Rey de Gloria congregation in Brownsville, Texas, has been working on their new building for over 4 years now. It is about 75% completed and they have no outstanding debt on the project as a result of much fundraising and donated labor both from outside and within the congregation. They estimate that it will take about $50,000 more to finish. They recently thought they had found a bank willing to give them a construction loan to finish the building, however, that application was recently denied. In the meantime, since the building is not being used as a church, the city has begun to assess property taxes on the building of about $5,000 per year even though once the building is finished and being used as a church it will become tax exempt. It is also anticipated that once finished they will be able to get a mortgage on the building to cover the $50,000 since that only represents about 20% of its value. Pray that the church will find a way to move this project to completion soon.
Soon after Whitestone’s Lead Pastor Kurt Horst announced on January 6 his plans to retire on June 30, the elders discussed the process of appointing a Pastoral Search Committee of seven members. As a preliminary step, members of the congregation were invited to submit up to 5 names of members whom they would support if asked to serve. One hundred unduplicated names were submitted. Those with the highest number of votes moved to the top of the short list. The elders then individually named their own top choices, which again sharpened the focus on those who would be invited to serve. The invitation to each of the prospects consisted of a personal visit with the congregational chair, who also serves as chair of the Elder Team, and one other elder. In that process, only one person declined because of some schedule issues. So within about a one-week time frame, the committee members were confirmed and announced to the congregation. Some of the committee expressed not only interest, but eagerness, to serve in this important task. From the beginning of the process, the elders have gathered weekly for a time of prayer, acknowledging that God’s spirit has been evident from start to finish!
As the Lord has assigned to each his task, I planted the seed, Apollos watered it, but God has been making it grow. 7 So neither the one who plants nor the one who waters, is anything, but only God, who makes things grow. 8 The one who plants and the one who waters have one purpose, and they will each be rewarded according to their own labor. 9 For we are co-workers in God’s service. (1 Cor. 3: 5-9).
Pastor Omot & Hanna Aganya planted Eden Life Church two and half years ago. They expected that the Church would grow in numbers of people attending by now. They expected spiritual growth as well among all the ethnic groups who are attending Eden Life Church as their home church. The vision is coming along bite by bite. Pastor Omot and Hanna are so excited that God considered them faithful to plant a church in Kansas City, MO with South Central Conference. The four services at Eden Life Church are still happening each Sunday from morning until evening. We would like you to pray especially for the Amharic program and ask God to help us to reach more Ethiopians. We know that there are thousands of Ethiopians in Kansas City, MO. Pray that God would give us grace, the evangelism methods, and wisdom to reach them.
Crystal Springs is a rural congregation with the church building located several miles southwest of Harper, Kansas. With an attendance of 15-20, Crystal Springs functions in many ways like a small group, providing pastoral care for each other and reaching out to people in the community. Congregants include K-12 educators, farmers and medical professionals. Pastor Josh Patterson reports that the Adult Sunday School class recently completed a study of Hesston College Professor Michele Hershberger’s book God’s Story Our Story: Exploring Faith and Life which generated high interest and new insights. This class is now following up with an article by article of the Confession of Faith in a Mennonite Perspective.
–Howard Keim Regional Conference Minister