Thank you for attending the
And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus,
giving thanks to God the Father through him.
Below you will find more information and recordings from our 2021 Renewal Conference speakers. We hope you enjoy them and will be inspired by them and the work they are doing for the Lord.
Sean Martin from Lifewater
On March 6 we had a zoom call with Sean Martin from Lifewater International. About 20 people from Orchard and various churches participated. Sean discussed community development principles which include the foundational belief that every community has God-given assets. We then come alongside to help them develop those assets with meaningful participation. He both encouraged and challenged us.
Ramazan Arkan from the Antalya Evangelical Church in Turkey
On April 3 we had a zoom call with Ramazan Arkan in Antalya, Turkey who pastors the Antalya Evangelical Churches. About 40 people participated: 15 from Orchard and 25 from various churches, primarily Community Presbyterian. Ramazan discussed the negative stereotypes the Turkish people have of Christians and the difficulty changing those perceptions in order to share the gospel. The social and economic persecution of Christians also hinders evangelism. Commitment to Jesus comes at the cost of being rejected by family, friends, and employers. With limited staff and committed volunteers, Ramazan is intentionally training leaders and reaching out to the community. He asked us to pray for the church’s effectiveness in evangelizing and for the welfare of his people who have been devastated economically from the pandemic. The Global Missions Committee is considering how the Lord would have us partner with him.
Nita Hanson from God’s Hidden Treasures
Nita Hanson of God’s Hidden Treasures (GHT) in Ukraine led the May 1st, 2021 Virtual Renewal Conference session. Nita started by reminding us that “With God, all is possible, but we need to give God permission to use us (Matt 19:26, Is 6:8).” Tonya then shared a beautiful song she’d written with lyrics about God healing like a river and filling us like a waterfall. Nita and part of her team (Valery, Tonya, and Luba) shared that people are meeting Christ because HGT goes into isolated people’s homes to bring relief and a spiritual presence. HGT seeks out people medically isolated by mobility issues, bringing them mobility aids, training, food packets, medical help, and prayer, and then follows up with continued visits and help. Miracles happen as “dead” tissue regains circulation and amputations are avoided. GHT also collects and distributes gleanings from local farmers (fresh produce), feeding 80 people. Once depressed by isolation and hopelessness, many people meet Christ as a result of seeing His love in the GHT volunteers.
Major events include the annual picnic and camp, where hundreds of handicapped are transported to a park and given a hot meal (prepared off-site). The picnic and camp include not just the handicapped, but their families as well. Valery, Tonya, and Luba are planning the picnic. Tonya will be the worship leader, while Luba has tea time and Bible study. Vadim, their driver, is the main source of transportation, but they also have to hire outside vans. Pray for the planning of these events as GHT will be lacking the American volunteers that often help.
If you want to help pray for and support Nita and our other global mission partners, contact Rich Smith (email@example.com)
Dana Bates – Romania
Dana Bates led the June 5th, 2021 Virtual Renewal Conference session. Between 1997-1999 he started a ropes course in the Jui Valley of Romania, working with an engineer volunteer. He was motivated by a quote “God calls where your deep joy and the world’s great hunger meet,” and a conviction that groups of concerned people could do anything, doing a lot with a little. He also believed that adventure education was ideal for post-communist societies.
A friend challenged him to expand his work with youth year-round, stimulating an interest in service-learning. Service-learning extends Christianity from a belief to a way of life. In 2002-2003 he began service learning with a group of youth in Lupeni from his living room.
Despite government corruption and cultural mistrust in others, the Bates were able to get grants to expand the service-learning clubs from 20 in the Jui Valley to over 200 throughout Romania. IMPACT service learning clubs are now in 30 countries, adopted by World Vision, and the Orthodox Church in Romania as their youth outreach program.
His most recent project is to contribute to developing the Jui Valley as a tourist destination through his love of mountain bikes. Dana undertook professional mountain bike trail building courses in Italy and is now developing mountain bike trails in the region. He is capitalizing on the ski lifts already present from the winter ski resorts and the rapid growth of mountain biking in Europe. This gives local youth something more to do and has earned a lot of local respect.
Brandi has been working on literacy programs after noting that Romanian parents and teachers don’t read aloud to their kids. She is teaching read-aloud skills and building local literature resources.
Orlando Japas – Union Biblica
Orlando Japas led the July 3rd 2021 Virtual Renewal Conference session. Orlando is an Argentine missionary serving with Scripture Union in Honduras (Union Biblica de Honduras, UBH). He started with the observation that the direction in Acts 1:8, to be his witnesses, is directed to all believers, without differentiating between full-time and part-time ministry workers. There is no room for spectator Christianity. As parts of Christ’s body, we are all necessary. Orlando used Mk 3:13-15, where the disciples are sent out, as an example of full-time workers, but also Lk 8:38-39, where someone is told to return home and share what God has done, as a part-time ministry. There is also no minimum age, as a boy’s lunch was the basis for feeding 5000.
In Eph 6:5-8 we are called slaves of Christ, working for God, not our boss. Jewish culture didn’t differentiate secular and spiritual life or work, that was a Greek separation. All that we do is spiritual, whether work, play, or social media. This is precisely in line with our conference theme, Col 3:17, “do all in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ…” All the world is our mission field and we need all the church, with all its gifts and resources to reach the world.
For a good outcome to national elections in Nov. The present government is seen as a major problem now, in dealing with corruption, Covid, and hurricane recovery.
UBH: Economic resources and welfare of its people (staff and volunteers).
Sylvia and Orlando: health, physical, spiritual and emotional strength. Sylvia takes on a lot of emotional burdens from all over the country as she supervises and counsels her staff. Finally, for wisdom in their decision making.
J and N DV
Serving God is not a program or lesson you learn in class, rather the witnessing of His kingdom within each of us. It is about “Putting to death” the old ways and “putting on the new self” reimagining ourselves as God’s chosen (Col 3:5-10), adopted by Him and heirs to His glory. In this time we have these “treasures in jars of clay” (2 Cor 4:7).
J spoke of the importance of prayer, “speaking peace” into our communities, and fellowshipping around food, looking for opportunities to witness to God’s kingdom. As examples, they described a lady suffering from malaria, along with her son. Both had been treated in the local hospitals without relief and knew J and N socially. N prayed for her and she felt immediate relief, as did her son at that same moment even though he was not present at that time! Another child was seen as demon possessed, and could speak in English to Jack and knew all sorts of details about Jack, although the child ordinarily didn’t speak English or know J. J and N prayed for hours with this child before the demon left. The prayer is about God’s honor and His power. The downside of such miracles is that it leaves people hungry for the miracles, not Christ’s lordship, which is where discipling comes in.
As ways of looking for opportunities to witness God’s kingdom, J and N have been faithful to serve the needs of the community. This has meant different things through the years, at times after school tutoring, adult literacy programs, food relief during Covid, etc. The important thing was that hearing and studying the Bible was insufficient. It had to tried out, tested, used to direct your activities. When things didn’t work, they changed how they were doing something or even what they were doing. Much more than building a program, understanding the Bible was about personal development and relationship you had with Jesus.
Reflecting on being in Florida now in the midst of Covid, N shared how 30 years ago, when she and J went on a “short term mission” (2 yrs) to Tanzania and while in prayer saw a vision of her sitting on a rock in the midst of a storm. This is where she sees them now. She continues to develop other people through various online communication channels but sees prayer as her primary task now. They described current times as deceptive, uncertain times, and so times to know your God and be in prayer, and to be faithful to your tasks so that you are not deceived or caught up in the passions of the day. (Matt 24).
Regarding political pressure abroad, it’s getting worse, especially for larger organizations. However, for house churches these times are bringing growth and renewal of faith in the face of adversity, and more leaders are responding to the call at local levels.
God would continue to inform them of their next step.
They would be bold and effective in their present communities, encouraging relationship building between neighbors and the Lord.
For the effectiveness, boldness, and safety of people left behind.
Sean Martin, MDiv, CFRE is Lifewater’s Regional Director of Donor Relations for the western USA. Lifewater is a Christian clean water nonprofit. For 44 years they have been bringing clean water, improved health, and gospel hope to rural villages and they are currently serving Ethiopia, Uganda, Tanzania, and Cambodia. Sean previously served as the lead pastor of a Presbyterian church on California’s Central Coast. It was during these years that he became aware of the scale of the water crisis and an advocate for Lifewater’s mission. Sean spent two decades in church ministry before beginning work with Lifewater in 2017. Today, Sean lives in the mountains of Idaho with his wife, Hollyn, and their three kids. He enjoys mountain biking, hiking, skiing, and playing the guitar.
A former Muslim, Ramazan is now pastor of Antalya Evangelical Churches in Turkey. After growing up as a devout Muslim, he became disillusioned and turned to atheism and communism. Ramazan accepted a Christian co-worker and friend’s invitation to church, hoping to marry and be able to leave Turkey. God had other ideas and later spoke to Ramazan in the midst of compulsory military service, calling him first to Bible School and then ministry with Antalya Evangelical Churches. Find out more about this remarkable man, how God has used him, and how God can use you.
Nita Hanson – In 1996 Nita Hanson left her job as Marketing Manager for a computer software firm and answered God’s call to serve in Ukraine. She subsequently founded and is president of God’s Hidden Treasures (GHT), ministering to forgotten and ignored people with disabilities. She has a daughter and 5 grandchildren. She is accompanied by three GHT staff:
Antonina (Tonya) Ivanova has worked for God’s Hidden Treasures for 6 years. She does weekly home visits to shut-ins and people with disabilities. She leads a prayer and healing ministry. Tonya is a worship leader at her church, writing her own Christian worship songs, and has recorded a worship album named “Daddy.” She and her husband also do outreach evangelism to local villages.
Pastor Scott Yount has been serving with God’s Hidden Treasures in Ukraine for five years. He leads summer camps for youth with special needs, visits local orphanages, and is heavily involved with youth ministry. He preaches at the Church of Hope, a congregation founded by God’s Hidden Treasures worshiping at the Cerebral Palsy Center in Bila Tserkva. Scott married a Ukrainian, Lena Yount in 2017. He is a California native, a graduate from Azusa Pacific University and Concordia Seminary, St. Louis.
Kostya Kysilenko has been a full-time minister of Bila Tserkva Church of Christ since 2002. He has a degree in business administration and is currently getting a graduate degree in theology at Bear Valley Bible Institute. Kostya and his congregation have been involved in various programs and activities of God’s Hidden Treasures for more than 10 years. He is married and has a 14-year-old son.
Dana graduated in philosophy from Gordon College, and in 2005 earned an M-Div from Gordon Conwell Seminary. He recently completed his Ph.D. in the United Kingdom. Dana and his wife, Brandi, founded the first adventure education camp in Romania – VIATA. In 2000, he joined the staff of Young Life and also founded the New Horizons Foundation, launching an experimental educational model for young people. Most recently Dana has been working to diversify local ecotourism to replace the former coal-mining economy through mountain biking. Their newly developed mountain bike course has been chosen for the MTB National Championship in 2019.
Brandi was raised in Santa Ynez, CA, and attended Gordon College (Wenham, MA). With interests in education, sociology, and psychology, she majored in literature. She has been reading aloud to children, lots of children, for 13 years. She currently leads a private children’s library for Jiu Valley families, and one of the country’s leading early literacy movements: Reading Together Romania/ Citim Împreună România.
Dana and Brandi have two wonderful kids, Gabriel and Briana.
Orlando and Silvia Japás, Argentinian missionaries to Honduras for 28 years (since 1992). Orlando is the Scripture Union, Honduras, Executive Director while his wife Silvia is the Scripture Union Honduras, National Child, and Youth Development Coordinator. As coordinator, Silvia is involved with many programs focused on youth and family development and the prevention of child abuse. Scripture Union, Honduras, reaches 19 cities, teaching Biblical truths and hope to over 32,000 children per year.
J & N. DV.
J and N were called by God overseas from Orchard Community Church over 25 years ago. They are disciples in South East Asia working through a business they founded, planting churches, teaching adult literacy, and supporting home groups.