There is a bit of chill in the air these days. I will know it is truly fall when I begin to smell pinon smoke from neighboring fireplaces. However, for many it is not just about the smell of the burning pinon but the heat that it produces. For some, this heat is a matter of life or death on the frigid nights in the East Mountains. Unfortunately...
There is a bit of chill in the air these days. I will know it is truly fall when I begin to smell pinon smoke from neighboring fireplaces. However, for many it is not just about the smell of the burning pinon but the heat that it produces. For some, this heat is a matter of life or death on the frigid nights in the East Mountains. Unfortunately, many in our community struggle with keeping the firewood bin filled during the long winter.
MCC has a long history of helping locals meet their firewood needs. What a unique opportunity for us to be able to show God’s love through the warmth of a fire on a cold night. But to really show God’s love, we need to be more than a supplier of firewood. Such calls for help are often a sign of a much deeper problem--broken relationships with friends and family and most importantly with God. The request for firewood to the church is a symptom of a lack of anywhere else to turn.
We apply a “When Helping Hurts” model to not just deal with the symptom but also work to deal with the root cause. This process begins by developing relationships. Nurturing and maintaining a relationship gives the opportunity to really understand the need while also providing the chance for the one in need to contribute to others as well as help themselves. Helping people help themselves creates a newfound sense of ability, self-worth and dignity. In the same way, this gives us the opportunity to help them see that worth and dignity were always there in the eyes of the Lord.
This process depends on relationship building with the client sponsor being the lynchpin. The sponsor is the one who establishes a relationship with the client and walks them through the process of getting wood. In this process they help the client reclaim dignity, restore relationships with others and points them to God. Specifically, the sponsor will assist them in building a full team of workers to cut, spit and deliver wood. The team would normally include the client and his friends, family and neighbors. It is the client’s job to build the team; it is the sponsor’s job to help and encourage them in their relationship building.
The clients who have agreed to this process are ready for a change. What an opportunity as a sponsor to enable the client to take constructive steps toward a better way of life. More importantly to walk along side our Lord and Savior as He works to bring real transformation. And in the process, make a new friend.
We are in need of sponsors. Please consider investing in our community in this valuable way. Come learn more about becoming a sponsor at the Wood Ministry Sponsorship Training on Saturday, October 20th from 9:00am-11:30pm at MCC. Contact Don and Ann Moore to RSVP for the training or to learn more.
Meet Demeke! He is another one of our Hawassa graduates, and one who will be co-teaching with us this week. Over my visits in the last four years, he has become a friend. Since I was arriving later than the rest of our TLI training team, Demeke was dispatched to the airport to come and receive me. His was the first...
Meet Demeke! He is another one of our Hawassa graduates, and one who will be co-teaching with us this week. Over my visits in the last four years, he has become a friend.
Since I was arriving later than the rest of our TLI training team, Demeke was dispatched to the airport to come and receive me. His was the first friendly face that I had seen in many long, harrowing, and weary hours of traveling.
After a rich welcome, we began the bumpy crawl of a drive back towards Shashemene. In the front seat of the van, as we sat nearly on top of one another, I learned a new part of his story.
You see, Demeke has a great sense of humor; but also a fierce seriousness about the things of God. In part, that’s because he used to think that he was serving the Lord, when really he was working on the other side.
Demeke grew up in a family that was Ethiopian Orthodox, a church that has deep roots here. To this day, his elderly mother is an Orthodox monk.
Demeke was zealous in his faith as a young man, and even persecuted evangelical Christians. He led others to do the same, and they followed. At one time, he was responsible for the burning of the homes of 35 Christian families, and the dispersal of their belongings.
This man has since been won to Christ, and been in his service for many years. He now pastors, and mentors missionaries. In fact, he currently supports our four native MCC missionaries - Epheson, Beyene, Tesfaye, and Henoke.
Demeke continues to grow as a faithful teacher of God’s Word. He is an integral part of God’s church here in Africa.Please pray for Demeke, and all of the Ethiopian graduates who will be co-teaching next week. They are learning quickly, and we are also learning a great deal from them.
Meet Gidaju! He is one of the leaders of the church here, and a key part of our training in Ethiopia this week. He is preparing with us to co-lead in our next theology course. Early on, Gidaju was nearly taken from this world. But...
Pastor Frank Malizzo is currently serving with Training Leaders International in Ethiopia. Join us as he shares about the people, lessons and experiences that God lays before him throughout his short-term mission trip.
Meet Gidaju! He is one of the leaders of the church here, and a key part of our training in Ethiopia this week. He is preparing with us to co-lead in our next theology course.
Early on, Gidaju was nearly taken from this world. But the Lord had other plans, and rescued him for a reason.
You see, Gidaju’s parents had seven children already. When they found out that they were pregnant with Gidaju, they decided that they could not handle any more. So, his mother was given a saline injection to get rid of him.
It did not work.
Then, they went to another doctor, where she was given a medicine to drink that was meant to induce an abortion.
But boils broke out all over her body.
Gidaju’s father then decided that God must not want them to get rid of this baby. So they carried Gidaju to term, and he was born healthy - miraculously! After that, they decided to allow God to lead, and they had two more children.
In time, Gidaju’s older brother would come to trust in Christ, and begin to follow Him. Then Gidaju did the same. Eventually, all of his siblings became followers of Jesus Christ. Last of all, his parents also came to believe.
Clearly, the Lord has a reason for rescuing Gidaju, and He is not done with him yet!
You might find it interesting, though, as you learn about the meaning of his name. It is rather ironic, given his humble demeanor.
With his surprising origin, Gidaju’s parents named him, “forceful one”.
Please pray for Gidaju, and all of the Ethiopian graduates who will be co-teaching with us next week. They are learning quickly, and we are also learning a great deal from them.
She was smiling behind an oxygen mask and extending a cup of coffee to me. “Here,” she shouted above the grumble of chainsaws, “you look a little cold.” I was grateful for the warmth on that chilly fall morning, but more grateful that she was here. Her oxygen tank was propped against a stump...
She was smiling behind an oxygen mask and extending a cup of coffee to me. “Here,” she shouted above the grumble of chainsaws, “you look a little cold.” I was grateful for the warmth on that chilly fall morning, but more grateful that she was here. Her oxygen tank was propped against a stump.
Why would such a woman be out cutting firewood? Well, she wasn’t cutting wood; but she was taking care of a bevy of people who were cutting, splitting, and stacking. And she was joyous!
One of my favorite things about the Wood Ministry is that we have the privilege of reminding people that they are created with purpose and dignity. As a church, we don’t just give wood, we use the wood God has given us to share the Gospel for His glory.There was the man who loved trains, not physically able to cut or split, but a wonderful host and a fascinating story teller.
One year, there was a family of Wiccans who came. They loved being part of the cutting parties and rubbing shoulders with our quirky church family. The more they came, the more they heard about a God who loved them. A God they didn’t need to clean themselves up for. A God who sent His Son to die in their place. And they humbly saw their need for Him. I think they go to church in Moriarty now.
You see, as a church, we don’t just give wood, we use the wood God has given us to share the Gospel for His glory.
Suddenly, I found that it did make perfect sense: to be in the middle of the Manzanos, with a woman on oxygen handing out warm drinks and water. We took the wood back to her house and she gratefully warmed soup for us. Soup that warmed our souls as much as our bodies. It was a day of God’s grace.
The Wood Ministry is so much more than most people realize! God uses this ministry and His people in mighty ways when allow ourselves to be available and utilized by Him.
The Wood Ministry is hosting a Sponsorship Training on Saturday, October 20th from 9:00am-11:30pm at MCC. Sponsors are vital in building last relationships with Wood Ministry beneficiaries and are key to helping beneficiares see how they can be important, contributing members of the wood cutting, processing and delivering process.
Contact Don and Ann Moore to get involved today!
The fifith and final blog in Elizabeth Allan's "Traveling in Grace & Truth" series. Milton Vincent presented a workshop entitled, “Resurrecting a Shattered Faith” that was illustrated by Luke 24. He explained that often the prodigal will ask, “Where was God when I suffered?” How can you repond?
Milton Vincent presented a workshop entitled, “Resurrecting a Shattered Faith” that was illustrated by Luke 24. He explained that often the prodigal will ask, “Where was God when I suffered?” How can you respond?
Many prodigals are those who have been sinned against and feel deep hurt:
- They feel that God abandoned them
- They have been hurt by a church leader
- They can’t square what happened to them with what they think about God
- They can’t reconcile someone else’s sin
- Their biggest disappointment is in themselves because their faith in God has not changed them the way that they thought or they are not as spiritual as they thought they would be.
Prodigals need a friend or counselor who can nurture them back with grace and truth.
What does that look like? Jesus modeled it.
If you think about it, Jesus’ most devoted followers are the very profile of prodigals. They are disappointed that their Messiah let Himself be killed and crucified. They have been hurt by the religious leaders who murdered Jesus. They themselves had failed Jesus. They thought they had grown so much in three years, but then, they had abandoned Him. They felt they had committed the worst of sins --- they felt they were even more wicked than before they had met Him. Jesus was abandoned by God Himself! He even said so on the Cross!
But their loving Messiah pursues His prodigal followers and nurses them back.
First, He presents them with an empty tomb. Note Luke 24:1 – they do not expect the resurrection. The women are there to embalm Him, they are not expecting to greet Him. They were not there to proclaim the first Easter, they were mourning, they were perplexed.
But He sends angelic messengers to tell them the truth by reminding them of His prior predictions of His suffering and resurrection. (Luke 24:6-8) The women DO remember and rush back to report to the assembled (24:9)! In 24:11, though, the men do not think these women are simply mistaken, but stark raving mad. Faith is not restored by their report. The men even go to the tomb, but still do not believe.
The most miraculous, history-altering, heaven-shattering event has taken place and yet, Jesus does not come down in fire and fanfare. Instead, He comes to His disciples as they walk away and listens to their story of shattered faith.
He is so loving! In their state of unbelief, they feel they have no reason to stay in Jerusalem (24:13). They talk of His death, their sorrow, and the crazy women (24:14). As they walk in unbelief, Jesus walks with them. He asks them what they are feeling.
What can we learn from this? Prodigals too have a story to tell. Ask them, repeatedly, and listen. They need the truth very badly, but first they need someone to listen to them.
And guess who is interested in their story of disappointment? Jesus! He could have skipped this part and just revealed Himself, but He takes the time to listen to them. They are hurt by the religious leaders whom they should have been able to trust (24:20). They have lost hope (24:21) and are not convinced the women really saw angels (24:23). They are sad they did not see Him. And He listens.
Do we stop and listen when we see the hopeless?
Along with His presence, Jesus brings them the healing Word. He explains the Scriptures to them, what they reveal about Him, and then reveals Himself to them.
He listens, He draws them out sympathetically, and He speaks truth to them (24:25). Hard truth that they need to hear, and we must do the same. We must help each other understand suffering – both His and their own.
When faith is too small, disappointment is great.
Notice that Jesus takes hurting people to Scripture. From Genesis to Malachi, Jesus does a Bible Study with them. He does the spade work of the heart. This is the essence of soul care.
You may think that you are not equipped or have what it takes to be a biblical counselor, but the truth is, we are all called to it. Do you feel you want some training on how to walk with a brother or sister in their dark seasons? Please join us November 9 & 10 for One to One Soul Care Conference. Click here to register or contact Elizabeth for more information.
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The deadline to sign-up for the March 17-26, 2019 Food for the Hungry Bolivia Mission Trip is October 7. Anyone interested in going needs to contact Jen Ward at email@example.com to reserve their spot!
Scott Walker will be starting a daily prayer meeting at 6:00 A.M. every weekday morning beginning Monday. The meeting will be held in the fellowship hall. Constant, consistent prayer will influence a ministry far beyond any other ministry in the Church. God is looking for faithful prayer warriors.
MCC's Wood Ministry is hosting a Wood Sponsorship Training October 20th from 9:00am-11:30pm at MCC. We will be highlighting what it means to be a sponsor, how sponsorship changes lives, what the process looks like for sponsors and beneficiaries, and more. Please let Don and Ann Moore know at firstname.lastname@example.org you will be attending! Snacks will be provided.
Shine is changing the way we help our teachers with supplies at A. Montoya! Instead of doing a supply drive, we’ve created a wish list. Needed items will be posted on the Shine bulletin board downstairs in the Fellowship Hall for you to take and purchase. Those items can be returned to Ashley or Marcie who will deliver them to teachers! This way, we can help teachers get what they actually need! Please check the board periodically and give as you feel led!
The One to One Soul Care Conference will be held at MCC November 9-10. Are you interested in biblical counseling? Do you feel you want some training on how to walk with a brother or sister in their dark seasons? Please join us! You can register at http://centercitychurch.org/one-to-one or contact Elizabeth (email@example.com) for more information.
Shine also has a unique food pantry at A. Montoya! Kids often go to bed without dinner, come to school too late for breakfast, and aren't sure if there will be dinner that night. We have been asked to create a small food pantry at the school that would contain items like tuna packets, apples, macaroni and cheese, Ensure or Boost, peanut butter crackers, nuts, and the like. The children could keep these items in their backpacks so that they would always have something to keep them going. We are working on putting together a list of items, including gluten-free ones, that we would like to stock the pantry with. Please pray about whether you would like to donate items or money to help keep the pantry stocked year-round!