In December, Yenni and her family, moved to the city of Pereira, Colombia for her husband's job. Prior to moving, Yenni had been the director of Children's ministry at the Camino de Vida church in Medellín and it was hard for her to leave her comfortable home and ministry. However, Yenni realized that this was an opportunity to be a witness for Christ wherever she goes. In January she joined the Community Church Planting (CCP) movement that we are overseeing here. Every Friday, Yenni joins the other 14 members of the team via skype for training and encouragement.
In accordance with CCP training Yenni began praying and going out into the community in search of people of peace. One day she said she walked so far that her feet hurt. She had been praying the whole time that the Lord would lead her to the right person but finally, she had to sit down and rest. There were some children playing in the park and Yenni started talking to one woman named Sandra there. In fact, Sandra opened her heart to Yenni, sharing her problems and concerns allowing Yenni to tell her about Christ and pray for her. Sandra said was amazed that she had felt comfortable enough to share her heart with a stranger...but now she and Yenni were friends and they started going on prayer walks together. Through those walks they met other women and decided to open a prayer group in Yenni's home. The second week, everyone brought someone else to the prayer group and it has continued to grow.
During Holy Week a group of youth from Medellín went to work alongside Yenni and her family in Pereira (about 6 hours away). During their evangelistic impacts in various parts of the city they reached 84 new people! Yenni has begun visiting those contacts in their homes and has found them to be very open to the Gospel. In fact, more than one have told her, "God put you in my path for a reason."
Yenni is like many of us and many of the people in our churches. She isn't a pastor. She isn't theologically trained. She is a lay person with a open heart and a willingness to respond to God's call. In Matthew 28: 19-20 Jesus commissioned us all. He said, "Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you." And then He made us a promise saying, "And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.” Let's be obedient and trust Him to keep His promises! Through Yenni's story, we can see evidence of the concept of Prevenient Grace; no matter where we go, God goes before us preparing others to receive Him.
Yenni says, "I give thanks to God because He keeps His promises! He took me out of my Comfort Zone and moved me to a Zone of Faith. I didn't know anyone in Pereira and no one there knew me but I knew that God would do wonderful things...and He is doing wonderful things! Praise GOD!"
This is only one of many examples of what God is doing through the CCP movement that we have the privilege to lead in Colombia!
Sometimes it is easy to forget that the Great Commission applies to ALL believers, not just a select few. Thankfully, as the Latin American Area focuses on Community Church Planting, a diverse group of people are responding to Jesus’ invitation to go and make disciples. Watch the unlikely story of Sister Naya’s answer to the call. Perhaps she will serve as inspiration for the rest of us respond to God’s call too. Click here to support the Latin American Church Planting Movement.
A recent Newsweek article states that ever since Hurricane Maria hit on October 4, 80% of the people in Puerto Rico still don’t have electricity. “The lack of electricity means water treatment facilities and purification systems are not fully functional, and some people turn to bacteria-contaminated water for relief in the humid, 80-degree weather.”
According to Pastor Mercedes Reynoso, the situation is very, very difficult. Probably the worst is the lack of sufficient drinking water in a very hot climate, and the instability in terms of food and safety. She, as always, has a foolproof spirit and testifies to a very strong presence of God in the midst of an indescribable crisis.
As of today, at least 3 donated generators been received by our members in Puerto Rico and 7 more are en route. We give special thanks to Luis, a member of one of our churches in Tampa, FL, who has worked diligently to save almost $4,000 in shipping costs. Likewise, suitcases of water filters have been delivered and more will arrive with a team of people going from California on November 6.
That being said, this is just a drop in the bucket. The needs are great and the recovery effort in Puerto Rico will be long! On behalf of our friends who are suffering, thanks to so many who have generously given finances, generators and water filters to help alleviate some of these needs. It is not too late for you to help provide for the basic needs of clean water or electricity to people in Puerto Rico. Please help us help Puerto Rico recover by donating here. Puerto Rico Recovery Fund
The FM leaders in Puerto Rico are asking us to help them help others. We can all do that by either giving financially to the Puerto Rico Recovery Fund or sending Walmart Gift Cards to Free Methodist World Ministry Center, 770 N High School Road, Indianapolis, IN 46214. For more details, please watch this video from Bishop David Roller...and share it with your friends and family!
The local newspaper of Puerto Rico, El Nuevo Día, reported today that the island ravaged by Hurricane Maria last week is “perhaps hours away from facing a major social crisis.” International news outlets report that the lack of communication, electricity, fuel, food and fresh water have resulted in a lack of medical attention on the island (there isn’t much a hospital can do without these valuable resources). Therefore, they are expecting a severe outbreak of disease among the 3.4 million people who live there.
According to Free Methodist Bishop David Roller, “Although communication is not yet fully restored, we are getting reports out of Puerto Rico of extensive damage to homes and Free Methodist churches. Everyone and everything got wet — some much worse than that. We thank God that we haven’t heard of any loss of life among our community.”
He continues, “the long slow path to recovery begins...This is the time for us to stand alongside our brothers and sisters in Puerto Rico.”
I would like to suggest 4 specific ways to do this:
1. Pray for the people of Puerto Rico in this time of need. Pray alone, with your family, and with your church. Pray for all of the many needs and pray for supernatural strength for the church leaders as they minister to the people around them while at the same time dealing with the trauma that affects them as well. Also, pray for the US Government to provide more emergency support.
2. Give to the Puerto Rico Recovery fund. FM Leadership is working with Superintendent Mercedes Reynoso to develop a list of priorities in how to best use the money donated. Click here to donate now.
3. Purchase Wal-Mart or Walgreens gift cards and send them to Puerto Rico Hurricane Recover, 770 N High School Road, Indianapolis, IN 46214. On October 9 – and then regularly after that – they will be sent to Puerto Rico so that as soon as groceries and medical supplies are available, people in our churches will be able to purchase them.
4. Spread the word so that others can join us in this effort for recovery in Puerto Rico.
written by Beth Gómez
On Wednesday, September 20, Hurricane Maria, a category 4 storm, hit Puerto Rico with 155 mph winds and torrential rains. While Maria has officially passed, there are still very powerful winds and heavy rains. Flash flooding and mudslides could be more deadly than the initial winds from the storm.
Delia Nüesch-Olver, Area Director for Latin America, has been in contact with Free Methodist friends and colleagues in Puerto Rico. She reports that our colleagues, Supintendent Mercedes Reynoso and Pastor Dan Perdomo are safe and sound. Contact has not been made with all of the other local pastors. Please pray for the people in Puerto Rico and for our FM family in that country.
The Free Methodist Church will mobilize and use its resources to assist where most needed in response to Hurricane Maria. If you’d like to contribute, please do click to give to the Puerto Rico Recovery Fund.
During this widely anticipated solar eclipse, darkness prevails over light..only for a matter of minutes...but based upon current events, I have found myself wondering if we're in the midst of a much greater eclipse.
On a recent family trip, we visited cities that seemed to be filled with desperation. In one city, the metro stations were practically plastered with adds for Suicide and Depression Help-Lines. Indeed, as we walked about, it seemed the lack of hope was contagious...UNTIL we walked into a church on Sunday morning! What we found was the most ethnically, economically and generationally diverse congregation we've ever seen worshiping...not just going through the motions, but really worshiping God! That congregation was challenged through a Scripture based sermon to fulfill the Great Commission. "...Go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age..," (Matthew 28:19-20) Knowing the impact of that particular church on its community and indeed the world, I have no doubt they responded to the message.
We came home to watch news reports of racial clashes in the USA, terrorist attacks in Spain, complete civil unrest in neighboring Venezuela and, this week, a devastating neighborhood fire here in Medellín that left 108 families without homes. The issues seemed too overwhelming...UNTIL we went to church! Pastor John Jairo challenged the church with the Great Commission...to reach even the last little corner of the valley we live in for Christ. This week, the message was intensified and groups are being mobilized to go and help the victims in the fire-ravaged neighborhood of Moravia.
Then, after church, we got to meet Brayen (pronounced Brian) a young man who after eavesdropping on small group meetings in his home, approached the leader and said that based upon what he’d been over-hearing, he was convinced that his gang-ridden neighborhood needed a church. He even offered to pay to rent the space. Brayen, covered in tattoos with his flat-billed hat pulled low, stood at the door of the theater where our church meets peppering Ricardo with questions like "How do I resist temptation?"
We learned that Brayen supplies coffee for a network of other young men who then sell it in downtown. We know that "selling coffee" in downtown Medellín is, in most cases, actually a cover for drug and prostitution rings. Andres and Rossemberg, the small group leaders who are opening the work in his neighborhood, said they prefer to think that Brayen's team is not involved in such things. If, however, the contrary is true, how exciting to think that God could be using these two faithful servants to share Christ with Brayen and in turn transform an evil system into something good! We believe that Brayen is a "person of peace" and will reach a whole new sector of society. Please pray for Brayen as he grows in relationship with Christ and for Rossemberg, Andres and the other members of our church as they spread God's light into the darkest corners of the Medellín Valley!
Desperation, pain and sin WILL NOT eclipse the hope of Christ! Darkness WILL NOT prevail against light! Christ won that battle on the cross and then He sent HIS CHURCH (that's you and me) to provide hope to the nations! Jesus said, "You are the light of the world. A town built on a hill cannot be hidden. Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven." (Matthew 5:14-16)
While the eclipse might be an intersting thing to watch, we CANNOT sit back and watch evil eclipse goodness in our world! We have a mission to fulfill and we are not alone in it, He is with us...even till the end of the age. We MUST let our light shine. These aren't suggestions for just a few...they are commandments for all believers. IT IS TIME to stand up for Christ and spread His hope to the nations!
written by Beth Gómez