Tag Archives: Missions

Benny and Ester Fehr Assigned to Bolivia

by Ken Zacharias, Director of Global Outreach

Benny and Ester Fehr and their four children left for Bolivia in late January to begin ministry with EMC Missions. They arrived safely.

They have been assigned to lead the radio ministry for the MEM in the San Jose/Hacienda Verde area. A secondary assignment is to work alongside the youth in the Hacienda Verde church. The Fehrs are members in the Mount Salem Community Church (EMC) near Alymer, Ont., where they have served in the Pastor of Care position.

Why I’m Glad to be an EMCer

by Brad Brandt

I think the EMC has a rich history and a solid present reality that we need to talk about. In terms of diversity, we have members who speak Spanish, Mandarin, or Tagalog as well as English, Low German or High German. Numerous EMC churches work with Indigenous people on neighbouring reserves. We have churches that range from being quite conservative in practice and worship to those who would be less conservative and more contemporary in worship. We have a conference that works together in relative unity within that diversity of culture and language. Continue reading Why I’m Glad to be an EMCer

Angela Kruse: Who Will Hear the Name of Jesus From Your Lips?

by Angela Kruse

“From one man, He made every nation of men, that they should inhabit the whole earth; and He determined the times set for them and the exact places where they should live. God did this so that men would seek Him and perhaps reach out for Him and find Him” (Acts 17:26-27).

This passage of Scripture has spoken powerfully to us after returning this past June from Northern Uganda where more than one million Southern Sudanese crossed the border fleeing war and famine. The sheer number of refugees is overwhelming, yet what God is doing through this crisis must be proclaimed.

God has allowed one million Southern Sudanese into Uganda’s predominately Muslim North. Coincidence? We don’t think so. Christians are actively sharing the gospel with their Ugandan Muslim neighbours.

Our first Sunday in the town of Arua, northern Uganda, we attended a local Sudanese church that met under a mango tree. We recognized Martha from the Dinka tribe. Ten years previously, while serving in a Sudanese refugee camp in Ethiopia, we had sponsored her husband to attend a Bible school.

At a weekly Bible study that I held, Martha asked for prayer as her Ugandan neighbours were practicing witchcraft and she was deeply troubled. We prayed for protection and an opportunity for her to share the gospel. That week, the children in her neighbour’s home became ill. She brought them food, paid for their medicine, and shared the gospel. Barely managing to feed and clothe her six children, she shared Christ to her neighbours in word and deed.

While over 80 per cent of the population are women and children, dozens of active churches proclaiming Christ each Sunday in every refugee camp. Women serve the sick and the poorest among them while caring for relatives’ children and orphans in addition to their children. Pastors and evangelists have joined different denominations of churches together so they can more effectively use their limited resources. Children and youth choirs actively praise God each Sunday morning and share the gospel during the week.

The refugee camps in Northern Uganda have become hubs for training Sudanese leaders in church planting, leadership, TEE and discipleship. The refugee camps and towns are a safe for women to raise their children while their husbands continue ministry in volatile places.

How should we respond to refugees or immigrants entering our countries from places that are hard to send missionaries? God is using circumstances like war, famine, and persecution so that every nation might hear the good news of Jesus Christ.

How should we respond? Recognize God is actively at work. Be ready to help God’s people in need. Practice hospitality and share the gospel in word and deed. Refugees are coming to our towns and cities. Do they see your spiritual fervour and your faithfulness in prayer? Who will hear the name of Jesus from your lips?

Angela and Rolf Kruse (Rosenort FC) serve with SIM in Uganda.

Opportunities with EMC Missions

Short-Term Missions

Ascend Internship

Is God stirring your heart towards missions? Get a comprehensive understanding of EMC Missions and prepare for future service. You will work alongside career missionaries and get a context in which to develop your gifts in outreach, leadership, intercession and discipleship.

Bolivia

Interested in teaching in a cross-cultural setting? Two schools, one in Villa Nueva and one in Hacienda Verde, are in need of teachers for the coming year. Many students come from academically impoverished groups, such as Low German Mennonites from the colonies. These schools were started to address the need for better education and are growing and thriving.

Prayer Team

Are you passionate about prayer ministry? Discover the power of prayer and worship in a cross-cultural setting. Pray with our EMC missionaries and local believers as together we seek to strategically advance Christ’s Kingdom as God envisions it.

Long-Term Missions

Bolivia

Have a passion for Low German people? Help fill the need for more workers in Bolivia! The breakdown in religion and education has left many in this area in great poverty. We are partnering with others in bringing new hope through intentional discipleship, education and economic development. Languages to learn/know: Spanish and Low German.

Canada

Be part of a church planting team! We are looking for individuals and couples with a vision for church planting. Requirements: long hours, persistence, cheerful attitude, fervent prayer, team spirit. Rewards: seeing God at work, fellowship, adventure.

Guadalajara

Are you interested in being part of a team seeking to reach Guadalajara, Mexico, for Christ? Use your gifts and skill sets to build relationships with nationals and be Jesus with skin on. Languages to learn/know: Spanish.

 

For more information or to get involved call 204-326-6401 or email info@emconference.ca.

Burkina Faso: Tubabu Salesman

by Paul Thiessen

I roam through the bustling crowds of the Saturday market and listen for someone calling my name, “Bwallon Kén!”We exchange all the necessary greetings, then he says, “Ma tè” (What’s the news?) So I tell them that I’m selling Siamou calendars.

I pull out a blue calendar and explain the attractive features, especially the five days of the Siamou week, and show them how they can find which is today. They love it. This is, indeed, a Siamou calendar.

The men are making china green tea with their tiny enamel teapots and charcoal burner. The aroma of hot tea and glowing coals fills the air. They offer me some in the middle of my presentation. Very sweet. Very strong. Very delicious. 

I read them all the names of the months in Siamou: “Cold Weather Month, Hot Weather Month, Very Hot Weather Month, Pick up the Daba Month, Seeding Month….”

Next, I show them the Noah story. Each month has a short paragraph of this story. I begin to read the first two paragraphs in Siamou: Noah was a righteous man. He walked with God. But the people were evil and rebelled against God. So God told Noah to build a large boat.

By now a small crowd has gathered. Here is a Tubabu (white man) reading Siamou out loud. They have never seen such a thing before. I read extra loud to attract attention. More people are coming to listen. Siamou people are hearing a Bible story in their beloved language for the first time.

Then I tell the rest in Siamou, because reading it all would take too long there in the middle of the market. I emphasize that it rained 40 days, using the Siamou word for “forty” (kpélnkrô). This number impresses the listeners, because young people say “binani” (in Jula, the trade language) even when they are talking Siamou. Hearing the genuine Siamou word for the number 40 gets people excited. This story is being told in pure Siamou.

I tell the story pointing to the pictures on each page. Then I get to the end, where Noah is lifting up his hands toward God to thank Him for saving his family.

About halfway through the story, someone is digging in his pocket for change. He hands me 300 fcfa, and I give him a calendar. Someone else says, “The price is too high. Lower the price.” I answer: “We paid the printshop in Ouagadougou 500 fcfa for each of these. You are already getting a good deal.” Out comes 300 fcfa. They know this is a good deal.

They love hearing their language and they love the prestige it gives Siamou people and the Siamou language to hear a Tubabu reading it.

After selling a few calendars I go home and pray that God will use this story of Noah to lead people toward the Truth, toward God, and toward Eternal Life.

Paul Thiessen (Blumenort), currently living in Canada, has served in Burkina Faso, west Africa, for many years.

Window on Missions: What, a Changed Funding Model?

By Tim Dyck and Ken Zacharias

What? EMC Missions Wants to Change the Missionary Support Model?   

Yes, you read that correctly. The Board of Missions will be presenting a proposal to Conference Council in November for some missionaries. The proposal will be to move from 100% support of ministry to a blended model. The missionary family will raise 40% with the other 60% to come from the EMC General Budget. The change described here only applies to EMC-administered missionaries serving in Guadalajara (Mexico), Bolivia, and Paraguay at this time.

Note: EMC Missions also supports Associate Missionaries who serve with partner agencies. The number of Associate Missionaries has remained about the same since the 1980s and they already operate on a blended model, receiving a subsidy from the General Budget.

Why is the Change Necessary?

The current model has been in place since EMC Missions was founded as a Missions Committee in 1953. At that time, the suggested donation from every congregation was one cent per member per day. Amazingly, this was almost enough to pay the entire cost of the missionaries at that time!

Since then, the number of EMC-administered missionaries grew steadily, along with the finances needed to support them, reaching a high point in the 1980s. This was followed by a period of gradual decline in the numbers of missionaries serving directly under EMC administration. The amount of funding for EMC missions is also declining, especially in the past number of years, while inflation increases the costs of supporting missionaries.

The board recognizes that if the current trends continue, there will eventually be too few missionaries and too little funding available to continue to have a vibrant missions program. In keeping with our EMC Vision statement to be a movement of people advancing Christ’s Kingdom culture as we live, reach, gather and teach, the board wants to see growth in both numbers of missionaries and finances to support them.

How Will this Change Promote Growth?

The Missions sub-committee that developed this proposal researched the current trends and interacted with many other churches and agencies. They also sent out a survey to ask EMCers their opinions about the proposed change.

One of the trends that they observed is that while EMCers continue to be very generous towards missions, they also want to be able to direct their giving to specific projects. They want to have a strong connection to the ministries that they are giving towards. The blended support model promotes this strong connection and allows missionaries the opportunity to develop a larger network of friends, prayer and financial supporters.

To assist missionaries in raising support, the EMC Missions Administration will oversee the development of Home Teams to work alongside existing missions committees and to advocate for the missionaries. The Home Team will provide encouragement, prayer, logistical support, connections, and will generally assist the missionaries in connecting with supporters.

When Will the Changes Happen?

The Board is currently working out the details in the EMC Missions Handbook. The plan is to begin the transition to Home Teams in 2019, and then gradually phase in the blended support over the following three years. Current EMC missionaries are fully aware of the timeline and the changes.

Tim Prefered Cropped 2
Tim Dyck, Executive Director
Ken Zacharias
Ken Zacharias, Director of Global Outreach

How Can I Help?

We would love to have many people engaged with our EMC missionaries as part of Home Teams and as people who are interested, praying, and giving to these ministries. Please contact the EMC office (info@emconference.ca) and also speak to your local missions committee and/or your church delegates to share your thoughts. Thanks for your support of EMC missionaries!

Board of Missions Assignment: Angel and Blanca Infantes

The EMC Board of Missions is excited to announce that Angel and Blanca Infantes were assigned to serve in Guadalajara, Mexico, earlier this summer. They arrived in Mexico on July 4 and their four children (Saraí, Belén, Christopher, Carlos) started school in mid-August. They join Dallas and Tara Wiebe as part of our church planting team. Pray that God would give them peace as they settle into this city of seven million people as their children are finding it difficult to adjust, having grown up in Manitoba. To send them a note of encouragement, contact us for details.