World Outreach: Sharing the Love of Christ in the Midst of Tragedy

Thank you for your generous support to Accelerate, our one-fund. Because of your generosity and God’s goodness, we are able to share stories from our missionaries like the one below. If you would like to give, please visit our giving page. Thank you for investing in the work of Christ both locally and globally. 

by Mike Bicket, missionary and aircraft mechanic with United Indian Missions Aviation

Soraida, a 7-month-old Tarahumaran girl living in the remote mountains of Mexico, was being held by her 14-year-old aunt when they were both accidentally shot by their 10-year-old relative.

Bicketblogpic August 2014The bullet pierced Soraida and continued through to her aunt, killing her and leaving Soraida severely injured. The missionaries living there quickly went into action, providing medical attention to the two girls and calling UIM Aviation for a medical evacuation (med-evac) flight.

United Indian Missions Aviation was able to quickly launch a pilot and airplane, arriving in the remote mountain village in less than an hour and a half after being called. The plane was able to take Soraida and her parents to a nearby mission hospital run by Mexico Medical Missions. There, the baby was able to receive oxygen and two doctors were then able to accompany Soraida and her parents to the capital city of Chihuahua for further medical treatment. Soraida is currently still in the hospital and is slowly starting to gain strength. Please pray for her as she still has a long way to go to get out of the ICU. And pray for her parents, that God would comfort them, sustain them and provide for all their family’s needs through this time.

Soraida’s parents are young Christians who are still growing in their faith. Actually, all of the believers in this village are young Christians as there have only been missionaries working there for a few years. Medical evacuations (Med-evacs) like the one UIM Aviation was able to provide is an excellent way to show Christ’s love for these new believers and for the un-believers living in this village.
Bicket blog pic August 2014 2Soraida’s parents are seeing the global Church displaying Christ’s love to them though the many believers in Mexico — from the pilot of the aircraft to the doctors and nurses at the mission hospital to the mission guest house workers where the parents are staying during their time in Chihuahua and many more.
The missionaries that work in Soraida’s village have had a challenging time in this village as many of the new believers continue to turn back to heavy alcoholism and have not taken their faith seriously.
We are praying that by showing care for these young believers, Soraida’s parents as well as their village, will see Christ’s love for them in a real way through this event and desire to continue to grow in their relationship with God and continue to make Him known among their own people.
Bicket FamilyMike and Kelli work with United Indian Missions Aviation in taking the gospel message to the people in the Sierra Mountains in Mexico.
Mike is an aircraft mechanic; their family lives in Tucson, Arizona. 

 

ICYouth: Notes from Haiti {Trever}

Thank you for your generosity to our one-fund, Accelerate. Because of your generosity, we are able to share stories of how God is changing lives! 

A team of 30 high school students and leaders traveled to Haiti July 15-22; this week our student bloggers are sharing their experiences with us.  

by Trever Carter

Day 1

After a 2 a.m. start to the morning and some restless hours of anxious, suspended consciousness—you could hardly call it sleep—I awoke with the most excitement and eagerness I have had about anything … ever. My heart has always been drawn to missions, and after we climbed onto a beat up, stick-shift bus, with the cushions falling off and the metal rusting, all while sweating in the 100-degree heat with humidity unlike I’ve ever felt before, my mission was now real. Haiti to me had seemed like something you would only see in a movie, and I couldn’t even necessarily believe it was real. It’s just not something you can comprehend—and if you have never been to a third-world country, you would have a hard time believing it if I explained it to you. It’s almost like you have taken a time machine and traveled hundreds of years into the past. We were driving for quite some time, stopping so our Haitian guides could do something to the bus to keep it running … until they couldn’t anymore. Eventually, we were found on the side of the mountain for fifteen minutes, then an hour, then eventually 3 and a half or four (I truly don’t even know how long exactly). The only thing that kept our bus from rolling down the mountain was a rock that one of the Haitians placed under the wheel. And it began to get dark. And the clouds rolled in and it started to lightning and eventually rain. Haitians were coming out of the forest to see what was going on. It was pitch black. Our leaders were waving flashlights behind us so cars wouldn’t hit us if they whipped around the curve. I felt like I was in Jurassic Park, really. And I was scared. Scared because I was uncertain, never had been outside the country, it was the first day of our trip and it was not starting well. But some members of our team decided to bust out their guitars, and we just started to worship. And I began to notice Haitians listening to us sing praises to our God. Then, as we were singing God You Reign, it hit me that He truly does. His plan is greater than mine, and He is using everything in my life now to pave the way for my future. So after 23 hours of travel and hanging mosquito nets to avoid malaria and chickamonga, we fell asleep, quite easily for the circumstances I might add, ready to attack our first full Haitian day.

Day 2

Each night during the week we would go to a park in the center of Pignon, which to my knowledge was not opened often at all in fear of the people ruining one of the jewels of Pignon. It was beautiful. A basketball court with a volleyball net in the middle, concrete bleachers on either side, two bridges on opposite ends, grass and trees … but the most beautiful part was the people there. We played soccer and basketball, hand games, and just laughed with these kids all afternoon. And the amazing part was we couldn’t talk to them. Despite not knowing creole, I felt like I could communicate with them on another level because love is transcendent of those things. In two minutes, someone would be your best friend. And this is where I met my two best friends for the week (beside the kids on the compound, we all had the biggest and most special bonds with them). Abidal and Bebatu, ages 9 and 13. Every day they would come back to the park to see me, and Bebatu even began to attend church with me. I continually pray for them because I left my heart with them.

TreverinHaitiDay 3

My favorite part about this day was certainly the VBS. There were just so many moving components of it. The first day, the worship team attempted to sing songs in English, but by day two they were translated into Creole. Imagine the happiness of more than 150 Haitian kids singing Your Everlasting Love in their native language, dancing and loving the three right to left hops. I also saw a kid who I was told was the witch doctor’s son but has come to VBS for a few years now. When he was in crafts with me, he was reading all the Bible verses without even looking at the paper. He was singing. It was so moving for me to see a child whose parents are of totally different faith living out what he thought was the right way to live his life. We also fed them each a plate full of beans and rice, for some of them their only meal for the day, or a few days. Small children were putting down entire plates of beans and rice, and it was just really intense and powerful for me to see. In America, we glorify eating food. We post pictures of it, eat more than we have to or probably should, anticipate our next meal or pair it with our emotions. Kids here literally eat to survive, no more than that. I can never get the image of these kids eating out of my head. For the rest of the week at the compound when we would eat meals, I learned to eat slow, be thankful for it and eat just enough so that I would be alright and the people behind me could eat as well.

Day 4

TreverinHaiti2After VBS, we partnered with the team of Haitian youth that had been helping us all week at VBS. We grew so close to them too, it was awesome to see youth of the same faith live it out in a totally different circumstance. We were preparing for a youth rally (a Haitian impact if you will) that we were doing the next day. We started by worshipping under the big tree on the compound, and it was the first time I got emotional and cried over the trip. We sang Shout to the Lord and Here I am to Worship, and it was unlike anything I’ve ever experienced before. We were singing the same songs, to the same God, but in a completely different language. Erik would say “Just the Haitians now!” and they would sing loud, proud, unashamedly to our God in Creole, and then we would take over, then sing together. God is so much bigger than me, than Gurnee, than the Midwest. He has world-sized view for all of us, and it hit me so hard that God’s plans are so big and for His Glory.

Day 5

The Youth Rally went off without a hitch. My favorite part was the ice breaker games that we played before more powerful worship and an awesome message. We played a circle game to learn a everyone’s names, and then improvised and played one of their games … hot potato, also known as tock tock tock boom. I’ve never seen more laughter and cheering and yelling and just sheer happiness, another testament of the transcendent power of love.

Day 6

treverinhaiti3There are two favorite stories from today. The first is that I got to lead a team to a couple micro-loan families and interview them to see if the micro-loans they are receiving are benefitting their families and moving them toward self-sustainability. One of the women we met was named Isman. After talking for a while, we found out that she sells rice and charcoal, and only can still feed her family once a day. After that, while talking to her, we found out she sells a lot more than just rice and charcoal, and had a very good, multi-faceted business. And the micro-loan was benefitting her. She not only sends her 7 kids to school, but pays for 10 other kids to go to school and also pays for immediate need medication for sick kids in their village. She saw that her family’s needs were being met and didn’t need anymore, so she naturally wanted to give back and help others. She thought it was something she needed to. That was incredible—she was incredible. The second story was when I got to share my testimony in front of a bunch of Haitians and my team as well. It was awesome for me just to be able to rearticulate my faith in front of a bunch of people I didn’t know. After, someone I had gotten close with throughout the week (his name was Waldy) came up to me and told me he was praying for me and my family. Someone in Haiti who has literally nothing was praying for me. Tell me that’s not incredible.

Day 7

Day seven was the most rough for me. The whole week, as well as the whole next year hit me at once. Just with youth group changing a little over the next year, I think we all got a little emotional. I won’t really elaborate on this, but just know that God left me charged to come home and make where I am my mission field. I realize that I can’t be in Haiti all the time like I would like to be. But God charged me up so that I can come home and make this place my mission field, because in reality the people here need me just as much.

God moved in my heart and in my life throughout the trip. He encouraged me, empowered me, charged me up. I can’t wait to go back, but I am also happy to be here. I know for sure that I am supposed to be going to other places that need my help to help them.

TrevernewheadshotTrever Carter is a junior at Grayslake North High School. He enjoys running, playing lacrosse, and photography. He also likes to write, serve with the church, and spend time with his friends.

World Outreach: Anti-Human Trafficking Update from Bright Hope: Neeta

Update from Bright Hope via World Outreach Team

Thank you Immanuel Church for your support of Bright Hope’s Anti-Human trafficking work in Northern India. Because of your investment in the program, the Bright Hope safe house was able to take in two additional young women this April who were part of a group of five women the Indian government rescued during a raid in Mumbai. The local government approached the Bright Hope safe house to take in these girls because of the great favor and reputation the Lord has brought to the safe house and its leadership. Without our partnership with Immanuel Church, Bright Hope may not have been able to financially assume responsibility for these young women. Please join with us in praying for their rehabilitation and receptivity to the Gospel of Hope as they are presented with the love of Jesus Christ each day.

Please note that when new girls come to the safe house it takes them a while to warm up and trust the staff. Slowly over time we learn their “real” stories. Until then the information we have is the statement they make upon rescue about their situation. Often this is lacking detail.

Please read Neeta’s story and pray for her by name.

Name: Neeta
Date entered the Safe house: 05/05/2014
Age: 17 years old
NeetaNeeta is 17 years old and she has one older sister, two younger sisters and a younger brother. She is uneducated and was not being taken care of by her family.

It was discovered that Neeta’s grandfather and her aunt were trafficking her into the sex trade. The family lacked steady income so this lead to them selling Neeta into prostitution.

It was also found that other family members were connected to trafficking, possibly brothel keepers, in another area. Neeta was rescued in the April RAID in Mumbai. After the RAID Neeta’s grandfather tried to bribe the police to return her to his custody.

 

For more information about our strategic partnership with Bright Hope in effort to combat human trafficking in India, head over to our newly revamped World Outreach page and look at our partnership with Bright Hope under Strategic Partners. 

World Outreach: Got Faith?

Because of your generous support and gifts to Immanuel through Accelerate, we are able to partner with God in the work He is doing around the world. Thank you!

by Doug Gillaspie, World Outreach Director

Travel is both ministry and pleasure for my wife Deb and me. We have been privileged to literally travel around the world. When I encounter followers of Jesus in different countries I am always amazed by the size of their faith and ashamed of the size of my own.

That was never more true than during our recent trip to India. Beginning with a tour of India and Nepal, Deb and I had the privilege of visiting a ministry in Delhi with which the people of Immanuel have already been introduced. The ministry is called Anurag. It is a school and training center for poor children and young adults.

Literally a few hours after landing we were whisked off to this place of hope in the midst of much hopelessness. We were greeted by Prem Gideon, the founder and director of the ministry. We were amazed at the breadth and depth of the work being done. Over 700 children and young adults are receiving education and training that was beyond their means. Most importantly, these 700 souls and their families were being exposed to the love of Jesus Christ.

During our two-day visit we not only interacted with many of the children but also heard the story of Anurag. Through faith and faithfulness, what started as a burning passion of God’s love, Anurag has grown from the humble beginnings of a single rented classroom to two entire buildings of classrooms and training facilities. Prem shared how each time she was burdened to expand the reach and service of Anurag God honored her obedience to do what she could while she trusted God to provide very great needs.

I’ve learned during the years that when I have much I trust God less; when I have nothing I trust God more. Hearing the Anurag story challenged me to let go of what I have so I can better grasp the hand of God.  It has prompted me to think daily about what I holding on to, what it is I have put my faith in.

So what are you holding on to for today, tomorrow and for eternity?

Anurag is a new Strategic Partner of Immanuel and World Outreach. Be sure to visit the display in the lobby on Sunday July 20th to learn more about Anurag and meet Prem.

 

World Outreach: A Pinch-Me Moment with Operation Christmas Child

Because of your generous support and gifts to Immanuel through Accelerate, we are able to partner with God in the work He is doing around the world. Thank you!

by Susan Schmidt, Operation Christmas Child Year-Round Volunteer, Immanuel attendee

Have you ever had one of those “pinch-me moments” in your life?  Well, I have!  It came this past January when I received a phone call letting me know that I was selected to go on a trip. Not just any trip … but an answer to many prayers and the biggest “pinch-me moment” God could have ever blessed me with.

You see, I serve as a year-round volunteer in the Chicagoland area with Operation Christmas Child (OCC – a project of Christian Worldwide Relief Organization Samaritan’s Purse whose mission is to reach children with hope and joy through simple shoe box gifts).  I have also been even more blessed to co-lead on the OCC Immanuel Leadership Team, which is awesome.   And I get to serve on both of these teams with my best friend (Connie Pfeifer), who has the biggest heart for OCC I have ever seen. It’s awesome!

IMG_4855Each year, select year-round volunteers have an opportunity to participate in an international shoe box distribution trip. I was privileged to be chosen this past January. Approximately 40 Operation Christmas Child staff and team members from all over the U.S. traveled to Rwanda from April 26 through May 3. It was such an honor to be selected, the answer to many prayers and the biggest “pinch-me moment” ever.

Our group was split into three teams and our “Green Team” would be going on a total of six shoebox distributions handing out these special gifts to children ages 2-14 who had never received anything before.

Before ministering to the Rwandan children and local pastors, we first went to the Kigali Memorial to learn about the Genocide that occurred 20 years ago in Rwanda.   Learning what had happened to one million adults and children in only 30 days time was very emotional and powerful, but we needed to see and learn where this country has been and where they are today. Most are still healing and others still hurting, so it was an honor to love on the adults as well as the children while we were there.

IMG_4946Throughout the week, our team went on a total of six shoebox distributions to children in groups of 80 to 200. We got to be the hands and feet of Jesus, to let them know of a God who loves them so much and how much we love them, too.  It was so interesting to see the children react to our light skin and varying shades of hair color.   We were so excited to see their beautiful faces and to have the opportunity to smile and laugh together. It was especially touching to see their joy at playing with beach balls or to hear the giggles and squeals of delight as they discovered the gifts inside their shoeboxes.

Some of the children received a letter inside their shoebox gift. When time allowed, we would bring over our interpreter who would let the boy or girl hear what we were reading. After that, we would take a picture with the child with the letter (address visible) so that the person that packed the shoebox could receive the picture once we returned to the states and forwarded this information on to the donor.

IMG_5051One day, we traveled to The Miracle Center, which was scheduled to have approximately 80 children receiving shoeboxes. Yet when we walked in, there were about 200 expectant children waiting. Would we have enough boxes to give each child one?  Knowing what a powerful God we serve, in a short period of time additional cartons of shoe box gifts were located so that each child could receive their special gift.

As an added blessing, we went to the Kingdom Education Center School to see two rooms filled with children who were there to be a part of the launching of The Greatest Journey Program, which is a 12-week Discipleship Program for those children that have already received shoeboxes and have chosen to learn more our amazing God. It was so powerful to be there to see them learning about our Savior and how to have a relationship with Him.

God used each one on our team in individual ways and blessed each one of us for a lifetime of memories.

For each one of us that was humbled and honored to serve alongside the OCC National Leadership Team in Rwanda, it is our hope and next steps that we will share our these experiences with other groups and churches.   If you know of any church or small group that would love to hear about Operation Christmas Child and my journey to Rwanda, please let me know. I will be glad to contact them.

There are millions more children that need to hear about Jesus and receive him into their heart. Operation Christmas Child is an effective ministry, and I am confident that lives all over the world have been changed by simple shoebox gifts.  Yet many churches, groups and individuals haven’t heard about OCC and are not currently packing shoebox gifts as we have been for many years at Immanuel.

IMG_5050Please know that each one of the gifts you so lovingly packed are greatly needed, and there are children just waiting to receive them. And what’s even more amazing is that God has already picked out by name the children that will receive your boxes in 2014.

“Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us.”  Ephesians 3:20

YOU can be a part of OCC this autumn at Immanuel! Check out the OCC tab at our World Outreach page to find out more information about our annual Packing Party and other ways YOU can help!