Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Planting seeds in South Dakota

Zoe Hendrix, along with three others, recently returned from a weeklong TCC mission trip to Diamond Willow Christian Center in South Dakota, which serves Native Americans. Below is a report.

Our time at Diamond Willow Christian Center on the Crow Creek Reservation at Fort Thompson, South Dakota, was once again a mountain-top high of spirit-filled days. We arrived late Saturday night and were able to worship on Mother's Day at the Church Center.

Since Tomoka’s first visit there three years ago, we could see much growth both spiritually and physically with the church center there.

The Vaughn family is pleased with the active hub that Diamond Willow has grown to be on the reservation. The calendar is full each week with men's and women's groups, Wednesday night soup and Bible study, Friday teen night and Tuesday kids’ night. The Diamond Willow bus rolls steady picking up folks.

Wendy, Julie and I were able to help with prep of 12 gallons of soup to freeze ahead and sewing angel costumes for the Christmas pageant. This past year’s pageant saw 47 kids performing, so more angels are needed. The guys worked on reservation homes, installed a toilet — and Jim Dooley's electrical help was truly a blessing.

Springtime in the Dakotas is beautiful and our days were blessed with glorious weather. We had opportunity to interact with many Native Americans and left feeling seeds were planted. We look forward to returning and a possible discovery of how God’s work has grown. Please pray about joining the team for next spring's trip.

Thursday, May 21, 2009

It's Raining, It's Pouring

Please be in prayer for all who are stranded or flooded out as a result of the nearly 20 inches of rain this area has received lately. This is the time for the church to "Be the Church" and support each other, as well as our neighbors. If you have a need as a result of the weather mess, please e-mail the church and we will help, if possible. Please note that we have gallons of drinking water and canned foods readily available.

The photos here are of the overflowing retention pond at Tomoka Christian and the home of our youth pastor, Craig Portwood — one of many flooded out by the rain. Click directly on the photos to see them larger.

Just to give you a different perspective, on Wednesday I talked to Vivek Lall, one of our missionaries in India. They are in the midst of a 10-month drought. They have to carry water from 10 miles away for drinking and bathing.

"Is any one of you in trouble? He should pray." James 5:13

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Middle East Trip 2009

Below is a report from the mission trip to the Middle East that I led this past April, written by fellow short-term missionary Rob Rodriguez.

Let me tell you about our trip to the Middle East. I have never been on a trip that was just a prayer and blessing trip before, but what God did in our lives during those eight days was truly amazing. I have always been on work trips — if you are going to do something for the Kingdom you need to roll up your sleeves and get dirty. Oh, how God opened my eyes and showed me the power of prayer; and how He that is able can do more than we can imagine. God showed us how He is working with a humble man to change the Arabic world. I am speaking of a man who is a true modern-day Paul. Not just because he has planted numerous churches. He has also trained hundreds of pastors and church planters for his country and for all of the Middle East and North Africa. Yes, all of the Middle East, even places where the governments will kill these men.

When we arrived in the capital city we were happily surprised to find out it was Easter for the Orthodox Church calendar. Half our team went to a national church on Sunday morning. We were able to spend a few hours with about 200 kids during their Sunday school. After class we were able to provide a drink, sandwich, candy and little toy to the children, and to their parents we gave a bag of rice. This was a huge gift for them due to the poverty they live in.

Meanwhile, the other half of the team went to an African church, where they were treated to worship by three different tribes. Later that night, we went to another national church where we were able to hear Pastor Joe preach his Easter sermon (for the tenth time I think!). Again, the children were blessed with a gift and their parents were also blessed with rice. We also found out that our money we sent ahead provided more than 2,000 gift bags to other children and untold number of bags of rice for their parents. The pastor of this church was hurting financially and we were able to be an answer to his prayers. He said our visit was a big encouragement for him — but I think it was even more an encouragement to us.

God was only warming us up for the big moment of the trip. We went to visit a truly remarkable place called V of H (name omitted to protect the ministry). V of H is the only place in this country providing for the development and rehabilitation of people with intellectual disabilities. It is run by a strong Christian woman, Mrs. Nada, and her husband. They answered God’s call and turned their retirement home into this wonderful place for the handicapped. But they need more room and more money.

We took up a love offering and were able raise $1200. There is an empty lot next door that she was looking to buy. She asked us to pray for God to soften the heart of the owners. She had not spoken to the owners in over two years. We prayed for God to bless that lot, and you know what happened? The owners showed up 10 minutes later. We prayed again for God to make something major happen right then and there (someone even joked that we weren’t leaving until the deal was done!). God made it happen right there, right then!

Yes, God is still working miracles; you just have to pray big enough!

Friday, May 15, 2009

I Have A 10 Million Dollar Dream!

"God will never waste His resources. If your biggest dream is to paint the bathrooms at church, God will not give you a million dollars. You need a million dollar dream!" -John Maxwell

My dream is a 10 million dollar dream. That 10 million will build Tomoka Christian's Hand Avenue facility and three buildings in the Middle East to train thousands of workers for Jesus through the Arabic-speaking world. Here are pictures of Middle East building plans and the land.

Join me in prayer for a $10 million dollar dream.

Monday, May 11, 2009

Blessings abound on mission field

Below is an excerpt from the journal of one of our elders, Pat McCarthy, written while he was serving with a TCC team in March at the Red Sands Native American reservation in Winslow, Arizona. The account is from just two days, but it serves as a snapshot of mission work — the sacrifices and the rewards.

Tuesday: The 12 of us flew across the country wearing little wooden crosses around our necks, and also carried a few each to give to others. These crosses, hand made by Ralph Zellers, touched a young lady and her baby, as well as the stewardess on the plane. Tony hung a cross on a beaming security guard. Taking a bus from the airport to the car rentals, a family with their 90-year-old grandfather was having a time getting in, as the elderly man was crippled. We talked to them of our mission to Red Sands and hung crosses on the old man, his granddaughter and great grandson. They each lit up like a sunburst! At the rental place, Ralph, Cliff and Tony hung a cross on a young lady, and by God’s blessing, she gave us an upgrade to a Suburban with no extra charge! On the way to Winslow in that Suburban we laughed so much we ’bout cried! Once again the blessing of giving and the blessing of receiving!

Thursday: Started the morning with the children for chapel services, singing, praying, listening to their soft prayers: “God bless my Momma and Daddy, Grandma and Granddaddy and my sisters and brothers and my friends ….” Off to school and us off to work. It was a big day as we worked on the missionary house — continuing to frame it up, seal and caulk. After school, the ladies set up manicure and pedicure stations for the girls. They washed feet, massaged feet, cut toenails, put polish on toes and nails as well as gave each new flip-flops. It was absolutely amazing to watch these girls sit totally quiet and just smile and giggle for two hours. They were looking at their feet so much I thought they might walk into the walls! The men brought the boys to work on the missionary house. I just wish everyone could see the gleam in their eyes as Tony was letting them use the nail gun to put on boards. Ralph and Carl taught them to nail on stripping boarders. The boys just hammered away, working alongside all of the men throughout the afternoon. They just loved it. Those boys crave the attention from the men as they get very little male support in their lives. Sharen & Vicky prepared another great meal with spaghetti and we thought we were at the Olive Garden! We were so weary at night when we walked down to our Hogans, crawled into our sleeping bags & hoped the air mattresses wouldn't throw us off the bunk bed during the night. One night, Carl Hahn was not so lucky as he ended up on the floor!!