- Costa Rica
- Cincinnati, OH
- Mentoring Missions
- USA and Local
- Youth Campaigns
“Go Ye Into All The World . . .”
The Gospel of Mark relates that Jesus, before his ascension back into heaven, spoke with the remaining eleven apostles. At that time he presented them with a commission, “Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature.” (Mark 16:15) This commission holds the same importance today as it did in the first century.
Our mission program at Washington Avenue includes worldwide involvement in telling the story of Jesus. We have made a strong commitment to tell of His life and cause beyond our local region. We are currently doing this throughout the world. If you click on the individual page links, you can find the specifics for each of these mission efforts.
Effective mission commitment goes beyond sending money. At Washington Avenue that includes personal involvement and this participation is demonstrated by, among other things, members who travel to our mission points to support the effort. It is not unusual to hear “have ticket, will go” from our members.
Recognizing the importance of educating individuals to preach the gospel, we actively support students at the Southeast Institute of Biblical Studies (formerly East Tennessee School of Preaching and Missions) in Knoxville, Tennessee as the opportunity arises.
Many of our own members preach at area congregations. Our Youth Group participates each summer in an evangelistic campaign and some of our retirees work with the Sojourners assisting congregations throughout our own country.
While this gives you a brief glimpse of our work in the mission area, you can be sure that there is much more to the story!
Our Work in Belo Horizonte, Brazil
More than a quarter century ago the Washington Avenue congregation began a partnership with Eddison and LaJuana Fowler to help them realize their dream of telling the story of Jesus in Brazil…specifically in the city of Belo Horizonte. The years have gone by and the relationship has blossomed. Our support has matured from simply being an economic presence in this work to now (among other things) include encouragement through member visits to Brazil. Today we are as optimistic about the work being done in the Master’s cause in Brazil as was the case all those years ago when we first began over 25 years ago.
In two-thousand sixteen (2016) our commitment to this work broadened when the Washington Avenue congregation assumed sponsorship responsibility for this work. In addition to the financial support contributed by Washington Avenue, our overall engagement in the work now includes greater involvement with the many supporting congregations and being a constant stateside partner in dealing with the issues that arise from their “living” in two (2) countries.
Eddison works with the Central congregation in Belo Horizonte and serves as one of the ministers and an Elder. His work puts great focus on evangelist efforts and he has been influential in the planting of congregations throughout the region. The Central congregation has started over 11 new congregations during the time Eddison has been in Brazil. He is the Director of the National Bible School and in that capacity leads the effort to train man and women for service to the Master throughout Brazil. The school provides on-site Bible classes in Belo Horizonte and “distance learning” through electronic technology. Both he and LaJuana are active workers in all 4 Christian Children’s Homes located in Belo Horizonte. Eddison is sensitive to people, a good listener and a ready source of counsel and encouragement to Christians in the Belo Horizonte region. He and LaJuana are making a positive difference in the lives of people around them.
Washington Avenue is but one of many congregations throughout the USA supporting the work of Eddison and LaJuana. The Fowler family returns to the States periodically to report their efforts and it is always a blessing to have them visit with us.
In January of 2019, Washington Avenue accepted the opportunity to expand our mission field to the country of Costa Rica. In January 2018, the Costa Rican Theological Institute, funded by Brother Rafael Barrantes, alum of Freed-Hardeman University opened its doors to 20 students. It was created to equip Costa Rican men as preachers, elders and teachers so that they may grow the presence of the Lord’s church in their home country. Costa Rica has approximately 50 congregations serving a population of 5 million without an established eldership in any one congregation. The purpose of the school came as the result of the lack of church leadership, coupled with insufficient religious education which has slowed church growth, maturation and independence. Such conditions have opened doors for denominational influence.
The Costa Rican Theological Institute offers 48 courses over a two year period which is equivalent to 164 semester hours (or four years) in a Bachelor’s program. Courses consist of textual studies, homiletics, languages, apologetics, and church history.
When Scott Pena was presented with an opportunity to work with the Costa Rican Theological Institute, he immediately started looking for financial support. In this role, Scott will be making multiple trips each year to teach Bible courses, conducting weekend seminars for churches in Costa Rica, assisting with the school development and providing additional support to mission campaigns while in the country. The work also includes the promotion of the school and raising support for the enrolled preaching students while state-side.
Scott served as a full-time minister for 15 years, working in both youth, associate and pulpit minister positions. Recently, the needs of his family changed significantly. As a result, Scott’s family has relocated to live closer to family which required Scott to transition out of full-time pulpit ministry. However, with change comes opportunity!
Scott’s prior experience in the ministry along with education background (BA in Bible, Masters of Ministry and Masters of Mental Health Counseling) makes him uniquely qualified for his role in the Costa Rica work. His service work includes mission campaigns in Romania, Ghana, Panama, Costa Rica along with his work state-side. His speaking engagements include Polishing the Pulpit and various gospel meetings throughout the brotherhood. We look forward to hearing about the great works taking place in Costa Rica.
Queen City Church
In 2013 extensive efforts were started to find a location for a “church plant” in the USA. Potential locations were researched in New Orleans, LA, Raleigh, NC, Chicago, IL, the Denver, CO region (including Boulder, Greeley and Ft. Collins) and Cincinnati. Because of the proximity to Evansville (and the opportunity for greater Washington Avenue member involvement), Cincinnati was selected.
Months of hard work followed the decision to locate in Cincinnati and on September 20, 2015 the first Sunday worship service of the Queen City Church of Christ was conducted. Thirty-two people attended that worship service, including a substantial group of members from Washington Avenue.
In July, 2015 T. J. Gifford, along with his family, joined our effort and moved to Cincinnati as the congregation’s first minister. The Gifford family spent a year in the work, helping to establish a solid foundation for future growth. Currently, recruitment efforts are underway to find a minister for the small congregation and we are optimistic that success is near.
Though the number of members is currently small, the hard work and enthusiasm occurring at the Queen City congregation is not. Worship services occur each Sunday morning and afternoon. The members meet for Wednesday Bible Study weekly. The congregation is blessed with a growing number of visiting Christians, as well as others from the community. The members are making a positive difference in the community and the story of Jesus is being told.
Added to the efforts of the Queen City members is the constant support of the Washington Avenue congregation. While the effort is underway to recruit a minister, men from Washington Avenue preach at the congregation on Sunday. Elders visit on a regular basis and there is a steady stream of Washington Avenue members finding their way to Cincinnati to worship with our brothers and sisters. To be sure, there is much yet to be done in Cincinnati and the challenges are many, but the future is bright and it is an exciting journey.
Danny and Blossom Weddle have been involved in missionary work in both the United States and other nations. Danny was stationed in the Philippines from 1961-1963 and in Germany 1963-1965. Blossom and Danny graduated from Oklahoma Christian University, Danny, York College and Blossom, Michigan Christian. They worked with churches in Oklahoma, Indiana, North Carolina and Ohio. They served as missionaries in the Philippines. Upon their return to the States in 1984, they returned to Evansville and have been members of the Washington Avenue congregation both serving as teachers. Danny has served as a benevolence Deacon and currently serves as an Elder. Both Danny and Blossom were involved in the Belarus mission work making several mission trips as part of the Washington Avenue’s mission work. After the cessation of Washington Avenue’s involvement in Belarus, Danny continued visits to Belarus, serving as a teacher through the 21st Century Global Missions.
Danny began Mentoring Missions in 2010 to introduce young men and women to the foreign mission field, develop friendships with young Christians and while developing leadership skills. Mentoring Missions has been concentrating on the South American nation of Guyana. Through the years, young men participating in this work have gone on to become full-time and part-time missionaries. The focus of Mentoring Missions is to help develop future leaders in the church both stateside and overseas. This program has been expanded to conduct cooperative future leader seminars/camps in both Guyana and the Philippines.
The opportunity to expand our international mission field into the Philippines began in 2017 from a young man we got to know on various youth mission campaigns. At an early age, Audie Cherry began his evangelistic trips to the Philippines in 2012 at the age of 20 years old as part of the Mentoring Missions Program. He has travelled to the Philippines every year since! Audie’s long term plan is to live in the Philippines full-time.
In 2012, the Sunrise Christian College located in Butuan City, Mindanao was attacked by a group of individuals and was forced to close. It has been a long legal process but the school re-opened in 2018 as a result of Filipinos and school alumni’s hard work. The current plan is to begin with Bible courses and incorporate some kind of trade education for preachers to help finance their mission work. During the time the school was opened, it was the only college associated with the church in which one could receive a government accredited degree.
Audie had prepared himself for the work in the Philippines. He received a BS degree in Agricultural Science, a MS degree in Agricultural Leadership, Education and Communication and 18 credit hours of graduate studies in New Testament from Freed-Hardeman and Heritage Christian University. He is able to speak various Filipino dialects including a working proficiency in the 2nd largest dialect. Being 25% Filipino, Audie is able to relate very well with the Filipino people.
Recently, Audie accepted a full-time job teaching high school agriculture. In addition, he accepted the preaching and teaching responsibilities at the Fairview church of Christ which is his home congregation and the sponsoring congregation for the Philippines Mission Works.
The Washington Avenue congregation’s relationship with Christians in Tanzania began in 2005. As we became better informed of the scope and potential of this mission effort, it became evident that the participation in and support of the project would match our overall mission objectives and enhance our international outreach efforts for the Master. Over the years, we have contributed funding for the support of Bible students, ministers in training, the construction of facilities, the needs of native evangelists, a printing ministry and other outreach opportunities.
This effort has built Bible schools in Arusha and Moshi and a preachers training school in Kisongo (Andrew Connally School of Preaching) and continues to work for the purpose of strengthening the congregations enabling them to be self-supporting and self-propagating and to train Africans to teach other Africans the Word of God. The campus has a library, classrooms, kitchen, offices, dormitories for up to 48 students, guest quarters and a large covered patio area for large gatherings. Due to a partnership with the Bear Valley Institute in Denver, Colorado, graduates of the Andrew Connally School of Preaching receive a Bachelors degree in Bible. A Masters program is also available.
Some of our members have visited Tanzania taking our encouragement and sharing our care for the efforts of Christians living there. Our hands-on efforts have included the presentation of a church leadership seminar by one of our ministers that benefited a number of Tanzania congregations and on-site encouragement by one of our elders. As such activities suggest, we consider personal involvement to be a critical and essential element of our partnership in the Tanzania work.
Education is highly valued in Tanzania and these Bible students value a Biblical education. They come from all over East Africa to receive this education. The Andrew Connally School of Preaching has trained over 100 evangelist. These men return back to their home country or region to teach or preach what they have learned in this school. The graduates have been partly responsible for the planting of more than 150 new congregations, not only in Tanzania but also in the Congo, Burundi, Rwanda, Uganda and Kenya.
The Arusha and Kilimanyaro (Moshi) Bible Schools have a different purpose than the Andrew Connally School of Preaching. The goal of these schools is to allow anyone the opportunity to gain a deeper knowledge of the Bible. The program is open to both men and women who are willing to attend. This certificate program is 2 years long and is conducted in the evening 4 nights a week. Many of the students are new Christians who are able to grow more in 2 years of intensive training than they might in 20 years otherwise. This has resulted in a much higher level of spiritual maturity in the local body.
The Tanzania mission work had its beginning under the direction of the Kensington Woods church of Christ in Hattiesburg, Mississippi. Currently the work is under the oversight of the Bear Valley church of Christ in Boulder, Colorado.
USA and Local Mission
While our mission efforts include significant international presence, they are by no means limited to that arena. Our outreach over the years has touched Indiana communities i.e. Huntingburg, Mt. Vernon and of course here at home in Evansville with funding for local minister support. Further from Evansville, we have been privileged to participate in numerous mission and evangelistic efforts throughout the country. At Washington Avenue mission work “near home” is equally important with that “across the seas.”
Washington Avenue members take seriously the challenge of telling the story of Jesus. Several men serve as part-time ministers for area congregations including Morganfield, KY. and White Plains, KY. These men are setting an example for our young men.
For many years we have been active in reaching out to our deaf community and presently minister to a small number of deaf individuals who are members of the congregation.
Mission outreach finds its start in many places at Washington Avenue, not the least of which is our Youth Group. Annually our group of enthusiastic, dedicated and energetic young people participate in a summer campaign someplace within the USA to tell the story of Jesus, while at the same time providing church and community service in an area.
Much of the commentary in this link (and other mission links) has focused on what the Washington Avenue congregation is currently doing in the area of mission evangelism. And while communicating that information is important, it is incomplete. Reaching out for the Master is never finished… and we are committed to the concept of mission ministry. Periodic updates will find their way to this link.
Summer Youth Campaigns and Missions
Every summer the Washington Avenue Church of Christ Youth Group goes on a week-long mission trip to help congregations in need, while at the same time providing community support. The activities that we engage in include VBS presentations, disaster relief and cleanup work, door knocking, hosting youth rallies, visiting nursing homes, and many other evangelistic activities. Our campaigns have taken us to many places over the years and each summer we look forward to the chance to go somewhere new and bring others to Christ or encourage them in God’s Word. Below is a list of the cities that the WACC youth groups have visited during our summer mission campaigns.
1990 – Stroudsburg, PA
1991 – Ligonier, PA
1992 – Middleburg, FL
1993 – Albemarle, NC
1994 – Evansville, IN
1995 – Marshall, TX
1996 – Evansville, IN
1997 – Murfreesboro, TN
1998 – Murfreesboro, TN
1999 – Waverly, TN
2000 – Holland, MI
2001 – Lincoln, NE
2002 – Holland, MI
2003 – Middleburg, FL
2004 – Ligonier, PA
2005 – Etowah, TN
2006 – Endwell, NY
2007 – Burnsville & Iuka, MS
2008 – Bedford & Elnora, IN
2009 – Odin, IL
2010 – Dalton, GA
2011 – Horsehead, NY
2012 – Etowah, TN
2013 – Dry Ridge, KY
2014 – Cincinnati, OH (Queen City C of C)
2015 – Vincennes, IN
2016 – Cincinnati, OH (Queen City C of C)
2017 – Chattanooga, TN
2018 – Buda, TX
2019 – Beckley, WV