Monday, April 25, 2011

Midland Group: Government Persecution of Church in China Worsens for Fifth Straight Year

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.

Midland Group: Government Persecution of Church in China Worsens for Fifth Straight Year

Released by ChinaAid, April, 2011 ...

"MIDLAND, TEXAS – Chinese government persecution of the church in China continued to worsen in 2010, the fifth straight year of escalating persecution, according to an annual report released Thursday by the Christian monitoring group ChinaAid Association."
Read the Rest of the Report from ChinaAid

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Today in the PC-USA Mission Yearbook


The Mission Yearbook for Prayer & 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. The stories for the 2011 Mission Yearbook were collected around General Assembly Mission theme “Grow Christ’s Church Deep and Wide” based on Matthew 28:18-20 and Mark 9:35. Each yearbook page bears witness to the abundant possibilities of the church because of the leadership of Christ.

Today in the Mission Yearbook: April 24, 2011

MINUTE FOR MISSION: RESURRECTION OF THE LORD / EASTER ONE GREAT HOUR OF SHARING - Then Peter began to speak to them: "I truly understand that God shows no partiality, but in every nation anyone who fears him and does what is right is acceptable to him" (Acts 10:34-35).

Picture the scene: it is hot; we are sitting in the shade of a thatched roof; we hear goats bleating, roosters crowing, and people gathering to sit on the ground and meet the group from PC(USA). We were in Yaweima, a remote village in Sierra Leone, to see the ongoing results of a One Great Hour of Sharing-funded program in which villagers work together to produce, store, process, and share food and seeds so that they are more food secure and less impacted by outside forces.

CLICK HERE to read more.

Saturday, April 23, 2011

Today in the PC-USA Mission Yearbook


The Mission Yearbook for Prayer & 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. The stories for the 2011 Mission Yearbook were collected around General Assembly Mission theme “Grow Christ’s Church Deep and Wide” based on Matthew 28:18-20 and Mark 9:35. Each yearbook page bears witness to the abundant possibilities of the church because of the leadership of Christ.

Today in the Mission Yearbook: April 23, 2011

PRESBYTERY OF NORTH CENTRAL IOWA - First Presbyterian Church in Fort Dodge has a wheelchair repair shop ministry that is one of nine satellite repair shops of the nonprofit Hope Haven International Ministries in northwest Iowa. At the shop donated chairs, mostly in disrepair, are disassembled, cleaned, and disinfected. Worn parts, tires, and tubes are replaced, bearings greased, and parts repainted before the chair is reassembled. The workers, all volunteers, have served for God's glory in this outreach ministry for six years and have repaired 710 chairs.

CLICK HERE to read more.

Friday, April 22, 2011

Today in the PC-USA Mission Yearbook


The Mission Yearbook for Prayer & 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. The stories for the 2011 Mission Yearbook were collected around General Assembly Mission theme “Grow Christ’s Church Deep and Wide” based on Matthew 28:18-20 and Mark 9:35. Each yearbook page bears witness to the abundant possibilities of the church because of the leadership of Christ.

Today in the Mission Yearbook: April 22, 2011

GOOD FRIDAY MINUTE FOR MISSION - The lectionary reading from Isaiah for this day is part of a larger passage that points to the incongruities of this day. Isaiah 52 begins with an exhortation to "awake, awake," for the Lord announces redemption. A messenger brings good news, announces salvation, and proclaims that God reigns. This comfort, this redemption is a sign of a God whose strong arm is bared before the nations.

But this good news of triumph comes from an unlikely source, one who had no majesty. He was despised and rejected, a man of suffering. People hid their eyes from him.

CLICK HERE to read more.

Thursday, April 21, 2011

In the News ... "West Texas Churches Pray For Rain"

West Texas Churches Pray For Rain

By Jennifer Samp, KOSA-TV

ODESSA, TEXAS -It’s been nearly seven months since the Permian Basin has had a significant amount of rain, and local churches across West Texas are joining together to ask for the much-needed moisture.

Saint Mary's Church is one of the many congregations that are focusing their prayers on rain.

CLICK HERE to read/watch the rest of the KOSA story.

In the News ... "State of Religion, Pt 1: Area pastors say church attendance in Midland still going strong"

State of Religion, Pt 1: Area pastors say church attendance in Midland still going strong

By Sarah Higgins, Midland Reporter-Telegram

MIDLAND, TEXAS -Pastors of local churches are reporting slow and steady growth over the past few years, as overall religious affiliation among adults has declined in the United States.

The percentage of American adults who self-identify as Christians declined from 86 percent in 1990 to 76 percent in 2008, according to American Religious Identify Survey data published by the U.S. Census Bureau. One out of five Americans failed to indicate affiliation with any religion in the 2008 survey. Those who did not claim any religion, or were atheist or agnostic, grew -- though at a slower pace than during the 1990s -- from 8.2 percent of the American adult population in 1990 to 14.1 percent in 2001, and 15 percent in 2008.

"Midland's a sort of bubble in lots of ways, but we're not immune to that, either," said the Rev. Steve Schorr of First Presbyterian Church.

CLICK HERE to read the rest of the MRT story.

Today in the PC-USA Mission Yearbook


The Mission Yearbook for Prayer & 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. The stories for the 2011 Mission Yearbook were collected around General Assembly Mission theme “Grow Christ’s Church Deep and Wide” based on Matthew 28:18-20 and Mark 9:35. Each yearbook page bears witness to the abundant possibilities of the church because of the leadership of Christ.

Today in the Mission Yearbook: April 21, 2011

MINUTE FOR MISSION: MAUNDY THURSDAY - I make my way to Highland Park Presbyterian Church in Dallas, Texas, through the neighborhood of well-manicured lawns and beautiful houses. Something is out of context. I hear African drums, and the lively melody is invigorating. As I enter the worship space, young African boys give me a bulletin and welcome me. The African hymns are sung with feeling, and I am drawn into the holy presence of God.

This was my introduction to the All Nations worshiping community, where the Rev. Dr. Cyprian Kimathi Guchienda is pastor.

CLICK HERE to read more.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Faces of Children: Prayer Requests


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 4/20/11

BURMA/MYANMAR ( Partners Relief and Development ) - Give thanks to God for the work of the staff and volunteers with Partners Relief and Development as they help the ethnic hill tribe children and people of Burma. Partners' local staff was able to distribute drinking water, food, and tarps the day after a 6.8 magnitude earthquake hit Shan State in Burma. Pray that God will continue to provide for all those affected by this quake. A report from Partners Relief & Development

Please pray for children and people in the Karen State in eastern Burma who suffer from severe food shortages due to failed crops. Pray for those who are not allowed to cultivate better land because they are surrounded by the Burma Army. Thanks be to God for Partners' work with these persecuted people.

ECUADOR - Give God praise for the work of volunteers with Medical Mission Ecuador program in treating 600 children and performing more than 150 surgeries. Many of the ailments treated are genetic defects or preventable birth defects. Thanks be to God that so many children were able to receive treatment for cleft palate, clubfoot, and cerebral palsy due to birth injury. A report from infoforum.com

IVORY COAST, LIBERIA - Please keep the children and people of Ivory Coast held close in prayer during this season of political unrest and violence. Pray for those who live in fear as this country slides closer and closer to civil war.

Pray for the nearly one million people displaced by the fighting between followers of the incumbent president and those of the winner of the recent presidential election. Pray for the estimated 110,000 people who have escaped the violence and sought refuge in Liberia. A report from alertnet.org A report from the New York Times

Pray that God will provide the resources needed to care for these displaced people and for those who have seen their livelihoods disappear because of the fighting. Ivory Coast is the world's largest producer of cocoa and exports have stopped due to European Union sanctions. A report from alertnet.org

KAZAKHSTAN, UNITED STATES - Give praise to God for answering prayers about 2-year-old "Tia" (name changed for confidentiality and/or protection), a little girl born with facial deformities. The judge in Kazakhstan made an immediate decision in the case and allowed Cindy, a single mother of four internationally adopted children, to adopt Tia. Because of Tia's severe facial deformities, the judge in this case made an exception to the current no adoption rule in Kazakhstan.

Please continue to keep Tia and her new mother in prayer as Cindy won't be able to take Tia to the United States for several more weeks. Pray for traveling mercies for Cindy and Tia in the coming weeks. Pray for Cindy's four children in the U.S. who are ready for their mother and new sister to come home. Pray for their grandmother who has been caring for these children in Cindy's absence.

UNITED STATES - Give thanks to God for answering prayers about 3-month-old Lexi, a premature baby born with a multitude of physical challenges due to maternal drug use. Thanks be to God that Lexi doesn't have to have surgery to implant a permanent feeding tube in her stomach and can now feed on her own! Praise be to God that she has gained weight and was allowed to go home with her aunt and uncle who have custody of her now. Please pray that God will continue to wrap arms of healing tenderness around this beautiful baby girl. Pray that God will provide her aunt, uncle, and grandparents with the stamina to care for Lexi and the resources with which to do so.

Pray that God will bring comfort and peace into 13-year-old Colton's life as he goes to live with his grandparents.

Give thanks to God for the safe delivery of "Jennifer's" (name changed for confidentiality and/or protection) baby boy, Brandon, early last week. Please keep this young mother and her children held close in prayer as they start another chapter in their lives.

Pray for Mai, her children, and her husband during this very difficult time in their lives. Mai fell down recently and suffered severe brain damage. She has been in a coma since the fall. Please pray that God will bring healing and peace to this young mother and wife. Pray that God will comfort Mai's 3-year-old daughter and 18-month-old son who must miss their mother very much. Pray that Mai's husband will feel the love and support flowing from his family, friends, church family, and community.

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 ... "A Charitable night out"

A Charitable night out

By Lyxan Toledanes, Odessa American

ODESSA, TEXAS -When the clock strikes 1 a.m., the magic of Catholic Charities’ Glass Slipper Ball won’t end when the evening does.

Serving as the charity’s major fundraiser, the fourth annual ball’s proceeds will go directly toward helping those in need, Catholic and non-Catholic alike. The Glass Slipper Ball is scheduled for 6 p.m. April 30 at the International Ballroom.

Women and men will be dressed to the nines for an elegant evening of dinner and dancing.

CLICK HERE to read the rest of the OA story.

Today in the PC-USA Mission Yearbook


The Mission Yearbook for Prayer & 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. The stories for the 2011 Mission Yearbook were collected around General Assembly Mission theme “Grow Christ’s Church Deep and Wide” based on Matthew 28:18-20 and Mark 9:35. Each yearbook page bears witness to the abundant possibilities of the church because of the leadership of Christ.

Today in the Mission Yearbook: April 20, 2011

PRESBYTERY OF MISSOURI RIVER VALLEYS - Calvin Crest Camp, Conference and Retreat Center is nestled atop a bluff overlooking the Platte River near Fremont, Nebraska. Founded in 1957, Calvin Crest is a mission of Homestead and Missouri River Valley presbyteries. Though the Platte River is shallow there, Calvin Crest is a place where residents of both presbyteries explore the depths of their faith in Jesus Christ. In addition to offering summer camp opportunities for over fifty years, modernized facilities allow it to operate as a fully accredited camp and conference center. Calvin Crest serves nearly 10,000 campers and visitors each year.

CLICK HERE to read more.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

In the News ... "China Aid president asks Americans to stand with persecuted church"

China Aid president asks Americans to stand with persecuted church

By Sarah Higgins, Midland Reporter-Telegram

MIDLAND, TEXAS -Wang Zhanhu envisions a time when the Christian church has grown so rapidly in China that it's able to reach out and bring God's word to other countries.

"Pray that they will lead a mission serving (other) nations, that they can bless the world," he told Bob Fu, president of China Aid Association, recently.

China Aid is holding its annual fundraiser on Thursday to help support its ministry that provides aid to families being persecuted and works to expose news about people suffering in China, among other activities. Above that, though, Fu said, he hopes the event can raise awareness and prayer support for those who don't enjoy the same religious freedoms afforded in Midland.

CLICK HERE to read the rest of the MRT story.

Today in the PC-USA Mission Yearbook


The Mission Yearbook for Prayer & 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. The stories for the 2011 Mission Yearbook were collected around General Assembly Mission theme “Grow Christ’s Church Deep and Wide” based on Matthew 28:18-20 and Mark 9:35. Each yearbook page bears witness to the abundant possibilities of the church because of the leadership of Christ.

Today in the Mission Yearbook: April 19, 2011

PRESBYTERY OF MINNESOTA VALLEYS - The congregation and staff of First Presbyterian Church of St. Cloud never imagined that within three years both their neighborhood and their ministry would change so dramatically. Over two years ago, the congregation engaged in a discernment process that produced a consensus for ministry focused on five areas: youth and young adult, missional church emphasis, vibrant worship, empowered laity, and improving the church facility to minister to the downtown community. For the past two years, they have been implementing those priorities.

CLICK HERE to read more.

Monday, April 18, 2011

Midland Group Asks Americans to Stand with Persecuted Church


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.

Midland Group Asks Americans to Stand with Persecuted Church

Released by ChinaAid, April, 2011 ...

MIDLAND, TEXAS – Wang Zhanhu envisions a time when the Christian church has grown so rapidly in China that it's able to reach out and bring God's word to other countries.

"Pray that they will lead a mission serving (other) nations, that they can bless the world," he told Bob Fu, president of China Aid Association, recently.

China Aid is holding its annual fundraiser on Thursday to help support its ministry that provides aid to families being persecuted and works to expose news about people suffering in China, among other activities. Above that, though, Fu said, he hopes the event can raise awareness and prayer support for those who don't enjoy the same religious freedoms afforded in Midland.

CLICK HERE to read the rest of this story from the MRT and China Aid.

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).

Pray for Dependency on God

"Prayer requires that we stand in God's presence with open hands, naked and vulnerable, proclaiming to ourselves and to others that without God we can do nothing. This is difficult in a climate where the predominant counsel is, 'Do your best and God will do the rest.' When life is divided into 'our best' and 'God's rest,' we have turned prayer into a last resort to be used only when all our own resources are depleted. Then even God has become the victim of our impatience. Discipleship does not mean to use God when we can no longer function ourselves. On the contrary, it means to recognize that we can do nothing at all, but that God can do everything through us."

"Compassion: A Reflection on the Christian Life" by Henri J.M. Nouwen, Donald P. MacNeill, and Douglas A. Morrison

"Three-personed God, it truly frightens me to recognize that I am totally dependent on you. I know that my life is not my own, though I arrogantly act as if I am in control. On the contrary, it is you who determines my destiny. Ease my worries over my dependency on you, soften my impatience with your plans for me, and help me to acknowledge that you can do all things through me. Amen."

"Lent and Easter Wisdom" from Henri J.M. Nouwen" compiled by Judy Bauer

A message from Chris Laufer, Coordinator, Faces of Children

Greetings, Faces of Children Prayer Partner,

This coming Wednesday, April 20, 2011 at 11:30 a.m. we will meet back in the Bride's room at First Presbyterian Church-Midland. Please stay afterwards for lunch ($5) and a time of fellowship.

If you have 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 me at at claufer@facesofchildren.net, or give me a call.

On the journey with you this Lenten season,

Chris

Free Burma Rangers schedules season of Regional Meetings in the U.S.


Free Burma Rangers (FBR) is a multi-ethnic humanitarian service movement. They bring help, hope and love to people in the war zones of Burma (Myanmar). Ethnic pro-democracy groups send teams to be trained, supplied and sent into the areas under attack to provide emergency assistance and human rights documentation. Together with other groups, the teams work to serve people in need.

Free Burma Rangers schedules season of Regional Meetings in the U.S.

"Dear Friends, Free Burma Rangers are planning meetings this summer to include prayer, worship, updates on the situation in Burma and collaboration on action plans for how to take action for the people of Burma. Dave and Karen Eubank and family will be at these meetings along with others working with FBR."

Regional Meetings, 2011

MIDLAND, TEXAS @ First Presbyterian Church-Midland, Saturday, May 7, 2011

GIG HARBOR, WASHINGTON @ Chapel Hill Presbyterian Church, Sunday, May 15, 2011

BERKELEY, CALIFORNIA @ First Presbyterian Church-Berkeley, Saturday, May 21, 2011

MALIBU, CALIFORNIA @ Malibu Presbyterian Church, Saturday, May 28, 2011

ST. GEORGE, UTAH @ Calvary Chapel St. George, Sunday, June 5, 2011

WIMBERLY, TEXAS @ Cypress Creek Church, Saturday, June 18, 2011

SILOAM SPRINGS, ARKANSAS (more information TBA), Saturday, June 25, 2011

NEWTON, MASSACHUSETTS @ Newton Presbyterian Church, Saturday, July 9, 2011

COLORADO (more information TBA), Saturday, July 23, 2011

ANCHORAGE, ALASKA @ Faith Christian Church, Saturday, Sept 10, 2011

"We welcome you to join us for the meeting in your area. For more information please contact; Amy Galetzka at amygaletzka@gmail.com Thank you and God Bless you,"

Free Burma Rangers

In the News ... "Seats filled for the interfaith event"

Seats filled for the interfaith event

By Gabriella Lopez, Odessa American

MIDLAND, TEXAS -How,” moderator Russell Meyers asked, “does your faith tradition explain the problems of evil and suffering?”.

With that question, the Permian Basin’s first interfaith event began its dialogue at St. Stephen’s Catholic Church in Midland..

Several hundred people sat in the pews and listened as holy men from Catholicism, Hinduism, Judaism, the Baptist faith and the Episcopalian religion discussed five different questions, one submitted by each speaker.

CLICK HERE to read the rest of the OA story.

Today in the PC-USA Mission Yearbook


The Mission Yearbook for Prayer & 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. The stories for the 2011 Mission Yearbook were collected around General Assembly Mission theme “Grow Christ’s Church Deep and Wide” based on Matthew 28:18-20 and Mark 9:35. Each yearbook page bears witness to the abundant possibilities of the church because of the leadership of Christ.

Today in the Mission Yearbook: April 18, 2011

PRESBYTERY OF MILWAUKEE - In 2008, Southminster Presbyterian Church turned a quarter acre of unused lawn into twenty-nine vegetable plots to be shared equally among church members and neighbors. The garden is considered an essential use of church resources in caring for God's people. Church members are excited to have joined other churches, schools, and cities that have developed similar community gardens.

CLICK HERE to read more.

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Video Vault: New Music from the Village Church


The Village: God of Victory "The Vision" from The Village Church on Vimeo.

In the News ... "City, clergy issue proclamation for a day of prayer for rain"

City, clergy issue proclamation for a day of prayer for rain

By Sarah Higgins, Midland Reporter-Telegram

MIDLAND, TEXAS -Mayor Wes Perry and Bishop Michael Pfeifer have issued a proclamation that today Midland will be united in prayer for rain.

"The day we are unified in prayer for rain," Perry's proclamation reads. "We ask our gracious God to bless West Texas with rains that will quench our thirsty land and fill our lakes and reservoirs."

The drought has stretched more than six months and is being blamed for many of the wildfires in the West Texas region.

CLICK HERE to read the rest of the MRT story.

Today in the PC-USA Mission Yearbook

The Mission Yearbook for Prayer & 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. The stories for the 2011 Mission Yearbook were collected around General Assembly Mission theme “Grow Christ’s Church Deep and Wide” based on Matthew 28:18-20 and Mark 9:35. Each yearbook page bears witness to the abundant possibilities of the church because of the leadership of Christ.

Today in the Mission Yearbook: April 17, 2011

MINUTE FOR MISSION: PASSION PALM SUNDAY - The Presbyterian Church Office of Public Witness, located in Washington, DC, is a prophetic office of the denomination that speaks truth to power. It is charged with the responsibility of implementing the social justice policies voted on by the General Assembly of the PC(USA). For sixty-five years this office has spoken to both the domestic and international needs of persons who most often are dismissed by the powerful. In the biblical traditions of the prophets and the historical Jesus, issues such as racial, gender, and economic justice; Middle East peace; human trafficking; immigration; environmental justice; and other GA policy and social justice policy statements are addressed by this office.

CLICK HERE to read more.

Saturday, April 16, 2011

In the News ... "Jehovah's Witnesses prepare for their most important day"

Jehovah's Witnesses prepare for their most important day

By Gabriella Lopez, Odessa American

ODESSA, TEXAS -Jehovah’s Witnesses have spent their evenings reading Biblical passages and contemplating Jesus Christ’s life since Tuesday.

The readings are preparation for the memorial of Christ’s death, an event recognized by every Jehovah’s Witness in the world, local Jehovah’s Witness Steve Simpson said.

“It’s a somber time,” Simpson said.

CLICK HERE to read the rest of the OA story.

Today in the PC-USA Mission Yearbook

The Mission Yearbook for Prayer & 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. The stories for the 2011 Mission Yearbook were collected around General Assembly Mission theme “Grow Christ’s Church Deep and Wide” based on Matthew 28:18-20 and Mark 9:35. Each yearbook page bears witness to the abundant possibilities of the church because of the leadership of Christ.

Today in the Mission Yearbook: April 16, 2011

PRESBYTERY OF JOHN KNOX - In 2000, the Presbyterian Church of West Salem moved into a new church building. Due to money constraints, only the sanctuary was built, but the congregation immediately began raising money for a fellowship hall, which was built and dedicated in September 2005 to God for use. The congregation didn't want to worship in this space, so members began discussing how to best utilize it. These discussions led the congregation to use the fellowship hall as God's mission field. To date its doors have been opened regularly to Alcoholic Anonymous; Al-Anon; the Women, Infants, and Children program; TOPS; a blood mobile; a farmers' market in winter; and the Cooperative Educational Service Agency.

CLICK HERE to read more.

Friday, April 15, 2011

In the News ... "Religious leaders share different perspectives"

Religious leaders share different perspectives

By Sarah Higgins, Midland Reporter-Telegram

MIDLAND, TEXAS -Leaders of five different religious backgrounds discussed Thursday night how their traditions allow them to understand and confront contemporary issues.

The religious officials commented on a handful of issues from a faith perspective asked by moderator Russell Meyers, CEO of Midland Memorial Hospital. The questions were written by the panelists and were shared with the speakers before the event in order to prepare answers. After each question, the religious officials each were given four minutes to share their perspective.

CLICK HERE to read the rest of the MRT story.

Today in the PC-USA Mission Yearbook

The Mission Yearbook for Prayer & 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. The stories for the 2011 Mission Yearbook were collected around General Assembly Mission theme “Grow Christ’s Church Deep and Wide” based on Matthew 28:18-20 and Mark 9:35. Each yearbook page bears witness to the abundant possibilities of the church because of the leadership of Christ.

Today in the Mission Yearbook: April 15, 2011

HOMESTEAD PRESBYTERY - How does one grow Christ's church deep and wide when the congregation no longer relates to the surrounding community? Homestead Presbytery's 9,732 members worship in 56 churches in eastern Nebraska, and more than half are rural. Over the last ten years, there have been rapid economic changes in rural Nebraska. Family farms face insurmountable hardships and are being replaced by a few large corporate farms. Simultaneously, communities have been drained of people and resources. One consequence has been the closing of six Homestead churches. Congregations in larger communities also need help as shifts in culture and demographics have altered how the church remains relevant to its community.

CLICK HERE to read more.

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Today in the PC-USA Mission Yearbook

The Mission Yearbook for Prayer & 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. The stories for the 2011 Mission Yearbook were collected around General Assembly Mission theme “Grow Christ’s Church Deep and Wide” based on Matthew 28:18-20 and Mark 9:35. Each yearbook page bears witness to the abundant possibilities of the church because of the leadership of Christ.

Today in the Mission Yearbook: April 14, 2011

PRESBYTERY OF EAST IOWA - Members of the Presbytery of East Iowa believe that two of the indicators of growing and thriving churches are having a heart for missions and vibrant worship. This past year, the Brazil Partnership has been their mission focus. Thirty-three churches in the presbytery raised $45,000 to send to the Presbytery of Ceara in Fortaleza. Churches with names like Vitoria, Barra do Ceara, Pacajus, and Messejana have been able to purchase bricks, mortar, electrical wiring, and plumbing fixtures because congregations in eastern Iowa want congregations in Fortaleza to thrive. Just as important, relationships are flourishing as photos and e-mails are exchanged and visitors travel back and forth between the two countries, experiencing firsthand the connection they have in Christ.

CLICK HERE to read more.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Today in the PC-USA Mission Yearbook

The Mission Yearbook for Prayer & 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. The stories for the 2011 Mission Yearbook were collected around General Assembly Mission theme “Grow Christ’s Church Deep and Wide” based on Matthew 28:18-20 and Mark 9:35. Each yearbook page bears witness to the abundant possibilities of the church because of the leadership of Christ.

Today in the Mission Yearbook: April 13, 2011

PRESBYTERY OF DES MOINES - Spreading the good news by telling God's stories is important, but community building and nurturing during times of differences are perhaps more important. As director of communications for the Presbytery of Des Moines, Kim Coulter feels that her real job title should be "communications coach for pastors and lay leaders.

CLICK HERE to read more.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Word from Uganda: "March in a few words/photos ..."

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 ...


March in a few words/photos ...

"Well, I hit the ground running. God is so good in all that He is doing at LCH. I just wanted to bring out some highlights that happened in March," Natalie writes. "The Lord has seen it the right time to expand LCH and bring hope into the lives of 20 new little girls. Wow! People often ask me how we get our children.


CLICK HERE to read the rest of Natalie's post





If you are interested in supporting LCH by sponsoring one of the 90 children, go to www.ugandaorphans.org If you are interested in financially supporting Natalie in her mission, you can send checks (with "Natalie Rolfe" in memo) to: Midland Bible Church, 2800 North A Street, Midland, TX 79705

Today in the PC-USA Mission Yearbook


The Mission Yearbook for Prayer & 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. The stories for the 2011 Mission Yearbook were collected around General Assembly Mission theme “Grow Christ’s Church Deep and Wide” based on Matthew 28:18-20 and Mark 9:35. Each yearbook page bears witness to the abundant possibilities of the church because of the leadership of Christ.

Today in the Mission Yearbook: April 12, 2011

PRESBYTERY OF DAKOTA - The Hau Kola and Hau Koda Learning Camps, a joint effort of the presbyteries of Dakota and Baltimore, honor and nurture the lives of children, youth, and adults through educational partnerships with the ministries of the Native American churches in the Presbytery of Dakota.

CLICK HERE to read more.

Monday, April 11, 2011

Midland Group Reports Christian Political Dissident Sentenced to 10 Years on Treason Charge

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.

Midland Group Reports Christian Political Dissident Sentenced to 10 Years on Treason Charge

Released by ChinaAid, March, 2011 ...

"SICHUAN, CHINA – Veteran Chinese political dissident, writer and Christian Liu Xianbin was sentenced Friday by a court in Sichuan province to an unexpectedly harsh 10-year prison term on a treason charge simply for writing articles for overseas publications that the government deemed subversive."
Read the Rest of the Report from ChinaAid

In the News ... "First Presbyterian-Midland hosting year-long celebration for 125th anniversary"

First Presbyterian-Midland hosting year-long celebration for 125th anniversary

By Sara Higgins

Reporter


MIDLAND, TEXAS - The Rev. Steve Schorr said members of First Presbyterian Church are recognizing the church's past while looking toward the future as it hosts a yearlong celebration for its 125th anniversary

Though the actual anniversary was December 22, 2010, chairman of events Ellen Bell said the church wanted to wait until after the busy Christmas season to have the main celebration and to reflect on the church's history.

CLICK HERE to read the rest of the MRT story

Today in the PC-USA Mission Yearbook

The Mission Yearbook for Prayer & 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. The stories for the 2011 Mission Yearbook were collected around General Assembly Mission theme “Grow Christ’s Church Deep and Wide” based on Matt. 28:18-20 and Mark 9:35. Each yearbook page bears witness to the abundant possibilities of the church because of the leadership of Christ.


Today in the Mission Yearbook: April 11, 2011

PRESBYTERY OF CENTRAL NEBRASKA - Nebraska has a history of attracting waves of immigrants, many of whom have given a distinct ethnic character to their towns or neighborhoods. Scattered around the state are communities that are predominantly German, Swedish, Polish, Irish, Moravian, or Mexican, among others. In recent years there has been an influx of Sudanese immigrants to communities in the presbytery.


In recent years there has been an influx of Sudanese immigrants to communities in the presbytery. Many are refugees and many are PresbyterianResponding to the request of the Sudanese Fellowship, the Presbytery of Central Nebraska has established a commission moderated by the Rev. Kirwin Stewart to help the fellowship become a new congregation within the presbytery.


CLICK HERE to read more.

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Today in the PC-USA Mission Yearbook

The Mission Yearbook for Prayer & 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.

The stories for the 2011 Mission Yearbook were collected around General Assembly Mission theme “Grow Christ’s Church Deep and Wide” based on Matt. 28:18-20 and Mark 9:35. Each yearbook page bears witness to the abundant possibilities of the church because of the leadership of Christ.





Today in the Mission Yearbook: April 10, 2011

MINUTE FOR MISSION: SELF-DEVELOPMENT OF PEOPLE - They're called bateys: small communities in the Dominican Republic of primarily Haitian people who came to harvest sugarcane years ago when it was a cash crop. When sugarcane production ended, cane cutters and their families were without work, the basics of life, and even citizenship.
CLICK HERE to read more.

Saturday, April 9, 2011

Today in the PC-USA Mission Yearbook

The Mission Yearbook for Prayer & 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.

The stories for the 2011 Mission Yearbook were collected around General Assembly Mission theme “Grow Christ’s Church Deep and Wide” based on Matt. 28:18-20 and Mark 9:35. Each yearbook page bears witness to the abundant possibilities of the church because of the leadership of Christ.





Today in the Mission Yearbook: April 9, 2011

THE SYNOD OF LAKES AND PRAIRIES - The Lydia Women's Empowerment Project, which grew out of Kwanzaa Community Church in Minneapolis, is a spiritual, political, and economic movement based on liberation theology ministry models. The Synod of Lakes and Prairies has become the project's partner through the synod's Self-Development of People (SDOP) Committee.
CLICK HERE to read more.

Friday, April 8, 2011

In the News ... "Bishop Pfeifer: Earthquake in Japan raises questions about God, suffering"


Bishop Pfeifer: Earthquake in Japan raises questions about God, suffering

Rev. Michael Pfeifer
Bishop, San Angelo Diocese

Opinion Piece in the
Odessa American

SAN ANGELO, TEXAS -
The catastrophic earthquake and destructive tsunami in Japan that has left thousands dead and millions struggling to survive and great property destruction raises the question: How could God let all of this happen? Some people even ask: Does God cause such a disaster? To give some type of an answer to these questions, we go back to some basic biblical principles and Judeo-Christian teachings with regard to these and similar disasters that have happened through the ages.

CLICK HERE to read the rest of the MRT story.

Today in the PC-USA Mission Yearbook

The Mission Yearbook for Prayer & 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.

The stories for the 2011 Mission Yearbook were collected around General Assembly Mission theme “Grow Christ’s Church Deep and Wide” based on Matt. 28:18-20 and Mark 9:35. Each yearbook page bears witness to the abundant possibilities of the church because of the leadership of Christ.





Today in the Mission Yearbook: April 8, 2011

PRESBYTERY OF THE WESTERN RESERVE - Spiritual practices are settling deep into the life and ministry of the Lyndhurst Community Presbyterian Church. Ten years ago, the church declared a Year of Jubilee to take time off and reassess its ministry. Strapped with too many committees, too many programs, and the resulting burnout, the church adopted a simple practice: "Do your passion. Do what gives you energy. Be what God has given you." It was freeing.
CLICK HERE to read more.

Thursday, April 7, 2011

In the News ... "Firefighters with faith"


Firefighters with faith

Lyxan Toldanes
Staff Writer

Odessa American

ODESSA, TEXAS - Experiencing the chaos and tragedies associated with destructive fires can shake anyone’s faith. But for many firefighters, it’s their faith that keeps them strong in their commitment to their job and the people they serve.

To unite the Christian firefighters, firefighter Donny Hallmark began an Odessa chapter of the Fellowship of Christian Firefighters in November 2010. Hallmark stumbled upon the organization one day when he contemplated becoming a chaplain.

CLICK HERE to read the rest of the OA story.

Today in the PC-USA Mission Yearbook

The Mission Yearbook for Prayer & 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.

The stories for the 2011 Mission Yearbook were collected around General Assembly Mission theme “Grow Christ’s Church Deep and Wide” based on Matt. 28:18-20 and Mark 9:35. Each yearbook page bears witness to the abundant possibilities of the church because of the leadership of Christ.





Today in the Mission Yearbook: April 7, 2011

PRESBYTERY OF SCIOTO VALLEY - Members of the second annual presbytery-wide mission work trip to Gulfport, Mississippi, enjoy a break from their labors.

Seeking new ways to build fellowship among congregations and reach out to share the love of Christ, the Presbytery of Scioto Valley issued a call in 2008 to its congregations to join a mission work effort to hurricane-devastated Gulfport, Mississippi.
CLICK HERE to read more.

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

In the News ... "Integration brings two sects together to form Centers for Spiritual Living"

Integration brings two sects together to form Centers for Spiritual Living
By Meagan Lee Buck
Reporter
Midland Reporter-Telegram

MIDLAND, TEXAS - It's not uncommon to learn of a religious organization or denomination splitting because of conflicting ideas or beliefs. It's rare, however, to hear of two separate organizations coming together to integrate beliefs, organizational structures and resources in an effort to create a new religious community.

In early March, leaders from International Centers for Spiritual Living and United Centers for Spiritual Living officially combined the two organizations into Centers for Spiritual Living.

CLICK HERE to read the rest of the MRT story

Today in the PC-USA Mission Yearbook

The Mission Yearbook for Prayer & 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.

The stories for the 2011 Mission Yearbook were collected around General Assembly Mission theme “Grow Christ’s Church Deep and Wide” based on Matt. 28:18-20 and Mark 9:35. Each yearbook page bears witness to the abundant possibilities of the church because of the leadership of Christ.





Today in the Mission Yearbook: April 6, 2011

PRESBYTERY OF MUSKINGUM VALLEY - There are pockets of transformation across the Presbytery of Muskingum Valley. There is new life all around, inviting everyone into living incarnationally. At the heart of this renewal is an understanding that "God became who we are that we might become what he is,'' in the words of Ignatius.

And so it is that the congregation at First Presbyterian Church in Wooster is partnering with the Wayne-Holmes Mental Health Coalition to start MOCA (Manse on College Avenue), a recovery facility for people who are coping with mental illness.
CLICK HERE to read more.

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

In the News ... "Five religions to unite for dialogue"


Five religions to unite for dialogue

Lyxan Toldanes
Staff Writer

Odessa American

MIDLAND, TEXAS - The religions are hundreds, if not thousands, of years old, but the conversation is all new – at least in the Permian Basin.

Five religions will unite in dialogue for the Permian Basin’s first interfaith event Thursday at St. Stephen’s Catholic Church. The discussion will feature leaders of the Baptist, Catholic, Jewish, Hindu and Episcopal faiths.

CLICK HERE to read the rest of the OA story.

Today in the PC-USA Mission Yearbook

The Mission Yearbook for Prayer & 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.

The stories for the 2011 Mission Yearbook were collected around General Assembly Mission theme “Grow Christ’s Church Deep and Wide” based on Matt. 28:18-20 and Mark 9:35. Each yearbook page bears witness to the abundant possibilities of the church because of the leadership of Christ.





Today in the Mission Yearbook: April 5, 2011

The PRESBYTERY OF THE MIAMI VALLEY - Two congregations. Two cultures. Two histories. One intersecting journey in faith.

In mid-2008, the members and staff of Heritage Presbyterian Church in Dayton, faced with an aging and dwindling membership and taxed by diminishing resources and energy, began a process of discernment open to discovering what God might have in store for them. Was there resolve for community outreach? Might partnering with a larger congregation nearby bring new focus and energy?
CLICK HERE to read more.

Monday, April 4, 2011

Midland Group Reports Chinese House Church Raided by Police

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.

Midland Group Reports Chinese House Church Raided by Police

Released by ChinaAid, March, 2011 ...

"SHAANXI, CHINA – Two house church Christians remain in police custody in a village in central China’s Shaanxi province nearly 10 days after their Sunday worship service was raided by police who detained all 12 worshippers, ChinaAid Association has learned."
Read the Rest of the Report from ChinaAid

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).

"Be Compassionate, Not Competitive"

“This all-pervasive competition, which reaches into the smallest corners of our relationships, prevents us from entering into full solidarity with each other, and stands in the way of our being compassionate. We prefer to keep compassion on the periphery of our competitive lives. Being compassionate would require giving up dividing lines and relinquishing differences and distinctions. And that would mean losing our identities. This makes it clear why the call to be compassionate is so frightening and evokes such deep resistance."
"Compassion: A Reflection on Christian Life" by Henri J.M. Nouwen, Donald P. McNeill, and Douglas A. Morrison

"Guardian God, I am often caught up in competitive games—who is better, who is richer, who is nicer, who is more attractive. This competition keeps me separate from others, making me a loner rather than a comrade and a person in solidarity with others. Help me to live a life where distinctions fade away and differences are downplayed, where I become a lover of all rather than a lover of self. Amen."
"Lent and Easter Wisdom from Henri J.M. Nouwen" compiled by Judy Bauer

A message from Chris Laufer, Coordinator, Faces of Children

Greetings, Faces of Children Prayer Partner,

Thank you for keeping the children of our local and global community held close in prayer. Your prayers matter! Your prayer work matters! It really does.

The Faces of Children prayer group will meet on Wednesday, April 6, 2011 at 11:30 a.m. in THE CHAPEL at
First Presbyterian Church, Midland. We will have lunch ($5) and a time of fellowship after our prayer time.

If you have 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 me at at
claufer@facesofchildren.net, or give me a call.

On the journey with you this Lenten season,

Chris

In the News ... "Fannin Terrace Baptist looks back, moves forward after 50 years"


Fannin Terrace Baptist looks back, moves forward after 50 years

By Sara Higgins
Reporter
Midland Reporter-Telegram


MIDLAND, TEXAS - The congregation of Fannin Terrace Baptist Church is hoping to bring together former and current members during a special worship service and celebration April 17 in honor of its 50th anniversary.

"It's important to look back on the faithfulness of God, to see how he established the church, how he's grown the church and has just really embedded it in the community over the years," said minister of education Kathy Howard, who planned the anniversary celebration.

CLICK HERE to read the rest of the MRT story

Today in the PC-USA Mission Yearbook

The Mission Yearbook for Prayer & 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.

The stories for the 2011 Mission Yearbook were collected around General Assembly Mission theme “Grow Christ’s Church Deep and Wide” based on Matt. 28:18-20 and Mark 9:35. Each yearbook page bears witness to the abundant possibilities of the church because of the leadership of Christ.





Today in the Mission Yearbook: April 4, 2011

MAUMEE VALLEY PRESBYTERY - In the early spring of 2008, the Justice Team of Maumee Valley Presbytery received an e-mail from Rev. Yongjin Kim in Malawi, with the following appeal: "Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ ... Hope you are all well. I miss you all. The demand here in the prison system is simply too overwhelming to be polite to you and be mindful of saving face. Please continue to remember the prisoners, as we once were the prisoners of sin. And do something for this difficult task."
CLICK HERE to read more.

Sunday, April 3, 2011

Today in the PC-USA Mission Yearbook

The Mission Yearbook for Prayer & 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.

The stories for the 2011 Mission Yearbook were collected around General Assembly Mission theme “Grow Christ’s Church Deep and Wide” based on Matt. 28:18-20 and Mark 9:35. Each yearbook page bears witness to the abundant possibilities of the church because of the leadership of Christ.





Today in the Mission Yearbook: April 3, 2011

MINUTE FOR MISSION: LOUISVILLE PRESBYTERIAN THEOLOGICAL SEMINARY - Making clear connections between stewardship of the earth and living one's faith has been an ongoing focus for Rebecca Barnes-Davies, a master of divinity student at Louisville Presbyterian Theological Seminary. Rebecca is an environmental activist who has advocated the eco-justice message for more than a decade. As a consultant for Environmental and Social Justice Ministries and director of Presbyterians for Restoring Creation, she has created public policy proposals and changes, educated others, and published articles.
CLICK HERE to read more.