Mission and Outreach News Dec 2016
This edition has updates from Father Ron Irene from Paraguay and from our HELPS ministry. This is the most informative report we have ever had from Father Ron and there are several important prayer requests. PLEASE NOTE: Jessica Campbell from Native Young Life on the Standing Rock Reservation is visiting Good Sam and her family for a few days and will talk about her ministry over lunch at Good Sam tomorrow (Thursday December 22). Contact firstname.lastname@example.org to attend.
The Reverend Ron Irene and Family, Missionaries in Asunción Paraguay
Rev. Ron Irene serves as a priest in the Anglican Diocese of Paraguay in the city of Asuncion. He serves as pastor at the Cathedral as well as to a small church plant (Cristo Salvador) on the outskirts of the city. Additionally, Ron serves as chaplain at Saint Andrews Anglican School in Asuncion. Together with Nicky and their four children, Ron moved from the Anglican Diocese of Bolivia in 2009 to accept the call to serve under Bishop Peter Bartlett. Both Ron and Bishop Peter served in La Paz for a number of years. Deacon Jeff Moretzsohn is the Advocate for the Irenes and recently received this very newsy update which has been slightly edited to fit the space:
Dear Church of the Good Samaritan,
Here is an update on our activities, divided into several parts.
St Andrews Cathedral
As from the beginning of last year I have been the sole vicar and in charge of the cathedral, but the former pastor was still around. He now is fully retired (as from this October) and doesn't come anymore. Since then I feel with more liberty to make decisions and necessary changes, such as the Sunday school. I asked Nicky to help me with this and she has organized a group and a new system which is working much better. The problem was that the person in charge before was too informal and would miss Sundays and we would have to improvise. Please pray for this.
Another thing that I am doing is that before they would only have Holy Communion every now and then, whereas now I try to have it more often. I would love to have it every Sunday as we do in our other church.
The worship team is growing which is positive. Please pray for more singers as we only have one female voice and one male voice at the moment and lots of musicians. Something positive regarding worship is that I have been able to form an Anglican worship team called MIA which stands for Musicos de la Iglesia Anglicana. This is growing and is very positive as the various musicians from the different churches practice together and meet frequently. We have organised worship nights, joint services and various activities and the musicians take turns playing in these events. They are now practicing at weekends for the Anglican camp which is between the 5 - 8th of January.
Something we really need prayer for is all the health problems in the church. There are so many people who are ill and also very positive testimonies. One of them is Giselle. She is a young girl who was diagnosed with cancer. We all prayed for her and the cancer has basically disappeared. The doctors are marveled at this. This week she had two ribs removed and is in recovery now. Please continue praying for my brother in law, Donald. Please pray for full recovery as he had a kidney removed three weeks ago. He had fever and they couldn't find where this infection was coming from. He is having another test on Friday as he can’t get onto the waiting list for a kidney transplant until his infection has disappeared. He has dialysis every two days. Please pray for him and his family. He has three young children.
Christ the Saviour
Christ the Saviour is growing slowly but steadily. Please pray for commitment in attendance and in every way. We are now in our 4th year since we re-opened it and God is good. We prayed for musicians and now we have an incredible team. Natasha our eldest daughter is one of the leaders. She composes, sings and plays the guitar! I am learning to play the guitar as well now. I have already had three classes hahahah because I think it’s important to start bible studies with worship and I can´t take a musician to all of them.
We have youth group on Saturday afternoons and I am teaching them a series on the Sermon on the Mount by Nicky Gumbel. We have a group of 5 or 6 that come. We also have Bible studies prayer meetings during the week and a monthly marriage group. We also do counseling and parents from the school come seeking advice so please pray for this to grow and for miracles.
Nicky is also in charge of our Sunday school but has a team of people who help. Please pray for this.
We do fund raising and garage sales every so often. The church needs lots of repairing. There are walls that need fixing, roofs with leaks and we need to put a new fence up so please pray for funds for these things.
St. Andrews school
We have a week left before the end of the school year. We are exhausted. It has been a very long and difficult year. God is good though. The students are more open to the gospel and it’s uplifting to hear them when they share their testimonies. The parents are more open as well. I teach Bible to primary and secondary and Nicky teaches full time secondary. Please pray for renewed energy for next year and also for Nicky especially as she will need special certification and this means time, studies and money.
Sammy is 6 now and has just finished Kindergarten. He is going into 1st grade next year. He is now fully recovered from his speech disorder. God is good. He hasn't needed speech therapy or the neuro psychologist for a few months now. He is reading and writing in Spanish which is a miracle in its self. He loves football!!!
Danny is 11 and is very friendly. He has finished 5th grade and got top marks. He is very good at math! It’s not easy being in this society so please pray for him and for true friends!!!
Tammy is nearly 14 (next month) and a true moody teenager hahahah. She is going into 9th grade. She came top of her class and has As in everything. She is very responsible and hard working. A very pretty young lady. Please pray for her heart as she goes through this difficult stage!!
Natasha is 20 next month and is finishing her second year at college. She is studying child psychology but her real passion is music. Once she finishes her degree she will probably go to music school. Please pray for her. She works as an art aide at school. She is extremely talented and gifted and loves the Lord.
Please pray for us as we continue to serve the Lord. Pray for provision please to cover all our needs. Nicky works full time at school specifically to cover our children's schooling. The school is very expensive and even though we have a discount it is a lot of money.
We used to receive some financial support as we were Latin Partners at CMS, UK but two months ago they decided to cut this support, so now Good Sam is our only support financially. Thank you so much for all this.
We really need another car for Nicky and Natasha to get around in. Public transport is very poor here so I have to take Natty back and forth to university every day and our kids as well. Please pray for this.
I think that is basically it. Please let me know if you would like any more information.
We are in desperate need of a holiday and we usually go away for Xmas. This year we can’t until after a wedding that I am doing at the beginning of January so we will probably go to visit my in laws around the 10th of January in Argentina. We drive there and back in our car so please pray for us.
God bless you all and we pray for you also.
ps It’s easier to share media information through skype or whatsapp or even facebook
Rev. Ronald Irene
Good Samaritan Helps Ministry
HELPS is not an acronym—it is what we do—a Good Sam outreach program. HELPS provides short-term financial assistance for people in need in Chester County.
HELPS is administered by Deacon Jeff Moretzsohn; currently Angela Linden, Glenna Geiger, and Rose Dodd are HELPS counselors who deal directly with those in need. People in need call the Church of the Good Samaritan at 610-644-4040 and ask to be connected to the HELPS voice mail to leave their contact information and then a counselor calls them back.
HELPS provides one-time assistance of up to $300 for financial needs such as utility bills, prescriptions, rent, or other immediate needs. The purpose is to help people get past what seems like an overwhelming situation. We emphasize that HELPS is a short-term assistance; not ongoing, each client can receive funds one time in a twelve month period.
In terms of numbers, as of November 6, 2016, HELPS received 85 requests for help. Of those, 46 were helped with funds. The total amount of funding disbursed was $11,547.06, which came to an average of $251.02 per client. Obviously, we are not able to help everyone. Some of the reasons for not helping someone include the request is much more than the $300 limit, the person has no way of continuing to meet their expenses after our one-time help, or some simply do not do all the paper work necessary to meet the HELPS program requirements.
However, even if we cannot help them with their financial need, we do try to help them by directing them to various other resources available. Also, the client is offered our church’s financial planning services. Where appropriate, we also direct them to the Food Closet.
Here is a snapshot of one person we were able to help recently. A young man was seeking help with a deposit to move into his own apartment. He had been living with friends, who let him have his bed in their living room; he wasn’t even able to be in the house until bedtime. We worked with a potential landlady to provide the funds necessary for him to move to his own place. In a follow-up conversation, the HELPS counselor talked with him “like a mother” about not letting us down and keeping up on his bills and being a good renter. He seemed to get the sense that our church and the counselor cared about him.
Funding for HELPS comes from profits from Christmas tree sales and personal contributions from parishioners, which are always welcome and needed.