Best of both worlds at Asia Gateway residential
Asia Gateway Training (AGT) kicked off its seven-week residential programme on cross-cultural mission training at Seminari Theologi Malaysia in Seremban on 21 June. It runs until 8 August. Twelve students from five countries completed the three-week Level 1 training on July 10 before nine of them embarked on a week-long mission trip to Cambodia. On their return from the mission trip, they have been joined by six more church leaders and ministry workers for another three weeks of training under the advanced Level 2. AsiaCMS (a Faith2Share member) led the way in setting up AGT – working alongside the Anglican Church of Malaysia, the Methodist Church of Malaysia and mission agencies: OMF, OM, InterServe and SIM East Asia. AGT Dean Lee Loun Ling said the seven-week programme was designed to give the best of both worlds – solid academic training and practical field lessons.
Pray for peace in Burundi as Nkurunziza wins third term
Burundi's President Pierre Nkurunziza has won a controversial third term in office. At a press conference today (Friday) the national electoral commission announced the result, which has been rejected by the opposition. Nkurunziza won 69.41 per cent of the 2.8 million votes cast on Tuesday - winning many votes in the rural regions where most of Burundi's 10 million people live. Nkurunziza's decision to seek a third term has sparked violence and unrest for the last few months in Burundi - which has seen violence, with at least 70 people killed and many more injured and tens of thousands being displaced and fleeing the country. The opposition says Nkurunziza's bid violated the constitution and could spark another conflict. The United States and the European Union, both critical of Nkurunziza, threatened measures like cutting aid after Burundi went ahead with an election they said could not be free or fair. Now the results are known, please pray for peace and calm to be kept in Burundi. Pray that any disputes are solved amicably through negotiations and that the surrounding countries would play a constructive role for their sister country, being arbiters for peace. See more here at the BBC and here at Reuters.
Celebrating children's 'missionary genes'
Indian Evangelical Mission (IEM), a Faith2Share member, has recently held ANOKHA 2015, its annual celebration for children whose parents are IEM missionaries. Anokha mean unique and this year 17 unique individuals (five girls, 13 boys) attended the event. "With lot of activties for their ever bubbling spirits they got their point through - that along with their parents these children make a formidable team in God's greater plan," reports IEM in its June newsletter. One child said he was challenged to commit his life to serve God." Another child reported that she had discovered that keeping God in the centre would solve her problems." Each child was given a T-shirt with IEM's Golden Jubilee logo, and a caption which read "I have the missionary Gene in me." IEM has its own children's ministry in the shape of two children's homes (Mavelikara & Idukki) which between them house 150 children. IEM also supports some children in their own homes. Many of those living in the IEM homes are not true orphans by definition. Some of them have at least one living parent but are unable to survive without IEM's help because of extreme poverty.
Evangelism training in Malawi
Faith2Share’s Africa coordinator Timothy Mazimpaka reports from Malawi, where 26 students are being trained in mission and evangelism at the College of Christian Ministries, using the materials and trainers from Carlile College in Nairobi. Students are drawn from all four Anglican dioceses in Malawi and this represents an exciting joint venture in mission education by Christians in Malawi and Kenya. Timothy says he is really impressed by “a remarkable thirst for knowledge” that students have shown and asks prayers for grace throughout the training, and for the training to have an impact on both facilitators and evangelist during the two weeks of intensive seminar. This is the first instance of such training from Kenya in Malawi and Faith2Share hopes that other countries in Southern Africa will benefit in the future. Reverend Captain Patience Wanzala Santa, Dean of School of Missions at Carlile College, Kenya, is pictured taking a session on homiletics.
Prayer for peace in Nigeria as Eid begins
As Muslims around the world celebrate the festival of Eid al Fitr (the end of Ramadan), our thoughts and prayers are with the people of Nigeria, a country which is enduring intense violence and terror attacks with increasing regularity. Militant Islamist group Boko Haram, which often targest northern Nigeria, has stepped up attacks since President Muhammudu Buhari took office in May. Today (Friday) news reports state that at least nine people have died in explosions at prayers for Eid in the Nigerian town of Damaturu. The BBC quotes a Nigerian army spokesman Col Sani Usman as saying the two female suicide bombers included a 10-year-old girl. On Thursday, explosions targeting people shopping for Eid at a market in the north-eastern city of Gombe killed at least 49 people.Human Rights Watch says Boko Haram has killed an estimated 400 people since the inauguration of the new administration in May, adding to the 7,000 killed since 2010. We pray for an end to the violence and suffering in Nigeria.
Ethiopian church on climate change at UN conference
“Prolonged droughts coupled with sudden floods are the face of climate change in Ethiopia,” said Endeshaw Kassa of the Ethiopian Evangelical Church Mekane Yesus. Kassa pointed out that smallholder subsistence farmers are suffering the most. He warned that “as water becomes scarce, crops fail, livestock perish; communities are forced to leave the land.” Kassa was speaking at a side event at the 3rd United Nations Financing for Development Conference in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia - which began on Monday and ended today (17 July). Addressing the theme “Climate finance: Investing in the most vulnerable, building a just and sustainable future”, the event was organised by the World Council of Churches (WCC) and the ACT Alliance. Kassa shared that rural communities in Ethiopia are already responding to the challenge posed by climate change by planting drought-resistant crops and building water-harvesting facilities. The International Mission arm of the Mekane Yesus Church is a Faith2Share partner and its director Wondimu Methewos preached at Faith2Share's Leadership Consultation in Addis Ababa last year.
Mandarin-language outreach in Melbourne
Mandarin speakers living and visiting Melbourne can now attend a weekly service in their mother tongue at St Paul's Cathedral, in the heart of Melbourne. Presided over by Reverends Rick and Jessica Cheung, the service was recently launched to cater for the fact that Mandarin is the second most spoken language in Australia today, with 371,000 Australians speaking Mandarin at home. The service will take place every Saturday at 10am. Plans for this historic initiative began last September. Reverend Rick told Anglican Media Melbourne that this was an exciting development and gave thanks to God. "It's not what we can do for him but what He can, and will do, through us for others." In addition to the regular Mandarin-speaking congregation, several thousand visitors each week, many Chinese tourists, visit the cathedral. Many are curious to know more, says Rick. "It is a great opportunity to share the good news of Jesus Christ with them...and by the grace of God they may become believers themselves." Watch a video here of this story.
Sudanese pastors on trial
Two South Sudanese pastors in Sudan will face trial for espionage. A judge ruled on 2 July that Rev Yat Michael and Rev David Yein Reith's trial will continue - meaning that they could face the death penalty or life imprisonment if found guilty. The pastors are accused of seven crimes including espionage, "offending Islamic beliefs" and undermining the constitutional system, according to Christian Today. A day earlier, 1 July, the pastors' chief counsel, Mohaned Mustafa, was also arrested, along with Pastor Hafez of the Khartoum Bahri Evangelical Church where Rev Michael spoke out against the persecution of Christians in Sudan. The next hearing will take place on Tuesday (14 July), when the defence must present evidence of the men's innocence. It is reported that their lawyer, who will have only ten to 15 minutes prior to this hearing to prepare his clients, protested that such time is not adequate to prepare a defence, let alone a defence for charges that carry the death penalty, but to no avail, argues Open Doors. More also on this case at Christian Solidarity Worldwide.
Great discipleship at GCCN-India event
New Life for India (a Faith2Share member agency in Odisha, India) has recently organised a one day seminar for the Global Great Commission Network-India at Balangir district of Odisha state. It was run in partnership with Pastors' Prayer Fellowship and Church of North India (Sambalpur Diocese, Belgoan church). Pastor Paul Radha Krishnan (of Mahanaim Ministries and Indian Missions Association) organised the event. He is also national coordinator of Global Great Commission Network (GCCN)-India. More than 90 pastors and leaders participated and there was good fellowship, discussions, Bible studies, case studies and teachings on discipleship and other focus areas of GGCN-India. GGCN's vision is to “stimulate worldwide mission efforts that promote the making of disciples of every people in our generation.”