Update from Honduras

Honduras is reeling from the latest storm. The Town of “La Democracia” outside of San Pedro Sula, Honduras, flooded again. People are either in shelters or in the streets. Our church building has been flooded for some time now and many of our members are still displaced.

We pray that the rains subside so it can dry out and folks can go back and assess what is left of their home and belongings.

Please continue to pray,

Heber Ticas
Superintendent of Latin America

Community Care Day at CenterPointe Church in Ohio

Early in October, our Love Avenue team held their first official activity since being reorganized as “The Love Avenue.”

We planned a neighborhood trash clean-up and school-supply-box give-away in our immediate neighborhood surrounding CenterPointe Church (GCI Grove City, OH) as a way to show love to our neighbors while still honoring safety concerns due to Covid-19. Teams of two or three people canvased the neighborhood cleaning up trash and handing out school-supply boxes to adults with children at home. We did not go door-to-door but approached people who were out in their yards as it was a beautiful fall day.

Some of our notable experiences:

  • We were able to catch a father who was cooking in his backyard. He was so gracious!
  • The first couple driving by slowed to ask if we were picking up litter. We said yes, and she said thank you, as they were getting older. They also offered to donate some men’s suits and gave us their contact info.
  • I didn’t see any children out, but [being a resident of the neighborhood] I enjoyed leaving boxes on the doorsteps where I knew children lived knowing that the boxes would be a surprise blessing to them.
  • One pair said that when they were on their way back, they saw two boys on a porch. The boys were on the porch going through the school supply boxes they had received. They were excitedly talking about what they had and what they’d be able to do with their gift.

Although only two CenterPointe members live in the neighborhood, everyone who participated felt more connected to the community in which we worship. The Holy Spirit was working to open not only the hearts of our neighbors but our own as well. Praise God!

 

Jen Gregory
Co-Pastor, CenterPointe Church

 

Ride & Seek Trunk or Treat in Surrey Hills, Oklahoma

One of our largest community outreaches the past few years has been the Surrey Hills Trunk or Treat. We had over 2,000 people last year, but knew it would not be a safe event to repeat during this pandemic. So the GC Surrey Hills team put our heads together and came up with a socially distanced version we christened the “Ride & Seek Trunk or Treat.” This was a neighborhood event that the whole community came behind, with eight local financial sponsors.

We had 10 neighborhood families set up trunks throughout the neighborhood, each with a social-distance-friendly way to dispense candy to kiddos that came through. We had trunk competitions and a digital costume competition for different ages with prizes and trophies.

We always talk about how important it is to find and get to know your target neighborhood. After spending years getting to know our neighbors, here are a few things we’ve learned:

  1. They always show up in a big way. It reminds me of that old saying from the movie Field of Dreams, “if you build it they will come.”
  2. If we love their kiddos well, the parents are all in. Our events are always family-friendly and encourage families to come out together and enjoy a multi-generational experience.
  3. The adults in the neighborhood LOVE a good competition.

So, with these things in mind, we knew we had to make this special and fun. Instead of simply giving them a list of addresses for each “trunk station,” we decided that we would instead give them clues they would have to decipher to find each location. Bring on the competition! This made the entire event much more challenging. We released a printable “blackout card” for people to bring with them to each station and they would get a special mark on those cards as they found each one.

The first 10 families to successfully complete the hunt and return to our “home base” at the church property with their blacked-out cards received grand prize packs. We also had completion prizes for everyone else. Pastor Joe, and his wife Megan along with Nikki and Matt Payne, and others, staffed our home base station and enjoyed a bit of costuming themselves.

It was a wonderful time and we had a great turnout. We had at least 400 participants, but I believe even more participated and chose not to compete. God continually moves and leads us to love our community well, even in the midst of a global pandemic.

Thinking outside the box has become a new way of life for us. Living in the “uncomfortable” to meet, love, and serve our brothers and sisters in Surrey Hills where they are has been a great blessing. We are so blessed to be able to join Jesus in his works as we participate in what he is doing in Surrey Hills. We are excited, we are humbled, we are thankful, we are loved. We are GCI.

Ceeja Malmkar
Love Avenue Champion
GC Surrey Hills

 

Prayers for the Philippines

People in the Bicol area had not yet recovered from the Category 5 Typhoon Rolly (local name), which hit less than 2 weeks ago, when we were visited by another destructive typhoon, Ulysses (local name), which caused heavy flooding in many areas in the South of Luzon, in Metro Manila, and areas in Central Luzon.

Typhoon Ulysses is not as strong as Typhoon Rolly (which was a Category 5) but it brought heavy rains, which resulted in heavy flooding.

I pray this will be the last for 2020. This year has been a very challenging year but through it all, we see God’s mercy and grace.

Belinda Natividad
Office Manager, Philippines

A “Praise God” Month for the Shallenbergers

 

October was a special “Praise God” month for Regional Director Rick Shallenberger and his wife Cheryl. Rick had the privilege of officiating at his son Lucas and Sydney’s wedding on Saturday, October 3. Because of Covid-19, the wedding party was limited and there were 19 people at the wedding. This made the entire weekend more intimate and special. Here is a picture of the couple’s “First Touch” as they read letters to each other. The wedding venue was in Big Butte Resort just off the Blueridge Parkway an hour outside Asheville, NC.

Three weeks later, Rick and Cheryl (Pop Pop and Mammy) welcomed their third grandchild. Grayson Bradley Elliott was born on October 28 to Kayla and Chris. Granddaughters Oliva and Cora are often heard to say, “He’s so cute.” The girls are adjusting well to the arrival of their brother.

Death of John Moskel

It is with sadness that I pass along the news that John Moskel died Tuesday, November 4. John seemed to be recovering well from a recent health setback, so his death came as a shock to his son Jesse and all those who loved John. John served many years as a GCI pastor, beginning in 1991 in Buffalo, NY. He then went on to pastor congregations in Olean, NY, Augusta, GA, and Orange, SC, and ended his pastoral duties in Columbia, SC, in June 2015.

Further details and his obituary can be viewed here.

Let’s pray for John’s loved ones as they grieve and say goodbye for now.

In the Resurrection and the Life,
Anthony Mullins
Regional Director USA, Southeast

 

2020 Healthy Church Photo Contest

Photo Contest Extended!

Did you miss your chance to submit photos to last year’s contest? This year, we are accepting photos of GCI events and services from 2015 through 2020. So, collect your throwback photos, or snap some new shots, and submit them to enter our 2020 Healthy Church Photo Contest.
Individual prizes include up to $150 in GCI Spreadshirt Web Store credit. The contest ends December 2.
For more information go to https://resources.gci.org/photocontest