July Heartbeat

July Heartbeat

Praises from Iraq

Our church in Iraq continues to multiply. The vision of Impact Middle East (IME) is being accomplished — national leaders are being empowered, Christ is being proclaimed and reproduction of house churches and ministry to refugees continues. We are grateful for many in the United States and around the world who are partnering with our national church in Iraq.

As leaders in Iraq continue to share the gospel, they share how God is working:

• The Word of God is speaking powerfully. Young men, who have persecuted and even killed believers, tell of the peace and joy that overcame them when they were given portions of Scripture. Now, God is even using some of them to plant churches.

 

• Jesus is showing up in people’s dreams. Dani*, a young Azydian girl from a refugee camp in northern Iraq, was emotionally stressed due to a dream she had almost every night since she was a child. In her dreams, a big black snake talked to her. The snake threatened to kill her and said he would never leave her until she was dead and in hell. Leaders with IME explained to her that Jesus is Savior and has killed the snake. She cried out in prayer, and Jesus answered. Jesus showed up in her dreams, and now she is a follower of Christ.

 

• Young women are finding healing and wholeness through Christ. One of our workers in Iraq shared with a group of 15 ISIS survivors. These young women had never heard about Jesus before, but on that night many of them asked God for the healing that only He can give.

Most recently, on Easter weekend, a drama was presented by the children and teens sharing the meaning of the death of Jesus on the cross. Many non-Christians and members of the majority religious group attended. Women, totally covered in their black garments, entered a Christian worship center with their husbands to see what the children would present. In fact, many of the children in the play were family members of the non-Christian majority religious group in the area.

The children presented a clear gospel message that was received with open hearts and minds. The church in Iraq is seeing record numbers of conversions — people who are part of the majority religious faith are becoming Christ followers.

All of this would not be possible without the partnership, prayer and financial support of the church around the world. Thank you for supporting work in Iraq and around the Middle East.

*Name changed to honor the privacy of our friend

By Dr. Dale

 

Journeying Together

God has not been silent in the face of terror. As we were hustling to prep dinner, the doorbell rang at my friend’s house. I answered the door and was delightfully surprised to see two girls from our soccer camp along with their brothers and parents. My friend had invited this Syrian Muslim refugee family over for dinner and a Scripture story. The other guests included believers in varying depths of relationship with Jesus.

It was a beautiful space. There was a mix of fluencies – Arabic and English. It was beautiful, it was paradigm shifting, and it was stereotype- defying. We shared prayer requests, and we prayed together.

After the meal, we crowded into the living room space. The story for that evening was the story of the four men who opened the roof to bring their paralytic friend to Jesus. Questions were asked. Thoughts were pondered. We considered the implications of the story on our lives. I engaged with *Fatima a Syrian refugee next to me, asking her what stood out to her from the story. We exchanged numbers, and she invited me to visit her home.

As I heard the story, I could barely imagine myself breaking the rules by destroying property to get my friend to Jesus. What amazed me was that when asked if what the friends did was shameful, our Syrian Muslim friend shook his head no. He reminded us that it honored Jesus; it honored the friends and the paralytic! God used this Syrian man to encourage me to do whatever I have to do to get to Jesus’ feet and bring others with me!

We seek people of peace, and we journey and stay with people of peace. It takes journeying with them through many conversations, sharing many meals, many cups of tea, cooking lessons, driving lessons, baby showers, English lessons, and trips to the Department of Human Services. In between all of those mundane spaces, openness is growing, and the fruit of trust is born — a trust that will one day bear the weight of truth.

Homes are opened, meals are shared, and stories are discussed. Muslims, some more open than others, are engaging with these stories. Seeds are indeed being sown. We are trusting the Lord for the day when more revelation and recognition of who Jesus is, will take place around the table.

By Megan Weber

 

Obedient to the Call

One country in the Middle East has been torn apart by war for many years. Entering the country is dangerous. United States citizens, in particular, are in great danger inside the country. The vision of Impact Middle East (IME) is perfect for such a location. Impact Middle East exists to empower national leaders to proclaim the grace and truth of Jesus Christ and plant reproducing house churches among the underserved. In the fall of 2018, IME sent a missionary to this country … not a North American, but an Arab national leader.

It is dangerous and difficult. The percentage of Christians in this country is in the low single digits. Almost all Christians have fled. But for those remaining, the persecution is extreme. Because this country has continually experienced war, people are also suffering the consequences and circumstances that war brings. In addition, those who convert to Christianity also face discrimination and pressures from their family members and friends. Despite all of this, our national leader said he was called to go as a missionary to reach the non-Christian majority religious faith in this country.

This missionary entered the country, going
into towns that have seen the ravages of war. He began to pray and seek persons of peace (persons in the community who are open to the gospel). Currently, he has already trained five key leaders who are overseeing 25 new house churches. The church is multiplying in a very chaotic and dangerous setting!

This ministry is not without risk. On April 30,
one of our house churches was attacked. Armed men entered a house church meeting where
25 people were gathered. Worshippers were beaten, and leaders threatened. The response of our pioneer missionary was — “I must go to be with them and encourage them.” The work will not stop.

Pray for peace in this nation. Pray for perseverance, strength, and hope for the Christians living there. Pray for our missionaries who serve in many dangerous areas in the Middle East. Pray for boldness, pray for encouragement, and pray for the multiplication of the church!

By Dr. Dale

World Missions Prayer Calendar: July

01 Monday | Costa Rica

Pray for missionaries Glenn and Wendy Lorenz and their family who will begin a period of partnership building in the U.S. this month. Pray for good transitions for all of them, especially for their daughter Libby who will begin college at Spring Arbor University. Birthday: Wendy Lorenz

02 Tuesday | Middle East

Pray for Christians who are providing education to children in this region. Pray the message of the good news of Jesus Christ that accompanies their education will give them hope and peace.

03 Wednesday | Australia

Thank the Lord for new doors of ministry that are opening here. Pray for the Asia Area Leadership Team as they explore these opportunities and work alongside the Philippine General Conference to proclaim the gospel.

.

04 Thursday | Mozambique

Pray for the FMC in Mozambique as they continue to recover from Cyclone Idai and care for the needs of their communities. Pray many will see the love and compassion of the church and become followers of Jesus.

05 Friday | Creative Access – C/ Spain

Praise the Lord for those who continue to serve faithfully in difficult places.

Birthday: Randy

Pray for the Holy Spirit to guide and give wisdom to Josh and Susy Fajardo as they continue to minister throughout Europe.

Birthday: Susy Fajardo

06 Saturday | SEED

The Faraja Widows in Kenya have overcome incredible crises, including someone taking their building. Their leader had to move away but has now returned. Continue to pray for them as they overcome daily oppression and hardships.

07 Sunday | Asia Creative Access

Ask the Lord to provide boldness and strength for Adam and Rebecca as they serve in an area with a high risk of persecution.

Birthday: Adam (Creative Access), Jan Coates (FMWM Communications Content Coordinator)

08 Monday | Guinea Bissau

Pray for the successful start of a new church in the south of the country.

09 Tuesday | Spain

Pray for the John Wesley Theological Seminary in Madrid that helps train and equip pastors, church planters and lay leaders.

Birthday: Jóse Hernandez (Affiliate/Puente Hispano)

10 Wednesday | Honduras

Pray for the two ministerial candidates and a group of emerging leaders with a vision to plant churches in Honduras. Pray for the Holy Spirit to go before them.

11 Thursday | Creative Access – C

Pray for the churches in countries that are hostile to Christ-followers. May His church — “Stay alert. This is hazardous work I’m assigning you. You’re going to be like sheep running through a wolf pack, so don’t call attention to yourselves. Be as cunning as a snake, inoffensive as a dove” (Matt. 10:16, MSG).

Birthday: Lena

12 Friday | Middle East

Pray for those Arab leaders who are called as missionaries to go into the most difficult areas of the Middle East to establish house churches and train church planters.

 

13 Saturday | Taiwan

Pray for missionary David Clemente as he serves the Asia area in ministry development. Pray for him as he travels to various countries throughout southeast Asia to lead seminars and training modules.

Birthday: David Clemente

14 Sunday | Bulgaria

Pray for the FMC in the Balkans as they take the steps needed for this region to become a Provisional Annual Conference.

15 Monday | FMWM

Pray for the whole FMWM staff and missionary team as they meet for a resourcing day and host a dinner and a special service of worship to kick off the 2019 General Conference.

16 Tuesday | FMWM

Pray for the national leaders from all five world areas who will attend our General Conference. Pray the Holy Spirit will use them to inspire the U.S. church and give us a greater vision for the unreached people of the world.

17 Wednesday | FMWM

Pray for the connections that will be made during the days of General Conference. Pray for individuals and churches who will commit to increasing their prayer and giving in partnership with our brothers and sisters around the world.

 

18 Thursday | Japan

Gene and Minori Hall have been in a time of preparation and partnership building for service in Japan. Pray for them as they complete the process and anticipate their transition to Japan yet this year.

Birthday: Minori Hall

19 Friday | Greece

Pray for the discipleship of newly baptized believers from the Middle East who are being ministered to by the church in Thessaloniki.

20 Saturday | Nigeria

Three ICCM schools serve the children of Fulani herdsmen in the north. Pray for the outreach to Fulani children and their parents.

21 Sunday | Latin America

Pastor John Jairo Leal has been named as the Community Church Planting (CCP) Coordinator for Latin America. Pray for him as he travels throughout Latin America to train and coach other leaders.

22 Monday | Philippines

Pray for work among university students in Manila. Pray that through the ministry of prayer and hospitality many young adults will become followers of Jesus Christ.

Birthday: Matt Sauder

23 Tuesday | Set Free

Pray for those who are caring for the victims of human trafficking. Pray for the healing grace of the Lord to be at work in these lives.

24 Wednesday | Middle East

Pray for the work of Impact Middle East as they partner with multiple denominations to reach those of the majority background with the good news of Jesus Christ.

25 Thursday | Ukraine

The church in Ukraine is ministering to a growing group of widows and moms who lost their husbands or sons at war. Pray these women will know of God’s love for them and experience His peace and comfort.

26 Friday | Uganda

The FMC in Uganda is currently developing leadership structures and reaching out holistically to Ugandans. Pray for the discipleship efforts with church members and new converts.

27 Saturday | Chile

Pray for the church in Chile to develop discipleship methods that pass on the essential truths and practices of Jesus’ disciples to faithful followers of all ages.

28 Sunday | Asia

Pray for provision, wisdom, and grace as Marie faces changes in location and ministry.

Birthday: Marie

29 Monday | Cambodia

Pray for material such as gospel tracts and booklets, printed Bibles, audio Bibles and other audio and visual aids for sharing the gospel and teaching the Bible to children and adults in both contexts — literate and non-literate.

30 Tuesday | Ivory Coast

The Free Methodist work in Ivory Coast formally opened in May 2014. Pray for this church-in-formation and the development of leaders and church plants.

31 Wednesday | Colombia

A dynamic, growing church in the capital of Bogotá is developing leaders and planting daughter congregations. Pray for Pastor Libni Gasca as he pastors the Bogotá church and leads the Colombia Mission District.