Thursday, October 25, 2007

Missionary Spotlight ~ Moner & Stenia Shaded, Poland

In 1968, Moner Shaded arrived in Poland from his native Syria. Although a third generation Christian, Moner did not have missionary ambitions in Poland; he came to study mechanical engineering. But God had other ideas. Under the Communist regime in Poland, Moner found few opportunities for Christian fellowship. So, with appropriate caution, he wrote to Bill Bright of Campus Crusade for Christ (CCC), inviting him to begin ministry in Poland. In response, the first campus ministry of CCC began underground in Poland, with Moner at its forefront.

For 23 years, Moner and his wife, Stenia, worked in campus and community ministry as part of CCC staff. Yet, as students came to know Jesus Christ through their ministry, Moner and Stenia were dismayed by the lack of churches where these students could continue to grow and mature. They recall, “God placed it on our hearts that the church is His primary vehicle to reach the lost. There is a great need for churches with a vision to reach the country for Christ.”

Moner and Stenia, in response to the need, planted the Good Shepherd Church in Warsaw in 1993. Along with continued ministry in the church, they are seeking to develop and equip leadership for a church planting movement.

They established Covenant Theological Seminary in Warsaw to train servants of the triune God to walk with God, to interpret and communicate God's Word, and to lead God's people.

Moner and Stenia enjoy times when their scattered family can be together. While the two youngest Filemon and Miriam live with their parents, Damaris, Amadeus, Eunika, Timothy and Luke live in different cities in Poland and the USA.

Prayer needs:
* Pray that God would raise up leaders for the church multiplication movement in Poland.
* Pray for unity in the body of Christ in Poland.
* Pray that Moner and Stenia would be effective at building a network and structure for the training and sending of multiplying church planters.


Thursday, October 18, 2007

Missionary Spotlight ~ Glenn & Frances Camenisch, Portugal

Glenn and Frances have served with MTW in Lisbon since 1979. They are from Kentucky and Tennessee respectively, but were raised in Brazil where their parents were missionaries. In Brazil, the Lord brought them to faith in Jesus. Although they grew up together, they re-met after college and married in 1973.

While attending King College, where Glenn received a B.A. in psychology, he felt a call to the ministry. He then continued his training at Reformed Theological Seminary. Frances graduated from Belhaven College with a Bible major.

Upon graduation from seminary in 1976, the Camenisches served the Collinsville Presbyterian Chapel of First Church in Gadsden, Alabama. But having felt called to missions during seminary, they began preparations to go with MTW’s Brazil team to Rio. However, the Lord closed that door and led them to Europe.

In Portugal a small Presbyterian Denomination founded on the inerrancy of Scripture has since been established. Glenn and Frances work with this church through pastoring, preaching, teaching, music, outreach, and counseling.

The Camenisches have three grown children: Joel, Andrew, and Sara.


Friday, October 12, 2007

Stewardship 2008: "Old Simple Principles"

Cindy Mercer Photography

The guest speaker had ten minutes. The venue was not completely foreign. He had previously given a series of radio talks addressing issues such as the existence of God, the moral law, and the meaning and message of Jesus Christ. On this Sunday afternoon, September 27, 1942, he would address behavior, Christian behavior.

“Really great moral teachers never do introduce new moralities: it is quacks and cranks who do that,” he began. “The real job of every moral teacher is to keep on bringing us back, time after time, to the old simple principles which we are all so anxious not to see.” The speaker, a recent Christian convert and a tutor at Oxford, was professor Clive Staples Lewis. Until the day of his death, November 22, 1963, C.S. Lewis would work tirelessly to bring anyone who would listen back to the “old simple principles.”

For me, the most poignant “old simple principle” in Lewis’s broadcast talk is the last. Under the rubric of “Charity,” he confronts his listeners’ stewardship:

I do not believe one can settle how much we ought to give. I am afraid the only safe rule is to give more than we can spare. In other words, if our expenditure on comforts, luxuries, amusements, etc., is up to the standard common among those with the same income as our own, we are probably giving away too little. If our charities do not at all pinch or hamper us, I should say they are too small. There ought to be things we should like to do and cannot do because our charitable expenditure excludes them. . . . For many of us the great obstacle to charity lies not in our luxurious living or desire for more money, but in our fear—fear of insecurity.

Lewis concludes the address saying,

I may repeat ‘Do as you would be done by’ till I am black in the face, but I cannot really carry it out till I love my neighbor as myself: and I cannot learn to love my neighbor as myself till I learn to love God: and I cannot learn to love God except by learning to obey Him. And so, as I warned you, we are driven on to something more inward—driven on from social matters to religious matters. For the longest way round is the shortest way home.

For us, Lewis’s words are convicting. What about the original audience? C.S. Lewis, at the invitation of the BBC, was speaking to thousands of Britons who had little to give and much to lose. Such basics as meat, bacon, sugar, and butter were in rationed, short supply. Hilter’s naval blockade of the British Isles and devastating air raids on central London were a mere prologue to the coming climax and catastrophe—land invasion. Against this backdrop Lewis calls for self-sacrifice, courage, neighbor-love, and obedience. Profound.

Remember this “old simple principle” this stewardship season: Give until (when) it hurts.


Thursday, October 11, 2007

Missionary Spotlight ~ Ruth Dinkins, Brazil

Ruth Dinkins was reared on the mission field of Brazil. Although she grew up in a strong Christian home, she did not accept Jesus as Lord of her life until 18 years of age. She earned her associate’s degree from Montreat Anderson Junior College and her bachelor’s degree from Pembroke State University in Pembroke, North Carolina. She returned home to Brazil in 1980 and was a teacher of Christian education at the Edward Lane Bible Institute from 1982-1987.

After earning her master’s of Christian education degree from Reformed Theological Seminary in Jackson, Mississippi in May of 1991, she accepted the position of Director of Children’s Ministries at Christ Presbyterian Church in Tulsa, Oklahoma. During her years of ministry there, Ruth invested much energy in making missions an integral part of the Christian education curriculum. She also served on the missions committee. She had been on various youth and adult mission trips to Brazil and Mexico.

In 1997, Ruth was invited to return to Brazil to serve as director of the Christian Education Department of the Edward Lane Bible Institute in Patrocinio, Minas Gerais. Besides teaching classes, she also administrates and coordinates all the students’ field/ practical work.


Friday, October 05, 2007

Missionary Spotlight ~ Ken & Kim Thompson, Georgia

Ken and Kim have been a part of MTW since 1982. Ken was born in Cuba while his parents were serving as missionaries with the West Indies Mission. He later moved from Costa Rica to Miami, where his Dad founded a new mission work called LOGOI. Early in his life Ken felt God calling him to the mission field. He attended the Moody Bible Institute where he met Kim. Upon graduation from Trinity College, Ken and Kim married and continued to pursue God’s leading in missions. Ken later graduated from Reformed Theological Seminary and was ordained as a PCA minister.

Kim was born in Lansing, Michigan, and early in life sensed God calling her into missions. She has a BA degree in Christian Education from Moody Bible Institute.

The Thompsons served as co-op missionaries with MTW and LOGOI for 13 years. In 1995 they moved to Atlanta where Ken later served as the Area Director for Africa and Latin America. From 2000 to 2003 Ken served as the International Director for Latin America. Ken continues in a missionary/staff position with MTW serving missionaries, national church planters and PCA partners with various special projects and mission efforts.

Ken and Kim have three children, Mary (25), Ben (20), and Nathan (18).

Wednesday, October 03, 2007

Stewardship Thought From Jack Crawford

Legs swinging in the pew. Clothes scratchy. Clutching a quarter, sometimes two, which Dad just handed out. Prayer ends. Dr. Wymond’s hands start waving. Dr. Patterson is about to preach. Watching eagerly, the plate soon passes - - plink, plink. Sunday after Sunday (of course with some skips). Year after year. Dad and Mom subtly emphasize to my sisters and me the importance of giving to the Church.

In 1983, with my parents’ encouragement, I went on the youth group’s mission trip to Mexico led by Ed Norton. I had never seen people living in cardboard boxes. At the “market”, there were dead chickens and other animals hanging on sticks. In one area of town, with no plumbing, sewage just ran down the middle of the dirt lane. Poverty governed with a wide spread and firm grasp. From this experience, in the mist of the self-engrossed teenage years, I was truly humbled by the incredible monetary and biblical blessings that we have in the United States and at First Pres. as well as at home.

Six years later, as a counselor at Alpine on Lookout Mountain, days before the campers came, I remember struggling with my overwhelming sins compared to Christ’s love and forgiveness - - and realizing that I was truly forgiven. Honestly, from there after, it became and remains a great joy and desire to freely give to Christ’s work.

In addition to the memories above, I remember occasional comments from my parents like “we can’t afford that” or “we choose not to spend our money on those things.” And as the years progressed, I remember discussions about tithing to the church, about supporting various missionaries or supporting RTS. Looking back on it now, I see that there were healthy restrictions on our family’s spending as an outgrowth of my parents’ giving to the church. Now that I am a parent of four children, I appreciate more than ever and am motivated by those healthy restrictions.

So giving 10% of our income the Church, well honestly, that comes naturally, because . . . memories really do encourage a future response. So, are you tithing to the Church? Or are your personal pursuits more important? Do you consider pledge cards a bother or an intrusion? In my house and likely many of yours, there are a bunch of little eyes watching and waiting to emulate their parents every move. And memories - - likely memories of untold future generations - - are all being formed. May they be ones that honor and uplift Christ - - not ourselves.