May 2014 Update

Hi people!

It’s about that time again, time to fill you all in on the past month and the experiences that I have been able to be a part of through this ministry. I want to begin by saying that this month has actually felt like an entire month! Along with the additional responsibilities that the church asked me to be a part of last month, this month I was able to start up and help lead Men’s Prayer Breakfast as well as Saturday Sports Night. Both of these events have a special place in my heart due to the clarity God gave me in planning and holding them. It was a “build it and they will come” reassurance that enabled to me to trust that if I committed to the ideas He would do the rest. A focus He has made clear to me recently is the unity of His church and the witness that this provides to those lost or falling away from the faith. Jesus prayed in (John 17:20-25) that as we know our Father in Heaven we will have unity with our spiritual family. This unity should exemplify God’s love for us and in turn draw those that have not experienced it to Him. These events give us something to invite those we meet sharing the Gospel to and a chance to introduce them to the rest of the Body. Our first Saturday Sports Night consisted of an intense game of Wiffleball, last week we played Kickball and today was Ultimate Frisbee. The fellowship at these events has served to draw us closer together as a family and bring new members into that family. Men’s Breakfast started last Saturday and is noted for some mean pancakes, their so good you remember them the rest of the week. God allowed me to see that the men in our congregation were disconnected and preferred spending time in groups of two or three rather than being connected as a unit. There’s nothing wrong with being close to those you live with or those you share common interest with, but this is troubling when groups aren’t there for one another or know what’s going on in the lives of their brothers. We are competitive, the devil would much rather us be prideful, get caught up on competition and have division than to sacrifice our lives for each other and serve united against him.

A Mission Field in Your Backyard

This summer our ministry has made surges to areas of focus. These areas of focus consist of specific places on and off campus that we are committing our summers to reach for the sake of the Gospel. It was made clear that we should aim to give everyone that lived in Gorman Crossings, our apartment complex, the opportunity to know God and obtain salvation. I had been consistently sharing on campus throughout my time at NC. State, lived in the same area for almost a year and had yet to share with those right outside my door. I was convicted to care for those around me as I had for those on campus. I, My roommates and some others in the area have joined forces to meet everyone in the community one apartment at a time. We are baking cookies to take with us as we go door to door presenting Jesus to those in our neighborhood. We have noticed a large amount of internationals throughout our area and we would like to ask for prayer in how to reach out to them specifically, in new ways that only God can inspire. Internationals are much more used to being connected as a community than native-born Americans therefore our approach isn’t that unique to them. Please pray that we fully understand and experience the power God has given us to reach all people for His name.

Friends to the Friendless

Daniel “Dans” is a product of the first few weeks of labor at our apartment complex. We met Daniel when he answered the door at his apartment during outreach in our neighborhood. We introduced ourselves to him and let him know that we were out in the community meeting our neighbors. We told him about the Men’s Breakfast and Sports Night as well as offered to pray for his needs. It was apparent after getting to know him better and now looking back on our meeting that we were supposed to meet him when we did. Daniel had roommates that he had a rough time living with, a church family that he only saw on Sundays, and an overall disconnect from community. Daniel lacked true life-giving relationships and true friendship ties, he was drawn to us. On the same day that we met him, God pushed me later that night to invite him over to hang out with us at our apartment. He came over and fit in as if he had lived with us for years. He joined us for the Men’s Breakfast the next morning, Wiffleball later that day and has spent the night a few times already. He is up for whatever we are up for and it’s good to know that God gave him to us to lead when he was at a point to willingly follow. We have shared the Gospel with him and introduced him to assurance in salvation that can only come by placing his full trust in the work Christ completed rather than anything he has. Please pray that Daniel catches God’s vision to see all come to know Him and for his greater discipline in the Word.

Obey and be Amazed

After getting off work on Wednesday, I headed home to change and play basketball prior to our weekly homegroup meeting at 7pm at our apt. I left the courts after playing for about an hour to find that my car wouldn’t start. I decided to walk to the Harris Teeter down the road from the courts to get oil, figuring that I had let the car get too low. By the time I returned with the oil and got my car running, I had missed homegroup. I was frustrated that I hadn’t gotten to sow the Gospel as I would have liked prior to our weekly meeting and ended up missing it all together. I decided to stop for supper on the way home at a Burger King close to our house to relax and be alone to vent with God. I went to set my food down facing a TV and as I did so I spilt my drink all over the table off into the floor to the chairs between the TV and my table. I was embarrassed, and began talking to the guy sitting at the chairs to make light of what had happened. I noticed he was on crutches and had his right foot wrapped, something I could sympathize with on a whole new level since I had just gotten off of them a few days prior. Eddy and I began to talk about his ankle, about my recent injury, his job and what was on TV. As we talked about the news and our government I noticed we shared a lot in common for two strangers. I decided to ask him about what truly mattered, what he thought happened after we died, whether he believed that was it. This led us into spiritual conversation and me being able to share my testimony with him. I am now able to look back at these events with the understanding that a much greater plan was at work as I ran through a series of unfortunate situations. Our conversation lasted almost two hours, during which Eddy moved to my table and began to ask question after question concerning my faith. Each question he asked brought back memories of points in my walk that I had wrestled with God in the midst of doubt or confusion. Eddy believed in what he called the “logical” explanation of things, but he admitted by the end of our conversation that the events that led to our meeting were very coincidental at least. He had lost his job on Monday, been hit by a car breaking his foot on Tuesday and then met me on Wednesday. I explained to him that God was reaching out to him and that there was no such thing as coincidences. I ended up giving Eddy a ride home just across from the shopping center where we had eaten at and was able to pray for him. I gave him my number and told him to feel free to let me know if he needed anything while he was down for healing. Please pray that Eddy comes to Christ, repents of his life lived without Him and if I am to play a part in that, that he would get back in contact with me!

Unleashed Life Training 

As a part of our summer missions, I will be leading up a team that attends the Unleashed Life Training Apologetics conference in Wilmington, NC July 19-25. This conference will be a time to train under one of the leading apologist of the faith, Tom Short, as we learn to publically defend Christianity. We will learn to use science, logic, philosophy, current events and other real world examples to practically argue in favor of a biblical worldview. Please pray that this time is fruitful in the development of my team as well as the other attendees, so that we may bring what we learn back to our local church families and the areas that we are serving.

This ministry would otherwise be impossible without the support that you provide. Thank you again for your interest in what God is doing in the hearts here on campus and in the community, you are greatly appreciated! Please keep these names and this ministry in your prayers! God Bless.

In Christ,

Thomas F. Saunders IV

Missionary Intern

Grace at State l Raleigh NC

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