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Around the World: ‘Un pedacito del cielo’ (a little bit of heaven) in Nicaragua

A sea of people — the final count was about 6,500 — attend the second nationwide worship services for Churches of Christ in Nicaragua recently. Church members rented about 90 buses to bring church members to Plaza de la Fe in Managua. “This was undoubtedly the largest gathering of Churches of Christ I have ever seen in my 40 years as a Christian,” said Lou Seckler, a guest speaker at the event and longtime worker with Abilene, Texas-based Herald of Truth. “One of the Christians told me, ‘Esto es un pedacito del cielo’ (‘This is a little bit of heaven’), and I agreed,” Seckler said.

Thirty-two congregations contributed a total of $15,000 Australian (about $11,300 U.S.) to the Innisfail church to assist victims of Cyclone Larry, which struck the coast of Queensland in March, devastating the region’s banana industry and leaving thousands homeless. The Innisfail church has added its own contributions to the collection, which church members are using to help with food and housing for those in need, said church members Cam and Margaret LaSpina.

Despite ongoing instability in this landlocked nation bordering Sudan and Chad, churches are multiplying, said Worlanyo Bor, a minister in the capital, Bangui.
Bekoni Dimnache moved to the village of Mingala recently and started a church, Bor said. Dimnache introduced World Bible School courses to the village and later baptized the first three members of the Mingala church, which since has grown to 15 members.


Vladimir Psenko received the first bachelor’s degree from the Institute for Biblical Studies and Applied Theology recently, said Tom Sibley, director of the school. Three other students received certificates of recognition for completing all of the required courses at the school. They will graduate in partnership with the theology department of the University of Zagreb, said instructor Jocelyn Wiebe.
The graduates were accepted into a master of arts program coordinated by Abilene Christian University in Texas. ACU professor Mark Hamilton conducted the students’ first graduate-level short course the week after graduation.

Church members from Texas preached, baptized and even built outhouses during a recent mission trip to Catacamas.
Thirteen members of the churches in Naples and Jacksboro and the Edgemere church in Wichita Falls conducted classes, distributed food, Bibles, song books and mattresses and worked in construction.
Catacamas minister David Chacon and Naples elders Mac Jones and Phillip Kelley conducted a three-night revival. Four people were baptized, said Mike Lechuga, outreach minister for the Edgemere church.


Churches in the Western world have mailed thousands of Bible studies to India.
Now Indian Christians are returning the favor.
A Baptist church in Canada needed Bible lessons in the Tamil language for their prison ministry recently, said Chennai minister Paul Renganathan. They found the Chennai church on the Internet and requested the lessons, which the Indian church sent gladly.
Church members also are receiving completed Bible lessons from Africa and have a request for lessons from a man in the United Kingdom, Renganathan said.

Ministers in this small African nation were delighted to get bicycles from America, but astonished to see them in their original boxes — all 20 of them.
“This is seldom done in Africa,” said Dick Stephens, executive director of The Malawi Project and member of the Green Valley church in Noblesville, Ind. Jack Bayles of Oklahoma City donated the bicycles.
Three of the bicycles were presented to Silvester Maposa, Alick Billiat Chunga and Charles Namakungwa, who have made long trips to teach Bible and sing with the children at Mtendere Village, a children’s home overseen by The Malawi Project.

“Love your neighbor, Christians and Muslims” was an appropriate title for the annual retreat at the Haag church.
The small congregation’s building is surrounded by a Muslim population and is just down the street from a mosque, said Yann Opsitch, a missionary to France who attended the retreat. Allan and Gretchen Ashurst, who work among Muslims in Manchester, England, presented lessons.


And you thought your VBS started early!
Children woke up at 5 a.m. for morning exercise during the first Vacation Bible School at the Salogon church on the island of Palawan.
Minister Roman Roger Wanasen accompanied Maricel Catolos, Merditha Catolos and Michael Escano to the island for the seven-day program.
Many parents attended the classes and asked the missionaries to return. “We were touched so much by them and we promised them that we will be back if God permits,” Wanasen said.


Most of the church members in this strife-torn nation fled Mogadishu as the Union of Islamic Courts militia seized control of the city recently, said Abdul, a minister who requested that his full name not be used.
Abdul was forced to leave his family and live with church members in neighboring Kenya. He told The Christian Chronicle he fears for the safety of his family and his fellow church members.
“The country seems to be back in civil war after 16 years of anarchy,” Abdul said, “but we pray to God for peace.”
August 1, 2006

Filed under: International Staff Reports

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