News from GIGA * May 2009
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"I would prefer to be blind…"
Soldiers, blinded by gas during the 1st World-War. A sad and intriguing picture of 'blind leading the blind'. I thought of it while reading Blindness by Nobel prize winner José Saramago. He tells the story of an epidemic of blindness afflicting nearly everyone and the social and moral breakdown that follows.
Not much does scare us more than getting blind. Saramago was not the first to write about this kind of a pandemic. Similar stories were told by J. Wyndham (The Day of the Triffids)and H.G. Wells (The Country of the Blind). Interestingly, all three accounts make the reader identify himself with the one person who still sees, but is surrounded by the blind.
Strangely, at times all three express that they prefer to be blind like all others. It appears to be difficult to be different and see the results of social and moral decay. They get tired of warning the others. The Bible tells us of prophets and preachers who feel desperate and lonely because of their knowledge of the truth. Some consciously closed their eyes and stopped talking about dangers. They decide to share sweet lies instead.
Today the threat of Swine Flu frightens us. But Scripture informs us about a more devastating pandemic: spiritual blindness. As Christians we know that "where there is no vision, the people perish". But like the prophets, we may be tempted to stop talking about it and just affirm the blind by sharing sweet stories. Moses and Jeremiah knew the temptation. So did Jesus. But praise God, He did not give in, although 'the blind' spit Him out and crucified Him. Focusing on his Father's will He opened the grave, giving to the blind a glimpse of heaven.
Let us recommit ourselves to God so that He
can use us to give sight to the blind.
A higher vocation is unthinkable,
no brighter perspective imaginable!
Executive President AWF
New Union of Russian Churches
Approximately 700 Churches were represented at the First Congress of the All-Russian Commonwealth of Evangelical Christians (ACEC) held in Moscow in April.
ACEC connects churches which until now were not part of any All-Russian union. The National Alliance Churches played an important role in the integration process, which already led to joint conferences and training seminars. Mission has been adopted as a strategic goal.
Regional Coordinator Vernon Rehmann (photo, 2nd from the right) represented the AWF during the Congress. In April, the National Alliance Church also elected Alexander Kornev as their new president, to replace Alexei Yeropkin (2nd left).
The AWF Europe ME Region is involved in a social project for Russian speaking citizens in Israel.
African Alliance Youth Conference
Young people from many African countries will gather in Côte d'Ivoire to celebrate the 30th anniversary of the National Youth Movement and to be taught by renowned speakers. God has used this movement, called UJAC in French, to encourage young African men and women to dedicate their lives to Christ. Main speaker this time will be Rev. Isaac Keïta, dean of FATEAC in Abidjan and Regional AWF Coordinator. He will speak on: "The role of Christian Youth in a time of Crisis".
Pray for the preparations of this important event which will take place in capital city Yamoussoukro, August 16-21.
Youth event in Spain
A 3rd Almeria Youth camp in Spain is scheduled for August 5-19. Alliance young people from around the globe are invited to participate! For more information see: AWFoutreach.net
In the name of Allah / In the name of Jesus
We traveled 2500 km by road in West-Africa. A lot happened, but let me start with the most unexpected. While in Guinea, we zigzagged slowly between the holes in the road. Then suddenly we heard a deafening bang. The rear-window of our minivan bursts in uncountable splinters. On the asphalt we see a man-in-gown, lying beside a broken moped. Getting on his feet he says: Sorry, my brakes do not work. His bonnet lies between the splinters in our van, but he himself isn't hurt badly.
Our team of six, decides to take the man and the moped to the next village: Bissikrima. Immediately a tribunal is set up at the police station in which the seniors of the village play a key role (photo right). After hours of palavering it is determined that the man-who-lost-his-bonnet (on the photograph in yellowish green) will have to pay for our window, but they add: "He doesn't have a penny".
We realize that if we stick to our accusation he may end up in jail, which doesn't really help us. So we decide to forgive without payment. Isaac Keïta, our AWF coordinator, communicates the outcome to the tribunal, beautifully packed in a Gospel-message; we forgive because we have been forgiven. Everyone starts shouting with joy and a village-elder spontaneously utters a long prayer in which he thanks in Allah's name for the attitude of the Christians. Then Isaac adds a prayer in the name of Jesus.
It took us many hours, but we hope that our testimony in Bissikrima will result in openness for the Lord Jesus. As far as we know, there is not even one Christian in Bissikrima.
Our trip started in Abidjan and took us to Mali and Guinea. We met with many workers who made a deep impression on us. Among them teachers, evangelists and medical staff. In Conakry we had a meeting with the new Government Minister of Religious Affairs (center photo left). He is Muslim, but very open to collaborate with Christian Churches.
Finally we visited a clinic where many patients are being treated with Christian love. Some of them found Christ in this place! We encourage you to thank God for the open doors in Guinea and ask for prayer for the government which took office last year. And please pray for Bissikrima.
May Christ be known and glorified in this village as well as in all the others yet unreached.
Dr. Roger Lang 'AWF Ambassador'
Together with other organizations the AWF participates in the International Training Alliance, which offers so-called Leadership Matters Courses. Many Alliance leaders went through these courses and speak highly of the positive impact LMC has had in various areas of their ministry. The AWF Executive Committee asked dr. Lang to serve as their Official Liaison to LMC, which he gladly accepted. Roger has been teaching at many LMC events. For more information go to: www.leadershipmatters.ws
AWF Quadrennial Convocation 2012 in Canada
For the first time Canada, the native country of our founder, A.B. Simpson, will host the Quadrennial Assembly of the AWF. The year 2012 marks the C&MA's 125th Anniversary which gives special reason to praise God for what He has done in the past and to rededicate ourselves to His will. The AWF Executive Committee gratefully accepted the invitation of the Canadian Church. Since 1975 Quadrennial Assemblies have taken place in: China/Hong Kong (2x), Peru, the USA (2x), Côte d’Ivoire, South Korea, The Netherlands and Chile.
Revision of the AWF Constitution
The Executive Committee of the AWF is working on a revised version of the constitution. The document has “grown” over the years with various modifications being made from time to time. Because of these it lacks uniformity and some things seem to be out of place. Beyond that there are substantive issues that relate to how the AWF is structured and administered. This has to do, for instance, with membership requirements, administrative structures and financial issues. The members will be informed and asked for their input in the coming years. It is the hope of the Committee that a completed revision of the constitution and by-laws will be ready one year prior to the 2012 Quadrennial Convocation, when a vote will be taken to adopt it or not.
Chinese Global Gathering
The Chinese Canadian Alliance organizes a Joint Mission Conference (JMC-2009) July 1-5, 2009. It takes place every four years and generally draws over 1,200 persons. AWF president Arie Verduijn will be one of the speakers. The Chinese branch of the C&MA in Canada consists of 78 churches and some 30,000 believers. JMC-2005 was attended by two thousand delegates from Canada and around the world. The theme of JMC-2009 will be “All for Jesus”. The intention is to bring to Canada all of the branches from the Chinese Alliance World Fellowship, CWAF, which was established shortly after our AWF 2004 Quadrennial conference in the Netherlands.
Who is who in the AWF-Family?
Name: Dr. Samuel Kamano
Born: June 11, 1958
Family: 3 daughters, 1 son
Function: President of the National Alliance Church in Guinea & Professor at the Theological Institute in Conakry,
Churches / believers in Guinea:525 / 83,000
What impacted you most?
When I was 6 years old I played being a pastor. I preached to my friends and baptized them. As a teenager I promised the Lord that I would seek to share the gospel at school as often as possible. Again I was called pastor, but began to dislike a future in a full-time spiritual ministry. In that period I heard a sermon about Es.6 and was convinced that God was actually calling me!
Favorite bible passage:
Isaiah 6, because the Lord used it to lead me into serving Him full-time
'The Pilgrim's Progress' by John Bunyan
Many Christians do not know the fullness of Christ. If they would, the Church would have much less problems. The challenge is to lead in such a way that the Guinean Church will crave for that fullness again.
What is your dream:
That in 10 years all People Groups in Guinea will be reached with the gospel by a renewed Church
AWF Week of Prayer
The AWF invites all members to pray for the world and for each other. To promote prayer we urge Alliance Churches to set aside the first full week of May as an annual “Alliance World Week of Prayer”, culminating in an “Alliance World Day of Prayer” at the end of that week. Several national Churches already choose this particular week of the year. For others we propose to set this week apart, beginning in 2010. Dates for this year are: May 3-10. For 2010: May 2-9; 2011: May 1-8 etcetera.
May this event lead us to cry out to God for a world in need and to celebrate what He is doing to further His Kingdom. The AWF also strongly recommends all churches to join in other prayer events like the “International Day of Prayer for the Persecuted Church” (see the special website: www.idop.org). This event takes place during the first full week of November. In 2009 this is on November 8
Chile and Ecuador prepare for sending workers to countries in the 6th Region, in collaboration with AWF
May 26-31: General Council C&MA USA in Louisville, Kentucky
June 4-6 EMERALD Regional Conference in the United Kingdom.
June 25-27: AWF-APAC Region will hold a Presidents Gathering, in Thailand
July 1 – 5th, 2009: Chinese Conference JMC 2009 in Canada
August 25-29 CLA Meetings in Colombia
Two short term AWF Outreaches this summer
This summer the Alliance World Fellowship Europe (AWF-Emerald) organises a missiontrip in the South of Spain and a Worktrip in Israel. You, or maybe your fellow churchmembers, are invited to join. Below you can find the flyers for both shortterm project.
For more information please check out our website: www.AWFoutreach.net. Also feel free to contact us.
News from GIGA * October 2008
»download this GIGA in .pdf
»download this GIGA in .doc
Prophets of Profit
“You who have no money, come, buy and eat!”
My father was a shoemaker and owned a small shop in which my mother worked as shop-assistant. Raising their nine children meant they had to work hard to pay all the bills. Common sense urged them to live according to a plain principle: you can’t spend money not yet earned.
It seems as if the western world somehow dropped this simple rule and embraced the foolish conviction that a plastic card could supply as much purchasing power as earned wages. Goods were paid with money not yet earned. In James’ words: “wealth has rotted, gold and silver corroded”. Well-dressed bankers talked like Isaiah and make him sound like a Prophet of Profit: “You who have no money, come, buy and eat!” (Is. 55). Conveniently other words from Isaiah were neglected. Like what he said to those whose “land is full of silver and gold; with no end to their treasure, no end to their chariots”. The prophet announced judgment over these “proud and lofty” nations (2:12), whose leaders “lead astray”(3:12) whose “prophets teach lies”(9:15). They honored manmade gods like many in our days worship Mammon and his Sacred Credit Card. They pray to “gods that cannot save”(45:20). Nonetheless God says: "Turn to me and be saved, for I am God, and there is no other”(45:22). He is a God of Grace!
There is a huge difference between credit loans and biblical grace: God’s grace is granted because it has been paid for. Not by the recipient but by the Giver. The prophet’s invitation to “come, buy and eat without money” is preceded by Is.53, which explains that the price had been paid by the Messiah. Christ paid for all that can be obtained without money; for justice, peace and “many mansions in the Father's house”. All it takes is: “Turn to Him and be saved”. The result will be a longing to live to His glory by applying the wisdom of His word. Wise words like; "if a man will not work, he shall not eat." (2Thess 3:10). And “whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, … you will receive an inheritance from the Lord as a reward” (Col.3:23f). No false promises, but honest and bold predictions about the “trouble you will have in this world. But take heart! I have overcome the world."(John 16:33). His victory should be our joy, His Kingdom our focus, His glory our aspiration.
Executive President AWF
DR Congo Alliance Church sends workers to 6th Region
The Alliance Church in Congo reached a new milestone in its long and eventful history. Two couples are ready to leave for Guinea, West-Africa. The vision for this project took shape in 2006 when the AWF brought representatives from the two countries together for prayer and planning.
It appeared that the religious situation in Congo, with a vast majority of Christians, is exactly opposite of the situation in Guinea, where only a tiny minority knows Christ as Savior. The Congolese Church decided to start a partnership with the Guinean Church in its mission to reach the unreached people groups in the country. The AWF and the Congolese Church both pledged 50% of all expenses.
Pray for the couples as they prepare to travel to Guinea this month.
Left: Josaphat NZUNGU BAKISI and his wife Adolphine TSINU PAKALA.
Right: LANDU NGUALA and his wife Adéline KHONDE NANGA with their two-year old son Victor Hugo MATONDO DIKOBA.
If you want to support this project you can send a check, or transfer to the AWF Account as mentioned at the end of this bulletin. Please label your gift “Congo-Guinea”.
Prayer during commissioning service (Kinshasa)
Rebels attack churches in the Philippines
Christian Churches are often targeted by militant groups on Mindanao, the second largest island in the Philippines. Last weekend it happened again. While leaders were participating in a leadership training course they received the news that Muslim rebels had attacked and occupied an Alliance church building and taken hostages. These kind of threats occur regularly in the country. Pray for a peaceful solution.
Alliance Churches in Thailand consider sending 2nd family in missions
Pastor Manop and his family responded to the call to minister among the Thai contract workers in South-Korea. They prayed for during the recent annual gathering of the Mahapawn Churches. God willing the family will leave Thailand in April, 2009. Pray for the smooth processing of the visa and other needs. The first Thai missionaries, Ekarin Khamsiang and his wife, work in Taiwan. Praise God for providing a bigger place to worship.
Asian Alliance Women in Action
Alliance Women from the Philippines organized a Missions Conference in India. They collaborated with the Gujarat Church leadership to mobilize Indian women for Missions. Theme of the conference was: 'Alliance Women: Towards a deeper passion for the unreached'. One of the speakers was AWF Regional Coordinator Roland Lumawag.
Passion for Missions:
Latin-American Missions leaders from all over
the continent met in Ecuador for training and sharing of resources. They focused on the “6th Region”. What kind of people should we send? What does it cost? How will they communicate and get pastoral care? What can we learn from others working in the region? These were the questions on the table.
Pray for these Missions leaders, among whom several women, as they prepare to send workers in from Chili, Ecuador and Peru.
Iraqi pastor returns from ´exile´
Pastor Ghassan Thomas and his family have recently returned to Baghdad, Iraq. In April they had to leave the city because of indications that a death squad of a terrorist group was planning to kill Ghassan. Over a period of several days in September the Lord began to tell him that it was time to return. Then he received two confirming phone calls from brothers who told him that the Lord had told them the same thing as well. Ghassan decided to return to Baghdad late last month. The outreach of the Baghdad church continues to be strong. In mid-October they baptized 45 people. As well, outreach efforts in Northern Iraq (Kurdistan) are seeing the Lord’s blessing.
Ghassan has been able to register the C&MA of Iraq in Kurdistan along with an international church. On a recent Sunday afternoon 9 people were baptized in a mountain stream and other baptisms are occurring in other cities in this region.
The vision the Lord gave Ghassan of planting 18 Alliance churches in Iraq is being fulfilled. There are currently five. Ghassan says, “I am ‘pregnant’ with 13 other churches!” And two more are almost ready to be born. Please continue to pray for our brothers and sisters in Iraq who daily face hardships and dangers that many of us cannot imagine. Yet in spite of that the Lord’s work continues to move forward. Praise Him for those who are coming into His Kingdom!
Almeria Outreach 2008
This summer the Alliance World Fellowship Europe (AWF-Emerald) organized a missiontrip in the South of Spain. An international group of 11 young adults went to Almeria to visit the local Alliance churches and do plenty of other activities.
Six Germans, two British, two Russians and someone from the Netherlands had the desire to spread the gospel by distributing Christian literature to Spaniards, immigrants from Africa but also Eastern-Europeans and Arabs living in Europe but traveling to their home country during this time of the year. The team also had teachings about the Islamic religion and bible studies together. They studied the letter from Paul to the Philippians in which he encourages the Phillippians to stand firm and fulfill a life worthy of the Gospel. Paul prays with joy about them because of their partnership and fellowship in the gospel. The team experienced the same kind of fellowship but also necessity, responsibly and joy to reach out to others. It was good to listen to each others experiences with people passing by. Although some people reject the material there were also many people accepting the material, sometimes even with a big smile and twinkling eyes. One German speaking Moroccan accepted the material and later called our contact person to do a first biblestudy. A week after participants went back home he actually had done his first biblestudy! It’s a slow process which takes a long breath, but it is good to be part of this and sow seeds while praying to God to prepare the soil.
Part of the goal of the project was to reach out to others, not only non-believers but also the people of the local Church in Almeria, Albox/Fines and Granada. So this means to “reach out” in the broadest sense of the word. The group participated in several services by sharing a word from the bible, giving a testimony or doing a part of the worshipping. At the first weekend the group visited two Dutch missionary families from the C&MA in Granada who are trying to integrate in the Spanish culture and networks of people. The second weekend a group of teenagers from the church in Almeria visited the team at their camping place. With them they played games, had bible studies and shared testimonies. The teenagers were impressed by the honesty and self confidence they had to share something very personal to a group they don’t know yet.
Apart from this the participants had the time to get to know each other, rest, relax and do some excursions and sightseeing. To get to know more about this project and sense some personal experiences and stories from the participants, you can soon read and see more about this on our website: www.AWFoutreach.net. Feel free to contact us.
News from GIGA,* August 2008
»read this GIGA in dutch (.pdf)
Roger / Roland
Whoever looks back on AWF’s recent history cannot overlook the impact Roger Lang has on this movement. Not just because he is a tall man with a strong voice, but because of his unwavering emphasis on the Alliance’ raison d’être: proclaiming Christ to the nations. Years ago Dr. Lang (right) announced that he would step down from the position he held during the last decade as AWF’s Asia-Pacific Regional Coordinator.
In a previous GIGA we informed you that Rev. Roland Lumag from the Philippines was chosen during the Quadrennial Assembly to replace him. But Dr. Lang agreed to continue till Roland would be ready. This time has come and Roger is no longer a member of the Executive Committee.
Roger Lang has played an important role ever since he was elected President of the AWF in 1991, a role he fulfilled until 2000. In 1998 the Doctor of Divinity Degree (Honorary) was conferred on him by the Trustees of Toccoa Falls College. In the year 2000 Roger and his wife Helen accepted a call to pastor an International Church in Brisbane, Australia. This multicultural congregation has grown from 40 to 200 people with 21 nationalities speaking 35 languages. Roger and Helen are passionate about raising leaders for the church and are Senior Trainers with the International Training Alliance which facilitates the Leadership Matters Course (LMC). Over the past years, many Alliance people took these courses and we hope that many will follow. Roger has been a mentor for many as well as for me personally. A man with a global perspective but at the same time showing an intense interest in whoever happens to cross his path. As AWF we have greatly benefited from the gifts God bestowed on him. We hope that we will continue to gain from his wisdom and friendship, be it in other ways.
Thank you Roger and Helen! May the Lord bless you and your family richly in years to come. And Roland (left), we warmly welcome you and look forward to serve the King together.
On behalf of the AWF Family, Arie Verduyn, President.
Jesus’ continued healing ministry in Israel
Just as Jesus healed incurable lepers in Israel in His days, so He does today by intervening in the lives of drug-addicts in Tel Aviv, many of them with a serious criminal record. Evangelist Dov Bikas compares these people to the lepers in the Gospels and shares the double effect Jesus’ healing touch has on their lives: 1. they cannot stop witnessing about God's miracles and 2. they start working from early morning, making their living or serving in rehab centers. “Their stories leave no listener's heart indifferent or untouched”. Picture: Seven of these persons are healed from addiction. Top left: Dov Bikas.
India: Alliance Convention
The state of Gujarat in North-Western India has a population of more than 50 million and the province has a bad name when it comes to religious tolerance. But good things happen as well! Recently a Convention was held with Dr. Jun Vencer from the Philippines as main speaker. For an audience of 1400 persons Dr. Vencer spoke on the subject: 'You are the Temple of God'. Conference moderator Rev. Crispus Christian notes that “he spoke very effectively and very relevant to the context and situation of our churches”.
The same month a Youth Camp was held in Ahmedabad. Sessions on the 'Life of dr. A. B. Simpson and A Brief history of the C&MA' were part of the program. Sixty young people attended. Statistics show that Christians form a small and weak minority (Hindu 89.5%; Muslim 8.7%; Christian 0.5%). Let’s thank God for these events and praise Him, for He is able to manifest His power through weak vessels!
China Earthquake: “Physical and Spiritual rehabilitation will take years”
“The people and churches in Sichuan need help! As a sister-organization of the Alliance in another part of the world, we would appreciate any support from Alliance churches around the world!“
These words come from Rev. Wing Keung LEE who leads the Cornerstone Association (CA), the relief arm of the Alliance Church Union of Hong Kong. CA was established to serve the Chinese kinsmen in mainland China, which has recently been hit by a major catastrophe. In the split of a second almost entire cities were destroyed by an earthquake. According to state media the death toll is expected to exceed 80,000. and more than 5 million people are left homeless.
The Hong Kong Alliance Church was informed that twelve churches, including a seminary, were destroyed or damaged. This figure represents most of the churches in the area.
The government, relief organizations and many volunteers are doing a tremendous job. However, building homes and the rehabilitation of bodies and souls will take years.
Cornerstone Association focuses on re-building, providing subsidies to orphans and widows and supplying physical and spiritual rehabilitation for victims. A parallel objective is to establish a Rehabilitation Center for long term ministry. CA works closely with local churches to encourage them and strengthen their role in society. CA earnestly appeals to support these efforts. You can send your donation to the AWF; please indicate ‘China Relief’. For details bank account see below.
Thank you from Myanmar
“It is encouraging to hear that fellow Alliance Christians around the world are praying for us in the time of natural disaster in our land. Thank you very much for your concern and kindness.” These words come from Dr. Kawl Vuta, president of the Alliance in Myanmar (Burma). Dr. Vuta also expresses gratefulness for financial support which made it possible to rebuild the damaged seminary and church buildings. “Our 16 small Alliance churches are steadily growing in membership, giving and mission mindedness. However many churches do not have a solid place of worship. “Poor members in the villages do not earn even one dollar per day. Please pray for us”.
Italy: In Paul’s Footsteps!
Last month, the first public Alliance worship service was held in Rome. Among the visitors were brothers and sisters from Latin America who live in Italy and have been praying that the Alliance would arrive in the country. Guest speaker was Pastor Jose Zapata from Spain. This church plant was initiated by Renato and Leonor Antinori, who are missionaries from Peru. They write: “After the service we had a sharing time and then we went to the park at the Coliseum for our weekly children’s meeting.” The desire of the Antinori’s to reach the citizens of Rome reminds us of Paul’s longing, as expressed in his letter to the Romans. Actually, Paul indicated that he hoped to go further and preach in Spain. Interestingly, today Spanish churches are collaborating in reaching Rome! And there is more: AWF’s Coordinator for Latin-America, Eladio Medina, shares that his region is initiating evangelism efforts in Portugal. May God fulfill Paul’s desire for Rome, Spain and for the Regions beyond!
Senegal: Film, Soccer & Prayer
Christian workers report about a Soccer competition between local teams, which was followed by a special video featuring the Christian testimony of a famous African soccer player. God can use these means to touch people’s lives. In villages in the area the Jesus Film is shown. An elderly lady said: “This was good for children to see, as they really ‘don’t know God’. Workers also report about a Prayer Conference and stress that “prayer is the foundation of everything God wants to accomplish through us”.
France: Creative Outreach in Paris
An exhibit featuring the work and life of Martin Luther King was the method used by an Alliance Church in Paris to minister to the community. According to Pastor Jean-Christophe Bieselaar local officials attended as well as many people from the neighborhood. “We were able to discuss about faith and to present the work of the church”. Another method was a garage sale in the sanctuary. Families adhering to other religions entered the building. The church itself is multi-cultural with attendants, originating from many different countries and France(!). (Photo: wedding service; the man in black is Pastor Bieselaar)
Immigrants share the Light on the Old Continent.
Many Europeans complain about the influx of ‘strangers’, but many of them are a great blessing. Latin Americans witness in Spain, Italy and Russia. Chinese start churches in Paris and Amsterdam. Congolese Rev. Noé Kuvuna started Alliance meetings in Switzerland. Theme of the first sermon was “The Four-Fold Gospel”. Noé is one of the initiators of UMAFED, connecting Alliance people who live outside of their own (francophone) country. In the Czech Republic 10 men and 2 women were baptized during the annual conference of Vietnamese Alliance Churches (picture)..
Alliance leaders obtain doctorate degree in Europe
Guinean Church President Samuel Kamano (photo), obtained his doctorate degree from the Theological Faculty in Aix-en-Provence in France. His thesis describes the foundation of salvation of a nation according to Psalm 85. It is said that “Pastor Kamano is the first Guinean in history to receive a doctorate in theology”.
In the Netherlands René Holvast defended a dissertation on ‘Spiritual Mapping in the USA and Argentina: A Geography of Fear’. He obtained his Ph.D. from the university of Utrecht. Dr. Holvast and his wife will be teaching at the Alliance Seminary in Boma, Congo-Kinshasa.
Canada: Franklin Pyles re-elected.
Dr. Franklin Pyles was re-elected President of the C&MA in Canada for 3rd four-year term.
Pray Latin-American Missions Directors meeting in Guayaquil, Ecuador, September 26-28
May God bless you richly!
Rev. Arie M. Verduyn
*GIGA–Global Information about
News from GIGA,* May 2008
»read this GIGA in dutch (.pdf)
Myanmar hit by Catastrophe
Last time we reported about the Alliance Churches in Myanmar. Now the country is in the news because of the Cyclone Nargis which hit the country in a devastating way. It swept across the impoverished country killing 22,000 people. In the meantime specialists fear that the death toll may exceed 100,000 and up to 1 million may be homeless. Yangon, the main city, and surrounding rice growing areas have been the hardest hit. The Alliance Churches of Myanmar have a Bible school in Yangon and ministries in surrounding villages. CAMA is seeking to work through them to distribute aid. The initial goal is to assist with providing clean water and food, essential house supplies and materials for rebuilding homes. If you want to help finance these efforts you can transfer your donation to the AWF bank account and mention “Myanmar Relief”. (Bank details, see below). Let’s all support Myanmar in prayer! (Picture taken during recent visit to Yangon).
Beirut hit by deadly street battles
Gunmen have taken control of large areas of Beirut, the Lebanese capital. Fierce gun battles are raging in other mixed Sunni-Shia-Christian neighborhoods. The street battles between the opposition and fighters loyal to the governing coalition have left at least 11 people dead and 20 others wounded .
Again we ask for prayer for prayer for the country and for the Alliance Churches and the Theological School in Beirut. This country has gone through so much turmoil. One church leader writes: “We met last night for our weekly Bible study. Those who came felt very encouraged. However, there is a sense that things might get out of hand and turn into a full-scale civil war. Please continue to pray for us and all the believers so that we could be the “light” that the Lord is calling us to be, especially during these dark days.”
Assembly 2008: Highlights
AWF delegates meet with President Michelle Bachelet
»Also download the Santiago 2008 Declaration here
The quadrennial AWF Assembly was attended by 350 delegates from 50 countries. The following comment by an Asian brother expresses the experience of many: "I was personally blessed by every session. The emphasis on God's Word & Mission to the lost in particular enlarged my vision. I have returned refreshed and with more plans to reach our nation and beyond".
AWF representatives were invited to the palace for a meeting with the Chilean president, Dr. Michelle Bachelet. On behalf of the Allinace World Fellowship Rev. Arie Verduyn thanked dr. Bachelet for the excellent cooperation with Chilean authorities in preparing for this multi-national and multi-cultural event. In her speech to the delegates, president Bachelet expressed appreciation for Alliance Churches and underlined the importance of equal rights for all religions and denominations in her country. The opening dinner of the conference was attended by the country's Vice-President, Cabinet Ministers and members of the parliament, as well as by ambassadors from participating countries.
The main theme of the conference, "Christ for all, all for Christ", was developed by dr. Mabiala Kenzo and other speakers. Special tracks were organised for National Mission's Directors, Theological Edicators, Women and for Business Men.
Important for the future of the AWF was the decision to focus on the "6th Region". This means that the existing 5 geographical Regions are determined to concentrate on the spreading of God's light in areas where God's love in Christ is only sparsely communicated. The official delegates adopted the Santiago Declaration as working document for the next term of four years.
The Executive Committe underwent the following changes: North American delegates choose Dr. Peter Nanfelt as their Regional Coordinator to replace Rev. Ralph Trainer. The Asia-Pacific Regional Coordinator, Dr. Roger Lang, will continue till June 2008 only. The other Regional Coordinators will continue for another term (see 'Who we are' on this website). Treasurer Wilson Kaan and President Arie Verduyn were re-elected for a second term.
For more pictures see here
For pictures of the visit with Chile's president Dr. Michelle Bachelet see here
News from GIGA,* March 2008
Burmese baptized in Myanmar
»Download GIGA in .pdf
»Download GIGA in .doc
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Burmese baptized in Myanmar
The country seems to be forgotten by the rest of the world. Yet it is the largest in mainland Southeast Asia and with a population of 55 million, it deserves attention. Under the leadership of dr. Karl Vuta, the C&MA Church of Myanmar joined the AWF in 1985. During the last decade there was not much communication with the churches in the isolated country, but this is changing. Last month I met with leaders and preached in the capital Yangon. The Lord has protected the 3000 member movement which strongly adheres to its identity, emphasizing holy living and missions. 15 Workers are set apart to take the gospel to the unreached. Recently eight persons from the majority group, the Burmese, were baptized as followers of Christ. The National church runs a theological school and an orphanage. Another group of churches, mainly representing another tribal group, is also interested in closer ties with the AWF.
Table Ministry in Jerusalem
The Church in Jerusalem has been experiencing special blessings. Pastor Jack Sara traces it back a prayer conference in 2007. “People love to pray, prayer is priority”. He reports about a new form of outreach called ‘Table Ministry’. It is as simple as it sounds: place a table on strategic locations in the city and put evangelistic material on it. Bibles were distributed, as well as videos and books. Many people indicated that they want to know more, most of them from non-Christian background. “Pray for protection, sometimes workers are threatened”.
Radio: a mighty tool for evangelism in India
In more than 18 Indian states India people listen to Jivansandesh, the Alliance Gujarat Radio Ministry. Last year more than 1000 people wrote in response to the programs, 335 people were trained in seminars and 165 couples followed Marriage seminars. This month the Gujarat Alliance holds a seminar with Jun Vencer, former WEA director and Alliance pastor from the Philippines.
Philippines: 126 new churches
New churches were planted in 2007, but bishop Reniel Nebab (picture) comments that the goal of 132 per year was not met. In 2006 the number was 196. At present there are 2592 Alliance churches in the country. The total number of members is 300,000, but the goal is to have at least 500,000 by the end of 2010. Pray that the Lord of the Harvest will help to harvest people for His Kingdom.
South America: threat of war and answer to prayer
The South American continent has gone through a mayor crisis between countries with strong Alliance Churches: Colombia, Venezuela and Ecuador. Military troops were on high alert and fears for war were real. Churches in the region called for prayer and shortly after tensions dwindled. May a lasting solution be found.
WAVAC: Reaching Vietnamese for Christ
The World Association of Alliance Churches in ‘the Diaspora’ focuses on “reaching Vietnamese for Christ and expanding His Kingdom”. In March the 3rd WAVAC Conference took place in Thailand. Pray for Thu and Hanh Nguyen who will minister to Vietnamese workers in Taiwan.
The speaker on the picture is Rev. Truong Phuoc Thai, president of the Alliance churches in the South; on the far right is Rev. Phung Quang Huyen, president in North Vietnam.
Pray for Vietnam……
According to the country’s constitution Vietnam has religious freedom, but many churches are facing all kind of restrictions. Much depends on the local authorities. Certain congregations are not allowed to meet in their buildings. In some cases the believers gather in front of the church for prayer meetings. They ask us to pray with them for real freedom and the liberty to spread the gospel without restrictions.
…and praise God for cooperating authorities in Vietnam (Construction Theological School)
Encouraging news: Permission was given to build new facilities for the Institute of Bible and Theology (IBT). The history of this institute goes back till 1921, when first classes were held in Danang. In 1976 the school was closed, but in 2003, allowed to reopen. The temporary facilities are much too small, therefore the National Church started a construction program in HCM City, which costs 6.5 million dollars. The Alliance Churches in the country comprise more than a million believers, but they hope to receive help from outside (as most church members do not have much money). Donations can be transferred through the AWF-Account, see below for bank details. Please mention: ‘Vietnam Construction’. Fifty students started in 2005 and in the two following years 100 students enrolled. There is a tremendous need for trained workers.
Vietnamese coming to Christ in the Czech Republic
Recently two young Vietnamese women came to Christ. There are approximately 35.000 Vietnamese living in the Czech Republic. Liem Ngo and his wife Ha are leading a church planting ministry in Brno and other cities. They work under CAMA-Zending, a Dutch AWF member agency, coordinating the ministry of 35 Alliance workers around the world.
AWF Youth is invited to join Outreach Teams in Spain this summer
This summer international Youth Teams will share the gospel in Almeria, Spain. Many North-Africans working in Europe travel to their home country in that time of the year. Often they stay a few days near the port of Almeria. This offers possibilities to get in contact with them and share evangelistic material. The teams will receive information about Islam and meet with youth of churches in the region. Excursions are planned and there will be time to relax. Encourage your youth, especially between age 18-26 to join! The 1st Outreach is from July 30 – Aug 13, the 2nd from Aug 13–Aug 27. Expenses: 450 Euro, including lodging, meals and an excursion to the Al-Hambra in Granada (Not included is travel to Almeria). For more information: www.awfoutreach.net
AWF Assembly 2008, Santiago Chile, April 8-12, 2008
Delegates from more than 40 countries prepare to meet in Santiago, Chile. Each delegation is asked to bring their NATIONAL DRESS & FLAG for the parade during Wednesday’s Banquet with dignitaries, among whom Dr. Bachellet, President of Chile.
Pray that our presence in Chile will be a blessing!
The hardworking(!) Preparation Team in Chile invites more Alliance people to come; the hotel can easily host more than the approximately 300 participants who have registered so far.
May God bless you richly!
Rev. Arie M. Verduyn
*GIGA–Global Information about
AWF Outreach: Almeria
See website for more info:
In the summer of 2008 two international Christian groups will participate in an Outreach programme in Almeria, Southern Spain.
We would like to invite you to join us!
This project is meant to share Christ with others
It will offer you the opportunity to..
Live the Call together and share the Gospel with various groups, although mainly Muslims passing through the large port in Almeria into Northern Africa
Work in a team of young, enthusiastic people
Receive education on the Islamic religion
Do bible studies and worship with your team and attend local church events
Meet Spanish people and the youth of a growing church
Go on planned excursions, see more of the country and enjoy some free time to relax
Gain a lifetime experience of another culture, religion and environment
Outreach A: 30th July – 13th Aug 2008
Outreach B: 13th Aug – 27th Aug 2008
18-26 years old
450 Euro. This is including accommodation in bungalow apartments in a camp (by the sea!), meals and an excursion to the Al-Hambra in Granada. Flightcosts are not included in this price.
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