Mission team paints, plays its way into Mexican hearts, lives

Nine members of Community Covenant Church returned April 1 from a short-term mission trip to Tepic, Mexico, where they helped meet the needs of developing churches and a children’s home.

Located in west-central Mexico, Tepic is the capital of the state of Nayarit and the home of La Fuente Ministries, which includes more than 20 church plants and Nana’s House children’s home among its many ministries.

The teens and adults serving on the team all hailed from Eagle River and spent a little more than a week in the Tepic area, where Community Covenant Lead Pastor Todd Michero said they had an opportunity to worship alongside local residents; paint and make repairs at Nana’s House and La Fuente’s flagship church in Tepic; provide hearing and vision screenings for the children’s home residents; and help transform a bar into a church.

Todd said this is the third year in a row Community Covenant has sent a short-term mission team to Tepic in an effort to build long-term relationships with the communities La Fuente serves.

“Ministry is built on relationships. Our long-term relationships with the ministries we partner with through short-term missions enable us to truly understand the ministries and missions of those we support,” Todd said. “The result is that we’re able to serve their needs, as opposed to providing the assistance we think they need. Ours is not a ‘hit and run approach.’ The impact of our participation is cumulative.”

Lori Michero has also been a part of the team annually and said the most challenging part of the trip is transforming the team members’ mindsets.

“We’re not there to tell them how to do their mission, we’re there to assist them in their mission. We’re not there to tell them how we think things should or shouldn’t be done,” Lori said. “When in Mexico, it’s the Mexico way, the Nana’s House and the La Fuente Ministries way, not my way.”

While Todd said the group spent a significant amount of time painting and making repairs at several different locations, the emphasis of the team has always been Nana’s House children’s home, which provides full-time care for about 27 boys and girls from elementary through high school.

La Fuente Co-founder Mary Jo Hansen said the children in the care of Nana’s House have known extreme abuse and neglect that’s left Mexico’s version of Child Protective Services unable to place them with traditional foster families.

“I was blessed by every one of these children. I was incredibly impressed with the joy that radiated from each one,” said first-time team member Chrissie Hoover. “There’s a drive to succeed and a hope for the future that one wouldn’t expect from children from severely abusive backgrounds.”

Chrissie is a registered nurse, who provided vision and hearing screenings for more than 20 of the Nana’s House children, several of whom needed glasses or new prescriptions and had hearing issues identified.

“Due to their traumatic pasts, these children aren’t used to prioritizing their needs,” Chrissie said. “Although they’re having issues with basic functions, such as seeing or hearing, they don’t communicate their needs. Identifying issues will help them succeed.”

Heidi Porter has served on the mission team all three years, which she said has made spending time with the Nana’s House children familiar and comfortable.

“We’ve established relationships with the girls and the house moms. They greet us with open arms. It’s like coming home to family,” Heidi said. “The kids like to hug, laugh, play and tease us and each other. It’s easy to love them.”

Brad Bistodeau returned to Tepic for the second time this year and said spending time playing with the boys and girls and making repairs at Nana’s House has helped strengthen connections with the children and La Fuente Ministries.

“Each time we go, we solidify our relationship with them and show them we’re in it for the long run,” Brad said. “Those deepening relationships with both the children and staff make me feel like more of a family member. That relationship continues to grow and makes me even more excited to go back again next year.”

Todd said the impact of the projects and the differences made in people’s lives become more tangible each successive year as well.

“The first year we visited Nana’s House, our team helped repair an outdoor play area for the children,” Todd said. “In following years, we’ve not only been able to see the children enjoy the equipment, but have been able to play on it with them. To experience their joy and hear their laughter as they play is incredibly gratifying.”

While the team spent plenty of time investing in the Nana’s House children and projects, Todd said they also spent two full days remodeling a bar into a church in the town of San Blas, about 40 miles west of Tepic.

The endeavor wasn’t a small one he said, explaining the interior of the building was decorated with a giant Ghostbusters logo on one wall, sported neon polka dots, had vibrantly painted glass bottles embedded in the walls and featured cement benches that were covered with aged fabric.

Over the course of two days, Todd said the team worked alongside members of La Fuente Ministries to paint the interior with gallons of paint, to build walls to create several classrooms and to strip and paint the benches in an effort to help get the building ready for worship services beginning in September.

“Stepping into the nightclub for the first time, I couldn’t imagine us being able to make much of a difference in two days,” Brad said, adding the interior of the building looked significantly different after a lot of hard and dirty work. “We were able to see a huge transformation into what I now can imagine as a wonderful church for the people of San Blas.”

Todd said he hopes a long-term commitment to Nana’s House and La Fuente Ministries can likewise transform people’s lives.

“It’s a global expression of Community Covenant’s mission of bringing Christ’s hope, healing and wholeness to our community and to our world,” Todd said. “Our prayer is for God to expand our vision of His kingdom beyond the boundaries of ourselves, our families and our community.

“The Great Commission makes it clear that Christ’s followers maintain a global perspective and engagement,” he continued. “It’s humbling to realize that ministry to the ‘least of these,’ in this instance to orphaned children at Nana’s House, constitutes ministry to Christ himself. What could possibly be of greater value?”

The 2017 Nana’s House mission team included the husband and wife duos of Todd and Lori Michero and Tim and Heidi Porter; the father and daughter team of Brad and Madelyn Bistodeau; Chrissie Hoover; Adin Krumanaker; and Mary M. Rall.

Brad Bistodeau provides some leverage for Tim Porter as he drills a hole in a Nana’s House bedroom wall March 25 in Tepic, Mexico. The team spent the day making minor repairs, painting a bedroom and creating a mural at Nana’s House, as well as playing relay games at a local park with the children. (Photo by Mary M. Rall/Community Covenant Church)

Adin Krumanaker, 16, applies the first of many coats of paint to the walls of a bar in San Blas, Mexico, March 28. The team worked to help transform the building into a church, which will open for its first worship service in September. (Photo by Mary M. Rall/Community Covenant Church)

 

Annual Meeting of the Alaska Conference of the Evangelical Covenant Church

April 26 - April 29, 2017

See the full schedule and register for the conference here

Conference Volunteers needed!  If you would be available to help during the conference with registration, set-up,  greeting, etc., please email Debbie Bogart at debbiebogart@hotmail.com.  We are still looking for additional help with Housing (providing a room for visiting attendees) and Transportation (driving people to and from the airport) please contact Holly Gilbert at 805-217-8643 or hollyagilbert@gmail.com.

Craft Sale  Covenant Women will hold their annual craft sale at the annual meeting. Funds from the sale are used for  women’s ministries state wide an supporting training events and discipleship opportunities. Please consider donating hand-made items for this year’s sale. Donations can be dropped off at the Alaska Conference office (or mailed to the office) or brought to the church anytime before April 25.

Register for the whole conference or just a day at alaskacovenant.org or join us for the evening sessions, which are open to all.  (Registering for evening sessions will help us prepare.)

 

Resurrection Pass Backpacking Trip

July 11 – 16, 2017

Join us for a grand adventure as we traverse Resurrection Pass. We will use the time to build stronger bonds together and build into our spiritual journeys. Be prepared to hike 7-10 miles per day (you must complete training hikes in June) and give yourself to being a part of community.

This is a multi-generational trip so everyone who is able is welcome.  Plan to attend the skills check Sunday, July 9  12:30pm and the gear check Monday, July 10  6-8pm.  Cost is $125.

For more information call Mike Alverts 414-7006 or Sandy Gold 830-3609.

Register Online

Event to give foster children a camp to remember

March 24, 2017 · 7:00pm - 8:30pm

Royal Family KIDS Camp will feature its annual Night to Remember fundraiser March 24 from 7-8:30 p.m. at Community Covenant.

Night to Remember will be free, will be open to the entire community and will include a dessert gala; a live auction of items such as hand-turned wood bowls and sage fly fishing rods; the camp’s history; stories of children in foster care; and special guest Dr. John DeGarmo of the Foster Care Institute.

According to drjohndegarmofostercare.weebly.com, DeGarmo is a leading international foster care expert and consultant who’s toured around the world as part of international supergroup Up with People, served as a DJ at four radio stations on two continents, worked in the professional wrestling industry, taught high school English and drama, worked as a media specialist and founded Never Too Late, a residential group home for boys in foster care.

Proceeds from Night to Remember will benefit the Anchorage Royal Family KIDS Camp, which will be offered in June for children ages 6-11, said Chris Scott of Eagle River, who volunteers annually as the camp’s director.

“They all come from or have been in foster care,” Chris said of the children who’ll be attending this year’s jungle-themed camp. “Some may have returned to their biological parents, but this is a respite time for their ‘bio’ parents.”

According to Chris, about 64 children attend the Anchorage camp for free annually, which costs $500 per child and a total of $64,000 per week to operate.

Camp operations are done in large part by volunteers, Chris said, and RFKC is a non-profit organization that relies on donations to provide what may be a life-changing experience for campers.

“You can change the trajectory of a child’s life,” Chris said, adding the camp provides a safe and healthy environment for foster children. “I think Royal Family KIDS Camp is the epitome of hope, healing and wholeness.”

The Anchorage Royal Family KIDS Camp is entering into its 13th year, but has only recently come under the covering of Community Covenant Church in Eagle River.

“There are many wonderful opportunities available to serve the local community. In considering all of them, one of the questions we could ask is ‘What reflects the heart of God?’”  said Lead Pastor Todd Michero. “Royal Family KIDS Camp touches lives that could easily be forgotten, overlooked or marginalized.”

No advance signups are required to attend Night to Remember, Scott said, and interested volunteers who are 16 and older are also encouraged to participate in the event to learn how they can support the camp as counselors, kitchen staff, prayer warriors, activity center helpers, camp crew members, registration staff and lakeside lifeguards.

More information on Royal Family KIDS Camp is available at royalfamilykids.org.

Covenant Bible Camp

What about serving for a week during the summer?  CBC could use you this summer. Pick one of the 6 weeks that best works with your schedule.  Counselors, cooks (and kitchen help), McGuyver maintenance people, worship leaders (we do acoustic), speakers, mechanics, office gurus, fire builders, life guards, nurses, photographers, games leader, arts and crafts directors and more…
Want to help but can’t make it to Unalakleet?  We need help with graphic design, camper recruitment, development, and camper registration.

For more information: http://www.covenantbiblecamp.org.
Contact info@covenantbiblecamp.org for more information on any of the opportunities above.
If you want to talk to some who who has served at camp and can help you get connected call Sandy Gold at 830-3609.

Covenant Trust

February 26, 2017 · 12:45 PM - 3 PM

Join a representative from Covenant Trust for free information about investments, trusts, retirement, endowments, wills, estate planning, and legacy and gift planning.  Lunch will be included.  Please sign up in the lobby or call the office if you would like to attend.

Learn More>>

Royal Family KIDS Camp

Community Covenant Church is now the host church for Royal Family KIDS Camp.  Volunteers are needed for the 2017 camp June 16 – 23.

Email Director Chris Scott

Donate to Royal Family KIDS Camp

For more information 

Student Activities

Middle School Youth Group 5:30 – 6:45pm Sundays

Senior High Youth Group 6:45 – 8:15pm Sundays
Other activities

The Feast

April 2, 2017 · 9:00 and 11:00 am

Join us for Communion Sunday and in the welcome area after the services for social time and snacks.

Christmas Service with the Covenant Players

December 25, 2016 · 3:00pm

Covenant Players is a drama Ministry that travels throughout the world communicating the reality of the Gospel in churches of all denominations.  Additionally, Covenant Players use the dramatic arts address universal human themes to support the work of educators and social workers throughout the world. For additional information about the Covenant Players and how you can support their work visit their website http://www.covenantplayers.org.

There will be nursery care available during this service.