Tío Pablo y Tía Ani
19Jan/180

Impact Report: The Briones Church

Posted by Paul Barmaksezian on January 19, 2018

I get excited about good, healthy charity.  Not the toxic handouts that I've seen (and myself been guilty of) over the years.  One of the healthiest programs I've been blessed to be a part of is the 58:7 Ministries loan program.  I just love it.  Such a simple concept that we take for granted in the US - the availability of low-or-no-interest loans.  I can tell you, as the guy living here with the recipients of these loans, they make a huge impact on families and, in this case, on a whole church community.

I have a lot to say about this church, and much more to say about the family who runs it.  We love the Briones family, and love seeing all of them so actively involved in their church.  We also love the whole church body.  I don't usually get to see a community come together like this to build (rebuild, really) their worship center (as humble as it may be) and reach out to their neighborhood.

Providing a loan to them was something special.  As you'll see in the following slideshow, while we may have provided the capital to get them the land, the church family took ownership of the building project; they raised funds through multiple events (selling food, handmade clothing, and putting on events for a small fee) and volunteered much of their off-hours time for labor.  Several of them, in fact, went and made deals with their employers to donate materials and professional services.

This, my friends, is healthy charity in my view.  Through all of your support to our loan program (and to us personally), we gave a body of Believers the opportunity to do something that will impact their community for Christ.  And they took on the challenge.  It was impressive to see, and it's not over yet.  There much more to be built.  And all that while, I'm encouraging them to go outside the walls and reach those around them; so many desperately need Jesus.

Here is their slideshow video showing the progress of the build out.  Apologies up front, I didn't know the first several minutes would be of me trying to preach to them in Spanish :).  Skip around, it's a long video, but enjoy watching how this local church has built themselves up to - God willing - impact many.

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7Dec/171

Christmas Concert

Posted by Paul Barmaksezian on December 7, 2017

Always proud of these kids.  Michelle nailed the first verse of Hallelujah!  And Luke's whole class did a great job!  Always fun to be a part of a multi-cultural school event!

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26Nov/170

Michelle’s Artwork

Posted by Paul Barmaksezian on November 26, 2017

Aww, I'm a proud dad ... especially when it comes to a gift that I definitely do not have :).  Here is some of Michelle's latest work.  We might have an artist on our hands!

 

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20Nov/170

Michelle Sings “Lost Boy”

Posted by Paul Barmaksezian on November 20, 2017

Here is something fun ... Michelle's first solo performance at her school's talent show. She won 3rd place!

 

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20Mar/170

The Secret

Posted by Paul Barmaksezian on March 20, 2017

Sometimes a passage I've read or heard about in the Word maybe hundreds of times finally hits home.  It's amazing how His Word sheds new light at different seasons of life.  We've been watching a sermon series by Albert Tate on the 10 commandments, or as he calls it, a love letter written in stone; this was the final commandment ("do not covet").  Pastor Tate helped remind me of the secret to life in a fresh light through this sermon.  I encourage you to watch it, it's worth a nice sit down.

The core passage (along with the commandment) comes from Paul's letter to the Philippians, in a verse I've grown up with and yet didn't fully grasp until these past couple of years living down here.  It says:  "I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. I can do all this through him who gives me strength." (Phil 4:12-13).

There is a mystery, something hidden, something not obvious, in how we can live our lives in peace no matter the circumstances He has us in.  It's contentment.  In Him.  To be saturated in His presence, person, and acts that our circumstances do not take away our focus.  See how Paul says he has learned this?  It's daily, it's part of our walk, to learn the secret of contentment.  And how is this done?  Yes, as one would have guessed, through Him who gives us the strength.  He provides.  Then we can focus on the Provider.  As Pastor Tate says it so well, it is by Him, through Him, and for Him.  I have much to learn of this no-longer-a-secret, to be content when I have plenty and to be content when I lack.  Because one day, full glory is coming, and He'll turn His face and give us peace.