By Chris Moon
Fire Destroys MOHI School but Not Hope in Its Mission
Missions of Hope International suffered a blow to its efforts to spread the gospel in the slums of Nairobi, Kenya, when one of its school buildings burned to the ground in February.
The building in the Bondeni community housed 18 classrooms that served 694 students. Desks and textbooks were lost in the blaze.
MOHI is a partner of Indianapolis-based Christian Missionary Fellowship International, which immediately began fund-raising to replace what was lost. The estimated loss was $300,000.
“We thank God there were no injuries,” said Mary Kamau, executive director of MOHI, in a video in the days after the fire.
The fire also destroyed homes in the area.
“When I visited Bondeni after the fire, I was really touched, I was really moved,” Kamau said. “And the biggest thing that the community members were concerned about was how are the children going to continue learning. And I looked around and most of those people, they had lost everything that they owned after the fire. Yet they were so concerned about our school and how the children will learn. It really made me see that no matter what happens—no matter the fire, no matter the destruction of all the property and all that—we know that God will continue to transform lives in this community.”
Here’s a link to MOHI’s Bondeni fire relief page.
Louisville Church Packs a Million Meals for Famine Relief
Southeast Christian Church in Louisville is putting food in the hands of people who need it most.
The Louisville megachurch last fall hosted a food-packaging event in which 8,500 people from across its network of campuses came together to package more than a million meals for famine relief in Uganda and Kenya. The church in February followed up with a video showing the congregation that the first third of those meals had been delivered.
The video showed hundreds of cardboard boxes of food being unloaded from the back of a truck and stacked on the ground. One of the boxes had a heart and a handwritten note that said, “Jesus loves you!”
Leaders of local churches who know the situation best oversaw the food distribution, said Jay Schroder, missions project manager at Southeast. “In the past, these churches have provided developmental programs, (they’ve) helped start microbusinesses, they’ve sustained livestock. But now they’re threatened with starvation.” The food enabled those churches “to engage those in need so they can still eat. They can hear good news of the gospel. They can start to plan to provide for themselves for the long term.”
Schroder said the containers used to ship the food would be used for classroom space and would “be used over and over again.”
One Buck, One Weekend, Big Community Impact
Christ’s Church in Effingham, Ill., is trying to make a difference in its community—one buck at a time.
The church this year is hosting “Impact Weekend” on the last weekend of every month. Each church member is asked to bring a dollar to contribute to a special cause in the community.
“We’d like everyone at all of our locations to bring just an extra dollar with them,” associate pastor Matt Farrar told the congregation during a sermon in February. “And then we’ll take that dollar and we’ll give it away . . . to one of the many organizations our life groups are working alongside of to make a difference in our world.”
The church in February donated the proceeds of its “Impact Weekend” to a local Head Start program.
The women’s ministry at Kissimmee (Florida) Christian Church assembled gift bags in February to show appreciation to the female officers of the Kissimmee Police Department. The church collected various items, such as nail files, nail polish, gum, mints, protein bars, and bottles of Gatorade and Powerade, for the officers.
Westbrook Christian Church in Bolingbrook, Ill., hosted an “International Feast” to celebrate the diversity of the church. The church encouraged members to bring dishes that represented their family heritage.
Christ’s Church of the Valley in Phoenix, Ariz., sent its first mission team to Liberia this past winter. The church’s primary emphasis in Kakata, Liberia, was putting on soccer clinics and tournaments, as well as hosting a VBS. In promoting the trip, the church said, “Soccer skills not required but helpful!”
Bettendorf (Iowa) Christian Church hosted “Team Jersey Day” for its children’s ministry. The church encouraged kids and grown-ups to promote their favorite team at church—“pro teams, local teams, not-so-good teams . . . hats, full uniforms, just a T-shirt . . . it’s all good! Just bring your team spirit.”
The high school ministry at Greenville (Ill.) First Christian Church hosted a “Senior/Boomer Banquet” in March to honor those in the congregation who are 55 and older. Students served at the banquet.
First Capital Christian Church in Corydon, Ind., hosted its annual wild game dinner in March. Professional fisherman Clay Dyer was the keynote speaker. The church marketed its “Kill It & Grill It” event with the following tagline: “You kill it. You grill it. We all eat it.”
Gateway Christian Church in St. Albans, W.Va., hosted a Foundations of Faith Conference in February. Workshops included “How to Follow Jesus in a Post-Christian Culture,” “Who Chose the Books of the Bible and Why,” and “Tolerance and Homosexuality.”
Dudley Rutherford, pastor of Shepherd Church in Porter Ranch, Calif., took to Facebook to honor Billy Graham after the evangelist’s death in February: “He has graduated into glory after preaching to millions. Before the Internet and before social media he did it the old-fashioned way. He used his lungs and a lot of shoe leather. God brought the masses and the presidents and the media attention, and he simply lifted up Jesus.”
Bachelor Creek Church of Christ in Wabash, Ind., hosted an event called “Made Known: A Community Gathering for Pregnancy and Infant Loss.” The event sought to acknowledge babies “made” by God, “known” by their parents, and “made known” through the honoring of their memory.
Bright Christian Church in Lawrenceburg, Ind., hosted woodcarver Ron Vance at its men’s breakfast. Vance, a former church of Christ pastor, showed off his “Bible sticks”—intricately carved staffs with images and symbols representing key themes from the Bible, such as the 12 apostles and the titles for Christ.
Lincoln (Ill.) Christian Church is hosting a weekly “Homework Club” for students of a nearby school that has a large number of disadvantaged students. Volunteers help students with their schoolwork and provide Christian mentoring.
Compassion Christian Church this spring packaged weekend meals for disadvantaged children in the Savannah area. The church said one in four children in coastal Georgia lacks food, especially on weekends. The church collected and packed single-serve meals to be distributed through the local school system.
Parkview Christian Church in Orland Park, Ill., used bacon to lure junior high students out of the cold and into church this past winter. The church hosted “Bacon Night” in its Wednesday student ministry . . . a night “full of free bacon, bacon games, and bacon-related activities.”
Former Academy Christian Church pastor Dick Crabtree celebrated his 90thbirthday this year. The Colorado Springs church held a birthday party in February to honor Crabtree, who led Academy for 18 years before serving as executive director of South Pacific Christian Fellowship in New Zealand and Australia.
Michigan’s 2|42 Community Church recently launched its fourth campus in Saginaw and already is eyeing campus No. 5 for the Ypsilanti area, pastor Dave Dummitt announced in February. The Ypsilanti location will be led by campus pastor Chris Pasik; the expected launch date will be this fall. “God seems to be opening doors, and we’re going to continue to follow his lead,” Dummitt said in a Facebook video.
Momentum Christian Church in McDonough, Ga., partners with a local nonprofit group to provide furniture to families in need. The church in February was able to fully furnish two homes with donated furniture.