Called to Bring Hope + Truth
The photograph was striking. A four-year-old Syrian child, Adi Hudea, with her arms raised, “surrenders” to a camera because she thought it was a weapon. The 2015 article about this photo was heartbreaking, but it was the thing God used to stir my heart and point my attention to the global refugee crisis.
I was born and raised in El-Minia, Egypt. A pharmacist by trade, I connected with Free Methodist World Missions (FMWM) in 2009 when Blake Wood (Impact Middle East Director at the time) began mentoring me. Blake trained me in church planting using the Community Church Planting (CCP) model. Within three years, my team grew to three full-time workers, 14 part-time workers, and 60 volunteers. We worked together to plant 55 house churches in unreached areas in Egypt.
In 2014, I moved to Seattle, WA, to finish my master’s degree in Christian leadership at Seattle Pacific University. During my time in Seattle, I made several trips to Iraq. God continued pulling me in that direction.
Just seeing the crisis firsthand was overwhelming to me. We are talking about literally millions of people fleeing to neighboring countries for safety or living in makeshift tents in Iraq, Syria, Lebanon, and Jordan. My goal is to create a sustainable impact in a volatile region by empowering local leaders to help refugees thrive, not just survive. I believe the message of love and hope found in our Savior Jesus Christ is what these precious people need.
In October 2018, FMWM sent me to the region of Northern Iraq where I established the Noor Center, in partnership with Impact Middle East. The word ‘Noor’ in the Arabic language means ‘light.’ Our prayer is for the center to be a place of light, hope, and healing amid darkness, trauma, and pain. There is a great need in this region to plant house churches and empower local leaders to proclaim the grace and truth of Jesus Christ. Trauma has worked as a barrier preventing people from accepting healing and salvation. Noor’s mission is to create spaces for education and development and for refugees to turn their refugee camps into places for healing, learning, and opportunity. This wholistic ministry will open doors for them to accept the gospel message.
As an agent of love, I desire to serve as the hands and feet of Christ in practical ways. I think God is in the business of restoring and redeeming the broken, and it is an honor to join God in His business.
ISIS attacked the city of Mosul, the second largest city in Iraq. People were brutally killed. Women and young girls were kidnapped and abused. And, the refugee crisis began as people fled their homeland. Despite the violence, darkness, and displacement, God has been at work through His church.
Free Methodist World Missions partners with the national church around the world, and the Middle East is no exception. The Kasr El-Dobara Evangelical Church (KDEC) in Cairo, Egypt is the largest evangelical church in the Middle East. Since the attacks on Mosul, this church has partnered significantly with the Free Methodist Church in Iraq. KDEC partners through financial support, by sending short-term medical teams, and teams to provide discipleship and leadership training. They have also sent long-term workers who assist with projects serving the refugees. Trust and transparency are two main values in the partnership between KDEC and the FMC in Iraq.
These two values have been developed through a partnership that includes many tangible ways of serving a vulnerable population. Food parcels are distributed to needy families in their communities. Blankets and warm clothing are distributed to those living in refugee camps on top of the mountains where winter brings freezing temperatures and high winds.
Partners who come long-term have offered vocational training. Women learn sewing skills, hairdressing or how to make handicrafts that can be sold in the local markets. Men learn skills like cellphone
repair, plumbing, electrical work, carpentry, and barbering. This training empowers the refugees with a way to make a living and in turn provides hope.
One of the most recent partnerships is the development of an educational center for young men and women in a village where over 5,000 refugees live. Workers from KDEC, in connection with Biblica (International Bible Society), have collaborated with Free Methodist workers to start training that offers trauma care and psychological support for women and girls. Many of them suffered severe physical, sexual and emotional abuse while being held captive by ISIS for over three years. FMWM has joined hands with the national church in Iraq to provide love, care, and professional therapy to help these women and girls find healing.
Thank the Lord for this partnership in the gospel which is providing healing, hope, and wholeness.
World Missions Prayer Calendar: January
01 TUESDAY| Togo
The church in Togo now has 10 church plants in the central region of the country and several in the south. Pray for the expanded church-planting work and the corresponding training program
02 WEDNESDAY |Thailand
Pray for God to specifically call missionaries from the U.S. to work in Bangkok and establish a powerful, new urban work there.
03 THURSDAY | Spain
Pray for a new work that has been started in Barcelona and Pastor Cedeño, an immigrant from Latin America, who now leads the work in Barcelona.
04 FRIDAY | Seed
Pray for the SEED staff and volunteers who will complete the annual inventory process this month.
05 SATURDAY | West Africa
Nine of the 11 African countries under FMWM supervision are in West Africa. Pray for Africa Area Director Mike Reynen as he assists church leaders in these nine countries to have the vision God wants them to have in reaching West Africa with the gospel.
Birthday: Mike Reynen
06 SUNDAY | Middle East
Pray for wisdom, discernment, and good health for Middle East Area Director, Dale, and his wife Dawn as they travel throughout this region encouraging and equipping leaders.
07 MONDAY | Hungary/ Ecuador
Pray for Ildikó Kóber, the co-coordinator of the Set Free Network in Hungary, as she organizes education and preventative efforts to fight human trafficking and develops a supportive relationship with other like-minded organizations.
Birthday: Larry Winckles
08 TUESDAY | Ivor y Coast
Pray for Pastor Maho Olivier, his leadership of the churches and church plants in Ivory Coast, and for the development of more leaders.
09 WEDNESDAY | Creative Access – N
Pastor ‘D’ is a church planter in the mountain area who is planting a church among the very poor. Pray for his protection and for receptive hearts as he boldly shares his faith.
10 THURSDAY| Ukraine
Pray for the work of addiction recovery at the Lighthouse of Hope Rehab Center in Rivne, and for those in recovery to know the power of Christ in their lives.
11 FRIDAY | Chile
Pray for the cluster of churches in the capital city of Santiago to grow in number and spiritual maturity.
12 SATURDAY |Middle East
Pray for more churches to be planted, more national leaders to be empowered and Christ to be proclaimed throughout the Middle East in 2019.
13 SUNDAY | Set Free
Pray for emerging Set Free teams in Spain and Portugal as they learn together about hard issues, build community, and discern a strategy.
14 MONDAY | Myanmar
Pray for the effectiveness of church plants in tribal areas, border areas, central Myanmar and the south of Yangon.
15 TUESDAY| Nigeria
Leaders are trained through the Theological Education by Extension and the modular school, Wesley Evangelical School of Theology. Pray for the leaders who are currently being trained
16 WEDNESDAY | Bulgaria
Pray for the missionary team in Bulgaria as they seek to develop a holistic approach to ministry that includes spiritual, educational, economic and social programs that work together to serve the people in the Balkan region.
Birthday: Diane Mellinger
17 THURSDAY | Colombia
Pray for the Camino de Vida church in Medellín which is implementing a pilot project for community church planting, simultaneously starting six daughter congregations.
18 FRIDAY| Egypt
Pray for increased cooperation between existing FM churches, other denominations and the house-church initiatives fostered by Impact Middle East.
19 SATURDAY | Liberia
The Liberian church has started primary schools in several of its churches, with plans for more in other churches. Pray for the Lord to use these schools to reach families for Christ and Sunday | Costa Rica Shoreline District as a place to begin leadership development among these young children.
20 SUNDAY | Taiwan
Pray for ministry to workers who have come from other Asian 28 countries for employment in Taiwan.
21 MONDAY| Spain
Raouf Soliman is an Egyptian missionary based in Madrid, 29 Spain. Pray for the fulfillment of his dream to plant house Tuesday | Creative Access – C churches among Arabs in every major European city.
22 TUESDAY | Argentina
The Carmen de Areco Church has adopted more than 50 30 street children over the years, providing food, housing, and Wednesday | Middle East education. Pray for the formerly abandoned children who are now serving as leaders in the church and studying at the Bible Institute.
23 WEDNESDAY | Middle East
Pray that believers in this region will learn to overcome their fears through the power of Christ and the presence of the Holy Spirit in their lives.
24 THURSDAY | Malawi
Pray for the three annual conferences of the FM church in Malawi and for their active church-planting program which includes planting churches in Mozambique, Tanzania, and Zambia.
25 FRIDAY | Belgium
Eric and Amy Casteel, both elders from the East Michigan Conference, are currently living in Belgium while Amy works on her Ph.D. Pray for Eric as he volunteers time to the FMC serving as a mentor and coach for the Belgium team.
26 SATURDAY | Hungary
Péter Tóth is the co-pastor of the Budapest Church Fellowship. Pray for the Lord’s wisdom to be upon Pastor Péter and his wife Judit as they give leadership to the church and parent two preschool children. Also, pray for others to be equipped and join in serving in Budapest.
Birthday: Katie Winckles
27 SUNDAY | Costa Rica Shoreline District
Several home groups have the potential to become churches, and a new church plant hopes to reach the beach community in Panamá. Pray for the fruit of the leaders and groups in this district.
28 MONDAY | Asia
The Asia missionary team will gather in southern Thailand for a retreat January 29-February 4. Pray for rest, great fellowship, encouragement, and spiritual refreshment.
29 TUESDAY |Creative Access – C
Creative Access-C: Ask the Father to continue to protect Keith, his co-workers, and students in an environment where there is increased scrutiny. Pray that the training he conducts will encourage and strengthen the students in their faith and that they will be effective in training others.
30 WEDNESDAY | Middle East
Praise the Lord that those once bound by Satan are being set free. Pray that the powerful name of Jesus will continue to release those captive to evil spirits and violence.
31 THURSDAY |Latin America
Pray for Guy and Betsy Crawford as they provide pastoral care and support for FM missionaries in Latin America.
Birthday: Guy Crawford