|Stories and reports from the Holy Spirit in Mission Conference
Forty international participants gathered September 7-12 in the Philippines for the annual Holy Spirit in Mission Conference, this year hosted by the Integrated Mennonite Church of the Philippines (IMC) and the International Missions Association (IMA). Those gathered testified to what God is doing in various international Mennonite churches.
Tan Kok Beng, a Mennonite pastor and missions leader from Singapore, urged the group to be sensitive to the Holy Spirit in their evangelistic efforts. He shared the story of three women who felt impressed to visit a certain home. They knocked for ten minutes, but no one came. They were so sure God wanted them there, that they prayed, and then persisted in knocking for 20 more minutes. Finally a distressed woman came to the door. Behind her they caught sight of a chair, and a noose dangling from the ceiling. "I can't even die in peace," she sobbed, and they ministered new life to her.”
P.C. Alexander, an IMA member from Delhi, India, told of a pastor from south India who worked and prayed for 21 years before seeing a church of 150 now beginning to thrive in the north Punjab region. Eight Indian states have recently passed anti-conversion laws, but Christians continue to reach out founding much-appreciated Christian schools in regions where church planting is too sensitive.
Adi Walujo, a leader in the GITJ Mennonite Church in Indonesia, praised God that their local church, which had been closed for eight months by Muslim leaders, was miraculously granted permission to worship again. “This kind of reversal is unheard of in Indonesia,” he said, but a breakthrough came after special prayer at the IMA last year.
Tefera Bekere reported from Ethiopia that they are seeing unprecedented responses to the gospel in neighboring countries as they use a more contextualized approach to witness. Currently 262 missionaries are working in Ethiopia and beyond its borders.
Rubén Carrasco from Peru reported that last year he had come to the Holy Spirit in Mission conference frustrated and ready to resign from leadership of the Peruvian Mennonite Church. Instead of resigning, he made some radical changes in organization through what he learned at the meetings, and the church is now growing about 60 percent for the year. “Many of us have been working in our own strength,” he said. “But when we hear from God, and obey, there is new life.”
The Holy Spirit in Mission Conference equips international church leaders with a fresh anointing of the Holy Spirit to bring new vision and release gifts of ministry to build up the mission of the church.