Laying the cornerstone in Mozambique!

>> Thursday, June 23, 2011

I'm sitting in the Dulles international Airport in Washington D.C. returning from a 15 day trip to Mozambique, Africa. It was a powerful time for our team of nine. We had an incredible range of experiences working within the rural community of Gorongosa.

We trained pastors and Children's Ministry people and did some medical training. We laid the cornerstone (with government officials) for the school that our 2010 Marathon Team and Food Resource Bank have funded, dedicated and handed over the keys to public latrines which we began to build one year ago and visited some of our 275 sponsored children.

Food For The Hungry is our partner in this effort toward community transformation and evangelism. Orchard Hill is the largest child sponsor they have in the region. Motivated by our partnership their staff celebrated our 49 years of being a church with an anniversary party with cake and balloons. Our partnership works because we have the same philosophy of Ministry, core values, and very strong relationships with their leadership staff.

I'm celebrating that 264 families in this region reported beginning to follow Jesus Christ during this past year. I'm also celebrating that our sponsorships actually help thousands of children and hundreds of families grow in the way of Jesus. (Luke 2:52--spiritually, educationally, physically, and socially)

We can actually see the difference that our sponsorships make! I'll be writing more about this affirming experience in the days to come.


Leaving for Mozambique!

>> Tuesday, June 7, 2011

I never had a trip to Africa on my bucket list. Mission trips were not on my radar. I was a Student Ministry Director then a church leader who wanted to reach young people, neighbors, and friends right here with the very good news of Jesus Christ. That was my focus. We as a church are clearly focused upon building a church to reach our friends, family, co-workers and neighbors in the Cedar Valley and beyond.

I've been struck this week by our readings in the book of Acts especially chapter 10:9-23. God shows Peter a vision of all kinds of four-footed animals, as well as reptiles of the earth and birds of the air. Then a voice tells him, "Get up. Peter. Kill and eat."

Peter was a faithful, Jewish Christian who wanted to obey the Jewish laws and follow Jesus. He had never eaten unclean or impure animals and now, in his mind, was not the time to start.

So Peter replies, "Surely not, Lord!"

The Bible then says that this exact communication happended two more times. Two more times God said, "Get up, Peter. Kill and eat!"

"Surely not, Lord!" Those three words have stuck with me this week. "Surely not, Lord!"

As I reflect upon God's leading of Orchard Hill Chruch, I often say those words or words like them, "Surely not, Lord!"

Surely not,'re not calling our church to partner with a community halfway across the world called Gorongosa, Mozambique on the continent of Africa.

Surely not, wouldn't be asking us to sponsor 250+ children monthly so they can got to school be cared for and learn about Jesus.

Surely not,'re not calling me to go there on our team of nine people and invest two weeks with the pastors, tribal leaders, chidren and Food for the Hungry staff people.

Surely not, couldn't be asking our church to focus upon five communtities in order to tranform lives for Jesus Christ: the Cedar Valley, Walnut Neighborhood, Grundy County, Pignon, Haiti and Gorongosa Mozambique.

Following Jesus almot alwasy takes us outside our comfort zone and our pre-constructed boxes and human plans.
"Surely not, Lord!"


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