The Generosity Project

A little over a year ago I sat with a girl in a coffee shop and shared life over breakfast burritos. Over the course of a few hours we discussed her new boyfriend, her favorite TV Show and then she surprised me by pulling up the bible on her phone because, and I quote, “some of this stuff just doesn’t make any sense.” She pulled up Matthew 28:19-20 which says,

“Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you.”

She looked up at me, and with great frustration said, “ I quit. I just feel like the rest of the world is a made up place we see on TV and go to on vacation. I just doesn’t feel real to me…

I don’t understand why the rest of the world matters. “

I asked her why she felt it wasn’t real- and her response still sits like a weight upon my heart.

“Because I can’t see it.”

This conversation spurred on countless others within our staff, brainstorming meetings, devoted prayer, and eventually helped create and give birth to a campaign we launched officially in October called

The Generosity Project

The Generosity Project was not designed simply to raise funds so much as it is a hope and push to help reshape and form our students’ understanding of generosity and the world in light of the Gospel. In other words, our goal is to help support and further the kingdom of God globally while teaching our students that what God has done for us and the love he has shown us, compels us to act in the same manner towards others.

The Gospel is why the rest of the world matters.    

The Gospel is what makes other people matter.

We set out with a goal to raise $500.00 during the month for a community in South Dallas called BONTON and shared this vision with our students at our weekly Junior High and High School events- SWITCH and The Gathering.

BONTON

photo 3Bonton is a short five minute drive from downtown Dallas. It has a population of 2500 and around 44% of those are living in poverty. The community is located within a food desert. There are no grocery stores within three square miles and most have no access to transportation. The Good Works Company has stepped in and what was once one of the most crime-ridden neighborhoods in DFW is being restored into a self-sustaining community. The Good Works Company, along with many families, has taken up residence within the community with a goal of

Alleviating poverty, restoring human dignity, and creating flourishing communities through good work.

You can check out more information about The Good Works Company HERE!

This is what the Gospel does- it meets people where they are at, sits with them in their mess, changes hearts and in turn changes everything.

Throughout the month our students have had chances to

  • Interact with different ethnic foods

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  • Reenact cultural dances

photo And hear from individuals doing life right here and right now to further the Kingdom.  Our prayer at the close of this month is threefold–

  • that the Lord continues to set his Kingdom down among us
  • that the funds raised would bear fruit in Bonton
  • that our students, our staff, leaders, and parents would continue to grow in their affections for Jesus as he uses us to make disciples and love people well.

Written by Sarah Renfro, The Height’s Student Ministry Junior High Girls Intern. Sarah is one of the most passionate humans on the planet. She has been an integral member of the Height’s Student Ministry Staff since the Summer of 2013. Biblical discipleship, life-on-life investment, wild adventures, and the creative process make her heart beat faster.

Honduras.

IMG_4186Hola!

Last Thursday a group of 17 people from the Heights went to Honduras to work alongside our partners at the Promise Home Church and Orphanage. I got to join the group for the week, which was such an unexpected blessing from the Lord. Since a group of Heights Students will be going to Honduras over Spring Break, we thought you guys would like to see some photos from the trip and hear an update of what the Lord is doing in Honduras.

Honduras is a gorgeous and lush country. Everywhere you look is green and full of vegetation. But amidst the all the beauty, there is much brokenness. Honduras is one of the most impoverished countries in the Western Hemisphere. And by taking a short drive through the country, the impacts of that statistic hit you square in the face. You ride down the road admiring all of the banana trees, coconut trees, and mountains. Then you see villages filled with bright and colorful homes made of tin and cement busting at the seams with people. You see trash littering the streets. You see once-beautiful rivers that are now brown from mudslides and runoff snaking through the countryside.

The further we drove, the more I saw. The more I saw, the heavier my heart grew.

In the middle of all of this hopelessness, I found supernatural hope radiating in this place–the hope of Christ at work, restoring His land and His people, brick by brick.

The Heights partners with Promise Home Church and Orphanage in El Portillo, Honduras. The vision for this place is to–

  • provide physical and spiritual care to abandoned, abused and neglected children
  • create a self-sustaining environment to not be dependent upon U.S. financial support
  • create educated leaders that will be change agents in Honduras and beyond
  • mobilize and strengthen the church to restore hope to the surrounding village in Jesus’s name

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^^^This is the view from the Promise Home Orphanage.

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^^^Bill Hayden is the one implementing the God-given vision for Promise Home Orphanage. He showed the Heights team around and cast vision for the Orphanage.

IMG_4023^^^These are lychees, a fruit that is in abundance in Honduras. You pierce the outer spiky shell and inside there is a grape-like fruit that you eat. It is sour and sweet and extremely tasty!

IMG_4029^^^This is Promise Home Orphanage. The building on the left is the cafeteria. The building on the right is the home for the children. The open space at the front is where the classrooms and teacher accommodation will be built.

IMG_4031^^^Part of the vision for Promise Home is for it to be self-sustaining. Bill has started a tilapia farm that currently has 30 ponds that hold up to 8,000 fish. The goal is to have 50 ponds that will ideally produce enough revenue to support a large chunk of the orphanage’s expenses.

IMG_4042^^^The fish are cleaned and prepared to be sold by women in this room. They are then sold by the crateful to businesses. They sell up to 2,000 fish per month!

IMG_4089^^^This is where the teams from the Heights stay. It is a nice little hotel called La Cascada, located in El Progreso. It is about a 35-40 minute drive from Promise Home. Delicious breakfasts and dinners are cooked in house by two precious Honduran women.

IMG_4098^^^Since the Orphanage is still in the building process, teams spend a great amount of time in country working on construction projects. Our team built this cement wall, which was hard work, but fun and rewarding!

IMG_4151^^^On Sunday some of the group got to lead Promise Home Church’s children church. There were between 50-60 children from the surrounding village that came. It was a fantastic morning of worship, crafts, studying the Bible, and of course, soccer!

That evening we got to attend church with the whole body of believers and experience worship with them, which was incredibly cool. Miguel, the Heights in Spanish pastor, led us in teaching of the Word. Even though it was all in Spanish, I was struck by the realization that God’s love knows no language barrier.

This day was one of my favorites because we finally got to meet the people we’d heard so much about and put a face with a name. Meeting people and hearing their stories, that’s what makes it real. I was overwhelmed by the joy and hospitality that radiated out of the community of people. It is a special place.

IMG_4360^^^On Monday, the majority of the team went to the local school and lead VBS. Many of the children from church the previous day went to this school so it was great to continue building relationships and playing with them.

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IMG_4268^^^All of the staff and students at the school with our team. What a joy-filled time spent in this school with these people!

IMG_4375^^^This is the whole Heights team outside the front of the La Cascada Hotel. Praise the Lord for bringing this team together and building sweet community amongst us as we served. Proud of what the Lord is doing in and through each one of these humans!

When students go in March, they will be doing similar things to what our team got to do. It is an extremely eye-opening trip. God was speaking and stirring in all of us the whole time. The biggest things that Jesus spoke to me while in Honduras were–

  • He uses us in spite of ourselves and selfishness.
  • His Gospel knows no language barrier, poverty threshold, age specification, or geographical boundary.
  • We are human beings, not human doings. The Honduran culture is much slower paced, which lends itself for time to value people and to just dwell. I think we can all learn a much needed lesson in how to slow down and savor life from them.
  • Restoration is a slow process, but is worth the wait.

I’ll leave you with this passage that so perfectly sums up the hope for Honduras, and the rest of the world, that is in Christ alone:

“Thus says the Lord God: On the day that I cleanse you from all your iniquities, I will cause the cities to be inhabited, and the waste places shall be rebuilt. And the land that was desolate shall be tilled, instead of being the desolation that it was in the sight of all who passed by. And they will say, “This land that was desolate has become like the garden of Eden, and the waste and desolate and ruined cities are now fortified and inhabited.” Then the nations that are left all around you shall know that I am the Lord; I have rebuilt the ruined places and replanted that which was desolate. I am the Lord; I have spoken, and I will do it.” Ezekiel 36:33-36

Engage.

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What comes to mind when you hear the word engage?

If you regularly attend the Heights, you have probably heard this word spoken from stage, written in the bulletin, posted on the walls, etc. You might think of Engage Sundays that happen throughout the year. You might even find yourself thinking, “Why are all these people talking about getting engaged? Been there, done that.”

Good news—we aren’t trying to force you to get down on one knee, put a ring on your finger or plan a wedding. Engage is the name of our mission strategy at the Heights.

Engage is a verb that is defined as “to do or take part in something.” This is a dynamic word that results in activity. When we think of it in terms of the Gospel, it means we actively take part in showing the love of Jesus Christ in all that we say and do to everyone we meet.

“…the Son of Man came not to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.” Matthew 20:28

Jesus’s heart was that of a servant. He actively took part in bringing the Kingdom of God to earth. If we are followers of Jesus, then our hearts and lives should be about the same things as His—serving God and serving others out of love. This is the heart behind Engage.

Our desire is to provide our students with many intentional opportunities to Engage, teaching them how and why we do this as followers of Christ along the way. We pray that through Engage opportunities, students will glean a greater depth of how God is moving around the world and what our role is in His mission. By the time 7th graders enters the ministry and then graduate as seniors, we want all of our students to have a greater understanding of their Jerusalem, Judea, and Samaria (Acts 1:8) as they move on to the next stages of life in college, the work place, parenthood and beyond.

Our strategy for accomplishing this has three main components—

  1. Local opportunities
  2. Domestic trips
  3. International trips

Over the next few weeks, we will go into greater detail about each aspect of our Engage strategy to give you a clear picture of where and how your student can get involved as we engage the world around us with the Gospel.

***If your student is in high school and interested in going on the 2015 England or Honduras Engage trips, applications are due this Friday, October 10th.***