SUMMERDALE, Ala (BNc) — Jerry O. Davidson, missionary to the Amerindian villages in Guyana, and the mission team traveled to Guyana October 14 – November 4, 2013, for another soul-saving effort. They worked in five Amerindian villages, with a total of 17 baptisms. Continue reading
ASUNCIÓN, Paraguay (BNc) by Troy Spradlin — Gabriel Balbuena is a friend and co-worker of our sister in Christ, Raquel Franco. She taught him the gospel over the course of several months and he finally came to the decision to be baptized. We rejoice with the angels in heaven!
In the Avenida Sacramento congregation, the ladies held their annual Mujeres de Fe Conference Sat., Nov. 9. Two sisters, Raquel Franco and Leti Alfonso, extended the lessons on the theme of “Quiero Ver” (I Want to See) taken from Mark 10:51. There was a great turn out of ladies from all the congregations, as well as visitors.
TETE, Mozambique (BNc) — Since his conversion in January of this year, Samuel Mtaula has baptized 30 people so far, Lola Crouch, his World English Institute teacher, said today.
“I should say that I am a most grateful person to have been his teacher through all of the WEI lessons that he quickly completed. He travels to other villages and rural areas to teach the gospel,” Lola said in an email.
Samuel noted the troubled political situation in the country.
“Continue to pray for us. Many people have started running away to neighboring countries. The opposition and the government soldiers are still fighting, and the opposition says that there will be elections this year November. If any person tries to go to vote, it will be shoot to kill,” he said, according to Jan Towell of WEI.
Samuel’s wife suggested that she and the children should go to her home in Malawi until the situation becomes calm.
“On Saturday I went for evangelism with two other brothers, and we taught a group of 16 youth who asked for lessons on the true church, baptism, and the Old and New Testaments. It is 54 km from my home, and brother Matias helped us with to and fro transport money. It was a good time and we will go again for more lessons. Hoping to baptize the group,” Samuel said.
“Please pray for the uprising and violence to stop there,” Lola added.
As a former colony of Portugal, Mozambique’s official language is Portuguese, which is spoken by about half the population as a second language.
DENVER, Colo. (BNc) — In an impromptu Bible study with the leader of a diverse group of believers, Neal Pollard wrote yesterday that the pastor “had never heard of … approaching the plan of salvation or how to worship or anything else by using nothing but the Bible.”
The pastor was searching for a congregation to plug his nearly 100 followers into. Neal said,
While he seemed very interested in the concept, his “pragmatic” side did not allow him to see how that would work with the group with which he already worked. … Yet, as strident as he was about their beliefs, this idea of non-denominational, simple New Testament Christianity intrigued him.
The hour-long discussion ended with plans to talk further about the restoration plea.
Of that experience, Neal observed,
Perhaps we have bought into the idea that the “restoration plea” has been tried and has failed to find a following. If [this leader] is in any way representative of the religious world, and I have reason to believe he is, there are a great many who are totally unaware of that plea. Could there be a whole world of religious people out there, disenchanted with mainline evangelical denominationalism, who would be open to New Testament Christianity? Let’s pray for opportunities to share it and see what happens!
Read Neal’s entire post at this link.
The ongoing poll had, at post time, 3,617 responses.
The poll website is designed to allow a person to compare his responses to those given by people in the major political parties.
While the reasons given for Jesus’ disapproval would certainly vary and at times contradict, the poll would seem to indicate that an appeal to return to the Bible in order to restore the faith that the Lord established might be a welcome message today.
Christians who follow the New Testament as their pattern in faith and service, therefore, can be encouraged in their efforts to proclaim the Christ who has revealed how to be approved of God.
GALLATIN, Tenn. (BNc) by Ken Thomas — A South Sudanese man in Tennessee learned the gospel because an Adventist friend in Minnesota encouraged him to seek out a church of Christ.
This interesting case of conversion was reported by Doyle Farris, outreach minister with the Hartsville Pike congregation.
Recently, Stephen, a local man with South Sudanese background, went to Hartsville Pike’s Sunday assembly and asked for information about the churches of Christ. An elder gave him a study booklet which teaches first principles of the gospel. By Monday he had studied and filled out the questions in a good portion of the study. He asked for a personal study with Doyle.
Later in the week, he returned for another study, and eventually he carried the information he had learned to his wife and four children. They attended worship together, and this past Friday the man was baptized into Christ.
Stephen had been a member of a Sudanese Presbyterian church but felt he was not growing spiritually as he should. He contacted a friend in Minnesota and asked for advice as to where to turn spiritually.
The friend, a Seventh-Day Adventist, had been convinced that he, himself, needed to make a change spiritually, and he advised his Gallatin friend to find a church of Christ to receive accurate instruction in the scriptures. It was on the advice of a South Sudanese man who had migrated to Minnesota that a Tennessee resident learned about the churches of Christ.
Two men who escaped the horrors of South Sudanese violence in the past have now found the peace and security that is in Christ. Santino Haar was able to get acquainted with his new brother in Christ this week. Having met in the past, they now have a common bond that is much more important than their human origins in two tribes of Sudan.
Who knows but what the advice of Santino to those who gathered in Omaha in May (to discuss plans to build a clinic in Unity State, South Sudan) helped cause what happened this past week. He told the Panaruu conference that when they went home they needed to find a church of Christ and learn the Bible. And that was before he, himself, had been baptized.
In Gallatin there is now a family of six which has begun to learn about the Lord’s church.
Also, in far-away Kenya, Santino’s wife and four children and other relatives Santino supports will soon have opportunity to study the Word more carefully. Personal contact has already been made by Christians who have visited their home. Pray that the seed sown will bear more fruit for the kingdom of Christ.
I believe that the kindness and warmth shown to Santino during his visits at the Beech Grove congregation near Murfreesboro had a part in his conversion. Without doubt, if no conversation had been made with him about the church, he would not have been a Christian now.
Let us all understand that when the seed of the kingdom, the Word of God (Lk 8:11), is planted in honest hearts by teaching, and when it is watered by others who provide encouragement to the seeking soul, God gives the increase (1Co 3.5-10).
Use every open door you can find to share the gospel, and use every opportunity to help encourage both students and teachers of the Word of God. The gospel is for all, so let us be busy getting the message out (Rm 1.14-16).
RIO DE JANEIRO, Brazil (BNc) — These unidentified saints from the Tanque congregation walk the sidewalks wearing signs that challenge popular ideas about Christianity. They stand beside a table offering information about the church.
Their signs say:
- Don’t be deceived. Read the Bible.
- Why are there so many churches?
- Who is the owner of your church?
Their blog says of them:
We are concerned to share only the truth. We are against all impiety and we preach only the gospel of the Kingdom. Many curse us, insult us, say we won’t go far. But whatever the cost, we will defend the truth. We are against sin, against evangelical churches that call themselves Christians, but are not because many do not follow the Bible as they should. We are against pastors who call themselves men of God teaching wrongly the Scriptures, because the truth is that they teach doctrines of demons. We are against all and any way which says it will take one to God, because there is only one: Jesus. Our idea is to return to primitive Christianity, the same instituted by our Lord Jesus Christ and followed by the apostles and first Christians. We are not reformers, but restorers; we want to restore the church of the first century, the church of our Master Jesus.
CLEVELAND, Tenn. (BNc) — Getting kicked out of the house of a woman he met over the Internet was the best thing that had ever happened to Tom Leffler.
From there he went to the Cleveland Emergency Shelter.
While at the shelter, he received food and an invitation from a local congregation’s ministry.
“This one gentleman named Sam Carico invited me to East Side Church of Christ,” Tom said. “I started attending and felt this was where I needed to be and on July 17, I was baptized. It has been going great ever since.”
Every other Monday night, the East Side congregation prepares supper for the residents of the shelter, located just down the street from the church building.
The Cleveland Daily Banner ran Tom’s story Sept. 15 and highlighted the work of the shelter.
BNc asked Jeff Archey, preacher with the East Side congregation, about Tom.
“I met Tom the first time at our mid-week Bible Study,” Jeff said. “He was very gracious and friendly and began attending faithfully. After his obedience to the gospel, he has always been a willing servant.”
“He refreshed our tract racks and keeps them refilled. His vision of helping others less fortunate is exceptional. When he was staying at the Economy Inn, he would share food with others and invite them to worship. He used our House to House/Heart to Heart publication by leaving them in the lobby and at the laundromat where he washed his clothes. This Laundromat is in a Hispanic area which prompted Tom to ask about the House to House Hispanic version. He seeks out good works and is willing to help any way possible. He is well loved, appreciated and is a blessing to our work and family at East Side,” Jeff said.
The newspaper article noted that Tom now works as a custodian at the local high school and lives in a nice apartment.
JACKSONVILLE, Ala. (BNc) — The House to House, Heart to Heart ministry, which mails an evangelistic magazine quarterly to homes, announced Aug. 21 that the September issue would reach over three million households.
Congregations work with the ministry to send the magazine to local addresses.
The Jacksonville elders oversee the work of HTH.
MT. JULIET, Tenn. (BNc) by Ken Thomas — Santino Anuer Haar is a member of the group of Sudanese refugees who came to the USA under the “Lost Boys” program, an effort to give a new start to young men who had been displaced by the on-going strife in his native country.
Just two years ago, those in the South voted (by a 98+% majority) to become a sovereign nation separate from the nation to the north which is dominated by Muslim forces. It declared itself committed to be governed as a free country where the English language would help unify the many tribes that call the land home.
Santino came to Tennessee and eventually ended up in Ken Thomas’ math class. Eventually, Ken asked about his background and then told Santino about the Sudan Project which the Mt. Juliet church is leading in. They also began a Bible study.
Don Humphrey, from the Mt. Juliet congregation, and Ken traveled to Gallatin to meet Santino in his apartment.
Santino for the past two years has been president of the Panaroo Community, a network of several hundred Sudanese refugees from Unity State, on the border of South Sudan and Sudan (North). They had already developed a plan to raise money to build a clinic to help relieve the health problems of malaria, oil-polluted water, and other maladies.
This community also had groups in Canada, Australia, and England, and Santino has spent many sleepless nights trying to unify this group behind the project.
After Santino saw the presentation Don gave to the Mt. Juliet church a few months ago, he wanted his community to see what the church had done in East Equatoria and invited “Dr. Don” to share that with a convention in Omaha in May.
Don and Richard Stevens traveled to Omaha where the presentation was received by the group and two members of the South Sudanese parliament, with great interest. Santino urged the assembled group to find a church of Christ when they went home.
A member of Parliament made the statement that the church of Christ is welcome in Sudan.
Of more immediate importance is that Santino has asked members of the church to make contact with his family (now living in Nairobi, Kenya) and teach them what he has learned. With his work in Gallatin he supports a wife, a daughter who is in medical school, a son in high school, and two younger children, besides a brother and a nephew who is a war orphan. At the same time he is working on a degree from Vol State.
Before his home was burned down and he was separated from his parents his family was in what he calls “traditional” religion. Later he was converted to the Anglican faith, and then received his name “Santino” from a priest who converted him to Catholicism. He was active as a Catholic, teaching catechism to new or prospective Catholics.
As he studied with Ken he reflected, “When I taught catechism, I didn’t know anything about the Bible, and neither did the people I taught.”
Santino was impressed with the people in the Lord’s church who carried and knew their Bibles.
He wears in his forehead the scars of Dinka tradition which designate him as a trustworthy brave man, but since his baptism into Christ this past Sunday, he will bear the marks of Christ whose own body was scarred and maimed for our sins.
May God bless him as a warrior for Christ in the war against Satan’s power, and may his example of courage inspire many to follow Jesus. He is an American citizen now, but more importantly he is a part of the Kingdom of God under King Jesus.
His spiritual progress has been advanced by the Mt. Juliet church, Hartsville Pike congregation in Gallatin, and Beech Grove, near Murfreesboro, as he has visited them. Please pray for him and his family.
Article published originally on the Mt. Juliet congregation’s website. Ken is a member of the body of Christ in Beech Grove.
SMITHVILLE, Tenn. (BNc) by Eugene Adkins — The Smithville Fiddler’s Jamboree and Craft Festival is a community tradition that’s been going on for over 40 years in DeKalb County, during the Fourth of July holiday. It attracts thousands of local and worldwide visitors.
This year the Jamboree Festival committee allowed local organizations to set up information booths. The church in Keltonburg took advantage of the opportunity to present the Gospel in multiple forms.
In spite of the unseasonably wet and cool weather, the church’s booth had a great deal of success in getting out the word on God’s word.
Along with the offer of a free bottle of water, the church offered Bible tracts, scripture reference cards, previous House-to-House issues, and various mail-in Bible correspondence courses, free for the taking.
By the time the tent came down, hundreds of Bible tracts and scripture reference cards were taken, and several Bible study courses were ready to go, one of which is heading all the way down to Texas.
Booth workers also had many conversations with people who were both familiar and unfamiliar with the church and the Gospel of Jesus Christ.
The church also received words of encouragement from other brothers and sisters in Christ from the community, and even out of state, who were glad to see the booth set up.
The church is looking forward to next year’s festival as a continued opportunity to share God’s word with the community.
MARIETTA, Ga. (BNc) by Neil Richey — While out to visit a gracefully aging member to wish her a happy birthday, I found myself in the wrong location. I don’t know why this happened, I’ve been by to check on her before. But for whatever reason I knocked on the wrong door and an unfamiliar face answered.
She was no doubt as surprised as I was. I introduced myself, and so did she. She invited me in and I accepted. I told her my funny story, and we had a good chat.
Most times when I knock on a stranger’s door to pay a visit, I’m kindly told “not interested” and sent on my way. Thankfully, this was not the case this time.
We talked about our families, religious background, and shared our “stories.” I learned that this friendly lady was retired, had recently moved to town to be closer to family as she deals with some health issues, and at one time thought of becoming a nun.
Before leaving, I asked her if I might come by and study the Bible with her.
She was surprised that I’d offer to come back and study with “just her,” as if I needed a larger group before I would offer to teach the Bible. I assured her that I wanted to talk to anyone and everyone that would listen.
So we’ll be getting together again real soon. She was so very pleasant, and I look forward to that time.
You know, there is more said in the Bible about Jesus teaching in a one-on-one scenario than giving large public discourses. Statistically, more people decide to become members of a local church when they are invited by an individual, than by hearing public preaching.
What does that tell us? Perhaps we should knock on the “wrong door” a little more often.
The Bible says, “Go into all the world and preach the Gospel” (Mk 16:15). That’s our job. How’s work going?
Neil is a gospel preacher with the Piedmont Road congregation in Marietta. He graciously gave us permission to use and adapt his article.