ELIM MISSIONS | CULTURE | LEADERSHIP | CURRENT AFFAIRS | MISSIONARIES
BRAZIL: With so much focus on Brazil in the coming years, the football world cup in 2014 and the Olympics in 2016, we look at what Elim is doing in what is fast becoming a pivotal country. P04
Israel/ Gaza aa On Wednesday 14th November 2012 the Israeli army launched an air attack on Gaza and assassinated the head of the military wing of Hamas. The attack came at the end of a period of increasing tension, but nonetheless few predicted the immediate escalation that would follow. P08
GEORGE VERWER: We speak candidly to George Verwer about life, work, ministry and the world of global missions. P12 WHAT DOES IT MEAN TO BE MISSIONAL? Gary Cadge shares his thoughts on what this might actually mean. P14 LIFELINK IN CAMBODIA: Having just returned from one of the most significant and life changing weeks of their lives, read about the recent Lifelink mission. P18
EDITORIAL One of the challenges we have in Elim Missions is to hold in tension the fact that we might be aware of a particular situation relating to our missionaries or partners but we can’t go public with this because they are working in ‘closed’ countries. We know that it wouldn’t be safe or advisable to share this in a public arena, yet we want our Elim family to pray about the situation. You may not be aware that we are working in the Middle East in countries such as Israel, Syria and Lebanon, with our own people and partners and we are currently processing an application for a couple to go to another Middle Eastern country. I would love to be able to tell you the amazing stories of how God is using people in such nations to encourage you but I know you will understand that I can’t. Do you receive our weekly Prayerline giving up-to-date prayer requests? If not, then please email Kathy at email@example.com and she will add you to the mailing list. On Prayerline you may at times read an item that seems very generic, but is in fact making reference to a place or situation that we are aware of but can’t publicise in detail, yet we need your prayers and supplications in this area.
As it says in Psalm 18:11, “He made darkness his covering, his canopy around him.” At times God will cover himself with darkness in order to bring his purpose and plans to fulfilment. So please continue to pray for situations that may seem bleak to us, or that we cannot share in detail, but where God is working in ways and dimensions that we are not even aware of. God Bless
International Missions Director
why do they fight? Our workers on the ground in the Middle East talk of the reality of last year’s conflict. Why is there so much unrest and who or what is to blame?
BRAZIL 04 GEORGE VERWER 12
A COUNTRY ON THE UP?
BRAZIL: A Country On The Up..
With so much focus on Brazil in the coming years, the football world cup in 2014 and the Olympics in 2016, we look at what Elim is doing in what is fast becoming a pivotal country.
What Does It Mean To Be Missional?
A much used term but what does it mean? Ps. Gary Cadge takes us on a journey of discovery of what it might actually mean.
A Special Visit To A Special Place:
Kathy Cooper writes about a very special visit she went on to a special needs project in Bacău, Romania.
We speak candidly to George Verwer about life, work, ministry and the world of global missions.
Lifelink: Cambodia Having just returned from one of the most significant and life changing weeks of their lives, read about the recent Lifelink mission.
A COUNTRY ON THE UP
SAO PAULO > Sao Paulo is the largest city in Brazil and functions as the country’s financial and economic centre, where a sea of skyscrapers climb high into the sky. The metropolitan area of Sao Paulo has a population of around 20 million people. The city has developed rapidly in recent years and it continues to grow at a very fast pace; every vista has scenes of new building work and transport systems are pushed to their limits on a daily basis. Before 7am each morning Sao Paulo’s streets are filled with commuters and students on their way to work, school and university. Most schools start at 7am with another group of students studying in the afternoon until around 5.30pm.
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A network of hundreds of minibuses ferry students to and from school each day. The city’s universities are open from early morning to late in the evening to accommodate the increasing number of students. As a result of driving on congested roads or travelling on heavily laden buses and trains, a person’s morning journey can take two to three hours. During the evening rush hour the transport system again struggles to cope and most people arrive home late into the evening. There is another side to the city; hundreds of thousands of people live in poorer districts, which sprawl across vast areas that lie side by side with the skyscrapers. Sadly drug trafficking, gang warfare, crime and violence are also predominant features of Sao Paulo, which affect people from all walks of life and social backgrounds. A recent property boom and significant increases in daily living costs are also adding to the city’s problems. In 2012 basic food costs increased by almost 10% and the current minimum monthly wage of R$675 (approximately £210) does not even cover the average rent of RS1,300 for a two-bedroom property in one of Sao Paulo’s suburbs.
PHOTO: Simon and Davinia George with their children Liana and Connie.
ELIM BRAZIL > It is in this mega-city of great diversity that Elim Brazil has focussed its work since the first church was planted here in 1946 by Elim Missionaries Henry and Edith Jeffrey. There are now eight Elim churches around the city of Sao Paulo and churches have also been planted in a number of other cities, including the country’s capital, Brasilia. The Elim church in the suburb of Casa Blanca, which lies in the southern district of Sao Paulo, has a congregation of over 150 people. The church is led by Pastor Silvio Michelletti and a team of Elders and Deacons. Pastor Silvio is also the current National Leader of Elim Brazil. The main church service is on Sunday evenings which is broadcast live on the internet. The church has an active group of young people who are very involved in the life of the church, many being members of the worship and dance groups. On Sunday mornings there is all-age Sunday School with separate groups for children, youth and adults. a service on Tuesday evenings and prayer meeting on Friday evenings. In addition, the church is planning to open on Wednesday evenings to offer advice and prayer to families and individuals encountering specific issues and difficulties. Recently, an afternoon service has been held on Wednesdays, co-ordinated by one of the church members, Odete. Before the main message Odete gives an opportunity for people to share about what God has been doing in their lives and there have been some amazing testimonies of God’s grace and provision. Many members of the church live amidst complex family issues and/or the many pressures faced in life in a mega-
city. The congregation regularly prays for each other, asking for God’s blessing and strength for those experiencing particular difficulties. A children’s dance group presents choreography to a worship song and sometimes performs a drama. The afternoon concludes with coffee and cakes. Throughout the afternoon there is a great sense of fellowship as people share life’s experiences, supporting and encouraging one another.
NEW INITIATIVES > As Elim Missionaries in Sao Paulo we are launching a new family project in the Casa Blanca church called ‘Elim Kids’. The project will commence with a holiday club for children from the surrounding community and then continue with regular activities including a children’s programme twice a week with Bible teaching, crafts, games and educational support. We are also starting a Parent and Toddler group on Friday afternoons, something very new for Sao Paulo. The programme will include regular parents meetings where various people with specialist skills will be invited to give talks relating to family life including health, parenting skills, household budgeting, etc. Our hope is to support children and families, equipping them to more successfully face the many
issues experienced in daily family life. The vision is to develop an all-encompassing biblicallybased programme of children’s and family social ministries that can be adapted and used in the other Elim churches around the city and beyond, extending God’s love and grace to those in most need.
SIMON & DAVINIA GEORGE > Simon and Davinia George, along with their children Liana and Connie, have been serving as Elim Missionaries in Sao Paulo since November 2012, working in partnership with the Elim churches of Brazil to develop local church-based social ministries. Their heart is to see God’s love taken to marginalised children and families, enabling them to experience the fullness of God’s kingdom. Please pray for this work and follow their involvement in social projects on: elimmissions.co.uk. For regular information and prayer requests from Simon and Davinia, contact them on firstname.lastname@example.org More information about Elim Brazil can be found at: www.igrejaselim.org.br OUTREACH MAGAZINE | 05
This article is written by our workers in the Middle East who found themselves caught in the middle of this conflict back in November 2012.
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WHY DO THEY FIGHT
n Wednesday 14th November 2012 the Israeli army launched an air attack on Gaza and assassinated the head of the military wing of Hamas. The attack came at the end of a period of increasing tension, but nonetheless few predicted the immediate escalation that would follow. Over the next week over 150 Palestinians were killed in Gaza by Israelâ€™s air assault; five Israelis died in rocket attacks launched by Hamas and other militant groups. When a cease-fire was finally implemented on the 21st November, both sides claimed victory.
At the time my wife and I were living, along with our six month old baby boy, in a Palestinian village near Jerusalem, while I was studying at an Israeli university. We may have been many miles from Gaza, but the conflict nevertheless managed to reach us. On the first day after the assassination, protestors in our village clashed with Israeli armed police and soldiers; both main roads were shut because of the violence and the drive back to our apartment (courtesy of a wonderful woman from the village who picked us up and took us home via a labyrinth of narrow and winding side streets) took us through the middle of a pitched battle. The riots would become a daily occurrence throughout the next seven days. The following day the rocket alert sirens sounded in Jerusalem as the Holy City itself was targeted by rockets for the first time in 40 years. However, as I reflect back on the drama of the week-long conflict, what I remember more than the anxiety and tension of the violence taking place around us, is the immense pressure there was on us to take sides. Who was right? Whose actions were justified? At the university the vast majority felt that Israel was defending itself from terrorism and acting with great restraint; my friends and neighbours in the village, along with friends working in Gaza and in the West Bank, were angry and upset at the large number of Palestinian casualties caused by the Israeli bombardment. The university offered counselling and briefings on ‘Operation Pillar of Defence’, the name given by the Israeli military to
the attack on targets in Gaza, whilst my Palestinian barber’s razor blade danced alarmingly in front of my face as he raged against the Palestinian loss of life. As believers who want to demonstrate the love and grace of Jesus to both our Jewish and our Muslim friends in Israel, what were we to do? And for our brothers and sisters in our Elim church Fellowship in Britain, how should we ask them to pray and respond to the crisis? How should the Church respond to events like these in the Holy Land? Perhaps the key is a proper understanding of the issues. Israel was founded in 1948 following a brief but bitter civil war between the Jewish and the Palestinian inhabitants of a land which had been governed by Britain since the end of the First World War. As soon as the creation of the new State was announced, the Arab countries of Egypt, Transjordan (later renamed Jordan), Lebanon, Syria and Iraq declared war. Once again the Arabs were heavily
defeated and Israel’s future was assured. Under armistice agreements, Egypt retained control of Gaza, Jordan kept the West Bank and East Jerusalem and Syria held onto the Golan Heights. However in 1967 a further war between Israel and its Arab neighbours saw Israel occupy all of these areas, along with the Sinai region. The latter was returned to Egypt as part of a peace treaty signed in 1979 and the same approach of exchanging ‘land for peace’ remains the basis of all Arab-Israeli peace proposals . Gaza and the West Bank, however, are more problematic. Many Jews believe they have a rightful claim to these territories and are passionately opposed to an Israeli withdrawal. As a result, following the 1967 war, Jewish settlements began to be constructed in both areas, a process which has continued ever since. Until 1994 both the West Bank and Gaza were administered by the Israeli military, but following the signing of the Oslo Peace Accords the Palestinians received a degree of autonomy in OUTREACH MAGAZINE | 07
atrocious; unemployment has soared; the future for Palestinian children growing up in Gaza is bleak indeed. Hamas continues to refuse to recognize the State of Israel, unlike the West Bank’s Palestinian Authority, and its governing charter leaves little room for compromise; it is vehement in its condemnation of Jews, whether or not they live in Israel. Its policy of intermittently firing shortrange rockets into Israeli territory near Gaza has caused little damage, but has provoked two large conflicts with Israel, including the most recent violence. The previous conflict in 2008 saw the Israeli military launch a large-scale ground offensive into Gaza, resulting in hundreds of Palestinian casualties. Gaza and certain parts of the West Bank, but at a heavy price. Increasingly tight restrictions were placed on Palestinians seeking to work in Israel, resulting in escalating unemployment. The settlements remained under Israeli control, which meant a vast network of roads and checkpoints had to be built, safeguarding the security of settlers living in the occupied territories and further restricting the movement of Palestinians living in the enclaves created by the new security infrastructure. This problem was then compounded by Israel’s construction of the Separation Wall following the second Palestinian uprising, or intifada as it is called in Arabic, which started in 2000 and lasted several years. The Israeli government described the wall as a security measure aimed at preventing terrorists from entering Israel, but for Palestinians living in the 08 | OUTREACH MAGAZINE
occupied territories the result was further unemployment, greater restrictions on the import of goods and services and worsening poverty. Weak and divided Palestinian leadership has made matters worse. In 2007 the Islamist organization Hamas, infamous for their suicide bombing campaign across Israel in the 1990s, won the Palestinian elections. Regarded by many as a terrorist organization, Israel, the international community and the previous Palestinian administration all sought to marginalize them, but a subsequent civil war saw Hamas take complete control of the Gaza Strip, with the other leading Palestinian party, Fatah, retaining power in the West bank. Since then Gaza has been subject to a near total blockade imposed by Israel with the support of Egypt. Living conditions have become
This then is the backdrop to the cycle of violence which has barely paused in the 65 years of Israel’s existence. As for who and what is to blame, you could ask ten people and get twenty different answers. Some blame Israel for its failure to withdraw from the occupied territories. Others point to poor Palestinian leadership, and the terrorist tactics of some Palestinian organizations including Hamas. Still others would blame the international community for its failure to persuade both sides to accept a fair peace settlement. And still others would seek to spread the blame across some or all of the above. The same differences of opinion are found within the Church. So how should it respond? Is the Church’s primary mission to support Israel unequivocally regardless of these complexities? Should it take sides at all? What would Jesus do and say when faced with such a mess?
In John 4 we find a fascinating account of an encounter between Jesus and a Samaritan woman. It is surprising enough that he was in Samaria at all; the Jews and Samaritans hated and distrusted each other and avoided contact wherever possible. The approach Jesus adopts in the conversation is a wonderful lesson that, living in Israel, we are constantly in need of remembering. First he asks for a drink; the woman leaps into a discussion of the religious divisions between Jews and Samaritans. He ignores the opportunity to get into a theological debate and drops an enticing hint, “If you knew the gift of God and who it is that asks you for a drink, you would have asked him and he would have given you living water.” The woman is intrigued but sceptical; nonetheless she can’t help but get drawn into a conversation with this strange Jew who has landed in her midst. Jesus goes on to say, “Everyone who drinks this water will be thirsty again, but whoever drinks the water I give them will never thirst. Indeed, the water I give them will become in them a spring of water welling up to eternal life.” For a woman who lived in a desert and had to spend her day carrying water back from the well in jugs, this was too good an invitation to pass up. “Sir, give me this water,” she cried. But then Jesus looks into her heart and the conversation turns personal. He astonishes and shocks her by describing the long line of failed marriages and sinful relationships she has pursued. In awe she exclaims, ‘I can see that you are a prophet.” But then she remembers that in such encounters it’s always easy to throw someone off by getting
As for who and what is to blame, you could ask ten people and get twenty different answers.
into a good religious/political debate and so she does just that, hauling up the long-argued point about whether Samaritans as well as Jews were obliged to go to Jerusalem to worship. Yet Jesus continues to ignore the diversion and again heralds the coming of the Kingdom of God. “A time is coming and has now come when the true worshippers will worship the Father in Spirit and in Truth.” Nothing distracts him from the opportunity that he perceives the Father has put before him. The result the woman comes to faith and later so do many people in her village because of her testimony. How many opportunities to preach the kingdom of God do we miss because of our desire to be proved right? How quickly can we be distracted from our core task of introducing lost souls to Jesus? How easily can we overlook particular people or people groups, denying them the opportunity to hear the Good News, be reconciled with their Father, receive the wonderful living water of Jesus, and be filled with the life-giving Holy Spirit? Many of us will have strong opinions on the rights and wrongs of the conflict between Israel and the Palestinians and that’s ok. But when we see the headlines on the evening news, or discuss the issue in our church house group, we should think carefully about how we respond. Will we see the conflict as the world sees it and follow the world in taking sides, or will we see the people behind the conflict, Jews and Palestinians, desperately in need of Jesus? Israeli Jews live in fear of rocket attacks and suicide bombers, but we worship a Saviour whose ‘perfect love drives out fear’. Palestinian Muslims long for a land which they can call their own and in which they can be free; through Jesus they can receive ‘life to the full’ and ‘citizenship in heaven’. The Church has a unique opportunity and capacity to bring the ministry of reconciliation to Israel and to Palestine. Jesus longs that both peoples be reconciled to him, then to each other. Recently a neighbour told my wife that she had been feeling incredibly fearful in her flat, especially at night. She believed there was an evil spirit in her house. A couple of days later she returned to my wife to tell her that she had had a dream in which she was told that my wife had the peace she needed to drive away the fear. We continue to pray that this is her first step into the kingdom of God. The Lord is at work in this land; our prayer is that the Church would not be distracted by politics or theology and would embrace His perfect ‘peace plan’ of salvation for both Jew and Gentile in Israel. Now that would be Good News indeed! OUTREACH MAGAZINE | 09
As you have probably seen on the news, there has been a significant increase in violence in Gaza over recent months. We have had reports from our workers in that region and they say, “As we write, it appears to be escalating, with both Palestinian and Israeli casualties reported. We would really appreciate it if you would join us in praying for this country at this time.”
1. PRAY FOR THE PEOPLE OF GAZA Gaza is incredibly densely populated and geographically only a small area. Gazans have literally nowhere to go when violence breaks out. Reports coming out from the Gaza Strip speak of sheer terror among the residents with air strikes continuing throughout the night and aside from the Hamas members, several civilians including children have also been killed. Please pray for an end to the Israeli attacks and for an end to the killing. 2. PRAY FOR ISRAELIS It is estimated that one million Israelis live within range of the rockets being fired by Hamas from Gaza. Whilst many of the rockets are either intercepted by Israeli air defences or fall harmlessly in fields, some have struck residential areas. Israelis in the region can see the rockets and the Israeli missiles launched to intercept them. Combined with the air raid sirens being sounded even in Tel Aviv, it is a frightening time for Israelis in the area. Please pray for an end to the rockets and for safety for all within their reach. 3. PRAY FOR AN END TO THE CONFLICT In 2008 a similar incident resulted in an all-out war with Gaza with hundreds of civilians killed in the first hours alone. Please pray that this does not recur. Pray for peace-makers and wisdom on both sides. 4. PRAY FOR OUR WORKERS IN THAT AREA We cannot disclose who our workers are or where they work but they report that there has been a significant outbreak of violence where they are. Our workers say, “It is a volatile place at the best of times and the situation in Gaza has led to intense fighting. But God has been watching over us. A neighbour intercepted us this morning just as we were about to walk into a large group of angry youths.We have seen local people help us get through road blocks with great risk to themselves.We were so sad to see the destruction and the damage, with the main road resembling a war zone. At one point our car was hit by a large stone, and we had to drive past several riot police still engaged in fighting with protestors.”
THANK YOU FOR PRAYING… IT MAKES ALL THE DIFFERENCE. 10 | OUTREACH MAGAZINE
For 40 days in June and July this year Rob Hart from our Elim Rugby Christian Fellowship will be cycling solo around the English and Welsh coastline to raise funds for our Elim Missions Freedom Project and the A21 campaign.
H 205 40 D ART 0 M AYS ILE
Rob hopes to raise ÂŁ10,000 through this amazing journey.
SUPPORT ROB NOW BY DONATING AT www.elimmissions.co.uk/cycleforfreedom
And if you are able to help with accommodation along the route or could be the support vehicle for sections of the route, email Rob on email@example.com. Your help would be greatly appreciated and you can be part of this great adventure, raising money to help women and children.
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George Verwer We speak candidly to former Operation Mobilisation Director, George Verwer about life, work, ministry and the world of global missions.
George, thank you so much for sparing time to speak to us today. For someone who has been in ministry for over 50 years, you have a wealth of experience, what has been your biggest challenge in all those years? There are so many challenges in ministry but one of the biggest for me has been getting people to follow what you are doing and not only that but to also stay with you. Being the sort of person people want to follow and sustaining your Christian walk each day is a huge thing. I am very thankful that people have stuck by me and still do today. As a person I try to be generous with my time and have always esteemed others, including other organisations, above myself. It is about working together. We hear that the rate of change within culture is so fast these days. How have you seen missions evolve in the past 10 years? On a global scale we have seen the massive use of technology, which has hugely impacted everything we do.We have seen the massive explosion of short-term missions both the good and the bad.We have seen the massive growth of the cell church movement, which is not always thought of but it is a missionary movement. Also the increased emphasis on the Holy Spirit and to see the gifts of the Spirit used. Also the whole thing of business and missions and how business fits into mission and that business people should never be second class citizens. Again we have seen a shortening of the average length of time that a long-term missionary serves overseas. It is now seemingly 10 years due partly to the complexities of culture and other factors like people being much less willing to put their children in boarding schools. How do you see Missions evolving in the next 10 years? I think we have to face reality, that Christianity is discredited by a seemingly larger group of people, specifically in Europe.The negative influence of Europe with the Internet, books and so many different exchanges, is huge. I can see that we will be battling wide scale humanism, scepticism. I think the Church has got lost in politics too much, which is often correlative to leaders who say stupid things and shoot themselves in the foot.They get carried away with issues that are not the main thing and that has turned off a lot of people. So I think the biggest challenge facing those couple of hundred million, who claim to be followers of Jesus, is to walk the walk and to develop a greater knowledge of the Word of God and to relating to people and the culture we are in today rather than the culture people were facing in 1950. 12 | OUTREACH MAGAZINE
You have spoken of Europe, what would you say is the biggest challenge facing Europe in the coming years? I have lived in Europe for 52 years. I think we have to face the reality that we are going to be in a more hostile environment, that we are in largely, not totally, a postChristian continent. I think for those who are into extreme transformationalism and dominion theology, they are just going to get more depressed and confused, In the midst of the animosity and the confusion, all the negative things we see around us in Europe, God is actually doing amazing things in Europe, thousands of new churches, take France, 1000 new churches in the last 20 years. God’s work is going forward. So I think a lot does depend on people’s theology and also their level of expectation. I personally feel there is a lot of unbiblical expectation that leads people, especially when they get to my age, to feel down and depressed. How do you cope with criticism? Criticism has been part of life since my first trip to Mexico. Number one, I never hold anything against anybody. I have never, as far as I know, gone to sleep with anything against anyone, although I may be hurt. I guess also reading a lot of great books that point out that we cannot really accomplish anything without criticism, and some of that criticism was my own fault, we can’t go forward in our pilgrimage without making mistakes. We are not perfect and although theologically people acknowledge as leaders we are imperfect, when we fail to show enough love, people often criticise and gossip. If you have a new vision, can you imagine what it was like when I arrived in the UK in 1962 with the message that I had? Criticism in the press was enormous but at the same time, those who linked with me and linked with the movement that exploded in Britain in 1962-63, that was more important to me than the people who were against me. Sometimes you do have to just love them and leave them and press on. It is now interesting that some of the people that criticised me the most have now become my closest friends, some of them 30-40 years in the ministry together. Your job involves lots of travel and time away from home. How do you balance home and work life? Our generation, in the late 1950’s early 1960’s, was reading quite a lot about what had happened to previous generations, especially of missionaries and there was quite a backlash in regard to family. Some of it was generalization and some of it was totally unfair, but needless to say, we were reading this and in OM from the earliest days women could choose whether they wanted to be 8-9 hours in ministry per day or if they wanted to have children and be mainly in their family. Before we offered that, in the 1960’s, most missions societies said that the husband and wife had to both be totally committed to the ministry even if it meant boarding schools. So we were very aware and became a very family orientated movement.That being said, my particular job would require more travel than anyone in the whole
...mission is right here. The minute you step out. For some that may even be in their own home. I think we need to remove the different levels of missionary, those overseas are really committed, and those with a job in the city are involved but it is not quite the same level. I think that is wrong thinking...
movement. Many of our guys were off church planting in one country for 10 years so they had a lot more time with their families than I did. So I had to wrestle with that.To be honest, my need wasn’t having more time with my family, my greatest need was to be a more Godly, listening, sensitive father and I don’t think I was that in those early years. I was often more approachable to people I would meet in the church than I was to my own children. I think the movement also learned through my failures, which I would openly share about and warn others not to do the same. If you were to meet with someone who really doesn’t care about missions, what would you say to them? My big drum that I have been beating for 10 years is a 1 Corinthians 13 approach to everything I do. So the first thing is to really listen to people to see if God’s people have wounded them. My strong statements are all well and good and there are strong statements in the Word of God, but I avoid trying to put them into some sort of guilt trip as it will probably be negative to their difficult, hurting or complex situation. I think the main thing is to realize that mission is right here.The minute you step out. For some that may even be in their own home. I think we need to remove the different levels of missionary, those overseas are really committed, and those with a job in the city are involved but it is not quite the same level. I think that is wrong thinking and I think that those of us in full time ministry, a term I have never liked, we need to highly esteem all those who work in challenging and tough work situations, they are missionaries.
George will be speaking at EBW2013 at Telford International Centre from 1st-5th April 2013. To find out more and book your place please visit: www.elim.org.uk/ebw13 OUTREACH MAGAZINE | 13
WHAT DOES IT MEAN TO BE MISSIONAL_ M AY B E IT MEANS R E M E MBERING: “That’s us,” he squeaked, his hand rocking the shoulder of his slumbering wife, his feet dancing with the promises of Departure Gate 36. The name in the destination slot was exotic, mysterious, a name loaded with images of pith helmets and missions slide shows and pink ink in the school atlas. “Here’s where it all starts,” he said over his shoulder as he marched off in search of the plane taking him to the mission field. His wife gathered herself together and followed at her own pace. She adored her husband, thought he was great, a gift from God, but sometimes she winced. Today was a day for wincing. She caught up with him in the queue. She checked the natty leather pouch their daughter had given her as a going away present. She’d got their documents, safer that way, she’d got their money, safer that way, she’d got her Bible, cool in its day but faded now with age. Her husband’s was much more impressive, much more 14 | OUTREACH MAGAZINE
pastorish, much more preachy. She struggled to remember what version it was, what colour it was, where it was, when she had last seen it. “Purpose for travel?” they’d been asked out front before the frisking and the still not cheap enough for a pastor’s wife perfume shop. “I’m going to build a church,” he’d said with a confidence she was thirsty for. In the family it was known as Dad’s ‘new project swagger.’ She loved the freedom of it, the joy of it, it made him six inches taller and 10 years younger, but she knew the ticking clock and she was already planning. Get the foundations dug and the walls up before the swagger droops. Might even get the roof on. Let’s hope the locals are friendly and don’t mind making allowances once in a while. The queue was glacial and her thoughts turned to friends. “What did Geoff and Lyn say when you bade them farewell? Bet Geoff told you about his baptism again, he always tells me about how you dropped him; and I bet Lyn gave you a big hug. Did you get a kiss?” “You what?” he replied, “Which Geoff is that?” “Geoff Turner...big Geoff.... Geoff and Lyn, Station Road,”
and what might be again given the right words. The words that came were sharp and urgent. “Gate 36, NOW! you are holding up the queue, come on, we’ll never get to the mission field at this rate.”
she said. Realisation dawned, “O, him. I didn’t get a chance to say goodbye, tell you the truth I forgot.” “But you’d said you would pop in on Tuesday on the way to pick up the mozzie nets from Millets. I think they’d got some presents for the boys.” “I’m sure the boys will survive without whatever Lyn would get them,” he replied, “talk about behind the times, she makes luddites look positively progressive,” and smiled to himself at the two long words and how they worked together. Wince number twelve. His bag went through first. Quick rummage, no hassles. The uniformed man opened her bag too, quick rummage, no hassles, but he pulled out the Bible. “Haven’t seen one of these for ages,” the man said, “not since Sunday school. I loved Sunday school, Miss Whiteman was my teacher, always brought us Mars bar cakes she’d baked herself.” She was about to answer, about to ask which church, which town, she knew a Miss Whiteman, was it was the same one? She looked into the man’s eyes and saw misty corners, a welling expression of what once was
They found their seats, she helped the elderly lady in the row behind to find her glasses, he helped the ignoramuses across the aisle understand the difference between putting their bags in the right locker and putting them in his. “He’ll calm down when we get there,” she thought hopefully. He was a good man, he loved Jesus, he led someone to Christ once and was so excited he had jumped up and down on the settee when he got home and had done a dance move that their eldest had celebrated with its own facebook page. She reminded him of the move, putting her left thumb in her right ear. He looked blank and found the evacuation instructions, he wanted to find out what aircraft they were on and count the exits, can’t be too careful, prayer isn’t always enough. Up and away, the captain had gone quiet, the cabin crew snatching a break between performances. She worked through some recent thoughts, filing the valuable memories carefully in case they were needed for encouragement. Four days ago, what she would now call ‘the old church,’ had made a fuss of them, commissioning
them, ‘...and Lord, we release them into the next chapter of their ministry, we ask that you would work through them to see lives transformed.You have given them the gifts, now show them the most excellent way...’ the elder had boomed over the heads of the huddle. The verses tumbled out of her memory and followed her gaze out of the aircraft window to subtitle the landscape below. “If I, but have not love I am nothing; if I, but have not love I gain nothing; if I, but share not love I minister nothing...” “Come on Jesus, help him remember”, she prayed looking at the man she loved. How did they get on? Did the swagger fade? Was the mission a success? Did the church get built or lives get changed? No idea, these are not real people, any similarity to actual missionaries, living or dead, is entirely accidentally prophetic. There is nothing special about getting on a plane or living in a foreign country, we are what we are wherever we are. What does it mean to be missional? It means remembering He comes before them and they come before us. Amen.
Article by Gary Cadge > Gary describes himself as husband to one, father to some, pastor to any.
Follow Gary: @sturch OUTREACH MAGAZINE | 15
SPECIAL VISIT TO A SPECIAL PROJECT THREE SEEMINGLY WORLDS-APART STRANDS CAME TOGETHER IN A VISIT TO A SPECIAL NEEDS PROJECT IN ROMANIA:
Article by Kathy Cooper
1. I have an adorable five-year old grandson, Joshua. He is a bundle of energy, loves gadgets and music, is both loving and stubborn. And he has Down’s Syndrome.
2. Heather Dyce, joint pastor at Elim’s Hatfield church, has had close links with Star of Hope, Romania for nearly 17 years, regularly visiting the special needs project at Dorohoi in the north-east and providing much needed resources in one of the poorest areas of Romania. 3. Chris Jones’ wife, Hope, works at a special needs school in Brecon, Ysgol Penmaes, and four students had completed their Duke of Edinburgh Gold Award apart from the residential component. It was difficult to find a suitable placement for three young people with autism and one with cerebral palsy. In October last year these separate strands came together when Heather, the four Penmaes students and four staff members plus myself set off to Bacau from Luton airport along with 30 pieces of luggage weighing 30 kgs each! Aaron, Abbie, Hannah and Thomas were understandably nervous about travelling somewhere they didn’t know, but they coped really well with the flight and the three hour minibus ride on to Botosani where we would be staying. Then each morning we set off on the hour’s journey to the project. My little grandson has lots of help and is in mainstream school with a one-on-one helper. Little or no provision is made in Romania for children with special needs. Even today it is often thought that giving birth to a child with disabilities is a curse or the result of the parents doing something wrong. Many such babies and children are
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hidden away or abandoned in orphanages. The parents are isolated and neglected by the community. And the expectations of parents with children with Down’s and autism are incredibly limited. In fact I saw one loving mother wipe the nose of her daughter with her own hands, just like she might do to a tiny baby.Yet her daughter is 25 – she has Down’s.
“I have an autistic 5 year old boy.These days were very different and it was a pleasure to meet special people with big hearts. Without them I couldn’t have met children having the same diagnosis my son has and see all that is possible. It was excellent to see the materials and methods they use to teach their children. My life is not as I always dreamed to be, neither is it for my family and for my child, but I was blessed to find the centre in Dorohoi and things are much easier now, I can walk with my head up.“ A parent in Romania
The project in Dorohoi is a daycentre with two members of staff and 35 children and young people in one small room, kindly provided by a local school. The children have severe to moderate disabilities including Down’s, cerebral palsy and autism. The four members of staff from Penmaes held training sessions with the parents and teachers from surrounding schools, many of whom were absolutely amazed to see the abilities of the four students from Penmaes. I loved hearing Aaron on more than one occasion standing in front of the parents and saying, “My name is Aaron, I am Head Boy at Penmaes School and it is
VLAD’S STORY: Vlad is 18. He has Down’s Syndrome. When he was born his parents found this very hard. For some of the time he was left with his grandma in the country. And while they were working, his parents hired an old lady to look after him. She had a dog who became Vlad’s best friend - and his role model. At the age of three he barked and bit like a dog. Then Vlad’s parents heard about the project in Dorohoi and realised this would provide what he needed in terms of socialising and education. Today Vlad still doesn’t talk, but he is happy. He loves being at the project and participates in all the activities. a privilege to be with you in Romania.” It visibly showed the parents the potential of their own children. We spent three very busy days enjoying craft and play activities with the children using the resources provided by Penmaes school. On the final day we took the children and their parents into the forest, the first time for six years that most of them had been on an outing. The day was full of fun and laughter, a wonderfully joyous time playing with kites, balls, pop up tents, bubbles and sensory toys. As I write this I can’t help but smile as I remember the wonderful
children in Dorohoi and the amazing project that is making a difference in their lives. Whilst we were there Camelia, head of the project in Dorohoi, said to me: “These three days we spent with the group from Wales were special.Talking to four extraordinary teachers and four special students was a unique experience. Parents from the centre were much exited to hear so much new information and ways to work with their children.When they saw the students from abroad and the results in their lives, they were even more motivated to use the potential their children have and to help them to get the best.”
JULIA’S STORY: She has cerebral palsy and relies on her mother to help her to walk, sit, in fact do everything. During the forest day out, Abbie, one of the Penmaes students, lent Julia her quad base walking sticks. This was the first time in 18 years that Julia had stood unaided and independent. Tears rolled down her cheeks, yet her smile lit up the place. When asked how she felt, she said, “I am free!” And Penmaes has now sent Julia her own sticks. OUTREACH MAGAZINE | 17
rters. o p p u S k n the most li f e o f i e L n r o a e m D urned fro t e r eks of my t e s u w j g e n v i a g h n I a nd life ch a t n eam of 10 a t c a fi i d e l I sign . I have uar y 11th a n i a d J o n b O m a . life ssion to C i m a out her b n a o e n t i e r m w o w oulson to C e n n y L asked e there. experienc
If you are intending to go to Elim Bible Week 2013 be ready for God to move in your life! For me a visit to the Lifelink stand at EBW 2012 opened up an unexpected trip abroad. Lifelink is part of Elim Missions, and the Lifelink team works in many different ways to discover needs, help raise funds and support Elim Missions’ ministry in many parts of the world. And attending the Elim Missions Stream at EBW12 each morning opened my eyes to Elim’s Freedom Project working with people, often young children,
who have been caught up in sex trafficking. At EBW you will find the Lifelink Shop with Integrity full of beautiful items such as jewellery and craft materials for sale. Each item has been purchased in the developing world where Elim is working, after carefully investigating the integrity of how it is made. The profits from each sale are then used to enable disadvantaged people to provide for themselves and their families.
The team first met for a training day at Malvern and
Well at EBW12 I went to the Lifelink Shop with Integrity and along with the beautiful goods for sale, there was also a leaflet mentioning that Lifelink was planning a short mission trip and I was asked to consider joining the team. Having prayed about joining the team and deciding to go, I was really excited to be going to South East Asia, having served in the Philippines some 20 years earlier. In Cambodia we were going to have the opportunity to meet Davy and Esther Allen, 18 | OUTREACH MAGAZINE
a really lovely couple from Northern Ireland who are Elim Missionaries in Phnom Penh and to see the work they’re involved in.
we discovered that we were a bunch of ladies from different parts of the UK, many had never met each other before, but we all brought different gifts and experiences which made our trip all the more exciting and enjoyable. We had the opportunity to Skype with the Allens and discovered some of the things we could take to help them in the work they’re involved in. I discovered that at the age of 60 I was going to be the oldest member of the team and that the youngest was 18, but we all got on really well. The next time the team met was
at Heathrow Airport the day we were to fly. Thankfully all our luggage was within the 20kgs allowed. Phew! After a long flight, we finally arrived some 20 plus hours later. After getting our visa to enter Cambodia, we collected our luggage and made our way out into a lovely warm sunny Cambodian morning to be met by five smiling faces (Chris,
We quickly unpacked and then we went out in tuk tuks (like horse drawn carriages, but with a motor bike). We saw temples and spirit houses, market stalls selling amazing things, and we were approached by children some looking as young as four, selling bangles, beads, nuts and seeds, and our hearts went out to them. They looked so sad and dishevelled. We came to understand that every member of a Khmer family has to do whatever they can to make money to help their family survive as many live in immense poverty. As we were only there for a week, we were pleased to discover that our programme was packed full. Each day we had breakfast outside and tasted many different fruits, some for the first time. Delicious! However none of us had the courage to try a Cambodian lunch box, which we were shown during our visit to the Early Learning Centre. I think it had been specially put together for our benefit and was full of snake kebabs, cockroaches, spiders and little birds!
John, Davy, Esther and Dren) and a very bright pink bus! Our senses were quickly overwhelmed with the hustle and bustle of the traffic, seeing such things as five people, including babies, on one motor bike, with no helmets. The traffic appeared to have no rules, except if you make a manoeuvre, keep going!!! The pink bus took us and our luggage to a little hotel, hidden away on a side street, and we were each designated our rooms, all beautifully prepared for us. Some of us were sharing, which turned out to be great fun.
At the Early Learning Centre we saw the members of staff taking care of, feeding, playing and educating children aged from birth to four years. Wonderful work, wonderful people, with many of the staff being members of the Elim church which meets in the same building. On the Sunday we met there and had the joy of worshipping together with our Cambodian brothers and sisters.
The main reason for our trip was to visit some of the places where children and young men and women who had been caught up in the sex industry had been rescued, receiving counselling and learning skills to be able to provide for them and their families. We watched a DVD entitled â€˜Trade of Innocenceâ€™, which gave incredible insight into sex trafficking, and we were all stunned to learn what really goes on. Some of the Christian organisations that work alongside Elim offer hope to the hopeless. In many of these places we were able to see the working conditions and buy some of the work that is produced, which helps to sustain these important projects. Some of this will be on sale at the Lifelink Shop with Integrity during EBW and every item has been produced by people who have been rescued from awful situations. So if you go to EBW13 and end up at Shop with Integrity, be ready; your purchase, your prayers and your involvement can make a difference. And also be ready to go on the next Lifelink trip. You will be amazed, challenged, have a great time and make friends for life. OUTREACH MAGAZINE | 19
STOP ASKING SHOULD I GO AND S TA RT ASKING W H E N SHOULD I ” GO! “
www.elimmissions.co.uk/getinvolved 20 | OUTREACH MAGAZINE
Outreach is Elim International Missions official magazine. Produced quarterly, Outreach is full of relevant information and articles. In thi...