Reachout

DON’T ASSUME!

(January 18, 2022) Jerry Wiles challenges us not to assume that someone is a Christian because they attend church or work at a Christian college!

In the early 1990s I was introduced to the work of Living Water International. At that time, it was estimated that 1.2 billion people around the world were without access to clean, safe drinking water. (That number has been reduced to approximately 770 million today).

That was an eye-opener for many of us who have grown up with indoor plumbing and safe water at the turn of a tap. We in the modern Western world enjoy many benefits and privileges, that we often take for granted. The more time we spend in other parts of the world can give us a greater appreciation for the things we sometimes take for granted. 

It can help us overcome some of our false assumptions. While spending some time in a communist country a few years ago, a young lady asked me, ‘Is it true that in your country, there is a church in every village?’

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GRATEFUL FOR 2021 SUCCESSFUL OUTREACHING, BUT MOVING AHEAD INTO 2022 WITH VISION

(January 05, 2022) David McGuire brings a colourful, picturesque report from Romania…

Those engaged in overseas missions ‘send in’ reports to headquarters back home, to supporting churches, friends or contacts. This is often pages of typed information.

Rather than a lot of text, I thought I’d like Connecting with You readers to know visually what’s been happening here by way of photos. After all, there’s an old saying: A picture is worth a thousand words.

In short, despite ongoing troubles around the world last year we have continued to reach out to children, build houses for gypsies, and meet other needy people… where they’re at here. These following pictures speak for themselves!

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Mesmerised children

Christmas presents joy
Over 2000 presents
, received from four sources of the body of Christ, were distributed giving great joy for so many kids as well as adults.

Some presents left over from home distribution were perfect for kids who beg in supermarket carparks, as below…

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PRIORITISED 2022 RESOLUTIONS

(January 01, 2022) Brian Bell shares afresh on some of his December thoughts as we move for Jesus into this new year…

Christmastime is over and 2022 is here!

Like some others, maybe you too are looking back on difficult 2021 life experiences. Amid the uncertainties of life perhaps some situation injured you, people may have hurt and or disappointed you.

Perhaps you had failed the Lord in some way, or you made poor decisions and thought He won’t forgive you. Well, a December Features was on the very spirit of Christmas… forgiveness (Christmas – Perfect Time for Forgiveness).

There is a wrong tendency with Christians to feel difficult circumstances must be an indication of sin in our lives, or that we have displeased and or failed the Lord… and this can hinder us from moving ahead, especially into every God-given new year.

Now there may be times when we have made choices that have contributed to our certain circumstances. But we need to remember that varied, changing and indeed difficult circumstances of life are common to everyone, believer and non-believer. So, I encourage you to deal with whatever needs dealing with, perhaps putting things ‘right’ with another believer… and resolving to move on!

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CREATING CHRISTMAS MEMORIES

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(December 16, 2021) Erica Grace, ex-missionary to South America, challenges us to ensure our children have happy Christmas memories…

What is the first thought that comes to your mind when you hear the word ‘Christmas?’

  • Most children say: Food!
  • Most men too!
  • Most mothers say: Work!  

Good memories are…

Vivid
Why is food so memorable? Food is of special significance because the sense of smell is intricately linked with memory, more so than any other sense, just one whiff can evoke memories. 

Good memories are intricately connected to good food. Our brain sorts through our memories associating happy events with good food and celebrations. The emotional association of events and food leaves an indelible print, much more accentuated during our childhood. Childhood memories have a longer lasting imprint, especially in association with special days like birthdays and Christmas.

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FINALLY PRESSING THE RIGHT BUTTON

(December 16, 2021) Michael Ashcraft shares a good news story...

Justin Berry, 20, grew up in Ladera Heights (in LA) going to church with his mom and brother.

Going to Lighthouse Christian Academy cemented his childhood faith and it’s also where he met a certain girl named Trina.

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A rough year
He excelled in academics and sports during high school and was elated when he got accepted to his dream college: UCLA. He felt a euphoria unlike any other, but as he tried to push the ‘Accept’ button on the electronic offer letter, Justin (at right, in front of UCLA’s mascot) was held back. God had told him to attend college elsewhere.

‘Something was holding my hand back from pressing that button,’ he remembers. ‘I started crying and bawling my eyes out. I wanted to go there. This was my ticket to my career. I was trying to press this button and God wouldn’t let me do it.’

He finally pushed the button. What could go wrong? He had a beautiful girlfriend and an ideal institution of higher learning. God’s blessing was evident. Only not everything was as it seemed. Secretly, he and Trina had fallen into temptation together, and both were feeling intense conviction.

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DARING FAITH IN DARK TIMES

Editorial note: We always like to honour the late missionary statesman Dr George Forbes with one of his Christmas articles. This one is as meaningful as when first published six years ago!

(December 13, 2021) George Forbes reminds us that wherever we live, we must be active Christians…

‘Faith is daring the soul to go beyond what the eyes can see!’

I came across this powerful saying in a great little booklet titled, God’s Little Instruction Book. It tends to stick in one’s mind as it encapsulates a fundamental truth.

A faith that dares
We know that God’s word declares that –  

  • ‘Without faith it is impossible to please God!’
  • It is not possible to be a Christian without faith.
  • It is equally impossible to live the life of a believer without believing.
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WHEN GOD WAKES UP A NATION!

(November 12, 2021) Erica Grace, ex-missionary to South America, challenges us to pray for our nation…

Have you been praying for revival in our nation? It looks like the Lord is answering our prayers. Sometimes it is necessary to define words that we commonly use and presume we all know what it means. By definition ‘to revive’ means to make someone strong, healthy, or active again. To restore from inactive to active, from unconscious to conscious. In other words, to wake up!

The worldwide ‘pandemic’ has shaken us from our complacent sleep and revived many across the world. This unbelievable event has disrupted our homes, our jobs, our travel, our education, every aspect of our lives. What made it even more surreal is that it took place all over the world at the same time, spreading fear and panic.

Why did we need a wake-up call?
It is very easy to become complacent in a nation like Australia. Life here is easy in comparison to other places. The lackadaisical Aussie lifestyle places few demands on its citizens. But what does it mean to become complacent? It is defined as ‘self-satisfaction especially when accompanied by unawareness of actual dangers or deficiencies.’  

It reminds me of the parable of the Ten Bridesmaids, ‘When the bridegroom was delayed, they all became drowsy and fell asleep (Matthew 25:5).

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CHURCH MINISTRY TO DISABLED SURGES IN GROWTH

(November 11, 2021) Michael Ashcraft shares good news and a challenge about reaching the disabled in churches large or small…

Gina Spivey’s church is reaching the biggest unreached people group in America, and you may not know they’re an unreached group.

They are people with disabilities, and tragically many churches don’t want to focus ministry attention on this group which constitutes about one-fourth of America because they require extra facilities, special attention and sometimes disrupt the service, says Ryan Faulk of Joni & Friends.

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Gina Spivey

‘Of the 61 million American adults living with some sort of disability, there are about 2.25 million who –statistically speaking – should be attending church, but don’t,’ writes Ryan on the Joni & Friends website. ‘A 2018 study from Clemson University shows that children with any kind of disability are less likely than their peers to attend church, and children with autism are nearly twice as likely to never attend a religious service.’

Concerted effort to invaluable people
For the last decade, Gina’s church, Calvary Community of Westlake Village just outside Los Angeles County, has made a concerted effort to accommodate people with ‘special abilities.’

‘They’re invaluable. People with special abilities have such a simple clear understanding of the love of God,’ says Gina, pastor of special abilities at Calvary. ‘They’re not as bogged down by noise and politics and the world and all of the things that can confuse who God is. They have a childlike faith that we can be reminded how simple the love of God can be.’

She added, ‘Beyond that, they help us to understand what it means to serve someone who can’t serve us back quid pro quo. It shows us how it is to love someone and lay down our lives for them.’

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JOURNEY TO HOPE AND HEALING

(October 24, 2021) Caloundra, Qld, Mercy Ships shares more good news…

Operating a fleet of floating hospitals means managing a host of moving parts. From building relationships with other nations to staffing a crew of volunteer professionals – and, of course, serving our patients.

You might say the work on board a Mercy Ship requires a journey. Vessels moving from port to port. Volunteers travelling from their homes to our ships. And, of course, patients and caregivers finding their way on board from all corners of their country.

What does travel mean to Mercy Ships? Let’s explore.

Travelling Far and Wide for Surgical Treatment
How far can you imagine travelling to receive healthcare?

For many of the patients we serve, access to care isn’t only limited financially – it’s also physically out of reach. Without trained medical specialists in the region, small issues can quickly grow into life-threatening conditions with no hope in sight.

When our ships sail into port for a 10-month field service, healing is finally within reach – but the journey often isn’t over there. First, Mercy Ships patient screening teams typically travel extensively across each nation in order to screen and select which patients can receive surgery on board. These upcountry screening trips often involve days or weeks on the road to reach patients in remote regions.

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DO YOU HEAR THE CHILDREN CRY?

(October 24, 2021) Erica Grace, ex-missionary to South America, challenges us from her weeping heart…

It was Vladimir Lenin who once wrote: ‘Give me four years to teach the children and the seed I have sown will never be uprooted.’

Without the need for a bloody revolution or a violent take-over he did just that! This bloodless coup took place right under our noses in countries we think are free, rational, and rich.

Let us take a brief closer look…

The aborted western society
The first strategic move was to remove God from public schools. That took some time, but with the proliferation of the theory of evolution, God was discarded, and ‘pseudo-science’ took his place. One end-result of evolution is that human life is not worth more than animal life or even the environment, we all are of equal value.

It follows then that an unwanted foetus can now be ripped out of the mother’s womb and discarded simply because they are inconvenient, though if you were to destroy animal eggs in a zoo you would be criminally charged.

In today’s world more babies are killed inside their mother’s womb than outside it, all with the sanction of the government and taxpayers funding. Sixty-two million babies have been slaughtered in the womb since abortion was made legal by the United States Supreme Court, the gold standard for the rest of the world.

Broken family structures
Removing God from the school curriculum also involved removing the Bible and its teaching. The first domino to fall has been the family, God’s masterpiece. There has been an unrelenting attack on the family nucleus beginning by removing those nasty ‘patriarchal’ fathers and making sure all male generations are coerced into docility and passivity.

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