MB Mission appoints five individuals to serve Midwest churches
By Connie Faber
MB Mission, the North American mission agency that seeks to plant churches that transform communities among the least reached, has formed a Midwest Mobilization Team to serve U.S. Mennonite Brethren churches in the Southern, Central, North Carolina and Latin America MB District Conferences.
According to Stephen Humber, (pictured right) regional mobilizer and team leader, God has been “brewing something new in the Midwest region.” Humber lists a large and growing number of ACTION (one month ministry opportunities) alumni who are exploring long-term mission work and new global workers from the region as evidence of this growth.
“Our new team will be spread geographically but is unified with the vision God has given us to launch a movement of missional leaders, nationally and globally,” says Humber in a recent letter to churches.
Members of the Midwest Mobilization team live in four states and have served in a variety of ways with MB Mission and have other ministries and local churches experiences.
Humber leads Midwest Mobilization Team
Humber has been a pastor in both the Southern and Central District Conferences and has served on the MB Mission board of directors. He served for 11 years as a member of the pastoral staff at Parkview MB Church, Hillsboro, Kan., and was most recently on the pastoral staff at Stony Brook Church, a USMB church plant in Omaha, Neb.
Humber came to faith in Jesus Christ through the Navigators while in college. He spent about 10 years on active duty as a naval officer before attending Denver (Colo.) Seminary. He and his wife, Mary K, who now live in Denver, have been married for 27 years and have two grown children.
“Because of my background as a pastor in both districts and also various roles that had me among district and national leaders, I will enjoy connecting with leaders and program alumni and donors and assisting in the mobilization work throughout the region,” says Humber in an email to the Christian Leader.
Joining Humber are Danae Schmidt, Hillsboro, Kan., Bob and Kelly Pankratz, Plevna, Kan., and Aaron Myers, Sioux Falls, SD.
Schmidt to work from Hillsboro office
Schmidt, who has been serving with MB Mission since 2012, will continue working from the MB Mission office in Hillsboro as the short-term mission coordinator and administrative assistant. She and her husband, Kyle, both grew up in Corn, Okla., and are graduates of Tabor College, the MB college in Hillsboro.
For three years they served in youth ministry and mentoring and as worship leaders in western Oklahoma. In 2012 they served with MB Mission as team leaders in Thailand with the TREK program. After returning from TREK, they moved to Hillsboro where Danae began working with MB Mission. The Schmidts have been married for six years.
Humber credits Schmidt and Joanna Chapa, short-term mission mobilizer who recently began a three-year term with MB mission as an apprentice, with building on the work of Jon Pritchard, the previous Midwest regional mobilizer, while the role went unfilled for the past 18 months.
“They are a big part of why there is so much to work with right now in regard to developing missional leaders,” says Humber.
Kansas couple joins MB Mission
As a couple, Bob and Kelly Pankratz are the equivalent of one fulltime staff member. They will serve as mission mobilizers primarily in the Southern and North Carolina districts.
Bob and Kelly both grew up in central Kansas and after several years in youth ministry at Buhler (Kan.) MB Church, they moved to California where Bob completed seminary. They were involved in inner-city ministries for the next 15 years in California, Colorado and Mexico.
In 2005 they returned to Kansas where they established The Oasis Ranch and Retreat Center, a retreat facility in a rural setting where God’s presence can transform and restore people, helping them grow in relationship with God and others. For several years now, MB Mission groups have been meeting at the ranch for training and debriefing.
The couple has been married for 27 years, and they have two children in college and two in high school.
“Bob and Kel have kingdom hearts and lots of connections beyond Mennonite Brethren circles to promote the work of MB Mission,” says Humber.
Myers brings unique experience to team
Aaron Myers will work part-time with MB mission as a mission mobilizer and will work primarily in the Central District Conference. Myers and his wife, Consuelo, live with their two children in Sioux Falls, SD.
Aaron and Consuelo grew up in Mennonite Brethren churches and met at Tabor College. They have been married for 16 years. In 2008, they moved as church planters to Istanbul, Turkey. They returned to the United States in 2012 and began working with Crescent Project, an organization whose mission is to help Christians in North America reach out to their Muslim neighbors. They regularly train and equip churches and individuals to connect cross-culturally.
“As a former overseas missionary, Aaron is heavily networked with mission agencies and is a significant resource person,” Humber says. “He brings a wealth of experience and knowledge to the team.”
Team ready to assist churches
Humber invites USMB churches to contact the Midwest Mobilization Team. “We are available to assist churches in developing a strategic vision and plan for engaging in mission,” he says. “We are also available as speakers and workshop leaders to bring focus to gospel ministry among least reached peoples.”
Humber can be reached at StephenH@mbmission.org. The MB Mission Midwest Office is located at 315 S. Lincoln in Hillsboro, Kan. The mailing address is PO Box 264, Hillsboro, KS 67063. The office email is email@example.com. Other team members can be reached via email: DanaeS@mbmission.org; BobP@mbmission.org; KellyP@mbmission.org; AaronM@mbmission.org.
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