Alliance Life: May/June 2024

Page 1


Is going more important than sending?

pg. 4


God’s beautiful story in a hard place

pg. 24


Leveraging local arts and culture for Kingdom impact

pg. 32

sending workers


On a Friday afternoon in January 1956, Paul and Grace Alford received the much-awaited telegram from the headquarters of The Christian and Missionary Alliance, informing them they had been appointed as missionaries to Ecuador. This news was an occasion of celebration signifying a major step toward fulfilling the missionary calling of this evangelist from south Florida and preacher’s daughter from Ohio. However, their joy was short-lived as just that next week, news began to break of the deaths of missionaries Jim Elliot, Ed McCully, Roger Youderian, Pete Fleming, and Nate Saint in that same country. What was once a dream come true was now a difficult, weighty decision for this young couple with two daughters under the age of five.

My grandparents’ decision to accept the appointment and move forward with their calling, trusting in their Christ, came with deep criticism from some people. Why would they risk this? Would it be worth it? Their courageous going is just one example amidst thousands of Alliance international workers who have followed Christ bravely.

Their decision to go not only led them to ministry in Ecuador, but later to decades of ministry across Latin America and leadership in the formational years of U.S. Spanish ministries.

My grandfather’s legacy of courageous going, deep trust, and a passion for Jesus has shaped my life profoundly. His “long obedience in the same direction” marked his days as he would continue to take bold steps, following God’s call and walking side by side with Jesus until he met Him face-to-face last summer.

His calling to preach the gospel did not just mean going but also sending through bold generosity. For well over half of his life, he was devoted to raising up and sending new workers to our neighborhoods and the nations. From the phone call to a young, discouraged pastor just beginning in ministry, to sitting with one of the thousands of college students wrestling with their call to missions, he invested in and prayed by name for these courageous goers.

As Pops would testify, while different parts of our stories may be dedicated to courageous going or generous sending, may all of our lives be marked by a calling to see All of Jesus for All the World.

VOLUME 159 | No. 03 ALLIANCELIFE Founder A. B. Simpson M anaging e ditor Hannah Packard g raphic d esigner Caylie Smith sta FF Writers / e ditors Julie Daubé Hannah Castro Emily Smith e ditorial a ssistant Mandy Gove c irculation Ful Fill M ent Julie Connon Contact for address and subscription changes. Contact for questions, submissions, and advertising information. Contact for press inquiries. © ALLIANCE LIFE ALLIANCE LIFE is published by The Christian and Missionary Alliance, One Alliance Place, Reynoldsburg, OH 43068. Member, Evangelical Press Association and Associated Church Press. Printed in the USA. POSTMASTER: Send address changes to ALLIANCE LIFE , One Alliance Place, Reynoldsburg, OH 43068. When requesting a change of address, please give both the old and new addresses. Direct all correspondence and changes of address to ALLIANCE LIFE One Alliance Place, Reynoldsburg, OH 43068. Toll free: (877) 284-3262; email: Website: The Alliance is committed to world missions, stressing the fullness of Christ in personal experience, building the Church, and preaching the gospel to the ends of the earth. ALLIANCELIFE carries on the tradition of more than 140 years of publishing stories of God at work through Alliance people in the United States and throughout the world. cover: Photograph by Rosie, Alliance Video

04 Christ - Centered


Is going more important than sending? by Hannah Packard | pg. 4


An update from the Holy Land by an Alliance worker serving in the Middle East | pg. 8


Quotes from the Kingdom | pg. 11


Compiled by Harry Verploegh | pg. 11

14 Acts 1:8


Learning that God is always sovereign, and He is always good by John Stumbo | pg. 14


Spirit-empowered sending from the local church | by Julie Daubé | pg. 18


Empowering a Hidden Community by an Alliance worker serving in central Asia | pg. 22

THE FRUIT OF THE HARVEST God’s beautiful story in a hard place by Hannah Castro | pg. 24


Leveraging local arts and culture for Kingdom impact | by Douglas R. Anthony | pg. 32

38 Family

BOARD SUMMARY LETTER by Thomas George | pg. 38


Requests from Alliance workers | pg. 39


Personnel changes, obituaries, and classified ads | pg. 40

FOUNDATIONS To Enter Such Doors Adapted by Alliance Life staff | pg. 46

22 CONTENTS 32 4 22 24


Is going more important than sending?

“Open your eyes and look at the fields! They are ripe for harvest. Even now the reaper draws his wages, even now he harvests the crop for eternal life, so that the sower and the reaper may be glad together. Thus the saying ‘One sows and another reaps’ is true. I sent you to reap what you have not worked for. Others have done the hard work, and you have reaped the benefits of their labor.”

—JOHN 4:35 b –38

“I know the Messiah is coming,” the Samaritan woman said, standing by the well as the noonday sun beat down upon her and the Man she spoke to. “When He comes, He will explain everything.”

“I am He,” Jesus replied.

It took nothing else. The woman ran back to her village, telling everyone to come and see the Messiah. And they did go and see—leaving the village, many made their way toward the well where Jesus and His disciples lingered.

As the woman was calling others, Jesus was talking with the Twelve about reaping, sowing, and the benefits of labor. “Open your eyes,” He said, “and look at the fields! They are ripe for harvest.” His command was not figurative; if they looked up, the disciples would have seen a crowd of people coming toward them, hungry to see and hear the good news.


The disciples were living in a time of harvest, but Jesus wanted them to remember that much had gone into that moment—a lot of sowing, waiting, obedience, and prayer. Today in The Alliance, we are seeing the harvest in many places around the world. Yet everywhere we are present, we are still sowing. We have a rich history of sowing, of faith-filled giving and going to the mission field, and we continue to carry on that tradition.

In 1891, after an early-morning Bible study at a gathering of New York State Alliance Branch leaders, the

speaker closed by reading the Great Commission aloud to the room. Nearly everyone responded enthusiastically. But later that morning, a woman named Louise Shepard pledged her jewelry, with an estimated value of $250 that would amount to over $8,500 today, and asked someone else to give an equal amount so they could support a missionary for a year. By the end of the day, enough had been given to send and support four missionaries. Two men had also pledged themselves to go to the mission field.

Because of this event, Alliance founder A. B. Simpson believed it reasonable to send at least 100 missionaries that year. But within only a few months, the first 100 missionaries and their funds had all been provided for through Spirit-led gatherings and generous gifts. Later that year, at the Gospel Tabernacle convention, more money was pledged, and hundreds of men and women stood to consecrate themselves for world missions.

Sometimes Christians engaged in the Great Commission can make some individuals—often missionaries—the hero of the story. And while it is important to celebrate the vital work done by those who go, it’s also crucial not to minimize the part of those who send and give. Our own history is filled with stories like the one mentioned here, of bold generosity and courageous going. It seems apparent that the Holy Spirit inspires both in tandem. But have you ever wondered if those who pray for and give to missions receive the same

Illustration by Caylie Smith

“wages” and spiritual inheritance as missionaries? I would like us to consider this question together.


Jesus gave His Great Commission as a task and responsibility to the entire Church. It isn’t discretionary. But not all of us are called to the same assignments within the greater task. When I was growing up in church and attending youth group in the early 2000s, I remember a lot of talk about evangelizing. It seemed there were two options for me as a pre-teen and teenager—preach the gospel to all my friends at school or pledge my life to become a missionary. As a homeschooled kid whose only friends were already Christians and who never experienced a call to missions, I remember feeling anxious about my lack of contribution. I told God often that I would go wherever He sent me, hoping that He would call me to the mission field. But I was not part of the heroic class of missionaries and evangelists. Worse—I didn’t even have the opportunity to be. What was wrong with me?

I dreamed of missions all throughout Bible school. And it wasn’t until I was in seminary that I found the final puzzle piece for me—the doctrine of the Body. To describe Jesus’ relationship with His Church, the New Testament uses the metaphor of a human body. With Christ as the Head, the Body is made up of a lot of different parts. Each part has a differing function, but it’s actually those differences that make the Body work properly. “So since we find ourselves fashioned into all these excellently formed and marvelously functioning parts in Christ’s body, let’s just go ahead and be what we were made to be, without enviously or pridefully comparing ourselves with each other, or trying to be something we aren’t” (Rom. 12:4–6b, MSG).

It turns out there wasn’t something wrong with me. I just have a different function—praying, giving, telling stories, and, often, sitting with people who are offended with God or His people. As members of one Body, we should be careful not to compare ourselves to one another negatively. For instance, the sender should not look at the goer and say, “Because I am not a goer, I do not belong to the Body,” or, “I do no valuable work toward completing the Great Commission.” We should not even compare ourselves to those who have similar tasks to ours. I have never led anyone to Christ—but I have gotten to be part of multiple people’s journeys with God, often in difficult valley experiences. If the whole Body were made up of the same parts and gifts, we would be lacking. The work would not be possible.

It might also be easy to find ourselves slipping into the attitude of the prodigal’s older brother (see Luke

15:11–32) when comparing ourselves, and our labor, to each other. “Look how hard I’ve worked and how much I’ve given,” we might say, “and they haven’t! They don’t deserve to be rewarded.” But our Heavenly Father, like the father in the parable, is abundantly generous to all of us. He has designed it so that we all may labor and benefit in different ways. But in all of it, His kindness overflows.


At harvest time, the goods gathered in are due to the work of everyone who labored. This includes sowers and reapers as well as weeders, waterers, overseers, and even the people who cooked food for everyone else. Whatever the reaper gathers in is the fruit of everyone’s work. And everyone gets to rejoice together over a successful harvest. I believe that just as those who labor on the mission field without seeing fruit receive the same inheritance, or “wages,” as those who reap the harvest, so do those who send and support those workers.

When the Great Commission has been completed, we will all be glad together. This means not just faithful Alliance people but every follower of Christ across the globe and throughout history who has been obedient to the call and mission of God and done their part.

We each do our part in obedience to what God calls and assigns. As Jesus said to His disciples as they sat by the well outside of the Samaritan village, “My food is to do the will of Him who sent me and to finish His work” (see John 4:34). Although Jesus’ use of hyperbole here doesn’t mean that He was never hungry or in need of physical food, it does convey how obedience to His Father’s commands sustained Him. It is so for us too. There is joy in playing our own parts in obedience and service to God’s will and work.

In his book The Mission of God’s People, missiologist Christopher J. H. Wright says, “It is not that they (the missionaries) are working for the truth, while we (the supporters) pay the bills. It is that all of us, the sent and the senders, are working together for the truth. That is the responsibility and the privilege of Christian mission.”


I mentioned earlier how the Church can often make people the hero of the story when talking about the Great Commission. But, as Paul wrote to the Corinthians, “It’s not important who does the planting, or who does the watering. What’s important is that God makes the seed grow. The one who plants and the one who waters work together with the same purpose. And both will be rewarded for their own hard work. For we are both God’s workers. And you are God’s field. You are God’s building” (1 Cor. 3:7–9, NLT).


Yes, our obedience in our specific tasks is important. God is gracious enough to invite us into His work, His mission, and to reward us generously for our labor. But all growth, life, power, reviving, redemption, and salvation come from Him alone.

The Great Commission is His heart, His mission. Framing it correctly this way helps us not only understand who deserves the glory but also how weighty it is for us to participate and walk in obedience to His call.

At the end of the day, all of us goers and pray-ers and givers are simply coworkers in obedience to God. All of our work is important, but not the most important, because all our labor is for the sake of His name. All our work is so that one day, we might see the Great Commission completed and get to rejoice together, singing, “Salvation belongs to our God, who sits on the throne, and to the Lamb!” (Rev. 7:10).

Hannah Packard is the managing editor of Alliance Life magazine. She earned her master of divinity from Asbury Theological Seminary in 2021 and is pleased to serve the Lord, and The Alliance, through storytelling.

The sun never sets on the Alliance family, spread out across the globe. Wherever we find ourselves, we can be certain that we are each sent. Just as the
sent Jesus to proclaim the upside-down Kingdom of love, so
John Stumbo VIDEO BLOG tch John tell a story, share a devotional, issue challenge, or cast C&MA vision. Released on the 12th of each month Recent Releases: Lessons from the Trail The Battles Before the Battle
Brian Scott and his wife, Susan, live in Nicholasville, Kentucky. He currently serves in the office of the Ohio Valley District.


An update from the Holy Land by an Alliance worker serving in the Middle East

On October 7, 2023, as chaos ensued and bombs fell around the Holy Land, Alliance international workers waited in bomb shelters amid fear and uncertainty with the rest of the country.

International workers (IWs) who are sent out from the familiarity of their home countries know they will face challenges, but some situations are far beyond what can be prepared for. The Middle East is a hard place to serve—tensions run high, and trust is built slowly. The conflict following October 7 has taken the situation to a new level, requiring tenacious dependence on the Father. Living by faith overseas, especially in the face of crisis, is a messy undertaking.

Those of us in the region during the days and weeks following the violence have been in a season of deep lament and seeking God. At the time, it seemed everything changed in a moment. We may have been caught off guard by the turmoil around us, but God was not. Though our circumstances intensified, not everything changed. Deep fear, anger, and longing have long gripped the people we serve. The need for healing and peace has only intensified. Even in this very hard place, U.S. Alliance IWs and Alliance World Fellowship (AWF) partners together have sought to respond as God’s Kingdom people. As a field, we minister to people of many religious, ethnic, and racial backgrounds. Our hope is to see all of these communities reconciled to Jesus and one another. That is only possible through the power of the Holy Spirit alive in us, going before us to open doors and hearts.


In the months following October 7, opportunities have been abundant to provide relief to the hurting people around us. Through partnership with CAMA and generous gifts from you, our Alliance family, the Holy Land Mercy Fund has opened doors to show the love of Jesus to the traumatized people of I and P

People like 13-year-old David whose mom has cancer and whose dad is suffering from clinical depression. David’s family was displaced from a community near the G border and forced to live in a hotel near the D Sea. Removed from work and home, their family didn’t have winter clothes or enough food. An aXcess worker describes David’s response when she arrived with a trunk full of clothes and food for his family— when he saw the bags of clothes, he asked with hope, “Are there shoes for me?” He had been wearing a pair of pink women’s flip flops, and it was almost time for the celebration of his bar mitzvah. His eyes filled with tears when he realized he would have a new pair of shoes for that special day. In a place of despair, God had met this precious family’s very real needs. It was a hard, holy moment, one the worker was very aware she was sent to. Because of the Holy Land Mercy Fund, she was able to bless and pray over this family in the name of Yeshua (Jesus) during a time of vulnerability and loss. The financial gift was the doorway to the real gift—being seen.

David’s family needed the hugs, the prayer in Jesus’ name, the dignity the Alliance worker could offer.


In I , meals, diapers, formula, school supplies, clothes, and books have been provided by you through the Holy Land Mercy Fund to families who have suffered tragic loss. Many are living in hotels after having to leave destroyed homes or unstable borders. The field has been able to include a letter explaining the love of Jesus with many of the deliveries and has had the opportunity to pray in Jesus’ name. Some J people who rarely interact with Christians have seen the love of Jesus expressed tangibly to them, and their perspective about Christians is changing.

Support has been provided to local schools that are serving displaced children, and weary teachers have been shown appreciation. Our team hosted a Christmas movie night at our Ministry Center. People from the surrounding neighborhood attended, including displaced I families from the north, A teens, an I soldier, and families from our local schools. The gospel was shared, and the time was full of the love and hope of Christmas.

In the West Bank and the Old City, P families are hurting. Because of fear and closed borders, many have lost jobs and are struggling to provide for their families. Violence in these areas has escalated, and the need is great. Through the Holy Land Mercy Fund, hundreds of food vouchers and meals for needy families, the majority of whom are Christians, have been provided. In this very hard season, the pastors of A Alliance churches are working diligently to support their congregations. It’s a privilege to come alongside of them.

Design by Erin Lillie

Through the Holy Land Mercy Fund, several scholarships to students at Bethlehem University have been given in the name of The Alliance. Due to the financial challenges facing many families in P , enrollment has been down. We are thankful to offer support in the name of Jesus to help students improve their prospects for the future. We have also been able to partner with a local reconciliation ministry that hosts Christmas and Easter programs in A public schools. Each child receives a gift and hears the good news that Jesus loves them.


In this land there are all kinds of agendas embraced by the diverse groups around us. As people who long to see God’s Kingdom come, we take our agenda from Matthew 5. We endeavor to live aware of our deep need for God, embracing lament as a path to healing, walking humbly in front of God and our neighbors, dissatisfied by injustice and longing to see things put right, quick to embrace mercy because we’re familiar with our own need for it, tenaciously holding out peace as the best tool for thriving communities, and serving undeterred by other’s opinions as we choose to follow God’s path. As Rich Villodas says in his book, The Deeply Formed Life, “The desert fathers, mothers, and later monastics remind us that the way of following Jesus requires steadfast refusal to get caught up in the pace, power, and priorities of the world around us. We are called to have our lives shaped by a different kind of power, pace, and priorities, offered to us by God.”

exposed to and moved by the good news of the Father’s generous heart through His people. You are part of this.


Our field, made up of aXcess, marketplace ministries, and Envision workers and AWF partners, has regularly met to discuss the distribution of funds to those in need. I’ve been touched by the attitude and posture of my teammates. In a landscape of division and suspicion, even among Christians, it is easy to take sides. In these meetings, praise God, that has not happened. Prayers of humble dependence on Jesus, deep love for people, and hope for restoration have tied our hearts together before God’s throne. We deeply desire to see the suffering all the people in the land have experienced be turned into doorways of hope through the love of Jesus. It is an honor to be sent by you, our brothers and sisters, with gifts of grace into hard places. We bear Jesus, and we also bear you, as we go. Each gift and prayer you send is a powerful tool in the work of building God’s Kingdom here one person, family, and community at a time.

Suffering and fear have opened doors for conversations pointing to the love of Jesus—doors that aren’t always open. One such door is in partnership with a local J NGO focused on families who have experienced violence. As the Alliance team has served by providing baby supplies, food vouchers, and clothes, the volunteer coordinator for this organization has noted something different and special about Christians. She is being

As I reflect on this season as an IW in a hard place, sometimes I’m overwhelmed by the suffering around me. When I pray for my neighbors, an image of Jesus comes to my mind. I can see His bare feet picking their way through the rubble of destroyed buildings and lives. His hands are stretched out as He moves gently, intentionally through the mess. His fingertips brush twisted metal and piles of stone. He stops to touch a wounded child, comfort a grieving mother. His people follow behind Him—in His footsteps. We can’t always physically go everywhere He goes, but we can pray, bear witness, and emulate Him where we are. It comforts me that Jesus is present. He will not abandon His world. Quite the opposite. He is sending out an army of His people to wage peace and bear light.

The sun never sets on the Alliance family, spread out across the globe. Wherever we find ourselves, we can be certain that we are each sent. Just as the Father sent Jesus to proclaim the upside-down Kingdom of love, so He’s sending us.


“‘Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.’ How, then, can they call on the one they have not believed in? And how can they believe in the one of whom they have not heard? And how can they hear without someone preaching to them? And how can they preach unless they are sent?”

—ROMANS 10:13–15

“Then I heard the voice of the Lord saying, ‘Whom shall I send? And who will go for us?’ And I said, ‘Here am I. Send me!’”

“It is the whole business of the whole church to preach the whole gospel to the whole world.”

“Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up.”


Unquestionably the highest privilege granted to man on earth is to be admitted into the circle of the friends of God. Nothing is important enough to be allowed to stand in the way of our relation to God.

God is not satisfied until there exists between Him and His people a relaxed informality that requires no artificial stimulation. The true friend of God may sit in His presence for long periods in silence. Complete trust needs no words of assurance.

The gravest question any of us faces is whether we do or do not love the Lord.

The final test of love is obedience. Not sweet emotions, not willingness to sacrifice, not zeal, but obedience to the commandments of Christ.

Love for Christ is a love of willing as well as a love of feeling, and it is psychologically impossible to love Him adequately unless we will to obey His words.

Christ is not one of many ways to approach God, nor is He the best of several ways. He is the only way. “I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me” (John 14:6). To believe otherwise is to be something less than a Christian.

—from That Incredible Christian. Originally published in The Alliance Witness, August 14, 1985.

Compiled by Harry Verploegh


“This photo was taken at a village near Mount Fuji, and these pieces of origami are just the details of a larger work of art depicting the iconic mountain. In a similar way to the origami, I'm reminded of how each of us has a part to play in the Kingdom of God. We may not see the whole picture—or not quite understand it yet—but when we take a step back, we can see that God is at work and He is making a beautiful masterpiece.”

Photograph and quote by Rosie, Alliance Video

Learning that God is always sovereign


and He is always good

Nuance has become a rare treasure. Blunt, sharp, or cutting words seem to be the dominant tools of the day. We seem to love certainty, clarity, and bold declarations. Too often, we don’t take time to consider the ramifications or fine distinctions interwoven into the storylines around us and within us. I believe this failure even applies to our approach to the Holy Scripture.


I remain grateful to the Christian and Missionary Alliance family for your gracious prayer support for me during a season of a health crisis. As a 47-year-old man, I had lived with excellent health. Yet, in just a matter of weeks, I found myself hospitalized for 77 days, teetering between life and death. The full story is chronicled elsewhere, but for the purposes of this article, suffice it to say that I was released from the hospital into the care of my wife, Joanna, who became my gentle and loving caregiver. I had lost 50 pounds of muscle mass and the ability to swallow. I could barely walk or talk. I was a sickly man without a clear diagnosis. My condition was stable (I was no longer dying), yet I was making little improvement as painful month after month passed.

At the time of illness, I was pastor of Salem Alliance Church in Salem, Oregon. I remain indebted to this congregation for the grace they showed me. We experienced countless sweet expressions of the beauty of the Body of Christ.

Simultaneously, there were voices speaking into my story that seemed to have two dichotomous, unhelpful opinions. Some believed that if I “just had enough faith” I would be healed. Others seemed to imply that “God is sovereign, so accept your situation.” Both approaches had a measure of truth to them. Both discouraged me. Simply said, neither felt nuanced.

The “faith always produces healing” teaching felt formulaic and condemning, causing me to think, “I remain ill because I’m not spiritual enough.” Meanwhile, the “sovereign God” approach carried a “suck it up, Stumbo, and deal with it” implication.

Let me be clear that faith is required for the Christian journey. The author of Hebrews, under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, couldn’t have been clearer: “Without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to him must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who earnestly seek him” (Heb. 11:6). The Christian journey is a walk of faith.

Likewise, I celebrate the sovereignty of God! Nothing takes place in this world or our lives that is outside of

His dominion, oversight, and ultimate plan. This does not mean that God approves of everything that happens in this world or our lives, but nothing is beyond His ability to redeem.

As the long months rolled one into another, I wrestled with my theology. I began to conclude, “Between these two views, there is a valid place for grappling with God.” I began to ask God—hopefully from a posture of faith and respect—questions. I had once heard that God welcomes our questions because a question is a quest toward a God who desires to be pursued. As I leaned into my pain and confusion and took them to God, I found a few sweet surprises.


One surprise that the Lord gave to me was that my grappling with Him was a fundamental form of faith. Rather than feeling condemned that I didn’t have enough faith, I was actually expressing a deep form of faith by turning to Him in my pain and confusion. I began to ask, “What takes greater faith: to believe God for a miracle or to hang on to God when there is no miracle in sight?” I concluded that both expressions of faith are found in Scripture. Even in the great “Hall of Fame of Faith” in Hebrews 11 are those of whom it is said, “All these people were still living by faith when they died. They did not receive the things promised; they only saw them and welcomed them from a distance” (Heb. 11:13). And, again at the end of the chapter, “These were all commended for their faith, yet none of them received what had been promised” (Heb. 11:39).

Biblical faith should not be reduced to a gettingsomething-we-want-from-heaven approach. Biblical faith is a deep conviction about who God is, even when our circumstances aren’t changing.

Does God step in at times with a miraculous intervention? Yes! Certainly! My own story contains a sweet

One surprise that the Lord gave to me was that my grappling with Him was a fundamental form of faith.

divine healing moment that came 18 months into the journey as Joanna prayed for me in a particular moment of crisis. Yet, I have concluded that the greater expression of faith was being lived out as Joanna and I clung to God before the miracle came. God is pleased and honored by those who keep trusting Him, even when He doesn’t seem to be responding to us in a manner we desire.


The second sweet surprise was that we were being welcomed more fully into God’s heart. I had preached and taught many times about who God is. I believe that

found myself often saying, “I don’t like the journey I’m on. But God is in this journey, and God can only be good.”

My circumstance didn’t feel good. My body didn’t feel good. My future didn’t look good. But all of that came into perspective as from a deepening place in my soul, I lived out of the most basic truth—God is good.

Hence my call for a healthy “theological nuance” among us. Does God heal everyone who comes to Him in faith? No. He’s too good to do that. In His sovereign wisdom, He knows what is best for us. Does God delight in our faith? Certainly, because true faith keeps clinging to Him through every life circumstance and scenario.

John Stumbo is the president of the U.S. Christian and Missionary Alliance, currently serving his third term. He and his wife of four decades, Joanna, live in Columbus, Ohio, and travel frequently to serve the Alliance family. John is the author of four books, two of which give further insight into his health crisis: An Honest Look at a Mysterious Journey and In the Midst: Treasures from the Dark.

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Spirit-empowered sending from the local church


In 1878, at the age of 33 while staying with friends near Chicago, A. B. Simpson awoke one night in a cold sweat. He was trembling, he said, “with a strange and solemn sense of God’s overshadowing power, and on my soul was burning the remembrance of a strange dream.” He shared it in a sermon he preached in 1894:

It seemed to me that I was sitting in a vast auditorium, and millions of people were there sitting around me. All the Christians in the world seemed to be there, and on the platform was a great multitude of faces and forms. They seemed to be mostly Chinese. They were not speaking, but in mute anguish were wringing their hands, and their faces wore an expression that I can never forget . . . As I awoke with that vision on my mind, I did tremble with the Holy Spirit, and I threw myself on my knees, and every fiber of my being answered, “Yes, Lord, I will go.”

This dream completely changed the trajectory of Simpson’s life. At first, he sought to go to the mission field himself. Finding doors to the field closed, Simpson decided that until God allowed him to go—if He ever did—he would labor for the lost “just the same as if I were permitted to go among them.”

Jim Rudd, lead pastor of True Vine Church Community in Philadelphia, writes in his blog, “Within 10 years of his dream, Simpson moved to New York City, launched a cutting-edge missionary magazine, planted a local church, started a missionary training institute, and founded the Evangelical Missionary Alliance—a movement whose primary objective was to ‘carry the gospel to all nations with special reference to the needs of the destitute and unoccupied fields of the heathen world.’”

To say that Jim is passionate about engaging people in missions would be an understatement. In a 12-year period, True Vine, with a membership of just 200, will have sent five families to the mission field and commissioned another to plant a local church. In an interview with Alliance Life, Jim shares his convictions about why local churches need to be engaged missionally. “It’s biblical,” he says simply. Jim believes that more churches would become involved in missions if we stopped treating it as optional. “Part of church growth is that you will reach out beyond your own walls. If we’re to fulfill the Great Commission, we’re going to have to get involved somehow, some way. So, I would expect local churches to be involved in missions the same way I would expect my infant children to begin to gain weight and start to walk and talk. Involvement in missions is a necessary

indicator of the depth of your spiritual life, personally and corporately.”

If we want to see transformation locally, regionally, and globally, we must introduce people to Jesus. “We can’t rely on society or other institutions like the school board or the government to fix themselves. When we become followers of Jesus, part of what we’re signing up for is to ensure that other people have an opportunity to become His followers. And it’s the local church’s responsibility to do that,” Jim says.

“How can we say we have a deeper life in Christ if there’s no missions flowing out of us at some point?”


Simpson’s call to world missions did not happen in a vacuum. Prior to his encounter with God that night in Chicago, he was at a Christian conference in Watkins Glen, New York, for rest and refreshment. Mingled with the teaching of the deeper life, for which his heart had been yearning, was a strong missionary emphasis that shook him to the core. He left the conference to visit his friends for further rest and to wait upon the Lord. It was there that the burden of a Christless world fell upon Simpson by the Spirit of God. The young pastor’s hunger for the deeper life unleashed a burden for missions that would eventually launch what is now The Christian and Missionary Alliance.

As Jim puts it, “Being involved in missions is the natural outgrowth of the deeper life in Christ. Therefore, if we’re not missionally engaged, we may need to look inward and say, ‘Where’s the disconnect here?’ As a church, we can’t be going that deep if there’s no overflow. That may be a bit of a self-awareness question for a local church to ask. How can we say we have a deeper life in Christ if there’s no missions flowing out of us at some point?”

Photograph by Derek Nicol
“The same conviction that fuels the prophetic also fuels the missionary work of the Church—that is, the revelation of God’s heart toward humanity.”

Jim encourages Alliance people to find something to engage in, even if it’s not big or flashy. “I understand that not everybody can go, and not every church will be able to send people out the way we have. But we’re asking missionaries to go halfway across the world and start brand new churches. Can’t we start something here? Could we pray over a map? Your call may not be to go overseas but to launch the missions support system, the missionary prayer group—whatever. Just start it.”


True Vine has no formal sending program. When asked why he thinks his church has been able to send so many into full-time ministry, Jim notes the relationship between missionary activity and the prophetic ministry. In his blog post titled “The Church in Antioch: Prophetic and Missionary,” Jim writes, “The church in Antioch is often associated with missionary work—specifically, the sending of missionaries. We often look to the church in Antioch as a model for mission activity, and rightly so. But before the church in Antioch was buzzing with mission activity, it was a hub for the prophetic.” This is seen in Acts 11:27–28: “During this time some prophets came down from Jerusalem to Antioch. One of them, named Agabus, stood up and through the Spirit predicted that a severe famine would spread over the entire Roman world.” The disciples in Antioch responded to this prophecy by taking up an offering to help the believers living in Judea. Jim notes, “This story provides an excellent biblical precedent for Christian relief and aid ministries, as well as illustrating how such a ministry may be birthed out of the prophetic.” Later, in Acts 13, “we see growth in the church in Antioch. The church that was

just recently receiving prophets from Jerusalem now had prophets and teachers of its own. In fact, some of those prophets are listed by name!”

It is indeed significant that the church in Antioch knew the names of the disciples who were called to the prophetic ministry. The prophets were also among those who commissioned Barnabas and Saul for their missionary work (see Acts 13:2–3). Jim points out that while it’s good and biblical to denounce false prophets by name, we should also be able to identify genuine prophets. “At least five times in the book of Acts, the church could identify true prophets, most of them by name. Rather than marginalizing their prophetically gifted people, the Antioch church recognized and empowered them. In fact, of the dozen or so prophets named in the Book of Acts, eight of them spent time ministering in Antioch. As an Alliance family of churches committed to world missions, it would be worth our time to explore the missionary/prophetic connection.”

Jim continues:

The connection between the prophetic and missions was established before the church in Antioch was born and has continued in many forms since. Was it not the Prophet Isaiah, who, after an encounter with the Lord, made the famous missionary proclamation, “Here am I. Send me” (Isa. 6:1−8)? The same conviction that fuels the prophetic also fuels the missionary work of the Church—that is, the revelation of God’s heart toward humanity. Any church that’s truly prophetic will also be a missionary church. Any church that’s a missionary church will also be prophetic. To fully understand the prototypical missionary church in Antioch, we must also understand what its congregational life was like. It’s clear from Acts that the congregational life in Antioch was one that acknowledged, valued, and empowered prophetic ministry, not just on the mission field but at home as well.

From its beginnings, The Alliance was marked by its recognition of the supernatural work of the Holy Spirit, including the prophetic gifting. In A. B. Simpson: His Life and Work, A. E. Thompson dedicates an entire chapter to identifying the prophetic ministry and the role of Simpson in the early Alliance. Thompson later writes about Simpson’s apostolic gift. Clearly, the fivefold ministry of the Early Church, identified in Ephesians 4:11, was evident in Simpson’s life.

A. W. Tozer, another esteemed Alliance voice, was referred to as a twentieth century prophet even


while he was still alive. Jim writes, “It appears that Tozer humbly accepted this responsibility, as he entitled the prayer that he offered at his ordination ‘The Prayer of a Minor Prophet.’”

In his interview with Alliance Life, Jim observes, “If there’s anything we have developed at True Vine, it has been the connection between the missionary and the prophetic. If we can cultivate the prophetic in our churches, missions will overflow from that naturally.” Much like the church in Antioch, this would mean identifying those who operate in the prophetic, knowing their names, fasting for them, raising up intercessors for them, helping people identify their calling through prophetic encounters with the Lord and prophetic words, and getting leading and guidance through the prophetic.

Jim concludes, “The Alliance always talks about the deeper life and missions. So, for True Vine specifically, the deeper life means developing and cultivating a prophetic environment at our church.”

Reflecting further on the missional identity of our Alliance family, Jim says, “Imagine a Baptist church that didn’t baptize anyone. Or a Presbyterian church with no elders. Or a Pentecostal church where no one spoke in tongues. This is what it’s like when we in The Christian and Missionary Alliance don’t engage in the Great Commission by praying, reporting, giving, or going. We forfeit our very identity when we don’t participate in mission. In the same way, we fulfill our corporate call when we fully engage in the Great Commission.”

Julie Daubé is a writer/ editor for the Alliance National Office. She has a master’s degree in English and lives in Columbus, Ohio, with her husband, Alex.


My name is Kit,* and I live in a major city in Asia. When I was young, my father died, and my mother worked hard to get me into a Christian school. Though I loved the Bible stories, I didn’t do well there. After middle school, I started to work. Then, everything became about money.

I was successful at work and did well for myself, but I spent all my time working and didn’t care about anything other than how much money I made. The more I made, the prouder I became. But during COVID, I lost it all—my family included. My wife and sons left me. I had absolutely nothing.

I had isolated myself for about a year when my neighbor, an Alliance international worker, invited me for dinner. I don’t know why, but I told him everything. I normally don’t open up to others, but I did that night. He asked if he could pray for me. I don’t know what happened, but as he prayed, I started crying and couldn’t stop. I asked if I could go to church with him and his wife.

When I went to church, every song and every message moved me to tears. People there cared for me. It felt like I was coming home.

God has given me a church family and helped me experience what it means to be loved. I know God now, and He is helping me. Everything has also slowly started to get better this year—my work, my business, my relationship with my children. I’ve been baptized now—and what a joy it is to commit myself to the Lord and rebuild my life on the Rock.

*Name changed




On a warm spring day, a Deaf little boy and his teacher were learning the words in sign language for professions and jobs. Teacher. Farmer. Carpenter. Doctor. Nurse. Lawyer.

Moses,* the male tutor, Deaf himself and in his fifties, gently encouraged the five-year-old boy as he looked at the pictures of the doctor and nurse, patiently showing him the signs. Not able to sign myself, with our project manager interpreting, I asked Moses to ask the boy what he wanted to be when he grew up—a normal question in my American brain. Most Western children would say something like cowboy or princess. But unintentionally, I had hit a big cultural wall that day. Moses did not want to ask my question.

Stunned, I laughed and said, “It’s a simple question. Just ask him.” After some debate, Moses reluctantly asked the boy what he wanted to be when he grew up. His answer in sign language was a farmer, like his dad. A simple and sweet interaction. “Well done!” we all gushed.


Driving home that day, I asked Moses why he didn’t want to ask that simple question. “I didn’t want to encourage him to dream too big,” he said. “He can’t ever be a doctor or a lawyer. He’s Deaf. He’ll never have those opportunities.”

His sense of hopelessness was disorienting for me. In my Western mindset, anyone can be anything they want, despite disabilities. Deafness shouldn’t stop someone from pursuing their dreams, I thought. But that day I had unintentionally stumbled upon a big area of pain for Moses and many Deaf people in this country. Unfortunately, this type of hopelessness is widespread here. Historically, this region—culturally isolated due to its natural remoteness— has been conquered and ruled by outside forces. Add to that a condition that is seen as shameful here, and you have a recipe for hopelessness. With a lack of educational and career opportunities, Deaf people in this society end up feeling forgotten, overlooked, hopeless, and dependent on others for basic provision.

by an Alliance worker serving in central Asia

That day in the car, I asked Moses what he thought was the biggest need for the Deaf community in this country. Without hesitation, he said, “Work!” In this place, the poorest of the former Soviet republics of central Asia, job opportunities are limited for everyone. If one has a condition like deafness, there are nearly zero opportunities.


That day was in 2019. Because of the generosity of Alliance donors throughout the world, our small team of international workers had launched a sign language education project at the beginning of the year. Our main goal was to teach sign language to Deaf children who are born into hearing families so that they can form closer relationships with their family members before going off to a Deaf school in our region. Over the last five years, your prayers and support have sustained our work through so many walls and obstacles, from resistant and fearful families to the prevailing misconception that sign language is not a “real” language. Through everything, Moses and our other Deaf tutors have persevered and had many successes along the way.

Meanwhile, my conversation with Moses about jobs and the greatest need for the Deaf community has played in my head over and over. Many Deaf people here feel forgotten and hopeless. Many have no dignified way of providing for their families. They are isolated by a language barrier and prejudice. We have found that they often actually prefer the isolation, which insulates them from possible hurt, ridicule, and shame. In many ways, they are content to remain in their own subculture, where they find security and acceptance.

However, our God has not forgotten them or left them in their hopelessness. He wants to redeem their pain. He wants to provide them with dignity.

In January 2023, we launched the Deaf Community Empowerment Project to equip the Deaf people in our community with job skills that make them more marketable and competitive for a wide range of vocations. For the Deaf community in this country, there is still not a legitimate pathway to higher education. However, we can try to bridge the gap by building a community of young adults who eventually could be trained as electricians, plumbers, teachers, skilled workers, seamstresses, hairdressers, and cooks. With the continued engagement of our worldwide Alliance family, we can build a bridge into the Deaf community that will show them that we see they are worthy of hope and dignity. We can show them they are not forgotten.


Last December, we hosted our first gathering of Deaf young adults. More than 25 attended. It’s been a slow

start, but around every corner, our efforts have been met with overwhelming enthusiasm from the faith-filled and generous people who make our work possible. Sustained by your prayers and support, we’ll keep seeking out the lost in this hidden community in central Asia. As 2024 begins, we are encountering fresh enthusiasm for gathering, starting a culinary and hairdressing course for young women, and engaging with young men through sports and job skills training.

Maybe that little boy will one day be a farmer like his dad. And maybe he will have other options. Maybe someday all the vocations from that vocabulary lesson— teacher, carpenter, doctor, nurse, and lawyer—will be open to him.

Ultimately though, our God wants much more than vocational freedom for that little boy and other members of the Deaf community in central Asia. He wants them to know they are seen, known, and deeply loved. He wants them to know they are not forgotten. They are not forsaken. He wants them to find their sense of belonging in His eternal Kingdom.

*Name changed


Deaf people in this central Asian country often find themselves on the margins of society. By giving to this project, you will enable Deaf students to enroll in apprenticeships that show them and their families that God cares for them and provides for their every need. To make a gospel impact in central Asia by creating apprenticeships for Deaf people, visit; select “a project you love/Find a project”; and type in “Central Asian Deaf Comm Empowerment.” Learn more about Alliance strategic projects throughout the world in need of your prayers and financial support by accessing the 2023–24 Strategic Giving Opportunities Gift Catalog at or by calling toll-free (866) 443-8262.

“Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up.”

Often, our current situations and stories don’t showcase the fruit of our efforts, and sometimes, we will never get to experience the end results of what the Lord has been doing in and through us. Every so often, though, glimpses of growth are witnessed, and we can see the little connections that have seemingly been forming since the beginning.

When Mabel Francis was in her late twenties, she wrote to A. B. Simpson, C&MA founder, and asked him to send her overseas as an international worker (IW). She strongly felt that was her call and duty to fulfill the Great Commission, specifically in Japan. The only problem was that in the early 1900s—the time she desired to go—the C&MA missionary policy didn’t allow single women to travel internationally.

She persevered, a sure sign of her character that was evident throughout her life, and in 1909, 29-year-old Mabel was sent to Japan as a missionary. She was joined by her brother in 1913 and by her sister in 1924. Out of their love for Japan and their desire to showcase the Kingdom, they planted more than 20 churches.

In 1931, the national church became self-sustaining, and The Alliance removed workers from Japan in 1936.

However, Mabel and her sister, Anne, didn’t feel released, so they chose to stay, separating from the C&MA. When World War II began, both the U.S. and Japanese governments offered the sisters safe passage back to America— their lives were certainly at risk by staying—but once again, they felt the Lord was opening doors in Japan, and against the advice of many, they chose to stay.

Through house arrest, bombings, and a three-year stay at an internment camp, war intensified, but Mabel and Anne brought a message of hope as they ministered and led many to Christ. After the war, the sisters opened a Bible school, orphanages, and medical clinics and planted six new churches.

Even with such abundant fruit, it was clear to Anne and Mabel that workers were still desperately needed. In another important letter, Mabel and Anne wrote to the U.S. C&MA president asking for more workers to be sent back to Japan (see page 46 to read the majority of the sisters’ handwritten plea).

In 1962, the Japanese emperor awarded Mabel the Order of the Sacred Treasure—the highest honor bestowed on any foreigner, awarded to someone who has “engaged the public service of the national and local

Photography by Olivia, Rosie, and Andy; Alliance Video. Black and white photo from Alliance Archive.

governments, or in non-public services that are equivalent to public service, and who have accumulated distinguished service.”

Mabel witnessed much fruit from her time in Japan, but the connections to her ministry are ongoing—so many that she never came to know have been affected by her work, and the need for gospel access in Japan is still prevalent.


When he was 10 years old, Don Schaeffer met Mabel when she came to his Alliance church in Ohio. The trajectory of his life was forever transformed. He credits Mabel’s visit as his initial interest in Japan, and he later found out that his parents had been praying that God would specifically send one of their nine children to the country. He has spent the last 39 years alongside his wife, Hazel, serving, living missionally, sowing new seeds, and nourishing the same fruit that Mabel once planted in Japan.

“Many Japanese people are lonely because there is something missing in their lives. They don’t know what to fill it with.”
“There is so much work that needs to be done—not just in Japan but around the world. We need more workers.”

“I heard from Mabel Francis about the need in Japan,” says Don, “and I thought, How can I stay in the States when there’s so many people in this country who don’t have the opportunities that we have, that don’t have gospel access? ”

Don and Hazel have spent nearly 40 years church planting and developing leaders in Japan, a country that may not look like a hard place but that is very much unreached. “Even though it’s very modern and they have all the conveniences,” Don says, “people are lost here. They’re without Jesus, they’re without hope, and they need the gospel.”

The Japanese are one of the largest unreached people groups in the world. With 124 million Japanese people in Japan, less than 1 percent are followers of Jesus. As a whole, ancestor worship, materialism, and group conformity largely influence Japanese culture, and over 68 percent of Japanese people follow Buddhism. The lack of gospel presence is most evident in people’s lives.

“Many Japanese people are lonely because there is something missing in their lives. They don’t know what to fill it with,” says Hazel. “There is an aching, a longing in their hearts when they have no hope. There’s a lack of joy.”

“There’s just that sense of hopelessness and darkness,” Don adds. “I think of one man whose wife has come to church faithfully for many years, and their kids have accepted Christ. I even hear that he likes to sing some of our praise songs in the shower, but he’s the oldest son, and it’s very hard for him to take that step of faith because he feels the responsibility to carry on the tradition of honoring the ancestors and taking care of the family altar.”

Around the world, traditions and cultural values and expectations can often act as obstacles to gospel receptivity—Japan is no exception.


Like all hard-to-reach places, so many Japanese people have never had the opportunity to hear the good news, have never seen a Bible, and have never met a single

believer. And how will they if no one tells them about Jesus, shows them the love of Christ, or develops relationships with them?

“I think one of the ways to evangelize in Japan that we’ve found the most fruitful is friendship evangelism. It’s reaching out in the community, having barbecues with people down by the river, inviting people into the church,” Hazel mentions. “I just I want to have the opportunity to love them into the Kingdom, and that means having a meal with them or a cup of coffee.”

All people are created for connection, but especially in a nation that highly esteems privacy and their cultural values, deepening relationships and proclaiming the truth through one’s emulation of Christ is crucial.

“Japanese people want to have a trust relationship with you,” Don says, “so they want to be able to trust you as a person before they’re going to listen to what you have to say. Once they know that you love them and that you are friends with them, they’ll share their heart with you.”

“We are trying to raise up Christians that have an evangelistic DNA because that’s the only way,” Hazel adds. “One of the ways we’re going to really reach Japan is for each Christian to just take up that heart to want to share the gospel with people in their influence. We are continuing to try to equip Japanese Christians to share their faith.”

To proclaim Christ in word and deed is deeply important to any formation, to any gospel proclamation, to any genuine relationship. Because of this, the Schaeffers, along with their team, have been part of many different relational ministries—church-planting efforts, the Tokyo-area Alliance Church Network that started in 2018, and the Alliance Bible Institute (ABI), an online training program in conjunction with the Alliance Center for Leadership Development—just to name a few.

Living in Japan for almost 40 years, the Schaeffers are very aware of the culture and what the next steps are in their ministry. They have strongly felt that it’s time to reach Japanese young people through passing the baton of ministry to the next generation. Reaching the youth, the younger generations, especially through church planting, is a huge focus for The Alliance’s ministry in Japan.

“We want to see The Alliance start more churches here,” says Don. “What Japan needs more than anything is just an explosion of new churches. There are thousands and thousands of convenience stores, but it’s very hard to find a church here in Japan.”


However, those few churches in Japan have an incredible and lasting impact—even those Mabel and Anne planted a century ago. In 2017, the Schaeffers got to attend the centennial celebration of the Alliance church


in Fukuyama, a church that Mabel started, and they witnessed the fruit of her labors all these years later. “We’ve been to churches in western Japan, and when I share that I met Mabel Francis when I was a boy,” says Don, “people come up to me and say, ‘Mabel Francis led me to the Lord!’”

While it’s true that we don’t always have the opportunity to witness the fruit God grows out of obedience and consistent effort, we’re sometimes gifted with full-circle moments.

It’s not just Mabel’s fruitful and effective ministry that has had such an impactful presence or the Schaeffers’ and their team’s mission; it’s the work of the Lord through His people, through His Church, that has brought forth growth and fruit, really out of the ashes.

But the fruit is often slow growing. People are resistant. In places like Japan, there aren’t many Christians. Churches are few. The need for more workers is vital. Jesus said, “The harvest is great, but the workers are few” (Matt. 9:37, NLT), and that is certainly true in Japan. To harvest, there must be much fruit. For there to be fruit, there must first be humble beginnings and sustainable tilling.

“We feel like the soil has been tilled. We feel like the seed has been planted, it’s being watered. And so, we feel like God’s going to do something big here,” says Don. “There is so much work that needs to be done— not just in Japan but around the world. We need more workers. We’re so thankful The Alliance is sending workers. Keep praying, keep giving. We need more workers.”

Hannah Castro is the story and editorial manager for the Alliance National Office. She has her master of theological studies from Asbury Theological Seminary, and she is passionate about cultivating stories in order to glorify the Lord.



Sending has always been at the very heart of our movement. And God has answered our prayers, raising up new workers to take the gospel to some of the world’s hardest places, like Japan. They just need to be sent.

Visit to learn more about this year’s Great Commission Day Offering and to join the story God is writing by giving to send more workers.

MAY/JUN 2024 31 ALLIANCELIFE Visit to watch the video of this story.


Leveraging local arts and culture for Kingdom impact

What if the uniqueness of the gospel emerged as if coming from local culture instead of coming to it from the outside? The practice of ethnodoxology makes that a reality. Ethnodoxology, or ethnoarts, is the practice of facilitating the creation of local arts that are culturally relevant, biblically sound, and emotionally resonant for use in the Body of Christ for worship, discipleship, evangelism, and other extensions of God’s love in the world.

Ethnoarts workers use their unique training, gifts, interests, and missional passions to share Christ in their communities. They use poetry to combat domestic violence, culinary arts for church planting, and songwriting workshops for peacemaking. Not only are these outcomes possible, but Alliance ethnoarts workers are seeing them happen—blessing local communities and multiplying Kingdom impact!


When Jesus was sent to a unique cultural time and place, He wore the local clothes, ate and drank the local food and wine, danced the dances, learned the proverbs and wisdom sayings, attended the community celebrations and funerals, and understood how to tell an entertaining story—and even a good joke! He knew that every culture has its own beauty, wonder, and distinctive and fascinating ways of communicating and expressing joy, sorrow, anger, and fear.

Likewise, as ethnoarts workers, we immerse ourselves and engage with the deeply embedded, intuitive expressions of local culture in ways that establish trust and build relationships. We don’t create our own art for others to experience, although we celebrate artists who do and who leverage that space for Kingdom purposes. Instead, we facilitate the strategic creation of local arts by local people for community blessing and Kingdom impact. We don’t pretend to know what choices of genre, form, or style are best, so we respect the agency of local communities to make their own artistic decisions. Our work often takes the form of workshops in which the intuitive, gut-level cultural knowledge of local people becomes cognitive understanding. This

understanding then enables participants to make strategic choices, which generate deep resonance in Christian messaging while guarding against syncretism in Christian practice.

God made culture to be our quickest and most intuitive means of connection. And God made artists to be our most gifted intuitive communicators. The arts matter for ministry and mission!

Here are a few examples of what God is doing through skilled Alliance ethnoarts workers (also called ethnodoxologists) who are engaging local arts to meet local needs. These projects are also designed to advance the objectives of their respective local ministry teams.


Poetry for Anti-domestic Abuse

“I don’t know why I’m telling you this.” These were the words my husband and I heard as we drove Sarah* home from a poetry performance late one evening. Over the previous couple of weeks, we had led 10 young women, followers of the local religion, through an arts creation workshop with the goal of addressing a need of their choice—in this case, domestic abuse—in their community. Although Sarah had written the poem during our workshop, she had not recited it that evening. “I should have been the one to read that poem,” she said, struggling to keep back the tears that were forming in her eyes. “It was my story.” The poem was about a young girl who had been abused by a family member. Sarah had never shared her grief and pain with anyone before. As we bumped along down the road to her village listening to her story, we knew that the Father was opening her heart to share with us her grief and pain so that we could introduce her to the One who is truly “acquainted with grief” and offer her hope.

—Ryan* and Isla,* Alliance workers serving in central Asia

Arts to Care for an Unreached Community

Due to a cultural stigma, Deaf children in our central Asian country are usually kept at home, unable to learn even basic sign language. Our team started a project that hires local Deaf adults as sign language teachers for these precious children. In our art classes, these usually quiet students were laughing until they cried as they watched one another act. These arts modules created space for the marginalized to have a voice, to share their hearts with one another, and—perhaps for the first time—to imagine what they could be when they grow up. We are still waiting for our sign language teachers to come to faith in Christ, but when they do, they will have a captive audience with whom they can share the love

Illustration by Caylie Smith

of Jesus, and they’ll have the arts to help them do it (to read more about this project among the Deaf community in central Asia, see page 22).


Culinary Arts for Church Planting

In Bogotá, Colombia, a soup kitchen in a community experiencing forced displacement, violence, and generational poverty was transformed when they moved from sharing soup to training people in culinary arts. That soup kitchen grew to become Santa Cecelia Alliance Church. Santa Cecelia’s 80 members now serve others through after-school programs, a sewing workshop, and a bakery, in addition to aerial dance classes, puppetry, circus, tailoring, and muralism. Many, like the youth leader, Danny, came from drug use; and most, like Lorena, imagined they would never escape poverty. Lorena now has a degree in social work!

—Jhonny Nieto and Ninoshka Gelpi, mission mobilizers in Puerto Rico and directors of the Latin America Association of Ethnoarts (ALDEA)

Drama in Evangelism and Church Planting

“Why didn’t Jesus heal them all?” the women lamented after dramatizing the story of Jesus at the pool of Bethesda from John 5. Most of these women have buried babies. Sickness and death are never far. Yet, Jesus was drawing them to Himself in beautiful ways through the very stories they were reenacting from the Injil (the Gospel of Jesus), recognized as a holy book in their community.

These 78 women, including only a few Jesus followers, attended a drama workshop in which we worked on non-verbal communication, character development, and staging. The women’s questions about the stories opened opportunities to share Jesus in powerful ways.

Earlier that year, a local religious teacher was brought in to scope out what was being taught to the women. He was sent to disrupt events like the drama workshop, but instead, he ended up intervening to protect the workshop from others who tried to create trouble. Despite these challenges, over 1,500 people saw Bible characters become real in drama presentations. And on Christmas Eve, over 40 new believers were baptized—including the religious teacher sent to bring disruption! The gospel is beautiful, and the arts matter for ministry and mission.

Heart-Language Music for Worship

When we first met the Kunda people in Zambia in 2019, the local churches weren’t using any Kunda songs, instruments, or dances in their gatherings—not even their own language. The Christians also refused to attend the annual Kunda cultural festival. This was seen as nothing less than a cultural betrayal by the broader Kunda community. During our workshops in 2019 and 2022, Kunda believers decided to take the Scriptures given to them by Bible translators and set them to strategically selected traditional tunes. The results were transformational. Through our study of Scripture and culture, the Christians felt equipped to communicate the gospel effectively—even in rural villages. Attending the annual cultural festival for the first time, the choirs sang their new Scripture songs (using traditional music) and offered to pray with individuals. Over 140 people chose to follow Christ in those three days!


Building Peace through Song

The local churches in our central Asian country have struggled with unity. Not many people have come to faith, and there is often a spirit of competition between these churches that is instigated when people change churches during conflict situations. As international workers in this setting, we have sought to become agents of peace, reconciliation, and unity. Over 30 local believers from 14 different churches attended our songwriting conference last spring. Three women, all worship leaders and all from different nationalities, had been previously estranged from one another by conflict and a relocation. One afternoon, we directed people to spread out and spend a few hours writing new songs to address needs in their communities. As the Holy Spirit moved in these ladies’ hearts, they gathered together during the afternoon songwriting session, reconciled with one another, and wrote a song together in their shared language about unity in the Body of Christ. As they played their song for us that evening, we saw clearly how Jesus’ words are true for the church in our country: “By this everyone will know that you are My disciples, if you love one another” (John 13:35, CSB).

—Ryan and Isla Arts for Trauma Healing

In the heart of Hong Kong’s tumultuous era, economic hardship, social unrest, and protests have led to the incarceration of many young souls, prompting Chris-



“In Tokyo, these striking sake barrels are on display to honor the tradition of sake brewing, but they are also placed at the entrance to Shinto shrines as an offering to gods and spirits.

I’m grateful for my time in beautiful Japan. My favorite part was getting to see how our workers approach their ministry. They serve the Japanese people so humbly and patiently, taking time to develop deep relationships in a place where privacy is expected, and isolation is the norm. My heart longs to see spiritual breakthrough in a country that so desperately needs the hope that Jesus offers.”

Photograph and quote by Andy, Alliance Video


February 2024

Dear Alliance family,

The Board of Directors of The Christian and Missionary Alliance met on February 28–29 at Shell Point in Fort Myers, Florida. Martin Schappell and the staff of Shell Point made the Board feel welcome and ensured that our meeting went smoothly. We are grateful for their care, generosity, and hospitality.

The Board spent time in Scripture and prayer several times throughout the meeting, and we joined together with the members of The Village Church on Wednesday for their midweek service. Board member Paul Smith led devotions on Wednesday, and Wanda Walborn led devotions for the Board on Thursday.

Opening remarks were made by President Stumbo. The agenda and minutes of previous meetings were approved, and each of the vice presidents presented a brief overview of ministry.

The Church Ministries Committee Report included various updates to policy, and recommendations from the District Leadership Forum were considered.

Scott Kubie, president of Orchard Alliance, gave a helpful overview of the work Orchard has done to refocus their attention on serving the Alliance family where faith and finances meet.

Matt Kelly, CEO/president of Alliance University, presented updates on the work with Alliance University as further steps are being taken to wrap up administrative details related to the property. The Board is encouraged by the developing relationship with Asbury Theological Seminary.

Robb Childs updated the Board on the progress of Alliance Place and Project ReImagine. Robb’s detailed work on the design and site plan was affirmed while the Board acknowledged the first “pause” in the ReImagine process for The Alliance as construction was delayed.

President Stumbo reminded the Board of the relocation journey and acknowledged some key learnings about the current fundraising moment, inflation, and what kind of missional outcomes have been pursued. He then proposed a potential redesign alternative to the current One Alliance Place building. The Board affirmed their support of the vision of Project ReImagine. Many of the motivating factors driving this move are already being lived out in Reynoldsburg. These

priorities, such as proximity to the Alliance family, missional connections in the city, diversity of staff, revenue generation, and more, were affirmed. The Board also affirmed the need to redesign the facility to better fit our mission and vision and to reduce costs considering current budget realities.

Tim Meier provided the current giving patterns and approach to fundraising in Development. While The Alliance is not hitting the budgeted plan and the interplay between undesignated and designated giving remains a challenge, year-to-date giving is nearly on pace with last year, which was a cause for gratitude.

The Committee on Operations/Finance Report was reviewed, and recommendations were approved. In light of the overage in designated giving but shortage in undesignated giving, budget adjustments are being made so revenues will match expenses at the end of the year.

The Board was thrilled and humbled to approve 12 new international worker (IW) units (individuals and families). Alliance Missions has now sent 38 worker units this fiscal year with another 30 nearing the finish line. This puts us on track to meet the now. goal of appointing one new IW every week. To God be the glory!

An update on the relocation of A. B. and Margaret Simpson’s graves was given. Legal approvals have been granted for the relocation.

The president concluded the meeting with words of encouragement and gratitude for the Board members’ strong and faithful service. Prayer and special recognition were given for Terry Smith in his transition from Church Ministries vice president to a local church pastor role.

We are thankful and stay in prayerful expectation of the work of God in and through the Alliance family across the world.

In Christ’s love,



Requests from Alliance workers


As we minister in a war-torn country, most humanitarian aid we provide using funds from CAMA Services is given out by local pastors or our team near the fighting. One day, they took aid into a small village that had been flattened during the conflict. It looked like no one could still be living there. But as the believers pulled up, the entire village came out to receive aid. It turns out the people are so poor that they can’t afford refrigerators, so they dug cellars below their basements to keep their food cool. When they were being bombed, residents fled into these deep cellars to survive the destruction of their village. But it was also where they kept all the food they had canned or preserved, so they could also subsist on that. One couple was especially happy to receive the box containing flour, grain, macaroni, and sugar—they had eaten only pickles and pickled tomatoes for three months, as that was all they had. Praise God for His provision through His people!

—Mike, an Alliance international worker serving with aXcess


“Who is this Jesus? I haven’t heard of Him.” The neighbor boy, who is at our house almost daily, was playing with our kids in the other room. They were telling him that he needed to go home because we were going to church. Then they asked if he wanted to come so he could learn about Jesus. The boy’s English has greatly improved since we’ve been here, and now he speaks it rather well. He sure got our attention when he asked about Jesus!

As we are here living life, we want people to have a chance to know who this Jesus is and how He has transformed our lives—and that He longs to do the same for this neighbor boy and others who have never heard His name. Pray for our family and our team as we seek to be a light in the darkness here.

an international worker couple serving with aXcess in the Middle East/Central Asia Region


I was grateful to join over 90 Christian health practitioners for a conference focusing on our responsibility to teach and mentor the next generation of believers who are called to medical missions. The speaker was a third-generation believer from Congo whose grandfather received Christ through Alliance missionaries. It was about servant leadership, mentoring, and the power of testimony.

We also held a free clinic for the local community—the biggest medical outreach I’ve ever attended. General practitioners, cardiologists, dentists, pediatricians, and nurses were among those serving the hundreds of people who showed up. We prayed for numerous children and mothers in dire condition who needed a touch from God in body, soul, and spirit. We also prayed for the teams ministering during the conference, including a team of pastors and chaplains who helped provide follow-up. Ask God to send more workers or call new partners within the small Christian community in our host country.

—an international worker serving with marketplace ministries

There were many opportunities to pray for people during a Christian medical conference in Africa.




around the block to the ends of the earth



Ronald B. and Wendy L. Baum, in December. The Baums are Envision Atlanta site coordinators.


Nicholaus R. and Kathryn J. Strob and family, in January. The Strobs serve with aXcess and are involved in langauge and culture studies.


Amanda E. Gosline, in January. Amanda serves with CAMA and is involved in language study.


Charlotte R. Hisle, in January. Charlotte serves with aXcess and is involved in church planting and discipleship ministries.


Scott R. and Deanna L. Blackwell and family, in January. The Blackwells serve with CAMA and are involved in language study.


Jose R. and Sonia E. Martinez, in December. The Martinezes serve with aXcess and are involved in teaching at the Alliance Institute of Ministerial Formation (INFORMA).


Aaron R. Andrews, campus pastor, Riverside Church, Sauk Rapids, Minn.

Ansary Aboubakare, youth pastor, Vietnamese Alliance Church— Belvedere, Los Angeles, Calif.

William Alicea, education pastor, ACM Cruce Davila, Barcelona, P.R.

Kenneth R. Allen Jr., lay pastor, Schoharie Valley Alliance Church, Schoharie, N.Y.

Osvaldo A. Alvarado, special assignment, The Alliance South Steven N. Anderson, pastor, Delaware (Ohio) County Alliance Church

Daniel Arnold, pastor, Mercer Creek Church, Ellensburg, Wash.

Jonathan K. Bahm, special assignment, The Alliance South

Erin D. Bell, pastor, Hope Alliance Bible Church, Maple Heights, Ohio

Celine Bower, executive pastor, San Jose (Calif.) Chinese Alliance Church

John W. Campbell, youth pastor, Creekside Community Church, Georgetown, Ky.

Robert J. Cash, associate pastor, Perry Community Church of the C&MA, Shermans Dale, Pa.

Susan J. Chavez, special assignment, Alliance Northwest District

Michelle S. Crouch, minister of community care, Faith Community Church, Columbus, Ohio

Jeffrey R. Cutting, lay pastor, Greene (N.Y.) Alliance Church

Hong-An T. Dao, college personnel, Vietnamese District

Roberto D. DeSagun, associate pastor, Communion Church, San Diego, Calif.

Nguyen D. Duong, evangelist, Vietnamese District

Ronald J. Friesen, interim pastor, Alliance Northwest District

Pablo E. Garcia, executive pastor, Princeton Alliance Church, Plainsboro, N.J.

Bonnie J. Gay, special assignment, Metropolitan District

Bradley P. Gee, pastor, Delaware (Ohio) County Alliance Church

Michael Groop, pastor, Norwin Alliance Church, Huntingdon, Pa.

Dian C. Harner, district missions mobilizer, Central District

John C. Hickok, pastor, Waverly (N.Y.) C&MA Church

Robert G. Hill Jr., pastor, East Lake Road C&MA Church, Erie, Pa.

Cheuk Ming Hong, associate pastor, Grace of God Alliance Church, Newark, Calif.

John S. Jordan Jr., director for leadership development, Western PA District

Roy M. King, special assignment, The Alliance South

Daniel S. Kirk, Envision Atlanta site associate, The Alliance South

Richard W. Larson, pastor, Spring Forth Deaf Church, Waco, Tex.

Kiem V. Le, seminary personnel, Vietnamese District

Jeong Hun Lee, chaplain, Korean District

Darren L. Lim, transitional pastor, Parkview Alliance Church, Van Buren, Ariz.

Victor A. Matos, military chaplain, C&MA National Office

Jordan A. McCain, pastor, Delaware (Ohio) County Alliance Church

Ronald J. Morrison, senior pastor, Hope Alliance Bible Church, Maple Heights, Ohio

Marc A. Montanye, director of discipleship and group life, Christ


Community Church C&MA, Omaha, Neb.

Angel Nieves-Diaz, assistant pastor, Morada de Paz, Bayamon, P.R.

Chae No, church planter, Regeneration Community Church, Allen, Tex.

Ngoma R. Ntoto, pastor, Eglise Evangelique Amour du Christ de la C&MA, Reynoldsburg, Ohio

Jane C. Otto, chaplain ministry, The Oaks Community Church, Bakersfield, Calif.

Joel Pantojas, assistant pastor for the children’s ministry, ACM de Barranquitas (P.R.)

Sam Park, English ministry pastor, Queens Herald Church C&MA, Fresh Meadows, N.Y.

Colten R. Pausch, associate pastor, River Rock Church of the C&MA, Belle Plaine, Minn.

Amanda Peters, Columbia International University, The Alliance South

Anna M. Poorman, special assignment, Immanuel C&MA Church, Mechanicsburg, Pa.

Ricardo Puente, pastor/church planter, Iglesia Esperanza of the C&MA, Cathedral City, Calif.

Maria G. Regalado, district personnel, Spanish Eastern District

Matthew P. Reves, military chaplain—Army Reserves, C&MA National Office

Anna E. Shuman, pastoral associate, Stonecrest Community Church, Warren, N.J.

Phurba D. Tamang, pastor, Bhutanese-Nepali New Life Church of the C&MA, Omaha, Neb.

Tonying H. Thao, associate pastor, Hmong Alliance Church, Stevens Point, Wis.

Joel T. To, special assignment, Alliance Northwest District

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Kurt L. Trempert, director of leadership pipeline, MidAmerica District C&MA

Jonathan M. Vallier, pastor, Lakeside Alliance Church, Port Washington, Wis.

Joshua E. Vitoff, youth pastor, Rockland Chinese Alliance Church of the C&MA, Tappan, N.Y.

Heather L. Wallace, associate pastor, Washington (D.C.) International Church C&MA

Daniel K. Wilde, pastor, Discovery Alliance Church, Missoula, Mont.

Jessica R. Wolske, associate pastor of discipleship, Trinity Alliance Church, Redding, Calif.

Pao Doua Z. Xiong, pastor, Akron (Ohio) Hmong Alliance Church

Grant S. Yeh, pastor, Space Coast Chinese Alliance Church, Cocoa, Fla.


Chico, Calif., Holy Trinity Church, 1505 Arbutus Ave., 95926

Escondido, Calif., Christ Collective Church, 1202 Sybil Ct., 92026

McKinney, Tex., Gospel Mission Alliance Church, 107 E. Lamar St., 75069

New Hyde Park, N.Y., Bridge Fellowship Church, 300 Hillside Dr. S., 11040

Port Washington, Wis., Lakeside Alliance Church, PO Box 616, 53074


Stephen Bailey, community groups & connections pastor, Princeton Alliance Church, Plainsboro, N.J.

Timothee J. Bateman, pastor of worship arts, Syracuse (N.Y.) Alliance Church

Thomas R. Brink, pastor, Mahaffey (Pa.) C&MA Church

Bryan Buravah, assistant pastor, DaKnong Bunong Alliance Church, Greensboro, N.C.

Tracey Burner, full-time institutional chaplain, Eastern PA District

Regis J. Campbell, pastor, Brookville (Pa.) C&MA Church

Woowon Chung, missionary, Dongsan Alliance Church, Little Ferry, N.J.

Scott Creps, executive pastor, CenterPoint Church, Massapequa, N.Y.

Luan Dakrla, assistant pastor, DaKnong Bunong Alliance Church, Greensboro, N.C.

Emily Davison, RTI ministry intern, Salem (Ore.) Alliance Church

Paul C. Dawson, congregational care pastor, Lighthouse Christian Church, Puyallup, Wash.

Ble Dieu, youth pastor, DaKnong Bunong Alliance Church, Greensboro, N.C.

Glut Dieu, assistant pastor, DaKnong Bunong Alliance Church, Greensboro, N.C.

Todd M. Eckert, associate pastor, Glendive (Mont.) Alliance Church

Craig M. Fadel, associate pastor, Island Alliance Church, Stevensville, Md.

Khalaf Haddad, associate pastor, Arabic Evangelical Alliance, Madison Heights, Mich.

Femi O. Jammie, pastor, Tabernacle Faith Ministry International, Anoka, Minn.

Ravyn E. Johnson, director of teams and communication, Providence Church, Omaha, Neb.

Sin Kiu Lam, outreach pastor, Living Grace Alliance Church of the C&MA, West Covina, Calif.

Cao M. Le, assistant pastor, Vietnamese Alliance Church of Anaheim (Calif.)


David K. Lee, pastor, New Story Church, Brooklyn Park, Minn.

Mitchell G. Lee, pastor, Adventure Church, Kalispell, Mont.

Noah L. Levitt, assistant pastor, New Vision Church, Englewood, Fla.

Josiah D. Lewis, director of student ministries, Alliance Church— Appleton (Wis.)

Rafaela I. Martinez, director for outreach and multiplication, The Alliance Underground, Bloomfield, N.J.

Joel Matonak, director of youth ministries, Allegheny Center C&MA Church, Pittsburgh, Pa.

Glen E. McMillan, youth pastor, Alliance Church of the Valley, St. Croix Falls, Wis.

Evan J. Merculief, associate pastor, The Island Church of Whidbey, Langley, Wash.

Douglas P. Miller, assistant pastor, Community Alliance Church, Ballston Spa, N.Y.

Yao Soua Moua, assistant pastor, Charlotte Hmong Alliance Church

Txong Moua, associate pastor of youth and young adults, Eternal Life Church, Sacramento, Calif.

Tim D. Nam, director of ministry operations, Redeemer Alliance Church, Robbinsville Twp., N.J.

Krista J. Nelson, director of NextGen Ministries, Parkside Church of the C&MA, Waconia, Minn.

Kyle L. Nielsen, assistant pastor, Greenville (Pa.) C&MA Church

Bret Norton, pastor, Countryside Alliance Church, Brodheadsville, Pa.

Jacob Oyer, RTI ministry intern, Salem (Ore.) Alliance Church

Garry Paul, assistant pastor, Eglise Evangelique Haitienne of the C&MA, Newburgh, N.Y.

Aaron F. Romero, pastor, Big Bear Plant, Big Bear Lake, Calif.

Carlos A. Romero, pastor, ACYM Ministerios Palabra Viva Church, Lawrenceville, Ga.

Austin Spiller, youth pastor, Triangle Chinese Alliance Church, Cary, N.C.

Philip Stinelli, church planter, Western PA District

Maisen R. Sturt, high school ministry resident, Christ Community Church C&MA, Omaha, Neb.

Mark Trump, pastor, Windborne Church, Athens, Ga.

Chieh Sheng Tseng, assistant pastor, San Jose (Calif.) Chinese Alliance Church

Trinh Q. Van, pastor/church planter, Garden Grove Church Plant, Santa Ana, Calif.

Jeffrey D. Walrod, special assignment, Rocky Mountain District

Vaughn Wilberg, youth pastor, Upper St. Clair C&MA Church, Pittsburgh, Pa.

Ivan Yang, English ministry pastor, Clearwater Hmong Alliance Church, St. Petersburg, Fla.


Devin J. Hebeisen, December 3, 2023, Journey Church, Aberdeen, S.Dak. Devin is the lead pastor.

Brian Pratt, December 10, 2023, Majestic Pines Community, Mahtomedi, Minn. Brian is the senior pastor.

Jonathan (John) Jay Weiher, January 21, 2024, Nashwauk (Minn.) Alliance Church. John is the senior pastor.

Lucas Jeffrey Baumann, February 27, 2024, Rocky Mountain District Office, Billings, Mont. Lucas is the children’s pastor at Fellowship Alliance Church in Columbia Falls, Mont.


Rosaire W. Bisson, Alliance New England

William S. Borden, Alliance Southeast Woon Cheung Chan, Central Pacific District

Alan C. Chow, South Pacific Alliance

Richard A. Estey, Alliance Northwest District

Abednego D. Ferrer, Central Pacific District

Jonathan S. Grames, Spanish Eastern District

Tom C. Hang, Hmong District

David A. Havener, Northeastern District

Sharon S. Kendall, Western PA District

Joshua H. Kim, Korean District

Jerome W. Lewis, Central District

Anthony Mustazza, North Central District

Phuoc T. Nguyen, Vietnamese District

Nigel G. Probert, Rocky Mountain District

Laurie S. Staib, Eastern PA District

Timothy A. Stephenson, Alliance Southeast

Quan C. Ton, Vietnamese District

Linda H. Torres, Alliance Southeast

Stanley A. Tyson, Eastern PA District

David D. Van, Vietnamese District

Jeffrey C. White, Alliance New England

Gary P. Xiong, Hmong District

J. Timothy Yale, The Alliance South


Dennis L. Gordon

April 10, 1940–

November 18, 2023

Dennis was born in Fordville, N.Dak. His father died during the Battle of Iwo Jima when Dennis was only five years old. He grew up with multiple families in the Midwest and returned to live with his Uncle Oscar and Aunt Vida Sorum near Sebeka, Minn.

On August 5, 1961, at Wadena (Minn.) Alliance Church, Dennis married Jeannine Crocker, whom he had met in youth group.


He graduated from St. Paul Bible Institute (now Crown College, St. Bonifacius, Minn.) with a bachelor’s degree in missions in 1963.

During 42 years of C&MA ministry, Dennis pastored churches in Bloomfield, Mont. (1967–1972); Leaf River and Hubbard, Minn. (1972–1975); Hamlet, Neb. (1975–1992); and Ocheyedan (1992–1994) and Vining, Iowa (1994–1999). Upon retirement, Dennis and Jeannine returned to Verndale, Minn., to care for Jeannine’s mom, Emily Crocker. After she died, the couple moved to Grimes, Iowa, to be near their oldest daughter, Denise. Jeannine passed away in June 2020. After being diagnosed with lymphoma, Dennis died in Staples (Minn.) Care Center at the age of 83.

Dennis is survived by children Denise, Matthew, Michelle, and Jolene; 15 grandchildren; and 10 great-grandchildren.

Gordon Cumming

May 7, 1932–December 21, 2023

Born in Pittsburgh, Pa., Gordon attended St. Paul Bible Institute (now Crown College) in St. Bonifacius, Minn. (1955–1959), and the University of Pittsburgh (1955). He was a U.S. Army veteran, having served during the Korean War. During his early years of C&MA ministry, Gordon was the pastor of Hazelwood Christian and Missionary Alliance Church. In 1961, he and his wife, Nancy, were appointed to serve as international workers in Côte d’Ivoire (Ivory Coast). The couple ministered there for 10 years. Nancy passed away February 18, 2012.

Gordon is survived by children Jeffrey, David, and Beth; 6 grandchildren; and 11 great-grandchildren.

Clarabelle Jane Kissell

June 30, 1930–December 21, 2023

Clarabelle was born in Aliquippa, Pa., and attended the Missionary Training Institute (1948–1950) in Nyack, NY. For 26 years, she and her husband, William, were C&MA international workers in Indonesia.

Clarabelle was also a dedicated partner to William when he served in pastoral ministry in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, as well as Cleona and Butler, Pa.

Clarabelle was predeceased by her husband; she is survived by son William; 2 grandchildren; and 7 great-grandchildren.

Herbert “Herb” Lloyd Garland

June 22, 1936–January 8, 2024

Herb was born in Bertha, Minn. He attended St. Paul Bible College (now Crown College, St. Bonifacius, Minn.), where he received a bachelor of

s cience in missions. While in college, Herb met Kathryn “Kathy” Kendall of Omaha, Neb. They married on August 3, 1957.

After hearing God’s call to missions, the couple completed their two-year home service at the Beefhide Gospel Mission in Kentucky’s Appalachian Mountains. In 1959, they were appointed as C&MA missionaries. After language study in Costa Rica, the Garlands ministered in remote mountain communities and jungle villages of Colombia for 20 years. Later, they served for another 20 years in the cities of Venezuela. Hundreds of people received Christ through Herb’s ministry. He also inspired many young people to follow his example by becoming pastors and teachers of the Word. The Garlands retired from the mission field in 2002 after serving with the C&MA for 43 years.

Herb is survived by his wife; sons Jeff, Scott, Dan, Ben, and Dave; 17 grandchildren; and 33 great-grandchildren.

Elsie Esther Wood

October 1, 1936–January 17, 2024

Elsie was born in Spokane, Wash. When she was 13, her paternal grandmother led her to faith in Jesus. She attended Seattle Pacific University (1954–1955), where she played piano in a Gospel Teams singing group. One of her teammates and the group’s leader was George Wood. They took notice of each other and married in 1955.

For nearly 40 years of C&MA ministry, the Woods served in Vietnam (1960–1963); Kent, Wash. (1963–1973); Vientiane, Laos (1973–1975); and Bangkok (1975–1983 and 1983–1998) and Udorn, Thailand (1983-1989).

After retiring from the mission field, Elsie continued to participate in Alliance events and at Lighthouse Christian Center in Puyallup, Wash. She was married to George for 63 years and had three children with him, one of whom serves as a C&MA international worker along with his wife.

Elsie was predeceased by her husband and daughter Cynthia Lynn; she is survived by children Rebecca Ann and Michael; 9 grandchildren; and 11 great-grandchildren.

Wendell Grout

May 8, 1930–January 25, 2024

Wendell was born near the town of North Branch, Kans. He earned his undergraduate degree in Bible and theology in 1955 from the Kansas City Bible College (now Kansas Christian College). Wendell also received an honorary doctor of divinity


from Calvar y Bible College (now Calvary University) in 1996.

On August 26, 1949, Wendell married Leila Mae Brezina. He and Leila served in pastoral ministry for over 50 years. Wendell pastored churches in Kansas City, Mo.; Minneapolis, Minn.; and Calgary, Alberta, Canada. He also served on several higher education and professional boards and committees.

Wendell participated in a weekly radio Bible program; spoke regularly at camp meetings, colleges, and youth conferences; traveled extensively—evangelizing wherever he went—and authored three books. After retiring from full-time ministry, he continued to serve local churches by providing pulpit supply and as an interim pastor at Lifespring Covenant Church in Loveland, Colo.

Wendell is survived by his wife; children Claudia, Daniel, Nathan, Philip, and James; 11 grandchildren; and 10 great-grandchildren.

Lois Mae (Bird) Jensen

July 2, 1930–February 7, 2024

Born in northern Minnesota to Jesse and Geraldine (Fox) Bird, Lois accepted Christ in a small Baptist church. She married Leon Jensen on November 29, 1947, in Tyler, Minn.

For over 39 years, Lois served with her husband as he pastored churches in South Dakota, Minnesota, Montana, and Wisconsin. In 1992, they moved to Chilton, Wis., where they served at Faith Alliance Church with their son, Jim Jensen, who is the pastor there. Lois enjoyed serving the Lord through children’s ministries and teaching Awana Clubs, singing in the choir, and being involved in women’s ministries. She also had an active ministry making and sending cards of encouragement and had a deep appreciation for God’s Word.

Lois was predeceased by her husband; she is survived by children Sue, Jim, Joy, and Ron; 14 grandchildren; and 21 great-grandchildren.

Edith Dunning

July 16, 1925–February 10, 2024

Edith was born in Plainfield, N.J. She attended Bible college in Nyack, N.Y., where she met her husband, Bernard. Edith and Bernard pastored a church in Glendale, Pa., and served in Cambodia and the Philippines (1951–1973). For a short time, they pastored a church in Trenton, N.J., and then returned to missionary work in the Philippines. They then pastored an Alliance church in Attleboro, Mass., and in 1980, organized and pastored the International Alliance Church of Providence, R.I.,

largely made up of Cambodian refugees that fled the war. Edith and Bernard spent 50 years in active full-time ministry.

After the death of her beloved husband in 2001, Edith moved to Greenwood, S.C., where she continued her ministry of encouragement by writing and sending daily devotionals to her many friends. She enjoyed teaching, playing piano, and doing crossword puzzles.

Edith was predeceased by her husband and daughter Pannaree; she is survived by her son Darrell; 3 grandchildren; and 6 great-grandchildren.

Judith Alison (McClatchie) Jones

January 12, 1943–February 28, 2024

Judith was born in Upstate New York and attended Nyack College as a missions major. There, she met Dave, and the two married June 6, 1964.

After spending a year teaching at Lakeland Christian School in Florida, they returned to Nyack where Dave studied at Jaffray School of Missions (now Alliance Theological Seminary) and Judith worked at the Lamont Geological Laboratory.

In 1966, Dave and Judith worked as missionary interns at the Dearborn Alliance Church in Detroit, Mich. Following their internship, they served with The Alliance for 27 years and lived in 27 different houses in Brasília, Federal District; Curitiba, Paraná; Porto Alegre, Rio Grande do Sul; and São Paulo, SP.

Returning to the United States in 1994, the Joneses moved to Colorado Springs, Colo., where Judy worked for a year and a half with Christian Publications, Inc. in telemarketing before going to the C&MA National Office to become the administrative assistant for CAMA Services. After seven years in Colorado, Dave and Judy returned to Brazil in early 2001 where they established the Brazil branch of FATELA, the Latin America Alliance Graduate School of Theology. They then pastored churches in Hockessin, Del. (2005–2009) and Edgewood, Md. (2019–2022).

Judith is survived by her husband; sons Thomas, Randy, and Philip; and 4 grandchildren.



Adapted from a letter written by Mabel Francis and Anne Dievendorf, sisters and missionaries to Japan, to C&MA president Harry M. Shuman on March 26, 1946.

Dear Mr. Shuman, You will undoubtedly be surprised to hear from us, but I have felt it laid on my heart to write you. My sister and I were guided to remain here during the war. Now we are back in our old field, the Matsuyama district. As you already know, the Hiroshima churches were blown to fragments; Rev. Marita’s little daughter was killed by the atomic bomb, also the young pastor, Mr. Nakane. Many of the Christians were miraculously saved, but the city is in ruins and the larger part of its inhabitants gone forever. The Fukuyama church and mission house are gone, the Tokyo church building, also the Matsuyama church. Matsuyama was entirely burned all in one night.

We need evangelistic missionaries now.

With the sudden ending of the war and their absolute defeat, the Japanese people are stunned and bewildered. In the midst of defeat and distress, there is a hunger and a general turning to God, such as no one ever dreamed would or could be in this land. As time goes on, I sense more and more the opportunity of this hour and the importance of getting the gospel to the people while they are in this state.

If we look for young men among the Japanese for this task, we must remember that for eight years it has been impossible to gather new recruits for the ministry. The young men were all taken for the army. Our Christian leaders and pastors are growing old. They have been through a tremendous trial—nearly ten years of war conditions with its strain and depletion and the loss of their homes and church buildings. My sister and I are tired and worn, and the years have taken their toll. I strongly feel that without the urge of new missionary strength, we cannot fulfill our responsibility in this crisis.

I have felt led to write this letter to the C&MA and lay the situation before you and ask you if you would consider taking up the work here with the church at this time. I felt I should place the need before you first before looking elsewhere. Our people were born in The Alliance and love The Alliance. This is in no way a plea for financial help, but for recruits. We need evangelistic missionaries now.

We are aware that The Alliance has formally decided not to send missionaries to Japan. But facing the urgent and unprecedented appeal for evangelistic help and knowing the burden of The Alliance to enter such doors, we have ventured to lay the situation before you. The call is so very urgent!

The mails are not open to our Japanese friends, else they would write you. Our typewriters are all burned, so I must write you without it. In many ways it is like pioneer beginnings with nothing.

Whether or not The Alliance sees fit to cooperate, we covet earnestly the prayers of the Alliance people for this work.

Yours sincerely in Christ,


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Charitable Gift Annuities (CGAs) are issued by Orchard Alliance (Orchard) or as agent for The Christian and Missionary Alliance (the C&MA). Orchard or the C&MA, respectively, is responsible for and liable for the CGAs that are issued in their individual names. The Christian and Missionary Alliance issues annuities in the states of NY, NJ and CA.
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