Wednesday, May 8, 2019

Teen Challenge Jamaica 2019: Wednesday

Sorry for the delay in posting. It has been a busy and full few days.

First, let me share some thoughts from Joe. He was checking in on Sunday.

Morning SCCC, 
Saturday May 4th, arrived in Jamaica safely. The people at Teen Challenge are so nice and the food is awesome, God is good and it makes you feel wholesome being Gods feet and hands. We went out to Teen Challenge farm to look over the project we will help with and later we did our usual in the afternoon going grocery shopping and of course Skip and I and a few others have to get our (Jamaican High Mountain coffee) for home. The weather is warm to hot which I love and that morning sun God brought us with our morning devotionals is inspiring. 
I'm looking forward to today's services and message.

That picture is Joe, sharing his story at the Teen Challenge Farm. Each of the men on our team will have the opportunity to share while we are here. It is our goal to connect with the men at the farm and engage in discipleship conversations. While we are helping with some building projects, the mission must always be primarily about making disciples.

Pray for the team as we continue the week's work. Pray for an increased desire to know God better through the mission and pray for boldness and confidence as Gospel conversations happen.

Tuesday, February 26, 2019

Water For Life: February 2019

Thank you again for your overwhelming generosity!In December, we asked you to contribute to Water For Life. We needed to raise about $12,000 to install a well and build a church on the Kyangwali Refugee Camp in western Uganda. 
You gave...a lot!

Not only did we raise enough for the well and the church, we raised enough for a second well and two additional latrines. On top of that, we were able to provide food, clothes, bedding, seeds, and farm tools to dozens of families.
The Kyangwali Church, in partnership with a local church in Hoima are implementing a new program. Every family that receives seeds and tools will plant crops. They will bring the first portion of their crops to the church. We have helped the church construct a storage facility.

Bring the full tithe into the storehouse, that there may be food in my house. And thereby put me to the test, says the LORD of hosts, if I will not open the windows of heaven for you and pour down for you a blessing until there is no more need. Malachi 3:10

The church will then use those offerings to aid families as they arrive at the camp. Often, these families have gone days without food as they make the trek over the mountains from the Congo. The church wants to greet these refugees and immigrants with the love of Jesus and the necessities of life. This is how we represent our God. He is loving. He is our provider. He cares for the sojourner.
Thank you for your generosity. You have helped the churches in Kyangwali and Hoima to engage their missions field.

Click here for more photos from Kyangwali.

Tuesday, January 15, 2019

Update From Kyangwali Refugee Camp: January 2019

I spent the last couple days at Kyangwali, a refugee camp near the border between Uganda and Democratic Republic of Congo.  The population of the cam has grown from 36,000 to 80,000 in the last six months. The growth is caused by conflict between the DRC government and rebels forcing many to flee for their lives. Tribal fighting and power-grabs also cause much conflict. These people, like refugees around the world are generally fleeing for their lives from their homes and arriving in neighboring countries with little more than the clothes on their backs. Refugees in general, have little hope for the future. Refugees in Uganda are particularly desperate.
Because of your generosity and obedience, there are new glimmers of hope in Kyangwali.

In December, we sought to raise $12,000 to drill a well and build a church in the camp. The well provides fresh, clear water for hundreds of families. We unlocked the well while I was there and officially opened it to the families. In a matter of minutes, dozens of jerrycans were lined up to collect water for dozens of families. We saw families running down the road with jerrycans in hand to get their place in line as we left for the day. Here is a family that filled their can, and also brought a pot to drink from. They sat down and drank the cool water and then got back in line to fill a can.

We also helped the local pastor and his church to construct a church building. The work is in progress, but I got to
spend Sunday at the church where 300 people gathered and about 30 decided to trust and follow Jesus. It was an amazing time of worship with a beautiful Congolese flair. The church is under roof and the members will begin filling in the walls with stones and then covering the stones with mud. They are so happy to have a place to gather.

We are not finished. Because of your generosity and the amazing generosity of our great God, we have raised enough money to drill a second well and install a second latrine. The church has asked to locate them near the site where a school and a medical clinic may soon be built. It is a short walk from the church, but they want to put these where the community will be best served. They are in the process of negotiating the exact location with the government authorities.

We will continue to partner with the local church and a church outside the camp to best use the resources that you contribute. It is amazing to see the happiness and hope on the faces of our brothers and sisters in Kyangwali. Let's continue to provide a physical representation of the hope of Christ, the Living Water. At the same time, we will speak of the real hope of the Gospel.

Wednesday, January 9, 2019

Uganda, January 2019

Internet is sketchy, so I'm trying to post just a quick update while it seems to be working.

We visited two churches and schools so far with one more scheduled for tomorrow. The kids gave us
such a warm welcome and they are doing well. Health and grades are both improving and just the difference in appearance and sounds is noticeable. They have come along way in a few, short years. I can't count how many times I heard, "Thank the church family for our well."

I spent a few hours with pastors from our training school. We dig deep into doctrine and spend a lot of time correcting the errors that have been taught for decades in this country. It is sad to hear the gaps in understanding, but it is so encouraging to see men, hungry to learn the truth.

I will head to the Kyangwali Refugee Camp in a few days. We have report that water is flowing. Tomorrow, the crew should install the platform and pump. By the time I arrive, the people should be drinking clean water. Thank you for your generosity, church family!

Friday, December 7, 2018

Beauty For Ashes Leaf Day

Adam Sylvia led a team of 26 people from Stafford Crossing to clean gutters, rake leaves, and beautify the grounds at Beauty for Ashes. Below is his report.

"To bestow on them a crown of beauty instead of ashes, the oil of joy instead of mourning, and a garment of praise instead of a spirit of despair. They will be called oaks of righteousness, a planting of the Lord for the display of his splendor.”
Isaiah 61:3

 A team from Stafford Crossing worked to assist the Beauty for Ashes team in beautifying
their facility on December 1st. We spent the morning working together with the residents to move the large volume of leaves from throughout the area around the house, and growing together in Christ.  This work helped to prepare the grounds for their Christmas Open House which will be coming up next weekend.

Beauty for Ashes will be holding their Christmas Open House on Friday, December 7th from 4-8PM and Saturday, December 8th from 10-5PM.  This Open House is a great opportunity to support the Teen Challenge of Fredericksburg men and the Beauty for Ashes women and children. Our men make handcrafted wooden items (crosses, puzzles, and ornaments) and our women make beauty products, candles, and seasonal jewelry as well as everyday jewelry. Home baked goods will also be available for purchase. You'll want to include these exclusive gift items in your Christmas gift-giving. ALSO, a very dear friend of Beauty for Ashes will be donating a selection of their prized photos for silent auction during the Open House. Some of the featured photos include beautiful Maine lighthouses, gorgeous scenery, birds, and some famous bridges. They're beautiful!