Saturday, July 18, 2015

One last post from the airport

Hello senders!

We are so grateful for the Lord's provision over our trip as we currently sit in the airport waiting to board our flight back to Boston. God is SO good and His mercies are new each day. I believe the Lord has spoken to each of us and chosen different moments throughout our time in Jackson to move and challenges us each differently. I have asked each member of our team to share something that has spoken to them this week, and look forward to what they will share with you below:

Marcel: "At lunch this week we had the opportunity to hear John Perkins speak to us about reconciliation. One thing he spoke about that stuck out to me that there is only one race. The human race needs to come together and forgive and sing a song of love."

Micah: "John Perkins also said the solution is grace and truth. Heaven's grace is needed to have repentance and mutual forgiveness between whites and blacks. People need to see the truth that there is one race, under one God, and we are all sinners."

Matt: "Thursday night we served dinner at Gateway Rescue Mission in Jackson. This experience challenged me because we saw so many men in their program with such tough stories but with such a strong faith in God."

Allie: Amy Lancaster is one of the founders of We will Go ministries in West Jackson. It was really interesting to see the new way that they worshipped it was a very moving experience because it was outdoors amongst God's creation, and we heard so many testimonies by people who had been moved by God in big ways.

Jessie: "three homes right around the corner from Bobbye and Greg's house were very run down, and it is believed there is illegal activity that goes on there. I was encouraged during this trip as I saw one of the renters of those homes start to take pride in where he lived by having wood delivered and beginning to rebuild a portion of his home during our time there. I was more encouraged this year than last year because we are able to see the finished product of our labor throughout the week at Bobbye & Greg's home."

Kerry: "I was very encouraged this year as I watched our students step out in faith and new ways. I look forward to sharing with you more of what the Lord has done in August during our time of sharing, but for right now I will just share one brief story about Micah. During our time at Gateway Rescue Mission I told students once they were done serving to go and sit with the men in the program and speak with them. I watched Micah engage with a man sitting all by himself, and the most moving point of the evening was watching Micah pray with this man. I'm grateful for the way this week I witnessed each of our students live out the gospel and share God's truth with all the interacted with."

Kathy: "On Saturday morning we served with We will Go Ministries and on Sunday afternoon we are part of their 10th anniversary celebration service. One gentleman who shared encouraged us to not only be available for others, but also be interruptible for them. I am a planner and like to be organize my time--I hate interruptions! However Jesus was interruptible all the time. He always had time for people. I'm challenged to be joyfully interruptible."

Joel: "We were very blessed to hear from Dr. Perkins multiple times this week, so there's a lot that I could speak about in his discussions with us. One thing that I will share that stuck out with me with his charge to be doers and not just thinkers. As an illustration, he used a story of a bodybuilder who used his muscles not to lift heavy objects, but to simply flex. Many Christian simply "flex" their knowledge of Scripture and their biblical way of living, but do not go out and do what we are called to do (feed the hungry, help the needy, make disciples, etc.)."

Levi: "it was amazing to hear from people who stepped out in faith, putting themselves into communities to build relationships with the homeless, the addicted, and the outcasts. There were three statements this week that I found particularly challenging; what does following Jesus look like in our lives (Amy Lancaster); We do not get to choose who is saved (Amy and Dave Lancaster); and We have benefited from the sin of the world and therefore we are willing to tolerate certain sin (Dr. Perkins). Each of these in a different way challenged me to look at how I live."

With full hearts & tired eyes,

The 2015 Jackson Team

Friday, July 17, 2015

A post from on the road.

Hi all, Allie here! 

It was our last day in Jackson today, and at about 3:30 we loaded up the can and left, heading to Atlanta, where we'll stay at a church for the night. This morning before we left we primed a room for Mrs. Ward, a woman who served as a cook with Voice of Calvary for over 20 years. She made banana pudding for us to enjoy this afternoon, and Jessie, Marcel and I helped her with preparing it. It didn't take very long to do, and we were finished quickly (at least it seemed that way in comparison to all the painting we did at Bobbye & Greg's house this week)! 

From there we went to a Voice of Calvary building called "the shop," which is mostly storage and a few offices, for a Southern BBQ that Sam made us. Everything was incredible and was eaten quickly, followed by the delicious banana pudding. John Perkins was there and he spoke to us a bit, but mostly he was "just there to eat!" His grandson was there was well, also named John (called "Big John"). He is currently running the Spencer Perkins Center and is one of the church planters at Common Ground, the church we worshipped at on Sunday. After we left and had said our goodbyes to everyone, we went and cleaned the house before we left. 

(Sam's giant grill that he cooks out of each week!) 

We're out of Mississippi and into Alabama right now, after just stopping at Subway for dinner. And of course, we took all our sweet iced tea with us. May the Lord bless our journey to Atlanta and that we get there safely. 


Wednesday, July 15, 2015

Wednesday's Update

Hello y'all senders from OSLC. I am going to tell you about our great day of fellowship here in Jackson, Mississippi. Here is how our day went:

We started out the day with Sam (Voice of Calvary's volunteer coordinator) giving us a tour of major areas around us in West Jackson. The first stop was literally right across the street from the house we are staying in. This area is known as West Park. Once one of the most crime laden areas in the city, VOCM, Habitat for Humanity and others aided by local law enforcement tore down a huge tenement housing building and removed/busted almost all the major drug dealers in the area, leading to a 50 percent drop in crime rates in the area and giving peace to the community. They also built a building run by a church to help local people get quality dental and health care for an affordable price. This complex also includes a recreation center and gymnasium. 

We next went to Olin Park. This was one of the most sin-filled areas in all of Jackson, where prostitution, drug deals, and assault and other crimes occur daily. The apartments back up right onto the campus of Jackson State University, and most of the neighborhood is going to be purchased by the college and repurposed for on campus housing. 

Next we went to The Old Capitol Museum and heard some of the history about Mississippi as a state. 

Lastly, we went to Medgar Evers' home and heard a description before and during his life as a civil rights activist. We also toured his house.

At noon time, we went to lunch at Koinonia coffee house, which is where we have been having our lunch everyday during the weekdays. We then heard a talk from the owner of Koinonia, named Lee, about God's faithfulness and making her dream a reality and how He helped preserve her business in the 2008 financial crisis. We then finished our meal and prepared ourselves for the worksite. 

We went to the work site which was at the house of an elderly couple, Bobbye and Greg, and helped paint their house and replace their severely damaged floor in the kitchen (the floor was literally collapsing) and completed most of the house. We are on a busy street, so it is very easy to be able to tell people about Voice of Calvary and about God's faithfulness. We also have prayed for many people walking on the street, many who are homeless. 

Thank you for all the prayers and continuing support during our mission trip! 

In Christ,
Matthew Klouse

Tuesday we continued to paint & work on Bobbye & Greg's home painting & in the kitchen. We also heard from Dr. John Perkins again--what a blessing!

Monday, July 13, 2015

Tonight (Monday) we were blessed with a visit from Dan & Lita! They made us a delicious Mexican meal & we visited together as they drove through Jackson on their way to Texas.

Monday's Post

Hi senders,
Jessie here. Today is the third day of the mission trip and we started it off with a great breakfast [Editor's note: made by the boys :)]. Then us girls headed out to the We Will Go coffee shop together. When we got back to the VOC house, Sam Pollard, the volunteer coordinator, came to lead us to the work site we will be at for most of the week. There we met Greg and Bobbye. Greg has tongue cancer and so he gets tired much faster. This week we will be serving their family by painting their house and fixing their kitchen floor. Mrs. Kishbaugh and I worked together on chipping off loose paint on their porch. Allie helped Mr. Kishbaugh tear up the kitchen floor and bring it outside. Everyone else worked on chipping paint or washing the house. One of the bigger challenged was the problem with the wasps because they surrounded the ladder so we could not chip the paint off of one side of the house. 
The highlight of our day was the opportunity to hear John Perkins speak to us. We read his book so we felt very privileged to see him in person. He spoke to us about racial reconciliation. He told us that God did not create two different races (black and white), he created one human race. He spoke about how reconciliation begins at the cross, at a common ground. John Perkins said that the whites and blacks must forgive each other, and forgiveness is only found at the foot of the cross. Reconciliation comes from conversations of love and understanding. Today was a great start to the week ahead.

Sending thanks for your prayers and support,