Auto Angels Car Show–Making Memories

The Auto Angels Car Show, September 19 here at Bellevue Presbyterian Church’s lower parking lot, is a do-not-miss fun experience for the whole family!  The super cool folks at Auto Angels take a “brake” from helping get folks back on the road to make the car show a real party.  There’s always something new to see, as well as some very extraordinary cars.

This year there will be model cars for kids to assemble, and Microsoft video game races to play, as well as a raffle and vote for your favorite car!  Bring the family, enjoy the lunch available through Brief Encounter cafe, and soak up the carnival ambiance.

For my family, with our three sons, the annual Auto Angels Car Show has become a family tradition.  Husband and I enjoy looking for the oldest and most unique vehicles in the show.  There’s always something to learn about the history of automobiles and automobiling in the fun plaques that the owners develop for their cars.

While Dad and the oldest wander around appreciating Shelby’s work on classic Mustangs and imagining themselves in every Ferarri on the lot, usually loitering around the Lamborghinis in the hopes that the owner will rev up the engine,  the middle and younger sons always want to play Forza at the Microsoft display, and enjoy the games.  As they get older, the younger two have become more interested in the cars, as well.

The big highlight for all of the boys every year is the gorgeous new Kenworth semi-truck that somehow makes an appearance.  They look forward to getting up in that massive cab, pretending to drive, and imagining what it would be like to live in such a tiny space while travelling the country.  It gives the imagination scope, that big truck does.

Our family won’t miss the Auto Angels Car Show this year, nor should yours!  9am to 3pm, September 19, it’s the only place to be!

Ramadan is Over: Now What?

July 17 marked the end of Ramadan and the conclusion of the 30 Days of prayer for the Muslim world.  A little over 23% of the world’s population self-identify as Muslim.  Most of those 1.6 billion people live in Asia.  Less than 1% of them live here in the U.S.  Only 20% live in the Middle East and North Africa.

Most of these facts and figures are widely known.  What isn’t widely known is that in the last twenty years, there have been large movements of Muslims turning from Islam to faith in Christ.  According to World Christian (a YWAM group), a movement involves 1,000 or more people.   Christian Missionaries around the world are reporting conversions to Christ in numbers never seen before.  This increase is happening at the same time as an increased effort among Christians to pray for the Muslim world.

So now that Ramadan is over and the 30 Days of Prayer is over too, what’s next?  Here are 3 suggestions:

Pray for Muslims

Pray for Muslims in your own community and around the world.  Pray for missionaries who are living among Muslims in other countries and pray that God would raise up more witnesses for Jesus among Muslims.

Build relationships with Muslims

Build relationships with Muslims in your own community.  Many Muslims have moved here to Bellevue and the Eastside because work brought them here.  Others have come seeking safety for their families from the political turmoil and violence in their own countries.  One of the best ways to show the love of Jesus is to welcome them and help them transition to life here.

Go

Romans 10:14 asks us, “How then can they call on the one they have not believed in?  And how can they believe in the one of whom they have not heard?  And how can they hear without someone preaching to them?  And how can they preach unless they are sent? God is moving in unprecedented ways among Muslims in North Africa and the Middle East.  Might God be calling you to be one of His workers for this great harvest?

Do you have other ideas for how to follow up with the 30 Days of Prayer?  Please let us know, or send this to someone you think would be interested.

Break My Heart –Mary McCracken

We here at BelPres Mission & Serve are following all of impact teams as they travel this summer, sharing the love of Jesus as they go.  Last night our own Mary McCracken posted a beautiful, challenging piece on her blog.  Take a look:

“Yesterday we toured an orphanage for kids ages 5 and under. Our plan was to stay for two hours, play with kids, provide a mid-morning snack, and then leave. The front of the orphanage is beautiful, behind walls covered in purple bougainvillea. I stepped into the main building and all was quiet – the children were outside in the back play yard, waiting for us to come in.

As I was at the back of our group, I had a bit more time to look around. The laundry room was filled with baby sleepers, cloth diapers, little boy pants and little girl dresses. Just like all the ones I washed for years as the mother of young children. It was familiar, but overwhelming in the amount of daily wash. The machines never stop running and the clotheslines were full of baby blankets drying in the sun.

I went outside, and immediately a little girl lifted her arms for me to pick her up and claim her. Our team of twenty could not hold all… for more of Mary’s extraordinary blog, please click here!

Bo-LOVE-ia Trippers Reach Out

BelPres Youth are on mission in Bolivia right now! The team is 24 teens and leaders, and they arrived in Cochabamba on July 12.

Our church has a long standing relationship with Ninos con Valor ministry, an organization that works to create cycles of hope for many neglected kids in Bolivia. Many of our teens on the trip are on a repeat visit to this beloved city, with it’s many kids in need. “How can I know what’s going on with the kids in Bolivia?” you ask?  Well, I’ve got some suggestions!

Keep up with the Bolivia team’s adventures at:

http://belpresbolivia15.weebly.com/

Or, on Instagram, @belpresbolivia15

Let’s keep these kids (and the grownups travelling with them) in our prayers!
Nan

Maddie is awesome!

BelPres Youth Make New Friends Among Seattle’s Homeless Adults

On a hot Saturday afternoon in June, BelPres high school youth and leaders piled into two vans and headed into downtown Seattle. Our plan was to park close to the Pioneer Square Park, where people experiencing homeless congregate. For the past year BelPres youth have been learning about homelessness in our area through serving at Mary’s Place, Congregations for the Homeless, and the Denver mission trip. On this outing, led by BelPres Interim Director for Youth Ministries, our focus was all about interacting with homeless persons, learning about their lives and praying with them. We began with a walking tour of the area, stopping by Bread of Life Mission and Compass House. Afterwards, we broke up into small groups; Daniel gave each group $20 to spend as we felt led in serving a person who was homeless.

My group consisted of four girls who are going on the Bolivia mission trip with me. We walked to the park and surveyed the area. How could we feed the maximum amount of people with our $20? We decided on pizza cut in smaller slices, but the pizza store was closed. Then we spied a Subway across the way and decided to get three foot-long subs cut in quarters – enough for 12 people. With the subs purchased, we walked over to the park.

As a leader and a mom, I was a little bit cautious about our first engagement. Closest to us were a few men on some park benches smoking weed, but I didn’t feel that was the best place for the girls to start. We noticed a couple sitting on a different bench and asked if we could sit with them. “Jenny” was hearing impaired, and her boyfriend, “Dave,” helped us all to have a conversation. Dave shared that it was Jenny’s birthday, and her eyes lit up when we offered her a sandwich. We asked about their life and what they liked about the area. Dave shared that he lived in one shelter, and she lived in another. After chatting a bit, we asked if we could pray with them. Dave’s eyes brightened and he said, “Yes! And I would like to pray for you.” We held hands and he prayed for us, thanking God for the food and for our small group’s willingness to spend time with them. We prayed for them, Jenny’s birthday celebration and thanking God for their faith and trust in Him.

As we got up to leave, we noticed a violin case next to them. Dave said he played the violin, and wanted to play a birthday song for Jenny, but a piece had broken off and he didn’t have money for glue. The girls looked at each other and said, “We can get some glue!” Two girls walked across the street to a convenience store for the glue while the rest of us stayed and continued to chat. Soon the girls returned and gave Dave the glue. He was thrilled to be able to repair his violin and play Jenny her song.

As we walked around for the next hour, passing out sandwiches and talking with men and women experiencing homelessness, our hearts were filled. We heard stories of brokenness, stories of hope, stories of lives that, from the outside, seemed lost and worthless, but on the inside were filled with faith and trust in God. We offered prayer and were prayed for. We asked for advice and were told: stay in school, trust in God, and keep on going. On a hot June day, we were refreshed by the Holy Spirit’s presence in the park.

After an hour in the park, our larger group of youth and leaders gathered at Subway for a cool drink, and debriefed our experiences. Over and over again, our young people talked about how joyful their time had been. Each small group had fed people, learned about their lives, and came away with a deeper understanding of God. Most shared that they would love to come down to the park again, to bring food, talk and pray. We had found God in the park in the lives of our homeless brothers and sisters. Tired and sweaty, we loaded into the vans with full hearts and a deeper understanding of what it means to serve the Lord in ways that are simple and impactful.

Serving our homeless brothers and sisters is not complicated. It doesn’t take a lot of money or time; it doesn’t require us to change our lives or move to an apartment downtown. Any day of the week, any of us can take a couple of hours to head downtown, grab a few sandwiches and hang out at the park. We can invite someone living on the streets to have lunch with us, and we can hear their story and pray for them. And in the end, our lives will be changed – for the better!

How have you interacted with people who are different than you? Can you imagine having lunch with a homeless person and learning about their life? What is God saying to you in this article?

Alongside Nicaragua

So exciting to see that another Impact Team to Nicaragua is going soon!  These amazing families, with children who have all attended Spanish immersion school, are heading off soon!  Something about the idea that all of these moms & dads will be depending on their kids for every basic bit of understanding on this trip really piques my interest.  How about yours?  Do you want to know what’s happens when BelPres students & their parents land in Nicaragua?

Here’s a link for more information.  Be part of what God is doing in Nicaragua!

Another Mission!

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Well over a year ago, two enthusiastic and passionate moms (Alischia Besteman and Samantha Willing) came in to meet with the Missions Department 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, because these two women took a leap of faith and responded to what they believed God was calling them to.

Here’s a bit of Samantha’s family’s story.

What surprised me the most about our mission trip was… how amazing we functioned as a family. We were out of our comfort zone and physically uncomfortable at times but we really banded together and had a great time.  It ignited a passion in our marriage and took our love and respect for each to a deeper level.  The impact truly showed when we asked our kids if they wanted to go to Hawaii this next year or another mission trip and they enthusiastically said “ANOTHER MISSION!”   

God really showed up when… At the end of our trip when we were saying our goodbyes we decided to give away a few things, but felt like it wasn’t enough. We could have given it all and still have wanted to give more.  When my 11 year old son gave away his favorite football to one of the boys he had bonded with my heart was bursting.  I knew it was special to him and I knew that his gift to this child was the Holy Spirit working through him.  I have never felt such complete peace as I did when I was getting rid of my material things. 

I had an “ah ha” moment as I realized that this is how it must feel to tithe (which is something we have always been scared to commit to) – the feeling of peace, joy, and calm that comes with not being attached to our things and allowing God to use our blessings to bless others. 

We had been warned before our mission trip that sometimes people come back and feel really guilty about their own comfortable lives.  We came back not feeling guilty, but feeling incredibly accountable for how we use what God has given us.  We came back with a desire to be different, to spend different, to give different and to develop servants’ hearts in ourselves and our children.  Our eyes were opened to how God can use us if we let Him, even when we feel ill-equipped and not particularly strong.  We came back with softer hearts and eyes to see the mission field around us in Bellevue not just far away.  This trip helped us re-define our family and create a vision for our future.  It was incredible.

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