Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Team Update January 2009

Hello again from Wisconsin!  Here is a synopsis from the month of November and December.




We had a great visit at the Burr and Valley churches.  Pastor Alan and Irene Tripp have led these two congregations faithfully and well.  One thing I really appreciate about Pastor Tripp is, when he prays, he prays specifically and regularly for Nicaragua and church planting along with the local church and personal needs.  Alan and Irene will be traveling again to Nicaragua to help train pastors and leaders – something they have done every year except one since we began our partnership.


Casa de Dios celebrated their 4th anniversary as a church.  They did a wonderful job hosting the other two Hispanic pastors and their people for the service.  It was a wonderful evening with great music, great food and special awards given to some of the charter members of this new congregation.  Pastor Daniel and Faramis Munoz continue to give strong and faithful leadership to this congregation in Milwaukee.  Framaris will also be traveling to Nicaragua this year to help teach the ladies.


Ladies’ Retreat, which happens every other year, was a wonderful experience for hundreds of women from across Wisconsin.  Reenie and her leadership team did a great job planning and leading the two-day event.  It was an unforgettable and life-changing retreat.  Joanna Weaver did an outstanding job and the break-outs, skits and worship were huge plusses to the event.


We were privileged to be with Our Savior’s on the Sunday before Thanksgiving.  It is always a delight to be with the Krupps and the congregation.  Our Savior is transitioning this year.  Assistant pastor Stevan Sheets felt led to resign and take a staff position in Western Pennsylvania this fall.  Pastor Karen Scheel continues to serve in leadership on staff there, picking up a number of responsibilities for counseling, pastoral care, women’s ministry and leadership development. 


The last Sunday of Janesville we dropped in on Pastor Paul and the congregation.  Pastor Wilczek is giving good leadership to the congregation, who are facing tough economic news with the closing of the GM Janesville plant.  The pastor and congregation are still encouraged and working toward change to meet the present and future with faith.




I had the privilege of being with the Lakeshore congregation in Madison the first part of December.  Pastor David Treloar and the congregation are moving to a new location on the south central part of Madison, where they’ve entered into a lease agreement to have their own facilities.  This is a huge boost of encouragement because they are paying the same amount, have access to the facility 24/7 and no longer have to do the set up/tear down work as they have for most of the past several years.  It was a delight to be with the congregation and speak an Advent message of encouragement and hope to them.


Beulah was the last annual visit in the month of December.  Pastor Dennis Jones and the congregation are also encouraged with the work there in the Richland Center area.  Again, it was a joy to be able to share an Advent message with them.  I had a wonderful lunch with Dennis and Sela and caught up with their hearts and ministry. 


News and Notes


I met with the Nicaragua Partnership and Richard Concklin and the team continue to do a fantastic job monitoring and overseeing this vital partnership with our brothers and sisters in Central America.  Please pray for the pastor’s training team as they spend the week of January 11-19 in the country.  Team members include Alan and Irene Tripp, Matt Ohime, Framaris Munoz, Dan Bickel and Cindy Terry (translator).  Pray that the pastors and leaders will learn and be encouraged during this week.  Also, begin praying for the construction and medical teams as they prepare for the trip in February.  The construction crew will be helping to complete a two-story church in Managua.


The youth leadership team met this past fall and laid the ground work for the Middle School and High School camps.  The High school camp will be the last week of June and the Middle school camp is moving to the second week of August.  Pray for Chopper Brown and his leaders as they plan for this summer.


We would also ask you to pray for and remember our Pastors and spouses as they come together the last of January.  Dr. Jim Lo, Dean of the Chapel (Spiritual Formation Director) at IWU will be speaking. 


Special Note


Nicaragua Pastor’s scholarships – This year again we are asking for individuals and churches to sponsor a pastor to attend and participate in our annual training event in Nicaragua.  It cost about $300 per pastor for a week-long retreat/training event.  The money covers their travel, food, lodging, books and a small annual cash gift to bless them and their ministries.  Some churches have placed this in their budgets.  Some take up special offerings.  Some generously give it out of their missions or general funds.  However you do it, we appreciate your gifts.  We need 15-20 scholarships each year.  Please send your contributions to the Nicaraguan treasurer, Irene Tripp.  Her mailing address is:  E 15912 St. Hwy. 33, P.O. Box 388, Hillsboro, WI 54634.


Dates for your Information




11-13     DS Institute

12-19     Nicaragua Pastor’s Training Trip

25           Drop in visit

25-27     The Getaway (Pastors and spouses retreat)

31           Eau Claire Board




1              Spooner visit

8              West Allis visit and Board

11-19     Nicaragua Medical and Construction trip

15           Eau Claire visit

22           Darrow Rd. visit

25-26     IWU/Asbury visit


Leading a great team.


Your servant,


Dan Bickel

Wisconsin District Superintendent

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Wisconsin Team Update 7-17-08

Baker Street

Sunday, June 22 was a good day at Baker Street Community Church in Wisconsin Rapids. Pastor Milt and his wife, Kaye, work together as a team to serve this local church and community. Milt has given good leadership to this congregation since taking the reins. They purchased a new property on a main road and have been gradually upgrading the property to make it more attractive and more useful for their ministry. Since January, the church has gone to two services, a legacy service and a celebration praise service. I had the privilege of preaching in both of them. In the first service one gentleman led the music and in the second service there was an eight member worship team and band that led. In addition to Lonnie Selje and Andrea Tweedie who oversee the administration and children’s ministry, there are two other volunteer ministry leaders – Noel Hubler and Al Wagner. Al is a retired minister who just moved back to Wisconsin and Noel, Lonnie and Andrea are in the preparation process for ministry. Even though the church hit a couple of speed bumps this year that slowed them down, they are excited about the future and continue to have a vision to reach people for Christ, minister to people in need and expand the kingdom through church multiplication.

Welcome Back Mike & Amy!
Mike and Amy Knox have arrived back in the states from Nicaragua. Mike attended the district conference, giving greetings and a brief update on Nicaragua. We are excited to have them back and look forward to their visits to the Wisconsin churches throughout this next year. Please pray for them as they re-acclimate to the US, travel this year, and find times of spiritual and physical refreshment.

District Conference
We had a great District Conference. Dr. Jo Anne Lyon, who was elected in June as the first female General Superintendent in the Wesleyan Church presided over the District Conference and preached the Ordination Service. I continually thank God for the truly great team we have here in Wisconsin, and am looking forward to a wonderful year as we focus on our vision of healthy leaders, healthy churches, new churches in Wisconsin, and new churches in the world.

Hales Corner
Don Towle, pastor of the Hales Corners Wesleyan church in the Milwaukee area, has given his resignation. He and Andrea have been there for five years, giving, sacrificing and serving to try and refocus the church. They have returned to California, where they have children and grandchildren. Please pray for them and the people of Hales Corners Wesleyan during this difficult time for them. Next month, five people from the church are going on their first missions’ trip. They are a part of the summer team traveling to Honduras.

Thank you for your continued prayers for
• Transformation City and Jason Butler as they prepare for their fall launch
• Woodland and Pastor Mary Coolidge in their transition
• Sand Lake and Northern Lakes in their search for a pastor
• Eastman and Pastor Fred Whyte in their transition
• Hales Corners and Pastor Don Towle in their transition
• Baraboo Jubilee and Pastor Josh Hilty in their transition
• Honduras Youth Missions Trip, July 14-21

Leading a great team. Your servant, Dan Bickel, Wisconsin District Superintendent.

Friday, June 20, 2008

Team Wisconsin Update 6-20-08


Last Sunday I had the privilege of being with the Janesville congregation to install and welcome Pastor Paul Wilczek and his family. They arrived about three weeks ago from Western New York and are excited to start leading in Janesville. Paul and Tammy have three children living at home with them. They are returning to New York this week for their daughter’s dance recital and to work on the sale of their home. Richard and Jan Concklin have been serving as an interim pastor there since the past left last fall. The congregation had an appreciation dinner last month for them and presented them with a beautiful album full of pictures, letters and memories of their time there. I have high appreciation and regard for Richard and Jan for their willingness to love and serve congregations in times of transition. Welcome, Paul and Tammy.

Activities and Events

This past week I’ve met with two other boards who are in transition. We would appreciate your prayers as they begin working through the transitional issues as leaders.

I also had the privilege of spending Monday with Pastors Juan Morillo and Jorge Valle, along with their sons, as we traveled north to the middle school camp and to meet with Enrique Montenegro in Hayward. It was a great opportunity to get to know Pastor Jorge, who is wanting to affiliate with the Wesleyan church. Pastor Juan’s two sons, Zee and Daniel, attended the middle school camp this week – their first one in the United States for them. Monday evening we were hosted by the Hayward Wesleyan church for a fiesta and a service. David and the worship band led the music and Enrique shared a little about the country and the work there in Nicaragua. It was a good connection for he and the pastors from Milwaukee. Also, on our way up north we made a quick stop and met with Pastor Todd and the leader of the Hispanic work being done in Rice Lake out of the Red Cedar church. The Red Cedar church has fixed up a house behind the church to be used for Bible studies and English as a second language classes.

Also, on Saturday, Reenie and I spend the day in Milwaukee in meetings with pastors. We met with Pastor Jason and Alya Butler from the Transformation City church, along with their new intern from Bethany and the new couple that has moved to Milwaukee to work along side of the Butlers to help plant the new church. They now have 25-30 people meeting regularly with them and they are gearing up for their ‘official’ launch this fall. Tim and Sommer Nelson have felt led for almost a year to come to Milwaukee to be part of the leadership. Tim is a graduate of Fuller and Sommer is an attorney. We also met with Pastor Don and Andrea Towle that afternoon.


Please pray for the District Conference this week – Thursday and Friday.

Please pray for the Woodland church and Mary Coolidge. Due to health issues, she is stepping out of ministry for a while.

Please pray for Eastman as they begin the search for a new pastor after the retirement of Fred Whyte.

Please continue to pray for Sand Lake and Northern Lakes as they continue their search for a pastor.

Please pray for Chopper Brown and the staff as they prepare for the Senior High Camp that starts Sunday, June 29.


June 22 Baker St.

June 25 DBA

June 26-7 Dist. Conference

June 29-July 4 High School Camp, Riverside Camp

July 7-14 Youth Nicaragua Trip

July 13 Westbrooke Visit

Casa de Restauracion Launch Sunday, 3 PM

July 14-21 Youth Honduras Trip

Dan Bickel

Wisconsin District Superintendent

Thursday, June 5, 2008

Our Saviors
Last Sunday I spent a good part of the day with Pastor Gerry Krupp and the congregation at Our Saviors. They have two services, but will combine them during the summer. Wenda Krupp is their worship leader, but, due to illness, Pastor Gerry and the team stepped in and did a good job leading the music. Neal Moss shared some words of appreciation about the pastors and Pastor Stevan and Pastor Gerry both received a check to express gratitude and appreciation from the congregation for their leadership. For dinner I had the opportunity to share a meal with Gerry and his newest staff person, Karen Scheel and her husband Dan. Karen has come on staff to do pastoral care and counseling as well as giving leadership to other areas, including the women’s ministry. Dan is a business man who also is the president of a missions organization that helps provide training to pastors and leaders in India.

Kevin O’Connor

Kevin and Carol O’Connor will be leaving for Asheville, NC after Father’s Day Sunday, June 15th. Kevin has felt directed to move there to start a new congregation. He and Carol have done a wonderful job these last 6 years to carve out a new beachhead for the kingdom in Cumberland, WI. Northern Lakes was a daughter church from Rice Lake Red Cedar, who supplied them with one of their worship teams as the group to help start the ministry. We wish Kevin and Carol the very best in their ministry as they follow the dream God has given them.

Fred Whyte

As many of you know, Fred Whyte, pastor at Eastman, had a heart attack several weeks ago. He is recovering very well, but will be retiring from full-time ministry, beginning this summer. Fred and Sandy have been at Eastman for three years and have served this congregation faithfully. Pray for them as they begin the transition to a new home and a new chapter in their lives. Also pray for the Eastman congregation as they begin a pastoral search.

Please Pray For

· Churches in transition – Sand Lake, Northern Lakes, and Eastman.

· General Conference—June 6-11. The church delegates and leaders will gather to choose leaders and make future-impacting decisions for the church at large.

· Kids Camp, which will be held next week. Pray for Jeremy Mavis, his staff and all the children that it will be a life-changing week.

· Middle School and High School Camps taking place later this month.

· District Conference—June 26-27. Pray that God will be present to encourage and inspire us to fulfill the vision He has given us to grow and expand the kingdom.


7-11 General Conference
9-13 North & South Kids Camps
15 Janesville—Paul Wilczek Installation
15-20 Middle School Camp
22 Baker Street Annual Visit
26-27 District Conference
29—July 4 Senior High Camp

7-14 Nicaragua Youth Missions Trip
14-21 Honduras Youth Missions Trip

Tuesday, June 3, 2008

Yes, the town is in another district and another state – North Dakota – at least 14 hours away, but that is where we were last Sunday.  We traveled there to continue building a relationship with a potential future IWU alumnus – our grandson, Jackson.  Before celebrating his first birthday party, we worked on and completed several projects around the home and enjoyed spending time with our son Brent, his wife, Laura and, of course, Jackson.  We enjoyed attending church at New Hope where Brent is the Family Life pastor.
Church Planting
The last day and a half was spent with the General Director of Evangelism and Church Growth, Phil Stevenson, and a specially appointed committee to work on strategic planning for planting churches in our district.  Craig Cooper, our district E & CG Director, worked to set up this very productive meeting.  I so appreciate his leadership in this area. We rejoiced over the new congregations the Lord has helped us to establish and the ones that are in the process right now.  Part of our dream continues to be to plant at least 20 new churches by 2020.
I recently met with Juan and Daniel where they introduced me to another potential church planting pastor from El Salvador, who has moved to Wisconsin.  Please continue to pray for our Spanish-speaking church plants.

Thank you for your continuing financial support and prayers for expanding the kingdom through new congregations.
Paul Wilczek—Paul and his family recently arrived in Janesville where Paul will be pasturing the church.
Tim Nelson—Tim and his wife have moved to Milwaukee to work with Jason and Alya Butler in the planting of Transformation City. 

We welcome you to the Wisconsin District!

We have some sad news from Nicaragua.  Pastor Reina of the Rosa de Saron (Rose of Sharon) church in Los Laureles, lost her husband, Cesar Gaitan, to a stroke.  Cesar provided for his family through farming and, in addition to their grieving his loss, this will be a blow to the family financially.  They have a daughter, son and 16-month old granddaughter.  Please pray for Pastor Reina, her family and the church.
Also, continue to remember Mike and Amy Knox as they and their three children prepare to leave Nicaragua and return to Wisconsin for this year.  They will be back in the states next month.
New Baby
We can all celebrate with Ben and Ingrid Kidder, pastor of The River Church in Minong.  They have a baby boy, Blaise Barnabas Kidder, born last Wednesday. He entered the world at a whopping 10# 11 oz. and extended the tape measure to 22 inches.  Congratulations to Ben and Ingrid.  That made for quite a memorable memorial day weekend.
Please continue to remember the special events coming in June – General Conference, District Conference, and our children, middle school and high school camps.


1 Our Savior’s Annual Visit
7-11 General Conference
9-13 North & South Kids Camps
15 Janesville—Paul Wilczek Installation
15-20 Middle School Camp
22 Baker Street Annual Visit
26 Westbrooke Annual Visit
26 Casa de Restauracion Visit
26-27 District Conference
29—July 4 Senior High Camp

7-14 Nicaragua Youth Missions Trip
14-21 Honduras Youth Missions Trip

Leading a great team—Your Servant, Dan Bickel, Wisconsin District Superintendent 



Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Team Wisconsin Update 5-14-08


It was a wonderful Mother’s Day as I had the privilege of dropping in at the home church to worship with Pastor David Treloar and the Lakeshore church family.  Pastor David preached a good message, as he always does.  He is in a series on the Home entitled “Housework.”  This week was on the Office; he spoke on finances, giving some good Biblical foundation and sharing John Wesley’s three principles on money – “Earn all you can, Save all you can, Give all you can.”  I also had the opportunity to hear Jeff Lennberg for the first time leading worship at Lakeshore.  Jeff and his family have felt led to begin ministry preparation with the Wesleyan church and to begin worshipping and working with Lakeshore.  He does a good job and it was a delight to visit with he and his family.

A special treat for us was to have our son and his family here.  Brent, Laura and Jackson stopped in on their way to Indiana where Brent is taking his last master’s class at Indiana Wesleyan University. 
Congratulations to Pastor Russell and Margaret Wooten! They have welcomed their 18th grandchild, Judah Reagan Clipner, into the world this past week. Mom and Dad (their daughter and son-in-law Kenny & Michelle), and all five brothers and sisters are doing great.  Grandma and Grandpa Wooten are pretty excited, too.
Nica News

The Knoxes and Eckhardts had a special time of retreat in Matagalpa recently.  The Knox family will be returning to the United States next month for a year of travel and connecting with churches and supporters.

The work team from Sheridan, WY was a huge blessing to the construction project at Mount Horeb.  The project is about 50% complete.  Mount Horeb is the location of one of three schools we have in Nicaragua and there is a church there as well.  Three people from the Mount Horeb church were baptized last weekend

The newly planted church at Matagalpa in northern Nicaragua has been given the use of a house to hold services.  This is a huge praise because the rainy season starts soon and they have been meeting on top of a ridge in the great outdoors.  There were over 80 people there in attendance last week.
Please pray for:

Sand Lake and Northern Lakes Churches in the pastoral search process.

General Conference and District Conference in June.

The summer camps (two Children’s, Middle School and Senior High).

Mary Coolidge, who remains in the hospital in Superior.

Debbie Hoover, Projects Director of World Hope, and wife of Chesapeake Dist. Supt.

Stan Hoover (and also Dan and Reenie’s sister-in-law) who will be having surgery on Friday.

Shelley Berry, wife of South Coastal Dist. Supt. Dan Berry as she continues to recover from the serious automobile accident. You can read of her progress and specific requests at http://www.caringbridge.org/visit/danshelleyberry. 

14 Nicaraguan Partnership Committee
17 DBMD Meeting
18 Woodland Visit
19-25 Vacation
28 Church Planting Strategic Planning

Summer Camps & Conferences

7-11 General Conference
9-13 North & South Kids Camps
15-20 Middle School Camp 26-27 District Conference
29—July 4 Senior High Camp

Wednesday, May 7, 2008

Eastman is a small town in the southwestern part of Wisconsin. The beautiful brick church sits along the main drag and is one of three churches in the town. I had the privilege of speaking on Sunday, then sharing a meal with the congregation and meeting with their LBA. Pastor Fred and Sandy were called there three years ago and have worked faithfully and hard to build the congregation. The congregation is unique in that almost all of the church is made up of those in the farming industry and almost all families home school their children. They have an active children’s, youth and young adult ministry that meets weekly. It was good to catch up with Fred and see that he is recovering very well from the heart attack he had just a short time ago. He reports that there appears to be minimal damage and he expects an almost full recovery in a few weeks. That is a remarkable thing, considering his heart stopped and he almost died twice. Thank the Lord for His touch and grace on Pastor Fred.

Year End Deadlines!

· May 10 (postmark) USF payments for the past fiscal year.

· May 15 all Annual Service Reports.

· May 31 all other reports (statistical, delegates, leaders, etc.)

Promptness in reporting is not only required; it is greatly appreciated.

Prayer Requests

Please pray for:

· Pastor Mary Coolidge who was rushed to the hospital to stabilize her because of problems with her medication

· Pastor Fred Whyte as he continues to heal from the heart attack.

· Northern Lakes Church and Sand Lake Church in the continuing search for a pastor.

· The upcoming General Conference in June.

· Our annual District Conference.

· Our children’s camps, middle school camp, and high school camp coming in June.


May 11 Drop-in Visit (Mother’s Day)
14 Nicaraguan Partnership Committee
17 DBMD Meeting
18 Woodland Visit
19-25 Vacation
28 Church Planting Strategic Planning

Summer Camps and Conferences

June 7-11 General Conference
9-13 North & South Kids Camps
15-20 Middle School Camp
26-27 District Conference
29—July 4 Senior High Camp