Generations Investing in Leadership
As I was growing up, learning was difficult for me, but near the end of my high school education, I felt the need to go to college. My parents suggested I pray and ask God for wisdom and intelligence and trust Him to provide. During a youth retreat, I had an extraordinary encounter with God. Jesus, in His great love, changed my way of thinking, and I prayed more deeply for wisdom and intelligence.
A short time later, my father, a pastor, received a phone call from a woman who had been one of the first Free Methodist missionaries to Paraguay. God had moved her to pray for me, and she sensed God leading her to invest in my university studies. How great is God’s love for His children!
I dedicated myself to study accounting and finished university with the highest grades. The missionary woman who invested in my education attended my graduation. I asked how I could repay all she had done for me. Her response was as follows:
- Maintain a holy life before our Lord
- Help organize the administration and finances of the Free Methodist Church
- Help others who want to study but don’t have financial resources
Since 2006 I have served the Free Methodist Church in Paraguay as conference treasurer, president of finance, trustee, pastor and more. In 2015 I was ordained and assigned as pastor of the Fernando de la More FM Church. My wife and I are implementing Community Church Planting (CCP) to empower leaders to open houses of peace. We desire to open houses of peace in universities throughout the country.
We began by opening our church as a home for students — particularly those from outside the city who needed a place to live. We are currently hosting Darío, a pastor’s son. We are mentoring him, and he is serving with us. But our church’s dream is much larger. We desire to house more students who want to study and serve the Lord but need a place to live. We are praying to expand our facilities to accommodate students who will, in turn, apply CCP principles on their university campuses.
I believe the Lord used a faithful servant to invest in my life so that I might invest in others for the glory of God. Join us in praying for the extension of God’s kingdom in our community and universities throughout Paraguay.
By José Ramirez
It was 4 a.m. on Thursday, March 27, 2014. Our small team gathered in the church parking lot, loading our luggage into church vans for a quick trip to the Lexington Bluegrass Airport. From there, we would make two more stops before arriving in Medellín, Colombia. I was excited and nervous. Would we meet all our flights? Would we experience turbulence? Would we be ready when we arrived? Was I ready now?
Though this was my first mission trip, I already felt quite engaged with the global church. Since childhood, I was intrigued by the missionary books in our church library and looked forward to pulling the Free Methodist World Missions People publication from the mailbox. I loved reading about the lives of men and women around the world who faithfully walked with Jesus. I looked for families who had children my age. I prayed for them, memorizing their names and faces.
I met missionaries at Family Camp and was fascinated by stories about their lives, their work, the people they served and the places they called home. In college, I was exposed to the global church through speakers, conferences and classes. I had friends and family who were serving around the world. But this, bag and passport in hand, was a new experience. I was literally stepping into the latitude and longitude of the global church.
Almost six years and five trips later, I consider the impact these trips have on my life. Catching glimpses of God’s kingdom on earth, particularly in Latin America, broadened my understanding of His kingdom and His heart for the world. Sharing the table with missionary families stretches my heart, and I find myself leaving behind pieces of my heart wherever I go. Experiencing the kind, generous and holy grace of Jesus’ presence heightens my awareness of the growing edges in my life and His deep desire to transform me.
Today, when I pull the FMWM Heartbeat out of my mailbox, my mind is flooded with memories and the faces of brothers and sisters living out their call to Christ in ordinary, everyday ways. I pray more specifically and earnestly because I have peeked into their lives. I am filled with this overwhelming love for the missionary families I now call mine. And I am awestruck to belong to the family of God and be counted among the Free Methodist cousins.
By Andrea Tinsley
Transformational Service to Immigrants
“I thought I was being called as a missionary to Venezuela, but then God told me, ‘I will bring Venezuela to you.’” As they flee the socio-political situation in their home country, more than 1.6 million Venezuelans have immigrated to Colombia, the majority of them illegally. When Omar Villadiego received God’s call to serve these immigrants, he was director of Youth With a Mission (YWAM) in Medellín and a member of the Camino de Vida Free Methodist Church.
In coordination with YWAM and the FM church, he initially began Carpa Esperanza (Hope Tent) on one of the primary routes Venezuelan’s use to walk into Colombia. The route is mountainous, and temperatures can drop to freezing, resulting in death for some immigrants. Carpa Esperanza provided food, medical attention, new shoes, warm clothes and, most importantly, the good news of Christ to those on the journey. When possible, they helped immigrants make connections for jobs and housing in other parts of the country.
Later the Camino de Vida church and YWAM sent Omar and his wife, Lizeth, back to her hometown to begin a church plant and establish another YWAM center. Guess what? The city of Valledupar is full of Venezuelan immigrants. The couple quickly opened another Carpa Esperanza and is planting a church among both Venezuelans and Colombians. They have opened three houses of peace among the immigrants and are currently serving between 20 and 30 homeless immigrant families. As a result, they have seen miracles of healings. They are even leading a discipleship group that meets via telephone.
This year they began the Carpa Esperanza School because, without certain papers, immigrant children cannot attend school in Colombia. On Saturdays, there are special activities for children complete with a nutritious snack. They serve about 70 children each week, including 14 children from an indigenous Venezuelan group known as the Yukpas. The Yukpas live in challenging conditions in Colombia, surrounded by drugs and prostitution. Omar and Lizeth are seeking for a new place for them to live. The group of Yukpas told them, “We want to know your God because we are sure He is Who brought us to you.”
Thank God for men and women like Omar and Lizeth, who are fulfilling God’s call throughout Latin America. They are accomplishing the mission of the Latin American Area ̶ to develop healthy leaders who multiply committed disciples and plant transformational churches for the biblical restoration of Latin America. To God be the Glory, great things He is doing!
By Beth Gómez
World Missions Prayer Calendar: May
01 Friday | Botswana
Under the Zimbabwe General Conference, the FMC in Botswana is in formation. Pray the Lord will encourage the small group of believers meeting there, and for continued church-planting efforts.
02 Saturday | FMWM
Ask the Father to encourage and strengthen Deb Miller as she juggles the many challenges and responsibilities of her role in Free Methodist World Missions.
Birthday: Deb Miller (FMWM-Director Of Operations)
03 Sunday | Creative Access – C
Pray God will give clarity to Mark and Lena as they seek His will for the next steps of ministry.
04 Monday | 360 Mission District
This mission district is one of the few districts not tied to geographic limitations. It includes churches throughout Central America, in the U.S. and even Germany. Pray for multiplication of committed disciples and preparation of healthy leaders.
05 Tuesday | Global
Our missionaries face many challenges – languages, cultures, spiritual, financial, family and fatigue. Pray our missionaries would know “God’s divine power has given us everything we need for life and godliness.”
Birthday: Mitch Pierce (Europe)
06 Wednesday | Middle East
Pray for two new house church networks among the “majority” background.
07 Thursday | Creative Access – I
Since 2002 more than 500 young women have been trained through the Helen Rose School of Nursing. The Umri Christian Hospital nursing education and mobile outreach health teams serve the tribal communities offering hope for an improved quality of life. Give praise to the Lord!
08 Friday | Columbia
The Gómez family recently relocated in Medellín to be closer to the airport. Pray for the entire family as they settle into a new home and adjust to new routines.
Birthday: Beth Gómez
09 Saturday | Hungary
Pastor Péter has been developing a relationship with a local preschool and kindergarten. Pray for continued opportunities to invest in several young families who have started attending programs at the Budapest Ministry Center.
10 Sunday | Latin America
Missionary Kay Stotts Godoy is working with a team to translate and contextualize the new “Roots” children’s curriculum for Latin America. Pray for translation efforts, financial resources for the project, and the future benefit for children’s ministry across Latin America.
Birthday: Kay Stotts Godoy
11 Monday | Africa
Art and Sylvia Brown provide pastoral care and encouragement for our Africa missionary team. Pray they will be good listeners, first to the Spirit’s voice and then also to those they serve.
Birthday: Sylvia Brown
12 Tuesday | Middle East
Thousands in this region have been displaced from their homeland. Pray they will encounter Jesus as they meet believers who demonstrate His love.
13 Wednesday | Thailand
The FMC in Thailand is in the process of becoming a foundation. Pray God will provide the necessary funding required to submit all the paperwork and make this official. Ask God to provide continued favor with the Thai government as they move toward approval.
Birthday: Keith Battleson
14 Thursday | Portugal
Pray for the 15 students in the seminary, some 20 new leaders in training as cell group leaders, and the four ministerial candidates who are in preparation for ordination in the summer.
15 Friday | Creative Access Country – X
The FMC in this country is growing faster than any other country in the Latin America area. Pray for continued growth, especially in the capital city and the western part of the country.
16 Saturday | Malawi
There are currently three annual conferences in Malawi. Each conference has active church-planting programs. Pray for students at Great Commission Bible School who are engaged in church planting as part of their course of study.
17 Sunday | Creative Access – BG
In February 2019 Pastor “D” reported the baptism of 70 new believers. Pray for Pastor “D” and other leaders as they disciple growing numbers of new Christ-followers.
18 Monday | Europe
Pray for the European leadership team to have wisdom and discernment as they investigate ministry possibilities in Germany, Italy, Moldova, Romania and Russia.
Praise the Lord for 25 years of effective ministry of the FMC in Argentina. Pray for the increased efforts to reach the millions in the capital city of Buenos Aires.
20 Wednesday | Middle East
Pray for “P,” our first house church planter and trainer who is a “majority background” believer.
21 Thursday | South Africa
There are five annual conferences in South Africa. These conferences are actively involved in evangelism and are putting a new priority on ministry to youth and children. Pray for the young people in South Africa to be reached with the good news of Jesus.
22 Friday | Spain
Praise the Lord for a church plant that began meeting in a Burger King in Madrid. Pray for this group as they study the Word and are discipled in faith.
23 Saturday | Philippines
Pray for the Ayta Abellen New Testament Dedication, which will take place on June 6 in Tarlac province of the Philippines. Pray the Ayta Abellen who attend will want to know Jesus through His Word now available in their language.
Birthday: Roger Stone
24 Sunday | Middle East
Praise the Lord for those in the region who are discovering truths in God’s Word and finding out what it looks like to follow Jesus. Pray for them as they learn to apply scripture in their culture and daily context.
25 Monday | SEED
Ask the Lord to give wisdom, guidance and empowerment to Rose Brewer as she directs SEED and works together with the SEED team, the livelihood group leaders and SEED champions.
Birthday: Rose Brewer
Asia: Roger and Ellen Haskins are serving in leadership development in Southeast Asia. Please pray for wisdom on how best to love God, their neighbors and make disciples among the nations of Southeast Asia.
Birthday: Roger Haskins
26 Tuesday | Latin America
Pastor John Jairo Leal is an international missionary serving the Latin America Area as the Community Church Planting (CCP) coordinator. He and his wife, Susana, are both ordained pastors in the Colombian mission district. Pray for this couple as they serve to encourage and equip others throughout Latin America.
Birthday: Susana Leal (International Missionary)
27 Wednesday | SET FREE
Set Free celebrates the 10th year of ministry this year. Ask God to give continued wisdom to Set Free Movement Director Kevin Austin as he leads this growing global movement.
Birthday: Kevin Austin
28 Thursday | Mali
The work in Mali opened in 2019. There is one fellowship meeting regularly and another fellowship organizing in another community. Pray for the growth of these groups not only in number but also in the knowledge of Christ Jesus.
29 Friday | Asia
Pray for several families in the U.S. who are working toward long-term missionary service in Asia. Pray specifically for a missionary couple who will have resources and qualifications to plant a church in Singapore.
30 Saturday | Bulgaria
The St. John’s Home for at-risk girls was dedicated in September 2019 and is ready to open. Pray they will receive the permission needed from the government to begin operations.
31 Sunday |Middle East
Pray the words of Ephesians 1:17 for our leaders in the Middle East. Ask the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the glorious Father, to give them the Spirit of wisdom and revelation, so that they may know Him better.