This summer we have enjoyed a different way of doing Children’s Ministry. Due to Covid-19, we had to think outside the box to reach the children that would normally attend day camps. After much prayer and planning we decided to do a front porch Bible time in a couple of our county’s apartment complexes. Families sat on their front porch while we stood in the parking area telling a Bible story through skits. We provided each child with a packet of activities, crafts and a snack to go along with the story each week for four weeks throughout the month of July.
We purposefully planned this event between 5:00 and 6:00 pm so that parents would be home. Not only were children out on their porches, but parents and grandparents also sat listening to the Bible stories and interacting together. Both adults and children were enthralled with the big God of scripture. They discovered that God is the One True God (Elijah on Mount Carmel), Our big God controls even the winds and waves (Jesus walks on the water), Our God enables us to face our big problems (David and Goliath), and Our big God wants us to do big things (The Good Samaritan).
Week after week, we watched the anticipation of the kids grow while a handful of middle school aged kids stood in the background too embarrassed and “cool” to be a part of the group. Each week we passed out the activity packs to all the younger children and tried to encourage the middle schoolers to take one as well. Unfortunately the snack was the only offering they would partake of. On our third week, we finished telling the story of Jesus calming the storm. As we headed back to the office, we looked over and saw that the middle school kids were sitting outside with the younger ones going through all the activities helping them with crafts and other Bible materials.
When you plant a seed you never know how God will use it. We are praying that the Lord will use the scripture and the activity packs that were handed out in a big way. Please join us in praying for the children and families in our area. Pray that the seed that was planted will be watered and flourish to life!
We have been strategizing a game plan for Christmas ministry for several weeks now. Christmas Project 2020 will be different from previous years because of Covid-19, but we are preparing for a wonderful season of gifts and celebration of our Lord and Savior. GAP’s 2020 limited edition Christmas ornaments arrived a couple weeks ago, which has increased our staff’s excitement. It was with a heavy heart we had to cancel our Easter and back-to-school ministry events, but after much prayer and planning we are preparing for an exciting Christmas Project 2020. However, this year more than ever, we need the prayers and support of all of our donors.
Several aspects will be changing this year. One of the biggest will be not having mission teams helping at the store. Parents’ Store, where children shop for their parents, has been cancelled. In the last couple years, we have had 4 days of traditional Christmas Store, one day of deliveries, and one day at Weeksbury for a total of 6 days. With the current guidelines of Covid-19 it will take us 12 days to accomplish the same and with no mission teams. Plus, we have decided to try and do a lot of shopping online compared to in person to keep down exposure, allowing us to begin early, and enabling us as a staff to shop at a pace we can handle with little help.
We need your help to share the Good News of the Savior with many families in our area. We believe there will be a huge need during this time, which provides a massive opportunity to share the story of Jesus with those who are hurting and are hopeless. Please consider sponsoring a child/children and encouraging your friends and family to sponsor also. Join us in praying for this Christmas ministry.
In the face of a pandemic the ministry of GAP continues…continues to give hope, continues to show God’s love, and continues to help those who needed it. GAP continues, but just like so many things in 2020, we continue in a different way. For example, unlike any year prior, God’s Appalachian Partnership has hosted only one mission team this year. First Baptist Church of Winter Garden, FL. arrived in early March when the pandemic was just beginning. During their week here, we converted to our first drive-thru distribution. Ministry was cut short that week because of Covid-19 and the team headed back to FL a few days early. Little did we know, that Winter Garden would be the only team that would serve alongside of us in 2020.
All mission teams have been cancelled for the rest of the year. We would have never imagined a year at GAP without mission teams, but Covid-19 has transformed our reality in many mays. It has been challenging and has focused us to rethink how we do ministry. However, during these unprecedented times, we continue to be committed to sharing the Gospel of Jesus above all else. Families continue to be thankful and blessed by the food they receive during distribution. Many have also expressed their gratitude for the changes made because it allows them to feel safe and protected. And even though we may no longer be able to hug our families, Christ’s love continues to radiate from our hearts with each smile, conversation, prayer, and humble act of service we continue to do. This would not be possible without all our partners who generously give and support monthly, allowing us to faithfully be a witness to those in our area. THANK YOU! We would also like to thank the following churches who have donated food items to keep our pantry full over the last several months: Fitzpatrick BC, Destination Church, South Orlando BC, Winter Garden FBC, Valdosta FBC, Warner Robbins Second BC, and Smoke Rise BC.
In the land of football, the word audible means: a substitute offensive or defensive play called at the line of scrimmage. So the offense lines up and the quarterback looks out and sees how the opposing team defense has lined up. He then has an opportunity to change his teams play based on that lineup. So he has an option to call an audible. He will quickly call it out to let his team know to change it up fast because there isn’t much time. It is crucial that the team is listening for their quarterback to instruct them so that they can carry out the better plan of action.
I believe this word sums up 2020 Missions and Ministry. In essence we have seen how everything has lined up and we are calling an audible at the line to adjust for what is coming our way.
Just like in football we must listen for our quarterback’s plan, trust him and do it. Football coaches spend hours upon hours studying other teams and their strategies in the game. They lay out the best plays in the playbook but they leave room for their quarterback who is on the field in the game to call an audible. The quarterback has to spend enough time training with his coaches to know the coaches’ will and best decision in the game.
2020 has certainly lined up differently than any of us imagined. Our Pastors and Ministry leaders have had to call an “audible” for the Church and Ministries. At God’s Appalachian Partnership our “quarterback” director John Morris has certainly been calling audibles. So much has changed. All of our thought through and planned strategies and events are no good with the current line up! We must call an audible or we won’t be effective on the field.
GAP has prayed and sought out, for now, what the Lord would have us do. We are calling an audible to ensure we are still in the game sharing God’s love in the best way we can. It looks different, it feels different, but we will trust that God will work through this for His good.