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2BC BLOG

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100 Happy Kids, Ukraine Style by Steve Hemphill

It had been 40 years since I last visited Ukraine. In 1977, they were still part of the Soviet Union and Leonid Brezhnev was their leader. He and Jimmy Carter were increasing tensions over human rights which culminated in the U.S. boycotting the 1980 Olympics. As Oxford students, my Canadian friend and I were fearless, if not naive. We were briefly detained by the Soviet police simply for talking to fellow university students in Kiev. Not a great time to visit!

My next visit in 2017 was much different. As a board member of the Future Leadership Foundation, I was welcomed by Baptists everywhere. But, there was one church that left a stunning impression: Revival Church of Kiev.

The Pastor, Nickolay Ponomarev, told us about the horrible orphan crisis in Ukraine, made much worse by the war with Russia in the East. The estimates are 100,000 children being warehoused in very bad conditions. Pastor Nicky felt God telling his church to do something...and oh my Lord, did they ever!!

The church has perhaps 150 in attendance on a Sunday morning, but they initiated a project that I do not believe any American megachurch would dare tackle. The project “100 Happy Kids” envisions 10 church couples to adopt 10 children each.  Hence, “100 Happy Kids”! LET THAT SOAK IN!

They are already on the 3rd family. In fact, the 2nd family adopted 5 siblings and then another set of 7 siblings, making their family go from 2 to 14 in a few months! It is exceptionally humbling to be in the presence of such sacrificial Christians. The least I could do was help...and now we all can help. I am thrilled Second Baptist Church has voted to send money to the Kiev Church to help build homes for these families. I'll be returning to Ukraine in September and hope some 2BC folks will join me. You too can be inspired like never before.

at Monday, April 9, 2018
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A Project by Kristin Wooldridge

Almost a year ago, my son Ian started thinking about his Eagle Scout Project and what he wanted to accomplish. He came up with a few ideas, but none seemed to be just right. Then he landed on the idea of wanting his project to be for his faith community. He didn't need it to last for a long time. He wanted to find a need to meet in the moment that could help the church. I told him that I would connect with Pastor Gwen to see if she had any dreams. He did just that, and that was the start of narrowing down his project.

The Many Hands Fair Trade Store right behind the church needed some help with organization and storage. If you haven't been in the "old machine shop," you would be surprised at how big this extra space truly is. And it is full at times, like when we have collections for Bridger, and emptier at times, during a lull. But no matter full or empty, it is a useful space to have. Ian sketched out a drawing of what the shelving unit could look like, and he wanted it to be as functional as possible for any group, including the fair trade store.

All the paperwork and drawings were approved, and the work days were set. With Ian's crazy freshman schedule for debate and theatre, we just knew it had to happen right after Christmas Day. The weather would be ok. It was in the 50s the week before Christmas. Then, a cold arctic blast hit Liberty, and the temps were dropping into -20 windchill. No one saw this coming. So, it meant a delay with no new date in sight. That is hard when progress and completion are within reach. Plus, delaying would be a disappointment for a very busy scout. But he made the right choice for the safety of all.

Months went by, and supplies sat unmoved until it was time to get the project moving again. So, on Saturday, March 24, from 8 a.m. until 6 p.m. the project was scheduled, started and completed. I asked him yesterday to reflect on how it felt to have this “long time coming” project complete. He smiled and said, "It just feels good to have created something that is useful for my church family." 

I wonder if you ever felt like this kind of project when it comes to being part of a faith community. You make a plan. You wanna go. You then have something out of your control that keeps you away. Then, you lose steam and perhaps wonder what you add to the faith community. It happens to all of us. I would like to remind you that you are loved and that you add so much to our faith community. Come as you can and as you are. We all have seasons of crazy, out-of-control times due to sudden changes, health, schedules and the unexpected. Growth and change is the work of a lifetime. We are all projects and under construction. See you soon...unless it is my own crazy time. 

Thank you to all who encouraged, supported and prayed for Ian's Eagle Scout Project. What an impact you made on his development and growth. A big thank you to John George for sharing his building expertise. The scouts who volunteered with Ian gained a great hands-on learning experience.

at Friday, April 6, 2018
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Becoming Through Service by Becky Whited

While I was hiding eggs for our annual 2BC Easter Egg Hunt, I realized that it had been nearly twenty times that I had donned my oldest tennis shoes (and usually a jacket) to trek up the hill to hide hundreds of stuffed eggs. Children in my first few years as “egg hider” are now adults, some with children of their own.

During these nineteen years, I have come to know 2BC as a place that embraces me for who I am. It is a community of believers that has a history of and an expectation of service.  God calls us to serve, and 2BC provides avenues of service. Over the years I have been able to use my abilities and even stretch my ability comfort zone at times.

But why is it important to me to serve through 2BC? I'm sure the answer is because I feel that I am a part of a community. This community of believers has a vision for service beyond my individual capacity to help others. People pray, ideas flow, willingness forms, and I feel called to join in and take part in something bigger than myself. Young and old, those of differing abilities, personalities of every kind join together to serve others. I witness this on a weekly basis. Any day of the week I can see in action English classes, MOPS, worship planning, cooking, choir practice, missions groups, small groups, Bible study, and the list grows.

In order to witness the service that happens behind the scenes or outside the church building, I would have to travel to places like Schumacher Elementary, South Dakota, Romania, Slovakia, or Thailand.  I may even need to go home with a fellow faith community member to see the hours spent in prayer and preparation.

Serve Sunday; May 2017 was 2BC service in a nutshell. Every person in our church was given an opportunity to choose a service project and realize it in and outside the church building. God said, “Go!” and we prayed and went in many directions to help others.

After I returned from hiding Easter eggs, there was a host of my fellow community members helping with the unseen part of service – cleaning and washing. When my husband Ron and I got home, I asked him, “Where else can you go to hear beautiful music from a skilled organist and find that same organist washing dishes after a church breakfast?” I think that's why I love serving through 2BC!

    

at Wednesday, April 4, 2018
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