Assassination can’t stop VBS
Before leaving on a weeklong trip to Haiti, a Tennessee…
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): In Mityana, Uganda, Brian Ngobi is all smiles as he becomes a new creation in Christ — while sporting new baptismal clothes provided by the Mityana Church of Christ. The small congregation has endured persecution in recent years, minister Michael Simbwa said. Small fetishes (statues used in animistic religions) were thrown at the church building’s foundation in 2016 while it was under construction. Since then the church has endured multiple disputes regarding its property but recently resolved the matter. “Now the church owns a permanent home,” Simbwa said. “God is good. No more evictions!”
HATTIEVILLE — This Central American town was directly in the path of Hurricane Lisa after the Category 1 storm made landfall Nov. 2.
At press time members of the Edgemere Church of Christ in Wichita Falls, Texas, were reaching out to Christians in Belize to assess needs. Missions teams from Edgemere work with Churches of Christ in Hattieville and nearby Burrell Boom. Sherwin Flowers, a leader of the Hattieville church, reported light damage, as did a member of the Burrell Boom church. Power was out across the region.
During a recent mission trip, Edgemere members and Belizean Christians distributed “blessing bags” of supplies to people in need and hosted youth events.
CAP-HAITIEN — “Pray for Haiti.”
That’s the resounding, urgent message sent by supporters of churches and ministries across the nation of 11.5 million people, beset by gang violence and inflation in the aftermath of a presidential assassination. Many hospitals are closed. Schools are on hold. Food is available but expensive, and gas is about $14 per gallon.
“All my contacts continue to believe that God is ultimately in control and rest in that hope until he speaks a word of change.”
“In all of this I hear no complaining from our brothers and sisters in Haiti,” said David Dirrim, American director for the Haitian Christian Foundation, a nonprofit that works with Churches of Christ and the Center for Biblical Training in northern Haiti. “Yes, they long for some relief, but the churches continue to function and spread the Gospel.”
One church in Cap-Haitien recently had four baptisms, Dirrim said.
“All my contacts continue to believe that God is ultimately in control,” he said, “and rest in that hope until he speaks a word of change.”
COLERAINE — “Mixed marriages” are common in this part of the United Kingdom — that is, unions between people from Catholic and Protestant families. The two groups have divided (sometimes violently) over whether Northern Ireland should join the Republic of Ireland or remain in the U.K.
As a result, many couples “cut the ties to any form of religion, forfeiting their privilege to the rites of the church such as the sacraments and burial,” said Bert Ritchie, minister for the Church of Christ in Coleraine.
So Ritchie works with grieving families to help them have a “meaningful Christian service” for their loved ones. It’s a service that’s increasingly needed. The minister often conducts two or three services per week.
“Why do I serve this ministry? It is my conviction that there is no division, no prejudice or difference of opinion which excludes the compassion of Christ being ministered,” Ritchie said, “and if we, his people, cannot show it, then there is little hope for those who grieve.”
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