Saturday, March 31, 2007

500 Easters Baskets Made

It was like the 12 disciples feeding the 5000. Twelve KUO volunteers helped an endless sea of people put together over 500 Easter baskets. The event began at 11:00 AM, at 9:50 the line began to form, by 10:30 the line was all the way down the sidewalk and had turned down the side-street. Last year we served everyone in about 50 minutes this year it took an hour and a half. By 12:15 everyone was inside the building......finally.

The crowd was orderly, patient and appreciative. The volunteers were awesome. We did run out of actual baskets for about the last 30 or so, but we had enough stuff to fill a basket. Just like the disciples we gathered the left overs at the end and realized that we have enough stuff to fill about 100 more. Thanks for your support and Prayers. God is Good!!!!

Click picture to enlarge to read caption.

Friday, March 30, 2007

Kokomo Tribune News Article

Church offers Easter baskets Friday

Tribune community news editor

Hundreds of chocolate rabbits “hopped” into Trinity United Methodist Church this week.

The “bunny brigade” is part of a Kokomo Urban Outreach campaign to connect youngsters with Easter baskets.

Trinity Pastor and Kokomo Urban Outreach Executive Director Jeff Newton said the bunnies will find homes among the 300 Easter baskets currently in his 1701 S. Locke St. church.

Step into a storage room in the church basement and you’ll find a veritable chest of toys, yo-yos, puzzles, pencils, miniature footballs and basketballs, necklaces, bracelets, and sunglasses.

Even the most demanding sweet tooth would find something pleasant in the 1,000 candy bars, 150 pounds of foil-wrapped chocolate eggs and scores of suckers and lollypops.

There are also other sundry items, such as hair clips and about 500 stuffed animals. Several local churches, Currens Zapfe Paper & Notion Company Inc., and an anonymous donor — who, among other items, provided 300 bags of Easter grass — donated to the cause.

From 11 a.m. to noon Friday, parents are welcomed to drop by the church, and gather up goodies to make baskets for their children.

Newton estimates the Outreach Project will have enough materials to create 400 baskets at the church, located adjacent to Garden Square. Last year, 110 families — making 300 baskets — were represented at a similar endeavor.

He also said enough “goodies” were gathered and given to Coordinated Assistance Ministries Executive Director the Rev. Ruth Lawson to distribute to her clients. CAM, an ecumenical ministry to the homeless, operates a drop-in shelter at 210 N. Market St.

Newton said the project was simply part of Kokomo Urban Outreach’s goal to spread the word of God and “to help people have a normal life.”

“It may seem like a very small thing, but it’s a very important ministry,” Lawson said.

Faced with rent, and utility and food costs, she said there is often little left over for luxuries, such as Easter baskets.

Tuesday, March 27, 2007

The Boy who didn't know Jesus

Sunday Night we had an 11 yr old boy in Sidewalk Sunday School who, as I was talking about Jesus, blurted out....."who is Jesus?" He didn't understand or had heard about Jesus. I briefly filled him in. His response was, " it is scientifically impossible to come back to life". My response was, "your right, but for God all things are possible". As always we broke into small groups for prayer, the boy was happy to pray but asked, "which goddess will be praying to". I explained we would be praying to the one true God. He joined a group with a local pastor and they prayed together. Afterwards the boy asked the music leader if what we said about Jesus was true....she respond with a great big "yes". I did check with the adult that brought him and was assured that the boy really did not know anything about Christianity. Please pray for this boy.

In other news..... the seven project came to Kokomo last week. The group spoke about choices at all the middle and high schools in Howard County(about 6000 students). On Saturday there was a big rally at the gym where the Gospel was presented to 3000 students with about 2000 encountering God for the first time. It was incredible to be there and see hundreds of kids on their knees covering the gym floor. There were so many, that the gym floor was filled as well as all the ramps leading to it. Every student making a commitment filled out a card and most were connect to a youth group that very night. We had one girl in our neighborhood show up at our church on Sunday night for the first time because of what happened to her the previous night. This event was planned by youth pastors and leaders from all over Kokomo. For the first time in memory, churches from all persuasions worked together to accomplish something for the Kingdom.

God is up to something in Kokomo and it appears to be big!!!!!

Sunday, March 18, 2007

Sunday, Sunday, Sunday

Today was an interesting day. He is homeless and moves from apartment to apartment living with this friend and then that one. He has shared with me many times. In his younger years he felt called to preach. He knows the scriptures backwards and forwards. He is an awesome guy. The problem is he drinks all the time. He is a drunk that loves everyone. He hangs on me etc. he is not an angry drunk. He would not hurt anyone. He has told me over and over that he is Jonah running and living in the belly of a big fish. He says he can't get out. I have been building a relationship with him for almost a year. Today he came to church. I was talking about the "sign of Jonah" found in Luke 11. As I was retelling the story of Jonah, when he walked in. He sat through the service and wept. At the end he came forward and we prayed for him. I will continue to work with him. Please pray that he can say no to alcohol. He is going to AA.

Just before dinner tonight the police were called to the neighborhood. There was a yelling fight going on. It was ugly. The group I knew the best said they would not come to church to eat because of the tension. I thought we may not have very many people there. We served about 100. Sidewalk Sunday School went very well too. Every missed Jim(read previous post).
We only had 11 volunteers all regular, we are just to have 30-40. We did it without problems but everyone had to do double/triple duty, no one complained. I really appreciate our volunteers.

Please continue to pray for us as we take back territory from the enemy. Jeff

Saturday, March 17, 2007

Sad Day

Today has been a day filled with a great deal of bad news:

  • A pastor that I was ordained with(Brian Ton) passed away after a fight with cancer.
  • One of our every Sunday Night volunteers emailed telling me his health has caused him to have to slow down and he won't be able to be here on Sunday Nights. Jim ran our dinning room and really supports the outreach in countless ways.
  • Another friend Ben had a massive stroke and the medicine that they gave him to thin his blood did the opposite. He is in bad shape. Ben and his wife Olivia were early financial supporters of the Outreach and have been faithful every month. Ben was recently here after a big snow storm and he and a friend built a backdrop for the Sidewalk Sunday School Room.
Yet I know that God is alive and well and working in every situation. Please pray for my friends and thank you for your prayers. Jeff

Wednesday, March 14, 2007

Can't wait

Everyday is an adventure. I never know what is going to happen next. Each night when I go to sleep I can hardly wait for the next day. When I get up I am ready to go. Of course, there are times when I am ready for the day to end. It is a privilege to what I get to do. The past couple of weeks I have been doing a great deal of speaking. I enjoy that. I have had more interaction with the neighbors since the weather is allowing them to move out onto their porches. Two families across the street borrowed my rake and hose to clean up their yard and scrub their porches. They also came over and raked half of our yard. That was a blessing. Easter basket items are pouring in as we prepare for the workshop. We are gearing up to do the "Let's Do Lunch Club" during spring break. Tomorrow I am meeting with the downtown group to put the finishing touches on the Crisis Child Care Center that should open in the next couple of weeks.

I am taking classes on Thursday afternoon that deals with issues for non-profits and am learning a great deal. When I finish the classes I will qualify for 50 hours of a personal professional non-profit coach. I hope to build a strong board of directors as there will soon be a turn over due to transfers.

Church is going well. We are averaging over 40 each week and we finished 2006 with $1000.00 left in the General Fund. Sunday nights and Saturday Afternoon Sidewalk Sunday School continue to thrive.

Andrew is Horton in the school musical "Suessical" . Horton is the main character. Andrew came out of nowhere when he auditioned as he has never been in play in Kokomo. He is at practice every night. Jonathan is gravitating now toward West Lafayette and hopes to go to Purdue in the fall. He and Andrew will be there together. Jonathan has been attending the Orthodox Church he enjoys the rituals, incense etc. Patric is still plugging away at school and working.

Chris continues to care for a 92 yr old woman and spends a great bit of time with her mother and sisters. Almost every Sunday we all gather at the church after church for a big family lunch. Like I said, "life is good and God is good". Please continue to pray for us.