Archive for the ‘Global Outreach’ Category

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Walk Inside

September 4, 2009

Earlier this week I went out for lunch fully intending to go through the Drive-thru and get back to the office. Upon seeing the line of cars I changed my mind and went inside. I actually do this quite a bit. Going out to lunch and moving from sitting at my desk to sitting in the car is not exactly rejuvenating, so I will get out of the car for a walk. I was reminded of a little lesson I thought I’d share.

I was inside for approximately 8 minutes. In that time I was approached about an opportunity for our church to reach out to a group of folks in an area we don’t have great exposure, was invited by a local high school to partner with them on a couple of items, thanked for helping out on the Community Makeover, and given the chance to invite someone to West Ridge who doesn’t attend church anywhere. One morning this week I didn’t ‘Pay at the pump’ for the gas in my car. As I continue to build relationships with the local gas station employees I was given another opportunity to talk church and life with someone who is clearly not a follower of Jesus.

Ok, I don’t do this all the time, but I will continue to try to do it more than not. If I always stay in my car then these conversations never happen. Outreach or Sharing Christ is not a program, it’s a lifestyle that stretches us as disciples of Jesus.

Everyone Belongs,

Paul

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Everything we own belongs to God

September 3, 2009

I’m publishing a note from our friends Larry and Karen Wolters in Burkina Faso. Several of you at West Ridge Church have stayed in or eaten meals in this house in Ougadougou. What happens when historic rains comes to one of the driest places on the globe? Have a read and a look.

“Now we know that if the earthly tent we live in is destroyed, we have a building from God, an eternal house in heaven, not built by human hands”.

When our family made the move to Burkina Faso, we left behind our lives that were full of “things”. These “things” were objects that we could certainly live without. As a matter of fact a bit of embarrassment fell upon us as we saw all of the “things” we put out in our yard sales as we sold everything except that which could fit into the 20 ft container we were shipping to Burkina Faso. It was a reality check for us all. When we arrived here in Burkina we made a conscious decision to not accumulate “things” and lead a simpler lifestyle. One Christmas Abby received three new pairs of flip flops and upon receiving them; she had to surrender three old pairs of shoes to give away. Every year we clean out all of our cupboards to make sure that we are not accumulating “things” again. We seek not to have too much and not to become too attached to what we have. Yesterday, when we woke up to the rains falling, this whole idea of attaching ourselves to “things” resurfaced. As the water entered our house, all I could think about were the “things” we had that would possibly get ruined. As Micah and I ran throughout the house frantically blocking entrances with towels, the tears fell. At one moment Micah grabbed me, and said “Mom everything is going to be ok”. He put his arms around me, and cried out to God to help us, to give us wisdom, and to calm our souls. God answered and friends came to help us to bail out and to further protect our home. Our night guard stayed to help. His home was possibly flooding, and his wife was home alone, but he would not leave us. When things appeared to be under control at our house we went over to the C&MA office across the road, and found that it was at least a couple of feet underwater. Office equipment, supplies, files, all ruined. Hours of work lay ahead of us. The tears just kept falling as I continued to focus inwardly. It was a long day, and not one I would care to relive. Today, God humbled me, and helped me to regain my focus as the news of the numerous tragedies surfaced. There are people that have nothing more than the shirts on their backs. I became ashamed for fretting over “things”. There is a feeling in my stomach that I wish would just go away. God is working in me and I am thankful for His help. Thanks for listening…… I needed to vent. Please remember that the needs here are abounding. Your prayers are needed.

Karen

Here’s a link to their facebook pictures…~Paul    http://www.facebook.com/photo.php?pid=8534281&id=775495363#/photo.php?pid=8534282&id=775495363

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Why am I in Brazil

August 25, 2009

As some of you know, we have been praying at West Ridge Church now for many months about new Missions opportunities. I have had conversations about a dozen different great works by godly leaders in a dozen different countries. Many others have pitched mission opportunities to me in places where God is working. I’ve put a lot of prayer into a lot of different places I’ve never been. A couple of these conversations have stayed with me. I have felt God saying, you have to go see this. Sooner or later I have to get out of the office

So, I’m in Brazil. I’m near Manaus. Less than 200 years ago it was one of the wealthiest cities in the world. The whole world came here for a commodity – rubber. In 1920 some aggressive folks from Europe came and took steps that made this trade move, and many things moved away with it. One thing remains – the River.

We would refer to it as the Amazon. But here, just before the actual Amazon begins there are two, the Rio Negro and the Rio Solimoes. Once they collide the Amazon begins. Down that river there are groups of people who have retreated deep into the jungle to hide from – well – everyone.

Up until the 1980’s there were groups of people making their way into the Amazon killing tribal people because they are different. They are strange. They have peculiar customs, and unusual ways of looking out for one another. They were killing them completely out of fear. And now that same fear has created an environment where no one from the outside is allowed into these villages. It would mean certain death. And in these villages there are over 90 unreached people groups. Each have their own language as can be with hundreds of dialects. Groups of people who have never heard that there is a God who sacrificed His only Son to have a relationship with them.

So how will they know? That’s what I am here to learn about. Recently, a group of Brazilian Pastors secured over 200 acres just a couple of kilometers off of the Amazon River. I walked the property today.  It is breathtaking. From this place they plan to recruit men from the villages down the river, and train them to take God’s message with them. It is a big, multi-faceted vision! What do they need from us? That is what I’m here to find out. Other churches are here from our Atlanta community. This may be another opportunity to work together in meaningful ways.

I am looking forward to seeing even more in the days to come.

Everyone Belongs,

Paul