South Bend Sonlight, Outreach, and Baptisms
Sunday morning, October 30, Rev. Gregory Holmes and the team at South Bend Sonlight Wesleyan Church welcomed me to bring greetings from our district and to share the morning message. Pastor Greg has been encouraged both by attendance growth (49 present yesterday compared to last year’s average of 34) and the increased financial stability of the church. Pastor Holmes recently started a Bible study on Monday evenings that has connected with younger men in the church and Sonlight’s ministry to children is also growing.
Saturday evening, I was able to join Pastor Greg and his team for their Trunk or Treat event. They reached a number of new neighbors that night and had the foresight to have a follow-up event planned for two weeks from now to reconnect with these guests. Pastor Greg and I also connected later that evening for our annual coaching conversation.
Sunday, after my time with Sonlight, I was able to drop in on Pastor Terry and Lennaire Vaughn at The Bridge Urban Church. God has been opening some exciting doors for expanded impact and we continue to pray for their disciple-making ministry. From South Bend, I traveled onward to Elkhart to connect with Pastor Jose Cardenas and the team at Cielos Abiertos Iglesia Wesleyana. Pastor Jose and his team were hosting a special outreach for children and their parents with more than 100 in attendance. I was blessed to be part of the special prayer time they offered for these families.
On my way back to Upland, I made the loop back around to Fort Wayne to check in with Pastor Mike Henry and the team at Level 13 Church as they prepared to host a fellowship cookout at their pavilion. Pastor Mike shared some encouraging news about discipleship progress at Level 13.
My final stop of the day was at ARISE Church in Roanoke. Pastor Aldean Pablo and his team were delighted by the overwhelming response from the community to this outreach event. The local school cooperated in passing along word about the event and the church family did a great job of welcoming approximately 300 of their neighbors.
Sherry and I arrived home from our vacation on Tuesday evening and I was excited to get back to work on Wednesday. I met with our district office staff over lunch and then dropped in at The River Church in Marion that afternoon to check on their construction project. This project will completely remodel and expand their youth and children’s ministry spaces.
Thursday, I joined Pastor Joe Jackson at Anderson United Wesleyan Church as their team hosted Rev. Zach Szmara of Immigrant Connection for a luncheon focused on better serving our marginalized neighbors. It was good to see several area pastors and Dr. JoAnne Lyon, General Superintendent Emerita, who took time out to join us. Later that afternoon, Rev. Andy Riemersma and I met for an update on the ministry doors that God is opening for ONE Church in Westfield.
Friday morning, I met with Dr. Michael Brown about the unique ministry he is developing for Muslim converts. Rev. Marc Ulrich, planter/pastor at Merrillville ReThink Church, and I met for lunch and an update on their work in northwestern Indiana. He is working with IWU to create a residency opportunity for students who are open to exploring church planting. Friday evening, I enjoyed welcoming pastors and spouses from our district team. We were missing a few due to rescheduling and one cancellation due to illness, but we had a great time together and even convinced Pastor Downing to share his musical giftedness with us.
We are rejoicing with reports of new believers obeying Christ’s command and publicly professing their faith through baptism. Two Sundays ago, Pastor Randy Yaryan and the team at Winchester Wesleyan Church celebrated two baptisms!
Pastor Rick Fletcher and Associate Pastor Andy Jellison celebrated two more baptisms at Lifeway Church in Fort Wayne yesterday. That makes 5 baptisms in the past few weeks! Praise the Lord for lives being #MadeNew!
Congratulations to Pastor Trevor and Allison O’Dell on the birth of Andrew, their second child, this past week. Reverend O’Dell pastors the Lancaster Wesleyan Church and Allison works as a registered nurse in Fort Wayne.
Special thanks to Rev. Carla Working, Dr. Chris Williams, and Michael Wood for their effective service to our district team while Sherry and I were away for three weeks. Visiting Israel together for the first time was a meaningful experience for us. We prayed at the Western Wall in Jerusalem, enjoyed a sunset boat ride on Galilee, and dipped our toes in the muddy Jordan River.
Our travels continued from Israel on to Ephesus and then back to Rome through the Greek Isles. We were able to extend our stay long enough to visit with Amanda Banter, our newest Crossroads District missionary, who is serving with Global Partners in the Czech Republic this year. (Yes, I did drive on the AutoBahn but I didn’t set any speed records.) This long-anticipated vacation was wonderful but we were glad to get home and back to work with our teammates here in Indiana. Thank you for your prayers!
Keep on making difference in the only cause that counts for eternity!
Your servant in Christ,
Crossroads District Superintendent
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