Dear New Hope Free Methodist Church Prayer Partners,
It is with great joy and thanksgiving that we write to you at this time. God is answering our prayers concerning New Hope in wonderful ways, and we know you will be excited to hear what He is doing.
To begin with, Wes has been looking for a new job with regular hours for quite some time. He was somewhat disappointed after being rejected for a county social service job. Yet God closed that door only to open a better one. Now Wes is working as a housing case manager for the Salvation Army (and loving it).
Besides giving him regular hours, this job offers him the challenge of working with homeless people and becoming more familiar with the city of Rochester. His supervisor is a Christian, so Wes is allowed and encouraged to share his faith with the people he works with--what a liberating change from his old position. Thank you for your prayers for Wes.
And now, concerning New Hope.... As you know, we have been meeting in a building called the Historic German House. When we were first interested in the building, four different groups were renting space there: a New Age Bookstore, the Rochester Tai Chi Chuan Center, a Spiritualist Church, and an astrologist/palm reader. The astrologist moved out before we held our first service. We asked you to pray that the other three groups would leave the building (or would join us!) so that only the true God would be worshipped in the German House. We received news on June 10 that the Tai Chi Chuan Center had relocated outside of the city and the New Age bookstore would be out of the building by July 1. Praise God! Not only this, but the owner of the building, Ron Maier, has decided that he wants tenants with New Hope's values in his building. He has asked if we want to rent more space, if we know of any Christian counseling organizations or bookstores which would like to move in and if Roberts Wesleyan College (a local Christian college) might like to hold classes in the German House. It seems that God has already been making some arrangements. Within a week, Agape Christian Ministries called Pastor Delia inquiring about availability of space in the German House for their counseling ministry. Also, there is a Christian bookstore which is interested in expanding and a woman willing to manage a new store. New Hope itself has decided to rent the upper (third) floor of the building.
Another answer to prayer is that attendance this far into the summer has been encouraging. It dropped at the end of May when many college students went home but has increased since then. God is working in people's lives through New
Hope. As an example, Gary responded to our mail invitation and came to the first service. He had no church background but made a commitment to Christ and is attending classes for new Christians at the CD hour. And there are many others. The people who have attended New Hope are a reflection of the urban area in which we are located. There are: people who never finished high school and those studying for their master's or doctorate degrees; white people and people of color; native Rochesterians and international students; Christians of many years and new believers. May this group be unified in God's spirit.
It has been said that when you step out in faith and let the Lord lead, you have to run to keep up. We are finding that to be true! It is exciting to see God at work as a result of His people's prayers. It is clear that He wants to glorify Himself in Rochester and especially to make His presence known in the southern part of the city through New Hope Church. We thank you for your prayers and urge you to continue to bring requests to God on behalf of New Hope.
Please pray for:
-God's spirit to be at work in this city. Rochester, like all cities, is in great need of God's spirit. Our struggles are "not against flesh and blood," so please continue to pray for this spiritual war in which we are engaged. We rejoice over the victories that God has already given in the German House, but the Spiritualist Church is still there as an obstacle to God's truth. Pray that lies from the Enemy may be vanquished so that God's spirit has free course to work in the hearts of people.
-spiritual growth and maturity in New Hope believers. Pray for the effectiveness of the small group program which will start in the fall. The current leadership team and others who have shown leadership potential will be trained to minister to a small group so that the church can continue to grow while maintaining a caring ministry to all sorts of individuals. Pray for the preparation and commitment of the extended leadership team.
-God's wisdom and leading regarding the use of available space in the German House. Unless the plans we make are of God, our labor will be in vain. Pray that we might not stray from our purpose: to present the gospel to the unchurched, to disciple believers, to encourage development of spiritual gifts, and to maintain outreach to unchurched people.
-Ron Maier, owner of the German House. We do not know where Ron stands in his relationship with God. He has attended some of New Hope's worship services, and he told Pastor Delia he has prayed about what God would have him do with the German House. Pray that God would continue to draw Ron to Himself and would bless Ron for his generosity to New Hope.
-our neighbors. Three apartments in our building were vacated at the end of July. Pray that we would have opportunity to befriend our new neighbors and share Christ with them. Pray specifically for one of the Bartle family (Jim, Ellen, & three girls ) that moved out--to an apartment within walking distance of the church, and pray for San & Li, a Chinese couple who live near the Bartles and are students at the U of R.
-the spirit of God to bring new people to New Hope each Sunday.
-Wes and me. We just celebrated our first anniversary. It has been a joy to be together and to serve God as a couple. We have recently learned, though, that we need to guard our relationship. It is easy to spend our time serving the church and leave little energy for each other. Pray for us as we start our second year of marriage, that we might continue to grow together in love. Pray for us also at our respective jobs, that we might be salt and light at the U of Rochester and throughout the city.