How to Pray for NAMS — part 2, by Mary Garrison-Ruiz.

Last week I introduced you to my friend Audrey and her great reminder of the value of time spent with the Lord in intercessory prayer. But, deeper to the heart of the matter, why must we pray?

As faithful Christians, we seek to follow God’s will, and we know He is sovereign. Yet, in this so often we can be tempted to think: God’s plan will be done whether I pray for it or not. “I don’t really need to pray.” Or, perhaps we know “the churchy answer,” which is that, of course, we are supposed to pray, and so we will close our eyes and think good thoughts toward a person or some issue for a few minutes (or should I say seconds), and them we move on, patting ourselves on the back for sacrificing our time and energy to remember others.

Please don’t let my tone fool you; I write in incrimination of myself first and foremost. This is how I have thought and prayed for much of my life. The reality is that my prayer life modeled my spiritual life: immature on both accounts. But God can and will open our hearts and minds to grow and mature in these areas.

Does prayer “do anything”? I will write here unequivocally yes, but… Though there are countless testimonies of prayerful believers who can share their experiences of God’s answers to prayer, our faith to believe such accounts without our own personal experience is too often skeptical. Rather, let’s look back at the foundation of our beliefs in Scripture and build from there.

Prayer is communion with God, a time we share our hearts with him. (Remember Jesus praying in the Garden of Gethsemane the night before his arrest.) But our sinful hearts are tricky and so often confusing; our desires and emotions change from one moment to the next. Yet the Holy Spirit is our constant companion, and in times of prayer, we quiet ourselves to listen to His divine direction. Indeed, Romans 8:26-27 states, “the Spirit also helps us in our weakness. For we do not know what we should pray for as we ought, but the Spirit himself makes intercession for us with groanings which cannot be uttered. Now [God] who searches the heart knows what the mind of the Spirit is, because [the Spirit] makes intercession for [believers] according to the will of God.”

Intercession is pleading in favor of others, and in the first place, the Holy Spirit intercedes for believers to God the Father. It’s while we are under the Holy Spirit’s divine direction that the desires of our hearts slowly but surely become transformed to God’s own desires. So, indeed, the first point of transformation with prayer is that of the pray-er, but, the transformation does not stop there.

Over time, we begin to see God’s will for others in the Spirit-led promptings of our own hearts. Paul writes in 1 Corinthians 3:9 that we are “co-laborers” with God. All glory and power and sovereignty is His, but He gives us work to do—in prayer and response—to bring about His will. Is this because God could not do it himself? Of course not! But because He loves us, He invites us to be part of the process, because it is in the process of co-working with God that we see so clearly what He is capable of and learn to depend on him even more.

As the Holy Spirit intercedes for us, we can also intercede for others, trusting in the promise of John 15:7-8, which says, “If you remain in me and my works remain in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you. This is my Father’s glory, that you bear much fruit, showing yourselves to be disciples.” At NAMS we talk often about the marks of a disciple. Our conclusion is simply that a disciple is one who is dedicated to making other disciples. Praying and interceding on behalf of others is the work of a disciple-making disciple.

Prayer changes us and it can even change circumstances, according to God’s will. Next week I will talk more about how to intercede for others and how God is calling NAMS to grow through the establishment of an intercessory prayer teams. Might you grow with us in this process?

— Mary Garrison-Ruiz
NAMS Global Prayer/Intercession Coordinator.

How to Pray for NAMS — part 2, by Mary Garrison-Ruiz.

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.

Will You Join the “24/12/6/3” Challenge?

When someone asks what I want for NAMS in the New Year, I have been answering: “Faithful disciples who will help us further the calling of Christ Jesus through our mission and ministry.” We are helping the whole Church of Jesus be faithful to the Final Command, but we need more friends, intercessors, and supporters. Might you be one of them? I would like to challenge you to be become one, by helping us in one of four categories. Especially if you are reading this in North America.

First, we are praying for 24 new Supporting Congregations.

The new Anglican movement in North America is said to number about 1000 congregations at the present time. We are praying that 24 of them would add giving to NAMS to their budget in the coming year. Can you influence your congregation to do this? Is your congregation giving to global mission in a significant way? Can some portion be directed to NAMS?

Second, we are praying for 12 new Centurion Cohorts.

A Centurion Cohort is a group of disciples, in the local church, that has taken a simple covenant to be part of obeying the Final Command of Jesus right where they now live. They serve their parish, they learn to be disciple-making disciples, they pray for the global mission of the gospel, they give monthly for that purpose, and they pray to add one new Centurion each year, by their own efforts. Centurions are the building blocks of our global network. Could you be called to this in your town or city?

Third, we are praying to establish 6 new Base Communities.

A Base Community is a small group of men and women praying and working actively, in partnership with NAMS, to build a community that will regularly and consistently incubate, train, and release church planting disciples to spread the kingdom of God, and always in obedience to the Final Command of Jesus. Are you called to this?

Fourth, we are praying for each NAMS Companion to raise up 3 new Companions.

NAMS Companions are members of our Society who have covenanted to share a common calling and ministry in submission to our Lord Jesus within the framework of our Rule & Order. Not all Christians are called to be pioneering missionaries, but some are. And not all pioneering missionaries are called to join a religious order like NAMS, but some are. Could this be you?

Well, will you take the challenge? Will you help us? Will you pray for these things to be accomplished? Will you give yourself to being part of the answer to your prayers?

— Jon Shuler

Will You Join the “24/12/6/3” Challenge?