Saturday afternoon was spent with Pastor Daniel Munoz and his congregation, Iglesia Cristiana Wesleyana, in Milwaukee. The children, coming off of their VBS week, performed. Two Christian clowns from Puerto Rico led the music and program. Framaris and her staff did an outstanding job with the children. They went every morning for 4 hours, doing crafts, Bible stories, singing, even feeding the children breakfast and lunch. At the service, attended by about 75, we also presented the Eagle award to Pastor Daniel for their growth of 67% this past year. I also had the privilege of officially organizing the church – the first Wesleyan Hispanic congregation in Wisconsin. Afterwards, Reenie and I visited the Munoz’ home and met with the leadership team. Daniel is taking his adult members through the same FLAMA courses that pastors preparing for ministry are taking. Also, there are three developing Hispanic ministries now in Wisconsin – in Rice Lake, Minong and Wisconsin Rapids.
Sunday morning Reenie and I were privileged to worship with Pastor Ron Gormong and the Spooner Wesleyan Church. The worship and the message were great. Pastor Ron is preaching through the book of Ephesians. His messages are always excellent, Biblical and call people to a point of decision. The congregation was challenged from Ephesians 5 to live a life that is characterized by thanksgiving and gratitude, purity and love as opposed to lust, greed, and vulgar, foolish and coarse conversation. Pastor Chopper Brown also did a wonderful job as he led us in celebrating the Lord’s Supper in the service – always a meaningful and beautiful experience.
Later in the morning we were also able to worship with Pastor Ben Kidder and The River congregation in Minong. Again, the worship and the message were great. Pastor Ben preached a strong message from Matthew that is to be a defining part of the ministry passion and philosophy of this new and developing church. The River will be defined by its compassion and acts of service to its community and world. This growing congregation was called to get off the bench and get in the game by serving the poor, visiting the sick, and helping the needy along with serving in the nursery and helping in the church. They now have two services on Sunday morning and are developing a plan for future facilities as they are already running out of space where they are.
Sunday afternoon we had the opportunity to be with Pastor Mark Wilson and the Hayward congregation for lunch and their baptismal service at a local lake. It was thrilling to see all six of the pastoral staff – pastors Mark, Ben, Heath, Loretta, Jeremy and Tim – standing in the water for about an hour baptizing 49 people. There were children, youth, young adults, entire families, a lady in her 70’s, a man in his 60’s, and one four generation family (great-grandma, grandma, mom and daughter) that shared their testimonies and gave witness to their new life in Christ. A baptismal service is like the culmination of a process. You prepare the soil, plant the seed, water it, weed, wait and watch God work. Baptism is like harvesting those new ears of corn, putting a little butter and salt on them, and sinking your teeth into them - sweet and satisfying to your spirit.
Later that afternoon we then met with Pastor LeRoy Drake and the leaders of Gull Lake to deal with closure issues for the congregation. I cannot say enough about how gracious and wonderful they have been in this process of closing the church, from the attitude they’ve exhibited to the desire to bless church planting and the kingdom with everything the Lord has blessed them with.
News and Notes
Thank you for praying for Bessie Winterberg, Pastor Dwayne Winterberg’s mother. She came through the surgery well. She has had a lot of infection in her knee for an extended time. She will need additional surgery in the near future.
Please pray for Merea and Jerome Bragg this week. Merea is my administrative assistant. Their sister in law died of cancer over the weekend and the funeral is today (Tuesday). She leaves a young family behind.
Dates for your Information
August 9-11 Willow Creek Leadership Summit
August 11 Jason/Alya – Transformation City
August 12 Our Savior’s, Mukwonago visit
August 19 Parkway visit
August 26 Janesville visit
September 1-4 South Carolina
September 5-13 Nicaragua Medical Team trip
September 9 Woodland visit
September 16 Washington, MI
September 25-27 District Flame Extension Class (Intro. to OT)
September 26 Nicaragua Partnership Committee
September 30 Safe Harbor visit