Mission Newsletters Reflect God’s Work Worldwide

Post a Comment » Written on January 20th, 2006     
Filed under: News
CHICAGO, IL (January 20, 2006) – God is doing many exciting things throughout the world through projects and ministries of the Evangelical Covenant Church, as reflected in newsletter updates received by the Department of World Mission.

Following are edited excerpts of those update reports, listed by country and those serving:

Japan – Gary and Pauline Carlson

A much larger crowd than expected showed up at the Nakahara Church’s annual bazaar, providing an opportunity to meet many members of the community. A dinner and candlelight service was held at the Hiratsuka Covenant Church on Christmas Eve. It is the emperor’s birthday, which is a national holiday, “so it is a good date for inviting people to attend a Christmas event.”

Mexico – Jo Ellen Reaves

Leaders of a local Covenant women’s group were discussing how they could encourage the women in a small mountain town of Mixistlan de la Reforma, who make embroidered tote bags and blouses, to sell those items through their micro-enterprise. “They had tears in their eyes as I handed over the money that I had received for some of their items while I was visiting in the United States.”

Russia – Leonid and Leanna Regheta

In meeting with Russian pastors and Christian leaders, “we’ve heard over and over about the need for the church in Russia to find new and fresh approaches to the ministry. It seems like many if not all realize the issues and challenges Christians here have to deal with – issues that now are very different from those they faced ten and even five years ago. We already are noticing a lot of soul searching going on as to finding a place for the Christian church in the new world of ever-changing Russia.”

Spain – Robert and Nancy Reed

Attending an international ALPHA conference in London, England, proved inspiring as people from many different denominations and cultures came together. Attending the conference were charismatics, the archbishop of the Russian Orthodox Church, a black Pentecostal pastor of one of the fastest growing churches in London, many Catholic priests – two of whom heard about the event from a Salvation Army pastor – the director of evangelism for the World Council of Churches, Anglicans, and many others. Several youth recently received Christ, including one who had described himself as an atheist. He now is becoming one of the helpers in the youth groups.

Thailand – Doug and Carolyn Johnson

Educating the Isaan people in Northeast Thailand about scripture proved to be as difficult as one church leader told the Johnsons it would be during their first term, largely because “Isaan people are just not readers.” The villagers used to learn about scripture only during their local worship service – if there is one. “One member of a village church is usually trained to lead the Bible study discussion in worship,” the Johnsons advise. Even most of these elders used to read their Bibles only when leading worship or preparing to do so. However, by meeting with small groups and encouraging an entire church last year to read the Bible following a 365-day plan, that has been changing. Now nearly all the Christian villagers are reading their Bibles. “Some have gotten as far as Moses; others are up to the New Testament. In one family, a woman and her two children came to Christ and were baptized after reading the Bible together.”

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