Cambodia

A mission trip is planned for Cambodia from May 27 to June 6! We will join with other churches in Omaha to assemble a high challenge team of 14 followers of Jesus between the ages of 18 and 25. We will sponsor “Fun and Friendship Camps” to help our Christian Schools reach out to their village. Email Pastor Roger for more information.

Hand of Hope Omaha: Lake Charles

Plans for our trips to Lake Charles have been completed!  All we need is YOU!

We will be traveling to Lake Charles, Louisiana to assist homeowners following the 2020 Hurricanes Delta and Laura that hit their community. For over a year now, residents have not received assistance to rebuild. It’s only because of people like you that some will be able to move back home.

You do NOT need to have construction skills to participate, we teach as we work. If you can operate a push broom, we can use your help. Many times, people just appreciate having someone who can listen to their story, let them know that people care and that there is hope.

Our volunteers will be staying in two Fuller Center Disaster Rebuilders facilities. They will take care of our housing, meals and case management.

There are two opportunities to join us:

  • Saturday, 2/26 – Saturday, 3/5 (Primarily Omaha area volunteers)
  • Saturday, 3/5 – Saturday, 3/12 (Primarily Morningside University & Sioux City volunteers)

We will travel in a caravan. Lodging to and from has been reserved in Conway, AR. Drivers selected will receive a reduced rate and fuel expenses. Let us know if you would like to be a driver.

Due to available space, both trips are limited to 15 participants, so please let us know as soon as possible if you will be going.  DEADLINE TO SIGN UP is January 29!

DETAILS:

  • Tools & Coordination:  Fuller Center-Disaster Rebuilders will provide tools and direct work.
  • Meals:  Except Wednesday evening, all are included.  Volunteers may be asked to assist part time with meal preparation, etc.  Put your hand up if cooking is your gift!
  • Down time:  Wednesday dinner opportunity to try the local restaurants.
  • Lodging: In converted church rooms and Orphan Grain Train bunk houses.
  • Bedding: Bring your own sleeping bag or bedding (with pillow) for your bed.
  • Showers: Several private showers are available, BUT BRING YOUR TOWELS!
  • Cost: Only $275 as Hand of Hope will pay your $100 Room/Board Registration fee to Fuller.
  • Safety:  While a Covid vaccination is not required, we would recommend it for the safety of those you work with and for.  Always practice Covid-safe procedures.

ACTION NEEDED:

Email handofhopeomaha@gmail.com if you are a GO for the trip so we can get the paperwork completed.

ADDITIONAL INFORMATION:

We will be having an Informational Meeting at 7PM on Monday, January 10 at King of Kings Church in Omaha.  If you have any questions, before then you may contact me anytime by email, text or phone.  

DEADLINE to have paperwork/payment in:

Friday, January 29, 2022

UPDATE AS 1/24: ONLY 3 SPOTS REMAINING

Our Mission Partners Alyssa and Thang will be visiting us from Viet Nam this summer. We will have opportunity to spend time with them in person! For now…here’s an update:

Hello Everyone! 

This month we have been recovering from Tet holiday, and enduring the virus-related fallout from the holiday season. That’s right, COVID is breaking out here as Vietnam moves away from “avoiding” the virus, to “living with” the virus. Thankfully, most of the entire country has 2 doses by now, so the hospitals are not overrun at this point. However, the US just upped Vietnam’s travel status to Level 4: Do Not Travel, and is closing down the Embassy until March 13th. Thang’s visa appointment is March 21st, so please join us in praying that he will be able to keep his visa interview without having to reschedule! 

So as we don’t have much to share this month, I thought I would share a few wholesome stories which occurred during our Tet holiday. Hopefully, they give you a fuller idea of life as a foreigner in Vietnam.

Clueless Cooking

This first story was when we were all preparing to host a family meal at a cousin’s house. Typically, the whole family pitches in to cook and prepare the meal. Usually each meal has at least 7 dishes, so there is a lot of prep work to share, and it’s a great time for family bonding. I have been trying to insert myself within this process for a few years now because I want to be a part of the family traditions, and make myself useful. Unfortunately, every time someone sees me trying to help they shoo me away because I’m still seen as the guest…and probably because I don’t know what I’m doing. Now that Thang and I are married, I managed to sneak in and find a preparation spot without getting shooed away, and sat down to peel some carrots. Just some measly carrots. Of course they don’t have a vegetable peeler, they just use a knife. BUT they also all cut *towards* themselves to peel everything, which was not the way I learned to cut vegetables. So of course, literally, 30 seconds into peeling my first carrot, I gouge my thumb with a knife. I did my absolute best to hide it and just keep on peeling, but with nothing to stop the bleeding, the jig was up pretty quickly. Of course, everyone was so concerned and rushed to get me a bandage, but I was already drowning in embarrassment. Luckily, my family is not terribly superstitious about Tet Holiday specifically, so no one considered it a bad omen for the year thankfully. Still, unsurprisingly, I was quickly shooed back to the front room with the grandmas, and I have since accepted my role as “grandma entertainer”.

Grandma entertainer

My new role as “grandma entertainer” actually suits me quite well. I brought my crocheting project with me, and they were so surprised to find that crocheting was a hobby for me. In the past, they had to crochet socks and sweaters out of necessity for their families, but it was never for the joy of it. They were *doubly* shocked to learn that I was making a baby blanket even though I wasn’t pregnant yet. That’s a very big no-no in Vietnamese culture to be so presumptive! However, “Only God knows” is a very common phrase in the Vietnamese language, so I talked a bit about whether it is a “yes” or “no” from God is up to Him, but I will still have hope because I know God is loving no matter what. I also learned from my time as “grandma entertainer” that before the meal can start, the food not only has to be offered to the ancestors but there is also some kind of coin-flipping tradition that must be completed before we can eat. The primary elder for the family must pray to the ancestors and then flip two coins. If the coins show the same side, then the prayers and food offering was not accepted, and the elder must pray again. She flips the coins again, and this process must be repeated until the coins show opposite faces. This means the prayers and offerings were acceptable to the ancestors.

A serendipitous meeting

Finally, our last story takes place after several days of big Tet holiday meals. Thang had brought us to yet another relative’s house (the second feast of the day) which was deep in the heart of the village. I had never been there before, so after dinner, when the adults started to smoke and sing karaoke and I snuck out to get some fresh air and explore the winding streets. Of course, it is very strange to see a foreigner walking around alone in the middle of this Vietnamese village, so the few people that were not already at parties would drive by on their motorbikes and stare at me. They probably wanted to ask if I was ok or lost, but didn’t know enough English to strike up a conversation. That is a very normal scenario for me, so I kept walking, and was admiring a gorgeous rose bush, when all of the sudden, I see one of Thang’s elderly grandmothers walking toward me! Of all of the streets in the village, of all the times to be walking, it just seemed very serendipitous to run into this 85-year-old grandma hobbling along the road. We were both surprised to see each other, and I was worried that she was walking alone (although I probably shouldn’t have been since Thang has told me she could probably still drink most of us under the table!). She said she was on her way to a party, and she invited me to join with her. I wanted to making sure she got there ok, so we walked to the party together, and you should have seen the look on these people’s faces when a blonde-haired, blue-eyed foreigner showed up at their holiday party. I should have known that they wouldn’t let me go without forcing me to eat something, but I did manage to sneak away under the pretense that my husband might be worried about me. I squeezed in a few bites of food out of politeness before I kindly excused myself. I just found it so funny how connected and intertwined the whole village and the relationships within them are.

The Gathering House is gathering!

Sometimes when God speaks a word, the reality of it seems far into the distance. We knew when God gave us this house as our missional base in New England that it was to be a gathering house. This house is gathering teens for discipleship nights, high school kids for family dinners, New England pastors and leaders for think tanks, followers of Jesus for missional community training, will be hosting a retreat this summer. When we first moved in, God had me praying that miracles would happen in our living room. We sense we’re on the brink of an exciting new move of the Spirit and we’re grateful to be a part of what God is doing here!

The Spirit is stirring…

Over the past 4-5 months, the Lord has been inviting us to fast and pray. Something is up – that’s all I know! God is DOING SOMETHING here in New England and across the West. Would you pray with us? Specifcially, we’re asking God for a fresh move of His Spirit, and a major increase in new believers following Jesus and becoming disciple makers in this next year. We’re seeing a different level of spiritual hunger and openness – we’re praying Jesus meets our friends and neighbors in powerful ways.

Local and regional updates

Here’s a quick update on what we’ve been up to locally and across New England:

  • A number of us have been fasting weekly, asking God for spiritual breakthrough in New England. There are a number of missional experiments and rhythms in motion.
  • A couple men in our community went out to the local ice fishing lake a couple weeks ago and had 7 min Ice Church with local fishermen. Just one of many creative missional experiments in motion.
  • Addison’s surf coach shared with us that he has lung cancer. We were able to pray over him and told him we would ask God to heal his lungs everyday. We are praying miraculous healing by the time he goes in for scans in April. We’d love for him to experience the Kingdom of God and His goodness in this way! We believe he’d be a powerful evangelist if Jesus gets ahold of his heart.
  • Our weekly “open table” with teenagers – they just keep coming! If you feed them, they will come, I guess! 🙂 It’s been wonderful to build relationship with them as they are trusting us with their stories. We’re praying Jesus meets them in powerful and obvious ways.
  • Twice a month we host a discipleship group for teens. We’ve been leaning into hearing God’s voice with them. Sweet to see the Father meet them in that.
  • Jeff has been a part of Kingdom Prayer Training with our Anglican friends in New England. He’s already been able to use some of it as he prayed over a guy at the gas station.
  • Addy was employee of the month at the coffee shop last month! She continues to use her fluency in Spanish to bless Spanish speakers coming to her window. As you can imagine, it’s a fun surprise to meet a blonde haired white girl with crazy good Spanish talking back at you in Maine! She sees people and loves them well.
  • We have continued to connect with other organizations across New England who are passionate about discipleship. We are working towards a unified strategy.
  • We are launching a new Learning Community in May with a number of New England churches, training them to build a missional discipleship culture in their context.

 

Pray with us!

  • We’re in a gathering season – pray we’re able to connect with new people of peace who are open to us and open to Jesus, and pull them into discipling relationships.
  • Pray for complete healing for Scott’s lungs in Jesus’ name! (Addy’s surf coach)
  • We are still praying big time for real friends for Addy and Declan. They have loads of opportunities to have influence, but need a few solid/safe friends so they can be courageous in other spaces. We’re praising God they each have 1 friend so far.
  • Gathering teenagers continues to feel weighty and significant. Pray for God to move in power!
  • Pray protection over each of us, our home, our marriage and relationships as we continue to join God in what He’s doing here!