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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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Ministers' Holy Lands trip like "no other"

Wed, 30 May 2012 - 2:37 PM CST

Marc Turnage, director of the Center for Holy Lands Studies, has led countless tours through the Holy Lands for people of all ages and giftings. However, he has come to recognize that ministers and those preparing for the ministry, need more than a tour - they need to come away from their experience enabled to apply the experience to their ministry.

In cooperation with Dr. James Bradford and Pastor Mark Batterson, Turnage has created the "As One With Authority" trip - a training experience that's like no other. This Holy Lands trip, scheduled for February 23 to March 3, 2013, is specifically designed for those in ministry.

"The uniqueness of this trip is that we're not just bringing ministers into the land and giving them a visual picture," explains Turnage, "but the itinerary is very intentionally geared for using the Holy Lands as a platform to improve preaching and teaching."

Turnage explains that in addition to numerous site visits, ministers will receive personal training from Batterson and Bradford - two Holy Lands veterans and outstanding ministers of the gospel. In evening sessions, the two will share with ministers on how to craft sermons and enhance their teaching from the pulpit in a dynamic way based upon their immersion into the lands of the Bible.

Through the As One With Authority Holy Lands training experiences, Turnage says ministers become stronger more confident expounders of Scripture. "They will have not only stepped into the space of Scripture," he says,  "but stepped back into the world and culture of Scripture from the standpoint of leading and teaching." 

But Turnage says the training goes beyond dynamic communication of the Word of God - it also emphasizes personal leadership growth and transformation.

"One of our site visits will be into the desert area of Israel to focus on the character and nature of Bedouin shepherd life in the ancient world," Turnage explains. "This is especially significant when you consider the Old Testament patriarchs of Abraham, Moses and David were all shepherds. When ministers come to understand the importance and role the wilderness played in shaping these shepherds, these leaders of the people of Israel, our prayer is that it would not only enhance their preaching and teaching, but it would challenge and grow them as leaders within their congregations."

Turnage says that the As One With Authority training experience will also differ from normal tours in that ministers will receive pre-trip preparation materials and more time will be spent at specific-to-ministry sites. "The pre-trip study materials open the door to making each site a 'lab' or case study," Turnage says. "We'll talk through the Scripture passage, the historical and archeological issues, then process it, before moving on."

The As One With Authority training experience will also be offered as credit courses for Assemblies of God Theological Seminary students and upper-level students of North Central University, as the dates coincide with the schools' spring breaks.

"My prayer is that ministers of all ages will be able to come together for this time of personal enrichment and spiritual edification," Turnage says. "For what better place to experience renewal than in the Holy Lands?"

For more information about the As One With Authority training experience, including itinerary, trip costs and deadlines, click here.

Authors: Dan VanVeen

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