Downtown L.A. 2012

Downtown L.A.

Dates:  July 28 - August 4
Ministry Partner:  World Impact
Ministry Focus:  Partnering with urban churches in the inner city of Los Angeles

This team will work with GBC partner World Impact serving at urban churches in Los Angeles. Ministry opportunities include home makeover for an urban missionary family, VBS with urban church, a discipleship conference for women, and an outreach block party in a World Impact church plant.

Updated Saturday, August 4
E-mail from Bev

The team returned safely today from a wonderful week in LA.  The following is a report on the final day of ministry yesterday.

What an incredible day today has been! It started off with devotionals. We all prayed for our unsaved loved ones. That was quite emotional. Then we were off to our different ministries.   

It was a bittersweet day for those of us doing the Women's Retreat. We've grown so close to these women and we don't know when we will see them again. And, I have to tell you the women at my table knew it was my birthday today and oh my! Marcia walked in with a gift right in front of the whole class. They sang Happy Birthday to me. That was very sweet and unexpected. Then Fabiola did a fabulous job of teaching about Fellowship which led to very meaningful discussions around the tables. Lunch was provided by Debbie Mahoney and Mary Elrich, more partners in this ministry. Then there was a birthday cake for me and another round of singing where I ended up with cake on my nose! Then, as if that wasn't enough, they said we are all going out to the grassy area. A pinata was waiting for me! Oh my! I don't mean to make this all about me but this is just another example of how caring and giving these women are even though I'm sure they don't have a lot of money.  

We had visits today from Mike Gaston and Daniel Luther. I forgot to tell you yesterday we had a visit from Keith Phillips!  

The day ended with an outreach block party at the church. Ron and Cathy Proctor came and made 350 hot dogs! Juan and his band came from the Grace Spanish ministry and played. We had carnival games and bounce houses for all the kids. All of the VBS kids got up in front and performed their songs and dances from the week. It was awesome! What a way to end the week.  

What a privilege it has been for all of us to be part of the World Impact Jefferson Street Church and work alongside Brodie and Katie McClain. Thank you Grace Baptist Church for this opportunity.

Updated Friday, August 3
E-mail from Bev

We only have one more day here. Unbelievable!  

VBS picked up one more kid for a total of 38 kids! I have 3 stories to tell you. There is a kid named Paul who is 14. He's not really in VBS but he hangs out at the church. Yesterday he was talking to Steve Kilker and saying he was leaving for Yosemite today. So Steve said bye to him because we will be gone before he gets back. Paul asked if we would be coming back and Steve said yes. Paul said, "We will be waiting".  

As I am sure you know there are some kids who come and are very shy. Daniel is one of those kids and he didn't want to have anything to do with dancing but today he actually danced! Just don't look directly at him because he is still shy.   Yesterday morning Eric and Carlos came to VBS for the first time and they did not want to come in. Mom had to nudge them inside. At the end of the day they were jumping up and down begging to come back! And, yes, they were back today. Our VBS team does such a great job of loving these kids! Just like Jesus would love them!  

I have another incredible story about one of the women coming to the retreat. This is about Juana who gave her heart to the Lord on Tuesday. She lives in Downey. She got up at 3:00 this morning to make sure everything was taken care of for her husband before she left. She walked 40 minutes to take the train to L.A. and when she got off the train she rode a bicycle the rest of the way to the retreat! These women make real sacrifices and are so eager to learn. They love reading scripture and answering the questions in the workbooks. These are incredible precious women whom we have truly grown to love and will miss when we leave.  

Mike and Debbie Broyles popped in for a visit today too!

Updated Thursday, August 2
E-mail from Bev

You know after a while you have to start counting the number of days you have been here on your fingers.  

In VBS today we had 3 new children for a total of 37! The nursery is still being run by Kelly, Nina and Natalie. The highlights of the day include the incredible Bible lessons given by Steve Kilker, the lively music and motions and the games. Today VBS was treated to ice cream that had been provided to the Women's Discipleship group by Chuck Miller. I do know that when you ask any of the women at the retreat how their children like VBS the answer is, "They love it!"    

After VBS 10 members of the team went to the World Impact Sonshine Thrift Shop to help sort clothes. Our Entertainment Director, Dennis Salazar, has taken us to Farmer's Market and El Cholo and tonight we are off to Chinatown!  

The women's retreat continued today with one of the Jefferson St. ladies, Anna, teaching about Prayer. She did an outstanding job and you could tell she spent much time preparing. This was her very first time to teach! Let me tell you about one of the ladies who came today. I don't know her name but she got up at about 4:00 this morning, went to work for about 3 hours (she cleans houses-they had wanted her to stay longer but she told them Bible study was more important), went back home to get her children ready for VBS, do ironing and get her husband off to work and still made it to the retreat by 10:00! This is representative of the dedication of the women attending the retreat.     

Yesterday the women were treated to a lunch that was provided by Danette Fowler and Helen Mays. Today and tomorrow lunch has been provided by Chuck Miller. What a blessing to us and our ladies to be treated to such wonderful meals. This is just another way to love them and make them feel special!  

It is truly a privilege to serve to further His Kingdom!

Updated Wednesday, August 1
E-mail from Bev

Today has been a very exciting day! We had 8 new children in VBS today for a total of 34! Some of the children were really too young for VBS so the 4 girls, Natalie, Emily, Nina, and Kelly set up a nursery and this was a huge help and they did a fantastic job! Many thanks to them. A docent from the L.A. zoo came to teach the children about the National Parks. She brought skins, bones, hooves, and feathers and the children were able to touch and ask questions. The kids thoroughly enjoy the water games and Mr. Steve Kilker does an incredible job leading lesson time.

At the Women's Retreat today we also had some new ladies. One of the ladies, Juana, as she was being led through the steps of the bridge, gave her heart to Jesus today! What was extra cool about this was she had mentioned 4 or 5 times during table time that she had forgotten her glasses and had asked if we had any. At the end of the retreat Katie brought in a whole table full of reading glasses! So, not only were Juana's eyes opened spiritually for her to see Jesus but also physically for her to be able to read His Word!

As if that weren't enough, we ended the day at the McClain's house. Alfredo cooked hamburgers and hot dogs for us. Yummy! How blessed we are to be able to serve for His Kingdom!

Updated Tuesday, July 31
E-mail from Bev

First day of VBS was a hit. Kids loved worship, Bible teaching, crafts, games, and lunch. It was hard for the kids to leave at the end. Mothers really appreciated the break and ministry to the kids.

For the women's retreat, we had 20+ women guests! They were really eager to learn about Christ being the center of their lives and loved the Discipleship workbooks.

Fred Jordan Mission was a reality expanding experience for all team members. We had opportunities to connect with the guests and pray with them. Peter Jordan introduced the team to the history and thrust of the mission.

Updated Monday, July 30
E-mail from Bev

This morning we attended the Jefferson Street Church worship service. It was a very rich and rewarding time. Pastor Brodie started by asking for prayer requests and praises. One lady shared that at the yard sale yesterday her sister whom she has not spoken to for quite some time showed up unexpectedly and they actually spoke to each other, hugged and kissed and started reconciliation.  She said that had it not been for the people from Santa Clarita coming to do the yard sale that would not have happened. She was so grateful. There were numerous praises and prayer requests by not only the Jefferson St church congregation but also by members of our team.

Our time with the church this morning was amazing! After all the praises and prayer requests this morning which lasted about 1 hour we broke into small groups to share prayer requests and then as a group we all prayed for each other at the same time. Then we came back together as a group, sang songs and listened to Brodie's sermon. The diversity of our brothers and sisters in Christ in this small group was refreshing and inspirational. There were people from Guatemala, El Salvador, Nigeria, Thailand, Mexico, Georgia, Idaho, and Santa Clarita all praising and worshiping the same wonderful and amazing God.

The rest of our day was spent preparing for the Women's Retreat and Vacation Bible School. It is truly a blessing to be here. These are such warm, loving, and gracious people.

I have to share one more story. There was a lady who was sweeping the floors and cleaning the bathrooms and Kathy Mack was thanking her and she said "El Senor deserves the very best".

Beverly Miller on behalf of the team

Updated Saturday evening, July 28

E-mail from Marian

We had a very full and rewarding first day.  Everyone got there safely and we set up for the garage sale immediately.  It didn't appear that we had that many people go through during the hours we were there, but it was a steady flow.  We had the opportunity to invite those at the garage sale to VBS and the Women's Retreat, and one grandma who is the full time guardian of her grand kids and isn't able to have babysitters confirmed that she would be bringing them. The blessing came when Pastor Brodie told us that the garage sale made over $800 dollars!!  We were all pretty surprised but happy to see how God had provided for their church.  We just ended the day with a "family night" celebration with the Jefferson Street Church members.  It was potluck style, so we got to experience some tasty new dishes, mingle with the congregation and enjoy worship music led by a World Impact intern who is staying with the McClains this summer. 
Tomorrow will be kind of mellow, with church services in the morning, then just planning and preparing for our ministries that start Monday.  Everyone is excited for what's to come and we feel very welcomed by the church members.
Thanks for the wonderful send off!  We'll be in touch soon!!
In Him,
Marian for the LA GO Team

Updated Saturday, July 28

The Downtown LA team was prayed off on their short trip to Los Angeles this morning.  Go with them in prayer as they impact urban families with the love of Christ.