A Powerhouse of Missionary Sending

For the last few weeks we have looked at ways that the Gospel is being proclaimed in word and deed throughout the Latin America/Caribbean region. Did you know that the Gospel is also going out from this region to the rest of the world in big ways?  For example, according to this article from Christianity Today, Brazil sent out 34,000 missionaries in 2010. This makes it the second highest country for missionary sending in the world!


Praise God for our brothers and sisters in Brazil that are sending and going in order to take the Hope of the Gospel to the world. Let us pray today that God would bless their lives and work!

For more on how the Gospel is going from everywhere to everywhere check out this post.


From new life to bearing fruit

This week’s post comes to us from Mark and Meg Kuzdas who serve in Costa Rica. Prior to moving to Costa Rica, Mark and Meg attended The Compass Church, and were very involved as leaders in the youth group. Mark sent us a testimony written by a young woman named Debra (name changed for privacy). 

Mark writes, “Debra’s home was one of those that we visited very early on as we started the ministry after language school in 2003. We are very proud of her as she has graduated high school and is in her second year of college.”

One day my family and I moved to live in Los Guido. Mark and Meg came to our house and invited us to go to church. My mom took us to church and we continued to go each Sunday. A short time later Mark asked my brother, sister and I if we would like to be a part of a discipleship group and we said yes.

leaves-2146615__340I was 5 years old when I started in my discipleship group and loved it. When I was going through the second book I began to understand that Jesus died and rose again for me. Mark asked if I wanted to accept Christ as my Savior and I said yes and prayed. Some time later I learned to really love teaching others all that I had learned and was learning as I became a teacher in my own discipleship groups. Eventually I became a youth leader in the church.

The Lord provided a huge blessing for me in 2015 when I was able to go to Nicaragua on my first missions trip. It was so exciting! I wanted to go and be part of the team that was teaching the Word of God. I had been taught and learned that Jesus died and rose again for me and I wanted to teach others the same thing and also help in whatever I way could.

Z83758LMGTAfter we returned to Costa Rica, Mark asked those on the team who would like to return to [Nicaragua] on another missions trip. Of course, I said I did and have been back several times! I look forward to going again [this year] to not only share more from God’s Word but also to teach music which is one of the gifts that the Lord has given me.

Today I am one of the teachers every Sunday in Sunday School and part of the worship team where I play the keyboard, flute, and sing. I am a teacher in the discipleship groups and I teach music classes. I work in the kitchen of the …. feeding center every [week]. I continue to help and serve in any way I can.

Praise God for the work He has done in Debra’s life! Pray today for Debra that she would continue to be used by God to share His light in her country and beyond. Pray also for Mark and Meg as the continue to serve faithfully. 


Come Alive!

Reading the news these days can be a scary business. Violence, injustice, poverty,  the list goes on and on. In response, many may place their hope in good deeds, scientific advancements, or politics. Yet none of these can truly overcome evil.

As followers of Christ,  we can live with peace even in the darkness, for we know that the battle has already been won. This past weekend we celebrated our salvation in the death and resurrection of Jesus. This is the true hope of the world.  It is a “a living hope  … an inheritance which is imperishable and undefiled and will not fade away,” (1 Peter 1: 3-4).

The world is desperate for this Hope.  May we go forth and share it hear, near, and far.





Our God is Above All

Today’s post is written by Tim Navratil who serves with his wife as the Area Leader for Latin America/Caribbean with ReachGlobal.

Last March I traveled to a remote part of the Peruvian Jungle.  I found out that the jungle there can be described in three ways.  The lowland jungle that most of us think of when we hear “jungle” where the waters flow slowly and the trees are thick and the air is heavy with bugs and humidity.  The highland jungle is high in the mountains where the rivers begin.  The middle jungle is where I traveled.  There the rivers run wide and fast, are bounded by rocks and trees and the air is a bit less humid.  The road to the villages we visited was narrow and mostly gravel with several rivers we had to ford.  One river we drove through for about 100 yards, part of the time running down the middle of the river.  That was a bit exciting.

Picture 1

The people we visited are called Yanesha.  They are a native people to that part of Peru.  They live on a government reservation comprised of about 48 communities.  I was tagging along with a church team that taught English at a middle/high school in the town of Shiringa.  We spent several days teaching English and playing games with the students.  Each year our ReachGlobal missionaries in this area host mission teams to teach ESL in quite a few schools in the area.

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This year there will also be construction teams coming to minister among the Yanesha.  They are helping to build a ministry and training center to help teach the young pastors and lay leaders in the communities.  The church was planted among the Yanesha by Wycliffe and they even have a New Testament in their language.  Unfortunately, the churches spiritual health has deteriorated over the years and there is a real need for spiritual and theological training.

A few months after I visited Shiringa, I read an article on the internet about a 73-year-old woman who had been accused of witchcraft in this village.  She was thought to have been bringing curses on several villagers and making them sick.  This poor woman was burned alive at the stake.   Over 40 people in this village voted to give her the death penalty for her wrongdoing.

Picture 3One of the church leaders among the Yanesha recently was ill and after receiving prayer from our missionaries went to visit a shaman.  This unfortunately is not uncommon among these tribal people.  There is a great need for training and prayer for understanding the spiritual forces at work among them.  I am excited to be part of another team going back to the Yanesha in the Spring of  2017.  One of the team members is going to be teaching for three days on the topic of Spiritual Warfare to over 40 church leaders.

Would you please be praying for the Yanesha, that their spiritual eyes of understanding would be opened and they would see that there is only One God who heals and that there are many spiritual forces of darkness arrayed against the work of Gospel transformation in their communities.


Our Rock: Disasters & the Church’s Response

At the end of January, The Compass Church commissioned Matt and Laura Pheneger and their children as they moved to Peru. (You can read about that here.) Transition to life and service overseas is never easy, but the Phenegers arrived only weeks before the worst natural disaster that Peru has seen in 100 years, with unusually high rainfall leading to devastating mudslides. Today, Matt writes about that disaster, and the Hope that is breaking through.

It was a powerful image that was broadcast around Peru and around the world.  A woman who was swept away by one of the mudslides that devastated Peru in March (see video:  http://edition.cnn.com/2017/03/22/americas/peru-mudslide-survivor-video/index.html).  Evangelina Chamorro survived the harrowing ordeal, praying the whole way down.

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Tens of thousands are dealing with the catastrophic effects of the mudslides throughout the country.  I traveled 200 miles north of Lima to the town of Huarmey with a group from our church, Camino de Vida.  What I witnessed was nothing I had ever seen before.  The streets had been converted into rivers of mud and water.  Homes were filled to overflowing with that same sludge.  People were living on the roofs of their homes at night and  wading into the muck and mire to shovel the quagmire out of their homes throughout the day.


A school

I also witnessed the Church in action.  Overwhelmed by the extent of the devastation, the government has struggled to keep up with the need.  Churches and individuals have banded together to take on the challenge.  It is going to take weeks if not months to return these towns and their homes and businesses to a sort of normalcy.  Because of what they experienced in the mudslides and the response of the church, though, many people’s lives will never be the same.


The team from Camino de Vida church helping people to remove the mud.

In one of the mudslides up in the mountains above the area where we live, a massive boulder landed next to a home.  Although the first floor was now full of six feet worth of mud, the family was thankful they were spared from the boulder crashing into their home.  Soon after a second deluge headed their way.  This time, instead of slamming into their home, the boulder stood in the way, sparing a potentially crushing blow to the house.  The first mudslide, that brought so much damage, had also deposited the very thing that saved the home from the second mudslide.

In the midst of all this catastrophe, our prayer is that some rocks have been deposited to divert further damage across the country.  Hopefully that is true of physical rocks, but also spiritual rocks.  In the barren terrain across the country, there are very few obstacles to hold back the mudslides that are inevitable when any kind of heavy rain hits.


A church member praying for a woman affected by the mudslides

This appears to be the case spiritually as well.  Pray that the Church can be used by God to get outside the walls of their church buildings and begin to impact this nation.  Using the gifts, talents and passions that each individual in the Church has been blessed with to tackle the issues that are overwhelming Peruvians’ lives resulting in fatherlessness, brokenness and desperation.  Pray that Christians from all walks of life will be rocks in the arena in which they have been placed.  From businessmen to teachers to soccer coaches, we all have an opportunity to live for and point people to the only Rock who can be our haven in the midst of the deluge we face in this life & through Him live the life for which we were created.

Focus: Latin/Caribbean Region

Gods is doing exciting things in the Latin/Caribbean region, and The Compass Church is privileged to be a part of it! We have 8 singles and families serving in 5 different countries (one for almost 50 years!) and partnerships in Cuba, Haiti, and Nicaragua.

Over the next couple of months we will focus on this region, and even have guest posts from some of our Global Partners! You will be encouraged by the faith of our brothers and sisters living in this part of the world, and be equipped to partner with them in prayer!


Lifting high…the Scriptures

With this post, Rick finishes his series of reflections from his trip to Europe this past fall. You can read the first three posts beginning here, and the second three here.

2017 is a significant marker in church history.  It is the 500th anniversary of the Protestant Reformation.  Martin Luther nailed his “Ninety-five Theses” to the door of All Saints’ Church in Wittenberg, Germany on 31  October 1517.  Within months, copies spread throughout Europe.

Doctrinal affirmations of “sola scriptura” (Scripture alone), “sola fide” (faith alone), “sola Christus ” (Christ alone), “sola gratia” (grace alone), “sola Deo gloria” (the glory of God alone) sparked a return to the true gospel of Jesus Christ. Lift high 1

The first of these, “sola Scriptura”, was the defining catalyst of the Reformation…the Word of God was being boldly proclaimed as the only source of divine knowledge and the only authority on earth to which the conscience of man was subject to.

As the Reformation spread into French-speaking Switzerland, Guillaume (William) Farel brought his fiery preaching into Geneva, eventually making his way north to Neuchatel.

On 23 October 1530, Farel stormed into the Collegial Church of Neuchatel. Accompanied by a crowd, he destroyed the idols which dishonored the worship of God.  He became the pastor of the church and remained there for the next 27 years until his death.

Farel was a man of intense courage, boldness, fearlessness and missionary zeal. This “Elijah of the Alps” roused John Calvin out of academic solitude. Farel sought out Calvin as he was passing through Geneva in July 1536 on his way to Strasbourg to continue his writing.

Placing his hand on Calvin’s head, he said, “May God curse you and your studies if you do not join me here in the work He has called you to do!” Calvin complied declaring, “I give myself up to the Lord’s good pleasure”.

The two remained life-long friends. Upon receiving a letter from Calvin, indicating his impending passing, Farel, then 75 years old, walked the 70 miles from Neuchatel to Geneva to be with his friend. Farel had taken a backseat upon the emergence of Calvin, but Calvin wrote to him, “Farewell, my best and most worthy brother. Since God has determined that you should survive me in this world, live mindful of our union, which has been so useful to the Church of God, and the fruits of which await us in heaven.”

Outside of his church in Neuchatel, a statue of Farel stands…crushing idols under his feet…and lifting high…the Scriptures (sola Scriptura). The Bible and the Bible only.

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Lift high 3

Schaeffer writes that the Reformers had a “serious view of the Bible”…”the Reformation centered in the infinite-personal God who had spoken in the Bible.”

Lift high 4

As I travel in various parts of the world, I pray that God would raise up an army of fiery “Farels”…men and women of intense courage, boldness, fearlessness, and missionary zeal…who are not ashamed to lift high the Scriptures…proclaiming the good news of the gospel of Jesus Christ.

Written by Rick Pierson, Executive Director of CompassGlobal



Dust Jackets

Rick continues his series of posts based on his trip to Europe last fall.

I love books…over the years I have gathered a small library, the core of which has come from my university and seminary days.  I’ve always had an interest in “dust jackets” on hardbacks and have tried to preserve them on my books.

While they do not actually protect from dust, they do serve to protect a book’s original cover while providing design interest and information on the content and author. The earliest known dust jacket was discovered on a 1829 book at the Bodleian Library, Oxford in 2009.Dust Jackets 4

Now before you think I need to get outside more, dust jackets are quite significant to book collectors.  Some can increase the value of a book hundreds of times over.  Unfortunately, I don’t have any of those. But one dust jacket that has always been significant to me is the one on “How Should We Then Live” by Francis Schaeffer.  It portrays the central panel, “The Adoration of the Mystic Lamb”, of the Ghent Altarpiece painted by Jan van Eyck in 1432.

The Ghent Altarpiece is a twelve-panel oil painting that is counted among the great masterpieces of the world.  It also bears the distinction of being the most frequently stolen artwork of all time (thirteen times; if you’re interested in the fascinating history behind this painting, read Noah Charney’s, “Stealing the Mystic Lamb”).

The Ghent Altarpiece was designed for the Saint Bavo Cathedral in Ghent, Belgium, just north of Brussels.

Dust Jackets 1

Just a few months ago, I traveled to Ghent with Olivier and Dan, two of our supported missionaries based in Brussels. I couldn’t believe, after looking at that dust jacket for forty years, that I was about to enter the cathedral (my photos above and below).

Dust Jackets 2

Soon afterward…there it was…I was standing in front of the Ghent Altarpiece. Schaeffer writes, “It is an altarpiece containing wonderful pictures of Eve, Adam, and singing angels. But most impressive is the central theme: the rich, the poor–people of all classes and backgrounds–coming to Christ. And who is this Christ? Van Eyck comprehended the biblical understanding of Christ as the Lamb of God who died on the cross to take away the moral guilt of those who accept him as Savior.

But this Christ is not now dead. He stands upright and alive on the altar, symbolizing that he died as the substitute, sacrificed, but now he lives! As van Eyck painted this, almost certainly he had Jesus’ own words in mind as Christ speaks in the Apocalypse, the last book of the Bible: ‘I am the living one that became dead, and behold, I am alive for evermore, Amen; and I have the keys of death and hades.'”(“How Should We Then Live?”, p.66).

Dust Jackets 3

Gazing at the Altarpiece with Olivier and Dan, my thoughts turned toward Belgium, France, the U.K., Germany, the Czech Republic, Slovakia, Moldova and our church planting partners in Europe…the uphill battle that they face…taking hope that Christ is not now dead!

Written by Rick Pierson, Executive Director of Compass Global

L’histoire des idees dans le Quartier Latin

This post resumes a series based on Rick’s trip to Europe last fall. You can read the first three posts in the series beginning here.

I’m sure most of us can point to a book that has had significant influence in our lives (beyond the Bible of course). For me, it was a book by Francis A. Schaeffer, “How Should We Then Live?”…released in 1976.

A university student that year and relatively new in my faith, I was enrolled in a course, “Ancient and Medieval Philosophy” that began to shake the foundation of what I believed.

I soon discovered that I was ill equipped to provide a defense of the historicity of Christianity…often being challenged to do so in class by the professor (after my feeble attempts to question him on the validity of Plato, Socrates, and Aristotle…which seemed like a good idea at the time).

Schaeffer helped me think through how Christianity uniquely provides “real answers to the basic problems that all humanity faces…offering an explanation for all of life.”  He helped me to articulate a world view through a biblical lens.

I felt as though I was walking back in time through the pages of Schaeffer’s book on a recent visit to Paris.  We have global partners throughout Europe in France, Germany, the U.K., Belgium, Moldova, the Czech Republic and Slovakia.

Trying to reach post-Christian Europe with the gospel is as difficult as my attempts to go head-to-head with my philosophy professor.  According to Operation World, the percentage of evangelicals in Europe is about 2.5.  Slow going.

Europe #4

While in Paris, I had a unique opportunity to see the city while looking through a historical, philosophical and religious lens. I joined a 5 hour walking tour of “The History of Ideas in the Latin Quarter”.

The Latin Quarter was at one time the true student and intellectual center of Paris…evoking images of Camus, Sartre, Beckett, the French resistance, the riots of 1968, let alone Abelard, Bacon, Magnus, Dante, Erasmus, Descartes, Locke, Pascal, Voltaire…even Thomas Jefferson, Benjamin Franklin, and John Adams.

My walking tour began at the Notre-Dame de Paris, (completed in A.D. 1345) in front of the Portal of the Last Judgment facade. It was here at Notre Dame in 1793 that the “Cult of Reason” emerged during the Enlightenment. Christianity was replaced by “reason, nature, happiness, progress, and liberty.”

Europe #4 (2)

The tour concluded in the Abbey of Saint-Germain-des-Pres, at the tomb of Rene Descartes. Known as the “father of modern philosophy” (“cogito ergo sum”; “I think, therefore I am”), his radical doubt would eventually place an “insurmountable roadblock to biblical faith”. While perhaps unintentional, he planted the seeds for later dissent from the theistic view of the world.

So in this year of the 500th anniversary of the Protestant Reformation, Europe is far removed from upholding the biblical absolutes that ignited the movement back to Scripture. America has followed. I pray that the spirit, zeal and courage of reformers such as Farel, Luther, Zwingli and Calvin take hold in us once more.

Written by Rick Pierson, Executive Director of CompassGlobal

Not forgotten

With this post Rick concludes his reflections on his recent trip to Moldova. You can begin the series here.

One of the great joys I have in Moldova is afternoon visits of the elderly after a full morning of teaching students.  I make it a high priority every time I go.  Kishinev Bible Church has an elder care ministry that regularly visits over 90 individuals.  It began with visitation to the home bound of those connected to the church, but now has expanded beyond that through word of mouth.  So many living in the numerous high rise Soviet-era flats in Moldova are isolated, lonely…and forgotten.

For me, it’s like stepping back into history.  These are individuals who have lived through  World War II, Stalin and Soviet communism.  They talk about the hardness of life, enduring frozen work camps in Siberia, hiding in bomb shelters, seeing their homes destroyed or seized.  One 90 year old woman I visited on this trip had been a spy for the Russian army.  She injured her back on a final parachute training jump.  Her team of 12 were all killed by the Nazis soon afterward on a mission to which she had been assigned.

I visited another fascinating woman on my final day.  This 80 year old had a contagious wit about her that was only accentuated by her Russian dialogue (the head of the church’s visitation ministry was there to translate for me).  She was born in Moscow and had been a professor of literature.  I asked her about her favorite writer.  With great excitement she said, “Alexander Sergeyevich Pushkin!”  She promptly and proudly displayed one of his volumes.


Pushkin, born in Moscow in 1799, was a playwright, novelist and poet. He died at the age of 37 from a gunshot wound received fighting a duel over the honor of his wife.

I asked her if she could recite one of his poems…she immediately stood up and treated me to an amazing performance of several that she loved most. There was something about hearing Pushkin in Russian that stirred my soul.

She then did an encore from the poetry of Andrei Dementyev…and one from Mikhail Lermontov for good measure!

She talked with me about her grandfather (pictured second from the left in the photo below) who served in the Russian army under Tsar Nicholas II. Fascinating stuff!


As a result of the visitation ministry, she has recently begun attending the church. I hope that one day soon she will be reciting the Scriptures as passionately as she recited Pushkin.

As I left that day, she presented me with this small volume of poetry with a handwritten note on the inside cover (I’m going to have to expand my Russian vocabulary beyond the six words I know!). She said she hoped I wouldn’t forget her. I haven’t.


These visits for me, bring into bold application James 1:27, “Religion that is pure and undefiled before God, the Father, is this: to visit orphans and widows…”.

Written by Rick Pierson, Executive Director of CompassGlobal