Category Archives: Grand Rapids Events

West Michigan Missions Forum 2014

Saturday, March 29

willing

Kim Sorrelle and I had the pleasure of attending the West Michigan Missions Forum last Saturday in Byron Center. This day conference was encouraging in every aspect. Working in missions is not easy. So often life happens and gets in the way of the dream. Despite the struggles of serving internationally, the joy that transforms lives on these trips is why we do what we do. Looking out at the gym full of participants and charities, we were reminded that we are not alone out there. The world can be a frustrating, scary place, but focusing on connecting people and resources produces incredible results.

There’s a reason why deep down we all dream of traveling abroad to discover more about our global community as well as ourselves.Serving on a short mission trip opens our eyes and hearts to new ideas, new friends, and worldviews. John 12:26 states, “Whoever serves me must follow me; and where I am, my servant also will be. My Father will honor the one who serves me.”

Whoever serves me must follow me?

Follow where?

As the world’s 1%, are we really called to serve in the poorest place in the world? How do we act as the 1% in poverty?

The journey of service requires sacrifice. This sacrifice can be to donate money for the cause or volunteer time to support the organizations we care about. Is this how we serve because it is comfortable, or is this a creative solution? There are misconceptions about service. God is calling each of us to serve out of our comfort zone, but life changing experiences don’t need to be around the world. In our own communities, we have the potential to cultivate meaningful relationships and serve others.

We were made for a mission, rather than missions made for us. This isn’t your Grandpa’s world anymore. The major trend of missions in this day and age is evolving with each generation. Instead of focusing on church planting and process-oriented trips, new trends suggest that missions are highlighting project-oriented, holistic ministries.

Conference attendees where encouraged to pray about what part is God calling each person to. The home arena supports national workers and new paradigms for churches and agencies. The strategic arena works with urban missions, partnerships, and uses prayer as warfare. The overseas church arena is maturing of international missionary movements and globalization of the church. The global arena seeps into global culture.

These are the areas that Rays of Hope will be working towards. Our goals in missions include:

  • Human dignity is to be given to each individual. We are all created in God’s image. We are to treat others like how we would treat our own children. 

  • Be who we are in partnership.

  • Ask questions, but don’t use struggle as an excuse to drop support.

  • Capacity building of individuals.

  • Capacity building of the organization.

  • Business as a part of the solution.

Thank You, Give Camp!

Welcome to our new website! Rays of Hope had the pleasure of participating in Give Camp 2013 and received a brand new website, courtesy of a handful of technology professionals in Grand Rapids. This year, over 100 volunteers helped 17 non-profits develop new websites, establish databases, improve marketing initiatives, and more, through Grand Rapids Give Camp. The annual event connects local-area non-profits to the community. Technology professionals donate their time to providing much-needed technology assistance to the non-profits in the form of new websites, databases, etc. This year, volunteers provided an estimated $250,000 in services.

Volunteers were hard at work all weekend.

Volunteers were hard at work all weekend.

The event started Friday evening with volunteers meeting their non-profits and other team members for the first time. After some initial plans and discussion, many groups got right to work. While there are often large visions for the projects, the event organizers emphasized setting goals which could be accomplished within the weekend. Energized and excited to get started, some attendees even stayed the night on Friday so they could work longer on their projects.

Getting down to business was the focus on Saturday. Flush with locally-catered food and plenty of caffeine, the teams began knocking out their various goals for the weekend. The Factory was abuzz with activity as volunteers quickly worked their way down their to-do lists. With the 2:00pm Sunday deadline approaching quickly, many volunteers decided to stay the night on Saturday to continue to get more work done.

On Sunday, teams worked quickly to finish up the last details on their projects. Many of these non-profits will start to use these projects as soon as the weekend is over. With that in mind, many teams spent Sunday working on training and documentation. The goal of the weekend is not only to have working projects, but sustainable projects as well. Thank you to our devoted team of volunteers for creating, designing, and following up on our new website. We are so excited for this launch and look forward to increasing our presence on the web and connecting individuals with our mission!