> INSIDE Nicaragua
Networking in Nicaragua
La Palabra Christian School Inspection
A Seminary with a Mission
A Fresh & Vibrant Start at a New Life Girls’ Home
Indonesia Children of Hope
Nicaragua Networking in Nicaragua
La Palabra Christian School Inspection
A Seminary with a Mission
A Fresh & Vibrant Start at New Life Girls’ Home
Indonesia Children of Hope
>foreword By Rick Postma
Partnerships A question I’m regularly asked after I make presentations for churches, mission committees, and business groups is, “Does Word & Deed partner with other organizations?” This is a good and important question. We are all familiar with the pithy saying, “Don’t reinvent the wheel,” and I must say that there is a very real danger of this happening with respect to mission related work in the developing world as countless churches and organizations, often independently, strive to make a difference there. So how about it, Word & Deed? Do you take this seriously? The short answer is, “Yes!” The Word & Deed team does not pretend to have expertise in education, agriculture, theological training, or medicine. What we do have is a lot of experience in overseeing projects in the developing world, working closely with the people there to make sure they are “in the boat” with us, asking questions, defining goals, and ensuring that they receive the training and qualified personnel they need to meet the goals of the project(s). In addition, the members of the Word & Deed Board and Advisory Committee bring expertise in a number of these areas to bear on our work including education, theological training, and agriculture (please see the masthead on page three). We also work with other Christian organizations such as MINTS International Seminary and Engineering Missions International (EMI).
In September, Word & Deed’s Bernie Pennings and John Otten will visit Pakistan where the Associate Reformed Presbyterian (ARP) mission, World Witness, initially planted churches over 100 years ago. Today, there is a denomination comprised of over 100 churches and 100,000 members, a large hospital, and a growing Christian school program. Word & Deed and World Witness hope to learn from each other over the next several years about ministry through medicine and Christian education. At the time of this writing, Bernie Pennings is in South Sudan where we are working with the Reformed Presbyterian Mission on a well digging project, with a local Samaritan’s Purse team providing the well digging expertise. In this issue of the magazine, we highlight our partnership with MINTS in Ecuador and Nicaragua with articles by Pastor Eric Pennings, Luis Carlos, and Norlan De Groot. The meditation by Pastor Jeff Kingswood celebrates the Lord’s blessings on the ARP work in Pakistan and, in other articles, Heidi Pronk describes a new start for a Girls’ Home in Malawi which works with at-risk girls, and Christina Sihombing tells the story of Elsi at the Children’s Home in Sumba, Indonesia. As we carry out our work, we do so with the knowledge that “man proposes but God disposes.” May He bless our work to the temporal and eternal well-being of those touched by these projects. W&D Rick Postma is the Project Manager for Guatemala and the Director of Promotion at Word & Deed.
Students taking a class on the doctrines of the Bible through a program that Word & Deed’s partner MINTS offers in Ecuador.
Official Publication of Word & Deed An International Reformed Relief and Development Agency Free for sponsors and friends
By Pastor Jeff Kingswood
Canada Office PO Box 20100 St. Thomas, ON N5P 4H4 Ph 519.633.2333 Fax 519.633.7181 Toll free 877.375.9673 firstname.lastname@example.org Administration Director John Otten Project Director Bernie Pennings Director of Promotion Rick Postma Support Staff John Kottelenberg Kara Luiting Heather VanMeppelen-Scheppink Brianna Vlaar Board of Directors President - Jake Sinke Vice President - Corney Les Secretary - Rev. Tim Bergsma Treasurer - Henry de Waal Dr. Adriaan de Visser Dick Naves Jake Sinke Dave Wielinga Lyle Ypma Advisory Committee Mr. Jim Beeke – International Educational Consultant
Dr. Gerald M. Bilkes – Professor of
Old & New Testament, Puritan Reformed Theological Seminary
Rev. Danny Hyde – Pastor, Oceanside United Reformed Church
Dr. Nelson D. Kloosterman –
Executive Director and Ethics Consultant for Worldview Resources International. Rev. Frank Van Dalen – Executive Director of the Foreign Missions Board of the Associate Reformed Presbyterian Church
United States Office PO Box 157, Hudsonville, MI 49426 Ph 616.896.3160 Toll free 866.391.5728 Fax 616.896.9219 email@example.com Office Administrator Heidi Pronk Public Relations & Projects Norlan De Groot Ph 712.441.7112 firstname.lastname@example.org Board of Directors President - Pete Vander Stel Vice President - Paul Laman Secretary - Harry Kooistra Treasurer - Karen Vander Sloot Eric Brandt Dave Byker Mary Cogbill Anita Sikkema Peter Van Kempen
“And these words which I command you today shall be in your heart. You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, when you walk by the way, when you lie down, and when you rise up. You shall bind them as a sign on your hand, and they shall be as frontlets between your eyes. You shall write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates.” Deuteronomy 6:6-9 (NKJV)
of the people of Pakistan.
Our society is no less full of questions than that of Pakistan; they may be different questions, but fundamentally, they testify to the same need. Our children, here or in Pakistan, need to be instructed not only in the basics, which we would expect for any education but, most importantly, they need to be instructed in the Word of God and the good news of salvation for sinners through our Savior Jesus Christ. This is the only hope for the future, whether In October I was blessed to have the in a declining West or a struggling East. It opportunity to represent my denomination at is the only sure hope for men and women an important celebration in Pakistan. of any time and any The Mable Lowry This space has been intentionally culture. It is timeless Pressly School, a left blank and eternal. May we girls’ hostel, was be blessed of God with celebrating the 100th a resolve to give it the year of its founding priority it deserves, and continued both here and abroad. service. In a culture W&D where women Pastor Jeff Kingswood are often treated is the minister at as second-class Grace Presbyterian citizens, this school Church (ARP) in makes an important Woodstock, Ontario. statement. Many graduates gave testimony to the love they had received while students, the education that enabled them to go on in ways that would otherwise not have been possible for them, and, most importantly, the life-changing message of new life in Jesus Christ that they were blessed to embrace there.
photo courtesy of Trusted Colors ©
Editor Rick Postma Assistant Editor Brianna Vlaar Graphic Design Knor Graphic Design Solutions Copy Editors Shelly Crites Susan Trentacosti In response to Jesus’ command to love others, Word & Deed is an international, evangelical relief and development ministry that provides funding to meet spiritual and physical needs among people in developing countries. With cooperating offices in St. Thomas, Ontario, and Hudsonville, Michigan, Word & Deed partners with Christian agencies in Colombia, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, Guatemala, Myanmar, Haiti, India, Indonesia, Nicaragua, Malawi, South Africa, and Nigeria.
This was a celebration of mission work at its best. Here, the Word of God has been taught and lived. Here, young women were educated and converted. Here, the love of God in Jesus Christ has been made manifest. And here, the good news of salvation in Jesus Christ continues to make an impact. Pakistan is a very unsettled society. There are many questions about visas, about finances, about the future, about the radicalization of Islam; but the Church has been encouraged to move ahead in faith, trusting that the Lord will continue to use this work for the blessing SUMMER 2014 I Word&Deed
>GUATEMALA By Rick Postma
La Palabra Christian School Inspection
Jim Beeke and John Otten with a student at La Palabra Christian School.
Word & Deed supports a number of Christian schools in several countries in the developing world. In addition to our own yearly visits and internal reviews by our partners in these countries, we have been planning over the past year to bring a professional Christian school inspector to La Palabra Christian School in Guatemala. The profile of the person we needed was someone who was, or had been, a Christian school principal, someone who had experience in undertaking school inspections, and had firsthand knowledge of the developing world. Perhaps most importantly, the person in question needed to know how to come alongside the local partner in a warm, respectful, and supportive way.
masthead on page three). Jim was principal of Timothy Christian School in Chilliwack, B.C. for many years, moved on to become the B.C. Education Ministry’s inspector of independent schools, and then became involved in certifying schools in China on behalf of the B.C. government (a story all by itself).
It came as no surprise to us that Jim Beeke fit our profile perfectly. In anticipation of this step, we had already asked Jim to be a member of our Advisory Committee several years ago (see the magazine
Previous to our visit, Jim sent surveys for parents, board members, and staff to fill out. The surveys were analyzed before the trip. During the trip, Jim carried out classroom visits; interviews with
After several Skype conference calls with Jim before the trip, we visited La Palabra Christian School — a school of 400 students, of which 200 are sponsored children — in a rural area of Guatemala for several days in February 2014. In addition to Jim undertaking a review, we also sat in on a review run by our partner AMG Guatemala.
teachers, supervisors, and board members; reviews of course and lesson planning; an assessment of the degree of higher-level thinking employed in the teaching methodology; a review of staff professional development; a discussion concerning the school’s strategic plan/development; and much more. Jim made a number of recommendations in his report. As follow-up to Jim’s evaluation, La Palabra school is encouraged to included the following seven items in a strategic development (or action) plan: 1. Visibility of current and integrated vision statement 2. Written, current policies 3. Higher-level thinking skills 4. Multi-sensory learning: variety of teaching strategies/learning activities and currency and sufficiency of textbooks and learning resources to enable this 5. Library resources 6. Integration of technology 7. Teacher evaluation Jim also provided recommendations on how each of these areas could be worked on in 2014 and beyond. AMG Guatemala has already committed to working with the La Palabra team and Rick Postma (Word & Deed Project Manager for Guatemala) on including a number of related goals in the 2014 project agreement. Jim ends his report with the following summary: “The evaluator appreciated his visit at La Palabra School in Monjas, Guatemala. The school has accomplished a great deal in its history. God has richly blessed the school with strong Christian commitment, both staff-wise and education-wise. The school’s climate, both as a positive working environment for staff and as a pleasant, on-task atmosphere for students, is wonderful. Commitment of Governance Committee members, directors, and teachers is strong, and a well-planned, solid program of basic instruction is in place. Working relationships between Governance Committee, directors, and teachers are positive. Every student is respected and valued, and no student is left behind or ignored. The school facility is attractive, functional, and clean. In short, God has richly blessed La Palabra School; it is a school where students can obtain sound spiritual, academic, and social instruction. Within this context, of suggestions on how to make a good school even better, and not to bury the talents
Jim Beeke, John Otten, and Corney Les meet with teachers and directors at La Palabra Christian School.
La Palabra Christian School lovingly maintained by the local team.
the Lord gives us, but to diligently use and multiply them, the evaluator encourages the school to work at strengthening the items identified in this report and to implement the suggested strategies as the school sees fit.” AMG Guatemala’s Director, Brian Dennett, writes, “As always, we very much enjoyed having the Word & Deed team here with us in Guatemala. This was a wonderful visit and a chance to leverage the knowledge and experience of Jim Beeke, whose careful evaluation of our work will help us to improve, grow, and continue to provide young people in need with solutions for their future!” “Cast your bread upon the waters, for you will find it after many days.” Ecclesiastes 11:1 (NKJV) W&D Rick Postma is the Project Manager for Guatemala and Director of Promotion at Word & Deed. SUMMER 2014 I Word&Deed
>NiCARAGUA BY Norlan De Groot
At Word & Deed we like to think of our ministry as a bridge that connects churches, businesses, and individuals around the world with each other. Nowhere is this ability to network more evident than in Nicaragua. Word & Deed first became involved in Nicaragua through its connection to MINTS International Seminary, when Eric Pennings, the Central American Associate Dean for MINTS, asked us to direct relief efforts in the wake of Hurricane Felix in 2007. The National Coordinator for MINTS in Nicaragua, Carlos Coffin soon also became the National Coordinator for Word & Deed Nicaragua. In March, representatives from Word & Deed business groups in the United States and Canada traveled to Nicaragua to meet with Carlos, as well as with other Word & Deed Nicaragua board and staff. We also traveled to various projects that business groups from North America have supported. Everywhere we stopped, the positive effects of Word & Deed’s networking were obvious. Our first stop was in the northeastern interior of Nicaragua
near the community of Santa Marta. Word & Deed has established agriculture projects with eight communities there. We met with farmers involved with the Word & Deed projects and toured some of their fields. We checked out a bean field where half of the field was planted in the traditional way of poking a hole and filling it with a seed, while the other half was planted by simply broadcasting the seed. Jerry, an agronomist for Word & Deed Nicaragua, explained the importance of nurturing Word & Deed’s connections with the local farmers. “Local farmers were involved from the beginning,” he said, “And they will be part of the discussion when we determine which planting method is more successful. That is what will help them to take ownership of the decision.” The BG trip Santiago, another agronomist for members seeing Word & Deed, introduced us to a bean plants. group of young people who were part From left to right: of a youth program started by Word Jerry (the local agronomist), & Deed Nicaragua. The youth were John Deelstra, experimenting with ways to make Jerry Sonke, John Langendoen, Anthony Hoeksema, Bert Mulder, John Otten, Carlos Coffin and Norlan De Groot.
found these packages and discovered what they thought was an easy way to make money. Word & Deed projects in Dakura suffered as a result. In the end, we had to withdraw from projects in the area. We visited Dakura on this trip to discuss what went wrong, but also to maintain connections with the leaders in Dakura, with the hope that someday we may be able to begin new projects again. Thursday night we met with the board and staff of Word & Deed Nicaragua. We enjoyed hearing from two students who received scholarships in a Word & Deed program that promotes the development of young Christian leaders in the area. We then went to dinner with the board and discussed networking with other organizations like Pueblos en Acción Comunitaria (People in Community Action), which supplies small agriculture loans to Nicaraguan farmers.
Locals of Dakura show John Otten and Bert Mulder some of the produce they have grown using the techniques they had learned from Word & Deed agronomists. their fields more productive. A group of girls was clearing a field when we visited. Another group was maintaining two different cabbage fields. One field was planted traditionally in a clearing, while another field was planted underneath the cover of a bamboo forest. They predict that the cooler temperatures in the shade will yield better results, but they will have to wait until harvest to confirm it. On our way back to our lodging in Puerto Cabezas, we took advantage of another networking opportunity. We stopped by a Moravian church to talk with Domingo, the pastor. Domingo is a student at MINTS and allows MINTS to hold its classes in his church. It was a neat opportunity to see where MINTS is active, and to encourage a brother in the Lord. As we continued our trip back to Puerto Cabezas, we saw firsthand the good effects that a MINTS education was having. Some of the members of our group, riding in the back of the pickup, decided to sing songs along the way. They tried to find simple songs that everyone could sing together. One of the songs was, “I have Decided to Follow Jesus,” to which one of the MINTS students commented, “I don’t think that song is Reformed.”
We also shared our vision for how Word & Deed North America and Word & Deed Nicaragua can continue supporting each other in the future. Canadian businessman Bert Mulder summed it up best when he told the Word & Deed Nicaragua board, “This trip has allowed us to see firsthand the work that you are doing to make Word & Deed Nicaragua grow. We can now go back to our business groups and explain firsthand what we saw, and generate even more enthusiasm in our countries so that Word & Deed North America can grow, too.” W&D Norlan De Groot works with Public Relations and Projects for Word & Deed Ministries and lives in Sioux Center, Iowa. Nicaragua
Agricultural Commercialization The Agricultural Commercialization project trains locals in eight communities in sustainable production of rice, bananas, and beans. Over the span of ten years, the project will involve microcredits, training in family business development, pork production, poultry production, and the development of Christian leaders. The first few years of the program will be small scale; when the basics are established they will move to commercialization of the produce. All the Lord willing. Still needed in 2014:
On Thursday, we traveled to Dakura, a village that Word & Deed worked with when it first got involved in Nicaragua. Word & Deed helped to rebuild homes in Dakura after Hurricane Felix, and provided a wire fence to separate the community’s fields from the livestock that roamed through the town. Word & Deed does not currently have active projects in Dakura. The village is near a part of the Nicaraguan coast where drug traffic passes. Several years ago, a drug shipment was thrown overboard and for many months, packages of drugs washed ashore. The people of Dakura
Jerry (far right), the local agronomist, shows the BG trip members some of the agricultural growth Word & Deed is supporting.
SUMMER 2014 I Word&Deed
>ECUADOR By Luis Carlos Moreno
MINTS International Seminary has developed a fairly unique approach to theological education in that it brings seminary education to where people can be found: in their cities, suburbs, or poor neighborhoods, throughout the world.
Luis Carlos (center) receiving his Bachelor’s Degree in Theological Studies. Dr. Neal Hegeman, Academic Dean of MINTS, on his left and Fred Jonkman, of Ecuador Missions, on his right.
Let me tell you a little about myself. I entered the MINTS program in Ecuador as a student in 2005 when the program first began (three years after I became a member in the Grace Reformed Church in Quito). While I was yet a student, I was invited to work with the Jonkmans, of Ecuador Missions, to further develop the MINTS program even though my knowledge of the richness of the Reformed faith was just beginning. I was asked on the basis of my professional experience in setting up university education programs. And so the Center of Reformed Theological Education in Ecuador was started, and this is now the official name of the organization which provides and oversees the MINTS theological program in Ecuador. With this educational program, we have been enabled to biblically and theologically educate many Christians who were working in ministries and churches but who never had the opportunity to formally study theology. One example of this is Dagoberto Mosquera, who was the first to complete his studies and graduate with a Master’s degree. Today, he is the pastor of Grace Reformed Church in Quito.
Mission The work of CRETE-MINTS (as the people of this country know us) has begun to bear its fruit: the preparation of teachers, the production of seminary courses by the students and graduates, and the multiplication of study centers in various provinces. In this context of growth, we have several young men from the churches that have begun to study the Bible and theology with the motivation of serving the church in her different ministries. Today, it is interesting to observe how the Reformed faith is drawing youth and leaders from different churches and denominations together. We pray that MINTS may continue to provide the educational resources to prepare the coming generations in the theological tradition of the Protestant Reformed faith. In the midst of the great joy we have in serving the Lord through CRETE-MINTS, we give thanks to God for the partnership our study center has with Word & Deed. It is through their faithful and generous support that we can offer a location and personnel for the administration of the MINTS program. Our growing theological library also offers good resources for our students’ use. We honor His name for allowing CRETE-MINTS to help the church fulfill her calling here in Ecuador and in the whole world. To God be all the glory! W&D Luis Carlos Moreno is Executive Director of CRETE-MINTS Ecuador. He has been married to Phoebe for 23 years and they have three children: Gabriela, Pablo, and Sebastian. Ecuador
Leadership Training The goal of this project is to develop training workshops for the development of church leaders. In partnership with MINTS, this project supports seven study centers which provide biblical, Reformed training courses in the language of the local people at an affordable price. In addition, a Sunday School Teacher Curriculum for the Old and New Testaments has been published and is promoted in Ecuador, Colombia, Mexico, and other Spanish-speaking countries. Seminars are held in churches of various denominations to introduce and instruct teachers on the use of the Sunday School material. Still needed in 2014:
>MALAWi By Heidi Pronk
Fresh & Vibrant Start at New Life Girls’ Home
The young girls and some of the staff at New Life Girls’ Home.
In March, we had the pleasure of visiting a new Girls’ Home that has been given a fresh and vibrant start as of January 2014. We were greeted at Likuni New Life Girls’ Home by the smiling faces of eight girls aged 12-17, the matron, housekeeper, and several board members. The rented home they are using consists of two large rooms with bunk beds, a common area, a kitchen, and two bathrooms. There is a laundry area and garden outside, and a security fence around the perimeter. The girls walk to school together each day and, though they come from different church backgrounds, they all worship together at the local Presbyterian Church (CCAP) on Sundays. The girls have all been given Bibles and hymn books, and the matron is doing morning and evening devotions with them. The Home is located in the Likuni neighborhood on the outskirts of the capital city of Lilongwe. Most of the girls were identified as at-risk by two of the board members who live in this community; one of the girls at the home was referred by staff at the previous Girls’ Home in Blantyre. Two of the girls were involved in prostitution, several are orphans being raised by elderly grandparents, and the remainder are from
dysfunctional and abusive homes. Each of them was living in abject poverty; most of them had never slept on a mattress or used a flush-toilet before coming to the home. They all expressed appreciation for the luxurious accommodations they are enjoying, though, to our eyes, it all looks quite spartan. The board is enthusiastic about ensuring that the girls are given opportunity in this life and hope for the next. One of their foremost concerns is how to acquire devotional and doctrinal material to teach the girls, as well as wholesome books for recreational reading. They are working with the local church to arrange for pastoral care and coordinating with a nearby health clinic for the physical needs of the girls. In time, they hope to find qualified counselors to help the girls deal with their traumatic pasts. There are also many more administrative details that the board must tend to, but they are committed to working hard and doing their best to provide an environment for the girls that is seasoned with the grace of God. It was a privilege to gather hand-in-hand with the girls and staff and pray for God’s healing and blessing on their hearts and home. W&D Heidi Pronk is the Administrator at Word & Deed USA.
Blantyre Girls’ Home
It is our understanding that both the Blantyre Girls’ Home and the nearby Manja Witchcraft Home are still in operation and receiving funding from other sources. Some of the girls that we met last year on our difficult visit are still at those homes, but Word & Deed could no longer, in good conscience, work
with the partner overseeing those homes due to a lack of transparency and broken relationships in the community. The Likuni New Life Girls’ Home is a new project working under the supervision of an entirely new leadership team in a different area of Malawi.
SUMMER 2014 I Word&Deed
>INDONESiA By Christina Sihombing
Children of Hope Hardly anything grows in the limestone and rocks of Tanambanas on the island of Sumba in Indonesia. People plant some corn and a few trees, and that is all. We get very little rain every year. This area is far from town and its health clinic. Most of the people are poor, and children are neglected. Children are often sent out to work for the family to plant corn, get water from the well, and take care of cattle. But 85 of the children of Tanambanas are children of hope. ABOVE: Each night
In Tanambanas, the word pengharapan, means “hope,” the children in the home gather for a bedtime story so the 85 children of Pengharapan Home are children of and devotions. hope. Elsi came to the children’s home when she was six This space has been intentionally BELOW: Christina teaching years old. She came here with one sister and two brothers. an English class at left blank They lived in a small room that her father rented. He Rehoboth Christian School. sold snacks on the street. But one afternoon their house burned—along with all they had. By God’s grace, none of them were hurt. Her parents were separated; her father was sick and couldn’t take care of them anymore. Elsi is now in grade nine. She is a bright and talented girl. She loves music, likes to play her guitar, and always gets good marks. She wants to be a doctor, and hopes in the future to help the people here in Tanambanas. She knows becoming a doctor is a lofty dream and will be difficult to achieve. But we believe she can do it and God will show her the way if it is His will.
Pengharapan (Hope) Children’s Home Pengharapan Children’s Home is a place of hope for 85 abandoned children in Indonesia. Children at the home are assigned an “ibu” or “mother” to care for them. Together they ensure that each child receives biblical instruction, shelter, daily meals, medical care, and an education. All of the children are involved in the daily cycle of the home. Word & Deed provides funding to cover 50% of the costs at Pengharapan. Still needed in 2014: $36,000
Elsi attends Rehoboth Christian School, which we started in 2008. Rehoboth means “a broad place where one can flourish.” That is what we desire for these children. The school has seven classrooms and a new library with computers for teaching, but we need teachers. Currently, only children from the home go to our school. A couple of years ago, when we had enough staff, we also taught children from the village. In the future, we would like to have children from outside the school again. We would like to give hope to as many children as we can. W&D Christina Sihombing has 12 years of experience at the Pengharapan (Hope) Children’s Home. She currently serves as the Home’s director.
sponsorship Make a World of Difference by Sponsoring a Child in
12-year-old Fedlin is in grade six at Adoration Christian Centre. He lives with both his parents. His father works as a driver to make an income. His mother was a petty vendor, selling goods on the streets, but was robbed and lost all the money she had. Life has been a struggle for this family since that time.
Shnaida is 11 years old and is currently in grade six at Adoration Christian Centre. She lives with her parents and two siblings in a tin house. Her mother is unemployed and her father does not have a consistent job, although to support his family he occasionally works as a Taptap (taxi) driver.
Deborah is four years old and in Senior Kindergarten at Adoration Christian Centre. She lives with her mother and two brothers and sisters in a tent. Neither of her parents have a steady job; both of them work as petty vendors selling things on the side of the road. This is a difficult business because it does not yield a steady income.
Jean is three years old and started Kindergarten at Adoration Christian Centre this year. He lives with his parents, four brothers, and one sister in a tin house. Both of his parents work hard to take care of their family; his father in construction and his mother in laundry. Their meager income, however, is not enough to provide for all their needs.
Donâ€™t underestimate the impact that a picture and a short letter can have on your sponsor child! Many sponsor children come from broken and dysfunctional homes, and do not receive the attention or affection that children thrive on. A short note from you is one more example of healthy, Christian love in their lives. Please write, today! (Contact Kara at email@example.com if youâ€™re not sure how to get started.) SUMMER 2014 I Word&Deed
Education Pastor Eric Pennings
God’s Sovereignty Revealed in Word and Deed through Hurricane Felix Ephesians 1:11 says that God “. . . works all things according to the counsel of His will.” (NKJV). Nothing happens apart from the sovereign plan of God. This truth affirms that God is sovereign, even over natural disasters. The Scriptures instruct us how the ministry of the church in Word and deed is the context in which this sovereignty of God results in hope and comfort in the midst of natural disasters. I had the privilege of having a “driver’s seat” perspective in experiencing this in Nicaragua following the natural disaster of Hurricane Felix that battered the east coast of Nicaragua on September 14, 2007, at 4:45 a.m.
It all started when I taught a Worldview course in Puerto Cabezas on the east coast of Nicaragua on August 15, 2007. In that course, we discussed the importance of the Christian’s role in the community as a part of the ministry of the church. As a practical component for the course, the students were assigned to look for opportunities to serve in the community and to demonstrate how that service could be linked to a ministry of the gospel. Rather than look for that opportunity, God in His sovereignty brought the opportunity to these students as Hurricane Felix struck the region exactly one month later.
approaching the region. From my home in Toronto, I recall getting up that morning and praying about the situation. I called Carlos Coffin, who is the National Coordinator of the MINTS International Seminary in Puerto Cabezas, hoping that phone lines would not be cut off. He answered from his home, where he and others were sheltered from the storm, and informed me that they were in the “eye” of the storm and that he did not know about damages at that time. Later communications confirmed the extensive damages in the plains area and along the northern coast area of Sandy Bay.
I was aware that the hurricane was
Within days, I had the privilege of coordinating, with Carlos, a relief effort through Word & Deed. When Bernie Pennings, Project Director for Word & Deed, asked me if I could recommend someone to coordinate this project, I recommended a team of MINTS students under the direction of Carlos Coffin. I accompanied Word & Deed personnel on five different occasions to the damaged areas. Over time, MINTS students were given the privilege of serving as “project coordinators” in various projects that were sponsored by Word & Deed.
Pastor Eric Pennings, far right, meeting with Carlos Coffin, far left, the National Coordinator for MINTS in Nicaragua and Word & Deed Nicaragua.
Through this partnership between MINTS and Word & Deed, we have seen that God “. . . works all things according to the counsel of His will.” (NKJV). Soli Deo Gloria! W&D Pastor Eric Pennings is the Central American Associate Dean at MINTS.
>VoLunteeR profile By Kerri Radsma
Decade of Service on Word & Deed’s Board (Canada) A
As John VanGameren continued to mature in his Christian walk, the desire to do more work in God’s Kingdom intensified. He wondered what it was that the Lord was calling him to do and made this a matter in his personal prayers. John received a phone call requesting that he attend a Word & Deed Canada board meeting. Although John had never considered or felt drawn to work related to the developing world, after the meeting John was confident that being involved with Word & Deed was where the Lord was leading him.
Being involved with Word & Deed has caused John to pause and thank God for the opportunity to serve others in His Kingdom work. John has learned that the world is a big place with great needs. Poverty is not only physical, it is especially spiritual. It has been a humbling as well as a fulfilling experience to help with the physical and spiritual well-being of numerous individuals in the developing world.
Being part of the Word & Deed team has been rewarding for John. He believes Word & Deed has been blessed with a This spring marks John’s tenth year serving diverse, willing, and tireless team of on the board of Word & Deed and as he volunteers, donors, prayer partners, has reached the end of his term, he will be and staff that desire to see all aspects taking a break from board responsibilities. of Word & Deed’s work carried out Up until recently, he chaired the meetings faithfully to God’s glory. It is exciting and served as a member on the Human for John to see how God continues to Resources and Membership Committees. bless and expand Word & Deed. During John and Jacquelyn are members With the welcomed assistance of his wife the past ten years on the board, John of the Vineland Free Reformed Jacquelyn, John coordinates the annual Church. When they are not busy has seen Word & Deed grow from a Niagara dinner as well as the annual with their income tax practice, $600,000 organization to a $3.5 million Word & Deed Niagara Business Group they enjoy skiing, golf, and various organization. The people who desire luncheon and dessert evening information other summer and winter sports. to give to those in need—especially to sessions. They find it exciting to see 60 our Christian brothers and sisters in the or 70 business men and women join together to sponsor developing world—are the same people supporting their various projects and be given the opportunity to visit the churches, Christian schools, and other organizations like projects. A highlight of the annual dinner is listening to Word & Deed. John is thankful for God’s innumerable the guest speaker, a local representative from one of Word blessings! W&D & Deed’s partner projects abroad, share how the Lord is working through the project they are involved in. John and Kerri and her husband Adam attend Vineland Free Jacquelyn also enjoy the challenge of the annual Niagara Reformed Church. They have five fun, adventuresome Bike-a-thon along the picturesque Niagara Parkway (They boys. When Kerri isn’t busy keeping up with them (or hope to see you there on June 7th!). at least trying to!) she enjoys writing and reading.
Letters to the Editor
We want to hear from YOU! Do you have a question about how Word & Deed operates? Or about a specific project or country that Word & Deed works in? We invite you to ask us! Please write Rick Postma at firstname.lastname@example.org and you might see your answer in an upcoming “Letters to the Editor” page in our magazine.
SUMMER 2014 I Word&Deed
business groupS Word & Deed Business Groups Our groups focus on helping others.
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Why join a Word & Deed Business Group? Access: Meet annually with Word & Deed representatives to take a close look at the project(s) your group had chosen to support.
Stewardship: Make informed decisions about donating funds the Lord has placed under your stewardship. The amount you donate is between you and the Lord.
Network: Build relationships with other local business people who want to bring hope to the developing world. You do not need to own a business in order to join.
2 Minute Business Group Program
Efficiency: Meet once per year and receive quarterly updates. We all have busy lives.
Impact: By Godâ€™s grace, be a means of changing lives and building up the church throughout the world to the glory of His Name.
Prayer Requests Leadership Training in Partnership with MINTS in Ecuador • Give thanks to God for the growth that CRETE-MINTS has experienced and the fruit it has begun to bear (for example, the production of seminary courses by previous students). • Please pray that CRETE-MINTS is continually able to provide educational resources that will prepare the coming generations in the theological training of the Protestant Reformed faith. La Palabra Christian School in Guatemala • Praise God for richly blessing the school spiritually, academically, and socially and for Jim Beeke’s positive report of the school. • Please pray for the school as they begin to enact the recommendations set out in Jim Beeke’s report. Agricultural Commercialization in Nicaragua • Praise God for the safety of all members of the Business Group trip and the positive impact the projects are having that they could witness. • Please pray that Word & Deed North America and Word & Deed Nicaragua may be able to support each other so that together they both can grow. New Life Girls’ Home in Malawi • Praise God for the fresh and vibrant opening of the Likuni New Life Girls’ Home in Lilongwe. • Please pray for the local board as they work to build the home through wholesome devotions, pastoral care, meeting the girls’ physical needs, finding counselors, and organizing the administration. May the Lord graciously develop a saving relationship with these precious young people. Pengharapan (Hope) Children’s Home in Indonesia • Praise God for the hope that Pengharapan Children’s Home is able to give to so many children like Elsi. This space has been intentionally Please pray that God may grant the staff with strength left blank and wisdom in order to teach and show God’s love to the children in the Home and to the people in their community.
Word & Deed North America Praise God for the many volunteers, in the forefront and background, who support Word & Deed in so many ways. Please pray for good health for our staff and volunteers in North America and in each of our projects so that they are able to administer the work the Lord has put before them.
Graphic Design volunteers Do you love to design? Do you have experience as a graphic designer? Are you looking for a way to serve God through your design talents and experience? If so, we would invite you to contact us about joining our team of volunteer graphic designers. Email Brianna at email@example.com if you are interested!
Meetings please stay tuned for confirmed dates and locations Ripon, CA · May 21 Abbotsford/Langley, BC · June 17 Chilliwack, BC · June 18-19
Upcoming Events 2014 Softball Tournaments Why not join a softball tournament in support of Word & Deed this summer? Look under “Events” on our website to get more details. Current tournament dates and locations are:
Lethbridge, AB · July 5 Grand Rapids, MI · July 26 Chilliwack, BC · Sept 6 Paris, ON · Sept 6
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programmatic areas would be of benefit for each case (there may be more than one). Transforming Lives Now and for Eternity 1. Consider the hardships that Sender has faced growing up in Guatemala. In what ways has enrollment at La Palabra Christian School in Guatemala transformed his life? 2. “Empty stomachs don’t have ears.” Explain this statement in your own words. New Beginnings at Nakekela 1. Visit the Nakekela website (www.nakekela.co.za) to read about the history of the organization on the main page. How has Nakekela grown since its inception in 2004?
Is God’s Word Your Priority? 1. “You shall bind them as a sign on your hand, and they shall be as frontlets between your eyes. You shall write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates.” [Deuteronomy 6:8–9] Look up what a “frontlet” is. What is God telling us to bind and write on ourselves and our homes? A Seminary Join or Die? with a Mission 1. What is unique approachofto education? 1. “Corporate worshipabout is . . .MINTS’ the centerpiece the Christian 2. life.” Luis Carloshow describes the Reformed faith Here as being Explain this is true using scripture. is one “rich.” to What doesstarted: he mean by this? passage get you Hebrews 10:24-25 2. what Pastor Boekestein means when he compares LaExplain Palabra Christian School Inspection membership parents of making 1. church Jim Beeke set out to a number goals their for Lachildren Palabraeat their dessert. School to work on this year. Do you have any goals? a list of goals which can helptoyou serve God better. CDA:Make A Transformational Approach Poverty
1. The mission CDA is carried out through projects in Networking inof Nicaragua “programmatic areas.”What List those and 1. five Howmain is Word & Deed a bridge? kinds areas of things do some research to understand what they entail if can go over this bridge? sure. 2. you’re Jerry, not an agronomist for Word & Deed Nicaragua, says 2. Re-read the stories of Andrea, Shirley,their Juanrelationship David, that it’s important that they nurture Genaro andfarmers. Briceida.Why? List which of the five CDA with local
Mercy and Glory at the Nakekela Step Down Facility 1. Put yourself in the shoes of somebody living in the KwaMhlanga community. How would you feel about the opening of the HIV/AIDS Clinic and why? A Fresh and Vibrant Start at New Life Girls’ Home 2. How has the community perception of the Nakekela 1. The girls at the New Life Girls’ Home live in stark Clinic changed since its inception? Why has it changed? contrast to our own lives. What are some differences Introducing: Children of Light between them and us? 1. Find “Families who of didthe send their school were 2. five needs girls andchildren board intothe article often sacrificing do so, suffering and pray for themheavily on yourtoown or in a group.from a lack of food, and an inability to provide their children Children of Hope with proper clothing and school supplies.” List five 1. The children at the Pengharapan Home are described reasons that Christian education is so valuable, in as children of hope. Are we children of hope? Why or the developing world and inintentionally North America. This space has been why not? 2. Aren Bulan is motivated to become a doctor because left blank 2. The author describes the life of Elsi. Make a chart of the lack of medical care on his home island of dividing the details into two categories: a) similar to Rote. Make a list of the needs you see around you my life, and b) different from my own life. (at home, at school, among friends or otherwise). can you do now to make a difference? God’sWhat Sovereignty Revealed in Word and Deed through Hurricane Felix Serving Through the Written Word 1. students who took statement: Eric Pennings’ Worldview 1. The Discuss the following “The written word course were asked to look for ways that they could is powerful and should be handled carefully.” serve in the community while demonstrating the 2. Martha mentions the different talents and privileges gospel. How did they do this? How can you serve in that each of us are given by God. Compared to students your community? in the developing world, what unique privileges have
you been given? How can you use them for God’s glory?
Integration: Integrate Bible, history, geography, critical thinking, current events, and reading comprehension (etc.). Missions: Challenge students to consider short-term mission trips and the use of their time, talents, and money to the glory of God while also having them ponder their relationship with the Lord. Problem Solving: Develop problem solving skills in response to problems presented in the articles. Awareness: Dramatically raise students’ awareness of what people in the developing world face on a daily basis. It will shape them for life. Compassion: Elicit compassion when students come face to face with the very difficult lives of their peers in the developing world. Thankfulness: Encourage thankfulness for God’s blessings in their lives.