July 2020 Planter Updates

Mile Square Church is Officially a Chartered
Member of the LCMS!

A pandemic is not something a church planter plans for when he's envisioning a starting a new worshipping community. I certainly wasn't planning for one! And yet here we are 18 weeks into a pandemic that isn't going away as quickly as we'd all hoped. In spite of it all, and indeed, through it all God has been at work in the Mile Square city. This experience reminds me of the first verse of a worship song by United Pursuit called Here and Now:

"when your faith in perfect love
can’t explain the pain that you feel,
you will find you’ve looked for a sign up above
but he was there in the dirt where you stood"

What a powerful truth to embrace in the midst of this crisis! God is with us in the midst of the muck and mire of this moment! He knew this pandemic would come 6 months after we launched weekly worship, and he's with us even now to bless our congregation and to bless the city he called us to serve and reach with the Gospel. Praise God that we've been able to continue worshipping every week online at live.milesquare.church. Praise God that we've raised just over $5,000 for COVID19 relief and already given back $4,150 to community members to assist with groceries, bills, and rent. Praise God that those gifts led the recipients to begin coming to worship online with us in the midst of a pandemic and find hope in the Gospel.

And praise God that in the midst of all the uncertainty, the NJ-District board of directors accepted our application for membership in Synod! Our ratified constitution and bylaws mark a significant milestone for our church plant, and by God's grace we will press on to see many more. Through this whole process, we've been tremendously blessed by the financial contributions of our brothers and sisters within the district. We could not be doing this without your support! I thank you from the bottom of my heart. If you have given to this mission effort, you have given to be part of a significant move of God in our region. Thank you for your generosity. If you'd like to continue supporting or would like to give for the first time, you can do so at www.supportmilesquare.church.

Camino de Fe Continues to Support Hundreds of Their Spanish Speaking Neighbors

Camino de Fe exists because of YOU! Thank you for believing in church planting here in New Jersey and for your prayers and financial support.

During this pandemic, we concentrated in two areas of helping our Spanish speaking neighbors. The first is helping more than 300 families weekly with groceries, meals, and Shoprite gift cards. We will continue our food distribution every Friday until the end of August. Halfway through August we will reassess our efforts and make a decision about continuing the food pantry. As of last Friday, we helped approximately 160 families. Some families have gone back to work and others are working part-time, but we know that it will take longer for families to get back on their feet financially and any help we can give alleviates their concerns.

The second area in which we have been helping families is informing them about school plans during the pandemic and as both Somerville and Bernardsville school districts prepare their plans for their new school year. In the picture you see “Juanito.” I helped him connect to his Google Meet class every Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday. During the pandemic and while the school was closed, his father took him to his work. Juanito was able to connect with his teachers weekly. We created a group of volunteers who helped close to 100 families with translations and virtual learning during the pandemic. I have been busy as I have been part of the reopening plans for both districts and communicating those plans with Spanish speaking families.  

In other news, we are in the process of becoming a roster church of the Lutheran Church - Missouri Synod. Our constitution and bylaws were submitted for the NJ-District board of directors to review and hopefully accept our application for membership in the Synod. We have been blessed by our journey and we will continue working “to make followers of Jesus, who will in turn, make other followers of Jesus.”

Camino de Fe plans to meet in-person in September. We continue to worship in small gatherings and online. We have two Bible studies via the Zoom application on Wednesday at 7:00 pm (English) and on Thursday at 8:00 pm (Spanish)Here is the link to our live streaming options:
Please continue to keep us in your prayers as we continue to reach out to give people hope and comfort.  

Contact me if you would like to be a volunteer at [email protected] or text me at (908) 605-6030.
You can go to the link below if you would like to donate to our efforts in helping families in need: https://caminodefe.church/covid-19-give/

Or you can also mail your checks to the LCMS-NJ District Office – COVID-19 Camino at:
LCMS New Jersey District
1168 Springfield Ave
Mountainside, NJ 07092

Don’t forget that you can support Camino de Fe church online at supportcaminodefe.church or you can send your check to the LCMS-NJ District Office – Memo Camino de Fe.

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