When Mike Shroades and I started Love In Action International Ministries 11 years ago after much prayer and discussion, we decided to put the word "International" in the ministry's name. Some people asked us why, and we answered that we believed God would use this ministry to reach the world.
Over the years we have helped share the love of Jesus Christ in the countries of India, Haiti, Dominican Republic,and Panama. Local ministry has been and will continue to be our main focus. However, God has also connected us with other ministries throughout the nation, and we have helped them reach the homeless and needy in their cities as well. We have seen God do amazing things in cities like Atlanta, New York, Los Angeles, Memphis and Baton Rouge. And now, He is opening more doors internationally.
Recently we partnered with Homegrown Harvesters in Hawaii to help churches in the Philippines. Homegrown Harvesters is a ministry started by my friend Micah Lewter, who worked at the Dothan Eagle as one of our sports writers and page designers before moving to Hawaii. Micah has a strong walk with the Lord and he is a man of godly integrity. So, when he started his prayer ministry for the Philippines I was excited and knew it would be fruitful.
Micah has great connections in the Philippines through indigenous pastors, so when he told me of a couple of needs there I knew they were real. He introduced me to two of his contacts.
One need was for Shiloh Bible Baptist Church in Dipolog City, Zamboanga del Norte, Philippines that needed to expand. They do a great job of reaching their city for Jesus Christ and needed more space to accommodate their growth. All they needed was $600 and someone donated that amount. The church has already built its expansion with the money. Here is Micah's blog, with photos, about it: http://homegrownharvesters.blogspot.com/2011/03/photos-from-shiloh-bible-baptist-in.html
The second need was a small church in Salug, Zamboanga del Norte, Philippines that was in danger of losing its land, which they had rented for eight years. They needed $3,000. For them, it might as well been $3 million. We made the need known and people responded, and within a month we were able to transfer $3,000 to them. Little did we know God was going to use that money to give that small church a larger lot in a better location. Read Micah's blog about this exciting news: http://homegrownharvesters.blogspot.com/2011/04/salud-to-salug.html
Now we are being asked by believers in Shell, Ecuador to bring Celebrate Recovery to their city. We learned about Shell through two friends and Love In Action volunteers, Ted and Karen Hils. They have been helping an orphanage in Shell. Ted has been to Shell to help and minister several times and Karen recently went for the first time.
They told Martha and me of the great work being done for the children in Shell. Then Karen said one of the main reasons there are so many orphans is their parents are alcoholics and cannot raise their children, and many of the parents end up in jail because of alcohol and drugs.
Karen said recently that as she asked God what could they do to help that situation, Celebrate Recovery came to mind. We chatted and searched on the Internet and saw that there is a Spanish translation of the Celebrate Recovery materials. Karen started talking with her contacts in Shell, and four different missionaries said there was not such a program in Shell, but one was very much needed.
One missionary in Shell said, "We would receive help in this area, either with training or missionary volunteers, with open arms."
Love In Action's CR Director Emily Hinderliter is on board to help us take CR to this small South American country. We thank and praise God for this awesome opportunity. The key will be to train those in Shell and provide the resources they need to have an effective CR there. They know the language and the culture, so equipping them will be key. Please pray for us as we enter new territory.
If God puts it on your heart to help financially with our international efforts, when you donate please indicate that it is for Love In Action's international outreaches. We have a separate account for those funds.
We are and always will focus mainly on local needs in Dothan, Ala., but God has called us to reach the world, so we are going to be obedient. And, seeing how He is opening the doors in the Philippines and Ecuador, the time to reach the world is now.
Thank you for your prayers and support. We cannot reach Dothan, the U.S. and the world without you.