A few days ago, Laura, Shaneen, Hannah, and Bethany traveled to a program called Gems Uncovered; here, they were able to witness and participate in a very powerful and beautiful graduation. This was not just any graduation ceremony, but one that enabled young women to step into a new life - Gems Uncovered works directly with women who come in from human trafficking, and offers them a way out, a new identity, and a new perspective. The lovely graduates each made a vision board, which expressed where they have been, but more importantly – where they are aiming to go.
This was a reminder to us all that… It does not matter what your past is, if you have God on your side you can do such amazing things through him. Please keep these young women at Gems Uncovered in your prayers as they take on this bright, new chapter in life.
~~Shout out to Bethany for singing during the girl’s graduation (which triggered lots of teary eyes and touched hearts)!
We had SUCH a wonderful day with our NorthEast Kids last week! After kicking off our adventure by gathering and singing praise in the office, we hopped into our vans to visit the beautiful Tanaka Farms. Here, the children not only got to explore the strawberry fields, but also pick and eat the yummy strawberries! To top it off, they got to take a ride on a tractor, as well as pet the farm animals! To end our wonderful adventure, the kids got to swim, play, laugh, and soak up the sun at our pool/pizza party (shout out to super host, Hank Weber!) When it was time to go, all we heard from the children was... "Five more minutes!!" We thank God for such a blessed day.
Receiving messages like these from our mom volunteers never fail to make us smile:
"Yesterday was the best youth outing ever! Kids and youth learned to swim, swam for first time, made friends, ate of Gods beautiful provision at the farm. GREAT Organization and effective leadership by new staff! Wow! My kids said thank you mom for bringing us, we had so much fun!"
We loved being highlighted at our "anchor" church this weekend, St. Andrew's Presbyterian Church. Pastor Laura preached on Luke 10 for all 4 services, entitled "AGENDA or CALL?". NorthEast took part in worship, and got to talk with many people at our table in the plaza. One of our favorite things was getting to pray for people after service!
Last Thursday / Friday we held 2 different baptism celebrations and dunked 11 people newly committed to Christ. We ate, heard testimonies, worshiped, and rejoiced! Our "baptizees" (is that a word?!) came from Anaheim, Santa Ana and Long Beach areas - all places we regularly do ministry throughout the week. FOR ANYONE THAT MISSED THIS: honestly, a baptism is probably one of the BEST and MOST ENCOURAGING ways to see what God's up to at NorthEast. If you want to come to the next one, make sure to message us - planning for July. We usually do an evening and daytime to accommodate our community members in both sober livings (working during the day) and full-time residential programs.
Had a fabulous & fruitful SPRING STAFF RETREAT on Tuesday. Look how our team has grown! Special guests joined us: Catalin & Oltitta Baciu from Teen Challenge Romania! Catalin began our day with a leadership session on SUBMISSION - here's a few golden nuggets for you:
- We're not born with the desire to submit, it's against our nature: but we can FORM it through Christ
- Our submission unlocks the ANOINTING of God
- The HIGHEST form of wisdom is hearing from the Holy Spirit
- Brokenness is the secret to intimacy with God
- We can do busy ministry from a place of REST
Thank you, Bacius! We also got to discuss our roles, our mission, and our needs as a team. Some real honest moments together.