It’s been an exciting month for news around the world and for WorldVenture missionaries. From the middle of Africa to small European towns, here are just some of the significant events that you should know about.
WorldVenture also recently covered the Syrian refuge crisis, which is affecting many WorldVenture workers in Europe and the Middle East.
“In the midst of this has come the beautiful and compelling challenge of welcoming refugee guests into our country and helping them in holistic ways,” said one missionary.
Pope Francis visits WorldVenture-sponsored seminary in the Central African Republic
In the middle of escalating violence in the Central African Republic, Pope Francis visited the Bangui Evangelical School of Theology (or FATEB, its French acronym) last Sunday, Nov. 29. He met with FATEB President Nupanga, evangelical leaders, heads of the Evangelical Alliance leaders, as well as the Catholic archbishop and the head Imam of Bangui.
“For all too long, your people have experienced troubles and violence, resulting in great suffering. This makes the proclamation of the Gospel all the more necessary and urgent,” said Pope Francis in his address.
“That a man of his position would honor this poor, suffering, danger-filled country with his presence and moral influence seems to have made people stop to reevaluate their actions and objectives,” said WorldVenture worker Jack Robinson. “Perhaps it will be the beginning of a new chapter leading to respect for God and human beings and to justice and a path out of misery for the people. Let’s pray for this.”
Pope Francis also visited Uganda and Kenya during his Africa trip. Read our previous coverage of FATEB.
Poland returns Baptist church from World War II
In the Polish town of Legnica, WorldVenture missionaries Bruce and Linda Thomas have consistently put on English camps and outreaches. As it turns out, the city had confiscated the Baptist church building during World War II, and the congregation had since dissolved. However, the Thomases recently petitioned the city to return a building to the congregation, and the city council obliged. The church gained a spacious, three-story building of equal value in a desirable location, which the Thomases and others are hoping to remodel into a nice space of classrooms and meeting rooms.
Read our previous coverage of a Baptist pastor coaching semi-professional football in Poland.
Concert in France promotes unity and peace after Paris terrorist attacks
More than 1,200 people attended a concert in Bussy-Saint-George on Nov. 21 in a show of solidarity, following the Nov. 13 Paris terrorist attacks. WorldVenture missionary Craig Davis was invited to participate in the event last year after the Charlie Hebdo terrorist attacks.
“In spite of the fact that other concerts and public events have been cancelled for security reasons, the mayor in Bussy insisted that the concert take place,” said Craig.
Craig invited Catholics, Buddhists, and others to join in the 70-voice gospel choir in an effort to increase their impact on the town. The choir even received a standing ovation and a request for an encore for their performance of “Oh Happy Day.”
“What a pleasure it was to have over 1200 people singing ‘Oh happy day when Jesus washed my sins away!’” said Craig.
(Photo credit: Craig Davis)