Feature

Prayer Life

As reported in the December 1, 2014 issue.

By

Guinea

After much prayerful deliberation, Alliance leaders made the difficult decision to temporarily withdraw all personnel from Guinea for several months to better assess long-term implications regarding staff location and ministry. This decision was based on current realities regarding the rapid spread of the Ebola virus.

Frequent contact with citizens in Conakry, where the majority of Alliance workers in Guinea serve, continues to place these workers at an elevated risk of exposure to the contagion. Although no team members have been in direct bodily contact with known Ebola victims, the public nature of Alliance ministries in Guinea will pose an increasing threat of exposure to these workers based on World Health Organization projections for the escalation of the infection rate.

The majority of workers being withdrawn will relocate to other countries in West Africa, where they will resume church-related ministries and find new opportunities to care for the sick and afflicted. The few workers returning to the United States will observe all reentry protocols established by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control.

“Because our values are rooted in service during such crises, it is with heavy hearts that our team is planning this move,” writes Tim Crouch, U.S. Alliance vice president for International Ministries. “We are working in earnest with the national church in Guinea to ensure that the withdrawal is executed in a way that provides for ongoing service through national channels and promising bridges for return of staff. In the meantime, however, the risks continue to grow, and we must operate in a way that minimizes the threat to our workers and serves the best interest of U.S. health and security.”

Please pray for the successful placement of these temporarily reassigned workers and for the Guinean national church as it continues to care for the overwhelming needs of those whose lives have been devastated by the Ebola outbreak.

—Alliance Life

Burkina Faso

We are excited to report about a movement of God in a remote area of Burkina Faso. Two pastors have moved to this region and are seeing incredible results. Sifarasso, the village where Pastor Tychique works, now has more than 200 believers (there were about 80 when he moved there). On one Sunday 704 adults were in attendance, and 24 prayed to receive Jesus after the service. This church plant is overseeing five new daughter churches, averaging about 15–60 believers.

One of those congregations is in Sayaga, where Pastor Francois works and where a team from Salem (Ore.) Alliance Church constructed an open-air church in July. At the time, the group numbered about 20. They are now more than 100 strong and are reaching out to nearby villages where previously there was no Christian witness. God is pouring out His Holy Spirit in this area, and the work is spreading like wildfire. An Alliance worker says, “This is a true church multiplication movement!”

When we called recently, Pastor Tychique was leading a village sorcerer to Christ. The man was in the process of destroying all his fetishes (items related to spirit worship). “I have no time—I can’t even eat!” Pastor Tychique said. “There are people in my courtyard constantly, asking for prayer and wanting to accept Jesus.”

Praise God for the outpouring of His Spirit in the Kenedougou region. Pray for pastors Tychique and Francois, who have more work than they can handle, and ask the Lord for effective lay leaders to help them. There are many new believers in the region—please pray that God will increase their faith and that they will be a testimony for Him.

—an Alliance international worker couple

Dominican Republic

In recent months, we transitioned to Punta Cana, one of the most popular tourist destinations in the Caribbean. We are serving in Alianza, a growing church plant that opened its doors in April 2011. Now that we have gotten acquainted with this congregation, we anticipate God’s faithfulness in our varied ministries. Already, we have seen some significant things.

During an annual children’s Bible adventure in August, 37 youngsters, ages three to ten, listened to Remi the clown encourage them to be ready to share their faith. His challenge was based on 1 Peter 3:15: “Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have.”

We have also been encouraged by an ongoing ministry to Haitian immigrant villages in the eastern part of the country. In one outreach, adults, youth and children from Alianza delivered more than 300 backpacks filled with much-needed school supplies. Because of exorbitant prices and few job opportunities, many people in these villages cannot afford these items. The families were grateful for the gifts from believers.

On Wednesday evenings, a home discipleship group draws an average of 15 people. At a recent meeting, nearly 30 people attended. Plans are under way to expand to two new homes.

Thank you for partnering with us in our new ministry in the Dominican Republic. Pray that God will multiply the work He began through these outreaches and that people of all ages will continue to meet Jesus at Alianza.

—Brad and Dorothy Wood

Republic of the Congo

A trip last summer to two Vili villages convinced us of the need to train workers to make genuine disciples in southern Congo. These villages have churches, and a pastor from Pointe-Noire visits them periodically.

To get to the village of NDinga, our team of 20 traveled eight hours on the Kouilou River in two canoes tied together and propelled by one motor. It was near sunset when we began a seven-kilometer hike, mostly by flashlight, through the forest. We limped into our destination, a lakeside fishing village, at 10:30 p.m. Church members greeted us, provided dinner and found lodging for us. The next morning they prepared breakfast, and we had a worship service. This church was planted by a fisherman who grew up in the area and then found the Lord.

The second evening, we arrived in the village of Tchisekka. The pastor with whom we were traveling was excited about our vision to reach the Vili, because he is able to visit these churches only about four times a year.

With few Vili believers and no pastors in the area to preach God’s Word in their language, new Christ followers among this people group are vulnerable to false teaching. We need to convey Scripture to them in a way they can understand. To that end, we are working with our partners in SIL, who are translating the Bible into Vili.

We began crafting “The Promise Story,” which presents six “episodes” from the Bible, beginning with Creation and ending with Christ’s Resurrection. Each of the first three stories, from the Old Testament, ends with a promise; the three episodes from the New Testament recount the fulfillment of those promises.

The next step is to work with teams of Vili speakers to learn and practice telling the stories so they can share them with the Vili people. Another goal is to record the stories for radio and portable audio players.

Pray that God will move in the hearts of those who hear the stories and they will respond in faith. Also, pray that He will call dedicated workers who are willing to put in the tremendous effort it will take to bring the good news to the Vili.

—Jay and Beverly Bellamy

Spain

As international workers in Madrid teaching at the Bible Institute and mentoring leaders, we have the task of multiplying disciplemakers. This requires building into the lives of believers who can then speak into others’ lives to encourage them in the Word.

The Lord has given us the privilege of partnering with Alianza de Amor Church in Madrid to pursue this vision. More than a year ago, we began a discipleship program called Basic Truths. The classes serve not only as a Christian education tool but also as a ministry training ground. Already, several of these mentors are ministering to people one-on-one in multiple settings to help them grow in their walk with Christ. The mentors facilitate small-group studies on Tuesday nights and Sunday mornings.

Pray for us as we continue to speak into the lives of those in this program. Ask the Lord for disciplemakers in Madrid and around the globe.

—Steve and Claudia Irvin

 

 

 

 

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