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.

EPC WO Director’s Reflection on Ministry | the Reach May 2021

Dear friends,

In one month, I will step down after seven years as Director of World Outreach. I want to reflect here on four developments I’ve seen in our work during that time.
 
Internationalized Church-planting Teams. The EPC World Outreach global workers we send out from North America almost always end up teaming with spiritual brothers and sisters sent out from Latin America, Africa, Asia, and Europe. These relationships are rarely orchestrated from denominational or mission agency headquarters, but rather are organic partnerships that grow as disciple-makers from very different cultures discover each other working on the same task directed by the same Spirit.
 
Second Generation EPC WO Global Workers. By Presbyterian standards EPC World Outreach is relatively young, having sent out its first workers in 1985. But in recent years we have seen adult children (Jackie, Peter, and Josh) from three different EPC WO families return with the EPC into full-cycle church-planting among people with least access to the gospel. With these folks we build on the foundation of decades of the very best preparation for cross-cultural ministry.
 
Repatriated Immigrant Global Workers. The dream of escape to America, the Land of Opportunity, is still very much alive throughout much of the world. Few who have achieved that dream give it up and return to the lands of their birth, but we in EPC World Outreach have several families where at least one spouse fits that description. These families have unusual credibility with neighbors who recognize they are animated by a power greater than material success. Coupling that credibility with a deep understanding of local culture to share the gospel has had a major impact in many cases.
 
National Church Missional Leaders. As World Outreach Director, I receive several requests each week from Christians around the world, asking for “partnership”. Of course, partnership may have many different meanings, but usually these appeals are for funds to carry out ministry in their communities. As important as these ministries are, I routinely turn down such requests to focus our resources and energies on a different kind of partnership. World Outreach has developed close relationships with church leaders in Asia and Africa whose eyes are always on the frontiers of their communities. They look beyond where their churches are, to the neighborhoods, villages, and towns where no churches are. They pray for those places; they go to those places; they train and send people to those places; and EPC WO comes alongside to help them. Our efforts here become magnified and multiplied for a hundred-fold effect.
 
One final note – these developments in World Outreach have been gifts from God through the labors of people other than me. It has been the labors of loving missionary parents which have borne sweet fruit in the lives of our World Outreach MKsa. It has been the faithful service of elders in our presbyteries who nurtured relationships with national church missional leaders in places like Sierra Leone, Ethiopia, Myanmar, Vietnam, Albania, and Russia. It has been EPC pastors who welcomed and befriended immigrant Christians in their congregations, and then encouraged and guided them to be sent back by EPC World Outreach. And it has been our WO global workers who have recognized “God’s team” in the faces of El Salvadoran, Brazilian, Singaporean, Indonesian, Albanian, etc. brothers and sisters and reached out hands to work together.  To all of you, I say thank you for your service to Christ, and for making my work as WO Director a joy.
 
Grace and peace,
Phil Linton, World Outreach Director

Community Life

Annual Report

Click here to read EPC WO’s Annual Report for 2020 for more information on what we were up to this past year: stories from the field, WO by the Numbers, and information on the communities we’re serving overseas. 

WO Workshop

If you’re interested in learning how to foster meaningful relationships with Muslims in your community, we encourage you to take part in EPC WO’s six-week Connecting with Your Muslim Neighbors workshop. Visit our website for more information!

The Reach | Exec. Director Announcement

Dear friends,

On behalf of the World Outreach Executive Director Search Committee, I am pleased to introduce Gabriel de Guia to you as the new Executive Director of EPC World Outreach. Following much prayer and discussion, our nine-member committee unanimously believes Gabriel is who God would have lead World Outreach into the second quarter of this century as its Executive Director.

I hope you will take a few minutes to read the official announcement on the EPC’s news and information channel, www.EPConnection.org. The announcement includes comments from Gabriel and his wife, Rachel, as well as several members of the search committee.

Gabriel comes to World Outreach from Cru, where he has served for the past 26 years. His most recent role was Senior Aid of Development to the Executive Director for the Jesus Film Project, which he has held since 2012. In addition to a variety of other responsibilities at Cru’s headquarters, he served in campus ministry at both Indiana University and Indiana State University from 1996-2002.

As you may know, Cru—formerly Campus Crusade for Christ—is an international ministry founded by Bill and Vonette Bright in 1951 and based in Orlando, where Gabriel and his family are members of the EPC’s First Presbyterian Church of Orlando.

As you have opportunity in the coming weeks and months, please welcome Gabriel to EPC World Outreach. He will be at our 41st General Assembly in June and is excited to meet those of you who will be in Memphis.

Please pray for Gabriel and Rachel as they make the transition to World Outreach in the coming weeks and months!

Rob Liddon
Chairman, World Outreach Executive Director Search Committee
Ruling Elder, Second Presbyterian Church (Memphis, Tennessee)
Moderator, 30th EPC General Assembly

EPC WO Annual Report for 2020 | the Reach April 2021

Dear friends,

We were surprised in 2020. Covid surprised us, and our plans mostly fell apart. But God also surprised us and, in the midst of loss, we saw some amazing things come together. For example, a WO worker in Asia and the Middle East whose mobility was curtailed and couldn’t carry out home medical visits, rejoiced to find young Christian brothers and sisters willing and able to jump in make deliveries. WO theological trainers who had to cancel plans to teach in a Southeast Asian country, retooled the course to teach remotely and saw students immediately pass on what they learned to other leaders. And WO workers in another Asian country who were forced to move their small group Bible studies to Zoom, were thrilled to see participation increase and members who were previously timid blossom.

Covid distancing forced many of our workers into more solitude, more quiet reflection, and more fun family time. It wasn’t what they were aiming for in their goals, but God aimed them there anyway, and we thank him for how deeply it fed their souls. Our thanks also go out to you – the financial supporters of our global workers. At the beginning of the pandemic many predicted that mission agencies’ contribution income would drop by 25%. That was not our experience, as contributions remained steady.

In this Annual Report, you’ll see our attempts to measure what God did in and through World Outreach in 2020. One of the numbers in the report that brings me most joy is the number for Total Weekly Witness you’ll find on page 3. It represents the average number of times each week that the members of our church planting teams brought Jesus into their conversations with not-yet-believers in a way that would invite further spiritual interaction. In the places where many of our people work, this is challenging under normal circumstances. With the distancing and isolation that Covid brought, I expected the number to go down from last year. Instead, it increased – from 242 to 267 times per week!

Most of what we planned for 2020 fell apart but, praise God, everything he planned came together beautifully. I hope this report will help you praise our surprising God.

Grace and peace,

Phil Linton
EPC WO Director

Keeping It Simple | the Reach March 2021

Dear friends,

I recently read a post on the art of leadership. One of the key takeaways for me was this: A good leader breaks down complex goals, issues, problems, etc, and helps people approach them by couching them in simple language or story. Jesus did this for us multiple times in the Gospels. For me the best examples are: the story of the Good Samaritan in Luke 10, and his parables of the Lost Coin, the Lost Sheep and the Lost Son in Luke 15.

Next week our church is sending 16 of us to New Mexico on a short-term mission trip to the Navajo Nation. As mission trips go, this one seems fairly simple from the outside: Cut and deliver wood to the Navajo people for fuel and cooking. However, all mission trips have various layers and levels to them, and this one is no exception.

Since we are already considering a return trip to this area, this trip becomes an exploration of future possibilities: When it comes to the issue of poverty, the needs are endless. Do the people there need a well? Do they need more medical aid? Clothing? Other basic necessities?

Our trip is also a team venture: Great friendships can be built on a mission trip, so long as everyone keeps their ego in check, stays flexible and trusts the Lord to lead. This is a crucial facet of a trip.

We are hoping and praying for opportunities to meet and share Christ with the Navajo people. So our adventure is primarily spiritual and relational in nature. And when we open our hearts to love God’s children, we also open the door to whatever kinds of changes he wants to bring about in our own hearts so that we grow in Christ.

Yes, many layers and levels…but let’s do our best to keep things simple.

Here are my three goals for our group on this trip:

  1. Give all the credit to God
  2. Develop a heart for our neighbors across the world
  3. Develop a heart for our neighbors across the street

Give all the credit to God: Like I said, we keep our egos in check and make sure we are doing what we are doing in order to honor and glorify God, not ourselves. Corollary to this idea: Don’t mess up the work that the resident missionaries are already doing. It’s not about you; it’s not about our group. It is about helping cross-cultural workers do what God has called them to do.

Develop a heart for our neighbors across the world: It is easy not to care about people who live far away in another world. And yet the Uyghur people in northwest China are currently enduring a holocaust situation; the country of Myanmar is suffering yet another military junta; Christians around the world are being persecuted now more than ever in the history of the world. Hebrews 13:3 reminds us: Continue to remember those in prison as if you were together with them in prison, and those who are mistreated as if you yourselves were suffering. At the very least we are to remember and pray for our neighbors far away. And at most we do our best to go to them and love them in the name of Christ.

Develop a heart for our neighbors across the street: My sincere hope in taking people to Haiti, to North Macedonia, to New Mexico, or wherever, is for each of us to see the needs in our own community more clearly upon our return; and more importantly, to create ways to engage ourselves and our churches to meet the various kinds of needs we encounter. And most importantly, that we will help all our neighbors understand Goal #1God gets the credit for our work, for their lives, for salvation, for grace, for all that is good; for without him, his leadership, his Holy Spirit, his movement, we are lifeless and can do nothing. On the other hand, as the Gospel of John says: “… anybody who is living by the truth will come to the light to make it plain that all he has done has been done through God” (John 3:21).

May the Lord lift the pandemic and, more importantly, open our eyes to our neighbors across the street and across the world.

Written by Brad, an EPC Pastor

Community Life

World Outreach Workshop

Develop a heart for the Muslim communities in your neighborhood and learn how you can share the love of Christ. Starting April 5, World Outreach is offering a workshop on connecting with your Muslim neighbors. To register or learn more, visit us online.

Pray for the Rohingya

Using these prayer cards, you can pray for the Rohingya in Bangladesh and Myanmar, that these unreached communities may know the love of Christ.

Minister to Rohingya

EPC World Outreach global workers minister and serve the Rohingya population in South Asia. Contributions to Field Project 611 go directly to serving this unreached people group, and showing the love of Christ.