Alliance Life: September/October 2023

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hardship moves us from our ideal life toward intimacy pg. 6 VOLUME 158 | No. 05 | SEP/OCT 2023 THE MAGAZINE OF THEALLIANCE SINCE 1882
church planting serves deep community needs pg. 24
FATHER’S HEART Multiplying gospel presence through coffee and conversations pg. 30 now. multiply


As we all know from our elementary math classes, multiplication involves starting with a factor and combining it with another to arrive at a product that is exponentially greater than it would be by merely adding the two factors together. What you start with is crucial. If you start with a positive factor, your product will be exponentially positive. If you start with a negative factor, your product will be exponentially negative. And so it is with the Kingdom of God. When Jesus multiplied, He started with loaves and fishes—things He knew to be nourishing and fulfilling. He didn’t start with sour grapes or rotting meat. Can you imagine if He had? 5,000 people running for the hills? Some miracle that would have been! No, our Redeemer instead gathers and multiplies that which brings “life abundant” (John 10:10). He chooses to dig deep within us to extract the wonder of who we were created to be and burnish it to shimmer among those who dwell in darkness. Simon Peter’s transformation is a timeless demonstration of our Master’s gentle, continual work of mining and refining His beloved children to extend His presence and fulfill His purposes.

So, whether we’re multiplying churches, disciples, relationships, or influence, what we start with is critical. If, for instance, I am held captive by the false beliefs and dysfunctional behavior that I adopted during the formative years of my childhood, I will undoubtedly pass on some of those lies and behaviors to family, friends, neighbors, coworkers, or anyone within my circle of influence. But if I commit myself to the deeper life in Christ, spiritual formation, and the care of my soul, I’m much more likely to multiply what is true, noble, right, pure, lovely, admirable, excellent, or praiseworthy (Phil. 4:8).

So, friends, I ask you—as I often ask myself, “What are you multiplying?” Or more pointedly, what are you allowing Jesus to multiply within you to establish things on earth as they are in heaven? Just some loaves and fishes for thought.

September is Multiplication Month in The Alliance. As we invite God to continue His mining and refining work within us, we can join together to multiply gospel presence in our neighborhoods and the nations. Visit to learn more.


by The Christian

Missionary Alliance, One Alliance Place, Reynoldsburg, OH 43068. Member, Evangelical Press Association and Associated Church Press. Printed in the USA.

POSTMASTER: Send address changes to ALLIANCE LIFE , One Alliance Place, Reynoldsburg, OH 43068.

When requesting a change of address, please give both the old and new addresses. Direct all correspondence and changes of address to ALLIANCE LIFE , One Alliance Place, Reynoldsburg, OH 43068. Toll free: (877) 284-3262; email: Website:

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

VOLUME 158 | No. 05 ALLIANCELIFE Founder A. B. Simpson E ditor - in - C hie F Peter Burgo M anaging e ditor Emmy Duddles g raphi C d esigner Caylie Smith a ssistant e ditor Julie Daubé sta FF Writers / e ditors Julie Daubé Hannah Castro Hannah Packard e ditorial a ssistant Mandy Gove C irC ulation Ful Fill M ent Julie Connon © ALLIANCE LIFE
is published
Cover: Illustration
Julissa Matias Flores EDITORIAL

04 Christ - Centered


Answering God’s call to disciplemaking and church planting | by Ivan Martí | pg. 4


How hardship moves us from our ideal life toward intimacy | by Bryan Halferty | pg. 6


Quotes from the Kingdom | pg. 11

TOZER ANTHOLOGY compiled by Harry Verploegh | pg. 11


Aligning with Jesus’ missional heartbeat by Terry Smith | pg. 12

FOLLOW ME | by Hannah Castro | pg. 14

18 Acts 1:8


Living a purpose-driven retirement by Joel Malick | pg. 18


The Face of Joy | by John Bils | pg. 20

MULTIPLYING BELIEF | When church planting serves deep community needs by Hannah Packard | pg. 24

THE FATHER’S HEART | Multiplying gospel presence through coffee and conversations | by Emmy Duddles | pg. 30

36 Family

BOARD SUMMARY LETTER by Steven C. Lausell | pg. 36


Requests from Alliance workers | pg. 37


Personnel changes, obituaries, and classified ads | pg. 38

OUR LIFE | Snapshots from around

The Alliance | pg. 46

FOUNDATIONS | An Unusual Delight

Adapted by Alliance Life staff | pg. 48



Plus 02
34 INFOCUS SEP/OCT2023 22 CONTENTS 24 14 30 6


“What we need to concentrate on is discipleship not church planting. God has called us to make disciples not to plant a church.”

Years ago when I announced my plans to plant a second church, this was the response I received from another pastor. From his perspective, church planting was a poor stewardship of God’s resources compared with discipleship initiatives in our Jerusalem and Judea.

This pastor is not alone in his viewpoint. This classic debate is an impassioned one with the goal of igniting the hearts of devout church planters, evangelists, and teachers. The question goes something like this: “What should we focus on: discipleship or church planting?” This question itself is intrinsically flawed. Both are an integral part of what God desires to do through us: “Go and make disciples” and “on this rock, I will build my church” (see Matt. 28:19 and 16:18).

There are enough resources in God’s economy to fulfill both. Making disciples who make disciples is vital

to church planting by equiping disciplemakers who reproduce and build the Church through generations! We need both to fulfill the Great Commission and advance God’s Kingdom. Together, they will accelerate the spread of the gospel in the United States as new believers become disciples who make other disciples resulting in new faith communities to continue the divine cycle until the end of days.


The importance of disciplemaking is undeniable in the Bible. Jesus made it abundantly clear that we are to make disciples of all nations. The heart of the Church’s mission is making disciples who make disciples. If a person is far from Christ, we need to first present the gospel, walk alongside them in their faith journey, baptize them, and disciple them to obey Jesus’ commands.

Answering God’s call to disciplemaking and church planting

But the impact of disciplemaking extends beyond personal spiritual growth. The deeper life is not just about sound orthodoxy but sound orthopraxis in submission to the Father (see 1 Cor. 4:20). As disciples are made and equipped, they should get involved in reaching others for Christ.

Disciplemaking Kingdom math works like this:

If I can only get involved with three new disciples at the same time for two years each, in 10 years we will have around 15 new disciples.

However, if I equipped them to not only be disciples but also disciplemakers who make disciplemakers, in 10 years we will have at least 243 disciplemakers.

Making disciplemakers will, in time, birth a mature church. Because of this, disciplemaking is the foundation for church planting. It produces individuals who are passionate about sharing their faith and establishing new expressions of the Church.


Before you ever plant a church, you must be settled about how you and your church body will approach the mission of making disciples. A leader without a plan for disciplemaking should never plant a church. If you want to launch a Sunday morning service but have little care for the hard work of discipleship, then you don’t want to plant a church. Church planting is all about making disciples who make disciples.

When a new church is planted, it often attracts individuals who are seeking God and are open to having a new relationship with Him. Church plants provide an environment where disciplemaking can occur in a more focused, intentional manner. The small and close-knit nature of a new church allows for deeper relationships, personalized discipleship, and a strong sense of community. As new believers are discipled within the church plant, they are not only equipped to grow in their faith but also empowered to participate in the disciplemaking process themselves, which will create Kingdom multiplication that accelerates the spread of the gospel and the formation of more mature disciples.

Church planting, however, is not merely the end goal of the disciplemaking process. Rather, church planting is a catalyst to fulfill the Church’s disciplemaking mission. Church planters need to develop a culture of biblical discipleship in their churches. They must equip the congregation to own their roles as active participants in the life of the church and the work of church planting (see Eph. 4:11–16).


While existing churches play a vital role in disciplemaking, they are limited in their ability to reach new people and communities. Church planting is the strategic approach needed to fulfill the Great Commission of making disciples of all nations.

By planting new churches, the message of Jesus can be proclaimed and new disciples can be made in places these established churches cannot reach. This ensures that the gospel reaches diverse contexts, cultural groups, and geographical areas. As a result, individuals who may have never encountered the gospel otherwise can hear and respond to God’s saving grace.


As church plants are established, disciplemaking remains a central focus within these communities. The ongoing process of nurturing and equipping individuals to become mature disciples ensures the health and vitality of the church plant. When new believers are grounded in their faith and grow in their relationship with Christ, they become active participants in the disciplemaking process. This strengthens the church plant, creates a culture of continuous growth and learning, and contributes to its long-term sustainability and multiplication.


Disciplemaking and church planting are inseparable and complementary endeavors. Mature, reproducing disciples, with their passion for sharing the gospel, play a pivotal role in the establishment of new churches through church-planting efforts. Church planting, in turn, accelerates disciplemaking by providing an environment conducive to intentional and focused disciplemaking, expanding the reach of the gospel and ensuring unreached peoples hear about Jesus.

Together, disciplemaking and church planting form a powerful force fostering the growth of believers and the expansion of God’s Kingdom. By engaging in both, the Church will become a dynamic community of disciplemakers committed to sharing the gospel, establishing new churches, and impacting the world for Christ.

Iván Martí is the national leader for church multiplication and leadership development for the C&MA. He and his wife, Lizzette, have three sons and two grandsons.



How hardship moves us from our ideal life toward intimacy

Adapted from Bryan Halferty's nearly finished book, Terrible Beauty: How to Plant a Church without SelfDestructing, an honest, memoir-ish guide to the terrible beauty of church planting.


Six months before we planted Anchor Church, my wife, Kandice, said, “I think we could plant a church and stay married and relatively healthy . . . ”

My ears perked up.

She continued. “ . . . if we have a predictable rhythm in our week: a date night, a family night, and a Sabbath.”

I heard the first part and missed the second.

Kandice and I are different. I’m a reckless miner digging for gold in dangerous conditions, and she’s a canary saying death is certain if we stay. Everything Kandice needed to be healthy while planting I was fairly illprepared to offer. My insecurities and ego conspired. I expected her to play host for people she didn’t know. I convinced myself she should be understanding when I worked late or took a call mid-conversation.

Months later, there was momentum with the church plant, and God was opening doors. A community leader invited me to an event on a night reserved for family, movies, and pizza. I said “Yes” to the community leader and “No” to my family. Kandice said it was fine, but the resigned tone and grimace were telling.

But wasn’t this church planting? I was taking an opportunity to connect with influential people who could be assets to a young church plant. In reality, I was starstruck and w on opportunity. Like an addict, I pursued the high at the expense of my family’s needs. Worse than the addict, I expected Kandice to run with me at my unsustainable and insecurity motivated pace.

This night became emblematic of our first year of church planting. Me chasing opportunities often at the expense of my family. What I understand now is that Kandice, in her hesitancy to stay at break-neck speed with me, was not an impediment to ministry momentum. Instead, she was the person God was using to get my attention.



If you had asked me to slow down, I’d laugh. In those early years of church planting, it felt like I was running from a lion. Slowing down felt like death.

Strip me of any spiritual maturity I have and take away my emotional health, and I will be a perfect mix of your own personal butler and hype-man. I’ll answer your texts at all hours and blow through my own boundaries for your sake. Church planting excels in stripping you of your spiritual maturity and robbing you of your emotional health by taking you away from what I call “the ideal life.”

You know you’re in the ideal life when certain decisions—like a date night—have a few choices but you know them all well. The ideal life offers relationships formed over years of trust. Often there is financial stability. All of these elements form thick cords of connection, binding you in a network of knownness.

Church planting takes you from the ideal life and places you in an environment that is unstable. The streets are unfamiliar. There are friends who offered promises of keeping in touch, but occasional phone calls are shadows of those conversations on a back porch. Finances are thin, and sometimes there is a question about what bill to pay this month.

Church planting is a wilderness before it’s a garden. The journey offers beauty but only after you feel hunger and thirst and confront demons that have laid dormant for years in the comforts of the ideal life.

God, of course, allows all this to happen. This isn’t new to any Jesus follower who has cracked open a Bible. After the Spirit descends on Jesus, that same Spirit sends Jesus out into the desert. Moses is plagued by voices of dissent from the people he’s supposed to lead and from himself. Jacob gets a blessing from God only after his hip gets dislocated.

I knew all of this when our family stepped away from “the ideal life” and into “the default church-planter life.” But it still caught me off guard. The lion that chased me was the belief that this whole church-planting thing would fail, my family wouldn’t have enough, and people wouldn’t like me.

I would turn around at times and see the lion close enough to lunge. Other times, I looked back to see it at a distance and slow my stride only to find it gaining on me. In my weakest moments, I would contort the church’s vision to please a coffee appointment or stare into the glittering pixels of my phone to text people who didn’t love me when I was sitting a few feet away from my family.

meeting with community leader email good intentions opportunity coffee appointment texting phone call family time

Eventually, I realized that in accruing favor with loose ties, I had gained resentment with close ones. Kandice wondered if I saw her needs. She craved stability and had set out on the church-planting journey expecting to be a partner not a casualty.

For my part, I developed a host of well-constructed arguments for why I needed to keep running from the lion. I’d whip these arguments out like a royal flush each time Kandice shared her resentment.

Kandice felt the persistent ache of not being truly seen or understood—in short, she didn’t feel loved. Add that to the perpetual feeling that she ranked second to the church plant with the ongoing expectation to smile for the pictures. The pressure built up until it boiled over.

One night, she told me, “I’m not happy in our marriage.” I can’t remember how that first conversation went because they started happening so frequently that they’ve blended together like a sad watercolor. I had reached the point where I couldn’t triage her words away with light-heartedness or a cavalier promise.

After one conversation, I went into our bedroom closet, shut the door, and wrapped my arms around my knees. My breathing came in gasps, and I began to weep. The lion was still chasing me, but my wife insisted I stop running. My family couldn’t run at that pace.

A few weeks later, at the end of a meeting with Anchor’s small staff of three, we began to ask, with rhythmic predictability, how we could pray for each other. I somehow coughed out, “I don’t like my life.” Again, I began to weep.

The church plant had all sorts of momentum. Other church planters had begun messaging me asking what we were doing that was working. People who didn’t know the love of God were asking questions. There was every reason to believe that God was working in powerful ways. But at that point, I wondered if it mattered.

I was running hard, my neck craned backwards, assessing the distance the lion was from me—not seeing the pit right in front of me.


When you’re in the pit, you don’t have a lot of space to keep moving. You’re all alone. Words like “prison” and “trapped” come to mind. However, the pit is actually a gift from God.

You don’t know you need help until you hit bottom, the old adage goes. To not hit bottom is to find an escape from healing and to conspire against God and those who love you. When you’re running from a lion and somehow managing to avoid the pit, you use tools like defensiveness, a veneer of religiosity, and smiles. You avoid intimacy at all costs. But, once in the pit, you collide with your limits and failures.

When those words, “I don’t like my life” spilled out of my mouth, I just sat there. I was the person “in charge.” The two staff members there were both good friends but were unready, I feared, for this awkward confession. The stream of tears didn’t help.

It wasn’t more than a few seconds though before one of them grabbed my shoulder and began praying, “God, help Bryan see that You love his life.” As long as I sat there crying, he kept praying.

Of course, I’d prefer to have not landed in the pit. However, in the pit we find that God’s grace is not a theological old wives’ tale but actual truth that meets us in our weakness, often through the touch of a friend.

Once you’re there, you also realize the lion doesn’t exist, at least not in the way you thought. Whether you’re a church planter or not, the fantasies we drum up about people only liking us if we make sure to never offend them and make them feel special is a hologram projected by the enemy using his favorite tool—fear. In other words, the lion has no teeth, and often it takes a pit to realize that.

When I talk to church planters who are about to leave “the ideal life” and set out into the land filled with lions and pits, I tell them about the second part of Kandice’s sentence. What Kandice wanted was stability and intimacy in a time where those things would be placed in jeopardy.

The lion that chased me was the belief that this whole churchplanting thing would fail, my family wouldn’t have enough, and people wouldn’t like me.

Kandice knew that while there were people to meet, opportunities to take, and prayers to pray, much of this work would only reinforce my lion-running anxieties unless there was someone at the end of the day to look me in the eyes and remind me that I was loved and not alone. She knew this is what she needed too. In the flustering season of learning new names and trying to be likable but also trying to be herself, Kandice needed me to be the one who rhythmically reminded her that she was loved—no matter what.

Over time, we learned to not only offer each other the marital gifts of constancy and intimacy, but our love also became a sign, offering each other a glimpse of God’s love, which steadies, stills, and silences lions and is always available. Kandice knew the secret all along.

Bryan Halferty is the lead pastor of Anchor Church in Tacoma, Washington. He and his wife, Kandice, have two children.

Once you’re in the pit, you realize the lion doesn’t exist, at least not in the way you thought.
Illustration by Caylie Smith

“We are to be gardeners who take an active stance toward their charge. They rearrange it in order to make it most fruitful, to draw the potentialities for growth and development out of the soil. That is the pattern for all work— rearranging the raw material of God’s creation in such a way that it helps the world in general, and people in particular, thrive and flourish.”

So precious is the Church in the eyes of God that it is scarcely possible it should ever become too precious in the eyes of men.

The Church is the temple in which the Spirit of Christ dwells, the Body of which Christ is the Head, the medium through which He works for the reclamation of mankind.

“Church planting is the belief that this work that has begun in us can’t stop with us. It has to spread.”

Any assembly of true Christians is a church. A group of saved persons, however small, who meets in Christ’s name and recognizes His Presence, forms a true cell in His Body and enjoys the full power and authority of Christ Himself.

However humble the external circumstances, if Christ is present the place is a holy temple and every believer a priest before the altar. Each single cell is an organic part of the larger body and is joined to the whole and to the Lord who indwells it by the life of the inliving Spirit.

“You were made to do good—to mirror and mimic what God is like to the world. To stand at the interface between the Creator and His creation, implementing God’s creative, generous blessing over all the earth and giving voice to the creation’s worship.”

Constant emphasis should be laid upon the fact that the local church is one indivisible organization and that there can be no independent “brotherhood” or “youth church” or “children’s church” operating apart from the life and order of the whole.

The most perfect expression of God’s will on earth will be found in the local church, whose members meet to worship the Lord and commune with each other and then go out to serve their generation after the manner laid down in the Scriptures.

—from The Price of Neglect. Originally published in The Alliance Witness, April 28, 1993.



Our Alliance founder was once asked by a reporter if he knew when Jesus would return. Simpson replied, perhaps surprisingly, that he did know, and pointed to Matthew 24:14: “And this gospel of the kingdom will be preached in the whole world as a testimony to all nations, and then the end will come.” The King will come when the work Jesus has given us to do is completed, when every people group on planet Earth has received a witness of the gospel and when some from every people group have believed the message of the gospel (see Rev. 5:9 and 7:9).

As we think about Christ our Coming King, there is a clear biblical connection between Jesus’ coming and the fulfillment of the Great Commission. In The Alliance, we believe that part of our impetus for missions engagement is to bring back the King. This is seen in both Matthew 24:14 and 2 Peter 3:8–12, which states:

But do not forget this one thing, dear friends: With the Lord a day is like a thousand years, and a thousand years are like a day. The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise, as some understand slowness. He is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance.

But the day of the Lord will come like a thief. The heavens will disappear with a roar; the elements

will be destroyed by fire, and the earth and everything in it will be laid bare.

Since everything will be destroyed in this way, what kind of people ought you to be? You ought to live holy and godly lives as you look forward to the day of God and speed its coming.

It’s important for us to cling to this fundamental truth of our faith: that Jesus is coming again. This is our Blessed Hope. It’s a prominent theme of the Bible, and it ought to be a prominent theme of our teaching, despite the complexity of the subject matter.


I graduated from Toccoa Falls College in 1981, having had a pre-Tribulation president in a school where all the theology professors were either mid-Tribulation or post-Tribulation. I emerged feeling somewhat confused about the subject and therefore not excited to preach about it. About 10 months into my ministry, I attended the 1982 General Council in Columbus, Ohio. At the time, L. L. King was president of The Alliance, and he preached on the Second Coming of Jesus, exhorting us to do the same.

I knew then that I had to preach on the subject— regardless of whether I understood every prophetic

Aligning with Jesus’ missional heartbeat Photograph by Ewein van Bergeik-Kwant

detail. I adopted a very basic philosophy in doing so—the essentials: “Jesus is coming. Be ready, and help others get ready.” There’s a missional heartbeat related to Jesus’ coming that I still feel compelled to preach.

Occasionally, I have taught on the signs of His coming in Matthew 24 and other Scriptures. But I believe we need to do so with a high degree of humility because we do not know the exact time He will come: “No one knows about that day or hour, not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father” (Matt. 24:36). We don’t know the day or the hour of Jesus’ coming, but that hasn’t kept so-called prophecy experts from preaching and writing as if they do know. We’ve all heard about blood moons and a certain peace accord in the Middle East. Some have tried to identify the Antichrist. Others have even set dates only to see them come and go without Jesus returning. Then one such date-setter set a second date, indicating that his first calculation had been off. And the second date came, but Jesus did not.

I’m not saying we shouldn’t pay any attention to the signs of His coming as some are delineated in Scripture. But I am saying our interpretation of those signs shouldn’t be our fixation as we think of Jesus’ coming. To do so would be like the disciples who watched Jesus ascend and stood gazing up. As they stood looking up, two angels appeared to them and said, “Men of Galilee, why do you stand here looking into the sky? This same Jesus, who has been taken from you into heaven, will come back in the same way you have seen Him go into heaven” (Acts 1:11).

Don’t just stand there looking up. Yes, look up in hope but also look around. See the needs of lost people, and get busy doing what Jesus has called you to do.


We are to be mission-driven as we anticipate Jesus’ coming. The clear indication of Matthew 24:14 is that the end will not come, Jesus will not return, until the mission He gave us to do is completed. The gospel must get to all nations before Christ’s coming—and He won’t return until the Great Commission is fulfilled.

When we read 2 Peter 3, we see in verse 8 that God is not wrapped up in a prophetic calendar. We might think more time has passed than should have and ask, “What is He waiting for?”

Verse 9 tells us—He’s being patient so more people can be rescued from eternal condemnation by coming to faith in Jesus. God isn’t watching some predetermined calendar. He’s observing the progress of the mission to win lost people to Christ. That is not to say God doesn’t know when Jesus will come. He is omniscient and prescient, knowing everything before it happens. He knows when He will send Jesus, but that day and time have not been set by some artificial timeline; rather, they have

been determined by the Church’s progress in getting the gospel to all nations.

Our president, John Stumbo, often reminds us as The Alliance that we are one of God’s end-time families called to complete the Great Commission. We do what we do the way that we do it to ensure that every people group on planet Earth receives a witness of the gospel so King Jesus can return.

Recently, the churches in Cambodia celebrated the 100-year anniversary of Christianity being introduced in their country. It was Alliance missionaries who first brought the gospel there because it has always been our passion to take the good news to those who have never heard. About a dozen years earlier, Alliance missionaries had been the first to bring the gospel to Vietnam. About 30 years later, Alliance workers were the first to bring the gospel to the Hmong people in northern Laos, and in the 1950s, certain people groups in Irian Jaya heard the name of Jesus for the first time from Alliance missionaries.

It is this passion to preach the gospel where it has never been heard that causes our denomination to redeploy our missionaries. We’ve pulled U.S. personnel out of fruitful places like the Philippines, Argentina, Chile, Brazil, Côte d’Ivoire, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, and numerous other countries, believing the Alliance national church networks in those countries were strong enough to continue evangelizing their own people. Meanwhile, our U.S. missionaries have been sent to a variety of new places where the gospel may have never been heard before—many that carry such high risk for our missionaries that we can’t publicly identify them by name or country. Even today, we are still entering locations where no one has heard the good news. By doing so, we are fulfilling Matthew 24:14 by preaching the gospel “in the whole world as a testimony to all nations.” In Peter’s words, we are speeding Christ’s coming.

When will this mission be completed? We cannot know. We only know that Jesus’ coming is imminent. Meanwhile, there’s work to be done. Only God will know when the task Jesus assigned to us is completed. And when He knows that every people group is represented in the Church, He will turn to Jesus and say, “Go get your Bride.” The King will come, and His coming will launch an everlasting, international, multicultural celebration of His redemptive work—crossing every boundary and including all nations.

Terry Smith is the vice president for Church Ministries for The Alliance and author of Changing Course: Leading Older Churches in a New Direction. He holds degrees from Toccoa Falls (Georgia) College and Crown College in St. Bonifacius, Minnesota. He and his wife, Ruth, have two sons and five grandchildren.



“Follow me” is a command, not a request; at times, it can feel restrictive, repressive even, but isn’t it meant to draw us closer to Him?

If “Follow me,” coming from the most holy of persons, makes one feel as if they aren’t able to truly live, then the living they engage in might not be full— in fact, it is quite empty indeed.

As a measure of intimacy, a proposal was given to those who had a desire to be more than themselves. An invitation to observation turned into complete and utter transformation, but it didn’t happen from far away. Those who followed were in relationship— and not the kind that leaves you lost.

Illustration by Julissa Matias Flores

He didn’t say, “You can follow me from afar.” No. He loved deep. He spoke to. He demonstrated among. He ate with. He answered all. He healed many. He brought forth community in abundance. Those twelve who walked with Him abided in His presence, spent time learning and listening, trusted His heart and His words, and denied themselves in order to be discipled.

Relationship is everything. To those who long to listen and to those who long to be listened to, “Follow me” is not to be misunderstood with one’s self.

“Me” begins and ends with the One who commands.

In order to truly learn, you must lean in. In order to truly follow, you must be close. In order to truly be discipled, you must participate.

Without restriction, discipleship is a call to action—

a command to completely engage with He who calls you first to Himself.

To know Him is to be an apostle, a learner, an engager.

To trust in Him is to take action, to walk through the door, to be enveloped in His love.

To disciple is to be discipled, to put Him above all else, to love as He loves. We cast our nets, lean in, and love deep, which all stems from the command: “Follow me.”

Hannah Castro is a senior editor and story liaison for the Alliance National Office. She recently received her master’s of theological studies from Asbury Theological Seminary. She is passionate about cultivating stories to glorify the Lord.

My name is Alpha, and I am eight years old. I was born in a village far from here, but when I was five, my parents honored God by sending me to the city to be a student of our holy text. I live in an unfinished cement brick home with a dirt floor with 100 other boys like me. We memorize verses in the evenings, but from sunrise to sunset, we roam the streets begging for our daily food and for change to bring back for our religious teacher. We are often beaten if we don’t bring back enough. We are neglected and hungry and treated like outcasts. As we beg, people give us scraps of food and small change, but no one greets us by name or smiles at us. We bathe in the river and wash our clothes there. My legs are covered with ulcers, and my feet are cut up from walking through the trash-filled streets. We are everywhere and yet somehow unseen, unknown.

But a local church saw me. They smile at me and call me by name. A couple days per week I run into the center, set aside my shame, and get to play like a kid. They feed me good meals, provide a real shower, dress my wounded feet, play with me, and teach me God’s Word. When I am there, I can rest. I am seen. I am known.



On this mountain the Lord Almighty will prepare a feast of rich food for all peoples, a banquet of aged wine—the best of meats and the finest of wines . . . People will come from east and west and north and south, and will take their places at the feast in the kingdom of God (Isa. 25:6; Luke 13:29).

Photo by Olivia, Alliance Video


On a death certificate, there’s a box that calls for “cause of death.” But no coroner ever fills in that box with “loss of purpose.” It usually manifests itself in some other way. Have you known someone who withered away too quickly after some significant life transition, such as leaving a long-term career where they felt impactful, raising children who left home, or losing a dear loved one?

When it’s a choice we made, like retirement, we feel confident that we’ll be just fine without a true purpose to wake up to. After all, we’ll have free time to do whatever we want. We think nice, slow mornings, running errands, hanging with family, playing some sports, volunteering once a week, and seeing new places will fill the void. We’ll be able to reflect on our past purpose and leverage it to keep being purposeful in the future. We use our past purpose like a massive tank of gas to propel us forward over the next 25 years.

But in reality, it is more like sand in our hand than gas in a tank. Too many retirees run up against a Godsized void that can’t be filled with man-made devices and distractions.

What is it about a purpose that makes it so beneficial? Why does the lack of one punish us so severely? Why must I have one in order to thrive in all areas of my life? And how the heck do I find one?


The first step is to change how we think about purpose. It’s not what you do, it’s why you do it. Many people spend way too much time on the what; in fact, some never get past it. We need to better understand the why in order to more effectively mobilize.

You are hardwired by God to love and serve others; it’s a universal calling. Therefore, it’s a universal purpose. When you shift your thinking away from wondering

Living a purposedriven retirement

what you can do to find personal happiness and start thinking instead about how you can meet the needs of others, you begin to understand what real purpose is.

I have a client who enjoys woodworking. But the part that gives him the greatest enjoyment is using his personal time and money to make gifts that bless others. He loves crafting interesting pieces and giving them away. It’s not about money; it’s about purpose.

Some areas of skill and gifting in your life are very specific. Use them as you can, but recognize that they are only manifestations of your core purpose, which is to love God and serve others. My client can’t spend his next 25 years woodworking for other people. He would run out of money and people to give the gifts to.

So, what do you do? This is going to sound simple, but it’s not easy. It takes real effort.

You start by waking up every day reminding yourself that you are not here to figure out how to enjoy life. Seeking personal happiness is not your purpose. If you just set out to pursue happiness, you will find the opposite.

Instead, wake up each day and ask God to use you. See your life as not your own. Ask Him to open doors and opportunities where you can benefit and serve others. Ask Him to be glorified with your day.

You don’t need a daily volunteer assignment to live out your purpose, although there is value in that. But if you can start seeing your purpose as a daily adventure to engage whatever opportunities God orchestrates, I promise you will have no lack. It’s unbelievable how this works. When you stop thinking about what you want to do and start looking and listening to God, He starts working. This is your purpose.

thrive, even when you don’t know exactly what the how will look like. You will have more joy, peace, and fulfillment than you ever thought possible.

God is going to open your eyes to needs all around you. You might even become overwhelmed with all the needs you see, feeling that there’s no way you can make a big enough difference. Ignore this voice because it wants to distract you from doing that next seemingly small thing. It’s not small. Our God is in the business of using your small acts of daily obedience to change lives—and one of those lives will be yours.

Joel Malick is the author of afterwork: An Honest Discussion about the Retirement Lie and How to Live a Future Worthy of Dreams. He and his co-author, Alex Lippert, are cofounders of EverOak Wealth Co. in Colorado Springs, Colorado.

Pick up a copy of afterwork from Barnes and Noble or Amazon for an honest discussion about the retirement lie and how to live a future worthy of dreams!

Sometimes it will look different each day, and sometimes it will be more consistent. However, if you start seeing yourself as a person on a daily mission, you will

Be sure to also subscribe to the newly launched afterwork Podcast with the QR code for fresh and thoughtful insights about how to redefine the season ahead to maximize purpose, impact, and fulfillment.

Our God is in the business of using your small acts of daily obedience to change lives—and one of those lives will be yours.



As a writer involved with fundraising at the National Office, I’m used to working behind the scenes. However, while attending Council 2023, I had an opportunity to connect in person with international workers (IWs) who embody our All of Jesus for All the World vision in some of the world’s hardest places—from the landfill slums of North Africa to the remote mountain villages of Latin America. On the last day of Council, I learned that one of these IWs was going to receive a significant donation for the youth centers he oversees in Southeast Asia, and I wanted to capture the moment he received the news so that those who make his work possible could share in his joy.

To bring my plan to fruition, I sought out two of my coworkers at the National Office: Jenny, director for IW engagement and partnerships, and Olivia, video producer and editor. That morning, seated in a dim auditorium about the size of a Walmart, I began texting the international worker, Ryan,* under the pretext that I hoped to introduce him to Jenny. I didn’t tell him about the donation. I also didn’t tell him our meeting would be captured on camera.


I had introduced myself to Ryan more than two months before through email, informing him that our team was working on a fundraising proposal that could procure as much as $60,000 for his youth centers, which provide food, shelter, and Christ-centered mentoring for over 75 students in a Southeast Asian country mired in political conflict and social upheaval.

As Ryan sent the documents we needed to develop the proposal—which included annual evaluations of the youth centers, testimonials, photos, and student progress reports—I saw a new side to his work that most donors never see. Many of you who give to Ryan’s work— and to other Alliance work throughout the world— rarely, if ever, see the faces of those who benefit from your generosity. Yet, it expands the heart, fuels our compassion, and challenges our capacity to love and care for others when we get to see those faces!

I didn’t need pictures from Southeast Asia to complete the fundraising proposal, but Ryan’s team sent them anyway. So many pictures. The one that really got to me was of a girl standing against a bare,

Photo courtesy of author

sky-blue wall, dressed in mismatched tones of pink from the neck down—pink coat, pink sweatpants, and pink Crocs coated with dust. The dimple on her cheek was the size of a raisin. She lived in a region ravaged by violence, poverty, and illegal trafficking. Yet, somehow, she looked happy. I wanted her to stay happy—and not only that, I also wanted her to grasp her immeasurable worth in God’s eyes.

At that moment, I realized a new purpose for my work. It was no longer just about funding a project—it became about that little girl.


If Ryan suspected my true motive for meeting with him on the last day of Council, he didn’t say so. As Ryan, one of his U.S.-based colleagues, and I descended the small flight of steps into the convention center café, we passed Olivia, waiting in plain sight to capture our meeting. Seeming to pay no attention to us, she aimed her camera at the crowd of conference attendees drifting out of the auditorium.

I led Ryan and his colleague to a round table near a wall of plate-glass windows where Jenny was waiting for us. After a brief introduction, she directed the conversation back to me. By then, Olivia had crossed the café and was kneeling next to our table. As she pointed her camera at us, I finally told Ryan the real reason for our meeting. He was overjoyed not only to learn that the fundraising proposal had been accepted but also that his youth centers would receive $80,000—much more than we had originally planned to request!

“Wow!” he said. “Praise the Lord!” Then, fighting back tears, we stood and embraced, exuberant because one donor’s generosity would allow over 75 children to find refuge among God’s people.

My meeting with Ryan didn’t end with the news of the $80,000 gift, however. After Olivia had turned her camera off, Ryan confided in me

something I hadn’t understood about his work and the impact of your giving. He admitted that sometimes in his work with Southeast Asian students, he feels like one of the scouts of Israel who explored the Promised Land at God’s command and flinched at the land’s colossal inhabitants who made the Israelites seem “like grasshoppers” (Num. 13:33). Ryan’s apprehension comes from the intimate knowledge of the immense challenges his students face. He and his team often state that the region is engulfed in a “vicious cycle” that entraps young men and women in illicit activities and war.

As soon as Ryan received news of the gift, however, I could almost feel him putting aside his fear of the giants encroaching on the territory God has given him. The gift encouraged him to see God’s validation of his work—and of his calling. Although you may not always see or hear about the reactions of Alliance workers to your generosity, you can be assured every gift validates and emboldens their work to serve those in their care and proclaim the gospel. Your gifts mean so much more than the dollar amounts can convey on a budget sheet. The next time you give, I hope you can picture the elation on Ryan’s face and the raisin-sized dimples on the cheeks of a little girl in grimy Crocs.

*Name changed


Day after day, the youth in one Southeast Asian country confront the devastating effects of civil war, extreme poverty, and illegal trafficking. They are in a vicious cycle of trauma, abuse, and exploitation—but through your giving, you can disrupt this cycle. To provide for the physical, intellectual, and spiritual needs of these children, visit cmalliance. org/give; select “a project you love/Find a project”; and type in “SE Asian Refugee Youth Center.” Learn more about Alliance strategic projects throughout the world in need of your prayers and financial support by accessing the 2022-23 Strategic Giving Opportunities Gift Catalog at strategic-projects-gift-catalog-2022-23web/ or by calling toll free (866) 443-8262.

John Bils is a fundraising and campaign writer at the National Office. He has a B.A. in English from Ohio State and lives in Reynoldsburg, OH. Above: There are more children like the little girl pictured here who need your help to be kept safe from extreme poverty and human trafficking. Opposite: Ryan was thrilled to hear that his youth center would be receiving a larger gift than he originally expected to receive.


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When church planting serves deep community needs


Danny knew he was called to be a pastor. He had worked in youth ministry for a long time, eventually serving as the district youth director in the Puerto Rico District. He knew God had called him as a pastor— but he didn’t expect to be a church planter.

In May 2019, at a conference in the Puerto Rico District called Evangelium, Pastor Danny began talking with Iván Martí, assistant vice president for Church Ministries, about church planting. Curious, Pastor Danny decided to take the Church Multiplication Office’s church-planting assessment. After reviewing his results, Iván and Pastor Victor Monroig, the district’s director of multiplication, encouraged him to consider becoming a church planter. Encouraged by this and beginning to realize what God was calling him to, in January 2020, Danny got involved with a pastoral group at ACyM Camuy, a church led by Pastor Domingo Perez-Badillo.

As Pastor Danny and his wife, Rebeca, began thinking about where to plant, their attention was drawn to Isabela, a town on the northwest coast of the island. “I remember praying in the public plaza for the town,” Pastor Danny says. “We knew something was going on. We knew that God was giving us love for this town and community.”

‘‘Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.’’
But how can they call on him to save them unless they believe in him? And how can they believe in him if they have never heard about him? And how can they hear about him unless someone tells them? And how will anyone go and tell them without being sent? That is why the Scriptures say, ‘‘How beautiful are the feet of messengers who bring good news!’’
—Romans 10:13-15, NLT
This photo: Because of the large Deaf population in the region, church members are learning sign language so they can be a safe place for Deaf people to experience Jesus.

Unbeknownst to Danny, God had also been laying church planting, and Isabela in particular, on the hearts of Pastor Domingo and District Superintendent Javier Gomez. When they began talking, they knew the Spirit was doing something; it wasn’t a coincidence. God had His eyes on Isabela.


At that point, Pastor Danny began the preparation process for planting a church in Isabela. “The first three months, we were just praying,” he says. In the next three to four months, the district helped Danny do research and find grants. The Alliance is passionate about church planters never going alone. “I am really living it. I have never felt alone,” Pastor Danny says. “I’ve felt very cared for. So, I don’t feel tired. I’m not regretting planting.”

During the next phase, Pastor Danny began researching Isabela and the surrounding region—churches in the area, demographics, locations—as well as establishing the group that would go with his family to Isabela as a planting team. Amid this period of research, Danny discovered that in the region around Isabela, there are more than 2,300 Deaf people.

“When we saw this number, it was a game changer on the possibilities of serving the community. We knew God was taking us to Isabela already, so now the question was, ‘How do we start?’” An idea began to take shape in his mind. “If you want to receive people from the Deaf

community, the church has to be prepared, right? To communicate, to speak with them when they come.”

ACM Isabela launched in March 2022 with 16 people, including Pastor Danny, Rebeca, and their two girls. From the start, the church has sought to become deeply rooted in the community. After praying and considering, Pastor Danny decided that the church would hold American Sign Language (ASL) classes, both for the congregants and the community to learn how to sign. “We wanted to assist the community, to bless them. We want to love them,” Danny says.

Reflecting on that early season, Pastor Danny shares, “I remember someone said to me, ‘Pastor, you’re dreaming too fast. You’re dreaming too big. Don’t you think you should reconsider?’ And I understand his point. But if God wants us to run, we’ll run, not knowing what’s going to happen. We often preach on living by faith, but it’s not at that moment that you really have to live by faith.”


According to the World Federation of the Deaf, there are approximately 72 million Deaf people globally. It is reported that only 2 percent have a personal relationship with Jesus. A complete ASL translation of the Bible was only recently finished in 2020, and it is the first of its kind. In the early 2000s, the Sordos de Puerto Rico, Inc., (the Puerto Rico Deaf Association) estimated that 80,000 Puerto Ricans are fully deaf, while a Photography by

Olivia, Alliance Video This photo: They knew the Holy Spirit was doing something. God had His eyes on Isabela. Right: Danny and Rebeca continue to seek God in prayer for Isabela and the surrounding cities.


Please pray:

• for their intermediate ASL class, held on Thursday nights, and for the upcoming advanced ASL class beginning in January 2024

• that God will raise up leaders and disciplemakers in the church

• that God will continue helping them build bridges into their community

• that they will soon have their own rented space

Watch the video of this story and download other Church

Planting Sunday resources at

• for the Deaf community in Puerto Rico, that those who have not will soon be able to see the gospel in their heart language

• that God will continue multiplying gospel presence and disciples across Puerto Rico!

If God wants us to run, we’ll run, not knowing what’s going to happen.
“The Lord himself goes before you and will be with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged” (Deut. 31:8).

further 260,000 are hard of hearing. Knowing that these numbers may have increased in the last two decades and that Puerto Rico is an island of only 3,515 square miles and just over 3.2 million people, these numbers are significant.

To hold the ASL classes, Pastor Danny needed to find a teacher. He called several sign language interpreters on the island, but they didn’t seem to get what he wanted. “The fifth interpreter I called was Xochitl,” Pastor Danny says. “Our church is praying for a nearby city, Aguadilla. We want to plant and keep extending the Kingdom, so in five, six, eight years, we pray to have at least a small group in Aguadilla. Well, this interpreter, Xochitl, she is from Aguadilla.” As Danny spoke with Xochitl, explaining what he hoped for the classes, she started to cry. Pastor Danny wondered what he’d said wrong, but after a couple of minutes, she said, “Pastor, I’ve been wanting this, but I didn’t know how to start. Let me talk to my husband and think about this.”

After three days, Pastor Danny and Xochitl spoke on the phone, and she agreed to do the project. She got emotional again on the phone as she began to share her story with Pastor Danny. Xochitl had been very hurt by the church in the past and had stopped attending any church for several years. In the meantime, she met her husband, Luis, who is Deaf, and they started having children. “But she had the seed of the gospel in her heart,” Pastor Danny says. “She started wanting to retry life in the church.”

However, when Xochitl and Luis tried visiting churches together, they found it difficult to connect. She would offer to translate so that Luis would be included, at least to some extent, but churches would reject her offer because she wasn’t a leader.

When the hunger for God had been stirred in her heart again, Xochitl had prayed, “God, I want you to find me.” For her, the project with ACM Isabela was God finding her and calling her back home. Before the class started, she visited ACM Isabela, and she felt loved. The next week, she came back with her husband. Then they brought their children. “Now they are serving and are part of the church community. Rather than just providing for a need, we’re walking alongside them. That has been a game changer for Luis and their family,” Pastor Danny says. The church wasn’t very good at signing at the beginning, but Luis would still say, “This is the church I want to be at.” Now there are three more Deaf people regularly visiting ACM Isabela! God is at work.

The church and community members completed their beginner level ASL class in April this year and started the intermediate level in mid-August. In January 2024, they plan to tackle the advanced level course. “Half the class is from the church and half is from the community. So, we already have fruit from the

Below: Because of ACM Isabela, Luis (right) has found a church community he can call his own. Right: Luis and Xochitl teaching sign language to church members of all ages.

classes! A military veteran named Albert is in the class. He is a new believer and comes to our church,” Pastor Danny says. “I think God is preparing the way for us to reach into other cities with the gospel. There are many people to reach.”


As I heard Pastor Danny share ACM Isabela’s story, I was touched by the love his church desires to show their community. They seem to be a people who are outdoing each other in showing honor to those around them, who are using their liberty in Christ to serve their neighbor, for “the entire law is summed up in a single command: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself’” (Gal. 5:14).

Pastor Danny was encouraged by Romans 10:13–15 to hold ASL classes for his church. Rightly so. Globally,

the Deaf community lacks gospel access and resources. And it’s deeper than just needing the gospel presented to them in their heart language, which for the vast majority of Deaf people is a signed language. For any person, language barriers can be significant and painful when trying to find a church to call home. But what if you physically can’t communicate in the language of the majority culture? For ACM Isabela, the answer is simple—and I hope that many more churches reach that same conclusion and catch that same HolySpirit fire. May we love our neighbors as ourselves.

Hannah Packard is the content strategist for the Alliance National Office. She received her master’s of divinity from Asbury Theological Seminary and is pleased to serve the Lord through storytelling.


Multiplying gospel presence through coffee and conversations

With two liters of Coke, some hot chocolate, and a few pots of coffee, Alliance workers Chris and Jamie O’Dell opened Aroma Coffeehouse in Taiwan, a safe space where people could practice their English and have deep conversations about faith. In the last 14 years, this ministry has seen major success, establishing a church and also becoming a fully functioning business as Aroma Café, where they provide jobs and Christian mentorship to Taiwanese people.

In May 2022, Aroma Café was able to move into a new space in the heart of Taipei that offers significant opportunities for expansion. Being only half a block from the Taipei main station where trains from all over the city and country pass through, they are perfectly positioned to make an impact in the lives of hundreds of people a day on their journey through the city.

Not only is this the perfect location, but it is also twice the size of their original space, allowing them to host

Above: Through many different events and classes, Aroma Café is able to spread the aroma of Christ throughout Taiwan.

Right: English classes provide a special opportunity for Aroma Café staff to engage in questions about faith with people in their city.

more English classes, music nights, art classes, and other larger events as well as serving up to 100 people at Aroma Church on Sunday morning.

“We’re thankful for the way that the building has provided,” says Chris. “It’s because of people’s generosity in 2021 that we were able to finish this.”


The Aroma Café team goes to great lengths to serve residents and visitors to Taipei. But they don’t work alone. As a ministry of Envision, Aroma Café facilitates short-term

Photos courtesy of the author


Among the many who have come to Christ through this ministry are two employees, Andrew and Angela, who now serve alongside the O'Dells. Andrew has a major role in discipleship, leading community growth at Aroma Church, and Angela is the cafe's manager who facilitated the move to the new building in 2022. They were each deeply moved by the love they received at Aroma Cafe and are now determined to do the same for others. "It's cool to see how Taiwanese people are stepping up in ministry with us and to see God moving in their lives," Chris says.


I was looking for a part-time job in my freshman year of college. I didn’t know what I was looking for, but then I found Chris. I had always wanted to work at a coffee shop, and it was a great opportunity to learn English. I wanted to be baptized and become a Christian, but I didn’t have a church community at the time.

Not too long after I started working behind the bar, I started going to church and learning more about God’s Word. I realized it’s not just a religion—God is who I want to follow, and He has a purpose for me. The faithful people at Aroma helped me desire more of Him.

I worked at Aroma while I was in college and then attended Bethel School of Supernatural Ministry for three years. I always came back to help during summer break.

In September 2021, Chris invited me back, and I’ve been working here ever since.

My favorite part of my job is that who I am can change someone’s life in the same way that others have changed mine by showing me their faith. I don’t have a plan about what to do next. No matter what it is, I’ll have to make sure I do it with God. I can’t do it without Him.


I met a missionary at my college sent from the Aroma Church in 2017. I loved the welcoming vibe even when I just visited the café the first couple times. I felt like I was an old friend to them.

My first job was as the interpreter for a short-term team doing outreach and vacation Bible school. While I was working with short-term teams that summer, I started attending the Aroma Church regularly, hearing God’s words and joining the small group. We had a Bible reading plan with the manager, who helped me know who I am in Christ, and I was baptized in 2019.

For me, I love sharing the gospel with the customers who just come to the café. We become friends, and I’m able to share Jesus and my testimony with them. I started to go to Alliance Theological Seminary online in 2022 because God is calling me to be a pastor. I hope while I am helping people smell, become, and spread the aroma of Christ throughout Taiwan, I can also be equipped by the program in the seminary.

trips and internships that give Alliance people opportunities to be a part of what God is doing in this region.

“It’s amazing how the whole Alliance family can get involved here,” Chris says. “They’re getting involved in mission as families and as individuals. People from different churches will come and volunteer, and it shows the unity and gospel presence that is here, seeing the Kingdom at work in the city.”

Along with internships and short-term trips, individuals and couples sometimes come out to serve indefinitely. Two older couples retired early and moved to Taipei (one from Singapore and one from a Chinese Alliance church in California) to partner with Chris and Jamie, doing everything from picking up the O’Dells’ kids from school to teaching English at the café. “The young townies coming to Aroma Café are so drawn to these two couples,” Chris says. “They want those mother and father figures in their lives.”

Whether it’s short-term teams holding a vacation Bible school for one week or interns helping build the business and teach English to Taiwanese people, God is moving among them to share His love with the people of

Taiwan. Many have felt welcomed in and loved by these teams and individuals, which continues to strengthen the witness of the gospel through Aroma Café.


The gospel presence in Taiwan that Aroma Café is building is needed now more than ever. From 2017 to 2022, the number of Christians in Taiwan decreased from 1.5 million to 750,000. Taiwanese people have generally had a good view of Christianity even though many weren’t becoming Christians themselves. However, in the last few years, the pandemic created mass isolation, and some churches in the area used their influence politically in a way that left many disillusioned with the church.

In the midst of this shift, one of Aroma Café’s most consistent outreaches, Coffee Talk, had to close down because of COVID-19. It had been running every Friday since 2009, teaching English through conversation and

Above: Aroma Café continues to empower and mentor young Taiwanese people to be enthusiastic followers of Christ.

sharing the gospel to roughly 50 people a week. Once restrictions had lifted, Coffee Talk started up again, but only 20 people attended every week.

A former Envision intern, Andre, who had served with Aroma Café many years ago, reached out to Chris about an idea he had for this outreach in March 2023. Andre had stayed in Taipei after his internship and had amassed a large following on Instagram and TikTok. He told Chris he wanted to do an advertisement on his social media for Coffee Talk.

When Andre put a 15-second video about the café up on his Instagram, it was viewed over 500,000 times. Within a few weeks, Coffee Talk had more sign-ups than they could manage. For several weeks, Coffee Talk saw between 60-80 people on Friday night, so they decided to expand into a second night on Thursdays. Even that wasn’t enough, so they expanded into a lunch event on Fridays as well.

“There’s gospel opportunities every week at those tables,” Chris says. “Our goal now is to get a hundred people per week to come to one of these three events. We’re hitting that goal some weeks. It’s amazing to see that growth and expansion.”

To serve all who want to come to Coffee Talk, Aroma Café started an online chat group for people to sign up

for one of their three weekly events, which now has almost 1,700 people waiting for a chance to practice their English in a Christian environment. Many of those who are coming are either Christians who fell away from their faith during the last few years or non-believers who grew up in a Christian home and never had a faith of their own.

“They’re coming back and saying, ‘We want to know more of this Jesus.’ This is the gospel presence you are sending!” Chris says.

These people who were hurt by the church are being renewed in their faith because of their conversations at Aroma Café, and others are meeting Jesus for the first time in their adult life. After coming to Coffee Talk, some of them join a chat group for people who want to connect outside of Aroma Café. They go on hikes, hangout at the beach, visit museums, and do other activities together, which allows for more relationship building and more time to have deep conversations about faith.

“As we reach these people,” Chris says, “we’re engaging them and helping them to smell, become, and spread the aroma of Christ. And it’s all happening right in the middle of our city! It’s all about the world being reconciled to the Father’s heart.”

challenge, or cast C&MA vision.

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Emmy Duddles is the managing editor of Alliance Life. She and her husband, Lucas, live in Columbus, Ohio.
They’re coming back and saying, “We want to know more of this Jesus!”


On June 16, The Alliance held a groundbreaking ceremony celebrating a new season for our National Office—one with more engagement through a mixed-use site that will expand our meaningful, impactful presence in our own community and around the world.

Photography by Olivia, Alliance Video


May/June 2023

Dear co-laborer for Christ,

The Board of Directors met on May 29 and June 3, 2023, at the Spokane (Washington) Convention Center before and after Council 2023. This Board meeting always has a lighter agenda since issues are handled in anticipation of Council, such as approval of the budget to be presented at Council and the appointment of international workers to be commissioned. The mood of the meeting is also different as the anticipation and impact of Council seems to fill the air.

The pre-Council meeting began with a devotional time led by Board Chairperson Matthew E. Kelly reading from Psalm 131, highlighting that submission, contentment, and hope in God are essential qualities in those facing the challenges of leadership.

The Board received updated information, discussed, rejoiced, and prayed for the following:

• All C&MA higher education institutions are thriving in their own way, although Alliance University is facing financial challenges of its own. We prayed for the upcoming Alliance University accreditation meeting.

• After the pandemic, our churches have seen new people coming to Christ and joining the church. The C&MA is well positioned to receive them with our worship services held in 37 different languages across the United States.

• Our new funding model encouraging designated and undesignated giving has increased overall giving, although we are still working out the mechanics in order to have the most effective, dynamic ministry.

• We were brought up to date on Project ReImagine, where much progress has been made and we have seen God’s hand leading us. Generous gifts have allowed for purchase of the land, development of preliminary plans, and groundbreaking on June 16, 2023. There is much to be excited about and to be thankful for. now. is the time for all of us to become fully engaged.

• All of our retirement centers were hard hit by COVID-19, as well as the hurricane passing over Shell Point, but are recovering and providing Christ-centered care.

• We rejoiced over and prayed for the international workers who were to be commissioned at Council.

President Stumbo closed the pre-Council meeting addressing the fact that at the post-Council meeting, the makeup of the Board would be different. He was grateful for the service of those who would no longer be serving as Board members and prayerful that God would bring to the Board persons equally suited for God’s purpose during the next two years. The meeting came to an end with prayer for Spirit-led unity among all as we entered Council.

Needless to say, by the time the post-Council meeting was convened, so much had happened! Tae (Ted) S. Kang became corporate vice president, and Thomas George became corporate secretary. There were eight new Board members, and internal Board elections for the Executive Committee and Nominations Committee were held.

Time was allowed for all Board members to introduce themselves and share their thoughts as to the issues they felt the Board should address over the next two years. It is an exciting and challenging time to be on the Board and serve the C&MA!

As for me, this will be my last letter summarizing Board meetings as this responsibility is passed on to the new corporate secretary, Thomas George. It has been an honor and a blessing to serve, and I am grateful for the opportunity and thankful for the way in which I was welcomed and encouraged every step of the way. God bless all of you.

In Christ’s love,



Requests from Alliance workers


We recently discovered a group of girls who have been recruited as prostitutes to service the homeless populations in our community, who pay for their services with whatever they can steal from construction sites. Several of these runaways are underage. Praise God that two of them were rescued and reunited with their families. One girl came from a broken home; her mom is a prostitute, so we found an uncle who took her in.

We have connected with a local nurse with a heart for these girls who are broken, desperate, and seeking whatever will put food in their bellies. Pray for us as we work on a long-term option that would require buying land and setting up a home that could give the girls some stability while we seek to reunite them with their families. Reconciliation is tricky in such situations because of the shame their families feel. We have the people and are looking at property but are still awaiting the government paperwork to provide the legitimacy needed to share the gospel openly with minors. Pray for God’s favor and for our local partners as they carry this burden and seek solutions in this challenging situation.

—an Alliance international worker couple


We are writing this as we prepare for home assignment. Our first term had so much packed into it—language learning, a global pandemic, lockdowns, and armed conflict not far from our corner of the world. We’ve also had a rich, rewarding season seeing God move in ways that are far beyond what we asked for as we began this term. We had front-row seats seeing a church planted and growing to over 60 people, multiple people coming to faith in Jesus, and lives being transformed by the gospel. We have seen God give hope to Ukrainian refugees and had the honor of helping many families find a home and church in our community.

We are leaving just as our congregation—the Internationale Gemiende Waren—has rented a place to call home. It will also be a space to use throughout the week as we reach out to the community. Ask for God’s provision for renovations, purchases, and supplies.

—Kenny and Karissa, Alliance international workers


These have been turbulent times for internally displaced people in Papua, with many more in the highlands fleeing to the jungles or to towns where they have relatives. This can mean walking for several days for those who can’t get a flight. The conflict around them is raging, and they feel unsafe. Pray for peace and justice in these communities.

As the world faces unprecedented challenges, we are increasingly aware that only God can bring the healing and hope that people need. He chooses to partner with us in that, which is such a privilege! The brokenness of our world provides so much opportunity for the love of Jesus to shine. Recently, we were called upon to pray over students at a language institute who were experiencing spiritual attacks at the dorm. Pray for complete victory and protection for them and others who are seeking the freedom that can come only from Jesus.

—Barry and Patty, Alliance international workers

Over 60 people attend the Alliance church in Waren, Germany.



From around the block to the ends of the earth


Pramod Y. Aghamkar, special assignment, Ohio Valley District

Woodler Alezy, association president, Haitian Association, West Palm Beach, Fla.

Andrew M. Bashwinger, connection pastor, Friendship Alliance Church, Callahan, Fla.

Daniel E. Beeman, pastor, Corry (Pa.) C&MA Church

Timothy E. Binkele, spiritual formation pastor, Palm Coast (Fla.) Bible Church C&MA

Josiah A. Brake, Envision site assistant, Metropolitan District

Xuechao Chen, associate pastor for Mandarin ministry, Los Angeles Chinese Alliance, Alhambra, Calif.

Wilmer A. Del Valle, youth pastor, Crossbridge Community Church, Swedesboro, N.J.

Charles B. DeWitt, interim pastor, The Alliance Southeast

Samuel S. Deng, pastor/church planter, Long Beach (Calif.) Plant

Christian O. Diaz Vazquez, youth pastor, Iglesia ACyM de Hollywood (Fla.)

Byron O. Dickey, pastor, Greenville (Pa.) C&MA Church

Derick E. Dimry, pastor, New Song Community Church, Lady Lake, Fla.

Jeffrey R. Durow, senior pastor, Bellevue (Ohio) Alliance Church

David F. Edwards, associate pastor, South Bay Christian Alliance Church, Chula Vista, Calif.

Nilma G. Figueroa, district chaplain, Puerto Rico District

Robert C. Formica, associate pastor, Chinese Alliance Church, Fort Myers, Fla.

Terry R. Gugger, pastor, The Rock of the C&MA, Nampa, Idaho

Keh-Jung Guu, associate pastor, Grace Christian Alliance Church C&MA, Flushing, N.Y.

Paul S. Hahn, senior pastor, Maranatha Bible Chapel, Horseheads, N.Y.

Brian W. Heath, special assignment, Alliance Northwest District

Pangsy X. Her, associate pastor, Rose Hill Alliance Church, Roseville, Minn.

Phillip C. Her, assistant pastor, Leola (Pa.) Hmong Alliance Church

Jose H. Herrera, pastor, Iglesia Unidos en Cristo ACyM, Jamaica Plain, Mass.

Anna C. Holmes, special assignment, The Alliance South

Adam J. Jansen, associate pastor, First Alliance Church, Bucyrus, Ohio

Zachary R. Kenyon, pastor, Real Life Church of the C&MA, Bigfork, Mont.

Jolene R. Kinser, peacemaking specialist, South Pacific Alliance

Will T. Law, pastor, Living Grace Alliance Church of the C&MA, West Covina, Calif.

Samuel Lee, church planter, Metropolitan District

Paul W. Marshall, assistant pastor, Hope Community Church, Jacksonville, Fla.

Gabriela Martinez Seda, district chaplain, Puerto Rico District

Joseph G. Monteleone, worship pastor, Long Hill Chapel C&MA, Chatham, N.J.

Daniel Moua, senior pastor, Warren (Mich.) Hmong Alliance Church

Son T. Nguyen, pastor, Newhope Evangelical Church, Westminster, Calif.

Gervines Orelus, assistant pastor, Elim Alliance Church, Valley Cottage, N.Y.

William Pacheco, district chaplain, Puerto Rico District

Gabriel Philistin, pastor, Horeb Haitian Alliance Church, West Hempstead, N.Y.

Giovanni L. Sanchez, youth pastor, Hillside Chapel, Dayton, Ohio

Matthew Stine, special assignment, The Alliance South

Stephanie J. Stine, special assignment, The Alliance South

Meng Thao, special assignment, Ohio Valley District

Kenny N. Vang, senior pastor, Albemarle (N.C.) Hmong Alliance Church

Brian D. Wilson, PEAK coaching, South Pacific Alliance

John A. Wilson Jr., institutional chaplain, Central District

Rhonda M. Wynegar, program director, Big Sandy Camp & Retreat Center, McGregor, Minn.

Nero X. Yang, youth pastor, Albemarle (N.C.) Hmong Alliance Church

Tswvpuam P. Yang, church planter pastor, Hmong District


Muskogee, Okla., Belong Church, 617 Gawf Ln., 74403

Roseville, Minn., Disciples Alliance Church, 2353 Chatsworth St. N., 55113


Warrenville, Ill., Hope Community Church, 30W251 Butterfield Rd., 60555


Aaron D. Alaniz, resident, The River Alliance Church, Chaska, Minn.

Agostinho J. Antonio, special assignment, Hospital of Faith, London, Ohio

Brittany Armstrong, assistant director of high school ministry, Christ Community Church C&MA, Omaha, Neb.

Hyun M. Ban, pastor, Houston (Tex.) Vietnamese Christian Church

Anna M. Beatty, prayer mobilizer, Grace Church, Middleburg Heights, Ohio

Pete Billodeau, pastor of Deaf church, Community Alliance Church, Detroit Lakes, Minn.

Graham Boll, associate pastor, Westview Alliance Church, Fort Wayne, Ind.

Bill Bota, connections minister, Fairlawn Community Church of C&MA, Cogan Station, Pa.

Susan E. Bouterse, pastor of spiritual formation, Anchor Church of the C&MA, Tacoma, Wash.

Yao-Chung Chao, assistant pastor, Chinese Christian Alliance Church, Tampa, Fla.

Charles Chapman, special assignment, Ohio Valley District

Dominick DiMiele, assistant pastor, Building on the Rock Community Church, Manchester, N.J.

Leonard French, pastor, Bridge of Hope, Memphis, Tenn.

Daric B. Gray, non-Alliance assignment, Central District

Tae B. Her, pastor, The Village Chapel, Candor, N.Y.

Sanibel and Captiva.

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Shell Point is a nonprofit ministry of The Christian and Missionary Alliance Foundation, Inc. ©2021 Shell Point. All rights reserved. SLS-4424-21 ® Joyful Living Vibrant Faithful Artful Healthy Fulfilled Southwest Florida Retirement Living Resort Amenities | State-of-the-art Health Care
At Shell Point® , you’ll enjoy a fulfilling lifestyle where you can explore, worship, learn, grow and even continue to serve. And with new additions to our campus, like Tribby Arts Center, a sparkling centerpiece for the arts, and the state-of-the-art Larsen Health Center, you can rest on a firm foundation, knowing that your needs will be taken care of – both now and in the future.

Dustin Jerome, senior pastor, Abundant Life Alliance Church, Oak Grove, Minn.

Limian Jin, assistant director, Christian Alliance Bible Church, Duarte, Calif.

Rebecca Laracuente, director of children’s ministry, Smyrna Church, Cleveland, Ohio

Tyrel A. LaValle, director for youth ministries, New Life Church of the C&MA, Aitkin, Minn.

Samuel D. Lee, associate pastor of worship, Ridgeway New Rochelle (N.Y.)

Ann Makena-Daggett, institutional chaplain, North Central District

David A. Manuel, youth director, Long Beach (Calif.) Alliance Church

Mike Mika, institutional chaplain, Central District

James Nguyen, youth pastor, Vietnamese Christian Church, Jacksonville, Fla.

Ngoc-Long M. Nguyen, pastor, Vietnamese Alliance Church, Portland, Ore.

Saem Nhong, pastor, Philadelphia (Pa.) Cambodian Evangelical Church

Sung Noh, English ministry pastor, Little Flock Church, Woodside, N.Y.

Mateus Pacheco, assistant pastor, Fellowship Alliance Chapel, Medford, N.J.

Kaitlynn Pisarski, worship director, Bloomingdale (Ill.) Alliance Church

Jennifer M. Robinson, minister of women’s ministry, Grace Church, Middleburg Heights, Ohio

Mark R. Roeber, associate pastor, Moses Lake (Wash.) C&MA Church

Harera T. Rusaza, special assignment, Ohio Valley District

Paul Salom, next generation pastor, C&MA of Watsontown (Pa.)

Jonathan Schmitt, associate pastor of family ministries, Canyon View Church, Hamilton, Mont.

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

Carola A. Thompson, special assignment, Ohio Valley District

Ivannia P. Tovar, pastor, Living Hope Alliance Church, Trenton, N.J.

Nathaniel Whisler, pastoral resident, Providence Church, Omaha, Neb.

Benjamin P. Wilson, National Guard chaplain, Central District


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“We led small groups through afterwork. The groups were comprised of still-employed and retired people. The subjects throughout the book were challenging, stimulating, and very insightful, which is what I hoped for. Some participants seem to really be enacting positive change in their lives, which is so exciting! As its impact potential is clear, I plan to lead more small groups through afterwork.”




E. Thomas Ash, The Alliance Southeast

Tim E. Barton, Alliance Northwest District

Robert M. Daniels, Western Pennsylvania District

Karen M. Formica, The Alliance Southeast

Joseph S. Jean-Charles, The Alliance South

James J. Krouse, Western Pennsylvania District

John R. Lucas, Eastern Pennsylvania District

Patrick J. Misener, North Central District

Glenn Priest, Ohio Valley District

James E. Ratte Jr., MidAmerica District

Ralph J. Tomforde, South Pacific Alliance

Alan J. Warren, Metropolitan District


R. Mitchell Gregory Jr.

March 12, 1960–

February 27, 2023

Mitchell was born in Chester County, S.C., and was a 1983 graduate of Columbia Bible College. He was married to his wife, Beth, for 39 years.

During more than 38 years of C&MA ministry, Mitchell pastored First Alliance Church in Statesville, N.C. (1984–1989), before relocating to Cary, N.C., where he

served as senior pastor of Cary Alliance Church for 34 years (1989–2023). He was passionate about proclaiming the gospel with truth and accuracy and was always eager to listen and pray. An avid reader and student of Scripture, Mitchell enjoyed collecting books for his ever-growing library and donating them to others. Mitchell is survived by his wife; children Hannah, John, James, and Thomas; and 9 grandchildren.


May 3, 1928–March

14, 2023

Carmelita was born in Selma, Ore. She received both a bachelor and a master of science in education

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Carmelita Krauss

from Southern Oregon College (now Southern Oregon University). In 1946, Carmelita married Otis Hussey.

In 1973, Carmelita and Otis were appointed to serve as Alliance international workers in Indonesia. There they taught at the Sentani International School for expatriate children (now Hillcrest School in Papua), where they served for 16 years. In addition to their teaching ministry, the couple hosted “skate nights” every Friday, providing 100 pairs of roller skates to the students and turning the gym into a skating rink.

Carmelita was preceded in death by her husband; she is survived by children Kathy and Steven; 6 grandchildren; 12 great-grandchildren; and 2 great-great-grandchildren.

Reverend James (Jim) H. Poole Sr.

November 6, 1937–March 17, 2023

Born in Monessen, Pa., Jim attended the Robert Morris Business School (Pittsburgh, Pa.) and enlisted in the U.S. Army Reserves. He then moved to New York where he obtained employment with IBM, working his way up to computer room supervisor. Jim was the husband of the former Nancy Radich, with whom he enjoyed 65 years of marriage.

At the age of 34, Jim dedicated his life to the Lord and enrolled in Toccoa Falls (Ga.) Bible College. He pastored C&MA churches in Tyrone, Pa. (1977–1979, 1997–1999); Manassas, Va. (1979–1983); and Halethorpe, Md. (1983–1986). While in ministry, he also worked for the Salvation Army and Electrolux Vacuum Company and was a nursing home administrator, a business teacher and an accountant for a Christian school, and a representative for Primerica. Jim concluded his ministry as an active pastor at Dillsburg Alliance Church.

Jim is survived by his wife; children Jim and Donna; 4 grandchildren; and 1 great-grandchild.


(Cindy) Ruth Nodine Greaves

July 12, 1972–March 22, 2023

Born in Anderson, S.C., Cindy received a BS in early childhood education from Toccoa Falls (Ga.) College (1990–1994).

On May 15, 1994, she married Christopher (Chris) A. Greaves in Pendleton, S.C. Cindy used her degree to homeschool their children and then later to teach kindergarten and first grade at Community Leadership Academy (Tallahassee, Fla.).

For nearly 29 years, Cindy served alongside her husband in C&MA churches in Birmingham, Ala. (1994–1996); Greenville, Pa. (1996-1999); and Dunnellon (1999-2014) and Tallahassee, Fla. (2014–2023). In recent years, she studied diligently to

become an official worker of The Alliance and was consecrated in January 2022. Cindy faithfully served at Piedmont Park Alliance Church wherever she was needed, most notably in children’s and youth ministries. Her life’s motto was echoed by her final words, “For His glory.”

Cindy is survived by her husband and their children Kara, Michael, and Timothy.

Virginia D. Reed

April 11, 1930–April 22, 2023

Virginia was born in Mount Union, Pa. On February 1, 1957, she married Fern Robert Reed. For over 25 years, the couple served together in C&MA churches in West Hyattsville, Md. (1957–1958), and Elizabethtown (1958–1968), Allentown (1968–1976), and Pine Glen, Pa. (1976–1982). She was active in children’s ministry and was an accomplished teacher of youth and women’s groups. She delighted in hosting family, friends, and many others.

In her later years, Virginia enjoyed preparing and delivering meals to those who were ill or bereaved as well as visiting the homebound. She was a mentor and role model to many young women and had a deep burden to see the lost receive Christ. Virginia’s husband passed away August 26, 1982, while pastoring the Pine Glen C&MA Church. Virginia is survived by 13 siblings and many nieces and nephews.

Ronald (Ron) V. Timblin

August 13, 1940–May 11, 2023

Ron was born in Butler, Pa., and committed his life to Christ at Mahaffey (Pa.) Camp during a youth service. On August 26, 1960, he married Nancy Gall before enrolling in Nyack Missionary College (later Alliance University, New York, N.Y.), where he received a BA in theology.

During 38 years of C&MA ministry, Ron pastored churches in Bridgeville (1965–1967), Pottersdale (1967–1972), McKees Rocks (1972–1979), and Grove City, Pa. (1979–1987). He later became the western representative for the Orchard Foundation and held financial seminars throughout the West Coast. Ron was also a member of the Western Pennsylvania District Executive Committee and was the district treasurer. After retiring in 2002, he served as an interim pastor at Butte Bible Fellowship Church, Chico, Calif., for 13 months.

Ron is survived by his wife; sons Bruce and Scott; 6 grandchildren; and 1 great-grandchild.



In The Alliance, 85 percent of Great Commission Fund (GCF) giving covers direct ministry costs for Alliance Missions and Church Ministries; 15 percent covers global ministry support services through National Office administration, processing, and resourcing, as well as district oversight.

The majority of undesignated GCF gifts fund Alliance Missions costs, with a significant portion of that going to keep your workers on the field and equipped for gospel-advancing ministry. What is covered varies from worker to worker, but all workers benefit from undesignated GCF giving in more than one of the following ways:

• Compensation, housing, benefits, and taxes;

• Third-culture kid ministry, childcare, and schooling;

• Home assignment housing and travel;

• Visas/passports;

• Conferences/retreats;

• Language study;

• IW member care, accounting, fundraising coaching, and donor services;

• And more!

As you pray about where to give, please consider a recurring contribution to the undesignated GCF that provides vital support toward our All of Jesus for All the World vision.

Visit to discover your vital role. Together, over the next two years, we will: Send one new international worker per week Open one new door for Alliance Missions per year Plant one new U.S. church per week Complete One Alliance Place in Columbus, Ohio, by 2025 Give one hundred million dollars per year to extend gospel presence Alliance 101 is a flexible, expandable, digital resource that a pastor, leader, or individual can use to introduce people to The Christian and Missionary Alliance and/ or to broaden their understanding of Alliance beliefs, values, and ministries. Visit to explore the seven A101 modules. The time is


Alaska is strikingly beautiful, but beneath the surface is a longing for healing and hope. What keeps Alliance Christian Fellowship (ACF) Church here is the overwhelming opportunity for Kingdom advancement. Because of the suicide and mental health crisis in our state, every year we lose friends and church members to hopelessness. We dreamed of a way to remove the financial barrier between people in their darkest moment and the professional counseling that could save their lives. Hope to Alaska was born out of ACF Church’s holy discontentment with the mental health crisis, and since the beginning, we have been able to pay for over 1,200 sessions of free counseling. The stories of people who are served keep us going. We aren’t the answer to anyone’s problems, but we know the One who is. People weren’t designed to live without hope, and the Church exists to do everything in its power to lift the eyes of its community to Jesus, the hope of the world.

HLUB 2023

God is raising up the next generation of Christ followers in the Hmong District! At the end of July, our Hmong District hosted its next gen conference called “HLUB” in Terre Haute, Indiana. HLUB, pronounced “hloo,” is the Hmong word for love. Over 2,600 middle school and high school students gathered from July 23–27 to worship the Lord and discover that they are not called to be just anyone but to be Jesus People. Daniel Yang, one of the conference speakers, challenged the students to “not give up on Jesus, because He never gives up on you.”

Pastor Tsim Nuj Kue said, “Claiming to be Jesus People is more than just simply wanting to be part of the crowd; claiming to be Jesus People is a way of life.” When the week came to an end, 121 students were baptized as they stepped out in obedience and publicly declared that they belong to Jesus! Praise God for His continued work in the next generation.


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Adapted from a letter sent to National Office leadership, December 30, 1946.

on old Julius because he has helped people to destroy so many idols. They tried to get him in trouble with the government, and when that failed, they threatened his life.

People came to him night after night asking when the rain would come. Finally, Julius was led to say that the rain would come the eighth of the next month. When that day came, the rain began to fall and many of the crops were saved.

Mr. Olsen, Mr. Arnold, and I were received with great joy when we visited the 30 churches in the forest of a West African country that have been without a resident worker for two years. In many places these churches were crowded with people wanting to hear the Word of God.

We have one outstanding character in this region— Julius, the cobbler. Julius gave up his work of repairing shoes to proclaim the gospel. His hold on the Word of God is secure, but he was severely tested when the rains failed to come. Those who believe in fetishes blamed it

Through Julius’ preaching and testimony, 40 converts came to the Lord in a town some distance away. They destroyed their idols and turned to the true and living God. In each service it seems that nearly everyone engages in prayer. Pray for Julius, that God may give him many more victories.

One of our couples recently made a visit to another nearby tribe to see about the possibility of opening up work. They wrote as follows:

What a reception! I have never been in a place where I felt more keenly the presence of the Lord. A great crowd came and listened to the gospel. The Spirit of the Lord came down, and they sat for two hours straight listening. Then again, in the evening, in spite of a storm that came up, a large crowd gathered and listened until late into the night. In the morning, we had scarcely time to finish our breakfast, and the crowd came again. There was no noise, no fanfare, just an unusual interest born of the Spirit, working in the hearts of men. As soon as opportunity was given, immediately a man rose to his feet, saying, “I am ready to accept the Way.” There was a moment of tension, the atmosphere was charged with the presence of God, and then 20 or more rose to their feet. Some of them expressed great emotion as they earnestly declared themselves to be ready to accept Christ. What a time of rejoicing! What unusual delight they expressed as they proudly told us their names and declared themselves followers of Christ.

The Lord is working, and so we ask your continued help in prayer that many victories may be won for Him in this needy land of Africa.

New believers burning their fetishes in response to the gospel (Photo courtesy of C&MA Archives)
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