Grace and greetings to you all.
I rejoiced in the goodness of God as he allowed us to start a house church with a young man in April. We had 4 consecutive meetings with the last meeting hosting 15 people. Yet despite this apparent success, I was challenged when the committed co-host made the decision that he no longer wanted to host. This was difficult to hear, yet I was understanding that the gentlemen accepted the reality that although he had committed, that he had simply changed his mind.
I was reminded of the Biblical account of the Apostle Paul's missionary work in which he traveled with Barnabas and John Mark. John Mark, after seeing the unique challenges of ministry, decided to abandon the work mid-stream to the dismay of Apostle Paul. A few months later, when Barnabas wanted to take John Mark on another mission trip, Paul adamantly said no to the young man coming. One could wonder whether the hurt that John Mark had brought to Paul might have caused Paul to become so bitter that his decision to deny John Mark was more so rooted in hurt and not protection of the ministry.
There exists in my own mind the challenge to resist bitterness during this mission trip. Despite two failed attempts to sustain a small group with two different hosts, I have made up my mind to persevere in this work for the remainder of the year. And despite the challenges, I recognize that just my perseverance alone is a gift of God that should not be overlooked.
SHORT TERM PLANS
I had been staying with a wonderful family in Gaithersburg Maryland, but decided to leave. I felt a compulsion to be on the move, in the city, and meeting new people. I also felt somewhat of a complacency in the nice suburban area. This was especially true following the de-committal of the young man. Yet because I was unable to find housing in the area, I made the difficult choice to stay in a Men's Shelter in order to rub shoulders with the hurting, while seeking to form relationships with the same Black Men that I was seeking to reach.
The New York Emergency Men's Shelter houses about 300 men, (about 90% of who are black.) I have already connected with two ministers who come and a few brothers who I have been speaking to about Christ. I pray that God would redeem my time here.
I have 3 potential House Church hosts. There is a black family that I and another brother are meeting with on Thursday about launching House Church. There is a Black woman in Cleveland Park who has committed to be trained and be part of the work. There is a single gentlemen whom has expressed a desire to be trained. And there is an AME Church whom I've been communicating with that is still considering a partnership proposal. I am not sure what will come out of these meetings, yet I am committed to follow through and trust God for the results.
Thank you so much for your willingness to pray for this work. I am seeking the Lord everyday and waiting on him to reveal his plan and purpose. I also plan on reserving weekly rooms within the local DC libraries and having small groups meetings in the hope that discipleship can begin with men whom I'm meeting in the shelter. May the Lamb receive the full reward of his suffering.
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Ps, I plan on finishing by book, "365 Days Like Jesus" next week. Feel free to check out a Sample here. Let me know if you want to get a copy of the book.