|3rd Quarter 1998||Newsletter of the AD2000 & Beyond Movement Women's Track|
and Fasting for Women
The AD2000 Women's Track, the Commission on Women's Concerns of WEF and the Lausanne Women's Network have joined together to sponsor an annual International Day of Prayer and Fasting for women on the first weekend of September. Start praying from six p.m. Saturday to six p.m. Sunday in order to cover all time zones. Last year several countries organized citywide prayer meetings for women from many denominations. If it is not possible to organize a larger group, perhaps you could meet in your triplets, with a friend or just with the Lord Himself. A brochure fully explaining the prayer day is available from your regional representatives or the AD2000 Women's Track office.
Pray, fast and intercede for women in all walks of life to:
Spread the word about the International Day of Prayer and Fasting for Women to your friends and neighbors. Encourage pastors and leaders to pray for the women in their congregations, as well as those not reached with the gospel.
Back to the Killing Fields
"I was a Buddhist growing up in Cambodia," Noren Tan explains. "The first time I went to a Christian church just out of curiosity, I saw people raising their hands and looking at the sky, I covered my face laughing and laughing."
"Crazy people," I thought.
But in the months ahead Noren's life was shattered. In 1974 just four months after her visit to the church, Pol Pot, the Communist leader and his Khmer Rouge forces "came in like a river." He cleared out the city of Phom Penh, forcing thousands to live in camps in the jungle. In the midst of the horror she found herself thinking about what she'd heard about Jesus, but not comprehending the Truth.
Noren's husband disappeared to work for Pol Pot's forces. She and two of her children moved from place to place, building shelters to live in, scratching an existence out of the jungle. The children, eight and nine years of age, died of starvation, diarrhea and malaria. For about three years her husband managed to return to her from time to time with clothes and food. She last saw him in April, 1977. "I don't know if he's alive or not." Nor does she know whether her third child, a daughter, who had stayed with relatives, is alive.
After the Vietnamese "freed" Cambodia in 1979, Noren walked for 28 days back to Phnom Penh. She returned to her old home to find it occupied by strangers; everything she'd owned was gone. She was able to get a job working for the Vietnamese, but she realized more disaster coming as they began requesting "lists" of Chinese living in the country. Noren recalls, "I smelled death."
So she hired a guide and began her escape from Cambodia. In the darkness of the night she got separated from her guide in the jungle. Fearful of stepping on a land mine or being apprehended by soldiers she found herself for the first time in her life, crying, "Jesus help me!"
Though she'd never held a Bible in her hands, and admits that her calls to Jesus were simply out of a natural passion for self-preservation, Jesus answered her prayers. He led her to a refugee camp in Thailand, then on to the Philippines, and eventually to the United States. After some time she managed a restaurant in Chicago, and there a Christian woman helped her to know who Jesus really is and discipled her.
Noren joined a Cambodian church in Chicago and soon was active in teaching and preaching in a house church. There she met Gioia Michellotti, an American woman who loved the Cambodians "more than they love themselves." When Noren heard Gioia singing in Cambodian and encouraging Cambodians to relearn the beautiful art forms they'd lost under Communism, it touched a chord in Noren's heart. Cambodians love art, music and dancing, and she realized here was a way to present Christ so Cambodians would understand. They wouldn't think it was crazy to preform the graceful motions of hands and feet to tell the story of Jesus' love to traditional music.
Out of this vision, the two women have formed the Cambodian Christian Arts Ministry and since 1995 have been presenting the gospel throughout Cambodia in the beautiful traditions they'd lost in Pol Pot's Killing Fields.
Cambodian Christian Arts Ministry
Noren and Gioia have faced many challenges as they began the Cambodian Christian Arts Ministry in Phom Penh. God gave them a ready-made team to train in dance and art, as orphans and abandoned children were brought to them. Today 30 youngsters between the ages of 8 and 18 live in a rented house with no air conditioning, an unreliable water supply and rats the size of cats. The boys have to sleep in the schoolroom because of limited space. Finding a bigger house and funds to rent or purchase is a major need.
Gioia explains "ItÕs like home schooling 30 children." Each day's activities include Bible study, classes, art, music, drama and hours of dancing. A local Fine Arts School has helped them choreograph dances to depict Bible stories, like the resurrection. Ten of the students from the Fine Arts School have become Christians through the ministry, and often come to help train the students at CCAM.
CCAM offers a unique gift of beauty and love into a country still in shock from seeing millions of its people killed or disappear. Patrick Johnstone, author of Operation World, describes this as "the most savage slaughter in this century. Almost all former military personnel, civil servants, educated or wealthy people and their families were killed and the nation was turned into a vast labor camp." Most women under the age of 25 remember losing fathers and brothers and sisters through the cruelty of the Khmer Rouge.
"The culture was destroyed by Pol Pot," says Gioia. "There is no sense of morality or honesty." Kidnapping young girls to sell them into prostitution is common. Boys are sold as slaves in Thailand. Disciplining and training youngsters who have come off the street in such an environment is a challenge in itself. And a new political threat hangs over the country.
But the young artists from CCAM have more invitations than they can fill to present the radiance and beauty of Christ to people who had lost hope. Many respond to the gospel presentation through their testimonies, dance and drama. For Noren and Gioia this makes living under the painful heritage of the "Killing fields" worthwhile.
"Go and tell," Jesus commanded Mary
Jesus gave women a special gift on the morning of His resurrection. He forever erased their inferior position by asking a woman to proclaim the greatest message of all time.
The Jewish patriarchal culture of Jesus' day taught that a woman was socially inferior, lacking in intelligence and an unreliable witness. When she married, any money or property became her husband's. Women were considered unstable, over-talkative and morally weaker than men. Men were encouraged not to sit with women, for talking with them could lead to ruin. Some rabbis even reasoned that God Himself avoided speaking with women.
Even the disciples demonstrated their cultural biases, for when the women rushed back from the tomb to tell the disciples that Jesus had risen, they did not believe them. (Luke 24:11)
In John 20 we read that Jesus appeared FIRST to Mary. Peter and John had just been to the tomb themselves to check out the women's story about the empty tomb. Jesus must have been there all the time. He could have appeared to them and verified that He had risen. But He waited until Mary stood crying alone at the tomb.
Then Jesus -- God Himself -- talked with a woman, forever dispelling the notion of her untrustworthiness or unreliability because of her sex. His words remain an astounding assignment to women down through the ages.
Jesus sent Mary on a mission. He is still telling women to go. Women make up the majority of the world's missionary force, going into places of danger and difficulty in response to God's command.
Tell My Brothers
His direct instruction to her to go back to His male disciples -- to the very ones who didn't believe her earlier -- to encourage and enlighten them was a model for the future of the Church. Jesus knew exactly what He was doing -- He understood that He was crossing cultural barriers of His day. The disciples may have wondered why He chose to reveal Himself to Mary rather than to them. But on the other hand, they had seen Him teach, comfort and encourage the women who had followed Him for three years, and perhaps it didn't seem so strange to them after all.
Tell Them I'm Returning To My Father
Mary was to proclaim the message that Jesus had risen from the dead -- truth that none of them had comprehended though He had told them many times. (John 20:9) Not only was she to give them the most important truth of the gospel, but she was to authoritatively proclaim a prophetic word. "Tell them 'I am returning to my Father.'" (John 20:17) They were not to expect that things were returning to normal for He would be leaving them again soon.
When the Church gives conflicting messages about women's roles in ministry; when some of Paul's teachings are difficult to interpret; remember the subtle but powerful model Jesus left for us that first Easter morning. His instruction is still valid today!
Love Your Neighbor!
Nourishing the heavenly vision, or seeing yourself and your neighborhood as God does, is the first and most important step. God could have put you in any nation of the world in any time period He chose, but He chose to send you to your neighborhood now. You bear God's likeness and His glory and you are appointed to take it to the streets around you. Step out in His name with His authority. Let your neighbors see how your life reflects the light of Christ.
Evaluate your neighborhood. It is important to find out what's there and who's there. [You might begin with a nonthreatening door-to-door survey a wonderful way to meet your neighbors.]
Interceding often for your neighborhood is vital -- family by family, house by house. Pray by yourself or with others . . . Prayer walking your neighborhood is helpful.
Gathering others to pray will encourage and strengthen your efforts in your neighborhood. Form prayer triplet with Christians you meet in your neighborhood.
Having compassion for your neighbors. This is not optional. God is compassionate and He wants to reproduce that same quality of love in us. It is the kindness and forbearance of God that leads people to repentance (Rom. 2:14). As ambassadors for Christ in our neighborhoods, we are called to be patient and compassionate, to love our neighbors and withhold judgment.
Build relationships with your neighbors. This is impossible without purposely setting time aside in your schedule to get to know them. Every human being on the face of the earth is uniquely fashioned in God's image and is very special to Him. You must earn the right to share the good news of God's salvation by loving your neighbors appropriately and sincerely.
Open your heart and home. This is not difficult once you realize that you are not responsible for converting any of your neighbors to faith in Christ. Conversion is His business. He calls you to love and offer them the opportunity to hear the gospel and to study the Word of God with you.
Rejoicing with God will be that natural result of all of the above. How can you help but rejoice with exceeding gladness as God uses you in the process of bringing His children to Himself?
*Used by permission from Love Your Neighbor As Yourself by Mary Lance Sisk. Available from Christian Women United/AD2000, P.O. Box 29557, Minneapolis, MN 55429
When asked what is the most common cause of depression in women, Dr. James Dobson, president of Focus on the Family, replied, "low self-esteem." Out of 10,000 women who completed a questionnaire, 80% put this problem in the top five. Though these were primarily young healthy women with seemingly happy marriages, the majority struggled with feelings of inadequacy and a lack of confidence.
Definition of Mentoring: "Pouring your love for God into another. They will begin to
see His mission for their lives, and hopefully, will become obedient to His missions call."
Thirty-five functional leaders and founders of the AD2000 and Beyond Movement met in Colorado Springs in May to assess progress and discuss the next two and a half years of the movement. In the first session, C. Peter Wagner, director of the AD2000 Prayer Track, asked a spontaneous question, which set the tone for the entire three days.
"With thirty-one months to go, do we still have faith that there will be a 'church for every people and the gospel for every person by the year 2000'? And if we believe it, what are the indicators that give us that faith?"
After a momentary pause, several leaders answered a rapid and enthusiastic "Yes." With many reports to give substance to the hope that, as God gave the vision, He is also bringing it to fruition.
As the leaders assessed the rapid progress of the gospel since the inception of AD2000 & Beyond both on an individual and peoples level, they could easily see that through God all things truly are possible.
Repeatedly, the necessity of prayer emerged as a major theme from the movement's beginning and into the future. Michael Little (Christian Broadcasting Network) and Vonette Bright (Campus Crusade for Christ) are leading the effort for Praying Through the Window IV, a global prayer initiative in 1999 to focus on the 62 nations of the 10/40 window. The previous Praying Through the Windows, held in 1993, 1995 and 1997, have each mobilized 20 to 30 million participants to pray for the needs of the 10/40 window. This has opened up territories to the gospel in ways that would have been unimagined just a dozen years ago.
Surprisingly, the primary roadblocks to world evangelization were not seen to lie primarily in numbers of missionaries, supplies, finances or methods. Everyone agreed that, as was revealed in many ways, God is able to work in astounding ways "on His own," in response to united prayer. He is fully capable of revealing Himself to all in an instant. But according to John 17 God considers it a necessity for the Whole Body of Christ to develop His heart for the nations before He will complete the entire task. He brings tremendous power to any willing to "show up to do the job." The primary roadblocks to world evangelization were cited as being disinterest, self-absorption and lukewarmness within the body of Christ.
Training Seminar Planned by Jordanians
A group of Jordanian women who attended the Cyprus AD2000 Women's Track conference last year were so inspired that they wanted the women in their own country to experience the same thing. They have organized a seminar at a camp site outside the city of Amman, for the 14th to the 19th of September. Iqbal Massey, the regional representative, will be the primary teacher. They expect 150 women, including some from Israel, Syria, and Lebanon. The purpose is to encourage the women in their own cultural setting and language, to strengthen them to overcome barriers and social neglect and build and ground them in the Christian faith so they can share it with others.
Jordan is the site of ancient Christianity, and today offers limited freedom to Christians. Iqbal believes Christian women there can be a role model of how to live and witness in a Muslim society.
Recently Olga Spachil, who publishes the Study Guide and Women of Vision 2000 newsletter in Russian, received this letter. She describes the city Khabanovsk as in the far east of the country, thousands of kilometers from Moscow.
My dear sister in the Lord.
I thank you for the package with the Prayer Evangelism Guide. The sisters here organize seminars and conferences all over the far east region We give each church one or two books. Sisters take this book with gladness. In many churches of our region we have started prayer triplets. We thank you from the bottom of our hearts for this wonderful book which calls for successful prayer.
May the Lord bless you.
With respect, Sister Elena
The AD2000 Women's Track was able to help a Christian leader in a closed country print
4500 Study Guides for Evangelism Praying in Arabic. He arranged to have three different
printers each print a quantity, so that if one was confiscated, they still had the
remaining copies to distribute.
Write the representative from your region:
Africa (English-speaking): Esme Bowers, 3 Wyehill Way, Retreat 79X5, Cape, South Africa
Caribbean: Blossom White, 36 Mottley Ave., Kingston 20, Jamaica, West Indies
Europe: Elizabeth Mittelstaedt, Lydia Magazine, Postfach 1222, D-35608 Asslar, Germany
Latin America: Mercedes Dalton, Calle Los Abetos, PJE No. 1Š36, Colonia San Francisco, San Salvador, El Salvador
Middle East, N. Africa, CIS countries: Iqbal Massey, 1136 Ginger Lane, Corona, CA 91719-7776, U.S.
N. America: Evelyn Christenson, P.O. Box 29557, Minneapolis, MN 55429, U.S.
N. Asia: Kai-Yum Cheung-Teng , Block A, 3/F., Podium of Tak Bo Garden, 3 Ngau Kok Road, Kowloon, Hong Kong
Pacific: Robyn Claydon, 12 Cornwall Avenue, Turramurra, NSW 2074, Australia
S. Asia: Contact the International Coordinator
S.E. Asia: Thelma Pantig, 6 Sampaguita St., Roxas Cir. Subd., Sanyo Novalches 1116 Q.C., Philippines