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SMI Update: Community Outreach

June 23, 2010

Ven, Espiritu, Ven (Come, Spirit, Come,)

Y llename Senor (And fill me, Lord,)

con tu preciosa uncion (with your precious anointing)…

te quiero conocer (I want to know you)

These words, sung in Spanish (Spanish-speakers, please forgive the lack of proper accents!) during worship at our home church for SMI Philadelphia, capture so much of what God has done in and through us on project.  God has filled us with “His precious anointing” so that we can serve the community and know Him more deeply.

I’ve sent along two updates from our students, but now I want to update you more personally myself about our outreaches in particular.

By all accounts, the outreach to the community has been a resounding success.  Nearly everyone in this section of North Philadelphia (Hunting Park) is medically uninsured, so they have appreciated the free medical screens we’ve offered, and this has opened many doors for the gospel.  Several people have come to Christ, and many others have shown deeper interest.  For example, today Dave and Lauren had the opportunity to share about Christ with a local Jehovah’s Witness.  Although she was not yet ready to put her trust in Jesus alone, her idea of who Christians are was changed through her time with Dave and Lauren.

On a related note, we’ve recognized that the neighborhood has blessed us as much – perhaps more – than we’ve blessed them.  Most of the people here don’t have much materially, but they are rich in other ways: they value relationships, they’re willing to slow down to help and talk, and (most importantly) they recognize their needs.  This creates fertile soil for the gospel, and has opened a window for our team into a world that is so different than the one we inhabit.

Finally, God is using our team to encourage the considerable number of believers in the community.  Though redeemed, many of them have difficult lives that are characterized by heartbreak and loss. Santia (pictured above with Deborah and Dave), for example, mentioned four or five family members who are experiencing serious illnesses. We have been able to pray with, and comfort, them.  This too is the work of Christ through us!

As the project heads toward completion on Saturday, please keep the following requests in mind:

  • pray for the Holy Spirit to continue leading unbelievers to Himself through our efforts, and that He would transform us even as we minister to others.
  • pray for physical and spiritual stamina.  At this point in the project, and with temperatures in the mid-nineties, patience is in shorter supply.  We want to be unified in our commitment to the Lord and each other!
  • pray that God gives me, and our other leadership team members, wisdom as we continue to “think for” the team both logistically and spiritually.
  • pray for God’s blessing as our local church partner, Spirit & Truth Fellowship, follows up with those who’ve shown spiritual interest after we leave.
  • pray that God enables our team to take what we’ve learned from the community and apply it in “normal life” after the project ends.  On Friday, we will have our “Return Training” to get us ready for “re-entry”.

Thank you so very much for your prayers!  They continue to create an open door for the gospel here in North Philadelphia!

Warmly,

Bryan & Sharon

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