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Preachers pore over Scripture in well-worn Bibles during the first day of the Tanzania Leadership Conference at the Andrew Connally School of Preaching.
Photo via facebook.com/kilimanjaromissions

Around the World: A prisoner turned missionary, relief efforts in Israel and Ukraine, and more quick takes

Around the World is our monthly rundown of news briefs, links and quotes from Churches of Christ all over the globe. Got an idea for this column? Email Erik Tryggestad at [email protected].

Featured image (above): Preachers pore over Scripture in well-worn Bibles during the first day of the Tanzania Leadership Conference at the Andrew Connally School of Preaching. The annual seminar brings ministers from across East Africa to the school in Arusha, Tanzania, which is named after a longtime missionary who first came to Tanzania (then called Tanganyika) in the 1960s. In 2001, the school began its partnership with Denver-based Bear Valley Bible Institute International, which trains ministers for Churches of Christ on campuses around the globe.

For more information, see tanzaniamissions.com.


BATAM, Indonesia — Winston Bolt first began to think about God after he plucked a small leaf from a tree. It was simply too complex, too perfect, to happen by chance, he thought to himself.

For the first time, “I saw God’s grand design,” he told The Christian Chronicle during a 2015 interview.

Winston Bolt worships with the Church of Christ in Batam.

Winston Bolt worships with the Church of Christ in Batam.

That tree, by the way, was in the courtyard of the Fulton County jail in Atlanta, where Bolt was doing time for selling guns illegally.

Bolt’s revelation set him on a path to baptism and parole — followed by four decades of ministry in the Southeast Asian nation of Indonesia.

He founded the Batam Bible College, which prepares ministers for work in Churches of Christ across the nation of 273 million souls, 87 percent of whom claim Islam as their faith.

At age 80, he still actively mentors young preachers and growing churches in Indonesia, said Herbin Simanjuntak, Bolt’s longtime coworker at the school.

The pair recently hosted a group of visitors from the Pasir Panjang Church of Christ in nearby Singapore. They also spent time with Indonesian Christians talking about plans for the next five years — including a discipleship program at the school and “how to equip the graduated students to impact the growing churches in Indonesia. both in quantity and quality,” Simanjuntak said.


JERUSALEM — Netivyah, a ministry led by Jewish followers of Jesus, sent a van of supplies — including headlamps, cell phone charges and utility kits — into the Gaza Strip for troops in Israel’s Golani Brigade, said Yehuda Bachana, the nonprofit’s deputy director, who also serves with a paratrooper unit.

“They were hit hard on Oct. 7 (the day of the Hamas attacks that sparked the current conflict) and are fighting hard now,” Bachana said.

Healing Hands International, a nonprofit associated with Churches of Christ, is partnering with Netivyah to provide humanitarian aid. See hhi.org/disaster/israel-response.


ACAPULCO — First came the hurricane. Then came the looters.

Members of a Church of Christ in this seaside resort city survived Hurricane Otis, the strongest ever to hit Mexico’s Pacific coast. But the Category 5 storm damaged the church’s building and members’ homes as it made landfall in late October, said Moisés Medina Varón, the congregation’s treasurer.

Hurricane Otis damaged the building of the Acapulco Church of Christ.

Hurricane Otis damaged the building of the Acapulco Church of Christ.

“We are fine, thank God,” Medina told La Cronica Cristiana, a Spanish-language church publication. “We have only lost materials. But (people) have looted shopping centers. There is no electricity or gasoline.”

In addition to killing dozens and causing billions of dollars in damage, the storm sparked widespread crime, prompting Mexico’s government to deploy National Guard troops.

Mexican churches gathered relief supplies in Chilpancingo, about 65 miles north of Acapulco. One of the vehicles sent to retrieve the supplies broke down, Medina said, and had to be towed back to Acapulco.


KYIV — More than 700,000 Ukrainian children have been taken from Ukraine to Russia since Russia’s full-scale invasion of its Eastern European neighbor began in February 2022, according to Russia’s government.

Churches of Christ in the U.S. are providing food and supplies to groups in Ukraine that shelter and relocate children, including the orphaned and abandoned, from the front lines of the conflict.

Related: ‘This is Israel’s 9/11’

John Kachelman Jr. of Ukraine Missions shared a message from one such group in Ukraine’s capital, Kyiv, that is preparing to move 500 children west to the city of Lviv for the winter. “Thankfully, there is a sports center that has agreed to house children,” Kachelman’s contact reported.

“Your assistance in feeding these children makes this possible.”

Ukraine Missions is a ministry of the Dalraida Church of Christ in Montgomery, Ala. See kachelman.com/ukraine.

Filed under: Around the World Batam Bible College Bear Valley Bible Institute Indonesia International Israel Mexico News Tanzania Top Stories Ukraine Winston Bolt

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