THE GOSPEL CHANGES LIVES FOR ETERNITY

These three men started 33 churches despite persecution.  Brahim, his son Wararni and his cousin Usaden, who serves as chief of his village.

Soon after hearing the gospel and witnessing the love of Jesus Christ in the lives of Christians, Brahim decided to leave Islam and put his faith in Christ. After doing so, he felt compelled to share the Good News with others in his Tuareg tribe, starting with his family.

Brahim first led his wife and seven adult children to Christ. Then he shared the gospel with other relatives, most of whom came to faith in Christ immediately.

When he shared the gospel with a tribal leader in his region, the man refused to leave Islam. However, he gave Brahim permission to continue sharing his faith in the more than 100 villages the leader oversaw. After telling a large gathering of Tuareg villagers that Jesus is “the way, the truth and the life,” Brahim and another pastor led more than 400 of them to Christ in a single day.

Two of Brahim’s family members — his son Wararni and his cousin Usaden, who serves as chief of his village — soon joined him in his ministry work. Like Brahim, they both had a strong desire to share the gospel with other Tuaregs.

“The understanding I got on the day I accepted Jesus is that this work has to be my life,” Wararni said. “The work is not for me only; the work is for more people to hear.”

Since 2018, when the three men began sharing the gospel, they have seen hundreds of people come to faith in Christ each time they preach. And together, they have helped start 33 churches. VOM supports the evangelists by providing them with print and audio Bibles as well as other ministry tools.

The reason so many are coming to Christ at once, a front-line worker explained, is that the tribe has the characteristics of a close family. When members of a tribe see a leader accept Christ, they don’t question his decision.

But as word spread that hundreds of people in multiple villages were leaving Islam for Christ, local Islamic leaders grew angry. Once, a group of men came to Brahim’s house threatening to kill him and his family if he didn’t stop his ministry work. Their threats didn’t faze him, however, because he knows where he’s going when he dies. “I know if you touch me, you are declaring war with heaven,” Brahim said.

Brahim hopes to share the gospel with each member of the Tuareg tribe in his region of Niger, which covers hundreds of miles. His goal is to complete this by 2025, no matter the cost. “I am looking for 100 percent,” he said. “The objective is to take the gospel to everybody, not just a few.”

You can partner with front-line workers like Brahim as they work to advance God’s kingdom. And with any monthly gift, you will receive VOM’s Global Prayer Journal.

C.E.Z. MODEL MAKING A DIFFERENCE

Picture a village. Remote, undeveloped, overwhelmed by poverty, and characterized by broken relationships. Where malnutrition, illness, and few positive role models oftentimes leave children extremely vulnerable. And where the perpetual cycle of poverty cripples entire generations, decade after decade.

Aid relief volunteer emotional crying in face of poverty village Africa
Aid relief volunteer emotional crying in face of poverty village Africa

Now picture that same village operating as a community. A community characterized by thriving relationships, strengthened families, spiritual richness, economic sustainability, and good health. Picture community leaders and church pastors, once isolated and fragmented, sitting together, in conversation. Learning, talking, and sharing. Eager to connect, encourage, and challenge one another. Eager to love and serve the most vulnerable, to fulfill the Great Commission, and see the next generation renewed, restored, and transformed in Christ.

A unique and innovative model, pioneered by World Relief, fulfills this very vision? A beautifully biblical and thoughtful process by which communities are truly being sustainably changed from the inside out. Where the cycle of poverty is being broken, and communities are beginning to experience a fullness of life, unlike anything they’ve ever experienced?

It’s called the Church Empowerment Zone (CEZ) Model. And it changes everything.

“World Relief helped us to understand we are many parts of one body, and that we have a responsibility to come together in unity and serve the most vulnerable. That we have to be the answer to our own problems. Now we share our community’s burdens. we care for the poor and most vulnerable. We are creating love where the Devil was bringing hate and division. We are bringing the Kingdom of God down to Earth.
— Pastor Radolpho”

World Relief’s “Transformation Tree Curriculum” (TTC) focuses on better equipping local pastors—inspiring and faithful servants of the Lord, who are genuinely called to serve with all their capacity and might. They are resourceful, and their strength and enduring spirit bless their communities abundantly. And so we stand with and alongside them, sharing in our knowledge and resources.

Our TTC grounds these leaders in the scriptural calling to care for and shepherd all people. It addresses foundational beliefs concerning God’s compassion for the poor, the root causes of poverty, and our call to love and serve one another. We teach pastors that in order for the vicious cycle of poverty to truly end, value systems, beliefs, and ultimately behaviors must change. We demonstrate that in order for holistic physical transformation to take place, spiritual transformation must first lead the way.

Transformation is catalyzed as these leaders are brought together and equipped, not just as a distribution mechanism, but also as change-makers and kingdom champions. They are developed as true leaders. They are inspired. They learn to shepherd and, in turn, teach others to be shepherds. They are equipped to transform their communities. And they themselves are transformed—as leaders, teachers, community activists, neighbors, wives, mothers, husbands, and fathers.

We used to see so many of our church members not living out their faith. Since the introduction of the World Relief training, their lives have changed. They are integrating word and deed. Helping one another, praying, and understanding the word of God.
— Aurelie Uwinana, Volunteer Leader

Once foundational beliefs and values are in place, and World Relief staff have served as initial trainers and catalysts, we equip hundreds of “ordinary people” to take part in this great kingdom work. Through our Outreach Group Initiative, we use local church volunteers to reach their neighbors and communities, enabling us to address the deepest of issues that extend beyond the ‘front door’ of the home. Lessons begin with biblical teachings that provide spiritual building blocks for our technical interventions.

Parents are taught about the obligation to care for their children as a blessing.

But if anyone does not provide for his relatives, and especially for members of his household, he has denied the faith and is worse than an unbeliever.1 Timothy 5:8

Farmers about the honour and privilege of tending to land’

The Lord God took the man and put him in the garden of Eden to work it and keep it.” Genesis 2:15

Families about the importance of saving and sharing money.

On the first day of every week, each of you is to put something aside and store it up, as he may prosper, so that there will be no collecting when I come.1 Corinthians 16:2

Couples about respect and support for one another.

And let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works, not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day drawing near.Hebrews 10:24

With the building blocks laid and beliefs and values instilled, technical interventions become rooted in powerful scriptural support, and adoption for long-term behavior change becomes possible. We then see the gospel work powerfully through the servants, initiating transformation in their communities because the gospel has become powerful in them and among them.

GOD ALREADY AT WORK IN PRISONS

THE RADICAL TRUTH

About four years ago, Lori Hayter scoped out the empty front lobby of Women’s Huron Valley Correctional Facility (WHV) in Ypsilanti, Michigan. She, a volunteer, and Denise Harris, a Prison Fellowship® field director, had arrived at the facility with Prison Fellowship Academy® curriculum in hand.

It was Lori’s first time doing something like this. She wondered who else might be joining them, since the curriculum indicated they would have some helpers. “So, who are the other volunteers?” she asked in earnest.

“It’s the women,” Denise replied, speaking of the prisoners. “The women are the volunteers.”

Looking back, Lori says, “I sort of had an idea what I was getting into. But I had so much to learn.”

Comprehensive online training sessions prepared Lori to serve behind bars. Soon she had the knowledge, skills, and confidence to start facilitating Prison Fellowship classes with Denise.

“I feel like I get to watch God at work when I go in there,” says Lori. “[People] have this perception that we’re going to go in there, and we’re going to make something happen—we’re going to bring the Lord to them. But God is already at work there, and we get to watch Him, and that’s amazing.”

Lori and Denise on the left

Lori adds, “I just feel like that’s really freedom: Because of the power of Christ, you can see that you’re not imprisoned even though you are physically. Spiritually, God has set you free.”
Lori is always amazed to see radical transformation on display. And it’s a group effort—an exchange of sorts. Not a group of volunteers swooping in to save the day, but a group of people walking alongside each other to seek Christ and grow together.

This, Lori realizes, is the radical truth of prison ministry. Whenever she walks through the gates of WHV, it’s clear that God is already there.

FORMER HOMOSEXUALS CHOOSE CHRIST AND HOLINESS OVER SIN

Governments legislating it is illegal to present God’s truth about the homosexual lifestyle should have attended the Washington Freedom March where Millennials and Gen-Xers stood together, unified with a voice that declared freedom is possible through Christ. The message is what so many need to hear but has been so quickly shunned. It lacks popularity but is packed with power. Christianity is not a group that we join because we agree philosophically. It is something we become a part of because the actual spirit that raised Jesus from the dead takes up residence in us, to become our counsellor, teacher, and comforter as we confront the impossibilities of life.

Participants in the 2019 D.C. Freedom March.

They stood together, each one with their own story of how Christ came into their heart and gave them a brand-new life. These young people were vibrant and energetic. Their enthusiasm was clearly visible as they shared their testimonies of coming out of darkness into the marvellous light of Christ. 1 Peter 2:9 says in the Message Bible, “But you are the ones chosen by God, chosen for the high calling of priestly work, chosen to be a holy people, God’s instruments to do his work and speak out for him, to tell others of the night-and-day difference he made for you—from nothing to something, from rejected to accepted.”

This march represented so much more than just a group of people gathering to share their thoughts. This was a march in the capital of the United States, Washington, D.C. This was a true declaration that Jesus is not dormant or dead. He is very much alive and able to change lives.

While the LGBTQ community has no hesitation in parading its doctrines and agendas before anyone, this Freedom March gave the ex-homosexual a clear voice. They were able to declare openly, right in our nation’s capital, that the lifestyle they once embraced was not God’s will for their life or anyone else’s life. They were able to freely stand up and say that they chose Christ and holiness over all of their sins.

There were no hidden agendas. Everyone was accepted. There were so many people from all cultures and nationalities. Everyone was important, no matter what titles they held or didn’t have. The love and respect for each other was so apparent.

They spoke for the countless people who were not able to march and could not attend. They spoke for the person struggling with their sexuality. They spoke for the person who is gender disoriented and insecure. They spoke for the cross-dresser and the transgender. They spoke for everyone and anyone who is unsure of themselves and unable to find love and hope. They marched to show that there is hope and there is unconditional love available through our Lord Jesus Christ.

The Freedom March declared to everyone that our God is not dead. He is very much alive in anyone who will allow Him to come in. No one is refused. No sin is too ugly or vile. Jesus stands with outstretched arms for everyone (Ps. 136:12). That is true freedom, and it is only found in our loving Savior, Jesus Christ.

THE IMPACT ONE GODLY FAMILY CAN HAVE FOR JESUS CHRIST

Will Graham preached this year in Manila, Philippines—following in the footsteps of his grandfather Billy and father Franklin—to record crowds. The historic gathering is “the first time that all three generations not only preached in the same city, the same country but actually the same venue.

The Greater Pangasinan-Metro Manila Celebration was originally intended to be a three-day campaign, says resident Celebration director Jeffrey Ferris, but sprawled into an eight-day campaign. According to a video released by the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association, 149,656 attended the Celebration gatherings where Graham preached, and more than 19,400 accepted salvation in Jesus Christ as a result. This is part of the last days harvest we see sweeping the under developed nations in Asia, Africa, South America.