Author Archive

Honduras Missions Project 2015

Creative Arts Ministry Partnering with Hope Clinic

by Erica Yi

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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

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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.

Honduras Missions Project 2014

- Written by Marlyse Jonfe-Quinto

Buenos Días! As I was thinking about what to say, my heart started pounding really fast and nervousness came upon me. I am reminded of something John Piper shared in his sermon, “Doing Missions When Dying Is Gain.” Did you know that he was terrified of public speaking before he became a pastor? This gave me hope! I had this fear of failure and people that crippled me and hindered God’s work in my life. I can say that I’m here by God’s grace, sharing about a glimpse of how He spoke to me in Honduras.

This is my second time going, but I felt that God wanted me to step up a little more. Every day I was challenged and all I could say was, “Ok, I knew this was coming; here I am God.” If He got me through translating and ministering to people in Honduras, sharing to a group of 400 girls, teaching Spanish to the team, breaking my comfort zone in skits, playing soccer and basketball when I felt like I was dying, and now sharing with you guys, what can’t I do with God. Stepping up, to me, means, “Am I willing to overcome these fears and take steps of faith for the sake of the Gospel?” I don’t want to miss opportunities because it’s not about me, but it’s about Christ.

Having integrity in all aspects of life is another challenge that was evident from Honduras. As Pastor Guy said, “Most callings come in small steps of obedience”. How can God entrust me to do greater things for His kingdom, when I can’t be faithful with the little things? I was reminded that I need a daily purification of my heart and renewal of my mind because I am prone to wonder. God allows me to stumble and fall, sometimes because He wants to wake me up from complacency, but He does not condemn me. Instead He lifts me up with His love and grace.

I believe that this season is a training ground for what’s to come, wherever God leads me. It was evident that during this journey, my heart for God’s people and missions increased. I saw the passion and joy that these missionaries and servants had in Honduras. They could have been anywhere else, but they followed God’s calling and devoted their lives to serving Him and His people. I really admire that. Therefore, I am open to wherever God leads me. I am far from flawless. But God doesn’t call those who are perfect. He calls ordinary people, like you and me, to do extraordinary things for His Kingdom.

This season is filled with hope and faith. I trust that He will care for the people we ministered to, that He will continue to move in my pre-Christian family, and that He knows the best for me in His timing. “But now, O LORD, you are our Father; we are the clay, and you are our potter; we are all the work of your hand,” Isaiah 64:8. God continue to mold me into the woman you want me to be and use my life for your Glory. You are sovereign and worthy of praise. Thank you!

2014 Ann Arbor Freshmen Spring Break Missions Trip

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Written by Eli Leiva

Hello Church,

I want to share with you a bit about my experience visiting Chicago for a week. I did not think much of what I would receive from the missions trip, but more of what I could give. Jesus had a different thing in mind though, He started chipping away at my pride and false self-sufficiency from the moment we got sent out. As we toured the city of Chicago and learned about the segregation of the past and of the tension that remains, I saw that God understood Chicago’s pain better than anyone of us, even the brother that was showing us around, but I also saw that God had not left them alone either. God had been working in Chicago on his own for quite some time, much to my surprise.

We visited Urban Youth Outreach, a Christ centered organization reaching out to youth in the community of Englewood. A group of us walked around praying over the neighborhood and asking people on the streets if they needed prayer. After being rejected by several people, I started asking God to “Please let us pray for at least one person.” This was a humbling moment. God was showing me I can’t even pray for someone without Him. My group walked along, and I felt pretty discouraged. Things were looking quite hopeless, with no one to pray for. Then, a green pickup truck pulled over and two ladies Dee Dee and Nay Nay were very kind to us and asked us if we were touring the neighborhood. “You guys should be up in downtown,” they said. When we asked if they had any prayer requests, Dee Dee asked for prayer regarding her afflictions and addictions, and Nae Nae asked for prayer for her man, who had been incarcerated. When God allowed me to pray for them and in that moment, He showed me his heart for those women. How much He values them and loves them.

In Chicago, I learned to appreciate the gift it is to partner with God to do his work, not because I have a certain amount of holy points or a certain knowledge of the Word, but because God graciously allows me to play a part in his kingdom work.

Honduras Missions Project 2013 Recap Video

Community Summer Missions Project 2011

By Perry Ahn

Want to see your life transformed? Do CSMP!

BUT before you do, leave all illusions about a Spartan lifestyle and heavy persecution behind. CSMP (Community Summer Missions Project) is definitely NOT that kind of “traditional” summer missions experience. Case in point: I gained 8 lbs while doing CSMP this past summer. However, I can confidently say that God blessed and transformed me, my teammates, and local communities through the experience.

I was on the team that went down to Austin. One of the biggest lessons I learned there was that “church” is about the people. There was one night in Austin where our subteam’s leader took off his glasses and asked us, “What does this church need?” The best response we could muster was “…undergrads?”

He rephrased the question. “Okay… how about this: what does Tim (a leader in Austin) need?”

Silence.

Our team had been so caught up in the tasks that we had to accomplish that we lost sight of just how personally God works in each and every one of his people. In Austin we learned to define the church not as a building or even a collection of people but rather by the specific people themselves. Before, when we would pray for a place like Austin, we’d pray largely generic prayers like “bless this church” and “bring new people to Christ”. Now praying for Austin meant praying for our brothers and sisters there by name according to their unique circumstances. This new attitude helped open our eyes to just how faithful and sovereign God had been amongst the people there. It also helped break our team’s tendency to be “ministry monsters” and instead molded us into… well, people.

The bond you form with your teammates is something I really hope you guys can experience. I can’t count how many times I was blessed by random acts of discipleship—whether it came in the form of prayer, rebuke, sharing the gospel, planning, or even gorging together after a long day of fasting. Being able to experience everything together showed me the immense value of biblical community, and I still count many of the brothers and sisters on my team as some of my closest friends today.

Of course, the team won’t be the only people blessed during CSMP. I was able to witness God move powerfully in each of the communities I served—from Detroit to Bryant Community to Excel Academy to Austin to even our own campus in Ann Arbor. Example: Even though I really have no idea how to interact with high school students, in Detroit God was able to build friendships between the students and me. I even had the privilege of witnessing one of the students accept Christ!

I really, really want you guys to be as blessed as I was during this past summer (if not even more blessed!), so please pray about committing this summer to join CSMP and experience God’s overwhelming love for His people. God bless! :D

(Disclaimer: for those concerned, it’s highly unlikely that you’ll gain 8 lbs during CSMP unless you get crazy blessed by a BBQ rib buffet on the way back from Austin)

Alternative Spring Break in Detroit 2011

By Judy Yeh

From around the time when God called our church into the One Desire Fast, He had begun to place a burden for Detroit in people’s hearts. This growing burden to pray for the healing of the city was not only felt by the pastors, but also by a number of our church members. During corporate prayer gatherings, people in different LIFE Groups felt the Holy Spirit tugging their hearts. As we were praying, verses from the book of Isaiah and 2 Chronicles began to catch our attention and seems to be encouraging us to help share the love and hope of Christ to the city of Detroit.

“The Lord will guide you always…Your people will rebuild the ancient ruins and will raise up the age-old foundations; you will be called Repairers of Broken Walls, Restorer of Streets with Dwellings.” – Isaiah 58:11a,12.

“They will rebuild the ancient ruins and restore the places long devastated; they will renew the ruined cities that have been devastated for generations.” -Isaiah 61:4

“If my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then will I hear from heaven and will forgive their sins and will heal their land.” -2 Chronicles 7:14

As it was becoming clear that God was convicting the church to intercede for city, a couple of brothers and sisters from the senior class (Frontline) in Ann Arbor responded by taking the lead on researching community service opportunities for spring break in Detroit. By God’s grace, a team of twelve was established, along with the partnership opportunity with Urban Neighborhood Initiatives (UNI) in southwest Detroit. UNI is a non-profit organization dedicated to building healthy neighborhood environment for families by using the integrative approach of adult and children education, infrastructure development and community housing development. It’s amazing to see how God is moving various organizations to work together to rebuild His city.

Our team chose to work on a community mapping project in the neighborhood. Our task was to walk around the streets of Springwells to document alley murals and houses that were open to trespass, burned or vacant. The information would then be compiled in a database to be sent to the city council so that the city can start demolishing and rebuilding adequate housing. This project was a small part of a greater initiative to help make Detroit a safer place to live and revitalize the neighborhoods.

Our team was very blessed by every little conversation we’ve had with UNI staff and local teen volunteers, as well as every small encounter with Springwells residents on the street. In some of these conversations we were able to learn a little bit about their living conditions and personal dreams. Some of us had a chance to share about our faith and God’s gracious hand in our lives- including how He sovereignly brought us to the University of Michigan. One of the teen volunteers made a decision to sign up to take the GED to pursue higher education after a ten minute conversation with a brother. Throughout the three days we were serving, God really encouraged us through these small interactions.

It was a privilege to be part of a team that was united by our God and to serve alongside brothers and sisters who were hungrily ready to serve and learn more about God’s people. Each day began and ended with corporate worship, prayer and sharing of life stories. We truly praise God for the invaluable moments of prayer-walking with one another, worshipping and sharing during the short car rides, because the beautiful presence of God not only gelled the team together, but also provided the lens for us to see a glimpse of God’s enormous love for His people in Detroit. Look out for the wave that Detroit is riding on!

Harvest Fest 2010

By Kathleen Yi

This past October, HMCC had its first Harvest Fest for the children in our church and their friends. What started out as three moms talking over some coffee about how they wanted an alternative for Halloween for their kids grew into an event greater than we had intended.

Originally, we were only going to invite the children of HMCC to someone’s house and have small activities for them. So, the three moms went on planning various activities and started penciling down some details of the event. However, after a meeting with the some of the Covenant leaders, more ideas were presented such as having all three Covenant groups coming together and also using the event as an evangelistic opportunity.

Rather than a house, the location changed to the Transformation Center and the purpose of the event morphed into an opportunity to reach out into the community, where Covenant members were encouraged to invite families with whom they have relationships. This provided an avenue for many families & married couples to invite their friends to an event that wouldn’t be too intimidating for pre-Christians, as it often is if they were invited to LIFE groups or Sunday Celebration.

On the day of the event, what was so amazing was how so many people were willing to help out with decorating and setting up the Transformation Center for Harvest Fest. From undergraduates to single adults and married couples, all were working together. Different people were in charge of the activity stations, such as pumpkin decorating, cookie decorating, and face painting. Other stations included a photo booth & apple
bobbing, which morphed into a spontaneous game created by some of the undergrad volunteers. It was truly a beautiful sight: people from different life stages using their gifts and talents to serve.

The whole process of Harvest Fest, from its conception to the actual event, was a reminder of how God simply used available hearts and how beautifully the body of Christ is when different parts work together. Harvest Fest really brought all the different life stages of our church together to create something memorable and beautiful. It was so memorable for the children that my oldest son kept talking about it for a whole week! Nothing brings more joy to a parent than seeing his/her child having fun. I can only imagine how God feels when He sees His children working together and having fun while doing it.