Light and Holistic Hope
Noor is the Arabic word for light. The Noor Center in northern Iraq is transforming refugee camps into places of healing, hope and light.
In the summer of 2019, SEED had the pleasure of working with Hany and the Noor Center in Kurdistan (northern Iraq). The center cares for thousands of refugees, including many Yazidi people who were traumatized by terrorists who overran their communities.
SEED’s goal is to help the Noor Center determine a good business model for a micro-enterprise ministry. At General Conference and later at the Wabash family camp, Hany and I carved out time to talk about the Noor Center. Initially, many people thought the Noor Center could restart a bread bakery previously operated in a refugee camp. This opportunity proved to be infeasible.
Many loved the idea of a tahini-making business. Tahini is a condiment made from toasted, hulled and ground sesame and used in hummus and other Middle Eastern food. This idea seemed great ̶ except people won’t buy food from the Yazidi people, whom they consider unclean.
Some people thought jewelry might be good, or maybe paintings. It can be healing to create something beautiful. However, the question always is: Will people pay enough to cover the materials, the training, the labor and the trauma ministry? Will it be enough to justify the investment of personnel resources? Who will do this and not be distracted from other ministries?
SEED is still working with leaders at the Noor Center to determine the answers to these and other questions. We were happy to get on board with the Freedom Sunday project for the Noor Center in 2019. Now, in the meantime, we are supporting everyday sustainable micro-enterprises the Noor Center is already actively assisting. They are providing sheep and goats to shepherdesses, teaching women to cut hair, as well as giving sewing machines and teaching people to sew. Refugees are supporting themselves and their families while reaching out to others around them.
Pray for this partnership, and stay tuned for more updates!
By Rose Brewer
Peals of Thunderous Hope
Well educated and employed in Venezuela, Umberto and his family fled hunger and oppression when their country imploded. With 2 million other Venezuelans, they ended up in Colombia, where life is difficult. They share one room, work a few days a week for little pay, and are ridiculed for who they are. Umberto and his wife have medical issues. Vicki, the daughter-in-law, is expecting a child. The little boy has a deformity, but they have limited access to medical care. Food is also hard to come by.
My guides were Jorge and Eliana. Venezuelans themselves, they live sacrificially as faithful pastors ministering to those in brokenness and need.
When we walked to Umberto’s house, noticeably in bad shape and “under construction,” the sky was darkening with thunderclouds. Outside, suspicious men were hanging around. On the corner sat a local brothel.
As we met together, a terrible thunderstorm swept in. Rain poured through the tin roof. We prayed. We prayed for God to provide, to heal and to protect.
Where is the hope?
There is crushing need.
The wolves are on the street.
As we prayed with the thunder crashing and the rain coming through the roof, I thought of this:
“Another angel, who had a golden censer, came and stood at the altar. He was given much incense to offer, with the prayers of all God’s people, on the golden altar in front of the throne. The smoke of the incense, together with the prayers of God’s people, went up before God from the angel’s hand. Then the angel took the censer, filled it with fire from the altar, and hurled it on the earth; and there came peals of thunder, rumblings, flashes of lightning and an earthquake” (Revelation 8:3-5).
God hears and responds to our prayers! There is reversed thunder. The rain comes to clean and provide. There is hope despite the pain and the unknown
Discipleship takes a different form in this kind of place. Once able to attend a thriving church in Venezuela, now they pray and search the scriptures as a family. There is no despair. There is hope in the resurrected Savior and joy deeper than circumstance.
Will you please pray for Umberto and his family today?
Let us lift up those who are displaced.
Let us pray for God to provide – to heal – to save.
By Kevin Austin
Partnership in the Gospel
“I always thank my God as I remember you in my prayers, because I hear about your love for all His holy people and your faith in the Lord Jesus. I pray that your partnership with us in the faith may be effective in deepening your understanding of every good thing we share for the sake of Christ. Your love has given me great joy and encouragement, because you, brother, have refreshed the hearts of the Lord’s people” (Philemon 1:4-7).
As Asia started to recuperate from the coronavirus, one SEED partner group, Hands of Hope, was already thinking of their brothers and sisters in the United States. Their country was hard hit with the virus. They were still social distancing and taking precautions, but their hearts quickly turned outward. Their leader, Nelly*, asked me how I was doing. She asked me how my husband and my sons were doing. She was horrified by news reports showing how people in the U.S. were hoarding toilet paper and other necessities. She offered to buy essential items and send them to me.
As Nelly talked with me and with Rachel (SEED product developer), the Hands of Hope group realized there was a real need in the U.S. they could help meet. Around March 21, a hospital in Portland was already experiencing a shortage of masks. Both Hands of Hope and Rachel began to scramble. Rachel raised funds, and Nelly contacted a factory in her city that made masks. Working together, they secured a shipment of 500 medical-grade masks to ship to the Portland hospital. Just after the masks were sent, the factory was bombarded with requests from around the globe. The minimum masks order went up to 100,000. Praise the Lord for His timing!
In partnership, Rachel and Nelly were able to use their resources, their great love for people and their quick thinking to cover the gap for one Portland hospital.
You may be tempted to think of SEED livelihood group partners as poor people without resources. While all our partner groups face tremendous obstacles, and often live on the edge economically, they are also people with incredible gifts, skills, love and generous hearts.
Our partners around the globe have been sharing scriptures of encouragement and comfort. They have emailed and messaged through four different apps to check in on us. We are so grateful for our brothers and sisters around the world and our partnership in the gospel.
*The name is fictitious to protect this believer in a creative access country.
By Rose Brewer
World Missions Prayer Calendar: June
01 Monday | Europe
Praise God for each person serving faithfully outside their home country. Pray for the wind of the Holy Spirit to blow across Europe and ignite many hearts to serve Him.
Birthday: Lynn Sue Pierce
02 Tuesday | Cameroon
Our country leader Pastor Wilson Esambe and his wife, Judith, lost their 11-year-old son in March. Ask the Lord to bring them continued healing and comfort.
03 Wednesday | Creative Access-V
A group of pastors in this country meets weekly via Zoom for a Bible study. Pray they will be strengthened in the Word and encouraged to disciple others.
04 Thursday | Middle East
Pray for an Impact Middle East counseling ministry helping women and children who are physically and emotionally abused. Pray for the healing, wholeness and encouragement of those receiving care.
05 Friday | Taiwan
Pray for the Mothers Fellowship, a group of Filipino women who married into international families. These women desire to become better followers of Jesus despite their husbands’ different faith and their busy schedules as mothers. Birthday: Sarah Clemente
Ask the Father to give health, wisdom and His favor to Susan as she ministers in Austronesian countries and to the Austronesian migrant workers, students and immigrants in Taiwan.
06 Saturday | Costa Rica
One student in the pastoral formation program felt led to start a “house of peace” among his co-workers. There are now seven people meeting together daily on the worksite. Pray all seven will become followers of Christ and more groups will start in departments throughout the company
07 Sunday | Guinea Conakry
There is one house fellowship on the northwest side of Conakry, the capital city. The goal is to begin a fellowship on the other side of town, where they envision finding available land for a permanent ministry center. Pray God will go before them in their efforts to begin this new church plant.
08 Monday | SEED
Pray for livelihood groups around the world whose businesses were affected because of lock-downs during the coronavirus pandemic. Ask the Father to provide financial resources and customers to sustain their businesses.
09 Tuesday | Japan
Pray God will open a door in Japan for raising many disciples and leaders. Ask the Lord to reveal how Gene and Minori Hall can best partner with the Japan FMC in the efforts of discipleship and leadership training. Also pray for Gene’s ongoing Japanese studies.
Birthday: Gene Hall
10 Wednesday | Honduras
Victoria recently accepted the Lord after a grave illness. She had been involved in occult practices and was paralyzed on one side of her body. Two lay leaders prayed for her. She is now recovering and learning more about Jesus. Pray the Lord will continue to strengthen her in body and spirit.
11 Thursday | Middle East
Praise the Lord! Many throughout the Middle East are opening their hearts to the Word of God. Pray the words found in 1 Thessalonians 2:13, asking the Father that those who hear the Word of God will accept it not as a human word but as it is, the Word of God that is indeed at work in all who believe.
12 Friday | Spain
Pray for Josh and Susy Fajardo. They were scheduled to be in the U.S. in early spring, connecting with supporters and sharing about the ministries in Europe. The COVID-19 virus interrupted their plans. Ask God to give them health and finances when travel is possible again.
Birthday: Josh Fajardo
13 Saturday | Mozambique
The country has suffered from several natural disasters in recent years — drought, floods and the devastation of Cyclone Idai in early 2019. Pray for the church as they continue to minister to all who have suffered loss and displacement.
14 Sunday | Hungary
Many in Hungary and around the world turned to God during the pandemic and the long period of quarantine. Pray they will continue to be faithful followers of Jesus.
Birthday: Kati McNamara
15 Monday | Africa
Ask the Lord to continue calling North Americans who will go as cross-cultural missionaries finding creative ways to support the African church and help network with the U.S. church.
Birthday: Art Brown
16 Tuesday | Hong Kongi
Over the past year, Hong Kong has endured months of violent protests as well as the physical, emotional and economic effects of the coronavirus. Pray God will use His church to offer a message of peace, hope and reconciliation.
17 Wednesday | Greece
Because of the travel bans between the U.S. and Europe in early spring, Maria Long was stuck in the U.S. for several weeks. Pray for Michael and Maria as they regroup ministry efforts and care for the needs of both Greeks and refugees following the pandemic.
Birthday: Maria Long
18 Thursday | Puerto Rico
At the annual meeting in 2019, the conference ordained 12 people. Pray for transformation of this island as the conference begins to embrace the vision of Community Church Planting.
19 Friday | Middle East
At a busy market in this region, one brother runs a bookstore where he can make Christian literature available to those who are curious to know more about Jesus. Pray for good conversations with those who come seeking. Pray for the seed of the gospel to grow and multiply as many begin to read about Jesus.
20 Saturday | Kenya
Pray for the children in ICCM schools in Kenya, especially those whose families have been affected by the global pandemic. Ask God to provide for the needs of these families. Pray for the ongoing ministry of the schools.
21 Sunday | Creative Access-I
Praise the Lord for a new mission work developing in the north of this country. More than a dozen churches have been planted. Pray for the continued expansion of this work.
22 Monday | North Macedonia
Four churches were planted here in 2017. Pray for the expansion of work here and the establishment of the Macedonian foundation to provide legal cover for the church.
23 Tuesday | Ecuador
Pray for leaders in Pomasqui to reach the families of the children who attend their weekly children’s club.
24 Wednesday | Middle East
House church networks are multiplying by hundreds each year. Pray for networks in several new creative access countries where we are reaching members of the majority religious background with the gospel of Christ.
25 Thursday | The D.R. of Congo
The DRC is struggling to combat five deadly diseases – malaria, measles, cholera, coronavirus and Ebola. Pray for God’s hand of healing to be upon this nation.
26 Friday | Malaysia
Efforts of the FM Church in Malaysia are in transition. Pray for continued church-planting efforts in both urban and tribal areas. Pray for effective ways to reach those of the majority background.
27 Saturday | Portugal
Pray for a movement of the Holy Spirit in Portugal where previously many have resisted the gospel. Ask the Father to create a hunger for the truth found only in Jesus.
28 Sunday | Middle East
Praise the Lord for “Searching Groups” who meet in city centers. They are often educated and affluent members of the majority religious background. Together they are searching to find out Who Jesus is, and many are finding Him in a personal way. Pray all will put their faith and trust in Christ.
29 Monday | Colombia
Pray for a newly started “house of peace” in Chia/Cajica. Thad and Nikki Roller are leading this church plant. Pray for many new believers and their growth through consistent discipleship.
Birthday: Thad Roller
30 Tuesday | Set Free
Set Free: Praise the Lord one woman who graduated from the residential program at Eden’s Glory now serves as peer support for current residents. She also is able to add a survivor perspective to their community and professional trainings. Pray for the ongoing ministry of Eden’s Glory.
360 Mission District: Pray for the holistic ministries of Vida Raiz (Life Root), an organic garden providing food and employment for the needy, and the Una Mas (One More), a tutoring center for children and computer center for adults.
Birthday: Dennis Leon