Winter Shelter Network
The Winter Shelter is now in its fourth month with two more to go. To date, the network has provided over 800 beds to 11 households and 19 individual guests; 35 gas cards and 66 taxi vouchers have been distributed. The reports coming back are very positive, both from the ladies that come and from our volunteers. So far, the numbers remain small, but we add a new individual almost every week. Now that our guests see each other every night, we have seen petty squabbles breaking out, which provides us with our nightly entertainment. Our volunteers have done an amazing job, and it’s been so encouraging to see families with their kids getting involved with our guests. The students from our Youth Ministry continue to be faithful in setting up for us and do a great job. The facility is perfect for what we are doing. The cots get laid out in family units, depending on the guest list which we receive at 3:00 p.m. on Mondays. Food is brought in depending on numbers, and the food has been amazing. Please stop by any Monday at 6:30 p.m., and join us for dinner. There is always more than enough! As usual, the volunteers are amazing with everyone showing up when needed. We have had a few gaps, but it all comes together, and it is running now like a well-oiled machine. Come and visit; there are still some spots to fill. You will love it! Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org
Last Monday, two Douglas County staff came by to do a guest head count and to spend time with them. We learned a little more about the complexities of dealing with these ladies, and what it would take to get them back into society and standing on their own feet. The Winter Shelter Council met on February 13 to discuss what comes next. Do we just simply close up shop until next November, or is there something more we could do? Where do we see the Lord leading us? It has been so encouraging to work with nine church leaders; all coming together to discuss how we reach out to these ladies and their kids.
We are continuing to develop a team to investigate how we would work with the refugee population in the Denver area. We are thankful that we continue to add additional people who are interested in this ministry. We are tentatively working on a plan to participate in National Refugee Day on June 20 in cooperation with two or three refugee churches off of Yale and I-25. This will be essentially a big party designed to just get Grace more involved. Beyond this, we are still working with Denver Rescue Mission on additional projects. If you are interested in learning more about this initiative or wish to be involved on the front end, please contact Tracy Small at email@example.com.
The “T” team were very encouraged after the Ministry Fair to have ten new names of people possibly interested in going to “NA” this fall. The team also submitted a three-year plan, which we are still fine-tuning. This was a big step forward in beginning to think through where it is we want to go with the ministry over the next few years. This plan highlights the greater inclusion of local people. The next
step is to bring all the key players in to see what working together might look like for the “B” area (names withheld).
Another recent development is the idea of a multifunction center in “B.” This is still in the early stages, but is very exciting as various parties interested in the area are showing interest. Pray for the work among unreached peoples in the villages and outlying areas. We still have room for more people to join the team. We withhold details of this work for security reasons. If you want more information, contact Bev at BYLSMA5@msn.com
The project in Benin is running really well. We are just waiting on the Mayor to sign off on the land donation for the Church in Asroli. We understand the deal is done; five acres were donated for the church and the pastor’s house and farm. Josue’ needs to get everything together and signed with the final signatures. This was delayed, in part, due to Prisca’s poor health and major surgery. Praise the Lord for her recovery! They now have the pastor in place and the local church is growing. A literacy training program began this month. The project manager is in place, which will be a huge step forward. We will soon begin phase two which involves a new well and a farm Irrigation system with a water tower.
Due to scheduling I will not be in Benin, but will link up with the team in Niger. In Benin, Dick, Calvin, Karl, Dave, and Eileen will be taking inventory so we can move to Phase Two in our project. Negotiations on the community development project, in Niger, will begin in earnest with a full day of planning with the leadership of the denomination in Niamey.
The team had about six new names added to the sign-up list after the Ministry Fair, so we are planning a team of young adults for early August to help with the church building project and the well in Asroli.
In December, we were able to send a total of $20,000 for the church project. This came from a variety of places: $5,000 from Change for Change in the Pepsi class, $5,000 matching grant from Outreach, and $10,000 from AGUR Foundation (Rick White). This will be enough to build the church and furnish it with sound and instruments.
Praise the Lord for the Change for Change program and the matching grants. The church will look something like this. Contact: Don Gibson firstname.lastname@example.org
In China, the buzz words now are “security” or “government clamp downs.” The country is beginning to tighten up its controls on what foreigners are doing, especially around NGOs and business platforms. It feels like most Christian workers are somewhat apprehensive as to what this all means. This is not the first time this has happened. The usual response is to hunker down and see what materializes.
We continue to move along with our project, but with the emphasis being on a national-led business/ministry and less on our resident missionaries. We are currently waiting on a business plan from our Chinese team who desire to operate the student hang-out center/coffee shop/café.
A team from three different churches will be taking part in summer camps with the Healthy Lives students in August. Because of the clamp down on unregistered events, the teams will not join together, as in the past, but will do camps at different times to minimize the risk of people being noticed. Pray for the planning and the extra work the three camps, instead of one, will place on the Tueys. Pray for lasting fruit to come from the outreach. While I was there in November, these students received a very clear Christmas story presentation from our Chinese helper. They continue to see fruit among the students. Contact: Don Thornton email@example.com
We are all encouraged to see how the Lord continues to lead us. Personally, I want to see us be more intentional about including more young adults in Outreach. So, if you are a young adult, come see me!
Thanks for standing with us,