All my life I have never been away from home for more than a week at a time. The longest I have ever been “away” from home is college, and my college is no more than 20 minutes away from my house. Due to the close distance between my house and college, I usually went home on the weekends or went home for family dinners throughout the week. So, I would not classify myself as someone who has ever been away from home. I probably would be classified as a homebody, and I am proud to call myself that. Yet, despite my knack for always being at home, I recently had the privilege to participate in a mission trip to St. Thomas, on the U.S. Virgin Islands. This was a big leap for me, but after hearing about the trip, I felt called to be there. The experience I had was both challenging and rewarding.
St. Thomas was devastated by two hurricanes back to back a little over a year ago, Hurricane Irma and Hurricane Maria. Driving around the nearby towns and seeing the devastation just broke my heart. I have never seen anything like that before and it was the most eye-opening experience. Despite the devastation and the heartbreak, the natives on the island were the most upbeat, heart-warming, and welcoming group of people I have ever met. From the time I arrived to the time I left, I felt like I was at home. Laughter radiated throughout the worksite. The music and singing that took place was like no other: the construction workers would be singing in Spanish and then jump to English. Each worker singing their own song. The overall atmosphere brought joy to whomever was working or just passing through.
Throughout the week, I had the opportunity to work alongside a group of people I have never met, including construction workers, to help rebuild two local Moravian Elementary schools. I worked on painting classrooms, bookshelves, and cleaning up debris, in and around the school.
While cleaning up the classrooms I found amazing posters that contained prayers and other children’s work that would be hanging up in the classroom. Finding children’s work brought so much joy to my heart.
This trip was organized through the Board of World Mission. At the time of hearing about the mission trip, I have never heard of this organization, or participated in any of their activities, so I was originally very nervous about going on this trip. On top of not knowing the Board of World Mission Organization, I had also never been on a mission trip before. During my mission trip I experienced a lot of “firsts” and I am forever thankful for every opportunity I was involved in. Ever since I returned to my hometown, I have been struggling with finding the words to express how grateful I am for having attended the trip.
Each day brought a new experience for me. However, two of these experiences will remain with me the most. The first experience was attending a church service at New Herrnhut Moravian Church. I didn’t know what to expect when attending this service, so I was a little apprehensive about attending. My first impression of the church was that it is beautiful. The simplicity of the church design made it even more breathtaking. As I took my seat, absorbing all that is going on around me, I noticed that all of my worries had disappeared. To me, I was sitting with family. Even though I did not know anyone who was attending the service, I had this overwhelming feeling of being safe, home, and welcomed. I met many of the people who attended the service that day. I was listening to some of their stories of how they were affected by the hurricane, how their homes had been devastated, but they continued to tell me to trust in God, and everything will be okay. I was hugged, thanked, and welcomed back again. During this time, I felt in my heart and knew that the work I had been doing that week was being appreciated. My heart had never been so full.
The second experience that will forever be with me was meeting the teachers of both Moravian schools. Meeting these teachers really holds a special place in my heart, because one day I plan to work with children in a school setting. As I was painting the different classrooms, the teacher of the classroom I was working in stopped by to see the progress of her classroom. She was so thankful for the work I was doing. She hugged me and almost started to cry with how grateful she was. In that moment, I felt so connected to her. I received many thanks, hugs, and a few tears from multiple teachers that will forever be a part of me. Not only was I able to paint the classrooms, but I was also able to paint multiple bookshelves for the students and teachers to use.
This experience has been like no other and I am forever grateful to the people I met, the work I experienced, and the stories I heard. After I graduate I plan on returning to St. Thomas to see how the school has improved. I also hope to return on an educational level: to maybe one day teach at Moravian Memorial Elementary. This trip allowed me find a passion within myself that I did not know I had. For me, this is the first of many mission trips. To the people of St. Thomas: thank you, I am forever grateful for the opportunity you bestowed on me.
Hurricane Florence battered the North Carolina coast near the city of Wilmington with strong winds, storm surge, and then devastating floods. We are thankful that the Covenant Moravian Church was spared any significant damage and will be hosting volunteers for the weeks of November 4-10, and 11-17. Sleeping cots, showers, and food will be available for crew members throughout the two weeks. Individuals of all skill levels are needed to fill the teams that will be doing clean up and some light construction. We are also in need of folks who have pickup trucks or vans that can be used to transport materials to our work sites. Beyond these two weeks we are inviting individuals and teams to join an already established partnership we have with the United Methodist relief effort in Lumberton, NC which was also hit with heavy flooding from Florence. They will be hosting individuals and work crews well into 2019.
The Board of World Mission continues to monitor the unfolding situation in Florida following the devastating arrival of Hurricane Michael as one of the most powerful storms in recent history. We continue to be in touch with our Lutheran and United Methodist partners to see how we can best cooperate with their relief efforts.
If you are interested in joining a mission crew to Wilmington, the Gulf coast, or to our continuing work in St. Thomas, please fill out the registration form found on Board of World Mission website at MoravianMission.org/MDR. Questions can be directed to the Rt. Rev. Chris Giesler by email at firstname.lastname@example.org, or by calling 610-868-1732.
You can help to support all Moravian disaster relief efforts by sending your donations to: Board of World Mission, 1021 Center Street, Bethlehem, PA 18018. Those living in Canada may send donations to: Moravian Church in Canada, 600 Acadia Drive SE, Calgary, AB T2J 0B8. United States residents may also make donations on-line at http://moravianmission.org/give/ and click on the green “Donate Now” link at the top of the page. Your support changes lives.
TEAMS NEEDED BEGINNING NOVEMBER 4-10 & 11-17 IN WILMINGTON, NC
We continue to hold those who were most affected by Hurricane Florence and its subsequent floods in our prayers. We are thankful that Covenant Moravian Church in Wilmington, NC was spared significant damage and so they are in a position to host work crews wishing to come to the area and help those who have suffered as a result of the storm. We are also happy to be partnering with the North Carolina United Methodist Disaster Response Agency in Lumberton, NC to provide work sites for individuals or groups who wish to continue serving into 2019. [Read more…]
In 2016 the Union Cross Moravian Congregation in Winston-Salem, NC had a decision to make. They owned a home adjacent to their property that they had been renting and was now vacant. The obvious options for their Church Council were to continue renting the house and use the proceeds to help them make ends meet, or to sell it and invest that money for the benefit of the church. They chose neither. Instead decided they would use it for “mission purposes.”
Over the past two years they have refurbished the house and it is now a wonderful guest house for international guests and other “mission-related” folks. People from at least 5 countries have already stayed in the house.
On Sunday, September 30, 2018 Bishop Sam Gray (BWM’s Director of Mission Outreach) and BWM Intern Gabriela Vela (from Peru) led a dedication service for the mission house. It was a wonderful moment for the congregation to be able to affirm this ministry. In his reflections Bishop Gray used a very rarely read New Testament letter (3 John) in which the writer is thanking someone for offering hospitality. Something we should all do with the blessings that we have. In addition to Bishop Sam’s reflection they used a short dedication liturgy which included the following passage:
“Love each other as if your life depended on it… Be quick to give a meal to the hungry, a bed to the homeless—cheerfully. Be generous with the different things God gave you… that way, God’s bright presence will be evident in everything through Jesus, and he’ll get all the credit as the One mighty in everything.” (I Peter 4:8 – 11)
A fitting text for us all to consider the ways in which we can share the blessings that have been freely given to each of us.
Moravian Mission Summit: “A GREAT Day for Mission”
Sunday, October 21, 9:00 a.m. – 3:00 p.m.
at the First Moravian Church of Dover, Ohio
Please check out the information below, if you can join us, WONDERFUL! But we know that many of you might be living too far away from Ohio to attend this event so hope that you will be inspired to do something similar in your congregation or region. If you have an interest in helping to put something like this together, please contact Chris Giesler at 610-868-1732.
Board of World Mission Update on Hurricane Florence
As of Thursday, September 13, 2018 Hurricane Florence is poised to make landfall near Wilmington, NC as a category 2 hurricane with sustained winds of 105 miles per hour and heavy rains. Complicating matters is that the storm is moving very slowly only magnifying the effects of the wind and rain. Florence is looking to be a catastrophic storm and we are asking your prayers for all those who are being affected, those who evacuated and are now in a waiting game to see when they can return home to assess the damage, and the first responders and utility workers who will soon begin the rebuilding process.
Are you looking for a way to engage in mission? Do you just want to know more about the past, present and future of mission in a Moravian context? Well, then we have a perfect event for you! All are welcome!
Each summer, youth groups, Moravian and otherwise, have the opportunity to travel up the mountain to Laurel Ridge in North Carolina to attend weeklong mission camps and learn what it means to be a servant. The youth groups and the adults who accompany them serve at worksites and attend program times throughout the week. This year I was blessed to have the opportunity to attend Mission Camp 4 to help Bishop Sam Gray with program.
Program for the 2018 mission camps focused on the story of the Good Samaritan as well as the beloved Fred Rogers (of Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood). In the story of the Good Samaritan (Luke 10:25-37) a lawyer asks Jesus “Who ismy neighbor?” We flipped this question on its head and discussed what it means to be a neighbor to others. Each day we concentrated on a different character in Jesus’ parable and looked at the story from that person’s perspective. I was so impressed with the campers’ willingness to share personal experiences and their ability to see connections between their lives today and a story from thousands of years ago. It was moving to hear about some of what they’ve experienced, especially the ways that they are already being good neighbors.
Each day the campers had an opportunity to live out the messages from program by serving community members. Most of the groups worked at private homes, doing work like painting, weeding, and other things that the homeowners were unable to do themselves. One group painted the inside of a new home, which was to be called Safe Haven and opened as a home for single mothers. Another group had the chance to visit Ebenezer Christian Home for Children, which is an organization that takes in foster children. Some of the groups grew close with the homeowners whom they volunteered for and shared life-changing moments with them. When we talked about being a good neighbor, it was wonderful to hear the campers say that they were being good neighbors by volunteering, but it was even more touching to hear them talk about the many ways in which those they volunteered for were being good neighbors to others, too. The homeowners were invited for dinner at Laurel Ridge on Friday night, which was an incredible opportunity to see the relationships that had been built in just one short week.
Everything we did throughout the week was magnified by the beauty of Laurel Ridge Camp and the hard work of the staff there. It was such a blessing to be welcomed into the community and to have an opportunity to witness a new camping experience. I am so grateful to all of the Laurel Ridge staff and those who led program throughout the summer for being committed to supporting missions in this important way. This one-week camp was some campers’ first experience with missions, but many of them will continue to grow into a life of service. What a joy to witness!
Check out this opportunity to become more engaged as a lay leader in your local congregation! Board of World Mission Executive Director Justin Rabbach will be leading a mission workshop and BWM’s new Director of Mission Engagement, Chris Giesler, will also be in attendance. Join them November 2nd-4th at Mt. Morris Camp & Conference Center.
See the poster below for more information about the conference and how to register. There is also a bulletin insert below for those who would like to share this opportunity with their congregations.
In July 2018, Sam Gray (BWM Director of Mission Outreach), Anna Stewart-Faircloth (BWM Summer Intern), and Becca Mock had the opportunity to travel to Costa Rica for a mission conference. Sam and Anna share a bit about the conference and their experiences below.
Background on the Costa Rica Mission Conference
by Bishop Sam Gray
Costa Rica Mission Conference 2018
by Anna Stewart-Faircloth
Delayed flights, landslides, lightning strikes, and a broken air conditioning unit. The devil was working hard but thankfully the Lord was working harder. After our first few eventful days, we were able to start our conference with our brothers and sisters of Moravian congregations in Costa Rica.
We gathered in a room that had no air conditioning thanks to a storm the night before that had knocked out the power. Roughly the temperature of a sauna, we began worshiping together. I mean, if you ain’t sweating, you ain’t praising, right?
Our opening day began with asking the question, “What is mission?” We read Matthew 4:18-22 and discussed how when Jesus called Peter and Andrew, they were casting their nets, but when Jesus called James and John, they were mending their nets. We discussed how we can use this story and relate it to our lives and to our churches.
As the people talked in groups, I noticed some of the struggles they mentioned happening in their churches were also happening in our churches back home. A few of the problems they mentioned were: how do we reach our youth and college age kids and make them feel a part of our church? How can we improve our churches so outside guests want to join? How can we be more mission-minded and involved in our community as a church?
We shared many great ideas with each other. I shared what had worked with our churches in the past and what hasn’t. They brainstormed new ideas for their youth and community involvement. It was inspiring to see so many people excited and eager for change in their church.
We attended church that Sunday, and people from the conference stood up to share what they had learned from our time together. They expressed their gratitude for the leadership and their eagerness to bring back new ideas to try at their church. It is exciting to see our brothers and sisters working together to find solutions on how to reach the lost and even those in our churches who don’t feel as important. I am thankful for my time spent in Costa Rica and I am excited to stay updated on all their progress and see their ideas at work.
The Board of World Mission is thrilled to announce that Rt. Rev. Chris Giesler, a Bishop and lifelong servant of the Moravian Church, has been called to the position of Director of Mission Engagement. on the staff of the Board of World Mission.
A Lifelong Commitment to the Moravian Church
Chris Giesler brings with him a wide range of experiences serving the Moravian community. He lived in Nicaragua, where his parents were serving as Moravian missionaries, until he was nine years old. At that time his family moved to Winston-Salem, NC. He studied at Moravian College and Moravian Theological Seminary and was ordained in 1986. Since being ordained he has served as pastor at Bethesda Moravian Church, Redeemer Moravian Church, Edgeboro Moravian Church, and Emmaus Moravian Church; as Chaplain of Moravian College; and as Director of Youth Ministry for the Eastern District. He was elected a Bishop in 2010. The Board of World Mission is grateful to Chris for bringing the skills and experience he has gained in these past positions.
Director of Mission Engagement
As Director of Mission Engagement, Chris will be the lead staff member for efforts to engage congregations and constituent members in the ongoing work of the Board of World Mission. He will focus on engaging directly with congregations and mission teams on mission discernment, education, and preparation. He will also work to increase communication about the ongoing work of the BWM, and is available for congregational visits and workshops, as well as individual conversations on ways you can be involved in mission.
Chris will join the Board of World Mission in September 2018. Until then, any questions regarding this position (or to start filling his calendar with invitations to come speak about mission!) should be directed to Executive Director Justin Rabbach (justin@MoravianMission.org).
This is Christopher Valencia Alcantara. He is the president of the National Board of the Moravian Church in Peru and pastor of Rhemanente Moravian Church in Chiclayo, Peru. The following video, which was made as a greeting to the 2018 Northern Province Synod, will give you an idea of what Christopher does in each of those roles and what the Moravian Church is like in Peru!
Meet our interns!
Sylvie Hauser is a senior at Carleton College in Northfield, MN. She is majoring in Political Science / International Relations with minors in Spanish and Political Economy. Growing up in Sturgeon Bay, WI she attended the Sturgeon Bay Moravian Church and attended and counseled Mt. Morris camps every summer. She also was involved in mission work with her home congregation, which took her to places like New York City, Jamaica, and Haiti. After high school, Sylvie spent about three months in the Czech Republic through the Board of World Mission’s Antioch Program. Her involvement with missions as well as her interest in culture and politics led her to apply for the internship with BWM. Sylvie has already had some great experience during this internship – she has traveled to Peru and attended the Northern Province Synod. Next, she’ll be working on some projects to help with congregational outreach and relationship building between the Northern Province and the mission area of Peru. If you have any ideas or questions about this work (or if you just want to reach out!) you can contact Sylvie at
Anna Stewart Faircloth attends Liberty University where she is studying Youth Ministry with minors in Camp and Outdoor Leadership and Family and Child development. She grew up in Lexington, North Carolina and is a member of Friedberg Moravian Church. She grew up going to Laurel Ridge summer camp and now serves as a counselor every summer. Anna Stewart got involved in missions because of her youth group. Her first mission trip was to Tennessee in 2010 and since then has traveled to Mississippi, Peru, New York, Africa, and the Dominican Republic several times. Anna Stewart also serves as a Young Life leader in Central Virginia for middle school aged kids in Forest, Virginia during the school year. She decided to apply for this internship because of her passion for missions, her love for people, and to live out the calling the Lord has for her life. During this internship, Anna Stewart will be traveling to Costa Rica with Sam Gray to hold a mission conference, attend mission camp at Laurel Ridge, and work on projects to help teams become better prepared for mission trips. If you have any ideas, questions, or want to reach out, you can contact her at
Please take a moment to read the following request for Prayers for the people of Nicaragua. There are many, many, Moravains throughout Nicaragua. The impact of this violence, and ongoing tensions are being felt across the country.
Please offer prayers and share this news widely.
The Board of World Mission is excited to announce we are seeking to hire a new Director of Mission Engagement! This is a full time staff position, with a focus on engaging others in the collaborative mission work of the Moravian Church in North America.
You can read more about the position below, or download a copy of the description to print out.
Unity Prayer Day Offering 2018.
The Unity Prayer Day Offering 2018 will benefit purchase of a piece of land for a church office, the first to be owned by the Moravian Church in Peru.
The Moravian Church Peru is one of the newest mission areas in the worldwide Unity.
So far, the Moravian Churches in Peru rent space for their worship services and other ministries. From a sustainability point of view this is not the best approach. The Peru Moravian Board has asked if it would be possible to obtain a one-time larger donation that could be used to purchase some land in Chiclayo, Peru. That is where the headquarters is located, but presently the office is situated in the home of the president of the church.
The Board of World Mission is seeking an intern for 10-12 weeks in the summer of 2018.
The following is a statement sent out by the Moravian Unity on January 15, 2018 in response to comments made by U.S. President Donald Trump regarding countries in Africa, Central America and the Caribbean.
The following was written for “The BCM Spotlight Blog” and appeared first at this link. The BWM encourages you to make this blog a part of your regular reading! Check it out today!
Written by Executive Director Justin Rabbach
The Church as a Community of Service: Jesus Christ came not to be served but to serve. From this, His Church receives its mission and its power for its service, to which each of its members is called. We believe that the Lord has called us particularly to mission service among the peoples of the world. In this, and in all other forms of service both at home and abroad, to which the Lord commits us, He expects us to confess Him and witness to His love in unselfish service. (The Ground of the Unity)
“If you want things done right, do it yourself.” That is a common phrase, and I admit describes how, at times, I have a hard time completely handing off projects. This is true when I have a particular vision and a particular way I think something should be done. Still, in my experience, this phrase usually is a reflection of not allotting ample time to adequately prepare the people I am asking to help me. And not a reflection of their ability to complete a task to my satisfaction. In these instances then, this phrase becomes an excuse. I have to do it all, if I want it done in time. Or, maybe I just don’t want to invest the time to help prepare someone with less experience, as in the short term that would be more work.
The BWM continues its disaster response work through the Moravian Disaster Response (MDR) program. Currently, the BWM has scheduled work crews to assist with the homes of members of the Good Shepherd Moravian Church (actually a Unity of the Brethren church made up of members with Moravian roots) in Port Arthur, Texas. Work crews began visiting in November 2017, and many weeks are filled through the middle of February 2018. Teams are staying at the church, and going out to work on homes that were severely damaged in the flooding following Hurricane Harvey in August of 2017. Many homes were completely destroyed, and others have lost the entire interior, and are being rebuilt from the studs. Any volunteers are welcome to join in these efforts as we continue to schedule teams to visit in the weeks and months ahead.
The BWM has sent Aaron Van Der Linden, a member of Ebenezer Moravian Church in Watertown, Wisconsin, to help coordinate the work as an on site supervisor for 8 weeks beginning in January. Aaron was on site in the fall of 2017, and has been tremendous asset assessing the work needing to be done, and finding places for volunteers of all skill levels to join in the work.
The Board of World Mission of the Moravian Church North America is pleased to announce that Justin Rabbach has been named the Board’s new Executive Director.
He will continue the work of the Rev. Judy Ganz, who is retiring at the end of 2017.
Justin currently serves as the director of Mission Engagement, a position he has held since it was created in 2014. In that role, he facilitated mission education and discernment within our congregations to promote engagement with BWM initiatives and programs. Justin has also been active in helping ministries within both the Northern and Southern Provinces.
Please return to this page to find the most recent updates on the MDR Responses to Hurricanes Harvey and Irma. Each dated link below will give a fuller update from that point in time.
Meet, Sam Gray!
Hometown: Clemmons, NC (right now!)
Home Church: Come & Worship
BWM Position: Director of Intercultural Ministries and New Work
I am the “connection” for the BWM with our Mission Areas and Mission Provinces and try to raise awareness of and involvement in that work within our congregations. I also help people to see the needs and opportunities for being in mission right where they are.
Years in this position: 13 years (began August 1, 2004) but had also served with the BWM as a missionary in Honduras from 1976 – 1977 and from 1980 – 1992.
Fun Work Fact: I have worked along with 8 BWM Executive Directors (Ted Hartmann, Graham Rights, Ted Wilde, Hampton Morgan, Gordon Sommers, Will Sibert, Bob Sawyer and Judy Ganz).
Camp Involvement: Laurel Ridge, Tar Hollow, Mt. Morris, Hope Center, Van Es
Favorite Moravian Eats: Egg sandwich made with toasted Lovefeast bun
Dogs or Cats: Dogs
Why mission work? Simple answer: because Jesus made it pretty clear that this is what we are called to be and do. So, for me, the only question was, “Do I do mission work along with my vocation or as my vocation?”
September 14, 2017
Harvey / Irma Updates from the Board of World Mission
BWM has been receiving generous donations for Moravian Disaster Response (MDR) and has begun the process of disbursing funds to Texas (Port Arthur and other Texas Brethren churches) and the Eastern West Indies Province (St. Thomas, St. Croix, St. John, St. Maarten, St. Kitts, Tortola, Antigua).
Plans are in place for deploying MDR trailers and teams to Texas and possibly Florida, as needed.
We continue to receive updates from Cuba, Florida, Texas, and the Eastern West Indies and will pass on information as it is received. Brother Cortroy Jarvis (chair of the EWI Province and chair of the Worldwide Moravian Unity) says that the situation in St. John is especially bad; the sanctuary and manse of Emmaus Moravian Church there have been destroyed and the roof of the Bethany Moravian Church was blown off. Antigua is doing pretty well but very involved with relief efforts in Barbuda. Air travel to Tortola and St. Thomas has not been restored as yet and communication is difficult.
The Cuban Council of Churches will participate actively in the recovery efforts following the devastation caused by Hurricane Irma.
September 9, 2017 Update
Click here to go back to the general update page.
Click here to view the version of this updated emailed to congregations.
There is quite a lot happening at MDR. We are doing our best to monitor situations on several fronts. The update below will focus on the reports coming into the BWM from our partners and congregations. We realize the impact is much broader than areas where Moravian Churches are located, but cannot fit all of the information currently being covered by 24 news cycles into this update. Please do be in touch if you have any specific questions not addressed here by email Justin@MoravianMission.org.
SCROLL TO THE BOTTOM FOR ADDITIONAL RESOURCES
Please find below an update on the current response of MDR as we monitor the beginning stages of recovery in Texas from Harvey, the anticipation of further damage from Hurricane Irma, and listen to the potential impact of Hurricanes Jose and Katia close behind. [Read more…]
The September 5th update from the BWM regarding MDR’s work following Hurricane Harvey, and in anticipation of Hurricane Irma. [Read more…]
The BWM is planning to host webinar in advance of the Unity Mission Conference coming up in South Africa in November of 2017. This webinar will be a chance to join the discussion around the topics up for discussion at that conference, and we hope to gain valuable insight and ideas from participants in this experience before the representatives go to the conference.
Meet, Jill Kolodziej!
Hometown: Sturgeon Bay, Wisconsin
Home Church: Sturgeon Bay Moravian
BWM Position: Director of Antioch
As Director I coordinate cross culture volunteer opportunities between Antioch volunteers and site hosts who have invited the BWM to join in their work and ministries.
How many years in this position: I have served as the Director since 2009.
Fun Work Fact: One of the most rewarding parts of my role is hearing how Antioch volunteers experience God’s presence in preparation for, during, and upon reflection of their experience.
Camp Involvement: Chetek, Mt. Morris Camps & Conference Center, Mt. Morris Wisconsin, High & Post High young people
Meet, Deb Swanson!
Hometown: Bethlehem, PA
Home Church: Edgeboro Moravian Church, Bethlehem, PA
BWM Position: Administrative Assistant
I am the administrative assistant for Judy and the BWM staff. I handle all incoming donations, acknowledgements, filing, organizing and re-organizing, meeting planning and coordinating, and any other surprises that may come my way!
How many years in this position: Two
Camp Involvement: I was a counselor with Sr. High Camp at Camp Hope ONCE. One week in a cabin full of teenage girls was enough for me!!! LOL!
Meet, Reginald Knowlton!
Hometown: Cinnaminson, NJ
Home Church: Palmyra Moravian
BWM Position: Treasurer
My job is to do the accounting for the BWM. A unique feature is sending wires each month to various mission locations. As Treasurer I get to keep the books, assure the funds are tracked appropriately and along with Sister Judy distribute wires on a monthly basis to many of the areas being served. Daily get to work with Sister Deb on providing fiscal support to all engaged in the mission work.
The Board of Mission would like to present a new fundraiser: Mission Meals!
$5 – Plantable Bookmark containing seeds: That’s right, receive a bookmark you can plant in ground, representing how you are helping this ministry grow! You don’t receive actual rice and beans at this level, but you are helping to grow our outreach, and the bookmark provides more information about the mission grant program! Click the donate, and you will be guided through our secure checkout. Upon receipt of your donation at the $5 level, we will send along the bookmark as our thank you to you!
$10 – Single Package (serves 2-3) : Receive a single pack of rice and beans, along with the recipe to try it at home! Click the donate button below, and you will be guided through our secure checkout. Upon receipt of your donation at the $10 level, we will send you a package of rice and beans and the recipe to make rice and beans Miskitu style!
(Note: If you would like to donate at this level, but not actually receive the rice and beans, we would be happy to instead donate a portion of your gift to Tricklebee cafe, a Moravian ministry in Milwaukee, WI, growing to feed the community in a sustainable way! If you like this option write “Tricklebee Cafe” in the special instructions area on the top of the page at checkout!)
$25 – Three Pack (serves 6-8) : Receive 3 packs of rice and beans, and invite some friends to join you for dinner! Click the donate button below, and you will be guided through our secure checkout. Upon receipt of your donation at the $25 level, we will send you a package of rice and beans and the recipe to make rice and beans Miskitu style!
(Note: If you would like to donate at this level, but not actually receive the rice and beans, we would be happy to instead donate a portion of your gift to Tricklebee cafe, a Moravian ministry in Milwaukee, WI, growing to feed the community in a sustainable way! If you like this option write “Tricklebee Cafe” in the special instructions area on the top of the page at checkout!)
$50 – Bulk Rice and Beans Donation: In this case, we don’t send you a bulk supply of rice and beans, but you will have helped purchase the items needed to fulfill our other orders, and in this way your donation will multiply, helping the idea of Mission Meals to have an even bigger impact!(Any of these donations left over after all orders are filled will go straight into the Mission Grant fund.)
Meet, Sheila Beaman!
Hometown: Advance, NC
Home Church: Macedonia Moravian
BWM Position: Administrative Assistant in Winston-Salem, NC Mission Office for BWM and Southern Province Mission Society [Read more…]
Meet your fellow Moravian, Lauren Stewart!
Home Church: First Moravian Church of Uhrichsville
College: Freshman at University of Mount Union
Career Goal: Hopes to eventually get a job in Haiti as a nurse.
Meet, Judy Ganz!
From: Madison, Wisconsin
Currently based: Bethlehem, Pennsylvania
BWM Position: Executive Director (#bosslady)
Personal Explanation of Position: I have the privilege of helping to guide the mission of our church and working with our global partners in the service of our Lord. Pretty fortunate.
Fun Facts About Mission Work: I have learned to sleep in almost any position on an airplane. I have learned multiple ways to take a shower and use a bathroom! Although people live in many different contexts, I see similarities wherever I go in the hospitality that they provide, in the compassion they show, and in their passion to serve our Lord—a passion that can challenge our own church at home.
Meet, Justin Rabbach!
Hometown: Waukesha, Wisconsin
Home Church: Ebenezer Moravian Church
BWM Position: Director of Mission Engagement Est. 2014
If you want to be engaged in mission (serve, pray, give, etc) then we should talk. It is my job to help individuals and congregations notice God at work, discern their call, and put it into action!
Fun Work Fact: My job provided me the opportunity to be able to say this fun fact: I have gone swimming in both the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans in the same day in Nicaragua.
Our next Share Our Stories post features Jessie Burcaw, Jessie Stangret and Jaime Dease and a little on their experience serving with the Moravian Church in Nepal.
In June 2017, three Antioch servants traveled about 8,000 miles to help at the Moravian School in Kathmandu, Nepal for one month. Jessy Burcaw, a first grade teacher from Unity Moravian Church, worked with the second grade students. Jessie Stangret, a sophomore at the University of Illinois-Chicago from Waconia Moravian Church, taught swim lessons and worked with the kindergarten students. Jamie Dease, a fourth grade teacher from Macedonia Moravian Church, worked with the first grade students. Jessy and Jamie also worked on building the school’s curriculum by creating a Google Drive folder with resources for the teachers.
The USA Today published an article contributed by Rick Nelson, the interim director and a consultant with the Honduran Moravian Church and Alas de Socorro, a missionary air service. The article highlights the importance of the Clínica Evangélica Morava to the predominantly Mískito population it serves. The clinic has served these people for over 70 years, having just celebrated its 71st anniversary in June. Despite the difficulties that the clinic has experienced in the last couple of years, it continues to be a vital source of lifesaving work for the community.
Please click here to read more about the work the clinic does, as well as the efforts being made to improve and support the clinic.
What is Amazon Smile?
Have you heard of the program AmazonSmile? AmazonSmile is a simple and automatic way for you to support your favorite charitable organization every time you shop, at no cost to you. When you shop at smile.amazon.com, you’ll find the exact same low prices, vast selection and convenient shopping experience as Amazon.com, with the added bonus that Amazon will donate a portion of the purchase price to the Board of World Mission!
How Do I use it?
- To shop at AmazonSmile simply go to smile.amazon.com from the web browser on your computer or mobile device.
- The link above will take you to a page saying “Your shopping will support Board Of World Mission Of The Moravian Church”. Or, on the AmazonSmile website, you can simply search for the “Board of World Mission Of The Moravian Church” in the search tab. After you have selected the BWM as your charity of choice, simply click “Start Shopping” to support the BWM with every purchase you make!
If you have additional questions, visit smile.amazon.com to find more details on the program. Please consider signing up for AmazonSmile to help give to the BWM. Happy Shopping!
Assemble Refugee Welcome Kits at your Congregation
As conflicts continue around the globe, there is increasing need for a global response to the refugee crisis. The greatest focus at this time is often placed on the Syrian refugees entering Eastern Europe. In addition to Syria, there are refugees seeking refuge from Iraq, Darfur, Sudan, Democratic Republic of Congo, and other nations. In 2016, the Moravian Unity Synod passed a resolution concerning refugees in response to this worldwide crisis. The resolution declares,”…the Bible calls us to stand up for justice, to be hospitable, and to protect the foreigner […] Because we believe in the God of love and justice who sides with the homeless and deprived through Jesus Christ, we encourage our congregations and members of the 15 worldwide Unity to side with the refugees, to lend them their voice, and to speak out against hatred and discrimination.” To read the full resolution, click here.
What do Moravians say about refugees?
Tuesday, June 20th is National Refugee Day. On this day, we may ask the question: what do Moravians say about refugees? In 2016 the Unity Synod of our worldwide Moravian Church met in Montego Bay, Jamaica, Aug. 12-20, 2016 and passed a resolution concerning refugees. About 70 delegates from 26 Unity and Mission Provinces participated, in addition to invited guests, Synod staff and observers. This synod made statements about a number of important, global issues, addressing food speculation, refugees, human trafficking, and terrorism and violent attacks. It is important to take a moment to reflect on each one of these issues, but today we urge you to think about the refugee crisis in the world. All of over the world today, millions suffer as they are forced to flee their homes. International laws states that a refugee “is a person who has fled her country based on a well-founded fear of persecution on the basis of race, religion, nationality, political opinion, or membership in a particular social group”. The 2016 Unity Resolution Concerning Refugees shows us how the Moravian church thinks about this through the context of the Bible and Jesus’s love for humanity.
A Mission Story from Joe Jarvis, President/Founder of the Armando Rusindo Mission Foundation (ARMF)
Many of you know my story of how my heart was touched the first time I visited Cuba to attend their first Moravian Conference back in 2013. When I returned, I decided to form a foundation to support our brothers and sisters there as they begin to work toward their goal to become self-sustainable. The Armando Rusindo Mission Foundation (ARMF) was started in June of 2014. At that time, I had no idea that we would have the growth we have had in the past 3 years. Thanks to our donors the lives of our brothers and sisters there have been touched in many ways. Just to see the smile on their faces makes all the work we do such a pleasure. Mostly what I wanted to do was help the patients in the hospital that Bishop Sam Gray, Armando Rusindo and myself visited for the first time. I could feel the spirit of God touch my heart that evening as we visited and prayed with these patients. The living conditions that we witnessed that evening was heartbreaking. I remember commenting to Sam that if we could just give them a small amount of support I would be satisfied.
We just have a prayer request. On Monday there was another act of violence near Juquila. Two nearby villages are also in a heated land dispute which lead to more shootings. I posted a video on our Indigenous Missions Today Facebook page that shows the people fleeing from shooters on the mountain-tops. The newspaper said today that there have been 16 deaths during this conflict. Our friends in the village tell us we can travel to Juquila through another route to avoid the conflict zone. It has also been raining heavily over the last 10 days which has done severe damage to roads all around Oaxaca. We ask you to pray for peace in the Mixe region and that the government can get all parties to agree on a resolution. Also, for safe travels to and from Juquila for our family. Last week we barely made it out of the village because of muddy, washed out mountain roads.
Meet your fellow Moravian, Brandon Korns.
“Do you remember what you said when we asked if you would ever come to Nepal?”
This was the Rev. Vani and the Rev. Shanti, reminding me of a question that they had once asked during a visit their family had made years prior to the churches of North Dakota. In December of 2015 I had the opportunity to repay their kindness, travelling to Kathmandu with a small group from the Waconia and Lake Auburn churches in Minnesota, and a representative from the Moravian Music Foundation. Our mission was to lead a Winter Camp at a school in Kathmandu, and provide leadership for several church programs including a Choral Workshop, Vacation Bible School, and Young Adult and Board Retreats. There were also worship services with which to assist, and there was a pastoral dimension to our visit in the wake of an earthquake, and amidst fuel shortages imposed on the Nepali people by the government of India.
Mrs. Caroline Leinbach Woo, 45, went to be with the Lord in her new home in Winston-Salem on Wednesday, May 17, 2017. She was born on September 5, 1971 to William Leinbach and Rita Castleberry Leinbach in Winston-Salem, NC. She graduated from Wiley Middle, RJ Reynolds HS, and NC State. She participated in numerous intramural sports, Alpha Delta Pi and Campus Crusade including Summer Project. During college her heart was profoundly warmed for the Lord.
Wednesday, March 1 was the launch point of a culmination of many months of planning and preparation of a trek to Nepal. Suitcases were packed full with personal belongings as well as items to share with the International Kindergarten that is being administered by Vani and Shanti Pradhan.
The eager visitors from North Carolina, Fran Huetter and Sarah Jennings, are sharing their talents by actively engaging with the students and staff of the school under the guidance of the Pradhans. They will also be joining Autumn Cooper of Waconia, Minnesota who arrived in Nepal 3 weeks prior to Fran and Sarah.
It will be a cross-cultural meeting of people who are focused on serving alongside and learning from each other, immersion into the culture, as well as enjoying time of just being together. What an exciting convergence of people who will live in relationship that cultivates understanding and partnership!
Emma LaBella is 17 and a senior at Salem Academy. In January she travelled far away from her home in Winston-Salem to Lima, Peru. She found herself among people of a different culture and country who spoke a different language and worshiped in a different style… lots of differences.
Emma was there to build relationships and get to know her Peruvian Moravian brothers and sisters. She had the opportunity to do lots of things with them: she taught the little children Bible Stories, using crafts, songs and games; she helped Pastor Ana Maria with her new English Academy; she worshiped at the Somos Uno Moravian Church and was touched by the prayer and participation of the people; she shared her testimony at an outdoor concert in the streets of Lima.
When she got back “home,” she realized that, with all of the differences, somehow she had felt more at home in Peru than in many other places in her own homeland. Serving in a place away from home inspired her to share her story and her gifts at home. Of course, now Emma is realizing that home is not always one certain place. Home can truly be… where the heart is.
With hope in the resurrection, I share with you that Sr. Nora Adam, widow of Br. Lorenz Adam, passed away this morning, January 28 in Minneapolis, Minnesota, as a result of an aortic tear in her heart. The Adams served together both in the mission field and in congregations in the Northern Province. Nora and Lorenz served at the clinic in Ahuas, Honduras in the 1970’s. She was a member of the Lake Auburn Moravian Church in Victoria, Minnesota. I invite your prayers for her son Murray and his family in this time of grief and thanksgiving for a life well lived. Arrangements are not known at this time.
Violence in village nearby Juquila has subsided.
Hundreds in need of shelter and food.
Juquila residence shot in during conflict.
The BWM received the message below from the family of Phil Raiford, a missionary partner serving in Mexico. After sending out the urgent call for prayer regarding gun violence in his community, this information follows up on that request and gives the sad details of this ongoing situation. We ask that you pray for Phil and his family (soon expecting a brand new baby daughter!) as well as those who have been wounded and the families of those who have been killed.
Kelly Raiford, mother of Phil Railford, asks for prayers for the safety of her son (Phil), her pregnant daughter-in-law (Eunice) and grandson (Ian). Phil’s village in Mexico has been under attack resulting in the death of at least one person. At this time, she is not sure what the reason for the unrest and will be in search for more information this evening. Phil asked another missionary to get word to his parents to ask everyone to pray for safety and wisdom.
Please join in prayer for the Phil Raiford, Jr family; for their safety, the safety of their village, for courage of new believers, protection, and wisdom.
Holly B Newsome, Friedberg Moravian, Winston-Salem, NC
It is fitting that as we celebrated the revelation of Christ among us on epiphany, Dr. John Gilliland went to be with his Lord. Dr. Gilliland served in Nicaragua and then spent four years at the Ahuas Clinic in Honduras. His whole life has been committed to this mission as he frequently sent support and helped acquire equipment and anything else needed for the clinic. Please keep his family in prayer. He is the father of Joy Hicks, wife of Rev. Jim Hicks who was the previous Western District President.
In 2017, the Board of World Mission will continue to discern if God is calling us to “do a new thing”. At the same time, we will reflect on the ways God can always take ongoing work and work through it in a new way as long as we centered on Christ!
Moravian Pastor Chris Thore, who serves as chaplain of the Richard Petty Race Team organized that group to go and take part in Hurricane Matthew Response in partnership with the United Methodist Church. Take a look at the video below. How might you feel called to take part in a response team?
historic moment for the Nepali Moravians. Thank you, Board of World mission, British Province, Nepal Mission Outreach (NMO), Central Moravian Church and all our Moravian brothers and sisters for making this impossible task a joyful reality. “
The following is an update on the work happening in Sierra Leone from our missionary partners Mohamed and Safie:
My brothers and sisters,
I feel like singing:
Please read below the update and prayer request from the Chairman of the Moravian Church in Haiti as he describes the situation following Hurricane Matthew.
Looking for a BWM Newsletter from 2016? Look no further! This post contains links to download pdfs of all of our newsletters from 2016!
Please read the note below from BWM Board Member Joe Jarvis regarding the passing of a good friend and mission partner from the Moravian Church in Cuba.
Jamie Lynne Dease –
As an elementary teacher, I have many opportunities to help my students and fulfill their needs. Between tying shoes, giving permission to use the bathroom, offering small group instruction, and learning about students’ home lives, I hope that I make some small difference in their lives. For Moravians, a mission is the goal of fulfilling a fundamental need in the life of another person.
Moravians in mission have been fulfilling needs since 1732, when the first Moravian missionaries, Johann Leonhard Dober and David Nitschman, sailed to the Caribbean island of St. Thomas to bring the gospel to the slaves on the sugar plantations. This first Moravian mission sparked the Moravian passion for mission during the past 284 years.
Please add Ceci to your prayer list. She is going to have laparoscopic knee surgery on Saturday, August 6. They are going to clean up the knee and repair it. She has had more pain. She will go in for surgery on Friday and come home on Monday. Michael called his mother, Donna Tesh, on August 1 from his home. A cell tower has been installed close by. Yea!!! Electricity is just a week away with just one more line to run. God is so good!
Join us in mission! [Read more…]
Read or download the report from Star Mountain Rehabilitation Center below. A unity outreach supported by the BWM through our partner Annie B. Missions.
The following post is adapted from a presentation given by BWM Board Member Donna Hurt. She has traveled extensively in the Moravian World. Read on to hear about how a chance for prayer has grown new relationships and ministry!
Want to know what has been happening at the BWM? Take a look at the latest annual report and learn about all of the ways we are investing in mission to grow the Kingdom!
Assemble Refugee Welcome Kits at your Congregation
The Board of World Mission received the request for prayers below from Shanti and Vani Pradham, pastors serving in Nepal. Please take a moment to pause and lift them and their requests to the Lord in prayer.
Please take a few moments to read the latest Newsletter from the Board of World Mission. Stories include reflections on a recent visit to the Czech Republic.
Read about ways you can help support a supply effort for Sierra Leone! [Read more…]
Help the BWM Raise Funds to support the growing church in Peru!
What’s new in Peru?
Peru is a “mission area” of the Worldwide Moravian Unity under the supervision of the Northern Province, and a new work area of the BWM.
The Moravian Church in Peru was founded in August of 2011 in the city of Chiclayo. In the short time since then the church has grown to include 4 congregations across 2 departments (like states in the U.S.) with nearly 150 members! In August 2015, a National Conference was held to help the church establish its Book of Order and elect its first national board.
Judy Ganz, Executive Director of the Board of World Mission sent out the following letter to celebrate the ongoing work of the ministries of the Moravian Church and our partners around the world. As we move from Advent, to Christmas, to Epiphany, to Lent to Easter, let us prayerfully celebrate all that God is doing as we do our best to serve Him every day of the year!
We pray that you had a very blessed Christmas and that the Christmas spirit will continue to live in you into the New Year.
As our New Year approaches, pray for peace and safety in our world. Pray that those who perpetrate war and terrorism may see the error of their ways. Pray that Christians around the world may be an example of lovingkindness and consensus-building that can accomplish far more than their violence. Pray that we may all seek peace in our hearts that can be shown to all around us. As I shared with a sister earlier in December, there is a sign in a place where I used to volunteer that said: “No Jesus. No peace. Know Jesus. Know peace.” May each of us know that peace which passes all understanding.
My brothers and sisters in Christ, this is to tell you that God truly is good all the time. Safie and I came to Freetown yesterday and I am at the internet cafe this morning writing to you to affirm that God is not only good some times but that he is good all the time and we give the glory for his love toward man. We were able to build a concrete fence almost around the church and the mission house only leaving the front out because we are not sure when and how the road construction will be. We were able to put a gate in front with the Moravian name written on it.
The ebola virus is still hanging around and the news stays the same for the village, that is we are Ebola free. We thank God for that protection and the love he has for us. [Read more…]
Things are happening at Ray of Hope! Our original 13 children have grown up.
They are in high school or preparing to go to high school. We have 2 in college. Our vision this year is to accept 20 more children to join Ray of Hope and add appropriate staff.
The local community leaders also want Ray of Hope to add more classrooms to the preschool and even a primary school in 2016.
We recently added a small clinic at Ray of Hope, thanks to faithful support from our U.S. friends. The local community leaders are also helping to get electrical power to the clinic.
First is a prayer request:
Mohamed was involved in an accident with a Honda bike and he was thrown from the bike. Along with the lecture he received from Safie about never getting on a Honda bike, he sustained a dislocated shoulder and some cuts and bruises. She said she recorded him screaming as they pulled on his shoulder to get it back into the socket. Please pray that his shoulder will heal, that there will be no infection and that he will soon be able to use the shoulder again.
Onward is the newsletter of the Southern Province Mission Society. See the May 2015 and June 2015 issues below.
From Beyond Borders
I sat with my friend, exhausted from a long day mixing cement and carrying buckets of it to make the footings for his house as the sun set outside a store in Juquila. We sat there reflecting on all of our hard work and our sore muscles. As we sipped our cokes my friend Tadeo began to share a story of an incident that happened to him a few months ago. He suffered an attack at another job site when a person clubbed him over the head with a 4×4 post almost killing him. He called me to pick him up at the site in a village about two hours away. He opened up to me months later about the truth behind the attack. He explained that others were jealous of his work ethic and how the crew bosses were giving him more responsibility. The attack was based on jealousy and drunken rage. Tadeo the told me that since he met me and we had become friends, his perspective on life had changed. He began to care more about his family and his own life. He saw how my family lived and how I loved and supported Eunice. He said that he wanted that kind of life, and now that he met me he knew it was a possibility. He acknowledged that life was going to be hard trying to make a better life for himself and his family with all of the negative influences in the village, but was thankful that he had me as a friend to guide him through the tough times. We were just two tough guys exhausted and almost in tears sharing a moment that neither of us expected.
I invite your prayers for the nation of Burundi, the Moravian Church in Burundi, and other surrounding Provinces of our church.
On Saturday April 25th an earthquake struck outside of the city of Katmandu, Nepal. Latest updates and information on ways the BWM will respond are below. [Read more…]
Excerpts from USA Today-online:
BHAKTAPUR, Nepal — A second major earthquake struck this mountainous nation Tuesday — 17 days after the first devastating quake — killing 42 and injuring 1,117, the Nepali government said.
Remember the Mission Areas of Cuba, Peru, and Sierra Leone and their development as part of the Moravian Unity.
Robert Thiessen, a missionary in Mexico who works closely with Phil and Eunice Raiford, had back surgery and is recuperating well in CA. His wife, Anne Thiessen has been diagnosed with breast cancer. They are awaiting on the decision on where she should go for treatment. Please keep them in prayer.
Please see this request from the Woo family, serving as missionaries in Asia:
The Board of World Mission is excited to share the update below from Sylvie Hauser, a young adult from Sturgeon Bay, WI, who is currently serving as an Antioch Servant in the Czech Republic. Sylvie graduated a semester early from High School, and chose to spend this time before college as an Antioch servant. Sylvie has been active in her local youth group, and in the camping ministry of the Western District of the Moravian Church in the Northern Province, serving as President of the Regional Youth Council.
The Board of World Mission Responded to a call for help from our brothers and sisters in Malawi following major flooding that impacted large areas of the country. Please see the photos above, and some excerpts from the report on the emergency response that took place in Malawi. The report comes form the Moravian Church in Malawi, and outlines the use of the Disaster funds.
God is good and everyday we have belongs to Him!
These are simple words but something that Eunice and I have been reflecting on over the last few weeks. Even missionaries can get lost in all the things that need to be done. Raising a child, treating patients, growing vegetables, building relationships and just paying bills can consume anyone.
from Rick Nelson
I have been back in Honduras just a little over a month and back in Ahuas one day over a month. This has been a busy but rewarding time.
Hot, hot, hot. January and February are the hottest months of the year. It averages about 100 degrees during the day. It is also the driest time of the year. We have to be very conservative with our water. We have to make it last until March. March starts our rainy season. Pray that we have an early rainy season.
The children are back in school after their December holiday. School is going well. Ceci has started her senior year in high school. We were hoping to come home this spring. We are not going to be able to come. Ceci’s school schedule has changed. She is not going to be able to miss any school. It will be sometime in 2015 before we can come home.
All of our students are doing well. They have done well with all their exams.
We appreciate everyone’s prayers and support. We hope to have a fruitful 2015. We look forward to bringing more children to love and know Jesus.
God Bless Michael, Ceci, and Blessing.
I wrote to some of you about a three year old girl from the upriver village of Waxma. Having fallen off the steps of her home, she suffered a fracture just above the elbow. With no medical care available in their village, the family traveled down the Patuca to reach the Moravian Clinic. Her cries filled the hallways as we started work in the morning. After administering an anesthetic, Dr. Ovelio, Nurse Brigida, X ray Tech Miqueas and Anesthetist Ricardo worked to reduce the fracture and apply a cast. The much happier little patient went home the following day.
Three weeks ago after devotions, Dr. Ovelio shared with employees the case of a woman from Krupunta who was not responding to treatment. Several staff persons accompanied him to the patient’s room where they prayed. The following day the recovered and healthy patient walked the two+ miles to her home. You can form you own opinion as to the reason for her recovery — prayers or medical treatment. (I choose the former.)
Update from Rick Nelson in Ahuas, Honduras