Friday, January 15, 2010

What Does Love Look & Feel Like?

When you are hurting you don’t want anybody to touch you.

When you have been ignored for so long you may not know why somebody would want to genuinely know how you are doing.

Our desire is to get out into the community and serve, bless, and love our neighbors and let them know the Good News of Christ Jesus.

New Year’s Eve day we were able to put on a Carnival Family Fun Day at the park with the above desire as our goal. We estimate there were about 120 people that were able to experience the blessing and love in some tangible way. We had a lot of fun activities and games with prizes. The little girls loved the jewelry making and nail painting and one boy could barely walk after jumping in the bounce house all afternoon.

It is so wonderful that you are doing something like this for the community. Though I know nothing about Christianity I would be very interested in learning more about your church and what you are doing.” -Nancy (Mother of 2)

It isn’t too common to have a safe, family friendly event that doesn’t cost anything in our community. We had a drama gospel presentation on the stage with a short explanation and invitation in English and Spanish. We were impressed by the responses we heard from different people about the drama. One man said, “That was a really powerful message. I’ve never thought of things that way before.” People are open…we just need to keep reaching out, sharing, loving and inviting. Please pray that we would be faithful and see much fruit in our outreach and evangelistic efforts. We need to continue to pray that people won’t just nod their heads, hear the Word and move on with their lives, but that there will be deep and lasting change – we are believing for 120 of those commitments this year.
Throughout the day we got to mingle and meet a lot of wonderful people and share more about God’s plan for their life and invite people out to our groups. We had an information and prayer table where people got the Gospel of John, other information about being a Christ follower and our ministry. We served over 200 hot dogs along with lots of cookies, punch and other goodies. Sometimes it’s hard to break into a hardened heart or a hurting community, but we feel God has allowed us to break in through genuine caring relationships that we’ve built with people day to day. Now with events like this we’ve found another way to ‘touch’ those that most need the touch, yet still hurt too much to receive it.
The following day, New Year’s Day, we partnered with Total Restoration Ministries, a Christian live-in drug & alcohol rehabilitation ministry, to put on another event. While the day before we had focused on the families this event was primarily for the homeless, addicts, prostitutes and gang members in and around South Park. We handed out hygiene packets, lots of hot food, clothes and powerful testimonies of what God has done to set others free. There were ex-prostitutes and ex-gang members that came to share and testify of what Jesus has done for them rescuing them for this very park and how He is worthy of receiving all our life. Chad translated the whole event in Spanish and was able to get to know some new people as well as build deeper relationships with others. It is a beautiful thing working together in unity for Christ—that’s what love looks like. We’ve had a burden for women in prostitution for a long time, but haven’t found a good opportunity or way to minister to them. Yet some of the ladies from Total Restoration were able to reach out to two very broken prostitutes that were weeping on a park bench in response to hearing the mercy, love and acceptance of their Father, maybe for the first time. One of these precious ladies heard the message in Spanish through the interpretation and the other in English. They’ve now experienced the beginning of what love feels like. They are finally getting to the point where they are sick and tired of being sick and tired…a beautiful place where God can really bring them close to Him and love on them. Prayer Requests:

·Winter Retreat – This weekend (January 15-17) two of our youth, Italia and Juan Carlos, will be going to a World Impact youth retreat with our church’s new youth worker, Tiffany.

·Evangelism AND Discipleship – Please pray that we would be able to continue to meet new people and balance making these new relationships with the need to pour into and help spiritually mature those that we’re already meeting with.

·Quality Family Time – Currently we are setting aside Mondays to rest and spend time as a family without attending to the business and urgent needs of the ministry. Pray that we’d be able to have quality times as a family and find refreshing in God and with one another….it’ll allow us to be more effective the rest of the week.

Thank you!

That many might know the love of our Father deeply and richly,
Chad & Fabiola

Friday, January 1, 2010

What A Year This Will Be!

We become the voice of the voiceless, pleading their cause all the way to the throne of heaven. We demand to be heard. We insist that changes be made. Like Abraham we bargain with God over the fate of the city. Like Moses we argue with God over the fate of the people. Like Esther we plead with God over the fate of the nation.” –Richard Foster

While we fix our eyes on the individuals—men like Primo, Francisco and Miguel, women like Bere, Zaira and Soila, youth like Italia, Juan Carlos and Yesenia we pray and teach and serve them believing they will walk out their godly calling leading many others in turn. We are pouring our lives out for these individuals, but continue to be stirred with compassion for the many more that await the Good News.
A while back we took a group to a UCLA football game at the Rose Bowl. While we enjoyed the conversation, camaraderie and closeness of being with the 15-20 people sitting with us the experience would not be the same without the other 92,535 people filling the Rose Bowl. While we are excited about the few that have made the stand to turn from sin and walk with Christ, we feel the urgency to press in and see more people won for our Lord. This battle is won in prayer. We walk it out in faithful obedience, but we need your help to see these people through to experience all they were made for and for God to get the glory in their stories. We rejoice in the new year! It is a time to look back with thanksgiving and a time to look ahead with hope. We must do the work of our Father. He has been so good to us. We are compelled by His love. We must see change—lives are depending on it. God has been so merciful and gracious allowing us to know so many wonderful people. Yet we see the real battle that they are in—fighting drug and alcohol addictions, struggling with overcoming past wounds that are currently causing relational problems, and the outright poverty compounded by so many other complications leaving families without time to be a family as they struggle to eke out their survival day by day.

Looking back over our first sixth months here in South Central Los Angeles we realize we are still newbies in many regards, yet our roots have been set into the soil of our community. God has led us and not let us stumble. We are constantly in awe at how God chooses to use us and allows us to be His hands and feet, his mouthpiece and listening ear to so many. More Lord, for you glory!

Thank you for praying. Here are some answered prayers from the last few months:

·We’ve been able to enter more homes. We have been praying for the sick and down trodden and studying the Bible with individuals or groups in some of the houses in our neighborhood (and enjoying some great food too).

·We have a small team formed and will be having a strategic planning meeting this month looking ahead at the next few years and moving ever closer to an official launch for our church. (Please pray for this time.)

·Lots of new friends, most who are sincerely interested in knowing God in a real way.

Please pray with us for the precious people God has given us care of (some are listed above) as we continue to follow-up and disciple them, but also join us in prayer for the many great things that we believe God has in store for our neighborhood and our church in this coming year.

Remaining in the vine (for apart from Him we can do nothing),
Chad, Fabiola, Rebecca and Justice Wolyn