January Heartbeat

Nothing for Me!

Since the coronavirus has hit our world, many people are struggling. Many people have lost their jobs; many cannot provide for their daily needs.

As church leaders, we decided to help people from various house churches by distributing food (rice, pasta, sugar and tea). We wanted to bless them and show the practical love of Christ. When we visit their homes, we pray with them and encourage them. We do this at least once a week for each family.

After praying with a family at our last stop for the day, their neighbor spoke to us one week. “Nothing for me! Every week you come here with your friends, but you never bring anything to me!”

We did not know her or anyone from her family. But we sent someone from our team to a nearby shop to purchase food for her. She was pleased to receive the food when we presented it to her. I asked if I could pray for her and her family inside her house. She said, “No! I don’t believe what you believe!” We responded, “That’s OK,” and continued to bring her food every time we visited her area.

One day when we brought food, she asked us to come in and pray with her. We prayed and also read God’s Word. The scripture passage from Matthew 18 told her how the Son of Man came to save that which was lost. The Holy Spirit helped her to understand she was one of the lost Jesus came to save. She was ready to accept Christ as her Savior.

After inviting Jesus into her heart, her thoughts turned to her family. She asked, “How can I help my family follow Christ? They know nothing about Him.”

She had been hungry for more than just physical food, and she continues to be eager to learn more about her Lord. One of our female leaders is discipling her.

Lord, you are amazing! We thought we had no food left to give to this woman. Then we were disappointed when she took the food we offered but shut her door to us. But you were preparing her heart and her family’s hearts to receive you – the Heavenly Bread. Praise you, Lord!

Story from an Impact Middle East leader in Egypt

“As I Have Loved You”

 

Baka, the first in her Muslim background family to attend church, had an extraordinary experience during one of our church services. She suddenly felt something behind her. Baka turned and saw a man with long hair. She could not see his face, but the area around his face was illuminated. He walked to the church’s platform and stood by the cross. Although no one else saw this figure, Baka felt peace. She prayed to God, “My husband and boys are in your hands.

As time passed, Baka, her husband, Ansar, and their two sons read the Bible frequently and began to attend as many church services as they could. They were touched by the love and acceptance they felt. They were so captivated with Christianity; sometimes, they literally forgot to eat.

 

Ansar also had an unusual encounter with Jesus. Ansar suffers from an inherited blood disorder, resulting in anemia. When he first came to church, his affliction was so severe he was exhausted after walking only a few blocks, and he had to have a blood transfusion every few months. Over time, Jesus healed Ansar. He no longer feels the weariness he once lived with and has not had a transfusion since April 2019. Once an angry man, Ansar now feels increasing peace in his life.

Ansar and Baka soon began attending my discipleship class where they learned the basics of Christianity. A verse in John 13:34 became very meaningful to them: “A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another”(NIV). They felt the love of God from other believers and began to understand more fully that Jesus was more than a prophet but God Incarnate.

Ansar and Baka were baptized in the Jordan River in September 2019.  Their hunger to learn from the Bible remains, and they are part of a second discipleship group I started. They rejoice their oldest son has also decided to follow Christ.

By an Impact Middle East Pastor in Amman, Jordan

 

Building Strong Bridges

Story from an Impact Middle East Leader in Iraq

 

Recently, the Noor Center team in Iraq helped a 37-year-old Yazidi widow and her six orphans who have been through much tragedy. The husband, who died from unknown causes, had been the family’s sole breadwinner. His death left the mother with no way of providing for her children. After carefully assessing the family’s situation, our ministry team provided them with three mama goats, four baby goats and 250 kilograms of goat food. The family now has a stable supply of dairy products. In addition, they can generate income by selling cheese and newborn goats.

 

After we provided goats for the family, we received news the oldest son accepted Jesus as his Savior. He is currently walking a journey of discipleship with a group of Yazidi believers in a house church. Please pray for the safety of this beautiful family. Because of the shame/honor dynamic in Middle Eastern culture, sometimes there is not much tolerance toward converting to a new faith.

Samer*, a born-again Yazidi believer, leads the goat project with the Noor Center. He is doing an incredible job of sharing the gospel by building loving relationships with the Yazidi people. By investing in Samer, Impact Middle East empowers a national leader who speaks the Kurdish language fluently and knows the culture thoroughly. Samer can effectively proclaim the grace and truth of Christ and plant reproducing house churches.

The goat project was achieved through a partnership between Impact Middle East and International Child Care Ministries and a donation from the Greenville (IL) Free Methodist Church. We could not have done this without such partnerships! It is beautiful to see the body of Christ coming together to bring love, joy and hope to a broken world. I am amazed at how God is working as we build bridges of tangible love with people cross-culturally. These strong bridges later will carry the weight of truth and bring life-transformation. To God be all the Glory!

*Name changed to protect our brother’s identity

01 Friday | Ethiopia

An escalating threat of conflict combined with an invasion of locusts and the economic consequences of the pandemic are creating challenging circumstances. Pray for our Free Methodist brothers and sisters in Ethiopia.

02†Saturday | Creative Access Asia-VN

Praise the Lord for a growing outreach in the mountains of the central part of the country and for a small microgrant given to support a family broom business. Pray for this developing ministry to an unreached tribal group

03†Sunday | Spain

Pray for the ministry of the Olive Branch Christian Fellowship serving a large group of British citizens who have retired or relocated to a region of Spain.

04† Monday | Uruguay

Praise the Lord for those who have become followers of Jesus during the pandemic. Pray for Pastors Sebastian and Vanessa as they continue to connect and care for people in Durazno

05†Tuesday | Africa

As the Wesley Missionary Institute is launched this month, pray the Lord will give wisdom and much grace to meet any unforeseen challenges.

Birthday: Mike Reynen

06† Wednesday | Middle East

Believers are learning God hears and answers their prayers. Pray for increasing faith as they call on the Lord to work miracles for healing and salvation.

07† Thursday | Hungary | Ecuador

Pray for Péter Tóth as he serves as pastor of the Budapest church, seeks new opportunities to connect with people in the community, and balances that with family responsibilities.

Birthday: Larry Winckles

The Crouses returned to Ecuador in late December. Pray for them as they settle into life in Ecuador and navigate the many changes that have taken place while they were in the U.S.

Birthday: J.R. Crouse

08†Friday | Cameroon

In October 2020, the FMC reopened a preschool in one village. Many parents are grateful. Pray the school will be able to remain open despite the ongoing conflict in this region.

09† Saturday | Thailand

Two churches are in the process of affiliation with the Free Methodist Church in Thailand. Ask the Father to give Superintendent Joshua wisdom and discernment in working through this process.

10† Sunday | Russia

Orphanages in Russia are overcrowded, lacking funds and staff. Because of this, children lack the attention and nurturing they desperately need. Pray for ongoing work to love and disciple the orphans.

11† Monday | SEED

Pray for the SEED staff as they complete inventory this month and as they seek the Lord for new opportunities and partnerships in 2021.

12† Tuesday | Jordan

Thank the Lord for believers giving sacrificially to care for the needs of refugees. Pray those who have fled to Jordan will continue to find a community of friends and a relationship with their Heavenly Father.

13† Wednesday | Chile

In the first 10 months of implementing Community Church Planting, there have been 115 new disciples, six new Houses of Peace, and 40% of the churches have experienced growth. Give glory to God!

14† Thursday | Creative Access Asia-NP

Praise the Lord, the owner of the current ministry center allowed the church to stay for a few more months. Pray a suitable location will be found during this time.

15† Friday | Malaw

Drought or floods during the growing season can affect Malawi’s food supply for the entire year. Pray for a ministry providing irrigation pumps to help pastors and church members.

16† Saturday | Bulgaria

Al and Diane Mellinger work with livelihood groups in Bulgaria. Pray these groups will be productive and able to bless others through their ministry.

Birthday: Diane Mellinger

17† Sunday | Egypt

Pray for ministry to prisoners and their families. Praise God for those coming to know Jesus

18† Monday | Creative Access Asia-MR

During the pandemic, lost jobs, closed schools and systems that were strained left many without basic needs met. Pray for encouragement and perseverance as believers continue to care for those in need and share the good news of Jesus.

19† Tuesday | Guinea Conakry

The churches in Guinea Conakry have increased their emphasis on ministry to children. Join in praying their weekly Bible programs will help children understand their place in the body of Christ.

20† Wednesday | ICCM

Praise the Lord for a new ICCM project, providing solar lights to children in areas where electricity is sporadic or unavailable. These lights help older students needing to study in the evening.

21† Thursday | North Macedonia

Pray for new church plants as they serve their communities. Ask the Father to give wisdom to Pastor Lyubcho and missionary Chance Galloway as they mentor pastors.

22†Friday | Colombia

Give thanks to the Lord for the growing sense of unity and vision in Colombia. Join them in praying with anticipation for all God will do in 2021.

23†Saturday | Set Free Movement

Pray for the Set Free Movement leaders in the Philippines, Ken, and her husband, Jemuel. Ask the Father to encourage them as they equip pastors and mobilize churches to be informed, compassionate responders to human trafficking.

24†Sunday | Iraq

Pray for Joanne as she works with refugee women, helping them experience health and healing in their bodies, minds and spirits and empowering them to serve their communities.

Birthday: Joanne

25† Monday | Creative Access Asia-LO

Pray for new believers to mature in their faith despite harassment and persecution.

26† Tuesday | Hungary

Pray for Zsuzsa Mécseri-McNamara, assistant pastor of the Budapest church and Set Free Movement Coordinator. Ask God to give her wisdom as she endeavors to help build a network of prevention and protection for those most vulnerable to trafficking.

Birthday: Katie Winckles

27† Wednesday | Rwanda

Gabe and Olivia Sevigny are scheduled to arrive in Kibogora, Rwanda, this month. Pray for a smooth transition and the development of meaningful relationships.

Birthday: Olivia Sevigny

28†Thursday | Honduras

Pray for perseverance and patience in the ongoing recovery efforts following two major hurricanes that hit Honduras in November

29† Friday | Creative Access Asia-CA

After a long span of teaching online, Keith has resumed face-to-face training. Pray for the ongoing discipleship and training of many leaders. Praise the Lord for students already embracing the vision of transference.

Birthday: Keith

30†Saturday | Middle East

Pray for the good health, encouragement and spiritual protection of pastors, church planters and other leaders in this region.

31† Sunday | Latin America

Thank the Lord for Guy and Betsy Crawford and their pastoral care for the Latin America missionary team. Pray the Lord will allow them to make in-person visits this year.

Birthday: Guy Crawford