World Outreach: Meet The Galadimas

In May, Rose and Bulus Galadima and their son Atu, left their native land of Nigeria and to come and spend the next year as staff at Immanuel. In Nigeria the Galadima’s are serving with Entrust 4 Ministries. Bulus is the provost of Jos Evangelical Theological Seminary (JETS) and Rose works as a professor there. Together they disciple and train young pastors and their wives.

Even though they lived here many years ago, it was difficult to adjust to life in the States. Their son, Atu, started high school this year at Warren. What a change going from a school of 250 students to a Freshman class of 1,000! Atu loves playing soccer and attending Immanuel’s youth ministries and has quickly made many friends.

During the next year the Galadima’s will be on staff at Immanuel where they will be involved with small group and will also be participating in VP3. They will also have many opportunities to visit their other children, all of whom live in the States. They are very excited to spend time with their new granddaughter, Naomi.

Please pray:

  • For their older children living in the States.
  • For God’s grace to be with our mothers and family in Nigeria.
  • For adjusting to life in the States.
  • For Atu as he adjust to high school and making new friends.
  • That God will grant us rest.
  • That we will be able to take care of the health concerns we need to take care of while we are there.
  • That God will renew our vision and passion for the ministry in Nigeria and open our eyes to whatever he wants to do through us in the coming years.

Welcome: On Sharing Stories

When God began the revelation of His plan to reconcile a broken world and imperfect people to Himself, He didn’t send a letter with bullet-point instructions detailing how He would rescue us from death via snail mail or lightning strike or burning bush,  though He could have.

Instead, He sent us His Son, Jesus, wrapped in flesh, both fully human and fully God.

God sent us a person with a story to tell of  love, grace and redemption — a Person who would live exactly how He would bind up the broken and set the captives free.

“So from now on we regard no one from a worldly point of view. Though we once regarded Christ in this way, we do so no longer. Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come:[a] The old has gone, the new is here! All this is from God, who reconciled us to himself through Christ and gave us the ministry of reconciliation: that God was reconciling the world to himself in Christ, not counting people’s sins against them. And he has committed to us the message of reconciliation. We are therefore Christ’s ambassadors, as though God were making his appeal through us. We implore you on Christ’s behalf: Be reconciled to God. God made him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.” – 2 Corinthians 5:16-21

Because God is a relational God and He created us with community-craving hearts, God knew that sending a missionary,  Jesus, to this world to share His story of rescue and redemption would speak far louder to our hearts than communicating salvation in any other way.

And so we learn, through Jesus’ life, that stories aren’t just  found on the pages of books and in the scripts of movies; stories are embedded in our hearts.

Story is the Gospel way, and the Bible details stories of what God has been up to in our World as He seeks to bring us back to Him.

But the story doesn’t end with the last page of Revelation.

Though our stories aren’t recorded in scripture,  we each have a relevant story to tell, too — one that is beautifully interwoven into the bigger-picture story God has crafted and is revealing day by day.

When we share our stories of what God is up to in our lives and how He is revealing  Himself in this world, we play a part in communicating the good news of His love and redemption to hurting people in a lovely but also broken world.

It’s no coincidence that our Immanuel Church blog is launching during Mobilize, a sermon series that has been focusing on how God is already at work and how He’s asked us, the church, to join Him in His work.

As we’ve been embracing these truths — that we ARE the Church on mission and that we are missionaries everywhere we go–  it’s beyond fitting for us to come together in this space outside of our church building walls and do life the Jesus way: by sharing our stories.

By sharing His story.

Let’s speak and listen and linger long in these stories that continue to unwrap His big-picture story together.

Because He never meant for us to live out our stories, His story alone.

Karen: A Haitian Minute

I’ll be there in a Haitian minute.

Josh Peterson jokingly stated that he planned to have a t-shirt made with that statement on it; I would probably have worn one too. During our time in Haiti, we all quickly came to understand that the “Haitian minute” was definitely not restricted to a mere 60 seconds … and we adapted accordingly.In fact, adapting to such a laid-back, “I’ll get there when I get there”, “It’ll start when it starts”, kind of a mind-set was actually kind of relaxing, rather than stressing for me. Perhaps, a slower-paced environment was what I needed for a week …

Allow me to introduce myself. My name is Karen Hamilton, and on April 19, 1989, I surrendered my life to Jesus Christ. Since that time, I have had the privilege of participating in multiple mission trips around the world, including the rural areas of Guatemala & Argentina. From the moment this mission trip to Haiti was announced, I felt God was calling me to go, and that calling was confirmed when my support was fully raised within just a few weeks. Praise God!

I thought I was prepared … but, this was honestly the hardest mission trip I have ever been on … and probably not for the reasons you might be thinking. You see, I grew up as a “military brat” on the U.S. Naval Base in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. Living there, you’re secluded from the rest of the world, and can only fly to other islands or the USA to escape … so, we visited Haiti on several occasions. Because of those trips, I was prepared for the environment, the countryside, the island, the quirky traffic, the bumpy roads … the poverty. Experiencing all of that wasn’t a “shock” to me … it was a tidal wave of memories … it kind of overwhelmed me … and no one else on the team could relate to what I was experiencing … and my best friend (husband) wasn’t on this mission trip with me to be my sounding board … so, I felt very isolated and alone, right off the bat, which, in hindsight, is probably what set me up for the rest of my struggles…

You see, while I maintained my confidence that had God called me to be a part of this team, I consistently struggled to see my purpose. As a member of the Teacher Team, I didn’t have much to contribute in the planning phase, since I was not a certified Teacher, just a Teacher’s Aide. While we were there, I missed half of the Teacher’s Summit anyway, because I was sick. So, what was my purpose? I didn’t seem to be of much use to anyone …

In case you didn’t know this about me, I’m a “Worker Bee”; always in the middle of it all, getting things done. My spiritual gifts are Service and Hospitality, which means I like to always be “doing” stuff in ministry. Well, God’s plans are always bigger and better than ours, and His plans on this trip were not for me to be “doing” much … I quickly learned that His plans were for me to REST, which is something I don’t do often enough. I spent more time reading the Bible and in Prayer during this week in Haiti than I have in many months past combined … so, that was what God knew I needed. He knew I needed to be refreshed through His Word. He knew I needed to be renewed by slowing down and listening … to Him. This trip was very hard because I am a stubborn person who rarely slows down long enough to listen. Finding my purpose was a struggle because it was so far out of my element … prayer is not one of my strengths. Yes, I pray, but I’m not what I would consider a “Prayer Warrior”, but that was my role on this trip, because that was what the team needed, and I was the one stuck back at the house … sick … with the time to pray … and it was AMAZING to hear how my prayers were heard and ANSWERED EXACTLY AS I PRAYED THEM!!! Me? The Prayer Warrior for the team? Weird … but, I guess God can use anyone.

So, now that I’m home, what’s changed?

Thankfully, God allowed me the privilege of attending the first day (and another sickly half-day) of the Teacher’s Summit, during which time I got to see and experience an amazing gathering of about 120 Haitian Teachers, some of which had WALKED 60 MILES to attend! Most of them were men; many of them were Volunteers … all of them were PASSIONATE about teaching. Wouldn’t you HAVE to be passionate to volunteer to teach, or to walk 60 miles to attend a “professional development” opportunity? My current position is Technology Paraprofessional. I teach Technology skills to about 530 students in a school district that is around 90% low-income. On a daily basis, I see the same tired, hungry, hurting and needy faces at my school as I saw in Haiti … this is nothing new. What’s new is my perspective. Not that I didn’t care for these children before, quite the opposite! However, now, I see that I need to remember to look deeper, look beyond those tired, hungry, hurting and needy faces and see the “person” inside, and do my part to encourage the best in that “person” to shine … I need to be a better “light” … That “light” is only going to come from spending more time in God’s Word; which will only come from me … slowing … down …

That being said …

I’ll be there in a Haitian minute…

Sarah P – Reflecting on Zion

When I first decided to go to Zion, I felt like I didn’t really fit in because everyone else going was a lot younger than me. I really wanted to serve God, but I was kind of discouraged and unsure of why He called me to go on this trip instead of Haiti. I questioned why I was there and how God wanted to use me. However, I soon discovered that God asked me to go to Zion because He wanted to humble my heart. I learned the joy in stepping back and letting other people shine. I loved getting to know the younger girls and guys on this team and then watching Jesus shine through them. On one of the days, a group of us got to go to a few houses to deliver some items that they needed and to pray with the families. At the last house we went to, it was Madeline Brooks’ turn to pray, and she was kind of nervous about it. But she trusted God through her fear and prayed for them and, of course, did a great job. When she was done praying, the man was astonished and said that he could really feel the Holy Spirit while she was praying. It was awesome getting to see her learn about God’s ability to shine through her. It was super humbling being able to witness other people learning more about God and who He is instead of only thinking about what I was getting out of the trip. I met some pretty awesome and super Godly people that may be younger than me, but who I look up to spiritually. I was humbled in realizing that I’m not that big of a deal, God is. I’m not a “better Christian” than anyone and no one is a “better Christian” than I am. God sees everyone the same, so why shouldn’t I?

I also struggle with seeking joy in relationships with people and in other places rather than through God. This trip was yet another reminder to me that no one will ever give my true joy besides God. No matter how awesome someone is, they will never be perfect and they will let me down, but God NEVER will. I found myself happy doing things that weren’t exactly very fun. Like sawing wood. Well that was actually kind of fun; I got to use a big saw. But painting houses and doing lots of sanding and building bunk beds. I had no desire to complain about the hard work or the heat. It actually brought me joy because I knew that whatever I was doing, I was doing for God and His glory. And if everything I do is for Him, I have no choice but to do it to the best of my ability! One of the days, a woman at one of the houses we were working on said, “I don’t understand why all of you are being so thankful toward me! You are the ones who are fixing my house!” I really believe that she was able to see Jesus shining though us. Not only because we were working on her house but because we were doing the hard work with a joyful and positive spirit.

God reminded me on this trip that all I need to do is be who he made me to be and lead by example. He always shows me that I am wherever I am to bring Him glory by trusting in Him, humbling myself, and doing what He asks of me. I see that I can no longer try to be someone better than I am. All I can do is be who He created me to be because He made me for
a very specific purpose that only I can fulfill. I was feeling a little down one of the nights and while I was walking around, a boy that I didn’t know at all came up to me and asked if he could talk to me. He shared with me some hard things that he was going through and how he was struggling a lot. After I prayed for him he told me that he liked the way that I talked to God. He said that he approached me because I seemed like someone who would listen to him because my relationship with God seemed real. I was honored because I love listening to people talk, and I think it is something that God has gifted me with the ability to do. I learned that God uses me when I am myself. All I have to do is love Him, and everything else falls into place.

Most of all through this trip, I learned that I don’t want my heart to be about what makes me feel good. I want it to be about what makes God happy. I want it to be more like His. I wanted to go to Haiti this summer because I selfishly wanted to do big things and be used in big ways. But God wanted me to go to Zion because he wanted to humble me, teach me to be a joyful servant, and remind me that big things happen everywhere that peoples’ hearts are for Him. And that no matter where I am or how small I feel, if my heart is His, He WILL use me in big ways, even if it doesn’t seem like it at the time. I also learned to put His desires for me before my own, even if I don’t exactly understand. His plan is obviously much bigger than my own. In Habakkuk 1:5 it says, “Look around at the nations; look and be amazed! For I am doing something in your own day, something you wouldn’t believe even if someone told you about it.” Even though sometimes I doubt this truth, God always reminds me that it is soo true!