The Jon and Jean Bonk International Fellowship Fund Established
to Serve Marginalized Leaders
Past recipients of the Jon and Jean Bonk International Fellowship Fund from Pakistan and India
with Jon and Jean. Read the newsletter for their stories.
Indian Evangelist Persecuted for His Ministry
Pakistani Couple Recovering from Trauma of Terrorist Bomb
Bonks Attend Baptist Celebration in Myanmar, Tour China and Korea
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Download the Bonk Fellowship video (Length 03:33)
Read the Bonk Fellowship newsletter, issue no. 1
Read the Bonk Fellowship newsletter, issue no. 2
Read the Letter from OMSC's Board of Trustees President
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Dr. Jonathan J. Bonk retired July 1, 2013, as executive director of the Overseas Ministries Study Center and editor of the International Bulletin of Missionary Research. Anticipating that leadership transition, the OMSC Board of Trustees in 2012 launched a substantial scholarship initiative—the Jon and Jean Bonk International Fellowship Fund.
The fund enables beleaguered Christian leaders to come to OMSC from challenging situations. Currently OMSC has to turn away many worthy candidates due to lack of funding. The fund will provide friends of the Bonks, OMSC alumni from around the world, and others who have admired their ministries from afar, what has been called “a concrete way of honoring Jon and Jean on the occasion of their retirement.”
Jon and Jean wanted to find a way after they retired and returned to Canada to perpetuate their longtime commitment to serving marginalized church leaders and missionaries who live and minister in places where it is extraordinarily difficult and sometimes dangerous to be a follower of Christ.
Christian leaders who face difficult sociopolitical situations are at the heart of OMSC’s ministry. Many such leaders—including administrators, pastors, educators, academics, artists, development workers, and missionaries — have come to OMSC from throughout the world and found rest, perspective, and rejuvenation for reentering their challenging contexts.
Residency for a program year (September to May) costs more money than most Christian leaders could gather, and the lack of funding most encounter presents a significant barrier. To permanently fund the endowed scholarships will require $500,000 each. This will include housing in an OMSC apartment, a stipend for basic needs including food, airfare to and from Connecticut, health insurance required to live for even a few months in the United States, and administrative support.
R. Donald MacDougall, former OMSC board member and treasurer, who is the fund’s honorary chairman, expresses appreciation for Jon and Jean for their service to OMSC, given “with such great energy and distinction.” He acknowledges that the cost for many residents, “while modest, is still beyond their means.” MacDougall retired as vice president of the Towers Perrin management consulting firm.
The Bonks, Mennonites who were famine relief workers in Ethiopia (1974–76), moved to New Haven from Canada in 1997, after then-director Gerald H. Anderson selected Jon as associate director. Jon was professor of global Christian studies at Providence Theological Seminary, Otterburne, Manitoba, Canada, and was executive director since June 2000.
My OMSC life began as a seminary student working on my doctoral thesis. I was sent to OMSC's old Ventnor campus by my mentor, the late Dr. Orlando Costas. OMSC illumined the world of mission in wonderful ways! Now I have the joy of serving as president of OMSC's Board of Trustees. Working alongside Jon and Jean Bonk has been such an honor and inspiration. Their leadership, vision, compassion, strength, and patience, a rare combination of traits, have served the Bonks and OMSC very well. The Jon and Jean Bonk International Fellowship Fund—being announced in the enclosed material and online at www.omsc.org/bonkfellowship—is a crowning glory to their ministry. In keeping with their humble spirit, this fellowship is a benefit to others. It will enable those who serve the risen Christ in difficult, oppressive, and challenging circumstances to enjoy the unique opportunities for renewal offered by OMSC. I invite you to join many good people who are truly grateful for the Bonks by making this dream come true.
The Bonk Fund is a wonderful opportunity for friends of Jon and Jean from around the world to help advance the work they carry on with such joy, faith, and energy at OMSC, supporting church leaders from all parts of the globe and strengthening Christian world missions. Our goal is ambitious—to raise enough funds to enable everyone to come to OMSC—but we can think of no better way to honor the Bonks! I hope you will join us!
QUESTIONS ABOUT THE BONK FELLOWSHIP FUND OR TO MAKE A MULTI-YEAR PLEDGE: