Refugees of the Eastern Congo

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Written by Nubako Selega and posted by Cal Kierum

Dear Friends and Supporters,

Greetings from me and my family here in Kinshasa! Undoubtedly, some of you have been following the news of the situation in eastern Congo. As a bit of background, since 1990 and the fall of President Mobutu, a former President of DR Congo, our country has frequently been involved in wars that have affected numerous people in different areas of our country. Because of that there are many related problems.

About six months ago, in May 2012, some people in eastern DR Congo, just north of Kivu, which lies along the Rwandan border, became victims of this fighting and in need of immediate assistance. One of the rebellions in that area was begun by a group called M23. They began fighting with the Congolese army and eventually took control of a portion of eastern DR Congo. After three weeks of fighting they then seized the city of Goma. In response to both national and international pressure, the group agreed to pull out of Goma on November 30.

The fighting in eastern DR Congo has created over 700,000 refugees, all situated around the Goma area. Most of them live in refugee camps while others have gone to live with extended family members. A single camp can have as many as 40,000-60,000 refugees. Other people have fled to Rwanda. For those who are refugees, living outside is horrible. They are subjected to the sun and rain. They have no medical assistance. There are no toilets. There is no food. Those who are most affected by this are the children who fall sick and have no medical care, no medicine and often, no one to care for them.

Churches, NGOs and humanitarian organizations are doing their best to assist, but the needs are immense, especially for food and medicine. The Church of Christ in DR Congo (ECC), directs 67 different protestant denominations in DR Congo and I have been working with them to assist them in training church planters and youth workers. They are also helping minister to the needs of the people in the east through a ministry called Crisis Refugee Assistance; however, what they are able to provide is entirely insufficient.

I am sharing this with you today first, so that you will pray for these people in eastern DR Congo. I also ask you to consider helping with food and medicine. I am convinced that sending assistance to these people through this ministry of the ECC will do great good. I believe that this demonstration of the love of God to these people in this time of need could bring many to faith in Jesus Christ.

Just this morning, I spoke with a pastor who lives there. He is a friend of mine and came to the training this past summer given to us by Life International on the sanctity of human life. He shared with me that people are now selling their clothing and household goods to help buy food and medicine for those in need.

Donations to assist with this effort may be made to: Africa Crisis Relief – Account #3988
Online – www.EFCA.org
By mail – EFCA ReachGlobal, 901 E. 78th St., Minneapolis, MN  55420

Together for His Kingdom!
Nubako Selenga
Director, ReachAfrica
+243 81 71 77 630
+243 99 73 30 663
Skype: Selengan
E-mail: Nubako.Selenga@efca.org
Kinshasa, Democratic Republic of Congo

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Faith In Action, Saturday May 14th

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by Cal Kierum

An opportunity to serve the Lord together while serving others

Matthew 5:16  In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven.

Hebrews 10: 23-24   Let us hold unswervingly to the hope we profess, for he who promised is faithful.   And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds

The Holistic Outreach Team is excited to present an opportunity for all who call Elim home to serve on Saturday May 14th.    We have scheduled several projects that you may join as we seek to let our light shine before all men.   Sign-up sheets are available in the rear of the sanctuary and there are detailed project descriptions there.

Here is what is happening:

Stan Peterson is leading a project to build a wood shed for one of the women in our church.

Bill Parsons is leading a project to build 3-drawer dressers that will be used by homeless people.   We anticipate having a couple of homeless men assisting us in this project.   This will happen at Elim.

Stacie Kierum is leading a project making “no-sew” fleece blankets for Care Net, the center who ministers to women with un-anticipated pregnancies.    This project will happen at Elim.

Paul McCracken is leading a project to help with yard work at a neighbor’s yard.

Cheryl Weller will be leading Discipleland Kids.   They will be doing a free car-wash and cookies.   This will happen at Elim.

Bob Walsh is leading a group to do weeding to help someone in our church who is unable to do this due to health issues.    This project does not have to happen on the 14th and could happen earlier if the team can do it.

As you can see, we have projects available for all ages and physical abilities.   You can check the Faith In Action bulletin board for project details, including what skills and tools or materials may be needed.   There may be other projects that become available so make sure to check the Faith In Action bulletin board and table in the rear of the sanctuary.

Also, if the Lord is calling on you to meet a need and you would like to organize a project, there are blank project forms both at the Faith In Action bulletin board and on our Elim website.   Please feel free to get a project going if you see a need, whether it be ministering to someone within Elim,  to your neighbors, to someone in our community, to one of our missionary families, or to any others who the Lord is calling you to serve.    If you see a need but do not feel qualified to lead it, please prayerfully consider who you could approach about leading.   The Holistic Outreach Team will try to equip and empower all who feel called to serve others in the name of our Lord.

The Holistic Outreach Team would like to see other projects developed for the rest of the summers so even if you cannot participate on May 14th, remember to check the Faith In Action bulletin board for future opportunities.

Let’s take every opportunity to go and serve in South Hill and beyond!

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Holistic Outreach

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by Cal Kierum

Following Christ’s model of loving God and people we will equip and mobilize all who come to Elim to share the Gospel in word and deed as we go and serve South Hill and beyond.

John Piper has said that “missions exist because worship doesn’t”.   We were created for relationship with God that glorifies God through worship.    But man has turned away from God.   Many do not know Him and cannot worship Him.    What Piper calls “missions” is temporary and is only needed until all have had the opportunity to hear the Gospel and become worshippers of God.   Worship is eternal.

This week we are considering the 5th and final strategic objective; Holistic Outreach.   As the Strategic Planning Team prayed about God’s vision for Elim, we became convinced that Holistic Outreach was an important area of focus.    Holistic Outreach means moving outside the walls of Elim (and moving outside the “walls” within our own lives that isolate us from those who are lost or in need) with the whole Gospel.    It includes what has in the past been called “missions”, “evangelism”, and “ministries of compassion”.    It is holistic in that we seek to see God’s Kingdom expanded both locally and globally.   Some have called this a “glocal” focus.  We are focused both overseas missions and local outreach.    We seek God’s leading in how we engage and participate in Holistic Outreach locally and globally.  It is holistic in that we seek to bring the Gospel both in word and in deed.   This is the way that Jesus did it and we believe that we are to follow His model. It is holistic in that it involves the whole church.   It is holistic in that outreach is not just the responsibility of a few but is for all believers as a consequence of the gift God has given us in Jesus Christ.  While there has been a lot of growth within Elim with regards to Holistic Outreach over the years, we felt that God was leading us to get this area more a part of the day-to-day life of each person who calls Elim home.   It needs to become integrated into who we are in Christ.

As you read Romans 10: 12-15, it is interesting that God inspired Paul to quote Isaiah when speaking about the need for the lost to hear the Gospel.   As you read this passage, reflect on how it is the feet of those who bring the Gospel that are beautiful.   There is much that could be said about feet in that culture and why the Holy Spirit chose that part of the body as opposed to other body parts that we might more commonly think of with regards to bringing the Gospel. But clearly we are to use our feet for God’s purposes by getting out into the world and bringing the Gospel to those who need to hear.   Using our feet implies action.   Even if our feet get dirty or tired in doing this, God says that our feet are beautiful when used to bring His Gospel to those who need to hear it.

I want to be clear that having Holistic Outreach as a strategic objective does not mean that Elim is going to become a works-oriented church.  We all should be clear that “faith without works is dead” (James 2: 14-19).   But the scriptures are also clear that works without faith are useless.   For example, in the parable of the vine, Jesus was absolutely clear that we have to abide in him, that in abiding in Him we will bear much fruit,  and that apart from Him, we can do nothing (John 15: 1-17).    After he had fed the multitudes, when people asked Jesus what was the work that God required, His response was that the work was to believe in Him (John 6:29).    There are many other examples but I think it is clear that faith is the foundation of all works but also that faith leads to works.

But how does this happen?   As we look at the vision statement of Know, Grow, and Go, Holistic Outreach becomes a consequence (perhaps a supernatural consequence is a better way to put it) of knowing God and growing in our faith.  As you consider the strategic objectives, there is a clear progression.  A person comes to a saving faith in Christ, is assimilated into authentic, radical Christian community and continues to be spiritually transformed throughout their life.   This cannot help but lead to a life of Holistic Outreach.

Holistic Outreach is a strategic objective but also has a ministry team.   The Holistic Outreach Team was formed from what formerly was called the Missions Team and the Outreach Team.   This team is praying together and working to develop opportunities for us at Elim to serve together.   These will include outreach events, opportunities for short term missions, and opportunities to better connect with the missionaries who we support.   You will hear more about this as we start to talk more about Faith In Action.   We have had Faith In Action Sundays in the past and will do so again.   We will also have ongoing Faith In Action opportunities throughout the year.   However, Holistic Outreach is more than just events.   We also are praying about ways to equip us as a church to better engage in God’s mission for a lost world.   As we begin to prayerfully seek the Lord’s leading on Holistic Outreach, please pray about how He will grow you and use your gifts and talents for Holistic Outreach.

Just because it has a ministry team, Holistic Outreach is not solely the responsibility of that team. It is our prayer that Holistic Outreach will become part of what each ministry is and does.   Wherever you are serving within Elim, ask that God would give you and your leaders insight as to how to incorporate Holistic Outreach into that ministry.   We, as a congregation and as individuals, need to become increasingly engaged in the world, locally and globally, for the purpose of bringing the Gospel, in word and in deed, for the glory of God.   Each of us who claim Jesus is our Lord and Savior ought to be moved towards engagement with Holistic Outreach in some way.   There are blessings for us as we bring the Gospel to the world together.   May our feet become beautiful!

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Featuring: President Bosokpale – Congolese Free Church

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by Cal Kierum

This Sunday, Elim is hosting the President of the Congolese Free Church, President Bosokpale. He is speaking at both services. Following the second service, we will host a potluck in his honor where we will have a Q&A time.

Who is this man God has placed in charge of leading His church in the Congo? What follows is a brief biography and his call as God’s man for this hour.

Bosokpale Langbe Pitiago Gratien had finished high school with an emphasis on teaching and was working on his father’s plantation when a friend invited him to an evangelistic rally in a nearby city. An evangelist had come from the US and was holding meetings in English that were being translated into Lingala by a missionary. The message from John 3:16 spoke to him that evening and he gave his life to Christ. Shortly thereafter, he was baptized in a local church.

One day he was introduced to a seminary student and was asked whether he might be interested in attending seminary. Months before, having received a New Testament from his younger brother, the passage in Matthew 19, of giving up everything to follow Jesus and the promise of receiving far more than what he would give up, brought him to the point, following this encounter, to realize that God was in fact calling him into ministry. His father, being both a wealthy politician and large plantation owner however, had other plans and insisted that he not become a pastor. The day following this interaction, his father became severely ill and was taken to Tandala Hospital. After being examined by the doctor and finding that there was nothing wrong with him, he agreed to meet with the hospital chaplain. It became clear to him that God had healed him and soon thereafter he encouraged Bosokpale to attend seminary.

His application was sent in and he was one of four students accepted to attend the seminary in Bangui, Central African Republic. When it came time for them to leave for school however, he received a letter saying that they wanted him to remain at Tandala to be evaluated over the course of the next year because of his recent conversion and non-Christian family background. It was during that year that he met his wife-to-be, Jeanette, and they were married. So, for the next year he taught elementary school at a village near Tandala.

The following year, he reapplied to attend the seminary in Bangui, but again was not accepted. He appealed the decision and even applied at another seminary but was refused there as well. Finally, he was accepted at a seminary in Kinshasa where both he and Nubako Selenga attended as first-year students. He finished seminary in 1991 and returned to work as an assistant pastor and a pastor for 4 years, as a District Superintendent for 18 years, and in 2008 was voted President of the Evangelical Free Church work in Congo.

President Bosokpale gives oversight to the second largest Evangelical Free Church denomination in the world, which currently consists of over 900 churches. He and his wife, Jeanette, have 7 children, with the oldest in college in Kinshasa and the youngest in 2nd grade. This is his first trip to the U.S.A.

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The Unreached Task of the Church: Reaching Unreached People With the Gospel

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By Cal Kierum

“Missions exist because worship doesn’t.”

This thought-provoking quote came from Dr. John Piper on a message that he gave on the supremacy of God in missions. The underlying idea is that God desires and deserves worship from every tribe, tongue, and nation. But in our fallen world, there are still many nations who have never heard the Gospel.

And if they have not heard, how can they believe? If they don’t believe, then they cannot worship in Spirit and in Truth. So missions exist for a period of time so that all nations have the chance to know God. One day, missions will cease, but worship of God will persist through eternity. Hallelujah!>

One consistent theme throughout the Bible is God’s plan to redeem the nations. Starting in Genesis, the descendants of Noah are divided into the nations of the earth. Then their language is confused at the tower of Babel and they disperse to fill the earth. Later in Genesis, Abraham is promised that from him, God’s chosen people will come. Part of that promise is that his seed will be blessed.

This promise ultimately is fulfilled in Jesus Christ. After His resurrection, Jesus gave His disciples a very important teaching on His authority and His command to … “go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.” (Matthew 28: 19-20).

But how are we in the 21st century to understand the concept of “nations?” The word used in Greek is ethne, the same word from which we get our English word “ethnic.” Clearly, God is not speaking about nations as we envision them (political entities), but rather people groups. You can see this looking back into Genesis where the term “nations” is first used to describe the various descendants of Noah. So Jesus has instructed us to “make disciples of the nations,” meaning that the Gospel is to be taken to each unique people group.

Lest we think that work is done, there are thousands of people groups that have never heard the Gospel and don’t have a strong, evangelizing church within their ethnic or language group that can then help more people in that group to hear the Gospel.

A good Web site for learning more about this is the one for the Joshua Project. Their statistics currently show that of 16,350 people groups in the world, 6,642 (40.6%) are as yet unreached. Most of these people groups live in the “10/40 Window,” the lands between 10 degrees North and 40 degrees South latitude in Africa and Asia. Many live in severe poverty and are trapped in religious belief systems that make them somewhat closed to the Gospel.

The major belief systems of these groups include Islam, Buddhism, Hinduism, and Animism. These people groups remain unreached because they are hard to reach. Furthermore, most of the money, resources and missionaries that American churches put into missions are not directed toward the remaining unreached people groups, but toward those who have already had exposure to the Gospel, where churches are established.

However, God is opening doors in mighty ways among the unreached people groups. Around the world, Muslims are coming to saving faith in Jesus Christ. Holistic presentations of the Gospel in both word and deed (through compassion ministries) are allowing Christians to be the hands and feet of Jesus around the world. This is happening among people groups where traditional proclamation of the Gospel would either not be allowed or would fall on hardened hearts.

How Elim Can Be a Part of Fulfilling the Great Commission

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