Category: Leveraging Students and Adults

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.

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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.

FREE: Teaching English at Binong Village

Global Band Missions Project 2013

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.

Asia Missions Project 2013 Recap Video