2017 Thank Offering for the World Evangelism Fund

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We must fix our sights on places where the church is not yet, engaging in intercessory prayer, sacrificial giving, and physically going to and mobilizing others to go to these places. Each time you give to the World Evangelism Fund, you send the message of the gospel into areas where “the church is not yet.”

For more information and to download the resources visit the official website: nazarene.org/generosity

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The Challenge is Urban

By Scott Armstrong

Last week I had the privilege of being in Panama where several leaders were gathered to brainstorm solutions for more effective ministry in three areas:

  • Urban Mission
  • Youth
  • Children

These areas have been declared our regional emphases in Mesoamerica for the upcoming Quadrennial.  And rightly so: although great things are currently taking place in each of these ministries, we have a long way to go before we see an explosion of fruit all across the region among children, youth, and our cities.

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I’m sure you have listened to our Worthless Servants podcast recently (if you haven’t, seriously, what are you doing with your life?), and you know we have addressed all three of these issues in various episodes.  However, for the sake of this article, let’s focus on urban mission.

If you have heard my wife and I speak recently in any service or event, you know that we are banging the drum for urban mission.  Our ministry is GENESIS after all, where the mission is to make Christlike disciples in the urban centers of Mesoamerica.  We are sending missionaries to 28 strategic cities so that they may plant churches and impact communities with little or no Nazarene presence.  And it is happening!

Still, I admit that the influence a team of four workers can have in a city of 1 million+ is limited.  And what about the other cities that have not been identified as the 28 strategic, urgent sites that will receive missionaries? It is clear that our whole region needs a genesis and it will not come solely because of a dedicated volunteer missionary force.

This very week while we were in Panama, we received from Dale Jones in Nazarene Research (love them!) a list of all of the cities in the Mesoamerica Region with 100,000 or more in population.  The findings are intriguing and yet staggering:

  1. General statistics show that 72% of Mesoamerica lives in an urban area (this includes several cities of less than 100,000 that are still considered urban). Nearly 3 out of every four of us is an urbanite! When you think of urban, you may think of New York, Beijing, or Tokyo. But we are the region with the highest percentage of urban dwellers.
  2. In just two years we have grown from 169 cities with 100,000 people or more to 182 fitting that description. All over the world people are moving to the big city in droves, and our region is no exception.
  3. Of these 182 metropolises, 115 are in one country: Mexico. One. Five.  Reaching the cities of our region means especially reaching the cities of Mexico, many of which have no Nazarene church.
  4. After Mexico, the four countries that have the most cities with population of 100,000 or more are: Cuba (16), Dominican Republic (9), Haiti (8), and Nicaragua (7). In other words, 155 of the 182 biggest cities in our region are in FIVE countries. Would you pray specifically for urban impact in those five countries?
  5. The total population in Mesoamerica is 223 million. 42 million of us live in cities with greater than 100,000 people.  That’s 54%More of us live in a huge city than don’t.  Shouldn’t this effect the way we equip our leaders for ministry?

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  6. If the majority of our population lives in a big city, then that’s where all our Nazarenes are, too, right? Wrong. Only 32% of our members live in a city of over 100,000 people.  That’s 129,354 out of 406,000 total Nazarenes.

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  7. #5 and #6 above cause me to reflect: I know that we have many Nazarene members in these cities already and I praise the Lord for their witness. However, there is no doubt that in the great majority of these urban settings, we lack a true presence as a Church of the Nazarene.  Having a church building and holding services every week will not cut it.  In order to impact the city, sacrificial, creative, and missional discipleship will be required in the days ahead.
  8. A significant number of these 182 cities have recently been affected adversely by devastating natural disasters. Could it be that our entryway into these cities would come through comforting those who have lost all in hurricanes or earthquakes? Could it be that – even without natural disasters – acting as agents of compassion would be the healthy way to impact our cities anyway?

My intention is not to overwhelm you with statistics.  I recognize that each observation above must be digested thoughtfully for greatest understanding, and I pray you would do so!  Honestly, I share all of this not just to inform, but also to invite you to be a part of this initiative.

Would you pray?

Would you give?

Would you go and impact an urban context right where you are or even far away?

Comment below if God is turning your focus toward the city.  Communicate with us on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, or at MesoamericaGenesis.org.  Listen to our podcast and tell others about it so the conversation about these topics spreads.

We need your help.  The statistics are clear and the call of God is clearer: let’s bring a genesis to the urban centers of Mesoamerica.

 

CCO – Haiti, 2017

In Montrouis, Camp le Phare, Haiti on December 7-9, 2017 leaders of NYI and Global Mission will be hosting a Cross-Cultural Orientation (CCO). The moment will certainly be historic as Haiti has never held such an event before. The CCO is necessitated by the fact that Haiti is rising up and desiring to train and send its own Nazarene missionaries, challenging stereotypes that have been pervasive through generations outside, and sometimes even inside, the Caribbean country.

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Play & Witness – A Relevant And Effective Initiative

The first-ever “Play & Witness” Caribbean missions trip took place in Jamaica from July 4 to 29, 2017. This trip was divided into three major components: training, outreach and camp, and it was designed to accomplish two major objectives: to significantly impact Jamaica for Jesus Christ through sport and play, and to significantly impact the participants so that they would be catalysts for the mission at home.

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21 participants and facilitators from the Caribbean Field formed the Play and Witness team and they were from 6 different countries: Antigua, Bahamas, Barbados, Guyana, Jamaica and Trinidad. Their time in Jamaica began with an intensive training in sports ministry. The purpose of this time was to expose each participant to the power and potential of sport, and to explore ways sports can be used to transform their community, nation and region. Sports were presented as relevant and effective ways to both invite people to Christ and disciple them.

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After this, they moved onto the second phase of the mission: the implementation of the information they had learned. They partnered with the Green Acres Church of the Nazarene in the Old Harbour community to start a new church plant using various forms of ministry (games for children and teens, etc.). Through the sporting activities, they forged a strong bond with the community in a very short time. The team also participated in the launching of the Denbigh Church of the Nazarene’s sports ministry program and, according to the senior pastor of this church, the sports ministry initiative created a new spiritual sensation in Denbigh as the attendance the following week at service had remarkably improved and there were further commitments for Christ.

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The team was also involved in a youth camp and in a children’s camp as well.  They were able to use the knowledge and experiences they had received earlier and transfer it to the campers during this time.

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In total, 40 persons came to know Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior through the outreach and participation in camp. This is not only a testimony of the goodness of God, but also of the impact that they were able to make in Jamaica, accomplishing the first goal of the mission trip.

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The second major goal of impacting the team so that they could continue the mission when they return home was also achieved. It has been amazing to see how participants have immediately implemented the information they have learned in their context, and how others are planning to do the same.

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The next step is to see experiences of Play and Witness multiplied across the Caribbean. The intention is to present sports ministry as a relevant and effective tool for evangelism and discipleship within the Caribbean field. From all reports and testimonies, the first Play & Witness trip was a huge success!

–This information has been provided by Dario Richards, Global Mission Caribbean Field

Nuevo Laredo, Mexico Impacted With The Message Of The Gospel

Nuevo Laredo, Tamaulipas, Mexico has been impacted greatly with the message of the gospel through the missional program of Project Paul.  From July 15 through August 6, 2017 this ministry was implemented as part of the Border Initiative, coordinated by the Molina Gutiérrez family.

Last April, after visiting the seven Nazarene congregations in the city, the pastors received church planting training, and as a result agreed to utilize Project Paul as a key strategy in the starting of new congregations in their city.

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The response was enthusiastic.  Thirty members from the seven local churches participated during the 21 days of the project.  The goal would be to open five new missions and another five preaching points through personal evangelism and utilizing tools such as the EvangeCube, the “Book without Words,” the EvangeBall, and Vacation Bible Schools for children.

20106743_1571806339553743_2191254733520245477_n.jpgAfter evangelism and discipleship in seven colonies and neighborhoods, the testimonies have been glorious and the results astonishing!  A total of 397 youth and adults accepted Christ into their lives, and 109 of them initiated their basic Bible Studies afterwards.  41 children also made decisions for Christ, and during the three weeks, various people came back to the faith and are currently walking with the Lord again.  The missionaries communicated all contact information and results to the church planters of these new missions, who will continue with the follow-up of this abundant harvest.

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Each volunteer missionary who participated in this project testified to a renewed commitment to the Lord and an enthusiastic desire to continue to serve in and evangelize their city.

Those who attended the closing service at the end of Project Paul were overjoyed to see many new converts as well as the new churches and missions that were started through great consecration and passionate service.  May all glory be to our Lord Jesus Christ, who is edifying his Church!

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–This information has been provided by Rev. Manuel Molina.

Let God Use Us

From July 21 to 23, 2017 in Cordoba, Veracruz, a Maximum Mission took place, and we give thanks to God for the results.  He used the many gifts and talents of 96 participants, who traveled from different places in Mexico to support this event.

The participants served in various activities and ministries such as: door to door evangelism, Work and Witness, painting speed bumps and one of the church building’s walls, and street cleaning.  They also helped to clean the house of Mr. Jose who accepted Jesus and lives in very vulnerable conditions.

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Project GOAL attracted 15 youth, and 20 children enjoyed clowns and games.  Nestor (from Oaxaca) and Jonathan Saldana (from Mexico City) provided free dental care and medical consultations, where we were able to present the gospel to the people there.

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A hairstylist from a nearby beauty academy offered haircuts, and sister Gloria taught a sewing class.  We were able to show the movie “War Room,” and it was a great blessing for the people in that neighborhood. Even though at times our schedule was greatly affected due to rain, once again we saw God’s power in every detail. 

At the end of Maximum Mission we made 41 contacts, received 17 new Christians into the faith, and began discipleship with one person. The work of follow-up continued through Project Paul as the 10 young short-term missionaries discipled 9 adults and 7 children during the 21 days.

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Praise the Lord – He continued to open doors!  In the three weeks of Project Paul, although not everyone was willing to receive discipleship, we made 43 more contacts and shared times of spiritual and physical nourishment, praying and enjoying fellowship with them.

The family of Roberto and Dalia Martinez, leaders of the Church of the Nazarene in Cordoba, will continue this great work as leaders of this congregation.


God is waiting for us to make the decision to step out and share the message.  If freely we have received then we should also freely give!  We are witnesses of the miracles God can perform in the lives of others and there is a great emptiness in the people around us. Let’s say YES and let God use us! 

– Sarai Romualdo, Global Mission, Mexico Gulf District

Youth in Mission – Haiti

The following report was written by Estefania Amador, Valeria Narvaez, Elsie Rodriguez and Rubi Piñon, who are serving in Haiti for two months through Youth in Mission.

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It has already been a busy summer! We have participated in three pastors’ kids’ camps, with the first one being held in Puerto Principe (Central District): 22 children and teenagers participated. The second one was held in Blek (Southeast District) with an attendance of 26 kids, and the last one was held in Gonaives, where four districts participated (North-central, Upper Artibonite, Lower Artibonite and Northeast) and 56 pastors’ kids attended.  We are thankful for what God is doing in the lives of each one of these children!

 

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In these camps we’ve helped with bible lessons and crafts that are made using recyclable material. Many of the pastors’ kids have shared their testimony; one that really blessed our lives was Clelie’s testimony.  She is a young lady that is very thankful because we taught her how to reuse a shirt and make a bag out of it.  She shared with us that she wants to reproduce what she learned with her church and friends. The pastors’ kids have also received words of encouragement, and during the last camp three of them decided to accept Jesus as their Savior. It is a great joy for us to be a part of this project.

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We are working in a mission (or preaching point) three days a week.  Our ministry includes evangelism, children’s and youth ministry, visiting needy brothers and sisters from church, and giving educational workshops and Spanish classes. We are very happy to see what God is doing day by day in our lives and in the lives of the people that we share with. The church members are very thankful for the evangelism tools that we have given them: the evangelism cube and the wordless book have been implemented immediately and now 5 people have accepted Jesus Christ as Lord!

 

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Finally, we want to say that the will of God won’t take us where His grace can’t protect us.JEM con Pierre Ornan.JPG

Blessings to all and thank you for your prayer support!