Mission Trip Memories

VISA Missions Trip Memories– By Loraine Engelberth

“How will we ever find the rest of the team?” asked Carol Madoski as she and her husband, Dick, arrived at Heathrow Terminal in London, England from California on January 12, 2003. The team they were joining was a VISA (Volunteers in Service Abroad) team of six more individuals from Winona Lake, IN (Evelyn Mottweiler, Bill and Loraine Engelberth), Nancy Bertch (New York), Judy Peterman (Indiana) and Sally Blom (Illinois). The group of eight were heading for Zimbabwe, Africa, where they would join Henry and Bonnie Church, Free Methodist missionaries, to use their varied talents for three weeks in a major two-prong project at the Free Methodist Wesley Bible College in Masvingo, Zimbabwe. The Midwesterners had arrived earlier at Heathrow and quickly connected with Dick and Carol. Eventually arriving in Harare, Zimbabwe, the group was greeted by the Churches and they were off on an action-filled three week stay.

A partially-completed guest cottage to be used by visiting teachers at the Bible College and a disorganized, discouraged-looking library/classroom being used by the students was to be the focus of the volunteers as they each shared their unique talents to make good things happen during the following two weeks. A new bookcase was built and finished for the library and needed improvements were made in the cottage as  cleaning, painting and new construction took place. Every book was removed from the dirty, silverfish-infested library shelves to be cleaned, organized and repaired when necessary, with each team member pitching in wherever needed.

Each day brought not only the work on the projects, (in temperatures sometimes over 100 degrees!) but much good fellowship as the team interacted with local Pastor Dube and his family, as well as enjoying the new experiences and sense of accomplishment as the impact of the many hours of hard work became more obvious. Various visitors arrived to marvel at the improvements and the vice-principal of the Bible College was thrilled to have the library/classroom organized and arranged to provide needed resources for his       students.

We shared worship time with our African brethren each Sunday as we traveled to different churches where we were welcomed and encouraged with words and music—an African children’s choir is a memory never to be forgotten. Welcome breaks included visits to interesting historical sites in the area and among the       highlights was the opportunity to see native African animals in the wide open spaces of extensive game parks where they are protected. And, of course, we visited Victoria Falls, marveling in the beauty of that magnificent sight.

Staying each night at Pa-Nyanda Lodge gave us opportunity to be refreshed and share experiences as we had devotions together after having enjoyed a delicious meal we were summoned to by drums and kudu horn blasts!

As we summed up our experiences, each of us felt enriched and challenged by sharing our time, talents and financial support to advance the work of the Kingdom. Missions came alive in an amazing way for every member of the team as we reached out in this way.

April 2016 6 April 2016 7

Celebrating God’s Work in Israel

By Nabil Samara

Rejoice with us, for the Lord has done great things for us and through us!  Since its humble beginning with only five house-church meetings led by five leaders under the supervision of Rev. Dr. Nabil Samara (the first FM minister in Israel), our ministry has continued to grow.  We now have  21 house-church groups.  Most of our house-church groups are in the region of Galilee.

The mission of Impact Middle East in Israel is to reach out to the 1.6 million Arabic-speaking people, more than 90% of whom are Muslims.  Less than 10% of these people are nominal Christians belonging to the historical and traditional churches.  Our vision is to have 65 house-church groups by the end of 2017.

The ministry began in Nazareth, Jesus’ home city.  This is the same city that rejected Jesus when He was here on earth.  However, times have changed.  Nazareth is no longer a city that rejects Jesus but has become a city from which the Good News goes out to other villages and towns in the region of Galilee.  Nothing is far from God’s hand.  Jesus’ redemption is as true now as it was in the days of His time on Earth.

Read more…

Missions Update

by Pastor Henry Church

We have a young man and his wife who have given their life to service in an amazing way where I am now visiting.  This young guy has been visiting smaller villages and has run across large numbers of Yazidi refugees. There are about 70,000 of them in the 5 or 6 villages where he has been distributing relief supplies and copies of “The Word.”

He has opened up 6 of our group home meetings and has lots of opportunities. We have added him to our staff, working under the superintendent here.

The attached photo is of a picture drawn by a Yazidi refugee child who attends one of these group meetings. He described it to us. He used to live in a Yazidi village symbolized by the green trees. But one day he met Jesus and his life changed.  He crossed the bridge to a new life in Him, symbolized by the cross near the bridge.  He is now “in the family!”  He was one of those rescued from the mountain top when pursued by ISIS.  Quite a story!




A Different Kind of Missions Update

“Red or yellow, black or white; they are precious in His sight. Jesus died for all the children of the world.” As a child I frequently sang this in church and Sunday school, early realizing that all children should hear about Jesus.

My mother, Frances Stimer, was one of the most missions-minded persons I’ve ever known.  Her enthusiasm about missions was contagious, and we grew up in that atmosphere. She faithfully wrote letters to missionaries, joyfully receiving responses that she shared with others telling how the Gospel was spreading throughout the world.  We children saved our pennies for the Penny-A-Day missions offering, attempting to help accumulate enough pennies to encircle the sizeable sanctuary in the Pontiac (MI) Free Methodist church which were sent to help the missionaries. Other mission activities included regular attendance at services where missionaries told of their work in a variety of places as well as the monthly Junior Missionary Society meetings where missions was brought to a child’s level of understanding and participation.

Getting to know some MKs (missionary kids) at Greenville College opened my eyes to another side of missions. Read more…

Missions Update

Hello Winona Lake family,

June Missions 1
Our plate was very full this last week.  We participated in a first time ever stadium evangelism effort on Sat May 15.  Over 2,000 people showed up for a Thessaloniki-wide, united-Church event.  I was able to get several contacts to attend. It was positive, but not decisive.

The Friday night before, we held an all night prayer vigil.  We are currently hosting two YWAM teams and they helped sing and pray through the night.   Also our (hopeful) minister in training came from Albanian to join in his first ever prayer all-nighter and to lead worship in English for the first time.   Please pray for his visa for him and his family.  The current political crisis is causing problems.

On Wednesday, Maria and I enjoyed an incredible two hour chat with two Orthodox priests at a new organization called “Together.”  I meet the founder at a conference at the University about Religion and Violence.  He and I were speakers at the round table.  Tomorrow, Tuesday, I will meet him again after his radio show and meet an Egyptian Christian.  The following Tuesday on May 26, father Justine has invited me to be his guest on the radio show.  Pray for this exciting connection.  Who knows where it will lead?

Read more…

Winona Lake Free Methodist Member to be Honored

Winona Lake Free Methodist member to be honored.

The Committee on Free Methodist History and Archives has voted to name the new climate-controlled Archives Room, completed last year, in honor of Evelyn Marston Mottweiler. The daughter of Bishop L. R. Marston, Evelyn was the Executive Secretary (Director) of the Historical Center from 1971 to 1988. Subsequently, Evelyn was President of Women’s Ministries International, and with her husband Jack, served the church in several other capacities.
Evelyn Mottweiler

A dedication ceremony is scheduled for Friday, April 10, 2015, at the FM World Ministries Center. At this time Evelyn and her family will be special guests, and the Archives facility officially named in Evelyn’s honor.

We will be placing sign up sheets in future bulletins for those that would like to ride in the church bus or caravan to the dedication ceremony.


Sustainable Empowerment through Economic Development.

SEED:  An organization of the Free Methodist Church for Sustainable Empowerment through Economic Development.

Through Sunday December 14th goods from SEED will be for sale in the church Gallery on Sunday mornings.  These are “fair-trade” items.  When you purchase from SEED you are helping people in other countries to be self-sufficient.  Look at the bulletin board by room 5 to see who you help when you buy.  These goods make great Christmas gifts.  So kill two birds with one stone -help needy people and help yourself with your Christmas shopping.  A win-win situation.


Impact Middle East Update

Hi Winona Lake friends!

We are back home again!  Yayyy.  We did have a wonderful time in the Middle East this trip.  Well, yes, we had some physical problems, but we got over them, and felt the trip was very worthwhile.  Let me tell you about it!

Read more…

Ebola Outbreak: Pray for West Africa


Free Methodist World Missions Africa Area DirectorMike Reynen requests increased prayer for our churches in Liberia and Guinea, where the Ebola crisis is severe.

The Free Methodist Church’s Liberia leader reported his next-door neighbor died last week from the virus. News media have also reported many who have non-Ebola illnesses are unable to get needed care, either because of concerns their illness resembles Ebola or care services are unavailable. Tragically, there are not enough facilities to handle Ebola patients, and regular health care facilities are overcrowded and vastly understaffed.

Pray for all persons suffering, especially those experiencing terrible stigma and no one to care for them. Pray also for this disease to be contained. It is estimated that the number of cases could be in the tens of thousands. (The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported 5,347 cases as of Sept. 18.) Pray for U.S. troops and others who are providing vital logistics, training support and set up of more care facilities. Pray for these workers to successfully avoid contact with the virus while accomplishing effective steps of intervention. Pray for people in the host countries to understand the disease and how they can unite to end its spread.

In addition to Liberia and Guinea, Sierra Leone, Nigeria and Senegal all report one or more cases.

For more missions news and prayer requests, read the Missions Hotline.
This post originally appeared on http://fmcusa.org/blog.

Proud of the Progress

Mike & Vickie Reynen

MikeAfrica Area Director

Vickie– Regional Coordinator for

International Child Care Ministries (ICCM),

Proud of the Progress

Not many things make us happier–in missions–than to see our national church leaders, leading at levels beyond what we anticipated. That is what we are seeing in Malawi. Most who will read this know Henry and Bonnie, personally. And you know the years of service they gave in Malawi. One of the primary endeavors they were involved in was developing the Bible school for pastors. Many of you also know that their successors, Ryan and Jen Willson continued for several years, but in January of this year returned home, to pastoral ministry. So, we planned and worked and prayed all through last year for a good transition. Leaders were selected for the Bible school and ChildCare ministry. And, when the Willsons left, these leaders took full responsibility.


In late January, Vickie and I made a brief visit, while the Bible school module was still in session. All was going well and we received warm, African hospitality in the same guest house we had stayed in several times.

In August, we made another visit, this time with Bishop and Lavone Kendall. Again we found top notch hospitality. The school is going well. Principal Kalukusha gave an excellent report of the two sessions, and new developments at the Bible school. Rev. Annie is attending well to the ChildCare administration. And all three conferences brought good reports. All these things contribute to making us proud of these leaders. We had high hopes and they are leading even beyond them. This is not to say they are perfect. But, all of us continue to have room for growth. God’s Spirit is very much at work through the Free Methodists in Malawi. Praise the Lord for the foundation Henry and Bonnie laid, and the further building work of the Willsons. And Praise the Lord for all He continues to do through many leaders in Malawi.

Mike and Vickie will be our guests on Missionary Weekend, October 18 & 19.