VALLEY FORGE, PA (ABNS 6/17/14)—Jennifer “Jeni” Pedzinski from Niles, Michigan has been endorsed for service as a missionary by American Baptist International Ministries (IM). She will serve in Chiang Mai, Thailand with IM partner the New Life Center Foundation (NLCF). The NLCF 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. NLCF is currently being served by IM missionaries Karen Smith, program consultant, and Rev. Kit Ripley, program advisor. Pedzinski will serve as senior administrator.
Her assignment to serve in Thailand represents a change in call for Pedzinski. In May 2013, she was endorsed to serve in Cambodia. However, after a vision trip to Cambodia in February 2014, Pedzinski, along with IM’s leadership and IM’s partner in Cambodia felt that Pedzinski’s skills and experience were clearly not a match for service that the partner was seeking.
“Taking into account God’s calling, skill sets, experience and needs when placing a missionary is a difficult task at best. Honestly, our home staff, in consultation with the receiving partner, does it with a certain amount of fear and trembling,” described Area Director Stan Murray. “In Jeni’s situation, the vision trip to Cambodia has helped make it clear that God’s calling was to Thailand and not to Cambodia. Submitting to the power of the Spirit to get this right is a vital part of this responsibility of placement of missionary staff.”
Between February and May 2014, IM, Pedzinski and her family, church and supporters were in prayer as to God’s call for her ministry. “The process of reassignment is not simple, nor is it swift,” said Pedzinski in her announcement journal (http://www.internationalministries.org/read/54163-a-new-direction). “I deeply thank the American Baptist churches, my supporters and friends for your faithful prayer and financial support of me during this period of not-knowing,” she continued.
Pedzinski is thankful for God’s new plan for her at the NLCF. This will be her second time living and working in Thailand. In 2010-2011, she volunteered with the Baptist General Conference as an English teacher at Santisuk English School. With NLCF, Pedzinski will provide support in areas of English language administration, Christian discipleship and financial literacy training. Her work will include grant writing, public relations and overseeing program outcome management.
“The degrees I have earned in the past three years, as well as my past professional, personal and ministerial experience are uniquely suited to this work,” Pedzinski said. “I am delighted and look forward to departure, pending the development of my missionary partnership network, early in 2015.”
Pedzinski heard God’s calling her to global service at a young age. She grew up attending IM’s World Mission Conferences in Green Lake, Wisconsin. Since then, she has sought to prepare herself for cross-cultural life and ministry through focused education and international experience. Pedzinski served as IM’s first Mission Apprentice (September 2012 – June 2013) and is enrolled in a dual-degree program at Eastern University and Palmer Theological Seminary.
“Jeni has a passion to see people come to Christ and grow in the Lord, both in understanding and faithful living,” commented Reid Trulson, IM executive director. “She has great potential, and I am eager to see all that she accomplishes in the name of our Lord.”
Rev. Jim Wing, pastor of Pedzinski’s home church, is excited about her call to serve the Lord. “I have known Jeni for many years. She grew up in the community of faith at First Baptist Church in Niles, Michigan and has always exhibited a love for Jesus, a heart for evangelism, and a smile that reveals the joy she lives out each day. Her heart for mission is strong, yet tender. May many people be introduced to the Savior through Jeni’s faithfulness.”
Pedzinski will be completing her studies at Eastern University and Palmer Theological Seminary in December 2014, and soon after that hopes to complete her cross-cultural orientation and be ready to begin language study and ministry in Thailand. Between now and then, she will continue working with her Mission Partnership Team (MPT) to invite individuals, groups and churches to partner with her by committing to share the spiritual, relational and financial support needed to begin her ministry with NLCF.
Please join IM in celebrating this endorsement and praying for Pedzinski as she invites others to join her. Pedzinski is inspired by this scripture from Exodus 33: “My Presence will go with you, and I will give you rest.” Words of encouragement for Pedzinski may be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org. Learn more about her ministry on the IM website: http://www.internationalministries.org/teams/529-pedzinski
American Baptist Churches USA is one of the most diverse Christian denominations today, with over 5,200 local congregations comprised of 1.3 million members, across the United States and Puerto Rico, all engaged in God’s mission around the world.