Dear Friend of Harvest,
May flowers are promised, and I can’t wait to see that color brightening up our surroundings … I can almost smell the blooms now! I do have some other news, updates from our mission field workers, that should help to brighten your days.
Over the next two months, we have several missionaries who will be in town to spend a little time with our church family. I would like to invite you to get to know them a little more as they do and ask that you prayerfully support their efforts. Harvest is a community church with a vision to impact the world for Jesus, right here from Kittanning. I will share more about our efforts in a three-part Special Edition Series of Big Fred’s Bytes focused on missions at Harvest Community Church.
First, let me explain a little about how you are already a part of their efforts.
Harvest currently supports 16 missionary families that serve in a variety of contexts and locations. Your current financial support (tithes/offerings) allows our church to commit to monthly support that will vary from missionary to missionary based on several factors including alignment with our ministry goals and the specific work they are pursuing. We have had monthly support range from $25 to $800 per month, and we revisit that amount annually as we prepare our church budget. The norm is usually around $400 per month per missionary. Harvest will also, at times, commit to specific projects connected to one of our missionaries that could be over and above that amount to accomplish a specific goal.
Some examples of those extra efforts have included constructing ministry buildings, developing self-sustaining food efforts, short-term food relief supplies, pastors and ministry leader training, Christian schools, Bible translations, printing and distribution, and many more. All these efforts are supported through decisions of your Executive Elder Team and managed with significant accountability.
Harvest has tried to periodically visit and work alongside all our field missionaries so that we can best understand their ministry focus and effort, as well as their effectiveness. Often this provides opportunities for short-term teams to travel to work alongside them in their efforts. We seek people from our congregation who are interested, willing, and capable to participate in those trips. An example of one such trip is the group going to Juarez Mexico in a few weeks that will be comprised of many CRAVE high school students and leaders. They will be working with a local church there to care for children in addition to working on an orphanage that this church will be operating.
Much of the personal details about missionaries in our communications is carefully managed to protect names, locations, and specific content for “some” of our mission partners due to security reasons. That is not meant to keep the information from you, just off of web or social media platforms that could be used against them in a variety of ways. I would be happy to meet and discuss more details with anyone who is a part of our church family.
So let me get to our upcoming visits. On May 3
rd through the 5
th we will host our team working in Israel. Their names are intentionally omitted here. If you attend any of the services at Kittanning this weekend you can meet them personally and hear more about our efforts in that area. We plan to send a short-term team in 2020 to Israel and we will be starting to prepare for that soon. While this weekend will be premature for joining that team, it is not too early to learn more about our work there. Look for team forming details for Israel 2020 coming out this fall.
Also visiting this weekend at the Kittanning services will be Christian and Megan Hall and their three young children, Lincoln, Isaiah, and recently birthed Clayton. The Halls are members of Harvest and have been attending preparation school and training over the last few years with Ethnos 360. Their visit this week is short as they will be heading to Wisconsin for support raising Monday before returning to Harvest to serve at KidzFest (Next Generation Vacation Bible School) in late June. The Halls are on track for moving to Papua New Guinea in 2020 where they plan to serve by sharing the Gospel with a to-be-determined, unreached tribal people group. Harvest will be the sending and home church, which will increase our responsibilities to care for their family throughout their ministry careers. You will definitely enjoy getting to know this young couple and their children. (See information at the bottom about Christian's parents.)
And then finally, for this section of our Special Edition Series related solely to missions, I want to inform you about Peter and Pam Van Der Decker’s visit from the 16
th through the 21
st of May. Peter and Pam have dedicated much of their lives serving in Papua New Guinea as Christian missionaries. They have raised their children in that context, and several of their grown children are currently, or are training to serve as, missionaries. (Their son, Josiah, and his wife, Rachel, are currently mission partners with Harvest as well.) Peter and Pam have such a passion for sharing the Good News with the unreached people of the world that you might choose to join them when they return to Papua New Guinea in a few months. You won’t want to miss their update at our services on May 17
th and 21
st. We are planning a few special events for that weekend too, and we will share more details with you soon.
Look for our next Special Edition for Harvest Missions in two weeks. We plan to give a brief overview of some of the other missionaries we partner with, and then the third part in our special missions’ series will look at what is known as our “10:16 Team.” In that edition, we will need to be very careful of specific details, but I think you will be able to get a glimpse of their work. Just remember to read between the lines when we get to that part.
In closing, you can rest assured that we are very actively pursuing our commitment to be a missions-focused church that sees it as the responsibility of all Christians to actively engage in living out our faith and in sharing the Gospel locally, and around the globe. As Jesus directed:
Now the eleven disciples went to Galilee, to the mountain to which Jesus had directed them.
And when they saw him they worshiped him, but some doubted.
And Jesus came and said to them,
'All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me.
Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit,
teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.'
(Matt 28:16-20 ESV)
In His service,