Church of the Resurrection

News

Ministry: Mission

Taking a Prayer Ministry to the Nations

July 19, 2017

Our newest missionary, Devon, wrote a beautiful letter detailing the way in which she received her calling in and through Resurrection ministries, including the 24/7 prayer initiatives, the Transformation Intensive, and Holy Week. It is a powerful, encouraging testimony to the way that the Lord is answering the core prayer of our Moved by Jesus campaign, that the Lord would "send forth laborers into the harvest."

Dear Resurrection family,

When I found out that the Global Mission Team decided to officially send me out as a Resurrection missionary, and I felt so honored, joyful, and grateful for their affirmation of my call to serve the Lord in the Middle East. While reflecting on all the ways that God shaped and directed my life these last few years, it is clear that Resurrection played an integral role in the discernment and confirmation of my next season of ministry.  I want to testify to all the ways that Resurrection has equipped and apprenticed me for “such a time as this,” and to thank this church for the way that you have supported me in the past and continue to support me as I move ahead.

I started going to Resurrection fifteen years ago as a high school student, but was not truly involved until I joined Choir and the Communications Team after college. When the Internship program was launched several years ago, I was thrilled to receive training and discipleship from Fr. Trevor, my cohort leader, and from the pastoral staff at Resurrection. I grew so much over those two internship years, becoming involved in several different teams—including the then Nations Team—and stretching myself to grow in devotion to the Lord, in leadership, and in service.

The most impactful experiences that overlapped my internship were the prayer intensives. While in college in Chicago, I had become involved with a 24/7 prayer ministry, and was deeply impacted by the call to worship and pray with a community around the clock. When I heard that Resurrection wanted to champion the call to pray continuously in the form of these prayer intensives, my heart could barely contain itself! My beloved home church was embracing a ministry that was near and dear to me. I look back to Prayer40 and Prayer100 as times of accelerated spiritual growth, where the Lord saw the fasting of our time and our weaknesses, and he moved in strength and power! Especially during Prayer40, as I meditated on Matthew 9:36-38 and prayed that “the Lord of the harvest would send forth laborers,” and as I helped with the communication of the “Moved by Jesus” campaign, I began to see the profound connection between my call to pray and my call to labor in the harvest fields.  There were many NightWatch prayer slots where I would go and just pray over the map in All Saints Chapel, with a sense that the Lord was calling me to go, but the questions of where and when remained.

Sandwiched between the two Prayer Intensives, I took the Transformation Intensive with Deacon Val. Because the Transformation Intensive is particularly helpful for those discerning a call, my intention was to use this time to seek the Lord about if, when, and where he would like me to serve as a missionary. Going through the Ignatian exercises and attending weekly spiritual direction helped ground me further in my dependence on the Lord and in hearing his voice.Though I did not get the “final word” during this time, I firmly believe that it was here God laid the groundwork for his call to the nations.

Soon after I completed the Transformation Intensive in spring of 2016, a good friend called and asked if I could join her on a short mission trip to Jordan. I was pretty indifferent to Jordan at the time, but I agreed to go. Nothing could have prepared me for my first foray into the Arab world. After several days of observing and absorbing, I arrived at a startling conclusion: I loved this place, and I loved these people. It seemed so sudden, so different from the ministry that I was currently in, so divergent from any work that I had done in the past, that I felt it must be the Holy Spirit loving these people through me. Every day during the two weeks that I spent in Jordan, I was overwhelmed by how the Lord was moving and drawing me into his Middle Eastern story. By the time I was on a plane back to O’Hare, I knew that I needed to seriously pursue specific answers—did I need to focus my prayers to intercede for this region, or did I need to go and live and work there?

For about a month I fasted and prayed, asking God to show me in a very clear way what he wanted me to do. Around the end of this month was Holy Week 2016. I walked through that week somewhat distractedly, not being able to fully enter in because of the questions that loomed so prominently in my mind and spirit. It wasn’t until the start of the Vigil where I had breakthrough. Bp. Stewart led the first ministry time, and had a word of knowledge that the Lord was commissioning new works in our congregation. As he called out these new ministries, Bp. Stewart mainly focused on local, compassion ministries such as working among the homeless or marginalized. I prayed that if God was commissioning me to a new ministry overseas, that Bp. Stewart would specifically address those who felt a new call to the Middle East to come up for prayer. Within a few seconds, Bp. Stewart called all those with a burden to minister to Jerusalem and the Middle East to come to the front for prayer. Stunned that my request had been so immediately and exactly answered, I walked to the front.

As I kneeled for prayer, I questioned over and over in my heart, “Lord, do you want me to go? You want me to actually pack my bags and move?” Soon, Margie Fawcett placed her hand on my shoulder and started praying for me. As if in direct dialogue with my internal prayer, she said out loud, “Go! I will make you a fisher of men. Take only your cloak and your staff. You are coming back with stories.” Fr. Kevin, a few weeks later, further confirmed this word during Eucharist by telling me, “The Lord is taking your prayer ministry to the nations!” In his kindness, God had given me a direct, irrefutable, answer to so many of the questions that I had been asking. No longer was I questioning if I was supposed to be a global worker or where I was supposed to serve, but when do I need to leave and how will I get there?

These questions didn’t remain unanswered for long. Later that next week, I received an email announcement from one of my favorite missions organizations: Frontier Alliance International. They were starting a training for ministering in the Middle East—an “Emmaus Walk”— and were currently accepting applications for their Spring 2017 school. I presented this training opportunity to the Global Missions Team as a first step to answering the clear call that the Lord had communicated through the ministry of Resurrection.


Without reservation, I can say that this Emmaus Walk was absolutely what I needed to succeed in this next season. After three and a half months on the field, I returned to Wheaton and Resurrection ready to go back long-term to the Middle East, and more confident than ever that this is where the Lord has been leading me these last several years.

In August, I will return to Jordan to begin working with a Frontier Alliance International team. This team will be providing accountability and encouragement toward growing in intimacy with the Lord through worship, prayer, Bible study, etc., toward diligent acquisition of Arabic, and toward regular and intentional gospel engagement with those around us, including Syrian, Iraqi, and Yemini refugees. We believe this intentional gospel community that ministers to the Lord with regular prayer and worship will provide a rich context for the Holy Spirit to equip and send small teams out from our midst into other ripe fields in the region by the grace and for the glory of God.

Thank you, Resurrection, for walking with me on this pilgrimage. I am forever grateful for the way that you have heard the word of the Lord on my behalf, how you have called me to grow and not let me stay stagnant spiritually, and how you have supported me in the various stages of this journey. I am deeply humbled to be sent out by this church, and with God’s help, I hope to honor the trust that you have put in me.
 In
Your thankful daughter in Christ,

Devon

To read an article Devon wrote for Frontier Alliance International, click here!
Devon Phillips
Resurrection Missionary
devonphil@gmail.com
Tagged: missions, prayer, calling

Replanted News

June 07, 2017

We have some exciting news to share about our Replanted ministry. First, the ministry keeps thriving and growing. After starting with a few churches in the Wheaton area, Replanted expanded to many area churches in the Chicagoland area. But the ministry here at Resurrection continues to thrive through the work of a strong multi-church leadership team. Replanted currently offers 11 Me Too support groups for families who have chosen the path of adoption, foster care, or safe families. Next fall the local Replanted team hopes to run 14 Me Too groups. In addition, this spring Replanted started new groups in Seattle, Oregon, Dallas, Tampa Bay, and Hawaii. But that is just the beginning. Watch for news about more Replanted groups launching across the country.

Secondly, and on another note, Jenn Ranter, Replanted’s founder and leader, has some exciting personal news to share: this September Jenn and Josh Hook are getting married. Jenn and Josh will set up their hometown in the Dallas area where Josh is a professor of psychology at the University of North Texas. Jenn will lead the ministry as it expands nationally, but she will also continue to oversee the very strong local team.

As this vital ministry continues to expand at Church of the Resurrection and beyond, there are several ways that you can get involved:

1)    Sign up to host a monthly (September to June) Me Too support group in your home. Host families make a meal for the group’s adults and provide space for adults and a separate space for the children. You do not need to lead the group. You can make a huge impact by just opening your home to these families.

2)    Volunteer to watch the children while the parents get the support they need. This is also a monthly commitment September to June.

3) Join our Refresh Chicago conference planning team. Refresh Chicago is a chance for fellowship and rejuvenation for those who care for God's orphaned and vulnerable children. We are looking for detail-oriented, well-organized people to help prepare for and run the conference.

4) Volunteer at Refresh Chicago. The conference is taking place October 6-7 and volunteer roles include IT support, welcome team, registration, prayer ministry, etc. 

You can sign up for any of these things by clicking the link below.

Once again, Jenn Ranter will continue to lead Replanted, including the local team. We wanted to take a moment to introduce you to the local Replanted team that have been so instrumental in building this ministry, including the local Church of the Resurrection contacts. Christine Stahl (National "Me Too" Group Coordinator), Christie Otts (National Director of Development), Melissa Harms (Me Too District Coordinator), Currey Blanford (Media Director), Lisa Jarot (Me Too Groups Coach), and Jessica Stoffer (Caring for Caseworkers Director). Here are the local contacts at Church of the Resurrection: Mark Hawkinson is the Chicagoland District Leader, Hollee Ball is our Children's Program Coordinator, Sarah Roney is our Events Coordinator, and Sonja Shogren is our Me Too Group Coordinator.

Keep Jenn and her team in your prayers as they transition, continue to expand, and offer healing to hundreds of families who need love and encouragement.

Matt Woodley
Missions Pastor
matt@churchrez.org