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Around the World, July 2019

New life for a growing church on Mexico’s Yucatán Peninsula (featured photo above)

On the beach of the Gulf of Mexico, six youths prepare to give their lives to Christ in baptism. The baptisms happened during a gospel campaign conducted by the Sambulá Church of Christ in Mérida. Minister Francisco Javier Patlán Camacho, second from left, has preached for the church for four years, during which the congregation has grown from 15 to more than 100 in attendance, said Marco Díaz, a minister for the East Brainerd Church of Christ in Chattanooga, Tenn. Patlán is a graduate of a school of preaching overseen by the church, which uses curriculum produced by the Baxter Institute in Honduras. “He and his wife, Gore Cano de Patlán, have been working so hard in this community,” Díaz said of Patlan’s ministry in Mérida.


RIO DE JANEIRO — A Church of Christ in this South American metropolis celebrated its mothers recently with a special program presented by their children. Meanwhile, some men from the congregation prepared breakfast for the congregation — to be served to the women first.

As they waited, “the rest of the men took advantage of the time for speed chats,” said missionary Larry Zinck. “They rotated at four-minute intervals and had an opportunity to meet a few brothers they didn’t know and to get to know others a little bit better.”


Pedro Villa

MedellÍn — Churches of Christ in this mountainous South American city recently celebrated their 50th anniversary. More than 500 church members gathered in the auditorium of the University of Medellín to hear speakers including Juan Antonio Monroy of Madrid, Spain, Jim Culpepper of Houston, Harland Rall of Abilene, Texas, Christopher Quinn of San Diego and Pedro Villa of Bogotá, Colombia. Villa was one of the first four missionaries to Medellin from Churches of Christ, Quinn said. Also present were some of the Medellín churches’ first members.


NAIROBI — More than 280 women from 72 congregations gathered on the campus of the Eastleigh Church of Christ for the 19th annual Jipe Moyo Women’s Seminar, said missionary Charlotte Hackett.

“Many of those who attended had saved all year to pay the $20 to $30 public transportation costs,” Hackett said. “Jipe Moyo” is a Swahili phrase that means “take heart.”


HYDERABAD — One stitch at a time, minister’s wives are improving their family’s lives in southern India.

Minister B. Chakravarthi recently visited a coworker whose wife uses a sewing machine to stitch clothes and earn income. As a result, “they have a better life for their daily food and needs,” Chakravarthi wrote in a letter to missionary Karen Clayton, who helped provide the sewing machine. The minister’s wife hopes to stitch punjabis (Indian pantsuits) to sell.

“We believe we should, as much as possible, teach them how to fish instead of giving them a fish,” said Clayton’s husband, Ron, in a recent report. “We have provided sewing machines for preachers, their wives and Christian widows so they can earn a living and support themselves.”


After 25 years, was the mission a success?

CHIANG MAI, Thailand — “Whirlwind of emotions. Tough goodbyes. Lots of tears. A never-ending to-do list. Packing, selling, donating. Repeat multiple times.” 

That’s a brief description of the final days in Thailand for David and Michelle Allen, who returned to the United States after a quarter-century of mission work in Southeast Asia. 

Members of the Chaiyo Church of Christ perform a foot-washing ceremony for Christians including Michelle and David Allen, right..

Members of the Chaiyo Church of Christ perform a foot-washing ceremony for Christians including Michelle and David Allen, right.

During that time the couple reared two daughters, Brianna and Brielle. The Preston Road Church of Christ in Dallas supports their work.

The Allens shared the Gospel with countless souls through their ministry with the Chiang Mai Church Planting Team. In a recent newsletter, David Allen offered some reflections on their years of service.

“I remember reading about church-planting movements in African nations sent out about the same time as ours in 1994,” he wrote. “By 2005, several had planted 20 to 40 churches. We had three.”

Success, of course, shouldn’t be measured by numbers, he wrote. Instead, “I see faithfulness to God as the defining factor of a successful missionary. When I look back on my ministry, I see as many failures as I do victories. But I take comfort that whether my attempts failed or succeeded, I gave it my all.”

Filed under: Brazil Colombia India International international Kenya Mexico News

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