Monday, June 30, 2014

ChinaAid: "Zhejiang government document reveals strong focus on containing religion through demolition campaign"

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.

Zhejiang government document reveals strong focus on containing religion through demolition campaign

Distributed by ChinaAid, May, 2014 ...

ZHEJIANG, CHINAA – China Aid recently obtained an excerpt of a secret provincial government document from China's coastal Zhejiang, outlining the goals of the “Three Rectifications and One Demolition”campaign, which has garnered international media attention, including the “handling of illegal religious structures.”

The document, below, encourages local leaders to “dare to be lion-type” leaders in their interactions with religious groups.


more on this story from China Aid

Invitation to Prayer: Wednesday

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).

Silence and Voices of Light


“Silence is the discipline that helps us to go beyond the entertainment quality of our lives. There we can let our sorrows and joys emerge from their hidden place and look us in the face, saying: ‘Don’t be afraid; you can look at your own journey, its dark and light sides, and discover your way to freedom.’ We may find silence in nature, in our own houses, in a church, or meditation hall. But wherever we find it, we should cherish it. Because it is in silence that we can truly acknowledge who we are and gradually claim ourselves as a gift from God.

At first silence might only frighten us. In silence we start hearing the voices of darkness: our jealousy and anger, our resentment and desire for revenge, our lust and greed, and our pain over losses, abuses, and rejections. These voices are often noisy and boisterous. They may even deafen us. Our most spontaneous reaction is to run away from them and return to our entertainment.

But if we have the discipline to stay put and not let these dark voices intimidate us, they will gradually lose their strength and recede into the background, creating space for the softer, gentler voices of the light.

These voices speak of peace, kindness, gentleness, goodness, joy, hope, forgiveness, and, most of all, love. They might at first seem small and insignificant, and we may have a hard time trusting them. However, they are very persistent and they will grow stronger if we keep listening. They come from a very deep place and from very far. They have been speaking to us since before we were born, and they reveal to us that there is no darkness in the One who sent us into the world, only light.”

Can You Drink the Cup? by Henri J. M. Nouwen


A message from Chris Laufer, Coordinator, Faces of Children

Greetings, Faces of Children Intercessor,

The Midland Faces of Children prayer group will meet in the new Family Life Center conference room at First Presbyterian Church-Midland, on Wednesday, July 2, 2014 at 11:30 a.m. Following our time of prayer, we'll have lunch ($5) and fellowship. I look forward to seeing you there.


Thank you for your faithfulness in prayer for the children of our hearts and world! 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

In the News ... "Fire destroys Rose of Sharon Missionary Baptist Church in Odessa"

OA Photo by Edyta Blaszczyk
• "This place is not our faith, but it’s for our memories that we weep"

By Audris Ponce, Reporter
Odessa American

ODESSA, TEXAS - A major fire broke out at Rose of Sharon Missionary Baptist Church Friday evening. Several church congregants and pastors stood across the 1600 block of East Murphy Street, watching as their church’s roof became engulfed in flames ...

read the rest of this OA report ... 


Rose of Sharon Missionary Baptist Church fire under investigation

By Audris Ponce, Reporter
Odessa American

ODESSA, TEXAS - The Rose of Sharon Missionary Baptist Church building was declared a "total loss" following a major fire Friday evening, Odessa Fire/Rescue officials said. "The call is still open," Battalion Chief Bobby Valles said. "It’s still under investigation.”

Pastor Donald Flinn said the congregation will meet at St. Matthews Baptist Church, 809 Barrett Ave., at 11 a.m. Sunday. No official temporary location has been finalized for the church, the pastor said ...

read the rest of this OA report ...


OA Photo by Edyta Blaszczyk

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: June 30, 2014


PRESBYTERY OF WINNEBAGO, WISCONSIN - At First Presbyterian Church in Neenah, a unique form of ministry with young adults has evolved. As is the case in many congregations, some members who would be potential additions to the choir find it difficult to commit to weekly rehearsals and Their regular presence was intended to enhance the choir and give leadership to the sections in which they sing. The church pays each of the students a stipend. However, what began as payment for service was soon recognized very differently ...

CLICK HERE
to read more.

Sunday, June 29, 2014

Teichert Prayer Letter for June

The family of Karl and Jenny Teichert are serving the Lord as missionaries with OC Africa, in South Africa. They moved to Johannesburg in November, 1997 with their four children; Ann, Scott, Stephen and John. Karl serves as the Southern Africa Director of the Southern Africa Regional Team. Their vision is to see a healthy, Bible-based church established in every un-reached village and community in South Africa, Swaziland, Zimbabwe, Zambia and beyond. Their strategy is to partner with key African church leaders to research, train, and mobilize the body of Christ to complete the Great Commission. They are striving to equip local leaders in Southern Africa to reach their nations for Christ and send missionaries into other countries as well.

June Letter ...

Dear family and friends,

Last month, I had the opportunity to meet with seven of the church planting regional coordinators in the rainforest of Madagascar. The project coordinator, a South African ministry partner and friend from the states, joined me. We referred to these coordinators as “Giants in the Kingdom” after hearing their testimonies and commitment to Christ’s great commission. These humble leaders have little earthly possessions, but are rich in the Kingdom of God! They train and mentor more than 350 church planters who have planted more than 3,000 simple disciple-making churches in the Central regional of the rainforest.




Here are some of their stories ...


Pastor Zeze was formerly a witch doctor. He received Christ in 1998 and was baptized along the road by some traveling evangelists. He preached the gospel to his family and villagers and many are following the Lord now. His entire family assists with church planting and farming.

Pastor Miamid was a drunkard, but surrendered his life to Christ in 2000. Through the bold witness and many answers to prayer, he is training up many church planters and intercessors.

Pastor Peter came to Christ after the miraculous healing of his son in 1990. He was baptized and began preaching to those in his village. Many in his village are gripped by witchcraft and ancestor worship. Through the power of Christ, many have come to faith and been raised up to become church planters in other villages.

Pastor Njaka was homeless and deeply involved in witchcraft. After being saved in 1990, he has raised up 13 church planters who have baptized more than 1,000 new believers. He has witnessed the dramatic decline of witchcraft and oppression in villages where new churches have been planted. His wife and family support him while he travels to train other church planters.

The vision of these coordinators is to establish training centers in each region of the rainforest. The purpose of these centers is to provide ongoing training, coaching, and encouragement for church planting teams who are taking the gospel into unchurched villages. Leaders will meet together quarterly to receive Bible and church planting training from the coordinators and other ministry partners. These training centers meet at simple venues in strategic locations to effectively mobilize the greatest number of church planters. Other types of needed training may be provided as well.

The coordinator’s dream it to establish five new training centers in the rainforest over the next two years. Would you please pray with them for God’s provision for these five training centers? If you would like more information or to contribute in some way, please let me know. Also, please pray for the advancement of the gospel and many disciple-making churches in the remaining unchurched villages in the rainforest.

Thank you for your faithful partnership in the Lord’s mission!


Karl, for the Teicherts



OC Africa is an interdenominational ministry committed to developing, equipping, and mobilizing church leaders to multiply healthy, Bible-based churches in every community in Southern Africa and the world. OC is a faith-based mission who depends on the Lord to provide committed, financial supporters and partners. The contributions from these individuals help generate ministry opportunities around the world, impact missionaries and their global work, and provide a means for the International Mobilization Center to function. CLICK HERE to learn how YOU can be a part of mobilizing church leaders around the world by donating to OC.

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: June 29, 2014


MINUTE FOR MISSION, PRINCETON THEOLOGICAL SEMINARY - It was in the classrooms and chapel of Princeton Theological Seminary that Mark Elsdon, Erica Lui, Grier Booker Richards, and Peter Hazelrigg experienced confirmation of their calls to ministry. They now minister to other young adults who are exploring vocation: Mark and Erica (a clergy couple) as co-pastors at Pres House at the University of Wisconsin–Madison, and Peter and Grier in North Carolina at UKirk Greensboro.

Mark and Erica are passionate about the impact that ministry on college campuses can make in the church ...

CLICK HERE
to read more.

Saturday, June 28, 2014

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: June 28, 2014


PRESBYTERY OF THE TWIN CITIES AREA - “If there had been a place like this when I was comin’ up, things might’ve been different.” These words were shared at Northside Women’s Space (NWS), a ministry to women in the sex trade. NWS, located in Minneapolis, is a mission project of the Presbytery of the Twin Cities Area. The speaker, a survivor of trafficking, remembers appealing to a church after being beaten and raped. “We don’t want your kind here,” she was told ...

CLICK HERE
to read more.

Friday, June 27, 2014

From @FWMission ... Friday Story: "Newfound Freedom"

Founded in 2001, Free Wheelchair Mission is an international nonprofit organization dedicated to providing wheelchairs for the impoverished disabled in developing nations. Headquartered in Irvine, California, FWM works around the world in partnership with a vast network of humanitarian, faith-based and government organizations, sending wheelchairs to hundreds of thousands of disabled people, providing not only the gift of mobility, but of dignity, independence, and hope.


Friday Story: "Newfound Freedom"

Greetings and happy Friday!

The gift of a wheelchair often brings more to the recipient’s life than just mobility. It can also bring about a sense of relief, it can ease a burden and it can change the lives of not only the recipient but their caregivers. This week’s story really shows how the gift of a wheelchair can lift up a recipient and change the lives of those around them; it comes to us from Colombia and our Distribution Partner, Children International:

Francia is a 51 year old mother of one adult daughter. Fourteen years ago, Francia began suffering from a disease that has robbed her of the ability to see and walk ...


read the rest of this story ...




Want to take one of these wheelchairs  for a test drive? During normal business hours, visit the lobby at the Texas Street entrance of First Presbyterian Church-Midland, at the northwest corner of Texas and A streets, on the west side of downtown Midland. You can give the gift of mobility. The cost of $72.00 is a bargain to us ... but it is a life-changing gift to impoverished and disabled recipients ... and there are times when your contribution will be matched, reaching not one - but TWO, and sometimes FOUR recipients. Please note on your check "Wheelchair Gift."

In the News ... "Big, brass sounds this Sunday"

Staff Report
Odessa American

ODESSA, TEXAS - The Salvation Army’s “Basin Brass Camp” will host a performance at 3 p.m. Sunday at First United Methodist Church in downtown Odessa. The performance will be at the church located at 415 N. Lee Ave. The event is free and open to the public ...

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: June 27, 2014


PRESBYTERY OF SOUTH DAKOTA - Heartfelt prayers expressed week after week in worship at small Tuthill Community Presbyterian Church in rural Bennett County were an early register of concern. As the summer lengthened, growing concern could be detected in conversations on the church’s front steps as worshipers made their way out into the world. The dryness of the summer of 2012 was unrelenting. By the beginning of October, the US Drought Monitor had changed the county’s drought status from extreme to exceptional. This was one case in which being exceptional was not welcome news. Dryness like this had not been seen since the days of the Dust Bowl ...

CLICK HERE
to read more.

Thursday, June 26, 2014

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 06/26/14


Burma

Ever since Burma gained independence from Britain in 1948, ethnic minority states have struggled to obtain independence from the government of Burma. Three years ago, fighting between Kachin Independence Army (KIA) fighters and Burma Army troops erupted, ending a 17-year ceasefire. More than 100,000 people have been displaced in Kachin state because of this fighting. Human rights groups report that government forces have tortured civilians in order to extract information about the movement and strength of the KIA and deprive them of civilian support. These abuses have undermined current Burma government attempts to forge a ceasefire agreement with the KIA. Fourteen other ethnic-minority guerrilla forces have signed ceasefire pacts with the government, but the KIA’s deep mistrust of Burma’s military has stalled that process. The Burma Army ignored a presidential order to cease its offensive against the KIA in December 2011.
more on this issue
Please keep the Kachin ethnic hill tribe people in prayer as they flee Burma Army attacks. Pray for those who have been displaced from their homes and communities and are now in temporary IDP (internally displaced people) camps or staying with relatives in distant cities.
Pray for children who’ve been separated from their families. Pray for those who have been conscripted into the Burma military or KIA forces. Pray for children who have been tortured or abused by the Burma Army and for those who have been forced to serve as porters or human land mine sweeps.
Please pray for parents who have lost a child or children when their villages were attacked by the Burma military. Pray God will comfort them in their season of grief. Pray for God’s peace and comfort for a mother, Jay Ya, whose young son drowned as they crossed a fast-flowing river while fleeing the Burma Army.
Please pray for peace and reconciliation in Burma’s conflict zones. Pray for freedom and justice for the ethnic hill tribe people of this beautiful country. Pray all its children may have the freedom to attend school in peace, have access to medical care, be recognized as citizens of Burma, and hope for a future filled with opportunity.
Pray for a change of heart within Burma’s government and military leadership. Pray they will recognize the sovereignty of God and the sacredness of all human life.

Iraq, Syria

Rebels from the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) have taken control of large portions of Iraq and eastern Syria in a campaign to restore an Islamic state, or caliphate, to this whole area. This offshoot of al-Qaeda is considered far more brutal than al-Qaeda and governs a nation-size tract of territory stretching from Aleppo in Syria to Fallujah in western Iraq and Mosul in the north of Iraq. ISIS is trying to establish a caliphate that is based on strict, medieval Sunni Muslim precepts. They consider Shi’ite Muslims, the majority of Iraq’s population, to be heretics deserving of death and target civilians with shockingly brutal punishments such as beheadings and amputations. An estimated 500,000 Iraqis have fled the violence in northern Iraq—up to half of those fleeing are children.
more on this issue
more on this issue
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Please pray for children and families affected by ISIS’ attacks and brutal behavior. Pray for those who have been displaced from their homes, villages, or communities because of the fighting.
Pray for children and families sheltering in schools, hospitals, and mosques in Mosul. Pray God will provide for their most immediate needs as many don’t have access to sanitation, drinking water, or shelter from the heat.
Please pray for children and families trapped in their homes in Tal Afar, near Mosul, Iraq, by heavy fighting between ISIS forces and Shi’ite police and troops. Pray for the safety of these children and pray they might escape the fighting. Pray God will provide for those whose supplies are running low.
Pray for peace in this region. Pray for a change of heart in those who kill and destroy to fulfill their warped goals.

Faces of Children

Give God thanks for the recent birth of Jovi Renee Lyon to Faces of Children prayer partner Courtney and her husband Justin. Pray for Jovi, her sister Phoebe, and their parents during this exciting season.
Please keep Hank Richey, the brother of Faces of Children prayer partner Robin Richey, held close in prayer as he receives treatment for cancer. Pray God will bless him with healing and the peace that surpasses all understanding during this difficult season.
Please keep Paul, the brother of Faces of Children intercessor Karen Lang, close in prayer during this last season of his earthly life. Pray he will feel God’s presence and comfort. Give God thanks Paul is receiving care from a home hospice organization. Pray for Paul’s family and friends as they help care for him and bid him farewell.
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

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: June 26, 2014


PRESBYTERY OF PROSPECT HILL, IOWA / NEBRASKA - The motto “Education for service” is engraved not only on the cornerstone of Dixon-Eilers Hall at Buena Vista University in Storm Lake, Iowa, but also on the hearts and minds of generations of students, staff, and faculty as they continually serve others in Christ. Organized in 1891, Buena Vista University (BVU) celebrated “paying it forward” in the 2012–13 academic year by investing over 20,000 hours of volunteer service within the Storm Lake community, throughout the United States, and around the world. Through BVU’s 15-year-old alternative spring break program, students and advisors offer the gift of time, faith, and passion in service ...

CLICK HERE
to read more.

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

FPC-Midland Uganda Mission 2014: "Saturday - Lulwanda Children's Home"

After much preparation, packing and prayer, a team of our brothers and sisters in Christ - men, women and children from West Texas - will be at work in the east Africa nation of Uganda as part of an ongoing, annual Christian mission effort. The 2014 Uganda Mission Team from First Presbyterian Church-Midland will be posting reports from Uganda - along with photos, videos and more - on the Uganda Mission Team 2014 blog.



Saturday - Lulwanda Children's Home


Today the team went to Lulwanda Children's Home. The children and the staff were extraordinary in their welcome. They presented the group with a thank you poster made by the children and a poster with the names of the children so we can pray for them by name.

The home is overseen and sponsored by Grace International Children’s Foundation. This home focuses on children who have been orphaned or have one parent who cannot support them on their own ...


read the rest of this post, and enjoy more photos ... 

getinvolved@iamsecond.com

Heading up the road to DFW this weekend, or maybe looking for a reason to go? Here's a good reason to go, in this special invitation from I am Second ...

"Last call for Volunteers! Join I am Second out at #CelebrateFreedom this June 28th in Plano, TX. To volunteer: getinvolved@iamsecond.com"


Special Note: The event is actually at the Southfork Ranch in Parker, just outside of Plano.



Celebrate Freedom is a FREE one-day concert festival featuring Christian artists. The Dallas event takes place the last Saturday in June and the Atlanta event takes place the Saturday of Labor Day weekend. The event started in Dallas, TX and hosted by 94.9 KLTY. It's been expanded to also take place in Atlanta and hosted by 104.7 The Fish.


I am Second is a movement meant to inspire people of all kinds to live for God and for others. Actors. Athletes. Musicians. Business leaders. Drug addicts. Your next-door neighbor. People like you. The authentic stories on iamsecond.com provide insight into dealing with typical struggles of everyday living. These are stories that give hope to the lonely and the hurting, help from destructive lifestyles, and inspiration to the unfulfilled. You’ll discover people who’ve tried to go it alone and have failed. Find the hope, peace, and fulfillment they found. Be Second.

In the News ... "Midland Police Looking for Suspect in String of Church Burglaries"

Geena Martinez, Reporter
KWES-TV

MIDLAND, TEXAS - Midland Police are trying to track down a thief connected to a string of church burglaries.

As many as eight churches have been hit.

They could be alone or with other people, but one thing's for sure; whoever is making late night visits to Midland churches isn't there to pray ...

 • read/watch the rest of this story

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: June 25, 2014


PRESBYTERY OF THE NORTHERN WATERS, MINNESOTA / MICHIGAN / WISCONSIN - As a denomination, we are a connectional church. We embrace fellowship and the individual gifts each of us bring to the world. The Presbytery of Northern Waters truly values every opportunity to make connections with one another, be it outreach, support for the journey of life, shared ministry, or the sharing of who we are as God’s people called to live as a faith community ...

CLICK HERE
to read more.

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

FPC-Midland Uganda Mission 2014: "Friday Crusade (Pictures)"

After much preparation, packing and prayer, a team of our brothers and sisters in Christ - men, women and children from West Texas - will be at work in the east Africa nation of Uganda as part of an ongoing, annual Christian mission effort. The 2014 Uganda Mission Team from First Presbyterian Church-Midland will be posting reports from Uganda - along with photos, videos and more - on the Uganda Mission Team 2014 blog.



Friday Crusade (Pictures)



read the rest of this post, and enjoy more photos ... 

Invitation to Prayer: TOMORROW

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).

The Divine Spirit Praying in Us


“The practice of contemplative prayer is the discipline by which we begin to see God in our heart. It is a careful attentiveness to the One who dwells in the center of our being such that through the recognition of God’s presence we allow God to take possession of all our senses. Through the discipline of prayer, we awaken ourselves to the God in us and let God enter into our heartbeat and our breathing, into our thoughts and emotions, our hearing, seeing, touching, and tasting.

It is by being awake to this God in us that we can see God in the world around us. The great mystery of the contemplative life is not that we see God in the world, but that God within us recognizes God in the world. God speaks to God, Spirit speaks to Spirit, heart speaks to heart.

Contemplation, therefore, is a participation in this divine self-recognition. It is the divine Spirit praying in us who makes our world transparent and opens our eyes to the presence of the divine Spirit in all that surrounds us. It is with our heart of hearts that we see the heart of the world. This explains the intimate relationship between contemplation and ministry.”

Clowning In Rome by Henri J. M. Nouwen


A message from Chris Laufer, Coordinator, Faces of Children

Greetings, Faces of Children Intercessor,

The Midland Faces of Children prayer group will meet in the new Family Life Center conference room at First Presbyterian Church-Midland, on Wednesday, June 25, 2014 at 11:30 a.m. Following our time of prayer, we'll have lunch ($5) and fellowship. I look forward to seeing you there.


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

In the News ... "Local Vacation Bible Schools launch"

OA Photo by Edyta Blaszczyk
• Summertime youth programs bring fun to Christian teachings

By Jared Wilson, Reporter
Odessa American

ODESSA, TEXAS - Summer is a time when kids are fresh out of school and for many youth across West Texas that fun begins almost as soon as the school year ends with Vacation Bible School.

VBS takes place in the summer by churches throughout the area, but it’s not all just fun and games; within VBS is a designed lesson for the kids to take away while they are being entertained.

“VBS is always a good outreach to children and it varies, we get a large number of kids from the community who know the stories but for others it is a new experience,” the Rev. Eric Thompson of Westminster Presbyterian Church 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: June 24, 2014


PRESBYTERY OF THE NORTHERN PLAINS, MINNESOTA / MONTANA / NORTH DAKOTA - The Presbytery of the Northern Plains has been in partnership with Presbyterians in the Chogoria region of Kenya for over 10 years. During that period, the partnership has undertaken various projects and initiatives, but by far the most important outcome has been relationships. Many Presbyterians in North Dakota and Minnesota, as well as in Kenya, can now identify people who live half a world away as Christian friends and share with them in prayer and Bible study ...

CLICK HERE
to read more.

Monday, June 23, 2014

ChinaAid: "Guizhou house church leader under house arrest for organizing training program"

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.

Guizhou house church leader under house arrest for organizing training program

Distributed by ChinaAid, May, 2014 ...

GUIYANG, GUIZHO, CHINA – Authorities in the provincial capital of China’s inland Guizhou detained the a house church leader on May 22 for organizing a training program in the church, where authorities also demolished two crosses after his detention.

The Christian training program was held at Fengsheng Church in Guiyang; Pastor Shi Denggui leads the church.


more on this story from China Aid

Invitation to Prayer: Wednesday

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).

The Divine Spirit Praying in Us


“The practice of contemplative prayer is the discipline by which we begin to see God in our heart. It is a careful attentiveness to the One who dwells in the center of our being such that through the recognition of God’s presence we allow God to take possession of all our senses. Through the discipline of prayer, we awaken ourselves to the God in us and let God enter into our heartbeat and our breathing, into our thoughts and emotions, our hearing, seeing, touching, and tasting.

It is by being awake to this God in us that we can see God in the world around us. The great mystery of the contemplative life is not that we see God in the world, but that God within us recognizes God in the world. God speaks to God, Spirit speaks to Spirit, heart speaks to heart.

Contemplation, therefore, is a participation in this divine self-recognition. It is the divine Spirit praying in us who makes our world transparent and opens our eyes to the presence of the divine Spirit in all that surrounds us. It is with our heart of hearts that we see the heart of the world. This explains the intimate relationship between contemplation and ministry.”

Clowning In Rome by Henri J. M. Nouwen


A message from Chris Laufer, Coordinator, Faces of Children

Greetings, Faces of Children Intercessor,

The Midland Faces of Children prayer group will meet in the new Family Life Center conference room at First Presbyterian Church-Midland, on Wednesday, June 25, 2014 at 11:30 a.m. Following our time of prayer, we'll have lunch ($5) and fellowship. I look forward to seeing you there.


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

In the News ... "Church focuses on inclusion, community outreach"

MRT Photo by James Durbin
Steve Kuhlmann, Reporter
Midland Reporter-Telegram

MIDLAND, TEXAS - Even with more than 150 churches in Midland, it can be difficult for some to find a spiritual home — particularly for those who have felt rejected or hurt by churches in the past. However, that is the exact audience the Community Worship Center is seeking to reach.

Founded in January 2013, the Community Worship Center’s mission is to “effectively and consistently reach our community with God’s love.” With an emphasis on acceptance, the non-denominational church seeks to be a welcoming place for every person in Midland.

“We want to not only build a person spiritually, but we also want to focus on their physical needs and the things that they need at home,” said Latoya Mayberry ...

 • read the rest of this story

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: June 23, 2014


PRESBYTERY OF NORTH CENTRAL IOWA - Cedar Heights Community Presbyterian Church (CHCPC) in Cedar Falls began a partnership with a small Presbyterian parish in Bihembe, Rwanda, in 2008 ...

According to the Bihembe Presbyterian congregation, the village has been transformed: food supplies have been improved, the village has fresh water and electricity, and all the children are attending grade school and can now continue their education in their own village. ...

CLICK HERE
to read more.

Sunday, June 22, 2014

FPC-Midland Uganda Mission 2014: "Friday School Team"

After much preparation, packing and prayer, a team of our brothers and sisters in Christ - men, women and children from West Texas - will be at work in the east Africa nation of Uganda as part of an ongoing, annual Christian mission effort. The 2014 Uganda Mission Team from First Presbyterian Church-Midland will be posting reports from Uganda - along with photos, videos and more - on the Uganda Mission Team 2014 blog.



Friday School Team


Today the school team visited two schools. One primary school and one high school. The team was composed of Andrew Green, Elizabeth Darr, David Peters, and Zureyma Thompson ...

read the rest of this post, and enjoy more photos ... 

Heard in Chuch Today ... "Stephen Ministries"

Early service today at First Presbyterian Church-Midland included this video from Stephen Ministries. It was noted that we would be commissioning a new Stephen Minister during late service, and we were encouraged to thoughtfully, prayerfully consider looking into the ministry, taking the training, and becoming a Stephen Minister ourselves. Here's that video ...




What is a Stephen Minister? According to the Stephen Ministries website, "a person trained to provide one-to-one, Christ-centered care to hurting people." The website goes on to note that "Stephen Ministry is the one-to-one lay caring ministry that takes place in congregations that use the Stephen Series system. Stephen Ministry congregations equip and empower lay caregivers—called Stephen Ministers—to provide high-quality, confidential, Christ-centered care to people who are hurting."

learn more about becoming a Stephen Minister ...

learn more about starting a Stephen Ministry at your church ...


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: June 22, 2014


MINUTE FOR MISSION: DISABILITY INCLUSION - All of us face the possibility of dealing with natural disasters. Depending on where you live, these can include hurricanes, tornadoes, blizzards, earthquakes, floods, and wildfires. In recent years many people have been hit particularly hard by these disasters. Preparing for and dealing with disasters can be stressful for everyone, but disasters can be especially challenging for persons with disabilities (including the elderly).

CLICK HERE
to read more.

Saturday, June 21, 2014

FPC-Midland Uganda Mission 2014: "Friday Medical Clinic"

After much preparation, packing and prayer, a team of our brothers and sisters in Christ - men, women and children from West Texas - will be at work in the east Africa nation of Uganda as part of an ongoing, annual Christian mission effort. The 2014 Uganda Mission Team from First Presbyterian Church-Midland will be posting reports from Uganda - along with photos, videos and more - on the Uganda Mission Team 2014 blog.



Friday Medical Clinic


Hallelujah! God blessed us with another great and final day in Ogosoi. We arrived to the village with hundreds of people waiting to be treated at the medical clinic. God gave us the energy, patience and strength we needed to end our session In the village ...

read the rest of this post, and enjoy more photos ... 

In the News ... "Group of young professionals work to help local youth"

Staff Report
Midland Reporter-Telegram

MIDLAND, TEXAS - A group of local young professionals have formed the ministry Joshua’s Generation to help area youth.

The ministry is hosting the first of what it hopes to be a series of events targeting youth in Midland. A Texas Rap Contest is planned for 8-11 p.m. Saturday at Hogan Park. Registration is at 6 p.m. Saturday and contestants have a two-minute time limit to present a clean rap with no bad language ...

 • read the rest of this story

FPC-Midland Uganda Mission 2014: "Thursday School Team"

After much preparation, packing and prayer, a team of our brothers and sisters in Christ - men, women and children from West Texas - will be at work in the east Africa nation of Uganda as part of an ongoing, annual Christian mission effort. The 2014 Uganda Mission Team from First Presbyterian Church-Midland will be posting reports from Uganda - along with photos, videos and more - on the Uganda Mission Team 2014 blog.



Thursday School Team


Casey, Michelle, Sharon, and Richard went to three primary schools that had around 400 students each ...

read the rest of this post, and enjoy more photos ... 

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: June 21, 2014


PRESBYTERY OF MISSOURI RIVER VALLEY, IOWA/NEBRASKA - Why does someone choose to start letting God work through him or her? Where do people go to get enthused about mission? The first answer that comes to mind—the Bible—is correct, but one’s home church is another good answer. Every day, every place, every person—they all go into helping the church become and remain a mission-oriented family.

Being a mission-centered congregation is what keeps youth and young adults involved ...

CLICK HERE
to read more.

Friday, June 20, 2014

FPC-Midland Uganda Mission 2014: "Thursday Medical Clinic"

After much preparation, packing and prayer, a team of our brothers and sisters in Christ - men, women and children from West Texas - will be at work in the east Africa nation of Uganda as part of an ongoing, annual Christian mission effort. The 2014 Uganda Mission Team from First Presbyterian Church-Midland will be posting reports from Uganda - along with photos, videos and more - on the Uganda Mission Team 2014 blog.



Thursday Medical Clinic


What is normally a chaotic day started peacefully today. God laid his hand on Ogosoi and blessed us with time and cool weather for the start of the medical clinic, and soon the chaos ensued ...

read the rest of this post, and enjoy more photos ...