Walking With Those Seeking Refuge | the Reach September 2021

Dear friends,

It took five long, lonely years before Fatima*, an Afghan mother of five, could finally embrace her husband, Sayyid, again. During their escape from their war-ravaged country, Sayyid was shot in the hip by the border police and unable to make the exhausting journey across Turkey and the Mediterranean Sea. Sarah and Andrew – WO global workers – met and befriended Fatima when she arrived with her children at a camp near their town.

During those five years, the family began to change: feeling the freeing effects of a European culture originally based, in part, on biblical ideas. Sarah has had numerous opportunities to pray with Fatima for the safe return of Sayyid, for healing (both are severe diabetics), and the insurmountable paperwork. In response to life questions from their children, Sarah and Andrew have also furnished them two Bibles in their own language. 

Several weeks ago, after a perfunctory tea and Sayyid stepping out of the room, Fatima boldly proclaimed her opinion that Westerners have better ‘hearts’ than Muslims. Andrew disagreed with her, saying that all hearts are evil apart from God’s saving work. 

The challenge with our ‘cousins’ is to move their eyes away from works and religion to issues of the heart, and free grace in Jesus. For this reason, this conversation was a breakthrough moment for Fatima. 

It is a joy and privilege for Andrew and Sarah to walk alongside Fatima, Sayyid, and their family on their journey of integration into a new culture, but also their journey into an encounter with the triune living God through His people. 

There are many other displaced people who share similar stories. Since 2016, Andrew and Sarah have met and worked primarily with Syrians, Afghans, Iranians, and Iraqis – some of whom have become like family. As the horrific events unfolded in Afghanistan last month, they received a voice message from Fatima saying that her family had spent the whole last week weeping over the destruction of their country and friends and family in harm’s way. 

Please join us in prayer for Fatima and Sayyid, and so many other Afghan families alike. 

*Names changed for security of our workers and those they work with.

Written by WO global workers, A & S, serving with refugees in Europe.

Community Life

Serve Afghan Refugees

We’ve assembled resources for you and your congregation to serve, learn, give, and pray for Afghanistan and Afghan refugees. Click the button below to access this list of resources online. Or click here for a printable pdf.

Support A & S

If A and S’s ministry resonates with you, we encourage you to consider supporting them as they serve refugees in Europe. For even more information on their work, please email us.

WO Webinar

Last month, we were able to host a webinar around the current situation in Afghanistan and how we can respond in our own communities, as followers of Jesus. If you would like access to the webinar, please email us.

Caring for Our Afghan Neighbors – Here and Abroad | the Reach August 2021

Dear friends,

For many, these days are full of sleepless nights with anxious hearts. Whether it is the constant threat of a virus which much of the world is unprotected from, a disastrous earthquake in Haiti,  wild fires that are unceasing, or the fall of a government and the rise of another,  we recognize that we are experiencing a broken world. At the root of all of the calamities there is also the Christian hope that one day we have One who is making all things right. However, that redeemed Kingdom is not only far off, but also very ever present in the here and now. We are promised that the LORD who does not slumber, who made all of creation and is recreating it in the image of His son, will bend His ear to His people. If you missed it earlier this week, please watch this link for a call to prayer from Dean and Gabriel.  

Additionally, World Outreach wanted to give specific ways for our people to be praying for the situation in Afghanistan. You’ll see those prayer points below from one of our workers who is intimately involved in that region and among those people. We also ask you to join us next week for a zoom meeting to help answer how we respond as followers of Jesus to Afghanistan’s needs and particularly the refugees coming to the US. If you’d like to connect with your Muslim neighbors (including Afghan refugees in your community), we invite you to also join our workshop taking place in September. 

Let us lift our eyes and our mouths to the LORD, for it is in Him that our help comes.

  1. Peace of heart. Too many people are crowding the airport and making rash decisions, including believers albeit they have reason for concern. God is in control and has higher authority than Taliban. 
  2. Relief to internally displaced people. Thousands of Afghans fled their homes to flock to Kabul only to get caught there now but they are without much food, water or money. No one is there to help them that we know about. 
  3. Civil government. God ordains rulers and kings. The new rulers have the task of running a civil government and society that is stable and peaceful. Even if it is along lines we do not prefer, such laws have not stopped the Church in the past nor will it now. 
  4. Protection from fear and boldness of believers. Evacuation is not the best route for every believer nor all Afghans. Looking to the West has become an idol. God is able to protect them and make the Good News to those around them now and protect them even unto death. 
  5. Opportunity for Christian workers to Afghanistan. Once there is order there will be a huge need for humanitarian/Christian aid organizations to return. We worked under them before and will likely do so again.  
  6. God’s Kingdom to come to Afghanistan. There are no human solutions. Not armies, nor money nor training, etc. have been able to change their hearts, the real root of the problem. Only God can do that through Jesus.

Only God | the Reach July 2021

Dear new friends!

This is my inaugural contribution to the Reach and with just five weeks under my belt as executive director of World Outreach, many “firsts” have taken place surfacing three repeating themes: Thankfulness, Calling, and Together.
 
My first order of business was to attend General Assembly in Memphis, TN last month. My wife, Rachel, and I loved immersing ourselves in a multitude of introductions on stage and off that week. To be physically surrounded by heaven’s ambassadors, those who love the Lord and are passionately committed to building His kingdom drew our hearts to a deeper place of thankfulness, confirmation, and worship. In this age of COVID and clouds of uncertainty constantly hovering, moments to be together are a true gift that we no longer can take for granted. Thank you to Second Presbyterian for hosting so well, the office of the General Assembly staff, and all the volunteers and officers for making our first GA a time of great blessing. A special thanks to the worship team for ushering us onto holy ground, lifting our eyes and hearts to Jesus with profound artful excellence that had Rachel and I wiping tears away every session. With this GA headlined by significant transitions the importance of God’s calling was heavily underscored in my mind, both our calling to follow Jesus and also our calling in how we serve Him. Listening to the many highlighted, divine moments of Jeff Jeremiah’s tenure prompted a recurring echo in me, “Only God.” Only God could know how Jeff’s experiences, gifts and talents would be utilized to meet the needs of the EPC so specifically.
 
Whether it was praising God for His work in and through Jeff, witnessing the vows being taken by Dean Weaver, the commissioning of seven new World Outreach workers, hearing the faith testimony of a new pastor during a “chance” lunch under the tent, or even examining my own calling and presence at GA, the same phrase reverberated again and again, “Only God.” Only God could orchestrate all of this. Only God would call me here. Only God would call all of us to worship and serve together side by side.

Global Huddles
Though we had the privilege of meeting some of our global workers at GA, many could not attend. So two weeks ago Rachel and I had the joy of meeting many more for the first time during July’s “Global Huddle,” a quarterly virtual gathering, where we had a chance to visit face to face by computer. To accommodate our global workers in different time zones we held six Zoom gatherings starting at 6am and ended after 10pm:

  • South Asia
  • Central Asia
  • Middle East & Africa
  • Europe
  • East Asia
  • South East Asia

Listening to the trials and triumphs of our workers serving in sensitive areas of the world fills us with gratitude, awe, and reflexively drops us to our knees in prayer to praise God for what He’s doing and intercede for changes and transformation only He can make.

We continue to be impressed with the ministry and reach World Outreach has had to this point. The quality, depth and wisdom of the people who have made World Outreach what it is today, is a testimony that again, rings the response, “Only God.” Seeking to steward the ministry forward in the best way possible will require a lot of learning for me as a newcomer. Toward that end I openly invite your input. I’m eager to meet with you, pastors and mission leaders, to get to know you, your ministry and how I and World Outreach can serve you best.

I am thrilled to serve together with you toward the fulfillment of the Great Commission in this new season, to stand together with one spirit and one purpose, and fight together for the faith, which is the Good News.

Grateful to link arms with you,

Gabriel de Guia
Executive Director of World Outreach

 

“Above all, you must live as citizens of heaven, conducting yourselves in a manner worthy of the Good News about Christ. Then, whether I come and see you again or only hear about you, I will know that you are standing together with one spirit and one purpose, fighting together for the faith, which is the Good News.”
Philippians 1:27

Community Life

World Outreach at General Assembly

If you missed out on World Outreach events at General Assembly, you can still catch some of them online! Spend some time in the Word with former director, Phil Linton; catch the World Outreach Report to General Assembly; watch the World Outreach Banquet, and listen to the Israel of God Leadership Institute workshop. Email us to receive more information about the global workers appointed there! 

Executive Director: Gabriel de Guia

Interested in getting to know World Outreach’s new Executive Director? Check out this article from EPConnection for more information on his past ministry experience, the de Guia family, and the confirmation of God’s call to this position. You can also email us to receive a link to the de Guia’s Network Lunch at General Assembly.

Pray for Our Global Workers!

Prayer is one of the most important ways we can support global workers as they share the love of Christ to those that have not heard. If you feel led to pray for our workers, we encourage you to join the EPC World Outreach Missionary Prayer Network (MPN). Click here to learn more about the MPN and sign up to become a prayer intercessor.

Afghanistan: Crisis and Opportunity – How Your Church Can Repond

Dear friends,

Last week, we were able to host a webinar around the current situation in Afghanistan and how we can respond as followers of Jesus. A big thank you to everyone who was able to register and attend. We’re so grateful for the care and concern shown for our Afghan neighbors, here and abroad, and appreciate your desire to help – both in action and in showing the love of Christ. We have heard from many of you who weren’t able to attend asking about ways to help and pray. To that end, we wanted to make both the webinar and the resources discussed available to our broader World Outreach family. To request the webinar, simply click below to email us. 

Psalm 121 reminds us that our God is in control and calls the church to respond in love. Below are resources listing different ways to serve, learn, pray, and give to aid those most impacted by the crisis. We encourage you to prayerfully consider the ways in which you can respond in love.

Resettlement Agencies – There are nine national resettlement agencies and additional local ones. Look up the resettlement agencies in your town or state at the following link. Here is a wonderful video that helps show the power of being part of the Welcome Team that welcomes new refugees. Remember that using google translate can be helpful once serving among new neighbors or using the tarjimly app

World Relief Sacramento Area Host Homes –  If you live in Sacramento, you have the valuable opportunity to become a host home and offer a safe place for newly arrived refugees. Click here for more information and to apply.

Advocacy – Advocate for refugees and asylum-seekers, including vulnerable Afghans, by getting in touch with your elected officials. Document Templates are available here! 

WO Connecting with Your Muslim Neighbor Workshop – WO offers a 6-week course for individuals interested in learning how to foster and create meaningful, ongoing relationships with Muslims in your communities or in nearby communities. To learn more about this workshop, and how to register online, click here

Seminary Course – A 15-week class titled Perceiving God in Islam and ChristianityThe course will be offered online through the Lillias Trotter Center and Wesley Biblical Seminary. We will be considering how vital God’s relational (Trinitarian) nature is to every aspect of our faith. We’ll also compare that with the Islamic view of Allah as a mono-personal god. Please join us in prayer that we will be strengthened and encouraged to share Christ’s gospel with Muslims more effectively.

View and share World Relief’s slides from the webinar. If you have more questions, please feel free to email Heather, with World Relief.

Read Loving Your Muslim Neighbora book by EPC WO global workers on how to become compassionate and courageous witnesses to Muslims in your community.

Care for our Afghan neighbors financially by giving to these funds: 

Use the 7 Areas of Prayer for Afghanistan pdf, detailing the many ways we can be praying for our Afghan neighbors, global workers, and the country as a whole, in this time of immense conflict. We encourage you to use this in your individual prayers, with your family, and in your congregations.

2 Corinthians 5:14 reminds us that the love of Christ compels us – in all things – and most assuredly in the care and support we show to our Afghan neighbors. Watch this video to see a loving testament to that call, and consider the ways in which you can show the love of Christ to Afghan refugees through the resources listed above. 

EduNations | the Reach June 2021

Dear friends,

Some of you may be familiar with the work of EduNations – we ignite hope by providing free, quality education to children in remote communities of Sierra Leone. In addition to building schools, EduNations works to ignite lasting, eternal hope by partnering with the Sierra Leone EPC to reach and raise up believers in Christ.

Many first-generation believers have been born out of students attending our schools and being introduced to the gospel for the first time. This past year, EduNations took a big step forward in igniting hope for students physically, mentally and spiritually. In January 2021, we opened our first senior secondary boarding school in one of the remote communities. Roughly 130 students are receiving a free, quality high school education while living in dormitories on campus and receiving three meals each day. Prior to this, EduNations students who had passed the national Basic Certificate Exams after junior secondary school (middle school) simply had nowhere to go to further their education. Now, students from all villages will have the chance to complete an undergraduate education in a safe, Christian environment. We have an invaluable and timely opportunity to make an impact on students’ lives, as all of them are entering an age where they can really make their faith their own.

This fall, we will be adding another class to our high school, which will effectively double our number of boarding students. Many of these students are waiting with great anticipation to finally be able to attend the Senior Secondary Boarding School. The school’s reputation precedes it, as students have heard many good things about it from older siblings and friends. Over this past year, some of the most common things that our boarding students have been excited about include eating 3 meals each day and having a bed of their very own (two luxuries that most students did not have prior to attending the boarding school). One of our boarding students exclaimed, “This is my first time of sleeping on a bed alone! Oh, what a joy!” Another said, “This is the best food I have EVER eaten! I will not go for vacation again.”

We are so blessed with the opportunity to experience the joy of these students as they experience these “luxuries” for the first time. Even more so, we look forward to seeing how these students, who are for the first time in their lives distanced from the direct Islamic influence of their parents, will be impacted spiritually as they are introduced to the gospel and discipled in their young and growing faith.

As we prepare this summer for bringing on another 140 boarding students this fall, would you consider giving so that each of our new students will be supplied with a mattress to sleep on and three hot meals each day? To give, click here and select Donate to our most pressing need”. You can also consider sponsoring a student, which provides you with the opportunity to support and connect with a specific child.

To learn more about our work in Sierra Leone, sign up for our monthly e-newsletter. And most importantly, please commit to praying for each of our senior secondary school students, that they would feel the love of Christ and come to know him as their personal Lord and Savior.

Thank you!

Written by Samuel Sesay, President of EduNations

Community Life

Be a Healthy Missions Partner

This article by Andy Johnson will not only suggest six principles for you and your church to consider, as you partner with global workers, but give practical application to put these principles into action.

Support EduNations

EduNations creates self-supporting schools in Sierra Leone, caring for the physical, spiritual, and emotional health of their students. If you feel led to aid them in this goal, please consider giving to their most pressing needs, or sponsoring a student

EduNations Annual Report

Read the EduNations 2020 Annual Report to learn more about EduNations, the fantastic work they do, and how they’ve persevered through COVID.