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A Missions Conference With a Global Impact

By Kelley Van Haitsma, Kent Kusel, Isabel Gregoire, Jun 11, 2024

As we look forward to the upcoming PCA Global Missions Conference November 1–3 in Atlanta, we thought we’d look back at the impact the conference has had in the past. You can register for the conference at mtw.org/gmc. The early registration discount ends June 15. 

Following are three first-person stories of how the Global Missions Conference made a impact on individuals and on the Church.

A Needed Push to Move Toward My RUF Calling

My name is Kelley Van Haitsma. In 2017, I attended the PCA Global Missions Conference on a whim. RUF at University of Central Florida was taking students to the conference, including my roommates and best friends. Though I’d graduated, it seemed like it would be a sweet time so I thought, “Why not?” took off work, bought a ticket, and hopped in on the trip. I could not have imagined the impact the conference would have on me.

Christ had become so genuine, captivating, and all-consuming to me through RUF. Halfway through college, the Lord put a desire on my heart for vocational ministry—for coming alongside anyone and everyone I could to invite to the abundant life found only in Jesus. My desire was to do that with RUF. Yet here I was, three and a half years later and not working for RUF or in vocational ministry at all. Why?

I realized it was because I had let idols and fears drive my heart. But God was so very gracious and patient with me, and He continued to be as He used the GMC to invite me into His good, sovereign plans.

I felt like I was experiencing a taste of heaven throughout the conference. Mission to the World did such a great job at displaying and celebrating the global Church in each nightly worship and teaching gathering. One night, a woman stood before us and sang “I Told Jesus” acapella—a moment that will stay with me forever.

I told Jesus it would be alright if He changed my name.
Jesus told me the world will hate you if I change your name.
I told Jesus it would still be alright if He changed my name.

As I listened to not just her voice but her heart fill the room, I was deeply encouraged and uplifted in the truth of those words.

That’s merely one moment among many that gave me more fervent “kingdom of God glasses.” Glasses, by God’s amazing grace, that I haven’t taken off since. The Global Missions Conference provided the opportunity to rejoice in what God is doing globally and encouragement and bold resolve to be a part of it. The gospel of Christ is the power of God to salvation, and here were all of these stories of that power working to restore hearts as well as stories of the need for it. As I sat listening to missionaries whose hearts were filled with hope, perseverance, and gumption for Christ, I thought, “Why am I not doing this?” Why am I not walking into places of spiritual desolation, willing to genuinely do life alongside folks and offer them their only hope in life and death, the beauty that is our risen Savior?

I came to the 2017 GMC in Dallas expecting to be encouraged in Christ and His Church with my community and not much else. I left 110% positive that it was only a matter of time before I quit my job and pursued whatever missional or ministry role the Lord had in store for me. The Lord used the Global Missions Conference to finally, utterly convince me of that call. And I knew, while still on that trip to Dallas, that that call would be for the rest of my life, whatever my gospel ministry capacity would be. I’m still convinced of that today.

Kelley Van Haitsma began working full time for RUF in 2018 as a campus intern at UCLA and now serves as the female campus staff for RUF at UCLA in Los Angeles.

Connecting With My Passion for Business as Missions

I'm Kent Kusel and I attended the last MTW conference in Texas. We had just become a PCA church (formerly OPC) and MTW was one of the motivating factors for us changing denominations. I attended the conference to check it out myself. I was quite impressed by the number of workshops and booths in the exhibit hall that related to my passion, which is business as mission. Because of this experience we were able to take the business as mission work, we were doing in South Asia, to whole new levels.

The number of new connections we made at the GMC has been an important asset. To date, our church has established a business training center and an active marketplace ministry to reach the unreached. I can’t wait to attend the 2024 conference and intend to bring some of our friends from South Asia so they too can get better acquainted with who is behind us.

Kent Kusel belongs to First Presbyterian Church Northshore (PCA) on the north shore of Boston where he is active on the global missions team. He has served with a BAM effort in South Asia for eight years, taking a team on a 10-day trip annually and working with national partners long-distance between visits.

From MK to Missionary

My name is Isabel Gregoire. Growing up involved in missions in Europe as a missionary kid, it was easy to get tunnel vision. Being so focused and heavily involved in central Europe, I didn’t know much about the larger global Church or what God was doing in other parts of the world.  

I got to attend and participate in the PCA Global Missions Conference in 2017 with my dad and some other members of the Slovakia team. Attending the conference opened my eyes to see both the need for the gospel around the world and the breadth of MTW ‘s work across the globe. This gave me a deeper sense of the community within MTW and how great our God is.  

I always knew I wanted to be involved in missions and serving overseas, but this conference opened my eyes to needs and opportunities in other parts of the world. After attending the conference I decided to study Bible and theology with a missions concentration at Covenant College. Now I’m serving with MTW through the Path270 internship program and getting to experience missions and see how God is working in three very different and diverse areas of the world. I look forward to attending this year’s conference, listening to testimonies, meeting missionaries and those who are passionate about missions, and once again capturing that sense of awe at how awesome our God is and all He is doing around the world and in the global Church. 

Isabel Gregoire grew up as an MK in Slovakia with MTW. She recently graduated from Covenant College and has been serving in Central Asia, Thailand, and Colombia on MTW’s nine-month Path 270 internship program.

Register for GMC by June 15 to take advantage of the early registration discount at mtw.org/gmc

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Pray for God's provision for missionaries raising support, and that they would remember that developing ministry partners is a ministry.

Pray for God to raise up missionaries to plant churches and teach theology in places where the gospel has been distorted.

Pray for the Wolof people in Senegal, identified as an unreached people group, as the gospel spreads through a new church plant.

Give thanks to God for the hundreds of thousands of Iranians who have come to faith over the last two decades. Pray for God to protect believers and draw more to Himself. 

Pray that the global church, including the PCA in the U.S., would make evangelism a priority, and share the truth with those around them. 

Pray that God would draw many PCA church members, pastors, students, and those passionate about global missions to the GMC conference in November.

Give thanks and pray for a couple in Japan who recently came to faith as they faced the last days of the husband's life.

Pray for those in Turkey continuing to rebuild from last year's earthquake, and for continuation of the spiritual growth seen as a result.

Pray for the pastors/national partners ministering in the Ukrainian church amid the ongoing war. Pray too for MTW missionaries who serve the church both in-country and from afar.

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