It has been exciting to see God’s orchestration of MCC’s relationship with Genesis of Hope (GOH), a division of Cooperative Outreach of India (COI). In late 2018, MCC donated to GOH and the Missions Team was in open discussion about how to get more involved. Then in January 2019...
It has been exciting to see God’s orchestration of MCC’s relationship with Genesis of Hope (GOH), a division of Cooperative Outreach of India (COI). In late 2018, MCC donated to GOH and the Missions Team was in open discussion about how to get more involved. Then in January 2019 Ravi and his wife Caitlyn, founders of GOH, visited NM. They were able to meet several members of the missions team for dinner and share about their ministry.
During that evening Ravi asked for one thing - that we come to India and be a part of their summer VBS program. He talked about how encouraging it is to work alongside fellow believers for The Kingdom; emphasizing the importance of relationships.
As Heather wrote, "God had been heavily placing India on my heart and on Donna and Emily’s hearts as well. Ravi’s visit served to solidify that leading.” The Missions Team was able to look at the budget and found it could fully cover the $7,000 cost of GOH’s VBS, allowing approximately 1,000 children in India to attend. An important aspect was to build the partnership by sending Emily, Donna, Heather and Hana. The traveling team was so generously supported by the MCC congregation, friends, and family that the cost of their trip was covered completely and a significant amount was left over which was used to purchase other needed items for GOH.
The team was able to see many aspects of COI/GOH’s ministry in the time spent with the Ravi and Caitlyn. They were able to share about “Identity” with about 30 young women from the slums through “Girl Talk.” The team visited 4 of the 10 GOH centers and saw the impact they have in the slums through educating children and providing skills training. The VBS was a very positive and fun time for the kids to step outside their everyday life and learn about Jesus. COI has many different facets of ministry from the GOH centers to working with urban youth through “Love Delhi” and new church planting efforts in neighboring countries. The thread that runs throughout each of these ministries is a clear love for Jesus and consistency in building strong relationships.
"The thread that runs throughout each
of these ministries is a clear love for Jesus
and consistency in building strong relationships."
The timing of MCC’s VBS was perfect for making connections to GOH’s VBS. This was done through a daily 20-minute class. Each lesson began with an overview of missions - why believers are called to share the gospel and where in the world MCC chooses to engage in missions. Then specific details of the recent India trip were shared with the goal to help children see a glimpse of life and ministry in India. There was a special prayer time each day focused on a different individual from India.The response received shows the India project was Christ-led. Children prayed fervently each day, adults shared throughout the week and said they appreciated learning more about Genesis of Hope (GOH) and missions in general. The fundraising goal for the week was far surpassed and $530 was collected for GOH.
The Missions Team gave $7000 to fund the GOH VBS and so much money was raised through direct gifts from the congregation, friends, and family of the traveling team that an additional $4,330 was given to GOH and $1,000 went back into the general missions fund. These generous gifts have gone to further GOH’s ministry. The Missions Team looks forward to growing the partnership with GOH to reach the lost throughout North India and into neighboring countries.
It’s been a thrill to be part of a MCC small group focused on working through a Systematic Theology curriculum together. I’ve long had the strong conviction that studying theology should not be reserved only for certain Christians (pastors, teachers, etc.). Yet, AW Tozer was right when he said that “what comes to our mind when we think about God is the most important thing about us”...
It’s been a thrill to be part of a MCC small group focused on working through a Systematic Theology curriculum together. I’ve long had the strong conviction that studying theology should not be reserved only for certain Christians (pastors, teachers, etc.). Yet, AW Tozer was right when he said that “what comes to our mind when we think about God is the most important thing about us”.
The truth is that we are all theologians, whether we realize it or not, and we can all be better ones. There’s nothing more important than what, why, and how we believe about God, His creation, His church, and His promises.
Something I’ve learned during our first year of intentionally “doing theology in community” is that God reveals more profound truths in the context of a community of Spirit-filled individuals than He does to believers individually.
"There’s something about being in community that turns out to be as important as having the right source materials, a good method, and even an individual personal relationship with God Himself. "
There’s something about being in community that turns out to be as important as having the right source materials, a good method, and even an individual personal relationship with God Himself. I don’t know why this seemed so novel to me at first. Isn’t this exactly how God does his transformative work in other areas of life and ministry? So, why not theology too?
“Doing theology in community” has opened my eyes to new ways of thinking about and interacting with the great truths of scripture as they’ve been revealed and handed down to us. It’s easy to acknowledge some of the practical advantages of group-study over individual study – but there’s something bigger going on when not just any community – but a community of Spirit filled brothers and sisters in Christ gets together for the expressed purpose of pursuing deeper knowledge of God together. In this way “doing theology in community” becomes as much about love, fellowship, and worship as it does about pursuing intellectual knowledge. In turn, sound theology helps us to love better, worship better, serve each other better, share the gospel better, and use every ability God has given us to recognize and resist dangerous or divisive doctrines that infect many well intended (and well attended) churches.
“Doing theology in community” has also helped me to question why and how some of my own deeply held beliefs were formed, and how to better examine all of them while holding fast to what is good (1 Th 5:21). Not every belief should be held equally tight. It’s not only OK to hold different beliefs with different degrees of certainly, it’s both rational and God-honoring. Some doctrines are essential to the gospel and therefore “hills worth dying on”, but many are not. Does that mean they are not important? Not necessarily – how we think about God is rarely unimportant – but many things are not worth dividing over, and charity and grace are called for!
Do you know how to tell the difference?
Understanding (and often changing) where we draw these lines in our own thinking helps us avoid unnecessary division in the church and extend as much liberty and grace as possible without sacrificing any of the clear teachings of God’s world or convicting that comes from the Spirit. Doing theology in community doesn’t replace individual or corporate Bible study, community worship, or biblical preaching – but He calls each of us to be transformed by the renewing of our mind (Rm 12:2), in humility (v3), and in the context of the local church (v4,5).
In September we will begin a new course on the Christian doctrine of God (Trinitarianism). This is the third of six semester-long courses in our curriculum, and we happily welcome newcomers. We’ll start this course by setting the context with a general (theistic and non-theistic) worldview discussion. This will lead to a discussion on the knowability of God, and several classical arguments for His existence. We’ll spend a couple of months on the incommunicable and communicable attributes of God culminating in the historical development and biblical defense of the doctrine of the Trinity.
We’ll finish by developing a historically and biblically informed Christology, asking and answering questions about the divinity and humanity of Christ. Please consider joining us as we humbly seek to learn more about what and why we believe as God’s family and allow God to transform our lives, ministries, His church and our His world as a result.
We meet from 6-8pm on the first and third Thursdays of each month at Luke and Melissa Feldner’s house in Cedar Crest (optional conversations often go much later). Contact Luke for more information. Childcare can be provided, as we also have children.
How many times a day do you find yourself wondering “Why did I do that?” Maybe you were cut off in traffic and instinctively moved out to teach them a lesson (or get even, or whatever). Or maybe you said something stupid to your wife or spoke harshly to your children simply because you were feeling the burdens of the day. I’ve done those things. What’s on your list?...
How many times a day do you find yourself wondering “Why did I do that?” Maybe you were cut off in traffic and instinctively moved out to teach them a lesson (or get even, or whatever). Or maybe you said something stupid to your wife or spoke harshly to your children simply because you were feeling the burdens of the day. I’ve done those things.
What’s on your list?
So often we do or say something we hadn’t planned on and wonder where it came from. Many of them are things we wish we had not done or things we intended to do but didn’t.
The Apostle Paul noticed the same thing. He wrote “I do not understand what I do. For what I want to do I do not do, but what I hate I do.” (Rom 7:15)
Whether it is from laziness, lack of discipline, liking some sin that we know we should be rid of, or claiming the devil or somebody else made me do it, we find ourselves thinking and acting in ways we don’t want. Paul says the problem is his sinful nature and asks “who will rescue me from this body of death?” Then he responds with a resounding “Thanks be to God – through Jesus Christ our Lord!”
When we put our faith in Jesus Christ and submit to His Lordship, two kinds of things happen. First, we are reconciled to Him and become children of God and enter into His family. So, our standing before Him changes. Secondly, He begins to transform us into what we never could be, into what He designed us to be. So often, in our own strength, we grunt, push, and grit our teeth to change something about us and, at best, we might see some small, temporary improvement, but it usually doesn’t stick. That’s because only God’s transforming power is able to make the real changes we want and need.
Paul wrote, “Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind.” (Rom 12:2)
The tool God has given us to get to know Him better, to know ourselves better, and to know His plan for our lives is the Bible. There is no substitute. Through the work of the Holy Spirit, the Bible becomes alive in us and we are transformed. Without regular, attentive Bible study, our growth will be stunted. And our service, joy and effective leadership of our families will be limited.
At MCC, we focus on God’s word during worship services. We also offer further opportunities to take in God’s word through Sunday School (for adults and children), men’s and women’s Bible studies, and community groups. These give the freedom of open discussion of a particular passage, what it means, and how we might apply it to our lives.
My expectation and my experience has been that these conversations are things that God uses to transform me as well as providing real fellowship with others who are also in the same transformation process. So, not only am I being transformed, but I also have the joy of seeing Him at work in the lives of others, making us to be the people He designed us to be.
In about a month, MCC has two women’s Bible studies begining, Men’s BSF (Bible Study Fellowship) meetings will resume and we will offer a Biblical Theology small group. These are all opportunities to enjoy great fellowship as you come to know God better and are built up in your faith. Come and see what God has for you in His word. Now is the time to be praying about which you might attend.
As your MCC Missions team, we are thankful for your continued support, resources, interest, encouragement, and most especially your prayers. We are also thankful that God opens hearts and minds, that He guides us in what He wants us to do and where He wants us to do it. During the first half of 2019 the MCC Mission’s Team has seen and felt God at work, especially opening new opportunities for us to spread the Gospel throughout His kingdom! Here are a few highlights from the first half of 2019.
As your MCC Missions team, we are thankful for your continued support, resources, interest, encouragement, and most especially your prayers. We are also thankful that God opens hearts and minds, that He guides us in what He wants us to do and where He wants us to do it. During the first half of 2019 the MCC Mission’s Team has seen and felt God at work, especially opening new opportunities for us to spread the Gospel throughout His kingdom!
Here are a few highlights from the first half of 2019.
First, we are still at work in Ethiopia, locally with ISI at UNM and Juntos in the international district and have a number of upcoming opportunities with ISI and Juntos as a new school year begins. Watch for information about these ministries in the coming months.
Next, we've had three significant mission trips during the first half of the year to Bolivia, India and Peru.
In January 2019, MCC sent Vince Tidwell to visit our Asociacion Ministerios Fuentes de Agua (AMFA) team in Peru. During the week he was there, Vince helped drill a well, visited indigenous churches, and connected with the local missionaries we help support; Jorge and Victor. Vince was encouraged by the strong relationships Jorge and Victor have developed with the isolated and marginalized Indian communities and was blessed to see how wells drilled over the years have improved lives in these impoverished communities.
Moving forward, MCC is hoping to begin sponsoring indigenous couples to attend local Bible Seminary for three-years of intensive study. The plan is for Jorge and Victor to identify couples from communities where wells have been drilled whom MCC can sponsor. These couple will attend Bible seminary and upon completion return to their village, establish and pastor a new church. Our goal is for the first couple to begin seminary January 2020!
In addition, Pastor Victor continues to evangelize in the communities where wells are being drilled and follows up with villages where wells were drilled in the past. Since January, Victor has held week-long meetings in seven different communities, reaching 50 to 100 Indians in each village with the Gospel Message!
Read Vince Tidwell's blog for more on this trip and join us in giving thanks for the work God is doing in Peru!
Watch for Part 2 of our "Missions Mid-Year Update" next week for an update on the India and Bolivia mission trips.
“What am I even doing here?” That’s what I thought as I wiped down the doorknobs with Clorox wipes. Again. When I first began helping in my classroom at A. Montoya, I wasn’t really sure I was “helping”. I had envisioned becoming a child’s hero as I taught them a super cool way to do math. I had dreamed of sharing heart-felt talks with little ones about how special they were. I had believed that I could be...
“What am I even doing here?”
That’s what I thought as I wiped down the doorknobs with Clorox wipes. Again.
When I first began helping in my classroom at A. Montoya, I wasn’t really sure I was “helping”. I had envisioned becoming a child’s hero as I taught them a super cool way to do math. I had dreamed of sharing heart-felt talks with little ones about how special they were. I had believed that I could be the answer to all a teacher’s practical needs.
But in my classroom? There were 3 EAs who worked constantly to keep up with all of the children’s physical and academic needs…which changed on a daily (or sometimes hourly) basis. Many of the students could not speak. One could not even move on his own. Though there were only nine children in the classroom, considering their level of need, it was by far the most over-crowded class I’ve ever encountered.
The need was SO great. And I felt SO ill-equipped. The teacher didn’t know what to do with me, and didn’t have time to think about it. So she set me to disinfecting the room, throwing away old markers, cutting out numbers and words for activities, and filling up water bottles. I did this for several weeks, and just kept thinking, “Be faithful with little.”
And then Micah showed up.
Micah brought the house down. Micah was a 9-year-old non-verbal kid with autism, and had never, ever been in school before. He had a ton of energy, loved to run away, got easily overwhelmed, and would scream until he decided not to scream anymore. I came in on Micah’s second day. Honestly, I’m not sure any of the amazing teachers in that room thought they could make it to the end of the week, let alone the end of the school year at that point.
My job changed that day.
While my teacher worked with Micah on just focusing on an activity, I practiced sight words with Lilly. When Gracie wouldn’t wheel herself up the ramp because no one could pay attention to her right that second, I raced her up. When Robert couldn’t sit still and kept bothering Matthew as numerous diapers were being changed and feeding tubes were being used, I did yoga with them. When everyone needed a break, I took Micah to play basketball in the gym. And do you know what happened? My teachers took all of these acts from me as personal offerings of love and support.
I know that a handful of people, motivated by God’s unfathomably huge love, and willing to simply show up and share their lives, does indeed constitute an army; and the revolution happens because of the love being communicated through their small acts of service.
One teacher hugged me at the end of that day, thanking me for being there.
Next week, one sobbed at lunch and shared her anxious heart with me.
Next week, another asked me to pray for her.
Week after that, they all got upset when I had to miss class because I had a sick kid at home. I was actually missed.
And pretty soon, there we were, sharing life together.
The kids began to benefit from my presence too, but not necessarily in the ways I’d thought they would. Some days, Lilly got more individual attention from her teacher because I was there. Some days, Gracie got extra PT time because I was there. Some days, Lilly spent more time learning her sight words with her teacher because I was there to take Caelen to PE. My teachers were able to take more breaks on the days I showed up, and so, they were more refreshed and relaxed when they came back to teach.
I still help in the same class; but now there are only 2 children in it. The teachers don’t really need my help anymore. But they are so sad when I can’t make it to class. They look forward to having my support, my face to laugh with, my arms to hug, and the relief of having someone walk in the door who is always, always in their corner.
I used to think that we needed tons of people, tons of hours, tons of experience, and tons of time spent doing deeply meaningful things with those at our school to make any kind of difference in our community. This year, I lost a few volunteers. I also started to feel that my church was becoming far less engaged at our school than I thought we would be at this point. I became very discouraged, wondering again, “What are we even doing here? Does any of this matter? How are our cookies, our cut-outs, our hours spent at the school ever going to affect any real change at all?”
I reached out to the staff at the school with an email that held the subject line, “How are we doing?” I asked all of our teachers for feedback on our service, and received the following reply from our librarian:
“Ashley- I think Shine has fundamentally changed our school. There is a strong current of love/hope that impacts each one of us. There are cookies, coffee, and snacks in the lounge. There are extra supplies, gift cards (I GOT ONE THIS TIME during a staff meeting- thank you!!) for teachers, and capable caring adults in the classrooms. My students really enjoy Elaine who comes to the Library. She reads to them, talks to them and organizes the library. She always has a smile and at Christmas she and Trish give me a Starbucks gift card.
Felisa organizes our workroom (which has never looked better). Cabinets and drawers are marked and easy to use. She asked me about good books to share her love of reading with the 4th grade student she works with. She talked to me about the possibility of a bookmobile to go into communities. The energy directed at being part of the community is inspiring. The answer to many of the problems we face in a school is caring adults.
Your program has infused us with an army of support. My library is physically and emotionally a better place because of Shine. Thank you. Is it possible for us to attend a service one Sunday and show our appreciation? It would be fun to come together. Let me know and I can organize it.”
On May 19, they did come. We sang, we prayed, we took communion…together.
I used to think we’d never make a difference unless we had an army of people showing up to bring an all-out revolution at our school. Now I know that a handful of people (in our case, that’s 6), motivated by God’s unfathomably huge love, and willing to simply show up and share their lives, does indeed constitute an army; and the revolution happens because of the love being communicated through their small acts of service.
When was the last time you asked yourself, “What am I even doing here?” If you haven’t asked it recently, I challenge you to find a place you can show up with just your presence to offer. I believe you’ll find that the answer to this question is always, “SO much more than you think.”
“Now to Him who is able to do far more abundantly beyond all that we ask or think, according to the power that works within us, to Him be the glory in the church and in Christ Jesus to all generations forever and ever. Amen.”
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The Care Net Walk for Life is coming up! Join the MCC Walk for Life Team August 24 at the Good Shepherd Lutheran Church in Edgewood. Registration starts at 8:00am, the walk begins at 9:00am and is usually finished by 10:30am! Snacks and water are provided! Click here to learn more or contact JoAnn Tallant.
Bring something salty, bring something sweet, bring something that folks will like to eat! The Fellowship Ministry is looking for people who can volunteer to bring baked goods, fruit and snacks for Sunday morning fellowship. Click here to sign-up or simply bring something on Sunday morning to share. Contact Patti Anderson.
MCC Mothers of Preschoolers (MOPS) meets the 1st and 3rd Tuesday of the month from 9:15 am – 11:30 am starting September 3rd! It’s a place of encouragement, community, fellowship and support during the struggles and the joys of being a mother from pregnancy to kindergarten. Click here or contact Michele Aigner for more information.
MCC Elders are hosting a 4-week Foundations Class starting September 15. This class is designed to better help you get to know MCC - who we are, what we believe and why, and how to get connected. Please sign up with Sarah.
Men’s Bible Study Fellowship resumes September 10! Now is a good time to join with other men from a number of East Mountain churches for a look at how God established His Church. This year’s Bible Study Fellowship study is called Acts and Letters of the Apostles. In it, we will see how God brought His kingdom to earth as the Apostles and other early believers shared the Good News by word and action, trusting in the leading and power of the Holy Spirit. The MCC class meets Tuesdays at 6:30pm from September to May. Men who want to know God and His word better are welcome to attend whether they are familiar with the Bible or not. For information, talk with Tom Young.
Do you want to be more faithful to God’s call to love Him with all your heart, soul, strength and mind? Are you interested in studying Biblical Theology in an interactive and loving small group community? Consider joining us as we start a five-month study on “Trinitarianism” in September. We meet from 6-8pm on the first and third Thursdays of each month at Luke and Melissa Feldner’s house in Cedar Crest.