April Heartbeat

Loisa’s Story

 

As a woman married to a man with a different culture, language, and belief, I have had to have the courage to face the circumstances. In the first few years of our marriage, we argued almost every day. When my children were old enough to go to school, I got a job and eventually earned enough money to buy a canteen. I worked every day and never went to church because I was too busy making money. Even now, I don’t know where all the money went, and I regret that I did not take my children to church.

Two of my Filipina friends were diagnosed with breast cancer. I was alarmed because I had been feeling something in my breast for quite some time. I told my family that I was going to the doctor. I visited the gynecologist who performed an ultrasound on me and referred me to an oncologist because the lump looked malignant. I was calm but worried and prayed it would not be serious. After the mammogram, the oncologist scheduled me for a biopsy. The results of the biopsy confirmed it was cancer and my surgery was scheduled.

It was during this time that I truly came to trust in Jesus. On the day of my operation, the pastor was there to pray for me. I was afraid, but I kept praying until I was in the operating room. The surgery lasted more than eight hours. After the surgery, I needed to have 12 treatments of chemotherapy.

Chemotherapy was the most difficult part. But, I knew that during these dark moments of my life I still had the Lord.

I recalled Isaiah 41:10, “So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you: I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.”

Praise God for He is our great Healer. He protected me through my chemo and radiation. I am so blessed because I have my family and a family in Christ who prayed for me and encouraged me to keep fighting.

I am now a three-year cancer survivor. I attend a care group and am learning to know more about Jesus. I am so thankful to know Jesus who is our everlasting God, the great healer, our Provider, and our Savior and Lord. All glory to God!

By David Clemente

 

 

Lost Phones + Relationships

My head was telling me to panic, but my soul knew God would somehow work it out.

Three weeks after moving to Thailand, I left my cell phone in the back of a taxi. After being unable to contact the driver through the taxi company, I went to order some takeout for our dinner. My husband (Keith) and I have been developing a relationship with a restaurant owner and his wife since the day we found our rental home. After I placed my order, we chatted about how I lost my cell phone, and could not locate the driver.

When I got home, Keith had found a way to track my phone and was shocked to see it was only two blocks from our house. He ran to our friend from the restaurant asking him to help translate and quickly learned the taxi driver lived at the apartments near our home. The driver went off duty after dropping us off. When we reached him, he was surprised and confused that we were able to locate him. Everyone was amazed to find my phone still in the backseat of his car. Our friend from the restaurant turned to Keith asking, “How is your phone right there? Look at my arm! Goosebumps! Your phone could be anywhere in Thailand, but it was not! It was right there! How?”

Keith was able to share how we trust God, we prayed, and He helped us find our phone. Our friend did not disagree, but we know this was one small conversation of many to come about this God we serve.

We are new missionaries partnering with the local Free Methodist Church in Chiang Mai, Thailand to disciple leaders. Keith and I stress being an incarnational presence in the local community, knowing that the Lord wants us to be in relationship with the people in our neighborhood. Through our daily presence and ongoing relationships, we have an opportunity to share the gospel naturally
as we live, work and eat together. We hope we can urge the church to the moments the Lord is working in their lives and to share those moments with their neighbors. God is doing a new thing in us, and we want to share whenever and wherever we are given the opportunity.

 

By Jenna Battleson

An Open Heart + a Legacy of Hospitality

I was sitting with a prospective donor who was interested in giving towards our new youth café, which provides both job training and discipleship to young people in our community. She peered at the proposal in front of her and asked, “How do you pronounce this … Ra … Rangkham’s Place? I think you should change the name to something that everyone can pronounce.

I laughed and nodded politely, but privately thought to myself, “Not a chance. Without Rangkham, we wouldn’t even have this café.” Rangkham [rong-kom] Praseurt was a refugee who fled violence and persecution in Laos with her family. She eventually found herself in Seattle, WA, and became a member of our church (Rainer Avenue). She came to this country with very little, but all she had, she
gave away to others. Every Sunday, for over 20 years, Rangkham served both hugs and hot cups of coffee from the kitchenette of our church. Often, she was the first face that people saw on Sunday morning. She was also a core member of our prayer team. Rangkham said that praying could always accomplish what complaining could not!

When Rangkham passed away in 2017, she left behind an emotional hole at our church.  We could hardly believe that we would not see our dear sister every Sunday morning, her face beaming as she handed out cups of coffee to everyone. It was that legacy of hospitality and service that inspired us to create Rangkham’s Place, a café where youth in the neighborhood receive not just job training but mentoring and discipleship. Our first youth cohort finished at the end of 2018 and included two of Rangkham’s own grandchildren.

In Deuteronomy 10:18-19, God commands us to love foreigners and refugees. But
we would be wrong to construe this as a one-way act of service as if immigrants and
refugees can do nothing but receive the love and support that we so generously provide. In truth, these people have as much to offer all of us as we have to offer them. They show us what it is truly like to follow Christ even at the threat of death, and godly joy can be a true source of strength, even in the most trying of circumstances. Their lives and stories challenge us, humble us, and inspire us.

Working with foreigners, immigrants and refugees is no chore! It may be a command from God, but it is a life-giving command which breathes new life into our hearts and our churches.

By  Peter Chin

World Missions Prayer Calendar: April

01 Monday| Middle East

Pray for the work of the “N’ project that is assisting refugees in this region by training in various skills and creating livelihood enterprises that give them an income and a purpose.

02 Tuesday | Thailand

Keith and Jenna Battleson are new VISA missionaries in Thailand who began their two-year assignment in December. Pray for their language study, continued cultural adjustment for them and their two sons, and the development of meaningful relationships with their Thai neighbors.

Birthday:
Jenna Battleson (Thailand), Julie (Creative Access)

03 Wednesday | Philippines

Darin Land teaches at Asia Pacific Nazarene Theological Seminary (APNTS) and works with leadership development and the ordination process for Free Methodist leaders across Asia. Pray for students at APNTS as they finish the term this month, especially for those who will graduate and begin new ministry roles.

Birthday: Darin Land (Philippines),
Nikki Roller (Colombia), Yvette Soliman (Spain)

04 Thursday | Botswana

The Free Methodist Church is registered in Botswana, and there is one small congregation. Pray for the encouragement of this small group of believers and their outreach to those affected by AIDS.

05 Friday | Hungary

Pray for missionaries Gerry and Kati McNamara (Győr) who anticipate a busy month as their daughter Zsuzsi will be married and they also anticipate welcoming new missionary team members Chadwick and Sarah Anderson.

06 Saturday | Middle East

Pray for Area Director Dale as he continues efforts to mobilize and disciple leaders and church planters.

Birthday: Dale

07 Sunday | Ghana

The FM work in Ghana includes 14 churches and on-going ministerial training. Pray for Pastor Quarshie who desires to lead the work into greater expansion especially to the many villages in the north of the country

08 Monday |Latin America

Ricardo Gómez assumes responsibilities as the Latin America Area Director this month. Pray for the transition of leadership, for growing relationships with missionaries and leaders across Latin America, and for a healthy balance of
work/ministry and time with his family.

Birthday: Ricardo Gómez

09 Tuesday | Creative Access-I

Pray for the work of Umri Hospital and the 11 International Child Care hostels in this country, as well as the microenterprise projects which empower the workers to
support their families.

Birthday: David

10 Wednesday|Portugal

Pray for ongoing health, strength, and wisdom for Asia Area Director Eric as he balances the heavy demands of travel, ministry, and oversight of the Asia area.

Birthday: Eric (Asia), Chance Galloway (Bulgaria), Sarah Anderson (Hungary)

11 Thursday | Tanzania

Pray for revival throughout the FMC in Tanzania and for the possibilities of further partnership between the FMC-USA and the Bible school there to accomplish the training of more pastors.

12 Friday | Latin America

Pray for Paul Olver as he continues his work as Associate Director for Latin America even as Delia transitions out of the Area Director role. Paul coordinates and advises
the team implementing Community Church Planting and Pastoral Formation and handles administration and finance for the area.

Birthday: Paul Olver

13 Saturday | Set Free

Pray for the Set Free team in Turlock, CA as they begin to forge relationships with community partners and look for ways to engage in the foster care system.

14 Sunday | Bulgaria

Pray for Al and Diane Mellinger as they continue to support the national leaders in Bulgaria and work with a growing number of microenterprise groups.

Birthday: Al Mellinger

15 Monday | Middle East

Pray for persons of peace in different refugee camps and cities. People who will welcome and encourage a movement of planting house churches in this region.

16 Tuesday | Greece

Pray for the church in Thessaloniki to find a new location. The church has been in the present location for eight years and is forced to relocate because the building is being sold. Also, continue to pray for their ministry to a growing number
of refugees.

Birthday: Michael Long

17 Wednesday | Africa

Pray for Free Methodist believers across Africa to receive a fresh outpouring of the Spirit and a renewed passion for seeing the gospel spread to places and people groups who have yet to hear the good news.

Birthday: Katie Keranen
(Africa Area Administrator)

18 Thursday | Asia

The work in Cambodia, Thailand, Malaysia, and Creative Access Country-N is expanding. Pray that the Lord will provide the resources – financial and leadership – which are needed for continued church planting in these countries.

19 Friday | Ukraine

Pray for spiritual receptiveness as the FMC seeks to begin new churches in new communities.

20 Saturday | Ecuador

Missionary Becky Crouse assists with Christian education training and is part of a team of writers for the Latin America website. She and her husband J. R. also assist in implementing community church planting in Ecuador. Pray for wisdom and effectiveness for each of these ministries.
Birthday: Becky Crouse

21 Sunday | Japan

Chris and Yuko Wilkins serve as missionaries in Japan. Pray for direction and success in working with the Japanese FMC to begin a multiplication training module in several districts. They will then coach and work alongside leaders as they
implement the program.

Birthday: Chris Wilkens

22 Monday | Middle East

Pray for the discipleship and growth of new believers and the spiritual and physical protection of leaders.

23 Tuesday | Togo

Pray for children attending two ICCM sponsored schools in Tchore and Limbrini; without these schools, there would be no opportunity to benefit from education.

24 Wednesday | Missionary Team

Pray for our FMWM missionary team. Many will travel to the U.S. for General Conference and partnership building over the next few months. Some are making transitions in their ministry assignments or going to the field for the first time.
Pray for the presence of the Holy Spirit to lead them and encourage them.

Birthday: Bryan (Creative Access-C)

25 Thursday | SEED

Pray for SEED champions who will share the story of SEED livelihood groups and sell livelihood group products at annual conferences across the United States.

26 Friday | Spain

VISA missionary Ada Hernandez serves as the Administrator of the Light & Life Cultural Center in Madrid, Spain. Pray for the continued development of the Center and for her physical strength and stamina to meet the demands of ministry and
the needs of people.

Birthday: Ada Hernandez

27 Saturday | El Salvador

El Salvador is one of the more violent countries in Latin America. There are many gangs and drugs. Pray for peace in this nation. Pray for wisdom and strength for Pastor Hiuberth Zapata who leads the FMC in this country.

28 Sunday | Creative Access-C

Sally is a teacher in this creative access country where regulations are becoming more stringent all the time. Pray for peace, wisdom, and discernment in her work and all her relationships.

Birthday: Sally

29 Monday | South Africa

The South Africa FMC has five annual conferences, and all are led by Africans. Pray for strength, vision and a spirit of unity among these leaders and the churches.

30 Tuesday | Middle East

Pray for efforts to plant more groups in new areas of this region.