FCC Engaged Quarterly Newsletter
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The goal of FCC Engaged is community transformation—both ours (FCC)
and theirs (our community and our world). We also want to provide the people of FCC
with meaningful opportunities to live out their faith in our community and our world.

A Word from Matt Shoemaker, FCC Children's Pastor

Blessings FCC Family!
I would like to take a moment to introduce myself to each of you. For those who do not know me or my family, my wife Taylor and I came on staff at FCC in December of 2017. I was hired at the time to be the Children’s Pastor and have loved every minute of my time working with the families and children of our church here in Santa Maria. Recently, I was given the opportunity to add to my pastoral duties and assume responsibility for the FCC Engaged ministry. I will still be the Children’s Pastor, and Lynn Spier will continue to be heavily involved in missions, but I will become the staff person overseeing this ministry. I am so incredibly thankful to already know many of those involved in this wonderful ministry, and I will be looking forward to how God chooses to use each of us in this new season!
By way of introduction, I grew up in a Christian household and accepted Jesus as my personal Savior as a young child. I rededicated my life to Christ in college and shortly after began my theological education in hopes of becoming a vocational minister. During this time, I began working in the Children’s Ministry at Shadow Mountain Community Church, led by Dr. David Jeremiah. After nine years working in that ministry, the Lord called me to the Mission field. I spent two years as a Bible teacher and chaplain for an international school in Cochabamba, Bolivia. Upon returning to the United States in the summer of 2017, Taylor and I were married and began the search for a new church at which to serve. We are so thankful for the blessing that FCC has been to our family, especially how everyone has shown love to our son, Nathan.
While I love serving the families at FCC and firmly believe that ministry to children should be a primary focus of the Church, I also have a deep love for domestic and foreign missions. My prayer is to be able to engage more people at FCC in the amazing ministry already occurring and increase the visibility of our foreign missionaries across the globe. Again, Lynn Spier will still be just as involved as before, and I will be working to bring added value to this ministry rather than any subtractions. My door, phone line, and email are always open, so if you have any questions or concerns, please feel free to reach out.
My prayers are with everyone in this strange and difficult time. I hope Easter was a blessing to everyone, and we cannot wait for God to bring an end to this current world predicament so that we can be together again. I look forward to engaging with each of you in the near future, but until then, let us all revel in the freedom and hope we have in Jesus Christ!  He is Risen!
Short-term Missions in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia

Update from Kathie Kelly and Julianne Abbott
Kathie Kelly and Julianne Abbott, two members of FCC, made a lot of sacrifices and decided to serve with Rocklin Global in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. They traveled there last September and served as teachers at the Rocklin Learning Center through December. They came back for the holidays and returned in January. Because of the Coronavirus, they returned home earlier than expected, and are home safely sheltering in place like the rest of us. Lord willing, they are planning on returning this next Fall.

Here are a few snippets from a recent report from Russell Wiesner, International Director of Rocklin Learning Centers:
  • The great commission that Jesus gave remains a priority for His church, even in the current COVID-19 circumstances.
  • Our whole team is hindered by restrictions the Malaysian government has placed on movement in Kuala Lumpur, but all of our relational connections with people continue through social media, text, chat and email. Our entire community is adjusting to communication through the internet.
  • Our teachers and students have transitioned completely to online education for students. A large number of the Rocklin students are refugees, which presents more challenges. Many of them do not have internet at home, so they can't communicate with their teachers or complete their assignments. The other challenge these families face is the lack of food. The Malaysian government is not helping refugee families or migrant workers. Churches, outside organizations, and individuals may be their only source of help. Some parents have stopped paying their monthly school bill, primarily because of a lack of funds.
Because of these concerns and needs, FCC will be looking for ways that we can help this ministry.  In the meantime, please be in prayer for not only Rocklin Learning Center, but also for these refugee families.
The Good Samaritan Shelter
As many of you know, FCC has served meals at the Good Samaritan Shelter on the 29th of each month for years. When we all were faced with the Coronavirus pandemic, we were faced with exactly what this was going to look like if we continued doing this. The one thing we decided was that we still wanted to serve the people at the shelter.  So on Sunday, March 29th, Rosa and Jose Salazar put a team together, donned their masks and gloves, prepared a great meal in FCC’s kitchen, and delivered it to the shelter for the staff to serve. Both the staff at the Good Sam, and the people who call this their home, were so grateful. And we would like to say thank you to Rosa, Jose, and everyone who was involved in making this happen.  May God bless you as you have been a blessing to others.
How the Coronavirus has impacted
mission trips and events

Due to the Coronavirus pandemic, there have been several mission trips and ministries that have been cancelled or postponed to a later date. Here is a listing of those things that we are aware of currently:
  • Hands of Mercy mission trip to Ensenada: planned for April/postponed to later in the Fall, 2020 (TBD)
  • Gleanings for the Hungry to Dinuba, CA: planned for April/postponed to later in the Fall, 2020 (TBD)
  • Serve Santa Maria: planned for April cancelled; next serve event is planned for August 2020
A couple of encouraging words and thoughts                               

Prayer – as the body of First Christian Church, we need to include our missionaries and the people they minister to in our prayers. Our missionaries have made many sacrifices to go on the mission field, and we need to be praying for their protection from this virus and other diseases, for effective ministry, for their families, for the people they are ministering to, and that God would keep them refreshed as they serve in places around the world. God can use your prayers to accomplish so many things, mainly building His Kingdom to the ends of the earth. Thank you.

Hope“We have this hope as an anchor for the soul, firm and secure.” Hebrews 6:19  Most of us are hoping this pandemic would end quickly. As important as that is, the hope that this Scripture is referring to is so much more important and certain. A really good definition of this biblical kind of hope is this, “Hope is the certainty of a reality not yet experienced.”

Roman 15:13 speaks of this kind of hope, when it says,
"May the God of hope fill you
with all joy and peace in believing, so that by the power of the Holy Spirit you may abound in hope." The Apostle Paul communicates several very important truths in this verse:
     - God is a God of hope - our only hope is in Him. Without Him there is no
        hope. Hoping in anything else will leave us disappointed.

     - Him there is no hope. Hoping in anything else will leave us disappointed.
     - God will fill us with both joy and peace when we believe in Him and in
        His promises. What a great promise!

     - When we are filled and empowered by the Holy Spirit, we will not only have
        hope, but we will abound in hope. Another great promise!

So, as we continue in this battle against this virus, let us keep our eyes focused on Jesus, the Author and Finisher of our faith (Hebrews 12:2). Let's abound in hope, knowing that God is in control, and that He has His purposes that He desires to accomplish in and through each one of us. May God bless each one of you during this time.
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