Mission Outreach Blog

Day 8 - God's Wonderland

Today was a full day of Safari. We headed out at 7 AM and did not get back until around 5 PM. It is difficult to process all the amazing things in creation that we saw. None of us expected to see as many animals as we did. The highlight however was that we got to witness part of the great migration from Tanzania to Kenya of the wildebeest and zebra .

We are all so grateful for this opportunity and experience. 

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Day 7 - Bumpy Yet Exhilarating

We woke up early in the morning to take the drive from Nakuru to the Mara which is the wild game reserve in Southern Kenya. It borders Tanzania. The drive took seven hours, three hours of which were on unpaved, bumpy roads. Our drivers told us we were getting their version of an African massage as we bumped and prodded along. We were able to stop at two curio shops though with authentic Masai art and goods. The Masai are the tribe in the area where the national park game reserve is located. They are known for their tall slender build and bright colored clothing. They live as shepherds of sheep and cattle. Driving through this country is breathtaking with the level planes and the mountains surrounding. As we drove along the highway we frequently saw monkeys, zebras, and wildebeest.

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We arrived at our lodge and grabbed a quick bite and then went out on our first safari. Immediately upon entering the park we saw impala, gazelle, zebra, and wildebeest. Later we saw giraffe. It began to rain, hard, so hard we had to put down the top of our bus. We saw a huge crowd of cars gathered and wondered what was there. As we pulled up we saw two lions and a lioness. Absolutely fascinating.

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It continued to rain so we made our way back. On our way back we ran into a herd of elephants including two babies. Truly another day in paradise.

Day 6 - Bitter with a tiny sweet.

Today was our last day in Nakuru town. It was bittersweet every step of the way. We began early in the morning again with a workplace Bible study at a local grocer called Woolmart. The one at Woolmart was led by another one of R.O.C.K.Bridge Ministries pastors, Edward. He had come in by bus from Nairobi so that we could hear him preach.

Next we went to a car dealership - Ken-Jap Motors. Here Pastor Susan, also with R.O.C.K.Bridge Ministries led the Bible study that customers who were waiting to buy cars attended as well. Both pastors are dynamic and engaging.

Pastor Edward at Woolmart workplace Bible study.  

Pastor Edward at Woolmart workplace Bible study.  

Pastor Susan and Ellen outside Ken-Jap Motors.  

Pastor Susan and Ellen outside Ken-Jap Motors.  

After that we headed to the state run orphanage called Arap-Moi Children's Home. We met with the director of the school who has been there 28 years. This was an overwhelming experience as she shared stories of how they get the children especially the babies. They have 143 students, many of whom have special needs, HIV or AIDS, or are victims of sexual abuse. Unfortunately we were not able to visit with any of the children as the primary students were in school and the babies have an outbreak of chickenpox. We were able to peek at a few of them through the windows though. Some of RPC's Christmas Endowment Fund goes to this place.

Next we went to the Hyrax primary school, which is a government run school for grades one through five. The school has 1000 children. They had them come out for their assembly and all thousand children sat outside in complete silence like we had never seen. They welcomed us, sang to us, and we were able to pray with them. R.O.C.K.Bridge Ministries got involved with the school a few years ago when one of the teachers called Zablon and asked if he could help pay for some new uniforms for some of the orphans whose clothes were literally falling apart. The principal talked about how giving them clothes and shoes had brought about such improvement in their spiritual health but also in their test scores.

Arap-Moi Children's Home.

Arap-Moi Children's Home.

A wall on the outside of the primary school. The children see this as soon as they leave the washroom.  

A wall on the outside of the primary school. The children see this as soon as they leave the washroom.  

This is the sign immediately when you walk into the orphanage.  

This is the sign immediately when you walk into the orphanage.  

We came back after lunch and rested for just a brief moment. We then went up to the Tumaini children's home as well as the Nakuru 316 orphanage to say our goodbyes. We all left in tears. None of us wanted to leave.

Anna Beth and Ashley surrounded! 

Anna Beth and Ashley surrounded! 

Jack entertaining a group of boys.  

Jack entertaining a group of boys.  

All of us are so incredibly grateful to have experienced this amazing place. The faith, the heart, the lives lived here will forever inspire us. We hope that some of you will get to experience it in the future as well. 

Day 5 - Dusk to Dawn in Awe

Our day began earlier than normal so that we could go to one of R.O.C.K.Bridge Ministries workplace Bible studies. The Bible study began at 7:30 AM at a business called Victory Furniture. It has three locations in Nakuru town. People from all three locations come for the Bible study. There were over 50 in attendance not including our team. Most of these in attendance were young adult professionals. One of Rock Bridge's staff people, Benson, is the pastor for this workplace Bible study. We began with a few songs and then he led into a study on the fruit of the Spirit. He was energetic, humorous, and completely engaging with everybody present. It was a job well done!

The plaque at the nursing school in honor of Lane. 

The plaque at the nursing school in honor of Lane. 

Inside the freshman class at the Nursing College. 

Inside the freshman class at the Nursing College. 

After catching a quick breakfast, we went to the Nakuru West Parish Church. There we met with the key church leaders as well as the leaders of the nursing college, the school, and the medical clinic. One of the most amazing things was how much they wanted to know our story and thank Roswell Presbyterian for all that it has done to help bring about this amazingly sustainable ministry. We tried our best to encourage and affirm the amazing work that God has done for them. It is truly a unique model for ministry in the majority world in that it is sustainable.

Ellen working with a patient.  

Ellen working with a patient.  

One of our team members, Ellen Grade,  a licensed speech pathologist, was able to spend the day in the clinic onsite consulting with patients with cerebral palsy, meningitis, encephalitis, and more. She was able to treat 25 patients. She did a remarkable job teaching parents as well as the nurses at the clinic simple ways to communicate with their children. How amazing!

Some of the ladies at the church prepared a most fabulous traditional Kenyan lunch. We sat around with the church leaders as well as lay leaders and workers and shared fellowship together. After that we walked over to the school onsite that serves H3 through 14 years old. Two of the classes had prepared special presentations for us. It was unbelievable what they had prepared. I hope to post the video when I return.

Lastly we went by another workplace Bible study at a very nice hotel in Nakuru. This was the day of the Bible study launching. We were fortunate to have Zablon give a brief charge as well as us offer prayers for this amazing ministry that just continues to blossom here. Currently Rock Bridge Ministries has 33 workplaces where they are doing Bible studies. God is so good!

Day 4 - God in the heart of the slum.

Day four, after a lovely breakfast, with Kenyan doughnuts, we drove to the largest slum in Nakuru called Upendo. Upendo means love in Swahili. There we visited another PCEA church called the Upendo parish. Here they have a preschool, kindergarten, and class 1 or first grade. There are 120 students in the school, 92 of them are sponsored. Sponsorship per year, including a snack and lunch, is $120.

Humphrey the manager of this amazing place in the largest slum in Nakuru. 

Humphrey the manager of this amazing place in the largest slum in Nakuru. 

The worship space.  

The worship space.  

They also have a medical clinic. It was absolutely fascinating to hear about the tremendous growth in such a short period of time of this church right in the heart of the slums. The manager there, Humphrey, is also the janitor, the facilities operator, the overseer of the staff and the students.

The outside of the clinic.  

The outside of the clinic.  

The main things the clinic treats are malaria and typhoid, both of which come from the contaminated water in the area. Folks from the slum can also come there to receive free HIV testing and medicine as provided by the USAID and Kenyan government. All the other treatments, including typhoid and malaria vaccinations, are available for a very small cost. Still this cost prevents many from coming and the clinic only sees about 45 patients per day.

Next we set off to visit Zablon's mother, Eunice. She had 13 of us over for tea and bread in her lovely countryside home. We were able to meet two of Zablon's brothers as well as one of his nephews. Zablon's mother was quiet, yet very funny and very grateful for our surprise 

Zablon's precious and faithful mother Eunice.  

Zablon's precious and faithful mother Eunice.  

Zablon sharing his vision for this land.  

Zablon sharing his vision for this land.  

Next we headed back into the main part of town to have lunch and to buy a few supplies for the Nakuru 316 children that we would go play with again in the afternoon.

After the quick shopping trip Zablon drove us to the 7 1/2 acres that R.O.C.K.Bridge Ministries has received as a donation from one of his board members. It is in a fabulous location that overlooks Lake Nakuru.

Courtney showing the guys the harmonica.  

Courtney showing the guys the harmonica.  

In the evening we headed back to Nakuru 316 to hang out with the children again. The highlight of the afternoon was when the high school students came back to the retreat center with us so that Courtney could give them some harmonicas. Here is Courtney showing them how to play the harmonicas. Absolutely priceless. This was the most spectacular day yet. God is soooooo at work here. 

Day 3 - Worship

We awoke early to be at the Nakuru West Church for the 8:30 service.

The service was energetic, Holy Spirit filled, and awesome. Part of this church's strategic plan is to focus on children's ministry, so they had several different moments where children were able to lead worship. It was wonderful. At one point the pastor called all the children up and asked if any of them have a memory verse? Two girls sang separate songs and then two boys shared different memory verses. Before each child shared, they would look out at the congregation and say "praise God". The congregation would respond with "amen". Then they would say "praise God again." The congregation would say "amen" again. Then they would introduce themselves. They were such amazing little leaders.

After church we hung out with the congregation outside. After church we went to lunch in town with two of the church elders.

The sanctuary at Nakuru West Parish

The sanctuary at Nakuru West Parish

The team before worship. 

The team before worship. 

In the afternoon we visited the Nakuru 316 home on the grounds of the TCC. This is a home for children who have been rescued off the street as orphans. There were 20 orphans aged 3-12. We played with bubbles and chalk. Then we had a dance party and taught them some of our moves as they taught us their own. An unbelievable experience for all of us

Anna Beth and Jack surrounded with love.  

Anna Beth and Jack surrounded with love.  

Precious girls! Jack is in the background playing "hand-slap"! while Donna shows selfies to one of the girls. 

Precious girls! Jack is in the background playing "hand-slap"! while Donna shows selfies to one of the girls. 

Patty in her element, loving on kids.  

Patty in her element, loving on kids.  

Fun! Fun! Joy! Joy! 

Fun! Fun! Joy! Joy! 

Day 2 - Nairobi to Nakuru

The glorious Rift Valley

The glorious Rift Valley

Day two, we set out after breakfast at the Milele hotel, which is basically dormitories housed on the headquarters of the Presbyterian Church of East Africa. We set out for Nakuru. After an hour, our first stop was an overlook of the rift valley. It was magnificent!!!

We saw lots of the gray bearded Columbus monkeys. Along with a rodent called the hyrex.

On the drive from Nairobi to Nakuru, we were on a two-lane highway. All along the roads were lined with wild zebras and baboons. 

We arrived in Nakuru and ate lunch at a local joint famous for its barbecue chicken, Midlands. Some of us tried the local ginger ale called Stoney along with our tasty meal.

A curious baboon.  

A curious baboon.  

Ellen and one of our drivers and host Peter with a Stoney Ginger Ale.

Ellen and one of our drivers and host Peter with a Stoney Ginger Ale.

Entrance in to the Tumaini School

Entrance in to the Tumaini School

We checked in to our lodges at the Tumaini Conference Center, owned by the Presbyterian Church of East Africa. We will stay here til Thursday.

It is lovely!! The Kenyan people are all so welcoming with huge smiles and humble demeanors.

We all checked into our rooms, we are sleeping two to a room. Zablon took us on a tour of the 30 acre grounds. It was overwhelming. The school has 300 students, 200 that board. 90 of which are orphans. The lead teacher named Moses was intentional to tell us that there is no distinction between the orphan students and the others. He emphasized that all are equal. 

As we walked the grounds, we came upon one of Zablon's friends named John. John has been serving as the cook for the children for 10 years. We were all surprised to see what he was wearing on his head. Team member Courtney Bailie was sure to show him his hat as well.

Zablon with Courtney and John

Zablon with Courtney and John

Zablon and Ashley Alderman sharing a sweet moment together. Her father Lane's handprints are all over this place too.  

Zablon and Ashley Alderman sharing a sweet moment together. Her father Lane's handprints are all over this place too.  

I must tell you, we are all in a little bit of awe of our friend Zablon. To see him lead through such humility and grace, constantly trying to let the other leaders here be the ones to answer questions and take the lead. We all have learned so much and it's only been 24 hours. We are so fortunate to be able to experience this place together.

Day 1 - Travel and Arrival

After two 8 1/2 hour flights, connecting through Frankfurt, we happily arrived Friday at 7:30 PM - a little bit early. We came off the plane, and took a very quick bus ride to the visa lines.

When you go through customs do not mention that you're bringing donated items, A few of our group did and the customs folks were very concerned that we were bringing in items to the country and not paying taxes on them. I'm not sure they realized that these were donated items. Anyway we are through.

Josh and Ellen in line for visa entry.  

Josh and Ellen in line for visa entry.  

This is hysterical as the two folks who looked up are not in our group. You can see Patty and Jack in the back.  

This is hysterical as the two folks who looked up are not in our group. You can see Patty and Jack in the back.  

And Zablon awaited us as soon as we got through! Such a treat to see a big bright smile of "Karibu" or welcome. 

To bed we go!

Anna Beth and Ashley with Zablon.  

Anna Beth and Ashley with Zablon.  

Yay!!! Jambo! 

Yay!!! Jambo! 

Three days in one post!! (is that a record?)- Mon, Tues, Wed

It has been several days since our last update. Very sorry! Monday was our first day really working in Guatemala. We went to the school in Chichi first for the morning and did VBS with kids from kindergarten to 6th grade. With creative ways of communication (and ok, a very helpful translator) we were able to teach a full lesson, make playdoh, and other activities. After that, a group went to do some craft projects with the women of a local community, while another group worked on construction doing concrete and roofing. After that, it was dinner, devotion, and then to bed.

Tuesday was another fun and challenging day. Day 2 of VBS, but this time at Chulumal school. The children were so excited we were there and we were able to also teach them a full VBS lesson and so other crafts. That was after we had an assembly where we got all the kids together to hear a story about being friends with Jesus and then they all sang and danced along to our songs. After that, we split up again with some going back to construction and others traveled to a church where we held a community activity with crafts for the local women. They loved the bags and bracelets they made and we knew they were enjoying themselves, even though we could not understand them. That night we were blessed to have Pastor Thomas and his wife, and Sergio and Serapio and their family join us for dinner.  It was so amazing to hear their perspectives about faith and the importance of the church, and how RPC has helped them help their community.

Wednesday was the last day of VBS at Chulumal and it was bittersweet. Even though we were only there two days, many of us felt such a connection to the children already, so leaving them was tough. However, that did not stop us and them from having a blast that morning. We had another assembly where the kids loved to dance and sing along with us. They were so animated and energetic, is was wonderful to see. After school got out, some of our group stayed behind to hold a craft session for the women of Chulumal. They made shawls which looked amazing, and the women loved them! The other group went to another construction site where they put down concrete and roofing. That night we were joined by some special guests, Pam and Jose and Grace and Juan. These amazing people are involved with the boarding school in Quiche, and work with us to help these kids get an education. It was enlightening to hear their stories of how God worked miracles in their lives.

Guatemala- Sunday & Monday

The blog is finally up and working so here we go. The team has had a great three days so far and everyone is in high spirits going into our fourth day of serving God in Guatemala. On Sunday the team had an eventful day of going to the famous Chichi market. The hustle and bustle is both exciting and overwhelming, and for neophytes especially, it was something completely new and wonderful. After that, the team was able to worship along with our Guatemalan brothers and sisters at the Chulumal church. It was an interesting experience having the entire service translated sentence by sentence but regardless of the language barriers, we were all able to come together and worship. 

2nd Mile for Mission - Then and Now: God at Work - Day 15 - Boy Scouts/Venture Crew

2nd Mile for Mission
Then and Now: God at Work - Prayer Journal 2017
Day 15 - Boy Scouts/Venture Crew
Jim Baker, RPC Champion

"You are the light of the world. A city built on a hill cannot be hid. No one after lighting a lamp puts it under the bushel basket, but on the lampstand, and it gives light to all in the house. In the same way, let you light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father in heaven." - Matthew 5:14-16 (NRSV)

Boy Scout Troop 87 (T87) has been sponsored by Roswell Presbyterian Church for 65 years. Membership includes 43 boys from across North Fulton County and East Cobb County.

I have fond memories of my time spent as a Boy Scout in my youth. Because of scouts, I learned valuable camping and citizenship skills and the importance of service to others. My most vibrant memory was hiking at the Philmont Scout Ranch in New Mexico, a high adventure camp where crews backpack for 12 days.

I became involved with Troop 87 when my son Andrew crossed over from Cub Scouts to Boy Scouts. I eventually became the troop's Charter Organization Representative - essentially serving as the liaison between the troop and the church. It has been very rewarding to watch boys enter the troop when they are 11 years old, and leave the troop as responsible young men at age 18. Scouting continues to teach the importance of service to others.

In addition to going on several high adventure trips each year, Troop 87 members devote countless hours on service projects for organizations such as HomeStretch, North Fulton Community Charities, and The Drake House. None of this would be possible without RPC's support.

A highlight of my Troop 87 involvement was when I returned to the Philmont Scout Ranch in 2015 with my son and other troop members. Of course, the hiking was a lot more challenging than I remembered when I was there at age 15!

Venture Crew 87 is also sponsored by Roswell Presbyterian Church consisting of boys and girls age 14 through 20. We are grateful to God for the support of these young people.

PRAYER:
Lord, thank you for organizations like Boy Scouts and the opportunities it provides for you. Thank you for RPC and the support it provides to scouting. Please continue to watch over the youth in the scouting organizations sponsored by RPC, guiding them into adulthood. Amen.


2nd Mile for Mission is RPC's annual Mission Outreach giving campaign where every dollar goes out the door to directly benefit our local and global mission partners. Our goal for 2017 is $150,000. 

For more information and to make your commitment and give online, visit www.roswellpres.org/2ndmile

2nd Mile for Mission - Then and Now: God at Work - Day 14 - Family Promise

2nd Mile for Mission
Then and Now: God at Work - Prayer Journal 2017
Day 14 - Family Promise
Bill Silzle, RPC Champion

Do not neglect to show hospitality to strangers, for by doing that some have entertained angels without knowing it. - Hebrews 13:2 (NRSV)

Who knew? But God did...

About five years ago, the minister of a Sandy Springs church made a pitch to RPC's Mission Council about a hospitality ministry for homeless families in North Fulton. My first reaction was... there are NO homeless families here in North Fulton. We'd have known all about it if there were. My second reaction was... and the ministry would rotate EVERY week from congregation to congregation, and the families and kids would always be in flux? My third reaction was... seriously, homeless folks right here in our church? Staying with us?

So, the pragmatic, logical, no-nonsense engineer in me said this was a crazy idea that could never work. But God knew better...

Despite my initial opposition, along with that of others, God once again prevailed. RPC started hosting moms, dads, and kids in early 2013, and I immediately saw these are folks a WHOLE LOT LIKE THE REST OF US. They, like many of us, have lived close to the edge but something happened to push them over. Maybe an illness, or a kid's illness, or a job loss, an accident, or some other unforeseen calamity, but that was all it took to go from living close to disaster, to being buried by it.

Now, with God's direction and a little help from 100 plus volunteers at RPC, we have so far helped change the lives of about 70 moms and dads, and nearly 150 kids! These families have been able to get back on their feet toward a more stable life. We have helped make a difference in our neighbors' lives, and we've done it right under the roof of Roswell Presbyterian.

I didn't see it, but God did...

PRAYER:
We thank you, Lord, that you see the big picture. We get caught up in our own perspective on life and our everyday struggles but you see life from an eternal perspective. Help us each day to do your will, and to learn to trust you in everything. Comfort, strengthen, and guide us every day as we travel along life's pathway. In Jesus' name we pray, Amen.


2nd Mile for Mission is RPC's annual Mission Outreach giving campaign where every dollar goes out the door to directly benefit our local and global mission partners. Our goal for 2017 is $150,000. 

For more information and to make your commitment and give online, visit www.roswellpres.org/2ndmile

You can sign-up now to receive information and updates about 2nd Mile, including the daily Prayer Journal. To receive messages via text, text @rpc2ndmile to 81010 or sign-up online to receive text and/or email notifications. The daily Prayer Journal will be posted to this Mission Outreach blog and RPC's Facebook page.

2nd Mile for Mission - Then and Now: God at Work - Day 13 - Global Mission Trips

2002 - RPC's first visit to the Chichicastenango School in Guatemala

2002 - RPC's first visit to the Chichicastenango School in Guatemala

2nd Mile for Mission
Then and Now: God at Work - Prayer Journal 2017
Day 13 - Global Mission Trips

Rev. Mary Cox, RPC Associate Pastor, Mission Outreach

Playground at Chichicastenango School

Playground at Chichicastenango School

"For God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, so that everyone who believes in him may not perish but may have eternal life." - John 3:16 (NRSV)

When I was a member of RPC, before I even started going to seminary, my faith grew in leaps and bounds each time I joined a mission experience overseas. Bill and I were relatively new members when a trip to Belize was advertised in the bulletin. We soon made arrangements for our three young daughters to spend time at their grandparents' house for that week and were ready for our own getaway.

Once we returned, I remember talking with the elementary principal about our trip and he was curious that we had spent our vacation time doing a mission project. I'm still not sure if he thought we were crazy, but, to us, it seemed like a natural thing to do as people who look for ways to serve the Lord.

Being a part of what God is doing in the world is not a new concept to Roswell Presbyterian Church. In 1856, Henry Barrington Pratt, the son of RPC's first minister, Dr. Nathaniel Pratt, was sent as a church planter to Colombia, South America. I guess you could say it is in RPC's DNA!

Now that "mission" is in my job description, I have the privilege of routinely visiting each of RPC's global partners in Guatemala, Kenya, and the Yucatán. What a joy to see familiar faces, hear unbelievable stories of God's movement among them since we were last together, and to see faith increase in the hearts of all those involved.

I think about what one of our RPC folks said upon returning from one of these trips, "It is all about relationships. It is having the time to sit across from our brothers and sisters in Christ and realize that distance is only as great as we make it." Indeed, it is worth going the distance to learn in fresh, new ways, that "God, so loved the world, he gave..."

PRAYER:
Lord, you've got the whole world in your hands and still, you use our hands and hearts to make an impact in the the lives of our neighbors near and far. Help us to be open to being impacted by others too. We want to see the fullness of your grace and mercy as we look at the beautiful diversity you have created in humankind. Amen.


2nd Mile for Mission is RPC's annual Mission Outreach giving campaign where every dollar goes out the door to directly benefit our local and global mission partners. Our goal for 2017 is $150,000. 

For more information and to make your commitment and give online, visit www.roswellpres.org/2ndmile

You can sign-up now to receive information and updates about 2nd Mile, including the daily Prayer Journal. To receive messages via text, text @rpc2ndmile to 81010 or sign-up online to receive text and/or email notifications. The daily Prayer Journal will be posted to this Mission Outreach blog and RPC's Facebook page.

2nd Mile for Mission - Then and Now: God at Work - Day 12 - Thornwell

2nd Mile for Mission
Then and Now: God at Work - Prayer Journal 2017
Day 12 - Thornwell

Canita Allen-Flint and Howard Flint, RPC Champions

Religion that is pure and undefiled before God, the Father, is this: to care for orphans and widows in their distress, and to keep oneself unstained by the world. - James 1:27 (NRSV)

You only need to see the faces, or hear their stories to understand Thornwell Home for Children. Their mission is very much the same as it was when William Jacobs opened the doors right after the Civil War: helping children into better lives. In the late 1800's it might have been orphans, today it's children coming from unimaginable home lives. In either case, Thornwell helps turn their stories around.

Canita and I became involved through RPC many years ago when we sponsored a series of kids brought there from very difficult situations. The last such student was Jolie Odom. We've stayed alongside Jolie as she graduated from high school while at Thornwell. To add a new chapter, Jolie went on to graduate from Winthrop University. She's the first person in her immediate family to graduate from high school, let alone college. Her story continues to bring us inspiration, and is without a doubt, evidence of God at work.

We are glad to have been a small piece in the patchwork of people, organizations, and churches that support Thornwell and its kids. We are so grateful that Roswell Presbyterian Church is a direct supporter.

We believe that God desires that His people become aware of suffering in their midst, and act. Whether it's across the street from us, or a few hundred miles away. There is work to be done. And that work is done by those who show up and say, "Here I am, Lord."

PRAYER:
Dear God, please be with each kid at Thornwell in a special way that they may begin to have a better story. Bless the staff and the leaders with patience, love, and understanding. Amen.


2nd Mile for Mission is RPC's annual Mission Outreach giving campaign where every dollar goes out the door to directly benefit our local and global mission partners. Our goal for 2017 is $150,000. 

For more information and to make your commitment and give online, visit www.roswellpres.org/2ndmile

You can sign-up now to receive information and updates about 2nd Mile, including the daily Prayer Journal. To receive messages via text, text @rpc2ndmile to 81010 or sign-up online to receive text and/or email notifications. The daily Prayer Journal will be posted to this Mission Outreach blog and RPC's Facebook page.

2nd Mile for Mission - Then and Now: God at Work - Day 11 - Every Woman Works

2nd Mile for Mission
Then and Now: God at Work - Prayer Journal 2017
Day 11 - Every Woman Works

Lin Holoman, RPC Champion

I can do all things through him who strengthens me. - Philippians 4:13 (NRSV)

Over ten years ago, I was involved in a racial reconciliation ministry involving RPC and Zion Missionary Baptist Church. I learned of a new ministry Zion was supporting called Every Woman Works (EWW). One of their members, Tillie O-Neal-Kyles, a retired AT&T training executive, recognized that women who were experiencing severe life challenges were being ignored and forced to try to survive on the streets, depending on criminal efforts, and resorting to drugs as a misguided attempt to escape from their current reality.

EWW began as Miss Tillie sought out students from state-funded agencies and half-way facilities who were trying to change. Most were unemployed single mothers struggling with alcoholism and drug addiction but a group of 20 committed to a six-week program. Zion provided office and training space and several RPC members began to volunteer. I represented RPC as a member of the Board of Directors.

EWW held strict expectations of participation. Every day began with prayer, bible study, singing hymns, and other faith-based offerings. Classes were offered for job interviewing, computer and financial skills, healthy habit-building, and attitude adjustment.

Some women entered grudgingly and unsure as to why this organization cared. Many had criminal records and all were encased in a life of poverty. What happened over each six weeks was nothing short of miraculous. These women were transformed with hope and faith that they walked with Jesus and with clear evidence that Miss Tillie and her staff loved them. They learned to love themselves, who they had become, and that the future held job opportunities, joy, safety, and hope for them as productive, independent, Christian women!

Today, EWW has two locations and reaches out to women rescued from sex trafficking and spousal abuse. Most recently, female military veterans are also finding support to reintegrate into civilian life. With support from RPC and others, miracles are happening in downtown Atlanta and right here in our community. God is good!!

PRAYER:
Gracious and loving God, thank you for always being with us, offering encouragement, love, and knowledge that through you nothing is impossible. With you, there are no barriers that can't be broken down and replaced by new realities that provide us with faith and the strength to face whatever challenges we face. Amen.


2nd Mile for Mission is RPC's annual Mission Outreach giving campaign where every dollar goes out the door to directly benefit our local and global mission partners. Our goal for 2017 is $150,000. 

For more information and to make your commitment and give online, visit www.roswellpres.org/2ndmile

You can sign-up now to receive information and updates about 2nd Mile, including the daily Prayer Journal. To receive messages via text, text @rpc2ndmile to 81010 or sign-up online to receive text and/or email notifications. The daily Prayer Journal will be posted to this Mission Outreach blog and RPC's Facebook page.

2nd Mile for Mission - Then and Now: God at Work - Day 10 - Love the Child

2nd Mile for Mission
Then and Now: God at Work - Prayer Journal 2017
Day 10 - Love the Child

Ben Coe, RPC Champion

Jesus said, "Let the little children come to me, and do not stop them; for it is to such as these that the kingdom of heaven belongs." - Matthew 19:14 (NRSV)

Roswell Presbyterian Church has been a faithful supporter of Amor del Niño (Love the Child), a Guatemalan orphanage, for many years. This longtime relationship has afforded us healthy and more sustainable ways to help those who are living with and caring for the most vulnerable in this beautiful but financially challenged country.

Almost 10 years ago at another RPC mission partner event, a Habitat for Humanity build, I was invited to learn more about the broader mission outreach of the church. That was the beginning of a continuing journey for me with our partners in Guatemala. I began going on numerous mission trips and met the director of Amor del Niño, Shyrel Osborne. Because of my passion for this ministry, I was especially honored to join the Board of Directors as the organization strived to create a more inclusive and diverse leadership.

As is common for active and growing non-profit organizations in the global South, we have suffered many challenges for the past two years. However, it is very clear that we are doing God's work and that he has never left us during the difficult times. For example, a relatively small, converted home had been rented for many years and as the needs outgrew the space, land was purchased to build a larger facility. But alas, that was not God's plan! Obstacles kept thwarting OUR plans (including rent escalating at almost 100% per month), but in the midst, another plan suddenly surfaced.

A newer and more spacious home was offered for purchase and now the children of Amor del Niño are cared for in a lovely area that is also closer to where their caregivers live. All are doing wonderfully and thriving as never before. There continues to be challenges, as there will be when dealing with almost 50 abandoned and abused infants, but God is with us every step of the way.

PRAYER:
Most gracious God, guide our hearts and our minds as we support the efforts of Shyrel and the staff at Amor del Niño and watch over all the precious, vulnerable children in their care. Amen.


2nd Mile for Mission is RPC's annual Mission Outreach giving campaign where every dollar goes out the door to directly benefit our local and global mission partners. Our goal for 2017 is $150,000. 

For more information and to make your commitment and give online, visit www.roswellpres.org/2ndmile

You can sign-up now to receive information and updates about 2nd Mile, including the daily Prayer Journal. To receive messages via text, text @rpc2ndmile to 81010 or sign-up online to receive text and/or email notifications. The daily Prayer Journal will be posted to this Mission Outreach blog and RPC's Facebook page.

2nd Mile for Mission - Then and Now: God at Work - Day 9 - Habitat for Humanity

2008 Habitat for Humanity Build for the Rahimi family

2008 Habitat for Humanity Build for the Rahimi family

2nd Mile for Mission
Then and Now: God at Work - Prayer Journal 2017
Day 9 - Habitat for Humanity

Linda Graham, RPC Champion

For it is God who is at work in you, enabling you both to will and to work for his good pleasure. - Philippians 2:13 (NRSV)

2017 Habitat for Humanity Build for the Alqaraghuli/Yousif family

2017 Habitat for Humanity Build for the Alqaraghuli/Yousif family

How was I to know when I volunteered for my first Habitat for Humanity build in Boulder, Colorado fifteen years ago that God was shaping the path I would follow in the years ahead?

How did I know when God sent Bruce and me to a church in Hickory, North Carolina that He was directing my path? It was through efforts to meet people and find a job in this new place that I was once again "led" to Habitat for Humanity. After volunteering to coordinate a fundraising event, the director offered me a part-time job I couldn't refuse. In retrospect, it was the best job of my life, as it ignited a passion in me that would determine my future in the coming years.

But how could I know when God sent us to Roswell Presbyterian Church that countless opportunities with Habitat would arise: a "champion" to coordinate RPC's Habitat volunteers, mentors for newly selected families, help on the Family Selection Committee, coordinator for the annual Homeowners' Christmas Party, mentors to help new refugee applicants fill out paperwork to apply for a home... and I couldn't say "no"!

How was I to know that by blessing others through this ministry I would be the one receiving the greatest blessings? It's through the "Thank you God!" I hear on the phone as a newly selected family learns they have been chosen to receive a Habitat home and it's the joy I see on each new homeowner's face at each First Nail and Dedication ceremony.

It's by putting our faith into action that we are truly following the path that God had chosen for us that makes all the difference!

PRAYER:
Gracious God, thank you for showing me the path you want me to follow. May I continue to bless others as you have blessed me. Amen.


2nd Mile for Mission is RPC's annual Mission Outreach giving campaign where every dollar goes out the door to directly benefit our local and global mission partners. Our goal for 2017 is $150,000. 

For more information and to make your commitment and give online, visit www.roswellpres.org/2ndmile

You can sign-up now to receive information and updates about 2nd Mile, including the daily Prayer Journal. To receive messages via text, text @rpc2ndmile to 81010 or sign-up online to receive text and/or email notifications. The daily Prayer Journal will be posted to this Mission Outreach blog and RPC's Facebook page.

2nd Mile for Mission - Then and Now: God at Work - Day 8 - HomeStretch

2nd Mile for Mission
Then and Now: God at Work - Prayer Journal 2017
Day 8 - HomeStretch

Susan Busch, RPC Champion

Do not neglect to do good and to share what you have, for such sacrifices are pleasing to God. - Hebrews 13:16 (NRSV)

Have you ever been asked this simple question, "Can you help with something"? That question, asked by a fellow RPC member, Minnie Bowden, many years ago started my decade-long involvement with HomeStretch, one of our local mission partners. And, in some ways, that simple question changed my life.

HomeStretch walks alongside families who are employed full time but who have become homeless. The program provides temporary housing, life skills education, and financial mentoring - all aimed at helping the family regain stability. It's an effective and well-managed organization and I am proud to volunteer there alongside many other RPC members. As a matter of fact, RPC was instrumental in identifying the need for local homelessness support and was a founder of HomeStretch in the early '90s.

But back to that simple question. At the time the question was asked, I had never volunteered with a non-profit group in the community. I didn't know the level of poverty right here in north Atlanta and I certainly didn't understand the effort it takes for a family to transition from homelessness to stability. I didn't know the importance of the work done by HomeStretch each and every day.

I cherish the hours that I spend working beside the HomeStretch staff and other volunteers as they go about guiding families. I appreciate the support RPC provides HomeStretch and I am grateful, that so many years ago, Minnie asked me if I could help. If someone asks you the same question, jump in and see where you go.

PRAYER:
God, please bless this work and the lives of those who serve you by serving others. Open our eyes to see what you are doing around us in our community. Help us be ready to say "yes" when we are asked to help. In Jesus' name, Amen.


2nd Mile for Mission is RPC's annual Mission Outreach giving campaign where every dollar goes out the door to directly benefit our local and global mission partners. Our goal for 2017 is $150,000. 

For more information and to make your commitment and give online, visit www.roswellpres.org/2ndmile

You can sign-up now to receive information and updates about 2nd Mile, including the daily Prayer Journal. To receive messages via text, text @rpc2ndmile to 81010 or sign-up online to receive text and/or email notifications. The daily Prayer Journal will be posted to this Mission Outreach blog and RPC's Facebook page.

2nd Mile for Mission - Then and Now: God at Work - Day 7 - NFCC

Rev. Cy Mallard, Pastor Emeritus of RPC, Barbara Duffy, Executive Director of NFCC, and Ann Mallard

Rev. Cy Mallard, Pastor Emeritus of RPC, Barbara Duffy, Executive Director of NFCC, and Ann Mallard

2nd Mile for Mission
Then and Now: God at Work - Prayer Journal 2017
Day 7 - NFCC (North Fulton Community Charities)

Bruce Gunning, RPC Champion

What good is it, my brothers and sisters, if you say you have faith but do not have works? - James 2:14 (NRSV)

Through coordinating community service projects at work, I had the opportunity to meet and work with many non-profits across Atlanta. North Fulton Community Charities (NFCC) kept coming up as a favorite volunteering activity among the various work groups. My co-workers and I could see the value of this organization's mission of building self-sufficiency and preventing homelessness and hunger in our community.

I soon learned that this great organization is the product of another great organization, Roswell Presbyterian Church. I'm blessed to be part of a faith community like RPC who saw the need for an organization like NFCC to exist and was instrumental in its development. Today, RPC continues to support NFCC's mission both financially and with many hours of service. We are "true partners" in helping our neighbors in crisis.

NFCC has helped me to understand the fragile nature of our existence and how quickly someone can fall into crisis leading them into homelessness. Since getting involved with NFCC and RPC, I have seen God's hand at work in our community as families are assisted with the basic needs of food, rent, utilities, clothing, and adult education classes during short-term emergencies.

God uses our gifts, along with others, to do amazing things. Just last year, we saw over 4,200 families helped; food distributed over 23,000 times; 1,300 families utilizing clothing vouchers; and $1.2 million expended for direct aid. In addition, 1,200 adults have moved toward financial stability and self-sufficiency through the Education Center.

Although the demand for these services has increased significantly since RPC and local churches founded this important organization, NFCC continues to help hands-on, one family at a time.

PRAYER:
Oh Father, thank you for the many partners who support our struggling neighbors. We ask for your guidance and encouragement in helping each RPC member to find a way to serve as you taught us. In Christ's name, we pray. Amen.


2nd Mile for Mission is RPC's annual Mission Outreach giving campaign where every dollar goes out the door to directly benefit our local and global mission partners. Our goal for 2017 is $150,000. 

For more information and to make your commitment and give online, visit www.roswellpres.org/2ndmile

You can sign-up now to receive information and updates about 2nd Mile, including the daily Prayer Journal. To receive messages via text, text @rpc2ndmile to 81010 or sign-up online to receive text and/or email notifications. The daily Prayer Journal will be posted to this Mission Outreach blog and RPC's Facebook page.

2nd Mile for Mission - Then and Now: God at Work - Day 6 - Yucatán

2nd Mile for Mission
Then and Now: God at Work - Prayer Journal 2017
Day 6 - 
Yucatán
Dave Summers, RPC Champion

For we walk by faith, not by sight. - 2 Corinthians 5:7 (NRSV)

It was almost seven years ago when I joined with Tom Richey for my first visit with our mission partners in the Mexican state of Yucatán. We met with our main contact, Pastor Severo Ek, a very young and dynamic leader in his mid-70's.

Roswell Presbyterian Church's close relationship with Pastor Ek began over 20 years ago through Ben and Frances Persons. In the past few years, we have been able to participate in the good work that Pastor Ek and other leaders have done. The Casa de San Mateo project, like a "Ronald McDonald House," was built as a temporary refuge for families and friends from remote villages who have loved ones being treated at the nearby Ticul Regional Hospital.

One year, we met with the local church leaders in the village of Kancab and reviewed plans drawn up for their thriving church that had outgrown its building and was flooded during the rainy season. On another trip, my wife Marge and I were privileged to represent RPC at the new church dedication.

A side trip revealed an especially troubling site in the very poor and remote village of San Simon. There was no active church community gathering place for the villagers. Pastor Ek had been conducting biweekly church services in the only public building that remained intact, a small government office. Pastor Ek told us that this was the next project, to build a Christian community center/church here. Being the skeptic that I am, I thought this was a fantasy wish. Was I ever wrong!

Two years ago, we took our teen-aged grandchildren on the RPC youth and adult mission trip to the Yucatán. We helped paint the new sanctuary in San Simon and conducted a VBS there. What fun!

We have become close friends with Pastor Ek and several of his friends in Christ. What a joy it has been for us to be part of this wonderful mission! We have seen what God can do and that has energized our own faith!

PRAYER:
Dear Lord, thank you for the encouragement and love we have shared with our brothers and sisters in the Yucatán. Bless them with your faithful presence as they continue to grow the kingdom of God in some of the world's most remote places. Amen.


2nd Mile for Mission is RPC's annual Mission Outreach giving campaign where every dollar goes out the door to directly benefit our local and global mission partners. Our goal for 2017 is $150,000. 

For more information and to make your commitment and give online, visit www.roswellpres.org/2ndmile

You can sign-up now to receive information and updates about 2nd Mile, including the daily Prayer Journal. To receive messages via text, text @rpc2ndmile to 81010 or sign-up online to receive text and/or email notifications. The daily Prayer Journal will be posted to this Mission Outreach blog and RPC's Facebook page.