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2011

ISSUE

6

《未得之地》

From the General Director

INSIDE

In the earlier issues of Link this year, we talked about the 3Es in our mission The History of the COCM strategy: Evangelising, Equipping, and Encouraging. Traditionally, COCM assigns Year-End Camp missionary workers to focus on either the evangelising or the equipping area of ~Editorial Committee the ministry; their involvement in the encouraging area tends to be visiting and Working with God and sharing at their supporting churches. The 3Es may appear to be three separate Walking with God ministry areas at first. But once workers are settled in the mission field, they will encounter people who are at different stages of spiritual growth, and their ~Yan Tian ministry activities will actually include all 3Es in response to the needs of different God’s Higher Ways situations. ~Bing Liang The Great Commission tells us to go and make disciples, baptise them, and teach them to obey everything Jesus has commanded us. The disciple-making Saving up for a rainy day— process takes on the work of evangelising, equipping, and encouraging as one reflection on equipping integral ministry. If this has not been our thinking, then now is the time to make returnees a paradigm shift in the way we see our overall mission strategy. I believe all our ~Grace Li workers should be actively involved in all 3Es throughout the year and be flexible in our ministry roles. Every worker is considered an evangelist, an equipper, and an encourager. Realistically speaking, this is no easy task for a missionary worker to take on alone. Therefore it is important to pull our resources together and coordinate our efforts by building dynamic ministry teams to share the workload and support one another. For the past several years, the COCM Year End Mandarin camps held at our mission centre have provided an excellent platform for us to fine-tune a model to take on all 3Es effectively. Each winter, we use the team ministry approach to bring together COCM staff workers, local church and fellowship leaders, and supporters on short-term mission from North America to serve in the two Mandarin camps between Christmas and New Year. We intentionally create an interactive environment for believers and non-believers alike to have significant participation throughout the camps. Members on our team are reminded not only to share the gospel message verbally, but also to live it out in love and action. Our co-workers minister to the campers by getting to know them in a personal way and caring for their needs holistically. While these camps are evangelistic in nature, we also equip small group leaders by training them in personal evangelism before the camps, mentoring them as things get underway, as well as giving feedback and guidance at the end of each session. People on each year’s short-term mission team come from different Chinese churches in North America and priority is given to those who have not been to COCM before. Working alongside local co-workers, they gain first-hand information about the needs and challenges of the mission field and many go home with a passion to share our vision with their church congregations. As winter draws near, we are once again kicking into high gear to get ready for the upcoming Year End Mandarin camps. Please pray for us to have the strength and willingness to give ourselves fully to the work of the Lord. May we experience another fruitful season in Evangelising, Equipping, and Encouraging.

Rev. Henry Lu

神恩澤僑胞 福音遍全歐

Reaching the Chinese to Reach Europe

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《未得之地》

Mission Strategy The History of the

COCM Year-End Camp Editorial Committee

A large group of young students from Mainland China began to flood into the UK around 2000. At that time, the vast majority of them came for their Master degree, staying in UK only for a short time. For those who go overseas for the first time on their own, they are most likely to feel lonely and homesick during the Christmas and New Year holidays. Seeing this need, the COCM staff workers came up with the idea to hold a Mandarin gospel camp in order to minister specially to these students from Mainland China. As a result, the first Year-End camp was held at the end of 2003. From 2004 to 2006, brothers and sisters from churches in the New England area, USA formed I had always felt the need for a god who short-term mission teams to help with the would constantly encourage me in the face Year-End camps. For these three years, the of difficulties, direct me in the way ahead, camps adopted a typical model whereby and support me in my helplessness. I was like the main speaker was responsible for a child who has been thirsty for a long time, delivering all the messages and the but did not know that what I needed was campers responded to the speaker ’s such sweet dew. The Lord is the Father who appeal for conversion at the end of will accompany and guide me forever. the last message. Participants mainly A brother from Luton, who came to Christ in a COCM camp listened to sermons and interacted with one another in group discussions led by COCM staff or short-term mission team members. The Mandarin gospel camp underwent a revolutionary change in 2007 when we tried out a brand new model to share the good news more effectively with those born after the 80’s and 90’s. COCM staff responsible for the camps discussed together and worked out a theme for each year based on the current social climate and the main concerns of young people. A series of messages were then built around corresponding Bible stories and verses and the flow of every session at the camp was centered on the same theme. Each session began with worship that prepared people’s hearts. Bible reading and drama let campers reenact ancient Bible stories in a modern way. Testimonies of the short-term mission team illustrated the reality of God’s Word from their personal experiences. Different speakers were assigned to speak on a part of the main theme to help deepen the students’ understanding of biblical truth. As a result the camp was not solely dependent on the eloquence of one or two main speakers but rather on teamwork. Every team member played an equally important role, whether it be leading worship, preaching, giving testimony, or acting in the sketch. As for the campers, apart from the group discussions, there were opportunities for interaction through games, sketch rehearsals, and tidying up after mealtimes. These were means by which they could build up friendship and learn how to be open to one another. Since the new model of the Mandarin student camp achieved such

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2004 good results, in 2008 COCM started a family camp around Christmas using the same approach. Aiming at new immigrants and their families, the camp not only hoped to share the good news with them, but also to provide a platform whereby they could support and strengthen one another in the faith. God has blessed the YearEnd Mandarin camps over the This is my second time to the COCM camps. years. Not only has the number of I still remember my conversion to Christ in the participants from the UK increased camp last year. This year, the camp reminds me year by year, some have even come of the abundance of the Lord’s love for me and over from other European countries how he has saved me from shadows of my past just to attend the camp. Applicants so that I can face the future again with hope. As for short-term mission teams have a pastor in the camp said, every Christian is a included brothers and sisters from wounded healer. all over USA and Canada. In the A sister from Coventry, who converted to Christ in a COCM camp camps many young students made the decision to follow Jesus and many young brothers and sisters received practical training for sharing the gospel. Their lives were renewed as they saw God’s power at work. At the same time, working together in these camps not only made it possible for COCM to build up an ever closer partnership with churches and fellowships in the UK, it also inspired brothers and sisters of the short-term mission teams to take the burden for mission in Europe back to their churches so that the partnership in the gospel can be extended to the other side of the Atlantic.

2005

2006

In the Year-End Mandarin camps we see the three strands of COCM’s strategy: evangelism, training and mission coming together. It is the beautiful picture of “partnership in the gospel” that the Bible talks about.

2007

2008 1 3


《未得之地》

Mission Strategy Working with God and Walking with God Yan Tian Editor’s note: Many brothers and sisters from different churches and fellowships in the UK become part of our ministry team at the COCM camps each year. Sister Yan Tian is one of them. She is from Mainland China and came to the Lord whilst doing her master’s degree at Coventry. Her faith has been built up through serving in these camps and she has developed a deep relationship with us. My contact with COCM dates back to the Year End Mandarin Camp of 2008. I had just arrived in England and was a new believer. The camp further strengthened my resolve to follow the Lord. After that I kept in touch with COCM and frequently attended various activities. At the invitation of a COCM staff I became a group leader at the 2010 Year- End Mandarin Camp. Although at the time I had some experiences of serving in the fellowship and the church and had participated in many camps, I had never served in a major camp like this so I felt very uneasy and worried that I would not do well. It was good that COCM offered training for group leaders before the camp. I personally felt that the most important thing I learned was about the attitude in ministry, which was walking with God Every time when each one of you and working with Him. raises your hands to accept Christ, I Since everything in the am not only moved to tears but am camp was unknown to also touched deep in my soul. me I could only commit myself into God’s Group leader, sister from York hands through prayer. The training beforehand was a great help. But I learned the more important lesson from the life of my fellow group leader in the actual process of serving. Two of us were leading the group and the other leader was a brother who had been a Christian for many years. Praise the Lord for putting at my side a model of service, teaching me how I should serve the members in the group, whether they were Christians or seekers. From him, I learned that listening and prayer are the most important things. Since I did not have much experience

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in serving others, I sometimes fell into the trap of being impatient and had a tendency to be long-winded in group discussions. But my fellow group leader was very adept at listening to the feelings and needs of our group members and bringing them back to the truth in the Bible. As we listened, members spoke about the questions in their hearts and the hurts in their lives. These were opportunities to understand their needs at a deeper level. This brother also taught me to exercise my faith by bringing the needs of the group and our service before God in prayer. Meanwhile, in working with COCM As I see them being confronted by staff, I could see the God’s Word, their questions being Lord Jesus dwelling answered one by one and as I see and working with them place their lives in God's hands, I u s . R e g a rd l e s s o f can only praise God! There can be no their age, they threw better way to greet the New Year! Group leader, sister from Cardiff themselves into all manner of tasks so that we would feel at home in the time we spent at the COCM mission centre. They talked into the early hours of the morning with brothers and sisters in need and with seeker friends interested in the gospel. They quietly went about preparing meals and tidying the kitchen. They even put out mid-night snacks for us night owls before retiring to bed. From their actions I truly saw what it means to be gentle and humble. They set an example for me to follow as I sought to serve God. Although much time has passed but the memory of those scenes is still so vivid as if it were only yesterday. From leading the group I learned that caring was not just greeting people and asking after them, but to truly put your heart into it and to meet their needs in practical ways as well as to pray for them. These experiences helped me to genuinely care for brothers and sisters in the fellowship. My relationship with God also grew as a result. He let me experience His way of working which is different to that of man and I also experienced the truth of His Word. I used to complain to God a lot about why the path of my life was fraught with so many twists and turns when others had it so easy. But as I saw how my experiences could bring comfort to those who had been hurt in the same way, I finally began to understand the words of the Lord Jesus that it is more blessed to give than to receive. Through COCM, God opened the way for me to take the first courageous steps in sharing the gospel and also provided me with opportunities for training and equipping. The experiences of training and working together will forever be precious treasures I am willing to be a group leader in my life. As for the again and continue to learn to future, I will continue serve others if I can come to the to learn to be still camp the next time round. before God and to be Group leader, brother from Cardiff a vessel for His use.


God’s Higher Ways Bing Liang

Editor’s note: Bing Liang was born and raised in Mainland China. Currently he is a Professor of Finance at University of Massachusetts. He also serves as a deacon at Amherst Chinese Christian Church and a member of the COCM USA Board.

December 2004 was the first time that Chinese shed a lot of joyful tears. churches in the USA sent a short-term mission team My family came again with the short term mission to support the COCM Year-End camp. The team that team in 2008.This was year included Elder Henry Lu, his wife Ling with their the first time COCM two children and Ling’s sister Lily from our church in held a family camp Amherst, as well as Elder Jay Lam with brother Eric Lee a ro u n d C h r i s t m a s from the Lowell church in Massachusetts. In 2005, I was and a student camp encouraged by Henry and joined him with others from r i g h t a f t e r. S e e i n g our church and the Lowell church as well as Yenchun many families shared Mao who was on the pastoral staff team at a church in the same spiritual New York to come to the Year-End camp. We had a great needs as the students, time with the young students plus a few families. My but with very assignment that year was to give a personal testimony on few gospel camps Bing Liang and his family at Year End how I came to believe in Jesus. It was during that trip I providing childcare, Mandarin Camp learned the vast spiritual need of the Chinese students in COCM decided to the UK and the small window of opportunity for them to have a children’s hear the gospel before they return to China in a year or program for the family camp despite their lack of two. Also, I learned that the number of Chinese students resources in this area. Praise the Lord that the Children’s in the UK was similar to that in the USA, but there were Minister Steve Bowman from Lowell church was willing far less Chinese churches in the UK than in the USA. to help. I was asked to coordinate the US short-term Since I was so encouraged by my first short-term mission team with members from various churches. The mission experience, I wanted to bring my entire family Lord opened our eyes and raised up many people from with me to COCM. In July of 2007, our good friend and six churches in Massachusetts to support the camps of church leader Henry Lu quit his university teaching COCM. I was also assigned to preach the last message position and moved to the UK with his family to become for both camps and felt the pressure immediately. At full-time missionaries. Inspired by their dedication, in each gospel camp, there are six sessions with six main December 2007 my whole family joined the short term messages. Each speaker is responsible for delivering one mission team at the Year-End camp. message. I was quite nervous as other That year, my son Reece was 16 and my I haven’t seen so many tears in speakers were pastors and ministers and daughter Mina was 6. Reece was very an evangelistic meeting for such I felt I wasn’t capable. I remember at reluctant to go as his Chinese was not as a long time! both camps I was unable to sleep well good as a native speaker’s, and he was the night before my sessions and could Rev. Zhigang Zhang from Rock Chinese afraid that he would not be able to mix only ask the Lord to give me strength Church of Austin, Texas, USA with the Chinese students, who were by praying to Him in the middle of the much older. Thanks to the Lord that at night. God encouraged me through 2 Corinthians 12:9 the very moment Reece was feeling totally frustrated, “And he said to me, my grace is enough for you, for my the first batch of students arrived and he had no problem power is made complete in what is feeble.” The messages making friends with them. He attended various sessions were well received and when people were called to at the camp and enjoyed them very much. Later Reece accept Jesus I saw hands going up one after another, wrote in his testimony, “I only knew the Lord from books I knew it was not my work but the work of the Holy before, but this time I experienced the Lord in person.” Spirit, as I was so weak. When brothers and sisters were We were all touched by the power of the Holy Spirit and called to recommit themselves to Jesus, so many raised

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《未得之地》

Mission Strategy their hands and I was deeply touched by the commitment of these young brothers and sisters. I couldn’t believe that one sister accepted Jesus and the next day she decided to take seminary courses. The next time I met her I learned that she had already finished several courses. My vision was broadened after I witnessed the dedication of the COCM co-workers and the hunger and thirst of the younger believers in the I think that without God, this trip wouldn’t UK for spiritual have been the same at all. It is because growth. of God that I was able to meet these In 2009, wonderful people and it was because of k n o w i n g God that these people were wonderful. Reece would Reece, Bing Liang’s son, then 16 years old leave home for university in less than a year, I went to COCM with him. We wanted to spend some quality father and son time together on this trip. He took good care of me as I was not in good health. When checking in at the airport, we were upgraded to business class! The Lord was so merciful and knew our weakness. On the plane, we played a “cup game” by putting three cups on the food tray. The centre cup was the Lord, and we were the two cups on either side. When we moved the two cups to the centre we got closer to the Lord and as a result we became closer to each other. This time I did not have a specific assignment. Instead, I spent a lot of time talking to students one on one. I enjoyed this trip the most as there was no pressure to prepare a message. Coming along side young students who were willing to open their hearts to me, I learned their strengths and weaknesses and I got to share my own struggles as well. I remember one student even told me how she tested the security alarm systems by stealing things at electronic stores to see if she would get caught. Every time I went to COCM, I felt encouraged by the young brothers and sisters. When asked why I was there several years in a roll, I simply answered “each time I come, I become younger.” 2010 was my 5th trip to the COCM Year-End camps an d t h a t y e a r t h e L o rd raised up over forty people from nine churches from all over the USA to support the work. A historic winter storm first hit the UK, then the USA. But nothing could prevent us from getting to our destination. Amazingly, despite many flight delays and cancellations none of the short term mission team member missed their prearranged assignments. Bing's son and daughter We all experienced God’s cooked them a meal after the faithfulness and enjoyed short-term mission trip

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working together as a team even though we didn’t know members from other churches before we came. Here are some of the unique features I observed from the COCM Year-End camps: ● Down to earth attitude - live among the students, know their needs and use their language to design a program suitable for them. For example, the theme of each camp is from a story, a song, or a catchphrase of the current pop culture that the students recognize. ● Encourage participation - give young people opportunities to share their inner thoughts and express themselves freely. For example, the creative drama during each session is a c t e d o u t b y If you ask me, is it worth spending the t h e c a m p e r s . money and time to talk with students for I n t e r e s t i n g l y, three days about God’s salvation and s e e k e r s w h o love, I can tell you that it is priceless…… played significant I may never see these students again, roles in the drama however, we have given them a precious o f t e n b e c a m e gift which they will keep for the rest of their lives! believers later on.

Alsa Shih, Chinese Bible Church of Greater Lowell, USA Group effort and team work – short term mission team members work with COCM staff and local student co-workers before, during, and after the camps. For example, each night after the scheduled program, all co-workers would gather together to reflect on what went on in each small group and to pray for those with special needs. The sharing allows everyone in the team to be better prepared to support one another the following day. Inspired by the COCM experience, this year, nine churches from New England have organized a similar camp called NEWS (New England Winter Student) Camp for the Chinese students in the northeastern region of the USA. Most of the organizers have been on short term mission trips to support the COCM Year-End camps. New England started out by sending people to England to respond to the “New Macedonia Call”, but now it seems that the trend is reversed and the year-end camp experiences in the UK is enabling us to revive the New England student ministry. This is just as Isaiah 55:9 says, “For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways, and my thoughts than your thoughts.” Our Lord is so amazing and humorous. His Kingdom has no boundaries, and He opens the eyes of those who are willing to be molded in His hands. ●


Saving up for a rainy day—reflection on equipping returnees Grace Li Editor’s note: Many young people are indeed receiving the gospel and having their faith built up in the camps. But once the camps are over, how do these young people let the truth of God’s Word continue to change and influence their lives? When circumstances and people change, will these young people be able to stand firm? Grace Li, our missionary staff who has been involved in the camps for the past eight years, reflects on her observations and offers some suggestions. “So then, just as you received Christ Jesus as Lord, continue to live in him, rooted and built up in him, strengthened in the faith as you were taught, and overflowing with thankfulness. “ (Colossians 2:6-7) Paul, in his letter to the Colossian Church encouraged the believers to have a correct understanding of Christ and the truth of the gospel so that they would not waver in their faith. Paul’s reminder still rings true today for the young students from Mainland China who believe in Christ. We indeed praise God that in the past few years and through different channels, for example the outreach of the local church, various gospel camps for students, many overseas students have received the gospel in the UK and started on their journey of faith. Most of them graduate and return home not long after coming to faith. But upon returning to China, faced with the rapid development of the economy, the relentless pursuit of hedonism, a money-driven value system, the many social conflicts that are the products of a fast developing society and the accompanying moral dilemmas, the Christian returnees are confronted with extreme challenges and temptations. If they are mature spiritually, they can rely on God’s grace to overcome the difficulties and also to share the grace that God has given to them. They will also become pillars in society, exerting positive influence on both culture and ethics. Therefore, even as they take their first steps in the faith, the focus of our ministry is to prepare them to return home and to help them to be firmly rooted in Christ. On account of this, I want to address some of the problems that these young people face and to suggest ways to nurture them.

It is most important to teach young believers the correct understanding of God, man and self. This helps them to build a correct worldview, to have the right values and to live their lives according to the Bible. However, some of them invariably have ideas that deviate from these concepts. Below are some of the obvious ones. 1. Understanding of the Trinity: For most young people their understanding of the Lord, to a large extent, only just goes beyond atheism to acknowledging that there is a powerful and loving God. They believe that they can pour out their hearts to the Lord when they are lonely and He is a lifesaver in their helplessness. They have a very shallow, almost non- existent grasp of God’s redemption and lordship and cannot connect this with their lives in a substantive way. 2. Christian Faith: Some young people think that the Christian faith is a very positive, uplifting thing that enhances one’s spirituality and can be a kind of sustenance in this fickle world. In other words, faith is an embellishment to their life and as such it should be relaxing and enjoyable. Some will stop in their tracks once they realize that a God-centred life will bring them into conflict with their friends and family and will cause them to leave behind their old world view and values. 3. Sin: Many young people assent to the fact that sin is recognizing one’s imperfection and deficiency. Consequently, they are more ready to acknowledge that they are sinners. Very often they will just remain on this level of recognizing sin in general terms but cannot see their personal sin and rebellion against God. 4. Love: God’s love is to help us resolve problems when we make mistakes, to give us what we ask for in prayer and surround us with the care and concern

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of brothers and sisters. Such young people do not find it easy when confronted with the difficulties of the spiritual life; they cannot handle conflicts with brothers and sisters and moreover, cannot bear to be neglected. As a result, the sacrificial love of the cross becomes diluted and emotional. 5. Church Life: Church life consists of everyone being happy, praying and singing songs. Preaching is for gaining more knowledge about the Bible. Bible study is for sharing one’s personal understanding of the Word. The understanding of how service and self-denial connect to life is very shallow. On account of the misconceptions stated above, we need to take certain corresponding measures. One way is to encourage them to evaluate their lives. Regardless of whether they are new believers or have been believers for some years, they need to have a clear understanding and experience of being born-again. The following are some questions they can consider. ● How do I know that I am born again? (John 1:12, Romans 10:9-10) ● What is the normal Christian life? (Romans 12:1-2) ● What is the Christian faith? What does it mean to believe? ● Am I God centred or self centred? ● What do I think of the authority of the Bible? How does it relate to my life? At the same time they need to learn to love God, hunger for Him and enjoy Him. Believers need to know the abundance of God’s grace, the vastness of His love for them and His calling for their lives. They also need to learn to walk by faith and not by sight, trusting in God and His promises, being led by the Holy Spirit and not by one’s bodily desires. The ultimate and the most difficult lesson to learn will be to walk the way of the cross, putting to death one’s flesh, being broken by God, leading a holy and victorious life and becoming a faithful servant of God. The observations above are based on my contact with young people in various camps over the years. It is indeed exhilarating to see young people coming to Christ in these camps, so all the more we need to reflect on how these young believers are to grow and be rooted in the faith once the excitement and the buzz of the camps have passed. In my limited experience in ministry, I would suggest that we encourage young believers to start where they are, to take the initiative to get involved in the church and the fellowship. It is only in learning to serve that believers can discover their spiritual gifts and to grow in character as they rub against each other whilst co-operating with each other. This is an area that is neglected by churches for one reason or another. The above are some of the aspects that I have thought about in my personal experience of ministry and they are by no means complete. My desire is that as we rejoice in the harvest, we all the more need to focus on the fact that even as these young believers embark on the first steps of the journey, we need to be preparing them to return home, to build them up in the faith so that they can be good soldiers in God’s kingdom.

HEADQUARTERS General Director: Rev Henry Lu 2 Padstow Avenue, Fishermead, Milton Keynes MK6 2ES England UK Tel:+44-(0)1908-234-100 Fax:+44-(0)1908-234-200 E-mail:cocm@cocm.org.uk Web Site:www.cocm.org.uk

HONG KONG OFFICE Rev Tang Chi-Ming Room 522, Metro Centre II, 21 Lam Hing Street, Kowloon Bay, Kowloon, Hong Kong Tel:+852-2549-5288 Fax:+852-2549-5155 E-mail:cocmhk@cocm.org.hk Web Site:www.cocm.org.hk Chairman: Rev Cham Nai-Bun

MALAYSIA OFFICE Mr David Liew Unit 697-2-2, Desa Kiara, Jalan Damansara, 60000 Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia Tel:+60-(0)3-7722-3670 E-mail:davidckliew@gmail.com cocmmsia@gmail.com Web Site:www.cocmsea.org Chairman:Mr Bryan Lee

SINGAPORE OFFICE Chairman:Mr. Alan Wong 420 North Bridge Road #05-07 North Bridge Centre Singapore 188727 Tel:+65-6338-6283 E-mail:cocmspore@gmail.com davidckliew@gmail.com Web Site:www.cocmsea.org

USA BOARD Chairman:Rev Daniel Chan 1960 Silas Deane Hwy, 2nd Floor, Rocky Hill, CT 06067, USA Tel:+1-860-257-3896 E-mail:info@cocmusa.org Web Site:www.cocmusa.org

CANADA VANCOUVER BOARD Chairman: Mr Lawrence Chen P.O. Box 32528, Richmond, B.C. V6X 3S1 CANADA Tel:+1-778-591-0109 E-mail:lrlchen@telus.net Web Site:www.cocmcanada.org

www.cocm.org.uk

Published by the: Chinese Overseas Christian Mission. Registered Charity No.232651 No.1135892 Company No.7106567

Editorial Committee:

Rev. Henry Lu.Ling Lu.Min Yin. Yu-Mei Wu

Translator:Monica Li

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God called us to serve in Europe, and we are thankful for the financial support from individuals and churches around the world over the years. The vast majority of people living in Europe have yet to accept the Gospel, hence we ask humbly for you to work with us. If you are moved to support us financially, please get in touch. Donations from UK By Cheque Cheques made payable to “COCM” may be sent to: COCM, 2 Padstow Avenue, Fishermead, Milton Keynes MK6 2ES By Bank Transfer or Standing Order Please contact COCM Headquarters for detailed information. Donations from overseas Please contact Your local COCM offices / boards or COCM Headquarters (Please see the contact information at the right-hand column on the back page.)

Link-2011-issue6-E  

The History of the COCM Year-End Camp; Working with God and Walking with God; God’s Higher Ways; Saving up for a rainy day—reflection on equ...

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