Michael B Linton

Monday, March 30, 2009

Extended Narrative of Recent Events.

Do the things of God ever work as fast as we would like? Probably not, and the last few months have been a testament to that fact. Etta and I are in God’s “Fruit of the Spirit Educational System” and are apparently pursuing our master’s in patience. Let me tell you, the curriculum is tough.

But there still has been a lot of activity. Our first bit of news is the change of our name. Our mission statement is “To make disciples by sharing the hope of the gospel of Jesus Christ for the healing of hearts from our community to the world.” Our vision statement is “To be a place of hope for the hopeless and healing for the hurting through hearts changed by Jesus Christ.” So, in order to better express our mission and vision, we changed our name to Hope Fellowship. There are only a few more steps to make the change official. We also changed our website to http://www.hopehealinghearts.net/.

We’ve had two outreach events in the apartment complex. In February we had a pancake brunch, but only had 6 people attend. In March, we had a taco lunch and had 30 attend. We were incredibly excited about that increase. On April 5th, we are having an Easter egg hunt/cook out for the complex. We hope to have music, food, giveaways, the egg hunt, and we will invite people to a get-to-know-us time at our apartment. This will be our biggest and most expensive event yet, so we could really use your prayers and financial support.

We found out that one of our outreaches is meeting needs we could have never known about. When we go through a drive-thru restaurant, we pay for the order for the car behind us and give them our church card with plan of salvation on it. Following is an email from a friend of ours showing what God does when we are obedient:

You are not going to believe this!! I had lunch Friday with the school district’s internal auditor and a couple of other bookkeepers. We were just talking and one of them asked what church I attend and so I told her [not our church start] and then she went on to tell us a story about right after the hurricane [Ike], how broke she was and had to borrow money from someone to put gas in her car and with the left over money she was buying her kids a meal from McDonald's in Summerwood, and she said she was just having a really bad day, and when she pulled up to pay, the lady said “The car in front of you paid your bill,” and she could not believe it!!! And she went on to say that it was this really nice couple with 2 little boys and they are opening a church in Summerwood. I got chills all over my body!!! I said I know them and I have to tell them this because they are trying so hard to open this church and keep having obstacles in their way. She said she would like to try your church out and I told her she should. She said when she decides to try it will I come with her because she is not good at things like this. I said sure let me know when you want to and I would love to go with you. She is unchurched and apparently her husband is an alcoholic. Very sweet lady. Her name is ----------.

Needless to say, we were more than a little moved by God using us to minister. We have grown since our last update. We have a young lady from the complex who is extremely involved and very excited. We also had a couple and their 8 year-old daughter visit last week. You may remember that we began to eat at a restaurant in Summerwood in September of 2007. While there, we left business cards on the counter. Summer of 2008, this couple picked up one of our cards and has been following our blog and progress. They joined us last week. The most awesome thing about it is that they live in the neighborhood of Summerwood, not in the apartment complex. They immediately began to help us gain access to the community center and other facilities for outreach and in order to move our Bible study. This will finally get us into the center of the community we have been called to reach! We are ecstatic about the opportunities God is unfolding in front of us.

Please continue to pray for us. We have come a long way, we are gaining momentum, but there is still a long way to go. Our families and even our large churches are feeling the current financial crunch, so you can imagine what it is doing to a small church start like us with an extremely tight budget. But God has not failed us—He has provided exactly what we needed every time we needed it. And I have hope (confident expectation) that He will do it. Our God never fails.

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