Rev. Kleyn is pastor of Trinity Protestant Reformed Church in Hudsonville, Michigan and a member of the DMC.
On June 17, 2006 First Protestant Reformed Church in Grand Rapids, through a council appointed committee (AIM—Active in Missions), hosted a full-day program that they called “Mission Awareness Day.” The program’s goal was to promote the mission work and evangelism efforts of the PRC and to encourage mission mindedness among our people.
The activities of the day began with devotions at 10:00 A.M. in the sanctuary of First PRC. After Rev. Slopsema, pastor of First, led in devotions, the group of around 300 broke up into five smaller groups and headed over to the nearby and recently constructed Eastside Christian School for a series of informative sectionals related to mission work. From a total of thirteen different sectionals, attendees were given opportunity to attend at least four. Most of the sectionals were repeated at least once, so that if they were missed the first time, there was a second opportunity to attend. There were also special sectionals intended for the children.
The mission work of our denomination was presented in three different sectionals, all of which were repeated once. Rev. Spriensma, our foreign missionary in the Philippines, gave an audio/ visual presentation of his work and also spent time answering questions. Along with Rev. Spriensma’s presentation there was also a sectional for the children by a Filipino member of First PRC on life in the Philippines, as well as a ride in a rickshaw (common transportation in many of the Southeast Asian countries).
Because the Foreign Mission Committee (FMC) is based in Northwest Iowa, they were unable to send a member of their committee, and so Rev. Daniel Kleyn, a former member of the FMC, spoke in their behalf. Representing the work of our churches in domestic missions were Rev. VanOverloop (president of the Domestic Mission Committee—DMC) and Rev. Rodney Kleyn another member of the DMC. In these sectionals the speakers made an effort to highlight the biblical reasons for and principles of missions, to familiarize our people with the work and makeup of the mission committees, to educate on the role of the calling church in missions, and provide information on the different fields of labor of the PRC.
Rev. Kortering, who formerly served as PRC minister-on-loan to the Evangelical Reformed Churches in Singapore, was able to share some of his experience and knowledge concerning missions in third-world countries by giving presentations on mission work in India. While Rev. Kortering was in Singapore he labored on behalf of the Singapore churches in their mission work in India and Myanmar. During Rev. Kortering’s sectionals we found out that Eastside needs bigger classrooms. In another sectional, Mrs. Judie Feenstra, a retired school teacher who herself spent time in Singapore and Myanmar, spoke about her teaching of English and writing to pastors in countries where English is not the first language.
The material of the other sectionals included a presentation on “Witnessing in the Academic World,” from Grace PRC evangelism committee, a presentation on prison ministries, and a presentation from a Muslim convert who is a member of Byron Center PRC on “Muslim Agression Against Christian Converts.” The children, among other things, spent their day learning alphabets, words, and songs from different countries, playing some games common to Asian children, as well as trying their hand at handcrafts that children in poorer countries often learn so that they can use their skill to make a meager living. One of the highlights of the day (at least for me) was the ethnic lunch, at which one could sample many delicious foods from the Asian countries. The members of the AIM committee of First PRC were the “chefs” listed on the menu.
The day was beneficial to all who attended, young and old alike. Having information on the various mission activities of our churches helps God’s people to pray more knowledgeably for those activities and encourages them in their support of missions. First PRC and all those who had a part in the day are to be commended for organizing this conference.