Sharing Christ’s Love through Word & Deed | the Reach February 2024

Dear Friends,

The smell of unwashed bodies in too-close quarters filled the room. Elena* lay with her child pressed close to her, trying to surrender to the sleep she so desperately needed. She swallowed the lump in her throat, barely keeping her head above the despair that threatened to drown her. She was in a foreign country, sharing a one-room apartment with five other families, and uncertain if her husband was going to return to her. Her thoughts fixed on her urgent need to find employment and a new place to live.

It was in this condition that Elena connected with the GROW center from the Philemon Project, an early childhood development and adult mentoring program in the Middle East. Elena had no one else to turn to, but in her time of need, the group of women who ran the GROW center came alongside her in support and love.

Over the next several months, while her child was safely cared for and fed each day at the GROW center, Elena was able to find a stable job and safe housing for her and her child. Her husband did return, and they established a new life as a family. She felt that the women from the Philemon Project were the only ones to help when she had no other options. Because of the Christ-like love of these women and their faithful prayers, Elena also decided to follow Jesus.

This was just one story shared at the annual gathering of U.S. World Outreach workers in early February. The gathering was a time for fellowship, worship, and sharing the stories of what God is doing around the world.

As I sat there listening to this story, I couldn’t help but think about the practical love the women from the GROW center showed Elena and the eternal impact it will have. Elena had tangible and urgent needs, and the GROW center stood in the gap as she found her footing in a new environment.

The mission and work of the GROW center and the Philemon Project align with World Outreach’s five Strategic Priorities:

  1. Prayer
  2. Least Access Peoples
  3. Partnership & Sending
  4. Word & Deed
  5. Church Engagement

Read more about these here.

Elena’s story is a beautiful example of the Word & Deed priority. The church is called to a holistic approach to making disciples – we cannot be effective in ministry without caring for the physical, mental, and spiritual wellbeing of those we serve. The gospel is proclaimed by words and lived out through actions.

Those running the GROW center know this. They are not simply providing daycare, they are teaching and nurturing these children, and by extension, these families. Their care is life changing for the entire family, and this is just as important in reaching people for Jesus as teaching His word.

Loving your neighbor does not require special training or education – it requires a servant’s attitude and an infectious love for Jesus. How can you carry out the Great Commission in Word & Deed as you go about your day-to-day?

*names changed for privacy and security purposes

Upcoming Opportunities for You and Your Congregation

Pray for WO Workers

Join the EPC World Outreach Prayer Network to care for our workers through intercession. To join the network, click here.

Support WO Workers

Support the GROW Center here. Otherwise click the SUPPORT button for the WO worker support landing page.

Partner with WO

There are many ways you can partner with World Outreach! Learn more by clicking here.

Doing the Work to Love Your Neighbor | the Reach January 2024

Dear Friends,

Happy New Year! It is amazing that another year has come and gone. The start of a new year is a time when many of us reflect on the past year, and plan for the year ahead. Somewhere in there, we usually set goals. For our World Outreach workers, especially those new to the field or in a new location, learning the language of the people they serve is one of their primary goals. Paul and Jackie, World Outreach workers located in Central Asia, launched into the field in the summer of 2023, and share their experience entering a new culture and learning a new language.

Саламатсызбы! Кандайсыз? (“Hello! How are you?”) 
Language-learning is a vital part of life and work overseas. As an adult, language-learning is exciting, frustrating, overwhelming, time-consuming, humbling, and so much more! When I am just beginning my study of a new language, I am often torn between being excited that I know how to say any words at all and frustrated with how much there is still to learn. For example, in our first month learning a new Central Asian language, my husband and I traveled to a local bazaar, where I diligently practiced the phrases I had memorized that morning.
              “Where are these apples from?” I asked. “How much for one kilogram?”
              The shopkeepers answered with an incomprehensible stream of words that were so much faster than the ones on my audio file and sounded nothing like the numbers I had practiced with my language teacher! I ended up with five dried apricots instead of a kilogram of apples and had to show the shopkeepers my bills to have them point out the correct amount I owed (doubtless giving themselves a nice tip for their time!). I counted it as a win, though, because making mistakes is part of the process.
              When learning a new language, I generally find that the first few months are the most difficult. I can barely string together a sentence, and I don’t yet know enough words to understand dialogue or read children’s books. However, with commitment and perseverance, around the four-to-six-month mark something remarkable happens. The incomprehensible sounds all around me start to sound like words! I can communicate in simple sentences. The phrases I use all the time start feeling more natural. Though you never “finish” learning a language (and I continue to make mistakes in languages I have spoken for 20 years!) the first year is certainly the most important.
              Even with all the silly and often embarrassing mistakes that are a natural part of language-learning, it is hard to overstate its importance. The look on people’s faces when they hear that the foreigners are taking time to study their language – instead of forcing our local friends to learn our language – shows that they feel loved by our choices. There are theological implications of language-learning as well. Christ humbled Himself for us, putting on flesh and becoming man to make a way for us to be with the Father. As His followers, we are also called to humble ourselves, and be willing to dedicate hours, months, and years to the pursuit of a new language as we seek to make His love known to the nations. No matter where we live or what we do, we can imitate Christ by seeking to understand those who are different from us!

For many of us in the states, we are probably not going to need to learn a new language in order to love our neighbors, but the call to love our neighbors remains. There are 3.2 billion people in the world with no access to the gospel, a body of believers, or a bible in their own language—we all have a part to play in fulfilling the Great Commission. Who in your community might have little access to the gospel? Are you willing to risk loving those different from you who are right next door?

World Outreach Community Spotlight

Miriam Seaver, a former World Outreach administrative assistant in the Michigan office, entered the Church Triumphant on December 7 after a fight with cancer.  Miriam was 68 years old. We feel sorrow at the passing of a dear sister in faith while we claim the hope of heaven.

Miriam was directed by her faith. She was an outstanding example of living with a purpose. Many of our World Outreach workers will remember Miriam from her years as World Outreach Assistant in the Office of the General Assembly. Prior to her time with World Outreach, Miriam taught ESL at Birzeit University in Ramallah on the West Bank. At age 50 she decided to return to the region to use her remaining working years for further Bible translation with Wycliffe. Her team created materials for a regional auditory people group. Seventeen years later she transferred to a sister organization, Canada Institute of Linguistics near Vancouver BC, preparing the next generation of translators.

The EPC WO family will miss her, but we are so grateful for the years she was part of our lives. May we consider well like Miriam how we use the “dash” the Lord gives us between being born and dying.

A celebration of her life is tentatively planned for spring. Memorials may be given to the Palestinian Bible Society that she worked with while in the Middle East.

Cards can be sent to the family through her sister Judi Seaver: PO Box 335 Fort Calhoun NE 68023 or to

Upcoming Opportunities for You and Your Congregation

Pray for WO Workers

Join the EPC World Outreach Prayer Network to care for our workers through intercession. To join the network, click here.

Support WO Workers

Find Paul and Jackie’s individual support page here. Otherwise click the SUPPORT button for the WO worker support landing page.

Partner with WO

There are many ways you can partner with World Outreach! Learn more by clicking here.

Serving the Lord Reaching the Unreached | the Reach November 2023

Dear friends,

Dave and Mindy, after eight fruitful years of serving as World Outreach mobilizers, recruiting and coaching more than 20 people for the mission field, will transition into retirement and continue serving with World Outreach as Mission Assistants (volunteers). Their time with World Outreach has been their greatest ministry venture. Although Dave was an EPC local church pastor for more than 25 years, this was the first time that they were true equals in ministry. They have learned to appreciate each other’s strengths and compensate for each other’s weaknesses.

Here is one story of God’s faithfulness in their ministry.

Though we have been reaching out to refugees and immigrants for many years, two years ago we felt a new sense of call when we realized just how many Afghans had been brought to San Diego County. People from a region in Afghanistan which never had missionaries come to them were now housed in Hotel Circle in San Diego, just four miles from our home.

Dave recalls a day last December when he was given the address of an Afghan family that had just arrived in the U.S. “All I had was an address and a $25 gift card. I had never met this family. They had no idea I was coming. But I knocked on the door, and it opened! In typical hospitable Afghan form, they invited me into their small apartment, sat me down on a chair, and offered tea. To my pleasant surprise, they spoke fluent English and we were able to have a conversation. I had no idea at the time where this new friendship would go.”

The next day we contacted the San Diego EPC church and found out that they already had a team in place to minister to this family. We quickly agreed to be part of that team. As time went on, we and other team members made it a point to visit them often, and it was always a joy. They have three young children, including two girls who love books. And Mindy loves to read books to children!

One afternoon in March, a group of kind-hearted souls were visiting from the EPC church in Orange, California. We took them on a home visit to meet this fun, young family. It had been raining that week, and during the conversation it came out that this family had no car, which is common. “How do the girls get to school?” one of our friends asked. They walked. “In the rain?” The silence answered the question.

After tea, we left a gift of sweets for the family, prayed, and went on our way. As we drove away, a man from the church in Orange blurted out, “They need a car. Those girls shouldn’t have to walk to school in the rain.” But cars are expensive. And with the cost of new cars skyrocketing, even used cars are out of reach for refugees. “I know somebody who will donate a car to this family,” he said. And he took it on as his personal mission to make sure that this family had a car.

Sure enough, they got a car. When the rains begin again in Southern California, the girls will not have to walk to school in the rain. What’s more, this car has become a source of livelihood for this family. The father works all night, driving for Uber. The girls come to a tutoring program that we are a part of. We are now truly friends with this Afghan family. They will be visiting us this December to see how we celebrate Christmas.

We should ask, where is Jesus in all of this? Isn’t he right in the middle of it? The time will surely come when they ask their new American friends for a reason for the hope within them. In the meantime, we are living the gospel in front of them.

The call to be a global worker is a beautiful call, but the call to be a missionary among those in our own country is also beautiful. The nations are coming to us. God is bringing them. Look around, who are they in your community? Are you ready to meet them?

“We love because he first loved us” (I John 4:19).

Our time as formal World Outreach workers is coming to a close, but this is not a goodbye. We are excited to see what the Lord has next for us.

Dave and Mindy Fenska

Upcoming Opportunities for You and Your Congregation

Pray for WO Workers

Join the EPC World Outreach Prayer Network to care for our workers through intercession. To join the network, click here.

Partner with WO

There are many ways you can partner with World Outreach! Learn more by clicking here.

Great Tragedy, Great Need, Great God | The Reach October 2023

Dear friends,

It was 6 a.m., and I rolled over to check my alarm before it went off. When I saw 2 missed calls at 5 a.m. from my good friend in the Southeast of Turkey, I knew something wasn’t right.

And that was how it began, our gradual understanding of the devastation caused by the pair of 7.8/7.7 magnitude earthquakes that rocked our country and left over 50,000 people dead and 2.5 million temporarily homeless.

One night a few months later, I was helping move supplies to build temporary homes in the devastated earthquake zone. It was late, and I was tired when my truck and cell phone died within moments of each other. After getting some help from those living in a nearby tent to recharge my phone, which only got to 4%, I finally reached someone who could help. Unfortunately, help was 1.5 hours away, at least, and they couldn’t give me an ETA of when or who exactly would help. I turned my phone off to save the battery, and I began my long wait in the truck.

In that moment, I found myself grumpy and discontent with God’s timetable and His ways. But I think there was a seed of God’s desire in my doubts. I really wanted (and still want) God to be closer to me, my family, and this injured world. I was and am wanting heaven.

That night, I didn’t find a lot of answers, but I was comforted there in the truck, sensing that God was with me. In fact, at one point during that long night Psalm 139 came to mind, “If I make my bed in the depths, you are there.”

I eventually was picked up around midnight, about 3.5 hours after breaking down. We transferred the materials to another truck, and after some sleep, and by God’s grace, we were able to build a home the next day from those materials for a needy family who had been living in a tent since the earthquake. 

This is one of dozens of homes built by believers in that region. Multiple Fellowships outside of Turkey including the EPC contributed to financing these homes. In fact, the EPC International Disaster Relief Fund and the direct contributions from another EPC church financed a total 10 of these homes.

Fast-forward another 4 months, and I received an invitation to a re-opening of a small Fellowship in the earthquake region. This Fellowship had been very small and meeting in an apartment for some time before the earthquake. But now 7 or 8 families have been asking to come, and they have found a home to meet in!

 This is a drop-in-the-bucket compared to the 80 million lost in this country, but even human life starts small, very small, smaller than a mustard seed. So, while we may not understand our personal hardships or the world’s, we can celebrate when God makes his presence known to us in stressful moments—or grows a small Fellowship after a terrible tragedy. And we can hope for God’s Kingdom to fully come! So, let’s trust, hope, and love together.

– R*, World Outreach Worker

*Names removed or changed for security purposes.

Directors note . . .

Thank you for reading the Reach.

If you’ve been a longtime follower, you’ve likely noticed a break in the circulation of our monthly publication this year. We’ve gone through some significant changes in our office operations that led to the hiatus. In this current issue and the coming months we look forward to inspiring you and helping you engage in new and deeper ways with God’s work in and through EPC World Outreach as we seek to help fulfill the Great Commission.

Jesus said to His disciples that they would be His witnesses in Jerusalem, Judea, Samaria, and to the ends of the earth. 

God’s mission – that every tribe, tongue, people, and language fill His throne room in worship for eternity – is the ultimate culmination of the Great Commission. 

In our formation and discipleship as Christ followers, being attentive to the kingdom of God aligns our hearts, minds, and work to what matters most. Being attentive to His kingdom requires intentional efforts to observe, listen, seek, learn, pray, and join in where God is working. We pray that the Reach will play a part in your own formation as you draw closer to the heart of God for the nations and those who have least access to the gospel. 

Partnering with you to fulfill the Great Commission,

Gabriel de Guia

Executive Director 

EPC World Outreach

Upcoming Opportunities for You and Your Congregation

Pray for WO Workers

Join the EPC World Outreach Prayer Network to care for our workers through intercession. To join the network, click here.

Support WO Workers

If R’s story resonated with you, we encourage you to prayerfully consider supporting them financially in this kingdom work. To receive their prayer updates, please email the WO Office.

Partner with WO

There are many ways you can partner with World Outreach! Learn more by clicking here.

World Outreach Annual Report | The Reach August 2022

Dear friends,

Catching divine glimpses into the work God is doing in and through EPC World Outreach has been an incredible privilege.

A significant focus this year since stepping into my role has been the development of the new World Outreach master plan and mission statement. The process used in drafting this version was unique in its history with extensive research and engagement utilized in order to involve WO global workers, key stakeholders, mission leaders, the World Outreach Committee (WOC) and the National Leadership Team (NLT). It was a seven-month, prayer-filled process, discerning the Lord’s continued call for us.

In the Annual Report, you’ll learn more about EPC World Outreach through numerical snapshots of what God is doing through our global work. You’ll also find three stories that capture the heart of our 5 strategic priorities of Prayer, Least Access Peoples, Partnership and Sending, Word and Deed, and Church Engagement. They are but a sampling of the faithfulness of our God, our global workers in their call and our EPC church partners.

May this booklet honor the Lord as we “Declare his glory among the nations, his marvelous works among all the peoples! For great is the LORD, and greatly to be praised.” – Psalm 96:3,4.

We at EPC World Outreach are honored to serve the Church and are grateful for the opportunity to link arms together with you in helping fulfill the Great Commission, looking toward the day where we see representatives of every tongue, tribe, and nation following Jesus and worshipping before God’s throne.

Grace and peace, 
Gabriel de Guia, EPC WO Executive Director

Courage in Christ | the Reach November 2021

Dear friends,

“Now that I know God, He makes me feel brave enough to share the gospel with my Muslim family members. I know now that I don’t have to worry about what other people think of me because I only care what God thinks of me.”
– Saimeera*

I first met Saimeera in June of 2020 when she was looking for someone to help her read the Bible. The only believer in her family, she was brand new to the faith and had never had any Christian friends or been to church before. During our first meeting, she asked me to teach her how to pray. As I talked her through what God teaches us about prayer, her eyes widened. “You mean we can just say anything that is in our heart to God and He will listen to us?” she said in amazement. In nearly every one of our meetings, she was so overwhelmed by the good news that she started to cry.
Saimeera takes the Word of God very seriously. Every time we met, she brought a list of questions that had come up during her reading the previous week. She reads the Bible every single day because she wants to know and understand all of God’s Word. Her questions revealed a sincere heart: she was doing everything she could to digest and comprehend everything she was reading. “Why was Jesus called the Son of Man if he wasn’t actually Joseph’s son?” she asked one week. “Are the people who rejected Jesus just like me before I understood the gospel?” she asked another week.
Often, new believers can gravitate toward one particular mentor and only feel comfortable learning and sharing with them. While this is completely normal for the beginning of someone’s faith journey, it is essential for newer believers to eventually gain confidence in talking to and sharing with a wider variety of people. In October of 2020, Saimeera was brave enough to start attending an online women’s Bible study. “If I have anything I want to say, I’ll send you a private message,” she told me. By February of 2021, not only was she regularly attending the Bible studies, she chose to share an insight with the group every single week. Just recently, I witnessed her encourage another girl from a similar religious background who is experiencing persecution from her family.
Saimeera’s faith journey has been a huge encouragement to me over the past year. From her careful attention to the details of the Bible to her incredulous wonderment at the fact that God would care to draw near to her, her life provides a sweet reminder for all of us who have perhaps grown numb to the good news of the gospel over time. As we rejoice to see how God is at work in the life of one woman in Indonesia, let us also rejoice that the same God is at work in our lives and in our communities every day!
*Name changed for security purposes

Written by WO Worker, JB, serving in Southeast Asia

Community Life

Loving Your Muslim Neighbor

Read this book written by EPC WO global workers on how to become compassionate and courageous witnesses to Muslims in your community.

Jesus Film

These videos from Jesus Film’s “Do You Ever Wonder?” series provide an excellent tool to share the gospel with others. They’re available in several languages, including Pashto

EPC Thanksgiving Offering

The EPC Thanksgiving Offering this year is designated for a World Outreach project to provide Christian literature and other resources to Afghan refugees in the U.S. and Europe. Stated Clerk Dean Weaver, WO Executive Director Gabriel de Guia, and WO Associate Director Jason Dunn describe how donations to the project here. To give, click here.