Monday, June 30, 2014

Monday's Theme: Mud, Tape, Sand, Repeat

Today we spent most of the day working on construction projects.  We are currently working at the Hope For the Inner City (HFIC) facilities mudding, taping, and sanding the walls of the chapel and dentist office waiting room.  The ministry hosts a dentist clinic for the public through a sliding scale system for anyone in the area without dental insurance.  The executive director shared a story of a woman who was missing her front teeth, and she was not able to find a job because of her appearance.  They were able to provide her with dental repair and dentures, and soon after the dental work she found full time employment.  This is a great service to the community, and they are hoping to have the clinic back open by July 11th.  Several team members also worked on removing a door frame, as well.

During the week, there is a camp that is hosted at the facility for kids in the community.  Megan and another girl had the opportunity to help prepare and serve food for the kids.  We also enjoyed getting to worship with them this morning before we started working.

Tomorrow we hope to sand what we mudded today and hopefully finish painting in the waiting area.  The dry-walling work in the chapel has been more involved, but we hope to be ready to paint by the end of tomorrow.  We have also start working on installing book shelves in an office.

This week there have been some young teenagers that have hung out with the groups and they helped us with our construction projects today.  Dr. Mike had the chance to work directly with some of these kids and this is what he had to say about one of them:
"Today we had the opportunity to work with some of the young men from the local community on our job site.  My team was assigned drywall in the chapel of HFIC headquarters.  The 2 primary guys helping us were KD and Trey (around 14 years of age) and have been given the opportunity to work with the teams at HFIC.  KD worked directly with me and went with us to Ace hardware to pick up necessary materials.  As we chatted, we asked him why he was involved with the ministry.  He said he wanted to be a better leader, because he was the middle brother in his family.  He volunteered the information that many of his brothers have been, or currently are, incarcerated.  He clearly demonstrates great potential for leadership as he matures, and the mentoring that he is able to get from men through the missions teams and staff at HFIC are a positive influence for him.  I look forward to seeing what God has in store for him down the road and appreciate the assistance he has given to our team."

After work, we went to the community where we will be hosting a BBC.  We spread out across the neighborhood and went door to door to invite kids to the BBC tomorrow evening.  Please be praying for the kids that we will be ministering to, and for us as we prepare to share God's love.

This evening, we visited Covenant College where we ate dinner, had our 3rd lesson on poverty, and had a short tour of the campus.  Covenant College has given us 4 short lessons and videos on poverty to discuss as a group.  This has been a very enlightening study that has shown us that material goods do not solve poverty, and that there are different times and ways to approach community needs based on the current situation of that community.

For tomorrow, please pray for safety for the team at worksites and in the neighborhood BBC.  Please also pray for understanding as how best to minister to the people we will come in contact with tomorrow.  Finally, pray for clarity and unity of directions from HFIC leaders as they direct us in construction and BBCs.

Sunday, June 29, 2014

Sunday: Humble Servants and Changing Expectations

Our Sunday school teacher with Dr. Mike
This morning we had the opportunity to learn about the history of Hope for the Inner City ministry and New City Fellowship.  We learned about their cross-cultural mission and how they strive to reach their community.  This week we will be participating in this ministry through construction projects and back yard Bible clubs (BBC).

We worshiped at New City Fellowship, a cross-cultural church, which was a new experience for most of us.  We started off with a Sunday School service taught by a deacon in the church.  He spoke with the missions teams.  His message was about addressing the heart, not only of those we are serving, but also our own hearts as we serve.  For serving others, the solution may appear external while the root of the issue is about the condition and attitude of the heart.  While we are serving others, we can also put on the facade that we are diligent Christians serving the needy, while on the inside we are spiritually stagnant.

Coffee, food, and fellowship before the service
The worship service then started at 11am. The pastor reminded us that we cannot hide from God and we should not pretend that our sins are manageable. God often deals with our heart issues when we confess our sins and learn to hide ourselves in God, clinging to Him for help.

In the afternoon we had 2 sessions to prepare us for the week ahead:  one spiritual and one logistical.  In the logistical session we performed our day 1 BBC routine and was critiqued by one of the interns.  We were pleased to hear that he was impressed and felt that we were very well prepared for our BBC.  We then learned about our construction opportunities for the week.  Some of the opportunities for the week include landscaping, dry-walling, and potentially a handicap ramp.

The spiritual session allowed us to talk about what we want to see as end goals, what are barriers to those goals, and what is our current mindset.  The leader used the passage Romans 12:1-2 to provide a scriptural guide as to how we should be approaching this week.  Some of the goals that we set for the week was team unity, submission and contentment in the Lord, and applying what we learn so that we may improve outreach to the community around Calvary.  Some of the barriers we listed were to not be too high task oriented, that previous experience doesn't blind us from fully seeing our current ministry, and that we are not distracted by current personal issues.  Please be praying for us to achieve our goals and not be hindered by any barriers.

Throughout the week, we will be having a team member give their insight on the blog.  Here is a way that God has been working in Nate G. so far this week:
"This afternoon the head of the kitchen, William, came and talked to me. He asked for any prayer requests I might have, and my last one was for strength in the Jesus. He told me that he won't pray for that, and that he will instead pray for me to be submissive and content. That blew me away and changed my perspective on my relationship with the Lord and how I'm living my life as a Christian. God has a plan, and instead of preparing for any future battles I should be submitting to his will and following the path he has laid out for me."

Please continue to pray for us.  Tomorrow we be starting construction, and we will be canvasing the neighborhood that we will start BBC in on Tuesday.  Please pray for God to allow us to be a light in the community, and for Him to already be working in the hearts of everyone we come in contact with this week.

Saturday, June 28, 2014

We've arrived!

We safely arrived in Chattanooga around 6pm tonight after having a quiet and uneventful trip.  We met some of the interns that will be in charge of different events this week and have settled into the church for the night.  Dinner involved a night on the town at Five Guys and Lupi's pizza.  Some then walked down to the Tennessee River, and we all enjoyed the sights around the Chattanooga Aquarium.  Tomorrow will involve worship at New City Fellowship and lots of training and preparation for our upcoming week.

Please pray for flexibility and cheerful attitudes as we embark on a week of some uncertainty, and pray for rest for the team so we will be fresh for the week ahead.  We look forward to telling you about what God is doing in Chattanooga, and we would love to hear from you in the comments!

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Hope For the Inner City: Chattanooga, TN

This year our team is headed to Chattanooga, TN.  We will be working with the PCA church New City Fellowship and their outreach ministry:  Hope for the Inner City (  Our team will be serving the community by being involved in construction projects during the day and leading a backyard Bible club (BBC) in the evenings.  Since we have several team members fluent in Spanish, we will be holding our BBC in a Hispanic community.

Please be praying for us as we tie up last minute details, gather supplies, and prepare our hearts to show God's love to the people of Chattanooga.  Also, please pray for safe travels on Saturday while we drive to Chattanooga.

We thank you for your support, and we will try to keep this blog updated every night.  As always, we love to hear from you in the comments section of the blog.