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2 It was an International Experience

How do you transform a gymnasium into an International Market Place?

Is it even possible? Why would you want to? They say, ‘a picture is worth a thousand words,’ so I will show you with a few photos, “how” we did just that. And the “why”? It was our church’s (Pine Castle United Methodist Church) annual mission’s weekend called GIC or Global Impact Celebration. Kelly and I co-chaired the event with our Missions Pastor and many, many other volunteers.

Friday night was to be a world affair banquette with the movie “Peace Child,” and Sunday would feature our guest speaker, missionary and author – Don Richardson, followed by an Expo display of the missionaries and outreach ministries which our church supports.

First the expo draping went up to help disguise and soften the gymnasium walls. Tables were skirted in preparation for the Sunday Expo and stored to be used on Sunday. (Thanks Jeff for providing these for us!)

Backdrops from the Children’s department added color and definition to our ‘international’ theme. (Lee holds the ladder for Stephaney.)

Round tables were decorated (by a small army) for the banquet (thanks to Eleanor and her team). We were going for a South American ‘fiesta’ look with bright colors that popped, and colorful helium balloons to fill the dead space above the tables.

The perimeter of the gym would feature the International Market Place, displaying cultural artifacts and trinkets from around the world. Here Connie and Jeanette discuss how the Africa market will look.

An African ‘Safari’ look was the finished product (thanks Jeanette).

From Africa we transition into South America. Bright, happy and fun colors draws one into this village scene that could easily be Mexico or even Guatemala.

South America came alive thanks to Kim, Sondra & their team.

Next, we move into our Asian market (above and below photos).

This area included , China, Thailand, Myanmar and the country near and dear to my heart, Indonesia (two photos above), and the Marshal Islands & Japan (as seen below)

The Island Nations (above)

Stephaney and I are smiling because the work is done and we still have a half hour to change our clothes before the banquet starts.

Now, just add ‘people’, and let the festivities  begin.

Volunteers like Marilyn and Liz served close to 200 people.

Our school chef, Patrick (in the black hat), outdid himself with an international meal that was amazing…from the pita bread & hummus to the couscous and adobo chicken with rice and more.

With the tables cleared, it’s now time to “let the program begin”. Kelly was the MC and the program began with a dramatic video of “Peace Child.”

It’s Don Richardson’s story of a primitive tribe of cannibals in Irian Jaya (Papua, Indonesia). The Sawi people honored & practiced treachery and betrayal and thus in the Gospel story (to Don’s dismay), chose Judas over Jesus as a hero. But hidden within their cultural, Don found a practice that would point them back to Jesus. It was the tradition of a ‘Peace Child.” When the chief’s only infant son was exchanged with the warring tribe for peace, Don was able to point them to Jesus, the perfect Peace Child. (Link to YouTube clip of Peace Child)

On Sunday, the round tables are replaced with the expo tables holding the displays put up by our missionaries. The missionaries line up in front of their tables waiting for the church members to enter.

Church members use their passports (found in their bulletin) to enter the expo and participate in the prize drawing later. They fill the aisles as they talk to the 40 some ministries attending and supported by PCUMC.

Some of our missionaries were unable to attend so church members volunteered to “represent” that person and share their ministry with others. Here, Jo shares with this couple about Suzanne’s work in Africa.

Our Guest Speaker, Don Richardson and his wife Carol join us at the Expo with their book table. (Books by Don Richardson: Eternity in Their Hearts, Peace Child, Lords of the Earth, Secrets of the Koran, Acting Without Agony and Unhidden)

And finally, a photo of Kelly standing in front of our Expo table, sharing about our ministry with fellow church member, Armand. (Kelly is wearing his Indonesian batik shirt and a black felt cap, or peci, as the Indonesians call it.)

Mission Accomplished

One of our goals was to create an atmosphere that would help make missions more touchable for the people.  The encouraging part was the great turn out of volunteers helping bring it all together.  It was a lot of work, but it was all worth it. It was a fun time for all.

1 Books, books and more books:

At 7:00 pm we closed the book table, did an inventory and by 9:00 pm had all the remaining books packed up and ready to ship back home. When we closed out the cash register, the sales for the day showed we had been successful in moving a lot of inventory into peoples hands. We were all quite pleased with the results, considering the current state of our economy.

Kelly and I were attending the Mission ConneXion Northwest, sponsored by the northwest area churches and held this year in Vancouver, WA. It’s a two day event challenging the Church to fulfill the Great Commission. We were there assisting Ken, our ACMC team member, with his book sales for the conference.

Kelly and the team set up the book tables for the conference
Kelly and the team set up the book tables for the conference

This event, with its 125 workshops, four leading keynote speakers, and inspirational worship sessions had something for everyone. The attendance count hasn’t been posted yet, but we are estimating around 6 to 7 thousand may have attended. (While it’s not as many as the 15,000 that has attended in previous years, it was a good attendance for the times.)

One view of the crowd mingling in the foyer.
One view of the crowd mingling in the foyer.

About 80 missions agencies set up exhibits providing information about work being done in countries around the world.

Here is our Pioneers booth exhibit, right next to Wycliffe.
Here is our Pioneers booth exhibit, right next to Wycliffe.

In between workshops and general sessions, the book table was a favorite gathering place where a wide variety of books about missions could be found.

004 Book Table Crowd2 028

We had 6 long tables stacked with books, videos, and other resources all pertaining to missions.

There was something for people of all ages at the conference and at the book table.
There was something for people of all ages at the conference and at the book table.
This young lady couldn't resist taking a closer look at the book she chose.
This young lady couldn’t resist taking a closer look at the book she chose.
These two college girls found this corner the perfect spot to browse through their books.
These two college girls found this corner the perfect spot to browse through their books.
Connie explains the plot found on this DVD of "The Enemy God".
A customer asks Connie to explain the plot to this DVD movie, “The Enemy God” that was made by our Denver film team.
Kelly rings up another sale.
Kelly rings up another sale.

We love getting mission materials into peoples hands and to the churches. It was a great weekend for us in, even if it was rainy and cold. We even got to have lunch with a couple we hadn’t seen since 1986, back when we were living in Portland. Friends and missions, what a combination.

4 Home Again In Indiana

Pumpkins on door stoops, fall colors of red and orange and willy-worms slowly crawling across the country roads, yes it was Indiana in October. And, I hardly noticed the low 40 and 50 degree temperatures. Well that may not be totally true, but it did feel like “home”. That’s because our Bicknell friends at Word of Life Church always treat us like family.

Kelly with our hostess Aunt Rita.

Kelly with our hostess Aunt Rita. We ate at the Kerusso Coffee Shop, an outreach ministry of the church.

The missions conference was great, and we’re definitely a good 6 lbs heavier from all the down home cooking of Aunt Rita and the other great cooks from the church.

The theme for their conference was “Show Them Jesus” and the youth did an outstanding job with several dramas.

Some of the youth with their youth leader

Here are some of the Youth Drama Team called, "Impact"!

Getting to know our friends better

Getting to know our friends better

Even though it was a short trip we got to spend a little bit of time with Kelly’s mom and some friends of the family. Kelly’s brother and sisters will appreciate these photos since they didn’t get to join us.

Best Friends (Kelly's Mom and the Birthday Girl)

Best Friends (Kelly's Mom and the Birthday Girl in Blue)

Bezy grp photo (2)

It's the Birthday Girl and her Daughter "Ice Cream Cake for Everyone"

It's the Birthday Girl and her Daughter, "Ice Cream Cake for Everyone"

More family friends

All in all, it was a great trip. Of course, Kelly says the one thing that really topped it off was our flight home by way of Chicago O’Hare Airport. Why? Because he got to eat his Chicago Style Hot Dog, and he loved enjoyed every bite.

Kelly Enjoys His Chicago Style Hot Dog

2 Destination Naples, Florida

How does the phrase; ‘swaying coconut palms, sweeping white-sand beaches and spectacular sunsets,’ grab you? Well, that’s what we found on our recent trip to Naples, Florida.  We were attending a regional event held by the ministerial association that ordained Kelly.

It was a much needed and timely weekend get-a-way for us. The meetings were refreshing, the food delicious and our accommodations great. As you can see by the first photo, Kelly was able to set up his ham radio from the balcony of our hotel room. From this balcony, I got some sun, he got some radio time…and we both enjoyed the view!

Hotel Room Balcony

Hotel Room Balcony

The highlight of the trip had to be the sunset dinner cruise they arranged for all of us to take on the Naples Princess Yacht. This is one of those things we never would have done on our own, so it was a real treat.

Naples Princess Cruise Yacht

Naples Princess Cruise Yacht

We sailed out of Naples bay and cruised into the Gulf of Mexico. From the bow of the deck we could see the dolphins playing and the multimillion-dollar homes of Port Royal lining the shore. Unbelievable!

Mansions in the Bay

Mansions in the Bay

We were served a great dinner inside where it was nicely air-conditioned, and then went back out on the deck to watch the beautiful sunset and enjoy the fresh air.

Dining Area - Table Next to Our Table

Dining Area - Table Next to Our Table

After dinner we went out on the deck for a better view of the water and sunset.

It Was A Beautiful Sunset Set!

It Was A Beautiful Sunset!

Mansions Along The Shoreline at Sunset

Mansions Along The Shoreline at Sunset

What was striking was to watch the sunset change as the sun got closer and closer to the horizon.

Sunset as we enter the Gulf

Sunset as we enter the Mouth of the Gulf

Sunset in the Gulf of Mexico

Sunset in the Gulf of Mexico

Our regional director hosted the event at his church and his staff definitely took care of all of us with excellence.

Our Host Church Put Out the Spread

Our Host Church Put Out the Spread

As you can imagine, we can’t wait to find out what the next regional event will be like. They set the bar pretty high so it will be hard to top this one.

1 Could You Pass This Test?

1) Where is the largest church in the world? 2) What continent has the most evangelical Christians? 3) What is the largest mission association in the world? 4) Which country sends out the most missionaries per Christian?

The answers may surprise you because, “The Center of Christianity Has Shifted”. This was the topic of our most recent Church Partner Forum held on PIONEERS campus. Our featured speaker was Scott Moreau; author, Professor of Missions & International Studies at Wheaton College and editor of Evangelical Missions Quarterly.

If you’re interested in this subject you can read: The Changing Face of World Missions and Engaging Contemporary Issues and Trends from a series written by Scott Moreau called, Engaging Missions.

Oh yes, the answers to those questions above are:
1) Korea [830,000 members (2007)]
2) Asia
3) India Missions Association
4) Singapore

The theme for our banquet was “International Market,” so we transformed the recreation hall with a few treasures several us have brought back from our time serving in various countries.


Of course no mission trip is complete without the traditional “trunk” to contain all of your possessions.


And, the best mode of transportation for those narrow streets in Asia is the bicycle rickshaw.


This was our International Market Street which lead on around to the street-side night café shown below.


Candle lights on the tables and strands of hanging lights enhanced the night time street café feel.


Without a doubt, our “food affair” was international all the way.

We added to this international atmosphere by having those who could, dress for the occasion in the cultural dress of a country (or they could go “Hawaiian/Floridian”).  We had a wide range of countries represented:


Of course, Kelly and I dressed in our Indonesian Batik, as did several others.


Africa was represented by several, including Denny and Nancy (above).


We even had the Middle East attire…thank you Art.


But by far, Tom’s dress was the best…Mongolia!


This is what our group looked like in “normal” dress. It was another successful Church Partner Forum.

3 Jaclyn says: “YAY…YYYYYYYYY!!! STORY’08 WAS AWESOME!!!”

Christa says: “WOW! Last night was amazing! I never felt that close to God. It was the ideal way to start off the New Year! I loved Story ’08! It was great to hear from all these different missionaries and to meet new people.”

Those are quotes or “reviews” from a couple of attendees at Story ’08 which I have copied from our  Story 08 Facebook page.


The main sessions were held in the sanctuary where a world globe helped us all focus on the needs of the world. Worship was sweet and the speakers were great.

Sanctuary with World Globe

Pine Castle United Methodist Sanctuary with World Globe

The crowd was great, some 300+ in attendance with the majority coming from out of state. Just take a look at the young people in these photos:

The crowd gathering in the lobby between sessions.

The crowd gathering in the lobby between sessions.

College students come to Orlando for the conference.

College students come to Orlando for the conference.

The Lobby Is a Great Gathering Place

The Lobby Is a Great Gathering Place

Kelly and I were in charge of book sales and they were brisk. It looks like we sold over $8000 in mission’s books and resources.

One such book table full of resource material

One such book table full of resource material

Kelly runs the cash register

Kelly runs the cash register

The Line Gets Longer as Kelly Adds up Sales

The Line Gets Longer as Kelly Adds up Sales

Taking A Break Between Sessions

Taking A Break Between Sessions

We finished the event off by bringing in the New Year with a “Concert of Worship and Prayer.” It started at 9 PM and closed at 12:30 AM on Jan 1st.

Concert of Worship & Prayer New Year's Eve

Concert of Worship & Prayer New Year's Eve

We took the globe off its stand and everyone gathered around to pray for the world.

Praying For The World

Praying For The World

Then, just before midnight we started passing the air-filled globe from one side to the other. It was a blast. It was also “heavier” than I thought it would be.

The Globe Goes Up and Over The Heads

The Globe Goes Up and Over The Heads

Hands Go Up and Globe Is Passed Overhead

Hands Go Up and All Join in as the Globe Is Passed Overhead

Here are a few more quotes:

Lesley: What an amazing week! Thank you, Pioneers, and all the people who worked to pull it off! What a great way to ring in the New Year…thanks for the experience. I hope there is a Story 09!

Irma from NY: STORY ’08 was awesome. I’ve been so blessed this week and am glad I came to the conference. Thank you Pioneers!!! God bless~

Emily (student at TCU): Thank you so much, Story’08 Crew!!! I know it was a ton of work, and it was such a blessing for me to learn from y’all and watch your example lived out in front of us. Thank you so much for the incredible amount of yourselves you poured out for us!! It was such a privilege to be around you, and I’m challenged to pray and seek hard to follow your examples in Christ. THANK YOU.

Ted (Valencia Com. College) Story 09…… Story 09….. Story 09…..

I don’t know if there will be a “Story 09”, only time will tell.  Kelly and I were exhausted when it was all over, but it was worth it!

Most Unreached City in US Hosts Missions Event

Could the city noted repeatedly, as the most “unreached city” in the US, actually attract over 8000 to the largest 2 day mission conference event of its kind in the Northwest? When, what, where, and why…?

It’s true! Kelly and I were there and experienced the excitement of it all! On Jan 18th and 19th we attended the Mission ConneXion Northwest 2008. The city is Portland, Oregon, and Rolling Hills Community Church of Tualatin hosted this massive missions conference sponsored by over 200 northwest area churches. That’s the when, the what and the where.

The “why” is: to ignite and mobilize churches and individuals of all denominations to a greater understanding of where they ‘fit’ in God’s Global Purposes. It’s all about fulfilling the Great Commission.

What Was It Like?

There were keynote speakers like Luis Palau (International Evangelist) and Heather Mercer (the missionary to Iraq, held captive by Taliban in Afghanistan). Dynamic! The workshops covered a wide range of topics from mission strategy for churches, to mission programs for children workers.

Kelly Web

Kelly and I represented Pioneers as one of about 70 mission agencies hosting exhibits and providing information about work being done – and needing to be done – in countries around the world.

From Friday afternoon & evening, and all day Saturday, we shared and prayed with people of all ages about the practical ways they could help take the gospel to the least reached peoples of the world.

Connie PDX web

Mary, (not her real name) was a 62 year old saint with a heart and ministry for prison ministry.

A short-term trip with her pastor to Africa had ignited a vision in to make her remaining years on earth count. Her desire is to “set the captives free” by showing prisoners that no sin is too great for God to forgive, no matter what they may have done. I got to hear her testimony and pray for her.

There were many others; the 24 year old school teacher with a heart for the Middle East, an American-Indonesian couple wanting to see the Gospel taken to Southeast Asia and many more. (Oh yes, Kelly & I got to practice our Indonesian with them even though their English is excellent.)


Well…I’ll just let you read the email that was sent to all 70 of us who were exhibitors…

Life Impact is a ministry providing missionary care in hosted facilities. Our home in Sunriver, Oregon — The Oasis — has been serving missionaries since 2004. Each year at the MissionConneXion we hold a drawing for a 3-day, 2-night free stay at the Oasis. This year the winners were:

Kelly & Connie McClelland
Director & Assistant Director of Church Partnerships

This resort is located south of Bend, Oregon in the foothills of the Cascade Mountains with a myriad of outdoor activities, from skiing, kayaking, fishing, rock climbing, biking, and much more. So, don’t be surprised when some time in the next year or so, you read here on our blog that we are back in Oregon enjoying the great northwest high-desert scenery. GOD IS GOOD!