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Chilliwack congregations plant churches abroad

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Disciple Making International (DMI), a division of MB Mission and Service International (MBMSI), is pursuing a new initiative to plant Mennonite Brethren churches overseas, and a sold-out crowd of 350 heard about it from two participating pastors at DMI’s annual banquet May 15 at King Road MB Church, Abbotsford, B.C.

Pastors Reg Toews of Greendale MB and Gary Simpson of Broadway MB (both in Chilliwack, B.C.) were featured speakers, along with MBMSI North America mobilization coordinator Sam Dick. Both Toews’ and Simpson’s congregations have committed to a program of church planting in Thailand and the Philippines, respectively. Both pastors have travelled to those areas.

The new strategy couples evangelism with follow-up discipleship in new churches, supported and encouraged by Mennonite Brethren experience and resources. Since its inception, DMI has been effective at developing evangelistic outreach tools, stressing personal testimonies to tell of Christ’s
salvation. Under the program, thousands of people have accepted Jesus. In most cases, they have joined local (non-MB) evangelical churches with which DMI has partnered.

In addition to Greendale’s support of MB church planting work in Thailand, and Broadway’s support for MB plants in the Philippines, other MB churches are contributing financial support to these ventures. DMI and participants in MBMSI’s 6-week or 10-month TREK program are helping to facilitate the church planting strategy in the two fields. Meanwhile, DMI continues its primary focus, evangelistic outreach trips, to many countries each year.

The banquet evening concluded with a prayer by Peter Loewen of Abbotsford, B.C., who founded what is now DMI in 1993, underwriting the costs with the profits of his kitchen cabinet manufacturing business. After operating the ministry for a decade, he negotiated with MBMSI to take over the mission work in 2003; he retired as founder of his business this May.

—Barrie McMaster

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