April Heartbeat

Why Are You Singing?

David W. Clemente, missionary to Asia

“Why are you all singing?” the neighbors asked Ms. Holly (not her real name). Ms. Holly is a cross-cultural worker living in Country-VN. It is illegal to share the gospel with others. The neighbors are suspicious of the group’s singing and wary of the foreigner. They suspect this is a gathering of Christians and may call the authorities to report the illegal activities. This could be the end of the gathering.

Ms. Holly is a Filipina working as an English teacher. She tutors university students and occasionally teaches at nearby elementary schools or language learning centers. In the eyes of the immigration officials, Ms. Holly is an English teacher. To her friends in the Philippines, she is a cross-cultural worker, a missionary sent by the Free Methodist Church to share the gospel in this restricted country.

God prepared Ms. Holly in many ways. She received her calling at a young age. Later, time at Bible college and missionary training centers confirmed her passion. In the 1990s, she taught kindergarten in central Mindanao, an area with Muslims. There she learned to be prudent in her methods of sharing the gospel. She says, “I learned many things, especially how to share the truth without objections and violent reactions, [to witness] in a friendly way.” In 2007, she served in Cambodia among the boat people. God taught her to be obedient, even amid hardships and failures. In 2013, God opened the door, allowing her to work in Country-VN as an English teacher. She began an “underground place” ministry in church planting and discipleship.

At present, Ms. Holly leads local fellowships in two locations. God is helping Ms. Holly disciple others through one-on-one teaching and online meetings. The members of these fellowships are sharing Jesus with their friends and family. God is answering prayers in this “underground place” ministry.

When Ms. Holly was accosted by the neighbors from the apartment complex, they asked her, “Why are you all singing?” Ms. Holly’s response was, “The singing is an integral part of the students’ language learning.” Even so, the group was reported, and the authorities came. They interrogated every group member. Everyone had the same answer, “Room number two; to study English.” The local officials ruled in the group’s favor. Ms. Holly and her friends continue to meet for English lessons and a time of learning more about Jesus. God answers the prayers of His people, and they keep singing!

 

 

 

 

Faithful Servants

Minori Hall, missionary to Japan

Japan is often described as a missionary graveyard. The hard work and effort put into sharing the gospel often seems to bear little spiritual fruit and is discouraging. With Christians making up less than 1%  of the population, churches are small, and many pastors and members are aging. Yet, as we spend time visiting the Free Methodist churches here in the Osaka area, we are hopeful. We are meeting many faithful and faith-filled brothers and sisters in Christ.

Here are a few stories of their stories giving evidence of God’s Spirit at work in Japan:

Seeing a growing need for unexpected pregnancy care, a midwife opened a pregnancy center in Kobe in 2018. Her work is gaining recognition, and the government is showing interest in using her work as a model on a national level.

Earlier last year, a woman and her daughter visited a small FM church in their neighborhood for the first time. After Bible study with the pastor, they professed faith in Christ and were baptized on Christmas Eve 2021. These were the first baptisms in 16 years.

A retired schoolteacher first heard the gospel while fixing his radio. He listened to a Christian radio program and then sought out a local church. These events happened when he was a teenager, but he has faithfully served the Lord and the church for nearly 60 years.

One young woman has been attending and actively serving her local church for several years. Recently, she approached us expressing a desire to join our leadership training planned for spring 2022.

One new pastor attended seminary after raising three children. She was ordained and began pastoring in April 2021. She was the pastor responsible for leading the mother and daughter mentioned above to Christ and baptized them.

These stories are a reminder to us of Paul’s exhortation to the Galatians, “Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up” (Galatians 6:9, NIV).

As missionaries to Japan, we desire to encourage and equip faithful servants like these to grow as leaders who, in turn, raise new faithful leaders. Please pray God will give the church perseverance and renewed trust in His perfect timing for a harvest in Japan.

Fulfilling the Vision

By Thom Cahill, missionary to Thailand

FMWM Asia’s vision is to reach 1 million people with the gospel of Jesus Christ.

Paul instructed Timothy to invest in others through teaching and equipping, “… and what you have heard from me through many witnesses entrust to faithful people who will be able to teach others as well” (2 Timothy 2:2, NRSV). Accomplishing our vision will require training and equipping 10,000 new leaders. For that reason, FMWM Asia has developed Gethsemane Leadership Training (GLT).

As God calls men and women to ministry, GLT seeks to invest in them, preparing and training them to disciple believers and raise more leaders. We are currently focused on six countries in East Asia and are excited the Lord has already raised four national GTL leaders to help.

Gethsemane Leadership Training will use three models to provide training and equipping. Using internet technology, students and teachers will grow and learn together. Once borders open and travel resumes, students will come together for several days of intensive seminars. Finally, a video project is in development. This project consists of 12 core modules, each containing 24 lectures presented by national leaders from Asia and developed in at least six different languages.

The video project is no small task. The estimated cost per module is $2,500. To accomplish our vision of training 10,000 leaders, this comes to approximately $3 per leader for each video developed. This project will enable students to remain in their location, stay engaged in ministry, be with their families and continue their jobs. We believe this is an extremely cost-effective way to raise leaders for the glory of God’s kingdom.

It is exciting to see how God is working in Asia; many people are coming to Christ. The Holy Spirit is moving, and the FMWM Asia team is excited to be a part of this beautiful movement of the Spirit.

Will you join us in fulfilling our vision? You can help us reach our goal of training 10,000 leaders and influencing 1 million Asians toward Christ. Contributions to the GLT project can be made at give.fmcusa.org/donation/df-epaaminsted. Most importantly, please join us in prayer for the hearts of Asians to be open to the good news and the call of Christ in their lives.

 

 

 

 

World Missions Prayer Calendar: April

01† Friday | Iraq

Pray for the spiritual protection and health of those working in this country. Spiritual warfare is real as workers share the good news of Jesus.

02†Saturday | Creative Access Asia-CA

Pray for Keith and Julie to be encouraged and strengthened spiritually despite the many challenges of their cultural context. Birthday: Julie

03†Sunday | Asia

Darin is leading efforts for Asia’s Gethsemane Leadership Training project. Pray scriptwriters, translators, speakers, videographers and video editors working on the core modules will have the Lord’s wisdom and provision to work effectively.

Birthday: Darin

04†Monday | Honduras

Pray for healthy, committed leaders who will be sensitive to the Holy Spirit’s leading in identifying people of peace and new communities for church planting.

05† Tuesday | Democratic Republic of Congo

The next meeting of the DRC General Conference will be held in November of this year. Pray for the plans and preparations being made and the leading of the Holy Spirit in this general conference.

06† Wednesday | Middle East

Pray for Area Director Dale to have increased travel opportunities in the region, allowing for face-toface connection and encouragement of the national leaders. Birthday: Dale

07†Thursday | Spain

Four new elders were ordained, and one person was received as a ministerial candidate at the annual meeting in January. Pray God will encourage and give wisdom to these new leaders

08†Friday | Latin America / Colombia

Latin America: Pray for Area Director Ricardo Gómez to have God’s grace and wisdom as he leads the Latin American team in implementing the area vision as they work together toward the biblical restoration of Latin America.

Birthday: Ricardo Gómez

Colombia: As the new Roots children’s curriculum begins to be used, pray children will develop deep personal relationships with Jesus.

Birthday: Nikki Roller

09†Saturday | Taiwan

Thank the Lord, Tim Kinkead had a good report from his thyroid doctor. Pray for Tim and Lily’s good health as they continue many ministries in Taiwan.

Birthday: Lily Kinkead

10†Sunday | ICCM

ICCM Cambodia opened in 1999 and now operates three study centers for holistic child development. Pray for the children in these centers — the House of Love, House of Joy and House of Peace.

11† Monday | Portugal

Cida Matos helps lead the cell group ministry of the FMC in Portugal. Pray for the spiritual growth of all cell group members and the development and training of new leaders.

Birthday: Cida Matos (International Missionary)

12† Tuesday | Creative Access-X / Portugal

Creative Access-X: Thank the Lord! Despite this country’s ongoing crisis and chaos, there have been approximately 2,000 new believers and 200 baptisms since July 2020.

Birthday: Paul Olver

Portugal: Pray for two significant events happening for Cindi Angelo this month. She will release her book He Made Himself Like Men in English and make a trip to Sao Tomé and Príncipe.

Birthday: Cindi Angelo (International Missionary

13† Wednesday | Bolivia

Pray for new international missionaries Juan Carlos Rodriguez and Yaneth Aguirre as they transition from their home in Mexico to work in Bolivia.

Birthday: Juan Carlos Rodriguez (International Missionary)

14† Thursday | Creative Access Asia-VN

Thank the Lord for young believers and church planters in this country. Pray these young Christian leaders will influence many young adults to follow Jesus.

15† Friday | Cameroon

Praise the Lord for one new church planted in 2022 and the potential for a second one. Pray these new fellowships will grow and produce many new believers.

16† Saturday | Greece

Pray for Michael and Maria Long and the church in Greece as they minister to Afghan refugees in camps near Thessaloniki. As they meet for tea, offer friendship, and provide clothing and food, pray they will have increasing opportunities to share the good news of Jesus.

Birthday: Michael Long

17† Sunday | SEED

Pray for the Lydia Group in Asia, which employs people who would otherwise beg on the streets. With dignity, they now earn a living and support their families by creating beautifully handcrafted cards.

18† Monday | Guinea Conakry

Praise the Lord for positive changes in the spiritual lives of young people in Coyah, Guinea. Pray for the continued impact of the Word of God as young people weekly meet to study the Bible and go into the community for evangelism.

19† Tuesday | Egypt

The Holy Spirit is calling people through dreams and visions, the words of others, the Scripture, and through events in their lives. Pray they will listen and respond.

20†Wednesday | Latin America

The Roots Spanish curriculum is beginning to be used in four countries in Latin America. Pray for the logistics and funding for teacher training as this curriculum is used throughout Latin America.

Birthday: Becky Crouse

21† Thursday | Japan

Pray for the women in two English classes led by Chris and Yuko Wilkins. As they teach the women about God, pray they will experience the reality of Christ and His love for them.

Birthday: Chris Wilkins

 

22†Friday | Angola

The church in Angola is still young. Pray for maturity and health in the church and new church planting throughout the country.

23†Saturday | Mexico

Pray for spiritual renewal and revival for the FMC in Mexico. Pray for unity in relationships, the holiness of life, and passion for serving Christ and proclaiming the good news.

24†Sunday | Set Free

Internet usage is often a gateway to child trafficking. Pray for Set Free groups in Creative Access-IN as they provide education to children, helping them understand how to be safe when online.

25† Monday | Middle East

Using 1 Peter 3:14-15, pray for believers in the Middle East. As they suffer threats from others, ask the Lord to bless them and give them peace. Pray the Lord will prepare them and give them boldness to answer everyone who asks the reason for the hope they have.

26†Tuesday | Sweden

Praise the Lord for new work in Stockholm, Sweden, initiated by refugees from the Democratic Republic of Congo. Pray for their plans for multiplying churches throughout Scandinavia.

27† Wednesday | Ethiopia

Superintendent Mekebib Desta reports more than 350 people have been baptized since the beginning of 2022. Praise the Lord! Pray these people will continue to mature as followers of Jesus.

28†Thursday | Creative Access Asia-MY

Pray for a couple planning to serve in this country to help reestablish Free Methodist work. Ask the Father to open doors for their entry into the country

29†Friday | 360 Mission District

Pray for the Holy Spirit’s guidance for beginning a new house of peace in Quepos, Costa Rica. Ask the Lord to provide more workers for the harvest.

30†Saturday | Togo

Wesley Missionary Institute. Pray for the students as they go out to be cross-cultural workers throughout West Africa.