Friday, September 4, 2015

Breaking News

A driver crashed into a South Los Angeles home after being fatally shot. The shooter is still at large. This happened behind the church Fuente para las Naciones (our church) on 50th & S. San Pedro St. at 2:55 p.m. September 3. We’ve heard a lot of gun shots here in South Central Los Angeles, but these were by far the loudest – and there were at least 10 shots that rang out. The SUV drove about a block further after being shot at and then crashed on the opposite corner from our church, slamming into the building and causing the vehicle to immediately erupt into flames.  Within minutes police, firemen and the media were swarming the area and had it blocked off until evening. The victim was rescued from the car and rushed to the hospital, but was pronounced dead soon afterwards. Police said the shooting was likely gang-related, and they are still looking for the shooter. This crime is the 39th killing in South L.A in the last month, the highest murder rate in eight years.
(Sources: Our eyewitness account, ABC news and Univision websites)

Please be in prayer for our community.  We held a prayer meeting from 6am-11am this morning to intercede for the community and ask God to lead us into what we are to do help bring peace and wholeness into South L.A..

We had a dinner for the community (sorry no pictures) last week and got to meet and reconnect with some neat people. One guy was a gang member who brought his kids over to eat. He shared a lot about the crazy life he has had growing up in this community. He shared about things he has seen and done that sound like a movie script. He has been out of prison for a couple years and is trying to do what’s right, but it hasn’t been easy. After listening some I shared how he and his kids need Jesus.

A Look Back at Summer
We have not sent out an update since May – we are sorry. We spent most of the summer working on getting our financial support levels up to cover our family’s needs as we continue to minister in Los Angeles this coming year.  With a third child, increasing costs of school and other daily needs we needed to have some focused effort in communicating our need and vision for future ministry to move us forward. There are a lot of great opportunities both in church planting and coaching/ mentoring other church planters and leaders lying ahead….so we’re excited, but we do need to eat.

In this update we will highlight parts of the summer months – before, during and after our trip.  We’ll share what we did as well as share about all the great things happening in Los Angeles while we were gone through the disciples that we have trained-up.

In June…
Music Workshop
 Free Music Classes!  We continue to partner with musicians from LA and Orange Counties that give us some of their time and expertise so we can give more experiences and classes to children, youth and adults in our church and community.

Tutoring Graduation
We finished off our 3rd year of tutoring and 1st year of English classes (ESL for adults) with a celebration. We spoke to everyone about God being our ultimate hero. Both the children and the parents were honored and affirmed.
 We opened up a craft room for the children to create cards where they could express their thanks to their parents.  We then opened another room where parents worked on creating a special card for their children where they could speak affirmation and life over them. They took family pictures, had a meal and left filled up (with lots of love).

The Send Off
It took 3-4 months to really prepare everyone and hand off responsibilites so that we could be away from the church we pastor for 8 Sundays. We were sent off with love and prayers and left the church in the hands of God and the emerging leadership.  

In July & August…
Our Support Raising Travels
  • We drove a lot - over 7,000 miles.
  • We were in 4 different states.
  • We had car troubles and had to do an impromptu visit to the mechanic.
  • Thanks to many generous contributions all our expenses were met for the trip!
  • We were rear-ended in Portland on the way to a lunch meeting. 
  • We slept on 15 different beds, couches, floors.
  • Our kids thought they were on vacation and made some new friends. (We didn’t want them feeling like they were being dragged around or forced to do ministry so this is a big praise!) 
  • We got to worship and fellowship at some really cool churches. 
  • Our health was great the whole trip.
  • God used us to speak to others.
  • God used others to speak to us: encourage us, challenge us, and remind us how loved we are.
  • We got to see so many super special friends and family!
  • Unfortunately we were unable to see everyone….though 8 weeks seems like plenty of time – the longest we stayed in one place was one week and that just isn’t enough time to see everyone. 
  • We left with the goal to raise $1,500/month in new support. (In order to reach 100% of our needed monthly support for our family of five.)
    • We were able to solidify $1,000 in new monthly pledges!
    • We still need $500/month. If you would like to help us with any part of that please let us know.  

Pastor’s Conference
The last two weeks of our time away was in Mexico.  We were in Puebla visiting family and friends and the church down there.  We then went to Morelos where we attended a pastor’s conference. 
Great fellowship and teaching with pastors from all over different parts of Mexico.

Ministry in Los Angeles while we were gone
A common question we heard as we were traveling was “Who is taking care of the church while you are gone?”  We are blessed to have been able to raise-up leaders from within the church to be able to take care of all the different aspects of the ministry while we are gone. 

The preaching, small groups, worship, ushers, hospitality, garden and facilities, camps, youth, children’s ministry, admin., etc. were all taken care of very well.  When we returned several parts of the building were painted and fixed up.  What previously people would tell us was “ours” (our property, our responsibility, our job, etc.) is now clearly “theirs”…it is great to see how the church is taking ownership of the ministry and facilities.  

The church celebrated birthdays together, went fishing and other things that as one man put it, “fill that longing and desire I’ve had for friendship and fellowship in a Christian context.”  The amount of fellowship and impromptu Bible studies seemed to increase while we were away.  Honestly, a lot of things were done better than when we were leading everything.  We are so encouraged by that! 

One of our leaders, Yuri, took 8 of our youth to summer camp. Others helped her with the driving.  It was good for us to be away so that the church could learn to do things on their own more and realized that they depend on God and not on their missionary, church-planting pastors for their growth and health.  

Back in L.A. – A Grand Reception

The Sunday we returned we were surprised with special decorations, flowers, cards and a meal.  The church also put on a drama saying “Thank you” for all you do and welcoming us back. It was great to see everyone and return to the mission field that God has called us to.  

Please Pray with Us…

  • Pray for our family to be full of life and hope and have a fresh deposit of God’s presence for every day’s ministry and life challenges.
  • Pray for the violence in our neighborhood and other South LA neighborhoods to stop (see the “Breaking News” at the introduction for more information).
  • Pray for our church to grow in their passion for the lost and in our effectiveness to reach more people with the Gospel. 
  • Pray for Rebecca as she starts 5th grade, Justice as he begins 3rd and Fabiola as she continues to be with Beniah all day.

  • Beginning of this year’s FLIP (internship) program.     September 6
  • Day of Prayer and Fasting                                          September 14
  • Church Multiplication Conference                               September 22-25
  • Chad’s birthday – “40”                                              September 28
  • Music Workshop                                                       October 3

 Thank you for your prayer, love and support!!!

Chad, Fabiola, Rebecca, Justice and Beniah