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Church of Christ News (149)

 

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Allison Carter

Warren Davis stands in front of the stage coach he built for children at the Petersville Church of Christ. Vandals damaged the coach, but Davis, 90, quickly repaired it.

PETERSVILLE — When Warren Davis learned other members of Petersville Church of Christ were making wooden toys for the church playground, he wanted to join in.

“They were making a wooden train and I saw a stagecoach, so I decided that’s what I would build,” said the 90-year-old Davis, one of the oldest members of the church.

And he did.

“I am in awe of what he makes,” said one of the church elders, Jim Goldy. “(Davis) just gets it in his head what he wants to make and he makes it. He has a special talent.”

Goldy said he asked Davis about his plans when he was told about the stagecoach.

“He said he didn’t have any plans. All he had was a drawing on an old piece of paper that he had made,” Goldy said. “(Davis) had seen the coach in a magazine and decided he could make it. And like everything else, he did.”

Since his wife of 63 years, Claudia, died four years ago, Davis said, he spends a lot of time in his shop making things.

“I enjoy being out there in the shop. One of these days I’m going to have to clean it out. I’ve got wood shavings everywhere,” he laughed. “It’s a good outlet for me. It keeps me busy.”

Davis said it took him 2-3 days to make the coach.

“I love to see the children have fun out there in the playground playing on the toys,” Davis said. “They seem to have a big time out there.”

Goldy said the playground came about after discussions in the church.

“We have had a preschool here for 23 years,” he said. “The children really didn’t have a place to go outside and play.

“We talked about it and we built a playground. We started out with swings and a few things were donated, but it just needed more.”

A wooden train Goldy saw outside a business on a trip to the beach inspired him to do the same at the church.

“I came back, talked to some men in the church about it, and then we found the plans online and we built it,” Goldy said. “We built the locomotive, and before we were finished we ended up with the entire train. Then we built a truck and a tilted house, which has come to be called a crazy house.

“Then Warren got involved and built the stagecoach and it all came together.”

A few weeks ago some of the wooden toys, including the stagecoach, were damaged.

“It broke our hearts when it was damaged, but Warren got out there and fixed it so the kids could continue having it to play with,” Goldy said.

Church officials said the playground was built for the younger children of the church and the community to enjoy. but apparently older kids are getting in and playing on the toys, tearing them up.

“I don’t know what happened to the coach, I went ahead and fixed it so the children could get back to playing on it again. They seem to like it so much,” said Davis, a retired crane operator with the Tennessee Valley Authority.

Over the years, Davis said, he has made wooden bowls, lamps and other items including a wooden backhoe for his grandchildren and even a wooden water wheel.

“I dream up the idea, then try to make it happen,” he said. “It’s a hobby and I love it.

“Seeing those children playing, laughing and having fun is what it’s all about.”

So, what’s next on Davis’ building agenda?

“I don’t know. I’m sure something will catch my eye and I’ll have to try to make it,” he said, laughing.

1373The Westside church of Christ is sending a team to work with Mission Upreach in Santa Rosa de Copan, Honduras.   The three high school  graduates, who are members of the Westside church of Christ are on their way to Honduras along with their preacher and his family and others.  This team is going as a part of a ministry called Disciple Trips.  Disciple Trips is a ministry out of Lubbock which takes young people on short term summer mission trips.  

This team from Seminole will be joining  a team of 32 individuals for a week of work in Honduras.  The team will be conducting Vacation Bible Schools, holding a youth rally, working in a hospital and a children's home as well as constructing a church building.

"This is my second year to go to Honduras for short term mission work," said Ray Young, minister of the Westside church of Christ.  "It is a great opportunity to serve some of the poorest people in the world.  It is incredible to think our team will have an incredible impact on the lives of so many people in just one week.  Not only will lives in Honduras be changed, the lives of each person who goes on this trip will be changed in significant ways!"  Young calls it, "A life changing... people blessing... hard working... Gospel teaching... children loving... church building... Kingdom growing time in Honduras."

The elders of the Westside church decided to give their graduating seniors an opportunity go on such a trip if they wished, and thus get a taste of foreign mission work. All three of this year's graduates accepted the challenge.  The elders hope to make this a yearly event.

The Westside team consists of, Kylee Weeks, daughter of Wes and Rhonda Weeks, Colton Wheeler, son of Dean and Melanie Wheeler, and Raegan Young, Daughter of Ray and Sonya Young.  

Raegan graduated from Denver City High School where she stayed to finish high school after her dad took the preaching job in Seminole.  

Ray Young, his wife, Sonya, and their older daughter Katelynn, a recent graduate from AIM, (Adventures in Missions) a part of Sunset International Bible Institute in Lubbock will accompany the three graduates on the trip.

Other team members include people from Seagraves, Lubbock, Midland, Weatherford and Fort Worth, as well as members from Albuquerque, New Mexico and some from Ohio.

They left Seminole Thursday afternoon, July 17th, with plans to  drive part of the way to Houston.  Friday they will meet the rest of their team at the Jersey Village church of Christ.  They will received final instructions for their work in Honduras, and do some team building activities.  

Members of the Jersey Village church were to house the team Friday night, and they are to depart from Houston at 9:00 this morning, Saturday the 19th, and, "will hit the ground running."  The team will return on Saturday the 26th.  

Please pray for their successful trip.

 
 

IMG 2076-1024x774SMITHVILLE, Tenn (BNc) – Christians in the Smithville, Tennessee area set up booths at the Smithville Fiddler’s Jamboree Craft Festival, July 4-5, in downtown Smithville for the second year in a row.

Workers from the Keltonburg, the Smithville, and the Northside congregations in Smithville quadrupled the accomplishments of last year’s efforts at the festival. When the tally was completed, those working the booths had given out over 1700 free bottles of water, 1500 blue and white scripture reference cards by John Hurt, 250 House to House Bible tracts and several copies of Michael Shank’s “Muscle and a Shovel” books. Approximately 40 signed up for free Bible correspondence courses.

Those spearheading the effort increased the booth size and tripled the workers this year to reach more people with the gospel of Christ. Festival visitors from 11 neighboring counties and multiple states talked with Christians in the booths, some from as far away as Michigan and Oklahoma. Many encouraging comments were heard.

Eugene Adkins of the Keltonburg congregation requests prayers for the seed sown this year, and told how they are looking forward to next year when they will once again share the gospel at the festival, the Lord willing.

 

Forming hearts with their hands, participants in the 2014 Church of Christ Preacher’s Wife Retreat pose for a group photo at Chickasaw State Park near Henderson, Tenn. (PHOTO VIA WWW.PREACHERSWIFERETREAT.COM)

"I am what I am, and I do what I do, not because I am married to the preacher but because I am married to the Lord.”

 

"I am what I am, and I do what I do, not because I am married to the preacher but because I am married to the Lord.”

Cindy Colley delivered that message to more than 80 women from 15 states during the Church of Christ Preacher’s Wife Retreat.
Colley, an author and motivational speaker, is the wife of Glenn Colley, pulpit minister for the West Huntsville Church of Christ in Alabama. She encouraged her fellow ministers’ wives to “be what we profess before our congregations — all the way through.”
It can be a difficult task for the wives of ministers, who often feel that they live under a spotlight — that the congregations they serve expect them to hide their frustrations and human frailties. They may feel misunderstood and alone.
Hence the title of Colley’s presentation: “Bless Your Battered Heart.”
“If we love (God) with all our hearts, souls and minds,” Colley said, “the Gospel will emanate from our preachers’ homes.”
STRESSED, BUT NOT ALONEThe retreat, hosted at a state park near Henderson, Tenn., has grown significantly after only a couple dozen women attended the first one in 2012, founder and organizer Carrie Voss said. 
 
Her husband, John, is minister for the Eagle Way Church of Christ in Hopkinsville, Ky. She got the idea for the retreat while attending Polishing the Pulpit, a workshop for Church of Christ members, held in Sevierville, Tenn., in 2010. 
Carrie Voss said she felt “an immediate connection” with other wives of preachers at the conference. 
“We shared the same struggles,” she said, “and we were bonded together because of our similar situations.” 
Now Carrie Voss, who was the sole organizer at the retreat’s inception, is joined by Summer Bowling and Michelle Johnson in making the Preacher’s Wife Retreat a reality. 
Carrie Voss hopes the retreat produces lifelong friendships — “and that we don’t feel all alone in what can be a very stressful position,” she said. 
At the retreat, “we learn to cope with the day-to-day circumstances that come our way because of the role we are in as a preacher’s wife,” she said. “We learn how to be an encouragement to our husbands.”
Attendee Stephanie Kenyon of the Thomasville Church of Christ in Georgia said the event is a comfort and encouragement to preachers’ wives across the nation.
“My heart has been filled and my soul refreshed after gathering with 80-plus women who share the same concerns and issues I face as we learned how to support our husbands in the Lord’s work,” Kenyon said.
- See more at: http://www.christianchronicle.org/article/blessing-battered-hearts-of-preachers-wives#sthash.XaSqqgUe.dpuf
Windham, a graduate of Abilene Christian University in Texas, is senior counsel for the Becket Fund for Religious Liberty and is part of the legal team representing Hobby Lobby's challenge of the Affordable Care Act contraception mandate. The company is owned by David and Barbara Green. 
 
Windham SCOTUS
Lori Windham speaks about the U.S. Supreme Court about the decision in the Sebelius v. Hobby Lobby Stores and Conestoga Wood Specialties Corp v. Sebelius cases.
Standing outside the Supreme Court, Windham addressed supporters and opponents of the ruling. 
 
"We don’t know what the government will choose to do next, but we know that the Greens are free from this unjust mandate," she said. "Women like Barbara Green and Elizabeth Hahn (of Conestoga Wood Specialties) fought for their religious freedom and today they won. … Women’s voices are heard standing up for religious freedom. 
 
"This case is about the freedoms of all Americans — women and men — and it’s something that all Americans should celebrate today."
 
Robin Saylor, editor of Abilene Christian's website, conducted a recent Dialogue with Windham. The attorney sent Saylor the following response after the ruling:
 
I’m thrilled by the decision. As a student at ACU, I hoped that one day I might be able to take a case to the Supreme Court. But it’s still hard to believe that it happened. I guess I will have to slow down a bit to let it sink in.
 
I had been predicting all along that Hobby Lobby would win its case, since the law is on our side. But it was still nerve-wracking after the oral argument. For three months, all you can do is wait. 
 

ACU was well-represented in the Hobby Lobby case. Two other alums, April Farris (class of 2006) and Matthew Kacsmaryk (class of 2000), filed friend-of-the-court briefs supporting Hobby Lobby. April is a fellow ACU/Harvard Law alum, and is now with the Texas Solicitor General’s office. Matthew is with Liberty Institute, where he focuses on religious freedom work. 

ACU does a great job of preparing students to think about the intersection between faith and the law, and to carry their beliefs into their professional lives.

See a news release from the Becket Fund that includes additional quotes from Windham.

Associated Press

hhh05— DECATUR, Ala. (AP) — Harry Hames, a mild-mannered Church of Christ deacon and retired medical equipment company executive, didn't mean to — not really — get involved in Haiti. He certainly never expected that his first trip about a week after the 2010 earthquake that devastated the already impoverished country would become the first in an on-going series of work visits to the country.

"I was semi-retired, and something about the news from Haiti made me wonder if our company couldn't help," said Hames, who works in Haiti both through Healing Hands International, an aid organization headquartered in Nashville, and through his own Harry's Kids. "So I got in touch with Healing Hands International. A week later, I flew to Port au Prince with a planeload of medical equipment."

Hames had pictured flying in with the equipment, delivering it, and returning home with the good feeling of knowing people have been helped. Long active in mission and service project from his home church, Beltline Church of Christ, Hames never suspected that trip was the first in a life-changing adventure that now keeps him in Haiti about half of most months.

"There are amazing stories — God stories — that happened that totally changed me as a person," Hames said.

One of the most memorable, and one that led to his enduring friendship with the Haitian President Michel Martelly and his wife, Sophia, began on the tarmac of the airport. The cargo load of hospital beds Hames had brought was stopped with customs and airport bureaucracy. As Hames and a friend were discussing the delay, an elegant woman stepped closer.

"May I join the conversation?" asked the lady - as it turned out, the future Haitian First Lady Sophia Martelly. "You have hospital beds? This Friday, we are opening a hospital this Friday, and we have no beds."

Gift of a child

Hames can tell these and other stories of receiving help just when he needed it with same kind of matter-of-fact voice someone would use to deliver a treasurer's report during a meeting. But there's one that gets him every time he thinks about it.

Hames had been working at one of the Helping Hands stations to hand out food to people who had lined up all day. The food ran out. Hames looked up and saw the face of a man who was just realizing that the food was gone. The man told Hames that he hadn't eaten in three days.

"This won't do," Hames said to himself, and began digging in his backpack for his own snack bars and a can of Vienna sausages. He followed after the man, who was holding a child by the hand, and offered the food that he had.

"The man, without a word, put the hand of the child in mine," Hames said. "I didn't know what he was doing — I thought maybe he wanted me to take his picture or something."

No, the translator told him. Both of the child's parents had been killed in the earthquake. The man was giving Hames the child so that the child would have enough to eat.

"I was still trying to separate myself from the situation, and not get emotional," said Hames, who still has to push at his eyes to keep the tears from leaking out when he tells the story. "But that did it. We found a place for the child."

Harry's Kids

 

Harry Hames
HarryHames
Harry Hames of Healing Hands International speaks to the Delmas 28 Church of Christ as Jean T. Elmera translates. (Photo by Erik Tryggestad)

Since then, Hames, through Healing Hands and through Harry's Kids, his own non-profit that he operates as a mission of his home church, has found a place for hundreds of children.

His work has helped drill 55 wells and build four schools, two hospitals and an orphanage for 300 children. He has also helped to set up a cement block factory with tougher standards for the blocks than many made in Haiti and a sewing shop to make school uniforms. Those shops are providing income for men and women.

Schools and churches in Decatur and the North Alabama area have heard about his mission - Hames has been featured in the Decatur Daily and the Christian Chronicle. Groups and individuals have begun drives to collect funds, shoes, toys and new clothing and books for him to take with him when he goes. Others sign up as a sponsor for a child.

Sidelined since March as he recovers from open heart surgery, Hames can't wait to return to Haiti next week. He loves arriving at the orphanage and schools, he said. The kids pour out to greet him with smiles and hugs.

"My mother taught me — we can always give back, we can always help," Hames said, relating how he'd watch his mother parcel out everything she had — $5 and change — so that Hames and his two brothers each had an offering to take to church before she'd take the remainder to the grocery store.

"In my four years there? I'm getting more than I give," Hames said.

 
 
 
'The church does the work and the Lord gets the credit' was the motto of the longtime director of Churches of Christ Disaster Relief Effort.
Joe Dudney, who coordinated the distribution of millions of dollars’ worth of aid to disaster victims across the nation, died June 24 in Nashville, Tenn. He was 91.

Visitation is from 3 to 8 p.m. June 26 and beginning at 10 a.m. June 27 at the Brentwood Hills Church of Christ in Nashville. The funeral begins at noon June 27.

p03 dudney 0814
Joe Dudney stands next to boxes of relief items in the warehouse of Churches of Christ Disaster Relief Effort in 2013. (PHOTO BY TED PARKS)

Dudney, who was born on a farm in rural Tennessee, served as an elder of the Brentwood Hills church for 21 years. 

At age 67, soon after he retired as a manager for a state agriculture agency, he became vice president and executive director of the Churches of Christ Disaster Relief Effort.
He displayed boundless energy and could “outrun and outwork” most of the ministry’s volunteers, his coworkers told The Christian Chronicle.
The nonprofit is a first responder to natural disasters within the United States, sending food, cleaning supplies and other necessities to Churches of Christ in affected areas, where members distribute them to those in need, according to its website.
“The church does the work and the Lord gets the credit,” Dudney said in a 2004 Dialogue with the Chronicle
 
In lieu of flowers, memorial donations may be made to Churches of Christ Disaster Relief Effort,  410 Allied Drive, Nashville, TN 37211.

Editor’s note: We asked BNc correspondent Glenda Williams to share her and her husband’s experiences with you, after she shared some of them with us.

P10100031-1024x283GENEVA, Ala. (BNc) — It all began when we finally accepted that we were old enough to start attending the local senior citizen’s center. We’d been enjoying the exercise room for a while, but one day they needed more people to stay and eat, and they invited us. We stayed. We ate. We loved it. All for just two dollars a day – one for my husband, and one for me.

One day when we were eating at a round table with other seniors, I overheard a lady behind us say to those around her table, “The church I go to is just like the church of Christ, except we have music.”

Immediately, I asked who said that. A little petite lady turned around and admitted it was she. When I asked her where she was going now, she answered, “Nowhere. I haven’t been anywhere since my husband died.”

“We would be happy to have you come and worship with us,” I told her. Her reply broke my heart.

“I don’t have a way to go, and I don’t drive.”

Mission field found! “I’ll be glad to come and pick you up,” I told her, promising that she could sit beside me on the pew where my mother used to sit.

Well, that sweet 89-year-old lady has been coming ever since, only missing one Sunday morning worship service, and guess why? It was, I’m ashamed to say, because I forgot to pick her up the second Sunday! When it occurred to me after Bible class, I quickly left the building and went to get her, but she had already made plans to eat out with her son.

Thankfully, my new friend didn’t give up on me, and today we have an agreement that she will call me if she can’t come. Otherwise, I promise to be there fifteen minutes before worship each Sunday morning. So far she has even gone out to eat with us after services, rather than go home and be alone.

* * * * *

On the days my husband and I go to the Senior Citizens Center, we arrive around 10:30. We eat at 11:30, and they like us to be there a little early to know how many will be eating. We are trying to learn everyone’s name. I try to learn one new name a day.

One day I was visiting a nearby table, and I asked a white-haired lady her name. She told me her name was Barbara. When I asked about her weekend and was making conversation with her, she looked up and said, “I’ve been trying to find me a church to go to.”

Again, I said, “We would be happy to have you come and be with us.” I told her where our building is located, right next door to Subway, and told her the times of our service.

She said, “I think I would like to come at 10:00. I like Sunday school.”

I told her I would pick her up the next Sunday, and added, “You can sit with me on my pew.” For two weeks she has been hindered from attending on Sunday, but I called on a Wednesday afternoon to tell her about our ladies’ Bible class and asked if she would like to come. She said she would, and I went and picked her up.

When I called Barbara Saturday to see if she would be able to come to Sunday school on Sunday, she said that she couldn’t. She said she was trying to find someone to take her to a nearby city Monday to have an MRI. After asking her how she was working to find someone, she explained who she was contacting. I knew none of her children live in the same city, and because she lives alone and isn’t able to drive, it left her in a desperate position.

As I continued listening, I quietly whispered to my husband who was nearby, and asked if we had anything Monday.

“No, we can take her,” he said.

I told Barbara that if she would like for us to take her, we would be glad to do so. She was so happy! Her next comment brought joy to my heart.

“Since I don’t have to worry about that anymore, then I’ll be able to go to Sunday school in the morning with you.”

* * * * *

Down the street from our house is a little red brick building. Monday through Friday approximately 50 elderly people meet to play games, put puzzles together, exercise, play Dominoes, quilt, read the daily newspaper, watch news on the television, or just visit with friends. Some of them ride the van each day to and from the center.

They love hugs, hearing their names called, a wave across the room, a smile, a compliment, a genuine sincere interest in them, and letting them know they are special. And indeed they are.

To some this building is known as the Senior Citizens Center. To my husband and me, it’s known as our mission field. To God be the glory.

Michael Ray had preached for the Laurel Church of Christ since 2003.

Michael Ray, minister for the Laurel Church of Christ in Maryland, died this morning after a battle with colon cancer, said his daughter, Elizabeth. He was 49.

In 2012, the Laurel church was featured in a Christian Chronicle Churches That Work feature, headlined "One church's vote for Jesus." 

"We're pretty good, actually," Elizabeth Ray said. "The church here has gone above and beyond in their help."

Michael Ray, a Lipscomb University graduate and Kentucky native, came to the Laurel church in 2003.

The Ray family had never taken a real vacation until last year, right before the minister's cancer diagnosis, noted Keith Lancaster of Acappella Ministries. Lancaster provided training in four-part harmony during several “Praise & Harmony Workshops” hosted by the congregation.

"The elders treated their family to an extended sabbatical and tour of Europe," Lancaster said. "This impressed me as a story of elders supporting their ministry family in a strong way." (In my time working on the Churches That Work feature, Ray excitedly told me about the family saving for the Europe trip. He later blogged about the trip.)

Ray wrote occasional freelance stories for the Chronicle, including one on Cliff Holladay, a Maryland minister who was paralyzed in a beach accident and later died.

Besides Elizabeth, Ray's survivors include his wife, Susan, and their teenage sons, Alex and Jeff.

bringbackourgirls2Among the nearly 300 students taken from a boarding school in Chibok, Nigeria, were a dozen girls from Churches of Christ.
“Only 53 of the girls came back home, one of them being a member of the Lord’s church,” minister Yusuf  Buba told The Christian Chronicle, “but 11 of our members are still in the forest.”
The girls come from four of the 18 Churches of Christ in the Chibok area, said Buba, who has struggled to maintain a preacher training school in the predominantly Muslim Borno state of northern Nigeria. Boko Haram, the terrorist group that abducted the girls, has attacked both Muslims and Christians throughout the region. Boko Haram seeks to establish an Islamic state in northern Nigeria and condemns what it calls “Western education.”
 
“We are still worshiping, but some churches have disappeared as the community they are planted in is wiped out by Boko Haram,” he said. Other churches have died “because of lack of preachers.”
Church members in Nigeria’s predominantly Christian south are praying for their brethren in the north — and for their troops. In the western city of Ilorin, three members of the Amilegbe Church of Christ serve in the military and are deployed in the north, battling Boko Haram, said church member Ifalola Oluwatosin. The congregation hosted a prayer vigil for their country.
Biodun Owolabi also asked for prayers. 
Weeks after the abductions, the director of Western Nigeria Christian College traveled to the northern city of Jos for the 25th anniversary lectureship at the School of Biblical Studies. During the lectures, he heard explosions. No one at the school was injured, but they soon learned that bomb attacks by Boko Haram in Jos had killed 118 people.
Such attacks have become a part of life in Nigeria, said Brad Blake, a church member in Vicksburg, Miss., who lived in northern Nigeria from 2001 to 2008. 
“Yet, evangelists, church leaders and faith-filled sisters continue to live faithfully without fanfare,” said Blake, who worked with a non-governmental organization, now known as Hope Springs International. “Christians in Nigeria are actually serving as a model for Western believers in deepening our trust in God despite circumstances of abducted girls, burnt villages and martyred disciples.”
In Chibok, Buba and fellow church member fast and pray for a day when peace will reign and newly trained preachers will abound. Until then, “we are pressed but we are not afraid,” he said. “If am killed for Christ, I know my crown waits for me.
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