Ministry Updates

On our first Sunday in Philly, the pastor of our church here (In the Light Ministries) reminded us in his sermon that the kingdom of God is not a matter of talk but of power (1 Corinthians 4:20). This has been a theme for me these three weeks as I have been challenged to trust in Gods transformative power in the lives of the people we have met in these…

Should we share our faith with our patients? I returned from SMI to the "real world" of 15-minute overbooked appointments, 2 weeks' worth of mail and a bit of culture shock. During SMI we diligently worked to broach spiritual topics with everyone we met. Yet, in the world of HIPAA, employers, and differing beliefs between staff members, what is the correct role of spirituality in medicine?

If I know a…

This morning was a very "watery" morning. It wasn't raining or anything. But, my medical forms were all spotted with droplets of water that kept coming down from my eyes.

I was uncontrollable, and streams of tears kept flowing.

I was touched today.

Touched by the Holy Spirit.

The day started like any other day.

Our Spanish translator, Miguel, and Giovanna, a colorectal surgeon from Florida, joined me and Chris…

This is completely unfamiliar territory for me. For my entire life, I dont think Ive ever been in a strong community truly united under Christ. My home church was/is dead and is slowly being revived by the grace of God and my university is a wicked house of Satan. Ive always had a few spiritual mentors and brothers and sisters who have joined me in running hard after God, but…

We're working at top speed, and by the beginning of this week we had screened more than 300 people for hypertension and diabetes, prayed with more than 200 people, and helped lead more than 10 people to accept Jesus as Lord and Savior. Hallelujah!

We didn't expect to be going through our supplies so quickly, so we were a little late in ordering extra glucose test strips through Esperanza Health…

We knocked and waited in front of the last house of the day. It was almost 4 o' clock but the sun was still beating down on us with force. A few doors down someone was blasting Spanish music on loudspeakers. According to the translator, the lyrics were: Dad, please don't hit my mom / you might kill her. The music relayed a sense of the tragedy and desolation…

Sometimes God doesnt give us the means to do something until weve taken that step in faith. Pastor Fred Estrada

I am part of the team we have based at Bethel Temple Church. As part of the worship service, the pastor asks the congregation to share prayer requests or testimonies of Gods grace. After one such testimony, Pastor Estrada shared the above statement. As it seemed somehow foreign to me…

I'll admit it - I am being selfish. The truth is that I am happy to admit that I am. I am hungry to know more about God my Father. I am thirsty for the Holy Spirit and His personal touch and His revelation. I desire to know and remain in passionate love for Jesus Christ as my lover and the bridegroom. I so desperately want to be touched and…

Not only are we doing outreach in the North Philly neighborhood,but we are also attending church services here. Along with three other teammates, I have been going to Urban Hope, a church that also serves as our home. The church is going through the sermon series "When God's People Pray." The messages have been a good reminder of the reason for, necessity of, and power of prayer, especially as we…

Why then did you not obey the voice of the Lord? Why did you pounce on the spoil and do what was evil in the sight of the Lord? And Saul said to Samuel,I have obeyed the voice of the Lord. I have gone on the mission on which the Lord sent me. I have brought Agag the king of Amalek, and I have devoted the Amalekites to destruction. But

It is only day three of door-to-door outreach, and God has made it apparent that He is moving in the hearts and minds of the families here in Kensington. We are so excited and privileged to be a part of expanding Gods kingdom! Our group has already witnessed four individuals accept Christ as their Lord and Savior. Please pray for our new brothers and sistersthat God would continue to work…

At SMI, the 18 of us are assigned to four different community partner churches. Along with community interpreters that attend these local churches, we usually split up the four different church groups into smaller groups of two or three when we go out on outreach. Yesterday and today, one of our interpreters told the 10 members of the Bethel Temple Church group that we were going to have to stick…

Exodus 3:9-10 And now the cry of the Israelites has reached me, and I have seen the way the Egyptians are oppressing them. So now, go. I am sending you to Pharaoh to bring my people the Israelites out of Egypt.

11 But Moses said to God, Who am I ?

12 And God said, I will be with you

13 Moses said to God, Suppose

14 God said to…

2 Corinthians 3:17: Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom.

- art from Urban Hope Community Church

As door-to-door outreach continues, please pray for God to break through the brokenness that is in this community - the strife that prevents families from uniting, the educational and economic stagnancy that threatens to stem children's futures, and the hopelessness that makes God…

SMI Philly 2012 has really begun! 18 intrepid volunteers along with members of the community and volunteer faculty hit the streets of Kensington and Hunting Park this Tuesday (7/10) afternoon after a two-day training. Although the training sessions were undoubtedly intense, a sense of mission and excitement continued to fill the air in the basement of our host church and community center, Urban Hope. In addition, numerous brothers and sisters…

This afternoon Herman (SMI translator) and I were prayer walking in the Hunting Park neighborhood when the 5.9 earthquake from Virginia hit our area in Philly. It had been a particularly dry afternoon with not much activity at all. Most people were not answering their doors for spiritual follow-ups (SMI patients) and I was feeling spiritually blah. It seemed like a waste of time, minus the praying part. The question…

Patience was an attribute I found myself lacking during SMI. God saw it fit to not only inform me of this issue, but to also work on it at the same time. In many cases this was through the very people we were seeing door-to-door. Perhaps the Lord was showing me some humor by teaching me patience through my patients.

The following encounters are meant to give a brief understanding…

Below is one of the many products of sending 19 SMI students door-to-door for 3 weeks. Everyone contributed a line that either they've used or thought would help, so there's a good chance they can work for you too. These simple lines can be used in a variety of combinations - the more you try them the better your conversations will flow. If you have any others to contribute feel…

July 26, 2011

Thanks for following along this story of a group of health professionals in training who love the Lord as we learn through serving Hunting Park and each other. I was supposed to blog at the beginning of the week, but just even summing up one day here proved to be a huge challenge. As Steve said as he flipped the pages on the easel during his last…

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Roman 8:22-25 'We know that the whole creation has been groaning as in the pains of childbirth right up to the present time. Not only so, but we ourselves, who have the firstfruits of the Spirit, groan inwardly as we wait eagerly for our adoption as sons, the redemption of our bodies. For in this hope we were saved. But hope that is seen is no…

In a small group led by Jen Kincaid, we thought about how God created, at the beginning of what we know as time (Genesis 1:1), and that even now, He is still creating (Psalm 51:10). Below are the short and long versions of how I processed SMI Phillys encapsulation of that thought.

The Short Version (prose)

God has us on the potters wheel, shaping us, forming us, molding us, transforming…

There is one thing that I learned from SMI: God works through every single person differently.

He works through me and you in different ways, in ways that reflect the types of person we are. It is this way with every person that opens their door to our team of volunteers. We never know what each person has experienced. In the past day, week, or year. Triumphs or trials. All…

Saturday was another great day @ SMI. Heres a snapshot of the major events:

-We spent half the day going door-to-door in HP and then most came back to the Bala house a little earlier than usual, 3:30 pm, due to the 100+ degree heat index.

-The pool was the place to be after we got back.

-Dinner @ 6 included the worlds best chili and cornbread.

-The talent show…

Seriously, you guys should see our schedule for these three weeks. Its packed. Every hour is represented by a little box on a spreadsheet (thanks Anne, for your organizational skills!), and even includes clearly marked Free Time! boxes. Though theres really no such thing as a normal day around here, Id really like to try to paint a picture of how this whole thing works. So here it goes a…

And for me, that utterance may be given unto me, that I may open my mouth boldly, to make known the mystery of the gospel. Ephesians 6:19

Yesterday, as we gathered together after a long morning of door-to-door outreach, many different experiences were shared. As I listened to everyones story I realized that there had been a large amount of closed doors. Many of us had recognized this and prayed…

"For we are God's handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do." Ephesians 2:10

To be frank, I am by no means a writer. I have never considered myself an individual who can easily express myself so please do bear with me.

I for one can whole-heartedly admit that I did not preapre my heart for what was to come.

"Just as a body, though one, has many parts, but all its many parts form one body, so it is with Christ. For we were all baptized by one Spirit so as to form one bodywhether Jews or Gentiles, slave or freeand we were all given the one Spirit to drink. Even so the body is not made up of one part but of many." -1 Corinthians 12:12-14

At 10:16…

Love is spoken here, says a discrete sign above the fireplace mantel in Balas huge living room a short, objective summary of SMIs first week. First week? Isnt that crazy! It seems like weve been here and known each other for so much longer than that. There is just something indescribably good about indulging in the sense community, trust and vulnerability that comes from being part of Gods family. Hour…

When Susan Post came to speak with us a few days ago, she made a very interesting point that has been on my mind. She said that even though God could essentially solve all the worlds problems in one breath, He chooses to work through us over time because He is a relational God. Understanding Gods character gives us a glimpse into what His will is for us. Since our…

Today Brian taught on how God is the only one who can enact real change in our lives both our own lives and the lives of those whom we are serving. Afterwards, we listened to a panel of both medical professionals and current members of the Hunting Park Community, and everyone had such great comments to share! They spoke on challenges to health in the community.

Some highlights & advice:

Today, I was assigned to be part of the first pair that went to shadow at Esperanza Health Center. Considering our partnership with this clinic and the influence that this clinic community has on everything that we are doing, I was super excited to finally see what this clinic did on a day-to-day basis. As we scurried into the building (already 10 minutes later than we had hoped!), we joined…

Hi! We represent Esperanza Health Center and Grace and Peace Church right around the corner. We are providing free hypertension - I mean high blood pressure - and blood sugar screens in the neighborhood for the next three weeks. Would you like to have your blood pressure checked? Oh, and by the way, did we mention we're from Grace and Peace Church? Do you go to church?

Welcome…

Hello SMI Philly blog readers! We, the team, hope that as you follow along and pray with us these next three weeks, you will be able to share in the blessings we experience individually and as a group through serving the people of Hunting Park. Everyday or so, you will be hearing from a different member of our team so keep checking back for updates!

The past three days have…

Ive been constantly reminded of Gods sovereignty. In our Foundations class we are learning about the theological foundations of medicine and how God relates to what were doing here in Philly. This class has been such a great blessing to me, as I often see it as a process where I have to reconcile my faith and calling to medicine. But what Ive learned is that there is a very…

(written 6/21)

Thank you for all your prayers! As clichd as it may sound, they were certainly answered (and none too soon). We were able to get the medical supplies we needed and, though some had a rough start to the morning, were ready and happy to get right back into ministry. We had an abundance of translators today - also thanks to your prayers - and were that much…

Day 7: Our workweek ended on a good note for each team going out, with all describing good experiences living and sharing gospel. In our morning Foundations class, we read Psalm 139, which describes how God's intimacy is deeper than our own skin. Indeed, He knows our going out and our coming back even before we do, and one team saw that very clearly. My partner (Casey H.) and I…

Hello world!

We survived our little wi-fi outage relatively unscathed, but weren't able to bring you an update until now. I'm sure y'all are eager to hear about what's been happening Day 2: Church with Spirit and Truth in the morning and lunch with some of the church members! It was an excellent time of fellowship and good preparation for the coming days, as we were to be going door…

Greetings from Philadelphia!

First of all, everyone is here, safe, and happy. We were warmly greeted by Bryan & Brian (Stoudt & Hollinger), Karen Fritz, and Susan Post, all of whom demonstrated their Philadelphian Brotherly Love by making us feel right at home. Our introduction to the community started with a bang by which we mean fireworks. (No, not "fireworks".) We even practiced prayer walking by walking around…