ALLIANCELIFE ALLIANCE T H E M AG AZI N E O F THEALLIANCE SI NC E 1882
HARVEST TIME IN CAMBODIA
Witnessing the Lord transform hearts and bodies
Church planting in lockdown
pg. 18 NOV/DEC 2021
NOV/ D EC 2 0 2 1
GATHERING THE SCATTERED Creating community for the diaspora pg. 16
ALLIANCELIFE VO LU ME 1 5 6
A GENEROSITY MOVEMENT In The Alliance we are a deeper life and missions movement. The vitality from the Spirit is inextricable from our heart for people all over the globe who need to hear about the life-changing power of Jesus. In fact, we would say that without Jesus’ power, there is no mission! These principles are core to being an Alliance person. You know what else we are? A generosity movement! From the beginning of our history, people have reoriented their priorities around those of Jesus and have been willing to let go of possessions, finances, and security to see the Kingdom advance in and through them. Maybe you’ve heard stories of people dropping wedding rings and jewelry in offering baskets to send one more missionary. Those stories are true! Open-handedness is more than simply about money—seeing loved ones serve in dangerous places for the cause of Christ is at least one example of this concept. However, it’s true—a key indicator of our devotion to God is the way we hold on to or give away our finances. In the West, our possessions and achieving a certain lifestyle have become part of our deeply held values. While not available to everyone, the promise of that “dream” impacts many. In the Kingdom we have counter-cultural values that upend our allegiance to the physical and turn our eyes to the spiritual—that which truly lasts. We’re not perfect by any means, but I’m happy to report that in The Alliance, this legacy of generosity continues! Last year, amid much uncertainty, the Alliance family helped give the most money to our missions efforts ever given in a single day, month, or year! In addition, our churches give more to missions by percentage than any other evangelical denomination. This is extraordinary and continues to reflect those edgy, risky, just-throw-that-ring-in-thebasket people who got this thing moving in the first place. In my role, I’ve heard people say, “All you care about is how much money people give.” While that’s not true at the core, I do care about how much we give financially because no one is getting rich off this money—this is not a business we are building. Rather, every dollar given goes to advancing the mission of Christ we are called to fulfill. Every dollar means another worker gets to share the gospel, plant a church, or hand some food to someone in need. How we give our money reflects our vision and passion for our lives and our hearts. Look, we have other options. We could use the money God has entrusted to us to advance our own wealth, our own legacies. But I’m inspired to be in The Alliance where magnanimity and big-hearted kindness continue to see the gospel of Jesus advance all over the globe. Thank you for being a part of this generosity movement!
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Founder A. B. Simpson Editor-in-Chief Peter Burgo Managing Editor Emmy Duddles Graphic Designer Caylie Smith Assistant Editor Julie Daubé Staff Writers/Editors Julie Daubé Hannah Ader Hannah Packard Circulation Fulfillment Julie Connon © ALLIANCELIFE ALLIANCELIFE i s p ub li s h e d by T h e Christian and Missionary Alliance, 8595 Explorer Drive, Colorado Springs, CO 8 0 9 20. M e m b e r, E v a n g e l i c a l P r e s s A s sociation and A s sociated Church Press. Printed in the U.S.A. POSTMASTER: Send address changes to ALLIANCELIFE, 8595 E xplorer Dr, Colorado Springs, CO 80920. When requesting a change of address, pleas e gi ve b ot h t he old and new addresses. Direct all correspondence and changes of address to ALLIANCELIFE, 8595 Explorer Dr, Colorado Springs, CO 80920. Toll free: (877) 284-3262; email: email@example.com. Website: www.alliancelife.org.
The Alliance is committed to world missions, stressing the fullness of Christ in personal experience, building the Church, and preaching the gospel to the ends of the earth. ALLIANCELIFE carries on the tradition of 139 years of publishing stories of God at work through Alliance people in the United States and throughout the world.
Tim Meier Vice President for Development
cover: Photo by Jordan Christopher. Despite restrictions, hundreds have come to Christ in Cambodia since March 2020 and the national church is growing rapidly.
NOV/DEC2021 04 Christ-Centered GIVING TO MISSIONS Joining God in His grand adventure by Richard Noble | pg. 4 FREE VERSE Quotes from the Kingdom | pg. 6 THE TOZER ANTHOLOGY Compiled by Harry Verploegh | pg. 7
10 Acts 1:8 ULTIMATE HEALING Witnessing the Lord transform hearts and bodies by Hannah Ader | pg. 10 ADVOCACY FOR THE FOREIGNER Caring for the legal needs of immigrants by Jessica Weaver | pg. 12
18 22 CONTENTS
GATHERING THE SCATTERED Creating community for the diaspora by Hannah Packard | pg. 16
HARVEST TIME IN CAMBODIA Church planting in lockdown by Julie Daubé | pg. 18 YOU BROUGHT US JESUS A glimpse into the lives of our workers compiled by Alliance Life staff | pg. 22 LESSONS FROM A NOMAD Living through unexpected transition by an Alliance international worker serving in Eastern Asia | pg. 26
32 Family PRAYER IS PRIMARY Prayer requests from Alliance workers around the world | pg. 32 ALLIANCE FAMILY NEWS Personnel changes, obituaries, and classified ads | pg. 33 OUR LIFE Snapshots from around The Alliance | pg. 42
FOUNDATIONS All Grit and Backbone Adapted by Alliance Life staff | pg. 44
Plus 02 EDITORIAL 08 INFOCUS 14 THE PEOPLE WE SERVE 28 YOUR GENEROSITY IN ACTION 31 INFOCUS
GIVING TO MISSIONS Joining God in His grand adventure
by Richard Noble
rowing up, my brother and I were taught the importance of properly managing our money and possessions by our parents—a message that was consistently reinforced in the churches we attended. We were encouraged to give the first 10 percent of whatever we earned to the church and to consider giving a little bit more to the work of missions so that God’s work around the world would be properly funded. From the very beginning, we were instilled with the importance of stewarding our possessions and investing in God’s work in this world. PRINCIPLES OF FINANCIAL STEWARDSHIP I continue this practice today, and it’s something my wife and I have tried to impart to our children as well, believing that taking part in God’s mission is both a privilege and a responsibility. Living this way, it is important for us to have a heart and vision for reaching the world for Christ. God is in control, and His purposes are always accomplished, but He still uses us in partnership with Him to see that the world is told about the arrival of God’s Kingdom in the Person of Jesus. Throughout Scripture we are invited to trust God and expected to steward the resources He has given
us. This includes wisely investing our finances in His Kingdom operations. Before reading any further, take a moment to look up the following passages of Scripture. Resist the temptation to note merely the references, and take time to get a truly panoramic view of what God has to say about money, wealth, and stewardship. • Proverbs 3:9–10; 11:28; 13:7–8, 11; 22:7, 16; 23:4-5; 28:8, 20–22 • Matthew 6:19–34 • Luke 16:1–13 • 2 Corinthians 8:1–9 • 1 Timothy 6:3–10 The principles of financial stewardship taught in these passages and many more throughout Scripture are to honor God with our money, to keep Him and His Kingdom as our top priority, to begin with the tithe, and to be faithful and generous. 1. HONOR GOD WITH OUR MONEY AND WEALTH As God’s people, we are expected to show our love for Him entirely—heart, soul, mind, strength—putting Him first
4. BE FAITHFUL AND GENEROUS As we respond to God’s grace in our lives, we start to become more generous people who regularly, sacrificially, and cheerfully give of our wealth. This generosity begins and ends with God. His goodness becomes our goodness, which we defer and deflect back to Him. This means investing in the people, places, and projects where He is at work and directs us to give. These biblical principles further indicate that each of us is a steward of the resources that God has entrusted to our care. Good stewards are faithful, wise, financially responsible people who effectively and strategically manage what God has given them, using those things for His purposes rather than for personal gain. All of this directly impacts the mission of God in this world.
in everything, including all our resources. This happens when we give thanks to God and trust Him to supply our needs, when we faithfully steward our money and other resources, and when we generously invest in His work and His Kingdom. 2. KEEP GOD AND HIS KINGDOM THE TOP PRIORITY Recognizing the power and influence of money in our world, we are instructed in Scripture to trust and pursue God rather than our accumulated wealth and personal gain. In fact, we are told repeatedly that we cannot love both God and money. It’s important for us to examine our checkbooks, bank statements, and credit card bills to see where our allegiances appear to be, for therein lie our priorities. As Christ followers, our heart attitudes and motivations, along with our actions, should reflect a deep love for God, as well as a firm commitment to His eternal Kingdom and its concerns above all else rather than the temporary things of this world. Among other things, this involves pursuing godliness with contentment as we trust God to provide for us (1 Timothy 6:6). In the ongoing rivalry between eternal treasure and earthly wealth, the eternal must prevail.
Photography by Stephanie Reindel
“God still uses us in partnership with Him to see that the world is told about the arrival of God’s Kingdom in the Person of Jesus.”
WHY GIVE TO THE WORK OF MISSIONS? Isn’t it enough to give to my local church and to their local ministry efforts? There are two simple yet deeply profound answers to this important question. First, as stewards of God’s resources, we are expected to invest in His Kingdom work in every part of the world, not just our own backyard. Second, as Acts 1:8 reminds us, we are to engage in Christ’s mission locally, regionally, and globally. Living in obedience to Jesus includes funding His work here, there, and everywhere. As local churches, we get to be financial partners with Him throughout the world as we support the people, projects, and churches through which He is working. In trying to discern where to direct our giving and how much to give, it is imperative that we pray about it before, during, and after. This is an act of trust as we ask God to help us steward His money well and multiply what is given for the sake of His Kingdom. God blesses us so that we can then bless others. It is better for us to give than receive, and we have a unique opportunity to partner financially with what God is doing around the world! May we take every opportunity to fully invest ourselves in this work, as we encourage others to join God in His grand adventure.
God blesses us so that we can then bless others.
3. BEGIN WITH THE TITHE When expressing our love for God with our wealth, how much money should we set aside for Kingdom work? The answer often depends on the books you are reading and the preachers and teachers you are listening to. Over the years, I have taught that people should start with the literal tithe described in Scripture—which is 10 percent of every paycheck—then increase from there as the Lord blesses with more financial resources. Although the tithe is a good guiding principle, it is really only a starting point. God’s Word encourages us to go further. The important thing to remember here is to give back a portion of what is already His to begin with (He does own everything, after all) and to give the first-fruits of our earnings to the local church. We should also consider giving to the work of missions or other ministry initiatives beyond our tithe to the local church.
Richard Noble is a missions mobilization specialist at Allegheny Center Alliance Church in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, where he lives with his wife, Amy. He also serves as adjunct faculty at Crown College in St. Bonifacius, Minnesota, and Geneva College in Beaver Falls, Pennsylvania.
B RE ATH ING
AND B R E ATH ING
by A. B. Simpson
esus, breathe Thy Spirit on me, Teach me how to breathe Thee in; Help me pour into Thy bosom All my life of self and sin.
I am breathing out my sickness, Thou hast borne its burden too; I am breathing in Thy healing, Ever promised, ever new.
I am breathing out my own life That I may be filled with Thine, Letting go my strength and weakness, Breathing in Thy strength divine.
I am breathing out my longings In Thy listening, loving ear; I am breathing in Thy answers, Stilling every doubt and fear.
Breathing out my sinful nature, Thou hast borne it all for me: Breathing in Thy cleansing fullness, Finding all my life in Thee.
I am breathing every moment, Drawing all my life from Thee; Breath by breath I live upon Thee, Every moment breathe in me.
I am breathing out my sorrow On Thy kind and gentle breast; Breathing in Thy joy and comfort, Breathing in Thy peace and rest.
—Originally published in Millennial Chimes, 1894
T O Z E R ANTHOLOGY
“God’s Kingdom is the place of abundance where every generous act overflows its original bounds and becomes part of the unbounded grace of God at work in the world.” HENRI NOUWEN
Hold everything in your hands lightly; otherwise it hurts when God pries your fingers open.” CORRIE TEN BOOM
“In ordinary life we hardly realize that we receive a great deal more than we give and that it is only with gratitude that life becomes rich.” DIETRICH BONHOEFFER
“A flower that stops short at its flowering misses its purpose. We were created for more than our own spiritual development; reproduction, not mere development, is the goal of matured being—reproduction in other lives.” LILIAS TROTTER
Compiled by Harry Verploegh
The spiritual essence of a true church cannot be reproduced anywhere but in a company of renewed and inwardly united believers.
According to the Bible we have because we ask, or we have not because we ask not.
The testimony of the true follower of Christ might well be something like this: the world’s pleasures and the world’s treasures henceforth have no appeal for me. I reckon myself crucified to the world and the world crucified to me. But the multitudes that were so dear to Christ shall not be less dear to me. If I cannot prevent their moral suicide, I shall at least baptize them with my human tears. I want no blessing that I cannot share. I seek no spirituality that I must win at the cost of forgetting that men and women are lost and without hope. If in spite of all I can do they will sin against light and bring upon themselves the displeasure of a holy God, then I must not let them go their sad way unwept. I scorn a happiness that I must purchase with ignorance. I reject a heaven that I must enter by shutting my eyes to the sufferings of my fellowmen. I choose a broken heart rather than any happiness that ignores the tragedy of human life and human death. Though I, through the grace of God in Christ, no longer lie under Adam’s sin, I would still feel a bond of compassion for all of Adam’s tragic race, and I am determined that I shall go down to the grave or up into God’s heaven mourning for the lost and the perishing.
—from The Set of the Sail and The Next Chapter After the Last. Originally published in The Alliance Witness, November 11, 1987
inFocus In the Domincan Republic, a building is being constructed to house short-term missions teams that will support longterm projects like education in multiple trades and businesses for plastic recycling, furniture making, and fish farming. Alliance workers have been ministering to the construction workers building this new space, and a few have already accepted Christ as their Savior. Photo by Stephanie Reindel
This photo: Nurses and doctors at an Alliance hospital in West Africa focus on holistic care, bringing physical and spiritual healing to all in need.
ULTIMATE HEALING Witnessing the Lord transform hearts and bodies
by Hannah Ader
ealing is often tangible; it’s evidence that something miraculous has taken place—that the good has displaced the bad. It’s a hope many are on their knees to see fulfilled and a miracle that most long to witness. For some, though, healing is one of the sole reasons the gospel is embraced. In West Africa, where a C&MA hospital has been up and running for the last 15 years, Alliance international workers are working hard to heal physical bodies while spreading the good news that will restore hearts and souls. In a hospital, there is undeniable hope that healing is a common occurrence. However, Anthony,* one of the international workers who serves in the hospital, finds that the subject of healing can be tricky, especially if you’re in medicine—often it’s hard to balance believing in the power of science to heal while also trusting that the Lord is the ultimate Healer. “When we talk about healing, we’re not always talking about a cure,” Anthony says. “A cure is the complete eradication of disease. Yes, there’s a physical element to healing, but there’s also a social, mental, emotional, and spiritual aspect of healing.” Where we might look at an illness or a handicap and long for physical healing, the Lord might see an oppor-
tunity for not only physical healing but healing of more of our layers—all for His glory. “And I think God is actually more interested in healing all those layers,” says Anthony. “And He knows far better than we do what that looks like.” A POOR PROGNOSIS The international workers at the hospital, including Anthony, had to leave West Africa in May due to safety issues. Along with uprooting their lives from the place they called home—the place where the Lord called them—they also had to leave their patients and their faith family and develop a plan for long-term housing for some. Ania* was one of them. Ania suffers from epilepsy, and while tending to a fire, she had a seizure, fell into the flame, and was severely burned. There was not even enough good skin available to do a graft—a procedure that takes healthy skin to cover unhealthy skin so it heals faster. After a year and a half of treatment, her progress suddenly stalled—her remaining wounds would not heal. Anthony and his team were terribly frustrated. After taking another look, they felt like there was finally enough healthy skin to do a graft. There was an incred-
ible sense of hope the first few days after her surgery. Ania’s skin seemed to be healing properly. “We thought, ‘Oh Lord, thank You. This is amazing. She’s going to be healed. She can go home before we leave. This is going to be wonderful,’” Anthony remembers. But suddenly, as quickly as the hope came, it diminished. The graft was failing, and Ania’s skin looked worse and worse. It was almost as if Ania had just come to the hospital. She needed a miracle.
The Lord healed Ania’s burned skin, and while she stayed at the hospital, He also healed her heart. For more than a year and a half, Ania was in so much pain that it was difficult for her to attend the hospital chapel services. Now, she regularly attends chapel, praising the Lord. “Wow God—you moved in such a key way,” Anthony says. “She’s a different person because of it. She feels the tangible love of God in that.” Healing of the physical body often brings challenges, so much so that we, from our limited human perspectives, can’t possibly see how anything will work. Anthony explains this, saying:
A MIRACLE IN THE MAKING As the weeks after her skin graft surgery slowly trudged on, not much was changing. Healing was still far off. After two weeks, there was little sign that some of the skin was coming back. But by week three, shortly before the Alliance team was leaving the country, Ania’s wounds suddenly started healing. “This is miraculous,” Anthony remembers thinking. “This is totally different than what we thought was going to happen.” Ania’s burns had marred her body so badly that she was able to walk only while using a walker—she could do no more. A few weeks after her surgery, however, she was walking freely, moving in ways that she had been unable to move for more than two years. Healing was present. “In these kinds of cases, yes, we did a surgical intervention, but was it the surgery that healed or was it God?” asks Anthony. “We don’t even know what to say, so you have to give credit to God because either way He just moved in the natural and allowed our feeble attempts to actually succeed, or maybe He just decided, ‘Hey, I’m going to take care of this.’ “Either way, Ania is a different person. Either way, she got to see God move on her behalf.”
Sometimes we ask, “Lord, how long can we continue pouring this treatment into this person?” And then all of a sudden it works. And I think that extravagant investment was exactly the point. I think God wanted them to know that they were worth it. I think God wanted them to know that He was willing to call people from all over and bring them even into a place that was very hard—bring us from America into a place where people were under threat, under risk, so that they would know the extravagant love He has for them because that’s part of their healing. When you come from that kind of neglected background where your husband doesn’t love you and is not willing to actually get you the medical treatment that you need, and God brings you into a hospital for two years where people are taking care of you, and it doesn’t seem like anything’s working, and then all of a sudden in that instant He gives you better—what a testimony that God’s love doesn’t let you down; it doesn’t fail you like your family has failed you.
Photography by Ewien van Bergeijk
Healing has power, but the true power is in the Healer, and the Healer heals all wounds.
Ultimate healing comes from the love of the Father, from His miraculous, zealous love and hope that speak to us through His whispers. Jesus sometimes invites us into someone else’s story, into someone else’s healing. He invites us there not because He needs us but because He wants us to be there alongside Him. Healing has power, but the true power is in the Healer, and the Healer heals all wounds.
A DEEPER HEALING The Lord brought healing to Ania’s life, but the real healing she needed ran much deeper than just her burns. Even in the years prior to her accident, Ania had been neglected by her husband, suffered from seizures, and was hardly supported by her family. She needed Jesus more than she knew, more than just physically. “I think God is after the healing of all those layers in that person’s life,” says Anthony. “And while we want a cure, He wants that healing.”
Hannah Ader is the content writer for the Alliance National Office. She has been living in Lexington, Kentucky, while pursuing a masters of theological studies at Asbury Theological Seminary. *Names changed
ADVOCACY FOR THE FOREIGNER Caring for the legal needs of immigrants
by Jessica Weaver
hen Marsha walked down a dusty road in West Africa to her wedding, she wasn’t worried about getting dirt on her white dress. “I was marrying the love of my life,” Marsha says. “It was simple and beautiful.” But Marsha and her husband, Daniel, didn’t know the journey ahead would keep them apart for years as they waited for the agonizingly slow immigration process in the United States to reunite them.
DESTINY HELPERS Marsha, from Pittsburgh, met Daniel online, and the two prayed together about whether they should start a relationship. After a year, Marsha traveled to Nigeria to meet him. “When I saw him at the airport, I knew this is where God wanted me to be,” Marsha says. Daniel and Marsha initially applied for a fiancé visa, but financial limitations from Marsha’s teaching income caused them to miss their paperwork deadline. They were devastated but decided to get married in October 2019 and started a marriage-based petition. For help with this process, Marsha and Daniel partnered with Christian Immigration Advocacy Center (CIAC) as their legal representatives. CIAC was started at Allegheny Center Alliance Church (ACAC) in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, by Glenn Hanna, then the missions pastor, who wanted to address the growing needs of refugees and immigrants in the community. Pastor Hanna learned that the
overwhelming gap in the community was for compassionate, high-quality, and affordable help with immigration law. In 2013, a group of volunteers began offering limited pro bono legal aid while beginning the long process of becoming a nonprofit and receiving accreditation through the Department of Justice. This accreditation, which they received in May 2018, allows non-attorneys to be trained to provide legal aid, represent clients in cases, and submit applications, specifically for low-income immigrants and refugees. During the past three years, CIAC has served more than 500 clients from 40 countries. For Marsha, a social worker and mother of two, CIAC was a “destiny helper sent by God.” “We had really high hopes about CIAC because we had heard such wonderful things,” Marsha says. “From the beginning, I knew you guys could help us. The first time I met with you, I knew I belonged here. At the end of our first meeting, we prayed together, and I was so encouraged. I could tell you believed in our story.” CIAC’s vision is to advance the gospel of Jesus Christ by loving refugees and immigrants and enabling churches to welcome their sojourner neighbors. While CIAC staff meet with clients to discuss complicated legal issues, their mission for each interaction is to show Jesus’ love. CIAC provides a variety of services, including naturalization and family-based petitions and green cards. They hope to obtain funding in the near future to add more
Photography by Liz Egbert
services including asylum and removal/ deportation representation—which is not currently available in the Pittsburgh area. A private attorney can charge thousands of dollars for representation, so CIAC raises support from donors and foundations to keep legal fees low, with the goal of becoming pro bono. When COVID-19 closed offices, CIAC pivoted to a virtual legal ministry and continued to serve clients remotely; and since immigration law is federal, CIAC is able to provide legal services to clients in any state. This has allowed them Opposite: Immigrants and refugees from all over the world are receiving the legal help they need from CIAC to unite their families, escape dangerous situations, and legally live in the United States. to serve a larger group of the more than Above: Jessica Weaver (left) and others at CIAC are working hard to provide afforable care to immigrants 40 million people in the United States and refugees. who were born in another country. While specializing in legal work, CIAC strives to go above and beyond in assisting cliFor Blaine Workman, executive pastor at ACAC, the ents to navigate the systems and language of their new close proximity to CIAC within the church building is home. This can involve calling a city government office an asset to the church and to CIAC. to advocate for a photo ID or submitting paperwork to “At ACAC, we saw the launch of CIAC as a significant an embassy for replacement birth certificates. CIAC also way to love those least served in our own community connects clients with trauma-informed medical provid- while also advancing the cause of missions to unreached ers and counseling services. peoples,” Blaine says. “And by housing the CIAC offices in the same general area as our ministry offices, our A COMPASSIONATE HEART whole staff regularly comes into contact with refugee Interim Executive Director Rogerio Torres, an immi- and immigrant families who live near the church. What grant from Brazil, recently moved from Kentucky to a blessing it is to know that, for many of these families, Pittsburgh to work full time with CIAC. This summer, their visit to CIAC marks the first time they have ever set he worked with a woman who had married a U.S. citizen foot in a Christian church.” who began to abuse her shortly after their marriage. She Rogerio is fluent in Portuguese and Spanish, allowing was at risk of losing her status to remain in the United him to service the needs of those from Latin and South States, so Rogerio walked alongside her in the stress- America. However, CIAC spends about $5,000 a year ful and emotional process of filing paperwork to stay. to cover the cost of translation into other languages, inThrough Zoom meetings and phone calls, Rogerio was cluding Bhutanese, Nepali, Arabic, and Swahili. Other able to gather the woman’s information and documents legal costs include document translation and postage, as despite COVID restrictions. the immigration office requires paper copies of all apRogerio is also an ordained C&MA pastor and sees his plications. Those costs are covered by donations. dual roles in his job as God’s way of filling a practical need while giving an opportunity to pray for clients to WALKING IN FAITH accept the love of Jesus. For many CIAC clients, like Marsha and Daniel, the wait CIAC also desires to provide churches with the knowl- for a decision on their applications can be challenging edge and wisdom to show Jesus’ heart to the immigrants and discouraging. The average processing time for a and refugees in their congregations and communities, green card application is about 18 months, and it costs regardless of race, religion, or nationality. about $1,300. In addition, immigrants must apply for “I have been helping immigrants since 2015 in Ken- travel documents, work permits, and other authorizatucky and joined CIAC more than a year ago with the tions. CIAC’s legal representatives are available for supdesire to not only provide legal help but to do so with port and prayer throughout the extensive process. a compassionate heart,” says Rogerio. “I want to help Daniel still lives in West Africa as the couple waits for the our clients seeking not only a U.S. citizenship but also U.S. government to process their marriage-based paperwork a heavenly citizenship. I can sympathize with them; I for Daniel to come to the United States. An already expenhave been in their shoes since I am myself an immigrant.” sive and arduously long process was slowed down even fur-
Jessica Weaver graduated with a journalism degree but was led by God to use her skills in the social work field and has worked with the homeless and addicts. She now serves with the Christian Immigration Advocacy Center providing legal aid to immigrants and refugees.
P E O P L E WE SERVE
My name is Rabia*. My family and I wandered through Egypt, Libya, Tunisia, Algeria, and Morocco on planes, boats, taxis, buses, and on foot, fleeing our home in the Middle East. It’s not because we want to flee. We had no choice. There is war in our homeland. There is danger, death, persecution, sadness, grief, fear . . . We had to get out and say goodbye to our country, our culture, our family. We arrived in Western Europe after a very hard journey, but my homeland is forever in my blood, though it feels so far away. A dilapidated apartment building that was slated for demolition became our “home.” About 200 refugees from our hometown also live there. It became a piece of home, though it will never be the same. The newspapers reported that our neighborhood is a breeding ground to recruit young men to be terrorists. I am scared for our husbands, for our sons. This is why we left home. But The Alliance has come alongside to help us. These volunteers have provided things we need to live: food, clothes, school supplies, toys, appliances, rugs, mattresses, and even diapers and sanitary napkins for the women. They share their faith with us and have become like sisters and friends. *Name changed If you would like to support ministries to refugees like Rabia, consider praying and giving to the Great Commission Fund.
Photo by Daron Short
ther by the COVID-19 pandemic, which closed embassies around the world for months and created years-long backlogs for visa appointments. As of August 2021, Daniel is approved to immigrate but is waiting on a visa interview at the embassy. “The easy thing would have been to give up after five years of waiting,” Marsha says. “I know God wants us together to do ministry. Daniel covers me spiritually and prays for me often. This is more than a visa.” Daniel and Marsha have still found ways to do ministry together from more than 4,000 miles away. Daniel works at a church in Gambia, assisting pastors and using his own money to buy supplies for the church. Marsha and Daniel worked together to raise money to buy chairs for the church. When Daniel didn’t have a truck to transport the newly purchased chairs, he carried them himself a few at a time over several days. Daniel hopes to use his teaching degree to start a ministry in the United States to work with foster children, with the desire to share Christ with people. Marsha has started a GoFundMe fundraiser to help support the local community and for Daniel’s living expenses while he waits to immigrate. “There is a unique call on my husband’s life and the strength of his relationship with God,” Marsha says. “I want to be a part of that story. My faith is not how much I tithe or show up at church or feed the poor; it is because I have a close and personal relationship with Jesus Christ.” Marsha said she wants others to learn from her journey to draw closer to God. “With Daniel and me, it has truly been a faith walk,” she says. “The entire time, God has been with us. He has provided. He has provided destiny helpers like CIAC. He opened so many doors, and that has built our faith and our relationship.”
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GATHERING THE SCATTERED Creating community for the diaspora
Above: Many immigrants and refugees in Europe feel isolated and lonely, so Alliance international workers have stepped in to bring them into true Christ-centered community.
by Hannah Packard
he first time Naima* came to Simon and Lydia’s house church, she told them she had decided to return to her former religion. Though Naima had chosen to follow Jesus years before, things became difficult. Doubts crept into her mind, and without being integrated into a church, Naima struggled with profound loneliness. So, when Lydia reached out to her about attending and helping prepare food for the house church, Naima reluctantly agreed, thinking, I’ll go this once. Then my obligation will be done, and I can let go.
THE WORK AMONG THE SCATTERED Simon and Lydia work among many others like Naima— the diaspora of 50 million immigrants and refugees who have come to Europe from North Africa and the Middle East. They minister primarily to Arabic speakers and those who follow the majority religion of their regions. Because many of these immigrants and refugees come from closed countries, they often have never had an opportunity to hear the gospel. “This is what keeps us awake at night,” Simon explains. “How are we going to engage these people? How are we going to take advantage of the freedom that’s in Europe to share Christ and make sure they’re understanding the gospel and that they have an opportunity to respond
and be gathered together?’” The house church has become an important part of Simon and Lydia’s ministry. Over the past several years, they have discovered a unique challenge that arises for these immigrants and refugees, like Naima, who choose to follow Jesus—they will often return to their former religion if they cannot find a genuine, Christ-centered community. Discipleship and gathering are essential to the sustainability of their new faith in Christ. Because of the COVID-19 pandemic, the feelings of isolation and loneliness have been compounded for many, especially those who are already far from home. When Simon and Lydia began their house church during the pandemic, they were surprised to see how much hunger and vulnerability was present, even from their very first gathering. God planted the seeds and brought it all together, and He continues to nurture it. Since September 2020, several people have come to know the Lord at the house church. Over the past year, every time COVID restrictions have lifted where they live, Simon and Lydia have been able to baptize someone! THE POWER OF JESUS IN COMMUNITY Despite Naima’s initial doubts and hesitancy about attending the house church, she went. Lydia told me the story:
Photography by Stephanie Reindel
The minute Naima stepped in, she met others who have gone on a similar journey, who have struggled with similar questions—people she can relate to. The very first meal that we had around the table, they talked about the dreams and experiences they’ve had in coming to Jesus. As she started sharing hers, I think it confirmed to her that it was a genuine experience. Week after week, she would come with questions, expressing her doubts, and the group welcomed her and prayed for her. It’s been beautiful. In a conversation after a house church meeting, she said, like Peter after his denial of Christ, “I’m so sorry that I ever turned my back on Jesus, and I’m in now, whatever the Lord asks of me. I even think that He may want me to be a missionary.” In a period of five weeks, she went from turning back to her old religion to saying she thinks the Lord is calling her to be a missionary. This is the power of Jesus in community. She’s now invited more people into the house church than any other person there! For many immigrants and refugees, receptivity to the gospel heightens in difficult and unfamiliar surroundings. God uses the scattering of people across the world to gath-
HO W TO G E T IN VO LV E D Alliance international workers like Simon and Lydia are serving among the diaspora all throughout Europe, engaging primarily with immigrants and refugees from North Africa and the Middle East. However, the need is still great. Here are three ways for you to get engaged:
Photos courtesy of Fred and Cheryl Bassler
Considering in prayer whether the Lord might be calling you to go and serve as an international worker. Joining us in prayer that more refugees and immigrants will experience and receive Christ’s love for them and that the Lord of the harvest will continue to send out laborers into His harvest field (see Matthew 9:37–38). Giving to the Great Commission Fund, which supports workers like Simon and Lydia and their ministries. Scan the QR on the left to give now!
er them to Himself. “From one man he made every nation of men, that they should inhabit the whole earth; and he determined the times set for them and the exact places where they should live. God did this so that men would seek him and perhaps reach out for him and find him, though he is not far from each one of us” (Acts 17:26–27). This is Simon and Lydia’s prayer, that the people they serve would seek God, reach out for Him, and find Him. Once they meet Jesus, it’s genuine community that helps them grow. As Simon shared with me, genuine community doesn’t mean just meeting for an hour once a week—it’s extended times of relational connection; it’s walking out life together in a new family. Simon says, Our vision is gathering the scattered around Jesus. It has always been the gathering of people who have been scattered, but gathering around Jesus, it’s a new family. That’s the beauty of this— people have lost their families and communities. They’re coming and finding a new family to be a part of. As followers of Jesus, we have been commissioned to go and make disciples in all the world, and discipleship necessitates community. The need for genuine community—for belonging—isn’t exclusive to the diaspora of immigrants and refugees in Europe, however—that need is everywhere around us. In an age of global connection, there are millions of people who find themselves profoundly disconnected from genuine community. For people like me who have grown up in an individualistic culture, it can be easy to underestimate the fact that God made us to function and flourish together. He made us to be a body, comprised of individual parts that make up a greater whole. It’s easy for me to think I can operate and thrive alone, but what hand or foot can survive when it is cut off from the body? I am thankful for stories like Naima’s and the work of those like Simon and Lydia, which remind me that Jesus is close to those who are weary and burdened (see Matthew 11:28), and we serve the God who sets the lonely in families (see Psalm 68:6). 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. *Names changed
HARVEST TIME IN CAMBODIA Church planting in lockdown
by Julie Daubé
While this is reason to rejoice, Christians in Cambodia today number only 2 percent of the population. “Churches are continually growing, but 49 out of 50 Cambodians don’t know Christ,” said Alliance international worker David Manfred, who recently served as field director. Nonetheless, God has been at work in incredible ways. During the past year, The Alliance in Cambodia saw a significant church-planting boom with 20 fellowships started. With a total of 200 churches in the KEC, this represents a 10 percent growth in the number of Alliance church groups since COVID-19 started. Soeuth and Syna Lao, who fled Cambodia as refugees and later returned to their homeland as Alliance international workers, have seen firsthand the wonders God has done. After serving in Poipet—Cambodia’s “Wild
hen Alliance missionaries arrived in Cambodia in 1923, they were the first long-term Protestant workers there. They were evacuated in 1975 when the Khmer Rouge took over. By the end of 1979, 80 percent of Cambodian believers had been martyred. Yet God did not forget the beleaguered nation. 1993 marked the rebirth of the C&MA national church in Cambodia with the organization of the Khmer Evangelical Church (KEC) with 15 churches. From the 2,000 believers who survived the Killing Fields, the Evangelical Church in Cambodia has since grown to more than 200,000 members.
THE CHURCH IN CA MBODIA Believers: 300,000 countrywide (2% of the population) Ethnic Groups: 42, of which 30 are unreached, Khmer being the largest ethnic group Church Planting: 20 new churches planted since COVID began; 10 planted by the Laos Alliance Church Network: Over 200 Alliance fellowships countrywide with 10% growth in recent years COVID: Half of all Christian missionaries departed due to the pandemic; The Alliance remained and saw an unprecedented harvest.
This photo: Despite the thousands of believers who were martyred in the 1970s, the church in Cambodia has rebounded from 2,000 members to more than 300,000.
Photo by Alliance Video Team
West”—the Laos are now ministering in Anlong Veng, where Pol Pot died and where many of his followers reside. Long considered Cambodia’s spiritually dark area, this province is now seeing a spiritual harvest that is nothing short of miraculous.
you want me to see today?’” They take every opportunity to share the gospel, whether riding home from class, at the gas pump—anywhere. “Whatever they learn from us, they pass on to others. They take the Great Commission literally; they go and tell everyone they meet. They take God’s Word at face value, and He does amazing things. Every time our students pray, you can feel it in the atmosphere.” One woman had been chronically ill and bed-ridden for years. Her believing family members told her, “Our God is so powerful—why not give Him a try?” Immediately after they prayed for her, she was able to stretch her leg. A week later, she was walking. As a result of her miraculous healing, all nine of her adult children came to the Lord. Another woman was miraculously healed
TAKING THE GREAT COMMISSION LITERALLY When Soeuth and Syna arrived in Anlong Veng in 2017, five house churches existed. At this writing, a total of 21 house churches have been established. All the fellowships planted there since 2017 were started by students in the Laos’ discipleship classes and those of their ministry partners. “All our students have the same spiritual DNA,” says Syna. “They begin each day by asking, ‘Jesus, who do
GENEROSITY SPEAKS VOLUMES After COVID hit, the Laos canceled their weekly discipleship class in compliance with safety protocols. Their students were at a loss. “Teacher, what will we do? We committed this day to God, and now we cannot study.” The Laos told them to go and share all they had learned
W I TCHCR A FT V ILLAGE
with their neighbors. The students did so, bringing bags of rice to each household as the Laos have often done. In a country where most people live hand-to-mouth, such generosity speaks volumes to the transforming work of the gospel. Once when the Laos surprised a family of new believers with a gift of rice, they burst into tears; they had been running out of food and had just prayed for God’s provision. The March/April 2021 issue of Alliance Life reported that 1,158 people prayed to receive Jesus from March 2020–December 31, 2020, and a total of nine new village house churches were planted. As of July 2021, a tenth house church was birthed. All 10 congregations have been started since COVID-19 began. In May 2021, as the Laos were preparing to leave Cambodia for home assignment, it was an emotional time. They
raculously healed through his prayers—including some who had been blinded after spells were cast on them—villagers began flocking to Lang’s cramped house for Bible studies.
by Syna Lao For generations, the people of Pume Thmey village had lived under Satan’s bondage, practicing voodoo and black magic. When offended, villagers would seek revenge on their enemies by hiring local witch doctors to cast spells on them. Walking through the streets in surrounding areas, one could easily sense the presence of evil. Residents were suspicious of strangers, and fear was written all over their faces. A few villagers confided in hushed tones to Christian visitors, “Every household in the entire village has lost one or more family members to witchcraft.” These statements were confirmed by the many young widows and orphans throughout the village. In March 2021, despite COVID restrictions, the hope of Jesus Christ reached this village. Lang, a timid student in my Abundant Life class who is from Pume Thmey, courageously chose to bring the light of the gospel into his village. Using our lessons and his extensive notes, he shared the good news with everyone he met. At first, the villagers were hesitant to accept Lang’s persistent invitations. But upon seeing several people mi-
As more people kept coming, Lang became overwhelmed. In tears, he shared in class about the urgent needs and asked for help. After earnest prayers, God answered and sent Po, the son of Pastor Dy—one of our ministry partners—and his wife, Sony, to help Lang. Since then, Po has been leading a team of five emerging leaders to help teach Bible studies and lead prayer services in Pume Thmey twice weekly. As the meetings continue, God does amazing things in this village every week. “The place is always packed with at least 35–40 children and adults,” Po reported. Lang added, “Last week, a child of about two years old was brought to us for prayer. This little guy was crying nonstop because of painful abscesses, sores, and wounds all over his body. We counted, and there were 24 wounds in all! At his mother’s request, we prayed for the boy’s healing that Tuesday night. On Friday when we returned, his body was completely clean! We searched and searched, but not one fresh or old wound was found!” Those who saw the healing were impressed by the power of God.
Photo by Jordan Christopher
after being prayed for, and 19 of her immediate family members received Jesus as their Savior through her testimony. A common biblical practice among those whom the Laos and their partners have been discipling is to bind the works of the devil—including the many Buddhist shrines dotting the countryside. “Our students’ most famous line is, ‘I bind you in the name of Jesus.’ Even three-year-old children do this because they hear their parents and grandparents saying it.”
traveled to remote villages where local Alliance house churches have been planted, saying their goodbyes and introducing believers to key church leaders. “Some of the new believers thought we were abandoning them and said, ‘I just joined the family of God, and now you are leaving me!’ Repeatedly, we assured them of God’s protection over their lives. Many asked us, ‘Before you go, can you share the gospel with my family?’” As the Laos fellowshipped with local believers, their relatives and friends also joined the worship services. “At the end of each meeting, at least three to five new people prayed to receive Jesus!” Soeuth and Syna reAbove: In the last year, more than a thousand people have surrendered their lives to Christ in Cambodian port. “After we had visited only four villages and many have been baptized. villages, 37 people prayed to receive Jesus in one week! Then, on May 28, while visiting Rohaal village, where seven new people were added to the Kingdom, we re- total of 68 people had invited Jesus into their hearts in ceived the following invitation from one believer: ‘Please the last few weeks. The Laos said, “In our 26 years of go and share this wonderful news with my family. They ministry, we were never so excited and have never seen live in another village. Please go. It is not too far. You so many miracles. There is still intense opposition, and came all this way here to visit us, so why not go just a lit- Satan doesn’t want us here—but God is working. Ministle farther?’” The Laos drove the 27 kilometers on bumpy tering in this area is like the icing on the cake.” roads. “Upon our arrival at the new village, more than 50 people were already waiting for us!” THE JESUS PEOPLE Without the generosity of Alliance people, the Laos’ ICING ON THE CAKE work would not be possible. Your gifts to the Great Responding to their desperate spiritual hunger, Soeuth Commission Fund are making an eternal difference in shared an evangelistic message with the receptive au- the lives of those who would otherwise have no hope for dience. At the end of the service, 23 adults and teens a future in this world, let alone the promise of heaven. and 17 children prayed to receive Jesus. “This marked Soeuth and Syna, along with other Alliance global teams, the birth of another also rely on people who give to specific needs. One exhouse church. Thmal ample is a water-filter project in Cambodia for which Dach village (the lit- the “Our Mission” ministry of Willard (Ohio) Alliance eral translation means Church has been raising funds. Upon receiving the fil‘Broken Road’) became ters, local village leaders distribute them to needy famthe tenth house church ilies and invite them to listen to the good news. Overplanted in this region whelmed by the kindness of believers, recipients have since the beginning of been spreading the word throughout their communities, the COVID-19 pan- saying, “The Jesus people love us so much that they gave demic. Our God surely us this water filter! Come listen to them!” has a way of making Julie Daubé is the assistant editor for Alliance Life something good out of and serves on the Communications Storytelling the mess of this world.” Team at the C&MA National Office. She and her husEven while the Laos were waiting in Phnom Penh to deband, Alex, are relocating to Columbus, Ohio, at the end of the year. part for the United States, local church leaders in Cambodia were calling the couple daily to report that more people had prayed to receive Jesus. As of July 2021, a
Our God surely has a way of making something good out of the mess of this world.
YOU BROUGHT US JESUS
Compiled by Alliance Life staff
Each summer, Alliance international workers return to the States to worship together and prepare for their home assignments. As they gather that week, they share stories of their work among lost, suffering, and overlooked peoples in some of the world’s most spiritually desolate places. Below are some of these stories. To support these and other Alliance workers in their ministries, please consider a gift to the Alliance Year-End Offering using the back-cover insert.
A glimpse into the lives of our workers
—by an Alliance international worker serving in West Africa
Photos by Ewien van Bergeijk (left), Alliance Video Team (top right), and Rick Hemphill (bottom right)
TIMIDITY TURNED TO CONFIDENCE Africans are natural-born storytellers, so for the last few years we’ve been telling Bible stories and training African believers to tell them as well. One day we did a Bible story training in a rural Bible school. The church where we trained them was lopsided, with one side full of women and the other with only a few rows of men. The women were so timid, and they hardly said anything with men in the room. We were teaching them simple stories—Jesus calming the storm, healing the bleeding woman—and we had a time to share testimonies. One of the young student pastors said, “I know this is a good thing to learn because last year my wife had this training, and she started telling Bible stories to people who visited our home. I thought it was silly and told her to stop telling Bible stories because they just needed to learn doctrine and read their Bibles. But she continued to tell the stories and led two men in our village to the Lord.” Bible storying is effective. Even in their timid nature and lack of schooling, these women have learned to tell Bible stories with confidence and have led people to the Lord.
BEAMING WITH JOY Right before COVID-19, we had the opportunity to be at a birthday party for a young mother, Karla*. After we had cake and sang, Karla’s husband, Daniel, asked, “Would you please share blessings with my wife?” All the believers around the room spoke blessings over Karla, and she started crying. “Don’t worry,” Daniel said. “She’s not crying because she’s sad—she’s crying out of happiness because you brought us Jesus, and it’s made all the difference in her life.” I will never forget Daniel’s face just beaming with the joy of that new love in Christ. We have the opportunity to see lots more people who need the love of Jesus. —by an Alliance international worker serving in north and central Asia
BRAVERY FROM THE HOLY SPIRIT Let me tell you two stories from our first term. The first day started like any other. I went about my morning routine and got on the bus. About halfway to school, I saw a line of fire up ahead. The bus stopped. The next thing I knew armed men with assault rifles were banging on the bus, shooting in the air. The bus driver turned around as quickly as he could, rushing back home. A few months later, two weeks before Christmas, 15 students were sitting on our living room floor. One of them stood up and said, “Can you tell us what happens at Christmas?” There I sat in front of a bunch of kids, reading them the Christmas story and telling them about Jesus and His birth. What great stories! I wish they were mine. Those are the stories of my four-year-old daughter. People ask us why we return to a place where we face danger, where our home was destroyed in an explosion, where we have threats against our lives, where we face opposition to a new church plant. We go because we see the seeds of the gospel moving forward, not just in our city but in our own family. We are followers of Christ to the ends of the earth—and with our very lives if necessary. So we will go back to our field with the bravery, faith, and courage that can come only from the Holy Spirit. —by an Alliance international worker serving in the Middle East
DIVINE ENCOUNTER I was running down one side of the river near our home in the early morning when I saw a group of young men circled around another man who was writhing on the ground. My first reaction as a woman in the dark was to move to the other side of the river. But God was saying, “Go and pray for that guy.” I was literally shaking from fear. But I walked up to this group of men and asked, “Can I pray for him?” His friends agreed, so my heart still racing, I got down on the ground and put my hand on his shoulder. I prayed a very simple prayer—“In Jesus’ name, be gone.” And the man just dropped, totally limp. All the young men circled around him were stunned and said, “Thank you so much.” Still shaking, I said, “This had absolutely nothing to do with me. There is someone who we both know in our faiths called Jesus and He is the One who heals, and if you ever have anything that you need to come and talk about, we live just down this road.” We don’t know the end of the story for these young men, but God is doing some amazing things in our region. We just praise God for His healing and how He works through His Word.
BACKYARD BAPTISM While Prima, an immigrant from North Africa, was in graduate school in England, she heard the gospel for the first time and immediately raised her hand to receive Christ. Shortly after, Prima found herself in my city in France, never having been discipled, while the world was shutting down with the first wave of COVID-19 in 2020. Coming out of lockdown, Prima was spiritually hungry. She had been given a Bible, but no one had ever told her how to pray, how to hear God’s voice, how to experience freedom from sin, or how to forgive. I met Prima at the international church in our city, and we started meeting regularly on the phone and in person. She applied everything I told her and started telling her friends about how they could experience freedom if they forgave the people in their lives who had wronged them. We invited Prima to a home group in our house, where she met another believer from her home country and city for the first time. Knowing a sister in Christ from her home city reassured Prima that God cared about her. As she heard about baptism that afternoon, Prima decided she wanted her new family in Christ to bear witness to her faith before she moved to yet another city. We had the privilege to baptize her in her backyard in a little purple pool soon after. —by an Alliance international worker serving in France *Names changed
Photos by Jenn Whiteman (top) and Alliance Video Team (bottom)
—by an Alliance international worker serving in Asia/Pacific
“I will make you as a light for the nations, that my salvation may reach to the end of the earth.” — ISAIAH 49:6B (ESV)
From the birth of our movement, Alliance people have been drawn to the hard places—where others haven’t gone. We intentionally seek out the unseen, the forgotten, and the rejected in every community we serve. And God has uniquely empowered, equipped, and positioned us to reach them. This is what sets us apart. This Christmas, you can bring more of these dear ones into Christ’s eternal fold by supporting the Alliance Year-End Offering. When you give, you send more workers, plant more churches, disciple more new believers, and provide tangible help and enduring hope to the world’s remaining lost and overlooked. To support this year’s offering, scan the QR code to the left or see the insert that was wrapped into the back page of this magazine. To learn more or to download resources for your church, visit cmalliance.org/yearend
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: Video No. 98 Video No. 99
cmalliance.org/stumbo-video NOV/DEC 2021
Living through unexpected transition
by an Alliance international worker serving in Eastern Asia
n January 29, 2021, we were in San Francisco with 12 suitcases, negative COVID test results, expensive plane tickets, and visas in hand. After several months of delay, we were ready to return to our host country in East Asia. There was just one problem: our host country had not given us the green light to board the plane. We watched as everyone else checked their luggage, hoping and asking many to pray that permission would be granted in the final hour.
For reasons we will never know, it was not granted, and our wait to return continues even now. That day was the beginning of our family living like nomads: two to three days in one bed, two to three weeks in another. We had sold our car the day before the flight and turned in our townhouse keys. That day and the days following, I felt anxious, unsettled, and angry. That day was not unlike the experience of many international workers as we are at the
mercy of human governments and their policies more than ever before.
long we can stay in a certain place. I cannot control when governments will issue the appropriate visas for our family to return or if each new community we enter will welcome us or ignore us. Jesus invites me to continually surrender as He surrendered to the Father. I would love to know the times and dates of my life—even for just the coming winter season—then I could plan! If I could plan, then I could feel like I’m in control. But Jesus says it’s not for me to know the times and dates. I am simply to live in the power of the Holy Spirit as a witness of His goodness and grace (see Acts 1:7). Jesus also shows us the full extent of His surrender on the eve of His crucifixion when He cries out, “Father, not my will, but yours be done” (Luke 22:42).
JESUS THE NOMAD Our experience begs the question: How do we live well in a life of frequent and unexpected transition? Interestingly, Jesus’ three years of earthly ministry were all lived as a nomad. Jesus proclaimed, “Foxes have holes and birds of the air have nests, but the Son of Man has no place to lay his head” (Matt. 8:20). Never before had I taken this passage quite so literally. Jesus’ ministry took Him to over 20 different locations in three years. He spent 40 nights sleeping in a desert: perhaps a few nights in Peter’s home; some nights in Mary, Martha, and Lazarus’ home; a stormy night on a boat; and one excruciating night in the Garden of Gethsemane. The rest? Maybe He camped. Maybe He slept on someone’s extra bed mat. We don’t really know. Jesus understands this nomadic life. What could I learn from Him about how to live well in these months ahead? What did it mean to live like Jesus the nomad?
A SECURE IDENTITY Living nomadically means losing my sense of security. There is security in knowing I can take refuge in my own home. There is security in the familiarity of a community that knows you. There is security in knowing the grocery store, the shops, and the roads. Living nomadically often leaves me feeling untethered and insecure like a tent without pegs easily tossed about by the wind. But Jesus invites me to live securely in Him. Jesus often stated who He was. He refused to be defined by the thoughts of people in His hometown, the disciples, or the religious leaders of the day. Jesus rested securely in His identity as the Father’s Son. I, too, desire to rest securely in my identity as a child of God, dearly loved, called by name, and created with a purpose to do good works prepared in advance (see Ephesians 2:10). How did Jesus live as a nomad? Dependent, surrendered, and secure in His identity. Whether we find ourselves unexpectedly transitioning or having lived in the same home for 30 years, may we accept the invitation of Jesus, the Good Shepherd, to these fresh pastures of dependence, surrender, and security in Him.
DEPENDING ON THE FATHER Culturally, I, along with many other Americans, value my independence, my sense of control, and my sense of security. Although early first century small-town Jewish life was very different from today, I wonder if these same values challenged Jesus? From what we know, He spent almost three decades living in the same small town as a carpenter before entering three years of nomadic ministry. Did He, too, in His humanity, feel a loss of independence, control, and security? Living nomadically means a loss of independence. Accepting hospitality and generosity is often humbling. I am dependent on other people’s food, mattresses, timelines, and expectations for keeping them company. Although I’m incredibly grateful, it can be tiring. I also fight against the thought that I am a competent middle-aged adult who should be able to provide these things for my family without the help of others. Jesus invites me into dependence as He Himself modeled it both on others and on His Father. Choosing to be appropriately dependent on others mirrors the dependence I desire to have on the Father too. He reminds me that He is the vine, and I am a dependent branch. Apart from Him, I can do nothing (see John 15:5).
Illustration by Kenneth Crane
Jesus invites me to live securely in Him.
LOSING CONTROL Living nomadically means losing some sense of my control. Often, we cannot control how
YOUR GENEROSITY in action
YOU B R I N G H O P E TO RE F U G E E S
hahid* has always been the kind of person you can’t ignore. From the moment you meet him, his fast-paced American-accented English grabs your attention. His sharp mind and inquiring eyes draw you in. There is something genuine and intense about him. We first got to know Shahid through the English language classes our community center offers. Though born and raised in Yemen, he had fled the country’s war and arrived in our city in 2018 with the plan of bringing his wife and two children soon after. He is college educated and was a successful businessman in Yemen, yet in our country he worked as a gas station attendant, living on next-to-nothing and sending his wages home to keep his family from starving. But just as he had finally gathered enough money to pay for airfare for his family to be reunited, his world fell apart. His wife divorced him, took the travel money he had sent back, and abandoned their two children to the streets.
CARE FOR THE LEAST OF THESE While tragic, Shahid’s story is not uncommon among the refugees we serve. Families are torn apart by war, starvation, violence, death, and the loss of everything,
including hope. Our country of service has always been a home to refugees, including Palestinians, Iraqis, Somalis, Sudanese, Syrians, and now Yemenis. God has raised up His Church to care for the least of these through outreach programs in every Alliance fellowship—and through the long-term investment of the Alliance international workers you send. The avenues for our outreach are varied, encompassing medical, educational, developmental, and holistic ministries. A free medical clinic has addressed urgent needs for more than a decade, with special funding made available for a range of treatments. Preventative care is given in the form of coupons to purchase vegetables, as well as a free exercise program. Pregnant and nursing mothers are given loving care by our breastfeeding coach, while parents of special needs children find support and guidance in monthly physical therapy sessions. Educational programs are offered for a range of ages, including homework assistance, English literacy, and subsidized English courses. Training in the form of sewing workshops, photo editing classes, and entrepreneur seminars, plus coaching and micro-loans, provide skills to give refugee women a measure of financial security and independence.
Photo by Alliance Video Team
by an Alliance international worker serving in the Middle East
Opposite: Alliance international workers are providing holistic care for Yemeni refugees as they recover from war, discrimination, and starvation.
HOPE THROUGH HOLISTIC MINISTRY Ifrah is one of the women who saw a big change in her life through the exercise program. She has been struggling with infertility for 10 years; a tragic circumstance in the West, but in the Middle East it can ruin a woman’s life through social rejection and divorce. She spent month after month and all her money trying many treatments with no success. But as she chose to exercise and became motivated to eat well, she was encouraged by losing 15 pounds and saw a return to physical and emotional health. Her polycystic ovarian syndrome is being addressed, she is seeing the power of prayer in her life, and she finally has hope for a family of her own. Home visitations and Bible studies are the capstone of our holistic ministry, as we honor each refugee as a person precious to God and have an opportunity to share His unending love for them. “We are killing each other back in my home country,” another refugee shares. “But we come here, and Christians accept us with love and open arms.” LOVE THROUGH YOUR GENEROSITY One day, Shahid arrived at an English class distraught. Desperate to save his children from a war zone, he asked for our help. Thanks to your support, our community center was able to loan him money for his plane tickets, and he took the harrowing journey to bring his son (age 14) and daughter (age 8) to live with him. However, upon returning, he found that he no longer had a job; that month regional politics resulted in Yemenis being denied work visas. A newly single father, unemployed and grappling with the challenges of raising his daughter with special needs, Shahid has not given up. Instead, he has played a key role in supporting his fellow Yemeni refugees throughout the pandemic. Moreover, he finds solace in regularly studying the Bible with Alliance workers and in dreams where a man in shining white clothes urges him to keep seeking the truth. Shahid and Ifrah are just a few of the many refugees who have experienced the love of Jesus through the generosity of His Church. With your support, we will continue blessing these families through welcome packages for new arrivals, food coupons in partnership with local markets, seasonal distributions, and medical assistance for special needs. We will continue to make progress toward our long-term development goal of helping this community achieve self-sufficiency. Our English literacy, sewing, and photo editing workshops will provide critical skills training and an important sense of empowerment. And as our refugee friends begin to understand their value in Christ, genuine hope blossoms. *Name changed
EXTEND CHRIST’S LOVE TO REFUGEES Yemeni and other Middle Eastern refugee groups are among the most vulnerable populations in Jordan. Refugees like Shahid and Ifrah are excluded from many relief programs and sources of aid, but you can be there for them! You are invited to help provide for their immediate physical needs— opening opportunities for Alliance workers to extend Jesus’ love and bring true hope into their lives. To put your generosity into action, visit cmalliance.org/give; select “a project you love/Find a project;” and type in “Yemeni Refugee Outreach.”
DELIVER THE GOOD NEWS TO THE UNREACHED THIS CHRISTMAS
The Yemeni Refugee Outreach is one of 26 specific Alliance projects that are on the front line of mission. This Christmas, will you support one or more of these projects and pave the way for gospel access where it has never been before? Request your copy of the 2021-2022 Strategic Giving Opportunities Gift Catalog to learn more about these projects. Then pray and consider how God is stirring your heart and passion to join Him in bringing Joy to the World to All the World! Email firstname.lastname@example.org, or call toll free (866) 443-8262.
TO REACH THE WORLD WE BEGIN IN NEW YORK CITY NYACK.EDU NEW YORK CITY 646.378.6101 2 WASHINGTON STREET NEW YORK, NY 10004
PUERTO RICO 787.274.1142 URBANIZACIÓN ROOSEVELT CALLE JOSÉ CANALS #458 OFICINA 301 SAN JUAN, PR 00918
15 OF NYACK’S 50 PROGRAMS ARE FULLY ONLINE. STUDY FROM ANYWHERE IN THE WORLD! ALLIANCELIFE 30 NOV/DEC 2021
inFocus Rick Hemphill of the Alliance Marketing and Communications team prepares to hand out balloons at “Demo Day” in Reynoldsburg, Ohio. The event, which was well attended by the community, featured musical performances, games, food trucks, and words of welcome from President John Stumbo and Reynoldsburg Mayor Joe Begeny—and culminated with the demolition of the vacant K-mart building to make way for the new U.S. Alliance National Office. Photo by Olivia McCash
inFocus A young woman weaves a traditional fabric that represents the unique cultural identity of her East Asian village.
Photo by Samo Zeal
PRAYER IS PRIMARY Requests from our Alliance family
JAPAN “What’s your weakness?” my friend Takahashi* asked me over coffee. He had just confided that he lost his job, and I was empathizing with him. Caught off guard by the personal question, I fumbled to respond. I had no idea what to say, so I prayed desperately. I was reminded of when the Lord taught me to ground my identity in Christ instead of my performance. I shared this with Takahashi, who said my story helped him. He also let me pray for him right there in the coffee shop— which is very rare in Japan. Private and reserved, Japanese people find it especially hard to share emotions and potentially embarrassing information, as image and saving face are highly valued in their culture. There are hundreds of people here who have real struggles. Few have someone in whom they can openly confide, much less a friend who will share biblical truths in response to life’s challenges. Your prayers open doors for such conversations. Pray that through our regular activities, our team will deepen our relationships with people like Takahashi and develop new ones—giving us more opportunities to share Christ through what He has done in our lives. *Name changed
feed a family of four for a week. We are thankful for the support of U.S. Alliance churches and the Alliance World Fellowship, which made this possible. Continue to pray for Breath of Life and the Circle of Hope as they minister Christ’s love to those in need. —Bob and Cheryl Fugate
GABON Suzanne, a 63-year-old widow, was a patient at Bongolo Hospital’s eye clinic. Her husband died after she went blind due to cataracts, and her children abandoned her. Unable to attend church anymore because of her blindness, Suzanne sank into depression and fell away from God. She was living alone in her own personal darkness in a remote village, eating ants in her food because she couldn’t see them. Then Suzanne had cataract surgery at Bongolo. She can now see again, work, and attend church. Pray that God will send patients to Bongolo whom He has prepared to hear the gospel and those we can help the most medically. Pray for success in all our surgeries, for the Spirit to guide our conversations with patients, and for our staff to always act in Christ’s love toward one another and our patients.
—Eric and Wendy Hofman
MEXICO Praise God for the growth of the South Pointe Church-Planting Project in Guadalajara this past year. In August, 19 people were baptized in a combined service of our two Breath of Life congregations with at least 189 in attendance. Several attendees said yes to Jesus during the service, and another five asked to be baptized. At this writing, the Purepecha congregation has doubled from 35 to 70. We are also outgrowing the tent we use for evangelistic dinners and combined services. During the third wave of COVID-19, 35 families asked the Circle of Hope women’s center—an Alliance outreach in an area with little gospel access—and the church for help with food. Some who received assistance were from the church family; others were friends of neighbors who had heard about the food distribution. Each bag, which included Scripture tracts, could
Pray for Bongolo Hospital staff as they minister to patients with Christ’s compassion.
ALLIANCE FAMILY NEWS From around the block to the ends of the earth
TO THE FIELD BOSNIA
Mark D. and Kathleen E. Eikost, in July. The Eikosts are involved in church planting and leadership development. CAMBODIA
Bounoeuy and Chanthan Kes, in July. The Keses are involved in leadership development. Kandi Y. Lay, in July. Kandi is involved in leadership development and discipleship ministries.
Jeffrey A. and Heather A. Williams, in July. The Williamses are the field director couple and involved in leadership development. FRANCE (ENVISION)
Aaron and Kelly Winn and family, in August. The Winns are site associates for Envision France. GERMANY (ENVISION)
Stephen W. and Jennie L. Jones and family, in July. The Joneses are site associates for Envision Berlin and are involved in next-generation leadership development.
Michael A. and Elissa J. Picconatto and family, in July. The Picconattos are Envision site coordinators and are involved in next-generation leadership development and engaging the artistic community. GUINEA CONAKRY TEAM
Arnold R. and Cheryl R. Solvig, in July. The Solvigs are involved in administration, business management, and discipleship ministries.
Marvin D. and Hayley Pitman and family, in July. The Pitmans are involved in relief and development ministries. JAPAN
Donald D. and Hazel Schaeffer, in July. The Schaeffers are involved in administration, leadership development, and women’s ministries. Nghi and Jessica P. Tran and family, in July. The Trans are involved in language study.
Grant C. Goins, pastor, Richland (Wash.) C&MA Church
Myron J. Heckman, interim pastor, New Life Christian Church, Hudson, N.H. Ronald A. Higey, director of pastoral care for Tenn., Ala., and western Fla., The Alliance South
Cassandra L. House, other ministry, Rocky Mountain District Jason Hovde, pastor, Oasis Church, Loxahatchee, Fla.
Sandra C. Kang, special assignment—director of Donor Development, Central Pacific District
Nareth May, association president, the CEC (Cambodian) Association
Douglas R. Anthony, Walk in Two Worlds, Shawnee Alliance Church, Lima, Ohio
Seth G. McCoy, senior pastor, Fellowship Alliance Chapel, Medford, N.J.
Ramiro J. Barragan, associate pastor, Renuevo Church of the C&MA, Woodland, Calif.
Keith Neigenfind, district missions mobilizer, South Pacific Alliance
Mary Lu Anthony, Walk in Two Worlds, Shawnee Alliance Church, Lima, Ohio
Robert A. Bergfalk, pastor, Compassion Church, Anoka, Minn.
James L. Brocious Sr., pastor to seniors, Stuart (Fla.) Alliance Church Gary A. Burdick, interim pastor, Onamia (Minn.) Alliance Church
Tharath Chea, Christian education director, South Pacific Alliance Thomas R. Flanders, district superintendent, The Alliance Southeast
Andrew C. Geffers, interim district superintendent, Alliance New England Robert Goerzen, senior residence executive, Town and Country Manor, Santa Ana, Calif.
Enrique Miranda, interim pastor, New Hope Alliance Church, Brownsville, Tex.
Julian E. Pace, pastor, Central Alliance Church, Mt. Airy, Ga.
Michael S. Pierce, youth pastor, First Alliance Church, Toledo, Ohio
De’Andre S. Ralston, pastor, Hope Chapel of the C&MA, Pine Hill, N.J. William J. Sagarese, churchplanting pastor, Remnant Church, West Long Branch, N.J. Luke W. Spafford, missions resident, Providence Church, Omaha, Neb.
James B. Taylor, pastor, Shelby (Ohio) Alliance Church
Chenzong Vue, assistant pastor for youth and student ministries, First Alliance Church, Erie, Pa. Liam M. Wright, pastor of worship arts, North Seattle (Ore.) Church
Martin R. Berglund, special assignment, Metropolitan District Brett Bodiford, pastor, Crossroads Church Aiken (S.C.) Samuel D. Boone, family pastor, The Grove Community Church, Riverside, Calif.
Meica B. Campbell, church planter, New City Church, Lexington, Ky.
Kenneth Castor, other ministry, North Central District, Eden Prairie, Minn.
Our shared curiosity drives us to think, create, do, and be better. Every day.
Edgar S. Castro, director of Church Planting and Hispanic Ministries, Central Pacific District
Stephen D. Conway, interim pastor, Hood River (Ore.) Alliance Church
Michael Dolce, transitional pastor, Living Waters Church of the C&MA, Parsippany, N.J. Zachery Ender, pastor, Church of Thorne Bay (Alaska)
Mark A. Epperson, part-time institutional chaplain, Central District Eric L. Francisco, pastor, King’s Way Alliance Church, Akron, Ohio
Robert J. Harner Jr., pastor, Windham (Ohio) Bible Church Benjamin D. Henderson, pastor, LifePointe Church, Louisville, Ky.
Cheufue Her, pastor, Hmong Menomonie (Wis.) Alliance Church Stephen W. Jones, Envision Germany field/missions ministries, North Central District
On-campus | Online | Graduate
Southwest Florida Retirement Living Resort Amenities | State-of-the-art Health Care Pedro Lopez, pastor, Ebenezer Alliance Church, Brooklyn, N.Y.
Carrie L. Lyman, non-Alliance assignment with ISI campus staff, Central District Osvaldo Mata, pastor, Sonoma (Calif.) Alliance Church
Nareth May, association president, The CEC (Cambodian) Association Julia M. McDowell, full-time Veterans Administration, C&MA National Office Corinne L. Nevius, African Ministries, Ohio Valley District Wesley A. Nevius, African Ministries, Ohio Valley District
Gregory R. Prow, pastor, Williams (Calif.) Neighborhood Church
Carlos J. Ramirez, assistant pastor, Locust Valley Chapel C&MA, Coopersburg, Pa. Alex J. Rousseau, church planter, The Gathering Network Church, Lincoln, Neb. Mark A. Samuelson, special assignment, Rocky Mountain District
Rudolph P. Sheptock Jr., pastor, Shamokin (Pa.) Alliance Church Andre J. Snodgrass, special assignment: interim pastor ministries, Alliance Northwest District
Duane A. Stine, associate pastor, Immanuel Church, Mechanicsburg, Pa.
Vibol Touch, association vice president, The CEC (Cambodian) Association
Fong Xiong, Hmong American Alliance Church, Maplewood, Minn. Leng K Xiong, mission pastor, Green Bay (Wis.) Hmong Alliance Church
Vibrant Faithful Joyful Living Fulfilled Artful Healthy Join the C&MA Family for Your Retirement At Shell Point,® you’ll enjoy a fulfilling lifestyle where you can explore, worship, learn, grow and even continue to serve. And with new additions to our campus, like Tribby Arts Center, a sparkling centerpiece for the arts, and the state-of-the-art Larsen Health Center, you can rest on a firm foundation, knowing that your needs will be taken care of – both now and in the future. VISIT US ONLINE AT WWW.SHELLPOINT.ORG
ORDINATIONS Harrison (Harry) Owczarek, September 12, 2021, Faith Alliance Church, Sidney, Mont. Harry is the associate pastor of Children, Youth, and Worship.
Unparalleled setting. Unparalleled lifestyle.™ Shell Point is located in Fort Myers, Florida, just minutes from the islands of Sanibel and Captiva.
NOV/DEC Shell 2021 Point 35 is aALLIANCELIFE nonprofit ministry of The Christian and Missionary Alliance Foundation, Inc. ©2021 Shell Point. All rights reserved. SLS-4424-21
Save the date! LlFE 2o22
July 5-9, 2022
BECAUSE OF YOU . . .
MARRIOTT WORLD CENTER, ORLANDO
STORIES LIKE THIS ARE MADE POSSIBLE WHEN YOU GIVE TO THE ALLIANCE.
MY CHILD KNOWS GOD’S LOVE
LIFE Conference is a week-long gathering of thousands of Alliance youth with a focus on Jesus Christ through worship, Scripture, service, and community. For more information, visit allianceyouth.com/life
NEW CHURCHES Anchorage, Alaska, Alaska Early Church Ministry, 10601 Spruce View Lp. Apt. 11, 99507 Berlin, Md., Fathom Church, 10447 Georgetown Rd., 21811
Cleveland, Ohio, Reach City Church, 5318 St. Clair Unit 200, 44103
Cleveland Heights, Ohio, Living Stones Church of the C&MA, 2065 Lee Rd., 44118 Frederick, Md., The Table, 7102 Ladd Ln., 21703
Middleburg Heights, Ohio, Grace Arabic Church of the C&MA, 7393 Pearl Rd., 44130 Middleburg Heights, Ohio, Grace en Espanol Church of the C&MA, 7393 Pearl Rd., 44130 Silver Spring, Md., Four Corners Ethiopian Church, 33 University Blvd E., 20901
NEW WORKERS Nestor C. Baron-Lopez, senior pastor, Iglesia New Life, Monroe, Mich. Joshua D. Berry, church-planting assistant, True Life Church of the C&MA, Brick, N.J. Aaron C. Broadus, associate pastor, Renuevo Church of the C&MA, Woodland, Calif.
Wade E. Copland, pastor, Discover Church of the C&MA, Camp Hill, Pa. Zhengsong T. Deng, associate pastor of Mandarin Ministries, Wheaton (Ill.) Chinese Alliance Byron O. Dickey, lead pastor, Greenville (Pa.) C&MA Church Justen M. Hyland, pastor of worship, Fairhaven Church Springboro (Ohio) Campus
Eva Y. Lau, youth director, Grace Chinese Alliance Church, Brooklyn, N.Y.
Thung S. Lee, associate pastor, First Hmong Alliance Church, Aurora, Ill. Jeremiah J. Lepasana, churchplanting pastor, Metropolitan District
Haoyu Ma, pastor, Cornerstone Church of the Triangle, Apex, N.C.
Jonathon B. Porterfield, ALME ministry associate, Cape Cod Bible Alliance Church, Brewster, Mass. Timothy A. Ruiz, executive pastor, Cedars Church, Newark, Calif.
Daniel Seo, executive pastor, The New Church of Federal Way (Wash.)
Joseph R. Terry, assistant pastor of youth and kids’ ministries, Circle Drive Alliance Church, Sidney, N.Y. Nhaxiu P. Voung, church planter pastor, Hmong District
Neng Yang, international worker in residence, Bridge Community Church, Troy, Mich.
Matthew E. Zientek, assistant pastor, Living Water Community Church of the C&MA, Bayville, N.J.
Do more than just invest. Fund church growth. WHEN YOU INVEST WITH ORCHARD ALLIANCE, you do more than earn a return. You fund church growth within The Alliance. For over 60 years, people like you have provided more than $500 million to churches for property acquisition, renovations, and other ways to reach communities for Christ. You can join them today with as little as $1. Invest with Orchard Alliance and do immeasurably more. To learn more about how your investments can fund church growth, visit orchardalliance.org/invest
Start the conversation. C A LL US TO LL FREE 833.672.4255 EM A I L US email@example.com
Loans Investments Planned Giving
8595 Explorer Dr, Suite 200, Colorado Springs, CO 80920 / Toll Free 833.672.4255 / Fax 719.323.6218 / orchardalliance.org This is not an offer to sell, nor a solicitation of an offer to buy, securities of Orchard Alliance (OA). The offering is made solely through and by OA’s Offering Circular, which you should read carefully before making an investment decision. OA’s securities are subject to certain risk factors as described in the Offering Circular. OA’s securities are offered only in states where authorized. OA is a religious, nonprofit organization; therefore, OA’s securities are not bank deposit accounts and are not insured by the FDIC, SIPC or any other governmental agency.
David M. Calfee, associate pastor, adult ministries, Gateway Church, Elk River, Minn.
Weon Geun Choe, pastor, Claridge Community Church, Lake Bluff, Ill. Michael M. Chung, associate pastor of English ministries, Wheaton (Ill.) Chinese Alliance
Houa N. Moua, Hmong District
James A. Stumbo, Rocky Mountain District D. Joel Wiggins, North Central District
WITH THE LORD
Svetlana Gidenko, teaching pastor, The Way, Salem, Ore. Sondra D. Hoskins, children and family minister, C&MA Church, Stinnett, Ky.
Eun Ju Hwang, assistant pastor, Mahanaim Global Mission Church, Sierra Vista, Ariz. Colleen P. Johnson, elementary ministry director/children’s ministries, Alliance Missionary Church, Mountain Lake, Minn.
Emily R. Karwoski, disciple-making initiator, The Well Community Church, Champaign, Ill. Min Kyoung Kim, pastor, Alaska (Anchorage) Early Church Ministry
Chadwick W. Long, congregational pastor/church planter, Common Place East, Haven, Pa. Amy O. Marshall, assistant minister of engagement, HarvestDowntown, Colorado Springs, Colo. Soontak Park, executive pastor, The Serving Life Church, Ridgefield, N.J. Andrew Resh, congregational pastor, Citylight Church Delco, Upper Darby, Pa.
Rhonda L. Rische, associate pastor, Northside Community Church, Bellingham, Wash. Henok D. Yirdaw, lead pastor, Anchor Church, Denver, Colo.
RETIRED Michael W. Bilsza, Central District Robert S. Boston Jr., Central Pacific Districts
Daniel L. Dainsberg, The Alliance Midwest District
Kenneth H. Furl, The Alliance South James D. Hicks, Central District
Arbutus I. Barr December 27, 1929– August 23, 2021
Arbutus was born in Starford, Pa., and attended the Missionary Training Institute (now Nyack College, New York, N.Y.). She served with the C&MA for 50 years, having been a home missionary for 32 years in the Ozarks, Ark., before moving to the Chicago, Ill., area to work with the Laotian Intercultural Ministries for 18 years. From there Arbutus moved to Akron, Ohio. She retired in Carlisle, Pa. Arbutus is survived by siblings Georgene and Karl; and numerous nieces and nephews, including her niece Lori, who helped care for her.
James (Jim) Martin McCollum Sr. July 23, 1941– December 22, 2019
Born in Cincinnati, Ohio, Jim attended Jaffray School of Mission (now Alliance Theological Seminary) and Nyack (N.Y.) College; he received his BA from Asbury University (Wilmore, Ky.). On September 1, 1962, Jim married Mary Elaine Brady.
During more than 19 years of C&MA ministry, Jim served as a pastor in Defiance (1968–1970) and Middletown, Ohio (1971– 1978), and Troy Mich. (1978–1982). He was also a missionary to West Africa (1985–1989). While there, Jim built Bethel Bible School—a campus consisting of classrooms, dormitories for families, and a chapel—as well as many other
buildings. In addition, he constructed churches, mission residences, and a maternity hospital. The Bible school was featured in the July/August 2017 issue of Alliance Life.
Jim is survived by his wife; children Sheri, Marcia, James Jr., and Todd; 10 grandchildren; and 2 great grandchildren. Clarence Edward Hager July 19, 1929–July 10, 2021
Born in Rices Landing, Pa., Clarence graduated from St. Paul Bible College (now Crown College, St. Bonifacius, Minn.) and earned an advanced degree in theology from the Missionary Training Institute (now Nyack College, New York, N.Y.). On June 9, 1951, he married Rachel Boyer, with whom he enjoyed 70 years of marriage.
During 41 years of C&MA ministry, Clarence served senior pastorates in Vassar, Mich. (1955–1959); Fremont, Ohio (1959–1964 and 1991–1995); Nutley, N.J. (1964–1966); Durham, N.C. (1966–1973); Osseo, Minn. (1973–1978); Lombard, Ill. (1978– 1985); Keystone Heights, Fla. (1985– 1988); and Vestal, N.Y. (1988–1991). He excelled at church construction and nurturing growing congregations. Clarence also served on the National Board of Christian Education; on various License, Ordination, and Consecration Councils; in the Theological Education by Extension Program; and as chairman of the Agenda at General Council for 25 years.
The Hagers semi-retired in Foley, Ala., where Clarence was the associate pastor of Elberta Alliance Church, now Genesis Church in Gulf Shores (1996–2001). For 15 years, Clarence and Rachel were the coordinators of Alliance Marriage Encounter. They were instrumental in expanding this ministry across the United States and even into Côte d’Ivoire, Africa. Clarence taught weekly home Bible studies
Come Serve Under the Big Trees
until just weeks before he passed away at 91.
ALLIANCE REDWOODS is seeking Volunteers for our Sonoma Treehouse Adventures (STA) and for our camps and conferences! STA is an extension of our Sonoma Zipline Adventures available to the general public.
Clarence is survived by his wife; children Sandi, Doug, and Holly; 9 grandchildren; and 18 great-grandchildren. Donna Stadsklev Stebbins July 31, 1932–June 7, 2021
TREEHOUSE HOSTS ~ greet our guests and see to their needs during their entire overnight stay.
Donna was born in Bouaké, Ivory Coast (West Africa), to George and Mable Stadsklev, who were C&MA missionaries to the Baoulé people. At an early age, she surrendered her life to God and His call to become a missionary. At Nyack (N.Y.) Missionary College (now Nyack College, New York, N.Y.), Donna met Tom Stebbins, the son of C&MA missionaries to Vietnam, who shared her commitment to missions. They married in 1954.
FRONT DESK HOSTS ~ welcome our visitors, answer phones, sort mail, and serve on our Guest Services team. We are looking for people who are willing to commit as volunteers 24 hours a week for 1-6 months. Our volunteers have a passion for Christian hospitality and facilitate opportunities for guests to “meet the Creator in His Creation” (our mission). Volunteers must have an RV as we can provide a free, full hookup site.
We look forward to welcoming you to our community!
As C&MA missionaries, Tom and Donna served wholeheartedly in Vietnam from 1957 until 1975, when South Vietnam fell to the communists. Their More InforMatIon: ministry to the Vietnamese continued for the rest of Contact Tina Karns at firstname.lastname@example.org their lives. The couple served in Guam working or call 707-874-3507 ext. #113, or visit with the boat people (1975–1976); pastored our websites listed below. Kowloon Tong Alliance Church in Hong Kong (1976–1979) and Christ Community Church in SonomaCanopyTours.com/SonomaTreehouseAdventures Omaha, Neb. (1980–1995); and were involved in ARCG.camp Evangelism Explosion (Fort Lauderdale, Fla.), where Tom was executive director (1995–2006). In her last days, Donna continued to minister to the Vietnamese and referred to them as “my people” while she lived at an Alliance retirement community youth hostel for the children of leprous people, taught ARCG_ATS_Vol_Ad_08.30.21.indd 1 9/1/21 (2006–2021). Theological Education by Extension, and built a church; Donna was predeceased by her husband; she is survived by children Jennifer, Jeff, and Janice; 9 grandchildren; and 9 great grandchildren. Thomas (Tom) Noel Wisley
May 10, 1939–July 15, 2021
Raised in Dallas, Tex., Tom came to Jesus through a neighborhood Bible club. While he was in the Navy, his mother sent him Elizabeth Elliot’s book Through the Gates of Splendor. Tom’s experience poverty and lostness sharpened his call to In Memoryseeing of ministry. During leave in Oakland, Calif., he dedicated Thomas N. his life to missions at the Port O’ Call ministry of the Wisley C&MA church (now Three Crosses in Castro Valley). He enrolled in Simpson College (now Simpson University, Redding, Calif.), where he met Sandra Darlene Bush, a missions-focused coed. They married on July 5, 1963. Tom also attended Alliance Theological Seminary (Nyack, N.Y.) and received his MA and PhD from Fuller Theological Seminary.
A K A To m m y , D o k e , T o m a s E l T o r o , D r. T o m , P ap a S m u r f , Aj a a n, S e ns e i, P o ps
MAY 10, 1939 - JULY 15, 2021
During 36 years of C&MA ministry, the Wisleys were missionaries in Ubon, Thailand (1963–1975), where they were involved in medical/development work among those with leprosy, established a
in Phnom Penh, Cambodia (1976–1977); and in Zamboanga City and Manila, the Philippines (1980–1985). Tom also served on special assignment in Japan (1990– 1999) and in Africa and Asia (2000–2015) and taught at Seattle (Wash.) Pacific University (1985–1990). Tom is survived by his wife; children Daniel, Scott, Tamara, and Michael; 11 grandchildren; and 7 great grandchildren.
James E. Lee November 18, 1926–August 29, 2021
Born in Charlotte, N.C., James married Jennie on October 3, 1927. He served with the C&MA for 35 years, having worked at the C&MA headquarters in New York City and Nyack, N.Y. (now the Alliance National Office, Columbus, Ohio) (1968–1984). In 1988 James started Forest, Va., Alliance Church, where he was the assistant pastor for many years and served in visitation ministries.
James is survived by his wife; daughters Pat and Jan; 9 grandchildren; 14 great grandchildren; and 2 great-great grandchildren.
Roger William Thomas January 10, 1942–May 7, 2020
Born in Kansas City, Mo., Roger received a BS in business from Indiana University and served in the U.S. Army. He worked at RCA and then owned a real estate and life insurance agency in Indianapolis, Ind. On September 30, 1976, Roger married Barbara (Bobby). Eight years after their marriage, the couple committed their lives to Christ, and Roger was soon called to ministry. He enrolled in Trinity Evangelical Divinity School and received a master’s in evangelism. Roger was a C&MA pastor for 28 years and served concurrently as a police chaplain for 20 years. His first pastorate, a church plant in the inner city of Indianapolis, Ind. (1987−1994), saw more than 200 people come to Christ during Roger’s tenure. He also pastored churches in Plant City (1994−2004) and Sanford, Fla. (2004−2009).
A gifted evangelist, Roger launched Hope for America, a ministry of prayer, revival, and evangelism focusing on noontime prayer meetings for the nation, those in authority, and personal revival. He was also the Indiana state chairman for the National Day of Prayer and passed away on the 2020 National Day of Prayer.
Roger is survived by his wife; sons Mark and Brad; daughter Kelly; and 9 grandchildren. Doloris Burns Bandy Biddulph April 21, 1924–July 17, 2021
Born in Lancaster, Ohio, Doloris married Thomas (Tom) Burns on October 23, 1942. She received an associate degree from the Missionary Training Institute (now Nyack College, New York, N.Y.) in 1943 and served with the C&MA for 38 years. Doloris and Tom departed for West Africa in 1945 to serve as missionaries to the Dogon people. After 35 years, the couple returned to the United States to serve in Toccoa Falls (Ga.) College, where Doloris worked for 12 more years after Tom’s death. During that time, she married Julian Bandy. They later retired to Shell Point Retirement Community (Fort Myers, Fla.), where Doloris played an active role in her church and community well into her 90s. Years after Bandy’s demise, she married Burt Biddulp, who predeceased her. Doloris is survived by children Judie, Stanley, Joanne, and Nansie; 10 grandchildren; and 12 great grandchildren.
Where Everything is Close to Home...
...and Even Closer to Your Heart At Alliance Community, you can experience a retirement lifestyle designed just for you! Opportunities for fellowship, recreation, arts and hobbies, and engaging activities abound in this Christ-centered community situated in the heart of Central Florida. Service programs, devotional activities, and more encourage residents to develop their spiritual potential and realize the greater rewards of their Christian faith. Plus, Alliance Community’s lifecare program relieves residents of uncertainty surrounding continuing health care. With an ideal location just minutes from historic downtown DeLand, you’ll find great dining, shopping, and cultural events nearby.
Your retirement years are an opportunity for new beginnings— new freedoms, new activities, and new friendships. Enjoy peace of mind, security, and Christian fellowship at Alliance Community.
Call 1-800-334-4133 today to receive more information!
644 S. Woodland Boulevard, DeLand, Florida 32720 • 1-800-334-4133
Jacqueline Elizabeth Ingram February 13, 1931–July 20, 2021
Home Assignment housing available at AM rate, available as of January 2022. Lower level of a home completely yours with two bedrooms, bathroom, office, living space, and yard. Shared kitchen and laundry. Peaceful small town in Wisconsin, 75 minutes from Milwaukee Airport.
Jacqueline was born in Opelousas, La. During her 60 years of ministry, she and her husband, C. G., served in numerous states and were missionaries to Vietnam (1959–1969). Later, the couple’s ministries brought them to Charleston, S.C., where they served a pastorate at Grace Alliance Church for 27 years.
For more information about housing, please email email@example.com
As a pastor’s wife, Jacqueline supported C. G. in her roles as a secretary, teacher, pianist, and women’s leader. In retirement, she was a member of Calvary Baptist Church (Moncks Corner, S.C.) and enjoyed the senior ladies’ Bible study.
In The Land of the Gloer King By Tyler Baldes
How does a child cope with the loss of a sibling? It’s an unanswerable question, yet this emotional tale will resonate with grieving elementary school-aged children and their parents. In The Land of the Gloer King gives truth to kids wrestling with unspeakable tragedy through the lens of a vulnerable, relatable, and nonthreatening character. They will learn it is OK to be sad and to experience their emotions in a genuine way, leading to growth and healing in an impossibly challenging situation. Available at Amazon.
Jacqueline was predeceased by her husband, son George, and daughter Brenda; she is survived by son Daniel (Bert); and 1 grandson. Gordon Frederick Larson January 15, 1925–August 7, 2021
Born in Jamestown, N.Y., Gordon served in the United States Army Band as a clarinetist during World War II. He met his wife, Peggy O’Neil Bowman, while she was working as a stenographer/secretary at the Pentagon. The couple attended the Missionary Training Institute (now Nyack College, New York, N.Y.); later Gordon graduated from Houghton (N.Y.) College and completed his training at Asbury Theological Seminary in 1951.
Cousins: Peacemakers on the Tibetan Border | By David Jones
“Bad Blood on the border!” Sounds like a clichéd line from an old western melodrama. Regrettably, mission history sometimes seems stranger than fiction. Cousins recounts the journey of two first cousins and second-generation missionaries, William Ekvall Simpson and Robert Brainerd Ekvall, who were raised in the same China/ Tibetan border region. Despite their ardently held doctrinal differences, God brought them together to sow peace and unity among their estranged brethren. Read about the redemptive outcomes only God could have orchestrated. Available on Amazon.
The Larsons served as C&MA missionaries and linguists among the Dani People in West Papua, New Guinea (1952–1990). Gordon was involved in expeditions to unreached tribes, analyzing and writing the Moni and western Dani languages, evangelism, helping to establish the indigenous Dani church, and the translation of the Old and New Testaments into the Dani language. After retiring in 1990, he returned many times to see the Bible translation work through to completion. Gordon also became a renowned cultural anthropologist, contributing a detailed ethnographic study on the ritualistic cycle of primitive tribal warfare. He earned his PhD in anthropology from the University of Michigan in 1986.
afterwork By Joel Malick and Alex Lippert
Hoping to have a meaningful, fruitful, adventurous retirement—putting your gifts, passions, and experience to work in service to Christ, your family, and others? afterwork: an honest discussion about the retirement lie and how to live a future worthy of dreams provides a roadmap around the retirement armchair myth. “I found afterwork to guide me to reconsider standardly held beliefs and relook at what I really want to achieve in the future,” notes one reader. “I will refer back to this book (and my notes in the margins!) as I look forward to what is possible.” Available at theafterwork.net or Amazon.
Gordon was predeceased by his wife; he is survived by children Marlene, Romaine, Daniel, and David; 9 grandchildren; and 24 great grandchildren.
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90 BAPTIZED ON CHURCH’S 90TH ANNIVERSARY On August 1, 2021, Riverside Church in Big Lake, Minnesota, held their annual summer picnic and baptism to celebrate the church’s 90th anniversary. At the time, their congregation was seeing about 75 percent attendance compared to their pre-COVID numbers. They would have been ecstatic if even a few were baptized. However, God moved in incredible ways, and with hundreds gathered around a large outdoor pool, 90 people of all ages expressed their newfound faith in Christ and were baptized that day. Soon after, the church saw their largest in-person service since the beginning of COVID, with more than 1,800 in attendance. About 37 people gave their lives to Christ that Sunday. Praise God for the multiplication of His Kingdom. Visit www.cmalliance.org/ stories to watch a video of the baptisms. REMEMBERING 9/11 Chaplain (Colonel) Dave Bowlus, an Alliance chaplain, is currently serving as the U.S. Army Special Operations Command Chaplain. Over the 9/11 weekend, Chaplain Bowlus was with the Fire Department of New York City’s (FDNY) Engine Companies helping conduct a ceremony of remembrance at the Horse Soldier Statue. This statue, officially titled America’s Response Monument, is located at Ground Zero and honors Task Force Dagger, which was part of the United States’ initial response to the terrorist attack on 9/11. At the ceremony, Chaplain Bowlus led the nearly 150 attendees in prayer and read passages of Scripture to remind them of God’s presence and protection. Another Alliance chaplain, Chaplain (Lieutenant Colonel) Erik Gramling, was able to meet up with Chaplain Bowlus to spend a meaningful 9/11 in New York City. Chaplain Gramling decided to become a chaplain because of the impact that the attack on 9/11 had on him, making him consider military chaplaincy as the Lord’s calling for his life’s vocation. We are thankful to Dave and Erik for their service and honor those who have served our nation. Visit www.cmalliance.org/stories to read the full story.
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Mitsuko Ninomiya (right), the first Alliance missionary from Japan, with Mabel Francis (left) (Photo courtesy of C&MA Archives)
ALL GRIT AND BACKBONE
t was after the war when there was so much discouragement. Every morning I would go out on my bicycle to visit people, and I would bow and smile. Miss Mitsuko Ninomiya was one of the people I would greet each morning. Afterward she told me, “I would say to myself, ‘Who can that be? How can anyone smile when we are in such a mess?’” Finally, Mitsuko said to a friend of hers, “Who is that woman who always smiles?” “Don’t you know?” the friend asked. “She’s a missionary.” “A teacher of Christianity?” Mitsuko exclaimed. She had always thought Christianity was the very last thing she wanted to hear about. “Why don’t you go to church with me today?” her friend said. Because she was curious, Mitsuko came. Much to her surprise, I was the preacher that day. She listened with great interest, but it took about a year before she really understood. When she came to know the truth, she left everything for Christ. Mitsuko felt the call of God to come to our first little ragged postwar school in a shack. She was the first to graduate. One day Mitsuko shocked me by saying, “Sensei, God is calling me to Brazil.” I looked at her and thought, Is it possible that God is calling such a slight little creature to so great a task? My next thought was, How can we ever get along without her? After a few months of waiting on God, she finally disclosed her call to the leaders of the Japan Alliance. The difficulties seemed insurmountable. Many said, “This is a wild idea. You will never be able to get enough together even for your fare.” It took about $600 (the equivalent of about $5,600 in 2021) for official permits and transportation alone. At the Pastors’ Conference she opened her heart to the pastors, telling them of her burden for the Japanese immigrants in Brazil. It was decided to give her a Christmas
offering from the churches, but no one dreamed it would be enough. But when the offerings came in, she received more than she needed! A Brazilian pastor sent this message: “I have longed to do something for these Japanese, but as I cannot speak their language, it has seemed impossible. But if Mitsuko will come, we will receive her with open arms and help both in the work and in her support.” This seemed to be a very precious providence of God. She is the first Alliance missionary to go out from Japan. Her going is stirring the entire Japan Alliance and giving them an urge toward a larger vision. They have rallied as one man behind her. Someone said of Daniel the reason why the lions did not eat him was because he was all grit and backbone. This describes our little missionary. She has an indomitable faith. We are giving our best, and we believe that is the way we should give. —Adapted from two sources: One Shall Chase a Thousand, by Mabel Francis with Gerald B. Smith, 1993 “Our First Missionary,” by Mabel Francis, published in The Harvest, 1959
Watch the newly released video on Mabel’s life and legacy at cmalliance.org/mabelfrancis