LIVE IN
CCC blog

Missions

Bringing Jesus to Shepherds in Mali

cap2Much of Mali, as you can see from this picture, is very rural and barren land with small villages full of farmers and shepherds. Not unlike during the time of Jesus, shepherds are considered the lowest of the low, spending most of their time out in the fields with cattle, goats, and sheep. Rarely would anyone visit them, care for them, or bring them good news. Yet this is exactly what a team from CCC did just weeks ago near the village of Fama.

9Q3A1000

 

Fama, a small village of a few thousand Malians, is located about 90 minutes southwest of the CCC hospital. The good work of the hospital over these many years has softened the hearts of the people to these outsiders called “Christians” and so this was a key village for our team to visit. This team of 6 from CCC – Adam Cassidy, Von Walter, Dr. Jerry Busselman, Paul Lanphier, Aaron Goldsmith, and me (Pastor Craig Walter) – partnered with some of our missionaries in Mali and Malian Pastors to de-worm about 3,000 of their cattle over 2 days. For these families and farmers this is an amazing act of love because this de-worming will cause their cattle to often double their weight, making them much more valuable when they are ready to sell. Yet even more amazing is not just the opportunity to see the love of Jesus in action, but for some a chance to hear the good news about Jesus Christ. This is where the shepherds come in.

After working hard in the middle of a cattle pen all morning….

9Q3A0956 9Q3A1024 9Q3A1004

 

… we were able to gather these shepherds under a tree and tell them the story of Jesus. Missionary Jake Tillett (in the center of the picture below) is sharing the gospel in their native tongue of Bambara. These men, young and old, have probably never heard of Jesus before. These shepherds, used to being ignored and mistreated, for a few minutes were given special attention and prominence by the God who loves them so much he died on a cross for them.

This is what it looks like to take the gospel to far ends of the Earth. If there is a place called the middle of nowhere, a small field near the village of Fama in Mali is about as close as you can get to being there. What a joy it was for our team to bring the good news to this village and to advance the work of our missionaries and Malian Pastors in Fama and other villages in Mali.

gospel1

 

Pennies can make a difference

IMG_0977

If you were in church on January 15th, you might remember hearing Pastor Mark mention how the children of CCC raised $2,787.33 to purchase 115 Chinese Study Bibles for pastors in China! Many of these pastors in China lead dozens of small house churches and are desperate for Bibles like these that can help them learn how to teach the Bible to their congregations.

It all started when an anonymous donor gave $250 and we challenged the children to match that amount in one month. The 4th and 5th graders really got behind the challenge and they easily went well above $250. Not to be left out, our Wednesday Boys Club challenged the Girls Club and in just one night, combined, they brought in over $110!

To make it even more fun we set up two mini shopvacs (nicknamed “Offervacs”) as their offering “basket”. The kids brought their money in, turned on the Offervac and watched as it sucked up their money.

This was a great opportunity for the leaders to teach the kids how important it was for them to bring in their own money and not to ask their parents for money. So we brainstormed ways they could raise the money (doing extra chores, helping neighbors, etc.), or what they could give up (a cup of hot chocolate on a Sunday morning) in order to bring in money to purchase the Bibles!

It was so amazing watching kids come in with bags full of pennies, nickels, and dimes. Week after week they kept it up, bringing in what they had earned this week, to help buy these Bibles. They never gave up. In the last two weeks in December, they donated $45 each week!

It’s so fun to watch kids helping kids, and we already have a new project ready for 2017, where our kids will help kids in Peru afford to go to Bible camp. We can’t wait to see how many they will be able to send.

IMG_0971

Perspectives at CCC

blue

 

Before I became the Missions Pastor at CCC, I was guy who sat in the seats on Sunday morning just like everyone else. But my wife and I both loved missions work and took every opportunity we could to get involved. We went on short-term mission trips, we gave money to various projects, and we helped out wherever we could. But over the years I came to realize I didn’t really know a lot about the strategy behind missions. I didn’t really understand why missionaries would do the things they do. I didn’t really get why God would use ordinary people like me to advance his cause in the world. Maybe, like me, you struggle with some of these same questions. This is where the Perspectives class comes in.

Perspectives is an amazing, 15-week class designed for the average, hard-working, regular person who wants answers to basic questions about missions. You simply won’t find a better opportunity to learn about the history of missions, the strategy of missions, the culture of missions, and the future of missions. This class will give you insight into why God would use a regular person like you to change the world.

Perspectives is being offered in 2017 to anyone in the city of Omaha, but CCC is blessed to be the class host. Starting on Monday, January 16th, in the CCC student center, I am inviting you to participate. Just go to the Perspectives website and click Register to get started.

If you are not sure yet if you really want to take the class, the cool thing is that you can come the first couple of weeks for free. Just show up at the student center and sit through the class to see if it’s for you. Hope to see you there!

 

Better Together Christmas Store 2016

As a dad with adult children (25, 21, and 16), I was reflecting recently how different this Christmas season feels to my wife and me. We have such fun memories of our kids when they were younger, and the excitement of buying them special Christmas presents and the excitement they had as they opened them. Yet the reality is, for many families who live in poverty, Christmas ends up being the exact opposite. Moms and dads and grandparents feel the stress of wondering if they can even afford to buy their kids anything. In fact, our friends from Bridge Church recently shared with me that many families will actually not make their house payment in December so they can buy gifts for their kids.

The Better Together Christmas store was put together for these families!

img_0469Last weekend, over 100 families from Village One, Franklin School and Bridge Church came with whatever money they had to shop for their kids in a dignified way at the store. With the over 1,200 gifts and toys that CCC donated discounted up to 70%, parents and grandparents were able to choose the right gifts for their children at an affordable cost.

I recall one couple that were so thankful to shop around and find the exact Easy-Bake Oven that their daughter had been wanting all year long. Others were in tears when we gifted them a few dollars as they didn’t have quite enough money.

img_0497Another lady came prepared to pay for her sister’s shopping, but we were able to bless her sister’s family by telling her she didn’t owe a penny. Her debt had been paid, just like Jesus has paid own debt in dying for us. What a special message to convey at Christmas!

A grandmother showed up with $120 to buy gifts for all six of her grandchildren that were living with her. Not only did she go home with amazing gifts like a bicycle and dolls for her grandchildren, she didn’t have to spend all her money to do it.

The toys were just a small part of the reason for putting on the Christmas store. The home run for us is to help Bridge Church develop relationships with people in the Village One community and for the love of Jesus to shine bright. Thank you, Christ Community, for coming alongside what God is doing in Village One and helping to meet a felt need in the community. Let’s keep praying for Bridge Church and for all the people we touched this Christmas in Village One!

img_0511

Transformed lives in Mali

From Jake Tillett, co-worker of Carey Schlieker in West Africa.

Pierre came to know the Lord last year after talking with some pastors who were visiting his village. Pierre has had a long-term bone infection that just wouldn’t go away, so the pastors sent him to our hospital for treatment. His condition required him to be seen in the clinic every day, but he didn’t need to stay in the hospital, so he took up residence in our guest house which serves patients like him. Because he was a new believer, several of us, including the hospital chaplain, spent time discipling him. He eventually learned to read and got a Bible.

A few months later, another young man, Amadou, came to live in our hospital guest house in order to get physical therapy and treatment for a muscle disease. Amadou came from a village that has no Christians, and though he’d heard the Gospel during the showing of the Jesus film by one of our evangelism teams, he really hadn’t spent much time with any Christians. He and Pierre quickly became friends, and after some time together, Amadou really began to consider the Gospel. He asked Pierre if he could become a Christian. He has also gone on to learn to read and now has a Bible that he carries with him everywhere.

The two of them started (and maintain) a prayer group for patients at the hospital, praying together every morning and evening. Really neat to see the Lord transforming the lives of these young men.

Continue to pray for both of them. Pierre’s treatment is almost over and he will head home. Amadou’s condition is not curable with what we have here in West Africa, so we are asking the Lord for miraculous intervention.

pierre-and-amadou

Building relationships with Trunk-or-Treat

At CCC, we love to tell stories about Village One and the lives that God is transforming through Bridge Church. But through our new Better Together Neighborhoods program, your Journey Group can do more than just hear what is going on, you can get directly involved in a neighborhood. In the last few months, Tim and Kim Wilkinson’s Journey Group “adopted” one block in Village One by partnering with Jim and Rosie Schuman, the family who lives in the CCC Lighthouse. Their group is creating ways for Jim and Rosie to reach out to their neighbors and build relationships. “We are all called to serve, so we serve when we see a need,” said Kim. And last Saturday, there was a need to provide a safe and fun environment for the kids in the neighborhood.

dsc_1801-newIn a parking lot near Village One there were close to a dozen trunks decorated for Trunk-or-Treat where neighborhood children could come and have great fun. Volunteers were ready to greet the kids and the families from the community. A couple of the trunks were from organizations around Omaha, including the Wilkinson’s trunk fully decorated as Finding Dory. But most of the trunks were decorated by people from the neighborhood and this is a neighborhood that in the past has enjoyed keeping to themselves. Praise God that neighbors are starting to reach out and build community with each other!dsc_1816

Children came from all over. Many of the kids had store bought costumes, but there were also children who put together costumes from whatever they could find at home – how creative! Throughout the event, you could meet Muhammad Ali; a referee; Batman (and Batgirl); a fisherman; various princesses; and one family, including mom and dad, dressed up as the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. But in the end, it didn’t matter if you had a costume or not, everyone had fun and more than enough candy.

So, what is God doing through a simple event like Trunk-or-Treat? He’s building relationships. An event like this helps to build the relationships that Jim and Rosie are forming with their neighbors. A neighbor that Rosie has been connecting with recently over the last year, brought her trunk and decorated it for the event. She expressed her loneliness and her desire to be more involved in events like this one. Praise the Lord, Rosie made plans to pick her up for church next week! God is working in this lady’s life.

Talk with your Journey Group and pray about how you can get involved with serving Jesus in Village One. Praise God that He is working in the lives of people in Village One and that He would choose to use us to be apart His work!

dsc_1820

The Perrotto Family – Mission in Miami

family pic 2Matt and Teri have five children, Alec, Marcus, Ellah, Madelyn and Isaac with ages ranging from 15 to 5 years. Matt and Teri were born and raised in Omaha, Nebraska and chose to raise their family and build their lives there, until God prompted them to make a change. Separately, they were involved with missions in college and for a short time after. Once they were married and had children, it was something they put on hold until joining Christ Community Church (CCC) in Omaha in 2010. While attending CCC Matt and Teri became involved with youth ministry and the family enjoyed helping with community outreach in North Omaha. In November of 2012, Teri was blessed to go on a short term mission trip to China.

Sometime in the fall of 2012, Teri and Matt had a discussion about a long-term family mission trip. They found out that this is something they both had been thinking about quite often, but just hadn’t really talked about. This was the beginning of them sensing God’s call on their lives to be missionaries. In April of 2014, they left everything and moved to the Dominican Republic for a 2-year ministry assignment with an Alliance organization called Envision. While in the DR, the entire family participated in the Mission which built a new church in an impoverished area, expanded 2 other churches that desperately needed more space, painted numerous churches, led thousands of children in VBS, ran sports clinics where they shared the Gospel with the participants and saw God move through prayer ministry in many villages. Their time in the DR passed quickly and the second summer was nearing its end. During that time, they were asked if they would be interested in leading a new Envision site in Miami, Florida with the Alliance. Through a lot of prayer Matt and Teri sensed God leading them to Miami and recently have accepted the Site Coordinator position. They have come back to Omaha to work on raising financial and prayer partnerships.

In Miami, the Perrottos will be working alongside Alliance churches in a multi-cultural setting (Latino, Haitian, Russian, Chinese, and North American). They will be serving in the inner-city and surrounding areas to revive the city for Christ. They will be starting a new Envision Site from the ground level, which will be designed to facilitate short term mission trips while focusing on discipleship of interns and youth. You are invited to join in this work for the Kingdom. Please consider your part, whether it be prayer support, financial partnership or participation in a short term mission to serve God in Miami.

If you would like to discuss this further, please contact us.

email mtap5@yahoo.com  Matt (402)999-2465; Teri (402)999-2462

Update from Dominican Republic

Here is the latest update from the Perrotto family and their ministry in the Dominican Republic.

family pic 1What’s happening in the DR?

In the past few updates, we told you that there were going to be some changes here within our mission team.  Up until a recent announcement, our assignment was still yet to be determined, but we remained confident that God has us here for a purpose.  Our former site leaders are moving out of the leadership of the Envision Mission and into a different branch of ministry.  Brandon and Bethany Nutter are now the site leaders and our role will be to work in support of them, and along the C&MA church in the DR to help them grow their ministry to reach more people with the Gospel.

Through these past few months, we learned more than ever what it means to wait on the Lord.  I can’t say it is easy, but I trust the He knows more about what we need than we do.  I am thankful for the people he has put in our lives during that time who encouraged us and walked alongside us.  I also want to thank all of you for your prayerful support and messages of encouragement.  We needed it these past few months more than ever.

Our upcoming schedule

We are in the preparation stages for hosting 19 short term mission teams in Santiago this summer.  These teams are coming from all over the U.S. and they will be helping the DR churches with projects that they would have a difficult time getting accomplished otherwise.  Through this process, the churches who come and serve will not only have a tremendous impact in the DR, but will return to serve in a new way in their home churches.  As for our responsibility, it will still be to facilitate the work that the teams do when they come, with a few more added responsibilities.

Please pray with us…

Dear Heavenly Father, thank you for your faithfulness, your kindness, your gentleness and your willingness to be involved with all the little details of our lives.  We praise and thank you for the plan that you have in mind for each one of us and how your grasp around us cannot be shaken.   Please bless all the missionaries here and around the world in the ways that only You know they need.  Please guide us as we prepare to host mission teams to do your work here in the DR.  We pray that your work will be accomplished in and through all who come here to serve. In Jesus’ name Amen.

Thank you all so much for your faithful support!

Matt, Teri, Alec, Marcus, Ellah, Madelyn and Isaac

Scott & Tami Wade need your support to reach children in Peru

Wades to PeruI’m excited to introduce Scott & Tami Wade to everyone at CCC. I’ve known the Wades for several years and they have been amazing volunteers helping with missions work overseas (in places like Mali and Peru) and locally in Omaha. In fact, Scott & Tami got engaged just four years ago on a short-term mission trip to Mali, so serving in Missions is just part of their marriage DNA.

It was a few years ago that they came to tell me that they are confident God has called them as a couple to serve as a light to the world somewhere overseas. For a while it was unclear just where this might be, until they went on a short-term trip through CCC to minister in Peru. This was a simple trip to build a bathhouse at a youth summer camp, but God had much bigger plans. It was here they learned that the missionaries who run the camp are close to retirement and in need of a new couple to come and take over their ministry. It was in that moment that God grabbed their heart for the children in Peru.

Here in Nebraska our camps (like Camp Rivercrest) can only run a few months out of the year. But in Peru, where the weather is pretty much always nice, the camps can run year round. So this camp has over 3,000 children and youth coming throughout the year, many of which do not yet know Jesus as their Savior. So its that simple – children in Peru need Jesus, they can find Jesus at this summer camp, and you can be a part of that right from the comfort of Omaha.

In 2014 the Wades applied with the mission organization SIM (and will work under CCC missionaries Dr. Allen & Amy George) and have been accepted for a long-term position in Peru. Now they are asking other Kingdom followers at CCC and beyond to join their team. They really need three things:

Like all of our missionaries, they need tons of prayer, and I don’t say that lightly. The forces of evil will be working hard to keep Scott & Tami from getting to Peru, and prayer is our most powerful weapon.

Like all of our missionaries, they need your friendship. Having a long-lasting relationships with people here at CCC that they know will pray for them and support them is vital. Once someone decides to go to the mission field they often end up on a relational island, which can be a lonely place.

And like all of our missionaries, they need your financial support. The wades need over $4,500 per month in consistent support and $70,000 up front to make this all happen. Those are daunting numbers for us but they are trivial to God.

You can stop by their booth in the Atrium on Sunday to meet them and start to build a relationship. You can give one-time or monthly through CCC by going to www.cccomaha.org/give. And you can contact the Wades directly to learn specifically how to pray for them and maybe even invite them to your small group at scott.wade@sim.org.

Craig Walter, Missions Pastor

Update from the Perrotto Family in the Dominican Republic

In April of 2014 CCC sent Matt and Teri Perrotto and their 5 children to minister in the Dominican Republic for the next two years.

The other day in Church, the first song we sang was “I Surrender All”. Truthfully, I had a hard time keeping it together. This song has a lot of meaning for me. It was in Spanish, as is every church event we attend, and contrary to many of the songs and words, I recognized this one right away. Before we left for the DR, we had a sendoff from Christ Community and during the service, we went in front of the congregation to share about the Mission we were about to embark on. During one of the services, I sang this song in Spanish. Today it hit me pretty hard at Church because God reminded me of what this Mission is all about.

To be honest, it has not been easy for our family. We have had many positive and amazing things happen, and we have made some great friendships. Along with all that, there has been some difficult times too. Sometimes it seems like it would be easier just to give up and go home. But the Lord reminded me today that although following Him is not always easy, it is what He calls us to do. When things don’t go well, it is easy to question if we heard God correctly. But we believe with all our heart that God called us here, and also that He knew that it was going to be difficult at times. I have learned to take comfort in that knowing that He is in control, and on a daily basis, I need to surrender all of it to Him…my joys and my worries.

Here is a link to the song I am talking about. It is a beautiful song.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ULNH9svens0

Please pray with us… Lord, it is not always easy to surrender everything when we have difficulty staring us in the face. Help us to trust you through and praise you through it all, and to remember that you will never leave us or forsake us.

Thank You for your partnership in prayer, Matt, Teri, Alec, Marcus, Ellah, Madelyn and Isaac