In Response to Recent Events

 

 

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If you turn on the news today, you will notice a theme that has rang true the past couple weeks: terror and brokenness. As Christians it is our duty to intercede and help those that are in need, but I question the impact that I can truly make as college student living in North Dallas. Because of this, it is easy to only allow a few moments of thought to these events when I feel that I have no power to change them. Why would anyone want to dwell on the sadness that is happening around the world when we feel there is no cure? These ideas and feelings of powerlessness are false, brothers and sisters. Do we not have the power of prayer, where we can make our requests known to God? And according to Ephesians, isn’t our God “able to do far more abundantly that all that we ask or think”?

So let us be active with power we have been given in prayer.

We know that our God is a God who is capable of the indescribable. So let’s ask for the indescribable. Let’s pray and plead for salvation of the men of Isis, that the scales will fall from their eyes like Paul and that they will be redeemed. That they will turn in their ways and see the goodness of the grace of our merciful God. Who else will do it? Our Word is the one that says “Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you” (Matt. 5:44), so let’s love Isis, and any other who causes terror, enough to pray for their salvation.

If we turn a blind eye toward the hurt and tragedy of these civilians, how are we to be broken for them in a way that compels us to prayer? We must ask the Lord to soften our hearts for those responsible and to look upon them as what they really are: God’s creation left to their own sin. This is the only way that we will be able to intercede for those who need us, by not allowing ourselves to turn a blind eye and push the victim’s pain to the back of our minds. Allow yourself to sit in the suffering and the sadness that comes with the reality of these innocent civilians lives so that we may earnestly pray for their healing and salvation, as well as the redemption of their persecutors.

Set a reminder, so that at 12 pm you can join me in prayer. Grab a friend or find an empty office so that we can have an intentional time pleading with the Lord. Let’s pray for:

  • the salvation and heart change of the men of Isis, that they will see that these acts are not pleasing to their Allah, but are empty and horrendous actions
  • the victims of the past events and the events to come, for healing for their families and their loved ones
  • the civilians through out Europe and the Middle East, for the fears that undoubtedly have overtaken their lives and for the Lord to bring peace to them
  • the Lord’s will to be done and for Him to be most Glorified

 

As the Church this is the role that we get to play and it is an ongoing role. These prayers do not finish today but continue to be our heart cry.

Remind yourself of these scriptures:

“Whatever you ask in my name, this I will do, that the Father be glorified in the Son.” John 14:13

“But if anyone has the world’s goods and sees his brother in need, yet closes his heart against him, how does God’s love abide in him?” 1 John 3:17


This post was written by Marisa Mulloy our High School Girls summer resident. 

Boston #5: Doing good in the neighborhood. 

  
Yesterday we got to serve with Encounter Church again. Encounter desires to be a church who gives back rather than takes from their community so we got to help make this vision a reality by cleaning up around a popular area of town. Since we were rocking our bright orange “Do Good” shirts, many people got to tangibly see Encounter giving back to the community. It was really cool to watch the Lord change our hearts and attitudes as we served. Two students shared their perspective below–
  

Even though this is my first mission trip, I have already learned so much. Not only have I learned about how to reach out to others, but I have also learned a lot about myself. One thing I have learned about me is that I get easily discouraged. When I’m serving and I don’t see any responses from the people it can tend to trigger thoughts in my head like “Am I doing something wrong” or ” does this even matter”. However, through this I have learned to have faith in God and he will do his will through our work. I also realized that I get easily distracted. This has really challenged me this week, but I have the Spirit that makes me able to over come it and stay focused on God. This week has been an amazing experience that has really changed the way I view ministry. -Emily Masters, an upcoming sophomore at Wylie Prep   
 Yesterday we went around the city and helped picked up trash, trying to make it a better place. On the surface it just seemed like menial labor to be “good people,” but I felt it was so much more than that. For people to see us out helping the community and giving back to the city is something that shows the people of this city what we really are. For some people the church is something to stay away from and not trust, but we are working to remove that feeling of hostility. I felt that we truly made a difference in the hearts of these people and I felt the Holy Spirt truly move in me. We also went to the new Encounter Church location and prayed over it and I felt that the Holy Spirt did something powerful in that place. I feel like Encounter church is the start of something new in this place with so few gospel preaching churches. I sense that God is working in the hearts of these people in this place. To be able to be a part of praying to God to make this new location a reality was really special to me because it really felt like the Holy Spirt moved in me and did something powerful in that place. -Matthew Britten, an upcoming junior at Plano Senior   

  We had the afternoon off yesterday and got to take the train into Boston and go to a Red Sox game. It was such an incredible experience!! And also the reason why this blog is just now being posted 🙂  

We just finished up our last full day of ministry and will share more about that later. We are so grateful to God for letting us join Him in His work in Boston. And also grateful for your prayers and support! 
“But I will hope continually and will praise you yet more and more.”‭‭ Psalms‬ ‭71:14‬ ‭

Boston #4: When Ministry Is Hard.

This morning we woke up and doned bright orange shirts with two simple words on the front: Do Good. These are the shirts that Encounter Church wears every time they go out as a body to serve their community. Their goal is to be a church that gives back to their community rather than taking from their community. As a part of serving the community our team split into two groups to go clean. One group cleaned up a local church and the other cleaned a playspace for children who are living in homeless shelters. This afternoon we got to make activity books for children who are patients at Children’s Hospital in Boston.   
It was one of the less glamorous days of ministry and we all felt the struggle of that. The Spirit has been stirring up in us as we’ve processed the state of our hearts and minds today. Read on to hear this from the perspective of the two upperclassmen on this trip–  

Today has been one of the more challenging days of this week. As a team, our mindset wasn’t where it needed to be, and it effected the way we represented Jesus, our church to the community. It’s been a hard week knowing that we may not see immediate fruit from our work here. Boston is very much a place where the enemy is at work, which has in turn left us feeling defeated today. Please pray against distractions amongst our team, and that the spirit would come into our minds and our hearts and help to remind us that we’re here for a greater purpose, which is to spread God’s love for His people and set His kingdom down here in Boston.-Annie Stevens, upcoming college freshman at ETBU  

Today was our 4th day in Boston. So far we have spent the first two days touring the city and getting a feel for the people here. The next two days Monday and Tuesday we spent working with churches. Monday we prayer walked for a church called Milestone Church, led by a planter named Jay. We were able to walk across the town of Nattick and pray for every single house in the town. Today my group helped clean a play room for homeless kids and we then created activity booklets for children in a hospital. So far my biggest takeaway from this trip is what ministry looks like in the long run. I am heavily considering full time missions as a career and this trip has provided a lot of insight into what that looks like. The realizations I’ve had are that the majority of ministry is not consistent spiritual encounters every day, but a lot of work days where you don’t see a change or a direct movement of the church. Instead see almost no progress and choose to trust that the Spirit is indeed working in ways you can’t see. It was a good eye opener to the hard parts of ministry.-Graham Varnell, an upcoming senior at The Plano Academy

Tomorrow we get to serve with Encounter again. We will be working on some community beautification by picking up trash in town and then we are going to prayer walk over Encounter Church’s current location and the new location they are hoping to sign a lease on in the coming days. Like Annie said, pray against distractions and for the Spirit to lead our hearts and minds as we work. Ask the Spirit to lead us in the way we should walk and use us for His glory! 

Boston #3: Walk It Out. 

  

It was our first full day of ministry and we are ending with tired bodies and full hearts. We got to partner with Milestone Church today. This is a church plant in a town northwest of Boston called Natick.
This is a community of about 58,000 people, many of whom commute into Boston for work. It is a beautiful town full of homes that embody what I think of when I hear the words “American Dream.”   
     

In the midst of this pretty town of beautiful homes, well-manicured lawns and successful people, there are no churches that are preaching the gospel of Jesus Christ. Milestone Church
will have their first service August 21st. Today we got to walk all over Natick and pray over every home and family in the community, asking the Spirit to break through and draw them to their Creator. It was the first time for many of our team to prayer walk and the Spirit led us, taught us and used us in really cool ways. Here are two stories from students and their prayer walking experiences–  

 Today during prayer walk, the Lord spoke to me, telling me that I had to have courage. Even more, he told me I need to have faith. As my group walked down a certain street, a man came out to take out the trash. It turned out to be much more than this, as he started to open up about his son, and son’s wife who recently passed away. He was a very hospitable man with a kind way of speaking. As we walked away and said our goodbyes, I almost said nothing, but for some reason, I knew the Lord wanted me to say I would pray for him. I did and he said he was very thankful. It was simple, but I know in my heart that the Lord impacted that man in some way. I may not see it. In fact, I may never see instant results with some people, but the Lord is faithful. Therefore, I can have faith that God will answer prayers.-Jansen Wonders, an upcoming junior at Allen High School  

Today was our second day in Boston. We spent the whole day prayer walking. I have never been prayer walking so going into today was very nerve-wracking. As we began walking, I became very distracted. I prayed that I would just be focused on The Lord and praying as we walked. The Holy Sprit then kept me focused and was speaking to me the whole time. One of the things I realized while we were walking is how selfish and oblivious I have become to the brokenness around me in Dallas. The Lord reminded me my mission is in Dallas, Texas. This week has already been so powerful so pumped to see what the Lord is going to do this week. -Kallie Galvan, an upcoming junior 

*Tomorrow we will be partnered with Encounter Church. We will be cleaning at a church and a home for children without homes in the morning and creating books for children in the hospital. Pray for the Spirit to get done what He wants done in and through us!

Boston #2: Birds Eye View. 

 
Today has been one of those really full days that feels like three days rolled into one. From church at Encounter this morning to orientation downtown tonight and everything in between, the team has experienced a lot today. Each day we are going to let you hear stories from students on the trip. Read below to hear about our day from Alison Moore, an upcoming junior at JJ Pearce.– 

 
This morning we got to see and experience Encounter Church for the first time. It was really eye opening to see how different church was done in this area of the U.S. The church itself was held within the walls of a middle school in Dedham. It was amazing to see how far this church had come with the little resources they had.
  
As well as the
physical church being different to what we expected, the way the gospel was taught was also different than we had past seen. Our group was challenged to see how the gospel was contextualized in order to prevent any barriers or obstacles that new learners might face.
Personally, I noticed this contextualization through
several ways. When the service first began, instead of the band saying let’s worship they simply said lets stand and sing. Although this was a small detail to my weekly Sunday, I realized how large a single word can be. The word “worship” could have a different connotation to someone first learning about Jesus that could make them feel uncomfortable. Another example of this was during the sermon the pastor was teaching. He used widely graspable examples to allow everyone to connect to what was being taught such as movie clips and personal stories. 

The next part of our day was spent at the Prudential Center. Our group went up to the 360 degree observatory to look over the city that God is allowing us to share his love in this week. This was our time to take in where we were and the history it has. As we walked around the top floor, we kept certain topics of prayer on our minds. It was such a humbling feeling being able to pray over our group and our time here at Boston while looking over the amazing city and creation God has made.

    
I prayed for our flexibility throughout the week as well as letting God use us how he intended for the week, for our ability to begin building bridges between the church and the people of Boston, being able to be on the trip to glorify God, and for our ability to plant seeds in the people we meet whether that be by the word of mouth or by our physical actions of love.  

The last part of our day was spent in the Tremont Temple Baptist Church. This is where we received our training before going out the next few days to serve. The focus of the training was Boston’s history and how God has been working throughout Boston so that we can be prepared for the churches we encounter {pun intended} throughout the week. 

  
The training opened with the head of the North American mission board of Boston. He proposed a question: What is the percentage of fully evhangelicalized Christians of the most Islamic country, Saudi Arabia? The answer was four percent. 

He then asked the same question of Boston; however, Boston’s percentage was only 2-3 percent.

I found this extremely unnerving, but this definitely motivated and inspired me. I know that God has placed me in this mission group for a reason. I know that I have a purpose on this trip and that is to spread the gospel through my actions, joy, kindness, and words. I will begin to plant seeds in the people of Boston. I know that I may not see the end result of the fruit bearing in the person I effect. I may not even know if I have had an impact on a person, yet I know that Encounter Church will see this result and that I was a part in building further godly relationships in Boston. 

*Tomorrow we have our first full day on ministry sites. We are joining Milestone Church to prayer walk over homes and families in the Natick Community. Milestone’s first church service is in four weeks so we get to be a part of the foundational work of prayer, asking the Spirit to stir in every single heart and life in Natick and to build the Kingdom there! 

Boston #1: The Heights are coming, The Heights are coming!

 
Our team of 12 students and 3 adults 
bags are checked, plane tickets are in hand, and we are sitting at the gate, ready to go to Boston! This week we will be joining six other churches in Boston to be apart of a missional week called SummerSalt Global. We will primarily be serving with Encounter Church, a church plant that The Heights supports. We will be staying in Dedham, a suburb of Boston.  

We should arrive in Boston early this afternoon and will go to check in at our hotel. Then we will get to spend the evening exploring Boston and getting acquainted with the city and culture. 

Just to paint a picture of the spiritual climate of Boston, less than 2% of people go to church or consider themselves religious. Boston is located in the third least religious state in America. The largest evangelical church in the town of Dedham is Encounter, with an average of 125-150 people. This is exciting, but also raises up gospel urgency. 

We are excited to come alongside Encounter, and several other church plants in town, to help build relational bridges this week. Join us in praying for the light and hope of the gospel to shine brightly through our team and the churches that we’re partnering with in Boston. 
As I was reading in the final book of the Chronicles of Narnia last night, this quote stuck out to me–“The light is dawning, the lie is broken.” Praying that the light of Christ would shine brightly and that the Spirit will break the lies of the enemy in Boston this week and beyond.

We will be posting daily updates from our time in Boston, so stay tuned! Follow @heightsstudents and check out #thsmboston16 on Instagram and Twitter to keep connected. 

Launch Box: Ambassadors for Christ

Hello all! Our team has been on the go all day! One reason we like Launch Box is how serving and training are both emphasized. The team has experienced training on how to share the gospel and on learning about how to love our Muslim neighbors. We love that our students are going deep in the truth of the gospel! Last night, we studied the love and justice of God. Numbers 14:18 says, “The Lord is slow to anger, abounding in love and forgiving sin and rebellion. Yet he does not allow the guilty to go unpunished.” The students then heard about the wrath of God that has been taken by Christ for us. Launch Box has been a time for our students to continue to hear the gospel in fresh ways to better represent it to the those they are serving. 

“Today we served at two different locations, Teruko Spring and La Mirada. I served with my group at Teruko Springs. We put on a VBS for the kids who lived in those apartments. We got to do a lot of activities with them including rec., craft, snacks, large group bible study and small group to talk about the lesson more in depth. I really loved getting to know the kids and hearing their questions. The five little girls in my group all said they were going to come back tomorrow.  Tonight we all went to Creek Side church and helped clean it out before it gets renovated. I had a lot of fun, I helped clean out the books and sort them. Overall we got a lot of stuffed cleaned out and it definitely saved them a lot of time. I can’t wait to see what God has planned for the rest of the week in these little kids lives as well as mine.” –Alisa Wyant, 10th grade

“Today at Creek Side we got to see and get ready to renovate the whole church. It was cool to see that they were following God and praising the Lord they love the Lord so much!” – Kate Johnson, 7th grade

“La Mirada day 2 was a for sure break through! Some of the same kids came that have came before and we also had some new faces as well. The guys I was talking to thought God was very powerful and was really cool to explain how to have a stronger relationship with him to the kids. Afterwards we played some soccer and we are excited to go back for camp tonight and to expand the relationships further tomorrow!” – Will Snyder, 10th grade

This morning we went back to our VBS sights, where we got to connect with students and several chances to share the gospel! As we continue our time this week, we are praying for strength for our students, we are praying for theological understanding in their lives so they can represent the gospel well. Our students have been given the charge from 2 Cor. 5:20, “Therefore, we are ambassadors for Christ, God making his appeal through us. We implore you on behalf of Christ, be reconciled to God.” The students are being sent out into the city of Richardson to serve with the words of the gospel and the actions of the gospel. We are seeing so much transformation in their hearts and praying for more. Tonight we host our first soccer camps at the apartment complexes, hoping to continue to connect with those families. Whether the students are playing with bubbles, playing soccer, painting with students, sorting items at Creek Side- they have been a light to those around them. Keep praying and keep asking the Spirit to move in the hearts of those we meet. More coming soon!

 

Launch Box kick-off!

Launch Box has finally arrived and our students have come with energy. The students arrived and immediately went to an orientation called iGosia, a land where customs, people, and rules look very different than what they were used to experiencing. They were split into groups where they had to work together. It got the students off to a great start with meeting their group as well as stretching their minds to think outside their norm. Here are some thoughts from the students about their iGosia experience and what they are expectant for the week of Launch Box.

“I thought iGosia was a very interesting training tool, it did a great job of highlighting the different aspects of mission work. It highlighted how confusing and chaotic being with different cultures can be. I thought it was a good experience to learn how to deal with these people while you may be stressed and under pressure and also be dealing with a large group of people. I came to Launch Box because I’ve always wanted to go on a mission trip since I was little. I love people and kids and the idea of traveling to people groups that are normally unseen to spread Gods love is very exciting to me. I’m very excited to be here and see how God works through me these next few days in the apartment homes.” – Lydia Britten, 8th grade

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“For me, iGosia was definitely an interesting experience for me. In the beginning I was really confused about what was going on because there were a bunch of random people being confusing on purpose. During the scavenger hunt, I got really frustrated because every time we accomplished something another task came up; it seemed as if we would never get to our end goal. During the hunt I realized how different personal boundaries were in different countries and how there are new customs and ideas. All in all, I thought it was a good experience and I learned to be flexible and to go with the flow, even if it’s not what I was expecting. I am really excited for Launch Box because I will get to put to use what I’ve learned my entire life, especially at camp. I am excited to become closer with my friends and make new ones. I know Launch Box will make a big impact on my life, because I am finally able to carry out what I started.” – Landry Warner, 7th grade

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“At iGosia, we experienced some very confusing things. The people of iGosia were supposed to simulate people of different ethnic background, so interacting with them was supposed to be confusing. Everything was different. Sit meant stand, closed meant open, and no one gave you a straight forward answer as to where things were. It was very difficult, but it gave us a very thorough idea of what another country might be like.” – Jansen Wonders, 10th grade

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We have VBS at the different apartment complexes, as well as working at Creekside today. The students have had good attitudes about serving and we are ready for more! Continue to pray for all the families we will interact with this week. Pray we will share the truth of the gospel with them and that our students will grow in their heart for the lost world. We believe that God has called us to bring hope to these families and we are anxious to see how He works.