Wednesday, July 25, 2007

the following are a couple of newsletter articles about our Summer activities:

The Hot, humid summer days at our campus in downtown Houston are a rollercoaster ride of fun and service. What goes on at Impact during the Summer is credited to God, but we also are thankful for and indebted to the many volunteers and servants who come to combine their efforts in making our Summer Youth Program fantastic! About 15 college students arrived from various universities to spend the summer as interns. Many are from Christian universities, like ACU, Harding, LCU, and OC, while some others came in from OSU and even from so far away as Canada. But the collaboration does not stop there. Helpers came in June to take kids on trips, assist in this Summer’s Reading Camp, and provide extra hands for special activities as various church groups are there to bear the load of activity. 20-30 High school interns from Impact join the other interns to man the myriad of activities that is VBS 1 and VBS 2. Groups also came to camp out on campus as they lent their groups and various talents to us. Churches and ministries descended upon us from Oklahoma to Kentucky and from Kansas to Alabama, each bringing their own special blend of blessing and talent. Some of these groups have been coming down for years. Others are new supporters, like one group who just happened across our webpage this year, became interested in us, and organized a large group of kids to drive in from Missouri to serve in this area. We received so much help from these efforts (close to 400 volunteers in all), but we have also learned that they take something with them when they leave. They grow in their passion for ministry to others, they dream of more ways to care for their cities, and new works and servants of the Lord develop from what was experienced during a hot sweaty summer. Please pray that what happens at Impact does NOT stay at Impact. Pray that the effects of this summer extend to many more people in many more places. God is faithful and He will do it. Our schedule is crowded and so will be our building and facilities, but don’t let that keep you from stopping by. There is always room for YOU at Impact!

..........As we think of Summer, things like baseball, camps, cook-outs, and fun in the sun come to mind. Here at Impact, we wrapped all that up in God’s love.
Monday, June 4, was in many ways our first official day of summer, and as first days usually are it was pretty hectic. The youth group from Conroe Church of Christ arrived in the morning to pick up thirty of our elementary children and take them to Gulf Coast Christian Camp to spend a week at camp together. Impact’s middle school youth group, led by our middle school minister Wes Fikes and several of his interns, loaded up an Impact bus to head to Galveston for their summer kick-off. And later in the afternoon our VBS directors and I, along with a visiting youth group from – in Amarillo, went to the Irvington Village apartments, where many of our kids come from, and picked up a busload of kids (and I do mean busload) and took them to play at the park, an event we used to help finish signing kids up for our upcoming VBS and Reading Camps. And all of this was happening while our high school youth group was hiking in the mountains of Colorado on Wilderness Trek.
All of this activity (and the God-breathed impact this activity has on the hearts of His children) takes lots of resources, including financial ones. Many of you been great supporters and partners of God’s work in Houston in the past, and we hope and pray that partnership can continue.

Walking Where Jesus Walked

After many years of dreaming about going to Israel, my dream became a reality in June of 2007. It was so difficult to even imagine that when we were descending from the plane I had to ask my wife to pinch me so I could know that I wasn’t dreaming.

Israel is a beautiful country and the people are very friendly, and what made me feel even more comfortable was going with 16 brothers, going with the same objective and spiritual focus. We took the opportunities to pray, sing, and have devotionals in the same places that Christ prayed. On the Mount of Olives, we listened to the Word of God as presented by our brother Steve Austin at the same spot where the Apostle Peter gave his first sermon. All the places we visited just kept filling us with more and more excitement, from getting to know the city of Jerusalem, to visiting places we knew from the Old and New Testament, and passing through places where Jesus walked when he was here among us. We were nonetheless thrilled to tour the area of Galilee, crossing the sea in a boat similar to the ones the disciples of Jesús used for fishing. We went to the Jordan River to a place called Yardenit where it is believed that Jesus was baptized. All in all we visited 60 official sites. Our main objective as TGCBI students, I believe was accomplished as with all the photos that we took and the information we absorbed gave us more confidence and inspiration to preach and give classes.

I could spend hours and hours detailing all the different locations, but my main hope here is to give endless thanks to those who helped make this dream possible: Steve Austin, the team at Impact, especially my fellow elders, all my brothers and sisters. Thank you for your prayers. They took us, carried us, and brought us back. May God bless you. –your brother Dimas Velazquez

Después de muchos años soñando, en ir a Israel, finalmente en
Junio del 2007, mi sueño se hizo realidad, era difícil pensar incluso entando haya, que no estaba soñando y al bajarme del avión le pedí a mi esposa que me diera un pellizco, para darme cuenta que no estaba soñando.
Israel es un país hermoso y la gente muy amable, y lo que hizo sentirme mas cómodo es ir con los 16 hermanos, que íbamos con el mismo objetivo y la misma espiritualidad, tuvimos la oportunidad de orar, cantar, hacer devocionales en los lugares en que Cristo oró, como en el huerto de los Olivos, escuchar la palabra de Dios, desde el lugar donde el apóstol Pedro dio su primer discurso, predicada por nuestro hermano Esteban Austin.
Todos los lugares que vistamos, nos llenaban de mucha emoción unos mas que otros, como el conocer la ciudad de Jerusalén, conocer los lugares que tuvieron que ver con el Antiguo y Nuevo Testamento, sobre todos los lugares que tuvieron que ver con Nuestro Señor Jesús cuando el estuvo entre nosotros. No menos emocionante fue ir al área de Galilea cruzar su mar en unas de las barcas parecida a la que usaron los discípulos de Jesús para pescar, el rio jordán el lugar conocido Yardenit en donde se cree, que Jesús fue bautizado. Y muchos otros lugares que visitamos que oficialmente fueron 60.
La meta más importante por la que fuimos, como alumno del TGCBI, yo creo que se cumplió al cien por ciento, fotografías y mirar los lugares desde el lugar de los hechos nos da mas confianza al predicar y dar clases.
Yo podría pasar horas y horas detallando cada uno de los lugares, pero mi objetivo principal en esta ocasión, es de agradecer de manera infinita a los que hicieron posible mi sueño, al hermano Estaban Austin, a la administración de mi congregación IMPACT, especialmente a mis compañeros ancianos, a todos mis hermanos, que gracias a sus oraciones fuimos y regresamos con bien.
Hispanic Family night was a great success as far as numbers of new families go. Many parents of children who are planning to attend VBS were able to learn more about the Summer program, learn about Impact, and meet many members. Tacos were served, workers were serving and mingling, parents were reminded of how seeds planted in the hearts of their children now could bear incredible fruit for God in the future. A salsa contest, actually a hot sauce recipe contest, rounded out the evening affairs in a memorable way.
All Aboard for Impact's Reading Camp!
Chevone McKinney came to Impact with a dream. That dream was shared by some others who were willing to support that dream. Thus, the Lit Up Reading program was begun at Impact, helping kids learn to enjoy reading. Below is a recent report on this summer's activities.

"Chug-a Chug-a Chug-a Choo- Choo," could be heard throughout Impact's Educational building during the last two weeks of June as Impact had it's first ever All Aboard the Reading Express Reading Camp. This reading camp was specifically designed for kindergartners through second graders to be entertained and enchanted by the world of literature. This camp was an interactive treat for children to use all of their five senses as their love of books was brought to life by the incoming church groups. Each day thirty children arrived to the train depot station as they began their experience by singing church songs, being hugged and loved by big buddies, and were informed of the day's activity by the train conductor. Impact's Summer Interns lead the opening and closing ceremonies and actively participated in the train route activities. Children were exposed the world of Dr.Seuss's, the world of author Mo Williams, and the world of Curious George. Each Thursday the children went on field trips that complimented their experience during the week which were: The Houston Children's Museum and The Houston Zoo. We thank BYKOTA and Crossroads Church for enriching our children's lives through literacy and opening Impact's children hearts to the world of books. Impact had such a great time exploring the world of books and cannot wait for Reading Camp Next Year. If your church group would like to come and participate, please contact Impact's Children's Literacy Ministry, at 713-426-6593. -Chevone

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Miles of Smiles!

VBS is in its second week, but our Summer has been saturated by activities for youth and family. Kids get the greatest amount of attention during the summer, as has been characteristic of Impact from the beginning. So many groups have already come to minister at Impact and will be coming through the end of July. Look forward to more pictures and articles, but lets start with a few shots from the kick-off events from mid to late June where parents were invited to learn more about the summer program and for some get to know Impact. Here are some smiles from the Family Nights at Impact.