Signs of the Spirit in Summer
Today is the official beginning of summer! While many of our families start enjoying trips and vacations this time of year, our church family has witnessed an amazing burst of spiritual energy this month. I’ve asked Laura Horner, Elmhurst CRC’s Special Needs Coordinator, to write about two especially significant spiritual happenings: 1. Our Wheelchair Drive, and 2. Our High School Service Trip to Honduras, serving in an orphanage with All God’s Children. Peace, Pastor Gregg
John 15:4 says; “Remain in me, as I also remain in you. No branch can bear fruit by itself; it must remain in the vine. Neither can you bear fruit unless you remain in me.” Jesus is telling us if we remain close to him he will use us in some pretty significant and fruit-producing ways. He doesn’t ask us to be perfect or to hide our weakness, but simply to remain close to him, and invites us into what he is doing in the world.
The concept of God producing good fruit through us has been on my heart lately. More so in these past few weeks seeing the fruitfulness of two significant missional opportunities our church has had the opportunity to partner.
First, a little over a month ago, our church family was introduced to Michael Panther from Living with Hope.This organization was birthed from Michael’s own experience of living in Africa recovering from a disease that left him paralyzed from the waist down. Michael, started Living with Hope as a way to bring mobility and the Word of God to those with disabilities in Africa. Each person who receives a mobility device, also receives a new Bible. Upon hearing the call to collect wheelchairs, crutches, canes, and walkers, our church took off and made this mission personal. As a church family, we were able to collect over 339 pieces of mobility equipment. The excitement surrounding each piece of equipment people dropped off was energizing. We met those in our local community who heard about what our church was doing and asked to join in. One organization brought four car loads of equipment! Some in our church family scoured thrifts stores and estate sales to find equipment. Friends within our church family told stories of the equipment they were donating; some had been used as a means of recovery and some used by a loved one now restored to glory in Heaven. Our church family was proud that these pieces of equipment would go on to a new life and provide hope to our brothers and sisters in Africa.
The second opportunity in which I saw fruitfulness was this past week serving alongside 40 teens, young adults, and leaders from our church in Comayagua, Honduras. With this large of a group we were able to accomplish a lot of work. Whether it was painting rooftops, digging holes for mango trees to be planted, painting the exterior of a school that educates those living with disabilities, or mixing and laying new concrete, our team worked with a heart of enthusiasm and cheerfulness. We connected with new and old friends living in the homes supported by All God’s Children. We made countless bracelets, played soccer and baseball, painted nails, shared our favorite scriptures, and worshiped together. One particular day stands out to many of us on our team. It was Wednesday, and we were looking out at one of the most beautiful views many of us had experienced. The hills before us were lush and green, and the valley below was equally filled with beauty. The sky was a crisp blue as puffy clouds floated by. But what made this moment particularly significant, was as we were taking in all of this extraordinary beauty, we were standing atop a garbage dump. This particular garbage dump is home to many. They live and work here to provide a humble living for their families. Beauty is emerging here through the younger generation as they now have the opportunity to attend a school that emerged to help break the cycle of poverty at the garbage dump. We had the opportunity to partner with this school, Amor Fe y Esperanza (AFE), to pass out tortillas and juice to those working. For all of us, this will be a moment imprinted in our hearts. We met many and prayed over them. We saw beauty and fruitfulness among the people living, working, and serving at the dump.
God is producing good and beautiful fruit all around us. God is actively inviting each of us into what he is doing. What a joy it is to know that God asks us to join him, fully knowing our brokenness and our weakness. I’m encouraged to see how the Holy Spirit continues to move in the lives and hearts of those in our church community and the good fruit that will be multiplied as we abide in Christ Jesus.
Special Needs Ministry Coordinator
Student Ministry Assistant