Friday, September 23, 2016

The gradual transformation in the lives of the people we have come to serve is exhilarating and awe inspiring. The testimonies we hear on a weekly basis continue to hammer in the reality of a good God – a God who is very active and alive in anyone who will look for Him. Sure there are still many defeats, disappointments and tragedies, but God is sustaining His people through those trials. Individuals who once only looked out for their own good, now sacrificially are helping, giving, and serving people they don’t even know – people that often can’t or won’t reciprocate the blessing. Jesus teaches that we will be known by our acts (fruits) whether good or bad. We are encouraged and challenged. Continue to pray for us, that we could lead by example and press into the heart and attitude of Christ as we minister to the ‘least of these’ in the inner city…evangelizing, training-up leaders and planting churches.


Prison Visit
Chad recently went to prison to visit the inmates there who are studying TUMI (The Urban Ministry Institute), which is World Impact’s theological training for raising up leaders. He spoke with three different classes in Norco (CRC) Prison – about 70 men – sharing a brief devotional and encouraging them to fight the good fight and begin living their lives as ambassadors of Christ right now. We are working on a leadership pipeline to help mentor, encourage and coach these men in their calling once they are released…and hoping to have some of them do an internship with us at our church before they are sent off to do even greater things.  

Urban Church Association (UCA)
In August we put on a special dinner to honor six pastors who have been serving faithfully in Los Angeles. Two of these men are the pastors we wrote about last update, Gustavo and Philip, whom we are coaching in the church planting process. Another is an ex-prisoner who is pastoring and running a discipleship home for those coming out of prison. The fourth and fifth pastors have both started churches in parks (in the open air), one was a gangster and drug dealer, but God is using him mightily as he has planted more than five churches already. The other pastor was a Hollywood photographer, but God called him to plant churches amongst the urban poor. The last pastor was influenced by World Impact when growing up and has now started a powerful multi-ethnic church where all the pastors and leaders meet each month for breakfast.
In September two of our worship leaders (from our church) led all of the pastors in a time of worship at our monthly UCA meeting. This was one of the biggest/newest opportunities for them to lead others in worship and they did a great job – being invited to go and minister to two ministry events as a result. 

Two Weddings
Over the last two months we celebrated two weddings. The first wedding begun with the bride singing a beautiful song to her husband and ended with a shower of rice. The theme of being unified together with Christ as a couple was strong and ministered to all the guests. Many of the couple’s family and friends commented on how special and different the ceremony was (not like what they’ve ever experienced before). This couple’s example and testimony has caused their non-believing friends and relatives to ask more questions about God. 
The second wedding was very different than the first, but equally beautiful. There were a lot of new connections with the community (the reception was held in the park’s auditorium) and we were able to meet a lot of new people that came out for the special event. 
It was exciting to see both couples walk out in obedience to get married in a neighborhood with one of the highest levels (in the city of LA) of single mothers and adults whom have never been married (yet are living together) as reported by the LA TIMES.  Many of the gifts and talents of our church body were used to make these weddings a reality – both were great moments of celebration that are leaving a stamp in their legacy.

3 Camps: 
Summer Camp (Grades 1-3)
Our youngest (and smallest) group of campers had a great time at summer camp. They shared their Bible verses and a favorite memory on Sunday when they returned…showing us how much God can do in the life of a little one.   

Summer Camp (Youth)
The youth had a blast at summer camp. This year they were able to ‘major’ in an area of ministry that interested them (for example: sound/media, music/worship arts, drama, dance, etc.). These were new experiences for some of the youth and helped them find new passions, while it provided some great training and development for others who have already begun to pursue these areas of ministry. The group came back more unified and several of the youth went forward to commit their lives to Jesus. Our family was actually away for most of this week, so it was even more encouraging that our youth leaders did such a great job leading and organizing everything. Thanks to everyone who prayed and gave scholarships to make this camp a possibility!
Since camp several of the youth have stepped up into more of a peer-leadership role organizing get togethers, leading Bible studies and worship…and coming alongside their leaders to help and encourage them.  

Family Camp           
At family camp this year our theme was “Belonging” and we really saw God do a work - drawing people to Himself and bringing our church closer together in a sense of family.  
Our youth leaders led the whole church in fun game activities several times throughout the weekend. 
Our prayer times were led each morning by emerging leaders. We closed out the weekend in a powerful time of sharing testimonies of what God did during the weekend. God really grabbed ahold of a lot of hearts and gave us a better understanding of who He is and who we are…many came in feeling worthless, hopeless, powerless and disconnected and left with a new value, a hope for their future and a heart full of God.
Families connected too – one father hadn’t ever been able to spend more than a day with his son since the boy lives with his mother – and by coming away they were able to be together for two nights and 2.5 days.  Also a big “Thank You” to volunteers Mike and Misty Cook for being awesome and taking on the children’s classes for the whole weekend – that really made the ministry times with the adults so much richer as they could relax and focus on hearing from God.

Intern Graduation and The Start of a New Group
We are starting our fourth year of a discipleship/intern program at the church. We had a special graduation ceremony for Jorge A. as he finished the year strong and has become more aware of what God is calling him to do. He will be helping our church in the prayer ministry, food and fellowship (he is a great chef!) and some fund raising. He has faithfully been praying for, inviting and bringing his neighbors and family to church and to Christ.  Jorge E. and his wife Araceli are taking the leap and have begun their internship year. Please keep all three of them in your prayers.

Family Update
At the tail end of our very busy summer we were able to get away and visit our family (Chad’s parents), celebrate our anniversary and rest a bit. Now the kids are back in school and we’re in a new fall routine. Rebecca started middle school (getting use to a new building, routine, lockers and more homework) and Justice is in 4th grade missing his sister (although he hasn’t admitted that yet). Beniah is learning a lot too, but won’t start preschool for another year or two.

Coming up:
Children’s Hunger Fund Training @ Church   September 24
Chad’s Birthday                                                    September 28
New Members Class                                            October 1
Wolyn Family Moving                                        October 1-31
Justice’s Birthday (he will be 9)                        October 4
UCA Meeting (planning new UCA launch)     October 8
Rebecca’s Birthday (she will be 11)                    November 5
World Impact Staff Retreat                                 November 18-20
Thanksgiving boxes gathered and delivered   November 20-23
Thanksgiving celebration/outreach                  November 23-26
Annual Christmas Banquet & Toy Store          December

Please Pray with Us…

    1.   We’re moving…
We still do not have all the details or funding/help worked out, but do know that October will be the month we need to be moving. Please pray with us for grace, peace and wisdom…we have felt quite a bit of stress in all that needs to be done to move us the few blocks over and get the house ready.  Also cover the logistics and finances of this move in prayer please. Lastly, pray that our new place would be a house of refuge and would feel like “home” for all of us. If you are able to give financially specifically for our move that would be a huge help. Please put “Wolyn Home Repair” on any check (see giving info below) or contact us on how to give…or if you are local and have time in October maybe you can come help paint, move boxes or clean.

2.     For our Emerging Leaders
Especially Jorge and Araceli Equihua and Hugo and Yuri Cruz. Hugo and Yuri are our youth leaders. Jorge and Araceli are the couple in our intern program, preparing to be the future pastors. Araceli is involved in the worship ministry and part of the evangelism team and children’s ministry with Fabiola. Jorge heads up the usher ministry and is taking the lead on starting our food ministry/evangelism with Children’s Hunger Fund.

3.     For new growth in our church
Pray that as we move into fall and then into the holiday season we would see a new influx of new people, salvations, baptisms, etc. Pray for boldness and compassion for our church to pursue the lost in our neighborhood and circles of influence. Pray for wisdom and strong teams to be formed as we start the food/evangelism ministry with Children’s Hunger Fund. 
Thank you for the outpouring of love and support!

May God fill your life with more of His goodness and grace,

Chad, Fabiola, Rebecca, Justice and Beniah