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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.

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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.

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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!

 

 

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.