I’ve recently returned to Honiarafrom a 2-week trip to Tonga. I was on the island of Vava’u. Vava’u is an hour’s plane flight north of the main island of Tonga. To get there you fly on one of the most dangerous commercial planes in the world, the Chinese MA60, now that was a sobering experience.
Vava’u is a very beautiful place. However, I wasn’t there for a holiday I’d been asked to come and train. Tonga is meant to be a Christian kingdom but the reality is very different. People are religious, everything shuts on Sundays, many people are in churches but most people have not accepted the good news of Jesus. So, I was asked to come and train and equip believers in how to reach their people. An added ‘bonus’ for this trip was not everyone in Tonga speaks English so this time I got to train and be translated. The great thing is God showed up as I trained.
Let me tell you about Tito. Tito is a bit of a ‘wag’, he likes to kid around however he took hold of the training. On the Monday he went out on the street to meet people with another young guy, Jacob. Down near the market they met someone Tito knew from a nearby village and shared the gospel with him, he believed. Then they arranged to follow him up because we are trying to make disciples not just getting people praying a prayer. The next day Tito and Jacob went into town again and met a girl Tito knows. Tito told his story, then shared about Jesus and the girl believed. The next day they caught up with this girl again and took her through the first of the simple discipling lessons. At the end Tito and Jacob challenged this girl to tell 5 of her friends about Jesus and the change in her life. By Friday she hadled her sister to faith in Jesus, in the next week she led another 2 friends to Jesus, and the discipling continues.
The training is simple. It’s easy to remember and to pass on to someone else. We practice everything before we go. For the first time everyone who was trained in Tonga passed the training on to others. Some of the key tools I gave people are: how to tell their story of believing and following Jesus, in 3 minutes. Even in cultures where time is slower 3 minutes works. I train them in a simple gospel presentation, just enough of the gospel of Jesus for someone to believe. I introduced them to Share Jesus Without Fear. It works because at the end of the training at least 3 people commented the best thing for them was finding out how to share about Jesus without fear. I helped people see the importance of meeting in houses with plenty of evidence from the New Testament. Then I train people in how to lead a group in a home where people are discipled. I train people how to pass it on so others are trained and how they then train others who train others.
Another young man at the training is Tesi. Tesi partnered up with Sione and together they went to the village next door to where we were meeting. The first house they went to was Tesi’s mum. Tesi told his story of believing in Jesus, he had never told his mum. Then he asked if she would like to know more and using ‘Share Jesus Without Fear’ Tesi’s mum understood and believed. Then they arranged to come back. Tesi and Sione went to another house, were invited in, and going through the same stories the lady believed and prayed. The next day they went back and met with Tesi’s mum and began discipling her. At the next house the lady there had her whole family with her to hear from Tesi and Sione so they shared again and began discipling the whole family.
In the training we talk about baptism, it’s the second lesson. We don’t just talk we get everyone to practice what to do and say. You could say we have a dry run! None of the Tongan’s in the room had ever baptized anyone before and it was a great activity. As I am leading a session and teach that baptism is the next step for obedient disciples. My translator, Vuki, then says jokingly that Tesi needs to get baptized first. Even as I trained God had been challenging Tesi. So the next day Sione baptized Tesi and another young man Lo.
There are so many stories as people were obedient disciples. From these few days of training there are now over 150 believers. Meetings have begun in at least many homes and at one of the local schools where people are being discipled. Another young man has travelled to his home island to train people there. Zack my main man in Tonga has an invitation to train more people who couldn’t make this training. The good news continues to spread.
In May we spent five days in Chiang Mai, Thailand with MOVE staff serving in Australia, India and Thailand.
In northern India, during the last five years, over 2,000 new churches have been started. Progress is slower elsewhere, but in every field we are hearing reports of people coming to Christ, worker being trained and new groups and churches forming.
Below are some updates about new fields opening up and new staff coming on board with MOVE. Building the MOVE team is an important part of our calling.
Thank you for your encouragement and support.
Steve and Michelle Addison
Seven weeks ago I (Michelle) started training nine women on a Monday morning in sharing their faith and making disciples. All of them had a heart to reach out to lost people but didn’t really know how to go about it.
They learned how to share their personal story about why they decided to follow Jesus. For homework they had to start sharing their story with family and friends. The following week only three had shared with someone. I was disappointed.
Next I taught them how to pray for people. One lady came back the next week and said she had prayed for three people that week and it was really exciting for her. We then learnt how to connect with lost people.
On week four we all went down to the local shopping centre and in pairs we met people and talked to them about Jesus. Not everyone wanted to talk, but one girl listened. One of the trainees, Winnie, asked her if she wanted to hear her Jesus story and she did.
Winnie asked her if she wanted to know more about Jesus and she did. Winnie asked her if she wanted Jesus to forgive her sins and to follow Jesus and she did. God had prepared this young woman who was just visiting Australia for three weeks.
I’ve just finished my seventh week with the women. This week every woman was sharing Jesus with lost people. One person decided to follow Jesus. Two people led their first Discovery Bible studies with friends. A couple of women will start training others.
A couple of ladies felt God leading them to contact old friends and had amazing God conversations with them. What a transformation! These women are excited. They are challenged and this week about thirty people heard the gospel. This is the difference the right kind of training makes.
We’re now taking the training wherever we can find people who want to make disciples. In one group, two trainees have led people to Christ. During the training, one young man realized he hadn’t made a commitment to Jesus. So one of the trainees led him to Jesus then and there.
I have three groups I’m training now around Melbourne. I am very excited as I see these trainees realize they ‘can’ share their story and God’s story with lost people. It’s not as hard as they thought and actually lots of people want to hear about Jesus.
Our mission is to multiply disciples and churches. Everywhere. We model it. We train others around Australia and around the world to do what we do.
Recently Michelle and I baptized two new believers at the local pool, a husband and wife. They gave their lives to the Lord two weeks ago.
Rick and Carrie are from Shanghi. We met two months ago at the English conversation club we run. They had arrived in Australia that same week.
I arrived back from a week in New Delhi with two thoughts in my mind.
In Delhi I met with over ninety leaders, mostly south Asians, who are in the business of sparking movements that multiply disciples and churches.
I met Tamils, Begalis, Nagas, as well as workers from Nepal, and Bangladesh.
Curry was on the menu three meals a day, and there was plenty of chai to drink.
My two thoughts. . .
The world’s population has just passed 7 billion.
How will they hear the gospel?
It’s going to take an army of ordinary people just like Rita—filled with the Spirit,
confident in the gospel, and obedient to Jesus.
Rita was trained by MOVE workers in northern India.
This is her story.
In February I travelled to Bugger Hollow, North Carolina. Here’s why.
Jeff and Angie Sundell spent nine years in Nepal learning to mobilise ordinary people to make disciples and start new churches. They brought back what they learned to their hometown of Bugger Hollow, and God has done something wonderful there.