Alliance News and Stories

Alliance News and Stories

Current news and stories from our Alliance field workers.

Cross the Bridge

Posted: 20 October 2017, 2:00 pm

In many countries, Alliance workers can spend years building a relationship before they see the person come to faith. It is no different for Ron and Lisa, a CAMA worker couple serving in Kosovo.

Ron and Lisa have been friends with another couple, Lavdi* and Dita, for nine years. Whenever they talked about faith, Dita was interested but couldn’t commit. “I have to wait until my husband believes because we always do things together,” she said. “I’m not going to run out ahead of him.”

Illness Leads to Surrender

Recently, Dita began having heart problems. When Ron and Lisa visited her home, she was quite pale. “Dita, I’m really concerned for you,” Lisa said. “I’m afraid you’re going to die and I won’t see you in heaven.”

Lisa showed her an illustrated representation of Romans 6:23—the penalty of sin on one side, the gift of eternal life on the other, and the cross forming a bridge between the two. “Where are you in this picture?” she asked.

Dita placed her finger on the image symbolizing eternal life. “I want to be over here,” she said. Ron and Lisa prayed with Dita, asking Christ to forgive her sins and allow her to come into His presence. When the prayer was finished, Dita looked up at Lavdi and said, “Well, you better come along!”

The Spirit’s Speaking

Dita soon recovered and continues to hope in Christ. Lavdi, an atheist, has not yet come to faith. “How can I change from not believing God exists to putting my trust in Him and following Him with my life?” he asks.

However, over the course of the last nine years, Ron and Lisa have seen the nature of his questions change. He used to ask things like, “Where did the dinosaurs go?” Now he asks deeper questions, such as, “Does this verse really mean that we need to die to ourselves so we can live for God?”

“The Spirit’s speaking to him,” Lisa says. “I think Dita will have him with her in the end.”

Pray that Dita will continue to grow in her faith and that Lavdi will soon surrender his life to Christ.

*Names changed

A Ministry of Loose Ends

Posted: 19 October 2017, 9:01 pm

An Alliance team’s outreach to north and central Asian migrants in a creative-access country includes facilitating needed health-care services—an opportunity to share Jesus’ compassion with these marginalized people who live transitory lives.

by an Alliance international worker serving in a creative-access environment

Our ministry is all about loose ends. We often encounter people somewhere in the middle of their story, knowing little of their early influences or experiences. God “writes us in” for a few pages or chapters.

Given the transient nature of migrant workers’ lives, we rarely know the end of their stories, as they often return home or find other jobs and leave without notice.

Sometimes we get glimpses of how God is orchestrating someone’s life to reveal Himself. This is the case with Dean*. He showed up this summer with his mom and about 20 other north and central Asian migrants at Agape Clinic—our ministry partner that offers them free medical assistance once a month.

We noticed right away the large lump on Dean’s neck. He and his mom (a believer) were both in tears as they shared how they had been unable to find a doctor who could help diagnose what was wrong.

The Doctor Is In

Most migrants here are low-paid day laborers, such as street cleaners and restaurant workers, who often are treated disrespectfully and turned away from this country’s government-subsidized clinics. The nation’s residents receive free medical treatment; migrants do not.

Agape Clinic is run by local Christian doctors who have developed a heart for the migrants through their medical missions trips into central Asia. According to Joshuaproject.net, this vast area “includes people groups that are among the least-reached in the modern era of missions.”

Our vision for this ministry is north and central Asians empowered by the Holy Spirit and trained to spread the good news in their homelands.

One Friday each month, Agape Clinic provides our migrant friends free checkups and medical consultations. (Typically, they have no money for treatment, so this service is well received.) We prepare sandwiches, fruit, veggies, nuts, desserts, and tea so they can come from work and have an evening of food and fellowship with us.

New Openness

Recently, this outreach has led to many open conversations about spiritual matters since nearly all of the patients stay long after their appointments. They are thrilled to be treated respectfully at a clinic and for the opportunity to relax with a group of their own people.

Almost all of the migrants are strangers (and unbelievers) upon arrival, so we have begun using CRU’s Solarium Cards—a conversation-starter activity. Our ministry partner, Zak*, who is from the North and Central Asia Region, gives a short talk about the God who wants to be a part of their lives. As they leave, we hand out large gift bags full of hygiene and health-care products Agape helps to provide.

After each clinic outreach, we consult with the doctors to determine who requires further treatment and is most financially needy. Our team has budgeted funds that we receive through an Alliance Approved Special so we can help cover treatment costs when necessary.

Returning Home

When Agape’s doctors evaluated Dean, they determined he required further testing. Our team sent him for follow-up at another clinic in the city, where he was diagnosed with tuberculosis (TB).

We then arranged for Dean to fly home to his country, where he can receive free treatment in a medical facility that focuses solely on TB. My husband, Bill*, shared the good news with Dean and prayed for him before he left.

We have since learned that Dean is doing well and is already out of the hospital. His believing mother is so thankful for the help her son received. She told us that he is confused about faith.

For a few short weeks, we were privileged to play a role in Dean’s story. We are so thankful that the Grand Storyteller still has him in His sights.

*Names changed

What You Can Do

“Please pray for Dean and the many migrants in our country whom Jesus is pursuing,” the author urges.

Use the weekly Alliance Prayer Requests to join the Alliance family in interceding for our global teams, who often serve in challenging circumstances requiring Holy Spirit–inspired wisdom to demonstrate God’s love to those who don’t yet know Him.

Freedom for the Captives

Posted: 19 October 2017, 2:08 pm

by Esther Schaeffer, serving with The Alliance in Burkina Faso, West Africa

The village of Konkourouna had been the enemy’s territory for millennia (see Daniel 10:12–13). But several years ago a villager experienced new life in Christ and returned to her village, determined that others would trust in Him.

She began a small fellowship, and they soon secured property. Today, this congregation has more than 100 adults and as many children attending.

Enemy Resistance

But the enemy of this world does not give up easily. He continues to spread his influence here, troubling the minds of the new believers and sometimes appearing to them in their dreams.

He also uses nonbelievers to curse the Christians. Stories abound of illness and even death because of a hex or poison administered to the unsuspecting victim.

Marie’s Journey

During a recent prayer gathering at the Konkourouna church, we counseled many troubled by evil spirits. Marie was one of them.

I had noticed this young woman when I presented the morning teaching. She had a darkened countenance. Periodically, she would shake.

Later, Marie sat next to me. Bending her head close to mine, she whispered to me about how the spirits that tortured her at night. Her husband is not a believer, so their house is full of idols, fetishes, and sacrifices to the spirits.

There Is Still Darkness . . .

“Have you put your trust completely in Jesus Christ?” I asked. “You cannot serve both fetishes and the Lord Jesus.” She began to tremble. “Yes!” Marie responded emphatically. “I have made Christ my Savior.

“But there is still darkness all around me.”

As several of us gathered around to pray for Marie, her trembling became more visible. She uttered strange sounds.

Jesus’ Authority

“Don’t be afraid, Marie!” we told her. “The enemy knows he must leave. He is just putting on a show—you belong to the Lord Jesus now; there is no plan of Satan formed against you that can succeed” (see Isaiah 54:17).

“Jesus continues to bring people to Himself, breaking the long-standing chains of the enemy,” Esther says, recalling Marie’s (pictured) transformation.

Our team quoted many Bible verses over Marie, proclaiming Christ’s authority over every throne, dominion, and ruler of this world (see Ephesians 6:12). We continued in prayer until I sensed Marie relax as her head rested peacefully on my shoulder.

One member of our group began to sing, and Marie joined in. She finally got to her feet, and a big smile spread across her face.

Marie is one of many here in Burkina Faso who are oppressed by the darkness of their family members’ traditional practices and their own past involvement in demon worship.

Often, new believers do not understand all that the Lord Jesus has done for them. We are thankful that He gave us this opportunity in Konkourouna to proclaim the freedom Jesus promises to the captives (see Luke 4:18) and to witness a visible transformation in villagers like Marie.

We are in a spiritual battle, but Christ is the victor. May we encourage one another and pray for each other to daily stand firm in the strength and mighty power of our Savior against our defeated enemy.

Pray

Use the weekly Alliance Prayer Requests to join the Alliance family in interceding on behalf of our global workers, who rely upon the Holy Spirit to help free the spiritually oppressed in Jesus’ name.

Learn More

Read “Setting the Oppressed Free” for more information on how Alliance workers help release those suffering spiritual bondage because they live in a culture where demonic worship predominates.

A Story in the Baobab Tree

Posted: 18 October 2017, 2:00 pm

by an Alliance international worker, serving in West Africa

The wilderness and the dry land shall be glad; the desert shall rejoice and blossom like the crocus; it shall blossom abundantly and rejoice with joy and singing. . . . They shall see the glory of the Lord, the majesty of our God (Isaiah 35:1–2, ESV).

Scattered throughout our sandy, West African terrain are the magnificent baobabs—massive, gnarly, disproportioned trees that look like they’re growing upside down. Most of the year, they are leafless.

But months before the few sprinkles of rain arrive that characterize our “rainy season,” the baobabs’ leaves sprout—as if in sheer anticipation of what is to come. In some species, lovely pink flowers appear.

As I admired the new leaves on the roadside baobabs during one of our recent trips, it reminded me of the new story about what God is doing here.

Hoping for a Breakthrough

African culture is full of myths and folktales that center around the baobab tree.

The work in this region is slow. The culture is strong, and the people are deeply resistant to any change, including responding to the good news. For international workers, this can be discouraging.

But, like the baobabs anticipating the rains, we hold on to the hope that a breakthrough is coming.

Although we don’t see the life-bringing, drenching rains yet, like the leaves on the baobabs, new life is sprouting as a result of the work God is doing through faithful prayer and our outreaches.

New Openness

With our local church partners, our team has helped to establish girls’ and boys’ vocational training schools, medical clinics, a street boy outreach, kids’ clubs, and radio broadcasts. Our goal is to provide access to the good news to as many people as possible in this country where less than .01 percent of the population knows our Savior.

Although we don’t yet see a harvest, we are beginning to see a greening in this area through a shift in openness and a softening toward the truth.

Girls’ vocational school students listen intently during Bible class.

One example is a group of students who have been attending one of our vocational schools. During the first of three years of classes, they were quite resistant to the Bible teachings each morning before class began.

Resistance and indifference slowly gave way to openness and curiosity. By their second year, these students had joined several believers to begin their own extracurricular Bible studies. At the conclusion of their academic studies last year, one of the students met with the pastor and his wife to ask more questions about the truth.

Also, a husband and wife, who had heard the truth proclaimed over time through our regular radio broadcasts, together made the decision, along with one of their daughters, to follow Jesus. It is uncommon here for families to come to Christ as a unit.

The Rain Is Coming

Yet we are encouraged—this is what took place in the church-planting movements chronicled in the New Testament. This family has asked leaders in our partner church to disciple them and have been welcomed warmly into our small fellowship. And they ask for prayer that the rest of their family will come to faith as well.

This is an exciting time to be working in the fields (see Luke 10:2). The rain is coming.

Join us in praying that the Lord of the harvest will continue drawing His lost children to Himself and that more laborers will join in to work in these fields.

Alliance People Continue to Suffer and Serve Through U.S. Disasters

Posted: 17 October 2017, 7:42 pm

Puerto Rico

Rev Javier Gómez, Puerto Rico District superintendent, reports that as of October 15, 90 percent of the island remains without power, 50 percent without water, and 75 percent without communications.

On behalf of the Alliance family in Puerto Rico, Javier thanks God for His provision and protection. There was no loss of life among the Alliance family. Of the 63 churches on the island (61 with buildings),

  • 7 suffered severe damage,
  • 21 suffered moderate damage, and
  • 33 suffered little or no damage.

About one in five pastors’ homes were damaged; also, on average, 8–10 homes per congregation were damaged.

District personnel and relief coordinators continue to visit churches throughout the island. As these congregations reach out to their communities, please pray

  • that God will sustain them as they rebuild their own homes and help care for those around them. In addition to being deprived of basic necessities, many feel overwhelmed and exhausted;
  • for discernment for district and church leaders as they determine the most effective ways to meet the deepest needs of their communities.

CAMA is providing financial aid to assist with relief and recovery efforts for victims of Hurricane Maria in Puerto Rico. You can provide immediate support by making a donation to CAMA Disaster Relief Puerto Rico.

California

Though  progress has been made in containing the California fires, on October 16, the Central Pacific District reported that a fourth pastor lost his home in the Santa Rosa fire. Those whose homes were destroyed are grieving not only the loss of their structures but also photo albums, home videos, and other sentimental items that perished. As the fires continue to rage in some areas, residents–especially children–are afraid to go to sleep for fear their home may be next.

Please Pray

  • for peace and comfort for all who have been affected by the fires;
  • for protection for those whose homes remain at risk;
  • that firefighters will remain safe and make significant progress in containing the fires;
  • that winds will cease and rains will come to help contain the remaining blaze;
  • that Alliance churches will continue to find tangible ways to show Christ’s love to their stricken communities.

Those wishing to help financially can do so by sending checks to the Central Pacific District at 715 Lincoln Ave., Woodland, CA 95695. Please designate checks to “Santa Rosa Fire.”