Feb 032019
 

It’s over 60 years since I sat in the stands at Claremont Showgrounds to hear Billy Graham.

I remember the swelling excitement prior to his address and the powerful, compelling message he delivered. Even as first-year high-schooler I was drawn to accept the call to go forward and commit my life to Christ. Instead, I simply progressed through Confirmation in the Presbyterian church I attended.

That was my introduction to evangelism and it was pretty impressive! So I was enthusiastic to read a gift of the latest book on Billy Graham, Hear My Heart – What I would say to you.

As I read  the chapters on evangelism, the book assumed a  special  relevance because of the mission about to be  undertaken by pastor Samuel Ojulu and two elders from St Philips Kalobeyei, a settlement for refugees in Northern Kenya. These three men are en route to Boma State in South Sudan with the express purpose of sowing the seed for a new church in what was once their homeland. They plan to evangelise in a region which has been beset by civil war, insecurity, lack of any government services and famine  for almost 30 years.

The trio plan to acquire land for a church, to preach the Gospel and train suitable local countrymen who will help to establish a church in Pochalla County, close to the border with Ethiopia.

How brave. . . what courage. . . what faith!

Billy Graham has much to say on the subject of evangelism in such circumstances. He recognised the urgency of revitalising Christianity in nations which had almost completely abandoned their Christian roots as a result of being the targets of aggressive proselytising by non-Christian religions.

He reminds the skeptics that the messages of God are immutable – that the supreme, unchanging, omnipotent Creator of the universe loves humanity and wants us to know him in a personal way; that humankind has strayed from him and, as a result of sin, is alienated from God. But He has bridged the gap between himself and sinful humanity by coming to earth in the person of Jesus Christ, and there is hope for the future because Christ rose from the dead and will reign victorious over all the forces of evil and death and hell!

As probably the most significant religious figure of the 20th century, having preached to over 215 million people in 185 countries, Billy Graham taught that the Gospel is relevant to every individual, beyond all the cultural, ethnic, social, economic and political differences that separate us because the deepest needs and hurts and fears of the human heart are the same for everyone.

The Gospel is still “…the power of God for the salvation of everyone who believes” (Romans 1:16).

So, isn’t it astounding that our Sudanese brothers and sisters, in response to Christ’s commission to the Church to “Go into the world and preach the good news to all creation“ (Mark 16:15), are sending a team to join the host of other missionaries and evangelists down the centuries to take the message of God’s love in Christ to the farthest corners of human civilisation!!!

 

Blessings,

Graham

 

Jun 112017
 

Last week’s pewsheet article ‘Pray for the Persecuted Church ‘ was timely!  Many will remember the support this parish offered to those Sudanese who found themselves stuck in camps in Kenya following the long civil war in their country.

Through the WAKIMBIZI GROUP St Philips provided clothes, bibles, English classes and spiritual support over the desperate years 2008-2012.  We also sponsored the training of several community leaders and pastors with the intention of helping to rebuild South Sudan when it was safe to return.

Alas, the hopes of a peaceful South Sudan have yet to eventuate.  Poor governance, tribal conflict and a severe drought continue to  beleaguer this young nation.

Recently, a young pastor whose training we  supported, wrote to St Philips seeking assistance to establish a Christian ministry in the bleak and isolated UNHCRR camp at Kalobeyei where he finds himself with his young family.  He wants to bring hope and encouragement to a dispairing community through the gospel.

In response, a small team led by Graham Whitley is co-ordinating with the Anglican Diocese of Kitale (Kenya) and CMS-Africa to establish a church within the camp.

This is not a building project, simply the very basics of a place of prayer, fellowship and teaching: some bibles, MP3 player for those who cannot read, a few plastic chairs, a keyboard and amplifier, speakers and a generator.  As well, maybe, a small refrigerator to chill the bottled water so desperately needed.

Approximately $3,000 will fund these modest requirements and it is proposed to enlist support from the S. Sudanese communities both within Australia and the USA.

So, in addition to your prayers for the Persecuted Church, please consider contributing in this tangible way to the spread of the Gospel in the camp at Kalobeyei.  Or perhaps you can think of other ways in which you could support this outreach.  If so, we would love to hear from you.

Graham Whitley 0401 530 909
John Pearman 9336 5510 and
Sherilee Macready 0419 337 251