CEF Equipping the Nations: Nearly 12 Million Pieces of Literature Shipped in 2014
Child Evangelism Fellowship (CEF), the largest Christian mission agency to children in the world, announced their 2014 literature outreach totals this week – shipping 11,904,545 books and teaching materials to 190 countries last year alone. This is a 33% increase over 2013 and the need continues to grow every year.
For 75 years, CEF has been reaching children with the good news of Jesus Christ – and quality literature and teaching materials are essential to this outreach. CEF’s Vice President for International Missions, Harry Robinson explains that the book shipments “began in 1999 as a way to help teachers who did not have any visuals reach and engage with the children in their community.” To support this mission, CEF began to produce, translate, box and ship all kinds of literature for teachers worldwide -- completely free of charge. Ninety-three percent of CEF’s workers are local believers serving in their home country. Many do not have access to books and materials – even if they could afford them – and before CEF books became available to them, the teachers told CEF they were hand-drawing visual aids to help children engage with their lesson.
According to Robinson, this outreach effort has increased since 2006 with the production of new materials such as the “Wonder Book” created just for children to read on their own. Robinson said, “Our goal is to increase shipments of literature for children and teachers each year in response to the growing requests from our missionary workers. Our ultimate goal right now is to reach - 100,000,000 children with the Gospel message in 2027 -- just in time to celebrate CEF’s 90th Anniversary!”
The book distribution starts with a request from one of CEF’s 2,900 workers around the globe and is eventually reviewed and fulfilled by the team serving in CEF’s International Headquarters in Warrenton, Missouri. These shipments are funded entirely by donations from friends of the ministry and the books and teaching materials, such as flash cards and lesson texts, are put to many, many uses worldwide. In the Philippines for example, they requested and received nearly 2 million books per year for the last few years – both for distribution after natural disasters like earthquakes and typhoons but also for use in the schools and churches. Even now CEF is preparing a new box of materials to ship to workers in the Philippines. And Bogdan Bassara, CEF’s International Literature Director, adds, “Interest in CEF materials is great. In Cambodia, Latvia and Armenia, entire church denominations now use CEF materials in their Sunday school classes. And many other countries have similar plans underway.”
In addition, the ministry estimates that each box of materials it ships reaches 650 children with the Gospel message because these materials are used again and again to talk to children about the good news of Jesus Christ. One worker in Malawi wrote to thank CEF for the materials stating, “Teachers in Malawi used the Bible lessons received from CEF to teach over 109,000 children last year! Malawi is one of the poorest countries in the world – there was no way our workers could afford to buy our own materials. Thank you!”
CEF Germany Successful with Innovative Outreach
(GERMANY) In Western Europe it has become more and more difficult to interest children in evangelistic programs. But now it seems that nearly every child is attracted to LEGO® Events. This ministry began in one CEF local work in Germany. They combined a week of children's meetings with giving the children an opportunity to build a LEGO® city. The idea spread to other local works and even to other countries and seems to be quite successful. For example, in Denmark, where it is very hard to bring the Gospel to children, a LEGO® Event works.
Regional Director Gerd-Walter Buskies said, "There has hardly been a time when children in Europe showed a deeper spiritual need than today. But the Lord is at work and does miracles. We are excited to take every opportunity to reach every child, every nation, every day."
New West and Central Africa Regional Office Headquarters Taking Shape in Ghana
(GHANA) In December, West and Central Africa regional staff were able to move into the new regional headquarters built on CEF-owned land in Accra, Ghana. There is still much work to be done in order to realize the buildings full potential but the staff is grateful to God for His provision!
For many years the office was rented and each year the rent went up. This building offers the national directors and regional education team a stable permanent place to gather for encouragement, training, literature and supply storage and administrative offices for this group of countries.
Last year in this region 1,256,268 children were reached with the Gospel! Out of the total number 289,894 were reached in the public schools.
The Ebola outbreak in Liberia, Guinea Conakry and Sierra Leone has been one of the biggest challenges in this region. This has slowed down the work in those countries. Our workers in those countries are doing fine but pray that Ebola will be eradicated and that ministry can again go full speed.
Regional Director Richard Acquaye reports, "The Lord's name needs to be praised at all times. He gave us a wonderful breakthrough in the Gambia as we organized a mini conference which brought together 46 people. Eight of us had four training centers where we promoted the needs of the children, and taught leading a child to Christ and a few basic subjects. By the end of the two weeks, the Lord enabled us to train 63 people and we have 53 GNCs started reaching over 2,000 children in this country. It is the Lord's doing!"
Everything By Prayer
A five-year-old girl named Thelma made a decision for the Lord Jesus at a school ministry led by our Child Evangelism Fellowship trained teacher. Thelma learned a memory verse in one of the worship times. The verse was from Philippians 4:6. She was captivated by the phrase, “everything by prayer…”
Since that day, she will never do anything without prayer — so much so that her partents and siblings thought something was wrong with her. She will also insist that her family prayed over almost everything. The mother’s concern about Thelma made her enquire from the school. When it was explained to her, she became so happy. “Now, prayer over everything is our secret at home. Thank God for Thelma,” says her mom.
By Brother Alex, Ghana
CEF Around the World
ZIMBABWE: Our target for 2015 is to distribute and reach 500,000 boys and girls through Wonder Devotionals in GNC, 5-Day Clubs and schools. In the last seven days we were able to reach 34,188 children.
FINLAND: Please pray for the preparations of the first ever Instructors of Teachers Level 1 in Finland in June. We hope to find the right participants that could become workers in the future too. The Finnish manual needs to be revised and all the lessons prepared by different instructors. The Estonians will join us, so we also need interpreters, cooks and other staff.
SENEGAL: Children's Ministries Institute (CMI) will be held in French in Senegal from July 5 to September 26.
The Strength To Keep On Keeping On Isaiah 40:29
Have you been through some challenging times? Have you ever thought, "god pays no attention to us! He doesn't care if we are treated unjustly." these are the same thoughts the children of israel had in isaiah 40:27.
Prescription For Peace: Psalm 29:1-11
How are you doing today? Do you find yourself at peace or has something brought a sense of fear into your life? It might be your health. It might be a financial situation. It might be all that is on your schedule for today. Whatever your situation would you say you are currently at peace?
Psalm 29 is a beautiful Psalm that helps us to refocus our attention. It begins in verses one and two. Several commands are given in these verses. The first is to "give" or "ascribe" several things to the Lord. The first is just a command to the mighty or strong to "give to the Lord." Sometimes we can think we have it all together and we don't need God. The strong person can easily become this type of person. You and I don't have it all together and under our power. That is why this is a command for those who are strong to attribute several things to the Lord.
The first thing we are commanded to attribute or ascribe to the Lord is glory. We must see and attribute to God the honor for who He is. He is sovereign. He is in control of each day of our lives. He is GOD! Sometimes we don't ascribe these qualities to God. Do you know how I know that? It is because of the way we act. We act like He is not God. Right now will you ascribe to God the glory that is His, or as the Psalmist says, "GIVE to the Lord glory!"
The second command is to ascribe or recognize Him as having strength. It is one thing to say in our head that God has power. It is another thing to really believe He has power. Many times we say it but we don't really believe it. We act like things are out of His control. When we say it but don't ascribe it or believe it, the natural result is fear. Seeing God as a God of strength brings peace. Seeing God without ascribing to Him strength brings fear. Do you have fear or peace about things right now?
The third thing we are commanded to ascribe to God is the glory due His name. To ascribe to Him the glory due His name has a natural result--to fall on our face and cry as Isaiah did, "Woe is me, for I am undone! Because I am a man of unclean lips..." It is to see God for who He is--holy, perfect, righteous; and to see us for who we are--fallen, wicked.
The last command is not something we are to do externally but something we are to do internally. We are commanded to worship the Lord in the splendor or beauty of His holiness. This command is to bow our knee both externally and internally because of the awesome beauty of His perfect holiness. Our eyes have never seen anyone so beautifully perfect.
Verses three through nine build upon these commands; they reflect the perspective of a person who sees God in power in the world around him. Read these verses then think of the world around you. The world you are in right now looks totally different when you ascribe to God the strength and glory due His name.
Verses ten and eleven place a wonderful cap on guiding our thoughts--the Lord sat on His throne during the flood and He will sit there forever. He will give strength to His people (you and me). He will bless His people with peace.
God does want you to have peace! If you disobey the commands in the first verses of this Psalm, you will also miss His peace in the last.
May the peace of God dwell upon you today!
Myron Tschetter, Regional Director North America/Caribbean
Ron York appointed as Executive Director of Support Services
For the last 14 years, Ron York has faithfully served at the International Headquarters of Child Evangelism Fellowship located in Warrenton, MO. Ron has served in a variety of roles since 2001, including Director of Information Technology and International Director of Wonderzone. Prior to coming to CEF, Ron worked in managerial role in manufacturing and gained valuable experience in both people management and production processes. In his new role as Executive Director of Support Services ron will lead the Information Services group at CEF, oversee the work of our production studio, and also be over the production areas responsible for the writing, illustrating, printing, selling, and shipping of CEF resources.
We believe that the Lord has prepared Ron for this increased role which will help CEF move toward its goal of reaching 100 million children with the Gospel each year. Ron is a graduate of Toccoa Falls College and husband to Deana York who serves in the CEF Dining Facility. Ron and Dee have three children: Amanda, Andrew and Zach. In addition to their work responsibilities, Ron and Dee have been an integral part of the Good News Across America outreach by taking care of the food services needs for all who come to each city.
Please join us in congratulating Ron on this promotion and please pray for him as he takes on these additional responsibilities and seeks to do them with excellence.
Meet Dick Shirrell, Director of International Finance
The open position of director of international finance has been a matter of prayer for some time in International Ministries here at Headquarters. Dick Shirrell is an answer to prayer! A native of Southeast Missouri, Dick grew up on a family farm just outside of Cape Girardeau. After college he entered the business arena focusing primarily in information technology and business consulting before God transitioned him into the local church as a business administrator. Dick’s wife of 19 years, Jessie, grew up primarily in sunny Arizona. She spent many years as an international travel agent before transitioning home to raise their family. She has recently re-entered the work force.
The Shirrell currently reside in St. Peters, Missouri with their two adopted sons, Nathan (16) from Romania and Zachary (12) from the Cherokee Nation. Jessie and Dick spend as much time as they can with their sons and are active in the youth ministry with their local church. They are an outdoor family that enjoys working in the yard, camping, hiking, walking, reading and enjoying God’s creation.
Prayer Changes Things
As we were starting our first Good News Club at Mi Patrimonio in Tijuana, Mexico my husband and I started to walk around the neighborhood to invite children to the Good News Club in our home. I came across a mother and her nine-year-old daughter Linda who live behind our house. As I was speaking with them, I noticed a satanic charm around Linda's neck. It turned out that it belonged to Linda's grandfather. Her mother agreed to allow her and her brother Jose to come to GNC and we were happy to see them at club that week. They came every week and it was not long until they both received Jesus as their Savior. They loved to participate, they used to sing to the Lord with all their hearts and they learned the story of the Wordless Book. We were able to see that they were growing in their faith. After a year we didn't see much of Linda or her brother and they stopped coming altogether. Their father even called my husband the seventh son of the devil. Neither Linda nor her brother, were allowed to look at us or say hello to us. We prayed for them for a long time. Every time we saw them, they looked scared and sad. We asked our sister church in Utah to help us pray for them and their family. It was not long after that Linda and Jose showed up at GNC with smiles on their faces and ready to praise God. Linda's father now has a respectful relationship with my husband and has allowed Linda to come to church with us on Sundays. Linda is now twelve years old and recently I asked her if she was a child of God. She answered yes and we both recalled the day when she received Jesus as her LORD at Good News Club three years ago. We have been able to see God's mighty hand in the life of these two children and their family.
Rick Bunch Moves to New Ministry Role
CEF is praising God for an answer to prayer. Rick Bunch has moved to a new ministry role as Editorial and Creative Services Manager at International Headquarters.
Rick will be overseeing the creation of our curriculum in Literature Development and Creative Services. He has served at CEF for the past four years as the data manager in the Truth Chasers Club.
Rick has served as a theological reviewer for many of our new lessons. He has a bachelor's degree in Elementary and Special Education and a masters in Divinity from Midwestern Baptist Theological Seminary. Rick has served as a pastor and in secular positions. Through his gifting, education, past experience and his time as data manager in TCC, the Lord has prepared Rick for this new role. Please pray for Rick as he undertakes this vital ministry.