Thursday, December 29, 2005

Thursday Fun Dinner

Tonight we had a great time hosting a dinner at the church. We invited all the neighbors over to a meal of Sloppy Joes, Chips, Green Beans, dessert and a salad bar. When I say salad bar I mean salad bar. Lots of items including cole slaw, cottage cheese, potato salad, macaroni salad and every imaginable salad topping. This was happened as a result of the generosity of Tom and Charlene Grant our friends from Lowell. They provided the food and did a great deal of the preparation along with Chris, Jonathan, Andrew, Pete and Norma Blue, Chris' mom Eve, Mary Ingle and me. Thanks everyone. We had a time of sharing of concerns with our neighbors. The question was, what do we need in our neighborhood to make it better? Often I am surprised at the responses because what I think is needed is not what others think is needed. My assessment at least this time was correct, responses were jobs, transportation(especially to grocery store) and better housing. I also spoke of "Artreach" a new fine arts program we are putting in place and our new worship service simply called, "Church @ 10:45". We then played grocery games where in a fun way we taught about grocery prices, portions and nutrition. The grand prize winner won a $100 gift card. We had 72 people attend, they went home full and with extra food and groceries going home with them. The place was so packed we had to squeeze in extra tables. It was a great night with a good response. Please keep up the prayers. Jeff

Wednesday, December 28, 2005

The Church Has Left the Building---GONE SERVING

I hope all had a great Christmas, we sure did. We realize that we are very blessed. No one knows what the New Year will bring, but I do know that:
  • God is way bigger than me
  • God is full of surpirses
  • You can't outgive God
  • God does amazing things
Thats about all I know for sure. I will keep you updated on new events that are soon to take place. Have a great New Year.


Tuesday, December 20, 2005

Coloring outside the lines

Our family has been learning to color outside the lines, meaning, not just to think different, but to live differently. To take risks and see what happens. Andrew had an idea for our Christmas tree. After we went out in the seven degree weather and cut it down, he thought it would be a good idea to cut all the limbs off the back and hang it on the wall upside down and decorate it with fruit, and place a pineapple on the top. We have a wet towel under the pineapple to water it. We thought why not? I never imagined having limes, oranges, and lemons with gold lights on a live tree upside on our wall in our house this Christmas, but this has been a year of surprises.

PS: If you click on the picture you can see a larger clearer picture of the tree.


Monday, December 12, 2005

Can you buy a basketball drill at Lowes?

We had a great weekend. Friends came from Granger, they brought us some very nice clothing to give away. They also helped us deliver carpet to some neighbors, it was eye opening for their young sons, to see 5 people living in a tiny apartment. Saturday afternoon I got a call from the principal of Kokomo academy to sub in physical Education. She said just run a basketball drill, I wanted to ask here where I could by one, and if they had a plug to plug it in. I know nothing about basketball, words like key, pick, guards, forwards, are terms I have heard but really don't know what they mean. I was a bit nervous. Luckily, I had some friends help me figure it out and I survived the day. It was actually easier than the other class I taught. Only one fight with two kids being kicked out. That was a good day.
Last night we had 60 children at out outreach ministry. The most ever. They had been cooped up in their house for three days due to snow and school closing. It was fun but challenging. Keep us in your prayers as we are going to need more volunteers. Over 80 hotdogs, 80 peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, potato chips and several pounds of Mac and Cheese, along with several gallons of milk. Keep us in your prayers as the number continues to grow. Jeff

Monday, December 05, 2005

Life unscripted

Late Saturday Night/early Sunday Morning, about 12:15 AM Chris was up watching TV and I was in bed, Chris heard a gunshot. She didn't see anything, but at 1:00 AM she got me up as the police had put up crime scene tape right across the street from our house. We didn't see much action outside, however, we were sure it had to do with the neighbors we have become close with, they were mentioned at this post, click here. We went to bed and at about 4:30 AM our doorbell rang and it was the guy who lives with the single mother with three small children, across the street. He explained he was jumped and as he was fleeing shot at. The bullet hit a tree. we talked for a long time. He, then, wanted me to talk with the mother to help calm her down. She was very uspset and frightened. It seems that I am becoming more and more trusted in the neighborhood. I did go over and talk with her, it was a long night. The next morning, after church, we took the three children 5, 7, and 9 out to lunch to Mc Donalds and to a movie. I was trying to discern how much they knew. They knew everything as a neighbor they were staying with told them the whole story. They were frightened as they told us about it. The children had on coats that didn't zip, too big, dirty and ripped. Chris and I decided to get them new ones as there were great sales on. While we ourselves are not in the best of financial situation, however, we sensed the Holy Spirit telling us to step out in faith to purchase the coats. They were $25.00 each. Later that night a friend handed us a check for $365.00 saying she was lead to write the check that morning. God is so faithful to us. We are so blessed.

Our community outreach on Sunday Night brought in 45 kids, 20 volunteers, Chris' sister who own a pizza parlor in Burlington brought in 15 large pizza's and 75 breadsticks, we also cored and sliced about 30 apples and put jars of peanut butter on the table. In addition we heated left over mac and cheese about 5 pounds. Believe it or not-- all be three pizzas were eaten and everything else was gone. I can't believe how thin the children are and how much they are able to eat. We also treated them to cans of pop which is something they rarely see. Please keep the prayers coming......

Please pray for the following:

On Tuesday we are having our Mother's time out, we are providing child care and a taxi service to give moms a break

I am working with a group that is offering to wrap presents for free for men at a local youth outreach. We will be providing snacks, pop, and coffee, along with pool tables, ping pong tables and a big screen TV to give them things to do while gifts are being wrapped. Pray that those of us mingling with the guys will be able to listen with Jesus ears and be aware of openings that might occur.

On Sunday December 18 during worship we are having a Blue Christmas service it is a service of hope and healing for those whose Christmas isn't so joyous. We will offer a healing service as part of the service. Hoping to give strength to those attending.

Thanks for the prayers. Jeff

Saturday, December 03, 2005

Week in review

On Sunday we had about 35 attend the Sunday Night Outreach. There were West African Missionaries who were visiting the US. They were actually on like a mission trip as missionaries to the US. They were native West Africans. They brought steel drums and provided the whole evening's program.

Later in the week I worked at the Kokomo Academy on Wednesday and Thursday, I was interviewed for the substitute teaching job on Tuesday. I subbed in science on Wednesday and Math on Thursday. I will be hard for me to complain about youth group behavior again. I had about 75 boys, throughout the day, between the ages of 12-17. All but one were felons. Everyone of the used the F word multiple times. They jumped on chairs, banged on walls, slept through class, disrupted, rapped out loud and a whole host of other things. There was a guard to maintain some composure. Several were put in the hallway or into a quiet room. The class rooms had cameras. About half acted out while the other half did their work. All must reach a certain level to go home. Zeros in school makes them stay longer. If they put their head down and aren't disruptive that is fine, it is their choice how long they stay locked up. I heard a hand full of stories of mothers, murdering fathers, running from foster homes, drug selling and use, physical and sexual abuse as well as being abusers. The youngest class was the worst behaved, with those working toward GED being the best. It seems to me that someone had to work real hard to make these young men as hard and perverse as they are. Would I do it again? Yes I would, now knowing what to expect, I would go back in a heartbeat. It made me realize that what we are doing with Kokomo Urban Outreach is even more important, we must keep children here out of there.

Dave and I also recorded another podcast on Control, this was before I subbed. I may have had different comments if I we produced the podcast afterwards. You can find the podcast here.

On Friday Night Chris and I attended our District Pastor's Christmas Party in the past 21 years we have only missed one. The one this year was very good. It is good just to be around friends and peers. What made this one so special was that no one we sat with talked about church. We were just friends gathered around the table to catch up with each other. Maybe after 20 years of attending I have moved onto the old pastors table where everyone knows that we are all full of bologna. We had nothing to prove, we simply enjoyed the food and the evening.

This Tuesday coming ahead we are having a mothers morning out. From 10-1 we are providing child care for the neighborhood parents and offering them church bus rides to go shopping, we will be running a sort of a taxi service for those three hours. The Freshman class from a Christian School in Marion IN will be providing the childcare and lunch for the children. I have borrowed a church van and will play taxi driver. This will be our first venture into this new area. We are hoping to take moms to buy groceries but we are giving them the option of what they do with their free time. We are trying to offer our services as unconditional as possible. Keep Tuesday in Prayer. Thanks for you prayers. Jeff

Tuesday, November 29, 2005


We are seeing prayers being answered everyday. I had a call today for a job interview and start tomorrow. I will be substitute teaching at the Kokomo academy. The Kokomo Academy is a private boys school. Actually, they are incarcerated teens. It will be different as most are difficult and have committed a variety of crimes. I will be teaching biology, that will be way out of my comfort zone as I can hardly spell it :). Please pray for me in that regard. If things work out tomorrow I should go back on Thursday too.

Chris goes to her orientation on Monday at Bona Vista, she will be a sort of life-skill coach for mentally challenged s who are living on their own. We are praying that these are jobs we can handle as the income is needed. Thanks for the prayers. Jeff

Friday, November 25, 2005

First Week

On Wednesday November 16 the Trinity United Methodist Church adopted a restart plan that included making the church more of a mission base/community center. In the first week we have had three activities, we started a Sunday Night Outreach that provides Bible Study and a meal for all ages, a Thanksgiving Eve Meal, and a food basket distribution to those in need as per two elementary schools. If you like statistics here goes: We had 7 churches and 3 businesses participate, there were right at 100 volunteers and we served 325 people. That all took place from Wednesday November 16-Wednesday November 23. Praise God!!!!! Please keep the prayers going. Jeff

Wednesday, November 23, 2005

Thanksgiving Eve

Sitting with 8 young people in my living room, makes me smile. It is great that to have a houseful of people. Patric and Laura are here, along with Emily, Andrew, Jonathan and 3 friends of Patric and Laura. We just finished serving dinner to 115-125 people, we also had 7o volunteers, that made up a cooking crew, a serving crew and a clean up crew. It was a great time. Unbelievable. We also passed out 50 baskets of food to those in greatest need. Life is good. Jeff

The picture above appeared in the Kokomo Tribune on Friday, Nov. 25. It is a picture of some folks eating at the church.

Monday, November 21, 2005

New Sunday Night Outreach

Wow!!! Last night was incredible. We had our first Sunday Night Outreach at the church. The outreach is a weekly meeting from 5:00-6:15, it is open to anyone K-up, including adults. There are Bible Classes and then a meal at the end. I was expecting somewhere from 10-20 people. We planned for about that many. We had the teachers for three classes Kindergarten-5th grade, Teenagers and adults. We ended up with 55 people, there were 40-(k-5th), 13( 6-12 graders) and 2 adults. At the last minute we had to add classes we had a Kindergarten class, a first -4th grade class, a 5th and 6th grade class and a 7-12th grade class. The s who came for Bible Study readily pitched in to help. We had 17 volunteers. We thought we had enough hotdogs etc for the whole five weeks we cooked 150 and served 130. We served 6 pounds of potato chips and several dozen cookies along with more than 5 gallons of Kool aid. I was going to teach an Bible study ended up with the older teens. In my room we had a senior, freshman, an eighth grader and two seventh graders, I enlisted the help of a mother with small children that came for Bible Study to help me, she has really never been to church, so the story of David and Goliath was new to her. When I write this out it sounds like chaos, but it wasn't the kids thought we knew what we were doing. Our volunteers were veterans and able to go with the flow(we had 17 volunteers), not only were they from our church but from other churches too. Our eyes were opened to the fact that the children do not eat much on the weekend. They have good lunches at school, but by Sunday night they are hungry. Little kids eating 2 or three hotdogs, I also noticed that only one of the 55 was overweight, almost all very thin. It was good and it made my family and all the other helpers realize how much we have to be thankful for. Keep up the prayers, they are working. Jeff

Thursday, November 17, 2005

Church Restart

Last Night I presented a plan of restart to the church. It was very well received and people left excited. There is new hope being generated from the church.

The Re: start plan consists of the following:

We will move from a Traditional church to a Missional church meaning we will be a mission base in the community becoming a community center/church.

We will help those in our community realize that they matter to God because they matter to us.

Our mission is to reach people for Jesus by serving, bringing hope and offering the Good News of Jesus.

We will provide fine art classes and performing art classes to the community for free. Providing those that would never have an opportunity to participate in activities that they would never dream of precipitating in. The classes are designed to help with self esteem, discipline, and a will be a venue to proclaim the Christian faith.

The present congregation will continue to be served as in the past. I will provide the present congregation with pastoral care, Sunday morning worship, and Bible Study. The present church will continue as is.

We will re: start the church by adding new worship experiences at a different time, starting out in the church building but we are so flexible that it can be held in other locations. Presently we are trying to focus on reaching those below 35 years old. The majority of the 1330 people in our five block square are below the age of 35. Worship will be indigenous to the people we are trying to reach. I envision it to be simple, real, and experiential.

While it goes against every new service start plan we will open second service only by word of mouth. No big fanfare. However, we are going to be featured in the local newspaper as a church restart.

Every person in the church will be a missionary and look for ways to reach other people.

Our priority is not to keep the church just "open" but to do what God is calling us to be about.

In the midst of great financial difficulties and pressure we will give 10% of our offering every week to support the ministries of our Annual Conference. It will be the first check written before anything else. We are learning to trust God with our finances.

This week we will be beginning a children's ministry on Sunday night, next week we will be providing a Thanksgiving Dinner on Wednesday night an we will be delivering 50 food baskets to the very poor in our area. Last Sunday we made 118 shoe boxes for the Samaritan Purse, raising $5.00 per box for shipping, over $575.00 which is a big task. However, it came much easier when we began to tithe our income.

Please keep us in your prayers as we move forward. Jeff

Thursday, November 10, 2005

Prayers Answered

We have been praying specifically for three things for Kokomo Urban Outreach:

  1. To find someone to help out with the administrative part of the ministry.
  2. To get a Board of Directors in place.
  3. To find a webmaster and get a webpage up.
All three concerns were answered this week. We know have an administrative assistant, we have a Board of Directors and we have a website up you can visit the site by clicking here. It has been a very good week. Thanks for all the prayers. Jeff

Wednesday, November 09, 2005

Kokomo Tribune Article November 9, 2005

You can help the
needy Thanksgiving.
Tribune community news editor
Pastor Jeff Newton had some
neighbors over for a barbecue this
summer. The night before Thanksgiving,
they’re invited to a pre-holiday
feast at his place.
He’s expecting around 100 to
drop by that Wednesday night so
he’ll be setting up some extra tables.
Newton’s Trinity United
Methodist Church at 1701 S. Locke
St. sits next to Garden Square apartment
complex. As part of his urban
ministry, the house of worship is
hosting a pre-Thanksgiving feast
with the Kokomo Rescue Mission.
Thanksgiving Day, the mission
will host its annual Great Thanksgiving
Day Banquet in Grace United
Methodist Church, 219 E. Mulberry
St., just east of the mission.
Newton said he and Bebe Dorris,
the mission’s director of development,
were talking recently
about the mission’s annual dinner.
Although attended by many —
about 400 came last year, Dorris
said — some have no way to get
there. Included in those ranks are
Garden Square residents, the pastor
It was decided to use Trinity as a
satellite church for the dinner.
“We care about our neighborhood,”
Newton said, adding his
wife and their children live adjacent
to the house of worship.
He said they enjoyed the opportunity
this summer’s barbecue
gave them to meet and talk with
their apartment-dwelling and other
Dorris said volunteers are needed
— especially for cleanup — for
the dinner.
Good Samaritans also can deliver
dinners to shut-ins that day, the
mission spokeswoman said.

Monday, November 07, 2005



Just a note of thanks and appreciation for your prayers and your support for Kokomo Urban Outreach. I am preparing a newsletter to be mailed to all of those that would like to receive it. Email me with your address ( ). I have had many people ask me what we have been doing, so I will share it, knowing that it is not about me, but how God is using a whole bunch of people to do the work:

  • We have been in Kokomo for 5 months.
  • We have received financial support from 13 individual families
  • We have received financial support from 2 churches (Grace UMC and St. Luke's UMC)
  • The Attica Thrift has also supported us
  • I have had the opportunity to speak at two churches--Grace and St. Luke's--and the Kokomo Kiwanis club
  • I have visited the following ministries and community leaders: Bridges, Congo Cares, Birthright, Nesting Doves, CAM, Headstart, Salvation Army, the Housing Authority, Kokomo Rescue Mission, Open Arms, Caleb Ministries, Crisis Center, Howard County Foundation, Red Cross, the Superintendent of Kokomo Schools, the Majors office, the police department, and have met individually with 18 pastors.
  • I have attended a weekly Tuesday Morning Men's breakfast
  • Monthly United Methodist Pastor's Breakfast
  • Wednesday Lunch Men's Bible Study---The Huddle
  • Coordinated 5 weeks of displaced hurricane family relocation into Kokomo--working with 17 families of the 22 identified in town
  • Worked on a Walk to Emmaus Weekend
  • Planned life skill classes at Garden Square Apartments--Cooking classes
  • Cook out in Backyard for neighborhood
  • Went through neighborhood and collected 500 items to be sent on truck to Mississippi
  • Have knocked on every door in a five block square of our house and have met about 60% of people
  • Worked with UAW to distribute school supplies to those in need
  • Worked at a carnival at a local school with school supplies as prizes
  • Was a driver on a Bridges field trip
  • Laundry Ministry
  • Attended District meetings and I am on the District Board of Ministry, mentoring a candiate for ministry
  • We popped popcorn on our porch for Halloween and met a great number of neighbors
  • For fun I have been walking, doing Internet podcasts (radio shows) with a friend, watching Marching Band Completions and spending time with family
  • In the church we working on a church "Restart" hopefully making a church/ community center
  • We will be working with a local church on Sunday Nights providing a Children's Ministry with games, stories, crafts and dinner
  • We will be serving Thanksgiving Dinner in the church on Wednesday before Thanksgiving in cooperation with the Rescue Mission
  • The Salvation Army will not be providing food baskets at Thanksgiving, nor will anyone else in town due to lack of funds. We with the help of other churches are going to provide food baskets to families in need from two of the poorest elementary schools in town.
None of the things accomplished is done alone or in a vacuum. We have been experiencing a movement of God that has been incredible. We know that God will provide our needs. We have a great prayer support team and have worked with many volunteers. The Hurricane Relief provided me with many opportunities to meet community leaders and build networks within the community. Chris and the our sons spend a great deal of time in this ministry.

Our greastest Prayer Needs:
  • To find jobs to supplement income (we have applied for many)
  • Presently Kokomo Urban Outreach is an extension Ministry of Trinity Church, however, we need a board of directors in place soon (we are working on this now)
  • Administrative help, setting up data bases and proof reading stuff I write etc
  • Webmaster, I believe a web page would be a fast way of communicating with others.
  • Those that we are working with might become followers of Jesus

Thank You
Jeff Newton

Thursday, November 03, 2005

The Huddle

Yesterday I went to a men's weekly Bible Study at the YMCA called the Huddle. It starts at 12:10 and ends at 12:5o, to accommodate men on their lunch hour. They started with prayer had a 2o minute talk and then 20 discussion groups. Groups sat around tables that had an assigned table leaders. My group was very good, I took away a lot and it has caused me to do a great deal of thinking. One of the guys at my table looked very familiar and he said thought I looked familiar. We figured out that he sold me a sound system when I was the pastor at Hillsdale. There were one hundred men there. This is one of the things I am focusing on with Kokomo Urban Outreach, places outside the church where lives can be nurtured and transformed. It was very good day. I have been working all week on what I am calling a church re: start. The church is to a point that we have to do something radically different or close. Radically different is my desire, but we shall see what the church desires. Thanks for the continued prayer. Jeff

Wednesday, October 26, 2005

Living incarnationally

For those who may not know this, our family, as we listened to God, have opted to live among and with a group of families in a particular neighborhood at a particular time. We are trying to experience what it means to live in poverty. We try to spend only what those on food stamps receive when we buy groceries, we live very simply, although, I wish we could get rid of all the stuff we have in the garage that we did not bring into the house. We try live out our lives the way Jesus did: Jesus was generous and gave gifts, Jesus told stories, Jesus threw parties, Jesus made lots of friends, Jesus gave hope and new life.

I am becoming more and more aware of what it is like living on the edge of society. Chris and I have been looking for jobs to supplement our income. We have applied at a plethora of places, I was told to come to an interview yesterday at a certain time. I cleared my calendar and went, however, when I arrived for the interview I was told the person was not there that was to interview me and that my application would be given to the manager and if he wanted to interview me he would call me. I was bit put out by this, because they contacted me for the interview. No one has called me back, don't think they will. We are working hard to find jobs, going out most everyday. We have a car, we have time, we have no small children to worry about, we are educated, have a good track record, we have nice clothes to wear and can hold our own in an interview. I can only imagine what a person who is without childcare, a car, an education, etc. does when they are constantly rejected. I would guess it would throw you into depression. I am understanding more an more the plight of the poor and the need to figure out ways for folks to get jobs. We are very critical of those in our society who are poor, we often say just get a job. It is not that easy, if you don't have the resources at hand to get the job(transportation, experience, education and childcare). I am reminded today of how blessed I really am. Jeff

Tuesday, October 25, 2005

Blessing of the children UPDATE

We had twelve children in church on Sunday as each one was blessed. The service was filled with the presence of God. We had a fun party afterwards. Sunday morning was wonderful.


Saturday, October 22, 2005

Answered Prayer

Praise God!!! Our finanical difficulties have been resolved for now. All our bills are paid!!! We recieved support from 4 different sources this week. God is so good to us. Keep praying we find a job. Jeff

Blessing of the Children Eve

Tomorrow we are having a blessing of the children service. I started this in Lowell and it was so well received there. However, there is a big difference between the two churches. Lowell had children in Worship. Here we have no children in worship. This is a leap of faith. I know God wants me to do this, so I will. We do have a trio of siblings that sometimes come to Sunday School. Chris the boys and I have been working with this family since we moved in, they live in the apartments across the street. . We have tried to build into their life to show them the love of Jesus. I took 40 bulletins over to their apartment so their children could draw pictures on the cover. I asked them to draw Bible Stories, pictures of themselves etc. I just got them back about an hour ago. They did a great job. But the one at your right blew me away. I think the plan to be incarnational (living among those you are trying to reach) actually works. It seems to be going faster than I thought, I figure a year or two to get this far. Not 18 weeks. The bulletin cover says: Dear Jeff,
We love you
you are are
Mom: Jamie Dad: John
Sierra, Thomas, Janie K

Wow this is very exciting and after a more difficult week than usual it is very uplifting.


Friday, October 21, 2005

New Podcasts

Dave and I just finished two podcasts. The first is up and going and the second one will be up soon. We did the podcasts at Taco Bell in West Lafayette. The one that is up now has to do with church programs and the second one that will be up soon, is a series of interviews we did with students at Taco Bell. We had a great time. You may find the podcasts at


Thursday, October 20, 2005

Personal update/prayer concerns

With the Katrina Relocation Plan/warehouse complete, we have to move on into the next phase of our ministry here in Kokmo. This week I have not only made a presentation to Grace Church on Sunday, but on Wednesday I presented the Kokomo Urban Outreach Plan to the Kokomo Kiwanis Club. I have worked this week with Ruth Lawson at the Daytime homeless shelter(CAM), visited all my parishioners in the nursing home, spent the afternoon with a good friend who is homebound for several weeks due to a leg injury, today Chris and I are taking a battered/abused neighbor to the bus station to return to Chicago to live with her mother. I will then be at the church working on a party that we are having during Sunday School on Sunday after we have a blessing of children. Later today I will be traveling with a friend to Lafayette. Tomorrow I am meeting another friend that is going through some difficult times. These times with friends are important to me as I find encouragement and strength through the meetings. These times are gifts from God. In the early evening tomorrow I will be helping a homeless family unload their belongings into the warehouse we used for Katrina Relocation. Saturday I have to finish cleaning our warehouse, we have a handful of stuff left but need to find a truck to get it out. Pray that we find a truck.

Jonathan has found a job at the hospital. He is a Mental Heath Tech he works there from 11PM-7 AM. He really likes it. He is a sort of a nurses helper and monitors rooms via TV camera. He is also attending school full time and plays in a Christian Band that travels almost every weekend, playing at different venues.

Andrew just finished marching band and loved it. He is now on a speech team and is in the ecology club. He likes both. He grew several different sizes of pumpkins, still cares for his rabbit and found a lizard at the warehouse which he made a pet.

Chris and I are job hunting. Nothing seems to be working out. I have put my name in to substitute teach(no calls at all), I am still waiting on an interview to be a hospice Chaplin but that doesn't seem to be happening, I also have visited all the funeral homes in town hoping to be of help of families without pastors(no calls),

Chris has applied at the school to work with special need children, but did not get the job. She has had three very promising interviews at Buena Vista(work group for special need s serving over 800 people) . They seemed interested but have yet to call back. She is applying at a place called CASA to monitor supervised visits of parents with their children. It is a Sunday afternoon job for about three hours a week. She is considering making crescent Rolls and selling them through her sister at the factory.

I really don't have time to have another job but we both need jobs now. Please pray we can find jobs.

The church is a good church,however, years of downturn has caused it to hit rock bottom. For the past three years it has spent 10,000 dollars more than it has taken in and all savings are gone. The church has little money. At the rate it is going it can only survive for about 1 more year at the most. We are going to have a meeting on Sunday in which we are going to have to make some hard decisions and the budget will need to be cut by 1/4 since it is a bareboned budget to begin with it will have to be salary cuts. I expect my salary in the church to be cut in half. There really isn't any other options at this time. We will have to cut office supplies first, meaning no bullentins, copy ink, or paper. We will cut curriculum too, along with Upper Rooms,
and music. Anyway please pray for the future of the church.

While this post seems negative, I am, however, positive we are where God wants to be and I know He will provide. God did not say it would always be easy but He promised He would be faithful. Thanks for the prayers. Jeff

Tuesday, October 18, 2005


I just updated my rechurch page. The re: church page contains my thoughts and commentaries on theology, the Bible and the Church. I have also added the "writing" Re:Church so that anyone that wants--can read it. In other words Re: Church is just me rambling. I love comments. Jeff

Monday, October 17, 2005

So Blessed

I cannot believe how blessed we are. It is amazing how God uses his people to bless other. I started the day yesterday by welcoming some great friends to church, I haven't seen to them in so long, I used to see them several times a week. We had a good service. I was presented with a Pastor appreciation card from the congregation with a gift card to Living Water Book Store. Bought a book today. Haven't purchased a book in long, long time. Opted for George Barna's book, Revolution, I have read four chapters it resonates with me and what I am doing. I digress. After Church we(me, Chris, and our friends) went to Grace where I spoke about Kokomo Urban Outreach, it was very well received. I am Grace's Missionary to Kokomo. They will be financial backers in 2006. Afterwards the boys joined us for lunch our friends took us out to eat. It felt good to go to a nice restaurant and sit down and eat without a rush or having to be somewhere soon. We took our friends on a brief tour of Kokomo, of course stopping at the world famous steer and tree stump:) The pics are some of the things saw on their first time to stop in Kokomo.
In the evening we do what we do every Sunday Night, we have dinner with friends at their home. Several couples and their families meet for food and fellowship. Our kids go each week too, that is amazing when one is in college and the other is a Jr. in High School. They never miss it. It is good. The pace yesterday was slower and more relaxed.
Today I met with the director of CAM a daytime homeless shelter at the shelter, it seemed to be organized chaos. I saw and learned a great deal in about an hour and half. I have no clue how she does that everyday. They are payees for 72 homeless or semi homeless people, meaning they handle the 579 dollars that an individual gets in a month from Social Security disability. The check comes to them and they pay the bills for all of the individuals, however, they are swarmed with people that want a couple of dollars of their money each day to get by. They give it to them if the individual has it in their account. I met a couple that "borrowed" one of those plastic portable rubber maid sheds made for lawnmowers and put it on the CAM parking lot and slept in it last night. As with most ministries with the very poor, there is little money to operate. When I came home to my house, I was thankful to have a place to live. Thanks for the prayers and the support. Jeff

Friday, October 14, 2005

Day Off

Today was the first day in nearly five weeks that we have not been in the warehouse. When we left yesterday there was only a bit left I am anixious to see how it looks with all the racks out. Please pray for me as I speak at Grace United Methodist Church this Sunday at 10:45 I am looking forward to it. Jeff

Monday, October 10, 2005

Walk to Emmaus

Had a wonderful God-filled weekend. What a gift. After several weeks of long hard work(but very good work) God gave me a chance to be spiritually refilled. I worked on a Walk to Emmaus Weekend in the Crawfordsville Community. This was were I worked when serving Attica. I reconnected with old friends, met new ones, two of the participants were in my youth group in Attica and are now young s. Had a great time serving with Marcos as he was the Spiritual director. Time goes by so quickly. This week we will complete the closing of the warehouse and shift gears to refocus on other things. Sometime this week I should have a job interview. I possibly will soon have a paying part time job as a Hospice Chaplin. We shall see. Please continue to pray for Chris and I as we look for jobs to supplement our income. I really don't have time to work another job but our situation makes it a necessity. Thanks again for the prayers. Jeff

Wednesday, October 05, 2005

Closing up Warehouse

Well, four weeks ago today we opened the warehouse for Hurricane Victims, on Monday we started closing it. We invited all the families back to go through it one more time. We continue to pass out stuff to other ministries and missions. Last night we spent 2.5 hours loading an empty semi from the United Methodist Kentucky Mountain Mission. We got a lot on the truck. All the couches about 12, most of the living room chairs about 20. Boxes and boxes of pots, pans and dishes along with 10 large boxes of blankets, pillows, sheets and towels. All of the toys are gone, some went to Honduras, boxes and boxes went to South Bend to Broadway Parish UMC that will be used in their toyshop at Christmas. Two trips of toys went to local resale shops.

We continue to take boxes of clothing to local resale shops. Yesterday we sent out two pick up full of clothing. We still have enough to have some sort of sale. The next big thing we need to find homes for are lamps at least 50 are left. No one wants the particle board commuter tables, coffee tables etc. We have about 15 of those. We also have about 50 kitchen chairs, 5 stoves and two refriderators. We know by this time next week we will be done. There is joy and sadness combined. Jeff

Friday, September 30, 2005

From warehouse to distribution center

Well it has been three weeks and two days since we opened the warehouse. We have received so much stuff that it is totally unbelievable. Yesterday we put a family into the hands of a sponsor and moved her and her 10 year old into a house. Today we able to furnish a single guy's whole house. People are still coming and there could be more. I heard at a recent meeting that all of the mass housing shelters will be emptied tomorrow. Most have no where to go and may end up in towns throughout Indiana. We soon shall see.

Our warehouse has turned into a distribution center. We are still distributing stuff to hurricane victims(we have helped 16 of 22) but we have so much stuff that we are actually helping folks throughout the world. Here is a run down of what is happening:
  • sent 1000 pairs of shoes to Africa
  • sent toiletries and school supplies to Mississippi
  • sent food and toiletries to Louisiana
  • sent 70 boxes and bags of summer clothing to Mississippi
  • provided local Humane Society with many boxes of soiled blankets, sheets and pillows
  • Took food to local food pantries(food not a need here)
  • Sent four bags of stuffed Animals to a hospital in Texas
  • Sending a couple of hundred McDonald Toys to Honduras
  • Gave hundreds of pens, pencils, pads of paper and school supplies to local schools to give to children in need
  • Gave baby formula and clothing to women living in Nesting Doves House(home for single mothers)
  • Gave toys to Head Start
  • received so much school supplies a church is making 24 YES Kits for Operation Classroom
  • Making many health kits to send to LA.
  • donated hundreds and hundreds bottles of shampoo, little bars of soap, sample bottles of toiletries to Homeless Shelter
  • have given extra clothing to Rescue Mission, Salvation Army, Crisis Center, and Goodwill
    still have hundreds of articles of clothing in boxes with racks full in selection area
  • Sending about 150 boxes of summer clothes to Africa
We have also been supported from the following business' and organizations
  • Lucas furniture: new mattress
  • McCool's carpet: Furniture Cleaning
  • Guyer to Mover: Many boxes
  • Chrysler Transmission: Workers on Loan
  • B and B Pizza in Burlington: Lunch
  • Hobson Cleaners: hangers and coat cleaning
  • Old Navy: Sized and hung many boxes of clothing
  • UAW: Computer
  • Dr. Whitfield and Tim Taylor: The Warehouse
  • Tha Roots: Workers, soft drinks and space
  • Girl Scouts: New School Supplies and health items
Churches that have helped in the effort:

  • Bible Baptist
  • First Friends Meeting
  • Sycamore Friends Meeting
  • Quaker Friends Sunday School Class and Hostetler Electric
  • Morning Star
  • City of Refuge Church
  • Mt. Pigspah Baptist
  • Howard/ Miami Mennonite
  • Galveston United Methodist
  • St. Lukes United Methodist
Churches that supported in other ways:
  • Grace United Methodist Church: Eyeglasses, car insurance, title transfer, damage deposit
  • Shiloh United Methodist Church: Car
  • West Middleton United Methodist Church: Gas Cards and Wal-Mart Cards
  • Howe/Pretty prairie United Methodist church: Mission Trip / Sorted 100's of bags of clothing
  • First Baptist: Mission Trip/ sized many boxes of clothing
  • Morning Star Youth:Moved many boxes of clothing from one area to another
  • Faith United Methodist church: volunteers and clothing racks
  • Galveston United Methodist: Many, many hours of volunteering and clothing racks
  • Morning Star: Volunteers and tables
  • My Father's House: furniture
Believe it or not we still have enough stuff in the warehouse to fill at least 10 more homes completely, The only things lacking are mattress/springs and washer/dryers. We hope to help many more people when we are sure the hurricane families have been cared for. I believe that as we now function as a distribution center, God will continue to bless us as we reach into the community. Jeff

Monday, September 26, 2005

Not enough ways to say "Thank You"

"Wow!!!" and "THANK-YOU" is all I can say this Morning. God has been so good to us in the relocation process. Yesterday afternoon, at least 8 car loads of folk from the Howe and Pretty Prairie Untied Methodist Church(located in Northern Indiana almost on the Michigan line) came into the warehouse and sorted through all the bags and boxes of clothing. They literally handled thousands of articles of clothing separating the good from the bad, the boys from the girls, the mens from the women and the winter from the summer. We now have marked boxes of clothing that we can get to quickly when we run out of clothing on our "give away floor". I have never seen a group of people that were so determined to complete the task at hand. This group of over 30 people, led by Pastor Dewey Miller and his wife Shannon, literally did what would have taken us several weeks to do in a matter of 3.5 hours. There are no longer bags of clothing piled to the ceiling. There are no longer bags of clothing anywhere. I am very anxious for the regular workers to come in today and see the bags gone. Thanks again for being the hands and feet of Jesus as we together help those in great need.


Friday, September 23, 2005

Thank God for the Bags

The TV images are riveting: the rolling waves swamping people'’s homes, beams of houses turned into matchsticks, toys covered in seas of mud, a tattered Polaroid picture of a
family in happier times, the tears at lives lost or destroyed. The levies in New Orleans just broke again. Interstates in Texas are virtual parking lots as Rita bears down behind them. It reminds me of the Israelites fleeing Egypt with the Egyptians behind them and the Red Sea in front of them. The folks in traffic are waiting for the seas to part.

Meanwhile the rest of us watch, wait, wonder. My fear is that the novelty of helping is wearing off. The tune of talk radio in the area has turned from that of compassion to that of criticism, not of the government, but of the victims.

I think many folks are suffering from compassion fatigue. It'’s not unlike eating a big meal and needing to push away from the table because we can't eat any more. Or it is like, now the new puppy that is making too many messes, has chewed too many shoes, and has takes more care than we thought, we want to take it back. For many helping others is no longer a novelty, it has turned into work, that drags on and on. It is like the clothing that is piled up in the warehouse, it never goes away.

God is now beginning to teach me some stuff from the bags of clothing, that pile used to bother me because it never goes away. Now I think that God keeps the pile there for the following reasons:

  • That God is bigger than we can even imagine
  • That God's provision is more than enough
  • That God is bigger than the storms in life that we find ourselves in
  • It reminds us that our work is never done
  • It gives us a picture of God's grace, something without end
  • It reminds me that people need to give and want to help, every bag no matter how bad the stuff is in them was given to help someone else
  • The stained and buttonless clothing reminds me that many who gave the clothing are living the same way stained and broken
  • I also know that the junk we have to throw away may be things that givers can't throw away for one reason or another, giving freedom
  • God reminded me today that some---not all-- of the stained and smelly clothing could have been the best that some could give
  • I am reminded that the goal is not to be done, put to continue to work
  • I think the bags of clothing reminds others that there is a need to help out
  • If all of the bags were gone then those on tours or even those working might believe the work is done
  • Maybe God wants to remind us that the work of compassion needs to expand to those in our community in need
After Katrina, we have Rita and after Rita we will need to address issues in our own community-- homelessness, poverty and racism to name a few. I am now thanking God for the piles of clothing, asking God to continue to teach me more lessons. Maybe we need to pray for each bag for those that gave it and those who will receive it. What positive lessons are you learning from the clothing? Perhaps, this is something to talk about while we are going through piles of clothing.

Scripture:Galatians 6:9 Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up. (And if we do become weary take a break, some time off and remember the words of Jesus)

Matthew 11:28
"Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.

Thought: Make sure you rest and then roll up your sleeves to do your best for Jesus.

Wednesday, September 21, 2005

The Calvary is Coming

What a great day yesterday. Here is the top ten list

10. Receiving more furniture than clothing at the warehouse

9. Placing two more families with sponsors

8. Picking up a donated car for a family

7. Met with Father Richard the Rector at an Episcopalian Church I will be briefly speaking at his 11:11 AM service on Sunday

6. Secured another sponsor with 2 more just about there, moving us closer to the goal of 10

5. Guyer the Mover donated 80 moving boxes that we need to help move families

4. Hobson Cleaners is cleaning all coats in need of cleaning

3. Made arrangements to meet a friend, Tim on Thursday

2. Had breakfast with a group of men as I do most every Tuesday Morning

1. Great friend Dewey is bringing his church on a mission trip this Sunday to Kokomo they will drive over 2.5 hours leaving from the Indiana/Michigan Line with 33 people signed up to come. The Calvary is coming.....................Praise God

Today I get to shift gears a bit this morning, I am on the District Committee of Ministry. We are interviewing a new candidate for ministry. This afternoon I will meet with a sponsor and a family to make a connection. This evening I have Bible Study at church we will be looking at Genesis 4.

Your prayers are awesome and powerful.....Thanks Jeff

Monday, September 19, 2005

Productive day ---- Kind of

Sorting, sorting sorting, with the cell phone growing out of my ear was the way I spent my day. I took time during lunch to meet with a local pastor of an influential church about Kokomo Urban Outreach. He was very supportive. I returned to the warehouse in the afternoon to sort some more. It looks like we wasted our day since anything we sorted was replaced with more bags of clothing. We have got to get the stuff out. We now have families arriving at the warehouse each day and while it looks like a lot, people are not finding their particular size.

Today I had a women with a six year old daughter come in she needed clothing for her daughter which we had trouble finding, but we were able to help. This woman also needed a car badly, she said, 'I know you can't help me because I need a car." I told her I would do what I could. By afternoon I had a car for her. A 87 Toyota, it is in good shape and it is free. She wept.

At about 5:00 we had a married couple with a 13 and 14 yr old boy and girl. They were refereed by a local apartment complex that is offering one month free rent and utilities, with no deposit for displaced families. They came in expecting to receive some warmer clothes, they left with coats, dishes, beds, dressers, a dryer(they had a washer) and we hooked them up with a sponsor. They were completely overwhelmed and where in awe. The husband has a job interview tomorrow and he received several nice shirts, pants and ties. We were also able to provide them with a gas card and a gift certificate because we had no boys size 16/18 jeans for their son. I bet we have them in the piles we just have not got to them.

Many of the workers want us to stop accepting clothing. However, I am not because we need teenage clothing, winter coats, little s clothing. We had the six year old and hardly had any clothes for her. Our volunteers are dropping away, as the work is hard, long and non stop. Most workers have not missed a day. We have few new workers, because I quit calling the radio station with the hopes people would stop coming in for awhile so we can catch our breath. I am not complaining but as we often find, people are willing to give stuff and money(which doesn't hurt) but time is harder to give it costs.

That's enough of the rambling tonight. It is all worth it when we see families with nothing leave with more than can be put into their car. I have know I have the strength to keep going for the joy of the Lord is my strength. Please keep the prayers going for us. Jeff

Sunday, September 18, 2005

Buried Treasure

We were blessed with some great treasure this weekend. We spent time with friends that we treasure, we were able to help a great number of displaced people, and we had a good worship service. The sermon was based on Matt. 13:4-46 about a man finding buried treasure and buying the field. We talked about how people are the treasure, because they are valuable in God's eyes. Our job is to be treasure hunters not sparing any expense in finding those that are the most valuable to God(everybody). At the end of the sermon some children from the housing project across the street walked in. It brought tears to my eyes, because they are part of the treasure that we need to reach and we got an opportunity to do it. Jeff

Saturday, September 17, 2005

Relocation Plan Disappointment

Yesterday I was advised by INVOD (the place where those with housing are to register to receive families) that they were NOT accepting anymore housing offers. In our community effort I was able to call two weeks ago and register 5 completely furnished homes with sponsors offering displaced families free rent, food, utilities etc. When I called yesterday to see where we were in the process, I was told that it still would be several weeks, if ever, that they would need us. Unfortunately I was told not to call back and that if they needed us they would call us, which throughout the conversation, it seemed highly unlikely that a call would come. After speaking to our group of volunteers we decided that we would begin to house those that are presently living in Kokomo with friends or family members (there are presently 20 identified families). This means now we are proceeding on our own. For those of you that have called me with houses or sponsors in your community, find a family and help them. One caution: As disappointed as I am with FEMA and the whole process, families still need t register with FEMA before receiving aid. The reasons are two fold. FEMA needs to know where families are so that the families can receive FEMA money, secondly, having a FEMA number will identify family as a true hurricane victim and will separate those in need with those trying to take advantage of the situation. The fastest and easiest way is to register on line at, the phones are always busy and we were are told the best time to call them is between 2AM-6AM. Please do your best to help any families that are arriving in your community. Our prayers are with the displaced families and those trying to help them.

PS: Our goal all along was to cooperative with government agencies instead of running down and just rescuing people out of shelters etc. We wanted to do the right thing and let families be processed etc. While we are receiving great cooperation on the local level, the Federal Level, seems to have its own agenda. We will be placing families in need into their own homes and I thank God that God is the one who is leading us.

Thursday, September 15, 2005

Stories of Survivors

Today we had the privledge of providing household items, clothing, coats and much more, through the Katrina Relocation Plan Warehouse, to displaced families. Everyone had a story. The first guy was in his late 20's single and moving into an apartment. Red Cross called us and asked if we could give him a sweeper. When he arrived we learned he had a bed and some clothing and that was all. He wanted a sweeper to clean carpet in his apartment. I asked him what else he had besides a bed he said "nothing". I invited him to choose a sofa, chair, and table. He broke down and expressed that he couldn't believe there were people thinknig of him and fellow victims so far away. It was too overwhelming for him. He also recieved everything for his kitchen, bedding for bed, a coat, and a washer and dryer. He was very deeply moved and worked hard when selecting items to be mindful of others especially of families that would soon come. I asked him if he wanted a job and he said yes. We connected him up with a manager of a bowling alley that came to the warehouse last week and offered a job to someone who needed it. After coming for a sweeper he left with a bunch of stuff, new friends and a job.
The second family was a mom and two teenage sons, they have been living in a fire station since the storm. There are no schools that are open and it was difficult to live in a fire station with many others. Her husband sent her to Kokomo to stay with distant relatives that they had never met. Her husband remained at the fire station in LA. so he would not lose his job. This family has been separated so that the young men may go to school. This family have never been out of LA. and they were cold today, high temp 79(felt great to me).
The third family had two small children and two teens. They are living in a motel, th father was hired by a friend here who gave him a job. They want to get into a home soon and came in to see how we could help them. We explained we could provide them with household items, but they did not have anywhere yet to take the stuff. We did give them some dishes, pots, pans etc. to cook in a kitchenette in their room. They all recieved coats and sweatshirts, they too wer very cold today. The children got some toys and the teen children took some books to read.
The last family was a couple that had live in Los Vegas, who were art and antique collectors. They were looking for a quieter town, in a warm climate, that was sort of artsy and cultured. They took two years to locate a town in LA. they built a brand new house and moved into their dream home and town. They only lived in their house for 6 weeks before it and the entire town was totally and utterly destroyed. All of thier art and atinque collection was gone. They came to Kokomo to stay with a sister. They secured a house and traded in their early american furnitrue for early salvation army. They were so cold that they wore their winter coats home.
Please pray for all of these families and for volunteers to come forward to help us sort through the mountiains of bags of clothing etc. We estimate we have 700-100 bags and boxes of things to sort through. For some reason the volunteer pool is low, but the stuff never stops coming in. We had to just start ripping open bags this afternoon to find a coat for a 16 year old boy. We have to find the stuff we need in the piles soon. I am having trouble getting the word out. Once a volunteer arrives they usually come back each day. In the week we have been open we have had about 100 volunteers but that is not nearly enough. The project is large but God is larger. Anyone up for a mission trip to Kokomo? Jeff

Wednesday, September 14, 2005

First Person receives Items

Today we are a week old and the first displaced person came through and received a bunch of items, it was a single man who has no plans to return to La. He moved into an apartment but had no furnishings. He is not one of our fully sponsored families but made his way here to be with a friend. Please keep us in prayer as we are having families coming for things and we still have many things to go through. Also pray for all the workers that more volunteers will join the effort and all will get some rest.


Katrina Warehouse Pictures

Thank you Lisa for Pictures. If you want to see pictures of the Warehouse go to the following:

Katrina Warehouse Pictures


Tuesday, September 13, 2005

Expanded Territory

Today I met with City leaders(over 20 community leaders) as we plan together for how to handle displaced families. I was able to present the plan below and it was embraced by the group.

Plan Expansion

We are beginning to see displaced families arriving in Howard County to find refuge with family members. The Kokomo Katrina Relocation Plan Task Force, as of September 13, 2005, has expanded its plan to offer aid to displaced families who are presently safe with family members but will soon need a home to call their own. The expansion plan will address the needs of these families.

The expansion plan will be working with local government and the Kokomo Housing Authority to provide housing for these displaced families. The Kokomo Chapter of the Katrina Relocation Plan will work with the city to provide other physical and emotional needs. The KRP (Katrina Relocation Plan Task Force) will provide the following physical items:

  • All household needs, furniture, including a sofa and chair, beds and mattresses, Kitchen or dining table with chairs, dishes, glasses, silverware, pots and pans, we will also provide stove and refrigerator if needed.
  • All clothing needs including, a winter coat for each person in the family
  • We will provide families with infants, cribs, diapers, clothing, high chairs and car seats.
  • We will provide towels, sheets, pillowcases, and blankets
  • Families will be able to select toys and household decorations.
  • Families will receive bathroom items such as toothpaste, soap etc.
  • Families will receive caned food, and cleaning supplies if needed.

With the aid of local churches, non- profit organizations and/or trained individuals, the KRP will provide each displaced family, if they desire, a "Community Contact" who would provide the following :

  • Help family move into home
  • Make arrangements for transportation
  • Help secure government aid
  • Work with families to get children in School
  • Help regain Identification (drivers license etc.)
  • Help family become acclimated to new community
  • Help family secure reliable car, insurance, etc.
  • Help secure a job
  • Work with families that have specific needs such as tutoring, childcare etc.

    Presently, the KRP is securing names of Doctors, Dentists, Optometrist and Certified Counselors who will provide services to displaced families without concern of fees.

    All displaced families must register with the local chapter of the Red Cross to receive the above stated services.

I was asked how many families we could supply with "Community Contacts", my response, "all of them". I was asked how, and my response was we have 1000's of church folk in town. I explained that the sleeping giant would awake and meet the need. I also challenged us as the faith community and the government to partner to help the families affected.

It has been a good day. Jeff

Sunday, September 11, 2005

New Podcast Katrina Relocation Plan

Dave and I have recorded a new podcast that deals with the Katrina Relocation Plan. It can be found at TMAP(Two Middle Aged Pastors)

Please keep praying.............................................Jeff

Friday, September 09, 2005


Hi everyone...what a difference a week makes: Last Monday I asked you to look at a Katrina Relocation Plan that a friend David and I worked out to bring displaced families to Kokomo,
Since Wednesday noon we have it up on a Website and other Communities are joining us and using this plan. You may see the website at

I am very limited on time but here are the highlights of the week or should I say since Wednesday:

  • Opened up a 20,000 sq. foot warehouse in Kokomo called the Katrina Warehouse
  • Have been receiving household items to be given to families coming to Kokomo
  • Have had many volunteers working every day in warehouse.
  • Got on radio on Monday, first volunteer Lisa called me.
  • We opened the warehouse at 9:00 on Wednesday with a blurb on the radio.
  • The second volunteer was a woman from Galveston Indiana who attends the UMC there, she just closed her hardware store. About an hour after we opened I asked her to cordinate the warehouse, she readily said yes , she said that God told her before she left home she would be asked and she should say yes.
  • We have a great receptionist that takes care of the phone
  • Could not get phone installed fast enough, using my cell phone. My cell phone never stops ringing with messages piling up. For our friends trying to reach us use Chris' number. If you don't have her number call the Lowell UMC at 219-696-9219 and they will give it to you.
  • Have been interviewed on the radio numerous times and have had major articles in the paper the past two days.
  • We have had two groups step up to sponsor families with 8-12 month commitments. Two families should arrive in Kokomo in two weeks.
  • Last night we had a group of teen offenders come into the warehouse to work.
  • We have a furniture store in town willing to provide new mattress's for every person.
  • We have a cleaners that will clean all coats
  • We have a carpet cleaner service that will clean all sofas and chairs
  • Office Supply store provided all of our office supplies
  • Computer donated
  • Chrysler Transmission sent several workers on loan to help us, meaning they paid their employees to help us.
  • Meijer Store gave us clothing racks
  • Goodies Dept. Store lent us nice clothing racks
  • We had several unemployed men with pick ups who wanted to pick up stuff for us but had no gas money. Recieved 100 dollars in gas cards.
  • Have been able to witness to searching volunteers who are looking for meaning to life, gently pointing them toward Jesus.
  • We are having a toy drive on Sat put on by 11 year old special need triplets with Indianapolis TV coming to cover it.
  • The presence of God is with us each day. When I go to bed at night I am tired but feel so good.
  • Was called to a meeting of top officals of Howard County, to help cordinate effort. They gave me about an hour's notice and insisted I come. I walked into a confercence room at town hall with 15 people in suits ties and dresses, I in my shorts and polo shirt, I barely had time to leave the warehouse, just went as I was, felt a bit out of place, but I don't think it was the clothes, never been to a meeting with city movers and shakers.
Please pray for the following: For katrina relocation Endeavor,

a pastor friend of mine that lives near Kokomo he is 39, with two small children and just had a stroke.

pray for chris and our family as we all have been at the warehouse a lot. We have only been open for three days but it seems like weeks. I wish I could share all my stories with you, I could write a book.


Sunday, September 04, 2005

Victory Day

Today was a great day in church. Only 19 people in church, however, worship was excellent and all of those 19 people brought nearly 500 items to put on the semi going to Mississippi, we added it to the 500 items we collected from the neighborhood. I have never been more convinced that churches and neighborhoods can partner together to make a difference in the world. Jeff

Saturday, September 03, 2005


Call me crazy, but last night I talked with a group in Indianapolis called Katrina Hurricane Relocation Organization. It is a group made up of Red Cross, Salvation Army and the Hope Center. Yesterday, Marsh grocery sent a plane to La. with food, when they arrived they decided after unloading plane they would fill it up with evacuees and bring them back to Indiana. Sixty people arrived last night. They are being processed by the Red Cross and will live in Mass Housing for about 30 days, they they can be connected to a host family that will help them make the transition to their own housing. Our family volunteered to be a host family. Theeeeeennnnn believe it or not I am now the coodinator of Katrina Hurricane Relocation for all of central Indiana. FEMA believes that there will be 4000 people in Indiana by this weekend. They will be housed in the State Fair Grounds. My job is to secure host families, interview, build profiles, explain what is needed and expected and to Cordinate evacuees and hosts. Hosts should have the families living with them for 6-8 months. However, FEMA money will help them get a new start. I will be coordinating job banks, securing a warehouse to collect furniture etc to help evacuees get a new start, and am not sure what else. This whole organization came into being on Thursday and today is Saturday. Today I attended a meeting in Indianapolis and as soon as we got home......See next entry.

Hurricane aid

Have you heard me say that God keeps dropping things in my lap. Well, on Thursday I received an email from the Kokomo District Office listing a bunch of stuff that is needed in Mississippi, a larger church in town has secured a semi and they are making a connection in Blioxi Mississippi at a local United Methodist Church. So I got the bright idea that our whole neighborhood should work together and help fill up the semi, I made a flyer and but it on 300 doors of the houses in our Neighborhood. I gave them the list and said we would return on Saturday to pick it up. Today Chris, Andrew and I went back through the neighborhood and picked up a truck load of stuff. We gave everyone a thank you note inviting them to church to see how much stuff we collected together and how we will be praying for those in need. In the midst of that we met so many people. We met some folks who were from La. and haven't heard from their relatives, and they were about in tears. I had a conversation with two young African Americans about the perceived racism in the situation and listened to them without having to express my views. I met a young mother who gave me a half a bag of diapers as she was holding her tiny baby in her arms, I told her I did not want to take her last bag and she said she would stretch her new bag further. We had people bringing stuff to our door and having a chance to meet them. I met a 23 year old man and his five year old daughter. He has had her from birth, he had to quit high school to take care of her. He works at a meat processing company about 20 miles north of here. He dug through his cabinets and gave me some food. He was trying to clean his house. His daughter was so cute and polite. I asked if I could come back and see him again he said, please do. Had a guy named Bruce in the regular neighborhood who jumped in his truck to help out, he followed and we loaded and he helped us carry all of the stuff into the church. As we drove through the housing project, people just kept coming out of their house piling stuff into the back of our car. I got into a conversation with a young mother who really couldn't see the difference between 911 and present situation, she couldn't figure out why so much stuff was needed when no one collected the stuff for 911 victims. Not only did we collect a lot of stuff I learned a great deal about he neighbors and neighborhood.

Wednesday, August 31, 2005


God is so Good!!!! I met another on fire young adult today....Rolando and his wife and two children. Rolando is a health access Coordinator for a local hospital, he is very sharp, with a big smile and a compassionate heart. Rolando has a passsion for neighborhood ministry and someone told him about me. His heart is in the midst of Garden Square Apartments, he knows many people. He just showed up at the church, this afternoon. He told me how he, his wife and some volunteers used to use the church on Friday night for a kids club. They would feed the kids and divide them by ages and have a great time. They often had more than 40 kids. WOW!! They haven't met here for a couple years and would like to start up again. If the church says okay then we got another ministry here. Please pray that God keeps moving as he is now. Even if it is hard to keep up I don't want it to stop. Jeff

Tuesday, August 30, 2005

Good two days

I have had two good full days. Yesterday I spoke with four funeral home directors, offering to provide pastoral care for families that do not have a pastor. I also met with folks from the Gilead House(a drug rehab house) for women, the director of the Howard County Foundation, checked in with the guys from Bridges at the Middle school, I went to CAM which is a homeless drop in shelter, I visited with a group that recently bought the YWCA(it ended up being a private Christian School), I went to the Nesting Doves a group home for teen moms, and I visited a parishioner in the hospital. Last week I went to the Crisis Center and First congregational Resale Shop. Today I made arrangements to have a mothers morning out at the community center in the apartment complex next door. We are offering cooking classes the second week of September, I have a friend coming from Texas to teach the class along with how to shop. Pray that people participate. I still need to line up child care. Today I made brochures for our new intern ministry at the church and revised the Kokomo Urban Outreach brochure. While I am tired it is a good tired, I am at complete peace and know that I am doing what God is calling me to do. Oh yeah, someone bought a book. Thanks to whoever it was. Jeff

Sunday, August 28, 2005

Boy what a mornin'

Today I presented the vision that God has laid on my heart for the church. The Reader's Digest version goes like this: Not every church is called to be or become a Mega church, where all services and programs are found under one roof like a Walmart, we are a small church that needs to specialize in a particular kind of ministry(a sort of niche ministry). I likened it to Dan's Donuts that is only about five blocks from the church(they are the worlds best hands down) anyway, they only do two things sell donuts and drinks(coffee and milk). I told the church we are going to be like Dan's and do only two things really well. Of course worship, Sunday school etc are givens and don't count against the two things. The first thing is that we are going to become the church next door. A church that is involved in the neighborhood. I then asked them to begin to think about what neighbors do. At that moment a young man entered the back of the Sanctuary and just stood there. After about a minute I ask if I can help him. His request: "do you have a phone cord we can borrow". Odd, but like a good neighbor we told him we could get him one in just a few minutes, just as soon as I could dig one up. Remember this happened in the middle of the sermon. He said he would come right back, when I invited him to join us. But isn't that one thing that neighbors do borrow stuff and feel comfortable enough to ask? We are becoming the church next door.

The second thing we are going to do is to provide a place where people, especially young adults, can discern if God is calling them into ministry. They will work with me as I mentor them and they gain experience through Ministry(in the church), Outreach(community ministry) and Reflection(being sure they are being called). It will be called, Ministry, Outreach, and Reflection Experience (MORE). Trinity could be a training and discerning ground for those that are being called to ministry, while gaining practical experience in church and neighborhood ministry. There seemed to be a positive reaction to the plan. Jeff

Friday, August 26, 2005

Map Quest

I have been doing some streetwalking over the past few days. I have been walking the same route at about the same time and meeting people, along the way. I also have been mapping the neighborhood using observation and the US census Data. In an 5 block by 5 block square around our house there are 473 homes, with 1339 people. Included in these blocks are 16 businesses: Tommy's tattoo and Body Piercing, Galloways car upholstering, positive Results physical therapy, 2 insurance agents, a Village Pantry, a Pizza Parlor, a , glass shop, and two bars. There is also a branch of Ivy Tech State College that specializes in Medical science, in the same building there are technology companies and research labs for I.U. and Purdue. There is a very large workshop and building that houses a program for those with mental and physical disabilities. Of the 25 blocks in the neighborhood, 7 blocks are vacant a factory was torn down about three years ago leaving at least 7 blocks of grass and weeds. There is also at least 6 blocks of parking lots that were used for the factory, I counted 2000 parking spaces in the area. Half of the neighborhood is business, parking lots and the Vacant lot. Sixty-Five percent of the houses are rented and well more than half are under 30. The average rent is $200 and the average mortgage payment is $400. There are 155 apartments in the government housing with the average rent there being $65 which includes utilities. Spent a great deal of time walking the neighborhood this week. Thank you for keeping us in prayer. Jeff

Tuesday, August 23, 2005

The Secret is Out

My friend Dave and I recorded our first podcast today. A podcast is like a radio show that is created by individuals. We are planning on reviewing books about Christianity once a month. You may listen to our first podcast here . It last a bit more than 40 minutes. Please email and let me know what you think at .



Met two young men today, Casey Cline and Travis Taflinger, they are directors of a ministry called Bridges Outreach. God gave Casey and Travis a vision of ministry in which they would reach youth. Their original vision was for a sort of Christian Boys and s Club, it evolved into an afternoon program at the inner city middle school. Each day. Casey and Travis and some volunteers tutor, mentor, feed and help teens develop study an life skills. At the end of each week the group goes on a field trip sometimes a Christian event, other times something like swimming and bowling. During this past summer, they took the kids to church camp where 15 of them gave their lives to Christ. These two guys, get it, they live out loving God and loving others. They build into the lives of those they work with and point them over time to Jesus. They started this program in January of 05, and as with every ministry, have limited resources. They are looking for people to work with them, I think they need 60 people in a database that they could call on(this is me saying this not them). They need chaperones, drivers, office workers, mentors, tutors and life skill speakers. If you are reading this in the Kokomo area call me or email me and I will put you in touch with them. I am asking my prayer partners from all over to pray for Casey and Travis and the Bridges Outreach Program. God is answering my prayers that God would raise up young s to do His work. Jeff
PS: D.M. Casey participated in he thinks a program like this would benefit Kokomo and those young s particpating.

Monday, August 22, 2005


Please be nice in the Laundromat

Today I did volunteered to do a disabled person's laundry. I went to his house and picked it up, only one person right? Yes, however, he had not done laundry for three months and had enough clothes to last for three months. I was going to do it at home, but the 4 large plastic storage tubs was more than I could do at home quickly. I went to the Laundry matt and got an education. It is no wonder that people in the poverty cycle can never get out of it. I had 9 front loader washers packed full of clothes each one cost 2.75 and then I had 20 driers full of clothing each one cost me 2.00 to completely dry the clothing. Forty dollars. WOW!!! While this was three month for one person. A family of four could easily have this much laundry each week. There was a young mother with two children doing laundry, her children were about 5 months old and 4 years old. The mother's mother was with her. This mother was so kind, she helped me figure out which clothes belonged to me, since there were so many machines going and I didn't recognize the clothing. She explained that the machines have letters on them to help you remember. She gave me a great deal of helpful hints. Obviously a laundry mat guru. The problem was that she screamed constantly at her daughter. She wanted her daughter to stay put without any toys, coloring books or anything at all to do. I felt so sorry for the as she really wasn't doing anything wrong. They made the daughter fold towels, which gave her something to do, but would give her bath towels taller than her, and would yell at her when they touched the floor. We have got to get into the laundries with a children's program. Please pray for that. When I returned the man's clothing he was so excited, and humbled, I only had them for three hours. He talked to me about his 22 years in prison for selling drugs and being out for 7 years. He offered to talk to any youth that I would know about how drugs steals your life. He seemed very gruff and mean on the outside, but he was really a teddy bear on the inside. Please pray for him. Jeff

Friday, August 19, 2005

Re: Church

I am trying to keep this page a journal of what I am doing with Kokomo Urban Outreach and in ministry at the church. However, I have a need to talk about my thoughts and write commentary on the Church. I have started a second blog for such ramblings. Please feel free to make comments in agreement or disagreement. Let me know what you think. The page can be found at

Thursday, August 18, 2005

Thoughts for the day

Today has been a day for reflection and rest. Everyone needs a Sabbath day. Today there has been a great deal of "Chatter" on the conference email about issues that for me doesn't really matter. To the best of my understanding there is a disagreement of who will be in control. It seemed to have little to do with Jesus. I mostly just shook my head, as most churches are in decline or near death. My friend posted on his blog
There he lays out his list of why he believes the church is dying. I agree with him wholeheartedly.

Why we are Dying…
Here's my top 10 list on why are we dying?
I'm sure there are others.
10) Because we believe salvation is within our walls.
9) Because we are so busy with our own stuff.
8) Because we have no idea what we are doing and we stopped being a long time ago.
7) Because we don't really understand (or care to understand) what is going on with the people around us.
6) Because ministry is what is done to us (rather than what we can do for the others)
5) Because in all our breadth, we have forgotten our depth.
4) Because we don't know how to be neighbors to the strangers.
3) Because we like the good gig we've got going.
2) Because mission is somewhere out there, not somewhere right here.
and the top 1 reason on why we are dying.
1) Because we seek to not die and thus never really live.

I think the emails of today reflect why we are declining.

I also read something about Popeye the Sailorman. Until we as the collective church get to the point where we can say, "that's all I can 'stanz', and I can't 'stanz' no more" will things change. Debating budgets, salaries, clergyincompetencee or how difficult lay people are--- is just all talk, meanwhile most of the world lives without Jesus. Jeff


My friend Dave led me to a new website late last night: It is an on-demand book publishing service where a person may sell their book. The company only prints them as they are ordered, and there is no cost to the author. So for fun, I published the paper I wrote last year in book form. Now you can go to
and order a book. I am sure it will be a best seller! :) ha! Take a look at it - it was fun to do. -Jeff

Wednesday, August 17, 2005

It is Wednesday already

I spent the past few days reading, praying, reflecting and visiting. On Monday we received a very nice gift from the Thrift Shop in Attica. The folks there do a great job of providing the community with nice clothes at a good price. They then share the profits with missions and a host of other good causes. It is a privilege for me to have them partner with me in Kokomo.

I met a friend today who has a very exciting, interesting and much needed ministry plan that I know is from God. It is an out-of-the-box sort of idea. I can see how it would easily compliment what I am doing here in Kokomo. Everyone, please pray about this new ministry idea. I hope I can share more details later.

I shared with my friend today that every night since we have moved to Kokomo is like Christmas Eve. I can't wait to go to bed so I can get up the next day to see what God has in store for me and for us as a family. Andrew has been in school since Monday and seems to be enjoying it. Since the school is so large and four middle schools funnel into the high school, "new kids" go unnoticed. Everyone meets new people all the time. He is enjoying the ethnic diversity and the block schedule. He has 4 ninety-minute classes on one day, and 4 different ones on the next day. He starts school at 7:10 a.m. and is done at 2:00 p.m. He is getting used to the schedule.

Tonight is Bible Study and we are still looking at prayer. Please keep us in your prayers.


Sunday, August 14, 2005


Yesterday was such a gift. I was able to see so many old friends, even if but for a short time: Macos, Jack, Ken, Alan, Carrie, Joyce, Greg, Bob, Carolyn, Marcia, Amy, Ann, Judy, David, Libby, Kate, Lowell, Justine, Jeff, Trudy, Dave, Charles, Sandy, Rusty, Robin, Dan, Charlie, Valarie, Howard, Sallie, Park, Anna-Lisa, and J.T. Then I got to meet some new ones: Tony, Eric, Tom and Clint. I am working on a "Walk to Emmaus" that took me to Attica for a meeting and then I attended a funeral for a great friend.

On the way home I remembered I left my house key in the house and was locked out. My family was out of town. I had no idea how I would get in. Another gift...neighbors. I was able to get a window open and a little neighbor was able to go through the window to unlock the door.

Looking forward to church today.... I'm not sure why, but I just am. -Jeff

Thursday, August 11, 2005

Prayer cards

I finally found the time to go to each door in row A of Garden Squares Apartments. I spoke to many people. The folks were friendly and seemed to appreciate the offer of prayer for their families. I also received a few specific prayer concerns. All in all it was a very good time.

We were surprised by the Nadolskis from Lowell. They were on vacation and came to Kokomo on the way home. They hadn't planned to come to see us or even come to Kokomo; they have never even been to Kokomo. They did not have our address or phone numbers with them. They just drove in. They followed US 31 and took the downtown exit and just started turning. They stopped at a convenience store and asked for help. Of course, our names are not in the phone book, as we only have cell phones. They told the clerk I was a pastor of a United Methodist Church and they couldn't remember the name of the church. The clerk called a few, hoping that an answering machine would be found with my name on it. Finally, the clerk went back to a computer and somehow located us. Funny thing - the convenience store named "Mac's" is on the corner of Webster and Hoffer and we live on Hoffer. They traveled about 10 blocks east of the store and in about three minutes they were at our house. For those that are not familiar with Kokomo, there are 50,000 people in town and many, many neighborhoods. We had a great visit. It reminded us we have many friends all over the state. -Jeff