Is Summer Just a Memory?

campNow that the majority of people are facing colder weather, what better time to share the warmth of God’s love. God has been doing some remarkable things and sometimes it’s difficult to catch my breath, so let me take a few minutes to recap the summer for you.

  • 36 people from 6 different churches, ranging in age 9 to 58, comprising 3 mission teams, headed to Arizona, Virginia and Maryland to share love and labor.
  • We conducted sports camp and a kids weeklong camp. The teams distributed school backpacks, helped with two community outreaches and performed renovations on a home in Arizona and 2 common rooms at the Peninsula Dream Center.
  • A monetary investment in the kingdom totaled $24,720.
  • The teams also provided employment for 6 people during 2 of the trips.
  • If that weren’t enough, God worked in the hearts of people and we saw 78 first time salvations, 14 water baptisms and 12 Holy Spirit baptisms.

God was working on so many layers during these trips it was awe inspiring to watch. I watched individual’s worldview change as they experienced new cultures. I saw inclusive teams become all inclusive of the new people they met on the teams.father_son I watched youth groups draw closer together and I saw relationships built between team members and the people they met on location. Perhaps some of the most touching moments I was allowed to watch were the relationships that were growing between father and son. As I watched them pray together and share the day’s events or as I watched them work and play side by side, I couldn’t help but think of the relationship that Father God wants with each of us. He wants to be part of our everyday lives. He wants to hear about our challenges, concerns, heartaches and needs as much as he wants to hear about our successes, joys and dreams. When we allow Father God to truly be our father, then we will see our lives become FULL!

baptismTeam members weren’t the only ones to feel the presence and power of God over the summer. One of the most powerful moments for me was the day we took camp to the river side and baptized 14 children in water. Each person chose who they wanted to perform the baptism. Some chose their pastor or a parent but for me seeing some of the kids choose a teen team member to baptize them, now that was special. As the entire camp stood on the bank and watched, 13 children and 1 adult made their way into the water where they were baptized in the name of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit. What a sweet spirit next to that river. What must it have been like or felt like when John baptized Jesus in a river as the people stood on the bank and watched?

Though summer is behind us, who we have become was impacted by the remarkable moments and memories we experienced. This past summer changed lives for eternity and that is something that can NOT be forgotten.

PDC team

 

On the Cusp of Publishing!

“Welcome to my seminar. I am glad that you have been able to join me on this momentous occasion. I am professor Williams and I am on the cusp of publishing my latest finding. The results have been astonishing and could not come at a better time. What started as a simple experiment has led me to years and years of research. I have had many colleagues join me in this project and they have been instrumental in gathering the necessary data to come to such a conclusion. I have been doing research for many years and I have finally been able to share my findings.”

54 leaders of the children’s ministry team made their way out of their home on a Saturday morning to attend a training session at Calvary AG.

Question: Why? Weren’t there  thousands of other things on their to do lists? Who would give up half of their Saturday to spend it in church?

Answer: 54 people that care about the spiritual development of children.

In reality, I’m not a professor but that day pretending to be Professor Williams helped me speak about the importance and urgency of reaching children with the message of Jesus’s love and forgiveness. The United States is the third largest unreached nation and perhaps one of the toughest mission fields. It is said that people in third world nations flock to Jesus because they don’t have money or health insurance. With that being said, reaching people in the  United States becomes even more difficult.  Only 4% of teenagers (Millenials) identify themselves with any form of Christianity. That is down from 65% just 4 generations ago (GI & Silent Generation). If we don’t reach this population of children what is going to happen to this nation if they continue to go unreached.

Our most valuable resource to reach the lost with the gospel are people just like the 54 who attended the Saturday morning training. With the right amount of training and encouragement we can see a shift in our spiritual culture, beginning with the children.

Jesus said, “A student is not above his teacher, but everyone who is fully trained will be like his teacher.” Luke 6:40

Jesus needed his disciples to help him, to learn from him, and to eventually become the leaders after he had gone away. As disciples of Jesus, we are doing what Jesus himself did on earth. How awesome is that?

Turkey Hunting

Hunter Harriet spent the opening day of turkey season looking for the perfect turkey for Thanksgiving dinner but she needed the help from the kids at Calvary AG. She was hunting for a turkey that she could be thankful for and one that would be a blessing to her guests. Little did she know that the hunt would cause a wave of thankfulness in the children.
As the turkeys were stuffed, each ballon added represented one thing that the kids could be thankful for. The ideas kept coming until there was no more room in the turkey. What fun as we popped each balloon and counted how many different ways we can give thanks.

Although Hunter Harriet was pretending to be a hunter there was nothing unreal about the kids and what God was doing in their hearts and minds. Try expressing your thankfulness by making a “Thankful List” of all those things that you’d like to thank God for this season. Download this blank ”Thankful List” and try to fill in each line. You might just find yourself in need of additional pages.

“Always give thanks to God for everything,” Ephesians 5:20

For a lot of children this is their only hot meal

Originally published July 03, 2010 in the Frederick News Post
By Patti S. Borda
News-Post Staff

Photo by Travis Pratt - Gairus Lynch takes a bite of a chicken sandwich Thursday afternoon at the Discovery Homeowners Association building in Walkersville. Children who need a free lunch on summer weekdays can receive one through the Frederick Community Action Agency’s Summer Food Service Program.

It was the ever-popular pizza day Friday at eight venues where the Frederick Community Action Agency provides free lunches for children.

Sarah McAleavy, FCAA’s food and nutrition services coordinator, said that many children would go hungry if it were not for free school meals and this summer program.

“There’s a lot of food insecurity in Frederick,” McAleavy said. “For a lot of children this is their only hot meal. For some it is their only meal.”

Frederick has offered the Summer Food Service Program for eight years. This year it began June 14, and participation has been especially high, she said.

“We ran out of lunches the first day. We were kind of shocked,” she said.

At Hill Street Park, as many as 150 children have been showing up each day, she said. Daily, the agency prepares between 520 and 540 complete meals, depending on what is presumed to be the expected popularity of some entrees.

“Chicken nuggets and pizza are the all-stars,” she said. Burritos are less popular.

“The nice thing is you know your kids are getting a healthy meal,” McAleavy said.

The agency serves hot dogs on Monday. Tuesday, chicken nuggets; Wednesday, burritos; Thursday, chicken patty sandwich; Friday, pizza. Every meal comes with carrots with ranch dressing, a fruit cup and milk. The program requires children to have milk, plain or chocolate.

Share Our Strength, a national organization to end childhood hunger in America, have joined with federal agencies and the state departments of education, human resources, and health and mental hygiene as well as nonprofit organizations such as the Partnership to End Childhood Hunger in Maryland; the Maryland Food Bank; Advocates for Children and Youth; Maryland Hunger Solutions/Food Research and Action Center; Seedco; Sodexo; SHARE Food Network and Capital Area Food Bank as part of the effort to address the nutritional needs of poor children.

“The Partnership (to End Childhood Hunger in Maryland) pulls together agencies, corporations and nonprofits to work together to end childhood hunger,” said Rosemary King Johnston,executive director of the Governor’s Office for Children, in a news release. “This summer we pooled every resource and communication tool available to make sure that families in Maryland who need access to food this summer are able to connect their kids to meals.”

Thursday, 109 meals were served at the Hill Street Park pavilion in Frederick, said Meghan Miller, a member of the Frederick Community Action Agency staff who has served meals at Hill Street Park for four years.

“This is a slow day,” Miller said.

Small and tall children waited and thanked Miller for their lunch sack while Miller caught up on the youngsters’ summer news.

The program addresses the needs of children who receive free or reduced-price meals at school during the academic year. According to the nonprofit, 5,146 children in Frederick County receive free or reduced-price lunches during the school year, but only 6 percent of those received summer meals last year.

Photo by Travis Pratt - Calvary Assembly children’s missionary Terry Williams makes a balloon animal on Thursday with help from Jessica Queen, 4, at the Discovery Homeowners Association building in Walkersville. Williams assisted with activities during the Frederick Community Action Agency’s Summer Food Service Program.

The cost of each lunch ranges from $1.50 to $1.80, McAleavy said. The state reimburses the agency $3.20 per lunch. That covers the food and its transportation.

She has 10 servers during the summer. Some are full time, and some are seasonal.

The program continues through Aug. 20. Children under 18 and adults who bring them may receive a lunch at one of eight locations:

Hill Street Park Pavilion on Hill Street, 12:30 to 1:30 p.m.
Stonegate Park Pavilion on Andover Lane, noon to 12:45 p.m.
College Estates Park on Taney Avenue, noon to 12:45 p.m.
PAL Center on Sagner Avenue, noon to 12:30 p.m.
Carver Community Center on Lee Street, noon to 12:30 p.m.
Carrollton Park at Center Street and Prospect Boulevard, noon to 12:45 p.m.
Discovery (Walkersville) HOA Building, 11:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.
Amber Meadows Park on Amber Drive, noon to 12:30 p.m.

Monday no lunch will be served in observance of the July 4 holiday.

Some communities serve meals in school buildings during the summer. In Frederick all meals are served outdoors, McAleavy said.

The recent sweltering weather has not deterred participation.

“We had a hundred people a day in that heat,” McAleavy said. “Obviously people are in need of this.”

Community Lunch Program

In partnership with Frederick Community Action Agency (FCAA) and local churches in the Walkersville area, hundreds of children receive free lunches in their very own community. Calvary AG, Walkersville, led by Sunny McNally, makes arrangements for the FCAA to provide lunchtime meals to approximately 50 children Monday through Friday at the community clubhouse in the community of Discovery. This week I was able to help as the team served lunch, led a craft and spent time with the kids. With sculpting balloons and balloon pump in hand, it was with great excitement that I was able to make and teach kids how to twist a variety of animals, a sword or hat. On the last day I presented each child a balloon cross letting them know that Jesus loves them. Though it may seem like a small act of kindness it is showing the love of Jesus through service and time committed to bringing hope to families .

Deut. 15:11 “There will always be poor people in the land. Therefore I command you to be openhanded toward your brothers and toward the poor and needy in your land.”

Every mission has…

Every mission has God as the initiator,
The Holy Spirit as the power generator,
A servant as the missionary,
A people as the beneficiary,
Love as the motivator,
Obedience as the facilitator.

Whether you are standing in here or are seated,
Let us all be missionally motivated.

The writer of this poem, Shashi Jatiani, penned it while listening to a message that I was sharing at their most recent missions conference.

It is God’s design that all people should know and love Him. Our mission as Christ followers is simple, to tell as many people as possible about Christ’s forgiveness and it begins by telling just “One More”

Acts 17:27 God did this so that men would seek him and perhaps reach out for him and find him, though he is not far from each one of us.

Kidtopia Egg Hunt

It was a good day to be investing in the lives of children. Saturday afternoon brought hundreds of children to Calvary’s Kidtopia Egg hunt. Volunteers from the church helped hide/distribute candy filled eggs over the park, register kids and prepare for the gathering of the eggs.

Plethora of balloons

Over 150 sculpting balloons were inflated and secured in a large bag so that with the onslaught of children we would be free to concentrate on interacting with the kids and twisting a plethora of balloons.  Before long there were dogs, cats, hats, swords, rabbits and a few unrecognizable animals. But it’s safe to say that each twist brought a look of amazement and excitement on to the faces of the children. The event wasn’t intended to evangelize that community but it was to show the families that the people at Calvary Assembly of God cared about the children and wanted to invest in their lives. If we are unable to show people that we care, then we have not earned the right to share the gospel with them. Each step and each act of kindness brings us one step closer to bringing a life to Christ.

“For this very reason, make every effort to add to your faith goodness; and to goodness, knowledge; and to knowledge, self-control; and to self-control, perseverance; and to perseverance, godliness; and to godliness, brotherly kindness; and to brotherly kindness, love. For if you possess these qualities in increasing measure, they will keep you from being ineffective and unproductive in your knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ.” 2Pet. 1:5-8