The Great Commission
God's Wisdom: Our Mission
|All morning||Write A Missionary table (front patio)|
|8am Ess. of the Faith (U62)||Colin McDougall Sr.|
|8am Friendship Class (H20)||Ken & Kathy Hoffman|
|9am Women of Grace (U30)||Urbana Team (Kristina/Abi)|
|9am Spanish Ministry (H20)||Doug Weber|
|10:45am CODkids (U20/21)||International Food Fest|
|9 & 10:45am services||David Schaller: God’s Wisdom for the Nations / Interview with Mark & Esther Weathers|
|7pm Bower/Kozelchik HUB||Ken & Kathy Hoffman|
|7pm Gregorich/Robinson HUB||Ed & Judy Underwood|
|7pm COD Youth (Hillside)||Doug Weber|
|7pm Anderson/Winters HUB||Colin McDougall Sr.|
|7pm Kuiper/Konoske HUB||Ken & Kathy Hoffman|
|7pm Ketterling/Easton HUB||Mark & Esther Weathers|
|11:30am PrimeTime/WMF Lunch||Doug Weber|
|7pm Salmo/Austria HUB||Steve Quatro|
|All morning||Write A Missionary table (front patio)|
|8am Ess. of the Faith (U62)||Steve Quatro|
|8am Friendship Class (H20)||Colin McDougall Sr.|
|9am COD Youth (Hillside)||Urbana Team (Kristina/Tyler)|
|10:45am CODkids (U20/21)||Urbana Team (Abi/Ryan/Mariah)|
|9 & 10:45am services||Ed Underwood / Lord’s Table with missionaries|
|5pm Missionary Kahoot!||All-Church Dinner & Game Show|
Bower/Kozelchik – Amy Bower: 626 233 6796
Gregorich/Robinson – John Gregorich: 626 497 5592
Anderson/Winters – Shawn Winters: 562 652 4125
Kuiper/Konoske – Charlie Konoske: 626 625 9653
Kettering/Easton – Dave Easton: 626 233 6454
Salmo/Austria – Ericson Salmo: 626 224 6640
Stories of the Year
The churches that we planted among the Daasanach in northern Kenya are struggling without trained pastors. So last year we invited them to send someone down to us for training. They sent Amos Lobwangolei, who grew up with our son Stewart and is now about 28 years old. Amos lives on our compound and provides night watch security for one of our mission compounds in the city. He and his colleague Paul have been studying the Bible all year under the instruction of my partner Brian Hoffman. When school is out, Amos goes home to Ileret and shares the Scripture lessons he has learned.
We hope that early in 2019 we will be able to officially open the Northern Bible Training Center in Marsabit, Kenya, but in the meantime our great joy is to see these two men grow in their ability to study and teach the Word of God with a view to shepherding His people.
In recent days we took a woman to the hospital, who could not walk because of what appeared to be overly sensitive nerves on the bottom of her feet. We prayed for her at her house that she would get a good sleep, and she did. We prayed for her complete healing, took her to the hospital on two separate days, and she subsequently went to church and was prayed over. She walked out the church on her own two feet! Today we were at a relative’s house who had witnessed this event. We brought them Bibles. They heard and read about the Christmas story, (voraciously), and I shared the gospel to all present. On the way back, the man of the house said, “I would like to become a Christian, but I am concerned for my three wives…” I shared that Jesus loves all people including his three wives. He wants them all to be saved. “If you want to be a leader in the church, you will have to do something about your wives. But come to Jesus and bring all of your family!” He was all smiles and thanked us for our visit.
Something I’ve wanted for my time in Spain was to get involved in a Spanish church. Having never gone to a church besides COD, I was curious, and to be honest, daunted and nervous about how God would lead me in finding a new church. In “Google” searching nearby Christian churches that were close to a bus route, I discovered this church called Emaus. From the moment I entered the doors, I felt welcomed and embraced by them. It’s a small group, largely made up of immigrants from all over Latin America. At a women’s gathering the other night, I was surrounded by women from Ecuador, Cuba, Peru, Bolivia, Spain, etc! As I was sitting among these women, an immigrant to Spain myself, I was struck by the sacredness of that moment. God reminded me once again that we are all in this faith journey together and the Lord is interconnecting our lives in miraculous ways for His name. I asked the Peruvian woman next to me how she found the church and she said through the internet as well! What a needed reminder that the Lord is at work in all our dealings, even a ‘Google search’.
We started our year helping Kris, Heather and family move to Spain. It was wonderful to be able to help them and to experience their new life there. Helping take care of four active kids, helping with cooking, shopping and laundry for eight at my age wore me out! We returned home and had two weeks to prepare to fly to the Philippines.
We were there during the hottest time of the year and I knew I would be involved with hospitality and teaching English for 4 to 6 hours a week. When I received the schedule for my classes, I was very surprised to find out I had three different classes for 11 hours of teaching a week. We also had the students, staff and their children over every Friday and Sunday nights as well as the weekly staff meeting, serving snacks each time. I knew I did not have the strength or stamina to keep up with this heavy schedule and that I would need to trust that “God’s grace would be sufficient for me and that His power would be made perfect in my weakness“ II Cor. 12:9.
God was indeed faithful and sufficient and gave me the health, strength and stamina. At the farewell that the staff and students had for us, the students were all so gracious and shared that they had learned so much and had improved their English. Two of the young men shared that before the classes they were not speaking English, but now they were! They all wanted me to stay and teach them in the next school year. This was such a work of the Lord and not of me! I went into nursing because I knew teaching was not my thing.
Each trip we take God stretches us and shows us His strength in our weaknesses. Thank you all for your prayers on our behalf!! We need them and rely on them!
When we relocated to northern Indiana, I had no idea we would be living so close to Amish country. If we travel south or east, we pass through Amish communities, requiring us to slow down for the horse-and-buggies on the road. Each time we passed a buggy, my missionary heart would wonder if the people inside were saved. Did they really know Jesus? Were they saved by grace through faith, or were they trapped in a world of legalism and tradition? I also wondered how one would go about breaking into their private and mysterious community. Often as I passed an Amish buggy, I would pray secretly that the Lord would give me the opportunity to befriend an Amish family one day. That day came on October 30, 2018.
On that day we were invited, along with a group from our church, to an Amish family’s home for dinner. The connection was made through a friend. The food was delicious and the conversation fascinating. Our hosts were friendly and open, and we were allowed to ask all kinds of questions about their life and beliefs. After dinner, they took us to a sports complex that Vernon, our host, ran for the youth of the community. A group of Amish young people were about to rehearse a presentation that they would perform to the community the following Saturday night. They invited us to sit and listen to several songs as they rehearsed. Before we left, we were invited to return for the full presentation on Saturday.
A few of us were able to return that next weekend. We were told that out of the 1,000 people in attendance, only 20 of us were not part of the Amish community. We felt privileged to have been invited. We were informed that the young people would soon be travelling to Lancaster County to share their program with their Pennsylvania cousins. But shortly before their departure in early December, Vernon sent word that he and his wife would like to have dinner with us. So we invited them to dinner along with the couple who had originally introduced us to them. We had another wonderful evening together, and after dinner Vernon asked us to tell him one of the stories that we had mentioned in passing back in October. The story was about the night a local pastor and I were under threat of being burned to death in the remote community of El Tablon, Ecuador, where we planted a church. Vernon asked for permission to tell this story to the young people as they made their way to Pennsylvania in a few days. I think our story resonated with him, because one of the skits in the youth program was about the persecution that the Anabaptists faced in Europe before they began to migrate to the US.
We have not been in touch with Vernon and Leona since their return to Indiana in December, but we look forward to seeing where the Lord will take this new found friendship and learning more about their faith and practices in the Amish community.
Reflections on attending the Urbana ’18 Missions Conference
Going into this I felt like one recurring theme was submitting my power, having humility enough to submit to others. I think that’s a theme I’ve continued to see here studying Revelation. Jesus was victorious because of His submission, and that’s a great reminder to me to reflect on that in my own life. – Michael Dubisz
I think I’m learning that despite all the different beliefs under the umbrella of “Christianity”, God can use anyone for His purpose. Even though I may disagree with some things that have been said, I’m still certain that He’s using me to further His kingdom. – Ryan Trerise
Honestly, I’m really excited because I feel like I am learning from examples set before me on how to step out in faith and reach people around the world through my passion for business and the gospel. – Tyler Elder
I feel like God is speaking out the next steps of how I can impact His kingdom and I have been so inspired by how others have discerned His call to cross cultural encounters. It’s scary exciting! – Kristina Newkirk
I was really encouraged by the testimonies of the people who are pressing in and making disciples on college campuses and in Muslim communities. – David Schaller
The Cuenca family congregates in the Lamb of God Church (Cordero de Dios) in Loja. When we met them, we were impressed to know that they served fervently in their church, in spite of their limited education, with generous hearts and full of encouragement.
Servio, the father, had the opportunity to be a part of ESI, in one of the first two groups in the history of Equipping Servants in Loja, Ecuador. His wife was also part of the first group of women who completed ESI. Due to their very long work days and their lack of education, it was a challenge for both of them to make time to complete all of their homework. Week after week, though, both came with work complete and ready to participate with their classmates. It was encouraging to see how each one, little by little, became respected by the others in their groups as they shared from their studies what they were learning about each topic of study. They could always be counted on to share insightful and heartfelt comments with their groups. Both Servio and his wife completed the ESI program. They continue to be an encouragement to those around them and in their church, especially when they have an opportunity to share or teach God’s Word.
Most recently their two sons, David and Juan Pablo, also had the opportunity to participate in the ESI university students’ group. David stood out from group and was selected to preach at the closing ceremony as their group successfully completed the ESI process. As we were planning the closing ceremony for that semester, the Cuenca family felt the call by God to go back to their hometown of Orianga, part of the Loja province, to plant a church. This is a very rural area that has been in need of a Bible teaching church and the Cuenca family is answering the need by obeying God’s call.
It is amazing to see how God is working in people who study His Word, read edifying Christian literature to build their character, and are accountable to others in their personal lives. We had the privilege of saying goodbye when they left to plant a new church in late July of 2018.
This year we took on the role of “class sponsors” for the 9th grade class. We were thrilled to be asked to lead this group. We will be this class’ leaders for the next four years until they graduate. We have 13 students in our group. It is one of the biggest classes at the school. We lead small group time with them, pray for them regularly, spend time with them, encourage them and support them in whatever ways they need. The first week of school, the middle & high schoolers go to camp. It was a great start to the school year to spend with everyone, but especially with our 9th graders. We also get to do fun class activities with them. Last semester we went and did paintball and had a class Christmas party at our house. For the next event we are going bowling. We love that we get to walk alongside these students through all four years of high school.