December Heartbeat

SEED – Faithful Women Leaders

Priscilla, Neddy and Eunice are all from Kenya. A photo of the three of them with the header “Leadership” is a favorite sign displayed on our SEED event tables.

These women lead. They don’t have positions of great power, but day in and day out, they lead. They make things happen. They create good in people’s lives and empower others. They nurture shalom among the people with whom they work. They are faithful and diligent. These women persevere against all kinds of odds. They work with widows and young people speaking hope into their lives. They work alongside men as colleagues and board members. All are blameless, patient, not overbearing, hospitable, disciplined, and love what is good. These characteristics are true of all the women leaders with whom we partner around the world.

Certainly, some of SEED’s partner livelihood groups are led or co-led, by men. However, most leaders we work with around the world are women. Perhaps because women are often marginalized, they are the ones who are most willing to step out boldly but lovingly to help others in need.

Around the world, powerful women are stepping out to lead in their communities. My first introduction to the dynamism of pastoras in the Philippines was Pastora Paula Guazon. She looked around her church and community, saw the single mothers in need, and worked with others to find God-given solutions in their midst. When someone stole their pigs, they had all worked so hard to raise; they started again with goats. They persevered.

Emily* leads a full-time sewing workshop in Asia. Once, she rescued the group’s stolen machines from the “security” people who took them. Week in and week out, Emily works to keep track of orders and the need for workers. She answers detailed emails with incredible patience. Emily is also the one who counsels the women in the group when tragedy befalls them. She is the one who encourages and inspires them to keep going.

These women who lead SEED’s partnering micro-enterprise ministries are faithful, incredible, amazing leaders. We are thrilled to work with them. We are also privileged to connect you with the products  ̶  and the SEED Capital projects they create. We encourage you to celebrate their leadership, buy products from their groups, and invest SEED Capital in their groups’ micro-enterprises.

By Rose Brewer

Helping Others Find Freedom

 

Having experienced the transforming love of Christ personally, Zsuzsa McNamara Mecséi is now helping others find freedom. In May 2019, Zsuzsa became the leader of the Set Free Movement in Hungary, and in September, she was installed as the assistant pastor of the Budapest Fellowship.

Being brought up in a home that served the community, Zsuzsa saw the needs of others around her. As she grew older, she began to see and understood not only the physical needs of people but the spiritual needs too. Through the ministry of her parents with at-risk children, Zsuzsa was made aware of the brokenness in these young lives. Shocked that young teenagers were being trafficked while society turned a blind eye, she chose to do something about it.

Working with at-risk children who live in children’s homes is the greatest joy in her work. Zsuzsa communicates through words and actions that God loves them even though many of them have been abused and abandoned. She is an advocate for the vulnerable.

In Zsuza’s words:

We must believe in these boys and girls because they are God’s precious children made in His image. We should be the hands and feet of Jesus, serving all those who are at-risk or affected by human trafficking. I have seen many children give their life to the Lord through the work in the children’s home. As a strong young woman, I have seen God use me as an example. Teenage girls are encouraged to continue their education and believe they can do anything with Christ!

She sees the work she is doing as a movement of hope:

I hope that through awareness and education, many children will fulfill their dreams of becoming a teacher, hairdresser, chef, or football (soccer) player. I pray that our society will open their hearts to these precious children. My hope is for all to turn to God and for all to find healing in Him. I cannot change my broken community, but God can!

In addition to working with children at risk, Zsuzsa spearheads anti-trafficking work in Budapest, partnering with other denominations and organizations. Zsuzsa is working to nurture a community, centered on Jesus, that moves together as agents of hope and healing to protect the vulnerable and end modern slavery in Hungary and beyond.

By Kevin Austin

Transformational Hope

What does transformation look like? The Macon County Set Free Team located in Decatur, Illinois, is modeling an approach with hope as a primary characteristic. Their team is highly effective not just because of what they do, but because of how they operate.

The team is composed of educators, counselors, caseworkers, volunteers, and pastors working on the front lines in the community. Each of them realizes they can’t create transformation in their community without first being transformed themselves. This requires humility. Coming from different professional backgrounds, generations, religious denominations, and even political parties, the members of this team set aside differences and focus efforts on uniting around the cause of freedom and hope in the community.

God has moved them from agendas and programs into being a family on mission together, centered on Jesus. The work is serious, but joy is present at their meetings and in their relationships. The hope and joy spill out.  Director Abby Fritzgerald explains, “Our team’s vision is to see our community truly support and encourage our front-line workers.  If we can give hope to those on the front lines, they will be able to pour back into the community in more meaningful ways.”

Abby continues:

When someone hears about the issue of human trafficking for the first time and realizes that it is happening in Macon County, I love to inspire them to respond in hope. We empower them to be mindful of ways they can add value to the vulnerable around them. I also love inspiring the church to get outside the four walls and be the hands and feet of Jesus. The message of hope found in the gospel of Jesus Christ is the answer for true freedom. God has given each of us gifts and talents, so we all have a role in sharing this hope. If we don’t respond to His call, who will?

Abby and her team believe that the message of hope found in the gospel of Jesus Christ is the answer for true freedom.  Using their gifts and talents and their voice in the community, they are sharing hope and transforming lives.

By Kevin Austin

World Missions Prayer Calendar: December

01 Sunday | Democratic Republic of Congo

The situation in the Democratic Republic of Congo remains desperate. Tribal conflicts and violence continue. Vast numbers of people are displaced and have lost homes, animals and family members. The spread of Ebola and cholera poses a severe threat. Pray for God’s miraculous intervention to end the violence and restore lives.

02 Monday | Creative Access-V

Praise the Lord for many new believers in this country. Pray for the discipleship of these new believers and their boldness in sharing with their friends and family members.

03 Tuesday | Ukraine

Pray for the encouragement of country leaders Misha and Lena Petrochenko. Pray for the fulfillment of their vision to expand the rehabilitation ministry and plant new churches. Ask the Lord to provide partners to assist them in achieving their vision to have a chicken coop, an agricultural project, a root cellar for vegetables and a greenhouse.

 

04 Wednesday | SEED

Pray for individuals and churches to partner with SEED livelihood groups as they consider their Christmas giving.

05 Thursday | Middle East

Ask the Father to help men, women and children of the majority background understand the love He had for them in sending His Son Jesus.

06 Friday | Argentina/Uruguay

Praise the Lord for the growth of the Argentina-Uruguay Mission District through the multiplication of disciples, leaders, groups and congregations. Pray for Dr. Ricardo Gómez (Latin America area director) and Pastor Ricardo Guerrero (district leader) as they lead the annual meeting December 6-8.

07 Saturday | Nigeria

Pray for the development of both the Enugu and Eket ministry centers as bases for regional ministry.

08 Sunday | Malaysia

Pray for encouragement, blessing and continued growth of the Free Methodist Church in Malaysia, including the efforts to plant new churches. Also, pray for new believers who are often persecuted by their family members and community.

09 Monday | Bulgaria

Pray for the churches in Bulgaria as they reach out to needy children in their communities by giving them Christmas boxes. Ask the Lord to provide connections with parents as the churches use this tangible means of demonstrating the love of Christ.

10 Tuesday | Latin America

The Latin America area reports 345 new house churches in the past two years and 825 lay leaders in the pastoral formation process. Give thanks to the Lord!

11 Wednesday | Rwanda

Pray for Bishop Samuel Kayinamura, who leads this general conference. Pray that Christians in Rwanda will live out the message of love, forgiveness and reconciliation needed in this nation.

 

12 Thursday | Middle East

Pray for the informal networks of friends, families and acquaintances that cross national and cultural boundaries to continue to grow.

 

13 Friday | Peru

Praise the Lord for new “houses of peace” in Lima, Peru. People are giving their lives to Christ and finding new life in Him. Miracles are happening. Meetings are springing up in parks and houses as new believers share with their friends and neighbors. Pray for God’s continued blessing on the work in Lima.

14 Saturday | FMWM

Pray for people being called to serve the Lord through short- and long-term ministry opportunities around the world. Pray for hearts open to God’s call on their lives. Pray God’s path will be clear to them.

Birthday: Jonathan Eccles (FMWM – Ministry Deployment Coordinator)

15 Sunday | Greece

Rodrigo and Tanya Rosado are preparing for work in Athens, Greece. Pray the Lord will prepare people of peace whose hearts are receptive to hearing the good news of the gospel.

Birthday: Rodrigo Rosado

16 Monday | Middle East

Pray for physical and spiritual protection for Pastor “H” and Pastor “R’ and their families. Ask the Lord to give them His favor in all they do.

17 Tuesday | Philippines

Pray for Matt and Christine Sauder as they begin making connections with students at the University of the Philippines. Ask the Lord to prepare the way for their ministry and to prepare the hearts of the students. Pray the students will understand and receive the love of Jesus.

Birthday: Christine Sauder

 

18 Wednesday | Guinea Conakry

Gueckdou, Guinea, was among the areas most affected by the Ebola outbreak in 2014. Gueckdou is a town located near the borders of Sierra Leonne and Liberia. Praise the Lord, in October 2019, Pastor Dosseh Takpale (Togo) assisted the Guinean leaders in a large baptism service for new believers in Gueckdou. Pray for these new believers and this growing work.

19 Thursday|Serbia

Praise the Lord for nine new church plants in Serbia during October. Pray for missionary Chance Galloway (Bulgaria) and Pastor Lyuben Iliev as they continue to train and disciple leaders.

20 Friday | Haiti

As we approach Christmas Day, pray for the Prince of Peace to come amid the violence and desperation that has ruled during the past few months. Pray for the joy of the living Christ to reign in hearts.

21 Saturday | Middle East

Pray for the message of the incarnate Christ to be made known through various outreach ministries in refugee camps throughout the region.

22 Sunday | Thailand

Pray for Corey and Connie Persing as they care for issues related to their long-term visa in Thailand. Ask the Lord to provide safety and good health as they travel for work in countries across Southeast Asia, including Myanmar, Cambodia and several creative access areas.

Birthday: Connie Persing

23 Monday | Creative Access-C

Sue has been a longtime teacher in this creative access country. Pray the Lord will guide her in the days ahead as restrictions increase, making it more challenging to share with students.

Birthday: Sue

24 Tuesday | Colombia

New missionaries Thad and Nikki Roller begin their ministry in Bogotá this month. Pray the celebration of Christmas will provide many opportunities to connect with new neighbors and those in the church.

25 Wednesday | Global

As you celebrate with family today, pray for our FMWM missionary team. Ask the Lord to give them the opportunity for meaningful worship and fellowship as they celebrate our Savior’s birth.

26 Thursday | Philippines

Today is missionary Jill Land’s birthday. From Ezra 1:5  ̶  pray that God would move her heart and stir her spirit to follow whatever He calls her to do in the coming year.

Birthday: Jill Land

27 Friday | Middle East

Pray for the Lord to give Hany a spirit of wisdom and discernment for choosing and developing new local leaders.

28 Saturday | Hungary

Pray for missionaries Sarah Anderson and Kati McNamara as they minister at the children’s home in Győr each week. Pray their ministry of presence will offer comfort and hope to the children.

29 Sunday | Set Free

Pray for Zsuzsa McNamara Mecséi as she leads the anti-trafficking work in Budapest, Hungary, especially work with at-risk children. Pray these efforts will offer hope and healing for many.

30 Monday | Mozambique

Pray for the FM churches across Mozambique as they continue to minister to the needs of those who were displaced and suffered losses during Cyclone Idai earlier this year.

31 Tuesday | Taiwan

Tim Kinkead and his wife, Lily, pastor the Chung Lun Free Methodist Church in Kaohsiung. They also teach English classes and assist with discipleship training. Pray for them as they evaluate the ministry of the past year and develop plans for 2020.

Birthday: Tim Kinkead