My wife Krista and I have been a part of the Central community since the end of 2011. We were first a part of this community as congregants and now we are blessed to be a part of the staff. One of the things that we first noticed, and that really attracted to us to the church, was the commitment to missions. In fact, one of the first things we did as part of the church was being a part of the Touch a Life Cebu trip in 2012.
Ever since that first impression, I have only become more and more impressed with Central and missions. One of the first things I say about Central, when talking to people I meet, is that we “punch above our weight” in missions, we provide resources for missions that is uncommon for a church our size. I have seen this truth as a participant on Touch a Life Cebu, as part of the mission board, as chair of the mission board, as a leader of mission trips to Grand Portage, and now as a member of the staff who works with the mission committee. We have a senior pastor who is committed to missions and visiting and supporting our missionaries, and we have members of the congregation who support missions and missionaries, and also are still missionaries themselves.
A couple examples we have seen recently include the fundraiser organized by Dr. Clarence Bass to send books to theological colleges in India, the commitment of Sid Teske to his clown ministry around the world, and the work of Dick Varberg to rehab lawn mowers and using the proceeds of this work to support missionaries in the Philippines and elsewhere in the world. In the past calendar year our church has sent 4 individuals to the Santisuk School in Thailand, with plans for more in the upcoming months.
There are many great things happening in missions, and here are a few things I would like to highlight:
Missions Conference, November 19
The annual Central Missions Conference will take place on Sunday, November 19. The Conference will start during the Sunday school hour at 9:15, include a time during the worship service, will be the focus of the sermon, and will also include a time following the service. The full details of the day are still being worked out, but we do know that the focus of the Conference will be outreach to the Muslim community in St. Paul.
Last November, Bruce Adamson, a missionary supported by Central, gave a presentation to the Missions Committee, and this led to a follow up meeting with Pastor Joel and myself. As a result of the conversations, we found out about some of the work that is being done by churches and ministries to reach out to these communities in the Twin Cities and we were able to forge some partnerships with people who are currently engaged in this work. Two of the leaders of the initiative are David Dutrieuille and Jay Perske, of Sarreen Ministries. David and Jay have created a method of reaching out to Muslims which involves meeting with “People of Peace” from Muslim communities and building bridges to Jesus.
Pastor Joel and I have begun a monthly meeting with David and Jay, along with 3 other local pastors in the area. We are developing our group and training for outreach and interaction. Included in this training are visits to Mosques, which all members of the Central staff took part in. We are soon moving to the next phase of the outreach plan.
This current work has dovetailed nicely with a new initiative being developed by John Baxter of Converge Worldwide. John is the director of Diaspora Ministries for Converge, and he recently brought together several pastors from around the Twin Cities at the headquarters of Converge North Central (MIBC) and presented a new model that is being developed to reach out to the diaspora community around us. This model is still in the development stage, and there will hopefully be more information soon.
At the Missions Conference, we are expecting presentations from Jay and David, and Bruce Adamson. We are still working on other presenters for the day. You are invited to join us at Central on Sunday, November 19 for a great Missions Conference covering some of the new work that is happening at Central and around the Twin Cities. A lunch will be served that day. Stay tuned for more details!
Santisuk School, Thailand
Last fall, three individuals from Central, Mike Rowe, and David and Carol Jahnke, were able to spend a month at the Santisuk School in Bangkok, Thailand, in support of the ministry of Steve and Napoluck Cable. This past summer, Rachel McGill spent a month of her own at Santisuk. Rachel wrote several emails about her experience and also shared with the congregation on Kickoff Sunday, September 10. If you would like to learn more about her trip, feel free to contact the church office.
All of that to say that the Santisuk School still has a great need for volunteers to serve for a month in Thailand. If you have any interest in being one of these volunteers, you are invited to contact the church office or the Missions Committee. The Central Mission Committee has designated money to help defer some of the cost of the trip. We also have some individuals who have expressed interest in going to Santisuk over the next several months, but we need more! We would love to partner with you if you feel that the Lord is calling you to Thailand.
Give to Missions!
Finally, just a reminder that we rely on your generosity to fund the work of missions of the Missions Committee. The missions budget is separate from the general budget, so any giving to missions has to be designated as such. This can be done either through designating on the offering envelop or online giving.
Thank you for your generosity in supporting missions. If you want to learn more about the missionaries that we support, I invite you to check out the prayer letters that are in the Missions slot next to the entrance to the sanctuary. If you have any questions or comments, please don’t hesitate to ask, you can reach me in the church office or at firstname.lastname@example.org.