Dear brothers and sisters in our Lord,
My wife and I have been warmly welcomed at Zion PRC and are very blessed to be among the saints there. I am very thankful for the men on Zion’s council and the DMC and for the friendship and good working relationship we have together. Things are going quite well and I am much enjoying the work.
What follows is a brief summary of what has taken place thus far and some things regarding what is planned going forward.
I am currently taking classes at Calvin Theo logical Seminary toward a Master of Theology degree (ThM) with emphasis on Missions/ Evangelism. In each class I am conducting research and writing papers from a missions perspective.
One of my classes last semester was on I & II Thessalonians. In that class we studied Paul’s mission work in Thessalonica and the subjects brought up in I and II Thessalonians, which he wrote early on in his mission labors. My second class was on the history of worship. My paper in that class was on how mission work was conducted in the days of Augus tine, considering specifically what Augustine’s experience was like as a convert/catechumen going through the catechumenate and being baptized while receiving instruction from Ambrose.
From now on I plan to take no more than one class at a time, so that I have sufficient time to devote myself to other labors. In this fall semester I am enrolled in just one class. It is called ThM Research Methodology, and is on how to conduct the research and write my Master’s thesis. At the present time my inten tion is to write on the subject of eschatology and missions. Paul frequently talked about the return of Christ when conducting his mission work. The thought would be to conduct research on the specific points he mentioned and how this can be applied today in the work of missions.
I have been and will be continuing to conduct research on what God teaches us in Scripture on the principles and methods of missions. The subject of the history of missions is quite important as well, and I am doing research on this also.
In May, I led a presentation/discussion entitled “Fishers of Men” in one of the breakout/discus sion sectionals during the Missions Conference put on by Trinity PRC and the DMC. Later this month (September) I am scheduled to give an evangelism lecture at Hope PRC (Redlands), followed by another one in October at SW PRC.
Working with Evangelism Committees With the help of our evangelism committees, I am beginning to put together a list of contacts. So far we have communicated with contacts in Texas, Minnesota (north of Minneapolis), North Dakota, Alabama, and Hungary. I have travelled quite a bit this summer, assisting our churches and our sister church in Northern Ireland with pulpit supply. As this begins to wind down a bit this fall, my wife and I plan to travel to visit with some of the contacts we have and to witness to others in their area. We are working on coming up with more ways to start communicating with those who are making use of our sermons and written material online. Some of these people who are visiting our websites are leaving comments. If they leave their name along with their comment, it may be possible to locate them. For example, a man left a comment regarding a sermon preached at one of our churches. My wife is on FaceBook and she looked up his name on FaceBook, found him and sent him a FaceBook message letting him know that I would like to talk with him on the phone. He very quickly provided his phone number and I called him and we talked for awhile. This is just one way that we can work together to start communi cating with those who are watching sermons, listening to podcasts, or reading our material online.
We are also analyzing website stats. I have asked all of our evangelism committees to provide us with any stats they have concerning the location of the hits they are getting on either SermonAudio, their own website, their FaceBook page, etc. I also had very helpful conversations with Jordan Van Baren about the RFPA stats, and with Brian Key about the Reformed Witness Hour stats.
A thirty-six your old man named Adam has emailed us. Hungary, being a country in Europe, falls under the work of domestic missions. He has translated a number of works for the website of Covenant PRC in Northern Ireland and has also learned much by listening to the sermons there and reading material that they have posted.
After talking about his own spiritual history and the current ecclesiastical situation in Hungary, he writes:
The reason why I am writing you (is) that I would like to kindly ask about your opinion about the following thing:
What are the circumstances where PRCA would take into consideration one church planting in Hungary? I know the workers are few and by the Grace of God the doors are open by the Holy Spirit in Asia, thus the harvest might be bigger there, but is there anything that could help to raise the chances (at least) that a good Reformed Church with Dutch Heritage would consider Hungary as a target for a church planting mission? Or at least providing a little help in that?
He goes on to say that he knows one family of five that he expects will likely be interested, and also a number of others. He expressed agreement with us on the doctrine of the life long marriage bond and said that this was one of the main reasons he was contacting us specifically.
He went on to say that he was willing to open his house in the airport area of Budapest for all gatherings and Sunday worship in the begin ning.
We intend to use both audio and visual means to find contacts and begin working with them, with a view to hopefully gathering together groups of contacts. I am working on a series of messages/podcasts and plan to add intros/outros encouraging people to contact us. After completing a podcast series, the plan would be to make a series of YouTube video shorts (i.e. 1 minute), perhaps 20 or 30 of them for starters.
There is much work to be done, and as time goes on the number of those to whom our Lord will lead us will likely continue to grow. Should our Lord lead you to anyone desiring to receive instruction, please direct them to me at the contact info listed above. May our heav enly Father continue to bless us as we labor together in this important work.
In the service of our Lord,
Rev. J. Laning