There has been much said and written lately about the United Methodist Church. Unfortunately most of the national press has not been uplifting. However, the national conversation doesn’t reflect my context or personal experience. Christ continues to be on the move at “The Center” in Itasca.
We have been hard at work for almost a year. Begining with little fanfare and even less money. The rumors in the community were the United Methodist had closed and sold the building. Many people wondered if a new set of ‘McMansions’ were going to replace the old gothic building on the corner. Those first few weeks were hectic as we were introduced to the neighborhood via a microburst. We questioned our decision to re-launch a new community of faith. However, God works through all situations and this “disaster” was actually a great opportunity to begin having an impact in the community.
Fast forward a year, we have added unique Christian ministries, secular partnerships, become a training hub for domestic missionaries and began a regular Sunday gathering. The God sightings have been too numerous address in this short article. However, God deserves the praise for the partnership of Hope For Today and Bethany Center.
Who would have thought a number of years ago when Peter Pereira (Northern Illinois Conference Elder and General Conference Evangelist) came to our Naperville church to speak about his mission South Asia we would partner in 2018? I knew God spoke through this man. His presence on that Sunday and his call to come join him on the mission field had my wife and I praying about going on mission. His message profoundly affected us. We could no longer be Sunday morning attendees, we had to move. Since then we have been to Paraguay, Tanzania and Haiti. It was not Christ’s idea for us. We were to be the ‘sent’ people of Christ to proclaim and alert the world to the rule and reign of Jesus.
Ever since, Peter’s ministry has grown in South Asia. Hundreds of churches planted and missionaries sent. He has cared for orphans and taken care of ‘the least of these’ for almost three decades while we have gone from pew sitters, to short term missionaries, to church planters. So it seemed almost like a dream when we were divinely re-connected at a leadership seminar a few months ago. One short conversation led to invitation to preach to the Indi-Paki fellowship in Itasca. In turn, we would meet to discuss evangelism, mission and discipling. The idea of partnering seemed natural. We had extra space, needed insight in reaching our Indian neighbors and his ministry needed a convenient base of operations in the United States.
So as of August 1st, 2018, ‘Hope For Today’ ministries will be headquartered at ‘The Center’ in Itasca. We will support one another in leading and training both domestic and international missionaries to reach the world in Christ's name. If you are interested in hearing more, contact Bob at firstname.lastname@example.org or Peter at email@example.com