This year our congregation was able to send a group of ten to Ecuador. We have a heart for missions and have been able to keep up with some pretty tremendous works, including supporting missionaries in both Haiti and Ecuador.
It’s always good to go back and reflect on our work throughout the year so that we can remember how far we’ve come. Though we’ve experienced some losses, we have much to be grateful for! God is always doing great things and we owe him all the honor and praise!
This Sunday Dan Pyle will share pictures and stories from our trip to Ecuador. Short term trips are great for our kids to go on because they get to serve beside their parents. We had five (half of our group!) who were young kids. Our youngest was 4 years old-the youngest to visit Camp Bellevue in Ecuador! From old to young, everyone worked hard and a lot of lives were impacted.
This summer we took a group of ten to Ecuador to help work at Camp Bellevue, where the Campbells live. It was encouraging to see how much they do for their community. Our congregation has been supporting them since before they moved to Ecuador. When Jesus commissioned his disciples, he told them to go make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey all that he commanded (Matthew 28:19-20).
Going requires more than just packing up and moving to some fantasy destination. Missionaries sacrifice a lot. In the case of the Campbells, they learned two new languages and are raising their children in a different country. They adopt the culture of the country they live in and that becomes home. It’s easy for people who visit for a week or two to forget just how big a transition it is for missionaries to move to another country permanently.
Serving abroad requires a great deal of flexibility, commitment, adaptability, ability to work with a vast number of personalities, and fundraising. We’re excited to hear how the Lord is using the Campbells in Ecuador and we need to make it a point to encourage them in the work they do!
Giving to the poor is all through the Bible. God has a very special place in his heart for the poor. In Acts 2, the Christians sold possessions and gave liberally so that there were no needs. If someone was sick, Jesus and his disciples healed them so they could go back to work and provide.
Jesus told the rich man that, if he wanted to be perfect, he would go sell everything then come back and follow Christ. Poverty was just as real as it is today. There are many people who die of starvation each day. Our homeless population even in the US is out of control.
The idea of storing up treasures in heaven was not a new concept. Nor was Jesus the only one to say it. Paul told Timothy to tell the rich not to put their “hopes on the uncertainty of riches, but on God, who richly provides us with everything to enjoy” (1 Tim. 6:17). “They are to do good, to be rich in good works, to be generous and ready to share, thus storing up treasure for themselves as a foundation for the future, so that they may take hold of that which is truly life” (1 Tim. 6:18-19).
The future is important. Jesus doesn’t propose throwing money out. Rather, we should take care of each others’ needs because we’ve been so richly blessed.
Photo by 🇨🇭 Claudio Schwarz | @purzlbaum on Unsplash
I just returned from visiting my sister Stephanie and her husband Roni in Haiti. I took my oldest daughter along and she got to experience Haiti for the first time at just 8 years old. It was my first time to visit the COTP campus where Steph and Roni live. Haiti is a gorgeous, mountainous country filled with a very rich history and lots of poverty.
Our congregation sponsors the Bhullars and the important work they do there. Visiting Haiti again is a reminder of how great the need is for people to give. Without the generosity of others, the Bhullars and other missionaries could not do the work they are doing there. As Christians, we are called to give and to go. We give of our time and money and we go to where our neighbors need help. This was the heart of Jesus’ mission and it has always been the mission of the early church.
The early Christians “were selling their possessions and belongings and distributing the proceeds to all, as any had need” (Acts 2:45 ESV). When there was a need, they selflessly and happily sold possessions and gave the proceeds to feed the poor and care for the oppressed. Over and over again Christians gave of their time and money. And they did so cheerfully. But they didn’t just give, they also went.
The first action word of the Great Commission is go. “Go therefore and make disciples of all nations. . .(Matthew 28:19). Steph and Roni went. We don’t have to go overseas to bless people. We can go across the street to our neighbors. But go we must. I could have made up a thousand excuses not to go to Haiti this year. 4 weeks ago there were riots and the US issued a travel ban. It was dangerous to travel and Americans were being evacuated. It’s expensive to go overseas. I was away from my family for a week. It was inconvenient to go. But we are commanded to go. The Bhullars were blessed. We were blessed. My daughter was discipled and is already asking how she can raise more money to give to the good people of Haiti.
Churches that do not give generously stagnate. We are a small church but we can do great things through Christ. In an effort to increase our ability to give and go, we created an online giving page. We’re proud to say that 100% of the money from the online portion will be used to help people in need. Our congregation already gives almost $10,000 a year just to support missions and local benevolence. For a church our size, that’s almost unheard of. But we want to give even more because we want to go more. You don’t have to be a member of our congregation to give. The Lord’s church networked in the first century. And we want to also.
Help us spread the word. We long for people to give regularly and joyfully! We want to increase the amount we give each year to help the poor, oppressed, so we need your help. Please go to our online giving page and partner with us in giving to help the poor and oppressed. And help us spread the word! And join us on mission trips. Even if you cannot physically go on a mission trip, follow our page and get updates. We need your help to give and go!
The cover image is of the Hope House, where Steph and Roni currently care for six orphans.
As you all know, Steph and Roni Bhullar have been in Haiti since 2015 working very hard at the Hope House. Our congregation is one of their supporting churches. One of the things that I’ve always lamented is that missionaries have it much harder than us ministers in the US. They not only have to learn a new language and live in extremely impoverished areas that take a severe emotional toll, they also have to raise their own financial support. Many missionaries only get a short furlough back in the States once per year. That time is supposed to be used for rest and visiting with friends and family. However, most missionaries have to use much of that time raising more financial support, which takes away from family and rest time.
Roni has taken a creative approach to raising funds for the Hope House by running an annual 26.2 mile race. This race is extremely dangerous and taxing on the body. Here’s what Roni has to say about the race: “That’s 26.2 miles without a cheering crowd, no water stations and none of the typical support found in an organized race. Why would I do such a thing? A guaranteed first place finish and for seven little reasons well worth the effort.”
Those seven little reasons are the children Steph and Roni care for in the Hope House. Roni is running the race on Saturday. Please pass this on to as many people as you can. Show your love and support by donating for Roni’s race. The Bhullars are doing an incredible ministry. Here is the link to Roni’s race where you can find more about the race and donate.