Church Planting in France

Those true Christians who have ever traveled in Europe will know that the evidence of past Christian faith is everywhere. Place names, existing buildings, and ruins—once symbolic of a lived faith, and used in direct support of that faith—are scattered all over the continent, but the living communities that built and named them are gone.

Here in France, about 1% of the population will attend a Christian service this Sunday, and only God know what percentage of that small number are truly his. To rekindle the faith in this land is a daunting challenge.

To this challenge, Matt & Katie Riley have given themselves. They are living, and raising their four children, in one of the most difficult places on the face of the earth to be boldly follow and serve Christ Jesus. Why?

The short answer is simple: they believe God has called them to do it. They would serve him wherever they lived, but they believe their Lord wants and needs them in France. He has work there for them to walk in. After nearly six years, they are well integrated into French life, are very fluent in the language, and have just taken possession of a new home in their assigned village. How do they do their work?

First, they build relationships with their neighbors. They are constantly open to the possibility that the next person may be a “person of peace.” They are building webs of relational connectivity – at the grocery store, the bank, the hardware store, and on the playground.

Second, they make opportunities to break bread with those they meet. Tomorrow night there is a concert in the square behind their home, and they are cooking out with a few of their newest acquaintances. They are trying to honestly and lovingly get to know them as people.

Third, they have established a simple entry path for those interested in exploring the Christian faith. They call it Discovery Bible Study. What does the bible really teach about God, about human beings, about the purpose and meaning of life? No one has to believe to participate, but the prayer of the Rileys is that—in time—some will.

Fourth, Katie has specifically begun to meet with other young mothers, to share the joys and challenges of motherhood. She is the gospel leaven in the lump.

To this date Matt has not begun regular public Sunday worship in Pontivy. That will be added when the time is right. But there is daily prayer that the kingdom will come in Pontivy, as it is in heaven.

Will you join them as intercessors for the arrival of that glorious day?

— Rev. Jon Shuler
NAMS Servant General

 

Church Planting in France

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

Global Mission Stories (IV)  —The Challenge of France

When I first met Matt, I asked him where he thought God wanted him to serve, and he said France. That was nearly ten years ago. I believed him almost instantly, and began to pray with him for the day to come when he would move to France with his wife Katie and family to spread the gospel of Jesus, again, in one of the hardest places on earth.

Apprenticing in a small startup church in the panhandle of Florida was God’s training ground for Matt. He showed the stamina, the grit, the evangelistic heart, and the tenacity that it would take to move his young family overseas to a land that thinks it has no need of God.

We tried for several years to find official church partners in the Anglican Family who would help support them, but failed. Eventually a partnership between the French Reformed Church, a Presbyterian missionary alliance on America’s West Coast, a small handful of churches and supporters, and NAMS, was formed to send the Rileys to France. Our role may have seemed small—prayer and regular coaching—but our heart to see them succeed was great.

Placed in a small town in the heart of a terribly ravaged (by WWI) corner of France near Verdun, they dug in and served for three years. Learning the language, adjusting to the culture, and preaching the gospel of grace in Jesus. Their little family grew. There are now six Rileys where there were only four. And the fellowship of believers grew as well. Especially touching was their impact on the lives of Muslim immigrants from North Africa.

When they were asked by the French Reformed Church to pray about relocating to an area of France without any Protestant Church, Matt & Katie came to believe it was the Lord, and so they relocated their family to Brittany this past July. They are in a completely unreached section of the country, and have a charge to evangelize a sizable region and plant new churches as God opens the doors. If God gives favor, they will serve as a NAMS Base Community in time, for new church planting throughout France and Europe.

A small NAMS team will join them for three months in 2017, to assist in the early work of finding those God is calling to join them. They have already been approached to work in partnership with the Roman Catholic church and Alpha/France, and there is a sizable year-round English speaking community along the coast of Brittany that seems open to as well.

If we had fifty couples like the Rileys, we would still have more places in the world crying out for them to “come over and help us.” We pray every day for God to raise up laborers like them, to go where the fields are ripe for the harvest but the laborers are few. Will you help us? Can you pray and give a monthly amount to spread the kingdom of God in partnership with people like the Rileys? In France or elsewhere?

Global Mission Stories (IV)  —The Challenge of France

Global Mission Stories (III)  — Horn of Africa.

Sometimes the work that God needs done in a region of the world requires a servant who does not live there. Iván has such a call.

A citizen of Chile, he has a God-given heart for the nations. A servant’s heart. A heart especially for the Horn of Africa.

As a single man, for years he was someone that the Lord could call to help at any time and in any place. He would stop what he was doing, raise support, and fly to the need the Lord had placed on his heart. It was almost always after a disaster of great proportion, or some major cataclysm. The Tsunami in Japan. The Civil War in Sudan. The Arab Spring in the Middle East. A terrible drought in Burkina Faso.

Again and again, the Lord has placed an immediate need on his heart and Iván has gone. To serve the Lord’s people in need, or just to serve those in need.

Iván is a NAMS Companion. We have no one like him. He is our global emergency specialist. And now he is married.

Iván and Mary Garrison Ruiz have been serving in Africa for the last four months on a short-term assignment. We are praying to support them and their unique calling in Christ Jesus. Although God has given them a heart for the Horn of Africa region, they will soon return to their NAMS Base Community in Temuco, Chile.

Shortly after, they will relocate to South Florida. There they will continue their ministry with NAMS, while they continue to establish the long-term foundation for the global ministry God has called them to. Mary will teach school and Iván will work in the construction industry while learning English to equip himself for the global work God has given him. But their ministry to the world will not stop.

They will reach out to the nations in South Florida, using their mastery of Spanish. They will befriend those whom the Lord calls into their life, and from there Iván will travel to the Horn of Africa on a regular basis. Iván exemplifies the truth of the saying: “God will raise up his servants from anywhere and send them anywhere he needs them.”

Will you help NAMS support pioneering missionaries like Iván & Mary? Not everyone is called to go far from their home, but some are. Those who love the Lord are called to help them.

Can you make a regular monthly gift to NAMS to help spread the kingdom?

Global Mission Stories (III)  — Horn of Africa.

Global Mission Stories (II) — Global Internship.

Isaac Lasky was raised in the United Kingdom, discipled in one of our partner church plants, and recruited to join NAMS as an intern to serve in Thailand. Two years of hard work and ministry in Bangkok has now blossomed into a plan to expand internships worldwide in partnership with the NAMS community. Isaac is 24 years old.

great-isaac-picture

The vision that has been birthed in him calls for us to pray that at least two interns could be found for each of our global Base Communities. They will be part of a global joint training program, and will serve for two years with NAMS under the direct supervision of one of our Regional Team Leaders. Hopefully many of them will hear a life time call to global mission, and some, we pray will become NAMS Companions.

Isaac is building a team of young leaders who will help in this missionary adventure, and he will base his global work directing them in Bangkok. He is now back in England visiting his family and friends, while raising support for his work among the nations.

The cost of developing this new ministry will largely be borne by those called to the internships. Each will raise prayer support and financial support. NAMS global funds will undergird their efforts, but not supplant them.

Will you pray about helping? Will you consider making a monthly gift for one of these interns? The need will vary by region of the world. In developed lands the work will require more than in other places. We are estimating the need to be between $5,000 and $15,000 for each intern, and we are praying to have at least ten interns in 2017.

If you would like to support an intern in a particular region, please let us know. We have developing plans for Thailand, South Africa, Chile, Spain, Nepal, Myanmar, France, and Egypt. There will also be openings for select interns here in North America.

NAMS is pioneering for the kingdom of God. We pray to go to every nation. Will you help us please. For the sake of Christ Jesus?

Can you make a regular monthly gift to us to help spread the kingdom of God?

 

Global Mission Stories (II) — Global Internship.