Editorial

Windows: The Alliance Operating System

By

When God opens a window of opportunity for the gospel somewhere in the world, The Alliance is faced with a choice: seize the moment or risk losing it. We understand that the window could close at any time and not open again in our generation—or in those following. Entering through these windows requires us to be nimble, responsive, faith-filled and courageous.

At key times in our Alliance history we have seen windows slam shut just as it seemed we were making inroads with the gospel. In some cases we were forced to abandon all missionary efforts and evacuate the country. We were often perplexed by God’s apparent “lack of follow through” with His plan. Why would He allow us to come in and help plant seeds of faith but not let us remain to help them take root?

But true to His divine nature, God has surprised and delighted us by germinating and sprouting the seeds after we’ve gone. In doing so He reminds us that these are His plans, accomplished through His means, by His power and in His perfect time. The fact that He chooses to involve us is a demonstration of His great grace and our great privilege.

When the Philippines fell to the Japanese in 1941, C&MA missionaries who had been there only a few short years were forced to evacuate or be taken prisoner in internment camps. The future of the C&MA in the Philippines seemed bleak. But when the fog lifted after the war, the world was astonished to have found a vibrant and fl ourishing church. Today, The Christian and Missionary Alliance Church of the Philippines (CAMACOP) numbers nearly 400,000 inclusive members in approximately 2,500 fellowships. It plants a new church, on average, every 48 hours and is sending its own missionaries throughout Asia and beyond.

Early C&MA beginnings in China were wrought with trial and hardship. During the Boxer Rebellion of 1900, 18 Alliance missionaries and 13 of their children were martyred. Nearly 50 years later, when missionaries were forced to evacuate China during the Communist Revolution, we knew that the fate of both China’s believers and unreached millions rested in God’s hands. Despite decades of adversity, the Church in China has grown at a phenomenal rate—thanks, in part, to the witness of faithful people like Mr. Lan (read James A. Poole’s article on page 8). Today, there are an estimated 80 million followers of Christ in China.

On May 30, 1962, Vietcong forces abducted three missionaries (two C&MA) working in a leprosarium near Banmethuot, Vietnam (read Rev. T. Grady Mangham’s account on page 10). Six years later, during the 1968 Tet Offensive, seven C&MA missionaries were martyred, and all remaining workers were forced to evacuate immediately. With no missionary presence it was feared that the newly forming church would be forced underground and ultimately perish. Today, the Tin Lanh Church in Vietnam is the largest national church in the Alliance World Fellowship, with more than 1 million inclusive members.

In Russia, new churches are being planted and new believers are being baptized because the C&MA and other likehearted missions entered through the window God opened when the Iron Curtain fell. But with the ongoing volatility of our world’s political structures, there’s no guarantee as to how long we will be able to remain and help nurture the Church and develop its leaders. But the Church in Russia belongs to God—and He will undoubtedly fulfill His plan for this land.

The Alliance is currently transitioning workers out of some of our Latin American fields—largely because the church is maturing and sending its own missionaries beyond its borders (read Israel Mandujano’s account of the triumph of the C&MA in Peru on page 14). When these milestones occur, we celebrate God’s faithfulness and enthusiastically declare “missions accomplished!” But for the missionaries who have spent half their lives loving lost people into the Kingdom, exiting these countries can be heartbreaking. In God’s divine economy, however, He often chooses to reassign His sent ones to places where the gospel has not yet been proclaimed or has long been forgotten. As Alliance Christians, seizing these new windows—as in Russia and Central Asia—is as critical to our future as Vietnam, China, the Philippines and Peru were to our past.

This issue of Alliance Life features stories from more than 125 years of missions—complete with their trials, hardships and setbacks. Through these accounts, God proves His unquestionable faithfulness and sovereignty in building His Church—even when it seemed like nothing could possibly sustain it. What you read on the pages that follow will convince you, as it did me, that although the task is often rugged, the outcome is divinely ordered by a God of unfailing love, immeasurable power and limitless means. He opens the window and invites us to walk through and join Him in reclaiming His priceless lost treasure. How can we possibly resist? Our history seems to indicate that we can’t. May it be so until He returns.

Living the Call Together,

Peter Burgo, Editor

Past Alliance Life Issues

Share

Get Involved...

Pray.

We cannot “Live the Call Together” unless prayer is central to all we do.
Pray with us »

Serve.

Is God calling you to service? We’re here to help you connect your passion with God’s purpose.
Serve with The Alliance »

Give.

Help build Christ’s Church by supporting the ministry and workers of The Alliance.
Give today »