Tagged amazon

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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Pastor's Conference

Amazon Pastor’s Conference 2016 – We Have Arrived!

I am writing from our annual Pastor’s Conference in the Amazon. We have 110 village pastors and their wives here at the John Pac Center where the conference will be held. So many of these pastors were traveling by canoe for days to be here with us. Their stories are amazing, and their lives even more so. They deeply love Jesus, and they are passionate about His call to share His love with those in their villages and communities. They work tirelessly and battle in prayer for those they love. And, God is using them to bring the Good News of Christ to this dark region in the world.

As Mike Minter, Pastor of Reston Bible Church in Washington D.C., says, “We come to teach them the bible, and they teach us about Jesus.” Their passion for Christ is contagious. I am always inspired and encouraged in my time with these men who are in the front lines of ministry. They are the leaders of their churches and villages, which can range anywhere from hundreds of people to thousands. They are the ones who stand in the gap for the people by preaching God’s Word, helping provide education for children and taking care of the sick. The pastors, and their wives, are Christ incarnate in this region.

This week will be filled with teaching, worship and fellowship. Justice & Mercy International pays for most of the cost–the pastors make very little money and they do pay a very small fee to come, but then JMA (Justice & Mercy Amazon) covers the rest, which is a huge portion of it. We do everything to make sure this will be a week where the attendees feel renewed, encouraged and appreciated. This is their only “vacation,” and we want them to feel special. We provide all the meals, supplies, and send them home with materials for the adults and children in their churches & villages.

God has blessed us with a wonderful team from the States to teach, minister and love:

  • Mike Minter, Senior Pastor of Reston Bible Church, and myself teach the men.
  • Kelly Minter and Angela Thomas (both Kelly and Angela are Bible Study teachers and authors) teach the women.
  • Leo Ahlstrom, Rolling Hills Community Church Worship Pastor, and a team from a church in Manaus, Brazil lead the Worship times.
  • Breakout sessions dealing with specific topics are led by:
    • David Shedd, Recently retired head of the Defense Intelligence Agency.
    • Jim Rabelhofer, Lead Pastor of Business Operations at RHCC
    • Mike Myers, Family & Children’s Pastor at Reston Bible Church
    • Harold & Regina Pinto, grew up in Brazil and are both inspiring spiritual leaders
    • Heather Crane, Leading women studies on the PGA and at the Next Door
  • Mary Katharine Hunt, Executive Director of JMI, Francie Leslie, JMA Board President, and Kari Bidwell, Logistics coordinator for JMI, make it all happen.
  • And, Sarah Rodrigues, National Director for Justice & Mercy Amazon works with the pastors throughout the year bringing mission teams, food bags and support to their work.

This is truly a team effort. It takes all of us here, and all of you back at home! Thank you to so many of you who sponsor pastors through JMI. As a sponsor myself and seeing how $40 a month is being used here, I can tell you that your contribution is making a huge difference! Also, thank you to those of you who tithe at Rolling Hills Community Church and Reston Bible Church – a percentage of what you give goes to help make this happen. And, last but not least, thank you to all of those who pray. Prayer is powerful! We are seeing God transform lives for Christ here in the Amazon through your prayers. We are all a part of something very special.

I ask that you continue praying for our team and all the pastors attending the conference this week.

Together, we are seeing God change the world!

Pastor's Conference

Pastor's Conference-2

Pastor’s Conference in the Amazon

This weekend, I will be leaving for our annual Justice & Mercy International Pastor’s Conference in the Amazon. We have a dedicated team going there to pour into these servants of the Gospel. I appreciate your prayers during this upcoming week of travel and ministry. We have pastors coming from all over the jungle to learn how to better lead in their villages, churches and families. These faithful men and women of God will go back and impact so many lives for Christ.

Let me share an example of some of the challenges many of the attendees face and conquer to be a part of this conference. This is an email from Sarah Rodrigues, our National Director of Justice & Mercy Amazon:

From: Sarah Rodrigues
2/11/16, 11:00:24 AM

Today I woke up with a message from a pastor who has been traveling for four days to arrive at the conference.
“Dear brothers, God be praised!!! We arrived in Novo Airão today in the morning after traveling on the river. The river is very dry and very difficult. Stranded boats on the beach and stuck in banks. We did not know the river we were on, a small canal in Semiraita, and we went around several times, completely lost. God saw our struggle to navigate and provided a vessel that was traveling to Manaus and we followed them. It has been a five-day trip. We were praying for God to multiply the diesel that we are to use much more than expected.. God kept us from drifting away. Cleide (his wife) now is much better by the grace of my and our good God!! however we were very sad with the fact that a thief entered her mother’s house when they were sleeping and took 350 reais and her bag with all the medicine we had bought for the treatment and other things. That is in God’s hand. And by his grace, nothing will happen to her and her mother and relatives. My brothers, through your prayers God has delivered us from evil. Pray that we can buy her medicine; that is what we are asking God now. Peace.”

What a perfect example of passion and commitment to Christ as well as the desire to grow in leadership. The river water level is much lower than usual for this time of year and may cause similar travel problems for other pastors. Please pray for God to make a way for all those that He wants to be there next week. We have 112 people signed up and 78 of those have double-confirmed. Please pray that they all make it.

Thank you for your prayers for all of us. I love and appreciate each of you.

Godspeed as we share the love of Christ with the nations…

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