Saturday, February 20, 2010

"The harvest is ripe, but the workers are few"

Living Hope Church Missions Teams have been traveling to Kenya, Africa for the past 10 years on short term mission trips. This will be our fifth return trip to the relationship/partnership with Agape Fellowship in Nairobi, Kenya Africa. The relationship with Living Hope Church and Agape Fellowship, has been a good marriage between the two bodies of Christ. This union has resulted in 3 daughter churches that have been birthed and are growing, vibrant and thriving church plants, which in return has also have birthing granddaughter churches as well.

These trips would not be possible without the development, structure and guidance and leadership of Dan and Nancy Germo, missionaries to Kenya and Dr. Steven Kabachia the Bishop of Agape and his pastoral staff. There insight, wisdom, experience and love of the Kenya people and a love for Living Hope Church and her people, draws us back each and everytime.

As with each trip, much planning and preparation goes into developing a trip that not only covers the logistics and details and organization but, to make sure that each individual who has prayed about, committed and then gone to serve, is being developed and trained not only in their heads, but hearts as well and are prepared to "GO".

After 5 months of prayer and consideration, here are the following individuals who made the commitment to "GO":

10 Adults (* veteran team members)
* Tim Kelly
* Chrissy Kelly
* Mike LeClaire
* Mike Waldrop
* George Caylor
* Scott Denny
* Joel Bosacki
Tony Piantine
Tim Mandich
John Reed

5 College Students
* Jon Jarosinski
* Andy Deckert
* Jenny Bennett
Tracy Bennett
Hannah Smith

9 High School Students
* McKenna Kelly
Jamie Falk
Kate Saunders
Kylee Slough
Daniel Caylor
Zach Mandich
Eric Summers
Tess Seccombe
Andrew Bridenhagen

As you can imagine, it takes a lot to organize a group this size. We covet your prayers for the remaining four months. Prayer is essential for the life and success of this team and trip!

Some immediate prayer requests:
* Finances for each individual team member. The first deposit of $500 for airfare ticket reservation is due this week and that is just the beginning. Each individual must raise $3,500. That amount seems insurpassable and few are able to just write a check out for that. Please pray for God's provision and abundant blessings as all is His money to begin with. We are just stewards of the blessings and every penny will go to further His kingdom work.
* Individual growth for each person committed to go. That God will circumcize our hearts, prepare us for what He has called us to do and that we will be submitted and yielded to Him as He works in and through us
* Team unity - these next few months will be crucial for us as a team. That the bonding and unifiying of the team takes place. We go not as one individual, or one group but that we see that we one part of the Body of Christ, called out to unite and work with another part of the Body.
* Leadership/organization - Pray for Tim, myself, Mike Waldrop, Dr. Kabachia, Dan and Nancy Germo as we prepare, strategize and organize. We want to be wise stewards of our time, energy, finances, focus and purpose for the project in which we have been entrusted to share in and be a part of in Northern Kenya.
* Financial contributions for the girls school building project that we will be participating in Northern Kenya. We have partnered with Agape Fellowship and Bethany Church of Bloomington, MN to lay the foundation, build the structure, and furnish the interior of the school in which all three churches have committed to see built. As I write this, Bethany Church's mission team is presently in Northern Kenya, laying the foundation and setting it up for the remaining two churches to come in and complete. Building materials, tool costs are very elevated in third world country. Since we are unable to bring much with us, we will have to purchase all that we need in Kenya. Each church has agreed to supply $3,000 to cover the expenses of this building project.

As insurmountable that these funds may appear to be, especially in light of also raising personal funds just to "GO", thankfully, we serve a God who is not intimidated and we can trust that He knows and will provide for all our needs.

Thank you for praying. Thank you for supporting. Thank you for encouraging us as we go out!

God Bless

How missions has impacted my life

Hi, my name is Chrissy Kelly and my husband, Tim and I have attended Living Hope Church for over 20 years. I would like to share with you how missions has impacted my life and how God has called me into missions.

I believe that even at a young age, God had been instilling in my heart a desire and passion to serve Him overseas as a missionary. As a little girl, I was greatly impacted and fascinated with stories of missionaries such as Corrie Ten Boom, Amy Carmichael, Jim Elliott, Hudson Taylor, and George Mueller to name a few. My mother remembers me singing songs like "Jesus loves the little children, all the children of the world. Red and Yellow, Black and White, they are precious in His sight" and recalls me telling missionary stories to my stuffed animals and dollies. I also pretended to be a missionary and acted out the stories that my mother read to me.

As a teenager, before we knew each other, Tim and I both had opportunities to go on missions trips. From that moment on, we knew that God had placed a calling upon our lives. Where and when we were not sure, but knew that our lives were changed forever.

We made the commitment to seek out schooling that would train and prepare us to serve Him in foreign missions. While attended Bethany College of Missions, we met each other, fell in love and later married. Our goal upon graduation, was to be a full time missionary on a foreign field. God had other plans.

As we sought out His direction, we prayed that He would send us. However, in God's timing, we were not released us to go into foreign missions. Instead He asked us to settle down in Green Bay. To say we were disappointed, is a great understatement. We couldn't begin to fathom, why two individuals who were willing to go, were asked to stay and bloom where God had planted us.

Over the years, we can see the prudence of God's direction leading us to stay. We had a lot of growing up to do. God work of pruning and refining us is still a work in progress. We have learned many lessons over the past 20 years and I'm sure there is much more for us to learn that is yet to come.

In these past 20 years, God has given us the passion to train up and lead teens and adults on short term missions trips. A mission trip will change your life and impact you in a way you have never experienced before. Missions also seeks to expand your a world view that extends beyond your own town, community and even church.

Through a missions trip, one quickly learns to depend on the LORD at all times, through all things and that it is the LORD who is in control of all things. We are taken out of our comfort zone which is where God can truly use us the best and do His work in and through us.

God may not call of us to go on the foreign missions field, but He does call all of us to "Go" and if He gives the opportunity for you to go on a trip, then we need to take that opportunity to go.

So, thank you for allowing me to share my testimony. In future blogs, I will attempt to chronicle the process of preparing and planning for a missions trip. So much more goes into it then may be visible. I will also list prayer requests for our team and excerpts from missions articles that hopefully will speak to your heart as they do mine.

Its also my desire to help others develop a missions heart to support those who are on the front lines, daily serving and living out the gospel 24/7. They are the unsung hero's, who often times, because they are so far away, and we cannot see them visibly as they serve, we tend to forget them and how much they need us. We can be supporting them in prayer, through finances, through words of encouragement but unless we know their stories, build relationships with them and tell others about them, their lives will unnoticed. They are the modern day Amy Carmichael's, Hudson Taylor's, Jim Elliott's and we need to stand behind them so that they can carry on what God has called them to do.

Thank you for allowing me to share.

"He is no fool who gives what he cannot keep to gain what he cannot lose" - Jim Elliott (Missionary/Martyr)

Saturday, February 6, 2010

Tony's Entry: Step One

I am going to blog regularly here about my experience from the now till the end of the Kenya trip. Hopefully others from our team will also. I hope to live out the process here so others can see the value of the trip, and want to go in the future. My plan is to take this trip believing it is a journey taken in simple steps, which is my normal way of operating. I probably will agonize over each step and celebrate as God lights the path and allows me to take another step. I will blog as each step is taken.
Step 1
I have made the commitment to go to Kenya on the LHC Missions trip 2010. I believe this trip will be eye opening and filled with opportunities for growth for me and the rest of the team. I expect to be stretched and face things on this trip that will be hard and move my relationship with God forward. I do have fears, mostly for what I am leaving behind. I feel the weight of responsibility leading Camp Daniel. June is a very busy month, preparing for our camps. I do not want to let our staff down, nor do I want to give any less than my best for our campers because of this trip. I have spent much time in prayer and thought, and believe the growth I will experience on this trip will outweigh the issues it will create. I know it puts a huge burden on my wife and everyone else preparing for the summer, I am already praying for God's help in this daily. I go with my wife's blessing, she came to me expressing that she feels this is what I should do, that was the first answer to prayer and the first step of this trip.

I don't find the financial end of the trip to be a hinderance, but finances have never been an issue in my work for God. We give what God wants of us in our daily lives and so I know God will bless me when He sees our need, to do His work. I know I do not have the finances, I also know that almost everyone I have relationship with, supports our ministry at Camp Daniel in some way. I cannot write them letters asking for more help, so I look forward to how God will make this possible, believing He wants me to go. It is a lot of money to raise, I do struggle at times if it is best served being spending money in this way. But it becomes a non issue if I am not striking out on my own to raise it and am relying on God to provide it, if this is what He wants me to do.
I ask for your prayer to have courage to walk into places that God wants me to go, to see what He wants me to see and grow closer to him to be more effective in His work. I ask for your prayer for the entire team, as a trip like this can truly affect our entire church as people come home better prepared to serve God at LHC.