By Bob and Dian Harner, Directors of Missions Mobilization
Looking for a way to connect your congregation to Alliance Missions? Consider taking a vision trip with your district missions mobilizers. For the past several years, we have been taking pastors and/or pastoral couples to visit Central District International Workers. The main purpose of these trips has been to establish friendship connections with IWs and local pastors in Alliance ministries, while gaining a better understanding of their partnership through Great Commission Fund giving. This also provides opportunities to deepen their partnership connections with the people and work that they see there.
Our most recent trip was in October 2018. Howard Darr, Kinsman Chapel, Mike and Jody Greenlief, Edgewood Alliance and Erik Hodges, also from Edgewood Alliance, travelled to Ukraine with me. Read Mike’s story below to learn how this trip affected their church:
“The journey to Ukraine was a bit unique for our team (Erik, Jody and myself). Our team did not intend nor go looking to go on a Vision/Mission Trip this year. I have only been in my church for a year, which makes me a rookie in the senior pastor role. However, with the direction of the Central District and the servanthood of Dian and Bob Harner in organizing missions, the Lord led them to our church for such a time as this.
We responded with a call to go on mission with God in Ukraine. That was our only expectation when we were praying and seeking wisdom from our church and peers. The question kept coming up, “God should we go?” The Lord spoke from the book of Isaiah, “Then I heard the voice of the Lord saying, ‘Whom shall I send? Who will go for us?’ We, like Isaiah, said, “Lord, I will go if you will open the doors.”
The Father spoke, leading our team to go, and opened our eyes while in Ukraine. It was not an accident that God brought Ukraine to Northeast Ohio for such a time as this.
We, as Edgewood Alliance Church, have lost some of our core DNA of Global Missions in the past years. This “Vision Trip” provided an excellent catalyst for our church to draw back into the DNA of the Alliance and to hold to God’s word in Acts 1:8 as a true core value.
We, as a church, are excited to be partnering with the team in Ukraine over the next couple of years. Our church has pledged to give a portion of our GCF giving to support the efforts and ministry in Kyiv. Although we don’t know how the partnership side will end up, we are excited to be preparing, praying, and planning to send a team to Ukraine in the near future.
The ministry in Kyiv touched our team in numerous ways. What we witnessed was that Mike and Joanne Hope and their current team of Ukrainians cannot do this alone. God brought the two missions (USA and Kyiv) together to advance His Kingdom. As leaders of a small church, we are excited to join God on mission in Ukraine. There is still so much uncertainty as to how this will work out, but with prayer and intentionality God will begin to pave the way for Alliance Missions and support in our local context. My encouragement comes when we see God from a different viewpoint, all the while seeing His people joining Him on that mission. I am beyond thrilled to see where God takes Edgewood Alliance Church and the Christian and Missionary Alliance church in Kyiv, Ukraine.
Please continue to pray for clarity and direction for us, as we begin this new partnership.”
For the Ukraine trip and earlier trips, the pastor and his wife were each given a $1000 grant from the district to offset the cost of the trip. We are excited to announce that in the future we will be offering to cover the expenses of lead pastoral couples if they have three or more influencers from their congregation who commit to going on the trip with them, either raising their own support or supported by the church.
The next trip is being planned for April 2019 to Uruguay and Paraguay. If you are interested in participating with a team from your church, please contact us as soon as possible. If there is another field that you are interested in taking a team to visit, please contact us as well. If your church meets the qualifications, that may be our next vision trip after the South America trip!