Current news and stories from our Alliance field workers.
By Chris O’Dell, serving with Envision in Tapei, Taiwan
As we finished a recent Sunday service at The Aroma church, Caleb, a partner in ministry who manages our coffee shop, turned to me and said, “Can you let everyone know that if they have pain in their bodies, Jesus wants to take care of it? Tell them they can come up and we’ll pray for them after the service.” I love it when we get a specific word from God—a sense that He might do something special in a given moment of time. It’s exciting to be directly involved in God’s redemptive work that extends to our hearts, minds, and bodies.
Earlier that evening, we had focused on the theme of forgiveness and healing from Isaiah 53: “By His wounds we are healed.” As I prayed a blessing to close the service, I extended an invitation for those who wanted prayer for healing. “Jesus wants to take care of that tonight,” I said.
Several people stayed, and we prayed for them, one at a time, inviting the Holy Spirit to come and release God’s healing power. Following Jesus’ example in the gospels, we commanded pain to leave and spoke blessings over each person. Four excited women testified that the pain in their bodies was gone and that they were reminded of their identity in Christ as God’s children, who are appropriated to receive His healing in their lives. I was reminded of the vision God has given us,The Aroma Church, to help everyone “smell,” “become,” and “spread” His aroma. We have an amazing opportunity each week to invite people to “taste and see the LORD is good” (Psalm 34:8). Two weeks later, one of the women, Joyce, thanked me again. The long-time, chronic pain has not returned; Jesus took care of it!
The following was written by an Alliance international worker after the recent terrorist attack that killed 13 people. He and his wife will arrive in Spain later this month.
I had just finished swimming with my kids and some friends who served alongside us in Barcelona. I was walking into the house when my wife rushed over to tell me there had been a terror attack in that city. As I reached for my phone, the number of messages was enough to confirm that something horrible had happened.
It was hard to believe the images we were seeing. As soon as I heard “La Rambla,” I knew it would be bad. If you’ve been to Barcelona, you know the amount of people who are on the Rambla at any given day of the year. And this is the peak of tourist season.
We quickly checked with the team there and our friends, and we thank God that everyone is safe.
We could very well have been there if our departure to Barcelona had not been delayed. We were scheduled to be there on July 19, but we changed our flights due to visa and housing complications.
As I am writing this, I am struck by the contrast of our current living situation here in the USA and the situation we are heading to. For the last several weeks, I have enjoyed living with my in-laws in a nice, quiet house on the lake. It is so safe here that you can leave the door or your garage unlocked and nothing will happen. Actually, just yesterday I asked my father in-law if there had ever been reports of boat robberies. His answer was, “I have never heard of any; I actually leave the key in the boat.”
Wow! I thought to myself. It’s so nice to live in a place where you feel safe.
Today’s events in Barcelona have brought to my mind the sharp contrast of our situation here and the one we are heading into. We are only 10 days out from heading back. As I watched the videos and heard the reports, I felt the temptation to doubt and fear. Questions began to rush to my mind. Are you sure you want to take your family to a place like that? That’s not safe! Why don’t you stay here? Here is safe.
And then I remembered that all year long as I have been visiting churches, the message I have been sharing was to not be afraid, to not allow hatred to control us, to be willing to go wherever God calls us to go.
Suddenly, I realized that this message is for me. God is once again asking me not to fear and to trust in Him. The safest place is not underground, hiding in a shelter, or on a remote island far away from everyone. The safest place for us as believers is near Him, walking in obedience, going wherever He leads us. And the most dangerous place is the place of disobedience.
Today’s events are a reminder that lost people need Jesus. North Africans need Jesus. Spaniards need Jesus. People in Charlottesville, Virginia, and in your city need Jesus. That is the only hope they have!
Our prayer is that God will turn these evil events into good—that He will turn people to Himself and open the eyes of our Spanish and North African friends to realize their need for a Savior—the only one who can bring peace, healing, and reconciliation.
Please pray for us and that we will walk in obedience.
By an Alliance worker couple serving in Uruguay
In previous months, we have hosted 10–15 gatherings in our home, including team meetings, worship and Bible study, and dinners. God is teaching us daily about how to be hosts—not just by welcoming people into our house but also by being hosts of His presence. His Spirit continues to lead us in prayer, guiding us as we walk in our gifts.
- We see spiritual hunger slowly developing in the hearts of friends.
- Our team’s worship and Bible study gatherings have been well-attended; participants are engaging well.
- In just one week, a new acquaintance began pursing God.
- An agnostic Jew has started to pray to God and has seen his prayers answered.
Please keep praying! There are daily spiritual battles, but we have begun to see them as opportunities to gain new ground. Specifically, our team is praying for a location for a ministry center—a symbol of the Kingdom’s permanence here and a professional gateway between our team and the community. On paper, what we are asking for is financially out of reach. Will you pray for the Holy Spirit’s guidance as we wait expectantly to see how much bigger His imagination is than ours?
By an Alliance worker couple serving in West Africa
In the past, a village boasting a lake of sacred crocodiles was opposed to any outreach events organized by the local Alliance church. Residents had been negatively affected by a false teacher, whose influence produced demonic activity in the village.
After several visits by the pastor and the evangelism team, which comprised pastors and lay leaders from the city church, a few people started to show interest in the gospel. An outreach sponsored by Alliance medical workers was a big step in demonstrating the validity of the Alliance church. While they conducted health teachings, a team of pastors prayed for people, asking God to move in the village.
That evening, several individuals received Christ. The C&MA churches’ district leadership sent a group of pastors to stay for a week to disciple these new believers and answer the questions of others, who have expressed interest in the good news.
Praise God! A piece of land has been promised for a future church site, and the district plans to install a student pastor.
Pray for the successful discipleship of those who received Jesus and that seekers will come to faith.
By an Alliance worker couple in Kosovo
The day after our baby girl, Shiloh, was born, the doctor asked, “What does her name mean?” We replied, “Shiloh is the promise of God for the Messiah, who brings everlasting hope, peace, and life to those who believe in Him. His name is Jesus.” And thus began a deep conversation about our faith, the Bible, religion, our relationship with Jesus, and the gospel.
The next day while still at the hospital, we presented the doctor with a Bible in his language. We talked with him more about his own religion and what Jesus offers him instead. We encouraged him to read the Bible and pray, asking God to show him the truth. What amazing opportunities we have to share our faith when we are open and watching, even when it involves a tired three days in the hospital, a new baby, and a special name.
Many other doors for evangelism have opened since we moved to another city in Kosovo. Recently, we spoke with some of our neighbors over coffee about the meaning of Easter and who Jesus is. We have been blessed to have an influence in the life of a new friend who comes to visit from another town as well.
We continue to be a part of the believers’ fellowship and have seen their faith grow as we connect with their lives and spend time in worship, prayer, and the Word. Upon the birth of our girl, we received this sweet prayer from one of the believers:
“Welcome, princess. You come to us as a disciple in the family of our Lord Jesus. The Lord bless you with a healthy life. Thank you so much that you bring us this good news of her birth!”
Pray for the doctor’s eyes to be open to the truth of God’s Word as revealed in the Bible and to understand that it is through Christ alone we are saved. Pray that the believers with whom we fellowship will continue to seek after God and grow in their faith. Pray also for more opportunities to be gospel witnesses for Him.