OPC Committee on Diaconal Ministries
Helping to Train, Encourage &
Connect Deacons
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

 

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

 

 
 
 
 
 
 
 

 

 The Latest

Coming Together as Deacons: NDS IV 2022

photo by OPC Member, Katie Plas

As many of you know, the OPC National Diaconal Summits have always been an exciting time for the OPC Committee on Diaconal Ministries. This year was no different. Nearly 200 men (deacons, deacons-in-training, elders, and pastors) traveled to Wheaton, Illinois for our fourth National Diaconal Summit, June 2-4. The purpose of the Summit is straight-forward: training, encouragement, and refreshment to strengthen the brotherhood of deacons. I had the unique privilege of attending the Summit, as the OPC CDM’s Communications Coordinator. 

The Summit agenda gave time for instruction during plenary sessions and then again in small group workshops. Mealtimes, where men sat with other deacons from their presbyteries and end-of-the-day free time allowed for men to get to know one another in a casual setting. The entire experience has proven in the past to be a unique one. But this conference isn’t just about formal learning. It’s about building comradery, deepening relationships, and finding there is diaconal strength in numbers. 

On Friday evening, I had the amazing opportunity to fall into a lengthy conversation with deacon Rob Moser, a warm, well-spoken, unassuming man from Grace and Peace OPC in California, MD. I knew Rob, or at least I thought I did. I had met him via Zoom when his local church reached out to OPC Disaster Response for a member of their church, whose house had flooded and needed repair. But now was an opportunity to talk face to face. 

After sitting down in a lounge area in Fischer Hall on the Wheaton College campus, Rob readily shared with me the tragic story of his only son who died from a heroin overdose. He’s surprisingly open about it, in the hopes that others can be encouraged, but admittedly, I was caught off-guard. Rob described the battle with their son over his addiction as being exhausting, both physically and financially. He related the years of torment and then the tragic end, where his son was found on the couch, in their home. The battle was finally over, but in its wake, left unimaginable pain for his wife, his daughter and him. Throughout this tumultuous time, Rob was open with his church, and they supported the Mosers, in love and in prayer. 

It’s been six years of grief now, but Rob, through the sadness, seems uniquely energized by what has happened. He knows the Lord has sustained and grown him. This tragedy has, by God’s grace, allowed him to reach out in a distinctive way in an area of town near his home, known for drugs and deep desperation. Rob recounted how he met a young woman hanging around a store, begging for money. He got her something to eat and she quickly confided in him that she was an addict, that she wanted very badly to get help, and added, “you probably wouldn’t understand.” Of course, Rob knew all too well and God was using Rob’s story to open a door. 

The woman explained that she had a job interview coming up and needed proper clothes. He offered to take her to the store, and stressed that it was, “in the name of Jesus.” He explained that the money for the clothes (and the meal she had just eaten) would come from his church. She was receptive and even expressed interest in attending church with him the next day. Sadly, Rob never saw her after that night, even after some searching. He’s encouraged to know that a seed had been planted. 

As I listened, I realized, this kind of conversation can’t happen remotely. It made me thankful for Rob’s openness and the reminder that the Lord uses all our challenges for His good. This is one big part of what the Summit is about, and I imagined conversations something like this happening frequently over those three days.

The Summit ended on Saturday, after lunch and some final goodbyes. Mine and Rob’s included. 

Please pray with the CDM that that the deacons who attended were encouraged and readied for the challenges of their Kingdom work in the local church, and that long-term relationships were begun.

 


Read more...

CDM Meeting in Clarkston, Georgia

The Committee on Diaconal Ministries met for their

stated bi-annual meetings on April 7–8. This year, they met at

Redeemer OPC in Atlanta, Georgia, the hosting church for

the Clarkston Refugee Ministry, which the CDM supports.

This meeting was an opportunity for many of the members

of the CDM to visit the refugee ministry for the first

time. “[Pastors Weldeyesus and Tamirat’s] fervor for the gospel

and their heart for people was wonderful to experience.

Clearly they have a gift for reaching into the lives of those

who have lost country, home, and precious relationships,”

shared committee member Ron de Ru.

CDM member Seth Long agreed. “I was most impressed

with sitting in the living rooms of families who have fled persecution

and danger . . . and the ways they are desiring to now

provide for their families in a land and culture much different

from their own. It was truly wonderful to see how the Lord in

his good providence is gathering families to be connected to

the gospel outreach work of the church, caring for the spiritual

and physical needs of the stranger in our midst.”
[This article was originally published in the June 2022 Edition of New Horizons]

Read more...

May Ukraine Crisis Fund Update

May 16, 2022

To date, the OPC Committee on Diaconal Ministries has received over $623,230.00 in donations for the Ukrainian Crisis!

We thank God for the charity of his church and for all those who have sought to aid individuals and churches in crisis. As God is gracious in providing funds for the provision of the most needy across the globe, it is also needful for those resources to be stewarded wisely and in a way that is most effective in filling needs. The OPC Committee on Diaconal Ministries senses the weight of this responsibility to faithfully allocate all funds received. Such a task requires a close-up look into the situation in the region and personal contact with those affected by the war. Administrator for the Committee on Diaconal Ministries David Nakhla seeks to do just that during his time in Eastern Europe as he makes contact specifically with like-minded churches and ministries native to the region.

As of May 16th David, along with Rich Bout, were en route to Lithuania having just visited cities in Hungary and Poland. The Lord was faithful in providing insight along the way as they faced each new day, city, and circumstance. David reported:

“The most needy population is still in Ukraine with scarce resources, yet seeing a hotel filled with just mothers and their children outside Ukraine demonstrates how vulnerable the refugee population is as well. Keep praying for the various needs of the Ukrainian people. It has been encouraging to see the church serving in whatever ways they possibly can: gathering and shipping supplies, coordinating housing and transport, teaching languages, providing teaching and activities for children, etc. We praise the Lord in hearing about how the churches, both in Ukraine, and outside are overflowing with worshippers. It seems the Lord will use this awful situation for the spread of the gospel. Pray to that end. The gospel is truly the only hope.”

Just a few days later, David recounted the “harrowing story of survival in and escape from Mariupol” one woman shared. He conveyed the scene:

“Boiling dirty snow on the sidewalk, fearful of incoming missiles that hit without warning sirens. Due to the lack of water or heat, bathing was not an option for weeks. One lady shared that once she was able to remove her socks, it was like they had become one with her skin. To leave the city, they had to face the difficult decision of whether to brave driving through the supposed “humanitarian corridor” and be shot in the back or braving the humiliating search and interrogation procedures of the Russian army in order to pass through the front into Russia. They opted for the latter and seemed to still be shaken and humiliated by what they endured. . . They are thankful to have found a safe haven with the saints in Lithuania.”

Please keep the people of Ukraine in your prayers, as well as all those in Eastern Europe affected by the war. Specific updates on the work of missionaries and sister churches to aid refugees in the region will be provided as they become available.

Want to know more? A more detailed report of David’s visit will be included in May’s edition of the STORM Report. You can sign up for the newsletter here.


Read more...