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December 31, 2000: California church trailblazer for city's revitalization

December 24, 2000: New Jersey township retracts impediment to A/G congregation

December 10, 2000: Christmas stocking project brings hope, gifts to needy kids

November 26, 2000: A/G church looks to second half-century with founding pastor

November 19, 2000: Quest for souls occupies Christians during Olympics

November 12, 2000: Three ministers reaching their world

October 29, 2000: A/G Minister to ride to each state capitol, pray for nation

October 22, 2000: Art academy connects students with Creator

October 15, 2000: Columbine survivors share testimonies, hundreds respond

October 8, 2000: Graham conducts final evangelism conference

September 24, 2000: Independent congregation receives help from Lousiana A/G church

September 17, 2000: California ministry team breaking strongholds

August 27, 2000: Bold outreach touches hurting in Allentown

August 20, 2000: Baptist church gives A/G congregation its facility

August 13, 2000: Climbers conquer Kilimanjaro, help A/G

July 30, 2000: Chicago church, city partner to improve lives of women, children

July 9, 2000: New Mexico fires damage A/G families’ homes

June 25, 2000: God moves in Mississippi high school assembly

June 18, 2000: California skate park becomes 'teen church'

June 11, 2000: Convoy and partners team up to reach poor

May 28, 2000: Tornado damages A/G church in Texas

May 21, 2000: National Prayer Center ministry expands reach

May 14, 2000: Adventure, ministry on Pathfinder missions

April 30, 2000: Church reaching deaf students in Louisiana

April 23, 2000: 40-day fasts unite, renew A/G churches

April 9, 2000: Colorado church booms with bilingual services

March 26, 2000: Cell groups strengthen California youth group

March 19, 2000: Michigan church bounces back from brink of closing

March 12, 2000: A/G man holds world arm-wrestling title

February 27, 2000: A/G minister helps others get their wings

February 20, 2000: Former editor with Christ

 

Three ministers reaching their world

(November 12, 2000)

From her earliest recollection, Deborah M. Gill, pastor of Living Hope (Assemblies of God) in North Oaks, Minn., wanted to spend her life working for God.

"If He hadn’t called me, I’d been willing to be a volunteer," she says. "There was nothing I wanted to do more than follow Jesus."

Deborah M. Gill
Naomi Dowdy
Marigold Cheshier

To pay the bills she became a junior high school band teacher after attending the University of Minnesota. As she followed God’s call, she obtained a Ph.D. and filled several ministry and teaching positions around the world. Though she did not realize it at the time, these experiences were preparing her for pastoring Living Hope, a church in the suburbs of the Twin Cities.

One of the first things she did when she arrived at Living Hope two years ago was help transform it into a cell-based church. Since doing so, the number of conversions per year has tripled and five cell groups have resulted. Gill believes the cell groups are effective and successful because they are founded on relationships.

"Retention is very high because it [the cell group] is based on relational evangelism," she says. "When people come to the Lord through relationships, they tend to stick."

Developing cogent relationships and leading others to Christ have always stirred Gill’s heart. While in high school she held a Bible study and 40 of her classmates accepted Christ. The first student to accept the Lord now attends her church, which meets in a middle school theater.

"Part of my life’s mission statement is to be a best friend of Jesus," says Gill, "and to lead others in becoming the same."

In 1976, Naomi Dowdy, an Assemblies of God missionary, was evangelizing in Singapore when a small church asked if she would stay and pastor them. Dowdy was reluctant, but she agreed to stay for six months. Twenty-four years later, Trinity Christian Centre has grown into one of the largest churches in Singapore. Each weekend the church ministers to thousands of people.

"I agreed with God to be a missionary," says Dowdy. "Then came this opportunity [at Trinity]. I knew I had to say yes or walk out on the plan of God."

In the years since, the church has become an ever-expanding, missions-minded, cell-based church. In Singapore and other countries the church has trained thousands of pastors to make the transition from being traditional churches to cell-based churches.

"God has spoken to us as a church to release what He has given to us to the nations," says Dowdy. "Community transformation leads to city transformation, which eventually leads to nation transformation."

Dowdy met God when she was 9 years old, but strayed from Him until she was in her mid-20s. After coming back to the Lord, she left a promising computer career for the mission field.

"I just went by faith, without support," she says of her trek to the Marshall Islands.

A few years later she came into the Assemblies of God. Today, Trinity Christian Centre operates a seminary where 300 students are enrolled. They broadcast the message of Christ’s love throughout Asian countries, including India and China, via radio and television and have given millions of dollars to missions.

"It is amazing to see what God has done," says Dowdy. "Faith is key. We walk by faith not by sight."

Marigold Cheshier, an Assemblies of God evangelist, began preaching at her father’s church when she was a child. When she was 13, several churches called and asked her to come and speak. Her summer break that year was spent traveling from church to church telling others about Christ.

"When I was a child, I was very conscious of the things of God and I loved Him with all of my heart," she says. "I love people, and I love preaching."

Cheshier and her family are no strangers to pain and suffering — nor are they unfamiliar with God’s healing power.

While the Cheshiers were pastoring in Louisiana, their then 7-year-old son, Mike, accidentally lit himself on fire. Though his injuries left him with scars, his life was spared. Fifteen years ago, Marigold’s doctors told her to go home to die because inoperable tumors had ravaged her body.

"God had a plan to heal me as a testimony to people we minister to. I now tell people through the name of Jesus I was healed," says Marigold. "Our testimonies are the springboard so that God’s name can be glorified."

Marigold and her husband, Michael, also an A/G evangelist, and son Mike spend most of their days on the road evangelizing in America and Africa.

"God will never ask us to do anything that He will not equip us to do," she says. "I love to evangelize and reach those who are hopeless. Our dependence is on Him."

— Kirk Noonan

 

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