A Different Way to Serve

1 Peter 4:10: Each of you should use whatever gift you have received to serve others, as faithful stewards of God’s grace in its various forms.

Earlier in my life, whenever I thought of service, building churches, feeding the homeless in a soup kitchen and the term “community service” always came to mind. Service was always an action item in my mind. That is how you serve others, with action.

Now that I have a family of my own of three children under the age of eight, finding the time to serve others is not as easy as it used to be. In the beginning of our marriage we prepped food for the homeless with our eighteen-month-old kind of off to the side. Although we got through it, it was such a challenge to be involved it would take away from the joy of serving. Eventually we came to the realization that we simply could not be as involved in serving as we used to be. So how were we going to still serve people? (more…)

Another Mission

Well over a year ago, two enthusiastic and passionate moms (Alischia Besteman and Samantha Willing) came in to meet with Becky Gonzalez, Director of Global Outreach, and me with a desire: We want to go on a mission with our families. They weren’t sure where. They didn’t know how…yet.

But in April it happened. Three families, with children of various ages, spent their spring break in the Dominican Republic serving alongside Children of the Nations and I Love Baseball. All because these two women took a leap of faith and responded to what they believed God was calling them to.

I asked Samantha to share a bit about their experience. Here is a bit of her family’s story. (more…)

Russian Impact: 20+ Years…and Still Counting!

In 1993, when we participated in the first BelPres Impact Trip to Russia, we certainly did not have a vision of what God had in store. Now, after our eleventh visit we can say that we truly have seen what God can accomplish when people put their trust and faith in Him.

In Koltushi, a small village east of St. Petersburg, there is a Cultural Center that was founded in 1999 by lay leader Dr. Sergei Medvedev. At the Center, a community of faith has created an amazing outreach for St. John of Kronstadt Orthodox Church. This program, like a Y or Boy’s and Girl’s Club, brings together the children of the community for classes and activities during the week. They study history, drawing, art, needlework, nature, and drama, and on the weekend they do bike excursions and visit important sites around St. Petersburg. Many of the parents participate in these activities by teaching classes, chaperoning the bus trips, or in other ways. In addition, parents can bring their child for speech therapy, and the Center also offers early childhood activities for preschoolers.

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A Decade of Jubilee

“If you would look at all the activities and missions that our people, individually and collectively, have been involved in, you would find very few places in the community or the world that have not been touched.” The Ripple Effect, Bellevue Presbyterian

Caring for others, locally and globally, is one of Bellevue Presbyterian’s distinguishing characteristics. In August, the Bellevue Reporter featured an article about Jubilee REACH and the annual service day. This year marks 11 years since Bellevue Presbyterian members Jan and Gary King developed their vision for Jubilee, as well as the 10-year anniversary of the annual service day. (more…)

Get Connected with GetConnected

Never have so many people been so connected. We text, tweet, post, like, email, share photos, and even share what we had for dinner. We keep our phones at an arm’s length in fear of missing an important connection or to be able to reach someone at a moment’s notice. But are we connected to what God wants us to be connected to? Are we connected to one another in service, being the hands and feet of Jesus here on earth?

GetConnected is a way to do just that. To find a connection to God’s great rescue mission. There is a place for each of us, contributing whatever interests, skills, abilities, or time we have.

Just picture the hungry being fed, the homeless in housing, children shown the love of Jesus, music shared to fill our souls. Whatever the picture, imagine it as a piece of a puzzle that has hundreds of pieces. Each piece brings us that much closer to a completed picture. (more…)

Serving Others

1 Peter 4:10 “Each of you should use whatever gift you have received  to serve others, as faithful stewards of God’s grace in its various forms.”

“Serving others” is the answer to life’s great mystery wrapped up into two words.

Others may not agree with me, but it is the only action that has always brought me joy no matter the circumstances.

I have always believed that it is one of the great opportunities that God has offered us. (more…)

Serve

One hot Saturday afternoon in June, BelPres high school youth and leaders headed to Seattle’s Pioneer Square. BelPres youth have had a focus on homelessness this year, serving at Mary’s Place, at Congregations for the Homeless, and on our Denver mission trip. After a walking tour, including Bread of Life Mission and Compass House, we broke up into small groups where each group was given $20 to use as part of an act of service.

My group picked up three foot-long Subway sandwiches, cut to share. We noticed a couple sitting on a bench and asked if we could sit with them. “Jenny” was hearing impaired, and her boyfriend, “Dave,” helped us have a conversation. It was Jenny’s birthday, and her eyes lit up when we offered her a sandwich. Soon we were chatting. Dave shared that he lived in one shelter, and Jenny lived in another. We asked if we could pray with them. Dave smiled and said, “Yes! And I would like to pray for you.” We held hands and he thanked God for the food and for our group’s willingness to spend time with them. We thanked God for their faith and trust in Him. (more…)

Thank You, Mike

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

It is sometimes hard to remember day to day what the Lord really requires of us. We get caught up in our to-do lists, our personal plans and expectations, and miss the simple truth of living in a godly way. We get busy. We get tired. We lose perspective. We need people around us to remind us of the words of Micah – do justice, love kindness, walk humbly. We need examples.

Mike Standard has been one of those examples for me. (more…)

Book Review

Coffee, Tea, and Holy Water: One Woman’s Journey to Experience Christianity Around the Globe by Amanda Hudson

What does one think about while working as a barista – between shots of espresso? If you are Amanda Hudson and have grown up in the church, you meld the two together and think about the seemingly infinite number of coffee flavors representing the diversity of the church. She, being a normal sort of Christian, wondered what other normal sorts of Christians were like around the world. How was worship similar and different? How did they interact with non-believers? How did the culture impact their faith? These were just a few questions that, as it turns out, were only the tip of the iceberg of what she discovered about global Christianity. Coffee, Tea, and Holy Water is an honest, humorous, and heartfelt account of someone trying to understand our brothers and sisters from all corners of the world, while constantly urging us to reexamine ourselves,” Seth Jones, co-founder of One Life International, writes. (more…)

Together

One of my favorite moments came right at the very end. It was time to hit the road and head home. Tents had been taken down, our bags had been packed, the bus was ready to go, all set to make the long drive back to Bellevue. But for whatever reason I wasn’t ready to go yet. So I asked everyone to gather around the campfire one last time, all 91 of us in one big circle. I’m sure some of the students (and leaders) weren’t all that thrilled about it, but thankfully they went along with it, and so all together we stood in silence, listening to the sounds of the river rushing near us, and prayed.

We’ve been coming to this same place for about 12 or so years now, a campground right on the Klamath River where California meets Oregon. Each summer, we take a bunch of high school students for a six-day trip we call Extreme Week—a trip filled with river rafting, hiking, warm weather, road trips, worship, campfires, and late nights, and we grow closer to one another and in our relationship with Jesus. It’s hard to imagine a better setting for relationships and community to take place. The school year is over, homework is no more, and the distractions from back home take a back seat. We spend our day together—rafting together, laughing together, eating together, worshipping together, just about everything we do is together. And best of all, no cell phones to get in the way. In terms of relationships, a trip like this feels like it’s equivalent to, maybe, six months of youth groups. (more…)

The Gift of Leading

little over six years ago I received the best gift I never knew I needed. It was neither my birthday nor Christmas. I even said, “No,” three times. Then, the fourth time someone asked me to try out being a youth leader at BelPres, I said I′d try it–but just once. I had a pretty long list of excuses to explain why I wasn’t going to be a good enough youth leader or about how I didn’t have enough time in my busy life.

My first night at youth group, a group of giggling girls sat near me. They had just completed the sixth grade. In the beginning of my time serving as a youth leader, I thought I was simply there to make sure no one got hurt, or to drive the church minivan on a retreat, or to conjure up some enthusiasm for a game where students would throw dodgeballs at my head. (more…)

Prayer Warriors

Prayer Warriors meet every Thursday at ten o’clock. The prayer list is typed at Debi Gordon’s office and passed on to our chairwoman, Arlene Darby. I’ve noticed that during my two years as a member the list can have any prayer from a stubbed toe to brain surgery. I’m certain that the Holy Spirit is with us, listening to every word. The prayers are answered in God’s timing, not ours.

Each member of the group brings her very own prayers to the surface.Many times, we are finding “thankyous” for prayers received and granted. The Bible teaches us, “Pray without ceasing” (1 Thessalonians 5:17). (more…)

Birth Announcements August 2015

Ella Beth Konyndyk
Born 6-23-15 to
Teresa and Mark Konyndyk

Joshua James Reher
Born 6-19-15 to
Cindy and Ashley Reher

The New Baby ministry seeks to greet new babies in our church community with the love of Christ.

If you know of a family who is due to have a baby or adopt a baby in the coming months please contact Di Alexander at dalexander@belpres.org or in the church office, 425-454-3082, so we may include them in this ministry.

Behind the Scenes with Karen Zink

This month we honor Karen Zink, a retired schoolteacher from Kent, who volunteers as a Display Coordinator and Office Assistant in the GetConnected department. Each Thursday she spends a few hours maintaining displays, creating brochures, filing, and helping wherever she’s needed. After memorial services, Karen often writes and addresses the many thank you notes sent out by the Church Office. Recently, she became an expert at using the church paper-folding machine. 

Karen has two grown daughters and was a teacher for 30 years, retiring seven years ago after working her last ten years at an alternative high school in Kent. In addition to volunteering in GetConnected, she also sews in the crafting ministries group and particularly likes creating cute pillowcase dresses for the “Dress a Girl Around the World” project. She also sewed up a storm binding the edges of the fabrics used for Jubilee REACH chair pockets, which will be delivered to the elementary schools at Jubilee Service Day this month on August 22. (more…)

Call for Articles

We recognize that BelPres is full of many inspiring stories that detail God’s work
and presence throughout the congregation. While we sometimes hear of these stories, most of the time they go unrecognized. We would like to extend an invitation to submit articles (400-800 words) to The Messenger.

Guidelines for Articles:
The Messenger is a publication provided by Bellevue Presbyterian Church. It is full of
inspiring true-to-life stories of people’s walk with Christ, their struggles and triumphs, in order to help lift one another up in Christ.

To submit your piece for consideration, please email Katie McRoberts,
KMcRoberts@belpres.org.