During worship services this Sunday (June 4), we will commission individuals and teams from our church family doing summer ministry work in Rockford and all over the world. Here’s what some of them will be doing this summer, and where—plus some ways you can pray for them.
Chuck Anderson serves with First Love International and has a trip planned to India and Nepal.
Suzanne Falconer has two opportunities to join God’s ongoing work. The first is in July, traveling to Pakistan to equip the staff of two children’s homes whose new director serves under First Love International. “We will retreat to the cool hills as we consider how to heal our own heart wounds, then how to lovingly encourage and care for children abandoned by their families,” she says.
Her second opportunity is an August return to Dzaleka Refugee Camp outside of Malawi’s capital, with a team coordinated by Wycliffe Bible Translators. “Amazing things are happening as an adult spiritual care work, There is Hope, spills over to impact local children and teens,” Suzanne says. “Joining a diverse and skilled trauma care staff coming from Rwanda, Ethiopia and Kenya, we continue to build into refugee leaders as they facilitate groups in this hurting community created by Africa’s ongoing violence. My team of three will be expanding the teen work, battling depression and suicide.”
Prayer requests from Suzanne: for clarity and connection. “Clarity first for myself—may God grant me discernment and deep understanding to equip these precious folks called to serve in big ways. Second, may my words be apt, clear and well-received, “hitting the mark.” In both venues, there will be translation for some. May the Spirit be our interpreter.
“Above all, may I connect in Christ to listen well and extend compassionate care in troubled places.”
Chuck Ford will serve at Alaska Christian College in Soldotna, Alaska, on a team of six people from various Rockford churches.
ACC was started in 2000 to provide a college-level education to primarily native Alaskans. “In addition to the education, ACC teamed up with New Hope Counseling to help students overcome their pasts,” Chuck says. “Sadly, almost all of the youth have experienced sexual or physical abuse and many have addictions. Most students come from small communities and the transition to college is very challenging.”
ACC is an accredited junior college offering four different degrees. The team will assist in construction and maintenance projects to upgrade and maintain the campus.
Prayer requests from Chuck: “We would appreciate prayers for safe travels, for our health and strength to allow us to complete the tasks asked of us. Mostly prayers for the staff and students, that God will bless them and that the students will come to a deep and meaningful relationship with him.”
Al and Melissa Franklin are part of In the Name of Jesus Outreach Ministry This summer, and all year long, they will travel to Chicago neighborhoods every Saturday, sharing God’s great love for all. “We take a large trailer full of clothes, food, furniture and other household items as well as Bibles and a simple story of Jesus in track form to hand out,” Melissa says. “Everything is free, and those receiving are always in awe of that. We share the love and truth of Jesus Christ to those who are in need and in despair, praying for and with all who come.”
She adds that they also serve in Freeport and Rockford periodically throughout the year with this same mission.
Prayer requests from Al and Melissa: “We ask for prayer for safety, health, strength and stamina as we often encounter obstacles in our work of this ministry. Pray for open doors, open hearts and listening ears to those who are resistant to His calling. Lastly we ask for prayer for continued donations of the items to hand out and for financial support of this ministry.”
Taffey Graham will serve soon at Rockford Rescue Mission as they begin women’s chapel services.
Dan and Melanie Purviance will travel to Vinales, Cuba this month for a mission outreach with Filter of Hope. This ministry shares clean water and the gospel with people in desperate need of both. Dan and Melanie will give water filters, along with training in how to use them, to homes that the local church has arranged for them to visit. Melanie adds: “We will also share the good news of Jesus, our living water, from John 4:14—’Whoever drinks of the water that I give shall never thirst.'”
Prayer requests from Dan and Melanie: For open hearts to the gospel of those families that Dan and Melanie share with. That the local church will be a growing place for discipling new believers. For Dan and Melanie to have humble and courageous hearts in sharing the good news of Jesus, our living water.
Kevin Seuring will travel to Izmir, Turkey, Sept. 12-27 with Bonfire Ministries from the Wisconsin Dells area. This is an organization run by Pastor Aaron Ramquist of Rock of Hope Church in Wisconsin Dells. Bonfire introduces local, independent, small-church pastors who may not have the opportunity to find international partners for ministry opportunities.
Prayer requests from Kevin: “Just that the Lord would guide our steps. I am also taking Jim T. with me and this will be his first experience in Turkey. So that the Lord will bless him in this ministry as well. His church here in Rockford does no international missions.”
Summerama and Kindercamp teams. Summerama celebrates 50 years of day camp this summer. Summerama is a full-day, summer camp ministry of First Free. “Summerama is an opportunity to share the gospel of Jesus Christ with children and their families right here in Rockford and the surrounding areas,” says Kari Heckler, First Free Kids Director. “This happens by intentional planning of the gospel being weaved through each day as we have games, puppet shows, worship, chapel services and a lot of fun!”
Summerama is held at First Free for kids entering grades 1 through 6 in the fall. Kindercamp runs half-days the same weeks for pre-K and kindergarteners. Both camps start June 19 and run a week at a time for five weeks (excluding the week of July 3).
Prayer requests from Kari: Please pray for the Holy Spirit to be working on the hearts of our campers to be ready to receive the gift of Jesus Christ. Pray for spiritual, mental and physical health for the kids who come to camp as well as the staff and volunteers.