Edition IV Vol. 5 Year 2
TURNING CRISIS INTO OPPORTUNITIES
The world was hit hard by a global pandemic that changed our normal modus operandi. Businesses closed doors, schools had to dismiss students before summer, families had to quarantine themselves from the rest of the world. Never before in a highly connected and globalized world did we have to reinvent ourselves and try to find solutions to unanticipated problems as we had in 2020.
Here at World Nations International we quickly decided to adopt a strategy to connect on a weekly basis with our leaders from all regions of the world. Leaders involved in projects in Asia, Africa, South America and Europe. I want to share with you what we have done and how much it has helped us to be more connected and focused in our mission during this time of global crisis.
A) Rescuing the why
Because of the highly uncertain global scenario that we are living in, new solutions were required. Our leadership quickly decided to create a strategic and collaborative virtual meeting every week focused on prayer. During the first few weeks of quarantine we really thought that the situation would be under control quickly and it would affect our agenda at maximum the next 3 months. Deciding to connect on a weekly video call gathering our leaders from all over the world was initially more for the sake of staying connected online since most of our in person meetings were pending at this point.
you can be part of this mission, being a collaborator
Later on, we discovered that our entire annual agenda would be affected and therefore, cancelled and postponed to 2021. Usually our management meetings are more clustered by region or by specific project and its members. If we wanted to talk about the See Change Brazil project that involves church planting and social initiatives with kids in poor communities in Northeast Brazil, the meeting would just involve a few actors and leaders from this specific project.
However, during this time of Covid 19, we had to innovate and suggest a new weekly video call meeting gathering people from different regions of the world, involved in different projects and with the most diverse professional background. After 6 weeks of weekly video call meetings we realized that a global health crisis was really being installed and consequently our entire logistics, mission trips planning and projects were suffering directly and indirectly from it. The world was chaotic and consequently everything was very shaky.
The question that hit us hard was: What to do in times of so much uncertainty? Everything that we do involves people, transportation, resources and training, lots of training. Now what?
First thought: We need to preserve what we already do. In times of storms we really want to protect ourselves. Our first strategy adopted was to reaffirm the core values and rescue the “why we love what we do”. In our case, our mission is to fight hunger and poverty through sustainable agriculture, healthcare access and businesses solutions as platforms to reach the lost and neglected of the world. Why do we really do that? Because that is what we are called to do. The circumstances can and will change, but what we do and the mission that we are committed to will not change. Your conviction will be tested in times of crisis and you have to hold on to what you believe most.
Not surprisingly, what is required when circumstances change is a different approach and a sharp strategy through how you will accomplish your goals. After weeks gathering together and updating our own team with each other's projects, vision and goals we understood once again our mission. Our “why” was clear again. Individually, each one of our project leaders and corporately all of us felt connected to the big “why”. We used the challenge of a global pandemic as an opportunity to reaffirm our own sense of mission and purpose.
Because of the health crisis, we decided to invest more time and energy in cultivating food at our mission training center in Indonesia. We discussed ways to improve soil fertility, strategies to retain rain water, types of crops that we wanted to sow. We came up with new social activities to provide food and hope to families suffering with lack of food and struggling with unemployment in different parts of the world during this season. We are providing basic hygiene kits and biblical literature to kids in poor communities in Brazil.
We multiplied our efforts.
As we decided to reaffirm our “why” as a mission organization we had to dive deep into taking action to move our mission forward even with all limitations being imposed. Our circumstances changed. We had to adapt and innovate. But our mission still remains the same. We know our own “why” and with that we can move forward.
B) Slowly but surely.
We will be known by our consistent hard work
As we decided to stay focused in our mission we also understood that in times of crises new opportunities will pop up and we have to discern which direction to go. What has always been our understanding here at World Nations is that we are a mission-driven organization and the mission itself will filter and direct our activities, projects, initiatives and guide our path.
The weekly meetings were a reminder to stay rooted in the mission that we are called to and also an opportunity to maintain consistency in delivering the results that we have promised to our mission's partners and friends. Through these past few months we have applied ourselves consistently in improving our systems and also to utilize the resources that we have available despite all the barriers. One of the strategies we adopted is called "bending the curve" where you use the same or less amount of resources available to produce the same results with even better quality.
The main questions that we asked our team were:
What can we do that will use the same amount of resources and improve results?
Where are the main areas that we need to improve that with the same or less investment of time and funds will provide more quality in what we do?
How can we maintain what we already have and still branch out to show consistency in our mission work?
Those questions were so fundamental to increase our team's engagement level and also to encourage each and every leader to still keep doing their very best in the work that they have been entrusted with. We realized that because we have asked these questions our team felt a bigger sense of commitment with themselves and with the mission and purpose that God has called us to.
It was just a matter of stopping and looking around then we started to realize different opportunities to serve the communities where we are. We decided to branch out to serve instead of waiting. We have chosen courage instead of comfort. We truly believe that consistent hard work and faithfulness in small things will show us the way to overcome any obstacle. It is also a way to say to God, we trust the One that has called us is faithful and just to finish the good work that He has started in and through our lives.
C) Prayer saves time
Prayer is a core component of everything we do at World Nations. We want to be guided by God to do the work He called us to do. Before the pandemic, prayers were specific to each meeting, during the crisis we installed it as a weekly global conference call where we gathered leaders from our various initiatives to spend time in prayer. The results have been amazing. After 10 weeks meeting together online and praying together for one another our sense of mission and desire to make a difference in the world has increased. More encouragement was spread and we feel more connected in the Spirit and in purpose.
We have acquired through prayer a stronger bonding as a team. We have developed strong relationships and also we have experienced breakthroughs in some areas that we were stuck without solutions before stopping and praying. The interesting fact is that as we do missionary work we also have to deal with all components of a business activity: filing licenses, record keeping, financial management, project management, leadership development, reports and metrics. I can't recommend enough this strategy as the most important one: Pray First.
In all the tasks that we perform I have never seen a better strategy than prayer.
Asking God to come and help us and also letting Him to be involved in everything has literally saved us time and money. We definitely felt that because we stopped to pray, we have gotten more done with the same resources
even with more limitations than before. Now we know that prayer saves time and money. Consistency to the mission is key and leading with a “why” in mind is the direction to go in midst of a crisis.
Meet our Students: Rindra
We want to introduce to you one of our students from Indonesia, Christiani Rindra. She is 21 years old, and is studying at our Mission Training Center and Theological Seminary. She is growing in her faith, understanding her purpose in life and learning sustainable agriculture as a tool to reach unreached people in Indonesia.
you can be part of this mission, being a collaborator
Hello, my name is Christiani Gulo, you can call me Rindra. I am 21 years old, part of the first batch of students at the Mission Training Center and also a participant of the training program in Sustainable Agriculture. What I have learned from our agricultural program at the MTC is that agriculture has existed since the beginning of human history. To this earth, God has provided the way for prosperity and life to Adam and Eve through agriculture as written in Genesis 1:28.
God blessed them and said to them, “Be fruitful and increase in number; fill the earth and subdue it. Rule over the fish in the sea and the birds in the sky and over every living creature that moves on the ground.” Genesis 1.28
Agriculture includes food crops, livestock and fisheries. Agriculture is one of the ways that we can implement a land management system, utilizing a rotation of the planting season as an effort to increase the level of natural soil fertility. Cultivating the soil in a healthy way. For the good development of the crop, it is important to have a good selection of seeds. There are techniques for grafting plants to get good seeds.
“Sustainable agriculture leads to the economic development of the community and provides a way of freedom and independence from the shackles of poverty”.
Before humans fell into sin, everything was fine and the soil was still fertile, but after sin, the land became cursed by God because humans disobeyed God's commands. This is why human beings are struggling to meet their needs to survive and now have to work to obtain their provision from the ground.
I believe that sustainable agriculture is so important because it leads to the economic development of the community and provides a way of freedom and independence from the shackles of poverty. Teaching agriculture development is one of the platforms for reaching out to those communities who rely heavily on agriculture for their main income and subsistence in life. That is why we are learning about theology but at the same time about sustainable agriculture here. Through this platform, we can teach effective techniques to improve food production, increasing families' income, and also, this is a great opportunity to share the Good News of Jesus Christ.
Our 80+ students are sponsored by people like you, who want to invest in the expansion of the Kingdom of God and believe that raising strong leaders will bring transformation to their communities. Here at World Nations International we want to develop indigenous leaders that will be effective in communicating the Gospel of Jesus Christ and also will serve with a profession in their communities. The Sustainable Agriculture program is part of our Mission Training Center that is equipping young leaders to change the reality where they live.
Would consider partnering with us by donating monthly to this initiative? Every penny helps.
$ 30/ month - you will help pay the tuition and provide the books/school supplies for one student
$ 35/ month - You will help pay for the student dorm, utilities and meals
$ 65/ month - You pay for the student total cost of living at the Theological Seminary/ MTC.
To donate, please click in the link below: Click in Wonderful Indonesia / Sumatra Project.
Resting and trusting, walking in obedience to God
“So you too, when you have done everything that has been commanded, must say:‘ We are useless servants; we just did our duty ’". (Luke 17:10)
When we talk about living in a country other than our own, with different culture, customs, food and people, it is natural for people to be extremely worried and anxious about how they will adapt. Added to this, we are talking about a newly married couple; two people at the beginning of their walk side by side, in the midst of this different situation. Perhaps you might be thinking: "oh my gosh, how crazy!". But that was not exactly our reaction when we were going to live in Uganda, in East Africa.
Even before we started dating, we both had in our hearts the understanding of God’s call, that specifically was to work in the cross-cultural mission field through our professions: as agronomists, bringing knowledge of techniques and management to extremely poor rural areas, being facilitators of community development. I (Luiz) had understood this calling a long time before my wife (Juliana), but when we started thinking about dating it was already clear to both of us. I remember many times when I asked her about this certainty, to know if she was only following me instead of trying to fulfill the purpose to which God had also called her, and (thank God) her response was positive.
We considered that all the process of preparation was very important to give more emotional stability to us both as individuals and as a couple. We traveled to live in Uganda just a year after our wedding. We spent that first year in training and serving at the home base of our mission in Brazil, also adapting to married life.
We also considered very important the support we had from the Brazilian family from our organization who had already been living in Uganda for four years. Being in touch with them was essential to facilitate this whole process and avoid emotional trauma.
“When you are in the mission field what matters most is not what we know, how much we learn, but how close we walk with the Master and whether we walk in obedience to Him day after day...”
you can be part of this mission, being a collaborator
The training was important, the adaptation while we were in Brazil was important, being received by a Brazilian family in Uganda was very important, but what we want to highlight here as the most important thing is none of these. The most important, for developing a work that will be stable and durable in the cross-cultural field is the conviction of God’s calling to your life. The challenges and difficulties are immense, no doubt about this, but the feeling that the work that has been done is done solely and exclusively by obedience to the Father's command is what keeps us firm in the purpose that He himself has placed in our hearts.
So, we had no fear of going as “newlyweds”. Our adaptation in the new country was smooth and the training was very important to help us in all of this, but what really made a difference in our lives was the conviction of God's calling to be where we were and do what we were doing. When you are in the mission field what matters most is not what we know, how much we learn, but how close we walk with the Master and whether we walk in obedience to Him day after day, knowing that we are only doing our duty.
Arts as a platform to Gospel Access
In our last edition you met S., who is working in a country in Southeast Asia. She shared about her missionary calling and how God led her step by step. Now, you are going to see how God can use your talents to reach out to others.
Wherever you are now, make a quick pause and check what are the talents and gifts God has given to you. What are the things you like to do? What is your profession? These all are precious tools that God has given to you to make the difference wherever He has placed you! You are unique and God will use what you have in your hands to reach out to others.
WNI - How has God used art to communicate the gospel and bring out transformation?
you can be part of this mission, being a collaborator
S. - I am not very experienced in the subject, as I have not yet led any group or work in this area. The Christian School and the Training Center will be my first jobs in this new country. However, I participated for a long time in an evangelistic theater and dance group from my church, and on the mission ship of Operation Mobilization (OM) I worked in the pantomime group.
Art is a fantastic communication tool that opens doors and creates a very good connection with people's hearts, which might not be possible otherwise. An artistic presentation can raise awareness and prepare a person's heart to hear the gospel. Many times, I performed a pantomime and right after that, I had the attention of people to give my testimony and communicate the gospel. They listened carefully, because something had happened before.
“Arts and Sports, have their value in the social and personal transformation of each individual (...) this transformation can be for (...) good or evil. If used correctly and for the glory of God, the transformation will not only be social, personal and only for this life, but also spiritual and eternal”.
In the theater group of my church, in the presentations we made back in my hometown, there were always cases of conversions and people who had fallen away, returning to the gospel. It is not art that touches or transforms people, but this is one of the ways in which the gospel is presented and this gospel, which is the power of God, touches and transforms people's lives.
The Arts, as well as Sports, have their value in the social and personal transformation of each individual, however, this transformation can be for both good or evil. If used correctly and for the glory of God, the transformation will not only be social, personal and only for this life, but also spiritual and eternal.
WNI - Living in Southeast Asia, what are the biggest challenges you have been facing?
1 - Learning to live in a new cultural context, in which, you know nothing, speak nothing and understand nothing, is very hard. When I arrived here, on February 9, I felt literally like a baby, totally dependent on people. Now, I already feel that I am beginning to take the first steps, but still reeling, just like a child, trying to take the first steps. Still not knowing almost anything in the language.
2 - Patient and persevering discipline to learn the language. Learning itself has been very difficult, so it is necessary for me to stay focused on a daily discipline of studies, even after classes with the teacher. And for this discipline, I need to be patient and persevering. Never give up, but always persist on the target, until I can reach it. This is very challenging.
3 - Maintain healthy relationships. Relationship with others is good and important, but it is not easy. I have lost patience a few times, with the way of the local people and their tranquility in dealing with things, especially regarding planning, which is quite different from mine. While I plan to solve my things in advance, they leave to solve on the spot. That's it, it seems that way, I'm still learning about it. Another point about this, is my relationship with my leaders. I am a questioning person and perhaps this may seem like insubordination, so I have to make it very clear that I will respect and follow the decisions of the leadership, always within Christian principles.
4 - Visa instability. In three months in this countryI faced some visa issues three times. This is very complicated and exhausting. In fact, getting a visa is always uncertain. I am learning to rest in the Lord on this. Only He can keep me in this country with whatever visa He wants. At the moment, it is interesting to think that the Lord is keeping me in the country with the Emergency Stay Permit protocol, on account of Covid-19 which caused the Lockdown procedure for this city.
Please take some time to pray for S. right now. Pray for her ministry, for protection, for good relationships with the local people and her leadership. Pray for her visa situation also.
Pastoral care in the Middle East during Coronavirus
Have you ever thought about how to be a pastor in the Middle East in this time of the coronavirus?
Most countries in the Middle East have taken radical measures in the fight against the virus and the situation is no different in the Kingdom of Jordan.
Jordan decreed a State of Emergency, closed airports and borders, schools and universities, stopped all its activities and finally introduced the National Defense Law (Martial Law).
What does that mean? The Government did not allow people to leave their homes at all. In three days of forced quarantine, security forces arrested 880 people and the sentence is up to one year in prison.
Going to the pharmacy or supermarket was prohibited and it was only possible to have things delivered. Leaving the house was completely prohibited. After those three days, the government eased restrictions, allowing people to leave the house to shop for essentials between the hours of 10AM and 6PM.
Refugees in Jordan are still living in bad conditions. The coldest months are from December to March and most of the refugees don't have resources to buy blankets and appropriate heating systems to warm up their houses. So how is the heart of a pastor in the face of so many needs that his sheep have during this time? We interviewed two ministers in Jordan who are supported by VOM . Please, follow the interview and pray with us for the comfort and wisdom of the Holy Spirit for such a time as this.
We asked what it is like to be a pastor and a Christian in this Jordanian context under curfew and coronavirus. Our ministers answered: "The difficulty lies in not being able to fulfill others' needs as you are locked in without the possibility of moving freely. We tried to get permission to be able to go out and meet the needs of so many, but we’re rejected! Also, I’m not being able to do the services properly. Not everyone follows the online service for we are not prepared as people to do so. We cannot reach out to the families. We try to do our best in whatever means we have, but sometimes it is not enough."
According to our pastors in Jordan, there is no problem against Christians and religious persecution in Jordan because of the coronavirus. The Government imposed the same restrictions on all religions in the same way.
However, the Government recognized more the traditional churches, like Catholic and Orthodox in comparison with the Protestants and gave them more permissions to move and help the needy.
I do have a dream which is to see the church growing and the people rising and all coming to worship and listen to the word of God.
"The word “Christian” is used here to describe people from different Christian denominations. So, the true Christians were treated differently. You may find a church priest moving around and not being questioned, and a pastor not allowed to move freely outside his house. In answer to questions about how God has been providing wisdom in how to encourage church disciples and to administer the teaching of God's Word during the coronavirus crisis, the pastors responded:
"The church has leaders and pastors that are meeting together daily through Whatsapp (communication app on their phones), discussing the needs of the people and even with the limitations, how it is possible to act and help our disciples. For example, Whatsapp groups, the Facebook page of the church and broadcasting the services are some ways that we are continuing to encourage people. Also, we are in touch with them by phone to see how they are doing. During the quarantine, people seem closer to God and they feel more in need of the church's support. They are showing an awesome interaction with the discipleship."
Concerning how the ministry has suffered after the coronavirus, our ministers shared that the church lost donors and partners who had been providing funds that were vital to the ministry's ability to provide food to our refugee families. Due to current travel restrictions, we will not be able to receive volunteers for the time being, which considerably decreases the ministry’s budget.
Finally, we asked if the pastors have dreams of new prospects for the church's performance after this crisis and what has God been placing on their hearts. They hope that people will draw closer to God and will realize how short their lives are. They believe that people will become more committed to the church and that this is a good opportunity for the church to grow because Jesus is the only hope and light for this darkness. One of our pastors answered:
you can be part of this mission, being a collaborator
"I think it is a must! We need to pray and plan well after we come back. God has put into my heart to do lots of worship, for we miss singing to the Lord as a group of people. I might say that I do have a dream which is to see the church growing and the people rising and all coming to worship and listen to the word of God. The true family must get reunited and restart the great commission that the Lord has commanded us to do."
Please continue to pray for our ministry in Jordan, for our pastors and for provision for the refugee families. Let's pray for the light of Jesus to be more visible in this dark time.
MAIS which stands for Mission in Support of the Suffering Church  and Aziz Family are organizations that support Christians living in the midst of war, natural disasters or persecution. Their focus is on humanitarian aid, community development, training, and welcoming refugees. They serve Christians in the context of suffering in a way that helps them to reach autonomy and have everything they need to fulfill their vocation in society.
 The interview was conducted by Laise Sindra Ribeiro, a Lawyer in Jordan (https://www.instagram.com/lyse_pv.31_8.9/).
 For more details, please check at: and www.maisnomundo.org.
 For more details, please check at: and
 "JAF: 880 Curfew Violations Recorded During The Last 24 Hours". 2020. En.Royanews.Tv.
 A specific project sponsored by The Voice of the Martyrs Australia provided relief for the refugees that suffered persecution and now are in Jordan waiting to be resettled in another country. With the support of VOM, the jordanian church provided food distribution, Bibles and school kits for refugee families in February 2020.