NLC Connect May 22 2024

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6:30 pm - Prayer Gathering, Room 113
6:30 pm- Worship Team rehearsal

5:30 pm - CELEBRATE RECOVERY meal, worship, groups

Ron & Margarita Carrasco church wedding and reception (by invitation) - Fresno
  • Foundations in Finance begins June 9th - Room 111 (all are welcome!)
  • Come meet and encourage others over coffee and snacks - Dining Room
  • Elder Chinoh Aquino preaching
  • Testimonies and Baptisms of Alex Rivera and Erika Nava
11:15 a.m. - FAMILY MEAL
  • The Kitchen Team is providing ham, pilaf, and green salad. Please bring a dessert to share. Thanks!
5:00 p.m. - NLC CREW  (youth group) - Room 207


6:00 pm - CR Worship Team rehearsal

6:00 a.m. - Men’s Bible Study on JOSHUA - Dining Room
6:30 p.m. - The Healing Rooms of Dinuba - West patio of Worship Center
7:00 p.m. - GRIEFSHARE group - Rooms 114/115
6:30 pm - Prayer Gathering, Room 113
6:30 pm- Worship Team rehearsal

5:30 pm - CELEBRATE RECOVERY meal, worship, groups
  • Foundations in Finance begins June 9th - Room 111 (all are welcome!)
  • Come meet and encourage others over coffee and snacks - Dining Room
  • Pastor Mark preaching
  • Recognition of Graduates and Conferral of Diploma (Megan Barnes)
11:00 a.m. - FUNDRAISER to support Hartland Junior Campers
5:00 p.m. - NLC CREW  (youth group) - Room 207


All-Church Campout, Morro Bay State Park
  • Arrive any day or time after 4 p.m. on Tuesday
  • Leave any day or after church by 11 a.m. on Sunday

  • Campout Worship Service, Morro Bay State Park - Communion
  • Otto Ekk preaching at NLC Worship Service, Dinuba - Communion and NLC Kids, and Foundations in Finance launches


40th Anniversary and Retirement Celebration
for Pastor Mark & Laurie
Sunday, June 16, 10a.m. - noon

From NLC Treasurer Ken Sawatzky (on behalf of Trustees)
The church will be sharing a love gift with Pastor Mark & Laurie on June 16th,
in celebration of their years of ministry.
If you would like to donate to the love gift for Pastor Mark & Laurie,
please designate your check or online gift to NLC as "Pastor Love Gift".
Thank you.

connect through giving

Received Last Week (5/19):…….... $5,506
Received this year to date:...……...$257,180
Budget to Date: ……..................... $292,558
Budget Goal: …………...…...…..........$400,342
Needed Weekly: …………….…........…$10,226
  • Pray for Paulie Romero, who was hospitalized and will be moving into a private care hospice home in Visalia. He is receiving comfort care. Pray for Evelyn and their family as they spend these precious days with him, rejoicing in his hope in Jesus.
  • Lafayette Brooks is home from the hospital, recovering.
  • Karen Madrid's mother, Emma, and Elva Cardona's sister, Connie, have not been doing well recently. 
  • Remember others dealing with cancer: Eugene Enns, Carolina Coralles, Lanisha Washington, and Glen Zimmerman. Carolina reported Sunday that her cancer has moved into her lungs. 
  • Pray for health and peace for: Doris Siebert, Marilyn Chappell, Louie & Michelle Perez, Mary Salazar, Zach Clemmer, and Alex Barnes. Alex has had a fever for several days this week, and Louie has had blood pressure problems.
  • Keep our SEARCH TEAM and ELDERS in prayer as they lead into the pastoral transition. Remember to use the prayer calendar to keep each member in prayer as well as the entire process, especially team leader Tristan Ringhofer.
  • John & Geri Warkentin returned safely from Africa. Otto & Marjorie are in Portugal for another week.
  • Pray for our missionaries: Johnny & Denise Esposito in SE Asia, Pablo & Maricela Chavez in Peru, Cecil & Tracy Ramos in Thailand, Jonathan & Joanna Gutierrez in Portugal, and Ruddy & Cristina Ancheta in San Francisco.
  • Pray for peace as violence and war affect so many families and children in Ukraine, Israel, Gaza, in the Middle East, in parts of Africa.
  • Pray for our graduates as they complete their studies and prepare for the next step.

40 Years of Ministry Highlights - #6: "Travel"

My life began in Cali, Colombia, though I didn't take my first breath until I was born in Kansas. I grew up hearing my parents talk about their two years with Christian Service in South America, and loved those evenings when my dad would get out the slide projector, set up the screen, and show the pictures he'd taken from those early years of their marriage in a foreign country. I was hooked. I'd caught the "travel bug". I've loved traveling my whole life, and ministry has provided Laurie and me many opportunities to do so.

For this episode of Ministry Highlights, I'm going to list the places we've toured and some of the people we've visited, and a little description of the purpose of the trip. Before I do, here's the real reason I call this a highlight. I've loved seeing God at work through people in different places than where I've lived, and how sincere they live their faith even though it looks so different than the way I have lived mine. The more I've traveled, the bigger God seems to me. While at the same time, the smaller the world feels as our hearts have been touched by the lives of those we've met.

In all, Laurie and I have been to 24 countries on 5 continents besides the US, so far...

1979 - Europe and Great Britain - Mark
West Germany, The Netherlands, England, Scotland - I spent a summer on a Teen Missions International team turning a farm into a Christian campground that's still in operation today.

When Laurie and I started having children, it was this trip of mine that motivated us to encourage each of our kids to take a similar international missions trip during their high school years. We hoped to broaden their perspective, have them gain some independence, and see God's hand at work in a wider world than their hometown. 
  • Allison went to Canada with Ministry Quest, and then spent another summer in Japan with Multiply while she was a student in college.
  • Scott went to the Azores with Touch the World out of New Jersey. After college he spent most of a year on the island of Antique, Philippines, studying permaculture.
  • Katie went to Haiti with the Celebrant Singers, and in college spent part of a summer in Albania (and Greece) while visiting her roommate's family there.
  • Emily went to the San Blas islands north of Panama in native Kuna territory with Teen Missions International. She later went to Mexico with Mark to build homes with Radiant Church in Visalia, and spent a college summer internship in Kyrgyzstan with Biola University.

1981 - Eastern and Western Europe - Mark
West Germany, France, Austria, Liechtenstein, Luxembourg, Switzerland, Czechoslovakia and East Germany (when they were still part of the Soviet communist bloc), The Netherlands, and Belgium - Tabor College concert tour, ministering in churches and local auditoriums as well as visiting important sites like the Dachau concentration camp and Mennonite heritage sites.

1994, 1998, 2000, 2002 - North America - Mark (2008 - Laurie, Katie, and Emily)
Canada - Because the US and Canada were part of one Mennonite Brethren denomination, meetings of the denomination as well as the MB seminary (I was on the board) were held in alternate years in each country. The nations parted ways in 2002.

2005 - Central America - Mark, Laurie, Allison, and Scott
Mexico - Our church went on a regular mission trip to a campesino village (Croc) on the outskirts of Pescaria, a suburb of the large city of Monterrey in Nuevo Leon. We built cement houses, offered the children a Bible School, hosted a church yard sale with items we had brought, and worshiped with the local church that hosted us.

2009 - South America - Mark & Laurie
Ecuador, Panama - Visiting friends, Scott & Kristi Edgren, and the Avant Ecuador missionary team. Laurie and I provided a spiritual retreat for the missionaries to encourage them in their work. Scott & Kristi were part of our church in Kansas. We ate fried jungle ants!

2016 - Europe - Mark & Laurie
The Netherlands, Germany, France, Switzerland - This trip was to celebrate Laurie getting her masters degree. We spent 4 days in Amsterdam and then boarded a Viking cruise on the Rhine River with Milt & Bendta Friesen.

2017 - Asia - Mark
India, Japan - Dr. AJ Yesu & Reena are dear friends, along with their daughters Priscilla, Sujeya, and Mely (all currently in medical studies). I stayed in their home while participating in a bible school graduation, a building dedication, a faculty discussion, and tour of regional ministries. I also preached in two churches in Hyderabad and in rural villages, and encouraged Christian families in their homes. All in six days. The flights took me around the world in 8 days, from San Francisco to London to Hyderabad to Delhi to Tokyo and back to San Francisco. When I got home I told Laurie I had felt God's call to return to pastoral ministry. Six months later I submitted my application to this church.

2018 - Middle East - Mark & Laurie and Mark's parents
Israel, Palestinian West Bank - Originally meant to be part of a tour group, we planned and took this trip anyway after the group canceled. Our Palestinian Christian guide was the same man that travel host, Rick Steves, has used. He took us to Bethlehem, Jericho, and into his home in the West Bank where he opened our eyes to a broader understanding of the peoples who live in the Holy Land. We also stayed two nights inside the walls of the Old City of Jerusalem at a guesthouse operated by Christians. We visited the Western Wall, Yad Vashem (the Holocaust museum), Nazareth and Capernaum, the Sea of Galilee, the Jordan River, the Mediterranean Sea, and floated in the Dead Sea among many other places.

2022 - Europe, Asia, and Africa - Mark & Laurie (sabbatical)
Turkey (which sits on two continents), Greece, Tanzania - We toured the 7 cities mentioned in the Revelation (including Ephesus, Laodicea, and Colossae) with a group from Spring Hill College through Tutku Tours. Then we spent 10 days with Mark's cousin, Virginia & Paul Tanner, who are missionaries in Kilwa Masoka, Tanzania. There we were able to participate with the Umoja Wa Kinesa (Unity of Churches) organization that is planting churches in 70 Muslim villages in the Lindi region. We encouraged the AIM missionaries there and enjoyed a wonderful safari.

2023 - Portugal - Mark & Laurie
Portugal - We joined Otto & Marjorie Ekk and the Friends of Portugal for a vision trip, seeing how ministry and business work hand-in-hand to build relationships and the church.

2024 and BEYOND
So far our plans include a summer of family trips to places like Colorado and Kansas, and to Hawaii in September to celebrate our 40th wedding anniversary. The Lord willing, we'll have many more opportunities to see his wonderful work in the lives of people in many other places to come.

Thank you for giving Laurie and me the opportunity to travel to be with our family in Kansas over the years. It's been a priority for us, so the 4 weeks of vacation I've been given as well as the 2-month sabbatical after my first 4 years made it possible to be in the lives of our daughter's family as well as Laurie's mom's life and both of our sisters' families' lives.

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