Update from Katie and Taku Longkummer

Dear Partners!

We pray this finds you all well and rejoicing in the abundant grace and loving presence of our Lord Jesus. Today I’m relishing the cool breeze blowing across the Brahmaputra River, thankful the sauna of summer seems to have finally passed. We are so very blessed, and it somehow seems a bit easier to recognize that fact as the heat and humidity subsides. Now temps are only in the 80’s, feels almost chilly! We do hope you all have opportunities to enjoy the beauty of the change of seasons wherever you are.

October is a significant month to us for many reasons. This past week marked the two year anniversary of our arrival here in Guwahati! We praise God for the privilege of living and ministering His love in this place. Taku & I just counted the number of people groups (different ethnicities and language groups) that we have had the honor to minister to and interact with during this time. We stopped counting at 80! The diversity of this nation is mind-boggling!

Continue reading “Update from Katie and Taku Longkummer”

From the Pastor’s Desk: Representatives of the King

There are a couple of reasons I don’t have a fish on the back of our car.  One is simply that I’m not that into bumper stickers or advertising my faith by slogan – but I have to confess that another reason is that I don’t want my driving to reflect badly on my Savior or my brother and sister Christians.  I’m not a frothing “road rage” driver, but I do get impatient.  And I struggle with the temptation to drive precisely the speed limit whenever someone tailgates me.  You might say that’s the letter of the law.  Indeed it is, but my spirit may have nothing to do with it…   Still working on that.

But it gets me to think about what it means to be a representative of the King.  Jesus calls us His disciples; we’re part of how God makes His Son visible in the world.  Paul calls us ambassadors for Christ, with the ministry and message of reconciliation to the world. Continue reading “From the Pastor’s Desk: Representatives of the King”

In Our Backyard, by Nita Belles

In Our Backyard describes what goes on in the human trafficking area. It provides insight into how victims are manipulated into traps and then held captive and exploited.  These things are not only in far off places. They are present in our country and happen in our own neighborhoods.  This book is well worth reading. It will most probably influence how you think about prostitutes, restaurant workers, nannies, and others. It is available in our church library.

More for Moore: MBC Mission Trip

A team from Memorial Baptist Church will be traveling to Moore, OK, January 11th-18th, 2014, to assist in recovery efforts following the EF-5 tornado that devastated the community in 2013.  Christine and Cal Popp, who worked at the Quad Graphics plant in Oklahoma City for a number of years, have many connections to the area and are coordinating the trip.  We will be working through the Church of the Harvest, which has dormitory housing for our mission team.

The estimated cost of the trip will be $250/person.  Some assistance may be available with mission funds through the church.  Please talk with Christine Popp or Pastor Brian if interested.  All skill levels welcome, those with construction skills are especially needed.   If you know someone outside the church who may be interested in participating, let us know!

Care INC

Care INC LogoFirst of all, I wanted to say thank you to the church for their support of the recent Care INC Walk; we had great participation and support, and raised money for local food pantries and agencies.  That was a great first year response, and we had good feedback that will help us improve the experience for the coming year.

Care INC not only networks churches as we respond to needs in the community; we also offer mentoring in different life skills, from budgeting to honing a resume or job search skills, to dealing with debts that can feel overwhelming.  The mentoring Care INC offers is confidential, and can range from a very short term commitment to a longer process of identifying and working towards specific goals.  Mentors are ordinary people from churches across Fond du Lac, who are trained to work in a non-judgmental way to help you reach your goals.

If you are interested in speaking with a Care INC mentor, or learning how to be part of our mentoring team, please call 251-0670 for more information.

Update from Hadath Baptist Church

God Continues To Use HBC To Serve The Most Vulnerable

Hadath (31)As the refugee catastrophe continues, God is giving Hadath Baptist Church amazing opportunities to witness to the love of Christ amongst those most in need. As Lebanon continues to absorb unsustainable numbers of refugees, the opportunities to serve in practical ways increase.

As well as welcoming increasing numbers of non-Christian background refugees to our Sunday worship services, including at least 30 teenagers each week, we have been able to provide physical assistance to increasing numbers of families from the Naaba area of Beirut (we are now helping 80 families!), a significant hub for the refugee community.

We continue to rely on your prayers, friendship and support, and thank you for your continued interest in our ministry.

Check out some highlights below about all the things we’ve been doing.

  • HBC’s young adults raised $1,000 towards the Syrian refugees and also hosted the Naaba teenagers for Sunday lunch – during a whole month – in an attempt to get to know them better.
  • The Lebanese Baptist Society and HBC have been working to provide eighty families with $60 food vouchers each month to families in most need (Lebanese and Syrian). Not only we are distributing food and vouchers, members of HBC have regularly visited families in the area.
  • At the Horizons Centre, located in Naaba, we are providing relief supplies, daily meetings for prayer, worship, teaching and evangelism. Numbers continue to increase as people meet the living Christ.
  • The Church Council and some of HBC’s Youth Group went to visit the Naaba families that are attending church to strengthen ties with the local and refugee community.
  • We’ve continuously received positive feedback, not only regarding the visits, but also the teaching their kids are receiving. Many families choose to send their kids, even if they are going to a [Christian] church, because they are receiving good education and biblical principles.
  • The growing HBC family spent 4 days in August escaping the business of life in Beirut, in order to enjoy a healthy retreat. We were honoured to have 200 people attending (around 20 refugees), enjoying a time of real blessing and intimacy with our Lord.
  • We continue to rely on your prayers, friendship and support, and thank you for your continued interest in our ministry.

From the Pastor: “Fitness”

exercise 01Ah, the internet – a wondrous, never-ending source of odd stories.  This past week I came across an article in the UK news site, “Daily Mail”, which proclaimed the results of a recent survey to indicate that “men lose interest in fashion trends and being ‘cool’ at around the age of 46, while women tended to focus on their appearance and general fitness until at least age 59.”  My first reaction was that this must have been a slow news day for them.  My second reaction was to think that letting go of making “fashion trends and being ‘cool’” a priority is very different than giving up on ‘general fitness.’

To care about our appearance isn’t necessarily a bad thing.  It can motivate us to care for our bodies in a healthy way.  But of course, there can be an unhealthy preoccupation or worry about how others perceive us, or unrealistic standards or expectations we allow ourselves to succumb to, which draw us to compare ourselves with others instead of focusing on what is healthy for us.  Learning to let go of those things is good.  But the survey indicated that many people had reached a point where they had essentially given up on trying to make a difference in things that were affecting their general health, not just their appearance.

And that led me to wonder why people were letting go of some important things as well as the surface level stuff.  And it made me wonder about the similar ways we treat our spiritual lives. Continue reading “From the Pastor: “Fitness””

From the Pastor’s Desk: “Questions, Questions”

questionmarkIn a cartoon I read a while back, a guy was sitting at a table, having a cup of coffee with Jesus.  The gist of the comic went like this: Every time the guy would ask Jesus something, Jesus would respond with a question.  Finally the man gets exasperated and says: “Jesus, why do you keep answering my questions with questions?”

Jesus replies: “Why would I do that?”

Something to ponder: Which is more important, to have the right answer or to ask the right question?

And for those of you who immediately said “both!”  I agree…but let me ask: Does it make a difference to be given an answer without having asked the question first?

One of my favorite college stories involved an opportunity to take a very spur of the moment road trip with some friends to go camping in Wyoming.  But I had a test the next afternoon that I couldn’t miss.  I had attended all the classes and had taken notes, but hadn’t really studied.  The only thing in my favor was that the class was being taught by a very knowledgeable businessman who was, however, in his very first year of teaching.  So I went to him that same afternoon and asked if I could take the test early – as in, right then.  (For any students reading this, I’m not setting this up as an example to emulate, but I will point out that there are advantages to attending relatively small Christian colleges.  Just saying.)   He graciously allowed me to take the test.  It turned out to be entirely multiple choice, and despite my lack of real preparation, it wasn’t hard to pick out which answers the teacher wanted me to choose.  I ended up acing the test.  But looking back, I can’t remember much from that class. Continue reading “From the Pastor’s Desk: “Questions, Questions””

From the Pastor: “What Season Is It?”

garden 01Cool things are going on out behind the church garage, behind a roll of chicken wire and metal posts.   The Girl-Scout garden is flourishing – watered, weeded, and growing like crazy.  It won’t be too long before they can begin to harvest some of the vegetables that have been growing there all summer.

It’s that season of growing, my second-favorite time of year in Wisconsin (autumn is my favorite, it just never lasts long enough…), and it reminds me that just as the plants have their seasons of growing and fruition and dormancy, so too is it wise for us to pay attention to the seasons of our souls.

We can easily identify seasons of our lives: birth, childhood, adolescence, adulthood, and so on – but there are rhythms in our spiritual lives as well, times of growth, times of rest, times to work and times to step back.   We ignore them at a price.

I have to confess it’s a hard balance to maintain in our posture as a church, for we have a calling to grow into an ever deeper faith and maturity in our lives.  We have a calling to use our gifts and our talents to care for others inside the church and outside in the community.   But just as truly, we need to remember that even as we are called to work for the kingdom, we are invited to find rest in God, to remember that we are human beings, not just human do-ings.  I was convicted by a conversation with a friend (outside the church) who spoke of the busyness of life and how a church can sometimes add to that sense of burden in a way that isn’t helpful. Continue reading “From the Pastor: “What Season Is It?””