August Heartbeat

Working Together for Hope

Water.
A home of our own. Electricity. Enough money to feed our children.  Around the world, these are basics people take for granted. But for some, accessing these basic needs can be quite challenging.  Tumaini Women Kenya (TWK) is a Free Methodist non-governmental organization (NGO). The organization works with members of local FM churches and communities to find sustainable solutions to overcome such challenges.

TWK helps women and men to save money collectively. This money can then be accessed for loans, providing enough capital to jump-start a business and enabling them to strengthen their source of income. As members save money, they have greater access to bigger loans, which means more buying power. After just a few years, women are sharing about buying equipment that boosts production or moving from being an individual vendor, to being a supplier in their business. These changes impact the entire family in positive and healthy ways!

Financial benefits include being able to bring electricity to their parents’ village homes after years of being in the dark.  Families are now able to pay children’s school fees.  One room homes are being expanded into several rooms to accomodate the family adequately.  Some women can pay for a college education, enabling them to be professionally employed and allowing additional income for the family.

As a source of income, Jane grows sugar cane. But keeping her crops watered was often challenging — many trips to the river to collect water. With a loan from TWK, she was able to purchase two water tanks that allow her to catch and store rainwater, eliminating trips to the river. Her crops are flourishing! Jane was so thankful for this blessing, she took another loan from TWK, and used some of the funds to support her local FM church’s building project.

When Pastor Solomon’s father died, he left the family with very little. Pastor Solomon wants to leave a different legacy for his family. With his TWK loan, he purchased a motorcycle to use as a taxi in the rural community where he lives. With profits from the first taxi and a second TWK loan, Pastor Solomon purchased a second motorcycle and is now an employer! He believes part of his job as a pastor is to not only disciple his members but to encourage them toward constructive opportunities to help their families be financially stable. He is thankful that TWK, working with his local church, can provide those opportunities.

By the grace of God and with the help of many, Tumaini Women Kenya, working with the FMC of Kenya, is a source of hope.

 

By Vickie Reynen

Moving into Mali

Many of us with North American backgrounds think of a “state” as a subdivision of a nation. In West Africa and most other areas of the world, a “state” is
a nation. Therefore, in West Africa, we have sixteen, or so, independent states which are nations. Moving from one state to the next of those states is much like moving from one of our states to the next as far as terrain and ethnicities — a lot of basic similarity in what and who you see around you. But the crossing of the borders is different. West Africans must pass through immigration out of one state and through immigration into the next state. Fortunately for residents of the region, there is an economic agreement across the region which allows movement from one country to the next without a visa. And West Africans make good use of that!

One person doing this is Deborah, who is
a Togolese, living and doing work in Mali. She had been there for several years before we Free Methodists came to know her — incidentally, through other Togolese living and working in Mali. Besides living and working there, as a Christian and one called to preach the Word of God, she also started a church.

Deborah now has two outreach methods underway. One is public preaching in the marketplace. In this case, marketplace literally means the market; rows of commercial stalls where vendors sell their fish, electronics, stationary, pots, etc.
Here she captures people’s attention — people who might not otherwise hear the gospel. Her other method is quiet, private conversations with people.

Eventually, Deborah invites them to a place in another part of town where they can come for more discussion and Bible study; a place where they are not known and learning about Christ won’t put them into immediate jeopardy. Mali is about 90% Muslim which, for some, means risk if they are known to be showing interest in Christ. It is not forbidden to evangelize, but families and close associates may oppose one’s movement toward Christ.

Deborah and her people have joined us. We now have initiated the beginning of the Free Methodist work in Mali. Pray for them as they continue to meet new people and seek to make Christ known throughout Mali.

By Mike Reynen

Mechanics on a Mission

There are three ingredients to forming a local church: a pastor, people and a place to gather.  In his providential wisdom, God has been bringing Free Methodist pastors and people in droves from Central Africa and has been scattering them like seeds among the cities of the U.S.  Our immigrant sisters and brothers are diligently organizing into local Free Methodist churches in these urban settings, and their churches are growing.

However, there is a problem. Only a small percentage of these African refugees have a driver’s license. The same handful of drivers will use their cars and make three or more trips on a Sunday morning to bring people to church. Still, many refugees are not able to attend because they do not have a ride.

In response, Men’s Ministries International (MMI) has created a new ministry called “Mech Men.” It all started when Adam, a professional mechanic in our local church, came to me with an idea. He said, “Pastor, I’d like to fix up old cars and donate them to people in need. Maybe others in the church could help.”

When he became aware of the plight of our sister refugee churches, he found an inexpensive minibus that needed a lot of work, and he was off to the races.  Others in the congregation joined in, and now a fully refurbished minibus is ready to be given to the Congolese FMC that meets in a city near us.  The Central African pastor recently testified .  “This single van will allow another fifty Swahili-speaking people to attend church every Sunday.”

The vision of Mech Men (a ministry of MMI) is to resource mechanics within local churches to restore vehicles and give them to immigrant congregations across the country, and around the world.  There are three ways you can partner:  (1) open a local chapter of Mech Men at your church, (2) donate an unused van to MMI, or (3) contribute toward the purchase of inexpensive vehicles.  For more information visit: MMIFM.org

The Lord of the harvest is multiplying immigrant churches all around us. Pastors and people from around the world are landing in cities near us. We can join in partnering to help them gather!

By Chris Pulice

World Missions Prayer Calendar: August

01 Thursday | Australia

Pray for good connections between Free Methodist immigrant groups. Also, pray for God to call some to be missionaries in Australia.

02 Friday | Middle East

Pray for workers in this region who travel thousands of miles, cross country borders, and go to many tribes, languages and people groups. Pray for God to go before them.

Birthday: Ken

03 Saturday | Hungary

Praise the Lord for the completion of a year-long process of translating, editing and printing a book for use in evangelism and discipleship. Pray this book will be used effectively in the Wesleyan Alliance churches in Hungary.

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04 Sunday | Kenya

Pray for Ken and Letty Myers as they connect with churches in the U.S. during their period of partnership building. Also, pray for a meaningful time with their children and aging parents.

Birthday: Letty Myers

05 Monday | Argentina

Pray for the implementation of Community Church Planting in the strategic city of Buenos Aires to be facilitated through a new residence for FM university students.

06 Tuesday | SEED

The Mujeres Jireh are “women for whom God provides.” They are a network of women in churches throughout Peru, making handicrafts like earrings, alpaca scarves, and hand-dyed woven purses. Praise the Lord for providing a community and an income for these women.

07 Wednesday | Middle East

Pray for Pastor H as he continues to go into one creative access country to encourage and train leaders who have been under persecution in recent months. Pray for the believers there to grow in their faith.

08 Thursday | Creative Access-N

Many people in this country live in poverty. Pray for the FMC as they care for the poor and help bring wholeness through the gospel of Christ.

09 Friday | Ethiopia

Eighty-five percent of the churches in Ethiopia are in desert areas. The roads are dusty, rocky and hilly. Superintendent Mekebib travels to visit and encourage churches and pastors, but he is greatly in need of a new vehicle. Pray for God’s provision for this leader in Ethiopia.

10 Saturday | Bulgaria

The St. John’s Home for girls will be dedicated in September. Please pray for: workers who are giving tirelessly to complete the renovations, girls who will live there, the lawyer who is working to complete the legal paperwork, and ongoing resources for this ministry.

Birthday: Dee Dee Galloway

11 Sunday | Japan

Gene and Minori Hall begin their missionary assignment in Japan this month. Pray for the many adjustments of culture, language and relationship. Pray for their daughter, Mika, who will stay behind to begin college in the U.S.

 

12 Monday | Malaysia

Pray for the five established churches and development of Chinese and tribal-speaking congregations.

 

13 Tuesday | Portugal

The FMC in Lisbon, Portugal serves their community each week through the Barnabas Project. They bring food and the gospel message to the homeless and other needy people in their community. Please pray for this church as they feed the hungry and point them to Jesus.

 

14 Wednesday | Tanzania

Evart Bible College in Tanzania is a modular Bible college helping to train pastors. Pray for the students, staff and mission of the school; pray for the establishment of a scholarship fund which is necessary for the school to succeed.

Birthday: Thom Cahill

15 Thursday | Creative Access-BG

Pray for courage and boldness to share the gospel in this country and for continued outreach into some of the 291 unreached people groups.

16 Friday | Chile

Richard and Laurie Sheriff are new missionaries assigned to Chile. Pray for them as they complete the process of developing a team of individuals and churches to partner through prayer and financial support.

Birthday: Laurie Sheriff

17 Saturday | Thailand

Corey and Connie Persing, missionaries to Thailand, request prayer for continued health, time for rest, the process of obtaining new visas and their continued efforts in partnership building.

Birthday: Corey Persing

 

18 Sunday | The DR of Congo

Nundu Hospital continues to refurbish its facilities and strengthen its medical staff. Pray for this ministry as they care for body, mind and soul of those they serve.

19 Monday | Middle East

Leaders in this region are under tremendous pressure. Pray that God would protect their families and provide times for families to be together outside of ministry demands.

20 Tuesday | Puerto Rico

Pray for the Barrio FMC as they continue to proclaim words of hope to some of the most problematic strata of Puerto Rican life. Ask God to give them strength and encouragement for the task.

21 Wednesday | Ukraine

Currently, there are eight men at the alcohol and drug rehabilitation center and another two in the next step program. This program in Rivne is seeing great success. Pray that as these men recover from their addictions, they will also find new freedom in Christ that will transform the community.

Birthday: Amy Casteel (Belgium)

22 Thursday | Middle East

Believers face daily resistance from relatives and neighbors. Pray they will remain faithful to the Lord and be a blessing to all those around them.

23 Friday | Zambia

Pray for this growing church, the new work being established and the effective discipleship of new believers.

24 Saturday | Bulgaria

David and Jill Sweet (missionaries to Bulgaria) are new parents of twin boys. David requests prayer for God to show him how he can become an influence and a good father to his boys so that they will grow up with integrity, courage and love.

Birthday: David Sweet

25 Sunday | Ecuador

Pray for the new house churches to take root, grow and multiply. Pray for Pastora Mariana Mafla, the district leader, and for international missionary Eunice Alvarez who focuses on pastoral formation.

Birthday: Eunice Alvarez

26 Monday | Set Free

Set Free now has more than 30 teams in the U.S. and around the world. Pray for these groups as they seek to address the root causes of slavery in their communities, including issues like poverty, addiction, racism, abuse, family brokenness and more.

27 Tuesday | Middle East

Pray for Hany and those that work alongside him. Pray for stamina and strength as they train new leaders and make strategic plans to plant 25 new house churches in the northern area of this country within the next 12 months.

28 Wednesday | Creative Access-X

Pray for the church leaders to have health, wisdom and strength as they are stretched thin: leading the church, caring for the many needs of the people and functioning within the turmoil and instability of the country.

Birthday: Ye Ya Lopez (Peru)

29 Thursday | São Tomé + Principe

Praise the Lord for the inauguration of the first FMC in São Tomé and Principe (Africa). Pray for this growing church served by Moises and Jacino Souza, missionaries from the FMC in Portugal.

 

30 Friday | Spain

Phil and Debra Gilmore are newly appointed missionaries to Spain. Pray for them as they seek to build prayer and financial support for their ministry, focusing on leadership development and community development.

31 Saturday | Latin America

For the first time, the Latin America region has a comprehensive, contextualized curriculum in Spanish to help train pastors as they work toward ordination. Pray for the effectiveness of this curriculum in preparing leaders.

Birthday: Rich Sheriff