What does it look like when people get “uncivilized” about ministry? In my message at LifeQuest Church yesterday I shared about our need to become a “Dangerous Church.” One of the aspects was the need to have an uncivilized approach to ministry. I used the biblical examples of John the Baptist, who no one would consider civilized, and Jesus who turned over tables and drove out the religious money changers from the temple. In short, being uncivilized in ministry means we are unwilling to live with the “normal” in light of God’s goodness.
LifeQuest has become involved with an “uncivilized” ministry. The Bridge Christian Outreach is a ministry turning normal on its head. It is not about buildings (they don’t own one) paychecks (the pastor doesn’t get one) or grand productions. It is about Jesus Christ and his ability to take a broken life and make it new.
One ministry of The Bridge that LifeQuest has connected with is the food pantry. Every week a few hundred people get fed because food is delivered, sorted and distributed by an uncivilized group of volunteers. They refuse to believe that any person should go to bed hungry. Some of our church family have become so passionate about this ministry that they are rearranged their work schedules to serve. They have invested in material to make this ministry work. They have committed time, money and energy to flip normal.
On Tuesday of this week, two days before Thanksgiving, LifeQuest and The Bridge will partner in an incredibly uncivilized ministry. Thanks to some hard work, generous hearts and a little bit of lunacy, 125 turkeys and groceries to go along with them will be passed out to families in Martin County. We will gather in a parking lot of a bowling alley to pass out food, encourage and pray for people. We will become the hands and feet of Jesus to a world in desperate need of the gospel.
Make no mistake, this is not about food. This is about being the church Jesus called us to be; dangerous, obedient, uncivilized. We are choosing not to surrender to normal. We are choosing not to worry about easy. We are choosing not to focus on what can’t be done. Instead we are choosing to believe scripture that tells us that religion that God finds faultless is to “look after orphans and widows in their distress.” James 1:27
Maybe what we need in the American church is a little less civilization. maybe what we need is a little more crazy people who believe God has called us to more than just a holy gathering. Maybe what we need is to be a little more uncivilized!
This is a special post by Ashley Wingate, one of the awesome staff at Northwest Haiti Christian Mission. Thought you needed to see this!!
MY HEART BEHIND THIS MINISTRY
Chosen – Redeemed – Forgiven – Adopted – Immeasurably Loved….
Wow. Aren’t those words that you want to define you? Well they do. These labels are placed on us by our Savior.
I’ve struggled with not having a lot of self-confidence in the past…often feeling worthless…never good enough. I tried way to long to find my worth in my relationships of this world…how those people viewed me. I often got let down. I felt like I was in a never winning battle with myself. Until God started capturing my heart. The moment when I realized he wanted more then just religious acts from me and that he wanted my heart…my world changed. I allowed what his Word said about me to define who I was.
I’ll never forget my freshman year in college when it clicked while I was sitting in front of the ocean thinking…who will ever love me THIS much…who will ever give me something so beautiful as the ocean? No one.
I was sought after…He wanted a relationship with me so much that he went to the cross…he was beaten…he was bruised…he was mocked…
Simply because He loved me. I was that special to Him. And not just me, but each one of us. That’s why His love is immeasurable.
We did a Bible study on Ephesians last year and that’s where those words stem from…Ephesians 1 says we were chosen, redeemed, forgiven, adopted, immeasurably loved. I write those very words everywhere cause it reminds me of who God says I am. The words sought after came from a friend’s blog…when I read those two words I was in awe cause those words were such a perfect example of the way God loves us.
I have been blessed for the past year to work with some pretty amazing kids while teaching pre-school in the nutrition program. However, God has continued to bring my attention and my heart back to their moms. I’ve only lived in Haiti for the past year and a half, but during that time I’ve noticed how poorly women get treated here. I feel like they are seen has having little to no value. I hear story after story about how men have more then one family, how the mom is the only one actually taking care of the kids, or how sex is often used as a source of payment instead of it being something sacred. These women are in their 20′s to lower 30′s and they have multiple kids that they are taking care of on their own. My heart breaks for them.
I want them to know their worth. That they are sought after. That they are chosen, redeemed, forgiven, adopted, and immeasurably loved.
They love their children and on top of everything else the world and this culture throws at them I don’t want the fact that they feel like they can’t take care of their children to be the cherry on top. I’m not a mother, but I can’t imagine the burden that weighs on you if you feel like you’re not able to take care of your child.
All that to say I’ve been searching for a small sewing project that I could teach these women to do that would also be manageable.
THE COIN PURSE MINISTRY
After spending several mornings searching the internet and Pinterest (I knew that would be useful for something) I found a patten for a coin purse. It looked pretty easy to teach as well as make. My hope is to raise enough money to get enough materials to bring back with me in January to make 100 coin purses. Granted if this seems to be a popular idea then I’m all for raising more. *Again this is just something the Lord laid on my heart…it’s a trial run…and I don’t know all the odds and ends yet.* I just wanted to get the word out before I got home so I could start working on raising the money.
I’m wanting to raise $5 a bag which for 100 purses will be $500 all together. I’m working on getting a group of women to help me put these bags together while I’m home so that I can have them ready for the mom’s when I get back in January. In each bag I want to include:
– two pieces of pre-cut fabric
– a needle
– a coin purse frame (which I found I can order in bulk off of Amazon)
After a mom gets done sewing her purse I will then place their name inside (so that I know who to pay) and I’m hoping to sell them for $10. While I’m first starting up $5 of that will go back into buying more supplies and then the other $5 will go to the mom.
I’m working on a set of rules as well as a Bible study so that we can dig into the Word first each time we meet and discuss their value and worth in the Lord’s eyes. I’m hoping to meet with them on Saturday mornings.
If you are interested in helping with this ministry in any way please contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org and I will let you know where to send the money to. If you think you will be interested in purchasing one of these coin purses please email me as well. And if you just have any other questions, advice, or wisdom for me I would love that to…I’m kinda walking by faith with this one.
Below are pictures of 23 of the moms that are interested in this ministry. I met with them last weekend and they all seemed very excited and anxious to get to sewing! Please take time to look through their pictures and read about some of their story…they are amazing women and I want you to know them by name and face so if anything you can be praying for them.
Nadia has one child, Louvinsky, which is in class with me. She is a 17 year old who has never been to school. She still lives at home with her parents and Louvinsky’s father isn’t in the picture. She hasn’t been able to find a job and is really excited about the coin purse ministry. She see’s this as an opportunity to provide (even if it is in a small way) for herself and most importantly Louvinsky.
Roselene is 38 and has 6 kids, one of which is in the nutrition program (Stoly). She is married, however it’s been very difficult for her and her husband to find work that pays enough to provide for 6 children as well as themselves. She stopped school at grade 3 and is currently unemployed. She would love to learn how to sew, but doesn’t have the money to do so. She is very excited about this opportunity not only to get the chance to do what she loves, but as another way to provide for her family.
Gislene is 21 years old and has 3 kids, one (Vielene) is in pre-school with me. She isn’t married, but the father does live with her. She said he doesn’t really help out financially. She was never able to go to school, but says she loves to sew. Therefore, she is really excited about being able to make something to sell and having another way to provide for her children.
Cedeline is 23 and has one child, Wedeline, who comes to pre-school with me. She is on her own taking care of Wedeline and can’t find a job. When she had Wedeline she had to stop going to school, she was is the 8th grade. While talking to her she expressed her desire to go back to school so that she could open up more opportunities for herself in being able to provide for her family. Until then she is really excited about this small opportunity of sewing the coin purses.
Guerda is such a sweet 24 year old who is the only provider and care-taker of her two girls. Both of her girls use to be in our baby-orphange ministry at NWHCM, however when we had to cut back on programs that was one of the first to go. Several of the babies we placed back in their homes if we knew it was a safe environment and her two girls were some of the few. Guerda loves these girls and I saw that through her frequent visits to the baby orphanage. Though it’s hard for her to provide for them without a job, being able to bring the girls to the nutrition program has been a huge help to her she said. She had to stop school at grade 7 once she had Katiana (her first daughter who is in pre-school with me), but she loves learning especially learning how to sew and speak English. She’s excited to have a way to provide for herself and her girls, even if it is in a small way.
Guerline is 24 and has one child, Samite, who comes to the nutrition program. She is the only one who takes care of Samite, the father isn’t in the picture. After having Samite she had to stop school at grade 9, however she really hopes she gets the chance to go back. She really wants to learn English and is excited about having a way to earn some money to help herself and her child.
Ifozie is 23 and has 4 children. She lives with her parents and the father of her children isn’t in the picture. She would love to go back to school to learn how to cook, but doesn’t have the means to. She is excited for this new opportunity so that she can have another way to help provide for her children and herself.
Medilia is 25 and has 4 kids. Marcnes, one of her children, comes to my pre-school class. She isn’t married and the father of the kids isn’t in the picture. After having her kids she quit going to school. She likes to cook and wants to go to school to learn how to make flower arrangements. She’s excited about having an opportunity to help provide for herself and her kids since she doesn’t have any other help.
Janette has an amazing heart, her family is very familiar around the mission, therefore I know a lot about her story. She is 45 and has 10 kids. One of her children is actually her nephew and she became his guardian after his mom passed away. I adore all her children and she’s actually come a long way in taking care of them and seems to be a really amazing mom. She is married, but he just recently left her and was never really able to find a consistent job to provide for their family. She hasn’t been able to find work either and had to stop school at grade 5. They were living in a shack until the rain and storms knocked it down and are now living in temporary housing that’s been paid for until we can get them a new house built (one of our staff members raised money to have them a house built). She would love to go back to school and to learn English so “she can understand Americans”. Her son Richie is in pre-school with me. She said she is always excited about other opportunity to provide for her family in some way.
Lou-Loune is 22 and has 2 kids. She is married and the dad seems to be a huge help. She went to school until grade 7 and would really love to go back, especially to learn how to make flower arrangements. She is excited about other way to help her children, herself, and her husband through this ministry.
Morlande is 26 and has 4 children. She is married, but her husband hasn’t been able to find work. She went to school until grade 6 and would really love to go back. She wants to learn how to sew. She’s really excited about this opportunity to learn how to sew something as well as provide for her family in some way.
Fi-Fi has 4 children and is married. This is her second time being married, because the father of her first three children passed away. She did go to school, but stopped at grade 2. She would love to go back to school and learn how to read. She’s excited about this ministry so that she can have some help in providing for 3 of her children since they no longer have a father.
Moleque is 23 and has 3 kids. She is married, but he lives in the Dominican. However, the father does help in providing for their family. She went to school until grade 6. She would love to go back to a school where she can learn different trades. She is very excited about this ministry, not only as a way of helping herself and her children but for learning something new too.
Saint Therese is 42 and has 4 children. She was married, but he passed away. Her youngest, Natchcard, comes to pre-school with me. She was never able to go to school. She adores her children and loves doing anything that involves them. She is really excited about learning something new and having another way to help herself and her children.
Guerlie is 20 and has three kids. One of her children isn’t her own, but his mom is disable and unable to take care of him so she took him in. His name is Wensley and he comes to pre-school with me. She went to school until grade 6 and would love to go back to some type of trade school to learn how to sew. She is grateful for another way to help provide for herself and her children.
Rosette is 24 and has two children. Her youngest, Ki-Ki, is in pre-school with me. She is such an amazing lady and was put in charge over all the moms by one of our Haitian leaders. She went to school until grade 2 and then stopped going. She loves to sew and is really excited about this opportunity to learn more about sewing and to help provide for her family in some way.
Marita is 21 and has two children. Both her children are in the nutrition program and her youngest, Marline, is in pre-school with me. She isn’t married, however the dad does help her as well as lives with them. She went to school until grade 6 and is really excited about an opportunity to learn something new, especially sewing because she’s very interested in it. She is grateful to have another way to help provide for herself and her family.
Erlande is 25 and has 3 kids. Her youngest, Jeffly, is in pre-school with me. She isn’t married, but the father does help out. She went to school until grade 8 and would really love to go back to a trade school and learn how to sew. She is happy to have a way to help provide for herself and her family.
Alieta is 27 and has three kids, her youngest, Lyse, is in pre-school class with me. She is married and was able to go to school until grade 7. She enjoys sewing and making beautiful flower arrangements. She’s excited for an opportunity to help herself and her family, even if it is in a small way.
Icelia is 47 and has 5 kids. Salmon, her youngest, is in pre-school class with me. She isn’t married and the father isn’t in the picture. She has never been to go to school, but she is excited for this opportunity to learn something new as well as have a way to provide for her family in some way.
Berlande had to become a mom at the very young age of 14. Her mother died and her father isn’t in the picture. She does live with her aunt and basically takes care of her three siblings. She went to school last year and was in grade 6, but didn’t have the funds to continue going this year. She really wants to go back to school and to be able to help her siblings in some way, so she is really excited about this opportunity.
Please be in prayer for these moms, their children, and the Lord’s guidance with this ministry.