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Author Archive for Craig Walter

Double-Match your donation to Compass Ministries

boys1This Wednesday, May 21st, is the 2nd annual OmahaGives24 campaign here in Omaha. This is a citywide opportunity to make donations to your favorite charity and have part of your donation matched by funds from the Omaha Community Foundation.

There are many local charities that CCC loves who are participating but I want to make you aware of a DOUBLE-MATCH opportunity if you give to Compass Ministries. Compass is the after-school program in the Village One neighborhoods of North Omaha that CCC has partnered with for the last 23 years. Please remember that CCC does not provide any direct funding to Compass, we simply ask our people to generously support Compass through finances and volunteer opportunities.

Ok, here is the COMPASS DOUBLE-MATCH opportunity. Compass has a donor who will match donations given to Compass for up to $7,500. That’s right, if you give $25 then this donor will match that $25 at the end of the day. The reason this is a DOUBLE-MATCH is because then part of that $50 (your $25 plus the $25 match) will then get matched by the Omaha Community Foundation. Wow, what a great opportunity!

How do you give? Go to www.OmahaGives24.org and just follow the directions, its very simple. Giving starts at Midnight on Tuesday evening and ends at Midnight on Wednesday evening.

If you would like to know the exact details of how all this works, go to FAQ page on the OmahaGives24 website.

 

CCC Missions Update: Perrotto’s, Opportunity to Serve, and More

Here is a quick update on a few important things happening in missions and some ways you can serve our International Workers.

Perrotto’s to the Dominican Republic

Perrotto Family v2

In March we asked the people of CCC to step up and provide gifts for Matt & Teri Perrotto and their 5 children as they go to minister in the Dominican Republic for the next two years. Praise God, 100% of their financial needs have come in through one-time gifts and monthly commitments. Thank you CCC for your investment in reaching lost people in far away places!

The Perrotto’s landed in the DR on April 14th and are spending the first two weeks getting settled before their first intense ministry run begins. From early May through the end of August they will be very busy as they help host over 600 visitors from US churches.

Lisa Needs Your Help

Lisa Reynolds small

 

Lisa is a CCC international worker in India and she will be home this summer from June 16 through the end of August. She needs two things: (1) a place to stay and (2) a car to drive. If you are interested in helping with either of these things please contact Craig Walter at craigw@cccomaha.org / (402) 938-1536.

 

Pray for Health

We have two international workers who are struggling with health issues. Neither can be named at this time but God knows their need. Please pray on their behalf for healing, for peace, for their families, and for God’s will to be done in their lives.

Matt & Teri Perrotto … chasing God’s dream!

On January 13th, 2013, I received one of those emails that brightens my day. It was from Teri Perrotto, whom I had met but did not really know, and she said, “My husband and I have been thinking and praying about a family mission commitment.” Ok, pretty cool, I’m thinking they want to go on a short-term mission trip together.

Perrotto Family v2We met the following week and this was the first time I had ever met Matt. I learned that Matt was a successful chemical engineer, they have 5 kids, they play in an adult soccer league, Teri home schools their children … basically they are an all-American family. This is what its all about, right? They have it all – money, love, family, good health, a little God in their life. This is the American dream – this is what we are supposed to be chasing, right?

So my question for them … why would you want to give this all up to go do missions for a couple of years?

The answer was holy discontent. Oh, they didn’t use those words, but in Teri’s first email she said, “This is something that keeps coming up for both of us and we think if we have more information, God will make it clear to us.” Did you catch that? God was stirring in both Matt and Teri at the same time, they couldn’t get this out of their hearts and minds, he would not leave them alone. They couldn’t even identify exactly what God wanted or why, but they knew God wanted them to quit chasing the America dream and go serve him. God was replacing the American dream in their hearts with his dream.

Matt and Teri are not alone in this, as we have lots of people from CCC who have made a huge sacrifice to chase after God’s dream for the lives. Some have gone oversees, some do it right here in Omaha.

This all reminds me of one simple truth that I am still learning myself. God has a dream for our lives and it is not the same as the American dream. Which dream are you chasing?

Matt and Teri are moving from Omaha on April 14th with their 5 kids to serve for the next two years at a Christian & Missionary Alliance mission field in the Dominican Republic. Matt quit is job, they have sold their possessions, leaving close family and dear friends. Please pray for them as they embark on this new God-sized adventure.

Jenna Hager update from Zambia

Jenna Hager, and 18-year old from CCC, recently decided to forgo her first year of college to serve in missions overseas. She served the last fall in Guatemala for 2 months at an orphanage, and now she is in Zambia for 4 months serving at New Day Orphanage. Here is an update from Jenna.

IMG_0500My Zambian adventure has started off well. Living here seems so much like living in the United States, with the exception of the busy bustling of life, and that the Zambian lifestyle is how we as humans and Christians are called to live (in my opinion any ways). We work hard, have rest, enjoy fellowship, take time to talk to others and help a brother out, and are welcoming of others. The sun reminds me of the work to be done, the breezes the relief we can feel. Since it is the rainy season, rains come down and bring everything back to life. It is beautiful to see it rain here.

A great story. The other day, 5 of us set out to shop in a neighbor town called Choma, roughly 45 minutes away. We got there, and mid way through the afternoon, it started to downpour rain. We were informed that the bridge roughly 10 minutes away from the orphanage, that we had to cross to get home, was flooded and un passable. We left Choma, hoping by the time we got there it would have gone down. 13 hours later, after pulling one of our guys out of the mud, a rough nights sleep in the truck, an attempt and semi success of making a fire, and getting to talk with some others stuck by the river, we decided to go the back way, and though tricky, made it out safely. A trip that was only supposed to take maybe 6 hours, lasted 23 hours. It was a great time.

IMG_0561Teaching is going well. I teach Kindergarten Bible, Pre-K through 4th grade Music and Theater and kids morning devotion twice a week. While many of the kids here are believers, it is still good to fill them and talk with them on Christ, so I take every opportunity to do such. They amaze me with how much knowledge they have of the bible, the stories if has and the people of the stories. It encourages me to know that little ones do love to hear about their heavenly father, even in a world today of such brokenness and despair. Yes, there is much brokenness here, but God know’s what the situations are and know’s what each person needs, just like anywhere else. He is an awesome God.

My biggest prayer request would be for my health right now. Outwardly I am very healthy, but inwardly with my bad back, joints, knees and neck, I am not doing well. The pain is increasing and weighing heavily on me.
Prayer that either God would take this pain from me, or give me the strength to continue through it. His will be done through it all and not my own.

Thank you so much for the prayers and support you have given me.

God Bless,
Jenna

CCC team opens the door for Jesus in Mali

Earlier this month a team of 5 people from CCC were sent to Mali for a very specific purpose – use medical care for large animals to open the door for Jesus in local villages.

IMG_20140122_232Dr. Jerry Busselman (a veterinarian), Jamie Sell, Melissa Head, Brad Dunbar, and Randy Raether, spent about a week in multiple village in Mali providing much needed inoculations for over 3,400 cattle and hundreds more goats and sheep. As you can see from this picture, most animals in Mali have parasites which keep them from growing healthy. The medicine our team provided will allow these cattle to become healthy within a matter of weeks and therefore be more valuable to local farmers.

The beauty though from the hard work this team put in is the new open doors for Jesus.  They worked side by side with one of the local Pastors, visiting remote villages that have not been open to receiving the gospel but are eager to receive the vet team and the inoculations they bring. While the team was working hard the pastor was making connections with the village chiefs and planning to return with his team in a month to share the gospel. In all, our CCC team was able to visit 5 new villages that the pastors have not been able to previously visit.

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Not only were the native people impacted by the trip but the men and women from CCC that stepped out in faith to do this work were also greatly impacted. As one of the team members said, “This has been a life changing experience for me. To travel to a far away country that is so poor, and use something as simple as medicine for animals to bring the good news of Jesus to these people, how can this not be life changing?”

This is the 3rd time CCC has sent a team like this to Mali and it is an exciting opportunity to reach Malians with the gospel. As these local Pastors build relationships with village leaders, they gain credibility and they are given the right to then share the gospel with hundreds of Malians. In this 90% Muslim country this has been one of the most creative and effective ways to show the love of Jesus and share the gospel.

IMG_20140122_333Mali 2014 085

God is working in North Omaha! … through CCC and other Omaha churches

If you have been at CCC for a while, you have no doubt heard us talk about Village One.

IMG_5479In the summer of 2011 CCC started partnering with Bridge Church in North Omaha in their adopt-a-neighborhood program. At that time we started with an area of about 15 neighborhoods and we called this area Village One. Our goal then and now is to attract people into the arms of Jesus through Bridge church. By doing many different acts of love and kindness we want people to see and find Jesus. Since 2011  CCC has sent well over 1,000 different people to volunteer on many, many different projects in Village One, all in the name of Bridge Church. We have fixed up houses, painted houses, held huge block parties, prayed for people door-to-door, mowed lawns, held BBQs, picked up trash, and much, much more.

IMG_1620We are not the only church that has adopted neighborhoods in North Omaha, and at that time back in 2011 there were 3 other churches who had adopted neighborhoods so including CCC Bridge was working in about 30 neighborhoods. As well, at that time Bridge was averaging about 150 people for Sunday morning church.

So where do we stand today? Have we seen progress with this strategy? Are people finding Jesus at Bridge church?

Check out these recent statistics as we head into 2014:

  • Today, CCC has expanded Village One to now include 33 neighborhoods.
  • Today almost everyone in Village One knows Bridge Church, where in 2011 most people in Village One had no idea who Bridge Church was or where they were.
  • Today there are 13 Omaha-area churches who have adopted 106 neighborhoods. Those churches include CCC, Beautiful Savior, Calvary Chapel, Country Bible, Dundee Presbyterian, Glad Tidings, King of Kings, Lifegate, LifeSpring, Thanksgiving Lutheran, West Hills, Westside, and Community Bible.
  • In 2013, Bridge averaged 450 people for Sunday morning church and topped 500 on multiple occasions.
  • In 2013, Bridge baptized over 100 new Believers, some who came from Village One.

I continue to be amazed at how blessed we have been at CCC to be a part of what God is doing in North Omaha. Ron Dotzler, the founder of Bridge Church, often asks people.  ”If Jesus were to return to Omaha today, where would he go?” The answer is usually, “Well Jesus would probably go to North Omaha!”

I think we can see that Jesus is definitely alive and well and transforming lives in North Omaha!

There and back again … thoughts from my recent trip to Mali.

For the last 10 years CCC has been heavily invested in bringing Jesus to the country of Mali, one of the poorest countries in all of Africa. In early November I was blessed to take a 10-day trip to visit Mali (my 3rd trip to this amazing place) which never fails to impact my life. Over the next several weeks I want so share some insights and perspectives about life and ministry in Mali.

grindingIn a material sense, Mali is just flat out poor. It is poor in a way that we don’t really see or experience in America. Yet in many ways their poverty is less cumbersome to them than poverty in America because the poor in our country are surrounded by wealth. Not so in Mali. Even in the big cities the level of poverty is staggering and the so-called middle class in Mali would still be considered very, very poor by our standards. Yet in the midst of this poverty, we have an opportunity to show clearly the love of Jesus in ways that are small to us, yet life-changing for the Malian people. Let me share with you a recent example.

One of our ministry partners in Mali, an American missionary named Shawn McCabe, approached CCC about 6 months ago to see if we would participate in a project with him. His team is doing work in very remote Malian villages to bring the love of Jesus into these villages and the starting point is usually to address some of their physical needs. The particular project for CCC is to come along side a village to help them purchase a grinding mill. In this village, named Sanwan, there is no electricity, no running water, and food is scarce. This village is so remote there are literally no roads to get there, just dirt paths made over the years by donkey’s and people.

IMG_6868The women of Sanwan pooled their resources together over the last two years by literally taking a handful of grain each week and saving it. Not money but grain! When they put it all together and sold it they raised the equivalent of $1,000. Shawn then asked CCC to match this with up to $3,000, all of which could then be used to purchase a grinding mill for their grain. As part of DYI we invested this money in the project and the grinding mill has been purchased and installed (using solar for electricity).

This grinding mill will be life-changing for this village and the surrounding farmers. Previously the villagers had to grind their grain by hand, as you can see in this picture of the young lady with a baby on her back. Now they can grind all of their grain at the mill, which is must faster and more efficient. As well, they are able to charge for this service from surrounding villages and farmers, the proceeds of which can be used for other community improvement projects. IMG_6869

Of course from our perspective there is another upside. Seeing clearly the love of Jesus poured out to them by these “Christians” opens their hearts and minds to hearing more about Jesus. In a community such as this, where every last person is a Muslim, when you can show tangible Jesus-driven love that will feed people and care for their basic needs, it elevates the message of hope that you and I already enjoy.

When you get a chance, pray for the village of Sanwan and pray that this new grinding mill will not only change their earthly lives but also their eternal lives.

Craig Walter, Missions Pastor

Jenna Hager Update from Guatemala

Jenna Hager recently graduated from High School and is spending 2 months this Fall ministering at an orphanage in Guatemala before heading to Zambia for 4 months in the Spring.

As with every trip you take, you can only prepare so much, but just have to adjust once you get to where you’re going. Guatemala is no different. My first three weeks have been spent learning about each individual kid, student and worker and figuring out how I can serve each of them. As I have worked side by side with the women who help keep this Home running, I have learned some very valuable skills and life lessons that I know I will take with me.

One thing I have definitely learned is to always turn to God for strength, encouragement and guidance. He never leaves us, and always knows what we need right when we need it. My time here has been full of lessons, great playing time with the kids and challenges that keep me on my toes. But the most important thing I have been experiencing here is God’s love. Too many times to count, I have silently and audibly prayed to him for strength, guidance, and comfort. Every time He sends me just what I need; a surprise package of food I can eat, a break from working, a child coming up to me and giving me a big hug, and everything in between.

I love being here with the simplistic lifestyle and abounding love. I am thankful for every day I have with them, and look forward to other ways I can serve them in the upcoming month and a half left. I appreciate all of the prayers and encouragement I have received, and thank God for all who support me.

Thank you for your support.

Jenna

CCC short-term mission team in Guatemala

3CCC recently sent a team of 12 people to minister with CCC missionaries Norman and Vickie Sutton at their orphanage in Guatemala. Team members were Eva Rhoades, Michelle Harvat, Melissa Head, Christina Hadley, Megan Dirks, Kelsey Koch, Elizabeth Becker, Sarah Piercy, Kendra Moon, Alex Gregerson, Taylor Woodward, and Jovannah Ross. Below is a brief report from their team.

Vacation Bible School?  Check.  Work projects?  Check.  Trips to the villages to serve?  Check.  While these activities were a very valuable and necessary part of our trip, it was in the small moments and relationships that God worked through our team and in us.  For many of the team members, this short-term mission trip was not their first time serving overseas.  Many of us came into the trip with expectations of what we were going to be doing, how we would be serving, and also how God might show up.  We quickly learned that this trip wasn’t so much about “doing,” but about “being.”  It wasn’t so much about busyness, but stillness.  It wasn’t so much about talking and sharing what we knew, but about listening and relationships.  It wasn’t about independency, but about community.  It wasn’t so much about a final product, but about a journey.

4We were effective in serving the Guatemalans, continuing to build trust between the people and North Americans and in loving others.  However, God used many different people and events to show us what it was like to be served, to build trust and to love others.  We observed Norm and Vickie Sutton, the missionaries from CCC who serve at Hogar de Vida, serving the children, the people of Guatemala, and US!  We observed them loving on the children as if they were their own biological children.  We observed them building relationships, community and trust with their fellow workers at Hogar de Vida.  We experienced a love and concern from the Suttons that can only come from a deep and continual connection with God.

We went into this trip expecting God to show up and to move.  He did, in big ways.  Each team member is now moving forward from this short-term mission experience with different memories and different experiences.  However, we all take away the knowledge that we serve a mighty, great God, who can do anything with anyone who has a willing heart.

2Our team would like to ask you to be praying over the Suttons.

  • Please pray that they are supported financially.
  • Please pray that they continue to find time to rest and be still.
  • Please pray that they continue to stay healthy.
  • Please pray that they continue to make wise decisions regarding Hogar de Vida and other teams.

CCC short-term mission team ministers in Peru

072013 peru team 2A team of  10 people from CCC recently ministering Peru on a short-term mission trip to work with the ministry of CCC missionaries Dr. Allen and Amy George. Below is a report and some pictures of their experience.

CCC Team: Scott Wade, Tami Wade, Chris Confer, Bill Schmidt, Randy Christiansen, Kallie Christiansen, Aaron Brodahl, Molly Glover, Chris Sorenson, and Alice Holmes

We landed in Arequipa, Peru on the 21st of August and proceeded to Camp La Joya. Not knowing what to expect, we only knew we would be pouring concrete footings, however, the activities that we were involved in far surpassed our expectations. Each day, we had devotions with the Peruvian workers, Jim and Vegas Dargatz, (the missionary camp directors), and a missionary translator after breakfast. Starting the day with the Lord’s word and prayer kept the team inspired and energized.

2On Monday morning we started work on the new bath complex. The footings were dug when we got there and our part was to fill them with the huge mound of boulders that were on site and, of course, the concrete that we had to mix by hand and wheel barrow to the trenches. As you can see by the pics there were a lot of rocks!  We poured footings from Monday through Thursday then tied rebar for the column supports until we left on Friday at around 2:00 o’clock.

We had interesting things take place each day but always felt that the Lord kept us together with a desire to complete as much as we can in the time frame that we had.  We all were bitten up by noseums, which are gnat-like bugs that loved new blood, some more than others. They were extremely itchy and a great nuisance.

3This team was truly an awesome group of people and with the Lord’s help, did some amazing work. Each member was selected by God and each served a purpose for His glory. I have been around many construction crews who have not worked as hard as this team did. Men and women of varied ages doing work that would scare most people.This was only made  possible by the Lord.

Soccer is the favorite pastime of the Peruvians so, after work on two nights we enjoyed games with our Peruvian brothers. They were very happy to have people come to the camp that would oblige them with a game of soccer. We were greatly moved by Alex, a Peruvian worker, who on the following day of our first soccer game, praised the members for the game and for the friendships being made. His sheer candidness and openness moved some of us to tears as he shared his feelings about our team. He was offered Spanish Bibles brought over by team member, Bill Schmidt, to share with his family as did other members of their crew. They were moved by the gesture and it affected everyone in our team to see their appreciation and desire for the word of God. 

1Friday afternoon we moved into the city so that on Saturday morning we could help brother Allen put a roof on his family’s church. This was the icing on the cake to an already awesome week! They had been having night services at this church for years with no roof. We put a roof on the church, put a tarp along one wall where there was no wall, painted pictures with scriptures on them to decorate the walls and then ran electricity to the roof where we tied it into 6 lights to light their new church. We also repaired their bathroom plumbing and widened their steps! This was very satisfying, being able to finish a construction project and then seeing the Pastor and his wife at service on Sunday. Allen said that he’d never seen the Pastor’s wife smile that big. It was just awesome for everyone on our team to be able to work alongside the Peruvians and Allen, his family, and to experience what God is doing for their ministry in Peru.

We feel privileged and moved by our time in Peru. We feel that it has changed each member of our team and know that the Lord is making His presence known in this country.