Missionaries who normally work throughout the world made a stop at Lakeshore Presbyterian Church in Denver recently for an evening of fellowship, encouragement and education.
More than 100 parishioners and community members gathered Friday, March 10, to dine on ham or fried chicken, macaroni and cheese and cheesecake, while listening to missionaries tell of their experiences doing religious work abroad.
The annual dinner kicked off a weekend of financial and emotional support for the missionaries that the church supports.
According to the missionaries who spoke at the dinner, that support is effective.
â€œGod is working in a way that blows the mind of the evangelical,â€ said Bill
Harding, who worked in Ethiopia for 17 years.
Daniel and Susan Steere served in Africa through the organization Equipping
Pastors Internationally (EPI).
They work to instruct native religious leaders and
recruit other American pastors to teach in underdeveloped countries.
â€œYou can go and teach literally for hours,â€ said Daniel Steere.
The average African pastor has the equivalent of a 7th grade theological
education. The organization has trained some 2,200 pastors in Africa who
lead 750,000 parishioners.
Bill and Sherry Day spent nine years serving as missionaries in Belize,
where they helped establish a seminary.
Currently living and working near Myrtle Beach, they emphasized missionary workâ€™s current reversal due to the
United Statesâ€™ rise in immigration.
â€œAmerica used to go to the foreign field,â€ said Bill Day. â€œNow the foreign field is coming to America.â€
Lakeshore parishioner James Dacunto was inspired by the presentations. â€œItâ€™s important to bring Jesus to people who donâ€™t know Him,â€ he said. â€œEveryone has a sense of something higher but some people donâ€™t understand it until someone brings it to them.â€
Pastor Joel McCall agrees.
â€œPeople want to give themselves to something
meaningful,â€ he said.
However, he emphasizes that people donâ€™t have to travel as far as Africa or
Asia or commit months or years at a time in order to help.
â€œMission work can take place closer to home, such as the churchâ€™s ministry
towards Hispanics or youth trips to eastern Tennessee,â€ said McCall.
He added the one thing that can spur more people to action in the missions field.
â€œBecome part of a church that is willing to move out of their comfort zone,â€ he said.
by Katie Rozycki