Mission Outreach Blog

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.

2nd Mile for Mission - Then and Now: God at Work - Day 5 - CDA

2nd Mile for Mission
Then and Now: God at Work - Prayer Journal 2017
Day 5 - CDA (Child Development Association)
Jessica Callaham, RPC Champion

Train children in the right way, and when old, they will not stray. - Proverbs 22:6 (NRSV)

I first heard about the Child Development Association (CDA) during RPC's 2014 Season of Service when every family in the congregation was challenged to dedicate their time and serve with one of our local mission partners. I picked the CDA because I wanted to serve at an organization that supported children in our community. All I knew at the time was that the CDA offered affordable early learning programs and preschool to help support local families in Roswell.

After I showed up, I quickly decided I wanted to volunteer there on a regular basis. I was blown away by the history of how the organization started and everything that they have accomplished in the past 45 years. I learned that the idea for the CDA started in 1967 when some concerned people realized that Roswell was lacking a safe, affordable place to assist working parents. Our former Senior Pastor, Cy Mallard, was one of those concerned citizens, and I was proud to learn that he allowed the CDA to have their first classroom of 13 children housed at RPC until they were able to get a building of their own on Grove Way.

I believe God was at work then and God continues to work in these children's lives. After almost 50 years, CDA now has over 150 children in nine classrooms and continues to support low-income working families right here in Roswell. Without our support, they cannot continue to offer a high-quality program with low tuition costs. It has been such a rewarding experience for me personally to work alongside such a dedicated staff and assist them in enriching and educating these children.

PRAYER:
Dear Lord, thank you for encouraging and inspiring us to serve. Continue to use us as vessels to share the love you have given us with others. 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 4 - Refugee Resettlement

2nd Mile for Mission
Then and Now: God at Work - Prayer Journal 2017
Day 4 - Refugee Resettlement
Judy Smith, RPC Champion

Dunya, Khushi, Abdul Basit, and Nasreen arrive in America.

Dunya, Khushi, Abdul Basit, and Nasreen arrive in America.

For the LORD your God is God of gods and Lord of lords, the great God, mighty and awesome, who is not partial and takes no bribe, who executes justice for the orphan and the widow, and who loves the strangers, providing them with food and clothing. You shall also love the stranger, for you were strangers in the land of Egypt. - Deuteronomy 10:17-19 (NRSV)

Twenty years ago, Nasreen Rahimi and her family escaped from Afghanistan to Pakistan when she was just 10 years old. She grew up in Pakistan, married, and had three children. Though she knew her family was living in relatively safer conditions, the challenges were often overwhelming.

Khushi, Nasreen's middle child, fell on broken glass at 3 years of age. She was operated on twice in a Pakistani hospital, but cried every night afterwards, because of the ongoing pain and inability to bend her leg. The Pakistani doctors told her there was nothing more they could do. As Khushi and her sister grew, they attended school for two years until Nasreen could no longer pay. For the next three years, Nasreen had some odd jobs but employment was scarce and what little she earned went to help feed her extended family instead of schooling for the girls.

With the combination of Khushi's knee pain and a lack of school opportunities for her girls, Nasreen decided to apply to leave Pakistan and come to America as a refugee. After a two-year extensive vetting program, Nasreen and her girls won a place in the refugee program and arrived in America in May 2016. New American Pathways, a refugee resettlement program, assigned this family to us at RPC.

What a joy they have been! We marvel at Nasreen's courage. The girls Dunya, age 12, and Khushi, age 9, are happy and learning to read at Roswell North Elementary School. Abdul Basit is 3 years old and has made wonderful progress at one of RPC's mission partners, the Child Development Association (CDA).

Khushi had a successful operation on her knee, and the doctor found the piece of glass causing all the pain. Now as Khuski says, "I can 'fold' my knee with no pain."

Nasreen won a coveted full-time position with benefits as a housekeeper at Elmcroft and is a highly-valued employee. Each workday, she sees her girls off to the school bus, walks her son to the CDA, and then heads to work - a daily round trip of four miles. On the snow weekend, Elmcroft was so surprised to see her walk in at the 8:00 hour just as she was supposed to do. She enjoys her independence and asks for help only in areas that she does not understand.

Nasreen and her children are happy and thriving. They have built a new life and we at RPC are blessed to know them as friends.

PRAYER:
Dear heavenly Father, help us to value people from different countries, who speak different languages, and have different beliefs. Help us to know that all are your children and give us eyes to see you in them. 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 3 - Kenya

2nd Mile for Mission
Then and Now: God at Work - Prayer Journal 2017
Day 3 - Kenya
Rev. Emily Wright, RPC Mission Trip Leader

The alien who resides with you shall be to you as the citizen among you; you shall love the alien as yourself, for you were aliens in the land of Egypt: I am the LORD your God. - Leviticus 19:34 (NRSV)

When I first started working at RPC in 2002, a man named Zablon Kuria served as our Facilities Manager. I discovered that though he was a successful businessman in Kenya, he and his family moved to Roswell so that he could attend Bible College in the United States and pursue God's call to ministry.

Zablon's family happened to move into the apartments on Mimosa Boulevard just across the street from RPC. Being longtime members of the Presbyterian Church of East Africa (PCEA), it was only natural for them to call the Presbyterian Church across the street their home as well. While pursuing studies, Zablon needed work and RPC needed more staff to keep up with the expanding facility. A special connection was made from that point in time.

During Zablon's tenure at RPC, he developed close relationships with the staff and many church members and also remained in close contact with his home church in Nakuru. Upon his graduation and with the financial, administrative, and leadership support of RPC, Zablon became RPC's missionary to Kenya. He and his family moved back to Kenya to devote his life full time to ministry, now called R.O.C.K. Bridge Ministries.

Zablon introduced us to the work of God in Kenya and helped develop a strong mission partnership with the PCEA. Now there is a Nursing School, a home for street mothers and their children, a children's home, and a workplace ministry, just to name a few. God used a simple walk across the street then to bring about a ministry that is literally saving people's lives now. Bwana Asifiwe - Praise the Lord!

PRAYER:
Dear Lord, thank you for using the strong faith of others to connect us through love and unity with sisters and brothers across the globe in Kenya. Provide for the needs of these we love through our prayers, words of encouragement, and finances. 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 2 - Neighborhood Action

2nd Mile for Mission
Then and Now: God at Work - Prayer Journal 2017
Day 2 - Neighborhood Action
Dottie Akin, Tom Duane, and Alan Van Dyke, RPC Champions

"You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind, and with all your strength. The second is this, 'You shall love your neighbor as yourself.' There is no other commandment greater than these." - Mark 12:30-31 (NRSV)

In 2013 RPC's Mission Outreach Council began a new initiative which came to be known as Neighborhood Action Ministry (NAM) and resulted in partnerships with three local communities: Aspen Pointe, Grove Way, and Oaks at Holcomb Bridge. The mission was to build trusting relationships within the communities while being an advocate for equality and education. The vision entailed empowering all to recognize and use their gifts to glorify God. RPC hired Dr. Clara Herrera to lead this effort, and she quickly established herself as a talented and energetic force in our NAM efforts.

Getting to know the folks living in these communities has shown us that they are not very different from us at all. People who are "not yet documented" and part of a culture that is often segmented from our society are trying hard to make a better life for their families. Sometimes, the kids goof around, pick on each other, and like to laugh, but isn't that just like our kids? They may have a different skin color, or speak a different language, but building relationships has brought new levels of understanding for us all.

Trust has been built through efforts with the students in the communities, providing homework assistance, tutoring support, and character development. Because of the involvement of parents and other neighborhood leaders, summer activities, English classes, college prep field trips, chess clubs, and participation in RPC youth activities have expanded the outreach.

Just last year, a group of residents at Grove Way expressed interest in forming a fellowship to address the needs and interests of the more senior members of that community. This effort blossomed in December when a few of the residents attended and felt welcomed at the annual Wit & Wisdom Christmas Luncheon. Now 15 or more senior residents and several RPC members continue to meet once a month for food, fun, and fellowship.

We have some amazing RPC folks involved who are living out Jesus' command to love our neighbors and doing nothing short of participating in God's miraculous work of changing people's lives. Wow, think about that! We all want to have an impact in this world. Does it get any better than that?

PRAYER:
Lord, we thank You for the opportunities You provide us to seek out those who are our neighbors. Give us wisdom and guidance as we walk alongside them. Do not let us be discouraged, but rather learn to rely on You to supply our needs, knowing only You can bring good out of every situation. 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 1 - The Drake House

Dedication Ceremony in 2004

Dedication Ceremony in 2004

2nd Mile for Mission
Then and Now: God at Work - Prayer Journal 2017
Day 1 - The Drake House
Meg Chapman, RPC Volunteer

I will save you and you shall be a blessing. Do not be afraid, but let your hands be strong. - Zechariah 8:13 (NRSV)

When I first met Rachel, I remember being struck by her elegant British accent, gentle spirit, and generous heart. She was a well-educated accountant from Pakistan with a close family. Her working parents had made tremendous sacrifices to ensure that all their children received formal educations and were able to support themselves. In fact, her father lived in Abu Dhabi, where he could support his family as a driver, traveling back to Pakistan for visits only 2-3 times per year.

Rachel had recently come to the States in an arranged marriage. Unfortunately, her husband had not been honest with her during their courtship, and after they were married she discovered he had a hot temper and was a violent and abusive spouse. One evening after beating her and dragging her around their apartment by her hair, he proceeded to strangle her to the point she was certain she would not survive. Her 9-month-old son, Jacob, came to her rescue, when he told his father to stop hurting his mommy. She went to the bathroom, took a picture of her swollen and battered face, and after months of living in fear, she reached out for help. Rachel and Jacob were transferred to a safe house, and she was able to sleep at night for the first time in months.

She came to The Drake House in an effort to establish her independence and transition into the role of a single mother supporting her precious son. She was quick to get a job and her strong work ethic ensured she was a highly-valued employee. Sadly, her work visa expired, her parents (caregivers for her son) returned to Pakistan to support her sister as she delivered her first child, and her driver's license expired. This confluence of events resulted in her losing her job until she was able to renew her visa, which is not a quick and seamless process. As her time at The Drake House was coming to a close, she needed to find an option quickly.

She joined me for a service at Roswell Presbyterian one Sunday, and then retreated into a time of what she referred to as 'spiritual enlightenment' for three days. The next time we connected, she had arranged to return to the safe house, where she could work and live for free. She was excited and enthused by her next step, and she was confident she could help other women who had endured similar fates. I have no doubt that Rachel's generous and gentle spirit will be a blessing to all of those she encounters. Her fortitude was tested in ways that are difficult to even contemplate, and her strong faith enabled her to overcome her situation, and she marched on. She is a peaceful warrior and a strong survivor.

PRAYER:
God, please help us remain humble during our happiest times, and hopeful during our saddest moments, while opening our hearts to those with different backgrounds and life experiences. Enable us to comfort and show your love to them as they endure and overcome life's challenges. Help us remember that we are blessed, so that we can be a blessing to others. 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 - Prayer Journal 2017

Over the past few months, I have been overjoyed to learn about the rich history of mission outreach at Roswell Presbyterian Church. It is unusual for churches to have relationships with organizations for more than 10 years, let alone, nearly 50 years! These partnerships demonstrate RPC's commitment to walk alongside others - even when the journey is long - for the common good of the community.

With RPC's focus on education, housing, and emergency relief, it can be easy to get overwhelmed with the numerous needs in our world. To avoid burnout, God has given us the gift of prayer. Indeed, God invites us to pray about all of our concerns so that the Holy Spirit can sustain our lives and ministries. That is what this Prayer Journal is all about.

As you learn more about what God is doing through RPC's Mission Partners by following along in this journal, I pray that you will give thanks for what God has done, rely upon the Holy Spirit to inspire your own engagement, and follow in the footsteps of Jesus Christ to go and serve others.

Now, let us pray...

Rev. Jeff Meyers
Senior Pastor, Roswell Presbyterian Church


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

Day 4

Sorry we haven't been posting much lately, internet connection has been limited. But today was an interesting day! In the morning we went to the market here in Chichi, which is always a wonderful but hectic experience. You have to be very careful about even looking at things unless you're sure you want to buy them because the Guatemalan vendors are very persistent. Even our dad, a seasoned veteran of the Chichi market, made the mistake of asking a woman selling tapestries "Cuanto cuesta?" (How much does it cost?). She followed us around the whole market trying to bargain for the next 25 minutes until he finally bought one of her handmade tapestries for 100 Q, which is a little more than $10. And while we sometimes feel frustrated when we buy something just to get a vendor to leave us alone or when we see something that we bought for half the price somewhere else later, at the end of the day it's all good. We're getting "ripped off" a few cents, maybe a dollar or two, but that's a lot of money to these people, and we can assure you they'll get more out of it. In the afternoon Bruce and some of the other men went back to our latest construction site to put finishing touches on the new house. We, however, went with the rest of the kids on "Snoddy's Secret Adventure", for which we signed up before we knew what we were doing. We realized later why he didn't tell us what we were doing before we signed up... We rode in the back of Mr. Mark's and Serapio's trucks with 4 piglets who, while very cute, were NOT happy to be on the road with us. I guess nobody told them to use the bathroom before we left because we ended up sitting in some of it by the time we got to the worksite. We delivered three pigs to Pastor Tomás and his wife, who have been with us and helped us this week, and to two older women who can no longer work, with the hope that they will let it get really big and then sell it and buy another pig with some profit. We gave the last pig to the family who will be living in the new house. The family was a lot more excited for our delivery than the pig was! On the way back we got absolutely soaked in the back of the trucks, only seeking refuge for a few minutes at the shoe factory.  We're now all safe and dry at the hotel relaxing before we have to get ready to leave for Antigua. We'll be heading out in the morning. We're not sure when we'll be able to get Wifi again but we'll try to post as soon as we can in Antigua. Thank you for keeping us in your thoughts!

  • Camille and Katie

End of Day 3 - Delayed

Hey folks. Sorry we couldn't update you last night. The power was out at the hotel from 7 till past 10. However, yesterday was still a great day! The VBS groups went back to the schools they were at on Monday and stayed with the kids till 12:30. We continued the lesson we started yesterday about Jonah and the whale at Chulamal, and the kids at Chichi learned English worship songs and performed them for the rest of the school. We did some crafts with the young kids at Chulamal including making a paper horn which the kids loved. Then we ate lunch and were transported to our construction site of the day where we met some of the men. They had been there all morning! The job yesterday was to build an entire house, and on the side of a mountain no less! So let's just say the walk down and then back up was...challenging. Our entire team persevered though and we had an extremely productive day building the frame and putting up all the walls and roof. It rained for a bit which made the dirt paths and the whole ground slippery, which resulted in quite a few slips in the mud. When all the work was done for the day we rode the winding roads back to Casa del Rey. Soon after we got there it became quite a bit darker when the power went out. We ate dinner and had devotion by the lovely candlelight. The Muñoz family, who lives in Guatemala and works in the large school we are visiting today, were our honored guests for devotion last night. They work with many of the scholarship students that RPC sponsors. Even though the dark made some things difficult, you could say it brought us all closer together (meaning there was no wifi).

Keep us in your prayers and we'll keep you updated! - Camille

Pictures of Day 3

Mark backing in his truck full of playground equipment at the school in Chichi. They were so excited! Thanks to everyone who contributed.

Julianne and Olivia worked hard to nail up siding boards on the new house we built yesterday.