Monday, April 15, 2013

Love the City

Update: Los Angeles Mission Week
Our church’s youth group took their second missions ‘trip’ during spring break.  We were able to do local outreach and keep the costs down by having them stay in our church building.  They grew as a group and as you’ll see from the pictures below they were busy spreading God’s love throughout the city.

Vacation Bible School at South Park
Every day during the week our youth group helped a visiting youth group put on a vacation Bible school (VBS) outreach at the park.  They were able to help doing crafts, sing songs, play games/sports, tell and act out story time about Jesus’ last week, death and resurrection, and interact with the children and adults at snack time and at the check-in table.

It was great having bilingual youth helping out that knew the community.  A couple of them even had classmates show up with their younger siblings, which made for a great opportunity for them to minister to their peers as well. 

Each day before the VBS our youth did a service project….

Service Project Day 1: Cleaning up the Neighborhood
Our neighborhood is riddled with trash and an attitude of ‘who cares’, but as our youth went around the park and surrounding streets picking up trash they were able to witness to others about why they care and want to help the neighborhood look better.  There was even another father and his kids from the community that after hearing what they were doing decided to join them. 

Service Project Day 2: Visit to a Convalescent Home

What a joy to see our youth ministering at the convalescent home! They brought an art project to do with the elderly, they played games and exchanged stories, but it was mostly about spending some quality time and affirming that Somebody cares about them. 


Service Project Day 3: Evangelism & Hygiene Packs

The following day our youth stuffed bags full of hygiene needs and other staples to hand out at MacArthur park – another park notorious for homelessness, gangs, drugs and other major problems.  Their assignment wasn’t to hand out as many bags as possible, but to take the time to share the gospel and pray with as many people as possible.  Small groups went out and were able to be led by God to specific people that they sensed needed to hear that they are loved and have a bigger purpose in this life.


Service Project Day 4: Food Prep. & Service at Skid Row Mission
Waking up at 4:00 AM is not easy for most people, but our youth did a great job getting up and doing the prep. work and service at the Fred Jordan Mission in Skid Row (downtown L.A.).  They were exhausted when they returned, but still impressed with the opportunity to serve and show God’s love in a practical way to so many homeless adults and children.  


Meals – Learning and Getting Help / Fun Night Out
Apart from the VBS and service projects they had morning devotionals and nightly teachings.  The youth took turns preparing their meals too – some cooking and washing dishes for the first time in their life.  For the dinners different families from the church prepared the meals and came to eat and fellowship with the youth – hearing about their adventures of the day.  On the last day of the week the youth went and had a fun night out at a park.  The six youth that participated in the L.A. Mission Week are pictured at a fountain below (Fountain for the Nations is the name of our church). 


Good Friday – Worship Night (Prayer & Fasting)
We had a church-wide day of prayer and fasting (our first ever) with a powerful worship service on Good Friday. There were a lot of new families that came out as a result of our VBS outreach during the week.  Nobody from our church had ever fasted before, but the testimonies resulting were amazing, showing how God loves to work in humbled hearts.  

Easter Morning Service & Drama
The drama put on by a key group of emerging leaders from our church was well done and presented clearly the reason and joy of the resurrection.  Again, we had a lot of new visitors both invited from the VBS and friends and family that joined us for the special celebration.  

Toddler’s Class
We don’t get to peak in to the toddler’s class too often as more and more of that responsibility is being taken over by a handful of ladies in our church, but it is a joy to see those little ones learn the Bible, sing and play and interact with one another.  The gospel is truly being presented and lived out throughout our church.

On Easter Sunday we also baptized four people who are whole-heartedly committed to following and growing in God.  One lady shared a powerful testimony of God’s faithfulness in her life through so many trials both personally and with her family.  What a blessing that we got to be the ones that were able to find her and offer Christ’s hope, love and forgiveness and a healthy church at just the right time. 
We also had three youth get baptized.  It is always powerful hearing their convictions declared and see the twinkling, proud eyes of their mothers watching on.  

Carne Asada & Fellowship
We are big believers in the importance of fellowship – and Hispanic food is always a plus making that fellowship all the richer!  

All of our people were engaged in one way or another serving one another using their different gifts and abilities – from the outreach and food preparation during the week to serving in the drama or children’s classes everyone was giving and receiving love. This makes our heart so happy and full.  We are praying for a continued increase and maturity as we move through these next seasons. 

Please Pray with Us…

In about 7 weeks the other three World Impact missionaries that have been working with us to plant this church will be leaving to focus on other church plant or ministry activities.  That makes for a really important transition season where they are handing off more and more of their responsibilities to people from the community. 

Pray that God would prepare hearts for this change and that not one person would be lost to this transition…. 
…In fact pray with us that there would be growth in numbers and in people walking into new areas of ministry….
…And that everyone would deepen in their intimacy and faith with God as a result of this transition. 

Fabiola’s birthday is this month (April 26th to be exact).  YEAH!

Continue to keep our family lifted up in prayer please.  There is an ever-increasing amount of ministry that we must balance with this above mentioned transition that we are still figuring out (what needs to be dropped, what needs to be handed-off and what needs to be carried by us). 
Pray for grace, grace, grace and lots of wisdom and unity. 

We hope that you are encouraged by what God is doing through His people here in South Central Los Angeles amongst those that were once estranged and poor, but now are walking in the riches of God’s goodness. We pray that your light would shine bright for Jesus this spring in whatever city, town or village you live in.

We so appreciate your prayers and all the love and support!  Keep it coming…

Chad, Fabiola, Rebecca and Justice

P.S. We have had a slight increase to our support this last month (thank you!), but still need more to be able to reach please consider joining our financial support team with a monthly or one-time gift and pray that this need would be met.