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!

Bringing Jesus to Work | the Reach February 2021

Dear friends,

We live in a region of the world where less than 1% follow Jesus and hostility towards Christ has grown over the years. When we answered God’s call to move to this area, *Nick and I realized his business background could open doors for great kingdom impact. So, we started businesses. Our most recent business (a software development company) has made a great impact on our local community.  We run an authentic, profit-making business that follows local laws, provides employment in a safe environment, and gives us great opportunities to share Christ’s love. 
 
We’ve been able to create a culture of prayer and faith within the walls of our office through staff family retreats where Biblical lessons are taught, seminars where staff hear the Gospel, and Bible studies with those who are interested. The painstaking work of building a business with a solid reputation has borne fruit by giving us many strong relationships in our community, and we’ve used our profits to sponsor school scholarships, help defray medical expenses, and support a home that rescues girls from human trafficking. 
 
As we’ve followed the Lord here through the years, we have seen a few people come to faith in Jesus, and many others start a journey toward Him. Meiling, one of our staff members, is a good example of the latter.  With our encouragement, he has been reading the Bible for years. We (and other believers in the office) have shared God’s word and answered his many questions. Meiling says he is very close to following Jesus but … his family would oppose him and, in such a group-oriented culture, this is a huge decision. Meiling knows the gospel but isn’t quite ready to fully embrace Jesus because of the societal impact it will have on him. Please pray for Meiling.
 
Despite challenges over the years, God has been faithful and has given us a long-term perspective, and the encouragement of steadfast partners who faithfully give, pray, and visit us. Our business has been much more than a tool to live in our country; it has been a strategic vehicle to live out the principles of God’s kingdom and reach people with the love of Christ. 
 
There are many businesses around the world like ours that are looking for people to serve in this work, bringing joy and hope to places where Jesus is not yet known. Would you consider using your professional skills, along with your desire to see God’s name glorified where He is least known, by joining a business like this short or long term? A great place to start is where you are right now. Take up the Business As Mission challenge of intentionally bringing Jesus to work with you – showing and telling the gospel of God’s kingdom to your colleagues and clients.

*Names changed to for safety and security. 

By World Outreach global workers

Community Life

What is Business as Mission?

Curious what Business as Mission is all about? Read this introductory article on living out the commands of Jesus in your office, whether in your neighborhood or on the field.

Support IBAM Workers

If you would like to support WO IBAM workers as they share their faith and model life as disciples of Christ to their employees and customers as bi-vocational, business professionals, click here. To learn more about their ministry, email World Outreach!

World Outreach IBAM Project

Support World Outreach’s IBAM Project as we develop business services for WO church-planters, mobilize future global workers, and engage EPC business people as active Great Commission participants. Questions about WO’s International Business as Mission project? Contact John, IBAM Coordinator. 

God’s Promise in to His People | November 2020

Dear friends,

 
 

Earlier this month, I received a cryptic text from our national translator, Jake, telling me he would be late for our scheduled call.  But it was only when I talked with him the following day that I discovered the grave danger he had been in. 

While he was at the local university visiting his brother, a medical student, three gunmen from a radical religious group attacked the campus and killed 22 students. Jake, his brother, and a number of other students hid in a basement room.  As a new father, Jake was acutely aware of his wife and child and their vulnerability if something happened to him. But he realized the students around him were trembling with fear and were without hope. So Jake stood up in the room and said he was going to pray for everyone’s safety (not in the usual Islamic way but extemporaneously in his own language). It was after that prayer he sent me his text.

About an hour later they were told that the area was secure.  As they left, many of the students thanked Jake for his prayer for safety. But Jake’s brother was angry at him for praying so boldly and visibly as a Christian. Jake was still shaken when he connected online with me the next day and asked for help to get out of the country. Why were we doing nothing for them except praying?!

I understood Jake’s anguish.  We do cry out to God daily asking him to give our teammates and their children a peaceful life (1 Timothy 2:2).  We pray for peace, but strangely God sometimes does not rescue his people out of dangerous places or conflict zones. Instead he sends them there! Yet He promises to always live with his people. I reminded Jake that God sent our son back into the country after he completed university in the States, and that we too have experienced the pain of losing more than twenty co-workers and friends due to the violence in this country. 

So, after some more talking and prayer online, Jake and I got back to the work at hand, which that day happened to be in Titus. A few days later the in-country team decided to meet weekly with their wives for worship, (alongside of the days the men meet for translation checking). In part they decided to follow the principle in Titus that older women should be teaching the younger women in matters of faith and practice. What a beautiful Bible application immediately in the lives of the translators! We praise God that the team is coming together even more than before in these difficult times.

Field story from two World Outreach workers on a Bible translation team. Names and locations have been changed for their safety. 

 

Community Life

Translation Project

If you would like to support the workers above in their ministry of Bible translation, we encourage you to give by clicking here. When filling out the donation form, make sure to do so indicating the Field Project Fund #296

In Search of the Source - Neil Anderson

For another look into the work of translating the Good News, read In Search of the Source: A First Encounter with God’s Word. You’ll get a glimpse into the lives of Neil and Carol Anderson as they work to translate the Word into the language of the Folopa people of Papua New Guinea.

Why Bible Translation?

Curious why translation of the Bible is so important? Watch this two-minute video by Wycliffe to understand how crucial this work is, and the urgent need for it. 

One Flock, One Shepherd | October 2020

“And I have other sheep that are not of this fold. I must bring them also, and they will listen to my voice. So there will be one flock, one shepherd.”
John 10:16

Dear friends,

Living in a country that holds one of the largest Muslim populations can be daunting, but the Great Shepherd has other sheep that are not currently of His fold.  After joining World Outreach two years ago, we moved to our city of a million people, and saw no one reaching out to the Muslim community. No Christians in our city had seen any Muslim come to Christ.  We began befriending and interacting with Muslims, while training local pastors and youth to do the same. This task can be laden with challenges, but we have seen fruit from this kingdom work and wanted to share two testimonies with you, showing the ways God has revealed himself and save our Muslim neighbors.

The King Cobra is considered one of the most poisonous snakes in the world; many in this country die every year from its bite. One night our believing friend, Nadia*, woke up to a hissing sound. She saw a cobra wrapped around the neck of her daughter, Mirai*, viciously biting. Nadia got up quickly and rebuked the snake in the name of Jesus, unraveling it with a stick until it left. After praying together, she and her family went to bed. The cobra bit Mirai six times. By any accounts, this should have killed or dangerously hurt her. But thanks to the grace of God, Mirai was spared – not even needing medical assistance. What a wonderful testimony Nadia has to Jesus’ power to save!

God is doing wonderful things in the house church we recently started.  In doing home visits with a family, we met Aanya*, their daughter.  She had been tormented by an evil spirit for months. She would see troubling things whenever she tried to sleep, and had horrible dreams. Desperate for help, Aanya’s mother and grandmother had taken her to a Muslim Imam, but that  only made her sufferings worse.

As we visited in the home and prayed for Aanya’s healing, God broke through! She is 90% better now, and continues dramatic improvement. She and her uncle put their trust in Jesus, and the other family members are very close to fully committing their lives to God!

These are just two testimonies of how God is moving in the lives of Muslims. The LORD Jesus is calling out to this other flock, through us, and they are listening to His voice.  We’ve seen this fruit in both long-term and short-term missions’ trips – in the States and abroad. Therefore, our challenge for you is to pray for Muslims every day and find a Muslim community near you to share the love of Christ with. How you can participate with God and other believers in this kingdom work to call those that are not yet part of the fold?

*names changed

 
Written by EPC WO global workers, R & S

Community Life

Support R and S

If you or your church would like to support R and S in their ministry, you can learn more and give online here. For additional information about their work, please email us!

WO Workshop

Take R and S’s challenge to heart and learn more about Muslim communities in your area and how you can share the love of Christ. Starting in November, World Outreach is offering a workshop on connecting with your Muslim neighbors. To learn more, visit us online.

And the Word Came with Power

If the stories above of of God’s providence captured your interest, we’d encourage you to read this story about a missionary working with the Balangao people as they engage in a spiritual battle. 

I Can Only Imagine: Rocky’s Story | September 2020

Dear friends,

 
 
 

This is Rocky’s story. It’s a story of joy and delight, followed by horror and sadness, and then an unfolding of the goodness of God in a way I could not have dreamed.

Imagine crowded buildings, where one can only see cracks of light through the walls and roofs above; of groups of dadhi walas (bearded ones) in long white robes and topis (skull caps), and of women clothed all in black with only their eyes showing; and other women wearing shalwar kameez (baggy pants and tunic), flashing blues, reds, pinks, and all hues as they wander down the street; of roaming goats, scooters, bikes, and carts loaded with vegetables or fruit to sell. And through it all the sounds of running children, honking horns, and echoing calls to prayer reverberating from mosque to mosque. This is where I live, and this is where I first met Rocky and his family a few years ago.

I wish you could meet Rocky, beaming smile, infectious spirit, and an absolute lover of Jesus. He became a follower of Jesus about two and a half years ago (was baptized with a bucket from our bathroom!)… and then, in the grip of mental illness, unresolved trauma triggers, and following a medication switch, committed a terrible murder and went to prison.

It is hard to put into words those dark days — trying to manage the police investigation, helping his grieving and terrified family, and somehow avoiding the journalists flooding the area. I thought his life was over — such a promising young man with his life destroyed. And the one who was murdered — the grief of a life ended too early. Rock’s older brother told his sister, the only girl of the family, to take poison, because surely the family of the victim would seek retribution. Instead, she came and lived with me and my teammates for the rest of the year.

Two weeks before this crime, Rocky sat in my living room, fearing he would hurt someone, having tried to commit suicide. We took him seriously, but with no mental hospitals accessible at that time, we didn’t know where to turn for help. Despite being in South Asia, in a mega city of thirty million, this was a village with family feuds that went back generations. All my training on strategies and church planting, of sharing my faith with others, my training in discipleship, and those seminars in spiritual warfare, none of it quite prepared me for this. Even growing up (as I had) in the Muslim world had not prepared me for this! These were dark and grim days.

But it wasn’t the end of the story. As in the gospel, the story doesn’t end with a life taken, and a life destroyed.

 

Rocky turned himself in to the police and went to prison. He took full responsibility for what he had done and said he was willing to face whatever punishment was decided, even knowing the death penalty was a possibility. About a month after going to prison, Rocky had a dream where the person he murdered appeared to him and said, “I forgive you.” In that moment he felt God’s forgiveness washing over him. He began meeting with other young men and teaching them what he had learned about Jesus. We were able to smuggle in some Bibles through a Christian NGO that visited the prisons. Eventually, my teammates were able to visit him; he would mention the scriptures every time, hungry for the Word of God. He was granted access to the music room in the prison where he was able to practice piano and guitar.

Somehow this prison, where he struggles to get enough food to eat and faces constant threats of violence, has become a better place for him than where he grew up. It has given him opportunities and a place to mature in the Lord. He continues to lead a group of young men that numbers seventy and continues to grow.

I have never met someone who devoured the Word with more hunger. Before we left the country this past winter, he smuggled a gift out of prison for all of us: a beautiful letter thanking us for our love and sending us his love, his copybook filled with handwritten scripture.

I share this story not to prescribe a way to do ministry. In fact, what strikes me again and again is the messiness of it all — all the mistakes. But, in spite of the craziness, all the sin and brokenness, I see God’s grace all over Rocky’s story. May that divine grace and glory and love continue to pour out over Rocky and the many others we all may come alongside.

In the words of Paul, “For God, who said, ‘Let light shine out of darkness,’ made his light shine in our hearts to give us the light of the knowledge of God’s glory displayed in the face of Christ. But we have this treasure in jars of clay to show that this all-surpassing power is from God and not from us. We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed. We always carry around in our body the death of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus may be revealed in our body. For we who are alive are always being given over to death for Jesus’ sake, so that his life may also be revealed in our mortal body. So then, death is at work in us, but life is at work in you.”

 
A year ago, the prison had a huge gathering when a famous Bollywood star came to visit; the top warden asked Rocky to sing to an assembly of thousands of prisoners, the Bollywood guest, and the leaders of the prison. Rocky stood in front of them and sang, in English, one of his very favorite songs: the Christian song by MercyMe, “I Can Only Imagine,” along with some other worship songs in Urdu. How powerful it is, to know these songs were sung out to Jesus in front of thousands of prisoners.
 
Written by an EPC WO global worker
 
 

Community Life

Let the Nations Be Glad

Piper conveys a strong foundation for the need for missions in his book, Let the Nations Be Glad. This is a good read for anyone preparing for missions work or looking to see how they can bridge their work to God’s purpose. You can read an except here, or buy the book here.

Seeking Allah, Finding Jesus

Read the story of Nabeel Qureshi’s journey from Islam to Christianity, and the struggle in between, in his book Seeking Allah, Finding Jesus: A Devout Muslim Encounters Christianity. 

Perspectives

Take a Perspectives class and learn about God’s mission, how the global Church has responded, and what the greatest needs in the world of evangelization are today – and how you can be a part of God’s story as he redeems people from the nations to himself.