Missions

A Parable for the Church...

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I wanted to share this Sunday, as it illustrates what happens to a church that drifts from fulfilling her mission out of sincere love for Christ, His people, and the lost.

Take a couple of minutes and let this sink in:

On a dangerous seacoast where shipwrecks often occur there was a once a crude little life-saving station. The building was just a hut, and there was only one boat, but the few devoted members kept a constant watch over the sea, and with no thought for themselves, they went out day or night tirelessly searching for the lost. 

Many lives were saved by this wonderful little station, so that it became famous. Some of those who were saved, and various others in the surrounding areas, wanted to become associated with the station and give of their time and money and effort for the support of its work. New boats were bought and new crews were trained. The little life-saving station grew.

Some of the new members of the life-saving station were unhappy that the building was so crude and so poorly equipped. They felt that a more comfortable place should be provided as the first refuge of those saved from the sea.

So they replaced the emergency cots with beds and put better furniture in an enlarged building. Now the life-saving station became a popular gathering place for its members, and they re-decorated it beautifully and furnished it as a sort of club.

Less of the members were now interested in going to sea on life-saving missions, so they hired life boat crews to do this work.

The mission of life-saving was still given lip-service but most were too busy or lacked the necessary commitment to take part in the life-saving activities personally.

About this time a large ship was wrecked off the coast, and the hired crews brought in boat loads of cold, wet, and half-drowned people.

They were dirty and sick, and some of them had black skin, and some spoke a strange language, and the beautiful new club was considerably messed up. So the property committee immediately had a shower house built outside the club where victims of shipwreck could be cleaned up before coming inside.

At the next meeting, there was a split in the club membership. Most of the members wanted to stop the club's life-saving activities as being unpleasant and a hindrance to the normal life pattern of the club.

But some members insisted that life-saving was their primary purpose and pointed out that they were still called a life-saving station. But they were finally voted down and told that if they wanted to save the life of all the various kinds of people who were shipwrecked in those waters, they could begin their own life-saving station down the coast. They did.

As the years went by, the new station experienced the same changes that had occurred in the old. They evolved into a club and yet another life-saving station was founded.

If you visit the seacoast today you will find a number of exclusive clubs along that shore. Shipwrecks are still frequent in those waters, only now most of the people drown.

-Author unknown

May we never become a “club”. Stay on mission.

-pastor jeff

Sending Christ in Your Place

 Matt and Lexie Koll

Matt and Lexie Koll

We jumped on an amazing opportunity to support two young students for a mission trip to the Dominican Republic this past June.

Harvest Bible Chapel Pittsburgh North sent two of our very own youth, that are full of Christ's love, into the heart of a needing nation this summer.

The church supported these newly weds by raising a total of $3400 to send them both. Thank you for your support of both Matt and Lexie financially and with prayers as they commit to each other and those in need.

Romania Trip Recap

About

This post is a journal of the mission work that my son Jack and I participated in, along with five other people from Harvest Bible Chapel Pittsburgh North. This trip took place during the last week of August, 2015 in Arad, Romania.

Where is Arad, Romania?

Arad Romania

When the discussions about missions in Romania began at our church, I knew little about the country. I knew it was in Eastern Europe but probably could not correctly identify it on a map.  Romania is to the east of Hungary, south of Ukraine, west of Moldova and the Black Sea. To the south are the countries of Bulgaria and Serbia. The historic city of Arad is in the Western part of the country, about a half-hours drive from the Hungarian border.

Our Mission

When God calls someone to a task, He gives them the means to do it.

Our church is part of Harvest Bible Fellowship, which plants churches all over the world. Harvest Metanoia in Arad, Romania is also part of this fellowship. In order to expand the influence of the gospel in Eastern Europe, Harvest Metanoia is building a training center outside the city, which will be a ‘home base’ for pastors who will be trained to plant new churches all over Eastern Europe.

We started our week worshiping the Lord on Sunday with Romanian Christians who take their faith seriously. It was a most beautiful service as we sang songs that were familiar to us, but were being sung in a language that we did not know. It gave me a preview of how every tribe and tongue will sing around the throne in heaven. It was an amazing sound that brought tears to my eyes.

 
Arrival in Romania - Harvest Metanoia

Our job on this missions trip was to assist in the building of office space and storage areas within the structure, specifically drywall and insulation.  The expectations for our team of volunteers was to put up two layers of drywall on three to four rooms.  By the end of the week, we were able to exceed the expectations by putting up two layers of drywall on six rooms (with insulation), framing another area for an additional three rooms of storage and partially dry walling those framed areas and part of a hallway.

On the initial tour of the construction site, the director of the project pointed out the new neighborhood across the street where many new houses were built in the last year. He said that the new neighborhood asked the church if they would make enough room in the building to conduct kindergarten classes for their children.

This was especially exciting for me as I envision the church growing in the years to come, simply because they reached out to their neighbors to help educate their children. My mind raced ahead five, ten, twenty years from now and I saw those kindergarten children coming to know Jesus Christ as their Lord and Savior. I saw parents attending church and hearing the message of forgiveness. And across the other side of the construction site I looked down into the empty concrete box that would soon be the baptismal pool where many of these new believers would declare their allegiance to Christ, going down into and coming up out of the water: a symbol of new life!

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We spent a busy five days putting two layers of drywall in what would soon be the training center offices and storage areas.  Our team worked well together.  Some of us had construction experience and some of us did not, but after screwing a few sheets into the metal framing, we fell into a groove.  We were able to cover the walls in 6 rooms with double layers and also single layers on an additional 3 storage rooms and a partial hallway.

Jack Dry Walling
Jack Hanging Dry Wall

In the grand scheme of the project, spending a week drywalling in a few rooms is not a huge deal on the surface. But as the week wore on, I started to see that more than just a building was being built. New relationships were being built. Our new Romanian friends were greatly encouraged by our church standing with them in this project. The missions team however, received much more encouragement than we were able to give. Someone on the trip adequately summed up this thought by saying, “when you do missions, you take home much more than you brought”.

when you do missions, you take home much more than you brought

Beautiful People. Beautiful Country.

In the evenings we spent some time with our hosts and the members of the church in Arad on various tours of the vibrant city and beautiful countryside. Romania is a country with many stories to tell.  It is said that the Apostle Andrew and his followers from Jerusalem settled there. We saw Corvin’s Castle in Transylvania, where Vlad the Impaler (Dracula) was held prisoner, which dates back to 1446.

Corvin's Castle

We visited the Densus Church which dates back to the 7th century. The paintings on the walls of early church figures had their eyes gouged out by  enemies of Christianity.

Densus Church

We toured Timisoara where the 1989 Romanian revolution against communism was born. You can still see bullet holes in the facades of many of the buildings there. Several of the nights we spent in downtown Arad where an annual street festival was being held. As great as the sightseeing was for us after a hard days work, what I enjoyed most was riding in our minibus, listening to Romanian Christian music and getting to know our hosts. They rolled out the red carpet for us and treated us like royalty.

Our team and our sending church was also profoundly changed.  We grew in our respective faiths as we faced challenging questions like: How are we going to get the funding to go?  How are we going to do construction jobs with no experience?  How are we going to maintain the stamina that we need for such physically exhausting work? How are we going to overcome the language barrier?

Harvest group on scafolding

We saw God do amazing things: He provided exactly enough funding for each of the participants through generous people who saw this as a worthy missions project. He provided us with expert builders who trained us quickly on what to do all week long. And he provided the energy and strength necessary to do the job with excellence and enthusiasm.  The driver who took us back to Budapest for our flight home said it very well, as I mentioned to him about getting home very late after dropping us off: he said, ‘God called me to this task.  When God calls someone to a task, He gives them the means to do it’.  He is right. That statement speaks about God’s involvement in the whole trip from its conception. He called seven of us to a task, and despite our insecurity and fears, He gave us the means to do it.

Harvest group on foundation

Our Mission is not Over

Even though we’re home now, the mission is not over. There will be a “Phase Two” in the summer of 2016 as Harvest Metanoia is planning to move their church services to the new facility. Our church will be in prayer and in discussions on how we want to proceed to help them in this effort.

Check out this 9 minute video which summarizes our fantastic week in Romania: