Prayer Partner Update, Christmas and Shoes!

It’s been awhile since I’ve done one of these. I have a few things to bring you up to date on and ask for you to pray about.  First, our Christmas Outreach project is nearing completion as our property missionaries will do their Christmas parties starting the week of December 10. This year 755 kids in 241 families will receive Christmas presents that they would not otherwise receive. While this is an awesome thing, ultimately, we want them to know that God sent His Son so they can have their sins forgiven. Please pray that the seeds of the gospel will be planted in these residents’ lives and that they will know they have a Savior that loves them.

Our shoe closet ministry is in full swing. So far this year, we have given away 636 pairs of shoes and have expanded the number of schools we’re working with to 41. It’s been a challenge to keep the shoe closet stocked at adequate levels. If you check out this link, http://www.missionamarillo.org/shoe-closet/needs , you can see that we have 6 men’s sizes and 5 women’s sizes that are out of stock. We have 15 men’s sizes with less than 3 in stock and 5 women’s sizes with less than 5 in stock.

We have implemented a few things to help us cope with this. First, we have collection barrels that we can put at your church, business, or civic organization. So far, three elementary schools, two campus organizations at WTAMU, and the advising office of Amarillo College have collected shoes for us. If you would like a shoe barrel to be brought to your location, please contact me and I’ll be sure to get you one as soon as possible.

Second, on Saturday, December 8, 9am-noon, at Paramount Baptist Church north parking lot, we are doing our first $5 shoe clearance sale. When shoes are donated, many of them are not the athletic type shoes we give out to students. Instead of giving these away, we have kept them to the point of accumulating over 1000 pairs of shoes. We will sell these for $5 a pair on Saturday, December 8 and use the proceeds to purchase more athletic shoes.

Third, we are seeking grants and encouraging churches, business, and individuals who do not want to do a shoe collection to give an offering to Mission Amarillo. Through these three methods, we hope the Lord will provide a steady stream of shoes so our attention can stay on getting them to the schools rather than put some much time and effort into collections. Please pray that the Lord who owns the cattle on a thousand hills will provide as He sees fit so we can continue to meet students needs.

We are constantly looking for new ways to help those in poverty, build relationships with them, and communicate the gospel through those relationships. We are currently looking at jobs curriculum that will teach people how to find a job, interview well, get the job, and keep it. The evaluation process involves several individuals I respect. We should have at least one meeting before Christmas and then will make final decisions after the first of the year. Please pray that the Lord would give us all wisdom and help us either find or develop a curriculum that will help those in poverty find and keep a job.

Last of all, please keep two churches in your prayers. First Presbyterian Church and Mercy Church are in the process of becoming involved in the lives of parents at elementary schools in our area. These parents face a lot of challenges that many of us could never relate to. Please pray that the Lord would give these two churches wisdom as they seek to not only help parents, but communicate the hope of the gospel to each family. My hope is that these churches could be a model for other churches to follow.

Thank you for your prayers and support. Feel free to ask any questions in the comment section. I’ll be glad to answer as best I can.

Grace,

Jeff Parsons, Director

Prayer Partner Update – The Walk is Almost Here!

Faithful prayer partners,

Our first fundraiser, Chick-fil-a Walk a Mile in My Shoes is quickly approaching! I’d like to thank our event sponsors, Chick-fil-a, McFarlin’s Jewelers, and First United Bank for making the walk possible. I’d also like to thank our big shoe sponsor, Xcel Energy, and small shoe sponsors Amarillo National Bank, Advanced Eye Care of Amarillo, and Snack Pak 4 Kids. You’ve helped us get the walk off the ground and we will always be grateful. We will be doing a registration day at all area Chick-fil-as from 10-2 Saturday, May 19. If you can’t come to Chick-fil-a to pick up a packet, you can download one by going to the home page of this website and clicking on Walk a Mile in My Shoes. Packets and donations can be turned in at the Get Fit location on Georgia or you can simply bring them to the walk. We hope to see you there! Please pray that this walk would raise the money needed and that God would give us wisdom to use the money He gives us to minister to those in poverty in our community. If you’d like to help us collect shoes we need, go to the shoe closet tab on the home page of this website and click on “Needs”.

We have 9 mission groups that will serve this summer. They will do work projects ranging from painting homes of the elderly living in low income neighborhoods to organizing the shoe closet to doing maintenance at Hope Welcome Center. In the afternoons, these groups will do Summer Kids Clubs in apartment communities throughout Amarillo. Please pray that God would use these groups to bless those they minister to and that they would learn a lot about God’s redemptive purpose and the role they play in it.

As we near the end of the school year, I stand in utter amazement at all that God has done through Mission Amarillo. As of this writing, we have given away 1,662 pairs of shoes to students in Amarillo, Bushland, Canyon, and River Road ISDs. Receiving a new pair of shoes means a lot to a student. Stephanie Braddock of the Bushland ISD does a summer camp for impoverished kids in her school district. When she asked one student what he looked forward to most at camp, he replied, “Getting a new pair of shoes!”. Lisa Boydston at Sanborn Elementary told me of one fifth grade girl who was all smiles when she received her shoes and was still smiling when she saw her in the hall two hours later. I’m thankful God has chosen to us Mission Amarillo to show these kids He hasn’t forgotten for them. Please pray that God would continue to use Mission Amarillo to affect kids lives.

Last of all, remember our ministries in the apartment communities. Our property missionaries do a great job of loving the residents and meeting needs. We have four communities that are primarily refugee communities and have their own unique set of blessings and challenges. Some of these communities have residents who have lived there for years and others who only stay a short time and move on. However, our volunteers serve faithfully no matter the circumstances and do a great job of showing the love of God to the people who live in these communities. Please pray that they would be encouraged, that they would experience the joy of serving, and that God would bless them and give them a sense of peace as they serve Him in these communities.

Thanks for your faithful prayer support. Come out to the Walk if you’re available on Saturday, May 26!

Grace,

Jeff

 

Prayer Partner Update – 3/20/12

Faithful Prayer Partners,

Spring Break 2012 was a resounding success! Throughout this update, I’ll include some pictures of the work the mission groups did throughout that week. FBC Earth, FBC Idalou, Calvary BC Friona, and Rush Creek Church Arlington painted four houses, added dress shoes and seasonal shoes to  inventory and organized the hygiene and household items at A Step Up, and did kids clubs in five apartment communities. I’m beyond thankful for groups that will come and sacrifice their week to help the least of these. They did an outstanding job and I look forward to working with them again.

Now that the hygiene and household items are on the shelves, we only need a few more items to make our inventory complete. Throughout the rest of this week, I will be speaking with area businesses and grocery stores to see how they can help us collect these items. Please pray that the we would be able to collect all the items we need and that the families who receive them would be blessed and know that God is showing them His kindness. We will make these items available through the schools this week, so please pray with me that this would be an effective ministry that blesses those who receive.

We have two new outreaches to pray about. First of all, the pastor at Eastridge BC has begun holding a bible study for Burmese Karen (pronounced Kah-RIN) and Kareny believers at Green Tree Village. We have an existing church plant there that attracts African refugees there and it’s a beautiful thing to see two pastors cooperating to reach residents for God’s Kingdom. Please pray for the work at Green Tree Village, that God would make His name famous, that He would open the hearts of  the many Muslims that live there, and that all residents there would be reached with the gospel of Jesus.

One of our board members, Will Ratliff, has gathered a team and begun knocking doors and praying with residents at Glenwood Apartments. He hopes that some sort of missional community will form out of these efforts. So far, people have been receptive to the offers for prayer. It’s possible that they have met their person of peace there, so please pray for God to use Will’s team to make disciples of the residents of Glenwood Apts. and the surrounding area.

While at the Verge Conference earlier this month, I met with a campus pastor from an Amarillo church who is considering enlisting at least one small group to invest in an area elementary school that is in an impoverished community. I plan on meeting with him again this week to talk more about what this outreach would look like. Please pray that the Lord of the Harvest would prepare the hearts of the people in this area to receive His gospel and to give this church patience as they learned the challenges of reaching people in poverty.

As part of the upcoming Opportunity Conference, our Wheels to Prosper team will give away a car to a needy family. They are in the process of evaluating applications, so please pray that the Lord would guide them to the family that would be helped the most. Reliable transportation is often the biggest obstacle to a family transitioning out of poverty, so we’re excited to see God bless a family in a way that could have long term impact.

Last of all, please pray for us as we continue planning our first ever fundraiser, Walk a Mile in My Shoes, May 26.  We are in the process of finding sponsors and registering teams. Our goal is to raise $12,000 through Walk a Mile in My Shoes and our fall banquet, Miles of Hope. Please pray that the Lord would inspire some area businesses to sponsor us and that we would have plenty of teams to participate in the walk. We’re excited about these fundraisers and appreciate your prayers as we continue the planning involved.If you or your business would like to be a sponsor for the walk, please contact me at jspmho@gmail.com or give me a call at (806) 236-3487.

Thank you for your prayers and support.

Grace,

Jeff Parsons, Director

Prayer Partner Update/Stories from the field, 1/4/12

As we get things started in 2012, I think it’s important to take note of what God has done so far. Hopefully, this will inspire all of us to realize what a privilege it is to participate in Mission Amarillo and all of her partner ministries. Here are a few of the emails I received over the last few weeks regarding our shoe closet. These point out both the need and the joy that results from delivering the shoes:

From Sanborn Elementary School: “I need a boys size 2 for a kindergartener!

p.s.  Wish you could have seen the smile on the 5th grade girl’s face when I gave her those silver shoes.  Just saw her in the hall  and she still has a smile on her face!! Thank you so much for everything!!!”

From Eastridge Elementary School:”I have a little first grader that is wearing shoes that the whole sole is coming off. Girl Size 11 children’s”

“Good Morning Jeff, I have a 5th grade that came to school in shoes that the sholes are coming off.

Boy Size 8 ½ Adult”

“I need a pair of shoes for a student. If it is bad tomorrow wait until it clears up. This student has a pair of shoes they are 3 sizes to big but at least he has something to cover his feet. Boy Size 13 Children’s”

From Rogers Elementary School:

“I have a young man in 2nd grade that has a pair of shoes that the velcro is worn and the shoes do not stay on his feet. Can I get him a pair of shoes? He wears a mens size 4.”

From Houston Middle School:

“Hey Jeff!  Can I get a pair of women’s size 5 shoes for one of my students? She has been wearing flip flops every day and her feet were awfully cold today.  Thanks so much. J”

“Can I get a pair of size 8 mens shoes for one of my students?  The pair he has now are very bad and have holes everywhere.  Thanks J”

From Wills Elementary:

“We have a little girl at Wills with no shoes, is there any way you could bring some this morning?  Size 1 girls at Margaret Wills, Thanks…”

From Fannin Middle School:

“I have another student who needs shoes. She’s been wearing her grandmother’s shoes because she doesn’t have any.  She wears a 10 ˝.

I could go on and on. As you can see, we have students in need throughout our city. My goal with taking the shoes to the schools is that churches with resources would invest in these schools. Most of them don’t have a Parent Teacher Organization. Most of the parents need help making ends meet, getting a better job, and navigating their way out of poverty. What an incredible opportunity for churches in our area to invest in these schools, build relationships, meet needs, and spread the gospel through relationships. The churches could take over the delivery of shoes to a school and become the hands and feet of Christ to the students and families there. Please pray that the Lord of the Harvest would send workers into His harvest fields in the most needy areas of Amarillo.

Last night, we had a meeting with some very committed people in Canyon about forming Mission Canyon. There are still a few steps to be taken, but by the beginning of February, Mission Canyon should be in existence. Mission Canyon will administrate the Snack Pak 4 Kids program and Navigator/Neighbor program for Canyon schools. Mission Amarillo will provide the 501c3 organization and other organizational help to get Mission Canyon off the ground. Please pray that the Lord of the Harvest would make His name known to the needy students and families in the Canyon area through Mission Canyon.

Last of all, I’d like for you to see a few stories about our apartment ministry, Mulithousing Outreach. This shows all the opportunities that exist as well as how God is working in the affordable housing communities:

Evelyn Lyles, Astoria Park Greenacres:

Stories:

The manager of Green Acres cannot witness to the residents.  However, one Muslim woman asked her this week if she was Christian.  Beverly answered yes.  The Muslim woman said she could tell by her eyes.  She said, “If your God is like you, I could love your God!”

Our annual Christmas party was a success.  Students and families heard the Christmas story, had refreshments, enjoyed face painting, and made and took home 3 crafts each.  This would not have been possible without a donation for the refreshments and the assistance of 10 students from the Amarillo College Baptist Student Ministry and our workers from First Baptist-Canyon (1), Paramount Baptist (1), and Hillside Christian (3).  For a small building and multiple cultures and excited children, it was amazing how much control there was.  Some of the parents even brought mail and forms for assistance.  Our middle school students and a few high school students helped in several ways.  At the end, many helped with the clean-up.  Cyndi Stanton helped to prepare labels with Bible verses for the crafts.  It was a fun evening for all!

Many of the students were signed up for a Christmas clothing gift.  Several churches, Sunday School classes, and individuals purchased gifts.  Many delivered to the homes, often sharing the Christmas story while there.  One FBC-Canyon member told me that the father witnessed to him just as much as he witnessed to the father, and they were able to do this regardless of little common language.  Some of the gifts were delivered by Evelyn with the help of some of the middle school students.  Every home was receptive to hearing the Christmas story.  All families were grateful.  Here is an interesting story that happened to Evelyn.  As she delivered for the Soaring Spirits class, the father asked, “Do you have a dollar?”  Evelyn was surprised to think that all he needed was a dollar.  But actually, he was asking whether Evelyn had a daughter.  With the answer of no, the father said, “Then this is for you.”  He presented a Thailand made shirt for her.  Evelyn wore it that night for the Christmas party.  This season has been a giving season and oh what a pleasure to give!

Many of the residents are not using their heat—or at least not sufficiently.  As we go into the apartments, we find the heat turned very low and the layers of clothing on everyone.  Interestingly, most don’t wear socks!  It is my feet that get the coldest.  Last year there were very few apartments that had Christmas trees.  Now there are probably 35 apartments with Christmas trees.  Are we teaching the most important thing?

From Joshua Kamau, Green Tree Village:

I. We had a light Christmas meal and service. Had 25 people attend we had Lord’s Supper, it was a bigger turnout as some churches did not meet for Sunday service and considering we had a lot of snow fall that morning. It demonstrated God’s faithfulness!

II. We thank Coulter Road Baptist Church and Amarillo Mercy ministries for their support for 45 children who received Christmas gifts which included clothes; you could see their faces full of joy as they received the gifts as an expression of God’s love, the gift that He gave us and that’s Jesus. These children were not just from Christian homes or people that may prefer Christianity but from Muslim homes. We thank God for being involved in this ministry.

III. Pray for the Somali families that had family members die on road accident while going to work at Plainview Cargill meat plant that God will comfort them, we have prayed with one who had friends who died and others critically injured we will be visiting the injured ones at BSA tomorrow with him.

IV. Pray that God will open many doors and hearts for gospel. Pray for Somali and other Muslim communities, Spanish, Caucasian and African American communities we are reaching and pray for harvest.

V. God continues to bless Good News Club we get an average of 24 children each Tuesday. We did not meet on the Christmas week due to gifts delivery and volunteer having family time but it was a blessing to hear the children keep asking when they will have the next Good News club, to them a waiting for two weeks is too much. This is evidence that The Lord is at work in their hearts and they are thirsty for more.

From Brooks Boyett at Mission 2540, North Grand Villas and Cypress Creek:

We got to surprise 73 kids with new bikes this past weekend, and it was the most fun outreach we’ve ever done.  The excitement of the kids was awesome.

A couple of weeks ago, I wasn’t quite sure how we were going to pull this thing off.  We got the bikes from a a very generous distributor in Houston, and it seemed like everything that could go wrong went wrong in our ability to get the bikes here to Amarillo in a timely manner.  After our final option fell through, board member Bryson Oeschger drove all the way to Houston himself with a trailer to pick them up early last week.  They got here in time for a massive bike assembly party on Thursday night.  Huge thanks to Justin and Amy Howe, who allowed us to use their airplane hanger to store and assemble all the bikes.  And thanks to the 50+ men (and kids) who came out to help put the bikes together.  It was amazing – they were all assembled within just a few hours.

All the bikes got delivered over the weekend, and the looks on the kids’ faces were priceless.  I put together a little video so you guys can see some of the fun:

Thanks so much to all of you who gave so that we could make special Christmas memories this year for a bunch of kids who deserved it.”

This year 12 churches, 1 Christian school, both BSMs, and 9 individuals partnered with Mission Amarillo to help 626 kids in 218 families with Christmas presents consisting of clothing. Add the 73 kids that Mission 2540 gave bikes, and 699 kids in area affordable housing communities received help.

It’s not only incredible what God is doing but that He allows us to participate. Please continue to pray for us as we seek to spread the gospel message to those who aren’t hearing it.

Grace,

Jeff

Stories and New Opportunities

As we seek to live out the mission God has given us at Mission Amarillo, we come across stories that tell us just how much need is actually out there. Just last week, I received emails regarding the need for shoes that show all too well the stark reality that children are dealing with. First, I received an email from a social worker at a school that simply said, “Just had a kiddo sent down to me that has blisters on his toes wearing a pair of shoes that are 2 sizes too small.” The next day, I received a call from a counselor at Tascosa asking for shoes for a girl who didn’t attend that day because her only pair of shoes were stolen.  About an hour after that, I received an email from the social worker at Hamlet saying, “I had another little guy come in today, shoes torn, socks wet.” Fortunately, we were able to put shoes on each child within hours of their request. We’ve had stories of kids coming to school with their heals hanging over of the back of their shoes because the had out grown them months ago. Each time I hear a story like this, I’m thankful that God has given Mission Amarillo the resources to meet the needs in front of us.  However, over the last few weeks, I’ve become aware of even more needs that are going unmet:

1. Basic necessities for secondary refugee families. When any refugee service brings a refugee to the US, they are set up with most of what they need, including a place to stay with furniture, cookware, and other necessities. If they stay for a designated period of time, usually 2 or more years, they get to keep it all. If they leave before then, they are basically on their own. We are seeing several families leaving their original location to be closer to family. When they do this, they leave everything behind. We have families right now that are sleeping on the floor and have little or no furniture, cookware, etc. I would love it if Mission Amarillo could step into this opportunity and help secondary refugee families.

2. Underwear and socks. I’ve heard from both social workers and community missionaries that this is a problem for kids of all ages. Today I spoke with a social worker at a middle school that said this is becoming more of a problem everyday.

3. Coats, stocking caps (beanies), and gloves for middle school and high school students. Evelyn Rivers does an outstanding job of meeting the needs of elementary students throughout our area when it comes to these items. However, no one is currently working toward meeting these needs for middle and high schoolers in our area. It’s true that siblings of elementary students can get coats, but from what I’ve heard from the social workers, the difficult logistics make it a rare occurrence.

For several years now, I’ve said I don’t want Mission Amarillo to duplicate anything else out there. This philosophy has helped A Step Up become an outstanding resources to our property missionaries and 20 area schools. The areas mentioned above may have been addressed in the past, but are not currently being addressed on the level needed to meet the need at this time.

In order for Mission Amarillo to step into this void, we would need a building to house it all. The current location of A Step Up is inadequate to house these ministries. So, I’m asking you to pray with me that God would provide a building along with the funds to insure and maintain it. I won’t ask our existing funders to increase what they are currently giving. I’m simply trusting God that He will provide the money needed when He provides the building. There are some churches that are considering funding Mission Amarillo for the first time, as well as fundraisers that are in the works. What we need now is God’s guidance that we pursue a path that He has intended for us and that we use the resources He gives is to communicate the gospel to the less fortunate.

Thank you for praying for this ministry. I look forward to the day we have stories about how needs are being met through the new ministries mentioned above.

Grace,

Jeff Parsons, Director

Mission Amarillo

The Priority of Working with People in Poverty

June 25th of this year will be the 10 year anniversary of the beginning of Multihousing Outreach, the ministry that would eventually develop into Mission Amarillo. When this ministry began, I simply knew that God had called me to start it. I didn’t know what it would take for it to be productive and sustainable. As I began working with people within the context of poverty, I began to realize that my middle class mindset didn’t reflect the values  of those I was working with. Initially, I thought this was because they didn’t know Christ. Once some of them became Christ followers, they would adopt values more common to my own…..I’ve since learned how condescending, judgmental, and misinformed that mindset was.

People living in the war zone of poverty deal with circumstances on a daily basis that would mentally overwhelm most middle class people I know, including myself. We often criticize and judge their decision making process because it lacks any regard for the future, yet we don’t realize what prevents them from adopting such a thought process. When you don’t know how you’ll pay the rent, buy food, pay the utilities, or buy gas for your car, how can you plan for your future? Ask a middle class American what word they think of when they hear the word “education” and most will respond with “opportunity”. Ask someone living in the war zone of poverty the same question and the likely response is “stress”. When you’re not sure how to pay the rent, utilities, or buy food, getting an education becomes just another bill you can’t pay, an expectation you can meet, and another situation where the person in poverty feels inferior or degraded.  Their lives can sometimes seem hopeless and cruel, overwhelming the well meaning middle class American who wants to help. So what do we do? How can we follow up on our God given impulse to help people in need, but not be overwhelmed with the enormity of the task? I’m glad you asked….:)

First, we need to understand the perspective Jesus had on ministering to the poor. In both Luke 4 and Luke 7, Jesus associates ministry to the poor with Him being the Messiah. In Luke 4, Jesus returns from being tempted by the devil and enters the synagogue in Nazareth. He opens the scroll and reads from Isaiah, “The Spirit of the Lord is on me, because He has anointed me to proclaim good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim freedom for the prisoners and recovery of sight for the blind, to set the oppressed free, and proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor”. Then he rolls up the scroll and utters these words, ” Today this scripture is fulfilled in your hearing.” Think about this a second. Jesus announces He is Messiah by reading a scripture that includes preaching the good news to the poor.

Later in Luke 7, John the Baptist is in prison. He probably realizes his time is growing short and sends his disciples to ask Jesus a simple question. “Are you the one who is to come, or should we expect someone else?”. Jesus’ response is profound. “Go back and report to John what you have seen and heard: The blind receive sight, the lame walk, those who have leprosy are cleansed, the deaf hear, the dead are raised, and the good news is proclaimed to the poor.”  Let that sink in for a second. Our Lord and Savior has once again linked His being Messiah with ministry to the outcasts, the disadvantaged, and the poor. When you consider that Jesus’ lone description of the Judgment Day in Mathew 25 relates ministry to “the least of these” with ministering to Him, it’s clear how high a priority Jesus places on ministering to the poor.  How does this help us deal with the enormity of the problems faced in poverty? It helps us understand that not going isn’t an option. Jesus’ makes it a priority, so we have to consider how we can get involved.

Second, later in Luke 7, I believe Jesus gives us a clue as how to make a difference to those living in the war zone of poverty. Beginning in verse 36, Jesus is having a meal at a Pharisee’s house. A woman who had lived “a sinful life” came in, began to wash Jesus’ feet with her tears and poor perfume on them. The Pharisee thought to himself that there was no way that Jesus was a prophet or He would know that He was being touched by a sinner. Jesus knew his thoughts and began to tell him a story about two men who had been forgiven and which one appreciated it more. After telling the story, He says something I missed until recently. In verse 44, He says these profound words, “Do you see this woman?”. He didn’t say “Do you see this sinner” or prostitute, or whore, but “Do you see this woman”. Jesus didn’t see the sin or situation (He was aware of it, of course) but He saw the person. To really help people in poverty, we must see the person behind the situation. Too often, we see their circumstances, the lack of education, or an attitude that we don’t agree with. Instead, we need to focus on the person that’s caught in the war zone of poverty and understand much of their actions and attitudes we don’t comprehend are defense mechanisms they use to cope with their situation. We are the ones with the education, resources, and stable lives, therefore, it is incumbent on us to attempt to understand them and the issues that make up their lives.

So how does this help the middle class American deal with the enormity of poverty? If we focus on the people and understand Christ’s command to minister to “the least of these”, we will understand the best way to help someone out of poverty is one person at a time. Just as making disciples is best done through one on one mentoring, helping someone out of poverty should be done the same way. As we mentor them and help them connect with resources that will help them out of the war zone of poverty, sharing our faith in Jesus should be a natural part of that process. As we help and connect, we should also pray for them, talk about our faith openly, and model our faith in Christ by following up with actions that portray His love for them, always ready to help them become a Christ follower.

The enormity of the problems faced by people in the war zone of poverty can be overwhelming. However,  if we help one person at a time, relying on the guiding and gracious hand of Christ, we can make a difference for Christ’s Kingdom and help someone experience the love and grace of Jesus as they come out of a war zone.  What could be better than that?

If you would like to know more about helping people out of the war zone of poverty, please contact me. The Opportunity Community and Mission Amarillo have several ways you can help.

Prayer Partner Update – April 2011

The month of March was one of opportunity for Mission Amarillo. We are playing a small role in helping many of the fire victims in both Mesilla Park and Palisades. Chad Connor of Acts Community is heading up the effort and has already made a lot of progress in meeting the needs of those effected by the wildfires. Go out to actscommunity.org if you would like to make a financial donation or you can send your donation to Mission Amarillo and designate it to the wildfire victims and I’ll make sure it gets to the right place. Please continue praying for these victims, that life would soon return to normal, and that God would make it known how much He loves them.

Our Spring Break was a tremendous success. FBC Earth, FBC Idalou, and Calvary BC Friona served over 170 kids a day through Spring Break Kids Clubs and did work projects at Thrift City, A Step Up, and painted a house for Christmas in Action. They did an outstanding job and I look forward to them serving with us again next year.

I’m in the process of planning our summer and need your prayer in two areas. First, we need more mission groups to serve here. We currently have four committed with two more considering it. Ideally, I’d like to have a minimum of eight groups, so we need the two considering it to commit and two more groups to choose to serve here. Please pray the Lord of the Harvest would send us additional groups to serve here this summer. I also am beginning the pr0cess of hiring a summer staff. I desperately need people who are looking to serve this summer. Those who are just looking for a summer job need not apply. The work is such that I truly need those who feel God has called them to work for Him this summer. My interns will do two Summer Kids Clubs a day, Monday-Thursday, at two different properties each week. They will serve at a total of 16 properties by summer’s end. Summer Interns need to have completed at least one year of college and must be able to work Monday-Thursday, May 30-July 29 without any scheduled absences. If you or someone you know are interested, shoot me an email or call me at (806) 236-3487. Otherwise, please pray that God would call out three students with a heart to love the least of these to work here this summer.

Our shoe closet ministry, A Step Up, is doing extremely well. We’re working with 12 schools and have given away over 400 shoes since September. We are beginning to ramp up our efforts to collect shoes. We’ve been asked to participate in some community ministries in August where we could give away nearly 900 pairs of shoes! In order to meet this need and still keep our ministry to the schools going, we need to double our shoe inventory before mid-August. We are hoping churches in our area will choose to collect shoes and give financial donations to A Step Up as part of their summer VBS. Please pray that the Lord would impress on the churches in our area the need to collect shoes for A Step Up. If you or your church would like more information about this opportunity, give me a call or shoot me an email.

Last of all, I’d like your prayer regarding a long term goal. Currently, we have one church plant, one youth outreach, and several children’s bible studies occurring in 11 apartment communities. One of my major concerns is the lack of outreach to youth and adults in all but two of these communities. In order to truly make disciples, we need people to who have a heart to serve God to volunteer to go to these communities. The youth and adults in these communities aren’t hearing about Jesus, so it is incumbent upon us to go. Please pray that the Lord of the Harvest would send workers into His harvest field in these communities. Pray that both the youth and adults would be reached for the glory of Christ and that volunteers would be called out to make disciples in these communities.

Thank you for your prayers and support.

Grace,

Jeff Parsons, Director

Prayer Partner Update/Wildfire Assistance

Many of you have read our Prayer Partner Update since it started in 2003. Most of the time, we focus on specific prayer needs for MHO/Mission Amarillo. Today, I’ll mention some of those, but there is a bigger issue that I would like for all of you to remember. I’ve lived in the River Road community for the last 14 years. It’s a small town type of community where even if you don’t know someone you know there name. I love living out there.

As many of you know, a huge wildfire blew through the Mesilla Park community in northeast Potter County, the southeastern portion of River Road. 38 people lost their homes and another 27 structures were destroyed. Of the 38 who lost their homes, 5 have been identified who had no home owners insurance. Another man was renting a building there to run his construction and cabinet making business out of. He did not have renter’s insurance and has lost all his tools and equipment to make a living. Many gracious people, churches, and other organizations have provide short term support in the form of gift cards, food, clothing, toys, and other assistance. I know many of the residents are grateful and humbled by this support. However, as we have heard many say, they have no place to store any of it, because they don’t have homes. This is where an area pastor, a ministry leader, and to a lesser extent, Mission Amarillo, would like to step in.

River Road Baptist Church and the Acts Community Ministry are coordinating efforts to provide a home for the uninsured residents of Meslla Park. While the leaders of these ministries appreciate the short term support provided by the Red Cross and the efforts mentioned above, these ministries would like to focus on the long term aspects of this tragedy. They are in the process of researching cost effective ways of finding manufactured housing that can replace the lost homes. They have set up a fund at Amarillo National Bank for those who would like to help. They are also networking with furniture stores, construction companies, and other business that could provide some level of assistance.  If you would like to help fund these efforts, you can donate to Mission Amarillo and designate it to Mesilla Park, or visit www.riverroadbc.org or www.actscommunity.org and donate directly to the fund. If you would like to provide any other type of assistance, give me a call at (806) 236-3487 and I’ll connect you with those who are coordinating those efforts.

Although this doesn’t involve apartment ministry or giving shoes to those in need, it does involve reaching out to the least of these. I look forward to whatever role Mission Amarillo can play in providing help that will provide a long term benefit to those most affected by this fire. Any help you can give will be appreciated.

Your prayers are always appreciated for this ministry. Please remember our Spring Break groups that will work here March 14-17. They will do work projects at A Step Up, Thrift City, and Fuente Viva Church and do Spring Break Kids Clubs in three apartment communities and at Eastridge Baptist Church. Please pray the Lord would use them to make Him known to those who don’t know Him during that week.

On Monday, Feb. 28, Amarillo Mercy Ministries, dba Mission Amarillo received notification that we had been approved as a 501c3 organization by the federal government. You can now make donations directly to Mission Amarillo and they will be tax deductible. It turned out to be about a 6 month process, but I am grateful that it is over and we can get on with ministry.

Please remember our finances as well. While we are doing fairly well to this point, start up costs such as liability insurance turned out to be much more expensive than anticipated. We will still be able to make budget, but have much less room for unexpected ministry opportunities. Please pray that the Lord who owns the cattle on a thousand hills will provide the finances necessary to meet the needs He brings our way.

A Step Up, our shoe closet ministry continues to grow. We are working with 12 schools currently and will expand that to no less than 2 additional schools by the end of this month. We will need a continuing stream of shoes to meet the needs before us, so please prayerfully consider A Step Up for your summer VBS mission offerings or as a ministry project of your church or small group.

We still have 5 properties that are open to someone conducting weekly ministry there. Please pray that the Lord of the Harvest would send workers into His mission field at these communities. If you or someone you know would be interested, please contact me and I’ll tell you what’s involved and provide all the training you need.

Thank you for your prayers and support of Mission Amarillo.

Grace,

Jeff Parsons, Director.

“All Dads are Liars”

Below is a post from Brooks Boyett about the biggest problem in teaching students in poverty about God:

Last week, before our girls Bible Study at Cypress creek, a couple of 5th grade girls and I were sitting around talking, waiting for a few more girls to show up.

I asked Leia if she’d talked to her dad recently.  He lives out of town, but she got to spend a little time with him over Christmas break.

She said, “No, I’m mad at him.  He’s always promising stuff and he never does it.”

Her friend said, “Yeah, that’s how my dad is.  He’s always saying he’s going to do stuff for me and never does.  He’s a liar. ”

And then she stated something that I think many kids I deal with actually believe. v”All dads are liars.”  Those are her exact words.  All dads are liars.

I asked her if she really believed that.  If that’s really how she thought all dads were. “All the dads I know are.”

Leia, who I’ve known a long time, looked at her friend and shook her head.  She pointed at me and said, “No, Brooks isn’t like that.”

This post isn’t here to toot my own horn.  I’ve definitely failed my fair share of times as a father.  But it speaks to the importance of what we do at Mission 2540.  Kids can see me and the other men and women who volunteer and work with them and can see that there is a better way.  That it is possible to become a good father, a good mother, a good friend.  They can see that there is hope.

Most importantly, conversations like this one allow me to talk with these girls about their Heavenly Father.  That He is good, that He doesn’t lie, that He never leaves, that He won’t let them down.

All dads are liars. Those words have played out in my head for a week.  So heartbreaking.  So hopeless.  Yeah, dads fail.  Even the good ones.  I’m so thankful we serve a Heavenly Dad who doesn’t.  I pray the many fatherless children I know grow to understand that.

I’m used to it

Great post by Brooks Boyett about some the issues kids in these communities face:

Yesterday, Ty told me his mom was back in jail.  Again.

Ty is 12.  I’ve known him since he was 6.  She’s been in and out of jail that whole time.  His dad split the moment he found out he was going to be a dad.  So Ty’s disabled grandmother raises him, his little brother and their infant sister.  She’s a sweet lady who does her best.

I remember how excited Ty was two summers ago when his mom was getting out.  This time she was going to change.  Get a job. Go to church. Raise her boys.  Help take care of her mom.  Life was going to be better for everyone.  And it was, for a few months, anyway.

But then came the partying and the drugs and the fights with grandma and the disappearing for weeks at a time and the pregnancy and the birth and more disappearing and fighting and then another arrest.  This time for parole violation.  And now she’s gone for another year.

“I’m sorry Ty.  How are you doing?” I asked.

His eyes teared up, but he stopped them from flowing.  His face hardened.  “I’m okay, I guess.  I’m used to it.  I’m just glad my sister never got too attached to her, so she’s not too upset or anything.”

Ty’s used to the disappointment.  I’m used to hearing stories like that one.  I wish I wasn’t, but I am.  We live in a fallen, broken world.  I know so many kids like Ty who have to live with pain so undeserved, so unfair.  But there is hope.  Ty knows Jesus. Ty know God loves him more than an earthly dad every could.  Ty knows there’s a better way to live.  I told him yesterday that his kids wouldn’t have to live like him.  That he’d stick it out, that he’d marry a good woman, and have a great family.    That he’d be a good dad, a good husband.

He smiled a bit, chuckled, and said, “Yeah…”

I pray he believes that.  I hope against hope that Ty has kids who get used to him coming home, every night, to play and laugh and learn and love and live the life Ty doesn’t have.  This world is broken.  Ty’s heart is broken.  And I can’t put it back together.  I wish I could because I hate seeing him struggling to find joy right now.  But we serve a God who CAN put that broken heart back together.  Piece by piece.  And Ty and I are going to walk together and let God do just that.   And that gives me hope.  In the midst of all the junk, I have hope.

And so does Ty.