Northgate’s missionary family
We are very happy to share with you these short biographies of the northgate missionary family.
We have partnered with many missionaries over many years. Their faithful ministry can serve as an inspiration for each of us to engage in faithful service to our lord.
There are 30+ missionaries listed below. We have them in alphabetical order. We encourage you to pray for and communicate with our missionary family. Your prayer support will be a blessing to them, and their stories will be a blessing to you.
Eugene and Phyllis Borman
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Location: Kenya (retired to California)
Ministry: Church Planting and Medical Ministry
Organization: Africa Inland Mission International, Inc.
Activities/Positions: Moffat Bible College teacher (Gene) and nurse in Kijabe Medical Center (Phyllis); teaching leaders in Loglogo (Gene) and village’s only medical resource (Phyllis); and ministering in a Navajo church in Arizona.
Gene and Phyllis Borman have been a part of the Northgate Church missionary family for about 50 years. Gene’s mother had friends at Northgate who asked if her son and his wife would speak at the church while on furlough. That started the wonderful relationship we have had with the Bormans all these years.
Gene and Phyllis began their ministry with Africa Inland Mission (AIM) in 1960. For many of the 35 years that they served in Kenya, Gene taught African nationals at Moffat Bible college and Phyllis occasionally taught the women. Both actively worked in the local church and enjoyed outreach into nearby villages. Phyllis, a nurse, often used her medical skills to help sick or injured nationals at the Kijabe Medical Center, especially when their four children were away at school.
For their last two terms in Africa, Gene and Phyllis moved to the village of Loglogo, where Gene taught the Bible to Christian national church leaders in a less formal situation. From the time they arrived, one of those leaders, who was living an openly sinful lifestyle, was a huge problem. In Loglogo’s dry, arid climate, the most daunting hardship was a lack of water. At times it was literally life-threatening due to severe drought. Another difficulty was that Phyllis was the only medical resource in the whole village, so she was on call 24/7 and often called out in the night to give emergency care. Losing sleep left Phyllis exhausted. A Christian national nurse was finally trained and able to serve in the village. but was sent back to the city after a short time because the village didn’t have enough water to sustain even that one more life!
Here, in part, is how Gene and Phyllis lived during that time. Missionaries from outside the drought area brought them pre-cooked meals sealed in foil packets. Propane gas fueled their small refrigerator. Phyllis would carefully measure water (taken from the tiny allotment given daily by the village leaders) into a small pan. The water was boiled and two foil packets heated. (The foil “plates” were thrown away after dinner.) The same hot water was used for two cups of tea. The small amount that remained in the pan was divided into the cups and used to wash and rinse the silverware and cups, and then was used to water the one plant Phyllis had left.
The mission board, concerned about Gene and Phyllis, proposed moving them out of the village until the drought ended. The Bormans talked about the possibilities, prayed, and chose to trust God and stay in the village. They felt it was necessary to be a consistent witness and to teach trust and faith by example. Since the villagers had no choices open to them, Gene and Phyllis accepted those same circumstances for their lives. To this day, as far as we know, the Bormans are the only expatriate missionaries who ever left Loglogo for a home assignment and returned for another term in that harsh climate! God’s grace and a deep love for the villagers sustained them and produced fruit. The wayward church leader finally publicly repented, confessed, and was restored to the church and his family! He allowed God to humble him after watching the Bromans’ loving example.
Despite living in such a difficult situation in Africa for the last 10 years, the Bormans arranged to be “seconded” to another sending agency. Had they not done so, they would have had to retire under AIM’s policy of mandatory retirement at the age of 65. Instead, they continued to serve in a cross-cultural work among the Navajo, in Arizona, for an additional three years before their retirement. They were again in a very difficult, slow-growing work with many “two steps forward, one step back” experiences. The Bormans were faithful and up to the challenge.
Today, some 18+ years after the Bormans retired, the work they did at Loglogo is “going full steam ahead under the Africans.” Gene is nearly deaf, but is able to preach for services in a senior center near them. Phyllis continues to minister as a Hospice caregiver and in a Veterans’ Hospital, and also speaks twice a year to graduating nursing students at the City College. She is free to challenge them and to speak of God and prayer. Several years ago, one of those new nurses told Phyllis that, thanks in part to Phyllis’ testimony, she and her husband were being called by the Lord to minister in Africa.
1516 Anna LaneHuntington Beach, CA 92648
Gene - 7/18 and Phyllis - 7/13
Anniversary - 7/7/1958
Jonathan and Deborah Bourbeau
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Ministry: Mentoring, Marriage Seminars, Prayer Counseling Ministry
Organization: Greater Europe Mission
Activities/Positions: Mentoring and training church leaders, pastors, and church planters in Grobina; prayer conferences and marriage enhancement seminars.
Jonathan grew up in a Christian home, trusted Christ at the early age of four, and was called to the mission field at the age of eight. He started “testing his missionary wings” at age thirteen, when he traveled with Teen Missions to Spain. In subsequent years, he traveled to Haiti, South Africa, Czechoslovakia, and the Cayman Islands, ministering with an ensemble, a work team, and a pastoral team. By the time he signed on to minister in Latvia for two years in 1993, he knew he would be a missionary and was just asking God to confirm the location.
Deborah, also raised in a Christian home, trusted Christ when she was only three and a half.Throughout her childhood, her parents served with Greater Europe Mission at a Bible institute in Sweden. Debbie always believed that being called to be a missionary was such a special thing that there would only be one call per family allowed. Even though she assumed she could not become a missionary because her father, mother, and stepmother were already called, she went to Bible College to be a great witness in whatever job she would end up doing. However, in herfirst year at college, God used her Missions teacher to confirm to her that she was, indeed, called.The teacher talked about how open Japan was to the Gospel at the end of World War II. Japan actually asked America to send over a thousand missionaries, but only a few went. Now, Japan is one of the most hardened countries in the world to the Gospel. During that very first year in college, the walls around Eastern Europe were coming down, so Deborah determined not to neglect that part of the world as had been done with Japan.
A few years later, Debbie’s father and stepmother, Merv and Anna Williams, oversaw groups of Prairie Bible College students who went on short-term mission trips to Latvia, a country in Eastern Europe. Latvia was an extremely needy country, hungry for the Word of God that they had been denied for so long. In 1993, both Deborah and Jonathan went on the first of those trips, which Northgate helped fund. Two years after they began to minister there, the Bourbeaus were married in Latvia in 1995. That same year, Jonathan and Deborah decided to stay and serve full-time in Latvia and Northgate added them to our missionary family. It’s been their home and center of ministry ever since. After agonizing and resigning themselves to the idea that God didn’t want them to have children, Laura Ann was born in 2014, a little miracle arriving nearly 20 years after they were married!
When they began their ministry in Latvia, the Bourbeaus worked to build the International Church in the capital city, Riga. More recently, Jonathan and Deborah have been mentoring and training church leaders, pastors, and church planters in the little university town of Grobina. Committed Christian men are hard to find in that culture, so lots of time is spent mentoring prospective key church leaders. Deborah and Jonathan are also involved in prayer conferences and marriage enhancement seminars. This is especially important in Latvia, where it is not unusual for a woman to have multiple abortions and where marriages have a higher divorce rate than even the U.S.A. The Bourbeaus’ strong individual testimonies and exemplary marriage relationship have repeatedly brought glory to God throughout their years of ministering together.The wonderful reputation of their marriage relationship even led to them being sought out to speak about marriage as guests on a secular talk show.
Recently, a pastor and church planter in whom they’ve invested baptized 14 believers and saw four generations of discipleship emerge in one year’s time! Their town is being impacted for Christ and the local leaders have learned to trust the church and have asked this pastor to work with the community to bring change. Because of their obedience to God’s call on their lives, Jonathan and Deborah are making an eternal impact on Latvia.
Grobina, LV – 3430
Jonathan - 5/02, Deborah - 10/22, Laura Ann - 2/03/14
Anniversary - 4/22/1995
Scott and Lisa Boyd
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Location: Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
Ministry: International Student Evangelism & Discipleship
Organization: PRISM (Pittsburgh Region International Student Ministries)
Activities/Positions: Director of PRISM (Scott); befriending, evangelizing, & discipling international students through Bible studies, English conversation groups, trips, Friendship Partners, weekend and holiday hosting, and a weekly dinner & discussion group (in which Northgate is involved).
Scott Boyd, born and raised in Pittsburgh, was first introduced to the Christian faith through church camps. He grew in faith as a kid by watching how his father trusted God despite his stressful struggle with Multiple Sclerosis. This taught Scott that real strength is found in God, rather than in oneself. Scott continued to establish roots in his faith during high school and went on to become a student leader with Campus Crusade for Christ while attending OhioState University. After graduating with a degree in mechanical engineering, Scott accepted an engineering job in Portland, Maine, where he attended a very missions-minded church. After ministering there as a volunteer youth leader for several years, Scott felt called to pursue a theological education, so he quit his job and moved to Massachusetts to attend seminary. As part of the required field experience for his World Missions course, he went to Austria and worked with Eastern European refugees. That ministry experience gave Scott a passion to return to that part of the world, where the spiritual need is so great. Toward the end of seminary, Scott met Lisa at church.
Lisa was born in Long Beach, California, but moved to Hawaii when she was only two. When she was eleven, Lisa’s parents were divorced, which began a very difficult period in her life. As a teenager, a family that Lisa often babysat for invited her to live with them and Lisa put her faith and trust in Jesus as her personal Savior at the church she attended with them. After high school, Lisa worked several short-term jobs, attended Hawaii Loa College, and then she accepted a job as a flight attendant. Following the wonderful, but as yet unrecognized plan God laid out for her, Lisa relocated to Chicago and then was transferred to Boston just in time to worship at a church at the same time Scott attended there. It didn’t take long for Lisa to become passionate about the lost souls in Eastern Europe. By the time she and Scott got married in 1990, she was anxious to see how God would use them in ministry to that part of the world.
In 1993, the Boyds were commissioned as church planting missionaries with WorldVenture to the country of Slovenia. Northgate was pleased to be part of their support team. Together, they worked to establish a new fellowship of believers in the capital city of Ljubljana, Slovenia. The Boyds were stretched and challenged by the difficulties of learning the language, navigating the vast cultural differences, and building bridges of trust in a place where the majority of the people they met had trust issues with outsiders. Still, God gave Scott and Lisa a heart for the people and the ministry. The Boyds didn’t know then that God was preparing them to be empathetic and have understanding attitudes with those to whom they would minister next.
In 2002, desiring to be close to Scott’s mother who was battling cancer, the Boyds returned to Pittsburgh where Scott assumed the position of Director in Pittsburgh Region International Student Ministries (PRISM). PRISM reaches out to international students with the goal of befriending them, leading them to faith in Jesus Christ, and discipling them before they return to their often anti-Christian homelands. Students are reached through Bible studies, English Conversation Groups, trips, Friendship Partners, weekend and holiday hosting, and a weekly dinner and discussion group (in which Northgate is involved).
Recently, Scott overheard the foreign accent of a woman who sat next to him on a PAT bus as she talked on her phone, trying unsuccessfully to arrange for a taxi. When Scott asked where she was from, it turned out she was a post-doctoral researcher from Turkey, and they had a conversation. Since Lisa was picking Scott up, he volunteered to take the woman where she was going. They stayed in touch and she engaged in PRISM Bible studies and accepted contact with a Friendship Partner. Several months into their relationship, the Friendship Partner invited her to church where she trusted Christ as Savior and was baptized a few weeks later. She has since moved to NYC and is seeking out fellowship there.
1310 Sun Ridge Drive
Pittsburgh, PA 15241
Scott - 11/03 and Lisa - 12/01
Anniversary - 6/30/1990
Tom and Danielle Brendle
Jacob, Luke, and Josiah
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Location: USA (previously in Papua New Guinea)
Ministry: Ministering to Overseas Missionaries on Furlough
Organization: New Tribes Mission
Activities/Positions: Teaching the Bible in PNG; serving on New Tribes Mission Regional Member Care Team in the USA, ministering to overseas missionaries on furlough and home office missionaries by visiting, praying, providing training; counseling (Danielle); market-place ministry as oncology RN (Tom).
Northgate Church became acquainted with Tom and Danielle Brendle when they attended here while training with New Tribes Mission (NTM). Both Danielle and Tom participated in the music ministry here and Tom sometimes taught a Sunday school class as well.
By the time they graduated from the Rochester New Tribes Bible Institute and left to raise support to go to the field, Northgate began to support them financially. That financial support, along with the arguably more important prayer and communication support, has continued ever since they began their ministry.
The Brendles were originally missionaries to a tribal people in Papua New Guinea. They arrived there in February of 1998 and studied language and culture in a place called Wewak. When it was time for them to choose a place in which to serve, they were challenged to join a single lady who had worked among the Siawi (pronounced “see-ah-we”) tribe for many years. After a visit to that village, the Lord burdened Tom and Danielle’s hearts for those people, so they joined Linda. Not long after that, another couple, the Swansons, also moved into the village. Tom and Jason Swanson worked hard studying language and culture. They were tested many times, on many different levels, by language facilitators. In January of 2004, they were finally at a point where they could start to teach God’s Word to the people. Fifty-nine people were baptized on Sunday, June 8, 2008. Fifty-six were Siawi and three were the older sons of Tom and Danielle Brendle.
After 11 years in the tribe, recurring medical difficulties forced Tom and Danielle to leave Papua New Guinea. Although this circumstance certainly wasn’t a part of the Brendles’ original vision for their ministry, God had other plans for them. For a time, Tom helped in NTM’s Personnel Dept. as a “mobilizer” for their Associate Missionary Program. In July of 2011, Tom and Danielle began a new ministry under New Tribes, serving with the Regional Member Care Team. In this ministry, they come alongside overseas missionaries on furlough and, since they’re so close to New Tribes’ home office, they also have the opportunity to provide care for the home office missionaries. That care includes visiting, praying for them regularly, and providing training and tools that can help with spiritual, emotional, mental, and physical health. They think of themselves as coaches or shepherds, and are guided by their mission statement: “Providing an oasis for rest and renewal so that every missionary who walks through our doors is equipped (given tools) to thrive.” Missionaries that are experiencing some family struggles credit the Brendles for being the example and help that allowed them to take the step of faith to return to their ministry after their furlough.
Tom had the opportunity to be a substitute teacher for the Creation to Christ curriculum at their local church. One of the faithful students was a woman from South America. Tom explained that the mission of New Tribes is to reach least reached people groups and that all of the NTM missionaries use the Creation to Christ curriculum to help teach the Bible. This woman now wants to become an associate missionary with NTM so she can translate the Creation to Christ for Children curriculum into Spanish! in order to help support the family and be able to continue in ministry, Tom went back to school and earned his RN license and his BSN (Bachelor of Science in Nursing) degree. He now works as an oncology RN on a critical care floor of a local hospital. That adds another whole “market-place” ministry in addition to the ministry with New Tribes.
Danielle, so as to be better equipped to help counsel missionary ladies, has applied to and been accepted into Grace College’s online Mental Health Counseling Master’s program. The Brendles are trusting God for Danielle’stuition. She has been taking life-coaching and counseling classes/seminars. She was a facilitator recently at a Sharpening Your Interpersonal Skills (SYIS) workshop that ministered to missionaries from several sending organizations. She loves being able to help in that way, and the advanced degree will enhance the help she can give to the missionaries.
205 Sanora Blvd. Sanford, FL 32773
Tom - 2/15; Danielle - 7/29; Jacob - 7/10/1996; Luke - 9/28/1999; Josiah - 4/26/2006
Anniversary - 4/09/1994
Eldon and Ruth Compton-Brock
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Location: New Mexico and Canada (retired to Florida)
Ministry: Native American Evangelism & Discipleship
Organization: Baptist Mid-Missions and Ethnic to Ethnic Ministries, Inc. (E-Tem)
Activities/Positions: Ministered to Navajo in Jones Ranch, NM; Bible youth camp, hospital, nursing home, and prison ministries; ladies Bible studies; led women’s ministries in retirement home (Ruth). Pastor, Bible camp director, founder of Closed Door Ministries and Ethnic to Ethnic Ministries (Eldon).
Northgate Church began its partnership with Ruth Compton-Brock (then Ruth Compton) in 1961, when she was raising support to go minister to Native Americans. Northgate’s relationship with Ruth has lasted through close to 40 years in the field and 16 years (and counting) of retirement.
Ruth began her ministry among the Navajo on Jones Ranch, New Mexico, where presentation of Christianity is often seen as an attempt to rob the people of their heritage, which includes communing with and worshipping spirits they believe inhabit everything in nature (animism). Some are open to adding to their customs, but refuse to replace them, intermingling confused Bible teachings and Navajo traditions. Familial and personal identity are tied up with Navajo traditions, which causes reluctance to embrace an identity in Jesus Christ. Another challenge is the use of peyote (a narcotic plant) in religious ceremonies. Alcohol and drug abuse are common.
There were many periods of discouragement. One young man made a profession of faith in Christ, showed real change in his life, began to study the Bible, and even helped out at the Bible camp. A few months later, Ruth got a sad phone call. That young man had started to drink again, got into a fist fight, and was in jail. He was charged with manslaughter because the young man with whom he fought had died. Ruth was heartbroken. He was born again, but went to prison for years. His conversion, prior to those events, gave Christianity negative attention. His criminal record made it hard for him to get a good job when he got out. Remorse caused him to live a defeated life, full of substance abuse and lost jobs, for several years before he turned back to the Lord. Faithful Ruth still called and prayed for him through those long, dark years.
Ruth worked in the Bible youth camp on Jones Ranch, had hospital visitation and nursing home ministries, and, because that young man’s story is, sadly, not unusual, a prison ministry to Navajo women and youth. She led ladies’ Bible studies and reached several women who initially would not attend church by teaching quilting in her mobile home. Ruth relocated to minister among Native people in Canada, but after two terms of service, she had a serious accident on an ice- covered road. Ruth, close to retirement, returned to Jones Ranch to finish her active missionary service right where she had started so many years before. She lived for a short time in New Mexico after retirement, and then moved to Florida.
In his 20+ years of retirement, after 20 years as a pastor and 20 years as a Bible camp director, Eldon Brock founded the Closed Door Ministries and Ethnic to Ethnic Ministries. Both were geared to reach international people living in the USA. He was passionate about forming multi- ethnic local churches. Around 2002, Eldon’s wife knew her battle with cancer was coming to an end. She told Eldon that when she was in heaven, she wanted him to re-marry and had already picked out his new bride! She had observed how gentle Ruth Compton loved the Lord enough to continue to serve, leading women’s ministries in the retirement community, teaching Bible studies, teaching in a prison ministry, and making and selling quilts to help “make ends meet”. Eldon finally promised he would think about it to ease his wife’s passing...and then put it out of his mind.
God arranged for them to be in several ministry meetings at the same time, and Ruth caught his eye because of her service, knowledge of God’s Word, heart for international folks in the U.S., and interest in Ethnic to Ethnic. Ruth and Eldon were married in 2006, serving God together for 8-1/2 years before He took Eldon home during his fight with cancer.
A little more than a year before Eldon went home, Ruth suffered a stroke. A delay (three trips to the hospital over two days before she was properly diagnosed) resulted in quickly worsening dementia. Even as he was in his last pain-filled days, Eldon’s thoughts were for Ruth’s care. He arranged for her to be in an assisted living facility where one of her sisters also lives and made sure she was still in Maranatha Village, so that their friends can visit.
Maranatha Manor, Room 13
54 Maranatha Blvd.
Sebring, FL 33870
863-471-2766 (Manor main line)
Ruth -11/27Eldon’s death - 8/25/2015
Robert and April Brooks
Trey, Jasmine, Caleb, Micah, and Olivia
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Ministry: Chaplain to Pro-Football Team and Players / Wives / Couples Bible Studies
Organization: Cru - Athletes in Action
Activities/Positions: Ministering to student athletes (as well as wives, coaches and administrators) through outreach activities, Bible studies, discipleship, speaking at chapels and retreats, and hospitality.
Robert and April Brooks began serving with Athletes in Action (AIA), a ministry of Campus Crusade for Christ (Cru) in June of 2005. A deep spiritual passion gradually emerged during ten years spent in athletic administration. They were led to AIA by a love for student athletes and by a hearts’ desire to influence their lives for Christ. In 2006, at the request of Head Football Coach, Dave Wannstedt, Robert was called to serve as the football team Chaplain at the University of Pittsburgh. That opened the door for the Brooks to establish a ministry as the Campus Directors for AIA at the Oakland campus.
Jay and Candi Wilson, who were serving the Pittsburgh Steelers with AIA at the time, were assigned as mentors to the Brooks. Since the Wilsons are also Northgate missionaries, they were familiar with Northgate and recommended that the Brooks visit to see if the church was a goodfit for them. Northgaters loved the Brooks from the very start, and they were quickly assimilated into our church.
In early 2009, the door was also opened to establish a sports ministry at Robert Morris University. Bible studies there reached out to not only the football team, but to the wrestling, gymnastics, track & field, and baseball teams, as well. Then, as coaching leadership changed in the Pittsburgh Steelers, the Wilsons transitioned from the Steelers to RMU, and the Brooks concentrated on Pitt. Robert and April worked hard to reach as many athletes as possible at Pitt as God directed them and opened doors. They served God in many capacities at Pitt, including Bible studies, socials, special events, mission projects, and a variety of outreaches. They were not only developing relationships with players, but with coaches and administrators, as well. The ever-expanding ministry brought increasing opportunities for small group Bible studies, one-on- one discipleship sessions, open houses, and other hospitality ministries.
After six years as Campus Directors at the University of Pittsburgh, a door opened for the Brooks to join the AIA Pro Staff. After much prayer and consideration, they relocated to Cleveland, Ohio, and began their current ministry, serving the Browns organization. Robert and April are speakers at retreats and chapels, conduct Bible studies (Robert for the team and April for the team wives), and both conduct separate weekly discipleship meetings. Their hope is to “help athletes, coaches, and their wives become devoted followers of Jesus Christ for their whole lives so together they can be positive influences everywhere they go”.
According to Robert, “Our goal is to WIN non-believers to Christ; BUILD them up by applying the Bible to the unique problems, challenges and temptations they face so they can understand their God-given purpose; and then SEND them out to do the same with others on their teams and in their communities.”
Robert and April are praising God for the Browns’ new head coach. Hugh Jackson is a believer and an advocate for the Chaplaincy position on his team. He wants Robert to be as involved as he can be with the team. For the first time since the Brooks went to Cleveland, there will be a weekly coaches’ Bible study.
Robert was invited to attend the week-long Senior Bowl. He loved serving, ministering, and representing the Chaplains around the league to the NFL players, as well as to the 110 college football players who participated in this College Football All-Star game. While in Alabama, Robert ran into four former college players from Pitt and heard how each of their lives had been impacted by the Brooks’ ministry at Pitt. Each of them are doing well and are involved with NFL players and teams in different ways. What a blessing to see the fruit God gives from their labor!
642 Calann Drive
Elyria, Ohio 44035
Robert - 1/06, April - 4/26;
Trey - 10/23/00; Jasmine - 12/16/02; Caleb - 5/25/05; Micah - 9/02/07; Olivia - 6/17/10
Anniversary - 7/17/1999
Gregg and Julie Elmendorf
Andrew and Abigail
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Ministry: Management of Staff Care & Counseling Dept. and Military Mentoring Ministry
Organization: The Navigators
Activities/Positions: Executive Administrator for Navigators Military Leadership Team, then Manager in Staff Care & Counseling Dept. (Gregg); ministering to Navigator staff couples, leading Bible studies, and mentoring (Gregg and Julie).
Both Gregg and Julie grew up in Northgate Church where their families were active members. Many in their youth group looked up to and took their lead from them, recognizing their love for the Lord. Right after high school, Gregg joined the Marines. He was selected to be the Secret & Confidential files clerk and excelled at the job. God used that, and it earned Gregg an opportunity to attend Naval Academy Prep School, and then the Citadel. In the Navy, Gregg gathered information, organized it, and presented it to those in charge so that they could make wise decisions. This honed his organizational skills and familiarized him with leadership skills and responsibilities. He was introduced to the Navigators when friends invited him to a Bible study. There came a time at the Citadel when all non-staff religious personnel were asked to leave the campus. Gregg, who was on the college staff, took on the responsibility of leading the Bible studies. The Lord used a lingering case of mono to move Gregg into a position where he learned program management and sharpened his teaching/briefing skills. Gregg took on significant intelligence responsibilities at the Office of Naval Intelligence, which led to a Program Manager position with Delex Systems, Inc. when Gregg retired from the army.
In the meantime, Julie attended and graduated from Philadelphia College of the Bible, where she sought God’s will for her life. Through Bible studies, using her musical talent, and discipling/ mentoring younger Christians, Julie was being prepared by God for ministry as a Naval officer’s wife, both in the USA and abroad. Just weeks after she and Gregg were married in 1991, Julie was living in Japan while Gregg was at sea!
After working as a Program Manager with Delex for about five years, Gregg was drawn to the Navigators because of his concern for the military. The Navigators Military Leadership Team created an Executive Administrator position that was tailor-made for Gregg’s skill-set and passion for the spiritual welfare of military personnel. In July, 2004, he and Julie joined the Navigators’ staff. Gregg served on the Military Leadership Team, bringing organization to senior level decisions and explaining how decisions would impact front line troops. He built briefs for the Executive Board of the Navigators and ran conferences (using skills learned when putting on Missionary Conferences at his church in VA).
Gregg currently serves in a managerial/leadership role with the Staff Care and Counseling Department at Navigators Headquarters. He takes care of functional and administrative matters that guide, influence, and direct operational issues that impact the entire organization. Gregg works to help staff understand how God made and designed them so they are better able to serve Him in their best kingdom contribution and role fit.
Julie and Gregg minister together to Navigator staff couples and Julie leads a study out of their home. Julie’s soft, servant’s heart, great Biblical knowledge, and burden for others enable her to be a great support for Gregg, a wonderful mother to their two children, and a skilled, compassionate mentor to ladies in their churches, neighborhoods, and on the Navigators staff. Gregg still leads Bible studies with active duty and retired military men at Peterson Air Force Base.
Some of the Elmendorfs’ most treasured memories are based around ministry successes, such as helping a Navigators’ couple on a sabbatical correct the balance between the counseling services they provide, family time, and rest so they can do and be their best for the Lord. They are also thrilled when they hear stories like that of Chris, who had been one of the active duty service members in Gregg’s Friday morning “Dawn Patrol” Bible study. Chris recently got out of the Air Force to go to medical school. The rest of the Bible study group prayed for and commissioned him into missionary service as he went.Those men had invested time in discipling him, just as Gregg had invested in them. Chris started a Bible reading group with his classmates in Texas. Just as Paul invested in Timothy who, in turn, invested in others, the Navigators invest in teaching/discipling willing believers who then do the same for others. That fulfills the Navigators’ mission, “To know God, and to make Him known.”
2660 Summerhill Drive
Colorado Springs, CO 80920
719-502-5147 (Gregg) 719-502-5146 (Julie)
Gregg - 4/05; Julie - 6/18; Andrew - 4/11/96; Abigail - 6/06/97
Anniversary - 4/27/1991
John and Celia Fletcher
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Location: Florida (previously in Papua New Guinea)
Ministry: Mobilization/Mentoring of Church-Planting Teams Among Unreached Peoples
Activities/Positions: Discipleship and Bible translation/teaching in Papua New Guinea; Sr. Vice President of Global Ministries in Florida, coordinating, mobilizing, leadership training, mentoring, strategic planning (John); nurse for disabled children at Deerwood Elementary (Celia).
John Fletcher’s love for the lost and passion for missions began in childhood, when his parents, Ted and Peggy, left a very affluent life style (Ted was a top executive in the business world) because they were called to found Pioneers Mission in 1979. John was one of several of the Fletcher children who became some of the first missionaries serving with that new mission board. John was connected to Northgate Church through his paternal aunt, Mary Jane Hoey. She and her husband Jack were long-time members of the church and Jack chaired the Missions Board for many years.
John was single when he first went to the mission field in 1980 to serve the Lord among the Kubo of Papua New Guinea, a primitive tribe of 550 former cannibals. John was involved in linguistics and language acquisition, culture learning, village evangelism, and the construction of a jungle airstrip at Suabi village. On March 25, 1984, seven Kubo believers were baptized and the nucleus of a church was formed.
During his first, difficult, term in the tribe, John regularly received and responded to letters from a young lady whose church supported him. When he came home on furlough, John went to meet this encouraging young nurse in person. When he returned to the Kubo people in 1985, that faithful prayer warrior, Celia, went with him as his bride! They engaged in a ministry of discipleship and Bible translation/ teaching and Celia used her nursing skills to help save many lives.
In 1988, Ted Fletcher had a serious heart attack and needed to be relieved of stress. The Pioneers Board of Directors asked John to succeed his father as Executive Director for the Mission, a position he held until he stepped down in February 1999 to pursue more focused ministries in prayer and global partnerships. From 2003-2010, John served as Pioneers International Director. John currently serves as Sr. Vice President of Global Ministries – focusing on prayer, partnership, leadership development, and internationalization. He oversees the Member Services Group, serving missionaries, ministries, mobilization bases (hubs in the U.S. and in various countries where national church leaders work with Pioneers to send out national Christians), and partners (sending and supporting churches). John connects, ministers to, and unifies in goals and purpose the Mobilization (missionary recruitment), Pre-Field Training, Member Development, Church Partnerships, Arab World Initiatives, and Research & Development departments. Working together, they glorify God among unreached people groups by initiating church- planting movements in partnership with the local church, providing service and support to over 1,500 missionaries in 103 countries. John helped draft a new strategic plan for Pioneers-USA and a new draft for the Handbook for Missionaries. He also reorganized the U.S. office and hosted several leaders from the International Field Ministry. On his own time, John teaches God’s word to a group of 20-50 inmates in the Orange County jail on Monday evenings.
Celia continues to provide hospitality to the many mission visitors the Fletchers entertain. She works at Deerwood Elementary School as a nurse for children with profound disabilities. She is very grateful that her fellow nurse is also a believer.
On January 20, 2015, the Fletchers’ 21-year-old daughter, Jaclyn, tragically ended her life. Her younger sister, Christa, found her and called 911, but nothing could be done to save her. The 2015 fall update said, “Sadly, in the last four days of her life, Jaclyn fell back into lifestyle choices that she had fought so hard, by God’s grace, to overcome...and as a result she was no doubtfilled with remorse and despair.” In this hardest of all tests, the grace of God has been evident and sufficient in the lives of the Fletcher family. The fall update also said, “Despite our loss, we have not been sidetracked in our desire to make Christ known to the unreached peoples of our world.” Praise God for His Spirit, strength, and courage. We know that God will work even this together for good in the lives of the Fletchers and others. As a result of knowing Jaclyn and/or hearing her story, some people have come back to the Lord, at least one person gave her life to Christ, and one began the journey of rehab to break her own addiction.
13653 Dornoch Drive
Orlando, FL 32828
John - 9/09; Celia - 3/04
Anniversary - 5/18/1985
Ken and Chris Frech
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Ministry: Directing and Training for Citywide Ministry of Cru Inner City in Bakersfield
Organization: Cru - Here’s Life Inner City
Activities/Positions: Training college students, inner city leaders, and churches in evangelism & discipleship; equipping missionaries with Agape International Training (AIT); publishing a book & guide about God’s view of the poor (Ken); and directing the Cru Inner City ministry in Bakersfield, CA.
Ken and Chris Frech were acquainted during their senior year in high school. Both went to the University of Maryland, where they became Christians after being introduced to a personal relationship with God by students involved with Campus Crusade for Christ. Both became involved in Bible study and were discipled. In June of 1973, Ken and Chris were married.
For a short time after college, Ken worked in residential construction and Chris worked in the nursing field. In the summer of 1975, they joined the staff of Campus Crusade for Christ. For six years, the Frechs were involved in campus ministry at West Chester University and at the University of Pittsburgh. While ministering at Pitt, Ken and Chris began worshipping with us and became part of our Northgate Church missionary family.
In 1980, the Frechs went to Poland to help train nationals in evangelism and discipleship. They planned to return to Eastern Europe for a permanent assignment, but God redirected them to assist in equipping missionaries at Agape International Training (AIT), a ministry of Campus Crusade for Christ. In 1981, Ken and Chris made a three year commitment to AIT, while still desiring to continue on to Eastern Europe. Those three years grew into sixteen! During that time, the Frechs’ focus began to shift from equipping missionaries to assisting inner city ministries with whom they had worked closely over the years. In 1997, the Frechs transferred within Campus Crusade for Christ (known as CRU since 2011) from AIT to Here’s Life Inner City (HLIC). Ken and Chris felt completely in tune with HLIC’s mission statement: “We serve and mobilize the Church to live out God’s heart for the poor; so all can grow in Christ to build spiritual movements everywhere.” Hoping hearts will be changed by God’s view of the poor, Ken wrote the book America’s Poor - Changing the Inner City from the Inside Out (2012) and an accompanying guide.
Ken and Chris believe that God is raising up laborers for His harvest in the inner city. They want to identify those leaders and empower them to be even more effective. Ken chose to step back from various national roles he held for over 10 years with HLIC to focus on the ministry in Bakersfield. For nearly 20 years, the Frechs have been responsible for the overall direction and training for the citywide ministry of Cru Inner City, including:
• Staff Development: Helping staff grow personally, understand and implement ministry philosophy, and acquire specific skills in evangelism, discipleship, planning, and budgeting
• Equipping Leaders: Conducting interactive discipleship training classes to enable church leaders to apply skills in evangelism & discipleship. They provide 2,000-3,000 compassionate products (such as Easter bags, Boxes of Love, and Homeless Care Kits) to enable churches to meet neighbors and share the gospel.
• Youth Development: Training churches to recruit and train mentors, administrators, and instructors to run after-school S.A.Y. Yes! clubs, where children are ministered to spiritually, intellectually, physically, emotionally, and socially.
• Adult Development: Equipping leaders and churches to recruit and train mentors, administrators, and instructors to run 9-week Career Development classes with one-on-one mentoring. The Frechs are working to get Career Development centers opened and run by churches and organizations with which they work closely.
• Funding: Developing funds to run the city ministry.
Inner city churches are cooperating to reach ALL ethnic and racial groups and are educating their congregations to see that we are all one in Christ. Pastors are swapping pulpits on certain Sundays. City-wide prayer groups are meeting. Bakersfield is being changed by and for the Lord! City politicians now often include some of these spiritual leaders in city events. They are recognizing the positive changes being made through God’s people.
6021 Friant Drive
Bakersfield, CA 93309
661-301-3693 (Ken) 661-889-0838 (Chris)
Ken - 11/08; Chris - 07/06
Anniversary - 6/02/1973
Marlin and Donna Fuller
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Ministry: State Directors of Awana Clubs in PA, NJ, & DE
Organization: Awana Clubs International
Activities/Positions: State Directors for Tri-State Area Awana Clubs; supporting Awana missionaries in their region and abroad; promoting Awana, speaking, and training; helping Ministry Team to plan and conduct Awana events.
The Fullers married in 1971 and, rather than going to Bible School as they had planned, moved to Savannah, Ohio in 1973 where Marlin accepted a call to be the youth and associate pastor at Bethel Baptist Church. They ministered there until 1975, when they left to attend Practical Bible Training School to get the training needed to become Awana missionaries.
The Fullers were appointed as Awana missionaries in l976. In 1978, they took a year-long leave of absence from Awana Clubs International to return to Ohio to establish an Awana program and to continue building a strong teen ministry outreach at Bethel Baptist Church. Both parts of that year’s ministry were extremely successful. In May of 1979, Marlin and Donna resumed their ministry with Awana and were appointed to the western New York and western Pennsylvania areas. They were faithful missionaries in that region for more than 25 years and then their ministry field was changed to the PA, NJ, and DE tri-state area. Donna became a bona-fide Awana missionary in her own right in 2010. Their faithful service was noticed and more responsibility was given to the Fullers as Marlin became Lead Missionary in 2012. Marlin has also served as chairman of the National Awana Events Committee.
Marlin and Donna now minister together as State Directors, overseeing the Awana ministry in their tri-state region. They work with and mentor the other three Awana Missionary couples in those three states, assist other Missionaries with their Conferences, and have partnered with Japanese Awana Missionaries, assisting them as schedule permits (they have been to Japan twice to minister with them). Every few years, they travel to work with foreign Awana missionaries (so far, in Brazil, Australia, Canada, Bahamas, Aruba, and Japan), to speak at their Leadership Conferences and in their clubs, and to meet with some pastors and leaders.
The Fullers speak at Parents’ Nights, promote Awana, and strive to motivate leaders. They introduce Awana to dozens of pastors and churches and assist them in starting Awana programs.They plan and conduct Commander College 101 & 201 for Awana Commanders, hold multiple (11 or more) Leadership Training Conferences and recharges each Aug. & Sept., conduct Getting Started Basic Training sessions for new and veteran churches, and hold many Pastor/ Commander/Director meetings each summer to answer questions. The Fullers speak at PA Awana clubs during the week and at year-end Awana Banquets and Award Nights. Martin and Donna usually minister at Northgate via our Awana program at least once a year. Marlin speaks in churches on Sundays and at Mission Conferences during the year and Donna speaks and provides special music at Mother/Daughter Banquets and Ladies’ gatherings
Throughout the year, the Fullers meet with about 30 Ministry Team members in their area to plan and conduct many Awana Games (reaching hundreds of kids & adults), as well as Awana events, such as Sparks-A-Ramas, Sparks Camp-A-Ramas, Grand Prix races, Bible Quizzes, and an annual golf tournament. Although they require the most planning, volunteers, and recourses, some of the favorite and most joyful events on the Awana calendar in any given year are the Returning Hearts Celebrations at Angola Penitentiary in Louisiana, and at Women’s Correctional Prison in Decatur, IL. Volunteers minister to hundreds of parents and their children when they take kids into the prisons to spend the day with their fathers and mothers.
The Fullers’ goal is to see each child that attends an Awana club become a believer, become grounded in God’s Word, and memorize it. Ultimately, the hope is that each child will become a testimony to their friends and family, resulting in their choosing to trust Jesus Christ as their Savior. Marlin and Donna praise God for the joy of seeing unchurched children come to Christ and bring their parents to Him, also. Churches that support the Awana program by sincerely welcoming these children and their parents often gain them as a part of their fellowships. In those cases, the families and the churches are the winners.
13632 Shartle Avenue
Meadville, PA 16335
Marlin - 1/29; Donna - 4/02
Anniversary - 9/25/1971
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Location: Kenya and South Sudan (retired to Florida)
Ministry: Medical Ministry
Organization: Samaritan’s Purse (after A.I.M.)
Activities/Positions: Ministering as a nurse and anesthesiologist in Kijabe Medical Center in Kenya and in the Lui Hospital in Southern Sudan. Church planting, youth work, school and Bible school leadership; teaching at Moffat College of the Bible.
Northgate Church got to know Marian and Fred Gibbon and took on part of their financial support not long after Dean and Mary Nale were called to pastor the church in 1959. Marian is Mary Nale’s twin sister!
The Gibbons arrived in Africa under the Africa Inland Mission (A.I.M.) in November of 1954.They served first with the Luo people near Lake Victoria, Ogada, and were there during the ten years in which they had their five children. The years after that found the Gibbons working in church planting, youth camps, school supervision, and as administrative staff of a vernacular Bible school. Marian was a nurse, so she also served in a medical capacity during that time. From 1975 until the Lord called him home in 1992 (at the age of 62), Fred was a staff member at Moffat College of the Bible in Kijabe, Kenya. Marian worked at the Kijabe Medical Center for those years and then served as an anesthesiologist there for years after Fred’s death from an aneurysm. She taught Sunday School and also witnessed to everyone she interacted with in her daily life. Marian’s witness caused her hairdresser in Nairobi to trust in Jesus as her Savior and seek out a Christian church in which to worship and grow.
When A.I.M., in keeping with their mandatory retirement policy, would have thanked Marian for her faithful service and sent her back to the United States at age 65, Marian prayed for God’s leading. He opened a position for her with Samaritan’s Purse in the very dangerous Southern Sudan. Marian went and ministered as an anesthesiologist in the hospital at Lui. That hospital was bombed several times. The government forces, staunch Muslims, targeted the hospital because of its strong Christian testimony and staff. Muslim patients, even the very soldiers who tortured and killed the national Christians in that area, were cared for with the same love and concern as Christian patients were. Even so, the attacks continued, and the hospital had to be evacuated several times for the safety of the staff and patients. Still, Marian stayed and served the Lord that she loves, ministering to broken bodies so that broken hearts and souls would hear God’s Word and His plan of salvation.
Marian refused to give up her call to the mission field just because of her husband’s death or because of her age. She refused to give it up because of the extreme danger where she served or a battle with Hepatitis C at age 72. She continued to serve, trusting God to keep her and bless her. He DID cure the Hepatitis C, and Marian continued to serve in the dangerous Southern Sudan until 2007...for 10 years after her “normal” retirement age. In answer to her grown children who encouraged her to come back to the States much earlier than she did, Marian said the need was so great that she just could not turn her back on those dear people.
Asked to tell her favorite “success stories”, Marian would certainly mention the salvation of the girl who cut her hair when she went to Nairobi on breaks. She would also remember that the Lord gave her the ability to start pediatric IV’s in spite of the conditions and equipment in Kijabe. That method saved the lives of four small missionary children, as well as countless national babies and small children. Parents brought their children to Kijabe from long distances once the word got out that children were being returned to health. Since every patient Marian ever treated and their accompanying family members also heard the Gospel, that “draw” to the hospital paid eternal rewards!
Marian now lives in the Africa Inland Mission retirement center in Florida. She recently traveled to Kenya for the centennial celebration of the Kijabe Hospital, and heard a Kenyan nurse give testimony of how Marian’s Christian example of dedication and a God-honoring work ethic changed her own life and made her the nurse she is today. Marian is happy that those coming to the hospitals in which she served continue to receive excellent care and a bold witness for Jesus Christ.
1317 Media Road
Minneola, FL 34715
Bill and Harriet Gust
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Location: Italy (retired to Florida)
Ministry: Christian Bookstore and Local Church Ministries
Organization: TEAM (The Evangelical Alliance Mission)
Activities/Positions: Church planting in Vicenza, Italy; distributing Christian literature and Bibles through a colportage ministry and a Christian bookstore; providing a translation & printing service and mail-order ministry; preaching, retirement home Bible studies (Bill), and visitation (Harriet).
Bill Gust, born and raised in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, joined the U.S. Army at 18 and was stationed in Trieste, Italy from 1949 to 1951. The Lord drew Bill to Himself through Mel Allison, who was also stationed there. Perhaps Italy came to hold a special place in Bill’s heart because it was where he trusted Christ as his Savior. After returning to Pittsburgh, Bill prepared to go to the field of Italy as a missionary. In 1954, Bill married Harriet, with whom he shared a vision of reaching lost souls in Italy, where being very religious often meant being very lost.
Bill and Harriet Gust arrived in Vicenza, Italy in 1959. Vicenza didn’t have an evangelical church, so Bill and Harriet determined to plant one because gathering together with other believers is essential to spiritual support and growth. The extreme lack of Christian literature and books clearly hindered evangelistic and discipleship efforts, so the Gusts planned and worked to get wonderful Christian resources into the hands of Italians, both seekers and disciples. One of the best ways to get such literature into the hands of the common people was with a colportage ministry, carried out by Bill loading up his vehicle with as many copies of Bibles and Christian books as he could carry. He then drove into the countryside, taking his “mobile bookstore” to people who would not otherwise have access to his wares. Especially early in their ministry, and in the most rural towns and villages, Bill was sometimes run out of those communities by rock- pelting religious leaders, led by the local clergy! In spite of such discouragement, the Gusts moved forward to establish a stationary, permanent home for an inventory of Christian literature and Bibles. In 1966, they opened Casa Biblica, a Christian bookstore, in Vicenza. The church they had planted began to meet in the bookstore and both ministries continued to grow.
Eventually, there was a strong demand by Italians, as well as by those in other European countries, for books printed in languages other than English. Permission was granted for quite a few Christian books to be translated into Italian, German, and French and to be printed as Edition Casa Biblica copies. This translation & printing service was very well received and helpful. Because demand for these volumes was great and the requests for those printed in languages other than Italian came from quite a distance, a mail-order ministry within the bookstore was started and grew exponentially! While working faithfully in their church plant, colportage ministry, bookstore, translation & printing service, and mail-order ministry, Bill and Harriet raised four children in Vicenza as well.
Bill and Harriet officially retired from the ministry in Vicenza in March of 2002, after more than 40 years of faithful service. They now live in Florida and continue to serve the Lord, ministering in their own church and in various other churches where Bill preaches. He conducts a weekly Bible study at the local retirement center. Harriet accompanies him and visits with those living there. Their focus is to make clear the Gospel so these older folks will turn to Christ as Savior before it is too late.
The measure of a missionary’s ministry is often seen by looking back at their field a number of years after they retire. So, what of the Gusts’ ministries? The church is healthy and growing and has called a full-time Italian pastor! The colportage ministry continues, and the bookstore now has a wonderful big van that makes moving the materials and displaying them much easier. Opening the van and setting up a display in a town fair’s piazza not only allows the selling of books, but the evangelism of the local villagers. More and more books end up as Editions Casa Biblica. They are necessary to the huge and growing mail-order business out of Casa Biblica. To God’s glory, the bookstore is still operating and its name, Casa Biblica, is well known in all of Vicenza and beyond. It was recently completely renovated and celebrated its 50th anniversary in May of 2016. Bill and Harriet were invited to be the guests of honor and Bill was thrilled to be the speaker at the festivities. Three large articles in Vicenza papers detailed the origin, history, and purpose of Casa Biblica, and made it clear that the return of the Gusts (at ages 84 and 86) was a special event and good for Vicenza. It would be hard to disagree with that assessment.
5739 Whitaker Road, A 101
Naples, FL 34112
Bill - 6/05; Harriet - 11/02
Anniversary - 8/28/1954
Clif and Kari Huntting
Sean, Haley, and Kylie
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Ministry: Aviation Ministry
Organization: New Tribes Mission (United Indian Mission)
Activities/Positions: Flying planes to minister to people in remote villages in Mexico that would otherwise be hard to access (Clif) and serving as a life-line to the pilot (Kari).
Clif and Kari Huntting, both children of missionary parents, met on the mission field in Indonesia during grade school. Clif ’s parents, Dave and Edie Huntting, were Northgate Church missionaries at that time. Dave was a pilot with New Tribes Mission (NTM) before a battle with cancer ushered him into his Lord’s presence in July of 2000. Dave’s love of flying was passed on to his sons, both of whom are licensed pilots. After high school, both Clif and Kari attended New Tribes Bible Institute in Wisconsin, the same school Clif ’s parents had attended and where Clif was born. Clif and Kari got married there on June 7, 1997.
In August of 2001, Clif and Kari felt the Lord leading them into the mission aviation field. Clif entered Prairie Bible College’s aviation program, from which he graduated in December of 2002. Clif went on to complete the exhaustive special flight training for primitive areas and short landing strips. He also obtained the required mechanic training and licensing to become a tribal aviation missionary. Kari prepared to be the person in touch with Clif while he is in the air and on the ground in remote locations. She learned how to log his positions, times, and other pertinent information to keep him as safe as possible during the hazardous jungle flying. She will literally be his life-line should an accident or breakdown occur - in flight or on the ground - during a trip.
After nearly 15 years of preparation, the Hunttings arrived in Mexico in June of 2011. God intervened in a big way to allow their belongings, including Clif’s tools, to pass into Mexico without them having to obtain a very expensive commercial importation permit. God also saw Clif safely through gall-bladder surgery, re-opened unregistered airstrips in remote areas that had been closed for three years, and kept the family safe during a store robbery in which a police officer was killed, all in their first four months in Chihuahua. Although drug cartel violence is almost always aimed against a rival cartel or the police, there is always the danger of being caught in crossfire.
The Hunttings’ ministry differs from that of other New Tribes missionaries in that the airplane they fly actually belongs to another mission organization. Since NTM didn’t have a plane available for the area in which Clif flies, the Hunttings are flying/ministering under United Indian Mission’s (UIM) Aviation program. UIM not only services their own missionaries, but also services New Tribes missionaries and a few other Christian workers. With this partnership, Clif and Kari retain their status as NTM missionaries, but can go ahead and serve in Central Mexico without being hindered by NTM Aviation’s lack of an available plane.
The missionaries and pastors working with the Cora, Nahuatl, and Huichol people groups are very grateful for the availability of air service. The Huichol people, for example, live in remote mountain villages. It takes days to reach some of these villages by truck, boat, and foot. The airplane makes the flight in less than an hour! With so many remote villages, the four Huichol pastors with a heart to reach their own people have become much more efficient in taking God’s word to these folks.
For several years, Kari has been plagued by fatigue, joint pain, and itching that, despite extensive testing, has eluded a conclusive diagnosis. While in the States on home assignment (mostly for the purpose of consulting with and being tested by doctors), the Hunttings found a naturopathic doctor who is willing to work hard to determine the root cause of these sleep-robbing symptoms.The Hunttings are praising God for this doctor’s help.
Clif and Kari have had a definite call from the Lord to go and minister to the tribal groups in Mexico. This presents a challenge for the entire family, as their children must learn a new language and culture so they fit in and feelcomfortable in the “adopted” culture and country. They live away from their own home country for big chunks of time, and have to re-learn cultural “norms” when they return to the United States. Most of those trips home are spent traveling, not connecting with folks here, and then they are back to the “adopted” place, people, and culture. The Huntting kids are troopers, which allows their parents to be distraction-free when ministering.
Calle Llamarada #75
Colonia Rincon de San Juan
Tepic, Nayarit 63138
Clif – 7/09; Kari -11/05; Sean - 1/18/00; Haley - 6/09/03; Kylie - 1/23/07
Anniversary - 6/07/97
Ed and Priscilla John
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Location: Pittsburgh, PA (retired to Maryland)
Ministry: Children’s Ministries
Organization: Child Evangelism Fellowship (CEF- Pittsburgh)
Activities/Positions: Presenting the Gospel to children, training adults to effectively reach children through Good News Clubs, and recruiting and training youth to lead 5-Day Clubs during the summers; ministering in a senior citizens center during retirement.
For many years, Northgate Church was privileged to have a close association with Ed and Priscilla John. They came to Pittsburgh in 1981 to run the Greater Pittsburgh chapter of Child Evangelism Fellowship (CEF), which they did successfully until they retired in 1998. We were blessed to have them be a part of our church family.
Ed was born in New Castle, PA on January 17, 1928 and graduated from New Castle High School, the National Academy of Broadcasting, Baltimore School of the Bible, and Child Evangelism Fellowship Leadership Training Institute. He served with the 88th Infantry Division Army Band during the occupation of Italy after World War II. After being discharged from the Army, he worked as a radio announcer on a newly set-up station, WHVR, in Hanover, PA from 1949 - 1964. He then moved to Baltimore, MD and worked as an announcer at WCBC and WRBS from 1964 - 1978. While he was working in radio, Ed also served with Child Evangelism Fellowship in Adams County, PA and Baltimore, MD. When Ed left radio in Baltimore in 1978, he moved away to serve the Lord through CEF in New York City.
After just a few years in New York, Ed and Priscilla came back to Pennsylvania and served with CEF in Greater Pittsburgh from 1981 until their retirement in 1998. Their ministry with CEF included presenting the Gospel to children in church rallies, camps, retreats, and homes. They trained adults so they would know how to more effectively reach children and how to have successful home Bible classes (Good News Clubs).
During the summers, they gave an intensive, two-week training to high school and college-aged young people and then sent them out to do “5-Day Clubs” for six weeks. The Johns were very involved with Northgate, providing training for all the children’s workers and the recruiting and training of CEF Summer Missionaries from among Northgate youth. Those clubs often had Northgate teens involved as the summer missionaries that taught the children and ran the clubs.The impact of having the Johns here was very evident from the level of participation in CEF activities among our church congregation. Church families got involved to host the clubs and also to provide transportation and lunch for the summer missionaries.. Ed and Priscilla became close to a number of folks at Northgate and developed consistent prayer support that way, especially among the members of the flock group they attended while they were here.
When the Johns retired in 1998, they moved to Shippensburg, PA to be closer to family. Ed taught a large Sunday School class once a month, and together they assisted the local C.E.F. chapter at the Shippensburg Fair and on other occasions. Ed and Priscilla also ministered at the local senior center where Ed did a Bible study for between 20 and 30 people each week. Priscilla took a position on the Advisory Board for that facility. That may have been part of the reason they were given the responsibility for an 83-year-old man there. They took him to many doctors, then a surgery, and then a nursing home. Finally, he got well enough and they helped him return home to his native land of Hungary where he did well in the care of loving relatives. That was a little different than ministering to children, but is an apt example of their “retirement” activities and their willingness to “be Jesus” to anybody who needed them.
In September of 2014, after some health problems among their eldest children, the Johns moved to Severna Park, MD where they would be in reasonably close proximity to all eight children. God’s hand can be seen in the timing of that move, as Ed passed away a little over a year later, on October 15, 2015, just months short of his 89th birthday. It will be a huge help to Priscilla to be closer to their children, 13 grandchildren, and 16 great-grandchildren.
c/o Heart Homes
804 Camp Meade Rd. #8
Linthicum Heights, MD 21090
Priscilla - 8/05Ed’s death - 10/15/2015
Aziel and Marian Jones
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Location: Costa Rica (retired to South Carolina)
Ministry: Church Planting & Translation/Literacy
Organization: Christian Missions, Inc.
Activities/Positions: Church planting among the Cabécar tribe of Costa Rica; translation of the Bible into the Cabécar language; teaching literacy; leading Bible studies; writing a book about their ministry; mentoring women (Marian).
Both Aziel and Marian were called to missions during their college years. In early 1952, while in graduate school at Columbia Bible College, they learned in a prayer group that in 1950 four Cabécar Indians had gone to a church in the capital, San Jose, Costa Rica, and asked for a missionary. That was the Lord’s confirmation to them of His call to reach a new tribe with the Gospel. Having already finished Bible and linguistic training, they investigated, applied, and were accepted by a sending mission organization.
The Joneses’ ministry officially began when they arrived in Costa Rica on December 31, 1952. However, after years of seeing no “fruit”, their mission agency told them they would have to leave the Cabécar tribe and go elsewhere if they wanted to remain under their oversight. Aziel and Marian were confident that God had specifically called them to the Cabécar. After years of prayer and uneasy “truces” with their mission board, it became increasingly clear that the differences in vision wouldn’t be resolved. When they returned to the U.S. for furlough, a group of godly individuals to whom they agreed to be accountable started their own missions agency, Christian Missions, Inc. The Joneses lost only one supporter as they changed agencies on June 1, 1980. CMI still exists specifically for the Jones family members who have become missionaries. It shares their two-fold vision, “Reaching a Tribe for God - Raising a Family for God”.
The Joneses spent 45 years with the small Cabécar tribe. It has grown from 2,000 in 1952 to about 10,000 now. Cabécars are widely scattered, connected by trails, but with no roads or towns.. The Joneses spent 12 years reducing the Cabécar language to writing, making an alphabet, and analyzing the grammar. They then spent 27 years translating the New Testament. Aziel and Marian made alphabet books and primers to teach reading to the tribal people. The gospel of Mark was published in 1968 and a new portion was published about every three years after that. With the gospel of Mark, very simple home Bible studies were begun in various huts. After 20 years of this, the Cabécar church emerged. In 1993, they published the whole New Testament. There are now 12 churches throughout the area where the Cabécar live.
The work they started in Costa Rica has been expanded and is now carried on by their three youngest sons and their families. They are translating the Cabécar Old Testament, overseeing the churches, and teaching reading and other practical skills. They finished and printed the revised New Testament in 2014. Of their five siblings, three are in full-time cross-cultural mission work with their families. Another combines construction work with ministering to his employees, many of which are ex-convicts who need jobs so badly they are willing to agree to daily Bible studies in order to have work. Several have come to faith in Christ, have become “new creations”, and can now be trusted to oversee their own construction crews! Aziel and Marian’s youngest daughter and her husband spent many years planting churches in the Northeastern United States. The Lord has used the Joneses’ children mightily. Now their grandchildren are starting to go out as missionaries. Aziel and Marian have left quite a living legacy that continues to bring glory to God. We have been privileged to have played a small part in their lives and ministry!
In 1997, Aziel and Marian moved to South Carolina and “mostly retired”. They wrote a book about their ministry and family, ministered locally in small Bible study group leadership, and spoke to various churches and groups with the purpose of awakening an interest in missions. The Joneses often returned to Costa Rica to participate in the tribal work being carried on by their three youngest sons and their wives. On February 10, 2016, after struggling with dementia and respiratory issues, Aziel went home to be with the Lord, just days short of his 94th birthday.
Marian is continuing on with her prayer ministry and is mentoring some younger women at her church. As you might imagine, she is very lonely after having shared her life with Aziel for more than 64 years. What she misses mostis praying with someone who shared her heart and knew all about the things for which she is burdened to pray.
100 Finley Road, Apt. 26
Columbia, SC 29203
Marian - 7/15
Aziel’s death - 2/10/2016
Myron and Alice Loss
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Location: Uruguay (retired to Florida)
Ministry: Church Planting, Radio Station Start-Up, Evangelism & Discipleship
Organization: S.I.M. (Sudan Interior Mission)
Activities/Positions: Church planting; Bible studies, Marriage Encounter ministry; film, music, and drama ministries; building projects; starting a Christianradio station; writing books for training missionaries (Myron); evangelism & discipleship through tennis and prison ministries (Alice).
Alice was born in Madison, Wisconsin and later moved with her family to Allegan, Michigan. Although she grew up in a non-Christian family, Alice attended Sunday School with a neighbor girl, and placed her faith in Jesus Christ at 11. After high school, Alice worked in factories for about five years and then attended Moody Bible Institute for two years before meeting Myron at the Founder’s Week Conference.
Myron, on the other hand, grew up in a Christian home in central Pennsylvania. He attended church regularly and assumed he was a Christian because he believed in the Bible and was a pretty good person. His grandfather helped him realize that he needed to personally trust Christ to be his Savior. In 1958, at age 13, Myron gave his heart to the Lord at a revival campaign, but then was a lukewarm Christian for about seven years. He re-dedicated his life to the Lord after two years at Penn State and got involved with Inter-Varsity and Campus Crusade for Christ (now CRU). After graduating in Industrial Engineering, Myron went into the Air Force. Five months later, he married a girl he had met in Inter-Varsity. Ten months after that, they were hit by a drunk driver and Janet went to be with the Lord the next day.
Nearly a year after his wife died, Myron asked God for another partner, and even that He would bring her to meet him at the Founder’s Week Conference at Moody. God brought Alice Owen there and they were married nine months later in Saigon, Viet Nam, where Myron was a pilot and Alice ministered as a short-term worker in the Wycliffe Bible Translators’ office. They went to Bolivia in 1974 as aviation missionaries. In 1976, their son, Vincent, was born in Bolivia, and in 1978, Veronica was born in New Jersey, right before the Losses opened SIM’s work in Paraguay.
In 1995, the Losses were asked to go to Uruguay, the country out of all of the Americas with the lowest percentage of evangelicals. When they were getting ready to begin that work, they came to Northgate, recommended by a friend who was a church member. We joined their support team for the next 17 years of active ministry in Uruguay. The Losses retired in 2012, and our support continues, now at “retirement level”.
In addition to being church planters, the Losses were also involved in administration, a book set project for national church leaders, Marriage Encounter ministries, missions promotion, and evangelism. Evangelism was carried out through Bible studies, as well as more creative approaches, such as Alice playing tennis to reach the ladies on her team, a film ministry, special outreach meals, and music and drama programs. Myron designed and helped build construction projects, including those used to house existing churches or new church plants. Myron spent time helping the Latin church to send missionaries to the rest of the world. He also started a very successful radio station that carried Christian programing, preparing those who listened to open their hearts to God’s word.
Even in retirement, Myron and Alice continue to win people to the Lord and to disciple them. Myron dedicates most of his free time to writing books. His book, “Culture Shock” has even been used as a textbook in some missionary training courses! The Losses collaborate with a Spanish church and are active members in an English-speaking church as well. Alice is also involved in a State prison ministry and several Bible studies.
Recently, the Losses were able to go back and take a fast trip through the three countries in which they ministered for 34 years. To Myron’s delight, all of the buildings he helped to design and build are still actively being used for God’s glory by churches and other ministries, many of those started by the Losses. They were able to visit with many people who had come to Christ during their ministry and many are still growing in and walking with the Lord. Alice was able to meet with and even play with the women in her tennis club, for whom we have prayed over the years. An odd number of players meant each woman took a turn “sitting out” beside Myron, who then had an opportunity to share the gospel with each of them! God is faithful and continues to work in Bolivia, Paraguay, and Uruguay.
13408 NE 23rd Avenue
Ocala, FL 34479
Myron - 6/17; Alice - 10/28
Anniversary - 10/25/1970
Matt and Melia Major
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Location: Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
Ministry: Evangelism & Discipleship Through Soccer
Organization: Ambassadors Football Pittsburgh
Activities/Positions: tCoaching soccer, administrating, organizing, conducting community outreach programs, evangelizing, and teaching Bible lessons.
Both Matt and Melia (Muckle) Major grew up in Northgate Church, come from sound Christian homes, and had the example of parents actively involved in ministry within the church. Matt and Melia have both served in various ways at Northgate, as volunteer Youth Group leaders, in the Young Adults Group ministry, and in lead positions with the free tutoring program.
Melia attended Point Park University on a soccer scholarship, graduating in 2011 with a BA in Elementary Education. She became interested in coaching, having played soccer since she was four. From the time she was 16, Melia volunteered with Ambassadors Football Pittsburgh whenever she could. She worked as a Summer Missionary with Child Evangelism Fellowship (CEF), teaching missionary and Bible stories, Bible verses, and illustrated songs. That exposure to helping children come to know Jesus Christ as Savior helped fuel her desire to be involved in ministry.
Matt also played soccer when he was younger and always had a keen interest in all kinds of sports. After earning his Associate’s Degree in Business at Community College of Allegheny County, Matt worked at a couple different jobs, but did so believing that God’s future plans for him included a ministry of some type. He started to volunteer with Ambassadors Football Pittsburgh in 2014.
Matt’s and Melia’s paths crossed in many places and they spent time together while ministering in the same areas. They began to date in 2013 and God made it clear to them that they should be married. On June 6, 2015, they became husband and wife at Northgate.
Working side by side in the Ambassadors’ community programs, they became more interested in helping in that “family” ministry. At the time, Melia’s father and her brother, Lenny Muckle II, were Northgate missionaries, serving full-time as the only staff for Ambassadors Football Pittsburgh. Melia’s younger brother, Stoney, was also involved, helping with summer camps. On January 20, 2015, Lenny II found himself in a medical crisis in Ohio. His parents asked for the church family to pray as they traveled to be with their oldest child. Matt and Melia also headed to Akron. On the drive there, they talked about helping more with Ambassadors and prayed both for Lenny and the ministry. God called Lenny II home that day, right after he had coached one of his Ambassadors teams to a championship victory at a regional tournament. A newspaper article talked about the terrible low for his players on the heels of a tremendous thrill due to the championship win. An excerpt from that article read, “Leonard Muckle Jr. set out 10 years ago on a mission to inspire inner city youth with a Christian message and the game of soccer. According to those who knew him: mission accomplished.”
While championship wins, such as the one in Ohio, show the skilled teaching and coaching of Ambassadors Football Pittsburgh, its true purpose is making a spiritual impact on as many youths as possible. Matt and Melia knew God had more work to do in Pittsburgh and knew, due to volunteering, how much work running the club took. They decided God had been preparing them to become full-time missionaries with Ambassadors. They took over the operations of the club, raised monthly support, gave up their secular jobs, and went full-time with Ambassadors Football Pittsburgh in January 2016.
Ambassadors Pittsburgh runs programs throughout the year for 300+ children, ages 5-19. In the spring and fall, there are travel teams and community outreach programs on the North Side, East End, and in Northview Heights (where Northgate folks are involved). In the summer, a week-long camp run by coaches from around the world takes place. Winter is the busiest time, with over 20 teams playing futsal. All of those activities include organizing rides, preparing and teaching Bible lessons, coaching, and handling administrative jobs.
Recently, on a car ride back from a soccer game, several boys were talking about heaven. Taking that opportunity to share the gospel with them resulted in two boys accepting Christ as Savior!The next week during practice, another boy who had been in the car said he, too, made Jesus the Lord of his life! The Majors’ faithfulness pays off!
2355 Rochester Rd.
Sewickley, PA 15143
412-770-6531 (Matt) 412-583-5674 (Melia)
Matt - 2/27; Melia - 9/09; Tatiana
Anniversary - 6/06/2015
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Location: Pennsylvania (retired to Florida)
Ministry: Christian Literature and Music Illustration
Organization: Bible Visuals International
Activities/Positions: Using graphic art talent to illustrate Bible class curriculum, flannel-graphs, visualized songs (including those used by CEF missionaries); retirement community event photographer, teaching art classes, overseeing Operation Christmas Child in her church.
Linda McInturff, a Graphic Artist and committed Christian, wanted to serve the Lord each and every day. Determined to be a missionary while still using her God-given talent for art, Linda started out on the mission field of Venezuela. She worked hard in the publishing industry to produce Christian materials. Linda had contact with the Venezuelan people as she participated in the local church in her area. When her mission decided to move Linda into the print shop, setting up type to produce Christian books and curriculum, but not involved in any way with the art work, she began to seek the Lord for the right next move for her life. Linda left Venezuela after 15 years. For 6 months, Linda lived and worked on Curacao, at the time part of the Netherlands Antilles. Once again, her artistic talent was overlooked as she labored in the print department of the mission’s publishing house. Linda prayed, applied, and was accepted into the Art Institute of Pittsburgh (AIP). She felt strongly that if she had a degree to validate her artistic talent, she would be able to better use it for the Lord.
A co-worker at the mission knew of Northgate, so when Linda came to Pittsburgh, she checked out Northgate Church and met Mary Nale, our pastor’s wife at that time. She was invited to stay with the Nales for the few months before school started. Afterwards, Linda traveled to Northgate each Sunday to attend and serve there while she completed AIP’s two-year program.
After graduation, Linda took a position with the Bible Club Movement (BCM) in Upper Darby, PA. She was finally able to “break into” the world of illustration! Linda updated the artwork for the BCM signature “Footsteps of Faith” Bible class curriculum. That flannel-graph is used in Bible Clubs in 50 countries. Linda worked with BCM for 10 years.
In 1997, Linda accepted a Graphic Artist position in Akron, PA with Bible Visuals International (BVI), another ministry that seeks to provide first-class printed materials for Christian children’s teachers. Their visualized songs, used in many Bible classes and clubs, are known for being easy for the children learning the songs to follow. These songs and other teaching materials are used internationally. BVI grew out of Child Evangelism Fellowship of Eastern Pennsylvania back in 1959. The founders recognized that while their message was Biblical and relevant, it had to be made attractive to the eye in order to get and keep the attention of the children in the CEF Bible classes and clubs.
When Linda joined BVI in mid-1997, many of the materials had illustrations that hadn’t been updated since they were first drawn. Linda started by updating pictures of people in 50’s and 60’s styles. Our CEF summer missionaries may well have used big story and/or song books that were illustrated by Linda.
In October of 2005, Linda retired from BVI when the ministry was struggling financially, but entered into an agreement that she would continue to work full time with BVI, but from her new home in Florida. In October of 2007, Linda was given free-lance work on a project basis as long as support for her came in to cover her wages for those projects. That arrangement was beneficial to BVI while they adjusted to less resources being donated. It was also beneficial to Linda, who worked several part-time jobs to make ends meet.
Despite periodic struggles with some surgeries and other medical issues, Linda is a contributing writer for a local community newspaper; a photographer for the retirement community’s events; and teaches several art classes. She has taught 4-year-old Sunday School, been activities director at her church, and has overseen the church’s participation in Operation Christmas Child, a shoebox ministry sponsored by her adult Sunday School class. She does the buying, organizes the class to pack the boxes, and ensures that the boxes have barcoded labels. The class tracks them to their destinations and prays for the children that receive them. Linda continues to enjoy doing art and over the years has submitted several People’s Choice awards and also winning art entries in the Clay County area’s annual fair.
P.O. Box 612
Penney Farms, FL 32079
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Ministry: Modular Bible Seminary Instructor and Local Church Assistant
Activities/Positions: Training lay leaders; coordinating, administrating, and teaching at Modular Bible Seminary; teaching Sunday School, leading Bible studies, directing choir, leading worship, and substituting for pastor at Emmanuel Baptist Church.
Marilee Morden first arrived in Brazil in 1958, the daughter of missionaries who are now retired from the same mission board under which she serves (WorldVenture, formerly called CBInternational). Marilee returned to the U.S. for her higher education, graduating first from Moody Bible Institute with a Diploma in Christian Education, then from Biola University with a Bachelor of Arts in Christian Education. After spending two years in Brazil as a short-term missionary, Marilee then returned once more to the United States to gain the skills she needed to train church leaders in North Brazil. After receiving her master’s degree in Biblical studies from Denver Seminary, Marilee was appointed as a full-time missionary to Brazil in 1978. For nearly 39 years, she has ministered in this largest of the South American countries. Beyond being her place of ministry, Brazil, after living there for close to 60 years, is also home to Marilee.
The southern part of Brazil is where the industrialized cities are to be found. Northern Brazil’s great store of natural resources notwithstanding, political, financial, and industrial circumstances have left that portion of the country with many slums, out-of-control inflation, hunger, disease, and crime. Marilee lives and ministers in the northeastern part of this huge (5th largest in the world) country, among people who struggle financially. A personal highlight and huge honor was bestowed upon Marilee in June, 2016. At a special meeting of the city council, she was one of 14 people to be designated an honorary citizen of Floriano and presented with a certificate by local government officials. Even secular leaders recognize Marilee’s love for and value to their community, bringing glory to God!
Using the schooling she completed in the United States, Marilee ministers primarily in training lay leaders for the rapidly growing evangelical church. In a land where most Brazilians would classify themselves Roman Catholic, spiritism is now a major force to be reckoned with. Praise God, the other growing force is the evangelical church. Counted as 4 million in 1960, evangelical Christians were said to top 26 million in 1990 in Brazil. Clearly, there is a vast need for trained Bible leaders for that rapidly growing church. In 1992, a Leadership Training Course started at the extension seminary. Marilee is the coordinator and the secretary of that modular seminary. As such, she is responsible to line up the courses and who will teach them. She writes to the students twice a year and records all of their grades and prints up report cards. Marilee also teaches there, and is thrilled at the dedication of these students who overcome severe financial difficulties and exhausting schedules to study God’s Word. About one third of those graduating from the lay leadership course go on to become ordained ministers. One of those graduates pastored Emmanuel Baptist’s church plant.
Emmanuel Baptist Church is Marilee’s other area of ministry. There, she teaches the adult Sunday School class and leads Bible studies for the women and young people. Marilee directs the choir and leads the worship team, oversees any necessary construction, and, as the first vice president in the church, subs for the pastor whenever he travels. It’s a good thing that flexibility and diversity seem to be among Marilee’s traits and talents.
While they were on the worship team, Marilee mentored two of the members. One has been called to be an evangelist and he is currently helping to plant a new church. The other has felt the Lord calling her to be a missionary, especially to children. Marilee is pleased and humbled to have been used by God to influence the lives of these young adults.
Marilee has family here at Northgate Church. Jim and Doris Jorden are very pleased with the woman of God their niece has become, as are we all.
Caixa Postal 2
64800-000 Floriano, Piaui
Brazil, South America
Ken and Carolyn Muckle
Sam and Nathan
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Ministry: Church Planting & Evangelism/Discipleship
Organization: A.B.W.E. (Association of Baptists for World Evangelism)
Activities/Positions: Evangelizing through building relationships; outreach events, activities, groups, and classes; leadership training, discipling men (Ken); mentoring women (Carolyn).
Ken and Carolyn Muckle and their family are certainly not strangers to Northgate Church. Ken attended Northgate from the time he came to the Lord at an Inter-Varsity meeting as a freshman at Pitt. Carolyn also lived in Pittsburgh, attended North Allegheny (NA), and accepted Christ as her Savior at a Young Life Retreat. Ken was initially interested in being a baseball player, but the Lord redirected his interests. Along with Carolyn, Ken served as the Youth Pastor here at Northgate from 1983-1988. During those years, the Muckles twice took Northgate teens to Mexico City to work with Dan and Sue Wicher. The Lord then called Ken to become the Pastor of Grace Community Church in Cumberland, Maryland, where the Muckles served very effectively for seven years. God used those years of Youth and Adult ministry to further mature and train Ken and Carolyn. From the first time they had gone to Mexico City, the Holy Spirit had begun to gently nudge them in the direction of being full-time missionaries. Ken’s heart was moved by the statistic that 90% of Christian resources are directed towards and easily available to 10% of the world’s population. The Lord burdened their hearts for the 90% who weren’t able to hear the Gospel easily.
In preparation to minister in Spain as missionaries with TEAM (The Evangelical Alliance Mission), the Muckles traveled to Costa Rica in 1996 for an intensive year of Spanish Language Study. Then they went to Madrid to participate in an internship program designed to acclimate them to the Spanish Church and Spain, in general. When they completed that program, they moved to Guadalajara, Spain, where they currently minister. The Muckles’ work is a group effort, involving the entire family. While building relationships with neighbors is one of the primary ways Ken and Carolyn share the Gospel, they also engage in many other activities in order to make friends and tell them about Jesus, such as: Ladies’ Bible Studies, Men’s Meetings, Leadership Training Group, Kids’ Group, English Reading Club, Aerobics Class Relationships, Summer Sports Outreaches, Thanksgiving Dinner, Valentine’s Get Together, Christmas Cookie Exchange, Apples of Gold Classes, Marriage Classes, One-on-One Discipleship, Teaching Seminary Classes, Easter Outreaches, and Local Christian School Administration.
Each of those ministries is effective and blessed by the Lord. Three recent baptisms from the church group were a huge cause for praise. Spain, like much of Europe, is very hard to reach with the true Gospel. It usually takes years of building up trust in order to have “the right” to be heard. The Muckles’ former neighbors have started to attend their group. Ken, Carolyn, and their supporters have been praying for them for 15 years!
One of the pressing needs in Spain is the training of church leaders. Every other week, for the past 5 years, Ken has met with a group of men in their final year of Seminary to disciple them. Carolyn has mentored 20 women in the past few years through the Apples of Gold ministry. The evidence that these ministries are changing lives is shown by the testimonies of, and in the lives of Federico and Lucia Alvarez, the Muckles’ national co-workers. Fede was in Ken’s first group and Lucia was in Carolyn’s first group! They began to minister with the church planting as helpers and now lead the work with the Muckles as their “helpers”. Ken and Carolyn have effectively transferred the leadership of the ministry to these Christ-following nationals, which is the goal of every church-planting missionary.
Due to doctrinal discrepancies condoned by some men in the leadership of TEAM, Ken and Carolyn, as active ministry missionaries, made the decision to change the mission under which they serve. In July of 2013, they were deployed to service by ABWE International (Association of Baptists for World Evangelism). Nothing about their ministry has changed except for the mobilizing organization.
Three Muckle children are out on their own in the Philadelphia area. After college, Joe married Val; their first child was born in November 2016. Hannah has a job at the University of Pennsylvania and Sam will work nearby and live with her. Nathan continues to be a leader on his high school’s soccer team in Spain.
Calle del Roble, 3
Cabanillas del Campo
Ken - 8/26; Carolyn - 3/20; Sam - 8/18/97; Nathan - 6/01/00
Anniversary - 4/20/1985
Lenny and Jane Muckle
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Location: Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
Ministry: Evangelism & Discipleship Through Soccer
Organization: Ambassadors Football Pittsburgh
Activities/Positions: Founder of YESac soccer ministry (which joined Ambassadors Football Pittsburgh); Coaching soccer, conducting community outreach programs and summer soccer camps, evangelizing, and teaching Bible lessons.
Lenny and Jane Muckle are certainly not strangers here at Northgate. For years, Lenny has been an important and consistent part of the Worship Team. Anybody attending the church on a Sunday is likely to see Lenny up front with his guitar. Jane’s decorating talent is always seen and appreciated throughout the church. Every year at Christmas time, the whole family pitches in to transform Northgate into a very welcoming wonderland in celebration of Jesus’ birth.
Lenny graduated from North Catholic High School in 1976. He came to know Jesus Christ as his Savior in 1978. That was when he began to attend Northgate Church, participate in Bible studies, and grow in the Lord. Jane trusted Christ as her Savior in 1979, a couple years after her 1977 graduation from Perry High School. Lenny and Jane were married in 1980 and Jane joined Lenny at Northgate, making it their family’s church home.
In 1983, Lenny began working for the United States Postal Service as a letter carrier. He found time to add coaching soccer to his schedule, starting in 1988 with a community youth soccer program. In 1989, he became the Assistant High School Coach in Avonworth School District. By 1992, he had accepted the position of Head Varsity Coach at Perry High School, and in 1994 became the Classic League’s Head Coach. By this time, Lenny and Jane had two children who were already playing and excelling in soccer. Their third child, Stoney, was born in 1999.
In 1999, Lenny started a soccer club that combined the game with Bible-based teaching about the love of Jesus Christ. YESac (Youth Enjoying Soccer Athletic Club) grew quickly. Five years after founding that ministry, Lenny and Jane saw their son, Lenny II join the ministry full-time. In that same year, Lenny Sr. became an assistant coach for North Allegheny Boys High School soccer. In 2007, the growing YESac ministry joined an international soccer ministry, now called Ambassadors Football Pittsburgh. By the time the ministry was known as Ambassadors, the whole family was involved. Even Stoney was old enough to help with summer camps!
Over the years, Lenny Sr. took the required training and earned both his United States Soccer Federation National “B” Coaching License and the certificate that makes him an ACE (American Council on Exercise) Certified Personal Trainer. The USSF National “B” License is the next-to-highest level license before reaching the status of “Pro”. That “B” license is for those coaching older players from age 16 to college level. Lenny’s credentials are a good indicator that Ambassadors Football Pittsburgh is a serious, high quality soccer club. In 2013, Lenny retired from the USPS and became a full-time missionary with Ambassadors Football Pittsburgh. He is still an assistant coach for North Allegheny Boys High School soccer.
Ambassadors reaches local urban youth using their love of soccer as a motivator to join the club. Soccer (“football” in most countries) is the most popular sport there is, world-wide. It is still a wonderful surprise that Ambassadors Football in Pittsburgh reaches youth (ages 5–9) from as many as 20 different countries! The club provides soccer training at all levels within that age range. More importantly, the soccer instructors and volunteers also provide those same youth with a time of teaching about the love of God and about salvation through Jesus Christ.
Ambassadors Football Pittsburgh has taken teams to regional tournaments where they’ve won championships or second place victories. Those tournaments speak to the excellent instruction, coaching, and skills present in the soccer club. More importantly, the attitude and sportsmanship with which they play is also excellent and God-honoring. In many cases, that aspect of their play is what causes spectators to notice this soccer club is different.
Rather than pointing to a trophy as an indicator of success, Lenny points to a 16-year-old African born player who recently trusted Christ as Savior. In spite of going through difficult times, this young man said he has decided to no longer put soccer above God, but to put God first. He is volunteering and is consistently living to please God. He is witnessing to others each day about the love of God and the wonderful free gift of salvation through Christ alone. This young man, and others like him, are the success stories of Ambassadors Football Pittsburgh and of the Muckles.
2355 Rochester Road
Sewickley, PA 15143
412-403-4044 (L); 724-553-4957 (J)
Lenny -10/13; Jane - 1/21; Stoney - 11/03/1999
Anniversary - 9/01/1980
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Ministry: Evangelism and Discipleship of Women
Organization: TEAM (The Evangelical Alliance Mission)
Activities/Positions: Bible studies with women in Colombia; discipling, evangelizing, church-planting, and counseling ministries.
Sandra, born and raised in Pittsburgh, calls Northgate her home church. As she was growing up, her Christian brother witnessed to her and she was influenced by his testimony. At the age of 18, after watching a Billy Graham Crusade on television, Sandra trusted Christ as her savior. About six months later, Sandra felt God’s call to missionary service during a missionary convention at a Christian and Missionary Alliance church in Pittsburgh. To prepare, she studied at Moody Bible Institute, graduated with a degree in Elementary Education from Nyack Missionary College, and joined TEAM (The Evangelical Alliance Mission).
Sandra left the U.S. in 1975 and spent a year in Costa Rica in language study. In 1976, she arrived in Colombia and started her ministry at a center for young people in a city called Ocaña. She ran the bookstore, taught discipleship classes, was the Sunday school superintendent at a local church, and counseled many young people there. In about 1978, the mother of one of those youths asked to study the Bible with her. Sandra was surprised, but counted it as a privilege to do so. From that time until now, nearly 40 years later, Sandra has never had to look for ministry.
Sandra moved to Bogotá in 1984, and spent the next 10 years there in discipleship, church- planting, and counseling ministries. After moving to several small towns to do similar work, she returned to Bogotá. Women’s lives were changed as they studied God’s Word and applied it to their lives, marriages, and parenting. News and evidence of those positive results spread quickly, and many women sought out Sandra. A couple of years ago, one new student told Sandra she had been praying for three years to be able to study with her! Cristina’s home life and her son have been changed as she has learned to deal Biblically with her unsaved (as yet) husband.
Sandra usually studies with one person at a time and averages two hours a week with each one. Her goal is to help develop in these women the capacity to share Christ with others. Many of the women Sandra works with one-on-one or in small groups are pastors’ wives who have not had the opportunity to formally study God’s Word before. It is a huge responsibility and a wonderful privilege to invest in the lives of these women who, in turn, do the same for their own children and for other ladies in their husbands’ churches.
At the end of 2006, TEAM announced its intention of closing its work in Colombia. They felt that the national church was capable of carrying on the ministry without the direct help of the missionaries and were also aware of the on-going threat of kidnapping. Most of the missionaries redeployed to other fields, but those who were close to retirement (Sandra was a few years away) were allowed to stay on in Colombia if their supporters were on board. Sandra realized that TEAM’s field support was ending. She was thrilled to be able to work with a Brethren couple she had known for years and get under the logistical support umbrella of their organization. She had actually trained Adriana to disciple others years ago, and really enjoyed working with her and her husband, Pastor Carlos, in both a new church plant and in their main Bogotá church.
While Sandra has been “officially retired” from TEAM since the end of 2010, she has yet to retire from the mission field. She made arrangements with a Brethren organization, Northgate, and a few other supporters to stay on and minister in Colombia. The Brethren group is still involved as a “local base” and help for Sandra.
Recently, health issues have taken a toll on Sandra’s level of energy. Although more women have asked to study with Sandra, the travel from Chia to Bogotá and back eats up a lot of time and most of her energy. She has been unable to take on more new students. Nevertheless, almost daily, as she travels to those with whom she is able to study, Sandra has opportunities to share the gospel with folks on the buses, in the bakeries where she studies with her students, and even with those involved in her thyroid therapy. Sometimes she shares with literature and sometimes she can even show them truths directly from God’s word.
Russel and Rebekah Schuring
Garret, Jaalah, Janessa, Jacinda, Jesse, Janaiza, Jared, and Jayme
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Ministry: Tribal Evangelism & Discipleship
Organization: C.M.C. (Central Missionary Clearinghouse)
Activities/Positions: Hospitality, building relationships, evangelizing, Bible studies, and using their home and property to hold Christian camps, events, and retreats.
Russell and Rebekah Schuring are missionaries serving with C.M.C. (Central Missionary Clearinghouse). Becky spent several years attending Northgate as an older child while her parents directed the New Tribes Mission (NTM) “boot camp” in Rochester, PA.
Since 1995, the Schurings have been dedicated to reaching the Javaé Indians who live on the Bananal Island in central Brazil. They moved to Formoso do Araguaia to open up a work with those Indians and made many visits to the Javaé villages. They developed friendships, got to know the people and culture, studied the language (totally unwritten at that time), and prayed continually that the Lord would open the door for them to live among the Javaé.
In 1999, their prayers were answered when a Javaé village chief invited them to come live in his Txuiri village. That year was difficult, as Russ, Becky, and the six children they had at that time adjusted to life in the village. In 2000, the Schurings came home for their first year-long furlough, during which they updated their supporters on their ministry. Their new baby boy was only a few months old when they returned to Txuiri. In 2001, Russell and Rebekah spent many hours learning the tribal language and culture, as well as making many improvements on their house in the village.
In what seemed like a tragic, heartbreaking, giant step backward, the Schurings’ friend, the chief, was ousted in 2002 by a new chief whose wife promised the Indians more jobs. This new chief wanted the Schurings’ house, so he demanded that they leave the village. The family moved back to Vianopolis, the town where they lived before being invited to the village. Indians who had come to shop in the town often stayed at the Schurings’ home, and language and culture study continued. As the town became more rowdy, and even dangerous, Russ decided to move closer to the village. In 2007, they moved further interior, into a small house with a thatch room addition to use as a living room. They had no electricity or running water, but the schedule was more family-friendly and “quiet time” conducive!
That country property has been worked/built on from the time the Schurings first moved there and now has electricity (usually) and water. It is a camp of sorts for church groups, teen groups, soccer camps, etc. In every instance of use of their home and land, the Schurings are able to present Jesus Christ to those who are using the rent-free facilities. Javaé Indians visited or stayed with the family right from the beginning at the new location, so language and culture learning continued. Over the years, many children and teens have lived for months at a time with Becky and Russ, including two that they legally adopted. Quite a few have trusted Christ as their Savior. Since some live in villages where they are the only Christians, are persecuted, and are always under spiritual attack, they stay in close touch with the Schurings.
In 2012, due to some mission concerns about them continuing on with a ministry to the Javaé, the Schurings were led to resign from New Tribes Mission. They returned to Brazil, and the ministry to which they know God has called them, but under Central Missionary Clearinghouse (CMC). Only their sending agency has changed; their location and ministries remain the same.
Jaalah, at age 24, joined her parents in their work in Brazil. Each year, she and her twin, Janessa (now working at Word of Life Bible Institute) plan and run a huge, evangelistic soccer camp. There are kids’ camps, teens’ camps, weekend events, and Bible studies. The Schurings’ house is always full. Nine kids (6 Indians and 3 from town) now live with them, in addition to three of their own children currently at home. Imagine how time-consuming it is having to cook everything from scratch every day for a household of 14! Imagine still looking forward to the weekends when literally scores of people will join those 14 to use the pond, have Bible studies, relax, and just “take a break”. Their “break” causes dawn-to-night work all weekend for the entire family, and yet the Schurings are thrilled that those who need Jesus, need encouragement, and need care, can come and use their home. This is fully engaged, sacrificialministry, and it is just how the Schurings live for Jesus.
Caixa Postal 23
Formoso do Araguaia, TO
South America 77470-000
Russell - 1/08; Rebekah - 2/23; Jaalah - 9/25/91; Jacinda - 9/02/94; Jesse - 3/18/96; Janaiza - 1/29/97; Jared - 5/12/00; Jayme - 2/19/03
Anniversary - 10/21/1989
John and Diane Spadafora
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Ministry: Mission Liaison and Market Place Evangelism Instructor
Activities/Positions: Director of Church Connections for Crossworld; acting as liaison between the mission, the missionary staff, and their sending churches; teaching/preaching/equipping; leading worship; and instructing church leaders and congregations in marketplace evangelism.
John Spadafora came to Northgate and served as our Minister of Music during his graduate studies at the University of Pittsburgh. He left in 1979, after earning his MA in Historical Musicology. After that, John graduated in 1984 from Biblical Theological Seminary. He became an Assistant Pastor and part-time Music Director at his home church.When the Senior Pastor retired in 1986, John served as Interim Pastor for a year, until a new Senior Pastor began his work there. John continued as his assistant until the Spadaforas left for Italy in March of 1988.
Although raised in a devout religious home, Diane knew she didn’t have a personal relationship with her Creator. The Lord put a strong Christian in Diane’s French class at West Chester State who witnessed to her and challenged her to read God’s Word. Diane trusted Christ as Savior in January 1974. After two years at West Chester, she attended and graduated from Philadelphia College of the Bible (PCB) in May 1977. In 1980, she earned a Bachelor’s of Nursing degree. During a summer missionary internship in the Philippines while at PCB, she learned that she needed to get involved in ministry around her if she wanted to become a missionary. She taught Sunday School, DVBS, after-school clubs, led an evangelistic Bible study at St. Joe’s University. After college, Diane discipled new believers, served on Ladies’ Boards, and had outreaches to neighbors, such as craft nights and special programs. Diane later used those same ministries in Italy.
John and Diane met during Diane’s last semester at PCB. They were married in August 1979, just two months after John completed his ministry at Northgate. After putting John through seminary, the Spadaforas worked hard to raise support to go to the mission field.
John and Diane, along with their children (ages 4 and 2), arrived in Italy in March of 1988. After a year in Florence for language and cultural study, they moved to Milan, went through orientation, and then dove into church planting in two different locations. They ministered through evangelism, pastoring/teaching/preaching, music, and administration, all while parenting their three children.
In 2006, the Spadaforas returned to the States to care for John’s ailing parents. While they had hoped to return to Italy after a year, God had other plans. John’s father passed away and his mother’s Alzheimer’s worsened. John and Diane knew they needed to stay in the States, and Crossworld asked them to take on a new position. Starting in 2007, John assumed responsibilities as Director of Church Connections for Crossworld. He serves as principle liaison in the sending triangle of relationships between Crossworld, their international and home staff, and the sending churches. He’s responsible for developing strategic relationships with its sending churches; encouraging strong connections between their staff, their churches, and Crossworld; seeking new church relationships; and resourcing the Church at large. The purpose of all of this is to mobilize the Church in its mandate to make disciples of all nations. In serving the church, his ministry involves teaching, preaching, and equipping; consultation with pastors, mission leaders, and their teams; networking and mobilization events; leading worship and concerts of prayer; and regular contact with churches as they may have concerns regarding their staff with Crossworld.
John’s primary mission with churches is in resourcing them and their people in their global vision of making disciples of all nations. One of the most valuable things John does is to cast the vision and help churches prepare and send their people into the world to accomplish Jesus’ disciple- making mandate. The “Next Steps” events help those interested in cross-cultural work. Pastors are challenged regarding equipping their people for the workplace in an annual Pastors’ Forum.
An example of how churches are prepared to help is shown by John, himself, as a volunteer co-leader of the Global Outreach team at their home church. They are able to come alongside a young married couple that is planning to take jobs in Beijing, China. They will be teaching in a high school that prepares students to come to the States for university. They are taking these jobs intentionally to be able to invest in the youth they will be teaching. He will be teaching AP math and she will be teaching literature, in which she will also have opportunities to talk about Christianity.
49 Claremont Blvd.
Havertown, PA 19083
610-449-3059 / 609-923-6934 (John’s cell)
John - 3/26; Diane - 8/14
Anniversary - 8/18/1979
John and Linda Steinbacher
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Ministry: Field Leadership Team for Tribal Ministries
Organization: New Tribes Mission
Activities/Positions: Support Ministries Coordinators of the New Tribes Mexico Field Leadership Team; overseeing ministries that support missionaries to tribal areas, teaching, culture orientation, evangelizing, leading Bible studies, discipling.
Although “home” to them is Montoursville, PA, John and Linda Steinbacher were well known to our church family before they left for Mexico under New Tribes Mission. Northgate was their church while they were attending the New Tribes Bible Institute and Jungle Camp that existed in Rochester, PA, at that time. John often ministered to us with music during their two years of involvement at Northgate.
In 1982, John and Linda Steinbacher arrived in Mexico with their children, Brooke and Ben.They studied the language for ten months in the capital city of the state of Chihuahua. Their third child, Julia, was born there shortly after the course ended. Once it was safe, health-wise, for Linda and Julia to travel to Tojiachi, a trip that had to be made by foot and mule, they moved there to begin a work among the Guarijio Indians. The Steinbachers ministered to the Guarijio for eight years.When dangers from drug trafficking became severe, New Tribes Mission pulled them out of the tribe and invited them to take on a leadership role in the main office and MK (Missionary Kids) dorm. Three years later, John and Linda moved to Durango, in the central part of Mexico, in order to open a new tribal work there. They lived in Durango for eight years to open works among two dialects of Tepehuan and among the Cora people.
Once again, John and Linda moved back to Chihuahua City. They are still working there as Support Ministries Coordinators of the Field Leadership Team. They give oversight to all ministries involving support of missionaries in the remote tribal locations. Some examples are the main office (including all mission correspondence), finance, community development, the MK school, guest houses, maintenance, and construction (e.g., helping the tribal missionaries build their homes and constructing a dorm for the Latin Bible Institute students). The Steinbachers also oversee the very important security team (connected with U.S. national government agencies). Linda joins John in orienting new missionaries to Mexican culture, caring for the members of the team, and teaching Bible classes. She often teaches culture in the Spanish Language Department, and is involved with a women’s group and Bible study in their local church.
Since Mexico is “home” after all these years and the rent is so completely outrageous, the Steinbachers bought a piece of land a few years ago. John and several teams – many of them volunteers – built a beautiful big house furnished largely with handmade furniture that John produced. Their new home has enabled them to increase their role in hospitality. Because of Bible studies offered by John and Linda in their home “on their own time”, their next-door neighbors were recently saved. Naturally, they have great joy in being used by the Lord in their neighborhood and also in their local church. The church in which they worship is a national church, led by Mexican Christians. John meets with the pastors as a consultant to the pastoral staff, and Linda meets with a group of ladies from the church, also on a regular basis. In the community, Linda ministers to an international group of ladies on a weekly basis.
While the Steinbachers thoroughly enjoy being involved in their community and church, their first love remains the tribal people of Mexico. It continues to be a joy for them to travel into tribes with eye and dental clinics. The health clinics, run regularly to deliver services to which the tribes otherwise would have no access, allow John and Linda to stay in regular contact with and help these tribal friends. They also enjoy visiting their Guarijio friends. Recently, Linda made arrangements for and accompanied a tribal woman, Rosa, to a mission hospital for a very necessary surgery. Rosa is a young Christian and this loving care and God-provided surgery boosted her faith tremendously! Vicente is a 22-year-old Guarijio man who is helping to translate God’s word into his native tongue. He has grown so much in the Lord and is already a powerful preacher, sharing his heart with the Guarijio church. Although sharing, being emotionally open and vulnerable, is NOT common in his culture, he is being well-received! By faith, Vicente is obeying God and putting himself in uncomfortable circumstances in order to proclaim truths from God’s Word and bring Him glory!
10101 Dellwood Drive
El Paso, TX 79924
John – 9/16; Linda – 8/11
Anniversary - 8/26/1972
Bill and Margie Veith
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Location: Florida (previously in Guatamala)
Ministry: Church Planting and Preaching/Music Ministry To Hispanics
Organization: CAMINO Global
Activities/Positions: Planting churches; radio ministry; evangelizing, discipling, and leadership training; teaching Bible (Bill) and music (Margie) courses at Bible Institute.
Bill and Margie Veith have been Northgate missionaries for many years. Bill’s sister is Mary Tait-White, a long-time Northgate member, which makes their partnership with our church a pretty natural one!
Northgate’s support of the Veiths started while they were missionaries in Guatemala. For many years Bill and Margie worked among the K’anjobal Indians. The government of Guatemala has historically treated the Indian population very badly. In the wake of deadly attacks in many villages as the government forces tried to eliminate the indigenous culture, language, and religious beliefs, many of these K’anjobal people fled to cities and tried to “get lost” among the larger populations there. In their background, the K’anjobal are animists. Because the non-Indian Venezuelans are largely Catholic, some of the Catholic beliefs have been incorporated into the animistic beliefs of the Indians. Bill and Margie ministered to this people group in many ways.They evangelized, of course, and then taught the Word to those who had trusted Christ as Savior.They ministered with a broadcasting radio station, sending Christian programming over the airwaves to a much broader audience than would otherwise be possible. Margie used her musical talents and Bill taught the Word in Guatemala, as they continue to do now in Florida.
The Veiths moved to Florida and began to minister to the Hispanic population there in 1998. Quickly immersing themselves in a church-planting ministry, Bill and Margie had a handful of people meeting together in their home in short order. That house church met for several years in the Veiths home and continued to grow until it was no longer feasible to squeeze everybody into their home each week. The fledgling church was granted tax exempt status and incorporated in 2010. The Lord, in His time, led them first to a building that the owner allowed them to use rent free since they were a church and he found out they couldn’t afford the $4,000.00 a month he was asking. When that building was finally rented, the Lord led the little church to another small, but adequate, place for $650.00 per month. The owner let the church use their conference room and reception area for classes.
Bill and Margie Veith were recruited to teach in a future, short-term Bible Institute. Due to the interest and excitement of CAM believers in West Palm Beach, FL, the Veiths began to teach institute classes in 2005, sooner than they had anticipated doing. The short-term Bible Institute trains church leaders and perspective pastors. They are trained for the growing number of Hispanic congregations. The institute attracted some 40 students from the West Palm Beach area for its first course. Almost all of those students were from the western highlands of Guatemala, and many were from the area where Bill and Margie served years before. The institute used CAM training materials as the guide so that the study would be accepted in other areas with Hispanic ministries. Bill taught the advanced Bible classes and Margie began the sacred music institute. Basic Music Theory and Keyboard were two of the classes that were in great demand.
While they continue with the original church plant, Bill and Margie are also ministering in two additional Hispanic churches. They are grateful for the level of Bill’s health that allows him, at age 84, to preach and help pastor the flock in three churches. They continue, however, to petition the Lord for a Hispanic pastor for their original church so that Bill can put more time into teaching the leadership training classes that are so vital for these lay leaders.
1045 Nodding Pines Way
Casselberry, FL 32707
Bill – 5/31 Margie – 8/27
Anniversary - 6/17/1954
Karen’s details are confidential.
If you would like to learn more about Karen’s ministry you can personally reach out to us.
Dan and Susan Wicher
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Ministry: Latin Missionary Mobilization & Curriculum Development for Leader Training Institute
Organization: CAMINO Global (formerly CAM International)
Activities/Positions: Faculty adjunct at Al-Andalus Theological Seminary, teaching, preaching, mobilizing missionaries, developing curriculum for leadership training institute (Dan), hospitality and ministering to missionary ladies (Susan); sharing the Gospel (both).
Dan and Susan Wicher are very dear to Northgate Church. The Wichers attended Northgate faithfully and served in ministry here for several years prior to leaving for the mission field. For instance, they team-taught a children’s missions class during church time!
Dan worked for 10 years as a project engineer and consultant to the microelectronics industry prior to joining CAM International (formerly Central America Mission). Sue worked in the education field. While in Pittsburgh, the Wichers adopted their son, Peter.
The Wichers went to Mexico in 1985 and founded the Tlalpan Bible Church in Mexico City that same year. Early on, the Wichers and their co-workers made wise choices in identifying men who would make responsible, godly elders. After several years of consistently pouring themselves into these men and their wives with Bible studies, fellowship, prayer groups, etc., those that were chosen as elders faithfully served Tlalpan Bible Church. By 1988, Dan added teaching at the Puebla Bible Seminary to his “job description”. Dan worked hard, teaching in Spanish to prepare young men to better serve the Lord. The mission leadership noticed the Wichers’ faithful, effective work in Mexico City. In 1991, they asked Dan to assume the position of Mexico Field Director, to which he graciously agreed. For nine years, Dan and Sue kept up with their “normal” church-planting ministries and the added responsibilities of the Field Director position.
In May 2000, CAM’s board of directors voted unanimously to appoint Dan as the mission’s next president. After prayerfully considering the move from Mexico City to the mission’s presidency for nearly 12 months before accepting, Dan and Sue were convinced of the Lord’s leading in that direction and moved to Dallas, Texas, where Dan was installed.
The Wichers took on that new, unfamiliar task with helpful encouragement from their church- planting colleagues. In May 2008, Dan earned his “D.Min” degree and graduated with a Doctorate in Leadership and Organizational Development from Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary. In 2010, CAM’s 23 team leaders had a joint meeting in which all of CAM’s fields were represented, the first of its kind since the mission was restructured the year before. The5th World Missions Conference also took place that year, sponsored by the Central AmericanTheological Seminary (CATS). Its atmosphere was one of joy, anticipating all God was going to do through the Latin Church, a worthy collaborator in cross-cultural evangelism. In 2013, CAM officially changed it’s name to Camino Global, recognizing that the Latin speakers to whom they ministered were no longer limited to only one section of the world.
After serving 11 years as president of Camino Global, the Lord led the Wichers to step down and move into a new mission field in Madrid, Spain! It took nearly two years for all of the details to be worked out, and then Dan and Sue arrived there on September 17, 2013. After some tutoring to polish up their Castilian Spanish, they hit the ground running! They are very happy with their new church home, a Brethren Assembly where Dan teaches and, when needed, preaches. Sue hosts many people and events in their home. She also serves missionary ladies at the Philemon House, a sanctuary used to refresh and revitalize field-weary women who serve for months at a time without receiving care. Several of these ladies, ministering in Gospel-resistant countries, expressed their appreciation, tearfully admitting that without the Philemon House respite, they may not have been able to force themselves to return to their difficult fields.
The Wichers’ specific ministries all work to fulfill four main objectives in Spain:
• Mobilize Latin Missionaries by establishing services and resources to orient, train, and care for Latin missionaries in Europe, North Africa, and the Middle East.
• Equip Leaders by teaching and mentoring future church leaders as a faculty adjunct at the Al-Andalus Theological Seminary in Seville.
• Develop Curriculum for the new Online School of Leadership Development, part of Camino Global’s e-ministry, obrerofiel.com.
• Share the Gospel with Spaniards who are without Christ through teaching English as a second language.
Calle Oslo, 2 28830
San Fernando de Henares
Dan - 11/24; Susan - 10/16
Anniversary - 11/20/1974
Mervyn and Anna Williams
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Location: Latvia (retired to Canada)
Ministry: Evangelism, Discipleship, Church Planting, and Christian Literature Ministry
Activities/Positions: Teacher and Administratorat Nordic Bible Institute (Merv); planting a church, leading Bible studies, evangelizing, discipling, raising funds for Christian Literacy Ministry; counseling ladies and serving as youth group “grandma” (Anna).
Mervyn Williams, after a hot and cold relationship with the Lord, finally truly gave God control of his life as a 20-year-old. He completed Berea Bible College in 1957, then received his BA and his MA from Columbia International University in 1964 and 1966. He also attended Trinity Divinity School and studied language and culture at the University of Stockholm. In 1965, Merv married Bonnie Bernhard and they accepted a call from Greater Europe Mission to teach at Nordic Bible Institute in Sweden. Bonnie had relatives with ties to Northgate, and she and Merv attended a Christmas party at the church prior to going to the field. Northgate became a supporting partner of the Williams’ in 1966, when they arrived in Sweden.
Merv served as a teacher and administrator at Nordic Bible Institute for 23 years, during 12 of which he also served as the Director. Merv and Bonnie were both diagnosed with cancer in the late 1980’s. They left Sweden and returned to Canada to get medical care and settled in Three Hills so their children could attend Prairie Bible College. Mervyn’s cancer went into remission, but Bonnie died just months after they settled in Three Hills.
After Bonnie’s death, Merv met Anna Van Giesen, a widow of three years who had five children, though only one was still at home. Merv and Anna married in 1990. God first had them go to the Nordic Bible Institute in Sweden, where Merv had served for more than 23 years. Enrollment was dwindling because of a bad economy, among other things. Then, the former Soviet Union broke up and there were suddenly new and different ministry possibilities. Merv and Anna were invited to start an international church in Riga, the capital of Latvia. Within four weeks of their arrival, in 1992, that church was established and spiritually hungry young people necessitated three and four Bible studies a week. Some of the folks that participated in those studies had recently become believers and wanted to learn everything they could about God’s Word. Camps were held and were also hugely successful. Merv and Anna recruited and raised funds to have four recent graduates from Prairie Bible College come to join that rapidly growing work. Those young graduates originally planned on staying in Latvia for a year or two, but stayed for years. In fact, the Williams’ daughter, Deborah and her husband, Jonathan Bourbeau, still serve in Latvia and are also part of Northgate’s missionary family. The International Church in Riga kept growing and more Latvians trained to take on leadership roles. In spite of the cultural deficit of young men willing to serve the Lord, God called young Latvian men who responded and chose to follow Him. By the time Merv and Anna retired to Three Hills, Canada, in 2001, strong national leadership was “settling in” that young local church.
In the first years of retirement, Merv became Pastor to the Seniors in their church in Canada and started a couple of small group Bible studies. He and Anna took many short-term mission trips, periodically returning to the field to minister, continuing to lead, mentor, and disciple those in his small groups, both in Canada and in Latvia. The Williams were very burdened by the lack of Christian literature in the Latvian language, so they raised funds in an on-going ministry to translate, print, and make available good resources in Latvian.
Merv’s health continued to present many challenges for him. He was hospitalized with double pneumonia on Friday, February 20, 2009 and passed into the glory of Heaven on Sunday, February 22, 2009. Anna misses her dear husband, but is thankful that they had 19 years together. She continues to keep herself busy serving. She has people over quite a bit, continues with the small group she and Merv hosted, and does some counseling with younger women. She helps her 92-year-old sister who lives an hour from her, and, at age 75, was appointed as a grandma to the youth at her church. She has been “Grandma Anna” for three years, so far, and continues to love that role so much that she suggested we think about having youth group “grandparents” in our church, as well! She has fond and grateful memories of loving encouragement being given to them each time she and Merv visited Northgate.
Box 691 Three Hills
AB TOM 2AO
Anna – 9/25
Merv’s death - 2/22/2009
Jay and Candi Wilson
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Location: Mars, Pennsylvania
Ministry: College Athlete Evangelism & Discipleship at RMU and Mid-Atlantic Region
Organization: Cru - Athletes in Action
Activities/Positions: Providing leadership to AIA campus directors as Mid-Atlantic Regional Director. Evangelism, discipleship, outreach activities, mentoring, hosting events, shepherding, equipping, and leading Bible studies for players and couples.
The Wilsons have served full-time with the sports ministry of Cru (formerly Campus Crusade for Christ), Athletes in Action (AIA), for about 30 years. They began their ministry serving student- athletes at East Carolina University. They were introduced to Northgate Church some 5 or 6 years later when they moved to Pittsburgh in 1991 to take the place of a Northgate member/ AIA staff who worked with pro athletes in Pittsburgh. Our transitioning member, who was going back to being a pastor, recommended we transfer his monthly support to Jay and Candi. That was done, and Northgate continued to partner with the Athletes In Action effort to minister to Pittsburgh’s professional athletes (Steelers, Pirates, and the short-lived Piranhas of the CBA).
Jay and Candi worked tirelessly and, for the most part, with uncooperative coaches who only wanted them near the players if Jay was doing a chapel at the time. The Wilsons led off-site Bible studies, Jay with the players, and Candi with the wives and girlfriends of the players. Together, they led Bible studies for couples. They also ministered through one-on-one or small group discipleship meetings, social events, and small group dinners. There was great hope when Mike Tomlin, a Christian, came to Pittsburgh as the Steelers’ head coach in 2007. However, he replaced Jay with a different chaplain Although at the time it was hard to understand what God was doing, a look back reveals how God worked it out to be a blessing.
While the Wilsons ministered to the pro-teams (eventually, only to the Steelers) they also worked on a limited basis with student athletes at the University of Pittsburgh. A year before the Steelers head coach changed, Jay and Candi welcomed and trained Robert and April Brooks for the Pitt ministry. That training put the Wilsons in close and extended contact with college athletes. When they were offered the AIA ministry at Robert Morris University, just outside of Pittsburgh, it was a very natural transition. The Wilsons continue to minister at RMU and serve as AIA’s Mid-Atlantic Regional Director. They are responsible for giving leadership to and visiting with each of the 6 AIA campus directors in the region; expanding AIA’s influence by launching new campuses; and serving on the AIA National Campus Leadership team. He and Candi are a team, and travel and minister together. At the heart of everything they do is trusting God to build spiritual movements that impact the campus, community, and world for Christ. Their goal is to see Christ-followers on every team, in every sport, in every nation.
Jay enjoys teaching the Word of God, discipleship, evangelism, and shepherding his leaders. Candi enjoys personal evangelism, discipleship, and equipping ladies to do the ministry. She likes to host fun activities, like “Make-Over Night”, in their home. Frequent weekend cookouts and holiday dinners for students who can’t get home are hugely popular. During During each event, Jay, Candi, and the Christian student-athletes watch for opportunities to share Jesus with non- believers. The Wilsons are modeling being servant-leaders.
Athletes in Action provides retreats, summer camps, international sports teams missions trips, inner-city projects, and 1-2 year internships for the athletes each year. There is nothing like seeing lives changed through personal discipleship and outreach opportunities.
Each summer, one of the Wilsons goes on an international mission trip with AIA, serving as the team discipler and Bible teacher. Trips have included Korea, Guatemala, Moldova, Russia, Germany, Albania, and many trips to Nicaragua. They minister to the athletes who have raised their own support in order to compete internationally on an AIA team (baseball, basketball, soccer, volleyball, track, etc.). Jay and Candi equip them to share their personal testimony and clearly present the gospel. One or more of these athletes will have an opportunity to address the crowds following each game. Interaction with the nationals is often on the schedule, as well. The participants, as well as Jay and Candi, agree that this is one of the best experiences a college athlete could ever have! They feel very blessed to be a part of God’s working among student-athletes in Pittsburgh and beyond.
316 Three Point Road
Mars, PA 16046
Jay – 11/12; Candi - 2/13
Anniversary - 8/16/1986
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Ministry: Development of Current/Emerging Christian
Organization: Cru - Headquarters
Activities/Positions: Cru Women’s Ministry Director; evangelizing and discipling; coaching individuals and teams; training staff and volunteers; teaching seminars; and developing and equipping current and emerging leaders world-wide.
Karen Zando is familiar to many people at Northgate Church. She worshiped with us for six years while she worked as an athletic trainer and clinical instructor at the University of Pittsburgh. While she worked in that capacity, Karen led weekly Bible studies and personally discipled a number of women athletes.
Athletes have had a special place in Karen’s heart. During her college years at Ohio University, Karen was a member of the women’s track team and a student athletic trainer. In her sophomore year, she became friends with a group of athletes who “happened” to be Christians. They talked about Christ and the Bible as though they were relevant to their everyday lives. As they told Karen more about Jesus, she began to see her own need for Him. Shortly after, she accepted Jesus as her personal Savior. As she became grounded in God’s Word, Karen began to find her security in God rather than in herself. She became involved with Campus Crusade for Christ’s (Cru’s) evangelism and discipleship ministry.
When it became obvious to Karen that her greatest joy was in sharing the Gospel and in discipleship, she prayed for direction and was led to serve the Lord with Cru’s athletic ministry, Athletes in Action (AIA), beginning in 1987. Karen spent her first seven years with AIA ministering to athletes at Penn State University. She continued evangelizing and discipling, and also served as the chaplain for the women’s basketball team. In 1994, she accepted the responsibility of becoming the Field Training Director for AIA. In that position, she oversaw the training of all new staff and acted as a resource for the senior staff working with college and professional athletes. In 1997, Karen became the Director of SportLINC, taking on the additional duties of that position. That ministry of AIA allowed Karen to resource volunteers who led ministries on campuses and in sports communities where there were no AIA staff members. She consulted with each of those volunteers weekly via email (either directly or through one of the individuals working under her direction). Karen’s position grew into “Women’s Ministry Director”.
Because of Karen’s faithful service, she was asked in the spring of 2003 to move once again...this time to the Cru headquarters in Orlando, Florida. In accepting the change in assignment, Karen began to work directly with Judy Douglass (wife of Cru’s president). Her ministry involved working with Women’s Initiatives for all of Cru. Since there is a Cru presence in well over 150 countries, Karen’s day-to-day responsibilities are now truly global in nature. All of her years of short-term overseas ministry with competitive, evangelistic sports teams, and as a chaplain in several Olympic games, have come to be a blessing in this latest ministry. Karen helps to develop current and emerging leaders around the world so they are equipped to then lead ministries in their countries. She develops and teaches seminars, coaches individuals and teams, and oversees a website that is used by Cru staff worldwide. Fortunately, Karen still manages to sneak in some one-on-one or small group evangelism and discipleship times.
It is a great joy for Karen to be able to train fellow believers to be self-sufficient in their ministries in their own countries. Recent work of that nature with Arjun, on staff in Nepal, helped him lead the ministry in a much more effective way during the earthquake disaster that severely damaged his country. No American would have been able or allowed to do what he and his team accomplished by the grace of God. Karen is thrilled to be able to equip these warrior-servants of Jesus Christ. In many of these countries, the risk of persecution, and even death, is very real. Anything that can be done to provide training and tools to accomplish as much as possible in the time these workers have to minister, is a blessing.
To further her own effectiveness, Karen took graduate courses in Spiritual Formation and Leadership on her “own time”. Karen spent quite a bit of time and money in order to obtain that training. Those to whom she ministers will reap blessings from her dedication
4326 C Lake Underhill Road
Orlando, FL 32803
Northgate partners with the Espwa Foundation, an organization co-founded by Northgate member, Christopher Pfeiffer. Espwa, which means “hope” in Creole, ministers through projects in Cap Haitien, Haiti. It is managed by a team of volunteers and is a registered 501(c) (3) foundation (tax-exempt and non-profit). Espwa exists to develop projects that empower the people of Haiti, alleviate poverty, build relationships, and ultimately encourage hope through Christ’s love.
The huge problem of alleviating poverty requires a clearly defined vision of Biblical “charity”. Espwa believes poverty is more than simply a lack of material things; poverty affects the whole person. Economic poverty is usually accompanied by significant levels of physical, social, and spiritual poverty. Poverty tells people they will never amount to anything, are worthless in the eyes of society, and even in the eyes of God. Perhaps most devastating is the message that there is no hope the cycle of poverty can ever be broken or that individuals can successfully escape it. The Espwa Foundation counters that false ideology with the truth of God’s Word, that every person has infinite value. God provided Jesus as the sin sacrifice. He’s the reason there is always hope.
The Espwa Foundation operates on a project-by-project basis. The process starts when a local Haitian team member alerts the Foundation to a need. The type of intervention required (relief, rehabilitation, or development) is identified first, then project-specific goals that meet the needs are created. Each project has defined criteria for beginning and completion, as well as indigenous staff to monitor its progress. That chosen operating model allows Espwa to stayflexible, take on projects in diverse areas, and raise funds for specific causes at specific times. Just as God sees intrinsic value in all people, so does Espwa. The Foundation chooses projects that foster independence and sustainability among the Haitians it aims to help. Because the Espwa team loves Haiti and its people, they not only care about current situations, but the future, as well. Paternalism has no place in projects taken on by Espwa. If someone is capable of doing a task, the Foundation will not do it for him or her. In direct opposition to the false messages of worthlessness and uselessness put forth by poverty’s effects, Espwa acknowledges that everyone has unique gifts and talents that can and should be used to impact those around them. Emergency relief-based projects are designed to simply give Haitians a “fighting chance”. Desiring each individual to reach his or her full potential, Espwa acts as a liaison to connect them to other individuals, leaders, and organizations serving in Haiti. Building these positive, meaningful relationships is a key potential-realizing factor.
Trusted relationships with Haitians is the foundation on which Espwa’s current projects have been built. The projects are diverse and currently include support for children’s education, families, pastors, farming and small businesses. The 2-3 mission trips led by Espwa each year may focus on any or several of those areas. Medical mission trips also occur, staffed by medical professionals and other volunteers who serve in Haitian hospitals and clinics for the time they are there. Dr. Eugene Maklin is a Haitian who is obeying God’s call on his life by building the New Hope Hospital and serving his own people, charging fees according to their ability to pay. Rejecting the lure of a lucrative medical practice in the United States, Dr. Maklin faithfully ministers to the very poor.
Northgate Church has partnered with The Espwa Foundation in a number of ways, including sending a few mission trips to Haiti. Northgate has participated in collecting and sending such things as vitamins and clothing for the children in need. Hand-sewn projects like sundresses and quilts have been lovingly and prayerfully made and sent. Northgate’s Youth Group, in an on-going show of love and concern, raised funds several times for Espwa’s use in Haiti. They’ve used events in which they intentionally go hungry and work hard...not things often associated with today’s American youth. Some Northgate youth also raised funds through video game tournaments. A baking camp and sea glass jewelry-making classes were benefits spear-headed by a young Northgate teen, Jensen Richardson, and made to happen at Northgate with the support of her family, especially her mom, Karen.
Espwa and its partners do all of these things in obedience to scriptures like Matthew 5:16. “Let your light shine before men in such a way that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father who is in heaven.”
Northgate Church has been engaged in missions’ ministry in Clay County, WV since 2012. What started out as a week-long missions trip each summer, with Northgaters bunking in the high school at night and serving the community in the day, has now become an official non-profit ministry of Jesse and Debbie Bogg’s called: Vision Appalachia.
During the past five years, Northgate people, along with others who join in from around the country, have repaired and rehabilitated many homes in Clay County. Simultaneously, Northgate folks have provided what is needed to host Sports Camps and Vacation Bible School for children throughout the entire county. A limited number of adults have been able to take sewing classes and computer classes during that same week. Those that completed the sewing classes were shocked, and then delighted, to learn that the machines on which they completed the classes were being given to them. The goal for those machines and lessons was that a cottage industry of some sort could start and be able to subsidize the income of the sewers’ families. Both sewing and computer skills make their possessors more “marketable”. A job, or a better job, is a tremendous blessing to these families.
The church has been blessed to supply quilts, school backpacks, school supplies, house paint, and other household goods for which there is a need. In 2016, a food pantry that is part of the high school campus was built and stocked with all that it needed to function. It is shocking, but true, that 100% of the children in the Clay County School District are below the poverty level and are eligible for lunch assistance programs. That pantry helps to bridge the gap during lean times for students and their families.
At the end of 2018 Northgate’s Sr. Pastor, Jesse Boggs, resigned his position at the church in order to start Vision Appalachia with his wife Debbie. Together they proclaim God’s love and provide help to those in need in central Appalachia.
If you are interested in learning more about Vision Appalachia or participating in one of their mission’s trips, click the button below to email them.