It baffles my tiny little mind to comprehend how God can orchestrate so much so perfectly.
“As the heavens are higher than the earth,
so are my ways higher than your ways
and my thoughts than your thoughts” says The Lord. Isaiah 55:9
That Promise is so evident in retrospect. When we can look back on a situation and see God’s fingerprints all over it. Sometimes when we are in the midst of the situation, we lose sight of the Savior who holds the whole world in His hands. Even if the situation isn’t a tough one, we still may miss the fact that God worked all in it.
He places the right people in the right places at the right times to make His plans come to completion.
This was made evident in our lives when we recently received a letter from our Pastor, Patrick. It was one he was sending out and wanted us to review it to ensure its accuracy. Seeing the story of our lives unfold even before we knew where Lancaster was on the map was such a humbling moment. During the long-and sometimes painful-waiting we experienced when we didn’t know where God was leading us, little did we know that He was moving in hearts here in Lancaster, even in the Police Department.
While we were on our knees in Rockwell in September2012, New Hope Baptist was on their knees in Lancaster.
Their first engagement of the Countryside Community was prayer walking and the Fall Festival. They had felt the call to minister to the neglected community “down the road”, but didn’t know exactly how God would turn it all about.
In September 2012 we had already announced to our families and our church in Rockwell that God had us on the move, we just had no earthly idea where.
Thankfully God had it all worked out.
So, I’d like to leave you with the note from Patrick. The Behind-The-Scenes Look at what God was doing before we were even in the picture. Enjoy!
Countryside Mobile Home Park Ministry Synopsis
The following is a brief synopsis of how God has been working to lead His people to make a difference in our world, one community at a time. He is at work in Countryside!
After an international mission trip to an Unreached Unengaged People Group in the Spring of 2012, New Hope Baptist Church (NHBC) began praying for an opportunity to go beyond our walls locally to a specific neglected portion of our own community. August of that year NHBC leadership was invited to participate in a multi-denomination meeting of local churches in Lancaster called Adopt-A-Community (AAC).
AAC was initiated by the Lancaster County Sheriff’s Department wanting to see positive change in the most crime-ridden neighborhoods in Lancaster County. The Sheriff’s Office compiled a list of ‘hot spot’ communities for the churches to consider adopting. NHBC leadership attended the meeting and learned two of these eighteen were within a five mile radius of our campus and the largest community needing adopting was prioritized as second out of the eighteen, Countryside Mobile Home Park off McIlwain Rd. It was also discovered that a natural connection with this community already existed as four teachers and the principle of the elementary school (Brooklyn Springs) that this community feeds into were members of NHBC.
This information was taken back to NHBC prayer groups who had been praying for engagement opportunities of our neglected neighborhoods. From that an outreach team was formed to plan an initial engagement event. From the start it was realized that a multi-ethnic/Kingdom based approach would be most effective for the communication of the gospel in this community with demographics of 40% Hispanic, 30% impoverished African American and White. NHBC initiated a partnering relationship with New Hope Missionary Baptist Church (African American) and Olive Green Baptist Church (Hispanic) to engage Countryside as THE CHURCH. The goal was to see the gospel change lives one family at a time, thereby transforming this community and growing the Kingdom of God, not one particular church’s name.
Starting in Sept 2012 this partnership began with small teams from each church sending prayer walkers and going through each road on Saturdays of this 180 trailer community with an approximate 500 population. Then in October a Community Fall Festival Event was organized and conducted as the engagement kickoff event at a large vacant lot in the park. Over 400 people from the park attended the event and it brought not just the community together but churches.
video link http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZkqXlTtmbYc
The follow-up event was ‘Thanksgiving Meal in a Bag’ that was given to anyone who requested one and attended a Thanksgiving Celebration service at New Hope Missionary Baptist Church. Over seventy-five meals were distributed in Countryside. In December a Live Nativity Scene was portrayed at the vacant lot and carolers went street to street.
Over the Winter of 2013 prayer and vision continued by NHBC for what short-term and long-term engagement in Countryside should look like. Long term possibilities included afterschool programs, weekly Backyard Bible Club type events, ESL classes, etc. But for these the need was for a viable base for this type of ministry in the community as well as someone with a heart to focus as a coordinator for this ministry, preferably with an openness to an incarnational witness approach.
In March one of the two landlords in the park contacted NHBC about the possibility of renting the vacant lot and single wide trailer (formerly a Used Car Lot) for base of ministry in the community. This opportunity was presented to NHBC and the body agreed to step up and appropriate non-budgeted funds for rent, utilities, and renovations of this property for ‘Kingdom Partners’ to use as the Countryside Ministry Base.
In April 2013, the Hinson family from Rockwell, NC contacted NHBC about the Countryside ministry. Grant and Amber Hinson along with their two and three year old children moved to Lancaster to live in and love on the people of Countryside in May. Grant was a recent graduate of Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary and Youth Minister and his wife Amber a Registered Nurse. They both resigned from their professional positions to follow the Lord’s leading to engage the poor and neglected with the life changing gospel.
And that, my friends is a Behind-The-Scenes Look at what God did in orchestrating this ministry. Oh, how He loves Countryside!