So much has happened in the last couple months, I just had to give you all an update.
We have become ministry partners with a Lutheran Church near Colfax, IL. The youth lit a spark within this church after going on their first mission trip to Cairo a few summers ago with YouthWorks. The small group of teens came home with a different perspective, a deeper desire for the Lord, and a passion to serve. After hearing the hearts of their teens, the surprised adults decided that it was time for them to take a mission trip – to Mississippi in helping with disaster relief. They also decided to bring a group of adults and students to Cairo each winter, setting up photo studios in the housing projects for families to get their portraits taken. This spring our group took a trip up to Colfax to visit with the congregation that has blessed us in service, prayer, gifts, and finances. What a sweet time of fellowship, worship, and encouragement we all had with our brothers and sisters in Colfax. God is certainly bringing a revival to this church. Sunday morning after the service we were asked to lead a few worship songs in the fellowship hall. What a delight to see the children dancing with joy in their hearts to the Lord, the adults even joined in the circle with dancing feet – yes even the men. Praise the Lord!
Breaks – Florida, Staff Retreat in the Ozarks
Our team was blessed to take a random, yet timely trip to Lakeland, Florida. We were warmly welcomed by relatives and close friends of our staff team as the Lord provided housing for us. God provided for our whole team to go to Florida. Perhaps you have heard about what is happening in Lakeland. God is pouring out His Spirit in powerful ways. What began April 2nd as a conference continues today. Every night people gather to meet with Jesus, to worship Him, to hear from Him, and to experience His healing power. I am amazed at what the Lord is doing and what He continues to unravel. I have heard many testimonies that God is sending revival to many places around the globe. You can check it out on-line – God TV (or channel 365 if you have direct TV), it is on live every night between 7-10.
Before the summer started we wanted to have a staff getaway/retreat, so we packed up and headed out to the Ozarks in Missouri. We had a wonderfully relaxing time – sweet fellowship, sitting around the bonfire, worshiping, swimming, and we even went on a canoe trip on the river. I am so encouraged by the family of people God has placed me with here in Cairo.
Elmwood Club House
God is raising up a generation of children to know Him, love Him, and praise Him. The first year we began with prayer walking in this unique community of the Elmwood housing projects. The second year God allowed an open door for us to use the recreational building for a meal program we hosted last summer. This past year we have held an after school program called, The Club House, with a small group of children who have shown a desire to grow in their relationship with God. We would begin with Bible lesson (we focused on the gospel message, Heaven, and the parables), and ended our time with an activity – such as crafts, knitting, nutrition and aerobics.
Building Bridges to the Churches
This spring I have witnessed the Lord building bridges to various churches here in Cairo through our relationships with women in the community. We continue to ask for unity within the Body of Christ here in Cairo. For the next 9 weeks this summer we are going to be conducting prayer services in local churches. Our desire is to spark HOPE within the hearts of the saints in Cairo, to fan the flame of God within them.
Each summer we have young teens travel to Cairo for a week long adventure in serving Jesus. Four additional staff (Nyesha, Whitney, Dishon, and Amanda) join us to facilitate these mission trip experiences as the youth serve in Kid’s Club and Work Projects throughout the community. Usually all of our time has been spent supporting these various ministries in the community – however this summer we felt the Lord pulling us in a different direction.
An out of the box summer. The Siege invitations had gone out near and far – with no applicants or even inquiries. What? ? I guess God had other plans up His sleeve – He was still preparing us. This summer we are focusing our energy on prayer as we minister to both the community and the YouthWorks teams. Each teenager coming through Cairo on their mission trip will be taking a prayer walk around the community. Entering into our second week for the summer and already we have witnessed powerful touches from our Father. Angels rejoice as two teenagers have accepted Christ.
This summer we are following the cloud as far as our prayer journeys go. We continue to ask the Father where He would have us pray as we know His desire is to transform this small community. Our desire is to pray “on site with insight.”
Every Wednesday afternoon the gym is filled with loud music as we gather with some teen gals for aerobics. We’ve been having a great time getting to know these gals better and ministering to them. About a month ago we hosted a progressive dinner and got all dolled up with our old prom/bridesmaid dresses and finished with a sleepover party. Most of the girls involved with aerobics have also been taking dance classes, so Sara and I went to their recital a couple weeks ago. It was great seeing them on stage.
Over the summer we have expanded this ministry to volunteering in the community by doing random acts of kindness. Pray these girls would learn the joy of serving others.
On Thursday nights YouthWorks students and community members join together at the park for a cookout. Something new we set up this year is a prayer tent. Last week I was blown away as God healed a broken thumb, headaches, and broken hearts. One of the teenagers who came last week had scoliosis. – a 28 degree curvature on her spine. After much prayer the Lord removed her pain and also straightened her spine! Hallelujah, praise God! For the whole story, check out Sara’s blog: http://gerberdaisy.wordpress.com/. We are trusting God for many more testimonies of His divine touch on people’s lives.
-Pray for our building situation. We have told the Catholic Church we will not be in the St. Joe’s School building in the fall (the building we are currently using) due to the high cost of utilities. We are trusting the Lord to provide the exact building He would like us to use.
-Pray for guidance/discernment as we follow the cloud this summer on our prayer journeys.
-Pray for transformed hearts as the YouthWorks groups come through Cairo this summer.
-Pray for God’s manifest presence to fall and heal people both spiritually and physically.
-Pray for our Elmwood Club House and the children we mentor.
-Pray for the aerobics gals – for the Lord to allow deeper relationships to be built and for their salvation and growth in the Lord.
-Pray for the bridges to be built with other churches as we conduct our prayer/worship services.