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A Busy Missions Summer

News and Updates

Read about what's happening at Portage Chapel; news and updates on ministries and people.

A Busy Missions Summer

Rebecca Miller

Mexico: a small team and a big week

In early July, we sent a team of nine people to Cd. Juarez, Mexico, to help our missionaries at Onnemi International Ministries with construction on their main ministry building. We (and Onnemi) have been working to get this building finished since 2014 and although progress can only go as quickly as the budget allows, it certainly doesn’t stop the ministry from using it. The mission team's goal was to do whatever construction work they could accomplish with the $2,000 given in the special offering at PCC. Our team was able to get all the second-floor rooms framed in and the electric cable run from the main panel through the building – what is typically called the “rough” electric work. While this may not seem like big progress, it’s more than we thought could be accomplished with the funds and people we had and most important, it’s work that will allow Onnemi to finish rooms and electric fixtures as they have funds available. Chuy Renteria does facility maintenance and work for Onnemi and he’ll be working along with any other volunteers as the ministry has money available.

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Some of our team members also helped prep supplies and props in preparation for Onnemi’s week of VBS later in July. Every year, they share the gospel with kids and families all through the community. It’s one of Onnemi's biggest ministry weeks and they’ve seen God work in tremendous ways. After our team left, Onnemi held their annual week of VBS later in July. They usually draw in over 100 kids for this week and minister to the kids and their families; however, just before the week began, the community suffered from a violent family altercation that left 3 adults dead and 12 children without parents. Onnemi continued with the VBS but attendance was down to about 60 kids. Please continue to pray for the ministry and for the people in this community whose lives need the restoration only God can provide.

The highlight of the week both for Onnemi and for our team was probably the baptism service. It was the ministry's first baptism and the youth who asked to be baptized were excited to take this step and publicly show their commitment to Christ. The Onnemi volunteer who runs the craft classes, Kikkis, has a neighbor with a swimming pool that he wasn’t using. On his own, this neighbor volunteered his pool for Onnemi to use; all we had to do was some cleanup and have the water hauled in. Mark Livengood was able to baptize not only two teens from the neighborhood but also his son, daughter, and nephew. 

Alaska: a small team and lots of projects

Our Alaska mission team spent a week working on the building at Funny River Bible Church and helping some widows in the church with projects at their houses. They had a full plate of work: tiling the kitchen and 2 bathrooms; moving landscaping block, sidewalk, and an entry drive at the church; building a deck; finishing construction on a firewood enclosure; and participating in an evening of songs and testimonies with the church. Our team of nine people were joined by church members; with some late nights, long days, and everyone working together, got the projects done and still had some time for a little sightseeing and Alaskan-style recreation. 

 Pastor Benny Holly and his wife, Renee, worked alongside our team on the projects.

Pastor Benny Holly and his wife, Renee, worked alongside our team on the projects.

Our partnership with Funny River Bible Church goes back to 2002 and we’ve sent at least one team up every summer to help build both the building and the congregation. Pastor Benny Holly came on when Pastor Joel Poe, the church’s founder, retired. Over the years, we’ve watched the church grow and become a group of people who are pursuing God and reaching out to their community and the world with the gospel. 
Pastor Benny Holly and his wife, Renee, will be part of PCC’s missions month this year and Pastor Benny will speak in the worship services on Sunday, October 22. We’re excited to have them visit again and speak about the ministry in Funny River and how God is using the church for His glory. Make sure you’re here not just on the 22nd but the whole month of October to hear updates from the missions we support.

Camp Echoing Hills: another small team accomplishes big things

For the 8th year in a row, we sent a group of volunteers to help disabled adults experience a week of real summer camp at Camp Echoing Hills in Warsaw, Ohio. Tracy and Zach Coblentz led this year’s team and once again, we worked at Camp Echoing’s “total care” week, which means the group of campers who come that particular week need the highest level of comprehensive care with everything from feeding to personal hygiene. The week requires a large team, ideally 20-25 people. Some people serve directly with the campers and others serve on the “helping hands” team, doing prep work, cleaning, and all the behind-the-scenes work that keeps camp running. This year’s team of 15 worked hard and came home tired but glad for the opportunity to serve God. 
Camp Echoing has some full-time summer staff but runs the bulk of each week with volunteers. A week of camp for a disabled person is not just a gift for them but is also a week of respite and rest for the parent, family member, or whomever is their primary caregiver. We’re glad to be part of this ministry and look forward to next year! 

Numbers aren't an indicator in any ministry of success and this summer's mission teams are evidence. On each trip, we had small teams and less people than we hoped for but we've seen before and we know that God can do great things with just one or two people with willing hearts. It's also important to remember that God doesn't need us to accomplish His work, it's our privilege to serve Him and He gets the glory in the work we do. If you’re thinking you might be interested in serving on one of PCC’s mission teams, make sure you don’t miss out on Missions Month this October. We spend the month focusing on missions, having the missionaries we support visit and speak each year. It’s your chance to hear directly from our missionaries, meet them, and learn how to get involved with what God is doing all over the world.