ALLIANCELIFE ALLIANCE T H E M AG AZI N E O F THEALLIANCE SI NC E 1882
S PECIA L IS S U E 2 0 2 2
On Mission Together SPECIAL ISSUE
HUMBLE BEGINNINGS TO GLOBAL IMPACT A brief history of The Alliance
by Alliance Life staff
Ministering to those who felt ostracized and without a home fueled Simpson’s passion to evangelize and break down the walls of exclusivity that were built around his previous church. “My plan and idea of a church,” Simpson said, “are those which are exemplified in the great London churches . . . comprising thousands of members of no particular class, but of the rich and poor side by side.” Convinced that Jesus’ great sacrifice and redemptive message was for all races, ethnicities, and classes of people, Simpson believed God was calling him to leave his congregation and the life he was comfortable with. Stepping out in faith to take on “radical, aggressive measures,” he felt the Holy Spirit leading him to begin a global missions movement.
n a late November afternoon in 1881, several adults huddled around a small wood stove in a “cold and cheerless” New York City dance hall. Rev. Albert Benjamin Simpson, who had resigned from his prestigious pastorate just two weeks prior, had invited all believers who supported “an aggressive spiritual movement” to reach the city’s neglected nonbelievers. Seven people showed up. You might ask, What moved this 37-year-old husband and father of five to leave his church with its hefty annual salary—equal to over $110,000 today—and shepherd this self-described “poor, few, and weak” band of believers?
PEOPLE ON THE MOVE Simpson had felt an increasing concern for the “unchurched masses, the thousands who felt themselves alienated from the formal church but not from the Lord.” Nearly 12 million immigrants arrived in the United States between 1870 and 1900—and more than 70 percent entered through New York City. Along with pastoring his wealthy Presbyterian congregation, Simpson had started spending hours on New York City’s docks evangelizing Italian immigrants. Many put their faith in Christ, but there was a problem: Simpson’s congregants didn’t want the unrefined new believers attending their church.
KINGDOM EXPANSION Simpson desired to follow God and the Holy Spirit’s leading with all of his heart. He didn’t set out to create a denomination, but his radical obedience to the Lord brought forth this Spirit-oriented missions and Kingdom movement. That first group of seven in 1881 grew quickly as neglected and unreached people started to feel seen and included. Simpson felt the Spirit leading him to establish a church home for these new believers. With a mission to “evangelize unreached peoples both locally and afar,”
Simpson organized a church in his home, beginning with 35 people. Within two years, the Gospel Tabernacle weekly drew 700 people of all ethnicities and social classes who had come to Christ through Simpson’s evangelistic fervor. Soon after, the church established a missionary society, “The Missionary Union for the Evangelization of the World,” and launched the Missionary Training Institute (MTI), which trained the first five Alliance missionaries and scores of others who followed. ALL OF JESUS FOR ALL THE WORLD God’s heart for marginalized and overlooked people compelled Simpson to lift his eyes beyond the city to the homelands of the immigrants to whom he was ministering. When a young man who was staying with Simpson peeked inside his office, he found the preacher draped over a globe, praying fervently and crying for the lost of the world. In 1884, Simpson commissioned that first missionary team from MTI to take the gospel to the Congo. Within two weeks their 21-yearold leader, John Condit, was dead from fever; three had returned to the States, and just one remained on the field. Today, Alliance churches in the Democratic Republic of the Congo minister to more than 1 million believers. And throughout Sub-Saharan Africa there are now more than 2.3 million people worshiping Jesus in Alliance churches! Throughout the late 1800s, The Alliance sent 180 workers—twothirds of them women—and opened 12 new foreign fields. The establishment and expansion of these mission fields brought more and more people to Christ, resulting in a thriving mission today of more than 700 workers in nearly 70 countries throughout Europe, Asia, Africa, and Latin America, supported primarily by 2,000 gospel-sending U.S. Alliance churches. These are the fruits of God moving among Alliance people as they devoted themselves to prayer, sacrificial giving, and a pioneering passion to go. It is with this same deep love and zeal for Jesus and for all people that Alliance workers continue to press into every corner of the world, from remote villages in central Asia to urban centers in Europe. For nearly 150 years, these workers have braved harsh and dangerous territory at great personal risk—even unto death—to take the good news and compassionate care of Jesus—in word and deed—to the ends of the earth. Because of the selfless dedication of these workers, the faithfulness of our Lord, and the prayers and generosity of generations of Alliance people, entire people groups now know Jesus. That first humble gathering around the wood stove spawned a movement that has grown to more than 6.3 million Alliance believers worshiping in 180 languages in 24,000 churches worldwide. Let us never forget the special calling of our Alliance work . . . to hold up Jesus in His fullness . . . lead God’s hungry children to know their full privilege and inheritance—for spirit, soul, and body . . . and encourage and incite the people of God to do the neglected work of our time among the unchurched classes at home and the perishing . . . abroad. God will bless us if we are true to this trust. —A. B. Simpson
ALLIANCELIFE VO LU ME 1 5 7
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Founder A. B. Simpson Editor-in -Chief Peter Burgo Managing E ditor Emmy Duddles Graphic Designer Caylie Smith A ssistant E ditor Julie Daubé Staff Writers/E ditors Julie Daubé Hannah Ader Hannah Packard E ditorial A ssistant Carola Thompson Circulation Fulfillment Julie Connon
© ALLIANCELIFE ALLIANCELIFE i s p ub li s h e d by T h e Christian and Missionary Alliance, One Alliance Place, Reynoldsburg, OH 43068. Member, Evangelical Press Association and Associated Church Press. Printed in the U.S.A. POSTMASTER: Send address changes to ALLIANCELIFE, One Alliance Place, Reynoldsburg, OH 43068. When requesting a change of address, pleas e gi ve b ot h t he old and new addresses. Direct all correspondence and changes of address to ALLIANCELIFE, One Alliance Place, Reynoldsburg, OH 43068. Toll free: (877) 284-3262; email: email@example.com. Website: www.alliancelife.org.
The Alliance is committed to world missions, stressing the fullness of Christ in personal experience, building the Church, and preaching the gospel to the ends of the earth. ALLIANCELIFE carries on the tradition of more than 140 years of publishing stories of God at work through Alliance people in the United States and throughout the world.
EUROPE page 12
Providing Food and Shelter to Ukrainians in Distress | pg. 12 Shelter for Pregnant Migrant Women pg. 13
Caring for Orphans and the Vulnerable pg. 13
Help and Hope for Migrants and Refugees | pg. 14
Making Space for the Deaf in the Church pg. 20
The Joy of Art | pg. 14
Caring for Refugees pg. 21 Tiny Homes for the Houseless | pg. 21
L AT I N AMERICA page 18
Inca Link | pg. 18 Small Business Development in a Displaced Community | pg. 18
TABLE OF CONTENTS
Identifying and Developing Missional Leaders | pg. 19 Circle of Silence pg. 19
MIDDLE EAST & CENTRAL ASIA page 15
Helping Deaf Children Succeed pg. 15
Meaningful Impact Through Education pg. 15
Editorial | pg. 2
Creating Gospel Access in Remote Villages | pg. 16
The Alliance at a Glance | pg. 22 A Holy Responsibility: An Interview with John Stumbo | pg. 24
Bringing Relief to Refugees | pg. 16 Extending Jesus' Care to Special Needs Families pg. 17 Fighting the Good Fight with Basketball pg. 17
ASIA PA C I F I C page 9
Building on a Legacy pg. 9
AFRICA page 6
Bringing the Children to Jesus pg. 6 Providing a Safe Place for Girls | pg. 6 Breaking the Cycle of Poverty | pg. 7 Gospel-Infused Medical Care | pg. 7 Sending Hope Over Radio Waves | pg. 8
Rescuing the Vulnerable from Human Trafficking pg. 10 Giving Underprivileged Women Professional Career Skills | pg. 11 A Growing Church pg. 11
AFRICA As you go, preach this message, “The kingdom of heaven is near.” Heal the sick, raise the dead, cleanse those who have leprosy, drive out demons. Freely you have received, freely give. —Jesus
BRINGING THE CHILDREN TO JESUS by Esther, an aXcess worker serving with The Alliance in West Africa
PROVIDING A SAFE PLACE FOR GIRLS
n recent years, people in this West African country have started to take education seriously, which has overcrowded the school system. Public schools can have 120 first graders in a class with one teacher. With students crowded onto benches, it is hard for teachers to bring each child to their full potential. Our team has partnered with local Alliance churches to open Christian elementary schools in addition to the high schools the church has started. Most of these schools are located on church property, turning sanctuaries into classrooms during the week. The schools’ good reputation, limited class size, and overall discipline make them a good choice for parents. Last year, a mother came to me with her 10-year-old son. His teacher had told her that it was no use trying to educate him because he could not learn. We enrolled him in one of our schools, and he immediately showed improvement! The extra attention he received from his teacher brought him up to grade level. This Christian school has proved to be an important way of investing in children and introducing them to the Lord Jesus. Bible classes are kept optional, but the gospel is clearly presented in each class. We are also thankful that children and parents become familiar with the church compound and have opportunities to interact with Christians and see what a Christian church community looks like. Our prayer is that those hearing God’s Word will be open to the love and hope Jesus has to offer.
by Becky, a CAMA worker serving with The Alliance in West Africa
frica’s girls are straining under the effects of poverty and gender inequality. The majority are offered little to no chance at an education. They are put into the workforce as young as 12 to work until they enter an arranged marriage in their late teens. The girls work as maids in Africa’s large cities, caring for their employer’s children, cooking, and cleaning. While employed, the girls live in a constant state of vulnerability to the mistreatment of their employers and sexual predators who take advantage of their naivety. Birthed in 2013, Hands of Honor (HOH) provides a safe place for child laborers in cities where our national church and international workers serve. The girls gather weekly through our HOH groups for Bible storying, literacy, skills training, and counseling. Because of the faithful partnership of Alliance people, what began with fewer than ten girls in one location has grown to more than 80 girls across five sites in two countries in West Africa. Our vision for our HOH participants is a life free from poverty and oppression where hope abounds because they have seen Jesus rewrite their story.
Illustration by Kenneth Crane
BREAKING THE CYCLE OF P OVERTY by Alliance Life staff
ore than 60 percent of urban residents in Africa live in slums or informal settlements. These “urban poor” now constitute an unreached people group that is the third largest in the world, the most responsive to the gospel, is doubling every decade. After discovering this poverty, the CAMA Services team immediately jumped into action and started the Seeds of Hope program in partnership with the village chief in a major city of West Africa. Since food insecurity was one of the community’s largest problems, Seeds of Hope first started a nutritional program to provide families with food and teach them about health. Within six months, all of the children who had been identified as malnourished reached their target weights. Since education is one of the keys to breaking the cycle of poverty, Seeds of Hope started a program to help the children pass an exam they have to take in order to move to secondary level classes and to teach the women in the community to read and write. These ministries are giving women and children dignity and a chance at a healthy, hopeful life.
GOSPEL-INFUSED MEDICAL CARE by Jeff, an aXcess worker serving with The Alliance in Gabon
eep in the forest of southern Gabon, Bongolo Hospital continues to serve the substantial medical needs of the area by providing compassionate health care in Jesus’ name and equipping African doctors, nurses, and support staff through various training programs. Meeting the needs of our local community and beyond requires the coordinated efforts of all the workers at Bongolo Hospital. This multicultural team focuses on evangelism, health care, and training. The gospel is infused through all areas of hospital life from large patient groups hearing chaplain messages to individual patients finding Jesus through one-on-one connections between the patients and health-care workers. Delivering quality medical care with compassion, mercy, and excellence drives much of our day-to-day work. While considered to be a low-resource area, the hospital has been equipped with modern technology thanks to ministry partners around the world. This allows patients to gain access to essential medical care that they otherwise would not receive. The Bongolo Hospital team also meets the needs of people beyond our area by training African health-care workers so they are equipped to care for people throughout Africa. Discipleship is at the core of our training programs in surgery, nursing, ophthalmology, anesthesia, primary care, and midwifery because our goal is to develop Christian leaders who will expand God’s Kingdom wherever they serve.
bankruptcy in 2019, shutting down a beloved ministry. However, because of the generosity of more than 400 Alliance members, RSM was able to undergo a top-tobottom renovation and resume broadcasting, stronger than ever. RSM’s return to service on Good Friday in 2020—in the middle of the COVID lockdown—could not have come at a better moment. At a time when fear was gripping the city, RSM’s trusted voice was again heard pointing to the hope we have because of the Resurrection of Christ. RSM is back on the air consistently and is now owned by the Congolese Alliance, functioning on an all-volunteer basis. Sixteen trained Congolese volunteers produce its programs, maintain its equipment, and respond to listeners’ inquiries. Each one shares their talent and, with the help of the Holy Spirit, contributes to a rich and intriguing presentation of the gospel message. Like many others, Anna, a woman who recently came to Christ, delightedly tunes in daily to RSM to hear stories from God’s Word in her mother tongue.
SENDING HOPE OVER RADIO WAVES by Chialin and Jay, aXcess workers serving with The Alliance in the Republic of the Congo
hanks to the generosity of the U.S. and Canadian Alliance, Radio Sangu Ya Mbote (Good News Radio, RSM) was started in 2001 to share the good news of Jesus in Pointe-Noire, Republic of the Congo. Today, RSM’s ministry through radio and Facebook livestreaming make the gospel message and uplifting Christian music accessible in French, Munukutuba, Vili, and Lingala to hundreds of thousands of listeners in Pointe-Noire and beyond. For 18 years, under the leadership of an independent media association, the radio station ministered to the people of Pointe-Noire, Congo, but because of some mismanagement, the administration had to declare
ASIA PACIFIC Give to the one who asks you, and do not turn away from the one who wants to borrow from you. I tell you: Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you. —Jesus
more are in the pipeline for the next year. Almost all of our teacher positions have been filled, and classes started April 11. Training new workers has always been at the heart of The Alliance. A. B. Simpson saw the need for training workers and started Bible classes at the Gospel Tabernacle in 1882. The student body had to demonstrate one common qualification: “that they had given up all for Christ, and His work meant all to them.” The first class graduated in July 1884. Here we are, almost 140 years later, ready to launch a program to train Simpson “irregulars” for the work in Japan! Training more people to join us in the harvest that is coming is not an option; it’s a mandate. The best is yet to come!
BUILDING ON A LEGACY by Don and Hazel, an aXcess worker couple serving with The Alliance in Japan
Illustration by Kenneth Crane
n our 37 years of ministry here in Japan, we have planted two churches, have been involved in a young church plant, and have served in missions leadership. At every turn, we were faced with the reality that there was no one to work with and no one to pass the baton to. For years we have prayed, and God is moving! His compelling voice called us to start a training school to raise up workers for the coming harvest. Our vision was to start an online ministry training program, called the Alliance Bible Institute (ABI), to prepare local people who feel called to ministry. A pastoral track and one for laypeople will give us the capability to train not only pastors but also leaders in the churches. We envision a training program that is multifaceted, including seminars, internships, and online training. Our goal is to make ministry training more accessible to more people for greater impact. The freedom that an online program gives us is limitless! Equipping Christians for gospel advance is crucial for the future of the church in Japan. As we met with local pastors, we learned they were already identifying those in their churches who would benefit from a Bible training program like this. “ABI is an opportunity for students to know God and to make Him known,” says Pastor Arthur. Pastor Nagumo adds that “studying the Bible shouldn’t be just about head knowledge but about experiencing the power of God’s Word. It’s about knowing how we can understand and recognize the power of God’s Word in our lives.” The opening ceremony for ABI was April 2. Nine students from seven churches have applied to study, and 9
hubs” in high-prevalence areas for human trafficking in northern India. These areas are home to some of the poorest and most vulnerable populations for sex trafficking, generational bonded labor, child trafficking for cheap labor, and domestic servitude. These justice hubs seek to significantly reduce human trafficking, improve access to justice for the disenfranchised, and change the justice ecosystem of the nation. In addition to conducting casework and mobilizing the community to fight injustice, the justice hubs will serve as community-based resource centers where the vulnerable, NGOs, and lawyers can access resources to prevent trafficking, protect victims, and prosecute traffickers.
RESCUING THE VULNERABLE FROM HUMAN TRAFFICKING by Alliance Life staff
ore than 40 million people globally are trapped in slavery—sex slavery, bonded labor, child slavery, and other forms of extreme injustice. Justice Ventures International (JVI), a marketplace ministries project, partners with local organizations and global stakeholders to eradicate human trafficking and other extreme injustice by securing justice for individuals, empowering local partners, and improving justice systems. With the generosity of the Alliance family, JVI plans to expand their work as they place “justice
A GROWING CHURCH
GIVING UNDERPRIVILEGED WOMEN PROFESSIONAL CAREER SKILLS
by Alliance Life staff
by Alliance Life staff
hen almost half of all Christian missionaries left Cambodia in February 2020 because of concerns about COVID-19, the C&MA team stayed and experienced a unique season of harvest. The national church network in Cambodia saw 10 percent growth with 20 churches planted since the start of COVID-19. Ten of these churches were planted by students of Soeuth and Syna Lao, aXcess workers serving in Anlong Veng. Like in the Book of Acts, miracles, healings, and the casting out of demons have been leading dozens of people to belief in Christ, starting house churches in villages all over the region. One woman had been chronically ill and bed-ridden for years. Her believing family members told her, “Our God is so powerful—why not give Him a try?” Immediately after they prayed for her, she was able to stretch her leg. A week later, she was walking. As a result of her miraculous healing, all nine of her adult children came to the Lord.
mpoverished women in Bangladesh often miss educational opportunities necessary to obtain jobs. As a result, many of them resort to prostitution to support their children. This CAMA Services project is helping these women leave this demoralizing lifestyle to pursue professional development as clothing producers. Since the Bangladesh field was opened in 2018, this program has provided women trainees a sense of belonging to a community that affirms them, teaches them new skills, and shares hope—not only for livelihood opportunities but also for a newfound identity in Jesus Christ. This project not only benefits the women completing the program but the larger Begali society as well. A Christmas outreach event, which includes a meal, drew more than 370 attendees last year. Because of prayer and financial support from Alliance people, these underprivileged women are being rescued from a lifetime of prostitution, introduced to Jesus, and given a hopeful future for them and their children.
EUROPE As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this all men will know that you are my disciples. —Jesus
PROVIDING FOOD AND SHELTER TO UKRAINIANS IN DISTRESS
In these unimaginable times of uncertainty and horror, their world has been turned upside down, and we’ve been able to provide something more than practical needs: community. Several families we have helped are coming to our church services, our children are playing together despite language barriers, and we are able to pray for and support them beyond a ride from point A to point B. We have even celebrated a few birthdays with our new friends! After church members sang to Maria* and gave her a couple of gifts for her 13th birthday, she turned to the church family and said, “Thank you so much; I am so thankful for the church here and to celebrate my birthday with you and not under fire.” Every little bit helps, and saying “yes” to God can bring about wonderful impact.
by Alliance Life staff
n February 24, 2022, the Russia-Ukraine conflict began, displacing millions of people and destroying their homes. In the midst of this intense crisis for Ukrainians, Alliance workers across Europe have stepped in to provide tangible care and love to those who have lost everything. An Alliance team in Waren, Germany, started caring for Ukrainian refugees when the conflict started. Ben, an aXcess worker on the team, says: Every little bit helps, and impact happens through small decisions. Our small Waren team, located in northeast Germany, helped collect donations and supplies from local friends and strangers to drive the supplies down to the Ukrainian border and to Warsaw, Poland. We were able to pick up and drive numerous families to northwest Poland and also here to Waren, helping them find safety, security, warm beds, and even apartments.
Even workers who are not currently living overseas have stepped in to help out. Steve and Christy, an aXcess worker couple serving in Eastern Europe, came back to the United States at the end of January. Steve had this to say about ministering to Ukrainians from a distance: “How can we help while we’re so far away in the States?” Questions like these keep swirling
women often abort or abandon their babies. The maternity home—the only one in the area that serves migrant mothers—is there to provide temporary housing for three to five women at a time (plus their children), as well as counseling, mentoring, access to medical and legal assistance, and supportive relationships with believers who share the hope of Christ. The maternity home is currently planning to expand their property so they can house 8–10 women at a time with their children. This will allow Alliance workers to provide a safe place for more mothers to deliver and care for their children, meet Jesus, and be discipled to become strong women of faith in their families and communities.
around in our minds as Christy and I struggle with how we can be a real help to these dear Ukrainian refugees since we’ve been brought back to the States. During these recent months, we have still helped in any way we can. We’ve spoken in several Alliance churches, raising awareness and prayer support and asking people to give to CAMA’s Ukraine Relief Fund. We are in constant contact with our friends and national partners in Ukraine, asking how we can help and networking in ways to get them the help they need. My wife and I traveled with Ron and Lisa, co-directors for CAMA Services, to Poland in March, where we met our national church network president from Ukraine and his wife. We ministered to them, giving them time to mourn what is happening in their country. We blessed them with many needed supplies as well as CAMA funds. And then, we watched them drive away, back into the conflict, as they have a strong desire to stay and minister to their church people who are in great need.
CARING FOR ORPHANS AND THE VULNERABLE by Alliance Life staff
undreds of children live in orphanages in one Eastern European city. Many of them are disabled and have been abandoned by their parents. COVID-19 restrictions have also caused funding shortages for healthcare supplies and medications for these children. Last year, Alliance workers partnered with local believers to provide life-saving medicines for 240 children living in one orphanage. Funds from The Alliance also allowed them to deliver needed cleaning supplies, gloves, and other sanitary items to an orphanage that is home to 50 babies. This is only a portion of what these Alliance workers do among the vulnerable in their country. Their work with refugees, orphanages, a maternity home for migrant mothers, and boarding schools and homes for disabled children is consistent and far-reaching. This team also regularly provides school supplies, toys, repairs, training, food, and clothing. While meeting the physical needs of vulnerable populations in Eastern Europe, these Alliance workers and their national partners are building relationships with people who don’t know Jesus—showing them His immense and faithful love.
Pray for these workers as they continue to care for Ukrainians who have been displaced across Europe. *Name changed
SHELTER FOR PREGNANT MIGRANT WOMEN by Alliance Life staff
igrant women frequently enter this Eastern European city to find work, and through a variety of crisis situations, they often end up pregnant and alone. Full of shame, separated from their support systems, and sometimes unable to speak the local language, these
HELP AND HOPE FOR MIGRANTS AND REFUGEES
THE JOY OF ART
by Alliance Life staff
by the Envision Berlin team
treet artist Banksy famously repeated the saying, “Art should comfort the disturbed and disturb the comfortable.” Throughout Berlin’s dramatic history, art has played both of these important roles. Today, the C&MA Envision site in Germany’s capital city carries on this tradition, serving as a treffpunkt (meeting place) where both the disturbed and comfortable might find Jesus in the intersection between art, culture, and faith. We engage in Kingdom-focused generative culture care, providing care for our culture’s soul in a way that breeds creativity and unity through developing Jesus-centered deeper life practices, creating a nurturing space for artists and other members of the community, hosting visual and musical artists in our gallery, and producing our own media and podcast content. As we comfort the disturbed and disturb the comfortable, Envision Berlin’s budding education efforts will facilitate growth in our surrounding community and in the Envision residents, interns, and TREK students who join us to pursue long-term development paths for ministry preparation, including through practical partnerships with our aXcess colleagues. Together, we are blessed to live and serve in a truly unique place and to share in the joy of artists and creatives who know that God has given them a gift and want to use it to engage people by demonstrating His goodness in a broken world.
urrently, thousands of migrant and unaccompanied refugee minors are pouring into Spain. While the government provides aid at Centers for Minors, these protections only last until they turn 18, when they are suddenly left without skills, resources, or housing. In 2019, two Alliance international workers began developing a holistic program to aid these unaccompanied migrants and refugees who have aged out of the government programs. In early 2020, with the help of Alliance Missions and marketplace ministries, the Alliance workers quickly received sufficient funding to launch the program. Despite the lockdowns and complications of the COVID-19 pandemic, the project has grown, providing housing, food, and training for six young men. Four have found jobs that will help them obtain residency, and all six are building relationships and finding healing. They are seeing the love of Christ displayed around them, and it is opening their hearts to the gospel. The program is thriving and ready to expand—many Centers for Minors in their region are requesting placement for boys who are about to come of age. Pray for the resources that will allow this work to advance and impact more young migrants and refugees.
MIDDLE EAST & CENTRAL ASIA Let your light shine before men, that they may see your good deeds and praise your Father in heaven. —Jesus
HELPING DEAF CHILDREN SUCCEED by Alliance Life staff
magine a child who lives with their family but is isolated because they don’t have the ability to communicate with anyone—even their own parents. While some nations have multiple resources for Deaf children, none are accessible to those in this central Asian region. Instead, these children are often hidden away in the home or sent to boarding schools that only teach the children communication skills, not the parents or family. As a result, these children often become unsettled and exhibit unpredictable behavior due to their inability to communicate with their family. In addition, they often do not learn to care for themselves, attend school, or obtain job skills. Alliance workers are now doing groundbreaking work facilitating sign language learning for Deaf children, in-
creasing communication and school preparedness, and supporting family members in developing strong bonds with their children. Through the program, these families also receive the love and care of Jesus and newfound hope for their future.
MEANINGFUL IMPACT THROUGH EDUCATION by an aXcess worker serving with The Alliance in the Middle East
n a culture dominated by the majority religion of the Middle East, Alliance Academy shines as a light on a hill. It was built as a school where believers and people who practice the majority religion can live, work, and study together. Alliance Academy is a bilingual private school with an international curriculum. Students from pre-K through 12th grade receive teaching in a strong academic environment with biblically-based values. All students attend a weekly class called “Values to Grow” that utilizes different activities and means of communicating spiritual truth through media, songs, storytelling, drama, and art. There are regular teacher meetings planned solely to speak of and show the love of God. The school also has opportunities for ministering to the needs of the broader school community, including parents and the surrounding local area. Children with learning needs, both educational and physical disabilities, are welcomed here and given a place to thrive and succeed. At Alliance Academy, God’s love is demonstrated and Christians have an influence on the growth and development of children by providing access to excellent education.
CREATING GOSPEL ACCES S IN REMOTE VILLAGES by an aXcess worker serving with The Alliance in central Asia
remote valley in central Asia is home to an ancient community of people with a unique ethnolinguistic heritage. These high-alpine, subsistence farmers and herders have lived cut off from the world for over a millennium. In the 1990s, a road was constructed enabling vehicle access to some of the villages. However, weather conditions mean that access to the valley is restricted by snow from November to May most years. Across the world, there is a long and well-established history of mountain accommodation in even the most remote areas. Central Asian hospitality is the pride of households across the region and presents itself as an opportunity for these communities to attract outside visitors. Indeed, prior to COVID-19, numbers of tourists were increasing year over year. This project will construct small, comfortable cabins that would be cared for by members of local communities, providing employment and economic benefits. These structures would be built close to the ruins of historic communities. From these cabins, tourists could explore the valley, its history, its current communities and their traditions, and its raw natural beauty. Because of this project, Alliance workers will get to bring tangible help and hope to these communities that have been cut off from the world for centuries.
BRINGING RELIEF TO REFUGEES by Alliance Life staff
emeni and other Middle Eastern refugee groups are among the most vulnerable populations in this Middle Eastern country. Displaced by the war in Yemen and the target of political discrimination, these refugees— largely widows and children—are excluded from many NGO programs and sources of aid. Through your gifts, Alliance international workers are reaching out to 150 refugee families living in the neighborhood surrounding the this Alliance community center. In addition to meeting their immediate physical needs, home visitations open spiritual conversations and impact opportunities. This project blesses these families through welcome packages for new arrivals, food coupons, seasonal distributions, and medical assistance for special needs. They also provide skills training in English literacy, sewing, and photo editing—helping this community work toward self-sufficiency. In addition, health education, fitness programs, youth sports, and community events are leading these families toward physical, mental, and spiritual health. These vulnerable refugee families are receiving immediate relief, help to become self-sufficient, and empowerment for a better future. And as they begin to understand their value in Christ, genuine hope will blossom.
EXTENDING JESUS’ CARE TO SPECIAL NEEDS FAMILIES by an aXcess worker serving with The Alliance in the Middle East
hmed’s mother cried as she explained her son’s needs as a child with autism spectrum disorder (ASD). Unequipped to help him, she had been working on the alphabet with him for years. He was 16 years old and knew only one letter. The Autism Disorder Training Project was launched in June 2021 to work with 130 families like Ahmed’s, training them in their own language to teach their children with ASD to learn and become more independent. Alliance international workers, together with the local teachers, are also changing these families’ lives forever by sharing Christ’s love with each family. Within the first two weeks of the program, Ahmed learned several more letters when his parents used their new teaching methods. Ahmed’s mother said, “I felt that he was in his own world, and I didn’t know how to reach him—but now I know how to communicate and connect with him.” Through the generosity of the Alliance family, parents of children with ASD are empowered to nurture and develop their children—rescuing them from a lifetime of isolation and hopelessness.
FIGHTING THE GOOD FIGHT WITH BASKETBALL
videos for youth, which allows for honest conversations about faith. It’s great to see doors to faith open. On June 1, 2022, International Children’s Day was celebrated all over Mongolia and in other countries with communist roots. To celebrate, we played a game with the Fellowship of Christian Athletes team. Both teams can’t win the game, but at the end of the day, there’s something more important than winning: sharing about eternal life, the ultimate victory. We want to win souls as we develop their skills and faith for life. Jesus said, “What good is it for a man to gain the whole world, yet forfeit his soul?” (Mark 8:36). We pray the IMBA will be a place where kids can find the ultimate victory in Christ. Will you join us through prayer and support? May we all be soul-winners, fighting the good fight by faith for our own souls and for those who are lost in our world!
by Jeremy, an aXcess worker serving with The Alliance in Mongolia
ince 1991, Mongolia’s market economy opened the door to all things Western, including basketball. Mongolians love the NBA maybe even more than their traditional sports. The International Mongolian Basketball Academy (IMBA) has been coaching kids since 2019. Twice a week, Christian coaches lead basketball practice with kids between the ages of 10 to 15 and share a Bible verse and lesson with them. After practice they watch Alpha
LATIN AMERICA Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. —Jesus
INCA LINK by Rich, an Envision worker serving with The Alliance in Latin America
y wife, Elissa, and I are nomads. We spend two to three months in each country to reach the 300 million youth of Latin America with Christ’s irresistible love. The Envision project IncaLink serves children and youth in Peru, Ecuador, Colombia, Costa Rica, Honduras, Guatemala, and Mexico. Some of them come from the most impoverished and least-educated families in the world, living in garbage dumps, risky neighborhoods, and the projects. Others come from wealthy and educated families. We are providing them with whatever they need. For some, it’s food and water; for others, it’s soccer cleats and school supplies. However, the needs of these youth are spiritual as well as physical. As we serve their physical needs, we show them the love of Christ through teams of nationals and international workers living out their faith, sharing Scripture with these children, and walking with them in their daily lives. One such youth is Angie, a 12-year-old who has been attending P7.8, a program that focuses on children of garbage dump recyclers left homeless after an earthquake devastated the northern coast of Ecuador in 2016. About 50 kids and teens are regularly provided with baskets of food and taught about Jesus. “Thanks to you we have Bible teachings, and it has changed my life and my brother’s, too,” Angie says. “I love the programs and enjoy learning about how God loves me and takes care of me.” Angie’s mother, Erica, is also thankful, saying, “I’ve learned about God and beautiful things I did not know. I give thanks with all my heart for all the people who have helped us.”
SMALL BUSINESS DEVELOPMENT IN A DISPLACED COMMUNITY by Alliance Life staff
n the fall of 2020, flooding in Lloro-Choco, Colombia, destroyed more than 700 homes, and the government ordered one of the communities within Lloro to be relocated. The community of Borrado is in the poorest part of Colombia where there are no churches. The needs are extreme. Malaria is a major problem. Youth are uneducated and untrained. Gang activity is growing. This project will plant the first church in the Choco area and will enable CAMA Services to come alongside the church plant to start a community-led business incubator program to encourage ideas for small businesses. It will also provide for the material needs of households in extreme poverty (less than $2 per day, per household). The Borrado community will have better educational opportunities, healthier options for sustainable living, and access to the most life-changing gift of all—the gospel of Jesus.
Dominican universities require English as part of their core curriculum—including Universidad Autónoma de Santo Domingo, the nation’s largest higher educational institution with over 50,000 students—Greenhouse meets a practical need among students who have moved to Santo Domingo to study and have become increasingly nonreligious. Greenhouse offers a unique and inviting space with free Wi-Fi, air conditioning, and tutoring, along with inexpensive drinks and snacks. “As Envision takes the lead for U.S. Alliance work in the DR, our overarching goal is gospel access for and from all the world,” the Nutters add.
IDENTIFYING AND DEVELOPING MISSIONAL LEADERS by Alliance Life staff
ith tens of thousands of young Dominicans having yet to hear and experience the gospel, Envision has started a university center, the Greenhouse Student Center, where students can enjoy coffee, learn English, and fall in love with Jesus. This environment is also designed to create space to identify and develop missional leaders who reach students in the capital of Santo Domingo—the country’s key urban environment where nearly one-third of the population lives. According to Envision Dominican Republic (DR) Site Coordinators Brandon and Bethany Nutter, “The need for a nontraditional ministry among educated, secular young Dominicans is more critical than ever.” Because
CIRCLE OF SILENCE by Cheryl and Bob, an aXcess worker couple serving with The Alliance in Mexico
roject SouthPointe was born in 2014 in Guadalajara as a response to the need to bring gospel access to the area known as the Circle of Silence in central Mexico. The Circle of Silence is an area comprised of six states with 20 million people. It is only 2 percent evangelical, with two indigenous people groups who are resistant to the gospel. This makes the Circle of Silence the largest least-reached region in the western hemisphere. The Breath of Life church was born in 2015 with two international worker couples and three Mexican families to be the church-planting arm of SouthPointe with the strategic vision of 5.5.25—to plant five churches in Guadalajara and five churches in the surrounding states by the year 2025. Today, Breath of Life has three campus sites, and two more are in the planning stage to be launched in 2022. Breath of Life’s third campus is in the town of San Sebastian in Guadalajara. It meets in an abandoned discotheque we rented last year and has become a refreshing oasis of faith in the main plaza of town. Bible studies began in February with three classes offered. Join us in praying that God will open the way for us to begin Sunday services October 2. God is moving here in the darkness, and the Light is shining in Guadalajara!
UNITED STATES I tell you the truth, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers of mine, you did for me. —Jesus
or the National Office, they are more than willing to provide the interpreters needed for whatever events are being held, without question. Sadly, this type of support is so rare that people are shocked by the willingness of the C&MA to provide unfettered access to the Deaf, to train them, and to provide discipleship. There is only one accredited Deaf church in the C&MA nationwide, located in Ohio, but new launches are happening! There are Deaf church plants and ministries in many states because of training programs like LEAD, which has been developed in other languages, including American Sign Language (ASL). This is the only online ministerial program that is led by the Deaf in the United States. Because of this program, there are now four more accredited Deaf Alliance pastors. If this work stirs a passion in you, contact us to see how we can help you raise up new Deaf leaders and church plants in your area. We need your help to raise up new Deaf leaders, pastors, and missionaries!
MAKING SPACE FOR THE DEAF IN THE CHURCH by Alliance Life staff
hile many Alliance international workers are serving the least-reached in the forgotten corners of the world, there are still least-reached people groups in our own neighborhoods, including the Deaf community. U.S. Alliance church leaders, both Deaf and hearing, are working to give Deaf people an equal opportunity to both receive and share the love of Christ. Jonathan Schaeffer, pastor of Grace Church in Middleburg Heights, Ohio, had this to say about Alliance Deaf ministries: Only 2 percent of Deaf people worldwide know Jesus Christ as their personal Savior. The reason is simple: Deaf people have little access to churches unless the church has a Deaf pastor or an interpreter, both of which are exceedingly rare in the United States. Even if a church has an interpreter, there is still much lost in translation as even the best interpreter can translate only 70 percent of what is said, not to mention the inaccessibility of discipleship when everyone around them doesn’t speak their language. Deaf church plants are vital so the Deaf can learn and be discipled in their own language and then be sent out to fulfill the Great Commission.
As members of the Deaf community themselves, Boaz and Whitney Edmunson co-pastor Deaf Ekklesia, a Salem, Oregon-based ministry that cares for and raises up the Deaf across the country. Whitney notes: Edmund de Waal once wrote, “With languages, you are at home anywhere.” In the Deaf Community, home is certainly where their heart language is. However, it is often a challenge for ASL users to find a church to call home. During the pandemic, Boaz and I felt called to provide gospel access to our Deaf neighbors far and wide through Zoom. Through the efforts of volunteers and the devoted support of Salem Alliance Church, we are now a hybrid ministry
Joe Dixon, pastor of the Deaf Church in Cleveland, Ohio, is part of the Deaf community. He observes: Everywhere I turn, whether it is another district
reaching Deaf/ASL users across the nation and Canada. For more info, visit www.deafekklesia. org or email firstname.lastname@example.org. Christ Community Church (CCC) in Omaha, Nebraska, has a Deaf ministry team run by Deaf leaders. They write: Our Deaf ministry at CCC strives to welcome every person. Our goal is to actively use their God-given skills in various ministries, such as monthly Deaf church services, Sunday schools, children’s ministries, Bible studies, short-term missions trips, and in sharing our visually-enriched culture with the hearing congregation. We want a sense of ownership in the Church and not to be treated like second-class citizens. We believe that we are citizens of heaven here and now.
CARING FOR REFUGEES by Alliance Life staff
TINY HOMES FOR THE HOUSELESS
fter major conflict arose in the Democratic Republic of the Congo in 2016, approximately 20,000 Congolese refugees were resettled in the United States. When hundreds of these refugees arrived in Missoula, Montana, The Missoula Alliance Church (MAC) began asking some pointed questions: “What does God say about how we treat foreigners? If it were us, what would we want people to do for us?” Today, MAC has expanded its refugee ministries to include transportation, prayer and Bible lessons in the refugees’ native language, family support for daily life, English lessons, a Congolese choir, and many other practical and spiritual needs. Micah Dalbey, MAC’s lead pastor, explains, “MAC has a long history of missions involvement, which traditionally meant sending people on mission, and God has flipflopped that model in the last few years and brought the world to us. It’s about how we equip them to reach their neighbors who are also being relocated here.”
by Alliance Life staff
nion Hill, a small Alliance church in Redmond, Washington, has partnered with the nonprofit, Low Income Housing Institute, which works with tiny home villages to help people out of houselessness. Union Hill has raised money for 12 tiny house “kits”—a pallet with all the materials to build a tiny house. Once built, they will donate the tiny houses, along with quilts and other items that their community has made or donated. Union Hill’s long-term vision is to build relationships with individuals living in a tiny home village, helping with food needs, counseling, mentorship, education, and much more. “Why are we doing this?” Pastor Ben Coffin says. “Because Christ has brought shelter and salvation to us, and we get to extend that message of hope, life, and love to all peoples.”
Watch the video of MAC’s story at cmalliance.org/refuge
THE ALLIANCE AT A GLANCE . . .
UNITED STATES 2021 STATISTICS
INTERNATIONAL 2021 STATISTICS
722 international workers
in 1,975 churches
serving among 150 people groups
exalting Jesus in 38 languages and dialects
in more than 140 cities
180,000 online church attendees
50 new international workers sent in 2021
3,800 people serving on shortterm missions trips
21 short-term missions sites through Envision
STRATEGIC PRIORITIES OF THE ALLIANCE
MULTIPLYING CHURCH NETWORKS
through disaster relief, community development, and medical, educational, and business services that open doors to the gospel.
that sustain and multiply holistic ministry in their communities and advance the gospel beyond their borders.
who lead others in proclaiming Christ’s love— in word and deed—to their neighborhoods and the nations.
FOUR BRANCHES OF ALLIANCE MISSIONS AXCESS workers proclaim the gospel and multiply networks of faith communities among the least-reached peoples of the world.
CAMA (Compassion and Mercy Associates) specialists respond to disasters globally and partner locally to restore communities and alleviate poverty.
ENVISION workers identify and develop missional leaders through short-term mission opportunities and innovative ministry strategies.
MARKETPLACE MINISTRIES professionals bring their vocational expertise to a community to disciple those around them.
WHAT IS THE ALLIANCE WORLD FELLOWSHIP? The U.S. Alliance enjoys a fraternal relationship with The Alliance World Fellowship—a global family of 55 autonomous national church networks consisting of 24,000 churches in 88+ countries with more than 6.2 million “Alliance” worshipers.
A HOLY RESPONSIBILITY An interview with U.S. Alliance President John Stumbo
by Alliance Life staff
lliance founder A. B. Simpson was wholly committed to seeking out and reaching the lost and overlooked with the boundless love and eternal hope of Jesus. In 2021, The Alliance relocated its National Office to better reflect this foundational vision. Recently, Alliance Life staff sat down with U.S. Alliance President John Stumbo to discuss the reasons behind this move and the urgency of the work we do around the world and in our own communities. Alliance Life (AL): As you consider all the work The Alliance does, can you tell us why we do what we do?
John Stumbo: Fundamentally, we’re followers of Jesus Christ. He commissioned His early followers to take His love and message to every segment of society and every population on earth. And we continue on in that commission with a sense of joy and responsibility. As Christians, we feel like we’ve been given so much: grace, forgiveness, and the comfort and hope of eternal life. It would be selfish to keep that message to ourselves. We’re not the kind of people who proselytize, pressuring others to believe the same as we do, but we do want to be people who demonstrate that when you get to know our Lord Jesus, you’ll love Him and be changed by Him.
Above: U. S. Alliance President John Stumbo
We’re happy followers of Jesus who feel a sense of holy responsibility to share our message not just with words but also with loving actions. Hopefully, our readers will see evidence of this within this issue of the magazine.
same time acknowledging our own imperfections. And every church or Christian expression has the potential of actually making things worse and not better. So, we want to walk humbly. We’ve always sought to be intentional about leaving places and people better than we found them. When the presence of Christ is evident in a relationship or project, we believe everybody wins.
AL: How does our history impact us today? John: From our early days with A. B. Simpson to our current ministries, we don’t want to be the kind of Christians who are cloistered but rather engaged in the broader community—it’s in our DNA. We hope to be a loving, healing, and reconciling presence while at the
AL: Given the state of the world today, why is what we are doing in The Alliance so important at this particular time in our history?
John: The world lacks hope, and the message of Christ is fundamentally one of hope. The world lacks compassionate care that doesn’t create dependency but rather builds people’s own ability to provide for themselves. The world lacks expressions of love that ultimately aren’t just self-seeking pursuits of the advancement of our own pleasure. The world lacks a lot of things that Christ has to offer.
AL: You and other Alliance leaders recently made a prayerful and monumental decision to relocate the Alliance National Office to Reynoldsburg, Ohio. Why? How will this move The Alliance forward and better fulfill what we envision Christ wanting us to be and do? John: We loved Colorado Springs. In many ways, we had no reason to leave our office or our city. We were func-
Above: The C&MA National Office temporary building overlooks the site where the permanent office will be located. Once completed, the new site will house not only National Office staff but also a multi-use facility and retail space for the greater Columbus community. Above Right: Alliance National Office workers enjoying chapel time at the temporary office building.
What The Alliance is doing today is tangibly bringing hope and help to populations that are overlooked by the broader society. And throughout the globe, people who would otherwise be a forgotten segment of their own community are finding a better quality of life and receiving the gospel. We’re crazy enough to believe that we actually become the hands, feet, and heart of Christ Himself. As we enter into relationships and human suffering, we demonstrate who He is.
As we enter into relationships and human suffering, we demonstrate who Jesus is.
tioning well and had no problem hiring and retaining staff. But leaders often ask irritating questions. And I had a question burning in my soul for years that I finally uttered in a meeting with some of our senior leaders: “Are we officed in the right manner?” There we were, doing great community work all across the globe, but the home office that oversaw all that work had no community engagement as part of our
day-to-day roles at the office. And it felt like that lack of bringing various cultures together in a healthy, lifeengagement was starting to shape us. giving manner. One of my leadership principles is, “Who are we Second, we hope to build a facility that is a gift to becoming by what we’re repeatedly doing?” And by us the community where we’re providing reasons and repeatedly going into a business park set aside from re- opportunities for multicultural, multigenerational, and lationships that can be developed by intersecting with multipurpose gatherings that most cities don’t have. the community, how was that shaping us long term? It The event center, coffeehouse, and retail spaces we are certainly wasn’t modeling the missional engagement planning would all provide an economic benefit and a we have globally or our own gathering place for the Reynoldsburg area. passion for the work we are We named it Project Reimagine because, to state the overseeing. I want the people obvious, we’re reimagining how the office of a Christian who oversee the mission to organization can function. This story isn’t just about The be on mission as we come to Alliance. One of our early adopters said to me, “When work. So, our senior leaders you dream, you give others permission to dream as well.” concluded that it would be And I’m watching that happen. Other organizations personally inconvenient but and churches have begun to say, “If The Alliance is essential to change our model. doing that, what should we be doing to better engage The second question then our communities?” was, “If we’re not officed in the right manner, are we officed in AL: What you described sounds like an enormous fithe right city?“ That led to a nancial commitment. Where are all these funds coming discussion about finding a lo- from to fulfill what we plan to do here in Reynoldsburg? cation with a top 100 airport, greater ethnic diversity, and a John: One of the first businessmen I met in Reynoldslower cost of living than Colo- burg said to me, “Wow, you must have a war chest to rado Springs. be able to do all that you’re doing.” I laughed and said, After four trips, visiting 90 “Actually we started with nothing. We had a dream, and properties in three cities that Christians are often fascinatingly generous for causes met our criteria, we land- that don’t personally benefit themselves.” ed on Reynoldsburg, Ohio, So, this is all being done through the generosity of largely because of the hand- people from California to Puerto Rico and everywhere in-glove fit of our desire for in between. It’s a major project, but I’m grateful for the a mixed-use office concept with the city’s desire for early adopters who have been able and willing to invest the same in an area they have labeled as the “gateway in this reimagining of what an office of a Christian orto their community,” the prime intersection of Main ganization can look like and to participate with us in a Street and Brice Road. And it’s conveniently located to self-sacrificing manner. the Columbus airport and within driving distance of So, we do have a challenge before us as building costs more than half of our U.S. district offices and a large have escalated recently. However, one of the values of percentage of our churches. our organization is to take faith-filled risks. And this is This required disruption for a lot of staff and their one of those full-of-faith, risky moves that our organizafamilies, and we didn’t take it lightly. We’re grateful tion is making under the oversight of the Board of Direcfor those who have made the move from Colorado to tors of The Alliance. Columbus, but we’re also appreciative of those who weren’t able to do so. AL: John, one more time: Why do we do what we do? AL: What kind of presence and impact are you hoping to see the National Office have in the Reynoldsburg and greater Columbus community over the next several years? John: Two answers. First, we hope our staff is a winsome contribution to a great community and that we can further advance this city’s desire to be a city of respect,
John: We’re firmly convinced that every life is better with Christ at the center. And as that influence extends to a broader community, the community benefits as well. Jesus has done so much for each of us: forgiving, healing, restoring, etc. He is just too good for us to keep Him to ourselves. We get up every day wanting to love Christ more and live in such a manner that others would feel the same.
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ALLIANCE LIFE GOES DIGITAL! Alliance Life, now in its 141st year of publication, is now available in a digital flip-book version for computer, tablet, and smartphone. We know . . . it’s about time. So, if you’re more of an online aficionado—or just want to spare the paper, save some trees, and divert more printing and postage dollars to our international workers and their ministries—visit alliancelife.org to discontinue your print delivery and sign up for a digital subscription . . . and the trees of the field will clap their hands.
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ALL OF JESUS FOR ALL THE WORLD