So many people have asked for an update on our mission down here in Florida, especially since the church plant has launched. Well, on launch day we had 222 people in attendance and 36 children in the children's ministry fifth grade and under. Since then, we've been growing in our week to week Sunday gatherings, closing in the gaps on our set up time Saturday nights and tear down Sunday afternoons (we meet in a private school). We have also grown in preparing & training new leaders to launch out of the existing missional community groups we have through out east Orlando during the week nights. Several people have come to know Jesus as their Lord and Savior, and a few others that have rededicated themselves to following Jesus and allowing him to have Lordship in their lives. We also celebrated baptisms a few weeks ago!
As a church, we have also partnered with a local pregnancy crisis center to bring hope, love and truth to women. As a church, we were able to bless a woman who recently gave her life to Christ with a baby shower just weeks before her sweet baby girl was born. Many of our church members also helped a retirement community clean up after Hurricane Matthew. We also continue to talk and pray with neighbors and co-workers who are still healing and rebuilding their lives after the shootings here. We are discipling young married couples as well as a lot of one on one discipleship that is happening with a program our leaders have put together.
We are co-leading the church prayer team and love it! Many of us have had very interesting and engaging conversations about: atheism, hedonism, predestination, old vs. young earth creationism, Pentecostalism / charismatic and the difference, Trump vs. Hillary, Spirit-filled vs. Baptism of the Holy Spirit, de-churched, un-churched, unreached people groups and what that all means. Its been very interesting, exhausting, exciting, and challenging to have these conversations with believers and unbelievers!!
However, all of this fruit has come in the midst of many hardships. Our family, along with all of our launch team members, have dealt with job changes, job losses, other financial hardships, housing problems, including being cased out for a possible home invasion and needing to get the cops involved, car break-ins, two different families dealt with concussions, inpatient surgery, outpatient surgery, many different health issues and flareups, depression, homesickness, isolation and loneliness, international adoption, and many of us have also dealt with death of family members. It's heartbreaking. It's hard on us adults and the children of the launch team members, but God is faithful! He is using all of this for His glory and our growing and strength & our trust in him. We are seeing him provide exactly what we need when we need it.
Today has been an amazing day of seeing God personally use friends in NC to encourage us! We are so blessed! All of us on the team down here are learning our priorities or rearranging our priorities, slowing down and listening more, seeking him more, and learning how to discern to choose our "best yes"! We are a work in progress. As you can see we are appreciative of your very much needed prayers! Thank you! Love y'all!
Mike and Nereida