600 Assemblies of God churches joined with nearly 500 missionaries and missionary candidates for the annual A/G World Missions School of Missions prayer meeting at the Evangel University campus, July 9. 40 additional churches watched the gathering via live Internet broadcast.
The A/G School of Missions celebrates the missionaries who returned to the United States for deputation, and encourages soon-to-be missionaries. The missionaries meet for two weeks prior to the event for training; during the following prayer meeting, the missionaries honored and remembered those missionaries who passed away since the last SOM.
The SOM Prayer meeting was implemented internationally though the internet; hundreds of churches used video footage provided by AGWM and downloaded prayer requests from the World Missions Site to pray in conjunction with the missionaries. Churches also used telephone to hear reports about the AGWM missionaries who gave their testimonies. Missionaries from Siberia, Jamaica, Scotland, Indonesia, Africa and Northern Asia shared their designated reports.
"There has been an extreme move of God here," Heather Chowning reported from Siberia. "We are seeing incredible numbers of salvations." Chowning and her husband Mike requested prayer that God would help raise up more trained pastors to reach the massive amounts of unreached people in Siberia.
The main theme throughout the prayer meeting was for the Lord of the Harvest to send laborers.
"We are praying for God to raise up young pastors, because right now there are not very many young people studying to be pastors. There are only a few waiting in the wings to take over as the older ones retire," said Ken Morris, missionary to Glasgow, Scotland.
Morris participated in several outreach movements in Scotland including the first Convoy of Hope Outreach held in the United Kingdom.
"We ministered to 6,400 people that day, and 205 made first-time commitments to the Lord," says Morris. Combined outreaches with Book of Hope and Teen Challenge distributed 15,000 Bibles to schools and colleges in the Glasgow area.
Steve and Kim Puffpaff from Jamaica reported about City of Refuge, a new home for homeless children. "We have 27 children right now; the oldest is nine," says Steve Puffpaff. "These are children who have been abandoned by parents; some have been picked up off the street. One little girl was picked up by police when she was crawling near an intersection."
According to John Bueno, executive director of World Missions, the WorldWide Prayer meetings have been part of School of Missions for the past 25 years.
"Not only does it acquaint our missionary family and our new candidate missionaries with what God is doing in various parts of the world, it gives us a glimpse of the needs," Bueno says. "It also helps connect the churches here in the United States to what is happening in missions and is a good opportunity to bring awareness to prayer needs in the various areas where we are ministering."