A God Story: Ministry in the Crestview/Economy Village
By: Pastor Andrew Kosarik
SOMETIMES THE MINISTRY God does occurs after the appointed ministry time. It was a normal Tuesday evening at Crestview/Economy Village. We had a great night with the children. They had fun, and they learned about God’s love for them. And of course we fed their bodies as well as their souls. And like most evenings we, the staff, felt fulfilled and a bit tired as we cleaned up and packed up the cars.
Well, like most nights kids were hanging around just being there with us. It’s always nice when the kids you are ministering to don’t want to leave. Some of the kids would stay there all night if we let them. But this night we had some kids who normally run off to the playground, a group of older boys (3rd to 4th grade). They just wanted to talk as we loaded up. We talked about this and that, and then one young man asked in a very serious voice, “Well, I was wondering—this church we go to—is this your building. I mean, do you
own it, Pastor?” I think he might have been asking if I was there more than just on Tuesdays, but God used the question to communicate something else.
I told him, “No, this isn’t our building. We come up on Tuesdays and volunteer to make church happen.” To which with a perplexed face, he responded, “Volunteer?” I gently responded, “Yes volunteer. None of us get paid to come.” To which one of the other boys said, “You don’t get paid! You mean you don’t need money.” I said with a smile, “Well of course we need money. Everybody has bills, but we don’t come up here to get money.” To which one of the boys asked very intently, “Then why do you come?” Very softly I responded, “We come because we care about you, and each person that comes and volunteers really loves each of you. And so does God.” There was this stillness there as they processed what I had just said, and then smiles. A little later while I was in the building I heard the boys yell through the door, “We love you, Pastor Andrew” as they ran off; and of course I smiled. I hope you’re smiling, too, because you are a part of Church of the Savior’s ministry here at the Village and that expression of thanks these boys gave is for you, too.
We are changing lives one person at a time by creating a community who come together to share a meal, learn about God and have some fun while uplifting each other and reminding each other that we are special to God.
Ambridge Spots and Arts Camp concludes July 26th with a closing ceremony at COTS beginning at 7 pm. All are welcome to come and see the campers perform the musical pieces and dramas they have been working on and see their artwork on display. Thanks to COTS once again for use of the building and to all of the members who have prayed, given, volunteered or helped with lunches! -- Dana Priest
Ambridge Sports and Arts Camp Going Strong
Vacation Bible School: August 5-9
COTS' VBS is right around the corner! August 5-9th, 6 - 8 pm, we will once again be hosting missionaries working with Beaver County Child Evangelism Fellowship (CEF), who will preset a "5-Day Club" for the children of our neighborhood. As they will be handling the songs and lessons, all we need to do is provide a meal each night, handle registration, offer games and crafts before the program and provide crowd control during the event. Please contact Dana Priest if you can help in any way (DanaPriest79@hotmail.com or 724-777-8314).
Hines Family Visit to COTS
On August 4th, the Hines family, one of the missionary families supported by Church of the Savior, will be visiting us! Travis will be preaching that day, reflecting on their time in Uganda, and celebrating communion together with us. Stay tuned for a separate opportunity to gather and fellowship with the Hines family! Please read the Missionary Highlight in this issue as well, for an update on the life and ministry of the Hines family.
Building Usage Reminder -- Changing Thermostats
It is certainly permissible to change the temperature settings if things get too warm (or cold) in a particular zone.
The way to do this is simply to hit the down (or up, if things are too cold) arrow on any individual thermostat. The thermostat will go as low (or high) as you want to set it; at the end of the timed cycle it will automatically reset itself to the default, which is 90 degrees.
PLEASE under no circumstances use the HOLD feature or turn the “Fan” setting to “ON.” The appropriate “Fan” setting is always “AUTO” which means that the fan only runs when the AC actually comes on. Either feature will run indefinitely once set, meaning we don’t find out about it, sometimes for a week or more. In the meantime we are spending lots of money on air conditioning we don’t need—and putting unnecessary wear and tear on our total system. It is possibly because of an episode of this kind that we unknowingly burned out the unit serving half the main floor last summer, which it took considerable expense to replace.
Thanks so much for your careful attention to this building stewardship matter.
Local News and Events
Center for Hope Upcoming Initiatives
The Center for Hope can use your support in the following ways:
Back To School:
Any church group willing to contribute l2 backpacks filled with 6 notebooks, a pack of pencils & pens, three ring binders, highlighters, bottle of glue, ruler and calculator...please let us know. We strive to provide food pantry children with these products, but this year we need additional help. Please let Sue know by July 31st. Backpacks will be distributed mid August to food pantry families.
Pancake and Syrup Project:
We serve over 200 families each month in our Center for Hope Food Pantry. The food distributed generally provides meals for more than 500 individuals. Pancake mix is something we always need. A family can make numerous meals from each box. Please ask your Sunday School Group to collect pancake syrup and pancake mix to help us stock up on this staple in September.
We are planning our Christmas party now!
Is there a group in your church willing to sponsor an old fashioned Christmas stocking project for less fortunate children? We encourage dollar store type stockings filled with easy to find items. We have a suggestion list if you are willing to take the challenge to rally a ‘stocking team’ from your church. Please contact Sue to coordinate your efforts. Providing 25 stockings and having them to the Center by the end of November would be much appreciated! We need 200 stockings this year.
For more information on how to help, please contact Sue Otto at 724.251.4899.
The Mission Link June 1, 2013
There's Still Time!
Sign up today for the Friday Night/Saturday Youth Ministry Seminar
STRIKING FIRE in Ambridge June 7/8.
Support Rock the World and our ministries
You can click above to donate online or you can send checks made out to Rock the World, Box 43, Ambridge, PA 15003
Please Pray for:
- Sonward and Ambridge Youth Ignite as they reach out to kids in the distressed communities of New Kensington and Ambridge, PA.
- Kami Kirk and the other members of her "Kugusa Dunia" team as they spend most of June ministering in Uganda.
- Josh and Meredith, and Clayton and Teresa as they reach out to young Muslims in South Asia.
- The overall ministry of Rock the World as we ask God to expand and deepen our Board this summer.
- Our preparations for our ministry in August with the "Third Culture Kid" teens of a major missions agency whose members serve in Muslim countries.
- Amy Fleming as she continues her training in global missions.
Urban kids, sports and arts. No, this isn't about Ambridge Youth Ignite. Yet another program is joining Rock the World!
David & Kim (Keller) Louis launched Sonward in 2011 at St. Andrew's (now Christ Our Hope) Anglican Church in economically challenged New Kensington, PA. Other churches and foundations also wanted to join forces with Sonward in ways that a program belonging to one church didn't fit. Sonward will minister this summer as part of Christ Our Hope, completing its transition into Rock the World by September 1.
Sonward currently offers art classes, a summer soccer camp, and other occasional activities as they reach out to their community in "New Ken." This can involve bold responses to local opportunities. Here's one example:
Kim says "A notorious drug dealer on my street is trying to have a neighborhood party for the kids. He got permission to use a church's parking lot. A local church leader from that church and I are 'highjacking' the party and turning it into a safe kid party. I will be pulling together a little worship team and the church leader will be running wholesome games.
"This is a 'what the enemy intended for evil God is using for good' situation. I totally understand now why living right where you minister, I mean on the SAME BLOCK, is so important. This opportunity would have never come to light if no one was here to discern the need and find a way to fill it."
Dave and Kim say affiliation with Rock the World is great fit for Sonward. "We wanted to join Rock the World to connect with a larger network of people who are doing innovative ministry. We want our small community initiative to make an impact for the Kingdom of God and inspire others to be salt and light right in the place where God put them."
Our Board discerned in 2007 that God was using Rock the World as a ministry incubator. We then adopted policies to foster ministry innovation, especially among our graduates. Along with various ministries that have been launched in line with our mission and values, 3 ministries launched by our graduates have chosen later to move inside Rock the World. These moves can create synergies that improve both programs and multiply impact. For instance, Sonward and Ambridge Youth Ignite are already working together to resource their ministry units even though they work with kids on opposite sides of Pittsburgh.
One longtime Rock the World staff member said it well:
"Rock the World is not, fundamentally, an organization that you participate in and then leave. It is a network of friends--friends who love Jesus deeply and work together to advance His Kingdom." In this season, we are delighted to welcome Dave and Kim's ministry into the program of Rock the World! Please keep them and Sonward's many volunteers in your prayers as Sonward ministers the Gospel and brings the Kingdom boldly on the streets of New Kensington.
International Ministry News
Anglican Relief and Development Fund
Summer Development Focus: Clean Water for Vulnerable Communities
“I could see the need myself,” said Bishop Moses Deng of Wau Diocese, South Sudan. “Not only from the human beings, but even from the bees: the bees were scrambling for the little water that was given to us to drink.”
“Many people are sick,” Bishop Deng continued, “and the causes of those sicknesses are mostly waterborne.”
In view of the pressing need for clean water around the world–especially in developing nations like South Sudan–ARDF will be putting the focus on providing clean drinking water and sanitation to the world’s most vulnerable communities this summer.
Contaminated water kills children and destroys communities, yet this suffering is easily preventable by drilling wells and teaching sanitation.
Still, there is a long way to go: according to UNICEF, “36% per cent of the world’s population – 2.5 billion people – lack improved sanitation facilities, and 768 million people still use unsafe drinking water sources. Inadequate access to safe water and sanitation services, coupled with poor hygiene practices, kills and sickens thousands of children every day, and leads to impoverishment and diminished opportunities for thousands more."
In South Sudan the problem is particularly acute, with 32% of the nation’s 11 million people lacking access to clean water.
There, contaminated water not only kills children, but also leads to inequality for women and girls who spend time fetching water instead of going to school, and creates competition over resources which fuels deadly ethnic violence, threatening the stability of the fledgling state.
Bishop Deng believes that providing greater access to clean water will improve the lives of many women and even lead to peace-building in areas dominated by tribal conflict. “I am hoping that we will use this project to bring communities together to talk about health, water and sanitation,” he says with intensity, “but then we will also talk about peace.”
However, in order to ease rather than worsen tensions between tribal groups, the well-drilling must be done strategically: ”If you see the way we have selected the villages and parishes where we will put the water, we are very mindful of making communities feel that they are being treated equally and that resources are being distributed fairly.”
ARDF is currently funding three well drilling and sanitation projects in South Sudan that will provide safe water to more than 48,000 people, and communicate the message God’s grace toward in Christ to many thousands more. We are also researching a new project that will provide safe water in drought-prone regions of Northern Kenya.
Find out more about our work bringing water–and Living Water–to South Sudan.
Missionary Highlight: The Hines Family
Travis and Leslie Hines, and their children Jesse, Georgia, Lucy, and Julia, will be with us in worship on Sunday, August 4. They’ve spent the past few years serving at Bishop Barham University College in Kabale, Uganda. We were blessed to send them out and to partner with them during their time there, and we are blessed to welcome them back for the day as they share with us about the Lord’s faithfulness.
Below is an excerpt of a prayer letter Travis wrote in mid-May, when they first arrived back in the U.S.
"Dear Praying Family & Friends, You've prayed us safely back to Texas! Our travels from Kabale to Kampala to Entebbe to London to Sunnyvale (my parents' home) went smoothly, and we and all our luggage have arrived safe and sound.
The time in Kampala with the Morrows was very, very good. Wendy led us through several reflection and processing times as couples that have helped us continue this transition process. The highlight of that time for me was an evening where we, with the kids, shared with each person the gifts and strengths we had observed in that person during our time in Uganda.
Our first 10 days in the States have been joyful and foggy. We're staying at my parents' place just outside Dallas. Aside from dealing with necessities (dental visits, a bit of shopping, hunting for a new car), we've sequestered ourselves at my parents' house, which sits on 10 acres of land and is home to alpacas, goats, miniature donkeys, chickens, and horses. We've walked, sat on swings and porches, canoed in the pond, fed animals, mucked stalls, and slept. We've shared stories with both sets of parents/grandparents, and have been steeped in their loving welcome.
Foggy is the word that often comes to mind. While everything feels familiar, it's also very different to be back in this place and culture. Uganda feels very far -- too far -- away, a life that has been suddenly cut off, but one we know that is still moving along even though we can't really connect with it. At times we don't feel much emotion at all; at times there is sadness; at times there is joy at being home. But we don't feel lost -- we're confident in God's leading and presence.
Thank you for your continued love and prayers!
For wisdom in talking and walking with the kids in this time of transition. We're grateful for their openness and the opportunities we've already had to help them express some of what is going on inside them.
For continued direction and discernment as we listen for where God wants us to be next, what church home he's calling us to join.
For our teammates the Morrows, who are also readjusting and discerning their next steps.
For our Ugandan family. Continue to pray for jobs for the workers/friends we left behind.