Monday, December 28, 2009

Field Report From Ronda

Congratulations Marquita Hurd!

I met Marquita, better known as “Kit” in September of this year. I immediately was drawn to her beautiful smile and dynamic personality.
Kit had recently moved back to Corinth after a difficult time in Florida. She was homeless, no car and without work. Crosswind began to work with her to find a place to live and quickly moved her into Hickory Terrace Apartments. She immediately became involved in all activities of Crosswind and was willing to do whatever it took to get her life back on track.

Judy Wilbanks, our Life Coach at Crosswind, began to spend time with Kit and arranged for her to meet with a Crosswind Financial Counselor who would help her get her finances in order and also began to help her make a plan for her future.

For the next 3 months Kit took on odd jobs to pay her bills, put in many, many job applications, did volunteer work at the Boys and Girls Club, visited residents of Hickory with Judy and prayed for God to supply her every need.

In November 2 she applied for a job with the new Goodwill facility here in Corinth and on November 30th was hired!

Today, December 28, Kit met with her Crosswind Financial Counselor, opened a savings account and bought a car!

Way to go Kit!!! We are so proud of you!


Thursday, December 24, 2009

Merry Christmas... Crosswind Style

Tonight I experienced Christmas in a way I never have before.

Tonight a group of friends gathered together to share Christmas Carols with the wonderful people of Farmington Arms. As we gathered I looked around and saw the most beautiful sight. Black & White, Young & Old, Rich & Poor, Residents of FA and people from all over Alcorn County gathering for the same purpose to share Christmas with others through song. I walked along with the carolers carrying Spiced Cider and my friend and her daughter carried plates of cookies to give out to those who dared to open their door to this rather large group of people carrying candles and wearing Santa hats. To us we many have seemed out of tune and unorganized, but to those who heard us to those who listened I believe they heard and saw something completely different. Many ventured out of their warm homes and stood and listened to the songs of Christmas...Joy to the World, Silent Night, Jingle Bells, etc.

...and then it happened; a door was opened not only to hear the songs, but a door was opened for us to share the hope of Christmas with a new resident. A single Dad raising 3 young children. As he opened his door we showered him and his children with cookies and cider. I dont think he really knew what to do with us, not sure he had ever experienced such a welcome party, but he chated with my husband and a few of the youth for a while. We wished him and his children a Merry Christmas, invited them over to the Crosswind Apt for more fun and fellowship and left him and his family on the balcony. I looked back as we left and he was standing outside watching us as we walked away. As we gathered up in the Crosswind Apt we began to fellowship together and helped the children begin the decorating of mini-gingerbread houses. For most this was the first gingerbread house they had ever seen, much less decorated. It was so much fun and we had a house full!
Then from around the corner I saw him! He had come and brought his 3 children with him. "Can we build a gingerbread house too?" they asked. As we squeezed them into the already crowded room they began to build their houses and we began to build relationship with dad. We found out he had just moved here from Michagan and had been able to get work...which for many is a miracle in and of itself. He was doing well but was having a hard time. Robert Gates the one we call our "Pastor of Farmington" began to share with him all about the neighborhood and how the kids could come to Bible Study and how there was a Bible Study for him as well. Robert shared with him how the people in this room wanted to come along beside him and help him work through this difficult time in his life. As Robert shared with him he began to open up and Robert was able to find out that he wasnt going to be able to have much of a Christmas for the kids because he had not been at work for long. "Well, Robert said, we will fix that tomorrow". Come to my home when you get off work and we will provide a way for you to be able to give your kids Christmas presents. "Really" was all he could say.
So tomorrow we will begin our new friendship and relationship with a single dad and through a single act of kindness begin to share with him the greatest gift of all "Christ"! And we thought all we were going to be doing tonight was share Christmas Carols and build gingerbread houses...when God's plan all along was for us to share the hope of Christmas and build a relationship with a single dad and his children that will lead to friendship with each other and Him.

Now to me that is Christmas!
-Ronda Windham

Monday, December 21, 2009

Lighthouse Brings Joy To The City

There's a famous old gospel song that talks about a lighthouse... the chorus says, "And I thank God for the Lighthouse..." and so do we.

Fifteen years ago God told a young basketball star and his preacher buddy to go where the broken were and bring the light of the gospel. And like Abraham and many other men of faith before them, they did just that.

Every year at Christmas, the Lighthouse invites the believers of the city (the Church) to partner with them to bring a blessing to people in need. This year was no exception. The Church gets to join together for a day of hope and inspiration offerring the gospel and a listening ear to the hurting in our community. This year the Lighthouse gave away 6000 toys to over 1500 kids from over 500 families. And every family heard the gospel, was provided one-on-one counsel and prayer, was treated like royalty and 'loved on' bigtime. Wow!

God told us when we gathered together to "stir one another up to love and good works." Well the Lighthouse Toy Store does just that. It's impossible to go and not be stirred. We are stirred with compassion. We are stirred by the gospel. We are stirred by the brokenness some of us weren't aware of in our city. We are stirred by the love of Christ. We are stirred by Christian unity and fellowship. The whole day is just a MIGHTY stirring!

We did a video to celebrate the Lighthouse with you. We hope you enjoy it. You'll see what the real magic is behind it for the old gospel song goes on to say... "for Jesus is the Lighthouse and from this world of sin He has shone a light around us that all who will may see, if it wasn't for the Lighthouse, tell me, where would this ship be."

With overwhelming hearts of gratitude and love for Gary, Herbie, Markeena, Nan and the rest of the Lighthouse staff and volunteers... our city loves you and wishes you a Merry Christmas!

CLICK HERE and then on "Personal Stories/Lighthouse"

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

'Tis the season...

I love Christmas. I love Thanksgiving. And even New Year's Day. I just love this particular time of year.. And for a charity director I especially love it... because it is a unique time of year for generosity and love.

This blog is called InsideOutreach. It is called so because we are trying to give you the reader a behind the scenes look at charity life. We want to share our experiences, to let you in on our experiment. And especially for us, it becomes a diary almost of what we were learning along the way as we tried to start a charity and use it to start a missionary movement in our city.

So this season is unique i that everyone is charity minded during this season. There are angel tree's and Christmas basket giveaways and our famous Toy Store and special holiday meals and on and on. It is a wonderful season. So what does a charity do during this season of cheer? And particularly what is Crosswind doing and why?

Crosswind is using this season to be a lively partner of the many events already scheduled. Here's what we mean by lively partner:

1. Our donors and volunteers are donating and volunteering at the many great charity events in town and 2. We are helping the people in need get connected to your events.

That's all... We thought about having our own thing but why? There's so much good stuff going on in our community already. There are many of us that can make a bigger impact by teaming up with others instead of doing stuff by ourselves.

Come January, we'll have our plate full again, but for now, we're coming to your place.

...And we're bringing friends.


Tuesday, November 24, 2009

There's a lot to be said for 'Going 4th'

Several months ago a small band of missional believers in Iuka, Mississippi got a burden for the "left outs" of their city. They felt God call them to be a friend to folks without one, to bring a smile to a lonely person's face, to well, live out the person of Jesus who lived in them...

And boy have they. They have had regular outreaches into the subsidized apt complexes, have met and made many new friends, have assisted as they could, loved often and deeply from their hearts. And once again we're hearing the story. A story of fulfillment , of really living out their Christian experience, of almost "feeling like Jesus out there."

You know how it happened? They just went for it... or to use their name, they went 4th. They named their ministry after Jesus' call to us to Go 4th. Simple isn't it? Everything changes when you do. Nothing when you don't. Thank you Go4th for going 4 it!

You inspire us and 'stir us up to love and good works'.

CLICK HERE and then on "Personal Stories/Go4th"


Thursday, November 19, 2009

More than a meal

Last night a wonderful thing happened at the warehouse. A bunch of friends got together
for a meal...

We didn't grow up together, some on one side of the track some on the other and we don't share similar backgrounds or jobs or religious roots. We don't live in the same neighborhoods or attend the same social events. We aren't all well to do (some of us don't even have jobs)... so how is it that we've all become friends? It's simple...

He broke down the wall of hostility that separated us. Eph 2:14

One of the deep joys of the Crosswind story is the new sense of community we have found. Just this week, some people from the apartments (people who on the average have about $700 a month), made homemade soup and delivered it to all the residents over 50. And they reported on the smiles and the tears as people received this simple yet profound gift from their neighbors. There's something about being included, about feeling like you're 'one of them', you know, the insiders.... and little things matter.

A Crosswinder took a friend to a football game. He had been his whole life. His friend, never. Just Monday a Crosswinder took a friend to Cracker Barrel in Tupelo. She had never been to a Cracker Barrel. She is 40. A friend was invited to have a birthday lunch at Dinner Bell. He'd never had one, not with doctors and bankers. He's 53. And what these friends keep telling other friends is that for the first time in their lives, they feel like a part of the community they grew up in.

So now you are no longer strangers and foreigners. You are citizens along with all of God's holy people. You are members of God's family. Eph 2:19-20

I don't know how we got so divided. Black and white, rich and poor, Methodist, Baptist, Presbyterian and Pentecostal... the proverbial 'us and them' at every turn and in every way we can think of. But Jesus broke down the walls of seperation and made us all one family. And friends our great joy is to get to experience it... all God's children, living and loving in practical love and unity, choosing to be together and live life together.

Last night we had a meal together, but it was more than a meal...

It was community.


Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Once you start looking... they're everywhere

I'm sure this has happened to you, you hardly were aware that something existed, then it's everywhere.

I remember the first time I actually had a personal relationship with a boy who had autism and his family. Typical story, perfectly fine until just after two year vaccines, then he's autistic. Wow, I thought, surely not. But just because I had that encounter my antennae went up and sure enough, this story is repeated year after year by thousands of parents. Wow!

It's like that with missionary life. Crosswind is overtly trying to start a missionary movement in Corinth. We are trying to walk the walk (be missionaries ourselves) and alos provide practical strategies (gameplans) for other believers who have taken up the missionary call on their lives ("even as my Father sent me, so send I you" - Jesus). And sure enough -they're everywhere!

There's Becky and her team who are missionaries to Alzheimer patients; Tommy and Tuesdae and their teams, missionaries to recovering addicts; Gary and his team, missionaries to inner city kids; the team at Bishop's House, missionaries to the elderly; Ernestine and Vicky and Linda and their teams, missionaries to the poor. There are foster care missionaries, missioaries to girls with crisis pregnancies, food missionaries and clothes missionaries. Well... there are missionaries all around.

One of my favorite stories is a small team who are missionaries to families struggling with life's issues. This team of five have led over 100 people to faith in Christ... every year for the past fourteen years! Unbelievable! How many churches do you know that can say that?

There is something about being focused, intentionally shifting your energies to missionary life, getting out there and making a difference that changes everything. I am thankful that God is calling so many to missionary life.

Look around, they're everywhere. Then join 'em.


Monday, November 9, 2009

Some people know... and other people really know.

I've been learning the Bible by experience more now than ever.

I grew up in a Bible saturated environment. Devotions in the morning and evening, no TV or radio (except two Christians radio shows), in church every time the doors.. you know. I knew the Bible. When I went to camp I won the memory award easily. I already knew the verses before I went. But, even though I knew the Bible I didn't know it's author and that makes all the difference in the world. Now that I know the author, it seems I'm having to get to know the Bible all over again.

Outreach is fertile ground for knowing. I remember a situation recently where I learned what Jesus means when he says "Lend, expecting nothing in return." It makes for a fun Bible study doesn't it? Sounds counter intuitive. Lend means "expect it back". After all if you don't expect it back.. isn't that giving? Until I saw it in real life. A woman lent to another lady (in great need) expecting nothing in return. She really did! Just drove away free as a bird. Didn't expect anything in return even though she had lent. Just like Jesus said.

Last night we heard a precious young lady tell her story about her rape, being stabbed in the neck and being left to die. I want you to watch her story. There is a startling part. And it's not what you just read. It's only three minutes. And you really need to see it... you'll see what I mean about learning the Bible by experience.

Here's the verse Danielle knows by experience: "Mark 11:25 ...if you have anything against anyone, forgive him, that your Father in heaven may also forgive you your trespasses." Some people know... and other people know.

CLICK HERE and then on "Danielle's story"


Friday, October 30, 2009

This is how it works and why we do it, thanks Don.

This was a reply to my last blog where I talked about all you who give so others can have things for "free". This was Don's response....

I've lived at both ends of the spectrum. Back years ago when I was living the care free life making $50,000.00 a year I never thought about how the ministries were paying for what they did in the community.
Then 6 years ago when I hit the bottom of the bottom, I was homeless, sick and lost all hope. I spent 3 nights in a shelter in Memphis. Put on a bus and sent to Corinth. Once here I recieved help from several ministers, organzations and individuals. I was housed by TVRHA, got help with that. What is sad is I never thought about where this money was coming from that was in 2003 in 2004 I was still just making it. I was getting food stamps and churchs and individuals were helping with my bills but never gave a thought where the money was coming from. I went to the Hospital 3 times in 2004. In 2005 I got a part time job making $350.00 a month. But I still had to make choices about paying rent and utilities over buying medicines and seeing Doctors. Between 2005 to 2008 I went to the Hospital 11 times avg stay was 6 days. But there again, I never thought about where the money was coming from for any of it...

But I will say this, I hear people talk how bad Magnolia Hospital is. But let me tell you I've never been turned down for treatment and have recieved nothing but exceptional care from everyone there. Our very own Dr. Matt Johnson has performed lifesaving surgery on me, Dr. Tim Noyes, Dr. Kerry Morgan, Dr. Pratt and several others have seen thru each trip to the hospital. Sadly I never thought about who was paying for it. But I know if it was not for them I would have died...

What really changed me and made me realize was during my last visit to the Hospital in November 11-23, 2008 this is when I #1 rededicated my life to the Lord Jesus and #2 two men became not only my friends but my new family and that's Bobby Capps and Tommy Wilson. Once I got to know them and their ministries (which I consider everyone in their mnistries as my family now) and how they affect so many lives it woke me up and saw thru them the day to day struggle to find the financing to help the so many they do on a daily basis. Then it woke me up to all the ministries here in town who are doing so much like Gary Caveness at Lighthouse, John Wilbanks at Love in Truth, Dr Ken Digby and many others.

I knew while I was still in the Hospital on Nov. 18th 2008 that I needed to get out and get involved. I couldn't help very much financially but the Lord put in me to take me experiences the past 6 years and help the people in my community. I get a little over zealous sometimes and worry that I'm not doing enough. I know that there are times that I bug Bobby, Ronda, Judy and Tommy but I can't help it. I just feel that the Lord has put this in me to help where and when I can. I still can't help much finacially. But if you every just need someone to talk to, or as Tommy Wilson says "if you just need someone to cry with or laugh with but most important to pray with". I'm there for you anytime day or night.

Love yall and God Bless each and everyone.

Don Vinson

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Somebody has to pay... thank you!

Some of 'ma boys' were going to a high school to promote an upcoming concert and posted this on Facebook... "Headed to Alcorn Central Middle School's FCA to promote Nov 15 concert at Crossroads Arena. Tony Nolan, NewSong, BlueTree, oh yeah... its free!"

Well.... not really, somebody has to pay.

Businesses and churches and visionary people all over this town who want to see young people make ongoing commitments to Christ and grow strong and stand firm in their faith... they're paying. They know that little by little, from faith to faith, from glory to glory, that students and young adults are making decisions that will impact their lives and they want to offer to them opportunities to nail down their commitments, make new ones and for some, to come to know Jesus personally.

Thank you, those of you who are paying... our students lives will be changed.

It's the same for us, the things we take for granted, the free things, the best things, even our salvation, we act like it's free. It's not, somebody paid... Jesus did. The old gospel song says, "Jesus paid it all, all to Him I owe..." and He did and I do. Thank you Jesus!

At Crosswind each month hundreds of people receive care from volunteers and thousands of dollars are paid to help people. To them it's free, but not to you... you pay. You pay with your time with your billfolds and with your hearts. Just wanted to let you know that we know and we are thankful.

Thank you donors and volunteers, lives are being changed.


Thursday, October 22, 2009

Facebook, Twitter and Outreach

I've become a big fan of social media. Yesterday Facebook's COO said that everyday 30 million different people use Facebook... that's a lot. I think it is just another indicator of how God has wired us for relationship and we'll take it however we can get it. I know I will.

Here's some practical uses for social media as it relates to outreach.

1. Celebrate good deeds. Brag on Jesus. When you see Jesus making a difference... let us know. Being a witness is like being an investigative reporter, reporting on what Jesus is doing in your life and in your community... be His witnesses.

2. Share your needs. Many times "we have not because we ask not." Use social media to ask for clothes for your friend whose house burned or a bed for a person without one. I know one missional group in Iuka (Go4th ministries) that wanted to give household supplies to the poor in their neighborhood. They 'Facebooked it' and God provided all the supplies they needed.

3. Tell stories. I love to hear how God is changing lives. I love to hear their stories. Many churches and organizations like Crosswind give a steady diet of stories of how God is rescuing the perishing and healing the brokenhearted and setting the captives free. Tell your stories. It let's us know God is still at work.

4. Get in on what God is up to. This is the 'home run' for social media. If we broadcast the stories of God, the love of God, the needs that we have and where God is at work... it makes us want to get involved. I don't want everybody else to experience God and me miss out. It "stirs one another up to love and good works."

Social media is our new reality. Use it for the glory of God... c'mon, stir me up!


Saturday, October 17, 2009

No Fear

Out west there is a cutting edge clothing designer called No Fear. They used to have great lines on their T-shirts. Here are two of my favorites:

You can't steal second with your foot on first. No Fear
You miss 100% of the shots you don't take. No Fear

Missionary life is uncharted territory. Crosswind volunteers, in the past couple of weeks, witnessed a kidnapping, were right in the middle of another, were handed crack cocaine in our office and had a supervised "flushing" moment, rescued a child almost three who no one knew was legally blind, were involved in Hospital psych floor issues, a restraining order, sheriff visits... and on and on.

But it is in this uncharted territory that in that same period we had record LIFEgroup attendance in the neighborhoods, saw families stabilized by faith in Jesus, and volunteered hundreds of hours and thousands of dollars...all for the sake of what Jesus may do in people's lives.

And we are by no means alone. Tommy Wilson's Living Free Ministries had to break a wall out and buy 100 seats for people who come hungry for Jesus and his Gospel to set them free. Gary Caveness and the Lighthouse have been having a marvelous breakthroughs in restoring Godly manhood and fatherhood after 15 years of working with mom's and kids. Bill Chemowski is planting a church in a trailer in one of our trailer parks so he can be an effective servant to that community. Love and Truth church has 'adopted' the mini-cities community and are making that neighborhood their mission field bringing love, truth and hope to their neighbors. If you ask any of these Christians how they're doing, they'll tell you they're having the time of their lives. If I may let me state the two axioms above in missional lingo:

You can't reach your neighbors if you stay in your church. No Fear
You lose 100% of the people you don't reach out to. No Fear

Become all things to all men so that by all means you may win some.


Sunday, October 4, 2009

America, Rights and Lights

There's a lot of talk right now about healthcare. Should all Americans have it? Is it a right? Well here's some thoughts for ya'...

1. Of course we all want healthcare, duh?
2. And many many don't have it... especially the poor who Crosswind is focused on.
3. And many others have it at great personal expense... unless you have a full time job with a larger company, most have to purchase it on their own, and IT'S EXPENSIVE!

So... many can't afford it (Crosswind's friends) and those who can are choking on it's cost (including employers who buy it for their employees). But here's the underlying question for me: IS IT A RIGHT? Because if it is, then morally, we as a society, MUST provide it, and if it's not then...

In America we said education is a right, so the nation as a whole pays for it. We believe that in order for ALL to have access to the "American Dream" they need an education. So WE THE PEOPLE pay for it. Now, we are asking if healthcare is the same? And ultimately if we determine it is, WE THE PEOPLE will pay for it. Everything I asked you was bait to get you to think about THIS:

Is having your lights on a right?

In Crosswinds' world and in the world of our city's charities and benevolence ministries (e.g. Corinth Welfare, His Compassionate Touch, Catholic Social Services, Living Free, Lighthouse, numerous churches, etc.) most of our direct financial help goes to keeping people's lights on. And yes, we all know about financial management etc. Here's the question:

WE THE PEOPLE give poor people a roof over their head at little to no cost (subsidized housing), we give food at little or no cost (food stamps) and we educate at no cost (government schools) and now we are asking the people to give healthcare to all.... ready?

Can't we turn their lights on first?


PS I am gonna answer all responses on this question cause I am presupposing their may be a misunderstanding or two :-)

Saturday, September 26, 2009

It's not about the 99... it's about the 1

Do you think there is MORE rejoicing in heaven over finding ONE stray sheep than over the whole church getting smarter through Bibles study, having better marriages, having great children's programs, and all the rest of the stuff the 99 do for themselves?

Would you support your pastor if he said, "Don't come to service this week unless you come with a lost sheep over your shoulders?"

Do you think it's about the 99? About you and your Christian friends...the 99? Or is it about them, the 1?

“What man of you, having a hundred sheep, if he has lost one of them, does not leave the ninety-nine in the open country, and go after the one that is lost, until he finds it? And when he has found it, he lays it on his shoulders, rejoicing." (Luke 15:4,5)

Our problem isn't new. In Ezekiel's time he gave a pointed, heart wrenching observation that is still very true today. He said that the church had fed herself, had become fat and the lost sheep were wandering the hills with no one looking. (Ez 34:1-6) But the power of the appeal was not that it came from Ezekiel but that it was from our loving God, and for Him... it was personal.

"My sheep were scattered over all the face of the earth, with none to search or seek for them."

It's not about us, we're fat enough... it's about them.

(To hear the 9/27 Gathering message "The 99 or the 1?" click HERE)

Monday, September 21, 2009

New scorecard, Old gameplan

The following five minute piece is a conversation we had at Hope Church in Tupelo, Mississippi about community ministry. There is a shift from missions projects and outreaches to long-term relationships, weekly commitments that are just as important to the person of faith as the weekly meeting for worship or the weekly small group meeting of teaching.

This vital shift has taken place as churches and ministries like Crosswind and others have begun to see their own community as just as valid and vital of a mission field as anywhere in the whole world. The shift is taking place all over the church as Christians everywhere realize that there are significant unreached pockets right here in our own community. Also, the community problems (drug use, single parents, unmarried sex, disease, poverty, dropout rate, etc) are rising in nearly every community.

And the obvious question is: Why isn't the church making an impact in our culture?

We believe that Christians have gone to the neighborhood to make converts, but not disciples... it takes a different strategy, a different game plan and a different scorecard.


Friday, September 18, 2009

It takes a village...

Just using the infamous phrase that made many scream is risky but she might have been on to something...

"It takes a village to raise a child" is what Hillary Clinton suggested. Many said that what she meant by that was a shirking of parental responsibility and 'government handout' of care was needed to raise a child. Of course, if that's what she meant... well, lets not go there.

However, God does push responsibility past the front door of the house, especially for certain children... like the fatherless.

And just who is the fatherless anyway? It really is important to figure that out you know. Some say if a person has a living father they are not fatherless. They say let the father take responsibility for their offspring. But here's the question... what if they don't? and won't? Is the child fatherless now? Check in with child... would they say they are fatherless?

Isn't it true that if we don't say they are fatherless then we don't feel responsible?

I know that stings a little. I used to think that way too. But I've seen the church make every excuse in the world for not reaching people, for not defending the defenseless, caring for single moms (they're not REAL widows), helping those who need it (they made the bed, they can sleep in it), and for not caring for children who are not being raised with a father in the home.

1. God thinks these people are vulnerable. 2. He told us to help them. 3. They need our help.

Stop making excuses.


Sunday, September 13, 2009

Missionaries do weird stuff but it's okay, they're missionaries!

If you've ever been on a overseas missions trip you know one thing for sure: Missionaries think outside the box.

They have services wherever they can, bible studies at a moments notice, baptize in rivers and streams and with buckets, even have women preachers and stuff. And guess what? Nobody gets freaked out! Know why? They are missionaries...they do what it takes to get the job done.

But....when you get back home, well....back in the box you go. At Crosswind we're learning that being missionaries along side a churched culture provides real challenges. I'm gonna list a couple, but as I do imagine if you saw the same thing in the Philippines or India or Africa... for example:

  • We baptize people when they come to faith in Jesus in a temporary baptistry...

Isn't it exciting to hear the mission trip stories about how many got saved and "we weren't gonna be there long so we just took 'em out right there and baptized 'em." And all God's people said.... Yet, when we did it... whew, let me just say, it wasn't pretty.

  • An issue that has recently been chatted about is: How are your kids getting taught if they don't "go to church"?

Every time I've visited missionaries around the world I find they are very creative about their children's care. Most homeschool, train their children in the scriptures through at home bible studies and devotions. And most of them do it every day not just once or twice a week. Not a one that I have met feel like their children were being cheated. God gave parents the responsibility to "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."

We are missionaries to our own city and we know that it scares some folks and some folks can't quite figure out..."Why won't they just get in the box?" Well, it's cause we're missionaries, and missionaries think outside the box.

But here is what you can be sure of: We're gonna have bible studies wherever we can, baptize 'em when they get saved, take communion wherever we get believers together, teach our children the Bible and show 'em how it works in real life, preach whenever we get an audience, worship in a field or in our warehouse or in a car. And we're gonna do it...

Cause we're missionaries.


Thursday, September 10, 2009

Outreach screams for help...

I used to wonder why Jesus started his outreach program with prayer for help... not anymore.

In Luke 10, Jesus told his disciples to go prepare some cities for His visit. His instructions were specific and if studied deeply (as they have been by many) incredibly profound. So much so that outreach ministries like ours model that passage 'to the t'. Here's the passage (note the highlighted verbs):

Luke 10:1-9
The Lord now chose seventy-two other disciples and sent them ahead in pairs to all the towns and places he planned to visit. 2 These were his instructions to them: "The harvest is great, but the workers are few.
So pray to the Lord who is in charge of the harvest; ask him to send more workers into his fields.
3 Now go, and remember that I am sending you out as lambs among wolves. 4 Don't take any money with you, nor a traveler's bag, nor an extra pair of sandals. And don't stop to greet anyone on the road. 5 "Whenever you enter someone's home,
first say
, 'May God's peace be on this house.' 6 If those who live there are peaceful, the blessing will stand; if they are not, the blessing will return to you. 7 Don't move around from home to home.
in one place, eating and drinking what they provide. Don't hesitate to accept hospitality, because those who work deserve their pay. 8 "If you enter a town and it welcomes you, eat whatever is set before you.
9 Heal the sick, and
then say
to them, 'The Kingdom of God is near you now.'

Those verbs, in that order, and what is meant by them are the Crosswind Neighbor strategy. But why is pray at the top? And look at what the prayer is for. Not whether or not we should go. Not where we should. He answered those questions. Funny how we sometimes still pray about those things. No, He instructed us to pray for help, "people help" specifically.

Here's how I pray for people help:
1. Lord, touch the hearts of people so they can see the world like you do and fill them with your compassion.
2. Lord, move those people by your compassion to the people who need you.
3. And Lord, when we get there (in the field together) let us with love and unity, work together for you, for your interests, for your glory and for the good of the people you have sent us to.

You see, here's reality: There are lots of people doing a lots of loving things out of the goodness of their hearts. Civic clubs, churches, charities, ministries, and government organizations. But oh how much more effective we will be when we begin to do them together.
I'll be blogging about that in the days to come, until then...

Pray for people help.

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Caravan of love

Last night around 7:30pm as I (Don) was sitting at my computer desk, looking out the window. I see this caravan of vehicles drive into Hickory Terrace loaded with LOVE!!!!

This wonderful group of people, who I'm sure had worked all day at there jobs then came out to Hickory Terrace with furniture, food, non-food items and lots of Love for a Mother and her 3 children. I was so moved by these people that I walked down to where they were out. That about killed me and I'm paying for it this morning but I just felt that I had to go down and let this wonderful group of people know how much they were appreciated.

I think the Security Officer said it all last night.

He said that He never seen any Church or organization move so quickly to help someone before like Crosswind. He was amazed at how much Crosswind did in such a little bit of time. He was truly moved at the LOVE that was being shown this family. He said that whole families were here helping this family in need. (Lanny Monroe and Family) He was still talking about it this morning.

After everyone had left Ms. Pettis and I stood outside of her building.

Ms Pettis said to me that she had just about given up all hope but after today and all the Blessings that she and her family had recieved today "everything was gong to be alright"..

Bobby, Ronda and Judy thank yall so much for putting all this together in such a short time. Plus I didn't know everyone last night that was here from Crosswind but please on behalf of myself, the Pettis Family and all the residents of Hickory Terrace, THANK YOU SO VERY MUCH!!! There were several residents last night that saw first hand the Love and Caring of Crosswind last night. The LORD surly blessed us yesterday, not only did he provide the needs but showered us wth LOVE.. I don' know who said this but I read it in a church bulletin "



(Ms. Pettis made an emergency move to Corinth from Detroit after being laid off from work, and her children's high school consolidated with 4 others and to use her words had become a "war zone". Her children's safety was worth the risk and her main concern. Some plans she made here fell through and she found herself alone and desperate. Thanks to TVHRA, who expedited her application, she was able to get an apartment but had nothing to put in it. She is still "getting her wheels under her" but her kids are safe. She still needs her deposit money to turn her lights on. Her brother may send a check from Detroit.) ... hint :-)

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Do You Hear Her? Guest blogger, Anna Lancaster

When I heard that there was an effort to create a home to help single mothers who need help, get on their feet, I became so excited. At the Resource Center for Women, young people come in every day, that are stuck in the cycle. We help them with some of their immediate needs, counsel them, and love them, but we don't get to give them a home, help them get a job, or give them transportation to that job. We do our best to direct that young person to the places that can help them best, but sometimes it isn't enough.

A home where they can get a fresh start would be a God-send to these women. I have known times of need and have made mistakes. Thankfully, I always had a loving family and friends who were able to help me. These women don't have that. If someone cares about them, they are often in the same boat. Some are just victims of circumstance. How do you fight poverty with no weapon? No money, no education, no job. If you can get a job, how do you get there? Would you make any money after you paid for day care? Probably not.

Crosswind Ministries found a building that they would like start this home. Because of zoning issues they had to go before the Mayor and the Aldermen. The people of the surrounding neighborhood came and protested the use of the home for that purpose. The 3 aldermen and the mayor voted no to the rezoning. You can read more about this on the Daily Journal web site.

But, like the others involved, I know that this does not mean that this is the end of that dream. God still wants us to love others and help them. He will help those who want to do those things. So this is what I want to ask of you: How can you help?

Do you have time, resources, or love to give to these women? I know that sometimes we care but don't know how to begin. Now it is easy. You can join these other individuals who care and have a plan.

You know, the reason that the Indian doctors and officials didn't want to help the orphans was that they were of the lowest caste and because of their religious beliefs they thought they should stay there. That they didn't deserve help because, they believe that God had put them there. When I told people here in the United States that, they were shocked. They couldn't believe anyone would act that way. But, if we don't help these women, their children, and all of the others who are on hard times and want to get out of it, are we not just like those Indian doctors and officials? Are we saying that because of the choices they made, that they deserve to be right where they are? Are we going to leave them in the gutter because we might lose something by giving to them?

Matthew 9:13 says, "But go and learn what this means, 'I desire mercy and not sacrifice.' For I did not come to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance."

Let us show mercy as we have been shown mercy. Let us LOVE mercy. I am glad that I am not where I DESERVE to be. I heard this song this morning. I have heard it hundreds of times but it hit home today. Please listen to it and see if it speaks to you. It is Casting Crowns-"Does Anybody Hear Her?"

Let me know if you want to help.
With love and in great need of mercy,


Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Moms and Mobs

In case you missed it, Corinth City Council voted NOT to allow Crosswind to operate a home for single mom's in a facility that used to be a day care. The vote was split 3-4 with Mayor Latch being the deciding 'no' vote. The residents of the community the day care was in were out in force. The organizer of the residents had a petition that alleged to have all the residents in near proximity to the proposed boarding home.

Here's how prejudice and mob mentality works.

First, you create a monster. In our case the monster was a single mom in Corinth, MS. The way you do this is to make a caricature (exaggerate particular features) of the people. So in our case the people were told that the single mom's were drug addicts and ex-prostitutes, victims of abuse, etc. We heard also that they had men coming to look for them and abuse them more. Remember, none of this has to be true and in most cases of prejudice represents a small sampling of a particular group of people, but those are the only features that you hear about.

Next, you generate fear of the monster you've created. In our case a person from the community took a petition and went home by home generating interest and fear in the "monster" single moms. He highlighted portions of a newspaper article and began the process.

Then, you add community and conversation and research, increasing fear. Once you have created a monster and gotten the word out the frenzy begins. People do research, draw on their own personal experiences (all negative of course), but most importantly they talk to one another, endorsing and adding to each others fears. We heard a neighbor generating fear about home values presuming they would decrease, we heard some talk about history in the prisons and working with "the monsters", etc. Each person shares stories and research increasing the fear and prejudice of the collective whole. The only thing the ringleaders must do in this phase is to ensure no one hears the truth and definitely not the other side of the story. We made an effort to sit down with the community organizers and answer questions, clarify concerns and our intentions but that offer was rejected. The sheep were afraid. That was enough.

Finally, you release the community to their lowest instincts, of fear, hatred, and prejudice. In our case, this was the meeting. People came in afraid and angry and that was all that was needed. It usually is.

This is a simple process that draws on primal human feelings of self preservation and fear.

Here's the problem, Single mom's are not monsters. My mom didn't know she was marrying a guy with childhood abuse that would later be acted out in her home. She worked three jobs barely surviving trying to raise six children, on her knees every night, at church every week, loving her children, doing her best, not a monster at all. Or the girl who gets pregnant and the male is not held responsible to help and now she is a mom and ill-equipped to be one and trying like crazy to make it, not a monster at all.

Or any of a zillion other reasons there are single moms.

If you take any of the mob, get them alone with the moms, let them hear their stories and feel their struggles... with few exceptions, the hard hearts would soften and the same people who were afraid and angry and operating at a primal level would rise, their souls would feel compassion and the cycle would reverse.

Instead of bad memories and experiences and research they would have a great sense of urgency and creativity mobilized to help the mom rather than hurt her. Now they would be telling their friends the stories of hope and progress and baby steps forward, instead of made up stories from our worst examples and our worst fears.

The only thing you have to do is to take the imaginary monster and replace it with a real single mom. And please, for the sake of single moms and their children, and their future... Pick moms over mobs.

In case you're wondering, we love single moms. We're gonna stand with them, try to figure out how to help them, struggle with them, cry when they do, celebrate their baby steps forward, and look with great hope to the day they will be able to live in the very neighborhood that rejected them... not for spite's sake, for their sake...

And for yours.


Monday, August 17, 2009

Fresh Love, Fresh Fire...More Reflections From India

When I was asked to go along on this medical trip to India, I said "yes" without even thinking about it. Then reality set in...I would be taking a week and a half off from my practice and I knew it would put more stress on me when I got back. But here was the rub: At Crosswind, we are constantly referring to James 1:27 as our basis for ministry. You know that really inconvenient verse where God calls us to look after the orphans and widows in their distress. The way I read this verse is that we are to care for the most vulnerable people in our local communities and our world at large. There was no denying that the orphaned children in Kota, India qualified as some of the most oppressed and vulnerable people in our world. I've learned a whole lot about James 1:27 from actually entering into conversation with the real flesh and blood reality of poverty and social oppression. Actually touching the children from the slums and being touched by them changes your outlook on life. You can't go on a trip like this and not be affected.

I know that a lot of people didn't see the value in a trip like this. I, for one, have always been a bit skeptical of short-term missions. What's the point of spending thousands of dollars to go to the other side of the world for just a four day clinic, when that same amount of money could have put three pastors through seminary in India or something? I struggled with doubts like this before the trip, but here's the thing. God wouldn't ask us to do it if He couldn't accomplish something worthwhile. We went on this trip because we are Christians and this is one of the ways we follow our serving others. So even though we were with them for just a week and basically only treated their immediate medical needs once, it did make a difference. I could have just sent money. I could have sent medicine. I could have sent Bibles. I could have sent stuffed toys. But those things are not the message. How do you show someone what God is all about? You stand in front of them and say "I'm here for you".

Between medical clinics, our group had the opportunity to help serve lunch to the 400 children in the Rajasthan orphanage. It struck me that these kids have had lives I could never even imagine. They've lost their families to starvation, illness, murder, natural disaster, and who knows what else…but they're kids just like we were once. It was a life-changing experience to be in the middle of a sea of children who would be roaming the streets of India without God and Hopegiver's International. In that moment, looking around at dozens and dozens of eyes looking at you, needing help, it felt overwhelming. I think I needed to see it that way to realize that all we can do is love on them with the time we have and remind them that they are loved and that God has designed them for a purpose.

When I reflect back on our India trip, I think about people…broken people…hurting people…impoverished people. I think about the thousands of people God allowed my life to intersect with and the awesome group of people I had the honor of working with from our small town here in Mississippi. I was completely humbled to have this opportunity, because I have been able to see the impact of a life-changing ministry first hand, and I have loved on and cared for children that may not have survived without the help of Hopegiver's International.

-Bubba McQueen

Thursday, August 13, 2009

The Hard Work of Missions

I hear this every where I go, "Bobby, I feel God calling me, I just don't know exactly what he wants." Sometimes it sound like this, "I know that what I'm doing is not fulfilling. It's not that I don't love my church or my life, it's just that God has put in me a burden, a burden that is not yet fulfilled."

So what do you do?

Prov 16:9 says, The heart of man plans his way, but the Lord establishes his steps.
What this verse says to me along with many others is that the Lord is "giving me the desires of my heart", burdening me, urging me, making me dissatisfied with the present, uprooting me and at the same time he is making me trust him for what to do next, "establishing my steps."

So how do you know the steps? How do you know what's next?

It usually comes in an opportunity, a door the Lord opens for us, for you, something simple, something maybe even too simple, trite, but meaningful. You like it, it fits, it excites you, but... "is this really it?"

Col. 4:5 "make the most of every opportunity..." that's what God says, that's what we do. The opportunity is the step that the Lord establishes or directs. What happens next is very cool. God takes that step and opens up to you your way, your next chapter, your next phase. Maybe it's school or an environment that is simply meant for your training, maybe it is something to purify you and cause you to trust God more like a sickness or a job loss or a failure, and maybe it's a big break.

But whatever it is, you come to it by seizing the opportunity that is before you that is in line with the burden of your heart and voila, God does the rest.

And that's the hardest work we do. It is trusting that Jesus really is in charge of the desires of my heart, that he really directs my steps, that he really opens doors and that I can confidently, full of faith and without doubting take that step know God's plan for me right now.

Your turn. Take the step.


Friday, July 31, 2009

Nurse Anna's blog: MJ, India and You

Growing up, I didn't listen to pop music. I remember mostly classical, hymns, and songs from the 40's, 50's and 60's. I didn't discuss my musical tastes at school. I had a hard enough time making friends without mentioning Rosemary Clooney. I would pretend I had heard the latest New Kids on the Block tune. I knew who they were. They were those guys on every t-shirt in school.

Knowing this, it may not surprise you that I am not a big Michael Jackson fan. (Yes, I hear your collective sigh.) It isn't that I don't like his music, I just haven't heard it.

On the first day of our clinic in India, Dr. Bobby Capps announced that the song of the day was "Man in the Middle". I didn't know that he meant "Man in the Mirror". (I didn't find out until last year the Hall and Oates were two people and not a band named "Haulin' Oats". I grew up on a farm. Hauling oats made more sense.)I don't know if he was kidding or not but, after saying "Man in the Middle" four times, Bobby corrected himself and said it was Michael Jackson's "Man in the Mirror". He then half-spoke, half-sang the chorus, bouncing his knees and emphasizing the important parts with hand motions:

I'm Starting With The Man In
The Mirror
I'm Asking Him To Change
His Ways
And No Message Could Have
Been Any Clearer
If You Wanna Make The World
A Better Place
(If You Wanna Make The
World A Better Place)
Take A Look At Yourself And
Then Make A Change.

We were there in India to make a change. To change circumstances for the better. To be extensions of God's healing arms. It starts inside each of us. Others before ourselves. Michael Jackson. Who knew?!

The man in the mirror IS the man in the middle. Be aware of the problem. Change your attitude. Take action. We get to be in the MIDDLE of God's great work. He allows us to take His love and spread it around as thick as we can lay it. He gave us gifts to use on those who need them so that He may be glorified.

Take a look at the man (or woman) in the mirror, change your ways, and go get in the middle of things!

P.S. This does not mean you have to travel to India to make a difference. But you could...
Anna Janzen-Lancaster, RN

Thursday, July 30, 2009

Dr. Erica Noyes, "Why bother? They'll be sick again next week."

On the third day, exhausted and overwhelmed, looking down the hall at a sea full of beautiful faces--- yet to be treated. Running low on medicines. Running lower on energy. Hot. Nauseated. Then it hits....desperation, questions, doubts, despair.

Am I doing any good at all here?

Child after child with the same symptoms....stomach pain, diarrhea, fatigue, boils, scabies. We treat it, next child. Moving on. What am I doing? Will they not just drink the water again and be back in the same condition next week? Will they catch the staph and scabies again? What is my purpose here?

I am defeated.

Same day, we open the box of round sugary treats for the kids made out of some corn like product and shaped like balls. We have taken up a collection to give them this special treat that they rarely get on their one meal a day regimen. As we open the box...ants flood out, they have covered their treats. Horrified, I ask for a clean box and start one by one removing the ants from each ball....moving them to another box. Someone teases me, “you know the ants are just going to move to the next box!” Again the feeling of defeat returns.

Why do I even bother?

So here is my question...Why do any of us “bother” when things we do seem to have no lasting purpose. Why do we clean a house that will get messy again, why do we change our children’s diapers when they will mess them again, why do we treat our own children’s illness when they will get sick again? Why do we try to tell others of Jesus who slam a door in our face?

I believe it was Jesus who said “who among you when your child asks for bread would give him a stone.”
Why bother? Because as Christians we cannot do otherwise. Yes, sometimes our work may seem futile but we know that “all things work together for the good to those that love God and are called according to his purposes.” If called to give, we must do so even if we do not see the purpose in it. Trusting that--- we keep trying, though we may never know why, or of what good comes from our labors.

We are compelled to keep trying.

Thankfully God did impart to me some understanding. Those children we loved on and tried to patch up are our brothers and sisters in Christ. They are God’s children and we are called to demonstrate His love, thereby making Him more real to them. They understand that someone cares enough to try to make their life better, even if just for awhile... in His name.

For that short time, we can be Jesus to them, so that later they can be Jesus for someone else. They are the future. They are worth the investment. We cared for them as we would our own. Would we neglect our own childrens’ illness, or hand them food covered in bugs if we could otherwise not?

So what if the ants come back. And yes, unfortunately the cavities and the illness too. At least , they know that somebody in the name of Christ loved them the enough to try. And that makes it all worth it.

We must never be defeated.

Dr. Erica Noyes

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Thank you for giving to the Lord... lives were changed

The medical team just returned from India.

They saw 500+ children and many adults, taught Bible studies, gave devotionals, gave glasses, treated teeth and bodies, performed surgeries and so much more.

As an additional treat, our medical staff got to meet with peers from India. 15 doctors from the town shared lunch and learned from each other about stuff that is 'greek' to us civilians.

As citizens of Corinth and especially the church in Corinth, you can be proud of the Corinth Medical Missions trip to India, your city and the spirit of love and care that they took abroad.

Let me list for you our team:

*Dr. Mike Weeden, opthamologist with son Blake

Assistants - Jessica and husband Steven

*Dr. Bubba McQueen, Dentist

Hygientists - Dianna and Paula

assistants - Jeremy, Bobby, April, Adam

prep - Amanda

*Dr. Erica Noyes, Family Practice

RN- Anna and RT - Donnie

assist - Judy, Abby

*Dr. Mat Johnson, general surgeon

RN - Bonnie

*Dr. Patrick Hsu, Ob/Gyn

First year med student - Lauren

third year nursing student – Brittany (from Phoenix)

*Dr. Patrick Tucker - GP, our trip advisor and medicines 'hook-up'

Audie Osborn - videographer (Delta pilot by day)

Tony Childs - Trip Coordinator

Here's some of the churches and organizations they are affiliated with: Tate BC, First BC, Crosswind, East Corinth BC, Springhill UMC, West Corinth BC, First Pres, Calvary BC and others. (I’m doing this all from memory at 5:30 am, hence few last names etc.)

I’m gonna blog about a few special personal ah-ha’s from the trip later but this was one is just to say -

Thank you! – you outdid yourselves in every way.

Your attitudes, your hard work, your patience, your adaptability, your palatable compassion for each other and for the children. We talk about “love in action”, you guys took that to another level.

Jesus said, "When you've done it to the least of these my brethren you've done it unto me." Thank you for your ministry to the one who saved you and keeps you. His name be praised.

You are loved.


Monday, July 27, 2009

Day three of clinic.

(posting delayed due to spotty internet access)

We finished the “little kids” today. About 400 of the little guys. What a wonderful time.

We trust you’ve enjoyed the videos thanks to Audie Osborn, especially watching the kids eat. Special blessing for us. That’s their meal for the day...

We’ve been moved each day as we’ve served them.

Today we fit ‘em with glasses, fixed their hernias, pulled and filled their teeth, cared for their little sores and infections....

And one boy we diagnosed with lymphoma... had a stomach mass, opened him up and then closed him back up... now here’s a good question for ya... is he worth saving? It’ll take the same amount of money to cure him as it takes to feed his 400 siblings for three months, and even then they don’t know if he’ll make it. Dr. Thomas will have to make that decision when the biopsy comes back.

On the preacher front, we have two great announcements. We’ve discovered if Dr. Weeden wants to take a paycut and put a target on his back, he’d be a great preacher. He even filled in for Dr. Thomas this week. The other is Dr. Noyes, who has been leading the seminary in a nightly devotional study.

Teams are wonderfully tired from great work.

Jesus said “Let your light so shine before men that they will see your good works and glorify your father which is in heaven.” As you see the good works the team has done on the videos we hope that you see Jesus... in the children’s eyes and in their smiles.

That’s who we’re serving... Jesus in orphan skin.