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Read our blog to hear stories of what God is doing around the world, to learn about current trends in missions, and to expand your global awareness.

His plans vs HIS Plans

Natán grew up in a home that was filled with unhappy moments.  Before he entered his teens he knew what his plans were.  As soon as possible he would leave home, join the Sendero Luminoso (the terrorist group), return to his village and kill those who were causing great problems in his family.  A young 12 year old boy had his plan, but God also had HIS plan.

Natán ran away from home to the big city of Arequipa.  He stayed with extended family who invited him to a youth group at a local church where his uncle was the pastor. That night Natán recognized God had a different plan for his life.

Even though he had grown up in church, Natán realized he needed to repent of his sins, receive God´s grace and forgiveness and enter into a relationship with Christ.  God´s plan began unfolding from that time onward.

A short time later he began attending a rural Bible Institute in Chiguata, Arequipa, Peru.  He was being discipled, learning about ministry and discerning God´s plan for his life.

After graduating from the Bible school God directed Natán to attend the biblical seminary in Lima to prepare to be a pastor. While studying there he began a relationship with one of the girls from Chiguata, Patricia, who would later become his wife.  

In 2016 Natán accepted a position as a pastor of a church in Lima, Peru.  It was  his first time to be the main pastor of an entire church.  He was asking God for help, direction and maybe someone who could walk alongside him during this time.  

During a visit to the seminary his path crossed with one of his former teachers at the Bible Institute in Chiguata.  It was a joyful reunion for both Natán and me, Vikki!

An even greater joy was shared as Natán met my husband Nelson and they began a friendship.  Soon after we moved to Lima, Natán asked Nelson to work alongside him; to be his mentor and coach as he began discovering what it means to be a pastor of a church.

Natán thought he knew his plans for the future.  God stepped in and reshaped those plans.

We thought we knew our plans for our future in Arequipa. God stepped in and reshaped those plans.

We are so thankful for His plans.  

By: Vikki Maya, Serving in Peru

Prayer

Pray for Natán and Patti and for us as we continue to seek God´s plan for our lives. Continue to lift up the country of Peru and for the many others who need HIS story lived out in their lives.

Prayer for Peru

Church in Belgium: Forming Faith, Community and Mission

United World Mission’s core belief is about developing well trained, spiritually-formed leaders and to strengthen and multiply disciple making churches that proclaim and demonstrate the gospel. Here in Brussels, Belgium a church called The Well is doing just that.

One area that they are concentrating on is mentoring and training new leaders in the church while also making disciples who make disciples who make disciples… These leaders go out into the neighborhoods to reach the lost with the gospel; through prayer, Bible studies and by serving those in need.

In my first six months here, I have seen the body of Christ in this church reach out to those that are lost and serve them in multiple ways. Mainly through the vehicle of Serve the City, which was founded by The Well.  Via Serve the City, the members of The Well serve breakfast to refugees two mornings a week as they wait in line for the government office to open so they can try to get asylum.  They also serve food to the homeless on the streets, and help feed those in shelters along with repairing and assisting the shelters as needed.  This involves working with government agencies that have these social programs and also with Roman Catholic charities as well. Due to this unique situation not only do we get to share Jesus with those that are in need, but also with community volunteers we serve alongside who may not be believers.  These relationships take time to build and the process is slow, but already I’ve had some personal conversations with people.

 

As The Well prays and seeks God’s direction in the life of the church, it is building up and changing communities. When there is a need the social agencies, charities, etc call on Serve the City for help. They have a reputation for genuinely caring for people and assisting when and where needed.

For example, Missionaries of Charity needed additional help feeding the homeless on Tuesday afternoons. This is in my neighborhood. As a member of The Well, through the umbrella of Serve the City, I started volunteering there on a weekly basis. Now it has been opened up to others in the community via STC website. I’m coordinating and teaching the volunteers how to serve there. There has been such a positive response that we are looking to help the charity in other ways such as in the mornings preparing the food to be cooked, cleaning their garden, and more. Sister Monia, who is the head nun there, was asked  a question one time by someone if I was a Roman Catholic missionary. She said no but we both love Jesus and we work together for Him. It is amazing to see God work through and use us from different denominations to further the kingdom, along with making new friends who still need Christ’s salvation.

Jesus said we are to go to the ends of the Earth proclaiming His name.  Here in Brussels where only 1% go to Protestant church and 5% go to Roman Catholic church there is much work to be done. I am grateful, honored, and humbled that God would call me to a place where there are so many lost and yet new relationships being made that will lead to their salvation.

By: Jen Rowland, Serving in Belgium

Global Church

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Practical Training in French for West Africa


In October 2012 while on a sabbatical in France my husband, José, and I attended a Strengthen Your Interpersonal Skills (SYIS) workshop. At that time we were taking a Counseling class at Institut Biblique de Nogent to be better equipped to meet the great need for Practical Counseling amongst national leaders in French speaking West Africa. We were excited to be part of this workshop that we had heard so much about as being a wonderful tool to help with topics such as managing stress, maintaining margins,  listening well, help others solve their problems, etc….

At the end of that workshop we went to the Facilitators and said, “We want this workshop to be held in Senegal, our national leaders are in need of this type of training”. We were challenged to take the Facilitators Training and then introduce the program in our context of ministry.

God is so gracious to us! 3 years later, guess what!?! A training for SYIS Facilitators was organized for the first time in French in Senegal!!! Wow! God really wanted us to see our dream come true. Shortly after taking that training we discovered that a friend of ours, who is the leader of New Tribes Mission (Integral Mission) in Senegal was an experienced English Facilitator for SYIS. We invited him to join us and organize the Workshop in French. He accepted the challenge to do it in French with us. After some months of preparation our dream came true in Dakar this past February.

The need is so great that we ended up having a waiting list since our target number of 24 leaders was quickly reached.

Here are a few of the testimonies:

“I have been to many seminars but it is the first time to be part of one that is so dynamic and practical.” . I was very touched by the role plays.” (National Pastor from Dakar)

“My wife and I were transformed by the workshop. In our family now, our communication has improved tremendously, so whenever we start with our old way of communicating, we stop and either with my spouse or with the children we decide to start over the proper way just like we learned during the workshop.” (African missionaries)

“When can we get a training for Facilitators, we need to teach this to our leaders.” (World Vision Leader)

“I didn’t want to come to this workshop and I was thinking another seminar again!, but my supervisor wanted me to,so I came, But I can tell you, I am so glad I did, I learn so many new things that was needed in my life and in my leadership. I am grateful!” (National Pastor fromThies)

By: France-Lise , Serving in Senegal
France-Lise and José: Regional Leaders for West Africa 

The Unknown World of Other Religions

Colombia is an overwhelmingly Catholic country, and the Colombian evangelical church is overwhelmingly ex-Catholic. According to the Pew Research Center’s report “Religion in Latin America,” 74% of Colombian Protestants were raised Catholic, the highest of any country in the region.

So, it’s unsurprising that the strategies that most churches use to reach their communities are primarily geared toward two groups with different approaches to faith: religious Catholics and nominal Catholics. Ask a typical Colombian evangelical how to have a productive conversation with an atheist, a Buddhist, a Muslim, a Jehovah’s Witness, or a Mormon, and you’re likely to get blank stares.


Two and a half years ago I was teaching the class “Religious Systems” for the first time at the Biblical Seminary of Colombia, a class that seeks to equip students to understand other religions, sects, and worldviews on their own terms and then to construct theological and pastoral responses from an evangelical perspective. I told students we would make two field trips as a class to learn about other faiths. The first was to a Tibetan Buddhist center here in Medellín.

I recall my students’ palpable shock as the Buddhist sharing with us talked about reincarnation as if it were the most logical thing in the world—and this from a real Colombian, not a person from Asia! After restlessly shifting around for nearly two hours on cushions they normally used for meditation, we wrapped up our time of Q&A with a number of good questions from students, mixed in with the occasional insensitive one that made me embarrassed to be the professor. But the trip worked. Though frightened at first by the visit, students left feeling confronted over their need to learn how to share their faith with people who thought so differently, and encouraged that it was truly possible to build relationships with them.

This semester I have taught the course again, both residentially and online. A few weeks ago, I got an urgent email from my student Roman asking for prayer. “After starting the readings on Mormonism, I went online to request a free copy of the Book of Mormon, but it came with two missionaries included!” Since that first encounter, Roman has continued talking with the Mormon missionaries, seeking to share biblical truth with them and apply what he learned about Mormonism in the online course. He said that one of the missionaries seems more open and seeing the force of what he is sharing, while the other is more closed. Roman told me, “I’m going to keep talking with them until they either stop coming or they convert and accept the gospel.”

Another encouraging moment came a couple of weeks ago, when, after requiring students to have a 30-minute conversation with an atheist, agnostic, or other person who rejects traditional religion, a pastor in my online class shared about a productive conversation that he had with the husband of a woman who had recently begun attending his church. The man is an atheist with an extremely negative view of evangelicals, yet he saw in my student a model of careful thought and humble conviction that have caused him to be more open to establishing relationships with the church and perhaps one day considering the Christian faith.

While I haven’t seen anyone accept the gospel as a direct result of this course, I have been encouraged to see students taking steps of faith to engage with the unknown, and often scary, world of other religions. What they have discovered is that people of other faiths are just as human as us, just as relatable, and just as broken and in need of the gospel. And as Latin America becomes more and more secularized and diverse, I see a glimmer of hope that the evangelical church is waking up to its need for a better defense of the faith—one that doesn’t just work with the nominal Catholic who in theory believes the Bible but doesn’t really understand what it says—but one that responds to the atheists and followers of other religions who reject the Bible and whose worldviews often clash with a Christian view of reality at the deepest levels.

By: Kevin Johnson, Serving in Colombia

Commitment to Discipleship


I’ve been a part of Kay and Ken’s life for many years now. They were both single when I met them and I was just learning their heart language. Jane became my tutor. In my tutoring classes we talked about all aspects of life. Literally sharing life together as I’m now considered a family member after all these years.

Kay and Ken married a few years ago and now have a baby. They have been blessed to have multiple older people in their lives to mentor and disciple them. They were sent out last year to start a new Sunday group.

Kay has been a part of 2 other discipleship classes, both just 6 weeks long then the leader went on to other people. She said she felt like a “project” with some foreigners and even their own native leaders.

One of the things I do is discipleship.  My approach is to spend 2 years with people. Kay and Ken are both great learners. They are currently using the same discipleship materials with their leadership team that I have used. Each person in their leadership team is now mentoring and discipling others in their Sunday group. The discipleship, mentoring, and coaching that I have done with this couple is now being replicated throughout their Sunday group. Great fruit is being produced from this couple. 

– Names have been changed for safety

By: Worker Serving in Asia

Do you love Discipleship?

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Sharing the Good News

Check out what God is doing through the Global Evangelist Forum around the world!

Pray for Europe & Africa

Join us in prayer for the Gospel to be spread through the Evangelists that are a part of this Forum. May people come to faith in Christ and in turn share His love with those around them. To God be the Glory!

First Worshipper

When “Lee” first joined us, he didn’t sing in public, couldn’t play an instrument, and knew nothing about music. Today he’s writing songs, plays multiple instruments, and teaches and leads others in his club.

When we started the music leadership school (a.k.a. how to become a worship leader), people came in droves wanting to learn guitar, piano, drums, and voice. After the first week, however, many dropped out as they learned that music leadership required more than just music ability.

The course was based on the concept that being a worship leader meant being the “first worshipper.” We spent the majority of each session exploring the heart of a worshipper from a biblical perspective. As their musical skills developed, students would take turns leading music sessions. This is when gifted leaders began to separate from the pack.

We’d see people who quickly picked up chords and strumming patterns, but couldn’t lead others in worship. We’d also see the opposite—students that progressed slowly musically, but when they led, people would quickly enter the deeper realms of worship. With Lee, we saw the best of both worlds: he progressed quickly in both technical skill and leadership. He had a heart of worship.

I first noticed Lee at a retreat where I was playing my guitar. As I played, he just smiled looking engaged to the music, but somehow pleasantly distant.

Me: “What’s going through your mind right now?” 

Lee: “A song.” 

Me: “What song?”

Lee: “I don’t know.”

Me: “Why don’t you sing it?”

Lee: “There’s no words.”

Me: “How about humming it?”

He started humming the most beautiful song that tied perfectly to what I was playing. Within just a couple of weeks, he was playing and humming songs on the piano. After a few more weeks, he was writing lyrics to new songs. With each new skill learned, Lee would beam brighter and brighter. By the end of the semester, we extended an invitation to Lee to lead the next group of leaders. He accepted and is teaching and leading others today.

By: Worker, Serving in Asia

God’s Agenda Trumps Lesson Plans

There’s a song that says “Lord, change the world, and let it start with me.” That’s right…it starts in us first.  Not only is this my heart’s desire, but it’s also the cry of each Latin American missionary that comes through Corrientes, a mentoring & equipping program in Ecuador that prepares Latin Americans to be Christian leaders around the world, including right in their own country. As we surrender our hearts and our wills to what God is doing, He amazingly does a deep work in each of us and then sends us out to partner with Him as He does a deep work in others’ lives.

During my first year of teaching English at Corrientes, I had two middle-aged Ecuadorian women (Adriana and Natalia) who came to class together every day. They were both missionaries and pastor’s wives who wanted to improve their English so they could better work with international teams that came to work with them.

One day, I’d planned our conversation to center around the topic of education in Ecuador.  It was a subject I knew little about and I thought it would be useful vocabulary for them to learn. We could talk about subjects studied, how the educational system is organized, what students & schools must each provide as far as materials, etc. It turned out that God had a whole different idea though, and He hijacked the conversation in order to accomplish HIS agenda for the day.

The conversation turned to how public school teachers treat and talk to their students in Ecuador. I was shocked to hear that throughout grade school, high school, and even university, there are many teachers who are rude and insulting to their students.  Adriana and Natalia told me that it was common for teachers to declare to students “You’re stupid!”, “You’re ignorant!”, “You’re good for nothing!”, and “I can’t stand you!” In fact, some teachers have even been known to make these insulting remarks to parents about their children!

As they shared this information with me, the Holy Spirit suddenly reminded me that MY profession was teaching; before coming to the mission field I’d been an elementary teacher for many years.  Now years later, God was prompting me to stand in the place of those Ecuadorian teachers who had done so much damage to Adriana and Natalia with their harsh words, so as a teacher, I asked my dear students to forgive me on behalf of those teachers who had spoken such insulting and devaluing words over them. As I asked them for forgiveness, tears streamed down their faces, sobs were released, and God ministered to those deep unhealed wounds in their hearts that they’d been carrying around all these years and hadn’t even realized they were still carrying. God knew though, and He had ordained that THIS specific day in English class would be the day that He would heal those wounded areas of their hearts.

It turned out to be a powerful time of God ministering healing to them, as we all prayed together and they forgave their former teachers for all the negative words they had spoken over them.  God then led me to speak specific blessings over each woman…they ARE intelligent, they ARE gifted and skilled, their unique learning styles were created by God, they are not a mistake, etc.

We also spent some time praying together for Adriana’s and Natalia’s children who were still currently in school, praying that God would protect them from hurtful words spoken by teachers, that they would be able to show their teachers the love that they so clearly needed, and that their lives would be a testimony to their teachers rather than a burden.

What an amazing equipping class! This class period turned out totally different than I’d expected, but exactly the way God had intended. God’s timing for healing and freedom is perfect, and His “interruptions” make for the best classes! God’s heart is to bring all of us into wholeness, and I was blessed that He allowed me to partner with Him in releasing healing to Adriana and Natalia. I’m thankful for the Lord’s perfect agenda and timing, and for His great love that He pours out in these classes. Students come to me for English, but they leave with a whole lot more, as I partner with the Holy Spirit in equipping them. Thanks be to God for His mighty work!

(Names have been changed for privacy)

By: Sue Noroña, Serving in Ecuador

Our New Life, Africa’s New Leaders

It has now been a full year since my wife Aladrian and I flew away from our home, family, church, friends, and our settled California lifestyle. We soon landed in Cape Town to begin the most challenging and incredible year of our lives!

It has taken lots of adjusting for us to get grounded in this beautiful AND heart-breaking country we now call home. But, at the end of the day, we are awestruck by how God has stretched our faith and dependence on him.

We arrived in March 2016 to join the staff of East Mountain, an innovative leadership development mission near Cape Town, South Africa.

East Mountain is a UWM missional community that seeks to advance God’s kingdom on earth by identifying, equipping and multiplying high-impact servant-leaders for Africa’s churches, communities and families. 

 

CREATING TOMORROW’S LEADERS TODAY

Each year we identify young, aspiring leaders with demonstrated leadership potential, passion for Africa, an entrepreneurial spirit, and commitment to multiply more leaders.  These exceptional individuals undergo an intensive year-long, live-in learning experience focused on spiritual formation, theological education, and practical skills.

Just over a year ago Aladrian and I were established Sacramento pastors with productive ministries, a comfortable lifestyle, and high hopes of entering into blissful grandparenthood.

So, how did we end up 10,000 miles from home equipping leaders in a foreign culture?

 

OUR TURNING POINT
From ministry trips to Africa over many years, Aladrian and I had developed a deep love for its people and deep awareness of both its needs and its immense potential.

On each trip we’d been heartbroken when repeatedly asked:

Why won’t our successful African-American brothers and sisters come help us succeed?”

And, we had noticed how the developed world typically responded to Africa’s massive problems with Band-Aid solutions: more food, more medicine, and more charity dollars. Clearly, charity alone hasn’t produced adequate results.

At some point, Aladrian and I stopped asking God, “Why is Africa like this?” and started asking, “What can we do to make a real difference?”

 

A NEW VISION

The answer came loud and clear, and, it was in what we had been doing successfully in our own country for years:

Help transform Africa by multiplying godly, well-equipped leaders there.

Very soon after that I became acquainted with East Mountain’s work while casually surfing the web.  I was so intrigued by their unique leadership training initiatives that I began Skype conversations with EM senior staffers to learn more.

Those talks quickly led to us flying to Cape Town to see East Mountain for ourselves. We immediately saw that the program and the team behind it were the real deal and that God was doing something very special there. We wanted to be in on it.

It seems the feeling was mutual, as shortly thereafter we were invited to join East Mountain’s staff.

 

INVESTING IN GODLY LEADERSHIP

Our vision is to develop confident influential leaders who are passionate about the gospel’s transformation of Africa through spiritual leadership, economic development, and social justice.

I can’t believe how unique and gifted each of our resident-trainees are—and how much of a father’s love and pride I feel toward them. Our program is a difficult process, but God is building them up rapidly. My prayer is that these young people are the next generation of godly change-agents for Africa—and the world.

By: Ronn Elmore, Serving in South Africa

Training Leaders

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The Love of Christ Surprises Ethnic and Racial Prejudices

When foreigners come to Africa for the first time, they are often surprised that racism exists, when everyone is black! But tribal identities are strong, so it’s not skin color that determines their opinion of other “races,” but ethnicity.

Mali has been spared much of the deadly tribal conflict which exists in other parts of Africa (for reasons which would take an additional blog post to explain!), but we still hear subtle forms of prejudice expressed.

One of these is animosity of the Malinké, with whom UWM has worked since the 1950s, toward the Fulani, with whom my husband, Jim, has worked for about 20 years. We’ve even heard a Malinké pastor, Pastor Don, make wisecracks from the pulpit toward Fulani visitors in the congregation! It’s all done in a joking manner and thus is considered acceptable. Further, if you challenged those remarks as racist, the reply would be, “They are only racist if they are untrue. But they are true, so they’re not racist!”

Some years ago, we got to know some Fulani refugees from Mauritania, and some of them came to Christ! There were two brothers, one of whom I will call Jamal. They lived north of our city of Kayes, but when Jamal’s son fell deathly ill he had to bring him to the hospital in town. This posed a crisis above and beyond the illness. Being originally from Mauritania, Jamal had no support structure in Kayes. He needed a place to stay. He needed food to eat, for himself but also preferably for his sick son (hospital food is so bad that most families take meals to their patients). He knew the boy needed to be in the hospital but didn’t know what he would do from there.

Somehow Pastor Don heard of his need, and in spite the fact that Jamal was a Fulani, more importantly he was a believer, and so he organized the church ladies to provide meals, and gave him a place to sleep while he awaited his son’s release! (The church happens to be less than a 15-minute walk from the hospital, so that was icing on the cake). We were surprised by the love demonstrated by one who had appeared to us as a bigot, but Jamal (who had never actually heard any of the pastor’s remarks, but knew that typically tribes look out for their own) was even more surprised! If there is a better way to demonstrate to a new believer what it means to belong to the Family of God, I don’t know what it would be!

Jamal and his brother were eventually repatriated to Mauritania. There are no churches where they live, but they returned to their homeland with not only salvation in Christ, but with an experience of the Body of Christ and the surprising love which the Holy Spirit creates between believers.

By: Jennifer, Serving in Mali

Fulani Ministry

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