Around the World, July 2013
Huambo — A church in this southern African nation rejoices after the baptisms of “triplets in faith,” said Katie Reese, a member of the Angola Mission Team.
“The three young men (Gidi, Pedro and Paulo) were part of the infant church planted in our neighborhood of Sao Luis,” Reese said. Each received a Bible from a Christian in the U.S. through the team’s “Bibles for Angolans” program.
“Christians from half a world away, in Colorado and Tennessee, began praying specifically for these young men,” Reese said. Meanwhile, the Angolan church’s members encouraged and fed them — physically and spiritually. For more information, see www.angolateam.org.
Glen Waverley — About 90 Australians — 20 of them from outside Churches of Christ — attended an “annual gathering of hearts and voices for God,” as church member Ted Paull put it.
The Autumn Songfest — which likely would be called “Spring Songfest” in the northern hemisphere — was organized by members of the South East Church of Christ, near Melbourne. The event featured six song leaders from three Melbourne congregations. One of the sessions of songs “formed a narrative of humanity’s broken relationship and God’s means of bringing about reconciliation,” Paull said.
Mankessim — Church members conducted a World Bible School campaign in this coastal West African city recently, resulting in 85 baptisms and a new congregation. Campaigners then moved to Kumasi, an inland city of about 2 million souls in Ghana’s Ashanti Region. There, 161 Ghanians were baptized, workers report.
TOMOBE — Yen by yen, members of a small church in central Japan are saving up for a new building.
Members repeatedly have patched cracks in the 28-year-old building’s walls after earthquakes, “but they just keep coming back,” missionary Marlin Ray said. The church uses the building almost constantly — for potlucks, devotionals and Let’s Start Talking, a church-supported ministry that uses the Bible to help non-native speakers improve their English.
The church has collected 10 million yen (about $100,000) and needs at least that much more for a new building, Ray said. “It may take another 15 or 20 years,” he added, “but we don’t want to be paying off a loan on a new one.
“We need your prayers that the building holds up until we get enough money to build a new one,” he said.
Ban Mae Surin — Church of Christ members in Thailand collected and distributed thousands of dollars worth of relief supplies after a fire at a refugee camp killed 37 people and left nearly 2,300 homeless.
The blaze, likely the result of a cooking fire, devastated the Ban Mae Surin camp in northwest Thailand, near the country’s border with Myanmar. The camp houses thousands who fled ethnic conflict in Myanmar.
Robert Reagan, a member of a mission team in Chiang Mai, Thailand, helped launch a fundraiser for the victims, which netted about $3,000. Reagan and Thai Christians bought clothing, detergent and toothpaste and delivered them, along with donated items, to the camp.
LUSAKA — A new church in this southern African capital was birthed in an unlikely place — a tavern.
Victor Lombe, a minister and graduate of Mapepe Bible College in Zambia, planted the church in the “compound,” or neighborhood, of Chipata.
The tavern’s owner, a friend of one of the church members, “offered not to open the bar for business on Sunday mornings so that the church could use it,” said Kennedy Mukuka, an instructor at the college. “I wish he never reopened it at all,” Mukuka added.
The church, which now meets in a private school, has struggled in its first year, Mukuka said. Some Zambians call it a cult. Others have left for “more attractive religious groups.”
“Nonetheless, a good number of families have remained faithful,” he said. “Most of them have shown such tremendous spiritual growth that they have become well known in their community as spiritual men and women.”