June 5, 2023
I receive emails from various people which indicate that several people do spend considerable time reading and studying the Bible. This always gives me a sense of gratitude, knowing that Scripture still has a powerful impact in many lives. May we strive to continue to be people of the Word.
21“He (Jesus) replied, ‘My mother and brothers are those who hear God’s word and put it into practice.’” (Luke 8:21)
1. As I’ve been saying for the past many months, thank you to so many of you who continue to pray for my wife, Janna, and her health issues. She is now one month out from her last knee replacement surgery. She continues to have a lot of swelling in that leg. We are very thankful that she has recently begun seeing a physical therapist who seems to understand what the underlying problem is and how to provide relief, even though that may take many weeks.
2. I recently spent a day with several other Anabaptist denominational national directors. We had a good time of sharing together and learning about how God is at work. These like-minded leaders have a passion for evangelism and for simply joining God in his work. We try to meet once a year. By the way, CMC (Conservative Mennonite Conference) is now known as the Rosedale Network of Churches, as they recently changed their name.
3. This week, I am in meetings in Fresno talking about how we might enhance MB missional work in the U.S. Please pray for this small “think tank” group coming together to pray and brainstorm.
4. USMB has added several new member churches over the past year or so (at least 10). Many of these are Congolese churches who have been through a lengthy process of learning about our MB family, having their pastors licensed by the appropriate district and making commitments to be an active part of this wonderful conference of churches. In return, I’m asking once again for MB churches to make long-term connections with another church, whether that be an immigrant church, another MB church close by or across the ocean. We can learn from one another and help one another do ministry better. Please consider making this a priority for your church if it hasn’t happened already.
5. I attended the ICOMB (International Community of Mennonite Brethren) Summit in Abbotsford, British Columbia, May 10-14. Many leaders from other national MB conferences were present, although most leaders from Africa and many from South America were unable to obtain visas to enter Canada. We missed having them there. The group was smaller than usual for a Summit, but we still had a wonderful time of sharing about what’s occurring around the MB world, praying for one another and learning together (workshops). Ed Boschman has served on the ICOMB executive team as treasurer for many years, and this Summit was his last. He passed the baton to Bob Davis, who will serve as our USMB ICOMB rep. Thanks, Ed, for your many years of serving us well!
6. You may have already heard that Rudi Plett, ICOMB executive director, will be ending his tenure Dec. 31, 2023. Elton DaSilva, executive director of the Canadian MB Conference of Churches, will take his place beginning Jan. 1, 2024. Elton will conclude his service with CCMBC this fall in preparation for taking on this new role with ICOMB.
7. The CORD program, with oversight from the Integrated Immigrant Council, continues to gain momentum. This is a platform where existing MB churches can partner with a Congolese church (MB). We have had donations of $20,000 toward the MB Foundation match of $27,500! Several individuals/couples and churches have made significant donations to this exciting program. Please feel free to join in. But, please, please, please don’t shift your support for your church, district or USMB to give to CORD – make this an additional way of serving and giving.
8. I’ll be taking some days off toward the end of June, early July. We’re praying that Janna is healthy enough to make a trip to see our six grandkids who live in the Kansas City area (we have 13 grandkids altogether). I also plan to lay some new tile in our kitchen/dining area. What fun!
9. Please pray for our expanding USMB staff. God has sent us amazing workers and the staff continues to slowly grow. These people are dedicated to serving Jesus through serving our USMB family. They work hard and are so very gifted. I thank God for each one: Donna, Connie, Janae, Brian, Henri, J.L., Lori.
10. By the way, Brian and Henri need to raise funds for their ministries as do I. Church giving continues to wane or is at minimum static, so fundraising is becoming more and more of a necessity if we are to provide the many ministry initiatives that truly make a difference. There is much to do. You can help us by going to our website!
11. Several Zoom meetings and on-site meetings are on my calendar in the next couple of weeks. Some significant issues (concerns) are currently on my plate – prayers are appreciated.
12. NOTE: I’m asking each of us to consider fasting and praying for 24 hours beginning the evening of July 7 through the evening of July 8. I feel God is asking us to go before Him in prayer – asking for a movement among us, to use us for His work, for renewed passion for evangelism and outreach. But above all, to spend time listening to His voice. To be in His presence and to worship. If you can’t fast from food, give up something else you do on a daily basis and spend that time in prayer. Will you join us?
13. Overall: Please pray for me that the Lord might grant discernment, direction, stamina, energy (added to the list), wisdom, compassion, understanding, gentleness and grace. Thanks for your prayers!
USMB National Director
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