Passing Along the Joy of Soccer

Sport has the power to change the world. It has the power to inspire. It has the power to unite people in a way that little else does. It speaks to youth in a language they understand. Sport can create hope where once there was only despair.”– Nelson MandelaPheneger Family

Matt and Laura Pheneger, missionary partners of The Compass Church, are reaching youth and their families through a unique way: soccer. Matt serves as the Director of  Ambassodors Football Latin America. They use soccer as a platform to communicate the Good News to the marginalized children of Latin and South America.

Recently, The Compass Church donated 125 soccer shoes for teams in Peru. “There is a girls’ soccer team from Lima that qualified to play in a tournament in Paraguay against teams from around South America,” Matt said. “Many of the players had shoes that were falling apart and didn’t have money to replace them. We gave the girl’s the donated shoes. Our daughter, Claire’s team, played against them and several of the parents thanked me. Please pray this will open doors for the Gospel to be shared with this team in the future.”

 

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Over the weekends of May 26/27 and June 2/3, The Compass Church will be having a drive for used soccer shoes, balls and equipment for at-risk kids in Nicaragua. There will be white bins at Compass Central that donations can be dropped off. Join us in sharing the joy of soccer!

For questions, please email compassglobal@thecompass.net.
For more about Matt and Ambassodors Football, please visit https://latam.ambassadorsfootball.org/ and https://vimeo.com/aflatam.

Jen Blevins Visit

“Dear children, let us not love with words or tongue but with actions and in truth.” (1 Jn. 3:18)

Jen Blevins, missionary to Haiti

Haiti is a country that has heard many promises of hope and love. But once those words have been spoken, how many follow through with actions? As you drive through Port-au-Prince, the desperate situation of the people tells the story of unanswered promises and well-meaning words spoken without action. People rushed to help after the earthquake eight years ago, but the pervading issues of lack of clean water, access to food, and poor infrastructure tells us that words were simply not enough.

And yet there are places in Haiti telling a different story. A story of deep, servant love coming alongside Haitians and showing them not only God’s great love for them but equipping them to make a change in their community. I had the privilege of spending the weekend with one of CompassGlobal’s supported missionaries who is helping Haitians write this very story.

Jen Blevins was following Jesus as a seventh-grade science teacher in the Twin Cities, when a short-term mission trip to New Orleans following Hurricane Katrina opened her ears to God saying, “you could do this.” Not long after this, Jen moved to Haiti with ReachGlobal to show Jesus through not only her words, but more importantly, through her actions.

Jen has been in Haiti for five years now. Living in the poorest country in the Western Hemisphere certainly has its challenges, but the one thing Jen consistently shared was how amazing the people are. Coming alongside them, teaching them, learning from them, and empowering them to be a part of the change has been the heart of her ministry and The Lord has blessed this with changed lives.

Jen shares with CompassKids at the Hobson campus

Jen’s main responsibility in Haiti is coordinating the GlobalFingerprints program. GlobalFingerprints is the child sponsorship ministry of ReachGlobal, which partners with the local churches to send children to school and help care for their physical, spiritual, and emotional needs. This program is a tangible way for not only Jen to show God’s love to each child, but also for those people who sponsor them. Jen also hosts short-term mission teams. She has an amazing ability to help team members take their words of love and turn them into actions of love.

If you are interested in being a part of a short-term team, please go to thecompass.net/connect/compassglobal.

If you would like to learn more about sponsoring a child through GlobalFingerprints, please go to efca.org/ministries/reachglobal/globalfingerprints.

With any questions, please email us at compassglobal@thecompass.net .

You Will Never Be the Same

I was 16 years old.  One among thousands sitting in the crowd at McCormick Place at the Greater Chicago Billy Graham Crusade in June 1971.  During that 10-day crusade, over 12,000 people went forward after Billy Graham’s message during the singing of “Just As I Am” by the Crusade Choir.

I was not one of them.

I was not one of them despite the warning by Billy Graham at the beginning of his message that it would be an “hour of decision”.  He went on to say, “You will never be the same today, even if you refuse Christ you will never be the same”.  He was right.

(I encourage you to watch the entirety of his message by clicking on the link; https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=U89zkUZPd5w&sns=em)

I wasn’t the same.  I was questioning what I believed as I attended that night.  I grew up as a Christian Scientist and among other things, had a growing confusion over the identity of the Person of Jesus Christ.  I had been invited to attend the Crusade by a high school friend, whose church rented a bus to make the trek from Peoria to Chicago.  To be honest, I accepted the invitation because I wanted to go to the “big city”.  It was an adventure to me.  I didn’t know who Billy Graham was at the time.

It just so happened that Billy Graham’s message was, “Who Is Jesus?”  He had my attention.  Little did I know that God was in the process of drawing me to Himself.  This was one of the steps.  The Crusade was over.  My questioning continued.

A few years later, during my senior year in high school, I had to stay home from school for a week due to an illness.  I picked up a family Bible and opened it to the New Testament reading through Matthew, Mark, Luke and John asking God to reveal Himself to me.  He did.  It was as though lights were turning on as I completed one gospel after another.  I finally understood who Jesus was and why He died on the cross.  I embraced Him as my Savior.

I’ve never been the same.

I used to joke that even Billy Graham couldn’t save me.  Well, of course he couldn’t.  But His Savior could and did…and used him in the process.  May we be so used.

— Pastor Rick Pierson

People over Projects: Houston Trip #2 Recap

Over the New Year, The Compass Church sent it’s second team to serve in Houston with the EFCA Crisis Response Team. In today’s post, Annie Fong, one of the members of that team shares about her experience. Another team is being assembled to serve in May. If you are interested in being a part of that team, please email compassglobal@thecompass.net.

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A house in Houston after hurricane Harvey

“The righteous cry out, and the LORD hears them; He delivers them from all their troubles. The LORD is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit.” Psalm 34:17-1. How true this is for the people in Friendswood, Texas, a town outside of Houston.

The Lord is faithful, the Lord is powerful, the Lord is present, and the Lord is working.  Our 14 member team definitely saw God working through the lives of The EFCA Crisis Response Staff members. They serve by the motto, “People over Projects.”  This means that there is more work, more damage and more hurt in the people than there is in their houses. So, our main role was to show and share the love of Christ, and invest in the lives of the homeowners and their families.  It meant postponing a project to listen, share and pray with someone through the work day.

We started each day with devotions and prayer. On the first day a staff member shared from Philippians 2:1-4, about living like Christ, getting in the mindset of putting others first and just loving on them. Personally, this is something I have been struggling with. I know that I often serve people to make myself feel better, not to simply help them. Or I serve without keeping in mind that I am serving my God in Heaven through serving others. This trip challenged me to take a step back, to humble myself and be obedient to God’s plans for the trip. I became more conscientious of my decisions. I prayed that God would soften my heart and open my eyes… and He did.

Over the course of the week, we had the opportunity to get to know our homeowners including their 10 year old son, “K”. Seeing God work with “K” and watching him change throughout the course of the week was one of the coolest experiences of the trip. When Harvey hit the area, it really impacted “K” a lot.  Afterwards did not want to do much besides lay around and play inside. However, during the week we were there, “K” was the biggest helper! He loved being able to repair his house with us and just spend time with us. His step mom, said that she had not seen him have that much fun or smile as much as he did in a long time!

My favorite memory with “K” was when he wanted to go on our daily prayer walk with us, even though it was freezing outside! He shared about people in the neighborhood we could pray for, and he became increasingly invested in what we were doing.  He couldn’t wait to go on the next prayer walk!

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Some of the team!

This was one of the ways God worked and showed His presence through the week. God allowed us to give people hope, to give people a sign that there is a brighter future ahead, and most importantly, God let people know that they are not alone. My prayer for them is that they do not lose sight of this, that they never cease trusting the Lord, that they know that we are continuing to pray for them. Please pray for the families that we served! Please pray too for the EFCA Crisis Response Staff, who make sacrifices make every day for God.

Growing Together

This past fall, Nate Bjorge, Worship Director at the Wheaton Campus, was asked by our partners at Mittendrin church in Germany to providing training for their Worship Arts Team. In this post Nate shares about his experience. 

God is working in Potsdam, Germany through the people of Mittendrin Church in powerful ways. During our time there, we got to make some inspiring new friends and gain a greater vision of the global church and God’s growing impact on our planet. We were prepared to bring what advice and knowledge we could to help them grow and equip their worship arts ministry and ended up being ministered to more than we expected.

Mittendrin

Potsdam is a largely atheistic city but that does not stop our friends at Mittendrin from reaching out to those who do not know Christ. Beyond that, they have a genuine love and care for the them. You would think that in a highly atheistic culture, the believers would be even more bubbled together inside the church. This was not at all the case in Potsdam. The people of Mittendrin Church display hearts that are focused on the people outside of the church walls. Often, in our culture, it seems we lose sight of a genuine love for the lost and we began to view God’s calling for them as a duty or obligation.

This was only one of the many ways we were encouraged by our friends in Potsdam. That God would give us hearts that yearn to see more come to know Him because of How amazing He is in our own lives. We also pray that these global friendships would continue to be mutually encouraging and that God would continue to move powerfully through all his children across the nations.

Mittendrin (2)

A Glimpse of His Extraordinary Love

Our news feeds are full of stories of tragedy and conflict. It can be easy to despair and feel like God is nowhere to be found.  However each week  the CompassGlobal staff are blessed to read reports of how God is using their lives of our Global Partners to reach people hear, near and far. It is challenging and inspiring.

Recently CBN did a report on Jason & Heather Fader, supported CompassGlobal Partners who serve in the country of Burundi.

 

The Faders represent just one of over 60 supported individuals or families that are supported by The Compass Church. And YOU can play a part in the work God is doing through them!

  • Stop by Compass Central at your campus and pick up a copy of the CompassGlobal brochure.
  • Pick one or two of our Global Partners and commit to praying for them regularly this year.
  • Email compassglobal@thecompass.net to have your name added to their newsletter list so you can receive direct and regular updates.
  • Send emails with encouragement throughout the year to share a Bible verse or simply let them know you are praying!

This is a simple way to not only participate in what God is doing around the world, but to be encouraged as your news feeds are regularly interrupted by glimpses of His extraordinary love in action!

Changing the world with your morning cup of coffee. (Part 2)

You can read part 1 of this series here.

If you have visited one of our Justice Markets, you may have noticed that we sell the brand of coffee “I Have a Bean”. While the beans themselves come from far away countries like Kenya and Brazil, the coffee itself is roasted in our own backyard, in Wheaton to be exact.

There are a lot of factors that make this coffee company unique, even in such a large industry. For example, “I Have a Bean” is  made from beans that are rated in the top 1% of quality.  It is fresh roasted, and if you order online before 10 am, they will roast, grind, and have your coffee ready for pick up that same day.

But what really makes this company stand out is it’s mission and its employees. Check out this video from CBN to discover why.

When you purchase beans from a company like “I Have Bean”, changing the world really can be as easy your morning cup of coffee!

Changing the world with your morning cup of coffee. (Part 1)

The problems and needs of the world are great. But sometimes impacting them can begin as simply as your morning cup of coffee. Not convinced? Check out this image below from Missiographics!

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Here is one easy “coffee and missions goal”  for 2018…every time you take the first sip of a cup of coffee, pray for one of the points listed in the graphics above:

  • For the countries where coffee is grown.
  • For the growers as they provide for the families.
  • For the millions of other people drinking coffee today.
  • For those sharing the Gospel as they share a cup of coffee.

Maybe its time to go pour a fresh cup!

 

Where will you go this year?

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As you make plans and dreams for 2018, have you asked God if He is calling you to participate in a short term missions trip this year? At The Compass Church we plan short term missions trips with the goal of building relational connections and providing support to our partners on the field, as well as providing an environment conducive to life transformation for the team members.

Trips are currently being planned for Houston, Kenya, Costa Rica, Haiti, Belgium and Moldova. For more details, attend one of our upcoming informational meetings or email jkindelin@thecompass.net

Blessed to be a Blessing

It’s a few days after Christmas, and the weather app on my phone showed -2 degrees when I woke up this morning. Yikes! Needless to say I am happy to be working from home today, curled up under a blanket, my second cup of peppermint tea next to me and my laptop, appropriately on my lap.

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For the last couple of hours I have worked through my inbox, catching up on emails that have come in from our Global Partners around the world. I have read the stories of struggling families in Eastern Europe and a church reaching out to them in word and deed, of the wonder and excitement of  people in Asia who heard the name Jesus for the very first time this Christmas, of families living far from their country of origin–sacrificing the comforts of home and of the season, of a local man in a far away country living on 1/4 of what his family needs but trusting that since God called him to preach, God will also provide, and of many willing to risk comfort in this life so that others could have the chance of one eternal.

Warm and cozy, with the small mountain of opened presents displayed under my Christmas tree in sight, its an inspiring, but also humbling and challenging read. It would be easy to go down the path of guilt, and feel ashamed for all the blessings of family, food, and gifts that I have enjoyed these past few days. But just as we delight in giving gifts to others, I believe God delights in giving gifts to us, and we are to receive them with joy and thankfulness.

However, I am reminded of God’s promise to Abraham. He promised to bless Abraham with many descendants, not just for Abraham’s sake, but so that all the nations of the world would be blessed. (Genesis 22:17-18). Abraham was blessed so that he could be a blessing. The reports I read today are a reminder that the same applies to me. They hold me accountable to the fact that the most important thing in life is a saving relationship with Jesus Christ,  and that in following Him I am called to share the Gospel in all things.  I am to constantly view what I have, where I live, and the work I do through that lens.

With the New Year approaching I am going pray over the next few days that God would show me each day this year how I am to use what He has blessed me with, to bless others, and that I would have the same faith, courage, compassion, and willingness to sacrifice that I have read about today. Would you join me in this prayer? May 2018 be a year where many receive the greatest blessing of all!