Obedience

One of the members of Haven who was very close to retirement shares how God showed her a different path. It was such a great encouragement to see such obedience and the blessings that follow.

Dear Friends and Family,
I am 61 years old and have been contemplating an early retirement from Kaiser Home Health when I turn 62. I have been envisioning planting a garden of homegrown herbs, fruits and vegetable so that I can cook and pick what I need for my next creative meal.
God has another plan for my life. He has called me to serve at Grace Community Home Health, a faith-based home health agency. Grace Community is a startup home health agency with an openly Christ-centered mission and vision. When one of the partners approached me to share about its core mission and vision, my response was, “Where have you been all my life?” It was the same mission and vision as my heart’s desire and personal mission as a physical therapist. I have always believed that God called me into this field as a platform to share His love in a practical way.
On May 5, 2015, I officially retired from Kaiser, and am working full time as the rehab director for Grace community Home Health. Grace Community is currently providing pro-bono services until we become accredited with the Joint Commission, which then allows us to bill our services through Medicare. We are a for-profit organization with goals to be self-sustaining, to continue to serve the community, and to support missions around the world.
I would greatly appreciate your prayer as I start this new stage of life. Would you join me in praying for the following?
To be to be ready for our pending Joint Commission survey, and pass so we can bill for our services and be self-sustaining
For staffing of people with excellent clinical skills and willingness to support and value our core mission and vision
For our referral sources for patients who meet the Medicare guidelines for skilled needs for home health services and are home bound
For favor with referral sources, hospitals, rehab facilities, and physicians. We want to be a representative of Jesus Christ.
Thank you for your love and prayers as I embark on this career change.
Yours in Christ,
Luanne

Haven Fall Retreat 2014

We had an awesome and relaxing time at our fall retreat in Rio Del Mar. We stripped it down, removed all the agendas and just focused on community, fellowship and spending time with God. Check out some of our pictures from our Facebook gallery!

He is Risen!

We celebrated a big gathering at the Newhall Park in San Jose with our friends and neighbors. It was a great time of celebration and fun with the kids and getting to know our neighbors. Members of Haven live in the complex next to Newhall Park and thought it would be a great way to build community and meet their neighbors by hosting the Haven Easter Celebration at the park near their home.

It was our first time throwing a very largely advertised event. We had no idea who was coming and only 5 people had RSVPed on the Facebook event page though no one was required to RSVP. We weren’t sure how many eggs or snacks to buy. About 80 kids & parents showed up it was just enough for everyone. It echoed the message the Jesus love for us is enough. We had a great time with delicious snacks and good conversation. Can’t wait until the next one!

The big kids egg hunt. Waiting for the green light to attack!

Hunting!

The little kids egg hunt getting ready!

The young ones going for it!

Balloons were a big hit. So were new and old friends!

Generosity Project – Youth Soccer

Dave, Alan and John have worked with the South Valley YMCA youth basketball league by sponsoring a team and coaching. This inspired another member of Haven to sponsor and volunteer for the YMCA soccer program. See how God can change lives through a simple “Yes”.

A couple years ago I read a book from Donalad Miller (one of my fave authors) called “To Own a Dragon: Reflections On Growing Up Without A Father”. Here are some summaries (thanks Amazon!) so you have some context:

With honest humor and raw self-revelation, bestselling author Donald Miller tells the story of growing up without a father and openly talks about the issues that befall the fatherless generation. Raw and candid, Miller moves from self-pity and brokenness to hope and strength, highlighting a path for millions who are floundering in an age without positive male role models.

Through Millers personal narrative and MacMurrays wisdom, children of absent fathers will discover how to pick up the broken pieces of a fatherless childhood…and put them back together. Even though I grew up in a home that was no more dysfunctional than the average one, the book really stuck with me for some reason. The book talks about how young mens lives are so strongly affected by the presence (and absence) or strong male presence in their life. Ever since then I’ve really felt a calling to just spend some time with young men in my community… I’m not even sure I’m that great of a role model but I’d like to think that I’m slightly better than average =)

So this led me to last year where I had the chance to mentor a high school youth. It was an interesting journey that is still ongoing but through that I knew that I had to do continue to mentor more but I had to do it through something I loved, something like footy. Luckily Haven was already involved in working with young kids through sport at our local Y sponsoring a basketball team… and now I’m coaching a small soccer team through the Y too.

Those are some of the kids up top, some are crazy a few are quiet some are whiny and most don’t pay attention… but I do have to say that in a few short weeks I’ve become totally attached. Like most of these kinds of things, its probably been more of a blessing to me than its been to them. I don’t know where this thing is headed, I don’t even know if we’ll even be coaching the kids beyond this season. But I do know that this is where God has called me to be right now, luckily all I had to do was say yes.

Stay tuned for more updates from Billy!

Baby Dedication

Last month, we held our baby dedication for 4 kids. It was a blessed time. For us as a community, it is incredibly important to incorporate our children into our community–that what we do includes them as well.

As each child was blessed and anointed by one of our leaders and our own loved ones. The community and parents made vows to each other to be spiritual leaders and examples for the children and to keep each other accountable as family would. We offered the congregation to make this commitment to the children of Haven.

This was also a great opportunity for us to invite our loved ones and friends who don’t typically attend a church and to see what we are doing and why. Why as parents we find it significant to dedicate our child unto the Lord–that these little ones are a blessing from him and every good and perfect gift comes from up above.

A small outline of our baby dedication :)

*In OT, God decreed the firstborn belonged to Him.  Every firstborn had to be redeemed. (for all the firstborn are mine. When I struck down all the firstborn in Egypt, I set apart for myself every firstborn in Israel, whether human or animal. They are to be mine. I am the Lord.” – Numbers 3:13 NIV)
*We are not Israelites and we are not bound to offering a sacrifice in place of our children because Jesus was sacrificed in place of our firstborn.
*We are responsible to raise our firstborns to know the Jesus who died for in their place.
*As a community of believers, we have a responsibility.  Jesus says: (…whoever receives one such child in My name receives Me; but whoever causes one of these little ones who believe in Me to stumble, it would be better for him to have a heavy millstone hung around his neck, and to be drowned in the depth of the sea. -Matthew 18:5, 6 NASB)… basically, don’t be stumbling blocks.
*We can take a higher calling: participate in the raising, praying for, edifying, teaching, disciplining, and loving our the children.

The lady of the group, Miss Juliette was not present for this dedication but we had a separate dedication for her on Easter Sunday.

And now, some photos!






A House Group Thanksgiving

From our Thursday Night House Community:
One week prior to Thanksgiving, our young home group had our very first holiday meal together. We had an early Thanksgiving pot luck feast, with plenty of food to go around. It was a great time for everybody to catch up with each other. And, since our group has only been meeting for two months at this point, we also used the time to know one another better through sharing and stories.

Giving the diverse nature of our group, there were plenty of tales from the recent and not-so-recent past. As mashed potatoes and gravy were passed around, we discussed jobs, school, and family, as well as random and silly topics. Despite the varied nature of the members, each could relate to the others’ struggles, or, at the very least, lend a sympathetic ear.

Sooner than anybody expected, the hour grew late, and it was time wipe the cupcake crumbs from our mouths, pack up leftovers, and head off into the night. Even without any games or ice breakers, our Thanksgiving dinner went by quickly, and we all came away with stronger ties of friendship–and maybe a pound or two heavier.

Mini Generosity Challenge -Jackets

From one of our house community members:

The Mini Project: For one of our generosity projects, we bought about 25 really nice and warm jackets for each house community member to hand out but not to donate to an organization. The point is to address a need when we see one.  There are no restrictions to whom the jacket may be given to. It could be someone who lives on the streets or even a person waiting at the bus stop in the rain.

What is the Generosity Challenge?

“Earlier this week I was praying that God would give me the opportunity to give out a jacket and so I purposefully grabbed the stack in my trunk to put in my backseat so I can reach for it if I needed to. I REALLY wanted to start handing them out especially since the weather is starting to get cold and also because the last time I felt God telling me to give a jacket out, I chickened out. I wanted to follow through the next opportunity He presented.

Yesterday, I was waiting at this  taqueria in Sunnyvale that a lot of working people go to to meet a friend for lunch. A lady who looked a little tattered (named Jessie Girl) was sitting outside on the curb. Generally I won’t offer anything unless they ask or have a sign. I just don’t want people to be offended if I assumed they were homeless/begging for something and they weren’t :) Anyway, I walked outside of the taqueria to flag down my friend and the lady who was outside asked me for some money. I asked her if she’d like lunch instead and what she’d like. She said she wanted a philly cheesesteak and fries and I said, awesome…where can i get that nearby here? She said, “In there!” (points at taqueria). For a split second, i thought she was out of it but then she said there’s a special in the taqueria but it’s $5. I said not to worry about it and said I would get it for her.

I then thought this would be a good opportunity to give her a jacket and asked her if she was cold and if she’d like a jacket. She said oh no it’s okay I don’t want to take it from you. I said, no no I have some brand new ones and would give her one. I said why don’t you come to my trunk and to see what size fits. She seemed surprised but followed me anyway.

All I really had was XL and XXL (she was kind of bigger) but i think we both assumed she wouldn’t be any more than a Large. I dug up a Medium but it seemed to small and then she asked to try the XXL and it fit perfectly! I felt like i was back in retail telling her it looked good and fit well and told her that it was a very good jacket that would keep her warm throughout the winter.

Right then, my friend pulled in and was like, are you selling jackets from your trunk?? :) I explained to her what I was doing. I told Jessie Girl I’d be right back with her philly cheese steak special for $5 (which was a real special!) I then gave it to her and she was grateful.

It seems like a small and easy gesture but sometimes whether it was out of laziness, fear, people thinking I was weird, thinking someone else will do it, we don’t follow through with God asking us to do the simple things. I ask God to see the big things but if I myself can’t even obey on a simple task, then it will be harder to see even the big things.

Hopefully I will continue to have more opportunities to obey and show love through this project.”

The delicious taqueria:

http://www.yelp.com/biz/tres-potrillos-taqueria-sunnyvale

The Victorians

Next door to the place we rent for our monthly worship are these boarding homes for many formerly homeless and persons with mental illness. And we’ve sporadically gone over and tried to find ways to connect and love them. We’ve done different things: clothes drives, small Bible studies, simple worship services, etc. What we’ve learned is that many live lonely existences, suffer from all of sorts of struggles [some self-imposed and others just by consequence] and experience a great degree of rejection.

So what we’ve been doing [until God tells us otherwise] is that we go over, bring lunch for all of us and just hang out. We’ve been doing this off and on over the course of the last year. We ask them how they are doing, what their story is, where they are from, etc. And we ask them if they need any prayer and we pray. And that’s about it – there’s nothing fancy, we don’t stay terribly long. We just share a meal and be friends.

And what it’s done is remind us no matter what sort of background or struggle, that we are all created in the image of God and thus loved by Him. And we’ve discovered that they are people just like us – who have experienced some hard moments, who are working through their struggles and are just needing a reminder that they matter in this world. The truth is that we’re all the same.

We went yesterday and had a great time in the sun, eating take out Chinese food and talking life. We’ve been doing it for a while, but I think we are just beginning to get why we need to be there [for both our good] and we’re slowly understanding Jesus’ heart to love the least [us included]. I got a hug from James Taylor yesterday… he said, “You guys are good people… you’re our buddies.” This is after 4+ years of knowing each other. Things don’t happen overnight. And God has used our time there to birth something in them and in us.

We got this letter today from Michelle who is a resident there:

Dear Elton and family,their friends,and their church community;

THANK-YOU!!!,very much for the fun get-together and lunch that was put on by you guys yesterday here at the Victorians Independant living community.Everybody that I talked to said that they had a good time,and to tell you “Thank-you!!!We feel very honored to have you and the prescence of GOD here every time you come and fellowship with us.Through the love of Christ,you show consideration and compassion for us-we really do appreciate this.May god bless you always,in the great work you guys(and gals) do for us and everyone your hearts “Touch”.We are truly blessed.

With love,through God, The residents of the Victorians.
ps- Great food!!!        :-))))))))

Resources and Info: Mike Chong Perkinson

Hey Folks – Here are some resources that Mike has written as well as some info on him. Many of you were blessed enormously by his sharing at our retreat last weekend and it’s our challenge to continue to live free lives through Jesus and what he’s done on the Cross.

Here’s some stuff from and on Mike:

Mike’s Church
Books written by Mike
Mike’s Blog
Intro to His New Book, “InBetween”
Facebook

Reminder: Worship @ LPT this coming Sunday [2/15]