HCBC set to Visit the Most Diverse Square Mile in the World.

The HCBC College and Career Group will be visiting the town of Clarkston, on Saturday the 20th, but everyone from Harbins Church is invited to participate in this “vision trip.”

Here are a few thoughts from Todd Harrison, one of our College and Career group leaders, regarding the mission significance of Clarkston, why HCBC is going, and what we will be doing there.

imagesClarkston has been called by New York Times Magazine, the “most diverse square mile
in the world.”  Why?  Every year over 2500 refugees from around the globe are resettled there by the US Government due to affordable housing, ease of walking, and close employment.  These refugees come from war torn regions and they are here because their lives are in danger back in their home countries. Many of them have spent years in refugee camps before coming to Clarkston from Iraq, Burma, Nepal, Syria, Africa and many other places.

Why should we care about Clarkston?  Well, for everyone that has ever desired to go to the mission field you now don’t need a passport!  Foreign missions can happen right here – 30 miles from our church.  Many churches, individuals, businesses and organizations work and minister in Clarkston.  But the need for more help – specifically help that makes a long term commitment – is vitally necessary.  The ways to minister are as diverse as the people groups of Clarkston – teaching English, helping with homework, helping with shopping and getting acclimated, helping with jobs, providing loving relationships, and more.

Harbins Church is exploring how we might get involved in Clarkston-taking the love of Jesus to the world, right here in our city.

The date for HCBC’s vision trip to Clarkston is Saturday, August 20th.  We will have a 2 hour tour with the Executive Director of Friends of Refugees and learn about the plight of refugees in Clarkston, what others are doing to help, and how Harbins might be involved in this gospel opportunity.

Join us at the church at 8am.  We will carpool to Clarkston.  Our tour will be from 9-11am and we will end with lunch at Merhaba Shwarma- a local restaurant run by Manna, a Christian refugee from Eritrea.  It’s the best food you will ever eat.  We plan on being back to the church by or before 2pm.

If you are interested in going, please call or text Todd at 404-660-1673.  The sooner we can get a count on how many people will participate, the better.  All are invited, so come join us!

Grace and Peace,

Pastor Demer and Todd H.

Honduras Highlights

13690855_10206962369353601_6828874464706303517_nOur mission team touched down back in the good ol’ US of A this past Wednesday evening. It was a great mission trip to Honduras and as always there are mixed emotions as we settle back into our day to day American lives. In this blog entry hope to briefly share with you some of the wonderful things God did in and through our team in Honduras. I’ll save a more detailed presentation of the events of the trip for Sunday, July 24th when our team will be sharing testimonies of how we saw God working.

For me this mission trip was a time of much needed refreshment and renewal. By that I do not mean it was filled with down time and rest, quite the opposite, this was one of the busiest mission trips I’ve ever been a part of. What I do mean is simply that the experience of ministering to the Honduran people was itself the means God used to renew and recharge my own spiritual walk and ministry.

The trip allowed me to escape some of the distractions of American life. As we witnessed in poor homes of small Honduran villages I was able to momentarily forget the shenanigans and over-the-top rhetoric of American politics. As I preached in Iglesia Bautista Renacer I was able to momentarily forget about evangelicalism’s love affair with success and numbers. As we taught men about Biblical headship I was able to forget about amateur theologians rudely blogging past one another while proudly claiming final authority on ancient Trinitarian debates. As I played soccer alongside Honduran young men I was able to momentarily forget the nearly daily racial provocations that are plaguing our nation.

I say all this not to promote some sort of naïve missional escapism, for alas life is not a mission trip, and these issues that are stirring up our nation and our American churches are real and need to be addressed. Beyond that it is truly the heart of naïveté to think that Honduran culture and churches themselves do not have their own set of distracting and debilitating issues and controversies.

I’m simply saying that crossing into another culture for a season of ministry can sometimes give much needed pause and perspective to the many things that demand our attention in both our culture and our churches, and for me this past week was just such an experience.

But really the most important thing to focus on are not how the mission trip made any of us feel, but rather on what God actually did in and through us. So, with that said, here are some highlights of our week:

IMG_2706Women’s Ministry: Our ladies ministered to the women of the village El Naranjal through health and hygiene classes, Bible studies, and sewing/crochet projects. The young ladies of our team ministered to the children of the women who attended these special women’s ministry events. This was a very special time that equipped and encouraged many women in El Naranjal.

IMG_3045Prayer Walking and Evangelism: While the ladies did the women’s ministry the men went door to door sharing the gospel and praying with people. On the last two days of the mission trip the ladies joined us in these efforts. Through this door-to-door ministry we saw many believers encouraged, we saw seeds planted as many politely heard the gospel, we saw fruit blossom as several people professed Christ, and sadly we saw the sinful condition of man on display as some openly rejected the gospel.

IMG_2896Youth Camp: Our whole team worked with the youth of El Naranjal for three consecutive days. During the camp we had times of fellowship, games and most importantly teaching from God’s Word. On day one Larry Doyle taught on the importance of holiness, one of the young leaders from Iglesia Renacer spoke on the holiness of God on day two, and on day three Heather and I separated the boys and girls to teach on holiness in the arena of sexuality.

IMG_7200Men’s Ministry: The men had the privilege of doing a leather knife sheath project with 27 men from El Naranjal and another village. The project was accompanied by in-depth Bible study on male leadership in the home, in the church and at work. This was truly a blessed time that led to some robust interaction with the men who attended. Many of the men plan to use what they learned in regards to making leather sheaths to make more to sell in the future. And the church hopes this will be the beginning of monthly discipleship meetings that will get more men involved in the church.

IMG_4429Worship and Bible Study: We had the joy of worshiping with Iglesia Bautista Renacer on Saturday night and then returning to be with them on Sunday morning for their Sunday School time. I was the guest preacher Saturday night and preached on the importance of worship as seen in Psalm 150. My dad, Larry Doyle, preached from Ephesians 2 for the adults and youth on Sunday morning. The focus of his sermon was our identity in Christ, something he taught our whole group on each night during our team devotional time.

IMG_4445Painting Project: On Sunday afternoon, after some rest and enjoying the Euro 2016 soccer final, our team helped the local church in El Naranjal by painting their worship center and a couple of children’s classrooms.

IMG_7243VBS: On Monday and Tuesday we did a one-day VBS focusing on the Fruit of the Spirit. On the first day we were in a town called Sabaneta which has a strong Baptist Church in it called Iglesia Bautista Betel. We had to adjust on the fly to some space limitations, but overall we had a great VBS with about a 100 kids in attendance. On Tuesday we went to a city called Yuscaran, and ministered at a churched called Iglesia Bautista Eben-ezer. That  church has been through much turmoil over the past few years. They are currently in need of a new pastor. From at one point running 150 in attendance, they now only have a few families remaining and in many ways feel all alone and abandoned. We were able to encourage them and show them that someone does indeed care for them as we came in and, in combination with prayer walking, hosted a VBS for about 30 kids.

This summary doesn’t include the many ways that we ministered to one another, the other ways we were able to minister to the Honduran people, or the ministry that our team had toward our bus driver, Santos. Nor have I even begun to describe the many times that we saw God go before us. I look forward to sharing more with you on July 24th, and can’t wait for you to hear some of the testimonies of our team members. Until then, thank you for your prayers and praise God for all that He has done and is doing in and through our church for the people of Honduras.

In Christ,

Pastor Steve.