What God Has In Store

Food Drive

It always seems that the Lord requires me to be awake before I can understand the difference between my skinny jeans and my pajama pants. Today First Friends Church had their Aldi’s fill our pantry event and I along with some of my friends volunteered, I’ll admit today’s task seemed to be simple enough but it was hard at times, as a night owl going to bed before one in the morning and waking up at a quarter to seven didn’t seem to be my ideal way to spend my Sunday, on the contrary it didn’t make me very happy. But the rest of the day did.

Heading over with my sister listening to Taylor Swift in my car affectionately and nerdy so called, Dauntless, we ventured off to the Bob Evan’s restaurant that was by the Aldi’s. Having fellowship and strange conversations over a pot of coffee and a Sunshine Skillet we all talked about what hopes we had in today’s food drive and most of us were pretty hopeful that we would fill maybe one and half of the three vans we had at the store, but God had other ideas that we didn’t.

Upon finishing my last gulp of the third cup of coffee we paid for our meals thanked the employees there and were on our way to Aldi’s. Leaving everything in my car including our cell phones I grabbed my keys and slipped the lanyard attached to them around my neck. The day started off chilly, the brisk breeze filtered through the trees but the sun was shining so bright, so radiantly we knew that we soon would be warm. Getting together the group of us bowed our heads and began to pray not knowing just what God had in store for us we stayed in good spirits, happy hearts and bright smiles.

It started off slow maybe a bag of cans here or a package of Ramen Noodles there. About a half hour into the drive we started to brainstorm ideas we could do, like getting chalk from the K-Mart down the way and writing on the pavement of the parking lot in bright beautiful letters “Help Us Fill Our Pantry First Friends” to getting two just as bright posters and a package of markers for signs. We all talked about how groups of people at stores weird people out or intimidate them so we spread out, some handing out carts, others in vans, and some shopping.

From there the Lord knew just what to do, people started handing over carts full of the things we needed, and by this time it was nearing 10:30, church hadn’t let out yet, these were people at the store that felt lead to give us what we needed to fill the pantry. After a while more and more people from the church headed over to us and started shopping we filled the first van pretty quickly and started on the second which filled up gradually, and by that time the first van was taking off to the church to unload and come back. While they were there, we filled the second van up completely and had started on the third, by the time the first van came back to us when we really needed it!

Filling the third van we had started to wind down, people still felt compelled to give us what we needed, and the donations were abundant. It’s crazy, yet not crazy at all to think about how much the Lord provided us with what we needed, I hadn’t seen this much generosity in a long time and it was fulfilling to know that God used me and my friends in this way, that we were able to be there and help with helping others. The faith that we have in God is sometimes the strongest thing you can have, and knowing that today happened for His Glory to help His people who so desperately need the food and other donated items is such an amazing thing!

Later on today after I went with the High School youth to a corn maze I asked the High School pastor if he would be able to let us into the pantry so we could see just how full it was, and the sight as the door creaked open and the florescent lights hummed on was enough to make me weep for joy. Floor to ceiling it was stocked! And then some! God truly provides when He says He will and that full pantry of soups, peanut butter, Ramen noodles and so much more was such a blessing and such a gift from Him.

It goes to show that you never truly know but we can always rely on what God has in store for us.

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The Winner is not a Mystery after the Mystery Event.

LipSync

For those of you who weren’t able to attend, last Friday we revealed that the long expected mystery event was a lip sync. Team Yellow stole the top seat from the Purple team by winning the hearts of our judges with their performance of the song “Jesus Take the Wheel.” The team standings are as listed below:

Yellow: 7,640
Purple: 6,670
Orange: 5,470
Red: 4,850
Blue: 4,000

Our next event is Friday, August 14th at 8:30pm at Laser Quest in Canton. The cost is $15 for 2 games due by next Wednesday, August 12th.

*Reminder that if you have someone who wants to participate in the Amazing Race, but has not been to a Color War event yet- they need to come to Laser Tag to be eligible to compete in the Amazing Race. All Amazing Race participants must have been to one Color War event before the Amazing Race.

Email bkerlin@firstfriends.org a blog post and earn your team 50 points.

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Be still.

Often times on Wednesday night after a long day at work or working on checking things off my to do list, I don’t want to leave my house so late at night and come to Connect. Yet this past two weeks I have come anyway and been blessed by the lessons.

We were watching a Rick Warren sermon and were challenged to take time at the beginning of each day to give our day to God. That whole Christian challenge of praying before your feet hit the ground.

After the challenge the first week we met again, and I hadn’t even remembered the challenge. Had not done it one time that week. So we were challenged to try again this week and see what happened.

A week later I did it everyday.
Now let me clarify. I didn’t remember to do it at the beginning of the day. One day I was half way through my work day before I remembered, but still I offer up that simple, sweet little prayer of surrender.

“Jesus, today is yours.”

And I learned that all to often I work to quiet myself; still my own heart, mind, and soul is actually an act of grace done by my Father, who is in heaven.

Hope to see you all at Connect tonight.
We meet outside for a game at 7:30 and then inside for a study at 8:30pm. Come anytime!

My prayer for you’all today is Luke 10:27 which says, “He answered, ‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind;’ and, ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.'”

When we are still- He helps us to love Him with the great love of Luke 10.

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TRIVIA nearly UPSETS. #FFColorWar

trivia night

The standings after the Color War show that the yellow team is only 190 points behind the purple team, who still holds top seat.

How will your team pull ahead?
Remember double points for the Mystery Event on Friday, July 31st @ 8pm.

Purple: 5,170
Yellow: 4,980
Orange: 3,970
Red: 3,270
Blue: 3,060

Email bkerlin@firstfriends.org a blog post and earn your team 50 points.

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Love yourself.

megan july 21 blog

It’s been a good minute since I’ve worked on anything I felt worth posting. Lately, I’ve just felt ‘blah’ to the whole idea of writing my thoughts down and I’ve been focusing mostly on just engaging, engaging in the people around me and the events I’ve chosen to partake in.

I’ve been reading my Bible a lot more, too. That’s something Josh, my boyfriend, and I have been doing together. Not just reading it on our own but when we Skype at the end of every day, we read a scripture together and we pray that scripture over our relationship. It feels so nice to finally be in a healthy relationship, it is something that I have needed for a long time and I’m grateful that I finally get to share it with someone worthy of my heart.

Any who, before getting into this relationship, one of the things I struggled with was loving myself. I knew that in order for me to love someone, I need to love myself. To be able to forgive myself of past choices and to be open and honest with my feelings and with my struggles so that a significant other would know my boundaries.

The most important thing that I remind myself of daily, is that God has forgiven me of my past. It says so in books like Nehemiah, Romans, and Psalms. I feel that it’s important in order for me to love myself, I have to forgive myself and pray daily that God will guard my heart and will open my eyes in times of temptation. Pray that I don’t keep putting myself down for things I’ve done because they’re only going to hinder me fully loving myself the way I need to.

A woman in the Bible that stuck out to me as I was looking through Scripture was the woman at the well. Jesus knew who she was, knew all that she had done, yet he had this wonderful life for her. He said to her, “whoever drinks of this water will thirst again but he who drinks of the water that I give shall never be thirsty again. The water that I shall give him will become in him a fountain of water springing up into everlasting life. (John 4)”

Loving yourself can be hard. You have to learn to be content with who you are as a son/daughter in Christ. Being okay with being ‘wonderfully made in His image’. God has given me a passion for many things; a passion for the elderly, for writing (even if it doesn’t always make sense and I ramble). A passion for being happy and a passion for being fully loving of myself and who He has created me to be.

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Run for Freedom

Last month some of our young adults participated in the Aruna Run. Read about Hannah Thoenen’s experience below:
Upon hearing about the Aruna run in Dalton, Ohio, I felt an instant stirring in my heart to do it. But of course there was a slight hesitation, as I never ran/walked a 5K before, it was strange because even though I had my reservations it was the cause that drove me to be there, well that and my friend Aeriel.
On Thursday two days before the race and the day after I had met the joyous warrior women of Rahab house I knew that God wanted me to participate in the walk on Saturday. I asked him “Lord, is this really what you want me to do?” And during the day at work watching my children in my class running around so free, so alive, so  divinely sure of God’s love and my love for them, I came to realize there were children just like them somewhere on God’s green Earth having to bare the weight of a family on their little shoulders and how they had to provide for their family by participating in some of the most vile and grotesque acts a child much too young, and much much too innocent should ever know. In that moment seeing my girls running, God told me “Yes” as plain and simple as that was, I still had some slight reservations, mainly based on worldly things. My running shoes, my clothes, my, me, mine…
But God knew and I knew that nothing I own is truly mine, everything is given to me, and I’m blessed by Him, why shouldn’t I let God use my feet, and my legs to be a blessing to someone else. Someone so in need of God’s love.
On Saturday I woke up and prayed as I was getting ready for the race, I ate a peanut butter and jelly sandwich, drank plenty of water, skipping my usual morning coffee and prayed with my parents before I hugged them and headed off to Aeriel’s house I just kept thinking, of how many people, how many women and children we would be able to help aid in the freedom journey for them. It struck me, I teared up in the car on the way over, and through just how little of a walk, how only twenty five dollars could help just a tiny bit but, God is where our help comes from. He’s the ultimate helper we are just God’s little helpers like ripples in the ocean so vast and so wide one pebble can make it come alive.
When we arrived at the High School my nerves were running high, and so were my spirits so many people were already lining up, putting on their numbers, and pieces of duct tape with a name on it, to represent the steps towards freedom for the women’s names on it. So strange how a piece of fluorescent duct tape could symbolize so much, the bright radiant future that these women would be stepping into once they were freed. It was moving.
Walking into the High School we checked in and received our numbers, the ankle monitor that would calculate the number of steps each runner/walker would take. Attaching it to my lime green shirt I pinned the number, my number, securely with the safety pins we were given and walked over to the table with the rolls of duct tape and strips of pre-cut pieces. Next to it were the names of women, at least hundred written across this big piece of poster board we were told to take and write down as many names as we wanted, I wrote three, Ahsa, Salma and Nisha. Women who probably thought the world forgot about them, that no one cared for them, on the contrary God did, I did and so did the others who ran for them.
As we lined up and prepared to go run we didn’t know we were receiving yet another gift that day, a drawstring gray and Aruna Runorange backpack that said at the bottom “#IAMARUNA” in the front on the back it said “Made Free By Priya” a woman who was once held in captivity but now was free thanks to the walkers last year. Maybe next year when I go again the women who would make my bag or someone else’s could be Ahsa, Salma or Nisha, hopefully all three would be free. Lining up someone spoke encouraging us and informing us of the change that would happen today, everyone cheered and then we were off.
On the walk many people ran but just as many walked, we talked to each other, to the friends that were there and to the new friends we had made, on the walk it began to rain, and it was so cleansing, to feel and by the end of we were a sweaty rainy mess but we had done what we came to do we ran. We ran for those who couldn’t, we had a voice for those who couldn’t speak, I was able and honored to run for my girls.
Shortly after we left and headed our separate ways I went home and told my mother my experience she told me she was proud and she was going to head into town to run some errands, she asked if I would go with her. I said yes, going up to my room I carefully removed my number 269 and the names attached to it and taped it to the back of my bedroom door beneath a gold glittery wrapping paper cross I made at Christmas, everyday when I wake up I see the cross and I see Ahsa, Nisha and Salma, bright and beautiful underneath it, knowing that they are under God’s protection and they are covered in God’s love. I pray for their safety and freedom daily, I think about them and hope for them knowing that they will be free one day.
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Wondering who is winning the #FFColorWar?

The paint fight was a BLAST! Literally. A blast to the face with a sponge full of paint.

A lot of points were given out as we had competitions involving: Jello, Crayons, Paint Dodgeball, complete paint chaos, and a glow in the dark obstacle course complete with tunnels and slip-n-slides.

Points given during the challenges were as follows:

Jello Relay- Purple (100 pts), Orange (80 pts), Yellow (60 pts), Blue/Red (40 pts)
Crayon Relay- Purple (100 pts), Blue/Red (80 pts), Orange (60 pts), Yellow (40 pts)
Dodgeball- Yellow (500 pts), Purple (400 pts), Blue/Red (300 pts), Orange (200 pts)
Paint Fight- Blue/Red (500 pts), Purple (400 pts), Yellow (300 pts), Orange (200 pts)
Obstacle Course- Purple (1,000 pts), Yellow (800 pts), Orange (600 pts), Blue/Red (400 pts)

Here are the Color War Standings altogether:
These standings include the cookout, bowling, the worship night, and the paint fight:

Purple: 4,290
Yellow: 3,700
Red: 2,730
Orange: 2,530
Blue: 2,000

Send your own blog post to bkerlin@firstfriends.org to earn your team 50 points.

Keep following for info about the bonus event we are adding before the end of June.

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