“Allowing the Holy Spirit to Direct Missions Ministry”
In the Book of Acts, Chapter 16, there is an excellent account of how the Apostle Paul listened to counsel from the Holy Spirit and allowed the Holy Spirit to direct his travels during Paul’s second missionary trip. Paul had desired to return to Asia Minor and to continue the ministry in the towns and villages where he had established Christian congregations. However, in Acts 16:6, we are told that Paul was “forbidden by the Holy Spirit to speak the word in Asia”. Then, in verses 9 and 10, Paul has a vision in the night and a man from Macedonia appeals to Paul saying, “Come over to Macedonia and help us.” Paul, concluding that God had called him to preach the gospel in Macedonia changed the course of his planned missions trip. As a result, Paul had a fruitful ministry to the Philippians, Thessalonians and Bereans.
Paul listened intently to the message delivered by the Holy Spirit. He acted upon the direction given to him and Paul’s ministry was greatly blessed as a result of his faithful response to God. Likewise, your church Missions Committee has been on a journey for the past three years intently listening to hear the Holy Spirit’s direction for how best to replace retiring missionaries and expand the ministries supported by the church so that the message of salvation can reach the fertile hearts of the needy, unsaved masses throughout the World. Several new ministries have been introduced to the congregation during the past eighteen months.
The following is a summary of the ministries which are currently financially supported by Oroville EFC.
Ian Carlisle, missionary and chaplain, Ambassadors of Reconciliation Ministries (ARM): Ian Carlisle ministers to men who are either inmates within the Butte County Jail or within the local judicial system. Although the inmates and their families suffer during the period of incarceration, Ian is able to share with them the promise of Romans 8:37, “…in all these things we are more than conquerors through Him who loved us.” Pray for the ARM ministry that it would offer the hope of salvation and God’s love to inmate who can only observe devastation and loss in their own situation.
Joel and Virginia Cook, Awana missionaries to Northern California: Although Joel is an elder and Virginia serves in women’s ministries within Oroville EFC, they also have a critical responsibility outside the local church in promoting and expanding Awana programs throughout the North State. We are instructed in Proverbs to train our children in the ways of the Lord. Awana is a help to parents in this task. Pray for safe travels for Joel and Virginia as they put lots of miles on their vehicle.
Emily Hochstetler, EFC ReachGlobal missionary to the Congo: Emily began her ministry with women in the Congo last June. The Holy Spirit literally brought her to the attention of the Missions Committee through a recommendation from a retiring EFC missionary. Emily takes poor women off the streets and offers them training and a skill, such as sewing, cooking or cosmetology, through the Tabitha Centers so they can be self-sufficient and free of the darkness of sin. The Tabitha Centers provide the women daily instruction in the Bible and an understanding of God’s Word. The Christian Church is growing in the Congo as a result of this ministry. Pray for encouragement of the Holy Spirit on Emily as she is a single woman working in a country which does not place much respect or honor on women.
Carol Johnson, EFC ReachGlobal missionary to the Philippines: Carol and Vance Johnson have served as long-term missionaries to the Philippines. However, with Vance retiring, Carol has taken on a new role as an EFC ReachGlobal missionary promoting the Global Fingerprint program. The program encourages Christians to provide monthly support of poor, needy children. The Global Fingerprint program provides daily nutrition, education and clothing for the poor children in addition to introducing them to God’s Word through regular Bible study. The program has helped grow the church in the Philippines. Pray that God would grant Carol personal confidence and authority as she ministers.
Lois Mc Martin, EFC ReachGlobal missionary: Lois has served with her husband as a long-term missionary with EFC ReachGlobal. Her current role is in encouraging and equipping missionaries for effective ministry. Lois travels throughout the World to support the EFC ReachGlobal missionaries and their families. She conducts workshops, as well as providing one-on-one counseling during stressful life experiences which missionaries may experience. Pray for the Holy Spirit’s touch upon Lois that she would offer Godly advice to the missionaries she serves who are in need of God’s wisdom.
Richard and Keri Nakamura, missionaries with SEND International: Richard and Keri are missionaries to the Japanese. They served for several years in Japan, but are currently ministering in the Seattle, Washington area. Richard is a frequent speaker at conferences and is in the business of evangelizing within the Buddhist community. Pray that the Nakamura Family can stand as a testament to the power of God’s Word and be an effective witness of God’s Truth amongst the Japanese community.
Gus Peters, EFC ReachGlobal missionary to Kolkata, India: Gus Peters is a new EFC ReachGlobal missionary, pioneering a new ReachGlobal ministry in India. He is the first Evangelical Free Church missionary to India. He was recommended to the Missions Committee by the EFC ReachGlobal director to Asia. Gus grew up in Kolkata, accepted Christ, attended seminary and returned to India as pastor of the William Carey Baptist Church in Kolkata. He has been led by the Holy Spirit into a ministry of taking children off the streets of Kolkata, and away from the human traffickers, to providing them a safe haven where they are introduced to God’s Word, provided an education, proper nourishment, and shelter. Pray for Gus Peters and his family as they minister in a country where less than 1% of the population is Christian and he must deal with a culture which is hostile to receiving God’s Word.
Sam and Jill Tabiendo, EFC ReachGlobal missionaries to Madrid, Spain: Sam and Jill Tabiendo have served as missionaries to Spain for the past twenty years. They are currently in the States preparing themselves to return to Madrid. Sam serves as the EFC ReachGlobal city coordinator for Madrid. In this role, he is heavily involved with pastors and missionaries in church planting, with a ministry focus on multiplying healthy churches. He achieves the mission by developing, empowering and releasing disciples, who then disciple others to become Christian leaders. Pray that Sam and Jill will receive early approval by the Spanish Consulate to return to Madrid.
Ken Warwick, Director of Personnel for EFC ReachGlobal: Ken Warwick has been a long-term missionary with EFC ReachGlobal. However, in recent years his skills have been called upon by the EFC administrative offices in Minneapolis, Minnesota to oversee the personnel duties connected with EFC ReachGlobal. Ken supervises the area directors for the entire EFC ReachGlobal missionary organization. He also is responsible for the training of new missionaries prior to entering the mission field. Pray that Ken would seek God’s wisdom as he oversees the vast mission ministries which fall under EFC ReachGlobal.
Russell and Sharla Wiesner, missionaries to Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia with Pioneers: Russell and Sharla are a great missionary team as they have founded several Christian Learning Centers and planted several churches within Kuala Lumpur. The success rate of one church planting each year has been noticed by others. Russell is currently being asked to serve as a director to support the planting of multiple learning centers and Christian churches in other cities. Pray that Russell and Sharla will draw near to God and seek His counsel, making certain that the request to expand the pattern of church planting is designed to Honor and Glorify Him and His Church.
The support of ten missionaries and missionary families by Oroville EFC has only been possible because of the tremendous support received by the congregation. I am reminded of Paul’s message to the Corinthians in 2 Corinthians 8:1-5, where he praises the churches of Macedonia for their generosity to supporting Paul and, thus, missions. He states that “their abundance of joy and their deep poverty overflowed in the wealth of their liberality.” (verse 2) Paul explains that “beyond their ability they gave of their own accord.” (verse 3) “But, they first gave of themselves to the Lord and to us by the will of God” (verse 5) I consider Oroville to be a town much like Philippi or Thessalonica, with not nearly the wealth of larger cities. Yet, the congregation has been generous beyond what might be expected (“beyond their ability”) to support God’s ministries through the work of our missionaries. The churches of Macedonia “first gave themselves to the Lord” and then they gave “by the will of God”. Let’s always praise God for His goodness to us!
Don Remley, on behalf of the Missions Committee