Well, here we are, starting in-person school this week despite a major uptick in Covid-19 cases in our city the past month. The National Ministry of Education somehow decided we should start anyway! More specifically, they are starting with 1st, 8th, and 12th grades, which are deemed the most critical in the Turkish curriculum, based on kids learning to read/write, and the standardized testing of the later grades. The schools are supposed to do a soft start with one or two days a week, and here’s how ours approached it: first graders can come in-person on Mondays and Thursdays, while the rest of the week will continue to be fully online. Parents who don’t feel comfortable sending their kids can continue fully online, watching the kids and teacher who are interacting live…

Each time I go to serve in Park Heights, I feel like I’m in another country. This area of Baltimore is only 30 mins away from where I live in Maryland, but it seems so foreign to me. The little things are the most out of place in my mind: the number of potholes in the streets and how beat up the homes are…

32 gift baskets were delivered to Howard County General Hospital on Friday, September 25. Frontline workers were cared for often at the start of the pandemic, but that support has dropped off. The Beyond department wanted the hospital to know that we are still grateful for their service every day…

Good Neighbor Initiative

Invitation to Incarnational Ministry

The COVID-19 pandemic has both illuminated and increased the needs of many families in our community. For our vulnerable neighbors, sickness, unemployment, or a mixture of both has left them with immense financial need, food insecurity being a particularly troubling burden. As the Church, we are called to mirror the Good Samaritan, who was mirroring Jesus, in his “neighborliness” to the man beaten and left on the side of the road. Instead of leaving the vulnerable behind, Christ compels us to meet them where they are and treat them as beloved friends.

Book Recommendation

A lot of us are used to being comfortable. Whether we’re at home, work, or even at church, we thrive in environments unique to affluent first-worlders like us, where air conditioning, plush seating, and aesthetically pleasing decor is the norm. Our love for comfort makes us quick to overlook Jesus’ command to drop everything and follow him. When we see others suffering, whether spiritually or physically, we often choose the path of least resistance, leaving our Christian calling and our brothers and sisters in need behind. My heart was stirred by these reminders when I first read Not a Fan by Kyle Idleman, who pointedly reminds us that we are not called to be fans of Jesus, but true followers. Being a Christian is not just about church attendance, fish bumper stickers, or praying a prayer when we want something. On the contrary, being a Christian requires sacrifice. Being a Christian requires that we prioritize the Kingdom of God over our own desires, our own plans, and even our own bank accounts. The Christian life is radical–and it’s not just for the “super Christians” or the “professional missionaries” (we’re all called to be missionaries, after all). Not a Fan reminds us that every Christian is called to live out our faith on the frontlines, not the sidelines. I would highly recommend this book to anyone wondering how to take the next step in becoming a disciple of Jesus Christ.

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