Wow! 2020! What a year it has been.
There is no question that our lives will be forever changed due to the events of this year. However, what an opportunity it has been for growth, attitude checks, and total surrender to the One who has all things in control – even if we cannot see it! Our plans for Engage Kids might have been interrupted, put on hold or totally changed, but our focus continues to be “engage churches to engage kids” as we put into practice what we learned early on in ministry. Flexibility! We made ourselves totally available to ministries to do whatever needed to be done during this pandemic. We have continued to coach and mentor children’s pastors, mostly through the virtual world. We have also begun virtual children’s pastors huddle groups via Zoom. Going virtual has enabled us to connect with lead pastors and children’s pastors around the country without any travel.
Shortly after the lockdown, we continued our partnership with Chicago City Life Center (CCLC) in serving the community of Englewood by suppling families with much needed groceries while many were out of work. Then after the May riots occurred in Chicago, it left only one grocery store open in the Englewood community and the need for food became greater. During the summer months we served families in the community on a weekly basis.
In August, we joined with CCLC in an outdoor VBS. The final night of the VBS we had to rush through our ministry as rumors of a gang war was beginning in the area. In the midst of that chaos, we had many precious children give their hearts to Jesus. We continued outdoor ministry in the Englewood area with our final outdoor gathering for the year, due to weather, on Halloween. Again, we were blessed as we had opportunity to serve and pray with families who desperately need Jesus.
In the beginning of September, we began assisting Chicago City Life Center with outreach at a park in front of a 23-story government subsidized apartment building where over 300 children live. Our hopes are to be able to continue ministry there in the spring and develop a strong outreach impacting the lives of the families in the area.
There have been lessons that I have learned during this year while serving this precious community. This is a community where close to 50% are below the poverty level. I am so thankful for the heart of Pastor Charles Moodie to be Jesus to this area and continue striving to make a difference. Englewood is just one of the communities in the Chicago area affected by the violence. There have been 45 children under the age of 18 killed as of the end of September with 7 of those under the age of 13. My heart aches for our city.
Here are some things that I learned during this time:
1. People were very thankful for the help.
2. They were really thankful when we gave away detergent.
3. Receiving milk is gold, but receiving milk with cereal is priceless.
4. So many people wanted to bless this community – adults, teens, children – All willing to work hard even in the heat of the day.
5. I watched those that were homeless share what they received, and if there were items that they were not going to use they would let us know or share it with others.
6. We often stereotype people and judge them before we know them. The only way to understand a culture is to spend time with them.
7. They want to feel safe.
There are many hurting children and families that are looking for a place that will accept them where they are and as who they are. I am reminded that just the smallest act of kindness can change lives forever. In a world where there is so much hurt, families are looking for someone that cares and a place where they will be loved. In a world that is so divided with politics, racial tension and overwhelmed with the stress of Covid 19, the church now more than ever needs to be an oasis for them. Our churches need to be a place where they can find acceptance and the love of Jesus. It is not our responsibility to change the unchurched. We are to show them Jesus and allow Him to change their hearts.
As we continue to work with this precious community, and the new church plants and smaller churches in the Chicagoland area, we are so grateful to God for the opportunity to serve in such a time as this. So blessed!
For His Children,
Aldin & Debbie
Giving to Engage Kids
We are so appreciative to those who faithfully support us. We know these are tough times for all of us, and we thank you for giving so generously. We have lost some of our support during this time, but we have also had others increase their monthly giving and have received blessings from totally unexpected sources. Because of your faithful giving, we can continue this ministry.
If you are not currently financially partnering with us, would you be willing to team with us? Would you prayerfully consider partnering with us as we continue Engaging Churches to Engage Kids?
Follow this link on how to give: https://engagekids.org/give/
1. Please continue to pray that we will be 100% funded – we are currently about 75% to our goal.
2. Please continue to pray for the new opportunities that have been opened to us to reach and teach more Children’s Ministry leaders. The more people that get involved ~ the more children we will reach.
3. We would deeply appreciate your prayers for us as we continue to minister in one of the toughest areas of Chicago.
Please know we are praying for you too. We are so thankful for you and pray you and your family have a very blessed Thanksgiving! We love you!!