In Case You Missed It

This past Sunday we announced that in two years, May 2019, Pastor Ben will be retiring. On May 21, 2017 there will be a congregational meeting following third service to accept Pastor Ben's retirement plan and to form a search committee that will find his replacement. In our denomination, the Evangelical Presbyterian Church, as a congregation we vote to form a search committee. That committee then undertakes the task of finding the next head pastor and has the freedom to look at and suggest any EPC Ordained pastor. This could include our associate pastor Josh Hanson, but ultimately the search committee is free to choose whomever they feel God is directing them to choose. Once the search committee has made its final selection, they will notify session so that another congregational meeting can be held to vote on the candidate. Following that approval, the candidate will have one final approval from the Midwest Presbytery of the EPC.

We are intentionally starting this transition process now so that we can work to have a smooth and wise transition. If you have any questions feel free to talk to any of the elders or staff.

Members please plan to attend the congregational meeting following third Service on May 21.

Love Your Neighbor

On Sunday February 26th Pastor Josh preached an exhilarating message about “Loving Our Neighbor”. This was the last message in our "Love" series that talked about the love that we are to have for our neighbors. And there is no one better to teach us how to love our neighbors than Jesus. Since God first loved us we must love our neighbors! At the end of the message Pastor Josh challenged us to “Go” and “Love Our Neighbors” by sharing Jesus with them or by random acts of kindness. After the service we took this challenge to heart and passed out over fifteen Hundred cards that had different ways that you could “Love Your Neighbor” in the weeks following the message. As the weeks have passed we have seen some of the cards come back with testimonies written on them giving us the story how they “Loved Your Neighbor”. Those testimonies are now displayed on the wall across from the Cafe. Take a minute and to stop by and read a few, I’m sure you will be blessed. Now don’t forget, it’s never too late to “Love Your Neighbor”!

 

Evangelism Training Recap

On March 11th Gateway hosted an Evangelism Training event that focused on relational evangelism with an emphasis on the friendships we have at work. Over 120 people attended the two hour program and a fantastic team of volunteers knocked it out of the park(as always!!)

Much of the information utilized in the training is now available on the newly released addition to the Gateway APP under the E-Tool tab. It can also be found online at evangelism.gatewayepc.org The first page you will encounter with the Evangelism Tool is our Five Principles for bringing the Gospel to people in our lives. Identify(who will you invest in for the sake of the Kingdom??), Pray(be in regular prayer for this person), Invest and Invite(Pursue a friendship and relationship with that person), Listen(Show you care by asking more questions than talking at them), Commit(This isn’t a one time thing, be invested for the long haul!).


We will be adding a FAQ section soon on the ETool. So if you run into any tough spots sharing your faith, let us know! And don’t miss out on our next Evangelism Training, Servant Evangelism .Saturday, May 20th, 9am through 11am.  More details coming soon.

Journey Youth Retreat

Let’s Go!  It is a call to action, a call to do something or to maintain the momentum that you have. Let’s Go was also the theme for the winter retreat, The Journey, that the youth group went on over New Year’s Eve. 102 people loaded up charter buses and headed to Michindoh Conference Center in Hillsdale, Michigan to begin a journey through the book of Job. As God allowed Job to suffer at the hands of Satan, God never left Job’s side. God listened and was patient with Job and his friends. At the right time God showed up and then showed Job who He is and asked who Job was to question God. The Journey was 36 hours of awesomeness that included TBA’s (team building activities), “stupid games” worship by Curt Anderson, challenges from the word of God, a rocking and worship filled NYE’s dance party and then cabin time (small groups). The gospel was shared, students were encouraged, they learned to “gird up their loins” and they were challenged to live out their faith. The Journey “Let’s Go” will not be soon forgotten.

Welcome Our New Kidway Staff Person!

Laura Fagan - Children's Ministry Assistant (Nursery-Kindergarten)

Laura Fagan - Children's Ministry Assistant (Nursery-Kindergarten)

On January 1 we welcomed Laura Fagan to our Kidway staff in the role of Assistant Director over preschool. If you know Laura, you know she loves kids and is very passionate about helping people of any age grow in their walks with Jesus. She is a very outgoing, people-oriented and energetic person who will complement our Kidway team well. Laura and her husband Troy have attended Gateway for the past 13 years and have three energetic boys. She has been involved in our preschool ministry for many years as a Sunday school teacher, VBS leader and Kidway JAM leader. We are very excited to have Laura on board and hope you'll have the chance to welcome her to our team!

Celebrate Recovery

Celebrate Recovery is a Christ-Centered 12 step program design for individuals who are struggling with hurts in their lives, habits they can’t kick by themselves and hangups that seem to be holding them back. Celebrate Recovery is intended for ANYONE who struggles with ANY issue or hurt or knows someone who does and is looking for guidance on how to help them.

Every week we eat together, we worship together and go through 52 lessons in large group that are intended to break through the walls we have built up in our hearts. After large group we meet in confidential gender and addiction specific small groups every week where individuals can see that they are not alone in the struggles in their lives and that there are others who can come along side of them. God has used Celebrate Recovery to meet the needs of thousands of hurting people across the nation and it has helped many here in Findlay as well. 

 

There are many ways you can help this amazing ministry:
Ask your life group if they would be willing to provide a meal just once in the year.
Be willing to invite those around you who are struggling or come yourself if you are struggling.
Be in prayer as a life group for this ministry.

 

 

 

Angel Tree

Thanks to all of the callers, shoppers, wrappers, deliverers, cookers, servers, and party volunteers who helped with the AngelTree outreach this Christmas.  We were able to serve more than 60 children and 30 families with incarcerated parents in the Hancock/Hardin/Putnam county area.  I know the families were blessed and we were, as well.  Merry Christmas to everyone!

-Rich & Sherie Shultis

Dominican Republic Mission Trip

What an awesome week we had in the Dominican Republic! 8 Gateway men traveled to the DR to participate in a mission trip to teach some baseball fundamentals and more importantly to spread the gospel. We were part of a larger group (150+ “missionaries") who teamed together to put on dozens of baseball clinics all over the DR and spread the gospel. We had all levels of experience and many people associated with major league teams, all of whom loved Jesus. I wasn’t sure what to expect from the trip, but once we arrived it became very clear that the main purpose of the trip was to spread the gospel to young Dominican men and to use a common interest (baseball) to gain an audience. And wow, did God use us! I'd estimate more than 1000 young men heard the gospel and I00s of them made decisions to trust in the finished work of Christ for their salvation. Luke 15:7 tells us that there is rejoicing in heaven when a sinner is saved, and I like to imagine it might be similar to what happens when a major leaguer hits a home run to win a game. The fans erupt, there are high fives, cheering, fireworks exploding and general euphoria among the fans. I think Heaven had some serious celebrations during our trip. 

On a personal note I have never felt more compelled/inspired to share the gospel than I did on the trip. 150+ people uniting and challenging each other to spread the gospel will light a fire under you to “go and preach the good news to all the world”.  To help encourage/spur us on, we had little church services 2x per day. There was a worship band, several different pastors who delivered encouraging and challenging messages and many folks who gave testimonies of what God had done in their life. All of it was inspiring, from Tim Lee, the Maine veteran who had both of his legs blown off in Vietnam, to Shawn Malone, who by all accounts should have been dead from a drug overdose, to Don Gordon, MLB pitcher turned missionary who pushed us to share our experiences with each other and those in our world.  

We had some longer bus rides getting to the clinic locations, and on each ride we were challenged to share our testimony with everyone else on the bus. Many of us are hesitant to share our faith, falling prey to any number of lies from Satan like we’re not good enough, don’t know enough Bible verses, your story isn’t that exciting, etc. However, every time a man made himself available to speak about who God was in their life, God used that man to speak truth and inspire others. This was a fantastic reminder that the results are up to God, it’s my (our) job to simply overcome some fears, open my mouth and speak (about Jesus).

I would encourage every Christian to go on a mission trip.  It will grow you, you will be used for God’s glory, you will be reminded of how blessed you are, you will plant and water “seeds”, get to show God’s love to others and Lord willing, be part of the celebrations when people move from death to life and are saved by our Lord Jesus Christ. 

 

To God be the Glory

2016 Costa Rica Mission Trip

Gateway sent 17 people to Costa Rica on October 1-8 to partner with Score International and a small, local church started and lead by one obedient and courageous pastor. The team shared the Gospel of Jesus Christ through Bible school in a portion of the “squatter” village of Alajuelita. It is estimated that close to 100,000 people live in Alajuelita, many of which are Nicaraguan refugees. In addition to Bible school for the children, the team shopped for and delivered food to 17 families in the surrounding village. Toiletries and basic first aid supplies collected during Gateway’s vacation bible school were also distributed to these families. This was a special blessing as we were the first team to be invited into the resident’s homes. We were blessed with the opportunity to visit and pray with each family. 

The team also served as the hands and feet of Christ at the neighboring church through painting, building a new fence, and planting two beautiful gardens. The team also hosted a movie night at the church where over 100 attendees were treated to popcorn, drink, and a movie. School supplies collected during Gateway’s vacation bible school were provided to the church.

On one afternoon, the team visited a family home named Casa de Pan where children in need are provided a home and loving family. Any guesses how many children call Victor and Melva Guzman “mom and dad”? 45 (and growing)! Makes the Duggars look like amateurs. The team played and did crafts with the children and was blessed with the opportunity to listen to the story of the family history.

On our last day, the team was treated to a white water rafting trip on the Pacuare River. Being rainy season the river was very high and flowing very quickly. It was an incredible blessing to witness the beauty of the rain forest including several very picturesque waterfalls (not to mention world-class white water).

 

Engage College Ministry Happenings

I wanted to take a moment to highlight our Jubilee Launch party! The Jubilee Conference is an annual conference for college students where they learn how Jesus impacts and transforms every area of life, from their friends and family, to their studies, to the food they eat. It’s a weekend long conference where 4000 students gather for worship and learning through big main sessions as well as smaller breakout sessions. The registrations opened in October and we threw a party to celebrate as well as to get people signed up! It was a wonderful time full of laughs, food, and music. By the end of the night, we had 27 people signed up for the conference so far! Our goal is to fill a charter bus which would be 50 people! We are excited to see what God will do through Jubilee in our student’s lives.

So far this year we have been having great success with our weekly events. On average, we have had 65 students come on Sunday mornings to worship with everyone. At the Gathering, we have been teaching on the Prophets this semester and how God used the prophets to radically change and inform the Israelites. Our Life Groups have been incredibly fruitful as well. The students are teaching on a variety of topics including Mark, Acts, Chronicles, Hebrews, and much more. We have also been hosting our weekly Thursday Night dinner that has also been going well, we even put in a mini kitchen at North Main so that we can continue this ministry!
 

The Korean Church — A Praying Church

Prayer.  If I were given one word to describe my trip to Korea, it would be "prayer."  The people of Korea are a praying people.  Take their early morning prayer meetings as an example.  Every church I visited had early morning prayer services.  And most have multiple early morning prayer services.  

What do I mean by early?  One church has a 5am, 6am, 7am, and 8:30amprayer meeting with thousands of people in attendance at each one.  At a6am prayer service I attended, my guess is that 2,000-3,000 people were already present and praying silently to God before the service began.  A women's choir led us in singing, couples led us in prayer, and the pastor led us in a sermon.  Their prayers are saturated with the Word of God as are their songs and sermons.

Another church also had a 5am prayer service every day of the week (except Sunday).  But not to be outdone, they also held prayer evening services beginning at 11pm, which went until the start of the 5am prayer service.  Six hours of prayer every evening with thousands of Koreans participating.  The people of Korea are a praying people.

This has challenged me personally.  As I reflect on the "ordinariness" in Korea of what would be considered a radical commitment to prayer in the US, I wonder what God would do in our country if we committed ourselves to prayer like our brothers and sisters have in Korea.  May this passion and commitment for prayer in Korea cross the Pacific and enter into our churches in the US.

Pad Palooza 2016

On Saturday, September 17th Sew*Quilt*Share hosted the second annual “Pad Palooza”. Since female students in many third world countries miss a week of school each month because they lack access to feminine hygiene products, the main purpose of the event was to cut and sew reusable cloth feminine pads for Mission Possible to distribute in their Christian Schools in Haiti.

We are delighted to share that a total of 243 cloth feminine pads were sewn that day and over 200 were cut out! Prior to the event, SQS ladies had sewn 628 pads and over 3,400 were shipped to Gateway from all over the United States and from as far away as Canada. We rejoice that these gifts will go on our behalf, and impact the opportunity for 363 precious young women in Haiti to receive a Christian education. To God be all the glory!

An additional purpose for “Pad Palooza” was to open the doors of Gateway Church and invite our community to connect with us. Throughout the day over 35 women attended. It was a blessing to see women of all ages connecting with one another and serving together in unity. We pray that seeds were sown both at Gateway and in Haiti, which will draw women into a deeper relationship with Jesus Christ.

Thank you to all who attended Pad Palooza, especially the volunteers who sacrificed their time to make this event a success.

If you sew or can handle a pair of scissors, catch the vision and join us for the next Sew*Quilt*Share meeting scheduled for Tuesday, October 27th. We would love to connect with you! If you are unable to attend but would like to serve the young women of Haiti in this outreach ministry, please click here to download the pattern and bless others by sewing at home. 

Project Baton Rouge

This past August the people of Baton Rouge experienced a historic rain storm that was soon followed by devastating floods. The homes and workplaces of tens of thousands of people were made unusable and even completely destroyed all over the region. People in Findlay know a bit about life altering floods and we couldn’t help but want to do whatever we could to help our neighbors in Louisiana. The Bible teaches us that the outflow of our response to the Grace we receive through the finished work of Christ on the Cross is that Christians show grace to others!  

We were not sure what might happen, but we decided to trust God and take a step of faith to try to fill a semi-truck full of relief supplies to ship down. In just 8 days we went from an empty 52 ft trailer, to a trailer so full we wouldn’t have been able to fill one more pallet!  

In the process of getting the trailer filled, a number of people approached us about the possibility of going down and helping in person. Our missions director, Kevin Grubinski, volunteered to lead a team if we could put one together, and before we knew it, we had the church van full of hands and feet ready to serve!  

While in Baton Rouge our team worked with our sister church, First Presbyterian of Baton Rouge, and the Salvation Army, to help with organizing supplies and cleaning out people's homes. Early mornings and late nights of physical work was the schedule for our Gateway volunteers, and they LOVED IT!  

It cannot be said enough how grateful we are that God gave us a church and a community that allowed us to help where people were hurting. Continue to be praying for a peace that comes only from God for our friends in Baton Rouge. And be praying for Gateway to always be a church that responds to the needs of people who are hurting!

Summer 2016 Haiti Mission Trip

From July 16th-23rd 25 people went to to Haiti. While we were there we did a day camp at a different Mission Possible school each day for elementary age and younger students. We shared the gospel and focused on the idea that they are adopted by God and are royal because of it. We spent time doing music, skits, games and crafts at each school. As a youth leader it was awesome to see this team of students grow together as a community and develop their abilities to lead.

There was also a teachers' and administrators' seminar the same week that some of the other adults lead to help continue to improve the teachers and administrators at the schools. These Mission Possible staff are the ones who are there long after we leave who impact the students we spent time with. Teaching, developing them, and sharing the gospel with them.

In the evening we also had several opportunities to hang out with many of the young adults in the Mission Possible churches. We played soccer with them (and lost terribly) swam in the ocean, shared testimonies and asked questions back and forth.

If you want to hear more about the trip look for some of the people from these photo's on a Sunday morning and ask them about their experience.

Softball Mission Trip

On June 29th we took a girls softball team (girls from the area) to the Dominican Republic to share the Gospel of Jesus Christ, build relationships, grow spiritually, and yes play softball. The team was coached by Stacy Sharp, who did a great job of putting the team together, encouraging them, and leading them in a Godly way. The team was able to play games in the city of Santo Domingo and also in sugarcane villages like Los Montones. Which is a major contrast to what we are used to. After each game we were able to share the Gospel of Jesus Christ and we had the privilege of seeing many people come to know Jesus as Savior. The team also spent time at a girls orphanage, where they got to make a craft, put on a little softball clinic, and most importantly love and hug on the girls in Jesus name. Also one of the days the team went shopping and bought food for a hundred and twenty families for a village called La Laura. This is a very poor village that doesn’t have a church yet. We were able to share the Gospel with them, pass out the food, and pray with the families individually. Please pray that God would move in the heart of someone that would have the desire to plant a church in La Laura. And the resources to help that community. Praise the Lord for a great trip to the DR!!!

Women's Resource Blankets/Sew Quilt Share

The Sew*Quilt*Share group from Gateway Church has blessed WRC with more than 200 quilts in the past couple of years, and today I got to receive 25 more. The women in this group use their talents to provide handmade blankets for our young families, and we are so grateful!

 

I was able to thank the handcrafters for their truly beautiful creations at Gateway today and tell them that we use the quilts for three purposes: To connect an unsure woman to the baby she is carrying and celebrate the conception (even if unplanned), to congratulate a client on completing several months of Bible study or a parenting video series, and to give away as other opportunities arise (yesterday we helped a 22-year-old woman with invasive cancer choose a blanket as she starts chemo treatments).

Since our mission includes sharing the truth and love of Christ with all who enter our doors, the Sew*Quilt*Share group, co-led by Mary Claire Petro, Sandra Tietje, and Sue Briggs, is a wonderful partner. The gift of a beautiful blanket supports our goal of offering practical, emotional, and spiritual support to all we serve.

 

The verse that motivates Sew*Quilt*Share says: “She opens her hand to the poor and reaches out her hand to the needy” (Proverbs 31:20). We at Women’s Resource Center are grateful that we get to impact our community together.

Thankfully,
Laurie Turnow, Executive Director WRC

2016 Youth Dominican Republic Mission Trip

This past June a group of Gateway’s youth traveled to the Dominican Republic on a mission trip through Mission Possible. The youth team spent the week at Ebenezar Church in Barahona, Dominican Republic. They did a sports camp teaching the children correct form and skills in soccer, basketball, and volleyball. The team also lead an art camp doing clay projects, painting cross necklaces, and creating beaded jewelry. While the camp was fun, the team's mission was to be God’s light to the kids and to teach them the gospel. Each day after camp the group gave a bible story that was parallel to what the kids learned in camp that day. Campers heard about God’s grace and love everyday. The Dominican children absolutely loved the camp and truly enjoyed the experience.

 

The first day of camp was a hit. Camp started at 9 am and kids were out on the courtyard eager to play at 8 am! Some kids showed up in their school gym uniforms ready to learn and compete. Throughout the week the kids were super excited every time they got to change stations and experience something new. The first day of art the children learned about how art is a display of God’s beauty and love in this world. It was great having high school students that could help translate and communicate with the students in both sections of the camp. At the end of each camp session a mini sermon was taught to the kids. Each day the kids heard scripture they could apply to their lives.

 

While the camp was going on, Jared McBride lead a different team every day for a painting project inside the church. The group managed to paint the entire inside of the church. They also began painting the outside of the church as well. Sunday morning the group experienced church and worship like they never had before. It was a great experience for our youth see another culture’s way of worship. Youth Pastor David Rath then gave a moving sermon about the great commission and how we are called to ‘go’ as Christ-followers. Sunday night the group attended a revival service at the Creole church in Barahona. Again, it was another opportunity to experience different types of worship. The youth group prepared a spanish worship piece called “Gracia Sin Fin”. They performed it at the revival service and the congregation absolutely loved it. Missions trips like these really get groups to grow closer with one another. Every night we had dinner and special devotion time together where we would talk our daily scripture we read that day. The youth team got very close with one another. But, even better grew in their relationship with God and learned to get in the habit being in scripture everyday.

 

On the last day of camp the whole group took the kids down to the Pan American Games training facility to play on the soccer field and run on the track. The younger kids had a great time playing soccer against one another. Also running races against each other and doing relays. The older group loved competing against the “Americanos”. There was a few competitive soccer games played where both sides had a great time. The week ended with all the children getting a camp shirt and mini bag to take home with them. Our youth team was able to teach the kids all kinds of things throughout the week. But our youth team also learned a lot throughout the week. About love, fellowship, compassion, and thanking and praising God no matter what life throws at you.

 

Deep Sea Discovery VBS

575 kids had a great week June 20-24 at our Deep Sea Discovery Vacation Bible School. We are so thankful for the over 275 volunteers who gave of their time and energy to teach kids all about God's love and his presence with them wherever they go. Throughout the week, kids learned about the San Felipe Educa church in Costa Rica (where we will be sending a mission team to later this fall), and collectively they raised $950 for the church, brought in 577 packets of vegetable seeds for the church to plant community gardens, donated 895 school supplies and 507 health care products! What a generous group of kids! Thank you to our directors, Justin & Anne Stiles, and Amy Langhals, and to everyone who donated resources or time to make this week a success!

June Bolivia Mission Trip

Our objective for this mission trip was designed to work alongside missionaries Jamie and Susan Ramge, supporting them and their work with the indigenous Quechua tribes residing in the Andes Mountains. However, the work we did there far exceeded these established parameters. We worked, rested, and developed relationships with the people living in these remote villages. While helping the people build churches for their ever growing Christian communities, we were able to get insight into the fundamental cultural differences that set the Quechua people apart. We were encouraged by their pure devotion to their faith in Christ, while at the same time giving them encouragement by helping them to build their churches. This was an otherwise very difficult process without an excessive amount of people devoted to the same constructive goal.

The first few days of our trip were spent in a village called San Jacinto, where we worked to construct a church in order to move a growing congregation out of a dirt walled room to a larger, more structured sanctuary. One of the most incredible experiences was attending the church services in San Jacinto. Although the room that they currently have to worship is small and dark, people from the whole village pack in to celebrate their faith in God. It was amazing to see the joy on the faces of those in the congregation. It made the whole service remarkably impacting, even though we couldn't understand the language of the sermon. We were excited to see the enthusiasm and be a part of God's work in this villag

The next few days, we spent time in an even more remote, poverty stricken village in the Andes mountains, known as Villa Pampa. In this location our team divided, four of which worked on excavating the foundation for a church that will be constructed, and the others worked with kids in the nearby school by teaching lessons about bible stories and dental hygiene. The work was physically demanding, but the gratitude and looks of encouragement far outweighed any strain. We found it incredibly humbling that although these people live in extreme poverty, they always offered us their best and fed us first. They are currently worshipping in the house of the leader until this new structure is completed and we witnessed four people accept Christ the evening that we went to the church service there. 

Jamie and Susan Ramge have been evangelizing to the Quechua Indians for more than twelve years. They work closely with an indigenous Quechua Christian leader named Julian whose strength and compassion help to reach this unreached people group. In the short time we were in Bolivia, we were able to witness the great impact that these leaders have made in sharing the good news of Jesus. The new Christians are excited to begin their changed lives and the enthusiasm is contagious. With the money that Gateway church donated from the past Christmas Eve service, there five church plants that have been started. It will be exciting to see the progress and Christian growths that continues in this region in the years to come.