Doing What I Was Created To Do

Doing What I Was Created To Do

Written by Mike Fortner

Happy New Year to all of you who are a part of the LoveINC movement. I’m already getting the feeling 2015 is going to be an amazing year. Lives are going to be changed.

God is so good isn’t he? His love for us is more than I can believe or understand sometimes. His grace and mercy continue to stop me in my tracks again and again. I find myself asking, “How can I possibly deserve this love, another second chance, more forgiveness, and so much hope?”  It makes me want to do something. To make an extra effort discovering my purpose. To actually do what I was specifically created to do.

I have young kids. And I always worry about them being spoiled brats. So I get extra-excited about service opportunities that involve my kids. Just before Christmas, we had a chance to wrap gifts and food, take them to the home of a family being supported by LoveINC, and pray with them. Wow. In their home? A tad outside my comfort zone. But I could really feel a gravitational pull to do it.

So my family of five, we showed up at the church, got some instructions – I may have snagged some free doughnuts & coffee too – and drug everything over to a table to begin.

I’m not very detail oriented. And I have a terrible memory. But even I remember a few powerful things about that day.

  1. Prayer matters. A lot. It’s so good for us. We got to pray before we started our packing, and we got to pray with each of the families we served. Prayer is powerful. It changes the people we pray for. And it changes us.
  1. Discomfort can be good. You should’ve seen my family of five simultaneously wrapping separate packages on one 4’x4′ table while sharing exactly 1 roll of tape and 1 pair of scissors. We were far from the pillar of family love and peace. But there was a joy in the craziness. We were…together. Part of something bigger than ourselves. It was something the kids talked about during the rest of the holidays.
  1. Families all around us are in great need. We saw this firsthand as we walked into the strangers’ homes. My 6-year-old said at one point, “Dad, where was their Christmas tree and all their furniture?”
  1. Jesus matters most. It’s not the stuff, it’s not the time, it’s not any of that. Christ is love. And without love, nothing matters.

If you haven’t actually served at one of the LoveINC events, you should try it. The LoveINC people who coordinate the event are amazing, the people you serve are given hope, and the secret bonus is that you yourself will probably get more out of it than anyone.

If you ever want to chat about this, let me know. Connect with me one on one. I’m personally involved in the car ministry, the Waybury ministry, and the one I spoke of above. I’d happily share my experiences, and how you can find your purpose in life by serving at LoveINC. So join me in being a part of something bigger than ourselves. Let’s do our part in seeing Christ change a life.

 

Mike and Jen Fortner and their family are members of Westwood Community Church. Mike is currently serving as chair of the Love INC Board of Directors.

 

 

A Privilege to Serve

bobroepkeGreetings on behalf of the Board of Directors of Love In the Name of Christ of Eastern Carver County.  Each of us considers it a privilege and an honor to serve our community and our churches in this way.  We greatly appreciate the many of you who have supported this ministry either by volunteering, making financial or product donations, or just telling people about Love INC.  Please explore our new website, www.loveincecc.org, and take some time to learn more about the services provided by the churches that make up Love INC.  The Board consists of 13 members representing the partner churches.  It meets monthly to plan and oversee the work of Love INC of Eastern Carver County.  We also work to raise financial resources to cover ministry expenses and set plans that will provide support to continued growth and expansion of the work.

The work of Love INC is bringing the member churches together to offer ministries that meet needs identified by those who call seeking assistance.  Love INC seeks to mobilize members of the churches to meet our neighbors’ needs in practical and manageable ways. Beginning in 2007 with just 8 partner churches, now 24 of the 30 churches of Eastern Carver County are official partners with Love INC, and several others join in on specific projects.   This is a collaborative effort that is special to watch and see the difference being made for those in need.

Whether you attend of one of our partner churches or not, you are welcome to join this movement of Christians in our community who volunteer their time and energy to make a difference in the lives of our neighbors.  The members of our churches and the pastors of our community are getting to know one another and are working together.  We also are seeing more and more church engagement in community efforts and community discussions, and that is a good thing!

It’s been great to see unity in Christ develop as members of the churches in eastern Carver County are getting acquainted, and in some cases growing very close in relationship with one another.  It represents exciting times now, and even more exciting times ahead, as we as Christians are growing in our capacity to bring help and hope to individuals and families. We are humbly learning from one another, and are enjoying fellowship across denominations.  We are discovering how great an impact can be made when we work together, seek God’s help through prayer, encourage one another in our faith, and seek practical ways to put our faith into action right here in our community.

We hope you find value in the website and we hope you engage in some way.  Whether you are in need of help, living in abundance, or somewhere in between—we invite you to consider engaging to love others in the name of Christ.  We are all in this together. It is the spirit of community and the invitation of Christ himself.

God’s Blessing to Each of You!

Bob Roepke – Chair, Love INC Board of Directors

Share the Love

February is the month of Love4373811197

As we look back at all of the “Love” shared in 2012, we have been so blessed to be able to help the less fortunate of Eastern Carver County.  In 2012 we have helped meet family needs over 5,900 times.

Our Gap Ministries and volunteers helped the families with items ranging from the Diaper Ministry to The Sonshine Ministry.  Just to show a few, we made 29 bunk beds last year, helped 431 families with cleaning supplies, 428 families received laundry and dish soap and Food to Fight Hunger distributed food to 285 families at Christmas and Easter.  The Linen Closet provided 236 families with blankets, sheets, towels, washcloths and pillows.  On one of our deliveries, a boy who received a pillow was so thrilled to have a “real” pillow that was his OWN.  He had never had one before.  That is how we help Share the Love.

With that being said, we could not have done it without all the volunteers from our partner churches serving so willingly.  They completed over 6,600 individual acts of service giving a total of over 8,300 hours of their time.  We are grateful to have so many volunteers willing to share their time and talent at Love in the Name of Christ.  Thank you!!!

Christ calls us to be his hands and feet.  To see Jesus in everyone we meet.  Our hope for 2013 is that we join together to continue helping our neighbors in need.  How do you Share the Love?

“As each has received a gift, use it to serve one another, as good stewards of God’s varied grace.” – 1 Peter 4:10

Love Is Building Caring Relationships: Dawaun’s Story

Dawaun JohnsonDawaun Johnson is a man who has faced many challenges in his life. “I’m originally from Chicago. I grew up with a big family, 5 brothers and 2 sisters. We went through a lot growing up, there wasn’t enough for everyone. In January 2011 I moved to Minnesota with $800 in my pocket and no job or car. I was able to find a job in Chaska but had no place to live, so I went to a motel in Chaska. I didn’t have a car, so I biked 5 miles to and from work each day, praying to God to watch over me and protect me. It wasn’t easy to ask for help. Where I come from you don’t ask for help, but knew I needed someone or some organization to help me.”

Dawaun’s life began taking a turn for the better when he reached out to local agencies including Love INC. “PROP and the housing authority helped me out with part of my deposit. The day the Love INC truck pulled up, I felt like a kid on Christmas Eve, I couldn’t wait for the presents to arrive.”

Ginger Mulcrone, a volunteer with our FurniShare ministry said, “When we delivered the bunk bed to Dawaun’s house and assembled it in the bedroom, we saw the excitement on Dawaun’s face, just watching him think about how excited his boys would be to have a bunk bed.” Connie Schibilla, another Love INC volunteer said,Furnishare van “We put the couch against the wall, hooked up the TV and put some lamps on tables. We even added a plant next to the window. When we were finished, Dawaun sat down and said, ‘This is great, this is home.’”

Besides FurniShare providing the furniture, The Linen Closet ministry of Love INC gave Dawaun sheets, blankets, pillows and towels. Love INC’s Bike Shop gave a bike to his son and the Personal Care and Kitchen Essentials also pitched in.

John Thomas recalls, “I had a great time with Dawaun that day. We laughed together, moved furniture together. I was able to kid around with him quite a bit – he has a great sense of humor. Dawaun said, “Once everything was said and done, John asked to say a prayer for me.”

“Kneeling in prayer with Dawaun, praying for his children, his health and work, and for his life to start to stabilize a bit. Just to be at one with him in prayer, lifting up his name to Jesus, asking him to provide all these things that he so desperately needs, not just furniture—was a tremendous moment that I will never forget.”

Dawaun continues, “Love INC really helped me along my path of becoming who I am today. Being able to accomplish what I have today, I would have not been able to without Love INC. I’ve seen God’s presence through these people. They didn’t have to help me, they didn’t know me, they didn’t owe me anything. They did it through their faith. I wish there were more people around like that. All I can say is Glory to God—to feel the love that comes from them and the helping hand from people I didn’t even know!”