December - January 2023
Lighting the Darkness
news around the world
IM serves churches, pastors, and people by helping them fulfill their role in establishing churches beyond North America
so unreached peoples can know the joy of a
relationship with the living God. To find out more about the ministry of IM, visit www.IMINC.org
Cuba Hit Hard by Hurricane Ian
Cuba—Hurricane Ian hit Cuba with winds of more than 125 mph September 27. The province of Pinar del Rio, home to the Cedars of Lebanon Seminary, took the brunt of the Category 3 storm. Thousands of homes were destroyed and churches heavily damaged, and the seminary sustained significant damage.
Cubans are working hard to clean up the debris, searching for salvageable materials, and worshiping the Lord in roofless church buildings. Cuban churches are working together and sending teams from other parts of the island to repair the hurricane damage.
The pastor of Iglesia la Gran Comisión in Calera wrote, "Right now I don't know how or when we will have a roof once again. But I can tell you that even without one we will continue to praise the Lord and preach His Word. We will arise once again in the name of Jesus because the work is not ours; it belongs to the Lord."
“Please pray for our brothers and sisters in Cuba as they continue to clean up and rebuild from the hurricane,” Jaimie Lancaster encouraged. “Then put some feet on those prayers by giving to the THP emergency relief fund. One of the striking things about the reports is they are also concerned for the people who are not in their churches and looking for ways to help them.”
in Bulgaria and
Côte d’Ivoire held their annual association meeting August 17-20 (pictured below), in Bondoukou, at the Free Will Baptist Women’s Conference Center. Over 100 people attended the conference and conducted the business of the association Though all churches did not submit reports, 165 churches indicated more than 10,000 people attend regularly.
Two of the three regional associations reported 380 salvation decisions and
406 baptisms over the last year.
The tenth gathering of the New Life Churches of Bulgaria occurred September 3-6, 2022, in Tryavna, Bulgaria. Over 100 people representing the five New Life churches converged to enjoy fellowship and games, share how God is working in their churches and towns, learn from seminars and sermons, witness seven baptisms, and participate in worship. U.S. Executive Secretary of NAFWB Eddie Moody was the featured speaker.
Immediately after the New Life Churches conference, Bulgarian missionaries and workers hosted the triennial meeting of the International Fellowship of Free Will Baptist Churches (IFOFWBC) September 6-10. Twenty-one representatives from nine countries enjoyed Bulgarian vistas and hospitality as they conducted business, heard reports, shared challenges and victories, worshiped, and participated in feet washing and communion. Following the meeting, international guests dispersed Saturday to the various areas of work and spoke to the five New Life churches’ congregations on Sunday.
Central Asia Trip Renews Commitment
Central Asia—THP Director Danny Gasperson and Bob Brown of Florida traveled to Central Asia to reestablish the relationship with IM’s valued partner, Bible Mission Global (BMG). COVID-19 restrictions prevented travel to Central Asia for the past three years.
The men spent one day in Almaty, Kazakhstan, reconnecting with friends at BMG. From there, they traveled to Dushanbe, Tajikistan. They spent five days working at a Hope Center, which provides housing, care, and Christian teaching for men recovering from addiction, imprisonment, or other hardships. The goal is to help these men understand and accept the gospel, grow in their faith, and become contributors and Christian influencers in their communities. Danny and Bob worked with the residents to prepare and pour concrete driveways, sidewalks, and multi-use areas around the campus.
Gasperson and Brown also visited another Hope Center in Dushanbe that provides housing, care, and training for women and children. This facility is home to a dozen children who cannot live with their parents, as well as five ladies transitioning from difficult circumstances in their lives. Because of this ministry, the children and ladies have help in their present circumstances and hope for a brighter future.
The visit yielded renewed commitments to send at least one short-term team each year to either Kazakhstan or Tajikistan (determined by BMG).
Snapshots Around the World
Côte d’Ivoire—The Abobo FWB Church in Ivory Coast conducted a two-day evangelistic campaign in Bettié, September 29-30. Door-to-door evangelism during the day was followed by public evangelistic meetings in the evenings. The church recorded 113 salvation decisions.
Cuba—Free Will Baptists in Cuba led in forming an association of Christian medical professionals. The group held its first conference at the First FWB Church of Pinar del Rio, August 16-18, 2022.
Brazil—The First FWB church in Uberlândia, Brazil, celebrated its 45th anniversary September 18. The theme verse was
1 Samuel 7:12. Earlier, a sister church in the city,
Jardim Palmeìras, celebrated its 33rd anniversary.
Panama—La Paz de Chame FWB Church is meeting needs in its neighborhood through a meal outreach to the children. Needy children receive a meal and hear the gospel.
Bouna, Côte d’Ivoire—The Bible institute in Bouna started the school year October 4. Twelve men are studying for the ministry.
France—In early October, Lydie Teague reported two ladies announced decisions to follow Christ. “C” approached Lydie following a church service: “I have decided to follow Jesus for the rest of my life and I want to get baptized!” A couple days later, “O” announced she, too, had decided to follow Christ. She’d made the decision three weeks earlier but waited to share it.