Author: compassglobalcommunications

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!

 

 

Where There is No Christmas

With the drop of temperature and the dusting of snow this week—it really is beginning to look and feel a lot like Christmas. Lights, decorating cookies, wrapping gifts, special programs at school and church—there is so much that fills our senses during this time of year. But, what if no one around you celebrated Christmas? Or even knew what it was?

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Imagine a December with no Christmas carols, no decorations, and no anticipation of special gatherings with friends and family. This is the case for many of our Global Partners. December 25th will come and go like any other day. Why? Because the people in the countries where they live haven’t ever heard the name of Jesus Christ. As Romans 10:14  says “How, then, can they call on the one they have not believed in? And how can they believe in the one of whom they have not heard? ”

Christmas does offer our Partners a special chance to share about  the Light of the World. Some of their friends have heard of the western cultural celebration of Christmas—and are curious. As they ask our Partners questions, there are open doors to also share the meaning behind it all.

And the reality is—while most everyone we know will be celebrating on December 25th, many of them also don’t know or call upon the name of Jesus. Please pray for our Partners and the people they live among. Would many, like the shepherds, hear and respond to the amazing news that the Savior of the World has come. Let’s also pray that we too would be bold this season. That we would intentionally share with friends and family who, even surrounded by the glittering lights of the season, are still living in darkness.

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A Bible or Bottled Water?

The last few weeks have been an onslaught of natural disasters with Hurricane’s Harvey, Irma, and Maria, and the earthquake in Mexico City. Our hearts break for those living in the effected areas, but what should be our response? Do we send in teams with the Gospel, offering truth and hope, but neglecting the real needs of the people left in devastation? Or do we focus our efforts only on donating money and assisting with cleanup, never offering the hope of Christ that can bring true healing and peace to the deep scars of trauma and loss?  What do the people in Texas, Florida, Mexico and the Caribbean need more, the Bible or bottled water?

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As a junior in college I had a crisis of faith as I began my nursing school clinical rotations.  My theology at the time was that Christ came to die for my sins so I could go to heaven. And, being up close for the first time in my life to raw human pain and suffering, that was no longer holding up as sufficient. I began to question the goodness and love of God.

While painful, that season of life was transformational. During a summer retreat with my campus fellowship we studied the servant songs of Isaiah, a collection of prophecies about Christ. In Isaiah 61:1-3 we read, “The Spirit of the Sovereign Lord is on me, because the Lord has anointed me to proclaim good news to the poor. He has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim freedom for the captives and release from darkness for the prisoners,….to comfort all who mourn, and provide for those who grieve in Zion—to bestow on them a crown of beauty instead of ashes, the oil of joy instead of mourning, and a garment of praise instead of a spirit of despair.”  (If this passage sounds familiar, it is the one Jesus reads in Luke 4 at the beginning of his ministry, following with the words, “Today this scripture is fulfilled in your hearing.” (Luke 4:21)).

In the months that followed that retreat God showed me that His plan was not just to save me so I could go to heaven, but to redeem all the brokenness that entered the world through sin. He not only knew the pain, injustice and suffering that was going on, He had, through Christ, already presented the solution. In his book, Kingdom Come, author Allen Wakabayashi  writes, “When Jesus came to bring the kingdom, everything that God had made was in the scope of what he came to change. The Old Testament looked forward to the coming of the kingdom as a creation-wide intervention where God would come make right all that had gone wrong. Sicknesses would be healed, sins would be forgiven, enmity would be eradicated and the created order would be put at peace”.

Wakabayashi uses the analogy of Aslan in the book The Lion, The Witch and The crocus-1960865_1920Wardrobe by C.S. Lewis. In that story it is always winter, but never Christmas. However, when Aslan returns, the snow begins to melt and springtime breaks through. We see the same in the life of Christ. Wherever He went, the winter of the evil in this world was melted, and a glorious taste of the springtime of His kingdom was given.

 

So, a Bible or bottled water? Or, perhaps both….

A recent article by Lausanne shows the power of a holistic response. The committed, sacrificial, and long term response by Japanese Christians to the areas of Japan effected by the 2011 tsunami have had profound impact on individual lives, on communities, and even changed the very word for Christian in the language. These Christians weren’t serving physical needs as a method to convert people. Instead they were genuinely bringing the springtime of the kingdom to the communities around them.

As you consider your response to the suffering caused by the natural disasters this week, or the suffering in the lives of your neighbors, co-workers and friends, I encourage you to reflect on the Lausanne article and on the words of Isaiah 61: 1-3.  Consider how you might bear witness in word and deed to the healing and redeeming love of Christ, and spread the springtime of His Kingdom everywhere you go.

 

 

Hurricane Harvey: Ways to Help

The last few days our news feeds have been filled with images, statistics, and stories of the devastation of Hurricane Harvey. Here are some ways that you can get involved with caring for those affected.

Prayer: Please pray….

  • That the flooding would end and receed quickly.cyclone-62959_1920.jpg
  • That those trapped or needing rescuing would be reached in time.
  • For God to provide the physical needs of food, clothing, shelter, and health care for those in the affected areas now and in the months to come.
  • For God to provide healing for the emotional traumas associated with living through a storm, and with losing loved ones, homes, and livelihoods.
  • For the local churches and the Christian community country wide to reach out with generous giving, practical helps, listening ears, and the hope of the Gospel.

Giving:  In response to past natural disasters (Hurricanes Katrina, Sandy,  and Matthew, and the 2010 earthquake in Haiti), The Compass Church has partnered with ReachGlobal’s Crisis Response Team. We will be partnering with them again for Hurricane Harvey relief. Please visit their site here for information on how to give.

 

Serving: We are considering sending a team to assist with the disaster relief when the time is appropriate. If you are interested in receiving information about this team  as it develops please email jkindelin@thecompass.net. You can also visit the ReachGlobal site for more information on teams they are arranging directly.

Dens and Nests

Visas. Sometimes they are stamps in your passport given on arrival. Sometimes they take weeks and months of applications, fees, and the anxiety of mailing your passport off to an embassy praying it will return.  Regardless, in most cases if you want to enter another country, especially if you want to live there, a visa is required.

For our Global Partners, obtaining or renewing visas is a part of the rhythm of their lives. When it is time to apply for a new one, its always on the prayer request list. Nothing is certain when it comes to visas.

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Recently, some of our Global Partners were denied a visa renewal. They have one month to pack up and leave a country that has been home for 16 years. They will leave behind their ministry, church, friends, and their daughter, son-in-law and  grandchildren. There will be tears and grieving, but they have faith and trust that God is in control and He has ordered the next season of their life.

Two more of our Global Partner families have been facing visa challenges.  Both have been waiting and praying and trusting for months.

In John 9:57-58 we read, “As they were walking along the road, a man said to him, ‘I will follow you wherever you go.’ Jesus replied, ‘Foxes have dens and birds have nests, but the Son of Man has no place to lay his head.’ ”

While visas can be a source of burden and stress–they are also a constant reminder to cross cultural workers, that following Jesus can mean uncertainty and that we need to be willing to go wherever and whenever He moves us. Most of us don’t have to worry about visas, but are we open to God moving us?

Please pray today that God will keep open doors to people and places that need His healing and grace. Pray that our Global Partners would trust Him when doors close that they don’t understand and they have to pack up, move, and start over again.

Let’s pray too that God would speak clearly to our hearts, and that we too would have the  courage to move where He calls… whether it is across the street to meet a neighbor, or maybe even across the world.

 

 

 

Brussels– 2017

This summer The Compass Church sent a team to serve alongside our partners in Brussels Belgium. Renee, one of the team leaders, writes her reflections on the trip in today’s post. You can read more about the work of some of our partners in Brussles here.

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Summer mission trips don’t always go as planned. Our team prepared to spend two weeks in Brussels this summer, working with Serve the Church, a part of ReachGlobal. Dan and I have been a part of this mission trip for several years and we were looking forward to returning and introducing our team to a city and people we have grown to know and love. We had warned them that there would be a lot of walking and in Brussels you need to be prepared for a change in weather, so bring rain gear. The first full day of flier distribution, the project of inviting area residents to English, music, and cooking classes at a local ministry, dawned absolutely beautiful. We, along with two other teams from California and Iowa, took to the streets to stuff mailboxes. By the afternoon, the skies had darkened and it poured! And yes, those who forgot umbrellas and rain gear got soaked. But over 18,000 invitations went out and people were already calling that evening for more information. Even with inclement weather–a change from what we had planned, God used us to help meet a need for this ministry.

Brussel's MarkWe planned to be involved with various projects around the city the following week: some projects required muscles (heavy bags of construction debris carried through the house, out the window, into the dumpster), some worked with kids (VBS in the park on rainy afternoons under a tent), some were cancelled or changed due to weather (rain again), some involved demolition and construction (think sledge hammers and power tools), some finished quickly and others were added (painting and landscaping). Each team member had a place to work where they could use their gifts and talents, but all projects required flexibility and a willingness to serve. Having been on the trip before, I had my idea of where I wanted to participate. Reconnecting with “C” and helping with her home for refugees was important to me.  What I didn’t plan on was having pneumonia. That really limited my involvement—especially since work at “C’s” house was demolishing the lower level to remodel it into her personal apartment. My role quickly changed and I helped with preparing and serving food for the team. My plans changed, but God still had a role for me—in fact, as my health required more rest, I was able to spend more time in prayer for all the teams and all the projects.

One of the highlights of the trip for our team was participating in worship with various congregations. Even though services were conducted in French, and Flemish with some translation into English, we were all worshiping the same God and were united by our faith in Christ. We didn’t always understand everything that was being said or sung, but we knew these people loved God and served Him faithfully.

In a culture with fewer than one percent identifying as a Bible believing Christian, it was a joy and privilege to come alongside Belgian believers to encourage them, to work with them, to help with projects that enable them to continue to minister to those who so desperately need the Lord. Maybe things didn’t always go as we planned, but it definitely went as God planned—and all for His Glory.

 

So, how was your trip….?

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Do you know someone taking a short term missions trip with The Compass Church or another organization this summer? They will probably return home brimming with stories, experiences, and lessons learned. Chances are they want to share all about their trip, and you want to hear. However it  is often hard for people returning from short term trips to sum everything  up and answer the first question most of us ask…”How was your trip?”

TEAM posted a great article on this topic with some easy alternative questions. Not only will these questions help you get a glimpse at all God did during your friend’s trip, but you will bless your friend as you help them sort through and process their experiences!

If you don’t have time to read the article here is a free download from TEAM with 15 great questions to get you started! Oh…and a good cup of tea or coffee is also recommended!

 

Haiti 2017

In July, The Compass Church sent a team to serve along side ReachGlobal in Haiti. Darcy Ruscitti, Executive Director of Central Ministries, was the team leader and shares here some reflections on the trip. 

It is hard even two weeks later to put words to how impactful a trip it was.   We started off as a group of mostly acquaintances, and ended the trip as strongly bonded family.  You always hope for strong relational connections as a team – but this group exceeded expectations.  Our group was fun-loving, flexible, and hard working – all needed for ministry work in Haiti.

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Each of our days was a very different adventure.  We did everything from painting rooms at the local clinic for a new incoming doctor to filling water jugs for locals and walking them to their homes.  Some homes were tarps, some were the shelter of trees, some wood, and others were even made of cinder blocks.

Two days we traveled to the area called Jan Jan.  We drove for almost an hour, which was as far as we could go by truck, and then we walked with our supplies the remaining mile.  One day we ran a VBS type camp with almost 200 kids!  They just kept coming!  It was great to teach them about the shield of faith and do related activities.  The next day we came back to work on a church building construction site in Jan Jan.  The kids came back out in groves singing the songs and looking for more interactions.  While  some of our team did that, I joined working on the construction and learned how to do re-bar!  As I started I am sure they were quite skeptical of what I could contribute, but after some time with an amazing teacher (one of our interpreters named Joe), they weren’t even checking my work anymore and by the end were including me in the process just like one of them!  It was a blessing to me to get to do some actual labor type work and be praying for the people that will be attending that church.

Haiti 2Near the Jan Jan area there was a vast, mostly dried up river bed.  While there was some running water in it, (the team took numerous trips back and forth to bring water up to the construction site for cement making) you couldn’t help but imagine what that river area would look like filled.  What changes would it mean for the people for their living conditions, their food, their livelihood?  You can’t help but carry this analogy over to the people and their need for the love of Jesus.  So much of Haiti is a vast area of spiritual dryness, people in need of Jesus.  There are small streams of strong Christian communities – we pray those continue to grow and spread for Haiti.

We had the complete joy of wrapping up our week by attending a beautiful church service.  It didn’t even matter that we couldn’t understand the parts that were in Creole – we knew we were getting to experience a special moment within a body of fellow believers.  The singing and joy for the Lord was clearly present even though many had walked quite a distance to even get to church.  We had a big rain Saturday night and it was quite muddy Sunday morning.  It would have been easy to skip church that morning – but they weren’t going to be stopped!  The singing was powerful and so was the message!

Thank you for your prayers and support – we couldn’t have had such an amazing trip without you being a part of it!

Pittsburgh 2017

A team of youth from The Compass Church spent a week serving in Pittsburgh this summer. They partnered with a local church to do outreach and run a VBS in the community, and they took prayer walks through the city. The team also partnered with two other local service agencies, a homeless shelter and a soup kitchen. Emma, one of the students on the trip, shares her reflections on what she learned. 

Hello people of the Compass Church! Today (or whenever you’re reading this), I am here to tell you a little bit about my recent mission trip to the beautiful (and hilly) city of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. First detail to note, I was completely unfamiliar with literally every single one of my teammates prior to the trip, which honestly ended up very well. I had such a great time getting to know the  amazing other students and leaders on the trip, and I am happy to say that I walked away with sixteen new friends. Serving with these amazing people made everything ten times easier, and at least ten times more fun. Second thing to note, despite my previous involvement with junior high work camps, this week was my first long-term mission trip, and boy I had little idea what I was walking into. Now, this is not to say that I couldn’t handle it, because I did, I’m just saying that there were definitely some unexpected, crazy cool, God-inspired moments.

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If you were to ask me which one of these moments stood out to me the most, or what the highlight of my trip was, I would probably tell you, “Eating the mile high sandwich with french fries on it, or that really good piece of almond cake,” (two delicacies Pittsburgh happens to be known for.) But if I were to tell you that,  I would probably tell you after that I was kidding, and that my big moment was on the morning of June 29th, our second to last day in such an incredible city.

That morning we were going to be serving at a ministry that serves meals to impoverished families and individuals on the north side of the city, a task I was not especially excited about in all honesty. Growing up in an affluent neighborhood of the western suburbs of Chicago, there’s always been some kind of stigma that follows the homeless. That you should turn your cheek because they are just looking for money to feed dangerous habits, that you should ignore every sign or request for help and just keep walking.

I got to prepare a Chicago classic, Portillo’s Italian beef with salad and all kinds of good stuff. But the coolest part was getting the chance to sit down with some of the men and women there that day. What really hit me deep down though, was how plainly human they all were. I got to make connections with two little girls, and have some really great conversations with my teammates and some of the men we were serving. Was it a little nerve wracking? For sure. But by the end of our time, it was like talking to a good friend about sports, and different neighborhoods, and school, and responsibility, and all kinds of things. It was truly awesome to be able to hear about them and about their lives and see my peers talking with them, laughing with them, and even praying with them.

Pittsburgh picture 2.jpgWhat often happens, I’ve noticed, is that those who are homeless are often dehumanized by those who have the means to help them. But in reality, they’re people too, they have their own stories, lives, families. So what I think I took away was that what I personally need to do better, and what I think a lot of people could improve upon, is not turning our noses up to the hurt in this world, but embracing it and treating it with love. The lesson Elsa and I taught for the VBS kids that week was all about going out into the world and loving people the way Jesus loves. And in our experience that morning, we were living that out, and it was incredible to be a part of.