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Relief in Full
On the afternoon of March 11, 2011, the earth started moving in Ishinomaki, a coastal city of 162,000 in the Tohoku region of Japan. M-San*, a piano teacher on the north side of town, grew increasingly terrified as the Tohoku Earthquake persisted for more than six minutes.
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 Sewing for Jesus
By Zoe Erler

Kieow couldn’t pass English class. A political science student in Bangkok, Thailand, Kieow Thongluan needed a passing grade in English to graduate, but she just couldn’t master the class she was taking at Ramkhamhaeng University. Then a friend told her about a class run by MTW missionaries who taught English using the Bible. “Because of growing up in a Buddhist family, we believed in angels, but we never talked about God,” Thongluan, 36, recalls.

She had learned a little about Jesus in religion classes, but it wasn’t until she started reading the Bible with the MTW missionaries that Thongluan began to realize who He really was.

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“Jesus isn’t just the father of a religion; He is God. If He is God, I want to know. That day I went home, I prayed to Jesus that if He was God, I wanted to know Him. That night, I had a dream. Someone was knocking on the door. The person said, ‘I’m standing here and knocking.’ I said, ‘Yes, I want to open the door.’”

That was 12 years ago. Today, Thongluan encourages a handful of women she meets daily at the sewing machine to open that same door.

 

Into the Slums
Thailand is known as the “Land of Smiles,” a country of laid-back folks who exude hospitality. It is also a place of spiritual syncretism and darkness, with 95 percent of the population adhering to a mixture of Buddhism, Hinduism, animism, and ancestor worship. “The [ultimate] purpose of [Napada] isn’t to make bags. The purpose of this is to share the Gospel with each of our ladies and our customers.” The women who come to work for Napada Thailand — a company started by Thongluan and her friend Pawn that exports artisan handbags to America — have been enmeshed in a culture of idol worship and false religion.

“Spiritual warfare is very real here,” Thongluan explains. “Every corner you see an idol. Each of [these ladies] has an idol that they have to worship at their own home.”

Thongluan met these ladies when she took a job as a staff member for the MTW Thailand church plant — New City Fellowship Church — a few years after graduating from college. Together with fellow MTW staffer Pawn, Thongluan would travel to the Mahatthai slums, a government-run community on Bangkok’s outskirts, to build relationships with the women there and to share the Gospel with them. Many women they met were single mothers whose husbands had abandoned them for other women. Most lived in lean-tos with dirt floors and tin roofs, and were struggling to make ends meet for their families.

Thongluan and Pawn started crocheting circles for the ladies to come together around a common activity and learn about each other on a personal level. After doing that for a while, Thongluan, who had worked for an export company, decided to help the women support themselves by exporting the crocheted items to America.

But then Mary Randolph showed up.

Exporting Hope

It wasn’t until Mary Randolph went on a short-term missions trip to Romania when she was 60 that she realized God was calling her to the mission field. A career accountant, Randolph joined the team in Thailand as the treasurer in 2008.

Dave Veldhorst, MTW Thailand team leader at the time, recognized Randolph’s business background and immediately set her to work helping Thongluan and Pawn with their fledging company.

At first, things were a bit awkward.

“I couldn’t understand Thai, couldn’t speak Thai,” Randolph says. “I was twice their age.”

Still, she realized the crocheting business wasn’t going anywhere. Americans could buy local crocheted items much cheaper.

“Couldn’t they find something more unique to export?” she probed. “How about handbags?”

Randolph helped the two fix a broken sewing machine, earning their trust and respect, and together the three launched Napada Thailand, a Business as Mission extension of MTW Thailand.

"Jesus isn’t just the father of a religion; He is God. If He is God, I want to know.”

Some of the women already knew how to sew, but some had to be taught. Randolph remembers one woman who had recently become a Christian through relationship with Thongluan and Pawn. She was selling fruit out of a pushcart to support her family when they invited her to join the company. She initially resisted but eventually agreed to try.

“Now she can make any bag we give her, even some of the most difficult bags,” Randolph says.

Today, Napada (a brand derived from the blending of Thongluan’s and Pawn’s full Thai names) employs nine women and is able to fully replace both of Thongluan’s and Pawn’s salaries from MTW. The company makes colorful artisan handbags ranging in price from $4 to $60 USD. Some of the women work full time in the shop; others work part time from their homes. Each receives fair wages with Social Security benefits, as well as free English classes.

Every year for the past six years, sales to the U.S. have been climbing. So much so, that the team decided Randolph should return to the States to help market the business at churches, conferences, and wherever else people would buy handbags.

Thus far, she’s sold the handbags at two global missions conferences, last year’s General Assembly, and a variety of church retreats and conferences.

“I’m not a salesman. I’d rather sit behind a desk,” Randolph admits, “but the Lord opens doors.”

In 2013, Napada exported more than 7,000 bags, grossing around $50,000 Thai bahts. Ten percent goes to support a new church plant in Bangkok.

The Real Product

On any given morning, you’ll see a group of women huddling around a Bible in a small room on a Bangkok back street. Daily devotions are part of the routine at Napada before the women take to their sewing machines. “The [ultimate] purpose of [Napada] isn’t to make bags,” Randolph explains. “The purpose of this is to share the Gospel with each of our ladies and our customers.”

Because most of the employees come from Buddhist backgrounds, Thongluan says she tries to introduce the Gospel gently. “ Spiritual warfare is very real here,” Thongluan explains. “Every corner you see an idol. Each of [these ladies] has an idol that they have to worship at their own home.”

“If someone is very staunch [about their Buddhist practices], I try not to push them. Sometimes they don’t ask questions. Sometimes they do have good questions.”

Spiritual growth tends to be slow. So far, two women have made open professions of faith in Christ. Others are on the verge but might be keeping their faith quiet because of negative pressure from family members.

“Many of the women are showing signs of following Christ, even if they’re not very outspoken about it,” Randolph says. Not long ago, Randolph walked alongside one of the women whose son was dying. She went frequently to the hospital to be with the woman as she was caring for her son, all the while not knowing whether the woman or her son were believers. Not long before the son died, he told Randolph and his mother that he knew God. As the woman was grieving, Randolph prayed over her.

“We’re walking with these ladies day by day,” Randolph says. “We’re just being the hands and feet of Jesus.” Similarly, Thongluan believes that the best way she can share the Good News is by simply being present and allowing the ladies to see how her life looks.

“I love to sit down with the ladies at their houses and listen to their problems. I tell them, ‘I can’t help you, but I can pray to my God. He will help you with your problems. What makes me respond to problems differently is I know Jesus will be with me.’”

To learn more visit http://www.napadathailand.com. To invite Napada to appear at a conference or sell its products, email marycrandolph@gmail.com.

This story originally appeared in byFaith magazine and is republished with permission.
 
 
Meet the Coordinator

Q & A with Dr. Lloyd Kim


Dr. Lloyd Kim was called by the Committee on Mission to the World to be the next coordinator of MTW. This 42-year-old former PCA pastor came up through the ranks of MTW, first as a missionary and later as a field leader. A native of California, he graduated from UC Berkeley with a degree in engineering and worked as a consultant with Ernst & Young before getting his M.Div. at Westminster Seminary in California and his doctorate at Fuller Theological Seminary in New Testament Studies.

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Q Tell us how you came to be coordinator of MTW.
A Well, as background, let me tell you a story. I once asked my son if he would want to be a missionary someday. He said, “There is no way. That is the last thing I’d want to be. It is so much work, you have to live in these places that are dirty and eat strange food, there’s so much stress—there’s no way.” He paused. “Unless God calls me.”
 
As I think about this particular position, if someone were to ask me even a year ago, “Would you consider this?” I’d have said, “No way.” But that phrase from my son still applies: unless God calls me. And I do have a very keen sense that God is calling me to this.
 
Q How did God call you into missions?
A It was really more of a sober examination of who I am, and how God has made me, how God has equipped me. I grew up in a very small town in the central valley of California. Our family was the first Korean family to live in this town. There were some struggles with that, some identity issues when I went to university, where I was surrounded by diversity all over the place. I think God was preparing me for cross-cultural missions.
 
I grew up in a Christian family, but at Berkeley I surrendered myself to God and fell in love with Jesus. Berkeley is an environment where you cannot be on the fence. Either you completely reject your faith and the ideology that goes with it, or you become almost militant in holding onto your faith because of the environment you are in. And that is what happened. I said, “Jesus, take all of me.”
 
Q You grew up in California as the son of immigrant Koreans. Do you feel being Korean-American will influence your position and the relations between the Korean PCA churches and the traditional—mostly white—PCA churches?
A Among Koreans there is an incredible sense of ethnic unity. So I think that will play a role in my position. But in terms of the more practical, how does MTW better engage the Korean-American church, that question is not simple. We’ve got to ask ourselves as an organization, how do we build bridges? But in terms of just general perception, reputation, or whatever, it’s good that I’m in this position and it’ll be a good start to conversations.
 
Q How has your experience as a field leader influenced your ideas about moving forward as an organization?
A Early on, one thing that was clear in our team dynamics in Cambodia was the need for trust and respect. When our team was small, it had a unique dynamic. But as we grew, we realized we had to change our game, change our ways, our expectations. I think we learned to live in community as a family, and we moved in a direction together. But we were not all the same. Our team was very diverse in every aspect: ethnicity, age, gender, socio-economic background, ministry philosophy convictions, etc.
 
We have differences, but when you have the gospel arrest your heart and you have this incredible culture of grace, it changes your perspective on differences—and I think we need differences. We need diversity—and we really need to emphasize this culture of grace that MTW has.
 
Q You’ve mobilized a number of new missionaries. What do you look for?
A My personal opinion—and I say this with all humility—is that we need to look for character and teachability. Because we change, circumstances change, ministry philosophies change. But for me what’s so important is: Is the person teachable? Is he humble? Does he have this willingness to work with others? That’s the beauty of MTW’s ministry values—having a learning culture, grace, transformation.
 
Q What are MTW’s greatest challenges moving forward?
A It’s too early to know for certain. I do know we need to recognize the diversity we have in the denomination, in our mission field and mission force, and find a way to move forward together. The fact is, the world is changing and the landscape of missions is changing. The role of national partners and the Church in the Global South are factors that are going to influence how we as an organization will move forward. Collaboration, being able to engage and partner with other groups, is also going to be essential.
 
We have a lot to thank God for: those who have served in leadership, MTW’s financial position. But there are still opportunities for growth and room for improvement, and I do believe we need to continue to raise up newer, younger leaders.
 
Q Can you share with us your vision for the future?
A I believe our vision needs to be Jesus’ vision. What does He call us to pray? “Your kingdom come, your will be done on earth as it is in heaven.” This vision is bigger than MTW, bigger than the PCA; it is a vision to see God’s glory fill the earth. Our vision is to see people transformed by the gospel, to see families reconciled, communities reflecting the ethics of the kingdom of God, and the nations worshipping our Lord and Savior. That’s how the Lord is moving us forward, with a vision bigger than ourselves. And I’m excited to be part of it.
 
Q Will your wife continue to practice medicine?
A She is considering that. She practiced part time in California, always trying to balance family and work. In the Philippines, she was the doctor for the street kids and medical outreaches. I think she finds great fulfillment and satisfaction in it. She also home schooled our children, and still home schools our youngest, Katy.
 
Q Where do your other children go to school?
A Our son, Christian, goes to a private Christian school and our oldest, Kaelyn, attends public high school.
 
Q How did you meet Eda?
A The church I was attending,  New Life Mission Church, Fullerton, Calif., planted a church in San Diego when I was working at Ernst and Young, just out of Berkeley. She was part of the San Diego church. I started kind of a courtship and called and tried to invest in her life. So we started to get to know each other, but there was no commitment. I felt like we couldn’t continue—have you heard of DTR? Define The Relationship. So I called and said, “Eda, I feel like we’re not being real. I feel like there’s got to be some sort of commitment if we are going to continue to move forward in this relationship.  She was silent, and so I moved on in the conversation. The next day, she said, “You know, how we were talking yesterday?” And I said, “Talking about what?” [Laughs because he knew where she was heading.] She said, “You know, boyfriend and girlfriend …” And I said, “Are you asking to be my girlfriend?” And she said, “Yes” And I said, “I will. I will be your boyfriend.” And so to this day I tell people, she asked me!
 
Q How can we be praying for you?
A First I want to say how grateful I am for the prayers that have gone into this whole process. In many ways, I feel like we are riding on the prayers of the saints right now. I do believe, though, that our family is feeling an underlying stress from leaving Cambodia and moving to Atlanta. We are still grieving the loss of friends, family, community. Just this past weekend we were saying all the things we miss about Cambodia. Looking on the bright side, my son said, “Well, if you get fired …” [Laughs] Please pray for support, a community of faith for us. And this whole thing about being coordinator. [Smile] I haven’t done it before.

  

 
Dr. Paul Kooistra: A Tribute

By Brian Deringer

After 20 years of faithfully serving MTW as coordinator, Dr. Paul Kooistra and his wife Sandi have moved to Due West, S.C., where Dr. Kooistra is now serving as president of Erskine College and Theological Seminary. This tribute comes from Brian Deringer, director of MTW's Global Support Ministries.

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Many people can say that working with and for Dr. Paul Kooistra through the years is not only a productive experience, but also a formative one. It is a unique privilege to hear a good teacher and to also be exposed to that teaching many times and in many circumstances. In this way, key thoughts and principles become second nature. The following are a few of the concepts that have impacted my thinking.

Paul taught me five things every good leader should pursue: protect the spirituality of the organization by starting with your own; hire someone better than yourself; develop common big goals together; get the resources; and stop the politics both within and without.

He also impressed on me the meaning of redemption: a process of recognizing that there is a problem (most people don't); admitting that I am the problem (the 90/10 rule); and confessing that I cannot resolve my problem without God's help. The 90/10 rule is particularly challenging. It states that sin in a broken relationship is always found on both sides. One might argue that the other person is 90 percent responsible; however, the remaining 10 percent is mine. My 10 percent is my 100 percent, the only thing I can do anything about. This rule helps one to approach conflict with humility and brokenness.

Paul's devotion to the book of Philippians has encouraged me to go deeper in a few things rather than skimming across the surface of many.

Philippians 1:21: "For to me, to live is Christ, and to die is gain."
Philippians 3:7: "But whatever was to my profit I now consider loss for the sake of Christ."
Philippians 4:4: "Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice!"
Philippians 4:6-7: "Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and 
     petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which 
     transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus."
Philippians 4:13: "I can do everything through him who gives me strength."

His commitment to teaching the foundational truths behind our doctrine of grace keeps me returning to the one message worth preaching. In fact, he recently shared something that has been remarkably helpful to me. How does one get past the fear of failure in preaching? You do it by coming to understand that a sermon doesn't have to be perfect; preach the gospel of grace and watch God do the work. It is not about performance, but about the work of the Holy Spirit.

Good leaders make decisions, but also know when to stop the car. Paul is known as a leader who will make a decision. He encouraged me to make decisions because often even a poor decision is better than no decision. I have to admit that it has gotten me into trouble from time to time. To balance this is the insight that when one is driving down a dark road and the lights are not working, it is best to stop. Many times we have stopped and waited for further wisdom and guidance from our heavenly Father.

We have tackled kingdom-size projects together, fought battles, repented, laughed, and cried. But one thing impresses me more than most. Paul Kooistra is someone who has a surprising capacity to work through difficult things with faith, courage, and a dependency on prayer, while seeking the help of the Holy Spirit. Though there is none perfect but Christ, Paul has strived to keep before us the gospel of grace.

 
Doing What Jesus Did

Stephanie McCardel knelt on the floor of a 10-day clinic in the slums of Nairobi, Kenya. She was tasked with cleaning the feet of a man whose brother said, “I felt God calling us to come here today.”

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He explained that the weeping sores on his brother’s feet came from wandering barefoot and drunk through the slums.

As Stephanie knelt and listened and washed away the muck of some of the world’s most disease-ridden streets, she was struck by a thought: this is exactly what Jesus did.

Later that afternoon Kenyan pastors shared the gospel with the man and his brother, and they came to faith. More than 25 new believers walked out of the clinics that week.

The Kenyan partners waved the shortterm missionaries home, calling joyfully, “You’ve left us with a lot of work!” Each day, the doors of the clinic closed on a crowd of waiting patients. This field is ripe and desperate for the gospel of mercy. So, go.

Be the hands of mercy. Visit mtw.org/medical or contact us at medical@mtw.org.

 
Cold Feet. Warmed Hearts.

Flip-flops … they work great during the summer, but do nothing to protect little feet in minus 60 degrees. Many children from this Native American community live in unsafe, dirty homes and arrive at school shivering, hardly covered, and hungry.

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They love to come to school because it is there that they not only get food, but love and care. And that breaks Rohan’s heart.

For seven years, Rohan Crown has built relationships and trust in Lethbridge, Canada, a community splintered by alcoholism, poverty, and incredible dysfunction. Amazing Kids partners with the school and town to serve and raise the standard of the community and, most recently, to build a playground. Summer teams that run sports camps, clean homes, and love on the kids are a great encouragement. And thanks to generous donors from MTW, children will soon receive warm coats and boots to survive brutal winters.

Make a difference by providing resources for food, education, and basic medical care for a child.
Sponsor a child today through MTW’s ONEChild sponsorship program.

 

Business as Blessing in Uganda
by Zoe Erler

David Thomas describes himself as “an engineer and business manager kind of guy.” A director of manufacturing for Beltservice Corporation and an elder from Kirk of the Hills PCA in St. Louis, Thomas joined MTW’s Business As Mission (BAM) director John Tubbesing on a trip to Kampala, Uganda, last year to put his business acumen into practice in an international setting.
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She Wore Blue Pajamas
by Carrie Jussely
I convinced myself that a moment like the one tonight would never happen to me. Most of the stories I’ve heard during my time of living and working with MTW in Cambodia alongside an anti-trafficking organization have been the redemptive stories. They are the stories of the women I work with at Daughters of Cambodia—stories of women who were once trafficked but who are now living new lives and working jobs with integrity.
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Bahamas Break
One team's experience in the Bahamas

Reprinted by permission, Park Cities Presbyterian Church, Dallas, TX, www.pcpc.org.

You're going the wrong way!” was yelled at our mission trip team while walking through the ghetto of Nassau en route to our service site. The Bahamians driving by in the car were being very helpful to whom they presumed to be silly white spring breakers heading in the wrong direction.

“No we're not!” was our loud response to them as they sped by us. The natives knew that the tourist spots were in the opposite direction we were heading, and so did we! This was not the usual spring break trip for these high school seniors.
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‘Amazing Kids’ amazing summer camp
by Melissa Villeneuve
 
Reprinted with permission by The Lethbridge Herald.
 
A passion for helping under-privileged children in the Westminster community is bringing over 120 volunteers together for the Amazing Kids Sports & Activities camp, some from faraway places.

The third annual summer camp, which runs until Friday at Immanuel Christian Elementary School, is organized by the non-profit organization Amazing Kids and the Amazing Grace Community Church. They are providing a week of sports, activities and fun for free to more than 125 children, some of whom may not be able to afford it otherwise.

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Rohan Crown, Amazing Kids director and pastor of Amazing Grace Community Church, says the goal is to help aid children and their families who have been through some hardships in life to get to a place where they can function in society. Crown says these events could not happen without the help of committed community sponsors and partnerships with other churches that believe in its mission.

“A lot of businesses have begun seeing what we’re doing and really came aboard to help these kids in the Westminster community,” says Crown. “Because we are not for profit and we provide camp for free, we have a number of groups that help sponsor, including two churches in the United States. They believe in what we’re doing, they provide support to us financially and the success rate has been incredible.”

Last week, a team of 13 volunteers from Chestnut Mountain Church in Flowery Branch, Georgia arrived to help prepare for the camp and increased registration by going door-to-door to advise families in the neighbourhood. In addition, 26 people, representing six families from Christ Covenant Church in Charlotte, North Carolina, are spending a week in our city assisting with the weekly camp operations, as well as the Westminster Community Fair which took place last Saturday.

Pastor Kris Decker of Christ Covenant Church says the team first travelled from North Carolina to help with the camp in 2012, and since it had great success, they wanted to do it again.

“We’ve been with Rohan [Crown] 4-5 years supporting him as a church planner and our hope is to continue to do that into the future as often as he’ll have us,” says Decker.

“It takes quite a bit to pull this off, so we’ve had to work together for three and a half years to make these two camps happen. We really do consider it a privilege to become a partner with people around the world. Our desire is to help other churches be successful and grow. When we leave, who carries on the ministry? It’s the people that live here, so if we can help them to do this into the future that’s our long-term goal.”

This year’s theme is “Pirates of the Prairie.” Since its inaugural event in 2010, the camp has grown steadily in registration. While the camp is full for this year, Crown says they intend to plan future events as long as they continue to receive funding and support from the community.

“Even though we’re faith-based, because we’re doing something to help Westminster community, people get behind it because there is a huge need here,” says Crown. “The kids are the future. We believe by investing in kids now, we’re helping [to prevent] issues that may come later in life.”

For more information on Amazing Kids and the programs it provides, visit amazingkids.ca.

 

A Path Diverted
by Mike Pettengill
Last summer a new gang moved into the small community of Armenia Bonito in La Ceiba, Honduras. In their first few weeks here the number of murders increased. The community was frightened. Families began keeping their kids inside and avoiding the streets.

Jesús, the pastor of our new church plant, and I wanted to open a dialogue with the gang and went looking for their leader. Word got out and this spooked the gang.
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Reality On the Street
by Kate deFuniak
It isn’t fair that when it rains, our kids sleep with rain fall-ing on them through the cracks in the ceiling. It isn’t fair that an 11-year-old gets to decide whether he wants to go to school or not, or that K and E’s father just left the family high and dry. It isn’t fair that K’s sister got pregnant and left her mom with her baby, so now Mom has her own baby and her daughter’s baby, both the same age. It isn’t fair that M is being severely abused at home or that C would prefer begging on the streets to coming to our project.
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Dr. Lloyd Kim Nominated as MTW Coordinator

Lawrenceville, Georgia, July 23, 2014 - The Committee on Mission to the World (CMTW) is pleased to announce the nomination today of Dr. Lloyd Kim of Phnom Penh, Cambodia, to serve as the next coordinator of Mission to the World (MTW), pending election by the 2015 General Assembly. Dr. Kim has served as a missionary with MTW since 2004 in the Philippines and then in Cambodia, and is currently MTW's international director of Asia-Pacific.

Mark Bates, chair of CMTW and senior pastor of Village Seven Presbyterian Church, said, "Dr. Kim is a proven missionary leader. He displays a rare blend of godliness, humility, academic rigor, and leadership acumen. Not only is Dr. Kim thoroughly committed to the Reformed faith, but he also understands the challenges of taking the gospel to other cultures."   Read more...
 
 

Dr. Paul Kooistra Has Accepted the Position of President of Erskine

Dr. Paul Kooistra, coordinator of Mission to the World (MTW) since 1994, has accepted a position as president of Erskine College and Theological Seminary. Dr. Kooistra informed our governing body, Committee on Mission to the World (CMTW), of his intent to transition out of his role here last fall.

Mission to the World is pleased that the Lord has led Dr. Kooistra to a challenging and kingdom-building ministry at Erskine, especially one that harkens to his past experience as president of Covenant Seminary. He has led MTW with grace, clarity, and a godly vision for the future and has prepared us well for the next phase of our history. We are thankful to the Lord for Dr. Kooistra’s service to the kingdom through his work at MTW.

Dr. Kooistra will continue to work with MTW until his successor is named.
 
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Events

 The Accessible Kingdom Disability Ministries Conference
sponsored by MNA and Joni & Friends.
Nov 7-8, 2014, Birmingham, AL

 Workshop speakers include MTW's Opal Hardgrove and Kay Burklin                Details »

Vision Trip:
Berlin, Germany
March 8-14, 2015
Berlin Prayer            Details »

Vision Trip:
Athens, Greece
Spring 2015 
                            Details »

MTW West Coast Missions Conference
January 30-31, 2015. 
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