Rev Jonathan Downs
Overseas Missions Director
Greetings in the precious name of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ!
The Overseas Missions Department has had an incredible and busy year, and we are excited for what 2024 holds as we partner with the Lord in spreading the whole gospel to the whole world.
In 2023, we’ve continued to focus on Timor-Leste and have sent several missions teams to Indonesia. Additionally, we continue to support missions work in various areas such as the Middle East, Lebanon, Papua New Guinea, Kiribati, South Africa, Sri Lanka, and Botswana. I want to express special gratitude to all the churches that generously contributed to the offering for the purchase of land and building in Kiribati.
Our theme for 2024 is simply one word, “SOULS”. The mission and mandate of the church is to reach lost souls and see them become disciples of Jesus Christ.
In the parable of the lost coin (Luke 15), Jesus speaks of a woman who loses one of her ten silver coins. She diligently searches for it, sweeping the house and lighting a lamp until she finds the lost coin. When she finds the lost coin, she rejoices and calls her friends and neighbors to celebrate with her.
The point that Jesus was making is that lost SOULS are worth whatever it takes to reach them. Jesus did just that – He came “to seek and to save lost SOULS” (Luke 19:10), including you and me.
We labour and fuss about so many things here in earth, but all that matters is that we have worked out our own salvation and we take as many SOULS to heaven with us. Only in becoming outwardly focused and ministering to the needs of others can we experience real satisfaction and a sense of purpose.
This year we’ll see our long-serving missionaries, Br and Sis Perry, retiring as missionaries to the nation of Timor-Leste. I would like to acknowledge their tremendous work and remarkable contribution over so many years in helping establish the United Pentecostal Church of Timor-Leste (Igreja Pentecostal Unida Timor-Leste, IPUTL).
Br and Sis Perry have displayed unwavering dedication and patience, fostering a strong relationship between the UPCA and the IPUTL, and supported the establishment of Apostolic doctrine. The IPUTL has taken significant steps towards nationalisation, including the adoption of their own national constitution and by-laws, as well as the recent election of their first Executive Board.
Most importantly, we are witnessing the growing number of preaching points throughout the nation, as many people have been baptised in the name of Jesus and filled with the Holy Spirit. Let us come together in expressing our heartfelt gratitude to Br and Sis Perry for their many years of dedicated service and personal sacrifices.
The partnership between the IPUTL and the UPCA will continue, as together we seek to plant churches across the nation, taking the gospel as far and as wide as possible. For this cause, we have appointed Sis Marcela Ferrari as the new missionary to Timor-Leste. She will continue to work with the IPUTL in this new phase of their growth. Sis Marcela Ferrari has served on the Overseas Missions Committee for more than 15 years and has a deep love and passion for the work in Timor-Leste. Please remember to keep Sis Marcela Ferrari in your prayers.
We are also excited to announce the appointment of Br and Sis Meijer as short-term missionaries to Papua New Guinea. Based in the UPC headquarters in Goroka, they will support the national administration and the Bible School while Br and Sis Carver are on deputation in the USA for around 12 months. The UPCA will fully support the Meijers while they are on the mission field. Br and Sis Meijer have many years of missionary and pastoral experience and will be a blessing to the work in Papua New Guinea. Please keep them in your prayers.
THE URGENCY OF THE HOUR
I encourage all Pastors and ministers to keep the burden of missions at the forefront of their congregation’s minds. With that said, I am going to make an unashamed plea for every church, pastor, and saint to get behind the Overseas Missions Department with your giving. Our focus must be on those outside the “four walls” of our church. We are blessed to be a blessing! Your financial support keeps the mission in motion.
The apostle Paul described the living conditions of "the last days" as "very difficult times”. The Greek term for "difficult times" means, literally, "fierce, harsh, hard to deal with, savage" which seems an apt description for these times we now live.
In the Bible, the supernatural working of God occurs during the greatest chaos, turmoil, and tension in the land.
I am believing God for a mighty outpouring in the last days. This is the church’s finest hour. This is why we are here. We have come into the kingdom for such a time as this. Ours is to be a posture of harvest. Look up! Stay passionate about Jesus and the cause of the Kingdom! Yes, there is a cause…. SOULS!
Yours for the Kingdom of God,