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Posts Tagged ‘ministry’

A couple of weeks ago, I blogged about my five favorite national or international missions or charity groups. I promised to follow up with local charities, but life happened…

However, I remembered this week, so here, in somewhat alphabetical order, are my #FiveForFriday favorite local missions or charities in the Cedar Rapids, Iowa, area. I’ve linked each one to their website so you can learn more.

Bridgehaven

Any charity or missions organizations I support with resources of any kind would have to pass the pro-life test – a deal breaker issue for me. Bridgehaven (formerly known as Aid to Women) was one of the first pro-life ministries I supported when we moved to Cedar Rapids. I knew many of the directors and volunteers – women (and men) who spend hours of personal time so young women are offered an opportunity to give life to their babies. The ministry has grown exponentially in the last few years, but as always, they offer free pregnancy testing and now, confirmation ultrasounds even for women who have taken a home pregnancy test. Bridgehaven has services that support young families, not just single women, including classes on life skills, family, relationships and spirituality…even post-abortion recovery and support.

They always have volunteer opportunities available, from cashiering at their second-hand shop (Treasures Quality Resale Shoppe) to client advocates and children’s ministry.

His Hands Free Clinic

Cedar Rapids is blessed to have many sources of free medical care but my favorite is His Hands Free Clinic. Started in 1992 (by my general practitioner Dr. James Bell), this particular clinic seeks “to honor God by helping the uninsured and underinsured in our community.” Check out their website to read their Statement of Faith. Volunteer opportunities include areas for medical professionals such as nurse practitioners, physician assistants and nurses. They offer dental services so dentists, dental hygienists and assistants are needed as well. If you have no medical background, but still desire to help, His Hands uses volunteers as administrative assistants and prayer support.

House of Hope

Encourage. Equip. Empower. The mantra of House of Hope is near and dear to my heart. A number of years ago, when House of Hope was first getting started, I was privileged to serve on the board of directors. The founder was a close friend whose vision for a home for women who struggled with life issues quickly caught on with many people in the community. Though those first years were very lean (financially), we saw miracle after miracle as the House on 2nd Ave SE was transformed into a home. Now House of Hope offers life-changing and affirming classes, retreats, professional counseling, and even guest stays in their beautiful Victorian home. As always, volunteers are needed and appreciated in several areas including house management, hospitality and class facilitators.

Wind and Fire Ministries

Another ministry very close to my heart, Wind and Fire (or WFM) was birthed in the hearts of Ric and Christy Lumbard (who just happen to be the parents of my beautiful daughter-in-law) and is located on the WFM Missions Base on County Home Road in Robins, Iowa. WFM operates under three mandates: night and day prayer and worship; equipping forerunners and a place of refuge and restoration. WFM is also a leader in human trafficking restoration internationally. You can experience and participate in powerful prayer and worship at the main Saturday evening event called Encountering God Services (EGS).

Local church

Lastly, but probably most importantly, I love and support my local church. I won’t tell you about mine (though it is fantastic)…but urge you to volunteer your time and financial resources first in the church that feeds you God’s Word.

We should ALL volunteer outside of our regular work. Volunteering can give you confidence and help you learn new skills. If you struggle with self-esteem, volunteering for an organization makes you part of a larger community and helps you meet new people (all kinds of new people).

And of course, volunteering at an organization that supports the convictions of your heart will help you make a difference…which is what all of us want, right?

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Every day we wake up to choices. Get out of bed or stay in? Bath or shower? Coffee or tea or water or…? Read my Bible or watch TV? Workout or sleep longer? Go to work or call in sick? 

Each choice brings a set of consequences, some immediate and some we won’t feel for a long time. Some consequences are the result of years of choices, made well or made poorly. For instance, the dark chocolate M&Ms I’m currently munching on give me short term happiness, but long term weight gain issues. Obviously I’m choosing instant gratification over long term consequences. 

View from a Cedar Rapids skywalk


Despite the rainy, gray spring day in Iowa, I chose to take a long walk today. I knew I may be uncomfortable in the short term, but glad for my choice later in the day when my Fitbit celebrates 10,000 steps. 

Tonight our children’s midweek church program ends until September. Though each adult helper I’ve talked to seems glad for the break in activities, I know each made the choice to serve in this area because of the long term consequences in the lives of these precious children. They know their choice to help in music or crafts or youth may not reap rewards today, but each child encouraged or fed or loved on will benefit for years to come. 

How are you doing on your choices today? Settling for the short term, or banking rewards for the future gain? 

Choose well. 

“I have chosen the way of faithfulness; I have set my heart on your laws.” Psalm 119:30

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I love that memories feature on Facebook. If you have a consistent social media presence, you know what I mean. It pops up in your notifications once a day, reminding you of what you posted on that date as far back as you’ve been on Facebook. I enjoy seeing what I’ve written throughout the years. It gives me perspective on what I was going through that day, or the events and activities I was a part of. Yesterday was a significant anniversary in the McGarvey family. It was seven years ago that we made a pretty big announcement.

The next step…

It’s now official.
What our family has known for certain for the last six months is now public knowledge.
The McGarveys are making a step of faith and joining with God in a new adventure.
God has somewhere else for us to be.
He’s preparing another church, another town, another home for us.
It’s all uncertainty and sadness and apprehension…yet, also excitement and joy and anticipation.
The Lord is for us – we are not afraid.
The Lord is for us – He has somewhere that He’d really like us to minister.
The Lord is for us – His plans are perfect for each of us.
So we wait, and listen, and pray.
We’d love for you to join us on this journey.
Maybe you can’t move with us – but through Facebook and other technology, we can keep you up-to-date on all that’s happening, or not.
We’d love to have you praying with us.
We’d like direction, guidance, wisdom, discernment for our decisions.
But then again, who wouldn’t?
Can’t wait to see what God has in store!

 

Golly! Look at my kids! So young… By the way – I still have that sweater and Don still wears that suit.

Hindsight – we were so excited, so sure we would be moving away, positive it wouldn’t be long before we’d be set up in a new church, confident in God’s provision and timing (but secretly hoping it would be very, very soon). My boys were still in high school so I was filled with mixed emotions. How could I tear them away from their friends or the only church they had ever known? How would David handle his senior year of high school in a different city? What if they hated it? We had many, many more questions than answers. And that turned out to be our new normal.

We started boxing up belongings – to get a head start on what we knew would be happening. We researched open churches across the country. Updated and sent out our resume. Regrettably, I even took Sean out of basketball for a year, because we were confident we would be moving away from Cedar Rapids and headed to our new church. Somewhere. Remember this sentence – God’s ways are not our ways – it’ll save you grief if you just believe it and live it and not argue about it.

We were right. The Lord was (and is) for us. He did have places for us to minister. We worked beside and made friends with wonderful people in many churches and ministries, yet never had a “place” we knew was for us.We learned some hard lessons, cried buckets, saw God’s provision every. single. day. We learned about faith, and trust, and pride. We received answers to prayers for direction, guidance, wisdom and discernment…but never for the one we really wanted. Where do you want us, Lord? Well, not until last August. When God’s sweet Spirit said…here. Here in Troy Mills. Until last summer, when a little church 25 minutes north of Cedar Rapids emailed and asked if “maybe you’d be interested in being our pastor.” For seven years, God was working on the people of that little church and really, really working on us. Preparing us for them, and them for us.

We absolutely love our little church. It is filled with wonderful, generous, kindhearted people who, for some reason, really like us. They work hard to reach out and serve their community. They are our friends and we treasure each and every time we are together. God has been so good to us. And I still have stuff boxed up. God put us exactly where we needed to be. And He’ll do the same for you. But it may not be easy. Actually, it definitely won’t be easy. But it’s worth it. It is so worth it.

 

 

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