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missions

Returning Home

Anna Kozlyuk
May 20, 2019

Many young, educated Albanians leave their homeland in search of a better life, and Vera intended to be no different until she met God.

Mynevere Saliu, more often called Vera by friends and family, was born into a Muslim Roma family in the city Peqin. 

Even though she had been raised to respect Islamic traditions, Vera didn’t really believe in Allah. When she was able to finally leave for university, she couldn’t wait. She met up with a close friend there, but suddenly her friend started talking about Jesus. All this “religious talk” chafed Vera.

“I even told her, ‘You’re stupid to believe in a God you have never seen.’” Vera remembered. “But she wouldn’t stop talking about Jesus until one day when I finally told her, ‘If you like my company, stop talking to me about this Christ.'”

Drug Runner Comes to Christ

Rachel Chimits
May 16, 2019

A drug user and alcoholic turns to God and becomes a respected member of his church and community.

A Hard Crash

Francis was a renowned weed smoker, drug supplier and drunkard in his Ugandan village.

…“members of the community didn’t like me because of my habitual drinking and smoking,” said Francis. “I was always involved in bar fights and gambling, and I sold marijuana in the village. Parents didn’t want me near their children for fear I would recruit them into this devilish behavior.”

He confessed that alcohol and marijuana also drove him to harass his wife on a daily basis. Painfully, he recalled one fateful evening when he stumbled home after getting extremely drunk and began beating his wife.

Disciples Who Make Disciples

Andreas Steffensen
May 13, 2019

God makes a way for his children and gives them his favor, no matter how desperate their situation.

In Acts chapter 3, Peter and John are entering the temple, and a lame beggar asks them for money. Peter responds, “I don’t have any silver or gold for you.”

Pause there. This is a very strange response.

In the chapter before, we’re told the believers had everything in common and shared money with any who had need. Surely Peter or John could’ve run down the street and asked for some money to get this poor beggar through the day.

Instead Peter says, “I’ll give you what I have. In the name of Jesus Christ the Nazarene, get up and walk!”

The formerly lame man goes leaping and dancing into the Temple, praising God.

A School for Christ

Rachel Chimits
May 9, 2019

Two church leaders in El Salvador were moved to help the country’s children and build toward a better future.

In 1961, John and Lois Bueno were invited to El Salvador to become the pastors of Centro Evangelistico Church. 

They left their home in California and moved to El Salvador’s capital to start a new life and ministry, hardly guessing the magnitude of the plans God had in store for them. 

The moment their hearts would ignite with a new dream for the ministry would wait until a year after their move. 

The Spark of New Ministry

John was driving home late, and he was tired. It’d been a long day, and he was ready to be home with Lois. Complete dark had fallen, not even a ribbon of pink left on the western horizon.

Sacrificing for Love of the Philippines

Rachel Chimits
May 8, 2019

God gave Maria a task most would have rejected, but she obeyed and has seen great rewards for her faithfulness.

If God asked you to leave your job right now, would you do it?

For many who are their family’s primary breadwinner or barely making ends meet for themselves, this would be an extremely hard question.

Before taking a leap of faith like this, most people would have some serious soul-searching to do in order to make sure that it was genuinely God’s voice they heard.

Either way, it’s a question where some might just respond, “No, I can’t...” 

A Frightening Call

Maria had a good job that offered her benefits and paid well. Unlike nearly a fourth of the Philippines’ population, she was comfortably above the poverty level.

Kenyan Widow Finding Freedom

Rachel Chimits
May 7, 2019

One woman refused to allow tradition to separate her and her grandchildren, and God made a way for them.

A woman in Kenya who has just lost her husband is immediately faced with a terrible choice: To be “cleansed” or not.

A widow in Kenya is generally considered to be at best cursed and at worst a witch. “Cleansing” supposedly frees them from evil magic, or at least from their neighbors’ suspicion and vitriol.

This process can range anywhere from being forced to sleep beside their husband’s dead body for three days all the way to being forced to have sex with a strange man and having their clothes burned.

Multiplying Churches in the Congo

Andreas Steffensen
May 3, 2019

How the belief in change for one man has extending to his entire town and beyond into neighboring villages.

Driving at breakneck speeds down dusty, unpaved roads, we approach a military checkpoint. Our regional coordinator sits in the back of the aging Land Cruiser, his head thumping the roof every time we hit a pothole.

We’re all covered in the fine, red dust ubiquitous in East Africa, but the alternative is closing the A/C-less car’s windows and succumbing to the stifling heat.

Cantina is ahead, a town at the heart of a vast Congolese wilderness teeming with militant groups. Some are former perpetrators of the Rwandan genocide; others are Islamic radicals that fled Uganda.

Compassion’s Light in Kenya

Mark Buzzetta
April 15, 2019

One woman lost everything and turned her loss into blessings for others.

Mathare is the third largest slum in Africa and sixth in the entire world. It is here, though, where God’s love is shining brightly through a lady whom I had the honor of meeting in person.

A Season of Loss

If anyone had reason to give up hope, it should have been Selin. She worked extremely hard, washing clothes to earn about $2 a day. Then her four children became ill and all of them passed away. If that were not enough of a blow, she also lost her husband to AIDS.

How would she respond to this overwhelming devastation in the midst of what many would consider abysmal conditions? It was enough to make anyone feel as if God had turned against them.

The Widows of Guatemala

Rachel Chimits
April 18, 2019

Those who have lost loved ones need extra compassion, and sometimes that love can take very practical forms.

In the United States, there are nearly 14 million widows and widowers, and over 11 million of these are women.

Beatrice Schwartz, a healthcare professional and widow, commented to The Guardian, “The world is not sympathetic to what you’re going through. They don’t give you any time to grieve properly.”

Guardian writer Carla Stockton points out, “The moment a woman is at her most vulnerable, she must make choices that will have an enduring impact on her wellbeing.” Piles of paperwork and legal action face a new widow to make sure assets are taken care of or properly put in her name.

A Man Reborn

Rachel Chimits
April 17, 2019

“The bee is more honored than other animals, not because she labors, but because she labors for others.” —John Chrysostom, "Doctor of the Church"

“Hopeless as a penny with a hole in it.” These were the words of some Kamdini residents to describe Robert Moro as they knew him a few years ago. 

You would be hard-pressed to recognize him anymore based on that description, and these days his neighbors are the ones seeking him out for help.

Survivors of the LRA

In the wake of Joseph Kony’s uprising and the Lord’s Resistance Army’s rampage across Northern Uganda, Robert and his family settled in Kamdini, battered and stripped of almost all their earthly belongings.