Missions

At First Pres, we live our faith through service. We love and serve in response to Christ’s call and the needs around us - read more about the current needs of our partners below.

We share God’s love with the world by partnering with local, national, and global organizations, diverse in their missions and locations. They share a common goal of Christ love in action. We send our members into these partnerships in fun, creative ways. Engage partners have structured ongoing and unique opportunities to serve together, whether through tutoring, family fun nights, work projects, social interaction, or mission trips.

We invite you to learn more about all of our mission partners, and take the next step. Discover how offering your God-given time and talent to these worthy partners will change you forever.

Our Engage Partners

What are ENGAGE partners?

First Pres has built missional relationships with a broad range of Christian missions locally, nationally and globally that can offer you life-altering service opportunities. The First Pres Missions Council identified three missions with which First Pres members can easily become engaged through structured, varied, ongoing opportunities to serve together, whether through tutoring, work projects, social interactions or trips. Like all of our mission partners, the Engage Partners are diverse in their missions and locations, but they share at their heart a common goal of fostering Christ’s love in action.

Not sure where to start? Get in touch with the Missions Team for guidance: First Pres Missions Elders, Lou Simon or Erik Peterson.

Outreach Community Ministries

Outreach Community Ministries is based in DuPage County and partners with churches to offer faith-based community service to area residents free of charge. Their goal is to help people realize their God-given potential as uniquely gifted individuals, in their family and community relationships, and in the relationship they can have with God through faith in Christ.

First Pres partners with Outreach through their after-school tutoring program, an educational program that “wraps around” the public school program for children in grades K-5 who have working parents, and need help and encouragement in their school work.

First Pres also supports Outreach through involvement with Jubilee Village, Outreach’s transitional housing program for young mothers. With more than 400 requests for services each year, Jubilee Village staff work with young adult women and single mothers for up to two years to assist the women in transitioning to stable, independent living. The women must secure and maintain employment, attend weekly case management sessions, participate in a weekly community meal with fellow residents and house parents, and attend college or vocational training based on their education/work goals.

APRIL 2020 UPDATES:

In the midst of the stay-at home order, OCM is still at work! Their ministries and programs have had to pivot, but the substance of their work and certainly their mission remains. The staff are creating innovative ways to stay connected and serve the families in their programs.

Students and parents receive e-learning support from OCM teachers daily. Some families have received emergency food boxes, as well as assistance with increased financial need during this time. Board games donated by First Pres were delivered to all the students to help them break up the monotony of each day.

The women at Jubilee Village are doing their best to keep themselves and their child safe during this crisis. Four of the women at Jubilee Village were furloughed from their jobs and also lost their childcare due to the closing of childcare centers. OCM is working with the women to find alternative childcare arrangements which would allow them to find a new job.

How can I get involved?

  • JUNE 2020 UPDATE: Do you have extra time on your hands this summer? OCC has need of may volunteers this summer. Read the whole list of opportunities.
  • APRIL 2020 UPDATE: Please pray that the Jubilee Village mothers, their children and the houseparents remain healthy both physically and emotionally during this tough season.
  • APRIL 2020 UPDATE: Consider joining the OCM’s Concert of Prayer or registering to assist as needs arise.
  • Outreach Community Tutoring: In the fall, impact a child’s future by offering tutoring support for elementary students who need extra help with reading, writing and math at the Outreach Community Center in Carol Stream. In the afternoon, tutors assist an individual student with homework and academic goals while providing a positive adult role model in their lives.
  • Donate to Jubilee Furniture: Save good quality furniture to donate to Outreach’s quality used furniture shop or volunteer in the store in the future. Proceeds support Outreach Community Ministries.
  • Offer a trade service: First Pres members with a trade skill often help maintain and improve the apartments at Jubilee Village. Painters, plumbers, electricians, and handymen/women can offer valuable services!

CONTACT US FOR MORE INFO

YMEN of North Lawndale

Young Men’s Educational Network (YMEN) prepares young men and women who live in North Lawndale in Chicago for leadership by helping them grow in their faith and character, develop a love for learning, and use their talents to serve the broader community. For over 20 years, the partnership between YMEN and First Pres has grown significantly, including joint mission trips to Montana and Uganda, and now with a focus on activities that bring First Pres members together into one-on-one relationships with the youth of YMEN. These young people seek to learn and grow; they need your friendship and encouragement along the way.

APRIL 2020 UPDATE:

The impact from the Covid-19 virus on the North Lawndale community is great. For details, please read a letter from Mike Trout, Executive Director of YMEN.

How can I get involved?

  • JUNE 2020 UPDATE: Again this year our church will be helping plant the YMEN Community Garden at the corner of Cermak Rd and Avers Ave in the Lawndale neighborhood of Chicago. This will be especially meaningful to this community at this time of health, financial and social insecurity in this minority neighborhood. Join us on Monday, June 8, Tuesday, June 9 and/or Wednesday, June 10 from 9:30am to 2:30pm. Volunteers need to plan their own transportation but tools, gloves and masks will be provided. Social Distancing will be done by assigning a single bed to a household to prepare and plant. If you can help, RSVP to Bob Duncan so he can coordinate the schedule.
  • APRIL 2020 UPDATE: Gifts designated YMEN will be given for their operating budget including the funding of their five emergency response funds.
  • Fun in Faith nights at First Pres – First Pres members join with YMEN participants for fun, themed events for individuals and families.
  • Arts Alive – Join a weekly after-school event at the YMEN Center in North Lawndale that brings First Pres members to work with creative students.
  • Community Garden Planing  – First Pres families travel to North Lawndale each summer to prepare garden beds in the community vegetable garden.

CONTACT US FOR MORE INFO

Kids Alive International in the Dominican Republic

Kids Alive has rescued orphans and other vulnerable and forgotten children in 14 countries around the world. The Kids Alive Constanza campus in the Dominican Republic has literally come alive over the last ten years as God and his people have transformed it from a cornfield to a life-transforming campus for at-risk children. The Ark residential care facility has grown to offer permanent shelter, food and education for 50 abandoned or orphaned children, while the school has grown to give private, Christian education to more than 300 children. Each child has a genuine opportunity to break from the material and spiritual poverty that have been haunting his or her family for generations.

In 2017, the First Pres Session approved a grant from the Feid bequest (a gift to First Pres from the estate of Arthur and Marion Feid) to expand classroom and multipurpose facilities on the Kids Alive campus in Constanza. We need members to carry on this legacy of service and building.

APRIL 2020 UPDATES: Read about the ministry on Kids Alive Constanza campus in the O’Brien’s letter to First Pres.

How can I get involved?

  • Mission trips: Throughout the year, First Pres organizes mission trips to the Dominican Republic where we bring presents for 3 Kings Day, build needed infrastructure, run VBS camps, and love the children and experience how God is working in their lives. Consider participating in a future trip.
  • Sponsor a child: The Ark needs a total of nine families to fully fund each child, and there are more than 100 children with no sponsors at this time.

APRIL 2020 UPDATES:

  • Pray that the virus does not sweep through Constanza, or the rest of the DR. The poor medical system there would be overrun, and the results will be devastating for the country. Praise God that no Covid-19 cases have been reported in Constanza yet, although the country has reported 392 cases so far and 10 deaths.
  • Pray for the many families at risk, without food or work, especially those who live off of what they can bring home each day, such as motorcycle taxi drivers and farm workers.
  • Pray for the school children as KA staff figure out how to keep them safe, connected, educated, and nourished at their homes.
  • Pray for the residential children and house parents who are quarantined without assistants, at least until April 13th. The house parents are  homeschooling the children, and preparing meals and entertainment for 32 kids.
  • Pray that God moves hearts of donors to keep the ministry of these children a priority during this time. We know the disruptions in the economy caused by the Coronavirus are enormous and leave no one untouched.

CONTACT US FOR MORE INFO

Our Local Partners

Bridge of Hope Ministry

A First Pres mission for almost 30 years, Bridge of Hope is a transitional housing program for the homeless of DuPage County that is supported by our congregation in conjunction with program partner Bridge Communities, Inc. The typical beneficiaries of the program consist of a female head of household with dependent children, who embark on a journey with us for approximately 2-1/2 years, moving from hopelessness and homelessness to stability and opportunity.

How can I get involved?

  • Vital to the program are volunteer mentors from our congregation who develop caring and supportive relationships with guests. Mentors help and coach guests in making good choices for their families as they strive to move from homelessness to a new life. Opportunities and time commitments vary. Become a mentor. Bridge Communities supplies the initial mentor training in April and September. In addition, BC periodically holds Mentor Universities for ongoing specialized training such as dealing with trauma or how to read a credit report. Since we are working with children, a background check is required.
  • Sponsor a family, in whole or in part. The Missions Council provides enough support for about 1 ½ families per year. The rest of the funding comes through independent gifts.
  • APRIL 2020 UPDATE: Please pray for one of our guests, a single mother who is a hairstylist. Her salon is closed for the duration of Covid-19 shut downs. We are investigating unemployment insurance for her. Fortunately her credit cards are all paid off and she has few recurring bills other than phone, car insurance and food.

CONTACT US FOR MORE INFO

Central DuPage Pastoral Counseling Center (CDPCC)

First Pres founded CDPCC, a faith-based Christian agency that provides affordable, professional pastoral counseling to the public in an ecumenical setting. Pastoral counseling relies on theology and behavorial science working together to provide comprehensive insights into life.

How can I get involved?

  • Give support – Financial gifts designated “CDPCC” are vital to continuing the work of the counseling center.

CONTACT US FOR MORE INFO

DuPage PADS

DuPage Pads offers men, women and children a safe overnight environment. Normally, overnight stays are hosted by various churches throughout the area. As a response to COVID-19, DuPage Pads have shifted to house our homeless guests in area hotels.

How can I get involved?

APRIL 2020 UPDATE: Currently, Pads’ greatest needs are funds that can be used to house guests in hotel rooms. Additionally, the Pads staff has transformed the day site to a fulfillment center which packs and distributes toiletries and food to the guests. During this time of particular stress please consider a monetary donation and please pray for those struggling in our community. We look forward to hosting Pads at First Pres once again, when appropriate.

CONTACT US FOR MORE INFO

Emmaus Ministries

Emmaus Ministries reaches out to men engaged in survival prostitution on the streets of Chicago, men who through a variety of negative life experiences have come to believe this lifestyle is all that is available to them. Through engagement, Emmaus seeks to give them hope that God has a better plan, a specific redeeming plan for them. Through nightly outreach and a daytime drop-in center, Emmaus staff and volunteers build relationships of trust with these men, working together to help them get off the streets.

APRIL 2020 UPDATES: Please read letters from the directors of Emmaus Ministries.

How can I get involved?

  • Emmaus has a variety of volunteer opportunities for First Pres members including an Immersion Night during which members may reach out to these men on the streets of Chicago.

APRIL 2020 UPDATES:

  • Pray for Emmaus staff as they strive to lead with faith, love, and wisdom. Their goal is to be strong and present to the men to whom they minister.  Pray the staff can serve with their absolute best under the given circumstances and that God’s spirit helps them balance their own humanity with being supportive and present to the men.
  • Pray for the men to whom Emmaus ministers. They live with great anxiety under “normal” circumstances.
  • Gifts designated Emmaus will be used for the ministry’s operating budget and their greatest needs. Support in the form of gift cards for grocery stores, restaurants, or Amazon is also welcome.

MAY 2020 UPDATE:

  • During this pandemic, victims of trafficking and exploitation need your support more than ever. Sign up for the Undurance Ride and support the ministry of Emmaus by raising funds for their mission. The great part about this new event is that you can do any type of physical activity to raise funds for their mission! Whatever activity you choose, they just ask that you aim high and push yourself. You can be a part of the Undurance Ride any day until July 31, 2020. Sign up through Emmaus.

CONTACT US FOR MORE INFO

ESSE Adult Day Services

ESSE stands for Ecumenical Support Services for the Elderly. Their purpose is to provide adult day care that promotes the physical, emotional and spiritual wellbeing of older adults and their families.

How can I get involved?

Read, play games, lead music or play an instrument, sit and talk, listen, tell stories, help serve, or show pictures of your vacation. Simply give your time and attention. Children are encouraged to come and sing, play an instrument or visit.

Gifts designate ESSE will be used for their operating budget.

CONTACT US FOR MORE INFO

Exodus World Service

Exodus World Service mobilizes the Christian community to welcome and befriend refugees. They do this by educating churches and individuals about the plight of refugees, connecting volunteers with refugees through practical service projects, and empowering people to be champions for refugees. The organization is steadfast in its commitment to the following values:

  • Hospitality – Welcoming “the stranger”—the refugee—into our lives without reservation. (Matthew 25:35)
  • Relationships – Living out Jesus’ command to love one another (John 13:34) by prioritizing authentic and caring relationships.
  • Dignity – Upholding the value and dignity of all people as image bearers of God (Genesis 1:27) regardless of race, religion, nationality, political opinion or social group.
  • Mobilization – Calling and equipping the local Christian community to put faith in action. (James 2:17)

APRIL 2020 UPDATE: A main floor hallway at First Pres is being used once a week to receive food, pack food and then distribute food via a west parking lot drive-through operation. Exodus and the Glen Ellyn Food Pantry formed a partnership to meet immediate food needs of refugees in our community. But they needed space to make the operation as efficient and safe as possible.

How can I get involved?

  • Donate a Welcome to America! Care Package – Provide a warm welcome and turn an empty apartment into a home by collecting and delivering all of the basic household items needed for the bedroom, bath and kitchen in addition to a first month’s supply of food staples. You’ll meet a refugee individual or family on the day they arrive in the U.S., often with only a few possessions, and personally welcome them with the essential supplies they need.
  • New Neighbor Citizenship – Meet with a refugee once each week for 3 months to help them learn about American history and civics in preparation for the citizenship exam.
  • New Neighbor Conversations – Help improve refugees’ conversational English and build relationships in the process.

CONTACT US FOR MORE INFO

Glen Ellyn Food Pantry

Incorporated in 1985, and operated out of Grace Lutheran Church in Glen Ellyn, the Glen Ellyn Food Pantry is supported by 14 area churches, including First Pres. The philosophy behind the GEFP is very simple: “Our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, told us to feed the hungry (Matthew 25:31).  With 9 staff members and more than 300 volunteers, the Pantry distributed 868,129 pounds of fresh and and nutritious food to more than 35,000 people – a third of whom are children – in Dupage County.  First Pres members are regular, long-standing volunteers, helping to keep operations running.

APRIL 2020 UPDATE: The food pantry continues to operate during the pandemic. As many people are losing work hours and income, the food pantry is experiencing more demand. They are doing their best to serve everyone as quickly and efficiently as possible. They have instituted a no-contact process for food distribution. As Covid-19 shut-downs and job-furloughs continue, the food pantry expects to see an increase in food insecurity.

How can I get involved?

Volunteer opportunities range from weekly commitments, to monthly, to as-needed – the Pantry is glad to work with your availability:

   Food recovery: Pick up and/or sort food donated by local grocery and retail partners, or from First Pres food drives.

  Client relations: Work with other First Pres members in the pantry helping clients make food choices that fit their needs, interest and lifestyle – on the fifth Tuesday of the month.

  Food Bank deliveries: Stock shelves and assist in unloading weekly Food Bank deliveries.

  Donate food: Participate in First Pres sponsored food drives during October and December, or drop off food during pantry hours.

APRIL 2020 UPDATE: Gifts designated for GEFP will be used for their operating budget as they strive to meet the increased demand for food.

MAY 14, 2020 UPDATE: This week, their most needed items include dried beans, hamburger helper, brown rice and rice mixes, shampoo, mac and cheese, canned tomatoes, and pancake mix and syrup.

CONTACT US FOR MORE INFO

Glen Ellyn Walk-In Ministry (GEWIM)

Glen Ellyn Walk-In Ministry is housed at First United Methodist Church and was organized by Glen Ellyn churches in 1994 to provide short-term resources. Assistance, ranging from vouchers for gasoline, food, transportation, prescription, medication, or utility assistance, varies depending on the need.

How can I get involved?

  • The ministry is staffed by volunteers who assist persons referred by the churches of the village. Volunteer hours are 10am-noon, Monday-Friday.

  • Gifts designated “Walk-In Ministry” are used to fund the program. Donations of grocery store, gas station and restaurant gift cards are also welcome.

CONTACT US FOR MORE INFO

New Name Ministry

New Name is a faith-based ministry of love, hope and presence to women in the adult industry. Through safe relationships and empowerment, NN is passionate about reaching women with the love of Jesus. Each month, NN teams from 16 churches reach out to women in over 60 venues in the Chicago area. A group of First Pres members have embarked on this work, visiting 5-6 spas each month.

NN has no paid staff and relies solely on the funds generated by their bridal boutique and donations from churches and ministry partners. Funds are used to assist the women we serve and thus far have been spent on counseling services, transportation, medical bills, junior college tuition, groceries and hotels for women who need safe living situations.

How can I get involved?

  • Join the First Pres chapter prayer team and/or Spa Outreach team.
  • Donate small gift bag items (soaps, pens, notebooks, lotions, candy, etc.) which are delivered to young women each month when we visit spas.
  • Make and donate a set of six cards which can be used for a month of outreach. The cards should be blank on the inside so we can add a personal note appropriate for each spa we visit.
  • Volunteer at the Bridal Boutique by New Name in Wheaton. The boutique is run by volunteers so 100% of the money raised by selling donated wedding gowns provides an income stream for NN.
  • Donate your wedding gown to the Bridal Boutique. Or organize a wedding gown drive. We need a steady supply of dresses that are no older than 7 years.
  • Provide transportation for wedding gowns being donated from other parts of the country. Gowns are often donated by out-of-state shops and we can save resources when volunteers pick up the gowns and deliver them to the boutique in Wheaton.
  • APRIL 2020 UPDATE: During the Covid-19 crisis, pray for creative ways that we can point the women to Jesus.

CONTACT US FOR MORE INFO

Our National Partner

Ft. Peck Reservation in Montana

The Montana Mission is a family-friendly, intergenerational trip to the Ft. Peck Reservation in northeastern Montana. The Native American culture faces many challenges, including socio-economic issues, educational support, employment, and the future of church leadership. Over the years, a mission trip partnership has developed with the Bethel Community Church in Culbertson, MT, the town outside the reservation. Thanks to the 2019 First Pres Christmas Eve donations, we are financing the installation of new windows at Red Eagle Church this summer.

How can I get involved?

APRIL 2020 UPDATES:

  • Due to the risk of spreading Covid-19 to our friends on the reservation, First Pres has cancelled the 2020 trip. Consider joining us for the July 2021 mission trip when we will again host Vacation Bible School, complete construction projects on the churches, and fellowship with our friends on the reservation. This is a great family-friendly (all ages are welcome) mission trip, learning more about life on the reservation as we serve others.
  • Donations designated for Montana in 2020 will go toward furnace repairs and other miscellaneous repairs for the Macaicu Church. Donations will also be used to put together “VBS” bags to ship to Red Eagle Church and Macaicu Church.
  • Please pray for the safety, health and well-being of the children and families on the reservation.

CONTACT US FOR MORE INFO

Our Global Partners

Harvesting in Spanish

Harvesting in Spanish (HIS) dually focuses on caring for vulnerable children and youth in El Salvador, and distributing Christian publications throughout the country. Its seven Joshua Christian Bookstores carry Bibles and a variety of Christian literature, and they also organize and supply materials for church leadership training seminars.

The Shalom Children’s Home is the original core of HIS’s work and is supported through a child sponsorship program. Living Stones Church ministries extend similar services to nonresident children. In addition, the Youth Challenge Outreach teaches about sexual values in local schools. The Shalom Medical Center opened in 2015 and is staffed by doctors and dentists provided by two national universities.

How can I get involved?

  • Gifts designated for Harvesting in Spanish will be used for their most urgent needs.

CONTACT US FOR MORE INFO

Juna Amagara in Uganda

Juna Amagara Ministries was born at First Pres in 2004 to raise up and equip vulnerable children in Uganda with the tools they need to become leaders within their community. We empower their growth by providing a loving home environment, quality education, balanced nutrition, medical care and spiritual direction. Today, with more than 700 children in the program in five communities, Juna Amagara operates first-rate quality schools, medical facilities and evangelism outreach programs throughout Uganda. Many of the first kids in the program are graduating university as passionate, godly adults.

How can I get involved?

  • Child sponsorship: Many First Pres families faithfully sponsor children in the program, and have helped them grow into happy and fruitful adults.
  • Mission trip: Travel to Uganda to visit your sponsored child, help build, teach classes, share skills and live in community with other people living by faith.

Partners in Mission (PIM) in Uganda

Through Partners in Mission (PIM-USA), First Pres has established a longstanding and fruitful relationship with Partners in Mission (PIM) in Uganda that has been instrumental in building the Kamwenge Secondary and Vocational School (KSVS) and the Good Shepherd Kindergarten and Primary School (GSK) in Kamwenge, Uganda.  The schools sit among many small villages in the rural Kamwenge District.

At KSVS, students receive Christian discipleship and mentorship, alongside a strong education. First Pres has been able to help KSVS build a kitchen and a dining hall on campus, and a three-story, 15,000-square foot STEM Center, which serves as a model of educational excellence not only in Kamwenge, but throughout all of Uganda.  Today, KSVS graduates are attending university, holding vocational jobs, starting their own businesses; they are young adults who are building families, businesses, and are advancing and revitalizing the entire Kamwenge community.

APRIL 2020 UPDATE: On March 13, the government of Uganda shut down the country in response to the coronavirus threat. The Ugandan economy came to a sudden halt. Families with little to spare are unable to sell goods at markets and are without resources to feed their families.

MAY 2020 UPDATE: On May 1, flooding leveled the homes of 70 families. Two children died. One child remains in critical condition. More than 100 families in total have been affected. Water, rock, and boulders rushed through the community destroying homes, crops, chickens and goats; even the fertile topsoil of farms was washed away. Almost every item in the homes were destroyed, from mattresses to plates and cooking utensils. Read more.

How can I get involved?

  • MAY 2020 UPDATE: This community of 100 flooded families is suffering enormously with little hope of relief. With help from PIM, KSVS intends to stand in the gap for them in this emergency with food, water, mattresses and other household items. They hope to begin helping with housing. Gifts designated for Partners in Mission will be used for the emergency flood and Covid-19 relief.
  • Bike to the Lake: Bike from Glen Ellyn to Lake Geneva, Wisconsin during the annual Bike to the Lake on the first Saturday of August. Thanks to the “sweat equity” of First Pres members, the last six Bike to the Lake rides have raised more than $500,000 and have been instrumental in building the new kitchen, dining hall, STEM center, and a girls’ dormitory.
  • Sponsor a child or teacher: Families who send their child to the school are often losing income or help with responsibilities at home. Sponsorship encourages attendance and reinforces the important, lasting benefits of an education. Your gift of $420 sponsors a student for a year; $2500 pays a teacher’s salary for a year, or $3600 for a science/math teacher.
  • Mission trips: Groups from First Pres visit Kamwenge to meet and learn more about the students attending the school, pray for progress, and lend expertise to major projects.
  • Create your own fundraiser: In the Spring of 2017, a group of 20 First Pres women gathered at a shop in Glen Ellyn to make bracelets and raise funds for one very special student at KSVS named Sylvia.  In one night, the First Pres women raised enough funds to pay for Sylvia’s education for a year, and their support continues today. Be creative in using your talent and network to amplify your support.

CONTACT US FOR MORE INFO

Our Missionary Partners

James and Joyce Skeet/Covenant Pathways in New Mexico

James and Joyce Skeet have spent more than 20 years working to improve the lives of Native Americans in New Mexico and Arizona, and to share the gospel with them. Many are profoundly impoverished, both economically and spiritually. Helping people to provide for their physical needs allows James and Joyce an opportunity to address their spiritual needs as well, through authentic relationships and prayer meetings. Working alongside people on the farm and talking with visitors, the Skeets often identify Native American experiences and find parallels in the Bible, and ultimately, they help people move from dependence to independence.

The Skeets have created a model farm that combines traditional Native American practices and spirituality. It is a living example of how to recover and claim traditional farming practices such as animal husbandry and composting, practices that have not been employed for several generations among Native peoples. “When we heal the land, we heal the people.”

Recently, First Pres provided funding to help the Skeets build an eco-friendly demonstration cabin that will serve several purposes. The Cabin: 1) will serve as a model of eco-friendly living — off the grid technologies such as solar power, wood stove, and indoor composting toilet – that are imperative for a region where electrical poles are few and far between; 2) will serve as housing and a meeting place for Navajo residents and farmers, church mission teams, homesteaders and other visitors who want to learn about the eco-friendly technologies used at the farm, and/or faith-outreach opportunities; 3) will be used to hold weekly community prayer services as the Skeets continue to build relationships of trust and find natural opportunities to share the gospel.

APRIL 2020 UPDATE:

Due to the spread of Covid-19 on the reservation, people are faced with food insecurity.  Joyce and James are assembling seed kits so that many families can plant sustenance gardens. They are sharing and purchasing food and water for the needy. They are not able to have workers come to the farm at this time and are concerned on two fronts. Animal care and the planting of crops will not be as extensive as a normal year.  And their workers will not have enough money for needed food.

JUNE 2020 UPDATE:

As cases of Coronavirus continue to rise across the area where James and Joyce minister, an important part of their mission which is particularly relevant now, is providing food-insecure people with the knowledge and tools to grow their own food.  Donations to help provide seeds and much needed fencing (to keep animals from destroying crops) will be used to help God’s suffering children.

How can I get involved?

  • Experience life and work on the farm! The Skeets encourage First Pres members to visit in the future and get actively involved with the farm, whether through tending the crops alongside local people, or cooking for a group, praying with local people, or assisting in the myriad jobs it takes to operate a working farm.

APRIL 2020 UPDATES:

  • Please pray, especially for the elders of the community, as they are not being well cared for by their families. The infection rate on the reservation is high, so there are many people who are quite vulnerable.
  • Gifts designated for the Skeets will be used for their operating budget which includes the purchase of seeds and food to be distributed to families in need.

JUNE 2020 UPDATE:

$50 provides seed and plants
$75 provides mulch and compost
$125 provides fencing
$250 provides all three above
Larger donations can provide chickens, coops and fencing or sheep to begin a flock.

Susan Eichensehr/Foundation for His Ministry in Mexico

Susan Eichensehr is a missionary serving orphaned children, employees and the surrounding community at the Vincente Guerrero Orphanage in Baja, Mexico through Foundation for His Ministry. Susan works as Group and Public Relations Manager, coordinating mission teams that volunteer weekly at the orphanage. She also provides health and wellness classes for the orphanage employees, and fitness classes for the children. She is presently working on a campaign to raise funds to build a soccer field on the campus.

How can I get involved?

  • Susan relies on financial support of churches and individuals. Gifts designated Eichensehr will be used for her ministry’s most pressing needs.
  • Consider organizing a team to visit the Vincente Guerrero Orphanage and experience all that they offer at the mission.

Dan McNerney/Frontier Fellowship

Of the 7.7 billion people alive today, more than two billion have never heard of Jesus. That reality compels Frontier Fellowship to engage the world’s least-reached places, supporting efforts to establish local churches that can proclaim the Good News of God’s Kingdom to their communities and beyond.

Dan’s calling to frontier mission led him from working as an agriculture commodities trader after graduating from Yale, to serving as a church planter in Costa Rica during the early 1980s. Following his return from Costa Rica in 1985, Dan pursued his Master of Divinity degree from Trinity Evangelical Divinity School and became an ordained minister. He went on to serve the same church in which he grew up and led many short-term mission teams in cross-cultural settings such as Mexico and East Africa.

Dan has been on staff with Frontier Fellowship for 24 years and has pioneered work in Latin America, Europe and the Middle East. He is equally comfortable mobilizing North American churches and developing frontier mission initiatives overseas. He’s currently engaged in Middle Eastern mission initiatives, counsel and mobilization for American churches’ missional practices, and bridge-building efforts with leaders and communities in the US. He has a passion to see the Mslm world have access to the Good News of Jesus Christ.

How can I get involved?

APRIL 2020 UPDATES:

  • Please pray for our dear mission partners in Ir_n who are hoping the Covid-19 virus does not spread aggressively within their country’s impoverished state even while they continue to face ongoing persecution and relentless harassment. The economic situation in country is so bad that no one can afford not to work making social distancing very difficult. The government offers no economic assistance; medical equipment is out of reach for the poor.
  • Gifts designated McNerney will be used for his ministry’s most urgent needs.

CONTACT US FOR MORE INFO

Carolyn and James/Pioneers International in central Asia

This couple met in China while working with an indigenous people group that populates a region of China as well as several central Asian countries. They now work among this group in Central Asia. James developed a fruit-farming business (business as mission) which helps the local economy while giving him an opportunity to share the Gospel with employees. Carolyn ministers to the local people in an organic way – by being a friend, getting to know their neighbors, offering a listening ear. She looks for opportunities to share the love of Jesus with her neighbors and often prays with them. First Pres contributed to a vital well which will make their orchard sustainable for the future. In 2017, Session approved a grant from the Feid Bequest (a gift from the estate of Art and Marion Feid) to install an electrically powered drip irrigation system. Their daughter Ruby is in recovery from pediatric leukemia.

APRIL 2020 UPDATE:

During the Covid-19 pandemic, their country is also locked-down and people are without jobs. The good news is, the orchard continues to operate and produce fruit, allowing them to provide employment for members of their community. Their sons are home-schooled so not much has changed for them. Ruby was attending the local primary school part-time and learning the local language which is Russian. Now that she is trying to learn from home, it has been a struggle.

How can I get involved?

APRIL 2020 UPDATES:

  • Their main concern due to Covid-19 is the possibility of lost funding as their supporters in New Zealand and the US lose income. Gifts designated James and Carolyn will be used for their ongoing support.
  • The couple appreciates ongoing prayers for their mission. They hope this current crisis will open doors for them to share the gospel.
  • Mission trip: The family welcomes visitors to witness their work and are hopeful a trip can be planned once it is safe to travel again.

CONTACT US FOR MORE INFO

Tom and Dora Becker/ReachGlobal

Tom works with ReachGlobal to mobilize mission work among the 12 million marginalized Roma (gypsies) in Europe. Working with national partners, he facilitates the training and resourcing of Roma pastors. His main ministries include: mobilizing prayer, advancing research, creating awareness, facilitating partnerships and coaching nationals. Dora works with ReachGlobal to lessen missionary attrition rate by providing care for missionary kids and their families. Her role includes pre-field training for missionaries, consulting missionary parents, providing resources and encouragement.

APRIL 2020 UPDATES:

Tom and Dora are pulling together a COVID 19 Emergency Fund to help the most vulnerable Roma. They are prioritizing countries where there are several Roma ghettos on military lockdown and there is no organized effort to get food or medical supplies to them. They will appoint an emergency board in each country to continue with decisions about how/where to distribute emergency food and medical supplies.

The Reach Global crisis response team is helping Roma networks with materials, training partners about hand washing and basic hygiene, and  teaching that the pandemic is real (some remote Roma without internet don’t believe it is a real thing.)

How can I get involved?

APRIL 2020 UPDATE:

  • Gifts designated for the Beckers will be used for their most urgent ministry needs including funding their Covid-19 Emergency Fund.

CONTACT US FOR MORE INFO

Other Ways to Support Missions

Mission Trip Scholarships

First Pres is active in mission work, some local, some nearby, and some at greater distances from home. Trips can be costly, when considering travel, meals and lodging expenses. We do not want this financial burden to defer congregants’ participation in mission trips that touch their hearts.

Scholarship funds are available to supplement individuals’ funds for these trips. For more details or to apply, contact the church office or the Missions Council.

APRIL 2020 UPDATE: while it appears 2020 mission trips will be cancelled, funds donated to this budget will be held for trips in 2021.

ENGAGED Families and Children

We encourage families to serve Christ together. This is done through many programs and special partnerships.

How can I get involved?

  • Victory Sports/Glen Ellyn Children’s Resource Center Camp – Encourage your kids to play sports and build relationships with children attending this camp.

  • Exodus – Kids of all ages love to serve and welcome refugee families into our community.

  • Children entering 6th grade and older can volunteer each summer with their parent or another adult at Vacation Bible School, a ministry for our neighbors in Glen Ellyn.

CONTACT US FOR MORE INFO

ENGAGED Students

Experiences to serve God and to serve the world in his name are essential to watering and nurturing the seeds of faith we plan in students’ lives. Here are some examples of ways students can serve in ministry, but we welcome you to contact the Student Ministry team to find the opportunity right for your family.

How can I get involved?

  • Local Mission – First Pres students work on projects for the Glen Ellyn Food Pantry and Outreach Community Ministries. Students also partner with our inner city mission partner, YMEN, to help with construction projects on their property in North Lawndale.
  • Global Mission – First Pres students have participated in all church mission trips – experiences that shape them forever.

CONTACT US FOR MORE INFO

Missions Giving 2020: Meeting the Needs of Today and Tomorrow

Many of you reached out to the church in recent weeks of the Covid-19 crisis to ask the fundamental question of the Christian: How can I help? 
The Missions Council responds. Learn more.