by Nancy Ware and Olivia Noland
Traditionally we look at the Great Commission as an opportunity to serve over there. We want to challenge you to think of here. God has graciously placed us in the twenty-first century, bringing the world to our doorstep. With this comes the opportunity to serve internationals (in our case refugees).
Nancy: There are approximately 3,000 refugees from Southeast Asia living in the Akron area. The key is developing relationships with the adults–laughing, crying, and sharing our hearts. This opens the door to Christ’s message of hope. I limit the number of families I serve to about 30. Most of these families have children under the age of 12. Therefore, I have focused on children under 12. Yet I saw that there was a need for middle school and high school children to be served. As I was praying about how these youth could be served, the college ministry shared a desire to get involved with refugees. Who better to serve as a role model for these youth than college students who love Jesus? My hope is that the college ministry would engage the refugee youth into relationships yet empower them to succeed in America. I also pray that at least 10 college students will go as long-term missionaries to Thailand and Myanmar.
Olivia: After Nancy approached the college ministry about getting involved with refugees, the long, but rewarding process began of figuring out how to best engage with Akron refugee youth. Out of this journey, the after-school program and summer camp called Thrive was birthed. Thrive exists to help Akron refugees thrive educationally, socially, and spiritually. This ministry takes our commission seriously: “Bear one another’s burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ.”-Galatians 6:2. Our overall purpose is to point these students to Jesus. Tangible outlets into their lives meet real needs such as helping them with schoolwork and navigating life in the United States. The nations have come to Akron, Ohio and there is evidence of great need and purpose in what we do to help our international neighbors. The greatest need that I have seen amongst refugee youth is a lack of hope: a lack of hope in Jesus, a lack of hope that they can get an education, and a lack of hope that they will be accepted in the United States. Thrive strives to infuse that hope into refugee youth.
An Interview with Tricia Lott Williford
Tricia is the author of And Life Comes Back and will be keynote speaker for our upcoming women’s conference on October 18.
When her thirty-five-year-old husband died suddenly, she was left to raise two young sons on her own. Her gut-level honesty acknowledges that life sometimes throws us into the dark pit of despair, but her strong encouragement assures us that we don’t have to stay there.
Can you give a brief summary of your local ties to Akron/Green area and The Chapel?
I’m pretty sure there is actually an imprinted outline in the shape of Ohio on my heart, with two stars in the northeast for Akron and Green. I am an Ohio girl, through and through. I grew up in Green, I attended The Chapel until I was in my mid-twenties, and all of my roots started there. The Chapel is home to me, and I am so excited to come back.
by Fred & Sandy Muffet, Local Mission Coordinators
On Saturday, November 22 at Green Campus, we will have another rice-packing event. We had such a tremendous response last year.
What a great way for families, singles, couples, and groups to serve together. Assembly lines will form to measure ingredients (rice, soy, dehydrated vegetables, vitamins, minerals) in bags, weigh, seal and box up for malnourished families in Ichmul, Mexico. How are we going to get it there? By bus of course!
UPDATE: Registration is FULL!!!!
Reflections from two team members recently back from their mission trip to Mozambique.
by Carmen Beasley
To return for a second time to Mozambique this fall was a dream come true. Clearly, God is at work. What a privilege to see and experience firsthand His handiwork and provision through the faithful giving and serving of so many at The Chapel.
I cannot adequately put into words how encouraged I was to see and witness the spiritual growth of women in the villages of Chaimite and Koka Misava. It was night and day! The difference was particularly stark when teaching in another village where there has been very little Bible training. Truly, in these two villages there is a spiritual and physical vibrancy that was not there a mere three and half years ago. I heard it in discussions about the Bible and in the music and dancing. I saw it in the physical health of the women and in the lushness of the thriving agricultural field.
In the midst of a community plagued with severe poverty and difficult social and physical conditions, there is a joy and a hope that is alive and well through His Holy Spirit. Please be encouraged that our giving, service, and prayers are making an impact. I am greatly encouraged, and I personally return home with a renewed excitement, yes, a fresh passion that we as a church continue in loving and giving generously until His work is complete.
by Brenda Mitchell
After being home from Mozambique for a few days, the thing that I’m finding myself talking about is evidence of progress that has been made over the last 7 years since I was there. The most obvious and visible thing was the stunning effect of the drip irrigation on the agricultural field. We were all overwhelmed as we viewed row after row of gorgeous fruit trees and vegetables. They have set up a wonderful system to promote accountability and profit, as well as making plans for future expansion. I hope every person at The Chapel who supported the purse party and WOW can hear me say that their efforts and generosity have produced much fruit.
While not as outwardly visible, it was just as exciting to see how much the women Carmen and I taught have progressed spiritually. They gave insightful answers to our questions and clearly had more knowledge of the Bible than they did in the past. They demonstrated an understanding of Christ’s sacrifice on the cross and what it means for them. I believe that the steady “drip” that our teams provide by going and teaching (as well as our church’s support of our Mozambican missionaries) has contributed to this growth. Just like the ag fields, may this growth continue to progress and expand for the praise and glory of our Lord!
Summer Bible Study
“Is not my word like fire…” Jeremiah 23:29
Imagine a teenager who has learned how to take the raw materials of Bible chapter and verse, and gather them into a pile of kindling. Imagine the Spirit of God breathing life, fire, into that kindling.
Now imagine the potential of sending one teenager at a time into the world with the Word of God, like embers, hot and glowing in his heart.
My favorite student ministry program is our summer Bible study series. It started two summers ago with “Tuesday Tacos & 2 Timothy.” This summer it was “Games, Grilling & Galatians.”
We believe that God’s authority and power are exercised and expressed most clearly through His Word. And so, the goal of our summer Bible study is to teach teenagers how to discover and wield the authority of God’s Word for themselves.
We don’t teach the passage, we teach students how to study the passage for themselves. They, in turn, teach each other through discussion.
At the heart of our Family Ministry are a few simple goals. One such goal is to help kids and students have a “thick interpretation” of Scripture (a tip of the hat to Zac Derr).
As a Family Ministry, we are being more and more intentional and tenacious in guarding our kids and students from the clutter of unnecessary programming, in order to laser in on that very important goal.
We believe it will be worth it in the long run. And we welcome your prayers to that end.