Helping Others: Our People
Rev. Duane Maas
Rev. Duane Maas is a graduate of Concordia Theological Seminary in Ft. Wayne, IN, served as a pastor for 36 years. He retired from full-time ministry in June of 2014 to devote more time to family. He earned his undergraduate degree from Concordia Teachers College in Seward, Nebraska, where he received training and experience in personal evangelism. He served on the Mission Committees in Nebraska and Southern LCMS Districts. Along with serving established congregations in Illinois, Nebraska, Alabama and Missouri, he helped establish a Hispanic ministry in Nebraska, a daughter congregation in Alabama, and a satellite congregation in Missouri. He was also the pastoral presence for a unique relational outreach to homeless and impoverished people. Rev. Maas served as a Circuit Counselor in three LCMS Districts and has training and experience in conflict resolution. Pastor Maas desires for congregations and clergy to be healthy servants of Christ and His commission to share the Gospel with those who are not yet believers. Convinced that outreach to people who have not heard the Gospel of Christ is of highest priority for the Church today, he is honored to share the work POBLO that is doing.
Tim Bickel graduated from Concordia Seminary, St. Louis 1971 and served Lutheran Church–Missouri Synod parishes in Illinois, Alaska, Washington, Oregon and Michigan until 2008 when he retired. Both as a volunteer summer teacher and since retirement as a contract teacher during school years, he has taught English in Asia. He also co-led a theological seminar in Ethiopia in 2002. For 16 years, he was a volunteer firefighter and designated chaplain in Washington and Oregon. In Oregon, he coordinated and conducted crisis debriefings to help keep emergency personnel in healthy service. Tim sees himself as a grateful servant of Jesus Christ. He has a passion to be and bring the good news to all. He has cross-cultural experience at home and abroad. And now he is humbled and honored to join POBLO, bringing together God’s people and foreign newcomers in response to Christ’s Great Commission (Mark 16:15). He urges you to pray for the salvation of the lost, especially Muslims, and to ask what your part is while there is still time.
Rev. Amer Mehdikhan
Rev. Amer will serve as POBLO ambassador to help develop POBLO’s mission goals within the Michigan District. Rev. Amer previously served in outreach to refugees in Lansing for seven years. During that time, he ministered to many ethnic groups including Afghans, Sudanese, Indians, Pakistanis, Iraqis and others. Pastor Amer helped resettle refugees by establishing ESL classes, driving classes, family counseling, housing and job searches, and Bible Study classes. Rev. Amer is thankful and blessed to be a part of POBLO and the work that they do to share the Gospel.
Rev. Richard Laeder
Rev. Richard Laeder enlisted in the United States Navy after graduating from high school. He was trained in the U.S. Navy’s nuclear propulsion program. During his sixteen years of active duty, he met his future bride, Bonnaire (Bonnie) K. Woolf from Saginaw, Michigan, while home on leave. Seventeen months and two tours of duty in Vietnam later they were married at Faith Lutheran Church, Brigdeport, Michigan, where Bonnie had graduated from high school. After sixteen years of active service Richard entered the Navy Reserves and began studies for the pastoral ministry. In 1986 Richard was ordained and received his first call to St. John Lutheran, near South Whitley, Indiana. Richard retired from the Navy Reserves in 1988 after twenty-four years of military service. He also served as parish pastor at St. Paul Lutheran Church in Hale and Trinity Lutheran Church in Lansing, Michigan. He also served as the circuit counselor before retiring in 2009. It was at Trinity that Richard first became familiar with POBLO in 2002. There, POBLO provided a missionary to start a new congregation amongst the continuing influx of Arabic-speaking Muslims. Since retiring Richard has served as intentional interim pastor at St. Trinity, Clarkston; Trinity, Sawyer; and St. John, Ionia. He has also served as vacancy Pastor for St. Peter, Riley (St. John’s), Michigan, and has provided help with pulpit supply. On March 1st, 2016, Richard was honored to be brought on board the POBLO International organization as one of its ambassadors to help develop POBLO’s mission goals within the Michigan District.
Rev. David Cecil
Rev. David Cecil earned his undergraduate degree from Concordia Teachers College in Seward, Nebraska, after which he served as a teacher for two years in Rockford, IL. Returning to California, he worked in the secular job market for 19 years in retail management, as a contractor, as a tax preparer, and as a securities and insurance agent. After these many occupations, he was led by the Holy Spirit to go back into full-time ministry and graduated from Concordia Theological Seminary in Ft. Wayne, IN in 1996, and served as pastor in Sheboygan, WI for 6 years. He then served as a Ministry Consultant Director of Camp Bethesda, and Director of Religious Life for Bethesda Lutheran Communities, supporting people with intellectual and developmental disabilities with the Gospel until retirement in 2015. Rev. Cecil believes that sharing the precious message of the Gospel with those who do not know Jesus as their Savior needs to be the focus of every congregation’s mission and vision. As the people of God, we have an opportunity to share with a world, that is lost, a living hope in Jesus Christ who gave his life that we might have life and have it abundantly. Rev. Cecil is thankful and blessed to be a part of POBLO International and the work that they do to share the Gospel.
Rev. Wayne C. Schroeder
Rev. Wayne C. Schroeder graduated from Lutheran High School, St. Louis, in 1961, attended junior college at St. Paul’s College, Concordia, Missouri, and graduated from Concordia Senior College, Fort Wayne, Indiana, in 1965 with a Bachelor of Arts Degree. He graduated from Concordia Seminary, St. Louis, with a Master of Divinity Degree in 1969. Pastor Schroeder has served parishes at Platte Center & Humphrey, NE; Kearney, NE; Lincoln, NE; and Cedar Rapids, Iowa. He served the South Wisconsin District as Executive for Congregational Services, Stewardship, Evangelism and Student Aid and Recruitment from Oct. 2000 until Nov. 2006. In May 2007, he was installed as Assoc. Pastor/School Chaplain at Our Redeemer Lutheran Church in Wauwatosa, WI. Pastor Schroeder is married to Beverly A. Fischer of Stover, MO. Their marriage has been blessed with four children and seven grandchildren. Rev. Schroeder now serves as POBLO ambassador in Wisconsin, where he shares POBLO’s outreach to Muslims in Wisconsin through missionary presentations, workshops on Muslim outreach, and preaching for mission celebrations.
Deen Albert was born to a Norwegian Christian mother and Pakistani Muslim father. His mother converted to Islam, and Deen was raised in the Islamic faith for the first 8 years of his life. He attended a mosque with his father and an Islamic school, where he learned to face the East toward Mecca and to recite Muslim prayers. After his parents divorced, his mother went back to her Christian roots and helped Deen to understand the God of the Bible. He was baptized into the Christian faith as a child and gave his life to Jesus. Deen attended Concordia University in Seward Nebraska, where he enrolled in the pre-seminary program. Now, he is an executive in the trucking industry and sees his work as a ministry in its own way. Even before Deen connected with POBLO, he had a strong desire to share the truth about Islam among churches. That, and his love for the Gospel, led him to POBLO. Deen represents POBLO to churches and individuals in his home state of Indiana.
Julie is originally from Pakistan, and has lived in Houston, Texas for the past thirteen years. She is married and two children. Julie feels that the Lord has given her the heart and burden to share the Gospel message with new Americans, especially those who do not know Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior. Presently, Julie is working with POBLO Ministries as a missionary in Greater Houston area. God is providing her with daily opportunities to share the saving message of Jesus Christ.
Nader and Georgette Alaraj
Originally from Palestine, POBLO Missionary Nader Alaraj started his career as a medical technologist, working for fifteen years in the medical field in Omaha. He met his wife, Georgette, on a visit to Palestine. Georgette holds a bachelor’s in elementary education, and taught for 6 years. They were married and moved back to Nebraska. Both were raised in Christian homes, although Nader felt a personal calling to serve the Lord shortly after arriving in the United States in 1998. Nader was among the leaders who organized the Arabic Christian Fellowship of Omaha. Both Nader and Georgette love sharing the Gospel with others in practical ways. They will begin their outreach to non-believers in the highly diverse city of Bloomington, Minnesota.
Joy Markus gained a Master’s degree in Islamic shariah law, going on to establish a high school department of Islamic religion. One day in class, a student asked a question about Allah which Joy could not answer. This caused her to search, eventually doubting Islam. A fellow teacher, who was Christian, gave Joy a Bible to read, connecting her to a pastor who answered all her questions. Joy was convinced of the truth but could not face the challenge of losing her career, her family, and a secure life in order to follow Christ. Sharing her faith in Christ with family brought her threats of death. Miraculously, with God’s help, POBLO received Joy as a missionary in training, as she now shares Jesus’ love with non-believers in the Metro-Detroit and via Internet.
John and Mariam Gayed
John and Mariam Gayed are originally from Egypt, where they spent 10 years on the mission field training and serving missionaries and working among Muslims. John was born in a Christian home but did not truly receive Jesus until he was 16 years old, after hearing a preacher in Egypt share his story. Mariam learned of Jesus through her uncle at a time in her life when she was contemplating suicide because of hopelessness. She confessed her faith in Jesus as her Savior– a decision that gave her hope and changed her life. God called them to the U.S. in 2011, where they are continuing their mission work among Muslim populations in Rochester, Minnesota with POBLO.
Sarah Christian started questioning her Islamic faith when she was seven years old until one day she started searching for answers to her genuine questions but no one could help her. She got connected with a Christian person via Facebook and started talking about Christianity. She found most of the answers to her questions through online chats with this person and reading online Bible. Later, she got connected with a missionary in Michigan via Skype, which led her to confess faith in Jesus Christ as her true Lord and Savior. Her family started noticing the change in her life, they also saw her drifting away from Islam which caused a huge problem for her. Through continues prayers from her church family and God’s help, she miraculously escaped her dangerous situation and threat to life! Sarah now serves with POBLO International Ministries.
Originally from Senegal, Ebou Faye has been living in Milwaukee, Wisconsin for more than 20 years. He had some exposure to the Bible at a Christian school in his home country, but it wasn’t until 2007 that he truly began to explore the Christian faith. Through a food bank at a local church in Milwaukee, Ebou began to connect with the Christians, and several pastors, including Rev. Dr. Gary Rohwer of POBLO, helped him to understand the differences spoken about Christ in the Quran and the Bible. Through this process, he confessed his faith in Christ as his only true Lord and Savior. Ebou now serves as a POBLO missionary in Milwaukee, sharing the Gospel with others. He primarily interacts with African Muslim immigrants, including those from Somalia, Kenya, and Sudan.
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