A New Awakening
By Natalia M. Gutiérrez, Medellín, Colombia
Marlín, a 51-year-old woman, thought her life was perfect! Her family was just as she had dreamed, and she had a wonderful job doing what she was passionate about – teaching. As a teacher, she thought she was prepared to face any difficult situation, until one day, when everything changed.
Nothing was as it had been. Marlín’s family was no longer united; she was alone in facing a divorce and many issues at home. Over the years, Marlín had become dependent on her husband. She thought the way to end this cycle was to take refuge in a new love relationship to fill the void. Without realizing it, her life began spiraling out of control. In her job, nothing was working. Her parents suffered health problems, and she also became seriously ill. In deep anguish, Marlín began to think her life was not worth living. She wanted to die. Alone in her despair, she blamed God for all that was happening.
A turning point came through a phone call she received from her colleague, Professor Jany, a person committed to the multiplication of churches. Jany invited Marlín to a house of peace where the Word of God would be shared. In desperation, Marlín agreed to go. In the meeting, God reminded Marlín that He loved her and would never abandon her. She experienced the change she so desired. Her eyes were opened, and she understood the need for God to come into her heart. She gave up the control she was clinging to and invited Him to take control of her life.
Marlín now lives in joy and freedom. When she let God in, she was transformed. Marlín understands difficulties are sometimes necessary, but God’s promises are true despite the harsh circumstances. Convinced of God’s faithfulness, her faith is strong.
Today, Marlín is healthy. Her life has been restored, and she has a deepening relationship with her loving God. She currently belongs to the prayer leadership team of the Kingdom of God Network. Marlín is also a person of peace. She opened her heart to God and has also opened the doors of her home every Saturday so others can meet her loving and faithful God.
Invaluable Facetime Bears Fruit!
By Glenn Lorenz, missionary to Latin America
What happens when more than 40 Latin American church leaders meet for a week to learn, network, strategize and renew life together in community? Fruitful relationships!
Many attending the leadership summit in Jardín, Colombia (January 2022), had worked together for months and even years over Zoom but had never met in person. Immediately, warm connections and happy conversations flowed freely, even while maintaining appropriate social distancing and Covid protocols.
Each morning began with a devotional time and group prayer. Afterward, teams took turns presenting the work across the Latin American area. Sessions included explanations of how the area develops healthy leaders, the systems for multiplying committed disciples, and how churches, districts and conferences can empower transformational ministries and holistic, compassionate care at the local level.
The summit also allowed time to clarify many essential administrative details and to focus on communications systems. This attention to detail keeps area stakeholders informed of the work and moving toward the same goal.
As a result of meeting in person, many virtual teams continued their planning efforts between sessions and during meals. They enjoyed sharing and building strong personal relationships during their time together.
Each evening ended with worship and prayer. Bishop Linda Adams, Dr. Ricardo Gomez (area director), Pastora Mercedes Reynosa (Puerto Rico), and several other district leaders and superintendents shared the grace of Jesus. The opportunity to experience the Word through these different voices allowed sacred space for the Spirit of God to work. We were reminded that the work belongs to God alone, and by His grace, He allows us to participate with Him in restoring Latin America. Heads, hearts and hands were filled by the end of the week. Leaders were ready to return to the 16 countries represented at the summit.
Since January, leadership teams have continued developing strategies and implementing work, watching as the grace of Jesus continues to spread across Latin America. We praise God for more than 700 churches planted, more than 400 new believers and nearly 1,000 students training to be more effective ministers of the gospel, all since the beginning of 2021. Please join in praying for our leadership as we labor together for the biblical restoration of Latin America.
A Foundation for Transformation
By Sebastian Carballo and Tanya Rosado
The culture in Uruguay is different from other places in Latin America. In other countries, you see communities taking care of each other, celebrating birthdays together, and working together for the good of the community. This sense of community was also true of Uruguay in the past, but today many people in the cities are more reserved. Due to increased crime and drugs, people have begun to live separated from their neighborhood, putting bars on windows and staying inside. This change creates a tense environment.
The church Jesús es Dios in Durazno, Uruguay, began a children’s ministry in the neighborhood of Tadey in August 2021. Vanessa Hernandez and her team visited the neighborhood and began meeting people. Since “Children’s Day” is celebrated in Uruguay every August, they felt it was the perfect day to start meeting. The group began gathering on a soccer field in the neighborhood. Each week the team offers a snack, games, a Bible story, and time to play together and build friendships. After six months of ministry, they now have 35-40 children coming to hear about Jesus each week! This work alone would be enough to say hallelujah, but the transformation doesn’t stop there.
The ministry of the Durazno church has caught the attention of families and other community members. Parents have begun helping on different occasions, donating cakes or other materials. A neighbor was inspired and gave a monetary donation, and the owner of the neighborhood bakery has started donating baked goods for the events. Vanessa created a group message on WhatsApp, allowing parents to communicate with each other.
What began as a weekly children’s program has become a vehicle for holistic transformation. There is a contagious excitement for reencountering neighbors and becoming a community again. This renewed formation of a strong community is the foundation from which more holistic transformation can take place.
Sebastian Carballo is the pastor of the Jesús es Dios church in Durazno, Uruguay, and missions district leader. Tanya Rosado is a missionary to Latin America and coordinator of transformational churches.
World Missions Prayer Calendar: May
01 Sunday | Malawi
In January 2022, Cyclone Ana brought significant damage to Malawi. Pray for those impacted, the ongoing cleanup process, and the resources necessary for rebuilding and repairing farms, homes and churches.
02 Monday | FMWM
Ask the Father to encourage and strengthen Deb Miller as she cares for many details that help the missionary team on the field.
Birthday: Deb Miller (Director of Operations and Innovative Initiatives)
03 Tuesday | Creative Access Asia-MY
Give thanks to the Father for a door of opportunity into this country. Pray partnerships can be formed and leadership raised up to facilitate the establishment of ministries.
04 Wednesday | Honduras
Ask God to give wisdom to Pastor Manuel Herrera as he leads this district, helps leaders understand FM values and develop a vision for church planting.
05 Thursday | Europe
The European-area missionaries meet this week for a retreat. It was canceled three times over the two years of the pandemic. As they gather, pray the Holy Spirit will encourage them and give them a fresh anointing.
Birthday: Mitch Pierce (Europe – Pastoral Care)
06 Friday | United Kingdom
Pray for the churches, pastors and leaders as they gather for their annual conference May 6-7. Ask God to encourage, inspire and equip them for all He calls them to do.
07 Saturday | Middle East
Pray majority-background believers who have experienced a glimpse of God’s grace will have the strength to take the step of faith and put their hope and trust in Jesus.
08 Sunday | Colombia
Ask the Father to give wisdom to the Gomez family as they finalize plans for Jonathan to move to the U.S. in July to attend school.
Birthday: Beth Gómez
09 Monday | ICCM
ICCM ministry to children in Burundi started in 1977 and now supports approximately 1,000 pastors’ children. Pray for these children and the pastors of Burundi.
10 Tuesday | Chile
As a new curriculum for children is introduced across the Latin American area, pray children will grow deep spiritual roots in Jesus. Pray the children’s faith will be part of bringing transformation across the region.
Birthday: Kay Stotts Godoy
11 Wednesday | Ghana
Pray for the successful development of a business training program to help those with economic hardship.
12 Thursday | Belgium
Pray for new church-planting opportunities and the identification of new leaders, particularly French and Dutch speaking.
13 Friday | Thailand
Thank the Lord for a “Shared Sustainability Project” initiated in Thailand. Pray for this project and other projects to help support leaders, churches and families throughout Asia.
14 Saturday | Egypt
Bread is a staple in Egypt. Pray many will come to know the Bread of Life and never go hungry or thirsty again (John 6:35).
15 Sunday | Peru
Pray the Holy Spirit will breathe new life into every pastor, leader and church member who labors for the multiplication of believers throughout Peru.
16 Monday | Nigeria
Pray for the initiation of mission work into the areas currently not served by the Free Methodist Church.
17 Tuesday | Creative Access Asia-MR
Pray for the FM churches as they seek to build shelters for refugees, care for medical needs, feed the hungry and provide education for the children.
18 Wednesday | Romania
Pray for the Vis de Copil (A Child’s Dream) foundation as they serve children affected by neglect, poverty and trafficking and begin serving the influx of Ukrainian refugees.
19 Thursday | Uruguay
Pray for continued community transformation as a result of the growing children’s ministry in the neighborhood of the Durazno church.
20 Friday | Jordan
Two partner churches have the opportunity to impact more than 90,000 refugee lives. Pray for ongoing efforts to serve these refugees through schools, micro enterprise projects and house-church networks.
21 Saturday | Senegal
Thank the Lord for a growing partnership between churches in Senegal, the Genesis Conference and FMWM Africa. Praise the Lord for established churches in 14 villages.
22 Sunday | Ukraine
Pray for Ukrainian Christians to remain faithful and courageous amid the tremendous devastation and loss they face.
23 Monday | Philippines
Around 250 solar Scripture players (Mp3 players) have been distributed among the Ayta Abellen and Ayta Mag-Indi families. As they listen to the Word of God in their own language, pray, many will respond by believing and following Jesus.
Birthday: Roger Stone (Affiliate Missionary)
24 Tuesday | SEED
As the SEED team continues to work on the Wunders project, ask God to give wisdom in choosing which country to expand to next.
25 Wednesday | Southeast Asia
Ask God to give Roger and Ellen Haskins wisdom and insight into the various cultures of Southeast Asia. Pray they will have eyes to see the people as Jesus sees them.
Birthdays: Cathy Alford (Spain), Roger Haskins (Asia), Rose Brewer (SEED)
26 Thursday | Colombia
Pray pastors and leaders will have deepening connections to God and one another through the Pastoral Care Groups implemented by Pastor Susana Castro.
Birthday: Susana Castro (International Missionary)
27 Friday | Set Free Movement
Pray for Set Free Movement Director Kevin Austin. As he maintains a busy travel and speaking schedule, ask the Lord to give him health, stamina and clarity of mind.
Birthday: Kevin Austin
28 Saturday | Kenya
Tumaini Women Kenya celebrated its 10th anniversary in April. Pray for this Free Methodist NGO that is discipling women and men and providing a place to save money and have low-interest loans.
29 Sunday | Creative Access Asia-NP
Thank the Lord for a new water pump installed in a well at an earthquake camp. Pray for the church in this camp as it ministers to the 35 families living here.
30 Monday | Cambodia
Pray for Superintendent Daniel Sar and other leaders as they pray, plan and work toward planting 21 new house churches in outlying provinces this year.
31 Tuesday | Latin America
The Latin America missionary team gathers for a retreat in Ecuador. Pray they will have a sweet time of fellowship, rest and inspiration.