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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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Celebration Service wraps up Louisville 2012

Mon, 13 Aug 2012 - 4:20 PM CST

Celebration Service 2012
Steve Pulis, student outreach director, and Chet Caudill, student missions director, announce presentations during the Celebration Service held Friday in Louisville.

Approximately 13,000 students attended the National Youth Convention and the 50th National Fine Arts Festival in Louisville from August 6-10. Friday evening, after three and a half days of presentations, evaluations and callbacks, the week culminated with the Celebration Service.

"We saw some incredible student talent as they exalted Jesus through their gifts Friday night," says Rod Whitlock, student discipleship director.

Winners of the Assemblies of God National Award of Merit, Award of Excellence and Honorable Mention trophies in 96 Fine Arts and Kappa Tau categories were announced and many of the students were able to deliver their presentations on the KFC Yum! Center stage Friday night.

Excitement and anticipation naturally filled the air as students learned if they had placed in the top three or even won the category — and would be performing center stage. Yet, despite the months of hard work and drive for excellence, those chosen as Award of Merit winners Friday evening, presented with humbleness and grace.

Rhea Williams from Valley Christian Center in Dublin, California, received Award of Merit in Piano Solo and was the first to perform on stage.

When asked how students can develop their ministry gifts, Williams says, "Honestly, this is not really a performance for anybody. I always think of this as only worship. We're only worshiping our God. In everything you do, whether it's playing an instrument, whether it's singing, whether it's speaking, whether it's dancing, always do it in excellence because our God is such an amazing God. He will be so pleased if you do it in excellence."

Fifteen-year-old Yanelly Terrazas, the Vocal Solo, Spanish Female Award of Merit recipient from Living Water Christian Center in El Paso, Texas, says "[Fine Arts] means a lot to me. God has blessed me with so many blessings because when I was little the doctor told me, ‘this girl is not going to be able to sing because she cannot reach notes.' I had asthma and with asthma you cannot do that. When I sang to him he was like, ‘Wow, wow, this girl can sing.' I started praying. I went through some stuff and God really blessed me. I don't have asthma anymore. It has been seven years since God cured me. I'm able to sing up here and present Fine Arts to the church and people of God."

Student presentations worshipped God and their words spoke to their peers. After delivering his award-winning sermon, Austin Beshuk from First Assembly of God in Jefferson City, Missouri, told the audience why he loves Fine Arts.

"I first did Fine Arts when I saw two people from my youth group do Fine Arts and come back on fire for God, it was amazing and I wanted that," he says. "So I came to Fine Arts and I learned to love God and it was awesome way to serve Him and worship Him." Beshuk is the 2012 Award of Merit recipient for Short Sermon Senior.

Two students received special honors in addition to winning a National Award of Merit in their categories. Lucas Menzies from Eden Prairie (Minnesota) Assembly of God won the National Award of Merit in Songwriting. He also received a  scholarship to sarahkellymusicschool.com and a fully produced demo. Alex Pylypiv from Bethel Temple in Parma, Ohio, won the National Award of Merit in Guitar Solo as well as a custom-made guitar from Noel Rosa and New Sound Acoustics.

For a full list of the National Fine Arts Festival results including the Top 10 in each category, click here.

Authors: Jennifer Taylor

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