Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Looking Back, Looking Forward

Again, a long time has passed since an update. And again, it is because we have been busy. Christmas season was full of activity, and this year started out with a bang. So here is a bit of a summary.

Christmas Happenings
Our glad carolers, on the porch of the Leadership center
We enjoy serving our community around Christmas. This was our fourth Christmas season in the Hyde Park neighborhood. This year, we again volunteered at the Third Ward Christmas Party, helped bag up food for the needy, and helped deliver food to a retirement home. We also went caroling around the neighborhood and had a great time. We had a few people join us, including the alderman's family. We love caroling because it brings joy and hope to the area. So many people were surprised to see a bunch of people singing down the streets.

January Work Explosion
Dr. Terry Goodwin talks to a youth group from First Baptist O'Fallon about spiritual disciplines

Last year, we had over 250 volunteers, with work groups coming from Tulsa, Wichita, and various places in Missouri and Illinois. We hosted a mission tour, a fall retreat, and numerous youth groups. This year, we've already had nearly 40 volunteers come through, with 4 groups scheduled for March. All these workers have accelerated everything so much. Extra hands are always welcome and needed with so much work before us, and it was a special blessing to have some really skilled people come through, including a contractor, plumber, and electrician. Not only does that help us overcome tasks that seem daunting or impossible, it increases our skill set and understanding so we can continue plugging forward. So far this year, one of our buildings got plumbed, MUCH drywall got hung, and the attic at the Leadership Center is almost completely finished. That space will increase our capacity in so many ways. We'll be able to host groups more comfortably, we'll have room for training and teaching, and our band, Reformation Sound, will have a place to practice!

the attic, before

the attic, after drywall and painting.  Almost done!
We love hosting work groups. We usually take time to communicate to our visitors the importance of the work. We don't want them going away thinking they got dirty and moved heavy stuff. We want them to walk away knowing that they took part in a work that God is doing, that they accelerated everything going on here. We also share testimonies, sing songs, and usually present teaching for them to take back to their own communities.

Moving Forward
We have been in Hyde Park since 2009, and have had a working facility here since May of 2010. Today, we have 5 properties, including our original building, the Opportunity Center, and our house, the Leadership Center. We have tried different things and learned a bunch. We feel we are close to having a very good foundation for bringing real renewal to the inner-cities of America. With so much work being accomplished so quickly, and better tools and material goods being donated and acquired, we feel confident that 2013 will be a very dynamic year. In just the past two months, we have encountered exciting opportunities and have progressed greatly in our understanding of how to minister and let God build. Our new projects will be covered in more detail later on, but they include ways to increase our creativity and sustainability, our (re)use of resources, and our ability to bring empowerment, encouragement, and employment to those who need it.

So coming up in the next few months, besides hosting many work groups, we will be opening a cafe, developing new products, and having great opportunities to cast vision. We will be displaying products at 4 craft shows, and will continue to communicate the possibility of people becoming interns or missionaries.

If you are interested in volunteering or bringing a work group down, you can contact Mark at
If you are interested in becoming a summer intern or learning more about becoming a missionary, you can contact Dr. Terry Goodwin at
If you have tools or material goods that you'd like to donate, you can contact either one of them.