Thursday, March 08, 2007

The Rentz's past and future

C&MA International Ministries is eager to get our missionary in residence, Chuck Rentz, back into the field; he was scheduled to fly back to Berlin this August when his year with us is up. But Chuck and Jenny are now expecting their fourth child in August, so their travel plans will definitely change. They have not decided whether they will leave early, in May, or wait until November or December.

Chuck has already preached, and many of you have met him in person, but since we are restarting this blog with plenty of new content, I wanted to get a little of his background available online.

Chuck accepted Christ when he was 16 and living in Poulsbo. He felt he was "called to let my life count for the Lord;" one way he accomplished that was spending four years as an instructor at Crown College. In 1993, he heard a speaker at a C&MA missionary conference give an urgent call, inspired by the collapse of the Soviet Union: the church needed people who could begin training for overseas work immediately and enter the mission field soon. Chuck felt that God was calling him to answer, but the path to overseas ministry was a long one.

For the last 18 months of Chuck's preparation, the word was that France was his likely destination. But when he arrived for his pre-appointment interview, a step about six months away from placement, he was launched into two weeks of uncertainty. The denomination suggested Mongolia, an Indonesian island, and three African countries, but all were bad matches.

Finally, he got back on track with a placement in Berlin. In 2001, Chuck and his family went overseas and began two years of language study. His first ministry was a new church plant in the form of an initial 17-person home group, which he eventually expanded into a functioning church. He was also the field treasurer, responsible for the mission's international banking.

The C&MA wants its missionaries to spend one year in full-time U.S. ministry for every four they spend in the field. For the Rentz family, that first year back was a challenging one. Chuck and Jenny's oldest son, Erich, had been diagnosed with epilepsy their first year in Germany, and he began to have developmental issues. Meanwhile, Chuck's speaking schedule sent him around the country and often kept him away from Jenny and their children. When the year was up, they did not feel ready to return to Berlin. The family was tired, and gaining access to the proper schooling for Erich in Germany is difficult.

"We were five minutes from Jenny's church in Toledo, Ohio, and we have felt so much more care-giving and relationships and connection with people here than there," Chuck said. "Not that they're bad people, but it's another way of doing things, and [East Hills], all around, has been a blessing to us from the first week we got here."

The Pacific Northwest District put Chuck in contact with Nick Stumbo, and they and the elders felt that God was calling Chuck back to Washington. He began his year-long residence in July 2006.

"We were really unsure of what the future meant for us," he said. "Then Nick called ... we really believe that God brought us here. I think this was the year that God wants us to be refreshed."

While here, Chuck is still involved in promoting missions. He is a firm supporter of life groups, which are a main tool for connecting believers in his field work. He also emphasized that his ministry goal is to understand what God has for East Hills, to reenforce the leadership's vision rather than compete against it.

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