Reaching Across Cultural Lines
Sixteen years ago, a young man named Fredy decided to leave his home and family in Honduras with a dream of one day providing a better future for his children. He set out on a journey that took over a year.He finally settled in St Louis, MO.
Several years later he was invited to a church service where there would be a special celebration. Fredy completed a visitor connection card. Using his contact information, the pastor occasionally tried to encourage him by sending Bible verses via text. Meanwhile, Fredy’s name was placed on a prayer mural. During weekly prayer meetings, his name was mentioned, and church members prayed for him. Although the vast majority of Latinos profess a Christian faith, Fredy knew very little about Christianity. He does remember watching a movie about Jesus and how He died on a cross for everyone’s sins. This movie was his only reference to Christ.
Fredy says there was a need or a void in his life, so a year after his initial visit, he searched for the phone number of the pastor who texted him Bible verses. He asked for the new church location and visited once again. Not recognizing him, one of the ushers asked Fredy to fill out a connection card. The pastor read his name to the congregation and welcomed Fredy, but he thought to himself: This name is very familiar. Is this the same name from the prayer mural? The pastor said, “Fredy, I do not know you personally, but this congregation has been praying for you, every week, for over a year.”
This was the start of Fredy’s first steps on a new journey – a journey with Jesus Christ.
Today, after six years of being discipled and mentored by his leaders, this young man, who only dreamed of a better future for his children, is now helping transform other lives through his testimony. He co-pastors and leads a bilingual Sunday morning service in the church whose members fervently prayed over his life. He hopes to reach across cultural lines and show the love of God through his life. His three children now serve Jesus Christ as well.
By Gloelma Rivera
Next Generation Church Planters
“Wow! The time in Medellín was incredible. Leaders from 12 countries who are in various stages of church planting met for training in Community Church Planting (CCP). In addition to training, we received materials and people to coach us, and we formed friendships with like-minded colleagues.” That is how Becky Crouse, missionary to Ecuador, described the recent CCP Summit in Colombia. CCP is a grassroots
approach to multiplying disciples, leaders and churches based on Jesus’ teaching in Luke 10 and Matthew 10.
Forty-two people representing 19 cities or projects spent an intense week together in a city formerly known for violence and drug trafficking. The sessions were held in a 10th-floor conference room with a long
wall of glass overlooking the city. Each day included multiple times of prayer. Afterward Andrea Green wrote: “I am convinced the upper room was not a one-time event in history but that the Spirit of Jesus
desires to empower again and again. This is a week that will be written in our history books as the impulse of the Spirit sending out His church to Latin America.” Andrea and Mike Green are VISA missionaries,
pioneer church planting in Montevideo, Uruguay.
Victoria González, an immigrant from Venezuela to Panama (an involuntary missionary), was one of the youngest participants at the CCP Summit. She posted pictures to Facebook with this phrase from John
Wesley: “Give me 100 men who fear nothing but sin and desire nothing but God, and we will change the world.” She added: “Here we are!”
Nikki Roller, a new missionary preparing to move to Colombia with her husband Thad, wrote: “So grateful for the privilege to attend CCP training in the Latin American context. It’s been wonderful to hear of the
great work God is already doing in many countries through awesome, dedicated, faithful leaders passionate about seeing God’s kingdom expand through Community Church Planting. Looking forward to seeing what God will do in each of their countries in the year to come!”
Malvina Roldan, church planter in Buenos Aires, Argentina, said: “These are great people! Now we have a team!” The future of the church in Latin America is safe in the hands of church planters crazyenough to give all for the only Cause that counts. Please join us in prayer that this event will result in a biblical movement of reproducing disciples, leaders and churches to reach Latin America for Christ.
David and Yeya Lopez moved their family to Lima, Peru in January 2017 with a clear call to start a network of new churches using Community Church Planting (CCP). They are international missionaries from a country where the Free Methodist Church is strong, but the economy is in shambles. Their home church is an excellent base of emotional and spiritual support, but the funding has come from individuals and churches in the U.S. – Cross View (FMC) in Snohomish, WA, Christ Community Church (FMC) in Columbus, GA and the FMC in Greenville, IL.
The first year was rough for David and Yeya and their children. Even though the language is the same, the cultural nuances are very different. They were well prepared but still struggled with homesickness
and many adjustments. The other Free Methodist churches in Peru are a long distance from their pioneering project.
Lima is a strategic city. It is the capital of Peru and the cultural, economic and educational hub for the region. The city’s 11 million people live in 50 different neighborhoods that make up the metro area.
At the recent Community Church Planting Summit, David and Yeya showed their map of Lima, with red, yellow and green markers. Four green markers indicated the neighborhoods where they have established house churches called, Casas de Paz or Houses of Peace. Three yellow markers showed districts where they have a contact – with the potential of starting a Casa de Paz. Five red dots marked the communities where they are praying for an open door.
Since the CCP Summit, they have started another second-generation Casa de Paz. One of their house churches multiplied and has leadership. All the house churches gather two times a month for united worship in a rented location, with attendance in the 60s. Sixteen people committed to being partof the CCP training center, preparing to go out to find persons of peace and start Casas de Paz.
David and Yeya were able to participate in the CCP Summit in Medellín, Colombia. There they received further training and materials, refined their vision, wrote up their strategic plan, and connected with
others across the continent who are engaged in a similar faith stretch for the Cause of Christ. They have the call, conviction and commitment: pray that God will give them much fruit as they multiply disciples, leaders and churches to reach all 50 neighborhoods of Lima
By Paul Olver
World Missions Prayer Calendar: November
01 THURSDAY| Bulgaria / Haiti
David and Jill Sweet are missionaries in Bulgaria. Pray for encouragement, patience, and faith as they go through the process of adoption with the anticipation of adding children to their family.
Birthday: Jill Sweet
02 FRIDAY |Latin America
Pray for our Latin American missionaries working alongside national leaders to plant healthy churches using the Community Church Planting strategy. Also, pray for God to grant wisdom and grace in their marriages, families and communities as they labor for the kingdom.
03 SATURDAY | Europe
Pray for the European missionary team as they gather for a retreat November 4-7. Pray for them to be encouraged, and to be refreshed and renewed physically, spiritually and relationally.
04 SUNDAY | Thailand
Pray for missionaries, Seth and Hlawn Hlawn Van Tifflin, as they continue language studies. Ask God to give knowledge and wisdom through their language study so that His kingdom may be extended.
Birthday: Hlawn Hlawn Van Tifflin
05 MONDAY | Japan
Pray for the church in Japan to receive a renewed passion for the lost people around them. Pray for missionaries Chris and Yuko Wilkins as they disciple laity.
Birthday: Yuko Wilkins
06 TUESDAY | Philippines
Pray for the Holy Spirit to grant wisdom and insight to the Philippine Church as they gather together for their General Conference, November 6-8.
07 WEDNESDAY | Egypt
Praise the Lord for over 1,400 house churches. Pray for the house church leaders as they disciple new believers and raise up more leaders.
08 THURSDAY |Botswana
Pray for encouragement for the small group of believers who are meeting in Botswana and for Rev. Mapholisa who is responsible for a church planting project.
09 FRIDAY | Latin America
Guy and Betsy Crawford provide pastoral care and support to FM missionaries in Latin America. Pray for the Lord to give them safety in travel, and discernment and wisdom as they meet with and encourage missionaries.
Birthday: Betsy Crawford
10 SATURDAY| Ukraine
Misha and Lena, a dedicated lay couple, are currently leading the work in Ukraine. Pray for wisdom, spiritual growth and faith as they minister and face daily hardships.
11 SUNDAY | Guinea Bissau
Pastor Rito Mande connected with Pastor Dosseh Takpale from Togo. In 2015, Pastor Rito joined the FM family. He leads the church in Guinea Bissau largely as an outreach to children and their families. Pray for these young people and their parents to be discipled in faith.
12 MONDAY |Middle East
House churches are being planted in several unnamed countries. The number of churches is increasing monthly. Pray for the discipleship and growth of new believers.
13 TUESDAY | Asia Creative Access
Pray for several countries in Asia where persecution of the church has become more common and threatening. Ask God to help believers have courage and peace amid threats and loss of property. Pray for government officials and police who are the persecutors.
14 WEDNESDAY | El Salvador
El Salvador currently has one FMC in the capital city of San Salvador. Pray for multiplication of disciples, leaders and groups, especially in San Salvador where the highest percentage of the population lives.
15 THURSDAY| Mali
Work is underway in one location where a fellowship has started. Pray for people who have been spiritually awakened to gain more knowledge of Christ and give their lives to Him.
16 FRIDAY | Global
Praise the Lord for those who sacrificially give to see the gospel reach the ends of the earth. Pray for Jon Fajardo and others on the finance team who track all giving and are responsible for getting funds to the field.
Birthday: Jon Fajardo, FMWM Finance
17 SATURDAY | Hungary
There are currently two fellowships in Hungary: Budapest and Győr. Pray for positive witness and trust building with people in both communities, that hearts and homes would be opened to the gospel of Christ.
18 SUNDAY| Cambodia
Pray for the leaders as they commit to plant new churches in Cambodia; pray for church planters, and for the new initiative to plant churches in poor rural villages.
19 MONDAY | Israel
Pray for a rental space to be secured that can be used to train church planters and provide a legal address for registration with government authorities.
20 TUESDAY | SEED
Pray for the SEED staff and SEED Champions as they prepare to promote and market SEED livelihood group products during the Christmas season.
21 WEDNESDAY| Asia / Costa Rica
Eric (Asia Area Director) and Virginia travel throughout Asia giving oversight to mission work and leadership development. Pray for their ministry to be fruitful and effective for the Lord’s kingdom, that many would come to know and love Jesus across Asia.
Pray for Kyle Leon as she balances being a wife, mother and missionary.
Birthday: Kyle Leon
22 THURSDAY | Rwanda
Give thanks for the Free Methodist Church in Rwanda which has over 128,000 members. Pray for these church members to live out the message of love, forgiveness and reconciliation in this nation.
23 FRIDAY | Spain
Pray for two congregations that have been established in the Canary Islands and for their community outreach efforts.
24 SATURDAY | Thailand
Pray for a new pastor in Hat Yai, Thailand, that has recently joined the FMC work and is in the process of affiliation. Also, pray for Pastor Joshua (Thailand Country Leader) as he works with several new pastors who have joined during the past 12 months.
25 SUNDAY | Middle East
Pray for ICCM Connected Communities in this region as they help refugee children who cannot attend public school.
26 MONDAY | Nigeria
Three ICCM schools serve the children of Fulani herdsmen in the north. Thank the Lord for the education and the message of the gospel being received in these schools. Pray for continued outreach to the Fulani children and parents.
27 TUESDAY | Creative Access Country – X
In addition to 10 organized FM churches, there are 100 house churches in Country-X and a Bible institute with over 400 students. Pray for these growing and maturing churches as they expand their vision to reach the entire country and region.
28 WEDNESDAY | Bulgaria
Pray for continued development of microenterprises to help pastors and congregations become financially self-sustaining.
29 THURSDAY |Togo
Thank the Lord for missionary Vickie Reynen. Pray for God to continue to grant her wisdom, maturity, passion, and vision, in increasing measure, that she might be an instrument wellhoned for the building of His kingdom.
Birthday: Vickie Reynen
30 FRIDAY | Jordan
Pray for Pastor “H” and Pastor “R” as their congregations work with more than 19,000 refugee families.