December Heartbeat

Pastors’ Families and ICCM: A ‘Great Commission’ Partnership

By Jan Coates

 

International Child Care Ministries (ICCM) is in a Great Commission partnership with pastors’ families around the world. In countries where pastors have significant income limitations, ICCM is helping. Sponsorship provides pastors’ children with school uniforms and fees and supplemental food. Pastors are able to care for their families and focus on ministry.

Neddy Mundia Nanjowe knows firsthand the impact of pastors’ child sponsorship. As regional coordinator for five of ICCM’s African nations, her involvement with ICCM began almost two decades ago as the parent of sponsored children. Their family gathered daily to pray for their sponsor, who they considered “a family member away in another country.” The sponsorship Neddy’s children received made it possible for them to be where they are today, pursuing university studies, while at the same time allowing Neddy and her husband to fulfill God’s call on their lives.

Stella Bokare, the South Asia regional ICCM coordinator, says the monthly assistance from ICCM was a substantial support to their family, supplementing school fees and providing help with family food expenses. One significant aspect of her children’s sponsorship was learning the habit of tithing. Stella says, “Every month, after receiving the sponsorship fund, we remember sitting down with our children, praying for their sponsors, and then setting aside a tithe from it. Abishai and Ishanah have always learned to tithe from their sponsorship money. We are thankful they love the Lord and are wanting to serve Him.” Today “Abi” is studying worship arts at Greenville University, and Ishanah is studying to become a doctor.

As a young man in Brazil, Pastor Nilson gave up 60% of his earnings as a midlevel worker to devote himself to full-time ministry. In those early years, sponsorship helped provide physical items like clothes and shoes for his three children. Later the program became more personal to his children, as receiving the letters with the affection of their sponsors solidified the feeling of being members of a very loving family of faith. His son Daniel, now an FM pastor, says the program taught him about “divine provision” and how the body of Christ should care for one another. All three of Pastor Nilson’s children, now adults, are involved in some form of ministry.

Today there are nearly 13,000 children sponsored through ICCM. More than 10% are FM pastors’ children. As sponsors help feed, clothe and educate the children of pastors’ families, the gospel is proclaimed around the world. Together we join in fulfilling the Great Commission and move toward “seeing a world where every child is loved, safe and developing their God-given potential.”

 

Yvonne’s Story

By Rachel Kinley

While at school, her dad’s words of abuse often rang in her ears, and she struggled to focus on learning due to her lack of sleep. Yvonne was an ICCM-sponsored child. She was thankful for the opportunity to go to school and prayed for her sponsors every day, and she knew they were praying for her.

Yvonne’s dad struggled to keep a job. A cycle of abuse and stress continued. She tried her best to navigate school but constantly worried about her family and felt ashamed of her test scores.

At 19 years old, she prayed, “Lord, what kind of life is this? Please help us!” With a spirit of boldness, Yvonne decided to take action. She searched and found a home for rent and convinced her mom to pack up and move while her dad was at work.

After graduation, a leader in Yvonne’s church, Neddy Dingili, encouraged her to volunteer as a Sunday school teacher. Yvonne reluctantly agreed. She wanted to help but didn’t have confidence she would be good at teaching. Slowly, she began to realize her skills as a teacher. Her compassion for the kids and understanding of their daily challenges allowed her to encourage and build them up.

Yvonne decided to pursue her teaching certificate and became a teacher at Pendo Grade School. After six years, she started an aftercare program for kids at risk while their parents were at work.

Around the time she started teaching, Yvonne became acquainted with Vickie Reynen. “Vickie was a mentor sent by God.” In 2015, they worked with other women in the church to start the Thrive advocacy group. Yvonne blossomed in the companionship and safety of the group as they met regularly to pray and support each other.

 

Today, Thrive partners with Set Free to educate students in ICCM schools throughout Kenya. Students learn about gender-based violence and how to protect themselves from human trafficking and other abuse. They teach girls how to stay in school with the help of Wunders menstrual hygiene kits, which are made locally in partnership with SEED and Tumaini Women Kenya (TWK). Yvonne also works for TWK to track savings and loans for the members.

Yvonne now shares, “I know my story won’t end in ashes but in testimony and to give hope to other broken-hearted people. I have forgiven my dad. My heart is healed, and I am Set Free to Thrive and lift up others.”

From Orphan to Child of God

By Ginger Coakley

Winda was raised an orphan on an island near Haiti. There, in a faith-based orphanage, she was groomed for a life of exploitation. At age 15, Winda was adopted and brought to America, where, despite her hopes for a family, the exploitation continued. When telling her story, Winda recounts how the opportunity to escape aligned perfectly when her wealthy pimp and perpetrators were all inebriated beyond coherence; she took the opportunity and ran, never looking back.

The first time I met Winda face to face, she was stepping off a bus in St. Louis, ready to begin a journey of healing most would fail to have the courage to take.

Winda reminds us that healing is not easy, nor something we can force people to do before they are ready. It’s the hardest, most vulnerable way to move into the pain, let others in, face the past and hope for a future.

The first graduate of Eden’s Glory, Winda says many of her victories have sprung from her relationships with those she encountered within the church. Even though “church people” started her exploitation, church people helped her heal. Winda remembers her first encounter with Ella Peters, “This church lady hugged me the first time she met me, she whispered into my ear, ‘Jesus loves you, and so do I.’” Winda notes it was evident she wasn’t judged at her church. This acceptance helped her keep going. She encourages us now, “We can’t judge or reject others; if we do, there’s no room for healing or faith to come in.”

Recently Winda told me, “Having people believe in you is really helpful. Eden’s Glory saw things in me I couldn’t see for myself. Now I am beginning to see, and I am celebrating!”

Now 32 years old, Winda is still healing while helping others heal. Every time I meet with her, she sharpens my faith. Winda faces a world in need of healing with courageous faith tethered by the Word of God and a close-knit relationship with the Savior. And she chooses every day to live in step with the One Who rescued her.

Eden’s Glory is a Christ-centered residential program for adult women who are survivors of human trafficking.

 

World Missions Prayer Calendar: December

01 Wednesday | Botswana

The FM work in Botswana consists of a small congregation initiated by the Zimbabwe General Conference. Pray for the encouragement of the small

group of believers as they seek to reach others with the gospel.

02 Thursday | Australia

Pray for the expansion of the Free Methodist Church by networking of immigrant groups located throughout Australia.

03 Friday | Spain

Pray for Raul and Abigail Araña-Santana from the U.K./ Northern Ireland Conference. They will begin serving as international missionaries to Spain in January 2022.

04 Saturday | Honduras

Pray for the provision and healing of many in this nation impacted both physically and financially by the pandemic.

05 Sunday | Middle East

Praise the Lord! Whole families are hearing of the God who comforts, loves and offers them peace. Pray they will have a growing love and confidence in Him as their Lord and Savior.

06 Monday | Nigeria

Pray for pastors being trained at the Bible school. Ask the Father to provide for their needs and the needs of their families.

07 Tuesday | Creative Access-NP

Pray for nearly 300 churches and 75 pastors in this country. Ask the Father to encourage and strengthen these leaders and believers and give them boldness in sharing the gospel.

08 Wednesday | Hungary

Pray for new missionary Erin Kingsley as she continues to build prayer and financial support in preparation for her service in Budapest, Hungary.

Birthday: Erin Kingsley

09 Thursday | Paraguay

The San Lorenz Community Project assists children with educational reinforcement. Pray for the growth and development of the children and continued wisdom for the leaders.

10 Friday | Iraq

Each week, thousands of people go to a busy market in Iraq where there is literature available to those who are thirsty to learn more about God. Pray many will find their way to the truth they are seeking.

11 Saturday | SEED

Many of the SEED livelihood groups have faced material shortages this year. Pray God will make a way for them to continue their work and sustain their livelihoods.

12 Sunday | Republic of Congo

The FMC in the Republic of Congo (Brazzaville) is a young work established by the church in the Democratic Republic of Congo. Pray people in this nation will find new hope in Christ.

13 Monday | Cambodia

Praise the Lord for new churches planted this year. Pray for leaders throughout Cambodia as they continue to find creative ways to share the gospel despite the pandemic.

14 Tuesday | FMWM

Pray for control of the coronavirus around the world and the opening of borders so mission teams can resume travel under safe health conditions.

Birthday: Jonathan Eccles (FMWM Ministry Deployment Coordinator)

15 Wednesday | Argentina

Pray for Rodrigo and Tanya Rosado to develop a healthy balance between ministry, family and cultural adaptation as they begin work in Buenos Aires, Argentina.

Birthday: Rodrigo Rosado

16 Thursday | Portugal

Pray for a movement of the Holy Spirit in Portugal. Ask the Father to open the hearts and minds of those resistant to the gospel and free those bound by addictions, witchcraft and materialism.

17 Friday | Philippines

Concerns of the pandemic continue to linger. Pray churches will find creative ways to reach people with the gospel. Pray for children who cannot yet return to in-person learning. Ask the Father to use this time for kingdom expansion in the Philippines.

Birthday: Christine Sauder

18 Saturday | São Tomé and Príncipe

Praise the Lord for new believers and new leaders being trained. Pray for wisdom in ongoing churchplanting efforts and the development of new ministries.

19 Sunday | Brazil

Pray for Georgio and a team of people working with Venezuelan refugees and planting a church in Manaus.

20 Monday | Greece

Pray for the church in Greece and throughout Europe as they reach out to refugees from Afghanistan and Persia.

21 Tuesday | Set Free Movement

The Set Free team in Taiwan runs groups for Filipino women who have migrated to Taiwan for work or marriage. Ask the Father to guide team members as they seek to address issues of abuse and point women to the God who loves them.

 

22 Wednesday | Thailand

Pray for people across Southeast Asia as they continue to persevere through the pandemic. Pray for missionaries Cory and Connie Persing to remain healthy and continue accomplishing all God wants them to do.

Birthday: Connie Persing

23 Thursday | Mali

Pray for peace in Mali. Radical groups have taken positions throughout the country, waiting for opportunities to attack. Pray the church will continue to grow and be a light in the community

24 Friday | Middle East

Throughout the region, hundreds of thousands of refugees have been displaced from their homes. Our workers continue to provide a safe place for hurting refugees to gather for classes, counseling, basic medical care and community. Pray many will experience Jesus through the love and compassion demonstrated.

25 Saturday | FMWM

Praise the Lord for the opportunity to be part of a global body sharing the message of an incarnate Christ who brings hope and salvation for all people.

26 Sunday | Southeast Asia

Pray for God’s timing and plan as Darin and Jill Land transition to a new location in Asia. Pray Jill will find the right niche for using her gifts and talents to support the FM work in Asia.

Birthday: Jill Land

27 Monday | Rwanda

Gabe and Olivia Sevigny will complete their assignment in Rwanda in early 2022. Pray for God’s peace and strength as they make the adjustment of returning to the U.S. and anticipate the birth of their first child in April.

Birthday: Gabe Sevigny

28 Tuesday | Nicaragua

Pray for the FMC in Nicaragua during a leadership transition following the passing of the mission district leader, Pastor Hiuberth Zapata, in August. Continue to pray for the comfort of Hiuberth’s family.

29 Wednesday | Middle East

Use Philippians 1:11 to pray for the many new believers in this region. Pray they may be “filled with the fruit of righteousness that comes through Jesus Christ—to the glory and praise of God.”

30 Thursday | ICCM

Pray for the ICCM study centers in Chile that provide home-cooked nutritious meals, interactive Bible lessons, fellowship, games and homework assistance while giving children an opportunity to develop and use the gifts God has given them.

31 Friday | Taiwan

Tim Kinkead invites us to pray for a man named Arthur, the only believer in his household. Arthur’s wife is a devout Buddhist. Pray the Holy Spirit will open the minds and hearts of Arthur’s family. Ask the Father to guide Tim as he interacts with this family. Birthday: Tim Kinkead