Wednesday, March 03, 2010

Seasons of Life  
by Laurie Templeton

As all communities of faith do, we have many seasons of life here at Impact.  We have the hot, rainy, event-driven summer, the empty nest of August and September when all of the children and college interns have returned to school, the holiday season full of parties, Christmas gifts, and New Year dreams. Then, Spring is right around the corner packed with Garage Sale, ideological college students on break, and cook-outs in the projects; and once again we begin another hot, crazy summer with 400 children, college interns, and so on.  We spend a lot of energy and time raising money for the summer, recruiting interns, and making sure we have enough safe vehicles to pick up the children once June begins, but Impact is not just about the summer.  A former college intern who now lives in Houston told me recently that he enjoys this regular season of Impact so much more than the summer season.  There is time to get to know one another, dream together, and learn together.  I love the summer, but what motivates me toward summer and all of its events, people, and fatigue are the seasons before it begins, when I am able to sit at the feet of people that love the Lord and teach me how to love others.  One particular person that has consistently affected myself and many others in this way is Suzannah Gabriel.   

Suzannah, or Miss Suzy as our children at Impact know her, is not a seasonal worker at Impact.  She is here during the summer teaching children how to read, she is busy buying presents at Christmas for Impact families, and she tutors one family of children year round.  She has become a mentor to myself and others, and she is not afraid to hold us accountable.  Suzannah has walked into the fire many times during her involvement with Impact and her example of walking with children through reading disabilities, abuse, and neglect impresses upon me the importance of seasons of life.  Miss Suzy recently moved to San Antonio, but she continues to drive back to Houston every weekend to tutor her Impact children and she will be here for another Impact summer, but I know that this season will probably end at some point.
During this season of refreshment and sacrifice, may we all live out the gospel fully and sit at the feet of people to listen and learn.  I pray that your community of faith has many Miss Suzy’s that are living their lives to worship the Lord through serving children.  As we all gear up for the summer in our different parts of the world, may the Lord bless this season of reflection and restoration so that we become year round laborers in His kingdom throughout our seasons of life.

Impact Images
Images of Impact
Couple enjoyed a Movie Tavern experience around Valentine's Day.  Ulises and Maime Batres, Guillermo and Isis Camacho, and Dimas and Antonia Velasquez were a few of the 23 couples who were there to enjoy dinner and a movie meant for strengthening marriages.
How many of us say, “I love you!” too much to our wives?  How many spend way too much time with their children?  Even if you show a decent amount of affection, they and probably you only wish for more.  Now, imagine a life where love is rarely expressed.  That occurs all around us much more than we realize.  We need to open our eyes to those who need expressions of love.  Josef Bilnosky wanted to make sure his Middle School girls knew they were special daughters of God, and special to him.  So, this former mechanic threw a tea party for them!   Now, we could never match God in demonstrating love, but as we follow His Son we might be able to be more like Josef and reflect a bit of God’s love to others who are special to Him & us.

Since opening our doors in January to those on the streets due to cold weather, a renewed Spirit of gratitude and ownership has been transforming our Outdoorsmen ministry.  Most of our February newsletters were hand-addressed by faithful Impact members (above)wanting to make a positive impact in their own lives, and in the lives of others as well.

A few things to Note...  (from Steven Wells's perspective) March 2010

1.       We are finishing our short series on Fire-proofing our marriages on the Hispanic side, but beginning a series church-wide on Christ’s words from the Cross. 
a.       The series followed our Valentines Party which was a great success.  23 couples enjoyed a dinner and a movie, Movie Tavern style.  Kids were treated to a fun evening in a building far away to give the adults a care-free atmosphere.  Popcorn, drinks and snacks were replenished by our wait-staff throughout the movie.  The movie touched everyone’s hearts, and many couples have been asking for the movie and “Love Dare” books.  This had led to some much needed counseling sessions as well.
b.      Our series on the sayings from the cross starts this Sunday in a bilingual service.  It will continue through Easter Sunday.  We look forward to seeing what we can do creatively to help people understand Christ’s words and circumstances through dramatic readings, video clips, and images.  This looks to be a powerful way of presenting the gospel
2.       A lot has been going on in our Outdoorsman Ministry this month.
a.       A few members attended the Celebrate Recovery Seminar in Kingwood’s Second Baptist.  The desire is to begin more groups and encourage a wider support for this ministry.
b.      David Beegle and Steven Wells attended the Coalition for the Homeless Conference last week, making lots of great contacts.  (***On any given night, 8,000-10,000 homeless individuals are on the streets of Houston.***)
c.       Impact has begun its Recovery House program.  7 men are living in a house remodeled as a halfway house.  The men are attending specialized groups, meetings, and resident-led devotionals.  They are working all over campus as part of their program, but also in appreciation for the help they are getting.
3.       Small groups continue well, but we need more leaders.  Working on making the role of the facilitator easier to duplicate by giving over more responsibility to members.
4.       The surge in attendance since before the holidays has not really died down on the Hispanic side.  We had a smaller group at the beginning of January, but our auditorium remains full, and worship dynamic.  
a.       Three new members were added this month:  Efrain Torres, Jose Martinez and his daughter, Jocelyn.  Three more of our teens are planning on being baptized this coming Sunday.
5.       A busy month is ahead of us with Spring Break and the Impact Garage Sale.
a.       Next Sunday, the 7th Kingwood members are expected to bring items they want to donate in the afternoon between 3:00-5:00pm. 
b.      The Garage Sale is March 12-14.
c.       Spring Break groups will help with the Spring VBS and neighborhood mission projects (along with various Impact experiences). 
6.       Be getting ready now for our Annual Night of Celebration at Impact.  This has come to replace the fundraising dinner.  It is set to be May 6th, 7:00pm at the Impact main building.

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