Archive for the 'Missions' category

“A Lighthouse… In a Sea of Islam,” Armenia Bible College Opens

Oct 13 2014 Published by under Church, Evangelism, Missions, News

ARMENIA Bible College LOGO FINAL HD39122

 

 

By Levi Costello

Armenia Bible College, a school of Global University, officially launched on October 11, 2014 with 75 Armenian students in 2 locations within the Eurasian country. This training initiative uses Global’s accredited Bachelor of Arts courses that have been translated into Armenian.

“Armenian leaders… are simply looking for the fuel of quality biblical training to allow their light to shine even brighter,” said Dr. Gary Seevers, President of Global University. “Their dedication to send missionaries to these nations is strategic to God’s plan of winning our generation to Jesus. They see themselves as a lighthouse for Christ in a sea of Islam.”

There are currently no other Bible schools in Armenia, despite the fact that the country is the oldest “Christian” nation in the world, making this endeavor a historical one.

Enough of the program has been translated into Armenian that students are enrolling and have begun their studies. Classes will take place in existing Armenian churches and the courses will be delivered on hand-held electronic tablets. Armenia Bible College hopes to train 250 Armenian missionaries by 2020.

To learn more about Armenia Bible College, please contact Nicole Vicari, Executive Director of Advancement, at nvicari@globaluniversity.edu or call 800.443.1083 ext. 2636.

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Compassion Births Urgency

Aug 25 2014 Published by under Evangelism, Ministry, Missions

By Rev. Nick Alfaro

IMG_9038I recently spoke with a pastor from India who shared about the work of the Christian church in his country. I was very excited to hear the wonderful testimonies of how God was moving in a powerful way in India. This brought to mind a similar move of God in the church in Mexico while I was growing up. I longed in my spirit to have a move of God like that here at home.

I suddenly remembered the words “CRISTO VIENE” (translated “CHRIST IS COMING”) written in all caps, in red paint, displayed across the hood of my dad’s white van while I was growing up in Mexico. For some reason I shared this memory with the pastor from India. He then told me that he also has a similar message written on his church van in India. I believe this message speaks to the urgency that both my parents and this Indian pastor sensed in reaching the lost.

I believe that to effectively reach this world for Christ, we must have an urgency for the lost.

I believe that compassion for the lost births the urgency that compels us to pray, give, and go.

In 1947, a man named Robert Pierce, a Youth for Christ worker, departed for China to hold an evangelistic crusade in the country. On the trip, he met Tena Hoelkedoer, a teacher. She introduced him to a child named White Jade, who had been beaten and abandoned by her family upon her decision to follow Christ at his crusade. Unable to care for the child herself, she asked Pierce, “What are you going to do about her?” Pierce gave the woman his last five dollars and agreed to send the same amount each month to help the woman care for the child.

While in China, Pierce saw widespread hunger. He felt compassion for the people. Robert Pierce turned his personal crusade into the foundation of World Vision, now one of the largest Christian relief and development organizations in the world. He later wrote these words in the flyleaf of his Bible: “Let my heart be broken with the things that break the heart of God.”

  • Matthew 9:36 states that when Jesus “saw the crowds, he had compassion on them.”
  • Jeremiah 8:21 states “Since my people are crushed, I am crushed.”

Robert Pierce saw the widespread hunger in China. Jesus saw the crowds as sheep without a shepherd. Jeremiah saw the coming destruction of God’s people. All three were moved by intense compassion and were compelled by urgency to do something about it.

Compassion for people will birth in us an urgency to share Christ with the over 4 billion people on earth that have not yet had an adequate witness of Jesus Christ. Compassion for people will birth in us an urgency to reach some of the estimated 30 million people worldwide who will die without knowing Christ this year.

I challenge you to ask God to break your heart with the things that break His, to give you an urgency to reach the lost and to fill you and empower you with His Holy Spirit.

 

Rev. Nick Alfaro serves as the Director of Hispanic Ministries for Global University, and as the Hispanic Ministries Pastor at Nixa First Assembly of God, Nixa, MO. He can be reached at nalfaro@globaluniversity.edu.

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The Freedom of Unconditional Love

Jun 09 2014 Published by under Evangelism, Ministry, Missions

By Carla Ellis

DSC_9157It was a hot and sweaty day in the desert of Rajasthan, India when my Indian friends and I arrived at the village. From the outside it looks like any other village, but behind the walls lives a group of people desperate for true unconditional love.

 

The Rajnats are known as “The King’s Dancers”. During the dynasty period they danced for the royal families, but when the dynamics of India changed, so did the future of the Rajnat people. Societal norms forced the Rajnat women into bar room dancing and prostitution. They are born into the most devastating business in the world, which often begins at the age of 12.

 

We had been ministering alongside our Indian friends in one of the Rajnat villages for months, but this day turned out to be the most challenging. After arriving at the village we began asking the ladies if they would like to make jewelry with us. They said, “No, we must work,” reminding us once again of the horrific life that chained them.

 

Then I spotted a ray of hope in the distance. A young lady named Rakia came and greeted us with her beautiful smile. Every week I had been praying that God would somehow give me an opportunity to minister to Rakia. Not only was Rakia born in the brothel, she was also born deaf and mute. By pointing to the necklace and tools I asked Rakia if she wanted to make one. She quickly nodded her head to say yes. “Finally God! Thank you,” I whispered. Rakia took us over to a wooden bench sitting outside her small concrete home. Just as we began to start, her mother called her away from us.

 

A strange man took her by the hand and led her into a room only inches from where we were sitting. In seconds her demeanor changed from happiness to hopelessness. She was being led once again into the depths of despair, realizing she was moments away from despicable shame and abuse.

 

We were devastated! I wanted to scream. I wanted to pull her out and save her! But there was absolutely nothing I could do. I felt so shallow and helpless. I was so confused about why God allowed this and extremely angry that Rakia’s mom allowed this! How could a mother do this to her precious daughter? Everything in me wanted to let her know what an awful person she was!

 

Then she asked me a very challenging question, “Can you help me?” I hesitated. “Help you? I don’t think so! You just gave your daughter to that man,” I thought to myself. She showed me her hands. They were very dry, cracked, and infected due to the harsh conditions endured in the desert. I must admit I did not feel very sympathetic or loving. I did not want to help her; I wanted to help her daughter.

 

Then the Lord spoke to me, “I did not send you here today for Rakia only. I also sent you here for Rakia’s mom. She needs your unconditional love, too. A love that shows no record of wrongs, a love that forgives, even when a person has hurt you or someone you love.”

 

Suddenly, Rakia’s mom looked completely different in my eyes. I began to see her as Jesus does, beautiful and desperately helpless without Him. Forced to watch her own daughter be raped by strangers day after day, she was also shackled by the generations of sin that have stolen happiness and hope from her family.

 

Then something occurred to me. I remembered I had the exact medicine that Rakia’s mom needed in the car. I had forgotten to leave it at one of our schools earlier in the day. Realizing it was not a mistake, but divine intervention, I ran to the car and got the medicine. Putting the medicine into Rakia’s mom’s cracked hands, scarred by the hardships of life, I prayed that she would find freedom in God’s amazing grace and that I would find freedom to share his unconditional love.

 

Although your journey may not lead you to the deserts of India, there are people in your path every day who need a touch of God’s love. Some are easy to love, others not so easy. My prayer is that God would give all of us divine encounters with those who need it most desperately.

 

Carla Ellis and her husband, Rev. Joel Ellis, are Assemblies of God World Missionaries and currently serve as part of the Global Operations team at Global University, with Joel as Vice President of Global Operations. She can be reached at cellis@globaluniversity.edu.

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The Power of His Presence

May 12 2014 Published by under Life, Ministry, Missions

By Rev. Joel Ellis

joeyellisIt was late at night when we arrived at the old Russian-built hotel, deep in the heart of Bulgaria. My friend and I had traveled from the US to meet a missionary and plan for a construction project in a city on the other side of the nation. My luggage didn’t arrive and we had a long journey ahead of us. We asked the missionary if we could simply drive through the night to get to our destination. We were only scheduled to be on the ground for 3 days.

He said, “Sure, if we want to die. There are mafias here that control the roads at night. They will certainly stop us, take our vehicle, and kill us.”

So we decided to stop at dusk. The only hotel around was old, dark, and gloomy. The phones were out. It was cold outside and the radiator in the room didn’t work. My fatigue gave way to my imagination and at one point I thought, “If I die out here, my family will never find me.”

As I lay in bed that night, I remember a very isolated, lonely feeling come over me that I’ve never forgotten. It was into the darkness of that night that Jesus spoke his presence. “Don’t worry, I’m with you.” And with that, I drifted off to sleep.

One of the most meaningful words in the Bible to me is the word “with.” It speaks of presence and friendship. It wars against feelings of loneliness and isolation.

God reminds his people of his presence throughout the tapestry of Scripture. He displayed his presence in visible ways (pillar of cloud and pillar of fire, Ex. 13:21) to build confidence and give direction. He reconfirmed the promise of his presence, “I will not leave you or forsake you. Be strong and courageous,” (Josh. 1:5,6). John wrote of the presence of God on earth, “And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us,” (John 1:14). Jesus knew his disciples would feel abandoned, so he said, “I am withyou always, even to the end of the age,” (Matt. 28:20).

It is one thing to be alone in a healthy way. At times we all need space to pray and think and regroup and breathe with no one else around. Jesus did. “But he would withdraw to desolate places and pray,” (Luke 5:16). There is certainly a time to be alone.

It is an entirely different matter to feel completely alone and isolated. It is especially difficult even while surrounded by people on the job, at school, or in the ministry. It is into this feeling that God breathes his presence. “For the life of the believer, one thing is beautifully and abundantly true: God’s chief concern in your suffering is to be with you and be Himself for you.”[1]

As I write this, our family is in the process of recovering from the sudden death of my brother’s wife. It has been a very painful journey riddled with questions. We may never fully understand all of our “Why” questions, but we’re learning that we don’t need answers as much as we need God’s presence.

Today, be reminded of God’s presence through David’s words, “even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for you are with me,” (Ps. 23:4).

 

Rev. Joel Ellis serves as the Vice President of Global Operations for Global University. He can be reached at jellis@globaluniversity.edu.

 

[1] Tullian Tchividjian, (2012). Glorious Ruin: How Suffering Sets You Free. David C. Cook, 12.

 

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