Sunday, April 15, 2012

em•pow er•ment n. ( m-pou r)

We have been called to make disciples and our family specifically knows that for us that means planting churches and training leaders.

While we pour our lives into individuals and share the love of God we know something else must happen…something very special and important. There must be an increase of the spiritual strength of the individuals and their communities. That is empowerment – seeing people use the tools and talents and God’s powerful message of love and hope to impact the lives of others. As their spiritual roots reach deeper and wider it has been exhilarating to see those we minister to being empowered to do what God has called them to do.
God comes to us. He gives us power; He matures us; He gives us a compassionate heart. We share the Good News with others who in turn share with others. The power of God touches people’s lives and they touch others. And God gets more glory and His Kingdom advances.

What a month! Every single member of our church has been involved in ministry in a major way….

· Merced was invited to share his testimony and how our church has made an impact on him, his family and the community at a World Impact banquet. (pictured above and below)

· Alex and Griselda participated in our special Good Friday service – sharing a devotional reflection and prayer about one of the last seven phrases Jesus spoke before
being crucified. (pictured above - Alex and below - Griselda)

· Erika took the initiative to lead worship one Sunday and put together a chorus including Nancy, Sol and Merced. (above)

· Nancy translated a message given in English into Spanish for our church. (above)

· Graciela and Merced came up with the idea to put on a drama. They wrote it, made the scenery and the costumes and directed it. (see pictures above and below)

· During the outreach in the park Faustina, Griselda, Graciela and others preached the gospel and invited the families out to our church.

· Everyone else was a teacher, teacher’s assistant, participated in the drama, ushered, helped make and serve food, set-up, tear down, etc.

People are being empowered to follow and serve God. The fact that we as a church have been very busy and involved this month is not the reason we think this empowerment is taking place, but it is some of the fruit. We see people taking initiative. They are not just being stuffed with knowledge, but being changed. Brought from one place and led to another. They are taking ownership and beginning to lead and initiate aspects of ministry. They are being equipped for ministry; and we rejoice because there is a lot of harvest that still needs to be brought in and our personal reach isn’t big enough!

Easter Week Highlights

Ø We had a powerful and productive week of ministry in the park with over 160 kids coming out allowing us to make really great connections with the families.

Ministry at the park! Pictured above (above): (1) Children from 3-13 joined us for four days as we sang about Jesus (with hand motions of course), taught about Jesus, did crafts and played games related to the lessons and really got to know and love these children and their families.

(2) Notice the police car in the picture on the right – while we were teaching and playing games with the kids some of our homeless ‘friends’ were busted for alcohol and drug use…never a dull day!

(3) Children engage in the worship with a powerful message. Many families we have visited have said their kids are still singing the songs. (4) Families of all ages came and stayed throughout the event giving us great opportunities to dialgoue and connect.

(5) So many fun crafts! Chidren we’re divied up into like-age groups and rotated through
stations such as crafts, games and story time. (6) The check-in booth served as a great place to initially connect with families and share about the various ministries and services of our church as well as receiving prayer requests.

(7) Story time in the foreground and crafts in the background.
(8) Student memorized verses every day and also got a snack. Food for their spirit and their bodies!

(9) Above several of the ladies from our church sit with other mothers and get to know them, while our youth walked around and handed out fliers about the upcoming church activities. (10) We served a hearty lunch after the last day. Families lingered for about an hour after the normal end time and we again made deeper connections and relationships.

Ø The Kings Academy High School came and built a brand new play structure for our church as part of their mission trip service project.

Before and after pictures of our front yard play structure. When we moved here almost three years ago we bought a small plastic slide and playground, but with so much use from the church kids it was barely holding together (with ropes and duct tape). Now we have a bigger slide and huge structure to accommodate the many children and hopefully attract even more.

Ø We had a neighbor come to our Good Friday service for the first time.

Ø Easter Sunday we had some 35 children/babies, and 10 adult visitors.

Ø So many of the activities and flow of the day was planned and put on by our church members.

Ø The following Wednesday we had 2 first time visitors.

Ø Kevin, one of our youth, was baptized on Easter Sunday (his family did not come out to support him, but the body of Christ – his new family – really supported him in a big way). He was still glowing and encouraging others in the youth group who haven’t yet been baptized to take the step of obedience the following Tuesday and Wednesday when we saw him again.

Pictured above: We squeezed people in our small ‘drive-way’ sanctuary where we normally hold our Sunday services and then (below) opened up an extra ‘wing’ for over-flow.

Pictured below: Our children’s class on Easter Sunday was just about at capacity. Many of the children came as a result of our ministry outreach in the park mentioned earlier…and got to hear the Good News of Jesus conquering death again. (They loved having the playground to play on too!)

Please Pray with Us…..

ü Follow-up and Fruit that will Remain

After such a fruitful and blessed month we know that Satan will try to destroy and disrupt everything. We ask for prayer that all the new families that we met at the park and the many that came to our church services would integrate into the spiritual family and commit themselves wholeheartedly to the Lord. We commit to continue visiting and calling families we have met and ask for your prayers to help make those visits more fruitful.

ü Day of Prayer & Fasting Friday, May 4th
We will be hosting an all day time of prayer and fasting at our home – it would be wonderful if you
could join us long-distance by setting that day apart in some way to pray for the ministry here.

ü Conference on Biblical Christianity Saturday, May 12th

We will be teaching an all day conference on the core teachings of Christianity. It is easy for new believers to be confused and led astray from their faith – we want to help establish their roots in the
Word of God. We will address the false teachings of the Jehovah Witnesses and Mormons. This conference will help people understand more about what it is they say they believe while giving them a deeper heart and urgency and some tools to share and defend their faith. Let’s intercede together for the people God wants to be there present and that the teaching would go deep into their hearts leading to many lives solidified and saved over the next months following this conference.

ü Fabiola’s Birthday Party Outreach Saturday, April 28th

Fabiola is turning 30! (April 26th)

There has been a lot of time and energy poured into this event!
We’re praying for 30 women to come and be introduced to God’s plan for their life, encounter their identity and get plugged into the church.
Some of the ladies at the church have really been working hard at pulling the details together – making special invitations and praying through whom to invite.
The theme is New Life symbolized by the butterfly. The women will be pampered; play games and have a great time.
Please pray for a great turn out and powerful deepening of existing relationships and lots of new relationships that lead to NEW LIFE!!!

Our son, Justice (4) & one of his best buddies, Isaac, from pre-school at a play date. They share the love of cars together – and now Justice wants Isaac to know about Jesus too.

Let’s join Justice and pray for Isaac.

How refreshing to have your prayers and support.

Thank you – really – thank you!

Chad & Fabiola

Sunday, April 1, 2012

Party Time

There are two events this month that we are really excited about.  The first is Easter – celebrating the Resurrection of our Lord Jesus with our church and reaching out to our community and the second is Fabiola’s 30th birthday!

During Easter week we continue to reach out to the community with a power packed vacation Bible school (VBS) at the park in front of our house.  Last year we were able to reach out to over 125 children and their families during this time – many of whom we have had continued contact with throughout the last year.  We will teach about Jesus, have games, snacks, crafts, powerful dramas by the youth, music and a meal for the family at the end of the week so that we can connect with them even more. 

We will have a special service on Good Friday and then our church has put their heart into planning an Easter service to remember including a drama that a small group from our church has been working hard at organizing and perfecting.  We wish you could see their faces when they are talking about reaching others in the community – we all have a shared desire to pursue others for Christ and see real transformation in this place so well known for its brokenness and crime. 

One day while Fabiola was in a discipleship meeting with one of the young ladies at our church Fabiola and her disciple came up with an idea to throw a party.  Parties are a really big part of the culture around here.  The idea is to pamper the ladies in the church and reach out to the community – women from Fabiola’s aerobics class, mother’s from our children’s schools and friends of this young disciple that have yet to come out to a Bible study or church service. 

The concept includes facials, manicures and everything girly with the purpose of building relationships and sharing Christ – specifically our identity in Christ.  Fabiola hopes to launch a women’s book study as a result of this party.  We would appreciate your prayers for Fabiola as she and the other ladies involved do the planning and inviting.  Also pray that this party would be a huge blessing with an eternal influence impacting several generations.

Lastly, would you also pray for our newly launched Teen Ministry?  We are ramping-up the activity and influence we have with the youth in our neighborhood tapping into the high school just a block away from where we have been housing a good portion of the ministry.  Please pray for guidance, wisdom, growth and fruitfulness as we position ourselves to impact more lives here in the city.

Our investment – the one you and our family has made together – to pray for and minister Christ’s love in a real and tangible way is breaking up the stony ground here in the city.  Thank you – we could not do this alone, yet together we get to see God’s resurrection power at work. 

He Is Risen!

Chad & Fabiola