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When Brothers and Sisters Give Together in Unity

North Idaho churches burst forth with unified generosity recently.
It started out as a community offering, which turned into a Christmas miracle, which now spreads into an explosion of 2018 blessings.
Eleven Sandpoint area churches joined together to give $132,500 to two ministries, one in Sandpoint and The Luke Commission in Swaziland.
The story is just waiting to be told, but it also is “to be continued…”


The Luke Commission’s half of the donation will be used for the Staff Development Centre, to be built on the Miracle Campus. The centre will serve TLC’s 200+ staff members.
And there’s a fresh development to the development... The centre will also be a church!




Eric Rust, senior pastor of Cedar Hills Church in Ponderay, (a town next door to Sandpoint) explained the beginnings, the stirrings, the dreams.
Said Eric: “Back in July (2017), God put it on my heart to gather together 10 churches from our community to raise $100,000 during the Christmas season for two amazing organizations – one local organization and one international organization. TLC became our obvious international partner, and a brand new ministry called The Freedom House, a safe and sober house for women coming out of incarceration and recovery, became our local partner.
“At the time, I thought my faith was bold and audacious. Then I started to get concerned… A few churches that I thought would come through big were not sure they would be able to prioritize the offering as they had thought. And I found myself lowering my expectations about how much we would raise,” remembered the pastor.



Enter the miracle in the hearts of so many. “By God’s grace, we’ve seen 11 churches come together. The outpouring of generosity that we witnessed is one of the greatest, I believe, north Idaho has ever witnessed.”
When informed of the Christmas miracle, Echo VanderWal, TLC’s managing executive director and co-founder with her husband Harry, looked with gratitude to the area where she grew up.
“It’s touching when the people of our hometown, where I have my childhood memories, come together to support The Luke Commission 11,000 miles away,” Echo said.
“Serving the citizens of Swaziland has become our love and our passion. We so appreciate the spiritual, prayer and financial support evidenced by loved ones, longtime friends, and even people we have yet to meet.


“Sandpoint area churches have bonded together in this show of solidarity for the good of spreading the Gospel abroad. We have found that TLC’s effectiveness in rural Swaziland depends on the broad response from each community. Therefore, to experience this in such a tangible way from our home community speaks volumes,” Echo continued.
Most people in north Idaho are not wealthy. The churches are not large, nor is the community highly populated. Still, the exact amount donated by those who live and worship there was $132,541.
Dr. Harry said, “It’s time to break ground! As we have thought and absorbed this miracle, our hearts are repeatedly blessed by the unity of 11 north Idaho churches to serve the church body in Swaziland. We think about the prayer support those 11 churches will commit to this building after being part of this community miracle, and what that prayer investment will mean for the Kingdom impact of the building moving forward.”
Kevin Ward, Potter’s Wheel Church pastor to the VanderWals and several TLC international and national staff members, voiced his appreciation for those in north Idaho who “gathered together in unity. This is an example of how the church (through Christ being the head) is the hope of the world,” he said.
TLC’s Swaziland board chairman Frans Pienaar added: “In addition to the financial miracle, I am particularly grateful for the unity of these churches. In this day and age of divisiveness and infighting in churches, this unity gives hope. Thank you to the obedient servants of God that acted on the Spirit’s prompting to trust Him.”


The 11 partnering churches are Cedar Hills, North Summit, First Baptist, Sandpoint Assembly of God, Harvest Valley, Christ Our Redeemer Lutheran, Sandpoint Church of God, Dover Community, River of Life, Sandpoint Church of the Nazarene, and Victory Baptist.
Colin Moody, assistant pastor at Cedar Hills, visited The Luke Commission in October. His heart continues to respond to what he saw and experienced in Swaziland. And about his home community, he said: “I am overwhelmed with gratitude that we all got to participate in this together.”
by Janet Tuinstra, with tears trickling on her computer
PS The Luke Commission wants to thank several other churches and individuals in the United States and Canada who also have or will contribute to the Staff Development Centre. The TLC board has determined that no debt will be incurred in the building or furnishing of this centre. As donations continue to come in, construction will continue.
And the story WILL be continued…

Breaking ground...

Take a few minutes and watch a video introducing TLC's need for the Staff Development Centre

Copyright 2018 by The Luke Commission