Operation Christmas Child
Final results are in for our yearly commitment to Operation Christmas Child! Northbrook Covenant contributed more shoe boxes — 108 boxes (versus 99 boxes in 2015) — owing to the packing party for 61 boxes as well as our individual packings over the year. We pray to do even better in 2017 as the calendar moves toward the collection week in November.
In 2016, our volunteers increased to 20, totaling 247 hours of work for Christ. Our drop-off center received a total of 2,614 shoe boxes (versus 2,115 boxes in 2015). We are pleased with all of this increased activity, which will be sent to Zambia, Zimbabwe, Tanzania, St. Lucia, Namibia, and Madagascar. Through our efforts and the 4,500 drop-off locations throughout the USA, it is expected that we will hit the milestone of collecting and distributing more than 12 million shoe box gifts to children in 2016.
BUT — the most important number is the ONE child who receives a box of school supplies, basic hygiene items, and toys with the messages of love from our church and from God!
Faith Promise Banquet 2017
The annual Faith Promise Banquet was held on Feb. 12, 2017, with the theme of “We Are the Light of the World.” Missionaries had flowers presented during punch in the narthex. Pastor Tom was the Master of Ceremonies, and Barb Beckstrom was the cook as well as the special music provider. Speakers Tom and Janice Kelly, our missionaries to Mexico, discussed their work in Mexico City, including a ministry to women and children suffering from abuse and sex-trafficking. Debbie Poterek presented the faith promise concept, and Barb played an arrangement of “His Eye Is on the Sparrow.”
Our goal to be pledged by December 31, 2017, was $30,000. Praise God, we collected $31,450! Our missionaries who will benefit include Randy Bevis – Thailand and Laos; Paul De Neui – Center for World Christian Studies; Don and Lillian Dwight – Taiwan; Dan and Oksana Johnson – New Life Radio Russia; Peter and Anna Kim – East Asia; Tim and Janice Kelly – Mexico; Gary and MaryLou Sander – Equador; Fransisco and Stephani Ramos – France; Shannon and Carol White – Hong Kong; and Leslie’s Place – Chicago. May they help to spread God’s peace on Earth.
The Junior High and High School youth served the tables to earn money for their camps.
Missions to USA: Summer 2016 and beyond
In July 2016, 12 of our congregation drove to inner-city Detroit for an extraordinary week of work and fellowship with Hope Church. Our repairs were helpful to the church, and our interaction with the congregants and local leaders at Hope House and Hope Hospitality was especially rewarding. The youngsters from Northbrook were pleased to join with their counterparts from Detroit. Merge Ministries was recognized for their role as the facilitator of safe, well-planned missions, here in the USA and around the world.
Upon their return from Detroit, the mission members suggested to church leadership that Northbrook Covenant Church undertake a regular mission to a nearer city that also badly needs Christ’s healing: Chicago. Our mission committee met and discussed establishing a relationship with Chicago ministries, including Cornerstone Community Outreach (CCO) and Jesus People (the faith and individual support basis of CCO). The draws toward CCO and Jesus People included geographic closeness, safety, and the ability to get underway immediately.
In October 2016, the committee served a Saturday community meal in the city, involving not only food prep, table service, and clean-up but also spending time with those in need. Seeing and hearing Christ in them, NCC leadership decided to serve community meals six times a year, starting Feb. 18, 2017. We have been especially gratified that Detroit mission members can carry on their work, and new participants have joined them to build support. Praise God!