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A flair for the dramatic

SANTIAGO, Chile — “Following in the Footsteps of the Master” was more than just the theme of this year’s retreat for members of the Santiago church. It’s something they did, literally, when a white-robed “Jesus” interrupted the group’s first devotional and asked the church members to follow him.
Jesus, portrayed by guest speaker Luis Zepeda of the Los Nogales church, led the group to a grassy lawn and preached the entire Sermon on the Mount from memory, missionary Scott Emery said. Later that day the group witnessed a dramatic presentation of Peter’s denial of Christ. The climax of the weekend was the baptism of Claudio Pavef, a longtime friend of church member Rodrigo Olivares.

PHNOM PENH — Before 2000, there were no a cappella Churches of Christ in the nation of Cambodia, said missionary William Singleton. Now, there are about 40. One Cambodian minister, Anh Pauley, started the Koh Dach church in his home and has baptized about 1,200 people since the summer of 2004, Singleton added.
The missionary thanked World Radio Gospel Broadcasts, a ministry of the White’s Ferry Road church in West Monroe, La., and other programs working in Cambodia. He also thanked God for “hearts that thirst for the gospel and go searching for it.”
HONG KONG — Joseph Shulam of the Jerusalem-based Netivyah ministry spoke to a group of Christians in Hong Kong recently. Several Churches of Christ support Netivyah, a group of Messianic Jews in Israel.
Shulam, who has traveled to several Asian nations, said he’s impressed by the faith of the believers he’s met. Missionaries from many different denominations have worked in the Far East, but Asian Christians are coming to the belief that “keeping these divisions is not necessary anymore,” Shulam said. “What is necessary now is to restore the unity and faithfulness of the church as it was in the first century.”

SAN SALVADOR — Seventy-one church members from El Salvador, Honduras, Guatemala and Costa Rica attended the annual National Seminar for preachers and teachers recently, minister Alexander Castellanos said. The Bolivar Park congregation hosted the three-day workshop, which featured lecturer Roberto Alvarez, a minister in Guatemala.
ADDIS ABABA — More than 700 ministers from throughout Ethiopia attended the recent National Preachers Conference in Addis Ababa, minister Behailu Abebe said. Thirteen church members from the United States also attended. American John Ed Clark, a longtime supporter of the work in Ethiopia, and Abebe were unable to attend because of illness.
“It looks that one of my dreams has come true,” Abebe said, “because the national leaders were able to do a great job without us.”

ST. ALBAIN — Thirty-three church leaders gathered in this small town, north of Lyon, for an annual, three-day retreat, said Doyle Kee, a missionary in Geneva, Switzerland, and publisher of French World Mission Newsletter.
“The leaders discussed needs and blessings in the French work,” Kee said. “There was special concern for Christians in French Europe who are isolated from local Churches of Christ. Suggestions were made of how to minister to them.”

MUMBAI — Surit Dasgupta, who became a Christian through the World Bible School correspondence program, and a small group of believers are working to establish a strong Bengali-speaking church in Mumbai, missionaries said.
About 230 million people, mostly in eastern India and Bangladesh, speak Bengali. Surveys rank the language as the fourth or fifth most widely spoken in the world. Dasgupta maintains a blog (in English) at surit87.blogspot.com.

ZIHUATANEJO — Ninety-one missionaries and their children met in this coastal city recently for the annual Mexico missionaries retreat, said Billy Moore, who serves in the Lazaro Cardenas area in southern Mexico. “It was a time of renewing friendships, renewing the heart and soul and lots of play for the kids,” said Moore’s wife, Belinda.

COLOMBO — Asee Darla, a church worker from Nellore, India, visited the island of Sri Lanka recently to lay the groundwork for a new World Radio Gospel Broadcast program in Colombo. Darla plans to produce the radio program in English until a speaker of the Sinhala language, the most widely spoken language in Sri Lanka, is trained.
The Colombo church recently launched a ministry school with 14 students.  
LOEI — The church in this northeastern Thailand city appointed its first three elders recently — Han Kodasa, Khai Bodvicha and Somza Gommanee. The new elders named Korakot Sinchi as a deacon. The appointments followed a Leaders for Jesus Lectureship, conducted by missionary Daniel Hamm.
Hamm and his wife, Kathy, have conducted training sessions for church leaders throughout northeast Thailand. About 20 leaders attended each session, taking 18 exams and memorizing 40 Bible passages. The Loei church was the third in the region to appoint elders in 2007, Hamm said.

IVANO-FRANKIVSK — The mayor of Staryy Lisets, a town in southwestern Ukraine, recently thanked Churches of Christ in Ukraine and the United States for their efforts to feed the hungry and help sick children, said Ivan Skoleba, a minister in nearby Ivano-Frankivsk. The mayor invited members of the Meadowlark church in Fort Collins, Colo., which supports Skoleba, to visit Staryy Lisets.
Church members in Ivano-Frankivsk plan to conduct a Bible seminar for congregations in Ukraine later this year.

Filed under: International Staff Reports

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