1 Cor 15:58
Therefore, my dear brothers and sisters, stand firm. Let nothing move you. Always give yourselves fully to the work of the Lord, because you know that your labor in the Lord is not in vain.
February was a packed month for us. We remain overwhelmed at God’s goodness and generosity. Many thanks to those that pray for us, with us, serve with us, and support us. Our family is forever grateful for you.
Here are some updates on what’s going on with the fam and the ministry:
We’ve started a Teen Night in partnership with Antioch ministries. We are using the Alpha curriculum to get things started. If you’re unfamiliar with Alpha, it is a 8-12 week course that guides guests through discussions on Jesus, the resurrection, and topics of faith.
Each Monday we gather with area teens for dinner, games and discussion. Last week, the topic was on “Who is Jesus?” which led to some great questions on the trinity and history. These youth are tremendously smart and also very savvy. They can spot fake from a mile away and are unafraid to test boundaries. I love it. This is the generation that will lead us into revival. When these youth catch hold of a real Risen Jesus, nothing will be able to stop them. Please pray for break through in our times together, where we can move from conversations ABOUT Jesus to conversations WITH Jesus.
Antioch Kids Nights
Each Thursday we gather with 15-20 neighborhood youth (8-12 yrs old usually). We eat, play games, and do a simple lesson on faith. In theory these are happy times building relationships that last forever. That’s partly true. We do have really sweet times with these kids. What’s also true is there are unspoken levels of brokenness and hurt in each and every one of our families. These pains manifest themselves in different ways with each kid. For example:
Last week I had to escort a child out of the home for violently knocking another child to the ground. “I don’t care! I’m never coming back!!,” he yelled once we were outside. However, he didn’t want to leave. He kept hovering around the property, pacing back and forth and making attempts to come back in. I did my best to reason with him on why it’s not okay to knock each other to the ground that way. He wasn’t talking, but wasn’t leaving either; so I just started quoting scripture over him about “How great is the love of the Father” and “God so loved the world” and “Never will I leave you, never will I forsake you…” Honestly, this is not the first time fights have broken out in the program and may not be the last. But I have to keep believing in the reality of Christ’s love to penetrate and heal our hurting hearts.
The next days were full of beautiful weather, and as our family sat out on the front porch kids would stop by to talk, play, sing, dance, race and get muddy. My biggest joy is watching 8 and 10 year old finally be comfortable enough to act like an 8 or 10 year old kid: Playing cars or superheroes. There is so much going on in many of these homes, and many kids have to grow up too fast. Please pray for continued peace and reconciliation between families in our neighborhood.
We had another Valentines Day outreach, where we hand out roses, chocolates and valentines from Jesus to our neighbors. This year we were able to hand out around 100 valentines, and at least one of the people we reached is interested in further discipleship. There are several purposes for doing consistent and special outreaches like this: 1) It keeps our love relationship with Jesus fresh. There’s no greater feeling of dependence on Jesus than when we start sharing our faith out loud and in the open. 2) Our neighbors encounter His love. Even if they don’t respond, they are unmistakably encountered with God’s love. I can’t tell you how many smiles were brought to our neighborhood through this simple act of kindness. The prayer is that they equate that good feeling with the Holy Spirit. 3) People do want to grow closer to God. How will they know how unless someone tells them? Many of our neighbors do not want to go to church for several reasons. Doing outreach allows us to meet neighbor to neighbor and build relationships that last.
Every Tues and Fri I meet with some men from the neighborhood for Bible study. I met them from an outreach a little over a year ago. Every week there are new people who participate. They don’t always come back from week to week, but as we are faithful to read the Word and pray, it has an effect. This past week a lady who has been staying in their home walked in to make a sandwich. She’s been in and out before, but never looked me in the face.
This week she blurted out, “I need to get back into prayer. I pray before I go to bed, but I need to get back into it.” “Do you know the kind of prayers God listens to?,” I asked. “No,” she shook her head. “A broken and contrite heart, He won’t despise…A heart that knows they need Him and a heart that is honest is a prayer that moves His heart.” We talked for several minutes on prayer and the Holy Spirit and the resurrection of Jesus. Many people in this home have a general knowledge that Jesus is the son of God and was raised to life, but in reality don’t really know how to walk with Him on a day to day basis.
This past month, we read Galatians 5 on the fruits of the flesh vs. fruits of the spirit. When we got to ‘drunkenness’, one of them men said, “so I shouldn’t be drinking anymore, huh? I knew there was something wrong with that.” To my knowledge, he’s stopped drinking. Jesus is Lord and has amazing plans for each of the people in this home. Would you pray with me for my friends that they would follow Christ with all their heart and strength?
I am overwhelmed at God’s generosity. We’ve had carpet donated and now the installation was also donated. I’m often embarrassed when someone who actually knows construction helps me finish a project, and this was no different. In 2 hours they finished what would have taken me 12, and they even took time to correct some of my mistakes along the way.
Next on the docket is trim. If anyone wants to volunteer their services to help out, I would appreciate it! Also, just putting this out there: We really need some outdoor activities for the neighborhood kids here. I am asking God for a basketball court, swing set, carpetbag table and other fun things for the neighborhood. If you know of anyone that might be willing to help with that, please send them my way!
We are aiming to be as involved in the neighborhood as possible. Sam’s been taking basketball and Guine’s been dancing on the Northside. It’s been great to form new relationships with coaches, parents and kids in the area this way. I’ve also signed up to be a baseball coach at the local park this Spring. If you want to help out, let me know!
As we go forward, we continue to value your partnership. We have some initiatives coming up this Summer that we really, really need prayer covering for. If you would consider joining our intercessory prayer team, let me know and I’ll add you to our list. We also have ongoing needs for our family and ministry expenses. God has always been faithful to provide everything we need and we are so grateful for all the love we’ve received from so many of you. If you’d like to help this month, donations are tax deductible at www.damascusway.com Just choose the810project from the drop down menu under ‘donations’.