Missions Update

Missions Update

The Board of Deacons wishes to share updates from missionaries and organizations we support financially and with volunteers throughout the year. They have identified three categories of mission support: Local, Regional and Global. To find out more you can go to www.cccaz.org/mission-opportunities.
We try to share this information promptly as it arrives and coincides with newsletter publication. This month is about our REGIONAL mission partner Mescalero Reformed Church in Mescalero, NM.
Dear Friends and Supporters,
 
Greetings from Mescalero, New Mexico and the people of Mescalero Reformed Church! After a wonderful and busy beginning of the year, Miriam and I want to take again this opportunity to say how thrilled, delighted, and thankful we are for your support of the ministry in Mescalero. Thank you!
 
As the calendar winds down on 2018, we end our third year of ministry here in Mescalero, NM. After busy spring and summer seasons, we have a short respite from the busy-ness of special occasions in ministry. But God has continued to provide us with opportunities to speak into the lives of people here on the reservation.
 
This past summer we were blessed to have Noelle Jacobs from Western Theological Seminary serve as an intern for a couple of months. Effie Vander Helm was also here this summer serving through the RCA’s Cultivate program. As a community, we were very blessed with their presence here in Mescalero. If any of you reading this letter are interested in being involved in the life of Mescalero Reformed Church, please know that you are welcome at any time. We have plenty of opportunities for you to fit in and be part of God’s work on this reservation.
 
Mescalero Reformed Church has had other opportunities for ministry that have involved a variety of people from Mescalero. The Women’s Group of our church has long provided leadership in spreading God’s word by reaching out to people from our community and beyond. It has become a tradition for their active involvement. For example, in the past two years, they have attended special ministry conferences that are near our location in New Mexico. They are also willing to raise funds to help support their ministries as well as raising money for other groups.

We have also been active with our youth group. The youth have been meeting regularly where we sing, pray, as well as learn about God’s involvement in each one of our lives. The group has also performed short skits during special holiday worship services. This past summer, the youth were involved in giving back to our community by picking up trash in a few locations on the reservation. We also took six young people to Apache Reformed Church in Apache, OK to lead a vacation Bible school as well as do some work at their church.
 
The youth involvement has been fantastic and a significant enjoyment for both Miriam and me. In April, there were 26 of us from the church who attended a Native American retreat in Oklahoma and five were from our youth group. And more recently, four of these young people followed up this retreat with their participation at a discipleship conference in Littleton, CO. We are so grateful for what God has been doing in each one of their lives along with the other youth who have been coming to youth group and Sunday worship.
 
As I write this letter I am also reminded (and need to share) of the difficult side of life in many parts of our world as well as here on the reservation. Earlier this year on the reservation there was the death of a fifth grader by his own hands. Less than two weeks ago there was the death of a high school senior shot in a nearby town. This young 18-year-old was one of the regular people in our youth group who had been on the work project to Oklahoma and also attended the discipleship conference in Colorado. And just hours ago, we were alerted to an active shooter at the local tribal court, and the church was put on lockdown.
 
These difficulties and unexpected deaths within our community have caused much pain and confusion. Because many natives do not show their feelings or emotions in public, Miriam and I have been trying patiently to encourage them to share. We hope that by living among them and walking with them in life, God grants us the opportunity to share in their pain as we remember together these people not only with tears but also with a confident smile. A smile reflects that we know our sorrow is mixed with our faith in the sure and certain hope of the resurrection.
 
So, with all of this, please continue to pray for the people of Mescalero and us. Miriam and I thank you for your prayers and your financial support.
 
Have a wonderful New Year!

Check out the plethora of pictures found on our Facebook page (Mescalero Reformed Church).
 
In Christ,

Miriam and Mark Vellinga

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