By: Rev. Paul H. Bosshardt
Minnesota United Methodist churches in the Twin Cities and North Star Districts have an opportunity to host the General Board of Global Ministries missionaries Beverly and Emmanuel Barte in late June.
The Bartes, who moved to Laos in January 2010, will itinerate across Minnesota from June 24-28. They will visit congregations in the Twin Cities and North Star Districts with which they have a covenant relationship—a dynamic relationship through which churches provide financial, spiritual, and emotional support to missionaries, who in turn pray for the church and regularly communicate with its members.
A few additional days and times will be available for the Bartes to visit other United Methodist Churches in those districts. Such visits provide a great opportunity for churches to enter into a covenant relationship or simply get to know more about the Bartes, their work, the people they serve, and what they are called to do.
A full schedule will allow the Bartes to speak at least once a day, and possibly twice, as they travel from the Twin Cities to northwest Minnesota.
The Bartes moved to Laos after serving together in Cambodia for nine years. In Laos, they coordinate and facilitate the Laos Mission Initiative, which is focused on congregational development, economic development, educational ministries, and leadership development in the Southeast Asian country. This includes training church planters and equipping leaders and pastors for effective leadership in spiritual development and church administration. It also includes recruiting new persons, especially women and children.
The mission of the Lao Samphan Methodist Church (LSMC) is to build a strong and committed church that’s zealous in sharing the gospel and to establish a LSMC presence in all Laos provinces. By the end of 2014, there were 72 congregations in eight of the 17 provinces—and those congregations together comprise 3,935 members, half of whom are under the age of 14, all of whom are committed to building the kingdom of God.
Partnerships between LSMC congregations and United Methodist churches in the United States have helped the Laotian churches recognize the importance and value of local contributions through the investment of locals’ time, talents, in-kind donations, and money. This has prompted the development in one province of a pastor’s “self-help” fund to which contributions allow for response to emergency needs as they arise.
Churches located in the Twin Cities District and the North Star District that are interested in hosting the Bartes should contact Rev. Paul H. Bosshardt, conference secretary of global ministries, by e-mailing firstname.lastname@example.org or by calling (763) 767-5753. Any congregation interested in learning more about partnering with a missionary should also contact Bosshardt.
Rev. Paul H. Bosshardt is the Minnesota Conference’s secretary of global ministries.
Minnesota Annual Conference of the United Methodist Church