Westkirk supports a ministry to nations in and around the region commonly known as Central Asia. Populations are primarily unreached people groups of Turkic, Persian, and Mongolian ethnicities. Islam is the predominant religion. Because many of these countries are closed to Christian missionaries, non-traditional means may be employed to gain formal permission to live and work, either short- or long-term. One of the main goals of this mission is to establish and train indigenous believers who will then take over leadership to evangelize and disciple fellow countrymen.
Advancing the Ministries of the Gospel International: Dr. Argyris & Dina Petrou
Argyris is serving by training the next generation of ministers in Greece as a professor in pastoral ministries at the Greek Bible College—the only Bible school in Greece—and through preaching and church planting. After working every Wednesday morning for 10 years as a visitor-witness in downtown Athens brothels, Dina is now serving by founding the House of Damaris, a safe Christian house for victims of trafficking and prostitution.
International Messengers: Dan Marvin
Dan Marvin serves each summer on a short-term mission trip to share the gospel through Bible reading and conversation at an Evangelistic English Camp in Mohács, Hungary. The camps are sponsored by International Messengers, a non-denominational mission agency in Clear Lake, IA, and are run by a local Hungarian pastor. The camp also connects new believers with local churches led by two Hungarian pastors. The churches follow up with campers and offer Bible studies throughout the year. Dan has been serving in English camps in Hungary with International Messengers since 1998, and is looking for more team members from Westkirk.
Greater Europe Mission/Irish Bible Institute: Jonathan & Becky Schuster (Caleb, Andrew & Evan)
Jonathan works at the Irish Bible Institute in Dublin as a member of the faculty as well as part-time staff. He teaches courses in Old Testament, Church History, Ministry and Personal Development, and coordinates 2nd year students in the mentoring program. Becky has been involved in women’s Bible studies and children’s ministry. Both Jonathan and Becky are part of the Irish Church Planting Team. Currently they are working alongside Irish Church Planters in a new Presbyterian Church in Donabate, Ireland. Their eldest son, Caleb, is currently in Michigan finishing his senior year of high school.
Greater Europe Mission: Gary & Kate De Graaf
Gary is working with a new church plant in Hem, just outside of Lille, France, in teaching, discipleship, and worship, while Kate works mostly with the children’s education ministry. Gary also helps a college student ministry in teaching, discipleship, and evangelism, and Kate leads a kids club and coaches young people and other women in their Christian growth and life decisions. They are working to achieve a good witness with neighbors and locals, especially in the school where their children attend.
Romania Evangelistic Medical Mission (REMM), Dr. Peter and Ana Lucaciu.
REMM was founded in 1990 by Dr. Peter Lucaciu in Beius, Romania. He saw the fall of communism as an evangelistic opportunity to "bring medicine in one hand and the gospel in the other" to his home country—a land in desperate need of physical and spiritual healing. In the 20+ years since, he has seen that vision for evangelistic medical mission grow to include work in schools, ministry to the gypsy community, establishing Casa Josef orphanage and caring for abandoned children, facilitating ministry and mission for short-term teams, and serving as a bridge connecting people and ministries. In all of its ministry, REMM's vision is to be voices and hands bringing the people of Romania to Jesus Christ.
THE NAVIGATORS: University of Colorado Boulder and Colorado School of Mines—Brian & Heather Hanneman
Brian and Heather Hanneman are currently serving with The Navigators at the University of Colorado Boulder and the Colorado School of Mines. Their mission is for students to know Christ and to help set a foundation for them to become lifelong laborers for Jesus Christ in the workplace, in the home, and all around the world! They do this through discipleship, Bible studies for Christians, investigative Bible discussions for non-believers, evangelism, and a variety of training events on campus. During the summer, they direct a training program with around 80 college students—helping them grow in their walk with the Lord and training them in discipleship and evangelism.
THE NAVIGATORS: The EDGE Corps (Colorado)—Brett & Micki Strait
The Straits recruit, train, and send students who have worked with The Navigators to work on campuses after they have graduated. They live in Colorado and oversee the training there. Brett was ordained at Westkirk as an evangelist, and considers this his home church. The Navigators’ purpose is the advancement of the gospel into the nations of the world, beginning on campuses, then through graduates to continue to reach out to students.
Evan Strait - The Navigators at Auburn University
Evan is currently serving with The Navigators at Auburn University ministering to international students. We focus on generational ministry, equipping international students to take the Gospel of Jesus and His Kingdom into their own cultural contexts. We have weekly events focused on building community, fun activities, and biblical discussions.
CAMPUS CRUSADE FOR CHRIST (Cru): Upper Midwest Region—Ward & Gwen Schmeidel
Ward and Gwen are helping to reach and mobilize students for Christ across the Upper Midwest and around the world with Cru. Their calling flows from God meaningfully touching their lives individually as college students, and by the fact that reaching students is of strategic importance in fulfilling the Great Commission.
The Schmeidels serve on the Upper Midwest Regional Team, a Minneapolis-based team that provides shepherding, direction, accountability, and support services for nearly 300 full-time vocational missionaries in approximately 40 locations that span five states and six international partnerships in East Asia, the Middle East, Ghana, Uruguay, France, and Australia.
Ward’s specialty on the team is in the area of logistics, focusing on financial resource development and allocation, conference planning, and summer project operations. Gwen is living out her passion for helping people grow by leading efforts to care for and develop the nearly 75 staff moms in the region.
The overriding objectives for their team are to give every student in their scope meaningful opportunities to respond to the gospel, grow deep in their faith, and be used of God to reach and serve others—Win, Build, Send.
FREEDOM FOR YOUTH: Mark Nelson
Freedom for Youth Ministries, founded in Des Moines in 2003, is a 501(c)(3) non-profit on a mission to reach Iowa’s lost and hurting youth with the gospel of Jesus Christ. The organization’s role is to unite and empower Christian communities to reach young people from kindergarten through the age of 22 with programs to help them stay in school, learn life skills, prepare for the workplace, and develop healthy relationships. Programs include tutoring, after-school activities, meals, job training, and residential services for post-high school students—all centered on the message of Jesus Christ’s saving grace. There are many ways to get involved with Freedom for Youth—through tutoring, leading small group Bible studies, mentoring, serving a meal, and so forth.
HOPE MINISTRIES: Leon Negen, Kathy Coady & Development Staff
Hope Ministries is the oldest and largest homeless provider in Iowa, dating back to 1915. It is 100% privately funded and provides food, clothing, and emergency, short- and long-term residential life-recovery for homeless men, women, and children. The ministry centers of Hope Ministries include the Bethel Mission, Door of Faith, Hope Center for Women and Children, and ENCORE Thrift Store. Each fall, Westkirk collects warm clothing for the men in this program and has also supplied them with Bibles.
JESUS ALIVE IN LIVES: J.A.I.L. Ministries at Polk County Jail—Chaplain Jerry Van Cleave
The Polk County Jail Ministry exists to bring the transforming power of the gospel of Jesus Christ to those incarcerated and to all of the staff of the Polk County Sheriff’s offices. The State of Iowa sees over 70% of those incarcerated return to prison. With the J.A.I.L. faith-based method, only 6% go back to prison or jail. What a huge difference when one is truly transformed by the power of God!
RUTH HARBOR: Mark McDougal
A stately house at 42nd Street & Ingersoll Avenue serves as home to pregnant young women in need of help. Mark and his staff work with these women to counsel, help prepare them for birth, and provide education regarding parenting and placing for adoption. The staff assists residents in completing school, finding work, learning how to be mothers, and how to support themselves. It is a Christ-centered home with house parents who provide the love and security that these women need to get back on their feet.
TEEN CHALLENGE OF THE MIDLANDS: Michael Hunsberger
Teen Challenge of the Midlands offers hope to those struggling with life-controlling addictions. Its men's program in Colfax, Iowa, is a yearlong, faith-based residential program for men ages 18 and older. Residents live in a structured, disciplined environment created to provide complete 180 degrees of life change! Teen Challenge offers personalized mentoring in both one-on-one and group settings, as well as discipleship and character classes, and the opportunity to receive a GED, if needed.
With Westkirk’s support, Teen Challenge of the Midlands is planning to open a boy’s adolescent ranch in Alliance, Nebraska, the first of the year. Plans to pen a women’s center in Beatrice, Nebraska are progressing with plans to open in the spring of 2015.
In addition to supporting the missionaries and ministries listed our our missions served page, Westkirk is involved in a few other projects. We occasionally form teams to assist in packing meals with Meals From the Heartland. We regularly collect items of need for distribution through the Urbandale Food Pantry. We are also involved each year with filling shoeboxes for Operation Christmas Child, a ministry of Samaritan’s Purse International.