Stories From The Field

September 10 2015

For today's post we have various stories from mission fields around the world. These stories include church planters who have begun using the Train & Multiply curriculum, as well as courageous men and women sharing the Gospel in their own cultural context. We hope that these stories will inspire and encourage you to continue the great work of the Kingdom.

Govardhan - India

by Jim Hogrefe

Govardhan from Madya Pradesh had tried to plant churches, but had no success because he did not know where to start. He came to a Train & Multiply training event and then went back to his village and trained others. One of the people groups in his village had no believers, so Govardhan prayed and one person from that group believed. Govardhan made him a disciple and after several months invited him to become a pastoral worker. At first the man was hesitant, but they prayed and Govardhan said, “If God is telling you to share the Gospel, I will help you.” Together they went to the man’s people group and began looking for persons of peace. Now there are fourteen families (53 people) who have believed and formed a church to help each other grow in the Lord.

Angela - Colombia

by Greg Carlson

As Angela hung up the phone she gripped her brother's arm and said, "You've got to come with me!" Her family, members of a fourth generation house church in Medellin, Colombia, had been evangelizing in the streets near their home. The phone call was from her neighbor who was pleading for Angela to come pray for her sick mother. Angela was afraid. She had never done that before.

McGregor, Angela’s brother, agreed to go along for moral support. He had only chosen to follow Jesus weeks earlier after previously listening indifferently to the Bible studies in his cramped living room. As Angela sat beside the ailing woman, the only prayer that came to her mind was what we call ''the Sinner's Prayer." She asked the woman if she would like to pray to ask God to forgive her sin, and the two prayed together. The next day, Angela learned that the woman had died.

Attending church the following Sunday, Angela spoke with the pastor's wife and said, "I just hope the Lord will have mercy on her." "Why, Angela," the pastor's wife replied, "you gave her the offer of salvation, and she accepted! It's because of your visit that she is in heaven today!"

Tags: stories from the field, jim hogrefe, greg carlson, india, colombia, govardhan, angela, train and multipy, church planting, sinner's prayer, salvation,

Prison Cell Church Explosion

September 8 2015

by Lois Pannabecker

Prisons in Honduras generally have about 400 inmates. In the prisons where ECC partner ministries have a presence, twenty to forty percent of the inmates are worshiping together in literal “cell” churches. Gary and Diane Barefoot are Church Multiplication Facilitators (CMF) in Honduras. They give us this report on their most recent visit.

Gary states, “I am so excited about what God is doing through the group of volunteers and the faithful Christians in Honduras!”

Attempting to get a good grasp on the current growth in this ministry, I asked a Train & Multiply (T&M) trainer, ”What do you think this program will look like a year from now?” At first I got a confused look, so I said, “How many trainers do you now have?” They answered, “Seventeen.” I followed up, “Then how many do you expect to have in a year?”

At first I was met with another blank look, then Nora spoke up, “In three weeks we will have a total of sixty-three trainers because several training classes will be completed.” “Ok, how many will you have in a year,” I responded? It was then that it really dawned on them that this program is about to explode numerically. They replied, “Well, we could probably have over one hundred!” to which I added, “probably closer to two or three hundred!”

Today, with only seventeen trainers, we have about as many groups studying and each of those has 5-7 trainees. Within the four prisons where our ministry is active, there is a total of two to three hundred individuals worshiping Jesus as a result of the Train & Multiply program.

God is in the process of opening all the prisons in the country, twenty-six of them, to our program. Praise God for open doors and encouraging growth!

Tags: honduras, prison ministry, ecc, growth, train and multiply,

Witch Doctor - Haiti

July 22 2015

While doing evangelism, we met a young lady, the daughter of a witch doctor. She heard our message and introduced us to her father who listened to the Gospel, but would not accept Christ.

A month later, this man went over the other side of the mountain to sell a cow. On his trip back home, he was attacked and beheaded. The police are not nearby, so his wife and children took his body and buried it.

Five days after his death, it was learned that his attackers had been paid to murder him. This realization precipitated a string of revenge killings in which three people lost their lives.

The road where the murder occurred is the route also used by the people of Augarde to access the school and market in town. Residents of the village below use the road to reach their farms on the hillsides and church in the mountains. As a result of the three revenge murders, three children were also killed on the route to school.

This on-going violence brought a halt to the regular rhythm of life, as people could not make their trips to school, market and church. Christians began to pray, and as the prayer intensified, the tension began to diminish. Residents of the area attributed the obvious change to the prayers of God’s people.

The witch doctor’s second daughter is now also a believer and his wife is attending church weekly. She has not committed her life to Christ, but has asked for prayer and stated that at some point she will become a follower of Jesus. Since this crisis and the subsequent prayer, there has been an increased openness to the Gospel.

Tags: witch doctor, prayer, transformation

T&M Training in India

June 23 2015

One of the final year students, Akanksha Samuel, was always attentive and offered feedback during learning tasks. She was very creative in doing a T&M “Good News” demo about love to the large group with another female student. On the last day we were to practice Enrolling a Pastoral Worker and needed someone to practice with. Akansha easily handled the material and process with T&M booklet “Pastoral Worker Training and You.”

After the demo, she made this statement, “Tomorrow is my birthday and the Train & Multiply training has been the greatest gift I have received from God.”

Please pray for Akansha to finish her studies well and to see how God uses the training to impact others.

Tags: train and multiply; india; great gift;,

Training the Ready

June 18 2015

A pastor in the south has been working in some of the islands in SE Asia. His initial training was in 2013. He has been working with uneducated peoples but with considerable success. During this visit, A. conducted T&M training in this province for 27 students. Most were from his church and about 20 were native to that area. A. taught for four hours without a break because the students did not want him to stop! The pastor estimates that perhaps ten worshiping groups will be born from this first generation.

Tags: pastoral training, new churches, multiplication

Person of Peace - part 2

June 16 2015

One day, Samita went from her village to the market in town to buy food. She met Saroz, a young woman she knew, and talked about what she and her husband were doing. When Saroz heard about Jesus, she exclaimed, “You must have your husband call me and tell me more!” Samita called Anil right away, and Anil promised to visit Saroz later that same day.

Anil visited Saroz in the home where she lived with her parents, her brother and sister-in-law, and their children. Saroz listened eagerly to all that Anil told her, and she believed in Jesus. Anil discipled Saroz, and seeing her commitment and obedience to make disciples, invited her to become a church planter. She joyfully accepted and regularly shared the Good News with her family. Within a short time, all eight people in her home believed in Jesus Christ and formed a new house church. Saroz also went to her uncle’s home and led him and three others to the Lord. She then began training them in the same way that Anil was training her.

After a few months, Saroz’s sister came to visit from her village some 15 kilometers away. When Saroz told her sister about Jesus, her sister pleaded, “Please come and tell my husband and family about this!”

Saroz went to her sister’s home a few days later, accompanied by Anil. They shared the Gospel and five people confessed their faith in Jesus Christ, and another house church began in the sister’s home.

Saroz still closes the door and shutters when her house church gathers for worship in order not to disturb the neighbors. However, she is not afraid to share her faith and consistently tells her friends the Good News about Jesus.

Tags: india, person of peace, make disciples, house church, multiplication,

Person of Peace - part 1

June 11 2015

Anil is an ECC trainer in northern India. Shortly after Anil married Samita, they were returning home by train from a worship service in another town. Sitting in a crowded compartment together, Anil was advising Samita on the proper way to sing worship songs. Although Anil was singing softly, a man sitting close to them said, “What is that you are singing? It is beautiful!” Immediately, Anil saw an opportunity to share the Gospel. He told the man about Jesus, and then he and Samita sang several Hindi praise songs.

The man asked, “Where do you live?” When Anil told him, the man exclaimed, “That is only a few kilometers from my home. You must come and tell us more about Jesus!” They exchanged phone numbers and Anil promised to visit.

The next day was Monday, the usual day of rest for ECC workers, and Anil and Samita were enjoying the day at home. Anil’s cell phone rang. It was the man from the train. “Where are you?” he asked. “We are all here waiting for you.” Anil apologized and promised to visit the next day.

On Tuesday, Anil and Samita walked to the man’s village. He was waiting for them on the road to escort them to his home. As they passed an old woman sitting by the road, the man told her, “Auntie, come to my home. You must hear this.” As the group was about to enter the house, the man saw several men working in a nearby field. He walked over to them and said, “Stop what you are doing and come to my house. These people have something you need to hear!”

For the next few hours, Anil and Samita shared the Gospel through word and song. The man and his family all believed in Jesus Christ and formed the nucleus of a new house church.

Tags: india, worship, salvation,

Korean Transformation

June 9 2015

V is one of the many migrant workers who moved to South Korea looking for better job opportunities. He and his wife were optimistic until V began spending all of the money he earned drinking at local bars.

One Sunday, V heard David Jun of Friends of All Nations (a partner ministry of One Mission Society) preach. After the service, V talked to David about his situation. He told David that his wife was at home crying, and he needed help. David told him that he needed Jesus.

V was skeptical of Christianity at first. He was nervous that he would lose the friends he had made at work if he followed Jesus. A while later, V came to the Friends of All Nations center and told David that, in a dream, God had told him to not worry about his friends. That day, V accepted Christ as his Savior. His wife soon became a believer as well. V and his wife served with Friends of All Nations for several years and continually brought people to the center. Today, he is a missionary in his home country. God is good!

Tags: friends of all nations, salvation,

Akhi’s Story

June 4 2015

My name is Akhi, and I am a pastor’s wife. One day my husband and I attended an engagement party of one of the Christian young men we knew. While at the party, we discovered that the Christian man was marrying a Hindu girl. We were very concerned, knowing what the Bible says about being unequally yoked with a non-believer.

My husband and I had no choice but to go this young man and explain that he shouldn’t get married until his future wife became a Christian. I offered to meet with this young lady for Bible study and asked her to invite any of her Hindu friends that she would like.

At first I shared with them the story of Noah. This young woman was open to the Gospel and responded immediately to Christ, acknowledging Him as her Savior. We continued to meet on a weekly basis, and as a result of meeting with this Hindu girl and her friends, twenty-two family members became Christians! The young couple ended up getting married and have established a beautiful Christian home. But the blessings didn’t stop there - another outcome was that the parents of the Hindu girl even got married! Although they had lived together for years and years, they had never felt the need to be officially married until they met the Savior.

Tags: hindu, noah, christ,

Asia Training

June 1 2015

“Our homes are often ransacked, and our Bibles are confiscated; then they have Bible burnings, building huge bonfires in the community. Sometimes they also light fires outside our churches to scare and intimidate us.” The young lady spoke in a matter-of-fact tone of voice.

I was in a country in Asia training people to evangelize, make disciples, and form new churches - any of which could mean severe retaliation and serious persecution if they are caught. I looked at the young woman with respect, admiration, and compassion; but as a valiant soldier of the cross, she wasn’t looking for any of those responses from me.

She knows the risks of practicing her faith and obeying God’s command to be His witness. I thought to myself, “She is very young. She has her whole life before her. She could be living for herself and desiring a peaceful future without danger, but instead, she has come to be trained.”

She and dozens more came to be trained. They had made the decision to follow Jesus, regardless of the possible cost to their lives. They are not choosing to live safely or to walk an easy path. They are choosing to live obediently.

It was humbling to meet these brave ones. I felt a heavy weight of responsibility as I equipped them to undertake ministry that could cost them their lives. However, I know that the Gospel has always been spread through the shedding of blood. For generations, we have had it easy in the United States. I wonder how many of us would follow suit. II Timothy 3:12 also states, “Yes, and everyone who wants to live a godly in Christ Jesus will suffer persecution.”

As we see our religious rights disappearing, perhaps it’s time to ask ourselves this question.

Tags: asia, training, witness, peace,