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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Pause and Reflect May – June 2014

View from our cabin in Pigeon Forge where we celebrated my parents 60th wedding anniversary.

View from our cabin in Pigeon Forge where we celebrated my parents 60th wedding anniversary.

I read the following one day in my quiet time.

“For he will rescue the poor who cry out and the afflicted who have no helper. He will have pity on the poor and helpless and save the lives of the poor. He will redeem them… for their lives arepreciousin his sight. (Psalms 72:12-14)

As believers, we are ambassadors for Christ.  (1Corinthians 5:20).  We are God’s agents to rescuing the poor and pointing them to Christ who can redeem them. This is what should keep us focused in all that we do; as we go and give to accomplish God’s work.

Lynn checking out his work, but not for too long.

Lynn checking out his work, but not for too long.

God has another word for all of us related to work. Lessons are best learned along life’s paths. Lynn, age 18, was spending the day with us. It was hot. He wanted to hang out in the house and play video games. I had work to do outside. I told him he could sit on the porch and read or play his video games. Or, he could help me with my task.  (I was trying to assembly a complicated exercise machine.) After a few minutes, Lynn came over to help me. He was very helpful and we were able to get the XL Total Gym assembled.

I told him that I would give him $10 when I sold it.  We spent about 30 minutes once he started helping me. (Not bad pay for half hour of work). Some generous friends gave this piece of equipment for me to sell.  After I sold it they donated 100% of the proceeds to our ministry.  It sold in about two weeks. I gave Lynn his $10. He spent it in about two minutes. Can you take me to the Dollar Store?  To his credit, he bought an eyeglasses repair kit along with necessary junk food.

I’m helping friends sell things they don’t want or need. And they are donating 10% – 100% of the proceeds to our work.  This is their way of helping us help others in our community.

We had wonderful visits with our family in May. Both our son’s family’s and my parents10375957_10204064736363720_2030992144714649148_n stayed at our house (not at the same time, however). AaronsKids

1950Chevy

We also met n Pigeon Forge with nearly 30 family members to celebrate my parents 60th Wedding Anniversary.  June belongs to Priscilla’s family. We will travel to Cancun for her nephew’s wedding.  July we will be traveling to the inner city area of Garfield in Chicago with a group of high school students.

Look at the expressions: Dad, "I can't believe it's been 60 years". Mom, "How many more do we have...".

Look at the expressions: Dad, “I can’t believe it’s been 60 years”. Mom, “How many more do we have…”

 

From there we plan to travel to Michigan and spend about two weeks visiting family and friends. Many of you from Michigan have faithfully supported our work from the beginning.

Priscilla and I wish to thank all of you for your support.

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