The Columns – February 2016

Womens

Love is the “usual” topic for the month of February as we look toward the upcoming Lenten season and, of course, Valentine’s Day. Love implies relationship. Jesus taught that the greatest commandments were “love the Lord your God with all your heart, soul, mind and strength”, and to “love your neighbor as yourself.”

When my granddaughter, Audrey, was about three years old, she sleepily toddled into my bed one morning around 5:00 a.m. She groggily focused on my face and said, “Nana…how many hearts do you have?” I went into auto-response and said, “One, Audrey.” As I shook the cobwebs from my brain I wised up enough to add, “What about you, Audrey? How many hearts do you have?” “Ten,” came her reply. She continued to speak while holding up one finger at a time, “I love God with my whole heart…I love Mom with my whole heart…I love Daddy with my whole heart…I love Jackson with my whole heart…I love Nana with my whole heart…” Nothing made me happier than to hear that I had made her Top Ten list! In Audrey’s mind, if you were to love someone with your whole heart, you must have a heart for everyone you love! Ten was as high as she could count at the time.

The Bible teaches us that love is the greatest of all things. C. S. Lewis wrote a steaming novel in the 50’s entitled The Four Loves. He reminded us that in the Greek language there are specific words for different types of love. Phileo love is a brotherly kind of love that exists between friends. Storge love is the bond of affectionate love that imparts from parent to child or child to parent. Eros is the passionate love of romance or sexuality. Agape love is the unconditional Divine love that we share with God. It is the greatest of the greats! This is the perfect love that drives out fear, offers grace, has no boundaries or limits, and lasts for all eternity.

So what kind of heart does it take to encompass all these kinds of love? It takes a human heart…one that is uniquely designed to bear the image of our Creator. Each of these four kinds of love, in their original beauty and form, when untainted by sin, are created to be great loves, with the Greatest of these the love we have for our Heavenly Father who loved us first. None of the loves that we experience in the earthly realm can approximate the depth of the love that Heaven holds for us. Not phileo, eros, or storge can bring the fulfillment that agape love provides. If we are in unhealthy love relationships on earth, the lack and the cure are the same…to love the Lord our God more purely. When anyone or anything other than God takes first place in our lives, all forms of love become distorted.

What is your heart condition this year? Are there places to be opened? Wounds to be healed? Some extra giving to be done? Are you adept at listening to your heart?

A few years ago, my grandson, Jackson, received his first-ever medical kit. Complete with reflex hammer and stethoscope, he was busily investigating everyone in his path! As he perched on his dad’s lap he had the stethoscope in his ears and he gently placed the bell on his father’s chest. He listened intently with a most serious expression on his face. His dad cocked his head to one side and whispered, “What do you hear, Jackson?” Matter-of-factly, Jackson responded, “I hear God talking.”

“Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good; His love endures forever.”
– Psalm 106:1

DEANA MITCHELL • Director of Women’s & Prayer Ministries • dmitchell@fumcshreveport.orgfirstshreveport.org/women

UPCOMING EVENTS
Pig Roast “Eggs”travaganza • March 13, 2016 • 11:00AM • Rice Family Farm

STUDIES
Tuesdays • January 19 – April 12 • Epic of Eden • 5:45PM • E&A Room 316
Wednesdays • January 20 – April 13 • Epic of Eden • 10:30AM • E&A Room 316
Tuesdays • September 2016 (12 Sessions) • The Letter to the Romans • 5:45PM • E&A Room 316
Wednesdays • September 2016 (12 Sessions) • The Letter to the Romans • 5:45PM • E&A Room 316

Stay Up To Date
on opportunities to connect, grow, serve & lead.

• View/Print this month’s events calendar.
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• Check out our online events calendar.

The Columns – February 2016

FaithLink

“We know that all things work together for good for those who love God, who are called according to His purpose.”– Romans 8:28

I am still blown away by the way God so flawlessly orchestrates every detail of our lives. I never want to lose that feeling of wonder and amazement of the things of God and the beauty of His plan and His timing. I am starting to love it when He throws me curve balls or changes the direction of my own plans for my life. It reminds me that He’s actually the One that’s in control, not me. Thank you God that I’m not in control!

One of the most profound examples I can think of where God has moved in a mighty, earth-shattering way for me was how He transitioned me here to First Shreveport. Before coming here, I had already graduated with a Bachelor’s degree from LSU-S, a Master’s degree in Education from Louisiana Tech, and I had been teaching in the public school system for a little over 3 years. I absolutely loved working with fourth graders, but I have to say, I always felt like there was something more. I felt deep down within my soul that God had something completely different than teaching planned for my life. Then, before I could barely even process what was going on, He brought me here! I never saw it coming. There was no way I could have prepared myself for even the possibility of such a career change. But, alas, here I am! And looking back, my goodness, do I see all the amazing ways He has been preparing me for this very season all along. Now that I’m here, I see how He’s equipping and strengthening me to do the very work He’s called me to do. But here’s the thing: the process of God equipping and strengthening us often isn’t as beautiful and fluffy as we expect or desire it to be. It can be painful, difficult, and down right uncomfortable. At least it has been that way for me lately. But He is teaching me to look for Him in the midst of life’s fiercest trials. He is teaching me that EVERYTHING works together for good. He is teaching me that it’s the most painful of moments some times that shapes us into exactly the person we are called to be for Him.

Romans 8:18 says “I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worth comparing with the glory about to be revealed to us.”

It’s true, I am a major lover of Romans chapter 8, but with good reason. It truly puts into perspective who God is, how deeply He loves us, and that above all, He is working ALL things for our good and His glory!

I know several of us are facing chaos and uncertainty at this very moment. If your battles look anything like mine, it seems like it’s just one thing right after another after another. My encouragement for us is to recognize that we are not fighting FOR victory in our struggles. We are fighting our battles FROM the place of victory through Christ! Let’s choose to walk in victory, and not just in portions of our lives. Let’s choose to walk in victory in a way that radiates throughout our entire lives. Let’s choose to simply be still and know that, above all else, HE is the Lord our God!

“I have said this to you, so that in Me you may have peace. In the world you face persecution. But take courage; I have conquered the world!” –
John 16:33

I struggle to put into words how much speaking God’s Word over my situations has brought about healing and comfort in ways I would not have otherwise known. That’s why spending time in the Word each day is so important. It’s in those times of struggle that the Holy Spirit will speak the words you’ve read to your heart and bring about revelation and encouragement. It is so important that we have scripture that we can hold fast to, regardless of what battle we might be fighting to help us keep a true perspective and to not grow weary. What scripture are you clinging to for this season of your life? Are you speaking His Word over your situations?

May God’s Word be the rock on which you stand no matter what comes your way and may He bring about great and wonderful things for you.

REV. DEREK JOYCE • Associate Pastor • djoyce@fumcshreveport.orgfaithlinkfumc.org

HEATHER GUNTER • Director of Contemporary Worship • hgunter@fumcshreveport.orgfaithlinkfumc.org

UPCOMING EVENTS
Pig Roast “Eggs”travaganza • March 13, 2016 • 11:00AM • Rice Family Farm
Pray for the Cure • February 28, 2016 • Couch Chapel open from 9:30AM to 11:00AM

Stay Up To Date
on opportunities to connect, grow, serve & lead.

• View/Print this month’s events calendar.
• View/Print this month’s connect, grow, serve & lead opportunity descriptions.
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The Columns – February 2016

ServeGlobal4
In 2012, Dr. Pat Day challenged the First UMC Global Missions to form a transformative mission partnership on every continent. We have four continents covered with prayer – North America: Haiti & Costa Rica; South America: Ecuador; Asia: Russia; Africa: Uganda. Now’s it’s time to move to Europe: Romania AND Czech Republic!

ServeGlobal_Stephania
STEFANIA TARASUT (ROMANIA)
I was born in Romania in 1979. My family immigrated to the United States in 1990 after the revolution. When communism fell, the borders were opened and my mom was quick to get us out before anything changed. Communism fell in December of 1989 and we were on a plane for Portland, Oregon in May of 1990.

We weren’t churchgoers, but because my parents needed a community, we joined the Romanian church. When I was a junior in high school, I had a friend who was fifteen years old. She went to a summer retreat and fainted in the shower. She drowned in a couple of inches of water. At her funeral, I was able to encounter Christ through the peace and calm that surrounded her family. I wanted what they had and understood that it was God’s love that allowed for that. I surrendered my life to Christ soon after that.

As soon as I gave my life to Christ, I understood that God had called me to be a pastor, but Romanian women don’t become pastors so I tried and failed at many things until I finally worked up the courage to embrace my calling my junior year of college. I had resolved in my heart that I would be a children’s pastor, but God had other plans. I finished my undergrad work, followed by my Masters of Divinity at George Fox Evangelical Seminary. After serving as a children’s pastor for a few years, I became a youth pastor and today I serve as the English Ministry pastor at Eden Presbyterian Church, which is a first generation Korean church. I’ve been serving at the church for about 12 years.

In 2013, my life took a completely different turn. I started working on my Doctor of Ministry at George Fox University. This program opened my eyes to a world that I could have never imagined. Through a strange turn of events I had the opportunity to go back to Romania. Through that trip and a few more experiences I understood that God was calling me back to serve Romania. Never in my life did I think that I would ever go back to Romania, but here I am, 25 years after my family left, God has called me to go back and minister to my people. It is such a strange and fantastic opportunity.

In short, my primary goal is to work with women and children struggling through domestic violence. In more detail, I have a passion for spiritual formation and for the spiritual disciplines. I’ve had the opportunity to travel around the world to different counties with different economic situations and I believe that God is calling me to serve women and children. I’m realizing more and more that especially in underdeveloped countries, women hold the key to the wellbeing of their families, especially their children. They need to be empowered, encouraged, and given a hand up to lead their homes in a way that is healthy for themselves and for those around them. (Note: Stefania has also served in Haiti with FUMC; she sponsors Andre Ana at Darivager!)

ServeGlobal_Jessica
JESSICA WEAVER (CZECH REPUBLIC)
I have been a Christian for most of my life, raised in a loving Christian home in Texarkana, Texas. (You may know my mom, Nina Parault!) I fell in love with Jesus at a very young age. I was baptized and confirmed at Williams Memorial United Methodist Church in Texarkana when I was in the Sixth Grade. I was very active in my youth group and choir. I followed Him faithfully until my first year of college until I became disillusioned with church. I didn’t give up on God completely, but I did walk away from the church for a couple of years.

God began calling me back to Him and to ministry so I joined a Christian music group with a missions focus called Celebrant Singers. For two and a half years, I traveled with them to 45 states and 7 countries, mostly in Latin America, ministering to people through music, personal testimonies and prayer.

After my time with the Celebrants, I moved to Arlington, Texas to finish my Theatre degree. I also took a lot of Education courses during this time thinking I might decide to teach later on. I eventually became the office manager for a local law firm. I handled all the finances and HR responsibilities. During that time, I began to feel a strong pull back towards missions. I went on a short-term mission trip to Paris and really felt a confirmation to pursue long-term missions. Shortly after that, I was laid-off from my job. It was just the push I needed to take the leap into full-time ministry. I then joined a Christian organization called Educational Services International (ESI) and taught English as a Foreign Language in Cheb, Czech Republic for almost three years.

I returned to the states for four years and worked at the Dallas Zoo as the Cash and HR Manager for the retail and food services. Then, ESI asked me to return to the Czech Republic as the Program Director for Central Europe. I oversaw 49 teachers in three countries (Czech Republic, Hungary and Slovakia). Unfortunately, ESI had to close its doors due to financial reasons in June of 2014. ESI made an informal agreement with TeachBeyond to help teachers who wanted to stay on in their respective countries of service. TeachBeyond hired me to help with this transition and to develop a National Schools TEFL program for them.

I feel that I am called to train, mentor, and develop teachers so they can be effective teachers and be empowered to minister outside of the classroom. This job is the perfect mixture of my past job skills and my calling. (For more information on TeachBeyond, visit teachbeyond.org.)

ASHLEY GOAD • Director of Global Missions • agoad@fumcshreveport.orgwww.firstserves.org/globalfacebook.com/fumcglobal • @GlobalFUMCInstagram – GlobalFUMCvimeo.com/firstshreveport

UPCOMING GLOBAL MISSIONS & EVENTS
Russian Mission Trip • February 13 – 23, 2016
Costa Rica Family Mission Trip • March 26 – April 2, 2016
Local & Global Missions Extravaganza • April 22, 2016
Haiti Mission Trip • May 27 – June 3, 2016 (REGISTER NOW!)
Russian Mission Trip • June 2016
Costa Rica Youth Mission Trip • July 9-16, 2016
Romania Partnership Development Trip • September 2016
Haiti Mission Trip • October 2016
Missions Launch Lunch • November 13, 2016
Ecuador Medical Mission Trip • November 19 – 26, 2016
Uganda Mission Trip • December 27, 2016 – January 6, 2017

Stay Up To Date
on opportunities to connect, grow, serve & lead.

• View/Print this month’s events calendar.
• View/Print this month’s connect, grow, serve & lead opportunity descriptions.
• Check out our online events calendar.

The Columns – February 2016

Leadership

February is relationship month. While many people may not rate relationships as important in the workplace, nothing is accomplished without the interaction of people in some fashion. To be proficient at business requires that we highly value relationships both within the company and with vendors and clients. Let me relate a story to illustrate my point.

‘The Patriot’ staring Mel Gibson is a powerful movie set in the time of the Revolutionary War. (Beware, it deserves its PG-13 rating for violent war scenes.) The protagonist Benjamin Martin reluctantly enters into the fight after his son is murdered by the British Col. Tavington. When Martin begins to reek havoc on the British forces, Tavington’s commits all his efforts to capturing Martin. Outwitted again and again, Tavington obsession takes him to General Cornwallis to get permission to use extreme means. Tavington wants to go after the family and friends of Martin until Martin turns himself in. Now this is the good part… Gen. Cornwallis forbids Tavington from using such tactics saying, “These people are our brothers, and we will want to do commerce with them after the war.”

When we get in disputes with people, co-workers, vendors, clients, or family, we can often focus on what we want and lose sight of the ongoing relationship. Our tendency is to dig in to our position and use any tactic – raising our voice, intimidating, manipulating, using anger, etc. – to accomplish our own objective. It comes out of a mindset that says, ‘Only one person can win this discussion, and by God, it will be me!’ A sister problem is that we feel justified in using whatever tactics necessary. That, however, is a zero sum game.

We need to take a broader view like Gen. Cornwallis. What is going to happen after the fight is over? Will we still be friends? What is the real cost of winning? Will I lose the friendly collegial efforts of a coworker? Will I end up losing the resources of a vendor, or future opportunities with a client? Will I shut down future openness and honesty that will make our business better?

Next time you find yourself in a disagreement, don’t stop with the question, ‘What do I want.’ Ask, ‘What do I want for the other person?’ Ask, ‘What do I want for our ongoing relationship?’ These questions will lift up your eyes to the possibilities of other winning options.

DR. JONATHAN BECK • Executive Pastor • jbeck@fumcshreveport.orgfirstshreveport.org/men@jonathanbeck

UPCOMING EVENTS
Wednesday Business Lunch • Every Wednesday (Sept – May) • NOON • Hunter 101 • $7 (First Time Free)
Pig Roast “Eggs”travaganza • March 13, 2016 • 11:00AM • Rice Family Farm
Marriage Matters Seminar • February 20, 2016 • Led by Ross Githens MS,L

Stay Up To Date
on opportunities to connect, grow, serve & lead.

• View/Print this month’s events calendar.
• View/Print this month’s connect, grow, serve & lead opportunity descriptions.
• Check out our online events calendar.

The Columns – February 2016

ServeLocal1

We are all familiar with the Golden Rule from Matthew 7:12. The CEV version says, “Treat others as you want them to treat you.” It reminds us to treat all people, regardless of their situation, the way we would like to be treated – as valuable people created in God’s image.

In Robert Lupton’s book Toxic Charity, he says, “Sometimes our good deeds have unintended consequences.” To avoid doing harm while we love our neighbors, he offers “The Oath for Compassionate Service”:

• Never do for the poor what they have (or could have) the capacity to do for themselves.
• Limit one-way giving to emergency situations.
• Strive to empower the poor through employment, lending, and investing, using grants sparingly to reinforce achievements.
• Listen closely to those you seek to help, especially to what is not being said – unspoken feelings may contain essential clues to effective service.
• ABOVE ALL, DO NO HARM!

Our Shreveport/Bossier community has incredible resources for compassionately caring for our most vulnerable neighbors. For instance, Hope Connections battles homelessness through a comprehensive, coordinated homeless services system that includes everything from meals to mental health care. They are now offering a resource called a “Hand Up Card,” which has a one way bus ticket to Hope Connections “to get some real help,” says Christa Pazzaglia, Hope’s Executive Director. “We can really fast track things for most of those people and get them housing, mental health services, substance abuse services, healthcare, all the things they might need.”

The First UMC Local Missions team encourages you to reference our local resources or to use the Hand Up cards as you encounter people in great need, perhaps even pan-handling. Always give people real, truthful answers, such as, “I don’t give out money or food, but through my tithes at First UMC, we support Hope Connections who can help you. Please use this one-way ticket to go to Hope where they can help you with almost any need.” The cards give you a real solution, without sending someone on a wild goose chase. Michelle Osborn, First UMC Local Missions Director, keeps several packets available, or you can purchase them directly from Hope.

Never feel guilty about refusing to offer someone cash or food when you can give them a chance to have “real change instead of spare change.” Love your neighbor – do no harm!

Check out these recent photos of people making a difference!
ServeLocal_Lifespeak
Lifespeak class serving coffee & breakfast to our downtown community.

ServeLocal_Willetts
The Willetts helped give out hand-knitted gifts at The Love Feast.

ServeLocal_AllendaleVolunteers
Allendale Friendship House volunteers threw a festive party for their community children.

MICHELLE OSBORN • Director of Local Missions • mosborn@fumcshreveport.orgwww.firstserves.orgfacebook.com/fumclocal

SERVE LOCAL OPPORTUNITIES & UPCOMING EVENTS
GOODWILL CLOTHING DRIVE Volunteer to man the drop-off location on the first Sunday of each month, only 9:30-10AM, or to bag and deliver clothes to Goodwill. Earned vouchers will be used to purchase coats each year. And please drop your clothes donations with us on those first Sundays! Look for the signs near the Motor Garage.
VOA TRAVIS STREET LIGHTHOUSE Assist Staci Zeagler each Wednesday, 4:30-5:30, with her Wacky Wednesday program, or volunteer to tutor or mentor any time that works for you!
COMMON GROUND Participate in the Cedar Grove community dinner, served every Thursday evening through cooking, greeting, or working the clothes closet and pantry.
FULLER CENTER FOR HOUSING We need volunteers to help finish the three homes sponsored by First UMC in this year’s Legacy Build.
LOCAL & GLOBAL MISSIONS EXTRAVAGANZA Friday, April 22

MICHELLE OSBORN • Director of Local Missions • mosborn@fumcshreveport.orgwww.firstserves.orgfacebook.com/fumclocal

Stay Up To Date
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The Columns – February 2016

Prayer

Someone recently shared a few questions with me concerning prayer. People who are growing and developing a personal prayer life are the ones who usually have the most (and best!) questions but are sometimes embarrassed to ask them. I love having an opportunity to address questions such as these because they allow me to stop and take stock of my own prayer habits and address topics that I take for granted or may have never asked myself before!

Is prayer just talking/thinking to yourself?
Prayer is a conversation with God. It is the communication that takes place between God and oneself within the relationship we have with Him. We look to him for responses, answers, guidance and direction for our lives. Prayer is not about self-help, but rather going to the greatest power in the universe for His help. The process of praying often helps us to organize our thoughts better and to recognize areas of concerns within ourselves that might otherwise go un-confronted. Hearing our own words spoken aloud or simply formed into silent thoughts doesn’t mean we are speaking to ourselves. It means we have faith in the unseen, almighty, ever-present, all-knowing God. There would be no reason to cry out for help if we didn’t believe in the most miniscule possibility of the existence of a God who cares.

Is prayer just getting in a quiet place and meditating?
Prayer can definitely be about getting to a quiet place before God. Prayer has as much to do with listening for God’s voice as it has to do with talking to God. I would use the word “focusing” on God rather than meditating in this instance. Getting into a quiet place before God can be enhanced by calling Him by name. Sometimes reading a brief devotional can help us to center our attention on Him. Reading a passage of scripture can help us to experience His presence and his peace. I often ask for the Holy Spirit to reveal His presence to me and to sit with me in prayer. Each member of the Holy Trinity is a person. God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit are three individuals who collectively function as one living and loving God. I have asked for Jesus to pray with me at times. God is my best friend. I invite Him to spend time with me just as I might invite a close human friend to sit and hold my hand in silence. This stage of prayer is such an intimate experience…a deeply personal one. It involves putting my entire life aside for a time to simply focus on sharing love with my Creator, Redeemer and Sustainer. Sometimes we hear this termed “practicing the presence of God.”

How is this kind of prayer any different from meditating? If it’s not different, then how come saying the word “meditation” is so taboo?
I am careful to designate a difference in the word “meditation” because it has different meanings in various religions. There are Eastern religious practices that use meditation as a means of aspiring to become a god, rather than to worship the Christian God. Eastern meditation sometimes tries to achieve an “emptying” of the mind of all thought, whereas Christian forms of what is termed “centering prayer” seek to fill the mind with the presence of God. We meditate on scripture when practicing the art of lectio divina. This is a practice in which we concentrate on the Word of God in such a way as to achieve a higher understanding of God and to internalize the scripture so that we can live it out with deeper meaning in our lives. The word “meditation” is not taboo, but rather the goal of meditation can have very different meanings in different types of religion.

Why is it a rule to close your eyes during a prayer? Do you close your eyes to stay focused or just so it’s not awkward for the other people praying in the group?
I love this question! My initial response is, there are no rules in prayer! We as Christians develop methods and styles of praying that are as individual as our relationships to God. I do frequently close my eyes in prayer. I think I learned this as a child. It does help us sometimes to keep our mind from wandering and to prevent those things in our field of vision from being a distraction while we are concentrating on God. Closing my eyes doesn’t always prevent me from becoming distracted, though! When I am praying alone in my personal prayer time, I don’t usually close my eyes. In fact, sometimes my prayers are being recorded in my journal rather than silently or verbally spoken. Even in small groups, having my eyes open during prayer allows the visual things around me (particularly individuals who need prayer) to be inspiration for my requests. If I see someone in pain, in tears of grief, standing alone, or in a moment of happiness, these visuals prompt me to know how to pray for others. I have the opportunity to pray publicly in the church services on occasion. I find that it makes me less nervous and does help me to focus my thoughts on the Lord if I close my eyes much of the time. It also keeps me from squinting with the bright spot lights in my eyes! Closing my eyes in prayer is also a subtle form of practicing humility before God. In similar ways, bowing of one’s head, kneeling, raising of the arms and looking up—all of these are what we term “posturing” in prayer. For Jesus in the Garden of Gethsemane, he chose the posture of lying prostrate, face down on the ground, to pray to his Father in Heaven. The only rule I advocate for prayer is that we do it! And I recommend doing it in whatever way ushers you into the Lord’s presence, keeps you humble, and allows truth and grace to bless your conversation.

TOP TEN PRAYER REQUESTS FOR FEBRUARY
1. Relief and restoration for storm victims
2. Healing from addictions
3. Confusion of ISIS and change of heart in Islamic world to believe and accept Jesus
4. Peace, unity, reconciliation for broken families
5. The cure for cancer
6. For those who are grieving the loss of loved ones
7. Healing from heart illnesses
8. For healthy, life-giving, loving relationships and friendships
9. For revival and spiritual awakening in America
10. For patience and perseverance

WAYS TO LEAD THROUGH PRAYER
• Pray-at-Home
• Small group prayer
• Prayer Room
• Hedge Ministry
• Prayer Shawls
• National Day of Prayer
• Grits and Grace Prayer Breakfast
• Pray for the Cure

DEANA MITCHELL • Director of Women’s & Prayer Ministries • dmitchell@fumcshreveport.orgfirstshreveport.org/prayerfacebook.com/prayerfirstshreveport

UPCOMING EVENTS
Pray for the Cure • February 28, 2016 • Couch Chapel open from 9:30AM to 11:00AM

Stay Up To Date
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The Columns – February 2016

ServeGlobal2
ServeGlobal_Roberto
Dear Family,
Greetings from Quito, Ecuador, South America! It is a privilege to address you, and tell you how God has blessed many Ecuadoreans in 2015. As a physician, I have led many medical groups. With these medical-dental and VBS teams, we have seen over 3,900 patients, including the 400 seen by your FUMC Shreveport team. These patients include children, young adults, adults, and disabled patients. They are needy in both physical and spiritual areas. God has done miracles. We have also had 12 construction teams led by Engineer Edwin, working in Calderon, in the Northeast of Quito. The first floor, where the classes for the children will be, has been finished.
We will resume our work in 2016, yet the necessities are still BIG. God willing, we will keep on blessing thousands of Ecuadoreans
in need.

I give thanks to God primarily, and also to you, for the prayers. I also thank you for the great economic support. THANK YOU, THANK YOU. We invite you to come next Thanksgiving on this marvelous mission.
Praise God, we together share God’s love in practical ways.
With love and thanks,
Dr. Roberto

P.S. And you have been a constant example of how you can help those in need by working hard. Always remember the words of the Lord Jesus, “It is more blessed to give than to receive.”

ASHLEY GOAD • Director of Global Missions • agoad@fumcshreveport.orgwww.firstserves.org/globalfacebook.com/fumcglobal • @GlobalFUMCInstagram – GlobalFUMCvimeo.com/firstshreveport

UPCOMING GLOBAL MISSIONS & EVENTS
Russian Mission Trip • February 13 – 23, 2016
Costa Rica Family Mission Trip • March 26 – April 2, 2016
Local & Global Missions Extravaganza • April 22, 2016
Haiti Mission Trip • May 27 – June 3, 2016 (REGISTER NOW!)
Russian Mission Trip • June 2016
Costa Rica Youth Mission Trip • July 9-16, 2016
Romania Partnership Development Trip • September 2016
Haiti Mission Trip • October 2016
Missions Launch Lunch • November 13, 2016
Ecuador Medical Mission Trip • November 19 – 26, 2016
Uganda Mission Trip • December 27, 2016 – January 6, 2017

Stay Up To Date
on opportunities to connect, grow, serve & lead.

• View/Print this month’s events calendar.
• View/Print this month’s connect, grow, serve & lead opportunity descriptions.
• Check out our online events calendar.

The Columns – February 2016

Mens

What does your wife really want from you this Valentines Day? Truth is, she wants three things from you throughout the year: to be cherished, to be known, and to be respected. According to Dr. Les and Leslie Parrott, these are your wife’s most basic needs. Of course, these are broad strokes of the brush, and everyone is unique in their personality makeup. However, I think you will see the value of offering these relational gifts.

Cherish your wife. Make sure she is your priority in life. They consume much of your thought life, energy, and emotions. Remember when you first dated? She was the only one on your mind. You couldn’t wait to see her again. You would talk for hours, and never get tired of being together. It is too easy to take one another for granted once you are married and life gets busy, but take time to cherish your wife. Write her a note. Call her in the middle of the day to let her know you are thinking about her. Above all, tell her you love her every day, and say it with everything that is within you. She will know she is a priority in your life if you do these things.

Make sure you know and validate your wife, what she is thinking and feeling about your marriage, family, friends, and work. That doesn’t mean that you have to say she is always right, but that you understand why she would think and feel as she does. I remember reading a novel in bed. The first 250 pages were from the man’s perspective when it abruptly switched to the wife’s voice. They had lived together for years, but saw their relationship from very different perspectives. He was content that he married the woman he wanted. She had married him to escape her family, and was far less than happy with their life together. It was like someone threw a bucket of ice water on me! I sat bolt up, looked at Mary Kay, and said, ‘I don’t know you at all. Tell me everything you are thinking and feeling about our marriage!’ How well do you know the internal world of your wife? Set time aside to ask her about the difficulties she faces, her feelings, and hopes. Listen for what is said between the lines, her tone and feelings. Don’t try to problem solve. What she really wants is for you to know her inner world, and to validate it.

Finally, respect your wife. We usually think of the man needing to be respected. When you show respect for someone, they feel like they are a true partner, an equal. The Parrots write, ‘Honor her needs, wishes, values, and rights.’ Honor is a powerful word. How do you honor who she is? The old customs of courtesy are a great start. Making sure that you include her in decision making. Even if you have divided up some household duties, seek her opinions and input as part of your decision making process. Help her accomplish her aspirations. Everyone has goals in life. It would be a grave mistake to think that the only goal your wife has in life is to meet your goals. Talk about your future dreams and seek to fulfill ‘his dreams’, ‘her dreams’, and ‘our dreams’.

This Valentines Day strive to incorporate habits that demonstrate you cherish, know, and respect your wife. You will find life together is good and getting better all the time.

DR. JONATHAN BECK • Executive Pastor • jbeck@fumcshreveport.orgfirstshreveport.org/men@jonathanbeck

UPCOMING EVENTS
Pig Roast “Eggs”travaganza • March 13, 2016 • 11:00AM • Rice Family Farm
Sporting Clays Tournament • August 28, 2016

ONGOING STUDIES (Drop-ins are always welcome!)
Tuesdays • Noon • Courtyard Kitchen • Led by Goeff Westmoreland
Wednesdays • 6:45AM • Courtyard Kitchen • Led by Dr. Jonathan Beck
Thursdays • Noon • Courtyard Kitchen • Led by Dr. Jonathan Beck
Fridays • Noon • Progressive Bank, Fern Ave. • Led by Chris Rea

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The Columns – February 2016

StephenMinistry

2016_February_columns7Hello, my name is Mary Oppenheimer and I am going to tell you my Stephen Ministry story. In 2003, I was diagnosed with Stage III colon cancer. I was cared for by Dr. Mills and his Fellows from Feist-Weiller (our own 1st Methodist member Dr. Hargon was one of his Fellows on the staff). I had surgery and started Chemotherapy in June of 2003. I became a very, very ill patient and Dr. Mills stated that I could not handle the full dosage of my Chemo. He reduced the dosage by a third and I was still very ill. I was confined to bed for 1.5 years and I have never known fatigue as I did then during that time. I would get my chemo treatment on a Tuesday and by Friday, I was dehydrated and needed an infusion of potassium and liquids. Dr. Mills assured me that the chemo was eradicating my cancer. He was right-I have been in remission for eleven years and I thank God every day for sparing my life. I also thank Stan, Lauri and Eric for their dedicated support during my illness. I thank the First Methodist’s Prayer Ministry, the pastors, the staff, the choir and the congregation.

Then in 2008, Lauri and Eric became the proud parents of twins, Mary Hadley and Graham Pearson. They were premature and spent 2 months in NICU along with their parents and grandparents. It was not the normal routine of having babies as they were preemies, but God performed another healing miracle as they are both healthy. The pastors of First Methodist made daily visits and through Louise Eason we were placed on the Prayer Ministry list. Our family thanks all of the pastors, the staff, the choir, the congregation and the Prayer Ministry. I thank God every evening for these blessings that He has bestowed upon our family.

Then in 2009, Linda Ferguson and Carl Rhoads approached me and asked me if I would be interested in becoming a Stephen Minister. It took me a quick minute to reply “Yes”. Stephen Ministry has become a path for me to serve God and to take care of receivers who need care giving. I am a Stephen Leader. Stephen Minister and provide the monthly article for The Columns. I have grown in my spiritual life and if any man or woman feels a void or a calling from God in their life, please become a member of our Stephen Ministry. You will be very blessed in your journey as a Stephen Minister and we welcome your interest in our ministry.

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The Columns – February 2016

ServeGlobal1
ServeGlobal_Patterson

My daughter Ellen wanted to go on a medical mission trip to Quito, Ecuador with our Church. My main purpose in going was because Ellen needed a parent to go with her.

“What am I going to do?” This was the thought that kept running through my mind. As a psychiatrist, the MD behind my name wasn’t really going to help me in a country where there is limited follow-up care required for mental health needs. If I treat someone for anxiety or depression, the standard of care is to do so for at least a year. And we were there for one week! I wasn’t too worried about it because I asked God to lead, and I just followed. This always works!

I wasn’t sure what problems I would find, but I knew that the World Health Organization states that depression is one of the major causes of disability in the world, and has found that there is a huge gap in many underdeveloped countries between what mental disorders are present and what resources are available. This is definitely true for Ecuador.

What I found was that people there had the same problems that we have here. The impact of the changes in our society over the past 75 years have impacted their society, as well. There is anxiety, depression, abuse, and broken families, just like we have here. There is a deep need for Jesus there, just like there is here.

I was blessed to have a young lady named Marlena as a translator. She is also a psychotherapist in Quito as well as being a Christian that works with Compassion International and SIFAT. This was awesome because speaking to people, educating them, providing therapies other than medication, this was something that we could do.

Just ask anyone who went on that trip…there were so many “God thing” moments that I lost count. But I recall one of them distinctly. It was Kay, asking a question in one of our end-of-the-day get-togethers. She asked if we prayed with our patients. And that’s where God comes in, because after that, Marlena and I prayed with quite a few patients. What was amazing was that Marlena had the Prayer of Salvation memorized in Spanish.

Marlena and I spoke to many people over the week that we were there. We prayed with five people who accepted Christ as their savior. Watching this…watching the change that took place in the eyes of these people, and helping them to carry out that change in their lives…that’s what I was sent to do.

I’d never gone to Ecuador before, I’d never prayed for someone’s salvation before, and I’d never asked someone if they had accepted Jesus as their personal Lord and Savior before. I have now, and I will never be the same.

ASHLEY GOAD • Director of Global Missions • agoad@fumcshreveport.orgwww.firstserves.org/globalfacebook.com/fumcglobal • @GlobalFUMCInstagram – GlobalFUMCvimeo.com/firstshreveport

UPCOMING GLOBAL MISSIONS & EVENTS
Russian Mission Trip • February 13 – 23, 2016
Costa Rica Family Mission Trip • March 26 – April 2, 2016
Local & Global Missions Extravaganza • April 22, 2016
Haiti Mission Trip • May 27 – June 3, 2016 (REGISTER NOW!)
Russian Mission Trip • June 2016
Costa Rica Youth Mission Trip • July 9-16, 2016
Romania Partnership Development Trip • September 2016
Haiti Mission Trip • October 2016
Missions Launch Lunch • November 13, 2016
Ecuador Medical Mission Trip • November 19 – 26, 2016
Uganda Mission Trip • December 27, 2016 – January 6, 2017

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