March Heartbeat

Impact Europe ˗˗ New Strategy for Current Realities

Two facts define the current realities of the church in Europe:

  • Europe has the smallest percentage of Evangelicals of any region on earth —only 2.5%, and as low as 0.1% in some countries.
  • Europe has the lowest church growth rate anywhere in the world.

For the past five decades, Europe has experienced economic growth while experiencing a spiritual, moral and social decline. The evangelical church is marginalized and still considered a sect in many European countries. Most Europeans view Evangelicals as insignificant or irrelevant. Though in most cases the evangelical church is small, it is growing. Despite the challenges, Evangelicals are working in their communities, looking for ways to connect and make a difference. This approach is what makes us different from the other majority religions across Europe.

Since July 2018, the Free Methodist Church in Europe has been working to refocus and realign our vision and mission to our current European realities. Our priorities of church planting and leadership development are in transition as we begin to work toward creating and sustaining a movement. Having a specific vision and strategy will help as we recruit and equip missionaries, develop national leaders, and plant new churches.

In preparation for the future, our team in Europe has decided to create a nonprofit organization called Impact Europe. As we work toward completing the task of the Great Commission, Impact Europe’s purpose is fourfold:

  • To make disciples of Jesus Christ and promote Christianity in Europe
  • To identify and train Europeans and the Middle Eastern and North African diaspora residing in Europe
  • To plant Christian churches in Europe
  • To facilitate discipleship and church planting movements by promoting first-century principles

Our goal is to see communities across Europe transformed by the gospel through strategic response to spiritual and social needs. We know the importance of both urban centers as well as rural areas. We see a need for churches that are relevant and culturally sensitive. And, we realize the need for ministries of compassion and justice to be established for community impact. In all of this, the development of national leaders is strategic in accomplishing the Great Commission in Europe.

Our vision is to populate European communities with spiritually maturing churches and faith communities. We do this by making and multiplying disciples as we engage with the gospel of transformation and develop and empower national leaders to establish multiplying transformational churches.

Join in praying these missional goals will be accomplished in Europe!

By Josué Fajardo

Ministry in Ukraine

Russian military forces entered Ukraine in February 2014. Very quickly, Russian troops took over various military checkpoints and outposts. Ukrainian soldiers, shocked at this act of aggression by their neighbors, reacted peacefully in an attempt to prevent war. However, the armed conflict soon began, and fierce fighting broke out in several regions. Soldiers on both sides lost their lives, and the conflict continues to this day, with soldiers dying daily. Many men witnessed the horrors of war and now suffer from Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). These men, and their families, are one group the Free Methodist Church (FMC) in Ukraine is reaching with the gospel.

Through organizing free camps with trained counselors for the men and their wives (many of the women struggle to understand their husbands after they return from war), the FMC in Ukraine meets families with real problems and presents the good news of Jesus Christ. Through these camp ministries, many marriages have been saved (veterans with PTSD are twice as likely to divorce at veterans without PTSD); both adults and their children have come to faith in Christ; and society is experiencing transformation!

Sadly, many families have lost loved ones in the conflict. The FMC in Ukraine also has set up groups for grief counseling. Meeting with the wives and parents of soldiers who have died in battle is a significant aspect of community outreach and a practical way of demonstrating the love of Christ to the grieving. Taking those who are mourning to places of beauty outside the city of Rivne and allowing them to share their feelings, partake in fellowship and worship, and hear from the Scriptures allows for a needed time of healing.

The next step in this ministry is to train leaders for these groups. International missionary Gerry McNamara will teach cognitive therapy techniques and activities to several volunteers later this year to help them better meet the needs of those affected by war.

Our national leaders, Misha and Lena Petrochencko, organize much of this ministry (not easy with three young children). Alongside the ministry to veterans and their families, Misha and Lena also oversee our alcohol and drug rehabilitation center, community church planting, and evangelistic outreach.

Would you pray and consider partnering with the FMC in Ukraine? Your encouragement is needed to maintain and expand this ministry to other areas of the country.

By Gerry McNamara

Beginning in Russia

After 70 years of communism, families have crumbled with no faith in God. Russian streets are filled with homeless children, and the orphanages in Saint Petersburg are overcrowded and underfunded. The elderly are forced to beg for money because pensions are not enough to survive. This godless nation is demoralized.

 

Many of the orphans in Russia are social orphans, meaning at least one of their parents is alive but unfit, unable or unwilling to be responsible for his or her child. There are several reasons for this:

  • After the collapse of the former Soviet Union, many families found it financially difficult to support a child
  • Extreme drug abuse, alcoholism, and physical or emotional abuse affect the family and the children.  Children are often removed by  authorities or choose to themselves to flee their homes
  • With many orphanages overcrowded, lacking funds and staff – children don’t recieve the attention and nurturing need to develop a healthy lifestyle.

 

Michael and Tanya Mendakoff have been serving orphans, widows and the poor in Russia since 2003. As a little girl, Tanya’s family fled the communist regime and came to the U.S.  After graduating from Seattle Pacific University in 2001, she decided to return to serve in Russia and has been working there ever since.

Michael grew up in Saint Petersburg and became a Christian while attending medical school. After switching universities and changing his course of study, he graduated with a degree in theology. Along with Tanya, Michael also chose to dedicate himself to serving the city’s orphans. Today, Michael and Tanya serve the fatherless in Russia. Along with their two children, Liana and Erik, the Mendakoff family lives among the people, transforming the lives of its community.

These are challenging times in Russia. God has opened a door for the Free Methodist Church to partner and train leaders to start faith communities. A team of people in Russia is working together to disciple young Christians with the intent to plant a Free Methodist church by May 2020. Please pray for this new Free Methodist work.

By Josue Fajardo

 

World Missions Prayer Calendar: March

01 Sunday | Belgium

Praise the Lord for new things happening in Belgium and for new leaders who are being trained for church planting.

02 Monday | Puerto Rico

In late December and early January, Puerto Rico suffered several strong earthquakes. These came a little more than two years after Hurricane Maria devastated the island. Pray for Christ to bring healing and hope to the people.

03 Tuesday | Middle East

Jesus continues to show up in the dreams of majority background believers. Give thanks to the Lord and pray for these continued revelations, even to those in places of authority.

 

04 Wednesday | Ethiopia

Pray for Superintendent Mekebib Desta as he continues to lead the FM work in Ethiopia. Pray for church planting and leadership training efforts, including an oral Bible training program to train leaders who are illiterate.

05 Thursday | Latin America

Glen Lorenz will be traveling throughout the Latin America area to help implement new training systems. Pray he will communicate clearly and compellingly. Also, pray these new systems will be received with joy and enthusiasm, as well as produce much fruit for the kingdom.

Birthday: Glenn Lorenz

06 Friday | Creative Access-C

Pray for believers to mature despite harassment, discrimination and persecution. Pray for leaders to remain bold and faithful to spread the good news.

07 Saturday | SEED

Reaksmei means “light” or “enlighten” in the language of Cambodia. Some  profits from this artisan group go to a pastoral support fund to help pay salaries of local pastors and church planters until the churches can support them. Pray for this group and the pastors who are supported by their work.

08 Sunday | Kenya

Roger Varland teaches at Rift Valley Academy in Kenya. Pray wisdom and encouragement as he teaches and works with the students there.

Birthday: Roger Varland (VISA missionary)

09 Monday | Asia

Pray for Eric (Asia area director) to have ever-deepening, abiding love for Jesus. Ask for Holy Spirit-guided discernment and love in leadership decisions, and for 1 million Asians to be influenced into the kingdom for the Father’s glory.

10 Tuesday | Bulgaria

Praise the Lord for seven new churches in Bulgaria and nine new churches in Serbia during 2019. Ask God to give wisdom to Chance Galloway as he works alongside national leaders for the expansion of the kingdom throughout the Balkan region.

Birthday: Sarah Anderson (Hungary), Chance Galloway (Bulgaria), Eric (Asia Area Director)

11 Wednesday | Hungary

Chadwick and Sarah Anderson began serving in Györ in May 2019. Pray for them as they continue to learn the Hungarian culture and language.

 

12 Thursday | Japan

Pray for the unity of believers and a renewed passion for reaching the lost in Japan.

 

13 Friday | Middle East

Pray for the physical safety of house church planters as they go into areas susceptible to terrorism and unrest.

14 Saturday | Ivory Coast

The FM work in Ivory Coast began just six years ago. Pray for the expansion of the work into new areas. Also, pray for the discipleship and maturity of believers.

15 Sunday | Uruguay

Mike and Andrea Green are transitioning to extended-term missionaries to Uruguay, where they serve as pioneer church planters. Pray for the Holy Spirit’s guidance as they seek to plant churches in the city of Montevideo.

Birthday: Mike Green

16 Monday | Philipines

Pray for major urban church planting initiatives Manila, Baguio, Cebu and Davao. Also, pray for the movement to reach students in universities across the Philippines.

17 Tuesday | Set Free

Pray for the Set Free team in Monterey, CA, as they plan and work toward a restoration home for survivors of human trafficking.

 

18 Wednesday | Chile

Pray for the active social outreach programs to needy children and youth. Ask God to touch the hearts of these young ones and call many to leadership in His church.

19 Thursday|Middle East

Pray for the poor in spirit, those who mourn, those who hunger and thirst, and those who are persecuted. Pray they will know of the love and compassion of our Savior, Jesus Christ.

20 Friday | Liberia

Pray for the national leader, Pastor Rufus Kahn, and the nearly 1,000 Free Methodist members in Liberia. Ask the Lord to encourage and give them a passion for reaching new areas of the country with the gospel.

21 Saturday | Hungary

International missionary Gerry McNamara is in the U.S. building partnerships for ministry in Győr, Hungary. Pray for travel safety and good connections with individuals and churches.

Birthday: Gerry McNamara

22 Sunday | Taiwan

Several FM churches have after-school programs to assist students with homework, provide basic educational instruction and teach the Bible. Pray these programs will impact families for Christ as their children experience this tangible demonstration of God’s love.

23 Monday | Columbia

Pray for a new church plant in Bogotá in an area with few resources. In the past few months, about 40 people have started attending the church. Pray for leaders to have strength and energy as they seek to disciple and serve holistically in the community.

24 Tuesday | Middle East

Pray for the overcoming power of the Almighty as many in the Middle East face intense spiritual warfare.

25 Wednesday | Tanzania

The church in Tanzania is under the General Conference of the Democratic Republic of Congo. There are three districts plus an area in the south being evangelized by the FMC in Malawi. Pray for a growing spiritual maturity of the leaders and churches in Tanzania.

26 Thursday | Asia Creative Access

Pray for new doors opening in creative access areas in Asia and for our leaders in Southeast Asia who are boldly stepping out into these areas to minister to people groups often overlooked or forgotten.

27 Friday | Ukraine

Many in Ukraine have suffered as a result of war. Pray for the Free Methodist Church as it ministers to them. Pray for soldiers who suffer from Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder, and the parents and widows of those who died. Pray for the healing power of the gospel to transform lives.

28 Saturday | Argentina

Pray for district leader Ricardo Guerrero and other leaders as they work to mentor and train 19 individuals who are in the pastoral formation program.

29 Sunday | Middle East

Pray for the holistic and healing ministry to refugees across the region.

30 Monday | Spain

Phil and Debra Gilmore are new to the missionary team in Spain. Pray for them as they join the team working toward church planting, community development and transformation in Europe.

Birthday: Phil Gilmore

31 Tuesday | Zimbabwe

Pray for the church as it ministers within a context of high inflation, unemployment, health crisis and food shortages. Ask the Father to use His church to provide hope and transformation one community at a time.