Rising to the Occasion
Rising to the Occasion
In these challenging and tumultuous times we are so blessed to share how our ministries have flexed and adapted to rise to the needs of the locals we serve. Below, see our latest stories and connect with our field staffers' pages where you can read more about the places they're called and support them in the work.
To give to our COVID Special Relief Fund click here.
Lori & Bruce Thompson
Since Teen Camp can’t take place in person this summer at Evergreen Bible Camp, Lori Thompson collected messages and photos from the camp board and staff to send to the campers, along with some camp activities. One of the campers said, “Reading these not only made me cry, but they also made my day.” The Thompsons will also do zoom meetings with the teen campers during the week they were supposed to have camp. To read more about the Thompsons or to give a special gift to their work today, click here.
With no family members being able to visit those in the hospital, Rob Tonkin, one of our endorsed hospital chaplains, will visit the patient and then call their spouse or child to check on them. For those patients who have contact and visitor restrictions, Rob has to call their rooms when they want to talk, instead of getting to see them in person. Click here to listen to an interview Rob did with a local news station in Indiana: Hospital Chaplain Interview.
Jim Webb, who serves in rural areas of Oregon and Washington, has an active ministry via social media. A young man contacted him because he had seen Jim at camp eight years ago. The man’s fiancé had recently broken up with him and he was struggling with suicidal thoughts. Jim taught him through Ephesians—both with questions and asking him to watch and respond to YouTube videos. Jim also connected him to online church services. His faith seemed to be growing. Then he stopped responding and Jim feared the worst. When Jim finally reached him, the man told Jim that he had taken what Jim taught him and had started a Bible study with a group of friends. “It’s like I never knew what being a Christian was,” he said, “and now I cannot stop thinking about God and wanting to know him more.” To read more about Jim or to give a special gift to his work today, click here.
Jeremy & Danae Hoyt
Jeremy and Danae Hoyt’s church in the small town of Crowley, Colorado has been working on building a park for the purpose of ministering to the community. As the Hoyts prayed for ways to minister during the pandemic, God sent them some men who love to build. They were able to add a fort, swings, and park benches to the church park. They look forward to the completion of a chuck wagon where they can host community bar-b-ques and serve meals to the community. “Praise God for men willing step up and build on to the park as a ministry tool,” Jeremy says. To read more about the Hoyts or to give a special gift to their work today, click here.
Jim Asselin is a chaplain with the Department of Public Safety in California’s Silicon Valley. There has been an upswing in domestic violence calls in his county since COVID-19 restrictions have been put in place. Because abusers tend to have poor coping skills and can often see their wife or children as burdens preventing them from doing whatever it is they want to do with their life, their frustrations are taken out on their family members. The loss of income or having to deal with the kids all day because they are not at school are stressors that can lead to more abuse. The current restrictions have taken away the lifeline of counselors, teachers, and friends who may be in the best position to recognize when a child needs help. So, the First Responder—the police officer or the chaplain with them—can make a huge difference. Jim is entering homes at these moments of crisis and working with families to help diffuse tense situations. “Only Christ can transform a person who is caught in the trap of fear and violence,” Jim says. “Isn’t it amazing that He chooses people like us to walk into the fray and make a difference?” To read more about Jim or to give a special gift to his work today, click here.
Marissa Bostick helps families who have experienced pregnancy, infant, and child loss in north Texas. Since she has not been able to visit any of these families, she has had to turn to other means to help. Pregnancy loss doesn't stop during a pandemic, and a lot of parents are facing devastating losses alone without family and friends due to hospital regulations. These parents have been finding help through online support groups and social media. Marissa has been very active on these support groups and has tried to encourage these parents in whatever way she can. Once this pandemic is over, Marissa would like to have a property available for families to come to find peace and healing. “One thing that we have learned from this pandemic is the importance of community,” Marissa says. “And that's what I would like to bring to these families who have already gone through so much.” To read more about Marissa or to give a special gift to her work today, click here.
Larry & Vonnie Pratt
Larry & Vonnie Pratt minister as musicians and puppeteers in the Pacific Northwest. Since the virus has made live events impossible, they are now sharing puppet programs virtually. Their recorded shows have been used by Good News Clubs, Sunday school classes, church websites, after school programs, and Christian schools. They’ve also shared them out through Facebook, reaching children and families across our country…even an orphanage in Myanmar! God’s truth is spreading through these fun-loving characters to those who may not normally darken the door of a church building. “Your shows are amazing and super great and always positive,” one of their viewers recently wrote to them. “Good for all ages to help in these dark times.”To read more about the Pratts or to give a special gift to their work today, click here.
“No visitors at this time,” has become a familiar sight for John Hoover as a chaplain in nursing homes in New Hampshire. As a result he’s been spending a lot of time parked in his car outside these nursing homes, praying over the residents, families, and staff who live and work there. He’s also been praying specifically for God to raise up Christ-following staff to minister in his place until he can return. “Even though our physical activities are limited, our prayers are not,” says John. “Let’s cry out to our omnipotent God who hears. Jesus, raise us up to do battle in prayer wherever we are.” To read more about John or to give a special gift to his work today, click here.
Kris Cain has a video chat TV set up in a small observation room in the prison where he usually does ministry so that he can talk and pray with inmates through a laptop at home who are in need of a chaplain. Kris’ suicide support group is meeting together in pairs of two by weekly phone calls. They are also continuing a weekly Bible study that Kris prepared for them, and they’ve been encouraged to pray with and encourage each other. And as always, Kris is available by phone to all those he ministers to. “God has shown himself faithful,” says Kris. “And the good news of the gospel continues to go forth!” To read more about Kris or to give a special gift to his work today, click here.
Bob Miles has served in two senior care facilities in western Washington state for more than thirty-four years. Since he’s currently unable to visit with residents, he’s decided to encourage them from afar through music—standing outside of the buildings where large windows provide a good view— some days braving wind, hail, and rain. Bob has such a deep heart for the residents that despite the weather or the virus, he wants to demonstrate that he's still there for them in this challenging time. And his music is allowing him to do that. He’s been playing his guitar and singing the familiar hymns that he typically sang with the residents during Sunday church services in the past. He sings about 50 songs a day from a large print hymn book that the residents have inside so, if they choose to, they can sing along with him. It’s even encouraging to Bob himself: “If I have any anxiety,” Bob says, “after 2 hours of singing praise songs, all that’s pretty much worked out of me by the end!” To read more about Bob or to give a special gift to his work today, click here.
Joe Anderson is partnering with Sunday school classes, donors, and friends to provide meals for the families of students and young adult leaders in his Bible studies in Dallas, TX. They choose two families a week and drop off a ham, sides, dessert and paper products, along with other food necessities and a Bible study that the student can lead their family in after cooking the meal. This gives the students and young adult leaders Joe is working with a “meaningful platform to lead their families” while also meeting a real need for food. To read more about Joe or to give a special gift to his work today, click here.
David & Lisa Grainge
David & Lisa Grainge have been delivering food boxes to some of the neediest families in their South Philadelphia neighborhood throughout this pandemic. They receive donated food from Walmart and distribute it to Congolese refugee families and other families in the local school who the principal texts them about. They use their time connecting with the families to invite them to watch their weekly video worship services. “This pandemic has stirred up many fears in our neighbors’ hearts,” David says, “We are hopeful that God will use the fear and uncertainty of this crisis to stir up hearts to receive the gospel message.” To read more about David and Lisa or to give a special gift to their work today, click here.
Melvin Sensenig trains urban pastors and leaders in Reading, Pennsylvania. Because of social distancing, he has shifted all of his teaching online, using video conferencing software to do real-time training with pastors. “I think this has the potential for opening up new avenues of ministry in the future,” Melvin says. “One of the big problems many of these pastors have is time. Eliminating travel time and having the ability to record sessions for them to view later could mean that more will be able to participate on a regular basis.” To read more about Melvin or to give a special gift to his work today, click here.
Bill & Mary Glidden
Bill & Mary Glidden wondered how they would do their normal food distribution ministry in Aguilar, Colorado in the midst of social distancing. They decided that people should not enter the building (as they normally do) so the mayor offered to block the street so that the food could be distributed “drive-up” style. A county commissioner heard that the Gliddens were looking for volunteers to help and started putting out the word. Three men that work for the county road system heard what was happening and wanted to take a vacation day to help distribute the food. The commissioner talked to their supervisor and ended up having them get paid their normal wages to help distribute food in their community. The Gliddens ended up having so many volunteers that they had to turn some away and they passed out more boxes of food then they were anticipating. “We don’t know what tomorrow will bring but this month God blessed the people with an abundance of food,” Bill says. To read more about Bill and Mary or to give a special gift to their work today, click here.
Rick and Connie Ediger
Knowing that elderly folks in the Senior Citizen’s Nursing home near them were struggling with loneliness since visitors are no longer allowed in the facility, Rick and Connie Ediger loaded up their Barrel Train (made out of old barrel drums) with stuffed animals holding signs that said, “You are Loved”. They drove past all the windows in the facility. The regional vice president of the facility told the Edigers that it was a huge morale booster for the residents. One lady said, "You got me out of my recliner. I was struggling, and you were more of an encouragement than you realize. It just made me cry. Thank you so much!" To read more about Rick and Connie or to give a special gift to their work today, click here.
Doris Jasperson works with those coming out of addictions. She says during this time of the coronavirus, “it is difficult to explain to an addict why the liquor stores are open but the churches and recovery support groups are not allowed to meet in person. Emotional and mental health are at stake. This is urgent. This is survival. This is relapse prevention.” Doris has continued their meetings via video calls and those who don’t have internet access at home have been going to the parking lots of closed coffeeshops and other businesses that have wifi access so they can join in the calls. To read more about Doris or to give a special gift to her work today, click here.
One of our military chaplains, Travis Dalsis, has been leading “PT with the Chaplain” every morning via Facebook Live. He also posts short, encouraging messages throughout the day on social media. One of his soldiers writes, “Thanks for helping to start our day!” To hear more about Travis or to give a special gift to our chaplain endorsement program today, click here.
In Greensboro, North Carolina, Dayna Carr tells us that a group of neighbors in her community have organized a "helping hands" hotline for the neighborhood. It consists of a dedicated email address and a Google phone number where people can make requests for grocery pickups, prescription pickups, and daily check-in phone calls if they live alone. This service is free and targeted to those who are elderly and/or high risk. Two women are managing requests and passing them along to vetted community volunteers to do the work. Dayna is not coordinating this effort, but has been able to bring ministry resources to the table for folks in need. To read more about Dayna or to give a special gift to her work today, click here.