|The ordination of Litzy Pesado|
in Barcelona, Spain, where her
husband and copastor, Ignacio,
was also ordained.
Every field on the Eurasia Region reported growth for the past year, according to Dr. Jesse C. Middendorf, jurisdictional general superintendent. His recent tour there began on the western end of the Mediterranean Sea and concluded on the easternmost end. In this diverse region of 14 time zones, he reported amazing movements of God and stories of courage, determination, and fortitude beyond imagination.
Much of this growth he witnessed can be traced to the focus on regional initiatives for the past five years and the development of “The Power of One,” a comprehensive set of materials for a missional church initiative. The region is translating the resources into 28 languages. Training sessions have been held on several districts and fields, with all areas in the Eurasia Region to be covered within the year.
Dr. Middendorf convened the Spain District Assembly where reports were given of new Nazarenes and an increase in attendance. He ordained Ignacio and Litzy Pesado, the husband-and-wife copastors of the Barcelona church, the largest congregation on the West Mediterranean Field. Ignacio is the son of Daniel and Margarita Pesado, who work for Casa Nazarena de Publicaciones at the Global Ministry Center in Lenexa, Kansas, USA, and who were present for the ordination. Daniel Pesado, previously superintendent of the Spain District, served as translator of the ordination sermon.
The Romania District Assembly was hosted by the Bucharest Blessing Church, where the congregation has recently completed the rebuilding of their facility, doubling the capacity of the auditorium. The seating for 85 is already being fully used, and the church is beginning to plan the next phase of expansion. Pastors’ reports from the other churches were also positive, each one reflecting a growing congregation with real stories of expansion and outreach. Two of the churches are focused on compassionate ministry to their communities.
European Nazarene College Academic Dean Antonie Holleman reported to the Romanian delegation on the creation of over 30 extension centers on the Eurasia Region. Pastors are now able to receive their education within their own geographic locales, resulting in an increase of graduates from the ministerial Course of Study.
In Bulgaria, where population numbers are declining and birthrate is now in negative percentages, the Church of the Nazarene is vibrant and growing. The district assembly host church in Razgrad is the outgrowth of two generations of faithful ministry during the communist era. Razgrad Pastor Nikolai recalls the persistence of his father to keep the faith alive and continue ministering to believers in spite of persecution and oppression. Today the vision has expanded. Pastor Nikolai has planted ten satellite congregations in nearby villages and maintains a close relationship with their individual pastors as mentor in their studies toward ordination. Within his report to the district assembly, pastors of the satellites gave brief encouraging statements about their congregations.
In other areas of the Mediterranean where locations cannot be named for the protection of believers, the Church of the Nazarene is the leading evangelical church. “Churches there are strong and all led by excellent, visionary pastors,” said Dr. Middendorf. They reported more than 35 people baptized this year with additional new converts and potential new members. Following a brief district assembly, two days were devoted to a Holiness Summit of preaching, teaching, and prayer. “God came on the scene in a powerful way, with many people responding to invitations to prayer,” he said.
Dr. Middendorf also met with the Eurasia field strategy coordinators and the Regional Advisory Council. In addition to concentration on the regional missional initiatives and measurements, Spirit-filled times of worship included anointing several people with oil and praying for healing, for special wisdom in difficult situations, and for personal and unspoken needs.
|The ruins of Ephesus|
in Turkey, one of the
Seven Churches of
the Book of
A special highlight for Dr. Middendorf was visiting the sites of the Seven Churches of the Book of Revelation with the Eurasia leadership. He relates: “To see and begin to understand the context in which the people of those churches lived and served made a lasting impact on me. Several times as we paused to read the pertinent scripture passages related to a particular site, we sensed a deep assurance that the Truth had once been clearly and compellingly presented in these places and that one day it would be again! Remnants and relics abound, but the most assuring reality is: Christ is still being proclaimed around the globe, and the spread of the faith continues unabated in spite of fierce and sometimes deadly opposition.”
Dr. Middendorf closed this tour with a sense of gratitude for what is occurring across this complex, extensive region. In places where Christianity has been virtually absent, amazing growth is occurring. In quiet places where the presence of the Church of the Nazarene cannot be identified, passionate believers are gathering for worship on a regular basis. “I have been humbled and inspired by these wonderful Nazarenes,” he said. “It is an honor to serve them.”