Waiting to know God

Posted by on 06.10.2014 in Uncategorized

No one answered the door. We moved on to the next house and rang the doorbell. As we were waiting, a woman opened the previous door and poked her head out. I smiled, went over and handed her an invitation to the upcoming Simplicity evangelistic series. We talked a little about the Bible series, and then, when a little girl came to the door, we showed the woman the programs that the center offers for children and youth. She got very excited about these activities because she babysits and has two teenage daughters. She was especially interested in the teen activities because, in the past year, she had started attending a Seventh-day Adventist Church and wanted her daughters to go to church, too. They don’t usually go with their mother because they don’t speak Spanish.

At this point we told her we were Seventh-day Adventists. She got very excited. She had been praying for God to open a way for her daughters to come to church and to get answers to all of their questions about God. She has only been studying for a year and the girls ask a lot of questions about the Bible that she doesn’t know how to answer. They don’t believe in God, and she has been praying that her whole family would know God and go to church together. Before leaving, we had prayer with the mother and met her oldest daughter. The lady told us we were an answer to prayer.

There are so many people who are waiting and longing to know God. They are praying for a way to meet Him, and when we are faithful to God He will use us to meet those people. We are to play a part in sharing the gospel, and it is such a faith-building experience to see God use us to tell others about Jesus!

The Best Medicine

Posted by on 30.04.2014 in Testimonies
I have experienced new forms of evangelism during my time here at Simplicity. Having a center allows curious passersby to wander in, say hello and see what we’re all about.

Ryan seemed like a rough character, with his scraggly white beard and the heavy winter coat which he wore year-round. I had seen him walk by the center a few times, limping along with his cane. On one occasion he stopped to talk and ask if he could get money to buy some fast food for his mom. Although we couldn’t fulfill his request for cash, he did accept our offer to drive him home.

As time went on, he stopped by sporadically during the week to say hello. Then he came by one Sabbath afternoon. Our Sabbaths typically are spent in worship and Bible study at the center. Afterward, we all stick around for food and fellowship. It was in the midst of our meal that Ryan had poked his head in to greet us this particular Saturday afternoon.

At first he refused our offer to feed him, but then gladly accepted after we assured him it was no trouble. He hobbled over and took a seat in one of our donated sofa chairs. While some of us rushed around in the kitchen, others started pleasant conversation with him. We all came back together to resume our meal, and I could see that a smile had started to grow on Ryan’s face as he heard our laughter and happy conversation. Soon he was laughing right along with us. It was good to see that even the small talk gave him peace.

As his visit came to a close and with a bread donation in his hand, he made his way over to the door with me. I prayed with him for his mother’s health. I asked, “Ryan, is there anything else I can help you with?” His answer surprised me. “Yes. Can I have a hug?” I gladly complied. He sincerely thanked me for all we had done for him.

God has shown me that medical missionary work isn’t just about physical health; it involves the whole person. As we say here at Simplicity: “Building communities that are healthy and whole—mentally, physically, emotionally and spiritually.” How many of us have been discouraged thinking that we cannot help those in need because of our lack of medical knowledge? You don’t have to be a doctor or medical professional to share a smile. We could provide the best health information, but if we do not show love and have the willingness to share our joy of life in Christ with others, then it amounts to nothing, really. As Proverbs 17:22 (NKJV) says: “A merry heart does good, like medicine, but a broken spirit dries the bones.”

— Andrew Carroll

 

Bread and Prayer

Posted by on 12.03.2014 in Testimonies

First there was a box of unexpected bread — well, about four boxes, actually. Then the question, What are we going to do with all this bread? We decided that we’d set up a table outside on the sidewalk that evening and offer the bread to people as they walked home. That evening around 4:30, a woman named Grisel was going to an interview at a restaurant down the street from the Simplicity Outreach Center. By 5 o’clock, she was out the door after the manager wound up refusing her interview. Discouraged and stressed, she was walking toward her home when she came upon our table full of bread. Miriam, one of our Simplicity missionary workers, greeted her and asked if she would like some. Noticing that she looked distressed, Miriam asked if everything was okay.

Grisel(R)-with-Miriam(L)

Grisel said of her experience, “After sharing my story of the rude manager with Miriam, she immediately asked if she could pray with me and then invited me into the center to warm up and talk.”

She said it made a huge impact on her. She and her son had just moved back to Allentown from Florida, and having no coats were not prepared for winter. Miriam was able to give coats and other warm clothes to her. Over the next few weeks Miriam and Grisel struck up a friendship and visited regularly. Grisel said she is a Muslim, but since she really appreciated praying with Miriam, they pray together often and talk about God and faith.
Grisel is also in recovery. She has a story that would be horribly sad if not for her generally upbeat disposition and positive attitude toward life. But having just moved to the area she didn’t have much of a support group around her. Now, whenever she feels like things are getting too much for her, she comes down to Simplicity and she feels at peace when she is there. She knows the whole team now and is comfortable with them and trusts them. She finds herself coming by the center several times a week to help out and just be around friends.

First there were some boxes of bread, then there was a friendship.

Part Two: Ministry

Posted by on 12.03.2014 in Philosophy
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“When the cities are worked as God would have them it will be the setting in operation of a mighty movement…” – Ellen White

It has been 2000 years since Christ set the example for ministry and His disciples used it to turn the world on its head. Christ’s method of ministry is radical, and today He is calling His church to follow His example one last time, but do we really understand what that means?

What is ministry? It seems more and more that in practice we see ministry as something that the church does for itself. Men’s ministry, women’s ministry, children’s ministry, singles’ ministry, media ministry, and the list goes on. Most of these things are done primarily for church members. While it is not common, I have heard members speak against the idea of allowing nonmembers to participate in a church ministry. Most people, if asked, would say that they would love to have a visitor from the community join their group or ministry. But do we really want that? If that is our purpose for having ministries in the church, are the ministries being developed with nonmembers in mind?

Created by God

Posted by on 22.02.2014 in Testimonies

Can you remember a time in your life when you did not realize that you were created by a God who loved you? Many of us cannot, for me it is the only thing I ever have known, it has never entered into my mind that I was here due to a random accident. Because of that, initially it was hard for me to accept that here in America that people would not have at least a basic idea of creation even if they weren’t Christian. I think many people would say oh it shouldn’t be surprising that generations are being raised up here in America that have no idea that God exists but when you see it and hear it from a little child the first time it changes your life. Suddenly you are face to face with the reality that millions of people are being raised with no knowledge of a God who loves them. Is it any wonder that suicide and depression are an epidemic in this country? If we are only here by chance then what does it matter if I stop my life short? Why should I have any hope for the future?

Mareily

This morning in our children’s program we told the kids the story of creation. How God created the world, and the animals, and even them. Time and time again we get to witness these moments when the kids we serve “get it” when suddenly they realize that God is real. Never the less it is always spectacular when they occur. This morning a little girl raised her hand after the story and said “Wait, so I was created by God?”

My mind is struggling to really appreciate the impact that revelation must have on a young mind. I cannot comprehend suddenly realizing for the first time that I was created and loved. I can only imagine the feelings of self worth and comfort that must come with that understanding. God has called us to reveal in word and in action the reality of his love and existence. That is what Simplicity is all about.

God needs men and women who will work in the simplicity of Christ to bring the knowledge of truth before those who need its converting power. But when a precise line is laid down which the workers must follow in their efforts to proclaim the message, a limit is set to the usefulness of a great number of workers.—Letter 404, 1907.

Part One: Mission

Posted by on 14.02.2014 in Philosophy
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“When the cities are worked as God would have them it will be the setting in operation of a mighty movement…” – Ellen White

It has been 2000 years since Christ set the example for ministry and His disciples used it to turn the world on its head. Christ’s method of ministry is radical, and today He is calling His church to follow His example one last time, but do we really understand what that means?

The mission of Christianity is to proclaim the gospel to all the world. In Adventism we believe that, more specifically, we should proclaim the gospel in the light of the three angels’ messages of Revelation 14. I believe these things and I would expect just about any Adventist Christian to believe them as well. However, I believe that an intrinsic part of mission is not just what we are setting out to do, but our intentionality, the emotion and enthusiasm we put behind it. Not just that we set out to carry the gospel to the world, but how fully we invest ourselves in the process. You know someone who is on a mission when you see them, don’t you? Anyone who looks at them can tell how badly they want it.

A Young Life Changed.

Posted by on 11.02.2014 in Testimonies

My first memory of Donovan is of him standing in the back row during song time at our children’s brunch with his arms crossed as if to express that he was not going to sing or do these stupid motions that go along with the songs. I watched him the rest of the day sitting with a friend only half participating in the program. I never expected him to come back after that first day. I definitely never expected to be writing this story either. That may be a testament to my lack of faith or to the power of God, it is probably both. Either way I am excited to get to share this story with you. It has had a profound impact on me and how I perceive the work we are doing with children in the community. 

Two weeks later Donovan and his friend were back again this time Donovan seemed a little bit more interested but it seemed that he was holding back maybe due to his friend. That was the last time I have seen that friend at the brunch, but Donovan has come rain or shine. He even sings and does the silly motions sometimes. At Christmas time the local Adventurer club came and brought presents for all the kids who come to the brunch and Donovan was so happy to receive his gift. that was the first time I really noticed how much he had changed. As he received his gift and stood for pictures I noticed a softness to him that was a stark contrast the some what rebellious posture from when I first saw him. There was a kindness, a gentleness to him that was noticeably new to me. 
 

Welcome!

Posted by on 03.02.2014 in Uncategorized

Hello,

Thanks for stopping by our blog. In the coming weeks we will begin posting stories, videos, biblical principles for urban ministry, and much more! Our hope is that as we share what God has been teaching us and the stories of how he has been working here in Allentown, PA that you would be inspired to reach out in your city or town to share the Gospel of Jesus with those around you.

In the mean time heres a link to a presentation so you can find out a little bit more about Simplicity.

The Truth About Medical Missionary Work

Blessings,