OPPORTUNITY TO GET UPDATE ON EVENTS IN ISRAEL
Trinity has a great opportunity to hear the latest from Israel about what is going on there. Chosen People Ministries is sending three people from the Media Department of Israel School of the Bible here to film in the DFW area for the week about ministry there. They are coming to Trinity to give a special update on things this Sunday during the Sunday school hour. Eitan Bar, Stefan Silver and Yair Harel will be with us to share what is happening. Just a look at their names tells you this is not Joe Smith and John Williams talking about Israel! These brothers train at one of the key schools in the holy land for believers. They are well equipped to answer questions about what is going on there from an internal perspective, especially in light of events in Syria and Egypt. They also will be sharing about their own ministry and opportunities for the gospel in Israel. It is a unique hour for us. I hope you will attend. I write, even though I will be in Nashville also taping, because this topic and perspective are so important and we rarely get the chance for an inside look.
Everyone is invited to the annual Youth Missions Banquet, taking place this Sunday night, July 28th, from 7:00-8:15pm in Fellowship Hall.
Our youth minister, Jeff Harding, will interview the junior high and high school youth about their mission trip experiences. Pictures will also be available to browse through, and videos from each trip will be shown.
It is a dessert potluck, so please bring something to share with others. Don’t feel pressured to bring something, though…your presence is what we would love, first and foremost! Feel free to bring people with you, as well. This will be an exciting time to share with the church body about how God is working through the next generation to invest in His kingdom! We hope to see you there!
Our JV Youth are currently in the midst of their 2013 Summer Mission Trip to HIdden Acres Refugee Camp in Kaufman, TX. Students attending are Emily Calvin, Jessica, Hamm, and Mason Hendricks, along with Jeff and Faith Harding. Here’s a recap of the first two days from Faith’s instagram journal with pics!
Monday: Training Day. IHOP breakfast. Crafts. Tie Dye. Basketball. Bunkbeds (plus awesome games, World Religion training, refugee relational prep, etc etc…) Can’t wait for our campers to arrive tomorrow so we can put our training into practice! Tuesday: Learning. Meet & Greet. Now it gets a bit trickier to post a photo collage since we can’t post pics of our sweet refugee campers. Day Two included greeting the campers off the bus, praise and worship (dancing to camp songs), crafts, lunch, swimming, games, Biblestudy, goodbyes, clean up, and eventually movie night.
JV Mission Trip Day One
JV Mission Trip Day Two
I love it when a plan comes together. Only I can’t say with confidence that this was a master plan. It is more like an openness to God’s leading through what we have been learning together.
We began this year considering the call to obedience to the great commandment, by deepening our love of God through prayer, and sharing His love through us with our neighbors. Missions week came next with application to understand and get to know our neighbors of other faith traditions. The scope of the great commission is all nations. The clear command is to go. But often times, especially in such a diverse urban setting like north Dallas, God brings the nations to us so that our going might only be across the street or the office hallway. Through some wonderful connections we have also had the privilege of meeting Renod Bejjani of iHopeMinistries – a local ministry committed to training and raising up thousands of missionaries committed to sharing the Gospel with muslims here in Dallas and around the world. And in case you haven’t heard yet, iHopeMinistries will be offering a free “Beneath The Veil” conference for women wanting to better understand how to reach out to muslim women, and we’re hosting it here at TFC on Saturday August 10. That conference is strategically scheduled to take place after Ramadan – the month of fasting, and one of the 5 foundation pillars of muslim beliefs and practice.
Now here is where it all comes together. Did you know that Ramadan began this past Tuesday, July 9th? It continues for 30 days through Wed. August 30th. During that time, muslims fast during the daylight hours to seek and earn the favor of Allah. What if in their time of prayer and seeking they actually encountered the living Jesus in a dream or a growing desire for truth in their heart and mind? God works through our intercessory prayer. And there are lots of examples in scripture and history where He makes Himself known to those seeking Him in prayer.
How about taking time daily over the remaining days of Ramadan to pray for our muslim neighbors? It is easy to do. Especially with help of “30-days Prayer Network“ - an international ministry committed to intercession for the muslim world). They’ve been encouraging and mobilizing churches in prayer for 20 years. And they provide lots of great resources at their website. Use this 30-day typical prayer calendar 30_Days_Prayers4Muslim_World for your use daily at your office or at home with the kids. You can even sign up at their website for daily email reminders for the day’s topic along with links to a blog entry and short video providing background information about Islam in specific parts of the world.
Please consider joining with me and others in the body and around the world for this 30-day prayer challenge. It is a wonderful opportunity to encourage prayer time with your family. It is also a great way to pray for the upcoming muslim outreach conference. And, who knows how God may want to open up new relationships with our muslim neighbors so that we could share with the real life of Christ at work within us together.
Just over a year ago, I had recently returned from the youth mission trip at the Bowery Mission in New York City. It was a challenging and demanding trip, magnified by the fact that I had been youth minister for about 20 days. When it came time for youth summer missions in 2013, I sought out a high school trip that provided something I have been praying for God to provide for our youth group all year…a biblical example of community.
Community can be determined by default circumstances and conditions. You can be part of a community simply based on your age, gender, faith, or other characteristics. However, a call to spiritual community raises the bar regarding diversity, transparency, and dependence. It calls those within this community to cross racial and cultural barriers, recognize their brokenness, and see their need for a Savior. Our mission trip was organized by YouthWorks, which exists to establish and coordinate ecumenical youth mission trips. Ecumenical means that all denominations from the Body of Christ worldwide are welcome, and it paints an amazing (yet microscopic) picture of what heaven will be like. We worked all week in the broken city of Booneville, Arkansas alongside high school students who follow Christ as Episcopals, Disciples of Christ, and Lutherans.
Within a beautiful, diverse group of believers, we brought hope to people who live in the 4th largest drug capital in the United States. We served children in reading exercises, so they wouldn’t fall behind when school starts. We showed children attention they usually don’t receive at home. We told them about the Creator who loves them, and sent His only Son for them. We painted, repaired, and cleaned up homes of people who were unable to physically or financially do it themselves. We picked up debris from massive fields…the remains of people’s lives that were lost in the 30-foot wall of water that caused heavy devastation in a small town about 40 minutes south of Booneville. We left our comfort zone to interact with and love others. We saw our own brokenness. We worshipped the Savior who came to restore and reconcile us to the Father. We laughed, we cried, and for almost a full week…we loved and served in a community experience that was real. We caught an incredible glimpse of the God who restores.
Thank you for praying for us last week. Please pray that this experience becomes the youth group’s legacy. To love others of every background, and love/serve the God who restores the broken people that we are. Amen.
***Come hear more about the varsity and JV mission trips at our Youth Mission Banquet on Sunday, July 28th from 6:30-8pm in Fellowship Hall. Everyone is welcome!***
Our TFC Varsity Youth are driving home today from Booneville, AR. They had a great week helping with cleanup of a flooded area, building projects, leading children’s clubs, and working alongside 3 other area youth groups. Their “twitter” post from yesterday said, “A hard morning helping a community that flooded, where people even lost their lives. Today, we brought hope. ” Pray for their safe drive home! Welcome back Varsity youth!
Helping a flooded area in Booneville, AR. (Nicholas Bannert in green shirt)
- Varsity Booneville Mission Trip Group (L to R: Clara Shurtleff, Bergen Johnston, Sarah Betten, Jonathan Eubanks, Mary Lovell, Nicholas Bannert, Emma Hileman)
Our Varsity Youth have just begun Day 4 today, July 4, in Booneville AR. The past two days included work projects, camps for kids, and devotions. Keep praying for our 7 high school students, and 2 leaders! They’ll be driving home on Friday. Emma Hileman painting in pic #1, and most of our girls in pic #2: left to right unknown girl, Emma Hileman (turquoise shirt), Sara Betten, Bergen Johnston, Laura Phillipson, and Mary Lovell in front.
Varsity Youth Girls Work Crew in Booneville, AR, Day #2
Seven of our Varsity Youth and two leaders, Jeff Harding & Laura Phillipson, are serving alongside high school students from 3 other youth groups to help paint and repair homes in Booneville AR, as well as help with programming for younger children. Please be in prayer for our group this week to grow spiritually and group unity, for courage to share their testimonies with people they meet during times of service, that the group will be a blessing and reflection of Christ as they work, serve, and seek to connect with the other high school youth & people they serve, and for save travel to their different work sites, and home on Friday. (Youth on trip in picture, left to right: Emma Hileman, Clara Shurtleff, Sarah Betten, Bergen Johnston, Nicholas Bannert, Jonathan Eubanks, Mary Lovell)
A HUGE thanks from Tanzania!
The graduation celebration effused gratitude for nearly four hours. 60 pastors, wives, church leaders (2 members from each church represented were invited), and several denominational bishops gathered together with the ALARM country director, translators, and our 9-person team to celebrate the completion of the 3 year pastor training program known as the PLTI (Pastor’s Leadership Training Institute). The partnership churches of Bent Tree Bible Fellowship, Northwest Bible, and Trinity Fellowship pulled together to cover all the pastor’s travel expenses, lodging, food, and curriculum supplies. For this grand conclusion we also brought caps and gowns for the pastors and a gift Bible concordance in Swahili. The collection of pastors from villages all around the Morogoro area – 60~70% of which were 1st generation pastors to the formerly unreached Maasia people group – brought great gratitude and joy filled singing (& jumping) to what was for many their life-time celebration. Many of these pastors had no formal education at all, much less Bible training.
There are many stories to be told from this final week together. Personally, it was a rich blessing to have been a part of the formation of the partnership with ALARM from the very beginning. I also had the incredible privilege of being a part of the very first general pastor’s conference which gathered the pastors, presented the ministry of ALARM, and invited them into the PLTI program. It was nothing short of miraculous to witness the transforming power of the Spirit at work in the lives of these pastors along with the fruit of their growing love for Christ and increased skill of leadership reflected on the faces of their wives and church members. It was a great privilege to represent Trinity Fellowship for the rich and fruitful investment made for Christ’s kingdom and the proclamation of His word across Tanzania. Christ loves these people so much that He has called and now equipped these shepherds to be the agents of His love for them. And we get to share in that work.
Attached here is a letter presented to our ministry team members by the pastor chosen as the class leader. It gives a great summary of the experience, gratitude, and hope for the future that these pastors now share together having been brought together for training and life-changing relationships through ALARM.
At this point we aren’t certain what if any ongoing ministry we can maintain in Tanzania. Celestin Musekura (founder and president of ALARM) would like TFC to keep a project commitment to ALARM with a goal of offering a similar training program to 60 more village pastors in another location in Tanzania. However, with other ministry commitments elsewhere in Africa for Northwest Bible and Bent Tree Bible Fellowship our current partnership has come to an end. With ALARM’s input and guidance we will explore the possibility of a new partnership with other similarly committed local churches.
Please take time to give thanks to God for this incredible privilege and now completed project. I give thanks to you all for faithfully supporting this project with your giving and prayers. Pray for the pastors, wives, and churches around Morogoro, Tanzania, that they would boldly proclaim the gospel and see the Holy Spirit bring great fruit for Christ’s kingdom. Also, please be in prayer for future possible projects with ALARM in Tanzania.
Sharing the real life of Jesus Christ together…
2013 Morogoro TZ Pastors Graduation Statement
Pics from Tanzania
Earlier this year during the TFC Missions Week, Steve & Beth Coffey led a class on interacting with different cultures. Bronson Hokuf has wonderfully summarized the information presented for you here.
TFC Class on World Religions
The annual TFC Missions Conference kicked off with a four-week class on some of the world religions represented here in Richardson: Hinduism, Islam, Buddhism, and Sikhism. I was blessed by the thorough overviews, deep insights, and practical ministry suggestions that were presented for each religion. The presenters offered more than just knowledge—they equipped us to share the hope we have in Christ with love and respect.
Perhaps you, too, are curious about these religions right here in our backyard. Perhaps you’ve taken Keith’s Meet Your Neighbor Challenge and discovered a Buddhist coworker or a Hindu neighbor. Perhaps you just want to know how to relate to the hard-working Sikh that you encounter periodically or the friendly Muslim parent at your child’s school. Whatever your motivation, the materials below will assist you as you reach out to your neighbors, whatever their religion, with the love of Christ and the good news of his kingdom.
Download the Hinduism_Presentation.
Key Point: Hindus long for Moksha, or liberation from the cycle of Karma. As Christians, we proclaim freedom and liberation in Jesus Christ. Use the Vedic_Bridge to share the good news with your Hindu friend.
Download the Islam_Presentation.
Key Points: Love, don’t argue. Don’t hide the fact that you are a follower of Jesus Christ. The average Muslim needs to hear the gospel 100 times, so don’t be discouraged, just be faithful. Remove key misunderstanding by asking questions and defining terms (handout: Removing_Muslim_Misunderstandings.)
Download the Buddhism_presentation.
Key Points: Observe, don’t criticize. Be hospitable. Build relationships. Share your own spiritual journey. Understand the good in their culture and use it as a bridge to biblical concepts. Focus on Jesus. Be patient. Read the full list of ideas for Reaching_Out_To_Buddhists or dig deeper with this article, Sharing_Jesus_with_Buddhists.
Download the Sikhism_Handout.
Key Points: Remember that salvation is by Grace! Sikhs believe that the only access to God is through a Guru (not a person, but a book—a perpetual Guru). As Christians, we have a perpetual Guru in Jesus Christ who lives to intercede on our behalf (Heb 7:25).
As you study these materials, it is easy to fixate on tips, strategies, and logic. Remember, though, that nothing we can do or say will
ultimately result in the salvation of our friends and neighbors. We must be faithful in proclaiming the gospel message, but only the work of the triune God in the heart of the lost can draw them into a relationship with Jesus Christ; thus, we must pray. Continually. Earnestly. For the salvation of our friends and neighbors from around the world.