May 2, 2023
Paul writes that we might “be blameless and innocent, children of God without blemish in the midst of a crooked and twisted generation, among whom you shine as lights in the world,” (Philippians 2:15). I find this humorous in a weird way. 2,000 years ago, Paul was saying that THAT generation was crooked and twisted. I suppose it hasn’t changed much throughout human history. Regardless, in THIS crooked and twisted generation, may we shine as lights in the world!
1. Thanks to so many of you who continue to pray for my wife, Janna, and her health issues. On Wednesday, May 3, she is to have knee replacement surgery on her “other” leg. It has been a long, long road, and she has endured a lot of pain and many surgeries (two knee and two back surgeries) over the past seven months. We pray this upcoming surgery will alleviate at least some of the pain, if not the majority.
2. Over the past couple of weeks, I’ve been involved in the National Pastors’ Orientation (NPO) in San Diego, followed by the U.S. BFL meeting and then Leadership Board meeting, then flew to Washington (state) for Multiply Board meetings. It was a long, 11-day trip with lots of sitting, but there were many good discussions, and I was again reminded that God is definitely at work among us!
3. About the NPO: several pastors and spouses who are either new to their positions or new to the USMB family attended, and it was a great time for these servants to develop new relationships and learn more about our wonderful national family. Several U.S. BFL members and agency and educational reps were present to provide pertinent information. The next NPO is planned for two years from now as we return to the biennial schedule.
4. You may have already read that the Christian Leader magazine was given an award of merit at the recent Evangelical Press Association Christian media convention for “Most Improved Print Publication.” The competition included magazines such as Christianity Today, Sojourners, Focus on the Family, The Voice of the Martyrs and many others. The CL also received awards for its Frontlines column and a feature article. Congratulations to editor, Connie Faber, and associate editor, Janae Rempel!
5. I’ve been writing about some challenging subjects in my Christian Leader national director column over the past few issues. I feel that we need to address these topics. These articles are just from me. For the May/June issue of the Christian Leader I’ve written about Christian nationalism and its effects on the church today. Let’s make sure our allegiance is to Jesus first and foremost!
6. May 10-14 is the International Community of Mennonite Brethren (ICOMB) Summit in Abbotsford, BC, Canada, and I will be attending. Many leaders from other national MB conferences will be present as we join together and discuss how MBs can serve and connect throughout the world. Please pray for this Summit as relationships are strengthened and decisions are made. Also, Ed Boschman has served on the ICOMB executive team as treasurer for many years, and he will be passing the baton to Bob Davis as our next USMB ICOMB rep following the Summit. Thanks, Ed!
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 almost $19,000 toward the MB Foundation match of $27,500! The first church to receive funding has been selected: Christian Center the Hand of God in Hamilton, Ohio.
8. 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.
9. Several Zoom meetings and on-site meetings are on my calendar in the next couple of weeks. There are also some significant issues (concerns) that are currently on my plate – prayers are appreciated.
10. Overall: Please pray for me that the Lord might grant discernment, direction, stamina, wisdom, compassion, understanding, gentleness and grace. Thanks for your prayers!
USMB National Director
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