A New Picture of “Family”

While visiting the beach community of Punta Gorda in Roatan, Honduras Calvary missionaries Justin and Ashley Guest met 11-year-old Carlos.* After a short conversation they learned that Carlos lived near where they were staying and everyone became fast friends.

Carlos came often to play and just hang out with the Guests, who have two young boys but he seemed to be drawn by more than just an opportunity to play. Carlos was hungry for God’s love and for a feeling of family. He even had to be lovingly reprimanded when it was discovered he was skipping school to come and be a part of the Guest family household!

guest missions.jpg

Like most children in the community of Punta Gorda, Carlos does not have a father “in the picture.” His single mother works long hours so, in many ways, Carlos is raising himself. Acute poverty, widespread promiscuity and the resulting sexually transmitted diseases have ravaged the families leaving them broken and in a generational cycle that’s hard to break.

One day, Carlos suddenly turned to Justin and asked, “So, how many kids do you have?”

Justin was confused by his question. Hadn’t he just been playing with their two boys? Carlos continued, “I know about those two but how many do you have with other women?”

Carlos was shocked to learn there were no other women with whom Justin had children. He turned to Ashley, “What about you? How many kids do you have with other men?” Of course, Ashley’s answer was the same.

As the conversation continued, Justin and Ashley were able to share with Carlos that they had been married for more than 10 years. Carlos’ eyes grew big in astonishment!

Justin and Ashley are currently raising the additional support that will be needed to start a community center in Roatan, the island off the northern coast of Honduras where Carlos lives. In this center, kids will be able to be in a safe environment to work on homework, build meaningful relationships and enjoy all kinds of activities that will help them understand God’s perfect plan for their lives according to His Word. It’s also the Guest’s vision to let kids like Carlos see a godly example of a family that loves each other, works through problems and stays together.

It’s a privilege to stand with missionaries like Justin and Ashely Guest, who are offering hope to children like Carlos!

*Names changed to respect privacy

Exchanging Disappointment for Dreams

From the beginning, Calvary Church has been a part of Justin and Ashley Guest’s journey as missionaries to Honduras. During their first 2011 visit to the Manuelito Project headquarters in Talanga, Mark Mouser’s team from Calvary was there to greet them.

The Guests put down deep roots while serving with the Manuelito project. God blessed them with two children who have only known Honduras as their home. It was easy to see that God was using their little family greatly in this transformational ministry to needy Honduran kids. They began to believe over time that this was their life’s work and planned to be there forever.

God had other plans.

In the spring of 2018, God began to make it very clear that their season of ministry at the Manuelito project was coming to a close. It was a realization that was extremely hard to accept, at first. Missionaries are not immune to feelings of disappointment, sadness and even grief during big ministry transitions. Justin and Ashley felt the confusion and loss deeply.

“It was like a dark pit and it felt like there was no coming out of it,” Justin said.

The Guests began to wonder what God would have for them in their next chapter. Would they get secular jobs back in the USA? Should they start a new ministry? They couldn’t imagine doing anything they hadn’t BEEN doing and it seemed overwhelming to think of raising the kind of money that would be necessary to move and start over on a new mission field. During all this pain and uncertainty, though, God was reminding Justin and Ashley of HIS faithfulness. The same God who had carried them through many other trials would get them through these challenges.

In a conversation with one of their mission leaders, a new idea surfaced, seemingly out of nowhere. They were reminded of a mission compound that had been developed but later vacated by missionaries on the island of Roatan, a small island off the northern coast of Honduras. It was suggested they go for a time of rest to consider their future ministry.

On this trip, God revealed the deep needs of the people in the beach community of Punta Gorda. As the Guest family moved about the island, they saw the deep poverty all around them as they encountered hungry children everywhere. Eventually, they began to see deeper layers of need: broken families, widespread promiscuity, an HIV/Aids epidemic (1 in 4 are infected with the disease), and more.

As they tentatively began speaking with church leaders, they learned that an entire generation is growing up without a heart for God and that the church feels ill-equipped to reach this new generation. Every person they met with asked for direction, training and leadership to know what to do. They expressed a need for a community center that could be a hub for leadership training, English classes to help with jobs, homework assistance and a safe place for kids to gather.

The empty building and a home for missionaries was there already. The last decade of ministry had prepared the Guests for just this kind of ministry. God was confirming in the hearts of these hurting missionaries that He does, in fact, have big plans for them.

The grieving for what was left behind has diminished slowly and in its place God has given dreams for what can be.

The Guest family is now at 75% of their needed support. They plan to take a short-term team to do children’s ministry in Roatan this summer and hope to be living there permanently by January 2019.

Guest2018-48-683x1024.jpg

God's Healing Touch

While doing some hut-to-hut ministry in Zamiba, we came across a hut where an old man, Acson, and a half dozen of his grandchildren greeted us. We sat in an open hut for an hour encouraging each other in the Lord, as he had been a believer for twenty years already.

At the end of our time with him, we invited him to come to our camp, which was about a hour’s walk away, for one of our night meetings where we sing, dance, and share the Word. Acson responded that he could not because he had a bum knee and couldn’t hope to walk that far. I leaned across the circle, put a hand on his knee, and proclaimed that in Jesus name his knee would no longer have any issues, and it didn’t. In fact, at that moment he stood up with me and we danced around in his yard praising Jesus for his goodness and love.

fullsizeoutput_122.jpeg

My team was in the area for another three days, and every day Acson walked to our camp. He attended meetings around a campfire, the leader’s discipleship meeting we had, and even came to watch the local soccer club whoop us at soccer. The last evening we were there, he stopped by our camp and made sure to say goodbye to me as I was cooking our team dinner.

This 85-year-old’s faith and willingness to walk to meet us was encouraging and absolutely beautiful.

By Tim Wong

To learn more, visit Overland Missions

Sharing God's Amazing Love

 

When I’m doing children’s ministry I love to find the kid that doesn’t fit in. William is exactly that, but not because he is awkward but because he’s disabled. William has a limp in this walk, limited arm mobility, and barely speaks. The moment I saw him I was overwhelmed with God’s love for him.

As I went to speak to him, I noticed some kids making fun of him because he was just starring off into the distance. I sat down next to him and smiled. It took him a few minutes to realize I was friendly but once he did, his whole expression changed. He went from sad and disconnected to full of joy and life.

We spent a lot of time that day laughing and joking. Our lesson that day was David and Goliath. I taught the kids that anyone can be a tool for God; that with God on our side anyone can beat a giant. And that includes William. I like to think that my kindness showed William that he is deeply loved by God and God made no mistake in creating him

IMG_6120.jpeg

Truthfully, I think William showed me that more than I showed him. I will always remember his joy and smile.

By Missionary Brooke VanZandt Wong

To learn more, visit Overland Missions.

A Day in the Life in Haiti

The Mathis family ministers in Haiti. 

Mwen bezwen ou. I need you. I have a love/hate relationship with these 3 words.

In English we’d simply say, “I need to talk to you”, which is what they are saying but it always comes with an ask. I feel my insides tense up. At times I can say “yes”, but so often my answer is some “form of a no”, because we understand the need to help without hurting in a country where aid has created dependency and hopelessness.

Some days it’s simple…

  • I need paper
  • I need to iron my school clothes
  • I need a copy...this typically comes via a message on my phone as the sun is coming up because they need it by 6:30am, before they head to school
  • I need to do research for a paper at school…can I sit on your porch and use your computer
  • I need help with an assignment
  • I have a cold, a headache…can you give me medicine?
  • They show you open wounds from an accident or illness that need over the counter treatment
  • Ban’m ti dlo souple…can you give me a drink of water?

Some days it’s much more complicated…

  • I don’t have money to go to school
  • I need to borrow money
  • Ban’m dola! Give me a dollar!
  • My family is only eating every 2-3 days
  • Can you ‘take’ my child…my children…as they push them toward you
  • I need help with school, which means paying for school
  • They bring you to an injured person or bring that person to you, and they need a hospital
  • Can you ask your friend to take my children into their orphanage?
  • I’m hungry. Give me something to eat…usually accompanied by a little hand movement that looks like they are slicing their throat and then they point to their stomach and put their hands out
  • I need a job

Last Saturday, “mwen bezwen ou” led to one of the better conversations I’ve had. One of the young men in the youth group we do life with said he wants to understand what it means to follow Jesus. He stopped by again last night with the rest of the gang and we’ll meet today. I’ll put a kreyol Bible in his hands and we’ll begin to look at what God’s word says about becoming a follower of Jesus.

BonDye, mwen BEZWEN OU! God, I need you!     

Meet the Mathis Family

Our family consists of Dave, Sharron, Josh who is 31 and Quinn who is 13. We have been married for almost 31 amazing, challenging, character building years.

Mathis family.jpg

We arrived in Haiti in May of 2014 to begin work with ReachGlobal in Gressier.

Like many families, we were active in our church, our community and with our family. We had a passion for and continue to be involved in discipleship making on several levels.  We’d been very blessed as we served on the local mission field with Calvary joining God in His work, witnessing transformation in the lives of people around us.  

However, through prayer, people and circumstances God drew us to the international mission field.  We had prayed that God would make the “desires of His heart, the desires of our hearts” Psalm 37:3-5.  He faithfully did just that, teaching us to love people, to be available…to go.  He hadn’t just been preparing us, He’d also been at work in our daughter Quinn’s heart as well.

Choosing to follow God has been a choice we’ve wrestled with. It isn’t easy for some of our family or friends, yet we trust God to bring comfort and provide peace within us, as well as those we love. It’s become increasingly challenging as we minister to aging parents from afar.

As the City Team Leaders for ReachGlobal Haiti, it’s our desire to use our years on this earth for His purposes.  We hope that this team might be part of something extraordinary here in Haiti, impossible without God, submitting to His will, following His direction.

Lespwa fè viv! Where there's hope there's life.

Our heartbeat is to disciple ‘disciple makers’ and invest in leadership development through holistic ministry, seeking God’s wisdom as to how to "help without hurting" in a country where aid has created dependency. Si Dye vle (God willing) we’d like to be a part of breaking that cycle. Our focus is resourcing national partners through relationships, with the intent of empowering them to meet their own needs and the needs of their communities.

We’re looking forward to staying connected with you and sharing our journey. To receive emails and/or newsletters contact sharron.mathis@efca.org. To follow our blog www.makinghaitiourhome or catch more blogs here.

No Time for Tea

The desperation in his eyes made it clear that he didn't want to wait another moment. During the break, when one of the pastors asked with urgency for a private meeting with him, Joe Cox sensed that God was about to do something big right there in the Eastern Congo. The heavy U.N. presence in the city of Bunia was a testimony to the chaos the villagers had endured, but the weight of every villager's pain seemed to be carried on the shoulders of this man standing before him now. As soon as he began to pour out his heart to Joe, it was obvious why he didn't seem interested when he offered to pour some tea. There was no time for that. The floodgates of relief and hope had opened, and he just needed to be SURE this training really applied to him. He needed every minute of reassurance Joe could provide.

Joe listened compassionately as the tearful pastor outlined the devastating suffering in his village following war and a tragic mudslide. Homes were burned to the ground, and addiction and rape had become epidemic. He had felt defeated as he struggled to give them answers to impossible questions about their plight. But by the end of this meeting with Joe, tears of relief were flowing.

Joe Cox 3.jpg

For the first time EVER, this man had heard the words that would shape his future ministry. He learned through very practical coaching sessions that he didn't HAVE to provide answers. He simply needed to listen, and help these victims learn about and hear from The Lord.

The problems in Bunia persist, but thanks to Enduring Treasures Ministries, there are pastors in the Eastern Congo and beyond who are equipped to provide spiritual guidance and support in a way that points people to Christ as the ultimate Healer and Comforter.

As Joe cried with this pastor who had witnessed so much pain, he realized how many lives could be impacted as he returned to his people with new direction and hope. According to Joe, nothing compares to that feeling, and he “would circle the earth 20 times to help just ONE pastor.”

You can learn more about this ministry of building effective leaders in churches around the world by visiting Enduring Treasures website

Meet the Spencer Family

missionaryspencers.jpg

Steve and Marian Spencer serve in Malawi where Steve  teaches at African Bible College and serves as Director and Academic Dean. When Steve, Marion and their then 4-month-old son arrived in Malawi years ago, the college consisted of 50 acres of maize fields and wild animals. Today, ABC is a four-year, liberal arts college with campuses in Malawi, Uganda and Liberia where they train, nurture and develop Africa’s next generation of Christian leaders. Marion serves as hospitality and social coordinator for staff and students.

In a recent newsletter, Steve shared:

We are thankful for the ministry of African Bible Colleges.  This year we have 100 new freshmen students.  Our chapel and classrooms are full of enthusiastic African scholars who are passionate about learning the treasures of God’s truth.  We are offering more B. A. degrees than ever – Biblical Studies, Mass Communication, Business, Community Development and Education.  And currently, I am writing the curriculum for a Master of Arts degree in Education Administration.
 
We are thankful for the many off-campus ministries we get the privilege to support and encourage.  We are digging boreholes and showing the Jesus film in Muslim areas along the lakeshore.  We are building bread ovens and irrigating crops in the central region.  We are feeding orphans, providing medical assistance, and distributing maize to villages that are suffering because of food shortages.  And we are working in several of the prisons throughout Malawi.  All this for His glory!

Contact the Spencer family at: spencerhut@aol.com)

Fatalistic Response in Haiti

Within the community we live, on our small street, there is a group of neighborhood youth…some who are now becoming young adults, whom the Lord has graciously allowed us to develop relationship with. We believe they can influence change within their community.

One of the many things we do with them is teach English. Primarily to spend intentional quality time with them each week, while empowering them with a resource to help them find employment.

Over time, we’ve been discovering how to ask questions that allow us to learn more about one another. We often ask them if God spoke to them or if he taught them something over the past week. Recently I had a visitor pose a question to one of our youth that I anticipated a different answer from. She asked, “What’s the one thing you would like to change about yourself?” His response was “That is only for God to know and do.”

I struggled with that response. What I unexpectedly heard from this youth was a fatalistic attitude, common in Haiti’s animistic culture. Fatalism is the belief that all events are predetermined and therefore inevitable. A passive acceptance, a submissive attitude that the outcome of his life has been determined in advance, and there is nothing he can do. What will be, will be.

I sought the Word before we met the next week. I shared that as we grow up, we learn right from wrong. While God does know all things, and He does desire to do a work in us, we have been given a choice to allow Him to do so. God speaks to our hearts, but we must choose how to respond. In Galatians we learn about sowing and reaping…negative and positive consequences. God reveals truth. He clearly defines right and wrong, and His people are expected to do what’s right. However, just as in the Garden of Eden, while Adam was expected to obey, Adam was given freedom to choose. Cain was warned by God the he would be held personally responsible for his choices. Paul was given the responsibility to share the Gospel with the Gentiles, he still had to choose to do so.

By Sharron Mathis

 

 

 

We’re continuing to discuss our need to ask God what we need to change, allowing time to listen, and choosing to do what He says.

Mathis ministry with men.jpg

Revival In My Soul

This was my third trip to Malawi, Africa but my first ever “soul-stirring, life-altering revival.”  I’m not sure I can express my feelings entirely, but here are a few things I want to share.

IMG_2982.JPG

The people who live in Katsekera are some of the hardest working people I have ever met. They wake up and spend the day working just to live another day; but they do it with a thankful heart and a joy-filled spirit. They don’t see what they do not have; instead, they use what they do have to the fullest extent possible. What a lesson there is to be learned here!

During our visit, we were served so well by these hardworking people. I remember seeing Chauncey, coming to prepare food for us before sunlight, her 110 pound frame chopping wood with amazing accuracy and without as much as a sound. Our needs were met with a smile with never a complaint. We never ran out of water to flush the toilet. Oh, did I mention that they built a toilet just for us? We had electricity in a guest house with bunk beds that were also built especially for us. Just thinking about the sacrificial love shown to us makes me cry tears of gratitude.

One of my favorite experiences in Katsekera was the sewing class. From the generosity of others, we were able to provide each woman with a sewing kit that included needles, thread, threader, scissors, pins, pin cushion, buttons, and material. I came prepared to teach basic stitching techniques and how to combine pieces of material to make larger items. God was definitely in this class with us and the women had a ball. They all made infinity scarves while talking and laughing like we would do at a gathering with our girlfriends.

This is my prayer for the people of Katsekera…Precious Lord, our Heavenly Father, today I give everything I have and everything that I am to You. I joyfully bring my possessions, my gifts and my talents to you to use however You choose. Lord, I want to honor You with every part of my being. Lord, let Your will be done in my life and in the women’s lives in Katsekera. Lord, be with us. Lead, guide and direct our footsteps so that nothing we do is in vain or with the wrong intent. I ask these things in Jesus name. Amen

By Cherilyn Washington

We are Called to Tie Shoes

Kerry hugging a child.jpg
 

After supporting our children’s many mission trips, Gordon and I finally embarked on our own. Nothing could have prepared us for this experience, for the ways we saw God move, or for the ways He continues to work in our hearts since our return.

Through Calvary’s Perspectives class, we gained….well….perspective about God’s heart for all people and learned about ways we could engage in His global purpose. We began by sponsoring a child. Proyecto Manuelito is a haven for Honduran street children--a place of safety, love, support, opportunity and especially a place to learn about Jesus. Maria lives there. Wanting to meet her was part of what led us to take this trip; many things will take us back.

  • Daily hugs from the parade of town children who join the children of Manuelito for schooling otherwise unaffordable.

  • Watching a teammate teach little girls to dance, becoming their earthly father for just a moment.

  • Learning to tie rebar, help with building a new school.

  • Traveling a dirt road to worship alongside a small group of Hondurans, knowing our team’s humble offering would sustain them for a long time.

  • Tandem singing in English and Spanish, This is the day the Lord has made, I will rejoice and be glad in it.

  • Hearing from the pulpit that in heaven there will be no language barrier.

  • Touring the project, overwhelmed with, comparatively, how little they have, yet how happy they are.

  • Hearing heartfelt testimonies from young teens of their lives before and since Project Manuelito, their hope for a future, their faith journeys.

  • Seeing the vision come full circle as children from the project grow up and come back as teachers, house parents and workers, to be part of the place that gave them hope.

I learned how to “be,” how to sit beside a child, offer a hug, nod of encouragement, attempt to learn words to communicate, play a game of Connecto Quatro, hold a hand, laugh, and share the love of God with very few words.

As we prepared to leave, Maria pulled our interpreter over to share her parting thoughts. They were simple yet profound: “I will always remember how you tied my shoe.” A seemingly insignificant act, something a mother does without thinking, became a sign of love to a little girl. God used every team member in different ways, each one leaving changed, and He reminded us that though we can’t do everything, we can do something. We are called to tie shoes.

By Kerry Stengel

A CLEAR VIEW FROM MOUNT PERSPECTIVE

Praying for Missionaries Widens One’s Horizons

Psychologists and counselors will tell you that perspective is everything. Each of us has our own set of emotional glasses through which we see the world and the behavior of others, unconsciously comparing them to ourselves.

I found this theory to be true as I started attending a small group of people dedicated to praying for Calvary Church missionaries. My western-minded, suburban-raised, little-traveled, but open-to-learning-mindset, would leave each meeting a little bit changed.

Concern for some erosion in my backyard takes on a new perspective hearing about widespread devastation and homeless children following an earthquake in Nepal. Praying for missionaries living daily in hostile settings makes me realize how protected and free I am to speak of my faith, but how often I do not.

I began to examine activities that claimed my time, such as my unnecessary and frequent need to check emails and social media. I found myself wanting to be more mindful on what consumed my time.

I know prayer has eternal value, so I committed myself to being at prayer meetings. It has been two years since I first started attending. God continues to change my heart a little bit each time we hear about the great needs of our missionaries, their struggle with funds, loneliness, discouragement in ministry, and just being far from home and family. All of a sudden the leaky faucet and broken dryer take their rightful place in the scheme of eternity. I’ve learned it’s all a matter of perspective.

By Sharon Young

Join us for prayer the second and fourth Sundays of each month at 10:45 am in Room 152.

A Lesson from Malawi

My daughter, Danielle, and I stepped out in faith last summer and joined a short-term mission team heading to Katsekara, a village in Malawi, Africa.

IMG_0899.JPG

After our breakfast on our first morning, we walked to the local school yard. Many of the children, even the smallest, did not have warm clothes on that chilly morning. Some had no shoes and wore tattered pants or shorts and-short sleeved shirts. Others wore interesting layers of clothing for warmth. One little girl caught my eye in her green school dress with a dirty white collar. She wore an old hooded baby towel for a coat. You've seen them...a terry cloth towel for infants with the little hood and ears sewn on top. Something we would have long-ago discarded provides precious warmth to this little girl.

Danielle and I learned a powerful lesson about contentment that first morning in the village of Katsekara.

by Jill Beckmann

It All Started With One Trip

Steve and Toby Hopper have faithfully served on staff in various churches across the US, including Calvary Church. As a pastor’s wife and mother of three boys, Toby was familiar with saying “yes” to tasks her roles demanded. But she was resistant when asked to join a group going to the Ukraine. Toby knew that loving on orphans and troubled Ukrainian youth would leave her emotionally spent and empty, but she felt God encouraging her to go anyway.

IMG_9083.jpg

Serving at a prison in the Ukraine, Toby’s heart connected with the young boys she met there. She thought, “What if these were my kids?” She saw the great need and was moved with compassion.

That short-term mission trip to Odessa, Ukraine in 2001 was a stepping stone for Toby. Steve eventually recognized that God was moving them to serve as full-time missionaries. Since then they have helped to train over 4000 pastors and leaders across the globe, most frequently to the Dominican Republic, Guatemala, Zambia, and Zimbabwe.

And it all started with one trip to the Ukrane. Toby says, “If you don’t go on such trips, you might miss touching the lives of the people that only you can touch.”

by Sharon Young

Learn more

Changing Lives and Transforming Communities

Chloe Buckmann pic 2.jpg

This year CRU partnered with the largest number of churches in Dallas to date, to bring the gospel to neighborhoods all across the city. As students shared their faith, God worked in amazing ways. 

One group of students met a man who expressed that he had been wanting to go back to church, but because of his past was afraid of being judged. In tears he told them, “I know it’s God that brought you guys to my door.”

Another group of students spoke with a man who said, “It’s crazy because I was talking with God earlier today and told Him ‘God if you want me to know You, You’re gonna have to send someone to me, because I am not going to a church’ and now I’m talking to y’all, I know that’s not an accident.”

God worked through the lives of students all across Dallas, and a total of 307 spiritual life changes happened in just those few hours!

by Calvary Missionary Chloe Buckman

We Knew Them Then - Part 2

Interview with Church Planter Justin Grimm, Story Presbyterian Church, Columbus Ohio

 Calvary Church’s youth group has impacted teens for Christ for several generations. Over the years numerous kids have come into a relationship with Christ through our youth ministry and then gone out to serve Him.  Missionaries like Brooke Wong, Chloe Buckmann, Bonnie Thiessen, and Josh Krato are serving the Lord in Africa, Eastern Europe, and the United States.  

 In this two-part article, we are interviewing Justin Grimm and Kyle Hackmann, both former youth, now in their early 30s and planting churches.  

 Kyle is in Toronto, Canada and Justin in Columbus, Ohio.  In Part 1 we interviewed Kyle and below we get to know Justin and his heart to start a church to reach families for Christ.  

Interview - Justin Grimm

Q. What is your ministry?
A. My ministry is planting Story Presbyterian Church in Westerville, Ohio, a suburb in northwest Columbus. We help people know the greatest story ever told.

Q. How are you seeing God at work?
A. I intentionally live my life in the community. People know I am a pastor. I frequently get opportunities to share the gospel.

Justin Grimm and family.jpeg

In the last month I have spent much time in weekly meetings and phone calls while helping a young man who was on the verge of suicide. Another man recently recommitted his life to Christ after finding his wife was involved in an ongoing affair. There are many others. Our mission is to help people discover how Jesus redeems their stories.

Q. How has your life changed through this experience?
A. It has made me worship more and puts God’s fear in me when it comes to my own sin. I feel blessed to serve him in this way in the community.

Q. What struggles do you face, and how can we pray for you?
A. Some of my biggest struggles revolve around feeling lonely. I also feel the weight of people’s hearts and lives on my shoulders.

Some days I feel no one cares for me as I care for them. But Jesus shows me that I too am broken, and I need Jesus just as much as they. Jesus often appears in the kind word from a friend or a buddy who just knew the right thing to say. 

CLICK HERE to check out what God is doing at Story Presbyterian Church in Westerfield, Ohio.

We Knew Them Then - Part 1

Interview with Church Planter Kyle Hackmann, Christ Church Toronto 

Do young people really grow up to become church planters worldwide? From my first-hand experience with two young men I say, “Yes, they can!”

Youth at Local Church

For almost 15 years my husband and I worked with the youth group at our church. Weekly we had a ton of kids through our home for Bible studies. Summers were filled with pool parties and pranksters, while winters were dominated by ski trips and retreats. We got to know well many of the young faces that came through our front door.

 Fast forward to 2018 and many of those former youth are now in their early 30’s. My husband and I are now involved in supporting our church’s missionaries through prayer and monthly correspondence. That was how we connected again with Kyle Hackman and Justin Grimm, both young pastors now doing church plants far from home. We sat down with them to learn about their families ministries.

Interview - Kyle Hackmann

Kyle Hackmann and family.jpg

Q. Can you tell us about your ministry and what you are up to these days?
A. Well after working for 7 years as an associate pastor in Toronto, I transitioned in January of 2017 to planting a church in the same neighborhood where I was living. The area is mostly young professionals starting their families, with few attending church.

Q. How do you see God at work?
A. I am seeing people grow in their commitment to this start up church by a heavy involvement. Many are taking leadership roles at a higher level than I expected. I see this in the teaching of Bible to children, and even thinking about neighbors and how to pray for them.

Q. How has your life changed through this experience of church planting?
A.  I have spent the last year trying my best to meet more non-Christians. Many believe Christianity is dead. I will never again assume that most people from the West know the basic story of Jesus’ live, death and resurrection. This has caused a new passion in me to pass on my faith well.

Q. What struggles do you face?
A. Discouragement. I wish I could see more fruit in my efforts but God is working to remind me it is His job to melt hearts.

CLICK HERE to check out what God is doing at Christ Church Toronto.

Who in the world would go to the second poorest country in Central America?

Why would anyone intentionally go to live in a poor country? In Central America? Anywhere? Honduras is the second poorest country in Central America with persistent poverty and inequality challenges. The average income per household is $1800 per year. Approximately 6,000 children are homeless and live on the streets. These kids are neglected by society and forced to live a life without security and care.

Abandoned People Reach Out to Those They Understand

Pastor Jorge Pinto felt God touch his heart to make a difference in the lives of these children.   He himself was abandoned as a child so he knew firsthand what difficulties they were facing. In 1999 Pastor Jorge opened the doors of his church for the kids of Tegucigalpa to care for them.  Soon after Project Manuelito was created!

Mission to Take Kids Off of Streets

Today the ministry is located in the city of Talanga with 40 children from the streets are living there, being housed, fed, clothed, educated. The project also provides an education for an additional one hundred kids from the poorest families in Talanga. Many families are not able to afford an education for their children.  In order for a child to attend public school the family must be able to pay for a uniform and books.   

Your Invitation to Join the Church in Reaching Abandoned and Homeless Children

Calvary is grateful for the opportunity to partner with Pastor Jorge and the Manuelito staff.  Calvary sends three to four teams each year to help with construction of classrooms and to love on the children.

CLICK HERE For information on future trips to Honduras and other locations.

 

 

 

Three Birds with One Stone?

Can a local church focus on engaging its members in the missions they support while also increasing the outreach of those missions?

What the Chinese Say about Doing Two Things at a Time

The Chinese may be the originators of the idiom - kill two birds with one stone - yi shi er niao (一石二鳥).  The meaning is clear.  If you are a bird, get out of China.The Chinese also say you can’t stand on two boats. The meaning is clear again. Carry a swimsuit at all times in China.

What is the church to think? Can or should the church do two things at the same time?

What God Thinks about Doing Two Things at a Time

Yes! Thank goodness we serve a God who specializes in the impossible. The church can indeed engage its members in the missions they support while also increasing the outreach of those missions.

More importantly we ask: How can the church do this?

Three-Step Plan to Improve Mission Performance

Step 1 - a website with more content that is focused on the missions they support.The data is clear - if we want more people to come to our site/page/place, we need to give them more good reasons to come.

The more real stories about real people that have been changed by real missionaries that the church can tell about the missions they support, the more people will come to read those stories. We’ll call this sowing seeds.

Step 2 - Invite readers of those stories, the church, in our case the folks here at Calvary, to engage with those posts. Comment on them. Share them. Who doesn’t love to hear or tell a good story? We’ll call that watering those seeds.

Step 3 - There is no step three. At least, not for us. If we sow seeds and keep watering them, God will cause the growth. The Bible says this happens automatically. And it does.

When the Church Talks about Its Missionaries

The bi-product of telling real mission stories on our church website is that the stories we tell are about the missions we support. This will increase the visibility and reach of that mission. People outside the church who care about the work our missions will search and find our missions.

Care => Search => Find. It just works.

We Did Not See That Coming

Did you know young people--think 20-ish to mid 30-ish--really want to serve to and make a make a difference in their world? Millennials are sitting at their computers or looking at their phones, wondering, “Where in the world can I serve? Who will help me make a difference in this world?” They will type similar questions to that effect in a search engine … and come find us here at Calvary.

Care => Search => Find. It just works.  God causes the growth.

God Can Indeed Do the Impossible

Not only is the local church more engaged and the missions we support enjoying increased outreach, we are able to recruit more workers for the kingdom from a group of adults that are abandoning traditional church in droves.

Dare we think three birds with one stone?