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Advent Reflections of Waiting and Wandering

December 3, 2021, 4:11 PM

Advent is for those who wait.

Which is all of us. We wait for the job, the decision, the baby, the healing, the answer, the spouse, and so much more. 

Waiting often stirs up feelings of longing, lack, loss, and loneliness.

Each week of Advent, we’ll sit with one of those raw emotions, even as we invite Christ to sit with us in our waiting.  

And Christ invites us to wait with HOPE, with PEACE, with JOY, and with LOVE. 

I titled this poem “Blessed is She,” based on the women in Christ’s ancestry who waited and believed in God’s faithfulness despite great pain and longing. 

This piece means a lot to me personally, as some of my deep longings are layered throughout.

May you also find your own story as you read between the lines. 


B L E S S E D  I S  S H E
For those who still believe

I am Sarah
Bitter and barren 
Burnt out by this promise that never came
Worn out from waiting
Laughing to hide the aching
Longing for these empty arms to hold a baby
But oh . . .
How could that be? 

I am Tamar
Tired of trying so hard
Pushed away, cast aside
Left with no one to provide
Longing for these wrongs to be made right
But oh . . .
How could that be?

I am Rahab
Used and abused
Body broken, soul bruised 
Working late into the night
Weary, just trying to survive
Longing for some good to come from this tattered life
But oh . . .
How could that be? 

I am Ruth
Grieved and alone
Left with nothing, far from home
Back, breaking
Heart, aching
Leaving so much behind
Longing to start a new life
But oh . . .
How could that be?

I am Bathsheba
Angry and ashamed
It was never supposed to be this way
Years of resentment, tears of regret
Longing for this story to be redeemed
But oh . . .
How could that be?

I am Elizabeth
Washed up and nearing the end 
Disappointed, again and again and again
Wanting things to finally change 
Wondering if it’s just too late
Longing for faith to still believe
But oh . . .
How could that be? 

I am Mary
Overwhelmed and afraid
Young and small, and anything but brave
I had plans, I had dreams
But now everything has changed
And I don’t know if I’ll have what it takes 
But I do know I’ll trust you anyway.
Oh Abba, Why me?
Oh Abba. How will this be?


The Holy Spirit will come upon you
And the power of the Most High will overshadow you
So this child to be born of you
Will be the Savior of the world.

For behold, 
She who was said to be barren has conceived
And she who nearly lost hope still believed
And she who was worn out from waiting, held a baby
And she who was grieved, her story was redeemed 
And she who was broken was honored and healed.

For nothing
Is impossible
With God. 

… 

Blessed is she 
Who believed
That there would be
A fulfillment
Of the promise
Yet to be seen.


A   P R A C T I C E

Hold out both of your hands.
Your left hand represents Radical Hope.
Your right hand, Radical Surrender.


1. In your left hand, what are you currently longing and trusting for with radical hope? 
What are you believing that you have yet to  see
About what have you found yourself saying, how could that be? 
Clench your left hand into a tight fist and hold on with everything you’ve got to radical hope.
Speak out loud over your disbelief, doubt or fear, the same words the angel said to Mary – “Nothing is impossible with God.”

2. Now hold your right hand out, wide open, in a posture of radical surrender. 
Release your expectations of “how” or “when” . . .
Lay aside any predictions about “where” or “who” . . .
Let slip right through your fingers, any controlling or micromanaging about what exactly God should do . . .
And say out loud like Mary, “May it be to me just as You say” . . . even if it comes in a very different way.


A   P R A Y E R
of blessing for those who hope

Blessed are WE 
Who believe
That there will be
A fulfillment
Of the promise
Yet to be seen. And,

Blessed are YOU
Who do
STILL believe
That there will be
A fulfillment
Of the promise
Yet to be seen.

May it be so. 


As we pondered already, Advent is for those who wait.
Advent is also for those who wander

Many of us find ourselves in a wilderness place today. Dry and dusty in our hearts or in our faith.  Worried about our people, hurried in our pace. 

Advent invites us to calm the chaos in and around us.
To seek the Shepherd who is seeking us.
To receive His peace that persistently pursues us.
Even as we wander. 



Today, we choose to sit still in our scrambling and searching and seeking. 

I titled this poem “A Voice in the Wilderness,” based on the desert wanderings of God’s people through history and throughout our own lives.

You’ll hear echoes of Exodus 14, Isaiah 40, and Psalm 23 and be reminded that Christ came right into the middle of our mess and made a way in the wilderness.

This is for those of us who know the desert days.
Who feel parched and lack what we need.
Who are waiting for wanderers to come home. 
Who are hungering and thirsting for Peace. 


A  V O I C E  in the  W I L D E R N E S S
For those who wander


Dry and dusty, vast and empty
This is a desolate place.

Wandering in circles
Weakening every day. 

Feet stumbling with each step
Voices grumbling, under breath.

How did we ever get here?
Why did we leave what we knew?

When will we ever get there?
What will we find if we do?

How long, O Lord? Will you forget us?
How long will we lack what we need?

How long will we wander this wilderness?
How long will we search for peace?

And,

Yet,

Into the darkness
Over the stillness

A voice
Crying
In the wilderness:


“Prepare.
His.
Way.

Make these desert paths 
Straight.”

These dark mountains, made low
These bleak valleys, raised high.

This hard soil, new growth
This dry ground, fresh life. 

And the glory of the Lord
Will be revealed


And all people
Will see it.

Do you not know?
Have you not heard?

The Lord is the everlasting God
Creator of the ends of the earth.
 …

Yes, your Shepherd is coming
You shall want no more.


Leading you by still waters
Gently restoring your soul.

Though you walk through the valley 
He’ll stay right beside you. 

His rod and his staff
There to comfort and guide you.

He prepares an abundance
In your enemy’s presence.


Sets a table before you
Brimming with blessing.

And your cup 
Overflows

And goodness and mercy 
Follow

You

(Yes you)

All the days of your life.

And you shall dwell,
No more in the desert.


But in the house of the Lord
Forever.


A   P R A C T I C E 
 

Close your eyes.
Picture yourself in a desert. Dry and dusty. Desolate and empty.  Cold wind whipping your face. Feet plodding along, step by tired step. 

Imagine you don’t have what you need.  Maybe… that’s not too hard to imagine. 
Maybe right now you are lacking something, someone, that feels necessary for life.

Today, right now,
What do you lack?
What do you need?
What do you want?

Now, picture your Good Shepherd walking right up next to you in this wilderness.
He wraps one arm around you and gently asks you, by name, those very same questions . . .

What do you lack?
What do you need?
What do you want, my beloved?

And you bravely and honestly reply . . .
(Put it into an actual sentence and speak it out loud.)

Your own voice, crying in the wilderness:

Lord, I lack ___________
Lord, I need __________
Lord, I want __________


And finally, go beneath the surface, one more layer deep . . .
What is it you truly most need?

And
Perhaps
You will find
That He’s already walking with you
Side by side.


A   P R A Y E R
for the desert days
 

May you wander well.
May you wander WITH Immanuel 
Giving you His presence
His Spirit, here to dwell.

May your wandering not be in vain,
May this wilderness be the WAY.
The path of peace, where you have all that you need,
Enough manna for today.

May your cup overflow
And goodness and mercy follow

You

Yes, You,

Wherever your feet may roam. 

And may you know, 

That you shall dwell,
No more in the desert,
But in the house of the Lord
Forever. 


May it be so. 


More of Sarah’s works can be found at https://www.sarahbourns.com or @sarahbournscrosby on Instagram. 


 

Volcano Eruption Displacing Many in La Palma—Prayers Needed

November 29, 2021, 6:01 PM

On September 19, 2021, Cumbre Vieja, a volcano on the island of La Palma, one of Spain’s Canary Islands, erupted. It has been erupting ever since.

Cumbre Vieja is one of the most active volcanoes in the Canary Islands and has caused enormous amounts of damage.

Over 2,500 buildings have been destroyed, including hundreds of homes, families are being forced to leave, earthquakes are continuing to displace people, and everyone in La Palma is affected.

On November 19, the volcanic activity—including a new blow of gas and ash—caused a 5.1-magnitude earthquake. Over 7,000 people have been forced to evacuate.

Our Alliance family in La Palma is part of that “everyone.” According to a C&MA pastor in La Palma, many church members have lost jobs and homes, many have had to evacuate because of the poor air quality, and all are longing for prayer during this tumultuous time.

Specifically, be praying for those who have lost their homes, for those who have had to relocate, for those who have lost their jobs and income, for those who are mentally, emotionally, and spiritually suffering the effects of such tragedy, for those experiencing health complications, for the C&MA church’s financial commitments, and pray that God would give strength, wisdom, sustenance, and peace to the leaders and pastors.

The effects of such tragedy are strong, but the power of prayer and our God is so much stronger. Would you join us in lifting our brothers and sisters in Christ up in prayer?


 

Harvest Time in Cambodia

November 26, 2021, 2:39 AM

by Julie Daubé

When Alliance missionaries arrived in Cambodia in 1923, they were the first long-term Protestant workers there. They were evacuated in 1975 when the Khmer Rouge took over. By the end of 1979, 80 percent of Cambodian believers had been martyred. Yet God did not forget the beleaguered nation. 1993 marked the rebirth of the C&MA national church in Cambodia with the organization of the Khmer Evangelical Church (KEC) with 15 churches. From the 2,000 believers who survived the Killing Fields, the Evangelical Church in Cambodia has since grown to more than 200,000 members.

While this is reason to rejoice, Christians in Cambodia today number only 2 percent of the population. “Churches are continually growing, but 49 out of 50 Cambodians don’t know Christ,” said Alliance international worker David Manfred, who recently served as field director. Nonetheless, God has been at work in incredible ways. During the past year, The Alliance in Cambodia saw a significant church-planting boom with 20 fellowships started. With a total of 200 churches in the KEC, this represents a 10 percent growth in the number of Alliance church groups since COVID-19 started.

Soeuth and Syna Lao, who fled Cambodia as refugees and later returned to their homeland as Alliance international workers, have seen firsthand the wonders God has done. After serving in Poipet—Cambodia’s “Wild West”—the Laos are now ministering in Anlong Veng, where Pol Pot died and where many of his followers reside. Long considered Cambodia’s spiritually dark area, this province is now seeing a spiritual harvest that is nothing short of miraculous.

Taking the Great Commission Literally

When Soeuth and Syna arrived in Anlong Veng in 2017, five house churches existed. At this writing, a total of 21 house churches have been established. All the fellowships planted there since 2017 were started by students in the Laos’ discipleship classes and those of their ministry partners.

“All our students have the same spiritual DNA,” says Syna. “They begin each day by asking, ‘Jesus, who do you want me to see today?'” They take every opportunity to share the gospel, whether riding home from class, at the gas pump—anywhere. “Whatever they learn from us, they pass on to others. They take the Great Commission literally; they go and tell everyone they meet. They take God’s Word at face value, and He does amazing things. Every time our students pray, you can feel it in the atmosphere.”

One woman had been chronically ill and bed-ridden for years. Her believing family members told her, “Our God is so powerful—why not give Him a try?” Immediately after they prayed for her, she was able to stretch her leg. A week later, she was walking. As a result of her miraculous healing, all nine of her adult children came to the Lord. Another woman was miraculously healed after being prayed for, and 19 of her immediate family members received Jesus as their Savior through her testimony. A common biblical practice among those whom the Laos and their partners have been discipling is to bind the works of the devil—including the many Buddhist shrines dotting the countryside. “Our students’ most famous line is, ‘I bind you in the name of Jesus.’ Even three-year-old children do this because they hear their parents and grandparents saying it.”

Generosity Speaks Volumes

After COVID hit, the Laos canceled their weekly discipleship class in compliance with safety protocols. Their students were at a loss. “Teacher, what will we do? We committed this day to God, and now we cannot study.” The Laos told them to go and share all they had learned with their neighbors. The students did so, bringing bags of rice to each household as the Laos have often done. In a country where most people live hand-to-mouth, such generosity speaks volumes to the transforming work of the gospel. Once when the Laos surprised a family of new believers with a gift of rice, they burst into tears; they had been running out of food and had just prayed for God’s provision.

The March/April 2021 issue of Alliance Life reported that 1,158 people prayed to receive Jesus from March 2020–December 31, 2020, and a total of nine new village house churches were planted. As of July 2021, a tenth house church was birthed. All 10 congregations have been started since COVID-19 began.

In May 2021, as the Laos were preparing to leave Cambodia for home assignment, it was an emotional time. They traveled to remote villages where local Alliance house churches have been planted, saying their goodbyes and introducing believers to key church leaders. “Some of the new believers thought we were abandoning them and said, ‘I just joined the family of God, and now you are leaving me!’ Repeatedly, we assured them of God’s protection over their lives. Many asked us, ‘Before you go, can you share the gospel with my family?'”

As the Laos fellowshipped with local believers, their relatives and friends also joined the worship services. “At the end of each meeting, at least three to five new people prayed to receive Jesus!” Soeuth and Syna report. “After we had visited only four villages, 37 people prayed to receive Jesus in one week! Then, on May 28, while visiting Rohaal village, where seven new people were added to the Kingdom, we received the following invitation from one believer: ‘Please go and share this wonderful news with my family. They live in another village. Please go. It is not too far. You came all this way here to visit us, so why not go just a little farther?'” The Laos drove the 27 kilometers on bumpy roads. “Upon our arrival at the new village, more than 50 people were already waiting for us!”

Icing on the Cake

Responding to their desperate spiritual hunger, Soeuth shared an evangelistic message with the receptive audience. At the end of the service, 23 adults and teens and 17 children prayed to receive Jesus. “This marked the birth of another house church. Thmal Dach village (the literal translation means ‘Broken Road’) became the tenth house church planted in this region since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic. Our God surely has a way of making something good out of the mess of this world.”

Even while the Laos were waiting in Phnom Penh to depart for the United States, local church leaders in Cambodia were calling the couple daily to report that more people had prayed to receive Jesus. As of July 2021, a total of 68 people had invited Jesus into their hearts in the last few weeks. The Laos said, “In our 26 years of ministry, we were never so excited and have never seen so many miracles. There is still intense opposition, and Satan doesn’t want us here—but God is working. Ministering in this area is like the icing on the cake.”

The Jesus People

Without the generosity of Alliance people, the Laos’ work would not be possible. Your gifts to the Great Commission Fund are making an eternal difference in the lives of those who would otherwise have no hope for a future in this world, let alone the promise of heaven. Soeuth and Syna, along with other Alliance global teams, also rely on people who give to specific needs. One example is a water-filter project in Cambodia for which the “Our Mission” ministry of Willard (Ohio) Alliance Church has been raising funds. Upon receiving the filters, local village leaders distribute them to needy families and invite them to listen to the good news. Overwhelmed by the kindness of believers, recipients have been spreading the word throughout their communities, saying, “The Jesus people love us so much that they gave us this water filter! Come listen to them!”

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A Thanksgiving Invitation

November 23, 2021, 5:19 PM

A   T A B L E   B L E S S I N G
for all those gathered here today

There is room here for you.

Room for your hopes and your fears 
For your laughter and your tears.
Room for those anxious or aching
For those weeping or waiting.

Room for your weariness 
And room for your sadness.
Room for beauty 
Room for gladness.

Room for raw honesty
Room for shared humanity

Room for hidden insecurity
Room for tender vulnerability.

Room for the lonely, the empty
The happy, the brave.
Room for laughter, for longing
For loss and for love.

May we bring to this table
Both our gratitude and our grief.

May we allow ourselves to be known,
Heard, and seen.


May we talk about something 
Rather than nothing.
May we take off our masks
And let go of pretending.

May we not fake it or force it
May we name what we miss
And release how we wish it would be. 

May we just sit together
In the weight of the waiting. 

May we hold hands with each other
And join in thanks giving.

And would these two hands remind us
That whether alone or together,
Whether empty or full 
Whether rejoicing or mourning,
Feasting or resting, 
We can still hold out both, 
Our burdens and blessings.


So, 
May we open our hands
And lift up our heads.
May we find, not only our bellies, 
But our souls fully fed.

May we be seen and known,
Heard and loved today. 

Even if it comes in a very different way.


A   P R A Y E R
as we finish dinner


Lord, 
We look around today and we realize,
We are a blessed people 
And
We are a burdened people.

Our hearts are, 
At the very same time,
Both happy and heavy.

We are all holding
Both hope and hurt.

We all feel
Great gratitude and grief.

And You
Are God
Over each.

Lord, we thank You
For Your goodness and for Your gifts…
Selah {pause for people to offer their own silent prayers of gratitude}

And,

Lord, we invite You 
Into our sorrows and griefs.
~ Selah {pause for people to offer their own silent prayers of trust}


(Say or sing together)

Praise God from whom all blessing flow
Praise Him all creatures here below
Praise Him above ye heavenly host
Praise Father, Son, and Holy Ghost. 

Amen.


More of Sarah’s works can be found at https://www.sarahbourns.com or @sarahbournscrosby on Instagram. 


 

Pray for Our Military Families

November 11, 2021, 2:13 AM

by Benjamin Ahn
Deputy Garrison Chaplain, U.S. Army
Dongducheon, South Korea

On Veteran’s Day, we take time to honor our veterans and service members. At the same time, we must remember to thank our military families. Their sacrifices are often unrecognized as their service members train, defend, or deploy on our behalf. The families are often left to hold down the home front. When called upon to move in a reassignment, the kids must adjust to a new school, make new friends, and adopt new routines. The spouse must place a career on hold or start over in a new job, a new neighborhood, and church family. Only to do it all over again in two, three, or four years. Our military families need our prayers.

One of the most significant challenges military families frequently face is separation. Separation is inevitable due to combat deployments, unaccompanied overseas tours, temporary duty travel, sea duty, field and training exercises. Separation lasts anywhere from a week to twelve months. The frequent separation brings challenges to both service members and their families. 

For service members, the challenge is staying connected and engaged with their family members who are miles away. It’s extremely difficult to be a great spouse or parent when geographically separated. When deployed, I set aside specific face time with my family. Some days I kept the promise, but some days I couldn’t because of a mission. I also utilized one of the United Service Organizations’ programs to record a video of me reading a children’s book and sent it to my kids. That was a great way to be a father to my kids. But I still felt it was not enough. 

For family members, the challenge is living a day-to-day life without their spouse or one of their parents. Spouses have to pick up the domestic chores and responsibilities that their spouse usually helped with. They raise their children all alone. Young children suffer from the absence of one of their parents for a long period of time. Separation can feel overwhelming.

All too often, families unfortunately end up broken and marriages end in divorce due to these challenges. Service members, their spouses, and children go through this painful process and suffer emotionally and psychologically from it. It’s a sad reality.

“Beloved, I beg you as sojourners and pilgrims, abstain from fleshly lusts which war against the soul, having your conduct honorable among the Gentiles, that when they speak against you as evildoers, they may, by your good works which they observe, glorify God in the day of visitation.” (1 Peter 2:11–12 NKJV)

1 Peter 2:11-12 reminds us of our Christian identities as sojourners and pilgrims. This world as it is now is not our eternal home. It is temporary. Our eternal home is in God’s Kingdom. That’s the reason we must abstain from our sinful natures and not conform to the values of this world. We must live a life that is pleasing to the Lord, even in the middle of separation. Separation is temporary, but family lasts.

  1. Pray for God’s blessing, strength, and encouragement on military families in separation due to a deployment or overseas tour.
  2. Pray for service members and their families to abstain from sin and live a life honorable to God.
  3. Pray for God’s love and grace on military children as they grow in faith, hope, and love.  


 

Lessons from a Nomad

November 5, 2021, 4:54 AM

by an Alliance international worker serving in Eastern Asia

On January 29, 2021, we were in San Francisco with 12 suitcases, negative COVID test results, expensive plane tickets, and visas in hand. After several months of delay, we were ready to return to our host country in East Asia.

There was just one problem: our host country had not given us the green light to board the plane. We watched as everyone else checked their luggage, hoping and asking many to pray that permission would be granted in the final hour.

For reasons we will never know, it was not granted, and our wait to return continues even now.

That day was the beginning of our family living like nomads: two to three days in one bed, two to three weeks in another. We had sold our car the day before the flight and turned in our townhouse keys.

That day and the days following, I felt anxious, unsettled, and angry. That day was not unlike the experience of many international workers as we are at the mercy of human governments and their policies more than ever before.

Jesus the Nomad

Our experience begs the question: How do we live well in a life of frequent and unexpected transition?

Interestingly, Jesus’ three years of earthly ministry were all lived as a nomad. Jesus proclaimed, “Foxes have holes and birds of the air have nests, but the Son of Man has no place to lay his head” (Matt. 8:20). Never before had I taken this passage quite so literally.

Jesus’ ministry took Him to over 20 different locations in three years. He spent 40 nights sleeping in the desert; perhaps a few nights in Peter’s home; some nights in Mary, Martha, and Lazarus’ home; a stormy night on a boat; and one excruciating night in the Garden of Gethsemane. The rest? Maybe He camped. Maybe He slept on someone’s extra bed mat. We don’t really know.

Jesus understands this nomadic life. What could I learn from Him about how to live well in these months ahead? What did it mean to live like Jesus the nomad?

Depending on the Father

Culturally, I, along with many other Americans, value my independence, my sense of control, and my sense of security. Although early first century small-town Jewish life was very different from today, I wonder if these same values challenged Jesus? From what we know, He spent almost three decades living in the same small town as a carpenter before entering three years of nomadic ministry. Did He, too, in His humanity, feel a loss of independence, control and security?

Living nomadically means a loss of independence. Accepting hospitality and generosity is often humbling. I am dependent on other people’s food, mattresses, timelines, and expectations for keeping them company. Although I’m incredibly grateful, it can be tiring.

I also fight against the thought that I am a competent middle-aged adult who should be able to provide these things for my family without the help of others.

Jesus invites me into dependence as He Himself modeled it, both on others and on His Father. Choosing to be appropriately dependent on others mirrors the dependence I desire to have on the Father too. He reminds me that He is the vine, and I am a dependent branch. Apart form Him, I can do nothing (see John 15:5).

Losing Control

Living nomadically means losing some sense of my control. Often, we cannot control how long we can stay in a certain place. I cannot control when governments will issue the appropriate visas for our family to return or if each new community we enter will welcome us or ignore us.

Jesus invites me to continually surrender as He surrendered to the Father. I would love to know the times and dates of my life—even for just the coming winter season—then I could plan! If I could plan, then I could feel like I’m in control. But Jesus says it’s not for me to know the times and dates. I am simply to live in the power of the Holy Spirit as a witness of His goodness and grace (see Acts 1:7). Jesus also shows us the full extent of His surrender on the eve of His crucifixion when He cries out, “Father, not my will, but yours be done” (Luke 22:42).

A Secure Identity

Living nomadically means losing my sense of security. There is security in knowing I can take refuge in my own home. There is security in the familiarity of a community that knows you. There is security in knowing the grocery story, the shops, and the roads. Living nomadically often leaves me feeling untethered and insecure like a tent without pegs easily tossed about by the wind.

But Jesus invites me to live securely in Him. Jesus often stated who He was. He refused to be defined by the thoughts of people in His hometown, the disciples, or the religious leaders of the day. Jesus rested securely in His identity as the Father’s Son. I, too, desire to rest securely in my identity as a child of God, dearly loved, called by name, and created with a purpose to do good works prepared in advance (see Eph. 2:10).

How did Jesus live as a nomad? Dependent, surrendered, and secure in His identity. Whether we find ourselves unexpectedly transitioning or having lived in the same home for 30 years, may we accept the invitation of Jesus, the Good Shepherd, to these fresh pastures of dependence, surrender, and security in Him.

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Notice of Proposed Amendments to the General Council Special Rules of Order

November 3, 2021, 2:25 PM

The Board of Directors of The Christian and Missionary Alliance adopted the following recommendations during their October 2021 meeting, finding that the following proposed amendments are of a routine or editorial nature and will not alter any substantive provision of the noted document, and has directed that the proposed amendments be submitted to a vote of the Committee on Rules.

RECOMMENDATION 1GENERAL COUNCIL SPECIAL RULES OF ORDERDELEGATE CERTIFICATION

2021 General Council adopted recommendations that moved the certification of evangelists and ministers-at-large from National Office responsibility to the districts. The Committee on Special Reports and General Legislation withdrew a recommendation to the lists below in the Special Rules of Order because it contained additional amendments connected to recommendations to allow voting privileges for spouses that did not pass. The following portion of amendments to that section are still needed to agree with the revisions that were approved regarding evangelists and ministers-at- large.

It is recommended that amendments be made to Article V, Section 5.2, Delegate Certification Signatures, sections C and D (pages A3-5-7), in the Special Rules of Order in the C&MA Manual, which reads:

Section 5.2. Signature. The delegate certification provided by the corporate secretary shall be authorized as follows:

C. National Office. The National Office shall authorize certification for each of the following persons:

  1. District superintendents
  2. Assistant district superintendents
  3. National evangelists
  4. Ministers-at-Large
  5. National officers of Alliance Women
  6. Federal chaplains
  7. Each international worker who is eligible to attend the General Council
  8. Each retired international worker desiring to attend the General Council
  9. Official workers and lay delegates from each developing ethnically based district
  10. Each marketplace ministries delegate at the discretion of the vice president for Alliance Missions

D. District Superintendent/Director. The district superintendent or director shall authorize certification for each of the following persons:

  1. Official workers in the district
  2. Nonfederal chaplains
  3. Lay delegates certified by the church they are representing
  4. Two delegates designated by each postsecondary educational institution of The Christian and Missionary Alliance (one of whom shall be a member of the teaching faculty)
  5. District director for Alliance Women
  6. Members of a General Council committee elected by District Conference or appointed by the District Executive Committee
  7. Lay ministers and each Christian worker who is a pastor of a church
  8. Lay members of the District Executive Committee
  9. Retired U.S. official workers residing in the district who desire to attend the General Council
  10. Orchard Alliance Regional Consultants residing in the district

Be amended as follows:

Section 5.2. Signature. The delegate certification provided by the corporate secretary shall be authorized as follows:

C. National Office. The National Office shall authorize certification for each of the following persons:

1. District superintendents
2. Assistant district superintendents
3. National evangelists
4. Ministers-at-Large
53. National officers of Alliance Women
64. Federal chaplains
75. Each international worker who is eligible to attend the General Council
86. Each retired international worker desiring to attend the General Council
97. Official workers and lay delegates from each developing ethnically based district
108. Each marketplace ministries delegate at the discretion of the vice president for Alliance Missions

D. District Superintendent/Director. The district superintendent or director shall authorize certification for each of the following persons:

1. Official workers in the district
2. Nonfederal chaplains
3. Evangelists
4. Ministers-at-large

35. Lay delegates certified by the church they are representing
46. Two delegates designated by each postsecondary educational institution of The Christian and Missionary Alliance (one of whom shall be a member of the teaching faculty)
57. District director for Alliance Women
68. Members of a General Council committee elected by District Conference or appointed by the District Executive Committee
79. Lay ministers and each Christian worker who is a pastor of a church
810. Lay members of the District Executive Committee
911. Retired U.S. official workers residing in the district who desire to attend the General Council
1012.Orchard Alliance Regional Consultants residing in the district

The amended section will then read:

Section 5.2. Signature. The delegate certification provided by the corporate secretary shall be authorized as follows:

C. National Office. The National Office shall authorize certification for each of the following persons:

  1. District superintendents
  2. Assistant district superintendents
  3. National officers of Alliance Women
  4. Federal chaplains
  5. Each international worker who is eligible to attend the General Council
  6. Each retired international worker desiring to attend the General Council
  7. Official workers and lay delegates from each developing ethnically based district
  8. Each marketplace ministries delegate at the discretion of the vice president for Alliance Missions

D. District Superintendent/Director. The district superintendent or director shall authorize certification for each of the following persons:

  1. Official workers in the district
  2. Nonfederal chaplains
  3. Evangelists
  4. Ministers-at-large
  5. Lay delegates certified by the church they are representing
  6. Two delegates designated by each postsecondary educational institution of The Christian and Missionary Alliance (one of whom shall be a member of the teaching faculty)
  7. District director for Alliance Women
  8. Members of a General Council committee elected by District Conference or appointed by the District Executive Committee
  9. Lay ministers and each Christian worker who is a pastor of a church
  10. Lay members of the District Executive Committee
  11. Retired U.S. official workers residing in the district who desire to attend the General Council
  12. Orchard Alliance Regional Consultants residing in the district

RECOMMENDATION 2—REVISING “SENIOR PASTOR” TO “LEAD PASTOR”

The Manual of the C&MA currently uses the terminology of senior pastor. More commonly in today’s church world, the head pastor of a church in referred to as the lead pastor.

Whereas, The nomenclature of senior pastor is somewhat dated and not commonly used in churches; and

Whereas, Most Alliance churches refer to the head pastor as the lead pastor,

It is recommended that Church Ministries be granted the authority to work with the Corporate Secretary’s Office to change senior pastor to lead pastor in the C&MA Manual.

COMMUNICATION DURING NOTICE PERIOD

According to Article VII of the Special Rules of Order of The Christian and Missionary Alliance (page A3-8) and Section 10.1 of the General Bylaws of The Christian and Missionary Alliance (page A2-23), an accredited delegate of the 2021 General Council has the right to communicate, during the notice period, to the Committee on Rules concerning the above amendments. The Committee on Rules is required to wait at least

one month, after notice is given, to take any action on the amendments. Therefore, if any accredited delegate would like to communicate to the Committee on Rules, they may contact the chairperson, Robert B. Goldenberg, at cmapastorbob@hotmail.com or 814-762-5053.

NOTICE PERIOD

November 3, 2021, through December 3, 2021


 

Dutch Missionary who Served on the West Africa Team with U.S. Alliance Workers Tragically Loses Life

October 25, 2021, 2:08 PM

Carina Saarloos was a beloved woman of God who served Jesus with all of her heart. She spent 25 of her 56 years living in Africa and has left behind a legacy that will be remembered and treasured for years and years to come. One IW on the West Africa team described her as a “missionary who was legendary in her gifts, talents, and zeal to see souls claimed for the Kingdom!”

On October 15, an Alliance team in West Africa was on a prayer retreat at a small resort. Several team members went for a hike in the morning, and as they were exploring the hills and nearby areas, Carina tragically fell off of a 30-foot rock into a rocky ravine. She sustained multiple injuries but was able to interact with those who went to her immediately after the fall. While in the ambulance, Carina went into cardiac arrest, and shortly after they arrived at the hospital, the doctors announced she had passed.

Her team was together during this horrible time, and when Carina went into the loving arms of the Father, she was not alone. She touched so many over the course of her life and was loved and cherished by more than maybe even she knew.

Shortly after, over 150 people came—on very short notice—together to celebrate Carina’s life and ministry. As a testament to her Kingdom impact, those who came to remember her were from vastly different social circles—former prostitutes, prisoners, vegetable vendors, students, hikers, displaced people from camps, church women, colleagues, pastors, and friends.

Carina’s Bambara name, Nyagali, means “joy,” and was an incredibly fitting title for her, as those around Carina remember her as a “joy and blessing to all who knew her.”

Continue praying for the West African Alliance team, for Carina’s family and friends, and for the Lord to work in the midst of tragedy.


 

Evelyn Mangham—A Hero of the Faith

October 24, 2021, 3:20 PM

On October 5, 2021, a trailblazing saint with an infectious love for Jesus entered eternity. Evelyn Breaden Mangham was born in 1922 in Nyack, New York. She celebrated her first birthday on a freighter ship bound for Palestine, where her parents would spend the next 40 years as C&MA missionaries. At age 17, Evelyn returned to the States. She enrolled in Wheaton Christian Academy and later attended the Missionary Training Institute in Nyack (now Nyack College). It didn’t take long for her to win the heart of Grady Mangham, a music major at the Institute and the son of an Alliance pastor.

After serving churches in Georgia and Florida, the Manghams were pioneer missionaries among peoples of the Central Highlands of Vietnam, which were Evelyn’s most cherished days of ministry. During their 20 years in Vietnam, Evelyn learned three languages (in addition to those she already knew), taught literacy to Bible school students and Introduction to the Old and New Testaments, made treks to mountain villages to share the gospel, and served alongside Grady as a mission leader. Together they hosted colleagues, visitors, American GIs, dignitaries, and government leaders. 

Grady and Evelyn encountered some perils while in Vietnam. According to an article in Christianity Today, in 1962 they were captured briefly by Communist fighters and forced to listen to a two-hour lecture on class conflict and revolutionary history. Prior to the couple’s release, the Communists told the Manghams, “We know you missionaries are here only to help the people of this country.” Grady also shot a tiger that had killed 200 people.

In 1967, Grady and Evelyn moved to Nyack. During the fall of Vietnam, the couple led a monumental effort to help refugees from Vietnam. From late 1975 through 1976, 10,000 refugees were resettled in America, mostly by C&MA churches—despite initial resistance from some Alliance pastors. It was Evelyn and two friends who recruited leaders to welcome the refugees. Within three years, the need for church sponsors outgrew C&MA resources. In 1978, on the advice of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees and U.S. government leaders, Grady and Evelyn challenged World Relief (the relief arm of the National Association of Evangelicals) to launch a national church response to welcome refugees. The Manghams also cofounded World Relief’s refugee resettlement program.

Tim Crouch, vice president for Alliance Missions of the U.S. C&MA, says of Evelyn, “Alliance people across the country and serving around the world marvel at Evelyn’s life of faith in her Savior and rejoice that she is with Him. She never lacked words of love and praise for Jesus while on earth and has now begun her heavenly eternity of sharing her adoration of Him.”

Tim adds, “Many of us through the years heard testimony of the first time Evelyn died. She was a young girl who doctors confirmed had died from fever while her parents were away. [Her father] spent the night in prayer to see if the Lord would raise her. Evelyn threw off her sheet in the morning, full of renewed life, and asked for ice cream!”

Jenny Yang, World Relief’s vice president of advocacy and policy and coauthor of Welcoming the Stranger, says, “Her love for refugees, for the church, and for her Lord were contagious. Her impact on the lives of those who are vulnerable will be felt for generations to come.”

“It’s not the loss that overwhelms us,” her son Thomas wrote in a tribute on Facebook. “It’s the thought that we had the honor of knowing, seeing, and experiencing what it’s like to live with a Hebrews 11 hero of the faith.”

More from Evelyn Mangham

Watch the video below of Evelyn describing God’s confirmation of her call to return to Vietnam.

Read Evelyn’s article, “A Life Full of Miracles” published in Alliance Life Magazine.


 

The Light of Jesus Breaks the Darkness of Witchcraft

October 10, 2021, 8:14 PM

Miguel and Daniela* arrived at the Ipiales shelter in March 2020—a shelter you helped an Alliance church in Colombia open for refugees and immigrants.

Almost right away, the couple stood out to the shelter staff and church leaders for two reasons. First, they were headed north instead of south, back to Venezuela, to search for their children. And second, they were strongly committed to the practice of witchcraft.

As the pandemic continued, so did the couple’s stay in Ipiales. During that time, Daniela suffered a miscarriage. The Alliance church came around her and Miguel by providing medicine, food, and counseling. Because of your generosity and compassion, CAMA could provide the needed funds.

One church leader, feeling God prompting him to build a relationship with this couple, began to meet weekly with them and share the hope of the gospel.

During one of those meetings, Miguel and Daniela accepted Jesus into their lives!

The couple burned their witchcraft tools, even knowing it meant being rejected by their family.

In June, Miguel and Daniela finally made it to the border of Colombia and Venezuela where they were reunited with their children. They saw God answer prayer! The couple quickly became connected with a church, and Daniela was recently baptized. Today they are hoping to travel to Mexico and establish residency there.

To see more about Alianza por mi Prójimo, the shelter in Colombia, watch the video below.

*Names changed.

Photo courtesy of Akira Hojo from Unsplash