Join a Mission Cohort! | the Reach April 2024

Dear Friends,

Have you ever been curious if global, long-term missions is something God is calling you to but don’t know where to start? Every fall the EPC launches a Mission Cohort, a year-long program where college-age young adults meet over Zoom for interaction with like-minded peers, missionaries on the field, and EPC World Outreach mobilizers. This cohort has been valuable for many students, but not everyone has a linear journey to missions. Whether you have felt the call to missions your entire life, you find the idea new and intriguing, or you simply want the opportunity to explore, the Mission Cohort is a great place to start.

I first discovered the EPC World Outreach Mission Cohort for college students on a dreary day in December of my freshman year. This was a space for college students seeking guidance and community as they explored a calling or interest in missions. Missions wasn’t a new idea for me. I’d felt a soft tug towards missions on my heart all throughout my childhood. But as I left for college, it was all but a backup plan in case the rest of my life didn’t work out. By the time I was chowing down on my lunch as my friend rattled on about this “special club” she was in, missions wasn’t even a speck on the horizon of my great plan for myself.

I’d had a wonderful semester that year—I had all A’s, was climbing the departmental ladder for my major in archaeology, and could see myself becoming a renowned author, a savvy businesswoman, a daring archaeologist, or an adventuring world traveler. I could see myself doing anything and everything— everything except missions.

Even as I sat at a cafe table and listened to my now best friend tell me about the Mission Cohort she had joined, my mind fixed, not on the purpose of the cohort, but on the opportunity to travel and check another box off my list of successful life necessities. She was getting to travel to the Middle East that year, a dream of mine. I immediately told her to hook me up with “this cohort thing.” I wanted to get off this darn continent!

Thankfully she did, because though my heart was anywhere but the right place, God has changed and saved my life and faith through this beautiful group of people. The following semester, after seeing the many pictures she and her cohort returned with, I belatedly joined Mission Cohort 3 (MC3). We met monthly over Zoom with kids my age from all over the country. We prayed together, studied a book together, and met and interviewed EPC missionaries with all sorts of backstories and advice.

If you asked the other members of MC3, they would tell you that I was quiet, disinterested, and never caught up on our book readings. That spring semester of my freshman year, I returned to school ready to thrive as I had that past fall. Over that semester, however, I began to slow down, mentally, physically, and even academically. Sleep became sparse, my mind felt scrambled and blurry, and my motivation to do anything plummeted. I stopped going to church, I couldn’t feel God, and I didn’t want him. I began to hate myself. To hate my existence, my personality, and my body. I wanted to die, to be released to the heaven that I knew was better than this.

Throughout it all, we had our cohort meetings. Month after month. Zoom after Zoom. The cohort had no idea of the darkness clouding my mind, but they gathered around me anyway and prayed with me. Together we walked through God’s word and heard story after story about his steadfast faithfulness. When I was too broken and weak to make it to church or to look to God, this beautiful community brought the Church to me. They showed me the mercy and love of God each month through a screen full of prayer, laughter, and hope.

That summer, I was diagnosed with Severe Clinical Depression, a disease of the mind in which your own thoughts lie and hiss in your ear, wreaking havoc and destruction on your life and soul. Yet the beautiful thing is that winter, as I stood with my cohort in person at the Urbana conference in Indianapolis, I looked around at the faces I’d once only known in 2D that past year and saw that in that dark valley of death and hopelessness, where I’d refused to look for God and cursed his absence, he’d never let go of me. He’d surrounded me with his image, his people to hold my hand and bring me home to him. In my pride and surety of my life plans, he’d reminded me that my life is not my own, that I am not alone, and that he’d never been that far away. When I’d thought I’d had my life all figured out, he gently reminded me what life is like without him and broke through my stubborn heart to open my eyes to his wondrous glory, his redeeming grace, and abounding mercy.

I’ve since not only started attending church again but also entered part-time ministry while I finish school and pursue long-term missions. I have had the blessing and pleasure to watch as four of my fellow cohort members prepare to be commissioned as long-term missionaries. I did get to travel with the cohort at last, though not to the Middle East, and with a much more humble and grateful heart and all the greater experience for it.

As a cohort alumna, I am forever grateful and indebted to my experience with this community. Mission Cohorts, whether you join to learn how to become a missionary, how to support missionaries, or even for the selfish purpose of getting a plane ticket, will always be a community of disciples walking alongside disciples, through the tough crossroads of college and on to eternity.

– E. A., MC3 Alumna

E’s experience with the cohort was unique and full of challenges, but God used it powerfully in her life, both for her own healing and for solidifying her call to missions. Sometimes our ministry results turn out differently than we expect. But in our obedience to what God calls us to, he uses our ministry for his purposes. We are called to serve faithfully and entrust the long-term impact to him.

Want to see what it is all about?

EPC World Outreach will kick off Mission Cohort Six (MC6) on August 19, 2024! Now is the time for college-age to sign up and start getting connected with our cohort leadership team. Whether you hope to be a missionary going to the field one day or simply want to be engaged in missions from the U.S., the invitation is open! Students will go through discipleship materials and have in-person experiences including attending a missions conference over the winter and a mission trip during the following summer. Anyone that’s interested can go to and fill out the cohort form, or contact Saul Huber at or 217-851-4670.

Upcoming Opportunities for You and Your Congregation

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Learn more, apply, and get connected with Saul Huber here.

Sharing Christ’s Love through Word & Deed | the Reach February 2024

Dear Friends,

The smell of unwashed bodies in too-close quarters filled the room. Elena* lay with her child pressed close to her, trying to surrender to the sleep she so desperately needed. She swallowed the lump in her throat, barely keeping her head above the despair that threatened to drown her. She was in a foreign country, sharing a one-room apartment with five other families, and uncertain if her husband was going to return to her. Her thoughts fixed on her urgent need to find employment and a new place to live.

It was in this condition that Elena connected with the GROW center from the Philemon Project, an early childhood development and adult mentoring program in the Middle East. Elena had no one else to turn to, but in her time of need, the group of women who ran the GROW center came alongside her in support and love.

Over the next several months, while her child was safely cared for and fed each day at the GROW center, Elena was able to find a stable job and safe housing for her and her child. Her husband did return, and they established a new life as a family. She felt that the women from the Philemon Project were the only ones to help when she had no other options. Because of the Christ-like love of these women and their faithful prayers, Elena also decided to follow Jesus.

This was just one story shared at the annual gathering of U.S. World Outreach workers in early February. The gathering was a time for fellowship, worship, and sharing the stories of what God is doing around the world.

As I sat there listening to this story, I couldn’t help but think about the practical love the women from the GROW center showed Elena and the eternal impact it will have. Elena had tangible and urgent needs, and the GROW center stood in the gap as she found her footing in a new environment.

The mission and work of the GROW center and the Philemon Project align with World Outreach’s five Strategic Priorities:

  1. Prayer
  2. Least Access Peoples
  3. Partnership & Sending
  4. Word & Deed
  5. Church Engagement

Read more about these here.

Elena’s story is a beautiful example of the Word & Deed priority. The church is called to a holistic approach to making disciples – we cannot be effective in ministry without caring for the physical, mental, and spiritual wellbeing of those we serve. The gospel is proclaimed by words and lived out through actions.

Those running the GROW center know this. They are not simply providing daycare, they are teaching and nurturing these children, and by extension, these families. Their care is life changing for the entire family, and this is just as important in reaching people for Jesus as teaching His word.

Loving your neighbor does not require special training or education – it requires a servant’s attitude and an infectious love for Jesus. How can you carry out the Great Commission in Word & Deed as you go about your day-to-day?

*names changed for privacy and security purposes

Upcoming Opportunities for You and Your Congregation

Pray for WO Workers

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Support the GROW Center here. Otherwise click the SUPPORT button for the WO worker support landing page.

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Doing the Work to Love Your Neighbor | the Reach January 2024

Dear Friends,

Happy New Year! It is amazing that another year has come and gone. The start of a new year is a time when many of us reflect on the past year, and plan for the year ahead. Somewhere in there, we usually set goals. For our World Outreach workers, especially those new to the field or in a new location, learning the language of the people they serve is one of their primary goals. Paul and Jackie, World Outreach workers located in Central Asia, launched into the field in the summer of 2023, and share their experience entering a new culture and learning a new language.

Саламатсызбы! Кандайсыз? (“Hello! How are you?”) 
Language-learning is a vital part of life and work overseas. As an adult, language-learning is exciting, frustrating, overwhelming, time-consuming, humbling, and so much more! When I am just beginning my study of a new language, I am often torn between being excited that I know how to say any words at all and frustrated with how much there is still to learn. For example, in our first month learning a new Central Asian language, my husband and I traveled to a local bazaar, where I diligently practiced the phrases I had memorized that morning.
              “Where are these apples from?” I asked. “How much for one kilogram?”
              The shopkeepers answered with an incomprehensible stream of words that were so much faster than the ones on my audio file and sounded nothing like the numbers I had practiced with my language teacher! I ended up with five dried apricots instead of a kilogram of apples and had to show the shopkeepers my bills to have them point out the correct amount I owed (doubtless giving themselves a nice tip for their time!). I counted it as a win, though, because making mistakes is part of the process.
              When learning a new language, I generally find that the first few months are the most difficult. I can barely string together a sentence, and I don’t yet know enough words to understand dialogue or read children’s books. However, with commitment and perseverance, around the four-to-six-month mark something remarkable happens. The incomprehensible sounds all around me start to sound like words! I can communicate in simple sentences. The phrases I use all the time start feeling more natural. Though you never “finish” learning a language (and I continue to make mistakes in languages I have spoken for 20 years!) the first year is certainly the most important.
              Even with all the silly and often embarrassing mistakes that are a natural part of language-learning, it is hard to overstate its importance. The look on people’s faces when they hear that the foreigners are taking time to study their language – instead of forcing our local friends to learn our language – shows that they feel loved by our choices. There are theological implications of language-learning as well. Christ humbled Himself for us, putting on flesh and becoming man to make a way for us to be with the Father. As His followers, we are also called to humble ourselves, and be willing to dedicate hours, months, and years to the pursuit of a new language as we seek to make His love known to the nations. No matter where we live or what we do, we can imitate Christ by seeking to understand those who are different from us!

For many of us in the states, we are probably not going to need to learn a new language in order to love our neighbors, but the call to love our neighbors remains. There are 3.2 billion people in the world with no access to the gospel, a body of believers, or a bible in their own language—we all have a part to play in fulfilling the Great Commission. Who in your community might have little access to the gospel? Are you willing to risk loving those different from you who are right next door?

World Outreach Community Spotlight

Miriam Seaver, a former World Outreach administrative assistant in the Michigan office, entered the Church Triumphant on December 7 after a fight with cancer.  Miriam was 68 years old. We feel sorrow at the passing of a dear sister in faith while we claim the hope of heaven.

Miriam was directed by her faith. She was an outstanding example of living with a purpose. Many of our World Outreach workers will remember Miriam from her years as World Outreach Assistant in the Office of the General Assembly. Prior to her time with World Outreach, Miriam taught ESL at Birzeit University in Ramallah on the West Bank. At age 50 she decided to return to the region to use her remaining working years for further Bible translation with Wycliffe. Her team created materials for a regional auditory people group. Seventeen years later she transferred to a sister organization, Canada Institute of Linguistics near Vancouver BC, preparing the next generation of translators.

The EPC WO family will miss her, but we are so grateful for the years she was part of our lives. May we consider well like Miriam how we use the “dash” the Lord gives us between being born and dying.

A celebration of her life is tentatively planned for spring. Memorials may be given to the Palestinian Bible Society that she worked with while in the Middle East.

Cards can be sent to the family through her sister Judi Seaver: PO Box 335 Fort Calhoun NE 68023 or to

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Find Paul and Jackie’s individual support page here. Otherwise click the SUPPORT button for the WO worker support landing page.

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Serving the Lord Reaching the Unreached | the Reach November 2023

Dear friends,

Dave and Mindy, after eight fruitful years of serving as World Outreach mobilizers, recruiting and coaching more than 20 people for the mission field, will transition into retirement and continue serving with World Outreach as Mission Assistants (volunteers). Their time with World Outreach has been their greatest ministry venture. Although Dave was an EPC local church pastor for more than 25 years, this was the first time that they were true equals in ministry. They have learned to appreciate each other’s strengths and compensate for each other’s weaknesses.

Here is one story of God’s faithfulness in their ministry.

Though we have been reaching out to refugees and immigrants for many years, two years ago we felt a new sense of call when we realized just how many Afghans had been brought to San Diego County. People from a region in Afghanistan which never had missionaries come to them were now housed in Hotel Circle in San Diego, just four miles from our home.

Dave recalls a day last December when he was given the address of an Afghan family that had just arrived in the U.S. “All I had was an address and a $25 gift card. I had never met this family. They had no idea I was coming. But I knocked on the door, and it opened! In typical hospitable Afghan form, they invited me into their small apartment, sat me down on a chair, and offered tea. To my pleasant surprise, they spoke fluent English and we were able to have a conversation. I had no idea at the time where this new friendship would go.”

The next day we contacted the San Diego EPC church and found out that they already had a team in place to minister to this family. We quickly agreed to be part of that team. As time went on, we and other team members made it a point to visit them often, and it was always a joy. They have three young children, including two girls who love books. And Mindy loves to read books to children!

One afternoon in March, a group of kind-hearted souls were visiting from the EPC church in Orange, California. We took them on a home visit to meet this fun, young family. It had been raining that week, and during the conversation it came out that this family had no car, which is common. “How do the girls get to school?” one of our friends asked. They walked. “In the rain?” The silence answered the question.

After tea, we left a gift of sweets for the family, prayed, and went on our way. As we drove away, a man from the church in Orange blurted out, “They need a car. Those girls shouldn’t have to walk to school in the rain.” But cars are expensive. And with the cost of new cars skyrocketing, even used cars are out of reach for refugees. “I know somebody who will donate a car to this family,” he said. And he took it on as his personal mission to make sure that this family had a car.

Sure enough, they got a car. When the rains begin again in Southern California, the girls will not have to walk to school in the rain. What’s more, this car has become a source of livelihood for this family. The father works all night, driving for Uber. The girls come to a tutoring program that we are a part of. We are now truly friends with this Afghan family. They will be visiting us this December to see how we celebrate Christmas.

We should ask, where is Jesus in all of this? Isn’t he right in the middle of it? The time will surely come when they ask their new American friends for a reason for the hope within them. In the meantime, we are living the gospel in front of them.

The call to be a global worker is a beautiful call, but the call to be a missionary among those in our own country is also beautiful. The nations are coming to us. God is bringing them. Look around, who are they in your community? Are you ready to meet them?

“We love because he first loved us” (I John 4:19).

Our time as formal World Outreach workers is coming to a close, but this is not a goodbye. We are excited to see what the Lord has next for us.

Dave and Mindy Fenska

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A Step Of Yes | The Reach October 2022

I thank my God in all my remembrance of you, always in every prayer of mine for you all making my prayer with joy, because of your PARTNERSHIP in the GOSPEL from the first day until now. And I am sure of this, that he who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ. 
Philippians 1:3-6

Dear friends,

One of my favorite poems over the past few years has been the well-known one by Robert Frost – The Road Not Taken. In it, Frost speaks about two roads diverging in a yellow wood and being regretful that he could not travel both. In some ways, my family and I have been standing at that proverbial fork in the road the last couple of months, longing to travel down both roads and questioning God about what our next path will be. Unlike Frost, perhaps, we have comfort knowing that God guides us down each road we take as we seek Him and follow His will. He is both sovereign and He is good.
It is with a mixture of joy and sadness that we bring the news that my family will be transitioning out of World Outreach at the end of this month. We are joy-filled because it is the LORD who calls us elsewhere, and we trust in His goodness and sovereignty.  But we are sad to come to the close of this rich season of partnership in the gospel.  This has not been an easy decision for us but one we have toiled over in hours of prayer and in concert with community.  With the LORD’s leading, we have decided to accept our local church’s call to enter pastoral ministry with opportunities to expand our local congregation’s global vision for the nations.
These past years working with World Outreach and getting to know so many of you has blessed and shaped me in many positive ways. We are a denomination that is full of gracious and obedient living in sincere partnership to each other. You all have taught me what it means “to count others more significant than yourselves,” in the ways you support and pray for our sent-ones of Gospel proclamation. Through my work with EPCWO, my vision for what it means to have a sharp focus on those with least access to the Gospel has increased. This will be a leading guide as I move on with a grateful heart for the honor its been serving the EPC in this role.

As our paths diverge for a season now, I am confident that our sovereign LORD will continue to use us all for His glory and even bring our paths together again for the sake of the Nations. I find it fitting in my spirit that a great saint, who passed onto the other side of the veil recently, left us this charge when we are standing, perhaps, at a fork in the road:

Let us all continue to take those steps of “yes” to further God’s Kingdom and see all peoples worshipping and following Jesus!

Grace, peace, and much love.

Jason Dunn
EPC World Outreach Associate Director

If I’m called to step into this role, what will be my greatest asset?
I asked this question 18 months ago during my final interview with the search committee before joining EPC World Outreach. A two-word answer came back to me, “Jason Dunn.” That answer has been validated repeatedly since my first day on the job. To work alongside like-minded, passionate people aligned with the greatest cause in the history of mankind, the fulfillment of the Great Commission, is all I’ve ever wanted to do since my freshman year in college. The Lord has been gracious to allow me to work with great, godly, talented men and women over the years and while I expected that to be true here in World Outreach, I didn’t have to wait a single minute to experience it through Jason. I thank the Lord for the time we’ve had to strive side-by-side for the faith of the gospel. As you read his announcement to follow God’s call to serve elsewhere you might experience the same mix of emotions that I had, sadness to part ways, but excitement for the opportunities God has in store for them. The contribution he has made, the investment in kingdom work and into the lives of all of us at WO and the EPC brings glory to His name and will bear fruit for years to come and into eternity. To God and to Jason I only have two words, Thank You!
Gabriel de Guia
EPC World Outreach Executive Director

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Annual Report

Learn more about what we’ve been up to by reading our Annual Report for 2021!

Master Plan

Read our new master plan, approved at the 2022 General Assembly. 

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Courage in Christ | the Reach November 2021

Dear friends,

“Now that I know God, He makes me feel brave enough to share the gospel with my Muslim family members. I know now that I don’t have to worry about what other people think of me because I only care what God thinks of me.”
– Saimeera*

I first met Saimeera in June of 2020 when she was looking for someone to help her read the Bible. The only believer in her family, she was brand new to the faith and had never had any Christian friends or been to church before. During our first meeting, she asked me to teach her how to pray. As I talked her through what God teaches us about prayer, her eyes widened. “You mean we can just say anything that is in our heart to God and He will listen to us?” she said in amazement. In nearly every one of our meetings, she was so overwhelmed by the good news that she started to cry.
Saimeera takes the Word of God very seriously. Every time we met, she brought a list of questions that had come up during her reading the previous week. She reads the Bible every single day because she wants to know and understand all of God’s Word. Her questions revealed a sincere heart: she was doing everything she could to digest and comprehend everything she was reading. “Why was Jesus called the Son of Man if he wasn’t actually Joseph’s son?” she asked one week. “Are the people who rejected Jesus just like me before I understood the gospel?” she asked another week.
Often, new believers can gravitate toward one particular mentor and only feel comfortable learning and sharing with them. While this is completely normal for the beginning of someone’s faith journey, it is essential for newer believers to eventually gain confidence in talking to and sharing with a wider variety of people. In October of 2020, Saimeera was brave enough to start attending an online women’s Bible study. “If I have anything I want to say, I’ll send you a private message,” she told me. By February of 2021, not only was she regularly attending the Bible studies, she chose to share an insight with the group every single week. Just recently, I witnessed her encourage another girl from a similar religious background who is experiencing persecution from her family.
Saimeera’s faith journey has been a huge encouragement to me over the past year. From her careful attention to the details of the Bible to her incredulous wonderment at the fact that God would care to draw near to her, her life provides a sweet reminder for all of us who have perhaps grown numb to the good news of the gospel over time. As we rejoice to see how God is at work in the life of one woman in Indonesia, let us also rejoice that the same God is at work in our lives and in our communities every day!
*Name changed for security purposes

Written by WO Worker, JB, serving in Southeast Asia

Community Life

Loving Your Muslim Neighbor

Read this book written by EPC WO global workers on how to become compassionate and courageous witnesses to Muslims in your community.

Jesus Film

These videos from Jesus Film’s “Do You Ever Wonder?” series provide an excellent tool to share the gospel with others. They’re available in several languages, including Pashto

EPC Thanksgiving Offering

The EPC Thanksgiving Offering this year is designated for a World Outreach project to provide Christian literature and other resources to Afghan refugees in the U.S. and Europe. Stated Clerk Dean Weaver, WO Executive Director Gabriel de Guia, and WO Associate Director Jason Dunn describe how donations to the project here. To give, click here.