TUMI Expands Beyond Borders - Don Allsman
Recently, my wife Cathy and I visited historic Folsom Prison and heard amazing stories of transformation from the student-inmates. While we were there we chatted with Mao, a young man whose parents emigrated from Cambodia after the Vietnam War. He was hoping that his TUMI training would help him with the parole board this month, but he was also concerned that he may be released and deported to Cambodia, where he doesn't know the language. We assured him that God has a plan for him, whether for Cambodia, in the U.S., or even if he does not get paroled. He said, "Yes, I am free to be used by God no matter what happens, even if I remain in prison."
A few days later we met with Vasile Pop (pictured far left in the striped shirt), a Romanian national church leader who visited Southern California for a few days to raise funds for his ministry. He said he could expand his TUMI training from 42 to 200 pastors and extend into Ukraine, Serbia, Bulgaria, and Moldova (and go into Romanian prisons), if he could finish the TUMI translation more quickly and add more staff. This will cost $80,000. He was hesitant to ask people because it was so much money, but we encouraged him to go ahead because it is such a modest amount for so much potential fruit. The next week, he was at a meeting in Wichita where he presented the vision we helped him lay out.
Later we got this note from Vasile's colleague Calin: "I cannot express my gratitude for all your effort and passion for the TUMI program in Romania. I believe with all my heart in the effectiveness of this program in Romania and beyond its borders to the neighboring countries. Your encouragement is that fuel that boots us beyond the limit of our own courage. I don't know if this makes any sense in English. What I wanted to say is that without your personal encouragement the expansion of the TUMI program in Romania would have been confined to the limits of our own resources and possibilities. This way, the DREAM is no longer a dream, it looks more and more like a reality that is about to take shape and form."
If that was not enough, we opened two new sites in Cuba in the last few days. The hunger and excitement for biblical training cannot be exaggerated. At one of the new site's commissioning service, the little church was bursting with people as the 40 new students came forward for prayer. Then a family came forward and accepted Christ amidst cheering and clapping. It was a blessing to think about the gospel moving ahead in this very poor community.
Don Allsman is World Impact's Vice President and the TUMI Satellite Director.
Evangelism in a Rough Neighborhood - Rashad Gibson (World Impact Associate)
Wilmington is a city in Delaware located between Washington, D.C. and New York City. Wilmington has a reputation of being a "rough city" with high crime, unemployment, and drug addiction. In fact, in December 2014 Newsweek wrote an article entitled "Murder Town (aka Wilmington, Delaware)." The article elaborates on the various problems that are currently in the city and notes that Wilmington is the 3rd most violent city (among cities its size) in America according to FBI statistics. What would lure me to plant a church in the heart of one of the most dangerous neighborhoods?
The Lord placed a burning desire in my heart to plant a church, but I was not sure where He would lead me. After much prayer and contemplation, I felt the Spirit leading me to move to Wilmington. When I first moved there in February of 2012, I decided to live on the outskirts of the city so that I could get familiar with my new surroundings. However, after two years I decided to move into one of the roughest sections of the city, the east side. Living and serving in this community certainly is a challenging task plagued with many difficulties; yet, there is a tremendous hope to see this troubled city redeemed by our Lord Jesus!
So how should we reach the lost in this city? What is the strategy? As I read through the scriptures and prayed fervently, the strategy that was birthed in my heart was to follow the example of Jesus and the Apostles as stated in Luke 9:1-2, "He called the twelve together and gave them power and authority over all demons and to cure diseases, and he sent them out to proclaim the kingdom of God and to heal." I am very familiar with "proclaiming the gospel." However, casting out demons? Healing the sick? Do these things even happen anymore? This would be totally new to me since I come from a pretty conservative theological background.
I decided to hold public evangelistic services in December 2014 once a month. Around that time, I went into the neighborhood to evangelize and I utilized social media to give more exposure to the event. Although the turnouts have been small, God has done some powerful things! Several people have given themselves to the Lord and God has miraculously delivered multiple people from demonic torment! How glorious are His works!
In addition, I began having weekly meetings at my home. The public evangelistic services incorporate the preaching of the Gospel, a teaching on deliverance, teaching on a specialized topic that is relevant to the culture, and a time of ministry.
It is certainly amazing to see the hand of God changing people by the power of Jesus Christ and the glorious Gospel! Although we still have a way to go in reaching the lost in this city, I believe God is beginning a work that will be tangible and transforming! May we all pray the apostle's prayer, "Lord, grant to your servants to continue to speak your word with all boldness, while you stretch out your hand to heal, and signs and wonders are performed through the name of your holy servant Jesus." (Acts 4:29-30)
Dallas and Cuba Updates - Juan Pablo Herrera
Recently, we had the opportunity to lay hands on a new group of leaders for Iglesia Del Maestro in Dallas, TX. All of the new leaders have been or are current students of The Urban Ministry Institute (TUMI) and have been faithful members of Iglesia Del Maestro. We were blessed by the positive attitude and great response of the congregation to accept these new leaders. We have also been blessed by the attitude of the church during our transition to our new meeting location. We are so grateful to our Lord for bringing us all together to continue working for His honor and glory, without losing anyone along the way through the transition to our new meeting location. Please be in prayer for these new leaders and the church as we continue to transition into the future God has for us.
It is with great joy that I share that we launched TUMI in Colon, Matanzas, Cuba. Our God brought a group of His servants from Wichita, KS, to serve together. They brought the TUMI books for the classes to a country with limited resources to equip, train, and prepare indigenous leaders to go and evangelize the lost world. Our trip was immensely blessed! Twenty-five students signed up to begin their classes this month. We returned home with a lot of hope for the continued expansion of TUMI in many other Latin-American countries. Praise to Jesus our Lord and Savior! Please pray for these new TUMI students as they begin their studies.
My wife Sol continues teach and work with women from Iglesia del Maestro and Vickery. She enjoys her ministry, and the new believers are growing in their walk with the Lord. One of the ladies is three months pregnant and struggling with addictions. She is now hospitalized, but Sol visits and ministers to her on Wednesdays after her Bible study. Her condition is much better and very promising. Please keep her and all the other women in prayer.