Missions Blog

A Home for Riley

One of the couples in [nlcf], Rob and Jessica StClair, have been a part of our mission teams that have gone to the Ukraine to work with an orphanage in Kiev. They were so moved by their experiences that they are now in the process of adopting a child from the Ukraine. Read more about their journey and how you can support them: http://stclairadoption.blogspot.com/

“We are excited to answer God’s call to adopt Riley. We know it will be an adventure but trust in God’s promises and faithfulness to get us through.”

$5 Spaghetti Dinner and Donation Collection

Join us for a $5 All-You-Care-to-Eat Spaghetti Dinner to help raise funds and collect donations for our Honduras Team! We’ll be hosting dinner on Saturday, Dec 11th from 6:30-8:00p in 130 Jackson. This will be a great chance to hear about what the team will be doing in Danli over Spring Break this year!

We will be collecting the following items to take with us to Honduras:
– Spanish Bibles
– kids shoes
– clothing
– hygiene items (toothbrushes, soap, etc.)
– small toys (beanie babies, dolls, matchbox cars, etc.)

Honduras Interest Meeting #2

If you missed our first meeting, here’s another chance for you to find out more about the Honduras mission trip. We’ll be meeting in the back of Colonial Hall (Squires) around 12:30 (right after the 11:00 service ends) on October 24th. Questions? Contact Steve or Sarah.

Honduras Interest Meeting

For anyone who is interested in going on a mission trip to Danli, Honduras, we will be having an interest meeting THIS SUNDAY at 1:00p in 130 Jackson. We will give you trip details and describe what we will be doing to serve our sister church in Danli. If you have questions before then, contact Steve or Sarah.

Fall Craft Fair and Bake Sale

[nlcf] is hosting a Fall Craft Fair & Bake Sale to raise money and awareness for various missions opportunities throughout the world!
Mark your calendar for Oct 23rd. The Fair will be held from 8:00a – 2:00p in 130 Jackson. It is never too early to start checking gifts off your Christmas list!!
Crafters are still needed. If you are interested in selling a craft, please contact Jeanette.

Wii Bowling and Honduras Fundraiser

Did you miss [nlcf]’s first ever Wii Bowling Tournament? Here’s a recap!

Prizes went to the following:

Best Team Name: “Wii Just Wanna Have Fun” (Matt, Dianne, Dan, Kate)

Highest Individual Score:
Turtle – 247

Runner-up for Highest Individual Score:
Jeff – 246

Highest Team Score:
“DoDo-Tomogram” (Joe, Evan, Turtle, Jason) – 856

Lowest Score of t
he Night: Robbie

We also raised $94 with our snack bar. All the money is going to our sister church in Danli, Honduras, to help those who have been affected by the severe rain and flooding. Thank you to Cassy, Kati, Jenna, Amy, and Kristen for baking goodies for the fundraiser.

Mississippi Update

Hurricane Katrina was forming in the Gulf Coast about this same time 5 years ago.  Since the devastation caused by this hurricane in New Orleans and Mississippi coast areas, [nlcf] has organized both Winter and Spring break trips to lend a helping hand to our neighbors in need.

This past Spring Break, a group of students had the opportunity to work with SouthCoast Design Build on Paul’s house.  Paul is featured in a news story as he has just been able to move home (5 years later) after being displaced by the storm.

SouthCoast Design Build is in the running for a grant from Pepsi that would help to continue rebuilding the Mississippi Coast.  Vote for SouthCoast Design Build  and spread the word!

Ukraine Update

Privyet!

I wanted to briefly share about my 2 week missions trip to Ukraine.  For the first week, our team spent time in a town called Vorzel ministering in the same orphanage we did last year.  The second week was spent at a summer camp in the northern part of Ukraine that hosted orphans from 3 different orphanages.  There’s not enough room (except maybe in a book!) to share everything that I experienced in those 14 days!!  From a crazy flight situation leaving Dulles, to not having our luggage once we arrived in Kiev, to the bathroom and shower situation at camp, to eating potatoes for 3 meals a day (every day!), to missing the simple things like ICE & being able to flush toilet paper.  Yet, as I look back on my second trip across the Atlantic Ocean, one word sticks out that I feel sums it all up … SMILE!

One day while touring the city, I noticed that as we passed Ukrainians, they would say to each other “Americans.”  Not necessarily in a negative way but more just simply stating the fact.  I asked Nika (our translator), “how can they so easily spot us as Americans?”  She responded, “It could be your shoes because they are different from what Ukrainians wear or that you have water bottles, but it is probably because you are smiling.  Ukrainians don’t smile as much as Americans do.”  Over the years, Ukraine has been through tremendous hardship, leaving them with more sorrow than joy.  I believe this is just one of the reasons why it is so important for us to stand beside our sister church, Almaz, as they share the love and joy of knowing Jesus throughout Ukraine.

a few “SMILE” highlights:

* Ruslan was living in the orphanage last year when we visited.  He suffers from Cerebral Palsy and has little to no use of his legs.  He recently had surgery, but he was not rehabilitated properly after surgery so it wasn’t nearly as successful as it could have been.  The thing that amazed me last year, and again this year, is that you’d often find Ruslan smiling.  He finds joy in the little things – listening to music, taking pictures with your camera, gardening, and simply being out of his wheelchair and roaming the yard.

* Julia is from the Almaz Church and spent the first week with us in Vorzel.  At the end of the week, as we were saying our goodbyes, Julia (thru a translator) said, “I wish we didn’t have a language barrier because I’d like to be your friend.”  I quickly responded, “We can still be friends, Julia!”  And thanks to Google translator, hopefully the language barrier won’t be too much for us to handle.  It’s not like we had a lot of verbal communication between us during the week, but I believe God connected us through the joys from being with the kids exhibited on our faces.

* Maxim is a 9-year old boy we met during our second week at camp.  One day,, as I was walking back to my room, Maxim followed me on the path until he caught up with me.  He looked up at me, smiled, and then reached out to hold my hand.  For the next 48 hours (until we had to leave the camp), Maxim was by my side.  Most of our communication was simply done with smiles.

* The day we went souvenir shopping I found an amazing hand-painted glass picture!  Not only was it a cow (my fav!) but it was pink and teal and would look amazing in my guest room.  I went running down the street beaming to show the rest of the team.  As I was doing so, a Ukrainian man stopped me.  Thru a translator I learned that he was saying, “Stop. Let me look at you. You have the most beautiful face.  The best of the best.”  I thought to myself, this guy is crazy!  But after reflecting on this random encounter, I realized what he saw that was so amazing to him was just someone smiling!
You cannot help but be changed by an experience like this trip.

The greatest things I walked away with from my time was simply don’t underestimate a SMILE.

It can communicate so much and no translator is needed!!

The Least of These

It’s so easy for me to forget how much I have.  One of the times it’s easiest to be reminded of what you have is when you move.  Being in such a transient town, I am constantly greeted by people’s stuff as they move in or out of the dorms, when they move across town to a new apartment, or when they finally move into their first home.

This summer, I had to move 360 miles from Blacksburg to Virginia Beach for Leadership Training.  The program is ten weeks long, so I took most of my worldly possessions and shoved them into my ’92 two-door Honda Civic hatchback named Margie.  It may not seem like much, but when I compare my wealth to those who attend the United Inner-City Fellowship in Roanoke, I realize how blessed I am.

The United Inner-City Fellowship is a church made up of low-income families.  It is run by Pastor Mike English and his wife Billie.  Mike spends seven days a week collecting food from businesses all over the New River Valley.  Billie works full time to provide for their family. On Sundays, the two of them come together for two services where the Word is preached, God is worshiped, and the poor are fed.

NLCF has been involved with this church on-and-off over the years.  Over this past year, a number of students and I have been involved with going to their Sunday evening service and spending time with the children there.  The church has no “staff” other than Mike and Billie, so the kids only get focused attention if someone shows up to help.

In Matthew, Jesus speaks of Himself when He tells a certain parable.  He says, “I tell you the truth, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers of mine, you did for me” (Matthew 25:40).  Last fall I was experiencing a very difficult season of anxiety and seeming distance from God.  When a friend of mine told me that this church needed help with their kids, I remembered this verse and thought, perhaps I’ll find God here.

And I know I have.

The needs of these children are immense.  They all need food and clothing and toys.  But what they need most of all is Christ’s love.  That may sound really cheesy, but when you find out a brother and sister are being physically and emotionally abused by their mom’s boyfriend and you have to call social services, you realize that a drastic saving love is needed.

The little sister that I mentioned used to be extremely outgoing with all of us.  Then all of a sudden, one week she ran into the arms of Kristin, one of the volunteers who comes from Tech, and refused to be put down.  She wouldn’t even look at any of the guys that had come.  Instead, she buried her head into Kristin’s neck whenever any of us guys would approach. Starting then, we knew something wasn’t right.

Month’s later her brother finally let us know what was going on.  The things we’d feared had been happening were confirmed. We called social services and have been praying for them ever since.

For several weeks in a row we didn’t see the brother and sister.  The final Sunday before the summer, we prayed that we might minister to them one more time.  And God gave us this privilege and beyond what I had hoped.

The little girl ran into Kristin’s arms and stayed there most of the night.  During the hour we had with all the kids, we somehow digressed into giving the kids piggyback rides.  After watching the other kids get rides for a while, this little girl asked me from Kristin’s arms if she could have one too.

She got on my back and laughed continually until I gave her back to Kristin.  And later that night, she asked for another ride.

God is so good.

And this is only one story of many of the kids there.  We are constantly looking for more people to come out with us on Sunday nights to serve these kids.  If you want to see God’s love at work, come with us for a month.  Come with us for a semester.  You may laugh, cry, smile, feel awkward, gasp in shock at what these kids say, or find your heart broken.  But you will be serving “the least of these.”  And you will see God.

For more information, contact Brandon Thompson.