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    Connections - Entries from January 2013

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    ThuThursdayJanJanuary31st2013 Rome Wasn't Built in a Day
    byAndrea Artioli Tagged No tags 0 comments Add comment
    [Editor's Note: Andrea Artioli and his family are KSBC global missions partners in Italy. Andrea is the pastor of Sola Grazia Church in Mantova, and he is the co-founder of Coram Deo Ministries. He and his wife Emanuela have three children: Lisa, Tommaso, and Eva.]

    Watching how to do church planting in the USA or UK, I have realized that Italy is placed in a totally different world!

    Starting a new church plant in your country is perhaps relatively easy, and generally successful. You start with a team of mature and trained people, and probably 30 to 50 people will come to follow your new project. Funds could be a problem sometimes, but generally you can find godly, generous men and women in churches who would like to pray, encourage, support, and sponsor the new community.

    I know that I have explained things very simply, but more or less this is what could happen in your nation. But a different atmosphere is found in other countries, especially in Italy!

    The Italian spiritual situation is clear: 56 million people living with a disillusion about God and Christianity. We live with the weight of a massive Catholic culture. There are very few believers and evangelical churches (less than 1% are biblical Christians), there is little vision, narrow mindedness, churches are fragmented, and often the preaching of the Gospel is very light, dull, or full of gimmicks. In addition, we do not have a sound biblical training center to train young people. You would not believe it, but basically churches do not even encourage young believers to be trained for the ministry. Working in this situation therefore is not easy at all. To elevate the spiritual standards is an immense effort.

    So what have I learned in these past years of ministry? I have had to go back to the Bible every day and remind myself that it is not about me and my plans, but it is all about God, Christ, and the Gospel. One of the things that I really enjoy considering is Jesus' words in Matthew 16:18: "I will build my church"--especially the words "I" and "my." We are working for something that is not ours and it is not you or me that will build our community of saints.

    My task is not to create a big church, it is not about creating multiple activities in the church, but it is about being faithful, enduring the work, and preaching a non-diluted Gospel to people and to our church.

    Recently, a man came to visit our church, and after a few weeks he came to me and said, "Now I understand why this church is still small; you are very serious about the Gospel of Jesus Christ." For me this was a great appreciation of our ministry and the work we need to carry on in Italy.
    ThuThursdayJanJanuary24th2013 Ski Trip Reflections
    bySam Childs Tagged No tags 0 comments Add comment

    The annual Salt & Light ski trip took place over Martin Luther King Jr. weekend. This year, over thirty adventurous souls traveled north, by far the most students who have ever gone on the trip. More than ten of these students were not a part of Salt & Light, which provided unique Gospel opportunities, especially with those who were not Christians. God graciously provided safe travels during our 6-hour overnight ride to Immanuel Baptist Church in Traverse City, MI, where Ben Whipple and his fellow staff graciously allowed us to stay for two nights.

    Saturday brought a full day of skiing at Caberfae Peaks. Everyone had a lot of fun and thankfully there were no major injuries (just a lot of sore muscles!). While some in the group could be termed “experts” on the slopes, the majority of us fumbled around on the small hills before gaining confidence as the day went on. Upon returning to Immanuel, we enjoyed a pizza dinner as a group and then had a time of reflection and worship. Two students gave testimonies of how God saved them, which was very encouraging. Perhaps my personal favorite moment was blasting out “All I Have Is Christ” at the conclusion of this time. God really worked through this time of reflection, as many good Gospel conversations ensued among those in the group, both saved and unsaved. After a night of games and little sleep, we awoke early and dodged various snow squalls on our way back to Purdue.

    While God reveals Himself in every circumstance, it was clear that He was working in powerful ways on this ski trip. From random conversations with strangers on the ski lift to thought-provoking theological talks and amazing fellowship among new and old friends, God really blessed us in great ways. Perhaps most notably, God allowed several unbelievers to at the very least be exposed to Christian living for a few days. A couple of these individuals even expressed interest in reading the Bible with people in Salt & Light, and it will be neat to see how God uses this continued interaction to draw people to Himself. I think I speak for all of us who went when I say that the trip was a super-encouraging time with God-saturated interaction, and of course some fun skiing – or falling – down the slopes!

    ThuThursdayJanJanuary17th2013 Every Ministry Matters
    byDrew Humphrey Tagged No tags 0 comments Add comment
    In church life, it's hard not to buy into the idea that bigger is better. We naturally gravitate toward large and exciting ministries, assuming that these must be the places where God is really at work. The problem with this assumption, however, is that we overlook the manifold ways that God advances his kingdom through humble, less glamorous means.

    If you're new to KSBC, you may not know about the Shepherd's class. It's a group that meets during the Connections hour, made up of individuals who have been crafted by God with unique abilities and special needs. These folks benefit each week not only from participation in the corporate worship service, but also from the faithful leadership and teaching of Chuck Ridge during their class time. (You've probably met at least a few of them on the back pew at some point on a Sunday morning!)

    Recently, we received a word of thanks for our church's commitment to this class, and we thought the church would be encouraged to read it and be reminded that a ministry like this is as vital to our fulfillment of the Great Commission of anything else we do. Here's the note:

    I wanted to express a very sincere thank you for what you do for my sister Pat Trott. Pat is mentally handicapped, lives in a group home in Lafayette, and has been attending your church for several years. On behalf of her family I wanted to say "thank you" to your church family for the kindness you have shown Pat. The bus drivers and other members of your staff and church members are always extremely kind and courteous to Pat and tell her how glad they are to see her. Sunday is always a very special day for Pat thanks to your kindness and consideration.

    Very Sincerely Yours,
    John Trott

    It's easy forget about the less visible ministries like the Shepherd's class, but let's make it a point not to do so. Let's give thanks this week for these folks that God has brought to our church, those who minister to them, and the things that we've learned through them and from them.
    ThuThursdayJanJanuary10th2013 June Mission Trip to Bethesda
    byDean Zimmerman Tagged No tags 0 comments Add comment

    Have you ever wondered what it's like living in or visiting another culture? What it's like to be a missionary? Do you have gifts of compassion, helps, or teaching? Interested in becoming a missionary? A short term mission trip may help you answer those questions. The dates of June 11 through 21 have been set aside at Bethesda Outreach Ministries (BOM) for a team from Kossuth. BOM is a ministry to orphans who have lost parents to the AIDS epidemic in South Africa. We support this ministry directly with giving from our missionary budget, and also one of our own members, Tonya Small, has been sent to teach there. BOM is located about 45 minutes north of Pretoria, South Africa.

    We have had teams visit BOM in 2004, 2007, and 2010. Teams have consisted of 8-12 people. We have built a carport, painted buildings inside and out, installed irrigation systems, helped develop vegetable and flower gardens, cleared trees and brush, planned activities for youth events, visited AIDS patients, visited local daycare facilities to provide activities and food, and more. We also take time to enjoy the local culture with visits to local communities, a game park, and worshiping in both African and urban churches. It's a great experience.

    If you've been waiting for the next Bethesda trip, it's here. The trip is open to Christians over 18 years of age, or younger teens accompanied by a parent. Those wishing to participate will complete an application, and if necessary, the mission team and church staff may need to appoint/approve team members to limit team size. Team size needs to be practical and we have certain limits for housing and transportation at Bethesda. Passports will be needed. Cost is anticipated to be in the neighborhood of $3,000 per person. We will work through raising support for this missions project.

    If you are interested, please email me (zimmy07@msn.com) or call me (765-418-4187) by January 20th. We need to organize quickly so we can get tickets purchased. I have been on all three Bethesda trips, so I should be able to answer most questions you have.

    ThuThursdayJanJanuary10th2013 Ladies Bible Study
    bySheryl Hodson Tagged No tags 0 comments Add comment
    We are so blessed at KSBC to have some incredible ladies. This fall in our Ladies Bible Study we studied Twelve Women of the Bible, and I was blown away by the insight and perspectives offered by the ladies attending. Each week as someone would share what was on her heart, she would be surrounded by hugs of encouragement and offers of prayer. I am so thankful for Kossuth and the ladies that share their lives with us each week in Bible Study. 

    Our spring study starts January 16 in room 201 from 6:30 to 7:45pm. We will be doing a video series entitled The Shelter of God's Promises by Sheila Walsh. It will be a 10-week study focusing on ten promises that God gives us in His Word that we can lay claim to as believers. There is no book purchase required. We would love to have you join us as we grow together in the grace and knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ!

    WedWednesdayJanJanuary9th2013 Q&A with the Harkleroads
    byConnections Staff Tagged No tags 0 comments Add comment
    On Saturday, January 19, a winter family festival will be held at KSBC to help raise funds for Mark and Ashley Harkleroad's adoption expenses. Get to know more about this fundraiser and about Mark and Ashley in this interview. (Click here for more info about the fundraising festival.)


    Q: Can you introduce yourselves briefly and let us know how you've been involved at KSBC?

    A: Our names are Mark and Ashley Harkleroad. Mark is a self employed contractor, and Ashley is a stay at home wife. Ashley also watches a baby three days a week from our home. We have been married for 2 1/2 years and have been at Kossuth for two of those years. We became members in January 2012, and in February started serving in the youth ministry together. We primarily work with the senior high by attending events with them and working with discipleship groups. We also both serve in the nursery. We are so thankful God answered our prayers for a church family. We feel right at home!

    Q: Why are you pursuing adoption?

    A: We both have had a desire to adopt since before we were married but didn't have a timeline of when. After trying to conceive for about a 2 years now, and through many months of praying together, we feel that God wants us to start our family through adoption. We believe that as Christians we are called to love and care for orphans, and as a couple we are very excited to do this by adopting a newborn baby. We are pursuing adopting domestically and are planning to adopt an African American or Bi-racial newborn.

    Q: How has God shown himself to be faithful during this process?

    A: God has shown himself to be faithful through our process in lots of ways, but what stands out is His timing. We can't deny that He had a hand in allowing us to learn enough about adoption to be ready to pursue it. We have never been part of a church that has a lot of adopted children in it, friends that are adopting, and people with such a willingness to come alongside us in this as our Kossuth family. And God proves daily to us that He moves mountains. The days we are discouraged most just so happen to be the time we ultimately get encouraged. God knows our needs and He brings people to us at the right time. We absolutely cannot deny that God is working in our lives, and that is extremely comforting when our situation seems so out of our hands at times!

    Q: How can our church family help you with this process?

    A: A few ways that you as a church family could help us would be first and foremost to pray for us. Pray that we would be patient in the process and that through this we would be refined as individuals and as a couple together. We also have a large financial need to complete an adoption. To adopt and African American or Bi-racial newborn we need to have about $30,000-$35,000. In order to be matched with a birth mother we will need to have half of the whole adoption.

    Q: Can you tell us more about the upcoming fundraiser event?

    A: Our fundraiser is going to be a big festival with multiple activities. We have had an encouraging amount of people donate things so we can have some exciting items to auction and delicious baked goods to buy! Kossuth's very own Matthew Barnes has offered to do flips for dollars. So that will be something new and intriguing to see how many he can do. And we are also having games for the kids and the chance to win a prize at every game. There will be a goldfish toss, soda bottle bowling, basketball shoot, and more. If the adults want to play a game we also plan to have indoor corn hole set up to play at your leisure. Popcorn and water will be available. We hope to see many of you there and appreciate all of you who have helped us so far!
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