Friday, November 1, 2013

And now in MY backyard

Last post, I told you how Jeff recently preached right in his own backyard. This past Sunday, he preached practically in my old backyard, right across the street from Arizona State University, where I spent many hours of research for high school debate, as well as my first year of college.

 If you've been with us long, you might remember that The Church on Mill partnered with us this summer through their Vacation Bible School. The children learned a bit about the ministry of 20schemes, collected money to assist one of our indigenous interns with additional training, and started penpal relationships with some of the children that Niddrie Community Church is working with.

 Then, last Sunday, we were able to share in person with Church on Mill in Tempe, Arizona. During the Sunday school hour, we tried something new. Jeff shared with the adults, as he's done at other places. But since the children had already begun a partnership with the work of 20schemes, I was able to share a bit with them, too.

It was great to meet the children's director, Andrea, in person; we had just Skyped and emailed up to this point. And it was wonderful to see the deliberate work that the teachers in the children's department are doing, both in teaching the Word and in focusing on missions.

During our time with Church on Mill and pastor Chuck Newkirk, we came to understand that this love of the Word and missions is tightly woven into the fabric of the church. In a college town, churches tend to be more diverse and energetic, but sometimes rely on entertainment and edginess to bring in bodies. We were encouraged to see this healthy church body focused on equipping the saints and sharing the gospel, all while emphasizing the importance of the local church.

In many ways, it reminded me of the work that 20schemes is doing in planting gospel churches for Scotland's poorest. Whether in a college town in Arizona or the schemes of Scotland, there is a need for healthy gospel churches faithfully investing in building relationships in the community while depending on God to bring about a changed heart in individuals -- which in turn leads to social change. Both locations require a commitment over time and a willingness to do a work that can be messy.

Drawing by Sarah DeJesus
Jeff's sermon for Sunday was from the first part of Mark 5, a passage that vividly illustrates Christ's saving power. It's an unusual story, an amazing story, and it's one we love to share because, in many ways, the story of this demon-possessed cave-dwelling monster who is freed by Christ parallels the testimonies of so many in the schemes of Scotland. One young lady in the congregation captured the desperation of this man in the picture she later shared with us (left).

Then Paul Cooling, a member of Niddrie Community Church in Scotland, shared (via video) how he had been sin-possessed and useless, sleeping in a graveyard, until Jesus intervened in his life. Through the ministry of the local church, he learned of this same saving power and is now living a joyful and productive life, investing in others and striving to serve God in all he does.

This is the heartbeat of 20schemes. But we can't do it without partners, people like you to financially and prayerfully support the work. Will you help?

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