GLOBAL STORIES — “To Egypt, with love…”

My name is *Hadmed, and I am married to *Berenice, and together we have two marvelous children.

I am Egyptian, and I have spent all of my life in the city of Cairo, which is the capital of Egypt and has a population of over 18 million inhabitants.  My family comes from the Coptic Christian tradition.  I grew in this belief system until I was in my 20s when I came to know Jesus Christ in a personal way.  Then I began to live a life of service for Him.

I have served through sports ministry as a soccer coach to children and adolescents for many years.  This is a strategy which God has given us to reach and connect with people in Cairo, the majority of whom are Muslim.  Additionally, a couple of years ago I began to serve as an assistant pastor in a small church located in an incredibly poor area of Cairo called “the Garbage City.” I currently serve there once a week with children and young people.

In 2016, I served for three months with a NAMS team that came to serve in this region of the world, and together we developed various workshops throughout the city of Cairo.  We directly impacted 30 people through these workshops, including South Sudanese refugees, Coptic Christians, and Egyptian Muslims.  This permitted us to connect with people and establish a network of contacts through which we plan to continue to serve in the areas of discipleship and church planting in the future.

After a process of discernment and training, my family and I have committed ourselves as NAMS Companions. Our vision for the future is to help make disciples of Jesus Christ in Egypt and to plant churches in Northern Africa.  This is not an easy area for ministry, but we trust that God is opening a door and has invited us to cooperate with Him in this work.

* Not their real names

Hadmed

Hadmed (identity obscured) with NAMS companions Ivan and Mary Ruiz in Egypt.

GLOBAL STORIES — “To Egypt, with love…”

NAMS Novena 2017 Report – ‘If you say go…’

It was the launch of a new chapter for NAMS; a glorious deepening of bonds between global companions old, new and unfamiliar; a new exciting phase in the global work that God has called us to; a time that will live long in our memories….

NAMS Novena

There are many ways we can describe the NAMS Novena that took place from 19-26 April 2017 in Bangkok, Thailand. What is certain was that it was a significant moment in our collective history, marked by laughter, joy and anointed times of worship, sharing, testimony and fellowship around tables and the Table of the Lord.

We were active participants, along with the congregation that met at Khlong Toey Church on 21st April evening, to the passing of the baton from founder/Servant General Jon Shuler to Manik Corea, the new NAMS Global Executive, and his team.

With one voice, 25 Companions and Spousal Companions, including 2 serving bishops, committed as to live and hold each other accountable to the NAMS Rule and Order, to work to fulfill Jesus’ final command (Matthew 28:19-20) by making disciples who make disciples, raising disciple-making leaders and planting disciple-making churches.

The retreat on the weekend of 22nd April, attended by 28 of us, was an exciting time of clarifying and agreeing to a revised Rule and Order, which outlines the principles governing our global order and their practical outworking around the world. We also had wonderful times of prayer, worship and fellowship over delicious Thai food. We were blessed by the serenity and beauty of the Garden of Gospel Peace, run by Franciscan Friars who looked after us with great care. Surrounded as we were by idyllic rice fields and fish ponds, we felt the sure presence of God’s Spirit calling us to venture further on to greater exploits, working with His faithful Church, till the earth is covered with the knowledge of the glory of God (Habakkuk 2:14) .

All in all, 13 different nations represented by NAMS companions, spousal companions, 3 bishops, aspirants and friends as far afield as Chile, Congo DRC, Egypt, India, Taiwan and England were present. A number of our other companions and spousal companions were not able to be there and we dearly felt their absence. Still we look forward to the next one in 4 years or so.

We were grateful most of all for the prayers of our Global Prayer/Intercessory Team led by Mary Garisson-Ruiz, and by many of you reading this who thought and prayed for us during those days. We certainly felt their and your prayers.

If there was one song that captured the thrust of the Novena, it was the song ‘If you say go’ – taught to us by our worship leaders – companion Pete Matthews and our new NAMS friend, Susheel John (Manik’s cousin from Singapore). There words are an apt summary of what we pray God will help us do following this Novena:

‘If You say go, we will go.
If You say wait, we will wait.
If You say step out on the water,
And they say it can’t be done;

NAMS Novena sessions

NAMS Novena 2017 Report – ‘If you say go…’

NAMS Novena 2017

As many of you will be aware, from April 19th – April 26th 2017, we will be having a global gathering of NAMS companions, spousal companions, aspirants and bishop advocates in Bangkok, Thailand.

As you read this, about 32 companions and guests, including 3 serving Anglican bishops, are in or on their way to Bangkok. They will be coming from countries as far afield as Chile, USA, South Africa, Egypt, UAE, India and Singapore.

Since it’s founding in 1994 as the North American Missionary Society, NAMS has grown under God’s gracious hand, to become a global missionary community of global pioneering church planters and disciple-makers.

We are a band of brothers (and sisters), accountable to each other under the word of God and working to extend God’s kingdom to the ends of the earth. We are called to work in unity with God’s global and faithful Church and to help her be obedient to Jesus’ final command (Matthew 29:19).

The Novena is a once-every-4-year gathering. We will be missing quite a few other companions and supporters who cannot make it for one reason or another. Still, we expect this to be a significant moment in the history of NAMS as a missionary order in this Novena. (Note: ‘novena’ is simply the Latin word for the number 9, and we want the 9 days we spend together, including a day for travel, to be time well spent praying together, worshiping, sharing, encouraging and strategizing for the next season of our work).

During this Novena, we will also be having a special Commissioning service where NAMS Companions will commit under God to a common rule and a common work, globally dispersed.

Our acting Global Executive Officer (GEO) Revd. Manik Corea, will also officially be commissioned into the role of leading the day-to-day running of our work under our overall leader and Servant General, Canon Revd. Dr. Jon Shuler.

The general outline of the event will look like this:

Wednesday 19th April evening Arrive in Bangkok for dinner at SCC Guest House
Thursday 20th April

All- day

NAMS Open Day @ Church of Christ in Thailand (CCT) Building: including worship and testimonies.
Friday 21st April Evening – Service of Commissioning of NAMS Global Executive and all new Companions (Khlong Toey Church, Bangkok).
Saturday 22nd April – Sunday 23rd April NAMS Companions/Spousal Companions/Bishop Advocates Retreat at Fransciscan Foundation of Thailand
Monday 24th April After breakfast, morning departure from retreat to onward journeys.

NAMS Global Executive Team NAMS Servant General. NAMS Board meets in the evening.

Wednesday 26th April Remaining executive team and companions depart Bangkok

We so covet your prayers for us during this time. If you would like to be an intercessor for us during the Novena, please will you send an e-mail to our NAMS Global Prayer Co-ordinator Mary at: maryalicegarrison@gmail.com

Thank you for your continued support.

 

NAMS Novena 2017

NAMS GLOBAL STORIES: Hopeless no more – Testimony of Mercy Carbonelle

For fifty years I lived in Cuba, the land of my birth. During that time, no one spoke to me about God or spiritual things.

In 2006, I moved to Temuco, Chile, to join my son who was already living there. My heart was empty and without direction, and my home seemed to be filled with hopelessness and anguish. I searched desperately for answers.

One day, I met a man called Andrés in the neighborhood. He greeted me and we chatted. This man, Andrés*, turned out to be a man of God who, with patience, listened to my desperate questions. One evening, he told me something that unlocked the door of my heart to God: ‘Mercy, till now, you have only demonstrated your inability to manage your life. Why don’t you give your heavy backpack of concerns to God?’

Three day later, I was born again as a child of God, and everything in the world seemed different. I was ready to give my life to God.

Back in Cuba, I started sharing and talking about my newfound happiness and faith with my family and friends. Some didn’t believe me; others questioned whether I had changed (since outwardly I look the same). But I knew that everything had changed for me since I met Jesus.

Some of them soon discovered that God could change them too. It did not surprise me since I have learned in my own experience what God our Father is capable of doing in his sovereignty!

Life in La Habana, Cuba is not easy and many problems remain. The sun burns hard sometimes but our strength through Christ grows more than ever. Today, I meet with Christians of different denominations and l am able to love and serve together with them despite our differences. The influence of the NAMS base community in Temuco, called ALP (The Light of the Word), is great and deep in me. The truth of God’s word has brought light and life, and our prayers are heard!

When I was a new believer, I used to ask more than I thanked God for. Now, I thank him everyday and ask what He wants for me to do and how He wants me to live. Thank you Father God, for your love and life, for laughter and tears and for making me into someone you could use for your glory.

(* Andrés Casanueva is the NAMS team leader of ALP base community in Temuco, Chile. He is also the regional leader of NAMS for all of Latin America. )

Mercy Carbonelle divides her time between Cuba and Chile. She has been trained as a NAMS leader and with her husband Richard, are helping to plant and lead a small NAMS community in Cuba.

mercy-and-husband

NAMS GLOBAL STORIES: Hopeless no more – Testimony of Mercy Carbonelle

Good news this Christmas – Nepal 2016.

NAMS was founded to call Christians everywhere to obey the final command of Jesus: to make disciples by going to all nations, baptizing and teaching them to obey all Jesus commanded.

NAMS companions seek to do this, starting wherever God’s placed them. One example of this happened over the Christmas season just past in Nepal. Our NAMS leader for the Himalayan/Tibetan Peoples, Pastor Tek Prasad Rijal, with substantial help from NAMS supporters, was able to help Christians and churches in Nepal organize country-wide Christmas events.

Over the Christmas period he worked with local churches, schools and orphanages to help them demonstrate practically the love of Christ. Teams of local Christians blessed schools, churches, and orphanages with sports equipment, Christmas cards, warm clothes, educational materials, first-aid boxes, diaries and calendars for teachers, and a Christmas meal. They also performed skits, dances, and songs which told the Christmas story. In some schools and orphanages they were even allowed to give short messages and invite those present to join the local church Christmas services – an invitation that many accepted! This program has led to open doors into schools and orphanages.

Life at the moment is by no means easy for Nepali Christians. Proselytizing people of other religions is now illegal under Nepal’s new constitution. Hindu nationalist groups are beginning to prosecute and attack Christians as they try to combat the explosive growth of the church in Nepal. However, no law can legislate against the saving love of God from being shared and told!

NAMS, through Pastor Tek and the regional church co-ordinators he works with, is helping and calling the Nepali Church to remain faithful to the One who has ultimate authority over Nepal and all nations. Their 2016 Christmas program is one example of how they are seeking to reach and make disciples of all people in their communities.

Please pray for us and pastor Tek that together, we may continue to make disciples, raise up leaders and send church-planters out to other unreached regions in Nepal and other nations in their region.

Good news this Christmas – Nepal 2016.

“How To Do It”  

One of the men I have been discipling for the last few years recently stopped me in my tracks, as we were discussing an upcoming meeting of our local Centurion Cohort, when he said:Don’t tell us more about the idea of being a disciple-making disciple, we are with you. Tell us how to do it.”

The more we talked, the more painful it was to me. “How can you not understand?” I thought to myself. “It is so clear.” But my brother loves me and was seriously trying to get me to understand. To him it is not so clear.

I have prayed over that conversation with deep pleading to the Lord.

God made me an intuitive personality, so I am reasonably quick to figure out what to do once I have clarity about the outcome desired. I try something and it does not work, I keep trying till I figure it out. I almost never read the instructions when given a box with something to assemble. I look at the picture and then I just assemble it.

On the principle of “doing unto others as you would have them do to you” I have a hard time giving concrete and specific directions. When I teach that Jesus wants each of us to be disciples who are making disciples, I assume that makes the next steps clear. You find someone who wants to learn, and you begin to meet with them. You talk about life, and bring the truth of Jesus and his word to bear on the discussion. You love one another, and hold one another accountable. You pray to be multiplied. Simple.

But for so many it is not.

Over the next few weeks I am going to try, again, to clarify what I believe obedience to the great Final Command of Jesus (to “make disciples of all peoples”) looks like in simple steps. If you are a long time disciple-maker, would you write me any comment or critique? If you are new to this journey, and what I write helps you, would you write to me and tell me so? I want this series to be a “how to” sequence that will really help.

Last of all, will you pray that these next few weeks of blogging actually make a difference in the lives of those who will read them around the world?

Thanks.

— Jon Shuler

 

 

 

“How To Do It”  

Co-workers at Year End

Christmas and its special solemnity is over (though the Twelve Days are not) and in the West there is a moment of calm. Almost everyone is taking a few days off their normal patterns to see to year end business, both for their family and friends, and also for their annual bookkeeping.

Many of us write a few last checks at this time, and favorite charities generally depend on us. The work of non-profits is not simple, nor easy, and the place of individual donors is critical to their effective service. Never more than at year end. This is most especially true of those ministries that seek to serve the Lord all over the globe. It is not easy to find those motivated to support the work of the kingdom far from home. It is this work that are most beloved co-workers do. Will you pray about being one of them this year?

Cynthia and I learned to tithe when we were down to our last $700 in this world. We had two small children, I was a graduate student in England, and we could not see how to survive for the rest of the year. At that very moment God placed on our hearts that we were to tithe that money. By his grace we did. We wrote a $70 check and placed it in the offering basket at our parish church the following Sunday. From that day to this, we have been on the journey of learning to be generous with all we have. Now that I do not have responsibility for a parish church, we tithe to NAMS. We give offerings beyond our tithe, of course, but we believe NAMS is to be the recipient of our principle giving. As NAMS Companions, we see the hand of God using our offerings to spread the kingdom throughout the world, and it gives us great joy to participate in this mission.

It is our smallest givers who may in fact be upholding NAMS before the throne of grace, however. We can never forget the lesson of the Poor Widow (Lk 21:3). St. Paul taught clearly that we are to give according to our means, as we have prospered, and this by implication means to us that we are to give by percentage, not amount. A $25 per month gift to NAMS may mean more in heaven than Jon & Cynthia’s tithe.

Some years ago I was visiting a dear friend who was responsible for a great Christian institution. At that time the annual budget of the school was $30 million. The campus was large and the students many, and after an impressive day of being together I commented: “You must have a large endowment here.” He smiled as he asked me to guess the amount. “$100 million?, “ I said. With great joy he smiled even wider and said “Nothing!” I was astonished. He then said: “Our average donor is a widow in Iowa who sends $35 a month. It keeps us close to the Lord.”

I have never forgotten that day, nor that statement. May God give us such donors.

Will you be one of them this year end? Perhaps you can be generous from much or from little, but if you can help us to spread this glorious gospel, we will thank God for you. Especially if you could remember us monthly. We are in his service only.

— Jon Shuler

Co-workers at Year End