Wednesday, November 26, 2014

WAW Wednesdays: Thank You Party, and Need Your Help ...

"The Word at Work is a ministry that mobilizes churches and individuals to answer God's call to minister to those in need," writes Rev. Tim Tam, Director of the Amarillo, Texas-based ministry. "Through our relationships, God reveals needs and opportunities for service. As we come along side the poor, new friendships develop and doors for ministry open. As we serve, God provides the resources to supply for the needs he reveals."




Thank You Party, and Need Your Help ...

Hey Friends,

Tomorrow is Thanksgiving in the U.S. and we are thankful to God as we see the Ladeni story continue.


She is getting used to her new leg. Last night we had a great celebration of Thanksgiving at an event for over 40 organizations and individuals who have come around Ladeni Osorto and helped to bring her back to health! Michael Martin Murphey made the evening extra special with his gift of song ... here are Murph, Ladeni, her mother Grace… Thanks to our host, Dr. Keith Bjork, and all who helped make the evening possible.

And because tomorrow is Thanksgiving in the US and we are so thankful for the work of God ... I’m in your mailbox with an opportunity, or avenue for you to express gratefulness to God.

We are coming upon the home stretch for our annual Christmas Project Trip! We have a team of volunteers heading to Belize December 13-22. This is the time of year when we count on your financial support to make these Christmas parties happen all over Belize for thousands of children and others in great need.

$3000 is needed to support the miracle work going on at the prison. This provides a small phone card to connect every inmate with their children and spouses.

$_____ ? We are grateful for any amount you can offer to help us purchase food and other gifts. With the numerous places we serve, the opportunity is beyond measure and always depends on your support. How far can you help us take this?

Keep Christ in your Christmas by ...

Blessing the “least of these” ... the poor, widowed, the orphaned, victims of violence and injustice. Matthew 25:40
Remembering those in prison as though you were in prison with them. Hebrew 13:3
Supporting Hospice patients and families, HIV children’s ministry and more. John 21:17

You may not be making the trip with us - Let us represent you. Last year we raised $16,000 for this project. Help us get even beyond that for 2014. Please write back and let me know what you can do. Or ... make a gift of this in someones name?

Thanks,

Tim Tam
The Word at Work




EDITOR'S NOTE: Speaking from my own first-hand experience, working side-by-side with Tim, Kenny and our brothers and sisters in Belize, won't you give thoughtful, prayerful consideration to supporting the efforts of Tim, the Word At Work staff and their partners? Please please fill out this Commitment Card and return it to their office!

Also, remember that you can follow The Word At Work on their Facebook page!

Partners Blog: "A Place to Call Home"

Steve and Oddny Gumaer started Partners Relief and Development in response to the needs of refugees and displaced people from Burma. Their mission is to demonstrate, through holistic action, God’s love to children and communities made vulnerable by war in Burma.

A Place to Call Home


The hills are shrouded in mist in this fortress village high in the mountains straddling Thailand and Shan State, Burma. It has a sense of permanence with its school and clinic and shops. More and more buildings go up each week it seems and now there is cellphone coverage in the clinic area. And it feels like things have changed in that nano of an instant. Students now spend their free time texting or scrolling Facebook. Modernity has come to this outback.

Recently I brought some volunteers up here to share in the opening of our medical training for the year ...

read the rest of this post



Partners Relief and Development is a registered charity in Australia, Canada, New Zealand, Norway, the United Kingdom and the United States, working with communities impacted by war in Burma.

In the News ... "Feast of caring"

OA Photo by Courtney Sacco
• FBC gives away 1,200 Thanksgiving day meals to people in need

By Corey Paul, Reporter
Odessa American

ODESSA, TEXAS - Members of First Baptist Church of Odessa on Sunday gave away 1,200 Thanksgiving meals, what several described as a reminder of the need that remains in a community during an oil boom.

Apolonia Espinosa came with her 23-year-old son, Abel, in their first year seeking help during the holiday. If they hadn’t, she said her family would have gone to a restaurant instead of eating a Thanksgiving Day meal.

“Rent is going up, and not everybody works in the oilfield,” Espinosa said ...

read the rest of this OA report ...

Today in the PC-USA Mission Yearbook

The Mission Yearbook for Prayer and Study is a daily devotional with 365 inspiring mission stories that come from next door and all across the globe. It inspires thousands of Presbyterians daily as they uphold the mission of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) in intercessory prayer. How often have you wondered, where are the young adults in the PC(USA)? Wonder no longer. The 2014 Presbyterian Mission Yearbook for Prayer and Study is devoted to the theme of young adults in the church. Its stories, many told by young adults, lift up how Presbyterians of all ages are engaging and joining with Presbyterian young adults in reforming the church for Christ’s mission.

Today in the Mission Yearbook: November 26, 2014


IRAN - In Iran the persecution and discrimination of Christians continues to be a sad, undeniable reality. Amid the pressure and closure of many churches, the number of house churches has grown steadily. Lack of access to Christian literature and Scripture is a problem, and the migration of Christians is a painful challenge. However, the good news of God is a stronger reality than all problems and challenges.

God uses Presbyterians to bless others miles away ...

CLICK HERE
to read more.


The 2015 Presbyterian Mission Yearbook now available ... 

 The 2015 Presbyterian Mission Yearbook for Prayer and Study is devoted to the compassionate and prophetic disciples among us. They proclaim God’s justice — extending God’s reign each and every day through their lives and work. Their stories will inspire and encourage you. Engage in ministry alongside them by praying through the Mission Yearbook each day.

Order your copy from the Church Store ...

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Word from Uganda: "Photo Drop"

Missionary teacher Natalie Rolfe writes, "'When He calls me, I will answer ... I'll be somewhere working for my Lord.' My call was Mbale, Uganda and that is where I have returned to serve for another year. Specifically, I am teaching phonics at Lulwanda Children's Home, an orphanage and school for 90 kids." Natalie also keeps an online journal of her service at the weblog, When He calls me, I will answer ...

Photo Drop

Sometimes there is just too much going on to update a blog. But here is a glimpse of what I have been up to during my silent (blog) times (in no particular order) ...

 • read the rest of Natalie's post ... 



In the News ... "Local Man Organizes Free Thanksgiving Dinner"

KMID Photo
Staff Report
KMID-TV


ODESSA, TEXAS - "If you come, you get a chair, you'll get served," said Jesse Porras, organizer of Neighborhood Thanksgiving Dinner.

Served a full Thanksgiving meal, for free!

"We've got a lot of volunteers bringing in stuff. You know turkeys, the mashed potatoes and all that," said Lisa salars, owner of Mama's Kitchen.

Porras is preparing his second thanksgiving dinner for the Odessa community ...

read the rest of this KMID report


Special announcement for this week's "Invitation to Prayer"

Faces of Children is an ecumenical prayer ministry under the auspices of First Presbyterian Church of Midland, Texas. Our mission is to initiate ministries of prayer for children in churches, communities, and neighborhoods. In doing so, we seek to provide an opportunity for people of God to join together, learn about children and their needs throughout the world, and celebrate Christ's love (especially as it relates to children).

Listening with a Sacred Text


"It might be helpful to offer here a concrete suggestion. One good way to listen is to listen with a sacred text: a psalm or a prayer, for instance. The Hindu spiritual writer Eknath Easwaran showed me the great value of learning a sacred text by heart and repeating it slowly in the mind, word by word, sentence by sentence. In this way, listening to the voice of love becomes not just a passive waiting, but an active attentiveness to the voice that speaks to us through the words of the Scriptures.

I spent many of my half-hours of prayer doing nothing but slowly repeating the prayer of St. Francis: ‘Lord make me an instrument of your peace. Where there is hatred let me sow love….’ As I let these words move from my mind to my heart, I began to experience, beyond all my restless emotions and feelings, the peace and love I was asking for in words.

In this way I also had a way to deal with my endless distractions. When I found myself wandering away far and wide, I could always return to my simple prayer and thereby listen again in my heart to the voice I so much wanted to hear.”

Life of the Beloved by Henri J. M. Nouwen


A message from Chris Laufer, Coordinator, Faces of Children

Greetings, Faces of Children Prayer Partner,

The Midland Faces of Children prayer group will not meet on Wednesday, November 26, 2014 as our offices will be closed that day for the Thanksgiving holiday.

Thank you for your faithfulness in prayer for the littlest citizens of God’s Kingdom! If you have prayer concerns or celebrations about children, those who care for them, those who have authority over them, or those who harm them (the really hard prayers to say sometimes), please send them to me at at claufer@facesofchildren.net, or give me a call.

Grace and peace,

Chris



Prayer Concerns for the Week of 11/24/14

Bangladesh

Please keep in prayer girls at risk of being forced into marriage at a young age in Bangladesh. This South Asian country has the second highest rate of child marriage in the world.
more on this request ...
Pray the Bangladeshi government will reconsider new legislation that proposes to lower the minimum age of marriage for a girl from 18 to 16 years. Please pray their government leaders will instead reinforce a largely ignored 30-year-old law that bans marriage for girls under age 18.
Pray for girls who are forced into marriage before their bodies are mature enough to engage in sex or safely carry a pregnancy to term. Pray for child brides who are denied the opportunity to attend school, who are isolated from society, and for those who are forced into a lifetime of economic dependence.
Please pray for the estimated 74 percent of Bangladeshi women, currently aged 20 to 49, who were married off before they were 18 years of age. Pray for those who have experienced rape, domestic violence, and forced pregnancies because they were coerced into marriage at a young age.
Pray the practice of forced child marriages will end…that the social acceptance of this form of child abuse will stop.

Syria

Keep close in prayer an estimated 150 children who were kidnapped and tortured by Islamic State militants (IS, also known as ISIS or ISIL) in Syria. The children, most from a Kurdish town on the Syrian border with Turkey, were kidnapped last May as they returned home from taking school exams in Aleppo.
more on this request ...
Pray for children who were forced to watch videos of Islamic State militants in combat and beheading captives. Pray for those who were beaten with cables when they didn’t conform to the strict religious indoctrination and training forced on them by these radical Islamist militants.
Pray for children who were singled out by the militants because of their connections to the Kurdish militia. Children with family members in the Kurdish militia were forced to give IS the addresses of those relatives and were then told these Kurdish militia members would be hunted down and killed.
Give God thanks for the release of these young hostages. The last of them were released late last month when they were told their religious education was now over. Pray they will find safe shelter and be reunited with their families. Pray God will provide them with the resources they need to heal from long months of trauma and torture. Pray for their physical, spiritual, emotional, and mental healing.
Pray for the freedom of those still held by IS militants and for an end to the brutality IS dispenses so ruthlessly.
Pray for peace in this troubled region.

United States

Please pray God will bring healing and peace to 26-year-old Paige who has been given a terminal cancer diagnosis. Pray this young mother and her husband Kevin will experience God’s comforting presence through the love and support of their community. Pray for their 2-year-old daughter Olivia during this season of confusion and sickness. Pray God will sustain Kevin as he takes care of his little girl and his dying wife.
Give thanks to God 17-year-old Taylor* will graduate next month from her therapy program at a residential treatment facility. Taylor was diagnosed with a serious mental illness last year and has worked hard to regain her emotional and physical health as well as strengthen her resiliency. Thanks be to God for this amazing treatment program and the staff and therapy specialists who have helped Taylor during this challenging season.
     o Please pray for Taylor as she returns home next month…that she will remember all the tools she’s worked hard to acquire in her time away. Pray she will experience God’s peace that surpasses all understanding as she reenters home life.
     o Continue to keep in prayer Taylor’s siblings, 19-year-old Ernest* and 13-year-old Melissa*, as they have been deeply affected by their sister’s mental illness. Pray God will bring healing to their hearts and minds and their relationships with their sister.
     o Please continue in prayer for Taylor’s parents as they bring their daughter home. Give thanks to God for the hard work they have done in family therapy to learn how best to help Taylor and their family. Pray God will sustain them in this new chapter and continue to guide them.

Faces of Children

Please continue to pray that more churches and individuals will join with the ministry of Faces of Children in spreading awareness about children in crisis and inviting more people to pray for children at risk.



If you have prayer requests about children, those who care for them, those who have authority over them, or those who harm them (the really hard prayers to say sometimes), please send them to Chris Laufer, FOC Coordinator, at claufer@facesofchildren.net

In the News ... "Guide to giving back during the holidays"

MRT Photo
• Local nonprofits need volunteers, donations

By Tessa Duvall, Reporter
Midland Reporter-Telegram

MIDLAND, TEXAS - The holiday season for many Midlanders means out-of-town trips to reunite with family around a dinner table filled with Thanksgiving turkey or Christmas ham.

But for the less fortunate in the community and the nonprofit organizations that serve them, the holidays can be a time of great need.

Area organizations say they’re in need of volunteers, food and monetary donations. Here’s how you can help ...

read the rest of this MRT report

Today in the PC-USA Mission Yearbook

The Mission Yearbook for Prayer and Study is a daily devotional with 365 inspiring mission stories that come from next door and all across the globe. It inspires thousands of Presbyterians daily as they uphold the mission of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) in intercessory prayer. How often have you wondered, where are the young adults in the PC(USA)? Wonder no longer. The 2014 Presbyterian Mission Yearbook for Prayer and Study is devoted to the theme of young adults in the church. Its stories, many told by young adults, lift up how Presbyterians of all ages are engaging and joining with Presbyterian young adults in reforming the church for Christ’s mission.

Today in the Mission Yearbook: November 25, 2014


IRAQ - To Abraham, the living God promised, “I will establish my covenant between me and you, and your offspring after you throughout their generations, for an everlasting covenant, to be God to you and to your offspring after you” (Gen. 17:7). In the ancient land from which Abraham came, the Presbyterian church in Iraq continues to bear testimony to God’s faithful covenant promises. Christian witness here dates to the apostolic era. Those early faithful disciples carried the gospel on to the lands of Arabia, Persia, India, and China. Many of these earliest churches still exist in Iraq. The Presbyterian story began in Iraq during the 1840s ...

CLICK HERE
to read more.


The 2015 Presbyterian Mission Yearbook now available ... 

 The 2015 Presbyterian Mission Yearbook for Prayer and Study is devoted to the compassionate and prophetic disciples among us. They proclaim God’s justice — extending God’s reign each and every day through their lives and work. Their stories will inspire and encourage you. Engage in ministry alongside them by praying through the Mission Yearbook each day.

Order your copy from the Church Store ...

Monday, November 24, 2014

ChinaAid: "Government threatens to auction detained pastor's home, leaving family homeless"

The China Aid Association is a non-profit Christian organization - based in Midland, Texas - with a mission to uncover and reveal the truth about religious persecution in China, focusing especially on the unofficial church. They do this, they explain in their website, by exposing the abuses, encouraging the abused and equipping the saints to advance the kingdom of God throughout China.

Government threatens to auction detained pastor's home, leaving family homeless
Distributed by ChinaAid, October, 2014 ...

NANLE COUNTY, HENAN, CHINA – When Nanle County Christian Church pastor, Zhang Shaojie, was sentenced for his fabricated crimes of “gathering a crowd to disrupt public order” and fraud, he was ordered to pay a fine of 700,000 yuan (US $114,000) in addition to serving 12 years in prison. Thursday night, the Nanle County government issued a public notice stating that, because of Zhang’s failure to pay the fine, his home would be auctioned off, leaving his family homeless ...

more on this story from China Aid  

In the News ... "Church Under the Bridge Hosts Thanksgiving Feast for the Homeless"

KOSA Photo
Staff Report
KOSA-TV


MIDLAND, TEXAS - he rain didn't stop Church Under the Bridge from hosting its 2nd annual Thanksgiving feast for the homeless, Saturday, November 22nd, in Midland.

It simply goes to show, once again, how the smallest acts of kindness can have a tremendous impact on one person's life.

Arthur Bennett was one of many who received a home cooked Thanksgiving meal, that may not have received one otherwise ...

read/watch the rest of this KOSA report ... 



Special announcement for this week's "Invitation to Prayer"

Faces of Children is an ecumenical prayer ministry under the auspices of First Presbyterian Church of Midland, Texas. Our mission is to initiate ministries of prayer for children in churches, communities, and neighborhoods. In doing so, we seek to provide an opportunity for people of God to join together, learn about children and their needs throughout the world, and celebrate Christ's love (especially as it relates to children).

Listening with a Sacred Text


"It might be helpful to offer here a concrete suggestion. One good way to listen is to listen with a sacred text: a psalm or a prayer, for instance. The Hindu spiritual writer Eknath Easwaran showed me the great value of learning a sacred text by heart and repeating it slowly in the mind, word by word, sentence by sentence. In this way, listening to the voice of love becomes not just a passive waiting, but an active attentiveness to the voice that speaks to us through the words of the Scriptures.

I spent many of my half-hours of prayer doing nothing but slowly repeating the prayer of St. Francis: ‘Lord make me an instrument of your peace. Where there is hatred let me sow love….’ As I let these words move from my mind to my heart, I began to experience, beyond all my restless emotions and feelings, the peace and love I was asking for in words.

In this way I also had a way to deal with my endless distractions. When I found myself wandering away far and wide, I could always return to my simple prayer and thereby listen again in my heart to the voice I so much wanted to hear.”

Life of the Beloved by Henri J. M. Nouwen


A message from Chris Laufer, Coordinator, Faces of Children

Greetings, Faces of Children Prayer Partner,

The Midland Faces of Children prayer group will not meet on Wednesday, November 26, 2014 as our offices will be closed that day for the Thanksgiving holiday.

Thank you for your faithfulness in prayer for the littlest citizens of God’s Kingdom! If you have prayer concerns or celebrations about children, those who care for them, those who have authority over them, or those who harm them (the really hard prayers to say sometimes), please send them to me at at claufer@facesofchildren.net, or give me a call.

Grace and peace,

Chris



Prayer Concerns for the Week of 11/24/14

Bangladesh

Please keep in prayer girls at risk of being forced into marriage at a young age in Bangladesh. This South Asian country has the second highest rate of child marriage in the world.
more on this request ...
Pray the Bangladeshi government will reconsider new legislation that proposes to lower the minimum age of marriage for a girl from 18 to 16 years. Please pray their government leaders will instead reinforce a largely ignored 30-year-old law that bans marriage for girls under age 18.
Pray for girls who are forced into marriage before their bodies are mature enough to engage in sex or safely carry a pregnancy to term. Pray for child brides who are denied the opportunity to attend school, who are isolated from society, and for those who are forced into a lifetime of economic dependence.
Please pray for the estimated 74 percent of Bangladeshi women, currently aged 20 to 49, who were married off before they were 18 years of age. Pray for those who have experienced rape, domestic violence, and forced pregnancies because they were coerced into marriage at a young age.
Pray the practice of forced child marriages will end…that the social acceptance of this form of child abuse will stop.

Syria

Keep close in prayer an estimated 150 children who were kidnapped and tortured by Islamic State militants (IS, also known as ISIS or ISIL) in Syria. The children, most from a Kurdish town on the Syrian border with Turkey, were kidnapped last May as they returned home from taking school exams in Aleppo.
more on this request ...
Pray for children who were forced to watch videos of Islamic State militants in combat and beheading captives. Pray for those who were beaten with cables when they didn’t conform to the strict religious indoctrination and training forced on them by these radical Islamist militants.
Pray for children who were singled out by the militants because of their connections to the Kurdish militia. Children with family members in the Kurdish militia were forced to give IS the addresses of those relatives and were then told these Kurdish militia members would be hunted down and killed.
Give God thanks for the release of these young hostages. The last of them were released late last month when they were told their religious education was now over. Pray they will find safe shelter and be reunited with their families. Pray God will provide them with the resources they need to heal from long months of trauma and torture. Pray for their physical, spiritual, emotional, and mental healing.
Pray for the freedom of those still held by IS militants and for an end to the brutality IS dispenses so ruthlessly.
Pray for peace in this troubled region.

United States

Please pray God will bring healing and peace to 26-year-old Paige who has been given a terminal cancer diagnosis. Pray this young mother and her husband Kevin will experience God’s comforting presence through the love and support of their community. Pray for their 2-year-old daughter Olivia during this season of confusion and sickness. Pray God will sustain Kevin as he takes care of his little girl and his dying wife.
Give thanks to God 17-year-old Taylor* will graduate next month from her therapy program at a residential treatment facility. Taylor was diagnosed with a serious mental illness last year and has worked hard to regain her emotional and physical health as well as strengthen her resiliency. Thanks be to God for this amazing treatment program and the staff and therapy specialists who have helped Taylor during this challenging season.
     o Please pray for Taylor as she returns home next month…that she will remember all the tools she’s worked hard to acquire in her time away. Pray she will experience God’s peace that surpasses all understanding as she reenters home life.
     o Continue to keep in prayer Taylor’s siblings, 19-year-old Ernest* and 13-year-old Melissa*, as they have been deeply affected by their sister’s mental illness. Pray God will bring healing to their hearts and minds and their relationships with their sister.
     o Please continue in prayer for Taylor’s parents as they bring their daughter home. Give thanks to God for the hard work they have done in family therapy to learn how best to help Taylor and their family. Pray God will sustain them in this new chapter and continue to guide them.

Faces of Children

Please continue to pray that more churches and individuals will join with the ministry of Faces of Children in spreading awareness about children in crisis and inviting more people to pray for children at risk.



If you have prayer requests about children, those who care for them, those who have authority over them, or those who harm them (the really hard prayers to say sometimes), please send them to Chris Laufer, FOC Coordinator, at claufer@facesofchildren.net

In the News ... "Local retailer partners with church to help homeless"

Courtesy Photo
• Seeking money, items for "survival kits"

By Steve Kuhlman, Reporter
Midland Reporter-Telegram

MIDLAND, TEXAS - Despite the economic boom currently impacting the city, Midland’s homeless population tops 400 individuals. With the colder months approaching, Ivy Cottage is partnering with the Church Under the Bridge to provide blankets and other necessities to help these Midlanders to survive the winter.

“Just because Midland has become known as one of the richest cities in the United States doesn’t mean that we don’t need to take care of our problems that (the money) has created as a reaction,” said Beverly Vaughn, CEO of Ivy Cottage. “We certainly don’t want anyone else lose their life to the elements.”

The home décor store is currently seeking donated items as well as monetary donations to be used toward the purchase of either blankets or items that comprise a “survival kit ...”

read the rest of this MRT report

Today in the PC-USA Mission Yearbook

The Mission Yearbook for Prayer and Study is a daily devotional with 365 inspiring mission stories that come from next door and all across the globe. It inspires thousands of Presbyterians daily as they uphold the mission of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) in intercessory prayer. How often have you wondered, where are the young adults in the PC(USA)? Wonder no longer. The 2014 Presbyterian Mission Yearbook for Prayer and Study is devoted to the theme of young adults in the church. Its stories, many told by young adults, lift up how Presbyterians of all ages are engaging and joining with Presbyterian young adults in reforming the church for Christ’s mission.

Today in the Mission Yearbook: November 24, 2014


SYRIA (continued) - The crisis in Syria is dire and heartbreaking, with more than 93,000 people killed and an estimated 4 million fleeing elsewhere as refugees as of June 2013. The contours of a proxy war have also become more visible, with Iran, Hizbullah, and Russia backing the regime of Bashar al-Assad, and the conservative Gulf States, Israel, some European nations, and the United States supporting various opposition groups. Atrocities have been carried out on both sides, including perhaps very limited chemical weapon use, an allegation the United Nations was investigating at the time of this writing ...

CLICK HERE
to read more.


The 2015 Presbyterian Mission Yearbook now available ... 

 The 2015 Presbyterian Mission Yearbook for Prayer and Study is devoted to the compassionate and prophetic disciples among us. They proclaim God’s justice — extending God’s reign each and every day through their lives and work. Their stories will inspire and encourage you. Engage in ministry alongside them by praying through the Mission Yearbook each day.

Order your copy from the Church Store ...

Sunday, November 23, 2014

In the News ... "Rays of Hope recognizes National Blue Day with art exhibit"

MRT Photo by Tim Fischer
• Visual representation of clients' grief

By Steve Kuhlman
Midland Reporter-Telegram

MIDLAND, TEXAS - Rays of Hope Children’s Grief Centre observed National Children’s Grief Awareness Day — also known as National Blue Day — Thursday with an art exhibit titled “Grief Through the Eyes of a Child” featuring art by the center’s clients.

“It’s very touching to be able to look into the lives of these families who have been impacted by loss,” said Kelsee Jones, program director at Rays of Hope. “It’s powerful in the sense that you can really recognize their grief, but you can also see the hope that they have in healing. We feel like it’s very touching and impactful for people to come in and see and it really speaks to the work that we want to try to do.”

Jones said the art project is an assignment of a program that aims to help clients and their families create a visual representation of what their grief. She hopes the exhibit was able to remind the community that “we’re surrounded by children who are grieving due to losses and changes in their lives and that we do have the power to support them ...”

read the rest of this MRT report

Today in the PC-USA Mission Yearbook

The Mission Yearbook for Prayer and Study is a daily devotional with 365 inspiring mission stories that come from next door and all across the globe. It inspires thousands of Presbyterians daily as they uphold the mission of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) in intercessory prayer. How often have you wondered, where are the young adults in the PC(USA)? Wonder no longer. The 2014 Presbyterian Mission Yearbook for Prayer and Study is devoted to the theme of young adults in the church. Its stories, many told by young adults, lift up how Presbyterians of all ages are engaging and joining with Presbyterian young adults in reforming the church for Christ’s mission.

Today in the Mission Yearbook: November 23, 2014


MINUTE FOR MISSION: CHRIST THE KING / REIGN OF CHRIST - On the last Sunday before Advent begins, we should all take a moment to consider that Christmas is not just about a baby being born—it is about the coming of a king. And this King, whom we have never met, loved us enough to die for us. And his “Abba,” our great God, sent him to earth so that he could show us how we should live and how to love one another. Today is a day for us to celebrate the great love that God shows us every single day ...

CLICK HERE
to read more.


The 2015 Presbyterian Mission Yearbook now available ... 

 The 2015 Presbyterian Mission Yearbook for Prayer and Study is devoted to the compassionate and prophetic disciples among us. They proclaim God’s justice — extending God’s reign each and every day through their lives and work. Their stories will inspire and encourage you. Engage in ministry alongside them by praying through the Mission Yearbook each day.

Order your copy from the Church Store ...

Saturday, November 22, 2014

In the News ... "After 13 years, Three Bridges still has its gospel story to tell"

Courtesy Photo
Rich Lopez, Reporter
Midland Reporter-Telegram

MIDLAND, TEXAS - Elliot McCoy is used to the question about his gospel trio’s name. Since their debut 13 years ago, it’s the one question he’s always asked. But it’s also a joke easily walked into.

“I’m Lloyd, he’s Jeff and that’s Beau — the Three Bridges,” McCoy joked.

Initially, he was just drawn to the word, but then he liked the notion of it.

“Well, obviously we are a trio, but then I like to think that we’ve bridged our life to Christ and also we’re a bridge to Christ for others,” he said.

Touring in support of their October release “Jesus Saves,” the trio — which also features lead singer Shannon Smith and tenor Jeremie Hudson (McCoy sings baritone) — will perform a concert Sunday at Calvary Assembly of God ...

 • read the rest of this MRT report

Today in the PC-USA Mission Yearbook

The Mission Yearbook for Prayer and Study is a daily devotional with 365 inspiring mission stories that come from next door and all across the globe. It inspires thousands of Presbyterians daily as they uphold the mission of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) in intercessory prayer. How often have you wondered, where are the young adults in the PC(USA)? Wonder no longer. The 2014 Presbyterian Mission Yearbook for Prayer and Study is devoted to the theme of young adults in the church. Its stories, many told by young adults, lift up how Presbyterians of all ages are engaging and joining with Presbyterian young adults in reforming the church for Christ’s mission.

Today in the Mission Yearbook: November 22, 2014


SYRIA - Despite the recent turmoil in much of the Middle East, a group of Presbyterian young adults, primarily from Syria, gathered in fellowship in fall 2012 at the Dhour Choueir Conference Center, a ministry of the National Evangelical Synod of Syria and Lebanon (NESSL). Proverbs 8:1—“Does not wisdom call out? Does not understanding raise her voice?”—provided the theme of the conference.

Participants shared their experiences during the crisis in Syria, which included joblessness, uncertainty, and fear for the future. Despite their collective fears, some expressed strongly that Christians can play an important role in such circumstances ...

CLICK HERE
to read more.


The 2015 Presbyterian Mission Yearbook now available ... 

 The 2015 Presbyterian Mission Yearbook for Prayer and Study is devoted to the compassionate and prophetic disciples among us. They proclaim God’s justice — extending God’s reign each and every day through their lives and work. Their stories will inspire and encourage you. Engage in ministry alongside them by praying through the Mission Yearbook each day.

Order your copy from the Church Store ...

Friday, November 21, 2014

In the News ... "Gobble, gobble!"

OA Photo by Edyta Blaszczyk
• First Baptist giving out 1,200 Thanksgiving meals

By Jon Vanderlaan, Reporter
Odessa American

ODESSA, TEXAS - Taking on the tradition of Permian Basin Mission Center, First Baptist Church of Odessa is giving away 1,200 Thanksgiving meals Sunday.

From 3 p.m. to 5 p.m. Sunday, the church will hand out 12- to 16-pound turkeys and all the fixin’s.

James McCrary, the church’s pastor of connections, said the FBC staff wanted to find a way to give back to the community, and one of those ways was giving Thanksgiving meals ...

CLICK HERE to read the rest of this OA report


Mysteries Revealed! "Advent Conspiracy" concludes Sunday at First Prez-Midland

Concluding this Sunday at First Presbyterian Church of Midland, Texas ...

There's a conspiracy afoot in the Tall City, and across the country ... though it's not the kind of conspiracy you'd find in a Dan Brown novel. Advent Conspiracy is an international movement working to restore the spirit of Christmas by substituting compassion for consumption - a movement of Christ-followers who want to ...

 • Worship Fully,
 • Give More,
 • Spend Less, and
 • Love All.


It's a conspiracy without a hidden agenda ... speaking openly, conspirators remind us that the story of Christ's birth is a story of promise, hope, and a revolutionary love. So, what happened? What was once a time to celebrate the birth of a savior has somehow turned into a season of stress, traffic jams, and shopping lists. And when it's all over, many of us are left with presents to return, looming debt that will take months to pay off, and this empty feeling of missed purpose. Is this what we really want out of Christmas?

We all want our Christmas to be a lot of things. Full of joy. Memories. Happiness. Above all, we want it to be about Jesus. What we don't want is stress. Or debt. Or feeling like we "missed the moment". Advent Conspiracy is a movement designed to help us all slow down and experience a Christmas worth remembering. But doing this means doing things a little differently. A little creatively.

What if Christmas became a world-changing event again? ... Welcome to the Advent Conspiracy. ... It means turning Christmas upside down.



Want to know more? Join us Sunday at 9:30 a.m. in Lynn Hall at First Presbyterian Church-Midland, at the northwest corner of Texas and A streets, on the west side of downtown Midland. You can enter the church from Texas Street, or from Illinois, right across from Midland High School.

In the News ... "Fill the Box: Needy children helped through effort"

OA Photo by Courtney Sacco
• Christmas goes around the world

By Bob Campbell, Special Contributor
Odessa American

MIDLAND/ODESSA, TEXAS - There is an obvious benefit to sending shoeboxes full of Christmas gifts to 10 million children in 90 countries, but leaders of the program say the real value is that it is unquantifiable.

Packing boxes for their annual drive Monday through Nov. 24, Permian Basin workers in Operation Christmas Child are using Sherwood Baptist Church at 505 E. 42nd St., in Odessa and Stonegate Fellowship at 6000 W. Wadley Ave., in Midland as collection centers.

Each shoebox is designated for a girl or a boy, wrapped in Christmas paper and packed with things like hard candy, small cars, dolls, stuffed animals, yo-yos, Slinkies, jump ropes, personal hygiene items and basic necessities like shoes, socks and pencils, organizers say ...

read the rest of this OA report ...


Today in the PC-USA Mission Yearbook

The Mission Yearbook for Prayer and Study is a daily devotional with 365 inspiring mission stories that come from next door and all across the globe. It inspires thousands of Presbyterians daily as they uphold the mission of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) in intercessory prayer. How often have you wondered, where are the young adults in the PC(USA)? Wonder no longer. The 2014 Presbyterian Mission Yearbook for Prayer and Study is devoted to the theme of young adults in the church. Its stories, many told by young adults, lift up how Presbyterians of all ages are engaging and joining with Presbyterian young adults in reforming the church for Christ’s mission.

Today in the Mission Yearbook: November 21, 2014


LEBANON - Lebanon was once called the Switzerland of the Middle East for its peaceful balancing of a diversity of Christian and Muslim groups. That peace was seriously damaged by a civil war from 1975 to 1990, complicated by invasions and partial occupations by Israel and Syria, and unbalanced by waves of refugees: over 400,000 Palestinians and their descendants and an estimated 100,000 Iraqis and 400,000 Syrians. The Muslim community overall is thought to make up more than 60 percent of the population. The Maronite Catholic and Orthodox Christian communities significantly outnumber the Protestants, many of them members of the PC(USA)’s partner church, the National Evangelical Synod of Syria and Lebanon. ...

CLICK HERE
to read more.


The 2015 Presbyterian Mission Yearbook now available ... 

 The 2015 Presbyterian Mission Yearbook for Prayer and Study is devoted to the compassionate and prophetic disciples among us. They proclaim God’s justice — extending God’s reign each and every day through their lives and work. Their stories will inspire and encourage you. Engage in ministry alongside them by praying through the Mission Yearbook each day.

Order your copy from the Church Store ...

Thursday, November 20, 2014

Nightlight Blog: "A Few Good Men, Part 3"

"The people walking in darkness have seen a great light; on those living in the land of the shadow of death a light has dawned.” Isaiah 9:2

Annie Dieselberg, founder and CEO, heads the staff at NightLight, a ministry in urban Bangkok, Thailand, that reaches out to women and children working in the bar areas of the Nana-Sukhumvit district. Located in a neighborhood with a growing sex trade, Nightlight’s vision is to share the Light of the world in both word and deed to those who live in darkness, and to combat the sexual exploitation of women and children, both Thai and foreign,

One of the means Annie uses to share her observations and experiences is her blog, a document of Nightlight's's mission to see women and children freed from the sexual exploitation of prostitution and trafficking, and to see the global church and community working together to free, heal, and restore all who have been broken and wounded through the sex trade.

A Few Good Men, Part 3

We at NightLight believe that men are part of the solution in regard to the issue of sexual exploitation. We are committed to reaching out to the men who come to Bangkok to participate in the sex industry. These following stories will highlight “a few good men” that we work with or encounter in the Nana red-light district in Bangkok. This week we are featuring a journal from David Weber. He and his wife, Allison, are from the U.S. and recently joined the volunteer staff at NightLight in August 2012 ...

“Greetings, friends and supports of NightLight. My wife Allison, and I are volunteers with NightLight and are responsible for the outreach center. Males are a rare sight at the NightLight offices, so I’ve often felt like an anomaly here. Jeff, Ajaan Nak, Paul, and I are surrounded by 60+ women. Some men would relish these opportunities, but since my last two seasons of life were male-dominant: working at an engineering firm and then studying in the information systems department of a business school, I admit it is sometimes a bit daunting! Allison says it’s good for me, and she is usually right about this kind of stuff.

Before coming to NightLight, I expected the women there to view me with hostility, since it was likely the men in their lives who mistreated and abused them ...


read the rest of this post ... 

Faces of Children: Prayer Concerns for This Week

Faces of Children is an ecumenical prayer ministry under the auspices of First Presbyterian Church of Midland, Texas. Our mission is to initiate ministries of prayer for children in churches, communities, and neighborhoods. In doing so, we seek to provide an opportunity for people of God to join together, learn about children and their needs throughout the world, and celebrate Christ's love (especially as it relates to children).

Prayer Concerns for the Week of 11/19/14


China

Please hold 2-month-old Esther close in prayer during a very difficult season of her young life. Esther was born with a gastrointestinal defect and abandoned at a local orphanage when she was 11 days old.
Give thanks to God the orphanage at which Esther was placed brought her to New Day Foster Home after hearing they’d been able to help other children with the same condition. Shortly after she was moved to New Day, Esther underwent a Kasai procedure in order to delay the need for a liver transplant; however, the procedure didn’t work.
Pray God will bring healing to Esther’s little body as she is in liver failure and without a miracle, will not survive much longer. She is currently in ICU.
more on this request ...
more on this request ...

France

Please keep in prayer the estimated 2,000 migrants living in and around the French port of Calais. Pray for children and families (many of whom escaped from countries torn apart by war or political instability) who now live in dreadful conditions like muddy fields, wet ditches, makeshift tents, and abandoned buildings. French authorities say there’s been a 50 percent increase in the number of illegal immigrants in Calais this past year because of the conflicts in Syria, Afghanistan, Sudan, and Eritrea as well as other parts of the Middle East and North Africa.
more on this request ...
Pray for the 10-year-old Syrian boy living in a rain-soaked ditch who was infested with scabies. Pray God will provide him and the other Syrian boys and young men living in these appalling conditions with safe shelter, medical care, food and water, and warm clothing as the winter approaches.
more on this request ...
Pray for all migrant children and families in Calais who lack sufficient food, drinking water, proper shelter, clothing, and sanitation. Pray for those who are at risk of further violence and brutality because of their vulnerable situations. Pray for the safety of those in danger of being trafficked.
Give thanks to God for the local charities in Calais that are providing clothing and food. Thanks be to God for the staff and volunteers with Doctors of the World who are treating migrants for health problems including scabies, diarrhea, chest complaints, and respiratory ailments.

Iraq

Please remember in prayer the loved ones of those massacred earlier this month in western Anbar province by Islamic State militants (IS also known as ISIS or ISIL). This radical terrorist group, intent on establishing a medieval caliphate in northern Iraq and Syria, destroys anyone and anything in its path. More than 300 members of the Albu Nimr tribe were executed by IS militants. The bodies of 50 Albu Nimr children and women were found dumped in a well.
more on this request ...
Pray for the members of this tribal group who were able to escape from IS. Pray for their safety as they seek shelter outside their village which has been taken over by IS. Pray for the children and families of other tribal groups in the militants’ path in Anbar province.
Please continue to pray for peace and stability in this region. Pray for the safety and freedom of all minorities targeted by IS militants.

Nigeria

Continue to keep in prayer the children and families affected by the frequent and violent attacks of Boko Haram rebels. This radical Islamist group uses brutal means—daily raids, murders, and abductions—in their campaign to establish an Islamic Sharia state in northeast Nigeria. They primarily target Christians and those who seek an education. Boko Haram means “Western education is forbidden."
more on this request ...
Pray for the families and friends of the 46 students killed in a bomb blast last week at a secondary school for boys in northeast Nigeria. Pray for God’s healing touch upon those who were injured in the bombing.
more on this request ...
Please continue to pray for children and families who’ve been affected by Boko Haram’s violent campaign. Pray for those who’ve had loved ones killed or injured in attacks by this militant group. Pray for children and families who have lost their homes and communities. Pray God will provide for their immediate and deepest needs.
Please continue to pray for peace in Nigeria’s troubled northeast region. Pray for Nigeria’s government and military leaders during this challenging season. Pray for wisdom and courage to do the right thing for their fellow Nigerians, especially the children of this fractured country.

Faces of Children

Please continue to pray that more churches and individuals will join with the ministry of Faces of Children in spreading awareness about children in crisis and inviting more people to pray for children at risk.



If you have prayer requests about children, those who care for them, those who have authority over them, or those who harm them (the really hard prayers to say sometimes), please send them to Chris Laufer, FOC Coordinator, at claufer@facesofchildren.net

In the News ... "Feeding the community"

OA Photo by Mark Sterkel
• FBC features First Cup Café serving people of downtown

By Jared Wilson, Reporter
Odessa American

ODESSA, TEXAS - Jennifer Cochran remembers her calling to First Baptist Church while hearing about their opening for a food service director and seeing an ad for the position. She recalls being asked to take the position after retiring from the Career Center where she had a hand in starting the Culinary Art Program.

“God led me here, he works in mysterious ways,” Cochran said. “I found out that the church had an opening for a food service director so I started thinking about it and people at the church called me about it. I was thinking it over and I finally saw an ad in the paper for the position and I said ‘OK God I’m going’. I took it as a retirement job.”

That is how Cochran got started at FBC but the small retirement job she thought she was walking into soon blossomed into something much more with the added renovations at the church ...

read the rest of this OA report ...


Today in the PC-USA Mission Yearbook

The Mission Yearbook for Prayer and Study is a daily devotional with 365 inspiring mission stories that come from next door and all across the globe. It inspires thousands of Presbyterians daily as they uphold the mission of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) in intercessory prayer. How often have you wondered, where are the young adults in the PC(USA)? Wonder no longer. The 2014 Presbyterian Mission Yearbook for Prayer and Study is devoted to the theme of young adults in the church. Its stories, many told by young adults, lift up how Presbyterians of all ages are engaging and joining with Presbyterian young adults in reforming the church for Christ’s mission.

Today in the Mission Yearbook: November 20, 2014


ISRAEL/PALESTINE/JERUSALEM (continued) - We drove our van southwest from Bethlehem, turning off the main road at an unmarked drive that quickly turned into a rocky dirt road along the edge of a hill. Before long we encountered a giant boulder that blocked the road. As we piled out to walk the final 300 yards to the farm home of the Daoud Nassar family, we learned that the Israeli Army had placed the boulder in the road to prevent motorized access to the farm.

We were met by Daoud and Amal Nassar and their young family, who welcomed us with tea and an incredible story of Christian forbearance, persistence, and courag ...

CLICK HERE
to read more.


The 2015 Presbyterian Mission Yearbook now available ... 

 The 2015 Presbyterian Mission Yearbook for Prayer and Study is devoted to the compassionate and prophetic disciples among us. They proclaim God’s justice — extending God’s reign each and every day through their lives and work. Their stories will inspire and encourage you. Engage in ministry alongside them by praying through the Mission Yearbook each day.

Order your copy from the Church Store ...