Friday, October 31, 2014

The Cycle of Discipleship

An excerpt from...

The Cycle of Discipleship

By Dan Galat, Missionary, Kenya
October-December 2014

The Cycle of DiscipleshipAs a young believer in my sophomore year of college, hungry to grow in my newfound faith and praying for God’s help in this endeavor, I was asked by a man named Roger, whose passion was to disciple future leaders in the kingdom, if I would be interested in becoming a part of his weekly discipleship group. At that time, I did not comprehend how God would significantly use Roger’s time, commitment, and modeling of true faith to help me grow in a deeper understanding of His grace. Because of this experience in true discipleship, my life was forever changed, and, as a result, I committed to making discipleship the principal aspect of ministry in the future.

As a missionary orthopedic surgeon at Tenwek Hospital in Kenya, I have the privilege of caring for medically underserved patients, providing compassionate healthcare in Jesus’ name, praying with patients, and encouraging them to walk with Jesus. However, the greater privilege is the unique opportunity we have to disciple young national surgeons who come to Tenwek for training. As part of the Pan African Academy of Christian Surgeons, whose goal is to raise up African missionary surgeons to reach the most needy patients in Africa, we train general and orthopedic residents not only in excellent healthcare, but also in a deeper walk with Christ. We want to help them grow in their own faith, passing on the truths that were built into us and thus continuing the cycle of discipleship in an international context.

Jesus commanded His disciples, the same ones He poured His own life into over a three-year period, to continue the cycle and go into all nations and make more disciples. This is God’s design for all of us who desire to make a true and long-lasting difference in the kingdom. Discipleship is not easy and is sometimes even messy. But by God’s grace, the blood, sweat, and tears associated with a deep, personal relationship can make an eternal impact in the life of someone who just might do the same for others in the future…the cycle of discipleship.

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Where Will You Put Your Faith?

An excerpt from...

Where Will You Put Your Faith?

By Mike BanksMember Health
October-December 2014

Where Will You Put Your Faith?
In speaking with another adult PK (preacher's kid) recently, it was confirmed that one of my greatest challenges is shared by many PKs and others raised in the church: making my faith my own and not the faith of my parents or my church! If I choose not to put my faith in Christ, I will be putting my faith in someone or something else. This realization helped me greatly in youth ministries in Bolivia and now in the United States.

As the MK (Missionary Kid) Ministries coordinator for World Gospel Mission, I am privileged to work with young people who have had incredible life experiences. Whether raised in the wilds of Africa, a large city in South America, near a Native American reservation here in the United States, or in another one of our many world cultures, their worldview has been greatly influenced.

Assisting and encouraging missionary kids in transition is a vital aspect of my ministry. While each person goes through various life transitions, MKs can go through major cultural transitions several times before their late teens. They define “home” very differently than their parents and might even have difficulty in that very definition. In other words, when a missionary family returns from their place of service, Mom and Dad may be “home” while their children just left what they may consider their home.

Although I cannot write about their specific struggles, a recurring theme comes to the forefront: their personal faith or lack thereof. Even if they’ve had incredibly positive life experiences or study on a Christian campus, they’re still searching for where to put their faith. One young lady told me that even though she sees her parents’ great faith and has no doubt in that, she struggles to see or feel a loving God. Even though my heart aches when I hear about their struggles, I have the privilege of sharing the only hope I’ve found, and that’s in Christ.

It boils down to one thing: we are going to put our faith somewhere. Many of us will put our faith in work, church, a mentor, possessions, and even ministry; however, only One deserves our faith, belief, trust. We may not understand all of Christ’s ways in a fallen world, but He cannot fail, He cannot change, and He is faithful.

Please pray that I will be an encouragement to our missionary kids and other youth as God opens doors of sharing and as I am able to ask, “Where will you put your faith?”

Partner with Mike Banks.GIVE: Partner with Mike Banks. He has asked you to pray regularly for him, but you can also show your support for this vital MK ministry through a gift to his ministry.

Monday, October 27, 2014

Prayer Calendar: Oct. 27 - Nov. 1

Your missions prayer point  for this week inspired by The Call magazine is:

PRAY for a teen or young adult in your life who is searching for meaning and hope. Pray that God will walk with them through their struggles. 

This prayer point is inspired by Mike Banks, Member Health, as he works with young adult missionary kids on journey to claim faith for themselves. 

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Heart of the Great Commission

An excerpt from...

Heart of the Great Commission

By Becka Johnson, Missionary, Papua New Guinea
October-December 2014

Heart of the Great Commission
What does discipleship look like? Discipleship is an ongoing process of transformation and change for Christians. It should be intentional, cyclical, comprehensive, and continuous. In Papua New Guinea, teaching, training, and mentoring are big parts of ministry. Fourteen years ago, tribal fighting interrupted the Bible training at the Kar mission station. As missionaries, we knew the importance of teaching and training and that it must continue, despite the civil unrest.

Praise God for the Pidgin resources in country through Christian Leaders Training College. We began using their discipleship Theological Education by Extension course on a small group basis and trained many tutors/group leaders. The training and teaching through this process have not been without bumps and roadblocks. Teaching and training cannot stop because of those bumps or roadblocks, whatever they are. The matter must be taken to the Lord in prayer. The Lord will give wisdom when we ask (James 1:5). The discipleship course and other TEE courses are resources that are part of the curriculum at Christian Union Bible College in Mount Hagen.

There is a dream of discipleship courses being led at the district levels by national tutors. We would love to see the course reach the youth and young adults here in PNG as well. Several of our PNG pastors see this call to discipleship and are challenging their congregations to follow Jesus in a new way and to not sit on the sidelines. In a world that is so busy, good intentions get lost in living life. This is a worldwide problem. The Lord calls us to discipleship, to step away from the “world” and its busyness and toward Him, to walk with Him, follow Him, and be transformed, continually growing in Christ and drawing others to Him.

Make a difference on your knees.PRAY: Invest time in becoming a disciple of Jesus Christ. Pray for the ongoing discipleship training and teaching in Papua New Guinea and for a spiritual hunger to grow in Christ.

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Back to Basics

An excerpt from...

Back to Basics

By Nathan Schmidt, Missionary, Bolivia
October-December 2014

Back to the Basics
I had to get back to the basics of the Great Commission. I was doing ministry—teaching, preaching, visiting with people, etc.—but felt like I was missing something. Something wasn’t right. God brought me back to the Great Commission. I thought, “But I’m a missionary. I know the Great Commission.” But I really didn’t know it nor was I really completing Christ’s command—to make disciples.

In October 2013, Amy and I started a home Bible study group in a neighborhood that has no evangelical church. A family from one of our churches living there opened up their home to us. Juan Carlos and Dalia were a young couple from the neighborhood and began attending the group. They were not believers, but they had a little bit of church background. Amy went to visit them in their house one evening. She reported back to me that they were so open and wanted to grow. They wanted to be discipled, they wanted to dedicate their son to the Lord, and they wanted to get married. Amy saw such a hunger for the Word of God in their lives.

I was traveling at the time but arranged for a visit with them as soon as I returned to Tarija. During that visit, they both prayed to receive Christ as their Lord and Savior.
It has been a joy meeting with them weekly, discipling them, and seeing them grow in the Lord. They have had some problems that we have had to work through, but God is changing their lives and giving the victory. Lord willing, we will be celebrating their wedding and baptisms soon.

Little by little, Juan Carlos is reaching out to his friends and praying for opportunities to share about Jesus with those who ride in his taxi. Praise the Lord for disciples here in Tarija, Bolivia! May God give us many more people with a desire to truly follow Him.

Make a difference on your knees.PRAY: This month, pray for new believers like Juan Carlos and Dalia. Pray that God will continue to help them find victory in Him. Also ask that God will grant them courage and help them as they begin sharing their faith with others.

Monday, October 20, 2014

Prayer Calendar: October 19-25

Your missions inspired prayer point from The Call magazine this week is:

PRAISE God for open hearts of Juan Carlos and Dalia, who are eager to become disciples of Jesus Christ.

To learn more about Juan Carlos and Dalia's story check out Back to Basics by Nathan Schmidt, missionary to Bolivia.

Friday, October 17, 2014

Discipleship Takes a Team

An excerpt from...

Discipleship Takes a Team

By Kristi Crisp, Support Staff
October-December 2014

Discipleship Takes a Team
What do you do when your children’s ministry breeches the 100 mark? You call in the reinforcements! The Cristo Viene church in Paraguay and Pastor Nilda Vazquez did just that as this church began to see significant growth over the past few weeks. The World Gospel Mission missionary team responded, helping to fill the gaps.

The weekend I was there, I experienced firsthand why sometimes discipleship takes a team. The kids attending this Saturday morning worship service come from the community surrounding this modest church. These kids have street smarts. They come from broken, underprivileged families, some providing for themselves by stealing. Yet on Saturday mornings, the Cristo Viene church opens its doors and its hearts to these children, offering a safe, positive environment where Jesus can be seen in the lives of this body of believers. The church has seen the needs of the kids and started providing lunch for this crew so no one leaves hungry. All of these things, plus learning more about the God who created these little ones, started a growth spurt in this ministry outreach.

In comes the team to help minister….
Mark Donahue and his friend Hugo Leguizamón led a singing competition between the girls and the boys. Man, could they sing! There is not a more joyful noise than hearing little ones jump, shout, and praise Jesus.

Sharon Carr brought her puppet ministry team to share Bible stories with the little ones. The puppet team is made up of young leaders in a nearby church. It was a blessing to see these teens using their talents to share the love of Christ with those younger than themselves.

Larry Carr used illusions to share biblical truths with the kids. His sleight of hand kept the kids guessing what would come next. I mean who doesn’t like a good magic trick?
Pastor Vazquez and her family ended our service by blessing each little one with a shoebox from Samaritan’s Purse. It was a joy to see the kids open their boxes and enjoy the goodies that had been packed especially for them.

Sometimes it takes a team. Just as God used His team of disciples to minister to the hearts of the people they visited, Cristo Viene is following that same model. And what better reason than seeing children come to know Jesus as their personal Savior!

Serve Jesus with your team.ACT: Get your “team” together for a ministry outreach opportunity. Encourage your sphere of influence to clean up a neighborhood park or serve dinner at your local mission. The way you serve is your choice, but take time to serve Jesus with fellow believers this year.

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Nobody has Told Me about Jesus

An excerpt from...

Nobody has Told Me about Jesus

By Adhanom Hidug, Missionary, South Sudan
October-December 2014

Nobody Has Told Me about Jesus
Akudhiar, a teenage Dinka girl, lives in my neighborhood. One early afternoon I had the following conversation with her.
Me: “Akudhiar, are you a Christian?”
Akudhiar: “Yes.”
Me: “So, you know Jesus?”
Akudhiar: “What is Jesus?”
Me: “Jesus Christ.”
Akudhiar: “I don’t know that.”

Malual, a boy I am discipling, was helping me with the translation of my conversation with Akudhiar, and he burst into laughter. Akudhiar didn’t feel good on account of his laughter. Then she said to me, “Nobody has told me about Jesus.” I wondered how she claimed to be a Christian without knowing Jesus.

“Okay, would you like to know Jesus?” I asked her. Malual, noticing my seriousness and Akudhiar’s feelings, struggled to control his laughter. I struggled not to let my tears flow. The reply from Akudhiar was positive—she wanted to know about Jesus.

Akudhiar’s case is not an isolated one. Many people in my village would tell me that they are Christians, but few manage to give me the right answers to basic questions that I ask them about Christianity. One of the main causes for this is the shortage of biblically equipped people who are capable to tell about Jesus. 

There are several pastors in the area, but most of them lack proper biblical training. As a result, their knowledge of the Word of God and their ministry of the Word is limited. But, if the number of biblically trained pastors increases, I believe the number of people who don’t know Jesus will decrease significantly.

To help this happen, Mango Ministries has decided one of our ministry areas will be the empowerment of local church leaders. We do this through Community Health Evangelism and Simply the Story (STS), an oral strategy of inductive Bible study. Besides those methods, I spend a lot of time with the church people, in general, and with the pastors, in particular. During such times, God gives me opportunities to empower the pastors and other church leaders. I see transformation in a number of the pastors and other church leaders. God is at work. I expect revival in our area and beyond from the empowerment of these leaders—a revival that will reach out to people like Akudhiar.

Editor’s Note: Akudhiar is now regularly attending church services, and she is growing in her knowledge and following of Jesus.

Have you shared Christ with your neighbors recently? ACT: Have you shared Christ with your neighbors? Take time to affirm your belief in Christ during your next conversation with them. Let them know you will make them and their family part of your prayer life.

Sunday, October 12, 2014

Prayer Calendar: October 12-18, 2014

Your missions prayer point inspired by the Oct/Nov/Dec issue of The Call this week is:

PRAY that those in South Sudan who claim the label “Christian” will come to a full understanding of the gospel. 

Adhanom Hidug, WGM Missionary to South Sudan, recently had a conversation that went something like this:
Adhanom: “Akudhiar, are you a Christian?”
Girl: “Yes.”
Adhanom: “So, you know Jesus?”
Girl: “What is Jesus? I don’t know that.” 

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Mission: Possible

An excerpt from...

Mission: Possible

By Susana Bev Donahue, Missionary, Paraguay
October-December 2014

Mission: Possible
Have you ever given a Bible to someone and then one day that person shows up at your home, Bible in hand, to return it to you?

Well, that is exactly what happened to me. After hearing the doorbell ring, I opened the door and found my former neighbor at the gate in a very angry state of mind with God. In her hand was the New Living Translation of the New Testament in Spanish that I had given her as a gift. She was returning it to me out of respect, because she did not want to tear it up in her outrage against God.

Well, you can imagine how I felt. It was the first time someone had returned a Bible to me in such a manner. I was discouraged. My neighbor was struggling with cancer, family problems, etc., and it seemed to me that if there was ever a time when someone needed God’s Word, it was now.

I continued to pray for her and decided to pay her a visit a little later. I rang the doorbell, not sure if I would be welcomed or not. My friend came to the door and, as always, seemed to be glad to see me. She welcomed me in and I sat down to listen. She was still struggling with God, feeling that if He was listening, why didn’t He do something.

I persisted in befriending my former neighbor. I was surprised when one day she had a special request. She asked if I had an old Spanish Bible that she could borrow. So a used Bible with the Old and New Testaments was delivered to her. The good news is that this Bible has stayed with her. It is a delight when I visit her and she pulls it out to share a passage with her daughter and me.

My husband, Mark, and I desire your prayers. Quite honestly, sometimes we can be tempted to look at circumstances, wondering if anything will ever change, instead of looking to our God who is able. At times we feel as if we are on a mission impossible or one that requires much faith like Abraham. Abraham, as the Bible explains, had faith to believe what God had promised even when it looked as though all hope was gone. We continue to be called to be faithful, sharing the Word and praying for God’s kingdom to come and reign in their hearts.

Make a difference on your knees.PRAY: This month, pray for the WGM missionary staff, like the Donahues, who are involved in one-on-one discipleship each week. May God grant wisdom, creativity, and encouragement as they pour into lives.

Sunday, October 5, 2014

Prayer Calendar: October 5-11, 2014

Your missions prayer point inspired by The Call magazine this week is:

PRAY for missionaries like Bev Donahue who share God’s love in spite of opposition and frustrations. 

Have you faced opposition in ministry? Maybe you can relate. Read more of Bev's story Mission: Possible in the Oct/Nov/Dec 2014 issue.

Thursday, October 2, 2014

What Does It Mean to Be a Disciple?

An excerpt from...

What Does It Mean to Be a Disciple?

By Hubert Harriman, President
October-December 2014

What Does It Mean to Be a Disciple?The Bible is full of words known and understood in the various cultures and contexts of its day, but those words took on a different flavor when God poured Himself into them. When Jesus took hold of a very well-known word and practice in His day—disciple—He took it to another level. One cannot read His words in Luke 14:26-27 without knowing this. Turning to the great multitudes who were going with Him, He said, “If anyone comes to me and does not hate (or, does not put me before and above) father and mother, wife and children, brothers and sisters—yes, even their own life—such a person cannot be my disciple. And whoever does not carry their cross and follow me cannot be my disciple” (NIV). All of a sudden, not only was this word raised to a different level; it was a call to a different lifestyle.

It is extremely discomforting to be called to do something we know we ought to do but to not want to be bothered. But this word, this call, won’t leave us alone, and, no matter our attempts to try to tone the language down to suit our more self-oriented side, this word bothers us—and more than one Jonah has run from the divine ought in his or her life.

I heard one father lament that his son didn’t like the things he liked. I think Jesus laments that, of the multitudes who claim His name, few like what He likes. This makes me believe that the root cause for poor discipleship has more to do with taste than it does with faith. For many of us, the word disciple is not easy to swallow. We have no taste for it.

In the story of the woman at the well, when the disciples, who had gone into the village to buy food, brought their food to Jesus, He said to them, “I have food to eat that you know nothing about” (John 4:32). When they wondered if someone had brought him food, Jesus responded by saying, “My food is to do the will of him who sent me and to finish his work” (4:34). Too many have no taste for this kind of food—the food of a disciple: (1) to do the will of our Father, (2) to finish the work of our Father, and (3) to give witness to the way to our Father. A disciple who isn’t always reaching out to another needy soul, as Jesus did with the woman at the well, will starve to death. Sadly, many who call themselves disciples know nothing about this food.

So, what does it mean to be a disciple? A true disciple of Jesus Christ likes what Jesus likes, which is giving oneself completely to the Father’s will—souls! It took the infilling with the Holy Spirit to change the disciples’ taste. So, what are you eating?

Dig into Luke 14:25–35.MORE: Dig a little deeper into the text this week. Read Luke 14:25–35 to learn more about the cost of being a disciple.

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Prayer Calendar: October 1-5, 2014

Your missions prayer point from the Making Disciples issue of The Call is:

PRAY that God will give you a desire to give yourself completely to the Father’s will in order to be a true disciple.