Two Lives Shared and Multiplied (part 2)

February 14 2013

Two Lives Shared and Multiplied (part 2)

(part 1 is posted February 11, 2013)

Tamara and Endla asked God to open doors for them to begin reaching out to the lost. OMS Missionary, Brent, met Endla at an evangelism seminar which he led. She learned how to pray for the lost, care for the lost and share with the lost. Impacted by the message Endla approached Tamara at the women’s bible study with a plan to do something. They wrote a list of names of people who didn’t yet know Christ and started praying for them. 

The name Tamara in Hebrew means ‘palm tree’ and is symbolic due to the beauty and fruitfulness of the tree. Tamara’s fruitfulness blossomed when she and Endla decided to go and care for old people. In the town there is a home which cares for pensioners, the disabled, people under state care, intellectually handicapped, and people with other special needs.

Endla, who has recently turned 80 and Tamara in her 60’s, knew that visiting others was something they could both do. They could make an impact in that place. They could bake cakes for the residents and celebrate their birthdays. With permission from the institution’s administration, they armed themselves with a cassette player and some Christian music tapes, just to play Christian music. The first time they met, four to five people came just to listen. Some were blind, others couldn’t read. It wasn’t the traditional way to start a Bible study but God was present and just as powerful.

Choir singing is a big thing in this country. Every five years a choir festival attracts approximately 150 thousand people. A specially constructed amphitheatre sets the stage for the choir of 26 thousand people, including children!  

Knowing the importance of music in this segment of Europe, Tamara and Endla played songs and discussed them as a way to interest them in spiritual things. Next they offered to pray for them. Five people now attend regularly. That’s not a huge group, but God doesn’t need huge to accomplish his work. Tamara and Endla don’t know yet if any are believers but they are committed to introducing God to these people who have no family, no visitors and to whom society treats as non-existent.  

Through attention and devotion these ladies are planting the seeds of the love of God, true Christianity. It’s the seed of a little house church. The administration is seeing first hand that it is not just Endla and Tamara who care, but that God their Creator also loves and cares deeply about them and seeks a personal relationship with them.  

You saw with your own eyes how discreet and courteous we were among you, with keen sensitivity to you as fellow believers. (1 Thessalonians 2:10 The Message)

Who will fulfill the great commission? Is God calling you to give financially, go in faith, or pray fervently?

Tags: evangelism, outreach, dynamic service, missions in Estoniahouse church

Two Lives Shared and Multiplied (part 1)

February 11 2013

Two Lives Shared and Multiplied (part 1)

(part 2 posted February 14, 2013 ~ related post December 10, 2012)

Two ladies, Endla and Tamara, are members of a small historical church in a town in the most secular country in Europe. Though this little church of about 50 members functioned during the soviet years, people in this area often have a distrust of the ‘church’ and religion in general. There is however freedom to register and operate as a church and you can receive a license for public preaching events without difficulty. 

Tamara, who had been a long time member of the church, quit attending services several years ago when things got boring. “The church was stale,” she openly acknowledged, “and wasn’t going anywhere.” 

Sunday worship and loyalty to the Christian community took on a whole new life when both Endla and Tamara visited a women’s small group. This weekly fellowship had something that drew them back week after week. They weren’t bored, didn’t become distracted, but instead found that their interest and desire to study God more and deeper affected the whole rest of their week. 

Piret, a full-time insurance broker and ECC worker led their weekly study. They began to see that God wanted them to serve him rather than just soak up all the blessings for themselves. As Piret quietly and steadily fed into their lives, they saw that God had work for them to do and the Christian life could be one of dynamic service. They were amazed to observe that they had progressed from people who fulfilled what they believed to be their religious duty by going to church each week, to realizing that God had a call on them as believers to look beyond themselves and their own spiritual journey to looking for the needs of others.

You saw with your own eyes how discreet and courteous we were among you, with keen sensitivity to you as fellow believers. (1 Thessalonians 2:10 The Message)

 

Tags: faith multiplied, small group, transformedservant

Caribbean Stories

February 6 2013

Caribbean Stories

“They devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and to fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer.” Acts 2:42

On my recent ministry trip to the Caribbean I was accompanied by five Canadian couples. What a blessing it was to have them be a part of the team to encourage and bless our brothers and sisters in Christ! One of the couples gave me a sum of money to give where “I saw a need or where someone could be blessed.”

During our trip we were having dinner with a pastor and his wife. They were in town due to the pastor’s health. He is diabetic and is losing his vision. During our conversation we were discussing Christmas and the meaning of Christmas. The pastor’s wife mentioned that years ago their family had a Christmas tree, but in recent years no trees or nativity scenes were permitted. Now, they wanted a tree for their children but could not afford one. I "saw a need” and felt led to give them some of the money to purchase a tree.  I cannot express the emotion they showed that evening.

The following day we were speaking to a pastor from another town who was giving us an update on his wife’s health. We have been praying for her. She has a broken jaw caused by lack of calcium and is being fed by a feeding tube. The doctor told them, "Until you get a floor in your home, your wife should not be living there because of her health and the danger of falling.” They only had a dirt floor, with some cement. They estimated what it would cost to replace the cement and dirt floor with some tile.  It came to almost the exact amount I had left to be given “where someone could be blessed.”  God is good! They will soon live in their home with a tile floor.     -Willie

Before I knew Christ, I was a very violent person, given to drugs and excessive drinking. I thank God that I met Jesus and accepted Him into my life. My desire is now to live for Him. The training sessions have been a great blessing and teaching for my life and have revolutionized my life. The day after I accepted Christ, I opened my house up for worship services and since then many more have opened their homes.     -Pablo

A young woman in the eastern part of the country was very involved in her work. One day, at five in the afternoon, someone came to her door and shared Jesus. She gave her heart to the Lord that day. She has been attending the local church but had not become involved in the training to plant churches. She attended a workshop last week, and it was reported that she had already brought 11 people to the church. Since the training classes, she has six new believers that have given their hearts to Christ. She is beginning a new house church next week.     -Allison

These are some examples about how God provides through His people as they obey the call to GO, GIVE and PRAY. Who will fulfill the great commission? Is God calling you to give financially, go in faith, or pray fervently?

 

Tags: God's provision, house church, life change, trainingtransformed

A Story of Proof

February 4 2013

A Story of Proof

Jose was the first convert in his family, but he desired to bring his whole family to the Lord. As Jose prayed for the right time for the conversion of his family, an ECC trainer discipled and trained him, using Train and Multiply materials. As a result, he was equipped to stand as a young leader of the church.

Glory be to God, because, today, Jose’s parents and his siblings are now serving the Lord. They have offered their old house, where they have been conducting regular worship gatherings and trainings free of charge, to the church. Jose is leading people to Christ, and he serves as a small group Bible study leader and one of the lay preachers of the church as well.  

May God continue to extend the godly influence of Jose’s family to their community.

Marcos, ECC Country Coordinator

They replied, “Believe in the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved – you and your household.”  Acts 16:31

Who will fulfill the great commission? Is God calling you to give financially, go in faith, or pray fervently?

Tags: train & multiply, person of peace, servant, trainingtransformed

ECC and Train & Multiply

January 28 2013

ECC and Train & Multiply

In October 2012, leaders from One Mission Society’s Every Community for Christ and Project WorldReach met together to formalize their joint venture and make plans for the future. The two organizations now join hands to train more leaders who will share the Gospel message and begin dynamic communities of believers around the world (“And the things you have heard me say in the presence of many witnesses entrust to reliable people who will also be qualified to teach others” -2 Timothy 2:2, NIV).

Dean Davis, international director of Every Community for Christ says, “With this joint venture, we are participating in an eternal plan. With Project WorldReach’s Train & Multiply© (T&M) training materials in the hands of OMS’ missionaries and national coworkers around the world, much can be accomplished for the kingdom.” OMS currently uses T&M effectively in 17 countries, in 24 languages. 

Davis says, “As we’ve used the T&M materials, we have seen entire regions become filled with small, multiplying churches of Gospel-sharing, disciple-making believers, thus saturating these regions with the Gospel, reminding us of God’s promise in Isaiah 11:9, ‘The earth will be filled with the knowledge of the Lord as the waters cover the sea.’”

Project WorldReach founder and president, Lloyd Niles, says, “I’m in the right place, at the right time, with the right people. I’m excited about this partnership with OMS. I see God putting us together to expand the ability for both organizations to reach the world for Christ, using one of the most simple but powerfully effective tools that was divinely created … the T&M booklets.”

Project WorldReach, a Canadian-based organization, holds the copyright (now shared with OMS) to the practical and field-tested T&M training materials. PWR has an established process to effectively translate, format and publish the 63 pastoral training booklets. To date, the materials have been translated in 37 languages.

One Mission Society focuses on intentional evangelism, planting indigenous churches, training national leaders and joining national workers, churches and other ministries from around the world to reach the nations for Christ. OMS cofounder, Charles Cowman said, “I cannot think that God’s heart can be satisfied with the salvation of just a few, when His great heart yearns over the millions.” Both organizations know that this joint venture is of God for such a time as this. They anticipate big things to come in the near future, knowing the hand of God is moving.

Dean Davis and Lloyd Niles talk about the joint venture in this video.

For additional information, please email Susan Loobie, OMS director of Communications, at sloobie@onemissionsociety.org.

One Mission Society, 941 Fry Road, Greenwood, IN 46142 United States

 

Tags: train & multiply, train and multiply, training, person of peace, evangelismchurch multiplication

Transformed From the Deathly Grip of the Grave

January 21 2013

Transformed From the Deathly Grip of the Grave

In a dark cemetery in Asia lies the grave of an unnamed man. He was there because the man who murdered him was riddled with demons. Maybe the demons were evil associates of the Gedarene demoniac who made his home in the deathly tombs of another graveyard a long time ago. No matter the time difference, once again the devil had stolen the control of a man’s life. Satan had sabotaged his mind, rendering him confused as to what is and isn’t appropriate behavior in treatment of another human being.  

The “prince of this world” had martyred any opportunity for this dead man to respond to God’s love before his life was taken. The “destroyer” had murdered any chance of this convicted criminal father caring for, providing for and protecting Khiru, his young son.

This story doesn’t end with just a buried murder victim, a deranged man in prison and a fatherless son. Jesus once again stepped out of His boat and, confronting the enemy head on, spoke truth, which sent evil scurrying. With His authority, Jesus banished the devil and his works and once more healed a destroyed shell of a man. 

Through ECC workers, Jesus once again entered the remote and disturbed village in Asia. The imprisoned murderer was brought to his knees and, with a broken heart, overcome with confession for his diabolical crime, sought forgiveness and restoration. Not only did the murderer acknowledge Jesus Christ as Lord but so did his son, Khiru, along with all his family! 

God always goes beyond what we can comprehend. He brought two fractured and estranged families together. Just as the Gedarene demoniac was delivered and restored to his family, so Jesus exchanged sadness for joy. The family of the murderer was forgiven by the family of the murdered, and now, together, both families of 10 adults and 5 children worship the same God in the same house church near the graveyard. Khiru, rejoicing in the forgiveness he has given his father, leads the house church. No one can testify more to God’s forgiveness than the demon-riddled father who became a murderer. Now the power to steal, kill and destroy has been exchanged for a life-giving, converted heart, full of the love of God.

by Shirley Carlson

Who will help to fulfill the Great Commission? Is God calling you to give financially, go in faith, or pray fervently?

Tags: transformed, victory over darkness, life changeforgiveness

One Faith Multiplied

January 14 2013

One Faith Multiplied

Note: part one is posted January 7, 2013

After many years of fruitful ministry in Ecuador, Enrique suffered a pre-stroke. He and Esther “retired” and moved in with son David. After his health was restored, he started serving in David’s church. Eventually, a vision for a larger church emerged and in 2006, at the age of 70, Enrique and Esther planted a new church in Naranjito.

Enrique continues to be a learner, and in this new ministry in Naranjito, he has captured from his son David, a church planter in Spain, the vision of establishing a network of house churches that work together to multiply themselves.

During a Sunday service when Bill Miller was in Ecuador preaching at the Rosa de Sarón church in Naranjito, Enrique and Esther’s son David went to the altar and surrendered his life to the call that God had placed upon him. That moment of yielding to the Spirit resulted in the extension of Enrique’s ministry across oceans and into places he would never see.

The impact of Pastor Enrique’s life and ministry on his son David has resulted in an ever-widening circle of leadership training and church planting, a movement that spans the Atlantic to reach Europe and return with renewed vigor into Ecuador. David Guillén leads a church planting network called “Peace and Hope,” based in Spain but stretching into Bulgaria, Portugal, Ecuador and various immigrant communities. The amazing ways that God is using David and his wife Gardenia are a direct result of a father’s example and investment in his son’s life.

We asked David about his father’s influence on his life. He highlighted four aspects of Enrique’s example that continue to be formative for him:

1. A personal commitment and love for God and unwavering obedience to His call

2. A pioneer, someone who sees congregations where no one else can see them

3. His father’s response to suffering and personal injustice.

4. Enrique’s personal life is without reproach; he lives daily into the scriptural command to be holy as the Lord your God is holy (Lev 11:44)

With the prayers, help and encouragement from ECC, God is now using David and Gardenia to multiply the faith of Enrique in these many countries and among these many people groups. 

OMS recently published the book these blogs were taken from entitled, One Faith Multiplied.

If you would like a copy of the book, you may purchase it on Amazon.

 

Tags: church multiplication, church planting, faith multiplied, life change, missions in ecuador, missions in spaintrain and multiply

One Faith Nurtured

January 7 2013

One Faith Nurtured

Note: part two is posted January 14, 2013

“Can anything good come out of Salango?” In the 1930s, Salango a fishing village was so insignificant that it didn’t even appear on a map of Ecuador. Life in Salango was very simple; there was no electricity and no running water. 

In 1936, a boy born in Salango was likely heralded with joy by his mother, but with no sense of the extraordinary plans God had for this new son of a fisherman, no hint of the impact that would be made when Enrique Guillén responded many years later to the Master’s call: “Follow me, and I will make you a fisher of men!” (Matthew 4:19).

After many years of hardship growing up, including the death of his mother, Enrique moved back to Salango to live with his father, the man who for so many years had refused to recognize him. 

OMS missionaries working in the area were invited by Enrique’s father into his house. Fast forward to March of 1961 when the Word of God reached Enrique’s heart through a message preached there in the living room of his father’s house. 

Pastor Guillén says, “I was not convinced, I was converted!” He remembers that his life changed completely from the inside out; from that moment, his loyalty belonged 100 percent to the Lord Jesus. 

In the same year he married Esther, a radiant young Christian woman. Later, Enrique who was determined to serve the Lord decided to go back to school – he studied in the same classes as his son, David. 

David remembers with a grin that each term, Esther, he and Enrique compared grades, which was a great motivator for his son. “It filled me with great pride to have a father who didn’t believe in limitations … and still doesn’t to this day.”

After high school, Enrique’s desire was to study in the seminary. But committee members told him that a poor fisherman from Salango would never find success in the academic world and that he shouldn’t waste the time and resources with his futile dreams. 

But OMS missionary mentors elected to sponsor his studies. This generosity and vision on the part of the Mission continues to move Pastor Guillén to deep gratitude, even these many years later. 

When Pastor Enrique is asked about the motivation for his sacrificial search for training, he responds: “There is a people that demands our witness and a Lord who impels us forward. We have a debt of love and there is no room for discouragement!” 

Difficulties and rejection helped to shape within Enrique a special perspective of discipleship: with great intentionality, he seeks, finds and develops the potential in his disciples. 

He says, “I identify greatly with what is said of Peter in Acts 4:13—he was an unschooled, ordinary man, but they took note that he had been with Jesus! The Lord by his grace saw the potential in me and by his grace called me and equipped me for His service. I try to do the same with others.”

Next: The rest of the story…

 

Tags: faith multiplied, life change, servantmissions in ecuador

Servant of God

December 31 2012

Servant of God

At first glance, Pastor Prakash is not likely to impress you. No chance that he would be voted most likely to succeed in his graduating class. His big smile reveals crooked teeth. His eyes sometimes squint through the over-sized glasses perched on his face. His hair hangs over his ears and is often disheveled. A paunchy mid-section and well-rounded cheeks let you know that physical fitness is not his passion! However, it would be a big mistake to draw conclusions about Pastor Prakash based on his appearance.

This dynamic servant of God is a mover and a shaker. He leads with his heart, and his heart is abundantly filled with love. He came to faith in Christ from a Hindu background at age twenty. His sick mother was miraculously healed when all hope for her recovery seemed gone. Consequently, he quickly determined to accept Jesus Christ as the living God.

Since then he has been pursuing ministry among unreached Hindu people in a northeast region of India. His determination to share the Good News of Jesus is combined with a practical compassion. He seeks ways to find help for people by taking advantage of a variety of grants and programs geared to benefit the uneducated and the poor. Through the Every Community for Christ ministry, he is actively doing evangelism and training ordinary people to do the same. Thirty house churches in many villages have already been started. He has begun implementing the Train & Multiply strategy we are sharing. God’s people are being used powerfully by the Lord!

Pray for blessing and protection upon Prakash and his family. Ask God to anoint him with the Holy Spirit, imparting wisdom, power and guidance. Pray that the Lord will provide for much abiding fruit and for many villages to be reached with Christ’s salvation.

Who will fulfill the great commission? Is God calling you to give financially, go in faith, or pray fervently?

Tags: servant, dynamic service, life change, evangelism, trainingtrain & multiply

A Family Transformed

December 24 2012

A Family Transformed

Venu is just 21 years old, but he has recently begun serving as an ECC volunteer. He is helping his father who, though previously a drunkard and a worshiper of idols, is now a member of our ECC team. In the last few months, they have helped start nine evangelistic Bible studies, eight discipleship groups and nine house churches in several villages. There are also 24 laypeople who have also begun training to participate in the Train & Multiply ministry. 

Venu’s family was transformed by Christ eight years ago, and they have embraced the ministry of ECC, equipping lay people to become pastoral workers. A house church of 40-50 people regularly meets in their home. Despite significant financial needs, the family is faithfully serving God. Their legacy will probably go unnoticed according to the standards of this world, but in the service of Jesus, Venu and his family will be rewarded for their faithful obedience!

A FAMILY SERVING THE LORD 

Who will fulfill the great commission? Is God calling you to give financially, go in faith, or pray fervently?

Tags: church multiplication, house churchfaith multiplied