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Networking Works

“My nephew has threatened suicide several times since returning from Afghanistan,” she said. “He seems so close to doing it. We’re constantly worried about him.” A total stranger from another town was telling me this when we were both getting our nails done. “I just wish I knew how to get him some help.”

Thanks to a group of churches (pastors and members), along with other interested community organizations in her town, I could direct her to a local pastor who was passionate about helping soldiers coming home with PTSD and suicide ideation. All over Arkansas communities and churches are coming together to be ready when the need arises.

In our state the local VA assists in forming these groups, but realistically, they can form without VA assistance. Representatives from churches, directors of non-profits, members of law enforcement, local business owners, and other interested parties meet monthly and discuss issues affecting returning veterans. They gather resources and put together guides to those resources.

Experiencing the Ripple Effect

Have you noticed that when God is at work, there is a ripple effect? Not only does He change the life of an individual, but often He also affects the individual’s friends and acquaintances.

I love seeing this happen in Luke 5:17–26. A man is lowered by his friends to Jesus. He is healed. Not only is the man healed but his friends’ faith is also strengthened and the crowd is amazed. I saw the same ripple effect course through the Familyfest held in our city of Indianapolis in 2015. 

Here’s a glimpse into what took place to plan our Crossroads Baptist Association Familyfest:

• We began by getting our associational churches excited about receiving help with their community outreach events. We let them know that missions teams from all over the country would join local church volunteers to impact their communities through a sports camp, painting a community center, Backyard Bible Clubs, and follow-up from a Vacation Bible School.

• Promotion and personal contact were key in getting churches involved.

Good . . . Better . . . Best . . .

We all need new starts from time to time. For me though, I’m trusting for God’s good, God’s better, God’s best.

In other words, I’m done planning my own life.

My plans are always less than His plans. His plans are beyond my imagination.

My plans are based on what I know now. God knows the future.

My plans are really my own desires. God’s desires are pure and all encompassing.

My plans might be for my good. God’s plans are for the good of all people.

My plans are just for now. God’s plans are eternal.

I’m limited. God is limitless. His good, His better, His best.

So how will I know?

God will always show up in my time with Him in the Word. He will lead me through prayer. And He will speak to me through the counsel of godly family and friends. He will orchestrate events, open doors and close them, and allow sickness and health. He will continue to change me into His likeness. As I continue to turn to Him in every area of my life, I can trust that He is in control, do the next thing, and just live free.

Reflections of a Disaster Relief Worker

Disaster relief child care

This month in Mission Friends, we will learn about chaplaincy in disaster relief. Several years ago, I felt led to receive training in Disaster Relief Child Care through Alabama Baptist Disaster Relief, which is part of Southern Baptist Disaster Relief through the North American Mission Board. Though the Disaster Relief Child Care workers are not officially trained as Disaster Relief chaplains, I feel that we serve in a similar capacity to the children as we care for them and help them at the time of a disaster. I have been privileged to serve on Disaster Relief Child Care teams in a couple different places. One was a year following hurricane Katrina in New Orleans, and in northeast Alabama the week following the 2011 tornadoes. These are some of my reflections on serving in disaster relief.

It's More than Compassion

As a former classroom teacher, I wanted the children in my care to be compassionate toward each other, the members of our school, and our community. I created projects to encourage children to understand how other people felt in the situations we learned about, but also created a desire to reach out to someone with a kind word or deed.

It wasn’t always perfect, but my prayer was that those experiences would help children learn to be better citizens.

While compassion is a worthy virtue for adults to model and children to learn, it is just the beginning of what we want children to learn as they grow in Christ.

Children’s Ministry Day 2017: Love Your Neighbor is the perfect time to help children bridge what they are learning about compassion in school and at home with the love of Christ. It may sound like a challenge, but, in reality, missions experiences are just 1 step beyond compassion. If you can create a compassion project, you can create a missions experience!

Here’s how:

17 Ideas for 2017

Happy New Year! As you think about leading your Acteens in 2017 use these 17 ideas as ways to connect with and guide your girls in the coming months.

The Real Needs Around Me

“When he saw the crowds, he had compassion on them, because they were harassed and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd” (Matt. 9:36 NIV).

The second I opened the door to my modest, safe sedan I knew it was gone. My purse. Not just any purse—my beautiful, brown leather tote that held, in a sense, my entire life. While I was disappointed my daily “goods” were gone—extra pens, a flash drive, and my planner—I felt vulnerable knowing all of my legal identification was gone. My license, passport, Social Security card, and even my journal were all stolen.

I was in the process of getting updated cards and forms this year, so I had all of my valuable, personal information tucked away in my favorite purse.

“You should contact your credit card companies, Social Security, and report your stolen passport,” the police said. “But nine times out of ten, the person who did this was just looking for cash. The thief has probably never seen a passport before and wouldn’t know what to do with any of that information.”

Preparing for the New Year

Ready or not, 2017 is right around the corner. A new year can be a fresh start and a chance to begin again, to try new things, and to dream about what a new year might bring.

As you prepare for 2017, what are you looking forward to? What would you like to see left behind, and what would you like to bring with you?

There’s never been a better time to get involved in children’s ministry with WMU. The curriculum is on-point, the mission is unwavering, the support is phenomenal, and the need for discipleship has never been greater. We receive calls all the time from folks looking to make a difference in the lives of the children in their local community.

As we begin a new year together, we urge you to check a few things off your New Year’s Resolution list . . .

Get connected. The resources we have to offer are top notch, but if you’re like me, you’ve still got to read the directions before you tear open the box. Connect with the national WMU office to get information about training and tips as you start down the road of missions discipleship.

Praying and Giving

Missionaries tell us that our prayers are the most important thing we can do for them. Opening my eyes to the world around me causes me to spend more time in prayer for missionaries and Christians around the world. WMU keeps us focused on them, where they minister, and the difficulties they encounter as they serve God.

As I communicate with missionaries through social media, I find myself drawn into their world by the stories and pictures of their people groups and their ministry. I am especially drawn to my brothers and sisters around the world who are being persecuted because they bear the name of Christ.

My family has designated the Lottie Moon Christmas Offering® as our “Christmas Gift for Jesus” and no gift we give others compares to this gift. You might want to consider putting your Lottie Moon Christmas Offering in an envelope this year, tie a red ribbon around it, and mark it “To: Jesus. From:_____.”

Merry Christmas

Merry Christmas from the Preschool Resource Team

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