|1st Quarter 1998||Newsletter of the AD2000 & Beyond Movement Women's Track|
With 80 million babies(67% of the world's births) born in the 10/40 window each year, the task for world evangelism grows ever larger Most of these infants will be born into non-Christian homes. Reaching children with the gospel is an opportunity we cannot neglect. . Dan Brewster of Compassion International has called children the 4/14 window because of their spiritual receptiveness. Here are some shocking insights to fuel your prayer for children around the world.
Adapted from World Pulse, December 19, 1997; Monday Morning Reality Check, Nov. 4, 1997; INDIA MAIL, India Missions Assoc., Nov. 20, 1997
The Toura people (numbering about 26,000) line in the northwest of Cote D'Ivoire. They are by definition an unreached people, though some mission work has been carried on among them. The AD2000 Women's Track chose two villages, Gourane I and II. In December we went under the guise of providing health care. Tthree medical doctors from the Hospital Fellowship and one nurse accompanied our thirteen women.
Gifts of soap and shea butter were distributed to the villagers. Last minute obstacles were mounted by Satan - the most serious was no accommodations for the team. But the Lord solved this by touching the heart of the chief who gave us a place in his household buildings which we occupied for a whole week, and he moved into another hut.
Mornings were dedicated to treating the sick. In the afternoons the medical team assembled the villagers and taught them general hygiene, while the team did house to house evangelism. This was very beneficial because people could give themselves to Jesus in the privacy of their home.
The evenings were set apart for films. The Jesus film and two other local films on salvation depicting traditional customs - Solution and Warfare. Generally the Toura are animists. Masks are considered holy and certain animals sacred. When we arrived the village chief warned us not to say anything disparaging against their masks. This caused concern as in one of the films a scene was showing how hopeless it is to put trust in masks. But when the film was shown no one said anything. We had prayed that the Lord would take care of this. At all the shows there were people who braved the public and stood up to accept Jesus. At the end of the expedition a total of 43 people gave their lives to Jesus.
Praise God for His protection because the powers of darkness were at work, but were defeated. The villagers had offered animal sacrifices against the team so that no person could be converted. At night there were people chanting around our house. We took turns sleeping while others interceded.
A young man accompanied the team to stay behind to take care of the converted people. We also managed to negotiate with the chief of the village for land where we could build a church and a house for the missionaries.
All this in one expedition was overwhelming and the women came back leaping with joy ! We had prepared well because in November we had gone to the village on a fact finding mission and carried out a prayer walk. We had also distributed used clothing to the villagers.
Each woman testifies to the fact that during the time they spent in the village they were constantly very close to the Lord, knowing that it was a dangerous place infested with powers of darkness. This explains the victory over every obstacle.
The women will never be the same again. We saw the move of God in all we did and how we surmounted every obstacle.
In March the team plans to go back to the village to follow up and encourage the young missionary and the converted, and do more evangelization.
Adela wanted so desperately to learn Mandarin Chinese that she was willing to put up with any hardship. She had come to China with another missionary right out of Bible school. But within weeks her companion had to return home, and Adela was left to fend for herself, with only a small income from her home church in the Philippines.
She lived in the stark dormitory, sometimes existing on boiled water and stewed tomatoes. But as her Mandarin improved, she found many opportunities to talk about Jesus to students.
During her fourth Christmas season in China, she attended a Christmas party. Students were interested in the western customs and festivities and Adela felt she could explain the Christmas story without repercussions. If only her Mandarin were more fluent.
As she started to tell the story in her halting Chinese, she suddenly found the words flowing out of her lipsövocabulary she didn't know she knew; idioms that sounded right even to her. After the Christmas party a number of students slipped quietly to her room, wanting to hear more about the Saviour who had been born so miraculously, and Adela started a secret Bible study.
Adela had known hardship most of her young life. Born in a barrio (village) in Mindanao, she was the sixth of ten children. Her father owned no land so he worked for a pittance doing whatever his hands found to do. The family lived in a two room hut with a roof of palm leaves and a bamboo floor.All the children slept in one room. Many days they ate only one meal, while their parents spent her father's meager earnings on liquor.
Adela hated her parents, especially as she saw her younger brothers and sisters crying for food. At twelve years of age she couldn't stand the hopelessness of her life, and jumped off a bridge into a river, but someone pulled her out. Shortly after her rescue she decided to run away. As she was walking down the road she heard singing and went closer to listen. A woman leading the singing invited her to join the group of children who were singing about the love of Jesus. Adela's heart responded - she so much wanted someone to love her. As the missionary explained how Jesus loved her and died for her, Adela received Him joyously. She recalls," God gave me an instant love for my parents. I prayed for themfor three years [before they accepted Christ.].
Even though Adela was sicklyöso sick she could not complete high school - she was interested in missions, and prayed for China even as a child. When she later attended Bible school a missionary prophecied that she would teach in countries that she didn't know. So when the opportunity arose to go to China she responded. Her church provided her with a one way ticket and promise of some support.
After four years in China, however, the church told her to come home. Adela believed God was giving her the opportunity to share the vision of the unreached with others. Having finished her high school diploma, she earned her BA. She worked in a pioneer church planting ministry which grew to 150 converts in just eighteen months. During her ministry there she met her husband, Christian Wagner, a German missionary to the Philippines, who also had a deep concern for the unreached of Asia.
Together they started Light in Asia, which mobilizes, trains and sends Philippine missionaries to unreached people. In 1997 she left her eighteen month old daughter with her mother, and traveled to the Tibetan border with Christian and another couple to visit the unreached Naxi people. That experience only deepened her heart for the unreached. "He gave me a deep passion to pray for an unreached people group. He changed me from the inside out," she writes.
The missionary who invited the bedraggled, sickly twelve year old to attend Vacation Bible School, never dreamed the potential God had planted in that young life.
A report on a research trip to an unreached people
by Adela Wagner
We left Guangzou by train. . . cocooned for fifty hours inside the compartment. . . We were now in the capital city of Yunnan province. We embarked on another journey to Lijiang by sleeper bus for twenty hours. We were squeezed in between Chinese people smoking, filling the compartment with an ash like smoke. . .
|Place:||Northwest of Yunnan Province in China|
|Language:||Yi branch of the Sino-Tibetan family (They also speak Mandarin)|
|Christianity:||Ten known believers; no viable indigenous church; no complete Bible written in Yi, and no other Christian literature|
|Mission opportunities:||English teacher, foreign language students, medical personnel.|
|Prayer focus:||Contextualized church to be born among them
Workers, missionaries to be sent out to plant churches
Whole Bible translation
Opportunities for workers to stay long-term in the area
Greater openness to the gospel.
I peeped out the window . . . A sign read "Welcome to Lijiang" written in bold Chinese characters. Below the mountains in the hidden valleys are precious souls waiting for the light We prepared to go about our research, staying at our friend's place who is working among the Naxi people. . . I'm grateful for y four years of study of Mandarin which is helpful in trying to communicate."
The villagers welcomed us heartily, happy to engage in conversation. One old man showed us the Naxi Dongba script, which is a unique pictographic style of writing which only the Shamans can read.
It's not easy for villagers to invite a visitor into their house, but the Lord opened the door for us to visit a family friend of our friend. We ate together and shared our hearts with them. I was touched by their kind hospitality. I learned they have village codes of conduct. Anybody found breaking these codes will be punished.
One of the daughters of the house told me, "I am sad to think of my friend who committed suicide to evade marrying somebody she did not love. Her parents prearranged her marriage." She went on to explain that her body cannot be buried in the family graveyard because she was considered a disgrace. The only way to a better afterlife is for the Dongba priest to perform a ritual chanting over the dead body to send her spirit back to the ancestor's place in the spirit world. Her friend went on to say, "Her spirit will take the lowest position and will not be valued. I do not want to die like her." Many young people commit suicide because they have no freedom to choose their partners.
The Dongba's worship nature, spirits and their ancestors. Once a year they throw lighted paper boats onto the river as their medium of communication to the spirit world.
There are only ten known believers living among their own people. They are discipled by our friends, but are not meeting as a group. There is greater openness to the gospel than ever before, especially among young people. Our friends are expecting an imminent breakthrough for the gospel. While we were interceding for the Naxi people the Lord impressed us that He is releasing a harvest among this people group soon.
Who's Who in the World, 1998
Elizabeth Mittelstaedt, founding editor of the German LYDIA magazine, and European representative for the AD2000 Women's Track was selected to have her biographical sketch appear in this year's Who's Who in the World. She was chosen for her contribution to women throughout Europe.
The LYDIA magazine has more than 100,000 subscribers in Germany, plus almost that many for the Romanian edition. A smaller edition is published in Hungary.
In addition, in 1997 Elizabeth edited Frauen Begegnen Gott, a women's devotional Bible in German. She is also the director of women for Hope for Europe, which with the help and encouragement of the AD2000 Women's Track has sponsored three European consultations for women, the most recent in Budapest in 1997.
We congratulate Elizabeth on this honor. The Lord is glorified when one of His children demonstrates such excellence .
Can't you imagine the men around the table staring in surpriseas the young woman dropped to the ground at the guest of honor's feet? She held a jar of perfume in her trembling hands, and her eyes glistened with tears as she spilled precious liquid over His feet and dried them with her hair.(John 12:1-8)
The sob in her throat and the pain in her eyes revealed not only her love for her Master, but her intuitive knowledge of His coming suffering.
"Leave her alone," Jesus replied.
"It was meant that she should save this
perfume for the day of my burial."
One of the criticisms often made about women is that they are "too emotional." God has made women generally more relational, sensitive and intuitive than men. Women may suppress these natural gifts in the company of men, afraid that their response will be criticized as being too easily swayed by emotions. Many men don't know how to handle women's tears, though research indicates that crying appears to be the body's natural and healthy reaction to stress as long as it's not manipulative.
When Mary intruded into the all-male gathering shortly before Passover, she was acting out of emotion .How illogical for her to pour out perfume valued at a year's salary! Judas spoke up harshly reminding everyone present that this foolish woman should have sold the perfume for more humanitarian causes. (John reminds us that Judas really wanted to get his hands on the money.) But Jesus said "Leave her be." He saw the heart of love behind her impetuous act, and even more, the depth of understanding this sensitive woman displayed concerning his imminent death and burial.
Jesus does not reject women's tears, for He created women with special gifts
of warmth, intuition and sensitivity, While we need to be logical, rational
and objective in our service to God, let's not forget that our uniquely
feminine qualities are valuable and can often be an avenue through which
God's Spirit speaks through us.
"We welcome Connie Reyes." As the introductions were made the women cheered and clapped. Connie is the "Oprah Winfrey" of the Philippines, with a daily TV program that is watched by millions. People followed her love life, her children, her bout with cancer.
And when she encountered Jesus Christ and made Him Lord of her life some years ago, everyone knew that too. Today Connie is an outspoken advocate for her Lord, openly confessing her sinful past, and encouraging Filipino Christians to give their lives - and their moneyöto Christ.
Connie was just one of the special attractions at the seminar in Iloilo (Ee'-low, ee'-low), a city of over a quarter million people in one of the islands in Vasayas Province in central Philippines. Several women, including a young Filipino missionary to China (see An Unexpected Treasure) gave tetimonies. The seminar titled Women with Vision and a Heart for Missions, was sponsored by a coalition of women leaders from Manila and Iloilo. The idea started last year when the Manila AD2000 Women's Track and the Women's Commission of the Evangelical Fellowship of the Philippines held a seminar in Manila. They were so enthusiastic about the results, they decided to repeat the experience in other parts of this island nation.
Dr. Esther Gusto, national chairperson of the Philippne Women's Track and her committee contacted leaders in Iloilo. They planned together and even shared expenses. Ten members of the Manila team flew down to help at the conference.
There was a wonderful festive spirit as almost 400 women gathered, many coming by ferry from other islands. A women's band led in joyous worship. Three of the fourteen members of the worship team are medical doctors, including the drummer who is a cardiologist. As the band members heard the challenge of the unreached in southeast Asia, they decided they would like to form a "Healing and Worship team, and may join regional representative, Thelma Pantig, to go to Burma or Thailand next year.
Maggie Hofilena, a local pastor, brought together a committee of twenty women from different denominations to put together the conference. Now the Manila and Iloilo committees are talking about repeating this in Muslim Mindanao next year. Only God knows where He will lead them next!
On November 8 1997, Cheung Kai-Yum and Dr. Philip Teng celebrated their wedding in Hong Kong. Kai-Yum is the regional representative for the AD2000 Women's Track in North Asia, and and is the president of the Hong Kong Christian Ministry Institute. The Teng's will continue to teach at the Institute. We wish them God's best.
Dr. Kabachi, chairman of "Finish the Task 2000" initiative in Kenya says, "When the Kenya delegation were confronted [ at GCOWE97 last July] by lists of unreached people in Kenya, they determined that never again would a Kenyan delegation attend a global consultation to be embarrassed by such lists."
Since the conference Kenyan church leaders have met to plan how they could fulfill this commitment. By September all 22 of unreached groups had been adopted by at least one church or missionary. The Ladies Home Care Group, led by Judy Mbugua, who is the chairperson of the AD2000 Women's Track, pledged to raise financial support for two missionaries in addition to their Tuesday prayer commitment for their adopted people.
The prayer is that by the next global consultation in Jerusalem in the year 2000 every people group in Kenya will be penetrated.