Have a blessed year 2020!
Have a blessed year 2020!
It is amazing to see what God is doing. November 2019 was the first time for me to visit a street children’s weekly gathering in a slum area of Jakarta. It was special (and very loud) to see all the kids gathered into a small, hot room, where, after some fun games, I could also share my personal faith story with them.
This ministry was initiated by Michael, a former drug dealer. After graduating from Bible school he returned to his old neighborhood, began to reach out to his former friends and associates, also ending up starting a ministry among the street kids. Michael has an official authorization to give drug education, which he’s been doing in different parts of Indonesia. Sometimes the students of these cities are brought into a stadium, where he doesn’t only tell them about the dangers of drugs, but also gets to share with them about the faith that changed everything.
– Jonathan Lemmetti
Jun 2019 | The opening evening of this historical course was filled with expectation. There had not been such a mission course in Tanzania before that focused on reaching the unreached people groups (UPG). Now, in a hostel in Dar es Salaam, 42 pastors had gathered to learn about missions among the unreached.
The three weeks’ program was quite intensive, and the content was both demanding and diverse. Days began at 5am with prayer, continuing until 9pm after two hours’ break in the afternoon. As the course went on, the participants’ enthusiasm didn’t wear out but kept on growing. On the weekends they returned home to shepherd their churches, meanwhile we i.a. arranged a Youth Conference, and a vision casting breakfast for entrepreneurs, visited a Zaramo village and preached in local churches.
On the graduation day, some 150 people were gathered together to celebrate including family and friends, leaders of the local community as well as the hostel owner. The atmosphere was joyfully liberating. A student representative gave a speech about what they had learnt. They had received tools for reaching the unreached. Their understanding of missions was expanded, and they had realized that it’s not just for the Western missionaries alone; this calling – that is God’s heartbeat – is also for the church in Tanzania.
Just recently, in September, our Ugandan missionary in Tanzania, Francis, excitedly told us that nearly half of the course participants had already begun implementing the attained knowledge into their work in new villages and areas close to them and beyond. This is great news! One of them, Brian, organized a seminar for Pastors, where he is teaching them about the practices for reaching new tribes. At the same time, he’ll continue his already commenced work in a new village, utilizing the principals he’s learned.
Our wonderful translator, Jane, reported: “Partakers of the training are grateful for GNN’s mission course. They began to modify their practices, having special consideration for the unreached tribes in their region. One lady went to a Masai area near Arusha. She has already made connections with members of the tribe, applying methods learned during the course to her work. It is evident that this June’s Mission course is bearing good fruit; we thank God for that!”
There are still 27 unreached tribes (6M ppl) in Tanzania. Next we will arrange for our participants an online follow-up training, and a “Next Steps” seminar which will be held in May 2020. Let’s intercede for these events as well as for the participants in their work – may God’s fire and vision spread through them!
We give God all the glory and want to thank everyone who were enabling this course to become a reality!
We are arranging a missions training course in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania (June 7-26th 2019). It is our latest endeavor! During this motivational course, 50 registered local pastors and active church members will be trained to reach the unreached tribes (30) in their country.
According to a local, one of the most difficult groups to reach is the Zaramo; a tribe of approx. 1,2 million people. They are the 1st in our focus. On our last trip we visited a Zaramo village (100% muslims) and at the end of that visit the village head welcomed an evangelist to start working there. (In the above picture our team is on the way to that village.)
We have been collaborating on this project since summer 2018, and the GNN team has been busy preparing this course.
It’s not just another event! For us, this is a new channel – for the salvation of yet unreached people groups. We will use the experience gained from this course in our other destinations.
Would you like to join this effort?
Our prayer is that Good News Networking (GNN) will bear much fruit!
Vantaa International Christian Fellowship celebrated her 10th Anniversary on Jan 13th 2019. Some 240 guests attended the celebration, held at Vantaan Minttukirkko which VICF rents for its regular services.
Upbeat music and guest musicians inspired everyone in worship. Rev. Reijo Blommendahl’s strong vocals had people holding their breath during his powerful rendition of the familiar song ‘How Great Thou Art’ in several various languages.
The multinational children’s choir from VICF’s Kids Ministry also received huge applause for their performance. Greetings were brought forward by Pastor Il-soo Kim, the founder of the Finnish Korean Church, as well as by Pastor Tony Ibarra, the FEIC* coordinator based in Frankfurt.
As Prs. Arto and Orvokki Sädeaho were still contemplating about starting an international church in 2008, a vision Orvokki received one night coupled with a confirmation Arto got from the Bible encouraged them. They then found a couple that had the same vision. This joint work began from point zero (January 2009) with no knowledge of any foreigners in the area.
But the Lord has been behind this endeavour. Now, a decade later, this can be seen. During the celebration a documentary video shared about the birth and growth of the church. Throughout this time there have been people from over 100 nationalities attending our meetings.
Ps. Arto had a hard time talking. His mind was filled with gratitude towards a gracious God. He finished by appealing for the multinational congregation to nurture unity and reminded them how Jesus said that it is the way the world will believe they are His witnesses.
Younger pastors Ndegwa and Jonathan are now taking care of the main responsibility of the church ministry. Pastor Arto is now able to focus on the core objective, VICF’s umbrella organisation GNN (Good News Networking), which is to take the gospel to the unreached people groups.
*FEIC (above) is abbreviated from ’The Fellowship of European International Churches’.
This relational network consists of 82 churches throughout 32 European nations.
On Monday we flew to Myanmar’s 2nd largest city, Mandalay (1,2 million). About 300,000 monks live in this city known as a stronghold of Buddhism. However, our thoughts were anywhere but in tourism. A young pastor from the northeastern corner of Myanmar, Simon, came to meet us. He has already been involved in pioneer work by sending out three short-term pioneers to work amongst the unreached.
Early the next morning we met with 12 key church leaders, having arranged a breakfast gathering and reminding them of the church’s most important calling. After our introductions, I shared with them the vision of the unreached in Asia, emphasizing that it is primarily their churches’ calling. Next Shierley, as a fellow Asian, shared how they have been able to send people out to the unreached from Indonesia.
The presence of the Holy Spirit spoke to the attendees and we saw how the vision began to unite them, despite denominational barriers. There was an Anglican bishop, the Trinity church pastor, Baptists, Pentecostals and others.
VICF Pastors attended the Fellowship of European International Churches (FEIC) Summit in Madrid (Oct 15-18th 2018). The theme was “Inside FEIC”.
The summit workshops focused on how to develop people and build systems/ church infrastructure that will facilitate the health and growth of the church in a balanced way. The workshops helped us to see the areas we need to develop in the short-term while considering our long-term goals and vision.
We were spiritually refreshed, encouraged and got a deeper understanding of the Holy Spirit’s role in driving our vision, making concrete plans and dreaming big. We specifically had discussions on how to develop our Children’s Ministry, and it was agreed that in the future the FEIC Kids ministry coordinator will visit our Church to help train and provide support for our children’s ministry.
– BR, Ndegwa Maina
During our time in Tanzania we visited several villages in the Zaramo area. It was in one of these villages that we met a sheikh’s daughter, whom we will here call “Rebecca”. She became a follower of Jesus some years ago, as did later her husband too. Here Rebecca shares about her conversion:
– We lived nearby a small church. Out of curiosity, I observed through a window how they prayed there. One time while watching, I sensed a large darkness surrounding me and I got terrified. After a while, the darkness started to ease off.
– Then some church people came to visit my home and told me about their faith. My heart opened up and I asked Jesus into my life as my Lord.
– I began attending Bible studies and slowly began to understand God’s way of speaking to me.
– At that point our landlady, who was a witch, cursed me and I began to have nightmares. I was persecuted for my faith, as the news spread of me becoming a Jesus follower. We had to leave our house at a day’s notice. Thankfully, I had a Christian friend who taught me how to pray.
– Despite being destitute, a devoted Muslim gave us a house rent-free. What happened was that, after a while from moving in, the landlord visited and told us that ever since we came, he had been able to sleep like a baby through the night until the morning.
– Until then he had been tormented by the powers of evil, so that he could not sleep. The landlord inquired of us which witch do we visit that has such a power to affect him so favorably too? We told him our Lord is Jesus Christ.
– For this reason, the Muslim landlord decided to let us stay in his house for free. As we later were about to move elsewhere, he began to grieve for losing his protection. As we prayed with him, he also wanted to become a Christian.
– Now our former landlord is also a grateful follower of Jesus.
We went on a 2,5 week mission trip to Uganda and Tanzania mid-way through May. Our team consisted of Aki Miettinen (Uganda only), myself and joining us for the first time, Jonathan Lemmetti who began with the GNN team in February.
Our main purpose of visiting Uganda was a vision casting conference for 600 pastors and ministry workers in Kyengeza, as well as visiting our GNN-supported ‘Night-radio’ program in Mubende. At the same time we were able to see our long time friend, Pas. Wilson.
Together with Jonathan we continued to Tanzania. GNN Finland is supporting the ministry which Francis started four years ago amongst the Zaramo tribe. Francis is our Ugandan pioneer missionary who finances his ministry partially with a small ‘missions henhouse’ based in Uganda.
Pas. Jonathan Lemmetti is getting familiar with GNN missions one step at a time and can in this way be acquainted with the work in its full scale over time.
– Arto Sädeaho
I had the privilege to go on my first overseas mission with GNN Finland ry. It was two+ weeks of intense ministry, but well worth it! While it was not my first time in Africa, it was my first visit to both Uganda and Tanzania.
In Uganda, our time was spent in the Mubende area, three hours west from Kampala. There were a couple of early mornings as we shared the Gospel (between 5-6am) on the local radio station we support and over the airwaves the message was broadcast to a potential one million listeners in a region covering four nations.
We had the opportunity to speak at a conference where 500-600 local pastors, ministry workers and others gathered together to worship God, pray together and be taught the Word of God. This was a memorable experience for me personally as I felt the prompting of the Holy Spirit in the worship time leading into my speaking session to change the message I had prepared. One of those “stepping out of the boat” experiences like Peter had!
We also visited some of the various ministries run by the local pastors. On Sunday, the three of us separated to preach in different churches. I was so humbled to receive a love offering (including a bag of mangoes) after my sermon from a group of village people whose church meeting was held in a dirt-floor old school classroom. This was a good way to finish our time in Uganda.
We then travelled to Tanzania to see what our contact, Francis Tusiime, was doing. We were both pleasantly surprised to see what this young man of God has accomplished in the 4 years he has been here as a missionary from Uganda! He has learnt the language, made a lot of contacts, and even knows the short-cuts better than some locals!
We were able to make a visit to the Zaramo-tribe area where some believers have a school and a church plant, as well as sharing the Gospel to some Muslim kids in the backyard of a former Muslim. It was special to see two young boys give their lives to the Lord!
The 2-day leadership conference was a great time of teaching relevant issues as well as challenging the audience about the huge need regarding more workers into the harvest of the unreached people groups! Our final weekend was busily spent connecting with business professionals, challenging them and speaking at Francis’ church plus some other visits.
All in all, this mission trip has been eye-opening as well as ground-breaking in the sense that God has much in store for the future networking between GNN and the ministry of unreached people’s in Africa.
Thank you for remembering to pray for the unreached people groups, for our mission trips and for continually sharing in the vision through your giving.
– We are in this together!
– Jonathan Lemmetti
During the past three decades, the Bible school in Sumatra has sent out lots of pioneer evangelists – 500 of them – to Indonesian Kalimantan/Borneo. (The size of this huge island is even wider than Texas, USA).
In 1997 five young people were sent to the jungles of central Kalimantan. As they crossed over a flooding, fast-flowing river hand in hand, one of them lost their grip and was never found again.
One of the survivors is Joyce. Later she looked for her intended tribe for hours in the unknown, roadless jungle. She finally heard voices of people, which led her to a village of displaced peoples in the Dayak area. The majority had been brought from the island of Java and were working in the nearby plantations.
In her first year there, Joyce met daily with a poor family next door, giving them food, clothes, etc. This transmigrate family wondered why this Christian girl would help them, when even their “own people” didn’t. After a year, the parents returned to their home island while the children remained in the village.
These left-behind children came to Joyce, soon after wanting to become Christians. As a result, the village rejected the kids. Joyce however continued her work prayerfully. She began teaching the village children and it wasn’t long before a large group of kids gathered at her place. Eventually the parents also came to observe her teaching. Gradually Joyce was accepted into their society.
Since the villagers were transmigrants from other islands, the government built a school for Joyce to teach in. People started becoming Christians and the government donated her a block of land, building a small church on it (6x6m).
Joyce increased her ministry to include the three nearby villages (within 10-20km), helping their inhabitants. Regardless of the heat, rain or darkness, Joyce persistently walked through the jungle to these villages. At times the trip took 8 hours by foot, and she would usually return home after midnight. Nevertheless, the joy of the gospel motivated her to continue.
More people became Christians and the church needed to be extended. As the congregation continued to grow, the church had to be enlarged yet again in 2014 and this third building phase took three years. When finished, the church measured 14x40m and now fits all its more than 200 members.
• Want to support Sumatran pioneers? You can do this at our ’Donate’ page with the reference ’3117 Pioneer support’.
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