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Big smiles and Bible studies in the South Pacific


A smiling Jose Vatselias is giddy as she signs up one of her first students for a Bible correspondence course in Suva, Fiji. Vatselias and fellow students from the South Pacific Bible College in Tauranga, New Zealand, enlisted more than 400 Fijians for Bible studies during a recent mission trip. The Nasinu church in Suva hosted the group, which also worked with other Fijian churches.
Shepherds in Portugal
PORTUGAL

PORTO – The church in Portugal’s second-largest city appointed three elders recently. Adelino Silva, Tadeu Martins and Domingos Martins will lead the congregation of about 50 members, former missionary Luiz Seckler said.
Seckler, of Harvest Ministries, sponsored by the University church in Abilene, Texas, helped establish the Porto church in 1975 and returned to the city in northern Portugal for the dedication service. At the end of the assembly, Seckler asked the church’s members to stand if they were ready to serve under the new elders. “They all stood,” he said.
“Despite Portugal’s socialist agenda and liberal culture, the Igreja de Cristo (Church of Christ) has been a bastion of conservative, biblical Christianity,” Seckler said. “We praise the Lord for another mission church that leads the way in sharing their leadership.”
BENIN

COTONOU — About 710 people attended the Benin Bible Training Center’s fifth graduation ceremony recently. The center’s 11 graduates, who completed a three-year training program, are from the French-speaking African nations of Togo, Cameroon, Benin, Chad and Niger. Milton Sewell, chancellor of Freed-Hardeman University in Henderson, Tenn., presented the graduates with diplomas.
BOSNIA-HERCEGOVINA

TUZLA — Vladimir Psenko, minister for the Downtown church in Zagreb, Croatia, recently visited this central European nation, recovering from a devastating war following the breakup of Yugoslavia.
Bosnians who listen to Psenko’s 15-minute gospel radio program invited the minister to visit Tuzla, a predominantly Muslim city with no Churches of Christ, and share his faith.
Psenko plans a follow-up visit to the region, “and I hope to hear more (about) how God is moving there and to enjoy the Bosnian hospitality,” he said.
CANADA

CARMAN — Forty-two women, ranging in age from their early 20s to 91, gathered at Winkler Bible Camp for the sixth annual Rest and Renewal Weekend, organized by members of the Carman church in Manitoba, southwest of Winnipeg. Mary Muirhead of Estevan, Saskatchewan, presented lessons and led discussions during the three-day event.
ETHIOPIA

ADDIS ABABA — James A. Maxwell, minister for the Holgate church in Seattle, taught a week-long training seminar for 65 preachers, church leaders and Bible students in Ethiopia recently. Kevin Schwiger, a minister in Dimmitt, Texas, and Joe Boe, of the Woodward Park church in Fresno, Calif., conducted classes for ministers from Sudan.
Maxwell also visited congregations and Bible schools in the Ethiopian countryside. Behailu Abebe, minister for the Makanisa church in Addis Ababa, coordinated the visits, which resulted in 33 baptisms, Maxwell said.
FRANCE

COLMAR — Church members from Castle Rock, Colo., and Atlanta participated in a week-long evangelistic campaign in this city in eastern France, south of Strasbourg. The campaign was a cooperative effort with the Strasbourg and Geneva, Switzerland, churches, said Bren White of Operation French World, a ministry that coordinates mission teams for French-speaking countries.
The members distributed about 7,000 cards inviting Colmar’s residents to Bible studies. The group made new contacts and enrolled 10 people in Bible correspondence courses, White said.
MEXICO

CIUDAD FRONTERA — Twenty-one members of the Edgemere church in Wichita Falls, Texas, painted the Occidental church’s building after conducting a Vacation Bible School in this city in northern Mexico.
“Our youth group is energized and blessed during our yearly mission trips to Mexico,” said Mike Lechuga, Edgemere’s outreach minister. See photos from the trip at www.edgemere.org.
INDIA

EDARA — Members of the church in this southeastern Indian city recently opened the McQuien Charity Home, a facility to serve children orphaned by AIDS, evangelist N. Vinoda Rao said. The facility accepted its first four children recently. Church members seek funds to help additional children.
In India, the number of children who have lost one or both parents to AIDS is approaching 2 million, according to the World Bank. The Northside church in San Antonio oversees Rao’s work.
SOLOMON ISLANDS

HONIARA — Church members taught Bible classes by candlelight and preached to chiefs and village elders during a mission to this island chain in the South Pacific, the site of fierce battles during World War II.
David Majors and Allen Wagner of the Bartlett Woods church in Arlington, Tenn., and Buzz Toland of the Bellefonte church in Harrison, Ark., joined Randy English, a missionary in Pago Pago, American Samoa, for the trip. The group met with leaders of the Kwaio people on the island of Malaita.
The team also worked with the Honiara church, on the island of Guadalcanal, which baptized two men, Timothy Pala and Alister Vatapo, during the mission.
ZAMBIA

KALOMO — Organizers of the recent National Women’s Meeting at Namwianga Mission expected as many as 2,500 people to attend, according to missionaries Eleanor Hamby and Kathi Merritt.
But the total number of attendees — who came by bus, truck, bicycle and foot — exceeded 4,000.
A group of men worked 18 hours per day to feed the crowds. Many attendees slept on the ground, but participants spent most of their time praying and singing, the missionaries said.

Filed under: International Staff Reports

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