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Greg Mundis
AG World Missions Executive Director Greg Mundis in Sri Lanka.

The U.S. Assemblies of God is not the only AG celebrating its centennial this year.

More than 22,000 people gathered at a rugby stadium to celebrate the 100th anniversary of the first Pentecostal missionaries who came to Sri Lanka (then Ceylon) in 1914, the same year the U.S. Assemblies of God was founded.

Thousands travelled long distances at great personal sacrifice to attend the event despite extreme persecution by religious extremists. Across the country, more than 200 AG churches have been attacked and vandalized, and some have been burned. A number of pastors have been physically beaten and even martyred.

AGWM Executive Director Greg Mundis spoke at the event encouraging pastors to continue to persevere in proclaiming the gospel and establishing more churches. He says, "I was overwhelmed by God's work in Sri Lanka and by the passion believers had to be together to celebrate! They are putting everything - themselves, their families, everything - on the line to spread the gospel. They are modern-day living martyrs. It was humbling."

Dishan Wickramaratne, general superintendent of the Sri Lanka AG and pastor of Peoples Church, a congregation of more than 8,000 in Colombo, the nation's capital, will be speaking at the centennial celebration of the U.S. Assemblies of God in Springfield, Missouri, on August 9.

Recently Pastor Wickramaratne said, "When persecution has increased, we remember what one of our pastors said, 'If our faith is good enough to live for, it's good enough to die for.'"

To view pictures from the Sri Lanka celebration, see the AG World Missions article.


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Assemblies of God denounces burning of Qur'an

Thu, 09 Sep 2010 - 1:53 PM CST

In what has become a national furor, a small non-denominational church, Dove World Outreach Center, in Gainesville, Florida, has announced plans to burn copies of the Qur'an on Saturday, September 11 - the anniversary of the 9/11 terror attacks.

As the church has reportedly made claims of Pentecostalism, the Assemblies of God - the overall ninth largest denomination in the United States and one of the largest Pentecostal denominations in the United States - has made it clear it has no ties with the church and has publicly objected to the burning.

George Wood
Wood

"I don't believe that [burning the Qur'an] is respectful toward the very people we want to love into the Kingdom," states AG General Superintendent George O. Wood. "It only drives Muslims farther away from the Lord Jesus and reinforces the false notion that followers of Jesus are crusaders from the Middle Ages."

General David Patraeus, the American commander in Afghanistan, and President Barack Obama have both voiced their strong objections to the planned burning - saying that it will put the lives of American soldiers at risk and be used as a recruitment tool for Al Qaeda. Numerous church and religious leaders have also condemned the burning. However, Terry Jones, the pastor and founder of Dove World Outreach Center, has indicated the burning will still take place.

"Such actions as these only make it more difficult to effectively witness to Muslims," Wood says. "Our focus should be on sharing the amazing love of God that brought Jesus into this world to die for our sins - not engaging in activities that only drive people farther away from Christ."

 

Authors: AG News

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