Sunday, 29 November -0001 19:00

Commissioning of Nico and Lia Kattenberg

Written by G. deJong
With friends and family, as well as members of our Abbotsford and Langley congregations, the congregation of Chilliwack came to witness the commissioning of Nico and Lia Kattenberg. Although this couple has been working in Guatemala for the past two years on an internship, they are now officially sent out by our denomination in a special service held in the Chilliwack Free Reformed Church on Tuesday evening, April 23.

Reading from Acts 11:22-30, pastor Overduin led this service, taking as his text Acts 11:22 with the theme "Sent Forth!" he drew an analogy between the situation in Antioch from where Barnabas was sent out with our situation in Cubulco. The cause of the Gospel and the open door provided by the Spirit's work of conversion requires that we send out workers into the vineyard. How great it is to be sent out by the church because the church is the body of Christ. Therefore, it is actually the Lord Himself Who sends people forth, supported and encouraged by the church. We rejoice with trembling at this divine calling and great work of the Lord as He uses the church for this purpose.

Since this couple is from our congregation and is sent out by the Chilliwack church, mission work should impact us personally even more. A personal bond is now established between the home church and the workers sent out. The church is to support and encourage these workers.

This great work also comes with accountability. Both the workers and the church are accountable to each other and to the Lord in Whose service they are engaged. We are to be examples of Christ by our lifestyle and conduct to each other and to those around us. As such, we work as a team for the great cause of the upbuilding of His church and the furtherance of His kingdom. But we also go forth with the authority of the Word of God and in the name of the triune God. It involves the equipping of the saints as well as being the Lord's ambassadors.

As we send out labourers into the vineyard, we do so with great anticipation that He Who sends forth will also provide the fruit on the labours. Historical evidence gives us great encouragement. Even where there were very small and difficult beginnings, the power of the Gospel has made a glorious impact and brought in many new converts. Trusting in the promises of God and recounting His work in history should greatly encourage us in mission work.

Jesus Himself was sent forth by the Father, in the face of hostility, rejection and crucifixion. As such, He is also our great Example of endurance and faithfulness. It is a glorious message that we bring to a world lost and broken by sin. It is a message that calls the ends of the earth to look unto Him and be saved.

Finally, mission work involves every person in the church. Everyone is called to be a witness for Christ. The church has been anointed and commissioned by Christ to go to all nations, even to the ends of the earth. Go with anticipation because the God Who has called you will also provide the fruit. Therefore, be faithful!

Pastor Overduin then proceeded to ask the Kattenbergs four questions relevant to their being officially sent out by the Chilliwack Free Reformed Church as part of the mission team in Guatemala. It was a touching moment when Nico and Lia responded affirmatively to these questions.

After this, elder G. deJong addressed them on behalf of the Chilliwack consistory and congregation with words of encouragement and support. Next, pastor C.A. Schouls, addressed them as chairman of our denominational Mission Committee. He encouraged the missionaries using the biblical example of an athlete reaching for the things that are before and to leave behind the things that hinder, to obtain the prize of the high calling of GodÑto make new converts among the Achi people. When the congregation had sung the blessing of Psalter 345 to this couple, pastor Schouls led in prayer, commending them to the grace and strength of the Lord.

It was a very special occasion indeed. The prayers that were offered, the praises that were sung, the Word that was opened, the faithfulness and promises of our God, the encouragement given and His calling and sending forth, bound us together at the throne of grace in anticipation and adoration as the congregation sang "He has chosen thee most precious, He delights in thee to dwell" (Psalter 238). We parted with the benediction, "Unto God Almighty, Joyful Zion sings" (Psalter 200).

Afterwards there was a time of fellowship and refreshments where we could recount the ways of the Lord in sending forth servants into the harvest. May the Lord richly bless and keep Nico and Lia as they go forth again to their labours in the district of Cubulco, Guatemala. Please continue to lift up our mission workers in your prayers. Sola Deo Gloria!

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