What’s Been Happening
I am so thankful for the privilege of doing the work of ENGAGE Global Ministry Partnerships. The people I have worked with and the support I have received from family and friends has been such and encouragement. Thank you for being a part of this journey with me. God is working through our partnership to do things that are beyond any of us on our own. He is kind of amazing that way.
What I’ve Learned…
Thinking back to 2017 when this ENGAGE GMP journey began, there were so many questions and uncertainties. God has been so faithful. I can’t say that all of my questions have been answered or that all of my uncertainties have been made clear but I can say that God has been in the midst of it all. He has been working out His purposes and plans and giving me everything I need when I need it. There have been plenty of times that I have wanted to see the whole picture but that is only so that I feel that I have some kind of control of what is happening. God has shown me that the control I have wanted is better left in His hands. There is an amazing sense of comfort and freedom in knowing He has this.
A Season of Change for Michelle and I
Our son, Sam, has taken advantage of an opportunity to pursue his interest through an internship/training program at a large multi-site church in Quincy, IL. After a year in that program he was offered a full-time position in the church. His job is very technical and has to do with broadcast and internet stuff. It is clear to us that this is what he was made for. Sam’s
unique skill set and passion are maximized in his new job. He lives in Hannibal, MO, just a few miles from Quincy which is also where my sister and her family live.
Our daughter, Mikaela is studying Music Education at Carroll University in Waukesha, WI. We don’t get to see her nearly as much as we would like. Maybe as much as she would though… Michelle and I have enjoyed seeing her grow in her faith and mature as a strong young woman with goals and the drive to reach them. We haven’t been able to talk her into coming back up north after graduation yet. We’ll keep trying to convince God that He needs her closer to us.
Our youngest, Elise, is a senior in high school this year and seems to enjoy tormenting her mother with the fact that she will soon be leaving us too. She has enlisted in the Air Force as the first step in the pursuit of her dream. Her goal is to be a trauma counselor. That is just a reflection of her heart for others. Her desire to help those who are suffering. We look forward to seeing where God takes her in this.
We also lost my father this past year. My mother is doing well. She has moved to Missouri to be near my sister and her family. That is what she and Dad had been planning for a while. Sam being nearby is a bonus she has enjoyed immensely.
God is good and everything he does is for our good.
Painting Partners (equally covered in paint)
ENGAGE Global Ministry Partnerships is continuing to develop and grow. We have completed the first contract with Hope Community Church in Shawano which involved training up new leaders for the mission ministry of the church. The men and women who have stepped up to lead this ministry are passionate and committed to the growth of the ministry. Since I had a part in the initial development of the mission ministry at Hope, I feared it would be difficult to put it all into the hands of others but I believe these leaders will take it and make it better. They already have. Working with them has been a blessing to me.
Upon completion of the first contract with Hope, we moved immediately into another one focusing in some different directions. This has led to a trip to Uganda, East Africa along with Dustin Martzke this past year exploring new partnership possibilities. This year we have taken a team to the Philippines and have plans for a team to Haiti. A follow up visit to Uganda is also in the works. It is such a privilege to be a part of what God is doing at Hope.
Oakbrook Church in DePere, WI is the other church I have been blessed to work with for the past couple of years. This is a church that started to build a mission ministry from the ground up. Kerstin Westcott is a talented young woman who has led the charge in establishing a mission vision for the church and gathering together a group of passionate, capable and determined people to lead the mission ministry.
This group had set out to establish an international partnership as a central focus of their mission ministry. After 2 years of praying, planning, travelling and preparing they have now established a partnership with Pastor Diogene Pierre and a church in the village of Nan Paul, Haiti. This partnership is already yielding great benefits to Pastor Dio’s ministry in Haiti and to Oakbrook. It will be exciting to see where this partnership takes them and what long term impact it will have.
As I look into the future, I see doors beginning to open as more churches step up to the challenge of taking back their role in international missions. There are already new doors being opened as God is drawing church leaders to His mission outside of their own communities and regions to the uttermost parts of the earth.
This will mean that the support of ENGAGE GMP will be necessary to equip and train these leaders for work they may have very little experience with and guide them into global partnerships with long-term impact both at home and abroad.
Would You Pray?
Would you pray about some specific things for me?
- That I would be attentive to God’s leading and obedient in walking through the doors He opens.
- I would connect with the churches that God is already preparing for missions ministry expansion and growth.
- Pray for Haiti. The turmoil there is hurting people who have been hurting for so long already. Pray for peace and provision in a time when they are both scarce.
Check Out This Article
Things No One Tells You About Going on Short-Term Mission Trips
A few ways to make sure your mission trip is effective.
BY MICHELLE ACKER PEREZ
It is estimated that over 1.5 million people from the United States participate in short-term mission trips every year. That is a lot of people. And those 1.5 million people spend close to $2 billion for these trips.
My husband and I live in Guatemala and host short-term mission teams throughout the year. I am originally from California and he was born and raised in Guatemala. For me, short-term mission trips were kind of like camp. Every summer I had the
chance to go somewhere new and “help people.” For my husband, hosting short-term mission teams in Guatemala was part of what he and his family did. There were blessings that came from it, but it was mostly a lot of work.
We have both seen the good, the bad and the ugly of short-term missions. And we continue to feel this tension with the short-term mission teams that we host. Do they do more harm than good? Do they perpetuate the…
Cross-Cultural Servanthood: Serving the
World in Christlike Humility
by Duane Elmer
Duane Elmer is the G. W. Aldeen Professor of International Studies at Trinity Evangelical Divinity School in Deerfield, Illinois. In addition to traveling and teaching in over seventy-five countries, he has provided cross-cultural training to people from Fortune 500 companies, relief and development agencies, mission organizations, churches, and educational institutions.
Duane Elmer asked people around the world how they felt about Western missionaries. The response? “Missionaries could be more effective if they did not think they were better than us.” The last thing we want to do in cross-cultural ministry is to offend people in other cultures. Unfortunately, all too often and even though we don’t mean it, our actions communicate superiority, paternalism, imperialism, and arrogance. Our best intentions become unintentional insults. How can we minister in ways that are received as true Christlike service? Cross-cultural specialist Duane Elmer gives Christians practical advice for serving other cultures with sensitivity and humility. With careful biblical exposition and keen cross-cultural awareness, he shows how our actions and attitudes often contradict and offend the local culture. He offers principles and guidance for avoiding misunderstandings and building relationships in ways that honor others. Here
is culturally-savvy insight into how we can follow Jesus’ steps to become global servants. Whether you’re going on your first short-term mission trip or ministering overseas for extended periods, this useful guide is essential reading for anyone who wants to serve effectively in international settings with grace and sensitivity.
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