This is a report from one of our local church teams who completed their last THIRST conference last week.
This THIRST conference began with the staff sharing their desire to pour into us as we poured into their church family. Their prayer was clearly answered throughout the week as they truly did bless us as a team. It was very evident that they are a mission-minded church family and are constantly seeking out the needs of others. Much of the congregation consists of new believers and people with broken pasts made beautiful by the gospel. This church is known as a light to the dark community surrounding them. One of their various ministries includes a food drive that is held every Wednesday morning. The food distribution begins at eight in the morning but there is often a line of people out the door as early as two in the morning. Our team had the privilege of working alongside the church in serving those in need around them.
God worked deeply in the hearts of the congregation as well. God once again showed Himself mighty amongst small groups of children in the church. On Sunday evening the children learned about idols. During this lesson they were challenged on what it means to give up things that are stealing away their devotion from the Lord. This caused one child to evaluate if idols may be stealing away her heart and she concluded that TV had become her idol. Not only did God work in this child’s heart but He also stirred another child to begin seeking Him. It became evident to the teachers that one of the children did not own a Bible nor had the money to purchase one. One of the teachers felt led to purchase him his very own Bible. As he was given this gift of God’s Word he was excited, but what was equally encouraging was his mother’s response. Later that evening she shared, with tears in her eyes, that the gift blessed her beyond measure. She further explained that two years earlier they had experienced an apartment fire and in it they lost all of their books, including their Bible. As the mother sought God after the fire, God gave her a promise that He would restore to them each book they had lost. When she saw the teachers present the gift she was almost brought to tears as she remembered that specific promise from God. On the last evening God prompted that same child to testify through a “Dear God Letter” all that God had taught Him that week. He was so involved in writing every detail down that he sat through an entire song to finish writing of God’s work in his heart. Indeed God is faithful in His desire to train up young children to follow after Him!
In many of the church members there was most definitely an air of anticipation for what God desired to do that week. One specific woman, who at first was only planning on coming to Sunday morning, was impressed by the Holy Spirit to make it a priority to come every night. She knew that God had already begun a deep work to begin living fully for Him and refused to miss one night of God continuing to speak to her. Another man showed up over an hour before the session was to begin because He knew that God was asking him to come to the church early in order to cry out to God to continue to work deeply in His people. The following is a testimony from a young woman who was not expecting God to change her throughout the week.
“The Sunday you came to Faith Alive was the first time I’ve gone to church in probably 3-4 years (except Easter). My boyfriend invited me that day and I went because “why not?” He’d been asking me to for a while and for some reason I agreed, and your team happened to be there and we decided to attend every day. I was lost for a while, but I have now decided to turn around and work toward having a relationship with God. I want to thank your team for helping me open my eyes and get back on the right path. My mom has already seen a change in me that she’s been wanting to see for a while, I get excited when I come home to talk about what I learned at church and I know it’s made her extremely happy to see me slowly returning back to God. So thank you.”
For the next few nights, the teams are helping with a community-wide event held at a local event center in Reno. Churches from all across the city are gathering together for worship, prayer and messages. Please continue to lift up Reno as they meet together through Wednesday night.