Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Baptism at the Park

Sunday afternoon, May 27, 2012, will be a day I remember for a long time. It was special in so many ways, and most importantly, God was glorified by what took place.

We held our first Love In Action baptism service and nine people were baptized. We don't have anywhere at the LIA Ministry Center to baptize people, so Martha and I sat out to find a place. We settled on the small lake at Chattahoochee State Park near Gordon, Ala. It has a small beach area that looked like the perfect place. As it turned out, it was.

This service was also the first time I've baptized anyone. I was ordained in October of last year. I had wanted to baptize people, but since we didn't have a place, I referred people to other churches. Then on a recent Adopt-A-Block, a barber, Rev. Redding, talked about a creek he once baptized people at. That got me thinking. Martha and I looked for the creek and it was close to the state park. The park had more room, so we quickly got the word out that we would hold a baptism service and we had a great response as 28 people came out for the service and day of fun.

Those baptized were people we have ministered to at Love In Action, some for the past couple of years. Two are former mentees of mine from Houston County Community Corrections Work Release, and two are current mentees. Seven of the nine were either current or former inmates from Work Release.

I even had the honor of baptizing a child, who is the son of one of the inmates. Praise God! That one was a surprise. I didn't know I'd be baptizing a father and his son. Talk about something special.

What made the baptism even more significant was Doug Sommers assisted me. Doug is a good friend, and he is the one who introduced us to the men at Work Release three years ago. So to have Doug with me was great. I know it meant a lot to him as well.

A man who lives near the LIA Ministry Center was also baptized. Praise God! We are reaching the community.

Following the baptisms, we grilled burgers, hotdogs and deer sausage and enjoyed the rest of the day like one big happy family. It was so good to see families enjoying the sunshine and water together; something many of them haven't done in a long time.

Most of the people we minister to at the LIA Ministry Center rarely, if ever, leave downtown Dothan, because they have no transportation. So to be out in the middle of nowhere surrounded by God's beautiful creation was something special.

I can't tell you how many "thank yous" I heard Sunday. It was humbling to hear that, and I tried to convey to everyone how thankful I was for them. They made mine and Martha's weekend. It was an incredibly amazing day.

We will return to the Chattahoochee State Park for more baptisms. It's quiet, beautiful, and those in charge of the park are very friendly and helpful. They even joined us to watch the baptisms.

The day ended with a beautiful sunset. We had different views of it as we drove back to Dothan. Everyone remarked about what a great artist God is. "Nobody can paint a picture like God." Amen! To be honest. I don't know if I've ever seen a prettier sunset.

I thank God for such a wonderful day, and for the awesome opportunity to minister to so many wonderful people. The homeless, those incarcerated, and the needy are very close to my heart. They are good people. They just need to be given a chance, and told how important they are to God and to others.

When we show people the true love of Jesus Christ, their lives change. This baptism service is more proof of that. All praise, honor and glory to God.

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

God is expanding Love In Action in Dothan

"“The Holy One, the True One, the One who has the key of David, who opens and no one will close, and closes and no one opens says:  I know your works. Because you have limited strength, have kept My word, and have not denied My name, look, I have placed before you an open door that no one is able to close." - Revelation 3:7-8 (HCSB)

God led me to these verses 12 years ago when Love In Action began. I was struggling, wondering how would we accomplish all that God had called us to do. He gently led me to these verses. I was nervous as I turned the pages of the Bible to the back where the Book of Revelation is located. I knew there was a lot of judgement and scary stuff in it. My heart raced as I turned to chapter 3 to see what the Lord wanted to tell me. Then I cried tears of joy as I read His loving words in Revelation 3:7-8.

I have held on to those verses for the past 12 years, and time after time I have seen God stay true to His Word. Now we're seeing it again. God is once again expanding Love In Action's borders. This time in the way of more property to do more ministry.

As many of you know, Love In Action's free health clinic has been a huge success. More doctors and nurses have come on board, and now we have funding for a dental clinic. We have outgrown the Love In Action Ministry Center in only seven months.We have seen people come to the Lord at the clinic and hundreds of medical needs - health and eye care - met.

We have also prayed for years about having a place for transitional housing and for an in-house drug and alcohol rehabilitation program.

God has placed before us another open door.

We have signed a letter, along with the owner, to purchase a wonderful building complex in downtown Dothan on West Main Street. It's not far from the LIA Ministry Center, which we are keeping. This will allow us to do even more ministry there as we move the medical clinic to the new location.

The building we are purchasing once housed medical offices. There will not be much renovation needed, with the exception of air conditioning work, to be able to move the clinic. We will use a little "elbow grease" to polish things up, move in the exam tables, and we'll be ready for our patients.

There is also a building with two stories that will be perfect for transitional housing and an in-house drug and alcohol rehab program. And, the property is already zoned exactly for our needs. Praise God!

I will go into all of the details and even more of how we so clearly see God's hand in this in blogs to follow. I just wanted to get the great news out there so all of you can rejoice with us and pray for us. Prayer is so vital.

Also, we are praying to put down the best down payment possible, so if anyone would like to make a tax-deductible donation to help us with the down payment please do so. Please email us at loveinactionministries@hotmail.com to let us know, or call us at 334-494-4995.

Donations can be mailed to: Love In Action International Ministries, P.O. Box 85, Dothan, AL 36302.

Thank you and God bless each of you.