The February 2004 Pneuma Informer
In this issue:
Foundation Needs and Concerns
Back in October 2003, there were a number of needs that the volunteer staff of the Pneuma Foundation asked you to pray about. God has clearly answered many of those needs, and we report the following with gratitude:
- Mike Dies has taken a new job, working full time for an international publishing ministry. He would appreciate your prayer that he is able to move to first shift soon from third shift. One blessing is that he is able to meet more regularly with Pneuma Review editor Raul Mock.
- The child adoption process for Joe and Kim Joslin continues and they covet your prayers for the continuing journey.
- New volunteers are coming forward regularly to assist with the Foundation website and to join the prayer team.
- The Foundation did not experience as much of a financial shortfall last year as expected. Although new ministry efforts must remain on hold until additional finances are available, no initiatives or programs had to be cancelled.
Please pray for the men and women who make the Pneuma Foundation possible. Please pray that God would continue to expand this ministry and use it to spread the word about the power, love, and forgiveness found only in Jesus our Messiah.
Thank you for your support in prayer and financially.
What's New at www.PneumaFoundation.org
New Articles and other Features on the Pneuma Foundation Website:
New links on the following pages:
New articles available
New Guest Articles
The new Guest Articles index
makes available essays, reviews, sermons, and presentations made by friends of the Pneuma Foundation. Please be sure to read the disclaimers made on the index page:
New books have been suggested on the Holy Spirit Reading List
Many of the visitors to www.PneumaFoundation.org
have been reading "Answering the Cessationists' Case Against Continuing Spiritual Gifts
" By Jon Ruthven. From the Spring 2000 issue of the Pneuma Review
(Vol 3, No 2). Read the full article online
(42 KB in size).
Also, be sure to check out the "What's New" section on the Pneuma Foundation homepage. New articles and other features are being added regularly.
Have a website you would like linked to the Pneuma Foundation? Write Webmaster Dave Driggs
with your suggestion. Or use the on–line form to submit your suggestion: links.jsp#link.
With new content being placed on the www.pneumafoundation.org
site all the time, it is becoming a resource to thousands of people from all over the world. Some of the recent international visitors to the Pneuma Foundation website have been from these 122 different nations and territories:
Bermuda, Trinidad and Tobago, Bahamas, Jamaica, Aruba, Turks and Caicos Islands, Saint Kitts and Nevis, Mexico, Belize, Guatemala, Puerto Rico, Dominica, Netherlands Antilles, Chile, Ecuador, Argentina, Venezuela, Costa Rica, Columbia, Peru, Brazil, Mauritania, Burkina Faso, Benin, Kenya, Sierra Leone, Nigeria, Ghana, Senegal, Gambia, Cote d'Ivoire (Ivory Coast), Burundi, Rep. of Congo, Gabon, Mozambique, Namibia, Tanzania, Malawi, Seychelles, Togo, South Africa, Bahrain, Zambia, Uganda, Zimbabwe, Rwanda, Libya, Tunisia, Ethiopia, Eritrea, Turkey, Iran, Syria, Lebanon, Israel, Egypt, Kuwait, Oman, Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates, Sri Lanka, India, Pakistan, Azerbaijan, Bangladesh, Guam, Papua New Guinea, Fiji, Australia, New Zealand, Singapore, Philippines, Indonesia, Myanmar (Burma), Thailand, Macao, Malaysia, Nepal, China, Hong Kong, Japan, Rep. Of Korea (South Korea), Mongolia, Taiwan, Moldova, Georgia, Poland, Finland, Norway, Faroe Islands, Netherlands, Denmark, Iceland, France, Russia, Spain, Portugal, Estonia, Lithuania, Latvia, Yugoslavia, Croatia, Slovenia, Bulgaria, Czech Republic, Serbia, Malta, Gibraltar, Austria, Romania, Hungary, Cyprus, Greece, Slovakia, Germany, Luxembourg, Italy, Belgium, United Kingdom (Great Britain), Ireland, Switzerland, and Sweden.
Come visit soon. Write to Member Services
with any comments or questions you have about the website or the Pneuma Informer.
Reports from Around the World
Eastern Asia: 9,300 new churches planted in less than 3 years
Less than three years ago, thirty tired farmers sat down to listen to a supposedly crazy missionary. The result is one of the most astonishing developments in mission in recent church history: the gathering started a movement in an East Asian nation through which over 9,300 new churches have been planted. Over 104,000 people have been baptized. What happened?
30 disciples becomes 104,000
"It was a long day," reports Baptist Press' Erich Bridges. Tired from their fields, thirty farmers sat in a small church — the smallest of three in a region with 700,000 inhabitants — listening to 'John', a Southern Baptist missionary. John told them about his vision of planting at least one church in each of the region's two hundred towns and villages in the next three years. The farmers looked at each other, then stared at the missionary as though he had lost his mind. "Each of you can start by beginning a family Bible study at home," said John. "But how can we do that?" they asked. "Who will teach the Bible?" "You are the teachers!" John replied. Frowning and shaking their heads, the farmers objected "But we don't know how." John then told them to say their own story out loud five times, then tell it to one of the others. He then told them to make a list of all their acquaintances who did not yet know Jesus, starting with their own relatives. "Divide these people into groups of five, and invite the groups to your house. Then tell them your story."
Reaping what we sow
John returned two weeks later to find out what had happened. Only eleven of the thirty had told others their story. He asked them to tell of their experiences, to encourage the other nineteen. John then challenged the 'silent nineteen' to tell their story to the people on their list, or to stop coming to the meetings. He taught the others a number of simple Biblical lessons which they could teach others. In January 2001, after only two months, twenty small groups had been started. Four months later, the number had already reached 327 small groups totaling around 4,000 newly–baptized believers in seventeen towns. By the end of the year, over 12,000 new believers were meeting in 908 house churches.
Starting chain reactions
"We don't teach teachers, we train trainers," John explains. One generation teaches a second, and the second teaches a third. Someone can train one group on Monday, another on Wednesday and a third on Thursday. One old farmer took up the challenge, planting over 100 new churches in one year. He gets up at 5am every morning, reads the Bible and prays for two hours, works in his fields until 5pm, then spends time with his family. At 7pm he goes out again — "this time to God's field, until midnight" as he says. What were the keys to these developments? Prayer (John points to the worn–out knees); passion; a clear vision of the aim; simple training concepts which can be passed on; people who are willing to be trained; committment; no fear of suffering; signs and wonders, and the openness of people who are insecure and in crisis.
Source: resources.imb.org and www.bpnews.net by way of Friday Fax 2004, Issue 1. Used with permission.
Triumph and tragedy of the 200 million persecuted Christians
"The number of persecuted Christians increased in 2003, especially in North Korea, India and Indonesia," reports Open Doors' Jerry Dykstra. North Korea's estimated 400,000 Christians experience persecution daily — around 100,000 of them undergoing torture in prison camps. India passed new anti–conversion laws in many states. More Christians are now being persecuted than at any other time in history; some 200 million are being persecuted, with another 300 million experiencing discrimination. The increase is partly due to the fact that Christianity is spreading in nations and people groups which have been traditionally hostile to the Gospel.
Standing Strong Through The Storm
Thousands of pastors attended Open Doors' "Standing Strong Through The Storm" seminars in 2003, to learn to cope with persecution biblically instead of reacting to it from a human point of view. An ever–increasing number of Christians will need to be able to live Christ's love and truth in the face of growing discrimination.
One Testimony from 2003
Kurdish taxi driver Ziwar Mohamad Ismaeel, an ex–Muslim, is one of 2003's Christian martyrs. He was murdered for telling another Muslim about Jesus. Before his death, he told friends "Jesus is on my side. I have nothing to fear. Even if they kill me, I will never deny Christ."
Source: Jerry Dykstra, Open Doors USA, by way of Friday Fax 2004, Issue 2. Used with permission.
Fiji: Political leaders urge spiritual renewal
Christians have been divided for years in Fiji, but spiritual renewal has recently engulfed the South Pacific nation — and its president has publicly led his people in repentance.
A U.S.–based Christian research and information agency — The Sentinel Group — has sent crews to Fiji to document in film the revitalization of Fiji's church as well as its national revival and reconciliation movement.
Fiji — about two–thirds of the way from Hawaii to New Zealand — had long identified itself as a devoutly Christian nation, but its almost 900,000 inhabitants were rocked by a coup on May 19, 2000, when eight gunmen stormed into the Fiji Parliament and seized 35 hostages, including Mahendra Chaudhry, the first Indian prime minister of Fiji.
The group's leader said they sought to protect the rights of indigenous Fijians against the increasing influence of the islands' large Indian population. The action triggered a 56–day siege of Parliament and nationwide civil unrest, featuring looting and burning Indian–owned shops.
For years before the coup, the country's established denominations had been mired in doctrinal standoffs while newer and more zealous churches fell foul of tradition.
But after Vuniani Nakauyaca, senior pastor of Covenant Evangelical Church, and a group of pastors were allowed to see the hostages, he knelt in repentance before Prime Minister Chaudhry on behalf of all Fijians. The coup ended shortly thereafter.
"One of the things that has impressed us very much has been an emerging unity amongst the people of God here," George Otis Jr., producer of The Sentinel Group's popular "Transformations" videos, which chronicle cases of Christian–led national renewal worldwide, says of Fiji.
"It isn't just between denominations," he told "Charisma" magazine in the January 2004 issue. "... There's this wonderful, almost seamless working partnership between the church and the state here right now. ... Many senators and parliamentarians are also pastors and church leaders."
Foremost among these government leaders is Ratu Josefa Iloilo, a born–again Methodist preacher and high chief, who was appointed president when the coup ended. In 2001, Iloilo, 83, approached the major denominations and asked them if they would formalize the growing unity of Christians in Fiji and lead a national reconciliation movement.
His efforts led to the founding of the Assembly of Christian Churches in Fiji (ACCF) as an official proponent of church unity. Adopting a vision for "Fiji to Be God's Treasured Possession," the ACCF organized a nationwide Millennial Revival Mission, which Iloilo launched on July 8, 2001.
As a crowd of 10,000 watched, he publicly bowed before God and said he and his household rose every morning to worship and seek God's guidance for the nation. Also present was Prime Minister Laisenia Qarase, a committed Christian.
Iloilo and Qarase lit a torch, which symbolized revival and reconciliation, and young Christians carried it Olympic–style to towns and villages nationwide. Churches joined together to host reconciliation meetings along the route, and reports about the torch's passage began to filter back — people were suddenly being healed; others were falling before God in repentance and giving their lives to Him.
Source: Charisma News Service 1/27/2004. Used with permission.
Report the News
We are looking for stories about what God is doing in the world, reports about the persecution of Christians, and information about significant trends and ministry opportunities. If you have a news item to report, please send an email to the Informer
- See other news to pray and praise God about in the Prayer Requests department below
Domain Name Pledge
Would you consider pledging an annual contribution to register and maintain domain names that can point visitors to the Pneuma Foundation website?
Perhaps you have noticed that new content is being added to the Pneuma Foundation web site on a regular basis. Every month visitors are coming to the site to read articles and find resources that help them in their ministries and their walk with the Lord. Wanting to increase both the content of the site and promoting the resources already available there, the Pneuma Foundation executive committee would like to begin purchasing domain names (internet addresses like pneumafoundation.org) to bring in new visitors.
If you would like to pledge to purchase a domain name or make a one–time contribution towards this effort, please write to Member Services
today. Annual registration fees are normally $35 per domain name, and you may pledge the full annual amount or as much as you wish. If you would like a way to regularly support the Pneuma Foundation, pledging to help with this effort may be just what you are looking for. Foundation volunteers would be happy to send you a pledge reminder, if you would like them to, as often as you would like one.
Please write for more information or to begin your pledge immediately.
Resources You Can Use
New E–Book Available: Serve Him With Mirth
Whatever you may personally find funny or appropriate, the use of humor is biblical and a great booster for effective evangelism and Christian communication. The new free e–book SERVE HIM WITH MIRTH from Web Evangelism Guide is flying off the virtual bookshelves.
Church Twinning International reports that there are churches in Togo (West Africa), Jamaica, South Africa, and Ghana (West Africa) seeking a twinship with USA Church families.
For more information, contact Sidney Holston
Thoughts to Ponder: Worry
"A day of worry is more exhausting than a week of work."
– John Lubbock
"There is a great difference between worry and concern. A worried person sees a problem, and a concerned person solves a problem."
– Harold Stephens
"The beginning of anxiety is the end of faith; and the beginning of true faith is the end of anxiety."
– George Muller
"Worry does not empty tomorrow of its sorrow. It empties today of its strength."
– Corrie Ten Boom
Excerpts from the Pneuma Review
The Pneuma Review is a quarterly printed journal of ministry resources and theology for Pentecostal and charismatic ministries and leaders.
For more information about the Pneuma Review
, and to learn how to subscribe, click here.
From "Rightly Understanding God's Word: Whole Book Context." Part 1 of 2 by Craig S. Keener
Read the full article on PneumaReview.com: http://pneumareview.com/rightly-understanding-gods-word-whole-book-context-part-1-of-2/.
From "The Gift of the Holy Spirit Today: Context" By J. Rodman Williams
Read the full article on PneumaReview.com: http://pneumareview.com/the-gift-of-the-holy-spirit-today-chapter-7.
Special Report: Urbana 2003
First Nations leader Richard Twiss reports on a powerful Urbana conference he was part of in December.
* * * *
Read the report on PneumaReview.com: http://pneumareview.com/highlights-from-urbana-2003.
PO Box 5246 Vancouver, WA 98668
- Pray for believers in Sudan: As part of an urban re–planning move, authorities recently tore down more than 10 churches. Within the last few months, a church–run vocational training center at the sprawling Wad el Bashier camp in West Omdurman was also demolished, Compass Direct reported.
According to sources in the capital of Khartoum, makeshift worship centers erected by Christians fleeing two decades of civil war or natural disaster were removed. Some of the centers were affiliated with the Anglican, African Inland and Roman Catholic churches, as well as the Sudan Church of Christ.
"These structures have value for the displaced Christians who put them up as places of worship," one source said. "Those who knock them down are tampering with the faith of those believers because the first thing they want to do is put up a house of the Lord."
As part of urban planning policies dating back to the early 1990s, poor residential areas in and around the camp, including some squatter regions, are being demolished and residents are slowly being allotted plots of land. But in many cases, they are rendered homeless for several months.
An estimated 15,300 households have been affected by demolition in the areas around the camp, the temporary home to some 50,000 Sudanese. The people are given a "deserted piece of land" without water supply, where they put up their own shelter and struggle to find medical care, sources told Compass.
Source: Charisma News Service 2/3/2004. Used with permission.
- A missionary–pastor in Africa writes: "Calvary greetings to you all in the name of the Lord. I am a Missionary, planting and developing churches in the south of the Volta Region of Ghana and Togo. We work in a team and as at now we have been able to plant 60 churches in unreached villages and towns in obedience to the Great commission of our Lord Jesus Christ.
"Some chiefs , headmen of villages and towns as well as fetish priests are surrendering to the Lord and many are calling upon us to plant churches for them and so we need help.
"The Muslims are receiving funds from the Gulf States and are putting up mosques and Arabic schools and the government is financing these schools just for votes. We need to plant churches as a matter of urgency to frustrate the inroads of Islam.
"Please pray with us about the following needs: 1. Pray for a video projector for use in the field. 2. Pray for funds for planting churches. Usually, $3,000 is good for a simple structure and $5,000 is good for a town setting. 3. Pray for funds for the purchase of bicycles and motorcycles for church planters and local missionaries. 4. Pray for funds to support the field workers. 5. Pray that the Lord will touch the hearts of people to lead mission teams to our fields. 6. Pray that God will raise up people to help in children, women, and youth ministries. 7. We need a four–wheel drive vehicle for the work." Reference Number: 90009695
- Please pray for Pneuma Foundation representatives planning on attending this year's Society for Pentecostal Studies convention. The SPS conference, the 33rd Annual Meeting, is being held on the campus of Marquette University in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, from March 11–13, 2004. Please pray for preparations and finances to make this trip a rewarding one. The Foundation has been blessed with many friends and contributors whom the founders and volunteer staff have become acquainted with through the Society.
- Pray for believers in Vietnam: At least 18 believers were recently arrested and beaten in Ho Chi Minh City for distributing Christian tracts and literature, featuring the testimonies of prominent Christian athletes. Those detained after the opening of the 22nd Southeast Asia Games on Dec. 5 were members of various house churches, including workers of the Vietnam Mission Alliance group and a Nazarene church leader, Compass Direct reported. At least 10 of them are still being held in jail.
Meanwhile, police in Ho Chi Minh City allegedly attempted to assassinate the Rev. Nguyen Hong Quang Dec. 9 by staging a motorcycle accident. Quang, a leader of the Mennonite house churches in Vietnam, and a bold activist for religious freedom and human rights, was not seriously injured. Quang was able to escape, but police detained his colleague, evangelist Pham Ngoc Thach, Compass reported
After Quang organized a sit–in, hunger strike and prayer vigil with about 30 Christians at the police station, Thach was released within 24 hours. Quang is also threatening to organize street demonstrations over the arrests of the Christians who distributed the Christian literature.
Meanwhile, the government has provided relief for flood victims in the central areas of Vietnam, but Christians were excluded from receiving aide, Christian Aid Mission (CAM) said.
A series of storms and heavy rains in November devastated the region, destroying approximately 75,000 houses and leaving thousands of rural people homeless.
Most of these people received financial assistance and immediate relief, but 425 Christians in Quang Ngai province and 654 Christians in Ninh province were refused help solely because of their Christian faith, CAM said.
Source: Charisma News Service, 1/6/2004. Used with permission. http://www.charismanews.com/a.php?ArticleID=8428
- A friend of the ministry, Keijo, urges us to join together in praying for revival and salvation in the nation of Sweden.
- Pray for believers in China: Two house–church leaders were recently arrested, and another Christian was able to escape after being detained. According to the Voice of the Martyrs (VOM), Qiao Chunling, a 41–year–old resident of Fangcheng city, located in the Henan province, was arrested Jan. 24 during a church service at Guanlin, Luoyang city.
Another church leader, Xu "Deborah" Yongling, 58, was arrested the next day at Nanyang city, also located in Henan. The leader of the "Born Again Movement" church, which has millions of members throughout the Asian nation, Yongling was asleep at the home of a church member when police raided and detained her. Yongling, the sister of prominent house–church leader Peter Xu Yongze, who now lives in the United States, has been arrested many times in the past, VOM said.
Meanwhile, Zeng Guangbo, 35, was also arrested Jan. 25 at a house church in Zengzhuang village, located in Henan province. However, Guangbo escaped from custody two days later and is currently in hiding.
He is a former military policeman who worked in the country's broadcasting department in Beijing before he was expelled because of his relationship with Yongze's house church in 1988. Guangbo is a very active house–church leader, VOM said.
VOM also reportedly received a videotape of a Chinese house church being bulldozed into rubble by government authorities in June. Started around 1930 by missionary Hudson Taylor's group, China Inland Mission, the church had grown in size to a weekly attendance of 1,500 members.
Source: Charisma News Service, 2/19/2004. Used with permission. http://www.charismanews.com/a.php?ArticleID=8612
- Mariusz and Wioletta Antoszczuk write: "We are from Poland, where we work in a Pentecostal Church as pastors. Our fellowship is small group (only 32 members), but we work in our city reaching out to hurting people. We are praying for brothers and sisters in Jesus to partner with us and give us an encouragement in our ministry." For more information, write to Pneuma Foundation Member Services and ask about reference number 90009398.
- Kevin Williams, a regular contributor to the Pneuma Review, shared this with us recently: "I wanted to pass along some great news! Over the weekend, my mother (64), asked Jesus into her heart. This has been such a long time in coming, and a prayer of mine since I was 15. Last night, for the first time in my life, we prayed together. It was quite a moment. If you think of it, please say a prayer for Florence, as she moves into this new area of (eternal) life."
Please send us your prayer requests and praise reports. We have a great God who always meets our needs.
If you would like more information about how you may help in meeting these needs, please contact Member Services.
Mention of a ministry or organization in this publication does not mean that the Pneuma Foundation recommends that organization or its resources to you. Mention of an organization or its news or resources is for informational purposes only. Please exercise wisdom or caution before utilizing resources or otherwise receiving any assistance from an organization mentioned within this publication.
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