Not Exactly the Lazy Days of Summer
by Trish Duggan
OPC Short-Term Missions and Disaster Response Communications Coordinator
Summer conjures up thoughts of longer, warmer, less stressful days. On paper it can appear to be a less productive time, but the somewhat slower pace allows for the Committee on Diaconal Ministries to concentrate on some crucial, behind the scenes work, as their duties continue to expand.
David Nakhla, in addition to his duties as Short-Term Missions and Disaster Response Coordinator, serves as the Administrator for the Committee on Diaconal Ministries. He is currently attending the 87th annual OPC General Assembly at Dordt University, reporting on the past year's work of the CDM, including the newly established Refugee Ministry Subcommittee.
The RMS has been working diligently to collect information from churches in the OPC who are or have been involved in refugee ministry. The RMS hopes to centralize that information and share it with all OPC congregations in order to encourage denomination-wide interest and participation in this critical ministry.
Among other reports, David presented a video to the commissioners at GA of the past work of OPC Disaster Response in Midland, Michigan. CDM Disaster Response Subcommittee member and Midland volunteer, John Voss commented on the video, "I like that it showed the variety of folks that worked out there. It made me realize how many of those people were NOT construction people, but came from many backgrounds and careers, yet they took time and energy to help out and add their skills to the project. I hope and pray that it will show that same thing to the many others out there that think they would not be useful, but really would be." Watch the video!
Not surprisingly, OPC Short-Term Missions 2021 took a hit once again due to the COVID-19 regulations that lingered into the spring of this year. Borders continued to be closed indefinitely this spring and travel was still tricky, so planning summer service just couldn't happen as usual. Praise the Lord that the Boardwalk Chapel has continued to be open with a full staff and volunteers coming weekly. One recent week-long volunteer encourages others thinking about volunteering at the Chapel, "I would say you should definitely go. This trip was an amazing experience. I got to see how God works in people and I learned better how to tell others about the hope that I have."
In June the CDM hosted a deacon event, "Continuing the Conversation", where over 100 local deacons participated in a one-and-a-half-hour Zoom call. The call was broken into several segments, including breakout rooms, where 7-8 deacons were able to meet in a smaller group to discuss more personally the past year's challenges and blessings. One participant summed up the purpose of this event in his takeaway, "We have a network of like-called brothers to assist and encourage one another to serve more effectively and efficiently to God's glory." Did you know there are nearly 1,000 deacons in the OPC? And, Lord willing, a deacon podcast will be released in the fall of this year.
The CDM continues to work diligently and prayerfully on many other "behind the scenes" projects, such as: continued deacon training, ongoing OPC Disaster Response support, refugee ministry, denominational-level aid requests, supporting the local deacon, missionary deacon support as well as OPC Short-Term Missions support, as they seek to serve the church in Jesus' name. Please pray for this Committee as they work diligently to oversee the many aspects of diaconal ministry.