April Heartbeat

My Two Copper Coins

Challenging is the word I would use to describe pastoring a Filipino church in Creative Access Country-HK and serving as the Asia Pacific Free Methodist Missions Association’s (APFMMA) executive director during the COVID-19 crisis. It forced me out of my comfort zone. I had to pause, ponder and pray.

When the government’s restrictions on mass gatherings were implemented in March 2020, I was confronted with my reluctance to use social media, particularly Facebook Live, to continue preaching the Word and ministering to the people God called me to serve. I didn’t know how to use the technology and didn’t have the gadget I thought was necessary. Most of all, I wasn’t comfortable seeing myself on video.

Then God led me to the story of the widow in Luke 21:1-4. She offered everything she had – just two copper coins. And the message for me was this  ̶  it’s not about how grand my offering is; it’s about my readiness to offer Him everything I have for His praise. Trusting, I gave everything to God. I gave Him my two copper coins.

Looking back, I see how God honored my offering and multiplied my gift to meet the need of His people. Through the online Sunday worship celebration and our weekday evening praise and prayer time, we’ve served and encouraged our members and some who have returned to the Philippines. We’ve even reconnected with other members who have migrated to different parts of the world. Family members who are not yet believers have also attended our online gathering. God has expanded our ministry in ways we never could have imagined. Indeed, there is no telling what God can and will do when we give Him everything. Glory to His Name!

A note from the Asia area director: Pastora Edna Bacus, a Filipina, has served faithfully in Creative Access Country-HK in various FM leadership roles for more than a decade. Enthusiastic for mission, she is a valued colleague for and trusted friend to the FMWM-Asia team.

By Rev. Edna P. Bacus

Better Together: Shared Sustainability

In a very poor, remote mountain village in one of our creative access countries, she is busy weaving the strands of grass together to form a broom. Mrs. T works very hard to care for and feed her 11 children – eight boys and three girls. A few of the older children work odd jobs, but the family has little income. They have a small farm that sells cassava and bamboo in season. FMWM provided a small micro-grant of $500 to help this family purchase raw materials to create these brooms, another seasonal project. The hope is that this “shared sustainability” project will provide enough income to purchase a little food for the family and generate enough capital to save for the following broom-making season.

Mrs. T came to faith in Jesus years ago and then encouraged her husband to believe. Eventually, the entire family followed. Now there is a small church of around 40 people gathering weekly to hear more about the words of God. There is no pastor for them, and there is a great need for them to be discipled. Mrs. T’s husband shares what he can, and some of our young FM leaders regularly travel to this village to teach children English and share words of hope.

“Share each other’s burdens, and in this way obey the law of Christ.” The principle of “shared sustainability” reminds us of this verse from Galatians 6:2. Those of us who have received much from the Lord are commanded to bear other’s burdens in order to obey the law of Christ, the law of real love. There is gospel power in this kind of love. When we work and serve together, and when we give and share with those in need, we find we are better together.

FMWM-Asia hopes to begin many new micro-grant, shared sustainability projects across Southeast Asia. Please pray for God to provide the resources and wisdom needed to come alongside needy Asians. With just a little sharing, we can partner with our Heavenly Father and help honor His image in everyone.

By Eric, Asia Area Director

Hope From Above

In Asia, we’ve seen the Father use the global pandemic and lockdowns to accomplish His good

purposes and communicate His love. This past Christmas, most of the Cambodian Free Methodist Church was restricted from gathering for a celebration. Superintendent Daniel and his family were invited to travel to a northern province. There was new church planting in this area, but they were just there for a little rest. While they were visiting, they met Pon and Samnang and their beautiful little 7-month-old daughter.

While with Daniel and his family, Samnang shared she had just discovered she was already pregnant again. Close family and friends encouraged her to have an abortion for various reasons, including financial difficulties and the demands of raising one toddler. Pon and Samnang are a part of a new church plant in this province, and Pon works together with Mark P, one of our FM leaders. Mark had encouraged Pon and Samnang to keep the new baby and see it as a blessing from God. Still, they were not peaceful about the situation.

Daniel felt prompted by the Holy Spirit to share the many “tragedies” of the first Christmas – Herod’s order to execute children, Mary’s unplanned and unwed pregnancy, the flight to Egypt, and the darkness of those days. He shared how in each of these situations, there was a response or provision of hope from above. The angel spoke to Joseph, to Mary and the shepherds. And God still speaks hope and joy into our troubles, too.

Samnang and Pon were now in tears. As she wept, Samnang shared how these words were the confirmation for which she had been praying. Peace flooded their hearts as the message of

Christmas reminded them of God’s answer from above. Now she knew they would keep the baby, no matter what others would say.

Please pray for Pon and Samnang. Ask the Father to bless this family and their future.

Consider a gift to the LoveAsia fund (LoveAsia.info) to support opportunities for ministry like these, or a gift to the Asia Area Church Planting fund (give.fmcusa.org/asia-area-church-planters).

By Eric, Asia Area Director

 

 

World Missions Prayer Calendar: April

01 Thursday |Egypt

Praise the Lord for new groups recently started.          Pray for the discipleship of new believers and the multiplication of groups in the months ahead.

02 Friday | Thailand/Creative Access-CA

Jenna has an ambitious goal of becoming gospel fluent in Thai. Pray for her language-learning efforts and continued opportunities to share the good news in the Thai people’s heart language.

Birthday: Jenna Battleson

Ask the Father to provide Julie with wisdom and encouragement in her responsibilities as a missionary, wife and mother of three.

Birthday: Julie

03 Saturday | Southeast Asia

Pray for Darin Land as he develops and deploys training modules for emerging leaders and mentors despite ongoing travel restrictions and other challenges.

Birthday: Darin Land, Hiuberth Zapata (International

Missionary)

04 Sunday | Honduras

Pastora Daisy Arzú, the country leader in Honduras, invites us to join in praying for entire families to be reached with the gospel this year.

05 Monday | Togo

Praise the Lord for the 11 students attending the first term at the Wesley Missionary Institute. Pray for the learning and spiritual growth of these missionaries in training.

06 Tuesday | Middle East

Pray God will continue to use Area Director Dale to encourage, train and equip leaders cross-culturally.

Birthday: Dale

07 Wednesday | Republic of Ireland

Pray for the Congolese congregation meeting in Monaghan and for wisdom to know how to reach outside the Congolese community.

08 Thursday | Columbia

Pray God will multiply the efforts for the Latin America prayer ministry and aid the Rollers in developing deep relational roots this year.

Birthday: Nikki Roller

Ask the Lord to give wisdom and discernment to Area Director Dr. Ricardo Gómez as he makes leadership decisions and sets goals for leadership teams

throughout Latin America.

Birthday: Ricardo Gómez

09 Friday | Taiwan

Pray for Tim and Lily as they work with a new believers class on Sunday mornings before church. Pray these baby Christians will grow strong and healthy in the faith.

Birthday: Lily Kinkead

10 Saturday | Jordan

Ministry to refugees includes a medical clinic, a dental clinic, schools, micro-enterprise projects and housechurch networks. Pray God’s blessing upon all these efforts.

11 Sunday | ICCM

ICCM has been working in Haiti since 1966. Pray for the 53 elementary schools and six high schools spread throughout the country, for the 5,000 sponsored children, and the thousands of other children benefiting from our schools.

12 Monday | Latin America/Portugal

Pray for wisdom and favor as Paul Olver seeks to mobilize greater prayer and financial support to sustain and expand the multiplication of new believers, leaders and churches throughout Latin America.

Birthday: Paul Olver

Pray for the believer’s encouragement and perseverance despite the pandemic’s ongoing effects in Portugal.

Birthday: Cindi Angelo (International Missionary)

13 Tuesday | Asia

Pray for new partnerships forming to help the gospel take root through the FMC in places like Fiji and New Zealand. Pray for the Father’s timing in bringing all the right pieces together.

14 Wednesday | Bulgaria

Pray for livelihood groups in the Bulgarian FM churches as the women involved seek to provide for themselves and their families by knitting products sold locally and in the U.S.

Birthday: Al Mellinger

15 Thursday | Tanzania

Pray for the students and faculty of the Evart Bible College. Ask the Lord to provide much-needed scholarship funds for the training of these leaders.

16 Friday | Greece

Praise the Lord for immigrant families who have come to faith in Christ and are now bringing others to Jesus. Pray for the continued work with refugees and immigrant populations in Greece.

Birthday: Michael Long

17 Saturday | Africa

Pray for Katie Keranen in her role as the area administrative assistant for FMWM Africa. Ask the Lord to give her the ability to communicate with effectiveness as she assists our African leaders and area personnel.

Birthday: Katie Keranen

 

18 Sunday | SEED

Hands of Hope originally empowered women affected by Hansen’s Disease. Now the group also includes young women who are orphaned or have escaped trafficking. Pray for encouragement as they overcome stigmas and hardship and develop their identity in Christ.

19 Monday | Middle East

Pray the lips of new believers in this region will continually shout for joy and sing praises to God, pointing others around them to Jesus Christ, Who is the deliverer (Psalms 71:23).

20 Tuesday | Ecuador

Pray for the Crouses to have a fruitful ministry in leadership development, facilitator training and curriculum development. Ask the Father to give them

health and protection while they are apart from family members.

Birthday: Becky Crouse

21 Wednesday | Japan

Pray for missionary Chris Wilkins to boldly make known the mystery of the gospel to the Japanese people. Also, pray for him as he works to complete a devotional to be published later this year.

Birthday: Chris Wilkins

22 Thursday | Burundi

Pray for the fruitfulness of training programs in agriculture, animal husbandry and small business.

23 Friday |Puerto Rico

Pray for growth and multiplication, along with the emergence of new leaders in every church.

24 Saturday | Set Free Movement

Pray for the Set Free team in Bulgaria as they provide safe shelter, spiritual nurturing and access to education, health care and job training for at-risk Roma girls.

25 Sunday | Middle East

Pray the Lord will go before leaders traveling thousands of miles and crossing borders to share the good news with unreached groups.

26 Monday | Spain

Pray for José and Ada Hernández to have physical strength and stamina to respond to the many needs around them.

Birthday: Ada Hernandez

27 Tuesday | Guinea Conakry

Free Methodist work in this country began in 2012. Dr. Gabriel Lamah, a pastor and medical doctor, leads our work. Pray for the Holy Spirit’s mighty work to reach a nation that is over 90% Muslim.

28 Wednesday | Cambodia

Pray for Cambodia’s efforts to reach into new provinces with the gospel this year. Pray for many new churches to be planted.

29 Thursday | Argentina

Pray for Rodrigo and Tanya Rosado as they begin ministry in Buenos Aires this month. Ask the Father to encourage them through the days of adjustment ahead.

30 Friday | Hungary

Praise the Lord for one ministerial candidate in the Györ church. Pray for the raising and training of more leaders and co-workers from within.