July Newsletter – From the Vanek’s

Faith Baptist Community Church & Center 

Greetings from inner-city Cleveland!

July 17, 2018

You’ve probably heard a story or two from missionaries who had a very specific need that God provided for in a very identifiable way. Such accounts are “chilling” as they tend to demonstrate the very real presence and involvement of God Himself in the ministry. Recently, I encountered such a situation. It was a reminder that God knows our needs, cares about our needs, and desires to show Himself faithful in meeting those needs. The Center had been receiving a gift annuity payment for a number of years from a former volunteer who had passed away. The payment ended in April of this year (earlier than we had anticipated it to end). The gift amount was $137.00/month. Out of concern for the loss of those funds, I began to look at our annual budget to determine where things could be adjusted. I prayed for the Lord’s help and wisdom in knowing what to do. Two days later, I received an email from the Hunger Network informing us that our food grant (which had not changed for the past 12 years) was being increased $138.00/month! God had essentially replaced the lost annuity funds (and even threw in an extra dollar!). We had a need…God met that need with an identifiable answer. It’s not always an easy thing to live by faith; however, what a blessing it is to sometimes actually get to see “the evidence of things not seen.”

This has already proven to be a very busy summer! One of the blessings this summer is that we have had the opportunity to host a First Look student. Laura Sturgis, a recent Faith Baptist Bible College graduate, came to Cleveland to complete a six-week nursing internship in the medical clinic at Faith. In addition to her work in the clinic, we have kept her busy with a number of “other” tasks, from playing her violin, to photographing VBS, to teaching Sunday school. She finished her internship this past Sunday. She was a blessing to us and we already miss having her around!

On June 16, we hosted a retirement open house for Norma Nulph. Miss Norma has served in the inner-city of Cleveland for over 55 years. Many people attended: individuals from supporting churches, current/former volunteers, and people from the community. While Miss Norma has many health issues that prevent her from actively being at the church and Center these days, her heart still beats for the ministry. She has been faithful, and her faithfulness is an example to each of us.

June 25-29 was our VBS week. Two work teams joined us for that effort. The junior high youth group from Pleasant Hill Baptist Church in Smithville came for three days to help with preparation and canvassing for VBS. They also did a great deal of work both outside and inside the building. The youth group from Ankeny Baptist Church in Ankeny, Iowa, was here for over a week to prepare for and run the VBS. They were also involved in other ministry and work tasks around the church and Center during those days. The VBS went very well. We had 50 children on our highest day and 39 on the lowest. Three boys accepted Christ as Savior! The Sunday after VBS, one of those boys (ArDerrick) came to church and brought his mom, his aunt, and two siblings. His mom shared that she had not been in church for six years. Before they left, they let us know they would be back! Pray for ArDerrick (and his family) and the two other boys who trusted Christ.

On the Saturday following VBS, we were involved in the Ward 5 (neighborhood) festival. We set up a booth at which we gave out information about the church and Center. We had several of our church members there to help. The gospel was presented multiple times and many good contacts were made. Pray that we might see some fruit from those conversations.

 Last week, we attended the BMM Family Conference. It is always a time of refreshment, so we are glad to be close enough to attend it each year. In two weeks, we were scheduled to travel out to Ankeny, Iowa, for the Team North America Conference; however, due to flooding in the Des Moines area (and damage to the Faith Baptist Bible College campus), that conference has been cancelled. We are planning to get away for a week of vacation in August before volleyball season and the school year get into full swing. Emily will be a freshman in high school this year and Ben will be in fifth grade! Where does the time go? Seems like just yesterday they were dragging nap mats back and forth to kindergarten!

One more thing we would ask you to pray for…on August 20th and 21st I will begin the assessment process for deep brain stimulation (DBS) to address my Parkinson’s disease symptoms and medication side effects. The pump has been an effective treatment option (I have had it for four years now); however, longterm use of Parkinson’s medications results in certain side effects that are just as debilitating (if not more so) than the actual symptoms of the disease itself. Being 17 years into the progression, those effects are becoming more apparent and problematic. My neurologist feels as though DBS is “long overdue” in my case, so it appears to be time to look at the DBS option. If the assessments go well, we are anticipating the surgeries would take place sometime in the fall. Thanks for your concern, encouragement, and prayers.

We trust that you are having a great summer. We appreciate all you do for us!

Serving Christ,

Michael, Sherri, Emily, and Benjamin Vane