Meet our Teams IV: The Justice and Mercy Team

He has told you, O man, what is good; and what does the Lord require of you but to do justice, and to love kindness, and to walk humbly with your God. – Micah 6:8 ESV

The Wheatland Mission is full of generous people. I am reminded of our trip to Haiti this past year when Paul Riley and I delivered over 7o pairs of shoes to the children there. You had two weeks to bring the shoes before our trip. Way to go. Upon our return we took up a collection to provide food and supplies to the orphanage in Fedja. Again, way to go.

One can read almost any passage of Scripture and discover that God cares very much about the poor, the disenfranchised, the down and out, the widow, the orphan, and those at the bottom of the heap. Since God cares, so should we. And, to be quite honest, I know Wheatland cares and am proud of that fact.

Our Justice and Mercy Team is now in place in order to help us become more intentionally generous. It is great that generosity comes naturally to us. The Justice and Mercy team will Wheatland be disciplined in our giving thus allowing our generosity to be a natural and normal part of our life as a community. This team will enable us to thoughtfully give at least 10% of our church’s income to ministries that serve the poor and those without Christ, both locally and around the world.

Laura Murfin, Michele Thiessen and Kelly Hayes have all agreed to serve on this team. Their combined experience in both long and short term mission trips, working with those who are in need within our own country, and a passion for those who are different than us will serve as an important resource in their work.

If you have a missionary or ministry, both local or abroad, that you would like Wheatland to support you can send the following information to one of the members of this team for review. After reviewing the information they will decide if Wheatland should support that specific ministry. After approval by the financial team and the board then that support, either long term or one time, can be provided.

Here is what you need to share with the team:

  1. The name of the mission/missionary/ministry which you want to support.
  2. The nature of the work that they do and where they do it.
  3. Is the request an ongoing one or one time only?
  4. What connection does the ministry have to Wheatland, if any?
  5. How much of the money goes to administrative costs vs. original purpose?

God’s Mission Has A Church

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What? How often do we mix this up? This past weekend we shared a little bit more about life in the orphanage at Fedja and the proposed solution to the problems they are experiencing there. The solution, proposed by GVCM director Yves Prophete, is the planting of a church next door to the orphanage.

What kind of implications does this have for our understanding of church? What if the local expressions of the church were simply a means to end and not the end in and of themselves? Thatis, the church just might be God’s means of accomplishing his mission, the in-breaking of his Kingdom, in our world. Perhaps the church can begin asking the question: How are we to be involved in what God is doing in the world?

After seeking God’s answer to the above question we can then discover what the church looks like. What do you think? Could this be true?

Help Feed Kids

In spite of the title of this post I am quite opposed to the emotional manipulation that Christians often use to get money. So don’t consider the title of this post a manipulation. It is simply the description of a need. This weekend, we are going to have a special offering for the orphanage in Fedja. You heard Paul and I talk a little bit about it this past weekend and you have seen some photos of it on the blog. You will see some more photos and images about it this coming weekend as well.

Like I said, I don’t like the tactics of manipulation that are often used by those who are trying to help the poor. So let me give you some basic facts about life for the kids in Fedja. There are currently 37 children that live at the orphanage who are housed in a fairly new concrete building with intermittent electricity. They have a bathhouse adjacent to the dormitory with showers and toilets. They do have running water of a sort. That is, the water runs out of large tanks on the roof that are filled regularly. If someone wants a hot shower they do well to take it in the evening while the water is still warm from the sun’s rays.

The children are well cared for. Although, they do not have much when it comes to toys and clothes. Their caretakers, all young 20-somethings, watch over the kids well and teach them as best they can. The children are talked to, held and comforted. In spite of their circumstances these kids seem remarkably well adjusted with the older children caring for the younger.

One problem that this orphanage faces is that there is not a strong church associated with it. Throughout the countryside of Haiti churches provide holistic care to their people. Not only does the pastor oversee the spiritual health of his congregation by preaching, teaching, marrying and burying he also manages school teachers that teach children within the walls of the church building. These same pastors often oversee orphanages and schools for children with special needs. In addition they often help get food to people in their church who are hungry. They direct resources to people in need throughout their communities.

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(Fedja is a village just outside of the city of Mirebalai, northeast of Port-au-prince.)

Fedja’s orphanage is without this kind of support for the time being. GVCM (Global Vision Citadelle Ministries) is trying to correct this problem and has an individual assigned to the task. However, it may be several months before a viable church is at work in Fedja. The best way for the orphanage to stay in business is for this church to be established in its neighborhood with the assigned task of caring for the children and their caretakers.

In the meantime the kids there need some extra help. None of the children are starving to death. There are, however, days when the kids don’t eat enough. Last Saturday night we collected a sizable amount of money. This money, along with whatever we collect during our special offering this week, will go to provide food and supplies to the kids in Fedja during the interim.

This may just be a kairos moment, a time appointed by God for Wheatland to be a special blessing to these little brothers and sisters.

Wheatland in HAITI – #1

We had a tough time uploading video and still images from Haiti. Here are a few of the images from the early part of our week there. There will be more to come!

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(I chose the song because I thought it was in French! Ooops…)

Haiti … Thursday the 12th

I hope we will be able to post some pictures and video today. Due to stormy weather and otherwise sketchy digital signal, via satellite, we haven’t been able to do as much as we had hoped.

Since we are having a hard time giving you visual images I thought I might share a little bit of the sights and sounds here in Fedja. This town is one of the few in Haiti that has somewhat reliable electricity. This is because it is near a dam that provides hydro-electric power. Last night, at the orphanage here, we set up our projector and a portable stereo and played the French version of The Incredibles. Unfortunately, the power went out about halfway through. (I did say that the power was somewhat reliable.)

We are staying in a small hotel called Wozo Plaza. This is a nice place with a good cafe and a handful of UN soldiers (some from Jordan, Brazil and France) and cellphone tower workers. The Haitians are extremely hospitable, they aim to please, and feel bad if they have not adequately served their guests. We have a small A/C unit in our room (a real luxury) but the units in our meeting room cannot keep up with 50+ hot bodies and all the hot air coming our of the presenters.

Of course, everyone knows that Haiti is poor. However, walking through the streets allows a better perspective on what poverty is really like. The sights and smells communicate much more than words. In spite of the poverty most Haitians experience a kind of togetherness that most of westerners don’t pick up on. Of course, sinful behavior is rampant, just like the States, and people here are mistreated and abused just as they would be anywhere else.

The pastors that Blake and I are working with come from a wide range of the country. Most of the guys are our age or younger with a few “elder” churchmen in our midst. Good men who sacrifice a lot so they can serve their churches. I am amazed how similar our work is. I am amazed at how much easier it is for me than for them.

Tonight we hope to show another movie, or simply finish the first one, for the kids in the orphanage. Spending time at the orphanage has been our favorite part of the trip so far. We have delivered most of our shoes to kids there and will save a few pairs for kids in the church in Hinche. Keep in mind that your shoes are really helping out some young people in dire need.

We travel tomorrow to Hinche and are not sure if we will have internet access. We hope to continue posting look forward to sharing all the video we can upon our return. Thank you all. – ph