Tuesday, January 28, 2014

United in Love

An excerpt from...

United in Love

Missionary serving in media
January-March 2014

United in LoveIn my first term overseas, I have partnered with five organizations in four countries. These partnerships were unexpected, but so beneficial. I worked on projects I never could have dreamed about. We were united in Christ, not in denomination or doctrine. We were united in love, not in culture or language.

This made things difficult. Communication wasn’t easy. Conveying complex ideas took time, and many mistakes were made. Forgiveness was a necessity. As the production unfolded, our Western and Eastern cultures began to butt heads.

I was too blunt. As an American, I am task-oriented. And in the fast-paced world of technology and media, this is an important aspect for project completion, but doesn’t always go over so well in the Eastern way of life.

They are more relational. They wanted to talk, to learn, to listen, to take the time to laugh. This is not to say they were lazy or avoided work. No, they indeed got down to business when it was time. They just have a different approach.

Each media project I participated in had one purpose, which was to further Christ’s kingdom. We all wanted to honor Christ; we just had different approaches.

The transformation I saw in the partnership was in me. I am beginning (only just beginning) to see myself from outside my own culture. It is a scary and intimidating process. I am learning to slow down and value slow conversations, getting to know someone a little deeper, rather than always worrying about what to check off my to-do list. And yet I know that my source of real affirmation comes from God’s unconditional love.

God created each one of us in the partnership perfectly. Our personalities, skills, and production approaches are of perfect design to further His kingdom. We must remember the words of Isaiah 41:13, “For I am the Lord your God who takes hold of your right hand and says to you, Do not fear; I will help you” (NIV).

Pray!PRAY: Are you seeking the Lord’s help in your partnerships? Has conflict taken over where love once overflowed? Take time to ask Jesus for guidance in redeeming the conflict and allow Christ to be glorified in your work.

Monday, January 27, 2014

Prayer Calendar: January 26-February 1

Your missions prayer point inspired by The Call magazine for January 26-February 1: 

PRAY for God’s grace and understanding to unite cross-cultural ministry teams.

Thursday, January 23, 2014

Legacy of Hope

An excerpt from...

Legacy of Hope

By Maria Martin, Volunteer
January-March 2014

Legacy of Hope
New Hope Church is home to a small congregation in Lewisville, a small town in rural Indiana. At first glance, this congregation is the quintessential small town church, but the people of New Hope have a better grasp on true Christian community than most.

Founded in 1967, the congregation of about 80 split a few years ago. Attendance decreased following the split, and it became apparent that keeping the property would be unreasonable for such a small group. The church board decided on April 3, 2013, to dissolve the church and sell the property. The church closed soon after.

At a small ceremony in July 2013, former church members gathered to carry out what was instructed in church bylaws: to divide the substantial remaining funds from the sale of the property equally among three different missions organizations—World Gospel Mission, One Mission Society, and World Missionary Press. Tears were shed, testimonies and fond memories were shared, and, although many in the room were strangers, a deep sense of community in the body of Christ bound the group together.

Christian community, as this little gathering of people discovered, is not defined by a common way of life, by the place people live, or even by friendship. Rather, it is a bond created by a shared desire to work toward the common goal of fulfilling the Great Commission. This little ceremony is proof that, surrounded by Christian community, even the closing of a church can be a source of real hope.

Give!GIVE: Do you want to leave behind a legacy of hope? Visit www.wgm.org/will or contact Shelly McCollum, WGM’s chief financial officer, at stewardship@wgm.org or 765.671.7247 to learn more about how you can leave a part of your estate to WGM.

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Radio Lumiere

An excerpt from...

Radio Lumiere

Partnerships for Christian radio
By Paul ShingledeckerHaiti
January-March 2014

Radio Lumière
One of the all-time challenges in missions is to nationalize the ministries we start. How do we not only get people saved and churches planted, but also ensure that these churches grow and reproduce?

One important tool in nationalization is partnerships. My wife, Pat, and I went to Haiti in 1980. World Gospel Mission was planting churches and evangelizing the Central Plateau. Our job was to support that ministry with radio broadcasting on Radio Lumière. A number of years later, all of the ministries were turned over to the national pastors and the missionaries began to leave. The nationals were capable and ready to go on their own.

But what about Radio Lumière? By then it was a network of nine radio stations, four mountaintop relays, and five regional studios. Not only was it highly technical, but it also cost a lot to operate. The national pastors valued it and wanted it, but they didn’t have the resources to keep it going.

Enter partnerships. WGM, World Team, and several others have continued to partner with the national church and Radio Lumière to keep it on the air. Pat and I didn’t leave Haiti when the other missionaries did. For another 16 years, we worked alongside our Haitian counterparts, partnering to continue to build and develop the radio ministry. We trained Haitians so they could take over.

Today Radio Lumière is owned by the Haitian national churches and entirely in their hands. They are totally responsible for the operation of this vital ministry to the Haitian people. Does this mean the partnership is over? No, there are still areas where they need our help.
  1. Technicians: WGM still partners with Radio Lumière by sending missionary technicians and short-term volunteers to help fix and maintain equipment. Contact recruiting@wgm.org if you are interested in finding out more about partnering in this way.
  2. Prayer: The ministry of Radio Lumière depends on prayer. Pray for the staff and their families. Pray for their safety and for wisdom and anointing as they work. Pray, too, for the installations—the transmitters, the generators, and all the other equipment—that they will function properly and not be damaged and that God will protect from vandals.
  3. Finances: Haiti is the poorest country in the Western Hemisphere, and the Radio Lumière budget is nearly $500,000 a year. You can help keep Radio Lumière on the air with a donation. You can give online at www.wgm.org/radiolumiere.
What is a partnership? It’s coming alongside our national brothers and sisters, working together for the kingdom’s sake.

Act!ACT: Can you partner with Radio Lumière? Take time this month to follow up on one of the ways Radio Lumière still needs partners.

Friday, January 17, 2014

Prayer Calendar: January 19-25, 2014

Your missions prayer point from The Call magazine for the week of January 19-25 is: 

PRAY that ministries like Radio Lumiere that have been nationalized will flourish.

To learn more about the partnerships of Radio Lumiere visit: www.wgm.org/radio

Thursday, January 16, 2014

Thankful for Thistles

An expert from...

Thankful for Thistles

Thankful for Thistles

I never thought I’d be thankful for Texas thistles. When we moved to McAllen, Texas, to serve at Taylor Community Center, we quickly realized that the grass was deceptive. Unlike our plush grass in Indiana, south Texas grass is riddled with small thistles that cause a lot of pain to unsuspecting feet! It didn’t take my two toddlers long to realize that if they went outside, their feet had better be properly clad so they wouldn’t get espinas (Spanish for thorns).

Around Easter, my son Jayden brought home a set of Resurrection Eggs from Taylor Christian School. I used the eggs to share the Easter story with my kids. When I got to the sixth egg and pulled out a small laminated paper with a picture of a crown of thorns, the boys knew instantly that they were espinas. I explained that the soldiers had placed those thorns on Jesus’ head, and my little boys, who knew very well the pain associated with thistles, grew very concerned for Jesus.

“Ouchie! Espinas hurt!”

“The bad soldiers hurt Jesus!”

Months later, the boys still remember the pain Jesus suffered. Because of their personal experience with Texas thistles, my boys caught a glimpse of Jesus’ suffering. As we serve God in Texas, thistles have helped us clarify to our children what we do. We get to share Jesus’ suffering, His love, and His resurrection with others.

In the spirit of this issue, I ask you to partner with me in prayer for missionary kids. It is hard for them to share their parents with so many people. Pray that the Lord will give missionary parents wisdom as we balance ministry while raising our kids to love the same Jesus we share with others. Pray for God to touch each MK’s heart to receive all the amazing love of Jesus. Enough love to wear espinas.

Pray!PRAY: Join the MK prayer partnership. WGM offers a monthly prayer calendar that lists a different MK each day of the month to help guide your prayers. Print or view the calendar at www.wgm.org/praycal.

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Partnership: Pan African Academy of Christian Surgeons

An excerpt from...

Partnership: Pan African Academy of Christian Surgeons

Networking mission hospitals to train national missionary surgeons
By Dr. David Stevens, WGM Board of Directors
January-March 2014

Partnership: Pan African Academy of Christian Surgeons
There is one trained surgeon in Africa for every 250,000 to 2.5 million people. (That’s like having four surgeons for New York City!) A nationalized mission hospital won’t survive financially without a surgeon. That’s why the Christian Medical & Dental Associations started the Pan African Academy of Christian Surgeons to help catalyze, resource, accredit, and network mission hospitals to train national missionary surgeons.

I served for 11 years at Tenwek Hospital, which headed the list of ideal hospitals for one of the first training programs. World Gospel Mission has a long history of synergizing with other organizations of like mind. Like CMDA, WGM knows that the product is always more than the sum of the parts when you are not worried about who gets the credit—except for God.

Tenwek has very advanced surgical and research capabilities, so residents from other PAACS-affiliated hospitals often rotate there. It is the only mission hospital in sub-Saharan Africa doing open heart surgery and is a world leader in the surgical treatment of esophageal cancer.

The PAACS residency program is now functioning in seven mission hospitals, and two more in Tanzania are about to join the effort. Forty surgeons have been trained and 40 more are now being taught in five-year programs. Highly competent and discipled, they will bring surgery and salvation for Africa for decades to come.

Working together, we can always do more!

Give!GIVE: While Tenwek Hospital’s medical services are patient-fee funded and usually affordable, these services are also made possible through donations from ministry partners like you. Learn how you can partner with Tenwek Hospital at www.wgm.org/tenwek.

Monday, January 13, 2014

Prayer Calendar

Your missions prayer point from The Call is:

January 12-18: 

PRAY that more African surgeons will remain in their homelands, reaching the medical needs of their own communities.

This prayer point is inspired by the article Partnership: Pan African Academy of Christian Surgeons:

"There is one trained surgeon in Africa for every 250,000 to 2.5 million people. (That’s like having four surgeons for New York City!)"

Friday, January 10, 2014

Transforming Students

An excerpt from...

Transforming Students

Partnering with West Africa Theological Seminary
By Shelley ChapmanNigeria
January-March 2014

Transforming Students to Transform CommunitiesWhat does it take to transform a community—a village, a city, a state, a country, a continent—for God’s glory? The task is daunting. I am reminded, though, of something that management expert and systems thinker Peter Senge said: “Organizations learn only through individuals who learn.” We could say that “Communities transform only through individuals who transform.”(Quoted from The Fifth Discipline: The Art and Practice of the Learning Organization.)

West Africa Theological Seminary in Nigeria is in the business of helping individuals transform. Students come from diverse communities of their own, representing 100 denominations and more than 10 countries. They come for academic achievement and spiritual growth so they can take places of leadership in their home villages and states. They attend classes, worship regularly in chapel, participate in discipleship groups, engage in outreach ministries, and seek to live and grow together in the kingdom of God.

Throughout its nearly 25-year history, WATS has capitalized on a community of strategic partnerships that helped the school to focus on the transformation of individual students so they can lead transformation efforts in their home communities. And now, World Gospel Mission is joining the team by sending two missionaries to WATS in 2014.

A great community of helpers contributes to transform individual students, who, in turn, help transform their home villages and churches, as well as distant mission fields—all for the glory of God.

Give!GIVE: Shelley Chapman and Jennifer Bennett need ministry partners to come alongside them financially to see that this partnership with WATS becomes reality. To join team WGM Nigeria, make a donation at www.wgm.org/chapman or www.wgm.org/bennett today!

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Spreading the Good News at Home and Around the World

An excerpt from...

Spreading the Good News at Home and Around the World

By Ned McGrady, Member Health
January-March 2014

Spreading the Good News at Home and Around the World
Marion, Indiana, has been the home of World Gospel Mission now for more than 60 years. WGM is excited to be involved in transformational change through a unique partnership with Habitat for Missionaries.

Habitat for Missionaries is a nonprofit organization committed to providing building skill training and financial support for evangelical Christian missionaries via the rehabbing and building of homes across North America. It was founded by retired missionaries Rev. Bill and Daphne Foster.

In this partnership, Bill Bucher, WGM’s director of Men With Vision, has coordinated the efforts of WGM staff, Men With Vision chapters, and church volunteers to help rehab a home at 3727 Nebraska Street, Marion, Indiana. Remodeling this home will benefit the community as well as missions in many ways as volunteers provide the labor to restore this home to its intended value.

WGM benefits from the proceeds of the remodeling of this home. Due to the excellent leadership of Bill Bucher and many volunteers, the labor that was donated by skilled and nonskilled volunteers creates a profit margin that allows WGM’s Member Health Department to receive funds. The proceeds from this home can be used for travel to make pastoral visits, hold retreats, and provide support and encouragement to our missionaries serving around the world. As our missionaries are cared for and ministered to, the gospel of Jesus Christ continues to go forth and lives are transformed and changed by God’s amazing love.

Transformational change is what the gospel is really all about. We see that demonstrated from an abandoned house in Marion to the mission fields around the world. What a unique way to spread the Good News at home and abroad.

More!MORE: Your church can partner with Habitat for Missionaries, too. This may be the step of faith God is asking you to take to increase your missions giving as a community. Learn more about serving at www.habitatformissionaries.com.

Monday, January 6, 2014

Prayer Calendar: January 5-11, 2014

Happy New Year from The Call magazine! Join The Call readers in lifting this new missions prayer point in praise this week:

PRAISE God for missional partnerships like Habitat for Missionaries and Men With Vision.

The Jan/Feb/March issue will focus on many of the World Gospel Mission partnerships that allow God's work to continue across the globe.