By Charissa Toeller
Exciting things are happening on August 29th! We've already been promoting it as baptism Sunday. In addition to the testimonies that will be shared in the service, we will also have the opportunity to hear from one of our newest missionaries.
Due to the location this family serves, I'm not going to share their names or locations in this article. What I can share is that they are serving in a time and place where we are seeing God at work! We have read numerous updates from this family and their partners about people coming to faith in Jesus and being baptized. However, because their culture and government are hostile toward Christianity, being baptized sometimes means being cut off from family and other relationships. In our part of the world, we don't always count the costs of following Jesus. The new believers we will hear about on August 29th often make obvious and immediate sacrifices. I hope that hearing their stories will inspire us in our relationships with God and encourage us to pray for God's continued work in hard places. It's amazing to watch the Gospel flourish in places we perceive as hard or impossible.
One important thing I want you to be aware of: we plan to only livestream the first half of the service on August 29th. If you're watching from home, you will still be able to participate in the music, prayer, and testimonies, but unfortunately you will not be able to watch the rest of the service when our missionaries share about their experiences. If you are able to attend with us in person, I encourage you to do so!
Lastly, you may have noticed that the title of this article is "Missions Week" and wondered why. Shortly after setting up a time for missionaries to visit on August 29th, a second missionary reached out to say that he and his wife would be in our area! Mark and Denise Lewis will be sharing in the service on September 5th, so we will have back-to-back Sundays of missionary speakers. Mark heads up the Crisis Response ministry of the EFCA. He travels all over the world, not only staffing response efforts, but seeking to plant or partner with local churches. Mark has been a great encourager of our Missions Team as we investigate deeper ways to engage our church in missions, and we're very excited to have him speak in the service. (This service will be livestreamed!)
If you are curious who is coming on August 29th, feel free to ask a Missions Team Member in person: Carol Boehle, Josh Carl, Liz Clark, Nancy Holley, Charissa Toeller, and Bob Unkel. We'd be happy to share!