Monday, June 16, 2008

"SUMMER OF SIGNIFICANCE"
OFF TO A GREAT START
.


Some of you wanted to know how the past weekend went so here's an edited version of the email I just sent out:

Dear church family---

WOW! What an incredible weekend the youth of our church (and the grown-ups involved) just had this past weekend. It was so good, I wanted to tell the rest of you about it and give you a chance to participate as well.

On Saturday, Jeff Goins with Adventures in Missions led us in a day filled with prayer, worship, and teaching/sharing all related to loving "the least of these" as Jesus told us to. Along with Jeff, Roy Wingard with Wingard House and Amy Lancaster with WE WILL GO ministry shared a little of their testimonies and then told about the work that God has them doing and how our youth and church can be involved. Let me tell you, it was all good and each of us left there impacted in some way.

On Sunday afternoon, 13 of us crammed into my van and we went to the Lancaster's home for ministry and worship. There was some nervousness and even downright fears involved as for many of us, it was our first time to do this sort of thing. For most of us, a homeless person or prostitute is just someone we read about, hear about on the news or in movies, or pass by in our car while we make sure our doors are locked. But after worshipping alongside them and spending time talking, serving them a meal, playing with one woman's puppy, and loving on their children, these people became more than just a label, they became real to us and they became people we cared about and look forward to seeing AGAIN!

That's right...AGAIN! I don't know how often I'll get to go this summer. But I do know that yesterday won't be the last day for me and my family and all the youth yesterday told me that they wanted to go back.

I know that many of you couldn't participate this past weekend due to conflicts in schedule or plans with your fathers.

But its NOT TOO LATE!!!!

Next Sunday we'll be going again.


And listen...its not JUST for the youth or just for the youth and their parents. This is for ANYONE and EVERYONE! And yes, you can bring your little kids. They've got a trampoline that the kids can play on. The kids are free to move around and fidget as needed during the worship time. Yesterday, the Lancaster's daughters, Sara and Olivia, were giving out free popsicles and my kids LOVED that! You're free to bring some toys for your kids or whatever! Just bring 'em! It really is a lot of fun and a wonderful ministry that the whole family can do together.

If you want to go and can help with transporation, PLEASE let me know! Yesterday I had to double buckle my kids so that we'd have room for all the youth that wanted to go. Next week, I'll have my husband and oldest son added to the number as they weren't there yesterday. There's just no way I'll have room for all that will want to go. But I don't want ANYONE to not be able to participate in this important ministry due to lack of transportation.

Also, if you can't come but would like to contribute anyway, there are things that the Lancasters can ALWAYS use such as new socks, men and women's underwear, nonperishable food items (especially the kind that doesn't require any cooking for the street people), bottled water, toilet paper, paper products, clothes for adults and children, and Bibles. I watched some of those folks yesterday eagerly getting one new pair of underpants and acting like it was Christmas! I also watched as Amy ran out and didn't have enough for everyone and the disappointment on their faces.

Church, these are "the least of these" that Jesus talked about. These are the people that the majority of our culture either doesn't even think about or when they do, its usually in a completely negative way. But these are all people who God loves. And the majority of them are there because they were raised in families that didn't love them the way a child should be loved and raise them with the knowledge of a God who cares. Most of them were abused and fatherless. Most of them truly don't know how to live differently or they're so trapped in their sins and addictions, that they are prisoners to their lifestyles. Some of them already know the Lord and love Him deeply. Some of them still are empty and trying to fill it with drugs, alcohol, etc.

In many ways they are very different than us. But in some very important ways they are just like us. They want to be loved. They want to know that someone cares about them...that they are worth something.

Let me know if I can answer any questions for you.

Looking forward to learning to love better during this SUMMER OF SIGNIFICANCE,
Elysa

2 comments:

Rhonda Jeanne said...

Y'all are just great. I'm glad it went well! I was praying for y'all...as I was laying on the beach. ;-)

Coffee Bean said...

What a wonderful ministry opportunity! I am so glad that y'all are able to participate and that it is blessing you so.