Thursday, January 21, 2010

Tutoring our way in!

Well, we are onto phase two of what God is calling us to do... "teach my people." No matter what we do, we find our way into their hearts, they find their ways into ours. It's always mutual, never one way. We started tutoring for those who were interested in learning more, we were amazed to see how many adults, some in their 60's unable to read and barely write, want to earn their GED, it is so gratifying to see a room full of folks who come an hour early just to sit with a tutor to have one hour of undivided time. The students range from 4-64, our tutors range from 7-84, everyone has so much to offer. It is one of the most beautiful sights to see. My friend Barbara(80) gives her student a wrath of her disappointment for not doing his homework, whew...I was glad she wasn't my teacher. It is all good though, structure and accountability is something we all need. Mavaghn is in foster care and is brought by his grandmother who is studying for her GED, she can't even read to her grand-daughter, she struggles. We wonder why poverty is so rampant, there are so many layers to it. God just keeps revealing one layer after another, where there is work still to be done.
What do I see? I see children and adults so grateful for one individual to give them so much of their loving time. Tutors who come out on a Wednesday night to love someone just because...because we are called to do so. I am thrilled to be a part of such a body, it's an exciting time in my life, to see God working right before my eyes. One student(adult) asks how long we will tutor? As long as God keeps sending the people...all the people.
Thanks be to God for equipping us all, for opening our hearts, and for students who have made themselves vulnerable to Gods healing.

Saturday, January 2, 2010

Blessings Realized in 2009

Dearest My friends and strong supporters,
First and foremost, I give a gracious hug and squeeze to so many who gave Christmas to our friends at the Freemarket. This by far, has been one of THE most rewarding times in my life as a Christian and our life as a ministry. To look at all the gifts under the NHPC tree for friends we KNOW(and you don't know them but trust us) and love, was an unbelievable feeling of Gods amazing love for me and others in this city.
Highlights: Dawn's family squealed with joy when the presents arrived: Celina says "I can't believe we get so many presents." LaRon loved his bike.
Eureka was so grateful for Sean Patrick's remote control car and Joshua's Guitar.
Jordon's favorite was his shoes.
Tanisha & Rueben were overwhelmed with the outpouring of love to their entire family. So many members made such a huge difference in their lives and drove straight to their humble two bedroom duplex home fit hardly for two, five crammed in there.
Paul loved his gifts of candy & coffee, Emma was blown away, her roommates were grateful we sang carols to them. They requested "silent night."
The bus tickets, Barbara's coat and gas card and tennis shoes, she's a hoarder with no heat, and no water, but was filled with gratitude that a "stranger" cared for her.
There are too many stories to tell, but I know the importance of you knowing how your gifts affected people, trust me when I say, your love of Christ was a Bright light in so many lives. Last but certainly not least, James....My Homeless friend James, who now resides in our home while we work on housing with him, received $120.00 in gas cards, a new coffee pot and coffee, new shirts and his favorite, a carton of cigarettes, shared Christmas morning and Christmas breakfast with our children, was "speechless." He unwrapped his gifts like a child, opened his stocking and sat at our table a humbled man. We have no idea what God is doing in his life or ours, we just know we have to be patient and see what God reveals to all of us. Having James in our lives has changed us, challenged us, grown us, and we are being stretched beyond what we knew we could ever do. Still, we haven't many answers about his future, but God has taught JT & I we must be patient and learn not to judge and be gracious for all we have to offer, even when it's inconvenient, and yes, at times it is.

The year brought many challenges, and many gifts of relationships, which is what our goal is...Loving others, healing them through Christ's power as only He can do. We spend time with our friends and begin letting them know how important they are to us and how important Christ is in their lives. They can only make changes believing in Him who can do anything with their help in action steps.

We gave lots of new clothing, sheets & blankets away, with the abundant help of Wyndham Va Crossings Hotel, Amy Hanna has been the most amazing support with her linens and housewares.Giving those who could never afford new sheets and towels, all they could ever dream of. Thanks so much Amy.

We gave out 150 new backpacks and supplies, donated 2-300 lbs of loose supplies to Elijah House in honor of Eureka Pendleton, FM/NM member who works tirelessly to fill her life with Christ, to see the difference in her has been amazing, watching her trust God and not people is what JT & I strive for every day.

Volunteers from VCU(students) who gave completely of their heart, filling out time sheets and in return learned many valuable lessons and gained much insight into poverty, and what very little can do in the life of a hurting soul.

Toys for Tots helped us this year, Velocity Church & Liberty Christian came back for a second year, Circle of Friends came and helped immensely. NHPC, gave more than ever, so much that we couldn't keep up with the donations. We are now looking at sharing our wares with other non profit organizations.

We received a huge donation from the community of Glen Allen, 75 new presents from NHPC, Sara Smith's preschool rallied and filled a home with gifts for three children by themselves.So many are seeing the true meaning of the ministry, building relationships for Christ.St. Catherine's teen Marshall Moore was instrumental in giving out five entire meals for Thanksgiving, one 16 year only teen making a difference in lives of five families. Marshall Moore(16) forgo her own Christmas presents and gave them all to the Webb/Tate family, showing her father her true heart.

So much to do, so much has happened, so easy to do with a little time, money and a lot of Hope in our Lord and Savior.

We look forward to our second year in ministry, we give a Huge "thank you" to the support of Northminster Church, who continues to support us in so many ways. We look into 2010 with a vision of Education/Tutoring, knowing that is one of few ways to escape the cycle of poverty; tutoring Children and adults in time. We are looking into housing and micro loans to those in need of a "HandUp", not a hand out. We feel God's support and blessings, none of this could ever of happened without Him, He who believes in us and sees our true heart. He knows when we are doing it for Him, versus us.

I challenge you all to focus on what God is calling YOU to do in 2010, it may NOT be the happenings of the FreeMarket, but use your gifts that God has given you special. Our gifts are different, but meant for His Glory in the years to come.

If you want to get more involved with the FM or tutoring or micro loans or housing, let me know, I'd love to share with you our vision and Hope for Northside.

We go to Haiti in April, if you want to are welcome, get your passport and see what real poverty does do to the lives of children around the globe, and see for yourself what God can only do when we listen to Him.

Humbly, I give Him thanks first, and I'm so thankful for all of your support. Forward this on please to your friends who have given through you. Thanks to Glen Allen Baptist who sees our vision as well, and has NOT given up on what they can do for Him. Thanks to all, whom I could not thank individually.

In Faith,
Cassie & JT Matthew

John Wesley
“Do all the good you can, by all the means you can, in all the ways you can, in all the places you can, at all the times you can, to all the people you can, as long as ever you can.”