Three Growing Stories
by Nikki Holland
Belize Friends Church
Where are Friends’ meetings and churches growing? Lots of places, actually, but especially in Africa and Central/South America. What does that growth look like? Usually, it looks like solid engagement with the immediate needs of the community, especially support of younger people. Take a look at these three international growth stories. How is each responsive to the culture and needs of the community? As you read, please be aware that in every case, local Friends are taking the primary leadership roles in growing their communities.
Nikki Holland, Belize Friends Church
Over the past couple of months, we have conducted our first ever membership class for Belize Friends Church. Eight young people completed the course and they decided that they all want to become members and join Chris, our pastor-in-training, as the first Belizean Quakers since Sadie Vernon. This is a truly amazing thing for me. When I asked them last week what they had gained from the class, some of them said that they’d had their eyes opened about ways they can follow Christ in their lives, they enjoyed learning a little about Quaker history and how our church is related to Quaker churches around the world, they felt closer to God, they felt more able to hear from God, and they felt more aware of ways to make healthy choices in their lives. I can’t imagine a more successful result from a membership class! I feel so lucky to have been able to participate in this historic class.
John Moru, South Sudan
At the church, I teach a class in reading and writing in the Toposa language. The Toposa people read the Turkana Bible, which is why I find it easy to teach their language. Pray for these committed people who desire to know how to read the Bible. Their relatives are fighting why they have left traditional beliefs and values, and why they have given their children to school.
Nicolas Otieno, Tanzania
Since time immemorial, the gospel of the grace of God has been preached through different methods to different people from diversities of cultural settings and personalities, depending on the circumstance and the targeted audience. Dar es Salaam is a principal commercial city of Tanzania and a de-facto seat of most government institutions. As a major sea port for the country, the city is densely populated with more than six million cosmopolitan people, intermingled tribes from different corners of the country.
As our Lord Jesus Christ walked the dusty roads of Nazareth and even beyond, so have we. As a church, we walked through marketplaces and everywhere and we met all manner of people whom we could not meet in our pulpit. The Apostle Paul told Timothy to do the job of evangelizing by taking the gospel on the playgrounds of the inner cities and streets. The responses have been very positive as we continue doing follow-up missions. Some families are joining. Several people were touched by the messages and deliverance services. The Holy Spirit led us and we followed.
We will also be launching boat evangelism, so that we may reach out to fishermen and fish dealers around the beaches along the ocean.