As part of Missions Emphasis Sunday, a small congregation in Prinsburg, Minn., connected missions and calling through a new discipleship program from Faith Alive Christian Resources, first-hand missionary stories, and international food samples.
Unity Christian Reformed Church has been using Faith Alive’s new Disciples faith formation program since last fall. Components of Year 1 include worship plans, materials for personal devotions, and small group discussion guides.
The module the church studied in January contained an exploration of the callings we receive as disciples of Christ. In an effort to relate this idea to the congregation, the missions team invited four of the church’s missionaries to speak about their calling.
Erik Brohaugh of Youth with a Mission (YWAM) shared, “I first felt called to be a missionary when I was 12 years old, but I tried to ignore this calling for many years. I finally submitted to God’s general call, and then merely looked for a specific place to serve.” His search ended when he met Eleanor, now his wife, who was working with a remote tribe in Gambia.
Eleanor’s call was more specific. She received a vision of incredible clarity of a church in a Gambian tribe thanking her for her years of service. She confided that after nine years of living in a mud hut, “I think God gave me this vision to sustain me because he knew how hard (tribal life) would be for me.”
Bob Dykstra, a member of Unity CRC, felt called to serve on the mission field as a young man, but said, “It took a decade to refine this call.” For seven years he has served with Native Americans on a reservation in Wisconsin.
Jan Bonnema read a story of her husband, Bud’s, calling. She read, “We went to Haiti for a short mission visit. Within a week, many babies had been thrust at us—one woman even tried to hand us a baby through the car window when were stopped at a stop sign. We were reluctant to begin an orphanage in Haiti, but clearly felt God leading us to do so.”
They and their staff now care for children at an orphanage they named Children of the Promise, which is affiliated with the CRC.
During the service there was a personal prayer for each missionary. After the service the congregation was invited to browse displays and sample food representing the countries where the six mission families serve.
Fair Trade coffee was served as part of an initiative of the Christian Reformed World Relief Committee (CRWRC). The Missions Team challenged the congregation to think not just about where their donated dollars go, but also how their consumer dollars affect the world’s poor.