It’s almost time for the Annual Billy Vier Family Festival. Each year the Pottsboro Ministerial Alliance organizes this school supply drive and block party to distribute school supplies to needy families and celebrate the beginning of the school year.
This year’s Billy Vier Family Festival is set for Friday, August 23 from 6 to 9 pm at Friendship Park in Pottsboro.
On Wednesday, August 21, we’ll host the school supplies packing party.
Please collect and bring the following items in preparation for this exciting and meaningful ministry to our community:
- pens – blue, black and red
- notebook paper – wide rule
- Expo dry erase markers
- hand sanitizer
- crayons – 24 count
- markers – broad and fine tip
- colored pencils (map colors)
- glue sticks
- scissors – blunt and sharp tip
- folders with brads and pockets – any color
- spiral notebooks – one subject
- composition books (not spirals)
- big pink erasers
- Elmer’s glue
- personal pencil sharpeners
- cloth or nylon pencil bag
- plastic school box for supplies
- water color paints
- stretchy book covers
Today we got to deliver the hygiene bags and other items we collected at church. Thank you so much for your gifts. It was truly a privilege to get to help Margie at Loaves and Fishes, a ministry to refugees. So many of the refugees make barely enough to cover their rent and food. They don’t always have money for things like diapers, wipes, toothbrushes, toothpaste, soap, and the things we collected. Margie shares the love of God with the refugees as they come and “shop” for these items they can’t afford to buy for themselves. Just to see the gratefulness on their faces as they took the hygiene bags, visited a bit and then headed home. Margie’s ministry truly shares the love of Christ with these precious ones. We’ll have more stories to tell about visiting this ministry and our other ministry opportunities later when we can speak in person.
Suffice it to say that as we wrapped up our time with a worship service tonight, that it was a privilege and a joy to hear how God anointed divine appointments this week. It is obvious He is at work in the lives of many here. Pray that He will continue to stir their hearts, to draw them to Himself. Pray for many opportunities for the long-term personnel here to share stories of Jesus and His sacrificial love. Pray that the seeds we helped to plant will be watered throughout the summer and that God will bring the growth so that these precious ones will be among those worshiping at the throne of God – from among every tribe, nation, language and people (Rev. 7:9).
Thank you again for your generosity in sending us on this trip. We look forward to sharing God stories with you soon!
During our teaching time today, we listened to a message by David Platt, “A Mission Only the Church Can Stop.” While it’s long, it’s powerful and reminds us that God is both active in His mission and resisted in His mission. He gave examples from Acts 20 showing that the church actually tried to stop Paul from carrying out His God-given mission. Platt also gave examples from church history — of men who God called but who were encouraged by the church to give up that mission — Jim Elliott, David Livingstone, Adoniram Judson, C. T. Studd, and John Patton. Platt then said:
In our culture today, we are implicitly working to stop the mission of Christ. To say, “I am not called to foreign missions” is radically unbiblical. It is our command. When you came to Christ, you were given a new command, not a calling, to make disciples of all nations. Why are you willing to enjoy the privileges of Christianity, but not the obligations? We relegate missions to a program, and that is unbiblical and optional. We do each have a calling, but they are all ways that we carry out the one command –to make the glory of Jesus Christ known in all nations by making disciples.
You can watch the video here: A Mission Only the Church Can Stop
Today we helped with kids club and taught in-home English classes. Tonight we helped with a men’s conversation club, teaching English, and with a job skills club, helping refugees prepare resumes, apply for jobs and practice interview skills. It proved to be a busy but a fun day of ministry.
This morning we met with some spiritual warfare as we began a teaching session on the Kingdom of God. We had just begun when a situation arose with a managerial person from the apartment complex. As one of the local group’s team members stepped out to meet with them, the rest of us immediately began praying. This area is steeped in spiritual darkness, and we are pushing back that darkness with the light and fragrance of Christ. Any time that happens, you can expect to meet resistance from the spiritual forces of evil. So we prayed. After time in prayer, we continued learning about the Kingdom of God and how the Kingdom of God has come in our hearts when we believe and yet it is still to come when Christ returns. John the Baptist and Paul taught about the Kingdom of Heaven, and much of Jesus’ ministry and teaching centered around the Kingdom of God. The more we share stories of the Kingdom, the more God’s Kingdom comes on earth. We were challenged to think of Bible stories we can share as we meet practical needs.
In the afternoon, we continued our work with the kids club, telling Bible stories, leading games and activities, and loving on kids. Others of us visited homes of some of the men and women in the community and taught in-home English classes. What a treat to be welcomed in so readily! What opportunities await to share Jesus and stories about Him as these precious ones learn more and more English.
- Pray with us that the god of this age will no longer blind unbelievers, but that their eyes will be opened to the glory of the gospel of Jesus and that His light will shine forth in this community.
- Pray for divine appointments.
- Pray we will be led by the Holy Spirit, that we will be His mouthpiece, sharing stories of the Kingdom as He leads us.
The Unfinished Task
This morning we learned about the state of the world in regards to unreached people groups and unengaged people groups. Here’s the main take-away. There are almost 2 billion people in the world who haven’t even heard the name Jesus. If an evangelist were to see 1,000 people saved weekly, it would take 160,000 years to see the whole world come to know Jesus personally. But if each of us who is a follower of Jesus would disciple one person each year, and each year the discipled would disciple one more, it would mushroom so that the whole world would be reached in just 15-20 years. Can you imagine a world where everyone has the opportunity to hear about Jesus? The challenge put before us today was this: What are you doing about it? Are you discipling one person who will then disciple another person next year? Are you making disciple-makers? We can finish the task.
In the afternoon, some of us worked with a kids club, playing games and telling Bible stories. Others joined interns here to knock on doors to promote an ESL conversation club and a job skills training. It was hot and sticky and we didn’t find as many people home as we thought. But one group met up with a man who took them around to several apartments where he knew people who needed to work on their English or job skills. The other group connected with a few families. Still another group had to call for help to teach an in-home ESL lesson. The results? More than 20 ladies and a few children from literally all over the world came to tonight’s 3-hour conversation club. About 10-15 showed up for help with resumes, interviewing skills and job applications. It was a busy 3 hours full of laughter and smiles as well as language struggles. But it was fun and the love of Christ clearly shone on our faces. We made friends and built relationships that the long-termers here can build on.
Tomorrow we’ll be practicing some Bible stories to tell in the community Wednesday and Thursday. We’ll be helping with the kids club again, and we’ll be delivering the hygiene bags to another local refugee ministry.
Continue to pray for good health as well as safety and protection, both physical and spiritual. Pray for us to continue to make relationships that the long-termers can build on, for divine appointments, and for opportunities to share about Jesus.
* We would like to include pictures, but because of the sensitive nature of the work, it would not be polite or appropriate to do so.
We started the morning by learning about and praying for an unreached people group. Then we read and meditated on Acts 17:22-28 and its implications for us as followers of Jesus.
Today we visited a couple of religious centers, learning about the unique cultural heritage and the faith and beliefs of the worshipers. The people were so hospitable. One group served us tea and snacks following the tour. We had some great conversations with people who don’t know Jesus the way we do.
This evening we enjoyed a wonderful time of worship and learned about the biblical basis for sharing Jesus, and about God’s heart for the nations.
This week we’ll be involved in promoting some summer activities including a job skills class, in-home English classes, and an English conversation club. We’ll also get to help with some of the initial meetings as well as a kids club.
Continue to pray for ongoing protection, health, and safety for the team as we deal with the heat and humidity. Also pray for divine appointments and that we are the fragrance of Christ to those we meet. So many have a negative view of Christianity because of what they’ve seen on TV. We hope to show them that to be American is not necessarily to be a Christian, and we want to show them what true Jesus followers look like.
Our short-term mission team goes to Houston June 8-14. Please keep us in your prayers as we go to work with refugees and immigrants. Here are some specific ways you can pray for our team as we go:
Good Health – Pray that our entire team remains in good health, and that we don’t experience illness or injuries of any kind.
Physical and Spiritual Protection - Pray not only for physical protection from harm as we travel to and from Houston and around the city, but pray for spiritual protection as well. Evidently the spiritual warfare has been crazy lately. As we take the Light of Jesus into a darkened area, the spiritual forces of darkness will not be pleased. Ask God to put a hedge of protection around each team member, keeping us safe from harm and guarding our hearts and minds in Christ Jesus.
Salt and Light – Pray that we will be salt and light, bringing the Light of Christ into a darkened area. Pray that we will be the very fragrance of Christ, drawing others to the beauty of Jesus.
Divine Appointments – Ask God to give us hearts sensitive to His Spirit’s leading that we may find those divine appointments He has planned for us. Pray for softened hearts in those whom we meet, that God will draw them to Himself. Pray that we will have many opportunities to sow seeds of the gospel, that the god of this age will no longer blind the minds of those who do not believe, but that they will see the light of the glory of Christ.
Our Own Faith – Pray that our own hearts will be open to hearing and receiving what God wants to teach us this week, that our own faith will be strengthened as we see Him at work.
You’ve probably heard by now that we’re gathering personal hygiene items over the next few weeks so we can put together welcome bags for newly arrived refugees. We’ll send these with our mission team when they go to Houston, June 8-14.
Refugees are being forced to leave their countries to escape war, natural disaster, persecution for political or religious beliefs, or persecution because of ethnicity. They arrive here in America to begin new lives, often arriving with just the clothes on their backs. They have only a few months to learn English to fluency, find jobs and settle in to American culture.
These welcome bags help meet practical needs while building long-term relationships with refugees. Personnel help them learn English, develop job skills, and adapt to American culture.
So here’s the plan. Each week we’ll collect different items. On May 29, the children will host a packing party so we can sort and pack the items into bags. Then when we commission our mission team on June 2, we’ll pray over the recipients of the bags and ask God to draw them to Himself.
Here’s the schedule of items to bring each week.
April 28 – combs and brushes
May 5 – individual bars of soap and wash cloths
May 12 – dental floss and fingernail kits
May 19 – antibacterial hand gel and hand lotion
May 26 – deodorant/antiperspirant and gallon-sized zipper bags
If you’d like to contribute more, additional items we can send with the team include:
flip flops of all sizes
other personal hygiene items
What: a bridal shower for Rachel James
When: Sunday, May 19 following morning worship
Where: the fellowship hal
Bridal Registry: Kohl’s, Target
Our next mission trip is scheduled for June 8-15. We’ll be working with A great commission group in Houston. If you’d like to be part of the summer mission team to Houston, a $45 deposit is due by Sunday, March31. Total cost for the week is $315, or $45 a day for seven days.
Remember that $15 per day goes directly to support mission work among unreached peoples of the world. The Great commission group has enough teams coming this summer that $15 per person per day adds up to more than $20,000 and will help to translate a Bible into a language that doesn’t yet have a Bible. Isn’t that exciting!
Note: If you would like to go on the trip but don’t have the money, please let Pastor Neal know as some scholarships are available. Don’t let money keep you from sharing the love of God this summer with the unreached peoples of the world living in Houston.
It’s a bit early to know exactly what we’ll be doing, but typically, projects include lots of relationship building. Specific activities might include things like:
- - visiting places of worship
- - teaching ESL classes or just helping refugees and immigrants practice speaking English
- - prayerwalking
- - hosting block parties in apartment complexes
- - leading backyard Bible clubs
- - shopping and eating in ethnic establishments and building relationships with the owners and/or employees
- - helping refugees settle in to an apartment
- - providing help with resumes, job skills and interviewing skills
And that’s just the beginning!