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,

Young Adults are Our Future

May 27 2015

The future growth in the Philippines will come from the tremendous group of college-age young people God is raising up. We saw their enthusiasm and potential when we visited the Don Mariano Marcos State University in La Union.

We met the Dagupan team at the National Lay Leaders' Training in Baguio (more than half of the lay leaders were from this age group), and at the Banaba House Ministry retreat for 17 young people, primarily children of ECC workers and pastors.

These young adults are catching the vision of church multiplication through T&M training and desire to spread the Gospel throughout the Philippines and elsewhere. They come to the training events and return home excited and ready to apply what they learned. They are starting groups on their campuses and in their communities.

One young lady attended the training in La Union. She committed to start a group with two friends on campus. She started with nine! The group has now grown to 20 members. She is training three leaders in order to divide the group so that it may continue to grow. The members lead worship teams and are involved in children’s and youth ministries in their local churches.

We believe that many of these young people will be the future T&M trainers in the regional training centers, and the church planters and pastors needed for the developing house churches.

Tags: philippines, young people, retreat, ecc, t&m, worshiping groups, training, multiplication,

Miracles Happen

May 21 2015

When we arrived at El Progreso Prison, we were met by the warden and a member of the Honduran Judiciary. She welcomed us and was very familiar with our local volunteers, Lilian and Annabella.

Lillian and Annabella were members of our classes for T&M Levels One and Two. The inmates were gathering in the Chapel to worship with us. We met with and had an opportunity to hear from the “Hijos de Paz.” These four men were on fire for God. Along with Lilian and Annabella, the attendance at the Bible studies was approaching 85 to 90 individuals and growing each week.

The service lasted for one-and-a-half hours as they expressed their thanks to God for providing a way of learning and coming to know Him. They related this to the lessons they had been studying; with many references to the first study, the story of Noah. They drew comparisons to the world in the days of Noah and how they were products of the present evil world. They spoke of the ark as a symbol of Jesus, and that just as the ark had saved and preserved the lives of Noah and his family, Jesus through His death on the cross had paid for their sins and lifted them up and preserved their lives for eternity.

We could truly see that God is directing what is happening, and that with the obedience the volunteers demonstrate, the program will continue growing.

We also learned that great things are happening outside the prison. The program has started in several neighborhoods and people are very interested in continuing the lessons. We heard about one man identified in the neighborhood mapping of Level One as a possible problem. The man had a drinking problem and mistreated his wife and children.

One of the volunteers stopped and spoke to the man one morning as he was sitting in front of his home. They discussed the lessons from Noah and lessons from the T&M booklets “Good News” and “Family Prayers.” He began to ask serious questions and after about two weeks, he invited his wife and one of his teenage daughters to join them as they discussed the material. The family noticed a change in the man, and soon they invited another daughter, and then a neighborhood friend to join them. This group which started almost reluctantly is now beginning to actively seek the Lord and His answers to their spiritual questions.

Tags: prison, honduras, t&m, noah, obedience, good news, family prayers, train & multiply,