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The President’s Blog – August 2017


Enoch Nyador
Greetings from Ghana, West Africa from where I am preparing to come to the U.S.A by August 30, 2017 to do my third and final round of speaking in churches, colleges and homes in preparation of ICOM 2017 which will take place in Peoria, IL from November 16 to 19. I have been very well received everywhere I have gone on my first two tours through Indiana, Ohio, Illinois, Kansas, Georgia, Pennsylvania, Kentucky, Maryland, Massachusetts , Iowa and Delaware. I thank all who have hosted me in their homes, churches and offices and showed me warm hospitality, especially Dave Empson, Executive Director of ICOM and his wife Sheree as well as Robin White, Director of Development of Ghana Christian Mission and his wife Belinda.

I look forward to meeting you all in Peoria, IL so that we may worship, fellowship and learn under the theme “TOGETHER, God’s Plan to Redeem the world” based on Ephesians 4:1-16. I continue to receive positive and encouraging comments on this theme everywhere I go. I can feel that men, women, youth, professionals, politicians, Americans, Africans, Europeans, Asians, believers from diverse ethnicities  and language backgrounds are poised to explore new, deeper and challenging ways to network, collaborate and create synergy for the work of God on this planet. Helen Keller once said “Alone we can do so little, together we can do so much”.

I want to share a story of how God continues to create opportunities for like-minded people in missions to network more and more for Kingdom results. At the North American Christian Convention (NACC) in Kansas City this June, I was in line to get some food on the closing day when I noticed that the one in front of me was Greg Pruett, President of Pioneers Bible Translators. We started a conversation on possible ways to collaborate between our fieldworks in Ghana and Guinea Conakry, both in West Africa, and quickly found mutual grounds to compliment soul-winning and teaching efforts on both fields.

Furthermore, we discovered that both of us had talked earlier in the day to different team leaders for Stadia, Brent Foulke, Resource Development Executive and Phyllis Fox – Marketing Director, about collaboration among our different organizations to enhance our various missions endeavors.  The result is ongoing correspondence and brainstorming about exploratory field surveys in the near future. How exciting that Ghana Christian Mission, Pioneers Bible Translators and Stadia could be working together for the spread of the Gospel in West Africa! ICOM exists to facilitate more and more of such networking.

May I ask you to continue to pray for all the Speakers, Workshop Leaders, Exhibitors, Volunteers and hundreds of people who are working behind the scene to make ICOM 2017 in Peoria, IL a gathering to impact all of us who will attend so that we may return to our various corners of the world to continue to work TOGETHER to encourage, equip and enlist new workers for the harvest.

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My I am ICOM Moment

by Emily Drayne

I have so many thoughts when I think about ICOM! My first conference was in 1998, and one of the only things I can honestly remember is pulling up to a hotel in the middle of the night. I didn’t really understand what we were doing there or what I was about to experience. In my 9 year old mind, it was just another [long] road trip with my family!

A few years later, my dad told us that he would no longer be working at our home church and he was going to work for the NMC. I was SO upset!! I loved being a preacher’s kid in our small town; I remember crying and crying that night and the Sunday when he announced it to our church. Over the next few years, we were faithful NMC/ICOM attenders. My sister and I got to hang with the Missionary Kid group, met some amazing servants of God, and even got to help out at registration with our parents!

Fast forward to 2010, my senior year at Kentucky Christian University. I was trying to figure out what I was going to do after graduation – with no success.  I had seen powerful things happen during the ICOM weekend in the past, so I thought “Why couldn’t that be me?”. I had a prayer time on my way to the conference and just lifted up to Him: “God, do something crazy with my life this weekend.”  God has a funny way of answering prayers because one round in the Exhibit Hall and 7 months later, I was on my way to China for the summer with C.R.A.M.! It was the best summer of my life! I got to experience God in so many ways, learned more about myself than I even thought possible, and formed a love for the people in China!

When the summer ended, I came back with still no direction on where my life was headed. My dad came to me and said he needed some work done at his office. So for a month, I cleaned out old boxes, purged through office files and things that could be thrown away, and emptied and cleaned out the garage.  I got to know the staff and fell in love with the work of ICOM. That was my in.
Well, now it’s 6 years later and I’m still here! My role has changed many times, but my love and passion for the people of this world has not. I’ve been able to travel to see some missionaries overseas, developed friendships with people all over the world and have heard more stories of God and His miracles than I could count! One of the best moments of the last few years has been introducing ICOM to my husband! His first year to attend was 2016 (pictured here). I’ve also been able to develop my skills on a professional level and find out more about myself in an everyday kind of way.   The staff is an amazing group of supportive, energetic and passionate people! I’m so so so blessed to be part of the ICOM team.

 

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Prayer Vlog for July

 

Bon Jour and welcome to the ICOM Prayer Vlog for July. I’m Peggy Welch, the 2017 Prayer Chair, and I am recording this inside Notre Dame—not Paris, but Montreal, and in this church, I am surrounded by paintings and reminders of men and women who came to Quebec as missionaries.  My husband and I have been in Montreal for a few days, and as I have traveled about the city, I have been impressed with the diversity.  Every color, race, religion are here.  And I have thought of ICOM, and that we will be gathering in November with multiple colors and races but under one God, the only God.  At ICOM we will be encouraged, equipped, and enlisted to go, whether that is next door or half-way around the world.  This month we are praying for the third leg of the ICOM mission:  to enlist.  One does not find the word enlist in a Bible word search, but the directive is clear in words like joined, engaged, and called.  So, please pray with me:

Father, You told Jeremiah, “Before I formed you in the womb I knew and approved of you as My chosen instrument, and before you were born I separated and set you apart, consecrating you,  and I appointed you as a prophet to the nations.”

Lord, not all are called to be prophets to the nations, but You still set us apart and consecrate us to serve You and Your children in some capacity.  To serve our next door neighbor, be a church usher, a mentor for students, to teach at a college, rescue those in slavery, serve in a homeless shelter, or yes, maybe leave home to serve in a foreign country.   No matter where You call us, You call us all to be bright lights in a dark world offering the Word of Life.

We pray for all associated with ICOM that You will use the convention through fellowship, teachings, and divine appointments to call and challenge every attendee to defined and divine service for You. 

I pray that we answer You as Samuel did when he said, “Speak, Lord, for Your servant is listening.” Yet may we not just listen, but may we hear and be obedient. 

Holy Spirit, anoint ICOM 2017 to be Your instrument at which we all will listen, hear, and be obedient as You enlist us to Your service. 

Jesus, You told Your disciples and You tell us that the harvest is indeed plentiful, but the laborers are few.  So, we pray to You, the Lord of the harvest, to send out, even thrust out, laborers into the fields.

In the Name of the Lord Who enlists us to the harvest. Amen.


 

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Prayer Vlog for June

JUNE VIDEO BLOG SCRIPTURE REFERENCES AND PRAYER

Father, we thank you and pray for ICOM, Executive Director Dave Empson, President Enoch Nyador, the keynote and session speakers, exhibitors, volunteers, and attendees, especially the missionaries.  We pray that You will use ICOM to equip men and women around this country and world to be Your ambassadors, making Your appeal through them.  Empower everyone associated with ICOM to equip these women and men to be Your representatives to guide those who don’t know You and need to be reconciled to You.  Use what happens at ICOM to prepare them to minister so that others come to know that You, Jesus, the One Who knew no sin but was made sin so that in and through You they might become Your righteousness—approved and acceptable and in right standing with You.  

May the attendees be reminded that it is You who motivates and fits and works effectively through them.  That it is not in their own strength that they serve You, but it You Who is effectually at work in them—energizing and creating in them the power and desire to will and to work for Your good pleasure.  

Holy Spirit, use the activities and divine appointments to remind our missionaries that in their lives and work they have the strength to do all things in Jesus, Who empowers them; that they are self-sufficient in Christ’s sufficiency.  Equip them with the passion and the strength to be bright lights in a dark world, holding out and offering the Word of Life.  

Use the fellowship of ICOM to equip and challenge all of them to be energized by faith and motivated by love and to maintain an unwavering hope in the return of Jesus Christ.  Lord, may these men and women be reminded that You are their Potter and they are the clay, and that they are the works of Your hand.  

Raise up fellow Christ followers at ICOM and in our churches to pray for these missionary-driven women and men to be filled with the full, deep, and clear knowledge of Your will in all spiritual wisdom, having comprehensive insight into Your ways and purposes.  And may many pray for these missionary servants that they may walk and live and conduct themselves in a manner worthy of You, pleasing to You and desiring to please You in all things, bearing fruit in every good work and steadily growing and increasing in and by the knowledge of You.  

And we pray that they may be invigorated and strengthened with all power according to the might of Your glory to exercise every kind of endurance and patience and perseverance and forbearance with joy, giving thanks to You, Who has qualified and made them fit for their work.  And may prayers be lifted up for them to continue to stay with and in the faith in Christ—well-grounded and settled and steadfast, not shifting or moving away from the hope which rests on and is inspired by the glad tidings of the Gospel—which is what they are sharing around the world.  

In the ICOM prayer room, Holy Spirit, direct and guide and equip the attendees to be earnest and unwearied and steadfast in their prayers for themselves and others—being alert and intent in their praying with thanksgiving.  

Use the breakout sessions for the missionaries to be reminded how to make the very most of the time and seizing up opportunities; and how to let their speech at all times be gracious, pleasant, and winsome, seasoned with salt, so that they may never be at a loss to know how they should answer anyone who questions them.  

Use the keynote speakers to help the attendees grow so that they will be known by Your fruit, Holy Spirit–love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control and use the speakers to give instruction on how the attendees can be good farmers in planting the seeds of the fruit we all wish to harvest.

Equip them through all means to understand and embrace that they are not wrestling with flesh and blood, but against the spirit forces of wickedness and then how to stand their ground and how to put on and tighten the belt of Truth—and Jesus, You are our Truth; how to take up and put on the breastplate of integrity and right-standing with You; how to shod their feet in preparation to face the enemy with firm-footed stability, which is produced by the Gospel of peace; how to lift up and use the shield of faith to quench all the flaming missiles of the wicked one and sometimes of their own brothers and sisters; how to put on the helmet of salvation; and to take up and effectively use      the sword of the Spirit, which is Your Word, O God!  

Lord, use ICOM to equip and prepare them like horses that were prepared for battle, but imprint on them that they always can rest in knowing that deliverance and victory are of You!  

Jesus, when our missionaries are weary and want to give up, equip them with what they need to finish their course and their ministry, which has been entrusted to them by You.  

And in closing, for our missionaries and all of us, please strengthen and make us what we ought to be and equip us with everything good that we may carry out Your will, and that You work in us and accomplish that which is pleasing in Your sight.  Through You, Jesus Christ, our Messiah, to Whom be the glory forever and ever.  

Amen

 

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Prayer Vlog for May

Greetings from Bloomington, Indiana.

I am excited to share with you in this month’s Vlog my recent visit to the Peoria Civic Center and Arena, which is the venue for 2017 ICOM. I am visual, so I needed to see the site, most especially the room designated to be our Prayer Room.  You will see in the Vlog Enoch Nyador, the 2017 ICOM President, prayer walking the room. We then went outside to walk and pray around the whole building.

We invite you to join us in this prayer adventure! I apologize for the quality of the video. Something about my phone flipping the video, which then had to be reflipped, which affected the quality. Maybe by the time of my last Vlog in October, I will be more proficient!

Thanks for watching the Vlog and for praying!
Blessings!
Peggy

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Prayer Vlog for April

APRIL VIDEO BLOG SCRIPTURE REFERENCES AND PRAYER

Deut 1:38  But Joshua son of Nun, who stands before you, he shall enter there.  Encourage him for he shall cause Israel to inherit it.

Deut 3:28  But charge Joshua, and encourage and strengthen him, for he shall go over before this people and he shall cause them to possess the land which you shall see.  

Joshua 1:9  Have I not commanded you?  Be strong, vigorous, and very courageous.  Be not afraid, neither be dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.

Judges 20:22  But the people, the men of Israel, took courage and strengthened themselves and again set their battle line in the same place where they formed it the first day.

I Chron 16:11  Seek the Lord and His strength; yearn for and seek His face and to be in His presence continually.  

II Chron 35:2  He appointed the priests to their positions and encouraged them in the service of the house of the Lord.

Acts 4:36  Now Joseph, a Levite and native of Cyprus who was surnamed Barnabas by the apostles, which interpreted means Son of Encouragement.

Acts 15:32  And Judas and Silas, who were themselves prophets, urged and warned and consoled and encouraged the brethren with many words and strengthened them.  Acts 16:40; Acts 20:2

Romans 1:11-12  For I am yearning to see you, that I may impart and share with you some spiritual gift to strengthen and establish you; that is, that we may be mutually strengthened and encouraged and comforted by each other’s faith, both yours and mine.

Romans 15:5  Now may the God Who gives the power of patient endurance and Who supplies encouragement, grant you to live in such mutual harmony and such full sympathy with one another, in accord with Christ Jesus, that together you may with united hearts and one voice, praise and glorify the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ.

I Thess 5:11  Therefore encourage, admonish, and exhort one another and edify, strengthen, and build up one another, just as you are doing.  

II Thess 2:16 17  Now may our Lord Jesus Christ Himself and God our Father, Who loved us and gave us everlasting consolation and encouragement and well-founded hope through His grace, His unmerited favor, comfort and encourage your hearts and strengthen them in every good work and word.

Titus 1:9  He must hold fast to the sure and trustworthy Word of God as he was taught it, so that he may be able both to give stimulating instruction and encouragement in sound wholesome doctrine and to refute and convict those who contradict and oppose it.


Please join me in praying for ICOM, Dave Empson, and Enoch Nyador.

Father, we thank you that in 1948, missionaries and people who love the work of missionaries gathered as a community to encourage each other.  And that assembly is still happening every year.  So, we pray Your Word for this 2017 gathering…everything that is leading up to it and then those days in November.  

Lord, Paul tells us that You are the One Who gives the power of patient endurance and supplies encouragement.  Thank you!  But You allow us to be Your instruments of encouragement.  And there is even the gift of encouragement, but we each are charged to be encouraging and at times, we each need to be encouraged.  Help us to give and receive.

In the Hebrew Testament, the people of Israel were called on to encourage Joshua to go into Israel.  They were to encourage and strengthen him for the work You had given him.  And Joshua later issued an encouragement for the Israelites to be strong, vigorous, and very courageous.  To not be afraid or dismayed, because You, their God, would be with them wherever they went.  Lord, we pray for the men and women who serve You on mission fields and who need encouragement to go; who need Your strength; who need to be reminded that they are not to be afraid or dismayed, because You are with them wherever they go.  

In Judges, the men of Israel took courage and strengthened themselves and prepared for battle.  O God, all those who serve You abroad and at home are doing battle…not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.  May they be daily be suiting up in Your armor.

In II Chronicles, it is stated that priests were appointed to their positions and were encouraged in their service.  May we each be aware of how You are using us, but may we also be aware that we are to encourage those around us who, too, are serving You.  And we pray that You will use ICOM 2017 to encourage Your missionary servants in their service.

Lord, thank you for using Barnabas, Son of Encouragement, in Paul’s life as an encourager and fellow servant in the spreading of Your love and grace.  We ask that You provide Barnabases in the lives of our missionaries.  Friends abroad and at home to help hold up them up, especially when they are fatigued and weary.  Please use ICOM to inspire us how to be a Barnabas, and how to come along side those who have been called to serve You as missionaries.  

Father, as Paul wrote to Titus about the overseers of the Church, we pray the same for our missionaries that they hold fast to the Your sure and trustworthy Word as they have been taught, so that they may be able both to give stimulating instruction and encouragement in sound wholesome doctrine and to refute and convict those who contradict and oppose it.

There are many places in Your Word that urged, warned, consoled, strengthened, comforted, and encouraged are used together. Holy Spirit, we ask that You be present at ICOM to meet each of us where we are in what we need.  May ICOM 2017 be a place that all those attending be used in different ways to minister. Give us divine appointments to be used as urgers, warners consolers, strengtheners, comforters and/or encouragers.

Paul tells us that he was yearning to see the Romans so that he could impart and share with them some spiritual gift to strengthen and establish them; that they would be mutually strengthened and encouraged and comforted by each other’s faith.  Lord, may the faith of all the attendees at ICOM mutually strengthen and encourage and comfort each other.

So, in closing Lord, I use Paul’s exhortation and encouragement to the Romans and Thessalonians:  

Now O God, You Who gives the power of patient endurance and Who supplies encouragement, grant us—our missionaries, the leadership of ICOM, those praying for ICOM, and all the attendees–to live in such mutual harmony and such full sympathy with one another, in accord with Christ Jesus, that together we may with united hearts and one voice, praise and glorify You, our God and the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ.  

And may You Lord Jesus and You, God our Father, Who loved us and gave us everlasting consolation and encouragement and well-founded hope through Your grace, comfort and encourage our hearts and strengthen us in every good work and word.

Holy Sprit, encourage, urge, exhort us to seek the Lord and His strength; may we yearn for and seek His face and to be in His presence continually.

And I pray with all my brothers and sisters In the Name of the Great Encourager.  Amen


 

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Ruksha’s Story

Ruksha was trapped in “the business.” Aatma Vikas provided a way for her to escape and find a life the provided hope and dignity.

Our merger with MSA is developing and coming to fruition this summer, we are beginning to highlight stories from their website on our blog and social media! Stay tuned each month for MSA stories!

Read More Stores Here!

 


 

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We are leading a trip to Israel!

From David Empson:
My wife, Sherree, and I are leading a trip to Israel! This is an unexpected trip for both of us. We hadn’t really considered going to Israel until Dann Spader asked us to lead a trip with him. As soon as he asked us – we were all in! We have become more excited about this as we’ve begun preparing to announce this trip. Dann Spader is an amazing teacher, mentor and friend.

That is the key difference about this trip for us – Dann. I attended a series of classes over a 9 month period taught by Dann Spader about the life of Jesus that challenged me to the core. I wish I had $50 for every time Dann said to me, “Dave, I need to take you with me to Israel”. I tended to write it off when he mentioned it. By the end of studying the life of Christ during these classes, I had done a complete 180 degree turnaround in my attitude. Now I can’t wait to go. Seriously! I have never had the life of Christ given to me the way Dann has taught me.  I have always heard of people who have gone and experienced some things being near the place where maybe Jesus might have sat or stepped. One of the real joys for me will be to get to experience it all with my wife!

There are some things to note about this trip:

  • This trip will be a financial commitment.
    • The cost for the trip is $2,600 for a double occupancy room. There is an additional cost for a single occupancy room. This does not include the cost of your flights.
      • The good news is that we have a “payment plan” of sorts set up where we take payments for the trip in 4 installments!
  • The bus only holds 45 people.  I know of 14 going already!
  • Registration is open now! Your first payment of $600 is due with registration.

You can see the info on our website, http://theicom.org/icom-trip-to-israel-march-2018/.  Read all the details, talk it over with your spouse, your church missions team, your friends – anyone who would help you go or who would want to go with you!

Let me repeat the words of Dann, “Come and go with me to Israel”.  Come with us! Come ready to be blessed and the land of Israel will come alive with the times and teachings of Jesus. We would love to have you join us on this trip!

David Empson

Executive Director, ICOM

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Prayer Vlog For March

Spend some time in prayer for ICOM with 2017 Prayer Chair Peggy Welch as she prays for the conference, the president, the staff and the people coming to ICOM. Thanks for your encouraging words, Peggy! Join us here the 3rd week of each month for a dedicated prayer time leading up to ICOM.

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Registration Now Open

Here Are Your QUICK LINKS To Register!

ICOM Registration   –    Register By Mail

Register Your Group For SICOM

Register For Israel 2018   –    Payments - Israel 2018

Register For Reset 2

 


 

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Change Lives By Volunteering

How are you getting involved in your local community?
Have you thought about getting involved at a local non-profit?
Watch this video to see how one person is changing lives by volunteering!

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Enoch Nyador

Pastor Enoch Nyador – President – ICOM 2017

Pastor Nyador invites you to the International Conference On Missions – 2017, in Peoria, IL


 

 

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Join the ICOM Volunteer Team!

In December, I joined the ICOM team as an Administrative Assistant. My three main responsibilities are helping with the development aspect of ICOM, recruiting volunteers and assisting with bulk mailings in the office. I am humbled to witness many hands and many hearts to make ICOM possible to Encourage, Equip and Enlist missionaries for Kingdom service. ICOM’s prayers were answered recently with the merging of The Missions Network.  This will help do two things. One, it will help further our knowledge of on-the-field activities and give us opportunities to share stories from across the world and highlight global missions within our network. The second thing is that we will continue to prepare and send out newsletters to missionaries. That is what part of my new role will be, helping put together the mailings for missionary newsletters and sending them out!

ICOM is like a huge puzzle of many pieces being put together throughout the year.  A very important piece is the awesome group of volunteers that have served in many different ways. That’s how I got my start at ICOM – volunteering at conference! With the merge of The Missions Network, the mailings will greatly increase. ICOM is needing more volunteers who are willing to serve the Lord in this area. These mailings consist mainly of stuffing and labeling envelopes. Part of the time while working, we will listen to stories of missionaries on the field and also take time to pray for them.

If you or your friends want to serve, please contact me.  I will be happy to be flexible with your days or hours of availability.  The time and energy spent for this important piece of the puzzle will be greatly appreciated and also is a lot of fun!!!! ICOM is located in the little town of Hazelwood, Indiana but your volunteer service will have a huge impact on missionaries serving here and around the world.  I hope and pray you will join the ICOM VOLUNTEER TEAM!

Our theme for this year’s conference is “TOGETHER.”  We CAN do more TOGETHER to further the message of Hope of our Lord Jesus Christ.

Blessings,
Vicki Hacker
E-Mail:  vicki@theicom.org
Office: 317-539-4231
Cell Phone:  317-697-1067

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2017 ICOM Prayer Chair

Peggy Welch

Greetings from Bloomington, Indiana. I am Peggy Welch and I have the humbling privilege of serving as the 2017 ICOM Prayer Chair. Thank you for joining the ICOM blog to stay connected and prepared for our time in Peoria.

When I meet someone new, I ask lots of questions, so I thought I would answer some questions I would ask if I was just meeting me.

Peggy, tell us a few things about yourself.
I am a girl from Mississippi, who met an Indiana boy on a blind date in Washington, DC, and became a Bloomington Hoosier—many years ago. Still married to that boy and with him, we have one beloved son, who has blessed us with a wonderful daughter-in-law and three incredible and delightful grandchildren. I grew up in a Christian home; came to understand the difference between just being saved and Jesus being Lord at the age of 14—and of course, still learning what that means; and my husband and I are active members of Sherwood Oaks Christian Church (SOCC). My professional life has been varied, but in each position I have known that the Lord placed me to work as unto Him and to positively reflect Him to others. If you really want to know more details, you can go to: www.peggywelch.com.

How did you come to be the ICOM Prayer Chair?
Great question, which I can only answer with “it is a God-thing!” I have done various mission trips, but my heart is drawn to Africa. I have traveled to Africa five times, with three of those being medical mission trips to Ghana. My first trip was with FAME, and the last two have been with Global Health Outreach (GHO). Each time we connected and worked with Enoch Nyador and his team at Ghana Christian Mission. As you may know, Enoch is the 2017 ICOM President. Over the years, Enoch and I have come to know and trust each other. In August 2016, after returning from Ghana and having lunch with Enoch and friends in Bloomington, Enoch surprised me with an invitation to serve as his prayer chair for the 2017 ICOM. To be completely transparent, I knew nothing about ICOM, even though many members of my church have attended the conferences. I told Enoch I would need to learn about ICOM and ask the Lord what He wanted me to do. After prayer and consideration, I accepted the invitation, and the leadership of ICOM has kindly embraced me and is educating me.

What have you been doing to prepare for the 2017 ICOM?
I love praying the Word, so I purposed that I would pray a section of Scripture each Sunday for Enoch and Dave Empson, the ICOM Executive Director, and email it to them. On Sunday, January 1, 2017, I started this weekly missive by praying all of Colossians for them, and each subsequent Sunday, they have received a prayer of Scripture that I have been led to pray or they have requested.
Dave Empson did a virtual introduction of me and several past prayer chairs. I am still in the process of “interviewing” them about what they did and how they did it. Their passion and insights are continuing to inspire me, and ideas are coming!
I have requested that a small group of friends be committed to praying for me, specifically, as I lead intercession for ICOM.

What are you praying for currently?
To have the Lord’s eyes, ears, and heart for what and how He wants these next nine months to be used in intercession and preparation.
For many prayer partners who will join me in regular prayer for ICOM. There will be frequent messages of prayer requests via this blog, emails, and possibly other social media. And as expected those messages will become more frequent as we get closer to November 16th.
For a core of prayer warriors…men and women who are committed to praying with fervency for ICOM 2017. It was suggested by a past prayer chair that I have at least 40 prayer warriors.
That the Lord raise up someone in the Peoria area who will help me with the ICOM Prayer Room….someone with Holy Spirit-directed creativity.
Direction to understand enough to know what questions to ask and what to pray for!!

What are you currently envisioning?
I would like to share the weekly Sunday prayer for Enoch and Dave with anyone who wishes to receive it.
I plan on leading a prayer preparation 40 days leading up to the conference. Unless the Lord directs another way, I will use Mark Batterson’s Draw the Circle as our guide.
If you are familiar with spiritual retreats like Walk to Emmaus and the Great Banquet, you know that each retreat is covered by continuous prayer from the beginning to the end of the weekend. I would like to have brothers and sisters across the globe commit to a designated 30-minute period on a structured prayer calendar to cover the 2017 ICOM event, beginning to end, with continuous prayer.
In the prayer room, I would like to have a big world map with a small bowl of olive oil close by that a pray-er can dip a finger into and specifically anoint and pray for a country and/or missionary. At the end of the conference I would like to see a drippy map covered in dots of oil –a visual representation of all the prayers that were lifted up to our Heavenly Father!

Please let me hear from you with your suggestions, ideas, concerns, and/or if you wish to join us as a prayer partner or warrior. I want to hear from you!! My email is: peggy@peggywelch.com.

In closing, I want to share a suggested link to a wonderful presentation on prayer. I had the great privilege to attend the 2017 National Prayer Breakfast in Washington, DC. The keynote speaker was US Senate Chaplain Barry Black. Wow! His talk was about having your voice heard in heaven. I think you will enjoy it. Be sure to have pen and paper on hand because Chaplain Black references numerous Bible verses you will want to read for yourself.

Oh, Eternal Godhead, I look forward to joining with You and many sisters and brothers from around Your world as we pray for ICOM 2017 and all the details and challenges that go along with such an event. May we be earnest and unwearied and steadfast in our prayer lives, being alert, intent, watching, and waiting, as we pray with thanksgiving. And I pray this in the Name of the One Who is both alert and intentional regarding us. Amen (Colossians 4:2 and Psalms 5:2, Amplified)

Grace and Peace, Peggy

 

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Say Yes to Japan

We (Mark and Lynn Pratt) had not been missionaries to Japan since 1985. And had not attended ICOM after that. But I was asked to speak at the Ladies’ Tea at the 1998 convention. I’d just assumed that current missionaries from Japan were regularly exhibiting–but was terribly shocked to find that Japan was not represented. Japan is such a strategic country. But the older missionaries were retiring/dying, and no one was in the wings to replace them. What was going to happen with Japan missions? 

 
After the Ladies’ Tea, I was wandering the exhibit hall, not even thinking about Japan. Suddenly . . . well, it was kind of like a vision. An idea stopped me in my tracks: someone could host a cooperative exhibit for all Japan so that Japan missions wouldn’t fall through the cracks, even when the missionaries themselves could not attend the convention. Then the question entered my mind, “Who could do that?” And the next thing I knew, I was responding, “Well, um . . . I could!” 
 
The missionaries applauded this idea, and I named my effort Say Yes To Japan (which was the title of a little booklet written years before by veteran missionary Mark Maxey). So at the 1999 convention, I hosted the first Say Yes To Japan exhibit–along with great help from some former Japan missionaries (and that’s been the pattern ever since). The exhibit helps keep Japan in the minds of the churches. I’ve lost track of how many new missionaries have gone to Japan since that time. And at the exhibit we often meet people who have Japanese exchange students or who want to help someone find a church in Japan. We do what we can to help, and often hear, “You guys are an answer to prayer!”
 
At the convention we also cooperate with other exhibitors who send workers to Japan; most recently, that’s Team Expansion, Let’s Start Talking, and OMF. We send people who want to go to Japan to those exhibits to talk with those groups about real possibilities, and they send people to us to chat with our experienced staff and to learn general information about Japan.
My website www.sayyestojapan.org, aims to feature all the Christian Church/Church of Christ missionaries in Japan, along with providing some general resources for fans of Japan. And  I help connect the dots for people who contact me personally. 
A terrific but unexpected by-product also resulted from the Say Yes To Japan exhibit at ICOM. At my first convention I set up an origami table. Little did I know it would be swarmed with kids, some of whom not only camped out there for big hunks of time but also returned year after year to hang out with us. As  these young people grew up, they were hearing the adults answer questions about Japan missions and explain the spiritual situation in Japan—just naturally absorbing it all while they had fun with origami. Some of the origami crowd have gone on to do mission work in Japan.
 
I could go on and on about the encouragement, the incredible God encounters, and more that happens at the Say Yes To Japan exhibit. But the truth is, without ICOM as the perfect arena for all that, I  . . . well, I can’t imagine.
 
Lynn Lusby Pratt

Say Yes To Japan


Want to read more stories like this one?? Check out the ICOM Stories page!! See how God is using ICOM to touch lives in many ways.


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Inspiring!

By Keith Wood

If I had to sum up my recent trip to India in one word, that would be it. There were 12 of us total in the ICOM contingency that attended the World Convention/Global Gathering in Damoh, India, on January 12-15 (5 from White Oak Christian Church in Cincinnati and 7 from churches here in central Indiana).  Ajai and Indu Lall, Josh and Lashi Howard, and the entire Central India Christian Mission team were the most gracious of hosts as anyone could ever hope for. Serving as President of the Convention, Ajai helped to put together a powerful line-up of speakers sharing on the theme “Breaking Down Walls to Build Bridges.”

The first session opened with a parade of flags from the 29 countries represented at the conference and also the 22 states of India in attendance. Ajai set the tone for the conference with his opening message.  He spoke on the assembly theme, identifying three walls that Jesus came to tear down: the wall between head and heart, the wall between faith and action, and the wall between traditionalism and truth. It was powerful. Other speakers at the World Convention who have also spoken and/or presented at ICOM included Jeff Fife, Andrzej Bajenski, Usha Rees, Denford Chizinga, Leroy Lawson, Oscar Muriu, and Jeff Vines. There were other presenters at the Women’s sessions, the youth sessions, and the workshops who have also been a part of ICOM.  It was great to reconnect as well as meet dozens of new brethren from across the globe. It was a blessing to be a part of the sweet fellowship we experienced there.

I had the opportunity to present a workshop on “Unity and Mission in the Christian Churches/Churches of Christ.” I was able to share about the ministry of ICOM as well as highlight what has been going on in mission efforts through our churches. I want to thank Dr. Clay Perkins, Bill Warren, and Kevin Dooley for sharing in the presentation. One attendee who regularly attends ICOM said, “It was like attending a mini-ICOM in an afternoon. It was wonderful!” So glad folks were blessed by it.

After the conference was over, I helped to lead the team from here in central Indiana to visit the Malvi people located in the region around the city of Indore. It is an unreached people group, less than 2000 believers in a people group of over 14 million, that many on our team had been praying for. CICM supports a relatively new church planter in that area who is now discipling 3 more church planters. We were able to meet with the preachers and a couple of the churches that have been planted there. It was such a blessing to see their enthusiasm for their new found faith and their desire to continue spreading the message of Jesus to this unreached area.

“Jah masih ki!” was a Hindi phrase many of us learned while in India. Loosely translated it means, “Praise the Lord!” As we left India motivated, encouraged and challenged it will continue to be a phrase that will echo in our hearts as we remember the blessed time we shared together in India.

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Christmas wishes from ICOM

By Keith Wood

When I was a kid, I admit, it was all about the presents. Couldn’t wait for Christmas morning to see what my parents had wrapped for me under the tree. I would venture to say that is true for most of us. I mean, what kid doesn’t get excited about presents at Christmas! As I have gotten older, my sentiments have certainly changed. I still enjoy presents, but now I much more enjoy giving presents rather than receiving them. However, I’ve come to realize one of the things I really like most about Christmas (besides the obvious of celebrating the birth of Jesus) is the thought of being together with friends and family. Just taking some time to slow down and be with one another, to enjoy the time we have together at Christmas.

The theme for ICOM 2017 in Peoria, IL, is “TOGETHER: God’s plan to redeem the world!” As much as I enjoy being together with friends and family at Christmas, one thing I think that could excite me even more is to see God’s people come together and really be serious about getting the job of world evangelism done. To realize we need one another in order to win this world for Jesus. The scripture is pretty clear in its description of Jesus’ disciples being a body that works together, that needs one another in order to be successful. This coming November, in Peoria, I think you are going to see that emphasized in many challenging ways by our President, Enoch Nyador, and many others who will be sharing their heart on this inspiring theme.

I can’t help but think that as I enjoy the holidays over the next couple of weeks and I particularly enjoy the times of being “together” with my family and friends, that my mind won’t escape for a brief time to what God might be planning as friends and family gather “together” for ICOM 2017 in Peoria.  Knowing that God is a giver of good gifts, I think He might also have some “presents” waiting for each of us in Peoria. Can’t wait to get together and see what God has in store!     

From all of us at ICOM, we hope you and yours have a Merry Christmas & a Happy New Year!

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The RISE Project Releases small group study

The days left until ICOM 2016 begins are numbered. As we prepare to meet together in Lexington and MOBILIZE as disciples making disciples, I’d like to announce the release of The RISE Project’s small group study be∙coming∙us: Enlarging the Circle to Welcome Everyone.

It’s time for us to stop thinking in terms of us and them. Instead, let’s think about us. We’re all God’s children, all living in this world, all facing both joy and hardship. We need each other. While The RISE Project focuses on two specific populations—people with refugee status and international students, we all know there are immigrants in between them on the spectrum of people coming to “our” country. Let’s find ways to look at them as Jesus would, to reach out in love without any other agenda, and welcome our neighbors into relationships where both parties are valued and needed.

As my friend Kyle Idleman wrote recently, “You can’t confine God. He’s too big for that. He’s not a capitalist, a socialist, a republican, or a democrat. Everyone wants to say God’s on their side, but God’s on His side. He doesn’t need us to make him famous or convince people that He is creative or cool or relevant. You can’t label Him. He’s the Lord of all, and He sits enthroned in heaven. You can’t restrain His will; you can’t restrict His power or limit His jurisdiction. He uses the world as a footstool. Nothing surprises Him, shocks Him, or catches Him off-guard…. He is above all, through all, and in all. He is all-present, all-knowing, and all-powerful. Like pawns on a chess board God moves kings and queens and entire nations.”

Watch for Kyle as he introduces the segments on international students and people with refugee status in be∙coming∙us: Enlarging the Circle to Welcome Everyone and as our main session speaker on Saturday night. I hope you, your small group, and church will join us in making the circle big enough for everyone.

The promotional video for the small group study series is available here, and I hope you’ll also visit our website www.theriseproject.com to learn more and see how you can make a difference.

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Where Would You Go to Find God?

If someone were to ask you the question “Where would you go to find God?,”  what would your answer be?  If you were asked where to find light bulbs, you would possibly say Home Depot.  If were you asked where to find a burrito, you would probably say Chipotle.  But, where do you find God?  See, that’s an interesting question that would cause a number of different responses from all of us.  Some of you might respond by saying that you find God in nature.  Enjoying creation, whether it be staring out at the clear starry night, looking at the sunset over the ocean, or relaxing in your backyard. Creation allows some people to feel closer to God. So, it makes total sense that one would find God in nature.  Most people would say that you can find God in a church, which makes sense as well.  But, at the end of His life, Jesus didn’t say that you would find God in nature or in a church building.  In fact, Jesus said something very different.  

In Matthew 25, Jesus said that, at the end of all time, God is going to split people into two groups.  One group had found God, the other had not.  

Verse 34 ’Come, you who are blessed by my Father, inherit the Kingdom prepared for you from the creation of the world. 35 For I was hungry, and you fed me. I was thirsty, and you gave me a drink. I was a stranger, and you invited me into your home. 36 I was naked, and you gave me clothing. I was sick, and you cared for me. I was in prison, and you visited me.’

37“Then these righteous ones will reply, ‘Lord, when did we ever see you hungry and feed you? Or thirsty and give you something to drink? 38 Or a stranger and show you hospitality? Or naked and give you clothing? 39 When did we ever see you sick or in prison and visit you?’

40“And the King will say, ‘I tell you the truth, when you did it to one of the least of these my brothers and sisters, you were doing it to me!’

41“Then the King will turn to those on the left and say, ‘Away with you, you cursed ones, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his demons. 42 For I was hungry, and you didn’t feed me. I was thirsty, and you didn’t give me a drink. 43I was a stranger, and you didn’t invite me into your home. I was naked, and you didn’t give me clothing. I was sick and in prison, and you didn’t visit me.’

44“Then they will reply, ‘Lord, when did we ever see you hungry or thirsty or a stranger or naked or sick or in prison, and not help you?’

45 “And he will answer, ‘I tell you the truth, when you refused to help the least of these my brothers and sisters, you were refusing to help me.’

Jesus knew that people would want to find God because He understood our need for God. He knew, though, that we would try to find God, in what we thought, obvious places (like, nature and church).  However, the group that fed, gave a drink to, invited one into their home, clothed, cared for, and visited one in prison are the people who had actually found God.   Jesus tells us very clearly that, if we want to know Him and find Him, we will find Him with the ignored, the poor, the orphan, the widowed, the sick, the “least of these”.  When we help, when we serve, when we reach out, when we touch the lives “of the least of these”, we are helping God.  That is where you go to find God.

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Praying Into the Chaos – Caring for the Laborers

Last month we examined and prayed for RELEASING LABORERS into the hard places among the nations where the harvest is still to come.  This month it is imperative we examine how we CARE for those LABORERS in the most helpful and essential ways. It is an honor God has given us.

The two dimensions that are most often prioritized for any kind of missionary/laborer is prayer and financial support. However important prayer and money are, those are not the primary reasons why missionaries struggle on the field and often need to return home.

Issues with team dynamics/conflict and also issues with marriages, children and personal mental, emotional, relational health rank at the top as why missionaries come home before their appointed time — wounded and defeated.

This is not surprising when people are thrust into extremely challenging cultures and spiritual environments.  We may think our missionaries are wearing “Superman” costumes under their clothes, but it is not the case.

1 – It is necessary that we, in their supporting churches, take concrete steps to educate ourselves in how we can proactively come alongside our missionaries. We cannot assume their primary sending organizations or our churches are automatically taking care of these essential needs.   (Serving as Senders – Today by Neal Pirolo is a great place to start.)

2 – Proactively pray for your missionaries/families relational, mental, emotional and spiritual health.  This is vital, so they, and the people whom they are reaching out to, can flourish in the fullness of God’s design for their lives.

May we joyfully labor with our bothers and sisters in this essential work!

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Support the RISE Project

The RISE Project seeks to engage our churches, campus ministries, and university students with the international students who are here to study in the U.S.

Greg Swinney tells us more in this video.

At the National Student Conference in August, university students took up a sacrificial offering for The RISE Project. For many, their summer jobs are their only source of income for the upcoming school year and most pay only minimum wage. However, most of them sit in classrooms next to students from around the globe. They are aware of the global influence of international students, so they gave generously. Their offering surpassed $1,500, and we pray the Lord will multiple this gift many times over.

Will you consider making a donation in support of The RISE Project to equip us to welcome our resettled refugee and international student neighbors?

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Heart & Soul90: the Bouyei people

HeartandSoul90 | Bouyei People from Heart and Soul90 on Vimeo.

Each month, we’ll feature a Heart and Soul90 video post focusing on an unreached people group.  This month, the featured people group is the Bouyei in China. The Bouyei are one of the ancient peoples of Guizhou, having inhabited the province for more than 2,000 years. Thousands of Bouyei were burned at the stake during the Nanlang Rebellion in 1797. The horrific persecution forced many Bouyei to flee into Vietnam. The Bouyei are polytheists. They also practice an ancient form of exorcism called nuo. “A family will hire a shaman to cast out demons of illness or bad fortune. Ceremonies include climbing knife ladders, walking on fire or glass, and other activities to demonstrate the power of the spirits.” A recent estimate places the number of Bouyei Christians at 24,000, but missionaries among the Bouyei claim there to be no more than 5,000. In 1985 there were nine Catholic churches in the Qianxinan Prefecture. Recently, several mission agencies have commenced church planting efforts among the Bouyei, but few converts have been won so far.
Graydon Jessup leads us in this short video about the 2.752 million Bouyei people who have not yet heard the Good News of Jesus!
 
To learn more about the ministry of Heart and Soul90, go to their website – (http://www.heartandsoul90.com/)
To learn more about the Bouyei people, visit the Joshua Project website. – (https://joshuaproject.net/people_groups/18421/CH)
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The World is at Your Doorstep: Ministering to International…

Today we stand at the threshold of a new revolution in modern missions. The world is at our doorstep. American families who are unable travel to China or India or Kenya now have the opportunity to reach people from these countries and over 230 other nations. We can share the good news from our own living room and be used by the Lord to make a difference in the world.

International students are coming to the United States by the hundreds of thousands. Today there are over 1,100,000 international students and visiting scholars walking our campuses (Institute of International Education, Open Doors Report). Universities are reporting record breaking increases in international student enrollment. Newspapers like the Boston globe are headlining news with words like “International Student Enrollment is Highest in 35 years.”. Despite the negative reports we may hear in the media, the educational system in the United States is the envy of the world. Nithyanantha J. Sevanthinathan, director of international programs for the Lone Star College system, says this about families from around the world: “The day their child was born, these families were dreaming of studying in the United States” (Chronicle of Higher Education, November 16, 2009).

Jesus urged his followers to reach out to the strangers in their midst. In Matthew 25:35 Jesus says, “I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in.” The Message version sums up Jesus words in this passage, “I’m telling the solemn truth: Whenever you did one of these things to someone overlooked or ignored, that was me—you did it to me.”
You too can have an impact on the world. I urge you to be a part of this revolution both abroad and at home. Pray for and partner with missionaries around the world. And, join with others in reaching out to the hundreds of thousands of international students at a nearby university (maybe it’s just minutes from your front door). A harvest of hope awaits those who are ready to take the next step:
1. Discuss over supper tonight the possibility of becoming a friendship family to an international student. Pray for the strangers among us, those international students who are thousands of miles from their family and friends feeling alone and afraid.

2. Encourage missions in your family and church to learn about other cultures and nations. Determine to become a family or couple that will model ministry within your local church.

3. Contact a local campus ministry, university foreign student advisor, or Crossroads International Student Ministries about “adopting” an international student into your family. International students are hungry for relationships and eager to learn about life in America so be prepared for a life-changing experience!

Billy Graham said, “As we develop friendships with these future leaders and executives, we have an opportunity to reach our world for Christ. You might be the person that God uses to bring the next world leader to a personal relationship with Jesus Christ” (The World at Your Door, Bethany House).

Don’t be afraid to try something new. Make you kitchen table a crossroads of the world!

Greg Swinney, ministry facilitator
Crossroads International Student Ministries

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Praying into the Chaos – Laborers

There are a host of strategic reasons why ICOM exists.  In this month’s blog and next, we will be focusing our emphasis on two of those reasons.

The first is to release hundreds of Jesus-filled LABORERS for the harvest.  Next month will be about how we, as the church, must take dedicated ownership of the CARE for the laborers already serving and those being released.

Greg Pruett* says in Extreme Prayer, “When praying specific prayers geared to expand God’s Kingdom, I have observed that it helps to frame the specific requests in terms of God empowering believers to achieve to achieve his mission, rather than praying for God to change the hearts of unbelievers.  I’ve seen far more answers when asking God to send believers to go out into the harvest field than when I’ve asked God to cause unbelievers to come to faith.” 

For example, it is estimated that more than 50% of Muslims who are coming to faith in Christ have had a special dream about a “man in white/Jesus”.  Even with that being the case, it is still essential for a Christian to come alongside them to show them the way towards becoming a disciple of Jesus who multiplies and matures.

As this ICOM approaches, may we PRAY for LABORERS to be raised up among:

  • youth who will be attending SICOM
  • university students (from both state and Christian schools)
  • adult singles, families, or 2nd, 3rd, or 4th career people

May these laborers not only go to the unreached peoples outside of the United States, but also to the ones who are already living in our own communities.

Jesus, told his disciples to confidently and specifically pray to the Lord of the Harvest to raise up laborers for the harvest.  May we joyfully and perseveringly pray LABORER RELEASING prayers by the power of the Holy Spirit!

* Greg Pruett, President of Pioneer Bible Translators, since January 2007

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Reaching Refugees

Seeking opportunities to welcome newcomers is a godly trait, and hospitality is a spiritual gift. Refugees have a story of incredible perseverance and resilience in the face of unimaginable persecution, trauma, and loss. They were forced to leave their home countries, displaced out of necessity, and separated from their family units. They ache for security and community, a place of belonging in which their many strengths and talents will be welcomed. With potentially 85,000 people with refugee status arriving in 2016, what is the Lord’s expectation of His Church regarding this opportunity? Learn more at http://theicom.org/rise/.

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Heart & Soul 90: Amdo People

Each month, we’ll feature a Heart and Soul90 video post focusing on an unreached people group.  This month, the featured people group is the Amdo, Hbrogpa in China. Most Amdo are semi-nomadic herders of sheep, yaks, and goats. They move to new pastures whenever their animals have made good use of the land.  Graydon Jessup leads us in this short video about the 724,000 Amdo people who have not yet heard the Good News of Jesus!
To learn more about the ministry of Heart and Soul90, go to their website – (http://www.heartandsoul90.com/)
To learn more about the Yadav people, visit the Joshua Project website. – (https://joshuaproject.net/people_groups/18392/CH)
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Update from New Zealand

Earlier this year we told you about The Trumps, a family that went from living in rural Indiana to working in New Zealand as missionaries – and it all started at a missionary lunch at ICOM 2013 in Kansas City.

The Trumps left this year to serve and as you can see from the photo are doing well!

Read their full story here.

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Serving & SICOM

Word usage is quite fascinating.  It astounds me that the original meaning of a word can so quickly and radically change into a different and more modern meaning.  This change can happen so smoothly and unnoticed that, before we even realize it, we find ourselves using words in ways that we hadn’t used them in the past.  

I believe that the word “Missions” has developed a new meaning in this modern culture.  Growing up as a missionary child (having parents still in Brazil for 47 years), I understood the word missions to mean that “as you go, teach others (what and how) to become followers of Jesus Christ.”  After working as a Family Ministries Pastor for the last 20 years, I have noticed that many, students especially, associate the word missions as “a trip or an isolated week of helping others.”  

Whether an individual recognizes the definition of missions as the original meaning or as the modern meaning, it doesn’t change the fact that both require us to become selfless, with the purpose of reaching out and making a difference in a life that is not our own.  When we put missions into action, we “Serve”!  Serving isn’t just something we complete; However, it is something that we can do daily and persistently.  More importantly, serving is something that our life can become.  

During SICOM, we will focus on how “Serve” emphasizes humility and setting aside ourselves for the sake of others.  We want our students to capture that mindset and for their modern meaning of missions to be converted into a lifestyle of service.  Our desire is to ignite passion and purpose in students to live a sacrificial life.  

We, at SICOM, believe that we must ENCOURAGE students to “Serve.”  Serving will help them to understand a little more about our God and what He made them to do.  We will EQUIP students to do something significant, which in turn will help their faith to grow significantly.  What students believe may be affected as we ENLIST them in the act of serving.  Through this, students will connect with their Heavenly Father.

 

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PRAYING INTO THE CHAOS – HONDURAS

Every Monday morning, the Honduran AJS* staff gathers for prayer and worship beneath this mural, which reads: “There is no fear in love, but perfect love drives out fear.”  I John 4:8

The man pictured is Dionisio Garcia, a lawyer who worked for AJS, defending poor security guards and cleaning women against exploitive employers.  His fearless work earned victories for some of Honduras’ most vulnerable – but it also angered some of Honduras’ most powerful.

In December 2006, Dioniso was killed by two men on a motorcycle, while driving to court to present a case against a major security guard company.

Brave Christians in Honduras are putting their lives on the line by directly fighting one of the most corrupt governments, police forces and educational systems in Central America.  Some have been killed, others have had to flee the country, and yet many remain to bring “just-ness” to their country’s men, women and children.

  • From 2010 to 2013, Honduras had the HIGHEST HOMICIDE RATE in the world. AJS investigators, lawyers, social workers and other brave Christians have worked together to see a 75% REDUCTION in homicides in one of Honduras’ most violent communities.
  • Before AJS intervention, 26% of Honduran schoolteachers were MISSING FROM THE CLASSROOM. Today LESS THAN 1% of teachers are missing from the classroom.

This group of 150 Honduran Christian professionals and 1,000’s of volunteers are no longer letting evil men have their way.  These brave Christ-followers are on the trajectory of radically changing Honduras!

  • PRAY for AJS workers to fearlessly move forward in establishing justice in Honduras
  • PRAY for government and company leaders to fear God above all others
  • PRAY for the vulnerable of Honduras to be freed from oppression and realize it is Jesus who ultimately sets them free.

*AJS – Association for a More Just Society: www.ajs-us.org

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Discover the RISE Project

The Refugee and International Student Engagement (RISE) Project calls on the Church to mobilize and seize the unique opportunities we have in our own country. Through awareness, education, and implementation, the Church can go and make a difference without a passport or learning a new language! This opportunity is growing larger and greater every year. Our ability to go to the ends of the earth has never been easier.

The RISE Project is an initiative of ICOM (International Conference on Missions) to raise funds, which will enable this awareness, education, and implementation to occur. Imagine a way for churches to quickly find ideas about simple ways to show hospitality to those who have come as students and as new neighbors, to offer companionship, cultural inclusiveness, and even the love of Christ to these special guests!

The goal of RISE is to raise $250,000 to distribute through grants to churches and ministries who are willing to reach out and welcome those who have arrived as refugees or international students. As expert practitioners inform and train us, we hope to start a new conversation about these open doors, to rise up and embrace this sacred opportunity to represent the welcoming heart of Jesus to those who have come so far.

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Heart & Soul90: The Yadav

Each month, we’ll feature a Heart and Soul90 video post focusing on an unreached people group.  This month the featured people group is the Yadav Hindu of India. The Yadav are a caste comprising of milkmen, cowherds, cattle breeders and laborers. Their traditional occupation is animal husbandry and selling its products. The Yadav consist of both landowning and landless people. Some Yadav are businessmen, teachers, doctors, engineers and political leaders. Especially in the last 3 decennia they have become politically powerful in the states Bihar and Uttar Pradesh. They are very influential and are a major challenge to the political supremacy of the Brahmins. They are living almost all over India and in South-Nepal.
Graydon Jessup leads us in this short video about the 61+ Yadav million people who have not yet heard the Good News of Jesus!

To learn more about the ministry of Heart and Soul90, go to their website – (http://www.heartandsoul90.com/)

To learn more about the Yadav people, visit the Joshua Project website. – (https://joshuaproject.net/people_groups/16187/IN)
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Why Should You, Your Church, Your Family, Your Friends…

  1. ICOM can help enlist you in kingdom service.  Just like our ICOM president, dozens every year decide at ICOM to pursue God’s leading to being involved in global kingdom service.
                         
  2. We have a HUUGGEE Exhibit Hall! Visit 530+ exhibit booths with a wide variety of purposes. The power and presence of the Holy Spirit in this area is incredible.

  3. Workshops, workshops & more workshops.  Spread across 6 time slots, you can choose from over 150 workshops of all varieties.

  4. You’ll receive a cross cultural experience.  People from more than 40 countries will be attending ICOM!

  5. Powerful, challenging and life changing testimonies, messages, and worship. We have many international speakers who have amazing stories of how God is moving all over the world.

  6. Be mobilized to become a disciple who makes disciples. The theme for this year is MOBILIZE: Disciples Making Disciples. p.s. – there’s multiple Pre-Cons & workshops dedicated to disciple-making!

  7. ICOM has a place for everyone in your family.  We have a full program dedicated to middle & high school students, SICOM, as well as a full children’s program for walkers through 5th grade – Kidzone!

  8. SICOM is interactive and designed for our students to be involved in serving others.  Putting themselves aside, they will put service into action.  These opportunities will not only impact our students, but it will forever change the lives of those they are reaching for God’s Kingdom.

  9. Be a part of “The RISE Project”. One of our goals this year is to inform and empower churches and missions to reach out to “refugees and international students”.  We are also creating a grant fund to assist these new endeavors.  More on this on our website.

  10. Relationships – Every year ICOM becomes a place where God creates divine appointments to connect people for His Kingdom purposes.  Future mission teammates, supporters, partners, even spouses!!!
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Praying into the Chaos – South Sudan

It is easy to think that the situation in South Sudan is hopeless.  There have been so many years of war, strife and broken promises.  What can ever change?  

I urge you to listen to the heart of our Sudanese Brother in the video.  He is asking for us to pray for the only true and lasting hope for South Sudan.

In recent days, the fragile peace has been fractured by more rampaging soldiers, raping and killing innocent people.   More ethnic massacres are looming unless there is dramatic change.  

“The war today is very much driven by past conflicts, and unresolved issues with past conflicts,” says David Deng, of the South Sudan Law Society in a BBC news article.

May this be the season where the followers of Jesus in South Sudan lead the way in letting Jesus’ vision in being his disciple supersede their tribes…their politics …and even their past.  

The BBC article goes on to say, “In the basketball courts, schools, markets and  – yes – military camps of South Sudan, people are desperate for real peace.”

May we join in praying with our Sudanese Brother, for many disciples of Jesus to be raised up who will value everyone as being made in the image of God, even those from other tribes and political parties.  May Christians thrive in forgiving others by the power of the Holy Spirit; so real peace can prevail in greater and greater ways throughout their country.

Praying into the Chaos – South Sudan from the ICOM on Vimeo.

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Pray for the Bania in India

Each month, we’ll feature a Heart and Soul90 video post focusing on an unreached people group.  This month the featured people group is the Bania. Their name came from the word “Vania” which means ‘trader’ in Sanskrit. Graydon Jessup  leads us in this short video about the 30+ million people who have not yet heard the Good News of Jesus!
 
To learn more about the ministry of Heart and Soul90, go to their website – (http://www.heartandsoul90.com/)
To learn more about the Bania people, visit the Joshua Project website. – (https://joshuaproject.net/people_groups/16318/IN)

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June 20th was World Refugee Day!

In lieu of World Refugee Day, we want to share 3 important things with you:

  1. ICOM is initiating “The RISE Project” in 2016: which stands for, “The Refugee & International Student Engagement Project.”  You can read all about it on our website, (http://theicom.org/rise/).  ICOM President Mike Schrage and a group of other folks have been working diligently all year to create this initiative.  The RISE Project is designed to grant monies to churches, missions, and campus ministries to reach out to people with refugee status and international students.  So far, over $100,000.00 has been pledged to empower churches and ministries to reach out to the thousands of people entering as refugees and the one million international students on our university campuses.  Many of the people coming to the USA are not Christians. This will be a great resource that churches can use for outreach.
  2. There is lack of true information in the media today. Much of the news we see about displaced people groups is driven by fear, a political agenda or a certain viewpoints. One thing we know is that the facts are friendly.  Check out the United Nations Refugee Agency website below. They provide stats for refugees all over the world. Their website is a great resource for those interested in learning more! http://www.unhcr.org/en-us/figures-at-a-glance.html.  Be informed about the whole process.
  3. The nations are coming to the United States!  The truth is that the United States has been a melting pot of cultures for many decades. There has been an increasing number of people groups, resettling refugees, and international college students in our midst, maybe more than you realize.  We no longer “have to” take trips for a cross cultural experiences or to share the gospel of Jesus Christ with people who were born into a country without it – they are coming to us!   We need to take advantage of this! Reach out to those in your community who might need the love of Christ in their lives. Even if your area does not have any refugees or international students, commit to praying for displaced families all over the world & the students attending college inside the United States.

We have some great videos that have been done by experts in the field. Traci Harrod & Greg Swinney have both done videos that talk about displaced people groups as well as international students in the United States. If you click on their name, their video will play. You can also find them on the RISE Project page on our website.  http://theicom.org/rise/ These videos will enlighten and inform you about so many aspects of this cultural shift we are seeing in so many parts of world

If you want to make a donation towards the RISE Project, you can do that on our website as well. This Project will make such an impact all over the nation for those who are working in these fields and reaching out to their neighbors and communities. We are grateful to CO:MISSION Foundation, for being our resource to collect and hold these funds.  Co:MISSION is a non-profit group that will turn non-cash items(stock, property, assets, etc) into monies so that it can be distributed.  

There will be many more details and resources being prepared for ICOM including a small group study series, training videos, sermon outlines and more.  At ICOM a number of churches will be sharing in workshops  about how they got started working with resettled people groups in their community.

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PRAYING INTO THE CHAOS

Going into the chaos was exactly what a missionary family did in the 1980’s.  They targeted Hainan Island, off the southern coast of China.  A large part of its 7,000,000 population at the time, included many ex-convicts and others the Chinese Government had exiled.  Crime, abuse, and dishonesty were rampant.

The family endured great hardships concerning their physical health, as well as significant demonic attacks towards their children.  They fought through great disappointment, having many failed attempts to start movements of disciples who would rapidly multiply on their own.

Fighting through discouragement and learning new things from each failed attempt, their strategy became more focused.  A disciple multiplication strategy had to be the vision for a greater percentage of the current generation to be set free and thrive in all Jesus designed for them.

They trained short-term teams of Christians from Shanghai to spread across Hainan Island and find people who were willing to surrender to Jesus. These new disciples were immediately trained with the core DNA of Jesus and the vision of rapidly multiplying groups of disciples.

Within four years, the missionary family was able to leave Hainan Island because the new disciples were so dynamically multiplying.

Twelve years later, this missionary met someone who recently visited Hainan Island.  He learned there were now over 1,000,000 disciples!  The overall crime rate had dramatically dropped, the economy was thriving because there were so many honest people, and the abuse rate had also fallen!  On top of all that, the worship in the churches sounded like voices from heaven!

PRAY that the Lord of the harvest will send laborers into the remaining fields of unreached peoples, which seem insurmountable; so movements of disciples will be birthed and multiplied in this current generation. 

Dennis Okoth shares his prayer requests for the country of Kenya in this video.

Dennis Okoth Prayer from the ICOM on Vimeo.

 

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Pray for the Karakalpak People Group

KARAKALPAK PEOPLE GROUP from Heart and Soul90 on Vimeo.

Each month, we’ll feature a Heart and Soul90 video post focusing on an unreached people group.  This month the featured people group is the Karakalpak, known for the men wearing black hats, in Uzbekistan. Graydon Jessup  leads us in this short video about the 717,000 Karakalpak people who have not yet heard the Good News of Jesus!
 
To learn more about the ministry of Heart and Soul90, go to their website – (http://www.heartandsoul90.com/ – this is the link to their website)
 
To learn more about the Karakalpak people, visit the Joshua Project website. – (like is https://joshuaproject.net/people_groups/12526/UZ)
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Don’t Miss the “Night of Missions”

HAVE YOU REGISTERED FOR THE “NIGHT OF MISSIONS” IN ANAHEIM YET???

If not, why? Some of the leading minds in missions are planning to gather on Monday night July 11 and Tuesday morning July 12 to share what God is doing around the world and how you can be involved. If you have a heart for the lost, if you want to see the Great Commission fulfilled, if you are inspired by stories of how God is moving in amazing ways, then you need to register for this event! The cost is only $10 and really that just pays for the ice cream social you will enjoy after the session on Monday evening.

If you live in southern California, you need to make it to this gathering. I don’t know of another time in recent history that this many mission leaders have gathered to share for such a significant event on the west coast. Preachers, do you want the heart of your church to beat for the lost? Then encourage everyone in your congregation to register for the ICOM Night of Missions!

If you live outside the southern California area and were planning to come to the NACC in Anaheim, have you thought about arriving a day early? Or perhaps you already are arriving on Monday, make sure you add the Night of Missions to your agenda. You will be so glad you did!

We certainly hope to see many of you on Monday night, July 11th. Go to http://theicom.org/anaheim and register today!

The deadline to register is June 1st!

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Praying into the Chaos

by Mark Whited

“I have found the Light!  I am never going back to the darkness.”   Powerful words when your Arab brothers have a knife at your throat, trying to force you to recant your faith in Jesus and return to following the Quran.  

This particular Christian miraculously escaped his brother’s grasp and fled out of the house.  He is not letting fear control him, but is now even more determined to tell others about Jesus.  He even hopes to start a church in his home. Indeed, may that all become reality, in the name of Jesus!

May that declaration be true every day in our lives, no matter our circumstances.  Although we’ve probably never had a knife put to our throat for any reason, we must join with our Arab brother to live with the same resolve!  Whatever inner or outer battles we are fighting, we must determine that the way of the LIGHT is the only way of LIFE!

Our Muslim neighbors, both near and far, desperately need that same Light of Jesus.  June 6th is the beginning of Ramadan.  During the following 30 days, many Muslims are more intently seeking after “God”, to both gain his favor and to have a sign from him about some special need.   

We urge you to be in significant prayer for our Muslim neighbors to encounter Jesus and to be set free during the upcoming 30 days.  Even better, ask a friend or your Small Group to somehow join you in this world-changing endeavor.

poster2016_hires_blog 5.17GO to the 30 DAYS OF PRAYER FOR THE MUSLIM WORLD website for great resources to significantly assist you in this prayer effort.  You can receive a booklet or go to their website to read a daily compelling short story about a certain Muslim people group to help you specifically pray that day.  By using their Prayer Guide, you will pray powerful prayers for Muslims you may  never have dreamed of praying.

http://30daysprayer.com/participate.php