Living a Dream

            Perhaps the most exciting news blog that I receive each week is a blog sent out by Julie Broyles, Founder and Director of the BEST Center (Bible, English Study & Training Center) in Phnom Penh, Cambodia.

 Julie Broyles at the BEST Center

Julie Broyles at the BEST Center

 

            The daughter of Loren and Penny Hollingsworth, long-time missionaries in Thailand, Julie spent her teenage years in Bangkok.  Her parents’ passion for sharing the good news about Christ in Southeast Asia evidently rubbed off on Julie and her sister Ronda.  Both are now serving the Lord in Phnom Penh. 

            Ronda’s husband, Rich Dolan, is the Director of the Cambodian Bible Institute (an extension of SIBI) and works with the University congregation which meets at the BEST Center.  The university students housed at BEST Center are taught by the Center’s staff (Piseth, Avy, Dara, and Sreyleak).  Others are taught by visiting Americans.

            On August 21, Julie reported that Chhoy, the only male university student living at the Center, had decided to be baptized.  Can you feel the emotion in her words?  “When you pray and pray and study and study, it seems like it takes so long.  You become so anxious about one’s soul once you grow to love and care for that person.  Finally, at 6:30 last Sunday morning, Chhoy said he wanted to be baptized.  Piseth started getting the water ready.  We got everyone out of the bedrooms, and the center was buzzing with the thrill of his decision.  So right before 8:00, the singing began, and I am sure it began in heaven too.  Wow!  Just look at the pictures.  They say it all.”

 Chhoy Is Baptized into Christ 

Chhoy Is Baptized into Christ

 

            BEST Center is a year-around school where volunteer teachers from America come for a month at a time to share their faith with students, one-on-one, six hours a day.  From the beginning, Julie has used WEI courses in this teaching ministry.

            Ordinarily, Buddhist students are slow to convert to Christianity, but God has blessed the BEST Center with an amazing harvest of souls this year. 

            On August 30, Julie wrote, “It has been unbelievable here.  God is harvesting, and it is so fun to watch.  On Tuesday, two girls who are classmates, not only in our Bible/English class but also at their university, became sisters in Christ.  What a beautiful way to begin a relationship in the family of God.  Thanks to Helen, Vicki, Maurice, Taylor, and Cheryl who planted seeds for months, and Dara who visited with them too.  Every teacher who comes makes an impact on everyone’s students just by the atmosphere in the classroom, the smiles, and the love that is felt.” 

            Let’s look at one more example of what God is doing through BEST Center in Cambodia.  On September 5, Julie wrote, “Sarong is a shy, hard-working, hard-studying precious young lady in our dorm.  She has known if she decided to follow Jesus, her family would not be happy.  They had already told her earlier. 

            “This last Tuesday morning, she was baptized anyway!  When she talked to her brother on the phone, he was very angry with her and told her she didn’t need to come home any more.  Thanks be to God, her older sister was kind, and when she [Sarong] finally talked to her mother, she said it was all right, too.  Sarong is so relieved.

            “Sarong has studied with Sreyleak and still studies with Avy and Dara.  She has also been touched with the many loving foreigners who have come.  What a joy!!!!! Praise the Lord.”

 Sarong and the Joy of Salvation 

Sarong and the Joy of Salvation

 

            Julie, we praise God for you, and we honor you today for deflecting all the honor and praise to God.  To him be the glory.

 

A Surprise in Abilene, Texas

            While I was manning our WEI booth at the ACU Summit recently, a Chinese man by the name of Berlin Fang came by the display, stopped to look, and said, “I was a WEI student in China.  In fact, I became a Christian because of WEI.”

            Now our brother Fang is Director of Instructional Design at the ACU Adams Center for Teaching and Learning.  What a surprise!  What a thrill to discover again how God quietly works through WEI to accomplish his purposes in China.

            The kingdom of God is like a man who “scatters seed on the ground.  Night and day, whether he sleeps or gets up, the seed spouts and grows, though he does not know how” (Mark 4:26, 27).  The glory belongs to God.

Berlin Fang at WEI Display Booth

Berlin Fang at WEI Display Booth

 

Sixteen New Christians in Albania

            Sadete Hoxha, WEI Secretary in Tirana, reports that four people were baptized into Christ in Tirana during the WEI campaign this summer—two of them in the Adriatic Sea, and the other two in the baptistery at the Tirana church building.  It often takes several years of teaching to lead an Albanian to Christ.  Here are some examples:

            Sara and Fjona Ismaili (sisters) were baptized in the Adriatic Sea west of Tirana.  

Sara’s Baptism in Adriatic Sea

Sara’s Baptism in Adriatic Sea

 

            Sara and Fjona started studying with Nancy Walker in the summer of 2008.  Then, they continued each year with other teachers: La Don Weston, Bev Hives, Edna Roberts, Robert Harrell, Art Hitt, Brent Kelley, and Debbie Martin.  Sara was baptized July 3;  Fjona on July 31.

            Suela Pirushi and her husband Gentian Roqi started their lessons with WEI in the summer of 2012 with Crystal Buda.  Since then, they have studied with Debbie Martin and Pam Bogdanovic.  Suela was baptized July 19.  She, Genti, and their daughter Heige have attended worship regularly. 

 Suela’s Baptism in Tirana

Suela’s Baptism in Tirana

 

            Ani Nini decided to put Christ on in baptism July 19.  She started studying God’s Word in the Summer Session of 2009 with Crystal Buda.  Since then, Edna Roberts, Debbie Martin, and Pam Bogdanovic have taught her.

            At least one student was baptized in the city of Fier as a result of the summer campaign.

 

Eleven Baptized at Summer Camp

            Sokol Haxhiu, a church leader in Tirana and the prime organizer of the Summer Christian Camp Sessions in southern Albania, reports that more than 300 Christians and non-Christians experienced the Spirit of God at work during three camp sessions this summer.  Others had to be turned away.

            Sokol says, Eleven new souls from different parts of the country entered the Lord’s church through baptism, and many more recommitted themselves to the Lord.” 

Erik Prays Before Baptizing Enidi and Sheila  

Erik Prays Before Baptizing Enidi and Sheila

            In the preceding photo, Erik Qiraqi, the Director of WEI in Tirana, is preparing to baptize his two children, Enidi, and Sheila.  Their mother, Anila, is standing by.

            Note:  This event is especially meaningful to me because I had the privilege of teaching Enidi and Sheila in Tirana three summers ago.   

 

Saving Souls in Tanzania

            In his most recent report, Willy Yuda said, “We have done a good job with WEI, and still there is huge we can do!”  Under that statement, Willy printed 21 baptism pictures. 

            Willy did not specify how many of the people pictured were WEI students, but following the photographs, he wrote, “Mbeya is a growing city, and it needs growing evangelism methods—and WEI does a great job!”

            Recently, Willy conducted a seminar known as “The Redemption of Mankind.”  Fifty-two new students attended the seminar.  Three souls were added to Christ through baptism, and ten people were restored.  One of the three people baptized was Seseseko Rafael Shanjila—pictured below.

 Willy Baptizes Seseseko Rafael Shanjila into Christ

Willy Baptizes Seseseko Rafael Shanjila into Christ

 

Another Muslim Baptized

            Katheryn Haddad reports that another Muslim student was baptized recently.  “She is forty-eight years old, and she lives in Uzbekistan.  She baptized herself in her bathtub a few days ago, and now she is in Elkridge, Maryland where her daughter just had a baby.  She just wrote that she would like for someone to baptize her here.”

            Bob and Jan Towell have asked a preacher in Maryland to follow through.

WEI Center in Haiti

            Thanks, in part, to contributions given in memory of our late brother, Clifford Yeldell (who had a heart for Haiti), the WEI Center at the Delmas 43 Church of Christ in Port-au-Prince is now equipped with a 3,000 watt power inverter. 

            Heretofore, WEI students from various parts of Haiti have come to the Delmas church building to study on church computers.  In many cases, they have traveled a considerable distance only to discover that there was no electricity and no access to the Internet.

            Now, with the power inverter, there is a dependable source of power all the time, and the computers at the center are up-and-running even when the local power grid has been shut down.

            We express our sincere thanks to Brother Jean Robert St-Hilaire, the local minister, for serving as the Director of WEI in Haiti.  We also express our thanks to the Delmas congregation for providing the WEI study room, a secretary, and a room full of computers. 

  The WEI Study Center at the Delmas Church of Christ

The WEI Study Center at the Delmas Church of Christ

           

            It is a joy to have fellowship with Brother Jean Robert and the Delmas church.  Brother Jean Robert is one of the most effective gospel preachers in the Western Hemisphere.  By the grace of God, he baptizes literally hundreds of people every year.

            In his September 16 newsletter, he reported that he and his team had baptized 170 people in the river in a remote part of Haiti where many people had never heard the good news about Christ.  This month, Jean Robert is leading a WEI campaign in the Dominican Republic.  Praise God.

WEI Internet Ministry

Towell

 

            “Senior Saints” often wonder, “After retirement, what next?”  At a recent Abundant Living retreat, Howard Norton offered this answer.

            At any age, anything that brings glory to God is Kingdom work.  Ephesians 2:8-10: “For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith -- and this not from ourselves, it is the gift of God -- not by works, so that no one can boast.  For we are God's workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.”

            WEI teachers know that one good work is teaching others the good news of Jesus.  In Philippians 2:14-16a, the Spirit says, “Do everything without complaining or arguing, so that you may become blameless and pure, children of God without fault in a crooked and depraved generation, in which you shine like stars in the universe  as you hold out the word of life . . .”

            Don’t let Satan discourage you when few seem to listen.  Serve those who will listen as if serving Jesus himself!  Like these below, some will listen:

            Teacher, thank you for showing me the light.  WEI is really powerful because it reveals things most churches don’t know. May God Bless you and make all your children follow your footsteps. I will always pray for you. Please don’t forget me.  I would not hesitate to ask you a question.”

            Rico, a medical student in Madagascar, wants to learn so he can teach poor children who work to support their families and cannot go to school. He understands English is very important in world communication and has wanted to take lessons for a long time but study centers are very expensive.

            Eliakim was baptized in Toliara, Madagascar by another student in 2013.  He came up out of the water teaching, and has since baptized four others, including a man and his wife. They meet by the seaside. The only sermons he has heard are those he preached himself.  Now he’s in school in Benin where George Akpabli is director.  In three years, we should have a preacher in the south of Madagascar! 

                                    ---Bob & Jan Towell

A Special Appeal

Langley

            I have come to realize that the most important responsibility of being president of this wonderful World English Institute mission ministry is fundraising.  Like all non-profit ministries or organizations, our existence depends solely on the generosity of contributors who share our desire, passion, and commitment to the purpose of our ministry. 

            WEI is a Great Commission mission ministry.  We in churches of Christ take this commission very seriously.  WEI is one of only a few Christian ministries that, at any one time, are actively teaching the Word of God to students from every country in the world.  We are taking the good news of the gospel message to ALL nations, as Jesus commanded.   

            In order for WEI to grow and expand, we must appeal to you our loyal teachers, supporters, and sister churches for increased funding.   Our support naturally comes from a very narrow market, namely Christians from churches of Christ in the U.S.  As the apostle John wrote in his 3rd letter about traveling missionaries, “…they have gone out for the sake of the name, accepting nothing from the Gentiles.  Therefore we ought to support people like these, that we may be fellow workers for the truth.”  

            Dick Ady mentioned in last quarter’s newsletter that we need $100,000 to expand and maintain our teaching web site.  We must dramatically increase our recruiting efforts for both students and teachers.  We opened a new Internet office in Knoxville, TN in 2014, and we still need to fully fund that office for 2015.  Advertising for Internet students has become more expensive and complicated, especially in countries not favorable to Christianity. 

            Last year we appealed to all of our Internet teachers to simply donate $100 in 2014 to help us maintain and grow this exciting Internet ministry.  In conjunction with our 25th anniversary celebration we’re stepping out in faith and asking our Internet teachers and all other teachers to donate $250 for 2015.  This is not a requirement to be an Internet teacher; it’s simply an appeal to help us pay our bills and to provide you with the best and most effective teaching site possible. If you cannot afford $250, we understand.  We will appreciate any amount you might be able to invest through this annual donation.   Please send your donation to the Maryville TN office and memo it Internet, so we will know where to dedicate this money. 

            We know that many of you are already supporting the Internet ministry with more than $250 per year, and we certainly do not expect you to do more than you are already gifting.

            Thank you!  We love and appreciate you, and we consider you all our dear fellow-workers in the truth.

      --- Tom Langley, for the board of directors.          

 

 

 

A Time for Thanksgiving

Ady

 

            In spite of the Ebola epidemic, the terror of ISIS, and the invasion of our culture by atheism and hedonism, there is reason to be thankful.      

            Thanksgiving is one my favorite holidays.  I like turkey and dressing, ham and pumpkin pie, and all the trimmings.  I also love being with my family.  However, the most important thing about this holiday is that it reminds us to count our blessings and to be aware of what the Lord has done for us. 

            Next month, we will enter another hectic Christmas season.  Most of us will decorate a Christmas tree and trim the house with colored lights.  We will drive through heavy traffic and shop for gifts in crowded stores.   

            Yet that is not what Christmas is all about.  In the midst of the turmoil, we are apt to forget the meaning of Christmas.  Even though we don’t know when Jesus was born, Christmas reminds us that he WAS born.  He left his lofty position in heaven and was born in a stable as a human baby—born to die that we might live.  That is the greatest gift of all, and I am thankful. 

            As we approach the end of 2014 and prepare to welcome the new year in with fireworks, let us remember to be thankful for the love of God and the blessings that he has showered upon us—especially the gift of salvation.  And let us remember to share that gift with others.

            Maudine and I thank God for you.  You have loved us, encouraged us, and supported us for a quarter of a century, and you continue to do so.  Because of you, God is using WEI to lead many thousands of atheists, Buddhists, Hindus, Muslims, and Satanists to Christ.  You have given generously to support this worldwide mission, and we are thankful.  You will not lose your reward. 

            Please remember, as you support the WEI Internet ministry, that the Gresham office still needs help to keep other aspects of the WEI ministry going.  Your year-end, tax-deductible contributions are greatly appreciated.    

            In a recent blog, Julie Broyles said, “If you are saved, you owe your entire eternity to someone who taught you about Jesus.  Are you passing on that same Great News to others?”   

            We are thankful, and we love you.

                                    ---Dick and Maudine Ady

 

WEI Bears Fruit in Nigeria

            Aniefiok Akpan, Director of WEI in Nigeria, is also the founding Principal of Rhema Academy outside of Uruk Otong.  He also preaches for the Campus Church of Christ that meets at Rhema Academy.

            Aniefiok writes, “I worshiped and preached at the Campus Church of Christ today.  One precious soul, in response to the sermon, was baptized.  Her name is Unwana James Okon.  She was one of our high school students at Rhema Academy and one of the most serious WEI students we had before the high school was closed in December 2008. . . . We thank God that the seed of the gospel we planted in her before she left fell on good soil.”

            On July 24, Aniefiok made a trip to Lagos and introduced WEI to three congregations—Mushin, Ikorodu, & Ikeja.  On Sunday afternoon, July 27, he met with nine preachers from different congregations in Lagos.  Aniefiok says, “None of them had heard about WEI before that meeting.  They were so excited about the opportunity to use WEI to enhance their evangelistic campaign.  All the preachers enrolled in the WEI study programme and collected extra introductory lessons for their prospects.  We have another WEI Seminar in Lagos on August 31.”

            Praise God for the great work Aniefiok and Etang Akpan are doing in Nigeria.