UBC hosted it’s second annual Valentine’s Banquet for International Students, who are studying at the University of Arkansas. We had over two dozen countries represented, as the Gospel was shared both through song, skit, and spoken word, led by a UBC’s children’s choir, Caroline Penick, Vickey Lloyd & Howard Brill. The theme for the night was the Greater Love found in Christ – Jn. 15:13, “Greater love has no one than this, that someone lay down His life for His friends.”
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UBC hosted our third annual Christmas Store to serve our community and those who we minister to through Second Mile Ministries, throughout the year. UBC members donated age/gender appropriate gifts that folks were able to purchase for their families for Christmas. It was a great opportunity to serve our community, as a community of believers, who love to point people to Christ this Christmas!
I was afraid our group (being so small) would lack any real punch to organize and do anything of consequence, but here are a few things God did with our LifeGroup outreach.
We were able to shop with a mother who is dealing with cancer and her children at TJ Maxx. We were surprised that she was able to come, but she made it through and was very thankful for the generosity of so many.
Several members of our group shopped for another UBC mother to get her some new clothes to wear to church. We put together a bunch of Easter baskets with candy and Gospel tracts to hand out to kids. I saw God moving in all of these details beforehand, but on Saturday I was really amazed.
I took my niece to help me deliver the baskets and I reserved one for my neighbor’s son. My neighbors were out all day, so we met up with J.J. Tartaglia and left to deliver the others. Many of the families weren’t home when we arrived, but we did meet with one family whose children have been coming to UBC for about 2 years now. When we delivered the candy, baskets and toys, the daughter was thrilled. Her mom came out and nearly cried because of the generosity she saw. She told me that folks are always bringing them stuff and are always there for her kids.
My niece handed me the DVD that I had reserved for my neighbor’s son, and as we were walking away from this family, we gave the last gift for their son instead. Their expressions showed astonishment, as it turns out this was their son’s favorite DVD and he rents it all the time. They were so excited. It hit me that God was handing out the baskets. Wow!
While delivering another baskets, I was prompted to share my testimony briefly with a father and we had a long talk. I believe that God’s mercy and grace had me in front of him alone that day. I will keep praying for him.
After I got home late that night, I considered not giving the basket to my neighbor. The Holy Spirit nudged again, though, and I knocked on the door. No one came to the door so I went inside my apartment. I had to go back to my car an hour later and met my neighbors on the sidewalk! I told them about the basket and they were so happy. They don’t have a home church, and I could tell by their expressions that they were somewhat interested in UBC.
What I noticed was that God is the most amazing lover of our souls and I see how He works in the minutest details to arrange encounters with His love. When the Bible says He works in mysterious ways, they are that, but so much more! He is so loving – beyond comparison, beyond comprehension and definitely beyond description!
What a God we have who loves us before we loved Him! He is a marvelous and wonderful God! The One True God!
Written by Rob Ahrent
Day 3 was awesome. Stephen, Chase, Larry, and myself went out to a new church today that was out in the Haitian countryside. It took us about an hour and fifteen minutes to get there. The drive was really bumpy especially when we got on the dirt roads outside the city. The Haitian countryside is really beautiful. We passed many fields of sugar cane and corn and saw many pigs, cows, goats, and sheep. When we arrived out at the small community we were greeted by many Haitians. It was the first day that we really got to interact with the Haitians while we worked. There were many kids that watched us work and they smiled and laughed at us very frequently. We really got in a groove and got a good bit of work done. I was in charge of one station putting together the trusses and I really had lots of fun with it. The haitians really pitched in and helped a lot. We climbed up on the cinder block walls to start puting up the trusses towards the end of the day and the view from being up in the air about 15ft was incredible. The beauty of the the mountainside with the fields and fruit trees was really incredible. In Haiti it is really easy to get focused on the destruction and garbage everywhere, but I was really reminded of God’s beautiful creation even amidst the destruction.
There were a couple of really special moments for me today. First, there was an elderly man who had been kind of hanging around the fringes watching us work, and at one point I walked by him and he just kind of held out his hand and stopped me. He held up his arm and just kind of fist pumped in the air. We couldn’t communicate with words with each other, but I took his meaning. He had a look of joy on his face as he fist pumped and I realized he was thanking me for being there and helping to put up the building. It really touched me because he was so joyful that we were helping the church with putting on the roof of the church.
The most awesome experience was interacting with this one little girl, who was probably about 3 or 4 and was there watching us with her dad. Every time we walked by she would reach out and grab our hands or fingers and smile this huge smile. I had been getting a little tired and then to have her grab my finger and smile at me gave me a lot of joy. It was great to be able to just love on her a little bit by holding her hand for a second and smiling at her. It was a really amazing day all around and I look forward to going back tomorrow to get more work done.
Written by John Mark Hannon
Let me start by assuring the readers that today was chaotic, spirit led, and awesome! Construction team got started out excited to finish our job at the Philadelphia church. Larry shared some Chris Tomlin worship music with our security guard John, and it was amazing to see John’s spirit lift and praise God as we rode across the busy streets of Haiti. Even as we inhaled exhaust, and observed the busy morning in Haiti develop around us; we new that God was with us and that He does everything for our good. The construction project involved building windows out of wood and attaching them to the outside of the church. We have figured out that some things in Haiti don’t always go the way you want but it didn’t discourage our faith or slow down our drive to finish the job. The Haitian church members were persistent to help us, and it was a blessing because it was trying work. Again, the community between common believers in Jesus Christ is exciting, even if there is a language barrier. I’m positive the church members will be excited to use their new second level to glorify God. The earthquake destroyed much, leaving little for the Haitians to find hope in, but we’ve seen Joy in those that have little in physical regards but have much by the Grace of God and His redeeming love. After the job was complete, Larry and Stephen were able to donate a few creole Bibles to the church. One woman was ecstatic to receive the bible and proceeded to express it by dancing around. It’s that kind of joy that we sometimes forget enables us to do God’s work and glorify His name. Prayers and gratitudes were exchanged before hopping back in the “tap tap” and heading back across town to get dinner and share our experiences for the night. We had the opportunity to witness God’s love and people at work today. The Haitians are always working to rebuild and renew their country. It is our hope that through God’s love, we have provided the Haitians with the gospel so that they may continue to rebuild under the banner of Jesus Christ.
Written by Chase Rineheart