Thursday, March 17, 2011

I Will Bless the Lord At All Times, Continually

Saturday was my only day off after working the early shift for a lady who was on vacation all week. I woke up tired and was not looking forward tohaving to work on Sunday. To add to to the issues we were completely broke.

We rested most of the day. In the afternoon, Chad and I combined the cash in our wallets. I bought groceries for the week and put the last of our money in gas. Even though it took the last of what we had, I was thanking God we had enough. We certainly didn't two months ago.

I went to work Sunday. Chad called me on our break to announce that all the food for the first three days of lunches was in pantry and ready for us to make lunches. In one week the people at Quail Springs Baptist Church had donated all of this food. We also had emails from different Sunday School Classes who said they were planning to volunteer.

Monday morning we walked into the church kitchen at QSBC with our two volunteers from Truth Baptist Church and started unwrapping corn dogs. Other helped showed up and the lunches were made. Now it was time to deliver.

We started out at the Artisan Ridge apartments. Our first stop was to see the manager. We've learned in a short time that having a working relationship with the apartment manager is an important thing. She was very welcoming, we took her a lunch which she refused to take and instructed us to give it to a child. "We'll be working hand in hand.", she said so we asked her for the use of her empty tennis court for our end of the week outreach which she allowed us to use.

Everyday we had a new group of volunteers. It was great to see our families from Truth Baptist getting to know the folks from Quail Springs. Today the Executive pastor and his kids came out to help make and deliver lunches. They even did the tough work of helping us work a new complex which can mean knocking on five doors to find the one apartment with three children.

In the middle of our deliveries today, Chad got a call. The manager at Artisan Ridge was relaying a message to Chad to call the owner of her complex which he did immediately. The owner had heard great things about our ministry to his residents this week. He said they have plans to build a new playground on the property and wanted to know if we could make use of a new community room. He asked Chad to make a list of amenities we would need as well as the size of space we could use. They want us to help them create a better environment for the "section 8" families living in the complex. Chad hung up the phone and said, "You're gonna laugh!" "At what?" I asked. We both could not believe the door had been not only opened, but we're handed a key.

After delivering lunches I came home and took a nap with our children. Chad went to pick up the snow cone machine. He called me again and said, "You're gonna laugh!" "At what?" I asked. One of the ladies we delivered lunches to today called him. She said she had been praying for a month for God to send someone to her door to invite her to church. She explained she wanted to bring an offering to help with the kids lunches tomorrow and wants to worship with us Sunday. We praised the Lord together. . . again.

About an hour later Chad called me and said, "You're really gonna laugh this time!" We've been hyping up our party on the tennis courts all week. Chad said, "I went to pick up the sno cone machine and they let me take the whole CART!" The CART is the association's resource trailer. It has a moon bounce, sound system, sno cone machine, popcorn popper and cotton candy maker. We're also ready with an exciting Bible lesson, fun Scripture songs and a take-home craft.

Two of the girls who prayed to receive Jesus Sunday helped us all week. On Monday while we walked though the complex, Autumn said, "Miss Anna. I remember our Bible verse from Sunday!" "You DO?" She pulled out this little shred of paper. She had gone home and written it down. "Can you say it without looking?" I asked. "YES!" she said (with a little bit of attitude)

Then she quoted from memory without missing and beat, "I will bless the Lord at all times, His praise shall continually be in my mouth. Psalm 34:1"

And so shall I! We serve a great God who seeks and saves those who are lost. Once again we see God has filled the empty vessel we offered Him to overflowing. We will bless Him and praise Him again and again. Daily. moment by moment. Continually.

Pray for us as we lift up the name of Jesus tomorrow morning. Thank you all for your encouragement and prayers.

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

His Spirit At Work In Us

Last Tuesday, Chad and I received a letter from our apartment complex. They had enclosed the fee we had paid to use the leasing office and explained in a less than polite way that we would no longer be allowed to meet in the leasing office for "church purposes". The letter was signed by the lawyers of the complex.

This was difficult to take. We were so excited to have a place to meet and had already invited the families back. We had permission but apparently not from the right person. We hadn't decided what we were going to do about meeting Sunday until Saturday.

I went out to go to the store and kept running in to people we'd invited. Finally the young man from Mississippi stopped me and asked where we would be meeting. They were excited to come.

I came inside and said, "Chad, there are people all over the world lifting up the name of Jesus from living rooms. We need to open up our home to these folks and have church. So. . .that's what we did! We worshipped together and were blessed by the young man's testimony of finding a job.

That night we had a great worship service with Quail Springs Baptist Church. They prayed for us. We shared with them how we want to minister to the children over spring break through delivering lunches. We were overwhelmed with people who wanted to buy groceries and volunteer.

Today Chad was planning to coordinate with the staff of QSBC. He was invited to share in their staff meeting about what God is leading us to do and find ways to facilitate ministry among the congregation.

He called me on his way to the meeting. We both felt the same way. It's awesome to watch God bring all these resources together, but we also feel like it's all for nothing if there is not an open door to talk to the residents of the complex.

Earlier this week, Chad put in a call to the section 8 complex behind us, but wasn't expecting much. He left a message with a the secretary who told him, "we don't want to have anything to do with churches!"

On my lunch break I sat in the car and prayed. If you haven't noticed my now, I do a lot of praying in my car. Apparently the antennae helps. :)

I was walking from the break room when Chad texted me. The manager of the Artesian Ridge Apartments called. ( we jokingly named it Venetian Village) She WELCOMED us to come and deliver lunches next week. She offered us the use of the kitchen in the leasing office and said we could have Bible Club in the common area.

Another way we want to minister to the residents is to make welcome baskets to new comers. She said she would email us when they have new people move in so we can visit them and welcome them. She even suggested we put a card with our churches name on it so they can find us.

Last night I was feeling down. I was really mourning the life we used to have. There is a reason why it's called "being in your comfort zone" IT'S COMFORTABLE THERE! It's hard to be in a new place, doing a new thing and working with new people.

On the inside of Chad's wedding band I had engraved "His Spirit at work in us." Our prayer is wherever we are, comfortable or not, The Holy Spirit at work in us will keep us together and move us forward.

Romans 5:5 says, "We can rejoice, too, when we run into problems and trials, for we know that they are good for us - they help us learn to endure. And endurance develops strength of character in us, and character strengthens our confident expectation of salvation. And this expectation will not disappoint us. For we know how dearly God loves us, because he has given us the Holy Spirit to fill our hearts with his love."