In order to make 1 million disciples in Asia, we need 10,000 trained leaders who will each plant a church of 100 new disciples. We are all busy working toward this goal!
Cambodian Superintendent Daniel Sar Sokhapong has a compelling vision to plant 336 in the next 12 years. How can this happen? It’s kingdom arithmetic. At the end of 2017, there were nine churches/church plants in Cambodia. At the end of 2019, there were 21. Over the next three years, every church will plant a church, which will bring the total to 42. In another three years, with each church again planting just one church, the conference will reach 84 churches. Three more years will bring 168, and then by the 12th year, there will be 336 churches/church plants in Cambodia.
This goal is ambitious, but then so is Jesus, when it comes to His church. Superintendent Daniel’s strategy begins with prayer and continues through demographic studies, various models, monitoring, careful discipleship and mobilization of new leaders. Daniel’s vision is born of his own experience. He shares:
I learned from Jesus that He is my Lord and Savior. He is my master; He empowered the 12 apostles in the early church to bring great transformation to a hopeless world. I strongly believe Jesus is empowering me and all His faithful servants to continue the great commission to make disciples of all tribes, ethnicities and all the people in the world.
Moreover, Jesus is my brother and friend. He fully understands my life situation, and He knows my strengths and weaknesses. He always wipes away my tears and comforts me in troubled times and meets my needs.
You can watch a video of Daniel sharing his heart for this vision here: vimeo.com/365804024/a4b04fb3f8.
Would you prayerfully consider joining in the equation to help the kingdom math balance in Cambodia? For just $150 per month, you can help one church planter get his or her church started. Give here: LoveAsia.info.
By Eric Spangler
Like Grasshoppers in a Land of Giants
In the cool dawn, I sit on the small balcony of our one-bedroom apartment – room for two folding chairs and a small table. The air is crisp, and a touch smoky; it is almost burning season. I pray as I listen to the sounds of Chiang Rai coming to life. We are 10 minutes north of downtown. Sounds of traffic reach our third-floor apartment.
There is much to process. The day after we arrived in Chiang Rai, leaders from across Southeast Asia gathered in Chiang Mai (a three-hour bus ride to the south) for a retreat. We were invited and blessed with the privilege to listen and learn.
So many faith-filled leaders to meet and stories to take in. These leaders were almost all from what we refer to as “creative access” countries. “Creative access” because government authorities do not always welcome their presence, ministry and service to the community. Openly sharing their names on social media puts them at risk.
One friend – I will identify him simply as “O” – told a compelling story. A few years ago, “O” and his wife were burdened for a remote mountain village in their country. They packed their bags, and along with their 7-month-old son, set out for this village. After many long hours, they arrived. No one was there to greet them. They had no money, no resources, no sponsors, but a longing in their heart to serve this overlooked village. They were permitted to sleep on the floor of an abandoned house. For three days, there was no food. Yet their desire to serve remained strong.
Slowly things began to come together. God honored their faithfulness. Today “O” has an open door into the local school system. He has a design enterprise to support his family of four. Today there are a small cluster of churches, ministries and leaders sharing in service to this community ̶ all because of the faithful obedience of “O” and his wife.
“O” is now a friend for life. Please join us in praying our God of unfailing love will continue to bless “O,” his wife and family, as they serve this remote mountain village.
We left the retreat in Chiang Mai, returning to our apartment in Chiang Rai, feeling like grasshoppers in a land of spiritual giants. So much to take in, to learn and to live out.
By Roger Haskins
Empowering Female Leaders in Asia
“Excuse me, but did you say there is a female church planter in Thailand who only needs this amount of funding to start the ministry to which God has called her?”
When I approached FMWM Asia Area Director Eric Spangler with this question at an event in 2016, I thought I must have misheard him. My heart had trouble processing this remarkable yet ordinary opportunity to come alongside a gifted and devoted pastor. My passion was stirred for what it might look like for individual Christians – for me – to partner joyfully with pastors and leaders serving sacrificially around the world.
Pastor Suda leads a church in a remote area on the Thailand/Myanmar border, as a missionary pastor among a people group that has suffered tremendously. She cares for her biological daughter, along with seven other young refugee girls from Myanmar. Her house serves as a home for her family of nine, and also a gathering place for her congregation. Her story is one of both difficulty and beauty.
A few months after the initial conversation, Eric emailed to ask if I had any interest in visiting Asia. We penciled in a trip for January 2020. Through major changes in my life, this trip remained on my calendar and my heart.
In January 2020, I visited Pastor Suda and her girls. I gazed across the border into Myanmar. My heart struggled again to comprehend the overflowing hope in Jesus for this region. I prayed words over Pastor Suda’s ministry: “The Spirit of the Lord is on you, because He has anointed you to proclaim good news to the poor … to set the oppressed free, to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor.”
Later in this trip to Southeast Asia, I met other gifted leaders. Pastor Edna leads the Asia Pacific Free Methodist Missions Association and pastors a group of Filipina women who are domestic workers in Hong Kong. Martha is a former International Child Care Ministries (ICCM) sponsored child from Yangon; now, she is in seminary. Stella is the global program coordinator for ICCM, a Free Methodist elder, and serves in India with a calling to ordained ministry. Mam is a Thai convert to Christianity; she has a passionate evangelistic heart for children. Hoa and Phuong are beautifully gifted emerging leaders from another Southeast Asian country not always friendly to the gospel.
The harvest is plentiful. Pray about how God is inviting you to partner with female leaders in Asia, and then join in!
By Jenny Switkes
World Missions Prayer Calendar: April
01 Wednesday | Middle East
Praise the Lord! One country received notification of government approval for the formal registration of the Free Methodist Church. Continue to pray for work in this country among several different groups of people, including the Jewish population.
02 Thursday | Thailand
This year, Jenna Battleson began a Saturday morning English Club at the FM Church in Chiang Mai. Pray for this club! They are extending an invitation to the community and hope for new opportunities to share the gospel. Birthday: Jenna Battleson (Thailand); Julie (Creative Access
03 Friday| Philippines
Pray for Darin Land as he continues to train leaders for the church in Asia, both through teaching classes at Asia Pacific Nazarene Theological Seminary (Philippines) and assisting throughout Southeast Asia as new leaders work through the ordination process. Birthday: Darin Land (Philippines); Hiuberth Zapata (International Missionary – Nicaragua)
04 Saturday | Nicaragua
In January, someone broke into Pastor Hiuberth and Sandra Zapata’s home. Please continue to pray for their steadfast encouragement. Ask for the power of the Holy Spirit as they continue to serve faithfully and with boldness.
05 Sunday | Rwanda
Praise the Lord for Gabe and Olivia Sevigny, who are preparing to serve a VISA assignment at Kibogora guest house. Gabe will assist in the supervision of the guest house and future development projects. Olivia, a nurse, will help at the hospital and the guest house.
06 Monday | Middle East
Pray for Middle East Area Director Dale to have continued cultural understanding and discernment of new opportunities. Also, pray for continued good health for Dale and Dawn as they travel.
Pray for workers for the harvest field in Budapest. Ask the Lord to call people to serve the church through children’s ministry, youth ministry, music ministry, hospitality, discipleship and the Set Free network.
08 Wednesday | Colombia
Dr. Ricardo Gómez assumed the role of Latin America area director one year ago. Pray for God-given wisdom and strength to lead the area according to His will. Also, pray for protection and guidance as he travels, and God’s care for Beth and the children when they remain at home in Medellín.
Birthday: Ricardo Gómez; Nikki Roller
09 Thursday | Taiwan
Pray for Lily Kinkead as she transitions from the role of lead pastor of the Chung Lun FM church plant in Kaohsiung to be the assistant pastor. Pray for the wisdom and strengthening of new leaders.
Birthday: Lily Kinkead
10 Friday | Middle East
Praise the Lord for the power of forgiveness in Jesus Christ! Thank Him for giving believers the power to forgive those who have persecuted them.
11 Saturday | Angola
Angola is a mission district under the Brazil General Conference. Pray for lasting peace. And as the church seeks to meet the needs of those who are suffering, pray the love of Jesus will be evident.
12 Sunday | Portugal
Cindi Angelo will be teaching and preaching in several nations in 2020. Ask the Lord to give her wisdom and the anointing of the Holy Spirit. Pray those who hear will understand God’s heart through His Word.
Birthday: Cindi Angelo (International Missionary)
13 Monday | Asia
Pray for Pastor Shirish, the new FMWM Asia church plant consultant, as he begins his work with some of our leaders in Southeast Asia.
14 Tuesday | Bulgaria
Praise the Lord for the new annual conference in Bulgaria. As the national leaders now take on responsibility for the church, pray the Lord will give wisdom and discernment to the missionary team as they seek to come alongside in new ways to strengthen and encourage the church and leaders.
Birthday: Al Mellinger
15 Wednesday | Democratic Republic of Congo
In the Democratic Republic of Congo, hundreds of thousands of people are being targeted for ethnic cleansing, and more than 7,000 Free Methodists have been persecuted and displaced. Pray for an end to the violence and for the Lord’s sustaining strength for the persecuted.
16 Thursday | Greece
Pray for the church in Thessaloniki, Greece, as they continue to work with refugees and people from the Middle East and Africa. Ask God to raise missionaries from among these who will share the good news of Jesus wherever they go.
Birthday: Michael Long
17 Friday | Guinea Conakry
Pray for the opening of an English-language learning center by a brother from the Cobaya coast church.
18 Saturday | SEED
Pray for the SEED livelihood group in Peru. Mujeres Jireh means “women for whom God provides.” This network of women in churches throughout Peru makes earrings, alpaca scarves and hand-dyed woven purses. Ask God to continue to provide for these women and their families.
19 Sunday|Middle East
Praise the Lord for miraculous physical healings! Pray for Jesus to continue to provide healing and forgiveness of sins in this region of the world.
20 Monday | Ecuador
Missionaries J.R. and Becky Crouse ask us to pray for wisdom as they balance ministry responsibilities on the field with the needs of family members who are in the states.
Birthday: Becky Crouse
21 Tuesday | Japan
Missionary Chris Wilkins is leading Train and Multiply Seminars in Japanese. Please pray for his increasing language acquisition to enable more effective leadership in this training.
Birthday: Chris Wilkins
22 Wednesday | Nigeria
Pray for leaders trained through Hope Theological Seminary and the modular program of Wesley Evangelical School of Theology. Ask the Lord to fill these leaders with wisdom and the power of the Holy Spirit.
23 Thursday | Peru
Praise the Lord for a new generation of leaders in Peru. Pray for the development of the pastoral formation process for training these new leaders and for Pastora Geovanna Chavez as she leads this mission district.
24 Friday | Set Free
Pray for Lillian Nyangasi, one of the Set Free leaders in Kenya. Lillian is a 26-year-old lawyer in Kenya and an active member of Thrive, a group working to educate and equip women and children about domestic violence and human trafficking. Pray for Lillian and the other members of Thrive to see community transformation in Kenya.
25 Saturday | Middle East
Pray for people of peace in new areas. Pray for new church plants, new church planters and the discipleship of new believers.
26 Sunday | Spain
Ada Hernández is part of the missionary team in Spain. She works with leadership development, member care and church planting support. Pray for wisdom and encouragement as she serves faithfully.
Birthday: Ada Hernánadez
27 Monday | Zambia
In July 2019, Zambia was granted the status of provisional general conference. Pray for the growing conferences and the effective discipleship of new believers.
28 Tuesday | Creative Access-C
Sally will soon complete several years of teaching in this creative access country. Pray for God’s guidance and encouragement as she transitions back to the U.S.
29 Wednesday | Latin America
Praise the Lord! There are more than 1,200 people in the pastoral formation process in Latin America! Pray for these new leaders as they complete their training and anticipate planting new churches across the region.
30 Thursday | Australia
Mark Barigye is serving in Darwin, Australia, through community service and church planting. Pray he will continue to develop his ability to proclaim the truth of the gospel as God also shapes him through spiritual disciplines.
Birthday: Mark Barigye
31 Tuesday | Zimbabwe
Pray for the church as it ministers within a context of high inflation, unemployment, health crisis and food shortages. Ask the Father to use His church to provide hope and transformation one community at a time.