|Life360 Church welcoming the new missionaries|
The Park Crest Assembly campus of Life360 Church in Springfield, Missouri, where Ted Cederblom is lead pastor, hosted the 35 new missionary families in their Sunday morning service on June 17.
The new missionaries are in their pre-field orientation that is being held on the Central Bible College campus in the same city.
The missionaries began their day at church by speaking in the Sunday school classes of the children, youth and adults. They shared how God had called them to missions and their plans for taking the message of Christ’s love to the country or ministry of their calling.
After the worship time in the sanctuary, they formed a missions parade as they walked down the aisle toward the platform. The congregation responded with a standing ovation and noisy applause as they enthusiastically honored these new heroes. When they reached the front of the church, a shower of streamers and confetti began raining down on them as another demonstration that they were recognized as heroes.
Then, each family or single missionary received more applause as they were introduced by name with their photos appearing on the three screens in the sanctuary.
A stack of gifts were piled high on the platform made up of computers, Ipads, Kindles, camcorders, cameras, televisions, luggage and other valuable items.
GIFTS GIVEN AT “RANDOM”
The gifts were distributed by Pastor Ted holding up the unwrapped boxes and describing the contents, with his wife, Robbin, drawing names from a bowl. Applause followed as each missionary family or single missionary received their gift.
Between the gift-giving Pastor Ted briefly interviewed some of the missionaries asking them to introduce themselves and tell about their ministries.
Even though the gifts have been given at random (or maybe by the leading of the Holy Spirit), during the several years that Life360 Church has honored the new missionaries in this way, it’s amazing how often the gifts match the needs of missionaries.
For example, a missionary family received a Phillips portable DVD player. The unit has two screens that are designed to be placed on the back of car seats. “We don’t have anything like this,” said the husband, surrounded by his wife and two small children. “This will be perfect for entertaining the kids during our itineration.”
Another missionary family came to Springfield with their clothing in bags and boxes. They received a new suitcase set. Another missionary’s camera died the week before the service. His gift was a new camera. Another family with a broken laptop received a new one.
A single missionary, when asked what she received, said, “A part of my gift was a Nook Reader. This will be perfect for me since they don’t have a lot of English books where I am going. “But,” she added, “to be welcomed and loved by this congregation was the best gift.”
Each missionary unit was also given a banner listing their name and where they are going.
After the adults had received their gifts, the children were handed brightly-colored wrapped boxes they were asked to hold. After all the gifts had been handed out, a signal was given for the boys and girls to open them. The noise and activity level on the platform suddenly shot up as all the children at the same time began tearing off the wrapping paper, excitedly looking to see what they had been given. Soon, dolls were hugged, cars rolled across the platform and clothing admired as the children examined their gifts and proudly showed them to their parents and each other.
The youth, already at camp, each received a gift certificate.
After the service the church provided a banquet for the missionaries in the Family Life Center.
“WE THINK OF MISSIONARIES AS OUR HEROES”
Pastor Ted, son of missionaries Larry and Dorothy Cederblom, grew up on the mission field in Latin America. He continues to have a heart for missions that has energized the whole church in their love and care and prayer for our missionaries.
“Pouring out all these gifts upon the new missionaries,” commented Pastor Ted, “is our way of saying that we think of missionaries as our heroes. We want them to remember in the middle of raising their support and the trials they will face that there is a church in Springfield that loves them and believes in them.”
To view more photos go to http://www.facebook.com/AGWorldMissions.
These new missionaries will now be going out to share their burden for missions with pastors and congregations. Click here to find your district office. Check with them to find which missionaries are in your area.
By Owen Wilkie, AGWM U.S. Relations web editor
Copyright ©2012 The General Council of the Assemblies of God.
P.S. To receive these articles three times a week in your email inbox sign up at http://worldmissions.ag.org/webupdates.cfm