B ran ch Matte rs April 2018 Vol 12 No 3
Prayer is a Partnership From the Missionaries
Andrew & Claire Livingstone served with CMS in Switzerland since 2011, and have recently returned to Australia for Final Home Assignment. In this talk from SUTS 2018, Andrew & Claire share how powerful prayer is to mission.
here’s a danger that we can think that our mission is ours, and that we take the initiative to do it. But the Bible teaches us that mission is God’s and he invites us into it. So, when it comes to prayer it’s helpful to remember that, whilst God cares for us as individuals, his purposes extend far beyond that - to all nations. In fact, to all of creation. Our prayers should reflect something of this that God would be lifted up amongst the nations (Isaiah 2:2-3a). Indeed, the resurrected Jesus had this in mind when he taught his disciples what is of first importance (Luke 24:44-49). Prayer is part of mission. It underpins it. It reminds us of our dependence upon the Lord – that it’s his mission. If we’re doing it in his name, then it needs to be done in his power. In Matthew 9, when Jesus saw that ‘the harvest is plentiful, but the workers are few’, he didn’t then say, ‘So, what are you waiting for? Off you go!’ Instead, he told them to pray: ‘Pray earnestly to the Lord of the harvest to send out labourers into his harvest.’ (Later he sent them out… but, significantly, his first call was for them to pray!) So, in prayer, we’re joining in partnership with God in mission.
Partnering with one another Through prayer, we’re also partnering with one another – lifting each other up before the Lord. The apostle Paul is a good example to us of this. His prayers reflect not only his heart for his brothers and sisters, but his letters also show us how much he valued their prayers for him.
Paul knew his own weaknesses and that he was utterly dependent upon God. He encourages the Philippians by writing that, although he’s in gaol, God is using the situation for his own purposes – the gospel is still being proclaimed. (See Philippians 1:19.) Paul obviously believed that God works through our prayers, as well as through his Spirit.
Joining in ministry through prayer
Prayer is a Partnership Goodbye! More Prayer Please Holding Hands in Congo Evensong The Back Page
Paul knew that when we pray for someone in ministry, we join them in that ministry (Romans 15:30-32). God uses our prayers to sustain and strengthen others, and to grow the effectiveness of their ministry. In Colossians 1:9-10, notice how Paul tells people what he’s praying for them. That in itself is also an expression of his partnership with them – it would encourage them, and spur them on in faith. He doesn’t just say, “I’m praying for you” – although maybe that would be enough of an encouragement, instead, he often tells them specifically what he’s praying. It gives them an opportunity to see how the Lord can be at work, and to notice how the Lord may well be at work. We can downplay prayer – using expressions like, “Well, all I can do is to pray...” But I hope that we can see that praying is a vital ministry. Through prayer, God changes us, and God continues his work of mission. If you pray for missionaries, or others in ministry – then you’re a vital part of their ministry team! There are many ways you can partner with CMS in prayer! Visit: www.cms.org.au/vic/get-involved/ pray or contact the office.
CMS VICTORIA 630 MITCHAM RD MITCHAM, 3132 03 9894 4722 PO Box 2150 RANGEVIEW, 3132 email@example.com cms.org.au/vic cmsvictoria @cmsvic @cmsvictoria
Cheryl McGrath recently finished up her role after two years at CMS Victoria. Among her duties, she edited this newsletter. She writes. With bittersweet feelings, I am writing to tell our readers that I have just wrapped up my last issue of Branch Matters. After two years of work with CMS Victoria, I am pursuing a new opportunity working at World Vision in Burwood East. It is an exciting time as I begin new challenges - and a sad time as I leave CMS! I’ve worked at CMS Victoria since March 2016, taking on the newlyminted role of Communications Coordinator for the branch. With my background in publishing and editing, this was a dream role for me! It’s been a chance to take on a varied and challenging role, but also to learn more about world mission and my faith. As I leave CMS, I am proud of the work I’ve been able to do and am thankful that God gave me this opportunity. I’ve grown personally and professionally through this role, and bring a lot of good memories with me. I am grateful to everyone who’s been part of my time at CMS, including our faithful readers who receive Branch Matters and our prayer notes each month. Thanks also to everyone who’s written material for Branch Matters and worked alongside me to make it happen each month. Thank you again for your partnership and support over the past two years!
More Prayer Please Wei-Han Kuan is CMS Victoria’s State Director. This month he wants to encourage us all to have an alive and active prayer life. Are you willing to start a prayer group in your church or in your area?
t CMS we believe in the Bible and Prayer. The Livingstones have written about the power of prayer for our missionary work. Their’s is not an uncommon story! In fact, testimony to the powerful efficacy of supporters’ intercessory prayer is a perfectly normal pattern of missionary life. It is also perfectly normal in the life of CMS Victoria’s state-based operations. It should also be perfectly normal in every believer’s life. The Bible encourages us to pray, to pray without ceasing, to pray at all times with all sorts of prayers making our requests known to God, to approach God our heavenly Father who knows how to give good gifts to the children he loves. Why then do we sometimes find it hard to pray? Is it because we don’t see answers to our prayers quickly enough? Or because we ask for the wrong things and therefore God keeps saying no? How do we learn to pray? When the disciples asked Jesus, he answered by teaching them the Lord’s Prayer. This is a prayer that Christian parents teach their children, or ought to teach their children from the earliest possible age. This is a prayer that no Christian outgrows. If you’ve stopped praying the Lord’s Prayer regularly, please start again! An obvious place to learn how to pray from is the Bible. For all of God’s Word is useful for training us in righteousness and for equipping us for the good work God has placed before us. Praying is hard work - that’s why so few people do it! But we must learn to pray the price for our missionary work at home and abroad. That is, if we want to see growth in the church around the world,
we must pray the price for it here - with fasting. Remember, it was as the church in Antioch was praying and fasting that God said, send out Paul and Barnabas (Acts 13). CMS wants to help you, resource you, encourage you and your church, to pray. CMS has always collated and distributed prayer points: we have an Annual Prayer Diary, monthly Prayer Fuel, prayer points from missionaries, a CMS feed on the PrayerMate app. We’d love to hear from you as to their usefulness to you, in helping you pray. How can we be of greater encouragement? What else can we provide or organise? This year we would love to see a proliferation of new prayer groups in Victoria! Could you start one in your church or in your area? Would you be interested in praying for a particular country or region? We know of an Indonesia prayer group; there has been a long-running Nepal group. Does your church have a regular mission prayer meeting? Will you start and lead one? Please let us know how we can resource you and help get more mission prayer ministry happening. Our new CMS logo reflects our commitment to Bible-based ministry. The shape of an open book reflects the high value we place on looking deeply into God’s Word as our rule in life and missionary ministry. As we look down into the book of God’s Word, we are led to look out into God’s world through his missional lenses, which then leads us to look up to God in prayer for his blessing and leading us in this wonderful work. Join us in more Bible, mission and prayer!
CMS Victoria publishes Prayer Fuel every month. You can sign up to receive these monthly prayer notes via print or email. Contact our office at: (03) 9894 4722 or firstname.lastname@example.org. You can also subscribe to pray daily for CMS missionaries through the Prayermate app. Just download the app and subscribe to CMS Australia’s updates. More information is available here: praynow4.org/cmsaustralia Please also note Pentecost Prayer Day for International Mission on the back page.
Holding Hands in Congo
David & Prue Boyd use their skills to strengthen health resources and equip church leaders in Congo.
Prue writes how her audiology work shows God’s love to families in need.
e’s a little boy, three years old. Both parents attend the appointment at the handicap centre. They are quiet, tense, a little in awe. They think their child has a problem. He doesn’t seem to hear them; at least he doesn’t turn when they call his name. My colleague, Deodate, and I proceed to test his hearing. We make loud noises to test his reaction. Yes, it seems this child doesn’t hear… at all. A profound hearing loss; and with no middle ear involvement, it is probably permanent. The parents can recall an episode when he was put in hospital and on a drip. What did he have? Not sure. No one told them. Perhaps meningitis? It’s very prevalent here. For the parents, diagnosis is often a shock. When I arrived in Bukavu, I found that it was usually a matter of ‘Your child can’t hear, go home and come back when they are old enough to go to the School for the Deaf’. This is how it seems to be done in Congo: little sympathy or understanding. Just get on with life. But now at the handicap centre and the hospital, our approach is different – we inform and explain simply, we don’t say much, we allow time for the information to sink in. There are not many questions at the first appointment.
Supporting families in need Later my colleagues and I debrief. My Congolese colleagues help me understand the family situation. They wonder whether the mother will get any support at home. Will she go from doctor to doctor for better advice, wasting her money? Will she be told that if she prays more the child will be healed? Will her husband leave
her? We work together to determine a program for the child and the family. Living with a disability in Congo is not easy. Superstition, curses, witchcraft and traditional cures which are thought to be effective abound. All this needs to be untangled when meeting with these families. Parents are tempted to hide their disabled child because of what their neighbours will say and think. They may be outcast and ostracised and their child mocked and ill-treated. We help them to understand that deafness doesn’t mean their child is stupid. We assure them that the child can learn to read and communicate through signing, and that there is a future for the child – they can learn a trade, they can marry, perhaps even finish high school. They can have a full and useful life.
Love through action I thank God for the opportunity to bring together a team of people to do this work. For us to take this approach – to sit and listen, to comfort, to put an arm around, to pray with them, to meet again and again, encouraging questions, inviting them to a parents’ group so they share their experiences with other parents of deaf children goes against the culture, goes against the way things are done. This is some of the work God has called me to do in Congo. Working with the hearing impaired and showing God’s love by providing them with a better diagnosis and follow-up care for them and their family, and teaching others so the work can continue. If you’d like to support David & Prue in prayer or giving, please visit: www.cms.org.au/missionaries/davidand-prue-boyd
Help with CMS Flats? Set Up Coordinator - to coordinate set-up of the flats in the lead up to missionaries arriving. Maintenance Manager - a “can-do” person to oversee general maintenance and ensure good working order of the property. Functioning, comfortable Mont Albert flats are a key part of our pastoral care of our missionaries! Contact Rachel Williams for details email@example.com
he Annual CMS Victoria Evensong service took place at St Paul’s Cathedral, Melbourne on Sunday 4 March. A good number of CMS connections were present for the service, including thirty or so who enjoyed yummy afternoon tea in the Bishop Barbara Darling Room in the Cathedral basement beforehand. Among our number were several ex-missionaries and long-standing members. CMS missionary ‘R’ and staff member Ruth Featonby both read the Bible, Branch Council member Kirsty Brown led the intercessory prayers, and State Director Wei-Han Kuan preached from 2 Timothy 3:10-4:8. He unpacked the text under four headings: Paul’s mission career, v10-11 Paul’s mission context, v12-13 Paul’s mission charge, v14-15 Paul’s mission toolkit, v16-17
Wei-Han observed the final and weighty charge that Paul gives to Timothy in chapter 4 to ‘Preach the word, in season and out of season’. Near the end of Paul’s earthly life, his final written words are filled with passion for the work of carefully teaching the Word of God to successive generations of faithful believers. Wei-Han outlined the emphasis that CMS still has on a strongly Bible-based and Gospelfocussed missionary ministry, and urged the congregation to keep supporting this work. Evensong has developed into another occasion in our CMS events calendar for members and friends to gather together, catch up with each other’s news, and keep encouraging each other in our shared ministry. At least two people commented that we might have two Evensong services each year!? See you at our next event!
Activate Conference, 28 April
A1:8, 20 - 21 July
Who do you know who would benefit from Activate? This is a popular conference for young adults that seeks to inspire, challenge and mobilise participants into mission involvement.
21 July, 2018
Scots’ Presbyterian Church Join us for CMS Victoria’s mid-year confrence. 156 Collins St, Melbourne VIC 3000 Watch this space, more information to Speaker: Sam McGeown
For details and to register, visit:
be announced soon.
SUTS 2018 Podcast
The SUTS 2018 Podcast is now live. Search for “CMS Vic Podcast” on iTunes or Soundcloud or follow this link: cms.org.au/vic/resources/ New CMS prayer group
You’re invited to a new CMS prayer group, meeting in Blackburn South on the 4th Thursday of every month, from 7:15 - 8:30pm. First meeting was on March 22nd. Led by Gayelene Harrower. Contact the CMS Victoria office for location details.
Dates for Your Diary 1MPG (First Monday Prayer Group) Monday 9 April at 630 Mitcham Road, Mitcham. Enter from Redland Drive near the Sweet Lime Cafe. (Note change of date due to Easter weekend.) Contact: Hugh Prentice 9014 0968.
Missionary Care Fellowship Wednesday 11 April at Holy Trinity Anglican Church, 106 Church Road (corner Doncaster Road), Doncaster, at 10am Speaker: Nicole Harvey Contact: Lynn Pryor 0401 257 647.
Pentecost Prayer Day, Sunday 20 May
Contact Emma for resources for your church, mission group or small group. firstname.lastname@example.org
Monthly Financial Update Here are the figures up to the end of November which show how CMS Victoria is travelling financially. We publish them to help you pray for this aspect of our work together. These are provisional figures available as we go to press. Note - figures are expressed in thousands.
*This means income from grants, trusts, investments and income from events.
Giving Electronically Three easy ways to give to CMS: Direct Credit: Westpac BSB 033-112 Account 280677 Ref: Your initial+Your surname+[missionary name]. To donate to secure workers, please use their unique code (not their name) as the reference. Contact the office for details if unsure.
Direct Debit: Go to cms.org.au/vic/give/directdebit, download the form, complete and send it to the office. Credit Card: Go to give.cms.org.au and follow the prompts, or just call the office on 03 9894 4722 to donate over the phone. CMS pays a fee on each transaction with this option.
Will you consider remembering CMS in your Will? Visit cms.org.au/bequest or call us on (03) 9894 4722 for a confidential discussion. CMS Victoria does not tolerate abuse, harassment or other misconduct within our community. All our workers agree to abide by our code of conduct Faithfulness in Missionary Service. It can be found here: cms.org.au/fims We have an independent complaints handling system. Please report incidents by calling 1800 070 511.
In this month’s issue… - Prayer is a Partnership. Andrew & Claire - Livingston reflect on the power of prayer for mission; - Goodbye! We sa...
Published on Mar 9, 2018
In this month’s issue… - Prayer is a Partnership. Andrew & Claire - Livingston reflect on the power of prayer for mission; - Goodbye! We sa...