It has been a little over six weeks since then, and some great stories have been surfacing. Some individuals have been led on grand quests with the money growing over 100 times the original amount with large projects being conceived. Others have heard God’s voice whispering smaller, more intimate opportunities. Lives have been changed and blessings realized in both extremes… and God’s love has experienced through the giving of others.
Over the next few weeks, we will start posting these stories on this page. In the meantime, here are a few stories to tease your interests… and to prepare you for the May 20 service. During this Sunday, we will revisit those individuals who participated in the Kingdom Assignment.
When I received my Kingdom Assignment, my mind was awash with possible ways to bless others; too many. Before I even left the church, and thanks to the generosity of another member, my $100 dollars had become $200! Unable to decide how I would complete my assignment, I put the money on the family altar and resolved to let the Spirit tell me what to do. And, there it sat for almost all of our allotted time.
Finally, an inspired --if not unoriginal-- idea was presented to me; I would simply get an envelope, write “A Gift From The King” on it, put the money inside, slip it in my pocket, go about my day and wait for the Spirit to tell me where it should go. As this idea echoed through my mind, I got the gentle nod of the Holy Ghost.
No sooner had I started to prepare the envelope, God made me aware of a family in need. The father and sole provider had suffered a spinal cord injury last year that almost took his life, but ultimately left him paralyzed. Now, the family was trying to buy a used van that could be converted to much-needed transport for him and his wheelchair. I made up the “Gift From The King” envelope, put the money --now $300-- in it and contacted the family. Our meeting was prayerful, and nothing short of amazing. God is good, indeed.
Thanks for this opportunity to distribute Daddy’s stuff. Now, I’m off to make some more envelopes!
I spent several days praying over it and asking where God wanted me to go. I kept hearing that I needed to do something with my mom. On one of the weekends that I saw her, she said she would help! We decided to make little goodie bags for children in the hospital. We spent 70 of the dollars preparing those baggies. We called the Montgomery Hospital but they told us they would not let us bring the stuff by on a weekend, which is the only time I am able to see my mom.
I was talking to Carmen (who has always been a positive influence in my life) about the situation, and she told me that taking goodies to children in the hospital is something she has always wanted to do! So... we called Children’s Hospital, but they also said that they could only take baskets during the week. So Carmen recommended that we drop them off at First Light, a women’s shelter here in Birmingham...and that is exactly what we did! Carmen and I also decided that we would save money during the summer, and take goodies to the hospital during the summer so I can go during the week to help pass them out!
I still had 30 dollars left over, that I was continuing to pray about, and this ladies name kept popping in my head. I knew she had just had a baby and was struggling financially with buying diapers and formula. So Carmen and I bought her a giant bag of diapers and we took it to her anonymously along with a note. The note just reminded her that she is loved and prayed for. God will always provide and that she should continue to be strong in the Lord for her 2 handsome sons. Well, apparently that was exactly what she needed; she was almost out of diapers and didn’t have the money to buy some more! Her Facebook status (later that day) stated how she just wanted to say thank you for all those who help her and encourage her, and that it’s nice to reminded there are kind loving people out there.
I have an employee who was devastated recently by his wife leaving him and taking their son. He found out when he came home from work one day and found the house cleaned out with them gone. He also found that the bank accounts had been cleaned out. The wife had been responsible for paying the bills so he assumed she had paid everything. However, his power went out one day and when he called to report the outage, he found out she had not been paying the bills.
As you can imagine, he was a mess at work. I shared my testimony with him and talked to him about the power of having the Lord in our lives. I gave him a Daily Bread and a little Bible to read at work. We share the message of the Daily Bread everyday. He also seeked out other Christians that work with him.
I gave him the $100.00 to help him get his power turned back on. I found out that he spent some of the money to buy a Bible to read at home. We have talked about him finding a church for him and his little boy to attend. We talk about the Lord everyday and share with other Christian co-workers.
He received the $100.00 as a gift from God, not from me or the church. He was surprised and humbled by God’s goodness.
I was one of the lucky ones to get the $100 during the 9am service. I was excited to take the challenge. The blessings started that day before I even left the auditorium with the money. I was handed an additional $50 bill, after I had already decided I to contribute $50. So before leaving church that day I had $200, a open mind, and a prayerful and hopeful heart. I started praying immediately that God would show me the right opportunity to use this blessing. The following Wednesday I met with a girl who I have become friends with over the past year. We are both photographers and through our passion for photography we have become friends. The week of spring break her family suffered a significant loss. Her 28 year old, 8 months pregnant sister lost her fiancé due to a massive heart attack. I do not know her sister but she had been heavy on my heart the week prior to having received the money. This young mom also has a 3 year old...so here she was left 3 weeks from her due date and having to plan a funeral. My heart just ached for her and I had been praying that God would give this young girl hope and strength during an unbearable time.
She buried her fiancé the Wednesday of spring break and ended having her son on Saturday.
As my friend and I were having lunch, we were discussing her sister and everything that had happened over the past couple of weeks. I didn't want to get too personal as this is not one of my closest friends, but I kept feeling an urge to ask more. So I asked my friend what her sister's situation was financially and with the kids. She said both sets of grandparents were trying to help, but they live out of town and struggle financially themselves. She also told me that her 3 year old niece didn't have any spring clothes or shoes that fit properly, and that her sister was using the government program WIC to help supply her groceries. She also said the infant only had two bottles and didn't have any kind of bouncer seat, or swing where her sister could safely put him at home. This really made my heart hurt, and I knew I had found a way to bless. So I told my friend about what Doug had preached on and that I would love to be able to go shopping with her. We went to buy her niece some clothes, shoes and the baby the necessities that he was lacking. She started crying and said that this would help her sister so much. So we went to target where we were able to buy the little girl spring/summer clothes, shoes that fit, the baby a wonderful bouncer seat, bottles and some clothes for him too. I received an email from my friend on Saturday saying that her sister was so grateful and could feel God blessing her and giving her hope.
Thank you MTOP for the opportunity to show His love and bless someone else. It is something that is so important and I plan on continue to bless when I see I need!
I chose the" Prescott House Child Advocacy Center" in Birmingham because they give children a voice when they have experience sexual abuse, severe physical abuse or witnessed domestic violence or other crimes such as homicide. The wonderful staff at the house conduct forensic interviews while law enforcement watch on close circuit TV. They go through the court process with the child and counsel them after the experience
All services are offered at no cost. With help from many friends and family we raised $5,600.00 dollars from the original $100. I plan on continuing being a champion for this special house and the staff that work there.
MedMission was formed to collect medical surplus and redistribute it to under-served hospitals around the world. Mountaintop has received supplies from MedMission each time we return to Africa for medical missions.. Jim Tucker and Derek Brown have been so generous to give us what we need. My Kingdom Assignment along with our small group (Cathey) is to promote and stage a huge warehouse sale at their Birmingham warehouse on June 2 to raise money for them to return the favors they have done for Mountaintop, other church missions and under-served hospitals around the world.
What was neat to me about this assignment was how my small group responded to it. As soon as I got off stage members of my small group approached me and asked how and what are "we" going to do for this assignment. I didn't have to ask for help but they were still eager to get involved. It was like they were an extension of me ready for action. This became a collected effort immediately which was a blessing to me. It showed me how important and valuable my small group is to me. We met later that week and discussed some different ideas but we finally decided that Raleigh's Place was the place that we wanted to try to multiply our "talents" and give to. We set up a website to collect donations and try to multiply our "talents" (www.razoo.com/story/Raleighs-Place-Summer-Camp). We also were able to collect some cash donations to go along with our online donations. Our goal was to try to plant the seed to our friends and family via phone, email, facebook, or personal contact and let God do the rest. As of today we have raised over $11,000.00. Hopefully this will increase before May 6th, but if not it is awesome to know that God has allowed our "talent" to increase 62 times.
I have been having a hard time sharing my stories. I guess in a way if feels like bragging. Of course it is ok to brag about what God is doing, and I am blessed to be a part of it. So while I still feel weird sharing something I usually keep to myself.. here it goes.
I feel like we all need blessings. Not just the poor or the person going through a hard time. Sometimes a little unexpected blessing will remind someone of how good it feels to be blessed and then pass that on. That being said, I have done several things. First, I got and old wallet of mine and broke the 100 into all 5 dollar bills. It became my Kingdome Challenge Wallet. The first thing I did was pay for the family behind me in the drive thru's bill. Later the employee told me the next 7 people behind me did the same thing. I also became aware of a young mother raising 2 children while her husband is in jail. Her only source of income depends on her having a car in good shape. Her fuel pump went out so I asked her to clean my house, and then when I left her her money, I gave her the extra she needed to get her car fixed.
Here is where it gets (what some may call) a little strange. I am sure by doing the math you can guess that my $100 should have been gone, but a week later there was an adorable little bald girl in my store, and it was obvious she had undergone a recent brain surgery. She was reading our headbands and I told her I had just the one for her. It said 'Bad Hair Day' She laughed and said 'I don't have any hair". I told her that is what makes it perfect. We put it on and it covered her scar perfectly. We began to talk and I shared with her the miracle of the healing powers of our Lord. She asked to tell me a secret....she still gets scared when she comes to B'ham for her treatments and sees her surgeon. I told her to pretend he was wearing the headband too. She was really wanting a bracelet we had just gotten in, so I wrote her a note and snuck it in her bag. I also sent a headband to the Oncology Department at UAB and asked them to pass it on to her surgeon. As I went to get money from my wallet, something told me to check my Kingdom Challenge wallet. Guess what I had money, exactly what I needed. Freaked me out a little, but I trusted God. About a week later, I found a guy sitting by the dumpster at our store. I asked him why he was there and he said he needed to rest. He was dirty and looked very hungry. Again, God said I will provide and once again there was money stuck in one of the pockets of my KC wallet. I bought him some food and something to wash up with. I also bought him a Bible and showed him mine. He saw it all duct taped together and said I was the one who needed a new one. It look like mine had been through alot. I explained it was the Bible that got me through alot, and I hoped that he would rely on his as much as I rely on mine. I let him call home on my phone and last I heard they were sending him a bus ticket. This time I checked my wallet completely. Empty, I felt alittle sad. I mean I always try to be generous, but it meant this part of the journey was over.
Then... God decided it was not quite over. I was buying a magazine at Walgreens today and a woman came in to complain about a very 'suspicious scruffy, dirty man who was asking people for money to buy his medicine. The store associate was going to call the police and I asked him to wait. I found the guy back at the pharmacy trying to see how much the meds would be. I asked the lady what his perscription was. I said if it were not a narcotic I would pay for it. It was for an antibotic for an abcessed tooth and some pain pills. I told him I would not pay for the pain pills but I would pay for his anitbiotic. As I stood there I almost felt his pain. I asked who his dentist was, so I called them and told them what I was trying to do and wanted to make sure this was the first and only script for paid meds he would be getting. They assured me it was, and then they asked why I was doing this. I said, God says we are to take care of others. This man then of course had to listen to me before I would pay for the drugs. Hopefully he heard Gods words with his heart and not just to get out of a jam he had gotten himself in. The doctor also told me to tell him to come back when he was done with the antibiotic and they would work something out with his bill. I pulled out my debit card and guess what....$40 in fives fell out.
So once again, the wallet is empty but I know God is not done. This challenge has been a huge blessing to me and I hope everyone will realize that everyone needs a little unexpected blessing.
After weeks of praying, God finally revealed the person he wanted me to bless. Her name is Maritza. She's from Honduras and has been serving the Lord for more than 10 years. She has been helping broken hearted women that are struggling with marriage, going thru divorce, abuse or abandonment (I was one of them). She helped us to get back on our feet using the word of God. She has been operating her ministery in the living room of her house encouraging women to fast, pray and worship God above all. I was happy to know that God wanted me to bless her with $100 to help her ministry.
I always see the hand of God in my life and I am happy to follow his voice and knowing that I was obedient, my heart feels joy and peace.
I was having a hard time at first. I was wanting God to just tell me out loud where and how he wanted me to help. (Practicing patience is what I have learned from this challenge). So after a couple of weeks, my husband and I thought about putting it on Facebook to see what kind of response I would get. I explained the challenge and took a picture of the $100 and the paper we got and asked for donations of any amount. I also made the comment that if all my friends would send $1 that would truly be a blessing and I would be able to share this with someone/ some ministry. I still was not sure (and I was still praying). I was really disappointed when only a hand full of people responded....but God knew what he was doing. I received $1 in the mail, $20 in the mail, $25 check, another $20, and then another $100 which gave me a total of $271.
I put it all in a ziploc and just held tight. Last Friday, I was talking to a young girl at work and she was having a hard time with family. We started talking...she told about some of her past issues with family and that her father was killed by her mother and now her mother is dating another man. I was like "WOW". I was able to share with her some of my life story and dysfunction that I had been through. I told her to pray for her mother and to trust God with all her heart. Monday morning comes around and I found out that her mom had overdosed and died Friday night. My heart sank. This girl is 21 and lives paycheck to paycheck and I KNEW immediately that I would be giving her $100. She was so thankful when she got my envelope. She told me that she was just panicing about how a certain thing for her mom's funeral would get paid, and then she got the money from me. It was truly awesome to see her smile and to say that God works it out always (I knew then she was a believer).
So, I still had $171 remaining and I do not find this weird (I found this to be God's talking to me). I work at a preschool and our weekly rate for our Infant room is $171 a week!!!!!!! I was again AMAZED at how God was showing all these signs to me and then just guiding me in the right direction. I saw a late notice on the desk for a family that has a downs syndrome baby boy that is 6months old and a two yr old boy, so I am sure with all the doc. appointments and therapy the littlest has to go to, mom misses a lot of work. Anyway, I KNEW again that this money was suppose to go to this family to pay a week of daycare. I did it anonymously. Just wrote a quick note to say please apply this to this family's account.
God truly has shown me a few things about me during this challenge! Trusting God ALWAYS and NEVER giving up!!!!
The money was gifted to a family standing together as they were witnessing a final battle with terminal cancer. The cancer patient is a husband, a father and a grandfather. A special family, a close family. Spending as much time together as possible as this final battle is being fought and not taking any day for granted. (In order to do this, Mom had to take a leave of absence from her job and I can only image the other financial burdens.)
My prayer is that this money has been a blessing to them for whatever they need right now, today. I think that we can all learn from this remembering to always put God first, then family.
How much time have you spent this week as a family?
Matt, Jeff, and I called Sav-A-Life and they found us a family that is barely making it financially. We combined our money to help buy necessities for their baby and the family. We bought food, diapers, and other baby supplies. The family lives with the baby's grandmother because of the difficult times. We gave them bibles and discussed God's love for them and how He will always provide for His people. It was a great experience to be a part of.
For the Kingdom Assignment, my husband and I added another $100 to the original $100 and used it to pay for a ladies insulin and other meds at our local pharmacy which she really could not afford. This lady uses so much of her money for good deeds of buying food and cooking for the sick and those in need. It seemed appropriate since she performed good deeds in the community to the point that she needed a little help purchasing her own medicine to take care of herself. We plan to continue to help out off and on in the future as needs arise.
What a great project and a wonderful way to encourage folks to look outside themselves. Thanks for the opportunity.
Here I am with my mouth still wide open... shocked at the challenge given to the congregation from Pastor Ferguson. I couldn't believe that he had challenged so many people to do something that seemed so simple. In my mind I was like, oh I can do this, I know a lot of people I can bless with this $100 bill. But then when I arrived at home, I found myself staring at the $100, and realizing that I really didnt have a clue as to what I wanted to do, and who I wanted to bless on this assignment. Therefore, this assignment became a challenge and it drew me closer to God as I prayed about being able to bless the right person at the right time. A couple of days later as I picked my daughter up from day care, I noticed a woman whose son I taught the first year I started teaching. She was sitting in the day care parking lot balancing her checkbook. She has 4 children. Two in elementary school, and two in middle school. I immediately went inside the day care and told the lady that I wanted to apply this $100 bill to her account. The woman receives assistance from childcare resources which made this $100 bill stretch until the end of May for her day care fee's. I am sure she was happy when she found out her account was credited!!! I was filled with an emotion like non-other after knowing that this woman was blessed by a church that has blessed me!!! Thank you Mountaintop Community Church and Pastor Ferguson!!!
I increased my $100 to $160. $100 went to help Bruce's caregivers, Phyllis and Ron, to go to Kentucky because Ron's mother was dying. $20 went to help a young man from the shelter to get a Chef Jacket so he could start his new job. $20 went to feed the folks on the bus at Easter, because the man who feeds at Linn Park did not show up. $10 went to feed some folks on the bus on a Wednesday night after a couple of regulars said they would pitch in to pay. $5 went to help a lady with cane to ride the dart bus for 20 days to get from Salvation Army to Fellowship House for recovery meetings. Finally, I spent $5 for can opener for a regular on the bus who moved out of shelter.
When the Kingdom Assignment was presented in church, I knew I had to accept the challenge. It was God answering my prayers with a tangible parable. Like He was saying "Try me; prove that I am God." And it turned out to be a great way opportunity to to complete my faith by my works.
I invested the $100 dollars in my friend, Grace. Grace is studying education at UAB, and everyday she wrestles with staying in school. We always talk about the limitations of the current education system, often lamenting how schools seem to be factories for kids, producing standardized students who conform to the world's value system. We wonder if the type of education is glorifying to God. We also talk "learning versus education" and about alternatives: home schooling, unschooling (http://www.christianunschooling.com/), learning co-ops, and Charlotte Mason. Charlotte Mason was an English educator in the 1800's who believed in the holistic teaching of children. She believed that God created each child as a person and we should relate to each child as a person created by God. She also believed that education should be a form of discipline, where children learn about God through His creation. The more we talk about God-centered learning and living, the more my heart leaps and dances.
Grace's dream is to have a school on a farm, Dr. Grace's Kindergarten Farm. She has this vision of kids playing and learning and growing under the warm sunshine, just like she and her brothers did. Grace is not quite ready to build the farm, but she has been asked by a few friends if she would teach their youngsters next year. Grace is contemplating and seeking God's direction on what this would actually look like. But as I was praying about what to do with my $100, Grace came to my mind; she would need supplies and materials for next year. I had this grand vision of growing the $100 by setting up a website and using Facebook to ask friends to give, and I would have a great contribution to bless Grace. But God had other plans. When I told Grace that I wanted to invest the $100 in her, she did not know what to say, so all she said was "Wow!" She said she did not know what she would do with the money, since she won't have a permanent "classroom." We said we would talk more later. That next day, I received a text from Grace saying that she would like to use the money to start a classroom library. She said books were something that she could always use, plus the used bookstore, 2nd and Charles, was having a children's book sale: Buy 5, get 5 free. So we met at the store that evening and perused the shelves looking for books. Grace ended up purchasing 90 books; 45 of them were free!! I know it was not what I had mind; I wanted to grow the $100 to a larger sum, but God grew it according to His plan. And Grace couldn't be happier; those books are valuable to her. God is faithful.
I thank God for His faithfulness to me and to Grace. He is faithful to bring to completion this dream that He has placed in Grace's heart...and mine too. I stepped out in faith that this was where God was leading, and He was faithful in where He led. The talent that He entrusted to me also grew to three books of my own. One of the books Grace gave to me before I decided to invest in her school; we were just talking one morning and she gave me a book so that we could do our own book club. She said it is nice to have someone to share these ideas with. My God is faithful.
Thank you Mountaintop for giving me a place and challenge to grow in God.
Yes! I'm so excited to share my story and please forgive me if it is lengthy.
The day that I accepted the Kingdom Assignment, I was so excited because the Coker Family - a family that Reggie and I have developed a relationship with through our work with Restoration Academy- visited Mountaintop for the first time. As they always do, they had a few young men with them. When I saw them after service it reminded me of their great faith in God and how they pour into lives of youth in Fairfield and that they do so with limited resources. My wheels began to turn and I was so excited about giving back to a family that gives so much of themselves to others. I could not sleep that night!!!
The next day, my family was attacked by Satan and I'm sure that it was meant to be a distraction to the good work that God was about to do. After a week of sadness and frustration, I decided that I would not allow Satan to win!
I thought and prayed about how this money would multiply! I wanted to give them so much more that $100. I thought...Reggie and I could just write them a check but I quickly realized that there wasn't much faith involved in that. As best as I can tell, I heard the Lord telling me that this would be a project of faith for me - I would have sit back and see what he could do!! How exciting!!
So I contacted a friend and with her help, created a webpage and emailed the link to everyone in my address book. www.blessthecokerfamily.com. We have $2,000 in donations to this point and I'm so excited about what God has done and looking forward to presenting this to the Coker Family!!! To God Be The Glory!!!
You all know me well enough to know that God has given me a passion for advancing His kingdom in Africa, but I was determined to pray and ask God how He would have me use this money of His instead of how I would want to use it. When I went back into the auditorium to sign my card, Ruth (Pastor Stephen's daughter) came over to me and told me she had talked to her mom who had asked if I could send her measurements for the baptismal at Mountaintop. Back up to the end of January.
While I was in Kenya for Pastor Stephen's funeral, his wife, Jane told me that she really needed to build a baptismal at Gatuanyaga church so they could baptize the new believers. When I returned home, I was telling Randy that maybe we could do that while we were there in June. I have been praying about how that might happen.
This Sunday, Ruth told me they have plans to start building the baptismal in a couple of weeks because there are many new members who want to be baptized. Wow!! I was thinking something other than Africa, but what better way to advance His kingdom than through the baptism of many.
Now, I go to Matthew 25:14-30. This is the parable of the "Loaned Money". Well, I can be safe and just send the $100 to Kenya, but that won't begin to build a baptismal, and would also be the easy way to use the talents I have been given. As I prayed about this, it became clear to me that I was to use this $100 as seed money used to increase His funds. I don't know how much it will cost to build a baptismal in Kenya, but He does and if I use His money wisely, He has promised to multiply it.
Six weeks past, and $1,350 was collected. The baptismal in Kenya was built. On May 6, 2012, over twenty people were baptised a half a world away...and yet as close as God's promises.
God led me to a beautiful 4year old girl named Lilianna with leukemia . Her last stay in the hospital was 87 days! She is free, for now, from the cancer ! Praise God! I wanted to post her story on Facebook, but it took me over three weeks to get it posted 9because I couldn't figure it out). I began to feel guilty and depressed because I hadn't raised any money and thought I must be like the one in the story that buried the talents. I was doing nothing for my Master! I told my very sweet friend about it, and she helped me get it set up on facebook. In that process, I shared a family secret from about 20 years ago. My friend took great interest in my story. She said that she was dealing with a family secret, but that thru my story, she realized that she may need to rethink her situation and try to find some "light" in it. As I was leaving her office, she thanked me for sharing and said that I did do something for our Master. So maybe God did hold me back for that time with my sweet friend. I was blaming Satan for slowing me down in getting started on raising money for Lilianna when I should have been praising God and waiting on His timing! I have only doubled the money but I am just getting started. I plan to continue to raise more money for her. Just because the challenge is over, that doesn't mean I have to end the challenge. God is good...all the time.
I had a kingdom assignment contributor to the Sav-A-Life shower that I hosted last night for 5 women who are in crisis pregnancies and attending classes at SAL. It was a humbling moment to see what God provided and a proud moment to be a Mountaintopper! I know this isn’t a straight forward “story”, but certainly a reflection of generosity at Mountaintop... in fact one of the moms that we were celebrating, said the word generous in describing the experience. All together, 21 Mountaintoppers had a hand in this shower, many behind the scenes. Each of them responded after I posted a single request on Facebook.
I was not one of the ones who walked the stage of commitment that day. I went up to give Doug his usual bear hug and talk after the service. When we were done, he had an extra $100, so needless to say he handed it to me and I put it in my pocket. Raleigh's Place had already been in Kelly's and my heart for some time. I have a goal of $46,000 that the Lord has put on my heart. I really prayed about this seriously with Kelly and believe wholeheartedly that the goal was from God. Therefore we believe it will be accomplished.
I am sending out follow up letters this week to remind those who have committed and those who have somewhat committed but still sitting on that incredibly uncomfortable splinter filled fence, HA!!. I will then do follow up phone calls shortly after. With men not much is possible if anything, but with our Lord and Savior the mighty all powerful Jesus KING of Kings, everything is possible (Luke 1:37). God Bless you all and we thank all who are praying for the success of this project and most importantly for our God to be Glorified, lives to be changed for life, and salvation to multiply. 1 Corinthians 10:31, Ephesians 3:20!!! AMEN
I started with my one hundred dollars but then I eventually ended up adding 50 more. Lately I have been very convicted to do something at my school. I feel there are kids at Spain Park that just need to be reminded daily that someone loves them or needs someone to reach out to them. With the $150, I went to Lifeway and bought about 70 Bibles to hand out. I have never really been very confident in sharing my faith, but my confidence in Christ is something that has been heavy on my heart and I've been praying for more. I just want to reach out with no hesitation to the kids I go to school with. I want to be able to share the gospel confidently in my faith and give them an opportunity to get in the Word and build a relationship with our Creator. I have only gotten started in this assignment but I am very excited!
I must be honest, when I accepted the Kingdom Assignment, I was looking forward to God giving me an amazing story to tell about how He used me to advance His Kingdom in a spectacular way. You know, someone is about to lose their house, an orphanage that was going to close, a child that was starving, a family reunited – that kind of thing. In fact, two days after accepting the assignment, the $100.00 was doubled by a matching contribution from Larry at Men’s Fraternity. I was ready for something BIG! About a week later, I was approached by two young women outside a shopping center. They said they were going on a mission trip (to Trinidad I think) and asked if I would I make a contribution. This must be it, I thought, these two are going to freak out when I tell them that God has given me $200 to give to them for their mission. I asked them for some literature about their organization and/or their trip, but they did not have any. Suddenly, my subconscious started in: “What kind of mission trip has no literature”, I thought. “I won’t even know how it went and how God used the money” was another. In short, I decided that this must not be the opportunity God wanted for this $200 and politely gave the women $5.00. Later, I realized that I truly did believe that they were going on a mission trip, and the reason I hadn’t given them the money was because it wasn’t a good story!! Shameful I know!
After that, I kept looking for a really spectacular way to use the money that would more than make up for my missing the opportunity God had given me with the missionaries. However, a small voice kept saying, “I want you to give the money to Sergio (name changed). Sergio is a friend of mine that, unbeknownst to me at the time, has had several incidents recently that have required him to spend money he didn’t really have – car breaking down, legal fees pertaining to his children, etc. In addition, his “cost of living” is about to increase dramatically as he will soon be getting sole custody of his kids. One morning, while having coffee with Sergio, he mentioned that with the kids he would have to move to a larger apartment. The increase in rent was going to be $200. I knew that was a reminder from God that I had $200 in my pocket that was not mine. I gave the money to Sergio that morning and told him that I knew God wanted him to have it. While not wildly spectacular, it was neat to know that the money went to someone who has a strong relationship with the Lord and who would also appreciate the fact that God always provides. Knowing that God foresaw Sergio’s need long before either of us did, and planned to meet his needs in a way neither of us could ever have predicted, was really quite cool. It was also a great reminder that God does not need me to be spectacular!
Mark and Becky's Story
Recently Becky and I accepted the MTC Challenge to invest and multiply $100 in furthering the love of God to those around us. After prayer and discussion, we decided to split our $100 into five different avenues – Five Talents, as an illustration of the Parable of the Talents in Matthew 25. There are so many wonderful opportunities at MTC in which to invest. Our focus was as much helping people know of the various avenues of service and encouraging them to plug in as it was to multiply the money. The hands and feet stepping into God’s work were also multiplied.
The small group Becky is a part of ‘adopted’ a high school student and promised to pray for him and the group as they prepare to go to Africa on a mission trip. At a recent meeting, Cham and Jordan visited with the group to share their passion for the people they will minister to on the trip. Cham also shared his vision of instilling a servant’s heart in the young people under his care with the hope of sparking a flame that will burn in them the need to spread God’s love to those who may not know. A collection was made to help support the upcoming trip and the first $20 Talent turned into $420 and 15 women in a Mountaintop small group became part of God’s work going on in the student ministry. Cham sent at note expressing “Thanks for being on board with what God is up to in Jordan’s life, this mission trip, Africa, and the student ministry.”
Sav-A-Life is a crisis pregnancy center with the mission statement of "Helping men and women embrace the Truth of God's Word as they make life-affirming decisions about their unborn child. In 2011, 5,500 client touches were made. Becky has volunteered at SAL for many years and has witnessed firsthand as many women have benefitted from the free services of the medical clinic; as lives have been changed because God’s love and plan for HIS children have been shared. Recently five Mountaintoppers participated in the volunteer training program to prepare to become a part of the volunteer force so vital the various services offered. MTC, through its Compassion Ministry, has been instrumental in financially supporting SAL medical clinics and the National Fatherhood Initiative which are core services offered. At the recent annual fundraiser Banquet which highlights the many services offered by the SAL ministry, we invited eight people who had expressed interest in knowing more to join us at our table in hopes they might find a way to plug into that ministry with financial support, prayer support, or volunteer hours. The second $20 Talent was combined with other money donated during the fundraising effort. The table total multiplied the second $20 talent to $4600 the night of the Banquet in actual donations and/or pledges. And eight more people now have a better understanding of service opportunities at SAL.
ABBA’s Pantry is a ministry of MTC offering food staples to our own members during times of financial need. Many Mountaintoppers with a passion for this ministry serve to sort, purchase, distribute, and pray with the recipients of these supplies. The third $20 Talent from the MTC Challenge was multiplied to $100 to purchase supplies for up to 4 families to help keep the shelves of Abba’s Pantry stocked. Prayers for the families were whispered during the shopping process - that God’s love will the felt by the ones receiving the groceries.
Paul P. and his family recently left MTC and the Birmingham community to move to Florida to start a church plant and spread God’s love to unchurched people of that area. Paul also has a passion for the MTC mission endeavors in Africa. While a recent new church failed to thrive, Paul and Tracey still work in that area and move forward with plans to disciple the 400 members of his church, while seeking other church planting opportunities. The fourth $20 Talent from the challenge money multiplied to $1,200 as we invested in the work Paul has stepped into on God’s mission field in Florida. Paul is confident that the Word of God can touch hundreds of people through outreach as a result of the financial support he receives from Mountaintop members
The Compassion ministry at Mountaintop exists to encourage the transformation of hearts and lives through serving the under-resourced both locally and internationally. We are focused on the ministries Kids at Risk, Communities in Crisis, and People on the Fringe of Society. In communities like Fairfield, Mountaintop volunteers and resources are going to aid in the rebuilding of once vibrant places. All our compassion efforts are fueled by the desire to be the hands and feet of Christ to our neighbors whether they are right next door or all around the world. Becky and I had the honor of sharing time with a group of Young Professionals a couple of summers ago. That summer there were about 5-7 regular participants. This group of 24-34 year olds now has a core of 30 or so passionate young adults wanting to make a difference. On May 5, MTC will have a church wide serve day hopes of having 1,000 people serving at one time on several different fronts. One front is the Fairfield community. The YP group has been very instrumental in helping cast the vision of this effort to MTC. They are a very impressive group stepping into the work God already has in place. In talking with some of the key players, there are many sentences that start or end with the phrase, “it was such a God thing…” In honor of the extraordinary passion of this group of Young Professionals joining with others in our MTC community, the fifth $20 Talent from the Challenge money was multiplied to $100. On May 5 many Mountaintoppers will generously invest their time in others by stepping into God’s work already in motion.
Talents -money, passion, people- multiplied to help spread God’s love to others locally and globally. Our church is being blessed as we bless others.
My father was a long time member of the Knights of Columbus, a catholic mens fraternal organization, here in Birmingham. One of the main part of the KoC that he supported was the "Right to Life" campaign. Recently I have done work with Sav-a Life, a local pregnancy test center. They needed a new ultra sound machine and the KoC offered a grant that can pay for a new machine. The grant works like this - if the local KoC councils raise $17,000 then the Supreme Council will match it with $17,000. The key is the local KoC chapters can not receive the money from the organization that will benefit from the machine. Sooo, God's $100 is going to be the first $100 toward raising the matching funds. Another aspect of the story is Kristyn, my wife, is adopted and if it wasn't for her birth mother using a service like Sav-a Life, my life would be completely different.
Jenn's, Larry's and Addy's Story
After prayerful consideration, our family felt God calling us to use our $100 to bless families and children. We matched the original $100 and offered friends and family the opportunity to participate as well. We offered to give them $5 that they could match with $5 or add to if they wished. We instructed them not to use it on themselves or their church but to use it to be a blessing to someone else. We also asked them to share what they did with the money. One family used their money to purchase coloring books for a child in Children's Hospital and lunch for her parents. One cool thing is that the family they chose to bless were the Wilsons, former Mountaintop family whose 6 year old girl was badly burned in an accident and will be in the hospital for 3-6 months.
Another family added $50 to their money and used it to bless families in the Phillipines.
We also gave people the option of going in with us to bless families locally as well as globally. This money was used locally to help a Homewood family in need and share God's love with them. It is being used globally through Samaritan's Purse to build a freshwater well and meet the physical needs of families while demonstrating the love of Christ to them. So far the original $100 has become over $550. A few people have not yet reported back to me. We are hoping progress will be ongoing. Thank you so much for giving our family the opportunity to be a part of this challenge.
As we were talking about what we were going to do with the money, I had brought Bruce to speak to Wilma with Ernie. Wilma and her sisters were impressed with the relay marathon that we had done with Brucie. We said, " Why not have ya'll do it as well next year? " So needless to say, they are in, Brucie is in. I brought it up to Bill Elder and he said that he was very interested and I am waiting to hear a final confirmation from him as well. He said if he did it that he would be running some of the race as well. I then ran into Bob W. and he said he was in as well. Everyone that participated in the race wants to do this again next year including Joel and several new people. What an outcome, right?
A friend saw me up on the stage and emailed Connie to get my contact information because a friend of hers had lent her money and needed to get paid back. Well she thought why not pay her pay plus give her back more because she is a single mom and was going through a difficult time. Not only did I help, but Connie did as well.
I was originally going to give Ernie the money for his ministry but he was helping a young man out in the compassion ministry to get back on his feet. He was getting back into an apartment and was having difficulty coming up with the first month's rent. So, I had the money at hand and said, it yours to give to him. I felt that he was in need and was looking at getting back on his feet. So, that sums it up how God brought me to 3 different missions.
Althought the money was not allocated for the relay, the conversation regarding the mission did and wow, I cannot wait to see how it works out.
Of all the wrong turns I have made…..
Sometimes a wrong turn can be the right thing. While I was on my way to Pathways the Saturday after the challenge, I made a wrong turn. While stopped at a caution light, there on the right was the Ronald McDonald House. The wrong turn was God answering my prayer of what to do for the Kingdom with my challenge. After Pathways that day, I went down to RMH to speak with someone about the service they provide as I had never had any connection to, or involvement in this charity. I got some good info, and made contact with April the next week. She was excited that I was interested in helping sponser a family or families for their nightly expenses there. It cost a family $10 per night to stay at the RMHC. Because of my family at MTCC and good friends, I was able to multiple the $100 into 45 nights for a family. I will never complain about making a wrong turn again. God is so very good!.