Honduras Missions Project 2015

Community Summer Missions Project 2014 – Ann Arbor

by Xinxin Zhou

Perhaps the biggest lesson I learned—and am continuing to learn—during this past summer with our Community Summer Missions Project is that God is eternally abundant in His faithfulness and grace. He is always committed to His glory, even as I may stumble and fall. Throughout the month of ministry, I witnessed this a countless number of times. I had the privilege of being a part of Excel English puppet team and Cesar Chavez Academy’s Fusion program. Fusion was a program where the CSMP Detroit team introduced high schoolers to different extracurricular activities such as painting, dance, cooking, and engineering projects. God was demonstrating through these different ministries just how powerfully He would always work. After a month of getting to know a group of CCA students really well, I felt like God was just beginning to open up their hearts. During the very last day of Fusion, we gave our different squads tours of the UofM campus. It was a fun day, but there was always just this impending sense of sadness as we knew we would have to leave our separate ways soon.

The last stop in our tour was the Transformation Center. How symbolic that seems now. Our squad talked about what we saw on campus, what we liked and didn’t, and what we learned. Unexpectedly, the sharing became more and more personal, so I decided to end our time with an opportunity for each student to lift up a prayer before parting ways. What happened next I could not have anticipated.

To my surprise, it was two of our most elusive members that shared with heartbreaking honesty. One student shared about how for a long time she’s held unforgiveness towards her family and how she wanted to apologize to God. Another student shared how he’s fearful to make relationships in case of getting hurt. He shared about how he made jokes to feel important to others. I was so moved. Never would I have ever anticipated such genuineness from these two students, but just to see how much God had worked on their hearts was too overwhelming. We even got to a point comfortable enough, where I got to share my personal testimony and the Gospel. I believe beyond the shadow of a doubt, God has planted seeds of faith into the hearts of these kids and it’s crazy to see them still sharing prayer requests with me to this day.

It was difficult to leave the students after that tour day, to see all that God had just begun and not be able to continually invest personally. I had failed to see with eyes of faith and I needed to constantly surrender the students to a perfectly sovereign God, knowing that they were in trustworthy hands. I know the same God Who brought these relationships together would be the same One faithfully working in their hearts long after I’m gone. Once again it was this idea that He would be the one to build up His Kingdom and glory. I just had the great joy of being part of the journey. Our God is too too good.

Community Summer Missions Project 2014 – Chicago

Chicago CSMP 2

Chicago CSMP 1
by David Nang
For a month, my missions team did most of our work within Chicago with specific organizations and with HMCC Chicago, but it was through an unplanned event outside the city that God revealed His evangelistic heart to me.

One Saturday morning, our team prepared to enter Chicago via subway. Walking to the station, our team made an unusual right turn, and immediately I saw my high school friend, Conor, jumping towards me. Conor was conducting research over the summer at Northwestern University, but I didn’t know because I never saw Conor to be a long-term friend. With this providential encounter, I began to see Conor through God’s eyes. Not as a distant friend of mine to forget, but a lost child of God to remember. A promise to continue our conversation, a sure handshake, and I rejoined my team to enter the city.

With our busy schedule, LIFE group presented the only chance I had to meet Conor; our team would leave Chicago later that week. But I was scared to invite him. I knew Conor didn’t believe in God. I knew his view of church wasn’t great. I feared his judgments, thoughts towards the group, the difficult questions he might ask. Yet I was pleasantly surprised when Conor accepted my invitation to LIFE group. How appropriate that just 5 minutes before asking, my missions leader had led me in prayer for him.

So with a worried, doubt-filled heart, I began to pray. And pray a lot. I prayed to God that my friend would see the difference in our community, that he would notice something positive. And by His sovereign grace, God began to unfold His amazing answer to me.

Conor not only stayed for dinner, but remained for a long 3 ½ hour night with our LIFE group. He sang ‘Shout to the Lord’ with us, studied Colossians 1 with us, shared very personal moments with us. He even accepted my invitation to receive prayer. His engagement throughout the night was surreal. As Conor and I left the apartment, he asked for the song we had lifted up in worship and made an announcement thanking everyone for their kindness and hospitality through the night. Upon leaving, he shared a touching response, “Just because I don’t share the same beliefs, doesn’t mean I can’t see the beauty in [worship].”

It was in the most unexpected of moments, on a random street corner in nearby Evanston wherein God gave me a chance to share my faith. CSMP taught me that missions really can occur anytime and anywhere. I learned that Christ-centered community is cool, too; I could collaborate with a family of believers to welcome a stranger oblivious to the love of God. Not only this, but I became a witness to the profound efficacy of prayer. I can only imagine the wonders of God’s sovereign Plan to make it all happen. Jesus is worth it.

Indonesia Missions Project 2014

Indonesia Team

Last day of ministry in Biak, Papua

by Josephine Tan
This past July (2014), I was given the opportunity to participate in an HMI Asia Summer Missions Project along with 6 other brothers and sisters from Ann Arbor. We flew to Indonesia where we joined the teams from Austin and Jakarta to carry out the two-part mission project. From Banten Province on the west side of Indonesia, all the way to Biak Island on the east, we witnessed incredible stories of how God is moving; He is encountering people and softening hearts to pave the way for the Gospel to be shared and accepted.

Though I learned many things, one of the biggest lessons I personally learned is that a ministry without love is no ministry at all. During our Banten Outreach, we were told to go out, meet people, get to know them, and share the Gospel. Given my history with being shy and uncomfortable with evangelism, I was determined to learn what it looked like to be bold. And that boldness came, but by Day 3 of the outreach, I realized that I had somehow made it more about sharing the Gospel with everyone I met rather than about loving people. This eventually caused some problems, which led me to question myself: Did I hold an actual conversation with them? Did I take care to listen to the stories of their lives, or to learn about why they held certain beliefs or made certain decisions? Or was it just me talking? I admit I did these things sparingly if at all. But thankfully, a pastor on the trip brought 2 Corinthians 13 to my attention, and I saw that I had shared the Gospel not out of love, but out of just wanting to be bold and hear my own voice.

Indonesia Missions

Cold Evangelism in Banten Province

This lesson was repeated again in Papua when a few of us had the chance to visit a bible study in South Biak. I saw that a strong emphasis was placed on the symptom of sin (alcohol addiction), rather than the root of sin (what turns people to alcohol addiction). Furthermore, I realized that there was a clear focus on behavior modification (stop drinking alcohol!), rather than on Jesus Christ, the only one who will be able to fill broken areas in our lives. By God’s grace, one of our sisters was given the opportunity to minister to this bible study, and she did so by sharing the story of the Prodigal Son. This time, I didn’t see anyone just trying to get the Gospel across, but I was able to see how really loving those people in the moment meant sharing with them God’s love and forgiveness as it pertained to their situation.

Baptism

Baptizing a brother in Papua

In the end, I concluded that it’s okay to want to be bold and share the Gospel, but if these things are not done with a heart to love people and to love God, then they end up becoming meaningless. What’s important is to listen to people, learn about their lives, and love them with the love of God. Going forth, I see that I want to be bold out of these things, after all, God is doing something with or without me, I just don’t want to miss it anymore!

China Missions Project 2014

shanghai5

by Agnes Yu
China mission was a full month of reaping fruits that we do not sow. I learned that it is truly God who qualifies the ones He calls, and He orchestrates everything by uniting different people together to work for His glory.

When we were in Luoning, China, we ran a two-week summer program at a government-run welfare institute, partnering with a Christian organization to serve around 80 children from impoverished families. In the beginning our team was a little discouraged when we were told that we cannot explicitly preach the Gospel to minors in China. However, after realizing that most of the welfare institute’s teachers – who have recently graduated from college like us – are actually obeying God’s calling on their life to serve at the welfare institute, our team connected with them on a deeper level. We have witnessed how God opened the door for one of the teachers to share her own testimony to the children, people took step of faith to get baptized, disadvantaged children received healing through programs like “Love in Action” and “Family Anew,” etc. God is in control of all things and He will make something beautiful out of the ones who seek first for His Kingdom.

SG4

God also gathers the nations together, scatters them all over the world, and brings the Gospel message with them to transform lost lives. Although HMCC Singapore is small, it is a diverse church. Most of its members are either third culture people who’ve studied abroad and went back to Singapore, or they are not Singaporeans. However, they are the ones who reach out to the country of Singapore and bring people to know Christ. Through this I am able to see how much God values transculturalism. Even when we were in China, God uses the partnership of different families and across generations to impact society. I think God is showing us that a community with Him at the center is much more powerful than we could ever imagine. Therefore, coming out of missions, I think one of the many things that God has taught me is the importance of investing in discipleship relationships and building up His Church that loves the nations.

Creative Arts Ministry Partnering with Hope Clinic

by Erica Yi

hopeclinic1

hopeclinic2

Throughout the past several years, our church has had the privilege of partnering together with Hope Clinic, an interdenominational Christian organization that serves communities in need through various medical, dental and social services. The Creative Arts team recently had two opportunities to participate and host their weekly worship service on Sunday evenings where patients, volunteers & staff gather together. We were able to facilitate the time of worship through songs and had a guest speaker share from the Word as well. The ultimate vision for these services is to reach out to the surrounding community and to share the message of hope to those in need.

One of our team members met a patient who attends the clinic, and he was in his sixties. As he was sharing, he described how his life had seemed so unfulfilling up until now and that he felt distant from God. Toward the end of our service, we got a chance to pray for him and he said, while sniffling, “I can’t give up on God because He won’t ever give up on me”. It was an eye-opening reminder that there are people that live day to day without a sense of purpose or joy, but that God’s heart is full of compassion for us all and wants to bring us back to Him. We realized that God truly is the only one who can give us eternal hope despite our circumstances. It was humbling and encouraging hearing this man respond in this way after our time together and there were others who were blessed and refreshed by the simple time of worship together.

We left feeling very thankful for the opportunity to share the Gospel and to gather as the Church as we gathered with people from various backgrounds and we saw how real the pains, burdens, and worries of this world are, yet, we were brought back to the greater reality that Jesus is the Way, the Truth and the Life. We are praying and believing by faith that God will open more doors for us to share the Gospel through our love for worship and the arts!

Detroit LIFE Group: Hot Chocolate Evangelism and Prayer

by David Lai

detroit2

Looking to create a space to engage the city of Detroit with our LIFE group ministry, we began a missional initiative we’ve called Hot Chocolate Evangelism and Prayer (Hot Chop for short) during our first year in the city. On any given Hot Chop night, we went out in small groups into various parts of the city and used hot chocolate as a way to engage in conversation with folks we met on the street. From groups of friends having a night on the town to folks who lived on the streets, Hot Chop challenged our ministry to go out of our comfort zones and be bold in engaging folks we didn’t know in conversation. What we found many times was that hot chocolate served many times merely as a conversation starter and many folks opened up about their lives soon after we offered them a hot drink. We always tried to end our conversations by offering prayer, of which many people took us up on that offer!

Hot Chop has been a great way to get a stronger on-the-ground feel for the city and been a great discipleship opportunity for our members. We’ve seen one sister come out to our LIFE group ministry through a Hot Chop night and have continued to hold Hot Chop nights through the winter months during our 2nd year in the city. We look forward to continuing to use Hot Chop to engage our city moving onwards!

YOLO & Infinity LIFE Groups Reaching Ann Arbor

by Nina Mo

Hey all!

I just wanted to share a little about how my LIFE group, Infinity, had the privilege of partnering with a Focus and Covenant LIFE group (single adults and married couples) YOLO, to outreach to the homeless community in Ann Arbor this past March. As part of the preparation, Infinity and YOLO had a joint LIFE group meeting (which was the first time we ever did that!) during the week in order to get to know one another and pray together. This experience was really awesome because I never had a chance to meet people in the single adults and married couples life stages and we were blessed by their hospitality as they invited us into their home with such wide-open hearts.

For the outreach project, we wanted to distribute care packages to those in need because they lack a lot of things that we may take for granted on a day-to-day basis. During the week, we delegated who would bring which items – ranging from snacks, clothing, toothbrushes, shampoo, and other toiletries. Both our LIFE groups gathered again the night prior to the outreach to make these care packages. We formed an assembly line and the care packages were made almost instantaneously. It was very cool to see how everyone played a role in creating them and how we all came together like a well-oiled machine. To close out, we prayed together for the homeless community of Ann Arbor and wrote an encouraging note/verse to leave in each care package.

This was my first time doing any sort of outreach so I was pretty nervous. Surrounded by people who had done this before or showed no signs of nervousness, I was intimidated and scared that what I had to offer was inadequate. I asked God to give us all a spirit of boldness and that He would use people even like me to speak to and just care for His people.

On the day of outreach, we divided into smaller groups of 3-4 people, and were assigned a different section of the city. My group had three care packages and wanted to give at least one out as a goal – but after walking around our block multiple times without seeing anybody, I was very discouraged. We passed by other groups talking to people, praying for others and handing out their care packages in their respective blocks. I felt like we were the only group that was unsuccessful. But I was really thankful to have two very encouraging sisters in my group who wouldn’t give up and we decided to explore our assigned block of the city.

Then we came across a man named Derek who was selling a newspaper called Ground Cover, on the corner of the street. We talked to him for a little while and learned that he had two daughters going to school in the Ann Arbor area and that aside from Ground Cover, he was still trying to find another job to support his daughters. It was really encouraging to see that he was hopeful and still was actively finding ways to get employed. He had the biggest smile that radiated from cheek to cheek when he opened up the care package that we gave him and he was genuinely so thankful. As we talked more and prayed for him, I knew that God had been and will continue to work in this man’s life – we were privileged to catch a glimpse of His work and cross paths with Derek.

When the day ended, we all came together again to debrief and the groups shared about all the different people they met. Even though we reached out to just a few people in the City of Ann Arbor, I learned that God’s love is enormous for all His people and I was blessed to be able to see His heart for this community.

FREE: Teaching English at Binong Village

Global Band Missions Project 2013