From our Cairo Correspondent

Working in Cairo this week, I got back to my hotel room late Tuesday evening, I found a large bouquet of flowers and a bowl of fruit, and wondered why the hotel had given me that? The card that came with the flowers told a different story: it was a welcome gift from the Stephen’s Children ministry: I had arranged to meet one of them on Friday, to hand over the check representing Restoration’s Easter collection. I thought of King David when three of his warriors fought their way into Bethlehem to fetch him some water (2 Samuel 23), and David was awestruck by the generous spirit of these men, putting themselves at risk to bless David. Perhaps not quite the right analogy, but such a generous gift from a ministry working with the poor – I almost cried, and felt very humbled!

Today, I had the privilege of visiting of the many ‘garbage cities’ on the outskirts of Cairo– of the 90 or so locations where the Stephen’s Children ministry runs schools for the poorest of the poor. This ‘city’, home to perhaps 900 people – predominantly Christians – is in a dusty, stony hollow away from the road. Nothing grows there – there is no soil. None of the buildings has more than one level: the materials they are made from would not really support more. There is no electricity. Running water was made available about a year ago (this has attracted more people to move in). In the school room perhaps 40 girls aged 6 to 15  sat in rows on benches, learning the alphabet with great excitement. Nearby, I visited a study group for boys. Half a dozen squatted in the shade of a rusty corrugated iron gate as myriad flies buzzed around, and listened to the story of the cripple who had sat by the pool for years, waiting for a miracleThe back yard was buried in rubbish – plastic bags mostly, which are burned down to produce a hard black mass that can be sold for recycling (an adult and four children scavenging can earn perhaps $1.50 a day doing this).

Stephen’s Children employs around 1,500 staff to run kindergartens, and now one school, for some 30,000 children, visiting them weekly in their homes to support a holistic ministry of education, teaching on basic health and hygiene, and the bible. Many of the children, and some of their parents, are not officially registered, through ignorance and discrimination.

This was not a miserable place to visit. The children were happy as they learned. A little girl smiled broadly as the teacher washed her feet (this is done to teach hygiene, and to check for cuts and infections in little feet that at best have flip-flops to wear). Adults were welcoming. The ‘motto’ of the ministry is: I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.” (phil 4:13). The children and their families are being given hope, not just once or in theory, but day by day, week by week, year after year. I am lost for words, but full of admiration, and very blessed to have seen God at work through his people in such a way.

Simon G.

What if every person…

On Sunday we gathered for the first time at Little Falls Presbyterian Church at 5pm.  We considered that the disciples were waiting for the Holy Spirit in those 50 days after Easter because they needed to be prepared for the Holy Spirit.  Waiting got them ready.

Our church is now in a season of waiting–  for a new building, for the incubation of vision and plans.

So if that’s what God is up to at Restoration, what if we all responded by saying yes to a few thing?

  • What if all of us came to the 4pm pre-service prayer meeting?  What if our posture for 40 minutes was–  God we want to hear what you have for us next.  We are opening our hearts to you.  We are willing for you to send us.  We are willing to change our behavior.  We’ll sing.  We’ll hear Scripture.  We’ll pray.  And we will listen.  What if all of us made a little more space on Sundays to pray?
  • What if all of us signed up for a small group this trimester?  We have some really interesting topics–  St. Augustine’s Confessions;  Vocation, Work, and Faith;  Thinking Rightly about Food and our Bodies [New Id for women only]; plus our normal allotment of small groups that are digging into the Bible texts that are being preached on Sundays.  What if every person who worshiped on Sunday was in a small group during the week?  They start this Sunday.
  • What if every man came to the Men’s Retreat on April 27-28?  What if every man had 36 hours to meet new guys, pray, laugh, study the Bible, and eat meat?  What if we decided to pursue God in the company of friends?
  • What if all of us considered going deeper in with one of our outreach partners?  Would you consider being on a team that is serving people we love in West VA from July 3-7?  Would you consider being on a team that is building relationships in Asia?  Would you consider serving with our friends at Casa Chirilagua?  Send us a note if you are interested.  We believe that God has opportunities for us to go deeper in each of these places.  What if all of us considered going?

We are in a season of waiting.  It could be the most exciting season yet at Restoration.  What if all of us said yes?

-David

Love Arlington Small Group

While driving to church recently, my wife Melody and I were talking about how we explore and align our interests in serving our local community. The Lord responded the instant we walked into RAC’s door. We were handed the official “RAC Outreach Guide” outlining the incredible work underway by our church body, and we listened to a sermon about Jesus declaring his ministry to the marginalized.

RAC’s active support and prayer for these diverse outreach initiatives has built our church’s institutional wisdom in how to reveal Christ to the world, and has created a greater awareness of the needs of our community. We are all generally aware that Arlington has good job availability, solid schools, and an appealing environment. However, Arlington is also a community to the homeless, trafficked women and immigrants, under loved children, and the unemployed.

The Love Arlington Small Group will kick off this spring to explore and determine where Jesus is directing us to serve.

We will meet weekly and engage with people on the margins of society in order to develop relationships. Our endeavors will range from the pedestrian to the adventuresome, but will always be guided by a spirit of service. We expect to share more information at services over the next few weeks – but if you are already interested please email me or Liz.

Brent Jones

West Virginia Trip, July 3-7, 2013

Every year for the last four years, Restoration has taken a mission trip to Philippi, West Virginia, and this year we’ll be making the journey again from July 3-7. We’re hoping to pull together a team of 25-40, with a mix of veterans and first timers (I’ll be one of them!), and we’ll be volunteering with the organization Appalachian Community CARE. ACC is a non-profit organization that links teams from around the country with opportunities for home repair and outreach in and around Philippi, a beautiful former mining town.

From the reports that people have brought back in past years, participating in this trip is a truly formative experience. Relationships on the team lay the groundwork for friendships back home. Folks have come away feeling like there was a genuine encounter with the people of Philippi in which God’s love was communicated. New-found skills have been acquired. And most people who go are eager to go back the next year.

As you think through whether or not you’d be interested in going with us, here are a few questions you might ask yourself:

What do we do on a trip like this?
The trip consists of a mix of manual labor to do repairs on local homes, getting to know folks in the community, and thinking and praying through how our experience shapes us. Some moments involve a lot of hard work, while others are restful. But the main ideas are to share Christ’s love with the people there and to have fun in the process.

Am I qualified for this trip?
There are no prerequisite skills needed. The main thing we’re looking for is a willingness to work hard and be team player and to be open to what God will do in and through you. The trip is open to anyone as young as 8 years old, as long as they are accompanied by an adult, and there is a separate application process for unaccompanied middle and high schoolers.

How do I cover the cost of the trip?
RAC members raise the money for the trip through a combination of personal and group fundraising. You’ll get plenty of guidance on both, and from what I’ve heard, the group fundraisers are just as much a part of the adventure as the overall trip!

People from Restoration have been participating in this ministry since before our church came into being, and it’s great to know that serving in this way is part of who we are. I feel privileged to be able to participate, and I hope you’ll join us!

Registration will be open this Sunday, 2/24/13.  If you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to contact me.

Clay
(202) 459-7203
clay@restorationarlington.org

Caroling PLUS

During Advent we, as the Restoration community, have a number of opportunities  to meet other people in our neighborhood.

Last Saturday, for example, a number of folk helped with the Casa Chirilagua Christmas party: a splendid time of laughter and joy with around 200 people enjoying the fun.

And then, last night a small group of Restoration people went to serve dinner at the A-SPAN winter shelter (Arlington Street People’s Assistance Network). They were able to spend some time chatting and serving dinner to folk they don’t often get a chance to spend time with: to understand a little bit more what it is like to be homeless over Christmas in Arlington, and to reflect on what Jesus would see and say to them.

This coming Sunday (12/16/12), at 6.45pm we have the opportunity to visit Sunrise Senior Living Community on Glebe Road. Matt Hoppe will lead us as we sing carols, chat and take ‘joy boxes’ which our Restoration kids have made for the residents.

This is an opportunity for you to join in – to meet someone new and to sing carols about the baby whose birth changed everything. Why not set aside an hour from your normal Sunday evening schedule and come along?

There are so many people whose stories we will never know – but how deeply joy-making it will be to know perhaps one more by Sunday night. Come and listen as you sing: meet at church after the 5pm to carpool, or at 6.45pm at Sunrise, 2000 North Glebe Road, Arlington, VA 22207. You will be most welcome!

Liz Gray

 

Two nations, two challenges, two women, one gospel.


 This coming Tuesday November 20th….

….come and hear about God’s exciting work among students in the lands of Turkey and Armenia, from 7:30 pm – 8:45 pm at Restoration.

Lilit Avayan and Nayri O. will share about their lives and ministries in these lands. Lilit Avayan is the current country Director in Armenia for International Fellowship of Evangelical Students (IFES)/Intervarsity and is in the states on a “speaking tour” visiting several cities. Nayri O. lives in the DC area and has lived in both Turkey and Armenia. She currently works for Barnabas Ministries and has previously served as the IFES country director for both Turkey and Armenia.

Don’t miss this rare opportunity to learn about the hopes and difficulties in these historic lands.

 

 

 

Stuff a box. Change a life.

What do a yo-yo, packs of lifesavers, match box cars, small flashlights with extra batteries, magic markers, socks, Spiderman/Hello Kitty toothbrushes, and a penpal-ish note from my son, have in common? These were some of the items we stuffed into our shoeboxes last November for Samaritan’s Purse’s Operation Christmas Child (OCC). And just a few weeks later, just before Christmas 2011, we learned that OCC shipped our boxes to Mali. It was so exciting to find out where our shoeboxes went and that we were able to send the message of Christ’s joy and love halfway around the globe!

This year I hope you will join Restoration friends in helping OCC’s efforts to send Christmas shoeboxes to the neediest children all around the world. Check out this year’s video here.

Please note that the children receiving our shoeboxes will also be offered a copy of “The Greatest Gift of All” booklet in their own language by local churches and ministry partners. Thus, OCC is not just providing shoebox gifts for children living in dire circumstances, but is a tangible expression of Jesus’ love AND an opportunity to tell children we have never met that Jesus is their Lord and Savior.

PACKING A SHOEBOX:

1) Please pick up a “Ready-to-Go” box at Restoration through Nov. 11th (or until supplies run out). Or use a standard size empty shoe box or shoebox-sized plastic container. You may gift wrap the box (lid separately), but wrapping is not required.

2) Use the label from the Operation Christmas Child brochure or print out a label from Operation Christmas Child’s website. You may also print a label after making your online donation ($7 per box). Using the online option of payment will enable you to “Follow Your Box” (to find out where your shoebox was delivered).

3) Once you have your label, determine whether your gift will be for a boy or a girl, and the child’s age category: 2-4, 5-9, or 10-14. Mark the correct age category on the label, and tape the label to the top of your box.

4) Fill the box with a variety of gifts that will bring delight to a child. For ideas visit this link.

5) If you did not use the “Follow Your Box” online donation option, please write a $7 check to Samaritan’s Purse (note “OCC” on memo line) and place it in an envelope on top of the gift items inside your box. If you and your family are preparing more than one shoebox, please make one combined donation.

6) Place a rubber band around each closed shoe box and drop them off at Restoration Sunday, Nov. 11th or Sunday, Nov. 18th.  We will deliver them to the OCC relay center for you!

Any questions? Please send me a note: cara.voth@gmail.com

-Cara Voth

Phnom Penh Peregrinations

Last week I visited the Blaines! And what a marvellous time it was…. lots of laughing, chatting and drinking coffee. I got to see their lives – where they do language school, where they worship, where they might find ministry partners in the future. We visited Siem Reap – which is more than just an amazing historical site (Angkor Wat etc), but also a potential place they could find themselves working in sometime down the road. And I had a lovely time playing with Clara: she turned 1 while I was there and is just gorgeous – so close to walking and talking… she sings with joy and laughs and climbs and plays with the love of life you would expect from a child of J&S.

Jesse, with his natural affinity for languages coupled with constant application, has made extraordinary progress in speaking Khmer – he seemed to chat effortlessly with all and sundry. It was such fun watching him engaging with locals in various settings. Sarah has her hands very full with Clara, but is also making splendid progress with learning language chatting with her landlady and bartering in the market place- she also got us safely around Phnom Penh and Siem Reap – negotiating and guiding endless tuk-tuk drivers to various destinations! She has made some good friends in a short space of time – it was lovely meeting some of the community of other young moms while I was there!

Life is not all a bed of roses though: they do need prayer for:

  1. deeper relationships with friends and neighbors
  2. ongoing progress with their language acquisition
  3. wisdom as time goes on as to where and with whom to develop ministry partnerships
  4. peace in their calling: they are clearly where God wants them, doing his bidding, but it is a faraway, foreign place and its good to get extra reassurance from God from time to time. Pray that he will bless them with an outpouring of his generous grace!

They love emails from home (Sarah@worldorphans.orgjesse@worldorphans.org) – so keep them coming. Life moves so fast sometimes it’s easy to forget to tend relationships which are important to us – let’s make sure that we as a community support the Blaines well.

For their latest news do follow their blog here

And here is a reminder of their departure!

 

 

Restoration and ESOL

Anyone who has spent a large amount of time in a foreign country without the support of his or her home community has empathy as to how fearful it can be. I’ve spent some time living overseas in areas where I did not know the language and culture well. During this time, any problems that occurred seemed magnified due to the fact that I was isolated and going about my daily routine without a way for me to verbally process issues with others.

We are living in a time where many of our local communities are filled with immigrants from all over the world. They all have stories. Some have fled war-savaged areas. Some have moved to be with the one they love. Some are just looking for better economic opportunity. Many are isolated and without community. Leviticus 19:34 reminds us:

“The foreigner residing among you must be treated as your native-born. Love them as yourself, for you were foreigners in Egypt. I am the LORD your God.”

Working with ESOL programs in the community gives us the opportunity to live out God’s commandment in Leviticus. It gives us a chance to love immigrants residing among us. We can befriend them, provide community for them, and meet some of their emotional and physical needs all while providing them with an education of the English language.

I have befriended many individuals through my years of teaching ESOL, and I can honestly say I have learned more from them than they have learned from me. If you can give one night a week of your time to teach at any of the local immigrant centers in the county, your life will be richly blessed. The following is a link to some local centers that need teachers and classroom aids to invest some time in the lives of our immigrants:

Click the link below for ways to get involved!

ESOL Opportunities Fall 2012

-Jenni McSwain

prayer walking Tuesday 28th

Did you know that Marymount University is a 4 minute drive from our church? One of the wonderful ways you can get involved in our community would be joining us in prayer walking around this beautiful campus on THIS Tuesday night at 5:30pm. Come alone, with a friend or with your whole family. All are welcome. We would be delighted to bring in this new school year with prayer for the 2500 students that attend this neighborhood campus. Would you consider joining us? Whether you can only spare a few minutes or can take the time to really pray around the block a few times, we would love to have you

Meet at the ‘B’

Directions: From the church, head North on Quincy St and take a left on Rte. 29. In half a mile take a slight right on to Old Dominion Dr. Take a right at 26th St N. We will be meeting at the Public mulch pile (where Yorktown Blvd deadends to 26th St) on Tuesday 28th at 5:30pm to prayer walk around the campus.

Andrew Powars

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