In this Issue: “Please Come Back Again, and We Are Waiting”……………..………………………………... 2 Just Telling Stories …………………………………………………….. 6 Camping in the Southern Hemisphere ..…………………. 10 Praying for ‘La Victoire’ in Toulouse …...……….…………. 14 Candidate Orientation: A Blessing for the Future …. 17
Touchdown on Aungba strip
“PLEASE COME BACK AGAIN, AND WE ARE WAITING!” By: Jeanette Windle with Dr. Djawotho Kisa and Mrs. Pat Govender
Democratic Republic of Congo (BCM World) — When BCM missionaries Dr. Djawotho Kisa and Mrs. Pat Govender stepped from an MAF (Mission Aviation Fellowship) prop plane onto the grass airstrip of Aungba in eastern DRC, prepared to begin a scheduled children’s ministry training seminar, they weren’t expecting to be greeted as visiting royalty. A singing, hand-clapping crowd swarmed the plane. Animal horns blew. Women offered calabashes filled with warm water to wash away their journey’s dust.
The celebration? A traditional welcome for visitors bringing good news to the village. In this case, that BCM had returned to the Congo! Bible Centered Ministries International (then the Bible Club Movement) has had a rich past history of ministry in the Democratic Republic of Congo, Africa’s second largest country straddling the equatorial center of Africa. By the 1960s, BCM children’s curriculum was being used for religion classes in both Christian and public DRC schools. In 1970 BCM missionary Margery Livingston arrived in the DRC in partnership with Africa Inland Mission (AIM) to teach Bible in the public school system and introduce Bible clubs within AIM churches. Footsteps of Faith lessons were translated into French, Bangala, Lingala, Swahili. Margery was joined later by BCM colleagues Longboyo Anyamvoko, Lois Pellegrin and Beryl Shannon. The Bible club ministry spread to other regions and church/mission organizations across northeast DRC. In 1975 the government prohibited teaching Bible in public schools. During following decades, the Congolese people endured recurring wars, rebel uprisings, resultant poverty, famine and constant instability. But churches also sprang up throughout the region, along with Bible clubs and other children’s ministry.
Dr. Kisa and Pat G. receive warm welcome
Then in 1991 war broke out in earnest. All missionaries were evacuated from the region. Within a short time, all BCM translated material had been destroyed. Children’s ministry leaders continued teaching with a few rescued old lesson books. By 2000, Congolese church leaders had contacted Margery Livingston (current married name Dickinson), now retired in the US, pleading for materials. Over the next decade, several donation projects made possible new printings of curriculum in Swahili and Bangala, though distribution in the war zones proved difficult (see Footsteps of Faith in War-torn Congo, BCM World, Spring 2009). By this time Congolese nationals Dr. Djawotho and Asinata Kisa were serving as missionaries with BCM International. Djawotho had grown up the son of AIM evangelists in northeast DRC. He was pursuing a university degree in business when he accepted God’s call to ministry in 1974. After studying theology in Paris, France, Djawotho and his wife Asinata returned to Bunia, northeast DRC’s largest city. While Djawotho pastored a church and conducted evangelistic outreach in surrounded towns and villages, Asinata headed up women’s ministries in Bunia. Then in 1986, the Kisa family traveled to Philadelphia, PA, in the United States for Djawotho to pursue a doctoral degree. Their plans were to return to ministry in Bunia once studies were completed. But by that time, war was ravaging Bunia, the missionaries evacuated, local churches engulfed in turmoil, making it too dangerous to return, especially since by now the Kisa family included four sons and a daughter. As the Kisas began praying about a ministry within the USA, contacts through Margery Livingston and other BCM missionaries led them to apply to BCM. Appointed BCM missionaries in 1993, the Kisus ministered in children’s ministries in both New Jersey and Philadelphia area. But the situation in the DRC was never far from their heart. In 2003 Asinata traveled to DRC’s capital city, Kinshasa, in the far west of the country, to conduct a Christian leadership training conference. In 2005 Asinata returned with BCM Philadelphia missionaries Loraine Stirneman and Christine Wigden. More than 150 leaders from 50 denominations attended the training.
Dr. Djawotho Kisa and Pat Govender with Bishop Marini Bodho
Then in 2010, Dr. Djawotho returned to Bunia and nearby Aungba to visit family. Wherever he traveled, he took time to visit churches and evaluate the state of children’s ministries and teaching materials. Everywhere he found Sunday school and other children and youth programs closed down. Due to the region’s population explosion, children and youth far outnumbered adults in the churches, but little teaching was directed at them beyond sitting with the adults in church services. With no programs addressing their needs, Christian youth were abandoning the church once they reached their teens. Even worse, pastors and teachers were burnt out with their communities’ overwhelming physical, social, spiritual needs and displayed neither interest nor vision for children and youth outreach. 3
“This specific need broke my heart,” shares Dr. Kisa. Returning to the USA, Djawotho proposed a revival of BCM’s mission to train up children’s ministry leadership in the DRC. In 2011, Djawotho and Asinata resigned from BCM USA ministry to become full-time members of BCM in Africa. But Djawotho’s vision went far beyond reestablishing children’s ministry in Bunia and surrounding regions. The desperate need for trained children’s ministry leaders Aungba Welcome extended throughout all Congolese church denominations. On behalf of BCM, Dr. Kisa was appointed to make contact with Bishop Marini Bodho, president of the CCC (Church of Christ in Congo), the umbrella organization of more than sixty Protestant denominations across the DRC. In January, 2014, BCM president Dr. Martin Windle flew to Kinshasa to meet with Bishop Marini and other CCC leaders (Djawotho was scheduled to travel with him, but flight was cancelled due to snow storms). From that meeting came an invitation for BCM to partner with church denominations across the DRC in training Sunday school and Bible class teachers using BCM’s children’s ministry curriculum In Step With the Master Teacher. Just a month later, Dr. Kisa and Mrs. Pat Govender, a BCM missionary from South Africa, arrived in Bunia to begin the first round of training seminars. Pat had grown up in a Hindu home and was led to Christ by the man who became her husband, Dave Govender, already a convert from Hinduism. Pat served in children’s and youth ministry for 19 years with Scripture Union. In 2009, Pat graduated from BCM’s Train The Trainer (TTT) program in Johannesburg, SA. In 2010 she received the added certification as a Master Trainer in the Netherlands and was appointed coordinator of BCM Africa’s Children’s Worker Training Program. Since then she has taught ISMT seminars from South Africa to Nigeria and as far afield as Sri Lanka and Ireland. The site for the team’s first training seminar, Aungba, had once been a mission station where missionaries built schools, a hospital and clinic, evangelizing and planting churches in surrounding villages. Evacuated due to the armed conflict, Aungba had not been visited by missionaries in a decade. Surviving church congregations struggled with extreme poverty, growing their food on small farm plots, selling what they could spare for cash necessities like school fees and clothing. Their reception of Dr. Kisa and Pat Govender was jubilant. 15 leaders from three regions—Aungba, Kisangani, Blue Mountains (Bunia)— arrived for the training conference February 17-19. An outreach event into a local school allowed participants to put lessons immediately into practice with more than 600 children. By end of the training, leaders were excited to return to their own regions and replicate the training among their own churches. A special bonus was a gift from BCM of Footsteps of Faith curriculum in Lingala, Swahili and French to be distributed among the churches.
Putting ISMT into practice-DRC 4
Dr. Kisa and Pat Govender then traveled more than 600 kilometers south of Bunia to Goma, a city edging Lake Kivu on the DRC/Rwanda border. The city had been hit hard by years of guerrilla fighting and a volcanic eruption that a decade earlier had buried 40% of the city in lava. Jolting over roads so full of pot-holes a local nickname is “dancing roads”, Dr. Kisa and Pat found much of the city still devastated with a poverty even worse than Aungba. Among the challenges were security issues that required shutting down training midafternoon, transport difficulties that caused ISMT teaching session-DRC students to arrive tardy, scant provisions to feed participants. Pat found herself the only woman at the large Catholic seminary complex where they were lodged. “I was very scared and even asked if they could move me to where two nuns lived,” Pat shared later. “They said that it was even more inconvenient for me to stay there, so I just prayed harder and went to bed.” But 46 church leaders arrived to participate in the ISMT training course February 25-28, with 40 receiving certificates for completing the training. 13 students continued on with additional Train The Trainer (TTT) classes. Many more applied for training than available teaching materials, room, or even food made possible. The repeated plea Dr. Kisa and Pat Govender heard from Aungba to Bunia to Goma became the slogan of their time in the DRC: "Please Come Back Again, and We Are Waiting!" That is just what both BCM missionaries have in mind. Pat Govender shares, “I know we have just come back, but I feel strongly in my heart that we need to make another trip as soon as possible, to grab this opportunity while it is gaining momentum. They are now training others with the little they have. Our goal is to see at least a few trainers being trained well for each church denomination within the next two years.” “Our ultimate goal, which is our vision too,” adds Dr. Djawotho Kisa, “is that all Congolese churches be given the opportunity to reach children for Jesus Christ." Already one church group has written that they have begun implementing the ISMT training for Sunday school teachers across the 29 parishes of their denomination. A pastor shared how he was showing his family what he’d learned in the training when a Christian neighbor stopped by to watch. She begged him to come share the training with teachers of their own church denomination and pledged herself to find necessary funds to set up the training. Dr. Kisa and Pat Govender have both committed to return soon to the DRC, if possible with additional team members. But a follow-up trip requires both stability and funds. They share their own urgent request for prayer: “Pray for God’s perfect timing for the next trip. Due to all the trouble that has been happening there, we don’t know what the future holds for the people in Congo. We need to know when God wants to go and not rely on our own wisdom. Then we do have to pray for funding for these trips.”
BCM remains pledged to heed the plea of the Congolese church: “PLEASE COME BACK AGAIN, AND WE ARE WAITING!” If you would like to be a part of BCM’s mission in the Democratic Republic of Congo, donations can be made HERE.
JUST TELLING STORIES By: Lisa Biegert Nairobi, Kenya (BCM World)— Pulling out a teacher’s manual or flipping open a laptop to start up a PowerPoint presentation are common practices these days for teaching a Bible class. But what does one do in a country like Kenya where such resources are not readily available? One BCM missionary Marion Jean Grant has an answer for sharing the Word of God without curricula, visuals, or props. Because ultimately, to teach the Bible one really needs only one teaching aid: the Bible itself! A BCM missionary to Pakistan for upwards of 20 years, Marion Jean Grant, or “MJ”, is also Marion Grant with Kenyan children and pastor Associate Director for CBS4Kids. Or in long form, Chronological Bible Storytelling for Children. CBS is a method of Bible teaching that walks children through the entire Bible on their own age level. As the children grow, if they follow this particular chronological system, they will walk through the Bible over and over, but focusing on different stories and different truths about God. Upon returning from Pakistan to Canada in 1998, MJ began conducting children’s ministry workshops across Canada. Since 2010, she has also been the BCM Canada Missions Mobilizer while still training children’s ministry workers. To that MJ has now added teaching chronological Bible storytelling and not just in Canada. Twice a year, MJ travels abroad to teach CBS to missionaries and national children’s ministry workers around the world. Marion Grant explains just what CBS entails: “Chronological Bible Storying uses 60 basic stories to introduce the Bible and how God put the Bible together. Children come to understand God's love, His dealing with people and how He wants us to love Him. It also explains salvation, how we can trust Jesus and then walk with Him.” Teaching Scripture chronologically is not a new concept. In fact, BCM International’s own Sunday School material, “Footsteps of Faith”, is a chronological teaching method. What makes CBS unique, though, is in its simplicity, needing minimal purchased or printed material. CBS introduces the Bible on a child’s age level, in a clear format, even if the child (or teacher!) has barely any other Bible knowledge. All sixty Bible stories are compiled into one book. These are written in both a bullet-point fashion as well as a storytelling script. In this way, a teacher can tailor the story to their own unique method of storytelling. 6
MJ herself teaches sixteen different “storying” techniques. These include using objects to tell the story. Handing out pieces of the story to audience members and having them read their script at the appropriate times. Getting children up on stage, frozen in a position that tells part of the story. Each method is unique, captures the audience’s attention (even if the audience is not solely children), and tells the story in a simple, yet poignant way. When a CBS workshop is taught, the majority of the time is spent on teaching these various methods of storytelling. In addition to basic storying, the CBS program also offers as simple visual aid different sizes of “panels”—in essence, banners that are made in a quilt-like format, divided into squares like quilting blocks. Each square has a picture corresponding to a particular Bible story, 60 in total. Banners come in different sizes, some as large as a quilt that could cover a child’s bed, others as small as a bandana. These simple, but beautiful visual aids help keep the children’s attention during each Bible story as well as helping them see where each story fits, quite literally, into the bigger picture. The panel or squares can also be reproduced as individual coloring sheets to help reinforce each lesson. In October 2013, MJ was invited to Kenya in cooperation with Africa Inland Mission to teach CBS in a variety of workshops and settings over the course of five weeks. Kenya lies just off the Indian Ocean south of Somalia and Ethiopia on the eastern side of Africa. Famous for its safaris and presence of the “Big Five” (lions, giraffes, rhinoceroses, leopards and hippopotamuses), Kenya is also home to Lake Victoria, the world’s largest tropical lake, and Mt. Kilimanjaro, whose year-round snow peaks are visible even across the southern border into Tanzania. Its beautiful beaches play host to international yacht competitions. But Kenya is also a nation where much of the population lives in extreme poverty. With forty-two percent of Kenya’s population under the age of 15, reaching children with the Gospel is an urgent need. But Bible class curricula and visual aids are not only expensive and difficult to come by, they are simply are not widely available in the country’s national language of Swahili. MJ’s goal was to train children’s workers and pastors how to effectively reach this large demographic with the Gospel in a way that requires little to no visual aids and extraneous purchases. During her time in Kenya, MJ worked with Africa Inland Mission’s International Children’s Consultant, Carolyn Cummings. Carolyn helped MJ navigate exhaust-filled, crowded streets and cramped city buses. They made their way through muddy, potholed streets, dodging traffic, and arrived at a Ghetto Education School. There MJ assisted Carolyn in teaching a preschool Bible class with crafts and she learned a Swahili song. CBS Students with Story Panels 7
MJ began her series of workshops on CBS in the Kibera Slum—the biggest and poorest African slum with about one million inhabitants. In a small cement building with a cement backyard, MJ taught two separate groups of neighborhood women the chronological method. Says MJ, “Some did very well at presenting the Gospel story. I was encouraged by the opportunities they had on Sunday to use storying with family and friends. Most of these women are Roman Catholics.” Later in her trip, MJ was able to go back to the Kibera Slum and present a Bible story using this method to two separate schools. At the first school, Hope School, 120 children and five teachers were present during the Bible story. For the second presentation at an Education Centre, 70 children were in attendance.
Typical Kenya SS Class
Over the course of her five weeks in Kenya, MJ taught eight CBS workshops in different regions of the country with about 200 people in attendance. A number of children came with their parents, so MJ used them as her audience as she demonstrated how CBS is conducted.
A typical workshop is interactive and hands-on. MJ demonstrated five of the sixteen storytelling methods. Then the group was divided up so they could practice together. One method she taught is called “Story on a Pole.” MJ describes it: “You put a piece of clothing on the pole to represent the person in the story. I make up scripts of the story. For example, the story of the prodigal son. I used jackets from people in the audience to represent the father and two sons. One person tells the story. Two others hold the pole.”
Students Practicing CBS Technique After practicing, volunteers were chosen to demonstrate to the entire class how to tell the story. Teams worked on facial expressions, specifically in realizing how important one’s face is while telling a story. MJ illustrated how to tell a few simple stories, including telling the Ten Commandments using just one’s hands and using a string trick to teach Psalm 119:11. Participants included pastors, children’s ministry leaders, short and full-term missionaries. Most were fluent in English, so MJ only had to use a translator once. As they left, students expressed their excitement to put CBS into practice with their children’s classes and to teach others in their churches who were not able to attend the workshops. One participating church was especially excited to receive the CBS material. During a Sunday church service with MJ and Carolyn Cummings in attendance, the pastor had the material all dedicated to the glory of God. MJ recalls: “At the end of the service, two chickens were being auctioned off for a special project. The black chicken was given to Carolyn as thanks for speaking in the service that morning. Laughing, I said to Carolyn, ‘I am not holding that live chicken all the way to Nairobi!’”
She’d spoken too soon. A moment later, the brown chicken was offered to Marion as thanks for coming to teach a workshop. MJ insisted she was not going to hold TWO live chickens on her lap in the car back to Nairobi. Instead, MJ remembers with a smile, “The pastor’s family enjoyed a chicken dinner. I enjoyed my two hour drive back to Nairobi without the chickens!” Chronological Bible Storytelling is, in MJ’s words, “Mushrooming!” News about this innovative method of teaching children continues to spread. MJ has already visited Cuba to teach CBS and has an invitation to do the same in additional African countries. Current plans include follow-up trips to both Cuba and Kenya. MJ also travels to various Canadian Bible Colleges and Seminaries to teach CBS workshops. MJ sums up: “I like the CBS method because so many of our children are not being taught the Bible in North America and globally.” With the help of BCM missionary Marion Grant and CBS4Kids, hopefully that will soon change.
CAMPING IN THE SOUTHERN HEMISPHERE By: Shantal Artieda, BCM Peru Lima, Peru (BCM World)—The last day of camp season had arrived at BCM Peru’s campground in Pachacamac, a half hour away from Peru’s capital city, Lima. Even from a distance could be heard the resounding chant of an entire auditorium full of teenagers singing at the top of their lungs, “Te doy gloria, gloria, a ti Jesús” (“We give you glory, glory, Jesus”). These campers had been enjoying the camp atmosphere for just one week. Still, each knew life would not be the same for them the next day.
Dining hall fun
BCM Peru began operations in 1993 when Carlos and Marion Odicio started a mission with a very particular vision which still remains its main focus: reaching children for Christ. The ministry began in the capital city, Lima, with open air activities inviting children to come out of their houses to the streets, parks or plazas to participate in a show with clowns, mimes, songs and games, all designed to creatively share the gospel with them. Sunday school classes and children’s ministries in both Peru and North America were encouraged to collect pennies and other coins to fund the ministry, so the program became known as “Pennies for Peru”. In a country where children´s curiosity seems to exceed the norm and parents appreciate time off from their children, carrying out these activities in Peruvian towns and cities has never been a problem. Soon a number of children’s Bible Clubs had been established. The next logical step was a camp ministry so these children could learn more about God and His Word. God provided a property thirty minutes drive from Lima in the small town of Pachacamac, where BCM Peru has been able to develop a camp complex.
The camp first opened its doors to receive children and teenagers in 2001. The camp goal is to allow campers to enjoy a time away from their regular lives, a time set apart to teach them about the wonders of a great God and the personal relationship He wants with each one of them. Over the years campers have come and gone and the camp experience has changed. But one thing remains the same: the focus is set on God and the decisions these campers can make before their God. The 2014 camp season lasted for seven weeks from January to February, which is the summer season since Peru is in the southern hemisphere. This included three childrenÂ´s camps and four for teenagers and youth. Months of preparation and rehearsals had already been invested by BCM Peru missionaries, led by camp directors Daniel and Joan Irrazabal, and the camp staff, composed mainly of students from BCM PeruÂ´s Bible Institute as well as volunteers. The first group of campers arrived the second week of January. Though only forty campers had been expected, the staff were thrilled to receive 135 children for the first week of the season. Such a large group was a challenge, but one they were happy to take.
The focus for the 2014 camp season was Israel vs. Egypt. Classes, devotion time, object lessons and special chapel time at nights had been prepared around these two important nations. During the week, campers learned about the traditions and characteristics of the Egyptians in contrast with the Israelites and how the Israelites under oppression had to learn to stay true to the one true God who would deliver them from slavery. The object was to compare Egypt to the world we live in with its worldly influences and obstacles Christians face, and how Israel was chosen as a nation, not because they were better or bigger, but because God chose them to be separated for God, just as He has chosen us to follow Him and serve Him. The topic and theme may sound like a big bite for young children. But the whole program was developed to meet the children at their own level, explaining complex truths in a simple and biblical way they could understand, through songs, dramas with colorful costumes as well as a little humor to keep it fun for kids ranging from teenagers clear down to four years old.
Bible lesson time
This was the first time the staff had received such a young camper and a deaf one at that! A young lady, Karen Quiroz, had graduated a few years ago from BCM Peru´s Bible Institute. Since then she has devoted her life to work with deaf children. This year Karen returned to the camp as a counselor and translator to eight of the deaf children she works with on a regular basis. To see these children make friends and participate in the games, worship time and classes was heartwarming. In the end, four of them trusted Jesus as Savior and the others made important decisions regarding their spiritual lives. Fun is an important part of the BCM Peru camp experience. Campers participate in a lively program of activities, games and challenges throughout the week. They are divided into three teams to encourage healthy competition, teamwork and sportsmanship, and excitement can be seen in faces and heard in noisy rooting for their own team as they accumulate points each day. Campers also enjoy playing soccer, volley ball, swimming in the pool and going on excursions near the camp property.
Each counselor has between seven to ten campers in their room each week. These volunteers do an amazing job of helping campers participate in the competitions and pay attention during classes. Above all, they are in charge of caring for the lives of each camper. Their job is to get to know the campers personally, talk to them and get to know their hearts in a more intimate level, helping campers realize what God is trying to show them throughout the week and guiding them in making right decisions that will bring glory to God.
Peru camp last night bonfire At a special bonfire on the last day of each week, the children shared the decisions they’d made before God and the desires of their hearts: “One day I would like to be a missionary.” . . . “When I grow up, I want to do what the people at this camp do.” To watch little boys and girls at the bonfire committing to dedicate their lives to God was very moving. Sincerity and assurance could be seen in their faces as they prayed. Some of them even wept as they promised their Creator to be a light shining bright for His glory in this world. 12
The teenagers who come to the camps are quite a different story. A difficult life and street smarts have taken away innocence they once possessed as children. Most of the teenage groups who come to camp are part of Compassion Ministries in Lima. These young boys and girls are in desperate need of structure, love and understanding. Some are confused as far as their beliefs. Some are just rebellious and indifferent to anything anyone has to say about God and living a godly life. However, no heart is too tough to be touched by God. It was encouraging to receive feedback from some of these teenagers: “This was the best camp of my life. It really helped me in my spiritual life and I truly enjoyed it a lot.” . . . “What a beautiful week I’ve had with everyone at the camp. Continue to press on in what you do. There is a reward in the Heavens.” . . . “You helped me to appreciate everything the Lord gives me” . . . “This truly was one experience I will never forget. For many like me, you are a fundamental part of our lives. Thank you!” During the seven weeks of camp season, the camp staff was able to minister to 764 campers. 207 of them trusted Christ for salvation. 552 made decisions to dedicate their lives to God, committing to stay pure and shine as a light for God in this world, being an example of what a Christian life should look like to their parents, family, friends in school and in their neighborhoods. These are all decisions that surely are not easy to make, but will have an unquestionable outcome that will affect the lives of these campers eternally.
Bible time at teen camp
A moment of prayer
“We have seen groups come and go for the past seven weeks,” sums up Jonatan Odicio, BCM Peru Director. “And for us too nothing will be the same as they will stay in our hearts forever!” 13
PRAYING FOR ‘LA VICTOIRE’ IN TOULOUSE By Elizabeth Anneville with Jeanette Windle France (BCM World) —Four year old Claire was still too young to attend BCM children’s Summer Camp in Toulouse, France. But BCM France directors Chuck and Cathy Powers yielded to her pleas to accompany her older brother. Chuck Powers remembers the little girl as the week’s most enthusiastic camper, wildly yelling during the games, “La victoire, la victoire!” (victory, victory!). Thirteen years later in 2014, Claire was back at camp. But this time as a helper at Winter Camp. This year’s camp codirector, BCM France missionary Elizabeth Anneville, shares, “Last week, when Claire joined us to help out with camp, we again saw how God is indeed victorious!”
If every child who comes to Jesus Christ is indeed a victory, such victories can seem more hard-fought in France than in countries less hostile to the Gospel. To the French, religion has been tied historically to the political and social authority of the Roman Catholic church. Democracy included throwing off that yoke. The new France is fiercely secular with only 8% of its 62 million residents attending religious services. Into that spiritual vacuum has exploded the occult with more registered mediums, warlocks, and witches than pastors or priests. While mosques are crowded with Muslim immigrants and converts, fewer than one evangelical protestant church exists per 30,000 population, most under 50 in attendance. Even fewer outreaches exist to reach children with the Gospel of Jesus Christ. In the French culture, religion is personal, private, not to be intruded on others. The result—an entire generation of French children growing up without spiritual or moral foundation. Located just north of the Pyrenees Mountains near the border of Spain, Toulouse is France’s fourth largest city with more than a million inhabitants. The center of Europe’s aerospace industry, the city is a bustling industrial hub, home to immigrants from dozens of nationalities. BCM missionaries Chuck and Cathy Powers arrived in Toulouse, France, in 1988. Through their ministry, a church was planted. When God miraculously opened doors to acquire a six thousand meter complex in a low-income neighborhood, Centre SEPT (Center Seven) was born (see BCM World Fall 2007). A service center for the Toulouse evangelical protestant community, Centre SEPT offers training resources for pastors, missionaries, and teachers as well as youth and children’s ministries. There are Christian seminars, concerts, outreaches, a Bible club, a small Christian school as well as holiday camps. A variety of church congregations as diverse as Congolese, Arab, Gypsy, Brazilian, Vietnamese, and of course, French, use its facilities for worship services. 14
In 2001, Chuck and Cathy Power’s daughter Elizabeth and her husband Hervé Anneville joined the BCM team in Toulouse. When the Powers moved in 2010 to northern France to begin a new church planting ministry, Hervé and Elizabeth stepped in to head up the Centre SEPT ministry, including the Camp program.
This year’s Winter Camp was held the first two weeks of March, which was the French school system’s winter holidays. A day camp, the schedule kicked off each morning by 8:30am as parents dropped children off on their way to work. The camp theme was obedience during the first week and God’s care for each person during the second week. Activities included Bible lessons, singing, games, art projects, free time, walks, meals and snacks. Even game times and other fun activities provided opportunities for biblical teaching—how to deal with anger, learning self-control, being a good sport. Several times during each day, leaders and campers would stop to pray for issues that arose. When parents picked their children up after work, camp leaders took opportunity to share as well with the parents. Depending on the day, attendance at Winter Camp averaged thirteen children. Not a large group as camps go, but in Toulouse, France, still a victory.
Group Picture at Winter Camp
Learning Bible Truths
“In France, where the pollution has reached such a level that you can’t quite make out the Eiffel tower anymore,” shares Elizabeth Anneville, “we also sometimes can’t quite see if God is still working. Is there any hope in France? There are so few evangelical Christians here that people are often quite wary when you invite them to a church outreach. The Catholic church calls us a cult. 80% of French people have never opened a Bible. 26 years ago when I came to France with my parents and siblings, there was only 0.5% evangelical protestant Christians. Craft Time– Winter Camp
Today there is 0,8%. But I remember the story of Abraham interceding with God to save Sodom and Gomorrah, even if there are only 50 or 40 or 30 righteous in those cities (Genesis 18). When God says there isn’t, Abraham intercedes for just one. And God rescues Abraham’s nephew Lot along with his family.”
Face Painting at Winter Camp
A story not so different than that of Elizabeth’s own youthful helper. While Claire is walking with God, the older brother she once eagerly accompanied to Summer Camp recently gave his Bible to his mother, insisting that he didn’t need it anymore. Though barely adult, the young man is already battling liver failure due to alcohol abuse.
“Pray for this young man,” Elizabeth asks. “I think that’s what all this is about—standing with families like Claire’s to support them in their battle to raise godly kids in this immoral and godless society.
A poignant episode at this year’s camp brings this reality home. Elizabeth was working with one small boy when he spoke up: “I just don’t know if God exists!” Elizabeth took him to look out a window at the strong, green trees swaying outside and shared with the boy how God reveals Himself in His creation. She adds: “France is one of the most beautiful countries I have ever seen. God has created this country. He has knit together each French person. And He has called you and I to intercede just like Abraham interceded for Lot’s family. We must continue to intercede for the one girl, for the one boy, and cry ‘la victoire’—victory—for that one soul saved from hell. Pray for all of France. And for us, that God may give us wisdom how to have victory.” Pray for the Anneville family as they share Christ in Toulouse, France, for Claire and her brother, for the children at this year’s Winter Camp, their parents, other BCM France personnel, Centre Sept and its ministries; above all for a turning to God among the people of France.
Snack time! 16
CANDIDATE ORIENTATION: A BLESSING FOR THE FUTURE By: Lisa Biegert Pennsylvania, USA (BCM World)—Candidate orientation for new BCM North American missionaries was held the first week of January, 2014, at BCM’s Traber Center in Spring City, Pennsylvania. Classes were taught by Vice President Joe Dukes, International Children’s Ministry Director Esther Zimmerman, Chief Financial Officer Jim Hess, International Representative Dr. Bob Evans, missionaries Stephen King, Stacey Everline, Roy Schell, Josh Brackbill, and Trainer-at-Large Helen (Chip) Griepsma. Topics covered the BCM handbook, Footsteps of Faith curriculum, inductive Bible study, and support raising techniques, as well as a tour of the International Ministry Center (IMC) in Lancaster County, Pennsylvania. Says Joe Dukes, “Age-wise, this was probably the youngest candidate orientation class for some time and certainly in my seven years of leading them. This is a blessing for the future as each candidate is committed to long term ministry in reaching children and young people for Christ.” The candidates took time to share a little of their life story with their new BCM family.
JOSHUA HURT—Originally from Missouri, Joshua received Christ as Savior at the tender age of 4 years old. Though he felt the Lord’s call to missions while still a child, he pushed it aside for a while to pursue other interests. However, the Lord got ahold of his heart and gave him the desire to serve Him overseas. Joshua had the opportunity to go on a short-term missions trip to Ireland during 2012 and 2013. Joshua’s parents had previously served as missionaries in Ireland, so Joshua was familiar with the country. This trip confirmed for Joshua the desire to serve the Lord full-time in Ireland. The mission board he had served under on his short-term trip was no longer in existence. So Joshua began searching for another board. His parents knew of BCM International and their work in Ireland, so they encouraged him to look into it. In Joshua’s words: “I started looking into them and found that nearly everything that I believed biblically about missions, they did as well. It was brilliant!”
Now a BCM missionary appointee, Joshua is still in the process of clarifying what his roles in Ireland will be. As a black belt in Krav Maga, he is interested in a martial arts ministry to reach at-risk youth. However, with a heart willing to do anything, he’s not concerned about the specific job description. Joshua is engaged to Machaira Adams and they are planning a spring 2014 wedding. They look forward to serving the Lord together, wherever He leads them. Pray for Joshua and Machaira as they strive to serve the Lord as a young married couple. Pray for them as they raise their support and decipher the ministries God has for them. MATT AND MELANIE CHANDLER—The new Urban Outreach Director for BCM’s Camp Streamside in Tannersville, Pennsylvania, Matt received Christ as Savior at the age of 12. Shortly thereafter, he knew God was calling him into missions. Throughout college Matt felt the Lord giving him a desire to work with the poor and oppressed. After Matt married Melanie, the young couple began pursuing together a missions career overseas. But God led them instead to minister in the inner city of St. Louis, Missouri. During the eight years they spent leading a variety of ministries in St. Louis, they saw how powerful camping ministries can be for children from the inner city.
Matt and Melanie were excited to join the Camp Streamside staff in August of 2013. Matt says, “We are excited to again see the power of camp in the lives of kids who are hurting.” Matt’s responsibilities include staffing the summer camps, getting inner city children and teens physically to the camp, and funding the summer camps. He is also developing a volunteer and donor base for Camp Streamside. Melanie is able to use her graphic design background at Camp Streamside and also works in the kitchen. This summer she will 18
be program director for the elementary age camps. Daughter Michaela rounds out their home; she is 9 years old, home schooled by Melanie, and enjoying making new friends at the campground. Pray for the Chandler family as they find time to raise support amidst the busy-ness of ministry. RYAN AND AMANDA SIVER—On an Easter Sunday at the age of 12, Ryan Siver accepted Christ as Savior. After serving during his high school years as a camp counselor, Ryan felt God’s call to pursue full-time ministry with teens through camping. Four years ago, Ryan and his wife Amanda came on staff at BCM’s Mandaville Camp and Retreat Center in Winthrop, New York. They filled a variety of roles before Ryan decided to pursue full-time missionary status. Ryan is the Program Director at Camp Mandaville. Amanda is now head cook for the camp. During summer months, she does crafts and fills in where needed. Amanda is a certified teacher and substitute teaches in two local school districts while also being the children’s ministry director at their home church, Cornerstone Wesleyan. Their two children—Grace (6) and Noah (4)—love the summer months when the family lives on the campground full time. Pray that the Siver family will have success in raising their financial support in order to devote full-time to ministry. Pray for the summer staff at Camp Mandaville to have hearts to serve God. PATRICK AND EMILY BARRINGER—When the director’s position fell vacant at BCM’s Bliss Summit Bible Camp in Bliss, New York, Patrick Barringer was on the search committee to find a replacement director. Patrick and his wife Emily had been involved in Bliss Summit for years. They had gone from being campers themselves all the way up through the ranks to head counselors and then on the camp committee for the past few years. While the committee was praying over who to fill the director’s position, the Barringers realized they themselves might be the answer to that prayer.
In order to accept the position, they needed to pursue becoming full-time BCM missionaries. They are now in the process of raising their full support. Currently, they are the interim directors at Bliss Summit Bible Camp while raising their 15-month-old son, Micah, and waiting on the birth of their second child this September. Pray for the Barringer family to be able to raise their support quickly. Pray that God would provide them wisdom in this new position and that God would prepare the hearts and minds of the campers coming this summer to be receptive to His Word. 19
In the Democratic Republic of Congo, a group of Christian ministry leaders receive their certificates for completing In Step with the Master Teacher (ISMT) training. (See story within)