All In

All In

Summer Link is in full swing here in the City of Oaks and July promises to be another busy month for our team. This summer has been good to our team, though that’s not to say we haven’t been challenged. Because all of us call the Raleigh area home, we have been challenged by our leaders and mentors to be “all in”, investing our time and effort into this flexible season of life for the sake of the kingdom. At our weekly meetings, we’ve been discussing evangelism and discipleship. We’ve been encouraged to share the gospel weekly in the places we commonly go, assured that we do not go alone, nor are we responsible for a stellar presentation of the Good News. An awkward fumbling does more than nothing at all; a truth I am reminded of as I write.

We’ve had the privilege of partnering with the Raleigh Dream Center (RDC) for their Summer Reading program. The RDC provides opportunities for children from low-income families to grow in literacy over the summer months, when there more in danger of falling behind than their peers. During the program, children are given the chance to choose a book at their reading level and read for twenty minutes. At the end of that time, they are given a sheet of paper and asked to write about what they read (increasing reading comprehension). Then there’s a time of play before a book centering on a Christian virtue is read aloud to the children, followed by a lesson which weaves in the Gospel. For some of these children, this will be the first time they’ve ever heard the Good News. Our team has only just begun our relationship with this organization, but we all look forward to continuing to serve alongside them. We’re praying that news of the program would spread in the Washington Terrace apartment complex so more children have an opportunity to participate.

Members of our team attended Creed Camp, an annual youth camp, last month. The exhausting week was as much a blessing to our leaders as it was for the youth. Our team also helped with Soccer Nights an out reach our church, Open Door, holds every summer open to the community. A significant portion of the families in attendance were not members of the church. Our team acted as coaches, assistance coaches and bathroom runners (an essential position, for sure). Of far greater importance, however, was found in the conversations between members of our church and the parents, guardians and children present. We desired to show them the love of Christ and welcome them to find a community with the church.

This summer has certainly been filled with chances to serve, others but is has also been filled with others serving us well. Our team has had the opportunity to sit under the teachings of several leaders connected with our church and the nearby Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary. Our first Equip Night was hosted by the Rafferty family. Chris Rafferty is OD’s pastor to children and their families. His wife, Traci, cooked a delicious Turkish inspired meal complete with mint sweet tea picked from her own garden. The Rafferty’s have a heart for the nations, and such sentiments were evident in their wise words to us that night. They met while living overseas and have longed to return for over fifteen years. Yet, despite the door never opening for them, they didn’t waste their time stateside longing to be elsewhere. Their encouragement to us was not to look too fondly towards where we want to be and squander our time where we are, but instead to be all in exactly where the Lord has placed us. We may miss out on chances to glorify Him if we do otherwise.

Going forward, we ask you to pray for our teams up coming mission trip to Washington DC to assist with Veritas City Church in Georgetown. They’re a young church in a tough area to minister to, but they’ve seen much fruit in their first year. We also ask for prayer that we would all finish the summer well, that we would persevere under the pressures of ministry and grow in our love and commitment to the local church. My personal prayer is that we would all, no matter where we have found ourselves this summer, prepare our hearts for what comes next. Not looking with too much longing on the horizon, but considering how we can use what we’ve learned this summer in the ministries we’re apart of. Let’s finish well, brothers and sisters.

 

Velinda Basallo 

Summer LINK Raleigh Participant