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MN outreach

Hopeful to a “Tea:” Reaching Those in Crisis by Rev. Frank Liu (Banner 7/19)

Thank you so much for your prayers and encouragement over the last year for Cornerstone as a church plant. In January, Cornerstone received an email from Cradle of Hope, a local non-profit pro-life organization that provides financial aid to women and babies in crisis, especially those who might not choose life because of financial pressures. The email was a request for help with a baby drive, that is, a request for donations from local churches of baby clothes, diapers, wipes, etc. Knowing that many of our members pray for and desire the preservation of life, we wondered what more we could do as a congregation to support the pro-life cause in our community. So we offered to Cradle of Hope to host a Ladies Tea around the time of Mother’s Day for their clients. It was the first offer of that sort that they had received since they started in 1973, so they sought guidance from their governing board, which approved.  At that point, we had several months to plan, prepare, and PRAY for hosting the event. Not having our own church building, we asked the Lutheran school where we meet on Sundays if we could rent our same space on a Saturday. The principal liked the cause, so he generously waived any rental charges.

We had plenty of unanswered questions, many unknowns, and as the result of it, some fears and doubts. Who would accept our invitation? Cradle of Hope assured us that they would personally extend our invitation to all forty of their clients in our geographic region. How will we connect with people who may be so different than the rest of us? Since they handed out invitations months in advance, we were able to hear updates from their staff about the RSVP’s that would slowly trickle in. And so we prayed for these moms by name as we counted down the weeks until the event. Whom will we trust when we take risks for the sake of our witness? This was the ultimate question, and we knew the answer to it—our Triune God, who delights in the confidence of His people (Psalm 56:3-4). God alone is the one who renews hearts and transforms lives!

At the morning of the event, there were one dozen families that had RSVP’d for the Ladies Tea, but six families ended up coming. But still, this was six families that we didn’t know and wouldn’t normally meet.  A Cradle of Hope employee and her mom also came to help at the event. The plan was to have the men and boys of the church assist with setup, serving, and clean up while the ladies of the church dined with the mothers and their daughters. After the meal, we had some combined activities, the first being the reading of a children’s book on Psalm 23. Another was a short sermon from Ephesians 2:1-10. It was a captive audience, and we were already giving gifts. What greater gift than that of the gospel of Jesus Christ? Two families said that they wanted to visit us at church on a Sunday, though we haven’t seen them visit yet. One of those families has a playdate set up with two moms from church. Perhaps there just needs to be more of a relational connection before they are ready for a church visit.

As we reflect on the event, we realize that there is no foolproof method of evangelism. The repeating account of Acts is diligence and faithfulness in bearing witness of our Lord Jesus Christ coupled with prayerful dependence on God for the results. Ultimately, the difference is not in the sower or the waterer, but in God who gives the growth (1 Corinthians 3:5-7).

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