A regular communication for the family and friends of
WATER'S EDGE BIBLE CHURCH
209 S. Oakwood Ave., West Chicago, IL 60185 • (630) 231-1210
Spring 2008 - Volume III - Issue 2
What is Faith Promise giving? Just what it says, a promise to give financially, made in faith. A person promises the Lord to give a certain amount, then trusts God to supply that amount above and beyond planned giving. An opportunity for you to do just that is on your doorstep. The topic of money is a personal matter, as it should be. What one gives to the Lord's work is between them and the Lord. What we at Water's Edge Bible Church give to our missions outreach locally and globally is a compilation of each of our personal commitments to the Lord, expressed in a Faith Promise Commitment.
In the book God in the Marketplace, Henry & Richard Blackaby talk about how R.G. LeTourneau decided to make God his partner in business. Having struggled with the idea of being a missionary, he was challenged by his pastor who said, “God needs businessmen as well as preachers and missionaries.” So in the middle of the Great Depression and $100,000 in debt, he made God his partner in business. In spite of his huge debt, that year he pledged $5,000 to his church’s missionary efforts. By the mid-1930s, R. G. LeTourneau’s small manufacturing operation was beginning to go big time. He had erased his debt, and when he realized that profits would be a half million dollars, he said to his wife, “I think we’ve got to do more.”
Later LeTourneau would give 90 percent of the common stock of his company to his foundation and 90 percent of his personal income to Christian causes around the world. His many donations funded a Christian camp (in Winona Lake, Indiana), two Christian colleges (in Toccoa, Georgia, and Longview, Texas), and two multimillion-dollar mission projects (in Liberia and Peru). His life was characterized by giving. His greatest joy was in giving back to God. His happiness came from accomplishing things for God by his giving. When one understands that R.G. LeTourneau viewed all of life as an expression of God’s love for him, then one begins to understand why LeTourneau often said, “The question is not how much of my money I give to God, but rather how much of God’s money I keep for myself.”
I'm not expecting any of us to become the next R.G. LeTourneau, but then... May the Lord bless you in such a way that you can bless others through an act of faith as it relates to your personal finances. I hope you are inspired and challenged by what you read in this edition of Community — practical examples of lives lived by faith for the express purpose of supporting the Lord's work around the world.
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Faith Promise Stories
From Don Brugmann: I have learned that a part of a Faith Promise is to recognize the unexpected money that comes in as an answer to that faith prayer. Here are some examples from my life that come to mind. Several years ago, I was raking leaves in the spring, and there, in the midst of them, was a tattered $20 bill. In another year, a $20 bill was laying on a path where I was walking. A lady called me, asked for my mail address, and said she remembered sitting in my classes. She said they had a little extra money and wanted to send some to me. A check arrived for $70. I was preaching in a missionary conference, and had been emphasizing Faith Promises. A man came and said he had just come back from England and had some English pounds (currency) left over, and asked could I use them. I said, "Yes, I go through England about every year." He said, "I suppose you will count this as part of your Faith Promise?” What else could I say but, “Yes!”? Shortly after Mary's death, when I stopped traveling to Eastern Europe, I began a Greater Europe Alumni e-mail, like our prayer e-mail. A man who had been supporting me with a sizable gift when I began to go to Eastern Europe learned about the Alumni ministry and continued to support me in that task, without my asking. Finally, for now, I seem to have conducted a lot of funerals during the last ten years, and that usually brings an honorarium with it. (I don't pray for more funerals!) God often supplies in unusual, as well as usual ways.
Don Brugmann was born and raised in eastern Colorado. He served three years in the army following high school and spent time in Okinawa as well as other U.S. bases. It was at the close of his army career that he accepted Christ as his Savior. Soon after he felt called to the ministry, which led to college and seminary. During his seminary years, he worked in the mailroom at Greater Europe Mission to help pay for his education. There, he met his future wife, Mary, and they shared 46 years together before she was taken to be with the Lord. Don was asked to become Candidate Secretary of Greater Europe Mission after his graduation from seminary. This involved speaking in churches and Christian schools to recruit missionary candidates. He then held the position of Executive Director for 19 years. Following that, he made ministry trips to Eastern Europe for 12 years and helped found the Zaporozhye Bible College in the Ukraine. When GEM moved its headquarters to Wheaton in 1961, the Brugmanns moved to West Chicago and began attending the West Chicago Bible Church. Here, Don has served for many years as an elder, adult Sunday School teacher, mentor, leader, and friend. Don has three adult children and two grandchildren who all live in West Chicago. Having been in a number of churches that successfully used the Faith Promise program for missions, Don recommended it to the elders and it was adopted. At the inception of the Faith Promise program, the existing missions budget was $7000. A goal of $12,000 was set and $17,700 came in, to the joy of the congregation.
From Jay Johnson: Yes, God provided for my Faith Promise in unexpected ways. I am on a “fixed income.” One year, a woman from Fermilab wanted to learn Spanish because she thought she’d go to Spain to live. She came weekly to my apartment and insisted on paying me $20 an hour. That, which I enjoyed greatly, paid my Faith Promise that year. Another year, I was able to knit scarves, purses, and other simple things and sold them...that was sufficient too. This last year, I prayed often for a way to meet the promise. I have a small collection of Lladró porcelain and was led to try to sell them. One of my grandsons offered to sell a set of four on eBay. Again, more than enough money was provided to pay for my promise.
Jay Johnson began her history at West Chicago in 1970 with English classes that were held in the WCBC gym. A Spanish neighbor in Wheaton asked Jay for a ride to the classes and she soon helped as a teacher. Later, Pastor Andrade began a Sunday School class in Spanish, Jay's second language for 17 years in Venezuela as a TEAM (The Evangelical Alliance Mission) missionary. She was then Jay Lake, widowed in 1963 while on home assignment. She stayed in the Spanish church at WCBC, working at TEAM's headquarters in Wheaton until going to Spain under TEAM in 1979. The church helped with her support for over three years. Jay's path crossed with a former family friend, Harry Johnson of North Dakota, who was a widower. They married in Madrid when he came to Spain to help and, after retiring, lived in Minot about 15 years. After Harry's death, Jay moved back to the Fox River Valley, to Batavia. Pastor Tom Terry took her through the membership preparation and she was accepted as a member again! She has remained active in the lives of Spanish people and leads Bible studies for women, as well as being a friend and helper to those in need. Jay is the proud parent of four children, eight grandchildren, and four greats! One of her favorite hymns is, “Jesus Led Me all the Way.”
From Marion Baldwin: Bill and I just went ahead and gave the money we had promised by faith and then watched God meet our needs. At one point, when we were trying to raise money for the Greek Bible Institute, we felt God wanted us to give the money we had saved for our children's education. I remember the tears streaming down my face as I told the Lord I would trust Him with my children's future. Well, all four got their education. Jeff is now working on a Doctorate. Joy has her Masters and the other two have marketing skills, having both graduated from Bible college and married men with Masters degrees. And we had some adventures as we watched Him supply for them to do so, but NOT ONLY THAT: one day I counted up what God had given to us in the years following that sacrifice — it was 1000%!!! For us it is definitely NOT giving to get, it is giving because we trust Him.
Marion, a Canadian, and Bill Baldwin, a Texan, met at Missionary Internship in Detroit, coming to West Chicago Bible Church as newlyweds in 1964, where Bill served as assistant to Pastor Tevebaugh. Bill graduated from Dallas Theological Seminary and Marion is a registered nurse and a graduate of Toronto Bible College.
Marion says they fell in love with the people of WCBC and felt their love and care in many many ways. It was there they learned what a REAL Faith Promise is — seeing families sacrificing to give, including a woman who took in ironing in order to have money for her Faith Promise. This was an eye-opener to a young couple planning to serve as missionaries.
In 1966, Marion and Bill made Greece their home, serving under Greater Europe Mission as their first couple to that land. The job description was brief: Start a Bible College. Marion says they were young enough to think they could!! In God's mercy and goodness He made that possible — and, “Believe me, it wasn't easy.”
Their son Jeff was born before Bill and Marion went to Greece and Jenni was born just three months after arriving there. Joy followed 19 months later and Kim was born in 1970 while they were on their first furlough, living in West Chicago. Marion confides that she was actually in labor while Bill held a WCBC Vacation Bible School planning meeting in their living room, and her mother was furious that Bill didn't cancel the meeting!
After that first furlough, Marion served as chairman for Christian Women's Club's evangelistic teas which were extremely well attended. Having spent years learning the language, observing the culture, and seeking to gain the trust of the Greek evangelicals, the Greek Bible Institute was launched in 1973 with the start of evening classes in downtown Athens. 1980 saw the start of a residence day school and in 1995 they sold the property that had housed the school for 15 years and moved to their present facilities. In 1995 Bill and Marion also helped start a daughter church of the Greek Evangelical Church, and Bill stepped down as director of the Greek Bible Institute, having served in that capacity since its inception. He continues to teach almost all the theological courses at the school, as well as serve as an elder in the church, usually teaching the Wednesday evening Bible study. All four of their children know and love the Lord and married Greeks from Christian families who, except for one, were involved in ministry. The two oldest also serve with GEM in Greece and are supported by Water's Edge Bible Church.
Years ago, before they started the Greek Bible Institute, Marion asked her mother to start a prayer group for them and she did so. About 10 people meet in Marion's sister's home in Toronto once a month to pray about matters pertaining to their family and the school. Marion says, “We look at how God has blessed us and our family and feel that we owe it to those who carried us in prayer all these years. We know that many WCBC people prayed for us daily, and we will be eternally grateful. We feel that Water's Edge Bible Church is OUR church and wish we could be around you a little more! God bless you!!”
From Jackie Kenney: I was challenged by the Lord to make a Faith Promise even though I had no income. Instead of using my husband’s income, I was going to trust God to provide my weekly Faith Promise. The first week, a friend asked me to upholster a footstool for her, and she paid me exactly the amount that I needed. The next week, another friend’s husband hit a deer with his car. He kept the deer and shared the meat with us. The money I saved at the grocery store in meat was the amount that I needed for my Faith Promise. Then, six weeks went by and nothing came in. However, afterward, I was asked to do some typing for a ministry and was surprised to get paid. You probably guessed — the amount came to six week’s worth of Faith Promise giving! And so it went for the next six or eight months. Then, I hurt my back in a car accident. I didn’t think anything of it as I was better in a few days, but the insurance wanted to settle and sent enough to finish out my year’s pledge. It came out to the exact penny. I’ve not seen a Faith Promise provided in such a way lately, maybe because we haven’t lived so close to penniless since then. It was a beautiful faith builder for me and it makes me wonder what God could do if I had bigger faith.
Chuck and Jackie Kenney both grew up in the east. Chuck is from Baltimore, Maryland, and Jackie is from Beaver Falls, Pennsylvania. They met in Bible College in Dallas, Texas and are the parents of three grown daughters and one son, age 19, who is still at home. They have been at WCBC/WEBC for about six years. Jackie facilitates a women's Bible study and Chuck, having a heart for teaching, currently leads the high school Sunday school class. He is employed at Fermilab, plays a mean guitar, and holds a black belt in Tai Kwon Do. Jackie is a registered nurse but is currently home caring for their son, Joey, who is recovering from surgery. She has a special place in her heart for the physically challenged and mentally disabled. Their son Joey, who was born with multiple handicaps, has much to teach us all. He has endured over 50 operations and yet is one of the happiest people alive. He is a gift sent from God. He attends the Special Ed program at Community High School in West Chicago and loves meeting new people, especially girls.
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Had you been present, you would have overheard the following conversations:
“Pastor Tod, have you heard about CareFest? Our church did it this year. It was a tremendous outreach opportunity into our community!”
“Pastor Tod, we’d really like to have a dual focus for our ’08 Spring Missions Focus, local and global, as that is what Jesus commanded in Acts 1:8.”
“Sharilynn, have you heard about CareFest? Evidently Wheaton Bible Church does a yearly outreach into their community, and other churches are getting involved. Why don’t you check into it as the “local” part of the Missions Focus?”
And the rest is history! Since that well-timed conversation between Darrin and Pastor Tod last year, God has been orchestrating circumstances and conversations to get WEBC involved in this excellent local outreach opportunity. On May 3rd, 115+ WEBC-ers served in our community through CareFest ’08!
CareFest began as a project of Wheaton Bible Church in 2005. Being such a success those first two years, three other churches joined the outreach efforts in 2007. WEBC was one of eleven churches involved this year, and twenty is the goal set for next year! CareFest is a way for churches to build bridges into the community and to demonstrate in tangible ways the love of God for these people. As we serve in government, civic, or not-for-profit organizations, we are God’s hands and feet, declaring with our actions what we declare with our words.
People from WEBC served in both Gary and Turner Elementary Schools, and at West Chicago Community High School. Painting, landscaping, fixing/replacing sports equipment, and garbage clean-up were among the services we provided to our schools. Laura, head of PTO at Gary Elementary, said with tears in her eyes, “You don’t know how encouraging this is, how much this means to us! It’s a shot-in-the-arm!” Jesus commanded us to be witnesses of God’s love in “Jerusalem, Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.” (Acts 1:8) Our “Jerusalem” is West Chicago, and the people of WEBC enthusiastically and successfully witnessed to our community on Saturday! What a privilege it is to be involved in the service of Our King! Let us pray that the thumbprints we have left behind will touch hearts, prompting people in our community to become curious and, ultimately, to seek God’s love!
The group at Gary Elementary School consisted of 44 WEBC-ers and several parents of Gary students, including the PTO president and her family. The tasks we were asked to do were intended to add beauty to the landscape and brighten up some areas that needed a new coat of fresh paint. The jobs included: painting the teacher's lounge, painting all exterior doors, and repainting numerous play areas; such as hopscotch, 4-square, and the outdoor basketball court. Many in our group spent time and energy planting approximately 40 hostas and 10 boxwood shrubs. We also spread approximately 30 cubic yards of mulch. Although the weather looked ominous at times, we quickly and efficiently completed everything we had planned. This was made possible by the willingness of everyone involved to work together and enjoy it as a time of fellowship and getting to know each other better. Thanks to the efforts of Brian and Mary and Janette, the project was successful. Their planning and preparation made the experience a good one for all involved. We can't wait to see what God has planned for us next year!
The Teachers Lounge Project of CareFest 2008 at Turner Elementary School went well. Brian did a great job of having all required materials on site so that when it came time to get going, we got going! There were five “holy rollers” when we got started, but some became “ladder day saints” before all the work was completed. We ran low on paint toward the end, so had to thin it down a little. Pastor Tod found out about it and said it was O.K. but to go and paint and thin no more. It was great to experience once again how much a small group of Christians working together can accomplish. A lot of professional-looking work was done in short order!
About 50 people showed up ready for work at Turner School, some with children who actually attend the school as well as others. We all had one goal, persuade others through servitude. We painted, mulched, raked, dug, and built. All the while the Lord provided the beautiful weather. Sure it rained a little, but only enough to cool our weary bodies and moisten the soil. Within the six hours, we not only built flower beds, but also relationships. It was fellowship at its purest form, not from a party, but through serving the LORD and our community. It was such an awesome event. I can’t wait for next year!
An energetic group of WEBC Edgers and leaders spent most of Saturday cleaning up and painting at West Chicago High School. We cleaned the six school vans that were there, inside and out. We cleaned under the bleachers and around the soccer/football field. We cleaned the tennis courts and the teachers parking lot. We spread two piles of mulch until it ran out and we painted the three ticket booths. However, by then it was raining and the west side of each looks like it was painted with thin water paint! Everyone worked hard and was very happy with how much we accomplished. Dan, our contact at the high school, told us many times how thankful he was to have us come. He even showed his appreciation by buying us pizza and pop.
For more pictures from CareFest and the Block Party go to:
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After a lot of planning and prayer, Sunday’s Block Party was a great success. Not only did God bless us with a beautiful day, but our goal of reaching the church’s community and our own communities was accomplished. There were many visitors who came for the service and also stayed for the party afterwards.
It was a great opportunity to introduce ourselves to the community over a casual lunch and some fun things for the kids, including a Moon Jump. And it was also a great opportunity for us as the Body to get to know each other better.
Many thanks go to all of those who made fruit salads, helped with the set up, stood over the grill, manned the food and drink tables, and who cleaned up too! It was a great team effort that followed a great day of service.
>> click here for page 2 <<
and articles about The Edge, the Men's Ministry, and an Uganda Update