The Western District Welcomes You!

Thank you for visiting the Western District Foreign Mission's Department blog. Our intent is to provide you, the pastors, ministers, and saints of the Western District and the United Pentecostal Church International as well as our friends who would like to visit a place to be informed of events happening in our district and to share their thoughts concerning missions with us. We appreciate you taking the time to look over our site, to read the different posts, and last but not least to share your thoughts.


Missionaries traveling in our district:

May 2012

~Dwane Abernathy - Belize, Central America
~Robert McFarland - Israel/Palestine

June 2012

~Robert McFarland - Israel/Palestine, Middle East
~Jason Long - Nicaragua, Central America

July 2012

~Crystal Reece - Tonga, South Pacific
~John Hemus - United Kingdom, Europe

August 2012

~Crystal Reece - Tonga, South Pacific
~Cynthia White - Jordan, Middle East


Saturday, May 26, 2012

~Memorial Day 2012 - "Freedom is not Free"


Memorial Dayoriginally called Decoration Day, is a day of remembrance for those who have died in our nation's service. There are many stories as to its actual beginnings, with over two dozen cities and towns laying claim to being the birthplace of Memorial Day. There is also evidence that organized women's groups in the South were decorating graves before the end of the Civil War: a hymn published in 1867, "Kneel Where Our Loves are Sleeping" by Nella L. Sweet carried the dedication "To The Ladies of the South who are Decorating the Graves of the Confederate Dead" (Source: Duke University's Historic American Sheet Music, 1850-1920). While Waterloo N.Y. was officially declared the birthplace of Memorial Day by President Lyndon Johnson in May 1966, it's difficult to prove conclusively the origins of the day. It is more likely that it had many separate beginnings; each of those towns and every planned or spontaneous gathering of people to honor the war dead in the 1860's tapped into the general human need to honor our dead, each contributed honorably to the growing movement that culminated in Gen Logan giving his official proclamation in 1868. It is not important who was the very first, what is important is that Memorial Day was established. Memorial Day is not about division. It is about reconciliation;it is about coming together to honor those who gave their all.

Saturday, May 19, 2012

~Is GIVING Spiritual? by J. S. Leaman

J. S. Leaman
Faith Promise Representative

 The Church has been given the commission to go into all the world and preach the gospel to every creature. Notice what Jesus said in Luke 24:47And that repentance and remission of sins should be preached in his name among all nations, beginning at Jerusalem”. Since we are the people of the name, we are the ones that have been given the commission to fulfill His command.

A number of years ago I was invited to a weekend mission’s conference in Tennessee, and, as I walked into the church for the Saturday night service, the banner in front of the church impressed me.  The banner stated: “Some give by going – Some go by giving – without both – there are no missions”.  It is the going missionary and the giving church together that will get the job done.

When a missionary presents his burden to a church, many times the congregation feels the desire to become a part of the ministry of the missionary by supporting him through prayer and finance. Hearing creates desire.  Since Jesus said to go ye into all the world,  it is the responsibility of the church to become a part of sending this Gospel to a lost world that will bring salvation to lost souls through prayer and finance.  Consider this statement –

I was driving on one of the interstates in St. Louis with the radio tuned to a religious program and heard a man make this statement.  “Giving is a part of living because you can’t take your next breath until you give your last one”.  Subconsciously I knew that all along, but it just hadn’t quite registered until that moment.  This also applies in the spiritual.  Giving must be a part of our lives to be productive spirituallyGod has given us two hands – one with which to receive and one with which to give.  A closed hand cannot receive or give. 

There are many scriptures in the Bible about givingIn fact there are probably many more than we ever dreamed.  Let me show you what I mean.  There are over 500 scriptures on prayer, another 500 on faith, but there are over 2000 on stewardship and giving.  So it does appear that the Lord wanted us to become aware of the subject of giving. We need to consider that giving is not a one-way street

Notice what Jesus had to say in Luke 6:38:  “Give, and it shall be given unto you; good measure, pressed down, and shaken together, and running over, shall men give into your bosom. For with the same measure that ye mete withal it shall be measured to you again.” Jesus was simply saying that if I will give, He will move on men to give back to me. 

Acts 20:35 is also extremely important. “I have shewed you all things, how that so labouring ye ought to support the weak, and to remember the words of the Lord Jesus, how he said, It is more blessed to give than to receive.”  We all understand the joy of receiving but the scripture says that giving is even better.

II Corinthians 9:7 “Every man according as he purposeth in his heart, so let him give; not grudgingly, or of necessity: for God loveth a cheerful giver”.  This scripture isn’t just saying that God loveth a giver but it says that He loves a cheerful giver.  In the original, the word cheerful means hilarious…God loveth a hilarious giver.  A number of years ago I was Christmas shopping with my wife for our children.  I was getting excited about the gifts we were buying, knowing they would like them, and the Lord flashed this scripture through my mind and asked me if I enjoyed giving to Him as much as I enjoyed giving to them

Some years ago the Foreign Missions Division introduced to the fellowship a plan of giving to support the missionaries that has revolutionized the division and has been an outstanding blessing to many of our churches.  It is called Faith Promise giving.  Faith Promise gives every member of a church the opportunity to challenge young and old to make a monthly commitment to the cause of sending our missionaries around the world to proclaim this life-changing Gospel.  Making a Faith Promise is an individual asking the Lord for direction as to how much He would like to channel through them each month to support the missionary cause around the world.  Faith Promise unites the sending church with the going missionaryFaith Promise supplies the finance to support the Partners in Missions of the local church.

Some may feel that they can’t afford to support a foreign missionary, but it has been proven that when the church gives globally, God will bless locallyThe blessings that follow are phenomenal to the individual and church that will give the Lord an opportunity to bless them through giving.

A mother testified how that eight years earlier their family lived in Birmingham, Alabama and heard me preach about Faith Promise giving.  They made a commitment while living on food stamps.  In services following their commitment, they heard different ones testify about the financial blessings they were receiving, they never had anything happen to them.  However, at the end of the year while filling out their income tax return, they realized that they had been able to pay all of their bills including their Faith PromiseThey realized that God had made them better money manager after they became involved in Faith Promise giving

I would like to give you a few testimonies of individuals that have been blessed when they became involved in Faith Promise giving.

  • One man testified that he gives more to Faith Promise now than what he was earning when he made his first Faith Promise commitment.  He had let the Lord be his financial advisor.

  • A businessman asked the Lord for direction as to what he should give.  He turned in a Faith Promise commitment for $2,000.00 a month, but before leaving the service, he increased it by another $500.00 for a total of $2,500.00 per month.  Within the month the Lord showed him how he could reduce the operational costs of his business by $2,500.00 per month!

  • A couple made their Faith Promise commitment on Sunday night, and the wife felt fine while they were at church.  However on the way home she started getting worried about the amount they had committed.  She asked her husband if he thought they had truly heard from the Lord or were they just being foolish?  As she tried to go to sleep that night, she started thinking about all of their bills.  She started to panic and finally told the Lord that they would trust that they had heard from Him.  She put the matter out of her mind.  Tuesday she was called into her manager’s office for a meeting with her manager and supervisor. They started off by saying that many people had been leaving the company for higher salaries elsewhere and that their employee survey results had also indicated that employees were very dissatisfied with their salaries.  She had just received her second raise in six months and was very satisfied.  However she did not get a chance to express her satisfaction.  They said that the company had evaluated everyone’s salaries and that she was to receive a 24% raise.  She was given a raise that was TWICE the amount of their year’s Faith Promise commitment.

Giving is a part of living, both in the natural and the spiritual.

Don’t let fear deny you of the blessings the Lord has in store for you.  Faith Promise is when you ask the Lord what he would have you to commit each month.

Proverbs 3:4,5 Tells us what to do and how to do it.
Trust in the Lord with all thine heart and lean not unto thine own understanding.  In all thy ways acknowledge Him and he will direct thine steps.

When the Lord impresses you with what He is directing you to commit the enemy will impress you that you can’t do that.  But the Lord never leads us astray.

When fear knocks at your door saying you can’t, send faith to the door to answer.

I read recently that Fear is False Evidence Appearing Real.
Where the Lord guides He provides.


"The Lord does not BLESS us to increase our standard of LIVING but to increase our standard of GIVING!"

Note! Emphasis using text highlight, italics, bold, etc. and photo as well as the statement after the photo have been added by editor. My thanks to J. S. Leaman for sending this article for use in this blog.

Monday, May 14, 2012

~Values, Morals and Ethics by Jonathan A. Buckland

Values, Morals & Ethics

A common phrase that is repeated often is, “actions speak louder than words.”  When contemplating the issue of personal values, morals, and ethics, we must focus primarily on the actions and choices we take rather than just on stated values.  Just as the clearest identifier of a seed is the fruit it ultimately bears, our actions become the fruit of our lives that flow from our roots or our values and morals.  Having clearly defined values and morals are what ultimately guide our decision- making process both personally, as well as organizationally.  In this paper, I will briefly discuss how values and morals guide my decision-making process.
The very nature of being a leader immediately positions us in a place of influence.  In many cases, the leader of an organization is the one that does not run from a tough decision or problem, but rather is the one that embraces the difficulty standing ahead.  While some decisions the leader must make are simple, many predicaments the leader is given to handle are not clear-cut.  It is in these moments the leader must find something deeper within them than just what can be found on the surface.  Clearly defined values and a moral code that drives ethical behavior must come into play.
When faced with an ethical decision that will ultimately affect myself, as well as those I lead I must begin by digging beneath the surface to the core of who I am by exploring my values and morals in light of the choice.  For me personally, these values and morals come from a solid foundational belief in the Word of God as the authority in my life.  Therefore, it is my personal desire for others to discover the fruit of my life in perfect alignment and sustained by the root of the Word of God.
When faced with an ethical or moral dilemma it is not wise to rely upon feelings as the guide of our choice.  While a gut feeling can lead you in some instances it is not a reliable standard to use when facing issues of this magnitude.  Having made the decision to build my life on the Word of God and viewing the Word of God as the foundation of all moral choices and the seedbed for my personal values I always go back to it when seeking clarity on specific issues.  In many instances, the Word of God will speak clearly for or against an issue that society views as a personal preference. On the occasions when it doesn’t, I must begin to process my decision-making through the lens of my values and principles, which are rooted in the Word of God.
If I do not have clear direction on a difficult decision I am facing, I then ask how the decision I am about to make will affect the values and principles I have chosen to live by.  If a decision for something is legally and morally ok, yet it would violate my personal values and principles, I am obligated to not pursue the decision any further.  If the decision is legally and morally ok and it does not violate my personal values and ethics, I would then place the decision in perspective of short- term and long- term benefits and drawbacks of the choice.  Information is necessary to make wise choices; therefore, if I am lacking information I know I could get if I pursued it, I will try to get that information before I make the decision.  In this case, ignorance is not bliss.
Just as the fruit of a tree determines its DNA, the actions and choices I make determine what my moral code and personal values areIt is vitally important in the life of a leader to determine early what they personally value. The process of determining ones personal values in life will liberate you to make choices based upon those values later on.  In a sense, our personal values and moral code become the track for which we choose to live our life upon.  The role of a leader is established by the permission of those who choose to follow.  When a leader clearly defines their values and morals and then makes decisions based upon them, trust is built between the leader and follower, which in turn establish a greater permission to lead.

~from the blog by Jonathan A. Buckland - used by permission.
Bold, underline, text in italics and photos were not in original post.

Saturday, May 12, 2012

~News from Finland - the Mark Alphin Family

The Mark Alphin Family
News update & prayer focus - May 2012

First Finn Receives Holy Spirit

God has filled a Finn with the Holy Spirit - the first since our arrival in Finland!

In April, Pastor Adrian Smith (Stockholm, Sweden) told us of a young lady, that they had met, who lived in the Helsinki area. We will exclude the background and get straight to the point (smile). On May 6, we were blessed to have this sweet young woman receive the Holy Spirit during our house group meeting! God completely overwhelmed her while Mark was sharing the Word of God, even astounding us by the way that He showed Himself! It was absolutely amazing to watch as the Lord gave her a very distinctive experience, bathing her fully with His Presence. After she finished speaking in tongues, and we had talked together for a few minutes, she said, "I want more!"

We appreciate the spirit of unity that exists among the brethren in the Nordic region. There is a definite hunger to see God change the spiritual atmosphere in our countries. We believe this is just the beginning of greater things to come! Please pray for the ministers of the Nordic region as we work together to share the Gospel.

First Bilingual Bible Study

On May 2, we began to help a young lady's dream come true regarding the salvation of her family. A member of the church in Stockholm, pastored by Rev. Adrian Smith, has been witnessing to her mother - who lives in Helsinki - over Skype. When we met with them in March, we learned of the desire for knowledge. There was just one hurdle: a significant language barrier, for while the mother speaks multiple languages, English isn't one of them! With the help of a good Finnish friend, who agreed to translate for Mark, we are in the process of firming the salvation foundation. Two countries and two groups of people, working together for one purpose - to expand the Kingdom of God! Stay tuned!

Focused Prayer Requests

Bible Studies in progress - we have multiple students, and each one is learning a different topic. Studies being written - Mark is writing new studies, and Glenda is illustrating. Pray for clarity of thought - for our students to have open minds regarding the word of God; for us, as we endeavor to create new ways to share the Bible with others.

Contacts - we have made a number of friends and are simply being "Jesus" to them, sharing His Word as He opens the doors. Pray for wisdom, discernment, sensitivity in the Spirit - we want to always be ready when God says "Speak" or "Go."

Studies - our entire family has finished another session of language study. Next, we will begin short, intensive review course during the first week of June, which will cover the first part of our study material. Pray for clarity, focus, and retention - it is extremely important that we are able to remember vocabulary, grammar, etc. when speaking.
God did not create hurry.
(Finnish proverb)

To the only wise God our Saviour, be glory and majesty, dominion and power, both now and ever. Amen.

Thank you for praying with us,
supporting us, and believing in - and with - us. God has heard your prayers for Finland; they are working! Our family gives all honor to God for the things that He is doing. He alone makes this report possible.

We appreciate you, and we pray for you. Be blessed, in the mighty Name of Jesus.

Mark, Glenda, Miranda, and Candace

Sunday, May 6, 2012

~Thai-Gram - Ed and Mary Simmons/Thailand, May 2012

Map Thai-Gram            
May 2012                                                                                 
Thai Youth Conference 2012 
Brian Norman - Conference Speaker 
~Brother Norman's ministry was a tremendous 
blessing to Thailand!
Thai Youth 
"Hello Youth in America!"
 Foot Washing
Water Baptisms
Two girls 
Holy Ghost Baptisms -These two girls were first time
visitors from a village and were filled with the Holy 
Pictured: Missionary Jack Coolbaugh, The two visiting
girls, Evangelist Brian Norman
_ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _
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Thank you so much for your continued prayers and 
Ed & Mary Simmons
Ed & Mary Simmons
Bangkok, Thailand
Ed & Mary Simmons                                           
8855 Dunn Rd.                                               
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~Attitude Makes a Big Difference!

Winston Churchill said Attitude is a little thing that makes a big difference

Points to Ponder

  • An investment in knowledge always pays the best interest.
  • The way to get started is to quit talking and begin doing
  • For success, attitude is equally as important as ability.
  • A cloudy day is no match for a sunny disposition.
  • Success is a ladder you cannot climb with your hands in your pockets.
  • Anything not attempted remains impossible.
  • Being willing makes you able.
  • A champion is a dreamer that refused to give up.
  • To get what you wantSTOP doing what isn’t working.
  • Excellence is doing ordinary things extraordinarily well.
  • Tough times never last, but tough people do.
  • The best things in life are not things.
  • There are no shortcuts to any place worth going.
  • Vitality shows not only in the ability to persist, but in the ability to start over.
  • Accept challenges, so that you may feel the exhilaration of victory.
  • Excellence is not a skillit is an attitude.
  • If you want to stand out, don’t be different; be outstanding.
  • Change is difficult but often essential to survival.
  • Life is ten percent what happens to you and ninety percent how you respond to it.
  • Your vision will become clear only when you can look into your own heart.
  • Our attitude toward life determines life’s attitude toward us.

Friday, May 4, 2012

~Wisdom Beyond Words


Do you think you’re any wiser today than you were five years ago? Do you think you’ll be wiser still in another five years? I hope the answer to both questions is an emphatic "yes." One of the benefits of growing older is getting better. And we get better by learning.

I’m not just talking about new facts like how a volcanic eruption in Iceland can prevent airline traffic in most of Europe. I’m talking about learning basic nuggets of wisdom that can change our lives.

For starters, I've learned that as long as I’m willing to learnI can learn and the fact that I’m wiser today doesn’t mean I was foolish or incompetent before. You don’t have to be sick to get better.

I've learned that no matter how old I ammy life and character are works in process and that there will always be a gap between who I am and who I want to be.

I've learned that it’s easy to mask moral compromises with rationalizations and that my character is revealed not by my words or intentions but by my willingness to do the right thing even when it costs more than I want to pay.

I've learned that my character is more important than my competence and that being significant is more important than being successful.

I've learned that I often judge myself by my good intentions but that I’ll be judged by my last worst act.

I’ve learned that the surest road to happiness is good relationships and that striving to be a good person is the surest road to good relationships.

Finally, I’ve learned that pain is inevitable but suffering is optional and that it’s not what happens to me that matters most but what happens in me.

- from

Thursday, May 3, 2012

~EASY? - It is NEVER easy, but it is IMPORTANT!

It's Not Easy...but Important!

~Let's be honest. Ethics is not for wimps. It's not easy being a good person.

~It's not easy to be honest when it might be costly, to play fair when others cheat or to keep inconvenient promises.

~It's not easy to stand up for our beliefs and still respect differing viewpoints.

~It's not easy to control powerful impulses, to be accountable for our attitudes and actions, to tackle unpleasant tasks or to sacrifice the now for later.

~It's not easy to bear criticism and learn from it without getting angry, to take advice or to admit error.

~It's not easy to really feel genuine remorse and aplologize sincerely, or to accept an apology graciously and truly forgive.

~It's not easy to stop feeling like a victim, to resist cynicism and to make the best of every situation.

~It's not easy to be consistently kind, to think of others first, to judge generously, to give the benefit of the doubt.

~It's not easy to be grateful or to give without concern for reward or gratitude.

~It's not easy to fail and still keep tryingto learn from failure, to risk failing again, to start over, to lose with grace or to be glad
  for the success of another.

~It's not easy to avoid excuses and rationalizations or to resist temptations.

~No, being a person of character is not easy.

~That's why it's such a lofty goal and an admirable achievement.