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Back 40 to 10/40… The Bhutanese Refugees of Rochester

This weekend, my wife and I are on a scouting trip for the missions team at our church. We are in Rochester, New York, with a pastor that ministers to a church plant founded and full of Bhutanese refugees that have been relocated from Refugee camps in Nepal and India to the US by Catholic Charities. There are approximately 3-5000 in the Rochester Metro Area, and many thousands more in other parts of the country, such as about 10,000 in the Atlanta area.

We got to meet with one of the Bhutanese pastors at the Plant yesterday. His family was brought to Christ by the efforts of William Carey in the village in India where this man’s great grandparents lived. His grandparents were some of the first Christians in Bhutan. His father died as a martyr for the faith there.

This young pastor planted 11 churches and a Pastoral training center in the Bhutanese refugee camps before coming to the US. He turns 35 this year. This young  pastor was one of the first 5 Nepali-speaking Christians in Rochester. He voluntarily relocated his family there, because there was no Bhutanese pastor in the area.  There are now between 200-300 Nepali-Speaking Christians.
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We were taken to a “Home Fellowship Meeting”. The best way I can describe it is how I would envision a house church meeting in another country. We were taken to an apartment in a Government-Assisted housing unit in downtown Rochester, where we entered an apartment packed with Nepali speaking people. There were probably 40 in a 15×10 living room praising God, reading scripture, and one young man shared a message from the Bible. He spoke for a couple minutes in English, then repeated the thought in Nepali. It was amazing. This man works as a translator for one of the hospitals in Rochester to translate Bhutanese patient care needs to English speaking medical personnel.

There was so much that we experienced. Pray for the refugees as they adapt to the changes they face by being relocated to a new country and culture.

 

Brent originally published this post at his blog, MinistryPlace.net

Turkeys, Hot Dogs, Teenagers, The Gospel.

frozen-turkey

Ok. I will try and explain this the best I can….

Yes, we bowl with turkeys in the church fellowship hall. Yes they are frozen. Yes, the trustees know about it. Yes, students from all over come to find out if we are really using turkeys. Yes, we use the opportunity to share the Gospel.

I have had more conversations like this in the last four years than I can remember. It always seems to be one of those above answers coming out of my mouth. I would not trade it for anything. This event reminds me more of the ministry of Jesus than many on our youth calendar.

– It sounds totally outrageous. Check.
– It sounds completely out of character for our church to do. Check.
– People show up that would maybe not otherwise even set foot in a church. Check
– People show up mainly out of curiosity. Check.
– The people present are pointed to Jesus. Check.
– It’s something that hasn’t been done before in this area. Check.

It sounds cheesy, but you would think that we might serve turkey at Turkey Bowling. Nope. We serve hot dogs. mainly because it gives the students something they didn’t really expect. Secondarily, because you can feed a lot of students for cheap with hot dogs. However, there is always a second thing the students don’t expect when they attend turkey bowling. We intentionally program the event where they come face to face with the God of the universe that loves them. Not in a pushy, overbearing way, but in a blunt, direct, unmistakable way.

This year, that Gospel presentation is going to come in the form of the MyHope with Billy Graham Film called “Lose to Gain“. It is a very well done film that weaves together the story of three people that thought they had everything, everything left them empty, until they found Christ. It is a powerful film geared toward youth and young adult/college age groups.

My challenge to you is to ask yourself some of the above programming questions on some of your upcoming events. Do they look like the ministry of Jesus?

Brent originally published this post at his blog, MinistryPlace.net

Pilot Project: Adopt a Neighborhood…

This school year, our students have decided to try something new. They are adopting a neighborhood to “Gospelize”. This is a “multiple-touch” evangelism project that is designed around building relationships in the community.

We will be doing multiple service project days, where we serve the people of the neighborhood for no cost to help them with their homes. We will also be prayer walking and doing a spiritual survey over the course of the school year. In the spring, we will be doing a block party at the park that is right next to the neighborhood, for the purpose of getting the children there pre-registered for VBS.

The response by those in the neighborhood seems to be overwhelmingly positive. This week, we dropped off a letter at each house in the 9 block area describing the service day, and that our group would be in their neighborhood several times over the next few months. It details that our group would not be seeking or taking donations, and that we just wanted to get to know those in our community. many were very thankful that we are going to do this.

There is a lot I like about this project. I like that it is more personal than knocking on a door and leaving a tract or confronting them on the doorstep. This is an intentional relational approach that fits well with a lot of the other things we are doing this year in the youth department.

The last part of this project is the interaction with other believers. This project is not about us. It is about Christ and HIS Kingdom. We came into it prepared to meet other believers in the neighborhood. Our group wants to be there as an encouragement to help that believer have the boldness to walk next door or across the street and share the Gospel. There are students from other youth groups that live in this neighborhood. We plan to welcome them to come alongside us in anything we do in their neighborhood. Not for the purpose of growing our numbers, but because we are on THEIR turf, where they live. We are only guests. We want to equip them to continue the work.

Pray for these students, that they will experience what God has planned for them, 9 Blocks at a time…

– Pastor Lacy

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Spiritually Mature Parents = Spiritually Growing Teens?

In our High School Sunday School Class this week we talked a little about a phenomenon that can easily occur in the American church “culture” – misplaced reproduction. You see, the Great Commission (or THE Cause as Dare2Share calls it), directs each of us to make disciples –> we should make more of what we are. The American Church has done that well. Unfortunately, we have not made what Christ has called us to make…Maybe…

  • We’ve been called to make disciples that make more disciples, but we’ve sat in the pews, and made more people that sit in the pews.
  • We’ve been called to go into all the world to make disciples that are willing to go anywhere for the cause of Christ, but we’ve stayed in the church building and brought in more, and made more people comfortable to stay with us.

A wise pastor once said that sheep make more sheep, shepherds make more shepherds – we make more of what we are. Pastors should make more Pastors, Missionaries should make more Missionaries, Committed Church members should make more. As a Youth Pastor, I’m working on making more people that are committed to taking Christ’s message to a lost and hurting generation of teenagers.

What are you reproducing?

Where does your bridge lead?

Bridges are important in our community.
In the past, they have helped us cross creeks, rivers, and railroads. They have been a past and current key to the economy in our community and county. When each of those bridges were built, it was a big deal that they could cross whatever they were made to cross. We all have a void in our life that is also a big deal. This void can only be crossed by having a true relationship with Jesus Christ. Sure, we try and build our own bridges, with money, recreation, or any number of things good or bad. However, none of these bridges we’ve constructed ourselves take us where we want to go. They only lead to emptiness, despair, hopelessness, and ultimately an eternity separated from God (see Romans 6:23 – “The wages of sin is death”). Jesus tells us in John 14:6 that “I Am the way, the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father, except through Me”.   Jesus lived a perfect life without sin, paid the price of a horrible death on a cross (see Romans 5:8 – “But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us”), and rose again on the third day to  give us a way to be made right with God again. He made the bridge that we could never complete on our own. Take the first step of your Journey with Christ by accepting His gift of eternal life – Cross the bridge. He’s waiting to forgive you and begin a relationship with you.

Pastor Lacy