Missionaries Sam and Brooke Orozco

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An Opening Hand: Welcoming Other Cultures

Meet a woman and her husband who are reaching out to a foreign family right in their own community.  Would you, too, ask God to open your eyes to the needs of those around you?

Until I learned about Brooke and Sam’s experience in Paraguay, I really hadn’t seriously thought of reaching out to people who are from a different country than I. Reading about Brooke and Sam’s loneliness and the frustrations they experienced during their years abroad opened my willingness to think about being a part of welcoming others into my culture, right here in my neighborhood. I could only minimally imagine what it would be like for me to try to assimilate into another culture. And I didn’t like what I imagined… difficult communication, different smells and sights and tastes, and the heaviness of isolation, to say the least.

So I began a relationship with the people who own the Nail Spa where I go for pedicures. They are Vietnamese and are among a very small number of “foreigners” in our upper Michigan lake-town.

After six months of trying to match our calendars for a dinner together, it finally happened!  They brought their homemade Egg Rolls, ribs, and rice. We had wine and salad.

Here’s what we learned:

They are lovely people who are just like us, as far as their needs go. They want to practice their English, they want to be active in their neighborhood, they want their 2 year old son to keep their family traditions, yet be assimilated into the American society as he grows, they want company, friends, someone they can call upon. They want to belong.

It wasn’t so hard. We all enjoyed the evening. The conversations were a bit limited and confusing at times, but it was fun and adventurous at the same time. We were all blessed.

We didn’t invite them to church with us yet. We are simply getting to know them and develop a friendship. God will work out the avenues where this will all take us, no doubt about it.

We lay this gift of hospitality at the foot of the cross, and wait with expectation!

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A Bible Club in a Public School

Meet a teacher who began a Bible Club in a public school 6 years ago.  She mentors 15-20 girls from 4th-6th grade every week.  How can you serve the next generation where you live?

“Bible Hang Time” is an afternoon club, which meets every Monday after school for an hour, in the school where I am a 4th grade teacher. Approximately 15-20 girls from grades 4-6 attend each week after school.

We start each club meeting with an opportunity to share about the week. This gives the girls a chance to talk about what is on their minds and hearts.

Then we go into a short devotional time, which deals with issues that typical girls experience and we use God’s word to address those issues.

After the devotional we have a time of worship.  I play about 3 songs on my guitar and the girls sing. This is normally our favorite time together.

We end our last 10 minutes of the time together praying together. I start the prayer and the girls jump in and pray for their specific needs.  It is so cool to see the confidence that they are gaining in praying aloud.

Starting this week, I will be focusing on the message of Easter and the resurrection of Christ. This club started about 6 years ago when a friend took the lead and I was her co-leader. Now I lead it with occasional help from other teachers.

God has really blessed this program and there is even going to be a boys club starting at the school soon, as a result!  I am amazed that He has used me, an ordinary schoolteacher, to share His Good News with public school children.

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Send Me!

Meet a retired man from Chicago who travels on short-term mission trips with an organization called M.O.S.T. and recently returned from Nicaragua.  Is God calling you to do the same?

I would like to share with you my experiences as a short term missionary.

Since 2009, I have been traveling all over the world to serve people in Jesus’ Name.  After my first trip which was to China, I got hooked and I have been going on 2 or 3 trips a year since then. These excursions to foreign lands are for 7 to 15 days.  We travel in teams consisting of 7 to 20 people and our task varies depending on the purpose of the mission. 

I have done water projects (getting families sanitary water to drink), eyeglass projects (distributing prescription eyeglasses), Vacation Bible School programs and English as a second language classes.

Though we do this physical work which helps people better their lives, the real work occurs in the unseen world.  In fact, I have come to believe that the work we do is merely something God has given us to do in order to keep our hands busy WHILE HE DOES HIS WORK BEHIND and BEYOND what our eyes can see.

These trips are motivated by the last command of Jesus: All authority has been given to me, so GO…   Of course, you don’t have to go to foreign lands, to preach and teach the gospel of God.  There’s plenty to do right here at home and our land is becoming a ripe mission field. However, I have found that when you do go on trips to foreign lands, you tend to lean on the Lord all the more.

The benefits one derives from obeying the command of the Lord to go are BEYOND MEASURE:  What monetary price can you put on joy of service?  What price can you pay for knowledge and wisdom which God delivers to you because of your obedience to go? What price will you pay to gain new friends?  These are priceless and they come through Christ from God alone.

Sell your silver and gold and GO on a mission trip. Step out on faith for Christ’s sake and God, the Father, the source of all goodness will uphold you by the power of his love.

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What’s in a Name? (Reflections on Legacy)

When the time comes to name your child, you can pack that special name with history or pick something fun and new. It’s a decision that comes with much weight and responsibility. After all, the name you choose will identify your child to the world.

For each of our kids, we thought long and hard about their names. For us, it had to mean something special, have some kind of family tie, and be fun. We wanted it all! And I believe God led us to names that have all of those qualities.

Their names have become one way we speak into each child’s life; the more we talk about what their name means and why we chose it, the more they begin to gravitate towards those traits as well.

Lucie Christine: Lucie meaning “bringer of light” and Christine meaning “anointed one” – you can tell we have prayers and hopes for her to bring the Gospel to many people. And both of our family trees have Christine or variations of that name.

Karolein Rebecca: Karolein is literally translated in German as “little song” and Rebekah means “captivating, loved.” Caroline is in both family trees (including my first name, Carrie), and Rebecca is Sam’s sister’s name and my first cousin’s (like a sister) middle name.

Micah Samuel Herman: Micah would have been my name, had I been a boy, and it asks the rhetorical question “Who is like the LORD?” Mike is Sam’s Dad’s nickname as well. Samuel means “The LORD hears” …and then we get to Herman: My grandfather, who passed away last week, was named Herman. His father was Herman and he named his first son Richard Herman. Herman means “warrior/army man.”

When we told my Grandpa that we were going to include the name Herman in our coming son’s title, he laughed and said, “I thought everyone had given up on that one!” He was honored. He should be. We used the name to honor him, and my father, Richard Herman.

What legacy do each of these names hold? The most important legacy is that the name of Jesus covers them all. Jesus forgives them all, Jesus empowers them all, and Jesus calls each of them his own child. The ties of these names go back into the history of who we are: they give us opportunities to speak about the people who have gone before us who held those names: Grandma, Grandpa, Great-Grandpa… And they give special ties to those who are still with us: Cousin, Aunt, Sister…

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“Well, hello, Hermie!” said Grandpa the first time he met Micah.

Herman was a man who was very special to me – he and my Grandma, Loretta, who passed away two Christmas Eve’s ago, gave me roots.

They were constant, close, warm, laughing, game-playing, hard-working, cookie-baking, gardening, singing, permission-giving and forgiving, and they LOVED me: I knew this beyond a shadow of a doubt.

They modeled God’s love for me in Christ. Now that they are both gone, I feel a bit of a shake in my foundation, as I shift away from my role as a granddaughter. I can be thankful that at 40 years old, I still even had a grandparent alive. But the child inside of me mourns the fact that I am now a grandparent-less granddaughter: that special title and all the love that is packed into it seems suddenly empty.

However, God tells us to come to him with faith like a child. Now that my last living grandparent has gone to heaven, the place they filled in my life as they showed me God’s love is now filled to over-flowing with the One who they were modeling: my God.

What legacy are you leaving with your children, your grandchildren, your nieces and nephews, even the kids across the street? Do they know, beyond a shadow of a doubt, that you are forgiven by Jesus because you offer complete forgiveness to them, as well? Do they know that you are loved by Jesus and called his child because your love for them is generous and liberating?

How can you use your position in a child’s life to share the truth of God’s saving grace? What ways can you live out your life with them that will leave behind the legacy of another covered, forgiven, empowered, loved child of our Heavenly Father?

I love my Grandpa. I will miss him terribly. Now that he has left a void in my life, I cling to the legacy he left behind: my hope is built on nothing less than the sure hope I have of restoration through Jesus’ death and resurrection.

– Carrie (“captivating, loved”) Brooke (“little stream” and “to endure”)

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Outlining direction for LATINO Mission Society

God has directed us in a clear vision to build LATINO Mission Society  into an organization that ministers to Hispanic people throughout the entire State. Through our experiences and direction from the Lord, He is setting before us these three ways to bring them the Gospel:

A. Help them navigate a foreign culture

  1. We will begin with “English as a Second Language” classes using the Biblical curriculum that Sam developed while in Paraguay.
  2. Our intention is to grow into classes in banking, meeting medical and health needs, and naturalizing as legal United States citizens.

B. Connecting them to each other

  1. We will begin by hosting meals in our home that bring them together in a setting where they can begin to connect with each other and build relationships.
  2. Our intention is to grow into celebrations in the community (birthdays, etc), creating sports teams/events, after-school programs, and keeping them connected with their families back in their home country.

C. Connecting them to Jesus

  1. We will begin with Bible Studies in our home for groups of men and women.
  2. Our intention is to grow into worship, prayer groups, servant events, counseling and connecting them to a local church for Word and Sacrament.

 

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