The Apostle Paul joyfully wrote to the Philippian church,
I thank my God in all my remembrance of you, always in every prayer of mine for you all making my prayer with joy, because of your partnership in the gospel from the first day until now. (Philippians 1:3–5)
How did this church partner with Paul in his gospel ministry? Paul makes it clear that it was through their financial support (Phil 4:15). The Bible doesn’t elevate people who go on mission over people who give to the mission. Both are absolutely essential ingredients in God’s plan to advance the gospel of the kingdom to the ends of the earth. This means that whenever, through Paul, an unbeliever heard the gospel, a believer was strengthened in the gospel, or a lost person was converted in response to the gospel, the Philippian congregation was a part of that! Surely it was encouraging to that church, full of members who could not go everywhere Paul could go, that they were nevertheless participating in God’s exciting work through the apostle’s ministry.
My vision for Harbins Church is to be a congregation that is ever increasing in our partnership in the gospel around the world through our generous financial gifts. I’m thrilled that our members recently approved a budget that expanded our missions/outreach spending. In addition to budgeted missions expenses, the Lord will occasionally bring before us new, unplanned opportunities to invest in through one-time gifts.
Ozioma Obele is a close friend of one of our members at Harbins who is working with Campus Outreach in Belo Horizonte, Brazil who will be joining us for worship on Sunday, Jan. 20th. Ozi and her co-laborers are taking the gospel of Jesus Christ to a generation of Brazilian college students living in a jaded and complicated spiritual context. One of the ways this is happening is through a ministry called Cafe Com Prosa which means literally “Coffee with Prose.” The concept is pretty simple. Ozi and others regularly visit the campus of the local university, inviting students to join them for a time of conversation in a relaxed environment with music, food, and of course….lots of coffee!
Cafe Com Prosa is hosted by Ozi’s church, Comunidade Horizonte, a Reformed Church whose Pastor is a graduate from Bethlehem Seminary (John Piper, Chancellor). At any given Cafe Com Prosa event you’ll find university students and young professionals interacting with believers like Ozi over the most important topics of life. Past topics have included secularism, skepticism, love, the meaning of life, and man’s quest for satisfaction and purpose. And the exciting thing about this is that people are come to saving faith in Jesus Christ through these gospel driven conversations!
Ozi recalls the story of a young student named Vitor…
Two staff members met him at the Freshman Reception and invited him to the coffee house. He…considered himself an atheist because of the hypocrisy within the Catholic Church and the Evangelical church in Brazil. Over the years, as he became more involved, he began to do investigative studies on the person of Christ. Last year, he went on our summer project and for the first time read the parable of the Prodigal Son. He identified himself with the older brother and it was the first time he questioned his identity and what he believed. This past summer, he came to a saving knowledge of Jesus Christ and realized that his search for identity and purpose can only be found in Him. He was baptized in the Fall and now is a member of our local church body!
Take a peek inside Cafe Com Prosa:
When Ozi joins us for the Sunday School hour on the 20th, she will share more details about this exciting ministry and testimonies of what God is doing in Brazil. In addition, I am asking you to prayerfully consider partnering with Ozi in the gospel ministry in Belo Horizonte, Brazil, through a one-time financial gift to help meet some immediate needs.
We’ll also have a time of corporate prayer for Ozi and Cafe Com Prosa during the main service, and we’ll take up a special missionary offering for her. Please make sure your checks are separate from your regular offering and write “Brazil” on the memo. After the service we’ll have a fellowship meal so you can spend additional time with her. (Yes, we’re changing the date of the January fellowship meal to the 20th!)
Please make a point to join us for the Sunday School hour on Sunday the 20th, from 9:30-10:30am to learn more about the Lord’s work in a spiritually needy place with tremendous opportunities for gospel impact!
Grace and Peace,