GC11 Offers Quick Trip Around World

The GC 11 North Africa/Middle East area takes people to another part of the world.

By Christy Mesaros-Winckles

Step into a European Café at General Conference and sip a cappuccino, sit on a wooden bench in an African schoolhouse or, if you’re really ambitious, jump on a random flight to a far off destination at VISA’s outpost airport.

The Free Methodist World Missions displays at General Conference 2011 are set up to take people around the world and get a small taste of what it’s like to live in a different country.  The displays are located inside Pierce Memorial Free Methodist Church’s Family Life Center, 4322 Buffalo Road, North Chili, N.Y.

Travel around the world as Light & Life takes you to visit missionaries from across the globe.

North Africa/Middle East

Travelers to North Africa and the Middle East will be invited to join a local house church and meet pastors from Jordan and Egypt along with Dustin and Megan of Impact Middle East who share about life and culture in the region.

“We have 110 traditional church buildings, which primarily come from the Holiness Church of Canada, which started about a 100 years ago. In addition to the 110 church buildings we have about 250 house churches. Those are all begun in the last two and a half years,” Dustin said.

The churches in this region are primarily in Egypt, Jordan and Iraq. As the Free Methodist Church continues to grow in North Africa and the Middle East, the church is faced with the challenges of training emerging leaders, gaining government favor and new church planting projects.

Prayer Request for Impact Middle East: Pray for continued courage in the midst of very difficult times. One church was recently vandalized by Muslim youth and suffering in the midst of lawlessness and military takeover in the country. Another church also faces continued violence. Pray that the churches will continue to prosper, grow and be a light and message of hope.

Jim and Margaret Nelson are co-coordinators of the Asia FMWM network.

Asia

A colorful market of SEED products from local artists greets travelers. Artisans from the Philippines, Cambodia and India have products for sale.

Margaret Nelson, who is co-coordinator of the Asia FMWM network with her husband, Jim, notes that rapid growth in the Asian FM church is providing exciting new ministry opportunities.

“The Asian fields are sending their own missionaries to other Asian fields. So, there the Western missionaries are kind of in the background and now do partnership building and leadership training and not doing the pioneering work,” Nelson said. “The challenges depend on the country but, if people become Christians, there is persecution immediately and in other countries it’s subtler.

“We have a friend whose husband has never gotten baptized yet because his parents said as the oldest he has to worship all the ancestors so if you get baptized you can’t do that. Well, he’s a believer, but to try to honor his parents he hasn’t gotten baptized.”

Prayer request for Asia: Pray for church planting initiatives in Asia and various social projects and their impact in missions work around the region.

Diane Mellinger, missionary to Bulgaria, and Katie Winckles, missionary to Hungary, enjoy a cup of coffee in the cafe.

Europe

Sit down in an elegant European coffee shop and order a cappuccino from FM European missionaries who act as waiters at the booth. Any of the missionaries are more than willing to talk about their ministries in Europe. Sheila and Richard Dickinson serve as missionaries to Belgium and temporary café workers for the Europe booth.

Sipping a cup of coffee, Sheila Dickinson talked about life and ministry.

“Most people who go to Belgium would think it’s similar to America in a lot of ways because it’s a modernized, industrialized country, but it is a socialized nation,” she said. “There is also a different feel spiritually.”

The Dickinsons have served in Belgium since 2009. Since moving to Belgium the couple took Flemish classes and through those classes met a diverse group of immigrants. They now have a large Bible study of Filipinos and another with a Latino group.

Prayer request for Belgium: For leaders, a Tagalog speaker for the Filipino group and a Spanish speaker who can work in the Latino ministry and lead small groups and can step in and preach.

Africa

Simple wooden tables and chairs fill a makeshift African schoolhouse.

Simple wooden tables and chairs fill a makeshift African schoolhouse. The jewelry African SEED artists made decorates the schoolhouse walls and allows visitors a chance to support the work of African Free Methodists.

The Free Methodist Church in Africa has experienced rapid growth over the past few years.

Kenyan Bishop Nixon Dingili and his wife, Pastor Nettie Dingili, visit the GC11 missions area.

According to Kenyan Bishop Nixon Dingili, the needs of the Kenyan FM church continue to grow as the church expands and needs more leaders.

“One of the most exciting things we’re seeing is the way the Lord is meeting up to people and people giving their lives to Christ, especially through the children’s and youth ministries. We’ve been seeing great number of children and young people come to the Lord. That has been so exciting.”

The Kenyan FM Church currently has 4,250 members, 63 ordained pastors, and 32 ministerial candidates.

Prayer for Kenya: Pray for equipping of the leaders. The need is great. The work is plenty and the laborers are few. Really pray that God will draw people who are called into ministry.

Latin America

A trip to Latin America can be found at GC11.

Visitors to Latin America can see a water purification project demonstration and learn about sponsoring a child through International Child Care Ministries.

Rick Ireland, long-term missionary to Haiti, welcomes travelers and shares about the progress and difficulties facing the Haitian FM church. Ireland and his wife, Cookie, are based in Port-au-Prince, Haiti, where Rick helps with rebuilding and recovery efforts and Cookie, a certified nurse-midwife, works at a birth center.

“Haiti was severely damaged by the earthquake and was in pretty rough shape before the earthquake, but the earthquake made things difficult. The big problems right now in Haiti are the economy. The Haitian FM Church is incredibly strong, In fact, since the earthquake it has grown and they are almost in a revival mode there,” Ireland said.

“Yet, at the same time personal finances are always a struggle. There is also political unrest and cholera is a huge problem. It’s the rainy season now and cholera tends to accelerate in the rainy season since bad water is a factor in the transmission.“

He went on to explain that the lack of public education in Haiti makes supporting Haitian children through International Child Care Ministries even more important since it’s one of the only opportunities for children to get an education.

Prayer for Haiti: Pray for political stability in the country, as there is still tension between the old and new government. Also, prayer and helping people find ways to create sustainable incomes.

For more information or to find out more about these parts of the world, visit www.fmwm.org and www.impactmiddleeast.org.

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