Introduction to the Faith Outreach Ministry
“But when the Holy Spirit comes upon you, you will be filled with power, and you will be witnesses for me in Jerusalem, in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.” Acts 1:8
Background information on the Faith Outreach Ministry
Basis of the Faith Outreach Ministry
In 1991 the Catholic Charismatic Renewal organised a Life in the Spirit Seminars (LSS) program for some members, and as the Lord promised in Acts 1:8, He poured out His Holy Spirit upon them. Just as also promised in the book of the Prophet Joel 2:28, one of these members had a series of visions during his personal prayer time. He shared these visions with a more matured member of the group. Finally the group discerned that the Lord was requesting them to reach out to others far and wide. Incidentally, at this time, many of the youth were leaving the Catholic Church for Charismatic and Pentecostal Churches that had started proliferating in the Wa Township. The idea of reaching out was put into prayer for some time and it was noticed that there was the need to reach out.
The beginnings of the Faith Outreach Ministry
The first community the Outreach Ministry visited was Jang, an outstation in the Kaleo Parish. There was a crowd of Catholics and Non-Catholics alike. With the presentation of the word of God, followed by ministration of healing and deliverance, many signs and wonders happened, ending with many people personally accepting Jesus as their Lord and Saviour.
Trouble with the church hierarchy
After the Outreach Ministry started reaching out, it did not take long before the Catholic Church hierarchy stopped them from reaching out. There was fear that the group was just preparing to break away from the Church, since that had happened in some other Dioceses of our country. A number of reasons were advanced for the ban, but the main one was that some members of the Outreach Ministry were not living sacramental lives since their marriages were not blessed.
In obedience, the Outreach Ministry stopped its programmes and the members met regularly after fasting to pray and seek the face of the Lord to show the way. Within three months, all affected members had their marriages blessed in the Church, and yet the ban was not lifted. The members were counselled to be patient and wait on the Lord. If it was the will of the Lord He would certainly show the way they would reach out.
The Lord restores the Faith Outreach Ministry
At the time all this was happening, the late Monsignor Songliedong, who was the Vicar General of the Diocese of Wa, was also the chaplain of the Catholic Charismatic Renewal in the Diocese. It happened that he came to celebrate the 1992 Pentecost vigil mass with the Renewal and what happened in his presence was overwhelming. During the period of worship, people were falling here and there and manifesting, even though no-one had touched them. This was the power of the Holy Spirit at work. Those people affected were ministered to. Monsignor Songliedong and the other priests who were present were involved in the ministration. Monsignor Songliedong must have been satisfied with what he witnessed during that night and the next morning at mass. The bishop subsequently wrote to the Outreach Ministry, permitting them to go out again as they were doing before.
Formalization of the Faith Outreach Ministry
The operation of the Faith Outreach Ministry from then on was more formal than before. A leadership structure was put in place and outreach programmes were planned. The team sent letters ahead to inform Parish Priests and parishioners about its visit to their parishes. In these letters the team sought permission to enable one of their members present the Word during the mass. As the group kept praying together on Friday nights, many revelations started unfolding. The need to name the group was one such revelation. Using the exposed Blessed Sacrament as a source of healing during worship is another. The themes to speak on during outreach were also revealed.
Objectives of the Faith Outreach Ministry
- To Re-evangelize fellow Catholics, particularly the youth.
- To present Jesus to those that have not yet encountered Him and accepted Him as Saviour and Lord.
- To challenge the youth of the Church to stand firm and to live the Catholic faith with conviction.
Enabling objectives of the Faith Outreach Ministry
- Sharing of life testimonies backed by the word of God.
- Praying and Ministering to people for the Lord to meet their needs.
- Having alter calls and leading the people to accept Jesus as Saviour and Lord.
- Leading the congregation to take their challenges to the Lord in the exposed Blessed Sacrament with expectant faith.
Activities of the Faith Outreach Ministry
- A yearly Outreach plan is drawn and copies are given to the Bishop, to Parish Priests of all parishes that are to be visited, as well as the DST and other institutions that are involved.
- Knowing that without the Lord nothing can be achieved, the Outreach Ministry observes three-days fasting and prayers before any outreach programme is undertaken.
- A vigil is held every Friday night to pray for guidance and to share the Word. This is open to any person to participate.
- The Glory of God Prayer Group has also organised a Rosary confraternity that intercedes with the praying of the Rosary.
- Letters are sent to the Parishes and places to be visited. A request is made to the Parish Priest to allow a member of the team to speak to the congregation during the mass.
- Outdoor crusades are held on the night of arrival of the Outreach Ministry group.
Results obtained by the Faith Outreach Ministry
Throughout all these twenty years of reaching out, crowds still gather to listen to the Word being presented by the Ministry. And as promised in Mark 16:17 – 18, many signs and wonders follow the presentation of the Word and ministration of healing and deliverance. The Lord fulfills his promises anytime the group goes out. Miracles witnessed during the period are many.
- Permission by the church hierarchy for the Outreach Ministry to operate freely is the first miracle. Having a chaplain who was fully involved in the ministry, and funding of the ministry all these years without a hitch are other miracles.
To mention physical miracles that occurred during the operation of the ministry will be too much but just a few will suffice;
- At Daffiama, the deaf and dumb daughter of a Muslim man was healed and she could hear and speak.
- At Bulenga, a traditional worshiper who was going to the market (this man had a sickness that made him bent-over) had instant healing after stopping to listen to the word that was being proclaimed by members of the Faith Outreach Ministry. He gave up his idols to be destroyed.
- At Nandom, a lady who was crippled for five years gained her healing and walked home. She later joined the Catholic Charismatic Renewal.
- At Lawra, a Rev. Sister who had an accident and could not lift the hand received her healing instantly.
- A family in Busa Tangzu after hearing the word of God gave up all their idols for destruction and accepted Jesus as their saviour and Lord. At this place before the family could gather for the word to be presented, the Ministry members were attacked by bees. Discerning the danger, members began to pray silently and within a minute everything was calm for the Word to be presented. Many other Catholics and non-Christians who worshipped idols gave them up for destruction and received Jesus as Lord.
- At Welembelle, a woman who was sick and burdened was healed by the Lord Jesus exposed in the Blessed Sacrament for adoration.
- At Yeezu Tang in Ko, a woman who was carried on a stretcher received her healing instantly after being ministered to. At that same place, a member of the Outreach Ministry doubted the real presence of Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament and when she touched the monstrance that contained the Blessed Sacrament, she fell as a result of power that came out from the monstrance
Achievements of the Faith Outreach Ministry
- Reduction in the number of young Catholics leaving the Catholic Church for other Churches.
- Many Catholics understand their responsibilities to the Church and cherish their faith.
- Some Catholics who left the Church have returned.
- Young Catholics are now proud of their faith and have a positive outlook to life.
Funding of the Faith Outreach Ministry
At the beginning, funding of the Outreach Ministry programmes was by members. Not enough funds were available.
Funding is still a challenge even though the Glory of God prayer group has taken up the funding of the Outreach Ministry's programmes. Yet funding is inadequate due to steady increase in cost of outreach programmes.
Challenges of the Faith Outreach Ministry
- At the beginning, the hierarchy of the Church had reservations about the sincerity and objectivity of the Ministry. At some places, the Ministry was received with a lukewarm attitude.
- Some parish priests restrict the Ministry in its operation.
- Transportation is also a challenge. For the meantime, the ministry depends on the benevolence of one of the members who uses his double-decker pickup for transportation.
- Lack of public address system. The Ministry depends on the Glory of God prayer group’s instruments and anytime it reaches out and comes late, it affects the prayer meeting on that Sunday. Even then the instruments of the Glory of God prayer group alone are not adequate.
The way forward for the Faith Outreach Ministry
- The Ministry has to prove its sincerity to the church hierarchy that it is for the good of the Church by obeying and getting involved in other church activities.
- The Glory of God prayer group is to intensify its campaign for its members to pay their special levy for the running of the Ministry.
- The group should also encourage its members to pay money into the transport fund and to also appeal to friends and other benefactors for funds to purchase a suitable means of transport and public address system.
The Ministry is grateful to all who have accepted the vision and objectives of the Faith Outreach Ministry and have supported it in diverse ways. We are grateful to the Bishop of Wa diocese who has given his consent for the Ministry to operate. To the parish priests who welcome the Ministry to their parishes and allow members the forum to share their faith with their fellow Catholics, to all those who do the underground work in support of the Faith Outreach Ministry, may the good Lord continue to bless them. We assure all that whatever support they give will be used for the glory of God.
Jacob P. Duorinah