From South Africa

behind-the-scenes-of-the-2016-jmi-gala

Behind the Scenes of the 2016 JMI Gala

Every year we host the Justice & Mercy International Benefit Gala in order to raise money for all the mission work we do in Moldova, the Amazon and South Africa. It has become one of my favorite weeks of the year. Our National Directors – Alina, and her husband Vlad in Moldova; and Sarah, and her husband Magno in the Amazon – come all the way to the United States to attend and share about the work they do. These people are so special to me personally, and to our whole church family. In addition, we have people come in from Reston Bible Church as well as other JMI partner churches and so many friends from out-of-town who go on mission trips and invest in the work. It has become like a giant Family Reunion! All united in Christ and with a common desire to make a difference in His Name.

The Gala is our biggest fundraising event of the year and there is a lot that goes into making it happen. Our JMI and our Rolling Hills Staff Teams all work hard because we believe in what God has called us to. Along with this, it takes close to 100 volunteers – most of whom go on mission trips and sponsor children through JMI. The fact is, we all sincerely love the people we go to serve. The precious orphan children in Moldova, the pastors in the Amazon, the poor and forgotten in South Africa – they are truly our friends. We love them, and we know what a difference this night can make in their lives.

But, the Gala is also a lot of fun. When you are serving with people you love, united in a cause bigger than yourself and you see God do miracles in people’s lives, of course it’s fun! It is not work, but a calling and a passion.

Here are a few of the behind the scenes fun moments as we prepare for the Gala:

Taking our National Directors out to experience some good old American fun:

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Setting up in the auditorium with staff teams and volunteers – it’s all hands on deck

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Serving with people we love

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Praise God for allowing us to be involved in what He is doing in the world. When Christ is transforming lives there is nothing like it! There is no place in the world that I would rather be than serving our God with people I love and seeing lives redeemed for His glory. Thank You, Father! Get involved. Jump in because serving God is awesome! Go on a mission trip, sponsor a child, serve locally, but do something. You will have a great time serving, and God will impact lives through you. We are better together.

“I would rather be a doorkeeper in the house of my God than dwell in the tents of the wicked.” Psalm 84:10

Lastly, here is a message from one of our good friends about giving to JMI:

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South Africa Mission Trip

I recently returned from an amazing mission experience with our South Africa Mission Team. For over six years, Rolling Hills has been investing in South Africa. Our ministry has centered in a special place called Red Hill, the population of which ranges between 800-1,200 people. This is definitely a place of poverty, but there is something powerful happening just below the surface…

When we arrived in Red Hill we divided into three teams – Garden, Construction and Preschool training. The Garden team took on the task of developing a large garden to provide food for the community. Phillis and her husband, William live in the home by the garden. Phillis already feeds 27 people in need in Red Hill, and her dream has been to have a garden to feed 100+. There was a look of grateful joy and sheer amazement as she watched her dream come true. Our construction team spent the day building out the roof on the Living Hope club facility. They are doing a great job working with people in the community to see this come together. In addition, our preschool team spent time training leaders of the two preschools in Red Hill.

One of my favorite parts of the mission trip thus far is seeing what God is doing through our very own missionary, Lesli Crawford. She is truly the “Mother Theresa” of Red Hill. Whenever she drives into the community, the kids immediately flock to her. Lesli is a true gift from God, and she is making a huge difference for the Kingdom. I am so thankful for her heart and her ministry!

After this work, came the kids! Kid’s Club today was absolutely incredible! About 94 kids aged 3-10 came bounding to the building ready to sing, dance, and hear about Jesus! It was so fun! The kids immediately jumped into our arms only to find love and acceptance. They sang songs about Jesus, listened to our Bible Story, carefully worked on their craft, prayed with sincerity and waited patiently for us to give them a meal – which might be their only one of the day. God was there! As we all sang “How Great is our God,” tears filled my eyes. To look around and see the difference God is making through His church in Middle Tennessee in the lives of precious children half-way around the world. I truly thought, “Only God! Only God can do something like this!”

I am so thankful for all who invest in this incredible ministry. Thank you for your prayers, your time, your giving and your constant investment. God is using us in a mighty way for His glory! Your obedience is making a huge difference. I am so thankful for Brent, Jason, Lesli, Ethan, Mark, Zach, Emily, Sam and Nathan who have come year after year to serve in this place. I am thankful for Sara, Steve, Tama, Conner and Claudia who are here now investing in God’s work. And, I am thankful for each of you! It takes all of us working, praying, giving and serving together to make this kind of impact.

As Galatians 6:9 says, “Let us not grow weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up.” We are planting seeds here in Red Hill – not just seeds in a garden that will feed over 100 people, but seeds of the Gospel that will impact generations! Many of these seeds we are already seeing sprout up in Christ. God is alive and moving Red Hill. And, I believe, the best is yet to come!

Missionaries I pray for…

  • Lesli Crawford serving in South Africa
  • Eric Humes serving in Guatemala
  • Stephen Edwards serving in Africa
  • John & Rachel Koon serving in Moldova
  • Suzie & Kirk serving in Thailand
  • Aaron & Rachel serving in Guatemala
  • The McLaughlin’s serving in Burundi
  • Kim Tone serving in Beruit
  • Clayton & Teresa preparing to go to Indonesia
  • Plus, our JMI Staff Serving in Moldova – Alina, Boris, Lena, Igor and others

Yea! So thankful for these amazing men and women who are so passionately serving our God throughout the world!