Using the power of faith: the people of 2020
Witten, Rohmer, Simon—three different names, three different stories. All of them revolve around what can be accomplished with the power of faith—and how it can help the members to move forward: the people of 2020.
On the trail of the congregations
A good 500 congregations spread over more than 100,000 kilometres: for months, Bishop Alvin Witten and his wife, Jean, have been travelling through Mozambique. Their mission: to draw a map that incorporates all the New Apostolic congregations in the country—an ongoing adventure.
Naturally, the Church knows how many churches it has in Mozambique, but there is much that is still unclear. It is for this reason that Jean and Alvin Witten are travelling through the entire country to gather information: GPS coordinates, contact information, documents, and photos. They travel by car on roads where often only the adjacent green strips are passable, or on foot through the bush at temperatures of 48 degrees Celsius.
On one hand, the couple has made some terrifying experiences—for example, when they were caught up in the middle of a military firefight—but most of all, they have experienced many beautiful things: “We have had so many wonderful encounters with the members and ministers.” And they have made some rather curious experiences as well, for example when they stopped in to visit nine villages in the same day and received the gift of a chicken at each stop. “By the end of the day, we had a small farm in the back of our utility vehicle.”
Harmony without borders
Music is a unifying force: it was with this in mind that a group of volunteers brought together some 1,600 people from 50 countries on Pentecost to bring immense joy to hundreds of thousands of people all over the world.
It was completed just in time: the International Virtual Choir made its global debut with the Chief Apostle in the credits of the international Pentecost service. The headquarters of the group of volunteers behind this major project was in France. The participants performed under the baton of Nicolas Jean, while Laurent Boetzlé played the accompaniment on the organ. And twelve lead singers produced the music which the large crowd of participants then sang and recorded.
The wave of mobile videos came crashing down on Théo Rohmer and Cédric Rung. Together with District Elder Pascal Rohmer and his wife Cathy, they collected, reviewed, and edited some 80 hours of raw material—over the space of several day and night shifts—to produce an extremely enjoyable and moving hymn of praise: “What a friend we have in Jesus”.
Using the word of God to get the picture
Where other people might, at best, need a hymnal for the divine service, Natalie Simon from Wiesbaden requires a good deal more equipment: paper, a clipboard, and a whole bundle of specialty pencils. The 34-year-old listens, reflects, draws, and writes. Line by line, an image of the divine service comes into being. Some people call the drawings mind maps, while others describe them as sketch notes. The editors at nac.today referred to them as “God’s word in sketches”.
The primary and secondary school instructor, who teaches the subjects of music, German, and art, taught herself how to use these creative tools—initially for teaching purposes. She implemented the practice in a divine service at the Covic-19-related premiere of a YouTube broadcast in the District Church of Northern and Eastern Germany in the first quarter of 2020. With the support of some translators from nac.today, Natalie Simon even created different versions in four languages on Pentecost.
“We are thrilled!” was one reaction on Facebook, for example. “Thank you for this beautiful summary,” said another. The drawings “provide strength, comfort, and solidarity—and bring the divine service back to life for us!”