The invitation to speak came from their missions director Steve Salowitz, who is a friend of our congregation and a member of our Missions Conference. Steve is also a missionary with the Seed Company in Kenya and Tanzania in Africa. He served with Wycliffe Bible Translation while living in Tanzania for many years. His home and office is in Two Harbors, MN.
Since he and their missions committee were putting together their first conference there was some apprehension as to how many missionaries and how many church people would attend. Steve was hoping to have at least ten missionaries come to their first conference.
On Friday evening Linda and I attended a Chinese dinner at the church that was prepared by some Christian Chinese people who have their own worship service at Lakeview. It was a wonderful meal and we engaged conversations with several Chinese students who attend college in Duluth. They told us that many Chinese students are being saved through Christ and will be returning to China to share their faith with the people of China.
Friday and Saturday evening services were very well attended beyond Steve’s expectations and the amount of missionaries in attendance. The Pastor, Jeff Burton was also surprised and excited.
Our messages were full of examples of our own church success with our Missions Conferences and financial blessings over the past 25 years. It seemed to inspire the people! Sunday morning there were two services where over 600 people attended. The presence of the Lord’s Spirit had seemed to crescendo and there was a liberty to minister.
I received a phone call from Pastor Jeff Burton on Wednesday in which he shared his excitement that the totals from the commitments made during the conference exceeded $135,000. That did not include a vehicle that had been pledged. He told me that figure doubled what the annual church missions budget was for the year!!
The Lakeview Covenant Church had “cast their bread upon the waters” and they were already experiencing returns of a congregation that had become excited about investing in God’s Kingdom through their first Missions Conference! What a joy!
- Pastor Virgil Amundson