Mission Statement

Chicago Metro Presbytery exists to extend the gospel and to oversee the work of the ministry of the PCA throughout the Chicago Metropolitan area to the glory of God.

Friday, August 23, 2013

Midwest Church-Planting Update

From Ted Powers
Midwest Regional Coordinator
Mission to North America

There are good things happening in the region. A synopsis of current church planting efforts by state is attached, but here are a few things that are especially encouraging:

  • A new plant in suburban Detroit has gotten off to a great start. Ryan McVicar laid a solid foundation prior to beginning worship in the winter of this year by sponsoring community events and networking contacts. New City is now actively pursuing the planting of another work, this time a city work in Detroit, in the near future with Dan Millward as the planter. You can read more about New City’s ministry here:  www.newcitypc.org
  • The continuing development of Nueva Esperanza, a Spanish speaking plant in suburban Chicago. Meeting just off the campus of Wheaton College, Nueva Esperanza is reaching the growing Hispanic population of the western suburbs and has seen many conversions; one Sunday this spring saw 40 baptisms. There is a desire to start an English speaking service in the near future.  Al Guerra, an experienced planter and recognized leader in Hispanic ministries, is the planter.
  • Redeemer Indianapolis is launching another congregation in the Fountain Square neighborhood this fall. Pat Hickman will be the planter there; he was assisted this summer by Ryan Sparks, a CTS student and MNA Summer Intern Scholarship recipient.
  • Marc Champagne, Josh Reitano, and Chad Grindstaff are planting three churches with a goal of reaching the wide variety of people groups in the Cincinnati area. Marc, planting Redeemer Church says “Suburban Mason, Ohio, has the look of the United Nations at times: burqas, sarees, and turbans visible on walking paths and in Wal-Mart; Muslim, Sikh, and Hindu places of worship readily accessible; multi-generational families living together in larger homes. This once monocultural city has turned into a gathering place for the world, and most observably for South and East Asians, dramatically shifting the demographics such that over 1 in 4 public school attendees is non-White - a trend that will continue rising in years to come.  Pray with us that a new work can be established that creates ready avenues for this increasing population to hear the good news of Christ.  We rejoice that our core team is a mix of ethnicities, but recognize the ongoing need for multi-ethnic leadership.  Our team is praying we would be united in vision and purpose, and that the Lord would grant us the joy of seeing conversions.”  Josh is planting New City Presbyterian in Oakley, Chad is planting Living Hope Church in Fairfield Township. All are daughter churches of North Cincinnati Community Church, where Walter Wood, Jr. is the Senior Pastor.
  • The Midwest Connection, a gathering for training and support for planters, pastors, and lay leaders, was held in April in Chicago. Over 70 people attended the three day event with multiple training modules, worship led by James and Kirk Ward and Nikki Ellis of New City Church in Chattanooga and New City Church in St. Louis. Philip Ryken, President of Wheaton College and former pastor of Tenth Presbyterian in Philadelphia, gave the Keynote Address. The theme of the event was “Compelled by Love” as the church moves forward in mission.

Work moves forward to extend the Kingdom through church planting in the Midwest. There are multiple places which would benefit from the presence of a PCA congregation. Would you please pray with us for a few of them:
  • Council Bluffs IA is a strategic regional target area for West Iowa. There is a core group of 7 families meeting and currently searching for a planter. Please pray that God would provide the right person and the necessary resources.
  • Milwaukee and Cleveland are the two largest Midwest cities without a PCA presence within their city limits. Regional leaders in both places are actively seeking a church planter.

If you haven’t already seen it, I encourage you to check out this short video we’ve done to spotlight church planting in the Midwest. It’s easy to download for use in small groups, Sunday School classes, or leadership meetings. I can also get you a DVD if you prefer – just let me know. http://pcamna.org/church-planting/church-planting-ministries/midwest/midwest-church-planting-ministry-video/

Again, I thank you for contributing financially and with your prayers to this vital ministry to the Heartland of America. Your support allows me the means to resource, train, recruit, and support the work of church planting in the region. I am grateful for your partnership.

Saturday, August 3, 2013

Haiti Update #8

August 2, 2013

No trip to Haiti is complete without a tarantula sighting, and tonight was the night. It's typically late at night, typically in a darkened space, for some reason mostly in the sleeping rooms (seemingly always in the womens' sleeping rooms) and always comes as a shock. So, unsurprisingly, the team has opted to sleep in the portico tonight. It is a lot cooler, as well.

Last night's "camp out" was interrupted by a four hour long stretch of the hardest rain anyone had ever seen. Welcome to the tropics, right? They got a little moist around the edges as the wind whipped the rain around, but no one got uncomfortably soaked. The bigger problem was the noise. The portico has a tin roof. 

An unexpected blessing from the rain was full water tanks - they are open at the top so the rain water filled them in the night. Showers tonight, even coming in the usual Guest House trickle fashion, were an improvement over bucket showers of the night before. 

The team did indeed get to go back to the beach, this time at Port Salut, where they served all day - they saw 65 kids and did children's ministry there before the beach excursion. The kids looked to be in good shape - picture below.  

Upon their return, they got busy sorting and repacking the leftover meds for donation to the pharmacy at Cambry. It's a general storehouse that the ESMI doctor can use and may also benefit the next medical team that comes in. 

They were also able to donate a big bag of clothes and underwear to Pastor Mongerard from Savanne. He was delighted to have them for distribution to those who need them there.

There was time for a quick trip to see Daniel one more time. We have a picture, finally, below. Your continued prayers for him will be most appreciated.

The extraordinary situation with electricity and water this week gave the team a chance to shine. No one came for an easy week, and they didn't get one. Although, atypically, the week's schedule unfolded as planned with hardly a hitch, the patience and coping skills required in the physically difficult hot and sticky air were hardly "business as usual". Well done, one and all. 

Some last pictures of the the team's week:
  • The presentation of Jude's nets. Jude is in the middle. The team learned that he needs some surgery for a hernia, for which they pooled their resources. Hopefully he'll be on the mend and fishing in no time!
  • Girls at Cambry, the Guest House location. The orphans live down the hill. These two were just having fun with the photographer!
  • Waiting to see the doc at Port Salut. A good looking bunch! The lanyards around their neck are large cards with basic data and medical information gathered at intake.
  • Team member Paulette gives Louinel a special gift. As this young man starts school to become a doctor (see previous update for his story), he'll treasure this gift of a stethoscope from his American friends and benefactors.
  • Little Daniel, for whom you've been praying all week. He has shown some improvement with the extra care and medicine. The team pooled funds to supply him in diapers for a while. 

Praise God for 
  • work well done, 
  • for spirits not easily discouraged,
  • for health maintained, 
  • for teamwork, 
  • for the financial resources to share with others more needy, 
  • for some fun along the way, 
  • and for God-given opportunities to impact lives all week long. 

Please pray:
  • For a smooth and delay-free trip home. They are scheduled to leave the Guest House at 5:00 am EST tomorrow (Saturday), which should put them at the PAP Airport by 10:00. They will be in an air conditioned bus! Their flight is scheduled to leave PAP at1:15. Once in Miami, they will go through customs and then go their separate ways on flights to Las Vegas, Maryland, Chicago. 
  • For their "re-entry". The week in Haiti has been intense and immensely cross-cultural. Sometimes the world they come back to at home doesn't seem like the real one! Wanting to stay up and talk all night upon their return is common - so is not wanting to talk at all. Surely they will be physical and emotionally worn out. Pray that they bring back a sense of joy in their service to God and to the Haitian people. 
This will be the last update unless there is something more to report on Saturday. On behalf of the team, many thanks for your support, for your prayers, and for sharing this adventure of faith with them.

Friday, August 2, 2013

Haiti Update #7

August 1, 2013

Well, the adventure of sleeping in the portico was dealt with quite well by all. Certainly cooler, and thanks to bug spray very few interactions with bugs.

However, the problem with sleeping outside is that wildlife has equal access. At 6:20 this morning, right on the dot of sunrise, a large rooster jumped up on the table in the portico and did his thing, a full blown cockadoodledoo. The closest person jumped a foot out of bed and after a moment of stunned silence, the team erupted into laughter. If only the video camera had been running!

A generator was brought in early this morning to allow for minimal water pumping and electronics charging so folks could wash and pictures could be snapped during their day. The Guest House folks are really working hard to make things as comfortable as can be under the circumstances. The food is quite up to par and there is plenty of drinking water. The team is humbled by the reminder of just how hard simple things can be in a place like Haiti, and they are showing great resilience as they continue in their week of ministry to the Haitian people. They are troopers (some perhaps literally, as part of the Las Vegas team are active military in their "day job".)

After a great day spent in two different locations, seeing about 50 kids and a few adults, the rumored beach trip did take place. After a night outside and a full workday, the chance to be wet and cool at the same time (although the water was quite warm) was delicious. It was refreshing in every sense, and some "down time" was a blessing. A good time was had by all.

Upon return to the Guest House, there was the now familiar routine of dinner, team meeting, restocking bags, and heading off for bed. Big barrels of water were brought in, from which each team member dipped a bucket and headed for the shower. The news upon arrival back this evening was that there was some kind of power surge in the area which knocked out electricity to a wide area, and the prognosis for power for the rest of their stay is not good. In a sense, this allowed the team to deal with the known instead of the unknown, and set their expectations accordingly. Once again, it's cots on the portico tonight. Rooster whereabouts unknown. 

Tomorrow they will travel by bus to Port Salut, where they will once again give love and care to orphans living in a group home. And as it's name is Port Salut, you might have guessed it is on a body of water. Is another short trip to the beach on the docket? If anyone deserves beach trips two days in a row, it's these folks!

Here are a few glimpses into the team's activities, some from yesterday and some from today:
  • A happy face in Savanne, after spending some quality time with the medical team (first attached picture)
  • A young man absorbed in his artwork in Savanne. The kids really enjoyed the chance to work on these projects. The shirts will be worn proudly!
  • Bible story time in Savanne (third picture). For many, it was surely the first time they've heard the truth of the gospel.
  • The next two pictures are of our medical team, hard at work, one in Savanne and one in Darivage. At Darivage, the team found a few kids with such serious tooth decay that the infections were dangerous.They team pooled their financial resources to send two immediately to a hospital for care; remember, it's "pay as you go" in Haitian hospitals. Word came back before they left that both of the children had several teeth pulled, but the infection is still a concern.
  • Last picture attached: a small medical team went into the orphanage at Biggarouse (everyone else waited outside); the extra precautions were taken due to what was believed to be an outbreak of chicken (or some kind of) pox a few weeks ago. The small team scanned the kids to do a quick check, left medicine with the house moms, and prayed with the kids. Just to be extra careful, all of their outside clothing was left behind. It would be fun to have seen what the kids' faces looked like when they walked in dressed like that!
Prayers for this evening:
  • Praise for continued health and resiliency of the team in the heat and the unexpected issues with water. Everyone is handling all of it quite well. Ask that health and patience continue.
  • But they are getting tired. Pray for energy and good coping through their last day of ministry Friday and a long day of travel on Saturday.
  • Please continue to pray for Daniel. He is more responsive, but without extended and proper care the team fears for him. Four of our team visit morning and evening. Saying goodbye tomorrow night will be quite hard.
  • For the gospel seeds planted with everyone they've seen, from the smallest child to the oldest adult.
  • For the ESMI Guest House staff and Pastor Louis. As difficult as circumstances may be for the team, these folks are working extra hard to make things as comfortable as possible.

Thank your for your prayers!

Thursday, August 1, 2013

Haiti Update #6

July 31, 2013

There's lots of good news today...and one challenge.

Here's the challenge: no power tonight. It was off when the team got back after a long, hot day of service in Savanne. They have hit the mid-week exhaustion point as well, a great bit of that attributable to the heat, but they are taking it in stride and chalking it up to "that's what you can expect here." They have set up cots under the cabana (a covered portico area with a concrete floor) and added layers of bug spray to the layers of stickiness from the day! They will enjoy a night in the relative coolness there as an alternative to the stifling rooms.

If you would stop and pray right now that power would come back on, though, that would be great :)

On to the good news:
  • Our team managed to see 98 patients today in the space of about 7 hours. That is great management and team work! With each patient, prayers were said for them as they were taken care of, translated for them by an interpreter. The combination of care and heartfelt prayer always makes an impression. A picture of a little worried patient is attached. It must be pretty daunting for these little folks to give themselves up to strangers to be poked and prodded. And they probably don't see a lot of white people in Savanne, either!
  • The Children's ministry was able to cycle through 8 different groups of kids for 30 minutes of bible stories and a fun time of coloring T shirts. Picture attached.
  • A highlight was presenting fisherman Jude (whose story was told in yesterday's update) with nets for his fishing boat. The 2010 earthquake destroyed his livelihood by taking his boat out to sea during the crazy upheaval of the earthquake-stirred waters, and he was absolutely destitute as a result. As his need became known, several team members wanted to pool resources to help him get a new boat, which he built himself with supplies donated by that group...but the original estimate was not sufficient to pay for fishing nets. The boat was completed in February (picture attached) Recently a donor stepped forward to buy the nets, and in God's great timing, they had arrived just as our team was going to Savanne this week. They were pleased and delighted to present them to him. A picture of the nets before their delivery is attached, as well. We hope to have a picture of Jude accepting the nets tomorrow. By all accounts he was beyond delight. He is committed to paying back the funds so that another person can benefit from these "microloans, " or hire others so they can work towards becoming self-supporting fishermen with their own boats as well. 
  • Finally, another investment in changing a life. The last picture is Louinel, who has been known to our hosts at the Guest House for a long time. He is bright and motivated, and wants to become a doctor. Even though the cost of that in Haiti sounds quite low to our ears ($1800/year for 5 years) it is often unattainable for the average Haitian. Once again, a consortium of investors have pooled their resources and committed the funds to send him to school. In return, he has committed to spend his first 5 years of medical work in Haiti, with our hosts ESMI. Everyone involved is delighted to see this new model of personal investment take off. Might it be the first of many?
A last word - because the power is out, those of you who typically have received emails or texts from team members probably won't tonight. All of the electronic devices are out of juice! Another reason to pray the power is restored...

Please pray:
  • For rest under trying circumstances. For effective bug spray! And for power and water to be adequate for the rest of the team's stay.
  • For a lightness of spirit instead of being weighed down by the undone today. 
  • For workers for the harvest in Haiti, for there truly is much left to do.
  • For the children and adults who heard the gospel today, for people who heard the prayers and the saw the witness of the medical team, and for Pastor Mongerard, who ministers in Savanne. He will continue the ministry begun today with energy and faith.
  • For ministry tomorrow in orphanges in Dariverger and Biggarouse, near each other and about 40 minutes away from the guest house. For safe travel and continued energy and health. Rumor has it that there might be a side trip to one of Haiti's beautiful white sand beaches on the way home for a quick dip.

Thanks for praying for the team. They are grateful to know you are supporting them in this way.