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Archive for April 2012

Continue to Pray for Mali

Below is an update from Craig Hanscome, the Administrator at the Hospital for Women and Children in Mali.

Greetings from quiet peaceful Koutiala where life is not always easy but we are thankful to be here.  There are currently 10 of us back for the hospital. One challenge is that the power is cut in town for about 12 hours each day, which is a bit hard since this is the hot season and life in 90-100 degree weather without even a fan is not always pretty. Fortunately the power has not been cut as often at the hospital and even when it is we have a back-up generator.  Our nursing staff is stretched right now as we have 5 western nurses, two who will go on home assignment from May to July, then two more go from September to December, so please pray for them.

Politically things have settled down into a sort of power struggle with the existing political class and the group that staged the coup. Those groups have been assigned the job of restoring democracy to Mali through an interim government.  So far we have a new temporary president with a prime minister who worked with NASA in the past that are trying to put something together.  But the captain who lead the coup is still involved and there are maneuvers for power going on all the time.  There are negotiations going on with the rebels in the north and also some small signs of divisions and infighting among those rebels and the African regional bodies are also talking about military intervention.  So all in all we have kind of a status quo with a partially functioning government that is able to maintain only the most basic services. It could blow up at any time or go forward towards stability.  We are waiting and working while we can.

We have one huge prayer need to place before you all.  It concerns Dr. John, an OBGYN and fertility specialist who in his 50’s felt led to sell his practice and their dream home and go to France to learn French and then move to Mali and work at the hospital.  He was recently placed in charge of the Maternity side of the hospital and has been working on a program to let us train OBGYN’s with a USA degree.  His wife Carol has been starting our dental department.  They are key players at the hospital, but last month while on a short home assignment John found that he has brain cancer.  He had the tumor removed and the diagnosis is that apart from a touch of God on his body he may have only 1-2 years to live.  Would you please pray with us for a touch on his Body?  Thank you!

 

Project 4:4 – What You’ve Missed (Part 1)

Greg Nunamaker produced this amazing recap of Project 4:4 so far. If you’ve been wondering about whether or not to jump into Project 4:4, watch this video and then pick up with today’s reading!

 

100 Word Essay: Living God’s Way, Connie’s Story

Here’s another story from a recent Intersections participant.  The idea is to tell your story in a short printed format as a way to prepare for opportunities God gives you to share your faith.  See dozens of stories in addition to Connie’s at this link:

100 Word Essay

Living Life God’s way is My Goal

I have been in church since I was a baby.  I have been a children choir leader, member of the choir, MYF President, and did many active things for the Medodist Church growing up.  I grew up with a mother who never gossiped or said anything bad about anyone.  I was corrected all the time if I did something unkind. When I left home I realized not all men were like my dad who was also a Christian man.

I excepted the Lord when I was 14 years old with two of my best friends at that time.  I have found having the Lord in my life makes me a better person and love for all.  I am a risk taker so I sin from time to time and have to get back to basics.  I lost 3 jobs 11 years ago and really had God by my side.  It was extremely hard as I lost them due to lies, jealousy, and doing too good of job.  Next I got ovarian cancer stage 4 and my limp-nods were full of cancer too.  Cancer just returned last year.  I am cancer free at this time.

I found CCC church, put myself in a Journey group, Gathering, and a Woman’s Bible study called “Rock Solid” to work on getting God closer to me.  I always tell God I am yours and help me follow you.  We all are sinners and have to work at not being a “Hypocrite”.   It was a blessing for Jesus, the Holy Spirit, and me to loose my jobs and get cancer, as I can be more of a witness for God the Father.  People can’t understand why I am so happy.  You put Jesus, God the Father, and the Holy Spirit together and you come out with grace, compassion, and forgiveness in your heart and mind.  It is so much better to have Sunshine in your life instead of darkness.  God is the light in our lives.

Connie

Where Is God When? (2009 Message Series on the Life of David)

Right now, in Project 4:4, we are reading about the life of David. Despite David being one of the most influential characters of the Bible, and in human history, we are only having one Sunday message about him. One of the reasons for this decision is back in 2009 we did a thirteen part series on the life of David. The series was called “Where Is God When?” (more…)

Easter 2012: Explanation of the Temple

Here is the video introduction to the the Easter 2012 message, “Easter Outside the Box”. In this piece, Lead Pastor Mark Ashton provides context, and a thorough explanation, of the Temple.

“Christ Is Risen” script

One of the highlights of the Easter service was the “Christ Is Risen” performance piece. The idea was inspired by a similar piece Life Church did.

Micah Yost did a lot of work directing and producing the project, and crafting it to fit the Easter message and our culture. The script was written by Mark Demel, who was the sand animator from the Project 4:4 message “It All Starts Here”. Tyler Huckabee performed the spoken word, and also helped edit the script.

Thanks to Micah, Mark, Tyler and numerous other staff and volunteers who helped make this piece a reality.

We couldn’t post the entire video due to copyright. Here is the script in its entirety. (more…)

Update on the situation in Mali

Isn’t it amazing how life can go on pretty steadily and then suddenly things happen that create total changes in a short time! Well as you know we had such an event in Mali just a few short weeks ago.

From March 22 until present we have seen a coup d’état that toppled a 20 year old democracy, the almost total inability of the Malian army to function in the wake of the coup and a rebel movement that has taken control of over half of the country of Mali, declaring it an independent country.  The rebels are an Islamic group with ties to Al Qaida and are imposing Islamic law in parts of the rebel territory and declaring their goal to see all of Mali under Islamic law.

There was widespread looting in the north including of many charitable organizations who were there fighting the famine, so this has put a huge number of people at risk of starvation.  Though things have been quiet in Koutiala (the city with our hospital), with the potential problems and lack of mobility, there have been two different evacuations of Christian & Missionary Alliance personnel from Koutiala (and other towns) that has left just six workers at the hospital as the only C&MA missionaries left in the country.

Craig Hanscome, the hospital administrator, emailed and provided a list of strange things he found himself doing in these last weeks.

Going the bank every day to draw out the $4,000 max that the mission could take from the bank.  (Before the banks finally closed)

Emptying three of our 55 gal storage barrels and filling them with Diesel for the hospital generators,(at 9:30 pm because we were afraid of fuel shortages.)

Buying 2000 liters (over 500 gallons) of Diesel over the 4 day time period. This will allow us to run the hospital on generator for over 10 days.

Establishing a web of contacts in northern towns so we would have early warning if the rebels were heading towards Koutiala.

Using back up UPS power to do internet in the middle of our daily 12 hour power cuts.

Recently, the news is looking better, the Junta has agreed to turn power over to the head of the Parliament.  The ex-President has stepped down and now they have to figure out how to hold elections in a country split in two.  So there is still tons of need for prayer.  The C&MA will be talking in the next week about when and if workers who have left the country can come back.

There is talk of sending in troops from the W African countries (which has its own set of complications) to either fight the rebels or protect the borders. The people on the street are very discouraged with their government, leaders, army, court system, etc.  The feeling is that no one cares for the country but that those in power are only interested in taking advantage of their position to gain money and power.

So pray for Mali, pray that this will be a time when Jesus’ light shines very strongly. Pray for people to begin asking questions of their own beliefs as they see things done that are not in conformity with what they are taught. Pray for believers in the rebel north who are at the least being persecuted and at the worst threatened with death.

 

Easter 2012

What an amazing weekend of services at Christ Community Church. It was amazing to witness what God did in and through CCC to minister and serve the people attending.

We saw over 6,200 people attend services at Old Mill, Sarpy, Online and at the Douglas County Jail. (Over 6,600 when you include Good Friday services.) More importantly, we’ve already heard numerous stories of people drawing closer to Jesus. People are making decisions to follow him. They are wanting to live a life where the unbox God from the previous limitations they had put on him. (more…)

Beyond The Message: Douglas County Jail Campus

In the latest Beyond The Message, I sit down with Mike Goett. Mike is the Campus Pastor at the Douglas County Jail. Mike and I talk about the work he is doing with the men at the jail, and what church looks like inside the jail.

 

The Tension of Numbers and Mission with the Online Campus

Two months into the life of the Online Campus and I’m ecstatic with the stories that have come forth. People are being ministered to, and served, through an online format. What seemed ridiculous to some, or science fiction to others, is a reality that is reaping a great reward.

Something that has come up is people are connecting through the Online Campus, and then getting connected at one of Christ Community Church’s physical campuses. Whether new to the area, or just checking the church out, they attend the Online Campus to get a feel of CCC. It’s a safe way to find out more about the church, and engage initially on their terms. The online services are engaging and fun, so for a number of people they want to get connected in person.

(more…)