Pioneer. Develop. Resource.

By: Dr. Verne Ward, Global Missions Director, Church of the Nazarene

“I planted the seed and Apollos watered it, but God made it grow. So neither he who plants nor he who waters is anything, but only God, who makes things grow. He who plants and he who waters are one in purpose, and each will be rewarded according to his own labor.” – I Corinthians 3:5-9

Pioneer. Develop. Resource.

In the Church of the Nazarene, missionaries work in these three areas, leading the growth of the church from its embryonic state, through its development, to its maturity.

Over the course of their service, some missionaries will serve in all three roles: pioneering, developing, and resourcing. Other missionaries will serve in one or two of these roles. Often, missionaries fulfill several roles at once.

Missionaries may start out pioneering, then move into development before God calls them to another work. A pioneering missionary may team up with another missionary who will take responsibility for development. Yet another missionary may be sent to serve in resourcing. The Apostle Paul described this process in 1 Corinthians 3.

God calls some to serve for decades while calling others to fulfill a role for a few years. This is why we have changed our retirement eligibility from 20 to 15 years. We also recognize contributions of 5 years, 10 years, 20 and 25 years. We not only celebrate with those who obey the call to go but also those who obey God’s call to return to their home country when they have fulfilled their calling.

What do these roles look like in our church today?

Alonso and Alicia (names changed for security) are pioneering. They have moved to a nation in the Eurasia Region where the Church of the Nazarene previously had no presence. As they prayerfully develop relationships and discover their community’s needs, they have taken steps to meet those needs by partnering with a nursing home and an orphanage. Eventually, with God’s blessing, discipleship will lead to church planting.

As new believers grow in their faith and service, pioneering becomes developing, and others may join them in the work. Development includes discipling, modeling, and training believers so they have the skills to be the Body of Christ in their community and cultural context. They may also develop systems that sustain the church in the areas of theological education, literature creation, or financial management.

Missionaries in resource roles often hold responsibilities in areas such as strategy, communications or education, to support the ministry of local believers who are engaged in evangelism, discipleship, and compassion. Resource roles often involve helping to connect the local church with its larger global church family.

God calls people with a wide variety of skill sets and experiences as the church grows from a pioneer to a developing work and finally to a mature church.

 

 

Cross-Cultural Orientation in Bonao, Dominican Republic

A Cross-Cultural Orientation (CCO) was held March 6-8, 2020 at the Donald Wunker Christian Bible Campgrounds in Maimón, Bonao, Dominican Republic. 46 participants with missions interest attended the activity, and the 16 trainers present gave workshops, shared devotionals, and led dynamics as they guided all those present who were exploring their cross-cultural mission call.

The CCO began with an innovative strategy where participants registered and entered the event in a peculiar way.  The surprise of that first culture shock made it clear to everyone present that the event was not just another meeting.  The call to serve is a call to value what we have and take advantage of every opportune moment in order to grow and develop oneself.  Visiting “CCO Country” and becoming acclimated to its culture ended up cultivating an identity in the group as a whole.

Participating in a CCO is a great opportunity to understand and explore the missionary action of the Church of the Nazarene on the global, regional and local levels.  Every missions-focused dynamic and activity was developed by leaders who understand and are very passionate about each topic.  Participants were led in new ideas, making them aware of God’s urgent call to serve in cross-cultural missions and the many opportunities available to do so.  We thank the Lord for waking us up to a reality that we didn’t even know existed before participating in the CCO.  As the following testimonies show, we highly recommend that EVERY Nazarene experience what it is like to live in “CCO Country”. 90012613_225918755194436_6526149265209688064_n

“In 2011 I began asking God to place me in a Christian ministry, that he would release me from my ‘secular’ job.  In 2015, I prayed again and told God that we are a missionary family, and that my children and I would be available for full-time service.  God has continued to place this desire and need in our hearts. In October 2018, the Lord very clearly called me to missions and in 2019 he called my sons.  My daughters are now praying, dreaming and seeking God’s guidance.

Being in the CCO is the continuation and confirmation of the call that God has placed on my life, along with my children, to serve Him in missions.  It has been one of the ways that the Lord is preparing us and orchestrating our lives to be in service to Him.  We will continue to be involved in missionary activities, following the call that God has placed on our lives.” –July Quiterio Cuello. 90095074_212987919768350_7084061818993246208_n

“I will look back on the CCO as a “before and after” event in my spiritual life and ministry.  This camp has confirmed God’s call in my heart and at the same time his direction and guidance for me to follow it.  God has raised up a focused generation willing to fulfill the Great Commission and take the restorative gospel of Jesus Christ to all nations.  I can simply say thank you because becoming a missionary is not a sacrifice that I will make, but a gracious gift that God is giving me.” –Rachel Mariel Compres Morel.

“I am grateful to God and to the leaders that have instructed my daughter, Elba, regarding missions.  God called and she began to follow his instructions, understand her call, and obey.  This is the way that God has allowed me to send my daughter as a missionary.  To God be the glory for allowing me to participate in that blessing!  In the CCO, I asked the Lord to speak to me, because I wanted to know Him even more.  My life belongs to the Lord.  I want to be a mother, a leader, and a pastor with the knowledge to speak to youth and other families about how important it is to support our youth and children in missions.  There is a new generation that should be preparing to take the message of Jesus to a new world.  Being able to participate in this great event, I learned more about God’s call, I learned about why we exist, and what we are called to do.  There are simply not enough words to describe everything that I experienced during these three days. I want to serve the Lord until my last breath.” –Maribel Duson (Pastor).

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Encuentro Guatemala 2020

 

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ENCUENTRO GUATEMALA 2020

“Serve and experience transformation”

  1. General Description: We seek to offer a two-week missions opportunity in the summer of 2020, where youth from the United States, Canada, and the Mesoamerica Region will minister together, specifically from June 20th to July 4th.

 

  1. Objectives:

General Objective

Expose youth with a missions call to a cross-cultural experience.

Specific Objectives

  1. Provide youth from the Mesoamerica Region a missions opportunity so that they may confirm their call in a cross-cultural missions environment.
  2. Guide participants in responding to God’s call on their lives and allow them to become familiar with several different missions opportunities available in our denomination.
  3. Engage in evangelism using a variety of creative methods.
  4. Minister holistically to the communities of the Central District of Guatemala during the Encuentro event.
  5. Promote volunteer missions trips in our districts and local churches, encouraging the financial support and sending of our own missionaries.

 

  1. Justification: Encuentro Missions provides missions opportunities for any young person with a call. During the past 50 years, EM has facilitated trips to the United States, Canada, Mexico, the Bahamas, Peru, Guatemala, and Costa Rica. More than 250,000 students have participated, which has resulted in more than 2 million children and adults hearing the gospel message through Encuentro events. This year (2020), Encuentro visits Guatemala again, partnering with local Churches of the Nazarene in order to aide in Vacation Bible Schools, church planting, medical clinics, and small-scale construction events, all in the name of impacting the communities where the churches are located. The North Central Field of the Mesoamerica Region has the privilege of hosting Encuentro in Guatemala. We have come alongside the vision of Encuentro Missions and together will show the love and compassion of Jesus, sharing his message to the needy and lost, and provide a cross-cultural missions opportunity for all those youth from our region who testify to a call to ministry.

 

  1. Candidate Selection

Promotion:

Each GM Coordinator in the 5 fields of the region will be in charge of disseminating this information.  The idea is to recruit the highest number of youth possible.

Candidate Requirements

  • Be a member of the Church of the Nazarene
  • Testify to a call to ministry and/or a desire to serve cross-culturally
  • Have participated in a Cross-Cultural Orientation (CCO)
  • Have participated in a missions experience of at least 3 days previously
  • Be 18 years old or older
  • Be a leader in the local church or district
  • Possess an intermediate knowledge of the English language
  • Obtain a letter of recommendation from their pastor

Official Registration

After the candidate has received approval from their pastor, he/she should contact their Field Global Missions Coordinator in order to fill out the Exploring Missions Form online.  Registrations will be accepted through May 2020.

 

  1. Financial Timeline

 

Description

7 Days

14 Days

Food

45

$ 90

Transportation on site

35

$ 70

Housing

70

$ 140

Tourism

30

$ 60

     

Total

$180

$360

 

If you would like to download the complete document with Encuentro information, please click on this link

“A Thousand Times Yes”

In the previous entries, we have written about the 10th Anniversary of 4×4 All Terrain in Monterrey, Mexico, a mission trip that finished this month and impacted both the communities and the participants.  In fact, today we add the following testimony from another teen who was there to the testimony that we published a few days ago.

My name is Erika Lorena Torres.  Participating in a 4×4 completely changed the way I view things.  Now more than ever I am sure of my call and of what I want to keep doing for the rest of my life.

We cleaned houses for three days.  I never imagined myself doing something like that, but it was a huge blessing to see people receiving Christ in their lives, recognizing that they didn’t just need their houses cleaned but also their hearts.

An older couple, both sick, impacted me greatly.  She had recently had her eyes operated on, and her husband suffered from a sickness that caused him to double over.  For that reason, he had sores on his feet, which were bandaged.  They told us that their family never visited them.  I felt sorry for them, but there we were, sent by our Father to offer them words of hope and encouragement.  I give thanks to God because even in the midst of so much need, God was present telling them, “I’m here; I’m still here.”  That vulnerable couple could sense his presence, and I could as well.

From there we traveled to another site.  Just a few houses from the mission, there had just been a man murdered.  Upon finding that out, I asked myself, “What am I doing here?”  I didn’t say anything to anyone.  It was just God and me, and I knew I had to wrestle with and conquer my fear.  It was normal in that neighborhood to hear stories of drug trafficking, witchcraft, and things like that, but would you believe it? God was greater! Many people that were selling drugs, and others with AIDS or who were far away from God received Christ in their hearts with tears in their eyes.  How urgent it is for us as the Church to take the good news to them, the hope that they don’t have, the salvation they need so badly!

It was a huge challenge for me to spend the New Year far away from family, but if you ask me if I would do it again, I’d say, “A thousand times yes.”  Praise the Lord always and forever! Do you have an opportunity to participate in a mission trip like this? Do it!

What Type of People?

In our previous post, we reported on the 10th Anniversary of 4×4 All-Terrain in Monterrey, Mexico, a missions trip that ended January 1, 2020 and brought significant results.  In the following days we will publish various testimonies from several youth who participated, starting today with Valeria Rodríguez.

My name is Valeria Rodríguez Valdéz and I’m from Monterrey, Mexico.  I’m 14 years old, and it was two years ago that God confirmed my call to missions.

During 4×4, my team and I visited a very needy home and offered to clean it.  We met a young woman (Kelly), 19 years old, who cared for her grandmother (Cristina) that was bedridden: she couldn’t move or even speak.  Evidently, we were a huge support for them – they told us they did not know how to thank us.  What impacted me the most was the moment when we prayed for them.  We could not stop crying as we asked God to heal, protect, and give them strength in the days ahead.  We left there rejoicing, and we did the same thing the next three days.  Seven people ended up accepting Christ in their hearts.

When those three days were finished, we were encouraged, and we could answer the question: What type of people pay their way to go to an unknown place with people they’ve never met, so that they can clean houses? The answer: the type of people that don’t care about anything as much as they care about sharing the Word of God with others.

The very first time we walked the streets of Valle del Roble we realized how needy that neighborhood was.  We had the opportunity to pray for a teen on drugs, for some brothers who had consecrated themselves to death, for a married couple that had been using drugs, and for a father and his sons that had formed a prominent gang in that sector.  We also prayed for the daughter of a Christian woman who had been begging God to send someone to share hope with her daughter since she would not listen to her mom.  Her prayer was answered.  It was wonderful to know that we were the ones God had sent to fulfill that request.

What type of people pay their way to go to an unknown place with people they’ve never met, and offer to meet a stranger’s need? The type of youth that are attentive to the guiding of the Holy Spirit and are interested in those who don’t know the Lord.

After speaking with a police officer that had gone through some bad experiences with Christians, we decided to go house-to-house in that community and ask forgiveness for the bad experiences that they may have had with other Christians.  We realized that people started to react to us differently.  They were more interested in listening and sharing what had happened to them, and we saw a greater response there.  It was an extraordinary and surprising day.  We sensed the Holy Spirit guiding us.  I want to feel that guidance every day of my life.

What type of people pay their way to go to an unknown place with people they’ve never met, in order to ask forgiveness on behalf of hypocritical Christians that have come before? The type of Christians that love sinners as Christ loves them and are willing to humble themselves at any moment so that one person might be reconciled to God.

I want to invite the Church to give a good testimony.  Let’s begin with ourselves, and let’s evangelize right where we are.  Let’s allow the Spirit to guide us wherever we may go.  I exhort you to think of evangelism as a lifestyle.  Everyone without exception is called to share the good news.  It doesn’t matter if you’ve never done it before; when God speaks, we must obey.  His Spirit leads us and will give us the words.  Don’t miss a single evangelistic effort of your church anymore.  Be encouraged; God is with us!

 

“And God Made The Missionary”

My name is Victoria Natividad Trujillo Ríos. I am a member of the First Church of the Nazarene in Ocozocoautla, Chiapas, in the South District of Mexico.

As I started this project, I longed to hear God’s voice. I decided to surrender all to him and say, “Yes, Lord, may your purpose be done in me.”

When we arrived in Comitán, what we saw surprised us. We had the opportunity to visit a maternity hospital where the local church prepared and gave out food.  We shared testimonies, sang some songs, and listened to a short devotional reflection.  I had never in my life seen such enthusiasm: most of the women came running when they saw us, begging us to pray for them.  We ended up compiling a list of prayer requests and were amazed at their faith.

We continued on to La Trinitaria, and specifically to a colony named Michoacán.  At the house of one of the Nazarene sisters, Ayda, we learned that she had been a church planter most of her life.  In Trinitaria I learned to get past certain limits that I had not even realized that I had.  I also took time to contemplate the greatness of God as many nights I gazed at the sky and sensed his peace.  I was comforted that one day we will be in heaven, and in fact it already is our home; we are part of that reality right now!

In Unión Juárez and Lázaro Cardenas we met church members with beautiful hearts and an incredible willingness to serve.  We visited homes and evangelized there, and we also held evangelistic campaigns.

To finish up our trip we celebrated with a worship service in which the majority of the churches with whom we had ministered were present. There was a testimony time when each brother or sister shared what they had received from God during the three weeks.  It was surprising to see how God had moved in different contexts and through different means, but always with the same objective.

I love God!  During that closing service, he touched my heart.  I could hear that phrase that I had longed to hear, and it filled me completely: “And God created the missionary!”

I know there is still a lot for me to learn.  I am convinced that every day God will guide me and fulfill his promise in me according to his purpose.  For me to be a part of this trip, God had to orchestrate every detail: my schooling, my finances, my family.  Without a doubt, this experience has been a huge blessing in my life.

Our Missionary Brother

Last week we published the report of a missions trip in South Mexico Five Stops, Hundreds of Changed Lives. Today we will share the testimony of one of the teens that served as a volunteer missionary during that cross-cultural experience. If you are interested in this type of activity or in missions in general, let us know in the comment section below!

I’m Abner Gutiérrez Rivera, and I am part of the “Door of Faith” Church of the Nazarene in Tuxtla Gutiérrez, Chiapas, in the Ribera Zone of the Mexico South District.

I want to testify to the fact that my experience thus far in missions has been incredible.  Everything started when I decided to enroll in the Cross-Cultural Missions course, and one of its assignments was to participate in a missions trip in which we would visit five towns in the state of Chiapas during 23 days.

After our Director of Missions and leader of the event, Freivy López, prayed and commissioned us, we started our adventure November 23, 2019.  Up until that moment I had felt quite a bit of uncertainty regarding my missions call.  I got to know the other group members on the trip, and I knew that we were placing ourselves at the service of the Lord during the coming weeks.  Being able to testify to what He has done in my life is incredible!

The first place we visited was Soyatitán, and seeing the excitement that the brothers and sisters of the church had when they received us was amazing.  For the first time, I heard them call me “our missionary brother,” and I wanted to clarify that this was my first experience and that we were all just learning.  I smiled nervously, but inside I was filled with joy because I love serving God like that. However, I was worried that the church members had set their expectations too high upon seeing that they were so eager to meet us.

Something that touched my heart was getting to know some church members that work as Christian clowns in that area and are called: “The Pancholines.”  As they watched us evangelize, they came up to us, invited us to their homes, and donated many materials that they work with in their ministry. The Lord had impressed on them to give us a complete clown costume, make-up, and a lot of games that could be played with the kids.  I learned a big lesson: our God is alive, and he makes all things possible.  All we had up until that point was a little make-up to put on for our kids’ program.  It was incredible to hear the voice of God through the people that received Christ and through the clown ministry.

The second town we came to was Comitán, where we came up against some opposition to our ministry.  The city is predominantly Catholic and tied to tradition, and there was even one Catholic group that had created specific literature designed to contradict evangelicals.  But God was there, giving us his words for every conversation, based on the Scriptures.  Freivy and Pastor David gave us some advice, and we witnessed the fact that the Word of the Lord never returns void.  It was a nice challenge for me, to be sure.

I truly felt the presence of the Lord touching my life and making me understand the entire world’s need to know Him; it was an unforgettable experience. Each night I went up to the roof of the church building to pray and look at the sky, recognizing that he is always present in our lives.

The next area we ministered in was a rural town called Michoacán Colony. It was there that I had to confront several personal discomforts and even fears mainly, for example, due to the large amounts of spiders and cockroaches.  Nevertheless, I learned another lesson: we must depend fully on God and give even those fears to Him.

I was taught a lot in the city of La Trinitaria, because Freivy helped me correct a lot of the ways I had been taught to evangelize.  I am definitely still learning, and I got better going forward. That was certainly a challenge, but God and my teammates helped me in my weakness, making me feel part of a family.

The fourth place we went to was Union Juárez, which was also an incredible experience.  We had the full support of the local church as we ministered through the clown show, and we saw an excellent response from the children as we shared the gospel with them.  We ended up traveling to a community close-by named San Marcos Jalal, where we were able to perceive how God used us in ministry.  For the majority of the children there, it was the first time they had ever seen a clown, and even the first time they had ever heard about Jesus Christ.  There we learned one more tremendous lesson: according to the gifting that you have, God gives you favor before the people you come in contact with and works in your life in incredible ways if you are willing.

The final place we visited was Lázaro Cárdenas. How wonderful to be able to evangelize a person who started out arguing with me but ended up crying and asking the Lord to change his life.  That moment was undeniably transformational in my life as a Christian.

With every new day of the missions trip I felt more and more strengthened by God in my life, and I know that this is my call, my ministry.  I will keep working in order to seek entire sanctification and total dependence on Him.  The neatest thing was remembering that at the start of the trip I had said, “Here am I, send me,” and was open to all that God would call me to do.  And here I am, serving Him.  I can only give thanks to God for protecting us and using us in that time.