Missions – April 2016

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RRC has been supporting The Other Way ministries for many years. The Other Way is located on the west side of Grand Rapids, serving the Westown community. Kurt Reppart has been the director there for almost two years now and has served at The Other Way for 15+ years. He attends Servants Community Church and also resides in the neighborhood he serves.

The Other Way has four focus areas: community, early interventions, economic improvement, and families growing in their faith. Getting to know the people The Other Way serves is important so they can provide resources. They provide programs, classes, and services, including a café, to encourage community growth and Christ-centered living.

RRC missions team is excited to grow our relationship with The Other Way. Kurt will be joining us Sunday, May 1 to give a “moment for missions” and will be doing a presentation during the Sunday school hour. We hope you will join us to learn more about this ministry and how you can get involved! Check them out at TheOtherWay.org  or on facebook.


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Missions – March 2016

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Praise the Lord that we were able to fill our Mission Team for Haiti! Bren Shantz, Emily DeWitte, Beth & Nate Jennings, Dan Van Stensel, Madelyn McConnon, and Ryan & Rachel DeKuiper will be joining six other members of the Rockford community in serving in Haiti June 26-July 3. Please pray for the team as they prepare to go. Donations are being accepted for the purchase of Audio Bibles. In the past, teams have always handed out the written word, but with the high illiteracy rate in Haiti, this is simply not enough. The audio Bibles run on solar power and are another great way to share the Gospel with the unreached people in Haiti. Each Bible costs between $40 and $50. Checks can be made out to RRC Missions with “Audio Bibles for Haiti” in the memo line. Checks can be placed in Jennifer Klaasen’s mailbox. Thank you for your prayers and support!


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Missions – February 2016

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The Missions Team is rejoicing with our Lord! O’Nelson, a young man from Haiti, has safely arrived in Midland, Michigan. O’Nelson’s mother was robbed and murdered for having a successful roadside business. O’Nelson was shot and left for dead during the incident. The fact that he survived multiple bullet wounds is amazing. God knows the plans he has for O’Nelson! Please continue to pray for him as he makes the transition to life here in the states.
 
Haiti Mission Trip 2016: The 2016 Haiti Mission Trip is scheduled for June 25-July 2. Please contact Rachel DeKuiper if you are interested in going. We have had one informational meeting already, but it is NOT too late to express interest. We do need to hear from you soon since the team is limited to 13 members and airline tickets need to be purchased. If you are interested in financially supporting someone in going to Haiti, please let us know. We don’t want the financial burden of this trip to be the only factor that keeps someone from going. You can contact Rachel at rmdekuiper@rockfordschools.org.
 

Easter Baskets for North Kent Community Services: The deacons are excited to announce a service offering for NKCS. We are hoping to gather up to 250 filled Easter baskets for children who may not get to experience the joy of Easter. We will be providing empty Easter baskets along with a copy of the book The Gospel Story to include with the basket. Anyone who is willing to fill them with small toys, treats, and a personal note can pick them up in the lobby starting February 21. Baskets need to be returned by March 13. This is a great opportunity for all!


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Missions – January 2016

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We are in the process of assembling a team to send to Haiti again this year. We will once again be partnering with the Haiti Foundation Against Poverty and look forward to serving alongside this amazing organization.

Our travel dates are June 25-July 2 (Saturday-Saturday). While there, we will be doing Vacation Bible School, PB 300 (vitamin enriched peanut butter) distribution, and Teacher Training at Les Bours School of Hope. We will also hold Bible studies in tent city, Jeremie, paint houses in a neighborhood near Hope House, visit and volunteer at orphanages, and most of all, share His love with the Haitian people.

We will have an informational meeting on Monday, January 31 at 6:30pm at Rachel DeKuiper’s house (7311 Hessler Ct, Rockford). Cost, travel, in-country, safety, and other information will be shared. If you can’t attend this meeting, but are interested in going to Haiti, please contact Rachel DeKuiper – rmdekuiper@rockfordschools.org.

On another note, $3,700 was raised at Hoops for Haiti. A big THANK YOU to RRC for the bake sale and silent auction donations. It was also great to see so many of you at the game!

Local Missions – Birthday Blessings

The Birthday Blessings program thanks you! The generous Christmas Eve offering of $1,500+ will help with the exponential growth seen recently, with 9 new referrals in the past month alone. In addition, this gift has also helped to purchase “The Gospel Story” books which will be given to each family. Please help us pray that God stirs the hearts of these families to read the book together – planting seeds of faith and hope in Jesus as their Lord and Savior. Pray also that they feel God’s presence, peace, and protection in the New Year.


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Missions – November 2015

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What is a missionary?

  • A person sent by a church into an area to carry on evangelism or other activities, such as educational or hospital work.
  • A person strongly in favor of a program, set of principles, etc., who attempts to persuade or convert others.
  • A person sent on a mission.

Rockford Reformed Church as many missionaries. A couple of them came here this past month to talk to us about their mission field. Adrian and Bernardeth Bobb-Kelly came and shared about the mission in Nicaragua. Greg and Laura Yoder also came and shared about their mission with Christian World Outreach, which goes to many different places – Haiti, Zimbabwe, Zambia, and Burkina Faso.

If there was one topic that they all mentioned it was to cover them in prayer. That is something that all of us at RRC can do. It is not just the financial aspect that helps, but prayer is so important to them. I know things are changing at RRC – we are changing the budget to try to have a better relationship with those missionaries that we work with. But those we stop supporting financially still need our prayers. Always keep them in mind.

A couple of specific prayers that are needed: The VandenHeuvel family is preparing to go to Kenya soon. Please keep them in your prayers. There was a request from the Haiti Foundation Against Poverty that we got for a young boy. He needs our prayers. Here is what we received:

O’Nelson has been part of Les Bours School of Hope since we first opened in the fall of 2008. He began his education as a 2nd grader. He is a quiet boy with a kind soul. He has always been a good student and has never taken for granted the gift of education. O’Nelson was one of our first students to graduate from the goat program and he was able to help support his family with the babies his goat would have. He lived with his mother and sister in a house not far from the school until this past summer. His mother was a kind woman who loved to spread laughter. She was the first face we would see as we turned our vehicles down the dirt road of Les Bours. She had a small business selling produce and other foods to the neighborhood.

In September she was shot and killed by members of a gang. O’Nelson witnessed his mother’s death and attempted to defend her. He was shot multiple times and stabbed in the stomach. The gang members thought they had left him for dead, but God had other plans. O’Nelson was immediately sent into hiding in a city far away. Even there, the gang members were tracking him and he feared for his life. Sleepless nights and panic attacks became all he knew. It was apparent we must step up and fight for this precious boy’s life. He is only 15 years old – he deserves to be in school, to play sports, and to sleep without fear each night. In the 7+ years I have known him, the only thing he has EVER asked for is a Bible. This child deserves a fighting chance! God has claimed his life for great things! Please be in prayer for this young man.

Mallery & Frentz Neptune

 

Kids Hope Update: Our Kids Hope program is off to a really great start this year! We have had 12 returning mentors start back up, 7 new mentors have started meeting with newly referred kids, and we have 3 kids who we are currently working on matching. We’ve made some updates to our Kids Hope room so it’s more fully stocked with materials to be used during the mentoring hour, and we’ve begun using an online room scheduling calendar. The principal and teachers at Valley View Elementary couldn’t be happier with our program. When you’ve got 20 people coming into the school each week just to work with and encourage a child, it really has a big effect. We’ve had a great amount of new mentors volunteer this year, but we already need more! We need about 7 more mentors ready and trained by January so we can be prepared to meet the needs of more children. Please contact Audrey Shantz (audreyshantz@gmail.com) if you can help!


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Missions – October 2015

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The Missions Team was so blessed to meet Adrian & Bernardeth Bob-Kelly and their daughter when they visited our church on October 4th. They have not visited churches in the United States for several years. Adrian and Bernardeth serve on the east coast of Nicaragua in the poorest area of an already poor country. They shared that they provide public health and medical services, as well as spiritual and pastoral education, to that population. We discussed the possibility of having a mission trip in the future with a team from our church and they were eager to discuss this opportunity with us. Our team is committed to continuing support for their mission work.

Our team has been working on the Missions budget for 2016. We have been reviewing all of our local and international missions over the past year. We have also been discussing how we as a church can become more engaged with them. How can we actually get to know the leaders of local missions and missionary families well?

In the book Organic Outreach for Churches by Kevin Harney, he discusses this issue. He concludes that it is so much more impactful to support a few local and international missions rather than many. The church can then focus on those few with more dollars and develop a relationship with the mission leaders. He states, “Your congregation will have a deeper sense of being connected to them, and you might even plan a trip to visit and encourage the smaller number of missionaries you support.”  

When the budget is presented in December, you will see that we have tried to focus on a few local and international missions. This was a difficult and painful process as we worked to limit our list and inform those who we decided would no longer receive support from Rockford Reformed Church after 2015.

Take A Frozen Turkey to Church Day! Sunday, November 15

This year Rockford Reformed Church has committed to provide Thanksgiving dinner baskets for 40-45 clients of the North Kent Community Services (NKCS). On Sunday, November 15, we will collect frozen turkeys at church and they will be sent to NKCS. Then on Tuesday, November 17, at 6pm your whole family or life group can enjoy a light meal in the gym and pack all the other food and inspirational material that will accompany the turkey in the basket. This will be a fun evening as we work together packing the Thanksgiving baskets, creating cards for each basket, praying together for those who will receive the baskets and delivering them to NKCS. Watch for more details on what foods we will need for the baskets. If you have any questions regarding these dates and activities, please contact Dave VanderWiere, Dianne Bennett (dianneb49@gmail.com), or Pastor Paul (plbradford@me.com).


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Missions – September 2015

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Since 2007, many in our church family have set up, decorated, cooked, baked, served, and cleaned up for a Thanksgiving dinner served in our gymnasium. We are so thankful to everyone who volunteered to spend their time providing a great holiday for many in our community.
 
As the numbers attending this dinner have been declining the last couple of years, we met with Claire Guisfredi, Director of North Kent Community Services (NKCS), and Katie Hop, the Communications and Development Manager, to determine ways to improve our communication/invitation methods. To our surprise, they kindly told us that an increase probably would not happen. Clients have indicated they much prefer to cook a dinner in their own homes rather than coming to a church. Although our efforts were appreciated, many felt it was intimidating to have so many people trying to serve them.
 
Claire and Katie are so grateful that we want to help the clients of NKCS. We brainstormed some ideas on how we can continue to provide Thanksgiving dinners for members of our community. We have decided that we can more effectively provide a dinner for people by providing one half (40-45) of the Thanksgiving dinner baskets that will be distributed to NKCS clients on November 19.
 
Your whole family can help on the evening of Tuesday, November 17 – please save the date. This will be a fun evening as we work together packing the Thanksgiving baskets, creating cards for each basket, praying together for those who will receive the baskets, and delivering them to NKCS.
 
Watch for more details soon on what we need for the baskets and for the time and activities on the evening of November 17th. If you have any questions regarding the change for this year, please contact Dave VanderWiere, Dianne Bennett, or Pastor Paul.

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Missions – September 2015

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Since 2007, many in our church family have set up, decorated, cooked, baked, served, and cleaned up for a Thanksgiving dinner served in our gymnasium. We are so thankful to everyone who volunteered to spend their time providing a great holiday for many in our community.
 
As the numbers attending this dinner have been declining the last couple of years, we met with Claire Guisfredi, Director of North Kent Community Services (NKCS), and Katie Hop, the Communications and Development Manager, to determine ways to improve our communication/invitation methods. To our surprise, they kindly told us that an increase probably would not happen. Clients have indicated they much prefer to cook a dinner in their own homes rather than coming to a church. Although our efforts were appreciated, many felt it was intimidating to have so many people trying to serve them.
 
Claire and Katie are so grateful that we want to help the clients of NKCS. We brainstormed some ideas on how we can continue to provide Thanksgiving dinners for members of our community. We have decided that we can more effectively provide a dinner for people by providing one half (40-45) of the Thanksgiving dinner baskets that will be distributed to NKCS clients on November 19.
 
Your whole family can help on the evening of Tuesday, November 17 – please save the date. This will be a fun evening as we work together packing the Thanksgiving baskets, creating cards for each basket, praying together for those who will receive the baskets, and delivering them to NKCS.
 
Watch for more details soon on what we need for the baskets and for the time and activities on the evening of November 17th. If you have any questions regarding the change for this year, please contact Dave VanderWiere, Dianne Bennett, or Pastor Paul.

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Missions – August 2015

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“Alleluia…Alleluia…for the Lord God Almighty Reigns”! This was our song of refuge, strength, and thanksgiving while in Haiti. We sang it to start Vacation Bible School at Les Bours School of Hope. We sang it with our Haitian friends during Bible studies in tent city Jeremie. We sang it while painting houses. We sang it while delivering beds. We sang it with the kids at Hope House orphanage. We sang it as we held the hands of Haitians dying of AIDS. We sang it as we comforted extremely malnourished children at Sisters of Charity. We sang it out loud. We sang it in our heads. We sang to our Lord. We prayed to our Lord. We know our Lord and we know that He loves Haiti. We love Haiti too and our lives are changed with the knowledge that we can go there and serve safely. We can be His hands and feet in a country where voodoo reigns and immense poverty has a death-grip on so many. We can go and we can help.
 
The missions team would like to thank RRC for supporting this trip. Your donations made a difference. They do not “fix” Haiti, but they matter. Beth Moore writes in her book, Whispers of Hope, to not be overwhelmed by the “plenty”. There is “plenty” of need in Haiti. There is “plenty” of need in Rockford, Michigan too. Moore challenges us to not miss an opportunity to do something good simply because we can’t fix the situation.
 
We went to Haiti knowing that we couldn’t “fix” the problems there. We went knowing that relationships matter and that being kind matters. We went knowing that sharing the “Good News” and the “Power of Prayer” matters. We went knowing that we had an opportunity to make a difference and that God would not want us to miss it. Thanks again for helping us make a difference and for your prayers. Mesi Anpil and God Bless!

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Missions – July 2015

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Rockford Reformed Church will be hosting a booth at the Rockford Farmer’s Market downtown on Saturday, July 25. The Farmer’s Market is open from 8am-1pm and has built an amazing reputation as one of the Best Farmers Markets in America!
 
This year the Missions Team and the Outreach Team are joining together to raise money for our global missions efforts as well as spreading some love to our community. We will be selling baked good items that have been top sellers in the past such as brownies, cookies and cookie bars, and rice krispie treats!
 
We are in need of donations baked items to be dropped off at church on or before Friday, July 24 at 6pm. We would love to have your support and to see familiar faces of our RRC family by stopping by our booth and saying hello!

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