Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Needs list

People often ask us what needs do we have. We will usually post those needs on our website, but here is a link that lists a lot of our needs: http://bit.ly/kLXHW0

Just click on it and it will take you to a page filled with needs like hygiene items, new socks and underwear, needs for our laundry and shower ministries and other miscellaneous needs.

These items can be donated by individuals or you may have a Sunday school class, church small group, civic club, business office, or other group activities that would like to make this a group project.

Thanks for helping us help "the least of these." (Matthew 25:35-40)

Monday, May 30, 2011

Discipleship produces growth

Wednesday nights have become a great time of discipleship at the Love In Action Ministry Center.

Martha and I have led most of the people in our Wednesday night group through Discipleship Phases 1 and 2 and through a variety of many other Bible studies. The goal is making disciples of Jesus.

Jesus gives us His Great Commission in Matthew 28:18-20, "All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age."

Jesus says to "go" and to "make disciples," so it is imperative that we lead people to Jesus and teach them how to follow Him.

Wednesday nights are very special. We are seeing so many people growing spiritually. And what really excites us is when we hear people telling us about the decisions they make based on what they are learning on Wednesday nights.

Recently a man who has been coming to our Wednesday night Bible study told me he was moving out of where he was living because of the teaching we have done on how important it is about who we hang out with and surround ourselves with. He said he didn't want to be around the people and things going on, so he moved.

Praise God! This man has come a long ways and we see God moving in his life. He is just one of many we are seeing tremendous spiritual growth, and we praise God and give Him all of the glory.

We began a study last week titled "A Life God Rewards" by Bruce Wilkinson. It is a powerful study, and it gets pretty deep in the Word. I was a little nervous about teaching this series because I didn't want to lose anyone by going too deep. Most of those in our group are new Christians.

I know one man in particular is searching. He hasn't made a decision for Christ yet, but he is searching and he keeps coming back each week.

During our study last week there were a plethora of questions asked ... a lot of good questions. We talked and discussed a number of issues. It was great.

At the end of the class I asked one more time if everyone understood what we had studied that night and if there were any more questions. Everyone said they understood everything now, except for that one guy who is still searching.

He had a confused look on his face as he read a verse and asked a question about it. Once he received the answer, he smiled and said, "Oh, I see now. Now I finally understand that."

Praise God! I believe soon he will be asking Jesus to be his Lord and Savior.

Please keep our Wednesday night group lifted up in prayer. We are seeing souls saved and disciples being made. 

Friday, May 20, 2011

Our ministry partner is in the Philippines

I just finished chatting online with my good brother and friend Micah Lewter. He is with Homegrown Harvesters, the ministry we team with to spread the Gospel of Jesus Christ in the Philippines.

He is there in the Philippines to preach, share his testimony and meet many of the pastors and missionaries we support.

He quickly learned how much the pastors and people in the Philippines honor their guests. Seven pastors met him at the airport. Micah said, "That's just incredible to me. Some drove 2 or 3 hours."

The family he is staying with insists on putting the only electric fan in the house in his room.
"It's a way of honoring guests, which is a big part of the culture," Micah said.

Micah sent his schedule so we could pray for him. Below is his schedule. Please pray for him, and ask God to use him in mighty ways to reach the lost and encourage the Christians. The Philippines is 13 hours ahead of us in Alabama. If you are in a different time zone please do the math. I'm a journalist, and journalists are not known for our math skills. :-)

Site                        Philippines day/time    Alabama day/time                    Date
Dipolog City            10 a.m. Sunday            9 p.m. Saturday                    May 22/21
Tampilisan*               Wednesday                Tuesday evening or night       May 25/24
Ozamis**                    Thursday                 Wednesday evening or night   May 26/25 
Dipolog City            10 a.m. Sunday            9 p.m. Saturday                    May 29/28
Dipolog City*           Tuesday                        Monday evening or night       May 31/30
* anniversary services
** testimony
From Micah:
"The anniversary services, I don't know the times for them. It could be at any time of the day. They are all-day events, and they have several sermons by different pastors/men. The anniversary services are evangelistic in nature, so please pray for the souls during that time.
"I do know that Wednesday I will preach at Tampilisan. We will then travel back to Dipolog for the all-night prayer vigil, then we go to Ozamis for the missionaries' meeting the next day. I will be giving my testimony there. Each town is about a 3-hour drive away from Dipolog, and in opposite directions."

It is exciting what God is doing in the Philippines, and Martha and I are thankful that Love In Action is part of it. And, we are thrilled for these opportunities God has given Micah to minister there.

To keep up with what God is doing in the Philippines and on Micah's trip, visit the Homegrown Harvesters' blog: http://homegrownharvesters.blogspot.com/

Thank you for your prayers.

Friday, May 13, 2011

Kicking it up

Renovating the Love In Action Ministry Center has been an amazing process.

When we purchased the building, we knew we were getting a structurally strong facility, but one that needed a lot of work on the inside. Literally, from the floor to the ceiling we have ripped out, torn down, rebuilt, straightened, braced, painted, and everything else.

The best part of the work has been all of the volunteers who have come out and those who have provided materials and finances. Christians from a number of different churches have joined us, and it is so inspiring to truly see the Body of Christ working together. Martha and I can't say "thank you" enough.

We have made a lot of progress and the building is looking better and better each week, but we aren't finished yet. We still have a good deal of work to do. That's why I am asking for even more people to get involved to help us get the building ready to open.

There are a lot of people depending on us to open this building soon. The homeless are ready for us to open. The work release men and women can't wait to get back "home" for Celebrate Recovery Inside at Love In Action. People who live in the community are asking more and more questions and are excited about us opening. So many ministry opportunities await. We are doing a lot, but we can do so much more.

Here are ways you can help:

1. Pray: We need your prayers. We see God touching lives and providing for our every need in amazing ways, and we know it's because people are praying. Please continue.

2. Donate: We need finances to purchase materials. Or, if you can donate the materials that would be great too.

3. Volunteer: This is an entirely volunteer ministry, so everything that gets done is accomplished by volunteers. Here are the areas where we need expertise and help:
- Sheet rock: hanging it and taping and mudding it. Then sanding it and preparing it for painting.
- Flooring: We have a flooring man who is very good, but he is just one man and we have a lot of flooring to put down. We have VCT tiling and commercial grade carpet already purchased. We will need to buy more VCT for a few smaller rooms.
- Tiling a wet room. We are going to make the shower room a "wet room" We need people who can tile the floor and walls.
- Plumbing: We have a plumber, but he could use some help. We are totally re-plumbing the building, and doing everything by city code, so you need to know the codes, in addition to how to do the work.
- Vinyl siding: We have some corners that need replacing and some other repairs to make on the outside of the building.
- Parking lot repair: The back corner of our parking lot was caved in when we bought the building. It needs repairing for safety reasons and to give us more parking for volunteers.

As you can see, there is a lot of work to do, but with the right people and a large number of volunteers who can follow the experts' instructions, we can accomplish everything quickly.

We would like to open by late June or the first of July. Together, we can reach that goal. Can you help? Do you know people who can help? Again, please pray, donate and volunteer. Together as the Body of Christ we can do it.

Thank you all so much.

Monday, May 9, 2011

Wow! Look at what all God is doing

Things are really going strong at Love In Action, and we are staying extremely busy and we love it. God keeps blowing our minds with everything He is doing ... changing lives, providing every need, and opening more doors for ministry. Here's an update, and a needs list at the bottom of this email. Get a cup of coffee or cold glass of tea. You may have to read a little now and come back to read the rest as this is a long update. But please read it. See what God is doing through LIA, and how He is using your prayers, finances and volunteer work to advance His kingdom. It is exciting!

Renovations at Love In Action Ministry Center:
- Bob Woodall's folks installed a three-ton A/C unit last week. That gives us two working units. Just two or three more go. Praise God! Bob and his company are a tremendous blessing to us, doing all of this for free.

- The laundry room is ready now as the washer and dryer were hooked up on Saturday. That's another ministry about to get off the ground. Praise God!

- Sheet rock started going up in the sanctuary on Saturday. What a great sight to see. Volunteers from Harvest, Tabernacle, and Covenant did a great job getting that project off the ground.

-  An outside wall needed removing and replaced, and a team of men from Covenant UMC with H.I.M. (Home Improvement Ministries) did it. They also helped with the sheet rock in the sanctuary.

- More flooring went down on Saturday. Our floor man, Shane Parrish, who was walking to the ministry center from more than five miles away until I knew he needed a ride and went and picked him up, did another beautiful job putting the laminate wood flooring in the hallway between the foyer and the coffee shop. He does flooring for a living and does a great job. He is a former work release inmate who has been coming to Love In Action for more than a year. His dedication in volunteering shows us what this ministry means to him.

Celebrate Recovery:

- This will be our third week of Celebrate Recovery Inside at Love In Action in a women's cell block at the Houston County Jail. What an incredible opportunity this is! The first week there were five women in the meeting. Last week there were 11. Praise God! Please keep this ministry in your prayers. Two of the women will soon be transferred to Tutwiler Prison, which is a maximum security prison for women in Wetumka, Ala. They have asked if there is a CRI at Tutwiler. Emily, our CRI director, is checking into this and seeing if anyone up there is interested in starting a CRI at Tutwiler if there isn't one already. If you know of anyone in the Montgomery area who would be interested, please have them contact Emily at  CRIatLIA@aol.com

- We will start our Dothan Celebrate Recovery Inside back up on Tuesday, May 17, 6:30 p.m., at Highland Park UMC, located at 1619 S. Park Ave. in Dothan. We want to say a special "thank you" to Pastor David Willis and the Highland Park congregation for opening their fellowship hall to us once again. We needed to get this important ministry going again, and we will hold it at Highland Park until the Love In Action Ministry Center is ready.

- Our CRI team is helping start a Celebrate Recovery in Enterprise. This is exciting, and even more so as three of our "graduates" are key leaders in this start-up process. Disciples are being made at LIA. To God goes all the glory.

Bible study:
- Wednesday night Bible studies have been going great. In the past month we have seen five people accept Jesus Christ as their personal Lord and Savior. Praise God! Now that's what it is all about. Wednesday nights are very important in the discipleship process, and we are seeing lives transformed by the power of God. The discussion and participation each week is incredible.

Medical Clinic: Needs are continuing to be met at our weekly Love In Action Health Clinic for the Homeless. Health and eye care needs are being met, as are spiritual needs. The volunteers who bring food each week are a great blessing. The people enjoy receiving a delicious meal in addition to the health and eye care, hygiene kits and prayer. I have some very exciting news to share about this extremely important outreach coming soon.

- A team from Love In Action will be going to Ecuador in September. It is going to be a three-pronged approach. First, we will be helping an orphanage in Shell, Ecuador. Two LIA volunteers, Ted and Karen Hils, have such big hearts for this mission. They are leading this international outreach. They touched our hearts, and after praying, Martha and I knew this was a door God was opening for LIA. We are very excited about it. Ted has been to Shell several times and Karen's first trip was earlier this year.
Secondly, we are working on Celebrate Recovery programs for the missionaries in that region and for the local community. Emily is heading up this effort. Celebrate Recovery has an international ministry and she is working with them, the missionaries and making contacts for the local community.
Thirdly, Martha and I will be leading the outreach to minister Jesus Christ to the people in Ecuador. From street ministry to meeting physical needs to services to share the Gospel of Jesus Christ, this is going to be hard work, but very exciting. Strong contacts will be the key.
The September trip will be a fact-finding and informational trip. We do not pretend to know the culture or their needs, so we will be working on building relationships with native Ecuadorians to assist them with their needs to reach their people. Please be in prayer for us as we walk through these doors God has opened in this South American country.
A Spanish class will be held weekly at Harvest Church every Thursday through Sept.22 beginning at 6:30 p.m. in the Room 209 in the Harvest Youth Center. It is recommended that you purchase the book "Madrigal & Magic Key to Spanish." While it isn't mandatory to speak Spanish to go to Ecuador, it will be extremely helpful.
The "Call to Ecuador" meeting will be held on Monday, May 23, at 6:30 p.m. at Harvest. For more information on the Spanish class and the Ecuador meeting, call Ted and Karen at 983-1092.

- Another international door God has opened is in the Philippines with our ministry partners, Homegrown Harvesters. Last month were able to help two churches with some important projects. One was to help a church purchase land for continued growth. Fruit is already being produced as six people recently accepted Jesus Christ as their Lord and Savior and were baptized on April 27. Praise God! We were also able to help another church expand. God is really doing a great work in the Philippines, and it is exciting to be part of it.
Micah Lewter of Homegrown Harvesters wrote in a recent blog about the churches we are helping in the Philppines: "Some of the pastors in this family of churches minister among the Muslim groups in the Philippines. Al-Qaeda even has a presence in the nation, and one of the pastors was a member of al-Qaeda before he converted. We don't expect al-Qaeda to be rejoicing today or in the coming weeks, so please pray for these dear brothers who minister among some of these groups. Pray for their safety and their effectiveness. Let us remember this: Every terrorist, every Muslim is one witness away from being redeemed for eternity"

- Here is the latest need in the Philippines: Pastor Raffy Begafria in Tampilisan, Zamboanga del Norte, Philippines. The church building is not complete, and we are praying to raise $2,200, which would allow them to finish their building and provide funds for the church's anniversary service. The anniversary service, which will involve a celebration of God's work and an evangelistic outreach, will be held May 25. Pastor Raffy will also be preaching the Gospel on May 24 at an engagement ceremony, so please pray for the lost people who will be there and will hear the good news of Christ's salvation. The need for the anniversary service, which is like revivals or spiritual renewal conferences in the U.S., has been met by Homegrown Harvesters and LIA. That was $470. That leaves just $1,730 for the building expansion. Please help if you can.

- For more on what God is doing in the Philippines, check out our ministry partner's blog. Exciting things are happening: http://homegrownharvesters.blogspot.com/

- If you feel led to give toward our international outreaches, please note "international" on your gift. If you want it to go toward a specific country, please note "Ecuador" or "Philippines" on your gift. Otherwise, all other financial donations will be used for Love In Action's ministries in Dothan.

Ukraine: One of our volunteers, JoAnna Hernandez, has a great opportunity to spend six weeks this summer ministering at an orphanage in the Ukraine. JoAnna works with the children at our Celebrate Recovery Inside and has done a wonderful job. The children love her and look forward to seeing her on Tuesday nights. She will do a great job working with the orphans in the Ukraine. If you can assist her with finances, please send a check to: Bridges of Faith, P.O. Box 733, Millbrook, AL 36064 and on the "memo" line of your check put her name - JoAnna Hernandez. Martha and I believe in God's call on JoAnna's life. We are supporting her. Can you help? https://www.facebook.com/event.php?eid=213133285371709

- Needs at Love In Action Ministry Center:
Please keep us and those we serve lifted up in your prayers. Prayer is so important and powerful. It really blesses us when people tell us they are praying for us. We know people are. We can feel it.

Hygiene products:
We are in need of the following hygiene items: men and women's deodorant (more men's than women's), lotion, body wash and shampoo. Travel sizes and regulars sizes are needed.

- Renovations: People who are skilled at hanging sheet rock, applying the tape and mud, and sanding the mud preparing it for painting.

- Finances: It takes money to do ministry. We have regular expenses, such as mortgage, insurance, gas for the LIA van, utilities, and renovations. All donations are tax deductible.

I told you we are busy at Love In Action. God is doing so much, and it is very humbling to be part of it. You are part of it too. If you pray, donate, and/or volunteer, you are a big part of what God is doing. And please know, we cannot do what we do without each of you. Martha and I do as Paul wrote in 1 Thessalonians 1:2, "We always thank God for all of you and continually mention you in our prayers."

We love and appreciate each of you.

Be sure to "Like" our Facebook page. We keep that updated often with what is going on with Love In Action. The Facebook page is https://www.facebook.com/lia.ministries