Rob is a young man who we have had the opportunity to help empower. He grew up going to Bible clubs. Raised by a single mom, we were able to disciple Rob through high school. From there he left to go to school out of state. After school he developed a successful business and was actively involved in his church. Now, many years later, God has called him back to St. Louis to plant a church. Sharon and I had the joy of going to St. Louis and spent time with Rob hearing his vision and encouraging him in his calling.
We also partner with local churches to reach their cities with the Gospel. We are excited to help with a church-plant on the west side of Tulare, 45 minutes south of Fresno. World Impact leadership has targeted 100 of the poorest cities in the U.S. and are thinking strategically of how to be a catalyst for church-plant movements. The west side of Tulare is in our target area. The average household income is less than $30,000, with 46.5% single-parent homes. They have all the same problems of gangs, drugs, and sex trafficking as any major city.
Faith Fighters, a Tulare house church, is a bright light in the darkness on that side of town. The scripture reminds us that where sin abounds, grace abounds even more. Please join us in praying for this precious group of struggling saints. I have had the joy of meeting many of them recently. One young woman shared through her tears how she was caught up in the darkness of drugs and prostitution. Consequently, she lost her children to Social Services. Through an outreach of Faith Fighters, in her desperate situation she gave her heart to Jesus. Now just a year later with great joy she testified that she is clean and sober, has a job, and will be getting her children back as soon as she can secure housing. She is so thankful to Jesus and to the faithful members of the church who have invested in her life.
A single dad has been encouraged by the way his children have been loved. He recently acknowledged that he was an alcoholic, but with the help of Jesus, he is working on his sobriety. He attends the Faith Fighter gatherings regularly, is part of men’s discipleship, and is attending Celebrate Recovery. When we talked, he shared how he has been depressed and not working for the past three years, but now he has found new life in Christ, new joy and hope. Despite having major back problems, he was happy to tell me he had found a temporary job and was glad to be working and looking for full-time work again.
Pray that we will continue to empower leaders as we partner with this local church to reach the west side of Tulare with the Gospel.