Emerging Nations | Sovereign Grace Churches August Newsletter
Charles Spurgeon, in his book “The Power of Prayer in a Believers Life," recently quoted by Mark Prater, says the following,
“Do not bring before God stinted petitions and narrow desires, but remember, as high as the heavens are above the earth, so high are His ways above your ways and His thoughts above your thoughts. Ask, therefore, after a Godlike fashion, for great things, for you are before a great throne.”
Isn’t that amazing! You and I, can now go before a “great throne” and ask God for “great things”. What a reality!
And so with that in mind, here’s some ways that you can be praying for us in the month ahead…
Please pray for the Pastors of Sovereign Grace Churches around the world, asking God to give them wisdom as they continue to lead their local churches through COVID-19 related decisions.
Please pray for Michael Granger as he and his family begin the process of planting a Sovereign Grace Church in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia asking God to give Michael wisdom for when to launch his plant in light of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Please pray for Riley Spring (Sovereign Grace Church, Parramatta, Australia) and David & Jorge Del Castillo (Iglesia Gracia Soberana, Santa Cruz, Bolivia) as they continue to press on in their first year of Church Planting.
Please pray that God would continue to give the Sovereign Grace Churches Leadership Team wisdom for how to expand globally in a way that preserves our theological convictions, gospel values, and allows us to continue to build relationally, both in the pandemic and beyond it.
Please pray for Joselo Mercado, Lead Pastor of Iglesia Gracia Soberana in Gaithersburg, as he a heads to Puerto Rico, this month, to preach at his friends Church, teach at a seminary on marriage, and lead through a series of meetings on the future plans of Reformados.
Please pray that God would continue to provide financially for Sovereign Grace Churches so that we can fund the gospel opportunities He is giving us throughout the world.
…May we take these “great things”and head to the “great throne”. What a reality!
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An update from Wilbroad Chanda, Pastor of Christ Community Church in Ndola, Zambia…
The Coronavirus or COVID-19 has affected almost every aspect of life around the globe. The negative devastating effects of the pandemic have been compounded by the lock down. The social- economic, spiritual and cultural lives of thousands of families have been altered. Practices like social distancing, regular hand sanitizing and wearing of masks never crossed our minds nor imagination. Who ever imagined churches not gathering for corporate worship for more than three or so Sundays?
Instead of being fixated on the negative repercussions of the COVID-19 pandemic, the Lord in His providence, enabled us to lift our gaze to some greater and more significant matter than the COVID -19 pandemic. He stirred us to lift up our eyes, “and see that the fields are white for harvest” (Jn. 4:35). Pentecost Sunday fell on 31st May this year. With God’s help I took two weeks before Pentecost Sunday training Pastors College students and some members of Christ Community in personal evangelism and discipleship. The training was followed with practical evangelistic outreach for three weeks.
This evangelistic campaign dubbed, “[COVID-19] Pentecost Outreach” yielded positive and encouraging results. We witnessed a good number people coming to faith in Christ Jesus. One Pastors College student has planted a local church as a result of this outreach. The number of children in our local church has multiplied. We have commenced a week- end “Good News Club” for children in one impoverished community. The Pastors college students are very excited about this evangelistic outreach. As a result, we will continue with the outreach for months and years to come. A good number of Pastors College students have started training their church members in personal evangelism and discipleship. We had a whole day Evangelism and Discipleship class on Tuesday, the 7th of July (Heroes and Unity public holiday). We spent time to review, asses and evaluate the Pentecost Outreach project. My prayer and heart’s desire is that all of the Pastors College students and our church members will endeavor to “do the work of an evangelist” (2 Tim. 4:5).
On behalf of the Pastors College students and the Christ Community Church (a Sovereign Grace Church), I would like to thank most sincerely our partners in Sovereign Grace and especially Dave Taylor and the Emerging Nations leadership for partnering with us through prayer and financial support in our “Pentecost Outreach” evangelistic initiative. Your prayer and financial gospel support enabled us to train evangelists, procure evangelism and discipleship materials and provide transportation and other outreach requisites. Allow me to say to say to you in the words of Paul that
“This service that you perform is not only supplying the needs of the Lord’s people but is also overflowing in many expressions of thanks to God. Because of the service by which you have proved yourselves, others will praise God for the obedience that accompanies your confession of the gospel of Christ, and for your generosity in sharing with them and with everyone else. And in their prayers for you their hearts will go out to you, because of the surpassing grace God has given you. Thanks be to God for his indescribable gift!” (2 Cor. 9:12-15).
Soli deo gloria!
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An update from Scott Crook, Lead Pastor of Cross of Grace Church, Chaska, MN…
As Sovereign Grace Churches continues to partner with TLI (Training Leaders International) in Pakistan, we continue to receive such encouraging reports from the gospel work taking place there.
COVID-19 has hit that country extremely hard, and cases continue to rise. But a group of pastors we are working with continue to press forward in preaching the gospel, distributing masks and food to those in need. As well, they continue to see fruit of the gospel as people are trusting in Christ for the first time and being water baptized.
In one village where these pastors had faithfully evangelized for seven years, they suddenly had fourteen people trust in Christ and be baptized! One of the women baptized said,
“I spent 40 years of my life in darkness because my father was worshiping idols and practicing witchcraft and the whole family followed him. It was not an easy decision to follow Jesus because my father was against me but I was attending the prayer meetings regularly and was trying to know God through our pastor. One day I was listening to our pastors preach from John 8:12 where Jesus says ‘I am the light of the world, and who ever follows me will walk in light.’ And that day my life changed. Now I will not care whether my father approves of my decision or not. But I will try my best to bring Him into the light as well.”
Brother F, one of the lead pastors includes this encouragement:
“Nobody knows when we will die, but before going to Him we wish to as many people come to Jesus. I believe that if sinners will be damned, at least let them leap to hell over our bodies, and if they will perish than let them perish with our arms about their knees! Let no one go there unwarned and un-prayed for!”
Praise God for the tenacity, love and faithfulness of these dear brothers preaching the gospel and seeing the lost saved. The roots of revival are being planted in Pakistan! Thank you all for your continued prayers and support for this amazing work. May the Lord continue to build His Church in the darkest places that His glorious light will continue to shine and spread across the globe.
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An update from Michael Granger, Sovereign Grace Church Planter in Ethiopia…
April was supposed to be a big month out here. I guess it still was, just not in the way we had imagined. We had planned to start a church! Back in March, we were going full speed ahead. Together with Abenezer and Nega, we traveled to Dubai to purchase sound equipment as it is not easily accessible and very overpriced here in Ethiopia. Upon returning we were constantly meeting with individuals as we gathered our launch team.
Then heading into April, Trinity Fellowship (that's the name of our church) was to have its soft launch followed by a hard launch in June. We were all geared up to have our first service on April 12th. Worship songs were selected, we were going to take communion, and we were going to do a 4-week series entitled Why We’re Gospel-Centered. But on April 11th, the government put out a new policy prohibiting gatherings larger than 4 people. So at 11 pm, the night before our first service, an email was sent out to our team informing them that the service scheduled for the following day was officially canceled.
We are now several months into isolation and we do not leave the house for much more than groceries. But I think the most pronounced attitude in our hearts is that of thanksgiving and gratefulness. We have seen first hand how difficult those living in abject poverty are faring and feel overwhelmed by the kindness of the Lord that we have a home, food, health, and Christ above all things. Nevertheless, there have been a number of dark days, and I can feel tempted to think 2020 has been stolen from us.
Looking forward, we're not sure when the government will allow churches to meet again. Unlike the West, quarantine timetables and varying levels of caution are not published here. But, the church is not a building nor is it a service. It's the people. And so, I think you could say in one sense Trinity Fellowship has already been planted. Even though we cannot have a service we are trying to have 1 or 2 individuals from the church over for lunch every Tuesday and Thursday to pray, read the Word, minister to them, create community, and establish fellowship. So while we’re feeling, more or less, like we are under house arrest - there is work to be done!
We might be under quarantine but as Bart Lipscomb from Redemption Hill in Texas recently encouraged me, “You can’t quarantine the gospel! You just can’t!" So, in an effort to make the most of and redeem these evil days (Eph. 5:16), Trinity Fellowship is undertaking a new project. I am writing a book contextualized for Ethiopia about sin and the gospel. It is essentially a very-easy-to-understand biblical theology about sin and how God deals with it. Its purpose is to confront legalism and also the prosperity gospel so as to defend the cross. As of today, the first draft has 9ish of 11 chapters completed. And Abenezer, my ministry partner, is producing an album in which the content of the songs match the chapters of the book. It will consist of 8 songs, each with three criteria:1) Songs that correlate with the themes of the chapters in the book; 2) Songs that are gospel-centered; & 3) Songs written for congregational church singing.
One of the sweet aspects of this project is the opportunity to have a little songwriting workshop each week. We read a chapter of the book, pray for filling of the Holy Spirit, and write! Upon completing this project we will market and sell the album + book as a joint project in Addis Ababa with the hope that this serves both our church and the churches of Ethiopia. Please pray that the Lord would breath on our endeavors. Please pray for souls to be won.
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Over the past few months our Emerging Nations Team, through Sovereign Grace Churches & Regions, has been able to raise over $165,000 for the purpose of providing food, water and basic supplies to nations where they have been more scarce due to COVID-19.
One of our pastors in Cebu City, Philippines sent along this thank you video as an expression of gratitude to Sovereign Grace Churches and all of those involved in donating money to provide food.
Matthew 25:40 says, “‘Truly, I say to you, as you did it to one of the least of these my brothers, you did it to me.’” Thank you to all who provided financially for these dear saints. May the gospel go forth in Cebu City with even greater force because of this generosity.
If you have a few minutes, please watch the video here: Amidst The Pandemic Your Love Is Relentless
And let us thank God for his work in all nations, with all people, for His glory.