Religious news from around the world.

Religious news from around the world.

Australian pastor sees Christian education pay dividends 

Gongolgon, New South Wales— Currawah Aboriginal Education Centre is looking forward to a bright future after reopening this year. The Seventh-day Adventist school in western New South Wales (NSW), Australia, has faced many challenges over the years, but, thanks to the support of church leaders and members, it is up and running again.

Formerly known as Currawah Adventist Aboriginal College, the school closed in 2013 due to issues of compliance with the Board of Studies, Teaching, and Educational Standards.

A number of local Adventist churches supported Currawah, including Gosford church, which donated mountain bikes for the students. “The school has a viable future now,” said Richie Reid, a pastor and member of the school’s board of directors. “It has met all the registration and accreditation requirements, and with the help of government funding, Currawah will finish the 2017 school year with a healthy cash surplus.” They have already received about 50 enrollment inquiries for 2018. “Because it’s an independent Aboriginal boarding school, there is interest from around Australia,” Reid said.

The students have not only been on the receiving end of support; they have also participated in community services activities throughout the district. “At Currawah we are helping to change one life at a time,” Reid said. “These children have often come from disadvantaged backgrounds. Education helps to lift them out, it breaks the cycle, giving them opportunities and a positive future.” [Tracey Bridcutt, Adventist Record]

Japan church leaders dream big for 2018

Yokohama, Japan—The Japan Union Conference (JUC) reports that the All Japan 2018 Maranatha evangelistic meetings are scheduled for May 2018. “Currently Japan has 94 organized churches nationwide,” explained leaders, “but the JUC plans to have more than 160 simultaneous evangelistic series, which is more than 1.5 times the number of organized churches in Japan!” The evangelistic series will be held not just at churches but at companies, small groups, and institutions.

At the Amanuma Church, Northern Asia-Pacific Division (NSD) ministerial association director Ron Clouzet conducted field school training during 2017. The last time Japan conducted this many consecutive evangelistic meetings in such a short span of time was at least decades ago.

Through the Amanuma Church experience, leaders said they were able to confirm that holding consecutive evangelistic meetings is still an effec-tive method of evangelism, even in this modern Japanese culture.

“As Japan gets involved with intense mission efforts, we hope that many more people will decide to attend the program and be inspired to do more mission work,” said NSD youth ministries director Nak Hyung Kim.

Japan will host the August 2020 Tokyo Olympics with many visitors from around the world. The JUC plans to use the opportunity to be prepare for special evangelistic plans to implemented during the upcoming Tokyo Olympics. Japan has a population of about 120 million, and fewer than 1 percent are Christian. Out of the 1 percent Christian, about 15,000 are Seventh-day Adventists.

Regional leaders asked the world church to keep praying for the Adventist Church in Japan. “Please continue to pray that the everlasting gospel of Jesus Christ will speedily be shared throughout the country,” they said. [Toshio Shibata, Northern Asia Pacific Division News & Adventist Review

US church partners with church in Columbia for a “cocaine-free world”

Colombia—While Jimmy Munoz was visiting Colombia in 2005, a small boy ran up to him and offered to shine his tennis shoes. “Our Colombia friends felt bothered by the street boy and wanted to send him away with nothing,” said Munoz, associate pastor at Seabrook Seventh-day Adventist Church in Lanham, Maryland, United States. “I felt deeply touched by his plight.”

Since this experience, Munoz learned that Columbia has more than half a million unschooled children, making them prime targets of drug lords who want them to work on illegal farms. “From that day on, I have wanted to do something to help those who feel that they have no other option but to work in the production of illegal substances.”

Last year, Munoz and a team of people flew to Colombia to help begin Munoz’s dream of helping to create a cocaine-free world. The team taught leadership principles, conflict resolution workshops, and addiction treatment and prevention seminars.

At the locals’ request, the group also conducted evangelism meetings, where 12 people decided to be followers of Christ. A local church, whose dream is to open a Christian school, received US$3,500 in donations.

“The vision of this ministry, Cocaine Free World, is to pro-mote entrepreneurship and to one day employ people in producing helpful items that have a high demand,” said Munoz. “We are also working to attack emotional poverty by inspiring people to aim high and dream of starting industries that are greatly needed for community members to have honest and productive jobs.”

While in Colombia this past year, Munoz met David, a member of an Adventist church who works as a tailor. David dreams of growing his business to employ family members and neighbors who do not have jobs.

“Through this ministry, I want to make it impossible for drug lords to find illiterate people who are willing to work in their fields and to have those 500,000 children in school, learning to dream big—dream about the second coming of Jesus Christ—and how they can make the world a better place prior to the Advent,” Munoz said. [Potomac Conference News]

South England Evangelism Expo 2018

Bracknell, Berkshire, England—On January 7, 2018, about a thousand people attended a South England Conference (SEC) Evangelism Expo at Newbold College of Higher Education. The attendees were in awe of the thought-provoking, transforming message from the guest speaker Dr. Sam Telemaque, director of Adventist Mission,Sabbath School, and Personal Ministries for the Inter-American Division. Telemaque drew his illustration of the future of the church from the experience of Peter and Cornelius in Acts 10. God transformed Peter, a Jew who had a fixed mindset, to be able to go and meet Cornelius, a Gentile. “God will do the same for the church in England,” Telemaque encouraged. “Do not be afraid of the mission in England, because through Cornelius, God showed that all people are important to Him. God will do something new in the SEC, in England, and in the world!”

Before delving deep into the strategy, SEC president Dr. Emmanuel Osei took the audience on an affirming journey of how, for the church to make headway, it had to move toward total member involvement. This involves every member taking part, being disciples, and utilizing their God-given talents, but it also includes engaging with the millennials (18- to 35-year-olds) and working with them to fulfill the Great Commission.

The current 40 percent loss of members shows that there is more work to be done. Local church leader-ship trainer Godwin Benjamin showed how the church can move toward seeking the lost. “Each church will have a Reclamation team, which will train members on various ways of retention, including sensitivity with those members being reclaimed,” said Benjamin.

With more than twenty-five workshops, presented with so much enthusiasm, members felt truly equipped to fully participate in the change and thinking of the church as it endeavored to reach out, especially to the millennials who up until now feel sidelined. Seventeen-year-old Gisela Simbana, who attended the teens’ workshop with her parents, said, “I look forward to using my talents in the church.” [Judith Makaniankhondo Nyirenda]

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March 2018

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