Sunday, December 15, 2013

More Than Friends, Food & Fun

In a recent poll people were asked what Christmas meant to them.  Some answers were very cynical and negative, but most had a much more positive ring to them.  Very few, however, mentioned Christ.  Most people seemed to respond something like this: ‘I love Christmas…to me it means: family, food and fun – time with loved ones, great food and giving and getting gifts.’ 

We have had a very, very busy month or so celebrating Thanksgiving and Christmas and continuing to help grow and nourish a community of maturing believers.  But though our celebration has had a lot of family, food and fun – and even lots of presents – the focus and motive has been much more.  We love Jesus.  We worship Him.  Our only motive and aim is to glorify Him and help as many people as possible know Him.  Thank you for praying with us that Jesus might continue to break through the darkness and hurt that so many are carrying – especially in a time where this hurt, for some, seems even more magnified.  
Thanksgiving Events
Thanksgiving dinner for the community was something special.  We had over 100 people – many we personally have never seen – come and eat dinner together.  Having it at our church meeting place (rather than in the park like last year) was a great idea. There were more people and they stayed for a couple hours to enjoy the meal and fellowship. There was so much food that people were able to eat several helpings and even take some home.  It was fun getting to talk with different people and hear their stories.  We had various groups of people represented: the youth, elderly, blacks and Hispanics, homeless and many other people from the community. Some came drunk, but many were sober. Some came to get, but many also wanted to give.  Our church was busy serving plates of food and bringing the plates to the tables, while a small group of us sat around and shared about the love and hope of Jesus with our guests. 

A few days later, our church Thanksgiving potluck was a powerful time of testimonies and giving God the glory for what He has done in our lives this year. We were all encouraged and built-up in our faith. This year has not been an easy one for many people in our church, but they recognize that Jesus is still the same and has given them strength and been close to them through these tough times. 


Christmas Banquet & Toy Store

This year because of budget cuts in various ministries we were not able to do some of the fun and special Christmas traditions that we have done in the past years, but God provided something even better. With the help of a lot of generous toy donations and a team of volunteers we were able to put on an amazing Christmas Banquet with a Toy Store! 

We had a scrumptious three course meal – special Christmas cookies – a photo booth and family pictures being taken – activities and worship for the children – a special Christmas message – a toy store and gift wrapping and such a festively decorated space.  They were lavished with God's love.


Why the Toy Store?  By offering deeply discounted toys (most were 75% off) parents are able choose and then buy something special for their children – rather than just have somebody hand them something to give to their kid. While we all like to receive gifts the toy store gave parents who would not be able to buy these gifts for their children an opportunity to ‘shop’ and pick out something special without breaking their bank account. Our goal is to empower the poor and not just give them handouts.

What about the money that was raised?

Part of the challenge of planting a church amongst the urban poor is the lack of funds because families are already struggling to pay rent and get food on their tables.  In providing parents an opportunity to buy gifts we were able to raise some funds as well, which re-invested into the local church planting efforts is yet another gift allowing our church to be able to do more with its limited resources. So parents are not only being blessed, but get to be a blessing too.  We are so appreciative for all the generous donations – there were some great toys at our store!

Christmas Gifts
It is not too late, if you still want to give a special gift (financial or from the list below).  We removed a couple items that we have already received.  Thank you so much for your generosity!
·         Christian children’s music (Spanish or Eng.)
·         DVDs (appropriate for children or toddlers)
·         Video games for XBOX 360 (Kinect ok)
·         Video games for Wii
·         Large pull down screen (for projector)
·         Piano tuning
·         Craft supplies for our children’s ministry
·         Bass amplifier
·         Books.  In our intern program we have the leaders in training read lots of books. We would like to create a scholarship to help them purchase these books and a library with at least one copy of each book that could be checked out. 

Family Update
We are grateful for all the prayers and those of you that checked in with us about our baby’s health.  We have been to the doctor a lot because they are calling this pregnancy ‘high risk’ due to some screening tests they gave Fabiola.  Fabiola is feeling better (most of the time) and as far as all the ultrasounds and other tests can tell nothing is wrong with the baby.  We do ask for continued prayer for both baby and mommy’s health for the 3 months that remain. 

Please Pray with Us…

ü  Week of Seeking the Lord  January 5-12
Our church will be setting aside extra time to seek the Lord for guidance and practice pressing into His presence with greater prayer, fasting and personal study during the first week of 2014. 

ü  Youth Winter Retreat  January 18-20

ü  Marriage Conference
We had a really successful marriage conference in August and many people have asked that we bring it back so that they can invite friends, neighbors and relatives to be a part of it.  This year we have invited several other nearby churches to be a part of this event so that we can bless their ministries as well.  Pray for all the details to be worked out as we set the date for late January or early February and that many marriages will be saved and strengthened. 

May you be filled with great food and have wonderful memorable fun with your family and loved ones this Christmas!  But most importantly we desire that Christ be with you and overflow in you as you celebrate His birth and the life, hope and love we experience in Him.

Merry Christmas from all of us in Los Angeles!
Chad, Fabiola, Rebecca, Justice and baby boy

Sunday, December 1, 2013

We Need MORE Fuentes!

During a recent prayer time one of the ladies from our church cried out to God saying, “If there were more Fuentes (our church) the world would be a different place. Give us more!” We are training up leaders with the vision to see many new healthy, reproducing churches planted. We realize that in the hugeness of the world we are only a drop in the bucket, but we also know that God has given us an exciting opportunity to make contact with many nations and many future leaders in just this one city. The ripples of our faithfulness and obedience will impact nations! “Nobody made a greater mistake than he who did nothing because he could only do a little.” (Edmund Burke)
After an intern class last week Angel said, “I really enjoyed that class. I know I know God, but now I feel like I know so much more about Him and it just makes me want to serve Him and love Him more.”

Let us know if you would like to give a special gift or send any of the items listed above to help in a practical way as we continue to reach out to the lost and hurting, train-up leaders and plant churches.  We so thank you for making this a team effort – it would not be possible otherwise. 

Please continue to lift Erika and Nancy up in prayer.  They have been doing a great job leading our youth group (and learning so much along the way). Also pray for our intern class and worship training classes.  Lastly, we ask that you would lift up our family during this busy ministry month – that in all the activity we would grow closer to God and one another and find times to rest and relax in the greatness of our God - Emmanuel. 

We are so thankful to be working together with you to make a big impact for God’s glory in the inner city!

Thank you for your many prayers and financial support.  May you have a blessed Christmas season around family and friends experiencing the fullness of Christ’s joy and peace. 

Chad, Fabiola, Rebecca, Justice and baby #3

Friday, November 15, 2013

Not Sitting Idle

With thanksgiving just around the corner we want to make sure we say what we feel so deeply in our heart: we could not be doing what we are doing without the emotional, spiritual and physical help we receive from you…sometimes it is just a little note, email or phone call, other times it is the prayers that we feel being lifted up on our behalf and it also comes in the form of a gift or check.  Thank you so much for all you do, so that we can do all that God wants to accomplish here in the city!
This month we wanted to share a couple quick stories about how our church is learning and growing in what it means to be a disciple of Jesus Christ…it means loving Him, but also loving others – sharing our faith and making disciples as He commanded.  We did not leave our lifestyle and profession to sit idle and ‘hope’ that God will do something….nor are we raising-up people to sit around, but to be active in their faith and move because they have hope. 


Sharing Their Faith
It has been encouraging this last month how several people in the church have taken initiative to share their faith.  One young man has been talking to his friends every chance he gets at school.  He even led an “Evangelism Training” for his peers during youth group last week.  Another youth tries to always bring a friend every time he comes to our music academy classes.  It was encouraging hearing their prayers for their friends at a recent Bible study.  They aren’t sitting by passively, but pressing into God to see lives changed. 

One the single mothers from our church asked if we could help her gather a group of people together to go share sandwiches she made with the homeless in the park.  She doesn’t have a lot herself, but knows that it is more blessed to give than receive and made as many sandwiches as she could.  A group then went and shared their faith and prayed with people that needed that word of encouragement and little bit of food. 

Recently we have begun to launch a new series of workshops.  We aren’t running these workshops, but empowering our church to share something they like to do….from teaching how to change oil in a car, to a variety of crafts and gift ideas, to special recipes and dishes.  This serves as a new way to foster relationships, empower people to share the gifts, interests and abilities that they have and a place to share their faith with other people.  These groups are providing a great, relaxed social setting where relationships can grow.  Pray with us, as we continue to encourage more of these groups, that disciples would be made and released to do more in and for their community bringing in a greater harvest of people for the Lord. 

Christmas Gifts
This Christmas season we want to give you an opportunity to help this ministry by giving a gift (a donation towards these items or used items in good condition would also be greatly appreciated).

·         Craft supplies for our children’s ministry
·         Bass amplifier
·         Christian music for children (Spanish and English)
·         iPOD (or any MP3 player) to load with music for Kid’s Church services
·         DVDs (appropriate for children or toddlers)
·         DVD player
·         Video games for XBOX 360 (Kinect ok) or Wii
·         Scholarship for youth winter camp ($95/person)
·         Large pull down screen (for projector)
·         Piano tuning
·         Books.  In our intern program we have the leaders in training read lots of books. We would like to create a scholarship to help them purchase these books and a library with at least one copy of each book that could be checked out. 
Let us know if you would like to give a special gift or send any of the items listed above to help in a practical way as we continue to reach out to the lost and hurting, train-up leaders and plant churches.  We so thank you for making this a team effort – it wouldn’t be possible otherwise. 

Also, we love to receive pictures and news from our friends.  If you are sending out Christmas cards please add us to your mailing list.  Our mailing address is:  The Wolyns / 2001 S. Vermont Ave. / Los Angeles, CA 90007
Please Pray with Us…
ü Thanksgiving
Sunday, November 24 – Thanksgiving dinner for the community.  We are inviting people who live in the park in front of the church as well as many other people that have physical, spiritual and emotional needs to come enjoy a great meal.  This is a time for our church to serve and reach out to others.  We have received so much from God and want to serve others and share our story of coming to know the love and forgiveness of Jesus with others.
Wednesday, November 27 – We will gather again for our annual Thanksgiving potluck.  This time is a more intimate time of fellowship and praise for our church body.   
ü Christmas Banquet
Sunday, December 15 – We will be dressing up nice and having a special Christmas banquet to celebrate Christmas together.  We hope to have many people from the community join us as well.  All of our tutoring families will be invited…and we are planning some special treats for everyone too!
ü Family
Fabiola feels a lot better.  We are excited to have found out that we will be having a baby boy!!!
Please continue to pray for the baby’s (and Fabiola’s) health…some tests have come back indicating that there may be some health concerns with the baby.   
With a heart of gratitude we wish you a special Thanksgiving and again say thanks for your love!
Chad, Fabiola, Rebecca and Justice

Friday, November 1, 2013

We are thankful for...

Every Thanksgiving we have a tradition at our church to gather for a potluck meal and share testimonies and words of thanks to God and one another.  It is a beautiful time of fellowship and a powerful moment to count our blessings. What God has done and is doing is truly awe inspiring – from the smallest to largest detail. 

In that spirit, this month we wanted to list out some of the things we are thankful for:

-A unified family that loves one another and is committed to serve and minister together.

-A church we got to start that is growing in its understanding and application of what it means to give their lives fully over to Jesus.

-The hundreds of people (like you) that are praying and supporting us financially and cheering us on from the sidelines all over the world. 

-Eight salvations and six baptisms this year so far.

-Our house that gives us space to be a family and recharge our battery to be able to minister more effectively.

-Our health and safety, especially because where we minister there are so many health and safety concerns.

-New life! One of our personal biggest thanks to God is for our third child (yes, Fabiola is pregnant!), whom we expect to join us in March.  J

-Great volunteers that come and help us throughout the year. Some help regularly with things like our tutoring ministry and others come and visit and lend a helping hand just once.  We are grateful for every single person that has linked arms with us to expand God’s Kingdom here in Los Angeles. 

-Our days of prayer and fasting that we hold at the church semi-regularly that press us in closer to God.

-A healthy transition as the other missionaries who were helping us earlier moved on to help in other ministries.

-Nancy and Erika whom we have empowered as leaders from within our church to take greater responsibility in working with the youth and serve in other areas of the church.

-Angel, who was saved and baptized last year and now is going through our leadership program and growing as a worship leader.

-For being located in a strategic location at the center of our community in front of a large park where we are able to interact with, serve and share Jesus with so many people with deep needs. 

-Violent crime is down in the neighborhood where we are ministering.

-Favor with key community, business and government leaders.

-Our financial support base which has been growing up to where it needs to be for us to be fully provided for as missionaries.  We have almost doubled since the start of the year when we were only at 45% (currently we are at 88%).  Please pray for us to reach that 100% goal before the end of the year.

We are excited about our church hosting a large community outreach the Sunday before Thanksgiving where we will be inviting the community to hear about Jesus and eat lots of food in celebration of all that God is and all that He has done for us. 

Thank you for your love and partnership in empowering people to be all that they can be in Christ!

Chad & Fabiola Wolyn

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Climbing to New Heights

As a forestry major years ago at Oregon State I remember being impressed by a story I read about John Muir climbing a tall tree during a severe storm.  He was able to gain a more profound appreciation of nature and its power from that vantage point within the storm.   

We too continue to climb higher – going wherever God leads us. Our perspective and vantage point greatly affect how we respond to what life dishes out. We serve a mighty God, the creator of all things, and He continues to take us to these new heights with Him.  Yes, many times the tree is swaying and the rain is pummeling us, but there is a security in being close to God.  We see, not with natural eyes, but with faith the many mountains and valleys that lie ahead – where many more people will come to Christ and second, third and fourth generations will be serving this awe-inspiring God.


Men’s Retreat

Our group hit a few interpersonal bumps on our drive up.  The men come from different backgrounds and yet through these differences and hurts that surfaced we were brought closer together and had to press into God more.  There was a lot more talking, heart searching, crying and reconciliation than past men’s retreats have had (some tree climbing too as the picture above indicates).  This retreat helped solidify a base for our church and showed me (Chad) where the guys really are at in their relationship with God.   Thank you for your prayers!

Planned Absences
Over the last month Chad has missed two Sunday services and a Wednesday night community group for various other ministry events that were planned.  Part of moving our church towards greater maturity is allowing them opportunities to minister and to grow into new areas of responsibility. 

In these absences the church has done such a great job rising to this challenge and stepping-up to take on more responsibility.  One of our youth lead worship for the first time – first at the community group and then on Sunday for the whole church.  One of the men preached a message about the Church being the Body of Christ – this was his first time preaching, yet he spoke well and challenged the church with the Word of God.  The church came together as a body and were spurring one another on to press into God.  Last Sunday when our whole family was away at a World Impact retreat at least 12 different people had major roles in preparing, teaching or ministering in some way during the Sunday service. 

HELP WANTED: passionate, sold-out, like-minded, followers of Christ to team-up with…

Does your heart break for broken people wandering in the shadows of society without any hope?

Are you interested in being a part of a team of people doing something and bringing light and hope to the world?

 Do you love the idea of new churches being planted and young believers being equipped and activated in their faith?
Here is what we want….we would like you to consider if God might be calling you to partner with us and move to minister alongside our family.  We would like a core group of people with the same heart and vision to reach the lost and minister to the broken that can help our team train-up leaders and plant more churches.  We are looking for just about any skill and gift sets; experience in the inner city or in church planting is not required.  Spanish is a plus, but not necessary either.   Shoot us an email or give us a call – we’d love to talk more about this potential opportunity with you if God is tugging at your heart. 

 If moving to the city is not an option for you, consider how you could pray with and for us so that we can see an increase in salvations, baptisms, people set free from drug, alcohol and sexual addictions, leader’s identified, trained-up and released, and ultimately more churches planted that will continue to reproduce. 

 Another very practical way to participate from afar is to give financially.  Our family is able to minister in the community where we live full-time because of the sacrificial giving of so many individuals.  Our church plant has also been able to make significant advances and reach out to the community because of key partnerships and donations enabling us to go beyond what would be possible alone as a young church. 
Please Pray with Us…
Family: Fabiola continues to struggle with feeling sick every day due to the pregnancy. 
                   Pray for   relief and a healthy baby/pregnancy. 
                 Rebecca’s birthday is November 5th.  (She will be turning 8!)

Finances: This month we went made it to 89% (we are so close to 100%).  Though stretching at times, it is so encouraging seeing how God continues to provide for our family and this ministry through the generous gifts of so many people.  Thank you for your prayers and gifts!

To new heights being reached in our homes, churches and communities in Christ Jesus our Lord,

Chad, Fabiola, Rebecca and Justice