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    • From Despair To Hope

      By Rev Ron and Sara Willard

      BFC’s Swaziland Partnership has an amazing opportunity to bring hope to the people of Swaziland. Through the ministry of the HIV/AIDS Task Force, despair is giving way to hope by providing vital support to AIDS victims. GO Teams spend significant time in this vital ministry, giving special care buckets and spending time with patients. 

      Often the atmosphere in the home upon the team’s arrival is one of despondency and hopelessness – but that feeling is frequently replaced with a restored sense of hope. The effect of such personal visits is important. Here’s a  glimpse:

      One day, we arrived at a rural homestead and found our patient was a young boy. AIDS has taken both his parents, leaving him with only his sister, grandmother, and some extended family in a nearby homestead. He has been HIV/AIDS positive for nine years but has been able to maintain some semblence of “normal” living with the help of medication and the Task Force. Recently the disease has begun to affect his right leg, resulting in a rapid decline in his ability to walk. 

      He hobbled haltingly into the yard for his checkup. While the care givers reviewed his records and checked vital signs and medication, we noticed two youth nearby who were identified as cousins of the patient. 

      As we spoke to them, we learned they were brothers, ages 12 and 17, and they too were orphans. The 17-year-old had a surprisingly bright outlook on life, talking about his love for soccer and school. What a pleasure it was to talk with him and encourage him in his quest to go to university. 

      As the visit ended, we prayed together, and we noticed that the somber feeling that pervaded the homestead when we arrived was replaced with a sense of renewed hope–all because someone “cared enough to care” and shared hope through Christ.

      The magnitude of the crisis is indeed overwhelming, but BFC’s Swaziland Partnership is making a difference. This partnership is made possible by your faithful support to World Mission giving and continued prayers. You are dispelling despair and offering hope!

    • Serving In Paraguay

      By Rev. Barry and Charlie Carney

      When we feel called by God to serve, we always expect great things, but we never can imagine what he actually has in store for our lives and for his people when we choose to follow. The last five years in Paraguay have been an adventure that we never dreamed of.

      When we first arrived here, only a handful of people were attending the Church of the Nazarene. Since then, we have seen miracle after miracle happen all over this country. Spiritual growth of new believers in the church leaves us looking back in awe with an excitement for the future that, we are confident, is beyond our comprehension.

      In the central part of Paraguay, near the capital of AsuncioĢn, we have started several ministries, including a soccer ministry that now serves over 50 kids. Our mission is this: “Behind every soccer ball there is a kid and behind every kid there is a family who needs Christ.” We have had the privilege of being involved and sharing Christ’s love with them every week.

      The Lord has opened incredible opportunities to begin work in the North through medical clinics and local needs, and in the East, we have been able to make a tremendous impact in one of the most populated areas of Paraguay.

      The pastors of the South have been traveling out to the country from their local churches and beginning ministries in areas that do not have an evangelical church. The people come from all over to hear the gospel and are committing their lives to the Lord.

      Nothing touches the lives of the local people here more than when they have the opportunity to work side by side with brothers and sisters in Christ from all over the world. There is power when we are unified as a church. Your commitment to serve and your desire to help them inspires them to seek more and serve others around them. Thank you for being willing to make the sacrifice and obey the Lord’s calling  to be a part of building His kingdom!

    • Think About Christmas

      By Pastor Kyle Owen

      Do you really think about what Christmas means this time of year? You know what I mean. Not the gift-buying, food, and parties.

      Most of us are pushing through our day to day and the many different stresses we all face. Then, all on top of that work parties, Christmas cards, school programs, end of semester tests, Christmas shopping, baking, family gatherings, travel, and on and on. I know for me personally, it can easily become a push to the finish line of Christmas Eve and then I can finally breathe. 

      The truth is, many of us are finding it hard to really think about Christmas. Instead, we are thinking about our need for God to break through in our lives, in situations at work, our finances, our family, our children, and our emotions. We are waiting and crying out for God to do something that only God can do.

      That’s it! That is Christmas. Don’t miss it. In all of our worry, doubt, stress, and fear we are waiting for God to show his sovereignty. The Christmas story is a story of expectation and hope that God does come through just at the right time. The people of Israel had been waiting for their Savior to come and though it seemed it might never happen, it did. Just at the right time. God broke through the darkness just as scripture said it would happen. This is the hope we can live in today as we truly thinkg about Christmas. In our waiting for God to break through, he is working even when we do not see it. Wait in expectation. He is with us.

      The Christmas Story is our story, and we have an opportunity as a church to share it with others on Christmas Eve. Would you join us in praying about who God would lead you to invite to one of our three Christmas Eve services on December 23rd at 7pm or December 24th at 3:30 and 5pm?

      We will sing carols together and hear God’s word proclaimed. After each service there will be coffee, hot chocolate, and treats for everyone in our Atrium. We didn’t forget the kids. Our BFC Kids team is working hard to create a special walk-through story for all children. All of this is to give you, your family, and friends a time to experience the true hope of Christmas together.

    • Intergenerational Worship

      By Pastor Harlan Moore

      What does it look like to be an intergenerational church? It’s one of our focuses at BFC. We see it happening in many areas of ministry, including Worship Arts.

      Tonight’s Exaltation service of Christmas worship in music is a great example. Singers include elementary students, young adults, mid-adults, and senior adults. The blending of ages brings great vitality and energy to the more “seasoned” and the benefit of learning from experienced adults to our youngest.

      The orchestra also has room for all ages. Where else can you find middle school students who are 2 to 4 years into their instruments sitting next to veteran adults and a number of professional players who have played for decades? Each of them is making a significant contribution to our worship each week, as well as for special evenings like Exaltation.

      Several of our student players are recognized across the state for the skills they have developed—players like violist Noah Bowles, who is first chair in the Oklahoma All State Orchestra for the third year, and tenor sax player Sam Vaughn, who was selected for the Oklahoma Youth Jazz Ensemble. These and a number of other student orchestra members have a “place at the table” in leading worship with their gifts and talents.

    • Not To Judge, But To Serve

      By Claudine Henry

      “We couldn’t make it without you,” Patricia said in her heavy British accent.

      As one of our regulars, she was reiterating a statement I hear all the time. It is part of normal conversation at the Tulakes Food Pantry where, every Wednesday, a few staff members and a cadre’ of volunteers work to meet the needs of the community.

      “My husband and I are both on disability and they cut mine in half when his started and we only get $16 a month in food stamps...”

      Or, “I have growing boys and I can’t keep enough food in my house…”

      Or, “My social security doesn’t give me much left over…”

      I hear it from single parents, from veterans, from seniors who often have to choose medicine over food, from grandmothers raising grandkids, and from those struggling to get through job layoffs.

      Managing a food pantry has forever changed how I view poverty and the reasons behind it. Food insecurity is no respecter of persons. Life is hard enough without worrying about how to feed your family.

      Food is not the only thing we serve. Tulakes provides consistent community in a neighborhood that is often very transient. We know our clients by name, and usually by need, and we pray with them on a regular basis. In the last few months, I’ve prayed with an aunt whose niece was murdered by gang members, a grandmother worried about her teenage grandsons, and an addict in the midst of withdrawal. I’ve prayed for deliverance from depression, for healing from cancer, and for a ray of hope when there is only darkness.

      Working at a food pantry has taught me not to judge but to serve, that my preconceived ideas of poverty are not the whole story, and that my worst day is often better that the best day of some of my clients.

      Cheryl, one of our volunteers, summed it up best, “I went there expecting to help people change their lives. What caught me by surprise was how learning their stories changed mine.”

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