Five Golden Missions

This was supposed to be sent to you on Sunday – not sure why it didn’t.  My apologies!

 

I have never been a purse person – I just have continued to carry around my key “wallet” from my college days.  But, now that I am past the diaper bag stage, suddenly I was noticing that I needed to have something to gather my stuff a little better.  So, I decided to buy a purse while supporting an area ministry at the same time.  So, for the past year, I have been carrying around my “Tiny Hands International” pink purse that was made by rescued girls overseas.  Since I have gotten several compliments, I have had the opportunity to explain to people in the area about the great ministry that began in Lincoln.  Many of you already know about several of the wonderful ministries that take place in our town.  But, just in case you are not familiar with all of them, I decided to tell you again this year about these great organizations!

TINY HANDS INTERNATIONAL (http://www.tinyhandsinternational.org/)

This ministry was co-started by one of my brother’s good friends and is headquartered in Lincoln.  The primary work that they do is rescuing girls that have been sold or captured into the sex slave trade.  Here is their opening statement from their website.

Tiny Hands is a Christian non-profit organization dedicated to empowering the church in the developing world to help the poor overcome poverty and become lights of the world.  We are committed to finding the greatest injustices in the world, and working towards relieving them however possible. 

We are particularly called to orphans, street children, and the victims of the sex-trafficking industry. We want to find those who are already doing the work, who are called and faithful, and help them do it in greater ways and with more efficiency. We do it all in obedience to, and for the glory of Jesus Christ.

BACK TO THE BIBLE (www.backtothebible.org)

This ministry was started in Lincoln in the 1939 and has spread the Bible message throughout the world.  This ministry also has a special place in my heart as my Dad has been a part of the board for many years.   Our MOPS group took a tour there two summers in a row – if you have never been in the building that is located at 64th & Cornhusker, the trip is worth it!  Back to the Bible has daily radio Bible studies,  devotionals that can be e-mailed to you, videos and so very many resources to help you get to know the Bible and its God better.  They also have started a new ministry called …

GO TANDEM (formerly 411God) (https://gotandem.com/ /)

goTandem encourages spiritual growth through daily Bible engagement.  Their goal is to interrupt your life with the Bible, to make you ponder how that should and could impact your life.  You fill out an online personal profile, and they will send you passages or verses in the Bible.  They can arrive via phone, cell, text or e-mail – you pick what is the most convenient to you.   There are many options too – just have the daily verse read, interact with other Bible studiers through chat or in-depth studies to name a few.  I get an e-mail almost every day with a verse sent straight to my inbox.

CAMPUS LIFE (http://lincolnyfc.org )

Campus Life is a part of Youth for Christ.  Staff and volunteers go into area middle schools and high schools and get involved with students.  They have small groups and after-school clubs, as well as outreach events.  Their emphasis is on building relationships in order to present the gospel.  One of our MOPs moms, Kristin Schulte and her husband, Matt, are personally involved in this ministry, as Matt is the current director.  This is what she had to say about her family’s participation.

It has been such a blessing for our family to be a part of reaching out to lost kids in Lincoln.  At this time of year, I especially think of teenagers who are in jail.  Last year, Youth of Christ, started a new outreach to jail called Juvenile Justice.  My husband is on the board of another ministry that is making a difference in the lives of teens with challenging circumstances – Teen Parents (teenparentslincoln.org)  Both of these ministries are now under the umbrella of Youth for Christ, along with Campus Life.
Note:  There are many other great student ministries in Lincoln: Young Life, Fellowship of Christian Athletes (FCA), Campus Crusade for Christ and the Navigators, plus several other groups all make a difference in the lives of Lincoln students.  So, if you are wanting to interact with someone that is beyond a preschool level, one of these ministries could be for you!

(Just a reminder that YFC has their CHRISTmas lights display at 64th & Pine Lake area – go check it out!)

CITY IMPACT (www.cityimpact.org)

One of my high school friends and her husband started City Impact over 15 years ago.  They are making such a difference in the inner city community of Lincoln.  One of their biggest events is their annual “Gifts of Love” Christmas store.

The Gifts of Love™ Community Christmas Store is City Impact’s unique answer to reaching low-income families at Christmas.  Rather than simply offering a handout (which for some families is still needed and we don’t look down on organizations which offer gifts in this manner), City Impact takes new donated gifts and discounts them 70%.  This allows the parents of 1,500+ children the dignity of knowing they purchased gifts for their children.  Over the past 16 years, Gifts of Love™ has grown from helping 20 families with $1,000 in gifts to helping over 550 families with $90,000 in gifts!  Another unique aspect to Gifts of Love™ is that children enrolled in City Impact’s faith-based programs (Bible Club, Impact Leadership Academy or Strengths for Life Mentoring) earn vouchers to shop for their loved ones too!

Over 950 volunteers are involved in this outpouring of love to our community!  There is still a great need of new gift items for the store.  All Lincoln Walgreens (and 30+ other locations) will be collecting through this weekend.  The City Impact office at 27th & R will accept new gifts thru the duration of the store (Dec 12-18).  If time is short this weekend, you can always make a monetary donation at cityimpact.org which will be used to purchase more gifts for the store.  Prayer support this time of year is essential – pray for the families who will be impacted by the store, that they will experience Christ’s love through their interactions with staff and volunteers.  Pray for the many volunteers investing their time, that they will be blessed as they give and serve.“I just love the fact that we get to actually pick out gifts for our children, because we know them best…..and that we get to shop with dignity and pay for the gifts.  I was able to afford a guitar for my daughter, which I couldn’t have done without “Gifts of Love”.  When she opened her gift, she didn’t say anything and I asked her what was wrong.  It was just that she had tears streaming down her face.” … Gifts of Love™ shopper

One of our own MOPs moms wrote the above paragraphs explaining more about the “Gifts of Love” store.  Andrea Persampieri, has been on staff with City Impact almost 10 years and has seen firsthand, the blessing of Gifts of Love™.  Here are some of her personal reflections on this outreach.

For many of our program families, their first interaction with City Impact and in some cases, their first introduction to Christ, was through Gifts of Love.  I love Gifts of Love because it is so relational.  Families who come to shop are matched with a volunteer to help them through the store.  We also have volunteers who eagerly wrap and put the finishing touches on the gifts the parent purchase.  But what I love most is hearing the stories from the volunteers.  My role is usually that of pairing the volunteer with the shopper, so there’s some down time while the shopper’s name is called and they make it down the stairs.  It’s in those moments that I interact with the volunteers and get to share in the joy and excitement they are experiencing.  And while my role has changed as I’m no longer working full-time, I’ll still be there helping this year … after this many years, my Christmas isn’t complete without Gifts of Love!

They are often needing volunteers to help make a difference in the lives of children.  Please see the website for more information.

SO … Why did I name this post, “5 Golden Missions?”  Well, while none of these organizations are perfect, they are comprised of flawed, redeemed people who want to make a difference for Christ.  They want to help lead others to find the path to Jesus, so that they will too walk the golden streets of heaven some day.  (Hey, the thought worked for me! )

P.S. If you are like me and unable to really serve at this time, each of these groups would always welcome another prayer warrior – probably the best way to make a difference anyway!

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