When It Rains, It Pours

on Oct 15, 2013 in Latest News

In Atlanta, when it rains it pours. We’ve taken two trips now, and both times we had at least a few hours of torrential downpour. On our first visit, we saw rain after four days of working outside installing a French drain at our new “community’ house (see last newsletter for how a trip to fix up a house became an open door for missions).  Close to the end of this very laborious project, the rain started to trickle, and our first thought was “Lord, please hold back the rain!”  But, it picked up.  As we scrambled around getting drenched, it had not occurred to us that the rain was the one thing that would legitimately prove our work. We watched as the “miracle” of our newly installed French drain diverted water away from the house and out into the woods.  We might as well have been watching the Red Sea part.  It was that amazing… to us, anyways.  But then, we had to move on to packing up as we would be leaving only a few hours later.  Oh, but wait a second!  Huge clods of orange Georgia clay were all over the yard.  We couldn’t leave it like that.  It looked awful.  Frantically, we tried to rake, shovel, and wheelbarrow the dirt, but with the heavy rain still falling, it was nothing less than a muddy slip-n-slide.  It was interesting that the same heavy rain that just moments ago had given us the thrill of a lifetime, was now the very thing that was hindering further progress. On this second trip, we experienced something very similar. As we endeavored to paint the interior of the house and install new flooring, a different kind of downpour was occurring. But, this time it wasn’t one of rain… but people!  Left and right, God was bringing people for us to minister to.  One guy talked with us for a good hour and then said, “You can set up a booth for free in my flea market and tell people about your Bible college.”  Another couple, Cliff and Monique, happened to be having their 6th wedding anniversary and were willing to share the celebration with us – what a great time of bonding and fellowship! Earlier that weekend, we hit the streets evangelizing with Cliff, as he has a huge heart for his area and is burdened to learn how to reach out to his neighborhood. This takes the cake though.  On the last day, we met Immanuel, a 16-year-old boy who lives next door with his mother (a single mom), grandmother and five other siblings.  Immanuel, his mother and the five siblings had just moved in with grandma three weeks ago. Hoping to find his place, he had begun to dabble in street life, and his single Christian mother had been praying for him daily.  We met Immanuel when an altercation between him and a neighborhood thug (who was twice his size) broke out in front of his house.  We happened to be outside and helped neutralize the situation.  We then spent time with the family and challenged Immanuel to stay away from the street life before it was too late.  Immanuel listened quietly. As we continued talking to him about God and the value of his life, the truth of our words clicked with him.  His mother watched as her heart’s prayer was being answered before her eyes.  These missionaries had come to help rescue her son from the streets!  Instead, we challenged Immanuel with a job as a watchman over the house while we are in between trips. He gladly accepted. So, is the house painted?  Floor laid?  No… not yet.  It will be.  There is still a lot of work, but we sense that God is in that part of our labor as much as He is in the spiritual part.   This is God’s work and He will do it His way. The next trip we will be joined by Pastor Alfred from Liberia. Cliff is excited about hosting the meetings in his house.  We also plan to spend more time in the neighborhoods and flea markets talking to people about Christ.  Please pray for this extended trip as some of us will travel down a week early to work on the house some more, and at the very least get it livable for our guests. Also, please consider helping us furnish our “community” house. Along with the great amounts of sweat equity that we are more than willing to pour into this house, we will need a substantial amount of funds to make it suitable for ministry. If you are interested in helping, a registry has been created with a list of things that will help make it more of a home. http://www.myregistry.com/public/Grace-Outside-Registry Thank you and God...

A Word from Cliff

on Sep 28, 2013 in Latest News

A Word from Cliff

Atlanta Photos

on Sep 28, 2013 in Latest News

Grace Outside in ATLANTA

on Sep 28, 2013 in Latest News

Acts 16:6 – They were forbidden of the Holy Spirit to preach the word in Asia.  Up to this point, all the efforts and all the successes of Paul’s missionary team had been concentrated in Asia.  This young team had owned Asia!  But now God was saying to stop, and move on.  “But where, Lord?” …No answer.  They began heading northeast toward Bithynia, but they were interrupted halfway and told not to go there either.  A season of wandering had officially begun.  As mature missionaries, they continued in the basics of evangelizing, fellowshipping, and communion with God, but there was no vision to run with.  Then, one glorious night during their travels, Paul saw a vision of a Macedonian man, who beckoned them to come over and help them.  At last, God had spoken! I share this true missionary story because this is how God has worked most recently with Grace Outside.  Over the past year, Grace Outside has experienced great prosperity, followed by a seeming wilderness.  We have attempted different areas of outreach, but nothing seemed to take off… until now! Through nothing less than a simple but profound divine appointment, we had an encounter with a man–not a vision, but an actual man, named Cliff. We took a trip to Atlanta, Georgia to help a friend, who actively participates in our bookstore outreach, salvage a house she owns.  While digging in the front yard, we mistakenly (or so we thought) hit the water main, which rapidly began flooding the neighborhood.  We called the city’s emergency hotline, who dispatched some men to stop the water flow, but made it clear that the pipe repair was on us.  But, by God’s grace, we had great supernatural peace in the midst of this disaster and so were able to minister to the workmen, particularly one man named Cliff.  He began asking questions about what we were doing there in Atlanta, and also, what it is that we do as missionaries.  Out of his deep respect for missionaries, he fixed the pipe for free! We talked for a while and then after maybe a half hour, he left.  Three hours later, he came back and said, “I just have to hear more!”  We sat with him for another hour or so talking about how we plant churches, Bible Colleges, and raise up full-time Christian workers.  This was exactly what he had been praying for.  He invited us to his house the next day to meet his family, and to his church on Sunday. As the long weekend continued, our interactions with Cliff and the people of that area, many of whom were formerly Hurricane Katrina victims, seemed nothing short of miraculous.  It was apparent to all present that God was moving.  God had brought a Macedonian man to us.  After we returned home, we continued praying, and God seemed to keep confirming–Atlanta!  The owner of the house there also recognized that God was speaking, and has dedicated the house to missions–amazing!  Our hearts burn with vision.  So now we plan, giddy with the possibilities of all that God has. As William Carey, the Father of Modern Missions, once said, “Attempt great things for God. Expect great things from God.” Please prayerfully join us in this vision, and as God leads, consider supporting these monthly trips as we move forward in His plan. The following represents our plan of action containing all that we hope to accomplish: Purchase a minivan to mitigate the cost of air travel, allow us to bring volunteers inexpensively, and allow us to bring all tools necessary to further ready the house Furnish the house in preparation of what we expect God to do. Make monthly trips to Atlanta to finish fixing up the house, continue scoping out the area for outreach purposes, and set up a Bible college for all interested. These trips will begin in October. Going Forward, P. Joe Roche President...