As a new church trying to make connections in their community, The Connection Church (Pastored by Clayton Robinson) was told by city officials they weren’t wanted, because the city was looking for organizations “that actually do good for our community.” Clayton and his team at The Connection took on the challenge to share the love of Christ and have since become fully engaged with their surrounding community of Lake Forest, California. As a result of their service and care, they are now being called upon by the same city officials to help.
Their impact has not only allowed them to partner through many outreach opportunities, but has produced transformed lives through the power of Christ. Here’s a story of one such family:
“We received a phone call from ‘Kyle’ after the July 4th parade (outreach). Kyle was desperate, sharing how his marriage and family were falling apart. He had seen the church in the parade and needed God to save his family…[Find out more of Kyle’s story on our Facebook Page]
Pastor Clayton concluded, “The investment of the Foundation has not run its conclusion by any means as many of those we met this year are still in the process of coming to faith…with an expectation that the seeds that have been planted will result in an abundant crop still to be harvested!”
…We shared God’s love and how He could restore any relationship. That Sunday Kyle came with his wife and young child, publicly giving his heart and life to Jesus alongside his wife. Kyle began to fully immerse himself in God, signing up for Fully Engaged Discipleship, joining our Creative Arts Department and faithfully serving in weekly ministry as the head of our lighting department. Kyle completed Discipleship Level 1 and was baptized. He wife joined the next round of Discipleship and began pursuing God fully herself. For Easter we had a large Pre-Easter outreach with Bryan Duncan (musician), lunch from Lucille’s, bounce houses for the kids, etc. Kyle got so excited that he went door to door in his neighborhood inviting people, bringing 25 first time visitors to the event. Throughout the year Kyle and his family served at our community service events, concerts in the park, 4th of July parade, served the homeless on Thanksgiving Day, etc. Kyle and his wife attended the marriage retreat in November and shared how much God has impacted them and saved their marriage.
“In the beginning, God created…” (Genesis 1:1)
A note from Garry & Brenda Kean, FMI Missionaries:
Kenya, East Africa: “Our ministry is in Nairobi, based out of our Jacaranda branches or centers, as well as our church, where all the branches and others come together on Sundays. (Although we do not own one building, we have several rented facilities around the city.) We focused on three branches/centers and worked to strengthen those within the branches and increase their understanding of the gospel through a discipleship series, to increase their ability to take over leadership, and to teach the Word, ministering to those in the community. One lady who is now a Life Group leader said, “We are so excited because we are now known in the community as the “Jacaranda Women” or the women who are filled with joy.” They are known as people to go to when you have a problem, or need prayer. It is a safe place, a place the children love to be. We also have established three school buildings (rented) with one of them advancing well into a hands-on learning center. It is a place where the community wants to send their children to learn. They are getting a quality education and being fed, loved, and cared for. The parents are happy to pay what they can to send their children. We have provided sweaters and uniforms made by our Jacaranda Creations ladies. Our teachers have gone through the discipleship process, so they are also not only teaching English and Math, etc., but also they are teaching the Word of God… We look forward to seeing how God continues to work in the lives of those that have been discipled over this past year, and we are thankful for the financial grant that was given to us from the Foursquare Foundation.”
Find out more – View Jacaranda Community
Prayer Request: Please pray for the continued spiritual growth of our leaders, as we want to be able to put this work into the hands of nationals. We need the Lord’s continued direction as we lead this beautiful community of believers.
Give generously … then because of this the Lord your God will bless you in all your work and in everything you put your hand to. Deuteronomy 15:10
Families in Bielefeld, Germany are experiencing an outpouring of God’s love through the caring kindness of “Christus fuer alle” Foursquare Church. What began as a rehab program for addicted, homeless, and unemployed, has flourished into a family care center focused on meeting the spiritual and practical needs of the entire family. “Our desire is to reach the kids now, rather than rescuing them later,” shared Project Leader Ewald Zelmer. “To really serve people as ‘The Good Samaritan,’ we desire to first show people how God loves and cares for them, by creating a place where they can come, (or even be brought to,) to receive help. As we began to prepare that place, volunteers began to show up to serve. God is sending the workers. And there is a harvest. We want to be sure to create a place where people get served and healed in Gods love…”
The Family Help Center is conveniently located in a multicultural neighborhood adjacent to the church. The center offers a variety of discipleship programs, support groups, and counseling for kids and their parents. A freshly renovated space in the complex is home to the after school homework and meal program, music arts group, kid’s club, and playground. Along with a mini café, and income generating second-hand shop, one might notice local artisans teaching job skills in the sewing room or workshop. Resulting creations and handiwork (refurbished mostly from donated items,) become treasures to purchase in the second-hand shop.
This year’s Phase Two Foursquare Foundation Grant is helping launch a new adopt-the-block program, Royal Rangers outpost, refugee home visitation, and new urban street team. Invitations to outreaches and small groups are providing an array of opportunities to share testimonies about faith in Christ, impart prayer and practical help to those in need. Church planting leaders are being mentored and reaching into new communities.
“We have experienced miracles this year, shared Pastor Ewald, in provision, people finding jobs, apartments, and new homes purchased … We have begun seeing more supernatural healings, and more and more peoples opening their hearts and talking about real life issues, sharing their concerns and sorrows. They are more open to prayer, to meeting for coffee or talking about treatment centers and Jesus …”
Pastor Ewald Zelmer is Senior Pastor and founder of Christus fur alle (Christ for all) Foursquare Church, from which the Family Center was birthed. Annually, he organizes meetings with pastors from 15 churches for a 5 day outreach. When he is not leading missions groups to the North, where he mentors 8 young churches and their leaders, he is teaching discipleship at the Nations Bible School in Bad Gandersheim, Germany
Visit the Family Center website: www.familycenter-bielefeld.de
And Christus fuer alle website: www.cfa-bielefeld.de
“… and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem… and to the ends of the earth.” Acts 1:8
Venezuela: God is smiling upon the costal region of Vargas where a variety of beach and community gatherings are cultivating hearts of young and old alike. Courageously, the Foursquare Church in Catia Mar is reaching out to their beloved port city (“their Jerusalem”) with the Gospel of salvation. At last update, Project Leader Pastor Jose Yances and team reported more than 2,400 people made personal decisions to follow Christ. Their project, entitled “No One Can Be Against Us,” has hosted nine street outreaches, complete with professional staging, music, dance, theatre, and compelling Gospel message. In addition to outreaches held at high school campuses and public parks, a team of 47 leaders flooded local hospitals to pray for the sick and their families. During one beach festival (outreach) alone, after a day of live music, games, and dancing, three hundred young people came to the knowledge of Christ, and gave their lives to Him. Most were under the age of eighteen years. This grant-funded project has also trained and prepared 12O leaders for effective evangelism, and planted 12 new cell groups throughout the city.
Rejoice with us as these new believers are being strengthened and discipled. Pray too, that the Lord would reach many more through their testimony and anointing of the Holy Spirit.
West Africa: Foursquare Ghana is rejoicing in the afterglow of a recent ministry leadership development initiative. Approximately 100 new and existing pastors and ministry leaders received books, training materials, and teachings about “Developing a Global Mindset for Global Ministry” and “Transformational Church, Transformational Pastors.” Additionally, these pastors and leaders formed small groups for mentoring relationships in order to prepare for a massive church growth drive to strengthen and multiply the 48 current branch churches.
Partnering with a US-based team of doctors and medical professionals for a special medical evangelism component was a highlight for Project Leader, Rev. Christopher Ahenkorah, who is also the National Leader of Foursquare Ghana. The team served approximately 1,000 people during their three-day open-air evangelism event in Accra. The team testifies to seeing both salvations and physical healings. Their prayer is that 35 new believers in Christ will be discipled effectively. In addition, they request prayer for two new church plants and three new small groups.
Pastor Christopher has been working in close partnership with Dr. Daniel W. Lucero, National Leader of Foursquare France and FMI’s West Africa Area Missionary (including Central Africa and Francophone nations globally), Rev. Solomon Baddoo, CEO of Global Outreach Solutions, Rev. Niki Tshibaka, Senior Pastor of Mount Vernon Foursquare Fellowship, Rev. Plummer Bailor, Senior Pastor of Ignite Flint Foursquare Church, and the Foursquare Foundation to equip Ghanian pastors and ministry leaders with 21st century leadership skills and tools.
There is a place, where amidst the thousands of tombs and graves … men, women, and children call one cemetery “home”. These individuals are seen by society as the discards from broken families, victims of abuse and sexual exploitation, the disabled, the sick, widowed, and impoverished. With no hope and limited options, they turn to what they see as their only choice – the cemetery. There many work as prostitutes, selling themselves for as little as 75 cents. Trying to survive. Outcast from the world around them.
In 2013, Pastor Mike Mercer and his team at Compassion First began visiting, befriending, and loving these cemetery residents. In partnership with the Foursquare Foundation in January 2014, Pastor Mike hosted Christmas celebrations to share the love of Christ, serve food to, and worship alongside the prostitutes and orphans of the cemetery. Pastor Mike and his team were able to celebrate the gift of Christ, the Light of the World with 430 men, women, and children from area slums and brothels. To date, 150 decisions for Christ have been made and 35 people are being discipled!
Evangelistic Prayer Focus: Please pray for continued wisdom and courage to step forward as God leads in establishing HIS presence and further outreach to the prostitutes, transgendered population, and orphans in this cemetery. As well, please pray for those who have entered and will enter into a new relationship with Christ.
“You have turned my mourning into dancing; you removed my sackcloth and clothed me with joy.” Psalm 30:11
Craig Oviatt, Director of the Salem Dream Center, shares a story of Agustin and the transformation that has occurred in his life. God has used the love and embrace of the Salem Dream Center team to reach out to Agustin and his family in such a way that the trajectory of his life is now moving into the plans and purposes God intended. Once associated with gang activity, violence, and a broken family, Agustin is now walking with a newfound heart for God and purpose for his life!
WATCH THE VIDEO of this incredibly moving story about Agustin and how God turned his sadness into joy!
To find out more about the Salem Dream Center, check out their website at www.salemdreamcenter.org
Please continue to pray that God would extend their reach into the community as they seek those in desperate need of food, shelter and the love of Christ.
“Come, you who are blessed by my Father; take your inheritance, the kingdom prepared for you since the creation of the world. For I…was in prison and you came to visit me.” (Matthew 25:34-36)
Responding to Jesus’ call to reach the “least of these,” Roy Yamamoto and Tim Kepler traveled to the middle of the desert with a team of 50 plus ministers to share the good news of Jesus at the Saguaro Correctional Center in Eloy, Arizona. In the midst of 1,600 inmates, a variety of stories, songs, comedy and testimonies flowed forth, highlighted by a grace-filled message of Christ’s hope. Each received a gift bag containing treats from home, life journal and variety of comfort items. .
Teams ministered four days in succession, sharing Christ’s presence through words and hugs to the general population, maximum security and faith-pod inmates. 427 inmates responded through a move of the Holy Spirit and made decisions to commit their lives to Christ.
We celebrate what God has done, and the lives that will be changed as many of these men will be discipled and trained for ministry, both while in prison and when they return home.
Visit Camp Agape’s website for more information on their ministry to children and families of inmates.
Pray with us for Camp Agape’s ministry as they continue to reach out to the children of these inmates. Ask the Lord to open doors for this ministry to help support the families that are dealing with husbands, sons, fathers, brothers and cousins in prison.
Panama: Project leader Dania Reyes, zone pastor, evangelist, and founding pastor of La Verbena Foursquare Church is leading God’s people courageously to win the surrounding communities of Colon, Panama for Christ. For the past three years, La Verbena Foursquare church has touched their community through social outreaches and outdoor crusades. Last year, they saw 900 disciples come forth as a result. This year, with the partnership of a Foursquare Foundation grant, Pastor Dania and her team are expecting double the spiritual fruit, and to expand their annual evangelism efforts by hosting a nine-day crusade, with outreaches for both children and adults, with food basket giveaways and a live stage program that will present the Gospel of salvation. The project, appropriately titled “The Harvest,” is also launching a new church plant in Colon. Pastor Dania affirms that this project has become a permanent part of their church’s vision to reach the province of Colon year round. Already, within the first three months of the project calendar, the church saw an increase in new disciples and church members.
Pastor Dania shared, that during one of the street outreaches, a woman named Elizabeth reconciled her life with the Lord after having stepped away for many years. As a result, she invited her husband to church, who then invited his cousin and her family, resulting in an entire string of family and relatives reconciling with the Lord and returning to Christ. Because one believed first (again), salvation came to the lives of many. God is reaching the province of Colon in Panama through the courageous vision of one leader and her team who dare to believe that salvation is for all who are near and far.
Please join us in prayer as plans are underway for the team to host the largest community outreach the city of La Verbena has ever seen during Holy Week 2014. The church of Christ is standing in prayer believing that the day of salvation is now and that many will hear the message of hope and respond urgently to the call of our Savior.
Sierra Leone: From planting churches among a disabled population living in the urban slums of Freetown, to ministering to Liberian refugees in a camp outside of the capital city, to economically empowering young people by teaching them marketplace skills, to rescuing street boys who serve as slave labor, to comforting individuals who have been traumatized by years of war and strife, Foursquare National Leader Peter Kargbo and the saints in “Salone” (as it is affectionately known) have been busy with the Lord’s business.
The following is a short vignette, written by Senior Pastor Ed Sweet of Valley Christian Center in Albany, Oregon. Rev. Sweet has been mentoring Rev. Kargbo and equipping the saints in Sierra Leone, along with other mission-minded leaders, via a Foursquare Foundation grant partnership called “Salone Church Development.”
“Is this the road to Kailahun?” “Please tell us. Is this the road to Kailahun?” We asked the question over and over of individuals who were walking along the road, of women in front of their homes working over cooking fires, and of groups gathered at intersections. “Yes,” they told us again and again, and pointed us on down the road. The road was often little more than a dirt path cut out of the jungle, with dense overgrowth on both sides and deep ruts down the middle – the result of recent heavy rain.
All four of us were “missionaries” that day on the road to Kailahun: Pastor Peter Kargbo (our Sierra Leone National Foursquare Leader), Henry and Dominic (local pastors and church planters), and myself (the “Opoto,” or white man, from America). We were on the way to this rural community near the eastern edge of Sierra Leone to help with a church plant. Pastor James had been trained, sent, and had already begun a Bible Study in his small home.
We spent our time in Kailahun meeting with local officials, putting on a crusade, coaching and encouraging Pastor James, and going over foundational materials with new believers. About a hundred decisions for Christ were made that week, and a new church was planted. That was in February. In October, Pastor James joined eighty other pastors and leaders from around the country for further training and encouragement. Meeting in Freetown at the headquarters church, we provided instruction and resources for pastors like James during our Foursquare National Convention.
Starting new churches, raising up new leaders, and equipping pastors for more effective ministry – that’s what mission looks like in Sierra Leone.