In our Wednesday Focus on Ministry posts, we hope to introduce you to your Newark Presbytery neighbors and their unique ministries. Today we are highlighting Bethany Presbyterian Church, in Bloomfield, where they like to simply go by Bethany Church.
We love what Bethany Church in Bloomfield has to say about itself:
Just before World War II, a handful of local Christians started the “Bethany Presbyterian Church” in a humble store front in Bloomfield, New Jersey. Today, Bethany Church members come from as close as a few streets away to as far as a few counties away for Sunday service, numerous activities and events and fellowship. We are multiethnic and multicultural; we are seniors, singles, married couples and children. No matter what your circumstance, ethnicity, family make-up or background, you are welcome here. At Bethany, we embrace all people with the amazing love of God.
Bethany Church is proudly multicultural and active in local and global mission that connects their members to their community and the world in Christ. They are engaged with their local food bank, mission trips to the Philippines, support missionaries, and sponsor children through World Vision. You can learn more about Bethany Church, including their active youth and children’s ministries, check out all of their outreach opportunities, and listen to sermons on their website. Whether you are looking for a church home, or just want to get to know your Newark Presbytery neighbors a bit better, this is a good place to start.
In our original profile we mentioned the mission work that Bethany Church engages in, not just locally, but throughout the world, including trips to the Philippines to work with mission partners in person. We are blessed to have an update from Bethany’s most recent trip in July:
2016 Philippines Short-Term Missions Report
by Pastor Jin Bae
Team: Pastors Jin Bae & Emily Kim, Jonathan Ahn, Charis Bae, Simone Byun, Angie Son, Jake Son, Alyson Yun & Haley Yun
I want to thank our God for calling and assembling, and then training and equipping the team that went to Samar, Philippines in July 5-18. We went as God’s will and as Bethany’s representatives. I want to thank our elders and Bethany for keeping us in your prayers.
While the trip was for 14 days, the planning for it took two years. From late 2014, the missions committee led by Youngsook raised funds through kimchee selling twice and yard sale twice. And the first information meeting for this trip was held in November 2015, to the youths in December 2015, and another meeting in January 2016 before the team was assembled in early February.
For this trip, Youngsook and I decided that we will not ask for any church funds (other than my personal Study Leave fund to cover my JFK-Incheon airfare). Asking the members to pay for their airfare from JFK-Incheon, we decided to fundraise the rest, and by God’s grace, we raised more than enough. In fact, we brought back $1,775 for future missions work.
Our training began in early April and ran weekly for 3 hours at a time. We began with praise and prayer and studied the Bible, Filipino culture and language, and cross-cultural dynamics (what we might encounter and how we must process for a healthy experience). We also learned songs and prepared for various ministries, knowing that our team’s main ministry will be with the children. Pastors also expected to preach whenever called upon.
Along with smaller ministries (Meeting with college ministry in the city, participating in an all-day high school event), we went to visit and live among the locals at two villages, Magsaysay and Bante. In both villages, we ran children’s programs (twice), a film ministry at night, door to door visitations, and spent our free time getting to know the locals.
As for the most effective program, it had to be the passing out of color T-shirts. We purchased 420 shirts in all and passed out everything at a cost of $600. The color T-shirts created an immediate buzz, and it helped the children to focus and organize into teams – they lined up quickly, rooted for each other, and followed instructions excitedly. Rev. Dan Kim, the executive director of SICAP told us that in 20 years that he’s been there, he’s never had a team use color T-shirts that way. That made us quite happy – we might have started a trend.
But our primary focus was on making friends and building relationships, not on running effective programs and feeling good about ourselves. We believed that when we focus on building relationships, we become open and sensitive, careful with the locals and loving in our behavior. Our team never wavered from this focus and made us very proud.
In the end, we give glory to God for his faithfulness. We had a few that got sick and many struggled with skin rashes and mosquito bites, and the heat and humidity was consistently heavy on us, but our team’s spirit was always up and positive. You should be very proud of the team and our youths.