Serving with Campus Crusade for Christ (Cru)

Bruce grew up here and was a member of Southport Pres. He has served in the mission field for 4 decades.  He married Kathy, a missionary nurse serving in Uganda in 1988.  They have three adult children – Abby, Zac and Kaeli.  Bruce, who has a Master of Divinity, and Kathy have served overseas in Kenya, Uganda, Zimbabwe and southern France.  In 2007 they continued a focus in international missions by joining with the Jesus Film project in Orlando FL.  For the past 13 years they have developed specific strategies for using the Jesus Film content around the world.  During that time, they and their team have upgraded the original Jesus Film, digitized 173,000 movie frames, converting the footage to high definition, and added an Old Testament introduction and an evangelistic close.

They continue to strive to develop the film into hundreds of languages.  Bruce and Kathy have led multiple mission trips sharing the film to various African nations. Bruce now serves as the Global Expansion Team Leader for the AMORE region.  AMORE is an acronym for the least reached regions of the Americas, Oceania (including Australia, New Zealand and the pacific islands), Russia and parts of eastern and western Europe.  Bruce travels frequently to meet with the Cru and partner leaders.  Bruce is now developing the training material for 13 Jesus Film Project area representatives.  Each of these representatives serve a grouping of countries that share common characteristics.  Kathy obtained her masters in counseling several years ago. She now serves as a licensed mental health counselor ministering to a broad spectrum of people, both those involved in their ministry and many in their local community.  To give you a sense of how effective Bruce and his partners are sharing the gospel message, over Easter weekend, last year amidst the pandemic there were more than 163 million views of the Jesus Film, Magdalena, or the Jesus Film for Children on television in 111 countries.

keir Thelander

Serving with Pan-African Academy of Christian Surgeons (PAACS)

After serving a decade as one of the primary training physicians with Pan-African Academy of Christian Surgeons (PAACS) at the Bongolo hospital in Gabon Africa, Keir was moved to Cleveland in 2016 to serve as the organization’s Chief Medical Officer.  With PAACS just recently becoming an independent mission organization, Keir’s title has changed to Executive Vice President.  PAACS mission is to train African surgeons to glorify God and to provide excellent, compassionate care to those most in need. The long-term goal is to keep these trained surgeons serving in the African countries where they are so desperately needed. While addressing the patients’ medical needs, they also strive to share the Gospel.  In many locations of Africa today there is only one surgeon for every 250,000 people. PAACS is celebrating its 25th anniversary this year.  Like most ministries, the progression during the first ten years were challenging, but about the time that Keir joined the organization in 2006, things began to advance.  In 2008, Bongolo was able to graduate its first resident surgeon in 9 different programs. Today PAACS has 16 programs in 8 countries partnering with 12 mission hospitals.  They have 121 graduates now serving in some of the most underserved countries in Africa and are currently training 105 residents.

Keir and his wife Joanna raised their children Luke and Sarah in the jungles of Africa.  Joanna self-taught their kids through their elementary years.  Keir’s new assignment requires him to travel to various locations in Africa during the year.  However, Keir noted in a recent correspondence that the global pandemic has resulted in his role with PAACS being “office” based with him not traveling to Africa from February to December of 2020 – the longest he had been out of Africa since 2006.  The historic foundation and current emphasis is to produce general surgeons, however in recent years they have diversified into several needed specialty training programs such as orthopedics, pediatrics, neurosurgery and cardiothoracic surgery.  At the launch of 2021 they are planning to add several more surgery specialties to their training programs.  Plans are under way to add three new general surgery programs in 2022 in Madagascar, Burundi and Malawi.

Bob & maria hill

Serving in Athens Greece, Greater Europe Mission

Bob and Maria, through the Greater Europe Mission, have been serving in Athens, Greece for over 50 years.  Bob enjoys teaching both Greek and English classes at the Greek Bible College.  The teachers at the college try to provide a unique experience for students where they might study God’s word in the context of a close-knit family that impacts their walk with Christ.  Bob teaches several classes including Counseling, Christian Family, Psychology.  Bob writes of the challenges faced in going to virtual classes with modern technology during the coronavirus pandemic this past year.

Bob also enjoys preaching at the Evangelical Church of Agia Paraskevi.  The Church has been renting their facility and last summer sought to reduce their costs by finding a used building that they could purchase.  They finally executed a signed contract this January and are striving to make the needed repairs so that church services may begin at that site in March.  Maria actively visits with people and assisting Bob at the church.  A couple of years ago Bob and Maria, working with another missionary who was focused on an anti-trafficking ministry, established a used book store in order to employ women coming out of prostitution.  Bob committed half a day once a week addressing plumbing, electrical and needed repairs to get the building acquired for the store ready to open.

Bob is also a talented magician and he uses that talent to present the Gospel “by magic.”  He started the Fellowship of Christian Magicians UK in 1986.  More recently Bob has been teaching “Walk Thru the Bible” Swedish instructors how to incorporate magic into their presentations.  The children (and adults) here at Southport have enjoyed Bob’s sharing of the Gospel with magic for many years during his visits

mark Wittig

Serving with Christian Union Sports Club in Medellin, Columbia

During the 1980’s and the early 1990’s Medellin was known as both the drug capital and the homicide capital of the world. Mark’s ministry evolved out of a neighborhood soccer tournament organized as a way to reach out with the Gospel to young men being recruited into the life of violence and crime spawned by the Medellin Drug Cartel. Several years ago, Southport Pres provided a large sum of dollars that enabled Mark to acquire land on a main street in one of the poorer sections of Medellin for his initial soccer complex.  Over the years the ministry has grown dramatically to involve more than 3,500 players (boys and girls), 120 teams and a coaching staff of more than 30.  In addition, Mark organized the launch of a brownie business to provide financial support for the ministry. Over the years the club’s soccer program has been expanded to 18 different sites in the poorer sections of Medellin and more recently to a dozen other communities of Columbia.
Mark has used the population’s love for soccer to witness for Christ introducing Jesus to players and coaches alike.  He has incorporated Bible study, devotions and a prayer life into all these sports ministries.  His program has turned troubled youths and coaches into powerful witnesses for our Lord not only in Medellin, but also around the world.

Mark recently shared three good news happenings with his ministry. First, an experienced Christian businessman, Rafael Escobar has been hired to be the general manager of the brownie factory with plans to grow production by 100% by 2024 providing an even greater percentage of revenue for the sports ministry budget. Second, a supporting church has enabled them to acquire a new depositor machine that will allow them to expand their line of baked products. Thirdly, on February 5 they celebrated the inauguration of their new center. The center has a synthetic field/auditorium to be used for worship, soccer, aerobics and conference sites. It houses a library and a computer lab for the kids, a kitchen and dining room for the hungry and showers that may be used by the homeless.

Paul & Charlotte MPindi

Serving with Mission French Africa Ministries

Dr. Paul Mpindi is originally from the Democratic Republic of the Congo.  He came to the Lord when he was 15 and received God’s calling for the ministry in his twenties. Paul has two Master degrees and a Doctorate degree.  He and his wife Charlotte have made Grand Rapids, Michigan their home for the past 28 years although they both travel to Africa regularly in their ministry.  They have three adult sons.

Dr. Mpindi felt called by God to do evangelism and discipleship in French speaking African countries. His evangelism efforts are directed towards Muslims in West Africa (Benin and the Ivory Coast).  His discipleship efforts are directed towards pastors and lay leaders in Central Africa (Democratic Republic of the Congo, Central African Republic and Cameroon).  His three ministry goals are to (1) bring Muslims to Christ in West Africa, (2) train African pastors, and (3) disciple lay leaders in Africa.  He heads Mission French African Ministries.  Dr. Mpindi’s ministry has a 4-step approach. (1) Dr Mpindi, when he is in Africa, preaches at large evangelistic events in these countries.  Followers of his message at one event in 2009 note that 3,000 people came forward to give their lives to Christ and another 5,000 people made a recommitment to live as disciples of Christ. (2) His ministry messages are broadcast daily in these countries.  (3) People who respond positively to the broadcasts are then enrolled in Bible correspondence courses. (4) Pastors, who are terribly lacking in Biblical knowledge, are enrolled in a 3-year pastoral and theological training program.

Dr. Mpindi notes that in these Muslim countries he is forbidden to talk to women directly.  This is the role that Charlotte plays in their ministry.  For nearly two decades Charlotte has been ministering her message of salvation and freedom to her West African sisters through weekly radio programs.  These women are forbidden to go to church, but they can follow Charlotte’s radio programs in their homes.  Charlotte also reaches out to women in Central Africa who struggle with issues related to emotional and physical abuse, poverty, AIDS, violence and rape.  Charlotte regularly serves as a keynote speaker in women’s seminars in these French African countries.
Paul and Charlotte recently visited the Democratic Republic of the Congo and Angola (Mar 4 – 29 2022) and are returning again on July 17, 2022).

WHY MIssions?

Through a mission program we can pool the resources and talents of the church body in partnering with our missionary teams in reaching the lost with the love of Christ
(Matt. 28:19-20, Mark 16:15 & Acts 1:8).

HOw can I help?

There are five primary ways you may support us:
  1. Pray Faithfully
  2. Communicate (encourage) Missionaries
  3. Time Commitment (Listen and engage)
  4. Celebrating Together (Rejoice in their victories)
  5. Financial Support