2018 Menominee Missions: Photos and Testimonials
MENOMINEE MISSIONS 2018
Menominee Missions (formerly known as "Venture Missions") took place at Menominee OPC in Zoar, Wisconsin, from July 10 to 16, 2018.
A short-term mission team of nine from three OPC churches in the Presbytery of the Midwest came to Zoar, where they received training in the culture and language of the Menominee people before helping Menominee OPC present its annual VBS for children from the nearby reservation.
This year's Menominee Missions team:
- Anne Lehan - Bethel OPC (Wheaton, IL)
- Zoe Meadows - Bethel OPC (Wheaton, IL)
- Gary Moore - Bethel OPC (Wheaton, IL)
- Helen Matthews - Apple Valley OPC (Neenah, WI)
- Lydia Fudge - Apple Valley OPC (Neenah, WI)
- Una Vander Waal - Apple Valley OPC (Neenah, WI)
- Elsi Vander Waal - Apple Valley OPC (Neenah, WI)
- Christopher Robison - New Covenant OPC (Joliet, IL)
- Elizabeth Robison - New Covenant OPC (Joliet, IL)
THE KIDS LOVED THE SONGS
by Una Vander Waal (Apple Valley OPC, Appleton, WI)
While our ministry team was smaller this year, we had the opportunity to meet so many of the neighborhood Menominee kids. Most days during the week, we would canvass in the morning, sometimes picking up kids as we went. Often they were excited to help us and pass along flyers on their bikes, or just ride along as we walked. Returning for my second year, I was excited to see a little friend from last year again and other familiar faces! Many of the kids are the same way, and love to see the team members they remember from years past. While at times it can be a challenge to keep the kids’ attention, it’s interesting to talk with them about the skits we put on, and what parts they remember most. One thing that stuck out to me was that the kids just loved listening to the songs we brought and would ask me when we could sing again. Please pray that they remember what they have heard and sung, the love we have for them, but most importantly our Savior, the reason for it all.
HOW CAN WE NOT THEN LOVE OUR NEIGHBORS?
by Zoe Meadows (Bethel OPC, Wheaton, IL)
This was my fourth year participating in Menominee Missions, but it was just as special as my first year. Every year, I feel I grow closer to the children we minister to on the reservation and at Menominee OPC. These children need so badly to be loved; most of them come from broken homes, and some of them don't get enough food to eat each day. I am so glad that I can serve God by giving them a little bit of love, even if it is just for a week. Yet, the only one who can give them all the love they need, that can truly satisfy their hunger, is Jesus. During and after Menominee Missions, I really began thinking about God's love and what an essential part of His character it is. He loves us even when we come to Him in smelly, filthy rags with burdens of sin on our back. How can we not then love our neighbors? How can we not share this love to the Menominee people who need to hear it so badly? Deeply influenced by the Catholic church, the Menominee people need to hear that we can do nothing to make God love us. He will only love us because He chooses to. This was a message I needed to hear as well.
INFORMATIVE, CHALLENGING, ENCOURAGING
by Elizabeth Robison (New Covenant OPC, Joliet, IL)
My time at Menominee Missions was a uniquely informative, challenging, and encouraging time. It was a great blessing to learn about the Menominee culture, history, and language as well as the long history of Menominee OPC in Zoar, WI (started almost the same year as the OPC itself!) from members of the church. Because I was raised in northern Wisconsin (right next to Menominee, MI), I felt a special interest in learning about the people who are native to the area in which I grew up. One of the most challenging parts of the mission trip was interacting with the Menominee children in light of the history we were told. As one church member related, the Menominee are "a people who survived," and the idea of "survival" was seen in the poverty and lack of proper parental involvement the children clearly displayed. Though the Menominee people are actively seeking to bring back their language and build up their community, the brutal effects of forced assimilation and displacement are still quite visible. Also visible, however, are the effects of Menominee OPC in the community. As we went from house to house, inviting everyone in the neighborhood to our VBS, we were recognized numerous times by children and adults alike, with some even saying that they had been waiting for us. The Menominee children seemed to have an intuitive knowledge of "Creator God" and were both interested and perplexed to learn that God the creator had a son, and this son was Jesus. Pray that the gospel, proclaimed to these children many times over the course of four days, would sink into their hearts and that the Holy Spirit would open their eyes to understand it. It is our hope and prayer that God would call many Menominee children to Himself, raising them up so that they themselves would reach out to the children in their community, and take our place in doing so.
HONORED TO SHARE THE GOSPEL
by Helen Matthews (Apple Valley OPC, Appleton, WI)
This was my first year at Menominee Missions. The experience was bittersweet. God called together a small team. We had great fellowship as we served together. I also really enjoyed the devotional times. Throughout the week, I was reminded afresh of the church's unity in Christ and of 1 Corinthians 12:12-27. "There is one body, but it has many parts. But all its many parts make up one body. It is the same with Christ..." It is wonderful to see God working through his church. The hard part was seeing the great need. Several of the Menominee children have experienced difficult circumstances including hunger and much pain and loss. But like all people, their biggest need is God. I was honored to share the gospel through the Menominee Missions VBS outreach. Many of the children who came to VBS, had also attended in previous years. I pray that if it's the Lord's will, the gospel would take root in the hearts of little ones and their families and that many would be added to his church.
Lydia Fudge, Apple Valley OPC, Appleton, WI: