What Are You Challenging Yourself With?

Dr. Dan Schafer, president of WGM, shared with the headquarters staff this morning during chapel about our strategic plans for growth in the next five years as we seek to double our impact on the world. It takes a lot of planning and effort to make something like this happen, but it takes even more prayer. Read this excerpt from Kevin and Becky Zirkle’s (regional directors for Asia, Europe, and Oceania) prayer letter that dives into some of this challenge and the expectation that God will show up and provide in the midst of great need.

“What is your tradition when a new year begins? Do you write New Year’s resolutions? Do you choose a Bible verse to meditate on for the year or choose a single word that centers on your vision for the year? Do you challenge yourself in some area (besides the traditional areas of exercise and diet after all the holiday dinners)?

“Fulfilling this challenge [Dr. Schafer’s doubling of impact] involves becoming active in new areas of ministry. And it definitely depends on increased prayer support! Could God be calling you to be more directly involved in worldwide missions? Could He be calling someone in your family? Can you help us meet this challenge of doubling our impact?

“In January we conducted another Orientation Camp for new missionaries. We are excited that one of the families is going to our field of Hungary. This will increase the impact we have there through youth ministries and pastoral education. We also had a weeklong retreat in January with the other members of our department and administrative staff. This was a time to brainstorm about new avenues of ministry as well as to spend time on the nuts and bolts of what we do.

“At the end of March we will make field visits to 5 of our countries in Europe. One of the countries is a field we have not yet been to personally, so we are looking forward to seeing the ministry opportunities there. As always on a field visit, we will have business to conduct, strategic plans to review, and finances to go over. But the highlight for us is being with our missionaries, seeing the ministries they are involved in and hearing their heart for their country and people.

“We have five new missionaries who will be going to places in our region. One family is going to Cambodia, which is a new location for WGM. We also have one missionary heading to a location where we used to have personnel, but because of visa regulations we have not been able to place someone there recently. And we have one family going to Hungary. Your prayers for us and for them are much appreciated as they fundraise and prepare to go and as we help them refine their ministry plans.

“May the Lord be with you in 2017 as you serve Him where you are and also as you have an impact around the world through your prayers and support of our ministry.”

We need your prayers. We need your support. This is a big undertaking, and we need your partnership as we follow God’s will toward a future of doubled impact. We are talking about real people’s souls. What an amazing thing to be a part of today! Will you join us?

We Called to Him and He Answered!

Dan and Katy Beth Searls are missionaries serving in educational ministries in Hungary. In their latest prayer letter, they highlight some awesome things God is doing in and through His followers. Read more to learn what God is doing, and click the link below to see a slideshow of great pictures documenting their story.

Searls camp photos

“In one of the industrial suburbs of Budapest is a family.  The father is a pastor.  The mother prays.  Their children have grown up loving Jesus and following Him.  They are part of a small fellowship that has a love for God and a heart for others.  One of the daughters is a music teacher at a local high school.  Szilvi has reached out to her students outside of class pulling together an orchestra that plays in concerts as well as at the small church fellowship on Sunday afternoons.  The other daughter plays the piano and leads worship at church with the orchestra.  Their investment in the students and their siblings and parents, as well as wanting to reach out to other children led to the start of a day camp that met in a local park the past several years.  The prayers of the mother and father as well as several other older ones in the small church supported the outreach.

“Last year, Nazarene missionary, Carol, was invited to come and help teach the English portion of their day camp.  The campers and the church fellowship fell in love with her as she loved on them and not only taught English but had Jesus central to all her English activities at camp.  She and Szilvi, the music teacher, started a follow-up English Bible Club on Friday nights that continued throughout the year.

“Now in a small town outside of Budapest lived a missionary family who were asking Jesus what He had for them in the summer of 2016—where did He want them to plug in?  The wife prayed with her friend Carol and they lifted up the English Club, the little church fellowship and the upcoming English Camp in their prayer times.  One Friday an invitation was given to Katy Beth, the wife, who was free to go and took her youngest girl with her.  They loved what Jesus was doing with the English Bible Club kids and started praying by name for them.  They went back as many Fridays as they could and loved what Jesus was doing through Carol and Szilvi in the lives of these students and the joy of getting to know them and see where Jesus was working.  And then…the invitation came—could their family help do English Camp this year?

“Invited to preach in their service one Sunday, the family went and met this group committed to Jesus, prayer and outreach.  What joy to be a part of their dream for the first English Camp held in a campground at Lake Balaton—not just a day camp but a real old fashion-type camp!  Wonderful Szilvi and her husband arranged the details and particulars.  Spirit-filled Carol was the bridge from what had been happening from last year’s day camp and the English Club to this year’s camp.  Dan and Katy Beth and their team of girls (3 of theirs + a niece) made up the planning team!  Prayers from the older generation in the church carried the hours of planning and preparation.

“Finally, the opening ceremony of camp Sunday afternoon at church…Jeremiah 33:3 was the theme verse of this year’s English Camp call to me and I will answer you…. What fun to get to be a part of lives in which Jesus was already working and where so much prayer preparation had already been invested.  Our family loved being a part of the team and leading the English program as well as the God-Time in the evening (although Jesus was central  in every part of the day) with a fun game of “Our Version of Life”: a team game made up of silly games, points and group decisions with immediate and long-term consequences.  What joy to work as a family (minus Susannah who has been right where Jesus wanted her this summer serving Him in Clarkston, GA with Global Frontiers Mission) alongside Szivli and her husband and Carol.

“One of the older campers, who has set her face to follow Jesus, was in Annie’s group which had the youngest ones.  Annie asked her to pray over the little ones.  She was afraid, having not ever prayed over children out loud before, but she did and oh, the joy!  She said she could not even brush her teeth that night she was so happy that she got to pray for children for the first time!  Stepping out for Jesus and finding His joy!

“Early in the week, Katy Beth asked one of her students how she could pray and the response was ‘I have a little bit of Jesus that I don’t want to lose.’  She prayed not only that they wouldn’t lose Him but that the little bit would grow.  On Friday night Jesus came to camp in a special way and was talking and this one heard His voice.  The next morning when asked what Jesus had done/said the night before, the answer was, ‘I called and He answered me!’  When asked how we could pray at the end of camp, ‘That Jesus would shine through me!’

“Saturday after Jesus had come on Friday, we told The Prodigal Son story and acted it out, retold it, dissected it, and then applied it and WHOOSH!  Jesus was there again—speaking, convicting, loving, drawing them to HIMSELF! 15 minutes of ‘Go listen to Jesus alone’ became 30 minutes of absolute quiet all over the camp as He spoke and they listened.

“How do you put the sacred into words?  How do you quantify the eternal?  How do you explain God-toward steps taken?

“…bring the fatted calf and kill it, and let us eat and make merry; for this my son was dead, and is alive again; he was lost, and is found.’ And they began to make merry. Luke 15:23-24 September 16 is the start date for the follow up English Bible Club.  We look forward to seeing what Jesus does in their hearts the rest of the summer and how He will grow them in the fall.  We are praying for these ones that God protects them and that the seeds sown grow deep into Him and grow fruit; fruit that will last.  Please pray with us that nothing can steal, distract or wither the seed that God’s planted at camp.  ‘…For I know whom I have believed and am persuaded that He is able to keep what I have committed to Him until that Day.’ II Tim 1:12b Thank you for praying for us, with us, fighting for us and with us for these ones—loved by God Himself, drawn to Himself.  Our God speaks.  Our God saves!  Pray with us that as they continue to call to Him, He will answer them and show them great and hidden things they do not know.  Jeremiah 33:3”

In Him with joy that we have been chosen to be a part of what He’s doing here,
Dan and Katy Beth Searls
Annie, Sadie, Abby and Mattie Kate Albertson, Susannah (in her spot from Him for the summer) too

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Photo Credit: Dan and Katy Beth Searls

World Gospel Mission-Hungary

“We head to Poland on Sunday July 17th to be part of an evangelism team that is working at the World Youth Day in Krakow! Please pray for God’s hand of protection, for open hearts, that He will lead us to the ones He has for us to share with and for boldness to declare the goodness of Jesus Christ!”

 

 

Responding to Migrants with Love

Migrant tent city

Migrant tent city

WGM missionaries Mark and Eszti Landerholm are involved in discipleship and orphan ministries in Hungary. However, during the past several weeks, their energy and compassion has been focused on migrants passing through Europe. Read the post below, written by Mark and Eszti specifically for MissionsCentral, to learn how they are partnering with other Christians in spreading God’s love to men, women, children, police officers, and soldiers.

“It was just a few weeks ago that our ‘home’ was the center of all the news cycles—‘Hungary and the Migrant Crisis’ filled the headlines. These headlines have since disappeared, but the migrant crisis remains. Not since the end of World War II has this number of migrants been seen, and these migrants are largely coming from some areas of the globe least reached with the gospel of Jesus. In fact, greater numbers of migrants are crossing through Hungary today than at the height of the news coverage. This being the case, it is our conviction that the European Church’s response to this crisis will either lead to revival or to the Church falling into even greater irrelevance here in Europe.

“It gives us joy to report that there are large segments of the Church here in Hungary and other parts of Europe responding in love, responding as we believe Christ would have us. It is exciting to see the Church of Jesus Christ acting together as one, not as Baptists and Nazarenes and Methodists and Charismatics, but as the one, united body of Jesus Christ. We have had the pleasure of being a part of that response and even ones helping to coordinate it.

Migrant baby washing station

Migrant baby washing station

“Seemingly no one was prepared for this number of people to flood the borders of Europe—not even the governments. That being the case, the governments’ responses to the migrants are ever changing, which changes the way we as the Body of Christ can respond to the needs of these desperate people, many of whom are fleeing for their lives. At times the migrants have practically been in our back yard, while at others we have had to travel to other countries to meet their needs. We have set up baby washing stations; delivered food, clothing, jackets, hats, and other supplies; helped provide clean, safe areas for them to sleep; played games with the kids; and talked to the adults. No matter what we have done, what has been consistent in our response is that it has been done side-by-side with Hungarian Christians and the love of Christ has been forefront.

“We continue to be encouraged by the responses we receive. Mothers have broken down into tears of joy at being able to give their babies a bath after weeks without hot water. Young men who had been walking for days came alongside of us and helped clean up trash so they and others would have a clean place to sleep. People have said thank you in many languages. Additionally, they have been so desperate for some of the things we’ve been able to supply that they have learned the names of these items in Hungarian (a very difficult language). Kids walking in the cold rain barefooted have received shoes; babies sleeping in water puddles have been given warm, dry places to sleep; empty stomachs have been fed; and desperate people have felt loved.

Migrant thank-you note

Migrant thank-you note

“We have been able to talk with some about Jesus, and these have been some of our favorite conversations. Additionally, we have met Christians who are fleeing because ISIS is after them. Because of responding out of love and not fear to those in need, we have been able to share with Hungarian police officers and soldiers about the love of Christ that compels us. Currently, our interactions with migrants are very limited because of how the governments are moving them, but as their needs are being met, they know that Christians are the ones meeting those needs. We strongly believe that the Church’s love through meeting the migrants’ physical needs as they are entering Europe will open the door for them to be receptive to hearing the gospel when they settle.

“You can be a part of this outreach from where you are.

PRAY: Please pray for the migrants. Pray that as they flee they will have safety and their physical needs will be met. Pray also that as they go and experience the love of Christ’s Church it will open their hearts to the gospel and that there will be opportunities for them to hear and respond to it. We need your prayers as well. Pray that we will have wisdom in how to respond and that in any interactions we have, no matter how brief, that we will share the love of Christ.

GIVE: Finally, please consider giving financially towards helping the migrants. Each van load of supplies we take to be distributed to the migrants costs thousands of dollars, and as the cold of winter is approaching, the needs and costs are going to increase. Your giving can help feed and properly clothe these in such desperate need.

“Thank you for your obedience to Christ.”