Friday, September 30, 2011

Responding to Floods in N and S America

While the NE United States was getting deluged, at the opposite side of the hemisphere, the southern part of Brazil was also experiencing torrential flooding. We have been connecting with churches in NY, PA and NJ, but also in Rio Du Sul, Brazil. I'll be flying to Brazil Sunday to help our partners, the EFC of Brazil, in planning their response outreach efforts. Below is a report of this week from Pastor Johnny:

On Monday we returned to a house we worked on the day before, but neither the owner nor his wife could be there because of their work, but they left us alone in their home, cleaning everything, dishes, rooms, etc...lots of stuff. At the end of the afternoon he came back and I asked him: "How was it that you trusted us in leaving us along in your home with all of your things?" He responded: "in that first conversation I perceived that I could trust you". They were quite touched. We prayed with them and gave them Bibles and they asked us about the church and what they could do to was a very special moment.

There are many stories, but one other case....Debora and Arlei....Their home was totally under water and was one of the last in the city to see the water recede. When we arrived we soon discovered that it was the worst of all of the home we'd seen and helped. Immediately the man said that he didn't believe in God nor the devil, he didn't believe in nothing -- that his friend was money...but that neither his friends nor family had come to help... Then someone said: "But we're here and we came to help." We spent 2 VERY arduous days for there was lots of mud. Every last roof tile had to be removed...we weren't able to completely finish the job for there were other commitments but at the end of this second day the man thanked us saying that we did more than they could have in 30 days. Then he said: "Pastor...we want to go to church to thank God"...

And we intend to return to finish the job...
In this way, there have been many opportunities to serve and share the love of God in a practical way and we are so thankful that we haven't had to do this alone, because brothers from many places have prayed, contributed, given and even come to help.

Pray for the local church plant to have great Gospel impact in the lives of those they serve.
To give, click here.

Sunday, September 4, 2011

The Results from our Irene Response

Having just passed the 6th year anniversary of Katrina, we are being drenched by Tropical Storm Lee, with an eye on Hurricane Katia. Meanwhile, our team has been responding for over a week in Greenville, NC alongside Harmony Church (EFCA). Read below of the Lord provision.

9/1 - Today some of us got to cut down trees at Paul and Eileen's house. They were a neat couple, and we got to have some great interaction with them. Miss Eileen couldn't understand why we were helping them like we were, and we were able to tell her it's because we have a God who loves us immensely and invites us to share that love with others. She still was just shaking her head and tearing up. Near the end of the day, one of us was able to tell her that what she experienced today is just a tiny portion of how much God loves her. She was overwhelmed. Her response is a good reminder to us, to really think about the enormity of God's love for us, and let it overwhelm our hearts. Mr. Paul said he thinks they're going to show up at church on Sunday. We're hoping to see them there!

9/2 - We serve a God who answers prayers! Last night some of us were able to go to a home group of Harmony Church folk. Pastor Derek shared that God had been putting it on his heart to pray for the professors and faculty members at the university one day this week. On the same day he was praying he found out that we'd been working at a lot of professors houses. These professors plan to host a dinner for us tomorrow night, and we have invited Pastor Derek with hopes that Harmony will be able to keep reaching out to them.
Today we cut down a 70 ft. pine tree that was partially uprooted and leaning toward Miss Anne's mobile home. Before we cut it we prayed that it would not hit anything--whether that be a house or a person. It was quite an involved process, but when it finally fell the top was just short of a shed and didn't even hit the lights on the side! God kept everyone and everything safe! So thankful for that.
Blessings, Allison

9/3 - Today was the seventh day here in Greenville, NC. Bodies are starting to get a little tired, but God keeps providing the strength that we need and the supplies to keep us going! Today breakfast, lunch, and dinner were provided for us by people that we either served today or other days. It's wonderful to see God's provision in that and be able to interact with them over food. We keep having opportunities to tell people that we're really not that extra ordinary people, we just have an awesome God! The one family we served today had two little girls who pitched in and helped us rake and drag trees. They were fun to work with, and they drew us pictures as a thank you. :)

9/4 - Today one of the homeowners that we worked for on monday, Mr. Michael, came out to work with us. He's been a cool connection to have. He and his wife both work at the university, and we've been able to connect them with some people from Harmony church. Blessings,Allison