Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Grass Roots Neighborhood Transformation

Nate and Cindy came to New Orleans with their home church, Hershey EFC, to show the love of Christ to those in need. Twice. The first time started a friendship. the second time they were engaged. They were impacted by the principles of Holistic Ministry they learned while serving with TouchGlobal Crisis Response, loving individuals unconditionally, focusing on relationships, not work, and demonstrating and proclaiming the Gospel.

And after getting married, they chose, as have other couples from Hershey Free, to move into a distressed part of the City of Harrisburg...to express the Great Commandment and the Great Commission. They have been intentionally seeking ways to connect with neighbors and transform both their part of the world, and the eternal destiny of those in that world. They have influence in the lives of their neighbors, families, community, city leaders and media.

Do not underestimate the Kingdom signifigance or the influence you have in the "where He has you or the what He has you doing' in your context.

Here's what they have been up to recently:

God is doing some amazing things in our lives here in Harrisburg.

Cindy and I are leading another neighborhood cleanup tomorrow (Saturday, March 21st at 10am-2pm). It has been encouraging that one of our neighbors, Charles, has been highly involved in this planning process. He has made phone calls etc for us. We have also established extensive contacts with Harrisburg City to have them help us. It is cool because the city understands that they cannot accomplish their goals without our help. We can’t do it without them either, so we are developing a partnership. I filled out the paperwork today to “adopt-a-block.” I wanted you to know that things are rolling and for you to pray for us.

Specific prayer requests in regards to developing relationships
1. I would take specific opportunities that God is providing to share Christ with our neighbors.

2. We would find other Christian couples on our street that love Jesus as much as we do.

See this video from the local news.


Iced Tea Evangelism

Thank you God for the 'Divine Appointments' you allow to 'interrupt' our plans and routine. Help me to see people as you have created them, in your image and as your children. help me value others as much as you do. Amen....

A team who recently served with us from Valley Church, Cupertino, CA wrote of their experience.

Robert, a tall man in his mid-fifties stopped on the sidewalk in front of the house we were gutting and accepted a bottle of iced tea from Bob, one of our team members. As Robert was about to leave, the Lord led me to go to the sidewalk and start a conversation with him. He told me that his car had overheated, and that he was on his way to get some water for the radiator. As I handed him a tract, I told him about how Jesus had changed my life.

Robert listened with understanding and a growing look of longing on his face, a clear sign to me that the Holy Spirit had touched his heart. This gave me the courage to ask him if he would like to ask Jesus to be his Savior. He immediately said, “Yes, I want to do that.”

I led him in a prayer thanking the Lord for forgiveness, eternal life, and acceptance into the family of God in the name of Jesus! His face was glowing as I told him that even if we didn’t see each other again in this world, we would meet again in the eternal kingdom. He smiled in affirmation at my parting comment: “Robert, now you know Who let your car motor heat up!”

The rest of the story as I understand it, is that when they walked back to the car, Robert tried to start it one last time, and it started up and seemed to be running fine. Thank you God for redemption.

Friday, March 13, 2009

Peru Blessings

Imagine this being your family's home...summer & winter!
We continue to show the love of Christ in the aftermath of the 8/07 Peru Earthquake. We have had TouchGlobal Crisis Response staff and US and Peruvian volunteer teams serving there for the past year. Here is the latest update from our staff, the Grover's:

Three houses are well under way, with double foundations poured, and the families making adobes, to be ready for teams to come in May and June to help build them. They are such different families and so needy, each in their own way.

The Lord in His providence knew just whom to put to work at Marta’s house – some of the women from the Lima, OH/Lima, Peru team. One of the women from the El Alfarero church in Lima, Peru, especially spent some extended time talking in the afternoons with Marta. Marta’s story breaks your heart. Before the earthquake she lived a normal life with a normal family in a nice house. Now she lives in what one of our ladies called a “basket house” – made of woven reeds, with a plastic roof, about as big as your living room (if it’s a small one!). She and her teenage daughter and little girl salvaged what they could of their belongings from under the rubble left from the earthquake.

Six months ago her husband left her. Marta almost had a breakdown; she’s at the end of her rope. She’d give up, too, but she has two girls, so she can’t. Instead she gets up before daylight and spends most of the day working in the grape vineyards, and then comes home to work on her adobes. She’s the most beautiful, petite little woman, with the saddest, most hopeless eyes you can ever imagine. She smiled one day when we working on digging her foundation. It was a day to put on the calendar. Please pray for Marta, that she will find a new hope and joy in Jesus.

To serve with us in Peru, go to www.touchglobal.org/peru , or
email crisisresponse@efca.org

Thursday, March 5, 2009

Eternal Life Transformation

Hurricane Katrina: Still Saving Lives...

Hurricane Katrina stormed across New Orleans more than 3 years ago and people wonder why we're still here...but we're still here because God is still using this natural disaster to bring His children back to Him. The team from Summit EFC in Alta IA has been coming down ever since the storm hit. They've seen the faces of those without hope and those regaining their hope due to God's provision of volunteers to help them get their homes back.

I became especially close to this team while they were here and was able to call them after I had finished my half marathon to tell them their prayers had helped me finish the race! Pastor Kevin (or PK) answered his phone to not only wish me congrats but to tell me of another amazing story that had happened since they left. Andy and Allan, two team members, had both accepted Christ on the drive back! PRAISE GOD!!

I've been able to speak to both Andy and Allan since they've been home. Andy didn't even attend Summit EFC. He was invited by his boss who at the last minute couldn't make it. Tempted to drop out himself, Andy still felt like he was suppose to be on this trip and now we know why. Andy was able to open up to the people on his team and told them he was raised Catholic, spent 15 months in Afghanistan in the military, been through alcohol treatment, and tried Promise Keepers but none seem to fill him...he said, "I just felt like I was missing something." He said his team was just amazing...they weren't just a team but a family which was definitely evident to even us on staff. On the way to New Orleans, PK asked him where he'd spend eternity but Andy didn't have an answer. So when PK asked him on the way back he wanted to know more and there on the bus, accepted Christ. Now being back at home, him and another team member Clayton are going through a Bible Study together. When I called him at work, he was even carrying his Bible with him and shared with me Ephesians 4:29-32 that has really touched him:

Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen. And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, with whom you were sealed for the day of redemption. Get rid of all bitterness, rage and anger, brawling and slander, along with every form of malice. Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you.

He feels like this is what he saw all week in New Orleans and wants to live it out! He calls it his slogan! Andy has yet to tell his mom about what has happened in his life on the trip. He would like prayer for God to give Him the words to say to his mom and that she would come to know Christ like he has.

Allan's trip down is another God story. Allan lost his job in December. He has been a carpenter for the last 30 years. He told PK in December that he didn't know if he'd be able to go on the trip but God was already working. PK told Allan that someone had already put up the money for Allan to come on the trip. Allan was shocked and very thankful! This was Allan's third time down to New Orleans...he said "I wanted to give my life to Christ last year on the trip but didn't feel ready." He said after seeing Andy accept Christ on Saturday on the drive back, he couldn't sleep that night. So Clayton, a team member he had just met on the trip, came up to him at breakfast and asked him where'd he spend eternity and right there accepted Christ. Allan and PK are now meeting up and encouraging each other to stay on track with their walks with God. Because of someone providing for him to go on the trip, when Allan heard that a homeowner, Ms. Lee, needed a stove, him and his team immediately came up with the money. He said these trips down always allowed for him to be more connected to people he'd never even met at church. So because of someone providing for him to go on this mission trip, Allan will now spend eternity with Christ!

Allan is also wondering if maybe God is calling him back to serve the people of New Orleans on a longer stay. Just be praying God would give him direction during this time and that He would be able to grow closer to Him!

God is sooo good! He is still using this ministry to not only rebuild homes but to bring people to Him for eternity! So yes in a way, Katrina is still saving lives...saving people from eternal separation from Christ to eternal fellowship with Him! And all God's people said..."AMEN!" -Katie :)