The Mission Committee oversees our concern for the cause of Christ worldwide. Through the approval of financial support and direct hands on witness and service activities, this committee is responsible for all our mission work outside the immediate area of Rochester, Minnesota.
We contribute money through our regular budget, special offerings, and targeted gifts. Through our mission budget we support our denomination’s Unified Mission. Members have donated time giving medical attention to the people in Mombin Crochu, Haiti. Volunteers in Mission from our congregation have also served in Venezuela, Hungary, Malawi, Texas, India, and at Sheldon Jackson College. We are involved with the Medical Benevolence Foundation. For more information visit mbfoundation.org.
Annual Mission Trip to the Bdecan Presbyterian Church on the Spirit Lake Reservation
Since 2015, a group of FPC members has been travelling to the Spirit Lake Reservation in North Dakota to provide Vacation Bible School ("VBS") to the children of the Bdecan Presbyterian Church. Every year it has gotten better and better as relationships have been growing with Joe Obermeyer, the Youth Pastor, and the kids, parents, and grandparents of the Bdecan Presbyterian Church.
We first came to provide VBS to the children of the Bdecan Church in 2015. The youth pastor, Joe Obermeyer, had put a request on the Presbyterian Disaster Relief website asking for a church group to come to the Spirit Lake Reservation to provide VBS. The first year we partnered with another church and provided VBS at the activity center in Tokio, North Dakota, four miles from the Bdecan Church. It did not seem like a good setting for Vacation Bible School as the activity center was too large and impersonal. After we attended a worship service at the Bdecan Church, those of us from FPC realized that the Bdecan Church would be the best place to have VBS and that we should team up with the members of the Bdecan Church and the Youth Pastor directly. When we came back in 2016, we asked if we could have VBS right at the Bdecan Church. Since then, we have continued to have VBS at the church and it works out so much better!
The children of the church participate more enthusiastically every year! They are familiar with us and are happy to see us. We teach VBS using songs, crafts, Bible stories, a woodworking or service project, and games. Breakfast and a warm, nutritious lunch are provided each day so that the children know that if they come, they will have something good to eat. (Many of them have food insecurity due to the low income on the Spirit Lake Reservation.)
The Bdecan VBS Mission Team is a subcommittee of the Mission Committee here at First Presbyterian Church. FPC members are incredibly generous in donating towards special projects like providing winter clothing, school supplies, and fabric for tied baby blankets.
2018 Bdecan Trip Highlights
In 2018, the VBS theme at the Bdecan Presbyterian Church was "Jesus Looks into Our Hearts!" The Bdecan VBS Mission Team was the only team providing VBS this summer and reached a total of 32 kids during the three days of VBS. The kids made birdhouses and a bookshelf for the lending library the Bdecan VBS Mission Team started at the church. The kids loved all the areas of programming and were totally engrossed in the activities. Even the older boys sang the songs and volunteered to answer questions (something they had not done before!). On Saturday, the Bdecan VBS Mission Team was joined by other churches that have sent mission teams to the church as well as Bdecan church members to celebrate Youth Pastor Joe Obermeyer's fifth year at the Bdecan Presbyterian Church. A check for $1000 from the FPC Mission Committee was presented to the Bdecan Presbyterian Church to go toward the goal of raising $10,000 to expand and improve the clothing pantry to provide a better area to store and distribute donated clothing to those in need. FPC members generously contributed $2645 for winter clothing for the children, so they can be warm as they wait for the school bus this winter, as well as providing donated school supplies, underwear, and tied fleece baby blankets (which the Bdecan VBS kids also helped make). The 2018 Bdecan VBS Mission Team included Jane Hallman, Cindy Kunzman, Jean Abels, Ruth Saling, Heide Buettner, Ginger Kirby, Jane Murl, Phyllis Schmid, Marylynn Aalderks, Vickie Wintheiser and her grandson Solomon Fisher, and Mike Maxson from FPC in Ely, Minnesota. Youth Pastor Joe Obermeyer's mother, Trudy, also joined the team.
Missionaries We Support
Serving Christ together in the Republic of South Sudan
Tragically, after surviving decades of civil war and achieving independence, South Sudan continues to endure cycles of ethnic, political, and resource-based conflict. This violence, however, does not reflect the hearts of masses who long for a peaceful future for their children. While South Sudanese work diligently to address these issues, the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) and the Reformed Church in America have joined their efforts by sending Reverends Nancy & Shelvis Smith-Mather. Shelvis is the Principal of the RECONCILE Peace Institute (RPI). The RPI equips leaders to initiate sustainable peace in places of high conflict and trauma. Nancy is the Project Manager for the South Sudan education and peace building project, developing peace and advancing education in collaboration with the Presbyterian Church of South Sudan, Across, Yei Teacher Training College and RECONCILE International.
Serving Christ together in Bangladesh
Since 1989, Les & Cindy Morgan have served as PC(USA) mission co-workers in one of the world's most economically impoverished and most densely populated countries, Bangladesh. The Morgans live in the northwestern city of Rajshahi, where they advise on patient care and Christian Mission Hospital, mentor students at the hospital's affiliated Nursing Institute, and make visits to rural villages to promote the healing ministry of the church. The Morgans also assist the Church of Bangladesh Social Development Program in planning and implementing community health programs that address root causes of disease. In addition, they provide guest lectures and retreats at St. Andrew's Theological College in Dhaka. Les and Cindy feel called to proclaim the gospel among the sick and to nurture this as a ministry of the body of Christ.
Serving Christ in West Africa
Josh is the PC (USA)'s regional liasion for West Africa, where he facilitates partner relationships, implements regional strategies and supports the work of other mission personnel. "When we strive to live together as brothers and sisters in Jesus Christ, our faith is deepened and strengthened, despite our cultural differences, and we become better disciples of Jesus Christ," Josh says. "In partnership, not only do we learn how the Holy Spirit has given us gifts to use for the common good, but we also come to see spiritual gifts in others, and we learn to appreciate how the gifts can enrich our mutual Christian life."
Serving Christ together in Cuba
David and Josey are working in partnership with the Presbyterian Reformed Church in Cuba. David is teaching New Testament and Greek at the Evangelical Theological Seminary in Matanzas, while Josey is assisting the Cuban church in Christian education efforts. "Our earliest memories of our sense of call to ministry have been in the area of education," David says. As natives of Puerto Rico, David and Josey share some ethnic and cultural affinities with the people of Cuba. They developed an appreciation for the country through Cuban friends and mentors in the years prior to their mission appointment. David and Josey sense a call to be a part of a new sense of hope that's emerging in the Cuban church and society.
Serving Christ in Malawi
In a joint effort of the Malawi College of Medicine, Martha is working with the Nkhoma CCAP (Church of Central Africa Presbyterian) Mission Hospital in their new family medicine residency program, which began in 2016. Previously, Martha worked as a doctor for 14 years at Embangweni and Ekwendeni hospitals, which are also part of the health ministries of CCAP. During that time, she served on Malawi's Family Medicine Task Force, of which is training program is a fruit. "I am very excited to be able to contribute to the Malawi government's and our partner church's joint effort to meet the overwhelming health needs of the Malawian people."
Serving at Tenwek Hospital in Kenya, Africa
Please pray for us as we serve and invest in the lives of Kenyans.
Sharing the love of Jesus Christ through medical and spiritual care
Training and discipling Kenyans who are providing medical care and chaplaincy care
Encouraging Kenyans in their ministry to prisoners, ex-prisoners, and correctional staff
Participating in the life and culture of the local community
Each one should use whatever gift he has received to serve others, faithfully administering God's grace in its various forms. (1 Peter 4:10 NIV)