“Our project serves to practically support those who are training to serve and lead in Classis Red Mesa’s congregations,” was the stated purpose of Maranatha Fellowship Christian Reformed Church’s Sustaining Congregational Excellence Health & Renewal project.

The plan was to show encouragement and hospitality to 14 students who were committed to engaging in Leadership Development Network (LDN) training. Nine months of instruction was to be followed by classical exams in the spring of 2016.

The challenge for many of the students was how to get to class. “We despaired when we heard of students pawning heirloom jewelry for gas money,” said Rev. Lora Copley, project coordinator. “Just the simple provision of gas assistance has encouraged students. One student, when we gave the $15 gas card, said, ‘Be sure to pass on my thanks. I don’t know how I’d get to class without this.’” Part of the grant funds were used to purchase gas cards.

“This project impacts almost every congregation in our classis. Every July, our classis puts on a Bible Conference. This year, almost half of the speakers, preachers, and Bible study leaders are LDN-trained church leaders,” Copley said.

“It is easy to feel on the reservation that the denomination doesn't really know our situation in Classis Red Mesa. This grant is one small way the denomination says, ‘We know and we care.’ What a gift to belong to an ecclesiastical family who enables us to demonstrate fitting hospitality and justice to our church’s leaders-in-training!”