From the Executive Director . . .
I pray that this newsletter finds you well. I am reminded of our brother Paul, who in his many letters to the different churches had a heart to encourage the people who are working to advance God’s kingdom.
Praise God for the prayer walking that has been going on the past few months. Just about every Thursday afternoon two volunteers and I collect prayer requests from neighbors down the street from our ministry center. You never know what is going to happen or who you may run into. Will we visit 14 houses or spend 1 hour at just one house?
On one of those fine Thursday afternoons, we came upon a house that we have collected prayer requests from before. There were a few teens, four to five, sitting at a patio table up front. As we started to ask for prayer requests, right away I noticed this big bottle of hard liquor, and I was thinking, are these girls drinking this? My answer soon came walking down the sidewalk. The mom had returned with her guy friend to finish their drinking at the patio table.
Immediately the mom’s guy friend, named Seven asked, “You guys religious people? You guys Christians?”
“Absolutely,” we responded.
“Oh, I’m sorry. I shouldn’t drink in front of you guys,” he said as he sat down in a chair next to the patio table and filled up his styrofoam cup and mom’s as well.
Before his cup was even full, he asked us a question.
“I got a question. How do you know who’s right? Which one is the truth? How do you know if Christians are right or Buddhists or Hindus or Islam? How do you know?”
“Yeah! How do you know?” the mom echoed.
One of our volunteers responded by saying, “I can believe there is a spotted pink elephant behind you. No matter how much I believe it, does it make it true?”
Seven quickly responded, “That’s just like you Christians. Don’t really answer the question. You didn’t answer my question. I’ve never found anyone that can give me an answer about which one is right, or which one is the truth. I grew up a Christian my whole life,” he continued as he sipped from his cup. “I’m Christian…and I think it’s the right way. But, that’s just the way I was raised. And if someone else grew up Islam, they’d think they were right. So who is right? Which one is true?”
I responded, “Seven, that’s a good question. Can I tell you a story?” Nodding, “Yeah,” he replied. I said, “There’s a story about a woman who was at a well and Jesus was also at the well.” Seven immediately cut me off. “Yeah she was a ‘hoe, a whore! Oops, I’m sorry.”
“No,” I responded, “You’re fine. You’re right. You know the story?”
“Yes,” he answered.
So I continued, “This woman said the Jews say they should worship in Jerusalem, but her ancestors said they should worship right where they are. The woman asked Jesus, ‘What do you say?’ Isn’t this what you’re asking, Seven? Two choices, which one is true?” “Yeah, you get me!” I continued, “Jesus said there’s going to come a time when you worship in spirit and in truth.”
“That’s right!” Seven enthusiastically agreed, “What is the truth?”
“Can I tell you another story?” I asked.
“Yeah man,” he agreed taking a sip from his cup.
So I said, “There was this guy named Elijah. Elijah worshiped the one true God, and some of the other peeps with him worshiped another god called Baal. Elijah said to them, ‘Why are you guys struggling between these two choices? Either God is God or Baal is God.’ They were on the fence and you know, Seven, being on the fence hurts.”
Seven shouted and gave me a high-five, “You got me!”
I continued, “Well let me give you two words. Are you with me Seven?”
“I’m with you man,” he replied.
“To answer the question, which one is right…Buddhist, Hindu, Islam, or is Jesus right, centers around these two words….Do and Done.
Seven repeated me, “Do and Done?”
I continued, “You see, all these religions – Hindu, Buddhist, Islam – they are about Do this or Do that or Do this to get that. You got to Do something. You got to do it right and just maybe God might be happy today and maybe not tomorrow. That is a God who changes. It’s exhausting, isn’t it?”
“Yeah,” he replied.
I continued, “But Jesus followers, Christians, it’s about Done. It’s about what Jesus already did…Done…it’s finished. He did it all. We don’t have to Do this and Do that to get God to do. We don’t come out here to ask for prayer requests because we have to! We come out here because we get to. Get to tell other people that it is done. Jesus has done it all.”
At that moment this man’s face went from a glazed expression to a completely blank, straight face with wide-opened eyes.
“Wow,” he responded. “I’ve never heard anyone give me an answer like that. This is the first time. I’ll take that. I’ll take that answer.” He said thank you and walked off.
Afterwards as we walked on, one of our volunteers said, “Alf, I never heard an answer like that before. I usually don’t try to spread the gospel with intoxicated people. You can’t reason with them.”
I replied, “I used to feel the same way until my Dad asked me a profound question – which is stronger, the spirit of liquor or the Spirit of God?”
And I ask you the same question. Yes, it’s obvious – the Spirit of God.
“So is my word that goes out from my mouth: It will not return to me empty, but will accomplish what I desire and achieve the purpose for which I sent it.” Isaiah 55:11
Pray that God will rain on this family’s life and produce much fruit from the seed that was planted.
To God be all the Glory!
“How beautiful on the mountains are the feet of those who bring good news, who proclaim peace, who bring good tidings, who proclaim salvation, who say to Zion, “Your God reigns!””
Thank You UFM Volunteers!
Many volunteers were able to join us for our annual Volunteer Appreciation Dinner last month. It was an enjoyable evening of conversation and fellowship together….and super good food too! Our volunteers put in many hours of faithful service, and it has not gone unnoticed. Thank you to the heart of Urban Family Ministries – our volunteers!
Happenings . . . .
Summer Camp is here!
We are just 38 sponsorships away from our goal of 130. Thank you to everyone who has sponsored a child this summer!
Camp is a unique opportunity for our kids to get away and meet Jesus for the first time or get to know him better. Three weeks of summer camp have taken place so far, and we look forward to sharing some of their stories with you soon.
There’s still time to send a child to a week-long Christian camp. Sponsor one or more children for just $185 per child .
You may visit our website for more information on how to sponsor a child, to pay securely online, or you may mail your sponsorship to our office at 543 Eastern Avenue SE, Grand Rapids, MI 49503. If you have any questions, email Noelle or call our office at (616) 365-9009.
UFM Teen Activities
Our Thursday night Teen Boys Basketball and Teen Girls Bible Studies have wrapped up for the summer. The Teen Girls are ending the year with a month of activities. They learned how to make macramé bracelets, they hosted a returning guest who talked about “First Impressions: How to Make the Most Out of a Job Interview.” They had a fun time out in the neighborhood for a group photo-shoot. We have many who enjoy photography and they had fun time taking photos of the cool things in our neighborhood, as well as pose for some fun group shots. Our final week we had a Girls Only celebration complete with nail painting, henna by one of our own, and a movie. It’s been an incredible year and we are excited already to see where God takes us in the fall.
The Teen Boys closed off their season at the end of May with a great night of basketball and a recitation of “If” by Rudyard Kipling – a powerful statement on what it means to be a man. They plan to meet once a month in June, July and August to do something special together.
Super Saturdays become Wild Wednesdays
We’ve officially made the switch from Saturday evenings to Wednesday evenings. With school out, our kids really need a positive place to gather and release all their energy during our safe, Christ-centered and definitely WILD Wednesday program.
Come and spend a couple of hours getting to know our kids and assist our volunteers in a variety of areas….sit with the kids during the Bible lesson, cheer them on during game time, and sing your heart out with them during song time. We can also use co-pilots to ride with our regular drivers.
Wild Wednesday will be meeting June 26, July 17, July 24 and August 14 in the gym at Calvary Church. Email Peggy for more information or give our office a call at (616) 365-9009.
Opportunities . . . .
Partner with UFM . . . .
- As a Prayer Partner, pray daily for the work God is doing through Urban Family Ministries here in Grand Rapids.
- Have you considered partnering with us as a regular monthly supporter? We now offer automatic monthly withdrawals from your bank account that you can change or stop at any time. Just download and print a form and mail, fax or email it back to the office. You can also donate online from our secure website using Paypal (you don’t have to be registered with Paypal to use it). Your regular monthly support enables us to continue to strengthen families and change lives.
- As a Volunteer….see some of our immediate needs below.
- Help support UFM by doing your online shopping through eScrip, which offers links to hundreds of name-brand store websites. Go to www.escrip.com to register or sign in and shop. eScrip will donate from 2% to 16% to UFM based on your purchase.
Volunteers Needed . . . .
- Drivers, Co-Pilots & Substitute Drivers – Drive a UFM van and help with student pick up for Wild Wednesday, or ride along as co-pilot with our kids to/from camp. Call our office for more information at 365-9009 or email Noelle.
- Wild Wednesday – It is held in the gym at Calvary Church. Remaining dates are June 26, July 17 & 24 and August 14. Come and hang out with our kids and mingle with a purpose. Contact our office to get signed up.
- Facility Cleaning – We’re looking for someone that would have a couple of hours a week to come and do some light cleaning….vacuum, dust, bathrooms.
- Landscape Maintenance – We can use some help keeping our landscape litter free and a little weeding from time to time.
Contact Peggy at our office at 365-9009 if you would like to know more about volunteering.
“Each of you should use whatever gift you have received to serve others, as faithful stewards of God’s grace in its various forms.” 1 Peter 4:10
Prayer & Praises . . . .
Pray With Us . . . .
- Pray for our kids as they attend summer camp this year.
- Pray for safety on the road during all programs.
- Pray for our weekly prayer walks in the neighborhood around our ministry center.
- Pray for the children and families that will be impacted by the message of Jesus Christ.
- Pray for UFM staff and volunteers, that we will have the energy needed to do the work God has put before us, and that we continue to seek Him first in all things.
- Pray for the Lord’s direction as we desire to use this facility God has given us to more effectively minister to our urban neighbors.
- Pray for us as we seek out grant and funding opportunities.
- Pray for opportunities to meet with more neighboring churches.
We Praise God . . .
- For the opportunity to reflect Christ in our neighborhood.
- For every one of our donors! “For you have been partners in spreading the Good News about Christ…..” Philippians 1:5
- For our many volunteers who faithfully serve each week.
- For our partnerships with many area churches.
“Not to us, LORD, not to us but to your name be the glory, because of your love and faithfulness.”