A Great Calling – Vanrenterghem September 2023 Update

Hi Friends and Family!!

Back in the States for a couple of months now. We haven’t been living in Southern California for long but already we have gained some amazing friends and love being a part of the church here. We’ve been opening up our house as often as possible to prayer groups, bible studies, and fellowship. We have been blessed by most of our family being nearby and living in the state. We would have never thought that possible, due to them living in multiple states before the move was even contemplated.

“Behold, children are a heritage from the LORD, the fruit of the womb is a reward. Like arrows in the hand of a warrior, so are the children of one’s youth. Happy is the man who has his quiver full of them; they shall not be ashamed,”

Psalm 127:3-5

The family has multiplied. We gained two new members in one month. The beginning of July we added sweet little Adeline Mae Crenshaw, in which we mentioned in the last update. She’s growing and developing into the sweetest granddaughter. In a beautiful wedding at the end of July, Jorden was added to the family. Jorden and Aleah are called to serve our Father in the Middle East.

Seeking and preparing for what the Lord has for us in world missions is our focus now. With that focus, we are going to be beginning the Missions Training School which starts in October. The training is a commitment of at least a year here in Souther California. As students we’ll be doing many things; here’s some highlights: we’ll be doing outreaches (inner-city, at college campuses, and neighborhoods), classes (on many subjects such as cross-cultural training, evangelism, and church planting), and teachings (we’ll be learning and practicing how to teach the Word of God). There will be more but this is a little bit of what will be happening this next year.

We are excited to be able to head down to Peru Sept. 23- Oct. 7th for the Church Planting Conference and classes at Calvary Bible Institute. We are going to be serving and assisting wherever the need is for this conference, that has grown to over 500 attendees from all over. The Whosoevers will be performing and many pastors will be speaking. Our desire is to make connections and learn from this conference the vision of planting churches and missions. Also, they’ll be sending out a few missionaries and a church plant to the Amazon. Another great blessing in going, is we are getting to see our youngest son, Joshua, who has been attending/living at the CBI Peru campus for the last two semesters. Please pray for our health, unity, and provisions still needed of all who attend.

Walk-a-thon: Raising money for Missionaries.

Recently, we got to participate and be in support of our missionaries here are Saving Grace World Missions. The walk-a-thon was a big success. People came out to support and donate towards the Middle East, Pakistan, Uganda, India, and Nepal. Sven and I walked and raised what we could. Almost $180,000 was raised overall!! Praise the Lord!

The Lord willing, we are in the process of finalizing our plans to travel to Japan at the beginning of 2024. We are planning on going on a vision tour that a team from our church are going on but also leave a few weeks earlier to travel, just us, to pray over Japan and where the Lord would have us. We definitely have a leaning on where He is directing us to live but we will be asking for God to confirm to us our calling and direction in this. It will be our first big step in faith and in God confirming His calling to go there.

“And Jesus came and spoke to them, saying, “All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth. Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.” Amen.”

Matthew 28:18-20

Sven’s Corner

As Carrie and I are back from Mexico now, I have had a good amount of time to reflect on all that the Lord did during that time and what it meant for our future. The Japan vision tour is approaching fast, and I am excited about all that the Lord may reveal on that trip. An eventual long-term move to a location in Japan is the goal of all of what we believe the Lord is preparing us for. Part of that is a church planting training in Peru. As I continue to surrender to the Lord daily: our plans, goals, ambitions, desires, even my very life. The real work the Lord is continuing to do is on the inside. Some things are easy, aren’t they? Providing we take God at His Word. For example, Matthew 28:18-20 is self-explanatory, the reason why Christians have such a hard time following the call of the Great Commission is because they think it is optional and/or are waiting for a specific call to go! Except, God already gave the call to go right? There, as His last command before He ascended. There are many words spoken by the Lord that are not hard to understand, just not popular in today’s Christian culture. Which does not have the Bible as the center authority within its theology or practices and it’s also accepting of the rewriting of Christianity. What saddens me the most is that because the Church is ignoring vast passages of the Word of God, the Church is missing out on what God has for her. The disdain for holding onto Eschatology is very prevalent also.  But I digress. As part of graduating from the School of Missions, we each were given a wonderful gift by the leadership. The two book series by Nik Ripken “The Insanity of God” and the follow-up book “The Insanity of Obedience”. Both were amazing gifts and life-changing. I have mentioned a few books here that I would love for you to read, please add these to your reading list.  

If you take the time to read about what is going on outside of the four walls of the USA or your own first-world country, I pray that you may be moved with compassion like Jesus is and see the plight of a world that has not had a chance to accept or reject Him. The devastation and hopelessness that people face in other countries apart from God. “The Insanity of God” is the kind of book that will open your heart to these things, if you allow the Lord to do so. The only reason why you would not be moved is if you have no heart for the lost at all, but of course, if you love the Lord that is impossible because Jesus loves all people, and He has a heart for all of them. As the true church of God, His Body, His Bride, we must have the heart that He has, how else can we say that we love Him?  Friends, we are told, not asked, if need be, to lay down our lives for our God. Yes, going on the mission field can be scary. Staying home can be scarier. Have the audacity to pray, “Lord am I called to stay?” The safest, best place for you and I to be is smack in the dead center will of God. No matter where on the planet God calls you to. In the meantime, as you pray over your own life and the availability you want to give to the Lord to use your life, please continue to pray for us as we prepare to go.

Prayer Requests/Praise Reports

  • Peru Church Planting Conference: travel, provision, health, learning, and that our hearts will be open to all the Lord would have for us.
  • Partners/senders who want to pray and support us financially in reaching the Lost.
  • Again thanking God for our beautiful, healthy grandbaby.
  • God gave such a great wedding for Aleah and Jorden. And prayers over their marriage and next steps to the mission field.
  • For all the donations/provisions for the missionaries at Saving Grace World Missions in the Walk-a-Thon.