In the United States, where there are often churches on every corner, we usually take church buildings for granted. Unless they are unusual in design or size, we often don’t really notice them. Of the scores of church buildings we see each week, few really make much of an impact. The only churches that seem to mean much to us are those we attended as children, the church where we were married, saved or baptized, or the church we attend now. Contrast this view to what a church means in a nation where Christians are the minority.
In places like Bangladesh, India and Pakistan, a church building draws a great deal of attention. It is a lightning rod that quietly shakes the foundation of a community. When filled with believers, it is also a beacon that throws light out into the neighborhood and causes people to stop and wonder what goes on in this structure. What are they doing? Who is this Jesus Christ? What do those who gather there believe that gives them the courage to stand apart as well as stand up for their faith in the face of great hostility and even persecution? In this kind of environment everyone notices a church building, and that is what makes WME’s church building program so very important.
In the past few months we have been presented with the opportunity to do something remarkable. We have the chance to help complete a church in the volatile Muslim nation of Pakistan. Yes, in the very nation where Osama bin Ladin hid, the same country where a young Christian girl was recently arrested, the place where even American envoys are always provided with great security by the U.S. Military, there is an open door via WME’s church building program. To fully understand the magnitude of this opportunity, let me tell you about the country.
Pakistan was carved out of India as an independent nation for Muslims. It is the sixth most populous country in the world, and its Muslim population is only surpassed by Indonesia. After Islam, which makes up 98% of the population, Hinduism and Christianity are the largest religions in Pakistan, each with about 2,800,000 followers. Forty percent of the country lives below the poverty line, which means these people lack the basic necessities of life such as clothing, shelter, food, education and medication. Pakistan has a 50% literacy rate. This nation of 160 million adds 3.2 million to its population each year.
Now that you have a grasp on the nation itself, let’s take a look at those 2.8 million Christians. Christians who live in rural villages do bonded labor for very low wages. Christian men who live in urban areas mostly work as sweepers and drainage cleaners. The women are usually employed in Muslim houses as house-cleaners, dishwashers and clothes-washers. They are paid almost nothing. Children of these Christians have no access to education. Thus, these Christians are generally treated as second-class citizens in their own country.
One minister in Pakistan has a program that is truly incredible. He has built a Christian ministry that focuses on integrated development of the entire person’s mind, body and spirit. He takes oppressed, exploited and marginalized people and gives them value by strengthening their faith. Even more remarkable is that this pastor, working in the depths of a Muslim nation, has heard of World Missionary Evangelism. Thus he contacted us asking if we could help build a beacon of light for a small group of Christians in Pakistan.
Their great need at present is the construction of a church at Narowal. This building can make a mighty statement for the Lord. Just having a Christian Church in this community will create a great witness among non-Christians and help the church in educating Christian children. This could also just be the beginning of what WME can do in this nation.
The old children’s song “This Little Light of Mine” says it best. We must shine for the Lord. We must bring light to the darkness. We must take that light into places it is rarely seen. This church in Pakistan will be noticed, it will make an impact, it will change lives and open doors and it could be the beginning of something big. Will you give a little today to make this church a reality in 2013?
By Ace Collins
WME Publications Editor
YOU AND GOD – Two powerful words that describe how World Missionary Evangelism has been able to accomplish phenomenal works around the globe for well over fifty years.
Several decades ago, World Missionary Evangelism came into your homes through magazines, newsletters and radio to ask for your compassionate kindness in building a bigger Kingdom for GOD, and YOU answered the call. YOU shared the vision. YOU prayerfully stood as a partner in reaching lost souls. YOU reached into your pocket and gave unselfishly to save starving children, build churches, homes and schools, dig water wells, provide medical care for those who were dying and meet so many other areas of need. Because of YOU and GOD, World Missionary Evangelism’s work has had longevity in a struggling economy where so many other worthy organizations have failed to survive.
We know this work belongs to GOD and without Him and YOU, our doors would have been closed many years ago. GOD has big plans for this ministry, and we believe YOU will want to be a part of it. In fact, we can’t do it without YOU. Please consider how YOU can continue being a part of our World Missionary Evangelism family and the work GOD has placed upon our hearts. Your endeavor to change lives here on earth will be richly rewarded in Heaven. I Corinthians 3:8 says, “Now he that planteth and he that watereth are one: and every man shall receive his own reward according to his own labour.”
We are significantly blessed to know YOU and pray YOU will once again be a part of the wonderful things GOD has in store for World Missionary Evangelism.
With a gracious heart, we thank you!
The ministry team started its journey from our base in Panyan for the village at Tabgao at 3:00 pm that day. By around 4:30 pm, we were already at the foot of the hill, then came a one and one half hour trip uphill and downhill to our mission church destination.
We were greeted by a pouring rain and chilly winds, so we took shelter in a little old parsonage with a leaking grass roof. We built a fire to keep warm and ate the dinner we had packed. We spent the night there before continuing the remainder of our journey the next morning. The rain continued to pour; but at 9:00 in the evening, Pastor Elvelita and some of the church people from the village made it to our location and provided us with thermos bottles of coffee and sticky rice wrapped in banana leaves. We sung praises and worshipped the Lord together thanking Him that His mercy endures forever. We then prayed for the rain to stop, drank coffee, ate the snacks and waited. Then, with no warning, the rain stopped.
After more prayer, we started uphill on the wet and slippery path aided by the local pastors and members of the flock. Some of those wonderful church members took care of our bags. And as we slowly moved up the steep hill, we often paused for breath. I must admit, due to our age, my wife and I are not mountain climbers, but we had such a strong desire to minister to these people that we would not give up. The group was praising God for every meter we gained and were always praying He would strengthen us for the rest of the journey. By 10:00 pm, we were on top of the hill to Tabgao. We rested for a while, sang praises to God and again started moving forward. Following a ridge, we went downhill and through another valley with a series of upwards humps and plains. We reached our desired destination at around 11:00 in the evening.
We embraced sleep the remainder of the night before awaking at dawn. The church was next door to our accommodations, and the members were already singing as we dressed. We ate a wonderful breakfast prepared by the church and then readied ourselves for the morning services.
Pastor Elvelita began the special service with singing and testimonies. The church was packed to capacity with more people worshipping outside the walls. The people were hungry for the Word of God and responded strongly to the altar call. In fact, the whole church, including those outside the walls, became an altar because there was no room for them at the front of the church! People were crying and weeping. Many dedicated their lives to serve God and to walk in His ways. Some were slain in the spirit. There was a mighty outpouring of God’s Holy Spirit!
There is such great potential for this mission church in Tabgao. I believe, in the very near future, it will continue to grow and become self-supporting and self-propagating. It is my heart’s desire to initiate major projects so that this church and community can jumpstart towards growth.
May God, our Jehovah Jireh, provide for the needs of His people here in this remote area. May He continue to bless WME and our precious partners. And in all of our actions, may His great name be glorified.
“For he says, I have heard you in a time accepted, and in the day of salvation have I succored you: Behold, now is the accepted time; behold, now is the day of salvation.” II Corinthians 6:2
“Now and then” is an English expression that is equivalent to “once in a while” or “every so often”. It’s a casual kind of phrase that goes with a casual kind of attitude. An equivalent French expression is, “Cumme ci, comme ça” which translates, “Like this, like that” or in other words the English “so-so” or maybe “easy come, easy go”. “Blasé” is similar, meaning indifferent to pleasure or excitement due to excessive indulgence or enjoyment. “Blasé” often goes with “roué” meaning an indifferent man devoted to a life of sensual pleasure. In WWII vintage movies the role was often portrayed by George Sanders who played cads, cruel foils, and darkly drawn characters. The movie “Rebecca” was a case in point as was “The Picture of Dorian Gray”. Amongst others, Sanders married and divorced Zsa Zsa Gabor and Magda Gabor. Playing such roles can be dangerous because the role can take over the man. It evidently did since Sander’s autobiography was titled “Memoirs of a Professional Cad”. In later years he suffered from bewilderment and bouts of anger. He committed suicide in 1972 leaving a note which read, “Dear World, I am leaving because I am bored. I feel I have lived long enough. I am leaving you with your worries in this sweet cesspool. Good luck.”
Casual indifference is not an attitude that is permitted to Christians whether individually or collectively. Being “blasé” is not cute and sophisticated, it’s deadly and demonic. Christians can lapse into this attitude toward others because they feel someone else will rise to an occasion, or because the need is overwhelming, or because the cry for help is so far away that it’s really not in their neighborhood, or because they don’t want to soil themselves in the cesspools of the world.
In WWII, General of the Army Douglas Macarthur sent out an appeal to the church in America to send missionaries to a defeated and demoralized Japan. They were disillusioned of their emperor-centered national faith; they needed spiritual focus; they were searching. This was a God given opportunity for the American church in a day when Christianity was not on the defensive from our media, judiciary, and bureaucracy. To their shame, the American Church did nothing and the opportunity to win countless souls to Christ was lost. The church was simply too entertainment centered and blasé. How do we explain that to God on the Day of Judgment? But, that was then and this is now!
Sixty some years later a new cry is being heard and newer and younger men and women of faith are responding to the tsunami and nuclear crisis in Japan. When I think of my nephew’s daughter rising to the cry of Japan, I shout “Amen!” to my nephew’s words, “What a girl.” Bethany Cathcart lit a fire in Nara with several pastors now in full swing in the relief effort. One of this team, Pastor Minegishi, felt the jolt, heard the warning sirens, and believed although he saw no receding sea. He rushed home for his wife and daughter and headed for higher ground. Many others were not sure there would be a tsunami and were crushed in its path by the time they realized it was coming. Japan is sending a Macedonian call to the church…”Come over and help us!” Heed the call and get involved in one way or another. Grab this opportunity but whatever you do, don’t hesitate and be swept away by a tsunami of indifference. The spiritual life you save may well be your own.
Help those in Japan by Clicking Here
By John Cathcart
WME ANSWERING THE CALL TO HELP!
By John Cathcart – Pastor of Last Chance Chapel Helena, Montana
This is our opportunity to respond to Japan’s great hour of need. The earthquake was the largest in Japan’s recorded history, resulting in a series of tsunamis that have caused serious devastation in the eastern coastal regions where tens of thousands are unaccounted for, and hundreds of thousands are in dire need of our help.
The good news is that my daughter, Bethany, and son, John, are on the ground working with a pastor who is in the city of Iwaki, Fukushima Prefecture, about 36 miles south of the nuclear power plant. I just received an email from Bethany reporting on her conversation with this dear pastor in need of our help!
I talked to Pastor Akira on the phone this evening. He has spent the day passing out food and supplies to shelters, senior homes, and all kinds of areas where people were stuck by the disaster. He said people are desperate for food. In one hospital of 500 patients, each patient was only allowed one rice ball a day. He said when they brought vegetable juice, pudding, yogurts and other food to give to the people they began to cry and said “you are the first that has come.” He said they desperately need food, medicine, toilet paper, diapers for babies and senior citizens, water, and there’s a mental hospital that greatly needs medicine.
We asked how we could help and his response was “we have been getting food and other needed supplies from the markets in our area but now the shelves are empty and we don’t know when more resources will come. We need people to bring resources from other areas of the country. The police have said that if people will bring vans and vehicles with food we will give them permission to travel the roads into this area.”
Love you, Bethany
Bethany is mobilizing a convoy of vehicles loaded with Christian workers and supplies to distribute with Pastor Akira who is on the ground in this devastated area of Japan. Bethany is pleading for anyone in her area to lend vehicles for this emergency effort. The team in Japan intends to get as much food, water, diapers, and blankets as they can purchase or have donated from local vendors and people in their area. They are about 300 miles from the affected areas so please pray God will pour out His favor and blessing for Bethany and the team in the next 3 days as they prepare the convoy and supplies.
WOULD YOU PLEASE HELP THE TEAM IN JAPAN FILL THESE VANS WITH FOOD, WATER AND OTHER SUPPLIES?
WME family we are pleading for your help and prayers for the safety of our children and these mighty warriors for Christ as they go into the danger zones to share not only emergency food relief but bring the light of God’s love and salvation to everyone they encounter. We truly need your most generous gift as we reach out with the compassion of Jesus in this very dark hour.
You can quickly donate to WME – Japan Relief Effort by calling us toll free at 800-501-2851 or give online from our secure website at www.wme.org.
God bless you as you give to this urgent crisis in Japan!
By Joshua Dunham WME Missionary Partner – Thailand and Burma
…give unto them beauty for ashes, the oil of joy for mourning, the garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness…Isaiah 61:3
The first thing I noticed about Orama was his big friendly smile. As I watched him sing and praise the Lord I immediately sensed a deep peace and joy that is often not present in the faces of many people here. My first thought was Orama is a young man, in his early twenties and probably hasn’t suffered as much as the other refugees. Never judge a book by its cover was learned this day as I sat down to talk to Orama about his life in a refugee camp. I will never forget his story.
Orama is a survivor of one of the worst natural disasters in Burma’s history. Cyclone Nargis occurred two years ago and devastated Burma (Myanmar). At least 138,000 people lost their lives with thousands more counted as “missing”. The nation is still trying to recover from the monumental devastation.
“I was visiting my parents on May 2, 2008, at about three o’clock in the evening heavy rain started. About an hour later the winds started slashing through our village. Strong trees were ripped up from the ground and the air was full of flying objects. You could hear people crying out in the village but we knew it was too late for any of us to escape. The water kept getting higher and before we could escape we were surrounded by water. A wave hit our house and destroyed everything. It was so sudden there was no time to say anything to each other, all the family was immediately scattered. I was alone and knew I was going to die. I swam past a coconut tree and grabbed it and held tight. I couldn’t see anything around me. All I could hear was the terrifying sounds of the cyclone. I knew no one could help me. I kept climbing higher up the tree and just held on for over eight hours. My arms were aching but I knew I couldn’t let go. In the morning I was still alive. As soon as the winds died down, I started looking for my family. I found no one, all of them were gone. My wife and my son were dead. My parents, my elder sister and my brother were also gone. Out of 25 family members, fifteen died and I never even saw their bodies again. I can never get them back, they are gone.”
“I can’t explain how sad my heart is. I have never seen death like this before. I remember crying and saying, “How can I go on? How can I live without them?” The feeling that we can never meet again makes me terribly sad. At first I couldn’t forget all these memories and the pain was unbearable. I was lost and alone and felt there was no reason to live. But God loves me so much that He sent me here to live in MaeLa Camp. I believe God has a purpose for me here, He wanted me to recover from this bitterness in my life and now I am completely healed. I have found peace in my heart and joy in my life.”
Orama is one of the native refugee Bible students WME is now sponsoring. He leads worship in the camp church, composes new songs for worship, attends the Bible School and shares his faith in Christ with the refugees living in MaeLa. He is a living testimony of God’s ability to save, heal and redeem. We are honored to serve and support Orama and many others committing their lives in service to the King of kings and Lord of Lords!
Click here to help those in the MaeLa Refugee Camp
Even them will I bring to my holy mountain, and make them joyful in my house of prayer: their burnt offerings and their sacrifices shall be accepted upon mine altar; for mine house shall be called an house of prayer for all people. Isaiah 56:7
Since 1972 WME of Bangladesh has developed and supported many ministry outreach programs throughout this country. With the support of our home office, World Missionary Evangelism, Inc. in Dallas, Texas, we currently support hundreds of orphan and abandoned children in our WME Children’s Homes, Tribal Village Programs and Schools. Our clinics provide medical care to those needing treatment but are to poor to pay. Our efforts have also included projects which bring health and nutrition back to communities suffering from water-borne diseases, poor hygiene and lack of nutritional sustenance. We also provide income generation through vegetable farms, fisheries and fruit orchards which help our efforts to help impoverished communities and provide for our outreach programs. God has blessed this ministry for over 35 years and by God’s grace we will continue the vision God has directed us to accomplish. As we go out doing good works and spreading the message of Christ to the lost and brokenhearted.
The Mission of Shalom is our church planting ministry and we are committed to training disciples who are and will be the witness of our Lord Jesus Christ in Bangladesh. We mainly work among Hindu communities and tribal villages. We have planted 15 Churches in different areas of Bangladesh. Right now many of our congregations are conducting their church services in outdoor areas because they have no church building and the communities are too poor to purchase materials. Most of the church members are common laborers, farmers and fishermen who work for hire and are barely able to provide food for their families. Our desire is to assist the Christian church with funding for materials to build adequate church buildings.
Hindu temples and Muslim Mosques are everywhere but the Christian Church (The House of the Living God) is in short supply in our country. We teach the people that the body is the temple of the Holy Spirit and they must have a personal relationship with Christ to be saved but it is still the longing of every believer to go to a physical church to pray and worship together. This is the outward expression of our faith.
For us the Church building will be life centers for the people and future generations as we serve His kingdom together. We must reach out to the families and teach the word of God. We can also do so much more as we share family values, health and nutrition concerns and education for children which reinforce our commitment to bring a strong witness of Jesus Christ.
Please pray for us as we exalt the King of Kings and the Lord of Lords and build His House for all people. We need about $8000.00 dollars for each church. Please consider helping us with this very important need. We thank you so much for the many years of support and pray God will bless WME and the many supporters who give their prayers and support to establish God’s kingdom purposes around the world.
Click here to help provide churches in Bangladesh.