries were made to a group of victims who lost everything. Their homes disappeared and they were left with only the clothes on their backs. At the distribution center, the affected individuals were given kitchen items, a gas ball, two small pots, a bucket, a tub, dishes, and a pitcher of water. The people cried with great emotion.

World Missions leadership, Dr. David Griffis (director) and Dr. Thomas Propes (assistant director) and thankful for the opportunity to bless and assist those suffering disaster. Your support, prayers, and donations make it all possible!

Together, we can give a little joy to those who’ve lost everything.

Project #765-0036 Please specify Peru Flooding 2017.

NEVER TOO LATE FOR AN EASTER MIRACLE

The following is related by Career Missionary to Guatemala, Frankie Tyson:

“I had just arrived at the remote village of San Lorenzo and settled into the rustic room with my team from the USA. They had arrived to help rebuild a pastor’s home that had been destroyed in the 2012 earthquake.

“As we were nearly ready to go to the worksite, the owner of our lodging appeared very distraught. He said they were told his 86-year-old mother had been diagnosed with cancer and was not expected to live much longer. Although she was a Catholic, the owner was not sure she would go to heaven when she passed; he asked would I share the gospel with her.

“When he brought her to me the next day, I decided to make it as simple as possible by using an ‘Evangecube,’ a tool favoring a Rubik’s cube that clearly and simply unfolds the Gospel of Jesus Christ through pictures. First, I showed man in sin without God; then Christ on the cross dying for our sins; and finally, the tomb where Jesus arose from the dead. I explained that because He was resurrected from the grave, when we repent of our sins by asking Jesus to forgive us and come into our lives, we are resurrected to a new life in Jesus.

“I also shared that when we repent and believe in Him, we receive the free gift of eternal life. That day, this 86-year-old lady asked Jesus to forgive her and come into her life. She was wonderfully saved, and I had the privilege of baptizing her during Easter! She passed away a short time later.

“I am so glad it is never too late for an Easter miracle!”

To partner with Frankie and Joyce Tyson in their missionary work for Guatemalan pastors, click this link: Project Number 060-0001