Saturday, January 30, 2010

Laban Ministries Women's Tea - A Lovely Time Was Had by All!

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So far, this year has been full of firsts.  Today's first was attending a Tea.  The Women's Tea, First Presbyterian Church in Trenton, MI, was to benefit the Women's Literary Center, run by Laban Ministries, International based in Congo, Africa.  The ticket was provided to me by my friend from church, Becky (thanks, Becky!).

The menu was tasty.  We had the choice of Earl Grey or Orange Spice teas.  There were lots of yummy tea sandwiches: chicken salad, cream cheese & pecans, ham salad and peanut butter.  A Tea would not be complete without scones - with clotted cream & current jam.  For dessert, we had carrot cake or pound cake.  The people at First Presbyterian outdid themselves with a lovely afternoon for lots of ladies who were blessed and very well sated!

Laban Ministries International, according to their website, was founded in 1938 by Dr. & Mrs. Laban Herbert Smith, who arrived in Congo as pioneer missionaries.  Dr. Smith served as the country's first oral surgeon. They served in Congo for 15 years, opening 90 villages, each of which was supplied with a pastor and a grade school after the Belgian Government granted permission to allow missionaries to teach national children only.  They had two sons, Jim and Jack, who were born in Congo. 

Continuing from Laban Ministries’ website, Jim and his wife, Nancy, began their married life together at a local church in Dearborn, Michigan, serving in various capacities of the church, including that of co-pastor for 13 years, after which Jim traveled as a music evangelist until 1977, when their home burned to the ground and God called them to the Congo. Jim and Nancy with their three children, Shawn, Nicol, and Todd arrived in the capital of Congo (Kinshasa) on December 6, 1978. Nancy was expecting their 4th child, Jack, who was born on the mission station of Vanga, where Jim and his brother, Jack, were also born. A Bible school was opened in January, 1979, with seven students, followed by an evangelism outreach, dispensary, and orphan care. 

Their four children continue to serve the Lord.  Shawn Lantz, their older child, is a women’s ministry speaker and the founder of Esengo Ministries, based in Nashville, TN.  She is the author of two books, ‘Congo Vignettes: Stories of God's Faithfulness to Three Generations in the Heart of Africa,’ and a bible study, ‘Living with Unmet Desires: Exposing the Many Faces of Jealousy.’  I will be reviewing those titles shortly; stay tuned!  Todd Smith is part of the Christian singing group, Selah.  Nicol, now known as Nicol Sponberg, was formerly a member of Selah and is now a successful solo artist.  The youngest, Jack, is the worship minister at Gilead Baptist Church in Taylor, MI.  And Jim and Nancy commute between Congo and the US to fund raise and to enjoy their beautiful family.  

Each lady at the Tea was given the gift of a purse, made by some wonderful ladies here in the USA, or a bead bracelet, made by the ladies at the Women's Literary Center in the Congo.  We then headed up the church’s sanctuary, where Jack and his wife, Molly, shared their vocal talents.  Then Nancy Smith introduced a video showing some of the women whose lives that have been affected by their ministry.  Finally, their oldest daughter, Shawn, came to share her heart about the ministry with which she has been involved her entire life.  She shared that the intent and purpose of the Women’s Literary Center is to add light to the lives of the women of Congo who have been kept in darkness. 

To addition to the Women’s Literary Center, other aspects of the Laban Ministries include evangelism, medical outreach, Laban Bible Institute, and Radio Nkembo (Radio Glory).  Radio Nkembo has a 300' tower and a 2500 watt transmitter. Christian broadcasts reach as far as 450 land miles, 8-10 hours a day, 7 days a week.

Thanks to the Smith family for their decades of service to the Lord.  Their lives clearly show that the Lord blesses His own!

I consider Laban Ministries to be very worthwhile.  If you feel led to contribute to an established ministry which has been helping people for over 70 years, please prayerfully consider this one.  You can contribute here.  


Anonymous said...

Great story. I love God's faithfulness.

Andrea said...

They are truly a wonderful family! And they each use their gifting for His glory! It is a beautiful thing to behold! Shawn and Nancy are as sweet as you can imagine, too! Can you tell I am excited?! : )

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