Category Archives: Global Movement

EPC ministry committees discuss potential of Next Generation Council

 

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The EPC Student and College Ministries Committee and the Christian Education and Communications Committee are holding joint meetings October 28-29 in Orlando to begin discussions about a future Next Generation Ministry Council. The 2016 General Assembly approved a proposal from the National Leadership Team that the two permanent committees combine to form the new council to take effect July 1, 2017.

Discussion centered on developing appropriate Next Generation Ministry vision, mission, strategy, and structures aligned with the strategic initiatives of the General Assembly. The strategic initiatives are global movement, church planting, church revitalization, and effective biblical leadership.

EPC seeking applicants for Assistant Stated Clerk

 

Applications are now being received for Assistant Stated Clerk of the Evangelical Presbyterian Church (EPC). The Assistant Stated Clerk is a staff position appointed by the National Leadership Team. This servant leader reports to the EPC Stated Clerk, and serves a three-year term with the possibility of renewal.

The successful execution of this job will depend on initiating and maintaining relationships with the Stated Clerk, National Leadership Team, Office of the General Assembly staff, presbytery leadership, and EPC churches. The Assistant Stated Clerk is the Secretary of the EPC Corporation and will work out of the Office of the General Assembly in Orlando, Florida. EPC ordination is preferred but not required.

The person filling this position will succeed Ed McCallum, who has served in this capacity for 18 years. McCallum and his wife, Nan, were commissioned as World Outreach global workers through the International Theological Education Network (ITEN) at the 2016 General Assembly, and start their new ministry in July 2017.

An executive summary position description is available here. The Assistant Stated Clerk Search Team is taking applications through November 23, 2016. Applications and questions may be directed to Jeff Jeremiah, EPC Stated Clerk, at jeff.jeremiah@epc.org.

EPC Home Missionary John Bueno releases Fall 2016 newsletter

 

latinsunitedspring2016John Bueno, EPC Home Missionary serving with Latins United Christian Ministries (LUCM), invites you to read his Fall 2016 newsletter, in which he discusses how the new EPC partnership with the National Presbyterian Church of Mexico is already having an impact on church planting efforts in Hispanic communities in the United States. Click here to download the Fall 2016 edition in pdf format.

For more information about LUCM, contact Bueno at john.bueno@epc.org or 402-350-3815.

International Days of Prayer for the Persecuted Church set for November

 

idop2017While every Sunday is a good Sunday to remember our brothers and sisters in Jesus Christ throughout the world who suffer for their faith, November 6 and 13 have been designated International Days of Prayer for the Persecuted Church (IDOP) by the World Evangelical Alliance (WEA).

The WAE reports statistics showing persecution as “a daily reality of at least 100 million Christians around the world.” Now marking its 20th year, the IDOP has grown substantially and is observed in more than 100 countries. This year’s theme is “If one suffers we all suffer together” (1 Corinthians 12.26).

Free IDOP church resource kits are available online at www.opendoorsusa.org, www.idop.org, and www.persecution.com.

We believe that standing with—and praying for—persecuted Christians is part of God’s vision for the EPC. As a “global movement of churches,” we’re committed to:

  • The global mission of EPC World Outreach
  • Fraternal partnerships with other churches (for example, our recent partnership with the National Presbyterian Church of Mexico), and
  • Awareness of and solidarity with persecuted Christians.

September Jeremiah Journal provides strategic initiatives update

 

In the September edition of The Jeremiah Journal, Stated Clerk Jeff Jeremiah provides a status update on the EPC’s four strategic initiatives: Global Movement, Multiplication (church planting), Transformation (church revitalization), and Effective Biblical Leadership.

The Jeremiah Journal is hosted on the EPC’s YouTube channel at www.youtube.com/EPChurch80. Each month’s update also is posted to EPNews and the EPC’s Facebook page and Twitter feed.

World Outreach Forum to address “Engaging Our Presbyteries in Mission”

 

WOForum2016We believe God has called the EPC to be a global movement of Evangelical Presbyterian Churches. A significant way to create a structure suitable for a global movement is to solicit as much input and buy-in as possible. A gathering of presbytery missions leaders at the 36th General Assembly in June was a step in that direction. In an effort to build on that effort, the topic of this year’s annual World Outreach Forum is “Engaging Our Presbyteries in Mission.”

The workshop will be held November 14-15 in Orlando. The two-day event will equip and challenge missions leaders in each presbytery to:

  • Help all the churches of the EPC in their missions callings and missions health
  • Help connect and gather the churches of each presbytery in mission endeavors
  • Help our churches to strategically engage with EPC World Outreach

“The Forum is designed to strengthen relationships and to channel our energies toward the fulfillment of the EPC’s vision,” said Phil Linton, Director of World Outreach. “We will take time to listen to you and hopefully inspire you with World Outreach’s high calling to go to those with the least access to the gospel—not just to send others, but to go ourselves.”

The Forum is a time of training, vision casting, and alignment around the global focus of the EPC and is designed especially for church and presbytery mission/world outreach committee team members, mission pastors and directors, and other point people working on World Outreach projects.

Linton said attendees can expect to hear progress reports on Engage 2025, the International Theological Education Network (ITEN), refugee response, and the Malay breakthrough prayer effort.

“We believe that God will continue to do great things through the EPC,” Linton said. “Let’s spend some quality time together in Orlando and see what God wants to do through us.”

For more information, see www.epcwo.org/forum2016.

EPC partnership with National Presbyterian Church of Mexico ratified

 
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EPC Stated Clerk Jeff Jeremiah (center) and INPM President (Moderator) Amador Hernandez (right) sign the official partnership agreement September 8 in Mexico while EPC Home Missionary John Bueno looks on. Bueno served as translator for the EPC delegation to the INPM General Assembly.

The EPC and the National Presbyterian Church of Mexico (La Iglesia Nacional Presbiteriana de México or INPM) formally ratified an historic partnership on September 8 at the INPM General Assembly in Tuxtla Gutierrez, Mexico. Attending the meeting from the EPC were Jeff Jeremiah, EPC Stated Clerk; Mike Moses, National Leadership Team chairman; and Bill Enns, EPC Associate Executive for Collaborative Ministries. The EPC 36th General Assembly approved a fraternal agreement with INPM in June.

The initial emphasis of the relationship is for INPM to send pastors to the United States to help plant churches among the growing Latino population, and for the EPC to send pastors to help INPM plant churches in ten cities in northeastern Mexico.

Jeremiah noted that the INPM leaders initiated the request to work with the EPC.

“They told us that they want to plant churches in large Mexican communities, and they’ve seen what we’ve been doing and want us to help them do that,” he said. “God has brought together two denominations in two different countries who both have a strong commitment to church planting.”

“What’s unique,” Jeremiah added, “is that we both need each other. We need their help planting churches in Latino communities in the U.S.”

Moses, Pastor of Lake Forest Church in Huntersville, N.C., said his congregation is already working with an INPM pastor in a church plant.

“We are graced for my home church to be the first guinea pig in this relationship, as we are planting such a church soon with one of their young pastors,” Moses said. “May God be glorified and followers of Jesus be encouraged in both countries by this partnership!”

Discussions about a potential ministry partnership began in October 2015, when INPM Secretary Adolfo Job invited Moses and others from the EPC to visit Mexico to discuss the possibility of a fraternal relationship that would focus on church planting in Hispanic communities in the United States.

The INPM has two million members and is the largest Presbyterian denomination in the western hemisphere. The majority of its churches are in the Mexico City area and southern Mexico. Under the leadership of then-President (Moderator) Danny Ramirez Celis, the INPM severed ties with the PCUSA in 2011.

Three representatives of INPM attended the EPC General Assembly at Ward Church in June and brought greetings from the 6,000 Presbyterian churches in Mexico. Job, INPM President (Moderator) Amador Hernandez, and Camarillo Vasquez described their three primary objectives of the partnership: church planting in both countries, enhancing education in seminaries and local schools, and relating church-to-church as brothers and sisters in the Lord.

Jeff Jeremiah launches video series

 

With a recap of his Stated Clerk Report to the 36th General Assembly, Jeff Jeremiah launched a new video series, “The Jeremiah Journal,” in which he discusses a variety of topics relevant to the EPC.

“I wanted to do this to help our church leaders and others stay better informed about how God is working in our denomination,” Jeremiah said. “Even with as much travel as I do, with nearly 600 churches in the EPC I just can’t get to every one or see every pastor as often as I (and hopefully they) would like.”

Jeremiah hopes to record at least one video each month. The videos will be hosted on the EPC’s YouTube channel at www.youtube.com/EPChurch80 and also will be posted to EPNews and the EPC’s Facebook and Twitter pages.

Global Movement the focus of World Outreach Forum

 

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This year’s World Outreach Forum will address the topic of “creating a structure for a global movement,” one of the EPC’s four strategic initiatives. Come to Orlando on November 14-15 and collaborate with presbytery and church mission leaders and the World Outreach U.S. Team.

The two-day workshop will equip and challenge missions leaders in each presbytery to:

  • Help all the churches of the EPC in their missions callings and missions health
  • Help connect and gather the churches of each presbytery in mission endeavors
  • Help our churches to strategically engage with EPC World Outreach

“We want to get ready for the time when each presbytery has asked to have an active missions committee and broader team of leaders who have a key role on their councils to empower their churches,” said Phil Linton, Director of World Outreach.

The annual Forum is a time of training, vision casting, and alignment around the global focus of the EPC and is designed especially for church and Presbytery mission/world outreach committee team members, mission pastors and directors, and other point people working on World Outreach projects like Engage 2025.

“We are committed to becoming a missional family of churches as we refocus our mission and reach out to serve others for Christ in the 21st century,” said Jeff Jeremiah, EPC Lead Pastor/Stated Clerk. “The annual World Outreach Forum helps keep that in front of us.”

Click here for more information and to register.

National Presbyterian Church of Mexico brings fraternal greetings to EPC 36th General Assembly

 

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Amador Lopez Hernandez, President (Moderator) of the National Presbyterian Church of Mexico (La Iglesia Nacional Presbiteriana de México or INPM), spoke to the Assembly on June 23. The two denominations are working to formalize a fraternal agreement, with the goal of a church planting partnership.

“Sometimes we think as a church that we are alone in the world,” he said through interpreter and EPC home missionary John Bueno (left). “The truth is, when we unite with all the believers in Christ, we see that we are a great power for the glory of God. Our invitation is that we would come together and work as a team to share the gospel of Christ.”

Other guests from INPM welcomed by the Assembly were Porfirio Camarillo Vasquez (far right), General Director of the Juarez Institute, and INPM Secretary Adolfo Arias Job (near right).

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EPC Home Missionary John Bueno releases Spring 2016 newsletter

 

LatinsUnited-Spring2016John Bueno, EPC Home Missionary serving with Latins United Christian Ministries (LUCM), invites you to read his Spring 2016 newsletter, in which he discusses Hispanic ministry in the EPC, as well as ministry efforts in Mexico, Colombia, South Sudan, and others. Click here to download the Spring 2016 edition in pdf format.

For more information about Latins United, contact Bueno at john.bueno@epc.org or 402-350-3815.

Potential partnership with National Presbyterian Church of Mexico holds church planting promise

 
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Leaders of the EPC and the National Presbyterian Church of Mexico (INP) met in Mexico City in March to discuss a possible church planting partnership. From left: INP Secretary Adolfo Arias Job, EPC Stated Clerk Jeff Jeremiah, INP President (Moderator) Amador Lopez Hernandez, EPC Fraternal Relations Committee chair Gerrit Dawson, EPC Moderator Mike Moses, EPC Ruling Elder Bill Hammill, INP Vice President Danny Ramirez Celis, INP Treasurer David Monroy Adane, and EPC home missionary John Bueno.

 

A March meeting between the leaders of the Evangelical Presbyterian Church and the National Presbyterian Church of Mexico (INP) in Mexico City resulted in the two denominations proceeding toward a fraternal agreement for approval at each body’s General Assembly this summer.

The EPC was represented by Moderator Mike Moses, Stated Clerk Jeff Jeremiah, Fraternal Relations Committee chair Gerrit Dawson, EPC home missionary John Bueno (who served as translator), and Bill Hammill, a Ruling Elder at Lake Forest Church in Huntersville, N.C. (where Moses serves as Pastor). The INP leadership delegation included Secretary Adolfo Arias Job, President (Moderator) Amador Lopez Hernandez, Vice President Danny Ramirez Celis, Treasurer David Monroy Adane, and Camirillo Velazquez, General Director of the Juarez Institute.

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Camirillo Velazquez, General Director of the Juarez (Mexico) Institute.

Discussions about a potential ministry partnership began in October 2015, when INP Secretary Adolfo Arias Job invited Moses and others from the EPC to visit Mexico to discuss the possibility of a fraternal relationship that would focus on church planting. Specifically, INP wants to send missionaries to plant churches in Hispanic communities in the United States.

“I believe this is an historic ‘God moment’ for the EPC and INP in church planting,” Jeremiah noted. “In the providence of God, they reached out to us in the year that Mike Moses—an experienced church planter and member of the EPC Church Planting Team—was our Moderator.”

During the meetings, the members of the EPC team and INP leaders agreed that both groups were committed to the same love and passion for Christ and His gospel, and to the same Reformed doctrine.

“We were overwhelmed with the warm welcome and generous hospitality of our hosts and impressed with how easily we connected on a personal level,” Jeremiah said.

He added that the invitation to a church planting partnership is unique in that it encompassed two of the EPC’s strategic initiatives—global movement in addition to multiplication.

“An element of global movement includes exploring partnerships with groups in the global church with the same values and commitments as the EPC,” Jeremiah said. “The leaders of INP don’t want to work independently; they want to partner with us. They also are hopeful that we can help them with outreach and church planting in northern Mexico, where the INP has very little presence and where many EPC churches send short-term mission groups.”

The EPC team visited the INP national office; four churches in Mexico City, Toluca, and Morelia; one of the INP’s seven seminaries; an educational institute (preschool through high school); and a hospital. One of the four congregations, La Paz Church in Mexico City, was formed in 1954 and since has planted 39 daughter churches as well as established an INP church planting training center.

The EPC Fraternal Relations Committee has been working with INP counterparts on a proposed fraternal agreement. The leadership of INP has been invited to attend the EPC General Assembly at Ward Church in suburban Detroit in June.

“If the Assembly approves the agreement,” Jeremiah said, “we will send representatives to the July 18-22 national gathering of the INP in Chiapas, Mexico.”

The INP has two million members and is the largest Presbyterian denomination in the western hemisphere. The majority of the INP’s churches are in the Mexico City area and southern Mexico. INP’s minimal presence in northern Mexico is attributed to the 1919 “Cincinnati Plan,” in which American denominational leaders decided that Presbyterians would minister in the southern part of the country, while Methodists and others were given the northern part (no Mexicans participated in this decision).

Under the leadership of then-President Danny Ramirez Celis, the INP severed ties with the PCUSA in 2011 when the mainline approved the ordination of homosexuals.

Overwhelmed in Puerto Rico

 

JeffJeremiahJeff Jeremiah

My wife, Cindy, and I spent two days in Puerto Rico last month visiting two of the newest EPC congregations. On Sunday, the leaders and congregation of Westminster-Bayamon warmly welcomed us. For those who attended General Assembly last June in Orlando, you will recall this church as the first Puerto Rican congregation welcomed into the EPC after the boundaries of the Presbytery of Florida were expanded. We visited for their celebration of the first anniversary of their exit from their former denomination.

I realized how much they sacrificed for Christ, the gospel, and God’s Word after we saw the beautiful facilities they walked away from to form Westminster. However, Pastor Juan Rivera told me the congregation disconnected from the building quickly. “We’ve been focused on Jesus,” he said, “and we’ve constantly been surprised by how the Lord has provided for us.” Here’s an example of their commitment to Christ rather than a building: on the first Sunday after they left, the congregation worshiped on the second floor of a four-level parking garage.

After each worship service that day we “Happy Birthday, Westminster!” in Spanish and English, and then enjoyed birthday cake. What a glorious time celebrating with these brothers and sisters!

On Monday, we went to Mayaguez on the western side of the island—three hours by car from San Juan. We visited Iglesia Presbiteriana Evangelica en Mayaguez, a church plant of Westminster that was received by the Presbytery of Florida on February 20. Like Westminster, they are a group that walked away from its former denomination.

I was told that we would meet with the church-planting pastor and some of his lay leadership. Imagine my surprise when more than 100 of the 175 members gathered to welcome us! Commissioned Pastor Abraham Montes then led a two-hour worship service celebrating their reception into the EPC. They gave us a special gift to commemorate our visit, and concluded the service with an incredible “coro” that had been created especially for the occasion.

The EPC has received more than 350 churches since 2007, and each is a testament to God’s faithfulness and its leaders’ commitment to Christ. Yet I have never been with a group as energized and excited to become a member of the EPC as Iglesia Presbiteriana Evangelica en Mayaguez.

Let’s continue to thank the Lord for these new EPC congregations in Puerto Rico. He is risen!

World Outreach seeks Associate Director

 

WOlogoApplications are being accepted for the position of Associate Director of World Outreach of the Evangelical Presbyterian Church (EPC). The Associate Director will collaborate with the Director of World Outreach, manage the Personnel function, and supervise the Mobilization and World Outreach Office operations. The growing World Outreach ministry currently supports more than 60 commissioned family units working in more than 20 countries around the world. The 2016 budget for this ministry exceeds $3 million.

The ideal applicant will have a vibrant relationship with Christ, a passion for the Great Commission, outstanding management and personnel skills, and be ordained or able to be ordained as an EPC Teaching Elder or Ruling Elder. The applicant should be committed to a Reformed perspective on missions and the missional direction of our denomination. Locating to Orlando, Florida, (with moderate domestic and international travel) is required.

Click here to download the Position Description in pdf format. Click here for more information about World Outreach. Click here for the WO Master Plan summary document.

Interested applicants should send a cover letter and resume to della.cullins@epc.org. Deadline for submissions is May 1, 2016.

EPC-CCO: partnering for Kingdom growth

 
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Several EPC leaders joined more than 4,000 college students and young adults at the Coalition for Christian Outreach (CCO)’s 2016 Jubilee Conference in Pittsburgh.

Jubilee3-CCOThe EPC is moving closer to a full strategic relationship with the Coalition for Christian Outreach (CCO), a college campus ministry that has been successfully reaching the next generation for Jesus Christ for more than 40 years. Several EPC leaders attended CCO’s annual Jubilee Conference in Pittsburgh, February 19-21. More than 4,000 college students and young adults gathered at Jubilee for worship, inspiration, fellowship, and equipping “to serve Jesus Christ with their entire lives.”

Attending were Stated Clerk Jeff Jeremiah, Associate Executive Bill Enns, Student and College Ministries Coordinator Susan Holland, Committee on Administration member Dean Weaver, and Student and College Ministries Committee (SCM) members Elliott Simko and David DeBruler, who serves as SCM chair. In addition, Rufus Smith, Pastor of the EPC’s Hope Presbyterian Church in Cordova, Tenn., was the plenary speaker for the Saturday evening worship service.

The EPC General Assembly approved a partnership with CCO in 2007, but Stated Clerk Jeff Jeremiah notes that it was largely “on paper only.”

“We did not have many churches then,” he said. “Plus CCO was very focused in one geographic area—the Northeast U.S.—in which we had few churches. Where we are with CCO in 2016 is a testament to Susan Holland’s outstanding leadership as Coordinator of the EPC’s Student and College Ministries.”

At present, CCO is active on 116 college campuses extending from New Jersey to Indiana, with a high concentration in the greater Pittsburgh area. About 25 EPC churches in western Pennsylvania and eastern Ohio have ministry connections with CCO.

Vince Burens, CCO President, said CCO is ready to expand its geographic reach, but will only work in a college community in partnership with a local church. “We are a parachurch organization that does campus ministry with the local church,” he stressed. With more than 580 churches, the EPC has churches scattered across the country that could envision a partnership with CCO as a great way to reach into the college students in their community.

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Susan Holland, EPC Coordinator of Student and College Ministries

“I am really excited,” Holland said. “I have prayed for a long time about how the EPC can better reach college students across the country, and CCO has been doing exactly what my vision has been. I am thrilled to be expanding our partnership.”

Jeremiah said that Holland has been “patient and persistent across the years as she has waited on the Lord’s timing for the relationship to blossom into a substantive Kingdom opportunity for both the EPC and CCO.” Simko and DeBruler have played important roles in nurturing this relationship as well, and the SCM Committee will take the lead in contacting churches that may want to pursue a partnership with CCO.

The 2015 General Assembly approved “reaching the next generation for Jesus Christ” as the focus for the 2017 General Assembly in Sacramento, California. “I’m very confident the Lord will provide us some exciting success stories we can celebrate in 2017 as our churches take advantage of this Kingdom opportunity,” Jeremiah said.

Responding to the persecution of Christians—we will not “Sing a Little Louder”

 

JeffJeremiahby Jeff Jeremiah

“Global Movement” is one of the four strategic initiatives in the EPC as we move from “transfer to transformation” growth. It includes the continued outstanding ministry of our World Outreach department led by Phil Linton. It also includes exploring potential partnerships with denominations and groups in the global church in which the synergy from the partnership could produce Kingdom growth we couldn’t imagine doing on our own. Moderator Mike Moses led a group of EPC leaders to Mexico City earlier this month to meet with leadership of the National Presbyterian Church of Mexico. A report of that trip will be released soon.

ISISA third aspect of Global Movement is the reality that brothers and sisters in Christ throughout the world are suffering persecution and martyrdom for their faith. Who can forget the video of the beheading of the 21 Coptic Christians on the shores of the Mediterranean Sea in February 2015? Did you know that only 20 of those young men were Christians when they were brought to beach for their execution? The twenty-first was a Muslim. When he observed the testimony and faith of his friends, he confessed Jesus as his Savior and Lord and subsequently was martyred for his faith.

In the last several months, the suffering of Christians and other religious minorities in ISIS-held territory in Syria and Iraq has made headlines. The Assyrian Christian community there, once 1.3 million strong, now is estimated at no more than 300,000.

NReligious rights advocate Nina Shea, Director of the Center for Religious Freedom for the Hudson Institute, has written, “The last Christians to pray in the language spoken by Jesus are being deliberately targeted for extinction. Christians have been executed by the thousands. Many of their clergy have been assassinated and their churches and ancient monasteries demolished or desecrated.”

What can we do? As we continue to remember our suffering brothers and sisters to the Lord, we also can advocate for them by encouraging our government to acknowledge that this persecution of Christians is genocide. The US State Department is required by law to make a report with an evaluation to Congress of “the persecution of, including attacks against, Christians and people of other religions in the Middle East, and determine whether such attacks constitute genocide.” The deadline for this report to the Congress is March 17.

Will you set aside time in your worship services on Saturday and Sunday, March 12-13, to pray for Christians suffering for their faith in ISIS-held territory, and also pray that the State Department will report to Congress that the horrors they endure is genocide?

Additionally, you can email Secretary of State John Kerry by clicking the “Contact Us Request Form” on the U.S. Secretary of State website at http://contact-us.state.gov/cgi. Without a genocide declaration by the world’s leading nations, the international community will continue to do little as Christians and other religious minorities in this region suffer.

Genocide is defined in international law in the Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of Genocide as “any of the following acts committed with intent to destroy, in whole or in part, a national, ethnical, racial or religious group, as such:

  1. Killing members of the group;
  2. Causing serious bodily or mental harm to members of the group;
  3. Deliberately inflicting on the group conditions of life calculated to bring about its physical destruction in whole or in part;
  4. Imposing measures intended to prevent births within the group;
  5. Forcibly transferring children of the group to another group.”

In November, Cindy and I enjoyed an informative and challenging trip to Israel. One of the topics addressed on the trip was religious persecution in the region. While there, we viewed the powerful and convicting “Sing a Little Louder” video. I urge you to invest less than 12 minutes at www.youtube.com/watch?v=ofcs9Y7qL4s. The video highlights the response of Christians of another era when confronted with the persecution and destruction of a religious minority. Your response may be to wonder what you would have done then, but let’s be certain about our response for our brothers and sisters in Jesus Christ who face suffering simply for their faith today.