Alliance Life: September - October 2022

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AN INCARNATIONAL LIFE Dwelling in the world as Jesus dwelt with us pg. 4

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LIFE 2022 Jesus is greater than everything pg. 22


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IT STARTS WITH A SEED How the faithful few still have meaningful impact pg. 24




ALLIANCELIFE LOCATION, LOCATION, LOCATION If you’re an attentive reader of this magazine or a regular attender of an Alliance church, the phrase “Be Present” is likely not new to you. In addition to being the theme of this issue, it’s been the focus of the recent Great Commission Day Offering (thanks to all of you who participated—more than $2 million was raised!) as well as the Alliance Missions Emphasis materials recently sent to your local Alliance church. Jesus beckons us to be His presence to those around us. The workers you send and support extend His presence by living and serving among the lost and overlooked in some of the most spiritually desolate areas of the world. And those of us who stay behind embody His presence in our communities while sustaining our workers’ presence through our prayers and generosity. But being present begs a question of location. From the early beginnings of our movement, Alliance founder A. B. Simpson strategically and prayerfully selected the destinations for those being sent based primarily on one nonnegotiable criterion: where the gospel wasn’t. Today, faithful to the vision that birthed The Alliance 140 years ago, 80 percent of the international workers you send and support serve in areas with little or no gospel presence. And as Christ-abiding Alliance people, we’re all privileged to fill the gospel voids where we are. Over the past year, the Alliance National Office relocated from Colorado Springs, Colorado, to Reynoldsburg, Ohio. The massive endeavor, titled “Project ReImagine,” was not initiated for a mere change of scenery. In fact, it was difficult for many staff to leave behind friends, family, and the sheer, rugged beauty of the scenic Rocky Mountain landscape. But our Alliance leaders recognized the opportunities for our staff to extend Christ’s presence in the richly diverse, greater Columbus community by engaging with nearby businesses, volunteering in local charities and events, serving immigrant populations, and building a long-term, multi-use facility to house not only staff but also retail businesses, an event center, and hospitable gathering spaces to serve the Reynoldsburg and Columbus communities and the broader Alliance family. Project ReImagine, however, is not bound by city limits or architectural blueprints. It’s a reaffirmed commitment to our All of Jesus for All the World vision—in our neighborhoods and the nations. Whether in a spiritually desolate corner of the world, a sprawling urban center, a suburban community, or a rural one-horse town, Christ invites us to extend His presence to those who have yet to experience His loving embrace. Thank you, Alliance Life readers, for embodying that embrace to those within your reach.

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Founder A. B. Simpson Editor-in -Chief Peter Burgo Managing E ditor Emmy Duddles Graphic Designer Caylie Smith A ssistant E ditor Julie Daubé Staff Writers/E ditors Julie Daubé Hannah Castro Hannah Packard E ditorial A ssistant Carola Thompson Circulation Fulfillment Julie Connon

© ALLIANCELIFE ALLIANCELIFE i s p ub li s h e d by T h e Christian and Missionary Alliance, One Alliance Place, Reynoldsburg, OH 43068. Member, Evangelical Press Association and Associated Church Press. Printed in the USA. POSTMASTER: Send address changes to ALLIANCELIFE, One Alliance Place, Reynoldsburg, OH 43068. 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, One Alliance Place, Reynoldsburg, OH 43068. Toll free: (877) 284-3262; email: Website:

The Alliance is committed to world missions, stressing the fullness of Christ in personal experience, building the Church, and preaching the gospel to the ends of the earth. ALLIANCELIFE carries on the tradition of more than 140 years of publishing stories of God at work through Alliance people in the United States and throughout the world.

Peter Burgo Editor-in-Chief


Photograph by Davis Evans. Thousands of students who attended the LIFE Conference participated in service projects all across Orlando to serve these communities with the love of Christ.

SEP/OCT2022 04 Christ-Centered AN INCARNATIONAL LIFE Dwelling in the world as Jesus dwelt with us by Tim Crouch | pg. 4 FREE VERSE Quotes from the Kingdom | pg. 7 THE TOZER ANTHOLOGY Compiled by Harry Verploegh | pg. 7 CHRIST DWELLS AMONG US—FOR ALL THE WORLD by Hannah Castro | pg. 8

10 Acts 1:8 A GOD-SIZED VISION Creating joy-filled communities for the poor in the Dominican Republic | by Hannah Castro | pg. 12 BE PRESENT Part two Compiled by Alliance Life staff | pg. 16 FAITH IN HOUSE CHURCHES AND GALLERIES Healing the rift between art and the Church | by Mike Picconatto | pg. 18 LIFE 2022 | Jesus is greater than everything | by Alliance Life staff | pg. 22 IT STARTS WITH A SEED How the faithful few still have meaningful impact by an aXcess worker | pg. 24

4 22 CONTENTS pg.

A SEASON OF RENEWAL Using soul care to develop French church leaders by Celine Bower | pg. 28

32 Family BOARD SUMMARY LETTER by Steven C. Lausell | pg. 34


PRAYER IS PRIMARY Prayer requests from Alliance workers | pg. 35 ALLIANCE FAMILY NEWS Personnel changes, obituaries, and classified ads | pg. 36 OUR LIFE Snapshots from around The Alliance | pg. 46 FOUNDATIONS The Gospel Takes Flight Adapted by Alliance Life staff | pg. 48




AN INCARNATIONAL LIFE Dwelling in the world as Jesus dwelt with us

by Tim Crouch

The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the one and only Son who came from the Father, full of grace and truth (John 1:14).


e often reflect on the wonder of Jesus’ Incarnation. We marvel that we have been made recipients of the glory of the one and only Son. In Jesus, God entered humanity in a very real way. He became flesh. He became present among us. But have you ever imagined Jesus’ life as a regular person? As a child, He learned to talk and walk. He


experienced human emotions and bodily pain. As an adult, He both worked for a living and lived without a paying job for some time. He found His social and religious community both meaningful and frustrating. He longed to know God’s will and goodness, sought Him in prayer, and even confessed that sometimes He felt forsaken.


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The different and divine became so much like us. Then He died like we must—His innocent life experiencing the penalty of sin for us all. Hallelujah! Emmanuel! What a Savior!

as well. As the Father sent His people onto the streets of this neighborhood for my friend, Jesus has now sent him back to serve others. My friend’s presence here brings the presence of Jesus into this community.

DEMONSTRATING LOVE THROUGH PRESENCE But do you realize that the Incarnation was not only the miracle that saved us but also the model for our service? The same gospel writer who described Jesus as “becoming flesh” also recorded Jesus’ own words in John 20:21: “As the Father has sent me, I am sending you.” Something about the way Jesus calls and sends us into the world is patterned after the manner of God sending Himself to dwell among us. This doesn’t mean that we are able to save like He did through His life and death, though He does ask us to yield our lives and some have lost theirs in fulfilling the call. And we are not full of glory like He was, except in that He lives within us and is gracious to show His glory in our “earthen vessels.” Rather the pattern of our sent-ness, which He described “as the Father has sent me,” is simply the idea of being present. The Father demonstrated His love through the presence of Jesus among people in human reality. While some things about love can be conveyed from a distance or through description, love is best known in the presence of the lover. Presence feeds the intimacy of a couple, or of a parent and child, just as it feeds one’s belonging in a place of community. John 20:21 leads us to an important understanding: We may never be more like Jesus than when we are willing to be present for Him among those who’ve not yet had or found the chance to know Him. A friend of mine used to visit a tough neighborhood near my home to find the drugs he needed. He was swamped in addiction and knew where he could find what he wanted on these tough streets. When he decided he had to find a way out, he found it in Jesus because some of God’s people had shown him the way. And now, five years clean, he’s returned to this same neighborhood to bring hope to others. He walks their streets. He knows their names. He invites them into our church for pizza and prays for their needs. He’s created a safe and hospitable atmosphere of worship and the Word that breaks down barriers. And he’s baptized several now as they’ve found hope and freedom in Christ

INCARNATIONAL MINISTRY But being present for Jesus is also a part of the way He sends us to those who may be distant or different from us. In Alliance Missions, we value what we’ve come to call “incarnational ministry”: ministry-by-presence among those who have not yet had someone living out Christ’s presence among them. While technology for spreading information about Jesus is abundant today and God’s Spirit so often works through such media to touch hearts, there isn’t a substitute for a devoted disciple who lives out a transformed life among people in ways they’ll understand. A professor of mine from long-gone days when I was in seminary had lived with his family in a remote valley among a tribe of people who had never known a Christian. No one in their group could have been a present witness of Jesus. So, as the Father sent Jesus, Jesus sent my professor and his wife, John* and Judy.* When they first arrived, the people welcomed them with a large feast. This couple learned the many facets of the language and culture of these people to whom God had called them, including how to cook and eat as well as their style of music, songs, and sayings. John and Judy translated Scripture about the Lamb of God for people who had never seen sheep, seeking out meaningful elements of the culture of their hosts that would help convey the meaning of such Scriptural images. And as people started to believe in Jesus, John and Judy helped them to consider the ways that Jesus’ teaching challenged cultural norms and to seek culturally meaningful ways to address those challenges and live out allegiance to Him. This is why The Alliance is a sending and supporting missionary movement. While opportunities to spread news of Jesus through various media have exploded in our lifetimes, Jesus still sends His disciples as the Father sent Him. He still desires that people have the opportunity for someone who represents Jesus to be meaningfully present in their lives and communities. We are most in step with the Lord of the Harvest when we are willing to be His presence among those around us—and when we send the people He calls to live among those still needing to hear.

Illustration by Kenneth Crane

The Father demonstrated His love through the presence of Jesus.

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PITCH YOUR TENT From the testimony about Jesus in John 1, there are three things we can quickly note about this type of incarnational presence among people for Jesus’ sake.



First, there is influence in identification with people’s His works and vice versa. And His transforming work culture and ways. This is really what it means for us to in His followers now equips us to do the same when He be “present in flesh.” To find ways to live, work, speak, sends us in His name. and experience life among people in ways that align Jesus calls each of us to be present for Him among those with their cultural experiences is the beginning of show- around us. As you read in the editorial, the workers you ing love in Jesus’ name. send and support extend His presence by living and servSecond, God shows glory through the humility of the ing among the lost and overlooked in some of the most one sent. John used the phrase “pitch a tent” or “raise a spiritually desolate areas of the world. And in our shared tabernacle” to illustrate what he meant by Jesus “dwell- ministry as an Alliance family, we extend His presence in ing among us.” This reminded his early readers of the our communities while sustaining our workers’ presence tent of glory in the Old Testament where God’s glory met through our faithful prayers and generosity. the desert nomads in the dust of their real lives. Jesus As the Father sent Jesus, He sends us to be present. emptied Himself of divine privilege and “tented among us.” And we are like “jars of clay” (2 Cor. 4:6-7)–imperfect *Name changed and earthly but called to demonstrate and share His glory Tim Crouch is the U.S. vice president for Alliance through serving. Missions and oversees the ministry of more than Third, we see that gospel transformation comes 700 Alliance international workers. Tim’s heart is to through both word and deed. Jesus was present on earth, see gospel access flow from those who have gained it to those who still await it. “full of grace and truth.” He lived out these attributes of our loving God while walking through real communities and living out real relationships. His words matched



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“When believers live in the power of the Spirit, the evidence in their lives is supernatural. The Church cannot help but be different, and the world cannot help but notice.”

The Christian owes it to the world to be supernaturally joyful. In this day of universal apprehension when men’s hearts are failing them for fear of those things that are coming upon the earth, we Christians are strategically placed to display a happiness that is not of this world and to exhibit a tranquility that will be a little bit of heaven here below.


“When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and when you pass through the rivers, they will not sweep over you. . . . For I am the Lord, your God, the Holy One of Israel, your Savior.”

—ISAIAH 43:2–3B

“All the way, my Savior leads me— cheers each winding path I tread, gives me grace for every trail, feeds me with the living bread. Though my weary steps may falter and my soul athirst may be, gushing from the rock before me, lo, a spring of joy I see.”


compiled by Harry Verploegh

The people of God ought to be the happiest people in the world. People should be coming to us constantly and asking the source of our joy and delight—redeemed by the blood of the Lamb, our yesterdays behind us, our sin under the blood forever and a day, to be remembered against us no more forever. God is our Father, Christ is our Brother, the Holy Ghost is our Advocate and Comforter. Our Brother has gone to the Father’s house to prepare a place for us, leaving with us the promise that He will come again!

When we give God His place in the Church, when we recognize Christ as Lord high and lifted up, when we give the Holy Spirit His place, there will be joy that doesn’t have to be worked up. It will be joy that springs like a fountain. Jesus said that it should be a fountain, an artesian well, that springs up from within.

The fountain of Christian joy flows out from the throne of God, pure, refreshing, and sweet everlastingly.

—from The Next Chapter After the Last. Originally published in The Alliance Witness, October 4, 1995.


by Hannah Castro


e waited. We were lost, but we were hopeful. Never really understanding the meaning of what was foretold, but even still, we were so full— full of longing and of waiting, of persevering through the trials and tribulations that seemed to be captivating our minds and hearts without ever really understanding. But there was a majesty we were told would be commanding. The Messiah—Immanuel—to come and dwell and be among us, and so we waited.

And on that night when we first felt a shift in our everything, your birth became our first true glimpse of worshiping— of bowing down before the One we didn’t expect, of the One many could never come to respect. Because out of the ordinary, You came to carry what would be Your demise— us. Even still, You could never despise who we were, the ones who wanted to keep You quiet, the ones who continuously formed a riot among the nations because of You. We tried to become a silencer of all that we should have been listening to.

We waited for the true King to overtake our everything, our beings and our desires, and through every storm and every fire, we longed for You. We never even knew.


Oh, but we didn’t even recognize You.


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Even still, You humbled Yourself to meet us here, to become the example of how our shame and guilt and sins can disappear within the essence of Your Truth. Once just a prophecy, You became more than we could ever imagine—in modesty, You came.

as we breathe that out, just as when You came, we will never be the same. We saw You as the Body, as the Son, as the One with whom our victory is won. So, we no longer have to wait because You are here, and for that we celebrate Your dwelling. Oh Jesus, we are so thankful for that which was Your foretelling.

You lived among us and taught about Your goodness and glory, and through every story that You framed so that we may come to proclaim Your name, You walked beside us.

Because of that, we share who You are, what You’ve done, everywhere we can, with everyone that possibly can hear because we know of Your desire to see Your Kingdom come—not simply to inspire the nations but to invite us into Your story.

You were Holy Flesh, and the threshold of Your glory was too much for our simple minds to digest. You spoke and kneeled and served, all which reminds us of Your personhood. Not to be misunderstood on behalf of the beautiful and boundless love that You poured out, shed; for without, we are nothing.

And so, for Your glory, we press on, we battle, we share. But Lord, help us not at all stand in Your way or impair the vision that You have already prepared. But rather, help us know what we need to declare— with our palms wide open and never furled, Jesus, teach us to bring all of You to all the world.

So, we waited. We waited for You, our one true King. For You we give all of our offering because You dwelled, and You brought forth that which we upheld by Your name— Jesus—

Hannah Castro is a content writer for the Alliance National Office pursuing a master’s of theological studies from Asbury Theological Seminary. She is passionate about cultivating stories in order to glorify the Lord.

John Stumbo

V IDE O B LO G Watch John tell a story, share a devotional, issue a challenge, or cast C&MA vision. Released on the 12th of each month

Recent Releases: Blog #108: Statement of Faith Update Blog #109: Voices of LIFE 2022 SEP/OCT 2022





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inFocus Tim and Cleo Undheim, marketplace ministries workers serving with The Alliance in the Philippines, have been running a farm to provide food and jobs to the community they serve. Tim and Cleo have been training people to work in the farm while also sharing the love of Christ and discipling those who have come to know Him. “As we grow vegetables,” says Cleo, “we also want our people to grow in their spiritual lives.”

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Photo by Olivia McCash


A GOD-SIZED VISION Creating joy-filled communities for the poor in the Dominican Republic


fter serving overseas with The Alliance for many years in Mexico and the Dominican Republic, Rick and Tammie Romano felt that God was changing their focus for ministry. Because of their entrepreneurial skills, they decided to serve with marketplace ministries (mm), a structure within Alliance Missions that utilizes vocational professionals to disciple those around them. Through mm, the Romanos started Mission 2535 in 2014 with a vision to create sustainable and joy-filled communities in the Dominican Republic that draw people to Jesus and give them the opportunity to learn and experience the gospel.


The name, Mission 2535, comes from Matthew 25:35–36: “For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.” Wanting to understand the greatest needs of the El Ciabo region of the Dominican Republic, Rick and Tammie worked with local leaders and churches to identify and help meet four significant needs within the region: clean water, food sustainability, education and job training, and dignified health care.


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Photography by Stephanie Reindel

by Hannah Castro

Mission 2535 is always looking for partners, interns, and people who love the Lord and feel called to walk alongside their ministry. To learn more about them and to discover the opportunities available, visit

Left: Rick Romano (far left) working with two construction workers as they construct a new building to house the short-term teams who frequently come to help with Mission 2535's many projects.

“Every day is different,” Rick reflects. “It really depends on what the current need is. But it’s a great thing that we can love on people and share the gospel with them where they’re at.” PROVIDING HOPE AND DIRECTION The Romanos felt their greatest impact would be to open a faith-based youth rehabilitation center. The center will welcome boys ages 9–19 and will provide 6–12 month-long programs, as the boys walk through the rehabilitation process. “We’ll work with them through drug, alcohol, and behavioral issues; but the whole focus of our youth rehabilitation center will be faith-based,” Rick says. “It’ll be Jesus. We know that He can turn these kids around.” The Romanos have found that the kids in their area often get into trouble because they lack direction. Rick and Tammie’s hope is to give these boys focused education and job training through Community of Hope, training and sending them out while working with their families in the process. “One thing we’ve realized,” Rick notes, “is that boys who are usually in these centers may be rehabilitated, but if the parents don’t know how to help when they get home, the kids go right back to their ‘before’ behavior.” Working with and training the entire family is an effective way for Mission 2535 to partner with even more people, sharing the goodness of God through rehabilitation and direction. The construction phase of the rehabilitation center has been funded through the generosity of the Alliance family, and the building is set to be completed by the end of 2022. Raising the funds to run the center will begin shortly after, and they are praying that the doors will open in early 2023. The rehabilitation center is the most recent of Mission 2535’s outreaches to provide direction and opportunity to the El Ciabo community in the form of education and job training.

Opening doors for local people to know God and experience His goodness has been the main focus for Mission 2535, and it has done so by creating and sustaining several innovative projects on their property, Community of Hope. These projects include a furniture factory, vocational/technical school, medical clinic, rehabilitation center, and other tangile, need-based initiatives. Mission 2535 has also been involved in humanitarian ministries with local government partners at orphanages, juvenile detention centers, youth rehabilitation centers, senior homes, homes for people with special needs, and safe spaces for at-risk children—and even the local dump.

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A few years ago, Mission 2535 built a vocational technical school at Community of Hope, offering three classes: English, computer skills, and electricity. The school graduated 300 students the very first year. Since then, the school has added refrigeration, beauty, barber, cooking, pharmacy, and nursing classes. Because Mission 2535 believes strongly in working together and not alone, it has often partnered with the government in these programs. Rick says: We provide the space and the students, and the government provides the teachers. We’re planning to add a business section, and that’s where we would bring the gospel into it. We’re partnering with an outside organization from the United States that will train us, and then we will train our local partners who will share the gospel with the students who come through that program. PARTNERING WITH THE NATIONAL CHURCH About 15–20 of the Alliance churches Mission 2535 works with are within a 15-mile radius of Community of Hope. The Romanos feel strongly that their role as international workers involves working alongside the national church. “We believe that our role here is to equip and allow the locals to lead—to empower the local people to run it,” says Rick. “God gave us this vision for Community of Hope and Mission 2535, but the biggest thing we can do is pass it off to the locals.” One of the local pastors, Pastor Luis, runs the ministry’s furniture factory, which provides jobs for the community and makes all of the furniture for Commu-

Right: Ten young men have been given a new future at Mission 2535's furniture factory. Below: Mission 2535 is dedicated to serving at-risk youth in their community so they will have a better future and know the love God has for them.

nity of Hope—about 250–300 sets of bedroom furniture a year. Pastor Luis brings boys off the street who may be struggling with behavioral issues, drugs, or alcohol. He teaches them and trains them, and they become his workers. The factory is able to bless these boys and their families by giving them jobs and opportunity. Ten of the twenty staff from Community Hope work in the furniture factory. About two years ago, Mission 2535 started having devotionals with their employees on Mondays and Fridays. Rick explains: It’s a way for our pastors to speak into the lives of the people at Community of Hope. One day, one of our pastors shared the gospel, and about four of the guys from the furniture factory prayed to receive Christ. That’s why we’re doing what we’re doing. Not only are we providing these guys employment but we are also giving them the opportunity to come to faith in Jesus. The community has been transformed because Pastor Luis was looking for ways to be the Church in his community. The Romanos believe that everyone in their community needs help, but they have made an effort to let the local churches and pastors determine which ministries Missions 2535 pursues. Rick and Tammie are visitors



in the villages, so they depend on the local churches and the pastors to decide what each community needs most. Whether they’re providing a water filter, a bag of groceries, or an entire house, working alongside the national church is essential to Mission 2535’s ministry. “We have had a tight relationship with the national church,” Rick reflects. “We’ve told them that our role is not to go and do our own thing, but it’s really to say, ‘You give us the marching orders to do what you need.’” Because of their partnership with the national church, Mission 2535 has been able to resource seven new church plants in the last six years, help 165 C&MA churches during COVID-19, provide food through a food bank, and build 26 homes for people in the villages who were in desperate need of basic shelter. Community of Hope is a fitting name for the ministry taking place through Mission 2535. By listening to and partnering with the community, it is able to provide sustainable resources, opportunities, and a saving gospel presence to the people of the El Ciabo region of the Dominican Republic. Hannah Castro is a content writer for the Alliance National Office pursuing a master’s of theological studies from Asbury Theological Seminary. She is passionate about cultivating stories in order to glorify the Lord.

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y name is Fatima.* My husband and I immigrated to Western Europe in search of a better life for our children. Health care in our homeland is not sufficient, and once our children graduate from university, they can’t find jobs. I didn’t want to leave my homeland because most of my family is there, but we needed to do this. In the city we moved to, there are thousands of people from my country. However, in this community, people like to gossip and tear each other down, so I don’t have any close friends. I feel so lonely. I speak three languages, but I don’t know the local language yet, and I can’t help my children with their schoolwork. One of my children has even been rebelling. He left school without telling anyone and is having a hard time adjusting. I want him to succeed and to have a better life than the one we left behind.

I recently started taking language classes at the Alliance language center in my community. I have loved the classes. The workers teach us the language, tell us stories from the Bible, and even pray for us. They care about me and my children. I don’t feel so lonely anymore. *Name changed


Compiled by Alliance Life staff

Editorial Note: There remain 3.4 billion people—40 percent of the world’s population—who have yet to experience Jesus’ loving embrace. To those still without gospel presence among them, the Alliance workers you send become vital agents of hope—in word and deed—for this life and eternity. Below are just a few more of the life-changing stories our workers have been a part of because your consistent support has kept them present in the forgotten places of the world.

Part Two

Because we are present with young men and women who are interested in learning English in West Africa, 16 people who practice the majority religion (12 men and 4 women) have started reading the Scriptures for themselves. Many have stated that it feels safer to do so in English because they don’t have to tell their families they are studying the Bible; instead, they can honestly say they are learning English. One man, Ousmane, has received a Bible and reads it with his wife and daughter even though his friends all tell him that he shouldn’t as a follower of the majority religion. Another man, Mouctar, has found a voice, stating, “It wasn’t until I came to this Alliance center that I learned my opinion is valuable and that I have something to offer to others.” He has now finished his MD and is practicing medicine in an effort to alleviate the pain and suffering in his underdeveloped country.

Because we are present, we were able to walk with the national church network in Colombia through two devastating floods. In a city where one of these floods occurred, the government had built a levee 10 years earlier because crops were being destroyed every year due to flooding. But this past year, a hurricane combined with seasonal rain overwhelmed the levee. The entire village was underwater, and everything was destroyed. We were able to respond immediately with basic food,


like rice, and decided to hold a training where we taught 60 familes, 29 of whom were from the local Alliance church, how to rebuild the levee. Now the next time it breaks, they don’t have to wait on the government to fix it. In addition, one of our friends who runs a fertilizer company was able to donate his fertilizer and two of his workers to help the villagers replant their crops. Because of this project, we now have 50 new brothers and sisters in Christ! —Thom, a CAMA worker serving with The Alliance in Colombia


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Phototography from Alliance Photo Archive

—Chad, an aXcess worker serving with The Alliance in West Africa

Because I am present in this country, when A* confided in me about her stress, especially that she was feeling guilty all day because she may have accidentally eaten egg on her fasting day, I was able to tell her that God looks at her devoted heart, not every mistake she makes. When I made her eggless muffins, she exclaimed, “Look at the price you have to pay to be my friend!” I responded, “This is too small a price, A. You are worth far more.” I wish with all my heart that the Father will use me to reveal to her with what willingness He paid the price to be her friend.

Although I am not able to be physically present in East Asia due to COVID-19, I can still be present online with Laura* via videochat. She tells me her story and processes her pain, and I am able to assure her of God’s love and forgiveness. *Name changed

—an aXcess worker serving with The Alliance in East Asia

*Name changed

—an aXcess worker serving with The Alliance

Because I am present in Paraguay, God is using me: • to prepare more teachers to reach children in our churches and have an effective Christian education program. I am currently training 25–30 teachers in our Lambaré church to teach in our children’s ministry program; • to give workshops to children in school to help them confront bullies in a healthy way and to direct their attention to an all-powerful God who loves them and is interested in them; • to teach pedagogy in our Bible Institute called IMAP (Instituto Ministerial Aliancista Paraguayo) and raise up more effective teachers for our churches; • to do outreach in the community by teaching English as a bridge to sharing the Word of God with young people; and • to encourage and mentor people in their gifts and talents and help guide churches in a positive direction toward growth. –Donna, an aXcess worker serving with The Alliance in Paraguay

Because I am present in this Asian country, I am a consistent safe person for DP* to talk about life and how he has been hurt by the local church body because of how they interact with his family’s way of life and faith. I hope that one day he will believe once again that there is only one way to the Father and that it is worth it to live this out with like-minded community. *Name changed

—an aXcess worker serving with The Alliance in Asia/Pacific

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FAITH IN HOUSE CHURCHES AND GALLERIES Healing the rift between art and the Church

by Mike Picconatto

uring our first term in Germany about 10 years At another exhibit, we displayed a glass sculpture that ago, my wife, Elissa, and I helped an Alliance- represented reunification by a South Korean artist who affiliated church plant in Berlin establish a ministry views Germany’s reunification as a hopeful message for center where we started exhibiting art to draw in the his own land. This opened new ways to talk with guests community. We stumbled through our first few exhibits about conflict and resolution. Art consistently cut and rapidly discovered that displaying art was far more through small talk and bridged connections between complex than merely hanging pictures on walls. We the artist’s passion and ours. partnered with a local artist, formed a curation team, A new community formed as we created spaces for and ran a gallery, called Gallery2, in partnership with these art-inspired conversations. The exhibits resonatthe church for the next two and a half years. ed with our community, and Gallery2 was twice named Through the 17 exhibits we held at the gallery, we dis- “Gallery of the Month” in an important local magazine. covered that art sparks conversations because art itself Our guests began to interact with the works we displayed, communicates. It has a way of bypassing our logical or and artists felt they had the opportunity to communicate pre-conceived arguments by connecting directly with ideas that were vital to them. And as people learned we our emotions. When the gallery displayed pictures of were Christians and that the space was connected with a women in Morocco who shared that the only freedom church, they began to view the church differently. they have is the color, pattern, and fabric of their clothing, we had conversations with neighbors and visitors A MEETING PLACE about the intrinsic value of people created in the image Before Elissa and I left for home assignment in 2017, we of God. exhibited an artist named Thomas, who highlighted how



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Photo courtesy of the author


Opposite: Elissa Picconatto standing in front of the Envision Berlin art gallery during one of their first exhibits

important these dialogues are as he reflected on his past. Thomas started following Christ during the peaceful revolution in former East Berlin that led to the fall of the Berlin Wall. As the government oppressed art and music they disagreed with, these artists found their home in the church. Churches would let punk bands perform concerts to provide people a safe place to express themselves. When people wanted to plan for peaceful protests against the government, they found harbor in churches. This pattern was repeated not only in Berlin but also in churches across East Germany. Thomas was attracted to the church because it gave room for creativity and space to address cultural issues of the day. He laments that the church no longer consistently gives fringe artists a voice nor creates a safe space for non-churched people in the community to wrestle with meaningful questions. Thomas’s rubric for a church’s engagement—assisting artists to have a voice and joining with non-churched people in cultural dialogue on important issues—was one I had never used before. Some of my friends were concerned that it might not be a biblical rubric. However, the Apostle Paul displayed a remarkable ability to present the gospel using artistic symbols (including statues to idols) and cultural references as well as engaging with contemporary non-churched thinkers and philosophers. As a long-time pastor who used fall festivals, Motorcycle Sundays, and other means to connect with the community and as an international worker who helped run an art gallery overseas with a similar purpose, I was intrigued by Thomas’s ideas. When I decided to use these ideas on our home assignment in 2017–2018, Elissa and I were struck by how many Christian artists talked with us. Artists approached us in almost every church and regularly communicated three messages to us: 1.



to express this feeling. One artist friend of ours shared, “If I could use words, I would be an author. I can’t, so I paint!” Members of our church family are struggling because we do not fully understand their ways of communicating. The church needs to create a space where artists can use their language of creativity and be valued and understood. As Elissa and I processed these themes, we became more curious about what it would look like to reach out in post-modern, post-Christian Germany if we deliberately sought the treffpunkt (meeting place) of art, faith, and culture. Throughout the history of the world and the Church, these three elements have greatly impacted one another. We determined that we would work to create a place where these three strands (art, faith, and culture) could meet.

The church needs to create a space where artists are valued and understood.

FAITH-BASED CULTURE CARE Elissa and I wrestled with what Makoto Fujimura, an artist, author, and Christian, calls “culture care.” We yearned to create safe places for artists to come together, places where people from multiple cultures gather together to discuss, argue, lament, and rejoice in the complicated issues of culture and faith. We wanted to be part of shaping and impacting our community for the Kingdom in a way that recognizes and values artistic, cultural, and intercultural expressions. Part of this plan involved creating faith communities that will remain after our ministry in Berlin concludes. When we returned to Berlin, we initiated a house church network called Journey. We had the privilege of welcoming some amazing colleagues onto our aXcess team to work with German and Arabic-speaking people. The Journey church plant now has three house churches and a Bible study that meet weekly with one monthly meeting all together. For Easter, a few other local house churches joined Journey for a total of 65 people representing 15 different nations celebrating the Resurrection of Jesus together! This gathering included some of our friends from former East Germany, Arabic speakers from different cultures (some of whom moved to

Artists felt affirmed as we emphasized art as a means of communication; they finally had a space to bring their emotive responses to God and the world around them. Because their expression is often image or performance-based, many artists felt like they had no voice in Christian community. If a church primarily emphasizes the spoken or written word, the communication style of many artists is left out. Many artists saw nuance in issues that they did not know how to address, which sometimes made them feel like outsiders in their own church communities when they weren’t willing or able to pick a side on complicated issues.

Artists often feel lonely and isolated in the churches they call home, and they struggle to find the words

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Left: About 40 people came to Envision Berlin's first art exhibit in June 2022.

Berlin during the 2015 refugee movement from Syria), and Ukrainian refugees. Elissa and I left our aXcess team to found Envision Berlin in April 2021 with the hope of reaching more artists in our community and provide opportunities for U.S. artists to use their gifts in ministry. The Envision Berlin team now includes the Jones and Siemens families, who are currently in language school and beginning to engage in local ministry. As we reflected on our experiences in our first term and what we had encountered on home assignment, we developed Envision Berlin’s core values: • • • •

developing a deeper-life community through shared patterns of core, Jesus-centered, spiritual disciplines; participating in presence-based ministry by being deeply involved in and committed to our local community; engaging artists and creatives from both the U.S. church and our local community; using applied education principles: being lifelong learners who apply what we learn and offering transformative education to people on-site and in our sending churches; and serving other Alliance and local ministries well by functioning as a ministry hub.

Mike Picconatto and his wife, Elissa, have 26 years of Alliance ministry experience: 6 years in youth ministry, 10 years as a lead pastoral couple in the Midwest, and 10 years in Berlin as international workers with aXcess and now Envision.

In practice, this has meant building a library of resources for local partners, producing podcasts that help people explore and apply new ideas, exhibiting local artists in our new gallery space, leading and co-leading



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Photos courtesy of the author

You can join this work by praying for us and our colleagues, following Envision Berlin on social media, listening to our podcasts, supporting the Great Commission Fund, coming on short-term trips and internships, and by giving to the work of Envision Germany. Find us at

house churches, interacting with and honoring our neighborhood’s painful history by developing a Jewish history tour and telling the stories of our historic neighbors, and more. Founding the Envision Berlin nonprofit organization in Germany and sharing our vision of investing in next-generation ministry leaders at the intersection of art, faith, and culture has led to challenging and exciting discussions with our neighbors and other Berliners. We love finding opportunities to be involved in the culture of our community and witnessing how different art mediums create welcoming places for people to engage in meaningful ideas. In March 2022, we had more than 100 people stop and listen to the music at our first window concert, where a musician performs inside our gallery behind our large show-windows and the audience gathers on the street to hear the music over our sound system. More than 40 people also came to the opening of a recent art exhibit in Envision Berlin’s creative space. On the opening night of our first art exhibit in our new space June 3, 2022, a highly engaged local volunteer stopped by at the invitation of one of our aXcess colleagues. She was fascinated by the art, captivated by the theme, and spoke passionately about what sets humans apart from other living things. She told us that a small art gallery had existed across the street from our new space for decades until the elderly artist and gallerist could no longer manage the necessary work. The neighborhood volunteer was thrilled to see art being shared again on this very same street. Envision Berlin’s creative space exists in the Weißensee district of Berlin. For the almost 40,000 people who live here, there are only four evangelical churches, including the Journey house-church network. Many of our formerly East German neighbors are atheists, not because they are angry at God, but simply because they don’t see Him as relevant to their lives. Through house churches and gallery spaces, we are endeavoring to become places where everyone has a voice and meaningful dialogue is exchanged. We are striving to be all things to all people, so that by all possible means, we might save some (see 1 Corinthians 9:22).


Shaping Leaders to Shape the Future

SEMINARY DEGREES TO EQUIP THE CALLED Doctor of Ministry | Master of Professional Studies | Master of Arts in Biblical Literature Master of Divinity | Master of Arts in Intercultural Studies |Master of Arts in Biblical Studies SEP/OCT 2022



LIFE 2022 F

or the last 60 years, LIFE conference has been ministering to thousands of teens and inspiring them to follow Jesus into whatever He has planned for them. This year, 4,500 students attended, hundreds gave their lives to Christ for the first time or rededicated themselves to Him, and more than 600 responded to the call to full-time ministry. For more highlights from LIFE 2022, visit

“The value of Jesus is displayed by Christians when we leverage our privilege to serve others, share ourselves, and suffer and overcome.” —D. A. Horton, author and assistant professor at California Baptist University

“God has opened my eyes this week. This is a first time in all my life that I’ve fully experienced the Holy Spirit. It has been amazing, and I don't want to stop.” —Emmanuel Cruz, ACM Puerto Rico, leader ALLIANCELIFE


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—Matt, student

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Photography by Davis Evans and Emma Schell

“During worship, I looked up into the lights, and I could just feel the presence of Jesus right there, reaching out to me. I burst into tears. The presence of Christ in front of me was so strong, and I felt so loved. I’ve heard it all my life, and I felt like I’ve believed it all my life. But then and there, I truly realized that Jesus is real, Jesus is there, and He’s unconditionally always there for me. All I have to do is accept the hand that He’s reaching out to me.”

IT STARTS WITH A SEED How the faithful few still have meaningful impact

by an aXcess worker serving with The Alliance in Senegal

estled in a small coastal city in Senegal, which is rich in a diverse history with a strong identity in African tradition and the majority religion, stands a church. It sits comfortably in one of the poorest, most densely populated neighborhoods of the city, and its building reflects some of its own character—old, unassuming, steadfast. When the church was first planted nearly 30 years ago, the neighbors were suspicious, and at times even hostile, not wanting anything to do with this threat to tradition. However, the few believers who attend the church have spent their lives living out the gospel and meeting felt needs in the community through accessible health care, a holistic ministry for street boys, and quality education for underprivileged girls. Hundreds—if not thousands—in the community have heard the good news of Jesus as they have passed through the doors of the church. Suspicion and hostility have transformed into open arms and appreciation. Nearly everyone you meet in our city has either been personally impacted or has at least heard positive things about the church. Many have heard the gospel story



again and again. Some have joined Bible study groups with other seekers or have even come to the point where they say it is all true—yet very few are choosing to follow. While having a meaningful impact, the church remains small. But these few have still been faithful, and second-generation believers are bravely stepping into their roles and callings within the church or moving on to work in different cities. SLOW BUT MEANINGFUL To be considered a member of a particular least-reached people group in Senegal, you have to both speak the language of the people and practice the majority religion. To become a Christian would not only mean their close families may disown and persecute them but also that they would lose their personal identity and place in society. This has a major impact on their lives in a culture where connection to the group brings security—from knowing your daily meals are provided for to receiving quality education and business opportunities. Since there are only a couple hundred believers within this people group in the entire country, our C&MA team

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Photography by Rosie Xiong


Left: An aXcess worker, the author’s husband, (left) standing beside a friend of one of the village chiefs they partner with.

Our team saw how this home-church model looked more like the quickly replicating church-planting movements that we have only heard about around the world, and we got excited. We started praying hard for a shift in mentality, for the start of something new. As restrictions were lifted, the church began meeting all together again in that old cement block building, and another shift did take place. Moussa,* the pastor of the church, had recently moved to a village in the north and had invited many of his neighbors to join Sunday worship meetings in his home. Moussa announced that though the church typically invited new believers into the existing church, he wanted to continue to meet with and disciple these people in his own home. The commute was just not feasible for most who lived that far away. In that moment, we realized we had been thinking too small. For years our team had been working to start something new within the city or within the outlying villages and had been discouraged time and time again: We were unable to buy property in one area; in another village we had a relationship and even an invitation from the chief to build a church in his community, only to find out the government was about to level the village to build a new airport. Maybe it was time to think further out—where it wouldn’t be feasible to commute to any existing church. Maybe it was time for us to go where the gospel had never been proclaimed.

Hundreds in the community have heard the good news of Jesus as they passed through the doors of the church.

was surprised to find a small church made up of some deeply grounded believers from this people group when we first came to this city in 2006. We saw the trust they were building with their own people and decided to work alongside them to encourage them to plant churches instead of starting from scratch on our own. Even hand in hand, the work has been slow. After all, how do you plant new churches when the one that you have is already too small to fully staff existing ministries, let alone accomplish new ministry dreams? When COVID-19 hit Senegal, a shift happened in the way we did church, and our small fellowship began to replicate in ways we had only dreamed about before. Instead of meeting together on stiff wooden benches in the small sanctuary, the faithful few were leading small groups in worship in their own neighborhoods.

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FURTHER OUT Together with our local church partners, we decided to buy property in another northern village where we didn’t have any relationships yet, let alone an invitation from its chief to build a church. We prayerfully considered how we could walk into a community in a new way and bring the Kingdom into the daily lives of these villagers. Life in the village is calm. Large courtyards filled with desert sand meet to make a web as tight-knit as the people who make their home in two-room cement block buildings. Villagers spend the afternoons together in the shade eating around large bowls and sipping tiny cups



of strong, sweet tea; in the evenings they gather around small, dated television sets. Many children go to the local school every morning and afternoon and attend a religious school on the weekends where they learn from their holy book. When they have free time, they race out to play soccer with their friends in the street. The adults in the community largely work in shifts for nearby agricultural companies. Even though there are no markets, very few people leave the village to go into the nearby city because public transportation rarely comes. Despite previous contact with foreigners and access to Christian media on the radio and television, as far as we know, the gospel has never been proclaimed personally in this community. One young man in the village, Oumar, was one of the first to curiously welcome us. As we made visits out to dream and pray over the property we had acquired, Oumar continued to show up and greet us warmly. One day our local partner, Amadou,

It was time for us to go where the gospel had never been proclaimed.



gave him a small solar flashlight that was also a radio, pre-programmed with the New Testament read aloud in his language. In the days that followed, Oumar shared that he was enjoying what he had been hearing. His wife had even been listening to it as she cooked and cleaned in his parents’ home where they lived. One day, Oumar’s father, Mohammed, called Amadou and demanded that he take back the radio because Mohammed did not want his son listening to such things. Amadou respectfully responded, “It was a gift; it is no longer mine to take back. I understand if you do not want your son to listen to it, but I cannot take back a gift that has already been given.” Oumar decided to keep the radio with the conviction that it was his own decision—not his father’s or ours—to choose what he will believe. As our team has spent many afternoons with his family and a couple other families in the village, all of them, including Mohammed, have only been kind and welcoming to us. We are in the process of finishing a wall around the property, which we hope will one day be filled in the afternoons with young men learning about their Messiah while doing the one thing they love most: soccer. Though we’re still in the dreaming phase, we are hoping that as the faithful believers step out, this will become an expansion of the church where the King-

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dom of heaven impacts the everyday life of these villagers and brings hope. We praise God that though there have been setbacks in this work, we have not encountered hostility like the early church in our city. Pray with us that the Holy Spirit will continue to go before us, softening hearts and breaking through, and that in the everyday moments, the Kingdom of light will be experienced first in us and then in those around us. *Name changed

Opposite: Young boys playing soccer at the Alliance soccer ministry in town. Right: A young woman listening to a flashlight radio like the one Oumar was given.





M AY 2 9 – JU N E 2

Your presence at Alliance Council 2023 is vital to the growth and vitality of our work together. Come expectant of the Spirit’s presence as we gather and seek Him in: • • • •

Worship Healing and Communion The updating of our Alliance Statement of Faith Polity on men and women in leadership

• • • •

The election of new Board members The Project ReImagine timeline The commissioning of new international workers The forward momentum of our All of Jesus for All the World vision

Registration opens October 3 W W W. C M A L L I A N C E . O R G / E V E N T S

A SEASON OF RENEWAL Using soul care as a pathway to develop French leaders

by Celine Bower


n the last five years, my husband, Brett, and I were tasked to figure out how to develop leaders in the French context to fill a leadership vacuum that existed among local churches. We asked ourselves, “What is the key to developing spiritual leaders in France? And how can we partner with churches to develop the next generation of healthy leaders who will impact this country for the Kingdom?” As a first-world country with an emphasis on knowledge, they have access to teaching in Bible and theology. We didn’t want to recreate the wheel but identify a missing component to their current training model. We



wanted the Spirit of God to change them from the inside out and for them to delve into a deeper life in Christ, because unless the Lord meets people, transformation doesn’t happen. A CULTURE OF REASON French people place a high value on intellect and knowledge, which is an incredible strength. However, French Christians tend to overvalue this strength and rely less on the ministry of the Holy Spirit. This culture of reason has shaped much of the church’s spirituality. It is common to have a strong foundational belief in “God the Fa-

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ther, the Son, and the Holy Bible.” Personal encounters with the work of the Spirit are less encouraged. Another challenge we discovered was that Christians tend to compartmentalize the mind, heart, body, and soul. They prioritize logical change over soul transformation. When it comes to their spiritual formation, there are significant gaps. As a result, churches have leaders with a wealth of biblical knowledge and skills but limited intimacy with Jesus. To address this gap, Brett and I sensed the Lord calling us to mentor young French leaders in the formation of the most important parts of their life and leadership— their soul and their intimacy with Jesus. Our approach toward leadership development was unconventional for many French leaders. Leadership development in the French context is often leadership training intended to increase knowledge, obtain needed competencies, and refine ministry skills, all in a short period of time. However, Brett and I didn’t want to train leaders. We wanted to develop leaders’ hearts so living waters would flow from them. Everyone leads from their souls, so the Kingdom key was for these leaders to have healthy ones.

Illustration by Caylie Smith

We wanted to develop leaders’ hearts so living waters would flow from them.

DEEPENING FAITH The Lord spoke clearly to us throughout our journey. We partnered with Rob Reimer to launch this ministry, inviting him to host soul care retreats at a small center outside of Paris. Then Brett and I invited whoever was willing to be mentored for six to nine months afterward. We broke them into small groups, going deeper into the soul care principles and intimacy with Jesus. We also had Rob’s books Soul Care and River Dwellers translated into French, which made them useful resources for the leaders. It wasn’t just about a great weekend; it was about living out biblical soul principles together. We wanted to gently disrupt the expectations of the leaders and lead them to spaces of hope where they could see that there was more to their faith and God than they knew. We thought we could muster up about 12 leaders. But time and time again, the Lord affirmed the number 40, which is a significant number for renewal in Scripture. God took the Israelites from Egypt into the Promised Land, which was 40 years of wandering that brought change. God also took Joseph through 40 years of wil-

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derness, which was about transforming his inner world so he could move into the next chapter and impact a whole nation. Even Jesus had 40 days of fasting, showing us the inner struggles of someone who the Father has set apart to do His work. The number 40 comes up often, and it’s usually connected to a season of renewal or of deepening faith. Everyone was asking us, “Where are you going to find 40? A typical church in France only has about 40 people.” We wondered that too, but God provided little by little, calling leaders one by one to sign up. By the signup deadline we landed on 40 leaders. We saw God’s fingerprint! An additional two showed up at the retreat, so we had a total of 42. By the time our first retreat was over, 40 leaders had responded to our invitation for mentoring. Brett and I wondered, How are we going to do this, just the two of us— in French? Along with another international couple, we were able to mentor all of them. But we faced an unexpected challenge. After six years in France, our French was pretty good. However, when you have to talk about heart issues, it’s a whole new level of vocabulary that we felt unequipped to engage in. There were moments when they spoke so fast that I didn’t understand a word. They were pouring out their souls, and I just couldn’t keep saying, “Excuse me, what did you say again?” However, the Spirit of God met us and met them, even though we often didn’t know what we were saying. God met all of us where we were lacking. He was taking me through soul care along with these leaders. There was a crisis in my own life that was unfolding during that time, and I was asking these leaders to forgive people; so I had to forgive the people in my life too. We were all walking through that process together. As the leaders revealed their brokenness and were ministered to by the Spirit of God, I was too. We experienced an authentic expression of a trusted community of Christ followers that was being transformed by Him. It’s been a journey of God reminding us that when we step into something bigger and give Him the little we have, we will see His hand at work and His Kingdom advanced in ways we’ve never seen before. A GENEROUS INVESTMENT Momentum built as the attendees went back to their churches. They were different people and different leaders. Their souls were touched, healed, and reshaped by the Spirit. As a result, they each led out of their redeemed identity anchored in Christ and no longer out of self. Their soul transformation was visible and became a testimony of Jesus to others. After the first year, some of their lead pastors said, “We don’t know what


happened in those six months, but our leaders are dif- release them. Renee tells the children, “If somebody has ferent people as a result. Thank you!” done wrong to you, even your parents, you need to tell That first year was just the beginning. The leaders that person and release them of the debt.” She teaches wanted a second year, but Brett and I wanted this to mul- these six- to eight-year-olds how to connect with their tiply beyond us and the original group. We agreed to do emotions, express what they’re happy and sad about, another retreat, but anyone coming for a and forgive others. second time would have to bring Recently, Renee came to me and their own leaders and commit said, “Celine, when I’m having to mentoring them. We agreed parent-teacher meetings, the to coach the second-time parents tell me that their attendees in the mentorkids are so much happier ing process, but all the since being in my classfollow-up would fall to room.” She’s found them. We had more a creative, tangible than 60 leaders way to minister to in attendance with these kids and exabout 20 of them press the love of from the previous God to them and year. Then in the their parents. third year, some We have seen of their pastors— God do some amazalong with leaders ing things in the from the French Allilives of these leaders. ance church network— However, we realized expressed their desire we still needed to be to attend. generous with what God Along this journey, seventrusted to us and steweral of the emerging leaders ard it well, regardless of the discovered that God had a speoutcome. When you invest in cific calling on their lives. He was something, there is an expectation transforming their souls, and now they were that there will be a return. God has not discovering the next steps of faith that He was inviting called us merely to invest in leaders but to be generous them to take. One couple sensed God calling them to go and give them all that He has placed in us for their own into biblical counseling, so they quit their jobs and went growth and development. to a French-speaking seminary in Canada. A medical God has also given us the privilege to see some growth worker believes that God has called him to bi-vocation- and fruit in the lives of these leaders; but there is much al ministry, so he’s using his profession to reach people more to come that we will most likely not be there to with the gospel and is pursuing a master’s degree in bib- witness. There will be Kingdom return, but it’s up to lical studies to better equip himself. Two other individ- God to figure out when, where, and how. He entrusted uals who work in finance discovered that God hasn’t those 40, and eventually others, to us. In turn, we are called them to traditional ministry but to creatively in- trusting that as we have generously stewarded our gifts tegrate the gospel into their workplace. and resources, God will call these leaders, and they will One pastor is now stepping into an important posi- be ready to lead. tion serving with the French Alliance church network. He recently wrote, “I just want you to know that I’m *Name changed stepping into a bigger role by faith. And I wanted you to know that the investment that you guys made in my Celine Bower has served with aXcess in the Middle wife and me is a big part of me taking this step.” East and Europe since 2004. She recently completely Two elementary school teachers are now using some her doctoral studies and serves on the Board of Direcof the soul care exercises in their classroom at secular tors. Celine and Brett are currently on home assignment in the Silicon Valley. schools. In one class of 30, Renee* has her students write down some of their frustrations or areas where they’ve been hurt and put these slips of paper into a basket to



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is now

While seasons change, who we are at our core remains steadfast. Nyack College is now Alliance University, continuing to be a beacon in our city, hope for the lost, and the headquarters for global change — a united front. Stay tuned for more information. 31 SEP/OCT 2022


inFocus This picture was taken from the back of Mission 2535’s Greenhouse coffee shop, which is providing jobs for locals and a welcoming space for the community to gather. As you read earlier in this issue, Mission 2535 is creating unique opportunities for the locals to encounter Jesus and embody His presence in their community: “As the Father sent me, I am sending you” (John 20:21).



Photo by Stephanie Reindel

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Dear Co-Laborer for Christ,

back onto solid fiscal ground. After seeking God’s wisdom and direction during a considerable time of discussion and prayer, the Board passed a resolution to guarantee a loan to Nyack from Orchard Alliance so the school can continue its positive trajectory. Robb Childs reported on the progress for Alliance Place. The Board reviewed the latest version of the master site plan design, and Robb shared the selection of Korda Engineering as MEPS engineers, American Structurepoint as civil engineers, and Corna Kokosing as general contractor. While funding has come in well from “early adopters” of this project, we will soon need to engage the broader Alliance family in helping fund this major initiative. Ken Baldes reported that the budget goal will be met for fiscal year 2021–2022, ending on June 30, and the Board adopted a final Great Commission Fund budget for 2022–2023 of $75,600,000. The Alliance has a strong commitment to respond with consistency and biblical integrity to allegations of sexual impropriety by our licensed workers. As part of our effort to strengthen and clarify this process, the Uniform Policy on Discipline, Restoration, and Appeal was amended to include specific references and process changes for allegations of sexual harassment, assault, and abuse. Further, the Board agreed to contract with a qualified independent outside entity to conduct an audit of its policies, processes, and practices related to allegations of sexually inappropriate behavior by licensed workers. The following individuals were elected as Board officers for the next term, June 2022–May 2023: Matthew E. Kelly to another term as Board chairperson, Jennifer K. Ashby as vice chairperson, and Tae S. (Ted) Kang and Scott G. Slocum to the Board Executive Committee. President John Stumbo closed with his observations on the strong and growing culture in the newly relocated National Office and an exhortation to lift our shields of faith with humility, mutual submission, and courage.

The Board was delighted to meet at Westgate Chapel in Toledo, Ohio. Rob Zimmermann, lead pastor, hosted the event and led the team in a meaningful time of reflection around the theme “reliant prayer is built on resilient memory.” We reflected on specific moments of God’s faithfulness and spent time in prayer. The Board stopped to pray throughout the two-day meeting. We are grateful for the warm hospitality extended by our brothers and sisters at Westgate Chapel! The following are some highlights from our meeting. The Committee on Alliance Missions reported that three additional marketplace ministries appointments have been made to serve in Asia and Africa. The total number of international worker appointments in 2022 is now up to 29. Tim Crouch shared a developing strategy for effective gospel ministry in the ever-changing global context. We will continue our work among still unreached ethnolinguistic groups of people in their traditional geographic locations. Meanwhile, we will also include unreached subcultures not defined by geography but rather by shared conditions and values such as those with physical disabilities, the chronically poor, and vulnerable children. Finally, we will integrate with the wide diversity of workers both within and without the United States to see the Great Commission accomplished. It was exciting to receive a glimpse of this meaningful vision! As part of the report from Church Ministries, the Committee led the Board through a review of the Statement of Faith sections that will be before Council in 2023 because they were not approved or addressed by Council in 2021. Terry Smith and John Stumbo gave an update on the input received so far through the National Conversations and described the next steps in this review and refinement process. The Board celebrated the encouraging report presented by the Committee on Development. The Alliance family continues to generously fund the Great Commission work and respond to the creative and enthusiastic Development and Communications team. God is faithful! Nyack College President Rajan Mathews gave an indepth and transparent update on the multifaceted ways Nyack has progressed in the effort to bring the school


In Christ’s love,

Steven C. Lausell, Corporate Secretary


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PRAYER IS PRIMARY Requests from Alliance workers BOSNIA

INCA LINK GUATELMALA Inca Link International resources, enables, and empowers our national Inca Link organizations to reach Latin America’s youth with Christ’s irresistible love. Rolando and Mati are the directors of our first Guatemala ministry, Manos de Cristo. This school sponsorship program works to break the cycle of poverty in a poor area of Guatemala City primarily by educating children in Christian schools. The ministry also includes building cement block homes, repairing houses, teaching English, preaching in area churches, and caring for the sick and widowed.

Thousands of migrants are making their way through Bosnia-Herzegovina to what they hope will be a better life in Europe. Most are economic migrants, not refugees. We do not get involved with the politics of the situation but use the opportunity to share the love of Jesus with these weary travelers.

Recently, Ronaldo shared, “Our goal is to reach children who are in extreme poverty, help them to know the love of Jesus, and help them to achieve educational success in the future. All of us can reach them if you and I do it together.” We are grateful for those who support this ministry financially and with their prayers. Pray for Rolando and Mati and that God will use Manos de Cristo to draw many children to Himself.

We are thankful for the opportunity to encourage the staff and listen to their stories. At the time of this writing, most people in the refugee camps are from Cuba. This was a surprise; it is also an example of people on the move who might not have the chance to hear the gospel in their own country but are traveling to a new place where they can. Pray that many of these immigrants will be introduced to Jesus through these outreaches.

—Rich and Elisa Brown, Alliance international workers serving with Envision

—Mark and Kathy Eikost, an aXcess worker couple

During one outreach, we brought underwear, socks, and sneakers as well as food to a refugee/migrant ministry center. We met the local staff and a volunteer who works with an evangelical relief agency.

Mark prepares to deliver refugee supplies.

WEST AFRICA In our various ministries, the words in Romans 10 keep coming to mind: “How, then, can they call on the one they have not believed in? And how can they believe in the one of whom they have not heard? And how can they hear without someone preaching to them? And how can they preach unless they are sent?” (vv. 14–16). Because we can be present in this West African country, people are able to hear about Jesus. We can also share the truths of God’s Word with those who already believe in Him, including young people. Thousands of them move to our city to take advantage of the schools and universities. We are thankful to be involved in seminars, retreats, Sunday school classes, and camps that focus on young people. These discipleship opportunities come to us because you sent us and are supporting us. Continue to pray for lasting Kingdom impact from these ministries. —Esther and Andrew, an aXcess worker couple

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ALLIANCE FAMILY NEWS From around the block to the ends of the earth TO THE FIELD CAMBODIA

David J. and Christine A. Manfred, in June. The Manfreds are involved in leadership development and field administration. FRANCE

Jason S. and Erica N. Linscombe and family, in June. Jason is the IT manager for the Africa, Latin America, and Middle East/Central Asia Regions. GUINEA (CAMA)

Stephen M. and Lori J. Albright and family, in June. The Albrights are involved in CAMA community development ministries and soul care. INDONESIA

Andrew S. and Lora J. Brake, in June. The Brakes are involved in higher education, church planting, and leadership development. JAPAN (ENVISION)

Brad E. and Julie D. Nelson and family, in May. The Nelsons are Envision site leaders in Japan. URUGUAY

Daniel A. and Victoria M. Greenfield and family, in June. The Greenfields are involved in church planting.

PERSONNEL CHANGES Caleb D. Atkins, pastor, New Beginnings Alliance Church, Madison, Wis.

Richard L. Birr, interim pastor, Grace Community Church C&MA, Grinnell, Iowa Aaron C. Broadus, pastor, Renuevo Church of the C&MA, Woodland, Calif. Luis M. Cardona-Collazo, pastor, Iglesia ACyM de Ciales (P.R.) Jianguang Dong, assistant pastor, Chinese Churches Association Joshua J. Eggerson, pastor, The Alliance South Charlotte T. Ellis, assistant director of middle school ministry, Christ Community Church C&MA, Omaha, Neb. Chad Gouin, associate pastor, River of Life Alliance Church, Grand Junction, Colo. Danford P. Guittap, pastor, New Stanton C&MA Church, Hunker, Pa. Richard Harris, pastor, Cornerstone Alliance Church, Roanoke, Ind. Stephen A. Hartley, pastor, The Well, Lilburn, Ga. Jody Hickok, director of student and family ministries, Fairlawn Community Church of C&MA, Cogan Station, Pa. Christin M. Jacobs, missions intern, Deltona (Fla.) Alliance Church Chungwoo Kim, pastor, The Alliance South Souang D. Kong, assistant pastor, St. Paul Hmong Alliance Church, Maplewood, Minn. Paul Lee, pastor, Victory Alliance Church, Marysville, Calif. Zachary C. Monroe, youth director, Lighthouse Alliance Church of C&MA, Little Egg Harbor, N.J. Hazael L. Morell, pastor, Centro



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Cristiano de Adoracion, Providence, R.I. Sara A. Nishimoto, communications director, Cable Road Alliance Church, Lima, Ohio Johnson Pang, executive pastor of discipleship, Community Christian Alliance Church, Granada Hills, Calif. Nigel G. Probert, transitional pastor, Living Hope of the C&MA, Des Plaines, Ill. Timothy G. Rupp, special assignment, Rocky Mountain District Miguel Serpa, worker on nonAlliance assignment, Mid-Atlantic District Nathan B. Sickler, pastor, Warren (Pa.) C&MA Church Meng Thao, tech support & mobile device specialist, C&MA National Office, Reynoldsburg, Ohio Nathan E. VanProoyen, pastor, Altoona (Pa.) C&MA Church Luis A. Velasquez, pastor, Iglesia ACM de Herndon (Va.) Beth E. Wharton, special assignment, Eastern Pennsylvania District Jonas P. Wharton, associate pastor, York (Pa.) Alliance Church Sonia V. Williams, special assignment–community chaplains outreach, The Alliance South D. Larry Wroten, worker on nonAlliance assignment, Mid-Atlantic District Abel Yang, pastor, Community Alliance Church, Sheboygan Falls, Wis. Fong Yang, pastor, Hmong Oklahoma Alliance of the C&MA, Tulsa, Okla.

Southwest Florida Retirement Living Resort Amenities | State-of-the-art Health Care Nou Yang, associate pastor, Living Stone Alliance Church, Appleton, Wis.

NEW CHURCHES El Paso, Tex., Restoration Alliance Church, 5318 Harlan Dr., 79924 Hobart, Ind., Cornerstone Community Church, 7983 Grand Blvd., 46341

NEW WORKERS Sang Auh, pastor, Church With Dreams, Suwanee, Ga. Ron Baams, pastor, First Alliance Church, Hazlehurst, Ga. Jacob N. Bentley, pastor of student ministries, Grace Church Olmsted Falls (Ohio) campus Katie L. Blaylock-Jimenez, next generation ministry coordinator, Hope Chapel, Belleville, Ill. Jeffrey Chambers, pastor, Okanogan (Wash.) Valley Alliance Church Xuechao Chen, Mandarin ministry intern, Los Angeles Chinese Alliance, Alhambra, Calif. Samuel Chery, associate pastor of ministry development, West End Church, Glen Allen, Va. Lucas S. Delgehausen, associate pastor of student ministries, Riverside Church, Sauk Rapids, Minn. Travis E. Duncan, multiethnic ministry pastor, Palm Coast (Fla.) Bible Church C&MA Kevin D. Fontenot, pastor, North Country Alliance Church, Plattsburgh, N.Y.

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Skyler S. Henderson, youth pastor, East Hills Alliance Church, Kelso, Wash. Christina D. Her, NextGen ministry, First Hmong Alliance, Olathe, Kans.


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SEP/OCT 2022 ALLIANCELIFE Shell Point37 is a nonprofit ministry of The Christian and Missionary Alliance Foundation, Inc. ©2021 Shell Point. All rights reserved. SLS-4424-21

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Jorde Hutton, church planter, Alliance North, Fargo, N.Dak. Jackson T. Jaramillo, junior high pastor, The Grove Community Church, Riverside, Calif. Hector E. Jimenez Rubiano, next generation pastor, Hope Chapel, Belleville, Ill. Hyeongil Kwak, pastor, Alliance First Church of Washington, Oakton, Va. Paul Lee Jr., youth pastor, The Plant Church of the C&MA, Mahwah, N.J. Chue B. Lo, NextGen pastor, Hmong Family Community Alliance Church, Sacramento, Calif.

Jonathan Maus, executive pastor, Leeward Community Church, Pearl City, Hawaii

Giovanni J. Sanchez, assistant pastor, Iglesia ACM de Queens, Jamaica, N.Y.

Douglas K. McCully, pastor, Martindale C&MA Church, Portage, Pa.

Obafemi O. Sonuga-Oye, church planter, Alliance South Central

Daniel R. Mitchell, college campus staff, Christ Community Church C&MA, Omaha, Neb. Emily A. Mitchell, college campus staff, Christ Community Church C&MA, Omaha, Neb. Narin Phuong, assistant pastor, Hacienda Heights CEC, Pomona, Calif. Ya Rath, resident, Mosaic Alliance Church, St. Paul, Minn.

Octavius Lopez, associate pastor, New Life Alliance Church, Bena, Minn.

Drew J. Rinehart, ministry intern, First Alliance Church, Lexington, Ky.

Jonathan T. Luu, pastor, South Pacific Alliance

Travis L. Robinson, pastor, Ohio Valley District

Gavin Swanson, director of middle school ministry, Christ Community Church C&MA, Omaha, Neb. Samantha R. Tait, operations director, Regeneration Church, San Diego, Calif. Bryson D. Taylor, director of CoNEXTivity, Cherry Tree Alliance Church, Uniontown, Pa. Dean Timmerman, local church ministry, Crossview Alliance Church, Fayetteville, N.C. Win M. Tse, assistant pastor, Portland (Ore.) Chinese C&MA Church Kezia S. Wall, children’s ministry supervisor, Crossing Church, Colorado Springs, Colo.


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Orchard Alliance, 8595 Explorer Dr, Suite 200, Colorado Springs, CO 80920 / 866-351-2553 Information is not to be considered legal or tax advice. CGAs are issued by Orchard Alliance or as agent for The Christian and Missionary Alliance (The C&MA). The C&MA only issues annuities in the states of NY, NJ, and CA; Orchard Alliance issues annuities in all other states except Hawaii. Orchard Alliance or The C&MA, respectively, is responsible for and liable for the CGAs that are issued in their individual names. Orchard Alliance and The Christian and Missionary Alliance follow the suggested maximum gift annuity rates published by the American Council on Gift Annuities.Currently,these rates exceed the max rates allowed by the state of NewYork. SEP/OCT 2022 39 ALLIANCELIFE

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Hudson R. Waters, student ministries pastor, Pine Knolls Alliance Church, South Glens Falls, N.Y.

world missions (1985–1989) and vice president/ academic dean (1989–1991).

Jeremiah Wingerden, director for worship, Bedford Community Church, Bedford Hills, N.Y.

In 1991, the Lord moved in Dale’s heart to resign from the college and return to overseas ministry. He went on to teach Sungkyul Christian University students at the World Mission Research Institute in Seoul, South Korea (1992–1994). When their term in Korea concluded, Dale and Pat moved to British Columbia, Canada, and Dale retired in 1996. Shortly after, the couple moved to California where Dale enjoyed regular teaching opportunities at the Vietnamese Alliance Evangelical Divinity School in Anaheim. Throughout Dale’s life, the Vietnamese people remained close to his heart. He touched many lives around the world and left a rich legacy of life to countless people.

Brooke M. Witterman, director for disciplemaking ministries, Aliquippa (Pa.) Gospel Tabernacle Jamie S. Zacharias, assistant children’s ministry director, First Alliance Church, Columbus, Ohio

ORDINATIONS Eric A. Lashbrook, January 18, Eagan Hills (Minn.) Alliance Church. Eric is the associate pastor of student ministry.

Dale was preceded in death by his wife; he is survived by son Michael; daughters Kathleen, Cheri, and Christine; and 6 grandchildren.

RETIRED Jeffrey B. Jarvis, North Central District Gary A. Jung, Central Pacific District

John F. Littau, Central Pacific District

Michael (Mike) Wilson Danchenko January 4, 1938–April 26, 2022

Rick L. Magstadt, MidAmerica District

Mike was born in Minneapolis, Minn. When he was a newborn, his impoverished parents took him to live with their great-aunt and uncle, who were Russian immigrants, hoping he would thrive on their family farm. His mother visited, but Mike grew up on the farm and was officially adopted when he was 18. He attended Bethel (Minn.) University; St. Paul Bible Institute (now Crown College, St. Bonifacius, Minn.); Pierce College, Calif.; and Gulf Coast Bible College, Tex. On July 14, 1959, he married Marilyn Moore; they enjoyed 63 years of marriage.

Larry D. Nelson, MidAmerica District

Stephen E. Petry, Western Great Lakes District

John C. Stoeckle, Eastern Pennsylvania District

WITH THE LORD Dale Sims Herendeen May 29, 1926–December 24, 2021 Dale was born in Hollywood, Calif. Early in his Christian experience, God impressed upon Dale’s heart a call to missions. He graduated from Biola University (La Mirada, Calif.), Whitworth College (Spokane, Wash.), and Fuller Theological Seminary (Pasadena, Calif.).

During more than 46 years of C&MA ministry, Mike was a church planter and pastor, serving in Deer (1969–1972), Russellville (1972–1975), and north Little Rock, Ark. (1976–1981); Houston, Tex. (1980–1987); and Blairsburg, Iowa (1987–1989). He also was a caretaker at Pinecrest Camp, Ark. (1969–1972), and an interim pastor after retirement in Van Buren, Ark. (2007–2015).

During 40 years of C&MA ministry, Dale served a variety of roles. After pastoring a church in Southern California for one year, he was appointed to serve in South Vietnam. During his first term, he ministered with national pastors and believers through evangelism, church planting, and teaching at the theological college (1956–1962). While on home assignment, Dale met Patricia (Pat). They married in September 1964, and Pat served alongside him in Vietnam (1965–1969).

Humble and mild-mannered, Mike saw his life mission as simply to preach and to teach, and this was evident to all who met him. During his most recent ER visit, he left his bed without regard for his own medical condition to comfort a young man he heard crying out for pain relief from sickle cell anemia and talked to him about Jesus. Only after the patient had accepted Him as Savior did Mike quietly return to his own ER bed.

In 1969, Dale served as missionary-in-residence at Canadian Bible College and Seminary (Regina, Sask.) and soon joined its faculty (1970–1981). Dale then served as president of the Alliance College of Theology in Canberra, Australia (1981–1985). He returned to the Canadian Bible College and Seminary as a missionary-in-residence/professor of

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Mike is survived by his wife; children Jeff, Kim, Tad, and Josh; 9 grandchildren; and 5 great-grandchildren.



Irene Marie Schultz Shareski December 27, 1928–April 28, 2022

Prayer Fellowship (now Alliance Women). In August 1996, Irene and Arni moved to Shell Point Retirement Community, Fort Myers, Fla. Arni continued to serve in a variety of ministries until Irene passed away at Shellpoint’s hospice facility after nearly 70 years of marriage.

Irene was born and raised in Waldheim, a Mennonite community in northern Saskatchewan, Canada. She came to faith at the age of 15 after watching a film on the Second Coming of Christ. Upon graduating high school, Irene spent a year in teacher training school, after which she taught for three years. She then enrolled in the Canadian Bible Institute in Regina, Sask. (now Ambrose University, Calgary, Alta.).

Irene is survived by her husband; children Wayne and Sandra; 5 grandchildren; and 5 great-grandchildren. David G. Fox October 11, 1938–May 6, 2022 David was born in Los Angeles, Calif. He had a heart for ministry from his youth, convincing his parents at the age of eight to move to the hills of Kentucky to serve with the Kentucky Mountain Mission. David attended Appalachian Bible Institute (now Appalachian Bible College, Mount Hope, W.Va.) from 1956–1957 and Biola College (now Biola University, La Mirada, Calif.) from 1957–1960, where he graduated cum laude. On June 15, 1957, he married Vivian Venable in Boonville, Ky.; they enjoyed nearly 65 years of marriage.

While there, Irene met Arni Shareski, a senior at the school. They married August 15, 1952. During their 44 years of ministry, the couple was involved in pastoral work, served as missionaries for 12 years to what is now the Democratic Republic of the Congo, and worked for 24 years at the C&MA National Office. They concluded full-time ministry pastoring the Hamptons (N.Y.) Alliance Church for five years. Irene led a busy life tutoring students and serving in many local church functions, which included eight years as district president of the Women’s Missionary



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David officially served in ministry for 44 years, including 23 with the C&MA. He pastored Alliance churches in Port Wentworth (1982–1990) and Decatur, Ga. (1990–2005), and was a lay volunteer at First Alliance Church in Lexington, Ky. (2005–2022). Prior to his time with the C&MA, David served at Kentucky Mountain Mission (1961–1976) and pastored Idamay Bible Church in Beattyville, Ky. (1967–1976). David also ministered in practical ways such as repairing appliances, laying floors or carpet, plumbing, construction, and other acts of service. He touched countless lives through youth ministry, VBS, marriage counseling, and more. David is survived by his wife; children Melanie, Janet, Jon, and Jennifer; 10 grandchildren; and 10 great-grandchildren. David (Dave) Morris Howard January 28, 1928–May 10, 2022

REFLECTIONS ON DAVID M. HOWARD By friends and Christian leaders

Born in Philadelphia, Pa., Dave was the third of six children, all of whom grew up to serve in Christian ministry as missionaries, pastors, or teachers. His

father was the editor of the Sunday School Times in Philadelphia. Dave gave his life to Christ at age 10 on April 28, 1938, which he referred to as the most important date of his life. Dave attended Wheaton (Ill.) College, where he majored in Bible and theology and met Phyllis Gibson. They married July 1, 1950. Dave then completed his master’s degree in New Testament at the college. The Howards served in San José, Costa Rica, under the Latin America Mission (1953–1957). Dave taught at the mission’s Seminario Bíblico Latinoamericano and eventually was named as an assistant general director of the mission. In 1958, he was asked to direct the mission’s work in northern Colombia, where Dave and Phyllis served until 1967. Dave and Phyllis moved to Wheaton, Ill., where Dave served as missions director of InterVarsity Christian Fellowship, or IVCF (1968–1978), first in Chicago and then in Madison, Wis. During this time, he also directed IVCF’s triennial Urbana Missionary Convention (1973, 1976). Following this assignment, Dave was asked to direct the Lausanne Congress


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7,382 baptisms

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Consultation on World Evangelization in Pattaya, Thailand (1978−1981).

with an emphasis on plant therapy for the elderly. She worked summers at Longwood Gardens, one of the country’s leading botanical gardens.

Dave then served as general secretary of the World Evangelical Fellowship (1982−1992), during which time he moved its headquarters to Singapore. Later, Dave served in South Florida as president of the Latin America Mission and continued teaching, preaching, and writing.

Karen moved to West Lafayette, Ind., to work with InterVarsity Christian Fellowship at Purdue University, where she led the undergraduate student ministry helping college students in their personal and spiritual growth. On November 8, 2003, she married Todd Allen Dinius. For 10 years, they served as C&MA missionaries to the people of Bosnia and Herzegovina, teaching English, assisting local churches, and helping to meet the personal, professional, and spiritual needs of the Bosnian people. Throughout her life, Karen had a passion to share the love of Jesus and the truth of His Word through her words and actions.

Dave was awarded Wheaton College’s Distinguished Alumnus of the Year award in 1977 and received honorary doctorates from Geneva College (Beaver Falls, Pa.) and Taylor University (Upland, Ind.). He authored 10 books, mostly on missions. In June 2003, Dave and Phyllis moved to Shell Point Retirement Community (Fort Myers, Fla.), where Phyllis passed away three months later. In August 2005, he married Janet King Kuhns, who served as a C&MA mssionary for more than 51 years and was a great gift to him during their time together at Shell Point.

Karen passed away after a four-year struggle with cancer. During that time, she chose to appreciate the blessings that Jesus gives in this life and the promise of eternal life in heaven with Him.

Dave is survived by his wife Janet; children David Jr., Stephen, Elisabeth, and Michael; 13 grandchildren; and 13 great-grandchildren.

Karen is survived by her husband; children Bethany Claire, Joshua William, and Kaitlyn Hope.


George C. Elmer January 19, 1942–May 20, 2022

Reynold E. Waltimyer’s obituary, published in the July/August issue of Alliance Life, erroneously stated that he pastored churches in Shoreville and Swanville, Minn. While he did pastor a C&MA church in Swanville, he was an assistant pastor in Shoreview, Minn., not Shoreville. We apologize for the error.

George was born in Greenfield, Mass. He attended Nyack (N.Y.) Missionary College, now Alliance University (New York, N.Y.) and completed his Bible training at the New England Bible Institute (St. Johnsbury, Vt.). George and his wife, Karol, were married for 60 years and served in pastoral ministry for 55 years. He pastored churches in Orange and East Randolph, Vt.; North Windham, Maine; Colrain and Orange, Mass.; and Daytona Beach, New Smyrna Beach, and Ormond Beach, Fla.


Along with pastoral ministry, George owned and operated a Christian bookstore for over 10 years in Greenfield, Mass. When he and Karol moved to Port Orange, Fla., in 1986, he opened and operated another Christian bookstore there until 1995. George is survived by his wife; children Brian, Sheila, Deborah, and Bonnie; 10 grandchildren; and 9 great-grandchildren. Karen Elizabeth (Kotkin) Dinius January 9, 1978–May 21, 2022

This photo illustration, used in the 2022 special issue of Alliance Life, was created by Peter Keady and Paul Keidel. If you would like to purchase a poster, either 12x16 or 16x20, you can do so by contacting Peter Keady at

Born in Camden, S.C., Karen grew up in Kennett Square, Pa. She attended Unionville High School, where she was involved in field hockey, lacrosse, basketball, and Young Life; she was also senior class president. Karen graduated from Penn State University with a bachelor of science in horticulture

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FROM AN APARTMENT TO THREE CONGREGATIONS On April 24, 2022, Citylight in Philadelphia had a celebration for its 10-year anniversary. In 2011, Pastor Matt Cohen, his wife, Andrea, and another couple, Pete and Jackie Horning, moved to northwest Philadelphia and started small group Bible studies. Their church plant, Citylight Manayunk, was officially launched in March 2012. In the last 10 years, the church has grown from just a handful of people gathering in Matt’s apartment to several hundred people gathering in three congregations throughout the Philadelphia region—Citylight Manayunk, Citylight Center City, and Citylight Delco. Since the beginning, 150 people have been baptized at the Citylight churches. “We believe that Citylight’s story has just begun,” says Matt. “We believe that the Holy Spirit is writing the next significant moment and preparing us for years of faithfulness and fruitfulness to come.”

CREATING A SPACE OF BELONGING FOR THE DEAF Located between Frederick, Maryland, and Washington, D.C., a church called The Table exists to partner with God in creating gospel access in the Deaf world. They provide opportunities for Deaf and ASL-speaking (American Sign Language) people to meet Jesus at outreach events and in missional communities. The Table also creates spaces where hearing and Deaf family members can gather together for worship, fellowship, and service opportunities while using ASL. “Ultimately, we hope to raise up, train, and send Deaf workers and plant more Deaf churches throughout the world,” says Bruce Persons, pastor of The Table. Another ministry Bruce runs, Bison Christian Fellowship, is passionate about making Jesus known among young adults at Gallaudet University, the world’s only Deaf university. Through outreach activities, weekly worship services, small groups, and missions trips, they strive to create a community where students are exposed to the love of Jesus and feel they belong.



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THE GOSPEL TAKES FLIGHT Adapted from “Plane Gives Missionaries Mobility” and “A New Day for Missions in Laos.” Originally published in The Alliance Witness, September 2, 1964, and January 20, 1965. The Alliance's Wren preparing for takeoff to share the gospel with refugees across Laos in the 1960s. (Photo courtesy of C&MA Archives)


ver since the spiritual awakening among the Meo aircraft to rotate troops fighting the Pathet Lao. Missionand Khamou tribes in 1950, the work of the Lord aries now can use these same airstrips and reach much in Laos has suffered from lack of workers, and many larger concentrations of people than ever before. Rev. T. opportunities were lost. Travel conditions are difficult. J. Andrianoff, chairman of the Mission, feels that “this is There are no roads, and the area is largely mountainous God’s way of helping us to finish our task.” with rugged trails which have to be climbed on foot. InTaking advantage of the airstrips, The Christian and termittent fighting during the past few years has only Missionary Alliance has bought a Cessna Wren (an made this problem more acute. aircraft of the STOL class, capable of operation from In the north, thousands of tribespeople fled from the airstrips of less than 500 feet) and is leasing the plane Communist-controlled areas into the mountains where to Missionary Aviation Fellowship (MAF), whose pithe government set up emergency refugee centers. Ap- lots will fly it in Laos, carrying workers and supplies to proximately 100 such centers exist today. These large remote areas. It will enable our missionaries to establish concentrations of Meo and Khamou tribespeople were temporary stations, to carry on evangelistic and Bible inaccessible to the missionaries since much of the inter- -teaching ministries in populous areas behind Commuvening country is held by the Communists. nist lines, and to move students from the refugee centers Yet from these inaccessible refugee centers came to the Bible school and back to their villages. reports of God’s working in the lives of many, mingled Yes, confusion, civil war, and uncertainty characterize with pleas to “come over and help us.” Christian teach- conditions in Laos today, but there is also a new “open ers—predominantly Laotian nationals—were anxious to door” of opportunity for missionary work, and only the go, but the obstacles brought by war kept them back. Lord knows how long we have to take advantage of it. The This brought one change which has aided the mis- clouds over Laos are dark, but if we are ever to reap the sionaries. At first the only contact with the refugee areas harvest we must do so now as quickly and as thoroughly was with relief goods dropped by parachute. Now, how- as we can. Thank God for the Wren and for the MAF air ever, each center has carved out a small airstrip which support service which are playing a very important role can be used by STOL (Short Take-Off and Landing) in fulfilling the Great Commission in Laos today.