|3rd Quarter 1997||Newsletter of the AD2000 & Beyond Movement Women's Track|
Day of Prayer and Fasting
by Mercedes Dalton, International Representative for Central and South America
Motivated by the urgent need to pray and intercede for the woman as a pillar in the family and society, we, the AD2000 Women's Track, the Commission on Women's Concerns of the World Evangelical Fellowship and the Lausanne Women's Network, propose to establish the first Sunday of September as The International Women's Day of Prayer and Fasting.
CONVINCED THAT PRAYER BRINGS CHANGE AND VICTORY WE PROPOSE:
PRAY, FAST, AND INTERCEDE FOR WOMEN IN ALL FACETS AND WALKS OF LIFE TO BE
We encourage every women's group and prayer triplet to observe this special day of prayer, adding prayer requests for the women in your own region as well.
With the end of the millenium just a little more than three years away, many are asking, what's going to happen to the AD2000 Women's Track after the year 2000? The AD2000& Beyond Movement, our parent body, has made it clear that it will close its office and cease to be in existence by 2001. But should the Women's Track do the same?
That was the primary question on the hearts of the twelve international representatives of the AD2000 Women's Track when they met in Vancouver, Canada in May. For several months each one had been praying about the options--
Above all they prayed for a unanimous decision that would indicate a clear leading from God. On the first evening of the three day meeting, the women were asked to write what they felt the next step for the Women's Track should be. As one by one the answers were tallied on the board, the unanimous decision became clear: CONTINUE.
In the discussion that followed the women explained why they felt so strongly that the Women's Track must not stop in 2001. All recognized that our focus on the unreached is unique, and while other groups target unreached people, we are the only international, interdenominational body of women focusing primarily on mobilizing women to pray and minister to unreached people, especially in the 10/40 window.
One representative remarked, "After years of hard work we are gaining momentum for the task of reaching the unreached. We can't stop now."
Another said, "AD2000 is just getting to be known in our country. Pastors trust us and allow their women to attend AD2000 meetings."
The general feeling was that with the great need of unreached people and the potential of emerging leadership among women who need training and encouragement, the outreach of the Women's Track will be increasingly valuable.
Lorry Lutz, international coordinator, says, "During the months of preparation for the meeting of the represenatatives, my one desire was that God would make His will so clear that there would be no question as to the direction He wanted the Women's Track to go. I think all of us were willing to close down or merge with another organization. if that is what He wanted. Every one of the representatives already has a heavy schedule of responsibilities in her own ministry. Yet, God would not let us drop this opportunity to encourage and mobilize women to use their gifts in evangelism and I'm excited about the future."
"Good works are not the way to salvation," a Tatarstan women heard an angel say to her in a dream. "Read the Ingeel (Gospel) and good works will follow after you have Jesus," he went on.
The woman's husband liked philosophy and religion, and one day brought home a Bible to read. The woman confessed she was not really interested, but once she opened the first page of the Holy Book she could not put it down. She told her husband, "This is the Truth." They both received Christ and are changed people.
Testimonies like this encouraged the almost 300 women who attended the International Christian Women's Prayer Fellowship held in Cyprus in April. They represented 41 countries which included 31 people groups from the 10/40 window. Many of them came from restricted nations where it is dangerous to share their faith, or even have a Bible.
In one fast closing former Russian republic a woman testified how she had learned to do "prayer walking" at a similar conference in 1994. As she walked she plead with God, "When are the changes going to take place? So many are praying." God did not ignore her cries. She was invited to a service in a village and found 200 Muslim converts ready for baptism.
Christians in this country face persecution. When the Bible Society delivered 25,000 Bibles, every one who received a Bible was arrested and Bibles were burned.
No wonder there was a sense of "heaven on earth" at the Cyprus meetings, as the women sang and testified, prayed and studied. They drank in Bible teaching from Kay Arthur, Evelyn Christenson and Mary Lance Sisk.
Iqbal Massey, AD2000 Women's Track representative for Middle East and CIS countries had worked late into the night for weeks organizing the conference and inviting women. She was able to gain the support of the Greek Orthodox Bishop of Limassol, who wrote letters to the immigration department, enabling some women to get their visas. In his opening remarks he reminded the women that Paul had come to Cyprus on his first missionary journey in 45 AD.
The women of the Evangelical Presbyterian Church of America. provided scholarships for many of the women to attend. A team of Presbyterian women came to help with the program, loaded with gifts of clothing and food especially for women from the CIS countries where the standard of living is very low. Dr. Ketsie Hendrix set up a 24-hour dental clinic, providing crowns, filings and extractions for women who have no access to dental work in their own countries. She missed many meals and worked long into the night.
Dr. Hjung-Ja Lee, founder and president of the Torch Center in Seoul Korea where GCOWE95 was held, attended with a team of Korean women. They blessed the women as they shared how God is working in Korea.
Missionary forced to eat arrow-roots
When the women of the Ladies Home-Care Spiritual Fellowship in Nairobi heard Missionary James Wakhu, a young university graduate, tell of his life among the unreached Banjun people, they decided they must help him. The Bajuns live on a tiny island off the coast of Kenya, where electricity and running water are almost non-existent. At times James had to resort to eating arrow-roots to stave off hunger.
The Banjun are primarily fishermen and sailors. More than a thousand years ago Arab traders settled on the coast and intermarried with the African population. Over the decades the people became Muslim, (now 99.9%) and their life revolved around the mosque and daily prayers Little has changed over the last thousand years. Even today there are no cars on the island which houses a population of over 68,000.
When James told the women he knew of only five Christians among the Banjuns they were deeply touched. They decided to support him not only with prayer but with their gifts. which they saved by going without personal luxuries like braiding their hair. They are considering supporting a second missionary to the Bajuns-- this time a woman.
(For a prayer profile about the Bajuns or other unreached people groups contact the Bethany World Prayer Center 13855 Plank Road, Baker, Louisiana Tel (504-774-2000 Fax (504) 774-2001)
The purpose of the conference was to train Middle Eastern women and women from the CIS countries how to pray for those without Christ, and to mobilize them to reach those who have never heard the gospel. Many have already seen the effects of triplet praying for the lost, and prayer walking in their communities. Dr. Olga Spachil, who brought over 40 Russian women to Cyprus, reports that prayer groups have since spread rapidly.
An Azerbaijani women shared that when communism fell there were only four known Christians in her country. However today there are about 500 Muslim converts. She says, "Iqbal Massey came and challenged us to start 500 prayer groups last year. We are planning to have a mini conference like this in Baku this coming year."
Other prayer conferences are planned for Kazakstan, Jordan and Pakistan. The vision is to start 5000 prayer groups by the end of 1998. No wonder Mary Lance Sisk called this a "defining moment for the conversion of thousands of Muslims in the region."
Ana Maria Pereira was disturbed to see that Satan was destroying the lives of Brazilian young people. Between 40 and 50 million are involved in immorality, alcholism and drugs. In 1995, God gave her a burden to seek His will for a way to do something about it.
When her husband came home from GCOWE in Seoul Korea, he brought back a tribute written by a group of students dedicating themselves publicly for missions. "Thanks to our moms for praying for us."
"Our women could do this in Brazil," he thought.
When he told his wife, she knew this was the answer to her prayer. With her husband and one friend she began to pray, then talk to women leaders in their city of Belo Horizonte. Twenty days after GCOWE, they started inviting women to a meeting. On June 23rd, 600 women came together, and the Wake Up Deborah movement was born. It was named for the Biblical Deborah, a mother who stood in the gap.
The movement has grown far more rapidly than anyone could have dreamed. They now have a national coordinator, a city coordinator in every city, and a church coordinator in 600 churches from a number of denominations. Over 15,000 women are praying for their children, with more joining daily. Their goal is 25,000 mothers praying and 50,000 young people raised up as missionaries and tentmakers around the world.
DEBS, as they are called, pray daily for at least fifteen minutes. Women who originally thought this was too long, find themselves now praying longer. They also have a hunger and thirst for the Word. They are learning to claim Psalm 2:8, "Ask of me and I will give you the nations as your inheritance." As God returns the children, moms learn to give them to Him as missionaries, in the tradition of Hannah, another Biblical mother.
"Wake Up Deborah" is mothers motivated with a vision," says Anna Maria, a pert blonde in her early 40's. "No one else prays for a son like a mom. Lives are changed as we learn to walk on our knees."
Women also meet together for challenge, encouragement and group prayer. They spend time in praise, Bible lessons and dynamic praying in groups of two or three. "Sometimes we bring forward moms with special needs (kids on drugs, illness), lay hands on them and pray. They get so exicited they don't want it to end."
In a related program, called "Call Mom!," women answer phones at their church. Youth are invited to call for a mom to pray for them. Sometimes they can relate better to someone else's mom than their own.
Today, Anna Maria and her committed women are looking for moms to organize this movement in other countries. Materials are being translated into English and Spanish.
DEBS have one message for the women of the world: "Don't give up, wake up, Deborah! Start to give your life in prayer because the Holy Spirit is making things happen."
In my mind's eye I can see her timidly following the crowd around Jesus, a little old lady, weak and wan, looking to see if anyone she knew was watching.
Afterall, she was unclean. Her menstrual flow had not stopped for twelve years, and she had used up all her money for doctors and medicines, but to no avail. According to Jewish law, anyone who touched her in all that time became unclean and had to go through a ceremonial bathing to regain God's approval. (Lev. 15: 25-27) How long had it been since someone had put loving arms around her, or invited her into their home for tea?
Poor, lonely and scorned, her last hope was Jesus. "If only I can touch his cloak," she thought, "I will be healed."
Many people touched Jesus that day, pushing and shoving to get close to the Healer. But when she touched him, healing power flowed to her. Even as she realized the strength that had poured into her, she tried to slip away unnoticed for she was sure the Rabbi would be furious that she had caused him to be unclean by her touch.
Instead Jesus stopped to look around the crowd asking, "Who touched me?" As his loving eyes sought hers, she knew she could not escape .But Jesus did not denounce her touch--his righteousness was above the law. Instead he called out, "Take heart daughter. Your faith has healed you." Everyone in the crowd now knew she was no longer an unclean outcast.
She'd been a NOBODY -- and Jesus made her a SOMEBODY! For the rest of her life she would be known as the woman whom the Rabbi had picked out of the crowd to restore her to a life of dignity and value.
Jesus still restores dignity and value to those who reach out to touch Him.
Today there are millions of elderly women and men who are considered
worthless or a drain on society. The poor, sickly, uneducated, the weak and
frail, those who never "made it," the failures, the hopeless, the racially
despised -- Jesus loves them all. Do you?
Story based on Matthew 9:20-22
Prayer for recharging
Lord, when my soul is weary
One of the most popular rock singers in Thailand will be doing a TV special on August 12, proclaiming her faith in Christ and the new direction her life has taken. Anchalee grew up in a Buddhist home, the daughter of a doctor. As a young girl her musical talents brought her attention and popularity, but as she traveled with her band she became addicted to drugs and alcohol and lived a lesbian lifestyle.
Though Thailand is only 1% Christian, God in His mercy put a Christian friend in Anchalee's life -- a friend who witnessed faithfully, encouraging her to let Christ put her life in order. Eventually Anchalee attended church with her friend, and accepted Christ.
Anchalee began singing in churches and evangelical concerts, sharing her faith and new life with the thousands of young people who flock to hear her. She has now decided to leave her singing career so she can devote full-time ministering to young people.
The Christian Broadcasting Network produced the TV special which will air on Bangkok television on August 12, a special holiday in Thailand. Listeners who write in will receive a cassette of several of Anchalee's songs and literature explaining the way of salvation. Pray for the impact of the TV program, and for Anchalee's ministry in this Buddhist country.
The North American Women's Track is holding four regional conferences over the next few months. Titled Simply Jesus, the conferences aim to present a "personal, workable plan to help all sisters in Christ effectively pray for the lost and share the gospel.:
Evelyn Christenson, the chairperson of the North American Track, hopes to participate in these conferences, though she has recently discovered that she has a heart condition which may cause her to restrict some of her activities.
The Track is particularly interested in helping women find, focus prayer and reach out to the ethnic groups in North America. At the Portland conference Dr. Inonge Lewanika, formerly the African representative for the AD2000 Women's Track , will speak, as well as Yahooskin Fowler, an American Indian. Please pray that God will bless these meetings.
|July 25,26||Miami, Florida||Martha Gonzalez (305)238-1818|
|Sept. 19,20||Portland, Oregon||Fran Howard (503) 364-2285|
|Oct. 10,11||Grand Rapids, MI||Candace Cox (616)956-9377 Ext. 226|
|Nov. 1||Bakersfield, CA||Winnie Bartel (805)746-4748|
As more women take find new ways of serving Christ, feelings and attitudes on both sides on the "women's issue" are stirring. Recently a group of Christian leaders in the United States stopped the revision of the NIV Bible which was seeking a more gender-accurate edition.
In English it is clumsy to express the concept of man AND woman in a single world which means both. Therefore in many places in Scripture where the Greek word means man AND woman, translators have used "man." (i.e. "I stand at the door and knock; if any MAN hears my voice". . . rather than "if anyone . . .") Yet some Bible scholars look upon any changes in English usage as caving in to "radical feminists" or changing the original meaning of Scripture.
Sadly, the controversy is forcing people to take sides on the issue, each one condemning the other. Those who have stopped the translation are implying that women who hold leadership positions in the church, such as pastors or elders, are viewed as deniers of biblical truth. Anger and hostility are surfacing on both sides of the issue.
This controversy will no doubt escalate as the Commission on Women's Concerns (CWC) of the World Evangelical Fellowship takes up the study of the role of women in ministry. A first draft of a manual titled, Gender or Giftedness written by Lynne Smith, vice president of student affairs at Ontario Bible College and Seminary, was distributed to delegates at the WEF Assembly in Vancouver last May. Sponsored by the CWC, it studies the question, should gender or giftedness determine roles of service? The European Association of Evangelicals plans to host a conference on this subject next spring.
While the issue has surfaced in North America, the need for greater understanding and acceptance of each other's positions, for greater freedom for women to use their gifts in the church, and for better cooperation and unity between men and women are being expressed in every culture.
In the light of this controversy and division we need to pray: