April 6, 2015 - Church of the Nazarene

 NCN News
Top Stories for the week of April 6, 2015
Fullah family declared Ebola-free
Church of the Nazarene Pastor James Fullah of Sierra Leone and his family were declared Ebola-free
after completing 21 days of quarantine.
James, his five children, and seven other family members were placed in quarantine after James' wife,
Isatu, passed away in February from the Ebola virus. Two of the couple's daughters, ages 6 and 16,
showed symptoms of the virus and were taken to a treatment center, where one daughter tested
"After some weeks, Pastor Fullah became worried that he was not hearing any news about her," said
Vidal Cole, Sierra Leone district superintendent. "He informed me and I worked with our leadership
team to help to trace the girl. By the grace of God we were able to get in touch with some officials at the
Ebola command center and quite recently we received news that she was recovering and doing well."
The second daughter tested negative and was released after a short stay.
"It was quite a scene in the community yesterday as Pastor Fullah's quarantine period was declared
over and [the first daughter was] handed back over," Cole said. "The entire community burst out in
praise and thanksgiving to God for what they considered a mighty and great deliverance from death.
For the most part, whenever Ebola enters a family, it almost wipes out the entire family. In this case the
people were very grateful to God for sparing the two girls who showed the signs and symptoms at a
point, most especially [the daughter] who actually tested positive.
"On behalf of the Fullah family and the entire Sierra Leone District, I want to express our profound
gratitude to you and the entire Nazarene family worldwide for your love, support, and prayers. We
believe that if this family is rejoicing today, it is because of the prayers of our wonderful Nazarene family
around the globe that kept believing and trusting the Lord for His divine intervention in this family."
James pastors the Amazing Grace Church of the Nazarene near Freetown.
To learn more about the church’s “21 and Free” campaign to minister to others living in quarantine or to
support the Church of the Nazarene’s Ebola relief efforts, visit ncm.org/ebolarelief.
Myanmar pioneer retires after 30 years
Robin Seia, the founder of the Church of the Nazarene in Myanmar, retired in January after serving as
district superintendent for 30 years.
Born in Kalaymyo in 1944 to a Buddhist family, Seia accepted Christ as his personal Savior at 17.
While this created quite a stir, it would eventually lead to his mother accepting Christ, followed by his
entire family.
Seia travelled to Chennai (Madras), India, in 1964 to pursue further Christian education. While there, he
read the book Why I am a Nazarene, which was his first introduction to the denomination's holiness
After returning to Myanmar in 1969, Robin worked for the Evangelical Fellowship of Burma for 12 years.
He then followed the recommendation of John Stott from London and headed to Fuller Theological
Seminary in Pasadena, California, USA, where he studied until 1984.
“I will never forget Pasadena First Church of the Nazarene,” Seia said. “The first Sunday that I walked
in the door, they welcomed me in an incredible way. There was a man there by the name of Dr. Herald
King. Here I was, a foreign student, a stranger, but Dr. King picked me up every Sunday; he treated
me like a son.”
In 1984, Robin returned to Myanmar and officially registered the Church of the Nazarene in cooperation
with then Asia-Pacific Regional Director Donald D. Owens.
After 30 years of work, Seia's legacy includes 22 established churches, more than 2,000 members, and
a Bible college.
--Church of the Nazarene Asia-Pacific Region
First woman ordained in Sri Lanka
In January, Kawshalya became the first woman pastor to be ordained in the Church of the Nazarene in
Sri Lanka. Hers is a story of overcoming hardship and heartache to obey God’s call into full-time
ministry. She shared her story with Simon Jothi, principal of South Asia Nazarene Bible College, from
which she graduated in January 2014.
Kawshalya grew up on a tea estate where her parents worked hard each day to pick the small green
leaves from the endless rows of tea bushes under the hot Sri Lankan sun. When she was 8 years old, a
friend invited her to a Christian Sunday school, which was her first exposure to the gospel. By the time
she was 11, she had been attending the Sunday school regularly and loved singing the songs and
learning the stories about Jesus. At that point, she made the decision to accept Christ into her life and
was baptized — the first Christian in her family.
Her mother noticed a significant — and positive — change in her daughter’s attitude and behavior and
became interested to know what she was learning at the church. So she began to attend with her
The family moved to another village soon after.
Then came a time for heartbreak for Kawshalya’s family. Desiring to go abroad for work, her brother
contracted with an agent who promised to match him with an overseas employer for a large sum of
money. The family took out a loan to pay the agent, but the agent was a scam artist and ran off with the
Now burdened with a huge loan they could not pay back, the family had to sell their home and all their
belongings. Kawshalya’s faith was shaken. She wondered why God had let this happen to her family.
Her relationship with her brother was damaged.
At this low point in her life she met a Nazarene pastor from a neighboring village. He was visiting their
small settlement to plant a new church there.
“The pastor assured her that God is able to fill her with joy and happiness; even though materially
she lost everything, God is able to fill her life,” Jothi said she told him. “She thought she can start
afresh. She put her faith more in God and began a new life in Christ, in trusting Him.”
Her new hope in the face of a hopeless situation was a great testimony to her family. Through her
renewed commitment, she was able to lead her mother to Christ.
She also began to sense that God was not only consoling and comforting her through this time of loss,
but that He may be calling her to become a full-time evangelist.
Around this time, as is traditional, her parents wanted to find her a good husband from among their
relatives, and they picked out a young man they felt would treat their daughter well. When she learned
about the planned match, she wanted to ensure she would have a Christian husband. So she shared
about Jesus with him and also led him to Christ. The couple were married.
Early in Kawshalya’s marriage, the Nazarene pastor who had discipled her as a teenager began to
invest in her calling to ministry. He enlisted her to join him in planting a new church in a nearby location.
After they gathered a small group of new believers, he turned over the church-type mission to her so
she could get leadership experience. Her husband and mother also supported her work.
“She discovered this is a church who gives equal opportunity for men and women to be involved in the
gospel,” Jothi said. “She felt this is like her home; she can work and associate with the other pastors
even though she’s a woman.”
In a male-dominated society, it was a new experience for her. She decided to enroll in South Asia
Nazarene Bible College in 2011. When she arrived for her first class, “she was very much surprised
there were other ladies who worked in child development centers and JESUS Film ministries to come
into the course of study. That gave her more confidence,” Jothi said.
During Kawshalya’s three years in the Course of Study — a Nazarene system of 25 or more courses
designed to prepare clergy for ministry — she became the leader of a JESUS Film team. In that role,
she led a team of people who visited targeted locations to screen a film about the life of Jesus to people
who likely had never heard of Jesus or the gospel before. Through watching the film, many people
accepted Christ into their lives. Then she and her team gathered them into small groups that pursued
ongoing discipleship in their new faith, eventually forming new churches. She has also pastored one
church throughout her studies.
But ministry has not been her only challenge. Last year, Kawshalya’s husband was involved in a bicycle
accident and was hospitalized with serious injuries. The family thought for a time that he wouldn’t
survive. For six months he has been recovering and thus unable to work or help care for their son.
Kawshalya had to balance caring for her husband, raising their child, earning an income, keeping up
with her ministry, and continuing full-time in the course of study through SANBC. Her joyful attitude in
the midst of such difficulties impressed everyone, Jothi said.
“Her difficult situation in no way tempered her faith in God or diverted her attention from completing the
course of study,” he said. “Now her goal for the future is to empower more and more women to actively
participate in the ministry in our church. She already has mentored and sent one girl from her church to
enroll in SANBC. Her goal is to send one to two women each year. She mentors and encourages them
to go forward in ministry, to reach more and more women in the rural areas here in Sri Lanka.”
Jothi said that Kawshalya has been partly responsible for a significant increase in women enrolled in
“This year we have about 54 new students enrolled in Sri Lanka, and about 15 to 20 percent were
women students. It’s an increase. In the beginning, the ladies don’t know that they can enroll in
ministry. When we say we want to embrace all, God has equally created all people, that is making
people to respond and come. I think the Nazarene church is a kind of open door, a church that
encourages more women."
--Church of the Nazarene Eurasia Region
BGS appoints interim superintendent for Dallas
General Superintendent Eugénio R. Duarte announced the appointment this week of Curtis Lewis Jr. as
interim superintendent of the Dallas District.
Lewis follows Rob McDonald, who recently resigned to plant a church near Waco, Texas.
Lewis' appointment is effective April 15, and he will continue in the position until a new superintendent
is appointed and in place.
Currently interim pastor of Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, Northview Community Church of the Nazarene,
Lewis previously superintendent of the Kentucky and Northern Michigan districts. He also led churches
in Tennessee, New Jersey, Illinois, Texas, Ohio, and Arkansas and taught at Trevecca Nazarene
Lewis earned a Bachelor of Arts from Trevecca Nazarene College (now University), a Bachelor of
Divinity from Nazarene Theological Seminary, and a Doctor of Ministry from Trinity Lutheran Seminary.
Curt and his wife, Patsy, reside in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma.
NTS announces line-up for 2015 Preachers Conference
Nazarene Theological Seminary announced the lineup of preachers and panelists for its third annual
Preachers Conference. The conference will be held this fall, September 29-30, and will once again take
place on the seminary’s main campus in Kansas City, Missouri.
“This year’s event will include sermons and presentations centered on the theme of Local Flavor:
Preaching in Context,” said Jesse Middendorf, executive director of the NTS Center for Pastoral
Leadership. “'Going local' has gained popularity around our country in recent years. So for this year’s
Preachers Conference, we thought it would be exciting, as well as enriching, to work with this concept
of local flavor as it applies to the vibrant and diverse expressions of our church in a variety of local
Preachers this year will be Daron Brown, Shawna Songer Gaines, Brent Hofen, Albert Hung, Javier
and Annette Mondragan, Phil Stout, and Althea Taylor. This line-up represents a wide range of settings,
including a multi-campus church, a modern-day Mayberry, and a church in the heart of New York
City. These pastors have each been asked to preach a sermon as they would in their own local context
and then reflect with our panelists and audience members on why that sermon was important for their
congregation to hear. Preachers and panelists will also reflect together on their local church setting,
demographics, and worship style, as well as respond to questions about preparation, study habits,
preaching mentors, and resources used.
Panelists include Steve Estep, Rose Brower Young, Susan Carole, Janine Metcalf, Jerry Porter, and
Mario Zani. Marvin Jones will be the worship leader for this year’s conference. To view pictures and
biographical information on all the conference preachers and panelists, as well as to view additional
conference information, vist the conference website at nts.edu/2015-preach-conf.
“At NTS, we are committed to preparing pastors and leaders for the future of the Church,” said NTS
President Carla Sunberg. “But we are just as committed to resourcing and providing continuing
education for those active in ministry today. Our annual Preachers Conference provides an incredible
venue in which ministers can be challenged and renewed, and fellowship with colleagues.”
There is an early bird registration fee of $79 available for all who register by April 30; after this date,
registration goes up to $99. Reservations can be made online at nts.edu/15-preach-conf.
Stay up to date on plans for the 2015 NTS Preachers Conference by joining the NTS mailing list.
--Nazarene Theological Seminary
UK Nazarene helps Ebola patients in West Africa
Matt Jackson is a doctor finishing his training in anesthesia and intensive care in Manchester, United
Kingdom. An attendee at Longsight Church of the Nazarene for the past six years, Jackson recently
returned from seven weeks assisting in a clinical trial for new Ebola treatment drugs in West Africa,
working with patients who contracted the virus and helping to train local nurses and doctors to
participate in the trial.
"The moral imperative to try and help people less fortunate than us isn’t something I really question; it’s
kind of a given," he said. "For me, the question is, how do I do that effectively in the situation that I find
myself in?"
Last summer and fall when the Ebola outbreak in West Africa dominated European news headlines,
Jackson wanted to do something to help. He learned of the clinical trial that would be taking place at
the start of this year in Liberia and asked to join. With permission and support from his workplace and
his wife and family, Jackson embarked for the seven-week mission.
Every day, in the sweltering heat, he and his colleagues dressed in the multi-layered, full-cover suits
they were required to wear to protect them from contracting the highly contagious Ebola virus from their
Together with the local nurses, the team Jackson was working with would invite patients to participate
in the clinical trial and explain what it would mean for them to do so. Those who agreed to the
parameters would receive the treatment.
After about five weeks in Monrovia, Liberia, the team moved to Sierra Leone, where there were more
patients, and concluded their time after two and a half weeks there.
Working in intensive care centers in the U.K., Jackson is well acquainted with death.
“Most of the patients referred to me in the U.K. are because they’re dying and the question is, can I
offer something to prevent and reverse that,” he said.
He continued to see death while in Liberia. He remembers three teenagers who were admitted at the
same time to his treatment center. All three had been orphaned when their parents died from Ebola;
while grieving the loss of their parents, each of them had at least one sibling contract the disease, enter
the treatment center, and then pass away.
Now it was their turn.
“You could see the fear in their eyes, as well as that they were still grieving for their parents and their
family,” he said. “They were so worried that would happen to them as well. Of the three I’m thinking
about, one recovered and two died.”
Jackson learned that those who survive Ebola do not face a trouble-free future. First, they continue to
have physical problems even after they’ve fully recovered, such as ongoing stomach pain, partial
paralysis, and other problems.
Additionally, survivors have been stigmatized in the culture, as those around them are afraid they can
still contract the disease from the survivor.
While he was separated from his family and culture for seven weeks, involved in an emotionally intense
and demanding situation, Jackson said that the support not only of his workplace, but also the prayers
of his local Nazarene church and family made him feel he could focus on the task at hand.
“That was quite a powerful emotion,” he said. “I think it helps you realize it’s not all about what you’re
doing, the excitement you’re having, the egocentric way you can see aid work, but realizing there’ve got
to be so many people in the background who may not be able to go themselves but can still provide
that support to enable other people to go.”
--Church of the Nazarene Eurasia Region
JFHP reports more than 70 million evangelistic contacts
JESUS Film Harvest Partners teams recently reported 70,186,759 evangelistic contacts. These
contacts, which span 18 years and 138 countries, are reported when a person attends an evangelistic
presentation and is counted by JFHP ministry leaders.
In many cultures, people who have no understanding of Jesus return to these presentations multiple
times before they make a decision for Christ. Each time they return, it is counted as another
evangelistic contact.
JFHP teams show the JESUS film in all three versions (classic, Magdalena — women’s version, and
children’s) in the same village over the course of a month in order to evangelize the community, disciple
people, and start a preaching point. Contacts are made, people move toward a life-changing decision,
and the Body of Christ is established in one more place on earth.
The following testimony reveals how the process occurs:
My name is Michael. I am a police officer in Sierra Leone, residing in a community where
the JESUS film was shown. When I heard about the film, I felt a deep conviction within me to
watch this film. As a result, I watched all four days it was shown. I was deeply touched as Jesus
spoke on the issue of bribery.
Honestly, as a police officer, I know accepting bribes is wrong. The truth is I live with bribery
each and every day of my life. It is the main way by which I survive and meet the financial needs
of my family. My salary is small. I don’t know another way to make extra money. People willingly
give me bribes to help them with their problems in my office. They are brought in for different
reasons. I help them get around their matters even when they are guilty. When I do this, I make
good money.
As Jesus spoke on this matter, light was shed on my path. For the very first time, I saw bribery
as something that was wrong. I realized I could not continue to make excuses about what I was
doing. My heart was heavy because I knew a change was coming to my heart. I was not sure I
was ready for it. I turned it over and over in my heart and mind until the fourth day. That night, I
went forward during the altar call and surrendered my life to the Lord.
Please remember me in your prayers. I know it’s not going to be an easy change, but I want
God to work in my life.
To learn more about the work of JESUS Film Harvest Partners, visit jfhp.org or call 913-663-5700.
--JESUS Film Harvest Partners
In Memoriam
The following is a weekly listing of Nazarene ministers and leaders who recently went home to be with
the Lord. Notices were received March 30 - April 3, 2015.
Lee Elzey, 78, of Shawnee, Oklahoma, passed away March 30. He was a retired minister, serving in
Oklahoma, Texas, and Arkansas. He is survived by his wife, Wanda Elzey.
Warren MacEachern, 91, of Tyrone, Pennsylvania, passed away March 30. He was a retired minister
and evangelist, serving in Pennsylvania. He is survived by his wife, Freda (McVicker) MacEachern.
Paul McBride Sr., 77, of Olympia, Washington, passed away March 13. He was a retired minister,
serving in Washington and Arizona. He is survived by his wife, chaplain Luann (Lester) McBride, who
serves on the Washington Pacific District.
Dewey Nickels, 87, of Lincoln, Nebraska, passed away March 31. He was a retired minister and
evangelist, serving in Illinois, Nebraska, Texas, and Oklahoma. He is survived by his wife, Dorotha
Richard "Rick" Pettit, 61, of Kalamazoo, Michigan, passed away March 30. He was the husband of
evangelist Elaine Pettit, who serves on the Michigan District.
Helen (Sinn) Rode, 94, of Springfield, Illinois, passed away March 19. She was the widow of retired
minister Charles Young, who served in Illinois and Indiana. Charles Young passed away in 1991. She
was also preceded in death by her second husband, Samuel Rode.
Glenn Thorne, 86, of Sebring, Ohio, passed away March 26. He was a Nazarene layman who served
on several boards, including the Board of Trustees at Mount Vernon Nazarene University. He is
survived by his wife, Shirlee (Bias) Thorne.
Errol Webb, 73, of Andover, Minnesota, passed away March 28. He was a retired minister, serving in
Wisconsin and Minnesota. He is survived by his wife, Barbara Webb.
Paul Wiggins, 79, of Cheraw, South Carolina, passed away April 1. He was a retired minister, serving
in Georgia, South Carolina, North Carolina, and Indiana. He is survived by his wife, Virginia Wiggins.
For previous editions of In Memoriam, see the "Passings" section by clicking here.
Note: Please join with us in prayer for the families who have lost loved ones. Click on names for full
stories, funeral information, local online obituaries, and/or guest books (if available). To submit an entry
of a minister or church leader, send to [email protected]
--Compiled by NCN News