Short Takes Summer 2022
Ukrainian Relief Efforts
Through our contacts in Romania, funds have been used to help with the relief effort for the Ukrainian people. The aid has gone toward housing some of the refugees pouring into Romania and providing essentials to those who are still struggling to survive in war-ravaged areas of the Ukraine.
The process of getting aid to the Ukrainians has been to receive groups of people at a church site in Romania. The women, children, and elderly are given shelter while the men return to help with the defense of their cities and country. Supplies are sent back with the returning vehicles to help the people in the Chernihiv, Donetsk, Kyiv, and Odessa regions.
One of the pastors we are working with sent a letter telling of one relief effort that took place at his church. Two vans arrived with refugees who gave heartrending accounts of the conditions in their hometowns. Three of the women were taken in by the church while shedding tears for loved ones left behind. The vans were then loaded with food, clothing, and supplies for distribution in the Odessa area.
Among the donated items were 2800 cans of food, and hundreds of new jackets, shoes, socks, thermal wear, and sleeping bags. In addition, the congregation donated medicine, flashlights and batteries, and more clothing. After the vans were loaded, the Romanian group prayed over the drivers, entrusting them and their cargo into God’s hands for the return trip to Ukraine.
The pastor closed his letter with a plea: “Let us believe God together for a change of this whole situation. Meanwhile, let us do all we can to support those who are suffering an immense hardship.”
Eastern and Southern Africa Districts Collaborate
Earlier this year, a report from our East Africa headquarters in Lusaka, Zambia, showed that the printing press acquired in October 2020 with help from world headquarters was already yielding results. A total of 52,000 tracts had been printed and distributed in door-to-door and street campaigns resulting in many visitors attending services. Also, tracts had been placed in publication racks at the University Teaching Hospital in Zambia, and 2,500 were taken in a two-week period.
East Africa District Superintendent Boniface Banda set a goal of printing 100,000 pages of Gospel literature monthly to supply the region’s churches. However, a number of challenges stood in the way. Among them, the tracts had to be folded by hand and there were limited funds for materials and translation services.
The printing staff looked to God for help, and in recent months several obstacles have been overcome. For example, means have been provided for purchasing a folding machine and hydraulic cutter. Also, a meeting took place on April 6 between leaders of our Eastern and Southern Africa districts, including the District Superintendents, Reverend Banda and Reverend Oniyas Gumbo. Together, they formed the “Eastern and Southern Africa Print Hub.” This alliance will allow for literature to be printed in Zambia and distributed across both districts. Already, a plan has been outlined to begin printing 120,000 tracts per month by July 1.
This collaboration between the two Africa districts is a historic moment with great potential moving forward.
Chile’s First Remote Combined Meeting
On April 10, our congregations in Chile began holding bi-monthly combined meetings that are conducted from multiple locations through an online platform. The main participants were the Chimbarongo and Limavida congregations, who gathered in their churches, and several individuals who joined from Portland, Oregon; Seattle, Washington; and London, England.
Reverend Sam Ajayi, Director of South America Work, opened the service by welcoming everyone. Then the Chimbarongo church provided a prelude with guitars and mandolins. Later, Rachel Friesen of Seattle shared her testimony. She said a childhood fear of the dark caused her to pray one night, and Jesus both took away her fear and also saved her.
Reverend Israel Gajardo Monardes, the leader of our work in Chile, gave the Scripture reading from Matthew 28:1-10, and then a group from Limavida sang. The sermon was from Luke 22:54-60, Peter’s denial of Christ. It stressed that the Resurrection was a time of spiritual renewal for Peter, and it can be for us as well; anyone who has been walking afar off can make Easter a time of rededication. The meeting closed with prayer.
A similar remote meeting arrangement is anticipated for our saints in Peru and Brazil.
Malawi Church and Office Dedication
A dedication service for our new Malawi headquarters church and office building was held on March 27 in the town of Lunzu. The church property is in a rural part of southern Malawi about nine miles from Blantyre, the nation’s second largest city. The Malawi District Superintendent and Lunzu pastor is Chris Nkhata, a native of Zimbabwe who lived in South Africa for about twenty years before relocating to help with the Malawi work.
The dedication service began with ribbon cutting ceremonies at the office and the church. Once everyone entered the sanctuary, it was full with over 120 present. Reverend Nkhata welcomed everyone and acknowledged several dignitaries in attendance, including local kings, one queen (who helped acquire the property), a town official, and neighbors who helped during the recent passing of Reverend Nkhata’s wife. The choir sang two songs and South Africa District Superintendent Confidence Nemahungani read the Scripture reading from 2 Chronicles 6. The message was from Reverend John Musgrave, representing the Portland world headquarters, and the dedication prayer was given by Southern Africa District Superintendent Oniyas Gumbo. During the prayer, the Holy Spirit came down in a special way and one received the baptism of the Holy Spirit. The service ended with a wonderful prayer meeting, and at a later evening service, two were saved.
The special weekend was a blessing to all, and the Malawi saints now hope to acquire an adjacent property as a campground for a Malawi camp meeting.
Musical Outreach in Ireland
The annual “Victory Conference,” an evangelistic outreach through music, took place again in Ireland after a two-year hiatus due to COVID-19 restrictions. It was conducted by our churches in the United Kingdom in support of our group in Dublin.
The weekend of services began with an evening of music presented by musicians from our churches in England. The program included a sermonette that highlighted the conference theme of “Divine Visitation,” and closed with prayer and then a time of food and fellowship.
The Sunday morning service was attended by sixty. The sermon was taken from the theme Scripture of Luke 1:79, “To give light to them that sit in darkness and in the shadow of death, to guide our feet into the way of peace.” Reverend Mark Mfandarahwa, the United Kingdom and Western Europe District Superintendent, spoke of how Jesus brought light to this dark world and wants to personally be the light for individuals today.
In the evening, a prayer session was held for the work in Ireland. It was noted that the seed of the Gospel is being planted and watered there, and they prayed God would bless the evangelistic efforts and raise up more laborers.