Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Exciting News!!!

FINALLY! The moment we've all been waiting for! On Thursday, April 17th at approximately 9:30pm, we reached 100% of our financial support goal! Praise the Lord with us for His provision of our needs! That 100% number is actually the minimum amount required to meet our basic needs of salary, ministry expenses, taxes, health insurance, etc. This summer we will continue to raise financial support beyond that initial amount so that we can be more effective as a ministry, and so we can be financially stable in the future in the event that some of our current supporters may be unable to continue giving.

We want to thank all of you who have given or who have prayed alongside us for God's provision. Your faithful financial support and continued prayers is what makes this ministry possible. And God is doing EXCITING things in USC’s Greek Village!

Our church, Midtown Fellowship, celebrated Easter Sunday by baptizing 22 people who have given their lives to Christ! Our baptism service is truly a celebration! The day was extra special because we got to witness two of our student leader’s, Katy and Brooks, share their stories of redemption and get baptized! Katy is a member of Kappa Kappa Gamma and Brooks is a member of Tri Delta, both came to know Jesus through attending their sorority’s Bible study. Praise the Lord for their boldness in proclaiming their faith to their friends and family through baptism!

Katy (KKG) being baptized!

Brooks (Tri Delt) being baptized by our Greek Impact coworker, Shelley!

So, What now?! You may be wondering, what we are up to now that we are done raising our initial support? USC’s last day of classes is April 28th and exams begin the first week of May, so there is not much work to be done on campus. However, we are staying plenty busy- continuing to meet with potential supporters and finishing up our online seminary course, New Testament Survey. This past week we also got to participate in some Cru/Greek Impact staff team evaluation and planning! It was great to be with fellow staff members and hear more about what God has done on campus this past year and plan how we get to be a part of it next semester!

Summer Plans…. The “summer project” we have been assigned to this year is Greek Summit! Greek Summit is a 3 week long project specifically for sorority and fraternity students across the Southeast. The focus of the project is to teach students how to grow in their faith and to equip them to share their faith with their sorority sisters and fraternity brothers.

After we return from Greek Summit, we will be working to build relationships with the students that are remaining in Columbia for the summer. We will lead and host a summer Bible study in our house, which will be a great opportunity to grow in our relationships. We are excited to dive into ministry this summer!

Important Prayer Request! (& UPDATE!) 
Kelsey has dealt with back pain and sciatic nerve pain from ruptured discs since her sophomore year of high school. After many failed attempts to heal the discs naturally and avoid surgery, she had a lumbar discectomy in May of 2011. By God’s grace, the surgery worked and has allowed her to be virtually pain free for the last 3 years.  Unfortunately, within the last month the same pain she used to experience has returned. 

UPDATE: Today we met with the neurosurgeon who did her surgery, Dr. Rambo at Columbia Neurosurgical. He said it seems that L4 disc is protruding on the sciatic nerve again or possibly scar tissue from the previous surgery. He prescribed her steroids and an anti inflammatory specifically for nerve pain. We are hoping this causes the swelling to go down and thus the pain to decrease. If after 3 weeks there is no improvement, we will schedule an MRI and go from there. 

PRAY for Kelsey to trust that God is good and that He cares about her pain.
PRAY for God to heal the discs in Kelsey’s back and any nerve damage it may have caused, and whether He heals miraculously or heals through medicine, that He would get the glory. 

Friday, April 11, 2014

The Mattress Story

Whenever I need to be reminded of God's love and faithfulness, I think back to "The Mattress Story". Three years ago, I spent my summer interning with Redeemed Girl Ministries in Houston, Texas. My fellow intern, Rebecca, and I, lived with an incredible woman, Kristen, who generously offered for us to stay in her two extra rooms.

One room, was a fully furnished guest room, and the other had served as a storage room before it had been emptied of it's furniture to make room for our stay. The plan was after Rebecca's internship, she was going to be hired on as full time staff with Redeemed Girl and continue living with Kristen. Since Rebecca would be living with Kristen for at least the next 6 months and I was only going to be there for 8 weeks, I figured I would give Rebecca the fully furnished room and take the empty room. No big deal. 

Well. When I opened the door to my room and realized that there was only a cot with a foam mattress on top, I immediately regretted my decision. You see, I had just had major back surgery, a lumbar discectomy, a few weeks before arriving in Houston and I was concerned that sleeping on a foam mattress might not go so well.

I know, I should have just asked Rebecca to switch with me, I'm sure she would have given up her bed immediately, but my pride got in the way. Instead, I didn't say a word and decided I would just tough it out. I chastised myself for being ungrateful when there are so many people who don't even have a bed to lay their heads at night. I remember praying and venting to the Lord about my frustration and disappointment with the bedding situation, but the thought didn't even cross my mind to ask God to do something about it.

One evening, only a few days after arriving in Houston, I came home and opened my bedroom door to find a full sized bed frame and mattress set! As my eyes settled on the beautiful new bed, my jaw literally dropped. I stood there in amazement and confusion. Where had this bed come from?! Wait, I thought, did I say something to Kristen about the cot? I couldn't remember mentioning anything to her or Rebecca, or anyone for that matter. I didn't want to complain to my hostess or seem ungrateful. It seemed as if the bed had fallen from Heaven!

When Kristen returned home from work that evening, I asked her where the bed had come from. She said that one of her friends, Joe, knew she had an empty room that could use a bed. Joe's neighbor had offered him the mattress for free, so Joe decided to take it to give to Kristen! He had no idea about my situation. The Lord had heard the desires of my heart. The thought hadn't even crossed my mind to ask Him for a better bed, but God knew exactly what I needed, without me even thinking to ask for it!

That night, laying in my wonderful, new bed, I was overwhelmed by the goodness of God. That He would care enough for me, for my back, to give me a bed. He didn't have to do it. I didn't even ask Him for it. But in His grace, He provided abundantly more than I could ask or imagine!

Whenever I remember that story, I'm reminded of God's love for me and the simple fact that He knows and He cares. The God of the universe knows where I lay my head at night. He cares about my health. He knows my wants and desires, and He cares about my pain. He loves me deeply, and gives good gifts. He's a good Dad. Take comfort, knowing that He knows your heart's desires and He cares for you.

So if you sinful people know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your heavenly Father give good gifts to those who ask him.- Matthew 7:11 NLT