First Church supports missionaries around the world, both financially and in prayer:
Doug & Leah Heidema (USA): Having spent most of their adult life living and working among the people in Papua New Guinea, in the past year Doug and Leah made the profound decision not to return to the field as Leah’s fight against MS continues. As of November 2010, the board of Pacific Island Ministries (PIM) voted to keep Doug on as CEO of Field Affairs. He has been working on a DVD about PIM. Many other matters keep him well occupied. Leah’s condition is somewhat stable; however, she is gradually losing movement and therefore the ability to do certain tasks. At this time they are living and working in Nevada near several of their children.
Andrew & Ruth Ippel (Nicaragua): Andrew teaches preschoolers at NCA, an organization that is committed to equipping children with spiritual discernment, moral courage and academic excellence to impact society through Christian living motivated by a heartfelt love for God. NCA has over 290 students, including Nicaraguans and children of missionaries from a variety of countries. The school enables many families to serve in Nicaragua, and also influences many of the country’s future leaders. Andrew and Ruth have 3 children, Henry, Mae & Charlotte. Henry and Mae attend NCA.
Perry & Roline Smit (Surinam): Perry finished a theological seminary in the USA and went back to Surinam where he married Roline. They serve under Commission to Every Nation in their native country of Surinam to the Wajana, Trio and other Indian tribes in the interior. He also co-pastors and is the youth leader at Immanuel Baptist Church in the city of Paramaribo. He frequently organizes evangelistic outreach camps. Roline home-schools their daughters, Ivanna and Netanya, and leads youth groups.
Ruth Veltkamp (Nigeria): Officially, Ruth teaches at West Africa Theological Seminary (WATS), which serves one of the fastest-growing segments of the Christian Church in the world. WATS focuses squarely on the two greatest needs of the African Church: leadership development and discipleship of believers. It is Nigeria’s largest nondenominational seminary, located in the heart of Lagos. Their website is www.watsonline.org. Unofficially, Ruth is the spiritual Mother to many Christians in Africa and is a both a prayer warrior and resource for those who are conducting ground-breaking evangelization in many African countries.