Thursday, October 23, 2008

A Guaranteed Investment

Some of our staff and volunteers attended the Catalyst Conference a couple weeks ago. During one of the sessions, they interviewed a former Compassion child who is now living in the United States working on her Master's Degree in Communication.  Compassion International clearly depends upon donations to sponsor children, and the interviewer asked her what she would say to those who might be hesitant to commit to $32/month now because of tough economic times.  I thought her answer had great application for us too:

"Changed lives and raising up future leaders with integrity who know God, and creating environments where children and adults can come to know how much God loves them is a guaranteed investment in all economic times."

Steve Mazac
Lead Pastor

Monday, October 6, 2008

Africa Mission Trip Summary 2 - Small Groups

One of the most exciting things we did on this trip was develop relationships with the men and women of the community.

As we worked side by side planting trees, moving heavy timber (as well as our mud stuck bus), visited their homes, learned how to cook over their open fire...friendships were born. We helped peel and chop carrots and potatoes with a rather dull knife doing it all "free hand" without a cutting board. They did it with such ease :-)

And then there was our "small" group which consisted of approx. 30 - 35 women from the community as well as nine women from our group as well as an interpreter. We had been told that the women may not feel comfortable sharing at first. Any concerns about that were quickly eliminated after our prayers and introductions when the women immediately began asking questions and a great time of discussion ensued. The women enjoyed sharing so much, we actually stayed an hour or more over the allotted time and decided we needed to schedule another meeting in a few days. Many of the questions involved the difficulties they faced as women in Kwambekenya, especially childbearing. They were surprised to hear that we also faced challenges in America. We encouraged them through scripture, our own testimonies and a commitment to pray for each other. We encouraged them to start small groups that would study God's word together, pray together and support each other. We shared what small groups meant to us and how important they were.

Nick during this time was able to build relationships with some of the men of the community. Especially two young men named David and Aaron who represent the next generation of men in Kwambekenya. It is always an encouragement to have another brother in the Lord to share with.....especially one who came from so far away to help. Nick was called "my brother from another mother" :-). "Bravo" as the children would say...for being brave enough to follow the Lord's calling on this trip even though you were the only male with nine other women!

Please join us in praying for the men and women of Kwambekenya.

Sue Shook

Thursday, October 2, 2008

Africa Mission Trip Summary 1 - Preschool Work

I'm finally getting over the jet lag and missing the precious children and people of Kwambekenya even more. You've seen part of our work at the clinic (No one thought we could move that lumber!) and I've included the latest picture of the clinic's progress. Unfortunately, because of the rain, dead batteries and work, we have few pictures of what we did. Not that it's the combination of everyone's work past and future that will bring wonderful changes to the community!

First of all, thank you once again for your support and prayers. The community was amazed and blessed when they heard how the money was raised. They had been praying for our arrival and the amazing answer to prayer encouraged them.

Working side by side with them means a lot to the people of Kwambekenya. "Most people who come to Kenya", they said, "come to see the animals.....but not came to work with the people and that means so much." Many said when they saw us, our work and our smiles, they saw Christ and His love for them. That joy we had came from the Lord and each of you who helped financially and prayerfully for us to go........each and every one of you were a part of our journey!'s the first entry of one of the great opportunities we had.....working with the preschool!
We came equipped and ready to share the wonderful bible story of Christ feeding the multitude with just 5 loaves of bread and 2 fish. Their memory verse was "God can do anything". Through scripture, balloons, bubbles, face paint and pipe cleaners (and an interpreter), we showed them how even the smallest thing can be made into something special........and God can do the same with them. They heard Mandi play the violin while learning hand motions to "Jesus Loves Me". They had a great time repeating their memory verse while running under a parachute...we even attempted to teach them the game of baseball! After three days and three different preschools, we left with an understanding of Christ's words in Mark 10 15: "Let the children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of God belongs to such as these."
Oh....and let me not forget to mention that some people of the community were so excited to see us work with the children, they even sat in on our lessons!

To be continued..............

Sue Shook

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Andy Stanley's Leadership Podcast

Andy Stanley now has a podcast focusing specifically on the subject of leadership. As you know, Andy is an incredible communicator. He has so much to share on the topic of leadership so I'm sure you'll find this podcast to be valuable and very practical whether you lead in your family, at school, at work, or at church.