July News & Updates
Thank you for taking the time to read our monthly e-newsletter that communicates Mission news, updates, prayer requests, needs, events and success stories.
Clothing Room Re-opening (Volunteers Needed)
For many years, Open Door Mission has traditionally had a clothing room which operated as a shop for those who needed clothes. In March of 2020, as a result of the pandemic, we made the difficult decision to close the clothing room and turn our clothing operation to a grab and go style.
In August, we would like to re-open but we need your help! We are looking for groups of volunteers (up to 6 people a shift) to help us operate the clothing room. Job responsibilities include: sorting, hanging, concierge services and assisting those in need. The shifts that need to be filled any weekday from 9:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m. and 1:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m.
Our hope and prayer is that we can get the clothing room back up and running, so families can stock up for back to school needs. If you or your community group can help, please contact our Volunteer Manager, Shawn Baldwin, at email@example.com.
Volunteer Service Opportunities
Visit our website and register as an individual or group today. We’ll be sure to follow up when we receive your inquiry.
Please note that volunteer service has reopened in a limited capacity, so we ask that you register for an opportunity to serve.
Children’s Clothing & School Supplies Collection Drive
It’s not too early to start thinking about the need for back to school clothing and supplies to help support hurting families.
Please consider donating gently used children’s clothes and footwear along with school supplies to the Mission so we can give children a fighting chance with their learning.
Current Needs List
“Hope Lives” Radio Program
For the latest information effecting our communities homeless population and how Open Door Mission is addressing key issues your invited to tune in every third Tuesday of each month at 6:30pm on WYSL Radio 1040AM, 95.5FM, 92.1FM.
CLICK HERE to listen to past programs.
Business Sponsorship Opportunities Available!
Call Chris Scribani at (585) 325-3243 for more details.
What To Pray For
1. Pray for the salvation and restoration of all those we serve with emergency shelter, food, clothes, addiction recovery, transitional housing, life skills and job readiness programs.
2. Pray for peace and good health to all of our shelter guests, program residents, staff and their families.
3. Pray for the families that just came into the Coldwater House and for those who recently moved out into their own permanent housing.
4. Pray for continued success for the men who recently graduated from our addiction recovery program and for those just entering the program.
5. Pray for the necessary resources to maintain our daily expenses.
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Backlash doesn’t stop Dereje
Dereje, a 30-year-old in Ethiopia, is one of few Christians in his family. He was raised in a traditional Muslim home; his parents and three of his brothers still practice Islam.
At one time, he and his brother hated Christians. “Many times, we went to the church compound with other Muslim friends and stoned the roof of the church while the believers worshipped,” he says. “We alienated the students from a Christian background. We considered them foolish.”
But all that changed in 2002 when two missionaries shared God’s Word with him. It wasn’t the first time Dereje had heard the message of salvation, but it was the first time the message resonated with him. After that, he received a Bible League Project Philip Bible study booklet. “I started to read it in secret,” he says. “It was forbidden to do such things—both in my family and in the Islamic religion. I couldn’t even share it with my eldest brother.”
He felt pulled to accept salvation, but he was hesitant. His cousin, a believer, encouraged him. “Because I feared backlash from my family and the challenges I would face from all Muslims, I didn’t accept his request,” he says. “But as time went on, I decided to receive Jesus Christ and asked my cousin to take me to church.” That night, he stood before the congregation and confessed his sins and received salvation. “That day was so special. I felt different and joy filled my heart. But the days after were not easy for me and my family.”
Dereje’s closest friends shunned him. Even his extended family began harassing him, trying to convince his own father to throw him out. When his father would not, relatives turned on the whole family, even refusing to provide a burial site when Dereje’s brother tragically died. Despite the pushback, Dereje continued to grow in his faith. He joined a Project Philip Bible study and learned more and more about Jesus. He developed a passion for supporting needy people and sharing the Gospel.
Today, he is a youth fellowship leader at his church and he’s introduced Project Philip to his students. “Project Philip Bible study booklets impacted the youth and children and became a means of Christian fellowship in the church,” he says. “The materials helped the youth know each other and help each other. They also developed a desire to evangelize and share the Word of God.”
Dereje is extremely grateful to Bible League supporters who provided materials that changed his life and his community. “Now, I am strong in my faith and find refuge in the Lord. There’s no more fear of persecution or death,” he says.
Former Life Changed by the Gospel
Growing up in a traditional Muslim home in Albania, Stiljan knew little about the Christian faith, and he hated Christians. All that changed.
Yousef Finds Hope
Yousef, 32, serves as a Bible teacher in the Middle East, where sharing the Gospel is not permitted. Even though it’s against the rules, Yousef is still dedicated to his mission.
Nepal, in south Asia, is home to Mount Everest, the world’s highest peak situated in the Himalayan Mountains. The prevalence of Hinduism and the influence of communism within the country means stiff opposition to Gospel evangelism. In fact, new anti-conversion laws make it difficult for Christians to share that Jesus is the way, the truth, and the life. Despite these challenges, the Church is blossoming. Bible League International programs are vital to this growth as you’ll hear from host Michael Woolworth and his guest, Ram Hari (last name withheld for security reasons) in this 17-minute Action Podcast.
Thank you for your prayers and financial support. Your gifts to Bible League International help provide Bibles and training to a world in need.
This email was sent by: Bible League International, 3801 Eagle Nest Drive Crete, IL, 60417, US
Please be in prayer for Jake Moss and the other staff at Grace Covenant Ministries (formerly Annville Institute) in Annville, KY!
Delighting in Delays
Well, the time has come… tomorrow was the day that we held our return tickets that were supposed to carry us back to our home across the sea. We rallied the PRAYER WARRIORS- that’s YOU! we dug in with determination- and PRAYED, we kept putting one foot of faith in front of the other-and PRAYED SOME MORE…we continued to; exhaustingly pack, repack, shuffle, weigh, clean, and PRAYED-sometimes without ceasing…
And God Answered…(Scroll down if you are only looking for the direct answer but I hope you find it worth the read.)
*God gave us a loving community!
*He brought friends and family at just the right times to offer their help, encouragement, a prayer, a hug, a meal, and just their calming presence so that we didn’t have to do it or bear it alone.
*He gave us a loving family to fly or drive for many miles to be together for our last week and day together!
*He gave us messages, e-mails, texts from so many of you letting us know that we are NOT ALONE in this journey!
*He gave me, personally, pertinent and challenging Truths to meditate on in the book of Acts chapter 20, (verse 24)…
24 “But my life is worth nothing to me unless I use it for finishing the work assigned me by the Lord Jesus—the work of telling others the Good News about the wonderful grace of God.”
This passage speaks about Paul wrapping up his final missionary journey and how it takes him through the stages of following by faith into and onto over 8 different boats/ships with stops, overnights, sometimes even longer. Lots of praying together and tears. For which we can absolutely identify. He gave my heart comfort and peace.
May I make myself clear, I (we) am/are NOT believing that God has taken Papua New Guinea away from us in any sort of permanence at this time nor do we feel in any way that He has failed us or let us down… It is more a confidence that He is the same God that can command these ‘mountains’ to move and that He can also say “NO” or “WAIT.”
As if His WORD wasn’t enough of a Blessing to my weary-self…
*..He ALSO gave us a SONG!
A Song that I had heard before and enjoyed, but never really paused to listen to before. In a moment of sheer exhaustion, I paused to PRAY and seek His Word and He gave me a SONG, https://youtu.be/fnJDccj0bQQ by Cece Wynans; God, I Believe For It.
Three different times God brought that song on the radio just when I was running around doing errands and going from place A to place B. I Don’t believe in Coincidences…Just God working behind the scenes…The final time, was when I was driving home for the night, absolutely depleted from another full day of last-minute errands, packing etc. With the time ticking away, I pulled over and just allowed Him to sing it over me. This time, the lyrics ‘ He has the final say’ popped out at me…AND I just opened my hands up and through tears, said, “Okay Lord, Your Will be done. I believe, but help me with my unbelief.”
I began to gain confidence as the tears came and just reflected back on an e-mail that a friend took the time to encourage us with. He said so eloquently,
“your prayers WILL BE ANSWERED!!! And the answer will be exactly what you NEED! Your ability to glorify God, through it, is just a matter of you recognizing that God’s Grace IS Sufficient for you and then taking pleasure in what He does or doesn’t give you! Jehovah Jireh, My Provider! His Grace IS Sufficient for me!” (J. Cordle)
Well, the time in the WORD, time with FRIENDS, time listening to His Truths and Time in PRAYER all lead up to a TIME OF PEACE! which prepared both of us for what came next…
(STOP! if you ae scrolling down, Here you go, the answer to the BIG QUESTION!)
*And then He answered…He said as far as we can tell, “Wait. For it is not yet your time to return to Papua New Guinea.”
Yep, Our approval papers did not come through before the close of the business offices in PNG before the end of the week. Therefore, we were advised to cancel our itinerary/tickets and wait 10 more days to see if maybe we get our approval during this extended time or perhaps wait a while longer and try again for July 27th???
Yep! You read correctly. Our PLAN A just got bumped to PLAN B. Remember, we didn’t allow ourselves to make a PLAN B.
*Please join us in praying for the 3 other families that did get their returns granted as they will be making their cross-continental trips beginning tomorrow from around the USA!
SO NOW WHAT?
We received the news, strangely we both felt such a calm and peace and carried on with the day as we had it previously mapped out, ending it with a special time of sweet fellowship with dear friends and family at the Christian school that has become so much a part of our family’s lives these past 2/3 years. Led by 2 Pastors, Mark Behr (North Athens Baptist Church) and Kevin Bennett (Waukeshma Community Church), surrounded by so many of our friends and loved ones, in a round of concert of Prayers, encouragement and sharing of Scripture! I don’t think we could have asked or imagined a better way to spend our last bit of time together.
Pastor Kevin challenged us to not use these 10 extra days to question the “Why?” but believed the Lord was prompting him to share that he believes perhaps it is for a time of “Selah.” The word that follows the lamenting or pouring out of the Psalmists before they continue on to finish their songs with reflecting back on WHO they KNOW GOD to be.
He used it as a reference for us taking this “Bonus” time, if you will, to “SELAH-Rest and Reflect, Rest and Delight in the Lord. Rest and Meditate upon His Word, Truths, Blessings, Character, Provisions…Through gracious donations we have been gifted with an opportunity to get away as a family/couple and to just take some time in these bonus days here in the USA to enjoy a moment of
So tomorrow, our original departure date, we are still going to get together for brunch with our family and close friends near Grand Rapids as previously planned. And then…
We will start planning a getaway for our family/us. Maybe BOTH! We will be 1 year shy of our 20th Wedding Anniversary and it has been soo rare to get an opportunity like this, so we will intentionally plan to get our time of SELAH together and as a family. SO MUCH TO PROCESS and PRAISE Him for!
We still have a few things to work out with the packing as it came to an unexpected halt and we just took the time to spend the day with Robyn’s brother and his family who had flown in from out of state to spend this last day with us, so we will finish that up to get it out of the way and then RETREAT.
NEXT… We continue to PRAY for God to OPEN the DOOR back up for us to return on July 27th with the next group waiting to also return!
Thank YOU for reading this far…Thank You for engaging in this journey with us too. Your investments in our lives we hope are bearing fruit. In God’s economy nothing is wasted unless we fail to see that He works behind the scenes throughout History in the worst circumstances and situations to SHINE in His way and for His Glory!
We would appreciate your prayers as the “Yo-Yoing” is tough on our heart strings, emotions, and for our kiddos too. Transitioning gets stuck in a limbo and can have impact not only emotionally but also physically with side-effects of living in a continual stressful state. We know this all too well. Lots of tears.
Our sweet Matthew said tonight…”Mom, I’m feeling strange inside. I looked at my watch and saw that tomorrow is the date we are supposed to be going back to PNG and now we’re not and it just feels weird in my tummy and my head.” I told him that I understood completely, because it feels so much like being in a “limbo, cloud- hazy fog” to try to put it into words… He said, “Yes. Exactly.” We appreciate your Continued Prayers
We Love You and we look forward to receiving the news that we are able to return to the country that He has imprinted on our hearts.
RESTING IN HIS GRIP,
Robyn and Levi- for the Lenz Family of 6
Michael, Daniel, Matthew, Krystiana
Update from Brian Renes
Why does it take 15 years* to translate a Bible? No surprise, it is a big book with tons of complexities.
For over 30 years I have been encountering the wonder, the richness, and the ever-deep complexity of the Bible, and specifically the unique challenge of translating God’s Word into other languages. There are over 30,000 verses in the Bible. An experienced translator can maybe draft 20 to 30 verses in a day, depending on whether it is a story, poetry, or prophesy, the latter being much harder. The first draft itself takes years.
Once the draft is complete, it gets reviewed by the other translators. So again, 30,000 verses are gone over one verse at a time to improve the wording and ensure a solid understanding of the passage.
Eventually, after several revisions and much discussion, the team feels like the text is ready. But before any book can be published, it needs to be others who are not on the translation team. That is called a “community check.” The translation team has done the best they can do, but they need to ensure it is understood by as many people as possible. So they read it or share it with people from various churches (as shown in the pictures).
Over the past months, the Tojolabal translators have shifted to that focus and are visiting churches far and wide in the region. This experience has been great because they can share the Word of God, reading it with people who have not yet heard these texts. Many were excited to hear Psalms for the first time. But in addition to that sharing, they also discover some words that are not understood in certain communities. After each of these reading sessions, the team comes back to discuss and further improve the translation. One beautiful step closer to the first full Bible in Tojolabal.
Please pray for the Tojolabal translation team that they can have the strength to finish and the wisdom to do their work well.
Thank you for your ongoing partnership in Bible translation,
Brian and Donna Renes
*note on 15 years: The amount of time it takes to translate a Bible has many implications. The number of translators and their ability is foremost in terms of planning the time it will take to finish. In the case of the Tojolabal translation project, they started with two translators working full time. It was obvious that it would take far longer than 15 years to complete the Bible with just the two, so another pastor was added to work with them. As the years passed, one of the original translators went blind due to complications from diabetes (he was under 50). To make up for his loss, another translator, who was a young pastor, was added. Regrettably, another got sick, so a young lady was added. Each translation project is unique, but the Tojolabal story reflects what typically happens. People get trained to do the work but, with such a long-term project, there are due to be setbacks. Thankfully, the Lord provides. His Word will go out to all—sooner or later.
I wanted to take a quick pause to thank you all for your prayers and encouragement, especially over the last couple. Last week we were able to purchase our plane tickets and will be leaving in about 3 ½ weeks to return to Papua New Guinea. The realization of the short period of time before we go back is met with a myriad of emotions. Pray for our kids especially during this time of transition. This transition is going to be harder for some than for others. Pray for us as we pack the house we’ve been staying in, pack our luggage, prepare things for shipment, and say our farewells. The next time we write will likely be from PNG.
At His Service and For His Glory,
Levi & Robyn Lenz
Serving the North Wahgi people of Papua New Guinea
Facebook: Lenz’s View
I have included some updated golf fliers, as some golfer pricing was accidentally omitted from the last email.
Remember, for early bird pricing golfers must register by July 10th. All other registrations are due July 31st. You may also register online to golf or sponsor at www.scarletthread.org.
Thank you for your consideration!
Don DiCrasto, Director Scarlet Thread Ministries firstname.lastname@example.org