It's moms inviting friends and strangers to our play dates or out to coffee in obedience to God's prompting.

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As a mom of 3 littles under 4 I was looking for a place to connect and belong. Motherhood can be both fulfilling and isolating, sometimes at the same time. We were new to the area and I was desperate for a community of moms where I could share my fears and frustrations, compare sleepless nights and potty training stories and build friendships that would follow me (and my kids) through the next decade. 

We had been attending Westside for several months, but I had no idea they had a moms group. My plan had been to join a local MOPS group, but the one closest to me was full. I was pretty devastated that my ideal moms group wasn't going to be a reality, so I did what any mom would do. I took my kids to CFA and ate my feelings. 

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God has a way of showing up when we least expect him. I was sitting in CFA eating my breakfast and another mom and I strike up a conversation. In the past this might have been something I would have tried to avoid,  but we immediately connected because both our kids were playing together and starting preschool that week. Somewhere during the conversation church came up and we discovered we both attended Westside. She asked me if I knew about the Moms group and proceeded to tell me about it and how to find it on the website, which was important. This mom didn't attend the mom group because of work, but I'm so thankful she listened to God and engaged me that morning. I immediately went home looked up the group and sign up to attend a meeting. I was hooked after that initial meeting. It was what I needed and desired. 

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Moments like that show how God is moving in this ministry. It's moms inviting friends and strangers to our play dates or out to coffee in obedience to God's prompting. It's asking for prayers over difficult situations and sharing our struggles without judgment. It's changing the culture of the group to include moms with kids of all ages and in various stages of life. It's allowing women to come together with a shared purpose to learn and grow. 

I have been so blessed by this group in a short amount of time. My kids have also formed relationships that without the group I don't feel they would have made. This group was there when I was at one of my lowest points. My prayer is that other moms are impacted, encouraged, and blessed by MOMS Together. 

For every mom, in every stage, YOU belong. 

MOMS Together is meeting every 1st and 3rd Wednesday. Join us! 

 
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We speak gospel-ish rather than being fluent in the language of gospel.

Language shapes culture. The words we use can shape the way we see the world. Culture gives meaning to language. The predominant cultural story we live in influences the way we understand words.
It’s an interesting hand in hand relationship I’m learning about. My fascination with language is not new. I majored in English… for a while. And my new, adopted life motto is, “I was told there would be no math… 'cause the maths is hard.” (Subject is plural, verb is singular. It’s funny. Trust me.)

Earlier this year, I was encouraged to pick up the book Gospel Fluency by Jeff Vanderstelt. I devoured it. Jeff makes the point that most of us only know catch-phrases or clichés about the gospel, we speak gospel-ish rather than being fluent in the language of gospel. This was an incredibly challenging idea to me, and it didn't take long to see that he was right. When it came to having a holistic picture of what it meant to be fluent in the gospel, to be able to speak it clearly, to be able to apply it to every area of my life, I was deficient. I could say the catch phrases everyone else knows, but I didn’t think, feel, and perceive all of life through that lens.

It wasn’t that I didn’t know anything about the gospel, or that what I had received was wrong or bad, it was that the understanding of the gospel that had been passed on to me was incomplete. Like so many, the way I understood the gospel made it about a one-time event or decision, and it was all about a future hope: "One day you’ll spend eternity in heaven with Jesus.” In my faith tradition, once you got that locked down, we didn’t really mention the gospel anymore. The gospel, you see was for unbelievers. “They” needed it to help them become believers.

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The truth is, “We’re all unbelievers.”

Shocking right?! It’s true, though. We all have areas where we haven’t fully surrendered or where we just flat out don’t believe that Jesus can accomplish a new work within us or that he can take care of past, present and future problems. Go ahead and think on it for a minute. You can probably name a handful off the top of your head if you’re willing to be honest. “I’m not sure Jesus is really going to take care of us financially.” “I don’t think this relationship can be reconciled.” “I’m a failure at everything I do.” “I’m probably going to lose this job.” “I’m tired of being lonely.” “I’m never going to beat this addiction.”

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The list can go on. The list is a list of all the places where you need good news spoken into your life. And the gospel can do that! What Jeff helps unlock is that the gospel is good news for every area of life, from now into eternity. So it’s not about a one-time event only. It is for that, just not only for that. It’s not about a future hope only. It is for that, just not only for that.

So we started to learn a new language in our family.
We’re relearning our dominant cultural story (The story of God in history). We’re learning the vocabulary of the gospel and practicing it. We’re learning the important cultural expressions and we’re trying to start by speaking the gospel to ourselves and each other on a daily basis. It’s reintroducing us to that joy we had when we discovered our first love. It’s helping us overcome those things in our life that steal our first love.

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That’s why I can’t wait to walk through this series at Westside in the month of October. From Sunday mornings and into life groups, we’re going to discover and/or rediscover the gospel language and how to be fluent speakers. Please join us in person or online

The Royal Ball | Daddy Daughter Dance

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Daughters were princesses, and daddies were charming on a very special night recently at Westside Family Church. The Royal Ball Daddy Daughter Dance brought gave dads and daughters a focused time for fun and togetherness, and emphasized the importance of this precious father-daughter relationship.

Westside Family Church, in partnership with KC Street Hope and Exodus Cry put on this celebration to support fatherhood and introduce the dads to the Epic Project—a new program that protects vulnerable young women from exploitation.

Daughters in their most beautiful dresses enjoyed dancing, photos in the pumpkin carriage, refreshments, corsages, and a fun time with their dads. At the dance, dads demonstrated their deep dedication by attempting the limbo-rock and showing off their best air-guitar moves.

A wonderful time was had by all, daughters were cherished, and dads supported a great cause.

It’s just a PHASE. So don’t miss it.

I've been a parent for ten years now and I have to say its much harder than I thought it would be. I remember all the books and videos and college classes on child development and none of them have really prepared me for this current reality - the parenting journey.

The truth is everyone goes through different phases of life. As a parent, it’s so important to understand this as it relates to your child and the different phases they will go through, while also thinking and parenting with the end in mind. We don't need to be overwhelmed by the realization that before the blink of an eye our kids will be off to college, starting a career, getting married—instead, we can and should be proactive about what we teach them now and how it will shape their future.

A Phase is defined as a time frame in a kid’s life where we can leverage distinctive opportunities to influence their future. Every phase has its own significant relationships, present realities, and distinctive opportunities.

Here are five ideas that can help as we parent through each phase, with the end in mind and as the parent God intended us to be.

1. Fight for the Heart of your son or daughter.

Keep the main thing the main thing.

"I no longer want well-behaved kids. That’s not the end goal for me. I want Christ-worshipers who know how to love and repent. Who run to Him when they fail. Only God can make this happen in their hearts—I can’t force it. But because this is the goal, I don’t sweat the small stuff as much anymore."
- When Kids Won't Bow to Your Idol, by Jennifer Phillips


2. Create a Rhythm in your home that leverages routine times to influence your kids each week:

* when you get up
* when you lie down
* when you walk along the road

"Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one. Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength. These commandments that I give you today are to be on your hearts. Impress them on your children. Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up."
Deuteronomy 4:6-7

3. Predict and Redefine how you parent at every phase.
Anticipate what is coming before it gets here and learn to redefine your role as a parent.

4. Be Proactive instead of reactive and have a strategy when it comes to your child’s development:

* emotionally
* relationally
* spiritually

5. Ask other people to be a part of your child’s life journey.
Widen the Circle: Connect your kids to other caring adults who will treat them like they are made in the IMAGE of GOD.

The point is… It’s just a PHASE. So don’t miss it.

Final Thought:

"Our responsibility is not to do it all and to perform with perfection but to be available and diligent in our personal spiritual growth and to be willing to invest in the spiritual growth of our children. God will do the rest, sometime through us and sometime in spite of us."
-Transforming Children into Spiritual Champions, by George Barna


Family Ministry is hosting a parenting seminar on Wednesdays, September 20-October 11 that covers these 5 ideas in more depth! Join us any week you can make it. 

Westside Family Fest | 2017

We had so much fun at Westside Family Fest, and by the looks of it, so did you! 

  • A little rain didn't stop us!
  • We welcomed over 600 first-time guests to WFC! 
  • Moms were pampered while faces were painted.
  • The Brothers McClurg set the vibe with their live performances. 

We can't wait to do it again next year!

One Life Update | August 2017

Running the Race...

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Peace Children's Home | Kallur, India

And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, fixing our eyes on Jesus
Hebrews 12:1-2

Peace Children's Home in Kallur, India recently celebrated with One Life child Ravishkelar, who proudly received an overall silver medal in a competitive, district level track and field event. With no parents, Ravishkelar has lived at Peace Children's Home for 6 years. He is a good student and grateful for the support of his One Life sponsor. He also received a gold medal in shot put and a silver medal in the 400 meter sprint. One Life is proud of Ravishkelar and we are excited about the opportunities that are his as he continues to work hard both at school and in the sport he loves.


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Making Work Fun

Love Your Neighbor | Mai Charim, Thailand

Love Your Neighbor gives our One Life children the opportunity to have fun while doing their chores and contributing to the health and wellness of their little community. Spending the day in their paddy fields ends up being a fun and eventful time of planting rice. 


Good Gifts 

Your sponsorship allows us to gift our children a couple times a year with something extra— letting our kids know that they are loved. This summer several of our sites in Thailand chose to give new t-shirts to their children.

New Life Children's Home in Yellamanchili bought sports equipment for the boys and jewelry and hair accessories for the girls. We are grateful for your sponsorship and for the joy it brings our children.

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One Life Gardens

Port Elizabeth | South Africa

This past summer, a team—which included several One Life sponsors, took a trip to South Africa to visit our One Life children. While in Port Elizabeth, the team helped build six starter gardens at the homes of One Life kids. They cleared the area of broken glass, trash, metal scraps and debris and prepared the soil with organic compost.

Most of the gardens included spinach, pumpkin, cilantro, tomatoes, beans, peas, cabbage, carrots and potatoes. A trained gardener will follow us and teach the caregivers how to harvest seeds from their vegetables so they can replant and sustain their gardens with minimal cost.

These gardens will go a long way in supplementing our children's diets with nutritious vegetables. We finished each garden by building a fence to keep out the marauding goats and chickens.

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Don't Forget to Write
 

Most of you that are already One Life Sponsors have recently received a letter from your child. For those of you who have not...it's coming! When you get your letter, take a few minutes and respond to your child, personalize your note and answer their questions, or get your children at home to respond. Our One Life kids love hearing from you.

Write a note and mail it back to us at One Life Child Sponsorship Program, P.O. Box 860078, Shawnee, KS 66286-0078, or drop it in the box in the One Life area at WFC Lenexa.

Become a One Life Sponsor

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In homes and neighborhoods all over KC, people are learning to breathe in and breathe out BLESS.

In homes and neighborhoods all over KC, people are learning to breathe in and breathe out BLESS.

"In truth, all along the way, I've been gospeling my neighbors. When I get to sharing the story, I get to show how all along the way we’ve been sharing the good news of the kingdom by living like Jesus lived. And I've earned the right and the trust to speak it over them. We have received each other really."