THE FRONTIER journal NEWS + STORIES FROM THE MINISTRY OF FRONTIER FELLOWSHIP
MESSAGE FROM THE EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR PAGE 2
SUDAN + SOUTH SUDAN: A BRIEF HISTORY PAGE 8
REGIONAL NEWS PAGE 9
THE SCENT OF WATER PAGE 4
MESSAGE FROM THE EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR RICHARD HANEY
As we celebrate resurrection and new life this Easter season, we’re reminded of God’s grace for all. Believing that each person is created in God’s image and thus has intrinsic value, we give thanks that God’s love made a way, through Jesus, for all people to be reconciled to Him and each other (John 3:16, Ephesians 2:14–18). We rejoice in this Good News and remain committed to sharing it with the more than two billion people on earth who are still waiting to hear. Lack of contact remains one of the primary obstacles that prevent people from gaining access to the Gospel. Scholars estimate that 87% of Buddhists, Hindus and Muslims don’t know a Christian personally. In a world with record numbers of migrating peoples and increasing diaspora populations, we pray this percentage decreases. At the same time, we recognize that sin continues to wreak havoc on relationships within the human family. Mass shootings at two mosques in New Zealand in March and a Jewish synagogue in Pittsburgh last October targeted Muslims and Jews as they worshipped. Nationalism is on the rise worldwide, and some citizens protest, at times violently, the refugees, immigrants and members of other faith communities living among them. How do we begin to cross the divides, engaging the earth’s least-reached people groups with the Gospel message that invites all nations, tribes, peoples and languages into one family of God? Our first and primary tool is prayer. James teaches us that “the earnest prayer of a righteous person has great power and produces wonderful results” (James 5:16b NLT). Prayer allows us to travel long distances personally, culturally and geographically as we ask God to bless and provide for others. Prayer cultivates humility, inviting God to imbue us with His compassion for all peoples. Through prayer we are empowered to share the Good News in meaningful, dignifying ways with people of differing worldviews. Prayer invigorates and sustains us for the practical work of Gospel proclamation and draws us closer to God as we learn to trust in His grace. Many of our partners around the world are sharing the message of God’s Kingdom with their Muslim neighbors. You’ll read about some of them in the following pages. As Muslims’ holy month of Ramadan (May 5–June 4) begins, join us in asking God to reveal Jesus (Isa) through dreams, visions, scripture and the faithful witness of His people––that all may hear and embrace the Good News of His grace. Download our new guide to help you pray for the peoples and places still waiting for the Good News of Jesus: frontierfellowship.com/pray
© 2019 FRONTIER FELLOWSHIP page 2
FRONTIER LEADERSHIP FORMATION GROUP a new hybrid program for ages 22â€“30 launching fall 2019
DISCOVER HOW GOD IS BUILDING HIS KINGDOM IN YOUR CITY + BEYOND + FIND YOUR PLACE OF INFLUENCE bit.ly/2Ep2iUK
For there is hope for a tree, if it is cut down, that it will sprout again, and that its shoots will not cease. Though its root grows old in the earth, and its stump dies in the ground, yet at the scent of water it will bud and put forth branches like a young plant. —JOB 14:7–9 (NRSV)
The Scent of Water HANNAH TEAGUE, CREATIVE DIRECTOR WITH DENISE SCIUTO, ASSOCIATE DIRECTOR
FOR DECADES, CIVIL WARS, FAMINE + POLITICAL INSTABILITY HAVE RAVAGED SUDAN + SOUTH SUDAN. AT THIS MOMENT, SOUTH SUDAN, THE WORLD’S YOUNGEST NATION AND CENTER OF AFRICA’S LARGEST REFUGEE CRISIS, STRUGGLES TO SURVIVE. THERE ARE PERHAPS FEW PLACES WITH A GREATER THIRST FOR HOPE. YET EVEN HERE, THE PROMISE OF NEW LIFE LIES IN THE EARTH— WAITING FOR RESURRECTION. (continued on page 6)
The Scent of Water
Sudan + South Sudan bear the marks of every kind of brokenness, groaning with the pangs of a creation that longs for renewal. Seeking to understand this region’s complexities uncovers more questions than answers. Unexpectedly, there is deep joy here, too, held in the tension between heartbreak and the hope of rebirth.
Associate Director Denise Sciuto recently returned from Sudan and Uganda where she visited Frontier Fellowship ministry partners—a group of pastors engaged in church planting, education, leadership development and refugee care among communities without access to the Gospel. They’ve withstood personal and national tragedies, the uprooting of their lives and setbacks to ministry. They’ve also experienced the provision and presence of God in ways that have only increased their commitment to the work that lies ahead. Our partnership in Sudan began in 2008 with support of a primary school in a predominately Muslim community. This outreach later expanded to include Bible studies until nearby conflict spread into the village, forcing people to migrate elsewhere. Our partners remained active, however, redirecting their efforts to run an orphanage and assist with distribution of relief supplies in areas most aid workers were unable to reach. This service to their Muslim neighbors opened up opportunities to share the Good News of Jesus and begin interfaith studies of the Quran and Bible. Then in 2011, everything changed. After two civil wars (1955–1972 and 1983– 2005), followed by a tenuous peace agreement, Sudan’s southern region voted to secede and became an independent republic. This split meant that ethnically southern Sudanese people—including 80% of our partners—were obligated to repatriate to the newly formed South Sudan.
The partners who remained in Sudan carried on their work in spite of mounting pressure by the increasingly Islamist government. As pastors continued holy book studies between Muslims and Christians, new Christian communities began to form. Our partners saw a need for theological training and developed a program at a former agricultural school to equip new leaders for ministry. This Bible school became Frontier Fellowship’s primary means of involvement in Sudan. The three-year program is focused on leadership development for emerging communities of Jesus followers. The school offers theological and pastoral training to young men (with some learning opportunities for their wives) in a customized format based on students’ abilities. Inclusivity of all educational levels, tribes and religious backgrounds makes the school uniquely accessible and effective.
Meanwhile, what seemed like a hopeful start for South Sudan soon crumbled amid ethnic violence between the Dinka and Nuer people groups, plunging the nation into a civil war of its own in 2013. This conflict, in addition to ongoing border disputes with Sudan and a 2017 famine, has created a massive humanitarian crisis. The statistics are staggering: thousands of people have been killed, more than 2.2 million have fled South Sudan for refuge in neighboring nations, and another nearly two million are internally displaced. Eighty-three percent of refugees are women and children, and more than 75,000 are orphans or unaccompanied minors (UNHCR). By the time they arrive in refugee camps, most refugees have experienced severe physical and psychological trauma. Even after reaching the relative safety offered by the camps, they still face the threats of food insecurity, malnourishment, exploitation and disease. Into this desperate situation stepped our partners. After relocating from Sudan to South Sudan, they continued their church planting efforts among unreached people page 6
groups and invested in the discipleship and unity of South Sudanese churches. Once the war broke out in 2013, several of these pastors were displaced from their homes—some fleeing on foot to nearby countries. Finding themselves uprooted yet again, these resilient men began asking God what work He had for them next. As they looked at the refugee camps around them, they realized many nomadic tribes and remote people groups were no longer out of reach. Seeing this new access to once-distant communities as an open door, our partners and their wives began engaging their refugee neighbors. Trauma care underscores their ministry. After studying a variety of trauma-related materials, our partners created a simplified program that could be easily taught and passed on. This model is especially effective among refugee women, empowering them through personal transformation to help others experience healing. These unexpected ministry opportunities in the refugee camps led our partners to establish a pastoral and vocational training center in Uganda. A four-month program equips ministry leaders (from primarily Muslim backgrounds) in theology, trauma counseling and business development to prepare them for sustainable ministries when they return to serve their communities.
Back in Sudan, the Bible school carries on its work despite ongoing social and governmental pressure. While it remains an openly Christian institution, its Muslim-majority context is a generally inhospitable environment. This tension is familiar to our partners, who appear undaunted by the added challenges to their ministry. Even as the school faces significant financial struggles, teachers voluntarily work without salaries as they continue training new leaders. The school recently welcomed more than 300 refugees from South Sudan, Eritrea and Ethiopia, giving them space to stay and access to well water and open land for gardening. When some expressed interest in educational opportunities, teachers began offering night classes free of charge. Sudan remains in a season of economic and political instability. Rising inflation led to demonstrations in late 2018 as people protested the exorbitant costs of basic supplies and services. A number of industries went on strike, and the government issued states of emergency and curfews amid growing criticism of the president, creating a subdued and tense mood throughout the country.
Our friends demonstrate the words of 2 Corinthians 4:7–11: hard pressed but not crushed, suffering yet carrying the redemptive message of the cross. While their nations’ futures remain uncertain, their vision and tenacity propel them to follow Jesus with joy, believing that His message of reconciliation can regenerate everything broken by sin and its effects. Dare we dream of a day when Sudan and South Sudan experience freedom from conflict and lasting peace between neighbors? When the vulnerable are no longer oppressed by the powerful and the land is cultivated instead of plundered? A day when ethnic diversity is seen as a gift, not a threat, and hungry stomachs are full? We don’t know how much struggle and suffering are yet to come for these nations. But we believe in a God who makes the dead alive (Ezekiel 37:1–14, Ephesians 2:5), turns hearts of stone to flesh (Ezekiel 36:26) and causes ancient roots to again nourish young shoots (Job 14:7–9). Even at just the scent of water, He can bring new life once more.
SUDAN + SOUTH SUDAN A BRIEF HISTORY
SOUTH SUDAN 2018 | tentative peace agreement between president + opposition leaders
2017 | famine
2016 | UN human rights commission reports process of ethnic cleansing underway 2013 | civil war begins
2018-2019 | protests against rising inflation 2012 | clashes between south sudanese ethnic groups + border disputes over oil-rich territory between sudan + south sudan force many people to flee
2011 | referendum passes to separate southern sudan from sudan, making south sudan an independent nation
2005 | Comprehensive peace agreement ends second civil war 2001 | famine
2012 | influence of sharia law grows + some muslim leaders declare a jihad on christians
2009 | many international aid agencies forced to leave by the government, resulting in critical food shortages 2003 | conflict between darfur Rebel groups + Sudanese government begins, leading to the first genocide of the 21st century 1983 | Second civil war begins between north + south after government abolishes southern Sudan’s autonomy
1978 | Oil discovered in southern Sudan 1962 | Civil war begins, led by southern separatist movement 1899–1956 | Anglo-Egyptian Sudan
1972 | Civil war ends with peace agreement, granting southern region a measure of autonomy 1956 | Sudan gains its independence 1821–1899 | Turkiyah + Mahdist Sudan
1500–1821 | Islamic kingdoms of Sennar + Darfur
350–1500 | Medieval Nubian kingdoms
800 BCE–350 CE | Kingdom of Kush
SUDAN page 8
REGIONAL NEWS ETHIOPIA LIGHT OF HOPE MINISTRY ETHIOPIA (LOHME) As part of a vision trip in March, a team from Oregon visited LOHME’s Abdi Boru school (meaning “the hope of tomorrow”). More than 1,100 girls and boys are enrolled in grades 1–8, and finding enough classroom space has been a challenge. Although it’s uncommon in Ethiopian culture for students to fundraise, the 7th and 8th graders began raising money for a new classroom block from fellow students, teachers, parents, relatives and government officials in their city, and now half of the block is already built. We celebrate God’s faithfulness through the bold initiative of these students. TO LEARN MORE, VISIT FRONTIERFELLOWSHIP.COM OR CONTACT INFO@FRONTIERFELLOWSHIP.COM.
JIMMA OUTREACH Our partners in the Jimma Bethel Synod are now reaching out to more than 40 new communities with the Good News of Jesus. This year, they plan to equip more than 100 men and women for ministry and hope to facilitate 10 large outreach conferences throughout the region.
MAJI APPLE NURSERY The project manager recently took another job but will continue to supervise on a volunteer basis. Income from apple, vegetable and tree-seedling sales will be channeled into gardeners’ salaries, moving the project toward financial selfsustainability.
SURI LITERACY PROJECT A young Suri man named Barkele has become the new director for this project following the sudden death of the project manager last fall. Suri literacy classes in primary schools (in partnership with the Ethiopian Ministry of Education) are ready to resume. Please pray for Barkele and his leadership, for continued healing in the community grieving the loss of the project manager and for students enrolled in classes. TO LEARN MORE, CONTACT MISSION ADVOCATE BOB VON SCHIMMELMANN (BVONSCHIMMELMANN@FRONTIERFELLOWSHIP.COM).
NIGER EGLISE EVANGÉLIQUE DE LA RÉPUBLIQUE DU NIGER (EERN) American ministry workers with whom we’re connected trained four EERN church planters in February as Community Health Evangelism (CHE) instructors. They’re now equipped to teach others in their regions to use CHE to share the Gospel as they help communities develop better health and hygiene practices. TO LEARN MORE, CONTACT ASSOCIATE DIRECTOR DONALD MARSDEN (DMARSDEN@FRONTIERFELLOWSHIP.COM). CONTINUED ON PAGE 13
SUDANESE / SOUTH SUDANESE REFUGEE MINISTRY EAST-CENTRAL AFRICA THIS MINISTRY GREW FROM EXISTING PARTNERSHIPS WITH SUDANESE + SOUTH SUDANESE PASTORS + BECAME A NEW FRONTIER FELLOWSHIP PROJECT IN 2018.
FOCUS REFUGEES + INTERNALLY DISPLACED PEOPLE SEEKING REFUGE FROM CONFLICT + FAMINE
SERVICES + PROGRAMS
TRAUMA COUNSELING, DISTRIBUTION OF RELIEF SUPPLIES + PASTORAL TRAINING FOR NEW WORKERS, WITH AN EMPHASIS ON REACHING FORMERLY UNENGAGED PEOPLE GROUPS WITH THE GOSPEL
IMPACT CREATING ACCESS TO THE GOOD NEWS OF JESUS THROUGH PRACTICAL AID + SPIRITUAL CARE
SUPPORT THIS MINISTRY bit.ly/2C8nwEY
FRONTIER TRAVEL: SUDAN + UGANDA january 16â€“25, 2019 | Associate Director Denise Sciuto + trip participant Jane Sefton page 12
SUDAN + SOUTH SUDAN DARFUR OUTREACH Our partnerships in Sudan have evolved over the years due to ever-changing political and religious situations. The school’s newest outreach program is a Bible class for refugees. During Associate Director Denise Sciuto’s recent visit to Sudan, she learned that a group of refugees is now living on the school’s campus. The school opened its doors and gave these families a place to live, grow food and pursue education despite their own economic struggles.
SUDANESE / SOUTH SUDANESE REFUGEE MINISTRY South Sudan’s refugee crisis remains serious. Our partners living in and near refugee camps in neighboring nations are preparing to run a six-month trial program to integrate unaccompanied minors into local families using a model similar to the US foster system. Pray for this program to help vulnerable children. TO LEARN MORE, CONTACT ASSOCIATE DIRECTOR DENISE SCIUTO (DSCIUTO@FRONTIERFELLOWSHIP.COM).
CENTRAL ASIA CENTRAL ASIAN MIGRANTS MINISTRY Our partners living in Russia continue to thank God for a gathering they held last fall. Many came to it discouraged and weary but tell us God is continuing to encourage and sustain them with renewed hope and energy. One partner shared that two Central Asian men living in Russia recently decided to follow Jesus and were baptized. In June of this year, we plan to lead a vision trip to Russia to visit with partners who are sharing the Gospel with Central Asian Muslim migrant workers.
RURAL COMMUNITY CENTER The center’s staff offers medical care to more than 2,000 patients each month, treating illnesses like acute diarrhea, eye infections and anemia. There’s an uncommon situation in the educational center. Boys outnumber girls in every subject—except math. Ninety percent more girls are enrolled in math classes, totalling more than 500 girls throughout the year.
WOMEN’S SHELTER A woman was beaten by her husband and his relatives and then forced to leave their home after he divorced her. A local government office referred her and her two children to the shelter run by our partner. The staff helped her regain her confidence and shared the Good News of Jesus with her. She’s now part of a church and is growing in her faith. She’s also learning to bake through the center’s vocational training to support herself and her children in the future. TO LEARN MORE, CONTACT ASSOCIATE DIRECTORS RITA JOHNSON (RJOHNSON@FRONTIERFELLOWSHIP.COM) + DONALD MARSDEN (DMARSDEN@FRONTIERFELLOWSHIP.COM).
CONTINUED ON PAGE 14
DIASPORA US BRIDGE BUILDING Approximately 10 Christians from Associate Director Dan McNerney’s church and 10 Muslims from a nearby mosque gather monthly for their holy book study. The group examines a variety of topics and takes turns sharing perspectives from the Bible and Quran. Participants agree to listen to one another with open hearts, asking God to reveal what’s true. Earlier this year, the group discussed the prophet Jesus: why the Bible says He is divine and why the Quran says Jesus is just a man. A visitor that night couldn’t believe such a discussion could take place without conflict. God’s Spirit was present, speaking to each person’s heart in the room. Pray for our staff as they help establish similar study groups throughout the US. TO LEARN MORE, CONTACT ASSOCIATE DIRECTOR DAN MCNERNEY (DMCNERNEY@FRONTIERFELLOWSHIP.COM).
MIDDLE EAST + ARABIAN PENINSULA EGYPT Pray for one of our friends from the Evangelical Theological Seminary in Cairo (ETSC) who will be visiting the US this spring to connect with churches and share ETSC’s vision for impacting the Arab world with the Good News of Jesus.
IRAN Board member Jon Heeringa returned in February from the Middle East, where he spent a week co-teaching a group of underground Iranian church leaders. Jon was brought to tears as he listened to stories about the realities of life for followers of Jesus, who often suffer from emotional and physical trauma due to the harassment and torture they’ve endured for their faith. Pray for our Pars Theological Centre partners as they develop new leaders through theological education, counseling and pastoral care.
UNITED ARAB EMIRATES (UAE) A growing number of young Saudi Arabian women are demanding greater personal and religious freedoms from their government. Some have fled the country and sought asylum in Western nations, while others have been jailed and tortured. Increasingly, Saudi Arabians are traveling to the UAE, seeking answers to pressing questions of faith. Our Egyptian missionary partners in the UAE are finding opportunities to explain Jesus’ teachings and share about the freedom, equality and peace He makes possible. Many are embracing the Kingdom of God through our partners’ ministry. TO LEARN MORE, VISIT FRONTIERFELLOWSHIP.COM OR CONTACT INFO@FRONTIERFELLOWSHIP.COM.
INDIA EMPOWER BELIEVERS CONNECTION (EBC) EBC’s growth has led to a division of labor to increase the ministry’s effectiveness. One leader, DS, now directs work in northeastern India, and page 14
another, CK, focuses on ministry in the northern region. Both are working to strengthen the teaching capacity of their team through biblical hermeneutics.
NEW LIFE MISSION CHURCH (NLMC) In 2018, NLMC witnessed approximately 352,000 people place their faith in Jesus. More than 37,000 were baptized, a key step of commitment for new Indian Christians. NLMC also established more than 7,000 new house churches. A donor recently gave $500,000 to build a school, which will serve a local community through education and help NLMC move toward long-term financial sustainability.
STARFISH ALLIANCE Since our partner’s marriage ended due to his decision to follow Jesus, he’s been taking care of his two children without support from their mother or her family. He’s trying to keep them in a Catholic school that offers a good education. Our partner and five former Muslim leaders who are now followers of Jesus are preparing a tract about Christmas and the Virgin Mary to share with Muslims (who also acknowledge the virgin birth).
FINISHING THE TASK / INDIA Our partners serving among the formerly unreached Bairagi people group recently shared news of the first Bairagi followers of Jesus. Mission agencies have committed to sending workers to all remaining identified ethnolinguistic groups without access to the Gospel by 2020. This is an exciting first step towards giving these people groups the opportunity to hear of Jesus’ love for them. TO LEARN MORE, CONTACT ASSOCIATE DIRECTOR CODY WATSON (CWATSON@FRONTIERFELLOWSHIP.COM).
PAKISTAN SCHOOLS IN THE SAND Sixty students received school supplies through generous donations made through our 2018 Christmas gift catalog. TO LEARN MORE, VISIT FRONTIERFELLOWSHIP.COM OR CONTACT INFO@FRONTIERFELLOWSHIP.COM.
SUPPORT CHILDREN DISPLACED BY CONFLICT 7132 PORTLAND AVENUE SUITE 136 RICHFIELD, MN 55423–3264 FRONTIERFELLOWSHIP.COM INFO@FRONTIERFELLOWSHIP.COM 612.869.0062
Inviting believing communities to engage people groups where the Good News of Jesus and His Kingdom is not yet known
OUR PARTNERS SERVING IN EAST-CENTRAL AFRICA’S REFUGEE CAMPS ARE LAUNCHING A PILOT FOSTER CARE PROGRAM TO HELP INTEGRATE UNACCOMPANIED MINORS INTO LOCAL FAMILIES. THIS PROGRAM WILL PROVIDE RESOURCES TO MEET CHILDREN’S BASIC NEEDS + OFFER ACCESS TO EDUCATION + SPIRITUAL DEVELOPMENT. MORE INFO bit.ly/2TFNtl9
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Quarterly magazine with news and stories from the ministry of Frontier Fellowship