Striving to be a more effective and prepared servant
From early on in life my desire has been to follow God and serve Him in any capacity that was available to me. My grandparents, who actively involved me in the spiritual life of our family, raised me in a Christian household.
I accepted Christ as my personal savior when I was nine years old. As a teenager I felt a strong, consuming desire to do more with my life, especially as it related to life within the local church. After much prayer and spiritual counseling, I answered the call to preach when I was 16 and delivered my first sermon when I was 17, becoming the fourth generation of pastors/ministers in my family. Eventually, my responsibilities within the local church increased. I have served as Youth Minister, Associate Minister, Assistant Pastor, Interim Pastor, and Senior Pastor in churches in Missouri and Texas.
FOUNDATIONS Judson Communities Grows
The FOUNDATIONS Judson Communities (FJC) program is gaining momentum. In addition to classes in Ft. Wayne, IN, a second Karen language FJC course has now begun in Utica, NY. God blessed the beginning of classes in Utica on March 23, first, by providing enough holes in the snow storm clouds to allow Dr. Eh Wah, the instructor, to fly from Las Vegas to upstate New York; the Binkleys to fly from Kansas City, and for some of the students to drive from places like Massachusetts, Connecticut, and New Hampshire, as well as from all around New York state. God blessed the group again when the need arose to add tables and chairs to the meeting space and open the expandable doors, as the anticipated participation of 30 students doubled! In the end, 27 women and 33 men from 4 states and 10 cities, ranging in age from 20 to 70+, came to begin the course of study.
Telephone conferences were held with Karen speaking instructors to develop the teaching schedule and arrangements were made with the Tabernacle Baptist Church in Utica to host the classes. A total of 14 classes will be held in Utica every other Saturday. After a summer break in June and July, classes will resume ending with graduation in November. The Karen congregation at Tabernacle Baptist headed by Assistant Pastor Rev. Daniel Calvin San is also supplying meals for students.
Monthly classes have been held in the Karen language in Ft. Wayne, IN, since September, with attendance holding steady at 25 people per session. Friday night and all day Saturday sessions are scheduled until mid-May. Those who have completed the full program will graduate on May 19 at the Ft. Wayne Baptist Church which has hosted the classes.
Missionaries Duane & Marcia Binkley have been coordinating the FJC classes for CBTS and report: “It is a true joy to work with people so eager to learn and help their churches grow.” The Karen that have been resettled to the US in recent years have been particularly eager for the FJC classes and requests for new classes have been made from Karen churches in North Carolina, Tennessee, and Minnesota. Say the Binkleys, “The desire to learn is there. The challenge is to find enough Karen-speaking instructors and the time for them to reach all the places where they are needed.”