Thanks so much to the church of Christ at Cedar Lane in Tullahoma, Tennessee for providing funds for Greg McKinzie to travel to Arequipa to lead the church’s recent beach retreat!
Over the past several years we, as a church, have had the goal to serve others. There have been several newsletter article references to our work and relationships with Pastor José Ingalls and the children in the orphanages that he runs (Paty's article "Being A Church of Servants", Sarah's article "Casa Verde" and Greg's article "McKinzie Reflections on CUDA 2016"). This August we started to visit the kids once a week and help them with their homework. I go with Paty every Thursday to the girls’ orphanage and Jeremy goes either by himself or with others to the boys’ orphanage. This has been a fun opportunity to strengthen our relationships with the children and the "tias" or caretakers.
I plugged in our 220V waffle-maker and waited for the green light to turn on to indicate that it was at the right temperature to scoop in a ladle-full of delicious, pre-waffle perfection, batter into the collection of metal squares below me…
I’m getting ahead of myself. The best churches I know in the US are “seeker-friendly...”
While on furlough, I was asked to speak on three consecutive Wednesday nights at our supporting church in Bonne Terre, Missouri. I took them through some of the things we have been learning as a church in Arequipa about sharing our faith this past year. We did the “my gospel” exercise and the Bonne Terre church agreed to set the same goal as their brothers and sisters here in Arequipa – to have shared their gospel with at least one person at the end of one year.It’s almost been one year already since we set this goal here in Arequipa.
As I mentioned in my April article, we set out as a church to be more evangelistic this year. At that time, we were in the beginning stages of that process. We wanted to be people who shared the Gospel with our friends and neighbors, so one of the first steps was for each person to sit down with pen and paper and write what the Gospel of Jesus Christ is to each one of us. As we shared these short gospels with one another as a church, it was awesome to see what facets of the Gospel each person emphasized.
Two years ago we, as a church family, set out to be more servant-hearted and set a goal to do service projects together. Last year we worked at an orphanage fixing up their study room and dining room. From that service project we began further talks with the director of the orphanage (and of several other orphanages), Pastor José, about how we could continue to serve the kids and orphanages. Paty wrote about the way we have been involved with the kids for the past couple of months.
ast year the small house-church network we share life, faith, and service with set three goals for the year. Among those was the goal of being more dedicated to reading scripture in small groups. We formed two groups, one to read through the New Testament and another through the whole Bible in a year starting last March (the beginning of the school year here in the southern Hemisphere). Here's how it went, and how it's helping us grow the second time around.
ast year the church proposed three simple goals: read the Bible, serve the community, and meet together more often. This year, we added a goal: be more evangelistic. This fits with our overall mission to be servants, students, and messengers. The church expressed wishes to first of all be equipped to share the gospel, as it can be a daunting task. We’re in the process of equipping ourselves and will eventually launch out into the unknown to share the good news with family, friends, and even strangers. We ask for your continued prayers. And we would ask that all of the readership join us in this process of learning, praying, and sharing faith.