Extra Strength: How Are You Giving {Sheryll}

We leave the church building inspired and filled with Truth and encouragement each Sunday … and somewhere along the course of the week, often we find ourselves in need of a little bit of something to help us through.

Welcome to Extra Strength: a mid-week pick-you-up for the soul. Be sure to scroll all the way to the bottom for extra encouragement and challenge. 

Extra Strength

We Are Church: We Give  {Sunday, September 14, 2015}

By Sheryll Belonga

One thing that I have realized on more than one occasion is that I have been given kids to help me become a better person.

Sometimes God uses my attempt to discipline my boys as a way to discipline me or He uses them to help me change my attitude when I am grumpy by giving me the kind of hug that would make butter melt. During the message on Sunday Pastor Josh helped me to see that God was using them once again, to show me that every little bit counts.

I consider myself a very giving person. I am giving of my talents, my time and my finances. I often wish I had more money so that I could give more away.  But what I am not is a consistent giver. Let me explain.
On many occasions while going into Walmart, someone has been out in front asking for money. I rarely have cash on hand so I am not always able to donate. There have been times when the only cash I have had on hand was a few coins.  I would never donate my coins though because I felt they weren’t enough.
My boys however, are a different story. They will donate four pennies if they have it and they would do it with joy while I would do it with shame. Why is it that we feel as if the little we have is not enough even if that is all we have to give?
Pastor Josh talked about a widow, who gave all she had and I believe she didn’t hesitate. Could I be like her and just simply give what I have? According to Josh’s calculations in his sermon from a few weeks ago titled We Serve, God was able to feed roughly 20,000 people with a small amount of food. Couldn’t He take my offering and use it just the same to benefit those who need it? What do you have to offer?

Sheryll Belonga is wife to Jurrell and homeschooling mom to their three great boys. Her desire is to glorify God in all she says and does in spite of life’s daily happenings.




Be Challenged:

  • Do you give in church? If so, is it out of obligation or out of gratitude.
  • Do you give out of excess? If so, is God calling you to make a sacrifice.
  • If you don’t give because you feel like you don’t have anything to give try giving your coins. Pray that God will bless them so that you can give even more.

Accelerate: What $3K Can do for a Girl Who Has Been S*x Trafficked

On Sunday, November 24, Immanuel will be taking a special offering with the hope that $75,000 will be given. This amount has never been given on one Sunday during Immanuel’s history.  None of the money collected that week will go toward operating expenses; all will go toward mortgage reduction, global ministry (India anti-human trafficking) and local ministry (micro Alpha).

Eighty percent of the money collected will go toward reducing our mortgage so as to more quickly free up ministry money. Read more about that here. Ten percent of the money given will go toward global ministry — specifically toward anti-human trafficking initiatives in India through our partnership with Bright Hope. Read more about our involvement with Anti-Human Trafficking below. 


Beyond Numbers: A Real Face of Human Trafficking

Heena had been s*xually trafficked since age seven. She learned that if she helped to traffic girls, she could keep some money for herself. Last January, while the anti-human trafficking team was eating lunch, they witnessed a girl being beaten by a group of boys. They called the police, and she was given the option to go to the safe house. She chose not to and went back out on the streets.

One month later, our team rescued Heena for the second time. She again chose not to go to the safe house because life in s*x trafficking was what she knew. A short time later, our team saw Heena in the news. Her body was lying in the road, beaten and bruised. The police called our team a third time to come get her. She was on heavy drugs. She was taken to the safe house and within three days, she jumped off the second story balcony and ran away.

Jan 2013 Rescued Girls PUBLICIn July, the police called a fourth time, and our team went to rescue Heena … again. They explained to her that she could leave if she wanted to, but this time, she has chosen to stay.

She is 15 years old and has been in the program for three months. She is amazed that people cared for her so much that they rescued her four times and love her in spite of her past. She cannot believe that she is wanted and cries often. But Heena is beginning to dream about what she wants to do with her life. She wants to start a safe house for girls.

Our Partnership with Bright Hope:

Human trafficking, or the sale of humans, is the fastest growing business in the world, grossing $32 billion dollars a year. India ranks fourth in the list of countries with the most trafficking. In two large cities in northern India, this is what has happened over the last year:

  • Churches have united to make a dent in sex trafficking
  • Two safe souses have been established with teams that include house parents, counselors, investigators, security guards and teachers
  • The anti-human trafficking teams have worked closely with local police and government officials
  • Thirty-seven young girls have been rescued
  • Twenty-two are in the healing and restoration programs of the safe house
  • Five girls have come to know Christ!
  • It has been said that until we act in Northern India to stop s*x trafficking, we will not be able to make a dent in it anywhere else in the world

God is ALIVE and active! He pursues and restores. He heals and upholds the broken hearted. Immanuel has played a part in this effort, and we would like to continue!  God is reaching into the darkest places and using His followers to bring Hope to the hopeless. Pray without ceasing for the anti-human trafficking teams and for the girls in India.

Here’s where the special Accelerate offering comes in: it takes $3,000 to rescue a girl and care for her for one year.  If $75,000 is given during the special offering, we could provide care for two rescued girls for an entire year and there would be a little money left to help sponsor the care and rescue of another girl. 

Three lives.

Three lives could be rescued and cared for as a result of what God does through our generosity! Together we can partner with Him to make a difference.

Accelerate: Moving into Year Two


by John Worth, director of Accelerate

Dear Immanuel family,

The month of November is an exciting month in the life of Immanuel.  There are several things I would like to make sure you are aware of as we begin this month.

To begin, we are reaching the end of the first year of our two year Accelerate generosity initiative.  Many of you made a commitment of “Accelerated” giving to Immanuel back in November of 2012, and we are grateful for your commitment and faithful giving over the past year.

As we begin our second year of Accelerate we would like to invite those who haven’t made a commitment as well as those who did last year to fill out a new commitment card for planned giving during December 2013 – November 2014. The commitment card is simply a way to help us to plan for the additional fund’s use during the second half of Accelerate.  We will not call and bug you about the amount nor will we as an Accelerate team know who has committed how much other than on an anonymous basis.

We hope you will take the time over the next several weeks, as a family or by yourself, to listen and discern what God is asking for you to do in terms of generosity toward Immanuel. You can place your completed commitment cards in the offering basket, or at the table in the foyer through the first week of December.  Or if you prefer you can also follow the link below or the IR code to fill out your commitment card online.

Secondly, I am pleased to report that during our first year of Accelerate we so far have exceeded our budgeted giving by $17,500, which has been distributed between mortgage reduction, locally into the Alpha ministry and globally to a special project in the Philippines. We are very thankful to all of the people of Immanuel for making this possible.

Finally, the biggest thing to come in November was announced last week by elder Ben Ondo, our special Accelerate offering on November 24.

Immanuel’s leadership team is taking a step of faith and designating the entire offering we receive on that Sunday toward our special Accelerate initiatives. None of the money collected that week will go toward operating expenses (ie. staff, utilities, programming); all will go toward mortgage reduction, local ministry (micro Alpha) and global ministry (India anti-human trafficking).

Our goal on November 24 is to raise $75,000, an amount that has never been given on one Sunday in Immanuel’s history.  You won’t want to miss this unique opportunity to make an enormous impact on the world for Christ through our combined generosity.

Provided we raise $75,000, we would be making a payment of $60,000 toward our mortgage. To put this extra payment toward the mortgage in perspective, our current loan balance is approximately $2.7 million. Our loan will need to be either fully paid off or refinanced by April of 2018.  A $60,000 principle payment would mean if we were to refinance to a 30-year loan at 5 percent interest we could have the loan paid off 20 months sooner and save $56,000 in interest!
That’s close to two years of $12,800 additional dollars per month that could be used toward reaching our community and our world for Christ!

At Immanuel we believe that God is calling all believers to be involved in His work, both with our time as well as talent and treasure in order to help us grow as His disciples. Thank you for your continued generous support as we prepare at the end of November to celebrate all God has done for us and say thank you as we give back to Him.

Please feel free to reach out to me, any member of our elder board or staff with questions you may have regarding Accelerate at Immanuel.

John Worth

What’s on Pastor Joe’s Mind: Stuck

by Pastor Joe Boerman

Yesterday, in the snow, I made it all the way home from church, only to get stuck at the end of my own driveway … stuck bad. The garage was RIGHT THERE, but I was hanging halfway out into the street and 30 feet away from being “home.”

Photo courtesy of /www.buckscc.gov/swop

It’s frustrating to see your destination, but just keep spinning wheels trying to get there.

I feel that way about our Accelerate giving initiative at Immanuel. Last
fall we “saw” what Accelerated giving could look like at Immanuel-
-A mortgage that is greatly reduced, if not eliminated
-A variety of much-needed, new initiatives in our communities and
in our church
-A deeper involvement in our world including things like the JELLY
Project, anti-human trafficking initiative, missionary projects, etc.

Three months into Accelerate, I’d like to say we’ve got good traction, but we don’t. Since December ended, our giving has been “stuck”, partly do to the fact we haven’t been talking about it enough, to be sure.

This week it just feels like being stranded at the end of my driveway.

I can see the difference a little (or lot) of traction would make, but the wheels are just spinning.

The end of my story yesterday is that a few good men came and pushed me home. At first it was just a lone neighbor. It wasn’t until others stopped to help that together my car and I got home.

I am not embarrassed to say that we need you- all of you– giving to Immanuel for Accelerate to help us gain some traction in an initiative far more important than one man getting into his garage.

And THAT is what’s on my mind this week.

Want to learn more about Accelerate? You can watch videos about our generosity initiative HERE.