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Family Ministry Women’s Retreat

Written by Diane Mitchell on . Posted in Announcements, Events, Reporting

Family Ministry Women’s Retreat

Womens Retreat 1Early Saturday morning on March 15th, 40 women from the Youth and Family Ministry descended upon the Hilton Garden Inn at Carlsbad Beach to enjoy a women’s retreat together. The Hilton Garden Inn is directly across the street from the ocean, so the location was the perfect setting for our theme, “Going Deep”. The path along the ocean is high above the beach which made for a breathtaking view of the endless horizon. On this path new friendships were made and old friendships deepened as we walked and prayed and shared our hearts with each other.
On this beautiful Saturday morning, we gathered in the hotel conference room and began by singing with all our hearts as we were accompanied by Carol Lopez on the guitar. Deb Eskew, our wonderful Youth and Family Ministry women’s leader, gave us two lessons. In the first lesson, “Deep with God”, we read scriptures about how much God desires a relationship with each one of us (Psalm 139), and that in order to know God deeply we have to be willing to draw near to him. In the second lesson, “Deep Friendships”, we learned how we can deepen our relationships with one another. We dug deep into Peter’s character and learned that tension is present in all relationships, and we can learn to love each other despite how different we may be.

Womens Retreat 2After the morning lessons, we were free to spend all afternoon out and about in the town of Carlsbad to eat lunch, enjoy the flower fields or just sit on a blanket on the beach and relax. At 4:30 p.m., all 40 women met on the path across from the hotel that overlooks the ocean to pray with each other. After this inspiring time, we broke into smaller groups to share a meal together. Then at 7:30 p.m. we all came together in the conference room to play Family Feud organized by Angela Hines. We laughed and played for two hours and enjoyed the competition immensely.

On Sunday morning, we all enjoyed homemade muffins by Carol Lopez and Julie Paine outside in the Garden patio. Also, Isabella McBride led a yoga class in our conference room. At 9:30 a.m. we all gathered together for a group quiet time. Kimberly Bosworth and Karen Cantas led us in our thoughts. Suedine Nakano welcomed our guest speaker, Linda Brumley, our sister from the San Diego Church. Linda shared God’s word and her heart with us which prepared us for communion.

As the retreat drew to an end, the theme of the retreat, “Going Deep”, had been accomplished. The hearts of the women were filled with resolve and hope for a deeper walk with God and each other.

Orange County Church 2014 Missions Contribution

Written by OC Disciples on . Posted in Missions

Orange County Church 2014 Missions Contribution

Since the year 2000 the Orange County Church of Christ has been a major contributor to mission work in Latin America. Our members have generously donated hundreds of thousands of dollars so that our brothers and sisters in Latin America can continue to spread the gospel to their people. This year the OC Church has a goal to raise over $235,000 for mission work in Mexico and Central America. We are excited about the great experiences and testimonies of some of the brothers and sisters who recently volunteered in the HOPE worldwide Community Service Brigade to Guatemala City. We hope to continue building stronger and deeper connections with the churches we support.

The money donated for mission work is managed by our partner organization, Mexico and Central America Missions. At times people ask us how it all works: missions donations, operations, distribution of funds. Please go to this page to read an informational article about how MCA Missions operates and how the present budget is structured.

mexico-central-america-map

Guatemala 2014

Written by OC Disciples on . Posted in Guest Posts, Reporting

Guatemala Community Service Brigade 2014

IMG_1383Wow! I cant believe that I have served on 5 medical mission brigades in Guatemala with Hope Worldwide. When I and the more than 50 US volunteers arrived on that 1st day I recognized many brothers and sisters from the Guatemalan church whom I had spent time with on the previous brigade. They welcomed me as a sister whom they loved.

In the brigade the brothers and sisters from the US and from Guatemala served the Guatemalan disciples, families and friends and the Hope Worldwide School and itʼs families. I was encouraged to see everyone engaged and giving of our God given talents. The medical volunteers and non medical volunteers mending bodies and touching souls. So many of the people we served hugged me, kissed me and blessed me for my services. I was humbled to see their gratitude for a bag of vitamins, used glucometers, over the counter medication or a simple prescription medication. All donations from the US, donated from our abundance.

On the first day of the brigade a sister from Guatemala asked me “Why do you come back?” I was not able to answer that day but at Sunday worship as we praised and gave glory to our GOD the answer came to me: This is my family, Godʼs people, the fellowship of believers. I come back because I love my family in Guatemala. I come back to share the gifts and talents that God has given me.

Acts 2:44 – 47 “all the believers were together and had every thing in common. They sold property and possessions to give to anyone who had need. Every day they continued to meet together in the temple courts. They broke bread in their home and ate together with glad and sincere hearts, praising God and enjoying the favor of all the people. And the Lord added to their number daily those who were being saved.” In the three days that we served in Guatemala we lived this out. My experiences, my opportunities, my talents and skills are all gifts from God so that I can better serve His people – my family – Guatemala

by Monica Martinez

IMG_1401This past February my daughter, Breanna, and I had the opportunity to return to Guatemala with the HOPE Medical Brigade for our third year. We traveled with a large team of medical professionals from all over the states and were able to serve hundreds of people. There are also a lot of us that are non-medical and that are able to serve in many other capacities as well. My daughter was able to assist with the various children’s programs and also support a nurse. I served in the Flouride station which teaches people how to brush their teeth and administer fluoride treatments.

The brigades are amazing as we have the opportunity to help heal people and the opportunity to share Godʼs love with so many. It’s so incredible and humbling to be able to see the joy on peoplesʼ faces when they receive items that we easily take for granted such as toothbrushes and toothpaste. I was surprised to find out that in such a poor country toothpaste is three times the cost in comparison to the US. There are so many people with illnesses and diseases that go untreated because of the degree of poverty in Guatemala so these brigades can mean the difference between life and death for so many. The brigades also provide 6 months supply of vitamins for everyone that comes in addition to medications, thanks to the donations of friends and family.

IMG_1402Each trip has been so special for Breanna and I. The people of Guatemala are so incredibly loving. I am always convicted by their gracious hearts and patience. We always return with our hearts filled with so much joy and love. My daughter has been so impacted by these trips that she has even decided to become a nurse so that she can continue to serve in this capacity. I definitely encourage families to join a brigade like this. It really is a life changing and unforgettable experience.

by Priscilla Policar

Teen Winter Retreat

Written by Ryan Weekley on . Posted in Church Update, Events, Reporting

Teen Winter Retreat

Winter Camp 2014Last month during President’s Day Weekend, over 20 students from our Teen Ministry traveled to Winter Camp 2014. The theme of this year’s camp was “Catching Fire,” a theme created to inspire our kids to be passionate and on fire in their relationships with God. Through various lessons, classes, activities, small groups and a ton of fellowship with counselors and other students, our Orange County Teens felt very encouraged and inspired to move forward in their personal walks with God!

There were three main segments of the “Catching Fire” theme – “A Symbol of Hope,” “A Greater Purpose,” and “The Revolution.” Each of these lessons inspired the students to look beyond the world around them and see the spiritual battle that’s before them. These lessons were followed by small groups, which gave the students a chance to discuss the material and how to practically apply it to their own lives. On top of the lesson material, the students met and bonded with kids from all over the Southwest, including teens from Los Angeles, San Diego, Phoenix and Las Vegas to name a few.

Furthermore, a couple of our kids received sponsorship this year in order to attend, and we want to thank those who provided the funds which allowed these kids to take part in camp. Our youth ministry is very grateful to be a part of a church family that truly loves and looks out for one another. Please keep our students in your prayers and we know that this amazing camp experience will turn into lasting conviction in many our students lives!

Honduras HOPE Brigade

Written by OC Disciples on . Posted in Missions, Reporting

Honduras HOPE Brigade
by Nirvana Mireles

hope2In January 2014 I had the opportunity to attend a medical brigade with Hope Worldwide in San Pedro Sula, Honduras. I was skeptical about my abilities to help since I don’t have any sort of medical background, but I was ready to be used. Hope provides medical care for our brothers and sisters in San Pedro Sula, and the surrounding communities, free of charge as well as vitamins and medication. While being there I was amazed by the compassionate and giving hearts of the doctors as they attended cases that were extremely difficult and heart breaking at times. The church was so grateful for every single helping hand there was, I was humbled by their appreciation. I saw people’s hearts move and change in the course of four days, including my own. I’ve never felt so grateful for our church family and for the blessings God has given me. It was an incredible experience seeing first hand how donations are being used across the world to help change people’s lives. The brigade isn’t solely focused on meeting medical needs but also on encouraging and strengthening our brothers and sisters in Christ. I think this was the most rewarding part of it all, not just serving those in need but being able to serve our spiritual family in the midst of their hardships.

Time in India

Written by OC Disciples on . Posted in Missions, Reporting

My Time in India
by Jiah Park

Park 1Over winter break of 2013, I was able to take part in Hope Youth Corps at a place I’ve only read about or seen on television, Chennai India. Hope Youth Corps participants, consisting of 120 brothers and sisters from all over the world, served at the Hope School for children of tsunami survivors, an AIDS home for orphans and women, and a leprosy colony. It was my first time serving in a developing part of the world, and it was an eye opening time stepping out of my bubble into a world of isolation and poverty.

Park 2Our first stop was the Hope School. The volunteers and I took part in building benches, planting trees, painting murals, and more for the school. We went to the school until Christmas Eve, which then we hosted a Christmas carnival for the children. The children were so bright and joyful that it was such an enjoyable time for us to be at the school. However, perhaps because of the children’s joyous exuberance or because of my oblivion, I did not realize the extent of poverty these kids lived in. Many of the children that attend the school live in houses made of dirt and large leaves. These make shift structures as big as a small bedroom, housed whole families. Although I personally did not get to go, many participants were also able to visit the children’s houses. To my surprise, they explained that the children and parents were not only happy to have the participants come over to their abode, but were very proud of the handmade houses. In fact, one family urged the participants to take pictures as they beamed with pride in showing off their dwellings. With this story, I felt so convicted and reflected in my gratitude for what God has given me. What does it take for me to be happy and content?