From the Executive Director

I recently returned from a trip to Colombia where I attended the inaugural service for our most recent church plant in Pereira, Colombia.

 

I was accompanied on the trip by my co-worker, Chris Fry, and 3 other friends of the ministry from the Houston area. In preparation for the inaugural service, we worked with the missionary families and divided into several groups to hand out flyers and empanadas in the street to invite people to the worship service on Sunday. One group visited a large apartment building complex which consists of families who have been displaced from parts of Colombia because of the decades long war with the communist guerillas. Another group went to the bus terminal and drew a large crowd who were curious about North Americans handing out flyers and food.

On this trip I was impressed by the dedication of the four missionary families and their commitment to the work of starting a new congregation in Pereira. I was also reminded of the partnership that North American churches and individuals have with our brothers and sisters working in Latin America. It reminded me of these words of Paul in Philippians 1:4-6, “In all my prayers for all of you, I always pray with joy because of your partnership in the gospel from the first day until now, being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.”

Thank you for your donation that makes it possible for new churches like the one in Pereira. I would also like to express my gratitude for your partnership in the gospel with Great Cities Missions. 

Kelley Grant – Executive Director

“Oh Lord, we want to thank you for the these precious “little feet.” We thank you for baby feet born on soil in another land. We want to thank you for growing little feet, for the tired, and disappointed, and often confused little feet. We thank you for now large feet who were once little feet in another country. Thank you for the steps of mom and dad who are guiding and teaching their little ones. Help us to value these little feet and never forget how important they are, too. May they never be invisible, unimportant, overlooked, or too expensive in our sending and our caring. Please protect these little feet, Lord, and help them to be strong and resilient. For as you say, “Of such is the Kingdom of heaven!” Because of Jesus, Amen.”

 

It is an extraordinary and exciting opportunity to be senders of missionaries! To help support someone who is answering a call from God is an act of obedience as well (Romans 10:15). Often those who are dedicating their lives to global sharing of the gospel are family units with children. So, the children also say their goodbyes, pack their belongings, and as they hold their parents’ hands their beautiful little feet scamper, skip, hop, and run across unknown and confusing countries. With wide eyes and laughter, which can frequently dissolve to tears, these young hearts deal with loss, grief, and identity confusion, just as their parents do, as they learn to adapt to cultures, people, values, and unique ways of living. 

Who are these beautiful “little feet”? Who are these smaller members of the missionary family and team? They are commonly referred to as TCKs or Third Culture Kids and defined by Pollack, Van Reken & Pollack in “Third Culture Kids: Growing Up Among Worlds,” (2017, p. 27) as: …a person who spends a significant part of his or her first eighteen years of life accompanying parent(s) into a country that is different from at least one parent’s passport country(ies) due to a parent’s choice of work or advance training.

The TCK life is a both/and life, bringing challenges as well as benefits. The purpose of this article is to consider how sending and supporting churches, missions committees, individuals, and other missionary care providers can help, encourage, and support the “little feet” in missionary families, while recognizing both the highs and lows of TCK life. Why? Because little feet matter too! And because a supportive faith community can have a positive and lasting impact on these young, formative lives.

But first let’s clear up any possible misunderstandings about TCKs. Being a third culture kid is not a bad thing, a better thing, or even a mental health condition. Observed differences are not “weirdness” or odd behavior. TCKs are not growing up “wrong” and are not to be the objects of ridicule or shaming.

TCKs are blessed (and sometimes challenged) with the effects of being part of a family that takes Jesus to other countries and other cultures. Some of these effects may be occasionally observed differences. However, other times the differences are unobservable but are an internally experienced incongruence by the TCK. Whether observable or not, these differences are usually adaptive and culturally appropriate (“Where I live, everyone eats with their hands”) and the result of a spiritual discovery of God within a ministerial, cross-cultural context (“Don’t people always kiss each other at church and have birthday cake and parties when someone is baptized?”). Frequently, TCKs witness situations that are difficult for adults to comprehend, and they may struggle more to understand them because their cognitive abilities are less mature (“At night what happens to all of the hungry people on the sidewalks downtown?” “Is Jesus angry because I don’t share my dinner with them?”). Sometimes they hear their parents cry at night but recall church send-offs that were joyous, supportive, and exciting. They may be mesmerized and amazed by a Chick-fil-A automatic trash compacter but laugh about a black mamba snake that slithered across their kitchen floor at home. Or, what used to be their home.

So how do we love and support these amazing TCKs? These beautiful “little feet”? First of all, you go to the source and find out! You ask TCKs, adult TCKs, and parents of TCKs how we can love better. Below are practical suggestions from these experts on how church senders and mission groups can love and care better! Here is what they had to share:

1. We love care packages! It lets us know you remember us. (But you might want to check with mom and dad first since delivery options are often unreliable and we may never get the long-awaited package. And sometimes our parents may have to pay several times the value of the package because of import taxes.)
2. At times we would like to be included (via Zoom) in kids’ Bible classes for special events or for an interview about our new country.
3. We like to play online games with you (like Chess, Minecraft, or other games — but within Mom and Dad’s technology guidelines, of course). We really like staying connected with kids our age.
4. Before we leave our host country on furlough, it would be nice to ask mom and dad what we are needing. They will have some good ideas. Based on what has been happening in our life, we might need some hangout time, fun times, sleepovers, doctor’s appointments, some parent time, or other things.
5. It is helpful for us to read kid books in our first language and also in the new language we are learning!
6. When we are back on furlough, it is really great if we can have a friend or buddy that is interested in our mission country or who has also lived in another culture. They can help us figure out some of the things that have changed in our home culture, things that we are clueless about! And it is really nice if we can stay in contact with this buddy when we go back to the mission field, too.
7. Please don’t be upset with us if we don’t call our parents’ passport country our “home.” It is not that we don’t like it, even though we may get really confused. It is just that we feel more at home in the country where we have grown up.
8. We like to answer curiosity questions about our home, our personal interests, our mission, or anything about our life there!
9. When we come to the States on furlough, would you please make sure we get to spend time together as a family? Mom and Dad work very hard and are always helping others. We would really love to spend time with just them, relaxing and have fun. (By the way, would you ask mom and dad if they are taking time off
every week? Sometimes we feel sad that they are so tired.) 

10. Thank you for asking about and helping our family with our educational needs. That’s a big deal for us! Having a good education will help us navigate a lot of things now and later.
11. When we visit your church on furlough, a lot of us easily get embarrassed. Some of us really don’t like the spotlight and we don’t want you to think we are heroes or anything. But sometimes we like to share our story with other kids, too.
12. We REALLY need to feel like we belong. Consistent connection really means a lot to us. More than we can explain.
13. When we moved back to the States, re-entry was really hard. I didn’t know who I was because we weren’t missionaries anymore. Everything was so different here and inside my skin I didn’t feel like I fit, even though I looked like I did. I felt like an immigrant on the inside of me. When other kids come back to the States, I hope you will just love them and give them time to go through all of that adjustment. Again.
14. Gifts and all the fun times are great! But what we really want — and NEED — is a relationship with you. Personal. Consistent. Loving. Curious.
15. We are not very good at goodbyes because we have had to say so many. In fact, it is one of the hardest things about being a TCK. But would you hug us anyway, even if we act like we don’t want one? Tell us you love us and will miss us. But would you please tell us that our relationship is not going to go away? Let
us be sad sometimes and let us tell you what makes us sad. Mom says that is healthy and that kids grieve, too. Especially, TCKs.
16. We would like to establish some traditions with you, especially when we are on furlough. Maybe we can always do some of the same things, go to the same places, play similar games, have sleepovers, etc. Then when we are gone we can stay connected and even have technology traditions! Traditions help us feel more stable and like we belong.
17. We may be TCKs but we are just kids. Plain old kids who are doing the best we can do. We will mess up and be loud and noisy sometimes because, well, we are just kids! Thank you for the extra kindness and grace you give us in those moments.
18. Thank you for loving and nurturing and caring for our parents. When you help them, it also helps us because then they feel better and can help us better, too. 

Aren’t these some great suggestions? I am so thankful for the young and older TCKs that took the time to help us learn how to love TCKs better. Although this isn’t intended to be a comprehensive list, it is a wonderful list that can open up compassionate and creative places in our hearts to help us care better.

Dr. Becky Holton is Director of Missionary Care at Great Cities Missions. She is a licensed mental health therapist and Certified Professional Counselor. As a counselor she specializes in family and women’s issues (particularly abuse, relationships, trauma, grief and depression). She has extensive training in family systems, childhood concerns and is also a Certified Crisis Response Therapist. She is frequently a consultant for church leaders and missions committees.

When you support Great Cities Missions, you come alongside everyone on the team, young and old. Ready to do that today? To donate online, just click on the DONATE button or mail your donation. Either way YOU will be part of something GREAT! Thank you! 

Great Cities Missions – 3939 Belt Line Rd., Suite 705 – Addison, TX – 75001 

2021 has been a fruitful year of ministry at Great Cities Missions. A new team arrived on the field in Medellín, Colombia and online training has begun for a team to Bucaramanga, Colombia in 2022. 

 

Jeremy Davis, Director of Latin Teams, was hired in order to double the number of Latin teams sent to the field. Connections Renewal for English speaking missionary women was held in Miami. Churches in Colombia and Mexico are reporting record baptisms and attendance. Travel has opened back up and Great Cities staff has been able to visit teams and churches again.

One of the projects we are most excited about right now is the newest team being prepared for Boa Vista, Brazil. This team is comprised entirely of Brazilians and will be our first bi-vocational team, working part time while they evangelize and plant a church. The overseeing church for the Boa Vista Team will be a church in Campo Grande, Brazil, planted by a Great Cities Missions team in 1981.

Great Cities Missions was founded in 1976 by members of the São Paulo Mission Team who returned to the United States to recruit mission teams to plant churches in Brazil. This year marks the 60th anniversary of the São Paulo team sailing to Brazil in June 1961. Their goal was to make Christ known to the people of Brazil. The team was extraordinarily successful, planting churches throughout Brazil and transforming the lives of countless Brazilians.

Great Cities Missions is committed to bringing the Good News of Jesus Christ to the Latin World. Church planting is the strategy for evangelism with the goal of establishing vibrant, self-sufficient churches where qualified local leaders are raised up and supported. What an incredible blessing from God to be able to see a church mature to the point they are now sending missionaries.

Because of the incredible work by so many, we are sure God’s love and mercy will continue to be shown in the Latin World. We need your help to ensure this legacy continues. We ask that you humbly consider a generous donation to Great Cities Missions this year so the Good News continues to be shared in Latin America.

You can donate online, just click on the DONATE button or mail your donation. Either way YOU will be part of something GREAT! Thank you!

Kelley Grant – Executive Director

Great Cities Missions – 3939 Belt Line Rd., Suite 705 – Addison, TX – 75001

 

For the last several years the Cúcuta Mission Team has provided much needed relief aid to churches in the country of Venezuela.

 

The border between Colombia and Venezuela has been closed since the Covid-19 pandemic began. The relief aid that once was distributed by the Cúcuta team directly to Venezuela was redirected to Venezuelan refugees in Cúcuta and other cities in Colombia.

Venezuelan Christians that were receiving food, medicine and hygiene products on a regular basis found themselves cut off from these much-needed supplies. Several congregations in the United States that are involved in the Venezuela relief efforts discovered another way to send aid by sending relief directly to Venezuela.

One congregation that has led the way in the effort is Brentwood Hills Church of Christ in Nashville, TN. They have done a wonderful job of receiving donations from church members as well as packing and sending boxes. I happened to be in Nashville last month where volunteers packed over 100 boxes. These boxes weigh up to 100 pounds and are filled with items that will not just meet a physical need but provide hope and encouragement to our Venezuelan brothers and sisters.

We are grateful for partnering churches like Brentwood Hills that place such a high view on serving others. Please continue to pray for the country of Venezuela and those that have been displaced over the last few years.

Kelley Grant – Executive Director

 

The pandemic delayed our newest church planting mission team to Medellín, Colombia, but it did not stop it from starting a new congregation.

 

The inaugural service was held on July 25 and was very well attended. It was followed up by a greater event when four people decided to be baptized. Since then, the team has begun Wednesday night Bible study, ladies Bible study, a marriage ministry, hosted their first youth meetings and have already begun a Venezuelan relief effort. All this in just two months!

The Medellín Mission Team consists of four families, each of which has previous church planting experience. It is a pleasure to work with such an experienced mission team who has a desire to continue to share the Good News of Jesus. This team makes the eighth church planting team that we have sent to Colombia in the last 18 years.

We have plans to send 4 more teams to other Colombian cities over the next 4 years. Thank you for your donation that allows us to work with teams like this one.  Please keep the Medellín Team and their new church plant in your prayers.   

Kelley Grant – Executive Director

 

It was 60 years ago that an intrepid group of graduates, most of them from Abilene Christian University, set sail on a ship from the port of Houston to begin their mission work in São Paulo, Brazil. This group formed the São Paulo Mission Team with an audacious goal of establishing a new church in the heart of that great city.

 

The team was dedicated and extremely motivated to share the Good News of Jesus to the people of São Paulo. Their desire did not stop there as they began to seek out opportunities to plant churches in other large cities of Brazil as well. Out of this desire to reach the other great cities of Brazil began the plan to create what has become Great Cities Missions.

The São Paulo Team selected one of their members, Ellis Long, to return to Abilene, Texas to recruit, train and send additional church planting mission teams to reach the enormous country of Brazil. (Brazil is larger than the continental United States, with a population of over 200,000,000.)

We are grateful to the vision that this team had to share God’s love to Brazil and the rest of Latin America.  Your donation helps keep that vision alive. Thank you for your confidence in the power of the Gospel and God’s love to transform lives. Thank you for being part of something GREAT!

Kelley Grant – Executive Director

 

Recently I was enjoying sitting on a floating dock on Lake Taneycomo watching the boats, fisherman and wildlife. I noticed a dad and his two boys skipping rocks across the Lake. The dad was getting his rocks to skip multiple times while the boys were struggling to get just one skip. By comparing several types of rocks in his hand, the dad began to explain to them why. I could not hear them, but drawing on my rock skipping days, I imagined he shared how you must pick the right stones – light, smooth and with rounded edges. To achieve multiple skips, it is fundamental to pick the perfect rock!

 

Jesus, the great teacher, was sharing the Sermon on the Mount with religious leaders, his apostles, many disciples and followers. He asked everyone, “Why do you call me Lord, and not do what I say? It is like a wise man building his house, who dug down and laid his foundation on the rock. When the storms came his house stood. But another man was foolish. He was foolish because he built his house on the sand without a foundation. When the storm came his house fell with a great crash!” The difference between being wise or foolish was hearing Jesus’ words and following them. The message was build your life on the Rock Jesus Christ and His teachings! (Luke 6:46-49, Matthew 7:24-27).

This month Great Cities Missions is celebrating the 1961 São Paulo Mission Team’s 60-year anniversary. The São Paulo Team was one of the first group of missionaries to go as a team to large Latin cities, like São Paulo, Brazil. Imagine the impact of 60 years of ministry. How could a ministry last so long? In a recent video, team members David and Carolyn Mickey shared that even from the beginning the team hit the streets sharing the life and teachings of Jesus. Many people responded to the message of Jesus. Their long-term ministry was built on sharing Jesus the Rock and his foundational teachings.

Great Cities Missions was born out of the São Paulo Team’s desire to send more teams to large urban areas of the Latin World. That desire is still alive today, exemplified by GCM’s mission statement – Sharing Christ with the Latin World. 

Guest contributor Ron Freitas and his wife Georgia were missionaries on the 1986 Curitiba, Brazil Team and came back to the US to work for Great Cities Missions. Ron continues to serve missionaries as an advisor and as co-director of the Connections Men’s Renewal for missionary men.

 

“There it is, let’s stop,” we would shout from the backseat of our car. It was a favorite childhood treat anytime our family drove over the Sacramento Mountains.

 

We always recognized the approach by the sight of the tunnel carved through the rock mountain. Our anticipated refreshment awaited on the left, after our old car emerged from the dark mountain tunnel. A large pipe wedged into the rock released ice-cold water fed from a snowmelt spring. We could drink to our heart’s content. To drink from the rock was a childhood treat.

In Paul’s first letter to Jesus-followers from first century Corinth, he uses his own sense of integrity and purpose to describe his walk with Jesus. He then shines light on a lesson God taught his children Israel, an insight I often overlooked. He alludes to Israel’s desert journey when they ran out of water and blamed God. They were thirsty.  

There were two occasions. Both times Moses confronts God. He, God’s chosen leader, cannot meet the people’s expectation as they cry for thirst quenching water. In response, God provides cold water from a rock in a scorched desert. So, Paul adds the insight and provides a metaphor I often missed in my Exodus reading: And all drank the same spiritual drink, for they drank from the spiritual rock that followed them, the rock was Christ (1 Corinthians 10:4). 

At Great Cities Missions, we are privileged to guide residents of Portuguese and Spanish-speaking cities to Christ the Rock who gushes refreshment for parched souls. What a joy to witness their childlike excitement when they first drink from The Holy’s spring water of forgiveness. 

We invite you to join us in the mission to introduce thirsty city dwellers to Christ the rock who is a spring of living water. The water that I will give, to never again be thirsty, a spring of water gushing up to eternal life (John 4). 

Dr. Gary Sorrells – Executive Director Emeritus – Dr. Sorrells served on the São Paulo Mission Team from 1969-1977. He also served as Great Cities Missions Executive Director from 1990-2011. He remains an active Great Cities Missions board member and holds the title of director emeritus.

 

I am sure that you are familiar with Psalm 23 that begins with “The Lord is my shepherd….”

 

I recently heard an explanation about this psalm from Ray Vander Laan, an expert in Jewish history. A few years ago, on a trip to Israel, the group he was leading observed a shepherd guiding his flock to feed. The place they were visiting was most likely very similar to where David would have tended his sheep thousands of years ago. The interesting thing is that the area was not a green pasture, instead it was an arid, rocky wilderness where the sheep would have to search for grass.

The shepherd led the sheep to look for blades of grass growing in the shade of the rocks, which were plentiful on the hillside. The message was that the sheep had plenty to eat, but the shepherd had to help them find the food. The grass was abundant if you knew where to look.

As I think about the challenges that mission teams and national churches continue to face in Latin America due to the pandemic, I am grateful for how God has constantly provided exactly what has been needed. The same has happened for Great Cities Missions because of people like you.

Kelley Grant – Executive Director

 

In March our staff had the pleasure of spending some time with Jim and Sharon Brickman in our weekly virtual staff meeting.

 

Jim spent his career in the Army and retired as a Brigadier General. After retirement, Jim and Sharon moved to Norman, Oklahoma where they have dedicated themselves to bless their community by working in their local church.

The Brickmans have also been wonderful champions and supporters of Great Cities Missions. In fact, Jim was a GCM Trustee from 2006-2018, serving as our Chairman from 2008-2014.

As Executive Director, I was blessed to work very closely with Jim and grew to appreciate how he used his talents and experience from his career in the Army to grow the Kingdom of God. Whether it was leading our board of trustees or helping to train and equip our mission teams with needed leadership and strategy skills, Jim was using his gifts to share Jesus so that others could have abundant life.

I am very grateful to supporters like the Brickmans who believe in the power of the Good News of Jesus to change lives. I know that you share this belief. Great Cities Missions would not exist and could not share Christ with the Latin World without supporters like you and Jim and Sharon.

May God richly bless you and your family.

Kelley Grant – Executive Director

 

The 2012 Suba Team is an impressive mission team that works in the northern part of Bogota, Colombia.

 

They have the blessing of the church meeting in a great location on a main avenue in that city. One interesting thing about the Suba church is that their church building is a former discotech/bar and according to the team it had a bad reputation. The team had to undertake extensive repair work to the building to convert it from a discotech to a church building. A lot of time was spent repainting the multi-colored walls and pillars. There was also a disco ball that had to be removed as it is not standard equipment for most churches.

The strangest remodeling that had to be done was to scrape the floors. The team found out that the entire floor was covered in gum. This was something that they did not realize until they installed new lighting in the building.

The darkness has a way of hiding imperfections. That doesn’t mean that the imperfections are not there, it just means that we don’t see them until they are exposed to the light.

Jesus had this to say about the light in John 8:12, “I am the Light of the World. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness but will have the Light of Life.”

Every donation to Great Cities Missions helps shine the light of Jesus in the Latin World. And like you, we believe that the darkness will never overcome it.  That is GREAT news.

Kelley Grant – Executive Director

 

As 2020 came to a close, I was hoping that the new year would be very different from the one before. Unfortunately, the date on a calendar does not change the circumstances of a pandemic, economic issues, or political divisions.

 

These issues are ones that we are facing in the United States, but also issues that mission teams and national Christians are dealing with in Latin America.  

Jesus says this in John 14:27 “I am leaving you with a gift—peace of mind and heart. And the peace I give is a gift the world cannot give. So, don’t be troubled or afraid.” In the midst of all the uncertainty and anxiety is a message of hope. The hope that only God can provide through the Good News of Jesus.

When you give to Great Cities Missions, you share the hope and peace that only comes from Jesus. You are a valuable partner to this ministry and your donations are making an eternal difference in the Latin World.

Kelley Grant – Executive Director

 

It has been a very interesting nine months for everyone. In fact, I would guess that none of us have lived through anything quite like this in our lifetimes. I am extremely impressed by the mission teams and national church leaders who have not just survived during this time but have thrived during extremely challenging times.  

 

As I read Colossians 1:6 recently, it made me think of how God’s power has been displayed in extremely powerful ways this year. “This same Good News that came to you is going out all over the world. It is bearing fruit everywhere by changing lives…” Mission teams and churches throughout Latin America, but especially in Brazil, Colombia and Mexico have reported increased numbers of Bible studies and baptisms.
Lives have been changed because of the Good News of Jesus. They are being changed in much the same way that Jesus changed lives during his ministry, by meeting people’s physical needs and showing God’s love, which in turn provides a great opportunity to share the Gospel.

Every donation we receive makes these good works possible. Thank you for your support and generosity.

Kelley Grant – Executive Director

 

 

Because of you, we were able to recruit, train and provide ongoing coaching and care to missionaries and national churches throughout the Latin World during the pandemic.

 

Great Cities Missions, like most non-profit organizations, is dependent on generous donors like you.

Each year we receive more than 50% of our annual donations in the final quarter of the calendar year. In previous years we have used golf tournaments and dinners to help inform, encourage, and provide a forum for donors to give to this ministry.

Due to the uncertainty of the pandemic, we canceled our events this fall and created a fun but informative video that premiered October 13, to highlight the good work that God has been doing this year. If you haven’t already seen it, I encourage you to watch “Some Great Cities News”. It is only 15 minutes long, but will warm your heart as you witness the GREAT NEWS being shared in Latin America. Click Here to watch Some Great Cities News.

Much has been shut-down due to the pandemic but thanks to your donation, the gospel has not been stopped!

Kelley Grant – Executive Director

September 2020

This week I had the pleasure of speaking to a group of Hispanic ministers that work with Great Cities teams throughout the Latin World. 

It was an honor to share some words of encouragement from Scripture with these men. I was impressed with the camaraderie that they shared and with the way that they encouraged one another.

I was also reminded of the sacrifice that they have made to share the Good News of Jesus in the cities where they are working. They are doing this good work despite the challenges that they face. For example, one man was on the Zoom meeting while sitting on the sidewalk next to a store. That was the only place that he could get a good wireless connection. Another minister had just been released from the hospital after an emergency surgery.

We are blessed at Great Cities to work with such dedicated ministers. We are also blessed to have Chris and Vickie Fry and Calvin and Linda Henry as part of our staff. The Frys and the Henrys are doing a wonderful job of providing encouragement and advice to Hispanic missionary couples.

Please pray for our missionary families as they continue to serve God with commitment and dedication.

Kelley Grant – Executive Director

August 2020

Central Church of Christ

For over 40 years, Great Cities Missions has had a healthy, thriving relationship with Central Church of Christ in Amarillo, Texas. They are the reason we can do what we love, Share Christ with the Latin World, because their passion for this work existed long before we did. Believing their calling was to go beyond the walls of their church building, Central was key in supporting a missionary team who had a heart for planting a church in São Paulo, Brazil. In 1964, this team had a big ask for Central. They wanted to build a church but needed $250,000.

Central took the lead in overseeing the funding and building campaign and the new church building was inaugurated four years later. Working with the missionary team, the church elders set in order a plan for the new church to be turned over to the Brazilian nationals who attended the church. This model of establishing a church to successfully turn over to the oversight of its own people would be adopted by Great Cities Missions as the end goal of every missionary team.

In 1976, Ellis Long and the São Paulo team asked Central to be a co-sponsor of a full-time recruiting effort. And the rest is history. Dr. Gary Sorrells says this of Central in his book Make Your Vision Go Viral, “It was cutting-edge willingness on the part of the Amarillo Central church to organize GCM in January 1993 as a 501(c)3 entity with a national board of trustees. Their foresight in overseeing the ministry through a board of trustees has allowed the ministry to grow beyond the resources of the Amarillo church.” Today, six of the twenty-two board members are members of Central. The board continues to have a far-reaching presence with two trustees calling South America home.

Central continues to be a church inspired by sharing Jesus. In 1964 they said yes to fund a building for a people they didn’t know and most would never visit. Today they continue to say yes and seek new ways to serve their community and their world. Among the many outreach opportunities you’ll find them involved with, serving the children and staff at Bivins Elementary allows church members to get involved outside of the church walls. Senior Minister Allan Stanglin says “we believe our interaction with Bivins Elementary shows people that we believe in what our Lord Jesus believes, that we behave with others the way Jesus behaves. We are providing love and grace, encouragement and support, in the name and manner of Jesus to all these kids and their families. They know we’re from Central, they know we support their school and our community, they know we’re partnering with them for the betterment of everybody. And we tell them it’s because of Jesus.”

When you support Great Cities Missions, you can be sure that you are supporting a work with exceptional oversight from its supporting church, Central Church of Christ, and its board of trustees. We are thankful for the many ways that Central inspires us to be more like Jesus and to find creative ways to go beyond our walls and share Him with our friends in the Latin World.

Make Your Vision Go Viral Taking Christ to Great Cities – A Proven 5-Step Plan That Really Works by Dr. Gary Sorrells can be purchased through Great Cities Missions for $10.

This photo of Central Church of Christ volunteers at Bivins Elementary represents the many Central volunteers who help with programs like Snack Pak 4 Kids, the Bivins Bucks Store, the Crossing Guard program, cafeteria volunteers, and playground buddies volunteers. Central also provides school supplies and hosts a big Back To School dinner and party on the school campus every August to coincide with school registration as well as host teacher breakfasts for the beginning of school each fall. This year they plan to offer Financial Peace University and parenting classes in cooperation with Bivins Elementary.

Frey and Ingrid

The first time I visited our newest church plant in Cúcuta, Colombia, I met a couple named Frey and Ingrid. Frey and Ingrid are both professionals and had been living in Cúcuta for about 6 months. They discovered the church while walking by one day when members of the Cúcuta mission team were handing out food on the street. That started a relationship with the missionaries that eventually led to their baptisms and new lives in Christ.

Fred and Ingrid both lost their jobs as the economy in Venezuela began to deteriorate. Their biggest struggle after losing their jobs was finding enough food to eat. They said they would wait in line for hours and be told that there was no food left to purchase.  Other times they would be in line and people would approach them with weapons and force them to give them their place in line. The final straw was the day they didn’t have any food left in the house and Frey decided to go to the food court at the mall to find some. He did not have any money so he would wait to see if people had any leftover food on their plates that they didn’t throw away. 

Finally a person left a portion of their soup on the table and Frey was able to take that home to his wife. He told me that they ate a little bit of the soup each day and made it last for 3 days. Our group from the US heard their heartbreaking story and were brought to tears thinking about the abundance of food that we would have upon our return home.

Earlier this year, I returned to Cúcuta where I encountered Frey and Ingrid again. This time I was able to serve with them as we prepared the church for their 1st anniversary service. We painted the building together, prepared bags of food and medicine for the Venezuelan relief aid effort, the next morning Frey and I both participated in the worship service, and Ingrid helped teach the children. Both of them looked healthy and happy and found different ways to share God’s blessings they had received not too long before. 

At Great Cities, our mission is to Share the Good News of Jesus Christ with the Latin World. Frey and Ingrid’s story is just one example of why we do it. When people experience the love of God, their lives are transformed, their communities are transformed and their cities are transformed. We cannot do it without your help. We need your prayers. We need your support. And we need your financial gifts. Please make a year-end donation to Great Cities this year. You are making an eternal difference.

by Kelley Grant, Executive Director