Category Archives: With Our Missionaries

God’s Call to Mission When Ministry Shifts

Discerning God’s Call to Missions

By Chris Kroeker

Editor’s Note: This article is the fourth of a six-part series on God’s call and discernment. The first three articles were published in the January, March and May 2021 issues. The first article by Nancy Friesen (January 2021) was not labelled as part of the series.

PARAGUAY – As a missionary kid (MK) growing up in the jungles of East Paraguay, life was filled with danger and excitement. In 1965, Dad and others started to dream of using radio to bring the gospel to the indigenous people of Paraguay. The Lord heard their prayers and, ten years later, Radio ZP-30 began.

When I was five and felt scared and unprepared to die, Mom helped me receive Jesus into my heart. From a young age, I felt God wanted me to be a missionary—even though I was shy and did not like big groups or a lot of attention. The only gift I could offer was my desire to serve him.

As a young teen, Dad allowed me to work as a disc jockey at Radio ZP-30. Later, I moved to East Paraguay and learned responsibility at my first real job. I loved soccer, youth and my new dirt bike. I soon noticed the Friesen twins; my heart pounded when I was around one of them. Their brothers shared my interests and we became good friends. I was delighted to help transport the girls to community events with my dirt bike.

Eventually I got up the courage to ask Revita out. We studied the Bible and prayed together. She made me a card with Proverbs 16:9 on it, which has become the motto of our lives: “In their hearts human beings plan their lives. But the Lord decides where their steps will take them” (NIRV). We dreamed of a future together, but I had to know: if the Lord called me to be a missionary far or near, could she see herself accompanying this call? She said, “Yes, where you go, I’ll go.”

We married in 1987 and moved to Rosenort, Man., to work and serve in Rosenort EMC. After completing studies at Steinbach Bible College in 1990, we prayed and applied to the EMC Board of Missions. We were open to wherever the Lord would direct.
A short-term schoolteacher was needed for MKs in Caaguazú, Paraguay; in 1991, we left for Paraguay with our infant son. Teaching seven kids in five different grades was difficult, but with Revita’s support and p ayer, I made it through. We joined Ken and Val Zacharias in a church plant, discipling new believers as we were being discipled.

In time, the Lord led us back to Tres Palmas into full-time radio ministry for 12 years. Revita started counselling and mentoring Paraguayan women, and we noticed the need for a Spanish church in Tres Palmas. As we helped plant this church, the Lord gave us a passion to help marriages and families.

After terminating our ministry at Radio Mensajero and taking a leave of absence, we joined the church plant in Minga Guazú in 2012. The Lord has directed our steps to prepare ourselves better to care for people’s hearts, providing counselling and hope for marriages and relationships. “Caring for the Heart – Paraguay” is now our main ministry.

Chris and Revita Kroeker (Rosenort EMC) have served with EMC Missions in East Paraguay since 1991.

Coastal Move a Dream Come True

By Mary Beth George

PERU – The Lord leads and guides in mysterious ways. Sometimes our dreams seem forever lost and then, in the twinkling of an eye, they come to fruition in ways we never thought possible. It was this way with our dream to move to the Peruvian coast.

When I came to Peru as a long-term missionary in 2008, the plan was to do church planting on the coast with Jim and Vegas Dargatz. They say flexibility is an important quality in a missionary! At that time, the Dargatzes were suddenly needed to give leadership to Camp La Joya instead, so I decided to live in the big city of Arequipa where I would have a support team. There was plenty to do!

Allen and Amy’s coastal church planting dream began after they couldn’t find a church to attend while on a family vacation during the summer of 2010. They decided to wait until the kids were out of school before pursuing a solution to this problem. Allen was field director at the time and there weren’t any good schools for the kids to attend in the small coastal towns. Then Amy passed away, closing the door on a season and bringing Allen’s future plans under evaluation.

When we started dating, one of the first questions Allen asked me was how I’d feel about doing church planting on the coast! Neither of us knew about the other’s dream. For me, our mutual perspective was evidence of the Lord’s careful tying together of our lives.

Last July, after dropping off our youngest son in Michigan at his aunt and uncles’, Allen and I started praying for a team of Peruvians to join us—particularly a couple willing and trained to pastor a church plant. In December, a friend of ours remembered a young man who had just graduated from seminary and suggested him as a possibility. We talked to the young man’s pastor at Las Flores Baptist Church (Peruvian church protocol), and he was instantly enthusiastic about our proposition and methodology.

After much prayer, thought and an exploratory trip to the coast, seminary graduate Pastor Elvis and his wife Rosita have decided to join the team! His congregation has been very involved in their decis ion-making process over the last few months and are eager to support the plant as a daughter church.

They plan to s nd evangelistic teams to visit the chosen location once a month while we are on home assignment from June 2021 to February/March 2022 and the couple will use this time to fundraise so they can dedicate their full energy to the plant. When we return, Elvis and Rosita will move to the coast with us to officially launch the church.

We see the Lord’s hand moving strongly in these prayerfully-laid plans and we know that he will take care of the unknowns. Your prayers are also greatly appreciated as we take the gospel to a very unreached part of Peru.

Mary Beth and Allen George (Blumenort Community Church) are with Serving in Mission in Peru.

God’s Call to Mission When a Door Closes

Discerning God’s Call to Missions

By Dallas Wiebe

Editor’s Note: This article is the third of a six-part series on God’s call and discernment. The first two articles were published in the January and March 2021 issues. The first article by Nancy Friesen (January 2021) was not labelled as part of the series.

MEXICO – Our call to missions as a couple is the same call every disciple of Jesus has received to be a witness of his love (2 Corinthians 5:17–21, Matthew 28:18–20, Acts 1:8). The differences are the locations where we live that out and the specific ways God asks us to serve him. That being said, our personal story began before my wife and I met. Continue reading God’s Call to Mission When a Door Closes

Why Associate as an Associate?

Central Asia—We love the Evangelical Mennonite Conference! We value the connections we have made over the years in the EMC. We appreciate the staff and the leaders and the members from so many different backgrounds. And so, when we started the process of moving into a new ministry overseas, we knew we wanted to keep connected with the EMC. Continue reading Why Associate as an Associate?

Discerning God’s Call to Missions: Responding to God’s Call as a Family

by Angel Infantes

Editor’s Note: This article is the second of a six-part series on God’s call and discernment. The first article by Nancy Friesen (not labelled as part of the series) was published in the January 2021 issue.

In my previous mission assignment I was given an illustration to discern God’s call. Like a ship coming in to port should line up three lights to dock safely, so Christians need to line up three lights to discern God’s will: the Word, the church leaders and the voice of the Spirit. The agreement of these three reaffirmed the direction I sensed. But now, married with children, I found more lights to consider. Continue reading Discerning God’s Call to Missions: Responding to God’s Call as a Family

God’s Faithfulness in Trying Times

by Phil and Ellen Koop

2020 is the year of COVID, quarantines, working from home, financial struggles, health problems, loss of loved ones and all sorts of turmoil. As we come to the end of this year, many of us have stories of disappointments, missed opportunities, and intense grief from our losses, but we also have stories of God’s faithfulness and his abundant provision. Here is our story:

During this pandemic, God is still working, still sovereign and still owns the cattle on a thousand hills. Continue reading God’s Faithfulness in Trying Times

Call to Mission in Bolivia

by Nancy Friesen

“‘For I know the plans I have for you,’ declares the Lord, ‘plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future’” (Jeremiah 29:11).

What is God’s calling for my life? This question is a source of mystery, frustration and confusion. Does God really have a detailed plan for each one of us, or is God’s call more general, with the details left up to us? Continue reading Call to Mission in Bolivia

The Time I Was Almost Famous

by Alex Reimer

GERMANY – Let me tell you about a time I was almost famous.

A few years ago, some of my friends and I made a YouTube channel. For a year we wrote and produced a short video every two weeks. We tried westerns, we tried superheroes, we dabbled in comedic horror and bad puns. Some of it was funny; everything was original.

Continue reading The Time I Was Almost Famous

Empowerment the Key to Self-Sustainability

by Gordon and Sharon Skopnik

UGANDA/SOUTH SUDAN – The people of South Sudan have witnessed incredible violence, fled their homes, and suffered immensely because of lack of food, clean water, and shelter. Many continue to suffer or are paralyzed with fear and poverty. Serving South Sudan will bring a church planting model that promotes, sustainable development to grassroots communities providing clean drinking water, economic empowerment, social integration, church empowerment, and education.

Continue reading Empowerment the Key to Self-Sustainability