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  • USMB
    Papa John has seen a lot of hardship John was born in the volatile eastern part of Congo moved as a young man to Kinshasa to find work and then raised a family there Now he drives adopting American couples to the places they need to be as they process all the governmental requirements for adoption John speaks 17 languages He s a good man I asked John about churches in Kinshasa and he angrily described them as places where pastors are the ones with the nice cars and homes as they skimmed money from the churches coffers His intensely negative view of the church was disconcerting As we talked further I asked him if there were any good churches and he acknowledged that there were a few As I probed further John indicated that he is a believer in Jesus that Jesus is his Savior and that he knows he is a sinner in need of forgiveness but that he has stopped going to church With that testimony I encouraged John to find a church that wasn t corrupt and to then begin enhancing his walk with Jesus I mentioned that we have many Mennonite Brethren churches in Kinshasa that would welcome him We talked about this quite a lot and he indicated before we left that he was convicted to get back to church and to pursue Jesus more fully I was struck with the uniformity of the vast need people all over the world have for a relationship with Jesus Here was a 64 year old Congolese cowboy who realized he needed to go deeper with Jesus and that he did need the church to help him I see people all over our nation who need the exact same thing They need a good solid church to help them with their own following of Jesus Mission USA is striving to plant more of these kinds of churches every year Leave a comment Comment Name E mail Post 0 Comments The Congolese cowboy Tuesday Oct 1 2013 We need Christ regardless of where we live By Don Morris Mission USA director If you have ever driven about Kinshasa DR Congo you know that the traffic is so bizarre congested and dangerous that you frequently see your life flash before your eyes I was there in August with my son and his wife who adopted a little girl from DR Congo I went with them as they met her and began the in country process of getting her to America It was an interesting experience to say the least Papa John the Congolese Cowboy was our driver during the time we were there He s the only Congolese I saw wearing a cowboy hat and I still have Johnny Cash songs running through my mind as John played them over and over again as we drove around Kinshasa At age 64 Papa John has seen a lot of hardship John was born in the volatile eastern part of Congo

    Original URL path: http://www.usmb.org/news/article/The-Congolese-Cowboy.html (2016-02-17)
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  • USMB
    had the opportunity to publicly launch a new facility for our city has been a huge testament of what God is preparing us for long term writes pastor Gavin Linderman We have been blessed with the support of our national and local family and God is responding Axiom Church is focusing heavily on discipleship helping people grow in their relationship with Jesus Just this last week one of our new actually we re all new members of Axiom Church reached out to a friend and invited him into our community says Linderman Through some discussions prayer and the proclamation of God s Word we witnessed this young man say It s time for me to put my flag in the ground for Jesus This really excites us as now we get to help see him through to maturity Linderman says We really believe God has asked us to make our decisions in faith and to stretch ourselves and that s what we have done and will continue to do God is faithful in abundance and that s exciting There are a handful of unlikelies hanging around right now that we believe will come to know Jesus and hopefully call Axiom Church their community and home Axiom is founded on the core principles of the necessity of connected small groups overall missional focus and healthy meaningful Sunday gatherings Although a few older people have also attended the majority of the Axiom congregation are young singles and couples with many small children The good number of children requires a solid children s program that is currently being led by volunteers This is all so exciting says Megan Milem worship leader God has truly blessed us I think he will use Axiom as a place for people to find genuine hope and help Linderman says These are still very early days with many challenges and opportunities We know God will be faithful to help us Leave a comment Comment Name E mail Post 0 Comments Arizona church celebrates launch Tuesday Oct 1 2013 Axiom Church hosts 175 people on Launch Sunday Mission USA news story It was a spiritually charged and lively atmosphere with many people in attendance when Axiom Church Peoria Ariz the daughter church of Copper Hills Community Church in Glendale Ariz held their official launch July 28 In early July the church completed renovation of a storefront site in this rapidly growing city in the Phoenix metro area Several Mennonite Brethren donors and churches assisted with the cost of renovation The main meeting area has a capacity for about 175 people and for an additional 25 children in the separate children s area Attendance following the launch has been in the 80s To be such a young church and have had the opportunity to publicly launch a new facility for our city has been a huge testament of what God is preparing us for long term writes pastor Gavin Linderman We have been blessed with the support of our national

    Original URL path: http://www.usmb.org/news/article/Arizona-church-celebrates-launch.html (2016-02-17)
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  • USMB
    Latter day Saints LDS and have never heard a message of grace They can have trouble believing that God could love them especially because those outside their culture view these riders negatively The message that I most want them to hear is that all God wants of them is relationship says Jost They can just come as they are Feedback from the riders has been positive and encouraging Some 30 to 40 attend consistently even one meeting this summer when the temperatures inside the skatepark topped 100 degrees Jost believes that transformation is happening within many of those who attend but outward visible transformation is slow and tough to spot Patience is one of the biggest challenges of the ministry so far He points to some who are now comfortable enough to attend regular Daybreak youth activities or church services They trust us he says One young man already a Christian consistently offers words of appreciation for an outreach he can bring his friends to Another has begun to take ownership of the ministry and helps to bring others Two have committed to baptism one this summer and one this fall Jost and the lead team modeled Skatechurch after similar ministries he knew of in Oregon and Texas so it s not an unheard of outreach But it s also not common maybe because it takes just the right missionary to understand the riding culture Not just anyone could go in there and talk to these kids at the skatepark Jost says He continues to ride several times each week not only because he enjoys it but also because it gains him respect and credibility I m not just a guy who can t even do a 180 Jost s hobby has taken on new meaning It s far more than just riding says Jost It s hanging out and hopefully one day being able to share the gospel with these kids Leave a comment Comment Name E mail Post 0 Comments Jumping with Jesus Tuesday Oct 1 2013 Skate Church reaches out to BMX skateboard culture By Myra Holmes Skaters and riders with their baggy pants hairstyles that aren t especially clean cut or whole collections of tattoos aren t the kind of kids that usually come to church In fact they are the kinds of kids some church people would rather avoid If you don t BMX or skate you would be likely to assume that it s a rougher crowd says Utah youth pastor Josh Jost But Jost youth pastor at the Daybreak campus of South Mountain Community Church in the Salt Lake City Utah area has always had a passion for the riding culture I ve been riding BMX my whole life he says Because he has been an insider for a long time he knows that once you get to know these kids they are kind and friendly and open to the gospel Which is why Jost has teamed up with a few friends and

    Original URL path: http://www.usmb.org/news/article/Jumping-with-Jesus.html (2016-02-17)
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  • USMB
    have something good too Kids who serve earn fun dollars toward activities that will help expand their worldview and their possibilities says Bartsch such as a picnic a field trip to the zoo or an educational nature hike Last year rewards also included things like art classes music lessons or sports leagues but organizers found that it was difficult for kids to link the service with distant rewards and sometimes difficult for them to find transportation to the reward activity So this year rewards follow service almost immediately and transportation is provided if necessary About 125 kids participated in Work for Fun last school year Bartsch expects similar participation this year In addition parents and older siblings are invited to participate as volunteers and a parent group at the school helps with planning Bartsch says the parents enjoy being involved and trusted with leadership and have a deep sense of ownership in the program About 30 Neighborhood volunteers make it happen each time often bringing their own children to serve alongside the Houston children As families work together relationships form even across language barriers Bartsch tells about two sisters from a rough home life who have experienced both relationship and dignity through Work for Fun The girls would often come early so they became key helpers in setting up and preparing for each event She says the girls not only know they re loved by the volunteers but also feel needed in a way they probably don t feel in the rest of their lives When one particularly loved intern left for a 10 month mission the sisters took leadership in planning a going away party Bartsch says that volunteers don t overtly preach at Work for Fun but The gospel is part of everything we do They know we re from Neighborhood Church and they know we do this because we believe that God loves them deeply and we love them Leave a comment Comment Name E mail Post 0 Comments Visalia church offers innovative service program Tuesday Oct 1 2013 Work for Fun partnership with local school leads to innovative service program By Myra Holmes Through the Work for Fun program at Neighborhood Church Visalia Calif children from a lower income part of the city are rewarded with new opportunities as they serve others About seven years ago Neighborhood established a partnership with Houston Elementary School Houston is in a neighborhood that is always in the news according to Stephanie Bartsch the church s missional strategist a part of town plagued by gangs drugs and poverty But it s also an area filled with hard working families often immigrants from Mexico who love their children and want a better future for them It s one of those neighborhoods that has lots of challenges but the more we ve gotten involved the more we ve fallen in love with these kids and these families that are working really hard to love their children and provide for their families Bartsch

    Original URL path: http://www.usmb.org/news/article/Visalia-church-offers-innovative-service-program.html (2016-02-17)
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  • USMB
    for nearly three years says John D Roth director of the Institute and secretary of the MWC Faith and Life Commission In 2010 Roth participated in a gathering of international church leaders from 12 conferences to interpret the results of the Multi Nation Anabaptist Profile a study undertaken by Eastern Mennonite Missions When I saw the energy generated in those conversations I was convinced that MWC could benefit by a similar project that was more representative of its member groups and focused on its shared convictions Roth says He found ready allies in César García newly appointed general secretary of MWC and Conrad Kanagy professor of sociology at Elizabethtown College who had directed the Multi National Anabaptist survey In 2011 Roth helped to establish the Institute for the Study of Global Anabaptism at Goshen College and initiated a series of conversations with MWC Mennonite Central Committee MCC and the mission agencies of various Mennonite conferences regarding the global survey Following the approval of the project by MWC s Executive Committee and General Council Roth forged a partnership with Kanagy who has extensive experience with similar church member profiles Kanagy will serve as a co director of the project The project has received grants from MCC and the Schowalter Foundation with most of the financial support coming from individual contributions Organizers hope that the Global Anabaptist Profile will be completed in time for Pennsylvania 2015 the MWC Assembly to be held in Harrisburg Pa in July 2015 The size of the Anabaptist Mennonite global fellowship has nearly tripled in the past three decades with most of the growth coming outside of Europe and North America says Roth Yet we really don t know very much about the lived experiences the beliefs practices and challenges of our global body We hope this project will provide a clearer understanding of who we are as a global family and deepen our sense of a shared identity Leave a comment Comment Name E mail Post 0 Comments USMB to participate in global research project Tuesday Sep 10 2013 Mennonite World Conference launches new study of its worldwide members by Connie Faber with Goshen College press release USMB has been selected to participate in a Mennonite World Conference MWC global study that looks at how Anabaptist Christians around the world are living out their faith The 24 national conferences and church groups involved in the Global Anabaptist Profile study were selected randomly from MWC s five geographic regions and include seven of the 20 Mennonite Brethren conferences that comprise the International Community of Mennonite Brethren ICOMB That so many Mennonite Brethren conferences are involved in this first ever global study is an indicator of the significant role Mennonite Brethren play in the worldwide fellowship of Anabaptist churches says Valerie Rempel the USMB research associate for the project who is responsible for carrying out the project in the U S We forget that worldwide we Mennonite Brethren are a large group says Rempel In addition to Mennonite

    Original URL path: http://www.usmb.org/news/article/USMB-to-participate-in-global-research-project.html (2016-02-17)
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  • USMB
    us by our partner churches says Boschman The 2012 13 fiscal year which began June 1 2012 marked the start of a 10 year aggressive church planting effort The budget also included funds for new USMB staff and new national initiatives in Slavic ministries and communication Delegates to last summer s USMB convention approved a budget of 1 018 524 a 20 percent increase over the previous year intended to fund this vision By the time the Leadership Board met in October 2012 it was apparent that USMB was not on track to meet its income goals Church giving during the first quarter was down and the director of development position had just been filled So the Leadership Board approved a revised budget of 941 154 an amount that still allowed for the planting of six new churches new ministry initiatives and additional staff The staff fundraising line was reduced to 256 000 and the Leadership Board decided to look for new ways to secure the almost 90 000 in additional income needed to continue moving forward with both existing and new programs This past fiscal year also marked a shift in the way local congregations are asked to contribute to USMB Under the new proportional funding model churches are asked to send a first fruits financial gift of 2 5 percent of general offerings to support USMB ministries USMB leaders recognize that transitioning to the new funding model will take time and staff members continue to work with congregations in making the change USMB is moving to a calendar budget year in 2014 and is currently operating under a seven month budget of 486 377 to finish out the 2013 calendar year Church contributions for the next seven months are budgeted at 245 000 and staff fundraising is set at 210 000 Related stories Meeting USMB Budget Depends on Fundraising September 2012 USMB Leadership Board Adjusts 2012 13 Budget October 2012 Leave a comment Comment Name E mail Post 0 Comments USMB finishes fiscal year with fundraising shortfall Tuesday Aug 27 2013 Church giving up expenses come in under budget By Connie Faber In spite of efforts to increase financial support among USMB congregations and generous individuals the U S national conference finished the 2012 13 fiscal year with a deficit of more than 100 000 The fiscal year closed May 31 and results of the year end audit were announced Aug 8 While we had planned to overspend our budget by about 50 000 we ended our year with expenses over income in the amount of 103 055 USMB executive director Ed Boshman wrote to USMB church pastors moderators and treasurers in early August We are grateful that we had reserves to cover that shortfall induced by difficult circumstances USMB staff members were successful in keeping expenses under budget by about 1 600 Expenses for 2012 13 totaled 939 548 while total income was 836 493 Staff fundraising was a priority with an aggressive goal of 394 284

    Original URL path: http://www.usmb.org/news/article/USMB-finishes-fiscal-year-with-fundraising-shortfall.html (2016-02-17)
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  • USMB
    Egyptians attended the Canadian School of Peacebuilding where they learned about conflict resolution and trauma healing In addition MCC has supported its church partners as they have offered peacebuilding training in Egypt to Christians and Muslims Although MCC s partners cannot offer formal training during the current upheaval MCC Egypt representative Judith Snowdon is convinced that individuals continue to work for peace in their communities and relationships Judith and Tom Snowdon are MCC Egypt representatives from Saint Joseph De Kent N B In two areas of Upper Egypt where the Coptic Orthodox Church has invested many years of work to build peace between Muslims and Christians no Coptic churches or Christians have been harmed at this point says Judith Snowdon In one of those communities she says the Muslim Brotherhood surrounded the home of a Coptic bishop one night causing fear to those inside but no harm was done The next day other Muslims in the community joined Christians helping them to protect the church the bishop s house and related buildings This happened in many communities Snowdon says Muslims came to the defense of Christians and surrounded their churches Christians in Egypt are very conscious of Christ s call to be peacemakers and to be nonviolent says Tom Snowdon It is why they are such easy targets They tend not to fight back at least not very much and they get scapegoated At the same time they do stand up for their rights as citizens and their leadership advises them to do so Snowdon says The Christians always want the message to go out that they want the rights of all citizens to be honored The Snowdons and MCC call people to prayer not only for MCC s Egyptian staff and their safety but for the safety of all in Egypt and for peace in the nation They ask people to pray for wisdom and strength for MCC s church partners Leave a comment Comment Name E mail Post 0 Comments MCC work in Egypt continues despite violence Tuesday Aug 27 2013 Partners continue working for peace education health By Linda Espenshade for MCC news service Mennonite Central Committee MCC continues to support its church partners in Egypt with their development projects and health and educational programs in spite of being hampered by political violence some of it directed at Christians MCC is an inter Mennonite relief development and peace agency that serves around the world in the name of Christ Violence in Egypt escalated Aug 14 when Egypt s armed forces violently cleared sit ins by supporters of ousted President Mohammed Morsi Hundreds of protestors were among more than 500 people killed that day according to numerous media reports Morsi who was ousted by the military in early July during a large popular uprising against the president is widely supported by the Muslim Brotherhood an Islamist political and religious group As the government continues its crackdown on the Muslim Brotherhood Morsi supporters have destroyed police stations and government

    Original URL path: http://www.usmb.org/news/article/MCC-work-in-Egypt-continues-despite-violence.html (2016-02-17)
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  • USMB
    bakers That evening some 175 diners enjoyed the 500 zwieback baked earlier that day The dinner menu also included chicken noodle soup salad and cake The evening concluded with singing around an outdoor campfire Tours of the original church site were offered Saturday morning BP Oil Refinery has purchased the site and a new campus located just 1 1 2 miles away was dedicated in January 2012 The Saturday evening banquet focused on the past ministry of the church and concluded with a look to the future Former pastors Lloyd Pankratz of Abbotsford BC and Jim Totzke of Fresno Calif shared memories Gary Wall Pacific District Conference minister brought greetings Three guests who were present at BBBCC s very first service in 1937 Doris Wiebe Fleishauer Esther Karber Pierson and Leonard Unruh were acknowledged A number of those present were also recognized direct descendants of charter members the oldest living member age 94 the youngest member age 10 and those who have called BBBCC their home for their entire lives Elizabeth Reimer Fast the longest continuous member since 1946 along with daughter Janet Fast Pankratz granddaughter Marie Pankratz Waslohn and two great grandchildren who have all attended BBBCC for their entire lives were given special recognition The evening also included a focus on the future as Carlin Weinhauer of Vancouver BC challenged the audience to continue in ministry Weinhauer is a mission mobilizer with MB Mission The Sunday morning service was held outdoors under a tent erected on the church s sports field The service included a variety of musical numbers a 30 voice alumni choir led by Vivian Unruh Wheeler a men s ensemble ladies trio and solo selection BBBCC youth pastor Keith Warkentin spoke and Tim Thiessen lead pastor preached During its 75 year history the church was also known as Whitehorn MB Church Birch Bay MB Church and is now Birch Bay Bible Community Church of the Mennonite Brethren Leave a comment Comment Name E mail Post 0 Comments Birch Bay congregation celebrates 75th anniversary Tuesday Aug 27 2013 Weekend events highlight church s history Birch Bay Bible Community Church news story Birch Bay Bible Community Church BBBCC Blaine Wash celebrated 75 years of ministry July 5 7 The weekend celebration began with zwieback and ended with an outdoor worship service The Mennonite Brethren Church at Birch Bay as the congregation was known when it was organized in 1937 was formed by some eight farming families that migrated to the Pacific Northwest from the Midwest in the early 1930s due to the drought of the Dust Bowl days Today the church is located in a fast growing rural community just two miles from the Pacific Ocean and eight miles south of the Canadian border Given its location several Canadian families attend BBBCC and the congregation welcomes weekend visitors who vacation in the area Celebration events began Friday morning when 20 plus women and youth gathered in the church kitchen to learn how to make zwieback a traditional

    Original URL path: http://www.usmb.org/news/article/Birch-Bay-congregation-celebrates-75th-anniversary.html (2016-02-17)
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