Monday, September 10, 2018

Are You Ready?

Hurricane Florence is threatening. She is gaining strength and is expected to make
landfall in the Mid-Atlantic part of the country this week. Milk is flying off the shelves and gasoline tanks are being filled. We know we should be prepared for these things, but sometimes, we don't know how.

Have you considered that being prepared is a missions opportunity? If we can make sure that our family has what it needs to shelter in place for the first 72 hours, we can focus outward. We can check on our neighbors. We can check on extended family. We can offer refuge when the storm comes. Doesn't that sound like an opportunity to serve the needs of others? This is an chance to showcase the love of Jesus and His disciples.

Here is a great post with some tips on being prepared.

On October 20, 2018, Stafford Crossing Community Church will be hosting a "Disaster Preparedness Seminar." The goal of this event is to help us develop a plan for our families, a plan for our church family, and a plan to coordinate with local agencies and meet the needs of the community in the event of a disaster.

You can find out more and register here.

Please consider coming. Let's all be better prepared to weather the next storm.

Thursday, August 2, 2018

Student Mission: Lewiston Maine - Julianna's View

Such a variety of numerous and unique people reside in Lewiston, Maine!
As we are about halfway through this trip, we have already experienced so much. Monday night we had the opportunity to be part of World Relief Day 2018 Celebration Jen the park of downtown Lewiston. This celebration consisted of music, dancing, food tastings, and multiple booths set up with refugee support resources, and lots and lots of soccer! Wednesday night we were served goat and camel meat which was a first for most of us!
Aside from those things, let me tell you about what is truly important - how the Lord is working. Our team is residing in a community full of refugees. This means people with different backgrounds, languages, skin color, apparel, etc. It’s a little bit of a culture shock. Many people here do not look and sound like us and devastatingly, do not believe in the one true God we serve. For me personally, I realized that subconsciously there has always been something holding me back from interacting with Muslim specifically. Well, can you guess who we are most closely interacting with? Muslims! And I’m so grateful, because I have discovered that they are humans just like you and me. They love to have fun, converse with others, sing, laugh, dance, etc. The biggest thing that the Lord has revealed and taught me this week so far is not to be so quick to judge. Just because someone does not look, act, or believe the same as I do, does not mean they are unapproachable or any less of a person. The same God who created me, created them in his image as well. And let me tell you, these people are so fearfully and wonderfully made! I am so blessed to be part of the summer youth internship. Seeing each and every one of the students step out of their comfort zone, open up, and Having a willingness to serve in any and every situation has been one of the highlights of this trip. The Lord is vividly working through each one of the students this week. As we spend a lot of our time leading a summer program for the kids in the community, the love being poured out from both our team and the kids here is beautiful. The Holy Spirit is at work and the impact that is being made is so evident. We came through the Experience Mission program and are partnering with a local organization called The Root Cellar. Please pray for seeds to continue to be planted and watered throughout the remainder of the week as we close out. May we be a vessel for His glory always.

Monday, July 30, 2018

Jamaica Medical: Miriam’s View

My 14 year old daughter Naomi and I were able to go on the July Medical Missions Trip to Kingston Jamaica.  This was Naomi's first time serving on a mission trip, and I had not served overseas since I was a teenager.  I knew in my heart that the initial urge to go was from the Holy Spirit, but I'll be honest, the day before the trip, I wasn't feeling it.  Our lives are busy, and part of me just wanted to stay at home where it's safe and I'm in charge of my time.  Well, it turns out that all of us on the trip have really busy lives, and staying "safe" and comfortable is our default choice.  But as Mark DeCourcey told us during the trip, God promises us security in Him, but not necessarily safety.  That really hit home to me, as I looked around at the poverty, as we drove on the roadways, and got a sense for the element of risk we were taking.  That's when a part of my faith that had been dormant for a while began to awaken in me. 
It was obvious to me the solid relationship our church (SCCC) has built with Upper Room Community Church.  Fellowship with them was sweet and friendships run deep. The way God used each person on our team and theirs at URCC to serve the community was phenomenal to be a part of.  We held a free medical/dental/eye clinic for 2 days by way of public announcement within the community around the church. Helping the Jamaicans run their medical clinic was incredibly eye opening and humbling for me. I've been a nurse for a while, but this was helping folks with a greater need, and who in turn had a greater appreciation for the care than I had ever experienced before.  I loved being able to address not only physical and emotional needs, but also spiritual, by way of offering prayer to those who wanted it before they left the clinic. We were able to give out free Bibles, medications prescribed by the Jamaican doctors and processed by pharmacists who were volunteering at the clinic, and Gospel picture bracelets/scripture cards.

 The second morning, there was a snafu with the announcements, and no line was forming outside, like it usually did.  We all prayed at breakfast, with true faith that whatever happened that day would be because that is what God had willed, and then we thanked Him for the outcome, before knowing what it would be.  We then did our part to bring in more people, and the next thing we knew, people started coming. Even more people than the day before.  Pretty cool to watch God work!  Many people that I saw in triage opened up to me about struggles; physical, emotional, and spiritual, and I cannot describe the rush I got from just letting God use me to encourage them, to guide them in sound medical advice, and to ask if we could pray for them. 
When Pastor Daryl asked Naomi and I to take a turn serving in the prayer tent, I told our team later, I was dreading it.  Doing medical triage is my thing, but sharing the gospel message with and praying for complete strangers was way out of my comfort zone.  And praise God, He used us still.  I'm not even sure how, but Naomi and I found ourselves sharing the Gospel, and praying over people and just trusting God to work, and hoping that as they thanked us and walked away, that they would be as changed and blessed as we had been in praying for them.

Each evening Mark gave us individual printouts of notes of encouragement from our prayer partners back home.  That was really awesome, to read those right at the time when you needed it most. I could feel their prayers from far away making an impact where we were. Wow. Through these, and through meaningful conversations with my team members, my own daughter, and Jamaicans at URCC, God was showing me that this trip was just as much for my spiritual growth as it was to help the needy, and that when we pour ourselves out, He WILL fill us back up.  
The leadership conference we held at the church the next 2 days was also such a blessing. It was humbling to hear pastors and folks serving within the local churches ask for prayer and guidance as they willingly choose to do the difficult work of standing strong in Jesus as beacons of light in the middle of so much darkness. At one point, we all stood and held hands in a circle as we prayed for God's church across the world- that was a powerful picture and deep encouragement to me.  

Throughout the trip we ate local catered food (yum!) that they graciously prepared and served us daily, and our last day was spent enjoying a gorgeous mountaintop restaurant and coffee plantation tour.   I'm so grateful that Naomi and I had this amazing, unforgettable opportunity!  I'll leave you with a passage that impacted me while in Jamaica:  2 Corinthians 4:10-18

God bless,
Miriam Dausman

Saturday, July 21, 2018

Jamaica Medical: Rosina’s View

After several years of serving in Hospitality on the Jamaica MASH trips, I served in the Prayer
Room for the first time this year.  What an awesome experience!

At the end of the first day, I was embarrassed to say I was tired. Everyone else had been running around, working, serving, helping, and here I was feeling tired after sitting all day.  But during that Prayer Room time, I was listening to each Jamaican as they came in for prayer after seeing the doctor. Listening was tough for me - I don’t know if it’s my age or the dialect the Jamaicans were using but it was tough for me to understand a lot of folks.  So between listening to people, and listening for, and to, the Holy Spirit, and praying in the Spirit, I was spent by the end of the day.
But what an amazing feeling. Being raised Catholic, praying out loud has been a struggle for me. So while I felt some anxiety going into the Prayer Room, God was faithful and blessed my obedience.  I felt the Holy Spirit speak through me - His words, not mine - giving people what they needed to hear. I am grateful for the experience, I am blessed to have had the Holy Spirit use me, and I pray God continues to use me, and I am able to focus, wait, and listen. Only by God’s grace.

Jamaica Medical July 2018

We have arrived safely in Kingston, Jamaica.

Thursday and Friday were medical clinic days. We help Upper Room Community Church to provide medical care to their neighbors in Grants Pen. While the people are gathered on the church campus, we present the Gospel in clear terms, we engage in conversation, and we pray with those who are in need. While we know that medical care is important for physical well-being, but we are very aware that the greatest gift we can offer is for the spirit. We are disciple-makers first. Over the two day clinic, many heard the Gospel and many responded by surrendering their lives to Christ.
One of our goals in this trip is to shift roles with Upper Room. For several years, Stafford Crossing has brought a big team and a lot of resources to make the clinic happen. This time, we have relied heavily on Upper Room and the local community to carry the load. They have rallied and done an amazing job. Upper Room Community Church is presenting a medical clinic in Kingston and Stafford Crossing is assisting. Our prayer is that the community will see their local church as the place of hope and healing. Upper Room has really stepped up. I believe they have even been surprised by what they are capable of.

It’s great to follow the lead of a great church serving a great God.