by Impact Middle East Pastor
In Iraq, Haris* had heard about Christians. He had heard they are good people. Haris, his wife and his son learned this firsthand when they found refuge in our country more than three years ago after fleeing their homeland. Haris and his family are of Sabean background and did not know about Christ.
A team from our church visited Haris and his family after their arrival. The team continued to follow up with them and share God’s Word with them. The family began to feel the love of God through the team members and started to attend church meetings. Haris also found work at the church through creating mosaic art.
Haris’ interest in Jesus grew. Whenever he came to the church to work, he asked questions of one of the pastors. The visitation team continued to care for him and his family. He continued learning more about Jesus from church services and sermons.
Then, for health reasons, Haris began to use workout equipment at the church. Because he was at the church daily, I had an opportunity to talk with him. I shared with him about accepting salvation and surrendering his life to Christ. He was ready and, on that day, decided to follow Christ.
Haris is now a part of discipleship lessons. In a recent class, I shared about baptism. He resolved in his heart to be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ, regardless of the embarrassment he would be exposed to by his relatives.
Recently, Haris was baptized in a small swimming pool inside the church. We rejoice and give praise to God!
*Name changed to protect the individual
The Strong One
by Impact Middle East Leader
Em-Elias asked me to have a meeting at her home and speak about love and forgiveness. A few days later, I held the meeting and spoke about the importance of forgiveness in the Christian faith. Em-Elias was listening carefully. After a while, she asked me to repeat what I had been saying. I didn’t know why she asked me to do so. As I started again, I noticed Em-Elias was gazing at Umaima, her daughter-in-law. Umaima was listening carefully.
I concluded my thoughts by telling the women how God loves us and therefore forgives us. We should forgive others if we truly experience God’s forgiveness. A forgiving spirit forms and shapes us after God’s character.
Most of the women left after the coffee time. However, Umaima asked me to stay longer because she wanted to speak with me. So, Em-Alias, Umaima and I were alone. Then Umaima shared with me that she and her husband had a big problem with her brother-in-law Alaa’. Many times Alaa’ had borrowed money from Umaima’s husband until the total he owed was a huge sum. When Umaima’s husband asked his brother to return the money he owed, Alaa’ refused, saying, “I do not have any money to reimburse you. Even if I had the money, I would not pay you back.” Then Alaa’ planned a big engagement celebration for his son but did not invite his brother. This form of slight is a major issue in our culture. Thus, the two brothers and their families became estranged.
Umaima confessed to us that whenever she sensed her husband was willing to reconcile with his brother, she would discourage him from doing so. She would tell him, “He was the one who did you wrong. He is the mistaken one. He is a bad person. I did not want you to forgive your brother and be a weak person.”
As our conversation ended, Umaima told me, “God forgives us because He is a mighty God. From what you have shared with us this morning, I have come to understand the one who forgives is the strong one.”
The Lord Goes Before Us
by Impact Middle East Leader
I visited a village where I had never been before. I planned to start a house church there and came to gather information about the area, the people and the culture. While sitting at the coffee shop, I prayed and asked God to guide me to a man of peace. From experience, I know the Lord goes before us and brings the right people in our path.
Later, I went to a shop to have some of my clothes ironed. While there, I started a conversation with the shop owner. I asked him about his village, and then I asked him where I might find a place to spend the night. He asked me, “Why are you here?”
I explained, “I work with people who help young people and families grow in their faith and restore their relationships with others.” When he finished ironing my shirt, he looked at me and said, “I have a place for you to sleep, sir, but it is very simple. You come to my house.”
I sat with the family on the carpet as we ate and talked about their lives and little village. When we finished dinner, the man led me to a small room upstairs with a bed and then left. While I was thinking about how the Lord had prepared a place, meal and new friend for me, the man knocked on my door. He entered with two cups of tea and asked, “How can I help you, sir, in your mission in our area? I believe in what you are doing.”
I asked him, “What do you mean by believe?” He replied quickly, “Because I know your Master.” He told me how he had accepted Jesus as his Savior and about the suffering he had experienced after telling his family and friends of his decision. He left his hometown and came to this small village to start a new life where no one knew him.
He told me he had lost one thing since he moved to this village. He said, “I miss the church, the fellowship and sharing the Bible with other believers!” After sharing and praying with him, he offered his home to be the first house church in this area.
World Missions Prayer Calendar: January
01 Saturday | Togo
Pastor Dosseh Takpale is training leaders in the north of Togo. Pray for their spiritual formation and the development of plans for discipling others.
02 Sunday | Creative Access Asia-BG
Thank the Lord for a growing number of new believers in this country. In November 2021, 49 were baptized. Continue to pray for kingdom expansion in 2022.
03 Monday | France
Pray for the spiritual growth and development of the many youth and children at the church in Cergy.
04 Tuesday | Guatemala
Pray for the positive impact as the Community Church Planting model, the Latin America Pastoral Formation courses, and pastoral care groups are introduced to three networks of leaders and churches in Guatemala.
05 Wednesday | Africa
The last year and a half has significantly opened the doors for virtual meetings with African leaders. Mike Reynen recently implemented monthly meetings with his international missionaries and country leaders. Thank the Lord for regular opportunities for connection. Pray for Mike and our African leaders.
Birthday: Mike Reynen
06 Thursday | Middle East
Praise the Lord for opening doors into new countries and areas. Pray the Holy Spirit will go before church planters, preparing households and communities for the gospel witness.
07 Friday | Hungary/Latin America
Ask the Father to give wisdom and strength to Larry Winckles as he balances his various roles as Europe area associate director, president of the Hungarian Bread of Life Foundation, and the Budapest mission team leader.
Birthday: Larry Winckles
Latin America: Pray God will give wisdom and guidance to J.R. Crouse as he becomes a member of the new Latin America Transformational Churches team.
Birthday: J.R. Crouse
08 Saturday | Guinea-Conakry
A newly instituted Bible reading program within the church of Coyah is having a positive spiritual impact on the lives of young people. Pray for these young people who are becoming evangelists in their community.
09 Sunday | Fiji
Pray for new FMC work in Fiji initiated by the Sierra Pacific Conference and in partnership with FMWM-Asia. Join them in praying for Pastor Samisoni, who leads the new developing ministry.
10 Monday | Europe
Praise the Lord for new work in Albania and Sweden in 2021. Pray for open doors and expanding ministry into new countries in 2022.
11 Tuesday | SEED
Pray for the SEED staff as they complete inventory this month and seek the Lord for new opportunities and partnerships in 2022.
12 Wednesday | Middle East
Praise the Lord for testimonies of healing and deliverance from evil spirits. Pray for ongoing testimony to the power and healing found in Jesus Christ.
13 Thursday | Haiti
The crisis in Haiti continues to deepen. Violence and kidnappings are increasing. Gangs are creating havoc with supply lines, which then affects many essential services. Pray for God’s mercy and provision for the people of Haiti.
14 Friday | Creative Access Asia-IN
Pray believers in this nation will be passionate about sharing the good news and will powerfully exhibit the love of Christ to the millions who are lost.
15 Saturday | Cameroon
In 2021, the FMC opened a nursery and primary school in Mondoni, serving around 55 students. Pray for students and teachers as they continue to navigate the ongoing conflict in the country. Pray the current conflicts will not disrupt the children’s education.
16 Sunday | Creative Access-X
Pray for God’s blessing and provision for Transformational Churches initiatives: a medical clinic, a refugee home and church planting where there are no churches.
17 Monday | Middle East
Many in the majority religious background are finding truth, comfort and hope in the Word of God. Pray those still seeking answers will accept the Lord Jesus as Savior.
18 Tuesday | Asia
Asia missionary David Clemente is working to develop a new “Greater Filipino Network.” Pray for the work and wisdom of the Holy Spirit in developing this network of Filipinos worldwide.
19 Wednesday | Mali
The political situation in Mali remains challenging, and unrest in recent months has increased. Pray for peace. Also pray the church in Farabana will continue to grow and will be a light in its community.
20 Thursday | ICCM
Pray for the students and staff at the Linda Stryker Academy in the Democratic Republic of Congo. Ask the Father to give grace and wisdom as the school stands alongside children and families in this impoverished and war-torn nation.
21 Friday | Balkans
Church planting continues to expand throughout Bulgaria, North Macedonia and Serbia. Pray for wisdom and discernment in the identification and training of new leaders. Ask the Father to give pastors and leaders boldness in sharing the gospel.
22 Saturday | Costa Rica
Praise the Lord for those answering the call to multiply “Houses of Peace” (church plants). Pray God will raise up more committed church planters in this mission district.
23 Sunday | Set Free Movement
Pray business owners will thoroughly research their products and how they affect those in the supply change and then implement the changes needed to stand against labor trafficking.
24 Monday | Middle East
Ask the Father to give Joanne physical, emotional and spiritual strength as she serves refugee women.
25 Tuesday | Creative Access Asia-VN
Pastors and leaders continue to share the gospel within a context where opposition and persecution are present and where hearts are often hard. Pray for a movement of the Holy Spirit to open hearts of the people.
26 Wednesday | Hungary
In November, circumstances necessitated a move for Larry and Katie Winckles after living in the same apartment in Budapest for 21 years. Pray for them as they adjust to new patterns and connect with new neighbors.
Birthday: Katie Winckles
27 Thursday | Rwanda
The Sevignys will soon complete their two-year VISA assignment at Kibogora. Pray for them as they leave behind friends in Rwanda and transition back to the U.S.
Birthday: Olivia Sevigny
28 Friday | Ecuador
The Ecuador Mission District will have its annual meeting January 28-30. Pray this will be a time of joyful fellowship, encouragement and inspiration.
29 Saturday | Creative Access Asia-CA
As many leaders are now being trained via Zoom, pray for the teachers. Ask the Father to help them develop activities that will engage students and minimize distractions.
30 Sunday | Middle East
Refugees in this region are hearing and accepting the gospel message. As these displaced people return to their homelands or resettle around the world, pray they will carry the life-changing message of the gospel with them.
31 Monday | Latin America
Pray for wisdom and discernment for Guy and Betsy Crawford as they continue to meet virtually with small groups of Latin America missionaries to provide encouragement and pastoral care.
Birthday: Guy Crawford