RSS

Transformation through Education

IMG_1288

These kids in Lebanon’s Bekka Valley, who are being helped with basic education elements through our partners,  received rain coats and vitamins though the funds generously given to ReachGlobal’s ‘Refugee’s in Crisis’ project.  Thanks for giving.

‘Crisis really affects kids.  The Syrian War is no exception.  After more than 6 years of conflict, one by-product is that close to half a million refugee kids in Lebanon and Jordan are not in school now, and many of them have never been to school.  In Lebanon, only 3% of the 15-18 year old Syrian Refugee kids were enrolled in a secondary school. What future might we expect for these kids?

One of our partner’s in Lebanon’s Bekka Valley has seen these unengaged kids as an opportunity to integrate Great Commandment and Great Commission ministry.  First, they set up a ministry center and created a safe place for kids and families to come to learn and play.  They provide lessons several day a week in Arabic, English, basic Math, Bible and recess time for kids, and also offering a variety of classes for women including family dynamics, Bible and health related topics.  Prayer is offered daily, and in addition, the Jesus Film is shown periodically.   This ministry is bearing fruit…kids are learning, women are growing, and the Holy Spirit is effecting eternal life transformation. (click to read more about a recent ‘Seed of Hope)  

But the ministry was limited to only those kids nearby, and by the capacity of the ministry center facility and staff.  The leader, Philip*, said to me recently, “There are 750,000 Syrian refugees located in several thousand informal camps in the Bekka. How can we reach them all? What if we could take school to them?”.  And thus was born the idea of ‘micro-education outreach’, to effect transformation through education.

Philip has now launched five micro-education sites.  He said, “We are seeing a great harvest by facilitating the ‘Micro Schools’. It is our ‘foot in the door’ of the camp communities. Through the relationships with the families, we build trust and God opens their hearts and ears to the Gospel. 

Most of the camps are small, with anywhere from a few  families to several dozen families. He asks the leader of the group of families to provide space in one of their tents to house the school.  Typically this is a plastic of metal enclosed space, about 8′ or 10’x10′ in size, and where the family sleeps. They move their belongings  out of the way to make room for Micro-School.

For each Micro-School, he then recruits an unemployed Syrian teacher, and apprentices that teacher each morning into the teaching approach and content, including Bible lessons, happening at the main ministry center, and also engages the teacher in a discovery type discipleship group.  Then every afternoon, the teachers disperse to the camps and host homes.   It’s a small start, with only about eighty kids, but God is at work.

This was the report from a recent follow up woman-in-tentvisit with the families participating in Mirco-School #3:

There are 3 generations living together in the tent. We had to wait until the smoke cleared out of the room that we were going to use to show the movie. They smoke in their tent was quite thick when we arrived. So we were invited to the room next door and met with the grandparents and extended family and was introduced to everyone. We were told who belonged to who and which children belong to which parents. The children were so excited to have us there and showed off their English skills! 

 

At the start of the movie, we had all the men there with us, which is the main goal of why we are visiting the homes in the evening, to engage the men. If you get the man, you get the family – 99% of the time. So we were blessed to have them with us. About 30 minutes into the movie, the men began getting restless. They were called outside by friends, had to go smoke, etc…short attention spans. 

About half way through the movie, God did a miracle. A young girl, (Fatima), went to sit by Philip* and told him her ear was hurting and she was starting to cry. Philip* prayed for her ear to stop hurting. The pain was less, so he prayed again and it was even less, He prayed again and it was completely gone!! Praise God! She was able to finish the movie. 

After the movie, we discussed it with them and asked if they wanted to pray to ask Jesus into their hearts and everyone that was remaining said “yes”. We prayed with 4 adults and 5 children to receive Christ. Kim was also was able to pray with the women and girls laying hands on them and imparting grace to them. 

Since then we have been committed to a follow-up visit and Bible study meeting at their tent on a regular basis. 

Please pray for three specific things:

  1. God would supply more workers to start more Micro-Schools.
  2. His people would provide the financial and other resources needed to add 50 more Micro-Schools in the next 18 months.  Each school costs about #500 to start and $200 per month to sustain.
  3. The Holy Spirit would continue to draw these Islamic background people to Himself.

Learn more at https://go.efca.org/resources/project/refugees-crisis 

 
 

Why am I here-Am I making a difference?

Why am I here-Am I making a difference?

(By Mallory Wendling, ReachGlobal Crisis Response Staff Member)

denham pittsThe smile I see every time I show up at Reverend Pitt’s flooded home in Denham Springs, LA is one I will never forget. Mr. Pitt’s is an 87 year old man, who acts half his age. His eyesight is terrible, but his vision to get his home back together is 20/20, and he is excited to share about Christ in every opportunity he gets.

I have helped facilitate the work of several volunteer team’s on his home. The work is the door through which we got to know Mr. Pitts, but our breaks from the work are the moments we learn that he loves playing his guitar. He plays at the local nursing home as often as he can, and if you talk to him about his time there you will hear things like, “You know some of them in there are about as old as I am” or if you also play guitar or sing he will say something like, “Well, I think we can go on the road together, you know it’s a long way to Nashville.” It’s these little moments that mean the most. We have only spent a few weeks with Mr. Pitts, but he’s kind of like a grandpa. He’s just happy to see these ‘young people’ come work on his home. We even had someone as young at 89 work and talk with Mr. Pitts!

I asked one of our volunteers if she had any takeaways from the week working on the house, this was her response:

“To be honest? I thought immediately that a man of his age would not appreciate a young woman working in his home. I was pleasantly surprised that he’s a genuinely kind man who really seems to love Jesus. Being around someone, who every time you spoke to them, the subject always went back to Jesus and heaven was a very humble reminder that Jesus is exactly what everything is all about. And to be able to serve someone who clearly lives his life to serve Jesus was extremely fulfilling and, again, humbling. “

Another young team member told me, “Something I took away was that Mr. Pitts is 87, retired, and yet he takes any opportunity he gets to be sharing Jesus with anyone he comes in contact with. He even talked about how he goes to play and sing for the ‘old folks’ to share the word of God with them! That was super inspiring to me, because I go to school everyday, the mission field that God puts me in on a daily basis, yet I struggle to share His word with the people I am constantly surrounded with, while Mr. Pitts doesn’t have easy access to anyone and still witnesses to people as much as he can!! That was super eye opening to me and I know God definitely had me working at his house to realize that very thing!”

Each day I go to his house he asks me about the team members who worked at his home, and wants to make sure they know how much he appreciates their help. He doesn’t remember names, but he remembers what they looked like and often talks about those 7th and 8th graders that were hard workers! His home is almost finished, just some floor boards, bathtub, cabinets, and a few odds and ends and he is back to his new normal!

I think, just like every job anyone has, there are days where we think to ourselves, ‘why am I here-am I making a difference’, and then an individual like Mr. Pitts comes into our lives and we realize it’s because we love people and we love Jesus. We want the people we love to love Jesus as well.

You too can share the love of Christ with those in need in Denham Springs or New Orleans, LA this summer! Go to our website or send an email for more information on sending a short term mission team.

 
 

Seeds of Hope

caamp

The informal tent camp Sara* now calls home.

The seeds of intentional investment of the gospel in the context of relationships, sown with prayer and purpose, can bear fruit and bring hope. In fact, that’s what I witnessed today with one of our “Refugees in Crisis” (hyperlink to the project page) ministry partners in Lebanon’s Bekka Valley, as seeds packaged in a variety of creative and caring ways, resulted in two Syrian refugee women praying to receive Christ.

For Sara*, hopelessness abounded, until today. Several years ago, she had to flee her Syrian village as a result of the war. Her husband divorced her two years ago for another woman, leaving her with three young children (two sons and a daughter) right after the birth of her third child. Then, despair took over as her husband recently returned to claim and take away the kids with his new wife. Alone at 27, with no means of support, living in a relative’s tent in a foreign country, and in a culture where divorced women have no rights, Sara saw no hope.

The seeds of hope sown for Sara* were delivered in a these life giving forms:

  • Women’s health awareness meetings;
  • Monday morning Bible study meetings;
  • Warm welcome with a genuine love that is God’s love in action;
  • Follow up home visits including an opportunity to view a portion of the Jesus film;
  • Proclamation of the Good News, with an invitation to make a decision.

woman-2And then today, as we visited her tent, she and her friend, after both had contemplated the invitation, choose life and hope, and bowed their heads to receive Christ. Sara* will still face the same realities of life tomorrow, except that tomorrow she’ll have the indwelling hope of Christ residing in her, and hopefully your prayers to sustain her.

Ministry among Islamic refugees requires patience, a willingness to endure hardship and face clear and present opposition, and the generous sowing of seeds. Learn more about how you can be a seed sower among refugees.

*name changed for security purposes

 
 

“We’ve just lost our house.”

picture3Darrel heard those tear filled words from his wife Barbara late Tuesday morning February 7, just shortly after the strongest Tornado ever recorded in the New Orleans area cut a 2 mile long, ¼ mile wide path of destruction. The EF3 tornado damaged or destroyed hundreds of homes,  creating a massive field of debris and leaving hundreds of post-Katrina survivor families again reeling from disaster.

It’s hard to fathom the damage of this event alone, but to know that this neighborhood sat for 6 weeks under 5 feet of muddy murky water after Hurricane Katrina in August of 2005 makes it that much harder to comprehend. For the second time in 12 years, these homeowners face the trauma of losing it all and will now struggle once again to rebuild their homes and lives after another disaster.

picture2As our team assessed the area, they saw Darrel aimlessly walking in front of what had been his home, and approached him. He was visibly moved, and thanked us for being there. He shared how his wife had taken shelter in their bathroom shower, and survived the storm, only to emerge to face the reality that she had just witnessed their home being torn apart around her while she was inside.

She had just buried her mother 3 weeks before and now this. Darrell said, “I am so grateful to God that he spared my wife. I don’t know what I would have done if I had received a call that Barbara was gone.” He struggled through tears to say, “These are just possessions. We can replace all this. You can’t replace life.” He went on to tell us how this was a reminder that he needs to put his faith in God and not in possessions. “I had forgotten that. God is Good and he sent this tornado to remind me of that. I need to find what it is that God wants me to do. He sent you here today, you are doing what He wants you to do. Just talking about this with you and having you listen is feeding my soul.”

As we inquired, Darrell said that he had no insurance to cover the damage,”No. After Katrina the costs went up and we couldn’t afford it. I am the only one working and we’ve had health issues”.

Join ReachGlobal Crisis Response and Urban Impact Ministries as we seek to share Christ’s love in the wake of this recent event.

PRAY: for Darrel and Barbara and the many other families affected by this tornado and facing the uncertainty of what lies ahead; and for ongoing community transformation and church planting efforts in New Orleans.

SERVE: Email respond@efca.org to send a team to help with the tornado clean up and rebuilding outreach, now or in many months of recovery work to come.

GIVE: to this help the families affected by this tornado and ongoing Crisis Response outreach.  or mail a check to:

EFCA
901 East 78th Street
Minneapolis, MN 5542-1300

Designate the check with the memo: Tornado Response 3890

Contact crisisresponse@efca.org for more information and details on how you can help.

 
Leave a comment

Posted by on February 10, 2017 in Uncategorized

 

God’s Divine Plan: Haiti-Earthquake to Hurricane to Help

haiti-earthquake

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Seven years. Seven years since the devastating earthquake hit Haiti, taking more than 300,000 lives and changing the landscape of the country forever. Sometimes it’s hard to believe seven years have passed. While the physical landscape changed with thousands of homes destroyed, roads cracked and broken and cities of tents appeared overnight, the landscape of the church began to change even more dramatically. God had a plan.

When ReachGlobal Crisis Response arrived on the scene after the 2010 earthquake they asked Haitian church leaders what the Haitian church looked like, and their answer was astonishing: “It looks like an American church in Haiti.” Thus began a relationship with Haitian church leaders that has been edifying to the local church and ReachGlobal, but most importantly to God. The Haiti Consortium was formed with a vision to see an indigenous, disciplemaking, and multiplying church within walking distance of every Haitian, which demonstrates and engages in proclaiming the transforming power of the gospel.

Because of this desire to see churches multiplied throughout Haiti, church leaders have been trained in various parts of the country. Astrit and Evaldo, Brazilian Free Church missionaries, wanted to see multiplication of the church in Les Cayes, a town in the southwest corner of Haiti. In July of 2015 they began a relationship with a group of pastors from Port Salut, near Les Cayes. Little did they know that God had far bigger plans for this relationship than just Gospel training for the pastors.
storm-damage

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Then came Hurricane Matthew.

How could anyone know this hurricane would make landfall where God already began such a great work? As soon as roads were passable, members of the ReachGlobal team headed down to Les Cayes, but they were not prepared for what they saw. Devastation beyond imagination. Entire waterfront communities were gone. Roofs were blown off, houses were washed out to sea and the coconut, mango and breadfruit trees, by which locals made their living, were laid flat by the ferocious winds. The mission field that was created following the crisis was laid out before the ReachGlobal team and they knew that God had begun this work far before any of them ever thought of Les Cayes, Haiti.

Psalm 10:14 “But you, God, see the trouble of the afflicted; you consider their grief and take it in hand. The victims commit themselves to you; you are the helper of the fatherless.”

The local church desired to meet the physical needs of their congregants and of the community in order to build relationships, and then meet the spiritual and emotional needs. The ReachGlobal team came alongside of this church to aid in this process, focusing first on roof repairs, and soon to be engaging in trauma care, kids discipleship and family gardens for food sustainability.

Roof repairs started with the church building itself, because it was being used as a shelter in the days following the hurricane. The church leaders then began identifying those in the community who needed housing help. They first chose the home of a church deacon, who has  an ongoing ministry to people who are oppressed by evil spirits. Then, six more families were given roofs, including a small family of four children.

These children had been orphaned before the Hurricane. The oldest is a boy named Davidson who is 20, his sister Davidlyn, 17, another sister named Davidlan,15, and the fourth sibling, six-year old Christella, who suffers from a disability. They are part of the church and active in the youth group. Their aunt, their deceased mother’s sister, has been appointed their caretaker. Her home is a thatched hut and the kids were staying in a tent.

aunts-home

The Aunt’s Home

Two short-term teams, from Hope Community Church, in Olympia, Washington, and Grace Evangelical Free Church, from Viroqua, Wisconsin, had the blessing of beginning to rebuild the home for the orphans. Materials are scarce so they used what they had to build the roof structure and salvaged what they could from the home that was destroyed. Tin for the roof was provided by the generous donations of many of you! Immediately following the storm a fund was set up to replace roofs and homes and make a gospel impact for those impacted by Hurricane Matthew. To date $136,611.oo as been been donated of the goal of $300,000.00. Consider a gift to help other families like this return home.

One of the most encouraging parts of this story is the hard work these kids exerted right alongside of the ReachGlobal Teams  each day after they returned from school and helping out at the church. The local church already had a discipling relationship with these children prior to the storm. 

they-worked-beside-the-team

Salvaging stones for the walls

family-helping

Digging trenches for the walls

working-on-orphans-roof

Framing and roofing

roof-almost-done

The roof almost complete

 

Looking back over the last seven years, it’s easy to see God’s plan for this little family in Les Cayes, Haiti. He knew when the earthquake hit that ReachGlobal would be on the ground within days building relationships. He knew out of those relationships that the Haiti Consortium would be formed and His Word would begin it’s transformational power throughout Haiti. He knew that Astrit and Evaldo would follow His call to train this growing church in Les Cayes so that when Hurricane Matthew hit, there would already be a relationship formed and work could begin immediately to restore the local church and bring the love of Christ to their community. And He knew that this orphaned family would see the love of Christ that transcends all and that His Name would be glorified.
Praise God from whom ALL blessings flow.

Short term teams will be needed in Haiti for the foreseeable future. If you would like to send a short term team to Haiti to help share the love of Christ to those in need following Hurricane Matthew, please contact us. 

 
Leave a comment

Posted by on February 3, 2017 in Uncategorized

 

Give a Gift, Change a Life

The Gospel is just as much about sharing Christ’s truth as it is about caring for those in need. Join with our Crisis Response team as we work alongside our partners seeking to reach Middle Eastern refugees and those affected in the wake of Hurricane Matthew in Haiti and Cuba with a message of Eternal Hope amid trying circumstances.

This Christmas, prayerfully consider giving a gift to further outreach through one these unique communities:

Clean Water

The gift: $75 per water filter

Give Now – Account code: 39693

Water filters will help provide safe, clean water for both Middle Eastern refugees and those in Haiti and Cuba affected by Hurricane Matthew.

img_1139

Kids benefit from safe drinking water  at a ministry center in the Bekka Valley, Lebanon. 

Hurricane Recovery

The gift: $40 per fruit tree

Give Now – Account code: 39693

Family food sources were destroyed in the hurricane – your gift will replace a family’s fruit tree, sustainably restoring their livelihood and ability to feed their family.

img_5946

Hurrican Matthew: A staggering estimate of up to 90% devastation of fruit trees, which provided nutrition and livelihood for many rural Haitian families.

Refugee Care

The gift: $50 per care package

Give Now  – Account code: 3983

Help address a month’s basic nutrition needs for refugee families including access to fruits and vegetables, essential kid and pre-natal vitamins for their children, as well as prescription medicines for the ailing.

picture2

To give:

Make checks payable to EFCA, noting Crisis Response: _[cause]_ in the memo line. Send to: EFCA, 901 E. 78th St., Minneapolis MN 55420

Or give online at: bit.ly/giveEFCA

IN GIVING, PLEASE MAKE SURE TO INCLUDE THE ACCOUNT CODE REFERENCED ABOVE

 
Leave a comment

Posted by on November 15, 2016 in Uncategorized

 

Matthew Aftermath (Part 1): Cuba

cuba-4

Wind and storm surge wrecks Maisi.

Finally yesterday, we got to speak with our partner in Cuba, Los Pinos Nuevos (LPN). The initial response team that was deployed headed to Maisi, on the far eastern end of Cuba, and it took them three days to reach the area.  The road to the town was destroyed, so the team had to hike in to assess.

They found that 90% of the homes in the community were uninhabitable. They were the first help to reach the community, and people had run out of food and safe drinking water.   The team carried in food and water, and also basic supplies to make a few simple water filters.  The  local church members were helping one another and sharing what they had with the community.  LPN has asked us to help with desperately needed immediate relief supplies.

Access to safe drinking water is a big concern.  cuba-2aPeople are now having to draw water from nearby streams (note yellow water cans in the photo).  This week, we have a ReachGlobal staff person heading to Cuba with additional membrane water filters, each one able to serve several families.  We will also be doing some initial equipping on the basics of trauma care.

cubaIn Baracoa, another town with an LPN presence, the reports of damage are similar. ‘Ciber  Cuba’shared this video report of the impacts there.  Video Link 

In addition to helping these communities with urgently needed safe drinking water and food, with so many households destroyed, there will be an long term need for essentials like cooking pots and utensils, sheets and bedding, and other physical needs. But LPN also has a vision to reestablish a sense of community, help people deal with their emotional trauma, and invest in families and sustainable community development, all in the context of Gospel transformation. So together, we hope to be able to set up longer term community outreach ministry centers in as many of the affected towns as possible. Learn more about the response goals at http://www.efca.org/matthewresponse

PRAY:

  •  A team is heading back to the affected area this week with more supplies. God, it is a long journey with many difficulties, please give them traveling mercies.  
  • There are so many people with so many needs. Lord, as you multiplied the loaves and fishes, please do a miracle to make the resources sent stretch to meet all the needs. 
  • The people in these affected areas have experienced loss and trauma. God of Peace, proved your comfort to those experiencing fear and the after effects of the storm. 
  • Lord, equip, empower and send Your Church to do Your Work in Cuba.  Prompt us in the US to pray for and give to support the work of our Brothers in Cuba.

Give Online

Mail a check:

EFCA, Attn: Donor Services, 901 E 78th St, Minneapolis, MN 55420.

In the memo line, write: Hurricane Matthew Response – 39693

 
Leave a comment

Posted by on October 11, 2016 in Uncategorized

 
 
%d bloggers like this: