Friday, April 22, 2016

From the Church to the Community

Bethlehem Church with Ms. Lily and her new roof

This past month God has continued to stretch our dependence and faith in Him.  With the work wrapping up at the church, we are praying and praying for God to guide us to the families He wants us to serve out in the community.  Let's just say we have seen God answer our prayers in amazing ways!  He continues to lead us to family after family who continually ask us "How did you find us?"  We're so happy to respond with "It's all God. He led us to you." 

We have a team coming from PA next week to serve a homeowner who had flooding in her home.  Even though the flooding was 2-3 inches in her home, mold is now covering every part of her home including walls, ceilings, and cabinets. 

Home half gutted with mold, now needs completely gutted

Here is part of an email we received from the homeowner mentioned above: 

Thank you does not even begin to express my gratitude.  Because of you, for the first time in six months I finally can begin to believe I may actually get back in my home.  Having met with so many obstacles, you are a ray of sunshine in an otherwise bleak situation.
Will you consider serving with us and joining us as a ray of sonshine here in Columbia?  We have available dates this summer when we need volunteers to continue the rebuilding of homes and relationships.  You can email me at for more info.

We are excited to start the process of restoring this home, and to now have a continual presence in this neighborhood.  We get to build relationships with the family, neighbors, and cover this neighborhood in prayer.  We don't know exactly how God will use us but He's the one that led us here and we can trust Him.

The volunteers with our staff and homeowners
Our website for more info

Thursday, March 3, 2016

Does God care about basements?

Dave's cousin Dan taping the basement
 "Does God care about basements?"  You know I don't know if I could find anywhere in the Bible that talks about God's heart for basements but after these past couple of months it's got me wondering.  The transformation that has taken place over the last 5 months in the basement of Riverside Community Church has been INCREDIBLE!  The number of times God has proven Himself faithful and trustworthy in the provisions He has supplied is beyond measure.

Just to name a few:
  • licensed contractor who pulled the permit for us to start the work on the basement
  • licensed electrician who pulled the permit which allowed us to bring in our own electricians
  • churches who continue to give of their time and resources to see its restoration
  • perfect timing of volunteers to install insulation, hang sheetrock, mud & tape sheetrock, paint, install drop ceiling, and start the punch list of hanging doors and putting up trim. 

So does God care about basements? Well, I'm starting to think He does but not just for the basement's sake, but for my faith and for yours.  I know for me, throughout these past couple of months of being an eyewitness to His constant provision, my faith has grown and my trust in Him continues to increase.  I pray that through the restoration of a church basement that the Body of Christ is encouraged to see that God does care for us, He loves us, and He wants us to depend on Him.

Lakewood EFC from MN

I pray too that everyone sees that if God can transform a church's basement, He can certainly transform the basements of our hearts that are in desperate need of His presence, love, and power.  He is our maker who knows our hearts and through His Son Jesus Christ reconciles our hearts to Him.  May God continue to receive glory, honor, and praise for how He is orchestrating the restoration of a church's basement that it may lead to the transformation of hearts everywhere.

"For it was the Father's good pleasure for all the fullness to dwell in Him [Christ], and through Him to reconcile all things to Himself, having made peace through the blood of His cross.." Colossians 1:19-20a

And you, Solomon my son, know the God of your father and serve him with a whole heart and with a willing mind, for the LORD searches all hearts and understands every plan and thought. If you seek him, he will be found by you, but if you forsake him, he will cast you off forever." 1 Chronicles 28:9

"Finally, brothers, rejoice. Aim for restoration, comfort one another, agree with one another, live in peace; and the God of love and peace will be with you." 2 Corinthians 13:11

Stained Concrete
Framing started

Electrians start!

Insulation installed

drywall installed
mudded, taped, painted

windows, doors, drop ceiling installed

Pathway Church from Beaver Falls PA

Wednesday, November 11, 2015

What happens when you say "Let's stop and talk to the first person we see."

Four days after the flood, October 9th, Katie, Frank(a member of Riverside), and I were driving through a neighborhood rumored to be heavily impacted by the flooding.  As we were driving, we could see homes that had been impacted, but we were unable to make contact with any of the homeowners.  We decided that the next person we saw outside we would stop and talk to them.  As we continued through the neighborhood, we saw a lady coming out of her front door carrying a box so we backed up and stopped.  As I hopped out of the car, I could tell Lisa was not happy to see us.  We soon learned though that there had been numerous gawkers driving through the neighborhood.

Al and Lisa's home being dried out after the belongings were removed
After introducing ourselves and sharing a little about Riverside Community Church, the church we are partnering with, we asked if they needed any help.  Lisa explained that the Congaree River that runs right behind her house rose all the way up into their finished basement.  The water level reached nearly a foot in the basement.  Frank, Katie, and I decided to go back to the church to recruit some more help for removing the contents of Al and Lisa's home.

When we returned an hour later with over half a dozen people, we got to meet Lisa's husband, Al.  Al shared that before we showed up he felt hopeless and unsure of where to begin.  As we hauled their belongings to the curb, he continued to thank us for helping them.  I just kept praising God that He had allowed Lisa to be outside just as we were driving by. After a couple of hours of hauling things to the curb, we were able to get everything out.  As we wrapped up for the day, we spent a few minutes praying for Al and Lisa and thanking God for His perfect timing.  Al and Lisa both were choked up as they thanked us and told us how we had given them hope again.

As I reflected on the afternoon later that day, I was struck by what Al had said about giving them hope and how that's exactly what God did for us.  We were in a hopeless condition because of our sin; we deserved death.  "But because of his great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy,  made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions—it is by grace you have been saved." (Eph 2:4-5) Thank you Lord for paying the price for our sins and giving us an eternal hope. 

You can contact us for more info on how you, your family, and your church can be involved in the flood recovery efforts here in SC.  You can also visit our website to find out how you can donate funds towards this response.  We hope to see yall here in SC!

**The story continues: During the first week of November, we were able to send a team from Utah to help install the new sheetrock.  Al and Lisa were blown away by God's provision and we were thankful to get to serve them in the wake of the floods.

Thursday, June 25, 2015

LEADing according to Katie

I wanted to share my definition of "LEAD" according to Katie.  I try to run through this definition on a weekly (if not daily) basis and gauge how I'm doing in these areas. 

L - LOVE God (heart)

Loving God with all of my heart is crucial for being the leader He wants me to be.   My desire is that my heart always stays devoted and connected to God so that I can lead the way that pleases Him..  I wrote about this part in my last newsletter which you can find here

E - Example Setter (in words and actions)

As a leader and person of influence, I set the example in my words and actions.  Trust me, whatever I do, there are people watching and listening, with the potential of copying my behavior.  I am called to follow the example of Christ who washed His disciples feet (John 13:14-15).  I am called to serve, not to be served.  Is my example something I want someone else to copy?

A - Attitude of Christ (motives and emotions)

There are times when I can set the example, but my attitude is totally wrong.  Mark and I joke about "not earning any jewels for that."  But I know if my attitude is humble, kind, denying of self, servant-like.  Is my attitude pleasing to God as I lead those in my care?  Who am I trying to promote, myself or Christ?

D - Developer of Others (disciple-maker)

When I lead, it's not just for the sake of leading.  I want to see every person I lead grow and succeed in whatever God has called them to.  It's not about ME!  It's not about them.  It's about God!  It's about bringing Him glory by being faithful "to admonish and teach everyone with all wisdom SO THAT we may present everyone perfect in Christ. To this end I labor, struggling with all His energy, which so powerfully works in me."  Am I giving others the opportunity to grow and succeed? Am I encouraging them to be a developer of others?

When I look back over my life before ministry, I was NEVER the leader.  I was typically the supportive role that served the leader and was happy to keep the team united towards our common goal.  Since joining this ministry, God has stretched me in the roles He has placed me in.  I led the volunteer teams for two years and for the last five years I've led our internship program.  I've learned TONS throughout my years here and I know I have more to learn.  I'm thankful for the ReachGlobal Leadership Cohort that will help me lead the way God has designed for me.

This summer, I'm leading through two lead interns as they lead the remaining six interns.  This has stretched me already as my responsibility wants to kick in and be in charge.  However, praise God He has given me a desire to see others grow and I want the lead interns to grow by giving away some of my responsibilities.  I couldn't be more excited for what God has in store for this summer.

"And this is my prayer: that your love may abound more and more in knowledge and depth of insight, so that you may be able to discern what is best and may be pure and blameless until the day of Christ, filled with the fruit of righteousness that comes through Jesus Christ - to the glory and praise of God.
Philippians 1:9-11

Tuesday, May 5, 2015

and I'm loved by You, it's who I am...

After an amazing two weeks in the northeast, Mark and I arrived home late Friday night.  We were tired but mostly happy that we get to spend a whole week in Louisiana (we leave Saturday for Denver and Estes Park).  It has been such a blessing to reconnect with friends and be back in our neighborhood.  Sunday at church, we sang a song I had not heard before but the lyrics touched my heart.  Before you read my thoughts, take time to listen to the song yourself.

Lyric 1: You tell me that you're pleased and that I'm never alone
God is pleased with me!  I needed that reminder as I continually fall short of His glory and struggle to keep Him #1 in my heart and life.  He is pleased with me....thank you Lord!  God is always with me.  I also seem to think that He's not there with me when I'm going through tough times or need to decide something, but HE IS!  He wants me to rely on Him

Lyric 2: 
You're a Good, Good Father
It's who you are, It's who you are, It's who you are
and I'm loved by you
It's who I am, It's who I am, It's who I am

God is a good good Father!  It is who He is.  In Him, there is NO darkness, NO sin, NO evil.  He is my good Father who knows what is best for me.  HE LOVES ME and that is WHO I AM.  I am loved by God.  He loves me with an everlasting love and being loved by God is who I am.  My identity isn't found in my occupation or in my relationship status or in my successes or in my failures.  Being loved by God is who I am and that never changes. 

When Jesus was baptized, God spoke not words of an agenda or ministry plan but words of a powerful reminder of His identity.  He is God's Son and God is well pleased with Him.  This jump started Jesus' ministry and for so many of us, we need this constant reminder of our identity.  We are God's children, loved by God, and He is pleased with us.

In those days Jesus came from Nazareth of Galilee and was baptized by John in the Jordan. And when he came up out of the water, immediately he saw the heavens being torn open and the Spirit descending on him like a dove. And a voice came from heaven,
 “You are my beloved Son; with you I am well pleased.
Mark 1:9-11

Lyric 3: You [God] are perfect in all of your ways to us.
Yes God is perfect. His ways are perfect.  His timing is perfect.  His responses to our prayers are perfect.  He is always trustworthy and always true.

Lyric 4: As you call me deeper still
God is calling me and all of us to a deeper, closer walk with Him.  Our relationship with God is the most important relationship.  He wants us to continue to go deeper in our walk with Him and discover more of His character and heart.  He wants us to multiply our talents and go deep in our walks. 

I praise God for the chance to worship at our church on Sunday and to hear this song that I've continued to sing everyday since.  Feel free to comment or share what stands out to you from this song. Thanks!