The Mission Committee is one Synodical Committee that does not have the luxury of a year’s time to do its work. Synod’s decisions and directives have to be implemented immediately. Our monthly meetings have been long and arduous, an indication that God has given us work to do and that zeal for this work abounds.
The committee consists of the following members, Revs. Heys, Kortering, Lubbers, Schipper, Van Baren, Veldman, and the brethren J. Kalsbeek, D. Kooienga, H. Meulenberg, and G. Pipe. We voted to have Rev. Schipper continue to lead us as our capable president and Rev. Van Baren to serve as our diligent secretary.
The Synod of 1969 gave our committee a broad mandate to continue to work in Jamaica at our discretion. Since Rev. J. Heys has declined the call to be missionary, we have considered different ways in which our work can be intensified while First Church of Grand Rapids, the calling church, extends the call to other ministers. It is our inmost desire and prayer that God may lay the call to full-time service in Jamaica upon the heart of one of our ministers. In the meantime we must advance the cause of the gospel as best we can, believing that God will use it to further gather His people in Jamaica and strengthen those already made part of the body of Christ.
In pursuing this goal, we requested the Southwest Consistory to release Rev. Lubbers for a period of five months, in order that he might labor for this duration in Jamaica. The Consistory of Southwest decided that they would be willing to release their minister for this period of time, but that if it were possible for another minister to go for three months, they would prefer that Rev. Lubbers be released for three months and another minister for the second three months. Our committee contacted Holland’s Consistory and requested the release of Rev. J. Heys for three months. This was also graciously granted by the Holland Consistory. The Lord willing Rev. and Mrs. Lubbers will leave Nov. 4 for a three months stay in Jamaica, and this will be immediately followed by Rev. and Mrs. Heys’ presence for the months of February through April. As committee and churches we are grateful that God has laid it upon the hearts of these brethren and their wives, their consistories and congregations, to give of themselves for the advance of the work of Christ in Jamaica. May our personal, daily prayers, our congregational prayers on the Sabbath day, be prayers of intercession that God may sustain them in their work and bless it unto the glory of His name through the salvation of His Church.
Looking forward to an extended stay on the part of these missionary-pastors, our committee decided that it would be in the interest of good business management and proper use of the Lord’s money, that we invest in certain items that are essential to the work. We have already leased a house in Montego Bay for 1 year, subject to renewal for another year. We authorized the purchase of used furniture that can be secured in Montego Bay and if necessary later on, resold to the seller, a dealer in real estate and new and used furniture. We also authorized the purchase of a Ford, Cortina. Though it involves a larger investment, on the long run it is much cheaper than renting an auto, especially for more than six months, In all these details, the Lord has opened a way, and, we are confident, will continue to do so in the future.
The deacons of Southwest Church have completed a clothing drive and during the week of October 12 have shipped via truck approximately three thousand pounds of used clothing. This will travel “piggy-back” from Miami to Kingston, Jamaica and finally by rail to Montego Bay. The adage, “Practice makes perfect” applies to our shipping used clothing. The shipment will arrive there D.V. when Rev. and Mrs. Lubbers will be there, hence they can assist in cutting the red-tape of duty free entrance and assist in the distribution. Instead of wrapping all dresses in one box, ladies’ hats in another, and men’s suits in still another, a quantity of each was placed in each large box and the names of the different churches on the outside. Instead of Lucea getting all ladies hats, hopefully they will get an assortment of clothing. Also in the gathering and sending of this clothing, our people have shown the love for the cause and with openness of heart shared in this expression of mercy.
We would like to remind our readers that there are a number of different causes to which we can contribute financially. For the purpose of clarification and encouragement to give, we enumerate the following. Synod requested all our churches to take up four collections during the year 1970 for the church building expenses. There is a good possibility that the legal problems concerning clear deed of land and ownership of property can be ironed out soon and the congregations properly incorporated. Once this is done, progress can be made on building improvements. The money for these collections should be sent to our Synodical Treasurer, Mr. C. Pastoor. There continues to be a real need for benevolence, the care of the poor. This includes the support of widows, orphans, medical expenses, and other ways. The money should be sent to the diaconate of Hudsonville Church, Mr. Gerald Cnossen the treasurer. In addition to these, there are two other special funds. The first is for future students in Jamaica, who aspire to the ministry of the Word. Synod decided to begin this fund and recommend it to our societies and different organizations. This is a long-term fund which is begun now, with a view to being available as soon as such a student(s) will be selected. Money for this fund should be so designated and sent to our Synodical Treasurer, Mr. C. Pastoor. Finally, there is the fund for travel expenses of Revs. Frame, Elliott, and Ruddock. Requests for this cause have been sent by our Jamaica sub-committee to all our consistories and societies and will be handled by them. This money should be sent to Mr. H. Meulenberg, who will process these requests on behalf of our committee.
As a concluding note on Jamaica, we also would like to make known the need for Psalters and Bibles. Many of the Psalters and Bibles sent in the past were used, and these do not last very long in the humid climate. Any of our churches or individuals that have extras or desire to supply new ones, should be aware of the fact that this need persists. Either Rev. Lubbers or Heys will be able to tell you where they should be sent.
The Mission Committee has decided to become involved in another area outside the shores of our country, namely Indonesia.
As many of our readers know, the congregation of Lynden, Washington under the enthusiastic leadership of her pastor, Rev. B. Woudenberg has been engaged in an active and interesting literature and tape distribution program. Each week this little congregation advertises locally and encourages her members and all interested people in the area to meet together for Bible discussion. These discussions center around a study sheet prepared by Rev. Woudenberg and distributed ahead of time. While this material is being discussed, it is also recorded on tape and both the study sheets as well as a taped version of the meeting is made available to anyone interested. These study sheets are sent all over our country each week, totaling on an average of one thousand in number, and the tapes of the study class number about thirty-six each week. This congregation is to be commended for this zeal in reaching out with the witness of the gospel of Jesus Christ. Besides all this, the Sunday church service is broadcast over the local FM radio station on Sunday afternoon at 2:00 p.m. and on the reverse side of the tapes containing the study class discussion, there is recorded one of the sermons preached on Sunday. Any of our readers interested in receiving this material may contact Rev. B. Woudenberg, 8541 Depot Rd., Lynden, Washington 98264 for information.
By means of this witness, interest has been stimulated in different areas. Brian, Ohio is presently receiving bulk mailings of the study sheets. Last winter, Rev. Woudenberg conducted a study class each week in the Ladner, Canada area. Contact has been established with some of the Primitive Baptists in the south. These sheets also found their way to a former missionary to Indonesia, Mr. Harold Gerring, who presently operates Evangelical Scripture Mission, a business enterprise which prints, distributes, translates, and handles correspondence relating to gospel material sent to Indonesia.
Mr. Gerring contacted the Lynden Consistory and requested that if at all possible, these study sheets of Rev. Woudenberg would serve as an excellent correspondence course for newly converted Moslems who have been converted to the Reformed faith and were aspiring members of the Reformed Church of Indonesia. Mr. Gerring informed them that fifteen thousand copies of a 16 lesson booklet could be translated into the native tongue, printed, and distributed for the cost of about $500.00, or thirty thousand copies for about $850.00. By means of an appeal to those who received the study sheets and other interested people, Lynden was able to raise the money necessary for a first printing of fifteen thousand copies. Prior to this however, they had requested our Mission Committee to furnish money for this work and support this cause. Synod did not have sufficient information on this project, so it was returned to our committee to investigate and come to some decision. This we did at our October meeting; we decided to forward the $350.00 balance which is necessary for an initial printing of thirty thousand copies.
Two things are worthy of note in this decision. The first is that this demonstrates a good and proper relationship between the local congregation and the Mission Committee. The zeal for witnessing and the drive for church extension must come from our people in the local congregation. When this prospers under the blessing of God, the local congregation seeks the assistance of the Mission Committee when this is needed, and if a way is open for working intensely in a new area, that can then be turned over to the Mission Committee whose work it is to regulate such mission work. In the second place, we must give the fruits of this work over to God who controls the spread of the gospel. Obviously, this is something new for our churches. Even as radio broadcasting is directed by God to the hearers, so these printed correspondence courses will go into this foreign land and be guided by God to whomsoever He will. We have requested Lynden Consistory to keep us informed as to what response they receive from this project, and this we will forward to our interested readers. We now have another cause that must be remembered in our prayers, the distribution of the printed word to converted Moslems in Indonesia.
As a concluding note, our readers who also listen to the Reformed Witness Hour will hear, during the month of January, an appeal to send in cards and letters indicating the station to which they listen. This will be in harmony with the decision of Synod to conduct a letter month. On the basis of-the return to this appeal, we will evaluate each station and judge whether we should continue broadcasting on that station or not. We urge our readers to participate in this appeal.
Once we determine the effectiveness of our radio broadcast, we hope to decide on some new area outside the immediate scope of our churches in which we can concentrate our witness and co-ordinate the witness of the radio, printed page, and eventually the preaching of the Word.
May God bless our efforts at home and abroad, whether we labor in the office of all believers or the special office of minister, elder, or deacon, that the Church may be gathered and God be praised as the God of our salvation.