God's Grace in 2018 - Bringing In
"Let the Word of Christ dwell in your richly; teach and admonish one another in all wisdom; and with gratitude in your hearts sing psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs to God."
Our Women’s Community Bible Study has drawn women into the Word for years, and continues to minister to women from other churches, and even some in our community who don’t attend a church. A number of other ministries (Youth, VBS, etc.) are also actively trying to find better ways to build bridges to the community, to make it easier for people to learn about the gospel. We even had some men host an evangelistic men’s study, using the More Than a Carpenter material to investigate the claims of Christ. Here are some other specific examples.
Vacation Bible School
In addition to our regular week-long activities, several families helped with VBS-concurrent and post-VBS events, seeking to offer common grounds to build new friendships. One of the offerings was a playdate in the park, for VBS families to further connect. Another was the Coffee & Donuts, where parents met after dropping-off their children for the morning. We made connections with several parents who attended, and one mom “just happened” to sit next to a new person, before learning that they had recently become neighbors!
As for the week itself, nearly 60% of the kids were not from MCC, and 18% of them listed no home church. Many, many specific prayers were answered, where the Lord helped us to love sacrificially, and learn to share truth with grace and patience.
One particular divine appointment happened when a worker was sharing with her class, and during the lesson mentioned that her own parents were now in heaven. Two girls, siblings, then shared that their parents were also in heaven. The worker later learned that the children, part of a group of 7 siblings, had lost their parents just a few months before, in a car accident in Texas. But this spontaneous testimony helped to open the door for her to love them and bless them. The Lord had opportunities like this that were ordained for us throughout the week, and we were privileged to walk in them!
Mothers of Preschoolers (MOPS)
After launching a sister MOPS group out of the one at MCC, the leadership team had a daunting rebuilding task before this year. But Michelle, Charity, Susan, Carrie, Hope, Kelli, Jeanette, Patty and Penny have invested in the lives of moms and children with a passion! Michelle reports that they have had many new moms from the community this year, and they have worked together to do a bit of even further outreach to the community through the Fall Fire Safety Fiesta, and globally by packing 15 shoeboxes for Operation Christmas Child. She writes, “it has all been a pleasure and a joy to be a part of. Many mamas come together searching for a place of connection ... and in our little group I feel like they get that and more! They not only connect to other mamas but they get a connection to friends, community, a network of resources and the ultimate connection… to Christ’s love.”
Our little Food Pantry continues to watch God open doors, and make new connections. We have established relationships with several families, and there are a few of the monthly visitors who regularly stay to have tea, share stories, be loved on, and have their prayer requests lifted up. There’s too much to include here, so stay tuned for a full report from Barbara later this week!
In much the same way, the Lord has allowed our church office to be a place of His presence for passersby and people in need. We have had opportunities to pray with a Culligan man, a UPS man, and the manager at the Shell Gas Station. We have given the Bible to a non-believer, and shared the gospel with a homeless man who slept on our back steps.
He is teaching us to rely on Him every week, and surprising us with His blessings.
Watch for the final post in the "God's Grace in 2018" series later this week!