Incredible Blessings in Indianapolis
From July 13 to 25 CEF volunteers from 28 states gathered in Indianapolis for the 2015 Good News Across America® outreach. God blessed in a wonderful way as the teams had opportunity to work with 31 partnering churches across the city. Each church selected three locations in their community and took vacation Bible school on the road to apartment complexes, community centers, parks and other venues where children gather. Each church also hosted a rally on Friday night which gave them the opportunity to invite those in their community for a meal and closing program.
Children in the Midst of Chaos
(USA)St. Louis, Missouri seemed to take over the evening news this past fall as protests occurred regarding a police shooting situation in the city of Ferguson. Three Good News Clubs in the area were affected by the unrest and violence taking place around them.
One Good News Club teacher wrote, “Even though our city has seen much unrest and tragedy from the Ferguson situation the Lord is still on His throne and at work. My GNC is very near this area and we only had to cancel club for one week as things unfolded. I average 27 to 30 children in club each week. This is my fourth year of teaching this club with my team. We could not ask for a better group of children to teach who have an eagerness to learn from God’s Word. The real blessing is hearing that the children are putting into practice what is being taught in club and seeing behavior and attitudes change.”
Though the unrest affected the whole area and even other cities throughout the USA, in my GNC the children were calm with no signs of being nervous or anxious about the events unfolding around them. We reminded them who was with them at all times and who could they talk to about any fears or worries they may have. We talked about how God wants us to show His kindness to others and that we need to ask Him to help each of us to do this even when it may be hard. We discussed ways they could show kindness at school, in their home, or while playing in their neighborhood. The children have used verses they have learned in GNC and are learning to pray and ask God to help them.
Their lives evidence their learning. Saniyah shared on day that she had been about to get into a fight. She asked the Holy Spirit to help her not have to fight and was able to walk away without fighting. Fighting to solve their struggles and lack of respect for authority can be a big hurdle these children face. I have seen God at work in the lives of the children attending my GNC as they learn to be respectful to authority and ask the Lord to be their helper in making good choices. Helping these children to know the Gospel and how to share it and teaching them to respect authority will have a long term effect on their lives which in turn will affect their neighborhoods.
We continue to encourage the children to be a light for the Lord within their own homes, the school and their neighborhoods. My team leader and her husband who teaches in club as well have moved from attending their church in Florissant to a neighborhood church closer to the school in the Ferguson area. They have made this move to encourage children and their families to begin to attend this church that is closer to where the children live. These volunteers have a heart to not only see children reach reached but also their families. We are praying for the Lord to bless these efforts and bring some of these neighborhood families into to this church where they can come to know Jesus.
A new GNC began this month in Normandy, a neighboring community just a few blocks from Ferguson. to Ferguson. We are also working to get GNC ministry into the Ferguson/Florissant School District. Pray for the Lord to open this door!
(Cindy Wells, Director of CEF of Missouri, Greater St. Louis Area)
God Gives Five More Minutes
I have taught in Good News Clubs for about 10 years. My school ends at 2:45. I cannot leave until the busses depart at 2:55-3:00. It is a 30 minute ride to another school in Hamilton where I teach the club. If all goes well, I can just make it, if I wait with my car running and follow the busses out of the parking lot.
Another Good News Club teacher was always early to cover for us, but she got cancer and had to stop teaching. Suddenly, I was under a lot of pressure to get to club on time. I worried each week, What if the busses leave late? What if I have car trouble? What if there is a delay on the road? I was making it each week on time, but I feared that a day would come when I would not get there on time. I feared that I could jeopardize the whole Good News Club program by not being there on time.
We prayed for a solution. I asked God for five extra minutes. (A friend) started coming to the school just to cover me for 10 minutes. She got to the school at dismissal and waited to be sure that I was there. Then when I arrived, she left to get home and get her dinner so that she could work at AWANA that night. I told her, “I just need 5 more minutes!”
As the school year ended and I looked to the following year, I prayed about continuing. I felt I should continue with Good News Club for so many reasons, but I was cutting it too close! I felt I might not be able to continue if we could not find a third person to be part of our club team at that school.
I considered asking my principal not to give me a class at the end of the day and to let me leave 5 minutes early on Fridays. I considered taking half days or asking for coverage on Good News Club days. I was trying to think of a work-around.
I had no idea that God had already been working on the answer to my prayer for a year before I even expressed it. The Township School Board where we have our Good News Club changed the entire schedule and extended the school day by FIVE MINUTES! In their wisdom, they believed that they needed to increase instruction by adding five minutes to each day of school. Perhaps they are teaching a lot more in those extra five minutes. I also know that God added five minutes so that I could continue to work at Good News Club and bring the Gospel to children who might not otherwise hear it.
—Good News Club teacher, New Jersey
What does EVERY CHILD really mean to us in CEF?
Harry Robinson, Vice President International Ministries
It means a commitment to do the will of God in taking His Word to as many children as possible in each generation. There needs to be an urgency to our mission – a fervor which to those looking on, hardly makes sense because it is God given and we go forward empowered by Him.
Does it mean that we know the exact percentage of growth we shall achieve in our ministry each year? No it does not. However, it does mean that we will do our part in making every effort to obey the Great Commission entrusted to us. In the past, as we have Trained, Equipped and Supported in increasing measure, the Lord has been pleased to bless this approach and increase the number of children seeking after Him. It is our prayer that He will continue to bless in the same way as we trust Him to provide for the growing needs of the ministry in order to fulfill the vision He has given us.
Every Child is not about statistics – it is about Each Child – each and every child lost without a Savior. It is about individual children from all parts of the world who need the message which God has entrusted to us. It is about reaching more children, not so that we get a great name – but because God is glorified as He pursues and saves children and then as they live their lives following Him.
“Go into all the world and proclaim the Gospel to every creature.”
How God Uses SPAN to Declare His Glory among the Nations
The Sponsor-a-National™ (SPAN™) program continues to be a huge blessing to Child Evangelism Fellowship® around the world. Each month around 600 CEF® national missionaries in the eight regions of the world receive monthly assistance. The SPAN program connects those who want to give to missions, with those called to go out on mission to the children but who have little means of support in their ministries. Children are being evangelized, discipled and established in local churches week by week as SPAN missionaries are supported. God is being glorified as He draws many children into relationship with Him through Christ.
SPAN has been a key program in the growth of CEF ministry. Just last June several workers from the Middle East completed their Institute training and returned to work in their home countries – difficult places where the Gospel is not welcome – and it is a blessing to see the Lord provide for them through SPAN.
Why do these workers not raise their support?
In CEF our policy is to trust God, and tell His people. Our SPAN recipients do this and have seen the Lord raise at least some of their needed support locally – but there is a shortfall. In many places Christians are poor and few in number, so raising support to enable full-time ministry is simply impossible. Help is needed and we in International Ministries are looking to the Lord each month to provide the needed help.
I am so thankful to the Lord that He has provided completely during the first six months of 2015. There is no balance remaining but the Lord has faithfully provided. We are now praying for the $200,000 needed each month for the support to continue. Please pray that God will provide – and please be open to Him touching your heart to have the joy of being part of this great ministry in giving. My prayer is that just as believers in many countries receive SPAN support, that believers in many countries will become involved in giving also.
“Sing to the LORD, bless his name; tell of his salvation from day to day. Declare his glory among the nations, his marvelous works among all the peoples!“ (Psalm 96:2-3).
God is at work around the world for His glory in the nations. He is using SPAN as a wonderful blessing to that end!
Harry Robinson, Vice President of International Ministries
Enthusiastic Teens Reach Children
(Madagascar, Antananarivo) A little before 5A.M., I was awoken by the sounds of someone moving around. I opened my eyes and smiled to see that it was two of the older boys studying the Bible lessons they would be teaching at 5-Day Club that day by the light of a candle. These were just two of the amazing kids that God had brought to Christian Youth In Action, Antananarivo; they were focused and so eager to teach and to teach well.
Praise God for Record Number of Children Reached!
Child Evangelism Fellowship is praising God! The year-end statistics are in and CEF national missionaries around the world reached 19.9 million children with the clear message of Christ in 2014. This is a 27.6 percent increase over 2013 and marks the 15th consecutive year of growth for the ministry’s outreach.
To be considered as “reached” in these statistics, children must have either heard the Gospel from a CEF staff or volunteer in person, through the Truth Chasers Club (CEF correspondence club), or through the CEF website Wonderzone.com. This number does not include the children who were reached through the numerous mass media efforts.
The principle means CEF uses to reach children face to face is the Good News Club ministry. In 2014 there were 69,556 ongoing weekly Good News Clubs. This offers a mix of engaging Bible instruction. In the United States, the majority of Good News Clubs meet in public elementary schools after the school day ends. Students must have signed permission slips from their parents to attend. In the United States alone there were over 5,000 Good News Clubs in schools with 183,914 attending.
CEF does not keep track of the exact number of the tens of thousands of volunteers who run these clubs but they do record of the number of individuals trained to reach children with the Gospel—342,000 teens and adults were trained in 2014.
Moises Esteves, vice president USA Ministries said, “We are awestruck as we see the hand of God move to reach children. Almost 20 million young hearts have heard about their Creator and may find delight in worshiping the one true living God.”
Not a Mistake
“I am not a mistake,” cried one 14 year old orphan after hearing how much God loved him and sent His Son to die for his sins. Ms. Mary could not believe her eyes or ears as she witnessed this boy trusting in the Lord Jesus as his Savior and Father! How far she had come from the days when she herself was crying out to God: “I cannot do this any longer, God. You need to give me a break.”
Ms. Mary had been serving in children’s ministry in southern Asia for more than 15 years. But now she was tired, discouraged, battered, and needing a break. Mary began praying and asking God to “use my talents, gifts, in ways you want.” Little did she know how amazingly God would answer her cries to Him.
Today Mary is a volunteer “circuit” evangelist and member of the National Board with Child Evangelism Fellowship of Singapore, traveling primarily to India, sharing the Good News of the Lord Jesus with the “least of these:” orphans, the abused, and children forced into the horrors of the sex-trafficking trade of Southeast Asia.
At one orphanage school system in India, the Good Shepherd Schools, live more than 20,000 children. It is Mary’s joy and privilege to share the Gospel with the boys and girls and staff at one of the schools located in the northwestern city of Lucknow. In one country, Mary regularly holds Bible camps and VBS’ for orphans, teaching them that they are indeed “not a mistake.” Mary is so thankful and excited as to how God is using her and her gifts as she goes to these needy areas sharing the Gospel and encouraging God’s children to consider joining CEF full time so that more and more boys and girls and teens and moms and dads throughout southern Asia may hear the Good News of our Lord and Savior.
On Your Marks, Get Set, GO! (2)
As summer approaches, thoughts of rest and relaxation flood the mind. Most people think of summer as relaxing—time off, vacations, time spent with family and friends, and frolicking in the outdoors. But for those working with Child Evangelism Fellowship (CEF), that is rarely the case. Summer is like a marathon that starts in early May and continues through August. It’s a race that is all-encompassing, exhausting and entirely exhilarating.
Teens and young adults from all over the nation are preparing for the summer ministries taking place in their states. Training programs called Christian Youth in Action(CYIA) happen across the country. Some start at the end of May, while others take place later in June. The number of participants from state to state varies greatly, from just a handful to over 150 young people. They are trained and equipped to share their faith using Bible lessons, mission stories, memory verses, songs and games.
Once the summer missionaries are well trained, the next leg of the race begins: 5-Day Clubs. They use the training they received to teach Bible clubs throughout their local area. The clubs last 90 minutes, and are taught every day for five consecutive days.
Another leg of the race for many Summer Missionaries is Good News Across America. This two-week long outreach brings people from all over the country to one city to jump-start the ministry in that area. The focus this year is Indianapolis. Summer Missionaries will partner with churches, teach clubs and help establish connections for continued ministry.
Please join us in prayer for the different aspects of the summer. Pray for those of working all the different elements that go into summer ministries here at CEF—from planning the events to teaching the clubs. Pray that God would prepare and protect them physically, emotionally and spiritually. Pray that they “lay aside every weight, and the sin which doth so easily beset us, and let us run with patience the race that is set before us” (Hebrews 12:1b).
If you are interested in summer missions, you can contact your local chapter. You can find contact information at chapters.cefonline.com. You can ask about hosting a 5-Day Club or other ways to get involved. For more information about Good News Across America, go to goodnewsacrossamerica.com. Summer is upon us. The runners are lacing up their shoes and gearing up for another season-long marathon. Are you ready? Are you set? Let’s go!
Laying Foundations for Ministry in Tuvalu
Missionary Director of CEF of Tonga Theresa (Thess) Llorente returned from an exploratory trip to the target country of Tuvalu recently. This is her story:
"The Lord will command the blessing on you in your storehouse and in all which you set your hand and He will bless you in the land which the Lord your God is giving you" (Deuteronomy 28:8).
I claimed this verse as I went to Tuvalu. And the Lord had blessed His work, preparing the way as He opened a very wide door at the mainline church the Ekalesia Kelisiano Tuvalu(EKT). It was a great opportunity to minister to both Sunday school teachers and children of the five congregations in the capital of Funafuti. The secretary of missions had arranged meetings for me. The first one was a meeting with the EKT president and the staff at the head office, then a visit the five parish ministers on the island, with a special chauffeur transporting me, from one parish to another.
During my first Saturday, representatives of the five parishes attended a day-long Sunday School Teachers Retreat. The following week I had children's meetings in every parish. It was a wonderful opportunity to share the Gospel message of salvation with the children. A number of children responded to the salvation invitation.
Then in the evenings, I did a follow-up training for the Sunday school teachers. My Sunday mornings were spent observing the Sunday school classes of those who came to the training. On the last Sunday afternoon, I did two training sessions, one with the EKT and the other one with the Brethren Assembly which was attended by their pastor, church elders, Sunday school teachers and parents.
It's been a real blessing to me having experienced God's guiding hand leading me in every step that I need to take. It is indeed a great journey of faith. Only God can open doors for me so I can minister for Him.
I need your prayers for the plan to follow up what was started in Tuvalu. Pray especially for the people of God's choosing to become part of the committee for CEF work to be established in Tuvalu. The return visit will be in September for two weeks to conduct a Teaching Children Effectively™ 1 course. The EKT (denomination) will have a Sunday school workshop in September and representatives from the eight islets are coming. I was asked to be one of the facilitators. Pray that I would have the Meet the King Tuvaluan translation available for the Sunday school along with other literature.
Do you know what I’m missing?
Children are a precious gift from God. The laugh of a small child can brighten a room. A classroom of bright students can bring hope. The future of the world can be seen in those freckled faces and toothless grins. Yet for all the talk of what they will do and become to impact the future, what is being done to help them right now while they are still children?
Children make up nearly a third of the world’s population. Every day they face the same struggles and hurts adults do. Cheeks are stained with tears from lack of food. Confusion and uncertainty cloud their minds as a result from an overwhelming natural disaster. For many children this is a temporary reality but it is not an eternal reality.
The greatest need of every child is a Savior from his sin.
Child Evangelism Fellowship is an international children’s ministry whose sole focus is the evangelization of children. To children who are spiritually starving, we bring the Bread of Life. To children who are spiritually dry, we bring the Living Water. To the children who are spiritually clothed in filthy rags, we extend God’s offer of robes of righteousness. CEF is more interested in taking the misery out of the child than taking the child out of the misery--children like Lola*, a nine year old girl who lived in Mexico, and her brother, Juan*, who came to a CEF Good News Club.
When the teacher came to talk to their mom and invite them to the club, Lola was wearing a satanic charm around her neck. But Lola and her brother were allowed to go. They went every week. It was not long before they both received Jesus as their Savior. Their spiritual growth was evident. Then, after a year, they stopped coming. “You are the seventh son of the devil,” their father told one of the teachers. He wouldn’t permit them to go to the club or even look at the Bible teachers. Eventually, after much prayer, Lola and Juan returned to club. Lola is now twelve. When one of the Bible teachers talked to her she still remembered the decision she made.
The decision Lola and her brother made stayed with them even when the missionaries could not. Last year CEF reached over 15 million children, like Lola and Juan, around the world. It is our goal to reach every child with Gospel, disciple them in their faith and establish them in a local Bible believing church. The Gospel brings salvation and gives children hope in the midst of hurt, peace in times of difficulty and light in the darkest places. That is something that can never be taken away. Jesus will never run out, wear down, dry up or run away.