Tuesday, April 7, 2009

A Graduate!

Last night Andrew and I attended the Job Alliance Graduation, in which Patricia was one of the five graduates! It was a beautiful time dedicated to the hard work and life-changes the five women have accomplished over the past two months. There was joy and hope reflected in Patricia's face, as she now sees a clearer path in front of her and a hope for her family in Christ.

Job Alliance (Jobs For Life) was originally sponsored here in St. Louis by World Impact's first church plant and is now a rapidly growing program here in North city. This program doesn't only teach job skills, it provides an opportunity for people who have found themselves in difficult circumstances to learn strategies that will help them overcome life's obstacles, to find support in like-minded people, and to see the hope they can have in Jesus Christ.
God is doing a mighty work in Patricia. Continue to pray for her as she has started her GED classes this week and would like to have her GED completed in the coming months.

Monday, April 6, 2009

One Body

There are plenty of guys in our neighborhood, they have children, they are in relationships and they hang out on the block most of the day, but there are very few men here. Most of the households in our community are female-headed. If you visit a neighboring church you will often find women's names listed in the church bulletins as the primary leaders in the services. If you talk to the kids in our neighborhood, very few of them have a father who is active in their lives.

Yesterday Andrew and I took Patricia and Ja'Marion to World Impact's first church plant, Jubilee Community Church. There were men there. There were plenty of strong women there too, but the men were showing leadership and sitting beside their wives in the service. During the church's prayer time, in which they take prayer requests, a single mother asked prayer for her young son, who looked to be about eight. She asked that the church pray for him, since his father was mostly absent and even at his young age he was feeling the pressure to take on the responsibility of being the man of the house. A pastor in the church was asked to lay hands on the boy and pray for him, but immediately men from around the sanctuary stood and came to lay hands on the boy as well.

It was moving to see the men in the congregation rush to uphold this little one, to stand in the gap his absent father had left. The pastor challenged the men standing around the boy to take it upon themselves to be there for this young man and to take him under their care and guidance. I pray those men follow through, for that child will make it through the trying years to come if he has those men to stand beside him.

I was once again struck with the beauty of the family of God. We are the Body of Christ, none of us seperate from another. It has been my time here in the city that has shown me the importance of the Church. Not, Sunday services, but being the church to one another. Only in the Body of Christ can this young boy have a ten-fold return on the one father who has opted out of his life.

I am as guilty as any for going to church and seeing faces that I think have nothing to do with my own. Or even thinking of church as a building and a service. I am the church and you are the church. Those men and that young boy are the church. One body, united in Christ. Our unity is bound in Christ; it is not confined by anything less: no four walls, no worship service, no distant miles, no denomination, no broken life experiences, no cultural barrier. We have only to acknowledge this unity and walk in it to see the fatherless brought up, the broken healed, and the seemingly put-together and independent Christians at last find their needs.

For just as the body is one and has many members, and all the members of the body, though many, are one body, so it is with Christ. For in one Spirit we were all baptized into one body— Jews or Greeks, slaves or free—and all were made to drink of one Spirit. (1 Corinthians 12:12-13)

For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, so that each one may receive what is due for what he has done in the body, whether good or evil. (2 Corinthians 5: 10)

And above all these put on love, which binds everything together in perfect harmony. And let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, to which indeed you were called in one body. And be thankful. Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly, teaching and admonishing one another in all wisdom, singing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, with thankfulness in your hearts to God. (Colossions 3:14-16)

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Spring Break 2009!

We went on a Truth Trek with the kids to discover the treasures of God's truth in His Word! Our journey to dig up these treasures took us through the Ten Commandments and how they apply to our lives. It was so fun to see the kids connect the commandments to their actions towards God, family, and friends.

College students from Greenville Christian College in Illinois and Clemson University in South Carolina helped us run the week-long program, which included Bible Lessons, games, and electives like art, magic, sports, cooking, drama, and newspaper!

The week of fun ended with a Friday Night Family Night where we had 40 people for food, fellowship and a showcase of what the kids did that week.

April Update

April 1, 2009

Dear Team,

Greetings friends and family! Adria and I hope this letter finds you all doing very well. Many people ask us what things we are involved with here at World Impact St. Louis. Quite simply, one of the many things we have the privilege to do is to be professional neighbors.

In the time that Adria and I have been here, we have been very blessed to have such great neighbors. We have had meals together, trips to the store together, and have prayed together—pretty normal things that good neighbors do. But this last month has been a trying time for me. Unknowingly to me, I quite simply offended one of my neighbors. Through a series of misunderstandings, I upset my neighbor to the point that she very heatedly let me know of her anger.

After about 30 minutes of listening to my neighbor vent and praying the entire time, I had a chance to try to clear up the situation. It took her quite a while to calm down, but she finally started to listen and we got the situation back on better terms.

For the first time in almost nine years of living in St. Louis, I had a conflict with one of my neighbors. This really bothered me for a few days as I tried to process the situation and what I could have done better to not offend my neighbor. Then I started to think about this situation in other terms. What was going on deep in my neighbor’s life to cause her to handle this situation the way she did? I started to see a person who has been deeply hurt in life, who has had a life of people doing her wrong, and she had placed me in that same category.

I have continued to be friendly and work to show her love and slowly the walls are coming back down. As hard as I try, I will never be able see my neighbors exactly as Christ does. But, as a follower of Christ and a professional neighbor, I must do my best to see them as Christ sees them and treat them in a Godly and loving way.

Please pray for Adria and I as we do our best to live loving and lasting relationships with our neighbors. Pray that we are sensitive to the past that many of our neighbors have gone through. It is our desire that through us our neighbors will see a visible and understandable reflection of Christ. Also pray that our neighbors would see Christ in a new way and be so attracted to Him that they accept Jesus as their perfect and loving Father. Thank you for your steadfast prayers and faithful giving.

All for our Mighty King

Andrew & Adria Medlen