Jeanne and I recently attended a presentation by Jeni Pedzinski at First Missionary Church. We’ve known Jeni for many years, primarily through First Baptist Church. She shared her testimony of God’s call into the mission field, specifically to the New Life Center Foundation (NLCF) in Thailand.
Here is a purpose statement from their website: “The New Life Center Foundation works exclusively with young ethnic minority women throughout the Mekong sub-region (Thailand, Burma, China, and Laos) who are at risk for, or victims of, human trafficking, forced labor, and sexual abuse.” (http://www.newlifecenterfoundation.org)
Jeni will serve as the senior administrator of the NLCF in Chiang Mai, Thailand. With degrees in development and Christian theology, Jeni will provide support to NLCF staff in areas of administration, Christian discipleship, and financial literacy. (internationalministries.org/teams/529-pedzinski)
In 1996, Jeni traveled with her family to a World Mission Conference at Green Lake Conference Center in Green Lake, Wisconsin. This impressionable 11-year old met Peter Beckwith who was serving the Lord in Japan. There was an immediate fascination with him and his dedication to the Japanese people.
Throughout the week as Peter sensed something deeper in Jeni’s curiosity, he gave her a simple gift and some sound advice. He pressed into her hand a 5-yen coin worth about a nickel in American currency. Then he said something to the effect that if she sensed God calling her to the mission field, please consider it.
He planted a seed. It didn’t take long. It didn’t cost much.
Jeni put that coin on a necklace, and it became part of her normal attire for years. The seed took root, and Jeni now has a projected departure date of Spring 2015 for Thailand. She needs to raise 100% of her funding and is currently at 44%.
Jeni was able to connect recently with Peter Beckwith, who is a pastor in Maine, and update him on her journey which began with a coin and a slight nudge toward God’s call to missions. What a blessing that must have been for Peter!
As she concluded her presentation on that crisp October night, Jeni challenged those in attendance to consider what an enormous difference a small amount of time and money made in someone’s life.
Does anybody have a nickel?