“This was a life changing, faith building conference,” shared one of the participants at the Courageous Living Conference in Arizona this past November. Over 700 people attended to listen to speakers share principles of courageous faith and personal testimonies. To cap off a powerful and glorious day was the singing and performance from the Romanian Youth Choir and Band. “At moments we felt that the angels were singing along,” one person commented. When most believed that the event could not get any better, it did! At the very end of the conference and concert a drawing was made to fly with the Founder of Colombia For Christ, Russell Stendal. Ezechel Martis’ name was drawn to fly with Russell in his Cesna 185 on Sunday afternoon. He is a young Romanian Christian from Phoenix, Arizona. He shared with the conference staff that he is presently taking aeronautics in school. All day long he felt the Holy Spirit speaking to him about being a mission aviation pilot. He asked the Lord for a confirmation to this calling and prayed, “Lord, if this is you who is calling me to be a mission pilot then let me win the drawing.” God gave the confirmation and Ezechel enjoyed a wonderful flight with Russell the next day.
We praise God for bringing 700 people to the Courageous Living Conference.
The first speaker of the conference was Marius Chelmagan, President of Youth 4 The Kingdom ministry. He shared from Acts 3:1-10 on courageous faith. One moving story was from a recent trip to Moldova. Moldova is a past communist nation and one of the poorest nations in Europe. One evening in a Moldovan church, Marius was sharing testimonies of faith and the persecution experienced by Muslim background Christians in North Africa. A widow at the church was deeply moved by the needs of the Christians in the Islamic world of North Africa. After the meeting she gave $200 for the needs of North Africans. She shared with Marius that she had saved this money for over a year. It was half the money she needed for a new roof on her home that was badly in need of a replacement. With tears she said, “God told me to give this money to the Muslim background believers of North Africa.” Three months later, Marius talked to the widow’s pastor regarding her condition. He shared, “God did a miracle, one month after she gave the money, men from our community came together and built her a new roof.” With this story and many others, Marius encouraged the audience to actions of “great faith because we have a great God.”
The conference keynote speaker, Russell Stendal shared three times over the weekend. He is working in the most hostile areas of Colombia and seeing many lives changed from the gospel of Jesus Christ. He shared from Acts 3 and 4 regarding Courageous Repentance, Truth and Living. He shared how his father taught him that for every evil done Christians need to return a better good. Russell has found that often satan overplays his hand. A few years ago, God gave them the faith and means to distribute over 20,000 Bibles and Christian materials down a river that is controlled by guerillas. No one had preached or brought Christian materials to this area in over 20 years. Just as they began loading the boat with books they were attacked by guerilla soldiers. The town where they were loading the materials was controlled by government soldiers and a massive battle ensued. The boat caught on fire and badly injured a worker on board. The guerillas had tipped of the media in hope to humiliate the Christian outreach. The whole attack was filmed by a news crew. At the end of the day, the team was discouraged and now had to decide what to do. It looked like the enemy’s plans had ruined the outreach, but the guerilla’s plan backfired. On the news that night, all over Colombia people saw the plight of Russell’s ministry. Money started pouring in from many unlikely sources. One organization, that was very liberal and in the past against Christian outreach, was so outraged by the attack that they gave $2000 in support of the mission. Within two days, they were able to repair the boat. The books had not been loaded on the boat and were spared from the fire. The general public of Colombia was so sympathetic that as they floated down the river for the next two weeks, the communist did not dare interrupt their outreach. The conference audience was riveted with this story, Biblical teachings and many other testimonies given by Russell. You can hear all the conference messages by ordering the 6 CD audio set.
Brother Sam, a Muslim background believer from North Africa shared his testimony and the persecution that Christians have experienced under the hand of fundamental Islam. The Lord Jesus is doing great miracles of faith in North Africa, Sam shared. Two men were sentenced to forced labor at a work farm for becoming Christians. After two weeks, they had shared the gospel with two other Muslims who became believers in Jesus Christ. Sam shared that the authorities decided that these evangelist were dangerous and they finally kicked them out of the farm and told them to leave. (Please continue to pray for our brothers and sisters in North Africa.)
Pastor David Witt, Founder and Director of Spirit of Martyrdom ministries, completed the teaching and testimonies for the day. He shared from Acts 4:25-31 regarding a courageous witness of Christ. “The Sovereignty of God is the pillow that Christians rest their head every night,” David said. God is in control and therefore we can have a bold witness of Christ as we trust him. Pastor Witt shared during his visit to Iraq in 2003 he counted 3-10 bombs explode everyday in Bagdad. Gun battles daily raged in the distance and two battles happened on the block of the ministry home where he was lodging. Every night he would go to sleep counting the sound of bullets, instead of sheep. Yet, he slept well and experienced a spirit of peace like Jesus in the bow of the boat during the raging storm as recorded in the Bible. David reiterated that a courageous witness is not the absence of fear, but the presence of faith.
Spirit of Martyrdom leadership would like to thank you for your generous prayers, volunteer labor and financial support in helping us bring education and discipleship through events like the Courageous Living Conference. We hope to continue to partner with you in 2011.
We want to share the teaching, stories and music of the Courageous Living Conference with you. We have packaged a 6 CD audio set available for any donation online. The CD set is a little over six hours with all the speakers, a panel discussion and the Romanian Youth Celebration -Concert. (Brother Sam is not included for security reasons.) You might consider this CD set as a Christmas present.
from David Witt
WHAT YOU CAN DO
Join us in praying for Muslims to receive Jesus Christ as their Lord and Savior and not only as a prophet. Consider giving a Bible to a Muslim. Last of all, consider joining Spirit of Martyrdom by financially partnering with us with a one time or monthly contribution.