Sunday, September 28, 2008

A big Christmas thank you!

On Saturday, a group of people from the church went to do ministry with children and teenagers- through a variety of activities. The activity was held in a place called "Niños del Sol" and it is a housing facility for teenage boys who have no family- they have either been abandoned or removed due to various reasons- the primary of those being drug abuse. Also brought in were 100 children- mostly between ages 2-10, from the casa escuelas- which are house churches for children in poor neighborhoods.

The worship team from the church was there to do a worship service- concert style. The teenagers were more interested in this than the younger children. It was a great time of worship. The music director also gave his testimony and led times of prayer.

After the worship time, the groups were split up. The younger children were involved in small group activities while the teenagers were learning values and how to show them to people around them. Things like having patience, peace, love, self-control, etc. These are things that these boys do not have or do not know how to put into practice. The Gospel message was also presented to some of them from our own local missionaries.

Next on the agenda was a drama skit- for all children. The drama is a re-enactment of Noah's Ark and told from the perspective of some of the animals. The younger children really liked the drama- but even the teenagers paid attention.

The teenagers were then led to a chapel where they were spoken to about having a relationship with Jesus Christ and that it doesn't matter how many problems you have in life, Jesus can set you free! Many of these young men accepted Christ as their Savior.

The young children were also exposed to the Gospel. The evangecube was explained to them and they were told about how much Jesus loves them. They were then shown love by being given gifts.

Now, this is where the Christmas thank you comes into play. I was told that we had boxes to give to each child. Each box has things in it but each one is different. What a suprise to find out that the boxes that we had recieved were the Operation Christmas Child boxes. So many people help out each Christmas by filling shoe boxes with toys and needed items for poor children around the world. Well, we received 100 of those boxes! Thank you to all of you who fill a shoe box every Christmas to help poor children around the world.

Friday, September 26, 2008

What kind of reaction do you get?

This morning, while cleaning up a little around the house and getting ready to go to the church, I put on the movie "Sister Act" to have something playing in the background. I have seen this movie many many times, and there is one part of the movie that always gets to me.

The part I am talking about is this:
Sister Mary Clarence (Whoopie Goldburg) is leading the choir of the Catholic Church in a song that is loud and active- so loud it can be heard from the streets outside. The camera shot then goes outside of the church and you hear someone from outside say, "I wonder what is happening in there." This is followed by several people from the street walking into the church to see what is happening.

This scene always gets me thinking. Are we doing things in our churches that would cause this type of reaction- where people on the streets would be so intrigued by what is going on inside that they would literally walk in off the streets to see and hear the truth? What changes do we need to make within our church to draw the attention of those around us? Are we willing to make the changes- leaving our comfort zones of what we have been doing- in order to reach out to those who need to hear the truth?

This is the kind of reaction I want to see in the children's ministry (and within the church as a whole) in Filadelfia Church. I am praying that God will provide us the opportunity to change what needs to be changed in order to attract everyone around to come and see and hear the truth of Jesus Christ.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

He is my strength!

Yesterday, we had our reunion meeting with the mission team from Misión Ohio and with Pr. Raúl. It was a great time of getting together to share stories and testimonies. It seemed to start out a little serious but very quickly eased up to be a time of fun and fellowship. We then talked about the presentation that was going to take place during the Wednesday night prayer service. Of course, coming from a different perspective, Pr. Raúl wanted to hear my view on the mission trip and then told me he wanted me to speak during the presentation to the church- and to speak IN SPANISH. I begged him not to make me speak (Imagine me begging) but he was insistant- saying if I didn't, he was sending me back to Ohio on Sunday. Of course, he was joking, but I knew, as nervous as I would be, I would have to speak in front of the whole church about my perspective of the mission trip.

During the day today, I wrote out (in English and Spanish- but mostly in Spanish- and with some help from a good friend- gracias Gabriel!) what I was going to say. I reviewed it and read it and reviewed it and read it. The more I thought about it, the more nervous I became. By the time I was in the church, getting ready for the presentation, I was extremely nervous. I was so nervous I was shaking and felt like vomiting. I had butterflies in my stomach- fighting to the death. I wanted to run. I wanted to leave. I was weak. However, it is when we are weak that HE IS STRONG! Several people prayed for me before we went up front for the presentation. I know this was powerful. Although I did not feel any less nervous when they finished praying, I knew it was in God's hands, not mine.
When the presentation began, they called all the missionaries from the team up on the altar. We remained up there for the whole presentation, while each person gave their brief testimony of the trip. When it was getting close to my time to speak, the pastor standing behind me told me and a few others that due to the time, we needed to cut our testimonies very short. OK with me- the less I have to talk the better.

Finally, it was my turn to speak. I was prepared to have a translator at a microphone in case I got stuck and needed help. Right before I began speaking, I suddenly felt calm. I wasn't nearly as nervous as I had been just minutes before. I began speaking in a calm voice- no shaking, no stomach ache, no visable signs of nervousness. I was at peace. The Spirit of God came and calmed my nerves so I could speak to the congregation of the church. I did not need my translator; I was able to say my whole presentation in Spanish.

I thank those who were praying for me and I thank God for coming to me and being my strength when I needed Him most.

Saturday, September 13, 2008

Misión Filadelfia

Our Misión Ohio team has a desire to serve. They are eager to serve where they are needed, whether it is in Ohio or elsewhere. So, when I discussed this problem that we needed help with, they were excited to be able to help out.

Here was the problem:

The walls of the children's ministry classrooms at the Filadelfia Church were filthy. The kids were coming into these classroom every week to learn about the love of Christ in these dirty classrooms.


We decided to show them the love of Christ by coming in on a Saturday morning and scrubbing the walls of 2 of the classrooms. Thirteen people spent several hours scrubbing and scrubbing until we were able to get the walls- not perfect- but acceptable- and much much cleaner.

And the final result is this:

All for the glory of Jesus Christ- serving Him where ever He will allow us to serve!

Friday, September 12, 2008

Children's ministry activities

Developments are being made to improve the children's ministry program at the church. On the first Wednesday of each month, we have a children's service- complete with singing, prayer, lessons, and drama. Here are some pictures of the most recent Wednesday night service.

Thursday, September 11, 2008


Finally, after living in my apartment for 6 months, I now have internet access. This was a much more complex process than I thought it was going to be. When I went again this week to try to order internet, this company (the phone company) said that the person who lived here before me had ordered internet last October and had it installed, but never activated it. The internet has been installed in my apartment the whole time, unbeknownst to me, and if we had found the right information for the account, I could have had it back in March.

When I think about that, some parts of me wanna scream. But then, I think that perhaps God was trying to teach me some lessons through this. One of those lessons is patience. The other appreciation for the things I have.

Anyway, I will now have more access to email and phone services and will hopefully be able to stay in better contact. Feel free to email me or call me (same cell phone number I was using when living in Ohio- not the cell phone I was using during the last visit). Hope to hear from you soon!