Local Outreach: Love, INC. {Immanuel Church Unleashed}

Because of your generous giving lives are being changed! Here’s a story of how God is at work through Immanuel people in our own community! Thank you for your generosity!

by Cyndi Pleasant, Immanuel attendee and co-leader of the Love INC ICU team

Listening to Pastor Joe’s sermon and hearing the words from Isaiah 61 a few weeks ago, resonated with me after a day of volunteering with members of the Immanuel family and our partners from Love Inc.

Once a month several people from Immanuel come together to deliver basic necessities and the Love of Jesus to families and individuals that are starting out in an apartment or home after a time of loss and despair. Entering an apartment with only a chair and a lamp … a hospital bed to sleep on because that’s what you were given upon leaving the hospital after surgery, the emptiness of this apartment became quite noticeable. It made me aware of how much I have, and how much I have that I could live without. Yet even without a couch, a dresser or a coffee table, there is thankfulness for no longer having to live in a shared living arrangement where personal space is a coveted commodity.

The joy we shared as we spoke about Jesus’ love for these recipients of used furniture and household items was by far the best part of the day. We gave out Bibles and prayed together before going on to our next delivery. We encouraged joining in worship with a nearby church and offered names of churches in their area. On we went after big hugs and even bigger smiles.

In the words of Pastor Joe: “The deepest joy, the longest lasting joy comes when we join hands with God in the mission to serve the poor, the needy and those in bondage.”

Joining God in this mission of sharing the joy of knowing Him truly does bring the lightest step and the deepest joy. If you haven’t had this experience you truly haven’t lived. We are blessed to be a part of a church family that offers so many opportunities to join together in this mission.

If you’d like to be involved in an Immanuel Church Unleashed project, visit our website and learn more!

Local Outreach: Community Closet {Immanuel Church Unleashed}

Because of your generous giving lives are being changed! Here’s a story of how God is at work through Immanuel people in our own community! Thank you for your generosity!
By Krista Malley, Immanuel attendee

This past February, I had the extreme privilege to partner with New Hope Community Church in Round Lake Beach as the church opened its bi-monthly “community closet.”

As we prepared for the event, I was so touched to see the overflow of donations as people from all over the community donated their gently used items to give to those in need. As we cleaned and sorted to prepare for the event, I was amazed to see the garage area full of items ready to be gifted to others. All of the items were displayed by size, type and gender. I expected to see items carelessly thrown in boxes, but New Hope had done an excellent job at creating a clean, organized, warm environment.

On the day of the “community closet,” I was excited to see families show up even before we opened! We were able to serve over 50 families and bless them with needed items for their families.

The children had an area set up for them to play in while their parents shopped. We were able to provide the adults with personal shoppers to assist each family in the search for their greatest household needs. My greatest blessing was explaining to the families that God loves them and that we were participating in this event to show them His love.

It might have been a cold day, but the spirits were warm as families left with bags of treasures, candy for their kids, warm smiles from our workers and information on ways that they could plug in to a local church and become part of a bigger family united with Christ.

What a blessing to see God work through His people!

If you’d like to be involved in an Immanuel Church Unleashed project, visit our website and learn more!

Local Outreach: The Go! Project Update

Because of your generous giving to Accelerate, Immanuel is able to partner with God is His work of transforming lives in our church, our community and throughout the world! Here’s a story of how God is at work through Immanuel people in our own community! Thank you for your generosity!
Immanuel Attendee Dave Thomsen stepped way out of his comfort zone when he said yes to being involved with The Go! Project for Gurnee.
“I was asked to participate, and I personally chose to get involved because that’s what God put us here for — to spread His word, not keep it to ourselves,” he said. “This is way out of my comfort zone, but I know I need to keep moving forward.”
The Go! Project, a partnership between 11 Gurnee churches and people from those churches, started with intentions to make relevant, personal contact with every Gurnee household to effectively present the Gospel so all could know Christ’s love. Now that the initial Go! groups have met, the second Go! groups are forming so that believers can continue to deepen relationships with neighbors they’ve recently met and show them Christ’s love.
Dave, who was part of the initial Go! Project group in his neighborhood, is now involved in the second Go! group in his neighborhood with the intention of hosting The Alpha Course  in his home; he, along with his group’s leaders and point people like Marion Medina from Immanuel, hope to begin the group in early April.
“It couldn’t be more convenient for people,” wrote Barb and Jay Jacobs, the group’s leaders, in an email concerning the in-home Alpha course.
Since beginning The Go! Project, Dave said he has met a lot of people he had only before saw in passing. Dave said the project leaders and team members have been extremely intentional in reaching out to their neighbors through hosting Christmas and Thanksgiving parties and also times of fellowship over meal, all of which has opened doors for engaging more deeply in friendships.
Barb and Jay Jacobs shared via email that during a second Soup Night get together in their and Dave’s shared neighborhood 19 people attended and shared that the bond of the neighbors continued to increase. The evening of the second Soup Night, one of the Go! team members realized she’d forgotten to make a very important phone call to invite a neighbor who regularly struggles with life.
“So [that Go! team member] walked over to her house to invite her last minute,” Barb and Jay wrote. “Well, [that Go! team member] ended up spending an hour and a half visiting, listening and sharing.  This neighbor did not want to come over for fear of spreading flu germs, but through their conversation [the Go! team member] was able to spark more interest in drawing this neighbor closer and closer to Christ.”
Dave said he is looking forward to seeing how God will continue to move in their neighborhood through The Go! Project group.
“We are excited to hold micro Alpha in our neighborhood and to see the response and relationships it will bring,” he said. “I heard in a sermon recently that you are either moving forward in your relationship with Christ or you are moving backward. To do nothing is moving backward; and I pray Alpha will be the vehicle to help the Go! teams and our neighborhood move forward.”