ALLIANCELIFE ALLIANCE T H E M AG AZI N E O F THEALLIANCE SI NC E 1882
CARING FOR YOUR BATTLEWEARY SOUL
JUL/ AUG 2 0 2 2
THE WONDER INSIDE YOU
LIFTING THE DARK CLOUD
Overcoming darkness through our identity in Christ
Bringing Jesus’ freedom to a chained nation
Fixing our eyes on Jesus in every season
ALLIANCELIFE VO LU ME 1 5 7
CARING FOR YOUR BATTLEWEARY SOUL We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed (2 Cor. 4:8–9). From time to time I look back at some of my past journal entries with the hope of seeing some forward progress in my spiritual maturity— particularly in my ability to seize opportunities in the face of adversity and anxiety. Sometimes I’m encouraged, other times—not so much. But what strikes me most about the “then and now” of it all is the unusually tumultuous state of the world we find ourselves in today. Global conflict, a flailing economy, gun violence, natural disasters, political polarization, and the ever-spinning needle of society’s moral compass—combined with the personal hardships we all face on any given day—make it nearly impossible to stand firm or even just stand. It's hard to maintain our light in such an evil-darkened world. We try our best to follow Christ’s example in pointing the way to eternal hope, easing the suffering of others, and standing against the injustices continually unfolding around us. But in doing so, we can easily become overwhelmed, discouraged, and depleted. Jesus experienced all of these as He healed the sick, cast out demons, confronted the Pharisees, and preached the good news both to the individual well-dwellers and the gathered masses. His remedy? Stealing away with the Father. In doing so, He replenished His soul and reaffirmed His identity as His Abba Father's cherished child. And so must we. Spiritual warfare and soul care are intrinsically linked. There’s no defending against the former apart from the latter. Prayer, worship, and the Word of God have always been and remain the most effective offensive and defensive weapons against the onslaught of the enemy’s flaming arrows and ballistic missiles. In this issue of the magazine, we hope to encourage you toward the patterns and practices Jesus Himself adopted to persevere and be at peace amid the crushing demands of His calling and the woes of the world surrounding Him. Between pages 24 and 25 of this issue you will find a removeable insert entitled “Who We Are in Christ.” In this compilation of the precious promises of Scripture by Alliance President John Stumbo, you will be reminded of your truest identity as an infinitely cherished child of an endlessly loving Father. May they help you regain your footing when the winds whip and the seas rage.
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Founder A. B. Simpson Editor-in -Chief Peter Burgo Managing E ditor Emmy Duddles Graphic Designer Caylie Smith A ssistant E ditor Julie Daubé Staff Writers/E ditors Julie Daubé Hannah Ader Hannah Packard E ditorial A ssistant Carola Thompson Circulation Fulfillment Julie Connon
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Peter Burgo Editor-in-Chief cover: Illustration by Kenneth Crane
JUL/AUG2022 04 Christ-Centered THE WONDER INSIDE YOU Overcoming darkness through our identity in Christ by Terry Wardle | pg. 4 FREE VERSE Quotes from the Kingdom | pg. 7 THE TOZER ANTHOLOGY Compiled by Harry Verploegh | pg. 7 TAKE HEART by Sarah Bourns-Crosby | pg. 8
10 Acts 1:8 LIFTING THE DARK CLOUD Bringing Jesus’ freedom to a chained nation by Hannah Ader | pg. 12 THE MESSAGE OF HOPE How one family's salvation changed a village by Cheryl and Robert Fugate | pg. 16 GOD, OUR WAYMAKER A story of healing and preparation for the field by Hannah Packard | pg. 20 YOUR GENEROSITY IN ACTION A River of Justice | by an Alliance international worker | pg. 23
12 22 CONTENTS pg.
BECAUSE OF JESUS Finding healing and forgiveness in the cross by Syna Lao | pg. 26 KINGDOM SUCCESS Fixing our eyes on Jesus in every season by Ron Walborn | pg. 30
PRAYER IS PRIMARY Prayer requests from Alliance workers | pg. 34 ALLIANCE FAMILY NEWS Personnel changes, obituaries, and classified ads | pg. 35 OUR LIFE Snapshots from around The Alliance | pg. 46 FOUNDATIONS Degamati’s Dream Adapted by Alliance Life staff | pg. 48
Plus 02 EDITORIAL 10 INFOCUS 19 PEOPLE WE SERVE 24 WHO WE ARE IN CHRIST 32 INFOCUS
THE WONDER INSIDE YOU Overcoming darkness through our identity in Christ
by Terry Wardle, excerpted from From Broken to Beloved
to everyone else. She obsessed on what was broken, unable to grasp just how beloved she was by God and countless others. How can it be that God’s children, who daily host the presence of God’s Spirit in their lives, struggle with issues of self-worth and self-image? A DARK HARMONY OF VOICES There is an all-out assault aimed with laser-precision at God’s beautiful children. This assault is often accompanied by undetected background music, a screeching harmony comprised of four ugly voices constantly screaming, “You don’t measure up!” “If people really knew you, they would reject you!” “You’re funda– mentally unlovable!” This off-key composition of darkness is louder some days than others but serves as the score that daily sets a destructive emotional landscape to many people’s lives— Christians most of all.
Illustration by Kenneth Crane
was sitting in my office midmorning handling routine paperwork when I heard the senior pastor of First Presbyterian Church, Mike, asking my assistant if I was in. As he rounded the corner, I realized this wasn’t a social call. His face was dark and drawn, his eyes a pool of sadness and grief. What Mike told me that morning seemed straight out of the theater of the absurd. Incomprehensible. Shock, sadness, and anger collided in a sudden explosion of disbelief in my heart. A strikingly lovely member of our community had died that morning—at her own hand. This beautiful, bright young woman was only 27 years old. A star athlete while in college, she had worked in campus ministry at our local university, loving students and pointing them toward the beauty of Christ. Students invariably described her with words like safe, encouraging, accepting, compassionate, and attentive. But there was another truth about her. She could never see the wonder inside herself that was obvious
The first voice in this four-part harmony belongs to the evil one. He sings lead. Every day, in countless ways, Satan and his minions work to steal, destroy, and, in some cases, kill God’s beloved children. The prince of darkness hates God’s light and is hell-bent on stomping it out, especially when he sees it in the hearts of those who belong to God. He has declared war, and people made in God’s image are ground zero. Too many of God’s own do not recognize the fight or know how to combat the assault. They simply limp ahead in step with the music of the night. Second, many of us sing right along, adding our own voices to the refrain. Self-judgment and self-contempt are rampant in the community of Christ. When the night is dark and the wind is howling, we define ourselves by frailties and struggles, sure that something is fundamentally wrong at the core of our being. Over time, we wish we were something other than who we believe we are, and by echoing self-contempt, we become active participants in our own diminishment. Then there is the third voice. It is little wonder that we struggle in a world that constantly communicates, “As you are, you are not enough—not enough for love, to belong, or to be secure.” This not-always-subtle message can come from friend, family, and foe. In response to the beatdown, we fight to measure up, desperately driven by the chronic belief that we must become more or else be left out of the best parts of life. Hearing that it’s all a lie doesn’t seem to be enough to banish these negative thoughts. Because this background music has been sung in our heads for so long, the music seems to be part of who we are. The fourth voice makes me the angriest. The world’s put-down culture has leaked into the church, and it is too often preached from the pulpit and splattered all over the pew. The community of Christ becomes victim to a harsh gospel that propagates a creed of worthlessness as the pathway to a relationship with God. Instead of a genuine expression of the breathtaking truth of transformation that is ours in Christ, this harsh gospel leaves everyone gut-punched and sucking for air. I have struggled with these destructive tones myself and have sat with countless brothers and sisters in the faith who, in private moments, have confessed the same.
It can be exhausting. They dare not say much about the struggle in church gatherings for fear of being faithshamed. But the battle is real and the toll more than some can bear. These are good people—good people who have one significant vulnerability: They do not behold the wonder present within themselves. On an intellectual level they may confess that they are new creations in Christ, but they cannot see beyond their own brokenness to the beauty of their true selves. That leaves them wide open to the song of deception and destruction, wooing them toward the rocky shore that will break their lives apart and send them to the bottom where despair and desolation take over. The background music of our lives matters greatly because it sets the tone for how we live. We must stop allowing the four-part harmony of darkness sung by the world, the devil, ourselves, and the church to form the musical canvas on which our stories unfold. It has already taken a mighty toll. It’s time to change the music. It’s time to wake up to the wonder inside us.
The background music of our lives matters greatly because it sets the tone for how we live.
AWAKENED AND ALIVE Beneath my anger at what is being robbed from God’s people arises a new song of hope. That hope is not based on the naïve notion that evil will soon back away from its strategy of deception or that the world will change its tune or that the church will entirely turn from its sad fascination with a harsher gospel. Hope in the truest sense of the word comes from the belief that God Himself will break through this darkness if we cry out to Him. It is not in our power alone to reverse this trend toward self-judgment. But if we cry out to our heavenly Father, the Holy Spirit will bring a great awakening. He will give us eyes to see the wonder of our new nature in Christ and ears to hear the eternal song that declares that we are the masterpiece of God Himself. You see, there is another melody being sung about us that can be heard only through spiritual awakening. It is the song the Father sings over us, spoken of in Zephaniah 3. The lyrics speak of His everlasting love and of our individual worth and inestimable value. God speaks of His longing for us and promises His care, protection, and love. He declares before heaven and earth that even previous shame will become a place of praise and honor. The Father sings of rescue, gathering, and bringing His children home to Himself. This grace-saturated melody is not only written in Zephaniah but is also spread across the pages of Scripture. In the Book of Ephesians the expressions chosen, sought after, lavished upon, protected, held firmly, and protected as his through the end of time (NLT) are carried by the melody of God across time, revealing how He truly feels about
His children. This is how He feels about you and me, people He calls His masterpiece (see Ephesians 2:10). Awakened and alive in Christ, we will be able to combat the voices of darkness not with mere concepts about our value and worth but with deep conviction about who we really are. We will have seen and touched the light of Christ inside us and will never be the same. By God’s grace it will be an ongoing awakening each day, each week, each month, each year as we internalize the
truth of who we are in Christ until that dark harmony of desolation no longer comes to mind. Terry Wardle is professor emeritus of practical theology at Ashland (Ohio) Theological Seminary and the founding president of Healing Care Ministries. He has authored numerous books including his two most recent publications, Some Kind of Crazy (2018) and From Broken to Beloved (2021).
“Self-rejection is the greatest enemy of the spiritual life because it contradicts the sacred voice that calls us the 'Beloved.' Being the Beloved constitutes the core truth of our existence.”
“Hope does not put us to shame, because God's love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us.”
compiled by Harry Verploegh
The Holy Spirit never differs from Himself, and wherever He touches a human mind His sure marks are always present so plainly that there can be no mistaking them.
We will find that we have within us a secret garden where no one can enter except ourself and God. Not only does no one else enter, no one else can enter.
This secret inner chamber is the sacred trysting place for Christ and the believing soul. No one among all our dearest friends has the open sesame that will permit him to enter there.
If God is shut out, then there can be only everlasting loneliness and numb despair.
“It is cosmic treason for the church to possess the keys of the Kingdom and not to utilize them to set the captives free.”
Out beyond the perimeter of fog, God still reigns and has not abandoned us, no matter how it may appear.
Where God is not known in the inner shrine, the individual must try to compensate for his sense of aloneness in whatever way he can. Most persons rush away to the world to find companionship and surround themselves with every kind of diversionary activity. All devices for killing time, every shallow scheme for entertainment, are born out of this inner loneliness.
Until we find God through Christ, that inner “ground” will remain a kind of eternal thirst inside of us, and its voice, where that voice is recognized, will be a plea, an accusation, a thin plaintive cry deep within us asking for eternal life and restoration and God.
—from The Next Chapter After the Last. Originally published in The Alliance Witness, May 25, 1988. —PHILIP YANCEY
mmediately Jesus made his disciples get into the boat and go on ahead of him to Bethsaida, while he dismissed the crowd. After leaving them, he went up on a mountainside to pray. When evening came, the boat was in the middle of the lake, and he was alone on the land. He saw the disciples straining at the oars, because the wind was against them. About the fourth watch of the night he went out to them, walking on the lake. He was about to pass by them, but when they saw him walking on the lake, they thought he was a ghost. They cried out, because they all saw him and were terrified. Immediately he spoke to them and said, “Take courage! It is I. Don’t be afraid.” Then he climbed into the boat with them, and the wind died down. They were completely amazed (Mark 6:45–51).
Jesus cared that they were scared
But Sometimes He comes to us, And He steps right inside of our chaos and mess over the worry, unrest He speaks peace
It was their fear that drew Him near He heard their cry He saw that they were terrified
The winds cease
So He came close He walked beside He got in He didn’t pass by
And He said, “Take heart, It is I.”
The storm Simply
Sarah Bourns-Crosby is the pastor of formation at Hope Midtown where she teaches, preaches, coaches, and offers spiritual direction. Her poetry has won first place at he Evangelical Press Association awards for two years in a row.
It was because they were afraid that He came and He stayed He didn’t turn away from their pain He didn’t cast blame He didn’t shame He didn’t tell them they shouldn’t feel that way He didn’t just pray from the shore He didn’t back away He walked toward Because Sometimes He calls to us, “Step out of the boat and onto the waves!” And He gives us the grace to be crazy brave.
I ll u
by Cay lie Smith
inFocus “God formed us for His pleasure, and so formed us that we as well as He can in divine communion enjoy the sweet and mysterious mingling of kindred personalities. He meant us to see Him and live with Him and draw our life from His smile. . . . At the heart of the Christian message is God Himself waiting for His redeemed children to push in to conscious awareness of His Presence.” —A. W. Tozer Photo by Olivia McCash
LIFTING THE DARK CLOUD Bringing Jesus’ freedom to a chained nation
here are two equal and opposite errors into which our race can fall about the devils. One is to disbelieve in their existence. The other is to believe, and to feel an excessive and unhealthy interest in them. They themselves (the devils) are equally pleased by both errors and hail a materialist or a magician with the same delight” (C.S. Lewis’ The Screwtape Letters). The American church often falls into the category of disbelieving or ignoring the enemy and his schemes. This can often draw complacency close and bring about a sense of skepticism, but the Bible speaks clearly about the enemy and warns us to be watchful: “Be self-controlled and alert. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour” (1 Pet. 5:8). Of course, we are not meant to give the enemy more thought than we should or too much of a stronghold in our lives (see Ephesians 6:11 and 1 Peter 5:9), but even Jesus was tempted by the devil. To not believe in the devil, to not believe what the Word says about withstanding the schemes of the enemy,
means falling into a pit of unawareness that may hinder our faith. In other parts of the world, though, the opposite is true. Sorcery, spiritual warfare, witchcraft, and the schemes of Satan are commonly understood and widely accepted—maybe too much. For example, it’s uncommon to find someone in West Africa who hasn’t witnessed curses, spiritual turmoil, or demonic oppression and addressed it as just that. Though America and West Africa exist on the same planet, it seems that our understanding of spiritual warfare is worlds apart. The church in West Africa has been heavily influenced by the culture, which includes animism, the demonic, and fetishes, a material object that a witch doctor can fabricate to fill someone with power. People are often in bondage and practicing forms of idolatry— whether physical, material idols or ideas and concepts that simply capture their attention and energy and are held dearer to them than God. Those idols and practices manifest themselves deep within the culture.
Photos from Alliance photo archive
by Hannah Ader
Learning how to turn away from such practices is not easy, but it is essential in order to obey God. Stephen and Lori are international workers in West Africa and are involved in soul care ministry helping lead others to know Jesus as the Healer of their souls and God as their Father. Understanding God as Father is incredibly important, especially in cultures like this West African country that place a high value on family and religious practices. HOLY-SPIRIT PROTECTION The majority religion is at the heart of this West African culture, and to leave the religion is to turn your back on everything you know—your family, your community, and really, your life. One young woman in particular, Fatima,* experienced the effects of doing just that. She was disowned by her family and cast away because of a powerful dream she had about Jesus that led her to the Lord, a fairly common occurrence for those practicing the majority religion. Fatima was incredibly close with her family, and she loved her parents deeply. But when they heard that she had left the majority religion to become a Christian, her dad went on a hunger strike, and it broke her heart. She visited her parents, but soon after, a family member warned her that she needed to leave—her family was planning to hold her hostage until she agreed to come back to their religion. Fatima went into hiding for about six weeks. After a while, she felt safe enough to visit her family once again, but the community leaders said, “Oh, she’s become a Christian? We have to kill her.” Suddenly, it was Fatima versus 20 people in a single room, powerful leaders included. “I was never afraid,” she said. “Jesus gave me peace, and He gave me the words to say.” A witch doctor in the room claimed he tried to put a curse on her but couldn’t and said that “she has a spirit much stronger than anything I’ve ever seen.” He referred to the “spirit” as “Isa,” which means “Jesus.” He could not harm Fatima because she had the Holy Spirit’s protection.
He could not harm Fatima because she had the Holy Spirit’s protection.
money, a wife, protection for a child, a better harvest, etc. Often living in a state of fear—fear that they won’t make it through the day, fear that they won’t sleep at night because someone is trying to kill them through sorcery, fear of their demonic dreams—people reach for anything they can to sustain them, to calm the fear, and even believers often find it in the hands of the witch doctors. “A lot of Christians have gone to the witch doctor to buy bulletproof vests,” Lori says. “It’s a real thing there. You can have what they call ‘anti-bullet,’ and if you’re shot at when you put it on, you won’t die.” In this case, the anti-bullet “protection” is a type of tattoo they receive that is intermingled with a fetish that the witch doctor concocts. “Fetishes are fabricated by the witch doctor; they fill you with power and become idols,” says Stephen. “It becomes a spiritual presence, a demon, and then that object is fabricated with their voodoo. The witch doctor gives them to people who pay for a protection against whatever they want. For lack of a better word, a fetish is an idol. They are very dangerous, in a spiritual sense, because there’s power in them that demons profit from.” When seeking power, protection, or prosperity, it is common that fathers will go to the fetisher or witch doctor and buy a bracelet or amulet that he will then force his daughter to wear. The daughter will often go into demonic fits, but as long as she wears the object, the father retains whatever he was pursuing. Oftentimes, they are willing to sabotage their daughters to obtain whatever it is they are looking for. “How do you present that to the American church?” asks Lori. “The average American doesn’t believe it can happen, especially in the United States. You don’t have to explain any of that to anyone in our country because they live it, and it’s terrifying. In the dark world, the sorcery world, it all happens, and it all makes sense. It’s a part of their lives.” Idolatry of any kind enchains and enslaves—it is far too easy to fall prey to things outside of God, and it never provides the freedom that people are truly seeking. HEALING FROM OPPRESSION This cultural reality is often terrifying, but for some, the light of Jesus is taking root and changing the narrative. From a young age, Aicha* experienced violent demonic fits that were a terrible disruption to her life. The fits mostly manifested themselves through horrible, vivid dreams. Her family tried everything to help her find freedom and relief from this demonic oppression. Sexual abuse is common in Africa, and women are often abused from a very young age because girls are considered less valuable. Aicha had a background of emotional and physical abuse in her own life, and she began experiencing similar abuse in her dreams—she
THE DARK REALITY OF WITCH DOCTORS Within this West African country, witch doctors are commonly approached when people want power or protection. They believe that the witch doctor can get them
“Animism has infiltrated the church, which is why soul was married to a demon and was producing children care is really essential,” says Lori. “Jesus has given us the that were utterly grotesque. When she would awaken, opportunity to figure out what the source of the issue she would look for the wedding ring on her finger because is, so we pray with them and ask the Lord to heal them the dreams were so realistic. She was only 12 years old. through His blood, to set them free.” Aicha was desperate, and her family gave her perWe are not called to be fearful but told to be aware of mission to seek out a church that was known to offer the spiritual forces of evil and to trust in the Lord alhealing. When she came to Stephen and Lori’s church, ways (see Joshua 1:9, Ephesians 6:12, and Isaiah 41:10). Aicha felt peace for the very first time. Gradually, through To represent Jesus is to tell of His character, His desire deliverance and prayer, God freed her from the oppresto fully heal the body and soul, and His salvation. This sion that had gripped her for so long. She has since is the longing of Stephen and Lori's hearts, to represent become an incredible evangelist. (You can read the rest Jesus well to the people they are serving among so that of Aicha’s story in the September/October 2020 issue of the Holy Spirit may penetrate the spirit of darkness that Alliance Life.) so violently grips this country and its people. “I think we’re all in the same room; we just dress it up “To watch someone who’ s had a dark cloud over them in different clothes in America,” says Stephen. “In Afrifor years be set free is amazing to us,” says Lori. “They ca, it’s striking because you’re seeing witchcraft, you’re can then begin to actually live into what we talk about, seeing these manifestations, and that’s a part of their the good news that Jesus provides freedom.” worldview. Though it’s not a part of our worldview, it still happens in different ways. The gospel has to pene- *Name changed trate their culture and our own.” Hannah Ader is a content writer for the Alliance National Office pursuing a master's of theological studies from Asbury Theological Seminary. She relocated to Columbus, Ohio, early this year.
FREEING THE CAPTIVES As believers in a country that values sorcery and power over the truth, Stephen and Lori long to represent Jesus in every possible way, but especially to teach about His healing power and freedom.
THE MESSAGE OF HOPE How one family's salvation changed a village
lberto and Julia left their little town of Quinceo, Mexico, in 2012 to find their daughter, Abigail, who had been “robbed” by her boyfriend/husband at the age of 14 (see “Stealing Girls for Marriage”). He had promptly taken her to the United States to avoid interference from Abigail’s family. Julia couldn’t bear to be without her only daughter, even though the customs and traditions of their indigenous people, the Purepecha, allowed the husband to do whatever he wanted with his new family. So, Alberto and Julia received visas for the United States and settled in West Virginia with their young son. Abigail’s husband kept moving her around to avoid the family, but Alberto and Julia never stopped searching. When Alberto and Julia had another son, Abigail reached out to her parents asking for help—she had two young children, was 16 years old, and had been diagnosed with leukemia.
TRULY FREED Alberto immediately drove to where Abigail was living in Southern California, picked her up, and brought her back to seek treatment at Johns Hopkins Medical Center. The husband would not let Julia care for the grandchildren, but at least they had found their daughter and she would be able to receive help for her illness. As the family reunited to care for their daughter, people from a local church heard their story and started to minister to them. Church members sat with Alberto and Julia in the hospital and shared about Jesus and what it means to have eternal life. The family soaked up this message of hope and received Jesus as their Lord and Savior. In Mexico, they had never heard this message—their indigenous community put their hope in inanimate objects, spirit animals, and nature. They had never heard of salvation by grace or that they didn’t have to do
Photo courtesy of the author
by Cheryl and Bob Fugate, international workers serving in Mexico
STEALING GIRLS FOR MARRIAGE
Opposite: Pastor Alberto and Julia (far left) with their son Luis (middle left), Cheryl Fugate (second from the right), another Mexican church planting couple Eduardo (far right) and Sarahi (third from the left), and AWF representatives Shelly Crouch (middle right) and Eunice Mateo (third from the right).
In Purepecha (poor-RAY-pay-cha) culture, there is a custom where a young man (about 16–18 years old) picks out his wife (about 14–16 years old) and decides to steal her as his own. In this story, Alberto “robbed” his wife, Julia, when he was 19 and she was just 15. Alberto had gone to Julia’s parents to ask permission to take her, but they said no because they wanted Julia to finish high school. Alberto could not wait and made plans to steal her, showing up in a taxi outside of her school. He took her away in that taxi to the next town, where they hid for a few days so her parents could not find her. Julia cried for a year but followed along with the cultural way of marriage. It is this tradition, still practiced today, that forms the foundation of this story of tragedy, death, and redemption amid the darkness of Mexico.
anything to receive this free gift. The family felt whole and were grateful to rest in Jesus and His promises, transformed and freed from the shackles of idol worship and animistic beliefs and rituals. The message of “Jesus only” changed their world! As the family grew deeper in their faith and started attending the evangelical church in their small town in West Virginia, the treatment for their daughter was failing. Abigail died at the tender age of 18, and Alberto’s father demanded that the family bring her body back to their small community in Mexico so that she could be buried in her homeland. The family acceded to the wishes of the patriarch of their clan, and when they returned to the little town of Quinceo, the spiritual darkness of this indigenous community was strong. They wanted to make Abigail’s service a celebration of not only her life but of the new life that the whole family had experienced. Their immediate family did not know how to handle this “new Alberto and Julia” and began calling them “hallelujahs,” a common derogatory term for evangelical Christians in Mexico. Alberto and Julia could now feel the oppressing darkness of their community since they had experienced new life in Jesus. “We didn’t have any theological training, but we had life training through our church in West Virginia, through Bible studies, through our experiences as believers, and through fellowship with other believers,” Julia and Alberto say. “Our family didn’t know anything about Jesus. There was darkness all around us. We had to share with our family this new life we had experienced, this freedom and certainty that we would see our daughter again in heaven!”
life, and become witnesses to their community of Jesus’ amazing power and all that He does for His children. Alberto and Julia received land as part of the indigenous community and were also able to buy more in town where they built a home for their family. Using the back patio, they built an area where they started holding church services for anyone who would come every Friday evening and Sunday afternoon. Alberto began to preach, sharing from the Bible and from his life of what Jesus had done for him and what Jesus wants to do for others in the community. Because music is important to this indigenous community, Luis, Alberto’s son, began a Christian music group with other young people who came to their services. They learned the indigenous language and began to sing evangelical songs in their local Purepecha dialect. They were invited to different family gatherings, and word spread in the community that “their message is so different, so freeing, so guilt-free!”
BECOMING WITNESSES After the funeral, Alberto said to Julia, “How can we return back to our comfortable life in West Virginia when there are so many people dying every day in their darkness and wrong beliefs, being lost forever?” Julia wasn’t convinced at first—she liked her life in the United States. She had a beautiful home and their two boys were deeply involved in church, school, and sports in West Virginia, but the intense darkness that enveloped their family in Mexico started a work in her heart. She knew she had to obey and stay in Quinceo, begin a new
YOUR GOD IS GREATER Of course, this enraged the local priest of the traditional religion in that town, and the community
PROJECT SOUTHPOINTE Project SouthPointe was born in 2014 in Guadalajara as a response to the need to bring gospel access to the area known as the Circle of Silence in central Mexico. The Circle of Silence is an area comprised of six states with 20 million people. It is only 2 percent evangelical with two indigenous people groups who are resistant to the gospel. This makes the Circle of Silence the largest least-reached region in the western hemisphere. The Breath of Life church was born in 2015 with two international worker couples and three Mexican families to be the church-planting arm of SouthPointe. Their strategic vision is 5.5.25—to plant five churches in Guadalajara and five churches in the surrounding states by the year 2025. Today, Breath of Life has three campus sites, and two are in the planning stage to be launched in 2022. The partnership with the Purepecha congregation is part of the strategic vision to help train and equip the Purepecha congregation to evangelize their peoples. Since they live in areas that Mexicans and international workers cannot always easily enter, they are far better positioned to reach their people. We formed this strategic partnership because we believe that we are better together and go much further together.
One day, a crowd gathered in the street in front of Alberto’s home, shouting obscenities. They had baseball bats and knives and began to storm Alberto and Julia’s front gate. They were ready to handle this family once and for all, make them leave town in disgrace, and ex-communicate them from the traditional church and the indigenous community. Alberto and Julia would have to give up their home, lands, and life in Quinceo. “As they banged on our gates, out of nowhere two big dogs came at the crowd, one from each side, and bit people,” Alberto says. There was blood flowing in front of their house, and the people were screaming because they had never seen these dogs before in town. Alberto and Julia didn’t own any dogs either. The mob dispersed in fear, running for their lives and screaming because of their wounds. The next day the priest and town elders came to the front gate to talk with Alberto and said that his family could stay in town and the blacklisting would stop because “your God is greater than anything we have ever seen or encountered in our town.” They were also allowed to keep having church on their back patio, where today more than 70 local people gather to praise God in their native dialect and listen to a message each week that helps them grow in their faith. Even today, they are outgrowing the back patio and have put a down payment on a parcel of land that is a little bit outside the center of town. They have received threats from the townspeople because they are getting too popular, so they are looking to move to this land so they can build a small church there. If they are able to buy this piece of land and begin to build a church, it would be the first-ever evangelical indigenous church in that town! It is a daunting task, but this family has faced huge mountains before, and their powerful God always takes care of them.
Your God is greater than anything we have ever seen or encountered.
elders were upset that Alberto was “turning their world upside down.” Alberto was called to a meeting with the community elders and the local priest in the town square. Just before he left for the meeting, someone came to warn Alberto that they were planning to burn him alive in the town square. Alberto did not go, enraging the priest and elders even more. The townspeople began to plot against the family, blacklisting them at the local stores. No one would sell them any merchandise, forcing the family to drive into the next town to buy their groceries.
A CATALYST FOR HOPE Our Alliance church in Guadalajara, The Breath of Life, has come alongside this new church for the last four years, getting to know them, taking work and ministry teams to their community, helping with leadership training, managing food distributions, and becom-
ing involved in their lives like a sister church. We have begun to take monthly offerings to help them reach their community and share the message of the hope and light found in Jesus. The Purepecha church ministers daily, visiting homes and praying for the sick, needy, and drug and alcohol addicts. They also contribute to a community project each year to help the townspeople practically and share the love of Jesus with them. The church is starting a Bible study in a neighboring town, and we have talked about how they can start to train others to lead a new church in that town. The Purepecha church has seen many breakthroughs. They have seen addicts delivered from their addictions instantly. They have also seen people healed from illness. A few years ago they were asked to pray for a young child who was seriously ill and had been given little time by doctors. When church members went to the city hospital, they were not permitted entrance, so they prayed outside on the hospital grounds. Not only was the young boy healed, but a number of children in the ward were also healed, and most were discharged within days. One doctor who witnessed this was also healed even though he was not a believer. Abigail’s death has been the catalyst for hope in this dark and lost community. What began as a family following their “stolen” daughter to the United States became a story of God being in control of each step in the lives of Alberto and Julia, leading them tenderly and showing them love and mercy. In turn, Alberto and Julia were obedient to God’s call on their lives—to go and share with their community so that no one would perish but have eternal life! Bob and Cheryl Fugate have served with The Alliance for 35 years in Chile and Mexico. They planted three churches in Chile during their 25 years there and have planted two churches in Mexico with a third church planned to launch in October 2022.
P E O P L E WE SERVE
y name is Maria.* I came to Ipiales, Colombia, one year ago because my sister had come two years earlier. I was living with my niece in Venezuela, where we had no support or food, when I learned that I was pregnant with my second child. I knew I had to provide for my daughter and my new baby. My sister told me to come to Colombia, but after arriving, we had an argument, and she threw me out to live on the street. I was alone, with no family or money.
That’s when I found the Alliance refugee shelter, Alianza por mi Projimo. The people there took care of me and gave me small jobs. I was eight months pregnant when I arrived. My baby was born on June 17, 2020, and we stayed at the shelter until December. I felt like I was home. When I left the shelter, I wondered, “What am I going to do?” But the church continued to care for us, and they helped me find work. Before, I thought shelters were bad places, but here, I felt at home. Please continue the work. There are many homeless Venezuelans who need this help—refugees who need a place to call home. *Name changed
GOD, OUR WAYMAKER A story of healing and preparation for the field
by Hannah Packard
od first called Julie to the mission field when she was eager to learn. But during her freshman year, Julie was in the third grade, listening to a story about noticed she was falling asleep in all of her classes, even Amy Carmichael, the Irish missionary to southern In- if she was awake and energized when she sat down. dia. What an awesome story, eight-year-old Julie thought. “Sometimes in class, a teacher would ask a question and Maybe God wants me to do something like that. Brad’s call I would respond while I was sleeping,” Julie says. “My to missions came later, in college. “When I accepted the dreams would mingle with the room around me. This call, it was more out of obligation,” Brad says. “If God was happening on a daily basis.” calls you to do something, you’ve got to do it.” After doing some research on her daughter’s sympBeing called to missions is one thing—the path to the toms, Julie’s mother told her, “I think you might have mission field is another entirely. God called Brad and Ju- narcolepsy.” Narcolepsy is a chronic neurological disorder lie individually, but the fulfillment of that call has been that causes the body to be unable to regulate cycles of delayed time and time again. However, when God is the sleeping and waking. Julie was doubtful, but in doing One who calls us, He never fails to prepare us. As Scrip- some research herself, she came across a linked disorder ture promises, every work that God begins in us, He is called cataplexy—occurring in approximately 70 percent faithful to bring to completion (see Philippians 1:6). of people with narcolepsy—which causes a person to lose muscle control when feeling intense emotions. A CHRONIC CONDITION “If I laughed too hard, I would lose muscle control and Brad and Julie met at Crown College, where Julie had fall over wherever I was,” Julie says. “And people only gone because she knew she was called to missions. She have cataplexy if they already have narcolepsy.” After
Photos from Alliance photo archive
discovering this, Julie decided to go to the doctor to do A PATH OF PREPARATION a sleep study. “We looked into our options,” Brad explains. “It seemed The results confirmed that Julie had narcolepsy and like the consulate might make an exception, but the cataplexy. “It’s a chronic, lifelong condition,” Julie says. medication can’t even be shipped to Japan.” Despite After trying different prescribed medications for a few their efforts, each avenue Brad and Julie explored over years, Julie eventually found Xyrem, a medication that a few months was closed to them. took away almost all of her symptoms. “A lot of people “At that point, we were ready to go,” Julie says. “We’d that I’ve met in my later years never knew I had a condi- fallen in love with Japan. God called us there. So, we tion because I was able to lead such a normal life.” decided to pray earnestly for healing because we didn’t feel hopeful about any other options out there.” A CALLING TO JAPAN While Julie had always believed God would heal In the midst of this medical journey, Brad and Julie her someday, she also felt like if He was going to heal graduated from Crown and got married. While their someone, it should be the person with cancer or Lyme call to missions was present, it wasn’t urgent or at the disease. It didn’t need to be her. forefront of their minds. “After we graduated, we had Until suddenly, it did. student loan debt,” Brad says. “In hindsight, that was an Amid their preparation, Brad excuse to delay and stay where we were. We thought, We and Julie attended Alliance Miscan’t go yet, we have to work to pay off our loans.” They sions’ pre-field training. “They both eventually got jobs they loved; Brad worked at prayed for us. The Lord gave Brad Crown College, and Julie was the children’s director a breakthrough during that prayer at their Alliance church, Parkside Church in Waconia, time,” Julie shares. “They prayed Minnesota. “When people would talk about missions, for my narcolepsy, and I felt like our hearts were stirred. That was still there. But we were the Lord was doing something in really happy and comfortable,” he adds. my body, but I didn’t know what it was. That night, I deEventually, as Brad’s job was changing, he started to cided not to take my medication to see if something had look for something new outside of Minnesota. Julie, changed. I slept terribly.” who didn’t particularly want to leave her job, suggested While there, Brad and Julie were also given copies of that if they were going to leave Minnesota, they should Rob Reimer’s book Soul Care. One of their teammates in finally take the plunge to go overseas. “At that point, I Envision told them how God had healed them through had thought that Brad had put missions on the back the process of soul care, so they decided to give it a try. burner—that maybe when our kids were grown, we “We’d never heard of it before,” Brad says. “But I knew would go,” Julie says. “I thought I was calling his bluff. I wanted to learn more after my experience during that But he responded.” prayer time. Someone prayed over me that guilt, shame, “When Julie mentioned missions, I knew, ‘Yes, this is and unworthiness would be broken off of me. And I it.’ God started filling me with excitement, and I jumped broke down sobbing. I would’ve never thought that I in wholeheartedly,” Brad says. Despite their renewed needed a release from that. So, in the next few weeks excitement, there were still obstacles. They weren’t sure when I had extra time, I started reading Soul Care.” God exactly where they wanted to go, and they still had stu- continued to work in Brad, and he encouraged Julie to dent loan debt. However, in faith, they decided to look read the book too. into serving overseas with The Alliance. “One of the main points of the book is that our worth When a ministry opportunity in Japan opened up has been settled on the cross. You are worthy of His love, with Envision, Brad and Julie felt like it had been writ- and you are a deeply loved child of God,” Julie says. ten with them in mind. “We didn’t apply for anything “We hear that all the time,” Brad adds. “But someelse,” Julie says. times we don’t experience that love. If God’s love is During the interview process, Julie’s medical condi- something that’s hard for you to believe or experience, tion came up. “They wanted me to see a doctor to find what is blocking you from it?” out what they recommended. My doctor signed a note While they were still contending for Julie’s physical saying, ‘Yes, Julie is fine to go to Japan as long as she can healing, the Lord brought them both spiritual healing stay on her medication.’” Julie had been on her medi- and renewal through soul care. cation for about 15 years, and she was thankful for the A few weeks later, when they were back at Parkside, normalcy it provided. “I felt fine to be on it for the rest of their home church in Minnesota, Julie asked for healing my life,” Julie says. “But it turns out that Xyrem is illegal prayer again. “They prayed and anointed me, but again— and unavailable in Japan.” nothing happened.” Knowing that it’s always God’s will
It is always God's will to heal.
to heal, Brad and Julie kept praying in earnest. They started to thank the Lord in advance for healing Julie every night. In the delay, Julie wondered if she should pursue other medications. “There was another medication that seemed promising,” she says. “We thought that might be the answer to prayer. But when I started taking it, I immediately got terrible headaches all the time. They were debilitating.” Julie asked the prayer team at her church to pray for the headaches to go away. “Right around the time they prayed, on a Wednesday morning, the headaches went away and never came back. That’s a miracle in and of itself!”
After praising God, they went back to bed. Julie slept for the rest of the night. “I’ve slept every night since, without any medication!” Praise God; He is our Healer! After a long delay, Brad and Julie are finally serving in Japan with Envision as of May 2022. “We are really thankful to have had that extra unexpected time to spend with the Lord. We’re thankful that we were stuck here,” Julie says. “I think it was part of God’s plan— to heal my medical condition and our hearts. He brought us to a good place so that when we got to Japan, we were ready. I think the enemy might have wanted us to be discouraged by the delays, but the Lord has used it for so much good.” Every step of the way, God has been preparing Brad and Julie to fulfill what He has called them to—not just practically or physically but emotionally and spiritually as well. This is what He does! When He calls us, He is also always faithful to make the way clear.
When He calls us, He is also always faithful to make the way clear.
A HEALING One night, Julie was lying awake at 3:00 a.m., discouraged. “Some old symptoms, like sleep paralysis, had returned,” she remembers. “I was lying there, unable to move, knowing that the new medication wasn’t working at all. But I knew God had called us to Japan.” God, help me, she prayed. “Immediately, I audibly heard a woman praying for me by name, fervently asking for my healing,” Julie says. “I knew God was encouraging me by letting me hear that.” She felt peace around her and sensed a Presence enter their bedroom. “I felt the Presence approaching me and descending on my body. Immediately, the sleep paralysis went away, and I knew I’d been healed.” Right then, Brad woke up, and Julie told him, “I think the Lord just healed me.”
Hannah Packard is the digital content writer for the National Office. She recently earned her master’s of divinity from Asbury Theological Seminary and is pleased to serve the Lord through storytelling.
V IDE O B LO G Watch John tell a story, share a devotional, issue a challenge, or cast C&MA vision. Released on the 12th of each month
Recent Releases: Blog #106: Lessons Learned Blog #107: Leadership Burdens
YOUR GENEROSITY in action
A R I VE R O F J U ST I CE
by an Alliance international worker serving in India
Photo courtesy of the author
ccording to recent reports, more than 40 million men, women, and children are enslaved worldwide through sex trafficking, forced labor, and other forms of modern-day slavery. While this number is staggering, there is reason for hope. Because of God’s power and the amazing work of local leaders and organizations, what we call “justice ventures,” the fight against the evil of slavery is ongoing.
ing justice ventures. Our vision is to see unjust communities transformed according to God’s standard of love, where human dignity and rights are respected by all. We focus on eradicating human trafficking, empowering poor families living in slums, and ensuring justice for other vulnerable groups in India and Nepal. We have been blessed to collaborate with the C&MA from the very beginning. In recent years, JVI’s initiatives have directly impacted over 60,000 lives while strengthening the capacity of over 50 local justice organizations to serve thousands more on an ongoing basis. In our increasingly interconnected world, people like you and me can join in partnership with individuals thousands of miles away to bring God’s freedom and justice to some of the darkest places on the planet— brothels holding women and girls trapped in sex slavery or oppressive brick kilns and back-breaking agricultural fields where families are forced to labor for generations. God’s call to justice originates from His great love for us, and we love because God first loved us (see 1 John 4:19).
PROMOTING JUSTICE This hope is embodied in the Book of Amos. The prophet condemns the nations for taking captive whole communities, selling the innocent and the needy for silver. He exhorts them to “let justice roll on like a river, righteousness like a never-failing stream” (Amos 5:24). A growing river of justice is flowing across our world today that will ultimately wash away the scourge of slavery by the power of a loving God working with and through people like you and me to free the captives, fight the traffickers, and bring lasting restoration and protection to the vulnerable. Justice Ventures International (JVI) was founded in 2007 with a mission to secure freedom, justice, and restoration for the poor and oppressed by strengthen-
PARTNERING FOR JUSTICE JVI believes that the work of justice is sustainable only if embraced and led by individuals in local communities
where injustice occurs. Partnership with local nonprofLegal aid clinics were set up in strategic locations like its, businesses, and other organizations engaged in the hospitals, colleges, and government offices, providing work of justice is central and enables our work to be many with access to free legal aid services so they can effective, efficient, sustainable, and scalable. receive legal assistance on the spot. Legal awareness Through partnerships and support from friends like seminars were held through community meetings in you, JVI conducted more rescue operations in 2021 than impoverished villages. Local social workers also distribany other year in its history. JVI and its partners worked uted material further into remote areas across the state. with local governments to conduct 44 rescue operations, freeing 937 human trafficking victims while intercept- JOIN THE JOURNEY! ing nearly 700 more before they reached a trafficking While we still have a huge task ahead of us, we know destination. Currently, JVI and its partners are serving how the story will end. Revelation 21:4 says, “He will over 5,000 individuals through aftercare and legal-aid wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more programs. These survivors are now experiencing sus- death or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of tained freedom and a better life. things has passed away.” In its place there will be a new Savita* was rescued from a brick kiln where she was order established according to God’s standards of love. physically and verbally abused. She was one of many Thanks to your ongoing prayers and financial supwomen and men denied basic human rights and forced port, we can ensure that justice does roll on like a river, to work more than 12 hours a day with little to no pay. washing away the tragic and horrific practices of Following the rescue, JVI aftercare teams worked with modern-day slavery. Savita and her husband to secure monetary compensa*Name changed tion from the government. Savita found work on a local farm, and within two years, she saved up enough money to build a house. At just 20 years old, she decided to run for an elected position as a member of the local village council. Such positions of power are usually won by older male members of a RESCUE THE community—but in December 2021, Savita defied all odds and won this post with an overwhelming majority! VULNERABLE FROM In her role as a local leader, she advocates for good HUMAN TRAFFICKING jobs and community projects that improve the overall development of the village. Her latest project is to More than 40 million people globally are ensure that water tanks are built in the village so that trapped in slavery—sex slavery, bonded laresidents always have access to clean water. bor, child slavery, and other forms of injusSavita’s passion to make a difference stems from the tice. Will you join JVI in their vision to see unburden she carries for victims of human trafficking. As just communities transformed according to a survivor, Savita is working to ensure that no one, espeGod’s standard of love where human dignity cially her children, endure the same hardships she did. and rights are respected by all? To support JVI’s Justice Hubs and fight injustice among PARTNERSHIPS RESTORING JUSTICE the poorest and most vulnerable slavery JVI works on the front lines in poor and oppressed victims, go to cmalliance.org/give; select “a communities where the battle for justice rages daily. By project you love/Find a project”; and type in partnering with like-minded justice organizations, we “Justice Ventures International (JVI).” combine greater skills, innovation, and cultural understanding to design justice solutions that work so people like Savita and others can live free from oppression and experience abundant life. Recently, JVI worked in partnership with NGOs and government officials in rural northern India to reach 30,000 people through a large-scale human trafficking and legal-rights awareness campaign. Thousands living in rural areas were made aware of their rights and given access to a help line number where they can report abuses and seek legal assistance.
JVI’s Annual Summer of Freedom Matching Challenge Campaign is happening now! All gifts will be doubled up to $400,000 until August 31, 2022. To inquire about a speaking engagement, contact Leigh McAfee, director of development at firstname.lastname@example.org. JVI has many stories demonstrating the power of partnerships to bring God’s freedom, justice, and restoration. Visit www.justiceventures.org/blog-archive/ to view the JVI blog.
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BECAUSE OF JESUS Finding healing and forgiveness in the Cross
by Syna Lao, an aXcess worker serving with The Alliance in Cambodia
heap, 43, is the mother of five children and lives in northern Cambodia. When she was a little girl, her abusive father drank himself to death. Her mother died when Pheap was seven. To survive, she wandered from village to village begging for food from people who took pity on her. Sometimes, she offered to work in exchange for room and board. At first, these families were kind to Pheap and welcomed her as one of their children. But in time, they made her work like a slave, forcing her to clean, cook, and do laundry all day. “I did not mind the hard work as long as I had food and a place to stay,” Pheap says. “But as I got older, the male family members would try to rape me at night.” To protect herself, she wore many layers of tight clothing to bed. If someone tried to touch her, she would kick and scream for help. These nightly routines disrupted Pheap’s sleep. “I was always tired during the day or clumsy with my work. Then, the female members would yell at me or beat me up. When it was too hard to bear, I ran away and tried
with another family in a different village.” But the cycle continued, and Pheap became desperate. DARK MAGIC Pheap is from a minority group called the Kuy, who are known for their lifestyle of black magic, witchcraft, and the ability to cast spells. Considered second-class citizens by the Khmer majority, the Kuy live among themselves in remote villages far from public schools and health-care facilities. Many of their children lack education and proper medical care. When they are ill, Kuy people seek village healers or local witch doctors for help—at a price, of course. They believe in spirit beings that reside in natural objects like trees, fields, or hills. Some of these entities are believed to cause illness; others give people magical powers over their enemies. The Kuy also wear “spirit strings” around their wrists, waist, and neck to ward off evil spirits. As a child, Pheap had seen these practices among her parents and her people. Shortly after her mother’s death, she became close with an elderly lady who was
Photo courtesy of the author
Left: Pheap and her daughter (left) worshiping God at Toul Prich Church
PIERCING THE DARKNESS By the time my husband, Soeuth, and I met Pheap in Anlong Veng, she was married to a man she had eloped with at age 17 to escape her abusers. But the abuse continued while she lived with his family. Pheap says, “I thought maybe this was my lot in life. Perhaps I was not meant to experience love or happiness for the rest of my life.” Pheap’s husband abandoned her for months at a time to drink and gamble away their savings. He would use their land-deed as collateral for his gambling debts and tell the lenders to collect the money from Pheap. As a result, she lived in constant fear of being kicked out of her house, along with her hungry children. When we learned of the many hardships she was going through, we were moved with compassion and introduced her to Jesus. “For the first time in my life, I began to feel special, loved, and cherished,” Pheap says. “The more I studied God’s Word with Syna and Soeuth, the more I realized that I was loved by God. They told me God loves me so much that He was willing to trade His life for me!” Pheap was one of 11 students who studied the Firm Foundation discipleship course with me for nearly two years. Through the chronological Bible studies, Pheap was convicted of her sin and wanted to live a life that a healer in her village. To escape would be pleasing to Jesus. her abusers and learn to cast During a Good Friday evening spells on anyone who wronged service in April 2021, a group her, Pheap often visited this leader from Toul Prich Firm woman in secret, carefully obFoundation Alliance Church led serving her rituals. Then Pheap the believers in a rich time of would recite and rehearse the singing traditional Khmer hymns, chanting, mimicking the healer’s reading Scriptures, and praying. rites until she became proficient in them. Afterward, participants were instructed to reflect on In time, Pheap encountered several spirit guides who the descriptions of the suffering Messiah found in visited her in dreams and whom she sometimes con- Isaiah 53, and everyone was to finish this statement sulted for help. One of them was a fortune-telling guide in his or her own words: “Because of what Jesus did who would show her future events. This enabled Pheap on the cross, (today) I . . .” to earn a small income by “selling” the next winning lotOne woman, Noun, shared about her miraculous tery number to an interested party. healing (see Noun’s story at cmalliance.org/thestrongesWhen some men tried to rape her, Pheap cried out to thealer). “Everybody in the village knew that I was sick a spiritual guardian for help and received supernatural and dying, that I had no hope for recovery. But because strength to fend them off. If she knew who tried to harm of Jesus, I am healed. I am stronger. I can go about my her repeatedly during the night, she would consult with work every day! My life is a living testimony that Jesus is her guardian to cause him bodily harm. the one, true, and most powerful God on earth!”
For the first time in my life, I began to feel special, loved, and cherished.
Above: Noun (left) and Pheap (middle) praying in the Firm Foundation class Above Right: Currently, Pheap, with some help from her children, sells cooked meals for a living. She prepares many favorite dishes and sells them in a shop in front of her house. Every day at late afternoon when farmers get off work from their fields, they stop to buy the already prepared "take-out" food from Pheap to eat at home.
When you got sick, I was glad on the inside. But then, you got better! I was shocked by this news! I heard that you met a new God named Preah yea-sue [Jesus]. And you told everyone that it was He who had healed you! I could not believe it. I watched and waited to see if your story was true. And it turned out just as you had said. Because of this, shortly afterward, I also prayed to receive Jesus as my Savior. Since then, He has proven to me repeatedly that He is the one, true God. After I prayed to accept Jesus, I completely abandoned all the black magic practices. I destroyed and burned all the worship items. But even though I sincerely repented and confessed this sin to Jesus, I had never confessed this great sin to anyone else—and especially not to you. And so today, in front of these people, I am asking you, Noun, to please forgive me for the evil things I did to you.
A SHOCKING CONFESSION Watching everyone share, Pheap began to cry softly. She seemed to be struggling to find the courage for what she was about to say. Finally, in a trembling voice, she blurted out, “I have something to share with everyone tonight. Before I believed in Jesus three years ago, I was talented in using black magics. I had abilities to cast spells and curses on people, especially those who offended me. And I was good at it—until Jesus came into my life.” After a long, uncomfortable silence with everyone intensely gazing in her direction, Pheap slowly turned to face Noun, who happened to be sitting next to her. “Noun, I was the reason you were sick! I was the one who cast spells on you. I hated your family for buying the house I was saving up for myself.” Surprised and bewildered, Noun responded in tears, She explained that with the owner’s permission, Pheap “I had no idea. And I am not mad at you. Because Preah and her family had been living in a vacant, stilted house yea-sue died on the cross for our sins, and because He with a “For Sale” sign on the property. They earned an rose again and is alive and living inside each of us, I love income by selling vegetables they grew on the proper- you. I forgive you!” ty’s gardens. Without giving Pheap any explanation or There was not a dry eye in the house. Everyone who advance notice, the owner sold the house to Noun, and participated in that Good Friday service joined in agreePheap had to find a new place immediately. Infuriated, ment that, because of what Jesus did, we all live with the Pheap made a deadly vow with her spirit guides, saying, assurance of knowing that we have hope, love, and for“Someone must die.” Pheap continued her story: giveness in Him.
KINGDOM SUCCESS Fixing our eyes on Jesus in every season
by Ron Walborn
here are two deceptive yet popular claims minis- life for Alliance work in the Middle East. During his life ters tend to embrace when it comes to God’s favor. he saw little success. Yet, if you speak to church leaders First, earthly success is always a sign of God’s approv- in those Middle Eastern countries, they will tell you that al. Who wouldn’t be naturally drawn to a life of success George Breaden's faithful service laid the foundation for and prosperity and see it as God’s approval? Certainly, God’s mission in those lands today. our God loves to bless His children and often graciously The lack of fruit can be a sign of dysfunction and even gifts us with things we do not deserve. poor planning; in Scripture, God often withholds His Yet, earthly success is not necessarily a sign of God’s hand of blessing when there is sin in the camp (see Joshapproval. We have all witnessed the demise of several ua 7). Despite that, God’s Word and church history show well-known Christian ministers and ministries who en- us clearly that earthly failure is not necessarily a sign of joyed unparalleled “blessing” for years, but they embod- God’s disapproval. In the end, heaven often applauds ied what Jesus described as “whitewashed tombs, which what the world and even the Church ignore or despise. look beautiful on the outside but on the inside are full of dead men’s bones and everything unclean” (Matt. 23:27). NOW AND NOT YET You can’t judge a book by its cover, and external fruit is Living with this reality forces us to ask the question, not always the best indicator of a heavenly “Amen!” “How do we navigate both the successes and failures of The second deceptive claim, that earthly failure is al- ministry while making sure we don’t lose the heart of ways a sign of God’s disapproval, can be equally devas- Jesus for our mission?” tating. In our own denomination, we have seen missionHebrews 2 addresses the authority humankind has aries labor faithfully for years in places where there was been given because of Christ’s finished work: “‘What little fruit to show for their work. One of my childhood is man that you are mindful of him, the son of man heroes was a man named George Breaden who gave his that you care for him? You made him a little lower
than the angels; you crowned him with glory and “He came to his own people and even they rejected him” honor and put everything under his feet.’ In putting (John 1:11, NLT). everything under him, God left nothing that is not Jesus did not bury this pain. Scripture shows us that subject to him” (Heb. 2:6–8a). Jesus understood mourning when loss impacts us. He God has not sent us on mission unarmed! We have wept over this rejection and lamented, “O Jerusalem, been crowned with glory and honor, and He has put ev- Jerusalem . . . How often I have wanted to gather your erything under our feet. children together as a hen protects her chicks beneath Unfortunately, the writer of Hebrews, inspired by the her wings, but you wouldn’t let me” (Matt. 23:37, NLT). Holy Spirit, adds: “Yet at present we do not see every- When loss and failure visit your ministry, don’t automatthing subject to him” (Heb. 2:8b). We have been given ically assume God is angry with you or has abandoned supernatural authority, and He has left nothing that is you. Get your eyes on Jesus, and He will lead you into not subject to us. However, in this fallen world, await- the healing process of grief, which will reveal the heart ing the fullness of our redempof the Father to you once again. tion, we are going to face seasons Keeping Jesus in sharp focus where we don’t see the reality of will also always lead you into the that victory. fruitfulness of the “now.” Jesus is This tension we live with is not only the suffering Servant— what theologian George Ladd He is also the conquering King. described as the “now and not When we follow Jesus closely, He yet.” With the coming of Christ, will lead us into a healthy place God’s Kingdom rule and reign of victory and power. My dear has been restored to earth and friend who was an evangelist we get to see and experience a in Uganda used to say, “When I theology of power in the here follow Jesus, signs and wonders and now! Healing, deliverance, will follow. But when I follow and spiritual victory are availsigns and wonders, Jesus will able right now. not follow.” He was not speakHowever, we have not yet reing against healing, deliverance, alized the full expression of His and success in ministry but Kingdom. The battle continemphasizing that our eyes must ues. What do we do in ministry be firmly fixed on Jesus instead. when we are living in the pain When you are experiencing sucof not yet seeing everything under our feet? The key, or cess and victory in ministry, keep asking the question, rather the person, is revealed in Hebrews 2:9: “But we “Where are You, Jesus? If this is not all about You, then do see Jesus.” my ‘success’ is empty.” In March 2020, the world was hit with COVID-19, SEASONS OF LOSS AND VICTORY and we were all driven into a forced isolation. For many God’s plan for both the seasons of loss and the seasons of us this felt like a wilderness moment. The Lord led of victory is for us to fix our eyes on Jesus. When ev- me to a verse that I believe was prophetic for this season: erything is working well and ministry is filled with suc- “Who is this coming up from the wilderness leaning on cess, don’t lose sight of Jesus. When everything is falling her beloved?” (Song of Sol. 8:5). When we go through a apart and nothing seems to be working, don’t lose sight wilderness, we have a choice of whom or what we will of Jesus. Our eyes and our focus are never to be fixed on lean on. Those who fix their eyes on Jesus and lean fully either our great success or our painful losses. Our atten- on their Beloved will experience transformation and retion must be fixed on Jesus. newal that will take them to a new level as they emerge The author of Hebrews knew this was important, from the desert. and we are reminded in Hebrews 3:1 and 12:2 to fix our Ron Walborn is the vice president and dean of Althoughts and eyes on Jesus. A healthy focus on Him will liance Theological Seminary and Nyack College in guard us against both an unhealthy attachment to sucNew York, N.Y., and San Juan, P.R. He has a doctor of cess and paralyzing pain amid failure and loss. ministry from Fuller Theological Seminary and has planted and pastored many churches. Fixing our eyes on Jesus will help us grieve the “not yet” and the disappointment of the failures we all experience in ministry. Jesus understood this firsthand.
Those who fix their eyes on Jesus and lean fully on their Beloved will experience transformation and renewal.
inFocus Many years ago, The Alliance started a church in a small village in the Philippines that was destroyed by a volcanic eruption in 1991. This church is now under new leadership but continues to partner with our Alliance workers to bring the good news of Jesus to the lost. Among other ministry activities, the pastor runs an afterschool program that cares for youth like the girls pictured here. Photo by Olivia McCash
PRAYER IS PRIMARY Requests from Alliance workers CENTRAL ASIA
offerings. As a result, we can accelerate our campus development plans to establish five satellite congregations in the Guadalajara metro area and five in the outlying states to bring the hope of Jesus to the Circle of Silence—a spiritually dark area with little gospel presence and unimaginable needs.
We are so grateful for your prayers during the challenging days of conflict in this region. All our international workers made it safely out of the area; at this writing, they are waiting and watching in various places across the globe. We weren’t able to have meaningful goodbyes, and the suddenness of our exit was jarring, not just to the team members but to the many nationals and migrants they live life with. Pray that our workers will find ways to continue to connect with and minister to them from afar.
In February, our marriage dinner sold out within 48 hours. We had room for only 50 couples at the Woodlands campus and had to close registration the second day because so many had signed up. We filled the new coffee pot twice to serve everyone. God is moving here in the darkness, and the Light is shining in Guadalajara!
Many of our national partners have reported increased hunger for God as troubled people search for answers and peace. Pray that He will bring many to Himself. Pray, too, for the churches in both countries to be empowered by the Spirit for the momentous task of caring for and reaching the people around them.
Breath of Life’s third campus is in the town of San Sebastian in Guadalajara. It meets in an abandoned discotheque we rented last year and has become a refreshing oasis of faith in the main plaza. Bible studies began in February with three classes offered. Join us in praying that God will open the way for us to begin Sunday services on October 2. Pray, too, for the fourth campus in Guadalajara, called Solares, which began a small weekly Bible study in April in the home of international workers Zac and Julie Stutler.
—from an update by international workers serving in Central Asia
—Bob and Cheryl Fugate
The Lord is growing His church in Germany! On one Sunday, we had 54 people in attendance at IGW (Internationale Gemeinde Waren)—a full house! Pray for our team as we continue to seek wisdom and direction for this fellowship. We are facing new challenges with this growth—things like language barriers, a lot more kids, and the need to connect well with people on Sundays and throughout the week.
Breath of Life’s marriage dinner sold out in 48 hours.
Pray for those in IGW who do not yet have a relationship with Jesus. Pray that many will come to faith and that Christ’s love will be felt more deeply by those who have been attending in the past few months. Pray that they will move from being curious to being certain that they need Jesus to be their Savior. —Kenny and Karissa Young
MEXICO You know your church is growing when you need to buy a larger coffee pot. Earlier this year, Breath of Life church’s Woodlands campus celebrated their first 100-cup coffee carafe! We have surpassed pre-COVID attendance and exceeded pre-COVID
ALLIANCE FAMILY NEWS From around the block to the ends of the earth TO THE FIELD GERMANY (ENVISION) Justin A. and Brittany D. Siemens and family, in April. The Siemenses are new site leaders. GUINEA CONAKRY TEAM Douglas S. and LaShawna N. Petersen and family, in April. The Petersens are involved in youth ministries. GUINEA FOUTAJALON TEAM George W. and Doris E. Nuss Jr., in March. The Nusses are involved in language ministries and medical/health ministries at Bongolo Hospital. JAPAN Jessica R. Bryant, in April. Jessica is involved in language study.
PERSONNEL CHANGES Micah J. Anglo, senior pastor, Pillar Bible Church, Long Beach, Calif. Paul T. Behnke, Engage Atlanta, The Alliance South Capt. Brice D. Bennett, discipleship pastor, Monroe (Ind.) Lighthouse Church
Brian R. Episcopo, pastor, Alliance Church—Appleton (Wis.) Dennis Episcopo, pastor emeritus, Alliance Church—Appleton (Wis.) Kelly Fleury, president, Haitian Association, West Palm Beach, Fla. Gabriel A. Galdo, special assignment—Faith Action International, The Alliance South Angel M. Garcia Sr., church planter, Alliance South Central Kaleb D. Gugger, RTI ministry intern, First Alliance Church, Billings, Mont. James C. Halstead, discipleship catalyst, Midwest District Ted W. Harris, associate pastor, Eagle Church, Whitestown, Ind. Fred A. Hartley IV, associate pastor, Lilburn Alliance Church, Tucker, Ga. William E. Impey, assistant pastor, The Gathering, San Diego, Calif. James B. Kline, MissionGO– Republic of Congo, Ohio Valley District Jerome D. Kragt, pastor, Mosaic Alliance Church, St. Paul, Minn. Gyula Laudisz, pastor, Bannerville (Pa.) C&MA Church Shoua Lee, assistant pastor, True Life Church, Hickory, N.C.
Mphiap K. Bujri, pastor, Bunong Christian Alliance Church, Winston-Salem, N.C.
Tera L. Lind, director of women’s ministry, Alliance Church— Appleton (Wis.)
Jennifer M. Carver, youth minister, Wheaton (Ill.) Chinese Alliance
Michelle R. Mahan, assistant director of children’s ministries, Butler (Pa.) Community Alliance Church
Ciro Castro, special assignment —C&MA National Office, Ohio Valley District Ashley L. Cluraghty, coordinator of campus outreach, MidAmerica District
Kenneth J. Marks, non-Alliance assignment, Metropolitan District Paul W. Marshall, other ministry, The Alliance Southeast
Jennifer D. McCloskey, full-time institutional chaplain, Central Pacific District Jessica Mitchell, campus pastor, Mission Church Brooklyn (N.Y.) Christopher A. Moles, nonAlliance assignment pastor, Central District Marc A. Montanye, director of counseling and city care, Christ Community Church C&MA, Omaha, Neb. Kong Moua, campus pastor, RiverLife Church of the C&MA, Brooklyn Park, Minn. Jonthan M. Olson, associate pastor of youth & family ministries, Staples (Minn.) Alliance Church Julio E. Orozco, pastor, Gaithersburg (Md.) International Christian Fellowship Capt. Robert E. Ortiz, pastor, Lakewood (Colo.) Christian Fellowship Karl E. Pagenkemper, residency academic & placement dean, Christ Community Church C&MA Matthew Peyton, senior pastor, Wallace (Neb.) Community Church of the C&MA Brian A. Rice, pastor, Joyce (Wash.) Bible Church Mark A. Samuelson, pastor, Fairview (Mont.) Alliance Church Giovanni L. Sanchez, minister for youth and missions, Ridgeway Alliance Church, White Plains, N.Y. Rachel S. Sanchez, children’s ministries, Ridgeway Alliance Church, White Plains, N.Y. Jeffrey D. Savage, pastor of family ministry, Edgewater (Fla.) Alliance Church Michael C. Schill, college personnel, Rocky Mountain District
David E. Schroeder, Pillar College chancellor, Metropolitan District
Galloway, Ohio, The House, 6446 Alkire Rd., 43119
Elizabeth T. Sheddy, ALME, Envision Jesus, Clarkston, Ga.
Lewis Center, Ohio, Indian Alliance Church of God Columbus, 8283 Orange Station Loop, 43035
Levi C. Smith, pastor, Fairhaven Church–Beavercreek Campus, Dayton, Ohio James M. Sourile, campus pastor, The Seed Community Church, Centerville, S.Dak. Nikolas R. Strom, discipleship pastor, Alliance Missionary Church, Mountain Lake, Minn. Philip A. Strong, hospice chaplain at Noble HCP, South Pacific Alliance Cheuk Boon Arthur Tam, associate pastor of English congregation, Christian Alliance Bible Church, Duarte, Calif. Nao Vang, discipleship lay pastor, First United Hmong Alliance Church, Denver, Colo. Tyrone Vinegar, pastor of evangelism & outreach, First Alliance Church, Lexington, Ky. Steven T. Vue, pastor, Detroit Life Church, Sacramento, Calif. Hung J. Xiong, lay pastor, Owasso (Okla.) Hmong Alliance Church Chue Yang, lay pastor for adult ministry, Hmong New Hope Alliance Church, Auburn, Ga. Kenneth E. Young, elder of discipleship, Mansfield (Ohio) Alliance Church Joshua Yun, pastor, Korean District
Lexington, Ky., Revival & Reconciliation International Church, 1820 Versailles Rd., 40504 Louisville, Ky., International Alliance Rehoboth Congolese Church, 3726 Bardstown Rd., 40218 Louisville, Ky., Revival & Reconciliation International Church, 3801 Billtown Rd., Box 991291, 40299 Sabana Hoyos, P.R., ACM Isabela, PO Box 1625, 00688 Springfield, Ohio, Mulberry Street House of Hope, 916 W. Mulberry St., 45503
NEW WORKERS Floyd E. Black Jr., pastor, The Pointe Church of the C&MA, Antelope (Calif.) Erick Burgos, pastor of Spanish ministries, The Grove Church Perris (Calif.) Kristen E. Burnette, children’s director, Bloomindale (Ill.) Alliance Church Joshua L. Cassiday, Watershed resident, The River Alliance Church, Chaska, Minn.
Timothy C. Hall, assistant pastor, Crossroads Fellowship of the C&MA, Clarksville, Tenn. Giang T. Ho, assistant pastor, North Atlanta (Ga.) Vietnamese Alliance Church Brittany R. Jacobs, youth pastor, ACF Church, Eagle River, Ark. Chiawei Jau, pastor, Gaithersburg (Md.) Chinese Alliance Church William Khang, lay pastor on discipleship, Hmong Alliance Fellowship, Statesville, N.C. Joseph W. LaGrou, interim pastor, Okanogan (Wash.) Valley Alliance Church Thomas J. Lampley, prison chaplain, Ohio Valley District Richard W. Larson, associate pastor, Liberty Baptist Church of the Deaf, Columbus, Ohio Joshua J. Lewins, youth pastor, New Song Alliance Church, Grand Rapids, Mich. Ervin Liang, youth pastor, Living Hope Community Church, South Pacific Alliance Kalle P. Limit, Greenhouse planting resident, New Life Church, Woodland Hills, Calif. Matthew Lyon, pastor, Anchor Lincoln, Tacoma, Wash. Steve T. Miller, other ministry, True Life Church, Whitefish, Mont. James P. Murphy, co-lead pastor, Missio Church, Mount Ayr, Iowa
Vanessa V. Castor, assistant pastor, Mission Church Brooklyn (N.Y.)
Emile Ndahunga, pastor, Cross Power Generation Ministry of the C&MA, Murray, Utah
George E. Davis, executive pastor, Living Faith Alliance Church, Vineland, N.J.
Leslie D. Parr, associate pastor, Vineland Native American Chapel, Onamia, Minn.
Cincinnati, Ohio, Calvary’s Place, 986 Nordyke Rd., 45255
Kortney A. DeHass, children’s director, First Alliance Church, Lexington, N.C.
Keyla Pavia, director of women’s ministries, Grace Fellowship Chapel C&MA, Bedminster, N.J.
Columbus, Ohio, The Home Church, 3750 W. Henderson Rd., 43220
Darin A. Dolecheck, co-lead pastor, Missio Church, Mount Ayr, Iowa
Siobhan M. Seaman, minister for worship and formation, Stonecrest Community Church, Warren, N.J.
Delaware, Ohio, Delaware County Alliance Church, 155 Page Ct., 43015
Amensissa Gemtessa, pastor, Gospel of Christ Church, Tucker, Ga.
Habtamu Sisay, Greenhouse planting resident, New Life Church, Woodland Hills, Calif.
NEW CHURCHES Centerville, Ohio, Satsang Ministries Columbus, 8321 Cherry Creek, 45458
Franklin, Ohio, Generations Church, 632 S. Main St., 45005
Kevin A. Gladfelter, family ministries pastor, Christ Community Church, Fort Myers, Fla.
Kenneth A. Sullivan, associate pastor of discipleship &
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Southwest Florida Retirement Living Resort Amenities | State-of-the-art Health Care counseling, New River Community Church, New River, Conn. Ryan P. Sullivan, youth pastor, Missoula (Mont.) Alliance Church Timothy Thao, discipleship lay pastor, First United Hmong Alliance Church, Denver, Colo. Michael C. Travers, lay ministry, The Grove Community Church, Riverside, Calif. Kenny N. Vang, assistant pastor, True Life Church, Hickory, N.C. Joshua E. Vitoff, youth pastor, Trinity Christian Chapel, Sewell, N.J. Scott G. Wessell, pastor of discipleship, The Gathering, San Diego, Calif. Ashley K. Wuthrich, Next Gen. director, Relevant Community Church, Elkhorn, Neb. Tou C. Xiong, single adult ministry, Hmong New Hope Alliance Church, Auburn, Ga.
Vibrant Faithful Joyful Living Fulfilled Artful Healthy
Nero Yang, college ministry pastor, True Life Church, Hickory, N.C.
ORDINATIONS Dale Robert Bucich, March 20, First Alliance Church, Hardin, Mont. Dale is the senior pastor. Kevin Scott Batson, April 3, Green River (Wyo.) Alliance Church. Kevin is the lead pastor.
RETIRED Michael D. Brewer, The Alliance South
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Jeffrey T. Kingery, South Pacific Alliance
Wally is survived by his wife; daughter Beth; and 4 granddaughters; he was preceded in death by his grandson Jacob.
David P. Jones, Mid-Atlantic District James L. Snyder, The Alliance Southeast James S. Stern, MidAmerica District
M. Jack Bohman May 11, 1944–January 23, 2022
John N. Thao, Hmong District Philip M. Welch, Central Pacific District
Born in Erie, Pa., Jack received a bachelor of science in missions. On June 26, 1965, he married Cynthia Imboden.
Dennis K. Whalen, The Alliance South Patricia M. Whalen, The Alliance South
Jack served as an ordained minister with the C&MA for 47 years. He was the pastor of Buckhannon (W.Va.) Alliance Church (1975–2004) and later served as the minister of visitation (2018–2022). Jack was also a chaplain for the Reger Group in Stafford, Va. (2004–2009). In his semi-retirement, he served the South Buckhannon Charge of the United Methodist Church and was recently serving the North Buckhannon Charge as well as the First Presbyterian Church of Buckhannon.
WITH THE LORD William (Bill) E. Hazlett February 22, 1932–December 28, 2021 Bill was born in Portage, Pa. Sensing a call to ministry, he enrolled in Toccoa Falls (Ga.) Bible College and later transferred to St. Paul Bible College (now Crown College, St. Bonifacius, Minn.), where he received a BS in theology. On August 21, 1954, Bill married Vernice Turnquist.
Jack is survived by his wife; children John, Paul, Matthew, and Stephen; and 11 grandchildren.
During 55 years of ministry, Bill was a C&MA pastor in Western Pennsylvania, serving churches in Trees Mills (Greensburg), Cobbs Corner/Excelsior, Pottersdale (Karthaus), Nanty Glo, Corry, and Beaver. Resourceful and organized, he enjoyed setting goals and working to achieve them. He spearheaded building projects at multiple churches, held leadership positions at C&MA summer camps, and served on several district leadership committees. Bill also mentored students at his churches who are currently in ministry. After retiring as a senior pastor, he served as a chaplain to pastors in the Western Pennsylvania District and as interim pastor for five churches in Pennsylvania. He was known for his genuine love for people.
Cleo Virginia (Hughes) Evans June 8, 1921–February 10, 2022 Born in Ambridge, Pa., Cleo attended Robert Morris Business School. While working as a secretary, she met Eugene (Gene) Evans. Both felt called to ministry, so Cleo enrolled in the Missionary Training Institute (now Nyack College, New York, N.Y.). They married on October 18, 1944. Cleo and Gene served with the C&MA for 41 years. They first ministered in Kinsman, Ohio, before departing for China’s Kansu-Tibetan border in 1947. Due to the Communist takeover, they had to evacuate by horseback in 1949. The couple was reassigned to serve among the Jarai tribe in the central highlands of French Indochina (now Vietnam).
Bill is survived by his wife; children Ruth, Priscilla, James, and David; 10 grandchildren; and 1 great-grandson.
Cleo and Gene served at Dalat School for five years as house parents for missionary kids. Cleo also was the school’s business manager, and Gene was its director. In 1965, they oversaw the evacuation of the school’s 125 students, along with the staff, to Bangkok, Thailand, where they set up a new campus. Eight months later, they moved the school and established another campus in the Cameron Highlands, Malaysia.
Reynold E. (Wally) Waltimyer July 4, 1938–January 7, 2022 Wally was born in Red Lion, Pa., and graduated from Nyack Missionary College (now Nyack College, New York, N.Y.), where he met Christine, his wife of 60 years; they married on February 3, 1962, in the Rochester C&MA Church. A carpenter by trade, Wally was ordained by the C&MA. He and Christine were pursuing a call to foreign service, but God had other plans. During more than 20 years of C&MA ministry, Wally pastored churches in Shoreville and Swanville, Minn. (1969– 1973); and in Lock Haven (1973–1980) and Moosic, Pa. (1980–1985). He ministered especially in teaching the Bible and singing and was known for his kindness. Wally died after a courageous battle with cancer.
In 1967, the couple returned to the central highlands of Vietnam to continue their ministry to the Jarai. Gene also served as director of Refugee Services in Saigon. With the fall of Vietnam in 1975, the Evanses transitioned to C&MA headquarters in Nyack, New York. Gene served as director of deputation while Cleo was a secretary in church growth until they retired to Florida in 1985. Gene passed away on March 25, 2002.
James Frederick Hay July 18, 1928–February 19, 2022
Cleo is survived by daughter Jodi; son Evan; 7 grandchildren; and 17 great-grandchildren.
Born in Rockwood, Pa., James married Ruth Fernlee Welsh in January 1950. He graduated from Fort Wayne (Ind.) Bible College in 1954 with a bachelor of science.
Stephen (Chappie) Harris July 20, 1925–February 11, 2022 Steve graduated from Nyack Missionary College (now Nyack College, New York, N.Y.) with a bachelor of science in theology. He served in the U.S. Army and was honorably discharged on February 26, 1946. On October 29, 1948, Steve married Roberta McDonald in Portland, Maine.
James was ordained in 1956 and served with the C&MA for nearly 39 years. He first ministered at a church in Majenica, Ind. Later he moved to Urbana and founded the Wabash (Ind.) Alliance Church. James also served in Euclid (1965–1975) and Willoughby Hills, Ohio (1975–1980), and in Fort Myers, Fla. (1980–1993). In 1993 he officially retired.
During 37 years of C&MA ministry, Steve pastored churches in San Antonio, Tex. (1965–1967); and Ardmore, Okla. (1967–1997). He was a volunteer chaplain for the Ardmore Police Department for 24 years, retiring in 2005, and for the fire department and ambulance service. Most recently, Steve was the chaplain for Ardmore Village, a nonprofit senior living community.
During retirement, James served at North Fort Myers, Fla., at the Chapel at Windmill Village (2005– 2022). After Ruth passed away in 2006, he married Darlene January 23, 2007. James is survived by his wife Darlene; children Jeffrey, James Jr., Jack, and Timothy; 3 stepchildren; 7 grandchildren; 1 great-grandchild; 10 stepgrandchildren; and 7 step-great-grandchildren.
Steve was predeceased by his wife; he is survived by son Bruce; 2 grandchildren; and 2 great-grandchildren.
Louise Wiggins June 12, 1926–February 21, 2022
the gospel in his homeland were deeply disheartening. Through His grace, God opened new doors, and John was able to reunite with his family. In 1975, the C&MA’s newly formed Vietnamese District assigned him to start a new church in Pasadena, Calif., where he cared for Vietnamese refugees and Christians who had escaped Vietnam. In addition to serving as senior pastor of the Vietnamese Alliance Church (Pasadena, Calif.) and the Vietnamese Alliance Church of Greater Los Angeles, John was an itinerant pastor for the district.
Born in Dayton, Ohio, to Wilbur and Helen Reams, Louise received Christ at a tent meeting in Cleveland at the age of 13. She attended Chicago Evangelistic Institute and Taylor University (Upland, Ind.). On August 29, 1947, Louise married her husband of 60 years, Herbert Wiggins. Louise faithfully served alongside Herbert in C&MA churches in Ohio, Michigan, Nebraska, Minnesota, Connecticut, and Georgia. She loved being a Sunday school teacher to children and adults, teaching kids’ clubs in public schools, and serving as the Alliance Women president in several districts. In 1987, Louise and Herbert retired to Toccoa, Ga., and she taught at Meadowbrook Preschool for six years.
John was predeceased by his wife; he is survived by children Emily, Tanya, Thomas, and Kathy; 6 grandchildren; and 8 great-grandchildren. Leslie (Les) L. Conklin December 29, 1933–April 1, 2022
As a mother, grandmother, and great-grandmother, Louise lived a life that clearly evidenced her love and faith. Her constant desire was for people to see Jesus in her. All five of her children served in C&MA vocational ministry.
Leslie attended the Missionary Training Institute (now Nyack College, New York, N.Y.) and transferred to St. Paul Bible College (now Crown College, St. Bonifacius, Minn.), graduating in 1956. He was ordained by the C&MA in 1960. On June 5, 1954, Leslie married Emily Schenk in Colony, N.Y.
Louise was predeceased by her husband and her son James Dean; she is survived sons Don, Joel, and Jonathan; daughters Janice and Joyce; 16 grandchildren; and 40 great-grandchildren.
For more than 40 years of ministry, the couple served churches in Kalispell (1956–1963) and Sidney, Mont. (1963–1967); Sheboygan, Wis. (1967–1974); Lewisburg, Pa. (1974–1983); and Pomona, N.J. (1988–1997). Leslie also served as director of church planting with the C&MA Midwest District, overseeing new church plants in Illinois, Indiana, and southern Wisconsin (1983–1988). He was the founding pastor of both Southside Alliance Church and Lewisburg Alliance Church. Leslie’s final full-time ministry was as a chaplain at Hidden Valley Campground in Mifflinburg, Pa. (1997–2010). He continued preaching in various capacities as he was able until a month before his death.
John Chanh Nguyen April 25, 1929–February 23, 2022 Born in Da Nang, Vietnam, John left a secure job with great potential for career advancement to answer God’s call to ministry. He then enrolled in Bible school. John spent his humble beginnings in the Office of the President of the South Vietnamese Evangelical Church and the Gospel Printing Office of the C&MA in Da Lat. He married Hong An Le, and the couple moved to Nha Trang where John served as vice president of the Vietnamese Orphanage of the South Vietnamese Evangelical Church. To further his education, he received a BA in sociology and Vietnamese culture from Saigon University.
Leslie is survived by his wife; children Renae, Deb, Daniel, and Nathan; 8 grandchildren; and 7 greatgrandchildren. He was predeceased by 2 grandchildren.
After being drafted into the Vietnamese Navy, John retired as a lieutenant and continued his leadership at the orphanage. He was ordained as a pastor in 1969 and served as senior chaplain with the rank of captain in the South Vietnamese Navy, where he had opportunity to care for Christian families in the Navy throughout South Vietnam.
Richard Hudson Duncan September 23, 1948–April 7, 2021 Richard was born in Miami, Fla., and was adopted at birth. As a child, he sang in a children’s choir. After his father’s death, Richard and his mother moved to DeLand, Fla., where they were invited to the Alliance Chapel. He came to faith there on Palm Sunday. On April 30, 1977, Richard married Jane Ellis at Hollywood Hills Alliance Church, Hollywood, Fla.
In 1973, John received a scholarship from the U.S. C&MA to study journalism at Wheaton (Ill.) College with the goal of managing the Gospel Printing Shop in Vietnam. After he completed his MA, South Vietnam fell to the Communists, and John could not return there. The separation from his family, all still in Vietnam, and the loss of his opportunity to spread
Richard received his BA in Bible/theology from Toccoa Falls (Ga.) College and earned his master of divinity from Luther Rice Seminary. He was ordained
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in 1972 at the Hialeah (Fla.) Alliance Church. During his 25 years of C&MA ministry, Richard served churches in Hialeah and Callahan, Fla.; Baytown, Tex.; Sylacauga, Ala.; and Cocoa Beach and St. Augustine, Fla.
they served in a creative-access country, in Malaysia, and in Thailand. Dorie’s life and ministry were characterized by a deep love for her Savior and a commitment to serve Him regardless of the cost, including living in a war-torn country, learning two difficult languages, and sending her young children to boarding school. Whether navigating the streets of Bangkok on public transportation or by foot, touring U.S. churches during home assignment, or caring for 22 children in a boarding school, Dorie’s kind and gracious manner was evident to all who met her.
Richard is survived by his wife; daughter Rachel Jessica; and son Robert Jaffray. Doris (Dorie) May Ford July 12, 1941–April 28, 2022 Dorie was born in Cincinnati, Ohio, and grew up in Aurora, Ind., where her father was a farmer. She came to know Christ early in life at the Aurora Alliance Church. While attending St. Paul Bible College (now Crown College, St. Bonifacius, Minn.), Dorie heard God’s call to serve as a C&MA missionary. It was there that she met Norman (Norm) Ford, also a missionary candidate; they married in 1965.
Her most challenging trial came in her retirement years when she battled an illness that eventually took her life. Even amid great physical suffering, Dorie remained faithful to the end. Dorie is survived by her husband; children Eddie and Jana; and 4 grandchildren.
After pastoring the Arlington (Tex.) Alliance Church (1966–1969), the Fords began a missionary career in Southeast Asia that would span 38 years. Together
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In the May/June 2022 issue, Arthur Gaunt’s obituary contained incorrect information about his surviving family members. He is survived by his wife; children Jennifer, Michele, and Matthew; 7 grandchildren; and 10 great-grandchildren.
by former Alliance international worker James Albright, “is much like the outstanding work of C. S. Lewis’ The Screwtape Letters. In The Grace Runners, there are two angels of equal status; one rebels and follows Satan while the other follows the Lord. Albright’s book brings back a needed focus on the reality of Satan’s demonic activity in today’s Western world. I am happy to recommend this very interesting read.” —Paul L. Alford. Available on Amazon.
In the "Be Present" compilation in the March/April 2022 issue, the entry below was wrongly attributed to West Africa instead of the Middle East. We apologize for any confusion. For us, being present meant opening our home to English students when pandemic restrictions closed our community center. Our friends experienced the Person of Christ reflected in our family, and we are already seeing a harvest from those seeds planted in love.
The Grace Runners
From Broken to Beloved by Terry Wardle, invites you on a step-by-step journey of awakening, where the wonder of who you truly are is unleashed through the transforming power of Jesus Christ. As you take one step after the other,
you will begin to realize that "awakening" is not simply a beautiful concept but a healing experience that will enable you to see who you are so that you can receive everything God intends for your life. Available on Amazon.
A. B.: The Unlikely Founder of a Global Movement In addition to its paperback release, the A.B. Simpson biography, A. B.: The Unlikely Founder of a Global Movement, by David Jones, is now available in English and Spanish eBook versions at TheAllianceStore.com.
Approaching the Almighty: 100 Prayers of A. W. Tozer “Everything that God has ever used in me to help others, He has given me on my knees with my open Bible.” In Approaching the Almighty: 100 Prayers of A. W. Tozer, readers are led to the throne of grace by this noted Alliance pastor and author. Each chapter of unedited pulpit prayers is introduced by his profound insights on prayer. Available at moodypublishers.com
ALLIANCE LIFE GOES DIGITAL! Alliance Life, now in its 141st year of publication, is now available in a digital flip-book version for computer, tablet, and smartphone. We know . . . it’s about time. So, if you’re more of an online aficionado—or just want to spare the paper, save some trees, and divert more printing and postage dollars to our international workers and their ministries—visit alliancelife.org to discontinue your print delivery and sign up for a digital subscription . . . and the trees of the field will clap their hands.
NYACK COLLEGE HONORS DEGREE RECIPIENTS FROM VIETNAM Nyack College and Alliance Theological Seminary (ATS) held its 139th commencement ceremony Saturday, May 7, 2022, at the Coney Island Amphitheater in Brooklyn, New York. Included in the ceremony was the recognition of a cohort of ATS graduates from Vietnam visiting America to receive their master's of arts degrees in biblical studies—a program developed at the request of the Tin Lanh Church in South Vietnam. Pictured to the right is Nyack College/ATS President Rajan Mathews (center), flanked by Dr. Thai Phuoc Troung, (right), president of the Bible and Theology Institute of the Evangelical Church of Vietnam South, and Cambodian student Sophan Danee (left), who traveled via two-day bus ride to Ho Chi Minh City to attend classes. Nyack College was founded in 1882 by A. B. Simpson and currently serves nearly 2,000 students in its undergraduate, graduate, and doctoral degree programs.
JUBILEE INDIAN ALLIANCE CHURCH LAUNCHES U.S. Alliance President John Stumbo prayed a prayer of commissioning over the core church-planting team of Jubilee Indian Alliance Church on Saturday, April 30, 2022. Jubilee had its first service the following afternoon at 1:00 p.m. in the sanctuary of First Alliance Church in Columbus, Ohio. Isaac Charles, Jubilee’s lead pastor (center, with red tie), joked to the First Alliance congregation, “If you sleep in and miss your normal church service, we’ve got you covered.” First Alliance welcomed Jubilee to hold its services in their facility—a growing trend among established Alliance churches that want to open their doors to ethnic populations and congregations in their communities.
“WE’VE ALWAYS SUPPORTED MISSIONS AND OUR L ATEST GIFT ALSO PAYS US INCOME FOR LIFE!”
YOU’VE SUPPORTED YOUR CHURCH and the Great Commission Fund for years. Now, in retirement and on a fixed income, continuing your support may seem more challenging. However, with planned giving, you may have more options than you ever thought possible. If you’re over 65, with appreciated assets such as stock or securities, a Charitable Gift Annuity (CGA) may be the right solution. With a CGA, you receive a tax deduction today for the full amount of your gift and you’ll receive income for life. The current annual payout rates recently increased to 4.8% to 9.1%, based on your age. The Alliance has an in-house team at Orchard Alliance for planned giving guidance and solutions. To learn more, scan the code below, call 866-351-2553 or visit orchardalliance.org/AllianceCGA.
BENEFITS OF A CHARITABLE GIFT ANNUIT Y
A Charitable Gift
Payments for life
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Orchard Alliance, 8595 Explorer Dr, Suite 200, Colorado Springs, CO 80920 / 866-351-2553 Information is not to be considered legal or tax advice. CGAs are issued by Orchard Alliance or as agent for The Christian and Missionary Alliance (The C&MA). The C&MA only issues annuities in the states of NY, NJ, and CA; Orchard Alliance issues annuities in all other states except Hawaii. Orchard Alliance or The C&MA, respectively, is responsible for and liable for the CGAs that are issued in their individual names. Orchard Alliance and The Christian and Missionary Alliance follow the suggested maximum gift annuity rates published by the American Council on Gift Annuities.Currently,these rates exceed the max rates allowed by the state of NewYork.
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DEGAMATI’S DREAM by Mary McIlrath, a former Alliance international worker in Indonesia Originally published in The Pioneer, October 1950 Mary Catto (McIlrath) Bible School Class in Enarotali, NG circa 1955 (Photo courtesy of C&MA Archives)
ne of our promising Christian women was being attacked physically in various ways. Her children were afflicted with sores all over their bodies. She suffered from boils and swelling of the knee, which made it very difficult for her to walk. Later, she got the flu and was confined to her little dark hut for two weeks. It seemed no sooner had she recovered from one ailment when another one afflicted her already weakened body. One day she came and sat on our porch and never lifted her head to look at us when we spoke to her. She felt so weak, and I was sure she was having a battle in her mind over something. She was so low in spirit and very sick. I don’t know how she ever made it up the hill to our house. We gave her an old coat to keep her warm at night and sent her home reassuring her of our prayers on her behalf. Later in the week, I went down to see her and took some medicine. I found her quite discouraged and seemingly getting bitter. She said, “I’ve prayed and prayed and prayed, and God does not heal me.” She told me some of her friends wanted to practice witchcraft for her, but she refused it. She was weighing the matter in her mind, however, and I felt her faith was being severely tested.
Standing on His promises, I prayed with her again and told her Jesus would make her better. I exhorted her to keep praying and reminded her that we would do the same. That was hard for this babe in Christ to do when there were no visible results from the previous prayers. For a week or more we sent her hot soup and prayed earnestly that the Lord would heal her and forbid that the enemy be victorious in her defeat. Finally, after two weeks of confinement, she came up to see us feeling much better and looking her happy self again. She related to us a dream, which she had the night before. She dreamed she was in heaven and saw God. Everything was beautiful and wonderful! She was beaming all over as she mentioned the names of other Christian women who were there, too, and said they were having a wonderful time dancing around the Lord and singing songs. They were having the most wonderful time there with the Lord when she awakened from the dream. “It was a good dream,” she said. I believe the Lord gave her the dream for the exact reason of strengthening her faith in Him. The enemy is still afflicting her, but her faith is stronger now and she is better able to endure the testing. Pray for these “babes in Christ.”