I was listening to my favorite daily devotional recently when the author relayed a story about Francis Asbury. When John Wesley was looking for someone to come to America to encourage the fledgling Methodists in the new world, 26-year-old Francis Asbury raised his hand and took on the assignment. He arrived to find 316 Methodist society members. He road an average of 6,000 miles a year on horseback, totaling some 270,000 miles. He preached upward of 15,000 sermons, ordained 4,000 ministers, and presided over 224 annual conferences of the burgeoning movement. Forty-five years later, the movement had grown to over 215,000 members.*
When Asbury took on this assignment, he had no idea where it would lead or how much impact he would have on the kingdom of God. He simply chose to be obedient to God’s leading in his life.
In 2015 a group of young women came together to form the Thrive Ladies discipleship group. Their original purpose was to encourage one another and carry each other’s burdens. As they grew, their vision also grew. They became advocates for those younger than themselves, providing a safe place for girls to share about their challenges. The Thrive Ladies participated in several training programs to educate and equip themselves to effectively minister to others. Since 2018 they have been able to meet more than 1,000 young people, encouraging them in their faith, raising awareness about gender-based violence and human trafficking, and helping provide basic needs for vulnerable girls. Two “Thrive Jr.” discipleship groups have formed, with more on the horizon. The Thrive Ladies have also partnered with one local FM church in developing a “Thrive Boys” group.
In addition, these ladies have established a presence on several social media platforms, sharing their experiences and highlighting issues related to human trafficking. Developing partnerships with SEED, Tumaini Women Kenya (TWK) and the Set Free Movement has given even greater opportunities to serve in unique ways. Thrive Ladies are still thriving!
When these young women started with Thrive, they, like Francis Asbury, had no idea where God would lead them. With the Lord’s help, the Thrive Ladies are committed to seeking and serving God as they love and disciple others, so they too may Thrive.
*Walt, J.D. “Are You Raising Your Hand Yet?” Seedbed Daily Text. 2021, May 1. seedbed.com/daily-text/
By Vickie Reynen
From Darkness to Life
How does one go from worshiping the spirits of the dead to sharing the gospel of Jesus Christ?
To understand this transformation, I share the story of John Habibu Saidy, a student at Evart Bible College in Tanzania. To provide for his wife and four children (two sets of twins), John works as a smallholder farmer and a fisherman at Lake Tanganyika. It takes him three days to travel by bus to reach Evart Bible College where he studies.
As I have gotten to know John, I learned how he was raised in the African traditional belief system, worshiping the ancestral spirits and the gods of their ancestors. He shared this testimony:
Even though my family sought protection from our ancestral spirits and gods, many people from our family died with very questionable causes of death. When I could not take the fear anymore, I thought of seeking refuge in the church. I was very submissive in the church, and I asked the men of God to pray for me. The men of God in the church did pray for me, and they led me to a prayer of confession. I accepted Christ and was baptized. Then I left my traditional rituals and customs of worshiping the spirits of the dead.
Immediately after I got baptized, I also started serving God. I began as a choir member in my local church. Later I was invited to sing in our neighboring churches. At one point, church leaders appointed me to teach the Sunday school. These responsibilities nourished my spiritual desires. Eventually, I was allowed to teach in the church and in different places as I received invitations to go and preach. In the past, my family and I had no understanding of the true God, no spiritual foundation. The fear and the darkness caused many of my people to perish. Now I know of life in Christ.
John is one of several students with similar testimonies. These students are serving the Free Methodist Church of Tanzania and taking courses at Evart Bible College.
Please pray for John, his family and his ministry as he continues to seek God and reach people for the glory of God’s kingdom. Please pray for the continual work of the Holy Spirit within Tanzania. Pray many people will be receptive to the life-changing Word of God as students are trained and go out to expand God’s kingdom throughout Tanzania.
By Thom Cahill
From fear to confidence, this is Nafissa’s story.
Nafissa is from Mali. She lost her husband, and she has been supporting herself and her two daughters through her service in the military. Not long ago, she started having health problems. At first, Nafissa attempted to get help from a traditional healer, but her living conditions and health continued to decline. She also found herself living in a perpetual state of fear. About this time, one of our church members met Nafissa and shared the gospel. She received Jesus and then became involved in our church worship gatherings.
Nafissa loves God and has grown in her love for Him. One night Jesus visited her in a dream and told her she would have a roadblock, and indeed, she did. Nafissa was enjoying her new life in Christ when one of her cousins went to her mother and reported that Nafissa had become a Christian. (She comes from a Muslim family.)
Just before this incident, her boyfriend had a dream that Nafissa was with Christians sharing the gospel. He also reported this to her mother and broke his relationship with Nafissa. From then on, much trouble and persecution came her way. Her mom called her to confirm whether or not the things she had been told were true. When Nafissa confirmed the truth – she was a follower of Jesus – her mother rejected her as a daughter. Now, when Nafissa calls, her mother refuses to take her call.
Nafissa loves her mother very much but still loves Jesus. She received baptism and has given public witness of her faith in Christ. Yet every Sunday, her mother continues to send people to see if Nafissa is at home or church. Because of this, she stopped going to church on Sunday mornings but still has a Bible study with Pastor Debora two days a week. Nafissa said, “I will never go back to my former ways because I saw a big difference with Jesus.”
Pray Nafissa will persevere in her faith. Pray her mother and other family members will come to know Jesus.
By Rev. Dosseh Takpale
World Missions Prayer Calendar: August
01 Sunday | Creative Access-MR
Please continue in prayer for peace and an end to the conflict in this nation. Estimates indicate the current conflict has forced more than 3.4 million people into hunger. Pray for the church as it cares for those in need.
02 Monday | Albania
Praise the Lord for new ministry opportunities in Albania. Pray for Algent and Erjona Bregu, who are serving as community engagement coordinators.
03 Tuesday | Colombia
Pray for the strengthening of new believers in the church plant in Tociama. Ask the Father to prepare people of peace for new church plants in Uraba and Necocli.
04 Wednesday | Kenya
Pray for Letty Myers as she continues the recovery process following a cancer diagnosis in 2020. Ask the Lord to give both healing and encouragement.
Birthday: Letty Myers
05 Thursday | Jordan
Praise the Lord for how He used the Good Shepherd Center to minister to the needs of children and families during the pandemic. Pray for the center’s ongoing ministry among refugee families.
06 Friday | Creative Access-HK
Pray for creative ways to communicate the gospel and plant churches in an atmosphere increasingly antagonistic to Christianity.
07 Saturday | Mali
Pray for Debora, our leader in Mali, as she navigates the process of registering the Free Methodist Church. Ask for God’s wisdom and favor.
08 Sunday | Bulgaria
Pray for the St. John’s home as final preparations are made to open this fall. Ask the Father to use this home as a place of hope and healing for many young girls.
Birthday: Dee Dee Galloway
09 Monday | Bolivia
This church-in-formation is being developed through the Chilean conference. Pray for a growing understanding and implementation of the Community Church Planting model.
10 Tuesday | Iraq
In recent months, our leaders have seen miracles of healing and answers to prayer. Pray people who witness the power of God will turn to Him.
11 Wednesday | SEED
Reaksmei means “light” or “enlighten” in the Khmer language. Pray for the Reaksmei livelihood group in Cambodia. This group began with the wives of pastors and church planters and has grown to include neighborhood and village women.
12 Thursday | Creative Access-CA
Pray for the believers in this country who are actively seeking ways to send out missionaries. Pray for open doors and wisdom to carry out this vision.
13 Friday | Argentina
There is increased effort to reach the mega-city of Buenos Aires. Pray for The Harbor. This center has a developing international church, offers leadership development and training, and seeks to contribute to community transformation.
14 Saturday | Tanzania
Pray for the Holy Spirit to move among the people and the churches in Tanzania. Ask the Father to renew and strengthen believers and raise transformative leaders for the Kingdom.
Birthday: Thom Cahill
15 Sunday | Europe
Praise the Lord for the formation of the African European Church Network. FMC-Europe and the FMCUK have partnered to strategically and actively reach African immigrants living in Europe. Pray for the Rev. Albert Dlali, who has been appointed to coordinate this effort.
16 Monday | Chile
Pray for Laurie Sheriff as she continues to study the Spanish language. Pray she will develop a level of proficiency that allows her to connect deeply with the Chileans.
Birthday: Laurie Sheriff
17 Tuesday | Thailand
The FM Book of Discipline is being translated into the Thai language. Pray this will help strengthen the work of the FM Church in Thailand.
Birthday: Corey Persing
18 Wednesday | Cameroon
This mission district has more than a dozen church plants. Pray these church plants will advance to fully organized churches this year.
19 Thursday | Middle East
Praise the Lord for church-planting work in new areas of the Middle East. Pray for the discipleship and growth of new believers and the continued multiplication of leaders.
20 Friday | Ukraine
Misha and Lena Petrochenko lead FM work in Rivne. Pray for open hearts as they seek to disciple families, provide hope and healing for those who grieve, and support the centers for recovering addicts.
21 Saturday | ICCM
ICCM sponsors children in two Free Methodist schools in Managua. These schools are bringing Jesus’ light to very difficult neighborhoods. Pray for both the students and staff.
22 Sunday | Creative Access-LO
Currently, around 60 people are part of FM work in this country. Pray for increasing gospel opportunities in reaching the 109 people groups who have not yet heard of Jesus.
23 Monday | Palestine
Life has been difficult for our workers, but great things are happening, and God is bringing new believers into the Kingdom. Pray for the faith of believers to be strengthened, even amid conflict.
24 Tuesday | Bulgaria
Pray for the Sweets as they wait for their boys’ citizenship to be finalized. During this waiting time, pray for effective and God-glorifying ministry and relationships.
Birthday: David Sweet
25 Wednesday | Uruguay
Pray for international missionary Daniela Da Cunha as she begins ministry in the capital city of Montevideo. Ask the Father to lead her to people whose hearts are open to the gospel.
26 Thursday | Ghana
Ghana is a mission district under the Canadian General Conference. Pray for new church plants, particularly in the central and northern areas where many villages have no church.
27 Friday | Set Free Movement
Pray for Set Free teams across the U.S. seeking to expand foster-care support ministries in their local communities.
28 Saturday | Peru
Pray God will provide the necessary resources for pastors and leaders to continue ministry at a time when the economic situation of so many people has been affected.
Birthday: Ginegda “Yeya” Lopez (International Missionary)
29 Sunday | Creative Access-PK
Pray for a newly forming FM network in this country. Ask the Father to give discernment and identify the leaders He has chosen.
30 Monday | Sierra Leone
Free Methodist work officially opened in 2019. Pray for international missionary Rufus Kahn as he continues to help pastors learn more about the Free Methodist Church and train them in church planting.
31 Tuesday | Chile
Pray Rich Sheriff will find the “space” and “time” to take in the Spanish language and Chilean culture despite obstacles such as ministry and personal life adjustments that might interfere.
Birthday: Rich Sheriff