Each week we are asking our congregation to be in prayer for one of our supported missionaries or local mission agency. This week we ask that we each bring John and Letha Kerl, our missionaries serving in Europe and Russia, to God in prayer.
John took a three-month sabbatical this past spring, beginning with a week-long silent retreat focusing on John 15:1-5, taking time in the French vineyards to study the cultivation of the vine and its yearly cycle. He writes, “There were some rich ‘aha’ moments of understanding at a deeper level the spiritual lessons one can learn from the vine. The grape vine is a wild vine that will go anywhere it wants. There must be careful pruning from the very beginning of the growing season right through to the onset of winter when it enters the dormant stage. I was in a posture of asking God what needed to be pruned in my life in order to thrive in life and ministry and to produce abundant fruit. It was also a time to slow down and to discern more clearly what are the priorities of life and to let go of that which is not.”
While John was on sabbatical, Letha held down the fort with their Regional Coordinator responsibilities. Letha traveled to Stockholm to sign a MOU (Memorandum of Understanding) between Equmeniakyrkan and Evangelical Covenant Church. This document affirms our long-standing partnership with our mother church, the Swedish Covenant Church, now named Equmeniakyrkan.
Letha then traveled to Malmö for three days of meetings with our Covenant missionaries serving in Europe. She reports, “The first day was focused on the Mosaics Project which seeks to serve the marginalized in Europe. This was followed by two days of Serve Globally business meetings which included 8 hours dedicated to the Financial Jumpstart program, funded by the Lilly Foundation, helping pastors and missionaries learn best practices concerning personal financial stewardship. These sessions were highly beneficial to all and were greatly appreciated by our staff.”
More recently the Kerls participated in the Gather ’18 annual meeting of the denomination and have met with Serve Globally leaders in an annual strategy session. This past week they were at CHIC with our students! As part of the Serve Globally team they were involved each morning in a simulation experience about refugees.
The Kerls just learned that they will need to find a new apartment to live in as they return to France and ask us to pray with them to quickly locate a new place to live.