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A Surprise Gift at Christmas

January 23, 2019

Christmas was a special time of thanks for several Christian Reformed Church agencies and some affiliated ministries in the Grand Rapids, Mich. area.

On Dec. 28 2018, these ministries learned they will be sharing a large estate from anonymous donor.

Although the agencies, for the most part, aren’t sure yet how they will use the funds, totaling more than $777,000 for each ministry, this gift helps to underscore the value perceived in the work that the church is doing.

"Resonate appreciates enormously the lifetime of stewardship and the vision of the friends of the CRC who make denominational agencies part of their estate,” said Zachary King, director of Resonate Global Mission. “We look forward to using all our estate gifts strategically for the work of mission in the U.S., in Canada, and around the world."

Resonate received two gifts — one for work internationally and the other for ministry in North America, reflecting the work of Christian Reformed World Missions and Christian Reformed Home Missions before they united in 2017.

The gift is “a tremendous blessing to our ministry,” said James VanderLaan, a development official for Resonate.

“The legacy of the donor's deep love for the Lord and their desire for sharing the gospel with the whole world is so encouraging to us at Resonate. We will honor that legacy by stewarding this gift in God's mission.”

Thanks to the gift, the Resonate leadership team will be reviewing how best to allocate the funds to help missionaries, church planters, and ministry leaders around the globe do their work in proclaiming the gospel.

World Renew received a portion of the gift as well. Tom McWhertor, director of constituency relations for World Renew, said the agency is pleased and inspired to realize “that this family was moved by the needs of the poor, and wanted a part of their estate to support the life-giving work of World Renew around the world — and we are grateful.”

By board policy, World Renew applies unrestricted special gifts such as this to its Joseph Fund, which allows the gift to grow as it is managed so that the value of the gift can increase and at the same time make funds available for each of seven years — at which point it will have been fully spent to support World Renew's ministry.

“We will use a part of the gift each year, as well as the income generated, for the benefit of communities and families in need around the world. The gift from this family will have an impact on those experiencing poverty, injustice, and disaster for years to come,” said McWhertor. “The Joseph Fund has grown to be a vital part of our annual budget — and enables us to work consistently with those experiencing poverty, injustice, and disaster in sustainable and life-giving ways."

Kurt Selles, director of Back to God Ministries International, said his agency is also encouraged by the gift, which, "will help more people around the world to access God's Word on their televisions, smartphones, and radios as a result."

Five additional Christian ministries in the Grand Rapids area also received gifts.