The LINK – November 2020

Church in Mission Edition

Faith expressing itself in love…

Thank you for taking time to read this.  Our LINK publication this quarter features the work of Missio Link International’s Church in Mission.   In addition to Pastor Sam Polson’s reflection on his church’s long-time experience with MLI and Emil Toader’s emerging vision for MLI’s facilitating role among Romanian congregations (see inside), I’m very pleased to share with you here the outline of a new church-based initiative.

The initiative is called “Inside Out.” Inside” refers to spiritual formation. “Out” reflects community transformation.  Combining them here in a simple phrase reinforces our belief that healthy Christians nurture themselves on a disciplined diet of discipleship AND missional engagement: in other words, interior character growth expressed in external gospel witness.  As the Apostle Paul said: “Faith expressing itself in love.”

The ultimate outcome we are working toward here is the transformation of lives in and through God’s gospel among God’s people in America and Romania, a mutual and reciprocal enrichment of Christ’s body bearing redemptive witness to a broken world.  A measurable objective toward this end is the development of robust partnerships of Christian congregations in the US and Romania: namely, cross-cultural partnerships that are purposed and positioned in their contexts to equip and encourage one another to live more intentionally as disciples called to extend God’s kingdom from the INSIDE OUT!

Perhaps your church is already a ministry partner with MLI, and you are looking for a higher level of engagement?  Maybe your congregation is interested to explore the Inside Out initiative as an entry way into an international partnership with MLI?  In either case, or for reasons not mentioned here, we would very much like to talk further with you or your church leadership about this emerging initiative.

Of course, effectively partnering churches across cultures is something that MI and MLI have done successfully for more than twenty years now.  What is new about Inside Out is that it provides a way for congregations in both contexts (Romania and America) to enrich and equip, and hold each other accountable to making a “glocal” (global + local) difference that includes both rigorous discipleship among Christians and meaningful mission in the world.

Kenny Woodhull, President of MI

Experience in Romania

Romania quietly moves into your heart and takes up permanent residence there. That joy-filled occupation first occurred, (not so quietly) for my wife and I when we traveled to that wonderful country in 1995 for the adoption of our son. We brought back with us not only a beautiful  two year old boy, but also a desire to know on a deeper level our son’s homeland and our new “adopted country.” Very soon, the Lord providentially connected us with Pastor Eugen Groza, founder of Missio Link International, and pastor of Bethany Baptist church in Timisoara. What a beloved personal friendship and impactful partnership for our congregation blossomed over the next many years!

It would be impossible for me to convey the significant influence that our partnerships in Romania have had on the missional development and spiritual formation of so many people in our church: through participation of Romanian brothers and sisters in our gatherings, youth and college mission trips, construction projects, joint prayer initiatives, shared preaching and teaching in our church services and groups, ministry training retreats, couples conferences, community outreach events, Skype and Face-time conversations. Well… I hope you begin to sense just how impactful our partnerships have been.

I am so grateful for these nearly  twenty-five years of gospel relationships fostered through Missio Link International and I look forward to what the Lord will do as they continue and grow in the days ahead. My life and ministry as a pastor and the life of our entire congregation have been incredibly impacted by the relationships we have formed with fellow believers in Romania. My prayer is that many more of my pastoral colleagues and their congregations will experience the impact of an Inside Out partnership through Missio Link International.

Sam Polson, West Park Baptist Church

MLI: A Community Leader…

For over twenty years we at MLI have come alongside Romanian evangelical church communities in less resourced areas of the country to foster and encourage growth and service, edification of the body, and outreach in the community. Cross-cultural gospel partnerships are a key component of our ministry. Such relationships grow into beautiful friendships and opportunities to learn from each other and journey together in accomplishing God’s call to mission.

Inside Out represents a step further in focusing our efforts to encourage local churches to turn the rich blessing of inner spiritual formation around and invest it for the benefit of the local community in visible acts of service, bold witness and loving action going together. There is a need for mission far and near and God works through the local church to accomplish that call.

We are so grateful to our brothers and sisters from churches in the USA who have journeyed with us in Romania over the past years, and we extend a warm invitation to others who are willing to learn and serve together.

Emil Toader, President of MLI

Alpinis Update from Kenny and Emil…

If you will allow us to borrow a line from the Beatles: “with a little help from my friends,” we can continue to make progress on the Alpinis Expansion project!  Due to the good news that we were able to raise 200K for the project pre-COVID in the final quarter of 2019, and the bad news of fund-raising challenges during COVID-19 constraints, our adjusted fund-raising goal is now $150,000 (before 12.31.20). Due to the recent and unsolicited generosity of a ministry friend, we are already a third of the way there!  That means, we need an additional 100K to reach our goal and continue with the next phase of construction.  Please consider your capacity to help us reach our recalibrated 2020 goal before the end of the year!

*Notice: exclusively for 2020, the tax deductible donation cap has been suspended by the IRS: meaning, there is NO limit to the charitable amount individuals may give to nonprofit organizations this year!

A Word About Alpinis…

I knew Alpinis would be a special place when I first saw the site in 2000.  As I watched shepherds  tending their sheep grazing  on the steep hillside, I imagined our good Shepherd using this site to lead HIS flock to greener pastures where they would be refreshed in body and soul through the ministries of MLI.

Now 20 years later I can attest to the fulfillment of that mission.  Many have found Christ or grown in their faith while at youth events, leadership conferences, mission team retreats and more. 

Additionally, three generations of my family have now visited and have had our lives impacted too. We are  so excited to support by prayer and  funding and to see this beautiful new facility completed. We know our GOOD SHEPHERD will be pleased because many still need to hear His voice.

Lois Rosenberry, Table of Ten Supporter