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Catalyst 2.0 Prayer Guide : They Comforted Us by Carolyn and Davis Fulk

They Comforted Us   

by Carolyn and Davis Fulk

Matthew 25:35: I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you welcomed me.   

During the summer of 2013, we journeyed to Ottawa, Canada, to work in two refugee ministries. Until then, most of our understanding of refugees had been gained from watching the nightly news. During our days at Matthew House, we prepared meals, cleaned, held babies, visited with residents, and sorted welcome kits. At the Furniture Bank, we moved furniture and helped clients select items for their new homes. These duties were rewarding because we knew we were helping others. But the most rewarding part of our trip was the interaction we had with the refugees and staff. We met refugees from Bulgaria, the Congo, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Burundi, Nigeria, Rwanda, and Afghanistan.   

We learned that we can make friends and have fun even if we can’t speak someone else’s language. Refugees make many sacrifices as they leave their home country. Roda, one of our friends from the Congo, had been forced to flee, leaving her four year old daughter with friends she hardly knew.  She now sends money back to take care of her. Another friend, Cristobel, has begun a new life in Canada, but sorely misses the influence of her mother as she is raising a beautiful boy named Michael. David, who manages the Matthew House and has recently become a Canadian citizen, celebrates his new status and the ability it offers – he’ll be able to travel to see his mother and siblings for the first time in nearly 20 years.  All of his family have now fled Zimbabwe in fear of the dictator Mugabe. Paradis, now a college student, arrived in Ottawa as a nine year old from Iran.  She spent almost the first year of her life in Canada sleeping on the floor of her family’s apartment because they had no beds.  Now she interns at Furniture Bank, insuring that other refugees have such necessities.   

Through it all, what struck us most were the determination and positive spirit that the refugees shared. They ate with us, laughed with us, carried us on their backs, and played soccer with us. They prayed with us, in English and once in French – perhaps one of the more moving moments in our visit. They could have appeared anxious and fearful; instead they were trusting and joyful, comforting us with their spirit.  These friends became living examples that God’s grace is sufficient for all of our needs.   

We are grateful that the SEND initiative of Second Baptist made this trip possible for us.         

As we continue to participate in Catalyst, may we do so with generous hearts from a deep trust and confidence that God’s abundance is sufficient for all that is before us. We pray that our lives are freed from anxiousness, and we continue to dwell in the joy of extravagant generosity.
Posted by Terri Soper at Sunday, October 12, 2014
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Catalyst 2.0 Prayer Guide : Being the Presence of Christ by Gwen Phillips

Being the Presence of Christ

by Gwen Phillips

Leviticus 19:33-34: When a foreigner resides among you in your land, do not mistreat them. The foreigner residing among you must be treated as you are native-born. Love them as yourself, for you were foreigners in Egypt. I am the Lord your God.  

 Five years ago, several members of our church spent a weekend learning how to teach English to foreign adults and received teacher training certificates for 14 hours of training in English as a Second Language. Shortly after that, we officially began an ESL program at Second Baptist Church for anyone interested in learning English. Mostly, we have had friends from Mexico as students. However, we currently have friends from El Salvador and Guatemala. In the past, I’ve also taught women from Morocco, French-speaking Canada, Peru, and Korea. What a wonderful experience this has been for me!  The program began with nine men who worked at the Mexican restaurant on the Square. There has been much growth in their conversational English.  One friend, Leonardo, was able to promote from dishwasher in the back to server with the customers because his English improved so much!   

Over the years, we have enjoyed a variety of meaningful experiences with these new friends. Babies have been born, employment opportunities opened up. Some have returned to their homeland. One of my favorite activities has been working with mothers of little ones who want to read books to their kiddos in English. We practice reading in class, then the mom takes the book home and reads it to her child several times before returning that book for another.  I’ve been very proud of their hard work!   

Soon I will be sharing a new memory, this one with my Guatemalan friend, Lilian. Together, we studied hard on the 100 questions she needed to answer for her citizenship test and she has recently passed and completed her oral interview. This month, Lilian will go for her citizenship ceremony and she has invited me to come along. I can’t imagine the joy I will feel as she becomes a US citizen.  Lilian and her family love the Lord and continue to give thanks for this opportunity.   

Thanks to you, Second Baptist congregation, we are privileged to be the presence of Christ to friends from all around the world.    

“Treat them as well as you treat citizens and love them as much as you love yourself.”     

The world has come to us!  How can you respond to the needs of those knocking on our door?    
Posted by Terri Soper at Saturday, October 11, 2014
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Catalyst 2.0 Prayer Guide : Praise the Lord With the Organ by Ann Posey

Praise the Lord with the Organ   

by Ann Posey  

Psalm 150:4b:  “Praise God with stringed instruments and organs.”   

The pipe organ at Second Baptist was originally built and installed by the Wicks Organ Company of Highland, Illinois, in 1928 at a cost of $12,000. The previous sanctuary also contained a small pipe organ which was destroyed in the fire that took the sanctuary as well.  Once installed, the organ had 5 divisions: Swell, Great, Choir, Pedal and Echo playable on a horseshoe shaped console with 3 keyboards and pedal.  

The church has used good stewardship in maintaining this initial investment throughout the last 86 years. The original specifications followed the English tradition. In 1969, four ranks were added – a 2’flute and a three rank mixture – giving more brilliance to the sound.   

In 1980 a generous bequest allowed the addition of 11 ranks which offered more opportunity for different colors and provided a new “state of the art” console. In 1993, the George Hoech family provided for the addition of the trumpet en chamade, mounted on the Echo organ, along with a later major renovation with additional ranks. The organ is now equipped with MIDI, transposer, master stop processor, piston sequencer, and additional pistons.   

With the recent Catalyst initiative, we have been able to correct the issues related to the 1980 work.  For about five years, we were unable to use five or six ranks (a rank is a set of pipes, one per key, of the same tone color) of the most colorful sounds. In recent weeks, my husband has commented on how much he is enjoying the additional colors of the instrument.   

Lately, I had the opportunity to play the organ in another local church. Although the instrument is in good condition, it is much smaller and is not as flexible and easy to use as the one at Second Baptist.  Having played the other pipe organs in Liberty, we are blessed to have an instrument that has a range of sounds useful in worship.  

 As with anything, human or mechanical that is 86 years old, some things wear out and need replacing.  At the time of construction, the Wicks Company was in a good period of work. Our instrument is tuned twice a year at a cost of $800 each tuning. Over the next four years, in addition to tuning, we should spend about $2000 a year for replacing parts that are wearing out.   

The pipe organ is not the only instrument appropriate for worship and we are blessed to have many pianists and other instrumentalists who generously offer their talents in worship.  The pipe organ, with its many colorful sounds does provide good  support for congregational singing as well as choral accompaniments and a variety of service music – some based on hymns, and some from the classic organ repertoire.  

As you worship through Preludes, Offertories, and Postludes, and singing hymns accompanied by the organ, thank God that through the first Catalyst we were able to do significant repair work to the organ.    

Posted by Terri Soper at Friday, October 10, 2014
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