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Praise and Prayer ~ April 27, 2021

Photo detail: Leaders of the FFICM True Gospel Conference in Jalingo, Nigeria – April 2021. Rich Gardner (far left) with Roman Baronowski, a Polish ministry partner, next to Peter Wash (in cream shirt).

Dear FFICM Prayer Partners, 

Below you will find a prayer guide to support you as you accompany us in prayer and worship this week. May God bless your time in the quiet place with hope and peace.  

Nigeria:

  • Prayers for Ongoing Ministry: 
    • Radio and TV Ministry — The FFICM Nigeria team produces broadcasts designed to reach predominantly Muslim area on public radio stations with teaching about the gospel and the Bible. The teachings address myths commonly believed by Muslims and offer the truths about the Bible. Praise God for this profoundly impactful ministry! 
      • Pray for Yusuf, an FFICM staff in Nigeria, who has been the main radio speaker. Yusuf’s family has been receiving threats of violence because of these radio recordings. For his safety, a volunteer from another state will replace him to do these recordings. Pray for protection for Yusuf and his family! 
      • Amhed (a disciple of Yusuf) will complete 13 radio broadcasts this week. Praise God! 
    • There is an ongoing risk of being kidnapped while driving on the roads in Nigeria to conferences, training events, etc. Pray for wisdom as our team maneuvers around and goes to and from the various conferences and training events. Please pray for God’s protection.  
  • Updates from Past Events: 
    • Last week the FFICM team (Sam, Ishaku and Pankyes) hosted a training event in Foron to train 210 church leaders in New Believer Follow-up. During the evangelism outreach, 20-30 people gave their lives to Christ. Those that responded to Christ continued to increase throughout the week! The event was a huge success. Thank you for your prayers!
    • The “True Gospel Conference” in Jalingo, Nigeria was this past week. 
      • The local ministry leaders coordinated with the churches to strengthen peoples’ understanding about God and give them a firm foundation. 
      • Challenges: 
        • Many speakers had serious stomach trouble during the first part of the event. It was also very hot (110 degrees!). 
        • The leader of partner New Life For All, Nuhu Dauda was sick for a couple days. It turned out to be malaria, and after taking the treatment he fully recovered. Praise God for His healing.
        • There was poor attendance. we only had 600 attend the conference when we had expected over 1,000. Due to Covid and intertribal warfare attacks it made it dangerous for people to travel. 
        • Many people were not able to come due to a lack of finances due to the government strike happening for the past month and none of the government employees had been paid for the past 6 months.
      • Praises: 
        • Praise God for the speakers that shared including Rich Gardner from the US and Roman Baronowski from Poland as well as numerous Nigerian speakers.
        • On Thursday last week, Rich gave an alter call and 5 conference participants made first-time commitments for Christ. The conference was a huge success in that it helped all who attended to have an increased passion for evangelism, follow-up and true Gospel teaching.
        • The bishop of the United Methodist Church in Nigeria (UMCN) invited FFICM to train ALL the pastors and seminary students to receive FFICM’s Follow-up training! The UMCN is one of the largest denominations in that area. Praise God for an increasing interest in evangelism and follow-up within the Church in Jaligo. 
        • The Director of Evangelism of another denomination committed to mobilize the people of his denomination toward evangelism and follow-up. 
      • Prayer: 
        • Pray for wisdom as we look to next year and try to figure out if we should do the conference there again and what we can improve.
        • Pray for peace in the area and for those who were able to attend to be able to share what they learned and experienced with their friends and family back home.
  • Prayers for Current/Future Events:
    • Rick Cordell (who is spending several months in Nigeria) will be in Abuja from May 3-5 to train 30 pastors using FFICM’s Follow-up Booklet. Pray for God to move through that time to awaken those pastors to the unique needs of new believers. Pray that their fellowship with one another would strengthen the Church in Abuja. 
    • Trainings in May/June in Nigeria
      • The team plans to have 4 New believer follow-up trainings in May and 2 more New believer follow-up trainings in June there in Nigeria
      • They continue to have many requests for trainings and are working with leaders throughout the country to evaluate the opportunities 
  • Prayer for our Ministry Partners: 
    • Baba, the primary organizer of the HBB conference, is much better. Thank you for your prayers! We praise God for His healing.
    • Zainab – Pray for Joseph – a local pastor who was receiving death threats from Muslims. He has disappeared. Pray for his protection. 
    • Serious food scarcity! – Many families are not able to eat even twice a day. Due to COVID, the food production declines. Bandits are also attacking the farm workers. Due to these stresses on the Nigerian agricultural system, there is now widespread food scarcity. Pray for provision.  
    • Pray for Peter Wash, the National Director in Nigeria 
      • His family is grieving the passing of his mother-in-law. Margaret, Peter’s wife, is deeply devastated. She has also lost an uncle and another family member recently. Pray for God’s comfort for Margaret and for grace to move through her sadness with hope and faith that God is near.  
      • Peter has many school assignments to complete! Please pray for energy, discernment and time to finish these amidst the full ministry schedule. 

Ethiopia:

  • Prayer for our Ministry Partners: 
    • Pray for Deborah, Eskinder’s 12 year old daughter. She is very sick with a bad cough. 
  • Safety and health:
    • Thank you for praying for Belay, a friend and colleague of Eskinder who has helped with many of our FFICM training events in Ethiopia. He spent 20 days in the hospital due to COVID, but is better now and has finally returned to work. 
    • Praise God that Keleme, a leader of the church denomination’s Missions Department, has fully recovered after surgery. 
    • Pray for peace and security in the nation of Ethiopia. There is a party election coming up on June 5, 2021. There are 107 parties in Ethiopia and the winning party will elect the Prime Minister. There have been rumors of wars with neighboring countries as well as much division and fighting between tribes, language groups, religions, etc.
      • There are threats of violent protests, including burning houses and cars. Pray for peace and safety of the country. 
      • There is also the threat of Islamic terrorist movement. 36% of the country are Muslim (according to the most recent census) . 
  • Strategic Development: 
    • Tesfye started full-time with Eskinder on April 1! Eskinder and Tesfye are sharing office space with one other church staff member in one small room. Please pray that the church denomination headquarters (EKHC) would be willing to provide an office space that can accommodate all three staff. 
    • We are getting closer to purchasing a vehicle! We have had a difficult time finding a good used vehicle due to limited supply nationally. Pray for wisdom and direction from God regarding this process.
  • Programs and Materials Development: 
    • Eskandir and Tesfye and Fekadu (a leader recently trained by Rich and Eskinder) will be training 40 church leaders and evangelists in Assella, Ethiopia. Pray for the empowerment of the Holy Spirit and guidance as they teach using FFICM’s Follow-up Booklet. Those 40 church leaders will then return to their churches and offer the FFICM Follow-up training using 300 Follow-up Booklets. Praise God for the exponential growth in new believer follow-up made possible by the excellent training and the simple, reproducible lessons contained in the material.  

Cameroon:

  • Update from Florence – The lead coordinator for the training events we have held in Cameroon. 
    • Pray for a team to work with Florence in ministry. This has been very challenging in the midst of civil war when so many people are just trying to survive. 
    • Pray for Cameroon – there are still many killings, kidnapping and torture. The people are suffering. The UN has been trying to send food, but the country needs peace! Pray for a divine intervention. 
    • Florence has felt called to build a retreat center. She’s currently raising money by selling household goods in order to have money to build the retreat center huts. Pray for funds to pay for the workers at the site. Pray for grace and wisdom. Pray for a reliable, trustworthy team of workers. 

USA:

  • Prayer for our Ministry Partners: 
    • Dara Searcy-Gardner, former FFICM staff. 
      • Update from Dara, 04/26: “Thank you for your prayer. I am doing much better with being able to eat, which has made me stronger than I have been in months. Unfortunately my asthma continues to be debilitating, and a bit scary and has nearly sent me to the ER a bunch still… my allergist is hoping my most recent Xolair shot will tame the asthma in the next three weeks, but it may not, and if it doesn’t I’ll be facing an unenviable choice of going off the Xolair and hoping another biologic will stabilize me, which would be another 3-5 months of trial and error, potentially longer! Thanks so much to everyone for praying, it means a lot, and I am feeling more hopeful now that I am on a path to healing, which is a blessing no matter how long the path turns out to be.” 
    • Mercy, former FFICM intern —  has a diagnosis of Mast Cell Activation Syndrome, an incurable disease which is incredibly debilitating. Pray for Mercy as she visits her doctors 3-4 times a week.    
    • Stacey Lloyd, International Director of Multimedia — Continue to pray for his family. His brother Gary is in hospice and is slipping away slowly into death. The family is praying for wisdom and comfort as they manage the challenges of the transition at this time. Pray for Arlene, his wife as she loves him courageously all the way to the end. 
    • David Moore, Director of Operations — David finished his current class in his MA in Nonprofit management program. Next week he starts a new class on Budgeting and Finance. 
    • Rich Gardner — Rich is enroute back to the US after several back-to-back trips to Africa. (He is scheduled to land in Portland on the evening of Monday April 26, which may be after you receive this update.) Pray for safe travel home and for some rest, as he changes gears and prepares for sharing at the FFICM Spring fundraiser some of the ways that we have seen God moving in 2021 and about our plan for the rest of the year. 
    • Courtney Zurcher, FFICM Communications Specialist — pray for Courtney as she finishes up the bulk of her school course work this week for her Junior year classes at Azusa Pacific and heads into her year-end finals next week. 
  • Pray for Materials Development: 
    • We will purchase and distribute 900 3D printed solar powered Audio Bible Players before the end of 2021 which cost $11/each (instead of the ones we were previously getting at $50/each) to distribute in Nigeria and possibly Ethiopia later this year! Pray for wisdom as we continue to move forward with this new opportunity.
    • Pray also for wisdom as we continue work on revising our new believer follow-up materials in several different languages including Urdu and Arabic.
  • Pray for Strategic Development: 
    • We continue to prepare to hire a Communications Coordinator and Development Director for FFICM here in the US. May God direct FFICM’s hiring team with hope and insight as we seek to grow our organization to keep up with the profound global impact of our partners in ministry. We have had about 8 different people apply for these positions and we have begun to do phone/Zoom interviews with them.
    • We are also looking to add to our team of International Trainers. Pray that God would bring along the right people who are willing to be part of this ministry and are willing to raise their own support. These would be people who can be trained and mentored by Rich Gardner and can help us as we expand the impact of this ministry to new countries and languages as we mentor national leaders. 
    • Pray for wisdom as we continue to prepare for the upcoming FFICM Spring Fundraiser on Saturday May 22 at 4pm (Pacific Time). www.fficm.org/spring2021 The theme is: Oaks of Righteousness. We will be sharing about the impact of the three conferences in Nigeria and the mega-conference in Ethiopia this Spring as well as all the training events that have been happening as well as sharing about plans for this Summer and Fall. We will hear video testimony from our staff overseas as well as reports from our US staff. We are praying that God will provide at least $48,000 through the event, including at least 20 new monthly donors and that we will get at least 30 new prayer letter sign-ups. Pray specifically as we work to get ready the scripts, video content, and prepare the electronic and print invitations.
      • Pray for a good team of volunteers to help with stuffing the paper invitations on Tuesday May 4. 
      • Pray for a good team of volunteers on Tuesday May 11 to help with preparing the packets for those who register.  
    • Pray for our monthly prayer gathering which will be coming up on Saturday May 1, 2021 at 9am (pacific time) where we will pray for the growth of the FFICM community through the upcoming virtual fundraiser. Sign up at fficm.org/events or contact us to get the Zoom link! Thank you for your prayers!
Susanna BallardPraise and Prayer ~ April 27, 2021