Pause and Reflect October 2014

CookevilleCementaryVittorio Zanardi was buried here on Friday, September 12, 2014. I began visiting him each week beginning around June 2013. Before his release in November 2013 he was baptized in prison. He was released in December 2013. His family spoke to me at the memorial service about his faith and a real change they saw in his life. His faith was certain but weak. He accepted Christ as Savior on November 4th, 2012, he told me one day. I was shocked when his son called me to say his dad had taken his own life.

What can we learn? We never know the battles going on in a person’s mind. We can only do our best to love people by creating an atmosphere of acceptance (not agreement necessarily). By all accounts from those who saw him on a daily basis, he was doing well.  Please pray for his son, Nick, his daughter, Pamela, and other family and friends.

This fall, I will be concluding my visits and research, scouting forStationHillProperty ministry opportunities in 20 adjacent counties to our church. One major component to this effort called Middle Tennessee Initiative was the expansion of one regional campus near our home in Spring Hill. Literally a 10-minute walk from our house, the new building will be complete in the fall of 2015.  Priscilla has joined the choir at The Church at Station Hill. I’ve been assigned a deacon team to serve on. I’ve recently visited “The Well Outreach”, a food pantry ministry in our community. Priscilla and I plan to be involved in this local ministry.

YL.SpecialNeedsLynn, the 18-year-old senior we have been mentoring is doing well in school. I introduced him to the YL Capernaum Club who works with teenagers with special needs. Lynn and I helped serve the meal at the club meeting that is held twice a month. Lynn seemed interested in helping. We are praying that he will maintain interest so we can introduce him to a club that is nearer to where he lives.

Brian We were privileged to attend a volunteer appreciation dinner at the Tennessee Baptist Children’s Homes. The special speaker was Brian. He lived at the children’s home when we did. He is graduating from University of Tennessee (as prestigious as U of M for you Michigan friends) with a double major. He expressed gratitude for all those who had a part in his life

And we want to express our gratitude for each of you; for your prayers and financial support.

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Pause and Reflect September 2014

August has been filled with visiting family and friends in Michigan.

We have been busy serving those in need in Tennessee throughout tThe Next Doorhe summer. Our days have been filled with listening, transporting, mentoring, and painting (not my favorite thing to do) an apartment complex for women and children starting over.


We plan to do more of the same in September (except the painting). We plan to visit my parents in South Carolina to help around their house.Last Sunday we began attending our regional campus, The Church at Station Hill. The new building is ½ mile from our home. We are excited about making new friends and getting involved.

We serve in a variety of ways, which can be grouped by events, projects and with individuals. These two stories capture the essence of what we do.

Hope in a Sea of Darkness

student-summer-recap-part-4-chicago-mission-journeyOne of the highlights this year for Priscilla and me was the opportunity to travel to Chicago with 29 other adults and 110 students. The week was filled with work and worship. Our team brought hope to some who’ve been numbed with hopelessness.

Leprosy is a disease that causes skin sores and nerve damage in the arms and legs mainly. The results can be devastating and the absence of pain seriously complicates the healing process.

There has been so much violence in parts of Chicago that the pain and suffering has been dulled to an unhealthy degree.

“An 11-year-old girl who was inside a home on a sleepover when a wayward bullet entered the house and struck her in the head died Saturday morning, a victim of gun violence that has seen nearly two dozen people shot this weekend, police said….

In all, across the city, those shot included a 12-year-old girl in the East Garfield Park neighborhood … A 30-year-old man was shot and killed nearby… and there were reports of five more being shot in that neighborhood Saturday night, including one fatally.

“It’s ridiculous. It really, really needs to stop,” the girl’s grandmother, told reporters.

And on and on! This same weekend and in this same area a group of 110 High School students and 31 adult sponsors arrived to share the love and hope of Christ to children who have been numbed by this violence. Friends of this 11 year old girl were out playing and participating in our event just two days after the tragedy. I saw very little emotion being expressed while they described the tragedy.

TheNewCiteThe goods news is the Good News! We                                                   played carnival games, sang and told Bible stories to hundreds of children in the Garfield Park area.

The Broken Ones

A good portion of our time is spent with individuals who are struggling to move past the trials and tribulations of their past. Pray for Tim, Ronnie, Tom, Stephen, Stephanie, Vittorio, and Amy. These need a daily touch from our Lord. They have been placed in our path to minister the love of Christ and help them see clearly the path God would like for them to take.

Priscilla and I can identify with Maggie in the song, “The Broken Ones”.

Maggie came home one day with a raggedy, Raggedy Ann*
She said ” Mama, look what I found in the neighbors garbage can.”
It had a missing left arm, and a right button eye hanging by a thread
She carried it gently up to her room and laid it one her bed with her other dolls.

She loves the broken ones, the ones that need a little patchin’ up
She see’s the diamond in the rough and makes it shine like new
It really doesn’t take that much, a willing heart and a tender touch
If everybody loved like she does, there’d be a lot less broken ones.

Twenty years later at a shelter on Eighteenth Avenue
A seventeen year old girl shows up all black and blue
With needle tracks in her left arm, almost too week to stand,
She says,”I’m lost and I need help”, and Maggie takes her hand
And says, “Come on in!”

If you call her an angel, she’d be quick to say to you
She’s just doing what the one who died for her would do

Love the broken ones, the ones that need a little patchin’ up
See the diamond in the rough and make it shine like new
It really doesn’t take that much, a willing heart and a tender touch
If everybody loved like He does, there’d be a lot less broken ones.

Priscilla and I have been called to love and serve the broken ones. You are also loving and serving the broken ones with your prayers and financial support.


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