Archive for November 2009

Giving Thanks

November 25th, 2009 — 3:33pm

Greetings everyone!  All the staff and volunteers are wrapping things up at Agora and getting ready to spend time with family this weekend.  We are all looking forward to spending time with our families, relaxing, and of course, eating a lot of food!

November is always an exciting time at Agora as we get ready for our annual Christmas party in early December.  This year it is December 5th.  Every year, a sister church of ours blesses our children by buying them Christmas presents.  Early in November, we go and get a stack of JC Penney catalogs and all the kids get to make wish lists for gifts up to $50.  Our sister church then orders all the gifts and members of their congregation pledge $50 increments for 1, 2, 3 or more kids each!  Then, the church brings all the gifts down to Agora in early December; they prepare a meal for everyone and hand out presents to all the kids.  Of course the kids love this!

A few weeks ago the JC Penney catalog came out.  I went to the store and got a stack of them.  When I got to church, I rounded all the kids up and announced to them that we were going to start our Christmas wish lists that night.  All the little kids were SO excited!  They could hardly believe that someone they don’t even know would get them Christmas presents.  Since we have so many new kids, many have not been at Agora for a Christmas party yet.  Over the last weeks, I have heard many of these kids ask their friends if they will really get Christmas presents; they just couldn’t believe it.  The sad part is that for many of the kids we work with, Christmas is not a very happy time.  They often don’t get presents because their parents do not have the money, or they spend their money on other things… Worse, the parents often promise their kids all kinds of presents and then are not able to follow through.  From time to time, kids won’t make a wish list, even when we promise that there will be a gift for them; they have just experienced too many broken promises.

In the spirit of Thanksgiving, I want to take a quick moment to share some of the things that Agora is thankful for this Thanksgiving.

  • You- thank you for being interested and thank you for praying!  Prayer makes such a powerful difference, often we face situations that are so tough all we can do is pray about it.  God answers every time!  So thanks for praying!
  • The Oak St. house sold last week- it was a job training project that was finished and put on the market.  Shortly after that, the housing market took a downturn and along with the present state of the economy it took a couple of years to sell.  Finally, last week we closed on the house!!! Praise God!
  • Donations- Thank you to all the individuals and businesses that have contributed to Agora; we are so blessed by your giving.  Just yesterday Meghan went to pick up supplies for the child care center, the company she purchased from gave us the supplies at half price!  Thanks so much!
  • Volunteer groups- thanks so much for the time that you have given throughout the year.  Each group has a unique and lasting impact on Agora, whether in the form of kids that start coming after a group invites them to church for the first time or a building project that transforms  our church building or houses, you guys do tons!  Thanks!
  • The kids- our kids bless us every week!  We love you guys :)
  • Full time volunteers- these guys do an amazing job.  If you see an Agora full-time volunteer let them know what a blessing they are.  These volunteers give up a year or more to do voluntary service.  Many come from Germany and leave friends and family to come serve God.  Thanks guys!

Have a great Thanksgiving!

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We are back!

November 5th, 2009 — 10:55pm

What a long time it has been!  That should be a testament to how things are going here: busy as usual!

Little Gems Early Learning and Childcare now has paint on the walls, floors in some places, ceilings, electrical, and much more!  The guys have been working so hard.  They often work very late and on their days off.  Tell them thank you if you get a chance because they have put so much into this childcare!

Church has been going great!  We are seeing an average attendence of about 100 kids.  It is such a huge blessing to have so many kids coming.  They are always so excited when they get here.  If you are feeling down, just stand outside when the kids show up; they all come running and screaming and it is normal to have 3-5 kids hugging you at once :)  We all love it, and we love them!  Each child/teen is so special and precious.  They all have gifts and talents and were fashioned by God.  That is what makes it so difficult to see the lives that they live.  Just yesterday I had a conversation with a teen that broke my heart.  He told me about some of the choices he is making (non of which were good) and expressed his hopelessness for a normal life.  When I turned the conversation to hope in Christ he said, “I know Jesus died for sins, but I have done so much bad stuff.  I know God doesn’t what me to do it but I do it anyway.  I ask for forgiveness, but then I just go back to my dirty ways.”  I couldn’t stop the tears.  How sad it is that this teen feels like he has done so much bad stuff that even God won’t forgive him?  What  a life of hopelessness.  He sees no way out.  As you read this please take a moment to pray for this young man, pray that he will realize how much God loves him.

Last Wednesday night we had a special Wednesday night service.  We had our annual Hallelujah Night.  We let the kids dress up (even us staff get in on it!) and we have  a special service all together with skits, songs, and a short message.  After that, all the kids are dismissed to play a variety of carnival games that we set up and to eat dinner.  It was so much fun!  Our theme this year was “Fear Not.”  We did skits about David and Goliath, Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego, and Daniel and the Lion’s Den.  We talked to the kids about how all these people chose to trust in God, they put their faith in Him and He delivered them from danger.  It was a really great message to share with the kids, especially around Halloween when there is so much focus on scary stuff.  I would like to add that none of this would be possible without our partners from Plain City, OH.  Thanks guys for all the work that you put in on Wednesday nights!

Thanks for all your prayers!

Prayer Requests

  • Khannah Smith (a young lady at Agora)- her mother passed away unexpectedly
  • Financial needs
  • Pray that the staff and volunteers will continue to find the energy to work the long hours necessary at this point and that they will find time for refreshment

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Sermon – 11_01_09

November 2nd, 2009 — 2:19am

Click here for November 1, 2009

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