Mission or Missions?

Scott Armstrong

Recently the Board of General Superintendents of the Church of the Nazarene made a subtle, but significant, change to the name of our missions sending arm of the denomination.  What was “Global Mission” will now be known as “Global Missions.”  As of September 5, 2018, this shift has been made, all materials have been changed, and new logos have been introduced.

Some might wonder if adding an “s” to the name is just semantics.  However, that small adjustment is designed to help differentiate between the overall mission of the entire Church and the specific missions entity of the Church. As Christians (and Nazarenes) everywhere, we are sent in mission, and that mission is global in nature:

            —“…That my salvation would reach to the ends of the earth…” (Is. 49:6)

            —“Go and make disciples of all nations…” (Mt. 28:19)

            —“For God so loved the world…” (Jn. 3:16)

            —“And you will be my witnesses…to the uttermost parts of the earth…” (Acts 1:8)

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Missions typically refers to the emphasis within the greater church that focuses on the mobilization and support of missionaries to other cultures.  Thus, Global Missions is a more appropriate title for the missionary sending branch of the denomination.  Again, mission is not relegated to a specific program or sub-ministry of the Church.  It is for all of us, everywhere, at all times.

This change affects our ministry in Mesoamerica perhaps more so than other ministries.  After all, the name of our ministry has been World Mission, and now Global Mission, for 18 years.  Nevertheless we are adopting these changes with open arms and will now be known as Global Missions Mesoamerica as well.  The purpose remains the same: Discover, Develop, and Deploy missionaries from our region to the world.

If you have any questions please leave a comment in the section below.  And let’s pray that God would guide us as a Church in His mission in the coming days.

FOCUS ON – Maximum Mission

Once again, the Church of the Nazarene in the Dominican Republic joined together to bless a community and plant a new church – this time in the city of Bonao, located in the Northeast District. This was the first Maximum Mission held in that district and they had the support of 3 other districts who worked a total of 4 days.

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The community of “Los Arroces” in Bonao was impacted September 21-24 through the work of compassion, service, evangelism, discipleship and communion.  Around 40 youth from the Dominican Republic and Haiti contributed their gifts and talents in service to the community.

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The group formed basketball teams and preached the message of salvation to the young people in the community. Eight of them made a decision to follow Christ. There were also activities for children and teens, a conversation with women about their value and God-given beauty, a dominoes tournament, and a great closing worship service on Sunday night with dance presentations and plays.  Three people came to know the Lord during the service.

The project finished on the last day with the celebration of the baptisms of 12 teens from the Church of the Nazarene in Bonao.

Dynamic fellowship and a great desire to serve united the team in this missionary work. During every activity, participants could see how God was working through them in the life of the community.

The name of the event was “FOCUS: Deny yourself, Surrender, and Follow me.” The hope was for every young person to focus on the calling of the Great Commission by going and making disciples.

“I’m 16, and I felt great while participating in this big event. I was in a play, and a man approached me and told me: ‘Don’t be nervous. If you’re shaking it’s because God’s presence is near and you’re feeling it in this moment.’ That was encouraging and filled me with joy; the strategies that I was able to use to evangelize in the houses and streets of that community made me feel that God was with us and was talking to other people through me.” —Angel Manuel Duson

Written by Elba Duson, East District Global Mission coordinator, DR.

Cross Cultural Orientation in Costa Rica, 2018

Costa Rican districts unite to equip dozens of people in their call to missions

Thirty-seven participants from both districts in Costa Rica attended a Cross-Cultural Orientation Sept. 7-9 at the Poas Church of the Nazarene. 

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Sixteen volunteers, including district and field leaders as well as missionaries, helped make the event possible.  Regional Coordinator of Nazarene Missions International, Ana Maria Crocker, shared in several sessions.  Pastor Felipe Flores, Costa Rica North District Superintendent Rev. Johnny Calvo, and Costa Rica Central District Superintendent Rev. Sirlene Bustos all shared the word of God.

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Nazarene Global Mission coordinators at the district and field levels organized the event.  Nelson Vega serves through Global Mission in the Central District, Estefania Amador in the North District, and Freya Galindo serves in the Mesoamerica Central Field. 

“To see happy faces and people believing that they can do a little more, to see them wanting to answer a call with conviction – it’s priceless.  I feel very satisfied with what we achieved. I know that God used me as part of his plan, and that’s the most comforting thing a person can feel.  Even though he does not need me, He decided to let me be a part, and that’s an indescribable feeling,” said Nelson Vega about the CCO.

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Below are a few snippets of testimonies that the participants shared.  You can read the full testimonies on the Costa Rica Global Mission Facebook page: 

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Christopher Quinto, Los Ángeles Church of the Nazarene: It was an experience where I rediscovered my call and got excited again like the first time. I rediscovered that “The sky is the limit,” and now I believe in my abilities and virtues. The event challenged me to not stay still; it was the impulse that I was lacking to move forward and not give up when obstacles come my way.

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Xavier Yadir Diaz Chavez, Cañas Dulces Church of the Nazarene: A lot of things happened during this camp, but the one that impacted me the most was that God clarified a thousand doubts that I had. I never thought that I could be so sure of where I am, and from where God has brought me. My life is sealed with God’s name and that will never change; the best is just beginning, so let’s prepare ourselves for unimaginable things in our lives. 

DSC_0295.jpgDaniela Solano, Tibas Church of the Nazarene: As a pastor’s kid, for a long time I took on responsibilities in the church only because “there was no one else to do it,” but it was not something that I ever saw as a calling. A few months ago I began to ask God to take control of my life and to show me what He wanted me to do. During the CCO I was able to see how God for a long time had been working in my life. I could see how I had missed a lot of details and that my call to missions had been there the whole time. To see the full picture of the little confirmations that God had been planting in my life was what made me finally state during this camp, “Here I am, send me.” 

DSC_0299.jpgDanah Webb Leandro, Desamparados Church of the Nazarene: I can say that every workshop, every activity, every devotion, every word I heard and hug I received during these three days marked my life and created in me a Christian reality totally different from the one I had when I came. This camp gave me a new vision and a new purpose, and it filled me with strength and hope. The CCO gave me a new calling and a new direction to work with my NYI, my church, my community, my country, and even to other far-away places! I don’t have words to describe these three days; what I can say is that this has been one of God’s greatest gifts for my life.

Written by Ana Hernandez in collaboration with Estefanía Amador and Nelson Vega,  Global Mission Costa Rica.

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Making Progress in the Panama Genesis Site

Forty-eight Panamanians and 21 people from the Kansas District, USA, joined July 27-29 for an urban Maximum Mission in Panama City. The purpose was to impact the sites where Genesis missionaries are serving.

On the first day they served in the Carrasquilla community, which is the area of responsibility for Genesis missionaries Keila Molina and Joselyn Garcia. They worked in the community school painting, cleaning, cutting grass, doing classroom maintenance and sharing an anti-bullying training. The volunteers also delivered bags of food to needy families in the same community. Others held an “Evangelistic Beauty Salon” where, in addition to offering their services, they shared the message of the gospel. Still others held a Vacation Bible School. They closed with a Jesus Film presentation where 17 people accepted Christ as their Lord.

On the second day, they focused on the Los Libertadores community, which is the area of responsibility for Genesis missionaries Marleidy Sanchez and Ingrid Jochola. In this community there are 8 high rises, each with 15 floors. Along with 35 volunteers from the Interamerican University of Panama, they cleaned and evangelized on each floor of all 8 buildings and the nearby areas. They offered their services in the “Evangelistic Beauty Salon” and played soccer with the youth in the community. A national television channel came to hold interviews about what was happening. Later, they held a Bible School with the children and closed with a Jesus Film presentation in which 15 people accepted Jesus as their Savior.

On the third day, the group met in the Rio Abajo Church of the Nazarene to praise the Lord and hear a message from Pastor Jim Bond, who serves as the Kansas District Superintendent. There was a special moment in which Panama Central District Superintendent Carlos de la Cruz presented a recognition to the Slingerland family on behalf of the district for their help during the 7 years in which they lived in Panama. Abby Slingerland received a present from the district NYI.

In the afternoon the volunteers went to the Juan Demosthenes community where they cleaned, evangelized, and held a Bible School. In that community, 28 people accepted Christ as their Savior.

“…We ask for your prayers for these three Genesis sites, which are places that need the Lord, and for our four Genesis missionaries: Keila, Ingrid, Joselyn and Marleidy. Pray that the Lord uses them and gives them great strength every day. We would like to thank all of the volunteers from Panama and Kansas for being instruments of the Lord,” said Joel Bermudez, Panama Central District NYI President.

This article was originally published at: Church of the Nazarene Mesoamerica

Fast Facts – Church of the Nazarene (2017)

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  • The Church of the Nazarene ministers in 162 world areas.*
  • In 2017, there were 685 missionaries originating from 59 world areas (including 225 long-term volunteers). Last year, 110 new missionaries were added. Within these missionary families, there are 379 missionary kids.*
  • 9,480 volunteers participated in Global Missions in 2017. In addition to the long-term volunteers, there were 314 short-term volunteers, and 9,166 Work & Witness team members.
  • Churches in global mission areas numbered 30,875 churches (increase of 0.98 percent) with 2.55 million members (increase of 3.19 percent from last year).*
  • 479 districts have been established around the world in 2017 with 28,719 clergy.*
  • 5 graduate seminaries, 30 undergraduate Bible/theological colleges, 14 liberal arts institutions, 2 nurses training colleges, and 1 teacher training college had a 2017 combined enrollment of 50,799 students globally.*
  • People were treated at community-based clinics and health care centers all over the world with concentrated efforts in India, Papua New Guinea, and Swaziland.*
  • 221 retired missionaries received pensions.*
  • NMI membership was approximately 1 million, and the number of organized local NMIs have risen by 2.33 percent to 17,293.
  • NMI and JESUS Film Harvest Partners, through WEF, helped provide infrastructure for 608 Nazarene JESUS Film teams to share God’s love. In 2016–2017, the teams reported 2.67 million evangelistic contacts. Of these contacts, 638,319 (24 percent of contacts) indicated decisions for Christ with 379,669 (59 percent of decisions) initial discipleship follow-ups. The teams started 7,544 preaching points in 2017.
  • NMI partnered with pastors, church boards, Global Missions, and Stewardship to help churches raise US $37.44 million through the World Evangelism Fund during the 2017 fiscal year (FY).*
  • Churches globally gave US $30.86 million for Approved Mission Specials (up 17 percent from FY 2016).
  • In 2017, 110 districts gave 5.5 percent of their income and beyond to the World Evangelism Fund (up 21 districts). WEF giving beyond 5.5 percent invests in new works in all world areas, including the USA and Canada.
  • Missionary Health Care provided approximately US $472,769 in medical assistance for Nazarene missionaries (up 6.76 percent from FY 2016).
  • NMI partnered with World Mission Broadcast (WMB), giving approximately US $367,327 to provide radio, television, and Internet programs to share the gospel globally.
  • Nazarenes gave US $3.7 million in deputation offerings for missionaries, up 15.9 percent from FY 2016.
  • NMI generated approximately US $253,347 through Links (up 4.94 percent), a vital personalized connection between local churches, districts, and missionaries around the world.
  • Nazarenes gave US $2.46 million for Alabaster (up 0.24 percent) to fund construction projects in 2017. In 2016–2017, Alabaster funds were released for 216 projects for the Church of the Nazarene in all six regions around the world. The Alabaster Offering is used in all six global regions. No Alabaster funds are used for administrative costs.
  • International Student Scholarship Fund (NMI 80th Anniversary project) provided 89 scholarships for students to attend Nazarene theological institutions globally.
  • NMI partnered with Nazarene Compassionate Ministries to give more than US $9.28 million for disaster response and compassion projects around the world and to support approximately 12,000 children through Child Development Centers and Pastor’s Kid programs. Churches sent 52,320 Crisis Care Kits and 9,700 School Pal-Paks.
  • NMI assisted Work & Witness in raising approximately US $1.66 million to deploy 647 teams, an average of 12 teams per week. 9,166 people participated in Work & Witness in 2017, donating the equivalent of 329 years of labor.
  • Nazarene churches around the world operated 1,439 pre-school, primary, and secondary schools with a total enrollment of 166,231 students.

* Supported either directly or indirectly by World Evangelism Fund (WEF).

Denominational statistics for 2017

Nazarene Missions International

Transform: Change, Evolve

From March 9 to 11, 53 youth from Dominican Republic and Haiti joined together to serve in the first Maximum Mission organized in the D.R. East District.  During the weekend, the visiting participants joined two Nazarene churches in the city of Higuey, using their gifts and talents to impact the specific community of Juan Pablo Duarte in 5 areas: Fellowship, Service, Evangelism, Discipleship and Compassion.

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MMHiguey1.pngLeaders of the East district, including Global Mission coordinator Elba Duson and NYI president Ramon Joseph, worked together with dedication and effort to hold this big event. The name of the Maximum Mission was “Transform: Change, Evolve,” which arose from Acts 17:6 and the desire to see an entire nation renewed by the Holy Spirit and transformed by the message of salvation.

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Participants shared devotions together, cleaned the city’s streets, raised awareness of creation care through workshops, and engaged in door-to-door and street evangelism. They also used artistic presentations during an evangelistic campaign, held a Vacation Bible School for children, taught a conference entitled “You are special” for teenagers and a separate workshop for parents, and even donated toys, clothes and shoes to the children and families in the community.

MMHiguey5.pngOne of the participants, Lioni Taveras, said: “My life was changed during this Maximum Mission.  I was able to share with different people who left an impact on my heart: we went out to preach, serve the community, and even cleaned houses…I realized that it’s not only about preaching God’s Word verbally; it’s also about showing compassion. So I have a challenge ahead: listening to God’s voice and being obedient to Him!”

 

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Elba Duson shared: “By the end of the weekend I realized that transformation doesn’t happen spontaneously; it’s a process that starts in our own lives until it gets to the lives of others. I saw God working in each participant, how they confessed their own sin and need for God in the midst of this experience.  Not only the community received the call to transformation, but this had already begun in our own lives.”

 

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Global Mission, East District Dominican Republic

 

“Ascribe to the Lord”

Annual Report of Global Mission & Genesis

As Global Mission and GENESIS coordinators we have spent the last month remembering 2017.  One thing has been clear: God has done amazing things and will continue to do so!

Just a reminder: The Mesoamerica Global Mission ministry seeks to Discover, Develop, and Deploy missionaries from our region. GENESIS seeks to make Christlike disciples in the urban centers of Mesoamerica. Mobilizing our entire region to send missionaries, as well as focusing on the transformation of our cities has proven challenging and, at the same time, endlessly rewarding.

Here are a few of the exciting things that have occurred in the past year:

  1. In January and February 2017 the entire region dedicated the first 40 days to praying for the cities of Mesoamerica. This initiative has been launched again in 2018 and is proving highly effective.
  2. Three new Genesis missionaries were trained and deployed last year: Joselyn García was sent from Nuevo Laredo, Mexico to Santiago, Dominican Republic and AJ and Chelsea Fry were sent from Florida, USA to become the Coordinators of construction of the new Center of Missionary Formation (CMF) in Los Alcarrizos, Dominican Republic.
  3. Current Genesis missionaries in Santiago (DR), Grenada, and Guadalajara (Mexico) have done a stellar job planting five churches, and encouraging dozens of other existing congregations. Their testimonies are amazing, but I lack the space to tell them all here; thus, seek them out on the new Genesis app available in the App Store on iTunes.
  4. Five Work and Witness teams have come already to better the seminary campus and prepare the land for the CMF, and fifteen more are scheduled for the coming year.
  5. Although for nine years we had published articles and reflections on culture, leadership, missions, and much more in the transformaelmundo.com blog, on April 9, 2017 we began to do so as well in English at transformtheglobe.com.
  6. In May of 2017 we launched the Worthless Servants Podcast in both Spanish and English. Each episode includes a conversation on missions, culture, the Church, or other topics, and we currently have hundreds of listeners through iTunes, WhatsApp, and other platforms.
  7. Created in 2016, the 10 Characteristics of a Genesis Church (i.e. healthy and missional) have been further developed and publicized throughout the region in district training events, on all social media, and through the podcast.
  8. Two promotional videos were created in Spanish and English to be used in promoting Genesis in the local churches and at District Assemblies throughout the region.
  9. At General Assembly in June 2017 we utilized this once-every-four-years platform in order to promote Genesis in the region and in our entire denomination. We literally came in contact with thousands of people, shared information more closely with hundreds, and recruited dozens of potential missionaries, prayer partners, Work and Witness teams, and donors.
  10. Ten Cross-Cultural Orientations were held across the region with a total of 181 youth and adults interested in missions attending. This includes the first-ever CCO in Haiti held in December 2017. God is truly raising up his church in missions-sending!
  11. A multitude of inter- and intra-field short-term trips have been offered with an estimate of a whopping 112 volunteer missionaries dedicating over 2,000 days in service to the mission-field! I should also note that an estimate of 2,500+ people have participated in Maximum Mission or similar trips in the past year.
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Cross-Cultural Orientation in Guatemala, 2017

Looking back has been encouraging, but we must also look forward with expectation.  What do we sense God calling us to do in these ministries in 2018?

Goals for 2018:

  1. Discover, develop and deploy 12 volunteer missionaries to 3 priority Genesis sites (Monterrey, Querétaro, and Panama City).
  2. Receive 15 teams in 2018 that participate in the refurbishing of the seminary and construction of the Center of Missionary Formation in the Dominican Republic.
  3. Acquire 7 new partnerships for Genesis development, 2018 priority Genesis sites, and the CMF.
  4. Utilize technology and creative strategies (podcast, social media, etc.) to promote dialogue regarding issues of urban mission, missiology, and the 10 Characteristics of a Genesis church.
  5. Create “Continuing Education” training classes for Genesis missionaries to participate in during their 2-year deployment.
  6. Offer 1 or more Cross Cultural Orientation and short-term missions experience in each field.
  7. Recruit and deploy at least 18 youth and adults in six different “Urban Immersion” programs according to field.
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Genesis missionary serving in Grenada

Please pray with us that these goals would become a reality!

As we evaluate 2017 and as we plan for 2018, we must proclaim with King David that any fruit we have seen or any positive things that will ever be done in our ministry are only due to God’s strong hand and his astounding grace.  We ascribe it all to him!

“Ascribe to the Lord, O mighty ones,
ascribe to the Lord glory and strength.

Ascribe to the Lord the glory due his name;
worship the Lord in the splendor of his holiness.” (Psalm 29:1-2)

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Youth in Mission serving in Haiti