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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Maximum Mission: San Jorge de Upala, Costa Rica

Estefanía Amador Navas

Pastor of San Jorge de Upala Church of the Nazarene

District NMI President

Have you heard that when the Church comes together, the Lord is glorified? This is what happened with the San Jorge de Upala Church of the Nazarene in Costa Rica during a three-day Maximum Mission trip.

Nine people participated, including seven from the Poás Church of the Nazarene (Costa Rica) and two from Chicago, IL (United States), and they worked together in construction projects and compassionate ministry to serve the community.

During their time in San Jorge, the team shared the love of God in areas where the church has been actively ministering for the past year and a half.

They conveyed the love of Jesus with the children during a fun-filled Saturday morning activity and in the afternoon held a special women’s event, in which five women came to a church event for the very first time. 88191358_512084799493668_8851939653029199872_n

The second day ended with a movie in the community, in which 45 people from the community were in attendance.  Neighbor Rafael Romero said, “Thank you for the great message you came to give our community.  Keep it up!”

Ariel Gómez, Poás NMI president, said, “The Lord is listening to our prayers.  He has been acting in the midst of our service and is encouraging us to continue. It is wonderful to see God move in this town – it has been one of the best experiences of my life!”

The trip ended with a service of thanksgiving on Sunday, and five new people were a part.  The team and the church believe that God has left a mark on the hearts of the children, youth, and adults, and that the Church will continue to live and grow, to the glory and honor of our Lord Jesus Christ.

 

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Cross-Cultural Orientation (CCO), Puerto Rico 2020

By: Javier A. Otero, Member of the Global Missions Team in Puerto Rico East

On January 10, 11 and 12, 2020, a Cross-Cultural Orientation (CCO) was held in Puerto Rico. This training was organized by leaders from four different countries: Puerto Rico, Dominican Republic, Guatemala and the United States, showing once again that the Church of the Nazarene is a global Church.

com 222 participants from 2 districts and 8 different churches attended the event. Among the participants were 3 Senior Pastors, all of whom testified to the importance of clergy involvement in missions. Participants ranged from 17 to 65 years old, making evident that involvement in missions has no age limit; one need only be ready to respond to God’s call.

15 of the participants went through the process of interviews as they sought guidance for how to participate in future mission opportunities. Frances G. Rivera Medero (participant), shared with us: “The CCO helped open my eyes to many possibilities and opportunities that God has for me.”

Responding to the call of our Lord Jesus Christ to “go and make disciples” was the heart of every activity. The group took a big step towards the Great Commission by equipping themselves during the weekend. com

The faith of the organizers and the participants was put to the test three days before the event when Puerto Rico was hit by a 6.4-magnitude earthquake, leaving thousands homeless and much of the island without power and running water.  Still, leaders and participants left their homes and families to respond to God’s call and arrived at the CCO trusting that God was in control.

Another participant, Sandra Lugo, commented that Jesus “showed me that I must work for Him and look at the cross; not in the style and differences of other people.”

com 3This CCO showed that the Nazarenes in Puerto Rico are accepting the challenge of the Great Commission. Pastor Jorge Cádiz was impacted by the event.  “In every detail of this event, we could see the Nazarene missionary impulse at work.  Every new activity or workshop kept surprising me. As a pastor I feel extremely honored to belong to this movement.  Every Nazarene should live the experience of the CCO.”

All of us who have participated in the CCO feel the same way.  In fact, we continue living out the CCO, and we invite you to do the same!

A Sent People

By: Dr. Verne Ward

Global Missions Director, Church of the Nazarene

Now there were these prophets and teachers in the church at Antioch…. While they were serving the Lord and fasting, the Holy Spirit said, ‘Set apart for me Barnabas and Saul for the work to which I have called them.’ Then, after they had fasted and prayed and placed their hands on them, they sent them off.”
Acts 13:1-3

God’s people are a sent people. God calls each church to preach the gospel to its Jerusalem, Judea, Samaria, and to the furthest ends of the earth.

In being sent by God, sometimes the local church sends missionaries to areas beyond the congregation’s immediate reach to fulfill Christ’s words in Acts 1:8.

God calls and the Church sends. It has always been this way. Before there were denominations, local churches sent missionaries. Within individual congregations, there were people who sensed and accepted the Spirit’s call to preach the gospel to places and peoples where the Church was not yet. These local faith bodies anointed, commissioned, and supported these gospel emissaries.

Today, the ancient responsibility for preparing, discipling, and sending missionaries still rests primarily with the local church. Who, besides the local church, is better positioned to walk with them in discipleship as they explore the shape of their call? Where better to provide opportunities to gain critical experience and vital skills for cross-cultural ministry? Where else will experienced leaders mentor them as they grow into spiritually mature Christians? Who will fervently pray for and support them if not those who discipled and sent them?

Over our denomination’s 100-year existence, responsibility for walking that journey with missionaries has shifted from the local church to the global denomination. Yet, a small global or regional team cannot disciple missionaries-in-training as effectively as the local church can—and is called to—do.

To return this responsibility to the local church, we have created the Office of Engagement, a small team within Global Missions, led by Rev. Joyce Tempel. Joyce works with Regional Engagement coordinators, and these teams are tasked with coming alongside and resourcing candidates and the local church as each fulfills God’s call.

As you communicate with local churches, you may have opportunities to answer questions about the church’s role in sending and how Global Missions can help. In Mesoamerica, please contact Scott and Emily Armstrong (sarmstrong@mesonaz.org; earmstrong@mesonaz.org) with your questions or to request resources.
In December, I spent time with Nazarene leaders in Korea, bringing them this message: Missions is the heart of God for the lost! The Church of the Nazarene needs you to accomplish missions.

“This is a message we haven’t heard before from the global church,” they told me. One leader added, “We always saw the USA as the big brother who doesn’t need our help.”

This couldn’t be further from the truth. Just as the local church meets its pastor’s needs so that the pastor is free to care for the church, local churches and districts around the world sustain Nazarene Global Missions with their support. As a result, we can pioneer where the church is not yet and develop and resource the local church as God’s primary agent of mission in the world.

God calls the whole church to missions, and the local church sustains missions. May we live into this call as we start a new year together in His mission.

 

More Testimonies of Impact: 4×4 All-Terrain

In our last few entries, several youth that were a part of the 10th Anniversary of 4×4 All Terrain a month ago have shared their experiences.  Today we are wrapping up this series with some brief testimonies from four more participants.  We certainly hope they challenge you to pray, serve, and participate in future mission trips like this!

“We noticed the community of Oak Valley was different; they had their own type of needs.  We had been evangelizing in other places, but this time it would be door-to-door, which made me afraid.  I had no idea what the people would be like or how they would react.  But the majority of the people accepted Christ! That surprised me!  I was so excited, but I asked them again if they were certain of their decision to follow Him.  They again said yes, and I know God was speaking to their hearts.” – Abdiel Isaac Rodríguez.

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“The enemy was extremely angry.  During the event we encountered many obstacles like illnesses and bad reports.  At one point the vehicle that we relied on to get from place to place broke down.  However, the Lord gave us the strength and the wisdom to keep moving forward without letting any of that get to us.  He was always there accompanying us.

I invite you to get out of your comfort zone and preach the gospel.  Don’t waste a single opportunity, and above all, when an event like this comes your way, don’t hesitate to participate. It will be a massive blessing, and you will experience indescribable things. My experience in 4×4 changed my way of thinking and seeing the world.  I thank God for that.” – Daniel Alexis Aguayo

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“I could sense God’s Spirit in me, speaking on my behalf.  He used my lips and guided my steps.  Although I had thought I wasn’t spiritual enough to be used in ministry like that, God showed me on more than one occasion that He has control of my life.

Besides, being able to share these experiences with other teens who are my brothers and sisters in Christ is another reason to celebrate.  We aren’t talking about just one or two willing people; I was with so many who constantly responded in love and obedience.  Each one of their lives confirm why I believe in God and why I desire to follow his plan for my life.” – Navith Paolette Ayala Bedolla.

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“I truly invite you to participate in a 4×4.  I thought when I signed up that it was to be a blessing for others, but I never imagined how blessed I would end up being.  God confirmed my call, not necessarily to be a missionary, but it was through ministering to others that he started to deal with me.  I have to wonder: if I had never participated in 4×4, how long would I have gone without realizing what he wants for me? I’m not sure.  I can only thank God for moving in that way.” – Saraí Avelino Castillo.

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“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!